German luxury car brand Audi staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc to make recharging its forthcoming E-Tron models easier.
The Audi E-Tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 (roughly Rs. 55 lakhs) before a $7,500 (roughly Rs. 5.5 lakhs) tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.
All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab share of that market from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.
“I want Audi to be the number-one electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also head of rocket company SpaceX, planned to mark the E-Tron launch occasion by staging a SpaceX event in Los Angeles at roughly the same time on Monday evening as Audi’s unveiling.
Audi and parent Volkswagen are using the US launch of the E-Tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales – the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.
Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the E-Tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.
Amazon’s partnership with Audi to provide home charging systems is the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.
“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.
Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000 (roughly Rs. 72,000), depending on the home’s electrical system.
Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.
At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of US diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.
Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America. Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.
“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.
Lifting the curtain
Audi has been heralding the launch of the E-Tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.
The E-Tron is electric, and has two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear – driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the E-Tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.
In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by US regulators.
However, in many other respects the E-Tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the centre of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The E-Tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.
The E-Tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel.
Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the E-Tron SUV under US testing procedures. The E-Tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D. The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the US government.
Infinix S4 Smartphone With Triple Rear Cameras, X Band 3 Fitness Band Launched
Infinix S4 has now been launched in India, after the launch of the Smart 3 Plus last month. The phone sports a triple rear camera setup, a rear fingerprint sensor, and a waterdrop-style notch. The Infinix S4 key features include the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, a 6.21-inch large display, Android 9 Pie software, a 32-megapixel selfie sensor, and a 4,000mAh battery. The company also launched the X Band 3 fitness band alongside the smartphone, and it comes with real-time heart rate monitoring and up to 20-day battery life.
Infinix S4, X Band 3 price in India
Infinix S4 is priced in India at Rs. 8,999. The phone will be available on Flipkart from May 28 at 12pm (noon) IST. It will be available in Nebula Blue, Space Grey, and Twilight Purple colour options. The X Band 3, on the other hand, is priced in India at Rs. 1,599 and will be available on Flipkart from June 4.
Infinix S4 specifications
As for specifications, the dual-SIM Infinix S4 runs on Android Pie-based XOS 5.0. The phone features a 6.21-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and 2.5D curved glass display protection. The phone is powered by the 2GHz MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM. Internal storage is at 32GB with the option to expand further using a dedicated microSD card (up to 256GB).
The triple rear camera setup at the back houses – a primary 13-megapixel snapper with f/1.8 aperture, another 8-megapixel 120 degrees ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a last 2-megapixel camera as well. The rear setup is accompanied by a Quad-LED flash. Up front, the Infinix S4 will have a 32-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and screen flash. Features include auto scene detection across eight modes including portrait, text, night, backlight HDR, blue sky, sports and others.
The phone packs a 4,000mAh battery, the dimensions measure at 156x75x7.9mm, and it weighs 155 grams. Connectivity options include Bluetooth v5, Micro-USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3.5mm audio jack, and more. The phone supports Face Unlock and a rear fingerprint sensor as well. Sensors on board include a G-sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, and compass.
Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 Announced With Improved Camera and More
Google is bringing the second edition of its eye-wearable device — Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, with improved camera, USB Type-C port and safety frames.
Google Glass is a small, lightweight wearable computer with a transparent display that brings information into your line of sight.
“Glass Enterprise Edition 2 helps businesses further improve the efficiency of their employees,” Jay Kothari, Project Lead, Glass at Google, wrote in a blog post on Monday.
To enable significant power-saving, support for computer vision and advanced Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform that comes with a multi-core CPU.
The company says, Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is easier to develop for and deploy. In order to support scaled deployments, Google has also added support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management to the wearable.
The price of the second edition of Google Glass remain undisclosed as of now.
“Enterprise businesses interested in using Glass Enterprise Edition 2 can contact our sales team or our network of Glass Enterprise solution partners starting today.
We’re excited to see how our partners and customers will continue to use Glass to shape the future of work,” Kothari added.
In August 2017, Streye, a “Glass for Work” partner started selling the eye-wearable device Google Glass Enterprise Edition starting from $1,829 (roughly Rs. 1.3 lakhs).
Google sells the eye-wearable device with “Glass for Work” partners which are authorised to develop and deliver enterprise solutions for Glass customers.
The device has been known to be helping scientists study brain disease, during emergency and teach Morse code in four hours.
The first Google Glass was introduced with much fanfare in 2014. At $1,500, it promised a new, bold era for information.
People, however, realised the device was not yet ready to be part of their lives. There were safety and health concerns. The built-in camera raised privacy and piracy issues too.
Juhi Chawla supports her kids dreams
Actress Juhi Chawla says her son Arjun is good at mimicking accents and that he is hilarious, so sometimes she feels that he can probably try his hand at acting.
Juhi is currently living out of a suitcase, swinging between Mumbai, Kolkata and the UK where her teenaged children are put up in a boarding school.
In times when star kids have a ready launch-pad for their Bollywood career to take off, Juhi has shared about her children’s interests.
“My small monkey Arjun has clearly told us, ‘Mom don’t even think about it’. With Jahnavi, I’m not so sure. Arjun is quite funny and good with mimicking accents. He’s actually hilarious, so I feel sometimes that he could maybe try,” Juhi said in a statement.
“Jahnavi is an avid reader. If there is anything she likes in this world, and if you ask her what she wants as a gift, it will be a book. She said she wanted to be a writer.
“Then she went through a phase where she said ‘Okay I want to be a model’. Tomorrow she might say ‘I want to be an actress’. Then she might say she wants to drop all this and do sports. I don’t know, but I have learnt one thing that you have to let your children do what they want,” she added.