Category Archives: Gadget

Energizer Launches Cases, Chargers, Cables, and Other Mobile Accessories in India

Avenir Telecom, a licensee of Energizer brand for smartphones and accessories, on Wednesday at an event in New Delhi announced its foray into the Indian market with the launch of a slew of Energizer accessories. The range of products includes tempered glasses, USB cables, charging solutions, Apple-certified products, and USB hub stations, among others. Energizer products will go on sale in India starting July 17 on both offline and online channels including Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, and Tata Cliq. The French company has partnered Paras Group for distribution, and the latter will be responsible for offline sales through its retail outlets spread across 15 major cities.

The company says the Energizer products launched are targeted at consumers “fed up of duplicate accessories” and are on a lookout of better substitutes. Energizer products come in three categories – classic, hi-tech, and ultimate for the products like mobile cases & covers, USB chargers, travel adapters, multi-plug chargers, car kits, and USB connectors with 1.2-metre long cables. Besides, the company also provides accessories for corporate uses such as the multi-connector power station that can charge up to six devices at a time.

As we said, the entire product range will be available for purchase on both offline and online platforms with international warranty up to two years. However, the pricing of the individual products has not been disclosed by the company with just a price segment of Rs. 399 to Rs. 2,999.

In addition, Energizer shockproof and waterproof mobile cases, which will protect iPhone high-end Samsung Galaxy models from accidental fall, dust, and water, with their IP68 rating. The company claims that the waterproof case can allow the smartphone usage underwater up to one hour and to a maximum depth of 30 metres, whereas the shockproof case will provide protection to your smartphone against accidental fall up to three metres. The company told Gadgets 360 that it will launch similar mobile cases for other smartphones including the mid-range and low-range ones in future.

The company said it is also working on stretchable USB cables and lifetime cables under the Energizer brand that will come with 5 years of international warranty, which will be a first in the battery solutions market across the globe, the company claims. Talking about the Energizer’s charging connector cables, the company is also touting a ‘power sharing cable’ that can charge any phone (both iPhone and Android) from another OTG-supported phone. The company also revealed that it will launch a Bluetooth-controlled surge protector in the second phase in India.

Speaking at the launch, Business Development Director, South Asia & South East Asia at Avenir Telecom, Manish Prasad commented “For years, Energizer has brought consumer focused products that power the essential devices which help people stay connected throughout the time providing a complete solution to fulfil daily lifestyle needs.” He further added, “Energizer is going to continue the same legacy in India providing their customers with superior quality products, eventually increasing penetration rate in Indian market for the technology sector.”

Xiaomi Redmi 4A to Be Available for Purchase via Amazon India Today

Xiaomi Redmi 4A, one of the most popular budget smartphones in the market today, will be made available to purchase in the country on Thursday, via Amazon India. The Redmi 4A flash sale starts at 12pm IST, and the smartphone will be offered in three colour variants – Gold, Dark Grey, and Rose Gold. To recall, the smartphone was first launched in India back in March at Rs. 5,999, and comes in only one configuration: 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.Since its March launch, the smartphone has been either made available to buy via weekly flash sales, or via special one-off sales.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A specifications

Featuring a polycarbonate body, the Redmi 4A (Review) bears a hybrid dual-SIM card slot, and runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The smartphone features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with the Adreno 308 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

It sports a 13-megapixel sensor with PDAF, a 5-lens system, an f/2.2 aperture, and is backed by a LED flash. There is a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture on board as well. The Redmi 4A comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

The Redmi 4A’s connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, and Bluetooth v4.1. Sensors on board the smartphone include accelerometer, ambient light, gyroscope, infrared, and proximity. Dimensions of the new Xiaomi smartphone are 139.5×70.4×8.5mm, and it weighs in at 131.5 grams. Redmi 4A is powered by a 3120mAh battery with fast charging support.

Forms Self-Driving Car Alliance

he top Chinese Internet search firm, has formed a broad alliance to promote self-driving cars, pitting its Apollo platform against Alphabet Inc’s system, it said on Wednesday, in hopes of getting the vehicles on the road in China by 2019.

The alliance includes partnerships with automakers, suppliers, startups, universities and local governments and is built around Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform, which was developed at itstech center in California’s Silicon Valley. Apollo is aimed at Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving package.

Among the key development partners on Apollo are Nvidia, which specializes in microprocessors and artificial intelligence, and mapping expert TomTom NV.

