Lenovo to launch new flagship with over 95 percent screen-to-body ratio, no notch?

Lenovo is gearing up to launch a new smartphone with over 95 per cent screen-to-body ratio. A teaser poster by the company’s VP Chang Cheng on a social media platform Weibo hints at a phone with ultra-thin bezels and without a ‘notch’. Cheng posted the teaser and asked fans to guess what the screen-to-body ratio would have a) 80-84 per cent, b) 85-89 per cent, c) 90-94 per cent, and d) 95 per cent. Since the teaser image of the phone has been cropped, it is hard to tell the presence of a ‘notch’ above the screen. And if Lenovo is planning to ditch the controversial notch, it would probably mean that there will be no space to accommodate a front-facing camera. Meanwhile, a GizmoChina report claims that the Lenovo-made smartphone might have a retracting front camera. Lenovo may launch the device on June 14, although the company is yet to confirm the release date. Details about the smartphone, including its specifications are unknown at the moment. Even the official name of the smartphone is yet to be revealed. So far the Vivo Apex is the only smartphone with the highest screen-to-body-ratio. First announced as a concept device at CES 2018 and later commercially launched in China, Vivo’s Apex comes with a 91% screen-to-body-ratio, an under-display fingerprint scanner, and the selfie camera that pops out from the phone’s top side. The high-end smartphone has a 5.99-inch OLED display and is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor. During a launch event in China, the company said that device will be mass produced in mid-2018.

Walmart brings Amazon fight to India

Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart marks a new front in the struggle for the dominance in India’s sought-after e-commerce market, literally the last frontier with its 1.3 billion people. The battle between Flipkart and Amazon has seen the global giant focus on sellers and offerings like Prime, while Flipkart used technology and local knowledge to retain its position as market leader. Meanwhile, Alibaba has been working tangentially — using its stakes in Paytm, Snapdeal, Zomato (via affiliate Ant Financial), Big Basket, and mobile browser UCBrowser (which has a 40% market share in India with 130 million monthly users as of Jan 2018, according to research firm CBInsights) — to attack the Indian market in a variety of ways. Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at market research company Forrester, says that ecommerce in India isn’t a threehorse race just yet. “Alibaba is predominantly focused on Southeast Asia,” he says, adding that for some time it will still be a battle between Flipkart and Amazon, only that it’s now become a part of Walmart’s effort to keep pace with Amazon worldwide. “Walmart realises that India is a big opportunity and they need to be present now — else the catch-up with Amazon is going to be difficult,” he says. For Walmart, the investment is just the latest in a series of acquisitions that kicked into high gear with the purchase of Jet-.com in 2017 for $3.3 billion. While Walmart still has a huge lead over Amazon in terms of overall revenues — $500 billion to $178 billion — its e-sales are a fraction of Amazon’s (Walmart’s US ecommerce was $11.5 billion for 2018 fiscal), and the retailer has been trying to bridge the gap.  And India is key to Walmart’s future. “India is too important a market for Walmart to ignore, especially since it has already saturated the US market. Walmart also knows the disruptive changes in retailing with Amazon’s e-commerce revolution. Walmart acquired Jet.com in the US precisely for this purpose. It’s only feasible entry into India is through Flipkart,” says Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business. Greg Buzek, president, IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm specialising in technologies for the retail and hospitality industries, says Walmart understands their growth opportunities are greatest in creating online marketplaces.  “Walmart needs Flipkart to be in the market at scale. The company gets a nice start in largest potential growth market in the world by buying the top marketplace. They will add products, international items, and once again management, analytics, scale and IT prowess to the market,” he says. Buzek also believes that it’s possible that an alliance with Alibaba, through Paytm, may be possible for Flipkart and Walmart. “It would not surprise me to see Paytm and the new Walmart-Flipkart partnership come together in some way,” he says. What does it all mean for the end customer though? According to Adrian Lee, research director at Gartner, not much, for now. “Consumers should not expect significant changes in their shopping experience. However, user choice should be improved, with a greater range of Walmart private labels differentiating the merchandise,” he says. “I fully expect discounts/ promotions to continue unabated. As the e-commerce players mature into more profitable businesses, it is very unlikely that discounts will stop. ,” he adds.

