Affordability at its Best: Google Launches First Android One Smartphones

Posted on by Wileene Grace Olimpo in IT's Market | Comments Off

Google has officially launched the first batch of budget-priced Android One smartphones in India.

AndroidOne

Quality Features

The handsets, the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream Uno, will be available from their respective online retail partners.

All three smartphones bear similar features determined by Google to help reduce manufacturing expenses.

Apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Translate will come up pre-loaded on the devices.

‘Scale Around The World’

If purchased contract-free, Google said the Android One phones could be offered for as low as $105.

“Our goal was to develop high quality smartphones at an affordable price, with access to connectivity, done at scale around the world,” Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android, said in a statement ahead of the launch in Delhi.

“We provide our OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] a menu, effectively. It really saves them a lot of effort in terms of identifying the right hardware [and] doing all the testing you need to do to get the software to run on this hardware,” he explained.

The search engine giant also announced that the new devices will launch in Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, the Philippines, and other countries by the end of the year.

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The Key to Enhanced Gaming Experience: Microsoft Plans to Buy Minecraft for $2B

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minecraftMinecraft is expected to be acquired by Microsoft, in an attempt to strengthen the tech giant’s gaming and mobile offerings.

Groundbreaking Announcement

Citing a source with knowledge of the matter, Microsoft is in serious discussions to buy Mojang, the company behind the famous game.

Since its launch in 2011, Minecraft has been a successful and an indisputable gaming phenomenon.

The goal of the game is to craft and build structures inside its 16-bit worlds.

For many industry watchers, the move is kind of surprising given that Mojang’s founder, Markus “Notch” Persson, previously criticized Microsoft.

Concerned Gamers

If the deal would be successful, analysts believe many games will be concerned by the news.

“There have been cases in the past of big corporations taking someone else’s game and turning it into a huge money-flip, just to see what they can make out of it,” said Harry Bradshaw, who interviewed Persson on the Twitch video website.

“Gamers will naturally be worried about this. And it does confuse me why Mojang would sell up, bearing in mind it is the best-selling PC game of all time and still sells thousands of copies a day,” he explained.

Microsoft, however, released a statement, claiming they “don’t comment on rumor and speculation.”

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Successful Product Launch: Apple Officially Reveals Watch and New iPhones

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apple logoApple has finally revealed its much-anticipated smartwatch and bigger iPhone during a special event.

Breakthrough Technology

It is claimed that Apple Watch is the first new product of the company since the first iPad and the death of Steve Jobs.

Apple Watch, as the name suggests, is a smartwatch with induct charging, a square face, sapphire glass, changeable straps, a heartbeat sensor, and a rotating “digital crown”

The device, said Chief Executive Tim Cook, will be available in two different sizes and three different editions.

Bigger, Better

The Apple Watch will work in conjunction with iPhone 5, iPhone5c, iPhone5s, iPhone6 Plus, and iPhone 6.

Apple Watch was unveiled alongside new larger iPhones.

The iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus’s screen measures 5.5 inch.

“I’m sure that for many people, waiting to see what Apple did was a first step before going out and buy a wearable technology product, whether or not it’s an Apple one they get,” said Tim Coulling, senior analyst at research firm Canalys. “The buzz that Apple’s entry will generate about wearables is unquestionable.”

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Microsoft Reveals ‘Selfie Phone’: Inside the Device Designed for Low Light Snaps

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microsoftTech giant Microsoft has unveiled its new Lumia smartphones aimed at the low-cost market, which are built for video calls and selfies.

Camera Update

The company decided to update its Windows Phone operating system, as it looks to enhance the camera experience.

During a press conference at the IFA tech show, Microsoft demonstrated how to improve the quality of photos taken in low-light venues.

First, they took two photos: one with a flash and one without.

The new Lumia then merges two shots into a single image, wherein smartphone users can adjust the amount of light they want.

Microsoft explained the new device is designed with “selfies” in mind.

Small Market Share

Though some analysts claimed that Microsoft’s new device is promising, others were not convinced it could help the company get back on track.

Some industry watchers said that Microsoft’s strategy will have limited success.

“Since then, the Lumia devices released, in my opinion, have added superior performance both in terms of image capture and processing,” said John Delaney, head of research firm IDC. “Having said that. their market share is still very small.”

So far, no word on retailers or exact availability of new Lumia phones.

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Spying, Hacking Fears: Home Depot to Investigate Massive Cyberattack

Posted on by Wileene Grace Olimpo in Your Info Hub | Comments Off
The Home Depot

Image by hattiesburgmemory | Wikimedia

Home Depot said it is now investigating a hack that exposed massive data regarding their customers’ credit and debit cards and payment information.

Security of Personal Data

Home Depot said it is working with banks and law enforcement to hunt hackers.

In a statement, Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake said: “Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.”

The company was the latest retailer to suffer a major security breach, after looking into “some unusual activity” relating to consumers.

Preliminary Analysis

Independent cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs said there’s an evidence that “a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards” went on sale in the black market online.

Home Depot decided not to elaborate and provide further information, though it promised to inform affected customers if it confirms breach.

In recent months, many hackers have already been successful with breaking security walls for several retailers.

