Uber Being Probed by FBI Over ‘Hell’ Software to Interfere With Rivals

Uber Being Probed by FBI Over 'Hell' Software to Interfere With Rivals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • FBI is looking into Uber’s illegal competition intefering software
  • Uber’s software was being used to track the Lyft drivers
  • The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing to see if Uber Technologies had used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The investigation is focusing on Uber’s program that could track drivers working for rival service Lyft, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office and the Manhattan US attorney’s office, the Journal said.

Separately, Uber will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019 and the vast majority of rides will be in electric or hybrid vehicles by then, the taxi app said on Friday.

At the moment the company says around half of all the journey miles completed in the British capital are undertaken with greener vehicles on the firm’s standard low-cost UberX service, which lets customers book journeys on their smartphone.

Several carmakers have announced plans in recent months to electrify a large proportion of their new cars, with Volvo becoming the first major carmaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

Uber, which has about 40,000 London drivers, will only offer electric or hybrid models on UberX by the turn of the decade and plans to do the same by 2022 nationwide.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Flipkart Sale to Take on Amazon, Airtel 399 Pack Rivals Jio, iPhone Rumours, and More: Your 360 Daily

Flipkart Sale to Take on Amazon, Airtel 399 Pack Rivals Jio, iPhone Rumours, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Flipkart’s sale starts from August 9 and ends on August 11
  • Airtel’s new 399 is pretty similar to Reliance Jio’s plan
  • New iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone SE rumours galore

It’s Amazon vs. Flipkart all over again, with the two e-commerce giants set to go head to head with their respective sales this week. The Big Freedom Sale is Flipkart’s answer to Amazon’s Great Indian Sale, which was announced this week. With both e-commerce giants wrestling for a share of your wallet, it means better discounts for all. The Flipkart Big Freedom Sale starts on August 9 and ends on August 11. Discounts on several high-profile mobile devices are already listed on Flipkart.

This includes the Moto M and Moto G5 Plus, usually priced at Rs. 15,999 and Rs. 16,999 respectively, will be available for Rs. 12,999 and Rs. 14,999 respectively during the Flipkart sale. In addition to this, the Lenovo K5 Note (Rs. 12,499) can be purchased at Rs. 9,999, while K6 Power (Rs. 9,999) will have a Rs. 1,000 discount and will be up for grabs at Rs. 8,999. Google Pixel XL’s price will be slashed from the official Rs. 67,000 to Rs. 48,999 during the Flipkart sale. The company is hinting iPhone 6 32GB will get a price cut too. Furthermore, the Redmi Note 4 sale will run through the duration of the Flipkart sale with buyers getting Rs. 1,000 over the exchange value of their old phone.

This isn’t all, TVs and laptops see discounts too, with the company teasing bargains on the Sony HD Ready LED Smart TV, Vu’s 45-inch UDH Smart TV, Intel Core i3 laptops, the Canon 1300D DSLR camera, and Skullcandy headphones to name a few. Flipkart will be running Spotlight of the Hour deals, and providing new arrivals and exclusive launches in TV and mobile phone categories during the Big Freedom Sale.

Meanwhile, the Amazon Great Indian Sale will see upto 35 percent on iPhone models and upto Rs. 5,000 off on Lenovo smartphones. Discounts of upto Rs. 2,000 on Samsung, OnePlus, and Moto phones will also be available too and Honor models see upto Rs. 1,000 off. Samsung and BPL TVs will have their prices slashed by up to 35 percent, while Sanyo and TCL televisions will have discounts of up to 33 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Laptops by Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP will be up to 20 percent cheaper during the Amazon sale.

Let’s see what else made else made the news today.

Airtel offers 84GB data for 84 days at Rs. 399 to beat Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer
Another week, another plan to counter Reliance Jio. This time it’s Airtel. The company has announced a new plan that offers 84GB of data for 84 days at Rs. 399. Users will get unlimited local and STD calls and 84GB of data, with an FUP of 1GB per day. Airtel has clarified that the new prepaid plan offer is applicable only on 4G SIMs and cannot be clubbed with any other plan or offered by the company.

New iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone SE refresh rumours
In the run up to Apple’s yearly iPhone event, a flurry of leaks have given us an idea of what to expect. The latest, derived from the HomePod’s firmware code that was inadvertently made public, has suggested that the iPhone 8’s Face ID recognition system will work even if the phone lies flat. The code contains words ‘resting’ and ‘unlock’. Another leak shows the vertical dual camera alignment of the iPhone 8, and comes from tipster Benjamin Geskin. The smartphone appears to have two camera sensors on the rear panel, with Geskin adding the smaller represents the wide-angle lens, and the larger represents the telephoto lens.

The iPhone 7s Plus could use wireless charging according to dummy images via tipster Sonny Dickson. The dummy is seen to sport a glass back, pointing to the inclusion of the wireless charging feature that’s long been anticipated for the iPhone series.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s Plus aren’t the only phones to see leaks. The budget-focussed iPhone SE may see a refresh early next year according to a report that cites the company’s supply chain. The report adds that India will be the first market to receive the new iPhone SE before it is made available more broadly, and it will be manufactured by Wistron at its Bengaluru facility. The new iPhone SE will reportedly start shipping in the first quarter of next year. Wistron is the same supplier that started assembling current-gen iPhone SE units in the country earlier this year.

