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Tech

OnePlus TV 32Y1 vs Mi TV 4A Pro 32 vs Realme Smart TV 32: Comparing The Best 32-inch Android TVs

OnePlus has now entered the affordable smart TV space in India by launching its new Y-Series of televisions in two sizes – 32-inch and 43-inch. The OnePlus 32Y1 features a 32-inch HD panel, and is priced at Rs 12,999. The OnePlus 43Y1, meanwhile, features a 43-inch full HD display and is priced at Rs 22,999.

This puts the company in direct competition with Xiaomi and Realme, both of which have similar offerings. So let’s the have a comparison of the entry-level 32-inch variants

OnePlus TV 32Y1

The OnePlus 32Y1 features a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution HD panel. The TV runs on OnePlus’ custom Oxygen Play UI, which is based on Google’s Android TV 9.0 – the same firmware that runs on the OnePlus Q series TVs. In terms of audio, it features two 10W speakers with support for Dolby audio. The TV also offers 93% DCI-P3 panel, dialogue enhancer, in-built Chromecast and OnePlus Connect that lets you control the TV using a OnePlus smartphone.

As for hardware, it is powered by a 64-bit processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of inbuilt storage. As for the ports, the OnePlus 32Y1 comes with two USB ports, two HDMI (one with ARC support), an ethernet port, standard RF and AV ports, optical audio, and 3.5mm audio jack. There is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 onboard.

Price: 12,999

Mi TV 4A Pro 32

Xiaomi has been ahead of the game and offers a variety of smart TV models in India. One of the most affordable ones is the Mi TV 4A Pro 32-inch model which comes with a similar 1366 x 768-pixel resolution HD panel backed up by the company’s 7th-gen imaging engine. The TV also features a quad-core Amlogic processor backed by 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage. On the software front, the TV offers the option to switch between Android TV or its proprietary Patchwall interface. Patchwall brings content from various OTT applications and set-top boxes at a single place along with the option of universal search.

The Mi TV 4A Pro runs on the latest Android TV 9 update that it received last year October bringing apps like Netflix and Prime Video, in addition to apps like Hotstar, Zee5, YouTube and more. Just like the OnePlus TV, you get integrated Chromecast and Google Assistant. For audio, the TV comes with 10W x 2 stereo speakers tuned by dts-HD. As for ports, the Mi TV comes with three HDMI ports, an AV input, two USB ports, 3.5mm audio out, and an Ethernet port. There is also built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Price: Rs 12,499

Realme Smart TV 32

Realme recently entered the Indian smart TV market with the launch of two variants, a 32-inch and a 43-inch model. Realme has also used a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution HD panel with a proprietary Chroma Boost Picture Engine. The TV is powered by a MediaTek quad-core processor with built-in ARM Cortex A53 CPU and Mali-470 MP3 GPU. There is also 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. This one also comes with Android TV 9 so you get access to all Google services including Google Assistant and Play Store.

The TV comes with built-in apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video as well as support for Chromecast. As for audio, there are 24W quad stereo speakers with Dolby Audio. Connectivity-wise, the Realme TV offers Wi-Fi, Infrared, DLNA, Bluetooth 5.0, three HDMI ports, two USB ports, SPDIF, DVB-T2 (Digital TV interface), and Ethernet.

Price: Rs 12,999


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Tech

OnePlus TV 55U1 Review: Are You Sure This 55-inch 4K HDR TV Costs Just Rs 49,999?

