Category Archive : Technology

Acer Chromebook 511, Chromebook 512 & Chromebook Spin Models Launched Alongside TravelMate Spin B3


Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer has launched six new laptops, including five Chromebook models and an Acer TravelMate Spin B3. The five Chromebooks announced by Acer include Acer ChromeBook 511, Acer Chromebook 311, Acer Chromebook Spin 512, and Acer Chromebook Spin 511. The new laptops are designed for students and are tested to meet the MIL-STD 810H durability standard. The laptops have been announced only for the US and European markets for now and there is no information about their availability in India yet.

The Acer Chromebook 511 will be availbale in the US starting April and has been priced at $399.99 (roughly Rs 29,200) onwards and has been priced at EUR 399 (roughly Rs 35,400) for the European market. The Acer Chromebook 511 will go on sale in Europe in March. The Acer Chromebook 511 comes with an 11.6-inch display and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7C chipset. The laptop is claimed to last up to 20 hours on a single charge and comes with 4G LTE connectivity. The Acer Chromebook 511 also has mechanically anchored keys and a spill-proof keyboard.

The Acer Chromebook 311, on the other hand, has been priced at $299.99 (roughly Rs 21,900) in the US and will go on sale in the country later this month. In Europe, the Acer Chromebook 311 has been priced at EUR 269 (roughly Rs 23,900) and will be available for purchase in March. The device is powered by MediaTek’s MT8183 processor that Acer says has been designed around a number of industrial durability and safety standards.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 512 will be available in the US starting April and has been priced at $429.99 onwards (roughly Rs 31,400). In Europe, the laptop has been priced at EUR 399 (roughly Rs 35,400) and will be available in March. The laptop comes with a 12-inch HD+ IPS display and is powered by Intel’s Pentium Silver or Celeron processors, paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The laptop comes with an 8-megapixel MIPI webcam and an 88-degree wife field-of view HDR webcam.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 has been priced at $399.99 in the US (roughly Rs 29,300) and will be available in the market starting April, while in Europe, the laptop has been priced at EUR 369 (roughly Rs 32,700) onwards and will go on sale in March. The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 is powered by an Intel processor paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It has an 11.6-inch display and has a claimed battery life of up to 10 hours. In terms of connectivity, the laptop supports Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and comes with two USB 3.2 ports.

The Acer TravelMate Spin B3 is the only non-Chromebook laptop the company has launched with the recent lineup. The laptop has been priced at $329.99 (roughly Rs 24,000) in the US and will go on sale in April. In Europe, the laptop has been priced at EUR 409 (roughly Rs 36,300) and will go on sale in Q2 2021. In China, the Acer TravelMate Spin B3 will go on sale in February and will cost CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs 28,200). The Acer TravelMate Spin B3 is powered by Intel’s Pentium Silver processor and offers up to 12 hours of battery life. The latop comes with features like a spill-proof keyboard, a moisture-resistant tpuchpad, and Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass for protection.



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PhonePe Finally Overtook Google Pay In UPI Payment Stakes And That Is Crucial As UPI Cap Is Live


It has been a fairly long battle between digital payment apps Google Pay and PhonePe saw a new winner in December, with PhonePe taking the lead in the monthly UPI transactions. This comes after months of what has been av very close fight for supremacy between PhonePe and Google Pay, as digital payments continue to remain in focus in India. According to the latest numbers by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), PhonePe clocked 902.03 million user-initiated transactions in December which amounted to a value to Rs 182,126.88 crore. Google Pay slipped into second position, with 854.49 million customer-initiated transaction volume valued at Rs 176,199.33 crore.

