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To help increase developers’ productivity and simplify app development, Microsoft has announced new data platform technologies and cross-platform developer tools.

The company launched a new AI-powered platform “Azure Databricks” during an event for developers late Thursday.

Designed in collaboration with the founders of Apache Spark, Azure Databricks analytics platform delivers one-click setup, streamlined workflows and an interactive workspace.

The platform will enable organisations to provide self-service analytics and machine learning over all data with enterprise-grade performance and governance, Microsoft said in a statement.

“With today’s intelligent cloud, emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) have the potential to change every facet of how we interact with the world,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President.

“Developers are in the forefront of shaping that potential. We’re announcing new tools and services that help developers build applications and services for the AI-driven future, using the platforms, languages and collaboration tools they already know and love.”

Microsoft is releasing tools designed to help developers, development teams and data scientists collaborate and work together more efficiently for application development, deployment and management.

The company announced the general availability of a “Visual Studio App Centre”.

Developers can use App Centre to increase productivity and accelerate application lifecycle, freeing them to spend more time on new features and better user experiences.

Developers and data scientists can also develop AI models with all the productivity of Visual Studio, on frameworks and languages.

Microsoft also announced “Azure IoT Edge” that will enable AI, advanced analytics and machine learning for the Internet of Things (IoT) powered devices.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Japanese fair trade regulators raided last month the offices of Airbnb over suspected violations of antitrust laws, the home rental site said on Friday, denying any wrongdoing.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) carried out an on-site inspection of Airbnb and the company is cooperating with the regulators’ investigation, Airbnb Japan said.

A JFTC spokesman declined to comment.

Regulators seized documents from Airbnb in Tokyo on suspicion that it broke antitrust rules by asking users not to list properties on rival sites, according to the Nikkei business daily.

“All hosts and partners in Japan who list properties on Airbnb are able to list them on other platforms, and we will work with the JFTC to address any questions they may have,” a Singapore-based Airbnb spokesman said.

The Nikkei said that Airbnb forced some users to sign contracts promising not to use other sites. The Airbnb spokesman said this was not the case.

Airbnb competes with hotels and other traditional forms of lodging from bed and breakfasts to holiday lets by helping people rent out their homes or apartments, either in full or as part of a house-share.

But as with its taxi-hailing peer Uber Technologies, Airbnb’s rise has seen a growing crackdown by legislators in cities such as Amsterdam and Barcelona.

The hotel industry sees Airbnb and other services as providing unfair competition, while community groups have criticised the site for driving up property prices and contributing to housing shortages as landlords buy to let.

In Japan, a scarcity of hotel rooms in metropolitan areas and record numbers of tourists have presented an opportunity for short-term rental providers such as Airbnb ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

But community worries about noise and safety, along with opposition from hotels and traditional “ryokan” inns, have presented obstacles to efforts to loosen regulations on short-term rentals.

In June, Japan passed a law allowing people to rent out their homes for up to 180 days, after registering with the authorities.

Airbnb said five million people had used its service in Japan – its most popular destination in Asia – in the last twelve months.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Twitter’s under-testing Tweetstorm feature was spotted back in September, and at the time, was hidden from users. The feature allows the Twitterati to easily create chains of individual tweets that exceed Twitter’s 280-character limit for messages. Now, it’s starting to show on alpha and beta builds of the Twitter app for Android and iOS.

“Back in September, a developer discovered a hidden feature in Android’s Twitter app that would allow you to type out several tweets and queue them to send one by one, making it easier to launch a “tweetstorm” without having to type and send each tweet individually,” tech blog Android Police reported late on Friday.

Back then, the feature wasn’t activated yet but it now appears to be going live for some users, the report added. The Tweetstorm feature is speculated to be part of the Twitter v7.24.0 alpha for Android, but as mentioned, it is uncertain if a server-side switch will activate it. You can sideload the alpha build, which will be more buggy than beta builds, from APK mirror.

Twitter has confirmed to TechCrunch it is testing the Tweetstorm feature in both the alpha and beta programmes on Android and iOS platforms.

Meanwhile, in a major overhaul, the company announced to remove verification badges from users who violate its rules, adding that the micro-blogging platform is reworking on its entire verification system.

