Nintendo may cut Wii price by $50-$200: reports

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NEW YORK - Nintendo Co Ltd may cut the price of its Wii video game console by $50 to about $200, starting this weekend, according to several technology blogs.

A Nintendo spokesman was not immediately available to comment about the reports, which appeared on blogs including Kotaku and Engadget. The blogs said the new price takes effect "beginning on September 27 at Best Buy" and elsewhere.

Nintendo, the top maker of the current generation of video game consoles, would be the last among its peers to cut prices.

Last month, Microsoft Corp slashed $100 off the price of its high-end Xbox 360 console and Sony Corp cut its PlayStation 3 by $100. Prices for both now start at about $300, although Microsoft also sells a low-end model, the Xbox Arcade, for about $200.

Sales of the PS3 jumped after the price cut in August, Sony Computer Entertainment of America Chief Executive Jack Tretton told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Just after Microsoft cut its price on August 27, a Nintendo spokesman said the company had no plans for a cut.

Video game industry sales have slumped over the past six months, and hardware sales in August declined by 25 percent, according to research group NPD.

Analysts have pegged the drop to cautious spending by consumers in the tough economic environment, and a dearth of top-selling games. Long-awaited console price cuts by and new games, including updates to the "Halo," "Guitar Hero" and Call of Duty" franchises are expected to boost sales in coming months.

No motive in Bentain murder

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MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Jinggoy Estrada once again parried Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s allegations against his father, former President Joseph Estrada, specifically the claim that the former chief executive had a hand in the disappearance of a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation employee 10 years ago.

In his privilege speech at the Senate today (Sept. 23), Estrada challenged Lacson to identify the policeman who allegedly told a resident of Polk Street in Greenhills, San Juan City, about the completion of a certain “mission” — which Lacson hinted to be the abduction and killing of Pagcor employee Edgar Bentain.

“Sen. Lacson now has the moral obligation to reveal the officer’s identity, not only for the benefit of the Bentain family, but for the sake of justice for all our countrymen,” he said.

The younger Estrada also expressed surprise on Lacson saying that Bentain was murdered, since it was widely reported that the Pagcor employee was only "missing."

Lacson, in his speech yesterday, said Bentain was killed “somewhere in Laguna.”

Bentain was the former camera operator of Casino Filipino who leaked a videotape showing then Vice President Estrada — who was campaigning at that time as a presidential candidate — playing high-stakes gambling with his buddy Charlie “Atong” Ang.

Bentain reportedly handed over the video to Estrada’s nemesis and then Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chairman Manuel Morato — who released it to the public in an effort to discredit Estrada.

Six months into Estrada’s presidency, Bentain was abducted somewhere along Roxas Blvd and has not been heard from since.

Estrada’s son, meanwhile, said his father had no motive to have Bentain killed.

"There's no reason for President Estrada to have Mr. Bentain killed," he said.

The younger Estrada also denied his father's involvement in the Bubby Dacer-Emmanuel Corbito slay case, pointing to Lacson instead.

“He (Lacson) had the resources and the instruments to do this deed," Estrada said.

He likewise challenged Lacson to take matters to the court instead of launching his tirades through privilege speeches. - By Dennis Carcamo and Dino Maragay (Philstar News Service,

The fastest Car in the World BUGATTI VEYRON

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Audi R8: Turbodiesel V12 Canceled, Convertible Coming Soon

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One of the Best Car in world, the Audi R8 took the supercar market by storm when it launched in 2006. But if you were waiting for a better version, we've got good news and we've got bad news. The good news is, after launching the V10 version at the Detroit show late last year, plans are reportedly moving ahead to introduce an open-air version of the Audi supercar which should be on the road within the next two years. That's bad news enough for the likes of the Aston Martin DB9 Volante and Jaguar XKR, but the real disappointment is that Audi has reportedly canceled the development of its V12 turbo-diesel version. After previewing the idea as a concept car at the Detroit show in January 2008 and then again in Geneva the following March, Audi has determined that the costs involved with reshaping both the engine and the chassis to fit the former into the latter are just too high to be justified in this economy, particularly wit diesel prices as high as they are in the United States, a key market for the R8's financial success.

Audi R8 Spider

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Lamborghini Estoque

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Lamborghini's all-new 4-door Estoque concept refers to the Spanish term for the final stroke a matador makes when he rams his sword between the shoulder blades of an exhausted bull. Could Lamborghini be hinting what this car will do to Porsche's upcoming Panamera?
The cutting-edge graphics of the Estoque were developed in-house by Lamborghini Centro Stile. The Estoque exhibits Lamborghini's new DNA, following the path set by the Reventón, the Murciélago LP640 and the Gallardo. Produced out of aluminum and carbon fiber, the Estoque's bodywork is captivating. The roofline, long wheelbase and an overall length of 203 in. promise a princely cabin, while the tall rear deck offers a huge trunk — the obligatory golf bags will fit with ease.

