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ByteDance Offers to Forgo Complete Stake in TikTok to Save US Deal, Says Report

ByteDance Offers to Forgo Complete Stake in TikTok to Save US Deal, Says Report

The move came after President Donald Trump said he had decided to ban the popular shortvideo app, two people familiar with the matter said.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 7:45 PM IST

China’s ByteDance has agreed to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House, after President Donald Trump said on Friday he had decided to ban the popular short-video app, two people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

ByteDance was previously seeking to keep a minority stake in the U.S. business of TikTok, which the White House had rejected. Under the new proposed deal, ByteDance would exit completely and Microsoft Corp would take over TikTok in the United States, the sources said. Some ByteDance investors that are based in the United States may be given the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the sources added.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether Trump would accept ByteDance’s concession. ByteDance in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment

Under ByteDance’s new proposal, Microsoft will be in charge of protecting all U.S. user data, the sources said. The plan allows for another U.S. company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Used Smartphones Can Save You A Lot Of Money; Your Best Bets Are Xiaomi, Apple And Samsung Phones

The smartphone market is witnessing perhaps its biggest shift in years. As it turns out, a lot of smartphone buyers are now turning towards the pre-owned and refurbished smartphone options, for their next phone purchase. That is according to data released by India’s top re-commerce marketplace, Cashify. It turns out that Xiaomi, Apple and Samsung phones are the most popular when it comes to purchases of pre-owned smartphones, according to Cashify’s latest User Behavior Study. A lot of users are looking towards pre-owned and refurbished products as they need to buy gadgets for the work from home routine or for educational purposes, and also for family members.

The Cashify study suggests that Xiaomi’s Mi and Redmi phones are the top selling brand in the pre-owned market with a 27% share. This is followed by Apple (16%) and Samsung (16%) leading the second position, followed by Motorola (12%). Specifically, for the Rs 30,000 and higher price points, OnePlus is incredibly popular with 35% market share by the end of Q3 2019. Cashify says they analyzed the buying and selling data of over 1 million users on its platform in the year 2019-20.

The Cashify transaction data through 2019 also suggests that Oppo and Vivo phones lost their resale value the fastest, while Apple and OnePlus phones were the slowest in resale price drop

Data from research firm Canalys suggests that refurbished phones dominate the sub-Rs 10,000 price bracket and is expected to grow by as much as 25% by the end of the year 2020. They also suggest that the entire pre-owned smartphone market, on the other hand, is expected to almost double its sales to 48 million in 2020 from 26 million in 2016.

On Cashify, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (4.79%) is the most popular smartphone followed by the Apple iPhone 6 (4.58%), Apple iPhone 6S (3.34%), the Xiaomi Redmi 4 (2.67%), Samsung Galaxy J2 (1.30%) and the Samsung Galaxy J7 (1.26%).

In terms of the city data, Cashify suggests that Delhi (18%), Bangalore (13%), and Mumbai (12%) take the largest chunk of sales of pre-owned smartphones. This is followed by Gurugram (6%), Kolkata and Chennai to complete the top towns list. Cashify also says that satellite towns Faridabad and Ghaziabad have shown the fastest growth, taking top spots in the upcoming city category, which also includes Lucknow, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

Xiaomi’s highest user base is in Delhi while OnePlus clocks its maximum users in Bengaluru

Apple iPhone (29%) purchases are very popular among women followed by Xiaomi (28%), while Samsung Galaxy phones are the pick of as many as 63% users in the 25-34 years age bracket. Xiaomi’s highest user base is in Delhi while OnePlus clocks its maximum users in Bengaluru.

“Numerous launches, more brand options, new price points and the overall aspirational value of an upgrade, are some of the factors that led the second-hand smartphone industry to widen its turf during 2019-20. Be it selling or buying, a majority of Indian smartphone users have come to trust platforms and services such as ours to derive maximum value out of their pre-owned smartphones,” says Nakul Kumar, COO & Co-Founder, Cashify.

The Cashify transaction data through 2019 also suggests that Oppo and Vivo phones lost their resale value the fastest, while Apple and OnePlus phones were the slowest in resale price drop.

It is perhaps no surprise that the pre-owned and refurbished smartphones are very much on the radar of buyers, who are looking for the best possible prices and deals at a time when the COVID pandemic has impacted finances of most households. At the same time, they may need a new phone or tablet as they work from home while they may also need a new device for family members, for scenarios such as online classes.

