Asus ZenFone 4 Series Tipped to Launch With Five Phones in July; ZenFone 4 Selfie Specifications Leaked

Asus is known for its confusing lineup of smartphones, and by the latest leak, this year is going to be no different. Asus has been tipped to launch the successors to the ZenFone 3 family in July, and as many as five smartphones are incoming. The ZenFone 4 family will be divided into five variants at least – ZenFone 4 Pro, Zenfone 4 Selfie, ZenFone 4 Max, two ZenFone 4 variants, and a Asus ZenFone 4V.

The five Asus smartphones have been listed on the Google Play Store support sheet (shared on ZenTalk forum), and the phones are named – Asus ZenFone 4 (ZE554KL), Asus ZenFone 4 Max (ZC554KL), Asus ZenFone 4 Pro (Z01GD), Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie (Z01M), and Asus ZenFone 4V (V520KL/A006).

The Asus ZenFone 4 model has been listed in two variants and it may be because the company looks to offer it in two RAM/ storage variants. The Asus ZenFone 4 Pro model is a new variant in the mix, and it could be the most premium of all. The Asus ZenFone 4V is thought to be a Verizon exclusive variant.

Asus ZenFone 4 Series Tipped to Launch With Five Phones in July; ZenFone 4 Selfie Specifications Leaked

The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie was spotted on GFXBench as well, tipping specifications. The device is listed as Z01M and it expected to run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, sport a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display, and be powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC with Adreno 506 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The selfie-focused smartphone will sport a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 12-megapixel front sensor – both with 4K support.

Lastly, the Asus ZenFone 4 Max model will be the direct successor of the Asus ZenFone 3 Max, and previous leaks indicate that the smartphone will support 4G, have a 5.5-inch (720×1280 pixels) display, and be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The processor could be either the Snapdragon 625 SoC or the Snapdragon 660 SoC. The smartphone is expected to run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, the Qualcomm octa-core processor will be clocked at 1.4GHz paired with 3GB RAM and Adreno 505 GPU. The device is expected to offer 32GB of inbuilt storage. Lastly, the Asus ZenFone 4 Max is expected to sport a dual camera setup – one 12-megapixel sensor and another 5-megapixel sensor – at the rear. There is an 8-megapixel sensor at the front for selfies and video chats.

All of these smartphones were first expected to launch in May, but now they are rumoured to launch sometime in July.

Qualcomm Antitrust Lawsuit to Proceed, US Judge Rules

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm can proceed, a federal judge ruled late on Monday, meaning the iPhone chip supplier must now wage a fight with US regulators even as it contests a separate $1 billion lawsuit filed by Apple.

US District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California in San Jose denied Qualcomm’s motion to dismiss the FTC’s lawsuit, saying the agency’s allegations would amount to anticompetitive behaviour on Qualcomm’s part if proved true.

In response, Qualcomm said the case is still in its early stages. “FTC will have the burden to prove its claims, which we continue to believe are without merit,” Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The FTC sued Qualcomm in January, alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly on the chips that let cell phones connect to mobile data networks.]

The FTC highlighted Qualcomm’s “no licence, no chips” policy under which the San Diego company refuses to sell chips unless customers also sign a patent licence agreement and pay Qualcomm fees. Qualcomm refused to grant licenses to its rivals in order to keep a monopoly, the FTC alleged.

Qualcomm asked Koh to throw out the case, arguing that even if all the FTC’s allegations were true, they would not amount to wrongdoing.

Qualcomm, the largest independent maker of chips used in smartphones, is a major supplier to Apple and Samsung Electronics for modem chips that connect phones to wireless networks.

Qualcomm Antitrust Lawsuit to Proceed, US Judge Rules
Intel and Samsung, which are not parties to the case, filed briefs opposing Qualcomm’s attempt to the have the case dismissed.

Koh rejected Qualcomm’s arguments, ruling that the FTC had “adequately alleged” anticompetitive behaviour.

“We look forward to further proceedings in which we will be able to develop a more accurate factual record,” Qualcomm’s Rosenberg said in the statement.

