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Twitter says it will remove verification badges from accounts that violate its rules

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Twitter says it will remove verification badges from accounts that violate its rules

Twitter will begin removing verification badges from users who violate its rules, the company said today. The announcement, which was made on the official @TwitterSupport account, appears to make concrete a policy that began in January when the company removed the badge from the account of the noxious right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (It banned him from the service a week later.)

“Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement,” the company said in a tweet. “We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.”

Twitter said the problem worsened after is decision, in July 2016, to let anyone request a verified account. “This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse,” Twitter said.

The company is now working on “a new authentication and verification program,” the company said, without providing new details. In the meantime, it is not verifying any accounts, which the company announced last week.

In the meantime, though, Twitter said it had begun a “review” of verified accounts in an effort to identify accounts that violate its rules.

The scope of the review is unclear. It comes just over a week after the company verified the account of Jason Kessler, a white supremacist who organized the United the Right rally in Charlottesville this August. The move drew widespread criticism.

Still, promising to remove verification badges from accounts that violate Twitter’s rules will likely create a thicket of tricky editorial decisions for a company that has historically prided itself on free speech. It remains to be seen how Twitter navigates the verification battles to come — and whether de-verifying accounts has any effect on reducing harassment and abuse on the platform.

Published at Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:47:28 +0000

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Mobile

Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

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Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

Categorize this under “one of the worst possible PR nightmares for a Google smart speaker.” According to Artem Russakovskii at Android Police, the Google Home Mini he was reviewing was randomly and near-constantly recording sounds in his home and transmitting them to Google. The company acknowledged the problem and is issuing a software update to resolve the issue, which appears to boil down to a failure of the touch sensor on the top.

Smart speakers like the Google Home Mini are designed to only listen for a specific wake word — in this case it’s “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.” Only then do their microphones record what you’re saying it, transmit it to the cloud, and try to answer your question. But there is usually a way to just hit a button and ask the embedded assistant a question. On the Mini, it’s holding your finger down on the top of it.

That seems to be the rub (pardon the pun) with Russakovskii’s Mini: it thought that somebody was holding its finger down on the top and so was randomly activating and recording. The good news is that the lights turned on to indicate it was listening, but the bad news is that it didn’t make an audible tone, so it took a trip through the Home’s search history to discover the error.

To Google’s credit, it seems to have scrambled the engineering jets to figure out the issue and create a fix. The fix, though, is removing a feature from the Mini. Google has altered the software so a simple touch won’t activate the Assistant, you have to say the wake word instead. Here’s Google’s statement about the issue.

“We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue. If you’re still having issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement Google Home Mini.”

Google has also posted a help article about the issue, characterizing the affected units as “early release Google Home Mini device at recent Made by Google events” and noting that it won’t affect preordered units sold at retail.

I suppose the “small number” piece is good to hear, assuming it actually is a small number. Even so, it’s a very bad look for Google. People are already leery of speakers listening to them and transmitting info without permission, so the last thing you want is to reenforce that worry. Also, deserved or not, people are doubly worried about the amount of information Google is collecting about them.

Finally, Google apparently wasn’t able to figure out something as seemingly simple as a touchable button under fabric, which doesn’t instill much confidence in its hardware prowess. At least it was fixed before the official release date for the Mini, October 19th.

Article updated to reflect Google’s updated statement the help website.

Published at Tue, 10 Oct 2017 22:25:41 +0000

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Mobile

The new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer is here

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The new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer is here

A new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has finally arrived. Disney aired the latest look at Rian Johnson’s upcoming film during Monday Night Football’shalftime show. Tickets for the film are now on sale.

We got our first (brief) look at the film in April at Star Wars Celebration, along with a behind-the-scenes reel at Disney’s D23 Expo in July, which offered a glimpse into the production of the movie itself. Due to the discipline Disney has been demonstrating when it comes to plot reveals and character secrets, the expectation has been that the new trailer wouldn’t give anything big away; director Rian Johnson recently warned fans on Twitter that the hardest of the hardcore might want to even avoid watching this clip to preserve all of the film’s surprises.

