Nexus 6 to Get Android 7.1.1 Nougat Update in Early January; Google Says Last Minute Bug Caused Delay

Even though the rest of the supported Nexus and Pixel phones from Google have already received the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, Nexus 6 is yet to be given similar treatment. However, the search giant has now shared its update rollout plans for the smartphone, saying it will start rolling out the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for Nexus 6 devices in early January.

Nexus 6 to Get Android 7.1.1 Nougat Update in Early January; Google Says Last Minute Bug Caused DelayFurther, the reason behind the delay in rolling out the update for Nexus 6 smartphone has finally been revealed as the company said that a last minute bug specific to the phone caused the delay in rollout, as per a report by Android Police. In its statement to Android Police, Google said:

“Unfortunately, we found a last minute bug that was specific to the Nexus 6, which has caused the delay of the 7.1.1 OTA rollout. We’ve since fixed the issue and will be rolling out an update in early January.”

To recall, the Android 7.1.1 update brings about several features such as app shortcuts, support for circular app icons, keyboard image insertion, new emojis, and more. As the Nexus phones didn’t receive the Android 7.1.0 update, the update becomes even more important for the lineup.

As Nexus 6 is an ageing device, it might also be the last major update that the smartphone receives from Google before the search giant announces support discontinuation for the device.

Samsung Galaxy S8’s AI-Based Virtual Assistant Will Reportedly Be Integrated With Native Apps

If 2016 has shown us anything, it’s that artificial intelligence has come a long way. Google dominated this sphere with the launch of Assistant with its Pixel smartphones and it looks like Samsung is up next with its own virtual assistant. The company is reportedly planning on extending the services of its AI assistant to all native apps on board the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8's AI-Based Virtual Assistant Will Reportedly Be Integrated With Native AppsSamsung earlier confirmed that the upcoming Galaxy S8 will feature an AI assistant. Sammobile has now reported that that the company will use its new virtual assistant, called Bixby, in mostly all the native apps that will come pre-installed in the Galaxy S8.

The South Korean consumer electronics giant pushed its AI development after the South Korean giant acquired Viv Labs, a US-based artificial-intelligence software company. The developers at Viv Labs also founded Siri, Apple’s voice-based digital assistant. It was further reported in late November that Samsung’s AI assistant will have male and female voice called Bixby and Kestra, respectively.

Samsung will likely replace S Voice with a more powerful, intelligent assistant. The new Viv-based voice assistant will try to compete with Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri with a system-wide reach and an API open for third party developers. “For example, it might be come in handy inside the Gallery app where you can ask Bixby to show you pictures and videos that satisfy particular criteria (similar to Google Photos and or Apple’s Photos app in iOS 10),” reads Sammobile’s report. To incorporate Bixby more naturally, Samsung will also update its native apps with a new UI.

According to the most recent rumour, the Galaxy S8 may pack a whopping 8GB of RAM (using Samsung’s 10nm process). Earlier rumours suggest the Galaxy S8 may ditch the 3.5mm jack and may integrate an optical fingerprint scanner, among other things.

Call Drops: Telecom Operators to Install 150,000 More Towers by March 2017

Trying to solve call drops, the telecom service providers have installed more than 130,000 additional base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country between June to October and plan to install more than 150,000 more BTSs till March 2017, an official statement said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Call Drops: Telecom Operators to Install 150,000 More Towers by March 2017“In order to obtain direct feedback from subscribers and use that feedback to solve the problem of call drops, DoT (Department of Telecommunications) has launched an Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS) in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Goa on December 23, 2016,” the statement said.

The IVRS will be extended to the entire country very soon, it added.

“The platform is a channel to capture direct feedback from the consumers and this voice of the customer can be used to improve the services that are being offered to them,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said.
He said, initially the government will use the platform for call drops and will extend this to receive consumer feedback in other areas as well in the future.

