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Republic Day Sale: Huawei P30 Lite at Rs 7,000 Discount, and Other Deals

Huawei has announced a series of discounted deals in light of the upcoming 71st Indian Republic Day. The limited time discounts will run from today, January 19 to Wednesday, January 22. Spearheading the discounted product list is the Huawei P30 Lite – the budget variant of Huawei’s 2019 flagship phone, which is being sold at a discount of Rs 7,000 during the sale. At present, the Huawei P30 Lite is priced at Rs 12,990, and the price will remain effective throughout the sale.

Huawei is also offering a Rs 4,000 discount on the Huawei Y9, which now sells at Rs 11,990. This is joined by the Huawei MediaPad T5-10, a 10.1-inch tablet with 4G support. The tablet gets a Rs 2,000 discount, giving it a price of Rs 10,990. Huawei is also offering the MediaPad M5 Lite as a Flipkart-exclusive product, which gets a Rs 3,000 discount to be priced at Rs 17,990 during the sale. The rest of the above mentioned products, barring M5 Lite, are all available on Amazon India.

Other products with eligible discounts include three variants of the Huawei Watch GT2, and three variants of the Watch GT – Sports, Active and Classic. With a discount of Rs 1,000, the Watch GT2 now begins at Rs 14,990 for the Sport variant, and goes up to Rs 20,990 for the Watch GT2 Metal. The three Watch GT variants, meanwhile, get Rs 2,000 off, and cost Rs 8,990 for Sports and Active, and Rs 10,990 for the Classic variant.

The offers on the Huawei products are spread across Amazon and Flipkart as deals exclusive to the two e-commerce platforms, so interested users should check both the online stores before making their purchases.

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Tech

Amazon Great Indian Sale: Get Rs 15,000 Amazon Pay Cashback With a New OnePlus TV

Yet another month, yet another sale, and yet more enticing offers to splurge on. This is particularly true if you want to buy a new TV. The OnePlus TVs are back on sale during the Amazon Great Indian Sale which is now live. The offers are applicable on both variants of the OnePlus TV—the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 and the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro. The OnePlus TV 55 Q1 priced at Rs 69,899 and the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro sporting a sticker price of Rs 99,899. That is before the discounts kick in.

For starters, you will get Rs 10,000 cashback as Amazon Pay Balance if you pay for the OnePlus TV 55Q1 through any prepaid methods—that is, pay for it using a credit card, debit card, Amazon Pay wallet or UPI. The cashback gets added to your Amazon Pay account for further transactions and payments. If you buy the OnePlus TV 55Q1 Pro, the return that you get as Amazon Pay cashback is Rs 15,000. If you are paying with an SBI credit card, you can avail a discount of Rs 1,500 on either of the OnePlus TV variants. This means the price of the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 becomes Rs 68,399 while the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro will cost Rs 98,399.

And if you have an older TV to exchange, that will get you a maximum of Rs 2,050 depending on the screen size, age and brand of the TV. In the previous Amazon sale, this value was Rs 9,830 at best, which makes the current exchange offer look pale in comparison. You can also choose to avail the No Cost EMI option which includes credit cards from American Express, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Amazon Pay ICICI card, HDFC Bank, Citi Bank, SBI, IndusInd, Yes Bank, Kotak, RBL, HSBC and Standard Chartered, as well as select bank debit cards, Bajaj Finserv EMI cards and Amazon Pay EMI.

Some of the features that the OnePlus TV line-up packs in include Super Resolution, Contrast enhancement and support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies. The 55-inch QLED panel has the native 4K resolution. It also has the widest HDR support as well—for HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision. Some of the features that the OnePlus TV line-up packs in include Super Resolution, Contrast enhancement and support for Dolby Atmos as well. While the feature set is largely the same across both TVs, the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro also has an integrated slide-out soundbar-esque speaker system which has 8 speakers—two facing backwards and six facing towards the front, for wider sound and bass as well. The total sound output is rated at 50-watts. These TVs run Google’s Android TV, including popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar.

