Friday, 17 April 2015

Open for business: Android for Work shows up on Google Play

Google has published Android for Work, its BYOD app for older Android smartphones that allows users to carve out a secure space for their business apps.
The app, which arrived on Google Play on Thursday, adds impetus to Google's plan to get more of the billion Android devices owned by consumers accepted by businesses as work devices.
Much like BlackBerry Balance, Android for Work aims to ensure personal data never meets its work counterpart, despite living on the same device. While Samsung has offered that capability to its devices through Knox, it wasn't available to other Android devices.
The Korean company helped Google deliver some key components of Android for Work, such as 'work profiles', which are native to Android 5.0 Lollipop thanks to its support for multi-user accounts. The Android for Work app is for older devices through to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to Android KitKat 4.4, which covers the vast majority of Android phones in use today.
With the app installed, IT admins will be able to manage and isolate the work data and work apps. Google also offers businesses an app store to publish their own apps in the program.
As with Android for Work on Lollipop, devices with the app installed will need to be enrolled with one of the Google's partner mobile device management (MDM) providers, which include BlackBerry, Mobile Iron, VMware, and others.
Third-party apps that have jumped on board with the program so far include Adobe, Box, Concur, Salesforce, and SAP with its HR software Success Factors.
The program and support by third-party MDM vendors could give Google and Android OEMs an answer to Apple's seemingly unshakeable stranglehold on the enterprise. According to Good Technology, during the third quarter of last year iOS represented 69 percent of devices in the enterprise while Android accounted for 29 percent, with Apple's lead growing thanks in part to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Yahoo may be readying a successor to Messenger


According to a report from The Information, Yahoo! is preparing to launch an ambitious new mobile messaging app combining elements of Skype, Snapchat and Meerkat. The supposed app could be the successor to the internet giant's ted and outdated Messenger platform.
Citing an anonymous source with experience of the project, the website describes a new app "blending aspects of live video apps like Meerkat, YouNow, and Skype and the recorded video messages popularized by Snapchat." This would make the new app a composite of some of the most popular and innovative messaging apps of the moment.
Microsoft's Skype is still a reference in the sector, with support for IM, file transfers, voice calls (free between users, or at low rates to land and mobile lines worldwide), and video conferencing.
Snapchat, meanwhile, lets users send photos and videos that are permanently deleted shortly after being opened. Popular with younger users in particular, the app has changed the way an entire generation interacts with friends and has inspired various other apps.
Finally, Meerkat, like Twitter's Periscope, allows users to communicate via live video streams. Easy to use and remarkably efficient, the mobile app lets users stream video content directly from their phone's camera with a single click. Meerkat has been used to broadcast live streams of everything from press conferences and celebrity meet-and-greets to more illicit content such as pirated TV shows or sexually explicit content.
Since Marissa Mayer's arrival at the head of the company in 2012, Yahoo! has revamped its visual identity and acquired several new businesses, including most notably the photo blogging platform Tumblr. But Yahoo! Messenger has remained untouched for several years, and the internet giant has yet to launch a follow-up.
Whatever messaging app Yahoo! has in store, it will have to be incredibly innovative to stand up to the competition, which includes a host of revolutionary apps downloaded hundreds of millions of times.

Broadband penetration: India ranks behind Sri Lanka, Bhutan

NEW DELHI: India is ranked below Bhutan and Sri Lanka in terms of broadband penetration and the multi-layered structure involved in the decision making for the sector needs to be overhauled, telecom regulator Trai said today.
"India ranks 125th in the world for fixed broadband penetration. Some of our neighbours like Bhutan and Sri Lanka are ahead of us. We need to seriously think about it," Trai Chairman Rahul Khullar said while sharing details of recommendations on the subject of 'Delivering Broadband Quickly'.
To promote the use of fixed-line broadband, Trai also proposed that the licence fee on the revenues earned from fixed line should be exempted for 5 years.
In the wireless or mobile broadband segment, India is ranked at 113th with a penetration of 3.2 per 100 inhabitants.
The regulator also suggested the need to revamp government bodies involved in decision making that impact spread of broadband including that of Wireless Planning Commission (WPC) -- custodian of spectrum at Department of Telecom.
Trai said WPC should be converted into an independent body by de-linking it from DoT and suggested that it can be converted into a statutory body reporting to Parliament or any other existing statutory body.
The regulator has said that multi-layered structure for decision making, for National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), is not suitable and structure needs immediate overhaul.
NOFN project aims to spread broadband across 2.5 lakh village panchayats by the end of 2016 but has missed its target of completing roll out in first 50,000 panchayats by March 2015.
The regulator has also called for an audit of spectrum held by all the bodies including public sector companies and government organisation to check if it is being used efficiently.
The regulator said present usage of spectrum available with government agencies should be reviewed, starting within 6 months, so as to identify the possible areas where spectrum can be refarmed for efficient use.
Trai expressed concern on government delaying guidelines on spectrum trading and sharing saying that "it is strongly urged that a decision is taken no later than 3 months from now." It also recommended that the cable operators should be allowed to function as resellers of internet service provider licence and digitisation of cable services should be implemented in tier 2 and 3 cities in a time-bound manner. Trai said that the government needs to encourage local and foreign companies to build data centre parks on the lines of industrial parks and SEZs.

Micromax all set to launch its entry level Canvas Spark on April 21

Micromax all set to launch its entry level Canvas Spark on April 21
Couple of days back there were reports of Micromax about to launch a budget phone to rival Xiaomi, Lenovo and Motorola’s offerings in the segment. We have come to know the name today – Micromax Canvas Spark – and it will be launched in India on April 21. Micromax has started sending out invites to the media regarding the same.
View image on Twitter
“Be the first to get your hands on the Micromax Canvas Spark! Join us for an electrifying get together and witness the reveal of this exciting gadget!” says the press invite.
According to a report in The Times of India, the new phone is expected to be priced at Rs 6,000. It will most likely sport a display size between 4.3-inch to 5-inch and it will be powered by a quad core processor.
The Canvas Spark will be sold exclusively on Snapdeal. The phone is expected to sport Corning Gorilla Glass protection as well according to one promo on Micromax’s Facebook


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Micromax and Snapdeal are releasing teasers on the Canvas Spark on its Facebook page. From the teaser above, it looks like the Spark will sport Android 5.0 Lollipop OS.

Microsoft and Cyanogen confirm tie-up to take down Android

dnaTechAndroid- Microsoft- Cyanogen- Android- Google- apps- smartphone- Bing- Skype
After rumours filling the airwaves for months, that Microsoft would either be buying or investing in Cyanogen, the companies have now confirmed that they have entered into a strategic partnership, in a joint press release on Thursday.
Cyanogen is known for one of the most popular Android-based operating systems and, later, for it's resounding critique of Google's iron-fisted rule over smaller contributing developers . Microsoft, on the other hand, has been making waves recently for attempting to capture Google's app market, by opening out its own apps to other platforms, as well as developing a Windows 10 build that can be installed on Android phones.
Under the partnership, Cyanogen OS phones will integrate and distribute Microsoft apps, including Bing, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, Outlook and Microsoft Office. In turn, Microsoft will, as the press release states "create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences." What exactly that could mean encompasses a wide range of possibilities.
What's most important though, is that this is an outright act of war by Microsoft and Cyanogen to take away Android from Google, something the brains behind Cyanogen have expressly said they're aiming to do. While there's no definitive timeline yet, we will likely soon see Cyanogen phones shipping with Microsoft's apps, rather than Google's. As for whether Microsoft might start adopting the Cyanogen OS, that's a bit iffy, considering the company'ss constantly expanding Windows-based Lumia series, but perhaps they will introduce a second line of smartphones soon?

Mark Zuckerberg: an unequal internet is better than no internet at all

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg poses at his office in Palo Alto, Calif
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out in defence of Internet.org, after a group of Indian technology and internet companies pulled out of the initiative, claiming it threatened the principle of "net neutrality".
The companies warned that Internet.org – which provides free access to a selection of web services including Facebook, Google Search, Wikipedia, AccuWeather and BBC News via a mobile app – conflicts with the principle that all websites should be equally accessible.
Travel portal Cleartrip.com and media giant Times Group both announced yesterday that they would be withdrawing from the service, citing competition fears, and Times Group also called on other publishers to do the same.
Now Mr Zuckerberg has defended Internet.org'ss in a blog post, in which he argues that "it is always better to have some access than none at all".
"We fully support net neutrality. We want to keep the internet open. Net neutrality ensures network operators don’t discriminate by limiting access to services you want to use. It’s an essential part of the open internet, and we are fully committed to it," he said
"But net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles – universal connectivity and net neutrality – can and must coexist."

