Sony Walkman NW-WS623 Wireless Bluetooth Headset Launched in India

Sony on Monday launched its Walkman NW-WS623 wireless Bluetooth headset at Rs. 8,990 in India. Designed specifically to meet the needs of sports enthusiasts, Walkman NW-WS623 comes with connectivity options including NFC and Bluetooth that allow users to connect the headset to their smartphones or other devices. Sony Walkman NW-WS623 will be made available in the country from Friday and comes in Black colour only. The wireless Bluetooth headset will be available for purchase at Sony Centre and electronic stores across India.

Weighing in at just 32 grams, Sony Walkman NW-WS623 provides a battery life of around 12 hours, and can be fully charged in 1.5 hours, as per the company’s claims. Interestingly, Sony has claimed that even with a quick charge of just 3 minutes, the Walkman NW-WS623 will provide a playback of around one hour to the user.

Sony Walkman NW-WS623 Wireless Bluetooth Headset Launched in IndiaThe wireless Bluetooth headset comes with a built-in storage of 4GB to carry music on-the-go and has been described to be designed specifically for people who are into sports. This is why the new Sony headset comes with IP65/IP68 water and dust resistance rating. Sony claims that the Walkman NW-WS623 allows users to swim to a depth of 2 meters with up to 30 minutes of submerged time, thanks to its water resistance.

“The Walkman can endure extreme temperatures from -5-degree Celsius to 45-degree Celsius, making it ideal for a hike or climb. With improved wearing comfort, the Walkman NW-WS623 features an ergonomic, slim and light design that stays in place no matter the movement,” the company said in its release.

Enabling the Ambient Sound Mode, users will also be able to hear external sounds while wearing the headset to allow them to communicate to others without having to take the wearable off.

Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to ‘Museum of Failure’

Google and Apple are not synonymous with failure but in the risky business of innovation, anything is possible. At Sweden’s newly opened Museum of Failure, Google Glass and Apple Newton are two such devices that were either ahead of their time or the results of some bad ideas.

Founded by clinical psychologist Samuel West, the museum that opened on June 7 to the public has over 70 failed products and services from around the world.

“We know that 80 to 90 percent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them, you don’t see them, people don’t talk about them. And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, it’s learn from them,” West told CBS News.

The list has Nokia “N-gage” device, Orbitoclast Lobotomy (medical instrument), Harley-Davidson Perfume, Kodak Digital Camera, Sony Betamax and Lego Fiber Optics, among others, the information available on the Museum of Failure website stated.

Developed and marketed by Apple Inc starting 1987, Newton was one of the first personal digital assistants to feature handwriting recognition. Apple shipped the first devices in 1993.

Initially considered as innovative, Apple founder Steve Jobs directed the company to stop the production of Apple Newton devices in 1998.

According to reports, Newton devices ran on a proprietary operating system called Newton OS. The high price and early problems with its handwriting recognition feature limited its sales.

Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to 'Museum of Failure'Google Glass, an eye-wearable device, created a storm when the company handed over a prototype to a few “Glass Explorers” in 2013 for $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1,00,000).

The optical head-mounted display became available to public in May 2014 but was discontinued in 2015 owing to privacy and safety concerns. The device, however, is now gaining momentum in the medical industry.

Nokia made “N-Gage” mobile device and handheld game system that ran on Series 60 platform on Symbian OS. The device, released in October 2003, was discontinued two years later. “N-Gage” suffered from a poor gaming library.

The Museum of Failure is open to the public in downtown Helsingborg.

Bingo T30 Smartwatch With Calling, SMS Launched at Rs. 1,099

Consumer electronics company Bingo Technologies on Monday launched the Bingo T30 smartwatch at Rs. 1,099. The new Bingo T30 supports calling and SMS, though the company does not mention cellular data support in its release. The smartwatch is available in Silver, Black, and Rose Gold colours via e-commerce platforms such as Amazon India, Flipkart, Paytm, and Snapdeal.

