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A European Union plan to raise more tax from digital multinationals faced the first signs of scepticism on Saturday, as smaller members of the bloc warned about the economic impact from such a move.

France wants to tax companies like Google and Facebook on their turnover, rather than profits, to increase revenue from global online groups, accused of paying too little in Europe.

More than a third of the EU’s 28 members backed Paris on Saturday at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, but the move needs the agreement of all member states to reduce the risk of legal challenges.

“We should be very careful,” Denmark’s finance minister Kristian Jensen said, warning of the risks of pushing innovative companies away from Europe.

His remarks were echoed by Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna, who said any EU solution would need global backing to avoid damaging Europe’s competitiveness. “It does not make any sense” for Europe to move without a global agreement, he said.

The Czech Republic and Malta said a turnover tax would betechnically difficult to implement.

If the divisions persist, a minimum number of ten EU states may apply the tax on their own under a procedure known as enhanced cooperation. Countries can also charge the tax unilaterally.

“Enhanced cooperation is certainly a legally possible option,” Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission, told a news conference at the end of the ministerial meeting.

But the objective at this stage is to reach an agreement among all members by the end of the year, followed by legislative proposals next spring, he added. The commission will outline other legal options to tax the digital economy in a paper in the coming days.

Quick fix
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the turnover tax was necessary to allow EU countries to move quickly. “Otherwise we risk a breakdown with citizens across Europe,” he added.

Ten states signed a statement in support of this approach on Saturday. In addition to France, they are Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovenia and Portugal. Belgium and the Netherlands publicly backed the initiative. Others did so in private meetings.

The French plan was seen as a “quick fix” to address the issue, but European officials acknowledged it may have some drawbacks. It could be easily exposed to legal challenges, divide the EU and cause trouble with the United States, home to most major online companies, they said.

Estonia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, proposed a more structural solution that would permit states to tax companies where they have a digital, not just physical, presence.

The two plans could be complementary and be part of a two-step approach, the Estonian undersecretary for tax, Dmitri Jegorov, said.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Micromax on Monday launched two affordable 4G VoLTE smartphones – Bharat 3 and Bharat 4 – in India at a price of Rs. 4,499 and Rs. 4,999 in India. The company says that both these smartphones, part of the company’s Bharat series of affordable 4G VoLTE smartphones, will be made available through the offline stores in the country starting Monday. The highlight features on the smartphones include support for 22 Indian languages and Android 7.0 Nougat.

Talking about the specifications on the Micromax Bharat 3 first, the dual-SIM smartphone runs Android 7.0 out-of-the-box and sports a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 480×854 pixels. The handset is powered by a MediaTek MT6737M SoC coupled with 1GB of RAM. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Micromax Bharat 3 comes with a primary 5-megapixel rear camera. At the front, there is a 5-megapixel shooter for taking selfies.

The phone comes with 8GB of built-in storage, which is further expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card. The Micromax Bharat 3 and is powered by a 2000mAh removable battery. The connectivity options offered by the handset include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG, and 4G connectivity.

Coming to the Micromax Bharat 4, the dual-SIM smartphone runs Android 7.0 out-of-the-box and sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. The handset is powered by a MediaTek MT6737 SoC coupled with 1GB of RAM. In terms of optics, just like the Bharat 3, the Micromax Bharat 4 comes with a primary 5-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter for taking selfies.

The phone comes with 16GB of built-in storage, which is further expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card. The Micromax Bharat 4 and is powered by a 2500mAh removable battery. The connectivity options offered by the handset include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG, and 4G connectivity.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Just after the launch of the three new iPhone models, Apple has now updated its App Store Review Guidelines for September weighing down on misleading apps. The company has now explicitly stated that it will ban apps that offer fake services at a premium, like many virus scanning apps that have thronged the App Store, which don’t really do the job they promise to. Apple has introduced ARKit and Face ID guidelines as well in the updated section, and has also mentioned distinctly that it will weigh down heavily on apps that propagate trafficking or exploitation of children.