>> Read: What is Internet.org?
He added that Internet.org does not block or throttle any other services or create fast lanes. It is open for all mobile operators and Facebook is not stopping anyone from joining.
"Arguments about net neutrality shouldn’t be used to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity," he said.
"Eliminating programs that bring more people online won’t increase social inclusion or close the digital divide. It will only deprive all of us of the ideas and contributions of the two thirds of the world who are not connected."
When asked why Internet.org only provides access to a selection of services rather than the whole internet, Mr Zuckerberg explained that it is too expensive to make the whole internet free.
"Mobile operators spend tens of billions of dollars to support all of internet traffic. If it was all free they'd go out of business. But by offering some basic services, it's still affordable for them and it's valuable and free for everyone to use," he said.
"We actually don't choose the services by ourselves. We work with local governments and the mobile operators to identify local services in each country."

This is not the first time that concerns have been raised about Facebook's approach to providing connectivity.
A report by Quartz in February revealed that millions of Facebook users in developing countries do not realise that they are using the internet, suggesting that, in many people's minds, the two are one and the same.
Quartz warned that, if large numbers of first-time adopters come online via Facebook's proprietary network, rather than via the open web, their whole understanding the internet will be distorted.
Meanwhile, policymakers, businesses, startups, developers, nonprofits and publishers will need to adopt Facebook as their primary communication platform, and play by the company's rules.
"If people stay on one service, it follows that content, advertisers, and associated services also will flow to that service, possibly to the exclusion of other venues," the report said.
The Internet.org app is currently available in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Colombia and parts of India. However, Facebook plans to expand the service, with Mr Zuckerberg promising to make the service available wherever people need to be connected.
As well as the app, the Internet.org partnership is also looking at providing internet access from the sky in places that are currently unconnected, using solar-powered drones, which can beam down laser-guided internet signals to those below.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sneak peek: Twitter's new home page for logged-out users

Sneak peek: Twitter's new home page for logged-out users 
New Delhi: For those who visit Twitter but don't sign up for it, the microblogging site has decided to woo you with its new home page that marks a shift from the earlier simple log in page with a background photo.
Even as we acknowledge the fact that there are 288 million active Twitter users, it is also true that they still form a minority. Twitter sees about 500 million people who visit the site every month without being logged in.
To leverage the scope of turning the logged out users into future members, Twitter has overhauled its home page that will soon see a public roll out.
To leverage the scope of turning the logged out users into future members, Twitter has overhauled its home page that will soon see a public roll out.
As Slate reports, the new home page for Twitter.com will greet users with algorithmically generated streams of tweets as soon as they sign up and a new mobile search page that will display trending topics along with a description.
The home page for the logged out users features columns for popular categories and clickable images with titles like 'pop artists,' 'business news,' and 'cute animals.' It also includes a category called 'tech blogs and reporters'.
Even if a user hasn't logged in the site, clicking on any of the categories or topics will lead to timeline of tweets that aren't based on who you follow, but algorithmically selected by Twitter from a pool of prominent accounts in the given category.
However, if you aren't logged in the site, or signed up for the service, you would not be able to retweet, favourite, or reply to any of the listed tweets.

World's first self-powered video camera developed

The world's first self-powered video camera that runs without a battery and can produce an image each second has been developed by researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist.

To develop the prototype camera, researchers designed a pixel that can not only measure incident light but also convert the incident light into electric power.

"We are in the middle of a digital imaging revolution," said Shree K Nayar, TC Chang Professor of Computer Science at the Columbia University, who led the study.

He noted that in the last year alone, approximately two billion cameras of various types were sold worldwide.

"I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. Digital imaging is expected to enable many emerging fields including wearable devices, sensor networks, smart environments, personalised medicine, and the Internet of Things.

"A camera that can function as an untethered device forever - without any external power supply - would be incredibly useful," said Nayar.

Nayar realised that although digital cameras and solar panels have different purposes - one measures light while the other converts light to power - both are constructed from essentially the same components.

At the heart of any digital camera is an image sensor, a chip with millions of pixels. The key enabling device in a pixel is the photodiode, which produces an electric current when exposed to light.

This mechanism enables each pixel to measure the intensity of light falling on it.

Nayar and colleagues used off-the-shelf components to fabricate an image sensor with 30x40 pixels.

In his prototype camera, which is housed in a 3D printed body, each pixel's photodiode is always operated in the photovoltaic mode.

The pixel design is very simple, and uses just two transistors.

During each image capture cycle, the pixels are used first to record and read out the image and then to harvest energy and charge the sensor's power supply - the image sensor continuously toggles between image capture and power harvesting modes.

When the camera is not used to capture images, it can be used to generate power for other devices, such as a phone or a watch.

Nayar notes that the image sensor could use a rechargeable battery and charge it via its harvesting capability.

"A few different designs for image sensors that can harvest energy have been proposed in the past. However, our prototype is the first demonstration of a fully self-powered video camera," Nayar added.

Google Joins Its U.S. Peers Under Europe’s Scrutiny

 
SAN FRANCISCO — Over the last few decades, Europe’s regulators have challenged the practices of some of the titans of American technology, including Microsoft, Intel and now Google.
And despite years of legal wrangling and in some cases, multibillion-dollar fines, the companies have conducted their businesses virtually unchanged.
Microsoft paid $3.4 billion in fines to European regulators over a decade, but its Windows software did not lose its dominant position in personal computers. Intel is still appealing its antitrust case, which began 15 years ago, even as it has become more powerful than ever in PC chips.
And despite five years of scrutiny by European regulators, Google showcases its own services prominently, such as maps and reviews, in its search results.

Xiaomi Mi 4 gets a price drop in India; will compete with 64GB OnePlus One at Rs 21,999

Xiaomi Mi 4 gets a price drop in India; will compete with 64GB OnePlus One at Rs 21,999
Xiaomi recently celebrated the Mi Fan festival by offering several devices for Rs 2,000 less, including the celebrated Mi 4. Now, the company has no plans to go back to the older pricing. An official statement by the company reads, “Mi India offered a special price for Mi 4 during Mi Fan Festival, and it was very well received. We have thus decided to make this price drop permanent.”
The 16GB Mi 4 priced at Rs 19,999 is available for Rs 17,999 after the price cut, while the 64GB model is up for grabs at Rs 21,999, which is down from its original Rs 23,999 price tag. It is now available on Flipkart and offline via The Mobile Store. Manu Jain has revealed that the Mi 4 will also be made available on Snapdeal and Amazon soon.
The new pricing also brings it at par with the OnePlus One. The Xiaomi Mi 4 was certainly priced well for its features and performance when launched, but its 12GB usable memory was definitely one of the major flaws. Specially when you considered the fact that with just Rs 2,000 more you could get the OnePlus One which cames with similar specs and 64GB memory (four times that of the Mi 4). Read our complete Xiaomi Mi 4 review to know more.
The price cut is also an indication that the company is paving way for its new smartphone supposedly to be called Mi 4i. It is expected to be unveiled at an event named ‘Global Mi phone premiere’ that will take place in New Delhi on April 23. The new device is rumoured to sport a 1.65GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core 64-bit processor paired with 2GB RAM and will run on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out-of-the-box. These specs closely resemble the unannounced Xiaomi device, dubbed ‘Ferrari’ that appeared in a benchmark listing last month.

