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TikTok's Parent Company ByteDance Predicts Loss of Over $6 Billion Following India's Ban on Chinese Apps

ByteDance logo (Pic Source: Reuters)

ByteDance logo (Pic Source: Reuters)

The ByteDance apps banned were its short video platforms TikTok and Vigo Video, as well as its social networking app Helo.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: July 3, 2020, 7:56 PM IST

Chinese tech giant unicorn ByteDance Ltd. is anticipating a loss of over USD 6 billion after three of its apps, including the hugely popular video app TikTok, were banned by India this week, a media report in China said. Besides Tiktok, India banned on Monday 58 other apps with Chinese links, including the popular UC Browser, for engaging in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”. The ban came in the wake of the ongoing stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.

The USD 6 billion amount is most likely more than the combined losses for all the other Chinese apps banned by India, China’s Caixinglobal.com reported, quoting sources close to the company’s senior management. ByteDance became one of China’s latest homegrown technology companies to run into growing resistance from foreign governments wary of the perceived ties to the Chinese government and concerns about protecting user data, it said.

Describing India’s ban of 59 China-developed apps as unprecedented, the report said it is a huge blow to the global expansion of TikTok, which is touted as the most popular Chinese app overseas. India is its largest market in terms of users outside China, where the service is called Douyin. The ByteDance apps banned were its short video platforms TikTok and Vigo Video, as well as its social networking app Helo. Tencent’s messaging platform WeChat and five of its other apps were also banned. Other big tech China firms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc., also had their products banned.

All the 59 apps have now been removed from Apple Inc. and Google LLC’s app stores for the Indian market. TikTok was downloaded in India 611 million times in this year’s first quarter, equating to 30.3% of its total downloads worldwide in the quarter and nearly double the total number of India downloads for all of 2019, the report quoted another publication, SensorTower, as saying. The consequences of India’s latest decision could be more long-lasting, analysts told Caixin. Responding to the Indian government’s move, TikTok said it would fully comply with the decision. ByteDance employs over 2,000 full-time local staff in India.


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Realme 5i, Realme 6 Price Hiked in India By Rs 1,000: Here's How Much You Need to Pay

The Realme 5i was launched in India at a price range of Rs 8,999, while the Realme 6 arrived in the country at Rs 12,999 for the base model.

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Tata Sky Has a New Binge+ Android TV STB With 6 Months of Free Disney+ Hotstar And More

Tata Sky Has a New Binge+ Android TV STB With 6 Months of Free Disney+ Hotstar And More

Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB runs the full Android TV smart TV software and you will get access to a wide library of compatible video streaming apps from the Google Play Store, as well as built-in Google Assistant and Google Chromecast.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 1, 2020, 10:16 AM IST

The direct to home (DTH) battles seem to have resumed with Tata Sky now joining the party with their own set top box (STB) that runs Android TV and allows slick access to OTT video streaming apps as well. The Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB is priced at Rs 3,999 and there is a lot of bundled goodness that comes with it. For starters, Tata Sky is bundling three months of free subscription to Amazon Prime, which includes the Amazon Prime Video streaming service, Amazon Music as well as shopping benefits on Amazon India. The Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB also comes bundled with 6 months of free subscription to Disney+ Hotstar, SunNxt, Hungama Play, Eros Now and ShemarooMe.

“Entertainment consumption is evolving rapidly. As content becomes multi-platform, we are constantly pushing the envelope to expand our expertise so that we can take content to our viewers through whichever touchpoint they are most attuned to. Bringing the strengths of traditional DTH with next-generation features and the world of OTT content together, the fully integrated Tata Sky Binge+ device delivers an enriched viewing experience, with the highest image quality and a consistent end-user experience on their TV screens,” says Pallavi Puri, Chief Commercial & Content Officer, Tata Sky. Tata Sky also says subscribers can catch-up to and access shows they may have missed on their favorite TV channels, for the past 7 days.

