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News Handset Update : Galaxy S6 Edge: Is Its Distinctive Style Worth The Premium Price?

What will customers pay for style?

That's the question faced by the marketing teams behind the Apple Watch, whose 18k gold models are priced to start at $10,000.
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The same issue confronts marketing teams for the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, with its unusual front glass display that wraps partly around both side edges.

Pricing in the U.S. for the Edge and its more conventional Galaxy S6 cousin are due out Thursday, according to analysts, with shipments expected as early as April 10. Based on prices already revealed in several countries, the unlocked version of the Edge could price out at 11% to 30% more than the Galaxy S6 with equivalent storage.

In nearly every way, the Edge and the Galaxy S6 are the same device, except for the Edge's unusual curved edges made of Gorilla 4-strengthened glass. Both phones have 5.1-in. displays and 64-bit processors, and both support Samsung Pay with magnetic and NFC payment capabilities and embedded wireless charging.
Even with such similarities, buyers in Turkey will pay 11% more for the Edge, and in the UK they will pay up to 30% more under one UK carrier's subscription plan, according to prices reported by Tech Times and others.

Samsung published pricing for an unlocked Edge with 32 GB at €699 (about US$767) in Spain on March 4 then more recently added 32 GB unlocked Edge pricing of €849 (around US$931). That's a 21% premium.

Is it worth it?

Value is in the eye of the beholder. A large part of the value of the Edge's styling (as well as for the top-line Apple Watch) will depend on what buyers think other people will think of them as they go about their lives using their new gadgets. Marketing teams know this, but they still spend enormous amounts of time studying how to put a price on such a perceived value. It's the essence of good advertising.

If the images in marketing videos and ads create the proper aura, that will help. Apple is known for its marketing prowess, and Samsung has benefited, some, from Apple's lead. So far, Apple's in-store marketing of the Apple Watch appears far more involved than any smartphone or smartwatch marketing campaign by any manufacturer.

But marketing alone won't justify a higher price for fashion: Much of the premium price for the Edge will have to come from something almost intangible and undefinable.

"Fashion still plays a big role in purchasing a smartphone," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar WorldPanel ComTech. "Having something that looks distinct and different from what you owned before matters a lot to consumers."

MIlanesi said she expects the Edge, unlocked, will cost $50 to $100 more than an equivalent-sized Galaxy S6 in the U.S. That would be well below the $164 price increase for the 32 GB Edge in Spain over the 32 GB Galaxy S6.

There is a higher cost in making the Edge's curved screen than the screen on the Galaxy S6, she noted. "It's not to be expected that Samsung would just absorb that increased cost, as that would then put in question the price of the Galaxy S6," she said.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said in some ways the actual cost of the Edge is irrelevant, although he expects the Edge to cost 15% to 25% more than the Galaxy S6.

"Edge is meant to be a halo device, to show that Samsung can produce compelling devices as well as anyone," Gold said. "To that end, it appeals to those who must have the best, and the actual cost of the device is less relevant than the mainline device geared toward the masses like the Galaxy S6. That's not to say that Samsung doesn't want to sell a lot of the Edge devices, but Samsung could sell relatively fewer than the S6 and have the device be successful."

However much more the Edge is priced, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said Samsung needs to be thinking of pricing its Galaxy S6 at 25% below the price of the iPhone 6 to have a chance to sell well. "That doesn't guarantee great sales, it just enables the possibility," he said. "Samsung needs to invest in marketing their differentiators in a clear way that means something to consumers."

Based on unlocked pricing in Spain with current exchange rates, the 64 GB unlocked Galaxy S6 will cost about $877 (€799), which doesn't come close to the discount Moorhead has in mind. The iPhone 6 with 64 GB is $749 unlocked (from an earlier $849), according to Apple's Web site.

News Science Update : NASA Has Discovered A Weird, Never-Before-Seen Aurora And A Mysterious Dust Cloud Around Mars

Weird things are happening on Mars again.

As space technology improves, our ability to understand the cosmos gets better and better. But the latest advancements in satellites and imaging systems also create new questions about the universe.

Case in point: NASA’s MAVEN space probe, which is orbiting Mars and studying its atmosphere, has uncovered two separate new mysteries in the Martian atmosphere. It detected a strange high-altitude dust cloud—the origin of which is unknown—as well as a dazzling aurora light show that’s much lower in the atmosphere than scientists anticipated.

