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Amazon Great Indian Sale will start for Prime members at 12pm on January 20, and at 12am on January 21 for non-Prime users of the platform. The Amazon sale continues till January 24, and will clash with the Flipkart Republic Day sale. Flat discounts, cashbacks, exchange discounts, no-cost EMIs, and exclusive launches will be the flavour of the Amazon sale. Buyers will get deals and discounts on a variety of electronics, such as smartphones, laptops, TVs, ebook readers, gaming, audio products, and consumer durables, among others.

Amazon sale deals on mobile phones
The Amazon sale will offer discounts of up to 35 percent on mobile phones and up to 40 percent on accessories. Buyers will get up to Rs. 17,000 off on Honor smartphones, and up to Rs. 7,200 off on Samsung handsets. Similarly, Moto and Lenovo phones will come with discounts of up to Rs. 6,000 and up to Rs. 3,000, respectively. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red, LG V30+ Blue variant, Samsung Galaxy A8+ and Galaxy On7 Prime will go on sale for the first time in this sale. Amazon says there will also be offers on iPhones, though it is yet to reveal the offers or the corresponding models.

Amazon sale offers on mobile phones will also include discounts on models like Google Pixel XL 128GB, Moto G5 Plus 64GB, Honor 6X 32GB, Samsung On5 Pro Gold, 10.or G 4GB, BlackBerry KEYone, and LG Q6. There will also be discounts on Lenovo K8 Note, Intex Cloud C1, Nubia M2 64GB, Micromax Canvas Infinity, and InFocus Snap 4.

Amazon sale deals on laptops, TVs, and more electronics
Amazon will offer discounts of up to Rs. 20,000 on laptops and up to 40 percent off on TVs as part of the next Great Indian Sale. Among the big deals on TVs in the sale are the Rs. 50,000 discount on the 65-inch TCL Android TV, and the 30 percent discount on the Micromax Bingebox smart TV range. Smart TVs will start at Rs. 14,990 in the sale, and will be available at up to 40 percent off. Apart from that, buyers will get up to 35 percent off on premium Sony and Samsung TVs. Buyers of Samsung TVs will get no-cost EMIs for 12 months, while purchasing Sony TVs will be eligible for no-cost EMIs of up to 18 months.

The Amazon sale will offer up to 50 percent discount on JBL speakers and Sennheiser headphones. Xbox One S will sell at discounts of up to Rs. 9,000, while PlayStation 4 models will be available with no-cost EMIs. The e-commerce giant will give up to 60 percent off on popular video games, movies, and music as well. There will be up to 75 percent discount on best-selling software, and up to 25 percent discount on Microsoft software.

On Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite Starter Pack, there will be a discount of Rs. 2,500 for Prime members; non-Prime users will get Rs. 2,000 off. Similarly, Prime users will get Rs. 999 off on Fire TV Stick, while non-Prime customers will get only a discount of Rs. 500. Ebooks will be available at Rs. 19, Rs. 49, Rs. 99 and Rs. 199 price points in the sale.

In the Amazon sale, HDFC Bank customers who use debit and credit card or opt for EMIs will get 10 percent cashback. Customers subscribing to Prime during the sale period will get up to Rs. 300 cashback upon topping up Amazon Pay balance. The company will be hosting app-only deals throughout the day, and app-exclusive Golden Hour Deals will be available between 8pm and 11:59pm on all sale days.

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Reliance Industries (RIL) on Friday announced its Q3 (FY 2017-18) results on its financial and operational performance, and reported that Reliance Jio Infocomm logged a profit within 18 months of starting operations. The Mukesh Ambani-promoted company said its Digital Services Business posted standalone net profit of Rs. 504 crores for the December quarter, with revenues standing at Rs. 6,879 crores. Jio has a subscriber base of 160.1 million as of December 31, 2017, seeing a gross subscriber addition of 27.8 million, and a net subscriber addition of 21.5 million.

Jio reported an ARPU (average revenue per user) of Rs. 154 per subscriber per month, and said it saw a customer churn of 1.4 percent – boasting it was the lowest in the industry.

The RIL-owned telecom operator had other statistics to share as well. It saw total wireless traffic of 4.31 billion gigabytes (or 9.6GB per subscriber per month) in the period, with video consumption crossing 2 billion hours a month. In the quarter, Reliance Jio also saw a total voice traffic of 311.13 billion minutes (694 minutes per user per month).

“The growth in subscriber base is getting further accelerated through the launch of Jio Phone, which has expanded the reach of Jio Digital Services to all the feature phone users as well. Reliance Retail Ltd is geared to increase capacity of supply of Jio Phone, considering the tremendous response from Indians to embrace Digital Life,” RIL said in a statement.

