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The new app will help Valve compete with Discord, the popular game-related chat service.

Valve, the company behind the Steam games store, has released its Steam Chat app for iOS and Android, hoping to take on the hugely popular Discord. Steam overhauled its desktop client’s built-in chat feature in July last year, adding highly requested features including voice, group chats, GIF support, friend sorting, and a completely revamped user interface. Steam Chat was previously available to mobile users within the Steam Mobile app, but the new standalone Steam Chat app brings most of the new features and conveniences of the desktop client to iOS and Android devices. The apps are completely free and are already available in the mobile platforms’ respective app stores.

Users will be able to see their friends lists and who’s currently playing which game. Rich chats including links, GIFs, videos, embedded tweets, and emoticons are supported. Group chats have also made it over to the mobile app. Steam users can generate invitation links that can be texted or emailed to people to add them as friends. Mobile notifications have also been improved, with per-friend and per-group customisation options.

One major feature that is missing is voice chat, though Valve says that this will be added in the future. The company is also asking users to submit comments and feedback through an official Steam Community forum thread. Users have already begun asking for tweaks such as time zone support, the ability to be invisible to friends, multi-device message sync, and silent push notifications.

With communication features getting their own dedicated app, the Steam Mobile app will soon be refreshed to focus more on account security. Steam Guard, the main feature of the app, which allows users to set up two-factor authentication for their Steam accounts and verify inventory item sales, will get new user-friendly features such as QR codes which could eliminate the need to type in an alphanumeric code each time it is used. The app could have a completely overhauled UI as well, going by a promise of improved app navigation.

The launch comes just after Valve was finally able to release its Steam Link app for iOS. It had been delayed for over a year as the company sorted out a dispute with Apple regarding the ability to buy games within the app. Valve contended that it was just a remote access app allowing purchases through the Steam desktop client, while Apple didn’t want to allow any purchases in apps that don’t go through its own App Store and give it a cut of the proceeds. Eventually, the app was released without any way to purchase games.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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It has a release date of July 17, 2020.

Christopher Nolan’s next movie now has a title — Tenet — and has added five new cast members in Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Clémence Poésy (The Tunnel), Dimple Kapadia (Dil Chahta Hai), Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk), and Michael Caine (The Dark Knight), as it begins production. Slated for a July 17, 2020 release date, Tenet is described as “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage” and will be filmed in a mix of IMAX and 70mm film across seven countries, which reportedly might include India, Estonia, Italy, and the UK.

Warner Bros. made the announcements on Wednesday afternoon US time, noting that the five new cast members would join the three previously announced — John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Robert Pattinson (Twilight), and Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) — with Washington leading the cast.

On the crew front, there’s composer Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther), director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk), production designer Nathan Crowley (The Dark Knight), editor Jennifer Lame (Manchester by the Sea), costume designer Jeffrey Kurland (Inception), and visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson (Mad Max: Fury Road).

Nolan will produce Tenet with his wife Emma Thomas, with Thomas Hayslip (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) serving as executive producer. He has previously shot in India for The Dark Knight Rises.

The Tenet team includes a mix of new and returning collaborators for Nolan, as you can tell. Caine is the most frequent of them all, having co-starred in all his films since Batman Begins, except for Dunkirk, in which he had a voice cameo. Hoytema has previously worked with Nolan on Interstellar and Dunkirk. Göransson recently won an Oscar for original score for Black Panther.

Tenet is scheduled to release July 17, 2020 worldwide.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The fate of Qualcomm has become something like a bellwether for US wireless innovation.

Amid the battle over whether Chinese company Huawei’s technology should be allowed into 5G networks inside the US and abroad, America’s homegrown 5G champion, Qualcomm, was dealt two major setbacks in the space of a week.

Qualcomm’s stock started to slide Thursday, when the US Commerce Department blocked it and other US companies from selling components to Huawei. Then, late Tuesday, US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Qualcomm had used its monopoly power to bully companies like Apple into overpaying for royalties on Qualcomm’s wireless inventions, ordering Qualcomm to renegotiate its business deals. Qualcomm said it plans to appeal the decision.

