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Fornite Battle Royale developer Epic will support cross-platform play between Xbox One, PC, iOS and Android. The news was revealed during Microsoft’s debut Inside Xbox broadcast on Saturday, March 10. Last week, the developer announced that PS4, PC, iOS and Android users will be able to play the same version of the game together. Thanks to Sony and Microsoft’s ongoing feud with regards to cross-platform play, PS4 and Xbox One owners will not be able to play Fornite Battle Royale together.

“Contrary to what may have been implied, Microsoft has long been a leading voice in supporting cross-platform play, connecting players across PC, mobile and all consoles. We’ve been working together with them over the last several months to make this possible, and will bring this functionality to Fortnite players on Xbox right along with other platforms,” a post on Epic’s blog announcing Xbox cross-platform play for Fortnite said.

That tone is interesting to say the least, given that Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney had lambasted Microsoft for its approach towards UWP and Windows 10 and its impact on gaming a couple of years back.

If, like everyone else, you are wondering why you Fortnite players on Xbox One and PS4 still won’t be able to play with each other, here’s a little explanation from Sony Worldwide Studios Head Shuhei Yoshida on why PS4 and Xbox One cross-play is not possible.

“Because PC is an open platform it’s much more straightforward,” Yoshida had said in March 2016, when the same subject came up with reference to Rocket League. “Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish… We also have to look at the technical aspect – and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well.”

In a conversation with Gadgets 360, Mark Little, Executive Producer at WWE 2K18 developer Visual Concepts said enabling cross-play is a lot more complicated than just flipping a switch.

“I can only imagine the complexities of those conversations between the two [Sony and Microsoft] and some of those of complexities come in the areas of stuff like purchasable content and if ‘we allow cross-platform play, what does it mean to purchase on one platform and play it on the other’,” Little had said. So there’s a lot of really complicated issues. It’s not our problem. It’s on the first-party side. There’s a lot of interesting things they need to figure out as first-parties that has nothing to do with us. Once they figure it out we’ll figure out what our plan is.”

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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US President Donald Trump on Monday blocked microchip maker Broadcom’s proposed takeover of Qualcomm on national security grounds, ending what would have been the technology industry’s biggest deal ever amid concerns that it would give China the upper hand in mobile communications.

The presidential order reflected a calculation that the United States’ lead in creating technology and setting standards for the next generation of mobile cell phone communications would be lost to China if Singapore-based Broadcom took over San Diego-based Qualcomm, according to a White House official.

Qualcomm has emerged as one of the biggest competitors to China’s Huawei Technologies Co in the sector, making Qualcomm a prized asset.

Qualcomm had earlier rebuffed Broadcom’s $117 billion (roughly Rs. 7.6 lakh crores) bid, which was under investigation by the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a multi-agency panel led by the Treasury Department that reviews the national security implications of acquisitions of US corporations by foreign companies.

In a letter on March 5, CFIUS said it was investigating whether Broadcom would starve Qualcomm of research dollars that would allow it to compete and also cited the risk of Broadcom’s relationship with “third party foreign entities.”

While it did not identify those entities, the letter repeatedly described Qualcomm as the leading company in so-called 5G technology development and standard setting.

“A shift to Chinese dominance in 5G would have substantial negative national security consequences for the United States,” CFIUS said. “While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space currently, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover.”

National security and Huawei
A White House official on Monday confirmed that the national security concerns related to the risks of Broadcom’s relationship with third party foreign entities.

A source familiar with CFIUS’ thinking had said that, if the deal was completed, the US military was concerned that within 10 years, “there would essentially be a dominant player in all of these technologies and that’s essentially Huawei, and then the American carriers would have no choice. They would just have to buy Huawei (equipment).”

Huawei has been forging closer commercial ties with big telecom operators across Europe and Asia, putting it in prime position to lead the global race for 5G networks despite US concerns.

Huawei has a dominant position in China, which is set to become the world’s biggest 5G market by far, and has also made inroads in the rest of world to compete with rivals such as Ericsson and Nokia in several lucrative markets, including countries that are longstanding US allies.

Qualcomm is also a major player in 5G, estimated to have 15 percent of 5G-essential patents in the world, compared with 11 percent for Nokia and 10 percent for all of China, according to a Jefferies report citing LexInnova research. Many smartphone makers are counting on Qualcomm to deliver its 5G chipset on time in late 2018 to roll out their 5G phones in 2019.

Shares of Broadcom rose less than 1.0 percent to $264.10 in after-hours trade while Qualcomm fell 4.3 percent to $60.14.

Broadcom said it was reviewing the presidential order. “Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns,” it said in a statement in response to the decision.

Qualcomm, which had delayed its annual shareholder meeting during the CFIUS review, set the new date for March 23.

