LG G4 Flagship Smartphone Launch Expected at Firm's April 28 Event

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LG late on Monday started sending press invites for an event scheduled for April 28 where the company appears likely to launch its next flagship smartphone, the LG G4.The South Korean company confirmed that the event will take place in New York, London, and Paris on April 28 followed by an April 29 launch in Seoul, Singapore, and Istanbul. The official invite doesn’t give away too much about the event and just says, “See the great, feel the great,” with the G capitalised and featuring the same font as LG’s G series brand. Also considering that LG launched the G3 flagship back in May last year in similar simultaneous events across the world, we can expect that April 28 event will see the unveiling of the LG G3’s successor.

lg_invite_april28.jpgThe invite also features a leather background indicating that the new LG G4 might sport a leather rear case. We will have to wait till April 28 to see what LG has up its sleeves.

In other news, LG’s upcoming G4 flagship is said to have been spotted in benchmark results. As seen on GFXBench (via GSMArena), a smartphone dubbed LG G4 (F500x) is listed with Android 5.1 Lollipop; a 5.5-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels); 3GB of RAM; 32GB inbuilt storage; a 16-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front camera. The GFXBench results show that the handset will be backed by a hexa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 808 processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC was launched last year alongside the octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor. Based on previous reports, the LG G4 is likely to be the first smartphone featuring the company’s brand new UI – LG UX 4.0.

A report earlier this month suggested that the flagship G4 launch was pushed to Aprilto avoid an MWC clash with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, and was said to be ‘radically different’ from the current flagship the LG G3.

Hyundai Aims to Have Autonomous Driving Tech on Market in 2020

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Hyundai Motor Co on Tuesday said it aims to commercialize autonomous driving capabilities in some of its cars in 2020, as the South Korean automaker plays catch-up in the increasingly competitive technology.

Car makers such as Mercedes and General Motors Co as well as technology giants like Google Inc and Apple Inc are already developing driver less vehicles which can complete whole journeys without human input.

But some analysts expect self-driving cars will not appear on global markets until the early- or mid-2020s, partly due to regulatory hurdles.

Hyundai Motor, like other automakers, already has autonomous features in premium vehicles like the Genesis, which can be programmed to hit the brakes when a pedestrian steps out.

Gmail for Android Gets a Unified Inbox for Multiple Email IDs

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Google has launched a new feature in its updated Gmail for Android app that lets users view emails from all their integrated email IDs in a single place. The feature is not limited only to Gmail IDs, and includes Yahoo and Outlook-based IMAP and POP accounts as well. As you probably recall, support for multiple email IDs was launchedin November last year.The new feature is accessible through a tab called ‘All Inboxes’, which is available after updating the Gmail for Android app to the latest version. This allows users to read mails from all of their accounts without having to move in and out of individual accounts. Google believes that this is ideal for users who maintain multiple accounts for different purposes, such as work and personal accounts.

The app extends the most popular features of Gmail to other integrated IMAP/ POP email accounts as well, such as conversation view and search. The app will now stack conversation threads from other accounts in the same efficient way of Gmail, and also allow users to search through other accounts using the search bar. Google says that auto-complete accuracy while searching has also been improved.

Additional improvements to the Gmail for Android app include more responsive animations, larger attachment previews and the ability to save to Google Drive with a single touch. The Gmail for Android update will roll out to users over Google Play in the coming days, says Google on its official Gmail blog.

Google+ Photos Now Available in Google Drive

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In a new post on the Google Drive blog on Monday,  the company announced that all the photos and videos on Google+ will now also be available in Google Drive.

The blog categorically states that Drive for Android, iOS and Web will have a new photos menu. What this essentially means is that users will now be able to manage any type of file directly from Drive. This is extremely beneficial in specific use cases like say for example wedding planning, where one can add pictures of wedding venues and cakes, along with a document of the guest list.

Interestingly, Google+ will continue to allow users to store, edit and share pictures.Google also states that new photos on Google+ will be immediately visible on Google Drive whereas it might take a few weeks for the entire library to show up. Similarly, all the automatic camera backups from the smartphone can now be directed to Google Drive.

This entire move could be an indication that Google has started to divide Google+ into Photos and Streams, as announced earlier this month. Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Product Management, was said to be in charge of steering this particular ship for the search engine giant.

Google’s attempt to take on Facebook with Google+ hasn’t been successful and the split could be a good move forward for the beleaguered social networking website. However, we are still unsure what Google’s plan is with Streams.

Amazon Home Services Lets You Hire Professional Contractors

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Amazon has become the place where you buy everything, but a new service that the site is rolling out in the US, called Amazon Home Services, might help it become the place where you hire people to complete all your chores as well.

The way it works is pretty simple – just go to the site, add the service you want and set a time for the work to be done. After the work is complete, you flag it as done and complete the payment, through Amazon. As a launch offer, you’ll get a $20 gift card for buying any service.