“Subscribers will receive an IVRS call from the short code 1955. They will be asked a few questions on the subject of call drops such as: Are they facing call drops in their area or not? They can also send a toll-free SMS to the same short code 1955, containing the location of city/town/village, where they might be facing the problem of frequent call drops,” the statement said.
The feedback of the subscribers will be shared with the TSPs so that they can take corrective steps in the identified areas, to improve the mobile network for addressing the problem of call drops, it added.

Nintendo Switch Possibly Region-Free; Does Not Have 3G or LTE Support

The Nintendo Switch is barely a month away from an official reveal but that hasn’t stopped a steady trickle of information from reaching the public domain.

Nintendo Switch Possibly Region-Free; Does Not Have 3G or LTE SupportAccording to documents related to an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing for the device, it has been discovered by eagle-eyed Redditors that the Nintendo Switch will not have any 3G or LTE support. A perplexing omission that will have ramifications on how the device would be used as a handheld.

Digging deeper, users from popular gaming forum NeoGAF have stumbled upon the possibility of the device being region-free.

“AC Adapter input: AC 100 – 240 V, 50 / 60 Hz, 1 A is a power brick with worldwide compatibility. This heavily points towards the console being region-free,” suggests NeoGAF user Thraktor. Incidentally the Wii U had the same specifications.

What this means is, like the PS4, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One S, the Nintendo Switch may not need a stepdown transformer or another adapter if you bought it in a country like the US but plan to use it in another like India or the UK.

It could also mean that unlike the GameCube, Wii, and Wii U, games could be region-free as well — so what you buy in a country that supports the NTSC U/C standard would work fine in other nations that use the PAL format like India and vice versa. Though this seems unlikely given that Nintendo made it tough to make Miitomo account if you weren’t in a country where it launched.

Other interesting slivers of information parsed from this FCC filing include support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wifi, including 802.11ac MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0, as well as having been tested in and confirmed to work in temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) to 35 degrees C (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

As for games? Well, a slew of leaks in the recent past have given us a decent idea of what to expect for the Switch including a Mario RPG crossover, Splatoon, and perhaps even a Pokemon game too.

 

Casement Windows Benefits to Your Home

A casement is a window that is attached to its frame by one or more hinges, and is hinged at the side. Windows that are hinged at the top are known as awning windows, and those that are hinged at the bottom are referred to as hoppers. Casement windows are useful because of the natural ventilation that they provide, especially in hot climates. Because of the hinges on the side, casement windows can be opened and angled to help direct breezes into the home or building. Casement windows are popular in windy areas as well, as these windows have cranks that allow the window to swing outwards. This means that the window can be tightly sealed in comparison to other windows – and this is more efficient in your home. The window sash presses against the frame when you close the window, and this creates an airtight seal.

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Casement windows are harder to break into as well, because the locks are hook shaped and the hooks are generally embedded into the windows, making them untouchable. This means that casement windows become tedious to open, and thus, deter robbers from breaking into your home through the window.

Casement windows offer a number of attractive design features as well, like the top down grille, colonial grill, pushout, and other various designs. These can be customized to fit a certain size and can be painted a certain colour, and can be made out of a certain material as well. This means that you’ll be able to customize your casement window to suit the aesthetic of your home. Typical casement materials include wood, steel, fiberglass, aluminium, and vinyl.

Casement windows provide excellent ventilation because they open all the way outwards, providing natural light as well as allowing air to flow into your home, which is useful if you live in a hot area, or if your home feels crowded, or where space is limited.
Because of the fact that these windows open all the way, it is important to make sure that small children are unable to reach the window – the wide opening of the windows can pose serious dangers, especially if the windows are on higher floors of the home.

One aesthetic benefit to having casement windows in your home is that the window pane dividing strips are fewer, which results in your windows looking clean and clear, and you will have an uninterrupted view of the outside world. Having casement windows will give your home a cleaner and a neater look as well.

