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PC/ Laptops

Western Digital Launches WD Black SN850, AN1500 SSDs in India

Western Digital has unveiled a series of PC storage solutions under the WD Black range. These include the WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD with top-tier read and write speeds and the WD Black AN1500 NVMe SSD add-in card. Additionally, the company has also confirmed that it will be introducing three new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War-themed SSDs next month. This includes the WD Black Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Special Edition SN850 NVMe SSSD, P10 Game Drive, and P50 Game Drive SSD.

WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD price in India, features

The new WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD non-heatsink version is priced starting at Rs. 14,490 in India. It will come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options. The company says that it is already available across leading IT retailers and e-tailers in India.

WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD integrates PCIe Gen4 technology and offers fast read and write speeds of up to 5,300MBps (1TB model). It is built with the WD Black G2 controller and is optimised for top-tier and high-intensive gaming. It can reduce game load times and transfers files faster than its predecessor, thanks to its brand new cache technology.

The WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD delivers improved low queue-depth performance and comes with an optional RGB-enabled (only for Windows devices) heatsink model that cuts down on thermal throttling.

WD Black AN1500 NVMe SSD add-in card price in India, features

The new WD Black AN1500 NVMe SSD add-in card is priced starting at Rs. 30,990 in India and is also available across leading IT retailers and e-tailers in India. The card comes in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities.

It is touted to be a fully bootable plug-and-play add-in card powered by two internal SSDs in RAID 0 and PCIe Gen3 x8 technology. The WD Black AN1500 NVMe SSD add-in card offers read speeds up to 6,500MBps and write speeds up to 4,100MBps (2TB and 4TB models). Other features include customisable RGB lighting on Windows and integrated heatsink for thermal throttling.

WD Black P10 Game Drive, P10 Game Drive for Xbox, P50 Game Drive SSD price in India, features

Western Digital has also introduced a range of portable gaming drives including WD Black P10 Game Drive, P10 Game Drive for Xbox, and P50 Game Drive SSD. The last model offers read speeds of up to 2,000MBps and up to 2TB of storage. It is designed with a SuperSpeed USB (20GBps) interface to be fully compatible with new gaming components released with the same connectivity.

WD Black P10 Game Drive external HDD enhances your PC performance by offering capacities of up to 5TB. It has an on-the-go form factor and there is a WD Black P10 Game Drive for Xbox model as well that is built specifically for gamers looking to expand storage on their Xbox. It comes in capacities of up to 5TB to save up to 125 games (based on the average that one game takes up 36GB of storage).

WD Black P10 Game Drive, P10 Game Drive for Xbox, and P50 Game Drive SSD are also available across leading IT retailers and e-tailers in India.


Are Micromax In 1b, In Note 1 good enough to take the brand to the top in India?? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Nokia Purebook Laptop Series Will Launch in India Soon

Nokia Purebook laptop models will be coming to India soon, as per the dedicated Flipkart page. It is unclear if there will be multiple models of the Nokia Purebook but a previous leak suggested that there might be nine models. The poster shared on Flipkart shows the laptop will be lightweight, powerful, and offer an immersive experience. There are no details on the specifications or pricing for the Nokia Purebook and there is no release date either.

The dedicated Flipkart page does not share any specifications for the Nokia Purebook and only mentions the name. It will go on sale via the e-commerce platform. The poster states the laptop will be ‘Ultralight’, ‘Powerful’, and ‘Immersive.’ It also states that the laptop will be revealed soon, with no exact date mentioned. On the Laptops Store page, the Flipkart is touting the laptop will be “Built to empower”, and shows a laptop with silver finish. As of now, nothing is known about the laptop models, but according to a reported Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) listing, there are nine models of the Nokia Purebook.

These nine models are expected to come with model numbers NKi510UL82S, NKi510UL85S, NKi510UL165S, NKi510UL810S, NKi510UL1610S, NKi310UL41S, NKi310UL42S, NKi310UL82S, and NKi310UL85S. It is believed that the ‘NK’ part in the model number refers to Nokia brand and the following alpha-numeric part refers to the processor. If this is true, there will five models of Nokia Purebook powered by the Intel Core i5 processor and four models with the Intel Core i3 processor. They will presumably be using 10th-generation Intel processors.

