HTC 10 Comes With Apple AirPlay Support, New Ice View Case

HTC 10 Comes With Apple AirPlay Support, New Ice View Case

HTC launched its much-awaited HTC 10 smartphone and HTC 10 Lifestyle variant on Tuesday. Notably, both the HTC 10 and HTC 10 Lifestyle come with native Apple AirPlay support – something not commonly seen in Android smartphones. In addition, the firm has replaced its popular Dot View cases with the Ice View cases.

Engadget cites the company to confirm that HTC 10 and HTC 10 Lifestyle only support audio streaming via AirPlay. This means you can play music wirelessly via the Apple TV or AirPlay-enabled speaker, but cannot stream a video. The company added it will maintain support for AirPlay as and when Apple updates the specification.

Users have had various alternatives as well. They can use the AllCast app to connect their HTC 10 smartphones, or any other Android handsets for that matter, with Apple devices. Chromecast or Chromecast Audio is also one way.

htc_ice_view_cover_case.jpgWhile previous HTC flagship models came with a Dot View flip cover case, the HTC 10 now comes with an Ice View case instead. The case is available from the company’s US website at $49.99.

The HTC Ice View case features a similar design – a screen protector attached by a flexible hinge on the left. It also snaps to the back of the handset just like the Dot View case. However, there is one major difference between the two. The Ice View case sports a hard translucent plastic made front cover giving a frost glass-like look to the screen. It completely eliminates the Dot View case’s grid of holes that covered the smartphone’s display.

Users can still use the touch screen functionality over the translucent cover. Reading text messages, accessing social media, and capturing media content is possible with the flip cover. “You can take photos in a snap, read text, adjust the volume, switch between songs, turn on the flashlight and much more. HTC Ice View also supports 3rd party notifications like Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, QQ and more – so you can follow your favourite social media at a glance,” says the listing page.

Ex-GTA V Studio Boss Sues Rockstar Games for $150 Million

Ex-GTA V Studio Boss Sues Rockstar Games for $150 Million

Earlier in the year we reported that Leslie Benzies, studio head of Rockstar North, has left the company. Rockstar North was responsible for most of the Grand Theft Auto games over the years including hits such as Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, all of which credited Benzies as their producer.

Now Benzies is suing the studio for $150 million over unpaid royalties.

In September of 2014, Benzies went on sabbatical from Rockstar North. This January, the studio released a statement saying he decided not to return to work.

“In fact, when attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated,” Christopher Bakes, a partner with the Locke Lord law firm representing Benzies said in a prepared statement. “After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason.”

The lawsuit claims that GTA series creators, Dan and Sam Houser tried to force Benzies out of the company and unjustly terminating $150 million in royalty payments “based upon arbitrary actions by the company’s royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met.” Benzies also accused Sam Houser specifically of “mounting resentment” that Benzies received the same compensation from Take-Two as the Houser brothers.

At the time Rockstar issued a statement that he was not to return, it was in mediation with Benzies over unpaid royalties. Bakes states that “out-of-bounds and inaccurate press statement” represents a breach of its mediation obligations.

“Mr. Benzies has spent the bulk of his life in the video game industry, and looks forward to reaching a fair settlement so he can continue creating great entertainment software in a respectful environment that truly values the work of game developers.”

Furthermore, Take-Two the company that owns Rockstar and publishes the GTA games as well as Rockstar have counter-sued. They state that they “have sought unsuccessfully to resolve this issue through mediation and now seek judicial clarification that would resolve this controversy.” They also deny that Benzies had any good reason to leave Rockstar North.

“The Royalty Plan provides that since Benzies resigned without Good Reason, he is not entitled to any post-termination royalties. The Royalty Plan further provides that had Benzies been terminated without Cause, or had he voluntarily terminated his own employment for Good Reason, he remained eligible to receive post-termination royalties for three years, but in an amount determined solely by Sam Houser, the President of Rockstar Games,” the counter-suit reads.

Also, Take-Two and Rockstar are seeking “compensatory damages against Benzies in an amount to be determined at trial,” and they expect to be awarded “their costs, expenses, disbursements, and reasonable counsel fees in an amount to be determined at trial.”

