Red OnePlus 3 might be in development

The OnePlus 3 can currently be ordered in the “graphite” color that’s known to most people as silver. A gold trim should be coming in July too, as it was part of the phone’s official announcement. In fact, only these two hues were mentioned when the OnePlus 3 became official.

As it turns out, though, you might soon see the OnePlus 3 in an additional color: red. The image you can see below depicts the device in that hue, and it’s taken from the company’s Chinese website.

Over there the red OnePlus 3 was listed for a short while before being pulled. Now it’s obviously unclear if the listing was made in error, or if the red OnePlus is indeed ready to launch very soon. One more word of caution – this could end up being a China-only color version, so even if it does ever launch it might be confined to that country.

Let’s hope not, though, for all-metal smartphones are getting pretty boring in terms of color choices, with mostly the same silver-grey-gold trio being available everywhere. A red model would be a welcome departure from that.

Moto E3 Power gets Wi-Fi certified, launch is getting closer

Earlier this month, the Moto E3 got Bluetooth certified, and now one iteration of this new phone has been Wi-Fi certified as well (as evidenced in the image below). This new certification helpfully reveals both the branding and the model number of one E3 variant. This will be called Moto E3 Power and will have the model number XT1706.

Because we know that, we also know most of its specs, since a handset with that exact model number got benchmarked back in March. It will thus have a 5-inch 720p touchscreen, an 8 MP rear camera, a 5 MP selfie cam, the MediaTek MT6735P chipset at the helm (with a 1 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow on board.

We’ve recently heard that Lenovo might launch the Moto E3 in some markets as the Vibe C2 – probably in Asia where the Lenovo brand is better known than Motorola. According to that leak, the Vibe C2 definitely seems to have the same innards as the Moto E3, so this might turn out to be true. If so, expect the new Moto E to also sport a 2,750 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to be allegedly announced on August 2, also said to have 3600mAh battery

Notorious Russian leakster, Eldar Murtazin has been responsible for a few credible leaks in the past. Even so, he has also been responsible for some controversial reports as well. Any who, Murtazin reports that the Galaxy Note 7 will be officially announced at Samsung’s unpacked event.

Murtazin also reports that the Galaxy Note 7 will be capable of pushing 20 hours of video at maximum brightness on a single charge, and that the battery size will be 3,600mAH, the same size battery found in the Galaxy S7 edge. Whether or not this will be achieved with a battery of that size isn’t known.

The Note5 scored 13:51h of video playback in our battery tests last year, and the alleged 3,600mAh battery size is only a 20% increase from the Note5’s 3,000mAh power pack. If Murtazin is right about the 20-hour video playback, the 4,000mAh would be more likely to reach that. Unless Samsung optimizes the crap out of its software, uses a power efficient display, and uses new ultra-efficient CPUs, then 3,600mAh sounds like a long shot.

The next Samsung Unpacked even will reportedly take place on August 2 and will reveal all that we would like to know about the successor to the Galaxy Note5 including whether or not the Note will finally be IP-certified or not, along with the screen size, which is said to be curved on both edges and 5.8 inches in size, breaking past the 5.7 inch cycle of the last 3 Galaxy Note iterations.

ZTE Axon 7 global rollout begins, Europe gets it first

The Axon 7 from ZTE has arrived in Europe, making it the first region outside of China where the handset is now available. The device, which was unveiled back in May this year, is now available for preorders on Amazon for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

“ZTE is excited to celebrate the debut of AXON 7 in Europe, and today marks the global roll-out of our latest flagship smartphone,” said Jacky Zhang, CEO of EMEA and APAC, ZTE Mobile Devices. “With AXON 7’s unbeatable combination of an eye catching design, top-of-the-line specs and an affordable price, we’re positive about demand for AXON 7 in Europe.”

As for price, the Axon 7 carries a tag of £359 in the UK and €449.99 in the rest of Europe. Availability is set for July 30 (Amazon France says July 25). The phone will also be available online on GrosBill and offline at Media Markt and Phone House in coming months, ZTE said.

