Google Chrome updated to deliver up to 70 percent data savings

Google has updated its much-loved Chrome browser for Android to deliver even better data savings than before. The updated browser that is currently a default on devices running stock versions of Android has now been tweaked to deliver up to 70 percent in data savings.
The feature is certainly not new to the Chrome app but Google has added some tweaks to make things load up faster. Upon turning on Data Savings, users will notice that the web pages begin to load without any images, ensuring that the details in text are quickly available for reading.
Data Saver will automatically detect when a connection is slow and then act by skipping on images to make things load faster. Users can then tap on the placeholders to load images of their choice or load all of them at once.
Users will need to head into Settings and check on the box next to Data Savings to activate the feature. The feature for now is currently rolling out in India and Indonesia and will be available in other countries shortly.

Microsoft announces Box app for Windows 10

Microsoft has announced Box app for Windows 10. Duncan Fisher who works for the mobile applications product management team at Box wrote in a Windows blogpost that with ‘50,000 paying businesses, including 52% of the Fortune 500 and more than 40 million users, it’s critical for Box to ensure that customers can work on their content across a wide variety of devices and platforms’.
The Box for Windows 10 app promises secure content along with features such as managing content across devices such as Windows PCs, tablets and phones, and also share files with anyone. It will allow previewing Office content easily including a variety of file types such as Office files, PDFs, images and more. Users can also create and collaborate on Office files and receive real-time updates.
“Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has pushed boldly into a cloud-first, mobile-first world, opening up its platforms to integrate with best-of-breed tools (like Box) and improve the experience for their customers. This move has ultimately made it easy for enterprises to choose the vendors they want to work with, enabling more productivity and collaboration within the workplace,” Aaron Levie writes in a Box blogpost.
Box for Windows 10 also focuses on multitasking. It will allow users to work on Box and other apps side by side with the Windows 10 multitasking feature that will resize Box to make it as big or small as you need. Moreover, it also mentions the ability to pin certain Box files and favorites right to the Start screen using Windows 10 Live Tiles.
Box for Windows 10 app is now available in the Windows store for PCs and tablets. It is expected to be available for phones running Windows 10 soon.

YouTube to support virtual reality video on its app

YouTube has announced two new features Thursday for its Android app that expand the video site’s use of virtual reality, giving the new technology its biggest platform yet.
The app now supports VR video – a format that gives viewers what the company says are more realistic 360-degree perspectives of films.
To view it, a user would call up a virtual reality video on the YouTube app, click a button on the video for VR mode, and place the phone in Alphabet Inc’s “Cardboard” device, a handheld gadget made from the standard box material that creates a VR viewing experience.
Makers of virtual reality content can upload VR videos compatible with the Cardboard viewer directly to YouTube. YouTube said there are about a dozen VR videos, including one stemming from the “Hunger Games” movies.
YouTube also announced that viewers can see its vast library of videos with a more limited virtual reality experience, also using Cardboard. YouTube said that the videos will resemble what a viewer would see on an IMAX theater screen.
Neil Schneider, executive director of VR trade organization Immersive Technology Alliance, noted that YouTube introduced 3D video in 2009 and was also an early adopter of high-definition video.
“It’s not surprising they would take the angle of adding virtual reality,” he said.
Schneider said the public can expect to see an explosion of high quality content, but said amateur content might be more difficult to come by because the gear to create VR content is typically expensive.
But Jay Iorio, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers who is experimenting with creating films for Cardboard and Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, said he would not be surprised to see VR recording capabilities on smartphones.
“The equipment I have right now, people will probably have on their phones in a couple years,” he said.
Oculus Rift is scheduled for release next near and is expected to cost between $300 to $350. Cardboard costs between $5 and $50.
The YouTube app with the updated Cardboard technology is currently only available for Android phones but an iOS version is set to be released “soon,” according to YouTube.

Pinterest launches Buyable Pins for Android; social networks are gearing up for online retail

Over the years, more and more consumers have started opting for online shopping. Looking at this trend, many social media giants have plans to cash in on the ‘online shopping’ frenzy by incorporating it into their platforms in small and steady ways. Both Facebook and Twitter have been working on/testing buy button directly within the social site, and now Pinterest finally brings its Buyable Pins to Android after introducing it for iOS in June.
Pinterest made the announcement via its blog and shed some light on its new Pinterest Shop and also highlighted some pointers about ‘on trend’ feature which offers curated collections on clothing, jewellery, home items and more.
This isn’t the first social-networking platform to incorporate such a commerce strategy to its service. The only edge or major advantage to social giants getting into online retail is that they have a massive following which allows their service to be used by millions worldwide. A few would either allow shoppers to directly buy products within the website or direct them to another e-commerce portal. In any case, social networks provide a gateway for consumers and posses a strong brand name globally as well. It also makes perfect sense as almost 80 percent of the crowd spends their time on social platforms, so why not offer them the ability to shop as well!

