Is Nokia Ready to Take India by Storm?

This episode of Orbital focuses on Nokia’s new smartphone launches. Nokia launched three Android phones – Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6. These three Android phones have been hotly anticipated but will they be able to make a mark in a market where there are so many good mid-range Android phones? Games editor Rishi Alwani and “former” host Pranay Parab join host Aditya Shenoy to discuss.

Is Nokia Ready to Take India by Storm?

We start the episode by talking about the three Nokia smartphones and whether the hardware matches up against what the competition has to offer. We look at the specifications of the three Nokia smartphones and wonder whether they can take on excellent mid-range and budget smartphones from rivals.

Nokia’s distribution strategy is also a big point of discussion. We wonder why Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 are offline exclusive and why Nokia 6 is an Amazon exclusive. Rishi and Pranay offer theories about this, before we look at Nokia’s official comments on its strategy.

Then Aditya brings up the topic of after sales service. We talk about how difficult it is to provide good service and whether Nokia can differentiate itself from competition on this front. Finally, we close the episode by talking about Nokia’s naming strategy for its smartphones.

E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/ Getty Images North America/ AFP
HIGHLIGHTS
YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook turned gamers into online stars at E3 2017
The e-Sports matches were hugely popular at the annual gaming expo
YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform with record audience
Long fiercely guarded video game industry terrain, the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off Tuesday with YouTube, Twitch and Facebook turning gamers into online stars.

A hot trend of video game play streamed as spectator sport and “YouTubers” becoming famous for skills or pithy commentary pervaded the annual gathering, from unveilings of titles to major ‘e-Sports’ matches staged for the first time on the show floor.

“There is a reality now that the influencers of the gaming industry are no longer the games, but the YouTube creators,” YouTube head of gaming Ryan Wyatt told AFP.

E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

“It is smart to bring creators into the fold so the feedback is constructive, and not scathing reviews.”

Players who have risen to stardom by streaming play online took part in theatrical press conferences held by game and console makers in the days ahead of the formal opening of E3.

Unveilings of eagerly-awaited titles and new franchises were streamed live on platforms including Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube – drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.

YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform, and said that broadcasters from E3 racked up record-sized audiences.

“Before publishers caught on to the power of the creator, I think creators felt alienated,” Wyatt said, referring to players who stream game action and comment online.

“All of that has changed now. They are integrated into the show and their feedback goes into the design, marketing and promotion of games.

Outshining real-world sports
Video game competition as spectator sport is driving the industry in many ways, according to Craig Levine, chief of leading e-Sports company ESL.

Developers are building games with features to be attractive online spectator events, offerings at E3 showed.

“There are more people watching these games than playing them; it has more than crept into the design cycle,” Levine told AFP.

As competitive performance climbs as a priority, hardware makers push to field better computer chips, screens, controllers and more.

This week, for the first time at E3, there was an e-Sports zone powered by ESL where video game battles were fought and streamed online.

“ESports has one of the fastest growing audiences in not just video games but all of entertainment,” said Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications at the Electronic Software Association behind E3.

The eSports industry will accelerate from roughly $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,288 crores) in revenue in 2015 to $1-billion (roughly Rs. 6,436 crores) by 2018, according to Baird Equity Research estimates cited by E3 organisers.

In the coming three years, the global audience for eSports was predicted to grow to a half-billion viewers, eclipsing the numbers watching traditional real-world sports, according to Levine.

And, while the focus at E3 was on games for consoles or Windows-powered computers, mobile game play is consistently in top ranks when it comes to viewing, according to YouTube.

More women gamers
The gaming community is huge at Facebook, which returned to E3 this year with an area for live-streamed chats with developers and personalities, and where visitors could share thoughts about the show at the social network and capture memories with 3D or augment reality technology that put them into game scenes.

During the past month, 43 million people have made some 115 million posts, ‘likes,’ and comments related to E3 and major titles.

More than a third of that sharing came from women, who are a growing part of the gaming community, according to Facebook.

“We’ve seen this community of gamers continue to grow and evolve each year – with women now taking a growing share of the conversation around E3,” said Facebook head of global console and online gaming Franco DeCesare.

About 800 million members of the social network play at least one Facebook game monthly, director of global games partnerships Leo Olebe told AFP.

Facebook worked with ESL, video game giant Activision and others at E3 to create content for the social network.

