The Tech Weekender | India's new IT Rules, Australia's media bargaining code, Apple vs Facebook, first foldable smartphone of 2021, and more

In case you missed them, here are the biggest developments from the world of technology from the week ended February 27.

February 27, 2021 / 03:20 PM IST
The Indian government began its crackdown on critics with new rules aimed at squashing descent on social media firms. The guidelines make it mandatory for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google as well as OTT platforms like Netflix to take down any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours. The new rules also make it mandatory for platforms like WhatsApp to identify the originator of a message that authorities deem to be anti-national. The new rules have been in work since 2018 and come only weeks after Twitter declined to comply with orders to take down some accounts that supported the farm protests in the nation’s capital. While the government says that the laws are meant to maintain the security and sovereignty of the country, it will make the Centre judge, jury, and sentencer, allowing it to control the flow of information to the public. And all of this in the world’s largest democracy.
The Indian government began its crackdown on critics with new rules aimed at squashing descent on social media platforms. The guidelines make it mandatory for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google as well as OTT platforms like Netflix to take down any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours. The new rules also make it mandatory for platforms like WhatsApp to identify the originator of a message that authorities deem to be anti-national. The new rules have been in work since 2018 and come only weeks after Twitter declined to comply with orders to take down some accounts that supported the farm protests in the nation’s capital. While the government says that the laws are meant to maintain the security and sovereignty of the country, it will make the Centre judge, jury, and sentencer, allowing it to control the flow of information to the public. And all of this in the world’s largest democracy.
Australia passed a landmark law forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news. The Parliament on Thursday passed the final amendments to the so-called News Media Bargaining Code agreed between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday. In return for the changes, Facebook agreed to lift a ban on Australians accessing and sharing news. While the laws are ready to go into effect, its architect said it will take time for the digital giants to strike media deals.
Australia passed a landmark law forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news. The Parliament on Thursday passed the final amendments to the so-called News Media Bargaining Code agreed between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday. In return for the changes, Facebook agreed to lift a ban on Australians accessing and sharing news. While the laws are ready to go into effect, its architect said it will take time for the digital giants to strike media deals.
Facebook is attempting to convince Apple users that sharing their data with the social media giant is in the users’ best interests. Facebook launched a new ad campaign aimed at convincing users that targeted ads are good for them, all in the name of small businesses. Facebook has launched an all-out war against Apple in response to the new privacy changes Apple is bringing to iOS 14.5, which will allow users to choose if they want apps to track them or not. While it is perfectly alright to decide what you want to do on your phone, Facebook’s new ad campaign argues that users need their online activity tracked so that the social media giant can provide tailor-made ads. Now, Facebook does have a valid point about it being difficult for small businesses to be found, but there’s no harm in users choosing if they want to be tracked on their own devices.
Facebook is attempting to convince Apple users that sharing their data with the social media giant is in the users’ best interests. Facebook launched a new ad campaign aimed at convincing users that targeted ads are good for them, all in the name of small businesses. Facebook has launched an all-out war against Apple in response to the new privacy changes Apple is bringing to iOS 14.5, which will allow users to choose if they want apps to track them or not. While it is perfectly alright to decide what you want to do on your phone, Facebook’s new ad campaign argues that users need their online activity tracked so that the social media giant can provide tailor-made ads. Now, Facebook does have a valid point about it being difficult for small businesses to be found, but there’s no harm in users choosing if they want to be tracked on their own devices.
Xiaomi announced that it intends to extend its 'Make in India' initiative. The company has partnered with DBG and BYD to set up new manufacturing plants to make smartphones in India. DBG has already set up its plant in Haryana and BYD is very close to having its plant in Tamil Nadu be operational. Once these factories are fully operational, Xiaomi will expand its manufacturing processes to include locally assembled camera modules, PCBA (motherboards), sub-boards, back panels, batteries, cables and chargers to the components it currently makes for its smartphones in India. Currently, Xiaomi says the components made locally in India make up 75 percent of the value of the smartphones and 99 percent of its smartphones sold in India are assembled locally.
