Category: Technology

Good news for phone buyers! Government reduces custom duty on mobile phones

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Union Budget 2024: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman on Tuesday proposed reduction of basic customs duty (BCD) on mobile phones, mobile charger to 15 per cent. Earlier, the BCD on electronic items such as mobile phones, mobile printed circuit board assembly was 20 per cent.

“With a three-fold increase in domestic production and almost a 100-fold jump in exports of mobile phones in the last six years, the Indian mobile industry has matured. In the interest of consumers, I now propose to reduce the basic customs duty (BCD) on mobile phones, mobile PCBA, and mobile chargers to 15%,” Sitharaman said while presenting the Union Budget 2024-25 in Parliament.

Moreover, the government also made a provision for the exemption of customs duty on 25 critical minerals including lithium, copper, cobalt, and rare-earth minerals. These minerals are used in the production of some high-tech electronics and telecom gear.

“To increase value addition in the domestic electronics industry, I propose to remove the BCD, subject to conditions, on oxygen-free copper for manufacture of resistors. I also propose to exempt certain parts to manufacture connectors,” she said. 

The minister announced the removal of basic customs duty on ferronickel, blister copper, while increasing the same to 15 per cent from 10 per cent on specified telecom equipment.

The reduction in basic customs duty of gold, silver and platinum has been a long pending demand of the gems and jewellery industry.

Sitharaman also proposed reduction in basic customs duty on certain brood stocks, shrimps and fish feed to 5 per cent.

On the other hand, she said the government will raise customs duty on ammonium nitrate to 10 per cent and 25 per cent on non-biodegradable plastics.

Cellecor Gadgets expands presence in India

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Homegrown technology company Cellecor Gadgets Limited is expanding its footprint in India with the opening of two new Exclusive Brand Stores. According to the information provided by the company, the new stores have been opened in Mizoram and New Delhi. 

The Mizoram Exclusive Brand Store extends Cellecor’s footprint to India’s northeastern border, bridging geographical gaps to offer consumer electronics. “This expansion underscores the company’s dedication to meeting the diverse needs of consumers nation-wide, while fostering local entrepreneurship through its franchise-based model,” the company said. 

With the opening of an Exclusive Brand Store in New Delhi, Cellecor has clearly hinted that its focus is towards urban markets, particularly catering to the dynamic preferences of the youth demographic. 

With the addition of these new stores, Cellecor now operates four Exclusive Brand Stores nationwide, offering a curated range of consumer electronics including Mobiles, Smart TVs, Washing Machines, Kitchen Appliances, Smart Wearables, and Hearables. 

Looking ahead, Cellecor Gadgets Ltd. is actively engaged in discussions with multiple franchises to further expand its Exclusive Brand Store footprint. The company plans to open approximately 16 additional stores across various cities in India in a phased manner, ensuring strategic growth and reinforcing its commitment to serving diverse markets.

Google Pixel 9 Pro: Tech major lists 22 reasons to say ‘goodbye’ to your phone

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Google Pixel 9 Pro: Ahead of the scheduled launch of August 13, Google is teasing several details of the upcoming Pixel 9 Pro. The tech major has already announced that it will launch the Google Pixel 9 series in the upcoming ‘Made by Google’ event on August 13. It recently teased the design of the Google Pixel 9 Pro and showed the camera module of the smartphone in a new look

Google Pixel 9 Pro design

The teaser released by Google shows the smartphone in an off-white colorway. The design features a raised rear camera island with a textured finish. The camera module houses a black, pill-shaped section having three horizontally aligned camera sensors. It has an LED flash and a temperature sensor as well. 

Google shares reasons to switch to the upcoming Pixel 9 Pro

Ahead of the upcoming launch, the company has released an 8-second long video highlighting 22 reasons to buy the Pixel 9 Pro. Check out the reasons below:

1 – Goodbye, wishing your photo had more scenery 

2 – Goodbye, forgetting the movie your friend recommended

3 – Goodbye, forgetting the show your friend recommended

4 – Goodbye, phone calls where you can barely hear the other person

5 – Goodbye, your toddler looking everywhere except the camera

6 – Goodbye, scrubbing videos for answers

7 – Goodbye, gatekeeping

8 – Goodbye, so many emails. So little time

9 – Goodbye, screening calls yourself

10 – Goodbye, half the fam looking at the camera

11 – Goodbye, not capturing the right moment

12 – Goodbye, spending hours on hold

13 – Goodbye, the sky not being right

14 – Goodbye, the same old memes

15 – Goodbye, lost in translation

16 – Goodbye, forgetting what restaurant your friend liked

17 – Goodbye, awkward photo requests to strangers

18 – Goodbye, mom never being in the pic

19 – Goodbye, Photobombers

20 – Goodbye, writer’s block 

21 – Goodbye, concert videos that look too far away

22 – Goodbye, blurry photos

US issues warning on Microsoft outage, Nadella says working to bring systems back online

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US cybersecurity agency CISA has warned that hackers are trying to take advantage of Microsoft outage for phishing and other malicious activity, as the tech giant’s Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said they are working hard to safely bring systems back online globally. The US cybersecurity agency warned individuals to “avoid clicking on phishing emails or suspicious links,” which can lead to email compromise and other scams.

