Idea Takes on Reliance Jio With ‘Digital Idea’ Movies, Music, Gaming Apps

launched its own Jio entertainment services. Idea’s service touts to offer a “collection of popular and premium content including a rich assortment of Hindi, vernacular and international content,” according to the company’s statement.

Idea Takes on Reliance Jio With ‘Digital Idea’ Movies, Music, Gaming Apps

The Idea Music Lounge provides a number of new features, including a ‘DJ Mode’ which enables transition of songs for a DJ effect; ‘Wake Up Mode’ with the user’s favourite song; and ‘Dynamic Lyrics’ that provides lyrics while listening to a particular song. The music app will offer unlimited downloads at a subscription of Rs. 49 per month. An introductory offer will give subscribers downloading the Idea Music Lounge app till March 31 a free subscription for 90 days from the time of downloading

Meanwhile, the Idea Movie Club will offer movies, live TV and a number of original content and short videos across all genres and several languages. The app is available on Google Play Store and iOS store. Similar to the Idea Music Lounge app, the Movie Club app will be priced at just Rs. 49 per month and is being offered with a similar introductory offer.

The Idea Game Spark is available for both Idea and non-Idea users through www.ideagamespark.com and will offer unlimited games across genres as well as latest and popular virtual reality games. The subscription charge for the Idea Game Spark is at Rs. 29 per month for unlimited games both online and downloads, for all consumers and comes with a similar introductory offer as the other two apps. For now, while games are available via a monthly subscription, Idea is planning to introduce per download and freemium tariff models. Idea also announced that it is partnering with Paytm for this Digital Idea initiative, which will be used to help power payments, and e-commerce initiatives.

In contrast, Reliance Jio has a slightly different set of digital offerings. Jio’s apps cover Jio Music (for music streaming), Jio TV (for live TV), and Jio Cinema (for video on demand), along with a number of other apps including magazines, news, and a digital wallet Jio Money.

Jio’s apps will all be free to use for all Jio subscribers until the end of 2017 – and of course, another key difference is that you’ll be paying for data use on the Idea apps from the start, while all data consumption on Reliance Jio is still free until March 31, thanks to the Happy New Year Offer.

Speaking on the launch of the Digital Idea apps suite, Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular, said, “Having committed significant investments in building a world class wireless broadband network in the country, Idea has decided to enhance its portfolio of services. With the birth of ‘Digital Idea’, the company is gearing itself for catering to the growing population of mobile users who consume digital content on their mobile devices… Our vision for ‘Digital Idea’ is based on the concept of ‘Digital Inclusion’ rather than disruption – natural extension for the Idea transforming consumer. We are confident that the new ‘Digital Idea’ will be an important and significant contributor in shaping New Digital India.”

Idea claims to have more than doubled its mobile broadband network on 3G/ 4G platform over the last one year. The company’s newest entertainment offering looks to challenge Reliance Jio’s own services which has garnered record breaking numbers since its launch.

Speaking on the occasion, Sunil Tolani, National Head of Digital, Idea Cellular, said “Digital Entertainment services is just the beginning. Idea will, in the immediate future, also expand its digital offerings into digital communication, digital payments, cloud & storage, digital information and many more.”

In a quarterly investor report released in September 2016, Idea had announced plans to enter segments such as bill payments, music and video streaming, online gaming, cloud storage, banking, and instant messaging in 2017. Other opportunity areas cited in the report include navigation, e-commerce, emails, Internet search/ Web browsing, social networking, and download & save content. However, it did not say whether it plans to foray into these fields this fiscal year.

Microsoft Nearly Doubles the Price of Xbox Live Gold in India

One of the bigger plus points to owning an Xbox One in India is Xbox Live Gold. The subscription costs a mere Rs. 2,240 a year and gives four free games a month, in addition to allowing for online multiplayer. However it appears that Xbox Live just became a lot dearer.

Gadgets 360 has discovered that the company plans to hike its prices for an Xbox Live subscription in a big way. We received an email from the company stating that Xbox One gamers will be paying Rs. 3,999 per year — almost double of its current price.

Microsoft Nearly Doubles the Price of Xbox Live Gold in India

The reason for this, seems to be due to currency fluctuations.