Facebook kills the 'Other' Inbox folder and launches Message Requests

Facebook has now introduced Message Requests for Messenger which will basically replace the ‘Other’ folder in the app which houses messages received from strangers. Messages received in this folder will generate an alert on the Messages tab on the web along with mobile devices as well. The service is said to roll out in the next couple of days.
According to a post , “If you’re friends on Facebook, if you have each other’s contact info in your phone and have these synced, or if you have an existing open thread, the new messages from that sender will be routed to your inbox. Everything else will now be a message request, minus spam attempts that we will continue to ruthlessly combat.”
If you head to the company’s Help Center, Facebook offers an idea of message requests works as well. Messages from friends-of-friends will now be treated simply as a request. Facebook will no longer bet that having a friend in common means you care to talk to someone.
The new service can also make Facebook, a way to commute with contractors, short-term business colleagues or anyone else who would wish to chat with the person, but did not want to be friends or share their numbers for that matter.

Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon give Wall Street reason to cheer

Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and made headway in the latest quarter in the areas that will be their main engines of growth for years to come, driving up shares across the tech sector on Friday.
Shares of all three surged in early trading, adding more than $120 billion to their combined market value – more than the gross domestic product of Morocco.
For Alphabet, search traffic on mobiles surpassed desktop traffic worldwide for the first time, while Amazon was able to boost margins, an area of concern, as its cloud business boomed.
Microsoft’s growing emphasis on cloud computing under Chief Executive Satya Nadella also put the company on track successfully transition away from its slowing business that relies on sales of personal computers.
Alphabet’s shares jumped 10.5 percent to a record high of $752.50 in early trading, adding about $50 billion to its market value. This gave Alphabet a market cap of about $522.5 billion, cementing its position as the second-most valuable stock after Apple, which is worth about $660 billion.
Microsoft’s shares jumped 11.6 percent to $53.61 – their highest in 15 years – while Amazon surged as much as 10 percent to $619.45, also a record high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index .IXIC was up about 1.8 percent.
“I think what you’re seeing is these companies finally able to address the primary challenges that have been facing the businesses,” said James Cakmak, an analyst at brokerage Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co in New York.
“For Amazon it’s margin, for Alphabet it’s mobile, for Microsoft it’s the cloud or diversifying away from its legacy businesses.”
The better-than-expected results are a bright spot for the market following a period of intense volatility over worries about China and the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike.
Before the start of the third-quarter reporting season, corporate earnings had been expected to fall by 4.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The three companies’ results show that a key part of the U.S. economy continues to function well even as the global economy slows, said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of investment advisory firm Sarhan Capital in New York.
“The technology sector, specifically the Internet sector, remains bright,” he said.
Cloud computing remains the priority for Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft as large enterprises shift to Internet-based services to host and manage their data.
“I think the combination of Amazon, Microsoft and Google, as the technology leaders of the world, each showing accelerating growth in their Internet-related businesses, represents a very powerful statement,” said Frederick Moran, an analyst at brokerage Burke and Quick Partners in Uniondale, New York.
For Amazon, cloud computing is its fastest growing business and the company said on Thursday it was investing in new services such as Internet of Things to capitalize on rising demand to store and manage large amounts of data.
While selling cloud storage space to enterprises remains a miniscule part of Alphabet’s revenue, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Thursday that it was a growing priority.
“Every businesses in the world is going to run on cloud eventually. So, we view it as an amazing opportunity,” he said.
At least 30 of 50 analysts covering Alphabet raised their price targets – Bernstein to $950.
At least 11 of 34 Microsoft analysts raised theirs. BofA Merrill Lynch was the most bullish with a target of $63.
Of 42 analysts covering Amazon, at least 20 raised their targets. Piper Jaffray and JP Morgan were the most bullish with price targets of $800.

