Nokia 8 With Dual Zeiss ‘Bothie’ Camera Launched: Price, Specifications, India Release Plans, and More

Nokia 8 With Dual Zeiss 'Bothie' Camera Launched: Price, Specifications, India Release Plans, and More

Nokia 8 has finally been launched, marking an end to the countless leaks and giving us the first true flagship Nokia Android phone to take on the likes of iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8 (and the upcoming iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8). The Nokia 8 camera was at the front and centre of the London launch event; in fact, this is the first device developed by HMD Global after signing a partnership with Carl Zeiss last month. The 13-megapixel dual rear sensors as well as the 13-megapixel front camera of the Nokia phone both support the (unfortunately named) “bothie” functionality. Other Nokia 8 specifications to look forward to include the Snapdragon 835 processor, 64GB internal storage, and support for Android O.

Nokia 8 price in India, launch date, and design

The Nokia 8 will be available “globally” in early September, priced at equivalent of EUR 599 (approximately Rs. 45,000). An HMD Global representative told Gadgets 360 the Nokia 8 India launch will be in early October, and the Nokia 8 price in India will be known closer to launch.

The unibody Nokia 8 is built out of 6000-series aluminium and it will be available in glossy Polished Copper and Polished Blue colours, as well as matte Tempered Blue and Steel finishes. The Nokia 8 is IP54 rated, which means it is splash-proof.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global explained that the Nokia 8 is fitted with an elaborate heat management solution: a copper pipe that runs from the upper right corner of the device to the lower left has liquid evaporating in the middle, and condensing on the edges. A graphite shield enables heat transfer to the aluminium unibody and its eventual dissipation to the air.

Nokia 8 Nokia 8 design

Nokia 8 has a splash-proof body made using 6000-series aluminium

Nokia 8 cameras

The Nokia 8 comes with dual 13-megapixel f/2.0 RGB and monochrome sensors at the back, and while that setup has been seen on several other phones, HMD is betting big on “bothies” – the ability to capture images and videos from front and rear cameras at the same time.

Apart from capturing still images from both sensors at the same time and fusing them into a single picture, the Camera app on the Nokia 8 will let you stream these ‘bothies’ as full-HD live videos to Facebook and YouTube. HMD says it worked closely with Qualcomm to enable Dual-Sight video streaming on the Nokia 8, while minimising the thermal impact of the processing required.

Nokia 8 2 Nokia 8 camera

Nokia 8 cameras’ “bothie” feature allows them to capture photos and videos simultaneously

HMD is also leveraging its relationship with Nokia to bring some technology from the latter’s 360 VR camera to the Nokia 8. The smartphone comes with high dynamic range microphones, which enables it to record surround sound using Nokia Ozo Audio algorithms. HMD says its software encoding will preserve the virtual surround sound even when users share these videos on social media.

At this stage, Nokia 8’s Dual-Sight streaming and Ozo Audio recording features will be available only via the stock Camera app on the phone and won’t be opened up to third-party apps.

Nokia 8 3 Nokia 8 variants colour

Nokia 8 comes in glossy Polished Copper & Polished Blue colours, and matte Tempered Blue & Steel finishes

The front camera is the same 13-megapixel RGB shooter seen on the rear, and both front and rear cameras are capable of recording 4K video on their own. The Nokia 8 rear camera comes with laser autofocus and dual-tone LED flash.

Nokia 8 specifications and Android O promise

As for other key Nokia 8 specifications, there’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (four 2.45GHz Kyro cores and four 1.8GHz Kyro cores), which powers nearly all other Android flagships of this generation. There is just one variant – with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, though the phone will release in single SIM and hybrid dual SIM options, depending upon the markets. It comes with support for microSD cards of up to 256GB capacity and a 3090mAh battery.

Nokia 8 4 Nokia 8 specifications

Key Nokia 8 specifications include 5.3-inch screen, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, and 3090mAh battery

The Nokia 8 has a 5.3-inch 2K LCD display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It features USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is just 4.6mm thick at the edges, and 7.9mm thick at the height of its camera module. It was rumoured that the Nokia 8 might ship with Android O out of the box, and while an HMD Global representative confirmed that the company is in advanced stages of testing Android O build for the Nokia 8, the smartphone will ship with Android 7.1.1 out of the box.

