Snapdeal Opens Data Sciences Centre in California

Online marketplace Snapdeal on Monday said it has established a data sciences centre in San Carlos, California to get top global talent and build high-value solutions.

The centre will focus on big-data and advanced analytics to add clarity to Snapdeal’s consumer-centric initiatives, help shape business strategy and optimise the operational efficiencies using data. The centre is headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences.

Snapdeal Opens Data Sciences Centre in California

“We have set up a data science engine in California, which is home to domain talent, to further augment our efforts in creating a superior customer experience and strengthen our supply chain. Snapdeal is extensively working on data mining through an existing analytics team,” Rohit Bansal, Co-Founder, Snapdeal said.

The centre houses experienced data scientists from leading global brands like Groupon, Google, Yahoo and Amazon and is headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences, the company said in a statement.

“Under Nitin’s leadership the data science team will focus on elevating Snapdeal’s growth-focused strategy and to provide insightful guidance. The richer understanding of the customers by capturing and integrating the information on their buying behavior will drive habit commerce and is in sync with our vision of 20 million daily transacting users by the year 2020,” Bansal added.

“We have a highly accomplished team which can distil key patterns, consumer preferences and hidden correlations by quickly analyzing huge quantities of data. We will bring fresh insights to the existing work and will enhance customer experience through better planning and forecasting,” added Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences at Snapdeal.

Xiaomi Mi 5, Redmi Note 3 to Go on Open Sale From Wednesday

Chinese conglomerate Xiaomi has announced an open sale for both the Mi 5 and the Redmi Note 3. On Wednesday, it will make the smartphones for purchase without registrations starting 10am IST – till stocks last. The Mi 5 will be available via Mi.com, while the Redmi Note 3 will be available via Mi.com, Amazon India, Flipkart, and Snapdeal.

Xiaomi Mi 5, Redmi Note 3 to Go on Open Sale From Wednesday

The Xiaomi Mi 5 was launched in late-March, and is priced at Rs. 24,999. To recap on the specs, the Mi 5 runs on Android Lollipop with MIUI 7 on top. The dual-SIM smartphone features a 5.15-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) with curved 3D Ceramic glass, and a pixel density of 428ppi.

The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, paired with 3GB RAM and Adreno 530 GPU. For optics there is a 16-megapixel rear camera with Sony IMX298 sensor, PDAF (phase detection autofocus), OIS, sapphire glass protection, 4K video support, and LED flash. It also sports a 4-megapixel selfie camera, with f/2.0 aperture. The built-in storage capacity is 32GB, and the Mi 5 packs a 3000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 on the other hand was launched in India in March with a special Snapdragon 650 variant. The Redmi Note 3 is available in two RAM and storage versions – one including 2GB of RAM and 16GB of inbuilt storage, and other 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage. The 2GB variant is priced at Rs. 9,999, while the 3GB variant is priced at Rs. 11,999.

It runs MIUI 7 based on Android Lollipop and supports dual 4G SIM cards (Micro + Nano). The handset packs a 4050mAh battery with fast charging support that can charge up to 50 percent in 1 hour. On the camera front, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and two-tone flash. It also houses a 5-megapixel front camera. It measures 150x76x8.65mm and weighs 164 grams.

Soon, an ‘Aadhaar’ for Drones Might Be the Norm

There are an increasing number of uses for drones in India and around the world. From small, personal use quadcopters, to high end devices that come with cameras mounted on them which stream high quality video remotely, there’s a huge variety of drones in the sky. With the growing number of drones in the sky, the government has been talking about regulating these devices for some time now, and it appears that we’re now close to seeing this actually happen.

Soon, an 'Aadhaar' for Drones Might Be the Norm

As reported by Medianama, the Director General of Civil Aviation has uploaded a draft of the possible drone policy, titled “Guidelines for obtaining Unique Identification Number (UIN) and Operation of Civil Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)”. The circular was seeking comments until May 21, and is now going to be considered as a final policy, though the date for that announcement was not stated.

The Indian Railways plans to use drones to inspect projects, and drone monitoring to fight tiger poaching is being considered. Apart from this, drones were used in Jammu and Srinagar to study traffic, and while helicopters have been used in the past for surveillance during assembly polls,drones were used to monitor the Bihar polls.

The growing number of drones in the sky – whether for government projects, or for personal use such as filmmaking and even deliveries – comes with its own set of concerns. The US has decided it requires the registration of drones and it appears that India is going to follow suit.

