Cutting across different verticals such as helmets, retail, auto accessories and entertainment, Steelbird Group is now all set to carve a niche in the technology space with the launch of its unique mobile application “Steelbird Connect- Share & Earn”. It’s an ambition to synergise networking, socialising and also it will act as a great business model to earn money on Steelbird Connect- share & earn with just a click. The new social networking application is different from the existing ones such as Facebook, twitter etc and offer a quick route to earn while browsing through your favourite content on the internet. The biggest USP of this application is that it is a win-win game, for both, the person who posts something and the person who shares the same, leading to promotion. The application to run both on android and ios will be a changemaker in social networking arena. Giving a sneak peek into the upcoming social networking application, Mr. Rajeev Kapur, Managing Director, Steelbird Group said, “Having made a mark in different spheres technology is another vertical that we have been eyeing for a while. To begin with steelbird has come up with a social media platform which is unique easy and mobile operated. This platform will basically provide a quick mode to make content viral. The core idea behind this development is using technology and internet to speedup business and reward the end users which is not at the moment in any of social platform. Developed with a very simple and easy user interface Steelbird Connect-Share & Earn accumulates points on every share at the user’s account which can be redeemed easily through the shopping mall at application or on www.yooshopper.com and one can do endless shopping. At present digital advertising is the fastest growing advertisement medium in India and the same is expected to continue in the foreseeable future with social media emerging as one of the strongest digital ad platforms. A large pie ie around 80% of this segment is being dominated by Google and Facebook alone. Further commenting on the acceptability and increasing craze for social platforms in India, Mr. Rajeev said, “Currently India spends INR 108 billion on digital advertising to market their products and this figure is expected to grow @ 32%, much higher than the 11% overall growth rate of advertisement industry. Digital media currently constitutes around 15% of total Indian advertising industry and is expected to reach around 24% by 2020 which is astonishing when you consider that this platform barely existed at turn of this century.” The increasing affordability of smartphones and low data consumption costs have given a huge flip to this sector. Steelbird has anticipated that its new tech vertical will capture minimum 1% of market share in next couple of months and business transactions will exceed INR 1000 million per Year. “The Steelbird Connect application has already crossed 200,000 downloads and within next 1-2 month we expect a 10 fold growth ie 2 Million downloads. The reason is with this application each and every Indian can earn SB Coins and which are redeemable. One can redeem these SB Coins by doing shopping at Steelbird ConnectShare & Earn shopping mall”. “In Steelbird Connect Shopping mall we will have more than 10,000 products so the user can shop all day to day items by just sharing the sponsored posts” added Mr Kapur . This application will also provide an instant and quick viral roadmap to all brands, multi-national companies , vloggers , social media celebrities , Singers & Artists. They just need to post the promotional video, photograph or any creative post on Steelbird Connect Share and Earn, apply a bid and that’s all. The application provides a freedom to select the bid price of per share which is the another USP of this medium. Higher the bid and the post will be shown on the top of the screen and better chances of quick sharing. Through this platform the brands can increase their fan following and viewership at a very low cost as there sponsored posts will be shared by millions of users because they will prompted to earn SB coins by sharing these posts. If one person have 5,000 fans on facebook and 5,000 followers on share and Earn then by sharing one such post with bid price of Rs. 1 only the post will reach out to 10,000 audience and the cost of promotion per person will be 0.0001 Paise only. Steelbird has set up an in-house development team in Delhi and Chandigarh which is responsible to take this vertical to next level.
Apple and TRAI have been at loggerheads over allowing the government-backed DND app on iPhones. While the regulator believes the app will help consumers block pesky messages, Apple has declined the app citing users’ privacy.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new rules to curb pesky messages may lead to deactivation of millions of iPhones in India.
The application has been available on Android for quite some time but Apple hasn’t allowed on its iPhones, citing users’ privacy.
“Every Access Provider shall ensure that preferences recorded or modified by the subscriber are given effect to in near real time and in such a manner that no delivery of commercial communication is made or blocked in contravention to the subscribers’ preference after twenty-four hours or such time as the Authority may prescribe,” said TRAI in its report.
“Provided that where such devices do not permit functioning of such Apps as prescribed in regulations 6(2)(e) and regulations 23(2)(d), Access Providers shall, on the order or direction of the Authority, derecognize such devices from their telecom networks,” it added.