I have said it before. And I’ll say it again. Not all smart TVs are the same. The recent trend of pretty much every brand you may have heard of trying to sell you a TV has led to some frankly atrocious user experiences. The themes you’ll probably notice include everyone calling their TV the best in class, claim it runs Android (when it probably runs a very shoddy fork), say its 4K and tout the audio capabilities. You get enticed by the supremely cheap price tag and bring one home. What emerges from the box is a very shabby experience. Poor picture quality, half-baked HDR capabilities, smart TV features that are sluggish to say the least and needless to say, really bad sound. This is where the genuinely good TVs have a very good chance to make their mark amidst all the riffraff. That neatly leads us to the OnePlus TV U Series, the 55-inch variant to be precise. The OnePlus TV 55U1 is priced at Rs 49,999 and that to be honest is a steal deal. At this time, if you have a budget of less than Rs 50,000 for a 55-inch TV, this is by far and away the best splurge you can do.

The 2020 line-up of OnePlus TVs adds three new TVs to the range that will continue to offer last year’s and still brilliant 55 Q1 and the 55 Q1 Pro. The additions are the 55U1 that we are reviewing here as well as the more affordable 32Y1 and the 43Y1, priced at Rs 12,999 and Rs 22,999 respectively. The price of the 55U1 pits it against similar screen size 4K TVs from Xiaomi, TCL, VU and Nokia, to name a few.

OnePlus TV U Series-1

The OnePlus TV 55U1 is priced at Rs 49,999 and that to be honest is a steal deal

Design: Good looks don’t have to break your bank account

There is a lot about the OnePlus TV U Series that is carried from the frankly gorgeous OnePlus TV Q1 Series from late last year. At the same time, there is a lot that’s new as well. Visually, the mix has worked out well. We must address the really thin bezels around the screen, something that OnePlus had done well on the 2019 TVs too—this time around, it’s nearly invisible at the top and the sides, while the bezel beneath the screen is quite slim while at it. It is there for a purpose, we must grant that and move on. The bezels are slimmer than last year’s more expensive TVs, which is a testament to the hard work OnePlus has continued to put in. Look at the OnePlus TV U Series from side-on, and the panel itself is slimmer than most smartphones—it is just 6.9mm thick, and most phones are around 7.5mm to 8mm mark, give or take a few. Mind you, this is an aluminum chassis which makes this very robust too.

We usually don’t look behind the TV, unless you are really excited about the ports on offer or periodically cleaning the dust, but OnePlus has given the back a nice carbon fiber texture finish mixed with the pattern on the module that also holds the audio hardware. Ports, as always, can be hidden away with a nice removable cover. And there are a lot of ports too while at it. There are 3 HDMI ports including one that supports the audio return channel (ARC) feature. There is one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port and audio out, to name a few.

The one thing that has changed significantly is the table-top stand design, if that is how you’ll install it at your place. Gone is the OnePlus TV Q1 Series’ very beautiful table stand which I really liked before I got the TV wall mounted instead due to paucity of space. That center-aligned and more rounded design has been replaced by the dual stand attachments that sit beneath either end of the display panel. To be honest, this is what most affordable TVs do already, giving the impression they all rolled off the same conveyer belt at a manufacturing facility somewhere. In a way, the OnePlus TV U Series is following a standard trend, and that’s a bit disappointing. With all the attention to the visual details everywhere else, this just sticks out like a sore thumb. But that’s just me. Perhaps my observations stem from the fact that a lot of users may subsequently struggle to find tables as wide as the TV itself.

OnePlus TV U Series-4

This is what the company calls the Cinematic Display and reproduces 93% DCI-P3 colour gamut

Picture: The OnePlus TV U Series costs just this much? Really?

Let me just start off by saying this. The OnePlus TV U Series, the 55-inch variant in particular which I’m reviewing here, is not building on the more affordable variants to offer a larger screen size with it packaged as value for money. In which case, there would have been compromises. Instead, the OnePlus TV U Series is building from technology and experience as the standpoint, and the price is a part of the jigsaw that gets added later. Basically, it is the product team, which is leading the experience, and not the accountants dictating the mandatory compromises. Simply put, the OnePlus TV U Series is offering the sort of experience that wouldn’t feel out of place on a more expensive TV. That is a great starting point.