Other Estoque features include artistically arranged LEDs, several air vents and angular side mirrors, while the spokes of the 22-in. front and 23-in. rear wheels somehow give the car a certain lightness. The dual fuel-filler caps, on the other hand, are gimmicky.

The interior does not disappoint, clearly devoted to long-distance touring, and fitted with acres of Nappa leather, four separate seats and all the expected comfort and infotainment features. The driver can choose between classic or futuristic instrument layouts on an LCD display.

Lamborghini says the Estoque is more than just a roomy Maserati Quattroporte. The Estoque's front/mid-engine layout, all-wheel drive and low center of gravity virtually guarantee superb handling and ideal traction — they would be needed, given the car's 560-bhp Gallardo-based V-10, which makes for a top speed of 190 mph. There could be a turbocharged V-8 option, as well as a turbodiesel. Lamborghini chief engineer Maurizio Reggiani points out: "Diesel and downsizing are very interesting topics. A mild hybrid could be possible, as well."

Will there be series production? Lamborghini calls the Estoque "a realistic idea, with exciting alternatives in both styling and powertrain." A decision will need to be made by Lamborghini's Audi/VW owners. Of note, Porsche is a major VW shareholder — would the Estoque be too much competition for the upcoming Panamera? Is the world's economy strong enough to support the sale of a car with an estimated price of $400,000 - $450,000? Good questions, but for sure the Estoque looks to be a more dynamic choice than the Panamera, Quattroporte and Aston Martin's Rapide.

BMW Cars

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As a plug-in full hybrid with a turbodiesel engine, upward-pivoting doors and radical styling, BMW's 4- seat Vision EfficientDynamics concept car—now on display at the Frankfurt auto show—is packed with technology enabling it to be both frugal and fast.

Complementing the Vision’s futuristic exterior styling, the interior of the car has a flowing instrument panel and a seating arrangement designed to give the passengers a floating-in-air feel. The upholstery is mostly made with natural materials although Kevlar is used for the seats. New technology such as a 3- dimensional head-up display and BMW night vision is included.

The chassis of the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is constructed mostly from aluminum, with the roof and the exterior body made almost entirely from a special polycarbonate material. The car is 181.1 in. long, 74.8 in. wide and 48.8 in. tall. It has a 2+2 seating configuration that includes 5.3 cu. ft. of luggage space.

The Vision concept is powered by three sources: two electric motors (one at each axle, giving the car all-wheel drive in electric mode) and a turbodiesel engine (in front of the rear axle). The synchronous electric motor in front can provide a continuous output of 80 horsepower and peak torque of 162 lb.-ft. via a two-stage, single-speed reduction gearbox. For that extra kick needed when passing, the same motor can deliver 112 hp for up to 30 sec., and up to 139 hp for 10 sec.

In back, the second electric motor resides between the mid-mounted turbodiesel and BMW’s 6-speed DCT twin-clutch gearbox driving the rear axle. It is rated to serve up 33 hp continuously (51 hp peak) and maximum torque of 214 lb.-ft. Combined, the two electric motors can carry double duty in propelling the car, or serve as regenerative powerplants to recharge the onboard lithium-polymer batteries.

There are a total of 98 lithium-polymer cells that sit in the middle of the car running from front to back. Each individual 30 amp-hr cell can deliver 600 amps at 3.7 volts. And when that extra passing power is needed, each cell can ramp up to provide 1200 amps. The entire battery pack weighs about 190 lb. The onboard computer keeps the lithium-polymers at optimal operating conditions by using up to 80 percent of its discharge capacity (10.6 kWh total) when the car is in motion.

2009 Frankfurt auto show BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept
BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept

The rear/mid-mounted direct-injection, 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbodiesel puts out 163 bhp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque. Combined with the electric motors, the total system output is 356 bhp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, giving a level of performance that BMW says is "superior to anything provided so far by a hybrid vehicle."

Not totally relying on the turbodiesel engine, the Vision EfficientDynamics also features a plug-in solution where the batteries can be recharged in 2.5 hours when connected to a 220-volt 16-amp outlet. With a 380-volt 32-amp electric source, the charging time can be as little as 44 minutes. Running in full electric mode, the car can travel up to 31 miles. With only the turbodiesel providing power, an approximate 400-mile range can be obtained using a 6.6-gallon tank.

In the European Union test cycle, aided by the car's aerodynamic shape (its drag coefficient is just 0.22) and narrow tires for a sports car — 195/55s on 21-in. wheels—the Vision is able to achieve a fuel economy rating of 3.76 liters/100 kilometers (62.5 mpg equivalent), with CO2 emission recorded at a low 99 g/km.

Due to the car's considerable power and relatively low curb weight of 3076 lb., BMW claims the Vision EfficientDynamics concept can hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds, and easily exceed its electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Leave it to BMW to figure out a way to make hybrids exciting.