TIME technology

Uber Rides into New PR Storm Over Digging Dirt on Hostile Press

Senior VP told celebrity guests the company should hire investigators to expose details of critics’ private lives

Ride-sharing app firm Uber has just ridden into another major PR storm after one of its senior executives suggesting the company should dig dirt on hostile journalists.

The comments, made by Emil Michael, the company’s senior vice-president for business, give further ammunition to critics who accuse the company of being arrogant and unethical.

Michael made the remarks at a dinner Friday at Manhattan’s Waverly Inn attended by luminaries such as actor Ed Norton and publisher Arianna Huffington. While he obviously thought he was talking off the record, a Buzzfeed editor who was invited to the dinner by journalist Michael Wolff says that that wasn’t communicated to him. And he promptly spilled the beans.

According to Buzzfeed, Michael “outlined the notion of spending ‘a million dollars’ to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into ‘your personal lives, your families,’ and give the media a taste of its own medicine.”

Buzzfeed has been aggressive in covering what it sees as Uber’s cultural shortcomings, recently highlighting an apparent initiative by Uber in Lyon, France, to partner with an escort agency.

That episode had prompted the PandoDaily blogger Sarah Lucy to accuse the company of “sexism and misogyny” and announce publicly that she would boycott the service. Buzzfeed reported that Lucy was top among the targets of Michael’s anger, saying that she “should be held ‘personally responsible’ for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted” by a driver from a different taxi service.

The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by Fortune, but the BF article carried the following statement from Michael:

“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.”

Buzzfeed also quoted Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian as saying that “the company does not do “oppo research” of any sort on journalists, and has never considered doing it.”

She also distanced herself from Michael’s comments about Lacy specifically.

The partnering initiative with the escort agency in Lyon, meanwhile, has quietly died a death.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

 

TIME Video Games

Far Cry 4 Review: The Best Far Cry Yet

Ubisoft

Ubisoft's latest offers gorgeous Himalayan views, immaculately well-balanced gameplay and cathartic pandemonium

This is how crazy Far Cry 4 can get: I’m droning just above the treetops in a ramshackle gyrocopter, scouting for macaques, when I spy a trio of the pale-furred primates loping near the edge of a precipice. I descend slowly through stands of firs, my rotors audibly clipping branches, preparing to leap out, when I hear the telltale tattoo of machine guns talking—the country’s militia trading gunfire with insurgents.

Bullets suddenly smack into my body, thump-thump-thump. My vision narrows. I jab a greenish syringe into my arm and bail out of the copter—still hovering at the lip of the cliff—spreading my arms and legs and arcing in a wingsuit toward the terrain below like a fired missile. With seconds to land, I deploy my parachute and tumble into more trees, rocks, snarled undergrowth…and the sights of one pissed honey badger, which growls like it definitely cares, then leaps at me, cobra-like, to eat my face off.

Surviving Far Cry 4 often feels like that, abrupt and slightly mad and sequentially unhinged. It’s you in a jam band, an improvisatory celebration of net-less oneupmanship (versus your own best performances) as you vector from mission to mission. The experience is somewhat like being a pinball, lured off course by too-cool-to-ignore distractions, bounding into bedlam with the fleet-footedness of a huntsman by way of an exuberant toddler.

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And lo, what distractions in this brave new world of drivable elephants, scalable summits, sartorial safaris and literal B-movie stunt quests. As named, the Far Cry games are about hurling you into slight caricatures of otherworldly milieus full of both serious and utterly frivolous things to do. The first and third entries in the series were staged in sultry equatorial spaces (the former eventually turning full-on Island of Dr. Moreau), while the second channeled Kurtzian jungles and savannah through a lens Anton Chigurah. Think part first-person shooter, part Lonely Planet, part Tarantino abattoir.

Far Cry 4 sculpts its vamp on that equation out of Nepalese remoteness and Himalayan verticality, and the results are predictably head-turning. Look out from any point in Kyrat, Ubisoft’s fictional Nepal, and you’ll note the sunlight glinting naturally off ornate bronze prayer wheels, throngs of thousand-leafed autumnal trees and undulating highways of calligraphic prayer flags fluttering in the wind.

