Month: July 2019

Microsoft Teams gears up to replace Skype

first_imgIt’s been six months since Microsoft Teams rolled out to Office 365 users on a global scale, and in that time, Microsoft’s Slack competitor has netted itself a fair number of users. Microsoft revealed today that 125,000 organizations around the world are using Teams, and it has a new plan for intelligent communications that it hopes will draw in the organizations who have yet to make the jump. Microsoft‘s new initiative seems to be a cloud-based one, and in the short term, it will see the company roll “comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into teams.” This new Teams update was revealed at Microsoft Insight today and detailed over on the Office blog. Before it dived into the specific features that will soon be added to Teams, Microsoft outlined what it wants for the future of business meetings.For instance, Microsoft envisions a future where Teams will pull up relevant documents for a team to browse before a meeting even begins. While the meeting is taking place, Teams will offer the ability to capture the discussion, transcribing and time coding it so that it can be referenced later. Once the meeting has concluded, a recording of it will be placed in the appropriate channel along with the transcript and related documents and notes, allowing those who may have missed the meeting to get up to speed.READ MORE: Microsoft Teams – Five Things You Need to KnowIn the more short term, Microsoft plans to add meeting features like audio conferences, which allow team members to call in to meetings by phone. That feature is going live in preview today, and we’ll soon see interoperability between Teams and Skype for Business launching as well.There are also a few calling features going live over the next few months. These will allow Teams users to accept and make calls to PTSN numbers, with a full roster of features that includes call holding, call transfer, and voicemail. It certainly sounds like Microsoft wants Teams to become a one-stop shop for enterprise customers that rely on software as the backbone of collaboration.With the amount of overlap here, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Microsoft eventually plans on Teams becoming the “primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365,” replacing Skype for Business at one point the road. Skype won’t necessarily be going away, as those who have a preference for it will be able to keep using it. We’ll receive a more in-depth roadmap for Teams next month, while Microsoft promises that a new version of Skype for Business Server will be coming in the second half of next year.last_img read more

Pixel 2 teardown shows unusual waterproofing method

first_imgStory TimelinePixel 2 XL, iPhone 8 Plus drop tests push glass to the limitsPixel 2 XL screen saga keeps getting worsePixel 2, 2 XL has some audio issues, here’s a temporary fix Google was largely criticized last year when its first ever “Made by Google” Pixel phone didn’t come with a suitable IP dust and waterproof rating. Although still not the highest possible, the Pixel 2 this year does considerably better with an IP67 score. It seems, however, that Google has done one small extra step in that direction, which was revealed when JerryRigEveryhing’s Zack Nelson took the already battered Pixel 2 apart. Fortunately it ends on a somewhat good note this time. Waterproofing on smartphones basically means plugging up any possible entry point for liquid, be it water or moisture. That in itself is a rather difficult feat considering the number of holes in a smartphone. While some, now including Google, have resorted to removing the headphone jack for that reason, that still leaves the charging port open.Of course, that is solvable, otherwise we wouldn’t have waterproof phones. Google, however, has gone the extra mile and added something you might have never heard of, at least not in a smartphone. Nelson discovered the presence of dielectric grease around the rubber ring of the USC-C port. This icky insulating material is often used to waterproof the electronics of off-road vehicles.Almost ironically, despite the Pixel 2’s higher waterproof rating, it isn’t as difficult to pry apart. The adhesive, while strong, isn’t particularly clingy and doesn’t require that much heat to loosen up. With proper care and experience, it’s not that difficult to take the Pixel 2 apart and put it back in working condition.That said, no matter the intention or result, a teardown will always result in rendering that waterproofing moot. That goes the same for any smartphone, so better think twice before fixating on having a clear back smartphone just for kicks.last_img read more

Even OnePlus knows the OnePlus 5Ts face unlock isnt as secure as

first_imgThe OnePlus 5T was announced earlier today, and just like another certain flagship device, it’ll have users unlocking their phones with facial recognition. This seems to be the direction the industry is headed, and so far, the iPhone X gives us our best example of the technology through Face ID. Though the OnePlus 5T also uses facial recognition as a marquee feature, it seems that its creators know that it won’t be as accurate as it needs to be before it’s the only option for verification. As it turns out, facial recognition on the OnePlus 5T won’t fully unlock your phone. As Siddhanth J Shetty reports on Twitter, the OnePlus 5T will unlock using facial recognition, but it will still require the use of the fingerprint sensor for more sensitive things. For instance, if you wanted to use your phone to make a mobile payment, using face unlock alone wouldn’t be enough – you’ll also have to scan your fingerprint.With this, we’re seeing OnePlus admit that while face unlock has its uses, the way its implemented in the OnePlus 5T isn’t entirely secure. That’s in stark contrast to Apple, which has done away with Touch ID entirely in the iPhone X. Your only option for biometric locks on the iPhone X is Face ID, and that has some people a little uneasy.READ MORE: OnePlus 5T vs OnePlus 5We could see this best-of-both-worlds setup in other flagships in the future. Some manufacturers have already implemented similar technologies alongside one another. Samsung is one such company, offering both an iris scanner and a fingerprint sensor in phones like the Galaxy Note 8. Overlaps like this could ultimately get face scanning sensors in phones sooner while manufacturers work to make them more secure when used as the sole way to lock a device.In any case, it’s nice to see OnePlus rely on two forms of biometric security instead of just one in its latest flagship. Be sure to head to the comments section and tell us what you think – is it good to see both present in the OnePlus 5T, or should OnePlus have committed to one over the other?last_img read more

Android 81 WiFi Speed Labels rolling out now

first_imgPrior to this update to Android Oreo, there’s no easy way to discern whether a potential Wi-Fi connection is good or not. Sure, you have a strength indicator in the notification area, but that only speaks about the strength of the signal and not the speed of the network. Plus, you can only find that out after you’ve connected to the access point.The new Speed Labels give a more usable overview, although it isn’t exactly precise either. The labels show up under the network name in the list of available Wi-Fi connections. There are four general categories and Google describes them as such:• Slow: If you can use Wi-Fi calling, you can make phone calls and send texts.• OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.• Fast: You can stream most videos.• Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.If for some reason you prefer not to see those labels, you can also turn them off from the Settings app under Network & Internet >  Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Preferences >  Advanced > Network rating provider and set it to “None”.This feature was part of the Android 8.1 changes announced back in December last year but there were no signs of its rollout save for a premature announcement on Twitter earlier this month. Now it’s rolling out to devices with Android 8.1, which practically limits that to the Pixel and Pixel 2 generations as well as the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Free public Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous (and sometimes dangerous) that there might be more than a handful to choose from at any given time. Not all Wi-Fi hotspots, however, are created equal. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain horrible. To help you decide which Wi-Fi access point to connect to, at least based on speed, Google is providing a new “Speed Label” in the Wi-Fi list for Android. At least, if you’re running Android 8.1. Public Wi-Fi can be spotty. For the first time, #AndroidOreo 8.1 lets you take out the guesswork & see the speed of networks before you hit connect. Rolling out now:— Android (@Android) January 22, 2018last_img read more