Govt approves green licence plates for e-vehicles

The government also plans to allow youth in the age bracket of 16-18 years to drive electric scooters, besides mandating taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of e-vehicle fleet. To promote electric vehicles in India, the government has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. The government also plans to allow youth in the age bracket of 16-18 years to drive electric scooters, besides mandating taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of e-vehicle fleet. “The government has approved distinctive green licence plates for electric vehicles to encourage people to use electric vehicles. Such vehicles will be fitted with green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private cars and yellow font for taxis,” Gadkari said. A notification in this regard will be out in a week’s time, the minister, who has been advocating electric mobility promotion, he said. The purpose behind distinctive number plates is their easy identification for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll, the road transport and highways minister told . The measure is aimed at promoting e-vehicle’s use and the government is considering exemption from permits for such vehicles. “Exemption from permit will be a game changer as restricted permit regime is a major concern. E-rickshaw growth is attributable to the permit exemption and there is scope to extend the exemption to the e-buses, e-taxis, e-autos and e-bikes. E-auto and e-buses may have a big impact since getting a new permit is extremely difficult,” the minister said. Similarly, e-bikes also should see a considerable impact since it is a new area, he added. Besides, the government is contemplating permitting youth in the age group of 16-18 years to drive e-scooters, which are gearless and this will lead to a big demand for e-scooters, the minister noted. Under the Motor Vheicles Act, 1988, those in the age group of 16-18 years are granted licence for below 50 CC gearless scooters.  Incidentally there is no scooter in this category made in the country. “The government is also contemplating to ask taxi aggregators to have an incremental share of electric vehicles from 2020 onwards, which could be 1 per cent of the fleet every year,” Gadkari said. Similarly, all public transport operators may also be mandated to provide 1 per cent incremental fleet from 2020 onwards, he added. Stressing that electric vehicles will bring down vehicular pollution, Gadkari said the government is tightening fuel efficiency norms. Besides, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will request the finance ministry that the rate of depreciation on EVs may be allowed at 50 per cent as against the rate of 15 per cent for conventional vehicles. The proposals include bringing down the GST on batteries to 12 per cent at par with the GST on EVs. As per an estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles and it is projected to grow to about 5 per cent of the total vehicles in the next five years, an official said. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, electric vehicles accounted for barely about 1 per cent, the official added.

Now, you can challenge rulings of MahaRERA

The state government has finally approved an appellate authority for Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Maha-Rera) with retired justice Indira Jain as its head. Senior IAS officer SS Sandhu and Sumant Kolhe have been appointed as members administration and judicial respectively. After the BJP-led Union government notified the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Maharashtra was the first state to notify and set up the authority on May 1, 2017. Retired additional chief secretary Gautam Chaterjee was made chairman of MahaRera while judge Bhalchandra Kapadnis is the judicial member and another retired additional chief secretary, Vijay Satbir Singh, is the administrative member.

Ever since the MahaRera was set up, it’s work has been lauded. Several states have come to study the MahaRera’s functioning at its office in Bandra. Until now, there was no body where the orders of MahaRera could be challenged. Chatterjee took up the matter with the government. A search committee headed by Justice Shantanu Kemkar, additional chief secretary (housing) Sanjay Kumar and principal secretary of Law and judiciary AM Jamadar was formed to set up the tribunal. They selected three names. Sandhu is slated to retire on June 30 and will take over as member after retirement.
A member of RERA said, “At least, there is some body where people can seek redressal on MahaRera orders.” Builder Niranjan Hiranandani said, “We will be first state in India to appoint a full-fledged appellate authority. Uptill now, people had to go to High Court. Setting up of an appellate authority was designed in the law.’’