The fate of Qualcomm, which for two decades has been a global leader in developing new technology for wireless phones, has become something like a bellwether for US wireless innovation, an important driver of economic growth. The current technology industry boom relied heavily on the expansion of fast wireless network connections, known as 4G or LTE, allowing people to hail rides with their phones and document their lives in real time on social media.

Now, as 5G promises ultrafast downloads and a new level of wireless speed and connectivity, Qualcomm is the only US company making 5G chips for mobile phones, the components necessary to connect smartphones to cellular networks. The new generation of cell networks might create another round of innovation and economic growth as startups figure out how to use it in new products and spur the development of self-driving cars, smart appliances and remote medicine, which rely on stable web connections.

But while Qualcomm is accused of using its market dominance to gouge its customers, it has proved remarkably easy to knock down. When Apple sued in 2017, Qualcomm laid off 1,500 employees and slashed its research and development budget. It nearly shuttered after Broadcom launched a hostile takeover bid last year, aimed at chopping up Qualcomm and selling it for parts. That bid was thwarted when the White House stepped in and blocked it on national security grounds.

Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University, said the judge’s decision sends a bad message to innovators. He viewed the FTC’s case against Qualcomm as the result of Qualcomm’s competitors ganging up on it in order to reduce costs. The decision “has serious repercussions for the US innovation economy, far beyond this situation,” he said.

The Federal Trade Commission, which brought the suit in 2017, called Koh’s decision “an important win for competition in a key segment of the economy.”

With the first wave of fifth-generation smartphones due later this year, wireless companies are jostling to bolster their 5G capabilities. By 2022, 5G cellular networks will power as much as 9 percent of mobile data connections across North America, according to a recent report from Cisco. US officials have framed development of the technology as a race against China to dominate the next frontier of the commercial Internet. Whichever nation gains that advantage will largely shape – and benefit economically from – such add-ons as apps, services and other innovations, policy analysts say. When the United States took the lead on 4G mobile technology, for example, it gave rise to the app economy, which is still dominated by US firms, according to Cisco.

But the ruling could upend Qualcomm’s business model, which relies not just on chip sales, but on royalty payments from a myriad of Qualcomm inventions that are incorporated into global wireless standards. In her ruling Tuesday, Judge Koh said Qualcomm earned more than it should have on those royalty payments by threatening to stop selling chips to handset makers.

Qualcomm had denied using its chips as leverage for its licensing business, but Judge Koh said in her ruling that she discounted the testimony of Qualcomm executives because they “lacked credibility,” citing contradictions between what they said at trial and their own notes and emails that surfaced during the discovery process.

The judgment comes a month after Qualcomm settled its dispute with Apple, ending years of litigation. The deal resolved all 80 lawsuits between them worldwide and included licensing and supply agreements. The legal battle stemmed from the iPhone maker’s allegation that Qualcomm abused its market position for wireless modem chips.

Qualcomm’s new agreement with Apple, signed as part of the settlement, addressed the same issues raised during the FTC trial, according to people familiar with the matter who did not want to be named because of the legally sensitive nature of the topic. It is unclear whether Judge Koh’s ruling requires that case to be renegotiated. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

On Wall Street, the settlement had been seen as a sign the FTC’s case against Qualcomm was weak, said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, making Tuesday’s ruling all the more surprising. “This is a gut punch for Qualcomm and could have a major ripple impact across the smartphone industry,” he said.

Qualcomm’s legal defeat may also carry foreign policy implications. The Trump administration has moved to limit China’s access to US markets, especially in industries deemed vital to national security, such as telecommunications. Just last week, the White House placed Chinese telecom giant Huawei on a trade “blacklist.” But the Qualcomm decision may weaken the Huawei ban, Ives said, by giving Beijing leverage in the battle over smartphone chips.

“Qualcomm is dealt a blow with this FTC ruling as the main US 5G arms dealer,” he said, while Huawei’s position is strengthened.