According to the data by the National Payments Corporation of India, the UPI transactions clocked 2.21 billion mark for the month. WhatsApp Payments, which received permission to roll out the UPI payments option to 20 million users in the first phase, clocked 0.81 million transactions, lower than BHIM, Airtel Payments Bank, HDFC Bank apps, MobiKwik, CRED, State Bank of India apps and Samsung Pay, for instance. The digital payments space in India sees close competition, and Paytm takes third place for the month with 256.36 million transactions with a value of Rs 31,291.83 million. In the previous months, Google Pay had retained a lead over PhonePe, even though both these apps have a significantly higher share of the UPI payments pie, than rivals including Paytm, Amazon Pay and WhatsApp Payments. In November, for instance, Google Pay clocked 960.02 million transactions while PhonePe had 868.40 million transactions in the same month.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has made it official that a new cap is applicable from January 1, 2021 which mandates that no Third-Party App Providers (TPAPs) can exceed more than 30% of the total volume of UPI, or Unified Payments Interface, transactions. This will impact players including PhonePe, Google Pay, Paytm and Mobikwik, as well as the new entrant WhatsApp Pay, to name a few. NPCI believes this is to protect the UPI ecosystem as it scales up and to address the risks. However, existing players will have to comply in a phased manner while new entrants will have to comply with the cap from now itself.

PhonePe has already confirmed that they have till Jan 2023 to comply with the 30% market share cap. “We have reviewed the recent NPCI circular and want to assure all our customers and merchants that there is absolutely no risk of any UPI transactions on PhonePe failing. In fact, NPCI’s circular categorically says that the 30% market share cap does not apply to existing TPAPs like PhonePe until Jan 2023,” says Sameer Nigam, Founder and CEO, PhonePe, in an official statement shared with News18 at the time.



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Motorola Edge S Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC Confirmed to Launch on January 26


Motorola Edge Plus. Image used for representation.

Motorola Edge Plus. Image used for representation.

The Motorola Edge S is said to be the Motorola Nio smartphone that has been in the news since some time.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: January 20, 2021, 11:05 IST
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Qualcomm yesterday announced its latest Snapdragon 870 SoC, which comes as a successor to last year’s Snapdragon 865 chipset. Alongside Qualcomm’s announcement, a couple of brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi confirmed that they will use the Snapdragon 870 chipset in their upcoming smartphones. Apart from Xiaomi and OnePlus, Motorola has also announced a smartphone that will be unveiled with the new Qualcomm chipset on January 26, the Motorola Edge S. Motorola announced the smartphone in an official post on Weibo.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC has the fastest clock speed in any chipset at the moment, running at up to 3.2GHz. The Snapdragon 870 is built on TSMC’s 7nm process and has 8 cores. The Motorola Edge S, on the other hand, is expected to come with a 6.7-inch full HD+ OLED display, which is rumoured to have a 150Hz refresh rate. Further, the smartphone is reported to come with a 64-megapixel primary camera. The smartphone will be launched in China initially and it is being said that the smartphone will be the Motorola Nio that has been in the news since some time. It is also being reported that the Moto Edge S could come with similar specifications to the Motorola Edge+ that has a 5,000mAh battery.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 SoC was launched on Tuesday as the successor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC that was used on most flagship smartphones in 2020. The new chipset marked the first time that Qualcomm has pulled off two flagship grade chipset launches in one year, as the American chipmaker announced its Snapdragon 888 in late 2020.

Qualcomm also confirmed that the Snapdragon 870 5G SoC will feature in commercially available devices before March 2021, and OEMs that are making smartphones based on this chipset include Motorola, iQoo, OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi.



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Malwarebytes Says Some Of Its Emails Were Breached By SolarWinds Hackers


WASHINGTON: Cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said on Tuesday that some of its emails were breached by the same hackers who used the software company SolarWinds to hack into a series of U.S. government agencies.

In a statement, the Santa Clara, California-based company said that while it did not use software made by SolarWinds, the company at the center of the breach, it had been successfully targeted by the same hackers who were able to sneak into its Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure environments.

Malwarebytes said the hack gave the spies access to “a limited subset of internal company emails.” But it found no evidence of unauthorized access or compromise of its production environments – which could have had a potentially catastrophic impact because the company’s security products are used by millions of people.

“Our software remains safe to use,” the company’s statement said.