There’s a lot to take in with this new trailer: there’s a new look at Rey’s training on Ahch-To with Luke Skywalker, who tells her that he’s only seen power like hers once before — and that it didn’t scare him enough. He’s presumably talking about Kylo Ren, who we see piloting his fighter, only to hesitate before blasting his mother’s Resistance ship. Poe and Finn are there as well, taking on the fight against the First Order, in space and on the ground, before we wrap up by seeing Rey getting tortured by Supreme Leader Snoke, and asking Kylo to show “show me my place in all this.”

Ahead of the trailer’s release this evening, Lucasfilm unveiled the theatrical poster for The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi is the eighth installment in the main Star Wars saga series, set just after 2015’s The Force Awakens. That film successfully rebooted fan interest in the franchise, even while leaving its characters in a bit of a precarious position. At the end of Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Rey finally meets up with Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, but as the previous trailer has hinted, Luke may not be the savior she was expecting.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15th.

Published at Tue, 10 Oct 2017 02:01:15 +0000

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Mobile

iPhone 7 Top-Selling Smartphone Globally in First Half of 2017: IHS Markit

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iPhone 7 Top-Selling Smartphone Globally in First Half of 2017: IHS Markit

Last year’s iPhone models have performed admirably well, as per a new report. IHS Markit claims that globally, the iPhone 7 outsold all other smartphones in the first six months of 2017. The next in that list was the iPhone 7 Plus, giving Apple two market leaders. The top bestselling smartphones were rounded off by two Samsung models and one more iPhone model.

According to the IHS Markit report, the third-best selling smartphone in the first half of 2017 was the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus. Taking the fourth spot was the iPhone 6s, while the fifth spot was claimed by the Samsung Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8+ took the sixth spot, with only slightly less volume sales than its smaller sibling. The report adds that five Samsung models, four Apple models, and one Oppo model ranked in the top 10 most-shipped smartphones in the first half of 2017.

IHS Markit analysts said that Apple and Samsung’s flagships had sluggish sales in the first half of 2017. While the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models secured the top positions, their shipment volumes declined compared to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus from the same period in 2016. The report notes that while the smaller, 4.7-inch display iPhone models have ranked in the top positions in first half of three consecutive years, their market share continues to fall, dropping from 10 percent in 2015 to 7 percent in 2016, and 5 percent in 2017.

The report adds that Samsung Galaxy S8 models also recorded smaller shipments than their predecessors the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, attributing the drop to their April launch – a full month after last year’s models. In comparison, the Galaxy S7 Edge had the fourth spot in terms of shipments in the first half of 2016, as compared to the sixth spot for to Galaxy S8+.

The IHS Markit report also says that compared to 17 smartphone models that shipped more than a million units per month in the first half of 2016, the first half of 2017 saw 22 models shipping over 1 million units.

“This is a direct result of smartphone OEM efforts to select and concentrate in order to improve product portfolios and increase profitability,” Jusy Hong, associate director – mobile devices for IHS Markit, said. “In addition, more Chinese OEMs are selling their smartphone models outside of China, which intensifies competition and generates more globally popular models.”

Illustrating this growth, IHS Market adds that among the 22 top-shipping models this year, there were eight Chinese models that shipped over 6 million units in H1 2017: five from Oppo, two from Xiaomi and one from Huawei. Samsung had 10 models that shipped more than one million units per month respectively, while Apple had four

Published at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:52:15 +0000

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Mobile

Google Home deals aplenty: single unit for $109, two-pack for $199.99

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Google Home deals aplenty: single unit for $109, two-pack for $199.99

The original Google Home from last year is being joined in the company’s portfolio by the Home Mini and Home Max in the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be sold anymore. The good news for people who have always wanted to purchase a Google Home but were put off by its price is that it is getting cheaper, now that it’s past its one-year birthday.

For example, at the moment you can purchase a single Google Home unit from the Google Store for $109, $20 less than the usual price of $129. And if one Google Home simply isn’t enough for you, why not buy a two-pack from Costco for just $199.99? That’s an additional $20 savings compared to what you’d shell out if you got two from the Google Store.