“After carefully evaluating the currency changes within India, and with the understanding that our offerings always provide a balance of service and value for our customers, we will be adjusting the price of our Xbox Live Gold subscriptions,” an email from the company read.

“As such the price of your Xbox Live Gold Subscription will be increasing. As of February 28, 2017, the price of your 12-month Xbox Live subscription will increase from INR 2,240 to INR 3,999.”

The email goes onto state that if your subscription is set to auto-renew before February 28, you will get a year’s worth of Xbox Live Gold for Rs. 2,240. Anytime after that, and its Rs. 3,999. The one month subscription will be Rs. 699 instead of the usual Rs. 350. You can check out the entire email below:

Xbox Live India price Xbox_live_gold

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has increased the price of its games or services in India. In the past, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for PC saw a near 100 percent price hike.

ALSO SEEXbox One S Controller Coming to India, No Xbox One S Console This Year: Sources

For what its worth, Sony has had a Rs. 3,999 price for its one year PS Plus subscription while offering a month’s worth for Rs. 576. With this price hike, it makes owning an Xbox One more expensive than it should be. And with no plans to release the Xbox One S and the fate of certain Xbox One games coming on disc uncertain, it’s not a good time to be an Xbox One owner.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft India for comment and will update this the moment we hear from the company.

Update, January 31, 2017: Microsoft has replied to our request for comment, citing ‘changing market conditions.’

“We occasionally update pricing in a given market to address changing market conditions. For example, fluctuations in currency value. We do so always keeping in mind that our goal is to offer our members a premium gaming and entertainment service at a fair price,” a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed to Gadgets 360. “In this case, there are a small number of markets we will be updating Xbox Live Gold pricing in. We have notified members whose accounts are on auto-renew in those countries so they are aware well in advance.”

Is This What Elon Musk’s Mysterious Digging Tweets Are About?

After tunneling in his own backyard, Musk plans to continue to drill through the earth beneath public city roads, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details have not been made public. The person added the drilling is just a hobby; Musk is not planning to start a new tunneling company.

Is This What Elon Musk's Mysterious Digging Tweets Are About?

The idea was first hatched by Musk in December, who tweeted, “Traffic is driving me nuts” and “am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” He said it would start beneath his desk at SpaceX.

The tweet gave rise to a flurry of speculation, which was further fueled on Wednesday, when Musk tweeted again that he had made “exciting progress.” Then, late Friday night, on the eve of a large student competition being held at SpaceX, Musk tweeted “we start start digging the tunnel tonight.”

It was unclear whether Musk had applied for legal permits to begin his digging. Apparently digging, even on one’s own property, is not always allowed. Drilling underneath public property requires a variety of permits, which are issued locally in California.

The City of Hawthorne could not be reached for comment.

The engineering competition was for the best design for a pod to go through a hyperloop, a vacuum tube that can propel vehicles at very high speeds. Musk proposed the idea of building a hyperloop two years ago, in a white paper that inspired entrepreneurs to build hyperloop companies and engineering students around the world to compete to build one.

Goqii Partners With Max Hospital to Announce Heart Care Tracker and Service

Goqii, the fitness technology company and preventive health platform, on Monday announced the launch of the Goqii Heart Care tracker and service. One of the key features of this tracker is the ability to connect the wearer to cardiovascular specialists via the Goqii app. The service along with the new Heart Care tracker is available at a subscription of Rs. 2,999 for six months and Rs. 3,999 for 12 months and will be available on Amazon from February 14.

Goqii Partners With Max Hospital to Announce Heart Care Tracker and Service

Goqii has partnered with Max Hospital in order to bring the new heart care service to its users. Users can share their health and heart rate data through the Goqii tracker with registered Goqii doctors for analysis. Based on the user’s data, a Goqii doctor will refer the user to a cardiac specialists at Max Hospital and other partner hospitals, if required.

The new tracker will be able to measure heart rate along while the app focuses on the user’s habits and goals. With the new Heart Care feature, Goqii wants to offer a more specialised service with an aim to create a health ecosystem connecting its users to professionals in the fitness and healthcare space.

