Cisco says most of 5G network gear’s ready


Cisco Systems said on Sunday it aims to disrupt the wireless radio access market led by Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia by backing challengers who make more flexible software versions of traditional mobile gear. Cisco, known for making networking gear that moves big volumes of data around the internet, wants a bigger share of the mobile market by backing these alternative providers rather than by making radio access equipment itself.

Its radio access network push is part of Cisco’s efforts to prove to mobile network operators that investing in modern infrastructure and automation tools can help them to cope with increased data demands, while lowering costs.

The Silicon Valley company made the announcement ahead of this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where hundreds of telecom operators are looking for new ways to deal with exploding customer data demands and intense pricing pressures. Cisco said it is working with more than 20 network operators to offer next-generation 5G services, which promise to deliver not just faster phones and video, but also connected cars and internet-connected industrial sensors over the next decade.
“Many of the things we enable you to do, you can do before 5G,” Yvette Kanouff, general manager of Cisco’s business unit for telecom service providers, told Reuters in an interview. Ray Mota, an industry analyst at ACG Research, said Cisco was looking to convince operators to spend more on what he called “precursors to 5G”, which solve pressing network issues but won’t need to be replaced once 5G rolls out in earnest starting around 2020. Ovum, another research firm, said Cisco’s message was that “an operator can deliver much of the functionality of 5G, with up to 85% of its features, today.”


Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Consider these new products for savvy travelers. (Handout)

hape-shifting innovations put a twist on the familiar in this gear roundup.

Picture perfect

The quality of photos from a smartphone is so good that many travelers leave their clunky camera gear at home. To give you even more photographic flexibility, Pixter has introduced a pack of four compact specialty lenses that clip onto any smartphone.

The Pixter Pro Pack includes a wide-angle lens; a 238-degree super fisheye lens; a 10X macro lens; and a telephoto lens. The lenses come in a padded travel case and have front and back lens caps.

Cost, info: Pixter Pro Pack lists for $154.90 (lenses are about $55 apiece a la carte).

Twofer toy

Pillow Pets

Taking a buddy along can make children happier and when that pal is a plush companion that morphs from a toy into a pillow, you’ll please and placate your child.

Pillow Pets are chenille-stuffed animals (also some cute cars) that widen and flatten into a pillow with the release of a cinch strap. Sizes average 12- to 16-inches-square when fully open. All are machine washable.

Pillow Pets also come as zippered sweatshirts. Bunch up the garment for a nice, fat cushion or use just the padded hood part as a pillow and wrap the rest around your child for an extra-warm hug with pockets.

Cost, info: Pillow Pets run $20 to $25; animal-head hoodies cost about $20.

This bag does tricks

Eagle Creek

Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is just a trick; pulling a backpack out of a wheel-aboard bag? That’s magic.

That’s what the wizards at Eagle Creek Luggage have conjured with the new Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On. With a quick unzip, what had been a single 20½-by-13¾-by-9-inch roller bag separates into a backpack and a wheeled bag, offering about double the space you started with.

Both are made with polyurethane-coated polyester and have top- and side-padded grab handles, double lockable zippers and reinforced seams.

The wheeled bag has thick, treaded wheels; a hinged kickstand keeps the bag upright. The soft backpack has zip-away padded interior sleeves that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop and a tablet, as a well as a nifty built-in cord winder, a key fob and padded pouches for fragile electronics.

The backpack’s two trolley straps can slide over the wheeled bag’s telescoping pull handle. Zipped back together, the bag can be wheeled, or carried using the pack’s back straps.

All this abracadabra isn’t cheap, but it’s a class act, even without the wand.

Cost, info: Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On costs $329.

A bag that suits


Is anything as yummy as curling up in your tent inside a toasty sleeping bag on a chilly night camping? Is anything as awful as having to get out of that warm sleeping bag to go out into the elements?

No problem if you have the new SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag, designed to keep you comfy in and out of the tent.

It looks like a giant snowsuit, but lets you be much more mobile. It has zip-off booties, big kangaroo-style pockets and flaps at the wrists that let you quickly free your hands.

It’s made of ripstop nylon and polyester with hollow fiber polyester insulation, and its insulated adjustable hood extends from a high thermal collar.

The zip-off booties let you substitute your own shoes when you are active, and the booties’ reinforced nylon soles and lateral grips for traction make them tough enough for a stroll.