Videocon Krypton V50DA, Krypton V50DC Launched

Videocon Krypton V50DA, Krypton V50DC Launched at Rs. 5,999 and Rs. 6,099

Videocon on Wednesday launched two new budget smartphones, the Videocon Krypton V50DA and the Krypton V50DC – priced at Rs. 5,999 and Rs. 6,099 respectively. The Android 5.0 Lollipop-based dual-SIM handsets as per the company “line up to the brand’s mission of reaching out to the emerging smartphone users of the country who demand the best Android experience on affordable cost.”

The Videocon Krypton V50DA features a 5-inch FWVGA (854×480 pixels) resolution IPS display and is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6580 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, clubbed with 1GB of RAM. It houses 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). Also included are a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

On the connectivity front, the Krypton V50DA supports 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Micro-USB, GPS, A-GPS, and FM radio. The smartphone is backed by a 3000mAh battery that is rated to deliver up to 280 hours of standby time and up to 7.5 hours of talk-time. It measures 146×74.5×10.2mm.

As for the Videocon Krypton V50DC (seen above), the smartphone features the same display size and resolution, battery capacity, inbuilt storage space, CPU, RAM, and connectivity options. However, it features an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

“Videocon Mobile Phones is committed to take forward the power of smartphone mobility in the country. We are designing the smartphones, which are affordable and match with the needs of today’s dynamic consumers. As a consumer-first mobile brand, we will continue to bring the latest smartphone innovations at cost-effective pricing and reach out to mass markets in the country.By introducing consumer-focused devices like Videocon Krypton V50DA and Videocon Krypton V50DC, our focus is to introduce high on style smartphones on regular intervals to keep the momentum ongoing in Indian smartphone market,” said Jerold Pereira, Business Head, Videocon Mobile Phones.

Meizu Pro 6 With ‘3D Press’ Display, 10-LED Ring Flash, 4GB of RAM Launched

Meizu Pro 6 With '3D Press' Display, 10-LED Ring Flash, 4GB of RAM Launched

Meizu launched its Pro 5 smartphone back in September last year and has now launched its successor, the Pro 6. The 32GB inbuilt storage variant has been priced at CNY 2,500 (roughly Rs. 25,700), while the 64GB inbuilt storage version has been priced at CNY 2,800 (roughly Rs. 28,800). The smartphones will go on sale from April 23.

The USP of the Android-based Meizu Pro 6 is its 5.2-inch Super Amoled full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution display with 3D Press functionality. The feature is Meizu’s take on the 3D Touch pressure sensitive display technology that Apple debuted with the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. The display has a pixel density of 423ppi and is protected with Gorilla Glass 3.

meizu_pro_6_moonlight_silver_rear.jpgThe smartphone is powered by a deca-core MediaTek Helio X25 processor, with the 4 Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.4GHz, 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0GHz, and 2 Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz. The deca-core processor is clubbed with 4GB LPDDR3 RAM and Mali-T880 GPU. Meizu Pro 6 features a fingerprint sensor on the home button.

The smartphone sports a 21.1-megapixel rear camera with 1/2.4 sensor size, f/2.2 aperture, and a 10-LED dual-tone ring flash. It is also supported by laser and PDAF (phase detection autofocus) features. A 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture is also included. The smartphone is backed by a 2560mAh battery that supports fast charging with mCharge 3.0 technology.

On the connectivity front, the Meizu Pro 6 comes with the support for 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.1, GPS, A-GPS, and USB Type-C connectivity. The company is yet to announce the smartphone’s availability outside the country. The smartphone measures 147.7×70.8×7.25mm, weighs 160 grams, and will be arriving in Champagne Gold, Black Star, and Moonlight Silver colour variants.

Nextbit Robin Cloud-Based Smartphone India Launch Set for April-End

Nextbit Robin Cloud-Based Smartphone India Launch Set for April-End

Nextbit last year started shipping its cloud-based Robin smartphone, with an option to ship to India, and now the company will finally be launching the handset in the country by the end of this month. The US-based company however has not yet mentioned the exact launch date for the smartphone in India.

The Nextbit Robin was launched in the US last year starting from $399 (roughly Rs. 26,000), and would currently cost you another $70 (roughly Rs. 4,600) to get it shipped to India.

Nextbit, a startup that boasts of veterans from Apple, Google, and HTC on its team, has given the Robin top-of-the-line hardware specifications, and addresses the limited storage issue in smartphones with a cloud-based storage solution. It automatically backs up photos and other data that you haven’t used recently to the cloud to free up space on your device.