Before the publication of RIL’s results on Friday, we’ve had an inkling as the to subscriber growth of the company, with Akash Ambani, Director Reliance Jio Infocomm, revealing the 160 million subscriber milestone at an event in late-December. Jio’s entry into the telecom space in 2016 has caused a huge upheaval in the sector, with incumbents forced to drop prices and increase data limits to compete.

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While the belief ‘there are seven lookalikes in the world’ may not be true to the word, according to Google Arts & Culture app there is a portrait in some corner of the world that looks like you. The app’s selfie matching feature, which matched your selfie with a museum portrait somewhere in the world, was launched last week and quickly became a viral sensation. On Friday, Google announced the selfie matching feature is now available in India.

Using computer vision technology, the Google Arts & Culture app matches a user’s selfie with art from the collections of art museums worldwide that it has in its database. While the application tries to find the nearest match, it shows an estimated percentage of visual similarity between the face and the artwork. The feature is available on the Google Arts & Culture app on both Android (Google Play Store) and iOS (App Store).

“At Google Arts & Culture, our software engineers are always experimenting with new and creative ways to connect you with art and culture. That’s how this selfie feature came about, too,” a Google spokesperson said.

Since its first roll-out, people have used the feature by taking over 30 million selfies.

“Looking at the success in the US, we are excited to roll this feature to other countries, including
India,” the spokesperson said.

Through the new feature, the application connects users to more than 6,000 exhibitions, from more than 1,500 museum partners across 70 countries. The virtual art platform hosts millions of artifacts and pieces of art, ranging from prehistory to the contemporary, shared by museums across the world.

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It appears that games made in India may find their way to the Nintendo Switch. Multiple sources speaking to Gadgets 360 have said that Nintendo employees are in the country evaluating games from Indian studios for potential release on its platforms. This was confirmed by a Facebook post from Bengaluru-based Holy Cow Productions that was visited by Nintendo, whose staff are in the city for the Indian Gaming Show as well.

Previously, indie developers such as Yacht Club Games — responsible for Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove have come out in admiration for Nintendo’s support for independent developers with ample promotion and advertising.

Nintendo looking at India for games is a welcome move considering the intense competition on Android and iOS make it tough for local developers to stay afloat let alone monetise. So much so that game studios are looking at other revenue opportunities like e-sports to pivot to.

Amusingly, the Nintendo Switch isn’t available in India officially, though it has been selling steadily across stores – both online and offline.

“We see more customers asking for the Nintendo Switch than they do for the PS4 or Xbox One,” a buyer for a large format retail chain tells us.

For what it’s worth, we found the Nintendo Switch to be one of the better efforts from the House of Mario, more so with a strong line-up in its second year. The possibly of games from India just strengthen the notion of it being one of the more inclusive, developer-friendly consoles around.

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OnePlus 5T’s Lava Red variant is going on sale for the first time in India on Saturday. The colour variant will go on sale on starting at 12pm IST, as well as on the OnePlus Store. It will also be made available the same day via select Croma stores, as well as the OnePlus experience zones in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi NCR.

The phone is priced at Rs. 37,999 – the same price as the regular 8GB RAM variant of the smartphone. The smartphone was originally launched in China in November last year. The Lava Red variant comes in only an 8GB RAM, 128GB storage configuration. It will sit alongside two other OnePlus 5T variants, Midnight Black and Star Wars edition.

Apart from a new colour scheme, the new edition retains the same features and specifications as the original Midnight Black variant launched in November 2017. For the Lava Red variant, OnePlus has used two anodic oxidation processes, double blasting and AF coating, to maintain the texture. It also gets a redesigned wallpaper, unique to this variant.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming response to the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition. This phenomenal excitement reinforces the trust that our fans have instilled in us, making us determined to continue to bring fresh experiences. We are happy to kickstart 2018 with the much requested OnePlus 5T Lava Red edition, our first ever red smartphone, that will certainly appeal to those looking for the perfect balance of beautiful design and powerful features.” said Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India.

OnePlus 5T specifications
The OnePlus 5T sports a 6.01-inch full-HD + (1080×2160 pixels) Full Optic AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, coupled with 6/ 8GB RAM and up to 128GB inbuilt storage.

In the camera department, it has a dual camera setup on the rear that houses a 16-megapixel sensor and a 20-megapixel sensor. On the front is another 16-megapixel sensor. Under the hood is a 3300mAh non-removable battery. It has the new Face Unlock device unlocking technology and Dash Charge.

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Facebook on Wednesday announced the launch of the WhatsApp Business app for small businesses. A part of its WhatsApp for Business initiative that was first officially announced back in September last year and tested with businesses like BookMyShow and MakeMyTrip in India since, the new app for SMEs is now available to download via Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK, and the US. The app is free, and will be rolled out across the world in the coming weeks, which is when it can be expected in India. The firm will also eventually have a version for Apple’s iPhone platform.