A read-through of the draft shows that civilian drones will be classified by size, and by the height at which they are operated. Drones flying at under 200 feet (roughly 60 metres) – or roughly the height of a typical 20 story building – do not require a license, but do require a permission from the local administration. What this means is that even a “large” drone, i.e. one that’s greater than 150kg in weight, will not be regulated if flying under 200 feet, while a “micro” drone, under 2kg, will still be regulated at over 200 feet. However, large and small (20kg to 150kg) drones have to be fitted with SSR transponders that report the aircraft’s altitude.

All drones will be required to have a Unique Identification Number – an Aadhaar for drones, if you will – and this will only be issued to citizens of India. You’ll need to apply for permission before you can fly your drone, giving all specifications, a statement of purpose for operation of the drone, and documents such as police clearances and more. What’s more, you’ll have to install a fireproof ID plate inscribed with the UIN on the drone before you can operate it.

Plus, you’ll also need a drone operator permit (if you’re flying above 200 feet). This doesn’t apply to model aircraft operating under 200 feet, or indoors, for recreational purposes, so your toy aircraft or quadcopter isn’t going to get you into trouble, most likely.

There are several more requirements mentioned in the document – the drone has to remain with a 500 metre visual line of sight at all times, and a flight plan has to be filed before launching. The drones aren’t allowed to drop anything unless specially cleared, which means that drone deliveries are not very likely, and drones can’t be sold or disposed of without permission from the DGCA.

You can read the entire draft online, though once again, this is simply a draft and not the final guidelines, which will be in the near future.

Japan Regulates Virtual Currency After Bitcoin Scandal

Japan has passed a law regulating virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicentre of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange.

Japan Regulates Virtual Currency After Bitcoin Scandal

Once one of the largest, most established exchanges for the cryptocurrency, MtGox collapsed in 2014 after a suspected theft worth nearly half a billion dollars, which hammered the digital currency’s reputation.

Japanese lawmakers passed a bill late Wednesday stipulating that all “virtual currency” exchanges must be regulated by the country’s Financial Services Agency.

The new law defines a virtual currency as something with an “asset-like nature” that can be exchanged for goods and services.

Digital currency exchanges must now register with the financial watchdog and verify the identity of customers opening accounts.

The new legislation aims to “tackle issues of money-laundering and protect users”, Japan’s Financial Services Agency said in a statement.

Critics of the virtual currency movement say its anonymity and lack of regulation make it ideal for use by criminals.

Other G7 countries have either introduced, or are in the process of trying to introduce, similar legislation, after voicing support for “appropriate regulation” of virtual currencies at a 2015 meeting.

Japan’s new law comes after prosecutors last year charged France-born MtGox head Mark Karpeles, with embezzlement, amid fraud allegations over the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency.

MtGox shuttered after admitting 850,000 coins – worth around $480 million at the time – had disappeared from its digital vaults.

The exchange, which once said it handled around 80 percent of global Bitcoin transactions, filed for bankruptcy protection soon after the cyber-money went missing, leaving a trail of angry investors calling for answers.

The company initially said there was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoins that allowed hackers to pilfer them.

Karpeles later claimed he had found some 200,000 of the lost coins in a “cold wallet” – a storage device, such as a memory stick, that is not connected to other computers.

Investors have called on the firm’s court-appointed administrators to publicise its data so that experts around the world can help analyse what happened at MtGox.

But the case has presented a complex challenge to Japanese police, as the country – like many others – lacked laws to specifically regulate digital money.

Unlike traditional currencies backed by a government or central bank, Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet.

Backers say virtual currencies, which started to appear around 2009, allow for an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online.

Yahoo CFO Says Sale Process for Company Is ‘Well Along the Way’

Yahoo Inc.’s strategic review to sell its core business is “well along the way,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said, without giving any specifics.

Yahoo CFO Says Sale Process for Company Is 'Well Along the Way'

“It’s going, I think, very, very well,” Goldman said during a presentation hosted by JPMorgan Chase in Boston on Tuesday. “We are continuing to work tirelessly to get to the right place.”

Yahoo – under the leadership of Chief Executive OfficerMarissa Mayer – started a review of the company’s options in February after pressure from investors and a failed turnaround. Bidders have included TPG,Verizon Communications, YP Holdings and a consortium led by Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners, people familiar with the matter have said. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett is also backing a group bidding for Yahoo’s Internet assets, people familiar with the matter have said.

