Top 10 tech news today: Amazon Fire tablet priced at $50, Intex Aqua Trend smartphone, Apple watch India launch, Nextbit’s Robin, more
1. Amazon Fire tablet priced at $50 The thing to remember about Amazon’s new $50 Fire tablet is that it’s a $50 tablet. It’s not as light or as thin as a tablet that costs five or six times more. The camera isn’t as good, and the screen isn’t as sharp. But it works well as a budget device for the basics – reading, Facebook, video and, of course, shopping on Amazon. Over the years, Amazon.com Inc. has done a good job of making tablets affordable for the masses. The new Fire tablet is Amazon’s cheapest yet, joining a fall lineup that maxes out at $230 ($15 more if you want Amazon to remove ads on the lock screen). By contrast, Apple’s iPads start at $269, ad-free. Of course, you get less for $50. (AP) (Read more: Review: Amazon’s cheap Fire tablet does a lot for $50)
2. Intex Aqua Trend: Priced at Rs 9,990, it has a classy look and gives decent performance With all the key mobile operators in the country announcing their mega plans for 4G roll-out across different cities, the device ecosystem for 4G LTE is also catching-up gradually. Today there are many affordable 4G-enabled smartphones available in the market. Mostly thanks to Chinese smartphone makers, however the home-grown mobile manufacturer are not far behind, they are also flooding the market with their new launches. Recently, one of the key home-grown mobile manufacturer Intex Technologies sent their latest 4G enabled handset —Intex Aqua Trend for a review. Priced at R9,990, the device comes with differentiating features—accelerometer and gyroscope sensors. (Read more: Review: Amazon’s cheap Fire tablet does a lot for $50)
3. Apple watch to be launched in India on November 6 The official Apple India website on Friday said that Apple watch will be finally launched on November 6. Apple hasn’t disclosed the price yet, but it is expected to come at a starting price of Rs 36,999. In April, cross border e-commerce player Grabmore.in started taking pre-orders of the Apple Watch from Indian customers at a starting price of Rs 36,999. Grabmore.in usually gets the right price information of Apple products before they are launched in India. So, we can expect the Apple Watch Sport to be priced around Rs 36,999 for the base model. (AP)
4. Nextbit’s Robin smartphone priced at $399, up for pre-order in India Nextbit’s Robin smartphone is up for pre-order at a price of $399 (Rs 25,900 approx) on its Kickstarter page. The smartphone, which promises unlimited storage, can be shipped to India by paying an additional $70. But, it is the cloud in its DNA with Android as the base that makes it different from conventional android phones. There are so many Android smartphones, but not many can offer a serious differentiator. While custom UI and hardware specs have been the game for most manufacturers, it is still tough to figure out a clear distinguishing factor. This is where Robin comes in. Firstly, Robin is not a conventionally designed $400 Android smartphone. It is tall, square and striking in mint and midnight black colour options. Why Android? Because Nextbit’s team knows more about Android than anyone else. The company CEO Tom Moss served as Worldwide Head of Business Development for Android at Google until 2010 while its CTO Mike Chan overlooked software development right from Android 1.0 through 3.0 Honeycomb.
5. Flipkart-backed Cube26 to hire 100, bets big on Internet of Things market Indian technology firm Cube26 plans to hire about 100 people over the next two quarters as it ramps up its team to focus on the multi-billion dollar global Internet of Things (IoT) market. Flipkart and The Tiger Global-backed firm currently has a team of 65 people and works with handset vendors like Micromax, Panasonic, Intex and Karbonn to customise solutions. The company will hire 100 more people in the next one or two quarters and open an office in Bangalore, focussed on data science and analytics, he added. The company has raised Rs 50 crore in seed funding from Tiger Global and Flipkart.
6. Instagram short ‘Boomerang’ videos aim to hook users Instagram unveiled a new feature allowing users to post one-second video “loops” in an effort to keep up with rivals offering animated images. “Boomerang” is a new video application “that lets you turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected,” the Facebook-owned picture-sharing network said in a blog post. “Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video.Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again.”
7. Google seeks common cause with media firms over ad blocking Google says European media firms, often the search giant’s harshest industry critics, share a common threat because a surge in ad-blocking technology is a threat to all businesses dependent on advertising. Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, Google’s president for EMEA strategic relationships, told a media conference in Munich on Thursday that consumers “hate bad ads”, and that Google and content creators must do more to protect consumers from obtrusive ads. “The problem is that ad blockers that block all ads are throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” d’Asaro Biondo said, according to prepared comments for the conference. “We need to work together to create a standard for better ads online.” (Reuters)
8. Better search rankings seen key to eBay’s growth After a surprisingly strong quarter shorn of PayPal, further growth for eBay Inc will rest on its ability to make its website more visible to those searching for items to buy. EBay’s shares rose as much as 13.5 percent on Thursday, a day after the company reported a better-than-expected profit for its first quarter since it spun off PayPal Holdings Inc , the payments processing business that had been its main engine of growth. At least seven analysts covering eBay’s stock raised their price target, to a high of $33, while at least two cut their targets, to a low of $29. EBay’s shares were trading at $26.89 at midday. EBay, a pioneer in online auctioning, is facing growing competition from not only rivals such as Amazon.com Inc but from traditional retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc that are boosting their presence online. (AP)
9. Cloud services bolster Microsoft Corporation results, shares soar Microsoft Corporation reported better-than-expected quarterly adjusted revenue for the ninth quarter in a row, boosted by burgeoning demand for its cloud products, sending its shares soaring in after-hours trading on Thursday. The company, under Chief Executive Satya Nadella, has been shifting its focus to software and cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows in a weak PC market. “The Nadella strategy is working and you are seeing the results in the quarter,” Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler said. Microsoft’s shares rose as much as 9.8 percent to $52.75 in after-hours trading, their highest since March 2000. (AP)
10. Activision’s ‘Guitar Hero’ reboot kicks out the jams I’ve been to dozens of rock concerts, and there are a few things I’ve always wondered: What’s it like to perform in front of a stadium full of adoring fans? How much nerve does it take to stage-dive into a mosh pit? Why is there a guy wearing a panda costume backstage? ”Guitar Hero Live” (Activision, for the PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U, $99.99) tries to answer those questions by giving you a first-person perspective of a big rock festival. You pace as roadies hand you your gear and groupies cheer you on. You bump fists with the drummer as you make your way to the stage. You bask in the glory as the audience chants your band’s name. (AP)(Read more: Game Review: Activision’s ‘Guitar Hero’ reboot kicks out the jams)
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