Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Facebook Messenger's Photo Magic Feature to Make Sharing Easier

Facebook, in a bid to gain user traction for its Messenger app, has rolled out a new feature called Photo Magic, which would let users share photos more easily than before. The app feature is currently limited to Australia and would later reach other regions. The feature would arrive in the US as well, as per Facebook messenger chief David Marcus.

While only Facebook Messenger for Android has the Photo Magic feature, it will be made available for iOS later this week.

Photo Magic is a facial recognition feature that accesses the device's camera roll, identifies friends, and then asks users whether they want to send the images to the identified friends. After scanning the images and identifying the friends, users would get a notification along with a 'Send' button to share it without even opening the messaging app.

If an image has multiple friends, Photo Magic would create a new message thread in Facebook Messenger when the images are sent. If users decide to open the app instead of sharing via notifications, they would get a preview of the message along with the recipients and the option to include a custom message.

The idea of Photo Magic comes from a collaboration between the Facebook Messenger and Moments team, reports The Verge. For those unaware, Moments app already uses a similar face recognition technology.

Although this is a nifty feature for sharing images on Messenger, some users might find it objectionable as Facebook would be scanning through each and every image from the user's camera roll. However, the new feature can be switched off Facebook Messenger's Settings section. Users can also opt out from having their faces recognised, and can turn notifications off.

HTC One X9 to Be Positioned Below One A9; Launch in Q1 2016

HTC's yet-to-be-announced One X9 has been in news with numerous leaks and was recently spotted in a teaser image. The HTC One X9 was earlier anticipated to launch this year; now however, a tipster claims that the handset is set to launch only in Q1 2016.

Further, LlabTooFeR, a reliable tipster when it comes to HTC devices, in a tweet has claimed that the One X9 will be positioned by the Taiwanese maker below the HTC One A9. The tweet also tipped that HTC will launch the One X9 2-3 months before One M10 smartphone, HTC's rumoured next flagship.

In other news, popular tipster Evan Blass has hit back with few details about HTC's One X9 aka HTC E56. According to Blass (also known as @Evleaks), the HTC One X9 packs a MediaTek processor; a 5.5-inch full-HD display; 2GB RAM; 16GB storage, and a 3000mAh battery. The One X9 is said to sport a 13-megapixel rear as well as 4-megapixel UltraPixel front camera.

An earlier report by Nowhereelse had claimed that the HTC One X9 will feature a 5-inch QHD (2560x1440 pixels) resolution display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC (or Helio X20), 4GB of RAM, 23-megapixel rear camera, 4-megapixel UltraPixel front-facing camera, and a 3500mAh battery. In a tweet, Blass refuted claims by the report and said, "All wrong."

Recently, a teaser image of the HTC One X9 was leaked on Weibo. The image showed the One X9's display along with the BoomSound front speakers at the top and bottom. The image revealed on Weibo read only the 'pursuit of brilliance' and 'packed with city smarts', both taglines that did not reveal much about the smartphone's specifications or features. Also, since the sentences were in English inside the teaser, it is speculated to reach English-speaking regions as well.

Win $10,000 by Finishing This Game

One of the major issues facing most game developers is trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Be it mobile, console, or PC with the sheer volume of content available, it's tough to be heard. Publisher Adminde has opted for an amusing way to let people know its game, Zero Reflex exists - by appealing to greed.

Simply put, the first person to finish Zero Reflex on Android, iOS, or Steam wins $10,000 (around Rs. 6,59,100) that would be transferred to his or her PayPal account. It's a simple way to get consumers to check out its game or at the very least, less work than figuring out how to spend $10,000 on marketing it.

If you're willing to give Zero Reflex a go, you might want to check out the list of rules on the developer, Exordium Games' website. Most notable of which is that each entry of a finished game will be checked by Adminde. If the publisher finds that the entry is one which beat the game without hacking or cheating, it will contact the winner.

The game itself plays a lot like Super Hexagon though it appears to be a whole lot more tougher. If you're planning to finish it without opting for its in-app purchases, you'll find yourself in for a challenging time. Perhaps, a smart move to ensure that a winner, if at all, is found after Adminde and Exordium manage to recoup some of its development costs through game sales.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Zoho's Online Suite Down After Denial-of-Service Attack

US-based Zoho Corporation, which provides an online suite of apps for businesses, has seen its services disrupted since Wednesday.

On the Zoho blog, Vijay Sundaram the ‎Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho Corporation wrote on Sunday that its services were specifically targeted with the intention to disrupt services using a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), which overloads servers with dummy requests.

"Our teams have been working nonstop over the last 72 hours with various counter measures," wrote Sundaram in his latest status update.

Six of its services - Zoho Connect, Mail, Projects, Sheet, Showtime and Support are down at the time of writing, according to its Status page. Customers have complained about lost business on Zoho's Facebook page, where the company has apologised for the downtime.

Zoho said that while access to its apps were affected, user data was not compromised. Gadgets360 has reached out to the company's spokespersons for a comment.

Founded by Sridhar Vembu in 1996, Zoho is one of the pioneers in the SaaS (software as a service) space. The self-funded company offers over two dozen apps for businesses, and runs its development, sales and support operations in Chennai India.

Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Fitness Tracker, 20000mAh Mi Power Bank Launched

Over the weekend, Xiaomi announced the launch of the Mi Band 1S, its second generation wearable fitness tracker. On Monday, the Chinese conglomerate had another accessory to offer. It unveiled the 20000mAh Mi Power Bank. Both the products are currently exclusively available in China with no word on their international launch time frame.

The Mi Band first debuted in China last year. The company has refreshed the fitness tracker with the launch of the Mi Band 1S, adding several substantial improvements such as the addition of an optical heart-rate sensor and aesthetic changes while maintaining a dirt-cheap price tag. A display, however, is still missing.

The Mi Band 1S measures 37x13.6x9.9mm (so a tad larger than the Mi Band) and also weighs half a gram more than the Mi Band. It is also IP67 certified, so the band should be able to withstand dust and water to an extent.

