Facebook Allows Advertisers to Buy In-Stream Ads

In a bid to give advertisers more flexibility and control to buy video ads to meet their target audience, Facebook has introduced an option to deliver ads on in-stream placements in videos on the social networking platform.

The move also gives advertisers an option to specify whether they would like their in-stream ads to appear on Facebook itself or across the range of websites and apps in Facebook’s Audience Network ad network product, a Facebook blog post said late on Thursday.

The move comes after advertisers told Facebook that they wanted more control over where their ads would appear in News Feed or in-stream during a video.

The company last week launched “Watch” – a platform where it plans to surface original video series from a wide range of publishers and content creators.

Facebook Allows Advertisers to Buy In-Stream AdsOn both Facebook and Audience Network, more than 70 per cent in-stream video ads up to 15 seconds in length are watched to completion – most with sound on.

“Using mobile optimised creative that’s 15 seconds or less, advertisers can capture consumer attention on mobile, increasing the likelihood that their video ads will be watched to completion,” Facebook said.

“And with Facebook’s people-based marketing, in-stream ads are targeted and delivered to the right people at the right time, achieving an average on-target rate of 89 per cent,” the company added.

Advertisers on Audience Network can deliver in-stream ads in pre-roll and mid-roll placements across select apps and websites.

Facebook said it will continue to give advertisers more flexibility and control over their ad placements.

Popular Taxi, Ride-Sharing Apps Affected by New ‘Faketoken’ Android Trojan: Kaspersky

A modified version of notorious mobile banking Trojan ‘Faketoken’ has resurfaced which is able to steal credentials from popular Android taxi applications and ride-sharing apps, Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said on Friday.

“The new version of ‘Faketoken’ performs live tracking of apps and, when the user runs a specified app, overlays this with its phishing window to steal the bank card details of the victim,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.

The Trojan virus has an identical interface, with the same colour schemes and logos, which creates an instant and completely invisible overlay.

“The fact that cybercriminals have expanded their activities from financial applications to other areas, including taxi and ride-sharing services, means that the developers of these services may want to start paying more attention to the protection of their users,” said Viktor Chebyshev, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

“The banking industry is already familiar with fraud schemes and tricks, and its previous response involved the implementation of security technologies in apps that significantly reduced the risk of theft of critical financial data,” Chebyshev added.

Popular Taxi, Ride-Sharing Apps Affected by New 'Faketoken' Android Trojan: KasperskyAccording to Kaspersky Lab, the new version of Faketoken targets mostly Russian users but it believes the geography of attacks could easily be extended in the future.

The modified Faketoken virus steals all incoming SMS messages by redirecting them to its command and control servers, allowing criminals to get access to one-time verification passwords sent by a bank, or other messages sent by taxi and ride-sharing services.

Among other things, the malware also monitor users’ calls, records them and transmits the data to the command and control servers.

Kaspersky researchers have also detected Faketoken attacks on other popular mobile applications, such as travel and hotel booking apps, apps for traffic fine payments, Android Pay and the Google Play Market.

Toshiba Said to Be Under Pressure to Consider Plan B as Chip Sale Falters

As the $18 billion (roughly Rs. 1,16,325 crores) sale of Toshiba’s memory chip unit to a government-approved consortium falters, some bankers and potential investors are pressing the board to seriously consider alternatives, people with direct knowledge of the sale process said – including picking a new buyer.

Those people say Toshiba’s leadership is sticking to Plan A: selling the world’s second-largest memory chip maker to a Japanese government-backed group that also includes Bain Capital.

But the clock is ticking for Toshiba, which was still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015 when it was hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse in December.

Unless it closes a deal by March, a gaping balance-sheet hole will prompt automatic delisting of its shares from Tokyo’s stock market – further battering its shareholders.

As questions emerge around the role of South Korean rival SK Hynix in the preferred bidder group, some Toshiba executives and officials at the company’s main creditor banks say they want top management to look at other options.

“Toshiba hastily picked the consortium ahead of its [June 28] annual shareholders meeting, but more and more flaws are emerging as time passes,” said a senior official at one of Toshiba’s banks.

