Hike Acquires Creo, a Bengaluru-Based Smartphone and Streaming Media Dongle Maker

Hike on Friday announced it had acquired Bengaluru-based technology startup firm Creo for an undisclosed sum.

Creo was founded in December 2013 by Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubham Malhotra. Both Srinivas and Malhotra were previously associated with Hike.

“The Creo team will begin work on a developer platform to enable third-party developers to build services on the Hike platform,” Hike said in a statement.

Previously, Creo has launched hardware products that include streaming media dongles and smartphones. The company is also the maker of media streaming device ‘Teewe’.

Hike Acquires Creo, a Bengaluru-Based Smartphone and Streaming Media Dongle MakerHike introduced video calling for its users in October 2016. With this, users can see a live video preview of the caller before answering the call.

The feature has been built for a reliable and high-quality video experience that works even under challenging network conditions, including good quality 2G.

The messaging application also lets users share Video Stories that lets them share videos of up to 20 seconds. These videos can be further made dramatic using Live Filters. Like the ‘Photo Stories’ feature, the Video Stories also disappear after 48 hours.

Hike was launched in December 2012 and claims to have a user base of over 100 million. In August 2016, Hike raised its fourth round of funding of $175 million led by Tencent and Foxconn at a valuation of $1.4 billion, making it the fastest company in India to attain a valuation of $1 billion. Today, Hike has over 300 employees spread across two offices in Delhi and Bengaluru.

Facebook Authorises Chinese Firm’s Launch of Moments-Like App: Report

Facebook, whose social media platform is blocked in China, authorised a local company to launch a photo-sharing application in the country in May, the New York Times reported, citing a person with knowledge of the company’s plans.

The app, called Colorful Balloons, is similar to Facebook’s Moments application in function and feel, but does not carry the Facebook name, the Times said on Friday.

The app was released in China by a company called Youge Internet Technology and without any hint that Facebook is affiliated with the company, the Times said, citing a post in Apple’s app store.

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” a Facebook spokesperson said by email.

Facebook Authorises Chinese Firm's Launch of Moments-Like App: Report“Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.”

It was unclear if China’s various Internet regulators were aware of the app’s existence, the Times said.

Western social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked by China’s censors, which has helped drive up the popularity of home-grown messaging app WeChat, owned by Tencent and micro-blogging service Weibo.

Zuckerberg in February all but ruled out an expansion in the world’s most populous country, saying there would be “no news at all in the near term.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to Sport ‘Force Touch’ Pressure Sensitive Display, Pre-Orders Start September 1: Reports

We may be few weeks away from the launch of Samsung’s next Galaxy Note smartphone but there has been no shortage of leaks and reports around the upcoming device. The latest in the series claim that the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 may come with its own version of 3D Touch, a pressure sensitive display feature introduced by Apple on its iPhones. Another report says that the new Galaxy Note 8 may go up for pre-orders starting September 1.

The South Korean publication indicates that Samsung’s form of 3D Touch (called Force Touch by some Android manufacturers) may function the same way though Galaxy Note 8 will stick to the design of the current flagship, the Galaxy S8, matching earlier rumours To recall, the Samsung Galaxy S8 forgoes physical home button and instead goes with on-screen navigation keys.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to Sport 'Force Touch' Pressure Sensitive Display, Pre-Orders Start September 1: ReportsET News reports that the new Force Touch-style feature will take advantage of the pressure-sensitive display in the same manner as we already saw on the company’s previous flagship – at least, around the home button, as there’s no mention of other functionality beyond access to a hidden shortcuts menu. We could expect Samsung to implement Android 7.1.1 Nougat’s new App Shortcuts with its Force Touch feature for accessing direct actions right from the app icon. For now though, it’s not known if the pressure sensitive display features extend to the whole screen.

A separate report claims that Samsung after unveiling the Galaxy Note 8 on August 23 will start the pre-orders on September 1. The publication says that Samsung can be expected to start pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 8 sometime around September 1 to 10 with the official availability likely to be around September 15.

