Pioneer Rayz Plus Headphones Let You Charge Your iPhone 7 While Listening to Music

Apple decided to ditch the 3.5mm audio jack for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets, and kept only a single Lightning port that can be used for both listening to audio and charging the phones. The company bundled Lightning-powered EarPods along with the devices, and a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to smooth the transition for many users. The adapter was tiny and could easily get lost, and replacing it would cost you Rs. 900 ($9 in US). However, Pioneer looks to eliminate the need of an additional accessory, and to that effect has launched its new headphones called Rayz Plus with a Lightning port that is integrated into its Lightning headphones cable.

The headphones come with a Lightning port compatible for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, and it has a pass-through built-in tiny dongle that houses a separate Lightning port for charging. The sleek dongle blends seamlessly with the earphones, and allows users to charge and listen to music at the same time. It also eliminates the need to carry a special adapter, as the earphones are made keeping in mind current generation iPhone handsets.

Pioneer Rayz Plus Headphones Let You Charge Your iPhone 7 While Listening to MusicThe Pioneer Rayz Plus headphones are priced at $149.95 (roughly Rs. 10,000), and it come with adaptive noise cancelling that you can activate and deactivate at your preference. The noise cancellation feature takes into account ambient noise and adapts to it accordingly. It also features an auto-pause mode that automatically pauses music when you receive a call, and restarts it when the phone call ends. The auto-pause mode also works when you remove the headphones from your ears. By downloading the accompanied iOS app Rayz (Pioneer says its coming soon), you can program the smart button on the in-line remote, fine tune the EQ, and enable Hear Thru mode (turn off noise cancellation) easily. The in-line remote lets you control your music and apps without using the smartphone.

There’s a $99.95 (roughly Rs. 6,700) Pioneer Rayz headphones as well, but it comes sans the charging port. The Rayz Plus is available in Brown and Grey, while the Rayz is available in White and Grey colour variants. There’s no word on availability outside of the US.

Logitech Z337 Bold Sound Speakers With Bluetooth Support Launched at Rs. 6,995

Logitech on Thursday launched its Z337 Bold Sound With Bluetooth speakers in India at Rs. 6,995. The new 2.1 desktop speakers, which feature support for Bluetooth streaming, will go on sale from Thursday itself. Notably, the Logitech Z337 Bold Sound With Bluetooth desktop speakers can be used with wires or wirelessly as per the user’s preference.

“The Z337 is Logitech’s first desktop Bluetooth audio solution that builds a convergence of great sound quality and convenience of wireless music for the users.” Ashok Jangra, Logitech Cluster Category Manager for India & South West Asia, was quoted as saying in company’s release. “What’s more, we’ve made it really easy to stream from different content sources. Just pause on one device, and play on another to simply make the switch,” he added.

Logitech Z337 Bold Sound Speakers With Bluetooth Support Launched at Rs. 6,995The Z337 Bold Sound With Bluetooth speakers come with a control pod that provides users with essential speaker controls, such as power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. There also a 3.5mm headphone jack to allow users to listen quietly. Further, there is a dedicated knob on the back of the subwoofer that allows users to adjust the bass level as per their requirement. Users can pair more than one device at a time (maximum limit not specified) and switch between them via the source devices. It bears a 40W RMS main speaker, two 8W satellite speakers, and one 24W subwoofer.

“With 80 watts peak power, this speaker system brings all your favourite content to life with clear sound and strong bass. In addition to the wireless connection, the users get to use the conventional ways by connecting the Logitech Z337 to your content source via either a 3.5mm or RCA input – so it’s easy to hook up to a monitor, a computer or video game console, while still enjoying wireless connectivity with other devices,” the company said in its release.

Valve to Sell Room-Scale SteamVR Trackers From Its Online Store; Linux Gets SteamVR Support

Valve has announced that the company will start selling SteamVR Tracking base stations directly from its online store. Separately, Valve has also announced that the company is launching SteamVR support for Linux to help developers create Linux content for HTC Vive VR headset.

Coming first to the room-scale Steam VR trackers, Valve will start selling its new single-rotor tracking models, unlike the dual-rotor tracking models that can be purchased from HTC, through its online store later this year. While the current dual-rotor models cost around $130 (roughly 8,700), Valve says that the switch to single-rotor model will bring “rapid cost reductions,” as pointed out in a report by Road To VR.

