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Mukesh Ambani Unveils Jio Plans & Launch Date, Intends to Change the Telecom Industry Structure in India

jio logo

Jio – the much hyped about network from Mukesh Ambani and his son is all set to change the structure of the telecom industry in India. At the 42nd Annual General Meeting of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani unveiled the launch dates and the tariff plans for Jio and declared a war on the current telecommunication companies in India.

Jio plans to start its services from September 5th 2016 and a commercial launch on December 31st 2016 (which means all users can enjoy their services for free until the commercial launch). Here are their tariff plans:

jio tariffs 2016

Some key points:

Free Voice

Mukesh Ambani believes that telcos should either charge for voice or data (not both). Based on this principle, Jio will only be charging its customers for the data. Voice calls – local, long distance and roaming to any network in India will be absolutely free. This is first of its kind tariff structure and is surely going to shake the market. Jio was originally planned to be a data only network. The VoLTE capabilities were added later and are still being fine tuned and improved. It is a scalable and future ready network capable of supporting future network standards. The idea behind this tariff plan is simple – Come for the voice, stay for the data. Even if the voice calls in the network aren’t as good now as they can potentially be, they are free – thereby eliminating customer frustration in the initial phase of the launch.

Devices

Jio already has a range of LYF branded devices tested and ready to be used on the network. They have handsets available from ? 2999 to enable almost everyone to come and join the network.

App ecosystem

Jio is building a really strong ecosystem of apps ranging from entertainment, finance, media and instant messengers. Currently, app ecosystems are owned and governed by your handset’s OS (Apple’s App store vs. Google Play). The idea behind building such a strong collection of apps is to break free from the ties with your handset platform. Jio’s apps work seamlessly on both iOS and Android.

Data

As Jio is a data first network, they have made broadband really affordable for everyone. The average data tariff on the Jio network will be ? 50 per GB as opposed to ? 250 per GB on other networks.  This is going to start a mobile broadband revolution in India. Jio leverages 4G LTE data network offering data services capable of reaching 100 Mbps.

Overall, Jio’s vision looks very promising and should help India get to the top 10 in the world for mobile internet access. It is going to be very cost effective for the customers to switch to Jio, enjoy free voice calls and get introduced to the endless possibilities of life with mobile broadband.

[via ET]

Breaking: Netflix now Available Officially in India

netflix logo

CES 2016: Netflix announced in a press event at CES 2016 in Las Vegas that it is going global. The company said that starting immediately, it is available in almost all the countries of the world except a few (Crimea, North Korea, Syria & China).
netflix-plans-pricing-India
The plans for India start at INR 500 per month and go up to INR 800 per month. The pricing is similar to US pricing and pretty close to what you would get after converting the USD plan rates to INR. However, do not expect all the US content to be available in the Indian version. Netflix says it is still working to get distribution rights for many titles (including some of the original content the company has produced).
If you are wondering how much data will be used while watching Netflix, check this page. To find out what all countries Netflix is available in, check this page.

TataSky Launches Transfer Set Top Box

tatasky transfer

TataSky has launched a new DVR Set Top Box which enables customers to transfer recorded content to their devices and to watch later anywhere. This technology is similar to what Comcast offers its customers in the US. Here is how it works:

  • Record the content you want to watch later.
  • Transfer the recorded content to your device via the TataSky mobile app.
  • Watch the content anywhere, anytime you want.
  • You can also stream the recorded content to your device over WiFi in your home. This is useful in scenarios when someone else is watching something live on the TV.

Note that you will have to subscribe to a Transfer Pack to avail this feature. The transfer pack can be added to a maximum of two devices per subscriber ID.

The new set top box with connection costs INR 9300 which is very steep in our opinion. TataSky should introduce contact based pricing plans to reduce this entry price.

iOS 9 is now Available

ios9 logo

Apple’s latest mobile operating system is now available for download. iOS 9 focuses majorly on performance improvements and is compatible with iPhones up to 4S and iPads up to original mini. Here are some key changes in the new version:

  • Battery life improvements.
  • A new system wide font. This is the same font used in Apple Watch.
  • A new News app to subscribe and catch up to  news.
  • Improved notes app supporting photos, sketches & lists.
  • Transit directions in Maps.
  • Store cards in Wallet (previously passbook) in addition to Financial institution cards.
  • Far better multitasking features for the iPad.
  • Smarter Siri.
  • 6 digit passcodes.

The battery life improvements alone make this upgrade worthy. Head to Settings – General – Software Update on your device to update to the latest version.

Apple announces the new Apple TV

apple tv 2015

In addition to launching the new iPhone 6S and the iPad Pro, Apple also announced the much awaited refresh to their Apple TV. It was long due an update for the small yet mighty powerful device that has been silently gaining momentum in our living rooms.