Samsung is no longer rushing to be first and thats worrying

first_imgSamsung is the largest Android OEM and, depending on who you ask, either the first or second biggest smartphone maker/seller. Despite the strong numbers, Samsung isn’t exactly regarded as the most-behaved. Except to its avid fans, of course. Among other criticisms, it is notorious for trying to always beat its competitors to market new features, the “here first!” syndrome. Not anymore, says mobile division head DJ Koh, who says that the company is turning over a new leaf. But while that may be lauded by some and doubted by others, it might not all be good news for the market. The Samsung WaySamsung phones are loaded with features. In fact, you could say they’re overloaded with features. Each new generation of a Galaxy phone almost seems like it has everything except the kitchen sink. Some are admittedly useful. Others are often just unused bloat.There are many implications of this kind of product development beyond ones that cause the slow rollout of Android updates. Research and development, production costs, customers support, all these weigh down not just each device but the company itself. Often, these features have been developed and placed in products just for the sake of being first in the market. Not many of these actually stick. Samsung was on a collision course for disaster, which finally came to a head two years ago.A Burning Problem2016 will forever be a dark period in Samsung’s history. In addition to a scandal that would rock the company’s higher-ups, Samsung’s mobile division experienced its worst setback and most embarrassing blunder in history: the Galaxy Note 7. What should have been a great end to a great year turned into an explosive disaster. Literally, too.Ironically, the Galaxy Note 7 actually didn’t have too many new features then. It’s design was definitely new for the Galaxy Note line, but it also borrowed heavily from the Galaxy S7 edge just a few months earlier. Samsung’s mistake was that it rushed the Galaxy Note 7 in order to beat Apple’s new iPhones to market. It won’t admit it, but it made a few lapses in checking its cramped design didn’t impact the large battery, or if the new battery was actually safe in the first place.Samsung eventually recovered, and quite gracefully too, but that didn’t seem to stop it from trying to always be first. It rushed Bixby even before it was even ready. It may not have thought the design of the DeX Station through. And, most importantly, it counted its bezel-less chickens before the in-display fingerprint scanner eggs were even laid. And then tried to cover that up with a terribly located fingerprint scanner on the back. Things weren’t turning out to be great for gold medalists, it seems.(Late) New Year’s ResolutionDJ Koh is now quoted to have said that “first turns out to be meaningless today”. It admits that it has a fetish for being “world’s first” or “industry’s first”, but that doesn’t seem to be working for it anymore. Curiously, you wouldn’t think that based on how proud Samsung has been about its smartphone sales lately.Regardless, Koh’s statements are painting a new culture forming in Samsung Mobile. “When it’s ready” will be the new mantra instead of launching early and seeing which sticks and what doesn’t. That seems to be used to respond to questions about the expected Bixby smart speaker. That might also be Samsung’s default response should the foldable phone not happen this year or the next or the one after that.Koh says that the company’s strategy will be to create meaningful and valuable products at the right time. That is, to some extent, an admission that previous products didn’t have those goals in mind in the first place. Whatever the case, Koh wants to present a new Samsung that is more thoughtful, more purposeful, and, perhaps, slower as well.The Other ExtremeGiven Samsung’s reputation, the market’s reaction isn’t surprising. There are some that scoff at Samsung’s long-overdue enlightenment. Others are skeptical that Samsung, a giant by now, will be able to make such a turnaround in time if it could at all. But there is also another possibility, which may be just as bad as the status quo.It’s not that Samsung will stop innovating. It will, instead, be more hesitant to put those out as a product or feature. While some of Samsung’s firsts might have been failures, not all of them were. Samsung was, for example, one of the first to create the phablet category and stubbornly stuck to it, changing the smartphone landscape for good. And while Xiaomi may be the first to make a nearly bezel-less phone, Samsung provided the affirmation that would create a change in design trends as well.Under Samsung Mobile’s new strategy, we might not see new products with unusual, unproven, experimental, but potentially innovative technologies “until they’re ready”. If Samsung had adopted that philosophy before, we would not have seen products like the first Galaxy Note, the first curved screen Galaxy Note Edge, the first Infinity Display Galaxy S9, or the first variable aperture camera Galaxy S9. It would seem that, in finally having some sense knocked into it, Samsung might have lost its tooth. That, or it has formulated a new excuse for delayed products.Wrap-up: The Golden MeanSamsung has a “here first” syndrome, no doubt about that. But, like it or not, some of those have produced features and products that users now enjoy, whether on Galaxy devices or even Android in general. In realizing how its old culture longer works today, Samsung risks going the other extreme and withhold those crazy ideas from the public, which deprives them of much-needed real-world testing. Hopefully, Samsung will be able to find a middle ground between rushing a product out and delaying it forever, just because it’s not yet ready.last_img read more

iPhone 5S might still get iOS 12

first_imgApple is often praised for how fast and how consistent it is in updating its iPhones to the latest versions of iOS. Considering it only has a few models and has complete control, it’s not that unfeasible. But even Apple has limits and all iPhones have an “expiration” date. For the iPhone 5S, that should have been last year with the release of iOS 11. Now it seems, however, that there’s a small chance that it could actually see an iOS 12 update later this year. It’s a very small chance, mind. The “evidence” comes from a sighting in the WebKit source code, the open source web engine that powers Apple’s Safari browser. Comments seem to suggest that iOS 12 runs on the iPhone 5S, at least in testing. Whether it goes out into production is a whole different matter.If it does, it will be a mighty impressive long life for the smartphone. Launched in 2013, the iPhone 5S is sort of a first and a last in some things. It was the last to sport Apple’s old blocky and small design, save for the iPhone SE. It was also the first iPhone to have a 64-bit processor, which does help make putting iOS 12 on it technically easier.This possibility brings up of the question of why Apple would make such a rare move. This perhaps plays into the speculation that the iOS 12 release is really only a “half” release, one that is focused more on bug fixes and improvements to address performance complaints in the current iOS 11 version. Given its aging hardware, those fixes are definitely much-needed on the iPhone 5S.AdChoices广告VIA: MacGenerationlast_img read more

Google IO 2018 What to expect from Google this year

first_imgFormally, Google I/O is the company annual event to connect with developers as well as partners spanning its entire platform and product range. It is also a time for Google to share its direction not just for specific products but for the company as a whole as well. So while the schedule and topics of talks are public, its grand vision, expressed in keynotes, is still under wraps. Given Google’s focus these past months, however, we can pretty much predict what it will be delivering on stage in a few hours. Not so much Android and Chrome OSMake no mistake, Android and Chrome OS still have a prominent role in Google’s ecosystem. They just aren’t as critical as they were before. Indeed, they are becoming more like vehicles for Google’s services and might even become simply that in the future. Of course, we do expect Android and Chrome OS to have some stage time.The still unnamed Android P is going to be the focus of that part of the keynotes. More specifically, it will focus on how P will be smarter about things like notifications, resource usage, security, and the like. Google will probably try to avoid mentioning or even showing the contentious notch.Android in other forms will most likely take a backstage. The newly rebranded Wear OS is probably the most we’ll hear about and even then mostly as a wearable home for Google Assistant. Android TV at this point is almost dead and there’s growing uncertainty about Android Auto’s future.Chrome OS’ focus, on the other hand, will focus on security, privacy, and education. There is a chance, though slim, that Google would formally announced support for Linux programs at I/O this year, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for that.Lots of AIIt’s no secret that Google has fallen head over feels for artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning, and neural networks. Everything it creates and does these days has a smidgen of those elements. It might be old news for Google by now but, considering the rise in interest in AI and neural networks across the tech industry, it will definitely make a big play for it this year yet again.It will most likely play up its machine learning powered security frameworks, like the ones it uses for Google Play Protect, Gmail spam filtering, YouTube, and more. In light of the recent Facebook scandal, it will have to work doubly hard to gain trust in its automated checks. Especially after they’ve been proven inadequate again and again.Machine learning and neural networks will also be the focal point in one of the most popular topics in the mobile industry today: photography and imaging. It still hasn’t fulfilled its promises from 2017, but that’s not going to stop it from making more. From AI-powered stabilization to object recognition, Google will talk yet again about how machine learning will help creating and keeping memories as painless as possible.And, of course, there’s the embodiment of Google’s AI efforts: Google Assistant. The AI assistant’s improved natural language processing will be shown off, including the real-time translation first promised in the Pixel Buds. New actions from new partner companies and services will be revealed, allowing Assistant to connect to almost every facet of your life (whether you like it or not).Smart Home GaloreI/O often isn’t a time for Google to announce new devices, especially phones, but it might still reveal a few ones. Especially the ones that will slowly but surely invade homes and put Google Assistant at the middle of your smart home.It’s about time we see a 2nd gen Google Home and no one will complain about a new Home Mini that fixes the factory defect of the first iteration. The Home Max will probably just get some new features via a software update, as its unremarkable sales might make Google think twice about a second one.Google, however, might have a new product category to talk about at I/O 2018. Previewed early this year, smart displays might be the hardware stars this week. Google might even have one of its own already, though chances are it will give more OEM partners a head start first. Unless Google has a never before seen new device type to surprise us, these smart displays are pretty much the top smart home device with a smart assistant inside.Alternate realitiesGoogle and Lenovo have just announced the availability of the first and so far only standalone Daydream headset so it won’t be surprising that Google will also have a thing or two to say about its VR and AR platforms. But if the past months have been anything to go by, that will pretty much be all it will have to say.Google has flip-flopped on its VR and AR thrusts, saying one thing and doing a different thing. Both Daydream and ARCore are second attempts already, and neither have shown lasting promise so far. That’s partly due to a perceived lack of commitment and passion from Google. We’d love to be proven wrong.last_img read more

