Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, is reportedly working on a futuristic smartphone, potentially named Model Pi.
Despite widespread industry leaks and rumors, the Texas-based company has been tight-lipped about the alleged device. It has yet to confirm its production plans and is keeping product development under wraps.
However, industry insiders expect the company to launch its first smartphone late next year or early 2024.
Tesla, which disbanded its public relations department in October 2020, relies on social media — largely Twitter — to make new announcements.
The company’s billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, who has 78.2 million Twitter followers, made a number of company announcements on the social media platform, including the company’s decision to abandon the use of Bitcoin and new features of its cars. Tesla’s own account has 13.6 million followers.
Here’s what we know about Tesla’s smartphone so far.
Compatible with StarLink
The Model Pi smartphone is expected to come with built-in functionality to access Starlink, allowing users to surf the web without relying on terrestrial telecommunications networks.
Created by Mr. Musk’s other company, SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency internet access in various markets. Using satellites in low orbit, it enables video calls, online games and streaming.
The company said it’s perfect for areas where connectivity is unreliable or completely unavailable.
Better integration with electric cars
Industry experts say the new phone will be better integrated into Tesla’s cars, giving them more control at the touch of a button.
It would also allow users to perform various vehicular functions such as locking, unlocking, and controlling temperature, media, and various other features through the phone.
Tesla’s new phone could also support Neuralink, the technology that could allow users to control devices with their thoughts.
Mr. Musk co-founded Neuralink Corporation in 2016 and the company is working to develop implantable chips for the human brain. Once successfully implanted, the chips will enable machines to convert users’ thoughts into actions.
“Smartwatches and phones are yesterday’s technology. Neural links are the future,” Musk said on Twitter.
The company said this technology will allow people who don’t have full use of their limbs to use smartphones even faster than someone using their fingers.
“We are creating the future of brain interfaces…now building devices that will help people with paralysis and inventing new technologies that will expand our capabilities, our community and our world,” he added.
Tesla, which also makes solar panels, is expected to equip new phones with solar charging capabilities.
This could be a game-changer for a smartphone industry struggling to attract new users due to lack of innovation and new features.
The company also sells Powerwall, a home battery backup system. It allows users to store solar energy for emergency situations, such as during a power outage at night.
The red planet
Many reports suggest that Mr. Musk’s new phone will work on Mars using Starlink connectivity.
At a conference in September 2016, Mr. Musk said between 40 and 100 years would be needed to create a self-sustaining civilization of a million people on Mars.
And these people will naturally have to be able to use the Internet.
What is the biggest source of income for Tesla?
There’s no word yet on a possible price for a phone.
Tesla is currently the most valuable automaker, with more than $868 billion, more than the market capitalization of Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Volkswagen combined.
The largest share of the Texas-based company’s revenue comes from electric vehicle sales, the majority of which come from low-cost Model Y and Model 3 cars.
It reported its biggest quarterly net profit between October and December.
The company broke the $2 billion net profit mark for the first time despite a global shortage of semiconductors and supply chain disruptions. Its net profit rose about 760% year-on-year to more than $2.3 billion.
Updated: March 19, 2022, 07:02