Nokia offers smartphones, smart TV models, feature phones, audio gear, and some other devices in its portfolio. Back in July, it launched a mesh Wi-Fi router system called Beacon 1. Now, it looks like the company is venturing into the laptop space with its Purebook series. As of now, Nokia has not officially shared any information on the Purebook laptops.


Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Review Round-Up: ‘Flawed and Fantastic’

Cyberpunk 2077 reviews began pouring in on Monday night, after developer CD Projekt Red lifted the review embargo. The early critical consensus is mighty positive, with the two major video gaming review aggregators OpenCritic and Metacritic reporting a 91 out of 100 average score, from 45 and 44 publications, respectively. Most critics are of the opinion that Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot to offer, though it may not be anywhere near as radical an experience as it was sold to be. Additionally, many Cyberpunk 2077 reviews are also noting the presence of several bugs and technical glitches in the game. This after Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed multiple times before its final December 10 release date.

Gadgets 360’s own Cyberpunk 2077 review will be coming soon, but before that, here are some (spoiler-free) excerpts from a few choice reviews, all of which are based on PC. None of the critics have had access to PlayStation or Xbox versions, as yet.

Everything You Need to Know About Cyberpunk 2077

“Cyberpunk 2077 is a fantastic game that we have never experienced before, and is a window into the future of next-gen gaming and what it’s capable of. We are addicted to its world and everything in it, and we don’t mind risking our reputation saying that it’s easily our game of the decade, despite it missing out on the Video Game Awards for 2020… This is a brutal, visceral world to live in, where death seeps through the concrete jungle and every job you take on feels like the beginning of your dark end in this unforgiving landscape. Yet every time we complete a quest and receive some EuroDollars for our effort, we find ourselves itching to rush back into the danger and discover what other horrors await us.” — Owen Gough, Digital Spy

“Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all of those things at once. The main quest may be shorter than expected when taken on its own and it’s not always clear what you need to do to make meaningful changes to its finale, but the multitude of side quests available almost from the start can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the options you have when you get there. It’s a shame that frustratingly frequent bugs can occasionally kill an otherwise well-set mood, but Cyberpunk 2077’s impressively flexible design makes it a truly remarkable RPG.” — Tom Marks, IGN

“Your mileage may vary, but in our experience, the bugs are obtrusive and substantial across the board, often forcing us to reload saves or exit the game entirely. It’s hard to get really into a world you constantly have to leave. But then it’s hard to get into Cyberpunk 2077’s world in general. So much of it is superficial set dressing, and there’s so much happening all around you–ads going off at all times, gunfights breaking out in the streets, texts coming in about cars you’ll never buy–that a lot of the game feels superfluous. The side quests and the characters they showcase are the shining beacon through the neon-soaked bleakness of Night City, and they give you room to explore the best the core RPG mechanics have to offer. These are what carried me through an otherwise disappointing experience.” — Kallie Plagge, GameSpot

“Plenty of gamers will find Cyberpunk too much. It has a slow start — you’ll play for about four hours before even seeing the “Cyberpunk 2077” title screen — and sometimes the main story moves at too slow a pace. Additionally, the roleplaying elements allow for varied combat, but some may find them needlessly complex, or simply overwhelming. (The features I’ve noted above are truly just the beginning.) A lot of people don’t want to spend 50 hours playing one game, much less 200 hours to 100% it, and would rather a more linear, streamlined experience. Even with its shorter main quest, Cyberpunk is unlikely to sustain this type of player from start to end. But Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t designed for that type of player. Anyone who’s followed the game knows what they’re in for. Players keen for a world to get lost in, a game to sink untold hours into, will be satiated by Cyberpunk 2077.” — Daniel Van Boom, CNET

“Separated from its marketing, hype, and expectations, so far Cyberpunk 2077 just feels like a huge, scope-ambitious video game, with tons of attention paid to its lore and scenery and lots of dramatic things to do. It’s not the best game I’ve ever played, as so many fans seem to hope it will be. Despite the controversy that’s swirled around it and its own missteps, it hasn’t yet inspired me to immediately consign it to the trash heap of retrograde video game shit. In many ways, it feels like it’s about itself—its genre and source materials, the work that went into it, the flexibility it wants to give the player—from its character creator to its in-the-moment play. Saying “it’s just a video game” doesn’t quite explain what I find compelling about it, nor what I find complicated. But after all the hype, and despite a certain disappointment of my own hopes, I’m also relieved to find that it’s just a video game.” — Riley MacLeod, Kotaku