Stop mobile notifications now

first_imgFacebookIf you’re on an iOS device, turning off Facebook notifications is relatively straightforward. If you’re like I was a few weeks ago, before I did away with notifications altogether, Facebook is the most major source for stress in your whole smartphone experience. For iPhone and iPad, kicking out Facebook goes like so:iOS Facebook Notifications Off:1. Tap Settings – Notifications – Facebook.2. Flip the “Allow Notifications” switch to white (not green)If you’re on an Android device, the process is relatively similar. These instructions work for Android 6 and newer. Before that, just do yourself a favor and use Facebook in a web browser, because the app for Android before 6.0 is made entirely of fish guts and crayons.Android Facebook Notifications Off:1. Tap Settings – Applications – Application Manager – Facebook – Notifications.2. Turn off notifications from Facebook.InstagramFacebook makes Instagram, and Instagram is basically the same non-stop scroll-festival as Facebook. Instagram is even more of an eye-hog since it’s mostly photos, videos, and junk that does not require reading. So let’s just turn that nonsense down a bit. iOS Instagram Notifications Off:1. Tap Instagram app – go to Profile2. Tap gear icon (Settings)3. Tap Push Notification Settings4. OR (in iOS) Tap Settings – Notifications – Instagram – flip off Allow Notifications.Android instructions are very similar to what’s listed above – inside the app or through Android settings. That settings business again is:1. Settings – Applications – Application Manager – Instagram – Notifications.2. Turn off notifications for Instagram.Everything elseBasically every notifications nightmare app in iOS and Android can be switched OFF with relative ease, now that we’re in the modern age of mobile operating systems. Any app can be silenced in iOS settings.iPhone or iPad Notifications Off (any app):1. Settings2. Notifications3. App Name4. Flip “Allow Notifications” to white (off).For Android it’s been relatively simple for a few years – but it’s not quite so easy to recognize by the everyday average user. For Android, you’ve gotta go in an extra level or two.Android Notifications Off (any app):1. Settings2. Applications3. Application Manager4. App Name5. NotificationsAndroid P or higher – Notifications Off (any app):1. Settings2. Apps & Notifications3. See all from last 7 days4. Flip ALL the switches from blue to white (off)Once you’ve switched ALL of the notifications off for all of your apps except for the couple you actually care about, you’ll have a far simpler life. Your life will be yours once more. If anyone needs to get in contact with you, they’ll send you a text or something. No worries! Today I’m going to show you how to get rid of mobile notifications entirely. I’ll start with a few major sources for notifications, and we’ll get a little more general. I’m not going to spend much time trying to convince you to throw your smartphone down a sewer drain today – but that IS the fastest way to do away with notifications entirely. If you’re unable to destroy your smartphone, continue on. Story TimelineApple App Store now offers pre-orders, launch notificationsAndroid P notifications to get more powerful based on Reply screenshotAndroid P makes it easier to get rid of annoying notificationslast_img read more

The 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS is supercar star of Forza 7

first_imgIt’s no tarted-up 911 with a fancy body-kit, either. Indeed, it’s billed as the most powerful road-going 911 ever made. Under the outrageous bodywork is expected to be a 3.8-liter twin-turbo engine, giving a very different driving style to naturally-aspirated 911’s, and a super-fast PDK transmission rather than a manual. That’s what you might hope, mind, given the heritage of the GT2 RS badge. The first version of the car was announced back in mid-2010, a lighter version of the standard GT2. In the works from around 2007, it packed 612 HP and 516 lb-ft. of torque. Courtesy of a 150 pound weight cut over the regular GT2, it delivered 205 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds. However, only 131 of the cars were sold in the US, and a further 10 in Canada. The 2018 911 GT2 RS is likely to be in similarly short supply, not to mention outrageously expensive to get into your garage. Porsche hasn’t confirmed pricing or availability of the real-life car yet, in fact. However, Xbox One X owners will be able to get behind the wheel fairly easily.That’s because it’s part of the supercar line-up in the new Forza 7. Porsche had been a hold-out from the franchise, but earlier this year the two companies announced they’d be working together on a number of projects. They kicked off with the Porsche Car Pack for Forza Horizon 3, with seven of the automaker’s most prestigious vehicles spanning classic racers through to modern supercars. Microsoft may be showing off the new Xbox One X today, the next-gen console formerly known as Project Scorpio, but it’s sharing the limelight with Porsche. The German automaker debuted a brand new car today at E3 2017, opting to bring the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS on-stage as part of the Forza 7 reveal. It’s the start of a six year deal between Porsche and the Forza team. center_img Story TimelineXbox Project Scorpio unveiling tipped with Forza 7, Red Dead Redemption 2If the 2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo can’t convince you wagons are sexy, it’s hopelessMicrosoft and Porsche strike partnership for Forza franchise2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S Review: Brave new turbocharged worldlast_img read more

Xperia XA3 phone has a bonkers long display

first_imgThis smartphone goes by the name Sony Xperia XA3, and it’s one of three mid-range smartphones quite likely headed to Mobile World Congress and release sometime in March. The three phones were prematurely leaked in October in part – though now it would seem that said leak was a bit more incomplete than we previously suspected. Previous leaks suggested this smartphone had a 5.9-inch display, which was already a significant jump from its predecessor. The predecessor to this device was the Xperia XA2, which had a 5.2-inch display. Now, if the new images here are real and final, the renders we’ve seen before weren’t quite perfect. Before, it looked as though there was a significant chin and forehead to the display. Now, it looks like that chin is all but disappeared, while the forehead is here in FULL FORCE!If the aspect ratio has indeed jumped to 21:9, we’ve likely got a 6.1-inch display – or thereabouts. There’s a good chance that the fingerprint sensor inevitably sits below the power button on the side. Rumors also pointed toward a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC (processor) with 6GB of RAM. We’re expecting around 64GB internal storage as well as microSD storage expansion.It could also be that we’re not actually looking at the Sony Xperia XA3, but the Sony Xperia XA3 ULTRA. If so, this device would sport a 6.5-inch display with Full HD+ resolution. Otherwise specifications are largely the same as the XA3 (non-ultra). Notice below that the earlier leak had some more standard-looking bezels up front, but a very similar-looking backside. Sony might’ve made some modifications since that leak – or the leak renderer might’ve just interpreted the CAD drawings slightly incorrectly – who can tell? This newest leak with the images above seems to be the sort that’s out just before the final product – and is most likely the most accurate of the leaks we’ve seen thus far.Either way, these devices will likely appear at Mobile World Congress 2019. There, the entire lineup will be revealed with higher and lower-end devices in tow. Mobile World Congress begins on February 25th, 2019 and takes place in Barcelona, Spain. We’ll be there – look for coverage on SlashGear’s frontpage when the time comes! The display on the Sony Xperia is very tall, lean, or long – however you want to look at it. It has a 21:9 aspect ratio, which means its amongst the strangest looking smartphones revealed this year thus far. This phone will likely appear in full (officially) at Mobile World Congress at the end of February – but until then, we’ve got a few more leaked details.center_img Story TimelineSony Mobile reshuffle could see end of Xperia Compact lineXperia XZ4 specs leak suggests a powerful Sony flagshipXperia XZ4 triple cameras include 52MP sensor, largest in the marketlast_img read more

