OnePlus Product Manager on OnePlus 5 Price, Camera Improvements, ‘OnePlus 5T’, Samsung Dex, and More

With the OnePlus 5 launching internationally and in India this week, the latest “flagship killer” from the company that popularised the term has been met with a mixed response. For one, the price is a lot higher than previous phones such as the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 2 and secondly, specific features like optical image stabilisation (OIS) aren’t present either. At a OnePlus 5 India launch event in Mumbai, Gadgets 360 spoke to Syzmon Kopec, Product Manager at OnePlus, to find out more. We started off by asking about the higher price tag.

“The thing is, when we made the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2, we didn’t invest in marketing,” says Kopec. “We didn’t invest in redundant things like retailers. We thought we changed the way users gets their phones and the price worked out at some level.”

“Right now we’re investing on product even more and as you might have noticed, all the flagship phones are now way more expensive than they used to be three years ago,” he continues. “It’s strictly due to how expensive the supplies are to make a phone. Processors, screens – these are not getting cheaper with time, it’s otherwise. This is how the price goes up. Still, OnePlus is cutting costs on things that aren’t necessary to do like retailers.” he says.

This makes it sound like the company sees celebrity marketing campaigns as necessary, even if retailers aren’t.

“Core of our investment is product. We will still keep doing this,” Kopec responds. “Price is an equation of costs we put into the product. We don’t want to compromise quality just to keep an equal amount or lower price.”

Software updates are another area where some users have felt disappointed by OnePlus in the past. For example, the company promised to support the OnePlus 2 with updates upto Android Nougat but then it backtracked, citing the lack of a software infrastructure team in place when the phone was launched. Would this be the case with the OnePlus 5?

OnePlus Product Manager on OnePlus 5 Price, Camera Improvements, 'OnePlus 5T’, Samsung Dex, and More

“I’m asked frequently about OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X,” says Kopec. “Whatever we can promise – and this still is a promise right? The only way to deliver it is keep supporting OnePlus 3 which we promised we’ll support for two years, and OnePlus 3T for two years also. Only time can really prove if we’re keeping our promise or not. Now, I can assure you that we will, but this is just another word by another OnePlus staff.”

Talking about the future roadmap for the company, Kopec also suggests the possibility of a PC convergence platform, where the phone – which has an 8GB RAM variant, more than many laptops – could power a desktop computing experience.

Samsung has tried to do this with Dex for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, and Microsoft with Continuum for Windows 10. Kopec says that this is something OnePlus is also considering.

“We have seen Samsung doing it. We have also see the Chinese company called Jide with Remix OS and there are a lot of opportunities,” says Kopec. “We’re certainly looking into it. But the most important factor, like once again, I will keep repeating this all over again, the most important factor is real daily user experience.”

“We believe that while it would be super cool to show off, but the thing is, we don’t have it yet because we think it’s a bit of a gimmick,” he adds, taking a dig at the competition. “Daily user experience of using this feature is controversial, I would say, if you know what I mean. It does not seem at this point that it’s something that many users would use and benefit from. Obviously we’re still a very small company. We need to be focussed on what’s really important because if you try to do many things, we cannot do them well.”

OnePlus 5 camera
In terms of the one thing that the OnePlus 5 is focussed on, it’s the camera. According to Kopec this came out of market research the company conducted specifically for India. Despite having top of the line specifications, OnePlus sees this as an opportunity to improve in an area which has, in the past, been seen as its Achilles heel.

“We’re not trying shine with fancy features,” says Kopec. “We want to focus on something that will help you use your camera every day. Like fast auto focus – this is not something sounds amazing for all people but this is something that helps you on a daily basis whenever you take photos, you feel this upgrade when using our faster auto focus.”

Despite this, the camera on the OnePlus 5 is lacking in some key areas. In our review we noted that OIS was absent for taking photos or shooting video. Kopec says that due to improvements in OxygenOS, OIS is not a necessity.

“We believe OIS used to be a good solution, now with how image signal processors have improved and how much software capabilities of our phones have improved, we believe with strictly software – stabilisation for photo or video, we can handle it better than OIS,” he says.

We noticed other issues with the camera. For example, the telephoto mode seems to work only in very limited conditions, under the best lighting only.

“So far, we have come up with the feature [bokeh effect] that uses telephoto,” says Kopec. “Obviously this phone in the making for the next two years, this is how we support our device, so the camera improvements will be incrementally coming but there’s nothing I can share specific dates or features.”