The caveat in this case is that you have to be a Costco member in order to get the two-pack at that price. If you aren’t, then the Google Store is your only option for purchasing a discounted Home smart speaker. But if even $109 feels like too much to spend on such a gadget, perhaps it’s best to order a $49 Google Home Mini instead.

Via

Published at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 21:45:01 +0000

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Mobile

The Best VPN Apps for Android

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The Best VPN Apps for Android

The Best Android VPN Services for 2016

What Is a VPN?

Using your Android tablet or phone to access the free Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop can be considerably more dangerous than you might imagine. First, you can’t tell if the network has been configured incorrectly, allowing others on the network to see your data. Second, it’s entirely possible that nefarious parties have simply set up an innocent-looking wireless network to trick naive coffee drinkers. They can be very difficult to tell from the real thing. Those are just some of the reasons you need a VPN.

SecurityWatchIn both of the scenarios above, someone could monitor your network traffic. Everything you send, from emails to passwords, would be open to them. That’s a lot of private information you’d probably rather keep private. One example of a classic man-in-the-middle attack is to use a bogus network to intercept victims’ web traffic and replace legitimate sites with fake ones. When a victim goes to enter their information (everything from passwords to credit card numbers) on the site, the attacker gets it all.

VPNs are still a good investment even when you know the network is safe. Recent legal changes allow ISPs to sell anonymized user metadata to advertisers and other third-parties. Lots of other companies, like Facebook and Google, have benefited from access to user data, and ISPs have successfully argued that they should also get a piece of the tasty data pie. But, to my mind, it’s a trickier issue because you can conceivably opt out of using Facebook but accessing the internet without an ISP is all but impossible.

Speaking of advertisers, they use advanced trackers that correlate your movements between websites. By placing trackers on a variety of sites and watching for requests from the same IP address, advertisers can get a sense of your habits. This is still true when you browse the web on your Android. What’s more, many mobile apps still transmit data without encryption, letting various three-letter organizations keep an eye on you.

You might not think anyone would be interested in your data, but it’s not always individuals that are targeted for surveillance or attack. While attending the Black Hat security conference, I saw some 35,000 devices connecting to a malicious Wi-Fi network, all without the knowledge of their owners. The malicious network was configured to mimic whatever Wi-Fi request was made of it. You can bet that many of those devices were mobile phones merely seeking a familiar Wi-Fi network.

When you connect through a VPN service, you interact differently with the internet. Your data is sent through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server, either nearby or in a far-flung location. Anyone monitoring your network connection only sees the gibberish of an encrypted connection. Because your traffic exits onto the open web from the VPN server, advertisers and spies see the IP address of the VPN server and not your device. It’s a smart and simple way to keep your information and identity secure.

What a VPN Isn’t

As important as it is to understand what a VPN is, it’s also important to know what it isn’t. It isn’t a true anonymization service, and you can’t use it to connect to hidden websites on the Dark Web. For both of those activities, you’ll want to use the Tor anonymization network. There are Tor client Android apps in Google Play, so you’ll have no trouble connecting, no matter where you are.

While some VPN services claim to protect you against malware and phishing sites, standalone antivirus utilities definitely do a better job. Some VPN services also block ads—an especially useful feature on Android, where ad blockers are a rarity.

When you’re connected to the VPN, your data is, indeed, encrypted. But that’s not the case once it leaves the VPN server. If your browser or app doesn’t secure your information, then it will be entirely readable to someone with the will and the means to try. Manually encrypting your files is one way to ensure that they aren’t read. There are also apps, like Signal, that send encrypted text messages, keeping each message secure even if part of the journey to its intended recipient is unsecure.

VPNs Can Fool Dictators, Netflix

A common use of VPNs is location spoofing. By sending your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a remote server, you cause it to appear to originate from the VPN server and not your actual location. Journalists and activists have used this to get around restrictive internet controls imposed by various governments.