2018 Hyundai Kona review A subcompact crossover SUV with an attitude

first_imgIt’s not an easy segment to compete in, especially when you’re targeting value. Certainly, Hyundai has made some compromises, though they’re few and far between. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed driving the Kona, as well as ride in the front passenger seat. While the rear has slightly less room than inside its bigger siblings, I didn’t feel cramped. Hyundai’s interior designers have done a great job carving out very usable space up front, in the back, and in the rear cargo area.One of the best things about the Kona’s design is that it doesn’t appear to have been dictated by a wind tunnel, but instead its in-your-face styling helps it stand out from the pack. That’s a good thing. Hyundai’s design chief described the Kona as possessing the attitude of a big dog but packed into a small, stout dog. Sure enough, there’s a punchy, character-driven attitude which makes for a far more memorable car. As for colors, the interior aesthetic doesn’t match the exterior one bit. In fact, I’d say it was pretty ordinary, but then again for the price-conscious market, it’s probably fine. Options include black and a high-contrast gray, as well as black and lime green which I don’t recommend. There’s a dash-mounted 7-inch touchscreen that comes standard or an 8-inch unit with optional nav-system. Additionally, Hyundai throws in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration for no additional cost. I recommend going with the upgraded display, which will get you three years of included Blue Link LTE-powered telematics with niceties like remote start. I like the buttons wrapped around the display, too. They may look a little cluttered but they do offer quick access to the key features. The all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona is the new kid on the block with plenty to offer first-time new car buyers on a budget. Mind you, don’t let my use of the word budget and a starting price of $20,450 imply a lack of style, creature comforts, safety, or even that it’s cheaply built. Those opting to fully spec out the Kona – as was the case for our test car, fittingly, on the Island of Kona, Hawaii – will be nothing short of delighted, just as long as their expectations are in check. If you’re in the market for a 2018 Kona, I strongly encourage you to opt for the 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder. Because that powertrain is only available on the Limited and Ultimate trims, the entry price is slightly higher than the SE and SE, which get a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder. That may be bigger capacity, but since it’s naturally-aspirated the turbo has a higher power output of 175 hp with 195 lb.-ft. of torque, whereas the 2.0-liter only has 147 hp and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. The torque on the turbo-four arrives much earlier, too, from 1,900 rpm; you’ll be waiting until 4,000 rpm for peak torque from the cheaper engine.The biggest difference between the SE/SEL and Limited/Ultimate is the powertrain. As I said, the 2.0-liter is going to feel sluggish in comparison to the turbo 1.6-liter. As for the transmission, the DCT felt much a lot smoother than the six-speed automatic. In terms of fuel economy, the turbo gets 26/29 mpg for the all-wheel-drive Kona, while the 2.0-liter has a rating of 25/30 mpg for city and highway.I’m thoroughly impressed with the ride quality, whether behind the steering wheel while riding in the front, or as a rear seat passenger. There’s admirably little body roll and, more importantly, very little road and wind noise inside the cabin. Kona’s roads proved pretty horrific in many sections of Hyundai’s drive route so the car deserves serious credit there.The 2018 Kona SEL AWD has a sticker price of $23,550 before you throw in the $1,500 Tech Package. You also do without power leather seats, and it rides on 17-inch wheels. Max things out and you’re looking at the Kona Ultimate at $29,775 including destination: that includes the $1,300 all-wheel drive upgrade. I can’t help but feel that you get plenty of bang for your buck, considering that you also get a set of good looking 18-inch alloy wheels on both the Limited and Ultimate trims. The Tech Package adds a sunroof, fog lamps, front collision assist, lane keep assist, an attention warning system, and the power driver’s seat. Unfortunately, for households with two drivers, the option for driver seat memory isn’t available. If you swap cars frequently it could get annoying having to adjust the seat every time you get in to drive.At the end of the day, the 2018 Kona has its work cut out, entering a very competitive market. Strong, well-respected rivals include the likes of Mazda’s CX-3, Honda’s HR-V, and Subaru’s Crosstrek. That being said, Hyundai’s aggressive pricing, as well as above-average design and a good powertrain for better-than-expected driving performance, give the crossover a good shot at selling a boatload of Kona worldwide. Story TimelineHyundai Kona SUV debuts in Seoul, offers entry-level family fare with style2018 Hyundai Kona First Drive: Better late than never for all-new SUVHyundai Kona fully-electric SUV has 292-mile rangeHyundai Kona electric SUV unveiled in New York Up front, Hyundai’s designers split up the LED daytime running lights, positioning them above the headlamps. At the rear, the tail lamps sit right below the tailgate window. I like the flow of front and rear continuity. Unfortunately here comes the first compromise: there’s just too much plastic. Take, for instance, the use of plastic to wrap around the headlamps. Then Hyundai adds more of it for the turn signals and the rear back-up lights. My big concern is that the Kona may well look outdated a couple of years down the road as a result, and that could potentially be a turn-off in the second-hand market. Then again, this is a sub-crossover SUV so the plasticky cladding isn’t exactly unusual in the segment, and at least it gives the Kona pleasingly beefy wheel arches.On the inside, it’s business as usual: if you’ve been inside a recent Hyundai, it’s essentially the same. Hyundai’s implementation of the slide-up head-up display (HUD) is best-in-class. While it’s not the integrated HUD found in more expensive luxury cars, this is one of the best I’ve laid my eyes on. The massive 8-inch display is eye-poppingly bright – 10,000 nits, in fact. To put things into perspective, an average phone delivers around 750 nits. Michael O’Brian, Hyundai’s VP of Product, Corporate & Digital Planning explained that it’s a cost solution overall, and one which could potentially save owners serious money should they need to replace the windshield. A regular windshield costs a couple of hundred dollars, whereas you’re looking at as much as $1k for a windshield outfitted for an integrated HUD. It’s a particularly big consideration for markets that don’t offer full coverage replacement of windshields in the event of minor rock damage.Moving around the cabin, there’s more than enough space to spread out. My biggest gripe is the fixed-armrest, and even at 6’2” with my seat pushed back far enough for me to reach the pedals, my elbow tended to slide off the end of the armrest. It’s not as comfortable as I’d like. Then there’s the material choice, as well as color scheme. The door panels are hard, and that’s not good for anyone who drives with their elbow resting on it. Oddly enough, the visibly similar material on the dash is soft and supple, which seems like an odd decision to me since it’s not something you’d commonly touch. 2018 Hyundai Kona Gallerylast_img read more

HTC Vive Cosmos 2019 details updated

first_imgThis week the folks at HTC revealed more details on the release model for HTC Vive Cosmos, their newest VR headset. This machine has a “flip-up halo design” so users can pop in and out of VR without removing the entire unit. It’s also got a new vented front design that “keeps air flowing so users can stay in VR for longer without fatigue and stay cooler.” Story TimelineViveport Infinity release date set for April 2 as pricing is revealedHTC Vive Focus Plus available next monthHTC VIVE Pro Eye launches in North America for enterprise customers HTC’s VIVE Cosmos is capable of delivering video at 90 FPS with an LCD display with combined resolution of 2880 x 1700 pixels. That’s approximately 88% more pixels than the original VIVE, and 100 more pixels than the HTC Vive Pro. Yes, the HTC VIVE Pro has 2880 x 1600 pixels between its two eye panels (also 90Hz, but with AMOLED panels instead of LCD). HTC suggested today that there are “increased subpixels” and a “40% improved lens clarity over the original VIVE.” Again, the experience probably ends up being pretty close to that of the HTC VIVE Pro – we shall see! See our HTC VIVE Cosmos first look from CES 2019 as well – it didn’t yet have its plug-and-play faceplate back then.The newest iteration of the HTC VIVE Cosmos has a total of 6 cameras, allowing users what HTC calls a “premier inside-out tracking experience.” This means room-scale tracking as well as controller tracking. Two of these cameras are in the front facing forward, one on each side, left and right, and another couple at the top and bottom front side of the headset, one facing upward, another facing downward.The front side of the machine has a removable face plate – this plate includes two of the six cameras (facing upward and facing downward), but will be able to allow expansion in the future. According to HTC, “Cosmos can grow with you over time due to swappable face plate that can be updated for different XR needs in the future. Price and availability are not yet out – HTC will reveal these points in the near future. For now we’re expecting either late 2019 or early 2020 – we shall see! last_img read more