“One of the fastest ways of getting [Android] O will be to get our new flagship,” HMD Global’s Sarvikas added.

Source:-.ndtv

Nokia 8 With Dual Zeiss ‘Bothie’ Camera Launched: Price, Specifications, India Release Plans, and More

Nokia 8 With Dual Zeiss 'Bothie' Camera Launched: Price, Specifications, India Release Plans, and More

Nokia 8 has finally been launched, marking an end to the countless leaks and giving us the first true flagship Nokia Android phone to take on the likes of iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8 (and the upcoming iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8). The Nokia 8 camera was at the front and centre of the London launch event; in fact, this is the first device developed by HMD Global after signing a partnership with Carl Zeiss last month. The 13-megapixel dual rear sensors as well as the 13-megapixel front camera of the Nokia phone both support the (unfortunately named) “bothie” functionality. Other Nokia 8 specifications to look forward to include the Snapdragon 835 processor, 64GB internal storage, and support for Android O.

Nokia 8 price in India, launch date, and design

The Nokia 8 will be available “globally” in early September, priced at equivalent of EUR 599 (approximately Rs. 45,000). An HMD Global representative told Gadgets 360 the Nokia 8 India launch will be in early October, and the Nokia 8 price in India will be known closer to launch.

The unibody Nokia 8 is built out of 6000-series aluminium and it will be available in glossy Polished Copper and Polished Blue colours, as well as matte Tempered Blue and Steel finishes. The Nokia 8 is IP54 rated, which means it is splash-proof.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global explained that the Nokia 8 is fitted with an elaborate heat management solution: a copper pipe that runs from the upper right corner of the device to the lower left has liquid evaporating in the middle, and condensing on the edges. A graphite shield enables heat transfer to the aluminium unibody and its eventual dissipation to the air.

Nokia 8 Nokia 8 design

Nokia 8 has a splash-proof body made using 6000-series aluminium

Nokia 8 cameras

The Nokia 8 comes with dual 13-megapixel f/2.0 RGB and monochrome sensors at the back, and while that setup has been seen on several other phones, HMD is betting big on “bothies” – the ability to capture images and videos from front and rear cameras at the same time.

Apart from capturing still images from both sensors at the same time and fusing them into a single picture, the Camera app on the Nokia 8 will let you stream these ‘bothies’ as full-HD live videos to Facebook and YouTube. HMD says it worked closely with Qualcomm to enable Dual-Sight video streaming on the Nokia 8, while minimising the thermal impact of the processing required.

Nokia 8 2 Nokia 8 camera

Nokia 8 cameras’ “bothie” feature allows them to capture photos and videos simultaneously

HMD is also leveraging its relationship with Nokia to bring some technology from the latter’s 360 VR camera to the Nokia 8. The smartphone comes with high dynamic range microphones, which enables it to record surround sound using Nokia Ozo Audio algorithms. HMD says its software encoding will preserve the virtual surround sound even when users share these videos on social media.

At this stage, Nokia 8’s Dual-Sight streaming and Ozo Audio recording features will be available only via the stock Camera app on the phone and won’t be opened up to third-party apps.

Nokia 8 3 Nokia 8 variants colour

Nokia 8 comes in glossy Polished Copper & Polished Blue colours, and matte Tempered Blue & Steel finishes

The front camera is the same 13-megapixel RGB shooter seen on the rear, and both front and rear cameras are capable of recording 4K video on their own. The Nokia 8 rear camera comes with laser autofocus and dual-tone LED flash.

Nokia 8 specifications and Android O promise

As for other key Nokia 8 specifications, there’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (four 2.45GHz Kyro cores and four 1.8GHz Kyro cores), which powers nearly all other Android flagships of this generation. There is just one variant – with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, though the phone will release in single SIM and hybrid dual SIM options, depending upon the markets. It comes with support for microSD cards of up to 256GB capacity and a 3090mAh battery.

Nokia 8 4 Nokia 8 specifications

Key Nokia 8 specifications include 5.3-inch screen, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, and 3090mAh battery

The Nokia 8 has a 5.3-inch 2K LCD display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It features USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is just 4.6mm thick at the edges, and 7.9mm thick at the height of its camera module. It was rumoured that the Nokia 8 might ship with Android O out of the box, and while an HMD Global representative confirmed that the company is in advanced stages of testing Android O build for the Nokia 8, the smartphone will ship with Android 7.1.1 out of the box.