The disclosure was the latest in a series of announcements by digital security firms that they were either compromised or targeted by the hackers, who the U.S. government has judged to be “likely Russian in origin.”

The SolarWinds hackers have previously been accused of stealing hacking tools from cybersecurity firm FireEye, accessing an unspecified number of source code repositories at Microsoft and hijacking digital certificates used by email defense firm Mimecast.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said late last month that it too had recently discovered an unsuccessful attempt to steal its emails. The company did not identify the hackers involved but two people familiar with its said they were the same suspected Russian hackers accused of breaching SolarWinds.

Russia has denied any involvement in the hacking spree.

In a message posted to Twitter, Malwarebytes’ Chief Executive Marcin Kleczynski said the hacking campaign “is much broader than SolarWinds and I expect more companies will come forward soon.”



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Apple to Warn Users on Detecting a Third-Party or Non-Genuine Camera With iOS 14.4


Apple’s iOS detects when an iPhone is using non-genuine batteries and displays. With iOS 14.4, Apple will add the ability to detect non-genuine cameras on iPhones, according to a recent report. The feature has been spotted in an iOS 14.4 developer beta and throws a messages that reads “Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera.” The error, however, does not affect the use or operation of the camera on an iPhone.

The development was spotted in a report from MacRumours and later verified by ZDNet. It says that the error shows up in iOS 14.4 Developer Beta 2 and does not affect the usage of the camera on an iPhone. This appears to be another step forwards by Apple in its fight against user-repairable iPhones. Popular teardown channel iFixit had earlier said that the cameras can be swapped between iPhone 12 units without any problems. However, the outlet said that Apple will soon start flagging any camera replacements that have not been followed up with by running Apple’s propriety, cloud-linked System Configuration app as non-genuine. This basically means that this warning will show up at a time a repair is not carried out by Apple or an Apple athorised service station.

Apple rolled out the second beta of iOS 14.4 to developers and public testers this week. According to the MacRumours report, the “Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera” message will likely appear in the Settings under General > About. The warning may also appear as a notification on the Lock screen for a short period as well.



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The Top IPhone And IPad Apps On App Store


Top Paid iPhone Apps:

1. Minecraft, Mojang

2. Bloons TD 6, Ninja Kiwi

3. Procreate Pocket, Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

4. Heads Up!, Warner Bros.

5. Monopoly, Marmalade Game Studio

6. Incredibox, So Far So Good

7. Geometry Dash, RobTop Games AB

8. Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations

9. Da Vinci Eye: AR Art Projector, Cube MG LLC

10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar Games

Top Free iPhone Apps:

1. Signal – Private Messenger, Signal Messenger, LLC

2. Telegram Messenger, Telegram FZ-LLC

3. TikTok, TikTok Pte. Ltd.

4. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google LLC

5. ZOOM Cloud Meetings, Zoom

6. Instagram, Instagram, Inc.

7. Facebook, Facebook, Inc.

8. Messenger, Facebook, Inc.

9. Snapchat, Snap, Inc.

10. Gmail – Email by Google, Google LLC

Top Paid iPad Apps:

1. Procreate, Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

2. Minecraft, Mojang

3. GoodNotes 5, Time Base Technology Limited

4. Notability, Ginger Labs

5. Bloons TD 6, Ninja Kiwi

6. Monopoly, Marmalade Game Studio

7. Five Nights at Freddys, Clickteam, LLC

8. Geometry Dash, RobTop Games AB

9. Toca Kitchen 2, Toca Boca AB

10. Ultimate Custom Night, Clickteam, LLC

Top Free iPad Apps:

1. Procreate, Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

2. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google LLC

3. Among Us!, InnerSloth LLC

4. Disney+, Disney

5. Roblox, Roblox Corporation

6. Netflix, Netflix, Inc.

7. Oh God!, Alictus

8. Google Chrome, Google LLC

9. Project Makeover, Bubblegum Games LLC

10. TikTok, TikTok Pte. Ltd.



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Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chipset launched; To power future Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi phones


