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Month: May 2015

Chevrolet Camaro Unveiled to the World!

Chevrolet Camaro Unveiled to the World!

camarofront

Say hello to the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, GM’s take on the all American muscle car. This is the 6th generation model, following closely from the last generation’s “Bumblebee” design, as well as incorporating some classic design touches from previous models.

Unusually for a muscle car, this Camaro has shrunken in size. It is 57mm shorter, 20mm narrower and 28mm lower than the previous generation. Based on GM’s Alpha platform, this car has also been hitting the treadmill, shredding 90 kg off its kerb weight. This weight-saving is thanks to extensive use of aluminium.

Also of interest is the suspension set-up. The front uses a MacPherson set-up, while the rear has a new five-link system. According to GM, this new set up has made the new Camaro faster around a track than the track-orientated Camaro with the 1LE package. Gone are the days where muscle cars can only travel in straight lines then.

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Now for the engines. Following in the footsteps of the Ford Mustang, the new Camaro is no longer just a V8 petrol-muncher. There is a new 2.0 litre four-cylinder, which has been turbocharged to produce 271 bhp and 400Nm of torque. This engine will enable the Camaro to hit 62 mph in just under 6 seconds, whilst also returning 30mpg.

There is also a 3.6 litre V6, producing 330 bhp and 385Nm of torque. This engine also incorporates cylinder deactivation, to help improve fuel economy. Both the four-cylinder and the V6 are available with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.

Finally there is the Camaro SS, which has a small block V8, as found in the Corvette Stingray. This 6.2 litre motor produces 449 bhp and 616Nm of Torque. This big-boy V8 also gets cylinder deactivation, fuel injection and variable valve timing.

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The interior is peculiar to say the least. It incorporates a central touchscreen with a set of toggle switches below it and a couple of air vents below that. Chevrolet designers said they wanted to create a low dashboard in order to allow for a wider looking windscreen. Somehow, I doubt this interior will please everybody.

This Camaro is sure to go down well in the US, where the following for Camaros is strong. I am not so sure about the Camaro’s popularity in Europe. It will probably be one of those cars which will be privately imported from the US. Either way, if you fancy yourself a good ol’ American muscle car, you choice just became a lot more difficult.

Last Week Today: Rogue F1 Cars to Hunting Sharks

Last Week Today: Rogue F1 Cars to Hunting Sharks

LastWeekToday

Welcome to this week’s edition of Last Week Today, bringing you all the week’s highlights for an easy Sunday morning read.  So let’s get started!

Monday 11th May

Heard the one about the F1 car headbutting a member of the pitcrew? Well, if you haven’t, here it is. Romain Grosjean braked a little too late in the pits and ended up headbutting a member of the pitcrew right in the … gentleman’s wedding vegetables. Thankfully he was okay to carry on working and took to the incident in a light-hearted manner.

Now, on to something a little less painful. Last Monday, here at TechnoSpeak, we brought you news of Peugeot’s new textured matt paint, which, while costing exactly the same price as Peugeot’s pearlescent colours, also provides slightly more resistance to minor scratches and is more hardwearing than other types of matt paint.Check out Peugeot’s new matt paint here.

Tuesday 12th May

Autocar reported that Lotus plans to make a hardcore track-day sports car, with rumours suggesting it went round the Nurburgring in just over 7 minutes. This means it is just a few seconds slower than the hypercar holy trinity, the LaFerrari, the P1 and the 918. Tipped to hit showrooms next year, it should carry a price in the region of £70,000. Here is the full story on Lotus’ new track-day sports car.

Check out CNET’s first look at the new LG Watch Urbane! Quite the looker, isn’t it?

Wednesday 13th May

GSMArena report on potential news that the upcoming Apple iPhone 6S will be in Rose Gold. Apparently, this is a colour. This news is coming from analysts, so take the news with a pinch of salt. Here is the full story.

Thursday 14th May

TopGear.com, you know the one, they used to have three magnificent presenters, which the BBC decided they could do without (yes I am still bitter, I will never get over it), have shown a video of the new Audi TT Clubsport. In case you didn’t know, this mad one-off has 592bhp, more fins and gills than a catfish and now a frankly mind-blowing soundtrack to match the mad power and fins. Check out Audi’s five-cylinder symphony of rage here.

Heard of the Yotaphone 2? Yeah, the funny two-screened smartphone which everybody seems to be talking about. Well, TheVerge have released their review of it. Here is TheVerge’s review of the Yotaphone.

