Archive for February, 2018

The 4GB RAM variant of the Nokia 6 will go on sale for the first time in India on Tuesday. The variant will be available exclusively via Flipkart with the first sale to be held at 12pm on February 20. The smartphone will be made available in the Matte Black colour variant with a price tag of Rs. 16,999. The Nokia 6 was initially launched in January last year, with its successor getting announced in China just last month. Notably, it is the first-gen variant that will be available for purchase in India.

The Nokia 6 (4GB RAM) will be sold on Flipkart at an MOP (Market Operating Price) of Rs. 16,999. Additionally, there are bundled offers including extra 5 percent discount on payment through Axis Bank Buzz credit cards (up to Rs. 200) and EMI options for several banking partners. The 3GB RAM variant is currently available for an MOP of around Rs. 14,500.

Talking about the specifications, the Nokia 6 (4GB RAM) is similar to the previous variant, albeit with improved RAM and storage. The smartphone sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) IPS display. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC, coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB inbuilt storage.

In terms of camera specifications, the Nokia 6 bears a 16-megapixel rear sensor with PDAF, dual-tone LED flash, and an f/2.0 aperture. On the front is an 8-megapixel sensor, with autofocus, for selfies and video calling. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC, Micro-USB with OTG, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a 3000mAh battery under the hood. Dimensions of the phone are 154×75.8×7.85mm.

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Competing against Jio and Airtel, Idea Cellular has launched a prepaid pack offering ‘unlimited calls’ at Rs. 109. The new pack comes with a validity of 14 days and is initially limited to select circles. The telco has brought the new pack days after launching the Rs. 93 pack that offers unlimited voice calling benefits alongside 1GB of data for 10 days. That pack countered the Rs. 93 pack by Airtel that, back then, offered a similar tariff and validity. However, Airtel now offers 28-day validity, free calls and 1GB data at the same price now, which is twice the validity the new Idea pack offers. Similarly, the Jio Rs. 98 recharge offers a validity of 28 days, unlimited voice calls as well as 2GB of 4G data.

According to the official Idea Cellular website, the Rs. 109 prepaid pack offers ‘unlimited’ local, STD, and roaming calls, alongside 1GB of 4G/ 3G data and daily 100 local and national SMS. The voice calls through the pack are limited to 250 minutes per day and 1,000 minutes per week, identical to other ‘unlimited’ packs. Furthermore, beyond the bundled calls, subscribers will be charged at 1 paisa per second for calls.

The pack is available in a few circles, including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bihar and Jharkhand, Gujarat, Haryana, and Karnataka, among others. The availability of 4G/ 3G data is subject to the network rollout. Subscribers can recharge their accounts with the new Rs. 109 pack either through the operator’s official site or via My Idea app.

Earlier this week, Idea revised its Nirvana Postpaid plans to offer additional data benefits at existing charges. The plans that have been revised include the Rs. 499, Rs. 649, Rs. 999, Rs. 389, Rs. 1,299, Rs. 1,699, Rs. 1,999, and Rs. 2,999. While the lowest among all the plans, the Rs. 398 plan, offers 20GB of data – up from 10GB, the Rs. 2,999 plan comes with 300GB of data for a month.

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EA is running an Xbox One and Xbox 360 sale from February 20-26 on some of its biggest games, including FIFA 18, Need for Speed Payback, Star Wars Battlefront II, NHL 18, Madden NFL 18, Battlefield 1 Revolution, and Mass Effect Andromeda among others. Discounts will range up to 75 percent.

In addition to that, gifting an EA game or DLC – worth at least $4.49 (about Rs. 290) – to a friend on Xbox will net you a free month of EA Access, worth $4.99/ Rs. 315. It’s the subscription-based service that grants you unlimited access to a vast catalogue of past EA titles, and limited access to upcoming and current games.