2020 MercedesBenz GLS First Drive Review The SUV that thinks its an

first_imgLarger dimensions is a godsend for a family SUV. Since you’re trying to compensate for the passenger room in a minivan, the third-row seating is usually an afterthought in most large SUVs. Not so in the 2020 Mercedes GLS. The increase in length and girth means more livable space in the row furthest back. AdChoices广告It may not look like it, but the seats there are actually spacious enough for larger adults, although taller individuals will prefer the room offered in the second row. Still, the third row get real seats – not just the thinly-padded varieties you find in other so-called seven-seat SUVs – and Mercedes says they were designed for people up to 6’4” tall. Being 6’2” myself, I can attest that the second and third row are more than adequate for longer trips. And, in order to make life easier, the third-row seats are heated and occupants get their own USB charging ports because, well, this is the S-Class of SUVs we’re talking about here, right? If maximum seating isn’t your first priority, the GLS can be specified as six-seat variant, with a pair of captain’s chairs for the second row. In terms of styling, the new Mercedes GLS has a more organic and flowing shape than the outgoing model. Despite this, Mercedes was able to infuse the GLS with some off-road styling DNA to give it a more purposeful stance. The powerful front end is flanked by an upright, octagonal radiator grille. The massive hood has a pair of power dome bulges to hint at the innovative and powerful powertrain laying underneath. Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, brillantblau metallic, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, brilliant blue metallic, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provsional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, brillantblau metallic, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, brilliant blue metallic, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provsional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenitgrau metallic, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenite grey metallic, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Also obvious is the prominent chrome-plated under-guard cover beneath the front bumper, with large bone-shaped air inlet grilles. The headlights are multibeam LED units that Mercedes says have 112 LEDs per headlamp: they produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which casts a bright light within a range of 650 meters or 2,000 feet. Because if you’re riding in an S-Class SUV, you need to outshine the Audi and BMW competition.Viewed from the rear, the new GLS is unmistakably a Mercedes. The LED taillights seem like they were shaped by the muscular shoulders in the rear profile of the vehicle, which gives it a distinctive stance. Despite the sleeker and rounded rear profile, however, there’s no mistaking the GLS is a big vehicle. The size and ruggedness are further defined by the chrome-plated under guard in the rear bumper.Despite the added heft, the new Mercedes GLS achieves an impressive 0.32 Cd in wind tunnel testing. The previous model GLS only achieves 0.35 Cd by comparison. Admittedly, the difference is minuscule, but this is enough to limit wind noise and improve fuel economy over the outgoing model. Mercedes has yet to reveal the official EPA numbers of the new GLS-Class, but I’m assuming it’ll sip less fuel due to the advanced, electrified powertrain.And now we get to the juicy bits. Large, three-row SUVs need an equally large and powerful motor to counteract the mass. Mercedes obliged by giving the GLS-Class a new pair of motors. The GLS 450 comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six producing 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The GLS 580 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 483 horsepower and 518 pound-feet of torque. Both rely on a nine-speed automatic and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system powering all four wheels as standard.What’s really special is the integration of Mercedes’ EQ Boost mild-hybrid system on both engines. As we saw in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 Coupe, EQ Boost consists of a small electric motor nestled between the engine and transmission and a small battery pack. The former also functions as an integrated starter-generator. The system outputs an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque over short periods. The EQ Boost system also generates power for the onboard 48-volt electrical system, which in turn powers the air-con compressor and water pump to reduce engine load.All the engine power is fed to the standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive system to give the GLS true off-road conquering abilities, and I mean this in every sense of the word conquering. That being said, despite the talented AWD system with an electronic transfer case and multi-plate clutch, the new Mercedes GLS-Class is not a mountain goat, taking on its bigger AMG G 63 brother. Instead, it’s about predictability and safety, no matter the traction conditions you might be facing on the road. The updated 4MATIC AWD system sends 100-percent of the torque to the rear wheels in normal driving. If the system detects slippage, it can distribute 50-percent of the available power to the rear wheels. This automatically-varying drivetrain is good on both paved and unpaved roads. On the way to the off-road section, the journey there and back was as delightful as the off-road adventure itself. Faced with demanding surfaces such as loose sand, dirt, and gravel, the new GLS allowed me to drive a massive 7-seater SUV in ways that it really wasn’t meant to be driven. Steering input into tight switchbacks – where drop off could result in catastrophic injuries and maybe even death – aren’t the usual fare for a sizable truck. Yet, here I was with a high level of confidence that things will be just fine.The turn-in radius rivals competitors with rear wheel steering, leaving you with superbly precise steering on or off the road. Then again, buyers don’t buy the GLS for off-roading, so I get to do it and report back that it’s highly capable should you ever need to. The GLS 580 goes further by offering an optional off-road tuned transfer case and reduction gear for those tricky trails, so it’s good to know the GLS is ready for the rough stuff as needed.The biggest reason for considering the new GLS, though, is the S-Class ride quality. It’s essentially the S-Class in the form of an SUV. If you’ve never been in an S-Class before, the ride can only be described as excellent, cosseting, and refined. It’s smooth and yet doesn’t float at the slightest provocation. Adaptive air suspension is standard in the new Mercedes GLS, but you need the optional 48-volt E-Active Body control system if you want the ultimate in comfort, sportiness, and off-road capabilities in a single package. The active and predictive suspension system utilizes a camera to literally read the road surface ahead. It then primes the dampers to counteract the suspension motion as the vehicle traverses over bumps. It even has a curve function that allows flat cornering with almost zero centrifugal force. Yes, this is probably the most complicated suspension system ever fitted to a family SUV, but it works unerringly well to flatten out potholes and other road imperfections. While the active suspension soaks up the bumps, the interior ensconces the occupants in luxurious comfort as well. Everything you can see, touch, and feel are of premium quality. The haptic and audible touch controls have a solid and sturdy feel like in a well-made smartphone. The cabin is filled with a combination of rich leather, exquisite wood, and metallic elements to convey a feeling of modernity and new age luxury. The MBUX infotainment system dominates front and center with two large 12.3-inch screens. The system recognizes voice and gesture commands, while the driver gets to enjoy a full-color heads-up display.The new Mercedes-Benz GLS starts at $75,200 for the GLS 450 4MATIC. This includes the turbocharged inline-six EQ boost powertrain and a long list of standard equipment including 19-inch wheels, 64-color ambient lighting, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a Burmester surround sound audio system, and the MBUX infotainment with voice control. The GLS 580 includes the twin-turbo V8 and EQ Boost powertrain and starts at $97,800. Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data)center_img Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz is on an SUV rampage. After unveiling the sleek GLC crossover and GLB compact SUV, we now have the all-new iteration of the full-size GLS-Class SUV. However, this is not my first encounter with Mercedes’ new SUV. The Mercedes-Benz GLS made a splashing debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show and impressed me with its S-Class levels of refinement, build quality, and premium technology. Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenitgrau metallic, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenite grey metallic, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is everything we’re expecting from a flagship German SUV. It provides a luxurious, spacious, and comfortable mode of conveyance that won’t back down at the slightest hint of unpaved roads. Mercedes set out to make the S-Class of SUVs, but it ended up with something even more special than that. Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenitgrau metallic, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Werte) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Offroad Experience, selenite grey metallic, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional figures) Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamantweiß bright, Leder Nappa magmagrau / schwarz, Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 10,1-9,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 230–223 g/km (vorläufige Daten) // Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC, designo diamond white bright, Nappa leather in black and magma grey, Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 230-223 g/km (provisional data) The 2020 Mercedes GLS is the third-generation model of the German carmaker’s biggest and most luxurious SUV. As is so often the case, the GLS is marginally larger than the SUV it replaces. Compared to other luxury SUVs like the Range Rover LWB and BMW X7, the new GLS has a longer wheelbase. In fact, it has a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase than that of the old GLS.last_img read more

