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Category: shopping guide

Xiaomi Mi A1 Finally Receiving Android 8.1 Oreo Update; Known Bug Wipes SMS Messages on Install


Xiaomi Mi A1, the Chinese phone maker’s one and only Android One-based smartphone, has finally started receiving its Android 8.1 Oreo software update, and it includes the June Android security patch. While the update is rolling out over-the-air (OTA), users can also flash the Fastboot ROM. Notably however, the update is rolling out with a known bug at the moment, which wipes the phone’s SMS history. However, users can easily avoid the issue by using a third party SMS backup app. File size of the update is said to be around 1.2GB.

The update is rolling out in India and Philippines already, as per several users in these countries. To recall, the Xiaomi Mi A1 was launched in September 2017 with Android 7.1 Nougat, with the phone getting an Android 8.0 Oreo update in January this year. Part of Google’s Android One programme, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is guaranteed to get major Android updates till two years after launch. We can expect the smartphone to get the upcoming Android P update soon after its stable release later this year.

As we mentioned, the Android 8.1 Oreo update for the Xiaomi Mi A1 that’s currently rolling out will wipe your SMS messages history, something the company itself acknowledges via a moderator on the announcement post. Users are also reporting the issue on Twitter and MIUI forums, and the issue appears when the Messages app is swiped up from Recents tab for the first time after the update. There is currently no fix for the bug from Xiaomi, beyond backing up and restoring after the wipe. A trusted SMS backup and restore app can be found here. We have reached out for a comment and will update the story accordingly. Thus, we’d advise caution before pressing the update button.

Elaborating on the changelog of the update, the latest OTA on the Mi A1 brings the June security patch and a new power menu layout. With the update, the display shows a tint when power menu is open, Settings/ System UI theme adapts to colour of the wallpaper, audio quality is claimed to be better, and the launcher gets an update. To download and install the OTA, go to Settings > About Phone > System Updates. You should automatically get the update; if not, click on Check for Updates. If, despite that, there are no OTA updates available, users can update their Google Play Services framework to v12.2.09 or higher, from here. You can alternatively download the Fastboot ROM with a file size of about 1.2GB, but completely wipes the smartphone – a backup will be required. This ROM will also require an unlocked bootloader.



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Mobiistar Is Here to Change What You Expect From a Budget Smartphone


Mobiistar was established back in 2009 in Vietnam with a vision to offer a great user experience to smartphone users. After becoming one of the top smartphone brands in Vietnam, the company started expanding to other countries in South East Asia and the GCC region. 

The company’s goal is to help increase mobile phone adoption by offering affordable smartphones with exceptional user experience. There’s a perception amongst customers that if a phone is priced lower, it may not offer a decent user experience. But Mobiistar is looking to change all that. 

Despite a crowded market at the entry-level segment, Mobiistar has managed to become one of the top smartphone brands in Vietnam. After its success in the home country and other markets, the company is now looking to make its mark in countries like India. 

The Indian smartphone market is expanding quite rapidly. A lot of consumers are still buying their first smartphone. There was a time when Indian consumers would stick to a preferred brand no matter what other companies offered. However, all that is changing quite rapidly. Consumers are willing to buy mobile phones from other companies if they sense a better value for money. 

Mobiistar’s vision to offer a great user experience at the entry-level fits perfectly with what the Indian smartphone users  need right now. The company has launched two new smartphones in the entry-level segment: CQ and XQ Dual. Both the smartphones offer great value for money at their respective price points. 

The Mobiistar CQ is a selfie-centric camera which features a 13-megapixel camera with Beauty Mode. At the rear, the phone comes with an 8-megapixel camera that can take high-quality photos and videos. The Mobiistar CQ is compatible with VoLTE networks in India which means consumers can enjoy better network coverage, faster data, and better call quality. The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 processor and the phone ships with a 3020mAh battery. On top of it, the CQ features a 5-inch HD screen that makes everything look even better. The phone is priced at just Rs. 4,999 in India. 

The Mobiistar XQ Dual is the second smartphone that the company is offering in India. The phone features a dual selfie camera setup which consists of a 13-megapixel camera along with an 8-megapixel camera. This adds a whole new layer of depth and colour to your selfies. The XQ Dual includes a 13-megapixel primary camera at the back, and is powered by Snapdragon 430 SoC. The phone comes in a metal unibody case and features a 5.5-inch Full-HD display. The Mobiistar XQ Dual is priced at Rs. 7,999 in India.

