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59 Chinese Apps Banned: TikTok Users, Here's What Will Happen To Your App Now

The government of India has issued a ban on 59 Chinese apps including a host of popular ones, such as TikTok, UC Browser, CamScanner, Shareit, Helo and more. The ban will have caused a considerable ruffling of feathers for Chinese companies operating apps in India, and while we await word from the likes of TikTok and UC Browser on the ban that has been imposed now, one important factor to note is what would happen to the apps for all those users that have already installed them. To understand the sequence of actions for banned apps on Google Play Store and Apple’s iOS App Store, it is important to note that the key factor at play here is data.

Government sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to News18 that officials are in the process of informing all Indian internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom service providers (TSPs) already, who would be blocking all data and internet traffic to and from these apps. Since most of them work online only (for example, TikTok is a social medium, UC Browser is a content and browsing app and Clash of Kings is an online game), this would imply that all of the apps that have been banned would by default become non-functional.

With TikTok, UC Browser, Shein, Shareit, WeChat and the likes being banned from Indian app stores, what this also means is that none of these apps would receive any developer support in India. As a result, users who have already downloaded these apps would not be able to access app downloads either. This is particularly risky today, since most cyber attacks target unpatched app versions. App updates nowadays carry critical security patches, without which it cannot be advised for anyone to retain these apps.

Previously, when an app would be banned from a region, it would still remain functional if it did not depend on data. While this would hold true for these apps too, since they would no longer be able to access data in the Indian networks, they would be as good as inoperable. However, if a user moves out of Indian network space to countries where these apps are still legally operational, they may be able to use these services once again.

The ban on the 59 Chinese apps comes in light of the Indo-China clash at the Galwan Valley border, amid rising concerns around the world about Chinese cyber espionage. The likes of Bytedance and Xiaomi, which have significant operations in India, will likely face considerable impact as a result of these bans, since their businesses in India run into millions of dollars. While Xiaomi has only had two of their stock apps being banned, it remains to be seen what effect does this have on the pre-bundled software that they provide with their smartphones.

Requests for company inputs to TikTok and UC Browser sent by News18 remained unanswered at the time of reporting.


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OnePlus Is Indeed Working On An Affordable Android Phone; OnePlusLiteZThing Will Really Happen Now

There has been a rather persistent chatter about a more affordable OnePlus phone landing next month. Names that have been touted all over the internet (believe anything at your own peril) include the OnePlus Z and the OnePlus 8 Lite. Now, for the first time, the company has officially confirmed that they are indeed working on a more affordable Android phone. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau says that the company is working on a more affordable smartphone product line. Does that mean more than one phone could be on the way in the coming months. One thing is sure, the OnePlusLiteZThing will be first introduced in India and some European countries, and eventually make their way to the US as well.

“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,” says Lau in an official post. In a way, this will be OnePlus returning to its roots, and 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.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau says that the company is working on a more affordable smartphone product line

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OnePlus also has a new Instagram handle (you need to have your follow request accepted) called OnePlusLiteZThing. A few hours ago, a Morse Code was posted by this handle with the text “Sometimes finding the answer is just a matter of listening for it. Of course, knowing the language helps.” The Instagram account handle clearly wants to keep the suspense Live for much longer, and we cannot blame them! 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.

Earlier, while speaking with News18, Navnit Nakra, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, OnePlus India, had focused on the importance of more affordable Android phones in the line-up. “Considering the recent government directives hinting at relaxation for the manufacturing sector, we are hopeful of an uptick in momentum. We have recently resumed manufacturing operations at our Noida facility, in compliance with Government regulations,” he said.

OnePlus also has a new Instagram handle called OnePlusLiteZThing

At present, OnePlus sells the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OnePlus 8 in India, as well as last year’s OnePlus 7T, the OnePlus 7T Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition, all phones priced well upwards of Rs 30,000 though they still offer great value with the sort of experience and performance they offer.

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Samsung Galaxy M51, Galaxy M31s India Launch Could Happen in June

File photo of a Samsung Galaxy A51

File photo of a Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung is expected to launch two new mid-range devices next month, however there is no confirmation from the company itself.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 3:36 PM IST

Samsung India is expected to launch two new mid-range handsets next month. According to reports, the Galaxy M51 and the M31s will be the latest offerings under the Galaxy M-series that made its debut last year. Both the handsets are also expected to feature 64-megapixel primary cameras.