First Edition November 7 2013

first_imgFirst Edition: November 7, 2013 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include reports about President Barack Obama’s efforts to bolster support for the health law, as well as the tough questions faced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in her appearance before the Senate Finance Committee.Kaiser Health News: Popular Provision Of Obamacare Is Fueling Sticker Shock For Some ConsumersKaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby reports: “When setting premiums for next year, insurers baked in bigger-than-usual adjustments, driven in large part by a game-changing rule: They can no longer reject people with medical problems. Popular in consumer polls, the provision in the health law transforms the market for the estimated 14 million Americans who buy their own policies because they don’t get coverage through their jobs. Barred from denying coverage, insurers also can’t demand higher rates from unhealthy people and those deemed high risks because of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure or a previous cancer diagnosis” (Appleby, 11/6). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Democrats’ Frustrations With Health Law Grow Amid Website ProblemsKaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and CQ HealthBeat’s Rebecca Adams discuss recent Capitol Hill events. For instance, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that officials were advised to keep open while fixing problems and also fielded criticism of President Obama’s promise that if Americans like their old health plans they can keep it (11/6). Read the transcript or listen to the audio.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Humana Exec Predicts Obamacare Open Enrollment Extension; Retail Clinics Boom, But Still Small Part Of Overall MarketNow on Kaiser Health News’s blog, Phil Galewitz writes about Humana’s assumption that the health law’s open enrollment period may be extended: “Humana, one of nation’s largest health insurers, said Wednesday that it expects the Obama administration to extend open enrollment for its troubled online marketplaces beyond March 31.  But a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Julie Bataille, said, ‘Consumers still have ample time to enroll in the six-month open enrollment period'” (Galewitz, 11/6).Also on the blog, Marissa Evans takes a look at retail clinics: “The percent of American families using retail clinics in the previous year nearly tripled between 2007 and 2010, from 1.2 percent of U.S. families to 2.9 percent, the study found. However, despite increased use, the study found overall utilization of the clinics remains modest” (Evans, 11/7). Check out what else is on the blog.The New York Times: Despite Fumbles, Obama Defends Health Care LawAgainst a backdrop of closer-than-expected election results in Virginia that some attributed to opposition to the health law, Mr. Obama again expressed regret for the troubles at the federal website that have prevented many people from enrolling for insurance. But he said the Texas government — by refusing to take federal funds and expand Medicaid eligibility — had left more than a million people uninsured. He promised to get problems with the health program fixed (Calmes and Weisman, 11/6).The Associated Press/Washington Press: Obama Sells Health Care Law In Texas, Draws Attention To State’s High Rate Of UninsuredPresident Barack Obama is comparing the problem-plagued federal health care website to a store that has a good product for sale and not enough cash registers to ring up the purchases. Speaking to volunteers in Dallas, Obama says “nothing drives me more crazy” than knowing that good insurance plans are for sale under the Affordable Care Act, but people are having trouble getting onto the website to buy it (11/6).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obama Slams Texas’ Health-Law ResistancePresident Barack Obama lamented Texas’ resistance to the Affordable Care Act Wednesday, saying that more than a million people there could gain coverage if the state expanded Medicaid. The president traveled to Dallas to make a pitch for the federal health law, quickly skimming past the controversy that has enveloped it and instead pushing Texas to participate in the Affordable Care Act (Nelson, 11/6).Politico: President Obama Thanks Health Care Volunteers In DallasPresident Obama spent some time Wednesday hearing from Senate Democrats concerned about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but by the time he got to Dallas a few hours later, he was on the offensive, as he tried to fire up volunteers helping with the law’s implementation. One target was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who Obama called on to support the expansion of Medicaid in his state, something that just a few Republican governors have done (Epstein, 11/6).Los Angeles Times: White House Tries To Reassure Democratic Lawmakers About ObamacareSixteen Senate Democrats met with President Obama on Wednesday to urge that he right his foundering healthcare website, warning of a “crisis of confidence” if he doesn’t act quickly. The president’s team acknowledged struggling with how to present its message to the public, but some senators left the meeting more concerned that there were no immediate fixes forthcoming more than a month after went live (Parsons, Mascaro and Memoli, 11/6).The Wall Street Journal: Worried Senators Press Obama On Health LawDemocratic senators took their complaints about the troubled launch of the federal health law directly to the White House Wednesday, as the surprisingly close governor’s race in Virginia prompted some in the party to warn that they would face voter backlash next year if the problems weren’t fixed (King and Hughes, 11/6).Politico: President Obama, Democratic Senators Discuss Health Care At White House MeetingPresident Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials met privately at the White House on Wednesday with frustrated Senate Democrats facing reelection in 2014 to discuss the botched Obamacare rollout. The two-hour meeting comes as the Obama administration and congressional Democrats work to assess the political fallout from the health care overhaul’s troubled implementation. Lawmakers passed on the frustration expressed by their constituents and the White House walked through their steps to repair the program (Kim, Epstein and Haberkorn, 11/6).The Washington Post: Obama Making Aggressive Effort To Reinvigorate His BaseNearly a year after President Obama’s reelection, his former campaign manager presented him with a poster-size version of a New York Times Magazine cover from November 2011 bearing the headline, “Is Obama Toast?” The president drew laughs with the story Monday at a dinner for Organizing for Action, an activist group started by his campaign staff. But it also served as a timely reminder for true believers that Obama has a history of defying expectations when he is down (Nakamura, 11/6).The New York Times: Sebelius Rejects Delays To Get Time To Repair Problems At Health SiteKathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said Wednesday that the government needed to fix hundreds of problems with the website for the federal health insurance marketplace, but she categorically rejected bipartisan calls to delay parts of the new health care law (Pear, 11/6).Los Angeles Times: Sebelius On Offense, Tells Senate Panel She Won’t Delay ObamacareHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that she had considered shutting down the problematic Obamacare website, but has no intention of delaying implementation of the nation’s new healthcare law. “Delaying the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t delay people’s cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s,” Sebelius said in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. “Delay is not an option.” In her second appearance on Capitol Hill since the botched Oct. 1 rollout of, the secretary went on the offense as the administration retools its strategy to preserve President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement (Mascaro, 11/6).The Washington Post: Sebelius Assures Fixes Are Being Made To Healthcare.govHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that the government is working to fix a “couple of hundred” problems with the federal health insurance Web site and that once the site is running smoothly, she will “re-invite” people who have been turned off by the technical headaches. Sebelius, appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, rejected calls from politicians in both parties to delay aspects of the health-care law, including by extending the initial open enrollment period beyond March 31 for buying insurance on the new online marketplaces. People who don’t buy coverage by then risk being fined (Somashekhar and Kliff, 11/7).The Wall Street Journal: Exchange Site Needs Hundreds Of FixesHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered a sobering picture Wednesday of the challenges in fixing the government’s health-insurance website, saying contractors need to fix a couple of hundred problems and “we’re not where we need to be.” Ms. Sebelius spoke in Senate testimony hours before new information emerged about the site’s lack of readiness before its Oct. 1 opening. In an internal bulletin released by House Republican investigators, a contractor testing the site reported that, as of Sept. 30, it could handle up to 1,100 users before response time became too slow (Schatz, 11/6).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Sebelius: Health Care Website Needed Couple Of Hundred Fixes When Repair Effort BeganRepublicans blistered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday over the nation’s controversial health care law, bluntly challenging her honesty, pushing for her resignation and demanding unsuccessfully she concede that President Barack Obama deliberately misled the public about his signature domestic program. … During two hours in the Senate Finance Committee witness chair, Sebelius parried some thrusts and listened impassively to others. Treated more gently by Democrats than Republicans, she said at one point: “Clearly the opposition is still quite ferocious, and I’m just hoping that people understand what their options are, what their benefits could be and what their opportunities are” (11/6).Politico: Kathleen Sebelius Hearing Takeaway: More Bad NewsKathleen Sebelius got through the latest Obamacare hearing Wednesday, but her message to Senate Democrats was a bit of a downer: Expect more bad news. The Health and Human Services secretary told the Senate Finance Committee that the Obama administration is on track to fix the sputtering federal enrollment website. Well, maybe not on track exactly — “not where we need to be” (Nather, 11/7).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Exchange Problems Could Mean Patients With Serious Illness Run Out Of Time To Sign UpWith federal and state online health care marketplaces experiencing glitches a month into implementation, concern is mounting for a vulnerable group of people who were supposed to be among the health law’s earliest beneficiaries. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country with pre-existing chronic conditions such as cancer, heart failure or kidney disease who are covered through high risk-insurance pools will see their coverage dissolve by year’s end (11/6).The Washington Post’s Federal Eye: Tony Trenkle: The Official Who Stepped may have claimed its first casualty from the Obama administration: a veteran official who helped oversee development of the federal government’s glitch-ridden online insurance exchange. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) said on Wednesday that Tony Trenkle, the agency’s top technology executive, will step down on Nov. 15 “to take a position in the private sector.” CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder delivered the news in an e-mail to employees (Hicks, 11/7).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Official Involved With To LeaveTony Trenkle, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will leave the agency on Nov. 15, according to an email written by the agency’s chief operating officer, Michelle Snyder, and sent to agency employees on Wednesday. Mr. Trenkle oversaw $2 billion worth of annual spending on information products and services including the development of, the federal insurance website (Dooren, 11/6).Los Angeles Times: GOP Lawmakers In Ohio Under Fire For Supporting Medicaid ExpansionState Rep. Barbara Sears is the kind of Republican the party would want to highlight these days: a woman and former business owner, fluent in health insurance issues. … But this year, the popular legislator with a strong conservative voting record has found her photo on door hangers throughout her district, pictured as the conductor of the Obamacare train to disaster. … It’s all part of a campaign against her by Americans for Prosperity. … The reason: Sears has championed a key element of Obamacare. Her support for the expansion of Medicaid to cover more of the state’s poor is also backed by Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich and nearly three-quarters of Ohioans, according to an AARP poll (Reston, 11/6).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Some Union Insurance Plans Could Get Break From Fees Under New Health Care LawCritics of the new health care law are claiming some labor unions could get a break from fees imposed on everyone covered by health insurance. The Obama administration’s plan to exempt “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from paying fees in 2015 and 2016 is not sitting well with Republicans, who say the move smacks of favoritism for a powerful White House ally. Labor officials say many unions won’t be affected (11/7).The Wall Street Journal: Health-Fee Proposal KnockedThe Obama administration is planning to exempt some labor unions and businesses from paying part of a contentious reinsurance fee under the health-overhaul law, but unions and businesses said Wednesday the move wouldn’t go far enough. The Department of Health and Human Services signaled in a document published quietly last week that it intends to propose a partial break on the fee. But business officials said the vast majority of their insurance plans wouldn’t qualify, and union officials said a large majority of theirs wouldn’t either, based on the language from HHS (Radnofsky and Trottman, 11/6).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: The White House Effort To Blame Insurance Companies For Lost PlansIn defending President Obama’s now-discredited pledge that “if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep it,” the White House has repeatedly tried to blame insurance companies. White House spokesman Jay Carney’s statement above, accusing insurance companies of stripping away benefits, is typical.  Columnists supportive of the White House have piled on, arguing that insurance companies should be blamed. … But there’s an interesting wrinkle to this story that few appeared to have understood. The main culprit is not whether or not the insurance industry has changed a plan that ran afoul of the administration’s regulations — but the law’s effective date. Let’s explain (Kessler, 11/7).NPR: How The Affordable Care Act Pays For Insurance SubsidiesBut the authors of the Affordable Care Act didn’t want the subsidies to become a drain on the Treasury and add to the deficits. So they included provisions designed to offset the cost of the subsidies. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped develop the law, says about half the costs are offset by projected savings in Medicare payments to insurers and hospitals. Another quarter is offset by added taxes on medical-device makers and drug companies (Ydstie, 11/7).USA Today: Mental Health Bills May Limit Young American’s CloutHigh mental health costs for young adults threaten to undermine a key assumption of the Affordable Care Act: that insuring more young people will lower costs because they are healthier and require less expensive care (Kennedy, 11/6).Politico: Abortion Fight Returns To The HillUndeterred by charges that the GOP is too focused on social issues, Senate Republicans are gunning for a fight this fall over the hot-button subject of late-term abortions. Flanked by anti-abortion groups, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will unveil legislation on Thursday to federally ban abortions after five months of pregnancy (Everett, 11/6).The Wall Street Journal: Humana Profit Falls On Higher CostsHumana and its peers next year face shrinking government funding for Medicare Advantage plans, which are private industry’s version of the health plan for the elderly and disabled. Humana is more tethered to these plans than any other big insurers, making its ability to digest lower incoming payments while guarding profit margins a key issue. The company—which is one of the biggest providers of privately run Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors in the U.S.—also has bought stakes in doctor practices in an effort to push further into providing health services, and not just paying for them (Tadena, 11/6).The Washington Post: AMA Panel Takes Steps Toward More TransparencyThe American Medical Association panel that plays a key role in setting payment rates for physicians has voted to make public more of its deliberations and is revamping some of the methods it uses for determining the values of services. The panel has come under criticism in recent years because, despite its importance in the economy of U.S. health care, its meetings have not been freely accessible to the public. The panel advises the federal government on the value of physicians’ services and its estimates are widely used by insurance companies (Whoriskey, 11/6). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.last_img read more