The move by Trump to kill the deal comes only months after the US president himself stood next to Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan at the White House, announcing the company’s decision to move its headquarters to the United States and calling it “one of the really great, great companies.”

This is the fifth time a US president has blocked a deal based on CFIUS objections and the second deal Trump has stopped since assuming office slightly over a year ago.

“The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser (Broadcom) is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited,” the presidential order released on Monday said.

The order cited “credible evidence” that led Trump to believe that Broadcom’s taking control of Qualcomm “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

Broadcom’s next move
Broadcom had struggled to complete its proposed deal to buy Qualcomm, which had cited several concerns including the price offered and potential antitrust hurdles.

The presidential decision to block the deal cannot be appealed. However, it is not clear what rules Broadcom would have to follow if it goes ahead with announced plans to move its headquarters to the United States.

Companies may challenge CFIUS’s jurisdiction in court but may not challenge the inter-agency panel’s national security findings, a CFIUS expert said.

If Broadcom decides to press on with its effort to buy Qualcomm, it would be wise to drop the matter for now while the company quietly wraps up its move to the United States, a second CFIUS expert said. Once the move is done, Broadcom could argue that CFIUS does not have jurisdiction, the second expert said.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple said it is acquiring Texture, a digital magazine service that lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 (roughly Rs. 650) a month.

Texture, offered via the app stores of Apple, Google and Amazon.com, bolsters Apple’s efforts in online services and media. The Cupertino, California, company aims to top $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3.24 lakh crores) in annual services revenue by 2021, and a magazine subscription service would likely contribute to that.

The deal may help Apple boost relations with news outlets that have become wary of Facebook and Google. Some publishers reported losing online traffic from Facebook after the social media network recently refocused on content from friends and family.

Texture’s magazine catalogue includes Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Bloomberg Businessweek. The app is currently run by Next Issue Media, owned by a group of publishers and other companies including Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp., News Corp., Rogers Communications. In 2014, private-equity firm KKR invested $50 million in the company.

Apple made its first big push to integrate magazines and newspapers into its devices with an application called Newsstand in 2011. It replaced that with the more comprehensive Apple News service a couple of years ago.

Apple typically doesn’t formally announce acquisitions of smaller companies, but its services executive Eddy Cue, who oversees its media efforts, is speaking at the South by Southwest conference this week in Austin, Texas.

“We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalogue of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers,” Cue said in a statement. “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”

At the conference, Cue said Texture is “beloved” by iPad customers and said users of the existing Apple News service follow more than 20 publications, up from four a couple of years ago. “We’ve become a pretty decent player in a short amount of time,” he added.

The company didn’t say how much it paid for Texture, but the move marks Apple’s second reported acquisition of the calendar year. In January, it bought BuddyBuild, a Canada-based app development service.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Women at Microsoft Corp working in US-based technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, according to court filings made public on Monday.

The figure was cited by plaintiffs suing Microsoft for systematically denying pay raises or promotions to women at the world’s largest software company. Microsoft denies it had any such policy.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are pushing to proceed as a class action lawsuit, which could cover more than 8,000 women. More details about Microsoft’s human resources practices were made public on Monday in legal filings submitted as part of that process.

The two sides are exchanging documents ahead of trial, which has not been scheduled.

Out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women at Microsoft, only one was deemed “founded” by the company, according to details in the unsealed court filings.

Attorneys for the women called the number of complaints “shocking” in the court filings and the response by Microsoft’s investigations team “lacklustre.”

Companies generally keep information about internal discrimination complaints private, so it is unclear how the number of complaints at Microsoft compares to competitors.

Microsoft said in court filings that the plaintiffs did not identify practices that impact enough employees to warrant a class action, and that it spends more than $55 million (roughly Rs. 357 crores) per year to promote diversity and inclusion. The company had about 74,000 US employees at the end of last year.

Microsoft said the plaintiffs cannot cite one example of a pay or promotion problem in which Microsoft’s investigations team should have found a violation of company policy, but did not. A Microsoft spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

US District Judge James Robart has not yet ruled on the plaintiffs’ request for class-action status.

A Reuters review of federal court cases filed between 2006 and 2016 revealed hundreds containing sexual harassment allegations where companies used common civil litigation tactics to keep potentially damning information under wraps.

Microsoft had argued that the number of women’s human resources complaints should be kept secret because publicizing the outcomes could deter employees from reporting future abuses.

A court-appointed official found that scenario “far too remote a competitive or business harm” to justify keeping the information sealed.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Mi TV 4A series of smart televisions was launched in India last week by Xiaomi, with two models introduced – 32-inch and 43-inch. Both the Mi TV 4A models will go on sale via Flipkart, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores for the first time on Tuesday, with the sale set for 12pm IST. The 55-inch Xiaomi Mi TV 4 will go on sale alongside the Mi TV 4A series as well. To recall, Xiaomi had announced the flash sale date at launch last week, and had also specified that the second sale will be on Friday, March 16.