Net Neutrality in India: Licensing to Zero-ratings, it is a complicated debate

Net Neutrality, If you are one of India’s active netizens, it is unlikely that the words Net Neutrality has escaped your daily dose of social media updates and news. The debate, which gained pace on post AIB’s video on the topic and news of the Airtel Zero programme, has seen some of the biggest names in the Internet and media industries give their take on the issue. More importantly, last month India’s telecom regulator TRAI came out with a consultation paper on the growth of Over-the-top (OTT) players like WhatsApp or Skype and is looking at exploring a regulatory framework for these apps.
In essence, Net Neutrality implies that all Internet data pack should be treated equally, that there should be no fast or slow lanes for Internet, or that users should pay differently for accessing some websites. While online activists and even big Internet companies in India like ClearTrip, Flipkart, have come out to support Net Neutrality, the debate isn’t really as simple when it comes to India.
Also read: Cleartrip, media firms commit to Net Neutrality, pull out of Facebook’s Internet.org
For starters, in a country like India Net Neutrality has vast implications, especially for start-ups, many of whom are dependent on the medium for the success of their business. A neutral Internet means a level playing field.
Rishabh Gupta, COO, Housing.com, says, “Net neutrality has played a significant role in keeping the internet a level-playing field, simplifying customer outreach for businesses across industries. Further, the platform has encouraged new age entrepreneurs to bring in innovative business models making technology as an integral part of business; be it banking, mobile payments, e-commerce, real estate, etc.”
Manav Sethi, Group CMO, Askme adds that “any violation of Internet Neutrality can have a serious bearing on effective and fair competition in the market place”.
“We feel it is the government’s responsibility to ensure a level playing field for home grown entrepreneurs and at the same time protect the interests of netizens,” says Sethi.
Where licensing is concerned, Internet activists have also pointed out that this just won’t work. Pranesh Prakash, Policy Director at Centre for Internet and Society in India, says that India just can’t go back to the licensing days.
“OTT players aren’t just your Facebook or Viber, it’s the entire Internet. For instance with WebRTC protocol coming in you can do peer-to-peer chat, video calls on Web browsers. How would TRAI propose to regulate this, there’s no central service. It might not be popular but it is being used by some already.”
VIDEO: AIB explains net neutrality with #SaveTheInternet video, and Bollywood retweets
He says the telecos’ argument about loss revenue due to rise of OTT’s isn’t a legitimate one but adds that instead of going for more regulation TRAI can look to reduce some differential regulations for telecos to make things easier for them.
There’s also a growing belief that TRAI hasn’t acted fairly when it comes to its paper on OTTs. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has slammed TRAI saying OTTs are already regulated and governed by the IT Act.
A statement issued by IAMAI President Subho Ray said: “It looks like TRAI, in its consultation paper, has copy-pasted from submissions of telcos. India has a robust and at times, overbearing IT Act.” Expressing support for Net Neutrality, his statement said, “the paper makes an assumption that Internet doesn’t come under any regulations, which is incorrect. All Internet companies are regulated by IT Act”.
IAMAI includes firms like Google, Facebook, Snapdeal, Ola, MakeMyTrip and Saavn as its members.
But TRAI has also come out to defend its the whole debate. TRAI chief Rahul Khullar had earlier told Indian Express, “There are passionate voices on both sides of the debate. And if that was not enough, there’s a corporate war going on between a media house and a telecom operator which is confounding already difficult matters.”
While TRAI’s paper has received criticism, it should be noted that the paper does devote a significant proportion to discussing Net Neutrality and the negative impact it could have if India overlooks the principle.
The paper says, “A policy decision to outright depart from “NN” (Net Neutrality) raises various antitrust and public interest issues. There are concerns that TSPs will discriminate against certain types of content and political opinions. Such practices may hurt consumers and diminish innovation in complementary sectors such as computer applications and content dissemination. Discriminatory pricing proposals, if implemented, could raise a variety of significant anti-competitive concerns.”
Discriminatory pricing proposals are what activists fear could take place if India abandons its stand on Net Neutrality, and users will be the one to suffer.
But there is counter-argument to the whole Net Neutrality debate. It states that in a country like India many still don’t have access to data or mobile Internet because it is expensive and that zero-ratings could be a possible solution.
Zero ratings ensure that a TSP or ISP could declare a service or an app as free, and usually these are services that the company has tied-up with. The Facebook-Reliance initiative under the Internet.org initiative is a Zero rating system, where the idea was to provide certain services like Facebook, ClearTrip, NDTV, etc for free for users in certain part of the country. A benevolent scheme no doubt, but a violation of Net Neutrality all the same. Thanks to the furor over Net Neutrality, ClearTrip and others have started pulling out of Internet.org.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended Internet.org saying while network operators shouldn’t discriminate between services, “for people who are not on the internet though, having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all. That’s why programs like Internet.org are important and can co-exist with net neutrality regulations.”
Zuckerberg isn’t the only one making an argument for Zero-rating apps. In a paper for Brookings Institute, Darrell M. West argues that zero-rating apps can actually help improve data access to those who can’t afford it.
As an example, the paper points out how “in Paraguay, an Internet.org project has generated an increase in “the number of people using the internet by 50% over the course of the partnership and [an] increase [in the] daily data usage by more than 50%.” In addition to this the paper says that, African nations have reported substantial upticks in Internet usage following introduction of Facebook Zero.
Interestingly, some countries like Chile have banned Zero ratings because they violate Net Neutrality. Pranesh Prakash says that the argument given in favour of ‘zero ratings’ is a bogus one.
Prakash says, “Exclusive deals like Flipkart-Airtel, or Reliance or Facebook or even free Wikipedia, end-up becoming anti-competitive. Discriminatory deals should not be allowed or those that become anti-competitive under Section 3 of Competition act should not be allowed.”
“If zero-rating can exist in an environment of competition, only then it’s a good thing,” he adds.
But government stepping-in isn’t entirely unexpected. Sajai Singh, Partner at J Sagar Associates Law Firm, points out that the government has now woken up to a new disruptive technology. He gives an example of cable television saying that when it first came up in India, the government had no laws to deal with cable.
“This is another example of the government playing catch up and it happens all across the world. It’ll happen more often with newer disruptive technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence. For instance, when the driverless car comes the government will have to bring in some legislation,” he adds.
For now, TRAI has received over 7-8 lakh comments on the discussion paper that they had first put up on their site on 27 March.
It is fair to argue that Net Neutrality has helped preserve the Internet’s free and open character in India and that a deviation from the same will hurt users the most. Then there’s the very real picture that India needs to provide Internet access to more of its citizens especially those who can’t afford it. For TRAI, treading a fine line between the two will prove to be a real challenge.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

YouTube adds 15 new languages for navigation of its website

With an aim of making YouTube accessible to as diverse an audience as possible, its makers have blessed it with support for 15 new tongues. Punjabi and Nepali being two of these fresh languages, they can be accessed now through the ‘Language’ menu that lies at the bottom of the website.
The world’s premier video-sharing website has made it clear that it can now serve its visitors in a total of 76 different languages. Once someone changes the preferred tongue on the YouTube website, all its links, buttons and text get translated into that language immediately.
YouTube Logo
As YouTube has revealed through a blog post on Google+, the 15 new languages it has introduced are Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Lao, Macedonian, Mongolian, Myanmar, Nepali, Punjabi, Sinhala, Albanian and Uzbek. Additionally, the website also supports captions in a whopping 165 distinct tongues.
The Google-owned player has told us that with its current set of languages, the site is able to cater to 95 percent of the Internet using population from all over the world. That’s a lot of ground the company has covered, and it will only help it gain more relevance among those Internet users who are not comfortable with English.
Also Read: Now you can view YouTube clips offline on Android and iOS devices
Besides infusing their site with new languages, the developers of YouTube are apparently also busy crafting a Twitch-like game streaming service right now. Slated to be unveiled at this year’s E3 gaming expo, it’s said to be a result of the failed attempt of Google at purchasing Twitch last year, which led to the portal being grabbed by Amazon for 1 billion dollars.

WhatsApp for Android gets a new design, and here's how you can get it

New Delhi: Popular cross-platform messaging app WhatsApp is on an update spree. After introducing the much-awaited voice calling feature, WhatsApp has now revamped the app for Android with a new design. The latest WhatsApp build (Version 2.12.41) that brings with it a new layout design and fresh icons, among other changes, is currently available only on the company's official website.

Users can download the latest APK file from the official site, install it manually and get the redesigned WhatsApp activated on their phone. The new version of the app is yet to make its way the Google Play store.

"The update requires no new permission," says the app during installation.



While some of the design changes are noticeable, others have undergone a subtle change. Here is a list of changes the new version of WhatsApp comes with.

1. The taskbar on top is merged with the Calls, Chats and Contacts tabs with a green-coloured band running in the background. The new version has dropped the old familiar green for a new shade. Also, the taskbar (with WhatsApp and its icon on the left, and the search, compose message icons, and the three vertical dots on the right) collapses as you scroll down, leaving you with more room for viewing content.



2. While the emoji icons remain the same, the tray holding them has a different colour. The new version of WhatsApp has an emoji tray in a light shade of grey. It was earlier in black.



3. The little pointer arrows of the speech bubbles (containing the messages) have been tweaked a bit.



4. Tap on the attachment icon in a chat window, and you will see the list of options - Gallery, Photos, Video, Audio, Location, and Contact - popping up with transition. Also these icons have got a facelift with the black colour in the background changed to grey.



5. The recording button next to the message box now has a green background that highlights its presence. The message box also gets an overhaul.

7 best smartphones launched in India recently

Planning to buy a new smartphone? Time couldn't be better. Indian smartphone market has in the past one month has seen some hottest launches of the year 2015.