Western Digital in advanced talks to acquire SanDisk

Hard disk drive maker Western Digital Corp is in advanced talks to acquire memory chipmaker SanDisk Corp, people familiar with the matter said on Monday, as a frenzy of dealmaking in the semiconductor sector continued.
Western Digital has so far prevailed over other suitors for SanDisk, which has a market capitalization of $14.6 billion, the people said. The negotiations are ongoing and a deal is not certain, the people added.
Bloomberg News, which reported on the advanced talks earlier on Monday, said the two companies could reach a deal as soon as this week.
Western Digital declined to comment. SanDisk did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
Demand for cheaper chips and new products, as well a driver from technology companies to consolidate suppliers, has led to record levels of dealmaking in the semiconductor sector this year.
Any deal with SanDisk will require a sign off from Toshiba. SanDisk uses Toshiba’s foundries to make its chips and the two have an important intellectual property-sharing joint venture.
Analysts have said Toshiba is more likely to accept Western Digital as a buyer for SanDisk than Micron, a rival memory chip maker.
Western Digital, which has a market capital of about $22 billion, is also expected to receive a $4-billion cash infusion from China’s state-backed Tsinghua Holdings if the deal passes regulatory scrutiny in the United States.
SanDisk, which is scheduled to report quarterly results on Wednesday, has grappled with falling prices in the flash memory market and lean inventory levels.

Facebook's real-time news app is reportedly called Notify

The social networking giant Facebook is reportedly working on a breaking news app called “Notify”, and is ready to launch it by October end, according to a media report. The app will reportedly allow users to aggregate their favorite content into real-time notifications.
Partnering publications will have the ability to create specific notifications for the mobile platform on behalf of Facebook, like a mega-tweet. Then users will be directed to the publication’s website via the notification.
Facebook seeks to expand its functionalities to something much more than just a social network – the most popular one in the world if it makes any difference.
The app will allow users to subscribe to certain organisations dubbed as stations and they will then receive notifications during the day, every time one of the stations they have subscribed to promotes a new story. That will obviously give a big boost on Facebook’s presence as a multi-functioning platform, rather than just a simple social network.
According to statistics, nearly no media networks and companies have managed to establish a well designed smartphone app that its readers – or most of them – actually use; at least not near the capacity of Facebook. This gives the company the advantage that it is very likely that users will read more articles through Facebook media networks with strong app presences, such as BuzzFeed and the New York Times, which may consider working with Notify to direct the firehose of social media users in the right direction.
Besides all the above, Notify will also be a challenge for Facebook’s rival social network, Twitter, which also launched a new feature last week called Moments, that lets Twitter curate tweets into different categories, such as news and sports. So media companies will also have a chance to create their own moments and fill the feature with their content which will ultimately attract more readers and hence users as well.

Yahoo aims to phase out passwords with new service

Yahoo’s next step in password security is to eliminate them altogether.
Starting on Thursday, the company announced, users of the Yahoo Mail app on both iOS and Android will have access to a new service called Yahoo Account Key, which uses smartphones to verify identities in lieu of traditional passwords.
Here’s how it works: When users who sign up for Account Key try to access Yahoo Mail, they will no longer need to enter their password. Instead, the Account Key service will send a message to the smartphone connected to the account.
With a tap on yes or no, users can indicate it is a legitimate attempt to get into the account or deny unauthorized access. If their smartphone is lost or stolen, users can verify identities through an email or a text message sent to alternative accounts and numbers.
Dylan Casey, vice president of product management, said Account Key is more secure than traditional passwords because it prohibits anyone from signing in to access an account without the verification that Account Key provides.
Satnam Narang, a security manager with Symantec, called the approach “a step above a password” but said it still falls short of the golden standard of what’s known as two-factor authentication, which requires users to confirm their identify with two different pieces of information.
He also expressed doubts that most users will let passwords die easily and encouraged widespread adoption of password management tools until a new verification method replaces them for good.
“I think passwords are going to be around for a little while, I don’t think they’re going away as soon as we’d like them to. They’re so ingrained in everything we do from banking to email to shopping, you name it,” Narang said.
In addition to Account Key verification, Yahoo executives announced a revamped version of Yahoo Mail that allows users to connect with, manage and search Outlook, Hotmail and AOL email accounts while signed in to their Yahoo account.
The new Mail also connects to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to add photos and create “contact cards” with email, telephone and social media information for contacts.