Few weeks back, Samsung confirmed that the next smartphone in the Galaxy Note series, the Galaxy Note 8, will be unveiled at the company’s August 23 event. The official teaser says, “Do bigger things” to indicate a larger display and more features over current flagships.

Xiaomi Responds to eScan Claims That MIUI Is Riddled With Security Flaws

Security solutions company eScan on Thursday in a 36-page report alleged that Xiaomi’s MIUI custom Android ROM has multiple flaws that affected the security of user data. Xiaomi system apps such as the uninstall mechanism and Mi Mover were some of the flawed aspects of MIUI, the report stated. The Chinese smartphone company has refuted the allegations however, in a statement to Gadgets 360.

A Xiaomi spokesperson in an emailed statement told Gadgets 360 that all of eScan’s data security concerns are valid only if a perpetrator gains physical access to an unlocked smartphone. Such a scenario already places user data at great risk, and Xiaomi also pointed to the addition of login layers that have been introduced in the user data migration app Mi Mover, as well as its recommendations for users to utilise a lockscreen security feature such as PINs, pattern locks, and the fingerprint sensor.

In its report, eScan claims “Xiaomi’s system apps have unknowingly introduced multiple flaws into the functional working of most of the apps. The functional aspects of Anti-Theft security apps and Android for Work apps are affected by the uninstall procedure implemented by Xiaomi. Furthermore, the MI-Mover app which assists in user data migration also poses significant threats to the installed apps. Although, Xiaomi alone cannot be held responsible; the app developers are also equally responsible for not taking into consideration that there existed a huge possibility of their application’s app-system-data getting cloned/ copied. This particular use-case existed since the day devices started getting rooted and app-system-storage was compromised. It’s surprising that app developers never realized that the data which they are storing on app-system-storage is vulnerable on rooted phones. Although Xiaomi’s MI Mover allows the users to copy all their data, it goes one step ahead and copies from the app-system-storage areas too.”

The eScan report claims that the “uninstallation procedure implemented by Security Apps is adversely affected on Xiaomi Devices,” and “apps based on the guidelines provided for implementing Android for Works are affected by the improper implementation of uninstallation procedure implemented on Xiaomi devices.”

eScan admits that physical access of an unlocked device is required for its concerns to apply, but then asks what precautions do Xiaomi device users have to take into consideration when handing their devices over to service centre employees, and with anti-theft security mechanisms affected, questions how Xiaomi users would ensure their device doesn’t get stolen.

Xiaomi Responds to eScan Claims That MIUI Is Riddled With Security FlawsYou can read the Xiaomi spokesperson’s full statement below.

At Xiaomi, user privacy is of utmost importance.

Escan earlier today shared a report which list downs few concerns in MIUI. We strongly disagree with the allegations made by Escan in their report. As a global Internet company, Xiaomi takes all possible steps to ensure our devices and services adhere to our privacy policy.

Any perpetrator who gains physical access to an unlocked phone, is capable of malicious activity and an unlocked phone is greatly at risk of user data being stolen.

This is why, we at Xiaomi encourage our users to be more aware of guarding their private data using PIN, Pattern locks, or the onboard fingerprint sensor available on most of our smartphones. In fact, prompting users to enable fingerprint lock is a standard step when setting up a Xiaomi smartphone for first use.

Mi Mover is designed to be a convenient tool for our users to move their data from an old smartphone to a new phone. In order for Mi Mover to initiate this process, a password is required.

More importantly, in order to use Mi Mover, the smartphone has to be unlocked.

Thus, there are two layers of protection for the user – phone lock and a Mi Mover password that are necessary.

Further, as per the Escan report, “As part of exploiting the issue you describe, someone needs to take control of a user’s mobile phone and get that phone in an unlocked state. This is a very high barrier to entry and seems unlikely to happen commonly, making this more of a theoretical attack. The protection, in this case, is to not allow someone to steal and unlock your phone.