Here’s the list of EA games on Xbox One that are on sale:

FIFA 18 – Rs. 1,400 (Rs. 2,100 off)
FIFA 18 Ronaldo Edition – Rs. 1,920 (Rs. 2,880 off)
FIFA 18 ICON Edition – Rs. 2,750 (Rs. 2,750 off)

Need for Speed Payback – Rs. 1,400 (Rs. 2,100 off)
Need for Speed Payback: Deluxe Edition – Rs. 1,920 (Rs. 2,880 off)
Need for Speed Ultimate Bundle – Rs. 2,750 (Rs. 2,750 off)

FIFA 18 + NFS Payback – Rs. 2,792 (Rs. 4,188 off)
FIFA 18 + NBA Live 18: The One Edition – Rs. 1,815 (Rs. 3,685 off)
FIFA 18 + NHL 18 Bundle – Rs. 1,346.40 (Rs. 2,733.60 off)

Star Wars Battlefront II – Rs. 1,400 (Rs. 2,100 off)
Star Wars Battlefront II: Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition – Rs. 1,920 (Rs. 2,880 off)

NBA Live 18: The One Edition – Rs. 375 (Rs. 2,125 off) –> BIGGEST DISCOUNT

NHL 18 – Rs. 1,155 (Rs. 2,345 off)
NHL 18 Young Stars Edition – Rs. 1,584 (Rs. 3,216 off)
NHL 18 Young Stars Deluxe – Rs. 1,815 (Rs. 3,685 off)

Madden NFL 18 – Rs. 1,155 (Rs. 2,345 off)
Madden NFL 18: GOAT Holiday Edition – Rs. 1,440 (Rs. 3,360 off)

Battlefield 1 Revolution – Rs. 1,155 (Rs. 2,345 off)
Battlefield Anniversary Bundle – Rs. 2,200 (Rs. 3,300 off)
Battlefield 1 + Titanfall 2 Ultimate Bundle – Rs. 2,000 (Rs. 3,000 off)

Mass Effect Andromeda: Standard Recruit – Rs. 656.70 (Rs. 1,333.30 off)
Mass Effect Andromeda: Deluxe Recruit – Rs. 990 (Rs. 2,010 off)

Titanfall 2: Ultimate Edition – Rs. 625 (Rs. 1,875 off)

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2: Deluxe Edition – Rs. 990 (Rs. 2,010 off)

Free with EA Access
You can play the following titles for free if you’ve EA Access, or you can pay the amount below to own them outright.

Unravel – Rs. 375 (Rs. 1,125 off)
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – Rs. 375 (Rs. 1,125 off)

Here’s the list of EA games on Xbox 360 that are on sale:

Dragon Age: Origins – Rs. 235
Dead Space – Rs. 235
Dead Space 2 – Rs. 375
Dead Space 3 – Rs. 375
Battlefield Bad Company 2 – Rs. 675
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition – Rs. 470

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By looking at the human eye, Google’s algorithms were able to predict whether someone had high blood pressure or was at risk of a heart attack or stroke, Google researchers said Monday, opening a new opportunity for artificial intelligence in the vast and lucrative global health industry.

The algorithms didn’t outperform existing medical approaches such as blood tests, according to a study of the finding published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. The work needs to be validated and repeated on more people before it gains broader acceptance, several outside physicians said.

But the new approach could build on doctors’ current abilities by providing a tool that people could one day use to quickly and easily screen themselves for health risks that can contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.

“This may be a rapid way for people to screen for risk,” Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University who was not involved in the study, wrote in an email. “Diagnosis is about to get turbo-charged by technology. And one avenue is to empower people with rapid ways to get useful information about their health.”

Google researchers fed images scanned from the retinas of more than 280,000 patients across the United States and United Kingdom into its intricate pattern-recognizing algorithms, known as neural networks. Those scans helped train the networks on which telltale signs tended to indicate long-term health dangers.

Medical professionals today can look for similar signs by using a device to inspect the retina, drawing the patient’s blood or assessing risk factors such as their age, gender, weight and whether they smoke. But no one taught algorithms what to look for: Instead, the systems taught themselves, by reviewing enough data to learn the patterns often found in the eyes of people at risk.

The true power of this kind of technological solution is that it could flag risk with a fast, cheap and noninvasive test that could be administered in a range of settings, letting people know if they should come in for follow-up.

The research, one of an increasing number of conceptual health-technology studies, was conducted by Google and Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Google’s parent Alphabet.

The idea that people’s eyes might reveal signs of underlying cardiovascular disease isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. Diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, can cause changes in the retina.

Krumholz cautioned that an eye scan isn’t ready to replace more conventional approaches. Maulik Majmudar, associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, called the model “impressive” but noted that the results show how tough it is to make significant improvements in cardiovascular risk prediction. Age and gender are powerful predictors of risk, without the need for any additional testing.