Chip maker Qualcomm has launched the Snapdragon 870 5G mobile chipset as a follow-on to the flagship Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset. The new Snapdragon 870 5G chip claims a clock speed of up to 3.2 GHz and is armed with Kryo 585 CPU. “Snapdragon 870 will power a selection of flagship devices from Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi,” confirmed Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies.
The Snapdragon 870 5G chipset features Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System and the Qualcomm FastConnect 6800 system. The Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System enables insanely-fast 5G connectivity with peak speeds up to 7.5 Gbps. Plus, it offers widespread accessibility with support for mmWave, Sub-6 GHz, TDD, FDD, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). With 5G and Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, the chipset also includes Adreno 650 GPU.
The chipset features 5th gen AI Engine including Qualcomm Hexagon 698 processor with Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, claiming up to 15 TOPS performance.
As for the camera, it offers Spectra 480 image signal processor with hardware accelerator for computer vision (CV-ISP) and Dual 14-bit CV-ISPs. It can support a single-lens camera of up to 200MP. There’s slow motion video recording support of up to 720p at 960 FPS. Video capture formats include Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG. Video recording features include 4K video capture with simultaneous 64MP photo capture.



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New Realme X Series Smartphones Teased to Launch in India Shortly, Could It Be Realme X7 and X7 Pro?


Realme has released a video teaser that suggests the launch of a new device in India under its premium X-smartphone series. The new teaser posted across Realme India’s social media handles comes nearly two months after the company confirmed the launch of the Realme X7 series in the country. Currently, the smartphone series that includes the vanilla Realme X7 and X7 Pro is available in China and select markets such as Taiwan and Thailand. Both the phones have three colour options and support 5G connectivity.

The new video teaser available on Realme India’s Twitter and Facebook page does not provide any concrete details, though it clearly indicates at the launch of a new X-series device. Additionally, the company has also started promoting its original Realme X smartphone that features the pop-up selfie camera. The exact launch date of the new smartphone(s) remains unclear, though it is expected shortly as the support page of the Realme X7 Pro had also surfaced on the Realme India site last month. More details from the company are expected soon.

The Realme X7 smartphone series may also include a new variant namely, Realme X7 Lite. The company is yet to confirm this development.

To recall, the vanilla Realme X7 features a 6.4-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) AMOLED display while Realme X7 Pro sports a 6.55-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. Both the phones support dual-SIM cards and run Android 10 out-of-the-box. Under the hood, the Realme X7 packs the octa-core Dimensity 800U SoC, and the Pro variant comes with the octa-core Dimensity 1000+ SoC.

The cameras on the two phones come with more or less the same configurations, though the Pro variant features some minor upgrades. Their quad rear camera setup includes a 64-megapixel primary camera with f/1.8 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.3 aperture, a 2-megapixel macro camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel camera with f/2.4 aperture. There’s a 32-megapixel front camera housed inside the hole-punch cutout at the top left corner, for selfies and video calling. Other features on the Realme X7 and Realme X7 Pro include 5G on both the SIM cards, 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.1, GPS, and more.

The Realme X7 packs a 4,300mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging. Whereas, the Realme X7 Pro has a relatively bigger 4,500mAh battery with the same fast charging support. Both the smartphones also include a USB Type-C port for charging.

The Realme X7 price in China starts at CNY 1,799 (approx Rs 20,300) for the 6GB + 128GB variant and the Pro model carries a price tag of CNY 2,199 (approx Rs 24,800) for the base 6GB + 128GB variant.



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Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G SoC Announced, OnePlus and Xiaomi Confirm Next Flagships


Qualcomm has announced the launch of the Snapdragon 870 5G SoC. The new chipset marks the first time that Qualcomm has pulled off two flagship grade chipset launches in one year, after previously announcing the Snapdragon 888 in late 2020. While the Snapdragon 888 has already been confirmed to feature in certain flagship phones including the Mi 11 from Xiaomi, the Snapdragon 870 now comes in with incrementally improved performance, connectivity and efficiency from the Snapdragon 865+, which in turn suggests that the new SoC may feature in the value-centric flagship smartphones that are launched by myriad companies each year.