The company has retained the same 45mAh battery as its predecessor and promises 30-day battery life on a single charge. Considering the band now also comes equipped with a heart-rate sensor, that's an interesting feat if it manages to deliver it. It will go on sale in China at a price point of CNY 99 (roughly Rs. 1,030, or $16). The company also announced that it will continue to sell the original Mi Band.

As per IDC's recent figures, Xiaomi sold around 3.1 million Mi Band trackers in Q2 2015. The company was only behind Apple, which sold 3.6 million Apple Watch models, and 4.4 million trackers sold by Fitbit.

On Monday, the company announced a new large Mi Power Bank with a capacity 20000mAh. Priced at an equivalent of $24 (roughly Rs. 1,600), the 20000mAh Mi Power Bank comes with a plastic body - which is different from the metal body other power banks from the company come with. This makes it possible for the unit to weigh less than other Mi Power Bank models and better withstand scratches. The company says that the battery inside the device is made by LG or Panasonic and promises up to 93 percent conversion rate. It offers 5.1V and 3.6A output.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

It's Time to Ban the Selfie

Apparently, everyone loves the selfie. More and more people around the world are participating in this craze, and it's led to the word being officially defined and included in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Smartphones such as the Asus ZenFone Selfie (Review | Pictures) are being designed to take advantage of this craze, and selfie sticks are everywhere. It's gotten way out of hand though, and considering that banning things is the flavour of the season, maybe the government could ban selfies next.

Why ban something that is clearly popular? There are actually plenty of good reasons. For one thing, the selfie is actually incredibly dangerous. Reports suggest that more people have died this year from selfies than shark attacks, with a reported selfie-related death in India taking place in Tamil Nadu last month. An engineering student, attempting to take a selfie, stepped onto a rock that caved under his weight and he fell 60 feet to his death. Things are so bad, that there's actually a Wikipedia page detailing various selfie-related injuries and deaths.

They're not just a problem for the person taking the selfie, but everyone else too. People taking selfies in public places can be so self-absorbed that they fail to notice that they are getting in the way of passers-by, or people attempting to do their jobs. You'll see waiters and cleaners at restaurants and malls standing with heavy plates and equipment in their hands, waiting for a group to get that perfect selfie. Occasionally, people snap and lose their patience with selfie-takers.

But aside from this, people can be weird when it comes to selfies. Often, someone will see a group taking a selfie and will offer to take a nice picture for them. However, the group chooses to ignore the kindness of the individual because they want a selfie.

The need for selfies has become so deeply ingrained, that the quality of the image is no longer important, as long as it falls within the definition of a selfie. The pictures lack any real background or points of interest, being poorly framed and focused on faces instead. People are so intent on taking a selfie to capture a memory that they forget about the moment they're supposed to be capturing.

At a recent concert that I attended, I saw a man take a few dozen selfies using a selfie stick, the background of which was always the grass below, rather than the concert ahead that everyone else was enjoying. The reason he was taking those pictures was because he was at this concert and wanted to remember it. But you wouldn't know it if you looked at his photo roll.

Fortunately, certain places and institutions are recognising the menace and inconvenience that selfies and selfie sticks pose to others, and are banning them. The list includes all Disney theme parks, and the Palace Museum in Beijing. A British man was fined EUR3,000 for taking a selfie while running in the annual Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. Furthermore, several prominent clerics and scholars have spoken against Muslim pilgrims taking selfies in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia and posting them on social media. Also, the nation of South Korea has classified selfie sticks as telecommunications equipment due to their use of Bluetooth technology and has thus banned unregulated and uncertified selfie sticks.

We're a ban-happy nation. Maybe we can use that power for good, and ban the selfie - at least in public spaces? Who's with me on this?

WWE 2K16 Championship Announced for India

This year, with games like Mortal Kombat X and Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 getting their own tournaments, it seems that WWE 2K16 is next. In order to promote the latest entry in the series, E-xpress, distributor of the game is hosting a WWE 2K16 tournament this month. In terms of prizes it seems to be the most generous one to date.

The first prize is a PS4, Rs. 30,000 in cash, and a WWE championship belt. Coming second also nets you a PS4 but only Rs. 10,000 in cash, and a WWE championship belt. As for third place? Rs. 15,000 in cash and yes, you guessed it a WWE championship belt. Keep in mind that these are toy belts from Mattel and not the real thing.

In order to take part, you'll need to register on the site set up for the tournament. Like prior tournaments, there's no entry fee for participation. The tournament will take place at the Bombay Exhibition Centre during IGX, a consumer gaming expo during November 14 and 15. Other events at IGX include a cosplay competition.

With WWE being a steady seller in the country through the year, it's nice to see publisher 2K Games taking an interest and tournaments like this only serve to grow its popularity.

Xiaomi Mi 5 With Snapdragon 820 SoC Tipped to Launch on December 3

The wait for Xiaomi to launch its Mi 5 flagship smartphone may finally end next month, if a new leak is to be believed. Additionally, a separate leak has suggested that Xiaomi will launch its Mi Band successor as the Mi Band 1s next week.

Chinese tipster Leaksfly in a Weibo post has claimed that Xiaomi will launch its Mi 5 flagship at an event on December 3 and that it will pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 SoC. The tipster goes on to hint that Qualcomm may launch its Snapdragon 820 chipset on November 20. It's worth noting that this is the first time a precise launch date for the upcoming Snapdragon 820 chipset has been tipped. Qualcomm has been lately teasing features of its high-end Snapdragon 820; though has not yet come out with a release date for the chipset.

Considering that the Xiaomi Mi 4 was unveiled back in July last year; the company seems to be going slow with its production of next-generation flagship smartphone. Several leaks so far about the Mi 5 have claimed that handset may be the first to run on the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. However, considering Qualcomm is yet to announce the final release of the new Snapdragon SoCs; Xiaomi has been rumoured mostly to use the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 SoC, also seen on the Nexus 6P. A separate report had recently claimed that due to delay in Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipsets, Xiaomi may opt for MediaTek deca-core Helio X20 processor. Some of the purported innards of the Mi 5 include 4GB of RAM; Adreno 530 GPU; a 5.3-inch QHD (1440x2560) pixels resolution display with pixel density of 554ppi; arrive in 16GB or 64GB inbuilt storage variants with no option for expandable storage; a 16-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, and be backed by a 3030mAh battery.