Look further and you’ll spy plumes of distant smoke drifting stratospherically, blinking radio towers on miles-away hilltops and the intricately scalloped terraces of far-flung vertical farms. Then look up to where the horizon line should be to find the Himalayas towering like upthrust fangs, each snowy crag or escarpment crisply articulated, every draped and drifting cloud bank ethereal. There’s a sense of visual continuity here that seems only matched, in hindsight, in Bethesda’s 2011 hit Skyrim.

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Set the game’s new look aside, and you could argue Far Cry 4 hasn’t changed much since players strained to salvage Jason Brody’s Pacific vacation. Kyrati-American Ajay Ghale wages a parallel, accidental campaign against a maniacal (but endlessly amusing) despot. He’s returned to scatter his mother’s ashes but then, whoops, he’s wrestling tigers, scaling mountains and squaring off with a megalomaniacal fashionista! But that’s an oversimplification. This is both the game Far Cry 3 was and wasn’t.

Ubisoft

You still play a stereotypically displaced Westerner (Kyrati-American or no) in a freely explorable danger-scape, leveling up superhuman abilities and weapons as you fight to liberate thug-filled outposts. And you still do so by glassing enemies with binoculars, mulling over different attack approaches, hypothesizing ideal takedown scenarios and tripping auxiliary triggers like freeing lethal animals in cages, or lobbing “bait” to summon others.

Those animals still haunt regions of the world map, and you still hunt them to craft upgrades that pad out your ability to schlep stuff. And overlying that, you’ll still have to scale and sabotage nearly two dozen towers (here broadcasting propaganda) to de-fog swathes of the map and spotlight new activities. These are what Ubisoft’s taken to calling “pillars” in its primary franchises, and you’re either into the idea or not.

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But Far Cry 4 also builds gainfully on what Ubisoft’s learned about crafting freeform microcosms. Take your guides through the game’s main story: two parental sides of a Kyrati rebel force (after Nepal’s maoist insurgency) calling itself The Golden Path. The friction between their prosecutorial styles unlocks unique missions and rival story paths, some of which culminate in extremely discomfiting moments as you’re dressed down by the game’s incisive writers and get-under-your-skin voice actors, the strategist you shunned arguing the other’s illogic witheringly. As usual, there are no right or wrong choices here, only more or less relatable ones.

Ubisoft

The rest comes down to well-executed fan service. You can zip to almost anywhere now in the handy gyrocopter, or survive impossible falls and cobble together breathtaking impromptu maneuvers with the wingsuit. The new “hunter” class enemy basically has thousand-yard x-ray vision, can nail you from as far off and, in a bit of inspired insidiousness, turns animals against you. All of this adds delightful emergent wrinkles to combat scrums.

The most difficult outposts are now called fortresses, and they’re so brutally and brilliantly difficult the game actually recommends performing other tasks to “weaken” them before you muster and assault (but you’re always welcome to try sooner). Vehicles now have an auto-drive feature that turns control over to the A.I. so you can focus on shooting, solving an ages-old problem. (Expect this one to be emulated in other games.) And cooperative play now happens in the main world, not adjunct to it, so while friends can’t co-play story missions, they can drop in or out at will to tackle anything else in your version of Kyrat, or vice versa.

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That the war’s progress still comes to a standstill as you gallivant around the countryside is no more a problem here than any of the game’s other non sequiturs: hundreds of loot chests that lie in the open waiting just for you; that you groan with disgust as you gut animals but make not a sound when head-popping thousands of enemy soldiers; your ability to wield non-metaphorical superpowers for goodness sake; and the idea that everyone else prattles on while you say almost nothing. (Though, it’s perhaps the better compromise if you’re not a manic quipster.) You could pretentiously call any of that ludonarrative dissonance, or just settle for “game design circa 2014.”

Ubisoft

But my favorite parts of Far Cry 4 lie in its quieter, unscripted moments, ones where I’d notice an inconspicuous grapple point glinting at me from high above, only to climb thousands of feet and find myself swinging between precarious protrusions toward terra incognita, inching up or down my grapple rope and angling to land just so on a silver of ledge-space.

