M&M introduces Intelli-Hybrid Technology on Scorpio

Image result for M&M introduces Intelli-Hybrid Technology on ScorpioMumbai, Sep 27 (IANS) Automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Tuesday said it has introduced its new mild hybrid technology ‘Intelli-Hybrid on the New Generation Scorpio with 1.99 litre mHAWK engine for Delhi and NCR (national capital region).

The company said the Scorpio with Intelli-Hybrid is available at a starting price of Rs 9.35 lakh for the S4 model and will be on sale with immediate effect.

“As an organisation that puts keen emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly practices across every process and product, we are delighted to introduce mild-hybrid technology on the Scorpio,” said Pravin Shah, President and Chief Executive (Automotive), M&M.

“By reducing fuel consumption, Intelli-Hybrid helps Scorpio owners contribute towards a cleaner and greener Delhi and NCR.”

According to the company, being a mild hybrid, the Scorpio will be sold with a concessional Value Added Tax (VAT) of five per cent in Delhi.

“Intelli-Hybrid reduces fuel consumption by up to seven per cent,” the automobile manufacturer said in a statement.

“This, by assisting the engine with electric power during acceleration, automatically switching the engine off within 3 seconds of the vehicle being stationary (start-stop) and reusing brake energy, which would otherwise be wasted, to charge the battery.”

Grim future for small telcos like Aircel, Telenor India

Analysts portend a grim future for smaller operators such as Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telenor India as Reliance unveils what may well be the world’s cheapest data plans.KOLKATA: Reliance Jio’s entry with disruptive offers of free voice calls, roaming and possibly the world’s cheapest data plans will push smaller mobile service providers such as Aircel, Telenor India, Tata TeleservicesBSE -0.97 % and Reliance Communications to the fringes, if not to exit altogether, analysts say

“In the medium term, Reliance Jio will ensure the likes of Aircel, Telenor India, Tata Teleservices and RCom will exit,” said a UBS note.

This position was seconded by brokerage BNP Paribas, which said Jio’s big bang entry is likely to “expedite exit of weaker operators dependent on cheap voice and not invested in data networks. These (weaker operators) still account for 25% of industry revenue and a likely 35%-40% volume share, given their low pricing.”

Deutsche Bank said weaker players with constrained financials will not be able to replicate Jio’s aggressive offers, and hence would eventually cede revenue-share to  ..

New form for ASBA in place

With a checklist regime kicking in for initial public offerings (IPOs), capital markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has put in place a new form for ASBA (Application Supported by Blocked Amount) facility.

ASBA facility has become mandatory for all categories of investors applying for a public issue for making payment from Friday. The facility allows the bid amount to remain in the applicants account till the time the shares are finally allotted.

In a circular, SEBI said that the application form for ASBA would be printed in a booklet form of A4 size paper.

Besides, SEBI has prescribed white colour form for Resident Indian, NRIs applying on a non repatriation basis and blue colour form for NRIs, Foreign Venture Capital Investor, Foreign Institutional Investors, their Sub-Accounts (other than sub-accounts which are foreign corporates or foreign individuals bidding under the QIB Portion), on a repatriation basis.

It further said that top of the application form will have a coloured identifier strap incorporating the name of the issuer, ISIN (An International Securities Identification Number) and type of form (Repatriation, Non- Repatriation). Besides, the main application should have information about eight digit application number, PAN number, bidders depository account details, investor category, among others.

A confirmation by the applicant (on behalf of joint bidders) that he/she has read, understood and agrees to such confirmations is also required.

The regulator said that application should also highlight about different category of investors (retail, non-institutional and QIBs), number of equity shares (reservation if applicable), percentage of issue available for allotment, basis of allocation in case of over-subscription, mode of allotment and terms of payment.

The new circular will be applicable for all public issues opening on or after January 1, 2016, SEBI said.

The regulator, in August, had made ASBA facility mandatory for all categories of investors applying for a public issue.

In order to enhance the points for submission of applications, SEBI had also allowed Registrar and Share Transfer Agents (RTAs) and Depository Participants (DPs) to accept application forms (both physical as well as online) and make bids on the stock exchange platform.

This will be over and above the stock brokers and banks where such facilities are presently available. The number of bank branches with ASBA facility has now increased to about 95,500, from 9,800 when this facility was introduced.