EuroStar is a highly reputable windows and doors company that offers skilled services and a wide variety of quality products. By offering a wide variety of services and guaranteeing and quality product to their customers, EuroStar has quickly risen in the ranks in the global market, and has become a leading company. EuroStar has always managed to enhance energy efficiency and increase property value, and will continue to do so with their customers – and will continue to build a pleasant and professional company for the public, for years to come.

Instagram Gets Stickers for Stories, Hands-Free Video Recording

Instagram has rolled out two more features that allows users to add stickers to posts and capture videos “hands-free”.

Instagram Gets Stickers for Stories, Hands-Free Video RecordingAccording to a report in the Next Web on Tuesday, users can now add stickers to videos and photo stories through a sticker button that shows up next to the drawing tool.

The feature includes specific stickers for the weather, current time and location and there are a bunch of holiday stickers like Christmas, Hannukah and all.

Instagram has also added a “hands-free” for video recording. Now the users do not have to hold down the video button to record a video anymore.

“Just tap once to start, and tap again to finish – like your regular camera app already does,” the report noted.
With the new addition, users can also add more text to their photos and videos by tapping the text button to keep on adding more instances.

With the help of a slider that appears in the Instagram, users can adjust the text size too, including automatic text wrap so that it is not chopped off the sides of screen.
iOS users can also save their entire story from the past 24 hours as a single video.

The features are available on the latest versions of Instagram (10.3) for iOS and Android.

Apple AirPods Pack a Tiny 93 Milliwatt Battery and Are Durable Against Impact and Water, Tests Reveal

Apple’s AirPods will start shipping Wednesday but the durability tests and teardowns have already been performed on the product and are available on the Internet. Surprisingly, the durability tests have revealed that the wireless earphones from Apple are able to withstand falls from several feet above the ground as well as shows resistance to water. The teardowns have further revealed that AirPods come with a tiny 93 milliwatt battery and pack the components in a very compact manner inside.

Apple AirPods Pack a Tiny 93 Milliwatt Battery and Are Durable Against Impact and Water, Tests RevealEven though Apple has not marketed the AirPods as water resistant earphones, they were able to come out unscathed from a washing cycle inside a washing machine, as shown in the video posted on YouTube channel EverythingApplePro. As per the tester, even after being through the washing cycle, the AirPods sounded just as good as they did before.

In the durability tests, the pair of earphones were dropped, with and without the case, from several different heights but apart from a few scuffs on the case, the falls couldn’t seemingly damage the AirPods in any way. The tester claimed that there was no noticeable difference in the sound from earphones after the drop tests were performed.
In the meanwhile, in an iFixit teardown of the AirPods that also reported the earphones are difficult to recycle, it was found that the wireless earphones come with a tiny 93 milliwatt battery. The circuit board, which includes a W1 chip among other components, is located at the rounded part of the earpiece.
The teardown of the case for AirPods further revealed that just like the ear-pieces, the case comes with jam-packed components as well. As components are glued together in an extremely compact manner, iFixit gave AirPods a repairability score of zero out of ten to indicate that its virtually impossible to repair the wireless earphones if they get damaged.

Notably, even though AirPods showed durability during the tests, they popped out of their case and bounced-off the ground several times during the tests. This indicates that it might be fairly easy to lose them if they do fall from users’ pocket.

Apple, HP, Samsung, Others Pledge to Keep Children Out of Cobalt Mines

Separate groups of the world’s leading technology companies are launching two initiatives to curb “the worst forms of child labour” and other abusive practices in the supply chain for cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric cars.

Apple, HP, Samsung, Others Pledge to Keep Children Out of Cobalt MinesAbout 60 percent of the world’s cobalt originates in the Congo, where hand-dug mines rife with dangers attract legions of poorly-equipped, “artisanal” miners who work for as little as $2 a day.

Apple, HP, Samsung SDI, and Sony have joined an effort, known as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative. It is being led by a Chinese business group, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Metals, Minerals & Chemicals, and supported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to the group.