Research firm Canalys suggests that refurbished phones dominate the sub-Rs 10,000 price bracket and is expected to grow by as much as 25% by the end of the year 2020


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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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TRAI Channel Selector App For Android & iPhone: How To Use It To Save Money On Cable & DTH Bills

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has finally launched a 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 comes as 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. The TRAI Channel Selector app is now available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for the Apple iPhone.

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. 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 and once you do, you move on. 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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OnePlus 8 Review: This Intelligent Android Phone Will Save You a Lot of Money

OnePlus has painstakingly, over the years, got the sort of faithful following that isn’t usually commonplace in the world of Android phones. These aren’t the noisy and reckless so-called community who spend more time on Twitter than sorting what is otherwise important in life. These are the discerning buyers, who have already bought a OnePlus phone many years ago, liked what they saw, and have appreciated the consistency over time. Their word also matters, when they recommend a phone to their friends or family. This is the loyal following that brands otherwise crave for, and for one, OnePlus has got that through sheer effort in the product. Hardware and software just come together better than almost every other Android phone, for the price OnePlus will sell you the phone for. That brings us to the latest in the line, the OnePlus 8, which follows up from the already very good OnePlus 7T.

You can get the OnePlus 8 in two variants. The entry-spec variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs 44,999 and you can have this in Glacial Green and Onyx Black colours. The higher spec option with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage carries a price tag of Rs 49,999 and is available in three colour options—Glacial Green, Onyx Black and the gorgeous Interstellar Glow. Yes, it is more expensive than before—in comparison, the OnePlus 7T were priced at Rs 37,999 and Rs 39,999 when they were launched. But what you get with the OnePlus 8, all things considered, is more phone than before. One example, you immediately have the option to spec up to 12GB RAM, an option that wasn’t available last year. That is just the start for the upgrades that were necessary, and the consistency that is the hallmark of OnePlus phones.

OnePlus 8

A beautiful blend

There is a lot of familiarity about the design. And that is a great thing. It looks like a OnePlus phone from a mile away. Pick it up and it feels like a OnePlus phone. Rest assured, it is a OnePlus phone as you’d expect it. This still feels like a very good mix of glass and metal as it rests in your palm. There is Gorilla Glass at the front and the back to make it less susceptible to scratches—though I’m not sure which Gorilla Glass version this is. The biggest change however, and this is something that users had been demanding for a while now, is the dust and water resistance. The OnePlus 8 is better sealed off to dust and can handle splashes of water better than its predecessor—even though it doesn’t officially have a IP rating. In fact, compared with the OnePlus 7T, the OnePlus 8 is slightly less tall, slightly less wide and slightly thinner as well. it weighs lesser too, by 10 grams, at 180 grams. That, in the world of smartphones, is worth its weight in gold. Wait, that reminds me, what happened to that fascination with golden colored phones? Weren’t they a rage at one point? Nevertheless, I digress. As I often do.

What you don’t get with the OnePlus 8 is wireless charging. That is reserved for the larger OnePlus 8 Pro. To be honest, I do not feel that the lack of wireless charging in the OnePlus 8 is even worth a second thought. It should not have a bearing on your decision, and it is most certainly not a deal breaker. Yes, it would have been good to have had that flexibility, particularly since the OnePlus 8 costs a bit more than the OnePlus 7T. The world doesn’t end just because it isn’t there.

One thing, that cleanliness freaks (guilty as charged) would probably worry about a bit is the fact that the black colour variant has a glossy finish on the back. That makes it an instant fingerprint magnet.

The one unique element in OnePlus phones has always been the alert slider, a physical key that sits on the right-side spine and lets you toggle between the Ring, Silent and Vibrate profile modes. It is infinitely more convenient than having to unlock the phone, swipe down to access the quick options from the status bar and then tap on an icon to switch between profiles.

A fine and large enough canvas

Set this up, start using it, and it is hard to find fault with just about anything. The 6.55-inch display size is the same as the predecessor, which makes this is a genuinely big phone, even though it is smaller than the larger OnePlus 8 Pro. Both are AMOLED, both offer the 2,400 x 1080 resolution, both support HDR10 and both have the 90Hz refresh rate option. That being said, there are under-the-hood improvements which make a world of difference. The auto brightness feature now relies on the changes of 4096 levels, which makes auto brightness changes smoother, slicker and less noticeable in terms of any jarring changes. This is a very bright screen to, going up to 1100 nits of brightness.

The teardrop notch of the OnePlus 7T has been replaced with a punch hole adaptation of the front camera, which sits towards the top left of the display as you look at the OnePlus 8. I’ve never been distracted by any sort of notch anyway, bit for most users, this does stay out of the way because it is on one side.