Xiaomi announced that it intends to extend its 'Make in India' initiative. The company has partnered with DBG and BYD to set up new manufacturing plants to make smartphones in India. DBG has already set up its plant in Haryana and BYD is very close to having its plant in Tamil Nadu be operational. Once these factories are fully operational, Xiaomi will expand its manufacturing processes to include locally assembled camera modules, PCBA (motherboards), sub-boards, back panels, batteries, cables and chargers to the components it currently makes for its smartphones in India. Currently, Xiaomi says the components made locally in India make up 75 percent of the value of the smartphones and 99 percent of its smartphones sold in India are assembled locally.
Clubhouse surpassed 10 million users globally on the App Store, according to Estimates by Sensor Tower (Obtained via Gadgets360). While 10 million may not seem like a lot, keep in mind that the audio-based social app is “invite-only” and is exclusively available on iOS. Yes, Clubhouse is not available on Android yet. Sensor Tower’s data suggests that Clubhouse is set to reach 11 million downloads in less than a year since its launch in March 2020.
Clubhouse surpassed 10 million users globally on the App Store, according to estimates by Sensor Tower (Obtained via Gadgets360). While 10 million may not seem like a lot, keep in mind that the audio-based social app is “invite-only” and is exclusively available on iOS. Yes, Clubhouse is not available on Android yet. Sensor Tower’s data suggests that Clubhouse is set to reach 11 million downloads in less than a year since its launch in March 2020.
Twitter has announced two new upcoming features for its platform. The first is Super Follows and the other is Communities. Super Follows will allow users to charge their followers for access to exclusive content. For monthly amount, Super Followers will be able to see and replay to exclusive content, get subscribers-only newsletters, deals and discounts on products, community access, and more. The feature is similar to Patreon and YouTube memberships. Communities will allow users to create and join groups that have certain interests and themes. Communities will allow people to converse and see posts of like-minded users. Twitter has not provided any information on when these features will be available.
Twitter has announced two new upcoming features for its platform. The first is Super Follow and the other is Communities. Super Follows will allow users to charge their followers for access to exclusive content. For a monthly amount, Super Followers will be able to see and reply to exclusive content, get subscribers-only newsletters, deals and discounts on products, community access, and more. The feature is similar to Patreon and YouTube memberships. Communities will allow users to create and join groups that have certain interests and themes. Communities will allow people to converse and see posts of like-minded users. Twitter has not provided any information on when these features will be available.
Huawei launched the first foldable smartphone of 2021 in the form of the Mate X2. The Huawei Mate X2 boasts an inward folding design and has a pretty noticeable camera bump, courtesy of its Periscope lens. The Mate X2 features two 90Hz OLED panels, a 50 MP quad-camera setup, and a 5nm Kirin 9000 SoC. The Huawei Mate X2’s price in China is set at CNY 18,000 (Roughly Rs 2,01,900) for the base 256GB model and CNY 19,000 (Roughly Rs 2,13,100) for the 512GB variant.
Huawei launched the first foldable smartphone of 2021 in the form of the Mate X2. The Huawei Mate X2 boasts an inward folding design and has a pretty noticeable camera bump, courtesy of its Periscope lens. The Mate X2 features two 90Hz OLED panels, a 50 MP quad-camera setup, and a 5nm Kirin 9000 SoC. The Huawei Mate X2’s price in China is set at CNY 18,000 (Roughly Rs 2,01,900) for the base 256GB model and CNY 19,000 (Roughly Rs 2,13,100) for the 512GB variant.
Xiaomi unveiled its second Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone this week in the form of the Redmi K40 Pro. The Redmi K40 Pro arrived with a triple-camera setup with a 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor at the helm. The Redmi K40 Pro is retrofitted with a 6.67-inch full-HD+ (1,080x2,400 pixels) E4 AMOLED display with 1,300 nits of peak brightness, a 120Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. Xiaomi also launched a standard Redmi K40, which featured a Snapdragon 870 SoC, a 64MP triple-camera setup, and the same display as the “Pro” model. The Redmi K40 series starts from CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs 22,500).