SK Hynix, which was initially included just to help fund the deal, is now looking to own equity in Toshiba’s chips unit, according to sources, raising antitrust and national concerns in Japan. SK Hynix has not commented.

Addressing concerns that its chip technology could be handed to a foreign rival, Toshiba said previously that SK Hynix would have no equity or management influence.

Scrapping that deal would leave one obvious option: rival suitor Western Digital, which bid for the chip business with private equity firm KKR. But Western Digital, already a Toshiba joint venture partner, is in a legal dispute with the Japanese firm, and sources describe a deep distrust.

But Western Digital could have the support of government-backed Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) and Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) – both currently part of the preferred buyer consortium – the sources said. They are said to be wary of SK Hynix, and of Toshiba agreeing a sale to the group while Western Digital has sought an injunction to stop it.

Toshiba Said to Be Under Pressure to Consider Plan B as Chip Sale Falters“If asked, we are ready to team up with Western Digital and KKR, and we actually prefer that,” said a senior official at one of the government investors.

Both the DBJ and INCJ declined to comment.

A Toshiba spokesman said the firm is negotiating with the preferred buyer consortium to sign a definitive agreement as soon as possible.

Selling other assets seems a less likely avenue, as Toshiba has few of sufficient value, and a piecemeal process could take too long.

It sold its medical equipment business to Canon for $6 billion last year. There are plans to list Toshiba’s smart meter business Landis+Gyr, but that will not plug the gap. Toshiba turned down offers from buyout group CVC and industrial conglomerate Hitachi to buy the business for almost $2 billion earlier this year, sources have said.

Toshiba cannot raise cash by issuing shares because of restrictions imposed by the bourse after the 2015 scandal.

Deal or no deal
Toshiba has been scrambling for cash for months – since it shocked investors late last year with news of the cost overruns and delays at Westinghouse, which forced a hefty writedown and losses.

Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March in one of the nuclear industry’s most costly collapses to date, leaving Toshiba to cover $6 billion of liabilities it guaranteed.

Even so, investors and some creditors say they fear Toshiba may simply refuse to consider what appears to be the most obvious option.

“Some within Toshiba say they’d rather die than be (acquired by) Western Digital,” said a banking official who has discussed the deal with senior Toshiba executives.

Windows 10 Preview Build Gets DPI-Scaling Fix, Removes Blurry Apps on High-Res Displays

Microsoft on Friday released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build that solves an issue that has been nagging Windows users with high-resolution display. The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16237 changes how the system reacts to DPI adjustments. Users will no longer have to log out and log back in to fix blurry desktop apps, which are mostly related to old Win32 apps, after docking, undocking, and remoting.

Presently, if a user changes the resolution of a display by docking/ undocking or via Settings, the scaling gets reflected throughout the apps only by logging out of the account and then back in. However, with the latest build, Microsoft is cutting down that process and will adjust the scaling by simply relaunching the the app to render them crisply on your 4K display or high DPI display, the company says in its blog post.

This will solve the issue for most legacy apps, but not all as yet, and one will have to wait for those apps to get updated to respond to DPI change. Microsoft says that the apps will get updated DPI-related data from Windows when restarting them individually rather than having to log out and back in, which is a lot more annoying and cumbersome. The company has also noted that the change won’t improve apps that are blurry on secondary displays when in “extend” display mode.

microsoft windows 10 action center windows

That’s not all coming that is to the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build. Microsoft has also made some improvements to the notification buttons, which now spreads across the bottom of the notification, instead of being right-justified. Furthermore, the first notification in each group will be expanded in the Action Center so that you can quickly see and take action, of say your email, reminders and texts, without having to expand every single one of them.

The latest preview build for Windows 10 Insiders comes with a lot more fixes and improvements such as the Edge’s ability to now read out loud on websites and PDFs with word and line highlighting. The Emoji Panel now supports the new 5.0 making it easier to type and input the emoji you want. There’s also a new animation on when you add a favourite along with minor bug fixes. You can check the full list of improvements and fixes of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16237 on the company’s blog.