OnePlus 8

The real fun happens when the display refresh rate is set at 90Hz. Everything is just extremely smooth. Be it the interface, the animations, the transitions, the content in apps, everything just glides ever so smoother across the screen. Switch back to 60Hz and you’ll just start to better appreciate what 90Hz actually brings to the table. Overall, this is a very good display. It is vibrant, it is sharp, viewing angles are in a way better than the predecessor and it is pleasant to be looking at it, be it for work or entertainment.

A lot of the credit should also be given to the OxygenOS wrapper around Android 10. In a way, I tend to appreciate it even more every time I return to a OnePlus phone after using other Android phones. It is just very well laid out, looks good on the eye and there is no bloat in terms of apps or features. There are a lot of option available for customization and system, but you’ll never feel overwhelmed by it all. The OxygenOS is all about minimalism.

This is more powerful than you can imagine

The upgrade that the OnePlus 8 Pro had bring is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem and the option of 12GB RAM. In a way, the performance is up to 25% faster than the OnePlus 7T Pro’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chip. What also really makes a world of difference is the much faster UFS 3.0 storage, which offers up to 125% faster read and write speeds. Everything is silky smooth in terms of the performance. Apps open in a snap, multitasking is a breeze and though I’m not much of a gamer, the few racing games that I play look gorgeous on this. The thing is, even the 8GB RAM version of the OnePlus 8 is most likely more powerful than your PC or laptop. If you get the 12GB RAM version, even better.

The OnePlus 8 has a 4300mAh battery, which has great stamina levels. This not only a day and a half at moderate usage, you’ll also not have any battery anxiety as you head towards the evening on a busy workday, when the world becomes a better place and you step out of home. OnePlus phones have always bundled great fast charging tech and the OnePlus 8 gets from a fully discharged state to 50% charge in 22 minutes. That is with the Warp Charge 30T charger bundled with the phone.

There are those little things that OnePlus has done which matter a lot. For instance, the haptic vibration feedback which now feels even better with every tap on the screen. The slightly curved sides on the back panel make it great to hold in your hand.

OnePlus 8

Good photographer, not-so-good photographer

Camera is something that still is a case of two halves. What you have at the back are a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 2-megapixel macro lens. By default, the OnePlus camera shoots at 12-megapixel resolution, which should be good enough for most users and their social media posts. If you want a bit more detailing, the 48-megapixel mode will be a better bet. That being said, this camera irrespective of the shooting resolution, pulls out some very neat photos in good light, indoors and outdoors. There is very good detailing, no soft edges to run the frame, colours are vivid and well distinguished and the dynamic range looks great too. It renders even the finest of details very well, something you’ll notice when you zoom in on shots. But switch to inconsistent or low light scenarios, and the OnePlus 8 struggles. Even with the night mode on, dynamic range, detailing and colours are nowhere close to what you would expect. Images also look a bit softer than I would have liked, perhaps because there is aggressive noise reduction at play.

Surprisingly, the OnePlus 8 misses out on a zoom camera. When you use the 2X button in the camera app, it actually crops an image from the main sensor. The OnePlus 7T had a 12-megapixel zoom camera with 2X optical zoom—and I am not exactly sure about the choices made here.

The Last Word: We haven’t even spoken about 5G yet

Last year, we were all a bit perplexed at how similar the OnePlus 7T and the OnePlus 7T Pro were. This year, OnePlus is trying to make the tiers clear. The OnePlus 8 Pro gets an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, a more powerful camera system, wireless charging and a 120Hz display refresh rate instead of 90Hz. That does not however take away from the OnePlus 8’s brilliance as a very competent Android smartphone.

In terms of the screen size, the OnePlus 8 sits between the 6.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S20+ and the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S20, and is significantly less expensive than the two—the Galaxy S20 prices start around Rs 70,499 while the Galaxy S20+ will cost you upwards of around Rs 77,999. If you aren’t adamant about brand or certain features, the OnePlus 8 should very much be under consideration.

What you are getting with the OnePlus 8 is a rock-solid Android phone that doesn’t slow-burn a hole in your bank account. It is still as consistent in terms of performance to go with a very likeable personality and there is that simplicity with OxygenOS which remains priceless. The low light photography niggles aside, the OnePlus 8 is just all about ticking the right boxes. Particularly on the price tag. Including 5G, which may become relevant for us lot in India, at some point.