In other news, a Chinese publication has claimed that Mi Band successor may be launched next week and will sport a heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor can be expected to be the highlight of the popular second-generation Mi Band. The Chinese company is said to be price it competitively and launch it at around CNY 99 (approximately Rs. 1,050).

Friday, 6 November 2015

HTC One A9 With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, iPhone-Like Design Launched

HTC on Tuesday unveiled the HTC One A9, the latest addition to the company's family of One smartphone that looks similar to Apple's iPhone. The HTC One A9 will go on sale starting November and has been priced at $399.99 (approximately Rs. 26,000) for the unlocked version. There's no word yet on India price and availability. US pre-orders for the HTC One A9 kicked off Tuesday via the company's online store.

The Taiwanese manufacturer is bundling some offers such as the 'Uh-Oh' protection plan that will offer a free phone replacement in the case of a cracked screen, water damage, or a carrier switch within the first twelve months from the date of purchase. The company is also giving away 6 months of Google Play Music subscription. The smartphone will be available in Carbon Grey, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold, and Deep Garnet colour variants. As had been tipped in several leaks, the HTC One A9 comes with a physical button that sits below the screen, and a design that is highly reminiscent of the iPhone 6. The smartphone sports an all-metal body.

Ahead of the One A9 launch, Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO HTC, had even claimed that the new One smartphone could be a good "alternative to the iPhone."

One of the most notable features of HTC's new One A9 smartphone is the guarantee for Android updates. At the launch, HTC America President, Jason Mackenzie, promised that the unlocked HTC One A9 will receive every Android OS update within 15 days of the Nexus range. In a tweet, the company said, "The unlocked A9 will receive every Google SW update within 15 days of Nexus devices!" HTC is definitely pushing its One A9 as an Android device that will receive updates as soon as Nexus devices, something the dated Google Play Edition devices promised. However, we will have to wait to see whether the company is able to meet its promise as the company has previously missed its OS update deadlines.

The HTC One A9 will be available in two inbuilt storage and RAM versions- 16GB with 2GB RAM, and 32GB with 3GB RAM, with both supporting expandable storage via microSD card (up to 2TB). The company however has specified that the versions will vary by markets indicating that some markets may only get one storage variant.

For specifications, the HTC One A9 by an all-new 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor with 1.5GHz quad-core and 1.2GHz quad-core modules. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with HTC Sense skin on top, the HTC One A9 is the company's first Marshmallow-based handset.

Featuring a 5-inch full-HD (1080x1920 pixels) display, the One A9 also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for protection. There is a 13-megapixel rear camera with sapphire cover lens. It comes with f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), support for 1080p video recording, and a LED flash module. The smartphone will sport a 4-megapixel UltraPixel front-facing fixed-focus camera. It is powered by a 2150mAh battery.

Connectivity options include 4G LTE, 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Micro-USB. The company listing confirms that the HTC One A9 supports Indian LTE bands.

Other notable features include fingerprint sensor, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, gyro, and magnetic sensor.

The company also showcased some accessories for the One A9 smartphone including the Dot View cases which will be available as the HTC Dot View II case and will come in Obsidian, Deep Garnet, Sea Coral and Turquoise Blue colours beginning next month.

Commenting on the launch, Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC said, "HTC is a smartphone pioneer, having delivered the first Android smartphone, the first Windows smartphone, the first 4G smartphone, and the first all-metal smartphone. Today [Tuesday] we're taking that heritage of innovation to the next level, unveiling a phone that stands apart in a market increasingly dominated by a company which controls every aspect of your phone. The HTC One A9 breaks from this trend by offering an incredible design, fantastic performance, cutting-edge software features and the freedom to take full control of your smartphone experience."

Windows 10 Fall Update to Begin Rolling Out From November 2

The next major update to Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system, appears set to roll out in a few weeks. According to multiple reports, Microsoft plans to release the rumoured Threshold 2 (TH2) Update in November.

Citing a trusted source, Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott reported the company plans to release the next major Windows 10 update - also referred to as Windows 10 Fall Update - in November. According to tech blog WinBeta, the update will arrive on November 2.

The update will come with a handful of features and a number of changes, as you would expect. The report says that the update will bring with it an improved Media Creation Tool, new features for Cortana, and several tweaks to Edge. But don't expect support for add-ons on Microsoft Edge in the next update, the report adds. The company has confirmed to The Verge that it has delayed the rollout of extensions support till 2016.

The Verge separately reports that the Windows 10 Fall Update will also bring several UI changes that were originally planned for the final version of Windows 10. These changes include the ability to add an extra column of Live Tiles in Start menu. The context menu, and coloured title bars for desktop apps, are also on their way. The Messaging and Skype Video apps for Windows 10 will be updated to add support for native Skype calling and messaging.

Thurrott also revealed the nature of the impending update. He noted that users will be able to install this update on their computers that currently have the RTM version of Windows 10, without having to first install all the updates the company has seeded out since the release of Windows 10 on July 29. Also, users who are currently on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be pushed to Windows 10 Fall Update version of the operating system if they decided to upgrade their gear.

The update wouldn't require you to reactivate your copy of Windows 10 if your computer already runs an activated version of the said operating system. However, if you haven't upgraded your system yet, you will be able to use your existing Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 product key to do that.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

If familiarity bred contempt, we'd be thoroughly sick of the numerous Assassin's Creed games over the years. Counting the various spin-offs, there are now over 20 games in the series. Despite this, Assassin's Creed Syndicate - the latest entry in the series - proves that there's still life left in Ubisoft's take on the open-world stealth genre.

The game puts you in the roles of Jacob and Evie Frye, twin assassins who are eager to reclaim London from the grip of the Templar Order. Similar to the first game in the series, you're not a rank outsider on the road to being an assassin, rather you already are one. This allows for a different narrative approach in comparison to the most popular games in the series, such as Assassin's Creed 2, and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Without spoiling much, developer Ubisoft Quebec has managed to weave a tale that manages to keep you interested from start to finish.