Chrome OS Set to Get Touch-Friendly Controls in Upcoming Redesign

Chrome OS on Chromebooks was initially not designed as a touch-friendly interface but after the introduction of support for Google Play apps, things were bound to change. It now seems like the operating system might soon receive a design overhaul that would focus primarily on support for touch-based controls.

A new video, shared by Google Chromium Happiness Evangelist Francois Beaufort, shows an app drawer just like Android with Google Search bar and some app icons that can be launched with a tap. Users can further get access to all their apps by swiping up on this app drawer. To enable, Beaufort notes users must enable the chrome://flags/#enable-fullscreen-app-list flag, restart Chrome, and press the Search key to see it in action.

With a simple tap, you can also perform voice search and the operating system will open the search result in a new Chrome window.

Chrome OS Set to Get Touch-Friendly Controls in Upcoming RedesignThe touch-friendly interface is already live in Canary versions of Chrome OS, which is essentially an alpha build of the OS. As it is an early build, you can expect bugs and glitches that still need ironing out by the company. Google added a ‘hybrid’ mode to the OS last year to space out the icons little more and make it easier to tap them, as pointed out in a report by The Verge. However, this seems to be one of the giant leaps towards making the operating system more touch-friendly than before.

As Samsung and Acer have been building Chromebooks with touchscreens for quite some time now, it appears that with this latest introduction, users will be able to do more touch-based actions with their portables than before.

PC Market Continues Slump on High Component Prices: Gartner, IDC

Worldwide shipments of personal computers continued to slump in the recently ended quarter but showed signs of stabilising, according to figures released Wednesday by market trackers.

Preliminary estimates released by Gartner indicated that 61.1 million PCs were shipped in the second quarter of this year in a 4.3 percent decline from the same period a year earlier.

An IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computer Device Tracker report put the figure at 60.5 million in a year-over-year decline of 3.3 percent.

Higher prices due to tight supplies of some components, particularly solid state drives, were felt to be among factors that hampered sales.

Gartner maintained that the PC industry is in the midst of a 5 year slump, and said the latest figures represented an 11th straight quarter of declining shipments.

“Amid some unevenness in market trends across the regions, the global PC market has continued to trend toward stabilization,” IDC research manager Jay Chou said in a release.

“Despite recent issues wrought by component shortages and its effect on system prices, we expect the momentum of commercial market replacements will contribute to eventual market growth.”

Chou expected consumer demand for PCs to remain under pressure, but saw potential boosts from the growing popularity of powerful computers for game play and sleek new Windows machines.

PC Market Continues Slump on High Component Prices: Gartner, IDCFactors hitting PC sales included growing demand for Google-backed Chromebook laptops that essentially act as gateways to services and computing power hosted in the Internet cloud, according to Gartner.

Worldwide Chromebook sales grew by 38 percent last year, while the overall PC market shrank six percent, Gartner reported.

“The Chromebook is not a PC replacement as of now, but it could be potentially transformed as a PC replacement if a few conditions are met going forward,”,” said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

“For example, infrastructure of general connectivity needs to improve; mobile data connectivity needs to become more affordable; and it needs to have more offline capability.”

Both market trackers ranked HP as the top computer seller, saying its sales have grown despite the shrinking market.

HP was followed by Lenovo, Dell and Apple in that order.

Decision on Western Digital’s Bid to Block Toshiba Memory Unit Sale Postponed

A US judge did not reach a decision Friday in Western Digital’s bid to temporarily block Toshiba from selling its flash memory business in an $18 billion deal but proposed requiring Toshiba to give Western Digital two weeks’ notice before closing.

Toshiba is scrambling to sell its flash memory unit to cover losses from its nuclear reactor business.

In late June, Toshiba announced its preferred bidder was a group made up of Bain Capital, South Korean chip maker SK Hynix and Japanese-government backed banks that offered $18 billion (roughly Rs. 1,15,843 crores).