Over the past few months, OnePlus has rolled out updates that have significantly improved the picture quality as well as the overall user experience of the premium OnePlus TVs—something that was perhaps to be expected from first generation devices.

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206 Million Used Smartphones Were Sold Globally in 2019: Report

The global shipments of used smartphones, both officially refurbished and used ones – will reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019 — an increase of 17.6 per cent over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 per cent from 2018 to 2023.

“In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s aWorldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker’. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone.

“Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories,” said Scarsella. This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable.

Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices. Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth, said IDC.

“Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward,” said Will Stofega, Program Director, Mobile Phones.

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Fitbit Wearables Can Now Monitor Your Blood Oxygen Level

Fitness trackers that will have the new feature include Fitbit Charge 3, Ionic, Versa, Versa 2 and Versa Lite.

Fitbit Wearables Can Now Monitor Your Blood Oxygen Level
Fitness trackers that will have the new feature include Fitbit Charge 3, Ionic, Versa, Versa 2 and Versa Lite.

Fitbit has started rolling out a new feature for its fitness trackers, that lets users track their blood oxygen level. The upgrade is rolling out for owners of Fitbit Charge 3, Ionic, Versa, Versa Lite and Versa 2. As first reported by TizenHelp, Fitbit’s new feature uses the SpO2 sensor, which will now display the blood oxygen level through the Estimated Oxygen Variation Graph.

With the help of this graph, users will be able to notice all big and small variations in their blood oxygen saturation. This, in turn, helps in monitoring the sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Additionally, the feature helps in tracking the sleep quantity and quality.

The Estimated Oxygen Variation option comes in the Fitbit app along with the new update, which is now available in the US. It is to be noted that Apple too holds patents for blood oxygen monitoring. However, the tech giant is yet to activate the feature in any of its devices. Fitbit, interestingly, was recently acquired by Google, which is one of Apple’s biggest competitors globally.

Fitbit, however, is not the first company to enable the blood oxygen monitoring feature. The SpO2 sensor is already available on some of the Honor and Huawei watches, including Honor Band 5, 5i, Huawei Band 4 Pro and a few Huami Amazfit smartwatches.


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Tech

Spotify Users Can Now Curate a Playlist Especially for Their Pets

Spotify’s latest interactive playlist curation update for you and your pets is the kind of feature you never thought you would need until you saw it.

Spotify Users Can Now Curate a Playlist Especially for Their Pets
Spotify’s playlist curation tool for your pets.

(Image: AFP Relaxnews/ Spotify)

(Image altered by News18)

Spotify’s newest playlist creation tool is designed for your pet and its unique personality. To keep listeners listening, Spotify is always curating playlists with specially selected content unique to each individual. In addition to automatically created albums like Discover Weekly and Release Radar, the platform also curates playlists with help from the user. In November, Spotify launched “Soundtrack your Ride,” a tool that would design playlists for user road trips based on their answers to a series of questions regarding the trip. Now the company is launching a similar tool that will tailor the music to your pet’s tastes.

For the 71 per cent of pet owners who play music for their pets and 80 per cent of owners who think their pets like music, Spotify launched a curation tool called Pet Playlists. Opening up the tool will prompt users to answer a series of questions about their animal including the species: dog, cat, bird, hamster, or iguana, and its personality: whether it’s energetic, shy, or curious. Based on these answers and your personal music tastes, the platform will create a playlist consisting of 30 tracks for you and your pet to enjoy together.

Go on and create yours here!


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Tech

This is How And When Microsoft Will Roll Out The New Edge Browser to Your Windows PC

Google Chrome finally has competition. Most of will purely be relieved that our PCs can now breathe a bit easier, considering the resource intensive nature which Chrome had adopted over time. The much-awaited Chromium based Microsoft Edge web browser is now available for download for Windows and Apple macOS computing devices. In a way, this works the same way as a Chrome web browser would, because the foundations are the same. That helps, primarily with website compatibility, availability of extensions if you need those, and a general sense of familiarity which most PC users wouldn’t want to give up. However, what Microsoft has in store for the Chromium based new Edge web browser is a bit more elaborate.