But for most people, this feature will probably be used to watch region-locked streaming content. If you live in the US and want to watch the free video streams from the BBC, you’re out of luck. But with a VPN, you can fool the BBC website into believing you’re a noble UK citizen. The same is true for sporting events, such as official MLB streams.

That said, companies and content providers are starting to get wise. Netflix in particular has begun blocking VPN connections. I’ve noticed that Hulu, too, frequently blocks access when I’m using a VPN. Note that streaming companies are well within their rights to block VPN users. Just because you’re paying to watch Netflix in the US doesn’t mean you are allowed to view UK Netflix.

There are some VPNs that work with Netflix. But in my experience, their effectiveness can change on a day-to-day basis as the streaming companies and VPN services play a cat-and-mouse game of spoofing and blocking.

Android VPNs and Performance

It’s not surprising that rerouting your connection to other, perhaps distant, servers can have a negative impact on your web browsing speed. Usually, a VPN greatly increases your latency, and reduces the speed of download and uploads. How annoying the impact is will depend on the location of the VPN servers and the network infrastructure the VPN provider can access, among other things.

Very rarely, a VPN service may actually improve your web browsing. Generally, that’s because the VPN provider has access to higher bandwidth internet in other countries. But it is, as I’ve said, a rare thing.

Note that most VPNs can also protect you when you’re connected to cellular networks as well. This might seem like overkill, but there are exotic attacks to intercept cellphone data. One such attack involves jamming the LTE and 3G bands, forcing nearby phones to attempt to connect via a 2G connection, the encryption of which has long been broken. The attackers use a portable cell tower, similar to a Femtocell, and trick nearby phones into connecting.

In my testing, I don’t look at VPN performance over cellular connections. That’s because I can’t control how or when the phone connects with cell towers. By restricting my testing to Wi-Fi, I can control more variables and emulate the circumstances most people will probably experience.

The biggest hurdle to using a VPN on a mobile device is maintaining a connection. Annecdotally, I’ve found that it takes longer to establish connections when a VPN is engaged, and that dropped connections are more common with VPN than without. That’s just my impression, however, and I know that VPN companies are working to ensure that their products don’t intrude too much on your daily usage. I definitely recommend taking advantage of free trials with VPN services, so you can get a sense of how the product will work in your life firsthand.

What Makes a Good Android VPN?

Although Android phones and tablets are radically different in form factor than desktops and laptops, what I look for in a VPN remains the same.

The question I am asked the most is “which is the fastest VPN?” But I’ve found that speed is far from the most important metric when measuring value in a VPN plan. The number and distribution of available VPN servers provided by the company is far more important than speed. Lots of servers in lots of places means that you’ll have an easier time finding a nearby server while traveling. When you’re in a foreign country and you’re desperate to get information (directions or translation, perhaps), you probably won’t be worried about whether or not the Wi-Fi connection you’ve found is secure. VPNs give you some assurance in these situations.

The location of the VPN company is also important. Depending on where the company has its corporate headquarters, local laws may require the company to retain user data. That’s not a good thing, especially if maintaining your privacy is your primary concern. Reading the company’s terms of service is a great way to figure out the logging and data retention policies. Nearby servers are good, since they generally provide better speed and performance. A surfeit of servers also means that you’ll have many options when spoofing your location, should you desire it.

You’re also likely to find the VPN service’s statement about P2P file sharing and BitTorrent in its terms of service. Most VPN services don’t allow BitTorrent, since it’s a drain on resources and opens a legal can of worms. A few services allow file sharing on specific servers, and even fewer will allow them on any server. While I seriously doubt many people will be using their Android phones for Torrenting, be sure to respect the rules for your chosen VPN service. Breaking them can sometimes mean being banned without a refund.

Finally, price and licenses are a very important factor to consider. VPN services range from free to incredibly expensive, and you’ll want to make sure you can connect all your devices to the VPN service. In my experience, the average price of a VPN is a little under $11 per month. If you’re looking at a service that falls outside this range, be sure that it’s offering something unique to make up for it.