These new guidelines were spotted by Paul Hudson from Hacking with Swift, and Apple now officially bans apps that market itself as “including content or services that it does not actually offer” – specifically iOS-based virus and malware scanners. While Apple was already frowning on these apps, it has now explicitly added it on to its app review guidelines to end all debate.

In the list of objectionable apps, Apple has also added apps “that are discriminatory based on “national/ethnic origin”. Now that Face ID has been introduced, Apple has explicitly noted that an app must provide an alternate authentication method for users less than 13 years of age.

With the addition of ARKit, Apple notes that all ARKit apps must “provide rich and integrated augmented reality experiences.” This means some flimsy AR addition just to build fake hype will not be enough. Apple has always been a pioneer of privacy, and in its guidelines, it “is making it clear that you may not attempt to identify other people or guess their user profiles based on ARKit’s facial mapping tools, explicitly banning data mining on ARKit facial data,” Hudson notes.

Apple also introduced the ability to send money as gifting options within apps. However it has two conditions for it, “(a) the gift must be a completely optional choice by the giver, and (b) 100% of the funds go to the receiver of the gift.”

Lastly, Apple also added another guideline, “In extreme cases, such as apps that are found to facilitate human trafficking and/or the exploitation of children, appropriate authorities will be notified.” This indicates that such apps may be floating around on the App Store, and this guideline serves as a fair warning that no such app should ever be published on the App Store.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


If you have a habit of switching your daily driver from Android frequently, we have news for you. As it turns out, Google deletes the Android backup data for users if they don’t use an Android device for duration of just two months and doesn’t even provide any proactive notification to the users regarding the same.

As per a Reddit user named Tanglebrook, the search giant removed the user’s Android backup data after the device was not used for two months and the company reportedly didn’t proactively inform the user before doing the same. On contacting the Drive Support, Tanglebrook discovered that there is no option for recovery despite the fact that user was paying for the company’s service.

“There was no warning from Google. They just deleted my data. There’s apparently an expiration date that shows up under the backup if I had checked the Backup folder sooner, but there was no notification, no email, no proactive notice at all, and most importantly, no option to use the 100gb of my Drive storage to keep my f* backup,” Tanglebrook said in his post on Reddit.

While the backup functionality has been available for Android users for quite some time, with Android 6.0 Marshmallow the search giant improved the service and users can even have their backups stored in Google Drive folders. However, as can be seen from the above incident, users will lose the data if they don’t use an Android device for little over two months.

Notably, the company starts showing the warning about the expiration date of the account backup if users don’t use their device for two weeks itself, as can be seen from the company’s support page. Next time you are temporarily switching devices and platforms, do remember to use the account with an Android device again before its expiration data to avoid losing apps and backup data.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A sweeping investigation by the city of Portland, Oregon, found that Uber Technologies used a software tool to intentionally evade 16 government officials whose job it was to regulate the ride-services company, city officials said on Thursday.

When Uber began operating in Portland in December 2014, it did not have any permits, so it used a software tool it had created called Greyball to block regulators from booking rides. Uber stopped using the software after it received approval to operate its service in Portland in April 2015.

The city imposed no fines or other penalties but transportation officials have recommended that the city ramp up enforcement efforts.

“We have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders” will be allowed in the future, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said in a statement.

Portland launched its investigation after the New York Times reported in March that Uber used Greyball to evade government officials in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries such as Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.

Greyball allowed Uber to ignore or cancel ride requests from locations near enforcement agencies and from accounts with credit cards believed to belong to government workers. The tool also allowed Uber to show that no cars were available.

Portland found that when Uber started operating in the city in December 2014, the company used Greyball to block 17 rider accounts, 16 of which belonged to government officials, and deny 29 ride requests by city transportation enforcement officers.

“In using Greyball, Uber has sullied its own reputation,” the Portland Bureau of Transportation wrote in its report.

A spokesman for Uber said the company was “pleased the investigation was closed” and “will continue working in partnership with the City of Portland.”

