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Last Updated : Apr 18, 2020 06:20 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

The Tech Weekender: Apple's flagship killer, OnePlus 8 launch, more people in WhatsApp's video calls amid Zoom's security woes

Here are the biggest developments from the world of tech from the week ending April 18.

This week Apple launched a new iPhone under the radar. The Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled its second iPhone SE for price-conscious consumers. The new iPhone SE maintained the same design as Apple’s iPhone 8 but got several new hardware tweaks under the hood. The 2020 iPhone SE was updated with the company’s A13 Bionic chipset that also powers the iPhone 11 series. Apple also claimed that the camera on the iPhone SE 2020 was as capable as the primary shooter on the iPhone 11 Pro. Starting from Rs 42,500, the new iPhone SE is Apple’s version of a flagship killer.
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This week Apple launched a new iPhone under the radar. The Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled its second iPhone SE for price-conscious consumers. The new iPhone SE maintained the same design as Apple’s iPhone 8 but got several new hardware tweaks under the hood. The 2020 iPhone SE was updated with the company’s A13 Bionic chipset that also powers the iPhone 11 series. Apple also claimed that the camera on the iPhone SE 2020 was as capable as the primary shooter on the iPhone 11 Pro. Starting from Rs 42,500, the new iPhone SE is Apple’s version of a flagship killer.

The highly anticipated OnePlus 8 series finally made its global debut. The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro arrived with several improvements over their predecessors in key areas like camera, display, battery, design, and performance. Both phones were powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset with a 5G modem. The OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, finally made its transition to a premium flagship device. The device featured new and improved camera hardware capable of competing with the best from Samsung and Apple, one of the best-in-class displays, wireless fast charging support, an IP68 rating, and a price to match. Pricing for the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are yet to announced in India. But the Pro variant starts at $899 (Roughly Rs 68,900) in the US, while the non-Pro model starts from $699 (Roughly Rs 53,550).
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The highly anticipated OnePlus 8 series finally made its global debut. The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro arrived with several improvements over their predecessors in key areas like camera, display, battery, design, and performance. Both phones were powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset with a 5G modem. The OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, finally made its transition to a premium flagship device. The device featured new and improved camera hardware capable of competing with the best from Samsung and Apple, one of the best-in-class displays, wireless fast charging support, an IP68 rating, and a price to match. Pricing for the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are yet to announced in India. But the Pro variant starts at $899 (Roughly Rs 68,900) in the US, while the non-Pro model starts from $699 (Roughly Rs 53,550).

Despite Zoom’s growing popularity, its security woes continue as cybersecurity researchers found that the credentials of over 5,00,000 Zoom accounts were sold on the dark web. Cybersecurity firm Cyble discovered that some accounts on the were given away for free. Cyble was able to purchase 5,30,000 for $0.0020 each, which is less than a penny. Accounts were given away for free for “Zoombombing” – which is a form of trolling where a malicious actor drops into a Zoom call and posts offensive or graphic content. While this does not mean Zoom got hacked, the video conferencing platform has been beset with privacy issues. The Government of India recently sent out an advisory for citizens to used Zoom, while banning the platform for official use.
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Despite Zoom’s growing popularity, its security woes continue as cybersecurity researchers found that the credentials of over 5,00,000 Zoom accounts were sold on the dark web. Cybersecurity firm Cyble discovered that some accounts on the were given away for free. Cyble was able to purchase 5,30,000 for $0.0020 each, which is less than a penny. Accounts were given away for free for “Zoombombing” – which is a form of trolling where a malicious actor drops into a Zoom call and posts offensive or graphic content. While this does not mean Zoom got hacked, the video conferencing platform has been beset with privacy issues. The Government of India recently sent out an advisory for citizens to used Zoom, while banning the platform for official use.

 WhatsApp is reportedly gearing up to introduce a new update that will increase the limits for audio and video group calling to allow more participants. According to WABetaInfo, the latest v2.2.128 build drops major hints about the update in a future WhatsApp build. The timing couldn’t be impeccable with a quarter of the world’s population forced into a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. With more people turning to video conferencing apps to communicate with friends and family, this will be a massive bonus to the platform’s already solid experience. WhatsApp currently only allows four concurrent participants for a group call.
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WhatsApp is reportedly gearing up to introduce a new update that will increase the limits for audio and video group calling to allow more participants. According to WABetaInfo, the latest v2.2.128 build drops major hints about the update in a future WhatsApp build. The timing couldn’t be impeccable with a quarter of the world’s population forced into lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. With more people turning to video conferencing apps to communicate with friends and family, this will be a massive bonus to the platform’s already solid experience. WhatsApp currently only allows four concurrent participants for a group call.

The tech giants are pulling their weight during this global crisis. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Intel, among others, have donated well-over a billion dollars in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Even smartphone OEMs, including Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, Asus, OnePlus and several other brands have committed to providing relief through donations and warranty extensions in India. However, last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put billionaires and leading tech companies to shame by committing 28-percent (One billion dollars) of his wealth to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The tech giants are pulling their weight during this global crisis. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Intel, among others, have donated well-over a billion dollars in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Even smartphone OEMs, including Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, Asus, OnePlus and several other brands have committed to providing relief through donations and warranty extensions in India. However, last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put billionaires and leading tech companies to shame by committing 28-percent (One billion dollars) of his wealth to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

Verizon recently entered into an agreement to acquire BlueJeans Network. While Verizon has not confirmed the terms of the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon would pay less than 500 million dollars for the company. The video conferencing platform currently has around 15,000 business clients. Verizon said in a statement; “BlueJeans will be deeply integrated into Verizon’s 5G product roadmap, providing secure and real-time engagement solutions for high growth areas such as telemedicine, distance learning and field service work”. The move comes as rival apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have soared in popularity as more people continue to work from home during the global pandemic.
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Verizon recently entered into an agreement to acquire BlueJeans Network. While Verizon has not confirmed the terms of the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon would pay less than 500 million dollars for the company. The video conferencing platform currently has around 15,000 business clients. Verizon said in a statement; “BlueJeans will be deeply integrated into Verizon’s 5G product roadmap, providing secure and real-time engagement solutions for high growth areas such as telemedicine, distance learning and field service work”. The move comes as rival apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have soared in popularity as more people continue to work from home during the global pandemic.

People across the world are turning to apps and websites to get more information about the novel coronavirus. Surprisingly, the most popular COVID-19 tracking website was developed by a teenager living on Mercer Island near Seattle. 17-year-old Avi Schiffmann developed the tracker website to unify the global coronavirus cases, deaths, recovered patients, etc. His website, nCoV2019.live has been visited by more than 350 million people globally, with over 30 million viewers each day. Schiffmann was reportedly offered an 8-million-dollar advertising deal that he turned down.
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People across the world are turning to apps and websites to get more information about the novel coronavirus. Surprisingly, the most popular COVID-19 tracking website was developed by a teenager living on Mercer Island near Seattle. 17-year-old Avi Schiffmann developed the tracker website to unify the global coronavirus cases, deaths, recovered patients, etc. His website, nCoV2019.live has been visited by more than 350 million people globally, with over 30 million viewers each day. Schiffmann was reportedly offered an 8-million-dollar advertising deal that he turned down.

First Published on Apr 18, 2020 06:20 pm
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