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Fitbit Sense, Versa 3, Inspire 2 launched

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Fitbit today launched a brand new smartwatch called the Fitbit Sense. In addition to the Fitbit Sense, the fitness company also launched the Versa 2 smartwatch, which is the successor to last year’s Versa 2 smartwatch. Additionally, the company also launched the Inspire 2 fitness tracker, which is the successor to last year’s Inspire series of fitness trackers.

The Fitbit Sense is available in carbon-graphite stainless steel and lunar white-soft gold stainless steel colour variants and it is priced at $329. The Fitbit Versa 2, on the other hand, comes in black-black aluminium, pink clay-soft gold aluminium and midnight-soft gold aluminium colour variants. It costs $229. The Fitbit Inspire 2 costs $99 and it is available in black, lunar white and desert rose colour variants.

In India, the Fitbit Sense costs ₹34,999, Versa 3 costs ₹26,499 and Inspire 2 costs ₹10,999. The three newly launched wearables will available in India in Q4 2020 and in rest of the world starting late September.

Fitbit Sense is the latest edition to Fitbit’s family of smartwatches and it comes with a host of new and advanced features compared to older premium Fitbit smartwatches. For starters, it comes with built-in GPS, which enables users to leave their phone behind even as they go out for a run. It also comes with a new feature called Active Zone Minutes, which helps users to make every minute count during workouts by buzzing their wrist when they enter their personalised target heart rate zones.

Additionally, the Fitbit Sense comes with the sleep tracking feature and high and low heart rate tracking. It also comes with a dedicated Fitbit ECG. The biggest and probably the most defining feature of this newly launched smartwatch is its EDA sensor, which can measure the temperature of a user’s skin. Sense logs a user’s skin temperature each night to show how it varies from their personal baseline so you can be aware of trends over time. Additionally, the smartwatch has an on-wrist EDA Scan app, which helps Sense detects electrodermal activity, which may indicate a user’s body’s response to stress and hence enable a user to manage it better.

The Fitbit Sense offers over 6 days of battery and it supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Fitbit Versa 3, just like the Fitbit Sense, comes with over 6 days of battery life, support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It addition to that, it also comes with built-in GPS, which makes it the first smartwatch in the Versa series to get this functionality.

Versa 3 also get Active Zone Minutes, which is another functionality that it borrows from the Fitbit Sense. The Versa 2 successor also features support for fast charging technology and the ability to take calls, in addition to the classic Versa features such as heart-rate tracking, goal-based modes, sleep tracking and the always-on-display mode among others.

The Fitbit Inspire 2, on the other hand, comes with a realtime pace and distance measurement feature. It also comes with features such as a heart-rate tracker, a sleep tracker, sedentary reminder, menstrual health tracker, guided breathing sessions and more than 20 exercise modes.

In addition to that, the Fitbit Inspire 2 comes with Active Zone Minutes, which is a feature that the company has introduced in its premium smartwatches. It also comes with over 10 days of battery life.

HP launches new ENVY and ZBook premium laptops

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: HP has launched new laptops under its ‘Envy’ series in India including the new HP Envy 15, ENVY 13 and ENVY x360 13. These come in addition to HP ZBook Studio and ZBook Create laptop for developers and artists. The new, premium laptops are available at all HP World stores and online website.

The HP ENVY 15 is priced at ₹119,999 for the base model with Intel 10th-Gen Core i5 10300H processor, 16GB RAM, Nvidia 1650Ti GPU with 4GB memory, 15.6-inch FHD screen and 512GB SSD. The one with 10th-Gen Core i7 10750H, 1TB SSD and Nvidia 1660Ti GPU costs ₹1,49,999. The most powerful one with same 10th-Gen Core i7 10750H processor, RTX 2060 GPU and 15.6-inch OLED touch screen is priced at ₹1,69,999.

Some other specifications of the ENVY 15 laptops are dual Bang & Olufsen speakers with HP Audio Boost 2.0, 83Wh battery and 2.14kg weight.

The ENVY 13 comes at a starting price of ₹79,999. Some of the key specifications included here are FHD screen with 88% screen-to-body ratio, Intel 10th-gen Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPU and up to 19.5 hours of battery life.

The ENVY x360 13 costs the same at ₹79,999 but features AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors with Radeon GPU and up to 17.5 hours of battery life.

The ZBook Studio and HP ZBook Create will be available from September 1 at ₹177,000. These come with 15.6-inch screen, Intel Xeon processors, Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 or RTX 2080 GPU options and up to 17.5 hours of battery life. These are some extra features as well including Z Power Slider that lets you control the performance, vapour cooling chamber to keep things cooled-down and MIL-STD 810G certification.

Apple plans to start selling online in India next month

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Apple Inc. is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast-growing smartphone market of India next month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxation of once-strict prohibitions against foreign direct retail.