Following the Times story, Uber acknowledged the existence of Greyball and said it would put a stop to using the technology to target regulators.

The US Department of Justice also opened a criminal investigation into Greyball, sources said in May.

Greyball is just one of a string of scandals Uber has weathered this year, including allegations of sexual harassment and a lawsuit threatening its self-driving car business.

Uber’s main US rival, Lyft, also cooperated with the Portland investigation, but regulators found no evidence Lyft had engaged in similar tactics.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Domestic mobile brand Kult was last in news when it launched its second smartphone – Beyond – in the country. The company has now launched its third smartphone in India, named Gladiator. Kult Gladiator is a budget smartphone that comes with a large 4000mAh battery and an 8-megapixel front camera with an LED flash as its major highlights. It is an Amazon-exclusive smartphone that will be available to buy from September 24 at Rs. 6,999 in Black colour. There are launch offers as well that include additional 4G data via Jio and one-time screen replacement warranty.

The Kult Gladiator has a metallic body, supports dual SIM cards, and sports a dedicated microSD card slot, and runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box. It is powered by a 1.25GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 SoC paired with 3GB of RAM and Mali-T720 GPU. The smartphone features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) On-Cell IPS 2.5D curved glass display.

In the photography department, the Kult Gladiator has a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash, while on the front end, it houses an 8-megapixel fixed focus camera, also with an LED ‘Selfie’ flash. It has 32GB of inbuilt storage that can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). The smartphone comes with a fingerprint scanner, LED notification light, and smart awake features that are essentially gestures used to open preset apps right from the home screen without unlocking it.

The Kult Gladiator packs a huge 4000mAh battery under-the-hood. For connectivity, the smartphone offers 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, FM radio, and 3.5mm audio jack. It measures 156.9×77.2×9.3mm.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Alphabet Inc is in discussions with Lyft about a possible investment in the ride-hailing company, potentially deepening an existing partnership between the two firms, a person familiar with the talks said on Thursday.

An injection of support from one of Silicon Valley’s largest companies could be a boost to Lyft as the No. 2 ride provider battles rival Uber Technologies for market share.

It was not immediately clear how large an investment Alphabet might make. Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported there was at least some discussion of a $1 billion deal.

Alphabet and Lyft declined to comment.

In May, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo and Lyft announced a partnership to work together on developing self-driving technology; neither offered many details of the agreement.

Recently, Lyft has been in an expansion mode, saying in August that it was available in 40 US states covering 94 percent of the country’s population.

Lyft raised $600 million in fresh funding in April, mostly from large global investment funds. The round valued the company at $7.5 billion, up from $5.5 billion at Lyft’s previous financing more than a year earlier.

Additional investment could further push off discussion of an initial public offering, which Lyft had planned likely for 2018, according to sources close to the company. Lyft previously planned not to raise any more funding prior to its IPO, the sources said.

Alphabet since 2013 has been an investor in Uber through its venture capital arm, known as GV. That relationship, though, became more complicated when Alphabet’s Waymo sued Uber this year for alleged theft of trade secrets.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Finnish mobile games maker Rovio Entertainment set a price range on Friday for its planned listing that would value the maker of Angry Birds at up to $1.1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,049 crores), well below potential values cited in media reports.

The company, whose business is recovering after a tough couple of years, announced its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) this month, saying it was aiming to boost growth and to take part in gaming industry consolidation.

Initial media reports had said the company could be valued at up to $2 billion in the flotation, though analysts had already questioned whether that could really be achieved.

The preliminary price range of EUR 10.25 to EUR 11.50 per share announced on Friday would give Rovio a market value of EUR 802 million to 896 million, or $950 million to $1.1 billion.

“If it had been as rumoured, it would have been way too high,” said analyst Atte Riikola from Helsinki-based equity research firm Inderes.

“Looking at sales, the valuation pits Rovio at the same level as it peers, but includes profit growth expectations.”

Rovio, whose games have been downloaded 3.7 billion times, grew rapidly after the original Angry Birds game was launched in 2009.