The regulator in section 6(2)(e) points out that every access provider has to set up “Customer Preference Registration Facility (CPRF)” and provide a “mobile app developed in this regard either by the Authority or by any other person or entity and approved by the Authority.”
The telecom regulator, however, has given six months’ time to device manufacturers to allow such applications.
“Every Access Provider shall ensure that all devices registered on its network shall support all permissions required for the functioning of such Apps as prescribed in the Regulations 7(2) and Regulations 24(2); Provided that such device manufacturer shall have six months’ time to implement such functionality, if not already available, with intimation to the Authority,” the regulatory said.
In simpler words, Apple has six months’ time to tweak its iOS to allow TRAI’s DND application or else the network providers will block radio (connectivity access) to the iPhones in the country.
Apple declined to comment on the new TRAI rules.
Apple vs TRAI
Apple and TRAI have been at loggerheads over the issue of allowing a DND app on iPhones for over two years. While the regulator has been asking the company to allow the application, Apple has declined to do so citing users’ privacy.
Back in November 2017, a Reuters report suggested that the two parties had come to an agreement over the issue and that the American smartphone company will help the government in building an anti-spam mobile application for the iOS platform.
Apple, however, had then admitted that the iOS platform did not allow some of the government requests such as allowing call logs data on the DND app.
Impact on users
If Apple and TRAI fail to come to an agreement, the move will impact millions of iPhone users in India.
The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) in response to the draft policy had criticised the regulator for asking service providers to block access to devices on failure to incorporate DND apps.
“Even though the ICA appreciates the intentions of TRAI in this regard, it is clear from the TRAI Act that the powers conferred to the Hon’ble Authority under the said Act are limited to regulating telecom service providers or licencees. There has been no precedent in the past wherein the TRAI has attempted to regulate device manufacturers, simply because the Authority realises that its powers in this regard are limited by the statute,” said the industry body pointing out that the regulator has no jurisdiction over device manufacturers.
The ICA also highlighted that the move could have “unintended consequences of placing millions of customers in harm’s way. This because the customers may simply not want to have such apps on their devices, or they may be on a platform that does not want the functionality in the manner in which TRAI is describing it.”
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) , an industry body representing top telecom players, in its response had said that the telecom service providers have control over the network and that they cannot take responsibility of elements outside their network. It also pointed out that the service providers don’t have control on the applications (mostly OTTs) which a consumer is using on his/her handset.
Updated iOS and DND 2.0
Apple is building a new iteration of its operating system, the iOS 12. The latest update comes with a “spam reporting” feature. The implementation of the feature, however, is quite different from Android’s, as it will require users to enable the feature via the app extension.
The extension description reads:
“To report SMS messages and calls, the user must enable an Unwanted Communication extension in the Settings app. They can only enable one Unwanted Communication extension at a time.
In order to report calls, the user swipes left on an item in the Recents list and selects Report. For SMS messages, they press the Report Messages button when it appears in the Messages transcript. Users can also select messages by long-pressing a message and selecting additional messages, then selecting Report Messages.
When the user reports an SMS message or call, the system launches your Unwanted Communication extension. Your extension gathers additional information from the user, before deciding whether to report or block the number, as shown in Figure 1.”
It is yet to be seen whether the TRAI will accept the extension as the replacement for the DND app.
The regulator in the meanwhile has updated its DND application. The latest version (v2.0) is said to be built from ground up and comes with “intelligent feature”. The updated app comes with “an intelligent spam detection engine (for SMS only) to assist the subscriber in reporting” and “crowdsourcing of data about offending messages and calls to speed up detection of unregistered telemarketers”.
“TRAI has already explored, with encouraging results, the use of machine learning technologies to classify messages in its DND 2.0 App. These regulations would enable development of newer tools based on Artificial Intelligence or other technologies for an easier subscriber experience in setting preferences, governing consent and reporting violations. As a result of the platform approach espoused by TRAI, where functions are unbundled and access to information controlled based on permissions, all such solutions would henceforth be possible for third parties to develop. And they would be able to demonstrate the efficacy and security of their solutions in the controlled environment of the Regulatory Sandbox, before products are released for wider use,” said the body in a release.
The green dot will be shown in addition to the activity status messages displayed next to the username on Instagram.