State Highlights New York Hospital Mergers Surging

first_imgA selection of health policy stories from New York, California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. The Wall Street Journal: Hospital Mergers In The New York Area Bring Cost FearsHospital takeovers are surging in the New York region, raising concerns that health costs could climb and care could change. In New York state, at least a dozen hospitals, many of them financially ailing, have become part of larger networks since 2011, according to the state Department of Health. More than a dozen have new owners or new affiliations in New Jersey during the same period as well (Dawsey, 8/4).Los Angeles Times: Court Says Paid Caregivers Can’t Sue If Injured By Alzheimer PatientsHome health workers hired to care for unruly Alzheimer’s patients may not sue them or their families for injuries inflicted by the patients, the California Supreme Court decided Monday. In a 5-2 decision, the state’s highest court said employers have no liability as long as the caregiver was warned of the risks and the injury was caused by symptoms of the disease. Workers voluntarily assume the risk of violent injury in caring for patients with the brain disease, the court said (Dolan, 8/4). Kaiser Health News: Cleveland’s Early Medicaid Expansion Paying OffSo long before Ohio expanded Medicaid, the hospital redirected more than $30 million from Cuyahoga County taxpayers to create its very own Medicaid program for residents. Here’s how it worked: MetroHealth used extensive electronic medical records to carefully select uninsured patients and sent 28,000 of them Medicaid cards before they even applied. Then, the hospital gave highly personalized attention to some patients and kept track of them (Tribble, 8/5).The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee VA Medical Center Director Optimistic About System’s FutureRobert Beller was appointed director of the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2007 and oversees a health system that provided care to 61,462 veterans last year. The medical center is among 30 VA medical centers nationwide charged with treating the most complex patients. It also is an academic medical center for the Medical College of Wisconsin, and about three-fourths of its physicians in Milwaukee have faculty appointments at the medical school. The Zablocki VA Medical Center, which includes four outpatient clinics in eastern Wisconsin and employs 4,056 people, was not cited in the recent scandal involving the VA and performs better overall than most VA medical centers on public quality measures. But Beller acknowledges that the Milwaukee medical center faces many of the same challenges as the VA system, such as recruiting physicians (Boulton, 8/4). WBUR: Governor Reviewing Mass. Bill That Would Expand Autism SupportsMany parents of children on the autism spectrum are celebrating passage of a bill that is among dozens already on Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk. The bill would create a tax-free savings account for autism and disability care; would require Medicaid coverage for autism behavioral treatment; and would give thousands of residents with autism access to state disability services. Currently only those whose IQ is under 70 qualify (Bebinger, 8/4).The Associated Press: Insurers Face Tougher Mental Health Coverage FinesA bill approved Monday by the Legislature would increase penalties for health insurance companies that provide substandard benefits for mental health care. SB1046 advanced to the governor’s desk on a 70-0 vote in the Assembly. It aims to strengthen long-standing rules designed to increase patient access to psychiatric treatment by preventing insurers from skimping on benefits. Under state and federal laws, insurers must cover treatments for serious mental illness similar to how they would cover other injuries and diseases. That means plans cannot include separate limits on mental health benefits or include higher co-pays and out-of-pocket costs for counseling and medication (8/4). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. State Highlights: New York Hospital Mergers Surginglast_img read more

Can Cancer Early Detection Be A DoubleEdged Sword

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Can Cancer Early Detection Be A ‘Double-Edged Sword’? The Wall Street Journal: Some Cancer Experts See ‘Overdiagnosis,’ Question Emphasis On Early DetectionEarly detection has long been seen as a powerful weapon in the battle against cancer. But some experts now see it as double-edged sword. While it’s clear that early-stage cancers are more treatable than late-stage ones, some leading cancer experts say that zealous screening and advanced diagnostic tools are finding ever-smaller abnormalities in prostate, breast, thyroid and other tissues. Many are being labeled cancer or precancer and treated aggressively, even though they may never have caused harm (Beck, 9/14). last_img read more