Paytm now lets you automatically add money to your wallet, send post cards
Paytm has added postcards on both iOS and Android versions of its app. If you are wondering what these postcards do, they essentially allow you to send money to your loved ones with customisation options and personalised text messages. Alongside, the company also introduced Paytm Automatic, which automatically tops up your Paytm wallet balance. Only available on the Android app at the moment, Paytm Automatic will let users set a particular amount as a minimum balance for the wallet, and also set the recharge amount whenever the balance dips below the minimum. This would essentially top-up the user’s balance whenever it’s running low.

OnePlus 5 OxygenOS 4.5.8 update rollout begins after game stutter issue
The OxygenOS 4.5.8 update for the OnePlus has begun rolling out after the company halted the OxygenOS 4.5.7 update earlier due to a game stutter issue. This new update brings the same changes as the bug-laden update, sans the game stutter issue of course.

In its post on official forum, OnePlus said regarding the OxygenOS 4.5.8 update, “OxygenOS 4.5.7 was withdrawn, we are pushing out the incremental roll-out of OxygenOS 4.5.8 OTA for the OnePlus 5 instead.” To recall, earlier this month, it was reported that OnePlus started rolling out its OxygenOS 4.5.7 update the ability to record videos in 4K resolution with electronic image stabilisation (EIS) on OnePlus 5.

LG Q6 India launch set for Thursday
LG Q6, which is amongst LG’s first Q-Series phones, is coming to India this week. Its exclusive online retail partner Amazon is teasing an August 10 launch while detailing that India will be getting the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant. In case you missed all the hype last month, LG’s Q-Series bring a lot of premium features seen in the flagship G-Series in a more affordable package. The LG Q6 variant launching in India also supports dual-SIM cards, and runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

Amazon India officially launches ‘Local Finds’
Amazon India has finally made its Local Finds platform open to customers in India. Local Finds is a platform that allows Amazon users in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai to find and sell used and new goods to others in their city. Amazon takes care of delivery and payments for Local Finds transactions. The company boasts that customers are adding “hand crafted and rare products” daily. The Bengaluru pilot prior to Local Finds officially launching saw roughly 600 sellers, and up to launch, it has seen 30,000 customers use the service across all four cities.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to feature in-screen fingerprint sensor: KGI
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone will see an under-display fingerprint sensor instead of the Galaxy S9 according to a report from KGI Securities. As per KGI’s report, Samsung doesn’t have to risk the quick implementation of the under-the-display fingerprint scanner with Galaxy S series models as Apple planned to with the iPhone 8. The firm predicts Samsung will place the fingerprint scanner at the rear of the Galaxy S9 flagship models next year, just like it did with Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

However, in its report, KGI has said that the Galaxy S9 models will come with some other selling points including advanced iris recognition as well as dual cameras. These features have been said to buy the company the time it needs to introduce an under-the-display fingerprint scanner in a manner that’s market-ready.

TRAI calls on speed test apps to understand their methodologies
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is calling major speed test apps for a presentation to “understand” their methodology. This should result in a “paper” that will be made available publicly in the months to come. The sector regulator plans to meet 7-8 mobile Internet speed testing firms, including Ooklaover the next one or two months, in this regard. The move assumes significance as Airtel has used Ookla results in the past to assert itself as fastest network, a claim contested by Reliance Jio. TRAI hopes that its initiative would not only help raise consumer awareness about the various apps and choices available to users but could also lead to improvements in its MySpeed app.

Apple Watch Series 3 said to sport LTE connectivity
Apple is said to be planning to launch a version of the Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. This will reduce its reliance on the iPhone according to those familiar with the matter. Intel will reportedly supply LTE modems for the new watch. Apple is in talks with carriers in the US and Europe. It could choose to debut its new watch models alongside the new iPhone like it did last year.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

SpaceX’s sixth successful launch in 2017 puts Elon Musk’s company on pace to beat its rivals

Falcon 9 Inmarsat Elon Musk SpaceX Launch

 

Flying the biggest satellite that SpaceX has ever launched, weighing in at more than 6 metric tons, proved a routine piece of business for the company’s Falcon 9 rocket yesterday.

The Inmarsat-owned satellite, built by Boeing, was originally scheduled to fly on a larger rocket, the Falcon Heavy, that SpaceX hopes to debut later this year. Flying the big bird on a smaller rocket required some sacrifices on SpaceX’s part—the first stage booster could not be recovered for potential re-use, for example, since much of the fuel necessary would be used in flight. But the success puts the company on a path to finally hit its long-dreamed-of high-speed launch cadence.

SpaceX has been hoping to out-fly its competitors for the last several years, planning on a dozen to even 18 launches in a single calendar year. But in 2015, a mid-flight explosion grounded SpaceX’s rocket for six months, putting a kibosh on those plans, and a 2016 refueling mishap required four months of work to ensure the rocket was ready for flight.