WhatsApp now lets you backup conversations, photos and videos to Google Drive

We had earlier reported about how WhatsApp has been testing its new update to the Android app which will let you backup your WhatsApp conversations to Google Drive.
Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management has now officially announced the feature. In a blog post he wrote, “Starting today, WhatsApp for Android lets you create a private backup of your chat history, voice messages, photos, and videos in Google Drive. And once you do, you can restore everything on a new device with just a couple taps.
“The new backup feature is rolling out over the next few months, so keep an eye on your WhatsApp settings to see if it’s available,” he further added.
A previous report revealed how the feature will come with the latest update with version number 2.12.45 for Android. This version could be downloaded from the company’s official website.
With the new update, you will need to select the option to take a backup to Google Drive in the chat ‘Settings’ tab. You will naturally have to connect your Gmail account associated with Drive to the WhatsApp account.
WhatsApp already has the offline conversation backup feature but with the online conversation backup, your WhatsApp chats will show up in Google Drive whenever you take a backup while being connected. This will make backing up comparatively speedier.
Backing up conversations has been an oft-requested feature on WhatsApp.
Recently, WhatsApp also released the Material Design for Android smartphones. It is currently available only as an APK file. The new Material Design overhaul brings a refined look. Though the general layout is same, it now has a refreshing colour scheme – a deep green title bar that blends seamlessly into the three tabs for calls, chats and contacts. The chat window comes with new buttons to record voice messages, and also made available in attachment option pop-up.
During group chats, you will find a cleaner layout and a larger cover image. You will also find some cosmetic changes made to the media selection screen.
Recently the company CEO Jan Koum also announced on his Facebook page that WhatsApp has reached 800 million monthly active users.

Google rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus

Google has announced that it has started rolling out the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus users. The Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will get an over the air (OTA) software update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The newly launched Nexus 5X and 6P along with the upcoming Google Pixel C tablet will ship with Android 6.0, straight from the factory.
For Nexus users who wish to get the immediate update, images for the Nexus 6, 5, 9, player, and 7 (2013) are available for download at the Nexus system image page. The final build of 6.0 is called “MRA58K.” The build has no major differences from the Android M Developer Preview #3 that has been out almost for a month and a half and, it’s just bugfixes.
For those who can wait, the over-the-air update for Nexus will arrive any day now. After the Android 6.0 file is downloade, owners will receive a notification with steps to walk through the installation process.
Google also stated that for those who take their devices to work and wish to learn more about security and other work features in Android Marshmallow can register  for the Android for Work Live online event on November 4.

Apple acquires Perceptio, a startup developing AI technology for smartphones

Apple has reportedly acquired Perceptio, a startup developing technology to allow companies to run artificial intelligence systems on smartphones. As of now, no financial details of the deal have been disclosed.
Colin Johnson, a company spokesman stated, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Perceptio leaders Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone are said to be both established AI researchers who specialise in developing image-recognition systems using deep learning. According to the report, deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence that lets computers learn to identify and classify sensory input.
The company’s goal is to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones without having the need to draw our large sums of data. In the past, Perceptio had also released an app called Smoothie, using their AI skills and some advanced software algorithms.
Last week, Apple confirmed that it had acquired a UK-based startup called VocalIQ. The company had developed a voice assistant that it claimed was superior Siri. Both these acquisitions seem to be headed in a direction where in it can give competition to Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now.

Twitter rolls out new feature called Highlights on Android

Micro-blogging website Twitter has said it was launching a new feature called Highlights on the Android platform.
The new feature, which will support over 35 languages, will enable users to see a summary of Twitter activities based on their earlier set preferences and relevance in turn saving time and effort to go through the whole timeline or jump from one page to the other.
“While your home timeline is a great place to browse and engage with Tweets, we know it can be challenging to find the time to get through everything you’d like to see. No matter how much time you spend with Twitter, we want you to get the most out of using it,” Volodymyr Zhabiuk, senior software engineer at Twitter, wrote in a blog post.
“To create your Highlights, we look at things like the accounts and conversations that are popular among people you follow, tweets from people you’re closely tied to, topics and events that are trending in your area or within your network, and people that are popular or trending among people you follow,” he explained.
The users will get a notification as soon as the Highlights are ready via phone.
“We’re rolling out this experience on Android first and will consider bringing Highlights to other platforms in the future,” Zhabiuk added.