The bag comes in a range of colors and patterns, including Star Wars-themed designs, in adult and children’s sizes.

One quibble: The SelkBag is not equipped with a drop seat so you must wriggle out of the bottoms when nature calls. A fix is in the works.

Cost, info: SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag in adult sizes costs about $170 for the Original (warmest) model; a lighter, less-insulated model costs $99. Children’s SelkBags cost $69 to $89.


Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro Review

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro Review


  • The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro works with both Android and iOS
  • It features waterproofing, in addition to GPS and Super AMOLED display
  • It is currently priced at Rs. 13,590

Upon reviewing the Gear Fit 2 at the beginning of 2017, we said it redefined what buyers should expect at its price point (then less than Rs. 12,000). It handily beat every Fitbit offering, and was especially suited to those with Samsung phones. We did have a few complaints, and in the months since then, Samsung has fixed one big one.

The new Gear Fit 2 Pro is similar to its direct predecessor in most ways. The addition of the ‘Pro’ suffix is because of its more fitness-focused features, including waterproofing – you can easily take this new wearable into the shower, pool, or ocean (up to 50m deep) without worry. There’s also continuous heart rate tracking now, so the device will always keep an eye on how you’re doing.

This is Samsung’s third take on a complete fitness wearable, and it shows in its construction quality, ease of use, and feature list. Now that the Gear Fit 2 has been discontinued, this is the one to consider.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro look, feel, and navigation

Samsung has opted for a traditional railroad strap with the Gear Fit 2 Pro, which will be familiar to most people. Inserting the strap’s tooth into the last hole isn’t as easy it was on the Gear Fit 2, but the quality of material used here is definitely better. The Gear Fit 2’s rubber strap left rashes on our arm on days with a lot heavy walking, but that hasn’t been the case with this new model.

The display on the Gear Fit 2 Pro is the same as before; a 1.5-inch Super AMOLED curved screen that can show all colours, and works with the slightest of touches. In contrast, those on Fitbit devices usually require harder presses. The two buttons – Back, and Home – are still on the right side of the wearable. You can wake up the Gear Fit Pro with a press of either button, or just tilt your wrist so that the display faces you.

samung gear fit 2 pro 02 Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro


Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro software

Samsung has improved the customisation options for watch faces on the Gear Fit 2 Pro. You can tweak not only what statistics you want displayed on the home screen, but also the colour and font. That helps personalise the device, and there are also hundreds more watch faces available via the Gear Store.

Speaking of the Gear Store, Samsung has (thankfully) gotten rid of the strange forced localisation that we were treated to when we reviewed the Gear Fit 2, so you won’t have to deal with a Hindi interface just because you’re browsing from India. We still couldn’t find a way to change it, but defaulting to English is a better choice in our opinion.

The store is still region locked though, which means the likes of Spotify and UA Record aren’t available without the help of a VPN, removing the SIM card, and all that jazz. Still, there are many more useful apps now, with the focus clearly on exercising: Under Armour Record, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo are the highlights of the lot.

The biggest annoyance with the iOS app is that it takes forever to connect to the Gear Fit 2 Pro. For what it’s worth, you don’t need to use the app much unless you regularly wish to install and test new apps, but it can be frustrating when you need to tweak something on the go. Even when it does connect, it can end up randomly disconnecting if you move your hand even slightly.

Installing apps is cumbersome for no reason at all. The Gear Fit app throws up multiple dialog boxes before every download, asking whether you want to download directly to the device (the Gear Fit 2 Pro has Wi-Fi as before), informing you that downloads over 1MB can result in high mobile data charges (even if your phone is connected to Wi-Fi), and then a permissions screen. On top of all that, installation takes too long, and apps in the queue don’t download if the phone’s screen goes off.

samung gear fit 2 pro app Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro


Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro activity monitoring, GPS, music, and notifications

Like its predecessor, the Gear Fit 2 Pro is capable of tracking a wide variety of activities. That includes walking, cycling, squats, and yoga, as well as using exercise bikes and rowing machines. The one big addition this time is swimming. That’s made possible thanks to full waterproofing on Samsung’s new wearable, as opposed to just splash-proofing on the older Gear Fit 2. The device can track these activities automatically, but you won’t get a GPS route of your exercise unless you trigger it manually.