Friday 15th May

AutoExpress reports on some rumours that Peugeot will release a competitor for the VW Passat CC within the next couple of years. Dubbed the 408 GT, it is a four-door coupe which, according to the renders made by AutoExpress, will be heavily influenced by the Exalt concept car. According to reports, it could be based on the 308’s EMP2 platform, and use also a mix of the same four-cylinder motors found in the 308 as well as a potential hybrid version. Details on the hybrid powertrain are scarce at the moment though. Check out the 408 GT here.

TheVerge reports that Google may start testing new “buy buttons” which will live in ads when you search for something. If say you want to buy a new hammer, because you have a Jeremy Clarkson attitude to DIY, you would type in the word “hammer” in Google Search, and within the ads which pop up in the search results, there would be a button allowing you to buy that eight-pound sledge hammer you have always wanted, without breaking the bank. Here is the full story on Google’s “buy buttons”.

Now for your viewing entertainment, a shark riding a bear whilst carrying a machine gun.

Best buds. (No Photoshop, evidently.)

 

Peugeot Patents New Textured Matt Paint

Peugeot Patents New Textured Matt Paint

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Peugeot has quietly shown off a new textured matt paint, which has a granular feeling to the touch. It will be available to the public on the newly updated Peugeot 208, which we reported on a few weeks back. Check out the revised 208 here.

This newly-patented paintjob still uses the same method of the primer, base colour and anti-corrosion chemicals, but adds a different type of lacquer. This new lacquer contains tiny particles of silica, which give the colour its matt finish, and a second substance, which Peugeot is calling “micro-balloons of polyamide”, which give the paint its textured finish.

Besides looking and feeling nicer, this matt paint is easier to look after than the ones currently available on the market. It is more hard-wearing and easier to care for than traditional matt paint, whilst also providing more resistance to micro-scratches.

For the moment, this new textured paint will be available in two colours, namely Ice Grey and Ice Silver, but if these prove popular, we might see more colours on the way too. It is also the same price as Peugeot’s ordinary pearlescent colours (at least in the UK) at £645, which is a nice touch.

Alternatively, you can opt not to go for this matt paint, and go for the new “Orange Power” colour option mentioned in the link above.

With Windows 10 Microsoft Is Turning Its Operating System Into A Service, Not A Product

With Windows 10 Microsoft Is Turning Its Operating System Into A Service, Not A Product

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Microsoft’s Windows is possibly the last commonly used piece of software (albeit a crucial one at that) still sold as a product. A single major version is released every few years, maintained, then superceded by another version that you buy again as an upgrade. This, however, seems to be coming to an end with Windows 10.

Microsoft is now planning on turning Windows 10 into a service, not a product. There will be no Windows 11, or 12, but Windows 10 will receive updates that are both major and minor as the company releases them, putting everyone on the same platform.

How?

When it came to developing Windows 10 from Windows 8 Microsoft took a different tack, breaking the operating system up into a series of smaller, independent modules. The Start Menu, for instance, is a separate module of its own so it can be easily updated independently of the rest of the operating system. Windows 10 is definitely far more complex than previous versions, but then again it’s also meant to be used for much more. Microsoft envisions Xbox Ones and its Holo Lens, as well as phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.

This method works. Google’s massive fragmentation problem (yes, it’s a massive problem) has caused major headaches in the past, and Google did the same thing Microsoft is doing with the Windows 10. A lot of functionality was moved to Google Play Services, as were all stock apps. You might not have Android 5.1, but you still have a lot of Android 5.1’s security updates and all apps are updated with extra functionality.

What about the money?

This, for me, is the real question. How does Microsoft plan on making money? With no major product launches they can no longer sell Windows to users looking to upgrade, and the only time a user actually registers a version of Windows is when they purchase a Windows device – never again after that. Microsoft will still sell licenses to OEMs of course. But how do you charge for a service?

I envision a more interesting business model based on this service model. Microsoft already sells Office subscriptions – why not expand that to Windows? Without payment you’ve got basic Windows features and updates limited solely to important updates, but a yearly fee  for Windows 10, Office 365, and OneDrive storage unlock all features and enables tight integration of the services across all devices.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay?

Source: The Verge

The Curious Case of the Cuore Sportivo

The Curious Case of the Cuore Sportivo

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This article has been a long time coming. As a petrolhead and budding Alfist, Alfa Romeo has tested my patience, and the patience of many Alfa Romeo fans, on several occasions. Endless rumours, promises and failed attempts at taking on the Germans, have made us weary.