This is partially down to the fantastic set of characters you meet during your adventure. They range from the amusing, such as a pacifist cross-dressing policeman, to the historical, including Alexander Graham Bell. Syndicate's cast is its strength. The banter between Jacob and Evie goes a long way towards establishing them as likeable protagonists. In fact, they're good enough that you can overlook some of the game's rougher areas, such as its setting.

Much like its predecessors, most of Syndicate takes place in the past. This time you are in 1868 London. The city is in throes of the Industrial Revolution. You'll walk on cobblestoned streets, ride trains, and use horse carriages to get across what appears to be the biggest location for an Assassin's Creed game to date.

Syndicate builds on the scale of last year's Assassin's Creed Unity, what with its fantastic attention to architectural detail. However, while Unity's setting allowed for interesting ways to play such as social stealth wherein you could simply disappear into a crowd, you'll have very little of that luxury in Syndicate. This is because the non-playable character (NPC) count isn't as high as it is in Unity. Social stealth is a lot less viable now, and apart from this, the citizenry don't really stand out as individuals either. The streets of London feel barren and soulless as a result.

The sense of personality is absent and the art direction, while solid, lacks the vibrancy that was a hallmark of the previous games' environments. It's something that long-time fans will notice and it's a nagging point that will stay at the back of your head while playing Syndicate.

Nonetheless, its failings in the setting are balanced out by some dramatic gameplay improvements. Traversal, stealth, and combat in Syndicate are all a lot faster than compared to earlier games in the franchise. Getting into cover is easy and getting out of it even more so, since you don't need to tap a button to exit. From one-button assassinations to zip lining across rooftops with a grappling gun, the moment-to-moment gameplay in Syndicate is quick, responsive, and a lot more fun than before. This also frees you up to experiment more in how you tackle the different missions.

And another plus is that there's a lot of variety in the game's main missions. Whether you're infiltrating an asylum, or fighting a gang war on a train, Syndicate pulls out all the stops. It's engrossing fare that will keep you playing. There's even an entire mission that's complete fan service for lovers of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

And, just like in most other open-world games, Syndicate sees you slowly unlocking and conquering territory to progress. You'll be conquering areas of London known as boroughs. To do so, you'll capture the highest vantage point, discover missions in the area and proceed to finish them one by one. These usually involve killing templar leaders, freeing child labourers, ridding choice locations of its gangs, or turning criminals in to the police.

Nonetheless, its failings in the setting are balanced out by some dramatic gameplay improvements. Traversal, stealth, and combat in Syndicate are all a lot faster than compared to earlier games in the franchise. Getting into cover is easy and getting out of it even more so, since you don't need to tap a button to exit. From one-button assassinations to zip lining across rooftops with a grappling gun, the moment-to-moment gameplay in Syndicate is quick, responsive, and a lot more fun than before. This also frees you up to experiment more in how you tackle the different missions.

And another plus is that there's a lot of variety in the game's main missions. Whether you're infiltrating an asylum, or fighting a gang war on a train, Syndicate pulls out all the stops. It's engrossing fare that will keep you playing. There's even an entire mission that's complete fan service for lovers of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

And, just like in most other open-world games, Syndicate sees you slowly unlocking and conquering territory to progress. You'll be conquering areas of London known as boroughs. To do so, you'll capture the highest vantage point, discover missions in the area and proceed to finish them one by one. These usually involve killing templar leaders, freeing child labourers, ridding choice locations of its gangs, or turning criminals in to the police.

One of the more interesting features of Syndicate is the ability to recruit gang members on various missions. It's handy when you want to complete an objective head-on or as a distraction, but by and large we found ourselves using subtler means of getting the job done, slinking around unseen.

In terms of performance, Syndicate holds up well. There was a single cut-scene that had Jacob and Evie missing, which we could not replicate as it worked fine on rebooting our console. This was after a 500MB patch and before another weighing in at almost 150MB. After applying the second patch there's very little that's overtly offensive in terms of tech. Usual suspects such as minor texture pop-in and a visible frame-rate drop in some of the game's busier areas were evident, and persisted through the game. Load times are long as well but there's nothing game breaking, which is a marked improvement over the early experience most people had with Unity.

All in all, Assassin's Creed Syndicate is welcome iteration in a series of open-world games that really should have overstayed its welcome by now. Improvements in the core gameplay and traversal, along with a host of great characters and compelling narrative offset its historical backdrop and technical concerns. It's not perfect, but its good enough to warrant a purchase.

Twitter Replaces Stars With Hearts, Favourites With Likes

Twitter isn't wasting any time making money from its newest feature, called Moments.

The new product, which debuted two weeks ago as a way to track big events as they happen, will get its first advertiser this weekend. Twitter will give advertisers a channel on Moments for 24 hours, where they can curate tweets, video and other content. The first users of Promoted Moments will be backers of the new movie Creed, from MGM, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.

Promoted Moments fits squarely within the trend for native advertising, which delivers promotions that look like other content so that they're less easily ignored by increasingly ad-weary Internet users. The new initiative also resembles what Twitter is already doing with promoted tweets. The difference is that advertisers will be able to incorporate many more photos, videos and tweets to build a comprehensive story.

"Promoted Moments will have all the features of a Moment you see right now, and instead of curators creating the moment, it'll be a brand," said Matt Derella, Twitter's vice president of revenue for North America. "The real estate they get is going to be really prominently displayed."

Derella said Twitter eventually expects to have one Promoted Moment each day. Moments are premium real estate on Twitter's app, complete with video options, which generally translates into higher ad rates. Derella didn't disclose how Promoted Moments will be sold.

The new initiative comes as Twitter faces slower revenue growth. Analysts on average estimate that sales rose 55 percent to $560 million (roughly Rs. 3,641 crores) in the latest quarter. That compares with revenue growth of 61 percent in the prior period. Twitter is set to announce quarterly earnings on October 27.

Twitter is hiring curators to ensure the quality of Moments, including former New York Times editor-at-large Marcus Mabry. On Thursday, the app featured several sections on news, from Hillary Clinton's testimony on Benghazi to singer Adele's upcoming album.

Advertisers will "get this incredible engagement with people coming to see what's happening in the world, and get this really rich canvas to tell that story," Derella said.