In mid-morning trade, Nvidia shares were up 2.6 percent to $142.94 and Baidu US shares rose 2.3 percent to $184.15. In Amsterdam, TomTom was up 3.2 percent to EUR 8.85.

Ford Motor and Daimler AG also are partners, Baidu said, as well as supplier Delphi Automotive and chipmaker Intel.

Baidu said at a briefing in Beijing it is partnering with five Chinese vehicle manufacturers, including Chery Automobile, BAIC Motor, FAW Group Corp, Chongqing Changan Automobile and Great Wall Motor. All but Great Wall are state-owned.

German suppliers Robert Bosch, Continental Automotive and ZF Friedrichshafen are also part of the alliance.

Baidu has said its goal is to get self-driving vehicles on the road in China, possibly by 2019, and eventually in other markets, including the United States.

Baidu is an investor in Nio, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle startup also backed by China’s Tencent Holdings and Lenovo. Nio hopes to put its first self-driving cars on US roads in 2020.

Two weeks ago, top officials from Baidu and Chery met in Silicon Valley to sign an agreement to collaborate on the development of intelligent, Internet-connected vehicles, according to a source familiar with the companies’ plans.

Chery has installed Baidu’s self-driving software in several prototype cars in China and they could further deepen their relationship to include manufacturing.

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit expects

.Tellenes wind farm, a 50-turbine strong wind farm of 160-megawatt (MW) capacity that is currently under development, will become Norway’s largest wind farm and Google’s biggest in Europe.

“We’ll purchase power as soon as the wind farm becomes fully operational, which we expect will take place in early September 2017,” a Google spokesman told Reuters.

Google last year signed a 12-year deal to buy 100 percent of the plant’s output. The company, which has four European data centres in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, said the wind power will be used to supply one or several of them.

The Tellenes wind farm’s first turbine will begin to generate power by next week, said Olav Rommetveit, a spokesman for farm maker Zephyr, although Google will not receive the initial output.

“Google will not immediately get the supply. It has an exclusive contract for 12 years and they will begin getting the electricity at some point after commercial operations begins,” said Rommetveit.

The electricity produced until Google starts receiving the farm’s full capacity, will be sold on the Nord Pool power exchange, he added.

BlackRock, which provided the project’s equity financing, confirmed the first turbine would be ready for production next week and said power sales would start a few days later.

Arise, a Swedish wind power company, will be the farm’s operator.

Google has also bought the future output of a smaller wind farm in Sweden, due to start operation in 2018, bringing the total capacity of its renewable power purchases in Europe to 500 MW, the company said.

A Web of Nouns

The "Internet of Things" may save us time and energy, but it's a headache fro astronomers. (Credit: Chesky/Shutterstock)

The trouble began because iRobot doesn’t want its customers to have to do any physical labor — not cutting the grass and definitely not digging the trenches for the underground wires that most autonomous lawn mowers use to sense the edge of their domain. iRobot applied to the FCC to be allowed to use wireless broadcasters instead, at radio frequencies between 6240 and 6740 MHz. Problematically, though, space-based methanol also broadcasts radio waves at those frequencies. Methanol traces star formation and tells us about the evolution of our galaxy, which (taken to its extreme) tells us how we got here. To protect that band, the FCC says “all practicable steps shall be taken to protect the radio astronomy service from harmful interference.” And within that band, it prohibits “fixed outdoor infrastructure.” The National Radio Astronomy Observatory says iRobot’s guiding beacons violate that prohibition and insist the mower-bot stay 55 miles away from its telescopes. iRobot says nuh-uh, “there is little risk of interference,” and 12 miles is sufficient.

If one brand’s wireless landscape-eater can cause such a stir, just imagine what could happen when our world is full of self-adjusting, internet-connected devices all communicating wirelessly with each other and with the Web. They will all need to use the radio “spectrum,” but how they’ll split it up — and share it with astronomers, other industries, and the government — when more devices need a slice of the pie remains to be seen.

Smart thermostats can already make your house the temperature you want while monitoring the outdoor weather. Bluetooth beacons help you find your keys. Sensors monitor inventory and alert vending machine owners that Fruitopia is sold out. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s coming. “There are no spectrum bottlenecks for dedicated Internet of Things systems yet,” Kevin Ashton, co-founder and former executive director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Auto-ID Center, told Bloomberg BNA, “but we are seeing Wi-Fi services get maxed out, as there are only so many channels you can cram into the available spectrum.”