Separately, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in January. Last week, Apple argued Qualcomm’s chip licenses are invalid under a ruling last month from the US Supreme Court. Apple’s contract manufacturers such as Foxconn stopped paying Qualcomm as that case proceeds, which in turn prompted Qualcomm to sue the contract manufacturers.

In addition to the complaint from the FTC, Qualcomm has faced a series of antitrust rulings and investigations from regulators across the globe, including China and South Korea.

The FTC’s case is No. 5:17-cv-00220 in the Northern District of California.

Vivo X9s, X9s Plus Smartphones Set to Launch on July 6

Vivo is all set to launch X9s and X9s Plus smartphones next week, as the company has started sending out press invites for the unveiling on July 6 in Beijing. While the launch teaser doesn’t reveal much information about the smartphones, the image suggests that Vivo X9s might carry some of the design elements from its predecessor.

The launch teaser image, shared by Playfuldroid, shows the rear of the X9s smartphone and it looks similar to its predecessor with camera panel located towards the top left of the smartphone. There hasn’t been any information about the Vivo X9s smartphone in past leaks, but the Plus variant of the smartphone has earlier been spotted in a TENAA listing, as pointed out by GSMArena.

Vivo X9s, X9s Plus Smartphones Set to Launch on July 6

As per the specifications leaked by TENAA listing, the Vivo X9s Plus runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat and features a 5.85-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. The smartphone has been tipped to be powered by an octa-core processor clocked at 1.95GHz coupled with 4GB of RAM.

In terms of optics, the Vivo X9s features a 16-megapixel primary camera at the back. At front, it has been said to come with a dual camera setup with one 20-megapixel and another 5-megapixel sensor. As per the TENAA listing, the Vivo X9s comes with 64GB of built-in storage and houses a 3920mAh battery.

As these are just leaks, we would advise you to wait till official information comes through Vivo itself for any confirmation.

Gionee Offers Up to 60GB of Reliance Jio 4G Data to Smartphone Buyers, Unveils Paytm Cashbacks

Gionee India has announced strategic partnerships with Reliance Jio and Paytm to roll out offers on the purchase of its smartphones. These offers are on a vast portfolio of smartphones, and while Reliance Jio offers additional 4G data benefits of up to 60GB, Paytm offers cashbacks of a maximum of Rs. 500 on a shopping of Rs. 700 or above on the Paytm Mall app.

Starting with the ‘Jio-Gionee Additional Data’ offer, eligible Gionee smartphones purchased after June 16 are entitled to get additional 4G data. For instance, if consumers buy a Gionee Pioneer P5L or a Gionee P7, they entitled to get 2GB of additional 4G data per recharge. Similarly, Gionee Elife S6, Gionee Elife S7, Gionee Marathon M5, Gionee S Plus, Gionee S6s, Gionee F103 Pro, Gionee Marathon M5 lite CDMA, Gionee Marathon M4 , Marathon M5 Lite, Gionee P7 Max, and Gionee F103 buyers are entitled to get 5GB of additional 4G data per recharge.

Lastly, Gionee A1, Gionee Marathon M5 Plus, Gionee S6 Pro, and Gionee Elife E8 are entitled to get 10GB of 4G data per recharge. All of these above mentioned smartphones are entitled to a maximum of six recharges of Rs. 309 or above, performed on or before March 31, 2018. This means that Gionee A1, Gionee M5 Plus, Gionee S6 Pro, and Gionee Elife E8 buyers are entitled for up to 60GB of additional Reliance Jio 4G data.

Gionee Offers Up to 60GB of Reliance Jio 4G Data to Smartphone Buyers, Unveils Paytm Cashbacks
Separately, Gionee has also partnered with Paytm to offer customers two Paytm cashback vouchers of Rs. 250 each on the purchase of the Gionee A1 or P7 Max. Each voucher will ensure Rs. 250 cashback into the customer’s Paytm wallet on a minimum purchase of Rs. 350 on Paytm Mall.