First, the dust cloud. According to NASA, it extends from 93 miles (150 kilometers) above the planet’s surface to 190 miles (300 km). Not only did researchers not expect a dust cloud to be present at those altitudes, but they’re also unsure how exactly it got there.
If the dust originates from the atmosphere, this suggests we are missing some fundamental process in the Martian atmosphere,” said Laila Andersson, one of the scientists working on MAVEN at the University of Colorado Boulder, in a press release.

Researchers have a few theories, assuming the dust didn’t originate from Mars itself. It could have drifted in from Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, or from comet debris orbiting the sun. It also could have blown in with solar wind coming from the sun. Bruce Jakosky, the lead investigator, told New Scientist that MAVEN will conduct a flyby of Phobos to see if there’s any dust meandering away from it.
The second mystery is a bizarre aurora—similar to Earth’s northern lights—observed in a place (like the dust cloud) where scientists didn’t expect to find it.
“What’s especially surprising about the aurora we saw is how deep in the atmosphere it occurs—much deeper than at Earth or elsewhere on Mars,” said Arnaud Stiepen, another MAVEN team member at the University of Colorado. “The electrons producing it must be really energetic.”

The ultraviolet light show, which spans Mars’ northern hemisphere, was nicknamed the “Christmas lights” because it was detected right around Dec. 25 of last year. Aurorae are created when charged particles from the sun strike the atmosphere and cause the gases there to shine in cool colors.

Just last month, researchers admitted that they had no idea what was causing a recently detected plume over Mars. It could be linked to the dust clouds observed by MAVEN, although those were found in the planet’s northern hemisphere, while the mysterious plume was discovered in the southern hemisphere

News Technology Update : FAA Clears Amazon Drones For (Experimental) Takeoff

 Summary: The Internet giant first unveiled its Prime-branded drone delivery program in late 2013 -- much to the simultaneous amazement and cautious fear of consumers everywhere.

 Amazon has cleared another hurdle, bringing its Drone-flying dreams one step closer to mass market reality.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Amazon the green light on Thursday. While not an all out, open-ended ticket to the friendly skies, the FAA did grant Amazon Logistics, the e-commerce brand's delivery arm, with a certificate of "experimental airworthiness."
 
Basically, that means Amazon can start testing its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for research and development.

The Internet giant first unveiled its Prime-branded drone delivery program in late 2013 -- much to the simultaneous amazement and cautious fear of consumers everywhere.

Dubbed Prime Air, the technology is much more than a simple dream but not quite ready for action yet. The Seattle-headquartered company was aiming for takeoff within a few years.

The 'Everything' store tangentially followed up in September with an online Drone Store to cater to creative aerial needs, hawking accessories for UAV enthusiasts, such as cases, batteries and propellers.

Following Amazon and with projects sprouting out of the ground these days like daisies from Facebook and Google, among others, the FAA started to burst some bubbles with restrictions on commercial use issued last fall.

The federal agency followed up in February by publishing rules and regulations for the oversight of drone usage within the United States.

With its certificate in hand, Amazon has to adhere to the following guidelines:
  1. All flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions.
  2. Drones must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observers.
  3. UAV pilots controlling the drones must have at least a private pilot's certificate and current medical certification.
  4. Amazon must report back and provide data to the FAA on a monthly basis. Data must include the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers' instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.
The Prime Air program currently hosts development centers in the United States as well as the United Kingdom and Israel, with additional testing at multiple other unnamed international locations.

New Smart Application Update :Microsoft’s Voice Assistant Cortana Coming To Android and iOS Devices Soon

Smartphone voice assistants can be described in plain simple words as ‘freaking cool’. They have come a long way and at present they can almost be seen as the baby versions of Tony Stark’s Jarvis. While Google Now is a great search and convenience tool, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri have anthropomorphic qualities that let them have human live conversations with the users. Microsoft has decided to take Cortana to a wider audience and will be bringing its voice assistant to iOS and Android devices.

Microsoft has said that it will be introducing Cortana on other operating systems as a standalone app. The company will also be integrating its artificial intelligence(AI) based technology called ‘Einstein’ with the voice assistant. With Einstein’s support, Cortana would be able to read and understand emails that will help it provide more convenient features to the users. It would let it offer suggestions to the user, even before they ask for it, something Google Now has been doing for a while.

Cortana is based on the artificially intelligent character of the same name from the famed video game, Halo. The personality of the voice assistant is also derived from the AI character from the game. Microsoft has been banking on Cortana’s ability to chit chat with the users. Cortana also offers usual voice assistant features like setting reminders and calendar, weather and traffic information, writing notes and messages.