Google’s algorithms approached the accuracy of current methods but were far from perfect. When presented images of the eyes of two different people – one who suffered a major adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke within five years of the photo and the other who did not – the algorithms could correctly pick the patient who fell ill 70 percent of the time.

Similar deep-learning technologies have exploded in the past five years and are widely used today in systems such as Google’s image search and Facebook’s facial recognition. They are also showing promise in other arenas of health, including by looking for signs of cancer in the X-ray scans reviewed by radiologists.

The Google researchers used similar machine-learning methods in 2016 to look for diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that is a major cause of blindness. This time, they also used a machine-learning technique, known as “soft attention,” to help pinpoint which parts of the image were most instrumental in driving the algorithms’ prediction. One vulnerability of many neutral networks today is that it’s often unclear how or why they reached that conclusion – a “black box” problem that could undermine doctors’ or patients’ trust in the results.

The idea that the hallmarks of disease could be detected through computational analysis has been alluring to engineers. DeepMind, the London-based AI-development firm bought by Google in 2014 that often operates autonomously, released research earlier this month showing similar algorithms could help detect signs of glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Apple late last year launched a heart study tied to its Apple Watch to see if it could detect and alert people to irregular heart rhythms that could be a sign of atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke.

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Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 for compatible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, tvOS 11.2.6 for Apple TV, watchOS 4.2.3 for Apple Watch, and macOS 10.13.3 supplement update for Mac devices. The new software versions are mainly designed to address the Telugu character bug that was crashing Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac machines, and blocking access to the pre-installed Messages app as well as third-party apps such as Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Twitter.

As per the official iOS changelog, the iOS 11.2.6 update fixes the issue that was allowing certain character sequences to crash apps. These character sequences include the Telugu character that was last week reported to crash iPhone and iPad models when it is received or even pasted into a text area. Apple acknowledged the issue following the numerous reports and confirmed a fix would be issued shortly. The latest developer and public beta versions of iOS were not affected by the issue. Moreover, the new iOS update resolves the bug that was making some third-party apps fail to connect to external accessories. The security update contents of iOS 11.2.6 can be found here.

You can download the iOS 11.2.6 update on your iPhone 5s and above models, iPad Air and above models, iPad mini 2 and above models, or the sixth generation iPod touch. To download the update, you need to go to Settings > General > Software Update and then follow the on-screen instructions. Your device should be running on a Wi-Fi connection to download the over-the-air (OTA) update. Also, it is advisable to back up your data before beginning the update process.

watchOS 4.2.3
Similar to the iOS 11.2.6 update, watchOS 4.2.3 also fixes the issue that was causing certain characters to crash apps. The update is designed for Apple Watch models, including the Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3. You can install the latest update on your Apple Watch by heading to the My Watch tab on the Watch app and then going to General > Software Update. The Watch needs to have at least 50 percent of battery charge to enable the installation process. Also, it is recommended to keep it on the charging dock while installing the new update. Your iPhone will also need to be in close proximity to the Apple Watch and will need to be on Wi-Fi. The Apple Watch should restart twice before the update is completely installed, and you need to enter the Watch passcode if prompted, after beginning the update and then follow the prompts from your iPhone.

tvOS 11.2.6
In addition to the new iOS and watchOS updates, Apple has released tvOS 11.2.6 as a minor update with a focus on performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that were discovered after the tvOS 11.2.5 update last month. There are also some security tweaks to deliver a more secure TV watching experience than before.

To update your Apple TV with the latest update, you need to open the Settings app on your TV and then navigate to Settings > Systems > Software Update. Once this is done, the Apple TV will search for the update and then you can proceed to download tvOS 11.2.6 by following the on-screen instructions.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 supplement update
For Mac machines, Apple has released macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 supplement update that also addresses to the Telugu character bug. You can check the security update contents of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 supplement update from here.

To download the new macOS supplement update on your Mac device, you need to launch the App Store and then search for “macOS” (or go directly to this link from a macOS machine). Click the Download button on the App Store listing and then enter your Apple ID credentials in the provided box. Once downloaded, an information window will pop up on your screen. Click on Continue and wait until the update automatically installs on your device.