This particular TV, for instance, is a 55-inch 4K TV. This is what the company calls the Cinematic Display. Let me just run you through the features that matter. First up, this reproduces 93% DCI-P3 colour gamut. You would probably point out that 93% as a number is less than 100% of the Rec 709 standard that a lot of budget TVs claim to be able to reproduce. But remember, the DCI P3’s range is much wider than Rec 709 and that means the OnePlus TV U Series will still reproducer more colours, and finer colours. Then there is the Gamma Engine, the very competent picture processor that delivers the sort of optimizations that make the 55-inch OnePlus TV U Series look like a very premium TV. I cannot emphasize on this point enough, but the OnePlus TV U Series is miles ahead of most of the typical affordable TV rivals which tend to struggle with skin tones, backlight which is too bright or too dark, colour temperature and also balancing sharpness with noise elimination. Honestly, I’ve experienced far too many compromises on the new generation of the affordable 4K TVs to perhaps understand where the OnePlus TV U Series is truly superior.

Having experienced the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro from last year in detail, I do see a lot of the similarities with the OnePlus TV U Series, and that is a definite positive—even though the panel technologies in use are very different. While a lot of affordable 4K TVs have panels that struggle with handling motion and either resort to image ghosting or you’ll see visible stutters, the OnePlus TV U Series has no such problems—irrespective of how much you dial up the fast motion settings. That is the truest with movies and some sports events.

Normally on a 55-inch 4K panel, lower resolution content would look really bad as it scales up to the much higher pixel count. This is where OnePlus’ fine job with the super resolution algorithm has worked wonders, because the image is processed to not only to improve its resolution better, but it is done very accurately. For the few times when you may come across a 360p or 576i content on YouTube, the OnePlus TV U Series will step up handle it properly for you. In case you didn’t notice it first, you will see there is now an AI Picture mode as well, which constantly analyses the visuals on the screen to adjust brightness, backlight, sharpness and colour. It works well, but personally, I prefer to keep it strictly at manual controls over the picture settings. That being said, the AI mode does do a fantastic job with skin tones too.

As expected, the OnePlus TV U Series really shows its strengths with 4K HDR content and this will play well with HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The depth, detailing and crispness remains unmatched at this price range. You will absolutely love the experience of 4K content across Netflix and Amazon Prime Video apps.

Having experienced the OnePlus TV 55 Q1 Pro from last year in detail, I do see a lot of the similarities with the OnePlus TV U Series, and that is a definite positive—even though the panel technologies in use are very different.

Sound: You will hear it, yes you will

There has often been the complaint, and it is not just me, that most TVs offer only an acceptable audio experience. And that includes the premium TVs which you splurge on with great expectations. Physics does play a role in that, in terms of the space available for the speakers to sit in, the size of the speakers themselves and the direction in which the audio is firing. OnePlus showed with last year’s Q1 series that physics can be overcome with some ingenuity and relentless tweaking to get the sort of sound that you’d otherwise get from a soundbar. To be honest, I gave up a Yamaha soundbar with the OnePlus TV Q1 because OnePlus with a number of updates got the sort of sound experience that I wanted from the speakers in the TV itself—it’s got good clarity, can get quite loud and well, generous bass as well.

Settling down to watch The Grand Tour and some Netflix binge watching on the OnePlus TV U Series invokes the same sort of audio experience as the OnePlus TV Q1, for the most part. There is a four-speaker configuration packed in, much like the OnePlus TV 55 Q1, and this also returns with a lot of clarity, loudness, details and depth. You’ll need to head into the settings menu to tweak the sound EQ to get this to deliver a bit more bass—but once you do that, this does have more than enough bass for you to enjoy movies, TV shows and even the occasional YouTube music playlists.