T-Mobile Galaxy S6 and S6 edge getting June security update

T-Mobile has started rolling out a new update to Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge units on its network. Weighing in at around 250MB, the update brings along Android security patch for the month of June.

In addition, the update – which bumps the devices’ software version to G920TUVU4EPF1 and G925TUVU3EPD1, respectively – also includes improvements to anti-theft functionality as well as some regular bug fixes.

Given that the OTA update has just started rolling out, it might take sometime before it hits your device. Meanwhile, if you feel impatient, you can manually check for it by heading to your handset’s Settings menu.

VW agrees to buy back diesel vehicles, fund clean air efforts

A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo

German automaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) will pay as much as $15.3 billion after admitting it cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests for years, agreeing to buy back vehicles from consumers and provide funding that could benefit makers of cleaner technologies.

The largest-ever automotive buyback offer in the United States came in a deal announced on Tuesday by the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and California state regulators. The proposed consent decree confirmed that VW will set aside $10.033 billion to cover buybacks or fixes for diesel cars and sport utility vehicles that used illegal software to defeat government emissions tests.

VW admitted in September that it installed secret software that allowed U.S. vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution. VW still may face criminal charges and oversight by an independent monitor, a person briefed on the matter said.

A criminal settlement could include measures to ensure VW would not engage in further cheating.

Shares of VW rose as much as 5 percent on Tuesday, and closed up 1.7 percent at 107.85 euros.

“We didn’t follow a multiyear, grind-it-out litigation strategy, which would have been counterproductive for Volkswagen,” said Robert Giuffra Jr., VW’s lead lawyer. “We moved with lightning speed to settle with our federal and state regulators and the private plaintiffs.”

Under the Justice Department deal, VW will provide $2 billion over 10 years to fund programs directed by California and EPA to promote construction of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of zero-emission ride-sharing fleets and other efforts to boost sales of cars that do not burn petroleum.

VW also agreed to put up $2.7 billion over three years to enable government and tribal agencies to replace old buses or to fund infrastructure to reduce diesel emissions.

The settlement covers 475,000 2.0-liter diesel Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3, Golf, and Passat vehicles from the 2009-2015 model years.

VW also announced a separate settlement with 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that will cost at least $600 million, bringing the total to as much as $15.3 billion.

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said a criminal investigation remained active. “We’re looking at multiple companies and multiple individuals,” she said.

“By duping regulators, Volkswagen turned nearly half a million American drivers into unwitting accomplices in an unprecedented assault on our environment,” she added.

The EPA is investigating other automakers for potential emissions problems. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency “will be releasing information as it becomes available.”

VW still faces criminal investigations in Germany and other countries, and lawsuits from investors around the world.

The company planned a multi-billion-euro investment program to introduce more than 30 fully electric cars by 2025.

FIX OR SELL

Owners have until late 2018 to decide whether to sell the vehicles back.

The deals would move VW close to the 16.2 billion euros ($18 billion) it has set aside to cover costs of the scandal.

But spending on buybacks could be much less if regulators approve fixes and owners opt for repairs. Most owners will get $5,100 to $10,000 in compensation, including the pre-scandal value of the cars, documents filed on Tuesday said.

The company expects to begin buying back vehicles in October, when a U.S. judge is expected to give final approval to the settlements, and is to start proposing fixes in November.

VW cannot resell or export vehicles it buys back unless the EPA approves a fix, the documents said. Volkswagen must repair or buy back 85 percent of the 475,000 vehicles by June 2019 or face penalties of $100 million for every percentage point below that figure.

The agreement does not lift a ban on sales by VW of its U.S. 2016 diesel vehicles. Nor does it cover fees for lawyers of owners suing the company or address 80,000 larger polluting 3.0 liter Porsche, Audi and VW diesel cars.

VW could also face billions in additional costs if it is forced to buy back the 3.0 liter vehicles. VW will likely face significant yet-to-be determined fines under the U.S. Clean Air Act for emissions violations.

