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Next generation of smartphones - foldable phones

Yesterday, 11:28 PM

Motorola’s RAZR is returning as a $1,500 folding smartphone

The legendary Motorola RAZR might be making a comeback as a $1,500 foldable screen smartphone, and it could launch as early as February, according to a new report from TheWall Street Journal.

The original RAZR was one of the most iconic cellphones ever made, and it seems that Motorola’s parent company Lenovo is looking to cash in on that branding with an updated foldable phone (similar to the one that Samsung has teased for later this year). Per the WSJ, the new RAZR will be exclusive to Verizon in the US with a planned February launch, although the device is still in testing and details have yet to be finalized.

Also unknown is nearly any concrete information about the phone. There’s no word yet on things like screen size, specifications, or even form factor. Will the revived RAZR just borrow the name but use a more traditional landscape folding display? Will Lenovo follow the original RAZR design and have some sort of super long vertically folding screen?

This isn’t the first time that the RAZR brand has seen an attempted resurrection, either: in 2011 and 2012, Motorola also teamed up with Verizon (it seems to really like the RAZR name) for a series of Droid RAZR devices, which tried to cash in on the goodwill of RAZR devices, albeit without any of the flip phone design that was part of the original charm.

That said, dragging old smartphone designs to the present in updated forms is starting to become a trend. The HMD-owned iteration of Nokia has practically made a cottage industry of it with rereleases of the Nokia 3310 and Nokia 8110, but those devices were meant to be fun, nostalgic novelties, not flagship competitors.

According to the WSJ report, Lenovo is hoping to manufacture over 200,000 of the new RAZRs, which may seem optimistic for a $1,500 luxury smartphone. But considering that the (admittedly much cheaper) RAZR V3 model sold 130 million units over its lifespan, if lightning does manage to strike twice, that goal might not be so hard to hit.

 

Samsung might have confirmed the launch date for its first foldable smartphone

https://bgr.com/2019...eal-billboards/

 

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Following months of leaks and speculation, Samsung finally announced last week that it will hold its latest Unpacked event on Wednesday, February 20th in San Francisco, California. The presence of the number 10 on the invitation all but confirmed that the Galaxy S10 will make its debut on the 20th, but we still weren’t totally confident that Samsung would bring its foldable phone to the event as well. But Samsung might have just removed all doubt.

In a post on its Newsroom site over the weekend, Samsung shared a series of photographs taken at the Place de la Concorde in Paris of several new billboards the company recently installed. The Hanegul text reads “미래를 펼치다” and “이월 이십일,” which translates to “The future unfolds” and “February twentieth.”

Although we already expected the Galaxy Fold (or whatever Samsung ends up calling it) to make an appearance at the event, the message on the billboard — plus Samsung’s decision to dedicate an entire Newsroom post to it — certainly takes some of the guesswork out of the process. In all likelihood, the device that we saw momentarily at Samsung’s developer conference late last year will be unveiled in full on February 20th:

Samsung has reiterated on numerous occasions that it plans to launch its foldable smartphone in the first half of the year. If the phone is indeed going to be shown off alongside the Galaxy S10, there’s a chance that it will be available on store shelves at the same time as well — presumably in April. According to recent reports, Samsung is still trying to settle on a name for the device: Galaxy F, Fold, or Flex. Whatever it’s called, it’s going to be pricey.

 

Royole could be the first company to release a foldable smartphone

https://www.theverge...ng-screen-china

 

royole.1541005771.jpg

Phones with foldable screens have felt like they’re on the cusp of arriving for years, but outside of a couple of concept designs and trailers, we have yet to see one receive a proper release. However, Royole Corporation could be about to win the race with the FlexPai, a tablet-sized phone that can be bent into a shape the size of a small paperback book.

Before you get your hopes up that the era of foldable smartphones is finally upon us, you should watch the below video featuring the device. It looks early, to say the very least. For one thing, the phone doesn’t fold flat, so it ends up pretty bulky when packed away. The software also appears to get confused when the phone’s screen is bent, with the display flashing a couple of times before picking an orientation.

Internally, the device features a Snapdragon 8-series chipset, and ITHome (via GizmoChina) suggests prices will start at ¥8,999 (around $1,290) for a model equipped with 6GB of RAM. Pre-orders will open on October 31st, with orders planning to ship in December.

Royole’s FlexPai is due to have some pretty serious competition very soon. Samsung’s foldable smartphone is set to be making an appearance next week at its yearly developer conference, and both LG and Huawei are reportedly developing foldable handsets of their own. It really feels like we’re on the cusp of these devices actually releasing, but then, it’s felt like that for a while.