Rasheed Kidwai  Ballot

BOOK REVIEW – Rasheed Kidwai  Ballot

Ten Episodes that have shaped India’s Democracy is a fascinating kaleidoscope of India’s democratic experience and experiment over the past seven decades. This short book is a must read for all those who are interested in discerning as to how this chaotic, anarchic land of a million mutinies is also a democratic continuum ever since its liberation from British imperialism. It may be interesting to note that in the decade succeeding the end of the World War-II in 1945, of all the nations that threw of the yoke of colonialism across large parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, India is perhaps the only country that never ever went under military rule or one-party authoritarian over lordship. Even in the post-Independence period, there were many naysayers and doomsday theorists who repeatedly predicted that India, after a bloodstained Partition, would never ever be able to hold together. It would implode into 10 or 20 other pieces. These prophecies got further amplified when the Constitution of India, adopted on November 26, 1949, cast in concrete that the principle of universal adult suffrage would be the guiding beacon of our electoral system. In a country that was 70 per cent illiterate, as the author rightly points out quoting the First Election Commissioner of India Sukumar Sen, it was a momentous “act of faith”. In the introduction to the book, Rasheed sketches some very interesting vignettes that even I, who has been a political activist for over three decades now, was oblivious of. For example, he narrates that before the first general elections in 1952 when the enumerators were going across the length and breadth of the country enrolling voters, most of the women electorate were being enrolled as wife of A, mother of B, sister of C etc. This was because of deeply-entrenched social taboos that forbade women to be identified by their first or maiden name. The author points out that the Election Commission put an end to this practice but as a consequence 2.8 million of the 80 million women voters could not exercise their franchise. Orthodoxy and obscurantism were far more important than the right to vote! It would be remiss not to mention that in many “evolved” democracies of the world, women won the right to vote after an extremely hard and arduous struggle. It was much like women in Saudi Arabia agitating for the right to drive in today’s day and age. Rasheed also brings out something that most would be blissfully unaware of and that is in the first and second general elections in 1952 and 1957 there were as many ballot boxes as there were candidates. The election symbol of each candidate was painted on the ballot box for easy identification. This process was discontinued in 1962. Then there is this interesting titbit about ballot boxes that a Parsi, Pirojsha Godrej’s company was tasked to manufacture in Vikhroli, a suburb of Bombay (now Mumbai). They had to churn out on an average 15,000 steel ballot boxes every day. A news report of that time quotes a Godrej spokesperson as saying that if the nine-inch long boxes — 2.8 million in all were stacked on top of each other, it would have been quite like putting a couple of Mt Everest’s on top of each other. These illustrations are only from the introductory chapter of the book. There are several such attention-grabbing gold nuggets of trivia scattered across the pages of the book. Rasheed has attempted to look at Indian democracy through the prism of personalities — from Nehru to a bit of Sardar Patel all the way down to Narendra Modi encompassing Mayawati and even Bal Thackeray. It is here that Rasheed has hit upon the most obvious unarticulated truth of South Asia, perhaps without realising so. The truth is that the social ethos of this part of the world are deeply feudal — we as a people are primarily idol worshippers, something which each invader, usurper, looter, freebooter, plunderer and eventual occupier very quickly discerned. That is why the story of Indian democracy is unfortunately the story of a few personalities — self-elevated a few notches and then placed on a pedestal and worshipped by the fawning masses. This, primarily, is the reason that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Indian democracy is underpinned by the most ossified structures that are closed, opaque, incestuous and self-perpetuating in their disposition. However, in its anxiety to be a quickie, the book ends up being a little cavalier towards some of the more institutional paradoxes of the past 70 years that have come to bedevil our democracy today — the decline and increasing irrelevance of the parliamentary and legislative institutions, the eventual end result of an electoral exercise and the non-existence of a separation of roles between the executive and the legislature that is supposed to exercise oversight on it. And the crisis in the judicial system whereby the doctrine of checks and balances, the sina-qua-non of a vibrant democratic order stands upended for over 25 years now. However, in the ultimate analysis, if democracy is about the life and times of a few leaders then Rasheed has done a sterling job in telling the tale of their rise and, in some cases, their political and even physical demise. For both the initiated and the uninitiated, the apolitical and the overly political, the book has something.