Instagram’s been a busy bee with a new feature rolling out every other week. The photo-sharing platform will now show a green dot next to users’ profile to make it prominent that they’re active. This update has been announced by Instagram but it hasn’t arrived as yet.
Instagram’s activity status was first rolled out earlier this year in January. Activity statuses are shown as ‘Active Now’, ‘Active 42m ago’, ‘Active 2h ago’, or ‘Active today’. The new update will simply add a green dot next to the username and display picture. The status messages will still be shown in addition to the green dot. This is quite similar to the active status on Facebook and Messenger
As with every feature on Instagram, you can choose to hide or show your activity status. Under the settings menu you will see an option for activity status. Toggle it off if you wish to hide your activity status from your followers. Note that if you turn your activity status off then you won’t be able to see the same on other users.
Instagram has been actively rolling out new features on its platform. The most recent one was Facebook-like emoji reactions for ‘Stories’. Users can choose among six emojis to react on stories. The viewer list for stories will show who reacted with which emoji. Also, when an emoji is selected the entire screen is showered with it.
Some more notable features announced by the Facebook-owned platform were a new product called ‘IGTV’. Instagram stories also got a bunch of new features like the emoji slider , question sticker and music tracks.
To counter Reliance Jio, Vodafone has reportedly doubled the data limit for its most affordable unlimited pack. According to a report by TelecomTalk, Vodafone is now offering 2.8GB daily 3G or 4G data with its Rs 199 prepaid instead of 1.4GB. However, this offer is only for select customers and is not available for all Vodafone subscribers. Additionally, this offer is applicable only in those telecom circles where Vodafone has 4G presence.
Many reported that Amazon’s website had crashed, showing them only an error message that read: “sorry, something went wrong on our end.” Users experiences similar errors on both the desktop site and the mobile app.
Others also reported experiencing problems with Amazon’s video streaming services and its virtual assistant Alexa. While most of the issues were reported from the US, users in other continents faced problems as well.
DownDetector, a third-party platform that tracks internet outages, reported issues from Europe, Africa, South America, Russia, Asia and Australasia. Some saw an error page featuring the “dogs of Amazon” and were unable to enter the site, while others could not enter specific product pages.
Many were unable to complete purchases at checkout, while others reported that the “deals” page and “Shop all deals” button had disappeared from the site.
Amazon’s Prime Day sales debuted in 2015 and in the next two years it become one of the biggest shopping days. The 36-hour event was projected to break records again this year, with industry analysts estimating the company could make at least $3.4 billion in sales.
Google’s latest European Union woes could mean opportunity knocks for app developers stymied by contracts that pre-install the US giant’s own services on Android phones and tablets, according to analysts and companies.
The Alphabet Inc. unit is expected to face an antitrust fine over Android in the coming days that could top last year’s record 2.4 billion-euro ($2.8 billion) penalty for shutting out rivals to its shopping search service.
But more significant could be an accompanying order freeing up phone manufacturers to choose non-Google apps to install on Android phones. That would yield crucial real estate for app developers given that about 80% of smart mobile devices use Android.
“It would dramatically help us,” said Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of Paoli, Pennsylvania-based DuckDuckGo Inc., a search engine that doesn’t track users. “It’s clear to me that people would choose other options if the choice was easier to make.” DuckDuckGo said it hasn’t complained to the EU about Google, pointing to the effort involved.
Google dominates mobile search in Europe, with 97% of the market, while its Chrome web browser has a 64% market share on mobile, according to web traffic analysis firm StatCounter. The company’s control of ads on millions of Android phones will help it capture a third of all global mobile ads in 2018, bringing in some $40 billion in sales outside the US, said research firm eMarketer.
The EU’s investigation targets contracts that require smartphone makers who want to install Google’s Play store to add a bundle of Google services, including search, web browser, email and mapping. EU officials worry that users stick with the default they get on their phones.
Email is “probably the most vulnerable one for Google” if device makers were able to install their own email app as default or add Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook, said Daniel Gleeson, a senior analyst at research firm Ovum Plc. There is “definitely potential in maps” where any advertising revenue loss for Google from location services would be very serious, he said, citing Here Technologies as a potential rival.
Google and the Brussels-based European Commission declined to comment for this article. Microsoft declined to comment about possible opportunities for its services. Here Technologies didn’t respond to a request for comment.