Sensex signs off in style, but slips 5 pc for 2015

sensex

The last trading day of the year ended on a promising note as the Sensex bounced by about 158 points to 26,117.54 at the close, led by realty and IT stocks.

But the frontline index was down over 5 per cent from a year ago — its first annual fall since 2011.

Covering-up of short positions following expiry of December futures and options series made investors more sure-footed, brokers said.

The carry-forward of positions to the January series and widening of bets at several blue-chips by investors amid hopes of better returns in the new year accelerated the gains.

After a higher start at 25,980.86, the 30-share index settled higher by 157.51 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 26,117.54.

The broad-based NSE Nifty rose 50.10 points, or 0.63 per cent, to end at 7,946.35, after shuttling between 7,955.55 and 7,891.15.

The Sensex has lost 1,381.88 points, or 5.02 per cent, in 2015, after gaining nearly 30 per cent in the previous year.

The index had last recorded a yearly loss in 2011 when it fell 24 per cent.

The index, which settled 2015 at 26,117.54, is also sharply down from its life-time high of 30,024.74 it scaled on March 4 this year on a rate cut boost from RBI.

The net FPI inflows this year have slackened to just about USD 3 billion, as against an average of USD 20 billion in each of the last three years.

HDFC took the lead, up 2.39 per cent, followed by GAIL (2.18 per cent), Coal India (2.06 per cent) and Bharti Airtel (2 per cent).

HDFC Bank, RIL, Maruti Suzuki, TCS, M&M, Tata Steel and ITC too chalked up gains.

Axis Bank, Hero MotoCorp, L&T, ICICI Bank, SBI, Dr Reddy’s Tata Motors and Cipla fell though.

The Nifty has dropped 336.35 points, or 4.06 per cent — also its first on-year drop since 2011. The 50-share index had climbed to its life-time high of 9,119.20 on March 4 and plunged to hit year’s low of 7,539.50 on September 8.

For the whole of 2015, the rupee, at 66.18 (intra-day), lost ground against the dollar as it weakened almost 5 per cent.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 152.20 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.
Sectorally, the BSE realty index today gained 1.52 per cent, followed by technology (1.18 per cent), IT (1.09 per cent), metal (0.81 per cent), oil and gas (0.73 per cent) and power (0.72 per cent).

Broader markets too displayed a firm trend, with the BSE small-cap index gaining 0.49 per cent and mid-cap index 0.35 per cent.

Globally, the trend in Asia was mixed and that of Europe was down in early trade.

GoAir may get clarity on A320 Neo delivery schedule by mid-Jan

Go Air Aircraft at the Delhi Airport. Photo: S.Subramanium

Budget carrier GoAir, whose fleet expansion plans were affected after European aircraft maker Airbus recently indicated a potential delay in the delivery schedule for A320 Neos, is likely to get clarity on the matter in two weeks, airline sources said on Sunday.

The Wadia-promoted airline was to induct these fuel-efficient aircraft from the next fiscal, but due to some “industrial reasons” the aircraft maker had indicated a potential delay in the delivery of these planes.

“Airbus is expected to get back to us on the issue of A320 Neo (new engine option) plane this month, which will clear the air about its delivery schedule,” the sources said here, expressing hope that some firm communication from Airbus in this regard would come around January 15.

The budget carrier was supposed to have 26 Airbus A320 Neos by end of 2017. GoAir had, in June 2011, placed order for 72 new A320 neos, valued at about Rs. 32,400 crore on list price, with Airbus.

Airline spokesperson was not available for comments.

GoAir had late last year said that deliveries of these planes were likely to be pushed back by 3-4 months. As per the earlier schedule, the planes were set to start joining the fleet from April this year.

One of the top three low-cost carriers, GoAir had 9.2 per cent market share in November last year.

GoAir, which is the second profitable carrier after the IndiGo, currently has 19 A320s in the fleet operating 144 daily flights across 22 domestic destinations.

Alstom delivers ‘Made in India’ coaches to Kochi Metro

Three indigenously-designed and manufactured coaches were flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, M. Venkaiah Naidu, on Saturday.

Alstom, the French transportation equipment maker, rolled out the first set of railway coaches for the Kochi Metro project from its facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. The three indigenously-designed and manufactured coaches were flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, M. Venkaiah Naidu, on Saturday. The Kochi coach order is the second rolling stock contract for Alstom in the country, with Chennai metro the first. The Metropolis coaches, which were handed over to Kerala Minister for Power and Railways Aryadan Mohammed, will take at least 10 days to reach Kochi where they will be received by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Trial runs

The civil works are at an advanced stage and trial runs expected to commence in the next few weeks.

