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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Microsoft, Qualcomm's ARM-Powered Windows 10 Laptops Will Arrive in Q4.


Microsoft and Qualcomm announced last year that Windows 10 will get support for ARM chipsets, specifically, Qualcomm's Snapdragon SoCs. While the companies said that the first PCs with ARM chipsets will be coming in 2017, there was never a specific timeline mentioned for the launch. Now, Qualcomm has revealed that the first such laptops will be launched in fourth quarter this year.

Qualcomm, in its latest investor call, announced that the first cellular laptop with Windows 10 and company's Snapdragon 835 SoC will be coming by the end of this year.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said that Snapdragon 835 processor is expanding into mobile PC designs that run Windows 10 and is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter, as per a transcript of the earnings call.

As Windows 10 devices currently only run on x86 chipsets from Intel or AMD, these will be the first devices to run Windows 10 that don't have a processor with x86 architecture. Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, confirmed last year that the initial focus would be on laptops but the company has envisioned a vast ecosystem of Windows 10 ARM devices.

"We're thinking about platform that supports small screens, large screens, devices with no screens at all, head-mounted displays, and so what can these device makers build will really be up to them," Myerson said at the time.

Earlier this month, the Redmond-based company said that it is working with Qualcomm and Cavium to bring support for ARM chips to Windows Server OS. The server used in the demo ran on Qualcomm's 10nm Centriq 2400 and Cavium's flagship second generation 64-bit ThunderX2 ARMv8-A server processor- both especially designed ARM-based chips meant for cloud servers.

Samsung Pay Update Reportedly Brings UPI Support in India.


Samsung announced at the launch of its 'Samsung Pay' payment service that the company was testing the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) integration but now the company is reportedly rolling out the feature to users with the latest update to the Samsung Pay app.

The UPI support comes with an 84MB update (size can vary with device) to Samsung Pay, which shows up as a notification when you open the app and after installation, the respective UPI account can be added by simply following the instructions, Sammobile said in its report.

For those who are unaware, UPI is a nationwide payment service that allows users to easily transfer and receive funds by simply registering their mobile phone number. The service went live in August last year and is interoperable between banks, meaning that the sender and recipient can have an account in any bank and still fund exchange can take place.

With this integration in place, owner of supported Samsung devices will be able to make payments from their bank accounts using UPI service. As users do not need details like IFSC code and name of the bank of the recipient, making funds easier to transfer.

Notably, Samsung Pay service supports both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and allows a user to send a magnetic signal from smartphone to the payment terminal's card reader.

The payments service from the South Korean company was launched last month in India and works with most major banks and even Paytm e-wallet.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook With Launched, 'Designed for Android Apps'.


Lenovo on Wednesday launched its 2-in-1 convertible Flex 11 Chromebook. The Flex 11 has been pitched by the company as a device optimised for entertainment and productivity, and bears a touchscreen that provides improved Android app support. Lenovo says that Flex 11 was designed "with Android apps from the Google Play store in mind." The laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge that provides it with flexibility and ability to shift to different modes including watch, tent, laptop, and tablet according to user's needs. The pricing for the laptop starts from $279 (roughly Rs. 18,000), and it will be made available by the company later this month.

The Lenovo's Flex 11 runs ChromeOS, and while Android app support is the most touted feature, support will be coming soon to the laptop, as per the company. It sports a 11.6-inch (768x1366 pixels) touchscreen IPS display and is powered by a quad-core 2.1GHz ARM processor. The laptop packs 4GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of built-in storage. In terms of connectivity options, Flex 11 offers options including HDMI, USB 3.0, an audio jack, USB Type-C and an SD card slot.

As per Lenovo's claims, the Flex 11 provides up to 10 hours of battery life. The Flex 11 weighs less than 1.36kg and comes with a drop-resistant design, which allows it to withstand falls from up to 2.4 feet, as per company's claims. The company says that the laptop also features a water-resistant keyboard that can handle spills of up to 330ml.

"Skype, Asphalt 8, Evernote, and Slack run seamlessly on this powerful ARM processor as well as all touch applications, interactive games, high-definition video, and more, without compromising on performance," Lenovo said in its release.

