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USB4 is ready: Twice as fast, smaller, and hitting devices in 2020

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USB Type-C gets authentication to protect against malicious devices
USB-IF announced it will roll out a USB Type-C authentication program to protect against non-compliant USB chargers and USB malware risks.

The official Thunderbolt-based USB4 specification is complete, the group that designs it announced on Tuesday.

USB4 is the next major version of the USB, which gains a major speed boost thanks to Intel licensing its Thunderbolt 3 protocol to the USB Promoter Group on a royalty-free basis. This group includes Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments.     

USB4 will enable 40Gbps speeds equivalent to Thunderbolt 3, which is currently found in high-end computers like the MacBook Pro and peripherals. 

That’s twice as fast as the current USB 3.2. However, as noted by CNET’s Stephen Shankland, many consumers are still using computers with earlier versions of USB that offer 5Gbps or 10Gbps. 

Thunderbolt 3’s incorporation into USB4 should bring higher speeds to lower-end devices and peripherals. And those higher speeds will be useful for connecting multiple displays and getting data from external hard drives. 

The longer-term promise of the speedier USB4 is that device makers will stop using old rectangular USB-A ports and USB Micro B ports in favor of the newer USB-C connectors, which USB4 requires to work.   

The USB Implementers Forum told CNET that consumers could expect to see devices, including laptops, external hard drives, and dongles with USB4 support in the “second half of 2020”.  

USB-IF notes three key benefits of USB4:   

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40Gbps operation over 40Gbps certified cables
  • Multiple data and display protocols that efficiently share the maximum aggregate bandwidth
  • Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3

Beyond speed, Thunderbolt technology is helping USB4 simultaneously handle video signals for external monitors and TVs, as well as data going to and from external hard drives. 

That means USB4 can be used for driving multiple displays simultaneously and multiple data applications over a single link. Additionally, as Thunderbolt does today, it will let consumers plug in external graphics cards to boost graphics on laptops.  

Despite Thunderbolt 3’s inclusion in USB4, Shankland notes Thunderbolt 3 is an “optional capability” for USB4. So while Thunderbolt 3 on today’s MacBook Pros uses its USB-C ports, a future USB4 port won’t necessarily support a Thunderbolt peripheral.     

Also, USB devices must include USB Power Delivery, which allows for high charging rates to support laptops.  



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2022 Land Rover Defender pricing confirmed – The cost of a V8

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Land Rover has priced up the 2022 Defender, including the new V8 version of the SUV announced earlier this week. The MY22 will kick off at $47,700 (plus destination) for the Defender 90, the distinctive three-door version of the truck, when it arrives in US dealerships come summer 2021. Expect, however, to pay considerably more if you want that supercharged V8 under the hood.

For the 2022 Defender 90, the entry engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. That delivers 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is shared by the five-door 2022 Defender 110 which starts at $50,500 plus $1,350 destination. The 2022 Defender 90 S will be $51,100 plus destination, while the Defender 110 S will be $54,000.

Stepping up a powertrain, the 2022 Defender 90 X-Dynamic S and the 2022 Defender 110 SE get the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 mild-hybrid we tested in the Defender 110. That’s good for 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $59,500 for the three-door and $65,100 for the five-door.

If you won’t settle for anything other than the V8 – and we can’t really argue with you – then prepare to open your wallet much wider. The 2022 Defender 90 V8 starts at $97,200 plus destination, while the 2022 Defender 110 V8 hits six figures, starting at $100,400. Land Rover will also have a Carpathian Edition of both, priced at $104,000 for the three-door and $107,200 for the five-door.

All four variants get the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8. It’s packing 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, and Land Rover says to expect 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds from the Defender 90 V8, and a top speed of 149 mph. Air suspension and an electronic active rear differential are standard, as is a new Dynamic drive mode in the SUV’s Terrain Response system. That prioritizes performance on asphalt and loose surfaces like gravel.

Replacing the old Defender 110 First Edition, meanwhile, is the 2022 Defender 110 XS Edition. Only offered on the five-door version of the SUV, and with the 3.0-liter mild-hybrid six cylinder engine, it’s priced at $71,900 plus destination.

Compared to the regular 110, it comes with special body-color lower cladding and lower wheel arches, around 20-inch, contrast diamond-turned alloy wheels finished in Satin Grey. Inside, there are 12-way heated and ventilated seats in Ebony Grained leather and Robust Woven Textile; Land Rover also throws in the extended leather package, illuminated metal tread plates, and finishes the Cross Car Beam running across the dashboard with a Light Grey powder coat brushed finish.