Design similarities with iPhone 7 Plus

Despite saying that the camera is pretty much a work in progress, at the launch, the company didn’t shy away from taking digs at Apple, and claiming better camera performance for the OnePlus 5. However, the dual camera isn’t the only thing that’s common between the OnePlus 5 and the iPhone 7 Plus – the two phones also look very similar, and are almost identical from behind.

It’s a bit of a touchy subject for Kopec. “Go to experience store and just hold the iPhone or whatever phone he has in other hand and compare this feeling,” he says. “I can assure that they will feel the difference at this point.”

Similarities with existing phones notwithstanding, OnePlus has a large cadre of fans who would be interested in the phone any which way. However, even brand loyalists will today be worried that the flagship they buy will be upstaged in short order – as happened when the OnePlus 3T launched just months after the OnePlus 3, with a number of incremental updates. Kopec left us with this:

“We have never have announced something like the OnePlus 5T. We know some users expect it, seeing the experience from the previous year when about the same time we had released OnePlus 3 and half a year later OnePlus 3T, but there’s nothing really we can share about it.”

 

iPhone Storage Isn’t Going as Far as It Used To

Nearly every iPhone owner’s been there: you’re snapping pictures or getting ready to download a new game, and you get that dreaded message warning you that your storage is almost full.

So much for watching that movie on the plane.

If you feel like your storage is filling up faster than it used to, you may be on to something. An examination of the most-installed apps for iOS from mobile analysis firm Sensor Tower has found that the size of those apps is, on average, 11 times bigger than they were in 2013.

And some apps have grown far more than that, said Randy Nelson, Sensor Tower’s head of mobile insights. Take Snapchat, for example, which now takes up 51 times more space than it did in May 2013. Facebook is the largest of the apps Nelson looked at, now clocking in at 388MB – up from just 32MB at the start of Nelson’s analysis period.

Nelson said that there are multiple reasons for the upward creep in app size. For one, apps – particularly social media apps – have been adding new features regularly, to keep up with each other. Snapchat is an excellent example of this, Nelson said. At first, the features of Snapchat were pretty streamlined with its close focus on ephemeral messages. But now it’s locked in a feature war with Instagram and Facebook, and has added things such as the Discover tab, or an ever-expanding array of filters. Games grow for a similar reason; new levels or features in Candy Crush take up extra space, as do prettier graphics that want to take full advantage of the iPhone’s screen technology.

There are also some technical reasons that app size is ballooning, Nelson said. The iPhone and iPad have more screen sizes than they used to, for example, which means that developers often design their apps to adapt to all those different sizes. Supporting a broader range of devices automatically means an app’s size will go up, even though the person downloading the app only sees one version. As developers drop support for older devices, app sizes may go down again, Nelson said – but it may not be by very much.

iPhone Storage Isn't Going as Far as It Used To

The upshot for consumers is that, yes, your phone’s storage isn’t going as far as it used to. And there’s not a clear solution for consumers about how to solve this issue. We can, of course, rely more on the mobile web or simply use fewer apps. But app creep is particularly hard to deal with, because it means that even if you aren’t downloading new apps, the old ones you have are still taking up progressively more space.

Apple has announced some features that may be able to help with this problem down the line. In iOS 11, due out in the fall, there is a feature that lets you “offload” apps you use less often – deleting the apps themselves from your phone, but retaining enough data so that you don’t have to set them up again.

Nelson has not run a similar analysis for Android, though growth causes such as additional features would logically apply there as well.

With app sizes only poised to keep growing, Nelson said the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. Mobile apps are generally becoming more complex and more graphically advanced, not less. So, if you keep running up against your storage limits, it may be a hint to think bigger for your next phone purchase.

“It is more ammunition for that decision to pull the trigger on buying a phone with more capacity,” Nelson said. “If you know that you’re going to have an eighth of your storage taken up by the top 10 apps, you’ll probably push to pick up a larger phone.”

OnePlus 5 Gaming Performance Review

Aside from a OnePlus 5 release date, price, and of course our review, we decided to take the smartphone for a spin in terms of gaming performance. After all, it’s one of the first Snapdragon 835 SoC-powered devices to be made available in India, and the one with the most RAM at this point. One Plus 5 specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core SoC clocking up to 2.45GHz, an Adreno 540 GPU, 6GB of RAM with 64GB storage (or 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage), and a full-HD display (1920×1080 pixels). For the purpose of this piece, we checked out the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version.