Search instead for BOOK REVIEW – Rasheed Kidwai’s Ballot Ten Episodes that have shaped India’s Democracy is a fascinating kaleidoscope of India’s democratic experience and experiment over the past seven decades. This short book is a must read for all those who are interested in discerning as to how this chaotic, anarchic land of a million mutinies is also a democratic continuum ever since its liberation from British imperialism. It may be interesting to note that in the decade succeeding the end of the World War-II in 1945, of all the nations that threw of the yoke of colonialism across large parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, India is perhaps the only country that never ever went under military rule or one-party authoritarian overlordship. Even in the post-Independence period, there were many naysayers and doomsday theorists who repeatedly predicted that India, after a bloodstained Partition, would never ever be able to hold together. It would implode into 10 or 20 other pieces. These prophecies got further amplified when the Constitution of India, adopted on November 26, 1949, cast in concrete that the principle of universal adult suffrage would be the guiding beacon of our electoral system. In a country that was 70 per cent illiterate, as the author rightly points out quoting the First Election Commissioner of India Sukumar Sen, it was a momentous “act of faith”. In the introduction to the book, Rasheed sketches some very interesting vignettes that even I, who has been a political activist for over three decades now, was oblivious of. For example, he narrates that before the first general elections in 1952 when the enumerators were going across the length and breadth of the country enrolling voters, most of the women electorate were being enrolled as wife of A, mother of B, sister of C etc. This was because of deeply-entrenched social taboos that forbade women to be identified by their first or maiden name. The author points out that the Election Commission put an end to this practice but as a consequence 2.8 million of the 80 million women voters could not exercise their franchise. Orthodoxy and obscurantism were far more important than the right to vote! It would be remiss not to mention that in many “evolved” democracies of the world, women won the right to vote after an extremely hard and arduous struggle. It was much like women in Saudi Arabia agitating for the right to drive in today’s day and age. Rasheed also brings out something that most would be blissfully unaware of and that is in the first and second general elections in 1952 and 1957 there were as many ballot boxes as there were candidates. The election symbol of each candidate was painted on the ballot box for easy identification. This process was discontinued in 1962. Then there is this interesting titbit about ballot boxes that a Parsi, Pirojsha Godrej’s company was tasked to manufacture in Vikhroli, a suburb of Bombay (now Mumbai). They had to churn out on an average 15,000 steel ballot boxes every day. A news report of that time quotes a Godrej spokesperson as saying that if the nine-inch long boxes — 2.8 million in all were stacked on top of each other, it would have been quite like putting a couple of Mt Everest’s on top of each other. These illustrations are only from the introductory chapter of the book. There are several such attention-grabbing gold nuggets of trivia scattered across the pages of the book. Rasheed has attempted to look at Indian democracy through the prism of personalities — from Nehru to a bit of Sardar Patel all the way down to Narendra Modi encompassing Mayawati and even Bal Thackeray. It is here that Rasheed has hit upon the most obvious unarticulated truth of South Asia, perhaps without realising so. The truth is that the social ethos of this part of the world are deeply feudal — we as a people are primarily idol worshippers, something which each invader, usurper, looter, freebooter, plunderer and eventual occupier very quickly discerned. That is why the story of Indian democracy is unfortunately the story of a few personalities — self-elevated a few notches and then placed on a pedestal and worshipped by the fawning masses. This, primarily, is the reason that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Indian democracy is underpinned by the most ossified structures that are closed, opaque, incestuous and self-perpetuating in their disposition. However, in its anxiety to be a quickie, the book ends up being a little cavalier towards some of the more institutional paradoxes of the past 70 years that have come to bedevil our democracy today — the decline and increasing irrelevance of the parliamentary and legislative institutions, the eventual end result of an electoral exercise and the non-existence of a separation of roles between the executive and the legislature that is supposed to exercise oversight on it. And the crisis in the judicial system whereby the doctrine of checks and balances, the sina-qua-non of a vibrant democratic order stands upended for over 25 years now. However, in the ultimate analysis, if democracy is about the life and times of a few leaders then Rasheed has done a sterling job in telling the tale of their rise and, in some cases, their political and even physical demise. For both the initiated and the uninitiated, the apolitical and the overly political, the book has something.