Bingo T30 sports a 1.56-inch square, LCD display with 240×240-pixel resolution and NANO toughened glass to protect from scratches. Packing a MediaTek MTK6260 chipset (with 128MB RAM and 64MB ROM), the smartwatch supports microSD cards of up to 16GB capacity, 2-megapixel camera, and weighs 75 grams. Its 380mAh battery offers 3 hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby time. It can pair with the users’ phones via Bluetooth 3.0 and direct SIM-enabling.

Bingo T30 Smartwatch With Calling, SMS Launched at Rs. 1,099As for features, the Bingo T30 smartwatch has an integrated pedometer that allows users to count steps, and monitor sleep. It can deliver notifications from the users’ phones to their wrists, store contacts (up to 500), play MP3 or MP4 files via Bluetooth, power saver, thermometer, and has an e-reader functionality. There’s also a world clock, weather alerts, calculator,

“The all new Bingo T30 smartwatch is power-packed with features and its trendy design makes its a must have fashion accessory,” said Abhinaya Pratap Singh, Marketing Manager, Bingo Technologies, in a statement.

Commenting on the launch, Mr Abhinaya Pratap Singh, Marketing Manager, Bingo Technologies Pvt Ltd, said, The all-new Bingo T30 smart watch is power packed with features and its trendy design makes it’s a must have fashion accessory. Backed with Bingo’s quality assurance, the T30 will certainly be welcomed by our customers.”

Boltt Arnav Kishore Ecosystem Goes Up for Pre-Orders

Indian startup Boltt has developed a range of fitness wearables, such as ‘smart’ shoes and bands, integrated with a first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence (AI) health coach which provides users a personalised feedback, based on their real-time performance and training. On Tuesday, the company announced its products are now up for pre-orders on its site, Boltt.com.

“Through this pre-order campaign, Boltt intends to launch its first batch of products to a select ‘Early Adopter’ community,” the company said in a press release.

While a variety of fitness trackers and apps are available in the market, most generate data that users are not able to appropriately interpret.

“Till now, all activity trackers and wearables gave data. We are conspiring to change that by inferring this data and giving it meaning,” Arnav Kishore, CEO and co-founder of Boltt, told PTI.

“With an ever-growing market for wearables and people taking fitness seriously in India, there is an increased focus on how we consume what is sold in the name of ‘fitness,'” said Aayushi Kishore, co-founder of the company.

The wearables, including ‘smart’ bands, attachable strider sensors and connected shoes, give users “actionable” insights from the data gathered with an interactive app. The app uses statistics and data captured from the connected devices to help make better training and running decisions. The AI-enabled app offers personalised coaching in the form of voice or chat.

The Siri-like voice provides real-time coaching and in-ear dynamic audio feedback, based on the users’ real-time performance and training. The chat-based mechanism allows a user to view a detailed history and analysis of their activity regimen.

24×7 text coaching and user interaction also guides and supports the user in eating healthier, getting more active, and building healthy lifestyle habits. Going beyond traditional tracking, the AI health coach records and analyses the data of the user. This data is broken down into movements classified into various forms of activity, along with automatic detection of sleep and its various stages and patterns.

The data also includes a module for nutrition, which a user can log into the mobile application with millions of items to choose from. Based on this data, the AI health coach provides a real time chat guidance, on the most relevant nutrition elements, depending on what time of the day the user logs in.

The “Central Intelligence” is built via complex integration of rules, algorithms and machine learning. After two years of testing devices and collecting quality feedback from nutritionists, doctors and fitness enthusiasts across the world, the start-up today launched its smart wearables across India, US and the Europe through its website.

Boltt Wearable Ecosystem Goes Up for Pre-OrdersThe products were showcased at the global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow, CES, in Las Vegas, US in January.

The connected sneakers are embedded with sensors that track the biomechanical data, as one indulges in physical activities throughout the day. It is powered by the Boltt Audio AI coach.