OnePlus 5 gaming-specific features
While Samsung incorporated options to tweak with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ performance with a Game Mode, Game Launcher, and choices of resolution, the OnePlus 5 takes a more minimalist approach to the proceedings. Just two gaming-specific features exist: Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode and Dash Charge While Gaming. The former lets users select games to add to a Do Not Disturb list. This, as the name suggests, turns off notifications and other interruptions like accidentally pressing hardware keys, ensuring complete immersion. As for the latter, it lets the OnePlus 5 charge while playing games as fast as it would if it wasn’t. This isn’t just for gaming though: video streaming or GPS usage won’t impact charging either.

OnePlus 5 gaming performance
As you’d expect, we checked out a host of graphically demanding titles. We started off with Asphalt 8, and were treated to lush visuals and gorgeous weather effects as well as detailed car models. Everything looked fantastic on the OnePlus 5 for most part, but we noticed that underneath the spectacle of god rays and lashing rain that made up Asphalt 8’s Iceland and Tokyo levels, the frame rate was less than satisfactory. There was a perceptible amount of slowdown that made it far from optimal.

oneplus 5 asphalt 8 222117 122155 3724 oneplus_5_asphalt

Dropping down the image quality to Medium rectified this. We hope that an update from Gameloft fixes this issue, since the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ delivered smoother gameplay with less RAM and a comparable SoC, and the OnePlus 3T with last year’s internals and 6GB RAM was running the game just fine.

Things looked better in Breakneck, a futuristic racer in the mould of the Wipeout series of PlayStation games. Not only does it look fantastic on the OnePlus 5, the performance held up even in the busiest of segments with enemies and effects galore. We had a similar experience with Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade. This shooter, based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, looked good and played just as well despite high resolution textures and large numbers of enemies onscreen, making killing orcs and giant robots a smooth spectacle.

The lag-free gameplay extended to Vainglory – the mobile equivalent to Dota 2. Visuals looked great while the frame rate was consistent. Our only grouse was the pre-applied scratch guard on the OnePlus 5 resulted in finer taps not being recognised, forcing us to tap harder than we’d like, before removing it altogether.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas OnePlus 5 performance
An evergreen title on Google Play is 2013’s mobile release of PS2 monster hit Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The game comes with its own options for resolution, shadows, and reflections. With 8GB RAM and the fastest SoC on the market, the OnePlus 5 almost succeeds where other phones do not – making Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas playable on the highest possible settings. But it’s not quite perfect.

There’s the odd, infrequent drop in frame rate just to remind you that series creator Rockstar isn’t going to issue an update anytime in the near future, to optimise for modern mobile hardware. That aside, the specifications of the OnePlus 5 allow it to brute force the game, making for an enjoyable experience. Suffice to say, reducing the game to its default settings made this open-world epic a lot more fluid and responsive, and therefore the sweet spot for this title.

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Is the OnePlus 5 best for Android gaming?
For most part, the OnePlus 5 seems to be more than a solid choice for gaming on the go. Asphalt 8’s performance remains an oddity. Hopefully it gets rectified in the weeks to come.

What’s admirable is how the phone handles heat. Regardless what we threw at it, from the likes of Breakneck and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas all the way to popular, network intensive fare like Clash Royale and Pokemon Go (which ran fine as they aren’t too much of a stress on most devices in terms of graphics) the OnePlus 5 rarely got warm. It might not have the edge to edge Infinity display of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, or its stunning screen, but the reduced bezels on the sides make for a more immersive experience compared to its predecessors.

With just about the same amount of RAM as a competent gaming PC, and a cutting-edge SoC, the OnePlus 5’s performance lives up to what it promises on paper. If you can get over the fact that it looks like an iPhone 7 Plus and may even see a OnePlus 5T refresh later in the year, you have a compelling piece of hardware.

Paytm Smartphone Sale Offers Include iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, Google Pixel Cashbacks, and Other Deals

After its Pre-GST sale last week, Paytm has now kicked off another sale particularly targeted at the smartphones with fingerprint scanners. Under the sale, Paytm is offering a cashback of up to Rs. 10,000 in the Paytm wallet on a range of smartphones including iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE, Google Pixel, Oppo F3, Vivo V5s, and HTC Desire 10 Pro among others. In order to avail the cashback, buyers will have to apply promotional codes while making a smartphone purchase on a dedicated page.