‘Shoto’ photo sharing app for friends launched for Android and iOS

Indian-origin entrepreneur Sachin Dev Duggal, based in San Francisco, on Friday globally launched a new photo sharing app “Shoto” here.
“A trillion pictures were taken on a smartphone in the last one year which goes to show the engagement by users. Users are now more interested in photos which were clicked by others but curation always has been a problem. Shoto makes getting photos clicked by friends on various occasions easier,” Duggal told IANS.
“Shoto tells you how many photos were taken with friends or family members from times spent together and easily lets users share photos and create private or public albums.
“It collects metadata from the phone and asks the user if he or she wants to share the photos, so the privacy issue is also taken care of,” he explained.
The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store, can be downloaded in over 120 countries with local language support. Among the languages available are Hindi, Spanish, French and Mandarin.
Shoto, which was in beta mode till Friday, cost the founder $1.2 million in development. It was founded in 2013 with the intent to solve the inefficiencies often attributed with sharing photos.
The app company also got funding of $1.5 million from investors like Real Ventures and Kunal Nayyar, the Indian-origin actor of popular TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.
Shoto is also a partner of the UN Foundation since June 26, 2015.

Xiaomi officially working on its first laptop

Recently, there were reports of Chinese company Xiaomi – popular for its smartphones –working towards a new laptop range.
Since Xiaomi borrows heavily from Apple in terms of design, the range of laptops are expected to take on Apple’s Macbook range. Richard Lee, Chairman of Inventec Corp confirmed that his company is making the first notebook computer product for Xiaomi in China.
Quoting Lee, the report added, that a subsidiary “Inventec Appliance Corp, which assembles Xiaomi’s smartphones, is to jointly design and manufacture the Chinese company’s first notebook products in Inventec’s plants in China.”
Lee also confirmed that shipping of  Xiaomi’s notebook computers would commence in “the first or second quarter of next year”.
It had been reported that Xiaomi will most likely go with a 15-inch notebook size and will bundle the laptops with Linux OS. Approximate price points of the notebook are speculated to be in the CNY 2,999 region which roughly translates to Rs 31,500.
If you have followed Xiaomi since its entry into India, there were speculations of it releasing a laptop in the past as well. It has also been speculated over the past few months that the Xiaomi laptops would ship with Linux. However, since the launch of Windows 10, we wonder if Xiaomi has been working with Microsoft to launch the devices with the latest version of Windows operating system.

Microsoft develops its own version of Linux-based OS for cloud-based services

Microsoft is currently working on a Linux-based operating system which will not be running on desktops or laptops but, is aimed at driving the networking hardware in the enterprise space. The company is working on building Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), a software which will make it simpler to control hardware which powers cloud-based services.
Kamala Subramanian, Redmond’s principal architect for Azure Networking describes the new Azure Cloud Switch as a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux.
ACS allows us to debug, fix and test software bugs much faster. She points out that, “It also allows us the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for our datacenter and our networking needs.”
ACS strives for easier configuration and management by integrating with Microsoft’s monitoring and diagnostics system. By deviating from the traditional enterprise interactive model of command line interfaces, it allows for switches to be managed just as servers are with weekly software rollouts and roll backs thus ensuring a mature configuration and deployment model.
Subramanian says, “We’re talking about ACS publicly as we believe this approach of disaggregating the switch software from the switch hardware will continue to be a growing trend in the networking industry and we would like to contribute our insights and experiences of this journey starting here.”

Facebook will not withdraw from India

Defending its free Internet platform internet.Org, Facebook on Thursday said net neutrality principle arose when operators started selling different levels of speed to provide faster access to certain services.
“When users purchase Internet access, they should be able to go where they want to, and that concept of net neutrality rules in context of operators who originally wanted to sell different tiers of speeds to consumers so that certain services can be accessed on a faster basis,” Facebook Vice President for Mobile and Global Access Policy Kevin Martin said at the India Economic Convention 2015.
He said that Facebook supports the concept of net neutrality and its programme internet.Org is to enable people to realise the importance of Internet by providing access to basic web service free of data cost.
Through internet.Org, mobile users can access websites available on the platform for free. Even websites are not required to pay any charge for coming on to the platform, but need to follow certain technical criteria for joining it, he said.
Additionally, neither Facebook nor other websites are required to pay for Internet usage by end users.
A government panel in India has criticised this kind of platform, saying this can act as a gatekeeper and should not be allowed. However, the social media giant says it is a gateway to access Internet and not a gatekeeper.
Martin said that Facebook is looking forward to launching a special Wi-Fi service in India which will help subsidise cost of accessing Internet.
“We also have our connectivity lab which is looking at Drones and unmanned aerial vehicle to lower the cost of service to people without infrastructure. We are rolling out a kind of Wi-Fi service at a lower cost which is trying to adjust cost issue in other countries and looking out to do that in India,” Martin said.
“The only limitation for any developer to participate (in internet.Org) is that it has to be structured so that it uses limited amount of bandwidth,” Martin said.
He said that Facebook also has different set up for its own service that it provides through internet.Org.
“It doesn’t have any advertising, videos on it so that users can fully utilise it and at the same time do not use too much bandwidth,” Martin said.