OnePlus says that these are full-range speakers with the 25mm diameter coil which provides a solid foundation for the sound experience to build on. In fact, this is 56% larger than what most TVs manage. Also, the way the speakers have been placed makes a lot of difference. In most TVs, the speakers are placed facing downwards, which means the table you keep the TV on has to do the job of reflecting the sound to you. In the case of the OnePlus TV U Series, the speakers are placed looking towards the rear and there is a reflective film that then directs the sound downwards and out towards you. All this, I can say with the utmost confidence, makes a world of difference.

OnePlus TV U Series-2

In the larger scheme of things, this remote is by far and away more premium to look at, to hold and to use than the very thoughtlessly designed and clunky remotes most rivals’ bundle

Remote: Best of both worlds, in one edition

Last time around, OnePlus released the Q1 series with a very cool remote, that went minimalistic with buttons and has a rather cool look. Later, they had to issue a simpler plastic bodied remote with the Netflix and Amazon Prime Video buttons for existing as well as new users. This time, in the case of the OnePlus TV U Series, OnePlus has melded what is clearly inspiration taken from both those remotes. It looks like the aluminum remote and yet is designed like the subsequent plastic remote with a similar line-up of buttons. Yet, in the larger scheme of things, this remote is by far and away more premium to look at, to hold and to use than the very thoughtlessly designed and clunky remotes most rivals’ bundle. The remote is your constant interface with the TV, and this gets it spot on.

Android TV: Not plain but perfect

OnePlus has kept the Android TV 9.0 smart TV platform as clean as it can be. There are no alterations to the layout and no changes to the default experience as it should be, including the home screen. Yet, there are subtle additions and changes under the hood which add that touch of experience that Android TV itself is still learning. The OnePlus connect app, for instance, involves your smartphone if you wish to discover new content and play it on the OnePlus TV U Series.

Now, the OnePlus Connect app is also available for the Apple iPhone and not just Android phones, as OnePlus wants to widen the appeal of the unique feature. There is a new quick app switch option as well, to move between two or more apps open at the same time. Then there is the new Data Saver Plus, which is handy if you are using a limited internet connection such as your mobile hotspot—it limits bandwidth usage, turns off background data usage and limits video resolution as well. And then there is the Kids Mode, which lets parents control some bit of the TV viewing habits of the children at home, including limiting viewing hours. Google Assistant is properly baked in for voice-based control and if you have an Amazon Echo speaker, you can also invoke the powers of Alexa to control some functionality of your OnePlus TV U Series.

OnePlus TV U Series-3

The Last Word: Forget What Other TV Makers Said About Their Affordable TVs

The thing is, the OnePlus TV U Series 55-inch variant has ticked off all the boxes on the checklist, quite emphatically. I probably have a lot more to say about it, but for the urgent requirement of giving you a verdict, let me just sum it up—great picture, proper HDR experience, really good sound and support for Dolby Atmos, slick Android TV experience and well, it looks great too sitting in the living room. In a nutshell, it looks and performs like a television much more expensive than one with a price tag of Rs 49,999. That in itself is value for money.

Now, the OnePlus Connect app is also available for the Apple iPhone and not just Android phones, as OnePlus wants to widen the appeal of the unique feature

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Tech

Google Confirms Launch of a New File-Sharing Tool Soon to Take on Apple's AirDrop

Image for Representation (Reuters)

Image for Representation (Reuters)

Users can share files such as photos and videos, links, and other stuff as well through the upcoming feature.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 2, 2020, 12:49 PM IST

Google has confirmed that its ‘Nearby Sharing’ feature is coming soon and is rolling out to some beta users on Android. The search engine giant is running a limited beta test of ‘Nearby Sharing’ with select Android users, but the test field is very small, reports Android Police.

The feature will allow users to share files between Android devices quickly, easily, and wirelessly, has been compared to Apple’s AirDrop. To get the feature, one needs to sign up to be a beta tester for Google Play Services. A user can do that by simply visiting the Play Store listing and opting into the beta.

