Snapchat Rolls Out ‘Speed Modifier’ Video Filters for Android and iOS

Snapchat has rolled out updates for both its Android and iOS apps, bringing new video filters called Speed Modifiers – Slo-Mo, Fast Forward, and Rewind. It has also updated its app with 3D Touch functionality for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

To use Speed Modifiers, users would have to simply swipe over to apply them, after shooting a video on Android or iOS device. The updated app version is available to download from Google Play and App Store.

As for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users, the same app version additionally brings force touch support as well. Users on tapping the Snapchat app icon lightly on the home screen would see the options to send a chat or add a new friend.

Snapchat last month expanded its Replay feature for the disappearing messages, giving users an option to get another look at three “snaps” for a fee of $0.99 (roughly Rs. 65). The feature is the first by the popular social network to get revenue from its user base in addition to advertising messages introduced last year. Users can get a second look at any message, but can do this only once per snap. It also introduced the new Lenses feature, essentially animated filters, but to be used before the selfie is taken. To activate Lenses, users need to hold the image of their face.

NPA Facility to Train 2,000 Policemen in Cybercrime Probe

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy’s National Digital Crime Resource and Training Centre, which is the only facility of its kind in India, will train 2,000 policemen over the next two years in investigating cyber crime, an official said on Thursday.

The training of serving police officials and investigating personnel will start from December this year.

Academy director Aruna Bhaugana told reporters on Thursday that the NDCRTC, a research and training institute which also serves as a depository of all kinds of crimes, recently started functioning.

The 67th batch of Indian Police Service (IPS) officer trainees, passing out on Saturday, became the first batch to be trained by the NDCRTC in cyber crime investigations and also in how to use cyber technology to detect crime.

Since IPS officers have only a supervisory role, the facility will roll out courses to train officers who actually investigate the cyber crime.

With cyber experts from various agencies and institutions, it will also provide training to personnel of other law enforcing agencies like customs, revenue intelligence and income tax in dealing with the cyber crime.

According to academy’s deputy director H.K. Kusumakar, the department of electronics and information technology in the ministry of communication and information technology is funding the centre to the tune of Rs. 3.68 crores for two years.

After this period, the centre will offer paid courses for government and private organizations and individuals to generate its own revenues and become self-reliant.

The centre will have a governing body comprising members from agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the state police on rotation basis.

There will also be a technical body comprising 25 to 30 technical advisors from various organizations like Central Forensic Lab (CFL) of Hyderabad and private individuals.

The centre is currently designing course curriculum and study material. The course duration will range from one day to two weeks.

“We also have plans for liasioning with similar international organisations,” said Kusumakar.


You Can Now Record and Publish Android Gameplay With Google Play Games

In an attempt to broaden the reach of mobile gameplay videos, Google on Wednesday updated the Google Play Games app to add video recording and published capabilities. It is now allowing anyone to record video alongside commentary on any Android game using Google Play Games, and then upload that footage to share with others. The roll out is gradual, so it may take some time to arrive on your handset. The company says that US and UK residents will get it first, though.

Users will be able to select the game they want to record, and can also add their video commentary using the device’s front-facing camera and microphone. What’s interesting about it is that users aren’t live streaming the footage – instead, they record the gameplay, edit out the part they don’t want the world to see, and upload it to YouTube using Google Play Games. The service supports 480p (standard), and 720p (HD) video resolutions.

“It’s simple. In the Play Games app, select any game you want to play, then tap the record button. You can capture your gameplay in 720p or 480p, and choose to add video of yourself and commentary via your device’s front facing camera and microphone. When you’re done recording, you can quickly edit and upload your video to YouTube,” the company wrote in a blog post.

The move could substantially increase the mobile game-related content on YouTube, which can also be enjoyed on YouTube Gaming, the game-centric platform and app the company launched in August. The app allows users to broadcast their gameplay too, though baking the feature right into Game Play Games makes it much more convenient for users. The company, however, still has a long way to go if it wants to match up Twitch’s stature.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Successor Purportedly Passes Bluetooth SIG Certification


The anticipated successor of the Samsung Galaxy A5 has reportedly been certified by the Bluetooth SIG authority.

The Bluetooth certification image shared by NapiDroid website (via Phonearena), shows nothing more than the Bluetooth 4.1 support for the handset and the model number SM-A510F/DS. It is worth noting that the model number of the existing Samsung Galaxy A5 smartphone was SM-A500.