Just a week after the OxygenOS 4.5.3 rollout

Just a week after the OxygenOS 4.5.3 rollout, OnePlus has now rolled out yet another software update for its OnePlus 5(Review) users. The latest OxygenOS 4.5.5 update brings bug fixes, performance improvements, Wi-Fi connectivity improvements, voice calling improvements, and much more.

In between, OnePlus has also rolled out a quick OxygenOS 4.5.4 update for users in Netherlands fixing 4G network issues reported by users in that region. This latest OxygenOS 4.5.5 update should arrive via an OTA, and if you haven’t received a notification yet, then head over to Settings to check for an update manually.

Interestingly, the OxygenOS 4.5.5 update comes with the same old May security update. Nokia 6, Google Pixel, and Nexus devices are now receiving the July security patch. The size of the update for the OnePlus 5 users is at 59MB.

OxygenOS 4.5.5 brings improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity, something that was already fixed with the previous update. However, there might have been some fresh loopholes that needed plastering, and this update does just that. The update also notes that battery drain while voice recording is also much lesser now, voice calling has been improved, and that the vibration intensity while receiving a call has also been decreased. The entire changelog can be found below:

Optimisations:

  • Further improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Improvements for voice calling
  • Voice recording now uses less battery
  • Vibration intensity when receiving calls has been decreased

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed Wi-Fi signal consistently being displayed as weak
  • Fixed certain apps not able to work under IPv6 network settings
  • To restore connectivity to a Windows 10 PC, please turn off USB debugging prior to the upgrade

The OnePlus 5 is available in India in two variants – 6GB RAM/64GB storage and 8GB RAM/128GB storage. The price of both the variants is at Rs. 32,999 and Rs. 37,999 respectively. The smartphone is available exclusively on Amazon India and OnePlus Stores online and offline.

The 5 Retro Science Kits That Inspired a Generation of Tinkerers

Manu Prakash was himself a kid who liked to blow up stuff. As a child in Rampur, India, Prakash didn’t have a chemistry set, so he harvested chemicals after the fireworks show during Diwali, the Hindu light festival.
“My brother and I would go out in the early morning, the day after, and collect all of the unexploded fireworks,” he recalls. “We removed all the chemicals and made a giant pile. We actually lit that thing. We didn’t put it in containment; our goal wasn’t to make a large bang. We were curious what happens when there is no coverage. It pretty much produced a mushroom cloud. It was very beautiful.”Although he burned his hand and still carries a small scar, the Stanford bioengineer says such open-ended play was important in setting his career path. And as the first-prize winner of the Science, Play and Research Kit (SPARK) competition for reimagining scientific toys for the 21st century, he hopes his brainchild device, called the Punchcard Using Microfluidics, will provide the same inspiration and opportunities for future crops of scientists.

Inspiration struck Prakash when his wife brought home a small hand-cranked music box, which pulled a ribbon with holes in it through two sets of pins. When pins encountered each other through the holes, one pin plucked another and produced a musical tone. He predicted he could program such a system to instead pump fluids, control valves and generate liquid droplets.

The A.C. Gilbert Co. developed hundreds of toy kits, ranging from magic sets to the extraordinarily popular Erector sets that inspired young children to build anything from model engines to model Ferris wheels.
Lambert/Getty Images
Working with a graduate student, Prakash paired a silicone chip (containing tiny channels that guide the droplets) with a small hand-cranked device and some punch-card paper to dictate when valves release the different fluids. Voila! A $50,000 prize winner was born.Prakash’s invention allows young chemists to mix fluids and observe reactions. Users can mix chemicals in tiny amounts, and any reactions are confined by the chip, which (alas!) safely reduces the scope of powerful odors and explosions.

Prakash hopes to see manufacturing and distribution of his miniature chemistry set, with the SPARK prize money earmarked for a start toward that end. “We want children to have that ‘aha!’ moment . . . a lifelong passion from figuring it out for yourself,” he says.

Prakash’s vision is one shared by many. “I loved science as a kid because we were able to go out and just sort of see what was going to happen,” says Rosie Cook, a curator at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. “So much of it now is, ‘Mix this and tell me what happened,’ even at the Ph.D. and postdoc level. There’s very little of the ‘I’m going to mix A and B together and see what happens!’ ”

Cook, who oversees the foundation’s planned 2015 exhibition of vintage science kits, says that letting students discover things on their own energizes them and often allows them to internalize it as something wonderful. “How many Nobel laureates got their start just from experimenting?” she asks. “That was the wonder of those old chemistry sets. They really allowed for free play and experimentation.”