Getting a GPS lock takes a long time on the Gear Fit 2 Pro with an iPhone, more so if there are a lot of trees or skyscrapers on the route you normally use. It can mean losing the first one to two minutes of your activity, and in some cases, the device might even give up and ask you to move into an open space to try again. With Android, it’s a lot better as Samsung can pull A-GPS data from your paired phone.

But hey, the fact that built-in GPS is an option means that you can leave behind your bulky phone, and not have to deal with arm straps during workouts. The Bluetooth functionality and 4GB of onboard storage let you carry music with you and use wireless headphones. There’s a caveat to that storage figure though – of the 4GB, 1.9GB is already occupied by the system itself, so you start off with 2.1GB. Still, that’s enough space for nearly 300 songs encoded at 320kbps, with an average length of 3 minutes.

You can use Wi-Fi to transfer music via the Gear Music Manager app, and you can even use it to maintain a remote connection with your phone beyond the capability of Bluetooth. That way, you’ll know when you’re getting a call (and other notifications) even if your phone is silent and in some corner of the house, as long as you’re wearing the Gear Fit 2 Pro of course.

Notifications support is wider than with most Fitbits, and alerts from every app – on both Android and iOS – will show up on the wearable. On Android, you can turn off what notifications you want from the app, but with iOS, all notifications are on by default and can be blocked the first time they pop up. With Samsung’s own phones, you can send canned replies too.

samung gear fit 2 pro s health Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro


Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro performance

We tested the Gear Fit 2 Pro against mile markers on a running track, and with the built-in GPS on, the Gear Fit 2 Pro was well on point during activity tracking, with a 3 percent average error rate in distance measured. Turn the GPS off, and the Samsung wearable became a lot worse, arriving at an 11 percent average error rate. (Runkeeper, using an iPhone’s built-in GPS, showed an average error rate of less than 3 percent.)

When cycling, the Gear Fit 2 Pro’s GPS problem is more pronounced, since bikes are naturally faster than running. We found that we lost records of the first 40-60 seconds of our exercise routines, unless we were okay waiting for the device to get a lock before starting off. Even worse, doing so affected all our stats, as Samsung considers that time as part of the activity.

Samsung’s S Health app hasn’t gotten the facelift it needs, but the amount of data it gives you for your exercises is great. It’s deeper than what the likes of Fitbit and Runkeeper provide, owing to how both those apps generate revenue for their makers. The behemoth that is Samsung has no need to lock your data behind a paywall. Samsung is also trying to keep up with Fitbit’s innovations in the sleep department, giving you a look at light and deep sleep, and how much rest you actually got.

In terms of battery life, the Gear Fit 2 Pro lasts two to three days with moderate usage. That’s if you keep Wi-Fi and GPS off through the day, and only rely on Bluetooth to maintain a connection to your phone. For those used to the five days that most Fitbit devices can manage, this means more frequent charges. It only takes a little over an hour to get it from single digits to a full charge, given the 200mAh battery.

samung gear fit 2 pro fitbit charge 2 Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro Fitbit Charge 2


The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro isn’t a game-changer compared to its predecessor, but waterproofing and continuous heart tracking are welcome additions, especially since they come without a price bump. The Pro model has been launched at the same Rs. 13,990 price as Gear Fit 2, and is already down to Rs. 13,590 in retail. Samsung was quite aggressive with the pricing of the original, bringing it down to Rs. 11,990 in a few months, and it eventually hit Rs. 8,990, and we could see the same pattern this time around.

Even if that doesn’t happen, Samsung’s latest is already more affordable than the Fitbit Charge 2 (Rs. 14,990, but often discounted). Moreover, the Gear Fit 2 Pro has more features and capabilities than the Charge 2 – built-in GPS, a Super AMOLED display, full notifications support, and now waterproofing – that Samsung would be our first choice even if it winds up costing a little more.


  • Built-in GPS
  • Super AMOLED screen is still great
  • Waterproofing, can track swims
  • Full notifications support


  • Region-locked store is frustrating
  • Display is weak outdoors
  • Inaccurate without GPS

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Tracking: 4
  • Other features: 5
  • Value for money: 3.5
  • Overall: 4


Upcoming Cars In 2018


If you thought 2017 was an exciting year for the automotive industry, well you’ll be surprised at what 2018 has to offer. The year is going to start off with a bang with a whole bunch of launches coming out way as we gear up for the Auto Expo. Of course, the rest of the year has more in stored. We take a look at what cars to expect in 2018 so that you can start saving for your favourite car right away.