Members of the initiative pledged to follow OECD guidelines for mining supply chains, which call for companies to trace how cobalt is being extracted, transported, manufactured and sold. Any abuses would require immediate correction.

While advocacy groups have alleged for years that cobalt was posing deadly risks to miners and causing environmental damage, eradicating the worst abuses has proven difficult because tracing cobalt in consumers products back to the mines involves global leaps – from Africa to China to world markets – and across many companies.
The Washington Post earlier this year published an investigation detailing abuses in Congo’s artisanal cobalt supply chain, showing how miners – including children – worked in dangerous, at times deadly conditions as they tunneled hundreds of feet underground for dollars a day to reach this precious mineral. The article also showed the potential health effects, including birth defects, that medical researchers have begun to connect to the mining activity. The Post for the first time connected this troubling artisanal cobalt trade with the batteries used by some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Apple.

Apple acknowledged that this cobalt has made its way into some of its batteries and said it was committed to working with its supplier to addressing underlying issues, such as extreme poverty, that result in harsh work conditions and child labor.

The role of the Chinese business organization in the new initiative is considered a key advantage – the bulk of the supply chain runs through that country. Several companies with key roles in refining and packaging the mineral for batteries have joined the initiative, including Zhejiang Huayou, a Chinese company that buys cobalt from Congo miners, and which was featured in The Post’s coverage.

“The problem cannot be fixed by one company. So I think it’s great, surprising even, that so many companies have come together,” said Bryce Lee, Huayou’s new manager for responsible sourcing.

The new initiative is “a very positive sign of change, ” said Tyler Gillard, project head for the OECD. “Such strong involvement of Chinese industry in particular is uncommon for these types of initiatives, and really exciting.”

Collectively, the group is aiming to promote cooperation with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Separately, a business group known as The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition announced a new “Responsible Raw Materials Initiative.”

The EICC said companies need to expand scrutiny of their supply chains beyond the traditional four “conflict” minerals covered by U.S. legislation — tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. These minerals, when taken from the Congo region, receive extra attention because of potential ties to funding militias.

The EICC said the decision to begin looking at other minerals was motivated by “a growing body of research” – including work by advocacy groups and The Post — that showed abuses occurred in the production of other minerals, too.

Bob Mitchell, EICC vice president for social and environmental responsibility, said one of the minerals the initiative is considering is cobalt from Congo.
The EICC announced its new “Responsible Raw Materials Initiative” last month, just before the start of a United Nations forum on business and human rights.

Membership in the EICC includes Apple, Dell, Foxconn, Ford Motors and other companies, and at least 16 EICC-member companies have signed pledges to support the new initiative, Mitchell said.

Exactly what to do about the artisanal mining of cobalt is a matter of heated debate. The practice is rife with dangers. On the other hand, it also helps desperately poor people to make a living, particularly in the rural areas of the DRC.

Some longstanding critics of the cobalt supply chain view the Responsible Cobalt Initiative merely as a good first step.

“Implementation is obviously what it’s all about,” said Mark Dummett, an Amnesty researcher who has studied the cobalt supply chains. “We’d now like to see the downstream companies like Apple and Samsung disclose the names of their cobalt smelters as well as disclose the risks they have identified in their supply chains.”

Companies said a collective effort such as this is required to eradicate any abuses in the cobalt supply chain.

“HP recognizes that in order to build leverage over supply chain actors that we do not have a direct business relationship with, we need to work with other companies and organizations to drive collective action,” Jay Celorie, HP Global Program Manager, Human Rights, Ethics and Compliance, said in a statement.

Other companies, such as Tesla and LG Chem, said they are weighing membership in the Responsible Cobalt Initiative or undertaking other ways of ensuring that their supply chains are clean and humane.

“We are evaluating a number of new international initiatives to address the issues in cobalt production and are working quickly to determine how Tesla can be most effectively involved,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement.

Other industry groups are responding to complaints about the cobalt supply chain, too.