Both the phones offer an exceptional value for money, both in terms of specifications and the overall user experience. Given how everyone loves taking selfies and sharing them with their friends, Mobiistar’s CQ and XQ Dual would be a perfect fit for those in the market for smartphones that offer superior value for their money.



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Microsoft Working on Dual-Display ‘Pocketable’ Surface Device for 2018 Release: Report


Microsoft Working on Dual-Display 'Pocketable' Surface Device for 2018 Release: Report

Photo Credit: Twitter/ David Breyer

Details of Microsoft’s secret Surface device codenamed Andromeda that it reportedly plans to release in 2018, have been spotted in a leaked internal document, suggesting it may come with a dual-display design, the media said. The “pocketable Surface device” that has appeared multiple times in patents is something the company has quietly incubated internally.

It will create a “new and disruptive” device category to influence the overall Surface roadmap and blur the lines between a personal computer (PC) and a mobile, The Verge reported late on Friday. According to an internal Microsoft document the device brings together innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience”.

Microsoft is reportedly experimenting with stylus input for Andromeda, so that the device could fold over like a book and a pen could be used to capture digital ink.

“Prototype devices include styluses and notepad-like apps to capture notes. Microsoft is also experimenting with Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) processors inside prototype ‘Andromeda’ devices, but it’s not clear if the company will proceed with Intel or Qualcomm for a final device,” the report added.

Microsoft first launched its Surface lineup of 2-in-1 tablets back in 2012, and only launched the first actual laptop in the series last year. A Surface Phone has been long rumoured, both hinted and denied by Microsoft. CEO Satya Nadella last year said it was still ‘possible’, as the company hadn’t completely given up on the mobile space.



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Uber Proposes Self-Regulation to Address West Bengal Government Concerns


Cab aggregator Uber on Saturday proposed measures to address concerns expressed by the West Bengal government over its fare policy, including “self-regulation” of dynamic pricing to minimise impact on riders. The West Bengal Transport Department, based on complaints from users on exorbitant fares during peak hours, had reportedly sent a 30-point questionnaire to Uber and another ride hailing firm Ola, seeking response on the surge pricing mechanism.

In a statement, the US-based Uber said, “We have submitted our response to the West Bengal Transport Department and enumerated the measures that we have decided to initiate to address the concerns of the government, and by extension, our riders.”

“During periods when there is a high imbalance in the availability of Ubers vis-a-vis the number of people requesting a ride, we propose to self-regulate the dynamic pricing multiplier between 1.9x to 2.9x to minimise impact on riders,” Regional GM (India & South Asia) Prabhjeet Singh was quoted as saying in the statement.

The company also said it provides free trips to hospitals, ensures flat fares to public transport hubs and has introduced weekly or monthly subscription-based commuter passes. Uber said that in the interest of expanding availability of transportation options for Kolkata, it has put forth a few suggestions to the state government around simplifying processes and costs for bike-taxi permits, as well as commercial four-wheeler permits.

Among other recommendations, the cab aggregator said the state government should look at introducing more schemes like ‘Gatidhara’ to spur entrepreneurship, and consider deregulation of city taxis to equip them with the benefits of technology.



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Jio Oppo Monsoon Offer: Jio’s New Offer Gives Users Benefits Worth Up to Rs. 4,900


Jio has announced a new offer for those buying an Oppo smartphone. Under the brand new Jio Oppo Monsoon offer, the telco is offering benefits worth “up to Rs. 4,900” though you may have to wait a long, long time for most of those benefits to get realised. The offer is being extended to both new and existing Jio SIM users, though you will have to buy a new Oppo 4G phone to get these benefits – existing users are out of luck. Specifically, the benefits are being offered to those who use the Jio 198 or Jio 299 recharge, which offer 2GB and 3GB of 4G data respectively every day and each come with 28-day validity.

Jio Oppo Monsoon offer details

The Jio Oppo Monsoon offers runs from June 28, 2018 to September 25, 2018. As for the benefits, Jio users will get 36 instant cashback coupons worth Rs. 50, taking the total cashback amount to Rs. 1,800. These vouchers can be used against subsequent monthly recharges for any Jio subscriber, and are valid till September 30, 2021. Apart from that, up to Rs. 1,800 will be issued to the user in three tranches of Jio Money credit, post the 13th, 26th, and 39th recharge – a wait of over three years to avail all benefits of this offer. While the Rs. 299 pack subscribers will get up to Rs. 1,800 Jio Money credit, users subscribing to the Rs. 198 can only avail up to Rs. 600 in credit.