Further, the company has decided to make it easier for developers to implement SteamVR Tracking in their devices as it has changed the status its introductory course in Seattle, which costs $3,000 (roughly Rs. 2 lakhs) from mandatory to optional. Developers who want to use SteamVR Tracking in their products can simply purchase the hardware components required and download the software kit for development.

“After working with numerous third parties and updating the tools, Valve is opening more direct access to the technology and course work, available free of charge in English and Chinese. The full, in person training courses are still available for those interested,” Valve said in a statement to Road To VR.

Valve in the report also claims that more than 500 companies have signed up to develop with SteamVR Tracking technology.

Valve to Sell Room-Scale SteamVR Trackers From Its Online Store; Linux Gets SteamVR SupportIt is likely that HTC will now contribute primarily towards the development of its Vive VR headset while Valve retains its underlying tracking technology, as per the report.

Now moving to the SteamVR support for Linux, the company has launched the support currently as part of a beta program and developers are required to necessarily use an Nvidia developer beta driver that’s built on OpenGL’s successor ‘Vulkan’, Engadget pointed out in its report. Further, users are restricted to a ‘direct mode’, which means they cannot have the images display on the headset as well as desktop monitor simultaneously.

Users can also choose to use an AMD graphics card but that requires some tweaking and is restricted to secondary “desktop” display mode, Engadget points out. While Intel graphics are not yet supported, Linux OpenVR game development requires the use of Unity version 5.6. Other known issues include Base station power management and headset audio device switching, which are not implemented yet, Engadget reports

Sony Xperia Touch Interactive Android Projector, Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept Announced at MWC 2017

Apart from four Xperia smartphones, Sony also launched a new projector and unveiled a new open-style earbuds at MWC 2017. The new projector is being called Xperia Touch and it essentially is a projector running on Android that turns any flat surface into a touchscreen. The Xperia Ear Open-style Concept wireless earbuds essentially lets surrounding noise in, something that other audio equipment try to aggressively tune out.

Sony kicked off its event by launching these two new products, and the Xperia Touch is unique device coming out of the smartphone-favouring MWC. The interactive Android projector offers multi-touch support and can project a 23-inch HD image onto most surfaces. Sony uses SXRD projection display technology for fast response times, and can capture motion at 60fps on its 13-megapixel Exmor RS camera. You can also download apps from the Google Play Store and comes with Skype and PlayStation 4 support as well. In its demo video, it shows how a kid uses the table as a drawing board, a mother uses it to browse recipes on the table top, and a Skype call is projected on the wall.

Sony Xperia Touch Interactive Android Projector, Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept Announced at MWC 2017As for specifications, the Xperia Touch runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, packs a 3GB of RAM, and offers 32GB of internal storage. Connectivity options include and Wi-Fi (SISO): 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, USB Type-C, NFC, and HDMI Type-D. Priced at EUR 1,499 (roughly Rs. 106,000), the Xperia Touch will arrive in Europe sometime in Spring. It should be made available on the Xperia Store Online and through select retailers as well.

Moving on to the Sony Xperia Ear Open-style Concept announced at the MWC event, the smart wireless headphones are positioned to allow audio inputs from your surroundings apart from the basic audio accessory functions like listening to music. Just like the Sony Xperia Ear launched last year, it will integrate a digital assistant to take and receive orders through voice. Essentially, Sony doesn’t want you to take them off ever. The prototype was developed by Sony’s Future Lab Program incubator, and is just a concept. Therefore, there is no launch date, price, or availability, or even the assurance of it to ever making it to the market.

Xiaomi Launches Mi Walkie-Talkie, Mi Smart Camera, Mi Router Pro, Mi Car Recorder, Mi Smart Scale 2, and More

You name a category and Xiaomi will release a product in it. The company already offers products in an extremely wide-range of categories but has now launched several new smart home products to make sure no category remains untouched. The Chinese company has launched its Mi Walkie-Talkie, Mi Smart Camera, Mi Router Pro, Mi Router HD, Mi Car Recorder, and Mi Smart Scale 2 under its Mijia crowd-funded platform in China.

xiaomi walkie talkie story2 Mi Walkie Talkie

Coming first to the most exciting product of the bunch – Mi Walkie-Talkie, the device supports both Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) bands and can therefore be used not just in city but in open fields too, as per company’s claims. The device is capable of sharing location and comes with a built-in Radio FM.