Google Play Gets Fingerprint Payment Authentication for Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Android users will finally be able to use a feature that iPhone and iPad users have been enjoying for years - the ability to authorise payments on the official app store using the device's fingerprint sensor. Google recently updated the Google Play store app for Android users. On the sidelines, the company also quietly enabled the use of fingerprint sensor as a method of authentication during purchases.

Users with select handsets will be able to make purchases by simply placing a finger on the fingerprint sensor. But obviously, your handset needs to have a fingerprint reader to utilise this feature. While the launch of the iPhone 5s with an integrated fingerprint sensor back in 2013 arguably started the fingerprint sensor trend among Android OEMs, till date, only a handful of Android handsets offer the feature. such as the recent Galaxy S and Galaxy Note range, the OnePlus 2, and the Coolpad Note 3, among others.

Native support for the fingerprint reader is one of the biggest features Google has enabled with the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the latest version of its mobile operating system. The Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P come with what Google calls the Nexus Imprint sensor - the blueprint for Google's certification demands from Android OEMs.

Until now however, the company as well as its hardware partners were only showcasing one usage of this feature: to unlock the lockscreen. Select apps and platforms however enabled slightly wider support - an example being the PayPal certification for the Samsung Galaxy S5 last year, enabling PayPal payment support across apps and websites.

First spotted by Android Police, the new Google Play feature is oddly disabled by default. Users who are interested in using this new capability need to go to the Google Play app settings and enable the option from under the User Controls section. Do note, that your handset needs to be running Android 6.0 and sport a compatible fingerprint sensor to facilitate this feature.

As mentioned earlier, the ability to authorise App Store payments for iPhone and iPad users was first introduced by Apple in 2013. Users with iPhone 5s or above, or iPad mini 3, or iPad Air or iPad Air 2, or iPad Pro can use this authentication feature thanks to the Touch ID sensor.

Metal Gear Solid Creator Hideo Kojima Sneaks Out of Konami?

Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the status of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima's employment at video game publisher Konami.

While The New Yorker reports that October 9 was his last day at the company, Konami has denied this, telling The Verge that he is "on vacation".

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the latest game in Kojima's long-running series, apparently made $179 million on the first day of its release. The figure was calculated by a report from the Adobe Digital Index, making it twice as big Avengers: Age of Ultron's opening day.

With Konami's Worldwide Technology Director Julien Merceron quitting the company and its plans for more PC and console games in flux, Kojima's exit appears to be likely.

It's been said that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain cost over $80 million to develop and that Kojima fell out of favour with the management at Konami over numerous delays. Furthermore, due to the success of its mobile games such as Dragon Collection, it felt no need to invest heavily in console games - a claim that the company has refuted in the past.

Regardless of Konami's ambitions on PC and console or lack thereof, we found Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to be a competent experience that was let down by poor online implementation. It will be interesting to see what Kojima does next if indeed he is out of Konami.

US to Require Registration of Drones

Owners of recreational drones in the United States will soon have to register them, the government said Monday, as the popular devices become a growing hazard in the skies.

As more and more radio-controlled drones appear in American skies, the risk of one colliding with a full-sized airplane with potentially catastrophic results has spurred authorities to act.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Michael Huerta told a joint news conference they were setting up a task force to move ahead with the registration plans.

"We do feel the level of urgency here is sufficient to move as quickly as we possibly can," Foxx said.

The measure will all in likelihood apply to existing owners, he said, as well as the hundreds of thousands who are expected to acquire a new drone this holiday season.

Certain types of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), as drones are officially known, could be exempt including "toys" and other small devices.

The task force, set to include representatives from the drone and aviation industries, has been asked to file its recommendations by November 20.

Foxx said he hoped to have new "rules in place by the middle part of December."

Near the White House
For recreational drone pilots in the United States, the flight rules are clear: no higher than 400 feet, always within sight and nowhere near an airport without prior permission.

But authorities admit they are currently powerless to clamp down on reckless behavior.

"Finding the drone has not been as much of a problem as finding the person who was using the drone," Foxx said. "The registration is designed to close that loophole."

Captain Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 52,000 pilots in the United States and Canada, welcomed the registration plan but warned authorities must move fast.

"We also need timely decisions," he said. "There is an anticipation of sale of more than one million UASs during this year's holiday season."

Nearly 700 close encounters with drones were reported by pilots between January and August this year, according to FAA statistics.

"This year pilots have reported seeing unmanned aircraft twice as frequently as they did in 2014," Foxx told reporters.

"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the US aviation system," he said.

While the risk of a mid-air collision is a prime concern, the proliferation of drones has raised wider fears about safety and privacy.

Earlier this month, a man was fined for flying a small drone over Washington's National Mall and landing it near the White House, thought to be the third such incident this year.

Firefighters combatting wildfires in California this summer urged people to stop flying drones to film the blazes, saying they were getting in the way of their helicopters and planes.

A drone also crashed into empty seats in a stadium at the US Open tennis tournament in New York in September.

Microsoft Quietly Unveils Cheaper Surface Book Model With Discrete Graphics

Microsoft has quietly updated the Surface Book lineup to add a low-end variant that offers better graphics than the base model. Priced at $1,699 (roughly Rs. 110,100), the newly added variant is only $200 (roughly Rs. 13,000) more expensive than the Surface Book's base model, but still comes with discrete Nvidia graphics chip.

Unveiled earlier this month, the Surface Book is Microsoft's first laptop. The laptop, which also doubles as a standalone tablet, offers an impressive set of hardware specifications. The lowest-tier of Surface Book offers an Intel Core i5 chipset, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD storage. However, the lowest variant has integrated graphics - Intel HD Graphics 520.

The listing on Microsoft Store now notes another low-end variant which comes with discrete Nvidia GPU (being referred to as dGPU by Microsoft), and 128GB of SSD storage. Prior to this addition, the discrete graphics option was available only with the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage variants of the Surface Book, which start from $1,899 (roughly Rs. 123,100) and go up to $3,199 (Core i7 and 16GB RAM).

It's a handy addition for those who're willing to spend $1700 on the Surface Book. Now such users have a choice between picking either a 256GB internal storage variant and a variant which is capable of handling higher-end graphics. The addition also makes the cheaper price echelon of the Surface Book more enticing for everyone, and overall improves the computing experience for more people.