On the platter is Samsung’s next flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, world’s first smartphone with Atmos Dolby technology Lenovo A7000, Motorola’s 4G phone Moto E (Gen 2) and more. And if you think all these will burn a hole in your pocket, then you got it wrong.

Our pick of seven best smartphones includes devices across price range. Here’s over to the 7 best smartphones launched in India recently…
 Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge
 South Korean manufacturer Samsung launched its new flagship smartphones Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge in India last month. The two smartphones are priced at Rs 49,900 and Rs 58,900, respectively and positioned as the rivals to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Galaxy S6 edge is also the world’s first smartphone to have curved screen on two sides.

The new smartphones sport 5.1-inch SuperAMOLED screen (1440x2560p resolution) and runs on Android 5.0-based TouchWiz UI. The company is using the 64-bit 2.1GHz octa-core Exynos 7 processor that is 35% faster than its predecessor; both smartphones have 3GB RAM. The smartphones come in 32, 64 and 128GB variants, with no microSD card expansion for the first time.

On the back, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge have 16MP camera with LED flash, whereas the front has a 5MP selfie camera. Connectivity options in the smartphones include 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, NFC, infrared, microUSB 2.0 and Bluetooth 4.1. The two smartphones have non-removable 2,600mAh battery that can last 4 hours on being charged for just 10 minutes.
 Lenovo A7000
Lenovo’s 4G-enabled A7000 smartphone was launched in India in early April for Rs 8,999. It is the world’s first smartphone with Dolby’s Atmos audio technology.

The smartphone has a 5.5-inch 720p IPS display, is 7.9mm thick and weighs 140gm. It packs 1.5GHz MediaTek octa-core processor under the hood and has an 8MP autofocus camera on the back and a 5MP front-facing camera.

Lenovo A7000 comes with 8GB internal storage and 2GB RAM. There’s dual/micro SIM, and a micro SD card slot that supports up to 32GB. The phone has a 2,900mAh battery and Android Lollipop-based custom UI. Connectivity options supported by the phone include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and Cat 4 4G LTE.
 Moto E (Gen 2) with 4G
 Soon after launching the 3G-only Moto E (Gen 2) for Rs 6,999, Motorola India has launched its 4G-enabled counterpart in the country at Rs 7,999.

Though the 3G and 4G Moto E variants share many features, the key differentiator between the two (apart from the LTE network support) is the chipset. The new 4G Moto E packs the 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor, whereas the 3G variant comes with a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 silicon.

Other key features of the second-generation Moto E with 4G are 4.5-inch 540x960p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, 5MP rear camera, VGA front camera, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, 32GB microSD card support and 2,390mAh battery.
 Moto Turbo
 Motorola launched Moto Turbo, its most expensive smartphone, in India last month at Rs 41,990. The smartphone sports a 5.2-inch Quad HD (1440x2560p) display with 565ppi and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Powered by a 2.7GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and 3GB RAM, the smartphone comes with 64GB internal storage. Moto Turbo is designed with ballistic nylon, which the company claims is a first for the industry.

It features a 21MP rear-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0, and a 2MP front-facing camera for selfies and video chat. Moto Turbo comes with water-repellent nano-coating. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. In terms of connectivity, the phone supports 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G.

One of the highlights of the phone is its big capacity 3,900mAh battery and turbo-charging feature that provides up to 7 hours and 15 minutes of power with just 15 minutes of charging and 48 hours of mixed usage, according to the company.
 Huawei Honor 6 Plus
 Successor to the Honor 6, the Honor 6 Plus sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1920x1080p) In-cell display. Powered by a 1.8 GHz Hisilicon Kirin 925 octa-core processor and Mali-T628 GPU, the phablet comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card.

Priced at Rs 26,500, Huawei’s Honor 6 Plus has an 8MP bionic parallel dual-lens camera at the back with a dual-LED flash and an 8MP front-facing camera. The rear camera has a fast focus of 0.1 seconds and an aperture of f/0.95 for more panoramic depth.

The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Huawei’s Emotion UI 3.0 running on top. It has a 3,600mAh battery. In terms of connectivity, the Honor 6 offers support for 3G, Wi-Fi, 4G LTE (with support for both TD LTE and FDD LTE bands), Bluetooth and GPS. It also supports dual-sim capability if you don’t use a microSD card.
 Xiaomi Redmi 2
 Xiaomi Redmi 2, the 4G-capable successor of Redmi 1S, was launched in India in March at Rs 6,999.

While Redmi 2 shares a few features with its predecessor, it has a few upgrades apart from the 4G-compatibility. The new model is powered by the 64-bit 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, while Redmi 1S comes with the 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 chipset.

The front camera gets a resolution bump, from 1.6MP in Redmi 1S to 2MP in Redmi 2. The battery is also slightly beefier at 2,200mAh in the new smartphone, up from 2,000mAh of Redmi 1S. Xiaomi's Redmi 2 smartphone also supports QuickCharge 1.0 technology for faster battery charging.

Xiaomi will be preloading the Android 4.4-based MIUI 6.0 software with Redmi 2, while the Redmi 1S runs on the Android 4.3-based MIUI 5.0 custom skin. The new model is thinner (9.2mm) and lighter (134gram) than its predecessor (9.9mm and 158gram).

The remaining features of Redmi 2 are same as that of its older sibling, including the 4.7-inch HD screen with DragonTrail glass, 8GB internal storage, up to 32GB microSD card support, 1GB RAM and connectivity options.
 Oppo N3
 Oppo launched the world’s first smartphone with a motorized rotating camera in India earlier this month at Rs 42,990. Its 16MP motorized rotating camera that can be rotated up to 206-degree with the tap of a button or touch of a fingerprint sensor located at the back of the phone. The lens has 1/2.3” sensor and pixel size of 1.34 microns.

Powered by a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM and Adreno 330 GPU, the N3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD screen and runs Color OS 2.0 based on Android 4.4 KitKat. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery and comes with 32GB storage along with a microSD card slot.

In terms of connectivity options, Oppo N3 features 4G LTE (including Indian 4G bands), 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. The phone features dual-sided Skyline Notification 2.0 embedded at the bottom of the phone for notifications. The phone’s fingerprint sensor can be used for unlocking the phone and encrypting apps.

What Is at the Heart of Complaint Against Google?


At the heart of the European Commission’s antitrust complaint against Google Inc. is the search giant’s alleged practice of highlighting its own shopping services in response to search queries, ahead of links to similar services run by rivals.

Such “search bias” is important because more than 90% of Internet searches in Europe are conducted on Google. Given that dominance, promoting its own services while demoting others may be illegal under EU law, some attorneys say.
“Search bias is a logical focus for the EU because its competition law is concerned about fair and open market access along with consumers’ interests,” said Eleanor Fox, an expert on European antitrust law at New York University.
Google sent a memo to employees on Tuesday saying it has a “very strong case,” in part because its search engine provides quicker, more direct answers to queries, saving consumers time. The company also highlighted competition from other search services, like Apple Inc. ’s Siri and Microsoft Corp. ’s Cortana, as well as specialized services from Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and others.
Rivals who run other comparison-shopping sites, as well as Google rivals in other “vertical” areas such as travel, maps and local services say Google has bolstered its own offerings in those areas, and directs users to its services, ahead of links to others.
Staffers at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2012 found that Google favored its own shopping, travel and local services in general search results, even when some of those products weren’t most relevant to users. In shopping, Google targeted comparison shopping sites for demotion in its search results despite feedback from those rating the results that they preferred the sites over other links that were promoted, FTC staff also said. They also found evidence that Google was concerned about losing search business to specialty search rivals. FTC Commissioners later voted unanimously not to charge Google with antitrust violations.
The European Commission on Wednesday said Google gives “systematic favourable treatment” to its shopping service, Google Shopping, in its general search results. That may artificially divert traffic from rival comparison shopping services and hinder their ability to compete, it argued.
“Users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to queries—this is to the detriment of consumers, and stifles innovation,” the commission said in a statement. “To remedy such conduct, Google should treat its own comparison shopping service and those of rivals in the same way.”
While Wednesday’s complaint focused on shopping-related results, EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said the agency is examining Google’s conduct in other vertical areas, such as “hotels or flights or maps.”
In a preliminary assessment in March 2013, the European Commission said Google’s more-favorable ranking and display in general search results of pages from its vertical search services was likely to reduce competition in Europe.
The investigation of Google stems from a 2010 complaint by Foundem, a U.K.-based vertical search and price-comparison website. Foundem said that in 2007, Google had begun including its own product-search service in its “universal search” results, pushing down links to rival shopping search and price-comparison websites.
Between October 2007 and October 2009, the number of unique U.K. visitors to product-comparison services including Shopzilla and Nextag dropped 41% on average, while visitors to Google’s Product Search service jumped 125%, Foundem said in its complaint, citing data from researcher comScore.
Since then, Google converted its product-search service into Google Shopping, where merchants pay to display items. Rivals complained that Google favored results for Google Shopping when users searched for products in the general search engine.
From the start of 2013 to early 2015, leading shopping and price comparison services in Germany, such as Nextag, Ciao.de and Twenga, saw their organic search visibility drop 91% on average, while visibility for Google Shopping surged 880% in the U.S. and more than tenfold in Germany, according to Searchmetrics. The online search analytics and content performance firm runs hundreds of millions of keywords through search engines, tracks where websites show up on results pages and measures how likely they are to be clicked on.
Online travel and mapping companies have voiced similar complaints, although the EU didn't include those subjects in its formal charges against Google. Online-mapping company Hot-Map.com, best known for its maps of European cities, said monthly visits to its site have fallen to about 100,000, from a peak of 721,000 in July 2007, around the time that Google began including its own map service in general search results.
Michael Weber, a director at Hot-Map, said the company is losing money, has laid off dozens of workers and is “holding on” in the hope that the EU’s antitrust charges against Google make it easier to compete.