Ola Seeks Up to $100 Million in Fresh Funding to Fuel Expansion.


Cab aggregator Ola's board has approved raising up to $100 million from existing shareholders, primarily to fund its expansion plans.

The company, which is locked in an intense battle with American rival Uber, had recently raised funds to the tune of Rs. 1,675 crores from its Japanese investor, SoftBank.

The approval was for issuance of convertible securities at a price of Rs. 13,521 apiece through a rights issue.

ANI Technologies - which operates Ola - Thursday said its board has approved raising "up to $100 million (about Rs. 670 crores) by issue of 495,526 Series 'l1' preference shares of face value Rs. 10 each at a price per subscription share equivalent to Rs. 13,521".

As per the filing made to the Corporate Affairs Ministry under the Companies Act, the rights issue was scheduled for March 23, 2017.

However, it could not be immediately ascertained how much the company raised through the issue.

A query sent to Ola did not elicit any response. The filing said the objective of the issue was "to meet the growth and expansion of business and to strengthen financial position of the company".

After selling its China business to rival Didi, Uber has made India one of its top priorities. It has made significant investments in its India operations, strengthening its platform and expanding its driver partner ecosystem.

Ola, which has a presence in 110 Indian cities compared to Uber's operations in 29 cities, has also been aggressively expanding its portfolio of services.

It is also placing big bets on new technologies like electric vehicles to stay ahead of competition.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Goes on Sale, Aims to Move on From Retail Crisis.


Samsung's new Galaxy S8 went on sale over the counter in South Korea Friday as the world's biggest smartphone maker seeks to move on from a disastrous handset recall and corruption scandal that has hammered its once-stellar reputation.

The device, unveiled in New York last month and a challenge to Apple's iPhone, is the firm's first major launch since last year's humiliating withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 over exploding batteries.
It also comes with vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong and other executives on trial for bribery over their alleged role in the graft scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.

But the company's profits are rising and the new phones have received good reviews, with more than one million pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 and the larger Galaxy S8+ in South Korea alone.

Shares in Samsung Electronics jumped more than 2.5 percent Friday, adding around $7 billion (roughly Rs. 45,245 crores) to its market capitalisation.

"Market reactions to the release of the S8 series are somewhat positive," said Lee Seung-Woo of IBK Investment Securities.
Samsung could break the record 48.5 million unit sales it achieved with its S7 series, he added.

"Barring the weakening of the US dollar, Samsung's second-quarter operating profit would reach 12 trillion won," Lee said.

Pre-order deliveries began earlier this week, and in-store sales begin in the US and Canada later Friday, with the device due to be rolled out to around 50 more countries next week.
Samsung Electronics is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, whose revenues are equivalent to a fifth of South Korea's gross domestic product, and the S8 series introduction comes at a delicate time for the embattled firm.

The Galaxy Note 7 recall debacle cost it billions of dollars in lost profit and hammered its global reputation and credibility, forcing it to apologise to customers and postpone the S8 launch.

"The latest salvo from Samsung shows how it's keen to regain consumer confidence and attain leadership in the smartphone landscape, a nearly saturated but still highly competitive space that remains key to retaining subscriber loyalties and winning new converts," IHS Markit said.

When Samsung unveiled Galaxy S8 and S8+ in New York last month, it said the new handsets would mark a "new era of smartphone design".

Fitted with screens of 5.8 and 6.2 inches, the two handsets include Samsung's upgraded digital assistant Bixby, competing in a crowded field that includes Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The most striking feature of the new phones is what Samsung dubs an "infinity display" - an expanded glass screen that covers the entire front of the device and appears to curve seamlessly around its edges.

But some consumers have complained that the screens on their devices have a reddish hue. Samsung said in a statement that users could manually adjust the colour range according to their preferences.

The home button has been replaced with a pressure-sensitive section embedded under the screen, and the water-resistant phone allows for biometric authentication with fingerprint and iris scanners.

The world's largest memory chip and smartphone maker has said it expected its operating profit in the January-March period of KRW 9.9 trillion ($8.8 billion), up 48.2 percent from a year earlier, thanks to strong sales of memory chips and display panels.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bose Accused of Spying on Wireless Headphones Customers With Connect App.