Here’s A List Of All The Cars That Will Launch In 2018

Lamborghini Urus

lamborghini urus

The Urus is the fastest most powerful SUV in the world

Just 38 days after its global reveal, Lamborghini will launch the SUV in India on January 11. The Urus straddles the worlds of the SUV, coupé-crossover, sports car and even the luxury car. It’s the fastest SUV in the world and can go from 0 to 100 kilomteres per hour in just 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 305 kmph. We expect it to be priced above ₹ 3.5 crore.

Launch: January 11, 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 3.5 crore

Audi Q5

2018 audi q5

The Audi Q5 looks better than before with the chiseled look

The new generation of the Q5 will hit the Indian shores on January 18 and it gets an updated look and sharper features. The Q5 also comes with a beefy front bumper with large air intakes for increased airflow. We expect the Q5 to come with the 2 litre diesel motor and the petrol too will soon follow. The 2018 Audi Q5 is based on the flexible MLB Evo platform and mimics the design of the larger Q7.

Also Read: New-Gen Audi Q5 Launch Details Out

The new SUV is lighter by a good 100 kg over the predecessor and has also grown in dimensions sporting a longer wheelbase and height. The design is sharper with cleaner lines on the Q5. There’s the new single-frame grille with Matrix LED headlamps and a sporty bonnet. The rear sports LED taillights, a roof mounted spoiler and a new bumper with a rear diffuser. The Q5 will rival the likes of the Volvo XC60, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX 300h.

Launch: January 18, 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 50 lakh- ₹ 60 lakh

Datsun redi-GO AMT

datsun redi go 1l review

The AMT will only be available with the powerful 1-litre engine

Datsun will launch the automated manual transmission variant of the redi-GOin january and this will add to the variant line-up of the car. We’ll see no cosmetic changes as such and the AMT will be the same as the one in the Kwid. It will all come down to how the gearbox has been calibrated to the engine. We expect it to be pricier by 25 to 30 thousand rupees than the current 1 litre variant.

Launch: January 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 4 lakh

New Generation Maruti Suzuki Swift

maruti suzuki swift hybrid

The new Swift is lighter and more agile than before

It’s the most anticipated of launches in India and Maruti Suzuki is all set to usher in the new generation of the Swift with much fanfare. The new generation of the Swift is based on the all-new HEARTECT platform, which is lighter and more rigid than the current version. We don’t expect any changes in terms of the engines on offer, but the 1 litre boosterjet will see the addition of an RS model which will be sportier and more powerful.

Also Read: 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid Spotted In India

We expect it to be made available in both manual transmission and an AMT right from its launch. Maruti Suzuki will showcase the car at the Auto Expo and will launch the car soon after.

Expected Launch: February 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 5.5 lakh – ₹ 7.5 lakh


Mahindra MPV

mahindra mpv spy

The Mahindra MPV will be a 7 seater

Mahindra has had a good run with its MPVs, especially the Xylo, but it’s time to move on. The new MPV will be a seven seater and is likely to get a monocoque construction. While it’s still too early for us to give you any more details, we expect the car to launch by March 2018.

Expected Launch: March 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 8 lakh onwards

Lexus LS 500h

lexus ls 500h

The LS 500h will be the fourth hybrid car from Lexus in India

Lexus will introduce its flagship sedan, the LS 500h,  in a single hybrid form. The BMW 7-series and Mercedes-Benz S-class competitor will come powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors that make a combined 354hp. Power is channeled through an e-CVT transmission, and for India, it’ll only be offered in rear-wheel-drive form. Expect prices to be upwards of Rs 1.5 crore

Launch: January 15, 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 1.5 crore

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Facelift

mercedes benz s class facelift

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift still is the benchmark in its segment

Mercedes-Benz will be launching the S-Class facelift in February 2018 during the Auto Expo. The company’s flagship model is produced at the Chakan facility in Pune which is the only plant outside of Europe that produces the S-Class. The new S-Class in India will have a range of new inline 6-cylinder petrol and diesel engines along with a range topping twin-turbo V8. The car has been thoroughly updated on the inside and gets a new, larger touchscreen infotainment system and also is more luxurious. How do we know this? Well, we’ve driven it of course! We expect prices to breach the ₹ 1 crore mark.