 

 

Move over bezel-less displays: Samsung, LG set sights on foldable smartphones for 2019

https://www.moneycon...19-3353291.html

 

Smartphones these days don full screen, almost bezel-less displays with multiple cameras, powerful processors and bigger batteries.

Though the innovation may be at its peak, individual components aren’t available to their full capabilities in smartphones as of now. Companies are working on making faster processors that do not heat the device, bigger batteries which have a thin form factor, etc.

What seems to be an upgrade in order to achieve these requirements is introduction of foldable smartphones. Multiple Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are in works to introduce foldable smartphones and consumers may be able to buy the new tech this year.

Samsung confirmed that it will launch a foldable smartphone in 2019. In its launch event last year in November, the company showcased a tablet-sized screen which can be folded into a smartphone.

Samsung called it ‘Infinity Flex Display’. No details were given during the event except that the main screen is a 7.3-inch display which can be folded to a candy-bar sized smartphone with a screen on 4.6-inches. The phone is tipped to be called as the Samsung Galaxy X or Galaxy F and the rumour mill states that it will be priced around $1400.

LG, that doesn't like to be behind innovation and has been competing with Samsung in the display department, had also teased a foldable smartphone last year. The company filed a patent showing a “mobile phone with a flexible display which can be folded in half” .

LG Mobile CEO, Hwang Jeong-hwan told Korean news site Yonhap: “We are working hard with our partners on various obstacles that can occur while folding and unfolding.” On being asked about the launch date, he said the company will launch the device when they can provide enough customer value rather than being the first in the world.

A legendary smartphone manufacturer once upon a time, Nokia had filed a patent in December 2013, which was granted last year. The patent hints that Nokia will launch a foldable display smartphone this year. No details are available on the size of the display or any other specifications.

Huawei CEO, Richard Yu, confirmed in 2017 that the company will launch a foldable smartphone this year. He had said that the company is working on a flexible smartphone prototype and similar patent diagrams appeared online in March 2018. The patent document reads a device simply as “foldable smartphone”, but show a book-like phone that can be opened up to create a larger tablet with a hinge connecting each of the two screens.

 

Is this what Apple’s first foldable phone will look like?

https://sg.news.yaho...-230451667.html

galaxy-f-foldable-smartphone-design-curv

Samsung has a huge year ahead when it comes to new smartphone launches, as the company is expected to unveil the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy F on February 20th. The Galaxy S10 series will be the main moneymaker for the company this year, but the foldable phone is also essential for the company, considering all the hype around it right now. We’ve got billboards in Paris, as well as reports from Korea driving home the same point, that the Galaxy F — commercial name pending — is a breakthrough device, one that signals Samsung isn’t done innovating in the mobile landscape. Samsung, of course, wants to set the tone when it comes to new smartphone form factors, just as it did with the Note series years ago.

But this time around, competitors will be quick to launch foldable devices of their own, with Apple, Microsoft, Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi being a few of the companies rumored to be developing such devices. Apple is the most secretive of the bunch, and we have no idea when a foldable iPhone will be ready for mass consumption. 2019 iPhones are largely expected to resemble last year’s models when it comes to overall design, and a new iPhone design isn’t expected until 2020. A report did say that the first foldable iPhone will launch next year… but we may already have an idea of what Apple’s foldable phone could look like.

All the way back in 2013, more than a year before Apple launched the bigger iPhones that fans had been craving, an Apple patent came to light showing a strange iPhone design, one that heralded several changes that were in the works for Apple’s flagship smartphone.

Known as Apple’s “wraparound iPhone,” the phone in the following image shows several design features that Apple has already adopted. The phone has an edge-to-edge display (iPhone X), no home button (iPhone X), no headphone jack (iPhone 7), and a set of virtual volume buttons (iPhone 6s’s 3D Touch, but also iPhone X’s home button).

The one thing that’s missing is the actual wraparound screen, a display that wraps around the back of the phone. Apple’s wraparound iPhone surfaces now and then, but I always thought the patent was more about the technologies that such a device would require, like in-display buttons, than the actual wraparound screen. I don’t think that a wraparound display would be useful, even though a rear-facing screen might have some uses. Apple certainly thinks the back of a phone should be put to good use — from the patent:

 

In the last few years the functionality of portable electronic devices has increased exponentially. Further improvements be realized by investigating ways to maximize the utility of unused portions of these devices. Form factor is an interesting area for development given that a large majority of portable electronic devices have settled into a standard form factor; namely a flat planar form factor with a display on one side and an opaque housing which contains the electrical components covering the rear surface of the device. Unfortunately, this popular form factor, leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they cannot always be incorporated into third-party applications.