US officials have come to view Qualcomm as an important cog in the US technology landscape. With Intel’s withdrawal from the 5G chip market, Qualcomm is the only company in the space. In March 2018, the White House stepped in to block a takeover bid from Broadcom, citing national security concerns.

Earlier this month, the US Department of Justice weighed in on the FTC’s dispute with Qualcomm, warning that without first holding hearings on the matter, an overly broad remedy from Koh could stymie innovation in the market for next-generation wireless technology.

But Koh wrote that potential resolutions had already been discussed during trial. Qualcomm must now negotiate or renegotiate its terms with customers without threatening to pull its chips or to impose discriminatory provisions, the ruling said, and make its licenses available to chip suppliers at “fair and reasonable” rates. It also must forgo the exclusive supply agreements it brokered with Apple and others, which tend to lock out market rivals.

The court ordered Qualcomm to undergo seven years of FTC monitoring to ensure its compliance. And the company is barred from interfering with customers who might want to report potential misconduct to a government agency.

“Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition” Koh wrote. The company’s leading position in the market for 5G wireless chips, she noted, makes the company’s illegal conduct likely to continue.

Koh seemed to take particular issue with Qualcomm’s royalty rates, which are based on the sale price of a smartphone. Qualcomm’s own documentation acknowledged that its chips don’t drive the value of a handset, she noted, yet the company continued to take the same 5 percent cut from customers despite its modem chip’s declining relevance. Koh found that Qualcomm used its dominant market position to extract billions of dollars from phone companies this way.

Royalties are generally based on the value of specific patented parts, not of the entire end-product. Koh ruled that Qualcomm’s use of a phone’s price as the royalty base is inconsistent with federal patent law.

Judge Koh’s ruling did not prohibit Qualcomm from negotiating future royalty rates that are based on the value of handsets.

Qualcomm said it will seek to put a hold on Koh’s ruling and move for an expedited appeal.

“We strongly disagree with the judge’s conclusions, her interpretation of the facts and her application of the law,” said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s executive vice president and general counsel.

The ruling’s effect on Qualcomm’s business may not be clear for months or even years. It’s possible that Qualcomm’s customers will end up paying less for its patents and technology as a result.

However, even Apple acknowledged in its own internal documents that Qualcomm’s patent portfolio was of significant value, and it’s unlikely handset makers can avoid paying royalties to Qualcomm for using that technology.

George Hay, a former Department of Justice antitrust official, said Judge Koh’s ruling could have been much harsher. “You’re talking about changing some contracts,” he said. “It’s not going to change overnight.”

Another question is whether the market for wireless chips and technology will see an explosion of competition as a result of the ruling.

Companies like Intel have faced difficulties in developing the chips. Apple, for instance, reduced the speed of Qualcomm modems in 2016 because the Intel chips it was using in some phones were so much slower. Apple eventually stopped using Qualcomm chips altogether in favor of Intel’s.

Qualcomm’s stock was already on a downward trajectory since last week, when one of its most important customers, Huawei, was added to the Commerce Department’s “entity list,” essentially banning US companies from doing business it. Huawei is suspected of doing the bidding of the Chinese government, thereby representing a national security threat.

Qualcomm shares were down about 11 percent during trading Wednesday.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


WhatsApp beta version 2.19.151 for Android has evidence supporting the two new changes.

WhatsApp has been spotted adding the ability to let you share your Status update as a Facebook Story. The new feature is reportedly a part of WhatsApp beta version 2.19.151 for Android, though it is yet to be available for public access. Essentially, the addition would make it easier for WhatsApp users to post fresh Facebook stories. The new WhatsApp beta build is also said to have added the option to share contacts information via QR code. This works similar to how people can share their profiles on the LinkedIn app. Also, Facebook has provided a similar QR code-backed Nametag feature on Instagram.