Xiaomi had last week revealed that the Mi TV 4A lineup will go on sale twice a week, with the Tuesday and Friday sale days continuing. The Chinese company has rebranded its Mi TV 4A series in India to call it the Mi LED Smart TV 4A series, the same thing it did with the Xiaomi Mi TV 4 series (calling it Mi LED Smart TV 4). Xiaomi says the TVs offer over 500,000 hours of content, of which 80 percent will be free content from partners like Hotstar, Voot, Voot Kids, Sony Liv, Hungama Play, Zee5, Sun NXT, ALT Balaji, Viu, TVF, and Flickstree. Content in 15 Indic languages will be available.

Mi TV 4A 43-Inch, Mi TV 4A 32-Inch price in India and launch offers
The 43-inch Mi TV 4A price in India has been set at Rs. 22,999 at launch, while the 32-inch Mi TV 4A is priced at Rs. 13,999. In terms of launch offers, the Mi TV 4A models come with Rs. 2,200 instant cashback with a JioFi connection.

Mi TV 4A specifications
The Mi TV 4A series was launched in China back in March last year, but the model launched in India has a few differences. The 43-inch model sports a full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) display while the 32-inch model has an HD (1366×768 pixels) display. Both display panels have a 178-degree viewing angle and 60Hz refresh rate. The Mi TV 4A models are powered by an Amlogic quad-core SoC that’s coupled with 1GB of RAM. The TVs comes with 8GB of internal storage.

Connectivity options on the 43-inch Mi TV 4A include Wi-Fi, three HDMI (one ARC) ports, three USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port, one AV component port, one S/PDIF audio port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack port. It measures 970x613x214mm (including base), and weighs 7.43kg (7.37kg without base). The 32-inch model comes with two USB 2.0 ports and misses out on the S/PDIF port, with the rest of the connectivity options being the same. It measures 733x478x180mm (including base).

Xiaomi is also touting the presence of DTS-HD, which will augment the audio experience of the televisions, apart from two 10W speakers. The company says the audio been optimised for India, in terms of loudness. The Mi TV 4A models ship with the 11-button Mi Remote that can be used to control a set-top box apart from the television itself, using the Mi IR cable priced at Rs. 299.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Avenir Telecom licensed smartphone brand Energizer Mobiles has announced the launch of the latest Hardcase H570S in France. This is the company’s first rugged smartphone that comes with IP68 dust and water resistance. The phone is said to withstand a fall of up to 1.2 metres and can stay under water up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes at a stretch. The phone has a large 4800mAh battery and is expected to be made available in Q2 2018. Pricing details are currently not available.

Energizer Hardcase H570S specifications
The dual SIM Hardcase H570S runs Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box. It sports a 5.7-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The phone is powered by a quad-core MediaTek Helio P18 SoC, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB inbuilt storage. Storage is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

In terms of camera specifications, the Hardcase H570S bears a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 0.3-megapixel secondary sensor on the back, and dual 8-megapixel sensors on the front. There is a large 4800mAh battery, with 12V fast charge and Intelligent Power Saving technology, powering the internals from under the hood.

Connectivity options on the handset include 4G VoLTE, NFC, and USB Type-C. Sensors include gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, and fingerprint sensor (up to 5 fingerprints).

Energizer Mobiles recently announced the launch of several new smartphones during Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. These include the Power Max 16K Pro with a 16000mAh battery, Power Max P490S with a 4000mAh battery, and the Hardcase 590S with a 5800mAh battery.

The company also revealed the new Hardcase H240S 4G feature phone ahead of MWC 2018. The rugged feature phone comes with water and shock proof features.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Microsoft is set to move Windows 10 S from a dedicated operating system to merely a mode for existing Windows 10 versions in 2019. The new development, which was initially a part of the rumour mill, has now been confirmed by Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore. The Redmond giant launched Windows 10 S in May last year as a lightweight version of Windows 10 – targeting schools and other institutions – to take on Google’s Chrome OS.

Belfiore, in a tweet on Wednesday, said, “Next year, 10 S will be a ‘mode’ of existing versions, not a distinct version.” By switching to the new ‘S Mode’, your Windows 10 system will no longer be able to install apps from any third-party sources and will instead only accept apps from Microsoft Store. Also, the apps will run in a limited nature, just as they perform operations on Windows 10 S operating system.

The tweet posted by Belfiore also confirms that Microsoft is planning to bring the S Mode to all existing Windows 10 versions, including Windows 10 Home, Enterprise, and Pro. It was previously rumoured that Windows 10 Home users with the by default enabled S Mode will be able to switch to the full-fledged Windows 10 Home for free, while the users with S Mode will need to pay $49 to get access to Windows 10 Pro.