All 2022 Defender trims get wireless phone charging with a signal booster, and can be optioned with a larger, 11.4-inch curved touchscreen for the Pivi Pro infotainment system. There are also three new exterior design packs – the Bright Pack, Extended Bright Pack, and Extended Black Pack – available on select models.

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Fisker Ocean electric SUV gets a range and power boost promise

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Fisker is promising more range and more power for its Ocean electric SUV than first expected, though the new EV is still a long way from production kicking off. The announcement, part of Fisker’s Q4 2020 financial results, comes on the heels of a new partnership between the automaker and Foxconn to produce the EV that will follow the Ocean.

Announced in early 2019, the Ocean aims to take on cars like Tesla’s Model Y with an affordable price tag and family practicality. Also taking a note out of Elon Musk’s playbook is the reservations process: they opened for the Ocean EV all the way back in November 2019, even though Fisker didn’t confirm pricing for the sub-$38k car until the following January.

If you put down a reservation, meanwhile, you’ll still have some time to wait. Fisker expects initial production to kick off in Q4 2022, with automotive industry heavyweight Magna handling building the Ocean in Europe. However full production isn’t expected to ramp up until sometime in 2023.

At least you’ll know you’re getting a more capable electric SUV than Fisker first promised. The automaker now expects the EV to be able to drive 350+ miles on a charge, at least for the Ultra Long Range version of Ocean. That’s up from the 300+ mile estimate initially shared.

0-60 mph performance, meanwhile, is expected to now be in the ballpark of sub-4.0 seconds, for all but the base version of the SUV. “These specifications are meaningfully above our initial targets and are expected to support overall vehicle performance consistent with the segment leaders at launch,” Fisker said today.

The Magna partnership will also involve co-developing the Ocean’s active driver assistance systems (ADAS), which have been dubbed Fisker-Intelligent Pilot ADAS / AV. They’ll include cameras and radar which will be fitted to every Ocean trim, and serve “as a platform to deliver unique software-based safety, anti-annoyance, and entertainment features.”

Reservations currently stand at 12,467, Fisker says. Of those, more than 70-percent of would-be Ocean buyers apparently drive an internal combustion engine vehicle, Fisker says.

As for the Foxconn partnership, details there are still scant. The vehicle is expected to go into production as soon as Q4 2023, with the two companies suggesting a highly-aggressive 24 month development process. There’s no word on how much it may cost, nor what sort of vehicle it may be – though a design sketch suggested a smaller crossover to slot in underneath the Ocean in size – but sales ambitions are high, with Fisker projecting 250,000 annual volumes when the EV reaches full production.

Still, building up a car company is expensive. In Q4 2020, Fisker says, net losses totaled $12 million.

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Carrol Shelby’s personal 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is going to auction (again!)

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Carrol Shelby was not only an iconic automotive designer, racing driver, and entrepreneur. Expectedly, the guy is a huge car nut and owns an impressive lineup of vintage classics, like the car you see here.

This dreamy blue Cobra roadster is a 1966 427 Super Snake from the late Carrol Shelby’s personal collection. What’s more, Shelby only built two examples of this car and is the last surviving model after the other vehicle was sold and eventually wound up crashing in the ocean.

This particular CSX 3015 Super Snake has genuine racing genes. It started as a full-blown 427 Cobra Competition racing car. In 1967, it underwent a mild transformation to being a road-legal semi-competition vehicle by refitting the windscreen. No kidding.

For the past 15 years, this particular 1966 Cobra 427 has exchanged hands twice at various auction blocks. It first sold at a Barret Jackson auction in 2007 for a staggering $5.5-million with Carrol Shelby himself in attendance. Seven years on, it was back at Barret Jackson and sold for $5.1-million in January 2015.

Shelby Cobras demand astronomical price tags at auction houses. The first Cobra built by Carrol Shelby – the CSX 2000 – sold for a staggering $13.5-million at RM Sotheby’s in 2016. Shelby owned the car from 1962 until he died in 2012. Most recently, the ‘big brother’ of CSX 2000 (known as CSX 3178 in Shelby’s inner circle) sold for $5.49-million in January 2021.

If you want the Mecca of vintage Shelby cars, this 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is pushing all the right buttons. Under the hood lies an angry twin-supercharged 7.0-liter V8 motor producing 800 horsepower and generous servings of tire-shredding torque. This ’66 Cobra has the looks, the power, and the provenance to merit sums of cash.

Are you looking to own a significant piece of automotive history? This gorgeous 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is again heading to Barret Jackson’s Scottsdale auction this March. Prepare your wallets and checkbooks.

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