After that, one will need to wait for a bit until an update appears. After installing beta one will see “Nearby Share” in the share sheet when sharing from apps. A user can share files such as photos and videos, links, and other stuff as well. When a device nearby wants to share with the user, a notification will appear and one can tap it to make the device visible.


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Tech

With TikTok Banned in India, Is It The Perfect Time to Launch Facebook Lasso & Instagram Reels?

Just a few hours ago, the Government of India issued an order banning as many as 59 Chinese owned smartphone apps in the country. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across all platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community. All big names, but one does truly stand out.

But does this open up the door for Facebook to take advantage of the situation and introduce the Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels products in India. At this time, with TikTok inaccessible, all the creators and influencers on the platform are searching for a viable alternative to ply their trade. And show their creative side. This could be a good time for Facebook to simply bring their TikTok alternatives, because people need to switch. And fast. Never has there been a more ready-made demographic of users, just waiting to sign up.

Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels, With WhatsApp as the secret ingredient

Facebook Lasso also has similar set of features as TikTok, including the ability to shoot and post 15-second videos. You can overlay these with popular music tracks, filters, effects, hashtags, the ability to directly share to Facebook and more. At this time, Lasso has pretty limited availability around the world, including the US, though it has already seen more than 5,000,000 downloads just on the Google Play Store till now. Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has a similar product for that photo sharing social media platform as well. It is called Instagram Reels and that’s also all about the magic of 15-second videos, dressed up with a variety of music tracks, filters and editing tools. This app also has limited availability right now, including Brazil, Germany and France.

In India, WhatsApp could prove to be the secret ingredient for Lasso or Reels, whichever one Facebook does eventually decide to launch in India. If at all. A simple integration in the most popular instant messaging app could make all the difference in terms of popularizing the new video sharing platform and give it the sort of adoption push that would otherwise be unimaginable.

TikTok’s numbers must have worried Facebook

TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has climbed the popularity charts rapidly. The ability to showcase creativity and talent in quick 15-second videos had caught the attention of the masses. And that is truer in India than anywhere else in the world. According to data analytics firm App Annie, India accounted for 323 million, which is 44%, of the total 740 million TikTok app downloads in 2019 across all platforms. They also suggest that Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on the TikTok app last year. In fact, at the beginning of this year, it was reported that ByteDance was targeting Rs 100 crore in revenue in India, banking on new quick advert formats for brands as well.

While TikTok’s revenue targets were still no match for Facebook, TikTok’s active user base was proving to be a headache for the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook. According to regulatory filings by Facebook, they clocked Rs 892 crore in revenue in India in 2018-19.

Does TikTok still have a future?

TikTok has confirmed that they have been invited to meet with the Government to respond to the order and submit clarifications. TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is on the list of banned apps. At this time, TikTok is also not available for download on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhone. “The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” says Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, in a statement. The company says they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Gandhi insists that even if they are requested to do so in the future, they would not. “We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” says Gandhi.


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Tech

Banned in India, TikTok to Meet Govt Panel to Present 'Clarification', Says Will Comply With Privacy Needs

Image for representation (Reuters)

Image for representation (Reuters)

The Chinese apps banned in India include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:47 AM IST

Just a few hours after the Government of India issued an order banning as many as 59 Chinese owned smartphone apps in the country, TikTok has confirmed that they have been invited to meet with the Government to respond to the order and submit clarifications. TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is on the list of banned apps. At this time, TikTok is also not available for download on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhone.

“The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” says Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, in a statement. The company says they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Gandhi insists that even if they are requested to do so in the future, they would not. “We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” says Gandhi.

Late yesterday, India banned as many as 59 popular smartphone apps for Android smartphones as well as the Apple iPhone. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

For the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network, thereby rendering them in-operational. It is expected that all mobile service providers will block these apps on the 3G/4G networks while all broadband companies will enable these filters on wired and wireless broadband options.