Bose Corp spies on its wireless headphone customers by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling the information without permission, a lawsuit charged.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

Bose did not respond on Wednesday to requests for comment on the proposed class action case. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company has said annual sales top $3.5 billion (roughly Rs. 22,638 crores).

Zak's lawsuit was the latest to accuse companies of trying to boost profit by quietly amassing customer information, and then selling it or using it to solicit more business.

After paying $350 for his QuietComfort 35 headphones, Zak said he took Bose's suggestion to "get the most out of your headphones" by downloading its app, and providing his name, email address and headphone serial number in the process.

But the Illinois resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere."

Audio choices offer "an incredible amount of insight" into customers' personalities, behavior, politics and religious views, citing as an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might "very likely" be a Muslim, the complaint said.

"Defendants' conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights," the complaint said.

Zak is seeking millions of dollars of damages for buyers of headphones and speakers, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

He also wants a halt to the data collection, which he said violates the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud.

Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, said customers do not see the Bose app's user service and privacy agreements when signing up, and the privacy agreement says nothing about data collection.

Edelson specializes in suing technology companies over alleged privacy violations.

The case is Zak v Bose Corp, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 17-02928.

Windows 10 to Get 'Power Throttling' Feature Aimed at Extending Laptop Battery Life.


Microsoft is looking to address one of the biggest pain points in laptops - that of battery life draining due to multiple apps running in the background. Now, the company has announced that in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build, Microsoft is testing a Power Throttling feature that will save overall battery usage.

The Microsoft Windows 10 Preview Build 16176 is testing this feature, and it is claimed to provide up to 11 percent savings in CPU power consumption. The only prerequisite for this feature to work is that your machine has to be running on Intel sixth generation and above Core processors - which means only Skylake and Kaby Lake processors can take advantage of this feature for now.

"Most people running Windows like having multiple apps running at the same time - and often, what's running in the background can drain your battery. In this latest Insider Preview build (Build 16176), we leveraged modern silicon capabilities to run background work in a power-efficient manner, thereby enhancing battery life significantly while still giving users access to powerful multitasking capabilities of Windows. With "Power Throttling"~CHECK~, when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes - work gets done, but the minimal possible battery is spent on that work," the company notes on its blog.

There's also the power slider that allows you to manually control system-wide throttling, and it can be found by clicking the battery icon on the taskbar. You can also manually opt-out specific apps from power-throttling by going to Battery Settings in Settings > System > Battery > Battery Usage by App. Select the app you want to switch off power throttling and toggle Manage by Windows to off. Also uncheck the Reduce work app does when in background checkbox. Microsoft also notes that Power Throttling is the testing name, and when the feature releases commercially, it may be called something else.

Swipe Elite Star 16GB Storage Variant With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 3,999.


Swipe Technologies launched its Swipe Elite Star 4G VoLTE smartphone last year in December and on Wednesday; the company launched an upgraded storage variant of the smartphone. The new variant comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage instead of 8GB, and has been made available by the company at a price of Rs. 3,999 through Flipkart. The smartphone has been made available in Black and White colour options.

The Swipe Elite Star runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Indus OS. The Swipe Elite Star comes with features such as Indus Swipe, Word and Matra prediction, Indus Reader, Indus Messaging, and a Hybrid Keyboard.

The dual-SIM smartphone sports a 4-inch WVGA (480x800 pixels) display. It is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The Swipe Elite Star now comes with 16GB of built-in storage, which is further expandable via microSD card (still up to 32GB).

In terms of optics, the Swipe Elite Star comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera, tagged with LED flash, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for taking selfies. The smartphone houses a 2000mAh battery that comes with rapid-charge functionality.

The connectivity options for the Swipe Elite Star smartphone include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Bluetooth. The smartphone measures 125.5x64.6x10.6mm.

Last year, Swipe announced a partnership with Indus OS alongside Celkon to bring the domestically-made operating system to more devices in the country. The tie-up is in addition to the one Indus OS already enjoys with Micromax.

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