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The Tech Weekender: Facebook and Jio join forces, Motorola's first flagship, OnePlus 8 Pro's display woes and more

Here are the biggest developments from the world of tech from the week ending April 26.
Apr 26, 2020 / 01:39 PM IST
Facebook betted big on India with a huge investment in Jio Platforms, tech subsidiary of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. The social media giant invested a total of USD 5.7 billion, giving it an estimated 10 percent stake in the Jio and making it the single largest minority shareholder. Facebook’s primary footprint in the country comes from its massive WhatsApp userbase of over 400 million people, more than any other country in the world. According to a blog post, the tech giant claimed one of the goals of its investment was to tap into opportunities for small businesses.
Facebook betted big on India with a huge investment in Jio Platforms, tech subsidiary of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. The social media giant invested a total of USD 5.7 billion, giving it an estimated 10 percent stake in the Jio and making it the single largest minority shareholder. Facebook’s primary footprint in the country comes from its massive WhatsApp userbase of over 400 million people, more than any other country in the world. According to a blog post, the tech giant claimed one of the goals of its investment was to tap into opportunities for small businesses.
Motorola introduced its first flagship this month in the form of the Motorola Edge Plus. The Moto Edge+ is the company’s first premium smartphone since 2016. The Motorola Edge+ is powered by the Snapdragon 865 5G chipset, paired with 12GB of RAM. Motorola also offers a 90Hz refresh rate with an FHD+ screen with a noticeable curvature on the edges. In terms of optics, the Moto Edge Plus features a quad-camera setup with a 108-megapixel sensor at the helm. The phone also boasts a massive 5,000 mAh battery and fast wired and wireless charging support. Motorola also launched a premium mid-range 5G smartphone in the form of the standard Edge. The vanilla Moto Edge is a downgraded Edge Plus with a Snapdragon 765G SoC, 64-megapixel quad-camera setup, smaller battery capacity, and no wireless charging. The Motorola Edge is priced at EUR 699 (Roughly Rs. 58,000), while the Edge Plus costs USD 999 (Roughly Rs. 76,400) in the US.
Motorola introduced its first flagship this month in the form of the Motorola Edge Plus. The Moto Edge+ is the company’s first premium smartphone since 2016. The Motorola Edge+ is powered by the Snapdragon 865 5G chipset, paired with 12GB of RAM. Motorola also offers a 90Hz refresh rate with an FHD+ screen with a noticeable curvature on the edges. In terms of optics, the Moto Edge Plus features a quad-camera setup with a 108-megapixel sensor at the helm. The phone also boasts a massive 5,000 mAh battery and fast wired and wireless charging support. Motorola also launched a premium mid-range 5G smartphone in the form of the standard Edge. The vanilla Moto Edge is a downgraded Edge Plus with a Snapdragon 765G SoC, 64-megapixel quad-camera setup, smaller battery capacity, and no wireless charging. The Motorola Edge is priced at EUR 699 (Roughly Rs. 58,000), while the Edge Plus costs USD 999 (Roughly Rs. 76,400) in the US.
The OnePlus 8 series went on sale for the first time in Europe last week. However, as the first OnePlus 8 Pro smartphones started reaching customers, a couple of glitches were reported with the screen of the device. Users reported a green tint on the screen when the refresh rate was set to 120Hz, and brightness was lowered. And while some OnePlus 8 Pro owners claimed that turning on the DC Dimming feature fixed the issue; it also brought up a new problem altogether. Turning on DC Dimming resulted in a “black crush” side effect. OnePlus said it would resolve the issue through an OTA update. No issues were reported with the 90Hz FHD+ panel on the vanilla OnePlus 8.
The OnePlus 8 series went on sale for the first time in Europe last week. However, as the first OnePlus 8 Pro smartphones started reaching customers, a couple of glitches were reported with the screen of the device. Users reported a green tint on the screen when the refresh rate was set to 120Hz, and brightness was lowered. And while some OnePlus 8 Pro owners claimed that turning on the DC Dimming feature fixed the issue; it also brought up a new problem altogether. Turning on DC Dimming resulted in a “black crush” side effect. OnePlus said it would resolve the issue through an OTA update. No issues were reported with the 90Hz FHD+ panel on the vanilla OnePlus 8.
WhatsApp and Instagram are not the only two apps with new incoming features. Parent company Facebook is gearing up to take on security plagued Zoom with the launch of Messenger Rooms. While video group calling is already available on Facebook Messenger, but the number of participants was limited, and a Facebook account was mandatory. However, Messenger Rooms allows you to host video chats with up to 50 people, while no Facebook account is required to join a call. Messenger Rooms also does not have any time limit; people can join in a conversation at any time. Additionally, you can also use AR effects and few features like mood lighting and immersive backgrounds if you join a room. The creator of the Room can remove a user from a group call at any time.
WhatsApp and Instagram are not the only two apps with new incoming features. Parent company Facebook is gearing up to take on security plagued Zoom with the launch of Messenger Rooms. While video group calling is already available on Facebook Messenger, but the number of participants was limited, and a Facebook account was mandatory. However, Messenger Rooms allows you to host video chats with up to 50 people, while no Facebook account is required to join a call. Messenger Rooms also does not have any time limit; people can join in a conversation at any time. Additionally, you can also use AR effects and few features like mood lighting and immersive backgrounds if you join a room. The creator of the Room can remove a user from a group call at any time.