Expected Launch: February 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 1 crore onwards

Volvo XC40

volvo xc40

The Volvo XC40 is based on the new CMA platform

Volvo will launch its most affordable and smallest SUV in India by mid-2018. XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new Compact Modular Architecture which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles. The XC40 will go up against the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. In terms of safety, the Volvo XC40 gets pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and large animal detection with emergency autobrake, Pilot Assist and Run-off Road protection.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About The Volvo XC40

It also gets wireless QI mobile phone charging and Bluetooth connectivity, 9-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen and a dedicated cell phone storage space. From the start the XC40 will be available with a D4 diesel or a T5 petrol four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain. Further powertrain options, including a hybridised as well as a pure electric version, will be added later. The XC40 will also be the first Volvo model to be available with Volvo’s new 3-cylinder engine.

Expected Launch: Mid-2018

Expected Price: ₹ 45 lakh


Hyundai Santro

2018 hyundai santro spied

The Santro will go up against the likes of the Tiago, Celerio, Kwid and redi-GO

Hyundai is gearing up to revive the Santro nameplate with an all-new car. There is a chance that we’ll see the car at the 2018 Auto Expo in February and a launch soon after. Upon launch, it will rival the likes of Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Renault Kwid, and Tata Tiago. We expect to see a 0.8-litre and 1.0-litre engine options, possibly the same petrol mills that the i10 used to offer. Transmission duties to be carried out by a 5-Speed manual gearbox and Hyundai might also consider offering an AMT option, seeing the growing demand for an automatic option in entry-level cars in India.

Expected Launch: Mid-2018

Expected Price: ₹ 4 lakh – ₹ 6 lakh

Ford Figo/Aspire Facelift

ford figo facelift

The Ford Figo and Aspire will get subtle updates this year

The Ford Figo hatchback and Aspire sub-compact sedan are due for a mid-life cycle in 2018. Ford India is already testing the updated models that will get design tweaks along with an updated cabin. Expect to see a new touchscreen infotainment system; while making its way under the hood will be the newly developed 1.5-litre petrol engine from the EcoSport facelift. The 1.5 litre TDCI diesel will continue to do duty on the models.

Expected Launch: March 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 5 lakh – ₹ 8 lakh

New Generation Honda Amaze

honda amaze privilege edition

The Amaze will sport a wider and roomier cabin along with updated features

Honda plans to launch six models over the next three years, and will kick-star this line-up with the second generation Amaze. The sub-compact sedan will receive a complete revamp and will be a lot more premium and upmarket. The new Amaze will sport a wider and roomier cabin, along with new equipment and better quality materials. The new generation Amaze will continue with the same platform while the 1.2 -litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines will see revisions for more power and fuel economy.

Expected Launch: Second half 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 6 lakh – ₹ 8 lakh


2018 bmw m5 review

The M5 will come to India as a CBU

BMW will bring its performance-spec M5 super sedan to India in 2018. The sedan will be launched at the 2018 Auto Expo and will be the range-topping version of the 5 Series to go on sale. The sixth generation BMW M5 is powered by a 4.4 litre bi-turbo V8 engine that produces about 600 bhp and 750 Nm of peak torque, and is the first M5 to get all-wheel drive. Arriving as a CBU, the M5 will cost north of 1 crore rupees in India.

Expected Launch: February 2018

Expected Price: ₹ 1 crore onwards

Hyundai i20 Facelift

hyundai i20 facelift face

The Hyundai i20 will come with design tweaks to match the company’s global design language

Hyundai has been testing the i20 facelift for a while now, and the updated premium hatchback will go on sale in 2018. The refreshed model will get styling tweaks in-line with Hyundai’s global design language, and will sport a larger grille, revised headlamps and tweaked taillights. The cabin too will get updates including a touchscreen system with connectivity options like Apple Carplay and android auto. Engine options will remain the same on the i20 facelift, albeit with better fuel efficiency.

Expected Launch: Mid-2018

Expected Price: ₹ 5.5 lakh – 8.5 lakh