There’s another kind of game that lives inside Far Cry 4, one that’s not about the hails of bullets or checking off victory points or slicing open a stockade’s worth of wildlife. You can play that game for hours here if you like, exploring Ubisoft’s Kyrat in trancelike quietude, but the gameplay rewards are marginal–exploration for its own sake has to suffice. How much longer before someone offers a viably nonviolent parallel path through one of these games? One that involves playing not as the guns-a-blazin’ savior, but a character more like the war correspondent in David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks—the person whose perilous job it is to chronicle the war instead of waging it, and perhaps bring a sense of accountability to the chaos and madness.

5 out of 5

Reviewed using the PlayStation 4 version of the game.

Read next: Everything You Need to Know About World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

TIME Big Picture

Why the Internet’s Next Billion Users Will Be Mobile-Only

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Indian students use cellphones to photograph unseen Central Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh during a Run for Unity event to mark the anniversary of the birth of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Hyderabad on October 31, 2014. Noah Seelam—AFP/Getty Images

The personal computer in the shape of a notebook or desktop has taken computers as far as those shapes would allow. Now, the future of computing is only possible because of new shapes: That of tablets and, especially, Internet-connected smartphones.

Tablets will take computing beyond where it’s ever been before, getting computers into the hands of more people. The connected smartphone, however, will bring computing to everyone. More importantly, it will bring the Internet to everyone. More revolution will come from smartphones than from any previous computing product in history. It’s because of this that we will see a future with one billion more people online, a future only made possible because of mobile.

Smartphones are key to getting the next billion people on the Internet because they’re getting cheaper and more connected. Over the next decade or so, we will watch smartphones become a commodity. Estimates are that by 2020, quality, powerful smartphones could cost as little as $10, according to my firm, Creative Strategies. And the mobile web is already bigger than the desktop web, and it will soon dwarf the desktop web. The future of the Internet is mobile, and that reality has interesting implications.

Global Mobile Web Browsing

There was a debate last year around the disparity between web browsing in Apple’s iOS and the Android operating system. It seemed a conundrum — Android-powered devices had twice the user base, but much less of the global browsing share. Only recently has Android overtaken iOS in global web browsing share, and it is still very close, as this NetMarketShare chart shows:

Chart

When we include open-source Android and Google’s Android, Android has well more than double the active devices compared to iOS. But, given Android’s market share advantage, why that taken so long to become true?

The bulk of Android’s growth and market share is in the lower tiers of smartphone price bands. My estimates put premium Android price tiers at roughly 15% of the global Android installed base — meaning most of the people running Android are using devices much cheaper than Apple’s iPhones. This explains much of the global web browsing conundrum: Apple has a significant installed base of premium users, and those customers spend more time browsing the web and consuming Internet data. Simply put, Apple’s more affluent audience can more easily afford to liberally browse the web. Much of Android’s installed base, having to deal with expensive and slow mobile Internet connection times and no home Wi-Fi, could not.

This insight becomes even more clear when we look at this chart from Jana.com showing the number of hours of minimum wage work required to pay for the average data plan:

Chart

Due to the infrastructure challenges in many emerging markets, consumers there are very aware of how much data they are using and the size of the applications they are downloading. This is a fascinating quote in a post from LightSpeed Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on India:

So, what is an ideal app size, especially in markets like India with challenged infrastructure?

The ideal size is 10-15MB globally. Idea size for an app for tier 2/3 countries (like India) is below 5MB. 500MB+ is a non-starter. At 50MB+ the conversion rates fall off dramatically. On Android and iOS, conversion rates dip by 50% in tier 1 nations for non-game apps above 50MB. In tier 2 and tier 3 nations, conversion rates dip by 50% for games above 15MB.

The Light Web

Understanding this, we should consider the role played by so-called “light apps,” apps that are either small downloads or operate entirely on the web — a Yelp-style app in India called Zomato, for instance, is a great example of a light app. While it’s true that native apps are still dominant, that only factors in the top 30-40% of the global mobile audience that has a smartphone and a data plan today. As connected smartphones’ reach extends to less affluent users, a healthy portion of those customers will be even more sensitive to the costs of data and size of applications they consume.

