Gadgets 360 Staff, 28 April 2017
- Google Pixel and Pixel XL to be classified as end-of-life in late 2018
- Amazon sees India as a huge growth market and is investing heavily
- Xiaomi is backing and selling a blatant Apple Watch lookalike in China
Google has confirmed that the Pixel and Pixel XL, its first self-branded smartphones, will continue to receive major Android updates till October 2018, and important security updates for another year after that. The devices have been added to a list of devices with official end-of-life dates on Google's support website.
This would give both devices an effective upgrade window of two years from the time that they were first launched. They will be eligible to receive the Android O update after it releases later this year, and apparently the next major version after that. Users can continue to use their Pixel or Pixel XL phones till October 2019 with the assurance that they will receive patches to prevent against threats and vulnerabilities discovered up to that point, but after that, there is no guarantee of compatibility.
Last year, Google had indicated that the Pixel devices would receive updates for two years. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X which launched in 2015 will receive updates till September 2017 and security patches till September 2018.
Amazon.in is India's "most visited and fastest growing marketplace"
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that its Indian operation, Amazon.in, is the country's most visited and fastest growing marketplace. The comment was made during an earnings call in which the company reported profits that were higher than expected. Company officials also described Amazon.in as an important area for investments, and that the company sees a lot of potential in India.
Bezos said "It's still Day 1 for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we'll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India."
Prime selection has increased by 75 percent since the programme was launched last year, 18 original video series have been announced for Amazon Prime Video, and just last week, the company launched its Fire TV Stick streaming device with voice search in Hindi.
Xiaomi's new WeLoop Hey 3S smartwatch is an Apple Watch clone
Xiaomi has started selling an Apple Watch clone on its crowdfunding platform MIJIA in China. The WeLoop Hey 3S, manufactured by Xiaomi partner WeLoop, bears a striking resemblance to Apple's wearable, in particular the fitness-oriented Nike+ variant.
The device is touted to have a 30-day battery life, GPS, and a 9-axis motion sensor. The display has a resolution of 176×176 pixels and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. One of its more compelling features is a heart rate monitor. The device is supposed to be water resistant, and it is priced at CNY 539 (approximately Rs. 5,000)
Samsung, Apple still lead the global smartphone market
According to research firm IDC's latest figures, Samsung and Apple have held on to their positions at the top of the smartphone market in terms of overall shipments. Huawei has climbed up to the number three slot, and fellow Chinese companies Oppo and Vivo are placed at numbers four and five respectively.
Samsung had a 22.8 percent share of the market in the first quarter of 2017, while Apple came in at 14. 9 percent. Neither company grew much, but the overall market jumped by 4.3 percent to 347 million units. Later this year, the impact of the Galaxy S8 and upcoming iPhone will be felt, according to the company.
Apple's 2018 iPhone rumoured to support standard Qi wireless charging
The latest iPhone 8 leaks indicate that the company will add support for Qi wireless charging rather than a proprietary long-distance method, which had been rumoured some time ago. Leaked schematics purport to show dual cameras arranged vertically, and no fingerprint sensor on the rear, which might also indicate that Apple is confident that it can embed a sensor beneath the glass of a display.
The iPhone 8, or whatever it is finally called, is rumoured to have a significantly different design, marking the 10th anniversary year of the iPhone line. Apple is reportedly ditching its iconic Home button and expanding the display to cover nearly the entire front face of the device.
Samsung confirms that a new flagship is coming in late 2017
Fresh off the launch of its lifestyle flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, Samsung has confirmed that it will launch a flagship device in the second half of this year, lining up with reports that there will be a Galaxy Note 8. Samsung has traditionally launched a new Note series device towards the end of each year, but last year's model had to be recalled after a scandal broke out over the phone's unfortunate tendency to explode.
It was thought that Samsung might retire the Galaxy Note name after the fiasco which saw the Galaxy Note 7 being banned from commercial aircraft, forcibly deactivated, and recalled globally. Samsung could also have been feeling pressure to launch a new high-end device earlier than usual to fill the void left by the Galaxy Note 7, but it appears as though the company wants to proceed as if everything is normal.
No further details about the device's specifications and capabilities are known yet, but the company will need an extremely well-crafted marketing plan to convince buyers to give the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 a chance.
Zen Admire Metal smartphone launched at Rs. 5,749
Zen has launched a new ultra-budget smartphone called the Zen Admire Metal. It is touted to have a "metallic design" and supports 4G data as well as VoLTE. It has an unspecified 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The screen is a 5-inch HD panel.
The phone is aimed at budget-conscious users but aims to deliver compelling features such as the ability to run two instances of WhatsApp, one for each SIM. The device also supports 22 regional Indian languages and has a custom keyboard called Swalekh.
Facebook will target the spread of politically motivated fake news
Facebook has said that it will take action against fake accounts being used to propagate "information operations". The company has acknowledged the existence of subtle, well-funded efforts to spread misleading and politically motivated information for the purpose of gaining influence over a large number of people.
Facebook has hired veteran security experts, who have prepared a report about how the company can fight these efforts. The problem is described as more complicated than traditional scams and hacks. It is widely suspected that political interference was created to undermine the 2016 US presidential election, and that the same is happening with France's upcoming election.
Nintendo 2DS XL launched for those who don't need 3D
Nintendo has launched a new version of its 2DS console called the 2DS XL. Rather than the wedge shape of the original, this is a clamshell that fits right in with the 3DS line. It has the new C Stick input and Z trigger buttons that recent 3DS models have, and is also lighter and thinner than its predecessor. NFC allows for the support of Amiibo cards and figures, as well as digital payments at some stores in Japan.
The devices is priced at $149 (approximately Rs. 9,600) which should make it popular with a wide audience of gamers. Sales begin in Australia and New Zealand on June 15, with Japan, Canada and the US following over subsequent months.
Hajime botnet already has control over 300,000 devices
Security firm Kaspersky has announced the discovery of a new botnet called Hajime that it says is already big enough to cause significant damage if used to executed distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The company says that over 300,000 devices have been compromised, and the botnet is propagating itself aggressively through malware.
No attack has yet been detected, and the purpose of the botnet is unknown. It infects all kinds of connected IoT devices including digital video recorders, webcams and routers. It is thought to have originated and first gain footholds in Taiwan, Brazil and Vietnam.