Massive cyberattacks have sparked fears on consumers, which pushed companies to increase online security.

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An Era Ends: MSN Messenger to Shut Down After 15 Years of Service

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messengerMicrosoft’s MSN Messenger will officially shut down in October, the software maker announced, which finally brings an end to its 15 years of service.

15-Year Mark

The instant messaging service was retired in most countries except China in 2013, where it has remained active and popular.

Microsoft, however, now informed users in China that the program will no longer be available after October 31.

As Microsoft acquired Skype in 2012, users in China will now have the option to transfer their contacts in MSN Messenger to Skype.

Beginning of the End

MSN Messenger was launched in 1999 and Microsoft added several features over the years. These include custom emoticons, online gaming, and a feature that would shake a chat window.

Skype was purchased by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, since the partnership between Skype and eBay did not work out great.

The tech giant made Skype its latest communication tool, which marks the beginning of the end for MSN Messenger.

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Dropbox Pro Offers 1TB of Storage for Only $10 Per Month

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DropboxDropbox is planning to expand its control of the cloud, as it recently consolidated its three Pro account options to give users more storage for less money.

More Affordable Plan

The consolidated plan is priced at $9.99 per month and features 1Tb of storage, as well as added controls for document sharing and security. The new Pro plan is designed for freelancers, contractors, and other workers in need of additional storage and tools that come with the free Basic plan, which starts at 2 GB.

“Whether you’re a professor sending out your lesson plans, a musician creating and sharing your new composition, or a consultant writing and refining a proposal, Dropbox Pro provides a home for your passion and creativity,” Dropbox said in a blog posted Wednesday, August 27.

Storage and Feature Upgrades

Previously, the cloud storage company had three different Pro plans with 100GB, 200GB and 500GB of storage, priced at $9.99, $19.99, and $49.99 per month, respectively.

In addition to a terabyte of storage, the new plan includes several features such as “view-only” permissions, password-protect feature for links to documents and folders, expiration dates to links, and a remote wipe feature.

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The Future of TV: LG Announces Plans To Sell ‘First 4K OLED TV’

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OLED TVTech giant LG has finally revealed its giant OLED televisions with 4K ultra-high definition screens, claiming the device is a “game changer.”

‘Most vibrant’

The South Korean company said the curved 65-inch set will hit the market starting September.

OLED TVs have deeper color saturation and a sharper image quality.

LG said OLED is a new TV technology that offers high quality picture over LCD and plasma.

Industry watchers consider the company’s move as big deal, as it can change the dynamics of television market.

“OLED technology delivers the most vibrant and natural on-screen display that can be currently done with available technology,” said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy.

Next generation technology 

LG said 4K and OLED represents “the future of television.”

“OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD [Liquid Crystal Display] in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG,” said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president of the company’s home entertainment division.

The first 4K OLED TVs will be available for sale in Europe, South Korea, and North America, which will cost around $11,765.

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Impact of Cyberbullying: Ask.fm Sold to Ask.com, Agrees to Work with Regulators

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Cyber BullyingAsk.com has acquired the struggling Q&A social media site, Ask.fm, but financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Changes in Safety Policy

New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, says that new owners of the site have agreed to work with authorities.

“Under the terms of the agreement, Ask.fm will revamp its safety policies and procedures,” he said in a statement. “An independent safety and security examiner will be appointed to examine the changes and report on compliance to the Attorney General’s Office for three years.”

The acquisition is intended to stop harassment and bullying among teens on the website.

Cyberbullying Protections

Ask.fm is still facing criticisms, as many users complain that the website don’t have safety measures to prevent cyberbullying.

The site has been previously associated to suicides in the UK, which has significantly damaged the company’s reputation in the past few months.

Ask.com Chief Executive Doug Leeds has released a statement, saying he aims to “eliminate” bullying from Ask.fm and will focus on ensuring a safer and more fun experience for users.

Leeds said Ask.fm is required to tackle issues and deal with safety complaints within 24 hours.

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Chinese Scientists Invent Camera To Detect Potential Bombers

Posted on by Robert Lopez in Tech Reviews | Comments Off

mini cameraChinese scientists are developing new devices to improve national security and avert suicide bombers by introducing a mini-camera that can measure mental stress and signal suspects in crowds.

Professor Chen Tong, an Electronic Engineering faculty member of Southwest University in Chongqing,leadsa team of scientists that inventedthe high-tech camera. According to Hong-Kong based newspaper South China Morning Post, the scientists developed a feature called “stress sensor” that uses “hyper spectral imaging.” This technology allows the measurement of oxygen amount in the blood.

“The higher the mental stress, the higher the blood oxygenation,”Prof. Chen explained.

Police officers can also see a “stress bar” which indicates the stress level of individuals and labels suspects in red.

Ushered in by chaos

The newly developedcamera has the potential to make breakthroughs in theprevention of national threats. It was inventedin the midst of violent crimes and security issues. The police reported that communities were disturbed by “assailants [who] ranged from knife-wielding religious extremists going on rampages in train stations to distraught citizens setting fire to crowded buses.”

“Our technology can detect such people, so law enforcement officers can take precaution and prevent these tragedies,” Prof. Chen said.

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