Western Digital, which is also bidding, sued Toshiba in San Francisco County Superior Court in mid-June, saying it believed a joint venture with Toshiba means Toshiba needs its consent to sell the flash business.

Western Digital’s joint venture with Toshiba helps finance equipment at Toshiba’s plants in exchange for some of their output.

Separately from the California lawsuit, Western Digital is also contesting its consent rights in an international arbitration tribunal. Western Digital filed its lawsuit in San Francisco to prevent Toshiba from closing the sale of its memory unit before arbitration has a chance to play out.

At the hearing, Judge Kahn proposed requiring Toshiba to give Western Digital two weeks notice if it believed it would close the sale before the arbitration finished.

Toshiba’s attorney said they were concerned about agreeing to be bound by the San Francisco court’s jurisdiction. Toshiba has argued that because it is a Japanese company and the deal is taking place mostly in Japan, the court should not have jurisdiction.

Decision on Western Digital's Bid to Block Toshiba Memory Unit Sale PostponedAttorneys for Western Digital subsidiary SanDisk, which is formally party to the case, expressed concern that any order in which Toshiba did not agree to the court’s jurisdiction would not be enforceable.

The two sides could not agree, so Judge Kahn instructed them to come up with final language for his proposed order and set a new hearing for July 28, when a related dispute between the two will be heard.

In a statement, Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan called the proposed order and postponement a “victory.”

“Our entire goal was to preserve and protect our rights through the binding arbitration process, and that’s precisely what the court has done today,” Milligan said.

Toshiba called Judge Kahn’s proposed order “a ‘finessed’ alternative to issuing a preliminary injunction” and confirmed it agreed not to close a sale before July 28.

Jide Discontinues Remix OS, Moves Focus to Business Customers

Jide Technology on Tuesday announced that the company has decided to discontinue its Android-based Remix OS and that it will be “transitioning away” from consumer space. For those who are unaware, Remix OS is essentially a customised form of Android for the desktop form factor that was launched in January last year.

In a note from Jide, the company says that it has received a large number of queries from enterprises in various industries in the last one year and the company can help these enterprises build “great tools” by leveraging its software and hardware.

Jide Discontinues Remix OS, Moves Focus to Business Customers“We see huge potential in the role that Jide can play to revolutionize how these businesses operate. And given our existing resources, we decided to focus our company efforts solely on the enterprise space moving forward,” it said.

Jide says that it is restructuring its approach to Remix OS and as a result, the development on all existing products like Remix OS and other products in pipeline such as Remix IO and IO+ will be discontinued, as per the company. However, the company has clarified that all the backers for Remix IO and IO+ through KickStarter will be refunded. “In addition any purchases made via our online store that has remained unfulfilled will also be fully refunded. This requires no action from you as we will begin issuing refunds starting August 15th,” Jide said.

To recall, Jide launched its Remix Ultratablet back in 2014 and followed it up with its Android PC – Remix Mini and subsequently launched Remix OS for PC.

Windows 10 Updates Are Failing on Some PCs, Leaving Them at Risk

Owners of computers based on Intel’s Clover Trail generation of Atom processors, released between late 2012 and mid-2013, are reportedly finding that they are unable to install the Windows 10 Creators’ Update, also known as Windows 10 v1703. Users have reported seeing a message saying “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC” when trying to complete the Windows 10 update process. An error code displayed with the message points users to a note that suggests that software incompatibility is the reason that the automated process fails.

The devices affected include low-cost laptops, tablets and convertible 2-in-1s. There are four consumer Clover Trail CPUs; the Intel Atom Z2760, Z2520, Z2560 and Z2580. It is likely that a huge number of Clover Trail-based PCs from all the world’s major manufacturers have been sold. Many were originally shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1, but users were prompted to upgrade to Windows 10 for free when it was released – with Microsoft promoting the upgrade heavily.

Windows 10 Updates Are Failing on Some PCs, Leaving Them at RiskNeither Microsoft nor Intel has not yet published any information for affected users. However, an Acer support page surfaced by ZDNet.com seems to indicate that users were previously able to install the update but reported that text and icons were not showing up correctly on screen, or were appearing as solid blocks or bars. The Acer page goes on to state that Microsoft is working to create compatible drivers to address this problem, which indicates that the block might not be permanent.