“We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new programme we are proud of,” the official @TwitterSupport account posted late on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Twitter suspended its account verification exercise – a process that gives public figures on the micro-blogging platform a blue check mark next to their names.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After taking the trend of bezel-less flagships to new levels with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 models, Samsung is now seemingly working on the next-generation of its Galaxy A series that would include fresh Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7. But ahead of any formal confirmation, the Galaxy A5 (2018) and the Galaxy A7 (2018) has been spotted online for Wi-Fi and FCC certification. Both the new smartphones had also received formal support pages earlier this week.

The certificates of the Galaxy A5 (2018) and the Galaxy A7 (2018) provided by the Wi-Fi Alliance confirm the presence of Android 7.1 Nougat. The devices are also appeared to have dual-band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, Wi-Fi support with 802.11 a/b/g/ac specifications. Also, the Galaxy A7 (2017), which is likely to be the most superior model in the series, is documented with Wi-Fi Direct support and an additional 802.11n specification to use most of the available hotspots globally.

As technology blog MobileXpose reports, the Galaxy A5 (2018) received the certification of the National Radio Research Institute and reached the FCC earlier this week. SamMobile reveals that the Galaxy A7 (2018) went through the FCC last week.

Separately, Samsung on its South Korea and Russia support pages respectively revealed the existence of the two handsets, referring to the Galaxy A5 (2018) with the SM-A530N model name, and the Galaxy A7 (2018) with the SM-A730F model name. The formal support pages didn’t reveal any details about the handsets.

Nevertheless, the Galaxy A5 (2018) is rumoured to have a 5.5-inch full HD+ display with 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution and minimal bezels. The smartphone is also reported to have an Exynos 7885 chipset, paired with 4GB of RAM.

In October, a Geekbench listing had emerged detailing the Galaxy A7 (2018). That listing hinted Android Nougat on the next-generation Galaxy A7 alongside an octa-core Exynos 7885 processor at a clock speed of 1.59GHz and 6GB of RAM. Moreover, some leaked renders suggested a bezel-less display on the Galaxy A7 (2018) and a dedicated Bixby Voice button.

Considering the latest certifications and the recent leaks, the Galaxy A5 (2018) and the Galaxy A7 (2018) are likely to be unveiled sometime in the coming future. Samsung would host a press conference at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January to announce the new Galaxy A series. Meanwhile, we can anticipate some more details through rumours and leaks.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.

The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart speaker will be able to control home appliances and take basic orders.

In June, some analysts questioned whether a December launch was already too late for Apple to compete with Amazon and Google for the connected home market. But Apple promised that the speaker would have all of Siri’s smarts and stand out from the pack by offering superior sound quality. For now, it seems, the HomePod can’t live up to all its promises.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the U.S., UK and Australia in early 2018,” Apple said in a statement Friday.

With the delay, Apple will miss the chance to hook consumers with the speaker during the crucial holiday season. Competitors in the smart speaker space, meanwhile, are flooding the zone. Amazon added three smart speaker products for its holiday lineup — the second-generation Echo, the Echo Plus and the Echo Spot — two of which are already on the market. Google has also updated its speaker line with the compact Google Home Mini and is set to launch its own premium speaker product, the Google Home Max, in December.

It is rare but not unprecedented for Apple to delay a product launch. Last year, it postponed the launch of its AirPods wireless headphones, saying that the product, too, was not quite ready for primetime.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Tesla upstaged its own debut of an electric heavy duty truck when a red Roadster pulled out of the big rig’s trailer and Chief Executive Elon Musk said the new $200,000 (roughly Rs. 1.2 crores) sports car would be the fastest production car ever.

The Thursday unveiling of two products, including the unexpected Roadster, drew roars of applause from a selected crowd at an airport hangar near Los Angeles while highlighting the ambitions of the luxury electric car maker, which is piling on projects as it struggles to roll out a more affordable sedan on which the company’s future depends.

As the presentation appeared to end, the Tesla Semi opened its trailer, and the Roadster drove out. The sports car is an updated version of Tesla’s first production vehicle. It can seat four and travel 620 miles (1,000 km) on a single charge, a new record for an electric vehicle, Musk said. It can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour (100 km per hour) in 1.9 seconds, which would make it the fastest car in general production.

“You’ll be able to travel from LA to San Francisco, and back, at highway speed without recharging. The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars. Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche,” Musk boasted.

The first 1,000 cars will cost $250,000 (roughly Rs. 1.6 crores) each, paid in full up front, with later models starting at $200,000.

Musk did not give a price for the Semi, or say how or where either product would be built, but he said the truck would begin production in 2019 and that the Roadster would be available a year later.