Like a jealous lover, Alfa Romeo more than tests your patience with its insecurities. We have had Alfas that have failed to live up to their heritage, promises left unfulfilled and endless delays. Back when the 159 was removed off the market, we were promised by Alfa that a replacement, the rather beautifully named Giulia, would be in showrooms by 2012. The world rejoiced! A new car which harks back to a name from the 60s, a car that was legendary in its status!

Sure enough 2012 arrived, but the Giulia didn’t. We were then promised that definitely, by 2014, we would get to see the Giulia, along with a new Spider that will be based on the next generation Mazda MX-5. Once again the world was excited. A Mazda MX-5 with Alfa Romeo engines and design? Sign me up!

This is the current Alfa Romeo lineup.
This is the current Alfa Romeo lineup.

So here we are, in 2015, and what exactly have we got? None of the above. The showrooms are awash with Giulietta and MiTo hatchbacks, which lets be honest, are rather long in the tooth, especially now. In the last year or so we did get the rather lovely 4C sportscar, which provided a glimmer of hope for the Duchess of Milan. While it is a beautiful looking car, with promising sportscar credentials, it is not the car the world waiting for. So what happened?

It is no secret that Alfa has been going through a huge crisis. Last year they sold 74,000 cars worldwide. They were planning to sell close to 300,000 by this year. What makes matters worse is, the more time has passed the more Alfa’s rivals have taken the lead, leaving the Milanese brand very much behind.

Plans were revealed in May 2014, which promised a monumental shake up in the entire company structure, taking it back to the glory days of sports saloons and iconic design. Having read the presentation,it is a truly astonishing plan. Fiat want to pump 5 billion Euros into Alfa for the development of new models over the next 5 years. They proposed the concept of a “skunkworks” project, where Alfa will no longer be based on bits from other cars in the Fiat group. The brand will have a secluded area to work on new projects, away from the pressure of the Fiat accountants. They have even got a test track to help with the development of these new cars. This place is so secluded that not even the entire Fiat board of directors know where all this work is happening, just to give the team as little distractions as possible. It only recently transpired that these “skunkworks” are taking place in a factory belonging to Maserati, on the edge of Modena.

This is Alfa's proposed plan for the next five years.
This is Alfa’s proposed plan for the next five years.

The plan itself claims that by 2018, Alfa will have launched two SUVs, a D-Segment car, a variation of that D-Segment vehicle, an E-Segment flagship, a replacement for the Giulietta, a Spider and a front-engined two-seat coupe to take on the F-Type. Most of these new models, as far as we know, will be based on the new rear-drive “Giorgio” platform with the option of all-wheel drive. Engines will be predominantly made up of four and six-cylinder motors, with outputs of between 180 and 500 bhp.

This sounds all fantastic, if it were not for one small thing. At this stage, all this talk of rear wheel drive, skunkworks, powerful, small-capacity engines are all nothing but rumours and an intricate game of marketing. It is the stuff petrolheads want to hear. However, this is not the first time we have heard fantastical rumours coming from Alfa Romeo. About ten years ago, we were promised a 166 GTA Q4. This was meant to be powered by a 4.2 litre V8, kicking out 390 bhp to all four wheels. It was meant to be Alfa’s flagship to take on the M5. It was canned.

Then there was the 159 GTA. Another brute to take on the Germans, this time with a turbocharged V6. This also did not see the light of day.  More recently, there was the MiTo GTA, a 237 bhp hot hatch to give the Mini Cooper S a bloody nose. Guess what? We never got that either.

The 159 GTA; the car that never was.
The 159 GTA; the car that never was.

What I am trying to say is that, while Alfa tells us what we want to hear, rarely does it actually deliver. Right now, more than ever, Alfa needs to make their new cars competitive. It is do or die right now. Everything is against them. Their competitors have never been stronger. Not only does it have the German trinity to deal with, its also got Jaguar, Volvo, Lexus and Infiniti dipping their toes into the executive pool. Somehow Alfa must rise above their competition, rise above BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus and Infiniti, and make cars to prove to the world that they are not just remarketed Fiats. They must show the world that Alfa has a heritage, a heritage stronger than the rest.

Judgement day is coming. On the 24th of June, Alfa will unveil a new car, the much rumoured Giulia, to the world. Right now, we know little to nothing about it, even its name is an uncertainty. What we do know, is that it carries not only the burden of its forefather’s history, but also the burden of all the promises of its designers.Come June 24th 2015 we will see if Alfa still has a place in this world.

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Last Week Today: LG Takes On The S6 & Lotus Goes Crazy. Again.

Last Week Today: LG Takes On The S6 & Lotus Goes Crazy. Again.