“One of the fastest ways of getting [Android] O will be to get our new flagship,” HMD Global’s Sarvikas added.

Source:-gadget360

More investment needed in railways, roads

The Survey has urged the Railways to tap non-fare sources for revenues

The Survey has urged the Railways to tap non-fare sources for revenues

Need for better quality infrastructure vital

You and I come by road or Rail, but Economists Travel by Infrastructure: Margaret Thatcher.

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian quoted the late Margaret Thatcher, who spearheaded privatisation in the UK.

While it is not clear whether the Economic Survey is batting for privatisation in these sectors by quoting Thatcher, the Survey surely calls for more investment in these sectors. It also takes note of the fact that private investment is drying up, while calling for better quality infrastructure.

On the power sector, the Survey has argued for higher power tariffs, but noted that operational improvement is not visible despite higher tariffs.

To maintain the momentum of higher growth and to satisfy the stakeholders, it is indispensable to invest more on infrastructure.

The government is committed to invest more on qualitative infrastructure with an aim to make India an advanced, inclusive and a just economy, the Survey said.

The government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address issues faced by the infrastructure sector. This includes regional air connectivity schemes (UDAN) and Bharatmala, the CEA said.

Though India’s per capita income is low, it is far ahead of many emerging economies in terms of providing qualitative transportation related infrastructure, said the Survey.

It has taken note of the fact that the share of two-wheelers and passenger cars, jeep and taxis has increased while the share of public transport like buses and trucks has contracted.

Revenue generation

For generating revenue, the Railways should look towards non-fare sources.

These include redeveloping stations, commercially exploiting vacant buildings at stations, monetising land along the tracks by leasing out to promote horticulture, stated the Survey.

[“Source-thehindubusinessline”]

Twitter is testing a $99 per month subscription that could get you more followers

Image result for Twitter is testing a $99 per month subscription that could get you more followersTwitter is quietly testing a premium subscription plan designed to boost the reach power users and small businesses get from their tweets, a bid by the struggling company to tap into a larger pool of advertisers.

For Twitter users who were invited and pay $99 per month, Twitter will automatically promote your account’s tweets onto people’s timelines that don’t follow your account.

Twitter’s advertising products already allow users and business to pay to promote their tweets to a broader audience. But the subscription is aimed at people who may not be experts in online marketing or Twitter ad campaigns and would prefer a service that does it automatically.

The “private beta” program is aimed at small businesses and individuals – not big brands.

Twitter confirmed that the subscription is currently being tested with a small set of accounts that had previously advertised on the social network. Some Twitter users, including anonymous personal accounts, received an invitation to try the service free for the first thirty days on Friday.

The new offering comes as Twitter looks for ways to boost its advertising business after three consecutive quarters of declining ad revenue. Twitter announced that advertising revenue dropped 8% on an annual basis during its quarterly earnings report earlier this week.

“We’ve developed a way for you to grow your following and have your Tweets reach more people without creating ads or managing campaigns,” according to a page on Twitter’s business site about the program .

Can’t choose individual tweets

The way it works is that you tweet from your account as you normally do, and Twitter will programmatically select tweets to promote into other users’ timelines – “the extent each Tweet is promoted may vary based on performance,” according to an FAQ about the trial.

“Retweets, Replies and Quoted Tweets will not be promoted, but, at this time, you cannot customize which original Tweets will be promoted,” reads the FAQ.

So users can’t select individual tweets to promote in this trial. But they can target either a metro region, such as New York, or an interest, like “technology and computing.”

One big reason why Twitter users might subscribe to a service like this is to potentially gain additional followers. At the end of every week, Twitter will send subscribers a “report card” with “additional reach, followers, and engagements.”For now, the closed beta is only available to invited accounts.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

OnePlus 5, 3T ‘Back to School’ Offers Include a Free Protective Case, Discounts, and More

OnePlus 5, 3T 'Back to School' Offers Include a Free Protective Case, Discounts, and More

HIGHLIGHTS

  • OnePlus is giving the protective case for free
  • The Bullets V2 earphones can be picked up for Rs. 599
  • There’s 20 percent off on the Back to School bundle as well

OnePlus has decided to host its own ‘Back to School’ sale with offers and freebies on the purchase of the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 3T smartphones. Both the 6GB and 8GB RAM variants are up for grabs on the OnePlus online store with a free protective case and 50 percent off on earphones.