This is why the “light web” will be the connectivity method of choice for the next billion web users. Some companies, like Uber, have built robust web apps accordingly, increasingly powered by the cloud instead of running on users’ devices. It’s clear that we’re heading to a fascinating “light web” future, not only made possible by mobile devices but empowered by them. This future will post great challenges to many incumbents, but even greater opportunities for quick-moving innovators.

Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology at Creative Strategies, Inc., A market intelligence and research firm. He focuses his analysis and research on all things consumer technology. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, early adopter and hobby farmer.

TIME apps

Snapchat Now Lets You Send Money to Your Friends

Fortunately, it doesn't automatically self-delete

Snapchat now helps you make it rain.

The self-destructing messaging company rolled out a new feature Monday that lets you send money to your friends on the service. To use the service — called Snapcash — simply start a chat dialogue with the recipient of your choice. Next, type in a dollar amount, say, $5.00, and the chat button turns green as the app recognizes you’re looking to shoot your friend Steve five bucks.

Snapcash is the result of Snapchat’s new partnership with mobile payments processing company Square, which is best known for its smartphone and tablet credit card readers often used by small businesses. Any Snapchat user who elects to use Snapcash will have to sign up for a Square account, and users’ financial data will be held by Square, not Snapchat. That should provide at least a little comfort to Snapchat users weary of handing their debit card number to a company that’s a favorite target of hackers.

Snapcash is an unexpected move by Snapchat into mobile payments, an increasingly crowded category that also includes Venmo, PayPal, Google, and Apple, among others. Facebook is also reportedly working on a mobile payment system of its own.

Let’s just hope your money doesn’t vanish as quickly as your other Snapchats.

TIME Gadgets

Why Google Glass Isn’t the Future

2013 Google Developer Conference Continues In San Francisco
An attendee tries Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Will Google Glass ever be a mainstream hit?

When Google first released Glass last Spring, the device immediately rocked the tech world. The wearable computer that puts a small screen in users’ field of vision to display directions, messages or video calls was quickly spotted at tech conferences, on TV pundits’ faces and, eventually, on the streets of tech-centric cities like San Francisco and New York. Google pitched Glass as a gadget that can help users take notes, get directions or take a picture, all without using their hands. There are now dozens of apps available for Glass, from news and weather apps to a Battleship-style game.

At first, it looked like Google might have been about to unlock a whole new way of computing, and developers at top websites and media outlets scrambled to pop out rudimentary apps for Glass just to plant a flag in case the device took off. A year and a half later, however, it’s clear that Glass isn’t going smoothly. Several developers working on apps for Glass have suspended their projects, Reuters reported Friday, in a story that seems to ask, “Hey, remember Google Glass?”

“While Glass may find some specialized, even lucrative, uses in the workplace,” the Reuters story reads, “its prospects of becoming a consumer hit in the near future are slim, many developers say.” Developers, fearing a lack of adoption, are headed for the hills, and it’s looking like Google’s Glass hopes could be shattered.

Part of the fault lies with the way Google introduced Glass to the world. Instead of making it available immediately to all interested buyers, Google launched what it called the “Explorers” program, which meant only those consumers who received an invite from the search giant had the privilege of forking over $1,500 for a pre-market version of Glass. Google has been quiet about how many people invited to the Explorers program, meaning it’s hard to get any precise numbers on how many Glass units the company has sold to date.

From a developer’s perspective, it takes a massive leap of faith to keep working on software for a device with unknown demand. It could be true that Glass will be a huge hit on the consumer market if and once it’s publicly released, as evidenced by how quickly the company sold out of Glass units when Google suspended the invite-only rule for a single day this year. But it could be equally true that anybody who wants Glass has already managed to get an invite and buy a pair, meaning there won’t be any demand for the device on the consumer market — and the supply of below-cost Glass units already for sale on eBay is evidence in that direction.