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Tech

India Bans 59 Popular Chinese Apps: Status Check On TikTok, Likee, Helo, WeChat, CamScanner & More

Late yesterday, India banned as many as 59 popular smartphone apps for Android smartphones as well as the Apple iPhone. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community. As we do a status check this morning on some of the popular apps in this list, we notice that some are available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for the Apple iPhone, yet some app listings have been removed.

A quick search for the incredibly popular TikTok on the Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for the iPhone doesn’t reveal favorable results for fans and users. The app, developed by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been taken down, for the time being on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Incidentally, another social media app Helo is also presently unavailable on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

TikTok has been taken down, for the time being on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store

It is expected that while app listings for all 59 apps on the list issued by the Government of India will be taken down from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store at some point. For the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network, thereby rendering them in-operational. It is expected that all mobile service providers will block these apps on the 3G/4G networks while all broadband companies will enable these filters on wired and wireless broadband options.

The purge on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store may take some time though. As of the time of writing this, apps including Likee, Vigo Video, WeChat, CamScanner and UC Browser are still available for download on both Android and iOS platforms.

This announcement on the ban on 59 popular smartphone apps, owned by Chinese tech companies, comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high, after the military skirmishes earlier this month. There have been suspicions that the apps developed and or owned by Chinese companies and developers collect user data from their phones without their permissions and transmit it back to the owners.

or the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” says the Ministry of Electronics and IT in an official statement.

This move could also have a cascading effect, as more countries could end up banning these apps in the coming days. There has been a global conversation over the past few months about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile network infrastructure allowing the company or even the Chinese government to snoop in on user data. Many countries have either banned Huawei’s 5G network hardware altogether or are reluctant to use it.

This ban on popular Chinese-owned apps, including social networks such as TikTok, could have a longer-term impact on the company valuations as well, after a large chunk of their user base has been effectively shut out. At this time, it is not clear how long the ban will be in place but there are multiple recommendations in place on how to block these potentially malicious apps from being used on internet networks within India.

This announcement on the ban on 59 popular smartphone apps, owned by Chinese tech companies, comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high


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Modi Govt Bans 59 Chinese Apps In India: A Blow To China’s Digital Silk Route Ambitions?

Image for representation. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Image for representation. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 9:45 PM IST

The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India has banned as many as 59 apps in India. This has been done deriving powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

This announcement comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high, after the military skirmishes earlier this month. There have been suspicions that the apps developed and or owned by Chinese companies and developers collect user data from their phones without their permissions and transmit it back to the owners. Experts suggest that this could hit China’s Digital Silk Route ambitions in a big way. India has a large existing user base on these apps, and a fairly large potential user base waiting to sign up.

The banned apps include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” says the Ministry of Electronics and IT in an official statement.

The Digital Silk Route is the technology equivalent of the BRI project, the Belt and Road Initiative which China has initiated to get an edge as a global technology and economic giant. The BRI attempts to connect Asia with Africa and Europe with land and maritime networks along six corridors, in an attempt to boost trade. China has also tied up with 16 other countries but has also been investing its own resources and creating a digital framework abroad. This includes optical cable lines, data hubs and other critical infrastructure projects which China needs to control the global digital discourse.

The Digital Silk Route is the technology equivalent of the BRI project, the Belt and Road Initiative which China has initiated to get an edge as a global technology and economic giant

This move could also have a cascading effect, as more countries could end up banning these apps in the coming days. There has been a global conversation over the past few months about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile network infrastructure allowing the company or even the Chinese government to snoop in on user data. Many countries have either banned Huawei’s 5G network hardware altogether or are reluctant to use it.

This ban on popular Chinese-owned apps, including social networks such as TikTok, could have a longer-term impact on the company valuations as well, after a large chunk of their user base has been effectively shut out. At this time, it is not clear how long the ban will be in place but there are multiple recommendations in place on how to block these potentially malicious apps from being used on internet networks within India.