“The fact that the player really is at the center of everything is really powerful,” Olebe told AFP.

“As the player takes a larger role in what’s happening inside our industry, Facebook is perfectly positioned to facilitate that process.”

Destiny 2 on PC Is Exclusive to Battle.net and That’s Great. Here’s Why.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Steam may be convenient but the user experience is dated
  • Valve’s new restrictive policies don’t bode well for consumers either
  • The outrage over not using Steam goes against the PC as an open platform

Destiny 2 for PC will be available on Blizzard’s Battle.net instead of Steam. There’s been a tremendous amount of outrage from the community due to this, with many citing the inconvenience of using another client to play Destiny 2. Some people even plan to boycott the game because of it.

There are plenty of reasons for Destiny 2 publisher Activision to keep it exclusive to its own platform – thirty at the very least. That’s the percentage of revenue Activision would have to pay Valve, if Destiny 2 was on Steam. This alone is a massive plus point for Activision. However, having Destiny 2 on Battle.net will be great for gamers too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYxVRWAJnNg?ecver=2]

For one, Battle.net is a better client. Sure, it might not have the Big Picture Mode of Steam, or the sheer number of games on sale, but the desktop and mobile apps are easier to use, sporting an intuitive design that’s slick and stylish. On the other hand, Steam resembles something that would have been cutting-edge in 1995.

If looks or usability aren’t a problem for you – and they probably aren’t for a majority of the millions of users on Steam – there is also the question of policy. Right now, Valve has been clamping down on some of the core features of Steam, such as gifting games.

Gone are the days when you could buy games and store them in your inventory to gift at a later date, nor can you send gifts via email. Valve’s also done away with cross-region gifting, which means games that weren’t available in India – such as those in the Dragon Ball Z series – for reasons such as licensing restrictions, can’t be obtained anymore either.

On the other hand, Battle.net makes gifting easier, allowing you to do so via email. This is not just just limited to games either. World of Warcraft for instance, allows users to gift pets, mounts, items, or even game time. In fact, you can even buy Destiny 2 using World of Warcraft’s in-game currency. The ease of use where it matters is what makes Battle.net a better choice for gamers.

destiny 2 squad destiny_2

Beyond that, while Steam has made strides in customer support over the years, it still trails behind Battle.net. Blizzard has been the gold standard for years thanks to its thorough approach and speedy responses. We’ve all experienced this time and again, after experiences like being locked out of the Battle.net account due to hackers, or simply forgetting the password and secret question. Regaining access usually happens in under a day and is hassle-free. Steam on the other hand, is still figuring out how to serve its users better in this regard.

Much like GOG Galaxy, Battle.net’s treatment of its users is something Valve should take notes from. Steam has its fair share of fanboys thanks to its regular game discounts, but it lags in other departments that are often glossed over. Steam Greenlight for instance has resulted in a seemingly infinite assembly line of cookie cutter games borne out of stock assets bought from the Unity Store. It’s taken Valve the better part of five years to realise the need to replace Steam Greenlight and even then, it hasn’t decided what should take its place.

With Destiny 2 coming to Battle.net, it opens the doors for other non-Blizzard games to as well, which sounds like a net positive for gamers. Sure, you might just boycott Destiny 2 on the PC anyway, but in doing so, you’re essentially casting your vote for the future of PC gaming to be utterly dominated by Gabe Newell and friends, with Steam’s restrictive practises, and poor policies, instead of the PC being an open platform, unlike consoles.

Celebrating the Music of Video Games as an Art Form

HIGHLIGHTS

  • London Symphony Orchestra will perform game music this weekend
  • Music will include songs from Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario
  • This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first game-music concert

The electronic bleeps and squawks of Tetris, Donkey Kong and other generation-shaping games that you may never have thought of as musical are increasingly likely to be playing at a philharmonic concert hall near you.

From the “ping … ping” of Atari’s 1972 ground-breaking paddle game Pong, the sounds, infectious ditties and, with time, fully-formed orchestral scores that are an essential part of the sensory thrill for gamers have formed a musical universe. With its own culture, sub-cultures and fans, game music now thrives alone, free from the consoles from which it came.

When audiences pack the Philharmonie de Paris’ concert halls this weekend to soak in the sounds of a chamber orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra performing game music and an homage to one of the industry’s stars, Final Fantasy Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, they will have no buttons to play with, no characters to control.