The SM-A510F/DS was spotted last week on Zauba, an Indian import and export tracker. As per the listing, the smartphone features a 5.2-inch display. Notably, Samsung has not yet mentioned anything about the smartphone yet.

bluetooth_sig_galaxy_a5_successor_napidroid.jpgIt is also worth noting that the successors of the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A3 smartphones were spotted at the GFXBench benchmark test earlier this week. While the next-gen Galaxy A7 comes with a SM-A710 model number, the Galaxy A3 successor sports a SM-A310 model number.

According to the benchmark listing, the successor Samsung Galaxy A3 successor aka SM-A310 will feature a 4.7-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display and will be powered by an Exynos 7580 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with 1.5GB of RAM. The Galaxy A3 bears 16GB of inbuilt storage, and the smartphone sports a 13-megapixel rear camera alongside a 5-megapixel front camera.

The SM-A710 aka Samsung Galaxy A7 successor, on the other hand, is seen featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. Under the hood, the handset is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5GHz with 3GB of RAM. The handset is listed to pack the same inbuilt storage and camera modules as the SM-A310.

Moto X Force With 5.4-Inch ‘Shatterproof’ QHD Display Launched

Motorola on Thursday launched the Moto X Force, the international variant of the recently unveiled Motorola Droid Turbo 2 for Verizon Wireless. Motorola says the smartphone would be arriving in the UK, as well as the Latin America, EMEA, and APAC regions in November.

The Motorola Moto X Force is identical to its Verizon Wireless counterpart, except for network support. The version listed on the company’s UK site features support for India’s 4G LTE bands as well. The smartphone will be eligible for the company’s Moto Maker customisation program where applicable.

Making the announcement on its UK blog, the company has detailed a GBP 499 (roughly Rs. 49,900) price tag for the 32GB variant, and a GBP 534 (roughly Rs. 53,400) price tag for the 64GB variant.

(Also see: Motorola Moto X Force vs. Motorola Droid Turbo 2)

The Moto X Force comes with a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560) display. The company claims that the ‘ShatterShield’ display – which is made of an aluminium rigid core, flexible Amoled screen, and dual-layer touchscreen panels (redundancy in case one goes bad) – wouldn’t break into pieces even when dropped on a slab of concrete. The smartphone also comes with water-repellent nano-coating.

moto_x_force_shatterproof_fall.jpgThe smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core SoC clocked at 2GHz and paired with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. As mentioned above, it comes in 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options, with both variants bearing a microSD card slot (up to 2TB). There’s a 3760mAh battery onboard, which in addition to a claimed battery life of 2-days with “mixed use”, also supports Quick Charging.

On the photography front, the handset comes with a 21-megapixel rear-camera with an f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash and Phase Detect Autofocus, apart from a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter with flash and an f/2.0 aperature.

In terms of software, the new Motorola smartphone runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and not Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The single-SIM capable Moto X Force supports 4G LTE (Cat. 4), 3G, CDMa, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and other standard connectivity options.

Asus ZenPad 7.0 and ZenPad 8.0 India Availability Detailed

Asus India on Friday finally revealed the availability of its ZenPad 7.0 (Z370CG) and ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) tablets for the Indian market alongside launching the ZenPad C 7.0 (Z170CG). Both the tablets were initially announced for India in August.

The Taiwanese manufacturer confirmed that the ZenPad 7.0 will be available starting Friday itself. The ZenPad 8.0 and ZenPad C 7.0 tablets on the other hand will go on sale by end of October. All three new ZenPad tablets will be available via exclusive Asus stores and Flipkart.

As before, the Asus ZenPad 7.0 (Z370CG) will come at Rs. 11,999 and the tablet will also be available with a bundled Audio Cover at Rs. 14,999. The tablet will come in Obsidian Black and Aurora Metallic colours. The Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) has been is priced at Rs. 14,999 and with an Audio Cover at Rs. 17,999. It will be available in two colours – Obsidian Black and Aurora Metallic. The ZenPad C 7.0, priced at Rs. 8,999, comes in three colours – Obsidian Black, Glamour Red, Aurora Metallic.

All these tablets were showcased at Computex 2015 trade show this year. The tablets come integrated with DTS-HD Premium Sound technology, which the company touts is a highlight of both the devices.