We entered a friend’s San Francisco address to see the options available, and there are already a lot of things that you can do with Amazon Home Services. Electrical and wiring, plumbing, TV wall mounting, virus and spyware removal were just some of the facilities available at our friend’s address. There are other services as well, which were greyed out – these will come soon to the area. Some services that were listed as coming soon included home cleaning, music lessons, and our two favourites, a singing performance, and goat grazing service.

There are some ways in which this new business connects very neatly to Amazon’s primary business of selling you things. After all, the only thing that might be keeping you from taking the plunge and buying a new home theatre system is the fact that you’re all thumbs and can’t possibly install it yourself. Or maybe you’ve been checking a couple of deck chairs but your lawn is such a disaster that you don’t even know how to start to tame it. It might not be long before Amazon offers you a bundled deal, where you can buy a home theatre and get a discount on the installation.

What about the prices? In plumbing services, an under-sink water filtration installation will cost you between $120 and $149. Computer virus and spyware removal will set you back by $89, for a home visit if you have a PC, and $120 is you use a Mac.

According to a report, the appeal for Amazon Home Services lies in figuring out the people you can trust. Amazon says it accepts an average of three out of every 100 service professionals in each metro area. It makes sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a five-point background check, with a further six-point background check for each technician.

Microsoft's Project Spartan Browser Seen for First Time in New Windows 10 Build

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Project Spartan, the much anticipated replacement for Internet Explorer, has been released to beta testers for the first time in a new preview build of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft officially announced it would retire Internet Explorer, which has been a mainstay of Windows for nearly twenty years, at its Windows 10: The Next Chapter event in January.

Project Spartan introduces deep integration with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant and OneDrive syncing framework, support for stylii including the ability to create and share custom annotations on Web pages, and a user-friendly reader mode that eliminates distractions such as animations on Web pages. While Cortana will only be available in the US for this build, it will roll out globally by the final release. “Web Notes” can be shared via social networks or stored in a user’s OneNote workbook.

Project Spartan also features a brand new page rendering engine called Edge, and its interface has been built from the ground up. Not all features are fully implemented in the first preview. Microsoft warns that the current incarnation of Project Spartan is not final, but is soliciting real-world user feedback.

Developers and eager fans who have signed up for the “fast ring” of Microsoft’s Windows Insider programme will be able to download and install build 10049, which includes the new Project Spartan browser. The new browser will supplant Internet Explorer and will be highly visible on the desktop and in the touch-friendly launcher UI.

Microsoft has not yet announced what its new browser’s final name will be. The company has indicated that while Internet Explorer will not be a very visible part ofWindows 10, it is also not going away entirely. Businesses that require backwards compatibility, especially those that have resisted upgrading from older versions of Windows, will be able to use IE on Windows 10 for the forseeable future.

Windows 10 is expected to be released late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2015. The new operating system will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users. It is largely seen as an attempt by Microsoft to tone down the radical departure it made in Windows 8 a new touch-friendly tiled interface that alienated desktop and laptop users. The software giant will also be hoping to once and for all unify the Windows experience across touch-based and non-touch devices ranging in size from smartphones to desktops.

Samsung Making Unified Browser for Its Mobiles, Tablets, and TVs

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Samsung is reportedly working on unifying the Web browsers it offers across its mobile, tablet and smart television platforms, with an app branded the Samsung Browser.The South Korean consumer electronics giant is said to be working on the SamsungBrowser for its Android and Tizen-based devices, and the first version (v1.0) will reportedly use the WebKit engine. The browser, according to a report by Tizen Indonesia (via Sammobile) citing Samsung Developers, will not support Flash, and instead rely completely on HTML5 video.

Other reported details about the upcoming Samsung Browser include Web Video Casting support for the firm’s smart televisions from 2015, a Samsung Video Enhancing Engine for television to provide improved video support, a reading mode, offline viewing, and S Pen support. The report adds the Samsung Browser will also suggest local content. Presumably, the unified browser will also enable easy syncing of passwords, history and bookmarks across devices.

Some more changes were tipped for the next iteration of the Samsung Browser, which is said to use the Blink engine, a version of the WebKit that is being used by Google on its Chrome browser since 2013, and is also used by Opera.

The report adds that the Servo browser engine, announced by Mozilla and Samsung back in 2013, will also be used in a future iteration, and is meant to take advantage of multi-core, heterogeneous computing architectures. At the time of the announcement two years ago, the companies said the browser would be built from the ground up and be written in Mozilla’s Rust programming language. The companies had then also said the browser based on Servo would address the cause of security vulnerabilities.

Earlier this month, Samsung and Microsoft announced a deal for pre-installingMicrosoft services on the South Korean tech firms high-end smartphones and tablets. The apps included Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype

Available Spectrum Very Scarce in India

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Expressing concerns over spectrum scarcity in the country, Trai Chairman Rahul Khullar on Monday said the availability of airwaves in India is less than 40 percent as compared to European nations.

“If you compare country in Europe or rest of the world which are similar in size toKarnataka or Andhra Pradesh… actually the spectrum availability is less than 40 percent of what is available in the rest of the world, that is our one big problem,” Khullar said while speaking at Trai’s consumer outreach programme here.