India’s television industry is expected to expand to $16.8 billion by 2020 : NIRAV PATEL, CMD ABAJ GROUP

After the mobile handset industry now it is the turn of consumer durable industry to witness a rapid shift toward the young brands who understand the pulse of Indian consumer and offering products which are not less than any establish brand and comes within the pocket friendly pricing. Abaj is one of the debut brand in this industry which has started its journey with LED TVs and now gearing up to take on ACs and other appliances step by step. 29 years old Nirav Patel the founder and CMD spoke in length with newscore on the genesis of brand Abaj and the journey so far.

Since how long the brand is there is a market and how it started?

It’s a riveting story of success. Way back in 2012, the foundation of Abaj World was laid. Hailing from the small village of Kadi Taluka of Mehsana District of Gujarat, I graduated as BE (Electronic and communication) in the year 2011. I left the family business to walk my own path. After completing studies, I felt the need to make a name for myself outside my family owned real estate businesses. Then I decided to give the entrepreneur inside me a go and focused on starting my own business. Starting your own venture different from a family business and harder than you initially think, but interestingly enough, it gets easier as you set a vision and work on it step by step. I started with share market trading but it was not a smooth start. After bearing a loss of 50,000, I decided to switch to stock Brokerage Company by the name SMC Global, which is listed amongst top 5 franchises globally. This was not enough for me. In 2010, while working for KAYNET I came across a customer who had imported LED TV from Thailand and was struggling with two to three containers for its sales. I helped him out and managed to sell those containers. While I had done this easily I thought that I could get into this venture. Also, I had placed one of the LEDs in my own office and perceived no difference between an LG, a SAMSUNG or this product which that customer was selling under the name of Smart View. Giving it a serious thought I felt if China could establish itself as a strong player in the electronic goods market in India then why is it that our country is lagging. Why can’t an Indian brand be a game changer? I realized this lag as electronics had no base in India. The ecosystem was completely lacking. Also, there was no local manufacturing; electronic items were often being imported. Then and there I decided to step in. And this is how the seed of ABAJ WORLD was sown.

 It says the market in India is not a brand loyal market but a price sensitive market. Are you feeling the same heat and how do you plan to counter this?

India may be a price sensitive market for LEDs, but the Smart space with technological advancements is still growing. As India develops, and more people get onto the Smart LED bandwagon, this will only continue to grow. The Indian mentality of price sensitivity will always remain, and the majority will choose to stick to affordability. But this is also true that people are keener on buying bigger screens with smart features. We are working on continuous technological and design innovations, launching more consumer-friendly products has been the key to the success of the brand and this would be our primary strategy for growth in future too.

A market is highly competitive with the presence of many big and well-established names. How do you plan to The Indian television competes with these mega brands?

Well as such there are no challenges that we are facing as the market is wide open and very accommodating. We offer superior technology and design at best cheapest price scale. And, If we talk about the industry then bigger television screens have always been much sought after. With a surge in consumers’ disposable incomes, the demand for Smart Televisions has shot up, contributing around 18-20 percent to sales in India’s electronics sector. India’s television industry is expected to expand to $16.8 billion by 2020 from $9.4 billion in 2016. There is humongous demand and Abaj is all set to cover the entire spectrum.

 While OEM is the route even old established players are opting for, so does it a good decision to go for own manufacturing?