LG will host an event on 1 October in New York; may announce the dual-display V10

LG has sent out invites to the media for an event which will take place on October 1 in New York City. The company has not announced as to what it will unveil but it looks like LG will unveil the dual display smartphone called V10.
Judging by the above invite, it looks like LG might present some sought of a movie theme during the launch.
According to rumoured specifications, the smartphone is said to include an ‘auxiliary ticker display’, which has been previously seen on Samsung’s Continuum smartphone, which was introduced in 2010. The handset which has  indicates that the device is said to have a 5.7-inch display along with a Snapdragon 808 processor paired with 3GB RAM.
It is said to be equipped with a 16MP rear camera along with a 5MP front facing camera. The LG V10 will most likely have an internal storage at 64GB and can be further expanded via microSD card. In addition, the device will also include a finger-print scanner.
In line with the recent report about Google launching two Nexus devices on september 29, a new report now reveals more details about the LG-built Nexus smartphone.
According to a report  LG built Google device will be named Nexus 5X and will carry a price tag that is slightly more than the original Nexus 5. Citing sources related to the matter, the report further adds that the Nexus 5X will go on sale starting September 29.

Twitter partners with Stripe to expand ‘buy buttons’

Payments processing company Stripe Inc launched a new tool on Monday that will connect retailers and brands to sell on platforms like Twitter and tap an increasing number of consumers shopping on mobile apps.
Twitter’s adoption of Stripe’s new product, Relay, is expected to help the microblogging site further dabble in e-commerce and generate revenue through its “buy buttons,” which lets shoppers buy a product and enter payment and shipping information without leaving Twitter’s platform.
Twitter has been struggling to increase its audience and in July said its number of monthly average users grew at its slowest pace since it went public in 2013.
“Almost two-thirds of our users say they bought something specifically because of what they saw on Twitter. … As mobile and social (media) continue to grow, consumers are going to discover and transact right in the apps where they spend their time every day,” Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce, said at a launch event in San Francisco, where both companies are based.
Stripe, which makes software that helps businesses accept various types of payments on websites and in apps, counts grocery-delivery startup Instacart, ride-sharing app Lyft and e-commerce platform Shopify among its clients.
The payments company’s new Relay product functions as a universal sell button for retailers, allowing companies like eyewear brand Warby Parker to list products in a single place and sell them directly on Twitter as well as other e-commerce platforms like ShopStyle.
A smoother shopping experience is crucial to online retailers as they often blame the high rates of unfinished or abandoned online sales on the tiring process of re-entering payment information.
Stripe’s chief executive and co-founder, Patrick Collison, who was also at the event, likened the common difficulty of completing purchases through mobile devices to “an obstacle course,” noting that two-thirds of mobile shopping carts are abandoned before the transaction is completed.

Facebook now allows anyone with a verified account to use Mentions app

Facebook is now expanding its Mentions and live blogging app to more users which as of now, is only available on the iOS App Store. The platform, which was previously available for certain celebrities such as musicians and actors will now be open to any individual with a verified account Mentions account.
According to the Facebook Blog, you can report from the scene with Live, host a Q&A and connect in real-time with your followers. You can also check out what people are saying about you and other topics you follow. In addition, you can also see what topics are currently trending on Facebook.
The new Mentions app will also let you too choose the audience you want to share your text, links, photos or anything else. For example, Facebook states that you can share a post so only your followers see it in News Feed.
With this attempt, Facebook wants more and more journalists to use its platform as their distribution channel of choice. This will allow them to post live to Facebook during breaking news or to host live Q&As with followers as well.
Users with a verified profile can log in with their Facebook credentials to start connecting with their followers but if you’re a public figure and believe your Page or profile should be verified, you can fill out this form.
The whole deal is to make it simpler for people with verified pages to manage their Facebook account by viewing posts that mention them. It will also help these people to respond more quickly and easily via the dedicated app. Facebook Mentions also shows a timeline of posts that reference the particular user.
Facebook calls it an authentic way to connect with fans. Besides access to the video on News Feed, people who have recently interacted with a celebrity’s posts will receive a notification when the broadcast begins.

