Nokia Networks Showcases New Mobile Broadband Technologies

Nokia Networks on Thursday showcased some of its new technologies in the mobile broadband segment at an event hosted by the company.According to the Finnish brand, the technologies showcased are aimed at empowering operators, in their journey of evolution, to effectively manage and monetise the surging mobile broadband growth.

Some of the technologies include innovations in Telco Cloud (VoLTE/ VoWiFi), 5G, security solutions and predictive marketing.

The Telco Cloud or VoLTE/ VoWiFi will enable an operator to provide operator-controlled voice over Wi-Fi networks which is especially useful in providing indoor coverage when LTE/ 2G/ 3G is not in place.

Another technology showcased was the Nokia Mobile Guard, which has an analytics engine that “listens” and “analyses” the traffic for mobile broadband and searches for patterns that are consistent with malware behaviour.

With this, operators will be able to ensure an efficient, and clean network with round-the-clock monitoring and automated actions in the advent of fraud by providing protection for all subscribers, independent of device type and irrespective of whether antivirus is installed.

Arno Koch, head of business development, mobile broadband, Nokia Networks and Suresh Kalyanasundaram, senior specialist, technology and innovation research, Nokia Networks were present at the event.

Indian Railways Starts SMS Alert Service for Cancelled Trains

Indian Railways have begun sending SMS alerts to passengers if the train they have booked tickets for is cancelled.The Ministry of Railways in a statement on Thursday said it had started another passenger-friendly measure on a pilot-basis, under which SMS messages would be sent to passengers if the train in which they have booked their tickets is cancelled.

“We commenced the SMS-based service from June 21 on all India basis. Under this pilot project, the SMS messages are sent to those passengers who are boarding at originating station. At a later stage, this will be extended to cover en-route stations also,a Railway Ministry spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena told IANS.

“The SMS will be sent to the mobile number entered by the passenger in ticket reservation slips. The cancellation information would be sent in advance to the passengers to help them plan alternative arrangement,” he said.

“To avail this facility, passengers have to mention their mobile numbers on the ticket reservation slip,” he said.

Isro last week said it will provide navigational support to Indian Railways through ‘Gagan’ (GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation) system. Gagan is an indigenous navigational guide system developed by Isro on the lines of GPS system of the US.

Earlier this month, IRCTC began offering passengers who fail to get their waitlisted ticket confirmed an option to convert it into an airline ticket at a competitive fare. The Railway PSU has already tied-up with budget carrier GoAir and have sold about 100 tickets through this scheme in the past one month.

Apple to Prevent iPhone App-Scanning With iOS 9

Apple is said to be focusing on strengthening the user privacy with a change in its advertisement policy for third-party apps, claims a new report. With the change in policy, advertisers will be no longer able to access the data about which apps are installed on your iPhone or iPad.According to Amir Efrati of The Information, Apple until now allowed apps such as Facebook and Twitter to draw details on data of other installed apps on the device to target ads. He gave an example of a user who has installed games including paid ones as well – advertisers may show ads on paid games that are not already installed on the device.

The Cupertino-based giant however seems determined to protect user privacy with its upcoming iOS 9 update, which is set to release this fall. Apple will reportedly prevent app developers from accessing data from other installed apps for ad targeting.

Efrati explains, “As part of its recent privacy push, Apple earlier this month said it would shut down an increasingly popular practice by companies like Twitter to scan people’s iPhones and iPads to see which apps are installed. They used such data, which is akin to Web-browsing history, to target in-app advertisements to individuals.”

Macrumors further point out that advertisers are exploiting an API in iOS called “canopenURL” to access the app download data. However, this is likely to change with iOS 9.

A report on Wednesday tipped another feature of iOS 9 that may allow users to temporarily delete apps to make space for the new software update installation. The feature appeared to be what Apple meant at WWDC when it said it had developed a way to ensure iOS updates would require less free storage.

