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​Samsung, SK Telecom develop 5G standalone equipment

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(Image: SK Telecom)

Samsung and SK Telecom have developed a prototype 5G switchboard based on the standalone standard (SA), the companies have announced.

5G will be deployed in 5G non-standalone (NSA) that will use 4G LTE networks in the beginning, and later switch to 5G SA that uses only 5G equipment for the network.

SK Telecom said deployment of 5G SA will offer near two times faster data processing speed and reaction time compared to 5G NSA.

The switchboard is modular in design and vendors can add accessory equipment for additional features, the telecommunications carrier said. Later, equipment with quantum security can be added for national defense agencies or financial institutes.

If being used for self-driving cars, where data must flow without interruption, data high-pass filter modules can be added, the company said.

Last month, SK Telecom said it had successfully synced switchboards of Samsung, Ericsson, and Nokia in preparation of deploying 5G NSA. The company also made its first call using the set up.

In the same month, Samsung announced a partnership with NEC to collaborate on 5G technology suites going forward.

South Korea plans to deploy 5G in March next year.

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2021 Audi TT and TTS gets new equipment and Bronze Selection trim

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Audi is spicing up the TT coupe and roadster in Europe. The newest TTS with the ‘competition plus’ package not only adds standard Quattro all-wheel-drive, magnetic suspension, and a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic gearbox. The latest Audi TTS also receives a more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Ingolstadt’s newest TTS is now producing 315 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from its blown four-cylinder mill. With that much power, the TTS Coupe can rush to 60 mph in 4.5-seconds (4.8-seconds for the Roadster). According to Audi, the top speed is at 155 mph.

It’s not as fast as the last Audi TT RS we tested a few years back, but the TTS competition plus is more powerful than the previous-gen TTS. The TT RS has a burlier turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five with 395 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, and goes from zero to 60 mph in around 3.7-seconds.

The competition plus package also throws in LED headlights, privacy tint for the coupe, red brake calipers, and unique 20-inch high-gloss black wheels. Meanwhile, the iconic Audi rings (found on the side sills and the front and rear of the vehicle) are now black for a more sinister vibe. The package includes a fixed rear wing and a plethora of new paint colors to sweeten the deal.

The newest Audi TTS competition plus has standard Nappa leather seats, Alcantara and leather interior trim, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Carbon-fiber dash inlays are standard, while buyers can choose between a blue or red interior theme with satin or glossy detailing.

On the other hand, the Bronze Selection trim is available for both the 2021 Audi TT and TTS. The package includes bronze and copper interior trim, 20-inch bronze wheels, and LED headlights. Standard equipment comprises a Bang & Olufsen audio system, expanded leather trim, dual round tailpipes, and a gloss black (TT) or matte titanium black (TTS) front grille.

The Audi TTS competition plus is now on sale in Germany and the rest of Europe. Prices start at around €61,000 (plus VAT) for the TTS Coupe and €63,700 for the Roadster. But if you’re pining for gold, the Bronze Selection package is available to order from the spring of 2021. Base pricing for the bronze package starts at €6,190 for the TT and €4,490 for the TTS.

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Super Nintendo World theme park will open on February 4, 2021

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Visitors to Universal Studios Japan will get the opportunity to enjoy some Nintendo-themed activities in the new Super Nintendo World early next year. Nintendo has confirmed that Super Nintendo World will open on February 4, 2021, in Osaka City. The new area is part of Universal Studios Japan, and its opening day is on a Thursday.

Among the opening attractions will be a ride-type attraction that is Mario Kart themed. The Mario Kart ride appears to be a roller coaster with each car holding four people. Those riding wear augmented reality glasses that look like Mario’s hat.

An image of Bowser’s Castle has been shared that shows a giant statue of Bowser with a stone-like appearance. Nintendo promises the game world is faithfully reproduced in the structure, including a large staircase with Bowser in the center meant to look intimidating to visitors. There are several attractions inside the castle, including icons and trophies seen in the Mario Kart game.

The ride uses video technologies including AR, projection mapping, screen projected images, and special effects, including steam. There will be scenes from other Nintendo games produced on the course. Another ride is Yoshi Adventure that puts players on the back of Yoshi as they hunt for treasure. Riders will use a map to find three hidden eggs.

Visitors will also be able to view the mushroom kingdom from Mount Beanpole and more. Visitors will also be able to accept a power-up band key challenge where they attempt to get golden mushrooms back from Bowser Junior. They will defeat enemies around the area. That particular ride appears to require an additional expense other than getting into the park. The official confirmation of the February 4, 2021 opening day is the first concrete opening day offered.

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Both Volkswagen and Tesla are preparing cheaper EVs

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A new report is going around that claims new, more affordable electric vehicles will be coming to market. According to the report, both Tesla and Volkswagen have given new EV programs the green light to create cars selling for between $25,000 and $30,000. That is a price point that will undoubtedly make transitioning to electric vehicles more affordable for people worldwide.

Pricing is one of the main concerns cited by vehicle shoppers for not choosing electric vehicles compared to a traditional car. Many have been waiting for EVs to reach price parity with similarly equipped traditional vehicles. That parity has been achieved in some parts of the luxury segment making EVs more popular in that part of the market.

Advancements in batteries have helped bring the price of electric vehicles down as the battery pack is one of the most expensive parts of the car. More drivers are interested in EVs as driving ranges have increased significantly in recent years. One barrier that remains in the way is the lack of charging infrastructure in many parts of the world.

Many also cite long charge times as a reason they’ve yet to adopt an electric vehicle. With new electric cars in the $25,000-$30,000 price range, one more barrier of entry will be removed. Tesla announced in September that it was planning a smaller long-range electric car using new battery technology that would start at $25,000. Elon Musk also noted that the vehicle will be fully autonomous and revealed a timeframe of about three years from now. The VW car is dubbed the Small Battery Electric Vehicle.

Volkswagen is aiming at a car about the size of its Polo. Volkswagen has offered no indication of when exactly its vehicle might come to market. Reports indicate that the 2024 through 2025 model range is a good guess for when the vehicles might arrive.

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