In terms of its specifications, the Snapdragon 870 is based on 7nm processor architecture, unlike the 5nm-based Snapdragon 888. However, it does get most of the goodies from the latter, while sharing some with the yesteryear flagship. Its performance core, instead of being the Kryo 680 of this year, is the Kryo 585 from last year that operates here at peak clock speed of 3.2GHz. The 100MHz additional speed from the core can help in incrementally improving the peak performance that a smartphone based on this processor can deliver.

Interestingly, in the GPU department, the Snapdragon 870 is a slight step-down from the 865 Plus. The latter featured the Adreno 660 that also featured in the Snapdragon 888 (alongside the Snapdragon Elite Gaming feature suite), while the Snapdragon 870 features the Adreno 650 GPU. Other features include the previous generation Hexagon 698 co-processor that takes care of myriad tasks such as background services, AI-based augmented reality processing and so on. It also gets the efficiency-focused ultra low-power Qualcomm Sensing Hub, and connectivity chops are headed by the Snapdragon X55 5G modem.

The chipset will support Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, as well as USB-C 3.1. For imaging, it features the Spectra 480 ISP that supports 4K videos at up to 120fps, 8K videos at up to 30fps, 64-megapixel single camera without shutter lags (at wide buffer peak) and up to 200-megapixel sensors. It also supports up to 4K displays at 60Hz response rates, or QHD+ displays at 144Hz response rates, further suggesting support of new generation flagships. It comes with QuickCharge 4+ standard of fast charging, and is compatible with NavIC in its myriad geolocation features.

Upon its announcement, Qualcomm has confirmed that the Snapdragon 870 5G SoC will feature in commercially available devices before March 2021, and OEMs that are making smartphones based on this chipset include Motorola, iQoo, OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi. This essentially confirms that with about two months at hand, smartphone enthusiasts around the world can expect flagship-grade smartphone launches from each or every of these OEMs in the next few weeks.



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Samsung Galaxy M31 Receiving Stable Android 11-Based One UI 3.0 Update in India: Here’s What it Brings


The Samsung Galaxy M31 has started receiving the Android 11-based One UI 3.0 update. The software update is available in India, as per user posts available on the Samsung community forum. As a part of the update, Galaxy M31 users can now enjoy a refreshed UI along with improved stability and overall performance. Users can now also add a call background to see a picture or video when you make or receive a call. The Galaxy M31 is also the first mid-budget device to receive the One UI 3.0 iteration. Earlier, the software update was rolled out to the premium Samsung S-series, Note-series and Fold-series smartphones.

The One UI 3.0 update has versions such as M315FXXU2BUAC, M315FODM2BUAC, and M315FDDU2BUAA (depending upon the smartphone variant) and it comes with the January 2021 Android security patch. The OTA update will automatically reach Galaxy M31, though users can check its availability manually by heading to Settings > Software update. Its size is said to be 407.62MB.

As per the official changelog, the smartphone is receiving features such as chat bubbles, one-time security permissions, media playback widget, and conversations section on the notification bar. If there’s an app that the user has not used in a while, there’s permission auto‑reset feature to automatically block access to mic or camera until the user opens the app again. The Android 11-based One UI 3.0 further brings new icons and better customisations for adding call backgrounds and adjusting Always On-Display to the phone. The update claims to improve autofocus and adds a search feature to the gallery. The camera app on the Galaxy M31 is also getting enhanced with new filters and features. Moreover, users can no longer connect to Chromecast using Smart View, and you can use Google Home instead.

Readers can find more information about the One UI 3.0 features here.

The Samsung Galaxy M31 was launched back in February 2020 with Android 10 and rolled out the One UI 3.0 beta programme last month. Other devices that have also started receiving the One UI 3.0 update include Samsung Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note 10 series, Galaxy Note 20 series and more.



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