Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tata confirms 3-cyl Nano for India

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To realise the Nano’s real potential, Tata Motors feels it has to take the car further upmarket and distance it completely from its current ‘poor-man’s car’ tag. Apart from cosmetic changes, Tata Motors is planning more powerful engines to further enhance the appeal of the car. “We have variants coming out with a three-cylinder engine developing 60bhp or 80bhp and we will also give the Nano larger tyres and wheels,” says Ratan Tata, company chairman, whose brainchild the Nano is. However, the timeframe for these upgrades is not clear. Tata says, “They won’t be coming out very soon, but it’s in our interest to get them out as fast as possible.”

Tata Motors is keen to stabilise the production of the current Nano first before launching new variants. According to company sources, there are no significant upgrades expected in 2012 and even a power steering option, which Tata is developing, won’t be market-ready before 2013. The diesel engine too is unlikely to be introduced in this calendar year as it could disrupt the demand for the current petrol model, which has only just found traction. Tata Motors is hoping that with more Nanos on the road and positive word of mouth, the demand for the Nano will reach a tipping point and accelerate exponentially.

Tata Motors also wants to appeal to women drivers, many of whom have never driven before. “There’s a whole customer base of women who say their husbands didn’t allow them to drive, and now they’ve bought a Nano with their own money. This is an interesting segment and something we should address,” said Ratan Tata.
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Ferrari F12 Berlinetta revealed

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This is the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, the fastest and most powerful road car in the prancing horse’s illustrious history. Set for a world debut at next week’s Geneva motor show, the 730bhp 6.3-litre V12-powered 599 successor ushers in a new generation of V12 Ferraris that will include an all-new Enzo by the end of the year.

The F12 Berlinetta, a name that references classic Ferrari’s including the 250 GT Berlinetta, can crack 0-100kph in just 3.1sec and 0-200kph in just 8.5sec. Its total torque output is 509lb ft, 80 per cent of which is available from 2500rpm. The normally aspirated V12 revs all the way 8700rpm.

Ferrari also claims the new car has lapped its Fiarano test track in 1m23s, which makes it the fastest Ferrari road car ever to have lapped the circuit. Its maximum speed is claimed to be “over 340kph”.

The engine, which has a specific output of 116bhp/litre in the F12, is based on the same 6262cc 65 degree V12 found in the FF. But the F12 produces 80bhp and 5lb ft more than the FF, and its power and torque outputs also eclipse those of the 612bhp 6.0-litre V12 found in the 599.

While the power has increased dramatically in the F12 over the 599, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have decreased at a similar rate.

Ferrari has extensively repackaged the rear-drive F12 over the 599 to cope with the extra performance. At 4618mm long, 1942mm wide and 1273mm high, the F12 is 47mm shorter, 20mm narrower and 63mm lower than the 599. The wheelbase is also shorter than the 599’s 2750mm, although Ferrari hasn’t mentioned an exact figure.

Most of the changes have occurred at the rear, where the transaxle F1-style dual-clutch gearbox and rear suspension are repackaged to reduce the volume at the rear. The engine, seats and dashboard are also lower, with the centre of gravity lower and further back than in the 599. The F12’s weight distribution is now an “ideal’ 46/54 front/rear, compared to 47/53 in the 599.

The F12 uses an all-new aluminium spaceframe chassis and bodyshell, which boasts 12 different kinds of alloys. The result, claims Ferrari, is a 20 per cent greater structural increase over the 599 and a dry weight of 1525kg, some 70kg less than the 599.

Ferrari is also highlighting the aerodynamic qualities of the Pininfarina and Ferrari Styling Centre-styled F12. The XX programme has been used to both increase the F12’s downforce over the 599 (which is 76 per cent greater) and cuts its drag coefficient to 0.299.

Several clever aerodynamic aids are used to achieve this. One is the new ‘Aero Bridge’, which channels air from the side bonnet air intakes, through the wheel arches, and then spits it out through the sculpted deep swage lines in the side doors. This significantly decreases drag and better controls turbulent airflow.

Another new aerodynamic aid is Active Brake Cooling, which only opens the brake cooling ducts when the carbon ceramic brakes are hot enough.

A whole host of electronic aids are offered as standard on the F12. It gets Ferrari’s E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac and high-performance ABS systems as standard, alongside the latest evolution Ferrari’s magnetorheological suspension system (SCM-E). Ferrari also claims to have reduced steering angles.

Ferrari has yet to release pictures of the two-seat cabin. It claims to have increased rear luggage capacity thanks to making the space behind the two seats accessible from the hinged glass tailgate. The Frau leather interior also gets a lightweight dashboard and lashings of carbonfibre and aluminium trim, with air vents inspired by the aeronautic field.

The F12 will also adopt the ‘Human Machine Interface’ interior control system of the 458 and FF, which places almost all major controls on the steering wheel.

Pricing of the F12 has yet to be revealed. Order books open at the Geneva show and right-hand drive examples are expected to commence in early 2013.


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Jaguar XF Sportbrake revealed

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These are the first official pictures of the all-new XF Sportbrake, due to make its debut at the Geneva motor show next week.

Jaguar will also launch the hi-performance 524bhp XFR sportbrake early next year with the all-wheel-drive version coming later in 2013, when the XF platform is re-engineered mainly to exploit sales potential in the American snowbelt.

Jaguar’s hot estates will offer key rivals to the Audi RS6, BMW M5 Touring and Mercedes E63 AMG estate. In the meantime, Jaguar will launch the rear-drive Sportbrake with volume-selling diesel and petrol engines for UK sale starting in November.