For those who aren't familiar, the discrete graphics card significantly improves a laptop's capability to play games and handle graphics intensive suites like Adobe Photoshop or AutoCAD. In the words of Panos Panay, the graphics card in the new Surface Book is lineup is "for the gamer who plays League of Legends; this is for the architect who is building a building right now; this is for the scientist who is thinking about a cure for cancer."

Pandora to Pay $90 Million to Settle With Labels Over Pre-1972 Songs

Internet radio leader Pandora on Thursday announced a $90 million (roughly Rs. 583 crores) settlement with music labels for playing songs dating before US copyright law took shape in 1972.

The deal follows a similar settlement by satellite radio provider Sirius XM, which agreed in June to pay $210 million (roughly Rs. 1,362 crores) over pre-1972 songs.

Cary Sherman, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, called the latest deal "a significant milestone and a big win for the music community."

"Major settlements with Sirius XM and now Pandora means that an iconic generation of artists and the labels that supported them will be paid for the use of their creative works," he said in a statement.

US federal law protecting copyright only applies to music recorded on or after February 15, 1972.

Individual US states have their own copyright protections, but Pandora and Sirius XM without the fixed addresses and reach of traditional radio stations had argued that they were exempt.

Pandora said it was reaching the settlement, whose details were not disclosed, with labels including the three major conglomerates - Sony, Universal and Warner.

Brian McAndrews, CEO of Pandora, said in the statement that the Internet radio station wanted a "better, collaborative relationship" with the labels.

"Together we share a common objective to grow the music industry and support artists," he said.

Sirius XM and Pandora came in the crosshairs of legal action after a California judge last year agreed that state law protected pre-1972 copyright for songs.

The judge's ruling came as part of a campaign for past compensation led by members of The Turtles, the band best known for the 1967 hit "Happy Together."

Eight Simple Tips to Increase the Battery Life of Your Mobile Device

Most smartphones today pack huge, high-resolution screens, powerful processors and lots of memory to multitask and handle really complex tasks. This also unfortunately means that they struggle to handle a full day's worth of heavy usage, and so power banks are now a must-have accessory.

The same can be said for our laptops, and the need to tether them to the plug point grows as the battery ages. Most of our consumer electronics devices come with Lithium ion and Lithium Poly batteries that are geared for quick recharging, and not for long term life. Often, you're better off replacing your battery instead of upgrading your laptop, because of how quickly the battery ages.

Whether you're using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, here are some general purpose tips on prolonging its lifecycle and usage between recharge cycles.

1) Keep it cool
Exposing the battery to high temperatures can be more stressful than cycling. According to Battery University, which runs an extensive array of battery tests - cycling, elevated temperature and ageing decrease the performance of your battery over time. Keeping your devices in a cool environment (battery dwelling above 30°C (86°F) is considered elevated temperature) will certainly enhance the lifecycle of your device.

In the testing, capacity dropped to 60 percent when exposed to 60-degree temperature for three months, and 65 percent when the temperature was 40-degrees. For this reason, don't expose your gadgets to heat like leaving them bake in the sun inside a car.

(Also see: How to Prolong the Battery Life of Your Smartphone, Tablet, and Laptop)

It's also a good reason to worry about heating issues on a smartphone, as it can plunge the battery life quite drastically over time. On a laptop, you should look at using a cooling pad to make sure the CPU vent is being vented away. Exposure to dust can clog vents and make your fans run on overtime, leading to an additional resource burden, so keep the environment clean and dust free.

2) Go for paid apps, instead of free ones
Ad-supported apps reduce battery life by 2.5 to 2.1 hours on average, a study conducted by US-based researchers revealed. To quote the study, a phone's processor is like its brain - and ads eat up a lot of that brain power, slowing it down.

Not all free apps are draining your battery, but if you're seeing advertising on it then assume it comes with a bandwidth and processing burden. Spending a bit on apps might pay off handsomely, considering some apps are available for as low as Rs. 10 on both Google Play and the App Store.

On a laptop, running a local application to do something like text editing will consume less battery than firing up your browser and using an online resource. So, if you're not using it, turn your Wi-Fi connection off - on a Windows PC this is as simple as pressing Fn+F2 on the keyboard. The exact function key can vary, depending on the device manufacturer, so just look for a key with a Wi-Fi symbol next to it.

3) Turn off location tracking 
According to a recent news report, the Facebook app drains the battery of iPhone users as it's constantly tracking the user's location using the GPS module. Turning off location tracking for apps that don't need your location will certainly help.

In most Android devices, you can head to Settings > Location, and toggle it off to disable location tracking entirely. The functionality to set app level permissions is only enabled in Android M.

On iOS 9, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and turn it off on a per-app basis, leaving location access on for just important apps, if you really need to.

4) Partial recharges are better than full-depth recharges 
Another invaluable trip from Battery University can be explained with the metaphor of a running a marathon. Instead of letting your battery cycle all the way from 100 percent capacity down to zero, keeping the depth of discharge to 50 percent of your battery capacity, between 30 and 80 percent can increase the number of discharge cycles by three times.

Lenovo internalises this principle in its Battery Maintenance settings in the Power Manager bundled with their laptops, which can be customised to power plans that best suit your needs. To optimise for many years of usage, Lenovo recommends you set the charge threshold to start at 40 percent capacity, and stop at 50 percent.

5) Turn down display brightness
This is an obvious tip that applies to both laptops and mobile devices. On most devices, brightness settings are easily accessible, and you can also apply screen dimming techniques through third party apps like Lux, which overlays an opaque graphic to reduce brightness and change the colour cast of the screen.

However, a software layer only saves power on OLED screens, while LCD screens can only save power by decreasing backlight brightness.

Reducing the amount of time your display stays on while inactive can also save a fractional amount of battery life. In Android, this can be accessed in Settings > Display. On iOS, Settings > General > Auto-Lock lets you tweak this setting.

On a Windows laptop, right-click on the battery icon and click on Power Options. Change the setting to Power Saver to maximise battery life - Windows will lower the brightness, and change the standby and other settings to prioritise battery usage instead of performance.

