Delhi High Court Directs Uber, Ola to Switch Completely to CNG by March 1

In an interim relief to app-based cab companies, Delhi High Court Wednesday allowed them to ply diesel-run taxis from point to point in the national capital till March 1 next year by when they will have to shift completely to compressed natural gas (CNG).

Justice Manmohan further said companies like Ola and Uber which are willing to give an undertaking that they will phase out their diesel cabs within stipulated time frame, will only be allowed to operate till next year.

However, it made clear that for those companies which will not give an undertaking with regard to phasing out of their diesel cabs from capital roads, its July 29 order has to be enforced strictly.

The court was also of the view that imposing a ban is not a practical solution because in the end public suffers, so some reasonable time has to be given to the companies. “At least one chance should be given to them (companies) as they are willing to shift to CNG. Entire public transport will be shifting to CNG, so some time needs to be given to them, otherwise the public will be put to inconvenience. I do not want public to suffer,” the judge said.

“Those who are willing to give me undertaking, I will give them time. Those who are not, my order passed in case of Ola will apply to them with immediate effect,” the judge added. The court passed the interim order while hearing a plea filed by Association of Radio Taxis, represented by senior advocate Nidesh Gupta, who contended that the court’s order upholding a ban on diesel cabs providing point-to-point service in the national capital was being implemented only against Ola while other app-based taxi services were violating it with impunity.

Hearing which the court Tuesday had asked Uber to take instruction on this aspect of the time frame in which they will phase out diesel taxis.

Meanwhile, the court asked Uber India, represented through senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, who said that it can replace the diesel taxis with CNG cabs within six months, to give details with regard to the manner in which they will be phasing out their diesel cabs by March 1.

It also asked the cabs companies present in court besides Uber and Ola to give some suggestions to the court about the mechanism, by which the facts and figures can be verified by the state transport department.

LG G4 Set to Receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update Starting Next Week

A recent report citing LG’s support documents had indicated that the flagship smartphones, the LG G4 and LG G3, could be among the first handsets apart from Google’s Nexus and Android One devices to receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow software update. LG on Thursday finally announced the Android 6.0 Marshmallow rollout plans for the LG G4.

According to the South Korean handset maker, the G4 users in Poland will be the first to receive the latest Android OS update beginning next week. LG further confirmed that the Android 6.0 Marshmallow will next rollout to markets including Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The company however clarified that the specific details of the upgrade and receiving models will be revealed in individual markets.

Some of the new features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow (previously just Android M) include revamped app permissions; Google Now on Tap feature; new Chrome feature that will change the Web experience for Android users; new ways to handle Web links; Android Pay mobile payment system is now official with Android M; new fingerprint APIs for developers to add into their apps, New Silent feature for sound and vibrate mode as well as a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode to block all sounds or only alarms and notifications, and battery saver features called Doze that will make Android devices smart about managing power. Some of the other additions include new RAM manager, adoptable storage devices, new app drawer, auto backup and restore for apps, and support for USB Type-C ports.

Announcing the update, Chris Yie, Vice President and Head of Marketing Communications for LG Mobile Communications Company said, “By working closely with Google, LG has been able to bring Android 6.0 to the G4 ahead of any of our competitors. While speed alone isn’t an indicator of great service, it does go a long way toward giving consumers the confidence that LG is committed to its existing customers first.”

Lenovo Tab 2 A7-20 Budget Android Tablet Launched

Lenovo India has expanded its budget tablet offerings with the launch of the Tab 2 A7-20. Priced at Rs. 5,499, the tablet will go on sale in the country soon.

Notably, the Lenovo Tab 2 A7-20 is already available at a discounted price of Rs. 4,999 from Snapdeal, an e-commerce website.

The tablet features a 7-inch IPS display offering a resolution of 1024×600 pixels resolution. There is a quad-core MediaTek processor under the hood clocked at 1.3GHz coupled with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. It comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB).

The Android 4.4 KitKat-based Lenovo Tab 2 A7-20 is upgradeable to Android 5.0 Lollipop; though no word as of now about the update release dates. The tablet sports a 2-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and also houses a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The Lenovo Tab 2 A7-20 is a Wi-Fi only tablet doesn’t feature SIM support. Apart from Wi-Fi, the tablet offers USB OTG, and Micro-USB connectivity options. The tablet is backed by a 3450mAh battery.

Lenovo India previously had launched the Tab 2 A7-30 at Rs. 8,500 for the 2G variant, and Rs. 11,800 for the 3G variant.

The company last week launched the Lenovo Phab Plus in India at Rs. 20,990. The smartphone features a 6.8-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display offering a pixel density of 326ppi, the highlight of the smartphone. The Lenovo Phab Plus packs a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

Google to Remove Chrome Desktop Notification Centre; Chrome 46 Launched

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Google will remove the Chrome desktop notification centre in the upcoming version of the browser. The search giant said not many users visited the notification centre and some disabled it, which made the feature pointless. It was introduced in 2013. The company also rolled out Chrome v46 for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms with bug fixes and security improvements.