But recent developments made me reconsider this patent. Perhaps Apple hid the foldable iPhone design in plain sight all along. 

 

Since I did mention Samsung’s hype about its foldable handset, I’ll point out a quote from a Korea Herald report about Samsung’s foldable phones endeavors:

 

Compared to the wrap-around display phone — which Apple seems to be looking into as one possible design for its foldable model — [Samsung Design Innovation Center head Federico Casalegno] said Samsung’s in-folding display phone could provide better experiences for users in terms of design.

 

The report relays statements made by Casalegno at a press event last week, but what’s curious is that Samsung seems to know what design Apple has chosen for its foldable iPhone. It’s unclear where Samsung got its information from. A few years ago, we learned that Apple teamed up with LG to create a secret smartphone design, one that Samsung could not copy. At the time, it was believed that Apple was developing foldable screens with LG’s display arm. LG, of course, is rumored to be working on foldable phones of its own.

In addition to this remark from Samsung, we also have one other interesting development that’s worth revisiting. A few weeks ago, well-known leaker Evan Blass posted the following video:

Can't speak to the authenticity of this video or device, but it's allegedly made by Xiaomi, I'm told. Hot new phone, or gadget porn deepfake? pic.twitter.com/qwFogWiE2F

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 3, 2019

 

At the time, I said the foldable smartphone in the video looks a lot better than the Galaxy F. The interface seemed quite responsive, and the UI was quick to transition between tablet and smartphone mode. But the second I saw the person in the video folding the left and right sides of the display behind the middle part, which stayed active, I immediately thought about Apple’s wraparound iPhone patent.

Considering all the iPhone technologies Apple has unveiled since 2013, such a design for a foldable iPhone would make plenty of sense. The phone would have an all-screen design, with or without a notch. The display would extend from corner to corner, and the phone would not have any physical home button or headphone jack. A variation of 3D Touch could help Apple place volume controls on the sides that would adapt depending on whether the phone is used in tablet or phone form.

That said, this is just speculation at this point, and there are plenty of things to iron out before any smartphone maker launches such a device. Durability is one thing to take into account, for example. A foldable phone with a wraparound design would have all sides of the screen exposed at all times.

Blass wasn’t able to confirm whether Xiaomi is making a phone like the one in the clip above. But if someone made that foldable phone prototype, it means that we might see such devices in stores in the coming months or years — assuming, of course, the phone in the video is an actual gadget, not a digital render.

Xiaomi is already rumored to be working on foldable devices of its own, and Chinese display giant BOE may be the company that will provide  bendable displays to local device makers. Reports said last year that Huawei would work with BOE on its first ever foldable handset, a device that may be introduced as soon as late February, at MWC. If it sounds familiar to Apple fans, BOE is also a company that has been vying for iPhone X display orders, according to recent reports. In other words, Apple is likely aware of all the display prototypes BOE may be developing, including foldable screens, in addition to display prototypes from other big names in the industry, including Samsung Display, LG Display, and others.

 


Are station wagons making a come back with sedans fading?

10 January 2019 - 12:57 AM

Rebirth, or Looming Fizzle? The Station Wagon Had a Pretty Good Year in 2018

 

2017-Volvo-V90-T6-Inscription-610x407.jp

 

In the absolutely superb 1949 war film Twelve O’Clock High, a doctor stationed at a U.S. Army Air Force base in WW2 England uses an interesting comparison when describing a character’s mental breakdown.

“Have you ever seen a light bulb burn out? How bright the filament gets right before it breaks?”

 

A similar phenomenon could be at work in a certain vehicle niche, one which gets more press than actual sales warrant. The lowly, reviled, and suddenly revered station wagon, now referred to in terms meant to dispel the stodgy family hauler image of decades past.

 

Never mind that BMW just announced its 3 Series wagon won’t make a return trip from Europe. There’s wagons aplenty these days, and it’s this writer’s firm belief that you’ll never have a better change to bring home a competent non-light truck cargo hauler. It’s now or never.

While wagon variants allow automakers to rack up additional sales of a given nameplate, the wagon community remains a small one. Loyal and passionate, but small. And what room there is for growth depends on your level of optimism. As Bloomberg notes, 2018 was a great year for wagon sales, simply because consumers suddenly found themselves with choice.

 

Buick has the new Regal TourX, Jaguar has the new XF Sportbrake, Volvo has the tony V90 and V60, Mercedes-Benz has the dignified E 450 4Matic wagon and disgruntled AMG E63 S wagon, Audi has the A4 Allroad, and Volkswagen will still gladly sell you a modest Golf SportWagen. All of this choice resulted in a bigger niche than years past. Some 212,000 wagons left U.S. dealer lots in 2018, representing a 29 percent sales increase compared to five years earlier.

