LG Executive Acquitted of Sabotaging Samsung Washing Machines

A South Korean court on Friday acquitted a senior LG Electronics executive on charges of sabotaging rival Samsung washing machines at a trade fair in Germany last year.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed the case against Jo Seong-Jin, the president of LG’s home appliance division, citing a lack of compelling evidence.

The two South Korean tech giants have been fierce competitors for years, and the washing machine spat broke out after Samsung claimed surveillance video footage from the September 2014 fair in Berlin showed LG executives, including Jo, destroying door hinges on its washers.

The court ruled the prosecution failed to prove Jo actually broke the washers or had intended to do so.

In March this year, the two companies decided to end all their legal disputes, but Jo’s trial went aheadbecause the criminal case had already been launched.

Bitter competitors in home appliance and TV markets both at home and abroad, Samsung and LG have locked horns for years over patent disputes and attack ads denigrating each others’ products.

Things got so bad at one point that Seoul’s trade minister arranged a meeting between the two firms’ top executives in 2013 to broker a truce.

Apple TV Already Has Over 2,600 Apps; Games Dominant Category

Apple believes the future of TV is apps, and that’s the core idea around which it has built the new Apple TV. But how is the new device fairing with developers? Pretty good, actually. In six weeks since the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV, there are already over 2,500 apps in the tvOS App Store.

Developers are certainly jumping to the platform. According to app intelligence platform appFigures, there are 2,624 apps available in the tvOS App Store. The number is seeing an upward growth, the firm says. It expects the count to hit 5,000 in January 2016, and 10,000 sometime next year. In a recent interview, Eddy Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, said that the company was seeing a “tremendous developer interest.”

It seems game developers are most excited about the Apple TV. Data reveals that with 1,002 apps (38 percent), Games is the most popular category on the Apple TV. Following Games is Entertainment genre, which has seen the arrival of Netflix, HBO Go, and Plex in the past few weeks. No wonder then Games and Entertainment apps dominated in the company’s best apps for this year. The company gave HBO Now the mantle for the best app for the Apple TV. Following it were Zova – Personal Trainer, Kitchen Stories, Netflix, Airbnb, Showtime, Storehouse, Hulu, Sago Mini Fairy Tales TV, Playkids.

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The tvOS provides developers with the ability to develop apps for the big screen that can utilise hardware’s capabilities. However, Apple is also strict about several things, such as its no-ads policy with tvOS apps. The Apple TV also restricts many things. App developers, for instance, don’t have access to the Siri Remote’s mic, they can also not implement support for multiple Game Center accounts, which would be nice to have for multiplayer games.

Millions of Internet Explorer Users Must Update Their Browser to Remain Safe

Millions of Internet Explorer users have just five weeks to upgrade to a newer browser, Microsoft has warned. Failure to do so will expose them to security attacks.

The company recently sent out a reminder to let users know that all versions of Internet Explorer below IE 11 will stop receiving security patches and any other update after January 12.

“It means you should take action. After January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer,” the company said.

And that’s a bad news. According to marketing research firm Net Applications, 21.42 percent of Internet users are currently on older versions of Microsoft’s Web browser. Data from the US Digital Analytics says this translates to 124 million users.

The issue is that many of these users simply cannot upgrade to a newer Internet Explorer. Net Applications data suggests that as many as 11 percent PCs are still running Windows XP, a decade old, out-of-support operating system. Windows XP doesn’t support Internet Explorer 11 or higher versions. As many as 57 percent PCs run Windows 7, which can be upgraded to IE 11. Small and large businesses that are still on older versions need to upgrade now.

Internet Explorer 10 or below will continue to function after January 12, as is the case with Windows XP. Though its users will be exposed to the growing number of security attacks as Microsoft will no longer issue updates. Just this month, Microsoft patched 30 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer that could have been exploited to run arbitrary codes. Without the support, the affected machines will become a playground for hackers.

Affected users don’t have many alternatives, either. Google announced last month Chrome will end support for Windows XP and Windows Vista after April 2016. Firefox already doesn’t support some versions of Windows XP.

Android Wear App Update Brings Back Battery Stats

Google updated its Android Wear companion app last month bringing it to version 1.4. The update at that time removed the smartwatch battery stats page from the app’s Settings page. The company has now rolled out another update to the app bringing back the feature. The update bumps-up the app to version to 1.4.0.2470307.gms.

The smartwatch’s battery stats can now be viewed under the companion app’s Settings tab. The feature shows users a graph detailing the connected smartwatch’s battery level over time alongside the apps that are consuming the battery. It is yet to be discovered if Google has simply reintroduced the feature or made any other tweaks as well.

The update is rolling out in phases and it might take a while to reach all users. For those who don’t want to wait, they can manually download and install the app’s apk file shared by apk mirror website.

