Microsoft working on ‘Windows 10 Cloud’ to take on Chrome OS: Report

Microsoft is working on the light-weight version of Windows 10 operating system. It’s apparently called Windows 10 Cloud. A report from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley claims Windows 10 Cloud will be able to run only Unified Windows Platform (UWP) apps installed from the Windows Store. That simply means, a new version of Windows RT.

The report say Windows 10 Cloud will target Google’s Chrome OS installed on Chromebooks which relies on web-based apps, primarily. Chrome OS is light and fast, and is highly popular in the educational markets.

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Microsoft RT was a major flop on early Surface tablets, and it never updated to Windows 10. It was an ARM-based OS and ran apps built specifically for RT. The lack of apps led to the failure of Windows RT.

The Windows 10 Cloud name is a bit misleading. The name doesn’t necessarily suggest the OS will be powered by the Cloud or run on the Cloud, for example. That being said, the OS will heavily take advantage of Microsoft’s Cloud-based apps and Azure services.

Speculation about a new edition of Windows operating system, dubbed ‘Windows Cloud’ began showing up since past few weeks. There are already some mentions of the Cloud SKU of Windows 10 in the recent Insider Preview releases. A Twitter user known as “The Walking Cat” posted a screenshot of Windows 10 for PCs build 15003, showing references to “Cloud” and “CloudN,” the latter of which is believed to be a version without Media Player pre-installed, according to Petri.com.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet that the firm has “nothing to share” regarding Windows 10 Cloud, but ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley believes the Redmont-based company might debut the new edition of its OS at the annual Build conference for developers in May.

Meet Bat Bot, the new flying batlike drone

Holy drone, Batman! Mechanical masterminds have spawned the Bat Bot, a soaring, sweeping and diving robot that may eventually fly circles around other drones.

Because it mimics the unique and more flexible way bats fly, this 3-ounce prototype could do a better and safer job getting into disaster sites and scoping out construction zones than bulky drones with spinning rotors, said the three authors of a study released Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics. For example, it would have been ideal for going inside the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, said study co-author Seth Hutchinson, an engineering professor at the University of Illinois.

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The bat robot flaps its wings for better aerial maneuvers, glides to save energy and dive bombs when needed. Eventually, the researchers hope to have it perch upside down like the real thing, but that will have to wait for the robot’s sequel.

Like the fictional crime fighter Batman, the researchers turned to the flying mammal for inspiration

“Whenever I see bats make sharp turns and perform upside down, perching with such elegant wing movements and deformations, I get mesmerized,” said another author, Soon-Jo Chung, a professor of aerospace at the California Institute of Technology.

The Bat Bot has nine joints and measures slightly less than 8 inches from head to tail. Its super-thin membrane wings span about a foot and a half. The flexible flapping — as much as 10 times per second — acts “like a big power amplifier,” Hutchinson said.

The researchers still need to add cameras, build more drones and get permission from federal agencies to fly them, but Hutchinson said these bat robots could be flying around work sites and disaster zones within five years. It’s already taken three years and cost $1.5 million, including a team of experts from Brown University who studied bat flight, Hutchinson said.

Outside robotics experts were impressed, but cautious.

Smaller fixed-wing drones have problems with maneuverability and four rotors are not efficient, so a bat-inspired design is “a very intriguing line of research,” University of Pennsylvania engineering professor Vijay Kumar said in an email. However, he noted, “it is too early to tell if these designs will actually be superior.”

LG’s new Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches now expected to launch on February 8: Report

New Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches made by LG will be unveiled one day earlier than expected. According to a tweet sent out by the famed leaker Evan Blass Android Wear 2.0 and the two Google watches built by LG will be introduced on February 8. This means the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport will be announced on February 8 instead of the February 9 date previously speculated by Blass.

It is unknown whether the February 10 launch date is also moved a day. Blass didn’t mention any change in the availability of the two upcoming smartwatches, meaning the watches will go on sale on Friday i.e. February 10. Android Wear 2.0 roll-out will likely begin on the same day.

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LG’s new smartwatches – made in association with Google – will come in two models. The Sport will be bigger and is pegged to come with cellular connectivity. It will be more expensive and has an IP68 certification compared to the IP67 rating on the Watch Style.

Both of these watches will have a physical button that is rumoured to work as a digital crown for navigating the watch’s interface. These watches are expected to work with iOS and Android and feature Google Assistant built-in. Meanwhile, a report on Android Police claims the Watch Sport will launch with a price of $349 ( or approx Rs 23,447), the less feature-packed LG Watch Style is priced at $249 ( or approx Rs 16,729).

Last month, Google released the fifth and  final Android Wear 2.0 developer preview build. Android Wear 2.0 is seen as a major reboot to the platform, and will bring a number of features including a new look for the entire interface, smaller notifications, new input methods and support for third-party complications. Also, the software update will  allow users to pair their smartwatches with the iPhone to install apps from the Play store, enjoying the same experience as Android users.