Last week, Umicore, a large Brussels-based maker of battery parts and other cobalt products, announced that the auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers had validated the safeguards it has in place to prevent the use of any cobalt arising from questionable environmental or labor practices. Among other things, the company seeks to be able to trace the origins of every bit of cobalt that goes into its products.

Company officials said that seeking the third-party validation of their cobalt procedures should ease the concerns of the consumer companies that are their customers.

“Our customers have valuable brands to protect,” said Marc Van Sande, executive vice-president of a company business unit said. This “approach provides comfort to customers about the provenance and the ethical nature of the cobalt used in the materials they source.”

HTC Schedules Product Announcement for January 12; New Smartphone Expected

HTC has started sending media invites for an event on January 12 where the company says it will make its “next big announcement.” The company has shared a teaser invite with “for U” as a tagline. Unfortunately, not many details about HTC’s upcoming announcement are available right now.

HTC Schedules Product Announcement for January 12; New Smartphone ExpectedIt’s worth noting that the January 12 launch date is just after the CES week which means HTC doesn’t want its announcement to get lost in a host of launches during the event. The Taiwanese company has not dropped any hints in the invite for the launch event, however, recent rumours have pointed to the launch of the HTC X10 mid-range smartphone in January. The event could also see the launch of the company’s next flagship or be about the company’s recent virtual reality push, or both.

htc invite verge htc

Starting with the HTC X10, the successor to the HTC One X9 is said to launch in January and cost around CNY 2,000 (roughly Rs. 19,500). It is said to sport a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920) display, a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor (Cortex-A53 cores), Mali-T860 GPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS.

Another recent report claimed that HTC has been working on its next flagship, the HTC 11. According to initial rumours, HTC 11 may sport a 5.5-inch QHD (1440×2560) display and run on Android 7.0 Nougat customised with HTC’s Sense 8 UI on top. The handset is rumoured to pack a dual-camera setup of 12-megapixel at the back while an 8-megapixel front-facing camera is also expected on board. Under the hood, the HTC 11 is expected to be powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, along with Adreno 540 GPU for graphic performance. It is said to pack a whopping 8GB of RAM under the hood, with an inbuilt storage of 256GB. The device is said to be backed by a 3700mAh battery. According to rumours, HTC’s next flagship will launched with a price tag of $691 (roughly Rs. 47,000). However, all these leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt as HTC has not mentioned anything about the upcoming device and the leaks legitimacy remains questionable.

Facebook Camera Effects Platform Launched for Snapchat-Like Frames on Photos, Videos

Facebook has introduced a new feature that lets you add and design a frame for your photos and videos. The social giant has launched a new Camera Effects Platform that allows users to create new frames from scratch, and then use them while uploading profile photos and videos on Facebook via the mobile apps.

Facebook Camera Effects Platform Launched for Snapchat-Like Frames on Photos, VideosThis is Facebook’s latest move that apes Snapchat features. Recently, Facebook introduced a Snapchat-like Android app in Brazil called Flash. The company has also been reportedly testing several feature inspired by Snapchat – like Discover and Camera effects and Masks. Facebook also introduced the ability to add emoji, draw, write text, and add filters while taking a photo from the in-app camera.

Now, the Camera Effects Platform looks to add creative frames to photos based on location and events – similar to what is seen on Snapchat (called custom Geofilters). Facebook’s new platform allows users to create frames for specific locations, events, or just generic frames for everyone to use. While creating the frames, you will have to follow these guidelines, and then submit it to Facebook for review. The social giant claims that the review typically takes up to a week. Once the frame is approved, all users can then use this frame while uploading a profile photo or video on Facebook.

These frames are available through the in-app camera on Facebook, and this feature is active currently in select regions only (not available in India yet). Facebook also allows frame creators to see stats like the number of times people used their frame. Facebook-owned Instagram also borrowed Snapchat’s popular disappearing messages features, and launched Instagram Stories recently.