As reported by WhatsApp tipster WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is bringing an Add to Facebook Story button to the Status section to let users easily share their status updates to Facebook as a story. The evidence of the new feature has reportedly been spotted in the WhatsApp beta version 2.19.151 for Android. However, it isn’t visible on the beta version.

With the arrival of the Add to Facebook Story button, WhatsApp users would be able to easily share their status updates on Facebook.

Back in January last year, Facebook made the headlines for testing the feature to share Instagram Stories as WhatsApp Status updates. The social media giant was also earlier this year reported to have plans to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.

Aside from the option to share WhatsApp status updates on Facebook, the WhatsApp beta 2.51.151 is said to have the references for a new QR code button that would allow users to share their profiles and add contacts through specific QR codes. The feature was first reported in November last year.

Once you tap the QR code button after going through the Profile section, WhatsApp would show the QR code that would let other users add you to their contacts list. You would also be able to add other users to your contact list by scanning their QR codes using the Camera feature on your WhatsApp.

It is said that WhatsApp would give the option to revoke the QR code to let users disable the feature completely. Moreover, the development could become highly important for WhatsApp Business users who would able to share their QR codes directly on their websites and apps.

WhatsApp won’t be the first app to add the QR code feature for sharing contact information. As we mentioned, LinkedIn has been providing a similar experience on its mobile apps for some time. Instagram also has a Nametag feature to let users share their profile with other users.

It is so far unclear that when will the button for sharing WhatsApp status updates on Facebook as well as the QR code feature would debut publicly. However, since the new offerings are reportedly integrated within the new WhatsApp beta version for Android devices, they are likely to arrive for beta testers in the coming days.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Jiang, 30, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Over the span of two years, a Chinese national in Oregon sent devices that looked like iPhones to Apple, saying they wouldn’t turn on and should be replaced under warranty. He didn’t just submit a couple of the devices – he delivered in person or shipped to Apple around 3,000 of them.

Apple responded by sending almost 1,500 replacement iPhones, each with an approximate resale value of $600 (roughly Rs. 42,000).

But the devices that Quan Jiang sent Apple were fake.

Jiang, 30, a former engineering student at a community college in Albany, Oregon, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to trafficking in counterfeit goods, the US Attorney’s office in Portland announced.

The presence of fake iPhones and other high-tech gadgets has become an issue in global resale markets, with some counterfeit versions operating so well it’s hard for users to tell the difference between them and the genuine products. But in the Oregon case, the makers of the thousands of fake phones apparently didn’t even have to bother with having working operating systems.

An Apple official quoted by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Thomas Duffy in a court document exposed a vulnerability that Jiang exploited.

“Submission of an iPhone that will not power on is critical to perpetuating iPhone warranty fraud, as the phone will not be able to be immediately examined or repaired by Apple technicians, triggering the Apple iPhone replacement process as part of its product warranty policy,” Duffy wrote, quoting Apple brand protection representative Adrian Punderson.

The US Attorney’s office in Portland said Jiang would import the counterfeit devices from Hong Kong and submit them to Apple using various assumed names. The genuine replacement phones Jiang received would be sold in China. Jiang’s associate would pay Jiang’s mother, who lives in China, who then deposited the money into Jiang’s bank account.

Jiang received packages containing between 20 and 30 counterfeit iPhones from associates in Hong Kong between January 1, 2016, and February 1, 2018, according to court documents.

Apple realized something was amiss as early as June 30, 2017, when its legal counsel sent Jiang a “cease and desist” letter to an address in Corvallis where 150 warranty claims emanated. The lawyers said the company knew he was importing counterfeit Apple products, according to Duffy’s affidavit. Jiang didn’t respond, so the Apple lawyers sent a second letter.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the case.

Apple rejected 1,576 warranty claims associated with Jiang, Duffy said. The 1,493 claims that resulted in replacement iPhones being delivered by Apple represented an $895,000 (roughly Rs. 6.2 crores) loss to the Cupertino, California-based company, Duffy wrote.

Brad Bench, who heads the Homeland Security Investigations office in Seattle, said in a statement that trafficking in counterfeit goods hurts the economy, legitimate businesses, and impact consumers directly.