Microsoft will also be bringing Cortana on Windows 10 operating system for desktops. It might actually beat Apple in this field as the Cupertino-based company didn’t bring Siri to the latest Yosemite operating system. Microsoft is contemplating the fall timeframe for the launch of the app. So if you liked Google Now but wanted a more human-like interaction, Microsoft’s Cortana is coming soon to give you company.

Speaking of voice assistants, remember that one time we got Siri to speak in Punjabi?

News Tech Gadget Update : Check Out the World’s First Pain Relieving Wearable

Not every wearable is about sleep tracking or counting steps. Among the many wearables showed at CES 2015, a useful one was called Quell. It is a drug-free service that helps in relieving chronic pain. The technology used for this device has been developed by Neurometrix, a company from Harvard Medical School which specialises in Neurotechnology.
This device consists of a strap that is worn around the affected part of the body, with its electrode touching the skin. When activated, it stimulates the nerves, in turn sending a message to the brain to release endogenous opioids- the body’s natural defence against pain. This brings relief within 15 minutes.

The main advantage of this device is that it is portable and can be carried along almost anywhere. The correct stimulation has to be attuned the first time, and Quell then automatically selects the same each time. iOS already has a supporting app and Android one is on its way.
The only shortcoming would be the user will have to keep on buying the electrodes periodically. Normally, this would cost $250 (approx Rs. 15,773), but pre-ordering would cost $199 (Rs. 12,555). Details about its mass availability is still uncertain, though the device is currently up for pre-order on Indiegogo. The device has already reached $250,000 in pledges.

News Gaming Update : NVIDIA GTX 960M And 950M Processors Bring High-Powered Desktop Gaming To Notebooks

Some time ago, NVIDIA had launched the GeForce GTX 980M and 970M processors for notebooks. Now, to turn up the heat on the competition a bit more, the chip maker has added GeForce GTX 960M and 950M to the GTX 900M lineup. Nvidia is mainly aiming for notebooks from ASUS, Lenovo, Alienware, Acer and HP. Both the processors features Maxwell architecture, including 640 CUDA cores and are built on 28nm process.

These new processors are very powerful and hence can be used for purposes other than gaming, for example video editing and creating 3D graphics. Acer has announced that a new batch of its existing line of Aspire V Nitro Black Edition laptops will offer the GeForce GTX 960M as an option.One of the features of the processor is the BatteryBoost which lets users enjoy longer playtime than previous gaming notebooks. It provides more battery backup, even if the user is playing off-cord. 
Users can choose between the best graphics performance or the best battery life, according to the application they are using. Other features include ShadowPlay activation. Users can record full-resolution videos for sharing on YouTube or stream live to Twitch.

As of now, only the Acer V Nitro will be offering the GTX 960M service. Alienware, ASUS, HP and Lenovo would be releasing the upgraded version soon.

UPDATE :

For a limited period, customers who purchase the GeForce GTX 980, GTX 970, and GTX 960 graphics cards, or a notebook with a GTX 970M or above, will get a code for a digital copy of the game. Labelled the ‘Undeniably Epic’ bundle, it will be authorized for purchases from Flipkart, Snapdeal and computer stores that are a part of Nvidia’s retail network.

News WhatsApp Update : WhatsApp Voice Calling: Just A Call Needed To Activate

While several online reports have claimed that the voice calling feature on WhatsApp has arrived, there is no official announcement or confirmation from the company. Several blogs suggested that users need to download the latest version of Whatsapp or get version 2.11.528/531 to activate the feature. However, this may not work. Even newer versions like 2.11.561 is yet to get the feature. So, upgrading to the latest version will clearly not work.
Another round of online reports informed that users will only get the calling feature activated on their accounts if someone makes aWhatsApp call to them. Suggesting that an invitation is required.

For the record the latest version of WhatsApp (as of March 14) is 2.12.7. You can download it from the website and insatll the apk file. However, you will need someone (who already has the feature) to call you to activate it on your device.

So, if you haven’t received the calling feature even after updating to the latest version, it’s better to forget about it for the moment and wait for the official announcement. When WhatsApp announced its WhatsWeb, the feature was available across all versions. So, we can expect the same this time for voice calling.

Meanwhile, several malwares and fake WhatsApp calling apps have appeared to take advantage of curious users.