The Paytm sale is currently live and will wrap up on Sunday, June 25. Without further delay, let us quickly jump to the cashback offers on the smartphones in the sale.

Cashback offers on iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE
Paytm is offering a cashback of Rs. 9,999 on the iPhone 7 Plus 256GB Jet Black and (Matte) Black colour variants, which are currently listed at a price of Rs. 91,800 plus Rs. 199 delivery charge, making a total of Rs. 91,999. On applying the promo code ‘A10K’, you will start seeing the cashback amount tag of Rs. 9,999 next to the mentioned price in the cart. The effective price after the cashback is Rs. 82,000 but you will have to pay the full amount of Rs. 91,999 while making the purchase on Paytm.

Similarly, the iPhone 7 Plus 256GB Silver, Rose Gold, and Gold are being sold at Rs. 79,900, Rs. 79,984, and Rs. 78,698 respectively with Rs. 199 additional shipping charges. After applying the same promo code on each of the iPhones, the effective prices for iPhone 7 Plus 256GB Silver, Rose Gold, and Gold will be 70,100, Rs. 70,184, and Rs. 68,898 in the respective order.

The iPhone 7 Plus 128GB in Rose Gold and Gold colours are available at the same price of Rs. 70,999 with Rs. 199 shipping charge. For the 128GB storage models, Paytm is offering a cashback of Rs. 6,250 on applying the code ‘MOB6250’ – making the effective price of the aforementioned iPhones at Rs. 64,948. On iPhone 7 Plus 128GB Silver, Black, and Jet Black colour models, the price tag is Rs. 68,998, Rs. 66,999, and Rs. 65,766 clubbed with Rs. 199 delivery cost, which after the application of the cashback of Rs. 6,250 will give them an effective price of Rs. 62,947, Rs. 60,948, and Rs, 59,715 in the respective manner.

Paytm Smartphone Sale Offers Include iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, Google Pixel Cashbacks, and Other Deals

With the 32GB storage and colour models of iPhone 7 Plus, the cashback amount is reduced to Rs. 5,750 on the application of code ‘MOB5750’. However, Paytm website shows a cashback of Rs. 7,000 on the Silver and Gold models on applying the same promo code, but when we tried purchasing them, the suggested cashback of Rs. 5,750 was applicable. The effective prices of iPhone 7 Plus 32GB Gold, Silver, Black, and Rose Gold currently being sold at Rs. 58,359, Rs. 58,598, Rs. 58,949, and Rs. 58,629 will be Rs. 52,808, Rs. 53,047, Rs. 53,398, and Rs. 53,078 respectively.

The cashback amount on iPhone 7 256GB storage model in Silver, Black, Gold, Rose Gold, and Jet Black colours is Rs. 5,000 after applying ‘A5K’ code, after which the effective prices will be:

iPhone 7 256GB Silver – Rs. 70,393 after the cashback on the price of Rs. 75,194 (includes Rs. 199 delivery charge)
iPhone 7 256GB Black – Rs. 57,198 after the cashback on Rs. 62,198 (includes Rs. 199 delivery charge)
iPhone 7 256GB Gold – Rs 55,189 after the cashback on Rs. 60,189 (includes Rs. 199 for delivery)
iPhone 7 256GB Rose Gold – Rs. 56,099 after the cashback on Rs. 61,099 (includes Rs. 199 delivery charge)
iPhone 7 256GB Jet Black – Rs. 56,099 after the cashback on Rs. 61,099 (includes Rs. 199 delivery charge)
The iPhone 7 with 128GB storage is being sold at Rs. 53,409 for Gold colour, 53,344 for Rose Gold colour, Rs. 53,990 for Jet Black, and Rs, 52,999 for Black colour variant, with additional Rs. 199 for delivery. The effective prices after the cashback of Rs. 5,500 on applying code ‘MOB5500’ are Rs. 48,108, Rs. 48,043, Rs. 48,689, and Rs. 47,698 in the respective order as above.