Android Wear 2.0 was first announced at Google I/O 2016. The official launch was slated for the fall, but it has since been pushed until early 2017.

Patent reveals Intel working on a curved 2-in-1 laptop

A new patent has revealed, which shows Intel might be working on the hybrid notebook with an innovative design. A patent discovered by The Leaker shows a curved 2-in-1 laptop that essentially looks like a challenger to Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

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According to patent documents, the design comprises of a detachable curved screen and keyboard. This means the screen can be used as a tablet, similar to the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book. Apparently there could be two batteries, one in the base (keyboard) and another one in the screen, with the keyboard also said to be capable of housing extra storage and CPU. It’s also being said that the screen could get a low-power mode when removed from the base. It is aimed at optimizing battery life.

Though this won’t be the first time we’re going see the curved screen laptop as Acer has already unveiled the Predtor 21X gaming laptop last year. But, the curved screen aspect is pretty interesting. So far, TV manufacturers are pushing curved displays as being the next big thing. The claim is that a curved screen offers more immersive experience due to a more natural shape. Unfortunately, there’s no major difference in viewing experience when you compare to flat TVs.

It’s believed that if the 2-in-1 curved laptop does launch, it will come packing Intel’s eight-generation of Core processors, which will it give a major competition to the upcoming Surface Pro 5.  For now, it is hard to tell whether Intel does want to produce a hybrid with a curved display or it’s just toying with the idea.

Apple’s augmented reality glasses could be coming this year: Report

Apple may be developing a pair of AR glasses, which could launch by the end of 2017. Noted tech evangelist Robert Scoble has predicted the company is planning to release an AR headset in partnership with Germany’s Carl Zeiss.

During a recent appearance on “This Week in Tech” podcast, he admitted sources at the “highest levels” have strongly tipped that a pair of smart glasses are in the works. He also claimed the powerful smart AR glasses could be revealed alongside the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 in September. He said that may coincide with the opening of Apple’s Spaceship headquarters in September 2017.

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CEO Tim Cook has previously dropped multiple hints at exploring the AR headset market. In July 2016, Cook said during an earnings calls, “We are high on AR for the long run… We think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we’re investing.”

Cook over the past few months has been discussing about the potential of the AR technology. Speaking with ABC News in an interview, the Apple CEO said, “There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting. But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.”

In November, KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will unveil a fully baked AR product, but it’s unlikely to debut for another two years. During the same month, a report on Bloomberg said Apple had talked about its glasses project with “potential suppliers” ahead of the planned launch in 2018.

Apple has been exploring the AR headset market for quite sometime if you go by the reports we’ve seen. In 2013, Apple bought PrimeSense, which originally developed Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system. Later, in 2015, the iPhone 7 maker purchased Metaio, an augmented reality startup that was launched way back in 2013 as an offshoot project at Volkswagen.

Meet Gita, the bot that will carry your luggage for you

Gita, an intelligent cargo vehicle that will follow you around with your luggage, has been unveiled by the Piaggio Group. Gita looks like a spherical ball and is made of carbon fiber that can carry a user’s luggage around. Gita is 26-inches tall and can carry up to 18 kilograms of weight. It comes with an autonomous mode as well as follow mode. In places where Gita has already been before, it moves around independently. The device can detect and avoid obstacles. In follow mode, Gita navigates by following users and creates a 3D map of its surroundings.

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Gita has a lock to protect cargo inside, and the device packs a 360 degree camera. It can also be tracked at all times. The luggage-carrying bot is equipped with batteries, which last for 8 hours when used at walking speeds. It can reach a maximum speed of 35 km per hour.

Gita has been designed to match a high-performance motorcycle in terms of breaking, balancing, and vehicle dynamic.

“The Piaggio Group, through the creation of PFF, looks again to the future, to young people, to the future generations, and doesn’t want to merely be ready to face the challenges of this increasingly complex mobility scenario, but wants to be leading agent of this change. Innovation, research and curiosity are the basis of this project and are its main drivers,” Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group, said in a press statement.

A bigger cargo vehicle called Kilo was also unveiled alongside Gita. Both the devices have been developed by Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a company controlled by the Piaggio Group. Kilo has 120 compartments and can carry up to 100 kilograms. Gita will hit the markets on February 2. So whose looking to ditching their bags, and dumping their daily stuff onto Gita?

Former Amazon Fire TV chief to lead Apple TV business: Report

Apple has hired former Amazon Fire TV head Timothy Twerdahl to run its Apple TV division, in an effort to revive its streaming media business. Twerdahl will be in charge of both product and marketing, as reported by Bloomberg.