Spotted in the first developer beta of iOS 9 when users tried to update to second beta that was released recently, the feature warned users they have ‘insufficient space for download’, and then recommends what could be called the intelligent deletion of apps. Once the software update installation is complete, the apps would automatically reinstall with no loss of user data.

Considering that the intelligent app deletion for software updates feature was in beta, there’s no confirmation that the feature would make to the final build available to users later this fall. Alters Contested Rules for Hotels Across Europe

Online hotel reservation site announced Thursday it is revising its contested pricing rules that prohibit European hotels it lists from adjusting their rates on other sites.

The revision will end restrictions preventing hotels listed on from offering lower prices elsewhere if they so choose, and from offering a greater volume of rooms available on other online and offline reservation services.

The move comes after competition regulators in several European countries in April sided with hotel owners denouncing the restrictions as unfair.

“Today… announced it will amend its parity terms with all accommodations partners in Europe by 1 July 2015 to be consistent with the binding commitments given to the French, Italian and Swedish” regulators, the company said in a statement.

It also said the changes are “in line with its commitment to a new Europe-wide standard to keep competition healthy, driving value for consumers and hoteliers,”

However, will continue prohibiting hotels from offering lower room prices on their own web sites than the rates they quote to reservation portals.

The revision aims to resolve the conflict over competition concerns, but not leave at risk of being undercut by hotels offering loss-leading rates.

“Under these new conditions, can continue to provide a valuable service to consumers that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience, and a valuable service to hotels by providing highly cost-effective marketing,” the statement said.

Despite the changes, the revision does not take into account pending legislation in France whose measures include the suppression of all price parity restrictions including those barring hotels from cutting rates on their own site as low as they like.

“If France, which was an instigator of the (revisions) puts into place a legal framework of this type, it will isolate itself, and we’ll move farther away from a European arrangement,” Carlo Olejniczak, director for France, Spain and Portugal told AFP.

Dropbox Now Has 400 Million Registered Users

Dropbox, the popular cloud storage firm, on Wednesday announced it has reached the 400 million registered users milestone since its launch in 2007. The US-based firm however did not mention its monthly active users.The firm addressing the milestone added that the 400 million users sync 1.2 billion files every day, and create more than 100,000 new shared folders every hour. Dropbox also said users make 4,000 edits every second.

“We’re proud of the role we play in people’s lives around the world. As our community continues to grow, we wanted to reflect on a few of the things we’ve built recently to make Dropbox better for you,” said the blog post.

Dropbox earlier this week updated its Android app, focusing on interface design and the app’s usability. The company among other features, has added a ‘+’ symbol, which lets users click images and directly save it to the folder of their choice. The process would not save the image on the device but would directly bypass it and will be saved in the desired Dropbox folder.

Furthermore, users can now find their files and folders quicker via the new search icon located on the top menu inside the app. Swiping left and right is also possible to navigate easily. Also, features like favoriting, moving, and renaming would stay at the same info section across any folder or file inside the app. Complete details can be seen at the company’s blog post. The firm also updated its app on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 recently, adding some important features in the process.

“Finally, EaseUS Todo Backup Free is a free backup software which can perform local backup. Local backup is also a reliable way to protect data.”

Uber Slashes Fares Up to 40 Percent Across India

Uber has slashed taxi fares up to 40 percent across various cities in India that includes Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune. Notably, Kolkata has not seen any price drop yet, but is expected to shortly.The prices are have been dropped on all Uber Products – UberGo, UberX and UberBlack – depending upon the region. The lowest of all prices across cities is now on Jaipur where the UberGo and UberX base fare is Rs. 15 and per kilometre charge is Rs. 7 and Rs. 8 respectively.

“We’re dropping our prices so everyone can now try the full Uber experience. Nothing can beat the fares and the convenience of moving around in an Uber. Press a button and the cheapest ride in town will come to your doorstep,” said company on its blog.