6) Schedule app updates over Wi-Fi or when you are plugged in
In general, anything that is processor or bandwidth intensive is likely to consume a lot of CPU power. For the best standby times it's best to be stationary, and sipping on a Wi-Fi than your data plan. For this reason, it's best to schedule app updates to happen only over Wi-Fi, or if your device supports it, while you are plugged in.

This setting can be accessed in Play Store app on Android. Launch the app, then open the menu by swiping in from the left side of the screen. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps, and select Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only. On an iPhone or iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and turn Use Cellular Data off.

7) Turn on low power mode
Not all Android phones have battery saver mode, but if you're on Android 5.0 or later (Lollipop) then you are likely have this feature. It automatically kicks in when your battery hits 15 percent, and disables background app refreshes, location tracking, and other syncing activity to save on battery life. With Android Marshmallow, a new feature called Doze puts your phone in deep sleep mode when it's lying unused for a long time. This feature is apparently doubling standby times. Unfortunately, if you're on an older phone, then you won't get the feature.

With iOS 9, iPhones have a Low Power Mode that cuts down on background refreshes, visual effects, and automatic downloads. This can be accessed in Settings > Battery.

If you're using an older Android phone, then your phone's manufacturer might have included its own Low Power mode feature - on Sony phones for example, it's called Stamina Mode, while HTC calls it Extreme Power Mode. There are also third-party apps you can try, though in our experience, the built-in apps are more effective.

8) Discover flight mode
The phone's distance to a cellular tower is known to affect standby time as well. So, if you're in a place with no network, it's best to turn your smartphone into Airplane mode (called Flight mode on some devices) to conserve battery life, rather than let your phone constantly seek a tower.

Follow these tips and you'll find that your phone will last a little longer between recharges - and the fewer recharge cycles you put it through in a day the longer the overall battery life will be. Have some more tips and tricks of your own to share? Tell us via the comments.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst Delayed

February is looking to be a packed month for games. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Far Cry Primal, Street Fighter V, and XCOM 2 are just some of the games you can expect to play in that month. With so many heavy hitters due in the same month, it's expected to see some be pushed back. And it appears that February has claimed its first casualty in Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. The first-person parkour-inspired action adventure will now release on May 24, 2016.

(Also see: Here's Why You Can Buy FIFA 16 and Other EA Games Only From Amazon India)

"We've made the decision to bring Mirror's Edge to the world starting May 24, 2016. We will use these few extra months to make sure that when you step into the massive City of Glass and experience the rise of Faith, it's as entertaining, impressive, and memorable as it can be," said the game's Senior Producer Sara Jansson in a post on the Mirror's Edge website.

(Also see: Top 5 Games Best Enjoyed in 4K Resolution)

Delaying Mirror's Edge to May is not that bad a thing. Aside from side-stepping the incredible rush of games expected in February, it gives the developer Dice time to craft a better experience. Considering that it's become the rule, rather than the exception for games to release in an incomplete state on launch, we're optimistic that this will not be the case with Mirror's Edge: Catalyst.

New Phototransistor to Speed Up Digital Cameras

Engineers have crafted a new silicon phototransistor which they claim is the fastest so far and would drastically improve the performance of products which rely on electronic light sensors such as digital cameras, night-vision goggles and smoke detectors.

Integrated into a digital camera lens, for example, it could reduce bulkiness and boost both the acquisition speed and quality of photos and videos, the University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers said.

Like human eyes, phototransistors sense and collect light, then convert that light into an electrical charge proportional to its intensity and wavelength.

In the case of our eyes, the electrical impulses transmit the image to the brain. In a digital camera, that electrical charge becomes the long string of 1s and 0s that create the digital image.

While many phototransistors are fabricated on rigid surfaces, and therefore are flat, the new product is flexible, meaning it more easily mimics the behaviour of mammalian eyes.

"We actually can make the curve any shape we like to fit the optical system," said professor Zhenqiang Ma.

The researchers also placed electrodes under the phototransistor's ultrathin silicon nanomembrane layer - and the metal layer and electrodes each act as reflectors and improve light absorption without the need for an external amplifier.

"There is a built-in capability to sense weak light," Ma explained.

"It shows the capabilities of high-sensitivity photo detection and stable performance under bending conditions, which have never been achieved at the same time," the professor added.

The details of the study were published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials.

Five Gadget Gifts Between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000

Planning to buy something for a friend or a loved one this Diwali? The best kinds of gifts are the ones that last many years, and a well-timed tech gift could be the hit of the season. There's a broad range of products that you can buy for someone, and we decided to break this up by budget. If you're looking for gifts between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000, you've come to the right place.

Everyone has different tastes, but we've got a list below that covers all the bases, and you should be able to find something for everyone. Some of these recommendations are picks from our reviews section, others are based on groupthink, distilled from reviews of the professional tech reviewing fraternity.

1) Mi Redmi 2 Prime 4G (16GB)

The Redmi 2 Prime 4G is one of the best value-for-money devices in the high stakes entry-level smartphone space - it offers expandable storage, an above-average camera, and MIUI is well customised for the Dual SIM phone usage.

The build quality is great, it fits well in your pocket, and there's very little to complain about this one, when it's priced at Rs. 6,990. Buy from Flipkart at Rs. 6,999.

2) SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 Pen Drive

USB-drives are sold at dime a dozen prices, so why would you spend over Rs. 5,000 on one? There is actually a good reason, because this one will please the speed demon and data hog.

Available in 16, 32 and 64 GB options, the Sandisk Extreme series has lived up to its proclaimed speeds in benchmarks, and can transfer a GB of data in a little over five seconds. It isn't necessary for everyone, but for the right recipient, this will be the perfect gift.Buy from Amazon at Rs. 5,899.

3) Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB

This portable hard-drive ticks all boxes for what we would expect from a portable hard drive in 2015. 