Jiang faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $2 million fine or twice his proceeds, whichever is greater, when he is sentenced on August 28. Under a plea agreement, the US Attorney’s office will recommend a prison sentence of three years, at least $200,000 in restitution to Apple.

And Jiang must forfeit his black 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 coupe.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The Windows health dashboard has also gone live for users.

Microsoft has finally begun the rollout of the Windows 10 May 2019 update – the next major build of Windows 10 – via the stable channel. The update is being rolled out in a throttled fashion and will soon reach users across the globe. The Windows 10 May 2019 update comes with new features such as enhanced control over update installation and a dedicated sandbox for testing apps among others. The rollout of Windows 10 May 2019 update is accompanied by the release of Windows health dashboard to let users know about the status of updates, bugs associated with them, and a lot more.

The Windows 10 May 2019 update will require a minimum 32GB of storage for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system. Additionally, users will have to make sure that they don’t have an SD card or a USB drive plugged in their PC, or else, the update won’t install on their system. After arriving for the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring and later through Microsoft’s Media Creation tool last month, the Windows 10 May 2019 update is finally being released on a wider basis for users via the stable channel, just as Microsoft had promised.

Among the key changes introduced by the update is a new delivery mechanism that grants users more control as to when they want to install an update. The new changes will let users pause all update activity for 35 days, and choose to install the update manually. As for the Windows health dashboard, it will let users check the status of updates, and understand any potential issues associated with it. Moreover, the integrated Cortana search bar has been separated and it is now available as a separate Cortana button and a dedicated search bar, a change that has been under testing since the beginning of 2019.

Another major change is the introduction of Windows Sandbox, a virtualisation feature that will let users test programs in an isolated environment so that it cannot harm the native system. Microsoft is taking a cautious approach and has announced that the update will be available in a phased manner to make sure that the Windows 10 October 2018 update’s woes are not replicated again. You can check for Windows 10 May 2019 update on your PC by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Except Jio, all telcos have lost subscribers in March.

Mobile subscriber base of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel declined by nearly 14.5 million and 15.1 million respectively, totalling nearly 30 million subscribers as of March over the previous month, while Reliance Jio added 9.4 million users, according to the TRAI data.

Except Jio, all telcos have lost subscribers in March.

India’s total wireless subscriber base fell to 1,161.8 million on March 31, 2019, shedding 21.87 million users over the previous month. The overall tele-density in India declined to 90.11 at the end of March, from 91.86 in February.

According to TRAI, the wireless subscriber base of Vodafone Idea at the end of March 2019 was 394.8 million. VIL’s last quarter of 2018-19 total user base was at 334.1 million.

Bharti Airtel’s mobile subscriber base was 325.1 million, and that of rival Reliance Jio was 306.7 million as on March 2019.

As on March 31, 2019, Vodaofne Idea leads the market share at 33.98% followed by Airtel at 27.99% and Reliance Jio at 26.40% and BSNL at 9.96%.

“Total wireless subscribers declined from 1,183.68 million at the end of Feb-19 to 1,161.81 million at the end of Mar-19, thereby registering a monthly decline rate of 1.85%,” said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report released on Tuesday.

The wireless subscription in urban areas declined to 650.49 million in March end from 656.57 million in February end, and rural user base also plunged to 511.32 million from 527.11 million during the period.

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel together shed 29.6 million users by March-end compared to February.

The customers base of Reliance Ji was 306.7 million as on March 2019, against 297.2 million as on February.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Samsung has also released sample shots of photos taken with 2x zoom and 5x optical zoom.

South Korean company is reportedly ready with its own 5X optical zoom smartphone camera. The company has started mass producing the module, hinting that it should be integrated into one of the upcoming phones. This module will compete with Huawei P30 Pro’s periscope-style sensor and Oppo Reno 10x zoom module as well. Samsung has also released sample shots of photos taken with 2x zoom and 5x optical zoom, to demo its new sensor capabilities.