In Ahmedabad, base fare of UberGo and UberX is dropped to Rs. 20 with per kilometre charges of Rs. 7 for both. In Bangalore, Uber operates all three products – UberGo, UberX and UberBlack – with a base fare Rs. 25, Rs. 30 and Rs. 60 along with per kilometre charges of Rs. 7, Rs. 8 and Rs. 13, respectively.

In Chandigarh, UberGo and UberX base fare is Rs. 20 and Rs. 25 with per kilometre charge of Rs. 5 and Rs. 7 respectively, which is cheapest per kilometre charges across India. Uber in Chennai has dropped the UberGo and UberX base fare to Rs. 30, and per kilometre charges to Rs. 8 and Rs. 9 respectively.

In New Delhi, where Uber has had the most tough ride so far, UberGo now has a base fare Rs. 25 and charges of Rs. 7 per kilometre, while the UberX base fare is now Rs. 40 with charges of Rs. 9 per kilometre, and the premium UberBlack now has a base fare of Rs. 60 and charges of Rs. 12 per kilometre.

In Mumbai, Uber now has base fares of Rs. 60, Rs. 100, and Rs. 150 for its UberGo, UberX, and UberBlack services respectively, corresponding with Rs. 8, Rs. 10, and Rs. 13 per kilometre fares.

Finally, in Pune, UberGo and UberX are now Rs. 25 base fare and have charges of Rs. 8 and Rs. 9 per kilometre respectively. UberBlack is priced Rs. 80 base fare and has charges of Rs. 15 per kilometre.

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World’s First ‘Non-Intrusive’ Smartphone Announced

Tired of smartphone’s intrusion in your personal space? A new device may be your new hope to stay connected without much hassle.Monohm Inc. has announced the creation of Runcible – a personal device modelled on the pocket watch.

Flaunting a high resolution, round screen, the device includes a high-performance phone and camera which is meant to “refocus users’ attention on real people and the real world”.

“People need something to let them control their digital lives in clean, quiet, simple ways,” said Aubrey Anderson, CEO and co-founder, Monohm Inc in a statement.

“Runcible is the alternative to the increasingly invasive and commodified smartphone whose app-centric approach distracts us from our lives instead of helping us live them,” Anderson added.

Runcible is built on top of Mozilla’s Open Source Firefox OS, and KDDI Corporation is Monohm’s first carrier partnership.

runcible_official_2.jpgRuncible’s operating system is based on Open Web standards.

Unlike other systems which rely upon complicated middleware and cannot integrate across platforms, applications and devices, Runcible users can simply access the power of the web to command and control the growing number of IoT devices and connected things around us.

What’s heartening is that unlike smartphones which become obsolete within two or three years, Runcible’s parts can be removed, repaired and upgraded, enabling the device to be kept for decades.

Runcible will never beep, alert or otherwise interrupt us, enabling us to keep our attention where it was always meant to be.

The device would be available by the end of this year.

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Internet Voting a Possibility in Future: Chief Election Commissioner

Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma on Friday said voting by Internet could be a possibility in the future and the first step in this direction is the EC’s plan to make electoral rolls “totally error free”.”Voting by Internet is the next stage. The first step in the direction was the Election Commission’s ambitious plan to make the electoral rolls totally error free,” the CEC said.

He, however, did not give a time-frame for it.

“We need funds, infrastructure and some training. India can do it…,” Brahma said, adding, young voters think that Internet voting can save a lot of time, resources, and energy.

“When I was standing in queue to cast vote in the Delhi Assembly polls, five young voters standing in front of me said casting vote takes a few seconds but standing in queue for two hours is a difficult task…,” he told a press conference in New Delhi

However, only yesterday, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply that there are no plans to introduce Internet voting.

The Election Commission (EC) will launch National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) between March 3 and August 15. As part of the programme, EC will link electoral photo I card with UIDAI number to ensure there is no duplication.

He said that 10 to 12 percent entries in electoral roll are duplicate. There are 85 crore electors in the country as per the latest EC data. A city in one southern state has 42 percent duplicate entries, Brahma added.