The company in August 2016 launched the second iteration of its fitness band featuring a USB charging port, auto sleep detection, integrated charger, and NFC contactless payments, among others. The California-based company also managed to grab the top spot in India’s wearable market for Q2 with 16.1 percent market share.

Commenting on the launch, Vishal Gondal, CEO and Founder, Goqii said, “Today, too many devices are generating lots of data which is essentially junk if not analysed and acted upon. The Goqii Heart Care is an one stop solution that tracks and analyses data generated by the Heart Rate trackers and can connect the GOQii user to doctor who can help make sense of the data. It is a unique offering as compared to any other wearable device or service available in the market.”

Seagate Planning to Launch a 16TB HDD Next Year

After releasing its 10TB BarraCuda Pro Hard Drive, last year as part of its Guardian Series that’s targeted at home use, Seagate is now planning to release a 16TB HDD next year. The company is expected to launch its high-capacity hard disk drive within the next 18 months.

Seagate Planning to Launch a 16TB HDD Next Year

The 16TB drive will be a standard 3.5-inch SATA drive and will be Helium-filled much like some of the other drives released by Seagate itself and Western Digital in last two years, Geek.com said in its report. Apart from the 16TB drive, the company is also testing a 12TB drive, the company’s CEO Stephen Luczo told Geek.com. Luczo says that the initial response to the drive has been positive.

As per the report, there is a third Seagate 14TB drive in works as well. Just like the 16TB drive, the 12TB and 14TB hard drives will also be filled with Helium. Helium is used to reduce drag and friction between the spinning hard drive platters and the read/write heads that float above them, allowing for denser platters and lower power consumption.

The 10TB hard drive, which was released last year by Seagate, was priced at $535 (roughly Rs. 36,350) by the company and therefore the price of 16TB HDD will, in all likelihood, be higher. However, we will have to wait for the official announcement by the company for specific details about pricing as well as availability.

Even though prices for SSDs have come down considerably in last few years, there are still users who prefer hard disk drives and are likely to rejoice the high-capacity storage drive when it is finally announced by Seagate.

Fitbit to Reportedly Layoff Up to 10 Percent of Its Workforce After Weak Q4

Fitbit’s recent revenue reports have been hammering the company and this is reportedly forcing the fitness wearables giant to make some tough choices. After its quarterly report on Monday, the company is expected to layoff up to 10 percent of its workforce. Fitbit currently employs 1,600 people and is expected to layoff somewhere between 80 to 160 workers.

Fitbit to Reportedly Layoff Up to 10 Percent of Its Workforce After Weak Q4

According to a report by The Information, Fitbit is set to announce a poor fourth quarter result. The reason behind this being a slowdown in the wearables sector, according to unnamed people familiar with the matter cited by the publication. The expected report comes after a dismal third quarter in November where shares of the company plummeted more than 30 percent during the October-December quarter.

The report further states that the layoffs are expected to save the company approximately $200 million. Fitbit declined to comment on the report but a source reportedly indicated that the company could be interested in developing an app store and opening its wearables to third-party developers.

While Fitbit’s lineup does include smartwatches like Fitbit Blaze, the watch, however, does not work with thrid-party apps due to which the company is unable to take on the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Fitbit’s shift to apps makes sense following its recent acquisition of Pebble and its software in a deal valued at under $40 million (roughly Rs. 270 crores).

In order for Fitbit to recover, the company, with Pebble’s technology, is now perhaps looking to move towards smartwatches and away from fitness trackers which have so far generated poorer-than-expected revenue.

As of now, it isn’t clear whether the layoffs include Pebble employees as well. Fitbit is expected to announce more in the days to come after it releases its quarterly figures.

Samsung Galaxy S8’s

Samsung Galaxy S8's Unusual Screen Resolution Rumoured Ahead of March LaunchSamsung may have confirmed that it will be giving a miss to the MWC 2017 event in Barcelona next month, but that doesn’t mean that rumours around the handset would stop. A new leak claims that the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship will sport an unusual screen resolution.