Most companies allow five or six devices to connect at a time. You’ll want to make sure you have enough licenses to cover all your mobile devices and computers, too. Most VPN services have a pretty consistent design across platforms, but it’s an unfortunately rare thing for developers to create a VPN for macOS that actually blends in. I highly recommend trying several VPN services on all your machines and finding the ones that work best for your particular mix of devices.

Get a VPN for Your Android!

Whether you’re a globe-trotting business magnate, or a humble homebody, a VPN service is a worthy investment. Your data will be more secure, and you’ll have much more flexibility in how your mobile traffic moves across the web, even when you’re using your smartphone or tablet. It won’t protect you from every threat, of course, but it’s a simple way to be much more secure.

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Mobile

Locked Out of Your Android Device? Here’s What You Can Do

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Locked Out of Your Android Device? Here’s What You Can Do

Getting locked out of your own Android phone can be really frustrating and quite embarrassing. Maybe you have forgotten the password, or someone messed with your phone and changed the password. Whatever the case is, getting locked out of your phone isn’t end of the world. In most cases, you can easily get back in your device with few extra steps.

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Golden Rule to Internet Security: Change Your Passwords

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Depending on your situation and the type of device you’re using, the steps need to be taken might be a little different. However, in the write up below I have listed all the common ways to bypass your Android phone’s lock screen. Let’s take a look.

Use Forget Password/Pattern Button

(For Android 4.4 or below)

If you have an older device running Android 4.4 KitKat or below, you can use the “Forget Password” option to reset the lock screen password using your connected Google account. Simply make 5 wrong attempts and your phone will automatically give you the option of “Forget Password?” The same procedure goes for pattern lock protection.

Once you get the “Forget Password?” option, tap on it and you’ll be asked to provide your Google account’s password instead. If you’ll enter the right password, the device will unlock and its password will be removed. If you’re using a pattern lock, then you’ll also have the option to use the backup pin to unlock the phone.

sign in google acount

Remove LockScreen Password

(For Android Lollipop or above)

If your Android device is running Android Lollipop or newer OS, then the Forget Password option will not be available for you. Unfortunately, Lollipop and newer Android operating systems are more secure and don’t give you any option to reset your password easily.

Unless your phone is rooted or the phone manufacturer offers a solution (like Samsung Find My Mobile), you will have to factory reset your phone to remove the lock screen password.

This is a great security measure as it will make it impossible for anyone to get their hands on your data in case your phone is stolen. They will have to factory reset and delete all the data to use the phone. The consequences to this security are you will have to delete all the data as well if you forget the password.

If you were wise enough to let Google backup all your important data such as apps, contacts, calendar, browser, and Google photos to backup all your photos and videos, then you would have nothing to worry about. However, in case you didn’t take those measures, then you’re out of luck and you’ll end up loosing all the data.

Also, do remember that the content inside your SD card will not be deleted in this process.

Factory Reset using Android Device Manager

The easiest way to factory reset your phone is to use your PC and reset it using Android Device Manager’s web portal. For this purpose, your phone must be connected to WiFi or cellular data, as well as to your Google account.

Go to Android Device Manager website on your PC and you will see the “Erase” option. Click on it and confirm the dialog to start the factory reset process. The process cannot be interrupted so make sure everything is ready before clicking this option.

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factory reset

If your phone isn’t connected to the internet, then the Erase command will be processed as soon as it connects. In case the WiFi and cellular data both are turned off, then use the below method to factory reset your phone.

Factory Reset from recovery

Every Android phone comes with a recovery mode to execute commands from outside the OS. Recovery mode has a factory reset option that will let you reset your phone without any need of bypassing the lock screen or being connected to the internet.

However, the process to access recovery mode varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and is different for different devices as well.

Usually, you need to press and hold a combination of keys to startup the phone and boot in recovery mode. For example, Samsung phones usually require you to press and hold Power button + Home button + Volume UP button.