“Threat actors continue to use the widespread IT outage for phishing and other malicious activity. CISA urges organisations to ensure they have robust cybersecurity measures to protect their users, assets, and data against this activity,” it said in a statement.

The outage has impacted Windows 10 and later systems, and is due to the “CrowdStrike Falcon content update and not to malicious cyber activity”.

Nadella said in a post on X that “We are aware of this issue and are working closely with CrowdStrike and across the industry to provide customers technical guidance and support to safely bring their systems back online.”

A fresh Microsoft statement read that they are actively supporting customers to assist in their recovery.

According to CrowdStrike, the issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.

Pebble Dome, Ultra Rapid smartwatches launched – Check details

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Pebble smatwatch: Pebble has introduced two new smartwatches in the Indian market—Pebble Dome, featuring India’s first 3D spherical AMOLED display, and Pebble Ultra Rapid, boasting the fastest Rapid Charge technology. Both smartwatches are available exclusively on pebblecart.com.

Pebble Dome:
The Pebble Dome is India’s first Bluetooth calling smartwatch with a 3D spherical AMOLED display.

 It has a 1.52” spherical screen encased in a metal frame, with a crown on the side.

The smartwatch includes a leather strap and offers wireless charging, lasting up to four days on a single charge. Key features include Always-On Display, Voice Assistant, and a health suite monitoring heart rate, stress, sleep, and female health. 

It also offers over 200 watch faces, Quick Dial Pad, Loudspeaker, Call logs, Contacts, and multiple sports modes. The Pebble Dome is priced at Rs 2,999 and comes in Onyx Black and Whisky Brown strap colors.

Pebble Ultra Rapid:
The Pebble Ultra Rapid is a Bluetooth calling smartwatch with the fastest Rapid Charge technology, fully charging in 30 minutes. 

It features a 1.83” True HD Display with a metal square-shaped curvy dial. Available in Light Blue, Black, and Royal Blue strap colors, it is priced at Rs 1,699. 

The smartwatch includes Quick Dial Pad, Loudspeaker, Call Logs, Contacts, Google and Siri Voice Assistants, a health suite, Smart Alarm, Find Phone, Weather, and Calendar. It also offers customizable watch faces.

Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands, stated, “Our latest offerings further solidify our position as a leader in the smartwatch segment.”

For more details, visit [pebblecart.com](https://www.pebblecart.com/).

Microsoft says CrowdStrike bug affected 8.5 million windows devices

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Microsoft said on Saturday that the CrowdStrike update that grounded hundreds of fights around the world besides disrupting online services affected 8.5 million systems using the Windows operating software, which was less than 1 per cent of Windows devices, but the impact was disproportionately vast as it reflected the use of CrowdStrike by enterprises that run many critical services.

The IT giant said in a statement that it is “working around the clock and providing ongoing updates and support”.

“Additionally, CrowdStrike has helped us develop a scalable solution that will help Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure accelerate a fix for CrowdStrike’s faulty update,” it added.

CrowdStrike is a leading cybersecurity firm whose software update to customers on Friday impacted computer systems using Microsoft’s Windows operating system that grounded an estimated 1,400 flights, from the US to the UK to the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, and Dubai. It also disrupted medical and banking services and local transport systems in many American cities.

The disruptions were serious enough for the White House to say that President Joe Biden had been briefed about it and teams of US officials were in touch with private sector players to find an early resolution.

“While software updates may occasionally cause disturbances, significant incidents like the CrowdStrike event are infrequent,” Microsoft said.

“We currently estimate that CrowdStrike’s update affected 8.5 million Windows devices, or less than 1 per cent of all Windows machines. While the percentage was small, the broad economic and societal impacts reflect the use of CrowdStrike by enterprises that run many critical services,” it added.

Microsoft also said that the outage demonstrated the “interconnected nature of our broad ecosystem — global Cloud providers, software platforms, security vendors and other software vendors, and customers”.

The outage was also a reminder, the company noted, saying “it showed how important it is for all of us across the tech ecosystem to prioritise operating with safe deployment and disaster recovery using the mechanisms that exist”.

For all other news related to business, politics, tech and auto, visit Zeebiz.com.

Apple iPad Mini launch expected by end of 2024 – Check features and other details

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Apple has upgraded its iPad collection lately with the Apple iPad Pro supported by the brand new M4 processor. The tech giant also launched a new iPad Air powered by the M2 SoC. Nevertheless, the Apple iPad Mini range has not received any upgrade since 2021, amid the constant request for compact iPads with pocket-friendly pricing. Well, it seems that things might change by the end of this year as a report suggests that the company might recuperate its iPad mini collection and unveil a new Apple iPad mini before the year 2024 ends. 

An analyst from Apple Ming-Chi Kuo as well has hinted at a similar timeframe for the launch of the forthcoming iPad mini. Speculations are rife that the company might offer some major upgrades in display screen, battery life, and performance in the last generation iPad mini launched in 2021. Although the forthcoming Apple iPad mini might not have more than a 60 Hz refresh rate to save battery and price it below the top price category.