The stride sensor is a small advance sensor that can make any ordinary shoe ‘smart’. From analysing the user’s motion and cadence to sensing individual stride and pace, it acts as users’ kinematic running database available to them 24×7.

The fitness-tracker or the smart bands help make fitness a habit rather than a compulsion. Paired with the Boltt application, the wearables become a user’s personalised fitness guide that coaches them on sleep, nutrition, activities, and running, the company said. The Bolt app can be integrated with over 30 Android and iOS apps.

Facebook’s Oculus Fights Sales Ban for Virtual-Reality Headset

Facebook wants a federal judge to let it continue sales of its virtual-reality headsets even though a jury said the social-media giant’s Oculus unit stole another company’s computer code.

ZeniMax Media’s request for a court order blocking sales of unspecified models of the Oculus Rift, which is priced at $600 (roughly Rs. 39,000) with controllers, follows a $500 million verdict in February over claims that Oculus and some of its executives purloined proprietary information when they designed the headset prototype.

Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company’s bet on virtual reality as the next big computing platform will take years to pay off. Currently, the headsets are mostly popular among video game players – not the mainstream. But projections by Bloomberg Intelligence show the market for virtual and augmented-reality hardware may exceed $40 billion in sales in 2020.

A sales ban would place an unfair hardship on Oculus and its business partners and customers, the company argued in a filing in Dallas federal court, where a hearing on ZeniMax’s request for an injunction is scheduled for Tuesday.

It “would serve no one but ZeniMax, who would use it only as leverage to try to extract money from Oculus,” lawyers for Oculus said in the filing. “The injunction would create a windfall for ZeniMax while detracting from the public’s enjoyment of Oculus’s groundbreaking products.”

It’s tough to get a product pulled from the market in these types of cases, even when the two sides are direct competitors. If the judge decides ZeniMax can be made whole with money, then he’s unlikely to disrupt Facebook’s business. US District Judge Ed Kinkeade will consider Facebook’s chances of winning on appeal, the existing or potential harm to each company and what’s in the public’s interest.

Oculus said that re-engineering the software for the Rift to work around the disputed technology wouldn’t be easy.

The company “would have to hire clean-room engineers to make myriad changes not just to the code fragments ZeniMax presented at trial, but to numerous other segments of interrelated and interdependent code,” according to the Oculus filing. “The process would be lengthy, burdensome, and costly.”

Representatives of ZeniMax and Oculus declined to discuss specifics of how an injunction would affect sales of the current line of Rift products. A spokeswoman for Oculus said there would be “business effects,” but declined to elaborate.

Oculus is also set to ask Kinkeade at Tuesday’s hearing to set aside the February verdict, or to reduce the damages to no more than $50 million, saying in a filing that amount reflects the value of “a lump-sum license to use copyrighted material.”

David Dobkin, a Princeton University computer science professor who testified as an expert witness for ZeniMax, told jurors during the January trial he found numerous examples of computer code containing ZeniMax trade secrets in then-current versions of Oculus software.

Facebook's Oculus Fights Sales Ban for Virtual-Reality HeadsetThe trial turned on a non-disclosure agreement signed in 2012 by Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey, a virtual reality hobbyist whose crude headset was developed into an early working prototype by John Carmack, then a star video-game programmer with ZeniMax.

Luckey and Brendan Iribe formed Oculus shortly after Carmack demonstrated the device at a video gaming trade show. Carmack, designer of hit games such as Doom and Quake, defected to Oculus in 2013 and became its chief technology officer. He acknowledged during the trial that he took with him e-mail records including computer code related to virtual reality.

The jury rejected ZeniMax’s claim that Oculus stole trade secrets but hit Oculus with $200 million in damages for violating the non-disclosure agreement, $50 million for copyright infringement and $50 million for improper use of ZeniMax’s trademarks. Jurors also ordered Iribe and Luckey to pay $150 million and $50 million in damages, respectively, for the trademark misuse. The jury found that Carmack took property belonging to ZeniMax but didn’t order him to pay damages.