Other phones without a physical Home button may use a combination of Power button + Volume Up or Down buttons. You can search online for the key combination for your specific device to enter recovery mode.

access android recovery

Once inside the recovery mode, you can only use physical buttons to navigate. Use up and down volume buttons to move up and down in this list and “Home” button or “Power” button to execute a command. Here select the “Wipe data” option to do a factory reset on your phone. The factory reset process will start when you’ll confirm the prompt.

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When the reset process finishes, you will have to set up your device again using your Google account. All the backed up data will be automatically restored when you will log in.

Phone locked after Factory reset

If you didn’t forget the password but you are locked out of the phone after factory resetting your device, then it’s just a security measure by Google. This forced lockout happens when you change your Google password right before resetting your phone or enter the wrong Google account password after resetting a locked device.

This lock duration could be of 24 hours or 72 hours depending on your device manufacturer. There is no way to unlock your phone during this time, even entering the right password won’t help.

Your best bet is to leave the phone untouched until the phone automatically unlocks. Google added this feature to ensure your Google account doesn’t get compromised and the locked period gives you enough time to recover your Google account and save the data.

Bottom line

It’s pretty easy to bypass your Android phone’s lock screen if you have a device with Android 4.4 or below. However, Android Lollipop really made things complicated. Being forced to delete all your data in case you forget the password is a little too much. But I would say it is for our own good and it will definitely save our data in case the phone gets stolen. A regular backup of your important data can help deal with this situation easily.

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Published at Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:01:10 +0000

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Mobile

Jio 4G Download Speeds, BlackBerry Motion Launch, WhatsApp Business APK, and More: Your 360 Daily

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Jio 4G Download Speeds, BlackBerry Motion Launch, WhatsApp Business APK, and More: Your 360 Daily

Reliance Jio continued to be India’s fastest 4G network in the month of September in terms of download speeds according to TRAI’s MySpeed portal. With 18.433Mbps 4G download speed offered by Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Idea, and Airtel follow with 8.999Mbps, 8.746Mbps, and 8.550Mbps respectively. As for 4G uploads, Idea Cellular leads the pack followed by Vodafone, Reliance Jio, and Airtel. Idea clocked 4G upload speeds of 6.307Mbps in September, Vodafone was second at 5.776Mbps, Jio third at 4.134Mbps, and Airtel was fourth at 4.088Mbps, according to MySpeed.

In other news, there’s an update on Reliance Industries’ plan to launch Jio Payments Bank as a joint venture with SBI. Reports suggest it could launch in December and users only require an Aadhaar card to open an account with it. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, apparently wanted to launch Jio Payments Bank along with the Jio Phone but meeting RBI compliance and regulations meant a delay.

BlackBerry Motion with 5.5-Inch display, 4,000mAh battery launched
The BlackBerry Motion smartphone is now official. After rumours aplenty, this mid-range Android smartphone launched at Technology Week conference in Dubai. It will be priced at around $460 (approximately Rs. 30,00) and be available in the UAE and other Middle Eastern markets first. The BlackBerry Motion is a dual-SIM Android 7.1.1 Nougat smartphone with a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. There’s DragonTrail Glass protection and a physical home button below the display. The BlackBerry Motion is powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC processor with 4GB of RAM and has a 4000mAh battery. The handset has 32GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB) should you want more space.

WhatsApp Business features revealed, APK available for download
WhatsApp Business, an app from the company designed to help businesses keep in touch with their customers, is available for download as an APK on third-party sites, a private beta for it is also up on Google Play. To use it, however, you need to be a part of a private beta. Businesses can migrate their business numbers to WhatsApp Business by installing the app on the same phone as their personal WhatsApp account but have a different number tied to it, register a landline number for WhatsApp Business (which would be used from a phone with a personal WhatsApp account), and finally users can also use two different phones and handle their personal and business accounts separately.

