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We’ve already told you all there is to about brand Lexus coming to India. In fact we gave you an exclusive story too, telling you about the cars that are making their way here as also the strategy the company will adopt as regards India. We’ve already told you about the RX450 and the ES coming to India and we’ve even spotted the cars out on the roads, registered and ready for delivery in fact.

There are about 50 to 60 cars that have made their way to India but all will be used to garner interest within dealer principals first, which means that potential customers are now being tapped and test drives for the cars have begun.
The Lexus RX450h was spotted by us on the streets of Mumbai

Lexus will launch the both the RX450 and the ES300h in March 2017. So the first two cars that will launch will be hybrids. March will also see the launch of Lexus dealerships in India. There will be four showrooms to begin with – 1 in Mumbai, 1 in Bengaluru and two in Delhi. The preferred dealership partners for Lexus are the ones who currently have Toyota dealerships and yes, there are going to be separate dealerships as we’ve said earlier. Lexus and Toyota will however, share the same service network, although there will be a separate bay altogether for servicing the Lexus cars.

The Lexus RX and ES will launch in March 2017 There will be an onslaught of cars by the end of 2017 as we’ll see the LX450 diesel, LX 570 petrol and the NX make their way to India. The RC F sports car will not be coming to India. The RX450h will be priced more than ₹ 90 lakh (ex-showroom price) while the ES 300h will cost close to ₹ 60 lakh (ex-showroom). The cars will be direct imports to India and hence will attract import duties. Lexus also plans to bring the LS600h by January 2018.

Bookings for the cars have been opened at a dealer level and we can’t wait for the cars to be launched in India. We’ll keep you updated on the latest, so stay tuned!

BlackBerry last week made an announcement that its smartphones will now be manufactured and sold by TCL Communication (TCT). One week after the BlackBerry-TCL partnership news, TCL has now said that it will launch new BlackBerry smartphones at the CES 2017 trade show. However, there are no details regarding the new devices, but one of them could bring the BlackBerry’s signature physical QWERTY keyboard.

TCL Communication said the CES presentation will “include a first look at how the BlackBerry brand legacy will live on in a new generation of smartphones.” It’s evident BlackBerry is betting on the new partnership with China’s TCL to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. To recall, BlackBerry in September made a bold announcement that it’s quitting the mobile manufacturing business, and would solely focus on its software unit. The company recently launched the Android-powered DTEK60, which was manufactured under an agreement with TCL Communication.

Steve Cistulli, President and General Manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America commented, “We’ll unveil more news at CES around our plans, showcasing the legacy of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, while also giving a glimpse into what new BlackBerry smartphones will offer as part of our bold new brand portfolio within TCT. These are just the building blocks of our new growth strategy, with additional announcements to come in 2017.”

The new TCL-made BlackBerry QWERTY device is expected to be the rumoured BlackBerry Mercury, whose specifications were leaked online with images earlier this month. The rumoured BlackBerry Mercury is touted to have a fingerprint sensor integrated into the space bar. It is also expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 625 CPU, and house a 4.5-inch display. The smartphone has been spotted on GeekBench as well, and the leak hints at 3GB of RAM, 32GB of inbuilt storage, a 3400mAh battery, an 18-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It is said to run Android 7.0 Nougat with BlackBerry’s own customisations for security.

At this point, we are uncertain on when this device will be unveiled and what name it will commercially bear, but they are expected to hit the US first. Notably, BlackBerry’s partnership with TCL does not allow it to sell its new mobile devices in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, some of BlackBerry’s biggest handset markets.

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The Zuk Edge smartphone, which had been teased by Lenovo for a while now, has been finally launched in the Chinese market. The new Zuk Edge smartphone will go on sale from January 1 in China, and has been priced at CNY 2,299 (roughly Rs. 22,500) for the 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM variant, and CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 24,500) for the 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM variant. The latest Zuk smartphone will be made available in Ceramic White and Titanium Crystal Black colour variants.

The main highlight of the Zuk Edge is its 2.35GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, apart from its 5.5-inch full-HD TDDI display with Corning Gorilla Glass that supposedly has an 86.4 percent screen-to-body ratio, its USB Type-C (v3.1) port, its under-glass U Touch fingerprint sensor (that can unlock in as little as 0.09 seconds), and its built-in blood oxygen heart rate sensor. Other interesting additions in Lenovo’d Zuk Edge include a pneumatic altimeter and a UV light sensor.

The dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) Zuk Edge runs Android 7.0 Nougat-based ZUI 2.5. As for optics, the new Zuk Edge smartphone bears a 13-megapixel rear camera with a 1.34-micron pixel Samsung ISOCELL sensor, an f/2.2 aperture, PDAF+CAF hybrid autofocus, and a high-brightness flash. On the front, it bears an 8-megapixel camera with a 1.12-micron pixel sensor, and an f/2.2 aperture. Inbuilt storage of Zuk Edge is 64GB, which is not expandable via microSD card.

