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Google launches Pixel 2 smartphones, new devices

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Google Pixel

San Francisco, Oct 5 : Betting big on the best combination of artificial intelligence (AI), software and hardware, Google on Wednesday launched Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, smaller smart speaker “Home Mini”, a larger version called “Home Max”, high-performance convertible Chromebook called PixelBook and “Google Clips” action camera.

The devices are available for pre-order in the US, Britain, Germany and in India, among other countries. Pixel 2 starts at $649 and Pixel 2 XL is available for $849.

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Pixel 2 comes with a 5-inch and larger Pixel 2 XL with a 6-inch Full-HD OLED displays with Portrait Modes on both rear and selfie cameras.

Marked 98 on DXOmark ratings, the rear camera comes with OIS and EIS technology to remove jerks and shaky footage. The camera can also click “Live Photos” by recording up to three seconds of footage.

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It also has AR Stickers and Pixel users would get free unlimited storage on Google Cloud in the original quality. The devices have IP67 water and dust resistance.

Both phones might come with “squeeze” interaction, USB-C charger and stereo speakers. The company claims it has the fastest fingerprint scanner in a smartphone.

The devices come with stereo earphones called “Pixel Buds” for $159 available in November.

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Google Home Mini is priced at $49 in the US, Britain, France and Australia, among others and users can now pre-order them. Taking potshots at Apple iPhone, Google said that Home can search your Android device and ring it even if it is on silent mode.

“For iPhone users, we’ll just give them a call,” the company said.

Reimagining the sound, it also launched Google Home Max, with 2-inch tweeters and 4.5-inch woofers for amazing audio with SmartSound powered by Google Assistant that automatically tunes sound.

It supports Chromecast, aux and Bluetooth 5.0. It is available in December for $399.

The PixelBook is 10mm thin and weighs a kilo and has 12.3-inch Quad HD LCD display, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM and i5 and i7 processors.

The device has multiple layers of security, automatic updates and it is the first laptop with Assistant built-in.

With USB-C charger, 15 minutes charge gives two hours of backup. It connects automatically to Pixel phones in absence of wi-fi.

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The Pixelbook Pen, priced at $99 can help users get information of whatever they have on the screen. Just circle it to get info from it. Write and draw with Pixelbook Pen that has 10ms of latency and 2,000+ levels of pressure sensitivity.

Available in three configurations, Pixelbook is priced at $999 and people can pre-order them now.

Google also launched an action cam called Google Clips. All the devices launched on Wednesday deliver an Internet of Things (IoT) experience.

Tech

Motorola Razr 2 to launch in September: Top executive

The smartphone maker launched its flagship Moto Razr back in March in India at Rs 1,24,999 for the sole 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant.

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Motorola Razr 2

New Delhi, May 23 : Lenovo-owned smartphone brand Motorola is planning to launch second generation of its foldable flagship Moto Razr in September this year.

Thibault Dousson, South Africa general manager of Lenovo, the parent company of Motorola, said during a podcast that a new generation foldable phone is coming later this year.

Dousson said: “There’s a new iteration of the Razr coming up. There is one in September, I think, coming up”.

According to media reports, Motorola is aware of the problems in the first Razr smartphone, and is working hard to improve the Motorola Razr 2.

The smartphone maker launched its flagship Moto Razr back in March in India at Rs 1,24,999 for the sole 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant.

The phone features a 2.7-inch OLED ‘Quick View’ interactive display on the outside of the device will keep you connected.

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India

Pandemic has contributed lot more towards Esports industry: Atin Suri

“PUBG has already become extremely popular in today’s times. Not only brands but individuals are also seeking the famous ‘chicken dinner’,” Suri said.

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Video games

New Delhi, May 22 : The real world is currently suffering from the might of an invisible enemy, so much so, that it has forced people to remain confined within the safety of their four walls. Gaming industry is thriving under such unprecedented times as virtual world is helping people escape from the harsh realities they are facing in daily life.