 The Aarogya Setu COVID-19 contact-tracing app developed by the Indian Government is the most popular coronavirus tracker in the country. Food delivery platform Zomato recently made it mandatory for all its delivery partners to download and install the app. The app was designed to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus and provide additional information about it. Aarogya Setu can also provide information about areas where people have tested positive for the virus. The idea is to help individuals and authorities identify though delivery partners that have crossed paths with people who have tested positive as well as ensure the delivery partners are well informed. Additionally, Swiggy, Grofers and Urban Company have all asked frontline staff to mandatorily use the government’s tracking app. While e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon are also recommending their staff use the app.
The Aarogya Setu COVID-19 contact-tracing app developed by the Indian Government is the most popular coronavirus tracker in the country. Food delivery platform Zomato recently made it mandatory for all its delivery partners to download and install the app. The app was designed to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus and provide additional information about it. Aarogya Setu can also provide information about areas where people have tested positive for the virus. The idea is to help individuals and authorities identify though delivery partners that have crossed paths with people who have tested positive as well as ensure the delivery partners are well informed. Additionally, Swiggy, Grofers and Urban Company have all asked frontline staff to mandatorily use the government’s tracking app. While e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon are also recommending their staff use the app.
 The coronavirus pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people around the world, pushing them to use video conferencing platforms to communicate with friends and family. WhatsApp is looking to capitalize on its massive user base and Zoom’s security woes by increasing the maximum limit of people allowed to participate in a group audio or video calls. While the feature has been in the pipeline for some time now, the Facebook-owned messaging platform recently confirmed that would increase the current limit of users in a group call from four to eight. Group conference calls on WhatsApp will also benefit from the platforms end-to-end encryption. While the function was already spotted on a beta version of the app, Facebook hasn’t provided an official timeline for the rollout, but you can expect it soon.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people around the world, pushing them to use video conferencing platforms to communicate with friends and family. WhatsApp is looking to capitalize on its massive user base and Zoom’s security woes by increasing the maximum limit of people allowed to participate in a group audio or video calls. While the feature has been in the pipeline for some time now, the Facebook-owned messaging platform recently confirmed that would increase the current limit of users in a group call from four to eight. Group conference calls on WhatsApp will also benefit from the platforms end-to-end encryption. While the function was already spotted on a beta version of the app, Facebook hasn’t provided an official timeline for the rollout, but you can expect it soon.
Facebook-owned Instagram is also stepping up its game during this global pandemic. Instagram launched a new feature that allows food orders to be placed through the app. The feature is being added to support local business during the lockdown. The social media platform first rolled out the feature in the US and Canada and is now expanding it to the UK as part of a global rollout. According to Instagram, a new “Action” button will be added to a business or restaurant profile, while a “Food Order” sticker can also be added to Stories. Instagram is a hub for local caterers or chefs to promote their business with accounts dedicated to promoting their offerings. However, the new option makes it easier for users on the platform to order food.
Facebook-owned Instagram is also stepping up its game during this global pandemic. Instagram launched a new feature that allows food orders to be placed through the app. The feature is being added to support local business during the lockdown. The social media platform first rolled out the feature in the US and Canada and is now expanding it to the UK as part of a global rollout. According to Instagram, a new “Action” button will be added to a business or restaurant profile, while a “Food Order” sticker can also be added to Stories. Instagram is a hub for local caterers or chefs to promote their business with accounts dedicated to promoting their offerings. However, the new option makes it easier for users on the platform to order food.
The other major smartphone series to launch last week was the Huawei Nova 7 lineup. The new Nova series included three new smartphones, including the Huawei Nova 7, Huawei Nova 7 Pro and Huawei Nova 7 SE. All three phones in the new Nova 7 series support 5G connectivity. While the vanilla Nova 7 and Nova 7 Pro get a flagship-grade Kirin 985 SoC, the Nova 7 SE opts for the new mid-range Kirin 820 5G chipset. The Huawei Nova 7 Pro puts the focus on camera performance with four rear cameras and two front cameras. The Huawei Nova 7 Pro starts from CNY 3,700 (Roughly Rs 39,757), while the entry-level Nova SE and Nova 7 costs CNY 2,400 (Roughly Rs 25,794) and CNY 3,000 (Roughly Rs 32,220), respectively. Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd., which also owns Jio, is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.
The other major smartphone series to launch last week was the Huawei Nova 7 lineup. The new Nova series included three new smartphones, including the Huawei Nova 7, Huawei Nova 7 Pro and Huawei Nova 7 SE. All three phones in the new Nova 7 series support 5G connectivity. While the vanilla Nova 7 and Nova 7 Pro get a flagship-grade Kirin 985 SoC, the Nova 7 SE opts for the new mid-range Kirin 820 5G chipset. The Huawei Nova 7 Pro puts the focus on camera performance with four rear cameras and two front cameras. The Huawei Nova 7 Pro starts from CNY 3,700 (Roughly Rs 39,757), while the entry-level Nova SE and Nova 7 costs CNY 2,400 (Roughly Rs 25,794) and CNY 3,000 (Roughly Rs 32,220), respectively. Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd., which also owns Jio, is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.
Carlsen Martin

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