“I can’t deny that Night City wowed me with its scale, its verticality, and its sense of history. But I wish I could see people like me on its streets as something more than objects. I wish that the game’s politics were more radical. Yes, I know I shouldn’t look to a colossal game that was itself produced under exploitative labor conditions to lead the charge of anticapitalist liberation, but I wish the sparks of Johnny Silverhand’s ideological rage got to burn brighter, that Cyberpunk 2077 felt more interested in envisioning new futures than in reminiscing over bygone glories. Neither its gameplay nor its narrative can imagine the bold possibilities that I find so central to the best of cyberpunk. But what it does offer is visions of people trying to make do and get by in a world that’s trying to eat them alive, and sometimes those people get by with a little help from their friends. It’s not the revolution I hoped for, but it’s something.” — Carolyn Petit, Polygon

“In the midst of such intense anticipation and scrutiny, it’s easy to get carried away with what Cyberpunk 2077 could have been. The final experience might be more familiar than many predicted, with plenty of elements that aren’t perfect, but it’s dripping with detail and engaging stories. With so much to see and do, Cyberpunk 2077 is the kind of RPG where you blink and hours go by, which is just what we need to finish off 2020.” — James Billcliffe, VG247

“Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world masterpiece that features some of the most immersive and liberating storytelling this industry has to offer. With full freedom to choose V’s personality, looks, and gameplay style, Cyberpunk 2077 gives the player an unrelenting amount of control in a world that delivers dozens upon dozens of hours of high-quality content. Cyberpunk 2077 is a mammoth achievement and solidifies CD Projekt RED’s place at the top of the pile.” — Jez Corden, Windows Central

“The expanding aura of decency and compassion that follows in V’s wake makes Cyberpunk an unexpectedly charming game in spite of its chauvinist streaks and retro-kitsch. In the face of the thoroughly amok-machinery of techno-corporatism that has destroyed society and ruthlessly crushes any challenges and dissent that it might face, Cyberpunk 2077 wants to believe in a hero, and the promise of a neon sunset.” — Rob Zacny, Vice

Cyberpunk 2077 is out December 10 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It is also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X thanks to backward compatibility.

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Apple Said to Launch New Mac Processors as Early as 2021

Apple is planning a series of new Mac processors for introduction as early as 2021 that are aimed at outperforming Intel’s fastest.

Chip engineers at the Cupertino, California-based technology giant are working on several successors to the M1 custom chip, Apple’s first Mac main processor that debuted in November. If they live up to expectations, they will significantly outpace the performance of the latest machines running Intel chips, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the plans aren’t yet public. Intel’s shares slid 2.9 percent in New York Monday after the news. Apple shares were up 1.3 percent at 9:46am (8:16pm IST).

Apple’s M1 chip was unveiled in a new entry-level MacBook Pro laptop, a refreshed Mac mini desktop and across the MacBook Air range. The company’s next series of chips, planned for release as early as the spring and later in the fall, are destined to be placed across upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation, the people said.

The road map indicates Apple’s confidence that it can differentiate its products on the strength of its own engineering and is taking decisive steps to design Intel components out of its devices. The next two lines of Apple chips are also planned to be more ambitious than some industry watchers expected for next year. The company said it expects to finish the transition away from Intel and to its own silicon in 2022.

While Intel gets less than 10 percent of its revenue from furnishing Apple with Mac chips, the rest of its PC business is liable to face turbulence if the iPhone maker is able to deliver demonstrably better-performing computers. It could accelerate a shakeup in an industry that has long been dependent on Intel’s pace of innovation. For Apple, the move sheds that dependency, deepens its distinction from the rest of the PC market and gives it a chance to add to its small, but growing share in PCs.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Chip development and production is complex with changes being common throughout the development process. Apple could still choose to hold back these chips in favour of lesser versions for next year’s Macs, the people said, but the plans nonetheless indicate Apple’s vast ambitions.

Apple’s Mac chips, like those in its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, use technology licensed from Arm, the chip design firm whose blueprints underpin much of the mobile industry and which Nvidia. is in the process of acquiring. Apple designs the chips and outsources their production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which has taken the lead from Intel in chip manufacturing.