It is worth pointing out here that Windows 10 S machines already have the option to switch to a full Windows 10 version. Microsoft even last year offered a chance to all Windows 10 S users to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. That free upgrade was recently extended until March 2018.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Xiaomi on Wednesday unveiled 32-inch and 43-inch variants of its new Mi TV 4A lineup for India. The official product unveiling took place via a brief online live stream. Just before the end of the stream, however, Xiaomi teased the launch of a new smartphone expected on March 14. According to the side profile shot that was given in the video, we can expect the budget Xiaomi Redmi 5 to make an appearance in the Indian market later this month. The video shows a camera bump on the smartphone, which resembles the one seen on the Redmi 5.

While the Redmi 5A and Redmi 5 Plus (rebranded as Redmi Note 5) are already available in India, the Redmi 5 is needed to complete Xiaomi’s trifecta of latest budget smartphones in the market. Successor to last year’s Redmi 4, the Redmi 5 could be priced starting at Rs. 7,999 considering the higher-specced Redmi Note 5 has arrived in India at a base price of just Rs. 9,999.

Xiaomi Redmi 5 specifications
The dual SIM (nano) Redmi 5 runs MIUI 9 on top of Android Nougat out-of-the-box. The phone sports a 5.7-inch HD+ (720×1440 pixels) display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 282ppi pixel density. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, coupled with 2GB/ 3GB/ 4GB of RAM and 16GB/ 32GB of inbuilt storage.

In the camera department, the handset comes with a 12-megapixel rear sensor that has features like f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, and LED flash. On the front is a 5-megapixel selfie camera with a “soft-light” flash module. The front camera also has Xiaomi’s proprietary Beautify 3.0 capabilities. There is a 3300mAh battery under the hood. Dimensions of the phone are 151.8×72.8×7.7mm and weight is 157 grams.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


BSNL has introduced a set of new plans for its prepaid and postpaid segments in Assam, a senior company official said.

Data mini packs for instant users, new unlimited voice STV (special tariff vouchers), enhanced free data limit/month, up to 60 percent discount on postpaid rents are among some of the new plans, BSNL Assam Telecom Circle Circle Chief General Manager Sandeep Govil said.

The new products are for both mobile and landline customers, he said. More details will be available on the company site.

The company has also launched international Wi-Fi hot-spots for customers travelling abroad, through the My BSNL app, at Rs. 501 for 30 days, Govil said.

BSNL earlier this month launched a new plan aimed at postpaid users who seek data and calling benefits. The new BSNL ‘Holi Dhamaka’ plan is priced at Rs. 399 and provides unlimited calls and 30GB of data for one billing cycle. BSNL customers across the country will be able to opt for the new plan.

The new BSNL Rs. 399 plan comes with 30GB of bundled data with no daily caps, and is available for both new and existing customers. Subscribers will not be billed for STD and local calls, and calls made while roaming outside the home circle will be free as well. It should be noted that BSNL offers 4G Internet in Kerala circle only, while the other circles still only have 3G speeds; the company recently partnered with Nokia to roll out 4G VoLTE services in 10 telecom circles.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro, launched last month, are currently being sold in India through flash sales with the third one held on Wednesday, March 7. While the sales have become a runaway hit for the brand, there is one issue plaguing them – resellers. To curb resellers from purchasing numerous units and selling them off at a premium, Xiaomi India on Tuesday announced that it would be removing the COD (Cash On Delivery) payment option for the Redmi Note 5 Pro for “initial few sales” on Mi.com and Flipkart.

While this move is expected to impact the subset of resellers that order units using COD, and cancel orders depending on demand, the process of cancelling prepaid orders is very feasible and can still be misused by these resellers. It has been widely rumoured that bulk buyers use certain script codes in order to score several units in flash sales. This practice has kept genuine buyers from getting units for themselves. Xiaomi’s move is aimed at helping these genuine customers get their hands on a Redmi Note 5 Pro.

“We have always, and will continue to stringently discourage unauthorised reselling across all our channels,” said Xiaomi India in a statement on the Mi Community Forum. Additionally, Xiaomi has measures in place that block COD orders and coupons for suspicious accounts on Mi.com.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro specifications
The dual SIM smartphone from Xiaomi runs MIUI 9 on top of Android Nougat out-of-the-box. The phone sports a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) IPS display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC, coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage. There is a 4000mAh battery under the hood.

In terms of camera specifications, the smartphone packs in a dual rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary sensor (f/2.2 aperture) and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor (f/2.0 aperture), coupled with an LED flash. On the front, the phone has a 20-megapixel selfie camera with an LED selfie-light.

Source: (gadgets.ndtv.com)