Cleartrip pulls out of Internet.Org, supports net neutrality

A day after e-commerce major Flipkart walked out from Airtel Zero, online travel services provider Cleartrip on Wednesday pulled out of Facebook- and Reliance Communications-promoted platform Internet.Org amid raging debate over Net neutrality.
Stating that it is "time to draw a line in the sand" Cleartrip said on micro blogging site Twitter, it was "pulling out of Internet.Org and standing up for Net neutrality". Commenting on the development, Cleartrip Chief Marketing Officer Subramanya Sharma said: "The recent debate around net neutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.Org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast."
He insisted that in Cleartrip's association with Internet.Org, "there was no revenue arrangement between us and Internet.Org or any of its participants.  We were neither paid anything, nor did we pay anything to participate".
"Additionally we don't make any money out of that product. Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause," he added.
On Net neutrality, he said: "We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of Net neutrality." Earlier in the day, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg rejected criticism that internet.Org programme, which has RCom as a partner in India, was against the concept of Net neutrality.
"For people who are not on the Internet though, having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all. That's why programmes like Internet.Org are important and can co-exist with Net neutrality regulations," he said. Internet.Org aims to bring 5 billion people online in partnership with tech giants like Smasung and Qualcomm. It offered free Internet access to 33 websites but raised quite a few eyebrows with free Internet activists saying that it violates the idea of Net neutrality.
The debate in India has also been triggered by mobile operator Airtel introducing an open marketing platform 'Airtel Zero', and TRAI's consultation paper on whether telecom firms can be allowed to charge different rates for different uses of Internet data like email, Internet browsing and use of apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Sky.
Net neutrality implies equal treatment be accorded to all Internet traffic and no priority be given to an entity or company based on payment to service providers like the telecom companies, which is seen as discriminatory.
Cleartrip's exit from internet.Org comes a day after Flipkart decided to walk out from Airtel Zero -- a service that is seen as sabotaging equal internet access for all -- even as the telecom giant continued to defend its stand.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Microsoft tests Project Spartan browser on Windows 10 smartphones

Microsoft tests Project Spartan browser on Windows 10 smartphones
Microsoft’s Project Spartan browser is available for Windows Insider members to sample on mobile phones for the first time.
The Internet Explorer successor is included in the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for mobile devices.
“An early version of Project Spartan is available in this flight. It uses our new rendering engine to give greater interoperability with the modern mobile web, and includes early versions of Reading View and Reading List,” Microsoft’s Gabe Aul wrote in a blog post.
Aul added Project Spartan isn’t the default browser in this preview yet, as it will be available alongside IE11. But Project Spartan’s Program Manager Kyle Pflug wrote in a separate blog post that it will eventually become the only browser included on Windows phones.
Project Spartan includes built-in Cortana support for carrying out voice searches, taking notes and handling a variety of other tasks.
The mobile edition of the browser features the same enhanced rendering engine as its desktop counterpart, optimising it for modern web standards.
Microsoft recently expanded Technical Preview to include more mobile devices, with virtually every Lumia phone now compatible with the tester operating system.
Windows 10’s first consumer build will be released in the summer for personal computers, tablets, mobile phones and Xbox consoles.

Google Malaysia service disrupted by hackers


A computer user poses in front of a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Brussels, May 30, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
(Reuters) - Internet users were denied access to Google Inc's Malaysia website on Tuesday, and were redirected to a hacked page saying "Google Malaysia Hacked by Tiger-Mate #Bangladeshi Hacker."
The company has reached out to the organization that manages the domain name to resolve the issue, MYNIC, a Google Malaysia spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.
MYNIC is operated by the country's ministry of communications and multimedia, and is the administrator for all websites ending with ".my," according to the company's website.
The website for Malaysia Airlines experienced a similar problem in January, but the airline quickly reassured users that their bookings and private data had not been compromised.

First Impressions: iberry launches Auxus Beast 4G smartphone with Android Lollipop OS for Rs 13990

iberry, on Monday launched the Auxus Beast smartphone in India for Rs. 13,990. The handset measures 152x78x8.2 mm and weighs 168.6 gm. The smartphone will be exclusively available on Snapdeal from April 20.

"While some are occupied in just allowing consumers to taste economical Android smartphone with mediocre specs - 32-bit octa-core 2GB RAM consistently, we thought to bring in little surprise by a bigger and upgraded one - 64-bit octa-core 3GB RAM phone at a similar cost., with our new Flagship smart phone Auxus Beast. To top it all, 4G LTE, 64-bit CPU and Android 5.0 out of the box, Auxus Beast has all that require and more to really suppress all the outdated specifications out in the market and give the Indian consumer a thrilling opportunity to choose a phone which really stands out of the rest at an affordable price," said Abrar Ameen, Business Development Manager, iberry Auxus.

iberry Auxus Beast is a dual-SIM device and runs the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system and will be upgradeable to further updates. It features a 5.5 inch full HD IPS display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolutions with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor with 3GB RAM.

iberry Auxus Beast comes with a 13 megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and an 8 megapixel front camera. It comes with 16GB inbuilt storage that is further expandable up to 128GB using microSD card.

For connectivity, Auxus Beast includes - 4G (FDD and TDD LTE), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/ A-GPS and FM radio. The device is power backed by a 3050 mAh removable battery and is good enough to last a day.

No M9 for India, HTC launches One M9+ with One E9+, Desire 326G

HTC One M9+ has been launched in India. (Source: Nandagopal Rajan) It wasn’t the M9 after all. HTC pulled a surprise out of the bag and launched the One M9+ in India instead of the HTC One M9 which it showcased at the Mobile World Congress last month. Th One M9+ will be priced Rs 52,500 and will be available in India early May.

The HTC One M9+ will feature a 5.2-inch 2K display and will be powered by a Mediatek processor. It will also bring back a 20Mp dual camera like in the M8 which the M9 had discarded. There is also a fingerprint scanner.

The other features are similar to the HTC One M9. It has 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (up to 128Gb expandable) and the HTC’s trademark BoomSound with Dolby Audio.The 20MP rear camera has a Sapphire cover lens (4K recording supported) and the front camera is the HTC UltraPixel one. The HTC One M9+ runs Android 5.0 (Lollipop) with HTC Sense 7. It has a 2840 mAh battery. HTC is also offering Myntra vouchers worth Rs 15,000 with the smartphone and has also suggested a easy EMI scheme.

It seems HTC is trying to take on Samsung by offering a larger screen along with the full metal body at a price very similar to the entry-level version of the Samsung Galaxy S6.

The surprise was pre-planned if HTC south Asia president Faisal Siddiqui is to believed. “We had decided to launch this model in China and India,” he said, adding that they will decide later on whether to roll out this model for other markets. He confirmed that the HTC One M9 will not be coming to India.

The M9+ will be the costliest phone running a MediaTek processor in India. “We do not think that will be an issue with customers. The response to our other Mediatek phones has been very good,” Siddiqui said.

MediaTek processors are generally associated with affordable phones. However, of late the company has been giving top chipmakers a run for their money with processors with unprecedented benchmarking scores and superior media capabilities.

HTC has also launched the One E9+, a larger upgrade of the E8, as well as the HTC Desire 326G dual sim, a more affordable version of the Desire 526G.