The online store will be ready for operations just ahead of the festive Dussehra-Diwali spending season, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing confidential plans. The iPhone maker, which lobbied New Delhi for years to get around regulations that force companies such as Apple to source 30% of components locally, had originally planned to start online sales within months after the government relaxed the rule last year. Those plans were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

India’s 1.3 billion people represents a large, under-served smartphone market that is becoming an increasingly important focus for Apple even as the pandemic raged this year. The iPhone maker, which has just made history by surpassing $2 trillion in market value, is boosting investments in the South Asian country to reduce its dependence on China both as a market and manufacturing base amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The Cupertino, California-based company also plans to open a second brick-and-mortar store in the technology hub of Bangalore, following an outlet in Mumbai that will be its first physical location in the country, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The iPhone maker’s first physical store will open next year in the plush Mumbai neighborhood of BKC, while, the people said, it’s already scouted nearly half a million square feet of space right in the heart of Bangalore near Minsk Square, named after its sister city in Belarus. Apple did not respond to an email seeking comments on its renewed retail push in India.

Apple currently offers its devices in India through stores owned by franchise partners and via online platforms including Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart Online Retails Services Pvt. Selling through its own stores and via its website could help the company control branding and win customer loyalty while leveling the field with competitors like China’s OnePlus and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.

Alongside the expansion of its retail presence in India, the Cupertino, California-based device maker has been assembling its newest handsets, the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11, in the country through its manufacturing partners Foxconn Technology Group and Wistron Corp. Another assembly partner, Pegatron Corp., will set up its first plant in India.Apple dominated India’s premium smartphone segment with a market share of 49% during the second quarter, according to researcher IDC. The newer iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR together comprised 28% of high-end shipments, indicating that demand for pricier iPhones is growing which is a contrast to a couple of years ago when cheaper and old models accounted for a big chunk of iPhone sales.

Airtel wants to increase data prices to ₹100 per GB, Sunil Mittal asks subscribers to ‘prepare to pay a lot more’

Jio-Google budget phone to play spoilsport for Airtel’s tariff hikes

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Bharti Airtel Ltd’s chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, on Monday, hinted at an increase in mobile tariffs in the next six months. The current trend of consuming 16GB of data a month for ₹160 is a tragedy, he said, adding that customers should be either prepared to consume a tenth of this data at the current price points or be willing to pay a lot more for higher usage.

While it’s true that current tariffs are unusually low, Airtel faces a number of hurdles in its tariff hike plans. To start with, loss of incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic has already resulted in SIM consolidation and customers cutting back on recharges.

A tariff hike in this backdrop may look odd, and it remains to be seen if the government will be as supportive of a tariff hike as it was last year.

But the main hurdle for Airtel to cross is getting industry leader Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to agree on a tariff hike. For the past four years, since its launch, Jio has by and large determined the broad tariff structure for the entire industry. Last December’s tariff hikes of roughly 25% were possible only after Jio agreed to play ball.

The moot question, therefore, is if it agrees to another hike. It is also important to note that Jio has a new partnership with technology giant Google Inc. to launch an affordable smartphone.

“It will look a bit incongruent for the company to launch an affordable phone on one hand and raise tariffs on the other," says an analyst at a domestic institutional brokerage firm requesting anonymity.

While it can be argued that the affordable smartphone segment may use a differentiated tariff strategy, there is always a risk of customers downtrading. The best hope for Airtel, then, is to somehow squeeze in a tariff hike before the launch of Jio’s affordable phone.

Much also depends on the final outcome of the Supreme Court ruling in the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues case. If, as a result of an unwieldy penalty, Vodafone Idea Ltd ends up in bankruptcy, both Airtel and Jio will get a large share of its customers. As such, they will get a boost in revenues and the need for an immediate tariff hike will not be as much.

“We need a ₹300 Arpu in which you will still have lower end at ₹100 a month with decent amount of data," Mittal said at an event on Monday. Airtel’s current Arpu (average revenue per user) stands at ₹157, which means the target is for Arpu to nearly double from current levels. For the amount of data Indians are consuming, an increase in tariffs makes logical sense; but what primarily stands between Airtel and its hopes of higher tariffs is Jio’s strategy to grow the number of data users in the country, and enhance data consumption among existing users. To accomplish these goals, Jio prefers tariffs to remain low.

With a speed of 178 Tbps, fastest internet in the world can download everything on Netflix in one second

LONDON, Aug 23: If you thought your internet speeds were bad or too slow let us tell you about the fastest internet in the world to make you feel worse. Researchers at University College London have set a new world record for the fastest internet in the world at 178 terabits per second (Tbps). That’s 178,000 Gbps.

For reference, the minimum internet speed in India is 2 Mbps.

The project was conducted by Dr Lidia Galdino from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Xtera and Kiddi Research.

Earlier, there were reports of the fastest internet speeds in Australia which were recorded at 44.2 Tbps. This new speed is almost four times faster.

So what can you do with 178 Tbps speed? You can download EVERYTHING on Netflix, and we mean literally everything, in just one second.

To tap into such insane speeds, UCL researchers applied higher range of wavelengths instead of the standard optic fibre optics and used newer amplified technology to boost the signal farther while amplifying it.

The current normal infrastructure that’s in place for the internet we use, uses a bandwidth of 4.5THz. A new 9THz commercial bandwidth has just shown up in some markets. This super-fast internet uses a 16.8THz bandwidth to get that 128Tbps speed.

With speeds like this, one can only assume that all of it is a rather expensive process? Apparently not. According to UCL, upgrading these amplifiers costs only a fraction of what it costs to install fibre optic cables.

However, all of this is experimental and this technology is not going to be put to commercial use any time soon, so don’t get excited.




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