Now, having launched six rockets before the halfway point of 2017, the company looks set to hit its goals and finally fly more rockets than its incumbent competitors, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance, and the European champion Arianespace. That’s striking, given that SpaceX’s first commercial mission was in 2012. (ULA was formed in 2006, and Arianespace in 1980.)

This year, Arianespace has been the victim of circumstance, with its major spaceport becoming a pawn in a political battle between impoverished French Guianans and the mainland French government. The protests have now been resolved, allowing the company to start launching again.

For the rest of this year, SpaceX has plenty to do. It will launch a Bulgarian television satellite, and communications birds for Intelsat, Iridium, SES, and Echostar. It is expected to launch satellites on behalf of Taiwan and South Korea. And the company plans to launch its own demonstration satellite to provide internet access. Perhaps most importantly, it will fly three missions to the International Space Station for NASA, as well as demonstrating an uncrewed flight of its new astronaut-carrying space capsule. Plus, it expects to fly the experimental Falcon Heavy.

That’s a lot of work—at least a dozen more missions—and it will require the company’s engineers and technicians to move fast and carefully, with no major mishaps. The company’s goal has long been a mission cadence of one flight every two weeks, a pace it hit this month and in March but has yet to sustain over time. The tiny signals of progress are there—during yesterday’s launch, the company began loading liquid oxygen into the rocket ten minutes later than usual, part of an effort to compress and shorten the countdown process.

The rewards of frequent launches are clear: Besides establishing the Falcon 9’s reliability, and the constant stream of data used by engineers after every launch to refine the vehicle, each launch represents revenue won by SpaceX.

While the company brushed off financial concerns after its 2016 mishap, with officials noting that it had no debt and $1 billion in cash on its books, replenishing its coffers will give SpaceX greater security and more resources to tackle big projects ahead—including its mooted satellite internet constellation and an inter-planetary transportation system for reaching Mars.

[“Source-qz”]

As Tide Turns Against Chip Industry, Samsung Forges Ahead of Rivals

As Tide Turns Against Chip Industry, Samsung Forges Ahead of Rivals

Gloom may be settling over much of the world’s semiconductor industry but Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is expected to cope better than most due to its strong technological edge, enabling it to boost market share for some key products and possibly even lift revenue.A plunge in PC sales and slower growth for smartphones globally has hit the sector hard, prompting Intel Corp to say this month it would cut up to 12,000 jobs.

Qualcomm has said fiscal third-quarter chip shipments could fall as much as 22 percent, while SK Hynix Inc on Tuesday reported a 65 percent slide in quarterly operating income – its weakest result in three years.

Samsung, which reports its first-quarter earnings on Thursday, is also hurting. Chip profits – which accounted for just under half of its overall 2015 operating income – are widely expected to fall, with some analysts predicting a drop of more than 10 percent in January-March from a year earlier.

But if its rivals are getting pummelled, the South Korean tech giant is merely bruised and is in many ways benefiting as clients shift towards premium power-conserving DRAM chips for smartphones, as well as solid-state drives for data storage using 3D NAND chips.”The technological gap between Samsung and its competitors in fields such as DRAM and NAND has been widening lately, which helps the company avoid the rate of profit decline seen at other firms,” said Song Myung-sub, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities.

Even with a first-quarter drop of around 10 percent, Samsung’s chip operating profit is expected to be nearly five times that of SK Hynix.

The world’s No. 2 chipmaker also happens to run the world’s biggest smartphone business, giving it a captive customer for its chips that none of its rivals have.

“This is a safehouse they can go to,” said Avril Wu, an analyst at research firm Trendforce.

Healthy initial sales for Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones are expected to be the main driver of first-quarter operating profit, which the firm has said likely rose 10.4 percent from a year earlier to KRW 6.6 trillion ($5.8 billion).

Dominant position
Of its key products, analysts are most upbeat about Samsung’s NAND chip prospects. Samsung was the first to mass produce NAND flash chips using a technology called 3D NAND, helping it assume a dominant position in higher-margin products such as solid-state hard drives for computers and servers.

BNP Paribas expects the South Korean firm’s NAND revenue to climb 16 percent and NAND operating profit to jump 69 percent this year. Shipments will also likely outpace the industry average, allowing Samsung to seize more market share, it said in a report.

The technology is already contributing to Samsung’s profits, analysts say, adding that this is not the case for main NAND rivals Toshiba Corp, SK Hynix and Micron Technology Inc which are estimated to be as much as three years behind.

Investors and analysts also point to Samsung’s superior production technology for DRAM chips, saying the firm is ahead of its closest rivals by at least a year. It can mass produce smaller chips than rivals, which boosts performance and conserves power as well as increasing the number that can be made from a single wafer.

Samsung commanded 58 percent of the mobile DRAM market as of the fourth quarter of 2015, according to TrendForce. Mobile DRAM revenue also accounted for more than half of Samsung’s overall DRAM sales for October-March, TrendForce’s data shows.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Laptops, Mobiles, PC, Samsung, Tablets
[“Source-Gadgets”]