But Rovio was slow to respond to a shift to freely available mobile games that make revenue from in-game purchases. Its business quickly declined as rival games such as Supercell’s Clash of Clans and King’s Candy Crush Saga took over.

Rovio booked an operating loss and cut a third of its staff in 2015. However, sales are now recovering on the back of the 2016 release of 3D movie Angry Birds, as well as new games.

The company expects to sell about 55 percent of its shares in the flotation, raising EUR 438 million to 488 million. Only 30 million would go into Rovio’s coffers, with most going to its major owners, including Trema International and venture capital firms Accel Partners and Atomico.

Trema, which is owned by Kaj Hed, the uncle of Rovio co-founder Niklas Hed, is expected to keep a stake of 37 percent after the listing, down from 69 percent now, Rovio said.

The subscription period starts on Sept. 18 with trading expected to being on the Helsinki bourse’s pre-list on September 29 and on the main list on October 3.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Hours ahead of Apple’s major iPhone event, in which the company is widely expected to launch the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X, its partner Qualcomm has stirred controversy by saying that Android smartphone makers are always first to bring new cutting technology feature to their products.

Qualcomm has shared more than 20 examples to make the case for how Android smartphone makers have been the first ones to introduce new features. Some of those examples include – fingerprint under display (Qualcomm Reference Design Handset), bezel-less design (first introduced in Xiaomi Mi Mix from last year), OLED Display (LG Flex 2) and Facial Recognition (Samsung Galaxy S8). Interestingly these all features are expected to be selling points of Apple’s supposedly upcoming iPhone models that the company would unveil later today. Other notable mentions are Gigabit LTE (Samsung Galaxy S8) and Bluetooth v5.0 (everything running the Snapdragon 835 SoC).

The telecom giant’s brutal blog post comes months after both of them have sued each other in global patent licensing dispute. Earlier this year, Apple sued the chipmaker for roughly $1 billion claiming that Qualcomm has been “charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.” At the time, Qualcomm dismissed Apple’s accusation. But months later, it filed a lawsuit against Apple, asking the US trade regulators to ban iPhone imports, as they allegedly infringe on six patents. The patents, owned by Qualcomm, provide technology to improve battery life, Qualcomm said.

Meanwhile, on the blog post published on Monday, Francisco Cheng, director of technical marketing said it has “enabled some notable world firsts on Android, and some remain Android exclusives to this day. […] Inventions from Qualcomm lay the foundation for so many technologies and experiences we value in our smartphones today — on Android and other platforms.”

Apple would certainly not appreciate Qualcomm’s constant commentary on how rival products are better, especially on the day when it plans to launch its own flagship iPhone models.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Samsung has reportedly started rolling out a software update for its Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) users in India. The update is important because it brings along the Android Nougat version, introducing all its features, along with a few other features like Samsung Pass as well.

Sammobile reports that both the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) are receiving this update in India. It is rolling out gradually, so if it hasn’t landed on your phones yet, it should in the coming weeks. The update weighs in at about 1.4GB, and we recommend you back up your devices before installing the update. Also, ensure that you install the update on a strong Wi-Fi connection with sufficient battery charge on your smartphones.

The firmware version for the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) are A520FXXUBQI5 and A720FXXU2BQI2 respectively. The Android Nougat update brings along multi-window support, Always On Display, and other new features. There’s also the addition of Dual Messenger and Samsung Pass with this update, along with bug fixes and stability improvements as well.

Both the smartphones were launched in India in March this year, and were priced at Rs. 28,990 and Rs. 33,490 respectively. Last month, both the devices received a permanent price cut in India, and with the price revision, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) is now available at an MOP of Rs. 22,900, while the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) is available at an MOP of Rs. 25,900.

The highlight of Galaxy A7 (2017) and the Galaxy A5 (2017) smartphones are their Galaxy S7-style design, cameras with low-light optimisation, a simplified camera UX, as well as their IP68-rating for dust and water resistance, which Samsung claims is a first for the price segment.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)