The current M1 chip inherits a mobile-centric design built around four high-performance processing cores to accelerate tasks like video editing and four power-saving cores that can handle less intensive jobs like web browsing. For its next generation chip targeting MacBook Pro and iMac models, Apple is working on designs with as many as 16 power cores and four efficiency cores, the people said.

While that component is in development, Apple could choose to first release variations with only eight or 12 of the high-performance cores enabled depending on production, they said. Chipmakers are often forced to offer some models with lower specifications than they originally intended because of problems that emerge during fabrication.

For higher-end desktop computers, planned for later in 2021 and a new half-sized Mac Pro planned to launch by 2022, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores.

With today’s Intel systems, Apple’s highest-end laptops offer a maximum of eight cores, a high-end iMac Pro is available with as many as 18 and the priciest Mac Pro desktop features as much as a 28-core system. Though architecturally different, Apple and Intel’s chips rely on the segmentation of workloads into smaller, serialised tasks that several processing cores can work on at once.

Advanced Micro Devices, which has been gaining market share at Intel’s expense, offers standard desktop parts with as many as 16 cores, with some of its high-end chips for gaming PCs going as high as 64 cores.

While the M1 silicon has been well received, the Mac models using it are Apple’s lower-end systems with less memory and fewer ports. The company still sells higher-end, Intel-based versions of some of the lines that received M1 updates. The M1 chip is a variation of a new iPad processor destined to be included in a new iPad Pro arriving next year.

Apple engineers are also developing more ambitious graphics processors. Today’s M1 processors are offered with a custom Apple graphics engine that comes in either 7- or 8-core variations. For its future high-end laptops and mid-range desktops, Apple is testing 16-core and 32-core graphics parts.

For later in 2021 or potentially 2022, Apple is working on pricier graphics upgrades with 64 and 128 dedicated cores aimed at its highest-end machines, the people said. Those graphics chips would be several times faster than the current graphics modules Apple uses from Nvidia and AMD in its Intel-powered hardware.

© 2020 Bloomberg LP


Are Micromax In 1b, In Note 1 good enough to take the brand to the top in India?? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Watch Party’ Now in India. Here’s How to Set It Up

Amazon Prime Video’s “Watch Party” feature — similar to how the third-party Netflix Party extension works — is now available in India. “Watch Party” allows you to stream a Prime Video title with up to 100 friends and family members (as long as everyone involved also has an Amazon Prime membership) and chat with them in a sidebar. Amazon takes care of video and audio synchronisation, all you have to do is pick a title (and get the popcorn). With this, Amazon becomes the first major streaming platform in India to come up with a group watch feature of its own, that works everywhere.

To get started, head over to primevideo.com in a Web browser. Amazon’s “Watch Party” is currently limited to computer browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. (Safari and Internet Explorer are not supported.) Once you’re logged in, find the title you’re interested in watching with others. On the title page, you should see a Watch Party button (as below). For TV shows, the Watch Party button is also available next to every individual episode. Once you click Watch Party, you will be asked to select a chat name before you can hit Create Watch Party (as above). You’ll be then given a link you can share with others.

prime video watch party button prime video watch party

Photo Credit: Amazon

Your friends and family have to be using a computer browser as well, to join your Amazon Prime Video “Watch Party”. The person who created the Watch Party will have access to video controls, including pause, play, rewind, and fast forward, Amazon notes. This is unlike Netflix Party, where everyone on the stream can pause, play, rewind, and fast forward. But with Amazon’s “Watch Party”, the only control for participants is your choice of audio and subtitle language. This isn’t possible with Netflix Party, because the browser extension has not been made by Netflix itself.

Amazon originally rolled out “Watch Party” in the US back in July. If you are hoping to watch Prime Video with your friends and family in the US, you’ll be disappointed to know that — unlike Netflix Party — Amazon’s “Watch Party” doesn’t work across borders.

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WD Talks About the Future of Data Storage

The last time you may have heard about the word “Storage”, we reckon, would be at a smartphone launch event where the presenter may have stressed on the need of a faster storage solution for “notched-up experience”. As we move towards a more digital world where we like things to be faster than usual, storage solutions across industries will play an important role in keeping the technological revolution ticking. We talked to Jaganathan Chelliah, Director Marketing, Western Digital India, about the change in the storage solutions over the years, the adoption and trends in India, on the future of storage technology, and how the company is capitalising on areas like connected cars, surveillance, next generation gaming to be ahead of the curve.