The cashback offer on iPhone 7 32GB storage is Rs. 4,500 on the application of ‘MOB4500’ as the promo code. The original prices including delivery charges followed by the effective prices after cashback are as below:

iPhone 7 32GB Black – Rs. 46,199 will become Rs. 41,699
iPhone 7 32GB Rose Gold – Rs. 46,647 will be Rs. 42,147
iPhone 7 32GB Silver – Rs. 46,599 will become Rs. 42,099
iPhone 7 32GB Gold – Rs. 45,498 will be Rs. 40,998
The iPhone SE 64GB in Rose Gold colour is being sold at Rs. 27,299 with the Rs. 199 delivery cost. After you apply the promo code ‘A3K’, you will be entitled for a cashback of Rs. 3,000 on the device and the effective price will become Rs. 24,498. The iPhone SE 32GB variant in Rose Gold, Gold, and Silver colours is selling at Rs. 22,999. On applying the promo code ‘MOB2000’, you will receive a cashback of Rs. 2,000 and effective price will be Rs. 21,198.

The iPhone SE 16GB Rose Gold colour variant is listed at Rs. 20,498, which features a cashback of Rs. 2,250 after applying ‘MOB2250’ as promo code. Its effective price will be Rs. 18,447 (after including the Rs. 199 delivery charge). The Gold and Silver colour variants for iPhone SE 16GB are being sold at Rs. 21,499 and Rs. 21,490 in the respective order. After the cashback, they will cost you Rs. 19,448 and Rs. 19,439 respectively, including Rs. 199 delivery charge.

The Red colour models of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are also available for purchase but without any cashback offer.

Cashback offers on Google Pixel, Oppo F1s, Vivo V5s, and other Android smartphones
The Google Pixel 32GB storage variant is currently being sold at Rs. 42,750 for the Quite Black colour and Rs. 40,500 for the Very Silver colour model. You can get a cashback of up to 15 percent of the listed price that can reach a maximum Rs. 9,999. The Google Pixel 128GB storage model in Very Silver colour will cost Rs. 50,239 while the Quite Black colour variant is currently out of stock.

Google Pixel XL in 32GB for Quite Black and Very Silver colours is listed at Rs. 50,369 and Rs. 50,368 with a 15 percent cashback offer up to Rs. 9,999. The 128GB storage models cost Rs. 60,490 for the Quite Black colour and Rs. 63,990 for the Very Silver colour variant. In order to get the 15 percent cashback, buyers will have to apply the code ‘MOB15’.

Other popular smartphones like Oppo F3 and Vivo V5s are also available in the sale. The Oppo F3 64GB Gold colour is listed at Rs. 18,821 with Rs. 99 delivery charges. After applying the code ‘MOB14’, you will be entitled to receive a cashback of 14 percent of the amount not exceeding the Rs. 9,999 limit. The Vivo V5s Matte Black in 64GB will also get you a 14 percent cashback amount on the listed price of Rs. 18,200 with Rs. 99 as delivery charges.

The HTC 10 Pro is being sold at Rs. 21,094 for Black and Rs. 19,999 for Polar White colours with additional Rs. 99 as delivery charge. Paytm is offering a cashback of 12 percent on this smartphone when you apply ‘MOB12’ as promo code.

You can check all other smartphone with fingerprint scanners on the Paytm’s sale page where you will find more offers on smartphones. A thing to remember here is that you cannot make Cash on Delivery (CoD) option while applying the promo codes. So you’ll be required to use debit, credit cards and netbanking options to make the purchases.

Sony Xperia X, Xperia X Compact Start Receiving Android 7.1.1 Nougat Update

In November last year, Sony started pushing the Android 7.0 Nougat update to its premium line of smartphones. The Sony Xperia X and Xperia X Compact got the Nougat update in December and now users report the company is rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat to these devices. As per a report, the Android 7.1.1 Nougat is being released to most of the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact users along with the June Android security patch update.

According to Xperia Blog, the new update for Sony Xperia X and Xperia X Compact brings Android 7.1.1 Nougat through a new build number 34.3.A.0.194. It also comes with the latest June Android security patches for Xperia X and Xperia X Compact. It is not clear whether the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update is rolling out globally.

Sony Xperia X, Xperia X Compact Start Receiving Android 7.1.1 Nougat Update
The Android 7.1.1 Nougat update brings a number of features such as app shortcuts, support for circular app icons, keyboard image insertion, new emojis, and more. However, a few Xperia X and Xperia X Compact owners report that the app shortcuts feature doesn’t seem to be working on the handsets. Some other features like the clock widget also appear to be missing. There is a possibility that Sony may have chosen to do away with these features as Android versions customised by OEMs do not always have the exact Android features as packed in Google’s Pixel and Nexus smartphones.