In terms of specifications, the Mi Walkie-Talkie sports a black and white LCD screen with 160 x 100 pixel resolution. It houses a 2600mAh battery with standby time of up to 8 days, as per the company. The Mi Walkie-Talkie weighs just 200 grams and supports Micro-USB charging. It has been priced at CNY 249 (roughly Rs. 2,400) by Xiaomi. It has been made available in White and Blue colours by the company.

Moving on to the Mi Smart Camera, the device is capable of recording 1080p videos at a maximum frame rate of up to 20fps. The newly-launched camera comes with an ultra-wide lens and infrared night vision range of up to 10 metres. The device has support for dual-band Wi-Fi. In terms of storage, it offers support for microSD card and NAS network private cloud storage. It has been priced by Xiaomi at CNY 199 (roughly Rs. 1,900).

Xiaomi has launched its Mi Car Recorder, which comes with a Sony IMX323 image sensor and f/1.8 aperture. The device comes with 160-degree ultra-wide angle lens and has an Mstar 1080p image processing chip. As per Xiaomi, the Mi Car Recorder is capable of generating high-definition images, especially at night and in other dark environments. It has been priced by the company at CNY 349 (roughly Rs. 3,400).

TRAI Takes Measures to Provide Fair Deal to TV Channel Subscribers

Aimed at protecting consumers’ interest, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday launched a slew of measures to provide them with fair deal to watch TV channels, ensuring transparency and orderly growth of the broadcasting sector.

The major features include mandatory display of all channels and their rates, choice of subscription to a-la-carte channels (can be ordered as separate items) and bouquets of channels (combo packages), separate bouquet for pay channels and free-to-air (FTA) channels and standardisation of dissemination of information related to services through customer care.

The measures also make it mandatory for broadcasters and distributors to seek consumers’ permission for any change in the subscribed packages and display of Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for all channels including those which are not subscribed.

“The move is to provide consumers better choices, better prices and transparent system. It will help them to find out what is for free and where they can get fair and better deal,” TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma said here at a press meet.

These measures will be implemented in phases in the next six months’ time.

TRAI’s Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eight) Tariff Order, 2017, seeks broadcasters to declare their channels as Pay or FTA and they have been given complete flexibility to declare maximum retail price (MRP) of the Pay channels as long as being provided to consumers individually.

Also, broadcasters can offer bouquets of its Pay channels and declare MRP of bouquets, However, the MRP for bouquets of Pay channel will not be less than 85 percent of the sum of MRP of the a-la-carte Pay channels.

“It will allow consumers to choose channels of their choice easily,” said S.K. Gupta, Principal Advisor to the TRAI.

Gupta further said Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) channels will not be allowed to put in one bouquet.

TRAI Takes Measures to Provide Fair Deal to TV Channel SubscribersTRAI’s Telecommunications (Broadcasting and Cable) Services, Standards of Quality of Services and Consumer Protection (Addressable System) Regulations, 2017, envisages mandatory display of all channels and their MRP for easy navigation and identification by subscribers.

Also, broadcasters will not be allowed to change placement of any channel (number if channel) for certain period of time.

The regulation said distributor cannot charge a subscriber over Rs. 130 for initial one hundred SD channels per month and a subscriber will be free to choose any FTA channel, Pay channel or bouquet channels.

“No separate charges, other than the network capacity fee, to be paid by subscriber for subscribing to FTA channels or bouquet of FTA channels,” reads one of the regulations.

Meanwhile, the TRAI said any channel of MRP of more than Rs. 19 per month shall not form part of any bouquet.

Gupta said it will lead to competition to provide better content by broadcasters.

The TRAI also released Interconnection Regulations for Broadcasting Services related to Television that will regulate interconnection arrangements for broadcasting services, placement of TV channels in the EPF.

LG, Valve Partner on VR Headset Powered by SteamVR; to Be Shown at GDC This Week

LG is trying to step up its effort to enter the virtual reality segment, which is currently being dominated by the likes of Sony, Samsung, and HTC. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, LG reiterated its interest in VR by announcing a collaboration with Valve on a SteamVR-powered headset.