This is the first known instance of old hardware becoming ineligible for a major Windows 10 refresh. Instead of a known end date for feature and security updates, Microsoft now promises to support Windows 10 for free in perpetuity, so long as a device is within its “lifetime”. However, that definition is vague, and depends on hardware compatibility, driver availability and OEMs’ support periods.

It is unclear whether affected Clover Trail PCs running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which is as of now the latest supported version, will be eligible for security patches or other critical Windows updates. Microsoft officially supports each major Windows 10 release for 18 months, which means that the Anniversary Update falls outside this period in early 2018. Ars Technica points out that security updates for Windows 8.1 are guaranteed till at least October 2023, leaving users who upgraded to Windows 10 at a significant disadvantage.

Lenovo India Says Gaming PCs, Convertibles Will Drive Near-Term Growth

The note ban did have a slight impact on the adoption of technology and purchasing trends in the country but that phase is now over and gaming PCs, along with convertible laptops, will drive the next level of growth in the personal computers’ space, a top Lenovo India executive has stressed.

Saying that demonetisation cooled down the demand for PCs in India, market research firm Gartner said earlier this week that worldwide PC shipments saw a 4.3 percent decline in the second quarter of 2017. It added that the PC industry globally is in the midst of a five-year slump and this is the 11th straight quarter of declining shipments.

In the Asia-Pacific region, PC shipments witnessed a decline of 5.1 percent in the quarter and, in India, “the PC market was primarily affected by market dynamics coupled with the absence of a large tender deal compared to a year ago and higher PC prices brought about weak market growth,” Gartner said.

“The market is only looking up. Demonetisation was a blip and it created an instability for a short time — 15 days or a month. We were all surprised with the way the market has bounced back,” Rajesh Thadani, Executive Director-Consumer Business and Ecommerce, Lenovo India, told IANS.

“After the demonestisation, we saw that demand for premium devices (priced more than Rs. 50,000) doubled. The mainstream market – devices which are available for nearly Rs. 30,000 – is also growing,” Thadani added.

According to the latest “Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker” by market research firm IDC, Lenovo, with 17.7 percent market share, came third in India for the first quarter of 2017.

Globally, Lenovo shipped 12.1 million units in the second quarter of 2017 and recorded 19.9 percent market share to grab the second spot, according to Gartner.

Aiming to change these figures, Lenovo on July 19 unveiled new additions to its Yoga and Ideapad range of future-ready laptops.

With this, the Chinese technology major has targeted mainstream and premium segment customers with devices ranging from as low as Rs. 17,800 to a highest of Rs. 74,850.

“The consumers today are no longer satisfied with a basic PC and want more power in it. There is a small set of customers who are deal seekers and want value for money, but those who want New Age devices and have spending capacity are growing very fast. I think this is the trend we are witnessing in the Indian consumer industry,” Thadani noted.

Lenovo India Says Gaming PCs, Convertibles Will Drive Near-Term GrowthEven gamers are now shelling out more money to get a top-of-the-line experience.

“When the cash was going out of the system owing to the note ban, Lenovo changed the strategy and offered discounts on credit cards, EMI schemes and tied up with third-party vendors. This helped us create even more demand,” the Lenovo executive told IANS.

Thadani highlighted that in mature markets like Japan, the PC market is declining but when it comes to evolving markets like India where PC penetration is still low, the demand is growing.

Talking about GST, he said that the move has forced businesses to become more structured.

“We see a lot of opportunity because enterprises and traders are now joining the new tax regime. They would need infrastructure and this is where companies like Lenovo will benefit by providing them solutions,” Thadani said.

Going forward, the company is building products around Virtual Reality (VR) and new technologies where the devices will be Cloud-enabled.

“It’s still early to talk about, but this is something that we look forward to. With the technologies around Microsoft Cortana, Lenovo will come with devices that will fulfil the current and growing needs of the consumers,” Thadani said.