They’re coming for the music and the nostalgia it triggers: of fun-filled hours spent on sofas with a Game Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog and the evergreen Mario.

“When you’re playing a game you are living that music every day and it just gets into your DNA,” says Eimear Noone, the conductor of Friday’s opening two-hour show of 17 titles, including Zelda, Tomb Raider, Medal of Honor and other favorites from the 1980s onward.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBV1MLX02fM?ecver=2]

“When people hear those themes they are right back there. And people get really emotional about it. I mean REALLY emotional. It’s incredible.”

Dating the birth of game music depends on how one defines music. Game music scholars – yes, they exist – point to key milestones on the path to the surround-sound extravaganzas of games today.

The heartbeat-like bass thump of Taito’s Space Invaders in 1978, which got ever faster as the aliens descended,caused sweaty palms and was habit-forming.

Namco’s Pac-Man, two years later, whetted appetites with an opening musical chirp . For fun, check out the 2013 remix by Dweezil Zappa, son of Frank, and game music composer Tommy Tallarico. Their take on the tune speaks to the sub-culture of remixing game music, with thousands of redos uploaded by fans to sites like ocremix.org – dedicated, it says, “to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form.”

Celebrating the Music of Video Games as an Art Form

Based on the Russian folk song Korobeiniki, the music of the 1984 game Tetris has similarly undergone umpteen remixes – including Tetris Meets Metal, with more than 2.2 million views on YouTube.By 1985, the can’t-not-tap-along-to-this theme of Super Mario Bros., the classic adventure of plumber Mario and his brother Luigi, was bringing fame for composer Koji Kondo, also known for his work on Legend of Zelda. Both are on the bill for the Retrogaming concert in Paris. Kondo was the first person Nintendo hired specifically to compose music for its games, according to the 2013 book, Music and Game.

Noone, known herself for musical work on World of Warcraft, Overwatch and other games, says the technological limitations of early consoles – tiny memories, rudimentary chips, crude sounds – forced composers “to distill their melodies down to the absolute kernels of what melodic content can be, because they had to program it note by note.”

But simple often also means memorable. Think “da-da-da-duh” – the opening of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

“That is part of the reason why this music has a place in people’s hearts and has survived,” Noone says of game tunes. “It speaks to people.”

She says game music is where movie music was 15 years ago: well on its way to being completely accepted.

“I predict that in 15 years’ time it will be a main staple of the orchestral season,” she says. “This is crazy to think of: Today, more young people are listening to orchestral music through the medium of their video game consoles than have ever listened to orchestral music.”

She still sometimes encounters snobbism from orchestras: “They saw ‘Pong’ once and that’s video game music to them, you know?”

But “halfway through the first rehearsal, their attitude has changed,” she adds. “And then when they walk out on stage and the audience treats them like they’re The Rolling Stones.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first game-music concert: The Tokyo Strings Ensemble performed Dragon Quest at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall in August 1987. Now there are six touring shows of symphonic game music, Noone says.

“This is just the best way, the most fun way to introduce kids to the instruments of the orchestra,” she adds. “It may be the first time ever they are that close to a cellist, and that’s really exciting for me.”

 

Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus Image Leak Reignites Launch Hopes

Xiaomi was largely rumoured to launch the Mi 6 Plus alongside the Mi 6, but that didn’t happen, and leaks of the Mi 6 Plus also reduced post the Mi 6 launch in April. Now, the Mi 6 Plus has again cropped up online bringing back hopes of a launch soon.

Gizchina found a back cover image of the Mi 6 Plus alongside the Mi 6 smartphone on the Chinese web, hinting that the launch might be around the corner. The Mi 6 Plus back cover is identical to the Mi 6 with respect to design, the only difference being size. The Mi 6 Plus size is bigger than the Mi 6, as expected.

The Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus has been rumoured on multiple occasions and it is expected to feature a 5.7-inch full-HD display, and Snapdragon 835 SoC. The Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus is tipped to be offered in 4GB of RAM + 64GB storage, 6GB + 128GB, and 8GB + 256GB variants.

Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus Image Leak Reignites Launch Hopes
Earlier, a device code-named Xiaomi Jason was spotted on GFXBench benchmark, and it is believed to be a variant of the flagship Xiaomi Mi 6, called the Mi 6c. It is expected to be powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC clocked at 2.2GHz coupled with 6GB RAM and will pack 64GB on-board storage. The smartphone may feature a 5.1-inch full-HD display and run MIUI based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. On the camera front, the alleged Xiaomi Jason is said to sport a 12-megapixel rear camera alongside a 4-megapixel front camera. It’s worth pointing out that the alleged Xiaomi Jason could very well launch with a different name other than Mi 6c.

As for the Mi 6 India launch, the company’s India chief Manu Kumar Jain had said it may be announced in July, though details beyond that are still awaited.

Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus

Xiaomi Mi 6 Plus

BSEB Bihar Class 10 Results 2017: How to check

The Bihar School Education Board (BSEB) is all set to declare the matriculate or class 10 board results on Tuesday, June 20.

Once the Bihar Class 10 results will be declared, all the candidates can check the same at biharboard.ac.in

Here’s what BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said:

“We are working out the modalities. Things are in an advanced stage,” BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said in recent HT report.

How to check Bihar Class 10 board results:

  • Go to the official website, biharboard.ac.in
  • Click on relevant link
  • Enter you roll number and other required details in prescribed format
  • Click to submit
  • Results will be displayed on the computer screen
  • Download the Class 10 results and take print out of the same for future reference.

After Ruby Rai, this year also, Bihar board came under the topper scam fiasco.

BSEB Bihar Class 10 Results 2017

Bihar Class 12 toppers scam:

This year, Ganesh Kumar from Ram Nandan Singh Jagdeep Narayan Higher Secondary School in Samastipur secured the first position in Arts stream with 82.60 per cent.

(Read: Bihar Board 41-year-old topper Ganesh arrested for fraud, possessed fake name and has two kids)

The 24-year-old Ganesh Kumar scored 65 out of 70 in music practicals.

While speaking to Rohit Kumar Singh, India Today, Ganesh said, “I don’t know much about music. I just attended a couple of music classes in the last two years that I spent in college before appearing for the intermediate exam.” He further added, “I never thought I would become a topper in Bihar Board. I was a satisfactory student but never thought that I would top the exams.”

Verification of toppers:

Leaving no stone unturned, the board has also planned to conduct verification of top 10 performers to prevent any chance of forgery.

The Bihar board conducted the Class 10 examination in the month of May.

Total number of Bihar Board Class 10 students:

It is said that nearly 17 lakh students from Bihar appeared for matriculate (class 10) board examination this year.

Important note: Unlike Class 12, in matriculation (class 10), there is just one topper.

About BSEB:

The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) is established for holding and conducting an examination at the end of the Secondary School stage, for prescribing course of studies for such examination and for carrying out such other objects and duties as may be considered necessary for the purpose as stated in the act, rules and regulations of the board.

Summer Workshop Pushes Minority Students to Pursue Computer Science Degrees

Undergraduate tech students from universities around the country convened at Cornell this past week for a week-long computer science workshop, encouraging students to consider graduate degrees in the field.

The workshop, Software Defined Network Interface, aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority Ph.D. students in computer science. The participants come from various universities including North Carolina State University and the University of Puerto Rico.

Prof. Hakim Weatherspoon, computer science, created the workshop because he said the percentage of underrepresented minorities in computer science was “very low.”

In fact, while between 1,500 and 1,600 students earn a Ph.D. in computer science each year, fewer than 3 percent of those students are underrepresented minorities, according to Weatherspoon.

“Each year there’s about 20, 25 that are African-American,” he said. “Around 20, 25 that are Hispanic, and 2 to 5 that are Native American. So about 50 total, which is less than 3 percent.”

“If we have 25 here,” Weatherspoon added about the program, “and then they all went on and pursued a Ph.D. and obtained one, we would have double the number of Ph.D.s that are from underrepresented minorities.”

The program — funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation — was free for participating students.

In the mornings, the students attended lectures from Cornell professors and deans from departments including computer science and engineering. After the morning lecture, students ventured around campus, visiting the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source and attending a campus tour. In the afternoon, students worked coding their research project.

13 students from universities across the country came to Cornell for a week-long computer science workshop.

“The focus of this workshop, research-wise, is computer networks,” Weatherspoon said. “They actually do a project related to computer networks.”

Weatherspoon described how there is a “pipeline” responsible for the low numbers of Ph.D. candidates from underrepresented minorities.