 

Still, wagons amounted to less than 2 percent of the new vehicle market last year. That’s plug-in car territory.

This group of buyers, described by Buick marketing director Sam Russell as “almost violently opposed to being mainstream,” doesn’t want to be seen driving an anonymous crossover. And let’s face it, it’s easier to sculpt a sexy wagon than a high-riding, bulbous crossover. Thing is, though, wagons sales are a slim wedge of the overall volume of a particular nameplate. As sedan sales falter, wagons, despite their snob appeal, won’t pick up enough of the slack. All a wagon can do is delay a model’s discontinuation, if we’re to assume today’s market shift continues uninterrupted.

 

If sedans disappear from our streets, so too will wagons, despite wagons being a happy middle ground between sedans and crossovers. A sad situation, if the worst-case scenario comes to pass. While Bloomberg reports Buick’s TourX sales “increased steadily” over the past 12 months, Volvo’s gorgeous V90 is now available by custom order only, and Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake, while sultry, has to contend with the fact that no one’s interested in buying Jaguar cars these days. Even the brand’s crossovers can’t keep sales in the black.

 

Despite the recent uptick in wagon interest and availability, it’s hard not to see this phenomenon as a tired light bulb valiantly burning its way towards destruction.


New year, new CEO for General Motors

08 January 2019 - 12:38 AM

Born with 'gasoline in his blood,' GM's Reuss adds president to long list of duties

105248776-GettyImages-904625332.530x298.

 

https://www.cnbc.com...ssignments.html

 

  • General Motors named company insider Mark Reuss as president Thursday.
  • The 55-year-old's father also served as GM president nearly three decades ago.
  • Reuss was once seen as a contender for CEO before Mary Barra got the job.

Mark Reuss, the global head of General Motors' product development operations, will add "president" to his already expansive list of duties — the latest in a series of management tweaks under CEO Mary Barra.

The 55-year-old Reuss – whose father also served as GM president nearly three decades ago – replaces Dan Ammann.

Ammann moved over to the company's autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise Automation, last November. But Reuss will assume only some of Ammann's former duties in a paired down role as president, allowing him to retain his current focus on product.

 

Saying that Reuss has played a "critical role" at GM in his current assignment, GM Chairman and CEO Barra added, "Mark's global operational experience, deep product knowledge and strong leadership will serve us well as we continue to strengthen our current business, take advantage of growth opportunities and further define the future of personal mobility."

Gasoline in his veins

Reuss is wont to say he has "gasoline in his blood." Having trained as an engineer, his duties as product development chief have been as much passion as avocation. It is a job that frequently lets him shed his suit and tie for a helmet and fireproof racing suit while testing new products at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan, an hour northwest of its corporate headquarters along the Detroit riverfront.

He joined the automaker in 1983 as a student intern. It was a period of massive change under then-Chairman and CEO Jack Smith. In 1990, as the controversial chairman retired, Mark Reuss's father Lloyd was named GM president, but he held that post only two years before being ousted in the first in a series of activist investor-led revolts.

The younger Reuss remained with GM and, over the next two decades served in a broad mix of posts testing his business acumen as well as his engineering skills. That included a run as head of the automaker's long-struggling Australian subsidiary, Holden, which recently shuttered its manufacturing operations.

Big break

Reuss got his big break in 2001 when he was tasked with creating a new performance division where he got the chance to oversee development of a variety of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Corvette, as well as the reborn Chevy Camaro.

While never generating significant volume, those products helped shine GM's star, tarnished by some of the poorly reviewed products it had produced during the 1980s and 1990s, an era when it was sometimes dismissed as "Malaise Motors."

But things continued to go from bad to worse for the company saddled with debt and facing ever tougher competition from European and Asian imports. By 2010, GM was forced to enter a carefully managed bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout. Most of its top management team, starting with then-Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, were unceremoniously booted, much as Lloyd Reuss had been nearly two decades earlier. Son Mark was, however, one of the survivors.

Plum assignment

And he landed a plum assignment that would test both the business and product side of his skills as the new head of North American Operations.

By mid-decade, Reuss was seen as a potential contender for CEO. But as Dan Akerson, an industry outsider who joined GM post-bankruptcy, announced his retirement, the job instead went to another top lieutenant. Like Reuss, Mary Barra had also started at GM as a college co-op student and also came from a GM family – though her father was a factory "shop rat."