Xiaomi Redmi 4, Redmi 4A, Redmi Note 4 Pre-Orders on Mi.com Today, Amazon to Hold Redmi 4 Sale

Xiaomi’s budget smartphones are going up for pre-orders in India on Friday. Specifically, the Xiaomi Redmi 4, Redmi 4A, and Redmi Note 4 will all become available for pre-orders via Mi.com at 12pm IST. Separately, as part of its ongoing Great Indian Sale, Amazon is making the Redmi 4 available to purchase at 3pm IST on its site.

Let’s pre-orders. To recall, each week, Xiaomi makes its budget smartphone available for pre-orders, and customers that use this method will get guaranteed shipping within five business days, instead of waiting in line with a fast trigger finger during the other weekly flash sales. Pre-orders are limited to one smartphone per pre-order. There is also no cash on delivery option.

As for Xiaomi Redmi 4 sale on Amazon, the smartphone will be available for purchase at 3pm IST. There are four sale offers alongside – up to 30GB additional Reliance Jio data, a free 12-month subscription to Hungama Music, a free 3-month subscription to Hungama Play, and Rs. 200 Kindle promotion credit.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 price, variants

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Xiaomi Redmi 4 Price in India Specifications Variants

The Redmi 4 was launched in May in three memory/ storage variants in India. The 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage variant has been priced at Rs. 6,999, the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant has been priced at Rs. 8,999, while the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage is priced at Rs. 10,999.

The dual-SIM (Micro+Nano) Xiaomi Redmi 4 runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It sports an all-metal body and a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel. It bears a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display, and is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC coupled with 2GB/ 3GB/ 4GB of RAM.

The Redmi 4 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and LED flash. On the front, it bears a 5-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture. As we mentioned, the Xiaomi Redmi 4X will be available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB inbuilt storage options, expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

Connectivity options on the Redmi 4 include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, Micro-USB with OTG, Bluetooth v4.1, and 3.5mm audio jack. It also sports an infrared sensor. It measures 139.2×69.6.x8.6mm, and weighs 150 grams. It is powered by a 4100mAh battery.

HTC U11 Gets 1080p 60fps Video Recording and Bluetooth 5.0 With Firmware Update

The HTC U11 smartphone received positive feedback from users as well as critics post its launch but there were some features that were noticeably missing from the handset when it was made available in June. Now, the Taiwanese company has rolled an update for the handset that reportedly adds the ability to record 1080p resolution at 60fps and support for Bluetooth 5.0.

Apart from the aforementioned additions, the latest update also brings along a security patch (possibly August) to the smartphone as well. The company says that the latest update brings along certain stability improvements to the

HTC U11 as well. The update adds Bluetooth 5.0 support to the smartphone that will allow a longer range for connectivity, higher bandwidth for transmission, and lower power usage, as per a report by PhoneArena.

HTC U11 Gets 1080p 60fps Video Recording and Bluetooth 5.0 With Firmware UpdateAt the time of HTC U11 launch in India, the company announced that it will be introducing new Edge Sense features to the smartphone with upcoming updates but sadly it seems that it hasn’t made any additions in this regard with new update.

To recall, HTC launched its U11 smartphone in India at a price of Rs. 51,990 (MOP). The variant launched in India comes 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The highlight feature on the U11 is the Edge Sense feature that allows users to perform various functions with the handset by simply squeezing it from the sides. While the company recently added the Amazon Alexa Assistant support to HTC U11 in the US, as Amazon Alexa has not been launched in India yet, the functionality is not supported on Indian models of the handset.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Claimed to Sell 5 Million Units Within Six Months in India

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, after becoming the fastest to reach 1 million units, has now reached another milestone. Xiaomi claims that it sold 5 million Redmi Note 4 units in six months. The company in a release claimed that it sold 5 million units of its Redmi Note 4 (Review) within six months of launch between a period of January 23 to July 23 this year. In comparison, the Redmi 3S took 9 months to hit the 4 million mark, according to data shared by the Chinese brand. Earlier this year, market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) claimed that Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 was the highest shipped smartphone in Q1 this year.