Projects and products multiply
Musk has described electric trucks as Tesla’s next effort to move the economy away from fossil fuels through projects including electric cars, solar roofs and power storage.

Some analysts fear the truck will be an expensive distraction for Tesla, which is burning cash, has never posted an annual profit, and is in self-described “manufacturing hell” starting up production of the $35,000 (roughly Rs. 22.7 lakhs) Model 3 sedan.

“Elon’s showmanship remains intact, even as his customers’ patience for Model 3 delivery wanes,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said by email.

“The specs on the new semi truck and sports car would put both vehicles at the top of their segments…assuming they can be produced and sold as part of a sustainable business plan. So far that final element has eluded Tesla Motors, which makes it difficult to see these vehicles as more than ‘what if’ concept cars,” he added.

Tesla also has to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks. The heavy batteries eat into the weight of cargo an electric truck can haul.

The truck can go up to 500 miles (800 km) at maximum weight at highway speed, Musk said, without giving the size of the payload. Tesla said the Class 8 vehicle, the heaviest weight classification for trucks, in 30 minutes can recharge the battery enough to go 400 miles.

Diesel trucks are capable of traveling up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km) on a single tank of fuel. Musk said diesel trucks were 20 percent more expensive per mile to operate than his electric truck.

The day cab – which is not a sleeper – has a less prominent nose than on a classic truck, and the battery is built into the chassis. Tesla designed the cab for good visibility, with a center seat flanked by two touch screens.

Tesla showed off the semi on a webcast which offered reservations for the truck at $5,000 each, but Musk did not discuss reservation volume.

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc, the fourth-largest US less-than-truckload carrier, which consolidates smaller freight loads onto a single truck, said it was not signing on.

“We met with Tesla and at this time we do not see a fit with their product and our fleet,” Dave Bates, senior vice president of operations, said in an email, without elaborating.

Tesla faces a much more crowded field for electric trucks than it did when it introduced its electric cars.

Manufacturers such as Daimler AG, Navistar International Corp and Volkswagen AG are joining a host of start-ups racing to overcome the challenges of substituting batteries for diesel engines as regulators crack down on carbon dioxide and soot pollution.

Still, manufacturers are mostly focused on medium-duty trucks, not the heavy big rig market Tesla is after.

Tesla would need to invest substantially to create a factory for those trucks. The company is currently spending about $1 billion per quarter, largely to set up the Model 3 factory, and is contemplating a factory in China to build cars.

Charging and maintaining electric trucks that crisscross the country could be expensive and complex.

Shares of Tesla have risen 46 percent this year to make the company the No. 2 US automaker by market value.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In yet another attempt to take on Google-owned YouTube, Facebook has announced new tools for video creators to join its platform.

Called Facebook Creator, the app will help the community create original video, go live with exclusive features and connect with their community on the social media giant.

The app has been launched globally on the iOS platform and will roll out for Android users in the coming months.

“On Facebook, creators can connect with more than two billion potential fans and collaborators, get to know their community, talk directly to fans with Live, and monetise with products like branded content,” Chris Hatfield, Product Manager, Video, said in a post on Friday.

The app has tools that make it easy to create live broadcasts with a personalised and fun feel.

“Creators can add intros as openers to their live broadcasts, outros that conclude them, custom live stickers that viewers can use to interact, and graphic frames to create a consistent brand,” Hatfield said.

With the “Community Tab” feature, creators can connect with fans and collaborators with a unified inbox, which centralises comments from Facebook and Instagram, and messages from Messenger.

Video creators can also access Facebook Stories to engage with their fans.

The company also launched a website “Facebook for Creators” where creators can find resources and tips on how to create great videos, connect with fans and grow on Facebook.

After launching a host of video-centric features over the last year, Facebook is also testing 4K quality of videos.

YouTube has been working with 4K video since 2010 with 4K live streaming rolling out last year. Facebook already supports 4K resolutions in its live 360 videos.

The push to higher resolution video comes after considering Facebook’s foray into original content with several original shows coming to the Watch tab.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Embattled computer security firm Kaspersky Lab said Thursday that malware-infected Microsoft Office software and not its own was to blame for the hacking theft of top-secret US intelligence materials.

Adding tantalising new details to the cyber-espionage mystery that has rocked the US intelligence community, Kaspersky also said there was a China link to the hack.