Lastly, Rs. 1,300 worth of discount coupons from MakeMyTrip will also be part of the offer, valid till October 31, 2018, taking the total benefit to Rs. 4,900. In totality, two coupons will be provided, with one for domestic hotels and the other for domestic flight bookings. The coupons will be visible in your account within 48 hours of the first recharge. The cashback coupons (in fewer quantities) and MakeMyTrip vouchers have been part of other Jio recharge offers as well, so the real benefit on offer here is questionable.

As mentioned earlier, the Jio offer is applicable on all Oppo 4G phones, except the Realme 1 (Review).

Earlier this week, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) published its telecom subscription report for April which recorded the addition of 96 lakh new subscribers during the same month on to Jio’s 4G network. Jio currently comes in fourth in the Indian market with a market share of 17.44 percent.



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Tinder Now Encrypts Photos Shared on App


Tinder’s parent company Match Group has announced it is now encrypting photos sent between Tinder’s servers and its main application.

The announcement was made via a letter addressed to Senator Ron Wyden who had written to Tinder back in February requesting the company to encrypt photos, The Verge reported late on Friday.

“I am happy to report that ‘swipe data’ has been padded such that all actions are now the same size (effective June 19) and the images transmitted between the Tinder app and the servers are now fully encrypted as well (effective February 6; images on the web version of Tinder were already encrypted),” Jared Sane, General Counsel, Match Group, wrote in the letter.

The company, however, claimed that they had already implemented the feature on February 4 but had waited to respond to Wyden until it also adjusted a separate security feature that made all “swipe data” the same size.

The size of the “swipe data” was used by security researchers to differentiate actions from one another.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to improve our defences against malicious hackers and cyber criminals, we employ a ‘Bug Bounty Programme’ and work with skilled security researchers across the globe to responsibly identify potential issues and quickly resolve them,” Sane added.



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Vivo Nex Pop-Up Camera Bug Makes It Elevate When Not Required: Report


Vivo’s Nex range of smartphones, including the Nex A and Nex S, are the first ones in the world to launch with an elevating or pop-up selfie camera. With a near-bezel-free display, without a display notch, the selfie camera is hidden and emerges only when required. But, as per a video spotted online, that’s not always the case. The video suggests that the pop-up selfie camera on the Vivo Nex comes up while opening a chat window on Telegram, when no camera function is prompted. Other users also claim the camera pop ups while using Tencent’s QQ browser and the Ctrip app.

A video posted on Chinese social networking website Weibo, first spotted by Abacus News, shows the unintended appearance of the pop-up camera on a Vivo Nex smartphone while using messaging app Telegram. The user, in the video, opens Telegram on the smartphone, goes to New Message, and clicks on a contact to open up a new chat. The camera appears as soon as the new chat is opened, but goes back into concealment once the app is exited.

The report suggests that users have also observed similar behaviour on Tencent’s QQ browser as have some on travel booking app Ctrip. However, in both these instances, the pop-up camera seems to have appeared only partially. In a statement, Tencent stated that while the QQ browser does prompt the selfie camera, it does not record anything. This development has been blamed on Android’s camera APIs with Tencent claiming that the API is triggered because of the QR code scanning nature of the mobile browser.

The report claims that while there is no public statement from Vivo, the Chinese phone maker has notified its technical team and will follow up soon.

While privacy might be one of the biggest concerns with this development, the “bug” could actually help keep a tab on what apps are using the selfie camera without reason, something that isn’t practically possible on a smartphone that has the traditional front camera setup.



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Reliance Industries Acquires US-Based Telecom Solutions Provider Radisys


Radisys Corporation, an open telecom solutions provider, and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), have entered into a definitive agreement under which RIL will acquire Radisys for $1.72 (roughly Rs. 117) per share in cash, a joint-statement said here on Saturday.

According to sources, RIL picked up 100 per cent stake in Radisys for $74 million (roughly Rs. 506 crores).

Headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon, Radisys has nearly 600 employees with an engineering team based out of Bengaluru, and sales and support offices globally. Radisys delivers value to service providers and telecom equipment vendors by providing disruptive open-centric software, hardware and service capabilities that enable the migration to next-generation network topologies.

“Reliance and Jio have been disrupting legacy business models and establishing new global benchmarks. Radisys’ top-class management and engineering team offer Reliance rapid innovation and solution development expertise globally, which complements our work towards software-centric disaggregated networks and platforms, enhancing the value to customers across consumer and enterprise segments,” said Akash Ambani, Director of Reliance Jio. 