There has been a global conversation about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile networks allowing the Chinese government to snoop in

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Categories
Tech

TRAI Channel Selector App For Android & iPhone Helps You Save Money On Cable TV Bills: How to Use

Did you know, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has a new smartphone app that lets you select channels you want to see on your Cable TV or direct to home (DTH) connection and attempts to optimize the subscription costs for you. This way, you can save some money on your monthly TV subscription bills, and it guides you to the best possible ala-carte and channel bouquet options depending on the channels you have selected to watch. This app is meant to be a unifying experience that covers multiple MSO cable TV and DTH operators, including Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, DishTV, D2h, Hathway Digital, Siti Networks, Asianet and InDigital. It is expected that more Cable TV operators will be added to this list, in the coming weeks and months. The TRAI Channel Selector app is now available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for the Apple iPhone and is free to download.

You start by selecting your cable or DTH operator, and then validate your subscription by punching in the subscription ID and the registered mobile number. It has to be an active subscription else you’ll not be able to go to the next step. You get an OTP at this stage to verify that it is actually you who wants to modify your cable TV and DTH channel packs. You get a snapshot of the current subscription, the channels, the bouquets and the cost. You can add more channels as desired from the list of channels that your Cable TV or DTH operator offers at that time. At this point, if there are any optimizations that you can avail—such as perhaps going for a bouquet instead of ala-carte channels at the same or lower cost—are offered up here.

It was early last year that TRAI had implemented the new tariff order which dictated the pricing of channels and bouquets on cable TV and DTH services. The underlying theme since then has been that a lot of users have complained about their subscription costs going up. Incidentally, TRAI had a version of the channel selector running on the website since early last year. At this time, most DTH companies and cable TV service providers offer their own apps which allow similar functionality as well—selecting channels, adding or dropping channels and bouquets and optimizing subscription costs based on selected channels.

It was in August last year that TRAI asked all Distributed Platform Operators (DPOs) to share the APIs with them for this app. TRAI insists that users face difficulties when using the portals or apps of individual operators while managing their subscription.


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Categories
Tech

Here Is More Info About The OnePlus Nord Or OnePlus Z Or OnePlus 8 Lite, And You'll Love It

The much-awaited affordable Android phone from OnePlus is arriving in July, at least that is what the indications seem to suggest. We still do not know what it’ll be called, with everything from OnePlus Nord to OnePlus Z to OnePlus 8 Lite being touted as possible names for the phone. Nevertheless, as we get closer to a possible unveiling date, we are hearing more about the potential specs. There are reports that this as-yet-unnamed OnePlus phone will get dual front facing cameras, which means you will have a 32-megapixel main sensor and an 8-megapixel wide angle lens looking in your direction, for your selfies and video calls. The dual camera system will sit in the cut-out in the top-left corner of the display and should theoretically be a significant upgrade over most rivals.

OnePlus has kept the suspense going with a new Instagram channel called OnePlusLiteZThing, where they have been teasing the new phone. The upcoming affordable Android phone from OnePlus will be, in a way, a return to the roots for the company. This would take us back to the days of the OnePlus One, which around the Rs 20,000 price point, replicated the sort of Android smartphone experience that flagship Android phones upwards of Rs 40,000 in that day and age attempted to deliver. The last time OnePlus made a truly affordable Android phone was the OnePlus X, back in 2015, and that was priced around Rs 16,000, depending on which variant you picked.

“For more than 6 years, that has meant working hard to always deliver the best experience for flagship smartphone users. However, as we’ve grown together with our community, we know that there are many people who want a really solid smartphone that meets their everyday needs, and for a more accessible price,” said Pete Lau, CEO, OnePlus in an official post a few days ago.

The OnePlus Nord or OnePlus Z or OnePlus 8 Lite is expected to be launched in India and some European countries first, and the company indicates it’ll also be sold in the US market a bit later. Earlier reports have also suggested that the OnePlus Nord or OnePlus Z or OnePlus Lite will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor and will have an AMOLED display with the 90Hz refresh rate.


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