The OnePlus 5 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage variants are in stock on the OnePlus online store. OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 3T buyers are being offered a free protective case and 50 percent off on Bullets V2 when you add them to your cart. The Bullets V2 will be priced at Rs. 599 instead of Rs. 1,199.

Furthermore, there is a 20 percent discount on the ‘Back to School’ bundle which consists of a travel backpack and the OnePlus Bullets V2. The bundle’s original price is at Rs. 4,198, but OnePlus is now offering it at Rs. 3,358 (Luna Dust colour travel backpack only). The Dash Power Bundle which consists of the adapter and the cable can also be purchased for Rs. 1,945 (original price Rs. 2,048) from the store.

Other accessories are also available on discount for OnePlus 5 and 3T buyers, from tempered glass screen protectors to flip covers, Dash car chargers, and USB Type-C OTG cables. Apart from this, OnePlus is also offering free 12 months Servify damage protection subscription on opening a Kodak 811 account. Vodafone is also offering additional data to buyers, Rs. 500 Kindle ebook promotion credits, and Rss. are also being offered.

The OnePlus 5 8GB variant is back in stock on Amazon India as well with similar Kindle and Vodafone offers. Additionally, Amazon is offering Rs. 250 as Amazon Pay Balance if you stream the Prime Video app on the smartphone. Instead of being free, Amazon is offering up to 70 percent off on protective case purchase alongside. There’s also an exchange offer of up to Rs. 17,600 listed for both the variants.

OnePlus 5 price

The OnePlus 5 6GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 32,999 and the 8GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 37,999. Both the variants can be purchased via Amazon India and OnePlus Store online, and OnePlus Experience Stores offline.

OnePlus 5 specifications

OnePlus 5 was launched in India in June, and sports a 5.5-inch full-HD display with wide colour gamut. It runs on OxygenOS based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, and comes in two variants: 6GB RAM + 64GB storage, and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage. One of the highlights of the smartphone is the dual rear camera setup, featuring a 16-megapixel main camera and a 20-megapixel telephoto camera. There’s a 16-megapixel front camera on board, along with 3300mAh battery with Dash Charge support.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5

Rs. 32,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Ergonomic and light
  • Good primary camera
  • Very good system and app performance
  • Fast charging works very well
  • Handy software features
  • Bad
  • Uninspiring design
  • Weak sunlight legibility
  • Dual camera setup feels half-baked
  • No stabilisation at 4K
BUY AT
  • OnePlus 5 (Slate Grey, 64GB, 6GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 32,999
  • OnePlus 5 (Midnight Black, 128GB, 8GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 37,999
OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3T

Rs. 27,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Solid system and app performance
  • Very good battery life
  • Competent set of cameras
  • Premium build quality
  • Good value
  • Bad
  • No FM radio
  • Touch latency issue can be annoying
BUY AT
  • OnePlus 3T (Gunmetal, 64GB, 6GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 27,999
  • OnePlus 3T (Soft Gold, 64GB, 6GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 27,999

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Truecaller for Android Gets Spam Folder, New Themes, and More With Latest Update

Truecaller for Android Gets Spam Folder, New Themes, and More With Latest Update

Truecaller is now rolling out version 8.21 of its Android app, and the update brings along a host of changes to the application. If you often get annoyed with spam messages, the new update will bring you a relief as it brings a Spam Folder that keeps all the junk SMSes away – it will have to be assigned as your default SMS app however. Apart from this folder, the Truecaller for Android update adds new themes and an option to save MMS as well to the app.

The Truecaller for Android update is already available for download through Google Play and as mentioned earlier, it will bring a separate tab to the app that keeps the spam messages apart from the regular messages in Truecaller app. Moving on to the themes bit, the version 8.21 brings along new themes including Pitch Black. There is a new option that marks all the messages as read in the Block tab.