The new Apple TV is slightly taller than its predecessor, however, it is far more powerful. Here are the specs:

  • 64 bit A8 chip
  • Siri Remote with touch interface, accelerometer and gyroscope
  • HDMI 1.4 with CEC
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • tvOS
  • Available in 32GB and 64GB

The new tvOS and the Siri remote are the two instrumental changes in the new Apple TV. Together, they offer a new way to control your TV. In addition to a touch based control, the remote has dual microphones and a Siri button. You can ask Siri to do stuff and search for titles. During playback, Siri can also answer your questions about the content being played or anything else going around the world. You can also ask Siri to turn subtitles on or off and asking “what did he say?” will rewind the playback 30 seconds back. The remote can also control your TV/AVR via HMDI CEC.

Probably one of the best new features is Siri’s ability to search for titles across the installed apps. Let’s say you ask Siri to search for The Imitation Game and its available on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. Siri will display all the options to you to choose from. Some other set top boxes have been doing that, but then again, they do not have AirPlay or the iTunes Store.

The updated processing power also lets you play high end games on the new Apple TV. You can use the Siri remote as a Wii type controller or but 3rd party dedicated game controllers (like the Nimbus Steelseries Controller).

Apple is also encouraging developers to build general purpose apps for the Apple TV. So expect to see apps from GILT, AirBnB and others. Not sure how successful these will be, but supporting all the platform using a single app package is a dream come true for developers.

Intel and Micron Announce Storage 1000 Times Faster than Current Flash Storage

intel-logo

Intel and Micron have announced a new 3D XPoint memory technology that is 1000 times faster than the current NAND bases flash storage options. A breakthrough in computer storage, this  is the first new type of non volatile computer memory created in 25 years.

Intel is already mass producing the memory and it is expected to go on sale in 2016.  The technology is also more durable than the current standards and can enable a whole new set of applications ranging from real time tracking of diseases to 8K computer gaming.

Here is an interactive diagram of the new storage technology:

The storage products are expected to be expensive at first with prices going down with time.

[via 9to5mac]

Huawei Announces the Best Looking Android Smartwatch Yet

Huawei has announced its Android smartwatch at the Mobile World Congress and it is the best looking android a yet. Huawei claims that they surveyed various potential customers and based on their feedbck of the current smartwatch options in the market, they have come up with one that looks like a luxury watch and caters to what people are looking for in a smartwatch.

The watch has a round display and comes with some beautiful watchfaces which does give it the sophisticated look of a luxury watch. It works with Google Now to let you issue voice commands.

Here is how the watch looks:

huawei-smartwatch

huawei-smartwatch-reminder

Yup that dial is a beautiful watch face rendered on the screen. The watch sports 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz processor.

Here is a video Huwaei has release detailing the design process:

IRCTC Ties Up with Dominos Pizza to Deliver Pizza to Your Train Seat

irctc logodomino-s-pizza

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has tied up with Domino’s Pizza in India to deliver pizza to your train seat.

The service is being run as a pilot project in 12 Indian cities – Agra, Alwar, Ambala, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Mathura, Muzzafarnagar, New Delhi, Pathankot, Vapi, Bharuch and Vadodara and is only available to passengers travelling in trains which do not have apntry car.

To avail this service, passengers will need to make a meal booking via IRCTC’s e-Catering service (ecatering.irctc.co.in, 1800-1034-139 (Toll-free), 0120-4383892-99 (Toll) or SMS MEAL to 139) using their PNR number. Given that these pizzas have been added as standard menu items to the e-Catering menu, all the standard rules of the e-Catering service apply to this service as well.

IRCTC plans to extend the pizza menu to more cities gradually.

[via BGR India]

Pebble Announces new Smartwatch

 

pebble time

Pebble – the company which built the first usable smartwatch has announced its next flagship product. Pebble Time – a next generation pebble with a colored screen and a redesigned operating system is now available via kickstarter.

Pebble started its journey with a successfully funded kickstarted campaign and has never looked back. They surely did not need another kickstarted campaign to get this project funded, but I guess they did this in nostalgia. The project surpassed its funding goal within 17 minutes of going live on kickstarter.

pebble time - design

The new watch is thiner than its predecessors and has a curved design to better fit on your wrist. It also fits on most 22mm watch bands – so you are not limited to what the company offers.

The new interface follows a timeline approach to display information. You scroll forward or backward in time to get the info you need – whether its that score of the just ended game you want to check or the weather in the city you are traveling tomorrow.

pebble time - colors

The watch will ship in May 2015 at a retail price of $199. Kickstarter backers can get it at a reduced price of $159 (gone as of this writing) and $179 (going fast). There are distributer level tiers also available for anyone who wants to buy them in bulk.

Here is the link to the kickstarter campaign.

Online Reservation Now Available for Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum

The Rashtrapati Bhavam Museum in India is now offering online reservation for booking tickets in advance. The ticket prices starts from INR 25 per visitor. There are discounted rates for larger groups and school children. Also, accompanying children under 12 years of age enter free.

The reservation system uses a SBI payment gateway to process the payment. You can reserve your tickets here: https://presidentofindia.gov.in/rbvisit/rb-visit_booking_status_museum.aspx

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