News Technology Update : What Is USB Type-C? Here’s Everything You Need to Know In This Explanation Video


What is USB Type-C? Here’s everything you need to know about the next generation interface for power, data and display.

Apple and Google launched devices using this new USB standard this week with the new MacBook and the Chromebook Pixel. Technology video blogger Marques Brownlee guides us on why the new “USB-C” standard matters for all of us.

USB Type-C is actually USB 3.1. This standard will be everywhere: computers, accessories and smartphones — in the next couple of years.

Advantages of the standard:
  • It is Smaller and Thinner
  • It can carry 100 Watts of Power, 10 Gigabits Per Second
  • Reversible and Backwards Compatible
Video:

News Apple Product Update : Apple Now Lets Users Download iOS Beta Software Updates, Starting With iOS 8.3

Apple AAPL +1.78% is now inviting users to test iOS software updates before public releases, starting with the third beta of iOS 8.3. To download iOS 8.3, you will have to register your account as a software tester at the Apple Seed website. Not everyone will see the iOS beta program now because it seems to be rolling out to the users that were part of the ”OS X Beta Program” first.

If you have been invited to the iOS beta program, you will be asked to back up your iPhone to iTunes and log in with your Apple ID. After that, you will have to opt in for the iOS beta program and download a configuration profile. iOS 8.3 beta will appear as a software update in the Settings app after downloading the configuration profile.
The public release date of iOS 8.3 is unknown, but it may be a while because Apple released iOS 8.2 three days ago. If you encounter any issues while using iOS 8.3 beta, then you will be able to restore your device using a saved iTunes backup and you should file a report in the Feedback Assistant app.

Apple launched the “OS X Beta Program” about a year ago, but now it is known as the “Apple AAPL +1.78% Beta Software Program” since iOS has been added. “The feedback we have received on the OS X Yosemite Beta continues to help us shape OS X, and now the iOS 8.3 Beta is available for download,” states Apple’s Beta Software Program website.

When the public version of iOS 8.3 is released, it will have performance improvements, bug fixes, racially diverse emoji, Google's GOOGL +1% 2-step verification, Apple Pay integration for China UnionPay, support for the CarPlay platform and new languages for Siri. The languages that Siri will support in iOS 8.3 are English (India, New Zealand), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand) and Turkish (Turkey). The Messages app in iOS 8.3 will have a feature called “Conversation List Filtering.” Through this feature, you will be able to filter spam messages and separate messages from your actual contacts. iOS 8.3 also includes the Apple Watch app that was introduced in iOS 8.2.

Apple’s addition of iOS to the Beta Software program does not come as a surprise. Last month, sources with Apple news website 9to5Mac revealed that iOS 8.3 will be added to the Beta Software program in March followed by iOS 9 this summer.

By offering beta versions of iOS to non-developer testers, Apple will be able to fix more bugs before shipping the final versions. It will also curb a ”gray market” issue where people sign up for developer accounts and sell early access, according to TechCrunch. The cost of an Apple iOS developer account is $99 per year.

Do you have access to the iOS Beta Software Program? Please let us know what you think about Apple giving access to betas of iOS to the public in the comments section below!

News Gaming Industry Update : NVIDIA Releases GeForce GTX 960M and GTX 950M Mobile Graphics

NVIDIA has announced new GPUs to round out their 900-series mobile lineup, and the new GTX 960M and GTX 950M are based on the same GM107 core as the previous 860M/850M parts.

Both GPUs feature 640 CUDA Cores and are separated by Base clock speed, with the GTX 960M operating at 1096 MHz and GTX 950M at 914 MHz. Both have unlisted maximum Boost frequencies that will likely vary based on thermal constraints. The memory interface is the other differentiator between the GPUs, with the GTX 960M sporting dedicated GDDR5 memory, and the GTX 950M can be implemented with either DDR3 or GDDR5 memory. Both GTX 960M and 950M use the same 128-bit memory interface and support up to 4GB of memory.
As reported by multiple sources the core powering the 960M/950M is a GM107 Maxwell GPU, which means that we are essentially talking about rebadged 860M/850M products, though the unlisted Boost frequencies could potentially be higher with these parts with improved silicon on a mature 28nm process. In contrast the previously announced GTX 965M is based on a cut down Maxwell GM204 GPU, with its 1024 CUDA Cores representing half of the GPU core introduced with the GTX 980.

New notebooks featuring the GTX 960M have already been announced by NVIDIA's partners, so we will soon see if there is any performance improvement to these refreshed GM107 parts.
 
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