Xiaomi unveiled its second Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone this week in the form of the Redmi K40 Pro. The Redmi K40 Pro arrived with a triple-camera setup with a 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor at the helm. The Redmi K40 Pro is retrofitted with a 6.67-inch full-HD+ (1,080x2,400 pixels) E4 AMOLED display with 1,300 nits of peak brightness, a 120Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. Xiaomi also launched a standard Redmi K40, which featured a Snapdragon 870 SoC, a 64MP triple-camera setup, and the same display as the “Pro” model. The Redmi K40 series starts from CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs 22,500).
Realme announced the Narzo 30 series in India, revealing the Narzo 30A and Narzo 30 Pro. The latter debuting as the most affordable 5G phone in India. The Realme Narzo 30A arrives as a powerful sub-10K smartphone, while Realme went all in on 5G with the Narzo 30 Pro. Samsung’s Galaxy A32 4G launched as the first smartphone in the Galaxy A series with a high-refresh rate panel. The Oppo Reno5 K features a 5G chipset, a high-refresh-rate OLED display, a quad-camera setup, and super-fast charging. LG revealed three budget smartphones in India, in the form of the LG W41, LG W41+, and LG W41 Pro. All three devices feature a MediaTek G35 SoC, a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS Full Vision display, 48 MP quad-camera setup, and 5,000 mAh battery.
Realme announced the Narzo 30 series in India, revealing the Narzo 30A and Narzo 30 Pro. The latter debuting as the most affordable 5G phone in India. The Realme Narzo 30A arrives as a powerful sub-10K smartphone, while Realme went all-in on 5G with the Narzo 30 Pro. Samsung’s Galaxy A32 4G launched as the first smartphone in the Galaxy A series with a high-refresh-rate panel. The Oppo Reno5 K features a 5G chipset, a high-refresh-rate OLED display, a quad-camera setup, and super-fast charging. LG revealed three budget smartphones in India, in the form of the LG W41, LG W41+, and LG W41 Pro. All three devices feature a MediaTek G35 SoC, a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS Full Vision display, a 48 MP quad-camera setup, and a 5,000 mAh battery.
Hewlett Packard (HP) announced that it plans to acquire HyperX - the gaming division of American technology company Kingston. HP says that it has reached a "definitive" agreement to acquire HyperX for a sum of $425 million. As per the terms, HP will take over the gaming division, the brand name and the portfolio of products that are attached to HyperX. HP says that the, "acquisition is expected to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis to HP in the first full year following closing. The transaction is expected to close in calendar Q2 2021, pending regulatory review and other customary closing conditions."
Hewlett Packard (HP) announced that it plans to acquire HyperX - the gaming division of American technology company Kingston. HP says that it has reached a "definitive" agreement to acquire HyperX for a sum of $425 million. As per the terms, HP will take over the gaming division, the brand name and the portfolio of products that are attached to HyperX. HP says that the "acquisition is expected to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis to HP in the first full year following closing. The transaction is expected to close in calendar Q2 2021, pending regulatory review and other customary closing conditions."
Spotify is hopping on the “Stories” bandwagon made popular by Snapchat and Instagram. At an online Stream event, Spotify announced Spotify Clips that will be available on Spotify playlists, and will allow artists to connect with fans in a new way. Spotify Clips will work differently from Stories on Instagram and Snapchat as listeners will not be able to share their Stories. Spotify Clips is currently in testing and there’s no clarity on how artists will submit content to Spotify Clips.
Spotify is hopping on the “Stories” bandwagon made popular by Snapchat and Instagram. At an online Stream event, Spotify announced Spotify Clips that will be available on Spotify playlists and will allow artists to connect with fans in a new way. Spotify Clips will work differently from Stories on Instagram and Snapchat as listeners will not be able to share their Stories. Spotify Clips is currently in testing and there’s no clarity on how artists will submit content to Spotify Clips.
Carlsen Martin

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