The HTC One E9+ has a 5.5-inch 2K display and a 20 megapixel rear camera with 4K recording as well. It is a dual-sim smartphone that comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB storage and an expandable memory of up to 2TB on microSDXC card slot. It has MediaTek’s flagship processor, the HelioX10 processor which is a 64-bit 2GHz octa-core chipset.

HTC One E9+ will be available in Meteor Grey, Gold Sopia and Rose Gold with all major retailers from the second half of May. No price has been announced for this phone.

The HTC Desire 326G dual-sim has a 4.5-inch screen with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage and expandable memory up to 32GB microSD storage. It has a 2000mAh battery which is also removable. The smartphone has an 8 megapixel rear facing camera and a 2 megapixel BSI front facing camera.

HTC Desire 326G dual-sim will be available in White Birch and Black Onyx with all major retailers from the second half of May.

Takers of our freedom 0 - 1 Net Neutrality. But wait, there’s more.

So Flipkart has walked away from the net neutrality flaying Airtel Zero platform. And all because of the tenacity of aware and aligned web users. But there’s a storm coming... 
With Flipkart backtracking on their Airtel Zero association, Internet users across the nation have won a battle for net neutrality. But a war looms ahead.
As a nation, we now stand at the confluence of looming digital trends that are poised to propel us to immense heights as an advancing people: the impending 4G wave, increasingly affordable smartphones and ubiquitous broadband availability all point to a not-too-distant future that will, in greater ways, impart ever higher levels of convenience and efficiency in our daily lives.
As the nation’s consumers get online in droves--often with smartphones being the delivery mechanism of their first Internet experience--the entire ecosystem in India and the world will want a piece of this massive pie. From near-daily launches of new smartphones to web services that facilitate booking everything from a spa to a vacation, we as consumers are being lured from every conceivable direction.
In the excitement to woo (and corner) as many parts of the market as possible (while simultaneously keeping revenues at the forefront), we’ve seen that online businesses--both new and established--have flirted with business practices that haven’t always been above board. From sneaking in new consumer agreement clauses that result in consumers spending more to aiming to partner with telcos for furthering adoption of their own platform, it’s literally the Wild West out there.
In the face of such frantic movement and with the absence of a ratified legal framework that clearly defines what can and can’t be done in the online space, this entire Airtel Zero and Flipkart net neutrality issue was an explosion waiting to happen. But the upshot? It has made consumers sit up and take notice of the fact that their freedoms are at stake. The ensuing SaveTheInternet.in campaign has seen over 319,000 (and counting) mails being sent to the TRAI in under a week: an overwhemling indication of how close this has hit to home.
But now that Flipkart has unequivocally announced their detachment from the Airtel Zero platform while pledging wholehearted support to all things Net Neutrality, it begs questions: would they have done this had they not been at the receiving end of such a massive s***storm? Did this renege happen because of grand benevolence on their part or because the Internet milieu wised up to them? Also, how many more online service providers and cellular/broadband operators are waiting in the wings to sneak a quick one past us? The answers are likely to shock us, but the one lesson this episode has taught is that as a nation of Internet users, it pays to be vigilant.
The ball is clearly in the TRAI court as the deadlines to weigh in on the net neutrality issue approach. But until then, we cannot afford to let down our guard. We must always be on the lookout for any sign of transgression to our digital and online rights, as there are bound to be many.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Chinese hacker group among first to target networks isolated from Internet

An otherwise unremarkable hacking group likely aligned with China appears to be one of the first to have targeted so-called air-gapped networks that are not directly connected to the Internet, according to FireEye.
The computer security firm released a 69-page technical report on Sunday on the group, which it calls APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) 30 and that targets organizations in southeast Asia and India.
FireEye picked up on it after some of the malware used by the group was found to have infected defense-related clients in the U.S., said Jen Weedon, manager of strategic analysis with FireEye.
APT 30 has operated since at least 2005. It has targeted people through spear phishing, or sending emails containing malicious attachments or harmful links.
The group has consistently updated its malware, but the tools it uses are generally not that sophisticated, and it has used some of the same command-and-control infrastructure for years on end.
"It seems to be they've been successful in being good enough," Weedon said Sunday.
The organizations targeted may have had lax security postures, which made them easy for APT 30 to infiltrate without needing to resort to more advanced or sophisticated attack methods, she said.
The countries primarily targeted were India, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Other countries likely to have been targeted are Nepal, Bhutan, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Japan, FireEye said.
The group has a particular interest in the relationship between China and India, including border issues, FireEye's report said. APT 30's focus on those particular subjects make it likely that it is sponsored by China.
What's most interesting about APT 30 is that it developed tools that are designed to move from systems connected to the Internet to those that aren't connected. Governments use such "air-gapped" networks to reduce the chance an external attack will be successful.
The group designed malware components with worm-like capabilities that can infect removable drives such as USB sticks and hard drives. Those devices can transfer the malware if connected to a device on an air-gapped network.
FireEye said it has seen many groups develop this capability, but APT 30 appears to have "made this a consideration at the very beginning of their development efforts in 2005, significantly earlier than many other advanced groups we track."
Over the years, FireEye has written many reports on groups it has linked to China. This group, however, doesn't appear to be linked to any of the other ones and operated in relative isolation.
APT has its own development resources and doesn't share attack infrastructure with other groups, Weedon said.

Quarkson Tests SkyOrbiter Drone To Provide 100 Times Less Expensive Internet

Skyorbiter LA25 drone (Photo: Quarkson)
Portugal-based startup Quarkson has tested its long-awaited unmanned drone Skyorbiter that is designed to provide Internet access to remote and inaccessible areas in the world at 100 times cheaper than the current spectrum based Internet, giving a tougher challenge to Google’s balloon-based experiment or Facebook’s drone-based trials in the segment.
The tested Skyorbiter LA65, weighing 120 kg,  has a wingspan of 65 metres, fly for 6 weeks and can cover signal range of  more than 128,495 km. Quarkson has been developing the solar-powered drones for use to make available high-speed, low latency Skyorbiter drones to redeem the objective of “Internet for All”.
The company said the drone was successfully tested on April 2. It flew at an altitude of 100 metres within the line of sight from the ground control and relayed a Wi-Fi signal to them successfully, it said. Speaking to the media after the test, Quarkson founder and CEO Miguel ├éngelo said the drone was developed to “make available high speed, low latency SkyOrbiter powered internet to every person on Earth”
Quarkson hopes to make the platform to hover at heights of 22,000 km over an area for a week, month, or even year-long mission and recall the aircraft for maintenance on ground if required. With its highly resourceful solar panels and battery technology, the company foresees dramatic reduction in cost for access to the Internet.
skyorbiterla25
The drone is equipped with a patch antenna and a Wi-Fi-transmitter to relay signals to users on the ground and a bigger sized drone is likely to have a wingspan of 5 metres.
Along with the traditional and licensed spectrum-based telecom service providers (TSP) of Internet, Quarkson’s unlicensed platform with LTE or WiFi with Quarkson’s drone will become feasible possibly by next decade, making the world wide web a reality throughout the planet, said the company.
With a high-endurance aerial system to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is estimated to be over 100 times less expensive than terrestrial communications network deployment. Unlike conventional satellites, when broken or worn out, Skyorbiter can be brought down for maintenance or upgrade.
Quarkson is planning to participate at the “Castelo Branco Maiden Flight SkyOrbiter Constellation Challenge” in Portugal on April 30 to showcase its Skyorbiter and also go for the Las Vegas Hardware Show on May 5.
Unconfirmed reports, however, said Quarkson has built its larger SkyOrbiter LA25 with a wingspan of 22 metres though they were not tested. With enormous energy and autopilot, these drones are designed to transmit rays via Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G or 2G or via a carrier on the licensed spectrum or via Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or Wi-Fi on the unlicensed spectrum, said some reports.

Moto E (Gen 2) with 4G launched at Rs 7,999

View image on TwitterNEW DELHI: Motorola India has finally made its second-generation Moto E smartphone with 4G compatibility available in India. At present, the device is up for pre-orders on Motorola's exclusive online partner Flipkart.
Priced at Rs 7,999, the 4G-capable Moto E smartphone is Rs 1,000 more expensive than the 3G-only Moto E (Gen 2). According to the Flipkart website, it will be delivered by April 28 if ordered today.