Connectivity options onboard the Zuk Edge include 4G LTE (with support for Indian LTE bands), Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.1, and GPS/ A-GPS. The Zuk Edge bears 3100mAh battery, measures 142.9×74.5×7.68mm and weighs 160 grams. Other sensors on board include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor

 
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California-based Blu Products has launched a new smartphone to its Life series – the Blu Life Max. The Blue Life Max is a budget smartphone that comes with a large 3700mAh battery as its biggest highlight. The smartphone will be available in the US via Blu’s official retail partner, Amazon at a decent price of $118.87 (roughly Rs. 8,000) for the unlocked version. For now, the smartphone is ‘temporarily out of stock’ without any information regarding its arrival on the Amazon. The Blu Life Max is only available in Dark Blue colour, and works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, and Straight Talk, amongst other carriers.

The dual SIM (Micro-SIM) supporting Blu Life Max runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box. The Blu Life Max is powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6737 CPU clocked at 1.3GHz, and houses a Mali T-720 GPU for the graphics. It packs 2GB of RAM under the hood. The Blu Life Max has a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280) IPS display with ‘Blu Infinite View’ – that’s actually the curved glass around the corners of the smartphone – and a resolution of 267 ppi.

For photography, Blu Life Max sports an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with full-HD video recording capability. The front-facing camera is a 5-megapixel shooter, and both the cameras come with flash modules. The Blu Life Max also offers a fingerprint scanner sitting right below the rear camera. The Blu Life Max also offers an inbuilt storage of 8GB, which is expandable via a microSD card (up to 16GB).

The Blu Life Max packs a 3700mAh battery that is rated to last up to 3 days with standard usage. Connectivity options in the Blu Life Max include 4G LTE, GPRS/ Edge, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The smartphone measures 154.5×77.1×8.7mm.

 
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Zen Mobile on Tuesday launched the Cinemax Click in India, a 4G VoLTE-capable smartphone priced at Rs. 6,190. The company says the smartphone will be available with online and offline retailers, and comes bundled with a Reliance Jio SIM with access to the Jio Happy New Year Offer. Zen Mobile is also bundling a protection kit and one-time screen replacement within the first six months.

The dual-SIM Zen Cinemax Click runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and sports a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) OnCell display. The smartphone is powered by a 64-bit 1.3GHz quad-core processor (unspecified) coupled with 1GB of RAM. As for optics, the smartphone bears an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with flash, apart from a 5-megapixel front-camera.

The Cinemax Click comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB) and features regular connectivity options like Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth, apart from 4G VoLTE support. The smartphone is powered by a 2700mAh battery that’s rated to deliver up to 30 hours of standby time. Other features of the Zen Cinemax Click include the Swalekh multi-lingual keyboard with support for for 20 regional languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. The smartphone comes preloaded with Saavn, Zen AppCloud, and Zen Game Store apps, and the company is also touting a mobile tracking and special screenshot features for users.

Announcing the launch, Sanjay Kalirona, CEO, Zen Mobile, said, “The launch of Cinemax Click further strengthens our 4G VoLTE portfolio in India. At Zen Mobile, we are constantly working towards offering consumers with feature rich, value for money smartphones, while at the same time helping them live a seamless digital life. Cinemax Click will be available to customers with Jio 4G Happy New Year offer and esp. launch benefits of free protection gear and one time screen replacement in case of any breakage during first 6 months. We will continue to focus on our presence in Tier II and Tier III cities in India to help every Indian embrace the Digital movement.”

 
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After launching the Ultra50 in October, Videocon expanded its 4G lineup on Friday after announcing the launch of the Ultra30 smartphone in India. Much like the Ultra50, the Ultra30’s VoLTE support and a large battery pack are its key highlights. The Videocon Ultra30 smartphone has been given a ‘special introductory price’ of Rs. 8,590, and is available exclusively on Snapdeal in a Blue Gold colour variant.

The 4G-enabled Ultra30 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is similar to the Ultra50 in terms of specifications. The smartphone features a 5-inch (720×1280) HD IPS display with MiraVision and DragontrailX 2.5D curved glass. The device is powered by a 64-bit 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor coupled with 32GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB).

The dual-SIM Videocon Ultra30 smartphone packs a fairly large 4000mAh battery with fast charging. On the camera front, the smartphone features a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, PDAF, and Gorilla Glass lens, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash for low-light selfies. Videocon says the rear camera comes with a Smart Wide Dynamic View (SWDR) and ISOCELL technology “to enable wide angled panoramic shots” and sharp images in low light conditions.The Videocon Ultra30 comes with the usual connectivity features which include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and FM radio. Some added features include dual WhatsApp, SOS-be-safe and gesture controls, among others. It measures 144×73.8×9.8mm, and weighs 166.5 grams.