Changing trends

The biggest change is being seen in India in the data storage landscape which continues to evolve. From using storage solutions like hard disk drives (HDDs) to compact SSDs and Cloud storage, customers as well as businesses have started to embrace new solutions to meet their growing needs.

“With any tech transition, there is a quest for higher performance and a better experience. Clearly, consumers are looking for higher productivity from their PCs and the most critical device that can give a significant performance boost is an internal SSD. Moreover, gaming has become a mainstream application and gaming PCs based on SSDs provide the right experience,” Chelliah told Gadgets 360.

Chelliah quote intext Western Digital gaming

Western Digital sells WD BLACK SSDs for gaming

The executive highlighted that it is due to the fact that people are looking for higher productivity, today most of the laptops which are Rs 40,000 and above have transitioned to internal SSDs. According to a report by Spiceworks, most businesses have also standardised on SSDs (instead of HDDs) for desktops (56 percent) and laptops (68 percent). It says that SSD adoption growth will continue into the future.

On similar lines, Chelliah mentions that Western Digital is beginning to witness this trend in the portable storage category as well, and the company is targeting on-the-go content creators. While commenting on price-sensitive markets like India, and the readiness for this transition, the executive says both of these technologies will coexist.

“Whoever wants faster performance will move to SSDs, and whoever is looking for greater value for money and a cost-effective storage solution will opt for high-capacity HDDs,” Chelliah noted. He also pointed out the WD offers a strong portfolio for different customer segments- WD BLACK SSDs for gaming, WD Blue for content creation and productivity applications and WD Green for everyday computing.

NVMe Technology: The Future?

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is the newest technology in the storage space that is driving digital transformation for many businesses and individuals. In layman’s terms, a storage device with NVMe technology offers faster read and write speeds than one with an older one. NVMe SSDs are plugged into PCI Express bus, and a PCIe Gen 3.0 link is claimed to offer transfer speed more than 2-times than that of SATA interface.

“Until recently, SSDs were using SATA technology for data transfer that was originally designed for HDDs. NVMe technology leverages the PCIe interface and delivers a significant performance boost to SSDs. As a result, consumers are able to experience superior performance on their PCs. Today, if you see, more and more PCs are coming with NVMe slots, so the change has started to reflect and consumers are realising the true potential of the NVMe technology,” Chelliah noted.

WD black gaming Western Digital

WD_BLACK NVMe powered SSDs offer ultra-fast transfer speeds, says Chelliah

One such area that is an accelerator of storage solutions is gaming. According to a report, Covid-19 has resulted in a boom in global video gaming and the market is estimated to reach $170 billion (roughly Rs. 1,25,000 crores) by the end of 2020. WD says that it saw the trend and has solutions like WD_BLACK NVMe powered SSDs that offer ultra-fast transfer speeds. As per a Gartner report, new-age Flash solutions such as NVMe would further drive the adoption in near future.

“In the last six months, the gaming segment grew tremendously, from PC gaming to console gaming, we witnessed a massive uptake as gamers notched up their experience with the right gadgets and solutions. In fact, the primary growth driver for PCs and smartphones in India for the past few quarters have been related to gaming. Irrespective of whether they are playing games on cloud or not they need fast systems to gain an immersive experience and storage is a key component when it comes to the speed of a system,” the executive noted.

Surveillance

With increased demands placed on safety and security globally, video surveillance is expected to grow steadily. WD estimates that the global video surveillance market is expected to reach over $62 billion (roughly Rs. 45,755 crores) in revenue by 2023. According to Chelliah, surveillance as a use case is indeed booming in India.

“We are witnessing a clear transition from being just a recording solution to do post-event analysis to AI-led smart video analytics and management solutions. Today, smart video solutions are being used for a range of applications starting with smart cities management, business analytics in logistics and warehousing, to maintain a healthy and secure workplace for companies and protection of residential and home customers. The emergence of high-resolution cameras with AI capabilities has created a strong need for high capacity storage that can take multiple streams of AI content,” Chelliah highlighted.

wd blue SSD WD

WD Blue is for content creation and productivity applications

Autonomous Vehicles and Connected Cars

Self-driving cars have come a long way, they are not just a concept and with the boom of 5G, it has become easier for the automotive and transportation industries to quickly analyse data to make it a safe experience. This means that data will be oil in such ecosystems. It is reported that new autonomous cars generate and consume 0.75GB of data per second.

