Tesla phone? Elon Musk hints at challenge to Apple and Google in smartphone arena

World's richest person says he will make an alternative phone if his Twitter platform is banned by app stores

Elon Musk said he could be left with 'no choice' but to move into the smartphone industry. AFP
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He regularly puts rockets into space, but can Elon Musk deliver something as comparatively straightforward as a smartphone?

The world's richest person and new owner of Twitter has suggested he may move into the phone industry amid concerns that Apple and Google could ban the social media platform from their app stores due to content moderation concerns.

Tesla, the electric car maker, has reportedly been working on a futuristic smartphone for some time, but Mr Musk, its chief executive, has remained tight-lipped on the project.

However, he has now suggested that a phone could be in the offing.

The subject was raised on Twitter by American political commentator Liz Wheeler, who said that “half the country” would happily ditch Apple's iPhone and Android devices in favour of a phone developed by Mr Musk.

Mr Musk replied that he hopes that Twitter doesn't end up banned by Apple and Google, “but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone”.

He has been keen to open up Twitter to more free speech and has restored previously banned accounts such as former US President Donald Trump.

The billionaire's tenure as chief executive of Twitter since his $44 billion acquisition has been full of controversy.

As well as widespread job cuts, the company has lost at least half of its major advertisers in the weeks after Mr Musk took — over representing a loss of nearly $750 million, according to a report.

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Meanwhile, leaked information on the purported Tesla phone suggests it will have inbuilt functionality to gain access to Starlink, allowing users to surf the web without relying on Earth-bound telecoms networks.

It could also support Neuralink — the technology that could let users control devices with their thoughts. Mr Musk cofounded the Neuralink Corporation in 2016.

Another expected feature is solar charging, while some reports suggest that the phone could work on Mars using Starlink connectivity.

Potential pricing and release date are unknown.

Mr Musk said on Sunday that new user sign-ups to Twitter are at an “all-time high”.

Sign-ups were averaging over two million per day in the last seven days as of November 16, up 66 per cent compared to the same week in 2021, he said in a tweet.

Updated: November 28, 2022, 10:56 AM
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