ETNews reports that the module is in mass production from this month. The optical zoom should have 2.5x longer focal length than the optical 2x zoom. The report states that to prevent the module from protruding outside of the camera, Samsung has developed an ultra-slim optical 5x zoom camera module that fits well inside the slim body of the phone. Samsung stacks the sensors and lenses vertically, just like how we see on the Huawei P30 Pro ₹ 71,990, to enable optical zoom without increasing thickness.

The incoming light is refracted at right angles using a mirror, and the entire camera module is only 5mm thick. This is impressive given that the conventional 2x optical zoom module is 6mm thick, so the improvement in zoom comes with reduced thickness, an impressive achievement.

There’s no word on which smartphone will get Samsung’s 5x optical zoom module first. It could be the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 set to release in the fall, or a new premium ‘Galaxy A’ series model that may be slated for launch something in this year as well. Given that the module is in mass production from this month, we should see it on a Samsung phone soon.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Sony aims to reduce its overall cost by 57 percent in the fiscal year 2020.

Sony at its corporate strategy meeting for the fiscal year 2019 on Tuesday detailed its smartphone business transformation. During the meeting in Tokyo, the company revealed that it presently considers Japan, Europe, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as the “focus regions” for its smartphone business. It also showcased the regions from where it will be withdrawing its smartphone business, including India. Back in March, the Japanese company announced the closure of its smartphone plant in Beijing and shifted the production to Thailand. The company also has plans to cut its operational costs by 50 percent.

The presentation slide highlighting Sony’s smartphone business transformation during the strategy meeting confirms Japan, Europe, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as the focus regions for the company. However, it does state that there are many global markets, including Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, and the Middle East, that have been considered as the “non focus” and “defocused regions” with respect to the sales and marketing of Sony phones. It will be withdrawing from these markets.

Alongside providing the detail on the regional basis, Sony during its meeting mentioned that it is aimed to reduce the operational cost by 50 percent and overall cost by 57 percent in the fiscal year 2020 from the fiscal year 2017. This is aimed to help make the smartphone business profitable in the long run.

A recent report claimed that Sony is set to cut its mobile division workforce by half by 2020. This could result in roughly 2,000 employees either losing their jobs or getting moved to a new business division at the company.

The streamlining of the costs from the smartphone business was also suggested through the recent move of closing down the smartphone plant in Beijing. As a result of the closure, Sony shifted the production to its plant in Thailand. This was again aimed at reducing costs and turn the smartphone business profitable.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Analysts expect Nokia and its Swedish peer Ericsson to benefit from tensions between the United States and Huawei.

Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said on Tuesday the company could benefit from a U.S. clampdown on Chinese rival Huawei as the race to roll out 5G services heats up.

Asked about the regulatory problems facing Huawei, he told investors: “Perhaps there is long term opportunity but more than that, it’s hard to say at this point.”

Analysts expect Nokia and its Swedish peer Ericsson to benefit from tensions between the United States and Huawei, the largest supplier of mobile network technology.

Nokia last month reported a surprise quarterly loss after it failed to supply 5G telecoms equipment in time.

Suri acknowledged the company had been a little slow in getting 5G technology up and running, citing merging its own technology plans with those of acquired Alcatel-Lucent as a reason.

“We are late in 5G by a few weeks to a couple of months,” Suri told the Finnish company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Nokia said it has won one additional commercial 5G contract since it reported first-quarter earnings in late April.

“We are winning deals and rolling out some of the world’s first 5G networks,” Suri said.

“We now have 37 5G commercial contracts – 20 with named customers including T-Mobile, AT&T, STC, and Telia – and more than half of them include wider portfolio elements that our competitors cannot match,” he added.

Suri told investors he remained confident the company would reach its annual financial guidance. Nokia repeated in April its forecast for 2019 underlying diluted earnings per share of 25-29 euro cents, and non-IFRS operating margin of 9-12%.

Shares in Nokia were up 1.9 percent in late trading in Helsinki.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)