For his part, Reuss got a major consolation prize, heading global product development – a job that frequently leds him shed his suit and tie for a helmet and fireproof racing suit. Last June, he was also named head of Cadillac and has been heavily involved in the development of a stream of new vehicles expected to roll out of the luxury brand every six months through 2021.

Too many hats

Under his new assignment as president, Reuss will retain those roles, a decision that analyst Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting, questions. Though Reuss is "very talented," Phillippi said, "he had too many hats to start with. There should be someone running product development and that's all they do all day."

Whether Reuss might eventually shed some of his duties remains to be seen, but observers say that GM's upper management ranks appear to be in a bit of a flux. If anything, the company had indicated it wasn't going to name a new president when Ammann moved over to Cruise Automation as CEO of the San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle development company last November.

For those worried that Reuss may find his time spread thin, a GM spokesman told CNBC that the company's new president won't take over all of the duties that had been on Ammann's plate.

Full speed

When the former president was reassigned, CEO Barra took over responsibility for managing both the automaker's global regions, as well as its "captive" finance subsidiary, GM Financial. Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara, meanwhile, assumed control over GM's corporate development operations.

Reuss will take on one new role, overseeing GM's quality control operations which, the automaker noted, dovetails well with his product development duties. Long faulted for reliability issues, GM has, in recent years, made rapid gains, particularly with its Buick and Chevrolet brands, according to studies by outside arbiters such as J.D. Power and Associates.

"I am very proud to have spent my entire career at General Motors, and to now take on this new role is truly a great honor," Reuss said in a statement Thursday. "With our current lineup of outstanding cars, trucks and crossovers around the world, I'm looking forward to keeping our momentum going at full speed."

 


2020 Ford Explorer

20 December 2018 - 11:37 PM

The 2020 Ford Explorer and a New Truck Will Debut Before the New Ford Bronco: Report

https://jalopnik.com...efor-1831206305

 

 

Ford-Explorer_Sport-2018-1024-01.jpg

As thirsty as we all are to finally see a new Ford Bronco, an allegedly leaked product plan suggests that we’ll have to wait until we get through reveals of the 2020 Ford Explorer and likely a refreshed Ford F-150 first.

The supposed product plan was seen by the folks over at OffRoad.com, and apparently it outlined a plan to reveal the 2020 Ford Explorer, which we’ve already kind of seen, and a new F-Series which is likely a refreshed F-150 before we can get to the goods.

 

The Explorer will drop at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, and OffRoad speculates that the new F-Series “full-size pickup” will follow sometime in the second half of 2019. The new F-Series will also probably introduce a hybrid pickup, which will be, well, something.

But just don’t count on too many surprises for the Big Bronco any time soon, unless something leaks. The Baby Bronco already leaked (also through OffRoad.com), but evidently there was no mention of it in this newly seen product plan. Considering Ford’s already issued a fairly revealing teaser of the Baby Bronco, that could also show up in Detroit, or New York show a few months later, or even Los Angeles much later.

Now, Ford has already promised everybody that the new Bronco is coming in 2020, but it’s not clear if that means it’ll be a 2020 model year revealed in 2019, or a 2021 model year revealed in 2020. Model years are stupid that way.


Singapore Motorshow 2019 - 10 to 13 Jan 19

20 December 2018 - 10:07 PM

Coming again next year.

Will you be going?

What are you aiming to get?

 

7_SG_motor.jpg

 

https://www.motorsho...m.sg/2019/home/

 

The annual Singapore Motorshow returns for the fifth consecutive year in 2019, promising to be even better than before. Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, the 2019 Motorshow will be spread across levels 3 & 4.
 
Starting from 10 January to 13 January 2019, Singapore’s largest and most prestigious annual motoring event will feature more than 30 automotive brands, the most number of brands showcased since its return five years ago. The show will also feature various providers of automotive accessories, lifestyle products and services, and world famous stunt driver, Russ Swift, who will make his return to thrill guests with his adrenaline-pumping performances of precision driving.
 
A must-attend event, visitors can also expect to witness first hand, multiple car launches, exclusive offers, numerous MediaCorp celebrity appearances and lucky draw contests that include amazing prizes such as a Subaru Impreza 2.0 i-S 5-Door!
 
The Singapore Motorshow 2019 is presented by the Motor Traders Association (MTA) of Singapore in partnership with MediaCorp. Other sponsors of the event include: AIG Asia Pacific Insurance Pte. Ltd (Official Insurer), HL Bank (Official Bank) and Shell (Official Automotive Lubricants & Fuel) as well as support from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
 
SG MOTORSHOW INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD
17 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh #02-00 Auto World, Singapore 319254.
Tel : (65) 69085060
General Enquiry : enquiry@motorshow.com.sg