While Goldman said the process is robust, he declined to give details on what “inning” the effort is in during the presentation.

“We are taking it extremely seriously,” Goldman said, noting the process is accounting for the majority of executives’ time. “It’s our collective goal that we find a way that – wherever this ends up – that ultimately Yahoo will do better with the benefit of however it goes than staying independent.”

Goldman said Yahoo is making progress in efforts to streamline the company as well. Yahoo now has about 9,000 employees down from 10,400 at the end of last year.

Microsoft Launches Feedback Hub; Windows 10 Mobile Now Supports Up to 9-Inch Displays

Microsoft is gearing up for the big Anniversary Update, and we already know a few features and improvements that it is set to bring. Just ahead of the update, which is expected to arrive by July, the company has introduced a dedicated app that allows all Windows 10 users (whether, tablet, desktop, or mobile) to give feedback on their experience with the operating system.

Microsoft Launches Feedback Hub; Windows 10 Mobile Now Supports Up to 9-Inch Displays

Earlier, the app was only available to Windows Insiders program members. It helped them give Microsoft feedback, while testing the beta version on their phones or laptops. However, the app is now available for download to all users – on the Insiders program or not.

The Feedback Hub app is designed like a forum of sorts for users. The app allows the user to submit a complaint to Microsoft directly. It shows trending complaints, segregated in fields like Start Menu, Microsoft Edge and other depending on what the users are most complaining about.

Opening the app up for all users, the company has anticipated unconstructive complaints. The trending feature has therefore been introduced so that only the most voted complaints will be highlighted. It even allows users to filter by category and search words within the app.

Additionally, Microsoft has distinctly listed on its minimum hardware requirements page (first seen by MSPoweruser), that it has increased the maximum screen size limit for Windows 10 Mobile handsets and tablets to 9-inches. This means manufacturers will now be able to integrate Windows 10 Mobile platform into devices that are up to 9-inches in size, instead of the early maximum limit of up to 8-inches.

The page also lists that device manufacturers will have to embed auto flash in phones running on Windows 10 Mobile. The platform also requires minimum of 8GB of native storage, and 1GB RAM. Lastly, the page confirms that the software only supports Snapdragon 810, Snapdragon 808, Snapdragon 617, Snapdragon 210, Snapdragon 208, Snapdragon 820, and Snapdragon 625 processors.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update for desktop and mobile are expected to hit the market sometime in July.

MacBook Pro Overhaul to Bring Touch ID, Oled Touch Panel in Q4

While the iPhone 7 has been busy hoarding all the headlines, new information on the upcoming MacBook Pro laptops may shift focus. Noted KGI analyst Ming Chi Kuo claims that the MacBook Pro lineup will get the most significant upgrade of all of Apple’s portfolio this year when launched sometime in Q4.

MacBook Pro Overhaul to Bring Touch ID, Oled Touch Panel in Q4: KGI

Kuo notes that there will be two new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops introduced this year, and they will come with the an Oled display panel above the keyboard that will replace the physical function keys. The company will also include Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor technology first introduce on iPhone devices. Kuo reiterates previous claims that the new MacBook Pros will sport a lighter and thinner form factor, said to be similar to the new 12-inch MacBook.

The analyst claims that the new MacBook Pro lineup will adopt USB-C and ThunderBolt 3. “While long overlooked, the MacBook line is the brightest spot for Apple’s 2016 rollouts. This is particularly true of the two new MacBook Pro models, to be introduced in 4Q16, as they will have a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID, use OLED display touch bar (to replace physical function keys, located above the keyboard) and adopt USB- C / Thunderbolt 3,” Kuo tells MacRumors.

The new devices were rumoured for a second quarter release, but Kuo claims that the new MacBook Pros won’t see the light of the day till the fourth quarter. The new devices are said to come with faster Intel Skylake processors, and sport AMD’s new 400-series Polaris graphic cards. The new 12-inch MacBook launched in April saw the introduction of Intel’s new Skylake architecture. The new MacBook had faster RAM, an improved battery life, and a new Rose Gold colour variant.

HTC 10 India Launch Expected at Thursday Event

HTC has sent out media invites for an event in Delhi on Thursday, and it is widely expected that the company will launch its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC 10, in India.