For the last many years, the spectrum availability has been very scarce in India, he said adding it is even less than 50 percent of the airwaves available in China.

The spectrum auction has just been concluded and most of these airwaves auctioned were the same available in 1994, there is no additional spectrum, Khullar said.

“…so what we need to ask ourselves as citizens is – are we going to thrive and live with same amount of spectrum that we lived 20 years ago when there were hardly any connections and now when there are nine hundred million? And if you don’t increase the supply of spectrum, sorry the quality of service just cannot be delivered…”

So, the most important thing is that the availability of spectrum has to be increased, he added.

Speaking on 3G services, Khullar said, “3G spectrum as you will recall in 2010 auction when it was sold there was nobody who could buy spectrum all over the country…I think except BSNL….they got it in very small amounts.”

“…what has happened in the last six, seven years is people have got used to 2G, suddenly everybody is moving to 3G because it is faster, you get videos, you get all sorts of things and as Internet gets more quicker. So what is happening is, the pressure on the limited quantity of spectrum has increased enormously…,” he added.

He further said that unless the quantity of spectrum is increased, the speed cannot be raised.

“…the problems are different in urban and rural India, in rural India you need infrastructure to take it to last man, and in urban India it is huge conjuncture on the limited quantity of spectrum.”

Stressing the need to have more spectrum, Khullar said that a country like India with huge data requirements cannot work with a 40 percent of the spectrum as compared with the rest of the world, “it simply cannot happen”.

Alleged iPhone 6C Rear Shell Leaks Tipping 4-Inch Display

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Rumours surrounding three new iPhone models – the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and iPhone 6C – that are expected to launch in the second half of this year have been around for quite some time now.Tech industry expectations as well as various leaked reports for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have always suggested the devices to be just an incremental update from the existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus flagships. On the other hand, it has also been speculated that the iPhone 6C could just be a cheaper plastic variant of theiPhone 5s and not the iPhone 6. The latest in the leaks are images of the alleged 4-inch iPhone 6C rear shell, posted by Future Supplier blog on Monday.

As seen from the purported iPhone 6C rear shell images (via 9to5Mac), the shell looks quite similar to that of the iPhone 5c but a closer look points out changes like an elongated camera flash just like the iPhone 5s and later models, and an extra speaker grille mesh.

Going by the leaked casing images compared with the existing iPhone 5c rear, first difference can be seen in the camera flash hole shape, which is now oval-shaped like the iPhone 5s and expected to be similarly meant for a True Tone flash module. Additionally, the hole for the camera does not appear to be meant for a protruding camera as introduced in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The second change is on the bottom of the alleged iPhone 6C casing, where there are two rows of speaker grill instead of the single row on the iPhone 5c. The other grille near the audio jack at the bottom of the purported iPhone 6C’s rear shell is thought to be for the microphone, with six holes. The fit all this, the phone housed by the shell appears to be significantly thicker than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

iphone_6c_iphone_5c_rear_shell_leaked_1_futuresupplier.jpgThe purported images tie-in with a recent Wall Street Journal report that claimedApple is working on a Pink variant of the handset as the successor the iPhone 5c. With the iPhone 6C, Apple is rumoured to replace the existing iPhone 5C and as previously reported, may be targeting the smartphone at “female users” with the smaller size along with colour options.

As per a previous report that cites sources in Taiwan’s handset supply chain, Apple hasn’t yet thought of pricing for the iPhone 6C, but it is possible that the unlocked variant in the US gets priced around $400-$500 (approximately Rs. 25,000-31,000).

Alibaba to Help Small Businesses in India, Jack Ma Tells Prime Minister Modi

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Looking to expand its presence in India, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Chairman Jack Ma on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he came on a visit to India for the second time in just about four months.

In his meeting with Modi in New Delhi on Monday, Ma discussed how Alibaba can help empower small businesses in India, the e-commerce major said without elaborating further.

“Had a very good meeting with Jack Ma,” Modi tweeted.

“Jack meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss how Alibaba can help empower small businesses in India,” Alibaba Group separately tweeted.

During his last India visit in November 2014, Ma could not meet Modi.

One of Alibaba’s key strategies over the next three years is to globalise so that the firm can help more small businesses around the globe.

Ma, the richest man in China with a fortune of about $24.4 billion, founded Alibaba in 1999 in Hangzhou, the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

According to research firm IDC, Alibaba is the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company by GMV (gross merchandise value) in 2013.

During his last visit to India, Ma had said Alibaba was keen to invest more funds in India and will work with Indian technology entrepreneurs as he believes Internet can transform the country’s future.

The Hangzhou-based firm will “invest more in India, work with Indian entrepreneurs and technology companies,” he had said at that time.

Alibaba, which in September 2014 raised $25 billion in a record initial public share offering, already has on its site a large number of small Indian businesses selling goods ranging from spices to chocolates to tea.

“Over the next three years, one of the key strategies for Alibaba is to globalise and to make sure that we can help more small businesses around the globe, use our services to do businesses,” Ma had said at a business event at New Delhi.