The Nexbit Robin comes with a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display which is embedded in a funky plastic body. It is powered by Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of inbuilt storage that can’t be expanded using a microSD card – instead there is 100GB of free cloud storage space. The device also comes with a fingerprint sensor.

Other features of the Nextbit Robin include a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2680mAh battery, and a USB Type-C charging port. The single-SIM capable device supports LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi and other connectivity options. On the software side, the device will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The company noted that the Robin is completely carrier unlocked. The bootloader of the device is unlocked too, which essentially means that one could flash their own favoured custom Android ROMs on the handset. The handset comes in two colour variants: Mint and Midnight.

First Expandable Habitat on ISS Set for Installation

First Expandable Habitat on ISS Set for Installation

The first expandable habitats for astronauts that may help set the design of deep space habitats including on Mars is set to be installed to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 16.

Expandable habitats are designed to take up less room on a rocket but provide greater volume for living and working in space once expanded.

This first test of an expandable module will allow investigators to gauge how well the habitat performs overall and how well it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space.

Once the test period is over, BEAM will be released from the space station and will burn up during its descent through Earth’s atmosphere.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be attached to the station’s Tranquility module over a period of about four hours, the US space agency said in a statement.

Using the robotic arm, ground controllers at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will remove BEAM from the unpressurised trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft.

Nasa astronauts aboard the station will secure BEAM using common berthing mechanism controls.

BEAM was launched aboard Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 8.

At the end of May, the module will be expanded to nearly five times its compressed size of 7 feet in diameter by 8 feet in length to roughly 10 feet in diameter and 13 feet in length.

Astronauts will first enter the habitat about a week after expansion and, during a two-year test mission, will return to the module for a few hours several times a year to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions.

The BEAM project is co-sponsored by Nasa’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

Ola Auto Service Expanded to 12 More Indian Cities

Ola Auto Service Expanded to 12 More Indian Cities

Transportation mobile app Ola Wednesday launched auto rickshaws in 12 more cities, taking the service to a total of 24 cities across the country.

Ola said it is targeting to serve at least two million daily rides by end of 2017 through its app by getting on-board hundreds of thousands of auto rickshaw drivers on its platform over the year in these cities.

“Ola has over 1,00,000 auto rickshaws registered on its platform across 24 cities and plans to launch in more cities in the coming months,” the company said in a statement.

The new cities that were launched Bhopal, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Kota, Surat, Madurai, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Jodhpur, Visakhapatnam and Udaipur.

The company said its autos are available 24×7 in all the 24 cities and it has also launched a new billing system that will record the details of the trip including time of booking, distance travelled and fare payable, either in cash or through Ola Money.

“Users can request a bill on completion of their ride from the Ola app and pay for their rides with Ola money,” it added. In the past one year, Ola said it has brought a convenient hailing experience for users and predictable and continuous demand for driver entrepreneurs, helping them earn as much as 40 per cent additional revenue on a daily basis.

“Autos as a ubiquitous mode of transportation in Indian cities, already serve hundreds of millions of users everyday. By bringing them on the Ola app, we are transforming the mobility experience for users and improving the revenue opportunity for auto driver-partners,” Nitesh Prakash, Senior Director, Operations at Ola said.

Flipkart Chief Product Officer Punit Soni Quits Company

Flipkart Chief Product Officer Punit Soni Quits Company

Putting an end to rumours that have been doing the rounds for a few months, a Flipkart spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that Puneet Soni has stepped down from his position as the Chief Product Officer of Flipkart. So far, the company hasn’t offered any comment on who will be replacing him in the company.

Soni, who joined the company in March 2015, was formerly a Senior Product Leader at Google and Motorola in the US, a position he quit in September 2014.

He was one of the high profile hires for the company, and was managing a 400-person strong product team at Flipkart, overseeing the launch of features like image search and Ping, which introduced a messaging layer to the app, and was responsible for design, marketing, analytics, and sales events like Big Billion Days. In 2015, there was plenty of confusion on whether the company was going to quit the desktop, and focus solely on its app, much like Myntra, the fashion portal it operates. In November, Flipkart had notably launched Flipkart Lite, which brought an app-like functionality to the Web client.Soni’s exit comes on the back of other high profile exits at Flipkart – Mukesh Bansal, who joined Flipkart following the acquisition of Myntra in 2014, and Ankit Nagori, Chief Business Officer, who both quit the firm in February 2016. In January, Flipkart had named Binny Bansal as the CEO, and named Sachin Bansal as the Executive Chairman of the company.