The Sportbrake is entirely new from the B-pillars back and is said to be just as torsionally stiff as the XF saloon, despite the tailgate opening. Jaguar’s distinctive and sometimes controversial black C-pillar detail has been carried over from the Jaguar XJ saloon. A new roof design and modified rear door frames and windows release an extra 48mm of headroom for rear-seat passengers. The rear seats are a new design, featuring a 60/40 split and an integral ski hatch. Levers in the load bay allow the seat backs to be dropped while accessing the luggage area through the tailgate opening.

With the seats up, boot volume is a roomy 550 litres, although its main rivals all possess more load space. The Audi A6 Avant and 5-series Touring each offer 560 litres and the Mercedes E-class estate has a 696-litre hold. With the seats down, the Sportbrake boasts 1675 litres of load space. That’s slightly bigger than both the A6 and the 5-series, which both have a 1670-litre capacity. However, the E-class still tops the class for all-out load-carrying ability, with 1765 litres.

Seats down, the XF Sportbrake also scores with a 1.97m long and 1.06m wide load bay — sufficient for bags of golf clubs to be stored sideways, Jaguar claims.

The central section of the boot floor is hinged into three sections and can be used as a divider to stop smaller items of luggage from rolling around. There’s also storage space under the floor and two full-length aluminium floor rails to which nets and retaining bars can be attached. Jaguar says the load area is trimmed in the same high-specification carpet as the front of the cabin. If the detachable towbar is specified, there is a dedicated space under the boot floor in which to store it.

The tailgate is made partly from SMC (sheet moulded composite) to save weight and it has a soft-close action. It can also be specified with power-operated opening and closing. Self-levelling rear air suspension is standard on all versions of the Sportbrake, replacing the standard-issue coil springs of the saloon. This, says Jaguar, ensures that the car’s handling characteristics remain unchanged even when the car is laden. Using the towbar activates Jaguar’s Trailer Sway Mitigation system, which uses the anti-lock braking and stability control systems to “reduce the risk” of a trailer snaking.

The Sportbrake will be available globally with a choice of four diesel engines: the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder unit in 161bhp and 187bhp guises, and the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 in two states of tune: 237bhp and 271bhp.

Two exterior design packages will also be available. The Aero pack (which is standard on the S model) adds a deeper front bumper, side sills and rear valance. The Black pack replaces the exterior brightwork with gloss black trim and dark-coloured wheels.




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Next gen. BMW 7 Series to use carbon fiber

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The next BMW 7 Series, said to be arriving in 2015, will reportedly use more CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) in its build. In two interviews R&D head Dr. Klaus Draeger said the big sedan will introduce the expanded use of CFRP components into the mainstream BMW line.

Draeger made sure to say that he believes in the right material mix, making structural items like the engine cradle and crash structures in high-strength steel and using aluminum for pieces like the doors, front fenders and roof. It is thought that carbon fiber will supplant some aluminum parts like the hood, roof and trunk.
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Delphi will debut F1FOR3 concept in Geneva

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Delphi is headed to this year's Geneva Motor Show with a concept of its own. Details on the F1FOR3 Concept are slim at the moment, though the company says the vehicle will be a platform for demonstrating "high speed connectivity and user experience features." While that sounds about as thrilling as belly button lint, we're bolstered by the fact that the concept was created with input from Franco Sbarro. Sbarro has had a hand in creating some of the most beautiful and oddball concepts we've ever seen, which means the F1FOR3 should be plenty entertaining when it hits the show room floor.

The good news is that the technology on display inside the concept will likely be Delphi products that are currently available. While we were hoping to see a street-legal F1 car with seating for three, innovative on-board tech will simply have to do
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Retrial between Oracle and SAP set for June 2012

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Oracle Corp and SAP AG are scheduled to kick off a retrial on June 18, 2012, over copyright infringement allegations against a SAP unit, a U.S. judge ordered on Tuesday.

A Northern California jury determined in 2010 that Oracle should be paid $1.3 billion over accusations SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow wrongfully downloaded millions of Oracle files.

However, Hamilton found last year that Oracle had proven actual damages of only $272 million. Hamilton said Oracle could accept a $272 million award, or opt for a new trial against SAP.

Oracle chose a retrial earlier this month, although it had argued its executives and lawyers could not accommodate the June 2012 date. SAP welcomed the schedule.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday.

SAP spokesman James Dever said: "We're pleased with the decision and the move toward resolving this in a prompt manner."

If one of Oracle's attorneys is busy in a separate trial scheduled for June in New York, Hamilton said she would cancel the June 18 date.

However, Hamilton said there is a fair chance the Oracle/SAP trial schedule will stay on track, "given that the vast majority of trials scheduled in the federal district courts do not actually occur."

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Oracle USA, Inc., et al. v. SAP AG, et al, 07-1658.
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CoD: MW3 Liberation Map launched for PS3 over PSN

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Making its first appearance exclusively on the Xbox 360, PS3 fans can now get their hands on the Liberation map that kicked of the CoD DLC campaign

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's 'Liberation' DLC has now been made available for PlayStation 3gamers with the PS3 finally getting content which had originally been exclusively launched for the Xbox 360.

This comes a month after the first 'content drop' for Call of Duty Elite subscribers landed with the first instalment of the nine month DLC rollout bringing two new multiplayer maps to the epic first-person shooter.

Continuing Activision’s run of short term exclusivity for Xbox users the first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 downloadable content pack was available only to those who have signed up to the Premium Edition of the Call of Duty Elite offering from their Xbox Live accounts.