The latest Truecaller update for Android adds an option to save MMS and an option to block from incoming Flash messages.

Interestingly, the Pro version of the app that removes ads now costs Rs. 30 instead of Rs. 60. Additionally, the company is offering an yearly subscription to the Pro version at Rs. 270. Notably, the app now provides auto-renewal option that will save you from the trouble of having to renew it manually.

As Truecaller is an app that almost everybody has to use, this option for removing ads with annual subscription at an affordable price might lure more users to take up the Pro version of the app.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Asus Zenfone AR India Launch, Jio Effect, Moto E4 Plus Sale, and More: Your 360 Daily

Asus Zenfone AR India Launch, Jio Effect, Moto E4 Plus Sale, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Asus Zenfone AR launched in India at Rs. 49,999
  • Aircel and Idea launch new plans to take on Reliance Jio
  • Moto E4 Plus goes on sale on Flipkart at Rs. 9,999

The Asus ZenFone AR isn’t just one of the first phones with 8GB RAM, it comes with Google Tango and Google Daydream support as well. This makes it the first phone to support Mountain View’s VR and AR platforms. Running a Snapdragon 821 processor, the aforementioned 8GB memory, and 128GB storage, it is available exclusively on Flipkart right now for Rs. 49,999. Could this be the Android army’s opening salvo to iOS 11’s ARKit that should launch with the iPhone 8 or just a gimmick? We can’t wait to find out.

Moto E4 Plus goes on sale in India 
And if you aren’t looking for a high-end Android phone, there’s the Moto E4 Plus. The hotly anticipated budget Android has been launched in India in a single configuration: 3GB RAM and 32GB built-in storage. With a competitive price of Rs. 9,999 it should compete with the Xiaomi Redmi 4, Nokia 3, and Lenovo K6 Power. It’s now available on Flipkart and features a 5000mAh battery, selfie flash, fingerprint sensor and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Check out our detailed Moto E4 Plus impressions where we compare it to the new Moto E4 as well.

Reliance Jio Effect: Idea, Aircel launch new plans to compete with Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer
The price and data war of Indian telcos rages on. After Reliance Jio extended its Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan Offer, Idea Cellular has responded with a new prepaid pack with 84GB data doling out 1GB daily. Priced at Rs. 453, it competes with the new Jio Rs. 399 pack that provides 1GB a day for 84 days. The Rs. 453 Idea pack provides 3G Internet speed, while the Jio network is 4G-only. The bundled ‘unlimited’ calls are limited to 300 minutes per day, and 1,200 minutes per week. If the user exhausts the complimentary minutes, calls will be charged at 30p per minute. Similarly, if the data cap is exhausted, users will be charged at tariff of 4p per 10kb.

Not to be outdone is Aircel. The company launched a similar plan with 1GB daily data and unlimited calls for 84 days. The new Aircel recharge pack, named FRC 348, is available only in UP East at present. The user will be able to make unlimited calls (both local and STD) to any network for the 84-day validity period with this pack, with no daily or weekly limit to the number of bundled minutes. The Internet speeds, however, are capped to 3G only; on the other hand, the Reliance Jio network is claimed to deliver only 4G speeds.

NanoPhone ‘smallest phone in the world’ launched in India 
Aside from additions to Android, feature phones got a shot in the arm too. E-commerce site Yerha.com announced the Elari NanoPhone C. It’s said to be the world’s smallest GSM phone, no bigger than a credit card. Priced at Rs. 3,940 in India and available in Black, Rose Gold, and Silver colour options, it appears to be one to look out for if you find the current crop of mobiles too distracting with streaming video, social media, and the like.

Nokia 8, Nokia 9’s processors leaked
Nokia’s resurgence won’t be limited to mid-range Android phones. Though HMD Global, the company behind the return of the classic brand has yet to confirm the Nokia 9 and Nokia 8, new leaks suggest that these long-rumoured entries would be using Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 835 SoCs. According to a tipster on Chinese website Baidu, the Nokia 7, Nokia 8, and Nokia 9 will come with Snapdragon 630, Snapdragon 660, and Snapdragon 835 SoCs. The leaks also hint at a new budget smartphone called the Nokia 2, which will use either a Snapdragon 202 SoC or a MediaTek processor.

iPhone 8 May Sport ‘Rear-Facing 3D Laser’ for Augmented Reality Features: Report 
If ARKit wasn’t a large enough hint of Apple’s augmented reality ambitions, it appears that the iPhone 8will be sporting some new tech to support this in the form of a rear-facing 3D laser. A new report claims that Apple is working on a sensor system for its upcoming smartphones that will enable better detection of depth for the augmented reality apps with the help of laser and provide better autofocus in terms of photography.