“It is not only the fastest manufactured coach but also one of the most indigenised metro coaches to be manufactured in India with indigenisation level of nearly 70 per cent. It is not only a truly Make in India product but it is also a testimony to the fact that Indian skills, craftsmanship, technical prowess and entrepreneurship are one of the best in the world,” Mr Naidu said.

Alstom Deputy Senior Vice President, Jean Francois Beaudoin, said it was truly a ‘Make in India’ product for them as it was conceptualised, designed, manufactured and tested by an Indian team.

The coaches manufactured by Alstom were unique in many ways as they were the most modern coaches to be manufactured in India, Kochi Metro Rail Managing Director, Elias George, said. They were way ahead of schedule and costs lower compared to other metro coaches. It had 70 per cent indigenisation level.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director, Mangu Singh, said that they are willing to help secondary cities to implement metro rail project at lower cost.

Mr. Naidu said: “We have received the report. We are yet to study it to find out if they were feasible for some cities.”

BoomStick makes your cheap Apple EarPods sound (almost) as good as Beats

boomstick  silver angle 1 on black

We all have a bin full of disposable gadgets, stuff that seem valuable but we’ll never use again, like a wired computer mouse, a keyboard with missing keys, and a bunch of cords that hook up to who knows what.

Most likely than not, these bins also contain more than a few tangled Apple EarPods, the recognizably white earphones that come standard with every iPhone and iPod. Even though the EarPods cost $30, they’re not what we would call state-of-the-art. But before you toss them in the garbage, you might want to listen again using the new BoomStick audio adapter.

BoomStick uses proprietary algorithms to enhance the sound that comes out of any pair of headphones with the standard 3.5mm plug. Using the Apple EarPods, I could definitely hear the difference. By plugging your earphones into the BoomStick and then plugging the BoomStick into your smartphone audio jack, this tiny gadget instantly boosts the sound, making it louder while enriching the bass and acoustic levels. The BoomStick comes in black or silver and can be pre-ordered from BoomCloud360.com for $99. Pre-orders will be shipped out in February, and the BoomStick will be available on Amazon.com and other retailers on March 1.

boomstick  silver angle 2 on white

This portable adapter is easy-to-use with just an on-switch and one button. Tap the button to activate it and hear the difference. Press down on the button to enable “Boost” mode for when you’re on an airplane or any other particularly noisy environment. The rechargeable battery lasts for 14 hours, and it won’t drain your smartphone. Even though the BoomStick only weighs an ounce, you’ll still be able to feel it hanging from your smartphone while walking around town.

While Jay-Z (Tidal) and Neil Young (Pono) are advocating for audio fidelity via lossless compression, the BoomStick uses an ingenious approach to improving sound quality. And unlike lossless compression, you can actually hear the difference. The device uses proprietary algorithms to decide which parts of a song it should amplify by tapping into psychoacoustic bass enhancements, sound-field expansion, and high frequency contouring to bring out definition, clarity, and detail in song instrumentation. These algorithms also work to augment the sound in movies, too.

Even though the BoomStick makes your earphones sound louder, the company claims that it does not affect safe volume levels. The sound level is turned up only slightly when the BoomStick is activated, not enough to cause hearing damage.

boomstick hero 2  black

Instead of incorporating the technology in a new line of headphones, the BoomStick team chose to create an accessory that could work with any and all pairs of headphones you already own. The team also considered implementing these software algorithms into an app, but Apple restricts tinkering with iOS internal sound processing.

According to an independent consumer survey, 92 percent of listeners agreed that the BoomStick improved the sound quality of their headphones, whether they were Apple EarPods, Beats, Skullcandy, or Bose. The survey also claims that the BoomStick made the Apple EarPods and Samsung earphones sound better than premium headphones from Beats and Bose. But that’s misleading because the respondents only tested the BoomStick with their own devices and were never asked to cross-reference cheap earphones with expensive headphones.

boomstick  silver angle 1 on white

There’s an inherent difference between someone who listens to music via the free earphones that came with their smartphone and someone who invested hundreds of dollars in high-end headphones. There are different expectations when it comes to something “sounding good.” Furthermore, the headphone design delivers better comfort and acoustics, so comparing them with earphones is an apples-and-oranges situation.