LastWeekToday

Monday

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The Porsche Cayenne proved that performance SUVs were a thing, and now everyone’s making one, Maserati too. But they aren’t so keep on a baby performance SUV, do don’t expect a Macan rival from the Italian firm any time soon. Zach Galea reports here.

Things are finally getting interesting in the sports car world! Mercedes is axing the 3 door A Class and replacing it with a small coupe to rival the Audi TT. Between these two and the upcoming Mazda MX5 it’s going to be a hell of a year for sports care enthusiasts. Read more at Autocar.

Good news! James May’s favourite car is getting hot version! More at Autocar.

Tuesday

LG G4

LG’s flagship for 2015 is here and it might just be the best Android phone you can buy, period. Handsome design, a gorgeous screen, and a camera that’s potentially brilliant should be more than enough to take the Galaxy S6’s crown. Read more at The Verge.

Remember the Ouya, that Android games console? Notice how nobody seems to actually have one? So have investors. Read more at Android Police.

Wednesday

Now you can both be sad but try to act popular with the selfie-arm! I’M SO POPULAR PEOPLE TAKE PHOTOS OF ME WHILE HOLDING MY HAND. More at The Next Web.

One of the risks of having a digital cockpit,  or one of the risks of adopting consumer technology for industrial use. iPads on American Airlines 737s crashed, and without access to WiFi became unusable. More than one plane was grounded. More at The Verge.

Microsoft’s mobile vision is growing, and yet more tools have been made available to developers to bring their apps to Windows. Now Android and iOS apps can be converted to Windows 10 with minimal effort while maintaining quality but not having to rewrite the entire application. Won’t bring any new users over to Windows but those that use Windows with other devices may not need to ditch the platform to keep working. More at The Verge.

Thursday

Privacy is a hot topic today, and for good reason. There’s police work, then there’s an invasion of privacy. One of the few Congressmen with a degree in IT tells law enforcement what’s what. More at Ars Technica.

And just because:

Friday

It’s Malta! We’re in a cameraphone shootout! Also, pretty interesting experiment. Be sure to vote and check out our beautiful island at Android Authority!

Tesla does it again with the Powerwall, a battery for your home. This kind of technology makes solar and wind power for personal use actually sensible – charge up during the day and use up the power in the evening. Or when rates are at their highest. Read more about it at Ars Technica.

Saturday

The logo for Microsoft’s next browser looks suspiciously like the logo for their last browser. That nobody liked. A browser whose dislike was so great the company had to build a new browser from the ground up just to get away form it. Why? Justin digs a little deeper (and rips way more into Microsoft than I can fit in this summary) here.

 

Microsoft’s Edge Logo

Microsoft’s Edge Logo

Remember my final goodbye post for our good old friend Internet Explorer? Well here’s it’s successor’s newest logo. What do you think reader? Do you marvel at the beauty of the curvature that the designer has executed, or do you taste barf in the back of your mouth as you remember the load times from previous versions of IE.

It’s obvious for all to see that the design brief and the concept development Microsoft chose to pursue was based off of the latest iterations of the IE logo, with that infamous halo around that damn lower-case ‘e’ we hated so much. If I’m being honest the Edge logo looks like a negative space design of a desk lamp sitting casually on a desk. The curve at the bottom looks kind of unfinished and disproportionate. In short, I fucking hate it.

Why did Microsoft rebrand Edge this way?

I dunno. Beats me to be perfectly honest. I honestly thought that Spartan was a cooler name for the re-branding of a new fresh shiny browser which would appeal to a younger audience. However, I get what Microsoft are trying to do. You see, as a designer, the first thing you’ll do is bash the  aesthetics. Even though I began to cringe once I set my critique-ready eyeballs on that monstrosity where everything from consistency to thickness begin to look all wrong, the logo is there for familiarity.

So really, for that instant connection for whoever uses IE. All they see is that blue lowcase letter ‘e’ and immediately their minds would say ‘Oh look it’s the interwebs!’ (and hopefully they move their cursor onto something better). Now why would people want to be familiarized with a brand that’s been called ‘slowest browser’ over and over again.? Well we shouldn’t forget that Microsoft isn’t building this thing on top of IE, Spartan/Edge has an all new rendering machine which will undoubtedly include the richness of Windows 10 integration.

In all honesty, I see this as being a huge bet since being affiliated with the worst browser of all time, might kind of blow up in Microsoft’s face but then again for familiarity’s sake, it’s also pretty bold. Let’s just hope Edge won’t plague our souls like Internet Explorer did.