Google updated the Android Wear app last month bringing several features. The update made some amendments to the screen of the Settings app. The Cloud sync toggle was moved from the main list to under Privacy & personal data. It also brought a new toggle with the sole job to make it possible for users to send diagnostic information to Google. It also made possible to enable or disable tip cards in the main screen of the watch from the companion app’s Settings page.

The update however, was said to include some bugs as well. Several Android Wear users reported issues regarding connectivity, pairing and battery life on their Android Wear watches after installing the update.

Nasa Reveals Plans to Exit International Space Station

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As all good things must come to an end, Nasa’s long space ride with the International Space Station(ISS) in low-Earth orbit will also touch the finish line in a decade from now.

The US space agency will move up to the cislunar space the area of space surrounding the moon for an ambitious human exploration programme.

William Gerstenmaier, Nasa’s chief of human spaceflight, said: “We are going to get out of ISS as quickly as we can. Whether it gets filled in by the private sector or not, Nasa’s vision is we’re trying to move out.”

As reported by Ars Technica, Gerstenmaier, while addressing an advisory council meeting recently, announced that they will be moving out of the ISS in low-Earth orbit and pursue cislunar space.

The orbiting international laboratory – that has been a research ground for many innovating tests and some key science experiments on astronauts in a zero-gravity atmosphere that have repercussions for the Earth – is reported to become inoperative in either 2024 – or if given another extension – till 2028 at the latest.

The programme’s budget, about $3 billion (roughly Rs. 20,041 crores) annually, is projected to rise to nearly $4 billion (roughly Rs. 26,722 crores) by 2020.

“Nasa cannot afford both a robust space station programme and active human exploration programme in cislunar space,” Gerstenmaier was quoted as saying.

According to Nasa, it would like to see the private space industry “take over” the low-Earth orbit.

The ISS orbits Earth at about eight km per second. When decommissioned, Nasa will likely deorbit the spacecraft and Earth’s gravitational pull and atmosphere will break it apart.

Whatever is left over will likely fall into the Pacific Ocean, the report added. The ISS with humans on board turned 15 on November 2.

Celebrating the feat, John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that the ISS is a unique laboratory that has enabled groundbreaking research in the life and physical sciences and has provided a test bed for the technologies that will allow Nasa to once again send astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit.

“The international partnership that built and maintains the station is a shining example, moreover, of what humanity can accomplish when we work together in peace,” he said in a statement.

The ISS, which US President Barack Obama has extended through 2024, is a testament to the ingenuity and boundless imagination of the human spirit. For 15 years, humanity’s reach has extended beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since 2000, human beings have been living continuously aboard the space station, where they have been working off-the-Earth for the benefit of Earth, advancing scientific knowledge, demonstrating new technologies and making research breakthroughs.

Valve Implements Steam Trading Holds as Anti-Hacking Measure

One of the reasons for Steam’s ongoing popularity is its trading platform. Introduced a couple of years ago, it lets you earn digital cards that you can trade for real world cash. With a bit of luck and savviness, you could end up fuelling your purchases for the year with trading.

However, the very same feature has made active Steam accounts a juicy target for hackers. This is something Valve is aware of, as outlined in its latest blog post:

“What used to be a handful of hackers is now a highly effective, organised network, in the business of stealing and selling items. It would be easier for them to go after the users who don’t understand how to stay secure online, but the prevalence of items make it worthwhile to target everyone. We see around 77,000 accounts hijacked and pillaged each month. These are not new or naïve users; these are professional CS:GO players, reddit contributors, item traders, etc. Users can be targeted randomly as part of a larger group or even individually. Hackers can wait months for a payoff, all the while relentlessly attempting to gain access. It’s a losing battle to protect your items against someone who steals them for a living.”

“We can help users who’ve been hacked by restoring their accounts and items, but that doesn’t deter the business of hacking accounts. It’s only getting worse.”

In order to prevent this from happening, its instituting trade holds which are outlined below:

  • Anyone losing items in a trade will need to have a Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator,enabled on their account for at least 7 days and have trade confirmations turned on. Otherwise, items will be held by Steam for up to 3 days before delivery.
  • If you’ve been friends with anyone on Steam for at least 1 year, items will be held by Steam for up to 1 day before delivery.
  • Accounts with a Mobile Authenticator enabled for at least 7 days are no longer restricted from trading or using the Market when using a new device since trades on the new device will be protected by the Mobile Authenticator.

It goes to show that even with what’s perceived to be the safest of measures, hackers are relentless. Valve isn’t alone though, Blizzard has long fought this problem with games like Diablo III and World of Warcraft and continues to do so. With the ever increasing popularity of Steam, we won’t be surprised if this is just the first of many measures from Valve to prevent hackers from usurping the system.

Gionee Marathon M5 Lite With 4000mAh Battery Launched

Gionee last month launched its Marathon M5 smartphone and it is set to launch a bumped-up version, called Marathon M5 Plus on December 21. However, to everyone’s surprise the company has launchedGionee Marathon M5 Lite in China. The smartphone is listed on the company’s shopping website priced at CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 10,000).