OsmAnd, an offline mapping application, reported “a really huge difference” when it was pre-installed on a small manufacturer’s tablet in 2013, said Chief Executive Officer Victor Shcherb. “It created a huge traffic from day zero on that device,” which was later discontinued.
Shcherb said his company competes only indirectly with Google Maps since his application tends to cater to users looking for specialist mapping services, such as for hiking. Still the EU’s decision could help the app reach a wider audience, he said.
Nudging computer users to choose their own internet browser was also the EU’s preferred way to end more than a decade of antitrust disputes with Microsoft in 2009, which helped push some web users to shiny new web software made by Google — at that time just a precocious new kid on the block.
Android is “a multi-lane highway of choice” and people can download competing apps at any time, the company’s general counsel Kent Walker said in a 2016 blog post. Google’s apps account for less than one-third of preloaded apps on a device, he said, and “a consumer can swipe away any of our apps at any time.”
Google also argues that its actions to police the Android ecosystem and prevent multiple versions of Android — also part of the EU probe — help app developers to make products that work across millions of devices. Giving away Android for free also helps reduce smartphone costs, it said. Google relies instead on advertising to make money from Android.
People download lots of other apps, according to a survey by the Developers Alliance, an association of 70,000 developers, which counts Google as a member.
Among 2,000 Android users surveyed in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, around 28% download additional search apps, 29% download at least one new app store, and 23% download at least one alternative web browser to the apps that come pre-installed, the alliance said.
Critics say it’s hard to challenge Google. Aptoide, an app store that competes with Google Play, filed an antitrust complaint with the EU in 2014 over contracts that prevent device makers engaging with it.
Aptoide Chief Executive Paulo Trezentos said the company has been growing “but not so much in the [handset] manufacturing side.” It is increasingly relying on users downloading the store via the web browser. The app store is rarely pre-installed, partly because it can’t counter Google’s offer to device-makers to bundle its app store with other Google apps.
Some analysts see little hope for increased competition in markets where Google has become well-entrenched.
“This order will come way too late because user addiction has moved from the [Play] store to the Google services,” said Richard Windsor, owner of research company Radio Free Mobile. It’s “going to be a tough call” for anyone to come up with a better range of products than Google.
Switzerland-based Sirin Labs’ Finney, the world’s first blockchain smartphone, will be launched in November. Priced at $999 (Rs 68,000 approximately), Finney blockchain phone is said to come with a dual-screen design.
Finney will run on Android 8.1-based Sirin OS and come with behaviour-based intrusion protection system (IPS), secure communications, multi-factor, a cold storage cryptowallet and a proprietary decentralised application (DApp) store alongside Google Play store, Zdnet reports.
“The vision of Sirin Labs right now is to bridge the gap between the Blockchain economy and the mass market, by basically addressing and resolving these two inherent problems,” Nimrod May, Chief Marketing Officer at Sirin Labs, was quoted as saying.
Finney devices will be manufactured at FIH Mobile’s (a Foxconn subsidiary) existing facilities. FIH Mobile will design and manufacture the phone while Sirin Labs will lead the development of the wallet hardware and operating system (OS).
HTC joins the blockchain bandwagon
The first major smartphone company to join the blockchain bandwagon is HTC. The company has already confirmed it will be launching Exodus blockchain phone later this year. It’s likely the phone will be debut before Sirin Labs’ Finney phone.
HTC is hoping the phone will help democratise the blockchain network. Phil Chen, who is driving HTC’s blockchain project, aims to “make decentralisation a reality.” He hinted that the phone will be priced around $1,000 (Rs 69,000 approximately), equivalent to Apple’s iPhone X. Chen also said that HTC Exodus blockchain phone will be available in the markets outside China, according to an Independent report.
In September 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new project aimed at ensuring free Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations across India. Google completed the project in June this year with the announcement that Assam’s Dibrugarh railway station has become the 400th station to avail of the service. Google is now using the project, which was later productised as Google Station, as a proof-of-concept to stress the need for establishing a robust Wi-Fi ecosystem in India.
The company used India’s learning to expand the “Google Station” to two more markets: Indonesia and Mexico. One of Google’s key findings was that Indians have a large appetite for free data. For instance, it registered an average consumption of 300MB of data per session (roughly 30 minutes). In comparison with Reliance Jio’s average consumption of 560MB of data per day, Google technically has higher usage.