The Moscow-based anti-virus software maker, which is now banned on US government computers because of alleged links to Russian intelligence, confirmed that someone did apparently steal valuable National Security Agency programs from an NSA worker’s home computer, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal on October 5.

According to the Journal, the person had top secret files and programs from the NSA hacking unit called the Equation Group on his computer, which was also using Kaspersky software protection.

They believe that Russian spies used the Kaspersky program as a back door to discover and siphon off the files, reportedly causing deep damage to the NSA’s own cyber-espionage operations.

US allegations that Kaspersky, which sold more than $600 million (roughly Rs. 3,897 crores) of antivirus software globally in 2015, knowingly or unknowingly helped Russian intelligence in the theft have effectively killed its US business and hurt its worldwide reputation.

Kaspersky software ‘disabled’
Using its own forensic analysis, Kaspersky said the breach of the NSA worker’s computer took place between September and November 2014, rather than 2015 as the Journal reported.

Kaspersky said what was stolen included essential source code for some Equation Group malware, as well as classified documents. Based on the materials, it said the computer appeared to belong to someone involved in creating malware for the Equation Group.

The company claimed, however, that the computer was infected by other malware, including a Russian-made “backdoor tool” hidden in Microsoft Office.

Kaspersky said that the malware was controlled from a computer server base in Hunan, China, and would have opened a path into the computer for anyone targeting an NSA worker.

“Given that system owner’s potential clearance level, the user could have been a prime target of nation-states,” it said.

Kaspersky’s own software would have detected that malware, the company said, except that its software had been turned off.

“To install and run this malware, the user must have disabled Kaspersky Lab products on his machine,” it claimed.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


OnePlus on Thursday eventually ended its teasers and unveiled the awaited OnePlus 5T as its next flagship. The new smartphone is already touted to be a “refinement” of its predecessor – OnePlus 5. But there is one big refinement over the previous OnePlus flagship – it appears to have avoided the ‘jelly scrolling’ effect, that was spotted on the OnePlus 5.

In our time with the OnePlus 5T, we didn’t see any scrolling effect. XDA – after poking around the OnePlus 5T’s kernel source – reports that the display isn’t inverted this time around, as it had been on the OnePlus 5, removing what was though to be the root cause of the problem. At the time, the company had stated the issue was a “natural” effect with “no variance” in screens between devices. That official comment had indicated that the issue would not be resolved through a software update.

So, for now, it appears the OnePlus 5T is here with no “jelly scrolling” effect. This may give another reason to pick the new offering to customers who were looking to buy the OnePlus 5 previously.

The OnePlus 5T also includes some tweaks over the OnePlus 5. For instance, there is a new 6.01-inch Full Optic AMOLED display with full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio. The latest OnePlus model runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based OxygenOS 4.7 that brings a Face Unlock feature. This new feature recognises facial features of users to unlock the screen, without using the available fingerprint scanner or any existing password combination.

Unlike the primary camera of the OnePlus 5 that supported 2x optical zoom, the OnePlus 5T has an upgraded dual-camera setup that has two f/1.7 aperture lenses with same 27.22mm focal length on top of 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel image sensors. The new configuration is considered to enhance low-light performance.

The OnePlus 5T with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage is available in India with a price tag of Rs. 32,999, while its 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 37,999. Both the models will be available through early access sale for Amazon Prime members in the country on November 21.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


YouTube for Android is finally getting ‘pinch-to-zoom’ feature which can help users fill the screen and remove the black bars at the edges. The new feature will also help fill the screen of smartphones sporting the all-new 18:9 (or 18.5:9) aspect ratio.

Android Police points out that YouTube for Android version 12.44 brings the much-anticipated ‘pinch-to-zoom’ feature to more Android smartphone. Previously, the feature was available to Pixel 2 XL users which could use ‘pinch-to-zoom’ with version 12.40 version.

Without the ‘pinch-to-zoom’ feature, Samsung Galaxy S8, LG V30, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 users were not able to watch YouTube videos covering the entire screen, as YouTube, like most other video streaming sites, offered content in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Earlier this month, YouTube for iOS received an update that added full-screen viewing support for the iPhone X.

For those who cannot wait for Google’s official rollout can download the YouTube for Android version v12.44.52 via APKMirror.

Google Play currently has YouTube version 12.45.54, and Gadgets 360 tried using the feature but it seems to be not available in the build. We can expect a new update to drop in coming week to enable the feature.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)