The first rollout phase, which began yesterday, sees the new Edge browser available as an optional download, in the standalone format, from the official Microsoft Edge website. At this time, you can choose to manually download this on any computing device running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 as well as the Apple macOS powered MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, iMac Pro and Mac Mini. On Windows machines already running the previous generation of the Edge browser, downloading and installing the Chromium based Edge will replace the older browser. All the data that you may have stored there, including bookmarks and login details, will be carried forward to the new version. There is also the option to import data from any other web browser you may be using at the time—Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera, for instance.

The next stage involves Microsoft pushing the new Edge browser as an update via Windows Update. This is a multi-stage process, which first sees the update being rolled out to a limited number of devices in the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insider Program as a final check, before the larger roll-out to all users. Microsoft suggests that once the new Edge browser is installed on your Windows 10 PC, it will continue to get regular updates adding new features or fixing bugs or performance issues independently and not necessarily via Windows Update.

Microsoft has also made the new Edge browser available to OEMs, who will now painstakingly integrate it with the Windows 10 which they will ship with new PCs in the coming months. Chances are, sometime in the next few weeks, PC makers will ship new devices with the new Edge browser preinstalled.

As for the rollout of the Edge browser via Windows Update, Microsoft confirms that PCs running the Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 for Education and Windows 10 on Workstations will not get this automatic update. The idea is to give the organization’s IT administrators full control over whether they want to, and if as well as when, they want to install the new Edge browser on the systems in use in their organization.

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Tech

Marvel's Avengers Game Will Now Release in September 2020

High-profile Square Enix release “Marvel’s Avengers,” the result of a partnership agreement between the video game publisher and Disney’s Marvel Studios, is to spend another four months in development. The single-player and online multi-player action-adventure is being made at “Tomb Raider” reboot studio Crystal Dynamics and features superhero characters popularized through Marvel’s Cinematic Universe franchise, though actors’ likenesses are not being used.

Instead of releasing on May 10, 2020, “Marvel’s Avengers” is now expected on its original platforms, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC as well as Google’s cloud gaming service Stadia, on September 4. In a new post to its website, Crystal Dynamics’ leads explained that doing so enables them to achieve the goal of delivering “the ultimate Avengers gaming experience.” “We will spend this additional development time focusing on fine-tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve.”

“Marvel’s Avengers” was first shown early on in 2017 and then, at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, subject to a longer trailer, a May 2020 release date, and a private playable demo that was generally well-received, especially in contrast to earlier reactions. The revised timing places “Marvel’s Avengers” much closer to the intended Holiday 2020 launches of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game consoles.

Moving the game out of its initial May window means greater opportunity for another attention-grabbing action franchise adaptation, “Fast & Furious Crossroads,” due May 9 on PS4, XBO and PC. Another single or online multiplayer action game which likewise leverages an established franchise, “Minecraft Dungeons,” is due sometime in April.

Alongside the “Avengers” announcement, a second Square Enix title was also subject to a release date adjustment: the PlayStation 4’s “Final Fantasy VII,” previously expected in March, is now set for April instead.

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Sony a6400 Review: This is Simply Great, Whether You Need it For Photos or Videos

Sony has pretty much established a strong foothold in the Indian camera industry. With big guns Nikon and Canon being late to the party, Fujifilm playing solely in the APS-C segment and Leica being more aspirational than achievable, Sony today sits at a comfortable middle ground in the camera industry, buoyed further by its strong reputation. The Sony a6400, interestingly, is a near-splitting image of the company itself.

Starting at a body-only price of Rs 66,990 (market price) and Rs 75,000 for the 16-50mm starter kit, the Sony a6400 isn’t quite what you’d call a beginner or casual hobbyist’s camera. Rather, we found it to be more worthy of being a professional’s second kit. That said, what truly makes the a6400 stand out in the crowd is the fact that the camera feels at home in both cases — be it with an art college student with a hefty scholarship, or a professional looking for a nifty quick-shooter.