Since the Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB runs the full Android TV smart TV software, you will get access to a wide library of compatible video streaming apps from the Google Play Store, as well as built-in Google Assistant and Google Chromecast. This one STB will give you access to Live TV channels as part of your regular Tata Sky subscription, as well as all the video streaming apps.

The Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB is going into battle with the Airtel Xstream Box, which also runs Android TV, which means it can run Netflix, Amazon Prime and other video streaming apps as well—this is priced at Rs 3639.




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Oppo Shuts Greater Noida Factory After 6 Test Covid-19 Positive, 3,000 Under Testing

Oppo Shuts Greater Noida Factory After 6 Test Covid-19 Positive, 3,000 Under Testing

Oppo has confirmed to News18 that the Greater Noida factory premises are now being sanitised, and employees will be allowed to return if they test negative.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 18, 2020, 12:30 PM IST
  • Edited by: Shouvik Das

Oppo, the BBK Electronics-owned Chinese electronics manufacturer, on Monday confirmed that six workers at its smartphone plant in Greater Noida has tested positive for Covid-19. While the affected workers have been sent to necessary medical facilities, Oppo has shut its factory premises down and instructed 3,000 employees to undergo coronavirus testing. Operations will be resumed only after the facility is fully sanitised and the workers that are currently under testing return test negative for Covid-19, a company official confirmed to News18.

An Oppo India spokesperson said about the matter, “Oppo had obtained permission from the state authorities to resume production earlier this month, following the MHA directive. As an organisation that places the safety of all our employees and citizens at the forefront, we have suspended all operations at our manufacturing facility in Greater Noida and initiated Covid-19 testing for 3,000+ employees, for which results are awaited. (We) will only allow employees with negative test results to resume office following all safety protocols. We are undertaking stringent measures to keep the employees safe and disinfecting the premises.”

Oppo is one of the many OEMs that had resumed operations as lockdown protocol was relaxed in several areas that did not fall under the red zones. However, with the number of Covid-19 cases still on a steady rise in India, the staggered process of opening up of the Indian economy is coming under considerable stress as well.

From earlier today, e-commerce companies have also opened up to taking orders for non-essential items. This has reopened the Indian e-commerce market to sell smartphones and other electronics items again after all such activities were suspended due to the lockdown, started over 50 days ago. With the market opening up to take orders from consumers, it now remains to be seen as to when might Oppo be able to resume normal operations at its factory, which in turn would help maintain the demand and supply balance for its smartphones.




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Zomato to Lay Off 13% Workforce Over 6 Months as Restaurant Businesses Foresee Decline

Zomato is gearing up to lay off about 13 percent of its workforce over a span of the next six months, according to a note to employees by CEO Deepinder Goyal. Now published in a note titled ‘A more focused Zomato’, Goyal’s note states that the number of restaurants are roughly expected to shrink by 25 to 40 percent, over the next one year. As a result, while Goyal claims that Zomato has good cash reserves and is financially stable, the company will be undertaking operational revisions, which include reducing real estate costs, inflicting six-month temporary pay cuts for the employees that remain, and laying off about 13 percent of all Zomato workers over the next six months.

In the note to employees, Goyal states, “Multiple aspects of our business have changed dramatically over the last couple of months and many of these changes are expected to be permanent. While we continue to build a more focused Zomato, we do not foresee having enough work for all our employees. We owe all our colleagues a challenging work environment, but we won’t be able to offer that to ~13% of our workforce going forward.”

Goyal has further stated four steps in which Zomato will attempt to support the laid off employees over the next six months. These steps include payment of 50 percent of salary for the next six months, or until the employee finds a new job. He further adds, “During this time, outside of the handover period of 1-2 weeks, we expect these folks to spend 100% of their time and energy towards looking for jobs outside of Zomato.” For outsourced, contractual employees, Zomato will offer two months of severance pay through the third party agencies.