The WhatsApp Business app is aimed at making it easier to for small companies to connect with their customers, and more convenient for the 1.3 billion WhatsApp users to chat with businesses that matter to them. The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website.

It will also save time with smart messaging tools – quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.

“People will know that they’re talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Regular users can continue using WhatsApp as usual as there’s no need to download anything new. “People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam,” the company added.

The statement claimed WhatsApp helps over 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil communicate with customers and grow their business, citing a Morning Consult study. WhatsApp also claimed that 84 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, andA80 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.

The new business accounts are aimed at firms that receive a high volume of WhatsApp messages and need help keeping up, WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema said. “What we saw was a need for businesses to have more efficient tools,” Idema said in an interview with Reuters.

Idema, who was a Facebook executive before he joined WhatsApp last year, said WhatsApp intends to charge businesses in some form in the future, but he said it was too soon to discuss when that would happen or what the future business services would look like.

WhatsApp competes in a crowded market that also includes Facebook’s Messenger application, Tencent Holdings’s WeChat and numerous other messaging services.

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Vandals damaged Apple and Alphabet charter buses carrying employees to and from work in California’s Silicon Valley in recent days, police said on Thursday.

The cracked windows did not injure anyone but Apple shifted shuttles to a longer route as a precaution. The large coach buses are a common sight on San Francisco Bay Area freeways but have also become a symbol of the tech industry’s role in soaring housing costs and traffic congestion.

An Apple bus was hit by an unknown object last Friday, and four more of the companies’ shuttles and a shuttle for Google parent company Alphabet were hit Tuesday, according to California Highway Patrol.

Police do not know what caused the damage but have ruled out road debris such as rocks, agency spokesman Art Montiel said.

The union representing shuttle drivers who drove two of the Apple buses struck Tuesday, Teamsters Local 853, described the incidents as a “pellet gun attack” in a statement.

Doug Bloch, a representative for the Teamsters unit, said that only the outer layer of the buses’ double-paned windows cracked, suggesting that the projectiles lacked the force of bullets.

“It’s hard to know how to defend against this,” Bloch said. “It’s scary.”

Police have increased monitoring near the town of Woodside on Interstate 280, a major artery for travelling between San Francisco, where many tech industry workers live, and the corporate campuses of Silicon Valley.

Apple told employees in an email Tuesday night seen by Reuters that buses would take a new route that would add as much as 30 minutes to 45 minutes to the commute in each direction. The one-way trip is normally about an hour. It is unclear whether the rerouting remained in effect Thursday.

Alphabet did not respond to a request for comment. Facebook said on Thursday that its shuttles had not been attacked and were running with no changes in service.

Demonstrators in 2013 and 2014 blocked and damaged buses to protest the booming tech industry’s impact on affordable housing and the gentrification of San Francisco.

The buses typically do not bear names of companies, but acronyms for destinations that appear on the vehicle’s digital banners can indicate to which tech campus they travel.

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Apple said on Thursday that it will not hold a bidding process when it chooses the site for a planned new US campus, marking a stark difference from the public contest that has held for its second headquarters.

An Apple spokesman confirmed that the company does not plan to hold a bidding process for the new campus, after Apple chief executive Tim Cook said on Wednesday that he did not want “an “auction kind of process.”

Apple’s new campus is unlikely to be located in California, where the tech company’s headquarters are housed at its sleek “spaceship” Apple Park campus in Cupertino, or in Texas, where it has facilities in Austin that house customer service and some computer assembly operations, said Cook in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday.

“We’ve narrowed the list a lot,” Cook said of potential sites. “We wanted to narrow it so we prevent this auction kind of process that we want to stay out of.”

Apple announced plans for a new site on Wednesday, along with a 5-year, $30 billion (roughly Rs. 1.9 lakh crores) US spending plan that will generate 20,000 jobs and an expected payment of $38 billion (roughly Rs. 2.42 lakh crores) in taxes on its foreign profits.

The company said it plans to announce the location of the site later this year.

Cities across the country have expressed an interest in hosting the new campus. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters on Wednesday at a city hall press conference: “We’re going to go compete and we’re going to put our best foot forward.”

Apple’s decision stands in contrast to Amazon, which has held a highly publicised process to select a second headquarters that the e-commerce giant says will generate as many as 50,000 jobs.

On Thursday, Amazon narrowed its list of applicants to 20 cities, including Canada’s Toronto and smaller cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio.

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A group of investors led by SoftBank Group closed a deal with Uber Technologies on Thursday, making SoftBank the largest stakeholder in the ride-services firm and providing a much-needed boost to controversy-ridden Uber.