Yes, we are also starting our first manufacturing plant in India soon. The brand which has started its voyage with imports of LED TVs is geared up to set up its own state of the art manufacturing facility at Ghumasan Village, Taluka: Kadi, Dist. Mehsana (North Gujarat) to manufacture LED TVs. The proposed new plant will come up on SH41 State Highway, 50 KMs from Ahmedabad and equipped to produce 6, 00, 000 units pa of LED Televisions. In addition to LED Televisions, Abaj has also debuted in other consumer durable categories including ACs, Washing Machines and Sound System etc. The company will invest about Rs.54 crores in this plant. The company today boasts of making volumes as high as 7000-8000 units per month. And definitely, this plant will double up the capacity. The manufacturing facility is likely to be operational by July 2018. The investment in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to produce energy efficient and innovative products for the Indian market. The land has been procured and by the end of first quarter of 2018-19 the first phase of the plant will be ready. In addition to building a state-of-the-art facility, we are committed to creating a world-class manufacturing ecosystem in the region, with a base of globally benchmarked vendors and suppliers, which will together generate over 100 new jobs, thereby accelerating the socio-economic progress in the state.

‘Pagdi’ buildings may be brought under RERA

The Pagdi system, which has been in existence since pre-independence era across many parts of the country, is a rental model . The government is planning to bring tenanted or cessed buildings and tenants of such buildings under the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), providing for the first time the same protection to these consumers as those available to other home buyers. The tenanted or cessed buildings that dot the landscape of many cities, especially Mumbai, house people who have been living for several decades and paying cheap and artificially depressed prices. Known as the Pagdi system in Mumbai, tenants are not covered under the authority. The Pagdi system, which has been in existence since pre-independence era across many parts of the country, is a rental model. While it is similar to most of the lease models, there is one crucial differentiating factor that makes the tenant a part owner of the house, excluding the land. “There are various issues including Pagdi and redevelopment and these issues need to be looked into. The state and central governments are considering this,” said a senior government official. Under the current RERA rules, tenants of these buildings are considered as copromoters of the project given that they are expected to get part of the project as compensation for their rights. So, they don’t enjoy the same rights as other home buyers. Once brought under the RERA, these tenants would be entitled to compensation, among other benefits, in case of project delays. In Mumbai alone, there are around 16,000 cessed buildings including Pagdi properties. Tenants in these properties pay a tax to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) that makes provision for repairs of such properties. According to a MahaRERA official, a realty developer usually redevelops the entire project in phases and keeps the rehabilitation part and free-sale component separate. This allows them to not register the project with the regulator as it is seen as compensation and not a sale, which falls under the RERA purview. “Even in the current system, tenants can get the RERA protection needed if they ask the developer to register the project in entirety than in putting it under phases,” he said. Last year, Maharashtra along with Madhya Pradesh and Punjab were among the first few states to notify rules under the RERA. The state government established the MahaRERA after all sections of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, came into force on May 1, 2017. According to the regulation, all projects that are yet to receive Occupation Certificate (OC) and are being sold or marketed is required to be registered with the authority.

Honda scooter plant temporarily shut for technical reasons..

Company officials confirmed that there was a technical trouble in the conveyor belt of the plant and is under repair. Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) Limited’s manufacturing plant at Vithalapur, located some 78km from Ahmedabad, has been temporarily shut for technical reasons. The company officials confirmed the same through a statement. Company officials confirmed that there was a technical trouble in the conveyor belt of the plant and is under repair. HMSI on Monday, issued a statement, saying, “There was a technical trouble on the conveyor in our Vithalapur plant and it is under repair. We have made some adjustment in the working calendar to upgrade the facilities to improve working of the conveyor.” Meanwhile, a rumour was doing the rounds over the death of three people at the company’s plant due to an alleged structure collapse. When enquired, Shobhana Parmar, PSI, Vithalapur Police Station, refuted the claims and said, “We received a few calls over the alleged structure collapse and subsequent death of three people at the plant’s paint shop. However, we sent our teams to the plant, they learnt there was no such incident that took place. No accidental death or cases of injury have been reported.”