As per Justin DeWitt, Software Engineer, the upcoming Chrome version would be completely eliminating the desktop notifications option from Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, the feature would still be there in Chrome OS, adds DeWitt on the Chromium blog post. The company has also given link to the new notification documentation for developers that shows “changes that will affect Chrome app and extension developers who send notifications to the centre.”

In the upcoming release of Chrome, notifications sent to the notification centre would result in an error “and API events tied to the center will no longer fire.” Other notifications would however, work normally. “With the growth of Web push, notifications are an increasingly important way for users to engage with web pages they care about. By streamlining the experience on desktop, Chrome can ensure a simple notification experience on every platform,” the blog said.

Google also rolled out Chrome v46 for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux with several bug fixes and security improvements. The updated browser would start marking HTTPS websites with minor errors with the same blank page icon used for HTTP websites. Earlier these pages were marked with yellow caution triangles. As per the firm, it is a better indication for security. However, the secured HTTPS pages, regular HTTP pages and broken HTTPS pages icons would stay unchanged.

google_chrome_45_46_compare_https_icon_blog.jpgIntroducing the new icon placement for websites, Google expects more HTTP site operators to shift to HTTPS. “We have to strike a balance: representing the security state of a webpage as accurately as possible, while making sure users are not overwhelmed with too many possible states and details. We’ve come to understand that our yellow “caution triangle” badge can be confusing when compared to the HTTP page icon, and we believe that it is better not to emphasize the difference in security between these two states to most users. For developers and other interested users, it will still be possible to tell the difference by checking whether the URL begins with https://,” the Google Online Security blog post said.

For Android, Chrome v46.0.2490.76 improves the performance as it now uses new optimized image loading and service tools. Developers can also animate a graphical content “along an arbitrary path declaratively as a CSS property.” These features were introduced in Chrome 46 Beta last month. The complete list can be seen in the company’s blog post. The updated browser app would be available to download from Google Play in next few days.

Facebook’s Anticipated News App Is Reportedly Called ‘Notify’

The social networking giant Facebook is reportedly working on a breaking news app called Notify, and is ready to launch it by October end, according to a media report.

The app will reportedly allow users to aggregate their favourite content into real-time notifications.

Partnering publications will have the ability to create specific notifications for the mobile platform on behalf of Facebook, like a mega-tweet. Then users will be directed to the publication’s website via the notification, according to The Awl.

Facebook seeks to expand its functionalities to something much more than just a social network – the most popular one in the world if it makes any difference. The app will allow users to subscribe to certain organisations dubbed as stations and they will then receive notifications during the day, every time one of the stations they have subscribed to promotes a new story.

That will obviously give a big boost on Facebook’s presence as a multi-functioning platform, rather than just a simple social network.

According to statistics, nearly no media networks and companies have managed to establish a well designed smartphone app that its readers – or most of them – actually use; at least not near the capacity of Facebook.

This gives the company the advantage that it is very likely that users will read more articles through Facebook media networks with strong app presences, such as BuzzFeed and the New York Times, which may consider working with Notify to direct the firehose of social media users in the right direction.

Besides all the above, Notify will also be a challenge for Facebook’s rival social network, Twitter, which also launched a new feature last week called Moments, that lets Twitter curate tweets into different categories, such as news and sports.

So media companies will also have a chance to create their own moments and fill the feature with their content which will ultimately attract more readers and hence users as well.

Confusion Reigns Over Nexus 6P Online Pre-Orders in India

With the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P launching this month, fans of the Nexus range of devices and newcomers alike have been trying to order Google’s latest and greatest online. While very little has gone wrong with the Nexus 5X’s pre-orders, it seems to be the complete opposite for those trying to get the Nexus 6P on release day.

At Google’s Nexus Event on Tuesday the company confirmed that both devices will be available on October 21.

(Also see: Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P Launched in India: Price, Availability Details)

Flipkart is the online exclusive retailer for the Nexus 6P and on the face of it, the situation seems akin to what Nexus veterans would remember when trying to order the Nexus 4 from Google’s US storefront – there just weren’t enough phones to go around. Fast forward to 2015 and the situation appears to be the same with the Nexus 6P – although its listed on Flipkart, it’s rarely available for pre-order.

“I tried pre-ordering the 6P late last night but it was unavailable. Is October 21 the concrete launch day? The few who managed to pre-order received a November 2 release date,” Delhi-based Alekh Khanna told Gadgets 360.

nexus_6p_back_google_huawei.jpgA spokesperson for Flipkart told Gadgets 360 that the reason for the November 2 release date is that the company would be receiving stock at the end of October. She added that Flipkart prefers to keep expectations low instead of over-promising and under delivering. The company is taking pre-orders in batches which is why it keeps going out of stock, and becomes available again, the spokesperson added.

“Those with the Flipkart app will receive a notification as to when pre-orders will happen,” the spokesperson said. The company’s Twitter account claims that “the product flew off the shelves” and that limited stocks will be available for pre-order from 8AM Thursday.

We also tried to reach Huawei, the manufacturer of the Nexus 6P, for comment on Nexus 6P’s availability and have yet to receive a reply.