If you run a business and wish to sign up for WhatsApp Business, you need to fill up this survey.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 India launch on Tuesday, will be Flipkart exclusive
Xiaomi is set to launch its bezel-less smartphone, the Xiaomi Mix MIX 2 this Tuesday. The phone will be exclusive to Flipkart. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, which was launched in China earlier, comes in three variants – 6GB RAM/64GB storage for CNY 3,299 (roughly Rs. 32,300), 6GB RAM/128GB storage for CNY 3,599 (roughly Rs. 35,300), and 6GB RAM/256GB storage version for CNY 3,999 (roughly Rs. 39,200). The official price for India is yet to be revealed and there’s a full ceramic body edition at CNY 4,699 (roughly Rs. 46,000) which safe to say, won’t be making it to India as it’s yet to launch in China.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 leaked images show dual cameras; OnePlus 5T may launch in November
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 isn’t the only phone in the news, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 has been leaked yet again via live images shared by a Weibo user. There are minimal bezels on all sides which should give it an 18:9 aspect ratio. The home button is a glaring omission but it does sport a fingerprint scanner at the back, which also has a vertical dual camera setup.

Also leaked is the OnePlus 5T which should arrive in November. According to a report, the Chinese firm will bring a 6-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. In addition to this, expect thin bezels and curved edges, much like contemporary flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S8. Furthermore, the 8GB OnePlus 5 is out of stock in the UK, lending credence to this.

Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Lite with 13-megapixel front camera, front flash launched
Asus has launched another ZenFone 4 smartphone. The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Lite has been launched in the Philippines and it has a quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor and 2GB of RAM, there’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and phase detection autofocus (PDAF). On the front, the smartphone bears a 13-megapixel sensor coupled with an f/2.0 aperture and a ‘softlight’ LED flash. The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Lite comes in two inbuilt storage options – 16GB and 32GB – expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB) with a dedicated slot.The smartphone is due to go on sale this month and will be available in Deepsea Black, Mint Green, Rose Pink, and Sunlight Gold colour variants. Asus is also touting 100GB of free space via Google Drive for 2 years.

Android phone makers looking at iPhone X-like Face ID feature; iPhone 7 top-selling smartphone 
Face ID might be exclusive to the iPhone X for now, but that’s not going to stop Android manufacturers from trying to replicate similar functionality. KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that Android smartphone makers are increasingly inquiring about 3D-sensing tech, with three times as many inquiries for advanced facial recognition technology. Kuo, who has an admirable track record on all things Apple, said he believes that in the next two to three years, Android smartphones featuring a 3D sensor equipped facial recognition technology will exceed under-display fingerprint recognition by a factor of two or three or more.

In more smartphone news, the iPhone 7 has sold more than any other smartphone in the first six months of the year. A report from IHS Markit claims that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus respectively are the world’s largest selling smartphones for the first half of the year. Though no exact shipment figures were provided, Samsung had two phones in the top five with the Galaxy Grand Prime Plus taking third place.

Joe Belfiore says Windows Phone not a focus for Microsoft
For the first time, a Microsoft executive has openly admitted that the company has no plans for Windows 10 Mobile. Over the weekend, Corporate Vice President in the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, Joe Belfiore said that building new features for Windows Phone and launching new handsets are no longer a “focus” for the company.

Belfiore said Microsoft attempted to fix one of the biggest factors crippling the growth of Windows Phone, namely the unavailability of several popular apps, but its attempts never materialised.

“We have tried VERY HARD to incent app devs. Paid money.. wrote apps 4 them.. but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest. ☹️,” Belfiore tweeted.

Microsoft ended support for Windows Phone 8.1, the most popular version of its mobile operating system in July. Belfiore in another tweet insisted that the company will continue to support the platform by releasing bug fixes and security updates.

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Published at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:09:02 +0000

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Mobile

HTC Users Complain Keyboard App Is Showing Ads, Company Says It's an 'Error'

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HTC Users Complain Keyboard App Is Showing Ads, Company Says It's an 'Error'

HTC has addressed the concerns of its smartphone users after some of them reported that they were seeing ads on the company’s built-in keyboard app.

The company says it won’t be showing ads on TouchPal, the keyboard app, adding that the ads found their way up onto the keyboard app “due to error”. A software update is in the works to rectify the issue, HTC said.