The deal includes a large purchase of shares from existing Uber investors and employees at a discounted valuation for the company of $48 billion (roughly Rs. 3.05 lakh crores), a 30 percent drop from Uber’s most recent valuation of $68 billion (roughly Rs. 4.33 lakh crores). These secondary stock sales will be completed by the end of the day Thursday on the Nasdaq Private Market, an Uber spokesman said.

The investor group, which is co-led by SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group and includes Sequoia Capital, has also completed a $1.25 billion (roughly Rs. 8,000 crores) investment of fresh cash at the other, higher valuation, the spokesman said.

In all, the investors will take a stake of about a 17.5 percent in Uber, with SoftBank keeping 15 percent, becoming the company’s largest shareholder. The investment triggers a number of governance changes at Uber, including the addition of new board members, which take effect immediately.

“This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening Uber’s governance as we double down on our technology investments and continue to bring our services to more people in more places around the world,” said the Uber spokesman.

The official closing of the deal marks the end of a months-long process fraught with infighting among board members.

Power struggles have been fierce – an early and large investor, Benchmark Capital, sued in August to force co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick off the board. Meanwhile, Uber has been struggling with controversies including federal criminal probes, a massive data breach and a lawsuit claiming trade-secrets theft.

The board first voted to move forward with the SoftBank investment in October, and the deal at times seemed close to falling apart, until Uber said last month that the investor group had enough willing stock sellers to go through with the transaction.

As part of the terms of the deal, Uber will expand its board from 11 to 17 members including four independent directors, limit some early shareholders’ voting power and slash the control wielded Kalanick, who remains on the board.

Benchmark had also agreed to drop its lawsuit against Kalanick upon completion of the deal.

SoftBank has added two representatives to Uber’s board of directors: Rajeev Misra, who is chief executive of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, a $98 billion (roughly Rs. 6.23 lakh crores) tech investment vehicle; and Marcelo Claure, Sprint Corp president and CEO and a member of SoftBank’s board of directors, according to a person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to speak publicly because the plans are still private.

Uber declined to confirm any new board members.

“Uber has a very bright future under its new leadership,” Misra said in a written statement, referring to new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who helped broker the deal and benefits from the new governance changes.

Misra wants Uber to focus on growing in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Australia – not Asia, which has been among the most costly and competitive regions for the ride-services firm, according to the source. Such a change could help Uber achieve profitability more quickly, but could also signal a retreat from some of the biggest transportation markets.

SoftBank also has stakes in China ride-hailing app Didi, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s Grab, all of which compete with Uber in the region.

The Financial Times first reported Misra’s comments earlier Thursday.

SoftBank had no trouble drumming up interest among shareholders, as many investors and employees were unable to sell as many shares as they would have liked because SoftBank had put limits on how much it would buy.

Kalanick sold nearly a third of his 10 percent stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion (roughly Rs. 8,900 crores), according to another person familiar with the matter. He had offered to sell half of his shares.

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Users recently discovered a new iMessage bug called ‘chaiOS’ on iOS and macOS that was found to crash or freeze the Messages app when a specific link was received. Apple has confirmed the bug and said it is working on a fix that will be available next week.

Discovered by software developer Abraham Masri , the chaiOS bug reportedly has the potential to freeze, crash, or re-spring your iPhone or Mac when the link is received. It can render the Messages app useless by crashing the app repeatedly. A notable aspect of the bug is that it can freeze your device even if you do not click on the link sent to you.

Gadgets 360 couldn’t replicate the bug but 9to5Mac, which claims to have performed some testing with the chaiOS iMessage bug, says, “We tested the bug and experienced pervasive issues that required removing the message thread and in some cases digging in to macOS and removing the whole Messages database and starting over. Bottom line is it was a pain to resolve after receiving the test message.”

The basis that the chaiOS bug is thought to work on is the Preview feature available in the Messages app. Links have a small preview alongside the URL, which can be fine tuned by developers from the backend. While this preview is limited to only a few characters, Masri apparently went ahead and entered hundreds of thousands of characters, messing up with Apple’s system.

The chaiOS bug link, which is sourced from GitHub, has since been removed. Masri’s account has apparently also suspended for a while before being restored. Additionally, Apple has confirmed to BuzzFeed that the company is indeed working on a fix that will be available through a software update by next week. It will presumably be available for both iOS and macOS.

Masri claims that he uploaded the bug on GitHub in order to “reach out to Apple.” While the link has been taken down, it has supposedly been uploaded by other users.

This is not the first instance of such a bug on iOS. Back in January 2017, YouTuber EverythingApplePro brought a bug to light wherein sending a white flag emoji, a zero, and a rainbow emoji in one message crashed any iPhone variant running iOS 8 and above.

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