Galaxy M51 Expected Specifications

The Galaxy M51 is expected to come with an in-display fingerprint sensor so presumably there will be an AMOLED panel as well. As mentioned above, there will be a 64-megapixel camera as well. Certain speculations say that the handset could end up to be a rebranded version of the Galaxy A51.

The Galaxy A51 was launched in India back in January featuring a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display, an Exynos 9611 SoC, along with 6GB of RAM and quad rear cameras.

Galaxy M31s Expected Specifications

The Galaxy M31s on the other hand is going to be a bumped up version of the Galaxy M31. This means that we can expect the large 6,000mAh battery to make a comeback. The handset is also expected to feature a 64-megapixel main camera and in-display fingerprint scanner.

The official launch date hasn’t been confirmed and all of the information is mostly speculated, so you should take it with a grain of salt. We will share relevant information around the devices as soon as they are confirmed.




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Facebook Sensitive Content Moderation to Happen In-House as Contractors Work from Home

Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the company was moving moderation of its most sensitive content, including self-harm and counter terrorism, from contractors to full-time employees during the coronavirus outbreak. He said on a call with reporters that the goal was to have contractors, who work under third-party vendors, moderate less emotionally taxing content while working at home.

Zuckerberg said it would take time to set guidelines for contractors working from home, such as mental health support for moderators and putting data privacy protections in place. He also said Facebook would increase the number of full-time employees doing this work. The social media giant has drawn public criticism for encouraging its employees to work from home while its content moderation contractors were forced to come into offices in cities around the world. On Monday, Facebook said it planned to rely more on automated tools to take down offensive content and work with contract vendors to send content reviewers home with pay.

Social media companies face security and privacy issues when content is reviewed in less secure environments, like private homes. The major shift in Facebook’s review operations occurs as the social media company faces pressure to police content violations. Zuckerberg acknowledged that role changes and reliance on automation would likely reduce the company’s effectiveness at moderating certain types of content.

Facebook content moderators working for third party vendors, including Genpact Ltd and Accenture PLC told Reuters this week that their employers had been scrambling to decide if moderators should come into the office and how they might access review tools remotely. A contractor in India’s Hyderabad, who moderates counter-terrorism content, told Reuters earlier this week that they had been told it was “business as usual” from home. They said some Genpact contractors had been working remotely from Wednesday, while others were waiting for company-provided laptops to access the content moderation tool via VPN.

Facebook said this week that more videos and other content might be erroneously removed for policy violations, as it relies more on automated takedown software. But one Accenture contractor speaking to Reuters earlier on Wednesday said there was still a fear “that three weeks into the coronavirus lockdown, somebody’s going to come up with an AI that can do it all and we’ll get an email saying you don’t have to come back to work because you don’t have a job.”

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Launch May Happen Soon as Company Files for Registration

Fujifilm has seemingly filed to register their upcoming instant camera, dubbed the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. The update has come via the generally super-reliable camera watcher Nokishita, who spotted Fujifilm’s registration filing for the Instax Mini 11 instant camera. With registration applications typically coming right before the launch of a product, expectations around the internet is that Fujifilm is quite close to launching the upgrade to its instant camera lineup, which has been headed by the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 since 2017.

There is no further information on the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, so we don’t quite know what to expect from it. However, given the change in times, some additional digital controls may be on the cards for what is practically one of the best (and last remaining) Polaroid and instant photography cameras in the market. The Mini 9 did not offer many drastically different features over its predecessors, one of which was the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic that I had once used quite extensively. Fujifilm’s Instax cameras are a sheer delight to use for the novelty they represent, and make for a great casual camera to own, or even to gift.

Fujifilm has also done well to price its Instax range cleverly, thereby appealing to kids, and parents of kids who wish to either inculcate a hobby, or simply engage their kids with a funky new toy that does not induce digital addiction. The Instax Mini 9, for instance, presently sells in India for just Rs 3,799, and given how the market isn’t exactly clamouring for instant print cameras today, we can safely expect the Instax Mini 11 to be priced near that range — maybe at a slight premium, at best.

Fujifilm continues to put its focus on the mirrorless camera segment, with an ever growing lineup of APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras that was joined by the entry level Fujifilm X-A7 in India. While cameras in the entirety are facing the heat from the smartphone industry, the market is still there for dedicated cameras. In fact, many have claimed that smartphones have helped grow the interest in photography, and going forward, it remains to be seen whether Fujifilm manages to grow its business in markets like India, where the likes of Sony, Canon and Nikon hold fort.