This is not the first time LG has shown interest in the virtual space. At last year’s MWC, LG introduced the 360 VR headset alongside its G5 modular smartphone. The headset was limited in that it was only compatible with the G5, which meant that its success largely depended on the success of the smartphone. However, it now looks like LG has abandoned its pilot project for something new.

LG, Valve Partner on VR Headset Powered by SteamVR; to Be Shown at GDC This WeekLG’s partnership with Valve now pits the South Korean giant against HTC, which also teamed up with Valve to bring out HTC Vive. As of now, details regarding the new LG VR headset is minimal. What we do know is that LG will use Valve’s SteamVR Tracking and OpenVR platform, Valve confirmed to Road to VR.

OpenVR, as the name suggest, was meant to to let third-party hardware makers involved in developing VR headsets to use Valve’s system so that multiple entities could work on the same software. And with LG now building its headset on Valve’s platform, that goal is slowly being realised. Valve says the new prototype is “designed to deliver a high fidelity, next generation VR experience.” The new headset will be showcased at GDC 2017 in San Francisco this week.

Separately, Valve last week also announced it would start selling SteamVR Tracking base stations directly from its online store. The company aims to make it easier for developers outside HTC to implement SteamVR Tracking in their products.

Huawei Launches HiKey 960, a Super-Powered Raspberry Pi-Style Development Board

Huawei, Google, ARM, among others, have collaborated to launch a new single-board development computer similar to the Raspberry Pi, except it’s a super-powered alternative that is priced at $239 (roughly Rs.) – to put that in perspective, the Raspberry Pi 3 costs $35. Called the HiKey 960, it’s a 96Boards development platform that will go on sale in the US, EU, and Japan in early May.

The HiKey 960 is powered by an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 SoC with four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.4GHz, and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU that’;s capable of 4K graphics, and 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It sports 32GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage and a microSD card slot.

For connectivity, the HiKey 960 has a HDMI 1.2a port (full-HD), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (dual-band), Bluetooth v4.1, two USB3.0 Type-A ports, one USB2.0 Type-C OTG port, and a PCIe m.2 connector. It also has two expansion connectors (40-pin and 60-pin) for camera modules to be attached to the board.

Huawei Launches HiKey 960, a Super-Powered Raspberry Pi-Style Development BoardAlso on board the HiKey 960 are LEDs for Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, four user LEDs, and a power button. It measures in at 85x55mm.

The HiKey 960 board was launched by Huawei, a core member of Linaro – an open source collaborative engineering organisation developing software for the ARM ecosystem – and its 96Boards initiative. Other members that contributed to the development of the platform are ARM, Google, Archermind, and LeMaker.

The HiKey 960 is officially supported as an Android reference board. Linaro in a statement said, “Initial software support for the board is provided in the AOSP source tree based on the Android Common Kernel using the Linux 4.4 kernel release. Linaro and Huawei are also working on the Linux 4.9 based Android Common kernel.” PC World notes you can load up to Android 7.1 Nougat on board currently, and points to Google’s instructions on how to do it.

The statement added that while all AOSP developers will find the board useful, hardware-focused developers will find it more beneficial, with avenues like mobiles, digital signage, point of sale, robotics, and others. Notably, Google this week also announced the release of the Google Assistant SDK, which will allow developers to build the voice assistant service into their products. The Google Assistant SDK was claimed by the search giant to be “ideal for prototyping on Raspberry Pi devices”, giving us a Google Home style use-case for the HiKey 960.

Microsoft Build 2017: Windows 10 Now Runs on 500 Million Monthly Active Devices

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his opening keynote at Day 1 of the Build 2017 developers conference in Seattle on Wednesday revealed that Windows 10 was now running on 500 million monthly active devices. That’s a significant jump from the 400 million active devices figure revealed in September last year – adding 100 million monthly active devices in roughly eight months.

While most announcements were developer facing, Microsoft revealed that in addition to Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered Invoke speaker, the company had entered into partnerships with HP on devices and Intel on reference platforms to bring more Cortana-enabled devices. On the developer side of this announcement, Microsoft said the Cortana Skills Kit was now in public preview (in the US only), allowing developers to “build skills for Cortana by creating a bot and publishing it to the new Cortana channel of the Microsoft Bot Framework.”

