January 2017

Volvo becomes the first automaker to put Skype in cars

First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy 2017 year! I hope you enjoyed the festive season with your friends and family and now it's the time of year when we greet you for another 365 days full of action in the automotive world.

As we kick off the New Year, we are preparing ourselves here at ArabWheels to celebrate our 15th Anniversary by the end of the year. We are quite excited and we would like you to commemorate this special milestone with us.

The features we enjoy on our smartphones are migrating at an increasing pace into our cars. But is putting a video chat program in an automobile's infotainment system really a good idea? Volvo seems to think so, which already tells you something about the safety proposition. Together with Microsoft, the Swedish automaker has announced the industry-first integration of Skype for Business into its flagship 90 Series of luxury automobiles.

The feature will allow occupants in the S90, V90, and XC90 to view details of upcoming conference calls on the center console display, join in with a single touch, and even record voice memos for later. Though exact details were not disclosed, the app appears to be limited to voice calls - no video. Though video conferencing is the basis on which Skype was built, its exclusion from the in-car version would apparently diminish the potential distraction factor and make it safer to operate from behind the wheel. Along with Skype for Business integration, Volvo is also looking into integrating the Cortana ‘digital personal assistant' into its cars in the future. Similar to Amazon Alexa or Apple's Siri platforms, Volvo hopes to use Microsoft's artificial intelligence system to offer enhanced voice recognition and "contextual insights to support peoples' daily lives by actively predicting their needs."

Safer, at any rate, than messing with your phone while driving.

What's in our first issue of the year?
Khaled flew to Mexico, and more specifically to Los Cabos for the first drive of the all-new 2018 Audi Q5.

We featured some interesting reviews such as the all-new SUV from the Italian automaker Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio. We also reviewed the first electrified Jaguar Crossover, the I-Pace. Another special classic vehicle reviewed was the revival of the Jaguar XKSS. You can order yours immediately!

In our Editors' Choice section, Ershad drove both the Jaguar XF S and the Honda Accord Sedan in Dubai. I personally drove the Mercedes GLE400 Coupe, the all-new 2017 Mazda CX-9 and the 2017 four-cylinder Porsche Macan back in Beirut.

In the beginning of the year we wanted something special among the pages. So, we gathered the safest 31 cars for the 2017-year (the ones that will for sure make it to our Middle East).

We covered the Gulf Concours that took place in Dubai last month as well.

I hope you enjoy surfing around the pages of our first issue of the year - we promise you it is going to be an exciting year ahead of us. Drive safe and stay warm!

- Issam Eid, Editor-in-Chief

Cover Story: 2018 Audi Q5



Autoshows Calendar

Upcoming Articles

  • Global Drive: 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jaguar XJR575
  • Editors' Choice: Range Rover Velar
  • Editors' Choice: Lexus LC500h
  • Editors' Choice: Peugeot 3008
  • Editors' Choice: Cadillac CT6
  • Special Feature: Renault Zoe Electric