More Insurers Change How They Pay Medical Providers

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. More Insurers Change How They Pay Medical Providers Commercial insurers are moving rapidly from the old system of paying health providers for every test or procedure they do toward payments based on the value rather than volume of services, according to a report by Catalyst for Payment Reform, a business coalition focused on health care costs.Marketplace: How Insurers Are Adjusting Payment To Medical ProvidersCommercial insurers are ditching or at least tweaking the way they pay medical providers, according to a report out Tuesday from the group Catalyst for Payment Reform. For years, commercial insurers as well as state and federal governments have paid doctors and hospitals under what’s called fee-for-service. To many in the healthcare world, fee-for-service is seen as one of the key drivers behind the run-up in healthcare costs, because it offers providers a financial incentive to provide extra services that may not be needed (Gorenstein, 9/30).Dallas Morning News: Quick Uptake For New Health Care Payment PlansHealth insurance companies, hospitals and physicians are moving with alacrity toward new payment models that promote value rather than volume of care. The Catalyst for Payment Reform, a business coalition concerned with the high cost of medical care, reported Tuesday that 40 percent of insurance plan payments are now made with methods that stress affordability and quality. Last year, the survey found 10.9 percent of payments to hospitals and doctors were made with value-based payments (Landers, 9/30).Modern Healthcare: Incentive-based Contracts Thriving In Commercial Insurance MarketHealth plans that cover two-thirds of commercially insured Americans used incentives this year to motivate hospitals and doctors to improve quality and manage costs, according to a new survey. Those contracts were responsible for 40% of insurers’ medical spending.  The survey is the second by Catalyst for Payment Reform, a health policy not-for-profit founded and funded by employers, and the results offer a snapshot of how some of the nation’s largest insurers use the promise of financial gain or loss to influence the way providers deliver care and run their businesses.  Four of the five largest U.S. insurers were among 39 health plans that responded to the survey, and together they cover 101 million lives, Catalyst said. About 15% of the enrollees had providers with incentive-based contracts, the survey found (Evans, 9/30). Meanwhile, The Charlotte Observer reports on how one large physician practice is moving from ‘volume to value’ – Charlotte Observer:  OrthoCarolina Of Charlotte To Bundle Knee, Hip Replacement CostsHospital leaders in Charlotte talk a lot about transforming the health-care system and moving from “volume to value.” By that, they mean a future where doctors and hospitals get paid, not just for treating patients each time they get sick, but for keeping them well. Still, the current system relies mostly on so-called “fee-for-service” reimbursement, under which patients and insurance companies pay for each appointment, test or procedure. The more services, the more payments. Instead of waiting for change to be imposed, doctors at Charlotte’s OrthoCarolina, one of the region’s largest physician groups, have taken the lead in adopting a system to simplify billing and improve coordination of care. Patients undergoing knee and hip replacements can get a single bill with a “bundled payment” that covers preoperative care, surgery, followup appointments, 90 days of physical therapy and the services of a “patient navigator” who serves as a guide through the process (Garloch, 9/29). last_img read more

About 5 Of Home Health Agencies Have Characteristics That Suggest Fraud Potential

first_img Modern Healthcare: About 5% Of Home Healthcare Agencies Show Potential Signs Of Fraud This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Seven years after a U.S. senator cited him as a national example of aberrant practices, the onetime top prescriber of antipsychotic drugs in Florida’s Medicaid program is in federal custody awaiting sentencing on fraud charges. The second-highest prescriber is serving a four-year term in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges in 2012, but he only relinquished his license to practice medicine in Florida last fall. (Ornstein, 6/23) ProPublica: Florida Doctor Pleads Guilty To Fraud — Years After Complaints About His Prescribing center_img About 5% Of Home Health Agencies Have Characteristics That Suggest Fraud Potential, HHS Investigators Find Meanwhile, ProPublica reports that a Florida doctor — who at one point was the state’s second-highest prescriber of antipsychotic drugs in the Medicaid program — has pleaded guilty to fraud charges. More than 500 home healthcare agencies—about 5% of the total—and 4,500 doctors across the country share characteristics that often point to home healthcare fraud, according to a report released by HHS’ Office of Inspector General on Wednesday. (Schencker, 6/23) last_img read more

Nintendo needs to make this unofficial GameCube mini legit – heres why

first_img Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. A Texan YouTuber has built a fully-functional Nintendo GameCube mini using a gummy candy container and a Nintendo Wii motherboard, and it looks awesome.YouTuber Madmorda showed off the adorable console in a video last month. The miniature GameCube runs off a motherboard recycled from a Nintendo Wii and trimmed down to the size of a Game Boy Colour cartridge. It features four 3.5mm headphone jack ports for connecting GameCube controllers, as well as a USB Type-A port to support the Wii U’s GameCube adapter, making multiplayer gaming a seamless experience. A Micro USB port is embedded in the back for the power source. Madmoda runs the console off a $10 mobile battery bank she claims lasts several hours use.We here at Trusted Towers have been clamoring for Nintendo to release more mini re-releases of its classic consoles since the company launched its NES Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini consoles. The SNES Classic Mini is the perfect gift for any retro gaming fan and is currently available for a mere £100.  As we noted in our in-depth SNES Classic Mini review: “It’s A lovingly made retro console that’s well worth the money.”Read our review of the NES Classic MiniWe’d love to see Nintendo give the GameCube the same treatment as a result. If you agree the baby console is adorable and want to see more miniature Nintendo goodness Madmoda also happens to be the channel responsible for the “World’s Smallest Working GameCube Controller”.Related: Best Switch GamesIn a video from last January, the YouTuber uses a novelty key-ring as the base for a tiny, fully-functional controller. The video demonstrates the controller’s impressive capabilities with a game of Super Mario Sunshine, backing up Madmoda’s claim that the mod has “the full scope of what a GameCube controller can do”. She does point out that she wouldn’t necessarily use the controller to play Smash Bros. but, aside from the size of the buttons, the controller seems just as capable in its performance as its full-sized Nintendo counterpart. If you are interested in building your own miniature GameCube, Madmorda has documented her journey for both the console and the controller on BitBuilt. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

GreatWest Lifeco selling US life insurance and annuity business for 16 billion

first_imgGreat-West Lifeco selling U.S. life insurance and annuity business for $1.6 billion The selling price is below the unit’s value on GWL’s books The Canadian Press Share this storyGreat-West Lifeco selling U.S. life insurance and annuity business for $1.6 billion Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn January 24, 20199:23 AM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 24, 20199:40 AM EST Filed under News FP Street Featured Stories Comment Recommended For YouThe ins and outs of mortgage pre-approvals and how to polish up your credit scoreThe ins and outs of mortgage pre-approvals and how to polish up your credit scoreEU Parliament spokesman: Turnout for 27 nations excluding UK nears 51%, early figures show; highest in at least 20 yearsRobot inspectors aim to revolutionize the factory lineFacebook says it has broken up private Israel-based campaign to disrupt foreign elections Reddit Email Twitter Great-West chief executive Paul Mahon says the deal will allow the company to focus on the retirement and asset management markets in the United States.Canadian Press center_img ← Previous Next → WINNIPEG — Great-West Lifeco Inc. has signed a deal to sell its U.S. individual life insurance and annuity business to a subsidiary of Protective Life Corp. for $1.6 billion, which is below the unit’s value on GWL’s books.Great-West chief executive Paul Mahon says the deal will allow the company to focus on the retirement and asset management markets in the United States.The business that Protective Life is acquiring includes bank-owned and corporate-owned life insurance, single premium life insurance, individual annuities, and closed block life insurance and annuities.Great-West says the business contributed about $120 million to its net earnings for the first three quarters of 2018.But GWL expects to recognize a closing a book value loss of about $93 million and transaction costs of $76 million.The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions.  More Sponsored By: What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation advertisement Join the conversation → Facebook 0 Commentslast_img read more