Over the weekend, posts showing ads on HTC’s keyboard app circulated like wildfire on social media, and many users joined the commotion to report seeing similar ads on their HTC-made phones. HTC 10 was one of the models identified whose users were said to be impacted.

In a statement to Gadgets 360, HTC confirmed that some people were indeed seeing ads on the keyboard app, however, it assured that the company has no plans to shove ads this way.

“Due to an error, some HTC customers have reported seeing ads on their phone’s keyboard,” a spokesperson said. “This is absolutely not the experience we intended, and we’re working to immediately fix the error and remove the ads as quickly as possible.”

Users’ aggressive reaction to seeing ads on the keyboard app underscores a growing trend among smartphone manufacturers who’re frustrating users by showing ads on the lock screen, home screen, notification centre, and other places. Samsung was recently spotted showing ads on push notifications, for instance. 

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Published at Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:58:13 +0000

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Mobile

Jio's 4G VoLTE Feature Phone With Smartphone-Like Features Leaked in Video: Price, Specifications, Features, and More

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Jio's 4G VoLTE Feature Phone With Smartphone-Like Features Leaked in Video: Price, Specifications, Features, and More

Jio’s 4G VoLTE feature phone with smartphone-like features is expected to make an appearance at Reliance Industries’ AGM next week, and a new leaked video reveals what might well be the mobile many have been waiting for. The leaked video shows a Reliance Retail’s Lyf-branded feature phone – which may or may not be the long-rumoured Rs. 500 Jio 4G feature phone that has been spotted before – but could well be the phone that the telco that’s shaken up the industry reveals next week. The video and an accompanying report reveal specifications, features, and software details of the upcoming Lyf/ Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone. Among the notable features of the mobile seem to be custom OS, and support for Internet tethering.

Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone specifications

According to a report by TechPP, the Reliance Jio 4G feature phone will be sold under the Lyf brand, the sister-brand of Jio, owned by Reliance Retail. As rumoured previously, the feature phone is said to have a 2.4-inch colour display, 512MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage, up to 128GB microSD card support, dual SIM functionality (Nano SIM + Standard SIM), 2-megapixel rear camera, and VGA front camera. The leak also suggests the presence of 2000mAh battery, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.1 + LE, and video calling on the Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone.

On the software side, the mobile is said to come with ‘KAI OS’, a customised version of the HTML5-based Firefox OS. It will reportedly have an app store named ‘KaiOS Plus’. It will also have an integrated voice assistant with support for Indian languages. In addition, a report by Telecom Talk claims the Lyf/ Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone will be provision for Wi-Fi tethering too, meaning a user will be able to connect multiple devices using the handset’s Internet connection. TechPP, on the other hand, says the handset will have app-specific USB tethering.

The leaked images only show the phone will have a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, without specifying the make. Previously, Qualcomm and Spreadtrum have been said to be supplying the chipset for the device. The Jio 4G feature phone is also said to come with access to Jio apps such as Jio TV, MyJio, JioCinema, and JioMusic.

Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone price

According to an earlier HSBC research note, the Jio feature phone price in India will be Rs. 500, after subsidising the manufacturing cost. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s not clear if the leaked mobile is actually the Rs. 500 Jio phone.

Reliance is said to have placed an order of 18-20 million units for the handsets with Chinese vendors such as Zhejiang Techain Electronics Technology Co., Shenzhen CHINO-E Communication Co, Crave and Megaphone. The  Lyf/ Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone is expected to be unveiled on July 21 at parent company Reliance’s AGM, but hit the market in August.

The upcoming Jio feature phone will be targeting the feature phone market, which has remained out of the company’s reach due to the prohibitory costs of smartphones. It will help the Mukesh Ambani-backed company increase its user base, whose growth was the slowest in April since it launched operation. This happened as the services went paid, even though the services remain extremely affordable due to the Jio Summer Surprise and Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offers. More recently, the company revised its plans to provide more data and more validity at the same price, and launched a new plan that provides the Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan Offer benefits for another 84 days at Rs. 399.

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Published at Sat, 15 Jul 2017 06:23:08 +0000

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