With more data being produced by autonomous cars to support systems such as telematics, voice recognition, augmented reality, Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, and more, there is a need for storage systems to capture, preserve, access and transform data. Storage will also be needed to support the computing infrastructures that combine cloud services with in-car computing power to handle the massive amounts of data collected by connected cars.

“Autonomous vehicles are the new data centre on wheels, driving a new generation of storage infrastructure needs. With new applications built into cars, such as dash cameras, autonomous computers, there is more data to store and process than ever before. Our estimates predict that a single autonomous car is expected to have up to 1TB of storage by 2022. It can be said without a doubt, that the future of connected and autonomous cars is all about data,” Chelliah added. According to WD, the connected car penetration is expected to hit 24.4 percent in 2022.


Will Xbox Series S, PS5 Digital Edition fail in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Chrome OS 87 Brings Browser Tab Search, Headphones Battery Level

Chrome OS 87 rollout has started for Chromebook models and it brings some new features that makes web browsing as well as using Bluetooth accessories easier. The new version of Chome will get a Tab Search feature, which was added to the Windows version of the browser last month. It will allow you to locate a tab among multiple open tabs in a browser. Chrome OS 87 will also show battery level for wireless headphones connected to your Chromebook. This update also brings several new wallpapers from four different artists and some bug fixes.

Through an official post on the Chromebook support page, Google shared that Chrome OS 87 has started rolling out for devices and will reach all devices in the coming days. The new OS version brings a Tab Search feature to Chrome that will help users easily locate a tab among multiple open tabs. Clicking the Tab Search button next to the minimise icon will bring up a drop-down menu where you can search for a particular tab. This can also be triggered with Ctrl+Shift+A shortcut.

Tab Search was added to the Windows desktop version of Chrome last month but is yet to make its way to all users. It came with the update version 87.0.4280.66.

The Quick Setting or Settings menu will now show battery levels of your connected Bluetooth headphones. When a pair of Bluetooth headphones is connected to the Chromebook, a notification at the bottom right-hand side of the screen will show the battery level. If you want to know the battery level while using the headphone, simply open the Quick Settings or Settings menu. It is unclear if this feature will work with other Bluetooth accessories as well.

Lastly, there are 36 new wallpapers in Chrome OS 87 from four different artists. You can change the wallpaper in Chrome OS by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Set Wallpaper.

Google has asked users to share any feedback or bugs they experience on the forum. It’s important to note that not all users will be immediately eligible for the update as it will be roll out progressively over the coming days.


Will Apple Silicon Lead to Affordable MacBooks in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

 

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WhatsApp Video, Voice Call Buttons Tipped to Be in Testing on Desktop App

WhatsApp could be testing the ability to make video and voice calls via its desktop app, as per a tweet by The Guardian’s Alex Hern. This facility is currently not available through WhatsApp Web or through the desktop app either, but it could arrive soon to all users. Hern shared an image on Twitter that shows both the video call button and the voice call button inside a chat on the desktop app. With this functionality, WhatsApp looks to offer users the ability to make calls through multiple devices, and not just limit it to smartphones.

Hern tweeted a screenshot of two new call buttons – for video calling and voice calling – he spotted on his WhatsApp desktop beta app. Currently, the desktop app has a lone search button in the chats top bar, but the video and call buttons should appear alongside soon. The screenshot shows the video call and voice call buttons sitting next to the search option in Hern’s tweet. He adds that the buttons are appearing in the beta version of the app, and not the stable version.

whatsapp whatsapp

Photo Credit: Twitter/ Alex Hern

There is no clarity on when these calling buttons will go live for all desktop users, but currently it is still in its testing phase. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of WhatsApp working on bringing voice and video call buttons to PCs and laptops. Features tracker WABetaInfo reportedly spotted the same on WhatsApp Web in October this year. The report claimed that when you get a call and are using WhatsApp Web on your desktop, a pop-up window appears with options for receiving and rejecting the call. There is also an ‘Ignore’ option at the bottom. When making a call, a smaller pop-up appears with options for starting the video, mute, decline, and more settings.