3D Touch: Apple’s pressure-based screens promise a world beyond cold glass

By adding a more realistic sense of touch to its iPhone, Apple Inc may have conquered a technology that has long promised to take us beyond merely feeling the cold glass of our mobile device screens.
In its latest iPhones, Apple included what it calls 3D Touch, allowing users to interact more intuitively with their devices via a pressure-sensitive screen which mimics the feel and response of real buttons.
In the long run, the force-sensitive technology also promises new or better applications, from more lifelike games and virtual reality to adding temperature, texture and sound to our screens.
“Force Touch is going to push the envelope of how we interact with our screens,” says Joel Evans, vice president of mobile enablement at Mobiquity, a mobile consultancy.
The fresh iPhones, unveiled on Wednesday, incorporate a version of the Force Touch technology already in some Apple laptop touchpads and its watches. Apple also announced a stylus that includes pressure sensing technology.
As with previous forays, from touch screens to fingerprint sensors, Apple isn’t the first with this technology, but by combining some existing innovations with its own, it could leverage its advantage of control over hardware, interface and the developers who could wrap Force Touch into its apps.
“Here we go again. Apple’s done it with gyroscopes, accelerometers, they did it with pressure sensors, they’ve done it with compass, they’ve been great at expediting the adoption of these sensors,” said Ali Foughi, CEO of US-based NextInput, which has its own technology, trademarked ForceTouch. “Apple is at the forefront.”
Haptic technology – a tactile response to touching an interface – isn’t new, even in mobile devices. Phones have long vibrated to alert users of incoming calls in silent mode, or when they touch an onscreen button.
But efforts to go beyond that have been limited.
BlackBerry incorporated pressure sensing into its Storm phone in 2008. And Rob Lacroix, vice president of engineering at Immersion Corp, said his company worked in 2012 with Fujitsu on the Raku-Raku Smartphone, an Android phone that could distinguish between a soft and firm touch to help users unfamiliar with handheld devices.
But most efforts have been hamstrung by either a poor understanding of the user’s needs, or technical limitations. A vibrating buzz, for instance, has negative connotations, causing most people to turn off any vibration feature, says James Lewis, CEO of UK-based Redux, which has been working on similar touch technology for several years.
The technology powering vibrations is also primitive, he said, meaning there’s a slight delay and a drain on the battery. Early versions of pressure-sensing technology also required a slight gap between screen and enclosure, leaving it vulnerable to the elements.
Apple seems to have solved such problems, experts said, judging from their trackpads and the Apple Watch. Indeed, the trackpad carries the same sensation of a physical click of its predecessors, but without the actual pad moving at all.
The result: In the short term, Force Touch may simply make interacting with a screen more like something we’d touch in real life – a light switch, say, or a physical keyboard. With Force Touch, the device should be able to tell not only whether we are pressing the screen, but how firmly. It should in turn respond with a sensation – not just a vibration, but with a click – even if that click is itself a trick of technology.
“What we’re going to see initially is putting life back into dead display,” said Redux’s Lewis. “We just got used to the cold feel of glass.”
To be sure, mobile is not the first industry to flirt with haptics.
For example, for car drivers, Redux demonstrates a tablet-like display which creates the illusions of bumps and friction when you run your fingers over the glass, mimicking physical buttons and sliders so your eyes don’t need to leave the road.
Mobiquity’s technical adviser Robert McCarthy points to several potential uses of Apple’s technology – measuring the force of touch when entering a password, say, to indicate how confident the user is of their selection, or keying in a numeric passcode using different pressure levels as an extra layer of security.
While Apple’s adoption of the technology has awoken the mobile industry to its possibilities, it was pipped to the post by Chinese handset maker Huawei, which this month unveiled one model with what it also tagged Force Touch technology. Pressing harder in a photo app, for example, allows you to zoom in on a picture without the usual two-finger spread.
Other manufacturers are exploring how to make touching a device more friendly, and more advanced, says Freddie Liu, CFO of Taiwan-based TPK Holding Co Ltd, an Apple supplier.
“This is just the beginning for Force Touch,” he said.