Google to Give Training to 1 Million Africans to Boost Jobs

Google to Give Training to 1 Million Africans to Boost Jobs

Google is scaling up its digital skills training programs to accommodate a million Africans in the next year, aiming to deal with high unemployment numbers on the continent.

The US tech giant plans to train 300,000 people in South Africa, it said in a statement Tuesday, a country where 35 percent of 15-to-34-year-olds are unemployed. A further 400,000 Nigerians and 200,000 Kenyans will receive free digital training, while another 100,000 people will be selected from other sub-Saharan Africa countries.

“Google is in Africa for the long haul and we are making an investment in talent,” Google South Africa country head Luke Mckend said. “We hope that the people trained will become pioneers in the field and do great things in digital for companies and for Google.”

He said more needed to be done to support people in Africa in order to succeed in the digital world. “The Internet offers huge opportunities to start new businesses and grow existing ones, and we’re committed to helping Africans make the most of the digital revolution.”

The company has partnered with Livity Africa to develop training programs and is rolling out a new online education portal for learners in the region. “We’re also talking to a number of other potential partners across Africa with a view to scaling the digital skills training program and helping to reach even more young people in more countries,” Google said in a statement.

African Internet bandwidth increased 41 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to a TeleGeography Global Internet Geography report. Research conducted by Google suggests Africa will have 500 million Internet users by 2020.

Large US tech companies such as Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., Apple, Amazon and Facebook have been under public scrutiny globally for the relatively low tax payments they make outside the United States. Partly to shore up their credentials as good corporate citizens, the companies have often funded free education programs and touted the number of jobs their businesses have helped create.

Google said in February that it had trained one million Europeans in digital skills and committed to training another million by the end of 2017. The company has also joined the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, an effort to educate more Europeans for jobs in the information technology sector, along with companies such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Oracle, Samsung, SAP and Telefonica.

Facebook, in 2014, backed the UK’s Web for Everyone campaign, which sought to train Britons in Internet-related skills. Apple, meanwhile, has announced it is opening a training center in Naples, Italy, to encourage Europeans to learn to code. The company has also highlighted the number of jobs it has created in Europe, both directly through its stores and data centers, and through the companies that create apps for its iOS ecosystem.

Amazon said in January that 10,000 new jobs in Europe were the result of its business in 2015 and that it would create “several thousand more” this year.

Logitech Buys Wireless Audio Wearables Maker Jaybird for $50 Million

Logitech Buys Wireless Audio Wearables Maker Jaybird for $50 Million

Logitech on Tuesday announced it has agreed to acquire Salt Lake City-based Jaybird for approximately $50 million in cash. The company in a press statement added that an additional earn-out of up to $45 million is planned “based on achievement of growth targets over the next two years.”

Jaybird is best known for its wireless audio wearables, focused on athletes and other active users. The acquisition will help Logitech cater to the wireless audio wearables market, rather than develop such products from scratch. The move is also being speculated to help the company be a frontrunner in the race for wireless and USB powered audio products, what with rumours of Apple doing away with the 3.5mm jack on its next iPhone, and several Android manufacturers adopting the USB Type-C specification. Logitech said it will not phase out the Jaybird brand.

“Logitech and Jaybird share a passion for products,” said Bracken Darrell, Logitech President and CEO. “We’re impressed by the technology, products and marketing Jaybird has brought to this business. As one team, we can address the fast-growing wireless audio wearables market with all the advantages of Jaybird’s strong brand and sports expertise, and our combined audio engineering and design capabilities. With both the Ultimate Ears and Jaybird brands in our portfolio, we are expanding the long-term growth potential of our music business,” he added.

Judd Armstrong, Founder and CEO of Jaybird, said of the acquisition, “It has been an incredible journey. We love what we do, and we’re stoked to continue to innovate and bring amazing new products to our fans. Jaybird will benefit from Logitech’s global distribution network and deep engineering prowess. We’ve watched as they’ve connected incredible products with passionate consumers under the UE brand, and we’re thrilled to be part of the team.”

In its press statement, Logitech added that it does not expect the acquisition to materially impact its FY2017 guidance, and added that the buyout is subject to customary closing conditions but is expected to close in the “coming weeks.”