As per the source, the inclusion of this sensor system (VSCEL laser system) on iPhone 8 will depend on progress that the engineers at the company are able to make in terms of technology integration on the smartphone. “VCSEL laser systems calculate the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, and generate a Time of Flight (TOF) measurement. The system consists of a source (the VCSEL laser), a lens, detector (sensor), and a processor. The whole thing costs about $2 per phone,” the report says. Furthermore, expect the iPhone 8 to have a three to four week delay in shipping.

Google Backup and Sync Tool now available to download for Windows, Mac
Slated to release last month, Google’s Backup and Sync tool for Google Drive is finally available for Mac and Windows users. It replaces the existing Google Photos desktop uploader and Drive apps for Mac and Windows. Talking up the ease of use, the company claims that all you have to do is “choose the folders you want to back up, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

For those who are unaware, the new backup tool is different from the standard Google Drive desktop app as with Backup and Sync, users will be able to choose folders that they want to backup instead of having to place them inside the Drive folder.

Indian smartphone users receive highest number of spam calls, says Truecaller
According to a report from Truecaller, Indian smartphone users get 22 spam calls per month. Comparatively, Brazil and the US get around 20.7 calls per month. For India, a majority of spam calls are with regards to selling data plans and promotions followed by others such as debt collection, bank, political, financial, scam, and insurance to name a few. “India’s spam call issue lies with operators and financial services. Many of these operators are seeking to provide special offers for free data, or unlimited calls. Which doesn’t sound so bad – until you get bombarded by them,” the report revealed.

Microsoft Outlook for Android, iOS gets redesigned navigation and conversations
Microsoft Outlook’s latest update for Android and iOS brings redesigned conversations and the ability to browse folders with ease and switch between accounts. Also, it will get intelligent search, powered by the Microsoft Graph. The app will make it easier to reply to emails showing more of each message and providing clearer separation between them.

“When you tap on a conversation to read it, Outlook automatically opens to show the first unread message. You can pick up right where you left off without scrolling,” the company said. With the new update, users can reply to everyone who is part of the conversation by simply writing their message in the quick reply box and sending.

PC market continues slump on high component prices, say Gartner, IDC
The ongoing slump of PC shipments continued through the recently ended quarter, though it has shown signs of stabilising. According to Gartner, 61.1 million PCs were shipped – a 4.3 percent decline from the same period a year ago. The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computer Device Tracker puts the figure at 60.5 million, 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. No surprise considering most of the innovation in CPU technology happens to be in the mobile space.

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.”

 [“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Is RERA a building or a stumbling block for real estate sector? More the latter

Is RERA a building or a stumbling block for real estate sector? More the latter

With the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 coming into effect, the sector braced for disruptions. Under the new rule, stricter norms were framed to bring in transparency in the system seen as a boon to consumers and the bankers.

However, things do not seem to be working as planned.

First the banks, who have lent money to the developers, are running after them for additional collateral, in case there is none available. And bankers are asking for personal properties of promoters as guarantees.

An newspaper article highlights the dilemma in the real estate sector as builders are required by the new law to deposit 70 percent money collected from home buyers in an escrow account. On the other hand, banks have historically taken unbuilt flats as mortgage from the builders. Cash flow from sale of these flats was just about enough to cover a large part of the loan amount.

RERA regulation has put the bankers in a fix as these flats can no longer be used as mortgages since the banks will have no right over 70 percent of the collection as per the regulation. The 30 percent of revenue that remains is not even enough to cover the principal amount of loan, reports the article.

Developers are known to construct a property largely on clients’ money, after borrowing initial money from banks. This provision under RERA can have a big impact on future construction activity. However, the immediate pressure will be on bankers who fear that they may inadvertently end up violating the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) provisioning norms by trying to lay their hand on the escrow money.