The Redmond-based company also revealed that there were now 100 million monthly commercial active users of Office 365, which it claims makes it the largest productivity service available.

As we mentioned, Microsoft had several developer facing announcements to make, including some by Scott Guthrie and Harry Shum. To begin with, Guthrie announced the general availability of Visual Studio for Mac, which was released as a preview alongside the Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate for Windows back in November last year. The Windows version was released for public download back in March.

Guthrie and Shum also announced new Azure data and cloud services as well as new AI services. These will help developers quickly modernise their apps, apart from helping them build intelligent services into them complete with natural user interaction capabilities.

Microsoft Build 2017: Windows 10 Now Runs on 500 Million Monthly Active DevicesThese developer-facing announcements included Azure Cosmos DB, new MySQL and PostgreSQL-managed services, a preview of Azure IoT Edge, availability of extensions and new APIs for Microsoft Graph, improvements to Azure SQL Database, as well as general availability of Windows Server Containers support in Azure Service Fabric, amongst others. Also announced were new AI-based services, such as an expansion of Microsoft Cognitive Services (adding Bing Custom Search and Custom Vision Service, and more) as well as new features for the Microsoft Bot Framework (such as adaptive cards).

Microsoft also revealed that as a new developer on-ramp to Office 365, the company was now allowing any developer to publish apps for Microsoft Teams. “Developers can also add new capabilities to Teams apps, including third-party notifications in the activity feed, Compose Extensions and Actionable Messages,” the company noted in a release issued alongside. They will be able to publish apps through the Office Store. New feature additions for developers of Microsoft Teams apps include Compose Extensions and Third-Party Notifications in the Activity Feed.

Finally, Microsoft also revealed that the Office Store is now connected to Microsoft AppSource, which will make it easier for organisations to find the most relevant apps and add-ins to their work. Centralised deployment is now also supported on Office for Mac and Office Online.

Sarahah App: What Is It, and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Over the last week or so, you might have seen an app slowly making its way across your social networks, called Sarahah. The app actually launched a few months ago, and it’s been growing in regions like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to a BBC report, but now it’s suddenly becoming a big hit in India. The Sarahah app is meant for sending and receiving feedback from others, anonymously. The creators described it by saying: Sarahah helps people self-develop by receiving constructive anonymous feedback.

Sarahah app – how it works

The idea is simple – you create a Sarahah profile, which anyone can visit. Even without logging in, people can visit your profile and leave messages, anonymously. If they have logged in, messages are still anonymous by default, but users can choose to tag their identity.

On the receivers app, all the incoming messages show up in an inbox, and you can flag messages, delete them, reply, or favourite them to find them easily later.

But although the app has become very popular, it’s quite polarising. For instance, although it has (at the time of writing) 10,305 5-star reviews on Google Play, it’s also got 9,652 1-star reviews, showing a near 50-50 split in opinion.

That’s at least in part because of fact that anonymity enables people to act out and behave in hurtful ways without consideration for consequences. Even positive reviews on the App Store still warn that this app is not for the weak hearted. Another 5-star review mentions that people are getting a lot of hateful comments.

sarahah privacy settings sarahah

Now, to be fair, the developers are also looking at ways to improve the experience. Privacy features mean that you can remove your profile from search results, limiting your audience to people who you share your profile with, and you can also turn off access for unauthorised users – that is, only people who are logged in will be able to comment. You can also block senders, so even if you can’t see the name of the user, they won’t be able to send you a message again.

The rest of the Sarahah experience remains incredibly barebones though. It’s got one purpose in mind, and delivers a quick and ready experience on that front. It could look better, aesthetically speaking, but from a functional perspective its design easily serves its purpose.

This isn’t the first anonymous messaging app we’ve seen that blew up in popularity though. Yik Yak, Secret, and Whisper are some of the popular apps in recent times to try and fill this function.

For the most part, those apps have been more social, making the interactions more public. Sarahah’s focus is more on messaging and less on social media, and so visiting another users’ profile won’t show anything, unless they choose to make the posts public.

Ultimately though, allowing fully anonymous comments, and not allowing users to respond to messages means that it’s a possible avenue for bullying. It’s very trendy right now, but we’ve seen other secrecy based platforms buzz up and then fizzle out too. There are certain key differences to Sarahah, but it’s too soon to say whether it has what it takes to last longer than the others did.