The HTC 10 smartphone was announced globally in April and was powered by the Snapdragon 820 variant. However, the company listed another smartphone called HTC 10 Lifestyle in India, which came with a Snapdragon 652 SoC. This created quite some noise, however, the company later attempted to clarify that the ‘global variant’ will be headed to India – but it is still unclear what that means. It is no known whether HTC will be looking to launch the HTC 10 or HTC 10 Lifestyle variant in India, or both.

HTC 10 India Launch Expected at Thursday Event

The HTC 10 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box, alongside 4GB of RAM (3GB on the HTC 10 Lifestyle). The smartphone features a 5.2-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) Super LCD 5 display with a pixel density of 564ppi. It is powered by a Snapdragon 820 SoC (Snapdragon 652 on the HTC 10 Lifestyle).

The smartphone sports a 12-UltraPixel laser autofocus camera with dual tone LED flash, BSI sensor, and optical image stabilisation (OIS). The HTC 10 Lifestyle bears a sapphire lens for the rear camera in addition. There is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera as well featuring autofocus, BSI sensor, ptical image stabilisation (OIS), and auto selfie.

The HTC 10 comes in 32GB and 64GB (only 32GB available on HTC 10 Lifestyle) inbuilt storage options, expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB). It packs a 3000mAh battery, and includes Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, 4G connectivity options. The HTC 10 comes in Glacier Silver, and Carbon Grey colour variants.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has launched several phones in the past few months that have not made their way to India, and it is possible the company may bring those in as well. The much awaited HTC Vive VR headset may once again be showcased.

Micromax Bolt Selfie With 4G Support, 5-Megapixel Front Camera Launched at Rs. 4,999

Soon after launching the Bolt Supreme and Bolt Supreme 2, Micromax has launched its latest Bolt-series smartphone, the Bolt Selfie. The company has listed the handset on the company site and has confirmed that it will be a Flipkart exclusive. Priced at Rs. 4,999, the Micromax Bolt Selfie is now available to buy via the online retailer in White and Champagne colours.

Micromax Bolt Selfie With 4G Support, 5-Megapixel Front Camera Launched at Rs. 4,999

The biggest highlight of the Micromax Bolt Selfie smartphone is its 5-megapixel front fixed-focus camera. The handset also sports a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash. Apart from the camera, the Bolt Selfie supports 4G LTE.

The dual-SIM Bolt Selfie features a 4.5-inch FWVGA (480×854 pixels) IPS display and is powered by a 1GHz quad-core MediaTek (MT6735) processor paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of inbuilt storage. The handset supports expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD card. The Android 5.1 Lollipop-based Micromax Bolt Selfie supports dual Micro-SIMs. The handset is backed by a 1750mAh removable battery that can offer up to 18 hours of talk time and up to 260 hours of standby time. Apart from 4G, the Micromax Bolt Selfie supports GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, and GPS.

Last week, Micromax launched two entry-level 3G-enabled Android smartphones in the country, theBolt Supreme, and the Bolt Supreme 2. The former was priced at Rs. 2,749, while the latter was priced at Rs. 2,999.

The Indian handset maker earlier this month had also unveiled its new Canvas Evok smartphone range. Under the new Evok-series, Micromax introduced the first smartphone Canvas Evok priced at Rs. 8,499. The new smartphone went on sale exclusively via Flipkart.

Google Brings Apps Tab to Mobile Search Results

Google this week has introduced a new Apps tab to its mobile search results. This dedicated tab will give relevant app links that take you directly to Google Play and App Store based upon the searched keywords.

Google Brings Apps Tab to Mobile Search Results

Based on your search words, the tab will show relevant apps in a list format and an install button on the right. After browsing through the recommended apps, the user can download any of the apps onto their smartphones by hitting the install button. Once the user hits the button, the smartphone will automatically navigate you to the specific app in the Play Store or App Store where you can then download it easily.

This feature works on smartphones and tablets both. It joins the army of tabs that already exist, namely News, Videos, Images, Maps, Books, and Flights. The feature was first spotted by Android Central.

Apart from the addition of the Apps tab in mobile search, Google this week also launched the Gboard app which brings Google Search into the iOS keyboard. iPhone users in the US can now search for addresses, YouTube videos, emojis, and gifs, without leaving their conversation window.

Furthermore, Google is even testing a new in-app messaging service for YouTube. This will enable its users to chat and share links natively. This feature aims to increase the time spend within the app by letting users share video links with friends without leaving the app.