Speaking on the launch, Akshay Dhoot, Head of Technology & Innovation, Videocon, said, “With the launch Ultra30 today, Videocon Smartphone continues to be a brand that constantly innovates in order to offer best in line smartphones. It has been our endeavour to stay ahead and lead the constantly changing.”

 
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Huawei Terminal’s Honor brand on Friday unveiled the Honor Magic smartphone. The new Honor Magic smartphone will be available starting Friday in China and has been priced at CNY 3,699 (roughly Rs. 36,000). It will be available in China via Vmall, Tmall, and JD.com. The Chinese company has not revealed any global availability details for the Honor Magic smartphone as of now. With the launch of the Magic smartphone, Honor also commemorated its third-anniversary.

The Honor Magic features intelligent sensor and recognition technology to ensure privacy. It comes with WiseScreen sensor that allows users to unlock the phone by simply looking at the screen. When users put Honor Magic down or in pocket, the smartphone automatically turns off the screen and locks the phone. The new Honor Magic also comes with FaceCode intelligent recognition feature that shows notifications arriving on the device only when it verifies that it’s the user and not someone else. Users will have to pre-register a face on the phone. The company also introduced a Google Now on Tap-like feature dubbed Deep Think which surfaces information about a place or a topic when users press and hold the home button.

For specifications, the Honor Magic features a 5.09-inch (1440×2560 pixels) Quad HD Amoled 3D curved display. Honor Magic is powered by the company’s in-house octa-core Kirin 950 processor clocked at 1.8GHz coupled with 4GB of RAM. There is 64GB of inbuilt storage. The new Honor Magic smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Honor’s UI on top. It supports dual-SIM and packs a 2900mAh battery with fast charging support. The company claims that Honor Magic smartphone can reach up to 70 percent in 20 minutes of charging while 10 minutes of charging gives 40 percent charge.Honor Magic sports 12-megapixel dual-rear cameras with dual-tone LED flash and f/2.2 aperture. There’s an -8-megapixel front camera on board as well. The Honor Magic measures 146.1×69.9×7.8mm and weighs 145 grams. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, 3G, GPRS/ EDGE, Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS/ A-GPS.

 
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Swipe Technologies, soon after launching the entry-level Elite Star, has now unveiled the Elite Max in India. Priced at Rs. 10,999, the all-new Swipe Elite Max is now available to buy exclusively via online retailer Flipkart. The company with its latest offering is targeting “youth, fashion-savvy women, and professionals.” The online retailer claims that the Elite Max is eligible for Jio Happy New Year offer which means it also supports VoLTE (voice-over LTE).

At this price point, the new Swipe Elite Max will be competing against the popular Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Moto G4.

For specifications, the Elite Max features a 5.5-inch (1080×1920 pixels) IPS display and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It supports a hybrid dual-SIM (Micro-SIM + Nano-SIM) configuration. It is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. The handset packs 32GB inbuilt storage and supports expandable storage up to 64GB via microSD card.It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and PDAF (phase detection autofocus). It also sports an 8-megapixel front camera. The handset comes with a glass back panel and also features a fingerprint sensor at the back. It measures 155×76.6×7.7mm and packs a 3000mAh battery.

Connectivity options apart from 4G LTE include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, USB OTG, and Micro-USB.

Swipe earlier this week launched the 4G-enabled Elite Star in India. The handset ran on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Indus OS and was priced at just Rs. 3,333.

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The new generation MINI Clubman has been launched in India at Rs 37.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). It is the second product to be launched by the carmaker in India this year, with first one being the MINI Cooper S Convertible. The Clubman is currently the longest model in the British carmaker’s line-up and in its second generation.

It was early this year in February during the 2016 Auto Expo that MINI announced its plan to launch the new Clubman and the Cooper S Convertible in India. While we have already driven global-spec MINI Clubman, we will soon bring you a review for the India-spec version as well. As for the car itself, the new Clubman is based on the same front-wheel-drive UKL platform like its smaller siblings and shares its design cues with the Cooper S. In fact, you could even say that the Clubman is an elongated five-door wagon version of the Cooper S.

In reference to dimensions, the new MINI Clubman is 270 mm longer, 90 mm wider than the standard MINI-5 door and comes with an added wheelbase of 100mm as well. The longer wheelbase not only translates to additional cabin space but also increased boot capacity of 360 litres. In fact, by toggling down the rear seat it can be further expanded to 1,250 litres.