LG's G4 images leaked on internet two weeks before launch

Images of LG's new smart phone, G4, have been leaked on the internet two weeks before its official launch.
According to the Verge, the images were leaked by well-known leaker Evan Blass.
The images reveal that the LG G4's back will have several color options, including different shades of real leather ranging in many colors, as well as three more traditional plastic backs.
The Quick Circle case is returning with this smart phone. It has a window that let customers view notifications while the cover is closed.
The G4 will have a 16-megapixel f/1.8 camera will have laser autofocus and an infrared color spectrum analyzer for more accurate color reproduction and also a full-manual shooting mode.
The other features of the G4 include a 5.5-inch, quad HD screen, a replaceable 3,000mAh battery, and a microSD card slot.
LG was supposed to unveil G4 at its press conference on April 28th.

Time to do an Obama: Why Narendra Modi should support Net Neutrality

The ongoing net neutrality debate is heating up and reams are written down about why we should all support it.
Social media pages are being spammed with articles and petitions about keeping net neutrality intact in the country. It is fast becoming one of the biggest concerns gripping internet users in India, and eventually a hurdle in government's 'Digital India' dream.
With increasing internet penetration in India and the digital boom in start-ups, the lack of net neutrality is worrisome. It is essential for innovation and creating job opportunities. After all, big companies like Google, Twitter and several others were born out of the environment created by net neutrality.
Ever since Narendra Modi was sworn in as PM, the Indian government has adopted a very gung-ho approach to its 'Digital India' initiative. Social media played a huge role in Narendra Modi's election campaign, and is still a vital component of his governance initiatives.
Associated Press
Associated Press
So, in a country where the Prime Minister is using every social media platform to reach out to his people and speaking out aloud about his dream to empower every Indian through the digital medium, it becomes even more imperative for him to speak out in support of net neutrality in India.
Now, the numerous debates on net neutrality and all the noise online may go unheard by TRAI, but all it would take is a sentence or two from PM Modi to make a decisive difference.
A word from  the Prime Minister and TRAI would be more likely to reconsider its 'probable' plans to redefine internet as over-the-top (OTT) communications, e-commerce, internet cloud services, social media, web content and so on. TRAI and the telecom industry could no longer be the gate keeper to the content or media you access and there won't be any fast or slow lanes of the internet
In the past we've seen leaders like US president Barack Obama call upon the Federal Communications Commission -- which is similar to Trai -- to lay down the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality. "I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper,” he had said.
Obama had also acknowledged that the FCC (like TRAI) is an independent agency, but he made his own stance clear :“The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe,” his statement continues.
Now, this is exactly what Modi needs to do. Rather than be a silent observer, he needs to step in and make his views known. It would also give TRAI some political support  to make the right decision.
Obama's statement created a frenzy and added a whole new dimension to the net neutrality battle. Modi needs to follow suit especially since a digital India also needs to be a free and fair India. There is no point talking about it if he isn't prepared to follow through.
Secondly, it is also a chance for Modi to interact with the internet audience at their level. It is a chance for him to show that he cares not just about the big money but also about the people. Net Neutrality is important because it compares to equality in the real world. A statement from Modi will show that he understands the concerns of the digital population and that he is on their side.
And finally, it will show that Modi truly wants to rise above the red-tapism that holds back India. When Trai threatens to rob us of our internet freedom, can Modi play saviour? Can Modi tilt the scales in favour of the activists? Can he stand up for the start-ups? Can he stand up for smaller businesses?
If he can, it will be best propaganda that he could ever imagine. If one swoop, he will get rid on the critics that dog his every move and also show that he is truly a champion that India needs.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

SanDisk brings extra storage for iOS and Android devices

SanDisk, SanDisk flash drives, SanDisk Storage, SanDisk iXpandTrying to cash in on the boom in the amount of data created by mobile devices, Sandisk on Thursday announced a host of mobile memory solutions for the Indian market. Among the products launched are 200GB micro-SD cards for Android devices, iXpand Flash drives for iOS devices and Dual flash drive USB C-type connectors.
The iXpand flash drive will cater to iOS devices and offer up to 128GB extra space. The iXpand will come with a lightning connector as well as a USB a port to allow quick transfer of data between iOS and computers.
Interestingly, it will let iOS a users run all possible video types from the external drive itself. The codecs are loaded into the drive letting users to play from the drive and not the device. It can also convert formats that become playable in iOS devices and offers an easy way to sideload files into iOS devices.  The drive works with documents and music along with video files.
The iXpand is priced between Rs 4,490 and Rs 11,490 for storage capacities between 16GB and 128 GB. It is also compatible with Apple’s fingerprint reader and offers an extra layer of security for files. It comes with a built in battery to prevent battery drainage and to ensure optimum transfer rates.
The 200GB micro-SD card is a new high for the industry and are water, shock and magnet proof. With transfer speeds of up to 1200 photos per minute, the card was first showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year.
The SanDisk Ultra dual USB drive 3.0 offers easy transfer of data from Android phones with OTG capability to PCs and Macs at 130MB per second speeds. The device will be priced between Rs 1099 for 16GB and Rs 3049 for the 64GB.
The new dual flash drives with USB Type-C connectors will cater to new devices like the latest MacBook with these new ports. It will come with a maximum of 32GB storage.
The 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB iXpand flash drives variants are priced at Rs 4,490, Rs 5,990, Rs 7,990 and Rs 11,490 respectively. The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive 3.0 costs-  16GB for Rs 1,099, 32GB for Rs 1,749 and 64GB for Rs 3,049.

Facebook brings mobile Messenger app to desktops

Facebook released a new version of its Messenger communication service, but it wasn't an update for the company's smartphone or tablet app. Instead, Facebook launched Messenger.com, a website making the service available for desktop and laptop computers.
The social network has been expanding its Messenger platform steadily over the past year, creating a communication service out of what began as a way to chat with friends on Facebook's website. Facebook said more than 600 million people use the app each month.
Last month, Facebook added the ability for other users to send items like music, photos and videos to each other through Messenger by integrating apps like ESPN and the Weather Channel. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and CEO, said at the time that Facebook has shifted its business to focus on mobile apps, and to build the services behind them.
This latest move could help elevate Messenger into a social network of its own, instead of being merely a way to send missives to friends and family. It also offers similar capabilities to WhatsApp, a chat service Facebook bought last year for $19 billion. A version of WhatsApp for desktop computers came out in January.

Lava launches their design-centric premium smartphone: the Icon

Indian phone manufacturer Lava International today announced the launch of its premium smartphone, the Icon. It features a premium metallic construction and is 7.7 mm thick with a glass finish on the back panel. The front camera is 5 megapixels with an Omni Vision sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 4-element lens and a BSI-II sensor with blue glass filter that protects the sensitive image sensor against overexposure in the infrared wavelength range. The camera also features a ‘face beauty’ mode that acts as a digital makeup room for tweaking portraits to appear more pleasing. The photo features also include Face Detection, HDR, Panorama Mode, Smile Shot & Multi view.
The main camera is 13 megapixels with dual-LED flash, a Sony EXMOR sensor with 5-element lens and a blue glass filter as well. The camera records Full HD (1080p) videos. The 5-inch 720p screen is IPS with full lamination for improved viewing angles along with Asahi Dragontrail Glass that offers resistance against scratches and nicks.
Powering this phone is a 1.3 GHz Quad Core ARM Mali 400 MP2 processor and 2GB of RAM. Its Star OS is built on Android 4.4, enabling users to customizable many aspects of the user interface such as gesture controls for launching apps even when the phone is in standby.
On the connectivity front, the Icon offers 3G, Wi-Fi, Micro-USB, and Bluetooth. The device packs a 2500mAh Li-Pol battery that ostensibly allows up to 20 hours of talk time on 2G and up to 9 hours of talktime on 3G.
The phone will be available for Rs 11,990 at selected retail stores in India. It will also be available online exclusively on Snapdeal.com from 1:00 pm onwards on 9th April 2015.
Key Specs:
Screen: 5-inch HD IPS display (720p) with Asahi Dragontrail glass
Processor: 1.3 GHz Quad Core Processor
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal memory expandable up to 32GB
Camera: 13 MP f/2.0 rear with Sony EXMOR sensor and 5-element lens, 5MP f/2.4 front camera with 4 elements
Battery: 2500 mAh
Price: Rs 11,990