Rohit Khattar, Director – Trade Marketing, Gionee India said, ‘’Gionee has always invested in offering its consumers the best experience. We believe that this association with Reliance Jio and PayTm is a true value add and will help Gionee customers do and enjoy more. As a company, we believe in creating new possibilities for our customers and through these offers we hope to give our consumers another reason to buy their favourite Gionee devices.’’

Samsung Smart Switch Website Updated, Makes It Simpler to Transfer Data

One would think that Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones with their near bezel-less design and top-of-the-line hardware are enough to attract consumers towards them, but Samsung wants to make sure the transition is smooth and simple. The South Korean tech giant has updated its Smart Switch website that makes it ever more simpler to transfer content from your phone to your new Galaxy handset.

Smart Switch, which is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and BlackBerry handsets, lets you transfer content from your phone to a Galaxy device in three ways – directly over Wi-Fi using the Smart Switch app, by connecting your old and new device via USB, or through the Smart Switch computer software. Once you’ve established connection through any one of these options, Smart Switch will guide you through the content you wish to transfer and will do so quickly.

Using the desktop app lets you also backup your phone and Samsung says that the desktop interface makes it easy to restore your content on a new Galaxy smartphone. It also provides a simple way for you to conduct firmware updates.

Samsung Smart Switch Website Updated, Makes It Simpler to Transfer Data
Keep in mind that Smart Switch will transfer content from any phone or OS to Galaxy devices ranging from Galaxy S2 to the current Galaxy S8 smartphones (including tablets) running Android 4.0 and above. Additionally, certain devices running Android 4.0 and above may not support wireless transfer in which case you will need to use the other two options mentioned. Meanwhile, transfers between Android to Galaxy devices via USB cable require Android 4.3 or above as well as MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) USB support.

While Samsung updates its own Smart Switch app, Apple too has been trying to attract Android users to its iOS platform having recently launched three new ad campaigns for its Move to iOS app, which works in a similar fashion to the Smart Switch, helping you easily transfer essential files to an iOS device.

 

Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete

It was inevitable that Google would one day start cutting down its confusing array of chat-based applications, and the Internet search giant has done just that. The company has finally killed off its Google Talk service and has replaced it with Hangouts, keeping true to the promise made back in March.

Google Talk, aka Gchat or GTalk, which came into existence back in 2005, is among the company’s oldest messaging applications that has been in a state of limbo given the various new messaging apps that the company has introduced including the more recent Google Allo. Killing off GTalk essentially means that anyone who was still using Google Talk rather than Hangouts will now be forced to shift to the latter to continue messaging on Gmail. The transition will go through smoothly and you’ll find all your chat contacts now in Hangouts.

Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete
Even though Gchat may be gone now, you’re still left with a number of chat-based services from Google to suit your needs. It’s also perhaps not a bad thing as not only does Hangouts cater to modern sensibilities with chat bubbles and GIF support, but also allows Google to focus more of its resources on its remaining apps. It’s a major step in the company’s effort too streamline its services.

Google in March also announced that it would drop support for carrier SMS on Hangouts and would instead be shifting it to Android Messages. The company in recent months has been trying to rewire Hangouts to serve G Suite and enterprise users, much like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and making it the default chat for Gmail is an effort towards the same. The same month, the company also rolled out Hangouts Meet video conferencing service along with text-based messaging service Hangout Chat for enterprise users.

 

Facebook Reportedly in Talks to Produce Original TV-Quality Shows

Facebook Inc is in talks with Hollywood studios about producing scripted, TV-quality shows, with an aim of launching original programming by late summer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The social networking giant has indicated that it was willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, in meetings with Hollywood talent agencies, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Facebook is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said.

Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, WSJ reported.

Facebook Reportedly in Talks to Produce Original TV-Quality Shows
The company is also willing to share its viewership data with Hollywood, the report said.

Apple Inc hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video-programming efforts.

Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator.

The company’s future programming plans include an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment from his CBS Corp show that will begin airing in August.