“Every month Elite drops something new to keep things fresher than a N00bs diapers,” the new Call of Duty: Elite trailer announced. “Spec Ops, new game modes and yes, new maps, every month for the next nine months.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 DLC Maps

Featuring two new multiplayer maps the first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 DLC sees gamers stopping off in Italy and America’s New York City as they take on expansive new environments dubbed ‘Piazza’ and ‘Liberty’.

Whilst the NYC based Liberty map is quite an open environment challenging gamers with sniper lines, the Piazza map, located in an Italian Rivera town will see narrow streets and hillside homes forcing close-proximity combat.
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Angry Birds Space launch to hit Samsung Galaxy Note

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Having confirmed the upcoming March 22nd Angry Birds Space release date, Rovio and Samsung have revealed the app will hit the Galaxy Note

Following Rovio’s recent confirmation of the upcoming Angry Birds Space release, Samsung has revealed the latest instalment to the bird flinging mega app will land exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Featuring the soon to be famous parody tagline “Houston… We have a slingshot,” Samsung has launched a Galaxy Note Angry Birds Space trailer with little information currently available around the next Angry Birds offering beyond its March 22nd release date.

“We are thrilled to join the launch of new Angry Bird Space game as an official mobile partner,” said Simon Stanford, head of Samsung’s UK and Ireland Telecommunications and Networks Division. “The Angry Birds games are among the most popular content that most smartphone users enjoy every day.”

Ville Heijari, Vice President of Franchise Development at Rovio added: “Angry Birds Space is probably the biggest product launch for Rovio so far, and we are excited to partner with Samsung for the blast off. Angry Birds Space is a perfect companion for the great new smartphones from Samsung, and Samsung Galaxy Note will show off the game's rich detail and intricate gameplay to the fullest."

Angry Birds Space Release

Set to touchdown on mobile devices from March 22nd, Angry Birds Space has been teased via a selection of trailers that have offered little insight into the imminent release beyond its seemingly obvious space-based gameplay.

With more than 700 million all platform downloads of the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and movie tie-in Angry Birds Rio titles, the upcoming release will help Rovio edge towards the unparalleled one billion downloads milestone.

With further details set to be released in early March Rovio has already stated that Angry Birds Space will be “a completely new game with innovative new gameplay, but with some of the familiar Angry Birds elements that fans already know and love – plus some surprises!”

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Sony Tablet P available from AT&T on March 4th

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AT&T on Tuesday announced the availability of Sony’s dual-screened, folding, Nintendo DS-inspired Tablet P —again. The Honeycomb-powered slate is equipped with two 5.5-inch displays, a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra processor clocked at 1GHz and HSPA+ connectivity. The device also comes with 4GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a VGA front facing and 5-megapixel rear camera. Along with the Android Market, the Tablet P is PlayStation Certified and has access to the Sony’s entertainment suite and services. The device will be available starting March 4th for $399.99 with a new two-year agreement.
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China Mobile confirms TD-LTE 4G plans

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China Mobile has confirmed that it is about to commence the wide-scale rollout of a TD-LTE mobile network. The largest telco in the world with 655 million customers has announced that it will deploy 20,000 TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2012, increasing to 200,000 by the end of 2013. The announcement is significant as the iPhone is not currently available on the influential network due to incompatibilities, but an LTE-capable iPhone would support TD-LTE.

Apple has not been able to tap into China Mobile’s massive user base, although China Mobile has previously said that it has over 10 million unofficial iPhone users on its network. China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou has also previously revealed that it had started talks with Apple about bringing a TD-LTE capable iPhone to its network as far back as September last year. Apple was said by Jianzhou to be very ‘positive’ about China Mobile’s plans to adopt the TD-LTE standard. Its current 3G standard is unique to China, making it difficult for Apple to make its GSM world iPhone a good fit.

Apple’s iPad 3 is expected to have an LTE option for the first time, with the same or similar radio making its debut in the next-generation iPhone later this year. Apple is thought to have been waiting for more efficient LTE chipsets to become available as well as for LTE networks to mature before launching LTE-equipped devices.


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Time Warner Cable tries metered data again, keeps unlimited

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Time Warner Cable earlier in the week outlined a new attempt at reintroducing metered Internet plans. Subscribers to Lite, Basic, and Standard access in Texas' border corridor, Corpus Christi, Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio will have the option of an Essentials plan that saves $5 per month if they agree to a monthly 5GB transfer cap. Customers could switch to and from the plans and wouldn't be mandated.

If a user does run over, overages will cost just $1 per gigabyte and peak at $25 per month.

Online communications head Jeff Simmermon immediately stepped out in front of a possible backlash following mass opposition to the cable giant's first try at a metered system. He was emphatic that TWC would keep unlimited Internet access and acknowledged that some genuinely need large amounts of data. Simmermon went so far as to characterize unlimited as essential to a "free, open Internet."

"Having a usage-based pricing plan isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s fine," he explained. "A tiered plan might not be right for me, but my Mom’s not going to be passing Final Cut projects through DropBox [sic] to her friends at church anytime soon -- she may benefit by saving a few dollars on Web capacity she’s never going to need."

The frankness is a reversal from 2009. TWC at the time not only suggested metered bills would be mandatory but had set low caps that would effectively raise the price even higher for even moderate users. Its pricing options and overage charges would have raised the price of unlimited access up to $150, or roughly double what they were paying at the time.