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Idea Cellular has revised its tariff for its postpaid customers, in yet another move to combat the Reliance Jio onslaught. All the eight recharge packs under Idea’s Nirvana postpaid plan have been revamped to offer added data benefits to subscribers. Earlier, three postpaid plans – Rs. 499, Rs. 649, and Rs. 999 – had been seen to receive updates, but now the telecom operator has reportedly updated the entire range of offerings.

The Rs. 389, Rs. 1,299, Rs. 1,699, Rs. 1,999 and Rs. 2,999 recharge plans have been updated by Idea Cellular, reports TelecomTalk. Under the new offer, the Rs. 389 plan will now provide unlimited voice calls including roaming, incoming, and outgoing calls and 20GB data for the billing cycle. Earlier, the same plan came with 10GB data and only the incoming calls were free.

Meanwhile, the Rs. 1,299 plan will now offer 100GB of data instead of 85GB a month. The Rs. 1,699 plan will offer 150GB per month, up from 110GB. Further, the Rs. 1,999 plan will provide 200GB per month and the Rs 2,999 plan will offer 300GB per month. Earlier, these two packs offered 135GB and 220GB a month respectively.

To recall, the Nirvana Rs. 499 plan now offers 40GB data a month, Rs. 699 Plan now offers 50GB of data a month and in the Rs. 999 Plan, subscribers can avail up to 80GB data. Additionally, subscribers get unlimited calling benefits and 100 SMS messages per day limits in all the above plans.

To note, the plans are eligible for Idea data rollover scheme. Subscribers can store up to 200GB maximum data in plans below Rs. 1,299 and the rest of the plans provide options up to 500GB.

Apart from these benefits, all Nirvana plans give Idea postpaid users free access to 12 months of Idea Music, Idea Movies, and Idea Games. The plans offer between 4 to 12 months of a magazine subscription, and a 4-month subscription to Idea Phone Secure.

The Idea Nirvana postpaid plans also offer the ease of family plans for up to 5 connections. Users, under this offer, could avail all benefits of the individual plans and get a 20 percent additional discount on the total bill rental.

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Essential Products, the makers of the Essential Phone, on Friday announced the launch of new variant of smartphone – Halo Gray. Earlier this week, Essential Phone got three new colour variants – Copper Black, Ocean Depths, and Stellar Gray. While the Halo Gray variant looks very similar to Stellar, there is one big difference between the phones. The newest Halo Gray variant comes with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant built-in, and costs less.

“In case three new Essential Phone colours weren’t enough, today we’re unveiling Halo Gray, the first Essential Phone to come with Alexa built-in. Halo Gray is available for pre-order exclusively from Amazon starting today,” the company announced on Twitter.

As detailed by Essential, the new Halo Gray variant is now available for pre-orders via, and will go on sale from February 21. While the new colour variants – Copper Black, Ocean Depths, and Stellar Gray – all cost $599 (roughly Rs. 38,500), and the new Halo Gray version with Amazon Alexa built-in is being sold at just $449.99 (roughly Rs. 28,900). The older colour variants, Black Moon and Pure White, both cost $499 (roughly Rs. 32,100) on the Essential Products site, but Amazon has listed them at $449.99.

All six colour variants of the Essential Phone PH-1 come unlocked and have identical specifications. Essential has sold less than 90,000 units of its debut handset in the six months following launch, IDC reported earlier this month.

The Essential Phone features an edge-to-edge display and a modular system that lets users attach accessories such as a 360-degree camera. Coming to the specifications, the Essential Phone sports a 5.7-inch edge-to-edge QHD (1312×2560 pixels) display with 19:10 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It is powered by the 64-bit Snapdragon 835 octa-core (2.45GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad) processor with Adreno 540 GPU and 4GB RAM. Internal storage option is at 128GB.

There’s a 13-megapixel dual camera setup at the back with RGB and monochrome capabilities in each lens, with hybrid autofocus, phase detect, IR Laser Assist Focus, and 4K video support. At the front there is an 8-megapixel selfie sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 16:9 aspect ratio, and 4K video support here as well. The battery is at 3040mAh with fast charging support. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth v5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, GPS, USB Type-C port, Nano-SIM support, and GLONASS. The dimensions of the Essential Phone are at 141.5×72.2×7.8mm, and the smartphone weighs less than 185 grams.