Not that the concept of a Wi-Fi ecosystem hasn’t been around, but Google believes it can help pave the way for bringing internet connectivity to “the next billion”. Google has deployed its technology onto the existing RailTel fibre network, which already has massive coverage in the country. Facebook also experimented with something similar.
With Google not looking to become a Wi-Fi Internet Service Provider (ISP) or ISP in India, the company heavily relies on existing players to scale its Wi-Fi networks. However, this will make it difficult for the Internet company to re-create the success of Google Station in India. For instance, it will have to partner with a number of smaller and bigger players in the telecom industry to just bring about a coherent Wi-Fi network.
Addressing a media briefing in Delhi on Wednesday, Google’s senior executive Suryanarayana Kodukulla said the Internet company is already in talks with Indian telecom players to launch Wi-Fi in more places. He said Google is “constantly in touch” with stakeholders in the industry.
Google’s biggest roadblock is the lack of necessary regulatory policies for the Wi-Fi ecosystem. It wants the government to fix issues relating to policies, spectrum, licensing and sharing of infrastructure, besides payment and authentication.
If you are using any old OnePlus smartphone like OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5 or OnePlus 5T then here’s some good news for you. The company has announced that it will provide Android security patches for an additional year. At present OnePlus rolls out Android updates for phones that were launched for a maximum of two years ago. Now, the company has extended support for Android security patches to three years. This means OnePlus phones that were launched three years ago will get Android security updates and bug fixes from the company for three years. However, OS updates will be available for two years only, sanme as now. The company has also included its latest flagship OnePlus 6 smartphone to provide additional support. This means the OnePlus 6 smartphone will be supported till 2021 with Android security fixes at least. “The OnePlus 6 users can be reassured that not only will their OnePlus 6 be as fast as the day they bought it, but it’ll also receive regular software updates for the next three years,” the company announced. OnePlus has recently announced the availability of its higher-end variant — featuring 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage — for its latest flagship smartphone OnePlus 6 in Midnight Black colour option at a price of Rs 43,999. OnePlus 6 specifications The OnePlus 6 smartphone sports a 6.28-inch FullHD+ Optic AMOLED screen of 1080×2280 pixels resolution with 19:9 aspect ratio and the infamous notch. It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo-based Oxygen OS and is backed by a 3300mAh battery. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. As for camera, the OnePlus 6 comes with a dual rear camera setup of comprising of a primary 16MP sensor (Sony IMX519 sensor with f/1.7 aperture) and a 20MP secondary sensor (Sony IM376K sensor with an f/1.7 aperture) along with 16MP front camera.
Days after reaching the one-billion users mark, Facebook-owned Instagram has reportedly started rolling out a redesigned Explore tab to its users. While there is no difference in the user interface of the new Explore tab, the recent addition is the presence of topic channels on the top such as “Animals”, “Photography” and more. As per a report from 9to5Mac, the redesigned Explore tab also comes with a new “For You” option that is said to list out “a collection of curated posts from other users, based on your interests and past behaviors.” Readers must note that this is the same update to the Explore tab that Facebook had announced for its photo-sharing platform Instagram at its annual developers’ conference F8. At the time of the announcement of this redesign, Instagram said in a blogpost, “People come to Explore every day to discover new ideas, people, and experiences. And now we’re excited to bring you a redesigned Explore that makes discovery even easier. Explore is still personalized for you, but the content is now organized into topic channels so you can browse across your interests and go deeper on any area you’d like.” At the time of Facebook F8 conference, the company had also announced that it will be rolling out AR camera effects for Instagram. “Using AR Studio, creators will be able to design unique, interactive camera experiences, including face filters and world effects, for their followers on Instagram,” said Facebook in a blogpost. Also Facebook announced video chat to be available in Instagram Direct for both one-on-one and group conversations. Recently, Instagram Stories feature got an update. Earlier this month Instagram announced that it will be bringing the shopping feature to Stories. As per Instagram, the Stories posts with a shoppable link will appear with a sticker of a shopping bag, and when the users tap on that, it will give them further details about the particular product. Instagram already has a dedicated shopping feature but with this announcement the firm is expanding the feature to more than just feeds.