Like other Internet providers, TWC argued that metering was necessary to get compensation from alleged 'abusers' who consumed more. The limits were treated with skepticism given that they would have seriously discouraged online video and driven some viewers back to traditional TV. Its new method works in the reverse direction, rewarding light users rather than punishing those who might not have much choice.
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Raspberry Pi credit-card sized Linux PCs are on sale now, $25 Model A gets a RAM bump

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The good news is that Raspberry Pi's highly anticipated teeny-tiny Linux computers are on sale now, just barely making the promised February launch window (good thing it's a leap year). The better news, is that the $25 Model A version has gotten an upgrade from the planned 128Mb of RAM to 256Mb matching the Model B, which still throws in an extra USB port and an Ethernet hookup for $10 more. Unfortunately there is some bad news as well, while the Model A is going into production "immediately", cheapskates will have to hold off a little, as the Model B is the only one on sale right now. Built on a Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM11 processor, they're intended as a cheap computing option that require only a keyboard and RCA or HDMI-connected display to give a full desktop experience including gaming and HD video playback . The team also announced it has secured manufacturing and distribution agreements that should guarantee a steady supply, without the previous limitation of 10,000 at a time batches. Need more technical details? Hit the FAQ page below, or put down a few Hamiltons -- they can be ordered directly from distributors Premier Farnell / Element 14 and RS Components -- and find out how it runs (Fedora, Debian and ArchLinux are currently supported) for yourself.
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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 ready for May takeoff

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It's been a few weeks since we stumbled upon the AR.Drone 2.0's unattended self-promotion back at CES. And, shortly thereafter took it for a spin. Now, Parrot's finally announcing its $299 next-gen quadrocopter will be ready to take off in May, with you early adopters being able to pre-order as soon as March 1st. The company's also added two fresh bits that were absent during our time with the 720p-packing drone in Vegas, one of which will let you bust out a barrel-roll move while in flight. The other is the inclusion of a USB port that'll let you grab whatever creepy amazing pics and vids you've been shooting with it and record them on any jump drive.
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Toshiba Excite 10 LE available March 6, starting at $529.99

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Toshiba's latest tablet is a long time coming — we first saw it at IFA last September as the Excite, and then it had a brief period as the Excite X10 — but now it's the Excite 10 LE, and it's due in stores March 6th. The slate that Toshiba calls "the world's thinnest 10-inch tablet" will cost $529.99 for 16GB of internal storage, or $599.99 for 32GB. It has a 1280 x 800, 10.1-inch LED display, dual cameras, a 1.2GHz OMAP 4430 processor, and will ship with Android 3.2 (though Toshiba says it's upgradeable to 4.0). We've had mixed feelings about the razor-thin device in the past, but if you're after the thinnest tablet out there, it's finally headed your way — though it might be a good idea to wait a day before you decide.
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Ferrari FF and 458 Italia exclusive gallery

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The Prancing Horse cavalry and the Indian elephant make a rare appearance together – Delhi got a taste of these two thoroughbreds before an outing at the Buddh International circuit later in the day.

The sound of a throaty V12 like one under the hood of this FF is best enjoyed with the windows down through an underpass.

At civilised speeds in city traffic, you realise how well the seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox actually works, taming the 651 manic horses to take a gentle stroll.

Driving arguably the best mid-engined supercar in the world on Delhi roads is a surreal experience.

The FF is 16 centimetres taller than the 458 Italia.

The 458 Italia’s triple exhaust pipes reminiscent of the legendary F40.

For the supercar loving family man, what better car than the FF?

Breezing down Rajpath in the FF.

As good as it gets, enough said.

Ferrari has pushed the 6.3-litre V12 engine as far back in the engine bay as possible to get optimal weight distribution.

Black and yellow will never be the same for us again.
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McLaren to unveil F1 successor at Monaco GP

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Legends come and legends go when it comes to supercars, but few remain etched as indelibly in our hearts and minds as the McLaren F1. Still capable of trouncing 99% of the performance machinery being built today, the legendary F1 is one icon whose successor has been anticipated arguably more than any other.

Since the end of its production run in 1998, McLaren has gone on to produce the SLR for Mercedes-Benzand branch out on its own once again with the MP4-12C (pictured above in Monte Carlo). But as capable as these machines have proven, everyone's been waiting for the F1's true successor to come rolling out of Woking. And now, like a child anticipating Christmas, we just may have that launch date to look forward to.

According to reports, McLaren Automotive is planning to unveil the new seven-figure, 800-horsepower hyper-car not at a major auto show and not at its own dedicated event, but at no less a celebration of speed than the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 70th running of the most iconic of Formula One races, which McLaren has won no less than 15 times (more than any other team), is on the calendar for May 27, so if the rumors prove accurate, we've only got a few months to wait.
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Magna Steyr previews shape-shifting MILA Coupic concept for Geneva

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Magna Steyr may not be a name most consumers would recognize, but it is one of the biggest players in the auto industry. As a contract manufacturer, it has produced some 2.5 million vehicles across 21 different models, including the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Aston Martin Rapide and Mini Countryman, to name just a few.

The Austrian unit of Canadian mega-supplier Magna International, Steyr has also helped countless automakers develop new vehicles and technologies, and though it doesn't market any vehicles under its own name, it often showcases its abilities with a series of concept cars labeled MILA. And this is the sixth and latest.

Called the MILA Coupic, the show car demonstrates an adaptable bodystyle. What looks at first blush like a crossover coupe (similar in form to, say, the Range Rover Evoque) can turn into a pickup truck or convertible. The front and rear glass roof panels can also be opened independently of each other, giving the MILA Coupic an even more adaptable form and showcasing the type of innovative roof approaches that Magna Steyr has applied in making the mechanisms for the Mecedes-Benz SLK, Fiat 500C and Opel Astra TwinTop.