Like other members of the Marathon series, the highlight of the Gionee Marathon M5 Lite is its big battery. It is backed by a 4000mAh Li-Po battery, which is rated to deliver up to 40 hours of talk time, 68 hours of music playback, 3 days of regular use and 39 days of standby time. The handset can charge other smartphones as well.

The Gionee Marathon M5 Lite runs Amigo 3.0 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and is a dual-SIM dual standby smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity(Indian bands supported). It features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixel) IPS display with pixel density of 293 ppi, and is powered by a 64-bit 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 SoC, clubbed with 1GB RAM and Mali-T720 GPU.

The smartphone sports 16GB of built-in storage that can be expanded via microSD card (up to 128GB). It features an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with CMOS sensor and LED-flash, and a 5-megapixel front camera, as per the listing. Measuring 143×69.9×8.5mm, the Marathon M5 Lite weighs 182 grams.

As for connectivity, the Gionee Marathon M5 Lite includes Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Wi-Fi, and MicroUSB connectivity. Ambient light sensor, gravity sensor, and proximity sensors also come housed inside the Marathon M5 Lite. As per the company, the smartphone is made of aviation-grade aluminium alloy. There’s no word yet on India price or availability.

Google Working on Split Screen Multitasking; Could Debut With Android N

Android users may finally get split screen multi-tasking support in Android N, the next major version of Google’s operating system. Google’s Pixel team on Thursday in a Reddit AUA (Ask Us Anything) sessionrevealed bits about the company’s future plans.

Andrew Bowers, Director for Consumer Hardware, while replying to a question about split screen feature said, “We’re working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday. But we’d spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!”

While Bowers’ reply didn’t directly link split screen multi-tasking and Android N, reading between the lines and the fact it is a major change, it’s likely that it would be introduced in a major update like Android N. Obviously, as of now, there is no word whether the feature will be supported by tablets, phones, or both.

google_pixel_team_twitterfeed.jpgTo recall, Apple introduced the split-view feature with iOS 9 this year and it has been limited to tablets. The first iOS tablets to support split-view are the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, and iPad mini 4.

Android N wasn’t the only topic of discussion. On being asked about Pixel C’s name, Glen Murphy, Director of UX for Android and Chrome, explained that the difference between Pixel and Nexus brands. “Pixel is Google designed hardware; Nexus is hardware we work closely with partners to design,” Murphy said.

One of the Reddit users asked why Google chose to leave support for “Ok Google” hot word when the screen if off on the Pixel C. Kevin Tom, Product Manager for Pixel C, confirmed that the company was working on always-on “Ok Google” support for a future update.

Google’s Project Loon Will Interfere With Cellular Transmissions, Says Telecom Minister

Google’s Project Loon, through which the online search giant plans to provide Internet connectivity using balloons, will interfere with cellular transmissions of mobile operators in India, the government said on Friday.

“The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The statement of the Minister assumes significance in the backdrop of call drop problem faced by consumers due to poor network quality.

On a query that whether there are technical glitches in according approval to Project Loon, the Minister replied in affirmative.

Google, under its Project Loon, is using big balloons floating at a height of 20 kilometres above earth surface for transmission of Internet services. It has already tested this technology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.

As per Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.

To use LTE or 4G, Project Loon partners with telecom companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices.

Google uses solar panel and wind to power electronic equipment in the balloon throughout the day.

National Roaming Charges: MPs Urge Merging Of Maharastra, Mumbai Circles

In a bid to reduce consumer bills, 10 Maharashtra MPs have submitted a representation to Union Telecom Minister Ravishankar Prasad, asking for the merger of Mumbai and Maharashtra circles.

 

“Presently, Mumbai and Maharashtra are treated as two different circles. Users of Mumbai have to pay national roaming charges while travelling within Maharashtra and similarly users of Maharashtra using mobile in Mumbai have to pay national roaming charges,” the MPs in their letter to the Telecom minister stated.

“In whole over India, including Kolkata-West Bengal, Chennai-Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad-Andhra Pradesh, etc. all states are treated as a single circle (state). Only in Maharashtra, Mumbai and Maharashtra are treated as two different circles and users have to pay the national roaming charges while travelling/talking in Mumbai and vice-versa,” they argued.

They further said the Telecom companies are generating “additional revenue/ double revenue” from consumers by keeping Mumbai and Maharashtra two separate circles.

“The Ministry/Industry/Trai was supposed to make whole of India as one circle but for various reasons the execution of ‘One India’ is delayed,” the letter read.

The delegation of BJP and Shiv Sena MPs, was led by Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty, and included Nana Patole, Chintaman Wanga, Ravindra Gaikwad, Shrirang Barne, Sanjay Dhotre, Vinayak Raut, Kapil Patil and Sadashiv Lokhande.

According to an MP, if their request is accepted, consumer bills will reduce by Rs. 80 to Rs. 200 depending on number of inter-circle calls.