Faraday fumbles toward the future: It’s The Daily Crunch

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Faraday flubs the finale of the future, Zuck strives to meet new people in 2017 and Fitbit scrambles for ways to broaden its appeal. All that and more in The Daily Crunch for January 4, 2017. Plus plenty of CES news to get you gadget giddy.

1. Faraday Future unveils its first production (or at least, production intended) car

Faraday Future has a new car – and it says it’s going to ship this one… starting in 2018, with no specifics beyond that. It’s also going to cost you $5,000 up-front just to reserve one of these babies, which is a big risk to take on a company that has so far shown nothing except that it’s a huge risk.

The LeEco-backed electric vehicle company regaled a huge, packed temporary auditorium with specs and stats, claiming its FF 91 is faster and better in every conceivable way than the competition, including the Tesla Model S and Model X. Which is nice, but the Model S and X are cars you can actually buy right now – and who knows what a car from Tesla will offer by 2018, either via new models or even just over-the-air software updates. Also, the Faraday FF 91 flubbed its big culminating act – parking itself center stage.

2. Zuck’s 2017 goal is to meet the states

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sets a goal for himself every year – last year’s was to build an AI to control his home. This year’s is to meet and listen to folks from all 50 states in the U.S. It’s part of the CEO’s realization that the company might not be that in touch with its users post-election.

3. BMW, Intel and Mobileye will test self-driving cars on roads this year

When they initially teamed up in 2016, BMW, Intel and Mobileye announced their intent to put a self-driving car into production for BMW by 2021. Now, they’re planning to put test vehicles on real roads starting in the latter half of 2017, with the aim of creating a fully scalable autonomous system that be sold to other OEMs and industry players. It’s a smart way to stay relevant in a changing automotive world, especially for BMW.

4. Fitbit’s new partners work on nutrition and a VR bike

Wearables aren’t really a thing it turns out – and Fitbit is the most successful, but it’s also feeling the pinch. Turning to partners is an interesting strategy for growing their market, but I think ultimately we’ll see that even health isn’t appealing enough to provide mass market growth for wearable devices.

5. Mobike raises $215 million for bike sharing

Think ride-sharing is hot? Bike sharing company Mobike, which operates in China, has raised $215 million, lend by Tencent. Transportation alternatives are not limited to different car ownership models, and I’d expect services like Mobike to only get more relevant over time.

6. Alarm.com’s home security drones could watch out inside your house

Drones that keep watch not only around your house, but also within, flying room to room and shooting live steaming video? No thanks, I’m good.