Even though the BoomStick doesn’t quiet make your cheap earphones sound as good as expensive headphones, the gadget does improve sound quality. In fact, the survey found that the BoomStick attached to Beats headphones provided the best audio quality. So whether you’re an audiophile who already invested in premium headphones or just a casual listener forced to buy cheap earphones at the airport, the BoomStick will certainly make an audible difference.

$20,000 hoverboard actually hovers…for a few minutes, anyway

arcaboard

Those faux-hoverboards that look like Segways with the handlebars cut off have gotten all the attention lately, what with the exploding batteries and viral videos of riders wiping out. But hoverboards that actually hover do exist—they’re just…really expensive.

Case in point, take a look at the Arcaboard, a hoverboard from aeronautics company Arca Space Corporation. Unlike some hoverboards, like the Hendo and Lexus’s prototype hoverboard, which only work on certain conductive surfaces the Arcaboard can hover on just about any surface thanks to its 36 electric fans. These fans produce 272 horsepower and can carry up to 243 pounds depending on the model, according to the company.

Unlike the Hendo and the Lexus board, the Arcaboard isn’t exactly shaped like a skateboard. In fact, it looks a little like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

On other words, no, you won’t be able to kickflip it.

All those fans require quite a bit of power, though, so the Arcaboard only gets three to six minutes of hover time. The battery normally takes upwards of six hours to charge, but the Arca offers an optional recharging dock that the company says will recharge the board in only 35 minutes.

It sounds ridiculously cool, but odds are you won’t be able to afford one: The Arcaboard costs $19,900 and the dock costs $4500. Maybe in a few years, actual hoverboards will be the must-have Christmas present, but for now, the Arcaboard makes for cool proofs of concept.

Uber rival Sidecar hits dead end, will shut down ride and courier service on Dec. 31

sidecar

The ride’s over for Sidecar, a pioneering ride-sharing service that simply couldn’t compete with Uber and Lyft’s mindshare—nor their massive venture capital-infused warchests, as co-founders Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna made clear in their farewell post on Medium.

“We are the innovation leader in ridesharing despite a significant capital disadvantage, continually rolling out new products that set the bar for others to follow,” they wrote.

No more. Sidecar will stop all deliveries and rides at 2 p.m. on December 31. The closure doesn’t exactly come as a surprise; the company had already shifted focus towardsPostmates-style delivery/courier services in 2015, after its attempt to differentiate from the competition by allowing customers to pick their drivers failed to give said competition any pause. And things were only getting worse; while Lyft’s raised over $1 billion and Uber’s near-constant funding rounds have totaled up to more than $10 billion, Sidecarraised a mere $35 million in its lifetime.

But while Sidecar’s hit a dead-end as originally envisioned, the company itself may not be sent to the scrapyard just yet. “This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service, but it’s by no means the end of the journey for the company,” Paul and Khanna wrote; they also said Sidecar is shutting down rides and deliveries to “work on strategic alternatives and lay the groundwork for the next big thing.” That’s interesting for sure—but the co-founders didn’t provide any other explanation about where this alleged detour is headed.

Samsung Pay’s expanding to cheaper phones and online payments in 2016

samsungpay

Mobile payment systems are the new fingerprint sensors: Everybody’s got to have one, it seems. But while Android Pay and Apple Pay enjoy fairly widespread phone support—at least where mobile payments are accepted—Samsung’s own creatively named Samsung Pay has been limited to the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 variants alone.

But not for long!

Not only will Samsung Pay likely start landing on more modest Samsung phones next year, global co-general manager of Samsung Pay Thomas Ko told Reuters, but the service will also expand to making online payments. Samsung’s clearly banking on ubiquity to help propel Samsung Pay forward: Ko says that the mobile wallet is accepted at far more locations than its rivals, due to its ability to work with older payment terminals and not just new NFC-equipped models. Online payments, meanwhile, will transform the service into a PayPal rival.

The more ways you can use a mobile wallet, the better—and teaching Samsung phone owners to store their payment info in Samsung Pay for swift online payments could coax them into pulling out their phones at the cash register more often, too. Time will tell whether Samsung’s in-house solution can gain traction in the face of the Android Pay/Apple Pay combo, but wider phone support and expanded payment options are nothing but a good thing for Samsung Pay users.