Sony a6400_1Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

Image quality

As with all our camera reviews, all our camera discussions begin with talking about its imaging performance. With the Sony a6400, the tried and trusted 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS backlit sensor takes centrestage. Accompanying it is a new, improved Bionz X image processor, which Sony states is actually based on its venerable flagship, the a9. Adding to this is a new, 425-point phase detection autofocus system with real-time tracking, rounding off the internals.

Sony a6400_3Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

In terms of photography, the first thing users will notice is the superlative quality of the in-camera JPEGs. With out-of-camera processed files, Sony manages to produce a great level of detail and sharpness on intricate objects, as well as excellent colour accuracy. Overall colours are rich and vibrancy levels are high. As a result, the reds and yellows look richer, greens look warmer and blues look deeper but more subtle. This adds to a pleasant composition effect, without taking anything away from the overall colour accuracy.

As mentioned in our leader, though, the Sony a6400 does have a few (seemingly minor but still important) pet peeves. For instance, if you often prefer to not bother the white balance adjustments much, the Sony a6400 will make you break a sweat. With AWB, the overall colour temperature is biased towards cooler shades. As a result, overall colour tones shot during the day can take an easy hit. Take the manual route, however, and you are well settled.

Sony a6400_5Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

When it comes to the overall ISO performance, the Sony a6400 is largely reliable, and shoots well within the ideal ISO ranges. There isn’t any nasty surprise in terms of noise and grain, which is important for a good camera. However, high ISO performance is a tad erratic for our preference — the Sony a6400 produces a considerable amount of noise, and the grains have a coarse texture. That, though, also shows the Sony a6400’s strength — the noise is sharper and better defined, and the excellent dynamic range, coupled with good ISO invariance of the camera means that colours are still well defined in low light shots, and RAW edits can be salvaged to an extent. The overall noise does mean only about 1.5 stops of exposure adjustment in RAW, but it still retains shadows, colour tones and range of shades quite well.

Sony a6400_4Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

While this can cause infrequent moire, what’s good to note is the clean low ISO performance, and no apparent banding. Why this is so important to discuss is because of the Sony a6400’s crucial lack of in-body image stabilisation — coupled with the high noise at high ISOs, shooting in low light can often become quite tricky, particularly if you’re an amateur hobbyist that has invested a sizeable chunk of money on this camera. This is also the most significant shortcoming that we found with the Sony a6400.

The new autofocus module is also quite impressive, and while it is largely consistent, it does have its moments wherein it struggles to lock focus. However, Sony has thrown in plenty of features in here, including assisted focus and focus peaking to make manual focusing quite seamless. The added offering of real-time object tracking is quite precise, and will aid wildlife and sports enthusiasts. The latter, though, is particularly beneficial for videographers.

Video quality

This is where the Sony a6400 earns all its money. The camera is capable of shooting oversampled 4K30p videos without sensor crop, as well as full HD at higher frame rates (120p/60p) to enable post-processed smooth slow motion shots. Coupled with the excellent colour performance, accurate white balance, brilliant AF tracking and great dynamic range, the Sony a6400 makes for a brilliant video camera for semi-professionals, to even professionals using the camera as a second unit.

Sony a6400_2Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

The oversampled 4K video recording adds flexibility for users to downsample when editing, giving more room to work around. The Sony a6400 also features proxy recording, a nifty feature that simultaneously records a lower resolution clip, which can be instantly shared via the in-camera Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone. This is a neat feature that should aid vloggers. What we also love is that there are no time restrictions on 4K video recording, making the a6400 a great package.

The Sony a6400 further features multiple log profiles for versatile video outputs, as well as a flat contrast log profile should you desire it for better control on colours and parameters while post processing videos.

Build, handling and battery life

On overall terms, the Sony a6400 is a familiar camera for anyone that’s used a Sony before. It combines this familiarity with clever ergonomics, a neat button layout, a light camera body and a hefty handgrip that makes the entire camera feel robust and solid. What we also love is how the LCD display flips upward, further suiting the vlogger target audience. Adding to this is the incredibly sharp electronic viewfinder that is a pleasure to shoot with, but unfortunately, the crisp resolution comes at the cost of battery life.