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The Virgin Group on Sunday signed an “intent agreement” with Maharashtra to build a hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune, which aims to reduce the travel time between the two megacities to 25 minutes from the three hours at present.

The first hyperloop route will link central Pune with the megapolis as well as the Navi Mumbai international airport, the foundation stone for which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening.

“We have signed an agreement with Maharashtra to build a Virgin Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, beginning with an operational demonstration track in the region,” Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson said on the first day of Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit in Mumbai on Sunday.

With easier access to airport gates, the loop will be able to ferry 150 million passengers every year.

“The proposed Hyperloop transportation system will transform the transportation system and make Maharashtra a global pioneer in the space. The socioeconomic benefits of the project is $55 billion (Rs. 3,54,750 crore),” Branson said, claiming that the project will create thousands of jobs.

Details such as the project cost and a timeline are yet to be announced.The Hyperloop route will be a fully electric system and will have the capability travel up to 1,000 km per hour.

The proposed project will begin after a six-month in-depth feasibility study which will analyse and define the route alignment, including environmental impact, economic and commercial viability, the regulatory framework, and cost and funding model suggestions.

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Jio cashback offers are back, and this time they’re meant for new smartphone buyers who connect to the network for the first time. Under the ‘Football Offer’, Jio will be providing an instant cashback of Rs. 2,200 to people who buy an eligible handset and then activate a Jio SIM in it. The smartphone brands eligible for this offer include those from brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, Asus, Motorola, Panasonic, Huawei, Nokia, LG, Micromax, 10.or, BlackBerry, and LYF. The offer is applicable only on select handsets.

Under the Jio Football Offer, the telco will provide users with 44 cashback vouchers worth Rs. 50 each. To avail the scheme, buyers will have to get their first recharge with Rs. 198 or Rs. 299 plans. Further, the cashback vouchers can be redeemed on subsequent recharges with Jio’s recharge packs. This offer will be available on the MyJio app.

The Jio Football offer is applicable for both existing and new Jio customers. It is valid for all eligible devices, activated on the Jio network for the first time, on or after February 15, 2018. Also, the first recharge of Rs. 198 or Rs. 299 needs to be done on or before 31st March 2018. Notably, the unused cashback vouchers from Jio will expire on May 31, 2022. They are non-transferable and can only be redeemed one at a time.

Recently, Xiaomi announced the same offer at the launch of Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones. Under this offer, Jio users will also be able to avail up to 4.5TB 4G data, thanks to an additional double data offer.

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Remember the Telsa Roadster that Elon Musk launched into space last week?

Well, three scientists just took a close look at the vehicle’s orbit over the next million years, and they found there is a slight chance the car might crash into Earth or Venus.

Don’t panic. The chance is pretty small — somewhere around 6 percent for Earth and 2.5 percent for Venus. And a million years is a very long time — our species has only been around for about a fifth of that span. There’s plenty of room for civilization-ending catastrophes to occur long before the Tesla re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

Besides, the car would likely burn up before reaching the surface.

The results, due to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, were posted this week on the pre-print site arXiv.

The Tesla was launched into space Feb. 6 atop SpaceX’s vaunted Falcon Heavy rocket, its only passenger a spacesuit-wearing mannequin named “Starman.”

Study authors Hanno Rein, Daniel Tamayo and David Vokrouhlický, all experts in orbital dynamics, emphasize that it’s impossible to map out precisely where Starman will go as his vehicle floats through space. The roadster is currently drifting on an elliptical orbit around the sun that repeatedly crosses the path of Mars (though the two bodies are not predicted to collide). At its farthest, the car will be 1.67 times Earth’s distance from the sun.

The roadster will experience its next close encounter with Earth in 2091 — the first of many, Rein and his colleagues say. With each successive flyby past Earth and other bodies in space, its orbit is perturbed and becomes harder to predict.

But by running many simulations of how those encounters might play out, the scientists can get a pretty good estimate of what’s likely to happen. They conclude that the car’s “dynamical lifetime” will probably be a few tens of millions of years.

But aerospace engineer Ben Pearson, creator of the site, noted that the car had already exceeded its 36,000 mile warranty 511 times as of Friday morning. Hope Starman has good insurance.

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