The folding seat module also allows for easy loading, and when folded forward, is said to seal off the passenger compartment in pickup mode. Although all we've got to go on visually at the moment is the solitary rendering which you can click above to enlarge, but there's a full press release after the jump as we prepare to depart for Geneva where this show car, among countless others, will be unveiled next week
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Fisker to launch production Karma Surf wagon at Paris salon in September

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Although the split front grille may not be to everyone's liking, by and large the overall shape of the FiskerKarma is what defines it as much as its hybrid propulsion system. The trouble is, packaging two powertrains into one lithe shape penned by the same designer behind the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the BMW Z8 has left the Karma with little in the way of useable trunk space. That's what prompted Fisker to showcase the Surf concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

The Surf takes the four-door Karma's shape and extends its roofline with a hatchback/wagon/shooting brake body style aimed to make the luxury hybrid more versatile. The result isn't what we'd call cavernous, but as any good fundraiser worth his tax receipt book will tell you, every little bit helps.

And so Fisker is reportedly set to put the Surf into production, with the final version slated to debut not at the Geneva Motor Show next week, but at the Paris Auto Salon in September. We'd think Fisker might want to expand the cargo bay a little more before it hits showrooms, but we'll have to wait until the fall to find out.

The shooting brake isn't the only model variant Fisker reportedly has in the pipeline, as reports further indicate plans are afoot to put the Sunset convertible – complete with retractable hard-top also known as the Karma S – into production for debut in Geneva next year.
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Citroën DS4 Racing concept confirmed for Geneva

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Citroën did it before with the DS3, bringing a DS3 Racing limited edition hatchback to the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, now it's time for the DS4 Racing concept. As with its predecessor it's been developed by Citroën Racing, the arm that preps the car that's won the WRC seven times running.

As you'd expect, the DS4 Racing concept is 35 millimeters lower and has a 55-mm wider track, with words like "bigger" and "more powerful" getting lots of use elsewhere. Go is provided by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that gets 256-horsepower, and stop is handled by four-pot calipers up front on 380-mm discs – 40-mm larger than on the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet we just drove.
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Kimi Raikkonen to unveil special edition Lotus Evora in Geneva

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What good is it having an F1 team to your name if you can't leverage it into a special edition sportscar and have the world champion you just signed unveil it in front of the gathered masses? That's what Lotus seems to be thinking as the British automaker is reportedly preparing to unveil a special edition Evora at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The model in question – expected to be joined by a convertible Evora as well – is tipped to be based on the top-spec, 444-horsepower Evora GTE, but with the black and gold livery featured on the company's F1 cars... as well as its other racing cars currently proliferating into racing series around the world.

The car will reportedly be unveiled by Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One world champion recently signed to return to F1 with Lotus this year. However fast Kimi is, however, the paparazzi seem to be faster as the car in question was snapped at the Jerez circuit in Spain ahead of its official unveiling just over a week from now.
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2013 Volvo V40 Unveiled Ahead of Geneva Debut

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Here is the all-new 2013 Volvo V40 that you cannot have. Maybe. Volvo expects to sell 90,000 of the premium, compact hatches worldwide in the first year, and 85-percent of those figure to be European bound. That’s a confident estimation for a brand that has only one vehicle in the last two years to top or even approach that number. So what makes the newest Volvo V40 so special?

The 2013 V40 will be Volvo’s safest and most technologically-advanced vehicle ever. That’s hardly a surprise, given the renown for Volvo products. Also familiar are the two engines, including a European favorite–an efficient diesel engine, obviously–and the turbo, 5-cylinder making 254 horsepower. What’s new, however, is that both engines, whether equipped with a manual or automatic gearbox, will feature start/stop technology and regenerative braking to maximize fuel economy. Fuel economy estimates have yet to be released, but even for the European cycle, the figures expect to be impressive.

As for safety, the newest Volvo V40 will offer a pedestrian airbag, as well as Pedestrian Detect and Full Auto Brake, and its low-speed collision avoidance has been upped from 19 mph to 31 mph. The Lane Keeping Aid and Park Assist Pilot help mask some drivers’ inferior skills, too, making the V40 one of the most intelligent, mass-produced vehicles in the world.

“All its features are designed around the driver, helping him or her stay alert and well informed to avoid collisions and dangerous situations,” says Håkan Abrahamsson, Vehicle Line Director C Cars & V40 Vehicle Programme Manager.

Production of the all-new 2013 Volvo V40 starts in May 2012, and will be built in Volvo Car Corporation’s plant in Ghent, Belgium. The only remaining question then is whether it will come to America, and whether it has the gusto to compete with the popular Audi A3.
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Kia K9 Korean-Market Luxury Sedan Unveiled

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Kia’s KH Concept is now officially the Kia K9, a Korean-market luxury sedan, and the pinnacle of Kia’s K-themed lineup. Unveiled today in Korea, little is known about the all-new, rear-wheel drive model, especially under the hood.

According to Kia, the K9 will feature a host of technological advancements, and is said to offer uncompromised performance from its rear-wheel drive platform—a first for Kia—and “best of the best” design, highlighted by LED headlamps and the familiar “tiger-nose, radiator grille.”

“K9 sets a whole new level of standards and values in the large sedan segment,” said Kia Director of Overseas Marketing Soon-Nam Lee . “Its design will be another Kia demonstration of our brand’s power to surprise.”