Luckey left Oculus in March after Facebook began distancing itself from him following a report that he was financing a group creating anti-Hillary Clinton memes for the internet ahead of the US presidential election.

Delhi Metro Now Lets You Use Wristwatches for Payments

Delhi Metro commuters will now be able to wear their smart cards on wrists as DMRC has allowed the use of wristwatches launched by Austrian company LAKS to make payments at the gates.

“These watches (called Watch2Pay) are available through an online e-commerce site. The new facility is expected to provide the commuters a more convenient and fast access to the Delhi Metro network. The commuter will simply have to touch the wristwatch to the screens of the AFC (Automatic Fare Collection) gates at the metro stations to get access,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) statement.

Delhi Metro Now Lets You Use Wristwatches for PaymentsThe watch will carry a SIM card inside it, which can be removed and reinserted whenever the user wants, like in case when he or she wishes to change the watch.

The SIM-equipped watch can be recharged also like any usual metro smart-card over the counter or through recharge card terminals, a DMRC official told IANS.

In 2015, the same watch company had joined hands with Hyderabad Metro Rail to facilitate payment of fares.

WhatsApp Extends Support for BlackBerry, Nokia S40 Platforms

WhatsApp has become an essential messaging app amongst all kinds of mobile users irrespective of the operating system their devices run on. In February last year, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced to end support for BlackBerry OS and Nokia S40 platforms, which got pushed back to June this year. It seems that the end-of-life date has been pushed back yet again, as the company has reportedly confirmed the extension of its services for BlackBerry and Nokia S40 platforms till December 2017 and December 2018 respectively.

Update: WhatsApp has confirmed the revised end-of-life timelines for the BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, and Nokia S40 platforms on its website.

As per a report by Netherlands-based fan website WhatsAppen, the WhatsApp apps for BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS7+ received an update on Monday that extends support for the platforms until December 31, 2017. According to the website, the changelog of the update, seen on devices, states “changed client end-of-life date to December 31, 2017”. This means that WhatsApp users on eligible BlackBerry devices will be continue sending and receiving messages, calls till the end of the year.

WhatsApp Extends Support for BlackBerry, Nokia S40 PlatformsIn addition, the Nokia S40 platform has reportedly got an extension for WhatsApp support till December 31, 2018 – however, this date may be a typographical error. Spotted by WhatsApp watcher WABetaInfo, the end-of-life date has been moved from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2018. There are a limited number of customers who use the Nokia S40 platform nowadays, but it will still bring relief to those who still carry the dated devices. However, Nokia Symbian S60 users don’t have much time on their hands as WhatsApp will end its support on the platform on June 30 this year.

If the reports are true, BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry OS7+, and Nokia S40 users still have ample time to access WhatsApp on their platforms. However, the Nokia Symbian S60 devices will cease to support WhatsApp and if you need your chat backed up, you can make a request to get the backup in an email from the company. Notably, there is no option on Nokia S40 and Symbian S60 devices to backup chats.

WhatsApp Support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread Extended till 2020

WhatsApp clearly does not want to reduce its user base too early. With over 1.2 billion monthly active users in February, WhatsApp is available on a multitude of platforms, including ageing mobile platforms like BlackBerry OS, Nokia S40, Nokia S60, and older versions of Android. Recently, the company announced extension of its services on BlackBerry OS and Nokia S40 platforms. It has now officially announced that smartphones running Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread and older versions will continue to be supported by the app till February 1, 2020.

WhatsApp support for Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread

In an update to its original blog post announcing the discontinuation of its services on various older platforms, WhatsApp has laid out the timeline for some mobile operating systems that will continue to support the messaging app’s services. Starting with Android, the versions 2.3.7 Gingerbread and older version will support services until a significant time span of February 1, 2020. However, according to recent Android version distribution data released by Google, there are a limited number of devices powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the version having just a 0.8 percent share of active devices.

