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The Morning After: New York’s governor signs a weakened right-to-repair bill

Some last-minute concessions lessened the impact it'll have.

Aziz Taher / reuters

New York governor Kathy Hochul has finally signed a right-to-repair bill into law, over half a year since the state legislature was passed. Representatives for Microsoft and Apple pressed Hochul's office for changes, as well as industry association TechNet, which represents many notable tech companies, including Amazon, Google, Dell and HP. Critics say the amendments will weaken the law's effectiveness. The bill's revised language excludes enterprise electronics, like devices used in schools and hospitals. Home appliances, motor vehicles, medical devices and off-road equipment were also previously exempted.

Whatever aims the right-to-repair bill had when first proposed have been weakened. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), a collective of consumer rights organizations, said in a statement to Engadget: "Such changes could limit the benefits for school computers and most products currently in use." It continued: "The bill now excludes certain smartphone circuit boards from parts the manufacturers are required to sell and requires repair shops to post unwieldy warranty language."

– Mat Smith

The Morning After isn’t just a newsletter – it’s also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Friday, by subscribing right here.

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TikTok will be banned on most US federal government devices

Included in a mammoth $1.7 trillion bill that President Biden just signed.

TikTok will be outlawed on almost all devices issued by the federal government after lawmakers passed a $1.7 trillion spending bill. Officials recently added the No TikTok on Government Devices Act (what a name) to the bill, which the Senate unanimously approved last week. The mammoth 4,155-page legislation was fast-tracked to avoid a partial government shutdown. It will fund the government through September. The legislation requires the Biden administration to establish rules to remove TikTok from government devices by mid-February. The bill carved out exceptions for elected officials, congressional staff, law enforcement agents and other officials. However, the House of Representatives separately banned TikTok on devices it owns and manages.

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Samsung's new smart fridge has a massive 32-inch display

Think of it like a smart TV with a fridge attached to it.

TMA
TMA

CES is nearly here, which means we're once again writing about refrigerators. With its Family Hub Plus, Samsung has boosted the touch display size to 32 inches from 21 inches, although it’s still a vertical screen. Samsung has added support for Google Photos, along with the OneDrive integration seen on past models. There’s also a new SmartThings hub so you can control multiple smart home devices from your… kitchen, including robot vacuums, air conditioning, lighting and more. It also supports Amazon's Your Essentials service, letting you order groceries and other products directly from the touchscreen. Those groceries go inside.

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The EV revolution became an eventuality in 2022

It's been a busy year for the industry.

It’s been a decade since the first Tesla EV made its commercial debut and the electrification of American automotive society began in earnest. Over the past ten years as battery capacities have grown and range anxieties have shrunk, electric vehicles have become a daily sight in most parts of the country. Now, virtually every notable automaker on the planet has jumped on the electric bandwagon with sizable investments in battery and production technologies and pledges to electrify their lineups within a decade or so.

Not even recent years’ production slowdowns and supply chain disruptions brought on by the COVID pandemic managed to stall the industry’s momentum. The International Energy Agency in January reported that EVs had managed to triple their market share between 2019 and 2021 with 6.6 million units being sold globally last year. And as eventful as 2022 turned out to be, 2023 and beyond could be even bigger for the EV industry. We’re expecting EV debuts including the VW ID.3; the Lucid Gravity, Polestar 3, Jeep (one of four!) and Honda’s Prologue SUVs.

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