And a surprise it is. We see distinct design similarities to Audi’s A7 and the Lexus GS with a bit of Maserati Quattroporte flair thrown in, though it remains to be seen whether the Kia K9 will have the interior amenities and performance to match. What is most surprising however is the note that it will not be European bound, just like the K7 (Cadenza in non-US, and non-European markets), and a decision on the K9′s launch for markets outside of Korea, specifically the “naming and launch timings,” will be announced later in the year.

No word yet on whether the Kia K9 will come stateside to compete with its sister manufacturer’s Hyundai Equus, but we welcome the opportunity.

2013-kia-k9-rear-three-quarter
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Marussia MR01 fails crash test The squad will not participate at the final pre-season test at Barcelona later this week. 1 photo Feb 28, 2012 Marussia has been forced to scrap plans to run its new Formula 1 car at this week's Barcelona test after failing its final mandatory crash test. The outfit had hoped to give the new MR01 its first track action

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Marussia has been forced to scrap plans to run its new Formula 1 car at this week's Barcelona test after failing its final mandatory crash test.

The outfit had hoped to give the new MR01 its first track action from Thursday this week, but it cannot go ahead after its car did not pass the last of the 18 crash tests that are required in the regulations.

For the first time this year, F1 teams have had to pass the crash tests before they are allowed to run their cars at an official test. Previously, teams only had to pass the tests before the first race of the season.

In a statement issued by Marussia on Monday night, it said its efforts now would be focused on trying to pass the final crash test.

"All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted. Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running commences," said the statement.

"The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later this week (1-4 March) and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash test at the end of the week."

Marussia is the last of the teams to complete its crash tests, with HRT having passed all its tests in the last few days, and hoping to get its new car ready in time for some running in Barcelona this week.

The news of the failed test for Marussia means the outfit is unlikely to be able to test its car properly prior to the first race of the season in Australia on March 18.
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AMD launches the 4.2GHz quad-core FX-4170 processor

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For those who have never attended, the nine day long conglomeration of events known as SXSW is an hurricane of information, music, movies, and people. Austin, Texas is simply overrun during this maddening barrage of information, each company and product trying desperately to stand out and keep you interested. The hope is that once the hazy fog caused by the event has worn off, you’ll remember one or two of the things you saw there and talk about it. The only thing harder than navigating the crowd is actually talking to someone long enough to decide to exchange business cards, and then keeping a hold of that business card. The guys at Vizibility hope to make the business card exchange less stressful, with a beta program of their new product they hope to launch in time for SXSW.

The prototype cards being made by Vizibility are designed so as many different types of users as possible can get information off of the card. The cards look like traditional business cards, but in between its two layers is an NFC tag. The NFC tag is locked to the information you provide Visibility in the application for the business cards. The business cards also sport a QR code so devices without NFC can also grab information quickly. The best part about participating in this beta program? You’ll have a shiny new business card for free at SXSW.

Getting your hands on one of these cards is pretty simple. Head over to Vizibility and fill out the for for their private beta. In the form, you’ll be asked where you are staying at so the card can be shipped to your hotel. The website listed over 50 hotels, and includes an “other” option for any other hotels in the area. If you are invited to the beta, you’ll be asked to fill out a form to populate the NFC card, and it will arrive at your hotel in time for SXSW.
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HTC Also in Talks with Google to be the Next Nexus Manufacturer

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Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s report that LG was deep in talks with Google to be the next Nexus manufacturer, HTC has come forth to mention that they are also fighting for Jelly Bean glory. The company’s global online communications manager, Jeff Gordon, spoke with TechRadar within the last couple of days to make sure everyone knew that Google is no where near a decision on who will make the next Nexus. HTC, as well as every other major smartphone company, is crossing their fingers still.
“Google hasn’t chosen its Nexus partner for (Android) Jellybean as yet. So right now all the manufacturers are crossing their fingers.”
Gordon had other things to say, but TechRadar’s report has now been pulled for unknown reasons and cannot be accessed as a cached page. Maybe it was one of those “off the record” conversations? One thing is clear, being the next name on the back of this year’s Nexus is a big deal. We wouldn’t doubt it if Moto and Samsung came out next to say how interested they are. OK, maybe not Moto so that the industry doesn’t whine like children with cries of  ”favoritism,” but you see the importance of leading the charge for the next version of Android. One that we now know is Android 5.0.
I’m guessing that you would be fine with HTC as the this year’s Nexus manufacturer?
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DROID X Build .621 SBF File Released, Should Fix Fears of Bricking Phone

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DROID X owners should download and keep this file in a safe place immediately. As previously reported, we have heard from multiple sources that attempting to apply an SBF to older build versions from the newest update of firmware .621, could potentially spell disaster for your device. Thankfully, an SBF file for this newest version has been released. You may not be able to go to previous builds, but at least you can revive a potentially dead device and have it running the newest build available.
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Jet Set Radio re-release confirmed, hitting XBLA, PSN, PC this Summer

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As hinted at by a fairly heavy-handed teaser trailer last week, Jet Set Radio will be re-released on digital platforms this Summer, Sega confirmed today. The game will launch on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC, giving folks who were hesitant to invest in the Dreamcast the chance to finally learn the joys of countercultural rollerblading.

A press release from Sega mentions the inclusion of the original game's "genre-blending soundtrack," which gives us hope that we won't end up with a generic score, ala Sega's 2010 downloadable re-release of Crazy Taxi. However, we're still curious as to whether it will have the custom tag import feature present in the U.S. version of the title, Jet Grind Radio. If the truly horrific nudes we've seen spray-painted on Counter-Strike arenas are any indication, we're not sure the internet is ready for that kind of freedom.