That career-shaping moment of awe and wonder came about for many via their first scientific toy. Here are a few of our favorites (and maybe yours, too).

Nokia 6 Said to Be Receiving July Android Security Patch Ahead of Google Pixel

At MWC 2017, HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas had confirmed to Gadgets 360 that Nokia Android phones will receive timely security and software updates for its smartphones. Keeping that promise, the Nokia 6 is now reportedly receiving the July Android security update via an OTA to all users in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The report came ahead of the July Android security update rollout for Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL smartphones, making it the first smartphone to get this month’s security patch.

The security patch brings a lot of fixes to recent vulnerabilities ensuring your device is not exposed to new flaws and bugs. Nokiapoweruser has shared screenshots from a Nokia 6 smartphone downloading the security patch (above), and the update size is reported to be at 149MB. HMD Global had promised timely updates and software support for up to two years for its Android phones. The company also confirmed that Android O will arrive on Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 smartphones.

The Nokia 6 has been made available in China, Hong Hong and Taiwan only for now, but is set to arrive in many markets in a month or two. It was supposed to arrive in the UK this month, but got delayed till August 16 due to high demand. In India, the Nokia 6 has been launched at Rs. 14,999. The Nokia 6 registrations for the first sale will start on July 14, but the company has not announced when the smartphone will go on sale.

Nokia 6 specifications

Nokia 6 sports a 5.5-inch full-HD display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top. It is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The dual-SIM Nokia 6 smartphone comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery with fast-charging support. On the camera front, Nokia 6 comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and dual-tone flash, as well as an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture. The Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone has USB 2.0 port for connectivity, fingerprint sensor in the front, stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos audio enhancement.

The Future of Tactile Touch Screens

As he swipes his finger over the touch screen, Joseph Quintanilla senses a subtle bumpiness. Rubbing back and forth, he feels the roughness give way to what seems like a flat glass surface. “Yeah, I can feel it getting smoother,” says Quintanilla, who is blind.
The touch pad in his hands displays a snowy, frosted window that his finger wipes smoother with every pass. It’s an effect created in part by Ali Israr, an engineer at Disney Research labs. Israr specializes in haptic engineering, which focuses on applying tactile stimulation to our interactions with computers.

John Heller/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/2015 (All rights reserved. Printed with permission)
The texture under Quintanilla’s finger doesn’t mimic the exact feeling of snow under fingertips — the temperature shifting, solid becoming liquid — but it does convey the feeling of a rough texture becoming smooth and even. Once Israr describes the image, Quintanilla immediately gets it. “Oh yeah, I can picture it now,” he says. “That’s very cool.”

Quintanilla, who works at the National Braille Press as its director of major gifts and planned giving, is looking for a tool that could help blind children read maps and graphs when taking standardized tests. Currently, these students use sheets of paper with raised lines to represent images — a format essentially unchanged since the 1820s and increasingly costly to print.

Quintanilla heard about Israr’s work on Disney’s TeslaTouch**, a flat screen that uses frictional forces to make users feel like they’re interacting with images on it, and he decided to check it out to consider it for grant funding.

Israr is part of a community of researchers working to make touch screens more, well, touchable. Movements with our fingers across a flat screen have come to replace pressing buttons and keys on everything from ATMs to phones, and researchers now are working on the next frontier: adding tactile feedback to help enhance the feeling that users are interacting directly with the technology. Advanced touch screens like the TeslaTouch are on the cusp of widespread use, according to Israr. “It might seem crazy now, but I bet in 10 years it will just seem like, ‘Of course that happened,’ ” he says. “It’ll just become what we expect of our devices.”

Bacterial Spores Power Small Engine

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A car that runs on bacteria? It might not be quite the kind of car you’re imagining, but researchers report they have built a rotary engine powered by bacterial spores.

A spore lengthens as it soaks up water from the air and shortens with evaporation. To harvest energy from those natural movements, biophysicist Ozgur Sahin and his Columbia University colleagues glued spores to both sides of small tapes, shown in yellow. When dry, the spores make the tapes curl; in humid surroundings, they stretch out.

The team arranged about 100 tapes evenly around a wheel scaffold and encased it in a moist shell that covers half of the wheel. After they rigged it up to a toylike car that weighs as little as a small apple, their contraption, reported in Nature Communications, actually propelled the car — albeit at less than 4 inches per minute.