The settlement does not resolve lawsuits filed last year by owners against German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH, which was accused of conspiring with Volkswagen to evade emissions standards.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Andreas Cremer; Editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio)

JSW Steel plans to raise up to $2 bn from foreign investors

Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel will approach shareholders to raise up to $2 billion from global capital markets to meet its long-term capex requirement and loan refinancing, among others.

The steelmaker will place the enabling resolution before its shareholders next month, the company said in a regulatory filing. It is in the interest of the company to raise long-term resources with convertible option so as to optimise capital structure for future growth, it said.

“The proceeds of the issue will be used for long-term funding to meet the planned capital expenditure and for other corporate purposes, including refinancing of expensive debt to reduce interest costs and to meet any unlikely shortfall in unforeseen circumstances,” it added.

The firm said it intends to raise additional long-term funding through issuance of non-convertible foreign currency denominated bonds not exceeding $2 billion in aggregate in the international capital market.

The firm can also opt for issue of shares and/or fully convertible debentures/partly convertible debentures/optionally convertible debentures/non-convertible debentures along with warrants and/or convertible securities other than warrants convertible into equity shares.

These will be issued to eligible qualified institutional buyers, in one or more tranches, through a qualified institutions placement not exceeding a sum of Rs 4,000 crore, it added.

Explaining the rationale behind the fund raising, JSW Steel said the Indian economy is poised for robust growth backed by strong macroeconomic factors and government’s pro-growth policies.

“The company has just completed its present brownfield expansion to reach 18 million tonne per annum (MTPA) capacity. It has a strategic vision to reach 40 MTPA capacity by 2025 with significant investment in mineral resources i.e. iron ore and coal,” it added.

Airtel moves customer data on an open source platform

Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it has selected IT data management and analytics company Cloudera to move its customer data on the latter’s platform.

“Now, we are able to gain an even greater technical edge, empowering our marketers with intelligent data and analytics to make better decisions and improve the entire customer lifecycle with customised offerings,” Bharti Airtel Group CIO Harmeen Mehta said in a statement.

The platform is built on open source technology Apache Hadoop. Cloudera offers data management and analytics platform built on Apache Hadoop and open source technologies.

“With over 265 million customers across its India operations, Airtel faced the immense task of making sense of and leveraging huge volumes of customer and network data they collect on a daily basis, which was previously stored in multiple traditional systems built over a period of time,” the statement said.

The open source softwares come at less cost or free compared to proprietary technology based IT solutions.

However, companies which customise open source software as per need of user charge money for their services.

Airtel customer base in India include wireless and fixed services, mobile commerce, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, and national and international long distance services to carriers.

Toyota recalls 1.43 million vehicles for defective air bags

Toyota is recalling 1.43 million vehicles globally for defective air bags, although it is not part of the massive recalls of Takata air bags, the Japanese automaker said on Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. said it does not know of any fatalities or injuries related to the latest recalls.

Being recalled are the Prius hybrid, Prius plug-in and the Lexus CT200h produced between October 2008 and April 2012 743,000 vehicles in Japan, 495,000 in North America and 141,000 vehicles in Europe, as well as 9,000 vehicles in China and 46,000 vehicles in other regions.

A small crack in some inflators in the air bags in the driver and passenger sides may expand, causing the air bags to partially inflate.

The air bags were not made by Takata, according to Toyota.

The announcement by Toyota means that overall the total numbers of recalls because of air bag worries likely now tally more than 100 million globally.

Faulty air bags are responsible for 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. Three more deaths are under investigation in Malaysia.

Rupee jumps 19 paise against dollar, equities help

Indian Rupee

The rupee rose 19 paise to 67.76 against the dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange today on increased selling of the US currency by exporters and banks.

Dealers said weakness of the dollar against other currencies overseas gave the rupee more muscle.

Furthermore, a higher opening in the domestic equity market ensured the uptrend picked up momentum, they added.

The domestic unit ended steady at 67.95 a dollar yesterday following fag-end dollar demand from banks and importers in view of uncertainty in the currency market.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rallied 149.33 points, or 0.56%, to 26,673.88 in early session today.