The voters will be asked to voluntarily apply for removal of their names from multiple constituencies and such cases will be disposed off within 15 days. If a person deliberately registers as a voter in multiple constituencies, he or she can be punished under provisions of the IPC and election laws, he said.

50 crore voters registered with EC have UIDAI number and the UIDAI has told the poll body that by June, it will further expand its base, he further said.

As UIDAI is voluntary in nature, the names of those not having the Aadhar number will be double checked physically.

Brahma said duplicacy in electoral rolls and flaws have given EC a bad name and there is a case pending against it in Bombay High Court.

“By purifying the rolls, we want to end the chapter of allegations against us for ever,” he said.

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New Nasa Earth Missions Exploring Our Complex Planet

Four new Nasa Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space – with a fifth newly in orbit – after the busiest year of Nasa Earth science launches in more than a decade.On February 27 last year, Nasa and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the Earth-observing Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan.

Nasa’s newest Earth-observing satellite, the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), was launched Jan 31 this year to begin its mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed.

Data from GPM and the other new missions are making observations and providing scientists with new insights into global rain and snowfall, atmospheric carbon dioxide, ocean winds, clouds and tiny airborne particles called aerosols, the US space agency said in a statement.

“This has been a phenomenally productive year for Nasa in our mission to explore our complex planet from the unique vantage point of space,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC.

Combined with data from our other Earth-observing spacecraft, these new missions will give us new insights into how Earth works as a system, he added.

With these missions, including two instruments mounted on the exterior of theInternational Space Station (ISS), Nasa now has 20 Earth-observing space missions in operation.

Observations from these missions, like all Nasa data, will be freely available to the international scientific community.

“The highly accurate measurements from these new missions will help scientists around the world tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing,” said Peg Luce, deputy director of the Earth Science Division at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In addition to free-flying satellite missions, Nasa deployed two Earth-observing instruments to the ISS.

These are ISS-RapidScat, a scatterometer that measures wind speeds and direction over the ocean and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) that measures the altitude of clouds and airborne particles.

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Qualcomm Preps Technology to Reduce Burden on Mobile Networks

Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm wants wireless carriers to set up new technology that would offer cellphone users better reception in places like subway tunnels and shopping malls.The San Diego, California company said on Thursday it will start selling components this year featuring LTE technology adapted for a smaller scale than traditional cellphone base stations mounted on metal towers bristling with antennas and other electronics.

LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, is the increasingly common modem technology that cellphones use to communicate with carrier networks. The newer “LTE Unlicensed”, or LTE-U, adapts that technology to be used over short distances by sharing radio spectrum that is used by WiFi.

Qualcomm sees the addition of new technologies like LTE-U to its smartphone chips as key to staying competitive and giving consumers reasons to upgrade their smartphones.

Thousands of LTE-U base stations, which look similar to a wifi router, could be set up in buildings and out-of-the-way places to alleviate poor phone reception and relieve strained carrier networks as people use smartphones to download more and more video and other media.

T-Mobile has said it plans to use LTE-U as the technology matures to improve its mobile network. Intel and other companies are working on their own LTE-U products.

“We have to explore all options to increase network capacity because we’re running out of spectrum, and the amount of data we’re transmitting is going through the roof,” said Tirias Research analyst Jim McGregor.

Some carriers have already augmented their LTE networks by INVESTINGĀ in routers installed around cities to make wifi available to their customers outside of their homes.

Qualcomm and other proponents argue that adopting LTE-U will provide much faster performance for phone users and save carriers money they would have had to spend on additional LTE cellphone towers.

“The performance is better. It’s not a large cost adder and it also provides a lot of advantages flexibility to the operators,” said Qualcomm Chief Technology Officer Matt Grob.

He said Qualcomm has overcome trouble with LTE-U signals interfering with wifi signals, a problem that in the past has drawn criticism of the technology.

Using the 5 GHz band used by wifi and LTE-U does not require a regulatory license but it does require that certain standards be met.

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