“When Esports events came to India, the industry had already recognised immense potential in the gaming enthusiasts of the country. The popularity of the industry rose over night and now there are millions of fans in the country,” Atin Suri, founder, Esports Experiential, told IANS.

“The pandemic has no doubt contributed a lot more towards the Esports industry. Earlier, Esports was conceived as a youth oriented means to entertainment.

“With the rise in the number of gamers, we are looking at a noticeable change in the age bracket. Enthusiasts are as young as 8 years old and there is no upper limit on the age,” he added.

Digitisation of the country has also helped in increasing the number of gamers. The number of smartphones in India has gone up exponentially and that has aided in bringing more eyeballs in the last few years.

Also, the gaming industry was once considered to be rather niche considering the prices of the consoles. This isn’t the case these days as according to Suri, internet phones have changed the game altogether.

“In the last couple of years, the country has seen a wave of digitisation. With internet being more accessible and affordable to all citizens, a large population of the country owns smartphones and use the internet for multiple purposes,” Suri said.

“The smart phones have become the most popular console for the gaming enthusiasts. Earlier, gaming boxes were very expensive and only for the privileged ones. But now, online gaming is available on multiple devices and in many forms.

“Unlike on-ground sports, gamers have the privilege of gaming from any location and at any time. Gaming is also a great stress buster for the urban youth and hence is known to be more popular in the young working class and college going students,” he added.

The one online game that has really caught the imagination of everyone in India is PUBG Mobile. Gamers from around the world are logging in through mobile for that elusive ‘chicken dinner’. The multiplayer battle royal game, according to Suri, is changing the Indian gaming market for the good because of its sheer popularity among the masses.

“PUBG has already become extremely popular in today’s times. Not only brands but individuals are also seeking the famous ‘chicken dinner’,” Suri said.

“Infact, our H’ble Prime Minister has also mentioned it as part of one of his conversations to a mother that went viral over the internet. Social media has chicken dinner as one of the most popular hashtags.

“The Indian market is already influenced by the sport and a lot of brands are now repositioning their products, from selfie phones to gaming phones. Brands have started actively adding features that contribute to the ease of gaming and to create a better and smoother user experience,” he added.

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Business

Facebook Workplace adds 2 million more paid users since October

For example, with Workplace Rooms, users can invite up to 50 people to a video call even if they are not in their company or do not have a Workplace account.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

San Francisco, May 22 : With the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically accelerating the shift to remote work, Facebook’s collaboration tool for businesses, Workplace, has amassed five million paid users — up two million since October.

And Work Groups, a type of Facebook Group that helps people connect with their coworkers, has over 20 million monthly active users after just six months, Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.

“Today we’re introducing new video features in Workplace We’re also adding features to Workplace on Portal, and widely releasing Oculus for Business to meet early demand for VR-powered training and collaboration,” the social networking giant said.

For example, with Workplace Rooms, users can invite up to 50 people to a video call even if they are not in their company or do not have a Workplace account.

“Whether you’re holding team meetings, hosting a virtual happy hour, or just jumping on quick one-on-one calls, you can easily create video call links from Workplace Chat, Groups, News Feed or Portal, then share them in a chat, post, email or text message, Facebook said.

A new way to go live on Workplace from your desktop is “Live Producer” which lets people to schedule live videos, share their screen and use the live Q&A feature to let people ask and vote on questions.

You can turn on automatic captions for live videos in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Workplace will also automatically translate videos in one of these languages into the other five, so employees around the world can follow along, Facebook announced.

Facebook said it is also bringing some of the Portal video-calling device’s interesting features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Smart Camera and Smart Sound to Workplace Live on Portal so that users can have professional-level broadcasting wherever they are.

The social networking giant also announced that Oculus for Business, an enterprise solution designed to streamline and expand virtual reality in the workplace, is now generally available.

Oculus for Business is built on Workplace, leveraging its security infrastructure and privacy practices.

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