WhatsApp already supports messaging through the desktop client and video- and voice-calling support will make things much more cohesive. Facebook has made no announcements regarding this feature, but now that it has been spotted in testing on both WhatsApp Web and the desktop client, an announcement can be expected soon.


In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Chinese Scientists Claim Breakthrough in Quantum Computing Race

Chinese scientists claim to have built a quantum computer that is able to perform certain computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most advanced supercomputer, representing the first milestone in the country’s efforts to develop the technology.

The researchers have built a quantum computer prototype that is able to detect up to 76 photons through Gaussian boson sampling, a standard simulation algorithm, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing research published in Science magazine. That’s exponentially faster than existing supercomputers.

The breakthrough represents a quantum computational advantage, also known as quantum supremacy, in which no traditional computer can perform the same task in a reasonable amount of time and is unlikely to be overturned by algorithmic or hardware improvements, according to the research.

While still in its infancy, quantum computing is seen as the key to radically improving the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Chinese researchers are competing against major US corporations from Alphabet’s Google to Amazon and Microsoft for a lead in the technology, which has become yet another front in the US-China tech race.

Google said last year it has built a computer that could perform a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years, reaching quantum supremacy. The Chinese researchers claim their new prototype is able to process 10 billion times faster than Google’s prototype, according to the Xinhua report.

Xi Jinping’s government is building a $10 billion (roughly Rs. 73,700 crores) National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences as part of a big push in the field. In the US, the Trump administration provided $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,400 crores) in funding to research into artificial intelligence and quantum information earlier this year and has sought to take credit for Google’s 2019 breakthrough.

© 2020 Bloomberg LP


iPhone 12 Pro Series Is Amazing, but Why Is It So Expensive in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Chinese Chipmaker SMIC Added by Trump Administration to Defence Blacklist

The Trump administration on Thursday added China’s top chipmaker, SMIC, and oil giant CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, a move likely to escalate tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The Department of Defense designated a total of four additional companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, also including China Construction Technology and China International Engineering Consulting.

The move, first reported by Reuters on Sunday, brings the total number of companies blacklisted to 35. While the list did not initially trigger any penalties, a recent executive order issued by Republican President Donald Trump will prevent US investors from buying securities of the blacklisted firms starting late next year.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington referred Reuters to prior remarks made by its Foreign Ministry spokesperson that “China firmly opposes the politicisation of the relevant Chinese companies.”

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

SMIC said in a stock market statement that it was assessing the impact of its addition to the list and said investors should be aware of the investment risks. SMIC shares declined by over 2 percent on Friday before trading in the company’s Hong Kong shares was suspended, while CNOOC slipped 0.7 percent in early morning trade.

Shares of CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC had fallen by nearly 14 percent following the Sunday report.

SMIC, which relies heavily on equipment from US suppliers, was already in Washington’s crosshairs. In September, the US Commerce Department informed some firms they needed to obtain a license before supplying goods and services to SMIC after concluding there was an “unacceptable risk” that equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.

The expanded blacklist is seen as part of a bid to cement Trump’s tough-on-China legacy and to box Biden, the Democratic president-elect who takes office on January 20, into hardline positions on Beijing amid bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress.

The measure is also part of a broader effort by Washington to target what it sees as Beijing’s efforts to enlist corporations to harness emerging civilian technologies for military purposes.

The list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” was mandated by a 1999 law requiring the Pentagon to compile a catalog of companies “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army, but the DOD only complied it in 2020. Giants like Hikvision, China Telecom and China Mobile were added earlier this year.

In November, the White House published an executive order, first reported by Reuters, that sought to give teeth to the list by prohibiting US investors from buying securities of the blacklisted companies from November 2021.

Top US asset managers Vanguard Group and BlackRock each own about 1 percent of shares of CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC, and together own roughly 4 percent of outstanding shares of SMIC, disclosures show.

Congress and the Trump administration have sought increasingly to curb the US market access of Chinese companies that do not comply with rules faced by American rivals, even if that means antagonising Wall Street.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a law to kick Chinese companies off US stock exchanges if they do not fully comply with the country’s auditing rules, giving Trump one more tool to threaten Beijing with before leaving office.
 

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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