As mentioned earlier bankers are asking for personal properties of promoters of these companies as guarantee. In case of a shortfall they might have to pressurise builders to sell the properties, which can depress prices in the near future.

For the real estate sector, the bigger issue is not the presence of RERA but rather the absence of RERA.

In many cities the rules have not yet been formalised. Key cities for real estate players like Gurgaon and Bengaluru do not have the rules in place. Maharashtra, which was one of the first states to have a regulation in place, has only 72 projects registered under RERA. A mid-June report by Edelweiss says that in Mumbai only 16 projects have been registered out of around 800 (estimated) ongoing projects in the city.

With a July 31, 2017 deadline set for implementation of the regulator most states and cities are staring at uncertainty. In Noida, builders are ready with their documentation and compliance requirements needed for registration but the state government is not ready with its rules.

The first hurdle for the real estate sector is in getting themselves registered within a month provided the state governments get their act in order. But as soon as the projects are registered they will face a bigger problem of arranging to repay the banks or provide enough security to circumvent the clauses under RERA. Certainly not the best of times to be a builder.

[“Source-moneycontrol”]

No more real estate and gold for us

Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Starting your own company is often fraught with uncertainties and Shilpa and Vikram Grover faced their share of difficulties. Over their 15 years of working, the couple had various investments that they wanted to liquidate to start their law firm. “This was when we realized that our investments were not liquid. We didn’t have cash to build the office (they had the land),” said Shilpa. A big reason for this was that their investments were mostly in real estate and gold. “We didn’t know much about mutual funds or shares,” she said. “There was general confusion about low returns on investments, high interest on credit, inadequate savings…” added Vikram. A lot of this has now changed, thanks to a suitable financial plan.

Fixing the plan

The reason why a lot of their investments were in real estate is that Shilpa’s father and brother are in this business. But considering the depressed real estate market, especially in the Delhi NCR region, these investments did not yield the expected returns. The couple is now in the process of liquidating some of their real estate assets. “We have asked a few agents to sell our properties,” said Shilpa. They have built their law firm’s office in Gurgaon and rented out the top two floors.

Apart from this, the couple’s portfolio was also burdened with 15-20 life insurance policies, sold to them by a family friend. “We didn’t know what they were, and what to do with them…. They were just rubbish,” said Shilpa. Their health and life insurance cover has now been enhanced.

They also had sizable gold investments, bought mostly from banks. “We will liquidate this as and when required,” said Shilpa, adding that they no longer invest in gold. “We are considering the Gold Monetisation Scheme,” she said.

Since they first consulted with Amit Kukreja 2 years ago, their finances have been categorised and have become more goal oriented. “A lot of people don’t go to a doctor and self-medicate. If there is an expert in an area, consultation will do no harm,” said Vikram.

After the asset re-distribution, they now plan to fund their 13-year-old daughter’s higher education, in about 5 years, with mutual fund investments. Among their more near-term goals is to buy a bigger car.

The Grovers have had to take some tough decisions. Vikram, for instance, had to share financial details with an ‘outsider’. “I had to open up to an expert. I was reluctant to discuss financials openly and disclosures were tough. I guess any discussion on pain points is always difficult,” he said.

They also had to decide about letting go of some real estate. “My father had gifted me some land. I am emotionally attached to it,” said Shilpa. But they have learnt their lessons and are trying to be prudent with their money. “We have come to know a lot. One, not to invest more in gold. Two, not to invest anymore in real estate. Three, start mutual funds,” said Shilpa. There was realization on several counts. “I feel that I have some direction now and I am trying to get into the habit of goal-based financial planning,” said Vikram.

He has also postponed his plan to retire. “We will think about it later,” said Shilpa.

Looking ahead

The jolt that Shilpa and Vikram received when they realised they did not have enough liquidity when they needed it most, has been a blessing in disguise. It forced them to reconsider their choices and get expert help.

With an appropriate financial plan in place, they feel they are in a better position now to meet their planned and even unplanned goals. “We were really late in understanding…. Had we started earlier, we would have a better portfolio. We were shocked that we had been slow in understanding the markets. We made a lot of dead investments. But we feel secure now,” said Shilpa.

[“Source-livemint”]