Sega has announced one way for potential players to get their art in the game: The publisher is hosting a contest to find 18 pieces of graffiti to include in the finished title. We encourage you to check out the rules and submission methods on Sega's site before you start spray-painting a design on your computer monitor. That's really not how the internet works.

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Aakash put on notice as BSNL and Pantel pair up to produce T-Pad

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The last thing that the Aakash project needed was a more handsome, similarly priced commercial rival swooping in and stealing all of its thunder. Sadly that's what's happened: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL), itself currently under investigation for corruption allegations, has announced a similarly low priced tablet in partnership with Pantel International. The T-Pad IS701R costs Rs 3,250 ($66) compared to the Aakash's Rs 2,999 ($60) but this device has a faster 1GHz processor and runs Gingerbread on a 7-inch 800 x 600 resistive display. However it's not all sunshine and roses, unlike the Government-sponsored slate, there is no GPRS modem in this edition. If you want freedom from WiFi, it'll cost you Rs 10,999 (or $223).
AakashT-Pad
Price (Rs / USD)2,999 / $603,250 / $66
Processor366Mhz1GHz
Display7-inch 800 x 480 resistive7-inch 800 x 600 resistive
CameraNone0.3-megapixel
RAM256MB256MB
Storage2GB microSD (up to 32GB)2GB microSD (up to 32GB)
CellularGPRSNone
WiFi802.11 a/b/g802.11 b/g/n
Operating SystemAndroid 2.2Android 2.3
Battery2,100mAh3,000mAh
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ADATA reveals three new SandForce SSDs for the high, mid and low end

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ADATA makes multiple memory solutions, including super fast USB sticks, and now the company has released a trio of new SSDs, with a model for every type of consumer. There's the XPG SX900 built for enthusiasts that uses a SATA III 6Gbps connection and SandForce SF-2281 controller to deliver 550MB/s reads and 530MB/s writes in up to a 512GB drive. The Premier Pro SP900 packs similar specs to deliver 550MB/s reads and 520MB/s writes in up to a 256GB package, but at lower price point than its performance sibling. Rounding things out is the Premier SP800, a budget entry in 32 and 64GB sizes that uses a SATA II 3Gbps interface, plus an SF-1222 controller to deliver 280MB/s and 260MB/s sequential speeds.
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Samsung ChatON now available as web-based messaging client

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ChatON is Samsung's mobile messaging platform available for Bada, Android, BlackBerry and, yes, iOS phones. Now it's pulled the sheets from the web-based version of the service that allows you to message your frenemies from the comfort of your desktop. As well as short messages, you'll get group chat, multimedia sending, profile pages and buddy charts to let you know who your BFFs are. All of yourcommuniqués and shared multimedia are stored in the "Trunk," a repository for those office-party pictures you wish you'd never sent. You'll also be able to link your desktop and phone accounts so that you're accessible at whatever device you're sat at.
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OpenWays adds NFC to its Mobile Key for hotels

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OpenWays already got the worlds of smartphones and hotel keys more acquainted, now it wants to make them even more intimate. Working with NXP semiconductors, OpenWays has announced it's bringing a little near-field magic to its Mobile Key solution. Now, you can receive your room number direct to your phone, saunter past reception and wave yourself safely past the door. The makers claim that the optimized antennas mean it can work with any phone, carrier and lock system, effectively future-proofing it. So, next time you're off on your travels, best be a little more careful, as this is one room key reception are unlikely to replace should you lose it
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ista news PlayBook gets exclusive Pacemaker DJ app

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RIM has teamed up with app developer 100 Milligrams to launch an exclusive app for its PlayBook tablet. Mentioned briefly at MWC during a RIM event, the app will let users match beats, scratch in vinyl mode, loop, and apply pro-level effects to tracks. Other known features include a digital mode, loop travel, pitch control, and beat skip.

The app will show two turntables and a mixer. What it will cost isn't yet known, but it's due out sometime this spring
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Intel, Micron expand joint venture for NAND memory

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Intel and Micron have enhanced their flash-memory chip joint venture. Intel has agreed to sell to Micron its holdings in two memory wafer production facilities for $600 million. In return, Micron will become Intel's supplier of NAND memory chips.

The expansion is a progression of a relationship that the two companies have had over several years. In December, they jointly announced the development of a 128GB NAND flash chip based on 20nm production technology. The chip, to be commercially available in the first half of this year, could be used in solid-state drives, smartphones and tablets. Intel and Micron are currently shipping a 64GB version of the flash memory.

The two companies expect to close the expanded joint venture deal in the second quarter of this year. Micron, in addition to selling memory to OEMs, also sells memory products to end consumers under the Crucial and Lexar brands
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Microsoft launches white Xbox 360 Kinect bundle

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Microsoft today announced an Xbox Special Edition 4GB Kinect Family Bundle. The package features a glossy white console with matching controller and Kinect sensor. Included are two game compilations, Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures.

Microsoft is also making available a second matching wireless controller. The package is available immediately in the US and many other countries. It will be shipping in Europe and Brazil in the next few months.

The bundle costs $300, while the second, matching controller costs $50. As often with bundles, Microsoft is including a three-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold.
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Popcorn Hour debuts upgraded C-300 home media server

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Popcorn Hour has released its latest home media streaming assistant, the C-300. The new model features a new color screen, support for a user-added Blu-Ray DVD player, room for full-sized as well as notebook-sized hard drives (which are easily swappable) and a revamped user interface. While considerably pricier than an Apple TV, the C-300 offers advantages such as storage space, multiple format support and extra content.