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Twerdahl will be reporting to Greg Joswaik, vice president for iOS, iPhone and iPad. Pete Distad, who formerly held the position, will now negotiating content deals under Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

Twerdahl had been at Amazon since 2013, where he successfully launched the company’s  Fire TV media streaming box. Before that,  he was working with Netflix on the team that was spun out into Roku and then Twerdhal worked as VP at WIMM labs, the start-up that was acquired by Google in 2013.  Twerdahl’s Linkedin page says he joined Apple this month.

Apple TV has barely changed since its launch, although last year it got a major reboot in the form of a new TV app and single sing-on functionality in tvOS 10. But it might not be enough. It still lags behind rival streaming devices from the likes of Roku, Amazon and Google.

The move could suggest that Apple is renewing its focus on getting more content on Apple TV, something the company has been struggling for quite sometime. The iPhone maker has been rumored to be working on its own original content and even held talks with media companies. Reports surfaced last year that Apple was one of the “possible suitors” to acquire Time Warner, the cable company that owns CNN and HBO, among other channels.

It remains to be seen whether Timothy Twerdahl will be enough to reboot Apple TV business, but it seems that the Tim Cook-led company is in no mood to give up just yet.

Android Wear 2.0 announced: LG Watch Style, Watch Sport are first devices

Google has rolled Android Wear 2.0 and the new LG Watch Style and Watch Sport are the first smartwatches to get this update. With Android Wear 2.0, the search giant is bringing its Google Assistant on the new LG smartwatches. The Watch Style comes in three designs and finishes—silver, rose gold and titanium. It is compatible with changeable 18mm leather and silicone bands out of the box. The rotating power button in the Watch Style can be used to scroll through stream, bring up the app launcher, or get help from Google Assistant.

LG Watch Style runs Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 along with 4GB RAM and 512MB storage. It sports a 1.2-inch P-OLED display (360 x 360 pixels ) at 299ppi. Backed by a 240 mAh battery, the device supports wireless charging. It has an IP67 rating, which makes the Watch Style dust and water resistance. The dimensions of the smartwatch are 42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79 mm. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n and Bluetooth 4.2 LE. Sensors include Accelerometer, Gyro and Ambient Light. It features a microphon.

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LG Watch Sport is available in titanium and dark blue options. It features a 1.38-inch P-OLED display (480 x 480 pixels) at 348ppi. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 along with 4GB RAM and 768MB internal storage. The Watch Sport supports 4G LTE. It comes with elastomer strap, NFC, GPS and a heart rate sensor. It features dedicated buttons for Google Fit and Android Pay,. The rotating power button helps users to instantly launch favourite apps.

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LG Watch Sport is backed by a 430 mAh battery. In terms of connectivity, it supports LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and NFC. Sensors on the device include Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, PPG, GPS and Ambient light. It comes with IP68 rating making it dust and water resistant. The device features speaker as well as microphone. It supports wireless charging. The dimensions of the Watch Sport are 45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2 mm.

LG Watch Style can be bought at Best Buy and the Google Store in the US. The Watch Sport is available at AT&T, Verizon and the Google Store starting February 10. These smartwatches will be available at carriers across Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE and UK in the coming weeks.

LG Watch Sport is available in titanium and dark blue options.

Google’s Android Wear 2.0 brings new features such as more personalised watch faces, better ways to work out, new ways to use apps as well as a more convenient way to stay in touch wit Google Assistant. Let’s take a look at all the new features of Android Wear 2.0 in detail:

1. Android Wear 2.0 now allows users to personalise watch faces on their smartwatch. There’s always-on watch face with information and actions from apps. It has become easier to check for things such as next appointment, stock performance, progress on fitness goal etc by just glancing at the watch face. Users can call for an Uber ride or start a workout via a tap on the watch face.

2. Google Fit now lets users track their pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate as they’re walking, running or cycling. Weight-lifting reps, push-ups, sit-ups and squats can be measaured using the app as well.

3. With Android Wear 2.0, users can now choose which apps they want on the watch and download them directly from the new on-watch Google Play Store.

4. Google is making it easier for users to read and respond to a message right from the watch. Users can expand the notification and tap to respond by dictating, typing or handwriting response to a message. It is available for apps such as Facebook Messenger, Glide, Google Messenger, Hangouts, Telegram and WhatsApp. Smart Reply suggests responses based on the message that a user receives.

5. With Android Wear 2.0, the company is bringing Google Assistant to smartwatch. Google Assistant can save remiders, make a restaurant reservation or navigate routes. To launch the Assistant, users can hold down the power button on their watch or say “Ok Google.” The Google Assistant is available in English and German on Android Wear.

Several other smartwatches are getting Google Assistant as well. These include Asus ZenWatch 2 & 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart, Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Huawei Watch, LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE, Michael Kors Access Smartwatches, Moto 360 2nd Gen, Moto 360 for Women, Moto 360 Sport, New Balance RunIQ, Nixon Mission, Polar M600 and TAG Heuer Connected.