Zomato has also stated that it will offer ‘outplacement’ support to help the laid off employees find new jobs, and also respect employee stock options that were previously allocated. The laid off employees, who will be informed about their job status before the end of today, May 15, will also get to avail health insurance options over the next six months.

“Covid-19 has been a black swan event for the world economy; and we do not yet know if we have hit the global minima in this journey with the virus. What we have seen so far might just be the local minima, and the worst might be around the corner. Therefore, we need to make sure that we preserve as much cash as possible to weather the storm if the business environment gets worse, or continues to be the same for the rest of the year or more,” added Goyal in his note to employees.

Zomato’s move comes nearly one month after Swiggy, Zomato’s prime industry rival, reportedly announced layoffs that reduced its workforce by almost 1,000 employees. Going forward, Zomato has been attempting to strongly advocate ‘contactless dining’, urging restaurants to reopen with the new, contactless package as the ailing restaurant industry attempts to make a recovery.



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Call of Duty Mobile Season 6 Goes Live on Android and iOS: New Maps, Game Modes and More

Call of Duty: Mobile on Thursday received a new update that brings the new Season 6 titled ‘Once Upon a Time in Rust’. The update with version 1.0.12 is live on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It brings new maps, game modes, and Battle Pass content, along with additional changes, the company said in a statement.

The update is about 1.84GB in size on Android. On its official Reddit page, the developer has mentioned that the update will be rolled out in phases. Rust is a new map introduced in Season 6 but it was first seen in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Another new addition to the game is the new 1v1 Duel Mode which also comes with a brand new map called Saloon that will be available in mid-May.

The company has introduced Capture the Flag – Gold Edition. In this mode, players will not need to capture the flag, but a bountiful chest of gold. Another mode is ‘Kill Confirmed’. In this mode, one has to take out enemies in a team vs team except when an enemy is downed they drop a dog tag. There are several other changes including a new Event System, a Monthly Calendar, a Battle Royale Class called Poltergeist, and more.

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Microsoft Surface Earbuds to Launch on May 6 for About Rs 13,500

Microsoft Surface Earbuds will reportedly go on sale in European countries on May 6 for 199 euros. Microsoft first revealed the Surface Earbuds at its October hardware event last year. The earbuds were originally expected to arrive late last year, but the release was pushed several times, presumably to refine the product further, reports news portal Winfuture.

The wireless earbuds can pair with Windows 10 computers and smartphones and can work with any platform. They work with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Teams, and support features like voice dictation and can also translate more than 60 languages in real-time.

They offer active noise cancellation, Spotify and touch controls on the large outer surface of each bud. The Earbuds features omnisonic speakers, haptic swipe gesture support along with a dual-mic array to pick up audio.

Combined with their case that charges with USB-C, the Surface Earbuds get 24 hours of playback. The report also claims that Microsoft may announce a new Surface Earbuds colour variant when these finally hit the shelves.

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Moto Razr Will go on Sale on May 6; That Will be Rs 124999 of Your Precious Money

Motorola Razr
(Image: Motorola)

Motorola Razr
(Image: Motorola)

The smartphone is a reincarnation of the original Razr but includes a flexible OLED display. It has a 6.2-inch foldable pOLED Cinemavision display 21:9 and 2.7-inch gOLED external display.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: April 15, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

Motorola has confirmed that their foldable phone, the Moto Razr, will go on sale on May 6. That is assuming all goes well and the second phase of the lockdown in India ends of May 3. Motorola has had to delay the launch of the Moto Razr in India over the past few works, because of the lockdown as well as the global Coronavirus Pandemic which had restricted manufacturing capacities around the world. The Moto Razr had been listed for pre-bookings on Flipkart in March and carries a price tag of Rs 1,24,999 if you want to own one of these.