The Asus ZenPad 7.0 (Z370CG) features a 7-inch (1280×800 pixels) HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. It is powered by a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom x3-C3230 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB or 16GB of built-in storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). It sports an 8-megapixel rear and there is a 2-megapixel front camera also on board. The Android 5.0 Lollipop-based tablet runs Zen UI on top. The ZenPad 7.0 (Z370CG) supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Micro-USB connectivity options. The tablet also comes with Micro-SIM and support GPRS/ EDGE and 3G via SIM. For battery life, Asus claims that the ZenPad 7.0 can deliver up to 8 hours battery life and comes with 13Wh Li-polymer battery. It measures 189×110.9×8.7mm and weighs 272 grams.

The ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) comes with LTE connectivity along with a Micro-SIM slot. It runs on a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 (MSM8929) processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. It features an 8-inch 1280×800 pixel LED-backlit IPS display and comes with 16GB of storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB). Apart from 4G, connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB, GPS, and Glonass. It bears a 2-megapixel front camera, and an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus. It measures 209x123x8.5 mm and weighs 350 grams. Its 15.2Whr battery is rated to deliver up to 9 hours of battery life.

Finally, the new Asus ZenPad C 7.0 features a 7-inch 1024×600 pixel LED-backlit IPS display, and is powered by a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom x3-C3230 processor, with 1GB of RAM, and a choice of 8GB of storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB).

Connectivity options on the ZenPad C 7.0 (Z170CG) include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB, GPS/ A-GPS, and Glonass. It bears a 0.3-megapixel front camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus. It measures 189x108x8.4mm, and weighs 265 grams. Its 13Whr battery is rated to deliver up to 8 hours of battery life. The Asus ZenPad C 7.0 (Z170CG) also sports 3G connectivity and comes with two Micro-SIM card slots.


New Computer Chip Can Self-Destruct in Seconds

A new computer chip made of tempered glass that self destructs in seconds when remotely triggered could keep sensitive date secure, researchers say.

The new method uses silicon computer wafers attached to a piece of tempered glass that shatters into small pieces when heated in one spot.

The heat can be turned on via a remote, which in the future could conceivably be triggered by anything from Wi-Fi to a radiofrequency signal, said Gregory Whiting, a materials scientist and manager of the Novel Electronics Group that produced the chip at PARC, a California-based company.

The new technology could allow for easier recycling of electronics, or help ensure that data on stolen electronics remains secure, Whiting said. The researchers decided to use tempered glass, an extra strength material also known as safety glass, to make self-destructing electronics, ‘Live Science’ reported.

Normally, glass is tempered by cooling the edges: The glass exterior shrinks, putting the exterior into compression while the warmer interior maintains incredible tensile stress. Though the glass is stronger than normal, “if you break a piece of safety glass, it kind of explodes, shatters explosively into little pieces,” Whiting said.

Because glass is a poor temperature conductor, the heat-tempering process only works with pieces of glass that are at least 0.03 inches thick, whereas producing tiny particles requires thinner materials.

The team used a different method, called ion exchange, to temper the glass. The researchers started with a thin piece of glass that was rich in sodium ions, or atoms of sodium with one electron stripped off.

They then put the glass into a hot bath of potassium nitrate. Potassium ions then try to swap places with the sodium ions, but because the heftier potassium ions must squeeze into place within the silicon matrix, this creates enormous tension in the glass, Whiting said.

The new method allows for either attaching silicon wafers directly to the glass, or fabricating the two together. To induce chip suicide, the team triggers the chip with a tiny heating element, which causes a thermal shock that creates a fracture that spreads throughout the glass. Anything from Wi-Fi to radio waves could send the kill signal to the chip, Whiting said.

Apple TV, iPad Pro to Launch in Late October: Report

Apple is reportedly set to make the Apple TV and iPad Pro tablet available with Apple Retail Stores in the first week of next month. The two devices are said to hit retail shelves only after their online launch later this month.

The online orders for the new Apple TV and iPad Pro would start shipping from first week November itself, reports 9to5Mac. Apple is yet to confirm the plans. The firm previously said it would make the Apple TV and the iPad Pro available for purchase sometime in October and November respectively.

Apple at the time of launch said the iPad Pro will ship in Silver, Gold, Space Grey colours at a price of $799 (roughly Rs. 51,700) for 32GB storage (Wi-Fi only), $949 (roughly Rs. 61,500) for 128GB storage (Wi-Fi only), and $1,079 (roughly Rs. 70,000) for 128GB storage Wi-Fi+LTE variant. The Apple TV would start at $149 (roughly Rs. 9,600).