Sony a6400_6Photo taken with Sony a6400. Unedited sample, resized to fit page. (Photo: Shouvik Das/News18.com)

The Sony a6400 is rated for 410 shots (CIPA) on LCD, we are often used to our cameras outliving their CIPA-rated battery cycle. Unfortunately, the Sony a6400 appears to only be good enough for about 400 shots. This essentially means that you’ll be restricted to one-day charge cycles, when vacationing.

While this is something we can live with, what we do not like are the overlaid buttons on the click wheel, which feel a bit out of sync with the rest of the camera. The display, while touch-enabled, only supports touch inputs in select places — a decision that we do not really understand. What we also do not understand is why, in a camera that is essentially good enough for the next five-odd years, would Sony place the archaic microUSB port on. Most mainstream accessories, even non-premium ones, are moving to USB-C ports, and while it may sound like nitpicking, factors like these do play a big role in such fine products like the Sony a6400.

Verdict

To sum up, the Sony a6400 is a very, very likeable camera. It nails colour performance, and teams it up with great AF tracking, good ISO performance and great dynamic range. Video performance is its strength, and even in photography, the Sony a6400 more than holds its own ground. While its prime competitor, the Fujifilm X-T30 can outperform it in quite a few aspects, the Sony a6400 feels like a more well-rounded camera — one that offers a great product, good future proofing and peace of mind, at the price point of Rs 75,000.

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Huawei to Shift Focus from 5G to Self-Driving Cars, Inspired by Tesla

Huawei will not build its own autonomous vehicles but instead, use its 5G expertise to collaborate with automakers to build driverless connected cars.

Huawei to Shift Focus from 5G to Self-Driving Cars, Inspired by Tesla
Image for Representation

(Image: AFP Relaxnews)

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is currently making a big push towards the 5G industry, but it is also reportedly planning to assist in building self-driving cars. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve complete driverless news, but in the process of moving towards the ultimate goal, it can create value. At present, Tesla is already creating value for everyone, if Tesla can do it now, we can all do it,” the report quoted rotating Huawei chairman Xu Zhijun.

However, the company does not want to make their own cars but will help car companies build good cars through collaboration. Currently, the smartphone manufacturer is using its expertise in 5G together with SAIC and China Mobile to build 5G connected cars. As per a report, these cars have 5G/LTE-V capabilities, support C-ITS assisted driving functions, feature intelligent voice interactions and even have live video calling functions built-in.

Recently, the company announced that it has shipped 6.9 million units of 5G smartphones as of December 2019, in addition to offering end-to-end 5G solutions. In 2019, Huawei brought 5G to consumers through the launch of eight 5G smartphones: Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, Mate 30 5G, Mate 20 X (5G), Nova 6 5G, Mate X, Honor V30 Pro and Honor V30.

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EU is Considering Banning Facial Recognition in Public Places And Bolster Data Rights

This comes amid a global debate about the systems driven by artificial intelligence and widely used by law enforcement agencies.

EU is Considering Banning Facial Recognition in Public Places And Bolster Data Rights
Representative image.

The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses. The plan by the EU’s executive – set out in an 18-page white paper – comes amid a global debate about the systems driven by artificial intelligence and widely used by law enforcement agencies. The EU Commission said new tough rules may have to be introduced to bolster existing regulations protecting Europeans’ privacy and data rights.

“Building on these existing provisions, the future regulatory framework could go further and include a time-limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces,” the EU document said. During that ban, of between three to five years, “a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed.” Exceptions to the ban could be made for security projects as well as research and development, the paper said.

The document also suggested imposing obligations on both developers and users of artificial intelligence and that EU countries should appoint authorities to monitor the new rules. The Commission will seek feedback on its white paper before making a final decision, officials said. EU digital and antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager is expected to present her proposals next month. The U.S. government earlier this month announced regulatory guidelines on artificial intelligence technology aimed at limiting authorities’ overreach and urged Europe to avoid aggressive approaches.