The OnePlus 8 is meant for anyone who may be using a OnePlus 6 or older phone, or anyone who wants a true flagship level Android phone experience, likes the bells and whistles in moderation and doesn’t really want the new phone to be as complex as the International Space Station. That’s perhaps the best I could have explained who the OnePlus 8 is for. Which is pretty much anyone who is looking to buy a new Android phone, but under the Rs 50,000 price point.



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Scammers Are Using Aarogya Setu & Video Calling Apps by Name: Here is How to Save Yourself

Scammers Are Using Aarogya Setu & Video Calling Apps by Name: Here is How to Save Yourself

CERT-IN in its latest alert says that there has been a significant rise in phishing attacks in the name of the Aarogya Setu contact tracing app as well as video meeting apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 18, 2020, 11:35 AM IST

Phishing attacks are being inspired by the Aarogya Setu app and various video calling apps, as cyber criminals are taking advantage of the COVID pandemic. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) in its latest alert says that there has been a significant rise in phishing attacks in the name of the Aarogya Setu contact tracing app as well as video meeting apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

It turns out that scammers are impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO), HR departments and top executives of companies or any other person who you may possibly know to spread fake and reference these popular apps that suggest “Your neighbor is infected”, “See who all are infected”, “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive”, “recommendations to self-isolate” and “Guidelines to use Aarogya Setu app”.

Software technologies company Check Point recently said that they have seen 192,000 coronavirus-related cyber-attacks per week over the past three weeks, a 30% increase compared to previous weeks. They say, “in the past three weeks, almost 20,000 new coronavirus-related domains were registered and 17% of these are malicious or suspicious.”

“Threat actors are taking the interest of users related to Coronavirus and performing threats. New phishing domains are created which are centered around the subject such as “relief package”, “safety tips during corona”, “corona testing kit”, “corona vaccine”, “payment and donation during corona”. Threat actors trick users through phishing e-mails and messages based on the above subjects,” says CERT-in in the advisory.

The advisory says that we should watch out for phishing domains, spelling errors in emails, websites and unfamiliar email senders. Users should also not download or open any file received in an email or an SMS link. Also, never submit your personal information on unfamiliar websites and beware of clicking on links that offer rewards etc. It is recommended that computing devices should use firewalls and antivirus solutions to warn you in case of phishing attempts.




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Save Money For a New House on This Super Earth That Scientists Are Sure Can Host Life

(Image: University of Cambridge)

(Image: University of Cambridge)

This super earth, is 124 light-years away from the earth we reside on, and is 2.6 times the radius of Earth. The researchers confirmed the atmosphere to be hydrogen-rich with a significant amount of water vapour. The levels of other chemicals such as methane and ammonia were lower than expected for such an atmosphere.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: February 28, 2020, 3:15 PM IST

Astronomers seem convinced that we have found the second earth that humanity quite desperately needs. A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have determined that an exoplanet called K2-18b is right in the middle of a habitable zone in its star system, which means it can possibly hold water. This super earth, is 124 light-years away from the earth we reside on, and is 2.6 times the radius of Earth. This exoplanet was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in 2015 but at the time, it was difficult to determine the planet’s potential to host life.

“Water vapour has been detected in the atmospheres of a number of exoplanets but, even if the planet is in the habitable zone, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are habitable conditions on the surface. To establish the prospects for habitability, it is important to obtain a unified understanding of the interior and atmospheric conditions on the planet – in particular, whether liquid water can exist beneath the atmosphere,” says Dr Nikku Madhusudhan of the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, who led the new research. The K2-18b has a hydrogen-rich atmosphere, and is smaller than Neptune while larger than Earth.

The researchers confirmed the atmosphere to be hydrogen-rich with a significant amount of water vapour. The levels of other chemicals such as methane and ammonia were lower than expected for such an atmosphere, they say. The planet is believed to have an inner core of rock and iron. This research indicates that the layer of hydrogen around the planet is not too thick, which would have made the temperature and the pressure of the water underneath too great to support life. “We wanted to know the thickness of the hydrogen envelope – how deep the hydrogen goes,” said co-author Matthew Nixon, a PhD student at the Institute of Astronomy. “While this is a question with multiple solutions, we’ve shown that you don’t need much hydrogen to explain all the observations together.”

This comes after 2019 research on the same K2-18b exoplanet which indicated that there was water vapour detected in the hydrogen-rich atmosphere around the super earth. However, what was not clear at the time was the thickness of the atmosphere layer and the conditions closer to the surface of the planet.