For those unaware, Apple launched its iPad Pro tablet last month alongside the iPad mini 4, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the new Apple TV. The tablet features a 12.9-inch 2732×2048 pixel display and is powered by a new “desktop class” A9X chip, which is 1.8X times faster than its predecessor in CPU tasks. Apple also announced the Apple Pencil, a stylus for the iPad Pro.

The Apple TV set-top box features an A8 SoC and will be available in 32GB and 64GB storage variants. The home entertainment system supports full-HD resolution displays, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, USB Type-C port, and HDMI v1.4 connectivity. It comes with a new Siri Remote, which features motion controls via the gyroscope and accelerometer, and also includes a touchpad, apart from enabling voice-based search, playback, and navigation via two microphones for Siri.

Apple is now also being rumoured to launch its anticipated 21.5-inch 4K display iMac next week. Apple apparently has plans to launch it with availability beginning as soon as October 13.



Coolpad to Invest Rs. 30 Crores for Smartphone Manufacturing in India

Chinese handset-maker Coolpad will invest over Rs. 30 crores in the country in manufacturing, research and development (R&D) and design as it launched a new smartphone – Coolpad Note 3 – priced at Rs. 8,999 on Friday.

The company also said it will partner with Videocon to manufacture smartphones in the country and will roll out nearly half a million devices from its facility in Maharashtra.

“The first Made-in-India Coolpad phone will be available in the first quarter of 2016,” Coolpad vice president Johnson Luo said.

“India is very crucial market for Coolpad and we believe we will learn a lot from our investments here. We are here to bring affordable smartphones to the users,” Luo added.

Coolpad, which produces nearly 34 million smartphones every year and has $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,430 crores) revenue, had earlier launched in India with the Dazen brand name which was a partnership between Coolpad and Chinese search engine Qihoo 360.

“Dazen is no longer a part of Coolpad and has been separated due to a change in investor relations,” Luo said alluding that Coolpad’s 18 percent stake is also owned by Chinese giant LeTV which is also thinking of launching its business in India.

Dazen will continue to sell its smartphones in India under the same brand name.

The company, which was the first to invent dual-SIM dual standby, is betting on the 4G revolution, Indian local language support and customisations for India to push sales of its devices.

The new smartphone, Coolpad Note 3, will be launched in an exclusive partnership with e-commerce player Amazon.




Nasa Mars Rover Finds Clear Evidence for Ancient, Long-Lived Lakes

Three years after landing in a giant Martian crater, Nasa’s Curiosity rover has found what scientists call proof that the basin had repeatedly filled with water, bolstering chances for life on Mars, a study published on Thursday showed.

The research offered the most comprehensive picture of how Gale Crater, an ancient, 87-mile (140-km) wide impact basin, formed and left a 3-mile (5-km) mound of sediment standing on the crater floor.

Early in its mission, Curiosity discovered the gravel remnants of streams and deposits from a shallow lake.

The new research, published in the journal Science, showed that the crater floor rose over time, the result of sediments in water settling down, layer after layer, for what may have been thousands of years, California Institute of Technology geologist John Grotzinger said.

“We knew that we had a lake there, but we hadn’t grasped just how big it was,” Grotzinger said.

Water from north of the crater regularly filled the basin, creating long-lasting lakes that could have been a haven for life. Scientists suspect the water came from rain or snow.

“If one discovers evidence of lakes, that’s a very positive sign for life,” Grotzinger said.

Eventually, the crater filled with sediments. Then the winds took over and eroded the lakebed, leaving behind just a mound at the centre. That mound, named Mount Sharp, is why Curiosity was sent to Gale Crater to look for ancient habitats suitable for microbial life.

Scientists have learned that Mars had all the ingredients thought to be necessary for life.

Exactly how Mars managed to support long-lived surface water is a mystery. Billions of years ago, the planet lost its global magnetic field, which allowed solar and cosmic radiation to gradually blast away its protective atmosphere. Under those conditions, liquid water evaporates quickly.

“If you have a body of standing water that lasts more than hours to days without boiling off, that is a huge surprise,” Grotzinger said.

Current computer models of Mars fall well short of an atmospheric blanket thick enough to support the long-lived lakes, the researchers noted.

Grotzinger suspects that Mars may have had greenhouse gases or some other chemistry that so far has gone undetected.

Last week, another team of scientists published research showing that trickles of briny water seasonally flow on present-day Mars, carving narrow streaks into cliff walls throughout the equator. The source of the water is not yet known.