“If you go backwards from top down, one reason is there’s very few underrepresented minority faculty in computer science,” he said. “I’m the only one here at Cornell and across the nation, there’s very, very few. A lot of schools have zero, and some have one, and very few have two.”

In addition to “very few” minority students in Ph.D. programs, some of these Ph.D. graduates choose to enter the computer science industry instead of becoming faculty.

Weatherspoon explained that even before college, there are “not as many” underrepresented minority students choosing to enter STEM.

“What we see is a high interest in computer science, but then to get into a computer science program, especially at a top university, and make it all the way through, and then go onto a Ph.D., you’re just losing people the entire way,” Weatherspoon said.

Ato Watson, a junior at Florida Memorial University, participated in the workshop, describing the experience as an “eye-opener.”

“The workshop has been an eye-opener, being a student from an underrepresented minority institution, coming here, an Ivy League institution, where research is being done at an extensive scale,” Watson said.

“I’m one of those students where opportunities like this doesn’t present themsel[ves],” he added. “I’m an international student from Jamaica. This experience is new for me, so I’m trying my very best to learn as much as possible.”

Jaelin Jordin, a junior at Hampton College, also participated in the program. He described how the participants in the program brought varying skills and backgrounds to the group.

From these different skillsets, Jordin emphasized the value of collaboration in the computer science field because “the key to computer science,” he said, “is that there is never one solution; there’s multiple ways to solve a problem.”

Like Jordin, Maya Mundell ’14, a member of the workshop, praised collaboration among students, particularly in that the workshop’s participants came from around the world, including Egypt, Ethiopia and India.

“We all really enjoyed each other’s company and we all learned a lot from one another,” Mundell said. “I think that type of experience is extremely invaluable because now we all have friends that span the world pretty much. And we all came together with the common interest of tech education and tech career opportunities.”

iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The benchmark tests pitted new iPad Pro models against MacBook Pro
  • The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models were included in the test
  • Benchmark also included 2016 MacBook Pro models

Apple’s new iPad Pro models are as capable as the refreshed MacBook Pro models, matching, and even surpassing the laptops in certain benchmarks. Bare Feats, a benchmarking blog, posted some CPU and GPU test results that pitted the 2017 MacBook Pro models against the new iPad Pro 12.9 inch and 10.5-inch models.

The devices were tested with a series of benchmark tests like GeekBench and GFXBench giving an idea about the CPU and GPU performance of the new iPad Pro and MacBook Pro models. The tests also included older 2016 MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models to get a better idea about the improvements that the new hardware brings to the hotel.

In terms of GPU performance, the new iPad Pro models outperform the MacBook Pro (2016 and 2017) models in Geekbench 4 Compute Metal test. The test results showed the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model scoring 27,814, and was closely followed by 12.9-inch iPad Pro which scored 27,597. MacBook Pro 2016 and 2017 models came third and fourth with a score of 27,631 and 26,353 respectively.

In the single-core GeekBench 4 tests, the all-new MacBook Pro 13-inch was seen scoring 4,650, which outperformed the new iPad Pro models which scored around 4,000 mark. Though, the test also saw that the 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro models scores were on par with the older MacBook Pro models.iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

In the multi-core CPU tests, the 2017 MacBook Pro models yet again outperformed all the iPad Pro models with a stunning score of 10,261. The new iPad Pro models, however, beat the 2016 MacBook Pro models, which can be seen as a big improvement for the tablets.

The benchmark scores may indicate that the new iPad Pro models can match CPU and GPU performance of MacBook Pro though we want to stress that these scores aren’t indicative of real-world usage usage.

To recall, Apple refreshed the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model at the WWDC 2017, and also launched the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The company also refreshed the entire MacBook lineup, including a new 13-Inch MacBook Pro configuration.

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

10.50-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2224×1668 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

Also See
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch, Wi-Fi, Space Grey, 32GB) MLMN2HN/A Space Gray –
    Rs. 43,496
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Space Grey, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

12.90-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2732×2048 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

Also See
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch, Wi-Fi, Space Grey, 32GB) MLMN2HN/A Space Gray –
    Rs. 43,496
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Space Grey, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405

Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

HIGHLIGHTS
WD has sought a court injunction to stop Toshiba’s chip unit sale
The court injunction details that Toshiba needs to take WD’s consent
Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible
Western Digital Corp has sought a court injunction to prevent Toshiba Corp from selling its chip business without the US firm’s consent – a move that threatens to throw the fiercely contested auction into disarray.