WhatsApp Support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread Extended till 2020The company further mentions in the blog post that the Nokia S40 and BlackBerry OS (including BlackBerry 10) platforms will support WhatsApp till December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2018 respectively, which we recently mentioned in a report and wherein the end-of-life timeline for Nokia S40 devices was thought to be a typographical error. In addition, the eligible devices running Windows Phone 8.0 and later will too keep WhatsApp support till December 31, 2017. Meanwhile, Nokia S60 devices will stop being supported by the app by the end of this month.

“Because we will no longer actively develop for these platforms, some features may stop functioning at any time”, also reads the blog post issuing an alert for the users who own devices running on unsupported mobile platforms. It could mean that even before the last dates, WhatsApp services may be disrupted on these platforms.

To recall, the company had last year announced it would stop providing support on older mobile operating systems and devices like Windows Phone 7, iOS 6, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Android 2.1, and Android 2.2 by the end of 2016. However later, the deadline got pushed back for few mobile platforms to June 2017. Yet again, the deadlines were changed to the aforementioned timeframes but only for select platforms. For now, it’s unclear whether Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 will continue to be supported.

Google Allo Can Now Make Duo Calls Within a Chat

Google this week rolled out an update to its messaging app Allo that enables users make a Duo video call directly within the chat window.

To be able to use the feature, both Allo and Google’s video calling app Duo need to be installed on both ends, the company said in a statement.

“So when you’re at the mall and are finding it difficult to pick the perfect pair of shoes, quickly starting a Duo video call with your friend makes it so much easier than typing a description of those great-looking runners,” the statement added.

A Duo icon in the upper-right corner of the chat screen immediately launches a Duo call by tapping it.

With the Allo update, users can also add stickers to their photos before sending them in a chat. The latest Allo update is available for both Android and iOS platforms.

Earlier this month, Google rolled out the v12 update of Allo, bringing the big Selfie Clips feature, along with other changes like a redesigned compose bar.

Google Allo Can Now Make Duo Calls Within a ChatSelfie Clips essentially lets you use the front camera to make GIF loops of yourself or anything in the front camera view, and send them in chat conversations. Earlier, to send GIFs, you’d have to use third-party material, and a tool to create one was not available in-app. With this update, Allo adds the ability for iPhone and Android users in-app. This feature was announced by Allo team head Amit Fulay. Furthermore, the selfie sticker feature that was only launched for Android first, has now been made available to iPhone users as well.

The new compose bar was also mentioned by Fulay and it basically gets rid of the ‘+’ icon that hid all the compose buttons, and shows them all above the message bar itself. This makes them more accessible than before, as earlier they were hidden behind the ‘+’ button, and could only be seen when the button was pressed.

Facebook Gives Users in India More Control Over Their Profile Pictures

Facebook has announced that it is piloting new tools that will give people in India more control over who can download and share their profile pictures.

“In India, we’ve heard that people want more control over their profile pictures, and we’ve been working over the past year to understand how we can help,” wrote Aarati Soman, Product Manager at Facebook on Wednesday.

In addition, the company is exploring ways people could more easily add designs to profile pictures, which Facebook research has shown helpful in deterring misuse.

Based on what it learns from the experience in India, the social media giant hopes to expand the feature to other countries soon.

“In our research with people and safety organisations in India, we have heard that some women choose not to share profile pictures that include their faces anywhere on the internet because they are concerned about what may happen to their photos,” she added.

These tools, developed in partnership with Indian safety organisations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz are designed to give people more control over their experience and help keep them safe online.

From now on, people in India would start seeing a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture guard.

profile guard press 1 Profile Guard

“Other people will no longer be able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook. People you are not friends with on Facebook won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture,” Soman clarified.

Where possible, Facebook would prevent others from taking a screenshot of a profile picture on Facebook – the feature currently available only on Android devices.

The company would also display a blue border and shield around profile picture as a visual cue of protection deterring misuse.

Facebook also partnered with Jessica Singh, an illustrator who took inspiration from traditional Indian textile designs such as bandhni and kantha, to create designs for people to add to their profile picture.