The new version, which is expected to start shipping in early March, comes with an RF remote along with support for third-party infrared remotes. A free app for iOS and Android devices augmented with a Syabas IR add-on is also available. Wireless 802.11n connectivity can be added to the device with a $50 kit also available from the company.

The C-300 is aimed at consumers who would like to combine a single-unit home media server that can handle multiple types of video formats with the option of a built-in Blu-Ray player. It offers the ability to easily implant hard drives with media files inside the device, and users can choose to install one of the number of recommended Blu-Ray player drives into the existing caddy. The unit supports a wide range of Internet video and audio formats, up to and including the MKV3D specification for 3D-capable televisions.

The front-screen LED display allows users to navigate content without necessarily turning on the TV interface, handy for when users just want to access music. The unit supports Shoutcast internet radio, iPlayer, YouTube videos (including the "leanback" interface), Facebook and Twitter media and more. The new interface features its own apps including some 80 free or subscription TV apps, and includes time and temperature information. The unit also sports extensive language and subtitle support.

The C-300, like it's predecessors, does not support Netflix or other third-party sites like Lovefilm. It doesn't come with internet connectivity out of the box, though it does include Bonjour, UPnP and Samba support for network connectivity using Gigabit Ethernet. Outputs include component and composite video, HDMI, analog audio and S/PDIF optical as well as digital optical. Files can also be read from inserted USB flash drives from the two front-mounted USB ports. The unit supports better-than-1080p resolutions, and can also work with conventional SD televisions, another advantage over the current Apple TV.

The Popcorn Hour C-300 sells for $349, with an A-300 version that lacks the Blu-Ray caddy and support but is otherwise nearly identical selling for $219.
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Sony Tablet P due at AT&T on March 4 for $400

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The pricing for Sony's dual-screened Tablet P for North America has finally been officially revealed. AT&T will launch the Android-powered tablet on March 4, which will be offered on a two-year contract for $400, or $550 on its own.

Another option will involve a bundle with the game-centric Xperia Play handset, with buyers getting both for $300 and a two-year contract for each. A 3GB per month DataConnect plan will cost $35, while a 5GB plan will cost $50. Without the contract, users can get a 250MB plan for $15 per month, 30GB for $30 and 5GB for the same $50 as the on-contract plan.

The Tablet P's specs include two five-inch touchscreens, each with 1024x480 resolution. They can show separate content, or combine to form a single, though split, image. A 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip and 1GB of RAM are onboard, as are dual cameras. Android 3.2 is preloaded onto the tablet's 4GB of built-in storage. A microSD card slot expands memory.
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Cisco Brings Hotspot 2.0 Carrier-network Smarts to Its Wi-Fi

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Cisco Systems announced its take on the reshaping of mobile networks that is emerging at this week's Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, saying it can build a Wi-Fi infrastructure spanning all the way from the access point to the core network.

Mobile infrastructure vendors, citing demand from carriers with fast-growing mobile data use on their networks, are taking a multipronged approach to covering indoor and densely populated outdoor locations. Numerous "small cells" are being introduced at Mobile World Congress, including ones with Wi-Fi, cellular radios and a combination of the two. Along with those network elements, vendors are announcing systems to manage heterogeneous networks, also called hetnets.Cisco said its system is based on the Hotspot 2.0 standard, a specification created by the Wi-Fi Alliance to make it easier for mobile users to join and roam among public Wi-Fi networks. It's the first such offering approved by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, a carrier industry group that promotes the use of Wi-Fi hotspots, according to Cisco. The company's own name for the technology is Next Generation Hotspot.

Not surprisingly, Cisco emphasized Wi-Fi in discussing the emerging generation of cellular networks. It doesn't make cellular radios. But the company's core packet networks for mobile operators, and the Small Cell Gateway it announced on Tuesday, can manage both kinds of access networks. Cisco sees Wi-Fi rather than enterprise-grade cellular radios as the most logical type of radio network for indoor coverage, but the company's back-end infrastructure for mobile networks is agnostic to the type of radio used at the edge to reach users' devices, said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Mobile Internet Technology Group.

The Next Generation Hotspot software can be added to a majority of the 12 million Cisco access points in the field, including some that predate the current IEEE 802.11n standard, Ahuja said. The technology is designed to let users get onto service providers' hotspots without signing in manually and also seamlessly roam among networks operated by different providers.

The Small Cell Gateway will manage subscriber and service information from both types of small cells and handle tasks such as authentication and provisioning.

Cisco is working with several service providers on the technology, including AT&T, BT Group, Hong Kong mobile operator PCCW and Shaw Communications, a cable operator in western Canada.
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HBO Go May Debut on Xbox on April Fool's Day

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Xbox 360 will expand its impressive collection of video apps with the induction of HBO Go on April 1, according to a report from Engadget's Michael Gorman. At an HBO event in San Francisco, Gorman said that HBO’s co-president, Eric Kessler confirmed what has been suspected as being on its way.

HBO Go is already available on desktops, Android and iOS devices, as well as Roku boxes and some models of Samsung Internet-connected TVs, and it would make fast friends with the game console's other cable-killing video apps, such as Crackle, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Verizon FiOS, and ESPN.

But there's one problem: HBO Go still requires an HBO subscription through your cable provider. HBO would have a sure-fire hit if it ditched that old-school caveat. After all, Netflix lost its contract with Starz today, thereby losing most of its watchable content, and the Xbox 360 is inches away from eliminating the necessity of cable altogether. Even though that would be a prime example of HBO biting the hand that feeds it, opening HBO Go to the masses and doing away with the pricey interference of big cable would be an offering too tempting to ignore.
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