For the specifications, the Sony Xperia X Compact features a smaller 4.6-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display. It is powered by a hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor paired with 3GB of RAM. It also sports a 23-megapixel rear camera with IMX300 sensor. There is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The Xperia X Compact also comes with USB Type-C port and Quick Charge 2.0 support. On the other hand, Sony Xperia X packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM; 32GB inbuilt storage that’s expandable storage support up to 200GB via microSD card. It has a 23-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS sensor, predictive hybrid autofocus, and pulse LED flash, apart from a 13-megapixel front camera with an f/2.0 aperture.

Toshiba Says It’s Willing to Talk With Western Digital About Chip Unit Sale

Toshiba said it was open to talks with Western Digital in their dispute over the sale of the Japanese conglomerate’s prized chip unit – an apparent olive branch after it chose another suitor as preferred bidder.

The two have been feuding bitterly and Western Digital, which jointly runs Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant, has sought a US court injunction to prevent any deal that does not have its consent.

The softer tone from Toshiba comes on a day of further indignities as the crisis-wracked conglomerate saw itself demoted to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and estimated bigger losses for the past financial year.

This week it chose a consortium of Bain Capital and Japanese government investors as preferred bidder for the unit, the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND flash chips. It wants to clinch a deal, worth some $18 billion, by June 28, the day of its shareholders meeting.

“Western Digital used to be a good partner, so we want to continue talks. I’m disappointed with the current dispute,” Toshiba CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told a news conference, adding it was important that they joined forces to better compete against bigger rival Samsung Electronics.

“We want Western Digital to jointly invest to fight against Samsung. It will be so disappointing if we can’t do so because of the dispute,” he said.

But in a sign that tensions were still high, Tsunakawa also said Toshiba was not going to be the first to propose the US firm join the consortium and it was still considering whether to block Western Digital employees not based at the plant from accessing joint venture data servers.

Toshiba Says It's Willing to Talk With Western Digital About Chip Unit Sale

Tsunakawa also said he did not expect any changes to the make-up of the consortium before June 28.

Western Digital’s offer had not found favour on price and because the US firm wanted to take control of the unit, he said, adding that he expected executives from Toshiba to still be running operations after the sale.

His comments come after sources familiar with matter said earlier this week that the Bain consortium members had made resolving the dispute with Western Digital a condition of their investment.

Representatives for Western Digital were not immediately available to comment.

Hynix hurdles?
South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc is also part of the Bain consortium and its membership has raised concerns that the winning bid may find it difficult to clear anti-trust reviews.

Its presence has made Western Digital reluctant to join the group in its current form due to worries that high-level technology for NAND chips, which provide long-term data storage, could be leaked to its rival, sources familiar with the matter have said.

But Tsunakawa said SK Hynix would not be holding any equity and would not be involved in management – an arrangement that was unlikely to raise regulatory red flags and would prevent leaks of key technology information.

SK Hynix, which is relatively weak in NAND flash memory chips, has said it has joined the group because it sees new business opportunities. It will provide half of the JPY 850 billion ($7.6 billion or roughly Rs. 49,262 crores) that Bain plans to put up in the form of financing, sources have said.

Earlier in the day, Toshiba flagged a net loss of around $9 billion (roughly Rs. 58,060 crores) for the year ended in March with negative shareholders’ equity of around $5.2 billion, both worse than expected on an increase in liabilities at bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse and potential legal damages.

With negative shareholder equity confirmed, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said it would move Toshiba’s listing to the second section of the bourse from August 1 – the latest in a series of humiliating developments since December for a firm that has been in business for more than 140 years.

Toshiba also received regulatory approval to delay filing its annual earnings by more than a month amid a prolonged accounting investigation at Westinghouse. It is the sixth time since 2015 that Toshiba has delayed an earnings filing.

Regulators have now given Toshiba until August 10 instead of June 30 to submit the filing. Failure to gain an extension would have put the troubled company’s stock exchange listing in further jeopardy, although it still needs to dig itself out of negative shareholders’ equity by the end of this financial year to stay listed.