WhatsApp set to launch another feature – This is how it works

Whatsapp has come on the front foot and is working aggressively to revamp its messaging platform. The Facebook-owned app is now coming out with yet another feature for its 1.5 billion active users. The new feature is called ‘Chat Filter’ however, it is not available for everyone. Chat Filter feature will be rolled out for Google Beta users first and if gets a positive response then only the feature will be made available for everyone.

How does ‘Chat Filter’ feature work? 

According to a report by WaBeta Info, this feature will allow the user to quickly search messages, filtering them per unread chats, groups and broadcast lists. Once the user tap ‘Search’, a ‘Filter’ icon will be available. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is started to work on this specific sticker album feature in the 2.18.84 update, but the developers are keeping it disabled for development reasons and it will be enabled in next releases. So it’s okay if you have updated your WhatsApp Business version and you don’t see it, but probably it will be available very soon, also if we don’t precisely know the day. Moreover, the Facebook-owned app has registered a new domain ‘wa.me’. In a report featured on WAbeta Info, the domain is a short link of api.whatsapp.com and can be used to quickly open a chat in WhatsApp. For users to enjoy the new update, they will need to update their app to Android version 2.18.138. Apart from this, the Facebook-owned app updated its ‘Terms of Service and Privacy Policy’ ahead of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect in Europe on May 25. Soon, the messaging service will let users download the data it collects. WhatsApp has clarified that it is not asking for new rights to collect personal information with the update.

RHA MA650 review: The RHA MA650 is a good buy for those who need music on the move without the hassle of wires.

British audio company RHA has been making steady inroads into the Indian market by offering great audio quality and good design. I tried out their MA750 neckband earphones recently and now have my hands on the RHA MA650, another neckband model, but with a more affordable price tag. RHA MA650 review In terms of design and feel, the MA650 is very similar to its more expensive cousin. There is a soft rubber feel neck band with heavier tips that house the controls as well as the cords that connect the earphones. On the right is the power button, which also helps initiate Bluetooth pairing with a long press. The cord here has a mic unit with volume controls as well a middle button that lets you take a call or summon the virtual assistant on your phone with a long press. The earphones are housed in aerospace grade aluminum casing that gives a lot of confidence and ensure the driver is at good place for offering you the best sound output. One grouse with the design is the fact that the cables are all around your face and it does look a bit awkward at times. The rubber finish on the MA650 makes it ideal for those listen to music while working out or when commuting. The material is best for sweaty environs like in India and the entire device is water-resistant anyway. The metal tips are magnetic and stick to each other when they are hanging down your neck. The box also comes with a handful of tip options so that you can pick the one that is best for you. The audio quality of RHA devices in not something you really need to write much about. My experience with the MA750 was really good and the MA650 did not disappoint either. The custom 380.1 driver is very versatile and offers a good range. I really enjoyed listening to one of my favourite songs, Azhalinte Azhangalil, which offers a good range of vocal and instruments that puts most earphones to test. This is best for those who like to listen to more vocal-based numbers. I did feel the music getting a bit tinny at times, but this was sorted after I changed the silicone tip to something that fit better. The aerophonic design of the earphones need the perfect tips to ensure you get your music right. The call quality is good, though it gets some getting used to figuring that the button for this is on the cord and not in the neckband. The battery lasts about a full day with calls and music if you choose to use it so. Otherwise, you will need to just charge it once a week. But remember, this needs a USB Type-C cable to charge, so you will need to carry one with you all the time if case your phone doesn’t use one already. Priced at Rs 7,999 and available on headphonezone.in, the RHA MA650 is a good buy for those who need music on the move without the hassle of wires. There is competition though in the form of the Sennheiser CX 7.00BT which offers a better audio profile at a slightly higher price.

RHA MA650 price in India: Rs 7,999