To commemorate the milestone, Xiaomi has created what it calls the world’s largest grain mosaic art spread across an area of 6,000 square feet at Thyagraj Stadium, New Delhi. It will be using the grain to feed 5 lakh hungry people on this Independence Day, as part of company’s initiative to give back to the community.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Claimed to Sell 5 Million Units Within Six Months in IndiaManu Kumar Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, confirming the news, said in a statement, “Mi Fans are at the core of our business. Thanks to their love and support, we have sold 5 Million units of Redmi Note 4 – India’s No. 1 selling smartphone. We are celebrating this occasion by giving back to the community. The grains used to create world’s largest mosaic will help feed 500,000 underprivileged people on this Independence day.”

Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 4 in January this year in three memory/ storage variants in India – the 2GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage model has been priced at Rs. 9,999, the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage model has been priced at Rs. 10,999, while the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage model has been priced at Rs. 12,999.

IBM Develops Tape Cartridge That Stores 330TB of Uncompressed Data in the Palm of Your Hand

In an interesting development, scientists at IBM have managed to develop a prototype magnetic tape drive that fits in the palm of your hand and can store a whopping 330TB of uncompressed data. IBM Research worked alongside Sony Storage Solutions for years to achieve increased areal recording densities and develop this magnetic tape.

If you are wondering about the recording density, the prototype comes with an unprecedented 201Gb per inch density. “Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud,” said IBM Research fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou in a statement.

“While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape, the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per terabyte very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud,” he said.

IBM Develops Tape Cartridge That Stores 330TB of Uncompressed Data in the Palm of Your HandIn its release about the magnetic tape cartridge, Sony said that this achievement was made possible by bringing together it’s “new magnetic tape technology employing lubricant with IBM Research – Zurich’s newly developed write/read heads, advanced servo control technologies and innovative signal-processing algorithm.” It further pointed out that closing the gap between the magnetic tape and magnetic head is critical to achieving high-density recording capabilities for tape storage media.

Interestingly, IBM has also said that this achievement is also reflective of the viability of scaling up storage on tapes continuously for another decade.

Our storage needs have been growing for years with advancement in technology sector and if you didn’t realise this till now, just imaging how iPhones with 8GB base storage would feel in this day and age. This sort of achievement gives hope that our data requirements will be met with advancement in technology and we won’t be ill-equipped to tackle the situation going forward.

Amazon Great Indian Sale Offers: iPhones Up to 35 Percent Cheaper, Buy One TV, Get One Free, and More Deals

The sale has unofficially begun! Both Amazon and Flipkart have announced dates for their next big sales to celebrate India’s 71st Independence Day. The two e-commerce bigwigs will start their sales on Wednesday, August 9 and offer discounts on products across various categories. While the Flipkart Big Freedom Sale will last till August 11, Amazon Great Indian Sale will continue for one more day and end on 11:59pm IST on August 12. Of course, there will be early access to top deals for Prime members also in the Amazon sale, along with “blockbuster deals at never-seen-before prices.” Here’s everything you need to know about the Amazon sale offers and deals, and more details are expected as the sale draws near.

Update: The Amazon Great Indian Sale is now live, with deals on iPhone 7, Android mobile phones, TVs, and more products.

Amazon sale offers on mobile phones

In the Amazon sale, customers can get up to 40 percent discount mobiles and accessories, including up to 35 percent off on iPhones, and up to Rs. 5,000 discount on Lenovo smartphones. There will be discounts of up to Rs. 2,000 discounts on Samsung, OnePlus, and Moto phones, and up to Rs. 1,000 off on Honor models. Up to 15 percent will slashed off Coolpad phones’ prices, while InFocus phones will be up to 7 percent cheaper.

Amazon sale offers on TVs, laptops, and more

Samsung and BPL TVs will have their prices slashed by up to 35 percent, while Sanyo and TCLtelevisions will have discounts of up to 33 percent and 15 percent, respectively. There will be a Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer on TVs for Prime members, under which customers will get a 24-inch TCL television free on purchasing a 55-inch TCL P2M television. On the TV category overall, the discounts go up to 40 percent. Laptops by Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP will be up to 20 percent cheaper in the Amazon sale. Intel Core i3 (sixth generation) laptops will start at Rs. 22,990, and exchange offers on laptops and TVs will provide discounts of up to Rs. 15,000.