Mobile calls to be cheaper by up to 23%; SMS to cost 40% less

Mobile calls while in roaming will be cheaper by up to 23 per cent, while sending SMSes will cost up to 40 per cent less from May 1 as regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has slashed ceiling tariffs.
However, following this TRAI order, subscribers will not be able to avail of schemes that allowed them to make calls and send SMSes while in roaming at home circle rates.
“TRAI has reduced ceiling tariffs for national roaming calls and SMS and has mandated telecom service providers to offer a special roaming tariff plan. These changes will come into effect from May 1, 2015,” TRAI said in a statement on Thursday.
The TRAI has cut the maximum or ceiling rate that a telecom operator can charge for STD calls on roaming to Rs 1.15 per minute from Rs 1.5. Similarly, national SMS rate has been reduced to 38 paise from Rs 1.5 per SMS.
Item Existing ceiling tariff Revised
Outgoing local voice call while on national roaming Re. 1.00 per minute Re. 0.80 per minute
Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) voice call while on national roaming Rs. 1.50 per minute Rs. 1.15 per minute
Incoming voice call while on national roaming Re. 0.75 per minute Re. 0.45 per minute
Outgoing local Short Message Services (SMS) while on national roaming Re. 1.00 per SMS Re. 0.25 per SMS
Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) Short Message Services (SMS) while on national roaming Rs.1.50 per SMS Re. 0.38 per SMS
Also, an operator can charge a maximum 25 paise for each local SMS instead of the current Re 1 per SMS at present.
A telecom operator can charge a maximum 80 paise per minute for a local call instead of Re 1 permitted at present.
For incoming calls during roaming, a mobile customer will be required to pay a maximum of 45 paise only per minute instead of 75 paise now.
On the other hand, in a blow to consumers, the regulator has removed the roaming tariff plan, RTP and RTP-FR, under which the consumer paid the same charges as his home circle or service area while in roaming.
Under ‘Roaming Tariff Plan (RTP)’ clause, the charges for outgoing voice calls and outgoing SMS, both local as well as long distance (inter-circle), did not change with the location of the subscriber within the country.
The ‘RTP-FR’ plan allowed the subscriber to pay same charges as his home service area for outgoing local and STD calls as well as SMS during roaming.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Teardown shows Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is tough to repair

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is not especially friendly to DIYers, according to iFixit.
The smartphone, set for release on Friday, was the subject of a teardown from iFixit, which sells repair parts and offers free online repair guides to electronic devices.
Like iFixit's many other teardowns, the Galaxy S6 Edge was forced open and its innards removed for all to see. And by the end of the teardown, iFixit decided that the Galaxy S6 Edge scores just a three out of 10 for repairability. By contrast, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus scored seven out of 10 for repairability last year.
The Galaxy S6 Edge received praise for its "modular" components that make them easy to be replaced, but was hit hard for making it difficult to get inside the smartphone. iFixit also reported that the Galaxy S6 Edge's battery is "tightly adhered" to the device's insides and tough to get to. iFixit also fears that replacing cracked glass on the screen could result in destroying the display altogether.
Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge was announced last month in tandem with its nearly identical sibling, the Galaxy S6. The Edge has a tapered screen that differentiates it from the Galaxy S6, which comes with a traditional flat display and bezel. Both products come with a 5.1-inch ultra-high definition screen, 16-megapixel camera and an octa-core processor.
The Galaxy S6 line is designed to be Samsung's answer to products like Apple's iPhone 6 lineup and the HTC One M9. More importantly, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are being eyed as key to the company's ongoing attempts to revive its ailing mobile business.
Last year was troubling for Samsung's mobile division, which saw revenue and market share slump at the hands of Apple's iPhone and China-based Xiaomi. Samsung has said it will reduce the number of smartphone models it sells in 2015 by a third to concentrate its resources and efforts.
So far, so good. The Galaxy S6 Edge has earned high marks in its first month in the spotlight, earning a score of nine out of 10 from CNET's Reviews team. CNET Reviews called the Galaxy S6 Edge "striking" and "Samsung's best-looking handset. Ever." The smartphone is so appealing, in fact, that CNET Reviews Editors argue that it "has the beauty, brains, and brawn to take down the iPhone 6 and all the Android competition."
While such reviews provide an understanding of the experience consumers can expect if they buy the device, iFixit aims at helping folks figure out how easy it would be to open up the Galaxy S6 Edge and fix it -- an exploit saved for a precious few. The teardown, however, also identifies what's running inside a handset.
Not surprisingly, given that Samsung is a conglomerate that builds all kinds of tech components, the Galaxy S6 Edge is filled with the company's wares. According to iFixit, the Galaxy S6 Edge's octa-core processor, storage, and near-field communication chip are all built by Samsung. Samsung relies on just a few other companies, including Skyworks, Avago, and Invensense, for the device's other components, according to iFixit.

Sub-Rs. 10,000 Smartphones Contribute to 75 Percent of Sales in India: Lenovo

Chinese tech major Lenovo on Tuesday at the A7000 launch said almost three-fourth of its smartphone sales in India come from devices priced below Rs 10,000.
The company offers smartphones priced in the range of Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 35,000.
(Also see:Lenovo A7000 First Impressions: Multimedia on a Budget)
"The industry itself sees about 75 percent of the sales coming from smartphones priced under Rs 10,000 and we have more or less a similar split," Lenovo India Director Smartphones Sudhin Mathur told PTI.
The company started as a premium player but now have devices across entry-level, mid-level and premium segments, he added.
(Also see:Lenovo A7000 vs. Yu Yureka)
In October-December 2014 quarter, Korean giant Samsung maintained its leadership in India with 22 percent market share, followed by homegrown vendors, Micromax (18 percent), Intex (8 percent) and Lava (7 percent) and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi with 4 percent share, according to research firm IDC.
Lenovo on Tuesday launched thier A7000 smartphone in India, featuring Dolby Atmos audio technology, priced at Rs. 8,999. The 4G-enabled handset will be available on Flipkart in its first sale on April 15.
(Also see:Lenovo A7000 vs. Lenovo A6000)
Mathur said about company sold about 300,000 units of A6000, predecessor to A7000, since its launch in January.
The A7000 is the successor to the company's popular 4G/ LTE budget offering, the Lenovo A6000 (Review | Images), and features upgraded specifications as well as a larger display - pegging it as a multimedia device.
The Lenovo A7000 supports dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) while running Android 5.0 Lollipop with Vibe UI running on top. It features a 5.5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display and packs an octa-core 1.5GHz (MediaTek MT6572M) processor with 2GB of RAM.
The A7000 features an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front facing camera. Internal storage on the handset is 8GB, which is expandable via microSD card (unknown capacity). Connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G/ LTE (FDD Band 1, 3, 7, 20; TDD Band 40), Wi-Fi, GPS/ A-GPS, Bluetooth, and Micro-USB, just like its predecessor.

Xiaomi ties up with India retail chain The Mobile Store to boost sales

MUMBAI: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc has decided to sell devices through a leading electronics retail chain in India, part of its effort to move away from online-only sales and boost growth in the world's third-largest smartphone market.

Xiaomi launched its India operations with online marketplace Flipkart.com in July, selling its phones through flash sales where availability is limited to short timeframes.

The company this year decided to sell its Redmi Note fourth-generation (4G) handsets through shops of carrier Bharti AirtelBSE 0.89 % Ltd, but that would still need an online registration.

On Tuesday, Xiaomi said it would sell its phones through The Mobile Store retail chain, as well as expand its online retail presence by adding online retailers Snapdeal and the Indian unit of Amazon.com.

"Some people said we were generating artificial demand. We are trying to increase our supply, to bring more goods into India and to supply them in a free manner to all our partners," Xiaomi's India head, Manu Jain, told Reuters.

Xiaomi, which was not among the top five smartphone makers in India at the end of the December quarter, is under pressure to gain market share in the country, analysts say.

Of the 22 million smartphones shipped to distributors in the fourth quarter, Samsung contributed 27.4 percent while Xiaomi stood sixth at 4.1 percent, according to Neil Shah, director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

"India is their growth market now. They have to go offline to scale in India," Shah said, adding the retail expansion was likely to boost Xiaomi's ranking in the country.

With the The Mobile Store partnership, Xiaomi handsets will be available in stores, like products from rivals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Motorola, and India's Micromax Informatics Ltd.

Xiaomi's offline foray is in addition to the 100 "service and experience stores" it is opening across India this year to help customers touch and feel its devices, which are sold under the Mi brand. The company does not plan to sell devices at these stores.

"By tomorrow Mi phones are to be available in about 30 to 35 stores. Customers at some point need to touch and feel and they need to buy phones when they need to buy them," said Himanshu Chakrawarti, chief executive of The Mobile Store.

Xiaomi's Jain said the Chinese company was also planning to hire aggressively in India as it plans to invest in the country, starting with a new office and a research and development centre.

The Bangalore R&D centre would be Xiaomi's first such hub outside China, he said.