According to a Chinese tipster, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 will sport a resolution of 1440×2960 pixels screen resolution which turns out an unusual aspect ratio of 18.5:9 – something that was leaked earlier as well. We can expect the Galaxy S8 and the rumoured Galaxy S8 Plus to come in 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch screen sizes. In comparison, LG’s upcoming G6 flagship is likely to sport a 5.7-inch display – which was shown off by LG Display earlier this month – and will boast of an unusual aspect ratio of 2:1. The leak was first picked up by The Android Soul.

Based on first leaked live image, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will seemingly give the signature Home Button at the front a miss. The recently leaked images have claimed that the fingerprint scanner will be present at the back adjacent to the camera. The Samsung logo is also likely to be present at the back, making the front sport a minimal ‘all-display’ design. The handset is said to sport a 12-megapixel rear while there will be an 8-megapixel front camera. As reported earlier, Samsung is said to have first dibs on the latest Snapdragon 835 processor and it will feature a 4GB of RAM alongside 64GB built-in storage.

As for the Samsung Galaxy S8 release date, previous reports have suggested that the smartphone will launch on March 29 at an unpacked event in New York. Both models are expected to go on sale from April 21, and they will cost EUR 100 (roughly Rs. 7,300) more than their predecessors.

Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer Violates TRAI Guidelines, Vodafone Tells High Court

Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer Violates TRAI Guidelines, Vodafone Tells High CourtVodafone has claimed that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also failed to implement Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) circulars which lay down that all tariffs must be compliant of inter-connection usage charges (IUC), non-discriminatory and non-predatory.

“That the free i.e. zero tariff plan/promotional offer of said Operator (Jio) with no charges at all for services, is ipso facto non-compliant with the ‘floor’ as stipulated by TRAI in its own tariff orders, is IUC non-compliant, predatory and discriminatory and thus violates the TRAIs tariff orders and regulations.

“It is submitted that the said promotional offer was and continues to be in blatant violation of cardinal regulatory principles as IUC charges being the floor for the retail tariffs,” the telecom major has said in its petition.

Vodafone has contended in its plea that TRAI itself in 2002 had told all telecom service providers that “promotional tariffs cannot exceed 90 days upper limit”.

“The free offerings were illegal and also violates the 90 days upper limit fixed for any promotional offer (with) 90 days expiring on September 18, 2016 (even if counted from June 21, 2016) and in any event on December 3, 2016. The respondent (TRAI) ignored petitioner’s representations and effectively deal with the same.

“The subsequent promotion offer proposed to be ending on March 31, 2017 is also violative of, inter alia, the said principle of ‘floor’, as also the said 90 days upper limit, … and the respondent has not taken any steps to stop the blatant violation by the said Operator and continues to act in a non-transparent manner,” the petition has alleged.

Tags: Vodafone, Reliance Jio, Telecom, India, TRAI

Apple Removes iCloud Activation Lock Status Page for Reasons Unknown

In a new development, Apple has shut down its iCloud Activation Lock status page on iCloud.com. This service was used by used iPhone buyers to check the authenticity of the seller, before making the purchase online. The URL iCloud.com/activationlock now shows a 404 error, and its references on the Apple support page have also been removed.

Apple Removes iCloud Activation Lock Status Page for Reasons Unknown

This link was very useful for those who bought used iPhone devices online. Since iOS 8, Apple has kept ‘Activation Lock’ turned on by default. This prevents anyone from activating a device without providing valid Apple ID credentials of the owner. When users sells their iPhone legitimately, they are asked to switch off Activation Lock for it to be transferred to its new owner. During refurbished sale online, this iCloud Activation Lock status page used to help buyers verify if the Activation Lock has been turned off or not. If not, then the online device could potentially be a stolen unit, warning the buyer to not purchase it.

A used iPhone, whose Activation Lock is not turned off, is practically useless for the new owner, as they won’t be able to enter in without the previous owner’s credentials. This feature was a much-needed security and preventive measure for the benefit of both the buyer and the original owner, and no alternative method has been listed as of yet.

9to5mac was the first to spot the shutting down of the Activation Lock status page, and it even mentioned that all references of it from Apple’s support documentation has been removed. As we mentioned, Apple’s Activation Lock is enabled by default on all new iPhone devices. We wonder what Apple has up its sleeve, and knowing the company, an alternative should be in the offing. If you wish, you can disable Activation Lock through the Find My iPhone app.