Amazon Great Indian Sale Offers: iPhones Up to 35 Percent Cheaper, Buy One TV, Get One Free, and More DealsJBL speakers will have minimum discount of 45 percent, while F&D models will have discounts up to 40 percent. Similarly, Philips and Sony speakers will have discounts of up to 45 percent and 30 percent, respectively. There will be discounts of up to 60 percent on headphones brands such as Bose, Sony, Philips, Skullcandy etc. On headphones by Sennheiser, the discount is up to 50 percent. Games such as FIFA, Call of Duty and Counterstrike will carry discounts of up to 60 percent, while HTC Vive VR headset will be Rs. 5,000 cheaper in the sale.

TP-Link, D-Link, Netgear, and Digisol routers will have discounts of up to 50 percent, and powerbanks by Intex, Xiaomi, Ambrane, and Lenovo will be up to 65 percent cheaper. Gaming consoles will have minimum discount of Rs. 2,000, while Apple Watch models will be up to 20 percent cheaper. Fitbit trackers will have discounts of up to 30 percent, while Samsung weables will have a flat Rs. 2,000 discount. There will be discounts of up to 75 percent off on software products, up to 50 percent on home entertainment products and PC accessories, up to 45 percent on tablets and cameras, and up to 35 percent on printers and cartridges.

Amazon sale cashback offers

As part of the Amazon sale, there will be “Amazon Pay Balance only deals” on products by Samsung, Bose, Fitbit, LG and others, with instant 10-15 percent cashback. Customers topping up their Amazon Pay balance between August 4 and August 12 will get extra 15 percent cashback; the top-up recharge needs to be of minimum Rs. 500, and the maximum cashback will be Rs. 300. SBI credit and debit card holders can avail additional cashback of 15 percent on app and 10 percent on the website during the sale. Amazon says that there will be a 5 percent cashback on all email gift cards and up to 20 percent off on gift cards from BookMyShow, Cleartrip, Pantaloons, and Joyalukkas.

On Amazon app, customers will be able to play ‘Guess Who’ and solve puzzles in order to get a “sneak peek” at the products that will go on a deal during the actual sale event, the company said. The programme will be live on August 7 and August 8 exclusively on the app. Customers making purchases in the Amazon sale from the official app stand a chance to win iPhone 7 128GB (Black, Red, Silver and Rose Gold) as well as (up to 10) Bali trips from Goomo.com.

Indian ISPs Blocking Access to Internet Archive

Several Internet service providers in India have blocked access to Internet Archive – a non-profit organisation that runs Wayback Machine, a massive archive of webpages dating back to over a decade – many people reported on Tuesday. Internet Archive confirmed to Gadgets 360 that it is aware of the situation and eager to “see full access restored to archive.org.”

Some subscribers of Airtel, Aircel, and Act Internet, among other carriers, are seeing a DoT notification when they attempt to access Internet Archive. The notification reads, “Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India.”

internet archive block Internet  India

Popularly known as time-warping tool, Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine has made copies of over three billion pages over the years. In the age of ephemeral media, Way Back Machine has become a cultural phenomenon, serving as a permanent registrar of popular websites and other webpages.

Update: In a statement to Gadgets 360, a spokesperson for Internet Archive said the Government of India has not contacted them regarding this apparent blocking. “We have no information about why a block would have been implemented.”

“Multiple attempts to contact the DoT and MeitY (DeitY was the agency that ultimately ended up responding to us regarding the previous block) have gone unanswered thus far (we first tried to reach out to them about 22 hours ago),” the person added. “Obviously, we are disappointed and concerned by this situation and are very eager to understand why it’s happening and see full access restored to archive.org.”

It remains unclear why DoT has ordered access to Internet Archive to be canned, a development that was first reported by MediaNama.

While several carriers including Vodafone and Reliance Jio have not yet blocked Internet Archive, they will likely follow the suit soon enough. ISPs in India often take actions on such directions at their own pace.