While Glass found fans among early adopters and technophiles at first, it was also immediately met with skepticism, ridicule and even outright fear in the mainstream. Its camera, in particular, has raised serious privacy concerns as people fear being recorded without their knowledge. Glass users found themselves singled out, labeled with a derogatory nickname (“glassholes”), and banned from movie theaters, bars and other businesses. Whether to avoid the stigma of wearing Glass or just because the device’s promise is in question, there are suddenly plenty of reasons to doubt its future. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said a consumer version of Glass would be on store shelves this year, but it’s increasingly looking like that won’t happen until next year, if at all.

Wearable devices are bound to be the next big thing, and maybe Glass will find a use in some professional field like medicine. But if Glass fails with consumers, it will likely be because it is too different, too soon. This is a familiar pattern for technology. (Most of us don’t want to go around town looking like Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge.) Instead, the most successful wearables will just quietly replace the dumb versions of stuff we already wear. That’s already happening with our watches — and nobody’s going to get banned from a bar for wearing an Apple Watch.

If Glass has a path to salvation, it’s in a refreshed version that takes a page from smartwatches and looks more familiar than different. But the good news here for Google is that it already has a grip on the smartwatch world, with its Android Wear and Google Now software powering the best models on the market today.

TIME legal

Your Phone Bill Could Go Up to Fund Schools’ Wi-Fi

California schools use blended learning to teach students
Fourth and fifth grade students at Rocketship SI Se Puede, a charter, public elementary school, use the internet and traditional classroom learning in one big open classroom, on February 18, 2014 in San Jose, California. Christian Science Monitor—Christian Science Monitor/Getty

The FCC is mulling a fee hike to help bring Wi-Fi to more schools

Should Americans be asked to pay a little more in phone bill fees to help fund better Internet connections in public schools? That’s essentially what Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed Monday.

If you have a landline or mobile phone, then you probably already pay a small fee every month towards what’s called the Universal Service Fund. The USF is essentially a pool of money created in 1997 as a bulwark against market failures leading to poor Internet access in rural and low-income communities. While the USF is paid for by telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T, those companies often pass their contributions onto consumers in the form of fees on your monthly bill.

Wheeler’s idea would hike the USF fees by about $1.90 a year for the average phone subscriber, the FCC estimates, with the money going to a $1.5 billion increase for a program designed specifically to subsidize faster Internet connections in more of the country’s public schools.

The FCC has been reworking that program, called E-Rate, to shift its focus from funding old-school technologies to modern ones like high-speed wireless access, which many observers say is sorely lacking in many of the country’s schools. Almost 70% of school districts say none of their schools meet the FCC’s long-term connectivity targets, the agency said Monday, with 58% of districts pinning the problem on cost. That situation, some have warned, could make students less competitive later in life. Closing that so-called “broadband gap” has been a priority of the Obama administration, which in June of last year announced a program designed to get broadband access to 99% of American students by 2017 — and E-Rate is a big part of meeting that goal.

The agency is framing the fee hike as a way to ensure that more students have access to the kinds of high-tech learning solutions that could make them — and the nation — more competitive down the road. “While the impact on consumers will be small, the impact on children, teachers, local communities and American competitiveness will be significant,” the FCC says in a fact sheet about the proposal. The agency has also promised to make E-Rate spending more transparent, so Americans get a better idea of where those phone bill fees are going.

Still, the FCC can’t unilaterally raise the fees you wind up seeing on your phone bill. Wheeler’s proposal will first have to clear a public comment period before being voted upon by himself and the agency’s four commissioners. However, given how expanding Internet access in schools is a top Obama administration priority and the FCC’s Democratic commissioners outnumber their Republican counterparts 3-2, it’s a safe bet the agency will move forward with the plan, barring any public outrage over it.

TIME technology

Report: iPhone 6 Outsells 6 Plus by 3-to-1

Apple iPhone 6/6 Plus Launch in Japan
New iPhone models at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus at the Apple Omotesando store on September 19, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Chris McGrath—Getty Images

And buyers are after more storage, too

The iPhone 6 sold at three times the rate of the 6 Plus, according to a new report, indicating that consumers are swinging to the smaller, more budget-friendly model by a wide margin.

A survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners broke down iPhone purchases by model in the first 30 days of availability, figures that Apple does not normally disclose to the public. The results show a strong uptake of the iPhone 6, which accounted for 68% of purchases, followed by the iPhone 6 Plus, at roughly one-quarter of sales. The remainder went to older models.

And an interesting note about storage: The buyers’ average was 48 gigabytes, or double from a year ago.

TIME apps

Uber Connects With Spotify to Let You Listen to Your Music During Rides

The Hamptons Lure Uber Top Drivers Amid NYC Slow Summer Weekends
Th Uber Technologies Inc. car service app is demonstrated for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Uber riders will get access to their Spotify playlists during their rides

You’ll soon be able to banish the radio in your next Uber ride. The ridesharing service is partnering with Spotify to allow riders to play their own music playlists during their trips, the companies announced Monday. Uber and Spotify users will have access to their Spotify accounts from within the Uber app, giving them complete control to blare their own tunes out of their Uber car’s speakers.

“It’s the first time we’ve personalized the experience inside the car,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a conference call.

The new feature will roll out on Friday in 10 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and London. Kalanick said the feature would be optional for drivers to implement, but he expects many to do so in an effort to please customers. He said he doesn’t expect drivers to get too frustrated being subject to the musical whims of their riders. “People get in the car all the time and ask, ‘Hey can you turn to this [radio] station,” he said. “I haven’t seen drivers have too much of a problem with that.”

For Spotify, the new partnership offers a chance to gain more traction as a competitor to the radio dial. Cars are one of the most popular places for listening to music, but it’s an experience still dominated by FM and AM radio. “The world is moving to having cars on demand wherever you are, and Spotify is having your music on demand wherever you are,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said.

The feature will only be available to Spotify Premium users, who pay $9.99 per month for the music service. Uber will provide a week of free Spotify Premium service to users when they take their first “music ride” using the feature. Eventually the companies to plan to roll their offering out globally. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

To promote the new partnership, Uber and Spotify are planning a series of live performances and surprise ride-alongs by music stars such as Andrew W.K. and Diplo.

TIME Innovation

Google Launching New Test Flight for Balloon-Based Internet

Australia is the site of the project's latest test trials

Google’s plan for “balloon-powered Internet for everyone” will expand its pilot test to Australia next month, The Guardian reported Monday.

During the trial, the company will fly 20 test balloons over Western Queensland in partnership with Australia’s largest telecom company, Telstra. Telstra will supply base stations to communicate with the balloons, and the test balloons will beam down 4G-style Internet from over 60,000 ft. in the air.

The ultimate goal for Google’s balloon-based Internet initiative, known as Project Loon, is to use high-altitude balloons to provide Internet access in rural or remote areas or during times of disaster, according to Google.

The Australia test flights are the latest step forward for Project Loon, which began in June 2013 with a test flight of 30 balloons over New Zealand. Other trials have since taken place over California’s Central Valley and Northeast Brazil.

Google said it aims to expand the pilot through 2014 with the goal of establishing a ring of uninterrupted connectivity around the 40th southern parallel, a circle of latitude that includes parts of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME Autos

Toyota’s ‘Mirai’ Fuel-Cell Car Gets 300 Miles to a Tank

JAPAN-AUTO-TOYOTA-EARNINGS
A customer admires Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor's fuel cell vehicle which will go on sale end of this year at Toyota's showroom in Tokyo on November 5, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno—AFP/Getty Images

Toyota disclosed the vehicle's name, 'Mirai,' hours before a Honda news conference

Toyota unveiled its hydrogen-powered concept vehicle ‘Mirai’ on Monday, stealing thunder from a scheduled press conference on a hydrogen-powered vehicle from rival automaker Honda.

“The future has arrived, and it’s called, ‘Mirai,’” said Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda in a video announcement posted to YouTube (the word ‘mirai’ actually means ‘future’ in Japanese). Toyoda said the vehicle could travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.

The announcement went live several hours before Honda was scheduled to disclose new details of its own fuel cell vehicle, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Mirai is expected to go on sale by the end of the year, once again getting the jump on Honda’s hydrogen-powered vehicle, which is expected to go on sale by spring of 2016 at the latest.

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