Moto E4 Plus With 5000mAh Battery Expected to Launch in India Soon

Lenovo brand Moto is on a roll with its launches in India. After the Moto C Plus, Moto has already started teasing the launch of another smartphone launch in India. The teaser takes a dig on smartphones always running out of battery, and ends with an open-ended question ‘What’s coming next?’ This indicates the launch of the Moto E4 Plus in the country soon. \

The Moto E4 Plus’ big highlight is its massive 5000mAh battery, and Motorola is presumably hinting at that in its teaser on Twitter. Alongside, Motorola could also launch the Moto E4, or may launch it a while later as well. The teaser reads, “A dead phone is the modern-day shortest horror story. We will ensure you don’t feel #Powerless again. What’s coming next? #StayTuned.”

The Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus were both launched globally last week, and are priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 8,300) and $179.99 (roughly Rs.11,600) respectively.

Moto E4 Plus With 5000mAh Battery Expected to Launch in India Soon

Moto E4 specifications
Coming to the specifications, the Moto E4 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and comes with a single-SIM slot (Nano). It sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display, and is powered by the 1.4GHz Snapdragon 425 processor or a Snapdragon 427 SoC (depending upon the carrier in the US) paired with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone offers 16GB of inbuiltl storage option with the option to expand further using a microSD card slot.

Ahead of the launch, Lenovo had told Gadgets 360 that the phone will be powered by the MediaTek MTK6737M chipset outside of North America. As for the optics, the Moto E4 has an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, f/2.2 aperture, and single-LED flash support. At the front, there is a 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture, fixed focus, single-LED flash, and a beautification mode for better selfies. It packs a 2800mAh removable battery, and connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11n, Micro-USB port, GPS, Bluetooth v4.1, and 4G support.

The dimensions are at 144.5×72 x9.3mm, and the smartphone weighs 150 grams. Sensors on board include proximity, light, accelerometer, and magnetometer. In the US, it will be available in Liquorice Black, and Fine Gold colour variants.

Moto E4 Plus specifications
The Moto E4 Plus has a slightly bigger 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. It will be powered by a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 427 SoC in the US, and MediaTek MTK6737M chipset outside of North America. Apart from the 2GB/16GB variant, it has an additional 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant as well. The rear camera is bumped up to 13-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, and single-LED flash support. The biggest USP of the Moto E4 Plus is 5000mAh non-removable battery that supports fast charging as well. The dimensions measure at 155×77.5×9.55mm, and the smartphone weighs 181 grams. In the US, the Moto E4 Plus will be available in Iron Gray and Fine Gold colour options. All the other specifications are identical to the Moto E4.

 

Moto G5S Plus Battery Capacity and Price Estimate Leaked

While Moto G5S Plus has already seen its fair share of leaks, the yet-to-be-announced smartphone’s battery capacity and price estimates have now been leaked by a tipster. While earlier it was estimated that the Moto G5S Plus might be priced at Rs. 17,999, the new leak suggests that the smartphone will be priced slightly higher than the previous estimate.

Popular tipster Andri Yatim said in his tweet that the Moto G5S Plus will be priced between Rs. 18,999 and Rs. 19,999 by the company, as pointed out in a report by GSMArena. Yatim has further suggested that the smartphone will house a 3068mAh battery, which will put it in the same bracket as the Moto G5 Plus that comes with 3000mAh battery.

Moto G5S Plus Battery Capacity and Price Estimate Leaked

Apart from the information mentioned above, Yatim also shared some of the renders of the smartphone that show the dual cameras and two colour variants of the smartphone. Notably, the renders shared by Yatim are strikingly similar to the renders of the Moto G5S Plus that were leaked earlier. To recall, it was previously suggested that the handset will be made available in in four colours: Gold, Grey, Silver (with White front), and Gold (with White front).

Some of rumoured specifications of the Moto G5S Plus include 5.5-inch full-HD display, octa-core processor, and Android 7.0 Nougat. As seen in the leaked images, the handset will feature fingerprint scanner at the front.

 

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook is launching a UK programme to train and fund local organizations to combat extremist material online, as Internet companies attempt to clamp down on hate speech and violent content on their services.

Facebook, which outlined new efforts to remove extremist and terrorism content from its social media platform last week, will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK on Friday, the company said in a statement.