“Due to the prevailing situation and extension of nationwide lockdown, sale of all non-essential products and services has been discontinued. In line with the government guidelines, Motorola Razr will now go on sale after the revised lockdown period, starting May 6th 2020 (which was earlier scheduled for 15th April, 2020). We are hopeful that the situation will get better in the coming days and are working with our partners towards ensuring a smooth purchase experience for consumers across both online and offline channels, once the lockdown is lifted,” says Motorola India, in a statement.

It was around the pre-order listing time that telecom service provider Reliance Jio also confirmed that they will be offering the e-SIM for the Moto Razr. The smartphone is a reincarnation of the original Razr but includes a flexible OLED display. It has a 6.2-inch foldable pOLED Cinemavision display 21:9 and 2.7-inch gOLED external display. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor with 6GB of RAM and has a 2,510mAh battery which supports the 18-watt Turbo Charging. There is 128GB internal storage, has a 16-megapixel primary camera plus a 5-megapixel video call camera.

Initial reports haven’t been pretty though, with the display not holding up as well as you would expect on some units sent out to reviewers in some countries. That doesn’t really infuse confidence in someone willing to splurge a lot of money on a foldable phone, though we hope Moto would have used this time to get the quality rough edges sorted out. It competes against the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, which is priced at Rs 1,09,999.

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OnePlus 6T, OnePlus 6 Get New OxygenOS Beta Update With March Security Patch

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

A new beta OxygenOS update is rolling out for the OnePlus 6T as well as the OnePlus 6.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: April 7, 2020, 3:30 PM IST

OnePlus has released a new beta update for the OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6, which includes users in India. The new update is said to bring the March Android security patch as well as work-life balance features, Zen Mode v1.5.0, and other bug fixes and optimizations. Although the latest update does not add anything new as far as the features are concerned, one can hope that they will be considered in the following days. It is worth noting that the OnePlus 7T series recently got a new update bringing improvements to slow-mo videos, the March security patch and more. Although the Chinese phone-maker is eagerly waiting to release its flagship OnePlus 8 series, we already know that the company is working on features like Always-on Display, Instant Translation, and Expanded Dark Mode option.

While the March 2020 Android Security Bulletin was published at the beginning of the month, it was made available to Google’s Android partners in February. It is safe to assume that the company likely had the March 2020 patches since February this year, and similarly, had the April 2020 Android Security Bulletin since March this year. Having said that, it is believed that the company is not able to make the patches available right after Google publishes them because of many changes that the company and others OEMs often carry out to the Android Framework and Linux Kernel, as well as OnePlus’ own timeline for update rollouts and beta testing

Here’s the changelog shared by OnePlus for OnePlus 6t and OnePlus 6:

System

Now unlock the LockBox without any problems in File Manager

No more crashes in the Launcher with apps in a full-screen display

Got rid of blank screens while clearing up the background apps

Updated Android Security Patch to 2020.03

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Realme 6 Pro Press Renders Confirm Three Colour Options

Realme confirmed yesterday that it is bringing the new Realme 6 series to India on March 5. Apart from announcing the launch date, the company has teased a bunch of features of the upcoming phones. It has also announced a special blind sale where customers can pre-book either the Realme 6 or Realme 6 Pro with an assured gift by paying Rs 1,000.

Soon after the announcement, an alleged press render of the Realme 6 Pro has popped up. A popular tipster has shared the press renders confirming three color options for the Realme 6 Pro on Weibo. As you can see the phone will be offered in Purple, Orange and Blue colours.

Realme has confirmed some of the features of the new Realme 6 series. Expect a quad-camera setup along with a 64-megapixel primary sensor. The company has also confirmed that it will bring a 90Hz display with a punch-hole design as well as 30W Flash Charge technology.

The Realme 6 will have a single front-facing camera while the Realme 6 Pro will come with a dual front camera. Apart from the 64-megapixel main camera, there will be an ultra-wide-angle camera, a telephoto lens for 20x zoom capabilities and a dedicated macro camera. All of this sounds pretty impressive provided the company launches the two phones at the same price point as last year’s Realme 5 series.