In terms of design, a lot has changed in the new-gen MINI Clubman. The car now comes with a new face styled by a bigger front grille with a honeycomb pattern and a large black chrome slat and a chrome surround. The classic sweptback headlamp cluster comes with projector lights with LED daytime running lights with chrome bezels. The new front bumper looks well-designed with the muscular lines and houses the new round fog lamps and wide central air dam. From the sides the car looks very much similar to the older model apart from the new alloy wheels along with the redesigned ORVMs and door handles. The car also comes with plastic underbody cladding.

The rear section of the MINI Clubman has always been the most intriguing part of the car and it’s mainly because of the signature two-door tailgate with nice chunky chrome handles and a Clubman badge below them. The horizontal LED tail lamps have been redesigned and now come with a bolder chrome border and new light pattern. The rear bumper is also new and is really well-designed. The lower portion of the bumper also gets plastic cladding and houses the dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes.

The Clubman comfortably seats four adults offering generous space for luggage. Up front, there is an entirely new dashboard, but the cabin design is pretty much same as any MINI out there like the seats, steering wheel and gear lever. So you’ll find the same circular design patterns with toggle switches, frills and furbelows. The speedometer has found its place directly in front of the driver and there is the signature round centre screen fitted with a navigation system.

Under the hood, the new MINI Clubman gets the 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission. It delivers 189bhp and 280Nm of maximum torque.

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Lifting curtains off the highly awaited model of the year, the Bajaj Dominar 400 has been officially launched in the country with an introductory price starting at ₹ 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the non-ABS version. Bajaj Auto’s biggest motorcycle ever begins a new journey for the bike maker in the premium space and the company states that it will be the first in the series of big muscular bikes for the fast growing premium bike segment.

Speaking on the launch of the Bajaj Dominar 400, Eric Vas, President, Motorcycle Business, Bajaj Auto said, “We believe that a high quality product with the latest technology and offering high performance should be accessible, unlike what many think that high quality and premiumness is also expensive. So we’ve priced it at Rs 1.36 lakh to make it accessible to a wide range of customers.”

Power on the Bajaj Dominar 400 comes from the 373.2cc DTS-i single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-valve engine that is tuned to produce 34.5bhp at 8000rpm and 35Nm of torque at 8500rpm. The motor comes paired to a 6-speed gearbox and also gets a slipper clutch, a first for any Bajaj offering. The bike comes with 43 mm telescopic front forks and an adjustable monoshock rear suspension, while braking performance comes from 320 mm front and 230 mm rear disc brakes. The bike also gets dual-channel ABS.

Bajaj Dominar 400: Instrument Cluster

In terms of styling, the Bajaj Dominar 400 retains the muscular and aggressive lines. The design is attention seeking and mixes a sports bike style with the stance of a cruiser. Furthermore, you get full LED headlamps on the Dominar 400, a first in the segment, while it also comes with Automatic Headlamp On (AHO) function as standard.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 will be available in three colours – Midnight Blue, Twilight Plum and Moon White. The bike will be initially sold via 80 showrooms across 22 towns in the country. The company will accept bookings for the Dominar only online for a token amount of ₹ 9000, while test rides and deliveries will happen at the dealerships.

Bajaj Dominar 400: Side Profile

The Bajaj Dominar 400 primarily competes against the Royal Enfield Classic 350. With respect to competition, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto said, “People can ride the Bullet and if they want to go faster than the Bullet, they can ride the Dominar.”

The Dominar 400 will also be exported to international markets including Europe, Malaysia, Philippines, Dubai among others, while deliveries in India will commence from January next year. Bajaj is aiming to sell 15,000 units of the Dominar 400 every month, while an annual targeted is marked at 2,00,000 units. The company aims to capture 20 per cent of the market share in the premium motorcycle segment with its newest offering and with that pricing, the number certainly does not seem optimistic.

Bajaj Dominar 400 Prices:

Variants Price (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
Bajaj Dominar 400 non-ABS ₹ 1,36,000
Bajaj Dominar 400 ABS ₹ 1,50,000

Bajaj Dominar 400 Specifications:

Engine 373cc single-cylinder DTS-i
Power 34.5bhp @ 8000rpm
Torque 35Nm @ 8500rpm
Transmission 6-speed with Slipper Clutch
Kerb Weight 182 kg
0-100 kmph 8.32 seconds
Top Speed 148 kmph
ABS Dual Channel

Bajaj Dominar 400 Dimensions:

Length 2156 mm
Width 813 mm
Height 1113 mm
Wheelbase 1453 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity 13 Litres
Suspension 43mm Front Forks, Adjustable Rear Monoshock
Brakes 320mm (Front), 230mm (Rear) with ABS
Tyre Size 110/70/R17, 150/60/R17 MRF Revz C1