Valentine’s Day: Top deals from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi

The biggest puzzle before Valentine’s Day is whether to get your loved one chocolates, flowers, a high-end watch, or may be even a jewelry. For this Valentine’s Day, think beyond roses and greeting cards. There are number of ways to get innovative for your techie friend to celebrate the day of love.

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Know someone who can’t get enough of House of Cards? Get them a new TV. Want to give your boyfriend a fitness band? Give him the new Samsung Gear Fit2. Thinking to pick up a new smartphone? Check out the iPhone 5s.

Need some help with Valentine’s Day ideas? Indianexpress.com pulled together the best tech deals, discounts and offer.

Apple 

Does your love enjoying taking pictures, but need a compact phone? Well, the iPhone 5s may just be the perfect gift. The phone may look dated but it is still recommended, given the value it offers to the end user.  Apple has partnered with HDFC Bank to provide cashback offers on purchase of the iPhone 5s. The company is offering a cashback of up to Rs 6,000. Moreover, a cashback of Rs 2,000 is also applicable on all Debit and Credit cards from various banks. The phone is available for Rs 18,994 . That’s a great price and perfect time for Valentine’s Day. Just remember that the offer is valid till February 14 i.e today.

Motorola 

Motorola is offering free couple PVR gift cards to lucky customers who buy Moto smartphones February 7 to February 14 from Flipkart, Amazon or any retail store. All you need to send the invoice copy to Moto on company’s Facebook page to win free tickets. The offer is applicable on the purchase of Moto Z, Moto Z Play, Moto MODs, Moto M, Moto G4 play, Moto E3 Power and Moto X Force.

Xiaomi 

The Chinese company Xiaomi is hosting Valentine’s Day sale, meaning you can get a number of its products at fantastic prices. Xiaomi’s Valentine’s Day sale has offers on the Mi Air Purifier, the 20000 mAh Mi Power Bank, the Mi Band, Mi Selfie stick, Mi Bluetooth speaker and Mi VR headset. Xiaomi is giving the first 1000 prepaid orders a free Mi keychain as well, but for that you have to be really fast. And, in case, if you’re looking to buy the Redmi Note 4,  the phone will go on sale on  February 15 at 12pm on Flipkart and Mi.com.

Samsung 

Samsung too has announced a number of offers and deals on Valentine’s Day.Users can avail the special  offers through the company’s online store. However, it should be noted that the offers are available for a limited period and redeemable purely on first come first serve basis till February 15.  The special offer is available on the purchase of the Galaxy A9 Pro, Galaxy A7 (2016), Galaxy A5 (2016), Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy J5 Prime, Galaxy On Nxt and Galaxy On 8. For the nerdy guy in life, get him the Gear Fit2 at just Rs 9,990, down from Rs 11, 990.

LeEco

LeEco is also running an offer on its LeMall website. During the special sale, users purchasing the Super3 X55 Ultra HD ecoTV will be able to get cashback of Rs 4,000 on all debit and credit cards. The 4K-ready TV is priced at Rs 59,790. Buyers also get a chance to win an additional cash benefit of Rs 1,500 that will be applicable on the site till February 15.

Acer Spin 3 convertible laptop launched in India at Rs 42,999

Acer has launched a new convertible laptop under its Spin series. With the Spin 3, Acer is trying to market the device as something that can be used for both work and play. Priced at Rs 42,999, the new Spin 3 laptop is now available in key retail stores in India. The Spin 3 was originally announced at IFA 2016.

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The Spin line features laptops packing 360-hinges, and the Spin 3 is no different.  As its name suggests, it can be rotated into four different positions: Notebook, Tablet, Display, and Tent. The laptop features a 15.6-inch HD with Acer Color Intelligence display. The Acer Color Intelligence software adjusts gamma and saturation in real-time, optimising screen colour and brightness with less CPU loading while BlueLightShield that protects your eyes from harmful screen emissions.

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Powered by Windows 10 operating system, the Spin 3 comes with the 6th generation Intel Core processor, 4GB DDR4 RAM, 500GB HDD storage, 9 hours of battery back-up, Dual USB 3.1 Type-C ports, and a wireless 802.11ac WiFi. The notebook is also equipped with Dolby Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony technology.

The Spin 3 gets a large trackpad that ensures an easy and comfortable navigation. It also comes with a backlit ergonomic keyboard with a 1.6 mm keystroke provides comfortable typing experience to users. The notebook also comes with an HD camera with HDR (High Dynamic Range).

“The ultraportable Acer Spin 3, is an ultimate device for anything from spreadsheets to games, video and entertainment. We are confident that the Acer Spin 3 will amaze the users with its blazing battery, multi-mode usage and powerful performance,” said Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India, in a statement.