OnePlus 5 to Get EIS for 4K Videos, Wi-Fi Issue Fix With Future Update

The OnePlus 5 was launched last week, and the smartphone is now available on Amazon India in an open sale. Alongside the launch, OnePlus hosted an AMA on Reddit answering all its fans’ questions. In the AMA, OnePlus confirmed that the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T will receive the Android O update before the end of this year. It also confirmed several things about the OnePlus 5, including the fact that EIS for 4K videos and a Wi-Fi issue will be resolved with a future update. Furthermore, OnePlus 5 early access buyers were complaining about not receiving their units still, and the company informed that the buyers will receive their devices ‘normally’ this week.

Because of the absence of electronic image stabilisation in 4K videos on the OnePlus 5 (Review), handheld videos appear very shaky, as reported by early adopters and reviewers – including us. Also, some early adopters have noticed that the even though the smartphone is connected to Wi-Fi, the OnePlus 5 cannot access the Internet. OnePlus, in its AMA, confirmed that both these issues will be resolved in a future update.

OnePlus 5 to Get EIS for 4K Videos, Wi-Fi Issue Fix With Future Update

The company also touched upon the delay of the OnePlus 5 early access packages, and said that customers who ordered the OnePlus 5 last week should see their parcels arrive this week. This was received with disappointment by many fans as they expected to flaunt their devices much before the regular buyers.

Apart from this, OnePlus also confirmed that it has no plans to launch microSD card slots for memory expansion, and that a tablet is not on the cards. However, the company did claim that a premium device with a $800 (roughly Rs. 51,600) price tag could be a possibility in the future.

The OnePlus 5 was launched in India last week, and was made available on Amazon India the same day in an early access sale. The 64GB variant is priced at Rs. 32,999, while the 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 37,999.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Says Excited to Keep Investing in India After Meeting PM Modi

American online retail giant Amazon, which has committed investments to the tune of $5 billion in India, will “keep investing and growing in India”, its chief Jeff Bezos has said.

After his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bezos tweeted: “Terrific meeting with @narendramodi. Always impressed, energized by optimism and invention in India. Excited to keep investing and growing.”

Bezos was among the 20 US business leaders who interacted with Modi as part of a roundtable interaction. Others in the group included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google’s Sunder Pichai, John Chambers from Cisco, Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Ajay Banga from MasterCard.

Amazon, which has recently completed four years of operations in India, is locked in an intense battle for leadership with homegrown e-tailer Flipkart.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Says Excited to Keep Investing in India After Meeting PM Modi
The company has been aggressively investing in setting up fulfilment centres across India to ensure speedy delivery to consumers. It has 41 such warehouses across 13 states.

Its seller base in the country has also increased to 2 lakh currently, from 100 in 2013.

Previously, Bezos has said the company will keep investing in the Indian market to strengthen technology and infrastructure.

“Our India team is moving fast and delivering for customers and sellers… It’s still Day 1 for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we’ll keep investing in technology and infrastructure,” Bezos had said.

 

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content

Social media giants Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.

Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism “will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN,” the companies said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of last week’s call from European heads of state for tech firms to establish an industry forum and develop new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection and removal of extremist content.

The political pressure on the companies has raised the prospect of new legislation at EU level, but so far only Germany has proposed a law fining social media networks up to EUR 50 million ($56 million) if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly. The lower house of the German parliament is expected to vote on the law this week.

The companies will seek to improve technical work such as a database created in December to share unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos of extremist content.

They will also exchange best practices on content detection techniques using machine learning as well as define “standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.”

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content
Earlier this month Facebook opened up about its efforts to remove terrorism content in response to criticism from politicians that tech giants are not doing enough to stop militant groups using their platforms for propaganda and recruiting.

Google announced additional measures to identify and remove terrorist or violent extremist content on its video-sharing platform YouTube shortly thereafter.

Twitter suspended 376,890 accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism in the second half of 2016 and will share further updates on its efforts to combat violent extremism on its platform in its next Transparency Report.

The social media firms said they would work with smaller companies to help them tackle extremist content and organisations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies to work on ways to counter online extremism and hate.

All four companies have initiatives to counter online hate speech and will use the forum to improve their efforts and train civil society organisations engaged in similar work.