The new initiative will train non-governmental organizations to help them monitor and respond to extremist content and create a dedicated support desk so they can communicate directly with Facebook, the company said.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. “We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

The British government has stepped up attacks on Silicon Valley Internet companies for not acting quickly enough to take down extremist online propaganda and fostering “safe places” where extremists can breed following a string of attacks in recent months in London and Manchester.

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter have responded by saying they have made heavy investments and employed thousands of people to take down hate speech and violent content over the past two years. Security analysts say the efforts have dramatically reduced the use of these platforms for jihadist recruitment efforts, although more work needs to be done.

Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to enlist British public opinion to force the US Internet players to work more closely with the government rather than proposing new legislation or policies to assert greater control over the web.

Earlier this week, May urged fellow European Union leaders at a meeting in Brussels to join her in putting pressure on tech companies to ‘rid terrorist material from the internet in all our languages’.

She called for the Internet companies to shift from reactively removing content when they are notified of it, towards greater use of automatic detection and removal tools – and ultimately preventing it from appearing on their platforms in the first place.

 

Steam Summer Sale 2017: The Biggest Sales and Deals

The longest day of the year has come and gone – considered the first day of the summer for people in the Northern Hemisphere – and with that Steam’s annual summer sale is now upon us. Sure, for most of us in India it’s monsoon already, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the gifts that Steam bears.

On top of the discounts, Valve has added a mini-game of sorts, where you complete daily quests to fill a sticker book. If you manage to complete any of the 15 pages, that one will permanently stay unlocked on your account. Stickers can’t be traded, so you’ll have to do the quests to earn them.

If you don’t have an international credit/debit card, don’t worry. Steam brought in support for netbanking, digital wallets, and cash on delivery late last year, so there’s a ton of new ways to pay for your favourite games.

As has become the new norm, there’ll be no limited-time or flash sales during the Steam Summer Sale. Instead, games with discounts will stay that way throughout the sale period – June 22 to July 5 – and games that aren’t on discount won’t be receiving any discounts randomly. That’s good for players, since it gives you ample time to browse the store and find gems.

Steam Summer Sale 2017: The Biggest Sales and Deals

In any case, we’ve perused through the games on sale so you don’t have to bother looking. Here are the top deals during the Steam Summer Sale:

Big-name titles

Bayonetta – Rs. 498 (25 percent off)

Batman: The Telltale Series – Rs. 216 (65 percent off)

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Rs. 2,149 (50 percent off)

Civilization VI – Rs. 1,499 (40 percent off)

Dark Souls III – Rs. 1,719 (60 percent off)

Dishonored 2 – Rs. 1,335 (50 percent off)

Doom – Rs. 1,000 (50 percent off)

F1 2016 – Rs. 353 (70 percent off)

Fallout 4 – Rs. 1,000 (50 percent off)

Final Fantasy VII – Rs. 204 (50 percent off)

Final Fantasy VIII – Rs. 204 (50 percent off)

Football Manager 2017 – Rs. 544 (66 percent off)

Grand Theft Auto V – Rs. 1,468 (50 percent off)

Mafia III – Rs. 617 (63 percent off)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Rs. 197 (80 percent off)

NBA 2K17 – Rs. 624 (75 percent off)

 

Nier: Automata – Rs. 1,399 (30 percent off)

Planet Coaster – Rs. 1,989 (33 percent off)

Prey – Rs. 2,639 (34 percent off)

Resident Evil 7 – Rs. 1,619 (40 percent off)

Rise of the Tomb Raider – Rs. 399 (60 percent off)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – Rs. 2,344 (33 percent off)

Total War: Warhammer – Rs. 679 (66 percent off)

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III – Rs. 1,499 (25 percent off)

Watch Dogs 2 – Rs. 1,749 (50 percent off)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GOTY – Rs. 499 (50 percent off)

XCOM 2 – Rs. 989 (67 percent off)

Indie

Abzu – Rs. 169 (70 percent off)

Dead Cells – Rs. 466 (15 percent off)

Firewatch – Rs. 254 (55 percent off)

Hyper Light Drifter – Rs. 282 (50 percent off)

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – Rs. 158 (67 percent off)

Overcooked – Rs. 399 (50 percent off)

Superhot – Rs. 371 (40 percent off)

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action – Rs. 320 (33 percent off)

What Remains of Edith Finch – Rs. 423 (25 percent off)

What do you have on your eye on this summer? Leave them in the comments below.