Amazon will soon release a tablet which costs $50

Online retailer plans to release a $50 tablet in time for the holiday season.The 6-inch screen tablet comes with a mono speaker and is priced much lower than Amazon’s Fire tablet, the cheapest variant of which is sold at $99.
The company was not immediately available for comment. Amazon also plans to release 8-inch and 10-inch screen tablets, the report said. While other Amazon Fire tablets show advertisements as screen savers, it was not clear if the new 6-inch tablet’s cost included ads, according to the report.
In addition, these tablets are said to be simple and are intended for streaming videos, browsing through social media and one more medium for shopping online via Amazon’s website.
According to the report, Amazon outsourced much of the development to overseas firms including Shanghai Huaqin Telecom Technology and Taiwan’s Compal Communications in an attempt to lower the cost for the new 6-inch tablet.
With an affordable price tag, the devices might carry ‘inferior specifications’ but no confirmed information has been provided. However, this might set these tablets apart from the ones manufactured by Apple, Samsung and others which fall under a premium bracket.

YU introduces YUPIX smart mobile printer; now print photos from smartphone

Indian electronics brand YU Televentures, owned by Micromax has launched a portable photo printer called the YUPIX.
According to YU, the YUPIX prints 2.1 x 3.4 inch sized digital photos at a resolution of 291 dpi in 60 seconds. The printer itself is pocket sized and weighs 273 grams.
 After installing the YUPIX app, you can edit and print photographs without a computer. The YUPIX can print edited photos with a resolution of 1280 x 1920 (2.5MP). Images can be transferred via Wi-Fi or an NFC enabled connection and the device is compatible with Android smartphones as well iPhones.
Since the YUPIX uses dye sublimation for printing images, its unique cartridge doesn’t require a cleaning roll. It includes an Ink Ribbon with Photo Paper Integrated into it apart. In addition, it is also water and finger print proof. The YUPIX will be available on from 7 September for Rs 6,999.
The YUPIX measures 2.99 x 6.01 x 0.94 inch and is powered by a 750 mAh battery. It is interesting to see the introduction of devices such as the YUPIX. Interestingly at IFA, an instant digital camera that prints images without using ink! It accomplishes the task of printing crystal clear images by using a thermally sensitive paper with ink crystals. It seems the industry sees potential in helping consumers recreate their digital moments in print, the personalised way.

IFA 2015: Samsung unveils its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player

At IFA, Korean giant Samsung unveiled its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which supports UHD Blu-ray disc playback as well. As of now, the company has not provided any details regarding pricing or availability.
The player, which is capable of providing four times the resolution and 64 times higher colour expression compared to standard Blu-ray, is capable of upscaling content to provide UHD resolution for any disc. Additionally 4K streaming services are available. The Ultra HD Blu-ray Player features a sleek, curved design, which goes well with Samsung Curved SUHD TVs.
In addition, the company stated that it is committed to expanding the ecosystem for Ultra HD or 4K content. To deliver more UHD content worldwide, the company has also partnered with a number of firms including Amazon, Netflix, British Telecom, and Canal Plus.
“For Samsung, IFA 2015 is all about the Internet of Things. We are certain that IoT will revolutionize the world of consumer electronics, and this is our opportunity to update you on how far we have come in just a year,” said Dr W.P. Hong, Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung Electronics.
“Every year, Samsung sells more than 300 million products to European consumers. Today, our products are used by 85 million Europeans – at home, and increasingly at work. No organization is better placed to ensure that the latest industrial revolution is driven not by technology, but by people’s expectations. Our vision is of an IoT that’s ‘In Sync With Life’, that’s an IoT for you.”

Microsoft Snip will offer screenshots on Windows with music and scribbles

Microsoft has introduced a new beta app called Snip, which aims to ease the process of taking screenshots on touch-enabled screens for Windows computers. Once installed, the app not only takes screenshots, but will also annotate it and add music to it as well.
The new beta tool can be installed on Windows 7 and Windows 10 from here. Microsoft Snip will float on the screen so that one can quickly take a screenshot of the screen or a particular area, as and when required.
This office tool captures are mostly copied automatically to the clipboard but, if one adds audio to it, it will automatically get transformed  into an MP4 file that can be embedded on websites or viewed from a URL. However, the beta app is said to be a little ‘buggy’ as of now but there is scope for improvement.
Most people will be familiar with ‘Snipping Tool’ which is already present on Windows but the new enhanced Microsoft Snip is said to be a leap forward. The app, which is a smarter variant of the Snipping Tool, enhances screenshots and makes them easier to share or doodle over them too. The report points out that there are a variety of screenshot and screen capture tools for Windows but most of them are not free.