Retailing at Rs. 6,499 on Amazon, it brings down the cost per gigabyte to Rs. 3.6, and throws in an a two year subscription to 200GB of cloud storage via OneDrive to sweeten the deal. Give it to the media hoarder in your life to make them happy.Buy from Amazon at Rs. 6,499

4) Mad Catz R.A.T. TE

Lightweight and highly customisable, this mouse is a well-suited gift for the PC gamer, or just about any high-functioning tech geek who needs a precision mouse in their daily line of work, and puts in long hours. In our review, we found it deceptively light compared to other gaming mice, making swift movements easy to pull off.Buy from Amazon at Rs. 6,029.

5) HooToo HT-UH010

Ideal for anyone who uses a modern desktop or ultrabook with USB 3.0 ports and has an extensive collection of storage devices to sync it with. 

This USB hub provides seven USB 3.0 ports and two smart charging ports that can quickly charge your devices, while letting you take advantage of fast transfer speeds. It has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, based on over 3,500 reviews. 
Buy from Amazon at Rs. 5,381.

Smartphone apps don't help you lose weight

Smartphone apps that track exercise, calories and weight loss goals may not be enough for young adults to lose weight, according to new study.

The study, by researchers at the Duke University and Northeastern University in US, offers a sober insight about the complexities of weight loss and potential limitations of an app-based approach.

The inexpensive and easily accessed tool was aimed at tech-savvy adults ages 18 to 35.
"Thirty-five percent of this age-group is overweight or obese, and that's a huge public health problem," said lead author Laura P Svetkey, professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine.

"We thought that because this is an age group that is most engaged in technology, it might be possible to intervene and prevent future problems like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes while they are still developing their lifestyle habits," Svetkey said.

The randomized study included 365 people ages 18 to 35 who were overweight or obese.
One group of participants used a free Android app called CITY (Cell Phone Intervention for You), which was designed exclusively for the study.

World's most expensive headphones get a makeover

In 1990, Sennheiser engineers set out to create the best headphones in the world. The result was the legendary Sennheiser Orpheus, a pair of $16,000 audiophile headphones so sophisticated that they even came with their own tube amplifier that looked like something taken from a mad scientist's lab.
Only 300 pair of the original Orpheus exist today (and they typically fetch more than $30,000 on eBay), but on Tuesday Sennheiser announced the successor to the Orpheus, which you'll be able to buy this year for around $55,000.

That staggering price tag also means that the Orpheus will remain the most expensive headphones in the world.

So what's changed since the original headphones were crafted more than 20 years ago?

One thing that hasn't changed is what Sennheiser wants these headphones to represent: The pinnacle of headphone technology and sound engineering, a no-expense-spared benchmark to measure all other audiophile headphones by. Sennheiser says its team has been working on the new Orpheus for "almost a decade," and each pair will be hand-crafted in Germany.

Like the original headphones, the new Orpheus are not designed for portability, they're designed to sit on your desk like a piece of art. The originals featured a tube amplifier constructed out of wood, metal and glass, complete with a key to turn them on and warm up the vacuum tubes. Sennheiser has gone for a more modern aesthetic for the new model, opting for a marble transistor amplifier that also "combines to perfection the advantages of a tube amplifier." Sennheiser says it used marble shipped from Carrara, Italy, home to the same marble that Michelangelo used.

Each of the amplifier's controls are created using a single piece of brass, and once you turn the headphones on, the quartz glass vacuum tubes rise up from the marble enclosure and emit their characteristic glow.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 India launch in January

During his keynote speech at the Future Unleashed event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that the company will bring its Surface Pro tablet to the domestic market in January.

Announced in October this year, Surface Pro 4 is a convertible tablet powered by Windows 10 operating system.

The new Surface Pro 4 tablet -- a larger but thinner and lighter version of the Surface Pro 3. Launched nearly a year and a half after its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch screen with 267ppi. It runs on 6th-generation Intel Core processor and has 16GB of RAM, 1TB storage packs a G5 chipset, reportedly designed by Microsoft.

There's also a new Surface pen with all-year battery life and interchangeable tips.

Surface Pro 4 is 50% faster than Apple's MacBook Air, Panos Panay, the corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft, had said at the launch. The latest Microsoft tablet is priced at $899.
Nadella, however, did not reveal whether Microsoft plans to introduce its new Surface Book laptop in the country at the same time.

Along with this, Nadella said that the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL smartphones will hit the market in the next two months.

The Lumia 950 includes a 5.2-inch display and a hexacore processor, while the larger Lumia 950 XL has a 5.7-inch display with an octacore chip. The specs on the budget 550 had not been released as the event continued.

The 950 and 950XL handsets feature a 20-megapixel rear camera, have up to 32GB of storage, 4K video and use liquid cooling technology. Microsoft said storage on the phones could be extended to up to 2 terabytes using a memory card.

Priced at $549 and $649 respectively, the Lumia 950 and 950XL became available in US in November.

Microsoft to help solve urban India's problems: CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today said that the company is starting a programme for startups that will create a single platform to bring together data to help solve burgeoning urban problems.

"Startups can now apply for individual access up to $120,000 (Rs 80 lakh) worth of Azure computing to help smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots. Cities can also apply for access to these services and solutions on Azure through a new portal which connects startups with cities and their needs," the company said in a statement.

With over 50 startups as partners, Microsoft said this initiative will cover more than 50 smartcities in the next year.

The new project is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of smartcities, Nadella said.
Addressing industry leaders and state government officials, Nadella said computing is the future and emphasized on the need of promoting cloud and mobility.

Nadella said entrepreneurs today are using cloud computing and data to improve processes for small businesses as well as healthcare and education setup. This has allowed these organizations to deliver better performance and improve output by reducing the amount of resources required.

At the event, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in conversation with Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik said that the state has already brought 42 government services online and the vision is to bring all government-provided services on a single platform. "To help improve ease of doing business in the state, the government is also reducing the number of permissions needed to execute projects," CM added.

Fadnavis said that the state government is creating smartcities and using technologies to reduce wastage and promote sustainability. He said he sees even villages going 'smart', with Harisaal becoming the first completely digital village of the state. He said the state government aims to create 50 digital villages by 2016.

Fadnavis added that introducing technology in the field of education is also imperative.

IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that support for regional languages is imperative to take the whole of India to the digital age.
Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra Group, stressed on the power of democratization and decentralization of technology in connecting citizens and government.