Although the present generation Apple iPad mini is supported by the A15 Bionic processor, the forthcoming iPad mini might be supported by the A17 Bionic processor. Furthermore, the company is predicted to provide the forthcoming Apple tablet equipped with provision for Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, offering Apple customers faster and more dependable network response. As per the report, the new Apple iPad mini will be accessible in new colour shades. The existing Apple iPad mini is up for grabs in three colour shades such as pink, starlight, purple, and space grey. If sources are to be believed, the upcoming Apple iPad mini might be featuring an updated primary camera.

boAt Smart Ring Active: boAt Launches Smart Ring in India – Check price and other details

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boAt Smart Ring Active: boAt has announced the release of the boAt Smart Ring Active, a new health and fitness tracker. It is made of stainless steel, and the Smart Ring Active is claimed to be one of the lightest wearable devices in India. 

It includes features such as heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and water resistance. The smart ring is accompanied by a portable charging case and is available in multiple sizes and colors such as  Midnight Black, Radiant Silver, and Gold.

Starting on July 20, the boAt Smart Ring Active will be sold for INR 2,999 on Amazon, Flipkart, and the boAt website.

boAt aims to make advanced health tracking accessible to a wider audience with this affordable product. The Smart Ring Active’s stainless-steel design ensures durability, and it is lightweight and comfortable for daily wear.

The Smart Ring Active includes the following features:

  • Magnetic charging case: Charging with a magnetic charging case that doubles as a safe carry and storage box.
  • 5ATM dust, sweat, and splash resistance: Durable and water-resistant, perfect for any activity.
  • boAt crest app fitness challenges: Engage in global fitness challenges or create your own, competing with friends and family.
  • boAt coins: Earn digital currency for maintaining fitness and wellness levels, redeemable on the boAt website/app or for vouchers from partner companies.
  • Multiple sports mode tracking: Track over 20 sports and activities with ease.
  • Up to 5 days battery life: Enjoy long-lasting battery life.
  • Camera control: Capture photos with a simple shake gesture.
  • Available in 5 sizes and 3 colors: Choose from Midnight Black, Radiant Silver, and Gold in sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. 

Thus,  the packaging includes a stainless-steel design, boAt Coins and fitness challenges, dust and water resistance, health monitoring, and a magnetic charging case also an augmented reality view is available via a QR code.

Sameer Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of boAt, stated, “We are committed to making fitness and health tracking accessible to all, blending innovation and style.”

Instagram New Feature Update: Meta-owned platform introduces multi-audio tracks on reels

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Instagram new feature: Instagram has launched a new multi-audio tracks feature for Reels. This feature allows users to add up to 20 audio tracks to a single reel, enhancing the creative potential of their content.

Users can now visually align audio with text, stickers, and clips while editing within the app. This feature provides flexibility in pairing the right tracks with the right clips, enabling more personalized content creation.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said, “Starting today, you can add up to 20 audio tracks to a single reel. This gives you more creative freedom with your content. You can align your audio with text, stickers, and clips while editing it within Instagram. When you do this, you’ll create your own unique audio mix that fans can save and reuse. Give it a try and let me know what you think.”

When users add multiple tracks, they create their own unique audio mixes, which can be saved and reused by their fans. This feature aims to provide new ways for users to express themselves with audio.

The multi-audio tracks feature is available to Indian audiences starting today.

OpenAI GPT-4o mini: All you need to know about this cheaper AI model

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OpenAI GPT-4o mini: The maker of ChatGPT, OpenAI has confirmed that the company has launched a cost-effective tiny AI model GPT-4o mini, which will make this technology more reasonable and less energy-consuming, letting the startup focus on a wider pool of customers. OpenAI supported by Microsoft is the front-runner in the AI software market, which has been trying to make the technology available easily at a reasonable cost to developers to create apps that are powered by its model. The company has taken this decision at a time when affluent rivals such as Google and Meta are trying to seek a bigger share of the market.

The officials of OpenAI have informed that GPT-4o mini is more than 60 per cent inexpensive compared to the GPT-3.5 Turbo which has been priced at 15 cents per million input tokens and 60 cents per million output tokens. As per the latest report, it presently outclasses the GPT-4 model on chat inclinations and has been able to score 82 per cent on Massive Multitask Language Understanding (MMLU). 

MMLU is a written intelligence and reasoning standard utilized to assess the competencies of language models. A greater MMLU score indicates that it can comprehend and utilize language in a better way across a wide range of domains, improving real-world usage. The AI technology maker says that the GPT-4o mini model’s score matched 77.9 per cent for Google’s Gemini Flash and 73.8 per cent for Anthropic’s Claude Haiku.

Experts say that smaller language prototypes need fewer computational power to function, which makes them a more reasonable choice for firms with restricted resources that wish to implement generative AI in their processes. The officials of OpenAI say that ChatGPT’s Free, Plus, and Team users will have the option to use GPT-4o mini as an alternative for GPT-3.5 Turbo, with enterprise users having access to it beginning next week.