To further compound matters, brick and mortar outlets like The Mobile Store and Croma have been taking pre-orders for both the Nexus 5X (which is an online exclusive to Amazon) and the Nexus 6P. Interestingly, these orders are not just for in-store pick up, but both retailers are offering to ship them as well. For end-users it’s confusing because Google had clearly stated that Amazon and Flipkart are exclusive online partners for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

 

nexus_6p_google_Huawei.jpgWhat’s more is that some of them are offering quicker delivery compared to Flipkart on the Nexus 6P.

“Mobile Store has already started taking pre-orders for Nexus 6P. Tentative delivery date of October 30th,” posted Rajesh Pandey from Kolkata. Surprisingly, the Nexus 5X release date remains the same across, October 21.

At the Nexus Event we asked Krishna Kumar, Product Leader, Android/Nexus at Google on the availability of both phones. In the past Nexus devices have been notoriously hard to come by.

“We hear you loud and clear, we’ve heard the same feedback from a lot of people,” Kumar said. “This year we’ve taken a lot of effort to get a lot of stock so that people can actually have it available in time for the holiday season.”

As it stands though, pre-order experience of prospective customers doesn’t reflect Kumar’s optimism, at least as far as the Nexus 6P is concerned.

Flipkart Says 5 Lakh Mobiles Sold in 10 Hours of Big Billion Days Sale

Flipkart says it sold five lakh mobile handsets in 10 hours after mobile offers went live on day three of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale.

“This sets a record for the highest number of mobile phones sold in India in a short period of ten hours in any platform, either online or offline,” Flipkart said in statement.

Flipkart’s Big Billion Days festive sale started on Tuesday and will end on Saturday. The sale of mobile phones opened at midnight Wednesday night (12:01am on Thursday).

While metros like Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai led in terms of the sales, Flipkart said it saw a huge surge of interest from tier-II cities with Nagpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Vishakhapatnam and Jaipur leading in sales.

The Bengaluru-based firm said the platform also saw huge sales of 4G-enabled devices.

“75 percent of the phones sold during the ten hours period were 4G phones,” it added.

“It has been a blockbuster beginning for our mobile category sale. The half a million mobile handsets sale record is truly a testament to the growing demand for smartphones in India,” Mukesh Bansal, Head of Commerce Platform, Flipkart said.

On the first day of sale, Flipkart had sold 10 lakh products in the first 10 hours with six million visits from across the nation and 25 items sold per second.

“Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai have emerged as the chart toppers in terms of visits from metro cities, and Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bhopal from the non-metro cities,” Flipkart had said in a statement.

Ezetap Adds 4 Indian Mobile Wallets to Its Mobile Point of Sale Solution

Bengaluru-based Ezetap, a Square-like smartphone-based payments device, announced that it has added universal acceptance of mobile wallets for its merchants base on Thursday. Ezetap has tied up with four Indian mobile wallet players – Paytm, MobiKwik, Novopay, and FreeCharge.

Abhijit Bose, CEO and Co-Founder, Ezetap referred to the development as a fundamental change in how the payments industry works. “We’re trying to focus on digital electronic transaction adoption. That’s the big mega picture that everybody is working on. The government is working on it,” he said, referring to National Payments Corporation of India’s rollout of its Unified Payments Interface, which brings interoperability from different bank accounts and wallets.

He referred to Nandan Nilenkani’s talk which he called it a WhatsApp moment for financial services, based on the dissemination of smart connected mobile devices to consumers and to merchants. Collectively, they allowing internet based companies to disrupt and transform industries, and unlock untapped markets, he said.

“What nobody has solved at scale yet, is the third leg of the stool which is merchants. If you can only book an Uber cab or buy something in your own app, it’s not going to become mainstream. What you need large scale mass adoption, from tier 1 Bengaluru down to tier 4 villages of every sector. Only when you do that, do you have digital economy,” Bose said.

“Until this launch, nobody had a single solution that was interoperable and supported every form of digital payment in this country,” Bose said, adding that mobile wallets can focus on on the consumer side, while Ezetap focuses on the merchant side of the equation.

Ezetap’s card reader, priced at $50, needs an Internet-enabled smartphone to accept payments. Bose said that it works on a basic 2G network, and that the wallets don’t add an extra cost on Ezetap merchants. The standard monthly package costs Rs. 150 a month, for the basic mPOS Goes up with premium services. Banks can choose to provide their own rates bases on their merchant relationship, the company said.

“The combination of the terminal and the EZ tap application allows the merchant to take credit card, debit card payments, and now wallets. And it also links to our server in the cloud, so we can enable any kind of transaction anywhere,” Bose said, adding that more wallet integration announcements coming coming in the next few weeks and months.

Ezetap currently works with Android and Windows Phone smartphones, and is coming out with an iOS version soon.

Live for the last 24 months, Ezetap has deployed over 70,000 service points, Bose said. SBI, HDFC, Citibank, and American Express, an investor presently deploy EZtap’s mPOS solution, while Amazon, Bajaj Allianz, Airtel and BigBasket are some of their biggest customers, Bose said, adding that over 20,000 small merchants currently use its service.

Ezetap had raised raised $25 million (roughly Rs. 161 crores) in its Series C round in August.