“This acquisition further accelerates Jio’s global innovation and technology leadership in the areas of 5G, IOT, and open source architecture adoption,” he added.

“The backing and support of India-based global conglomerate Reliance, will accelerate our strategy and the scale required by our customers to further deploy our full suite of products and services. The Radisys team will continue to work independently on driving its future growth, innovation and expansion. The addition of Reliance’s visionary leadership and strong market position will enhance Radisys’ ability to develop and integrate large-scale, disruptive, open-centric end-to-end solutions,” said Brian Bronson, CEO of Radisys.

Covington & Burling LLP is acting as legal advisor and Ernst & Young provided diligence and tax advisory services to RIL.

Raymond James & Associates is acting as financial advisor and Baker & McKenzie LLP is acting as legal advisor to Radisys.



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Whatsapp ‘Send Messages’ Group Controls Officially Rolling Out on Android, iPhone


Earlier this week, WhatsApp’s latest ‘Send Messages’ permissions feature for groups on the platform was seen rolling out on the latest Android (beta) and iPhone versions of the messaging app. In an announcement late Friday, WhatsApp revealed the official rollout of the new feature that allows group admins to restrict participants from sending messages, on the stable version of Android and iPhone. The new ‘Send Messages’ tab is available on version 2.18.70 on iPhone and version 2.18.201 on Android (stable).

“Today, we’re launching a new group setting where only admins are able to send messages to a group. One way people use groups is to receive important announcements and information, including parents and teachers at schools, community centers, and non-profit organisations. We’ve introduced this new setting so admins can have better tools for these use cases,” said WhatsApp in a blog post. The feature will be available on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone.

whatsapp send messages main

In order to use this feature, you need to be an admin of a group on WhatsApp. Open a WhatsApp Group, then go into Group Info > tap Group Settings > Send Messages. Clicking it will reveal two options: All Participants – to enable messaging for all members of the group, and Only Admins – to restrict messaging to only the group’s admins. Change in settings will be notified in the group through a broadcast message. Additionally, if the latter option is chosen, an “Only admins can send messages” prompt will replace the message field.

Group Settings also has the Edit Group Info option that allows admins to controls whether all participants can edit the group’s description or not. Both these features are accessible even if there is only one admin in the group.

Group admin controls were first rolled out back in May this year. These included the ability to control who can change group elements such as the subject, icon, and description.



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Airtel Rs. 149, Rs. 399 Prepaid Packs See Their Data Benefits Reduced


Airtel is said to have reduced data benefits on its Rs. 149 and Rs. 399 prepaid packs just in a month after bringing as much as 2.4GB of daily data offering. The latest move has once again opened the field for Reliance Jio to attract new subscribers. Just earlier this month, the New Delhi-based telco upgraded its Rs. 399 pack that was followed by the revised Rs. 149 pack that received 2GB of daily data limit for select subscribers. Jio, in contrast, offers 1.5GB data per day with its Rs. 149 and Rs. 399 packs that come with 28 days and 84 days of validity, respectively. This doubles through the Double Dhamaka offer that is ending this Saturday.

As per a report by TelecomTalk, Airtel is no longer offering 2GB daily data benefits with the Rs. 149 prepaid pack and 2.4GB daily data benefits with the Rs. 399 pack. The company has instead reportedly rolled back the packs to previous offerings. This means the Rs. 149 pack by Airtel now comes with 1GB of data per day for 28 days, whereas the Rs. 399 pack offers 1.4GB of data benefits for 84 days to some subscribers. Some subscribers are even reportedly receiving the reduced validity of 70 days with the Rs. 399 pack.

Initially, it appears that the new update is available for select subscribers as we weren’t able to spot the Rs. 149 pack at the time of filing this story, though the listing of the Rs. 399 pack on the Airtel site was showing the reduced data benefits.

Despite the reduction in data benefits, Airtel’s Rs. 149 and Rs. 399 packs are still offering unlimited voice calls and 100 SMS per day. The new update is also not likely to have any adverse impact on subscribers who are already using any of the two packs in question.

Interestingly, while Airtel is said to have decided to reduce data benefits on two of its plans, Reliance Jio, which is presently the toughest competitor in the telecom industry, is persuading a large number of subscribers through its Double Dhamaka offer that is valid until Saturday. The operator under the offer is providing users with 1.5GB of additional data benefits on a daily basis.

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