The escalation in the spat between Western Digital, which jointly operates Toshiba’s main chip plant, and its business partner follows tense last-minute jockeying by suitors for the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND semiconductors.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the California-based firm has been left out of a new Japan government-led group being formed to bid for the unit.

Toshiba’s “attempts to circumvent our contractual rights have left us with no choice but to take this action,” Western Digital’s Chief Executive Steve Milligan said in a statement.

ALSO SEEJapan Urges Toshiba, Western Digital to Get Along as Chip Spat Flares

“Left unchecked, Toshiba would pursue a course that clearly violates these rights,” he added.

Western Digital has filed its suit with the Superior Court of California, seeking an injunction until its arbitration case against Toshiba is heard. It is concerned about how Toshiba, the Japanese government and other stakeholders are handling the auction process, a second source said.

The second source added it had submitted a revised bid on Wednesday that satisfies Toshiba’s requests on deal certainty and price but did not receive a favourable response. Toshiba has demanded at least JPY 2 trillion ($18 billion) for the unit.

Sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the negotiations concerning the auction.

Toshiba said in a statement that it was proceeding with selecting a preferred bidder for its memory unit by the second half of June as planned and hoped to reach a definitive agreement on a sale by June 28.

Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible to help cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its now-bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear unit and to dig itself out negative shareholders’ equity that could lead to a delisting.

Satoru Oyama, senior principal analyst at research firm IHS, said Western Digital’s argument made sense from a common-sense point of view and that developments were moving towards a worst-case scenario for the Japanese company.

“Toshiba has more to lose in the dispute because it is running out of time,” he said. “Toshiba and Western Digital eventually have to talk. They cannot afford to keep fighting when Samsung is taking advantage of the NAND market boom and investing massively.”

A third source familiar with the matter said Western Digital expects to get a ruling on its injunction request by mid-July and that arbitration cases generally take 16-24 months to resolve.

A state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), has been at the centre of trade ministry efforts to forge a successful bid that will keep the highly prized unit under domestic control. But the nature of its partnerships appears to be going through drastic changes compared to just last week.

It has been in talks with Bain Capital and the group now includes South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc, sources have said.

INCJ was, however, also part of a proposed bid tabled by Western Digital last week that also included US private equity firm KKR & Co LP, other sources familiar with the matter have said.

Other bidders include Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is leading a consortium that includes Apple Inc computing giant Dell Inc and Kingston Technology Co.

The highest known bid so far is one from US chipmaker Broadcom and its partner, US private equity firm Silver Lake. They have offered JPY 2.2 trillion, sources have said.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard With 'Hidden' Fingerprint Scanner Launched

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New Microsoft Modern Keyboard comes with a fingerprint scanner
  • It has been priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 8,500)
  • The fingerprint scanner is embedded inside the right Windows key

Microsoft on Thursday silently unveiled a new keyboard, called the Microsoft Modern Keyboard. Priced at Rs. $129.99 (roughly Rs. 8,500), the new Modern Keyboard is listed as “coming soon” on the company’s US website with no word when the accessory will go on sale. The highlight of the keyboard is that it comes with a fingerprint scanner that just looks like any other key on the keyboard.

“Our vision was to blend the Fingerprint reader into a keyboard, so it would appear to be any other key. We iterated relentlessly to improve each layer, making sure they came together to create a flawless typing experience that felt like any other key,” Microsoft says on the product page of the Modern Keyboard.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard With 'Hidden' Fingerprint Scanner Launched

The keyboard comes with aluminium frame and Microsoft claims it sports “highest quality” and is “virtually indestructible.”

The Modern Keyboard will allow Windows 10 users to enable Windows Hello fingerprint authentication on their devices. The fingerprint scanner has been placed on the second Windows key on the right side of the keyboard, and can be used for signing in to the system or any website using Windows Hello.

The Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint Scanner will work will Windows 8 and above devices, macOS 10.10.5 and above devices, Android 4.2 and above, and iOS 8 and iOS 9. Users need to make sure that the device should support Bluetooth 4.0 or higher for the Microsoft Modern Keyboard to work. Microsoft will also let users choose between using the Modern Keyboard with wireless/ wired interface.

It comes with dimensions 420.9×112.6×19.3mm and weighs roughly 420 grams. The wireless Microsoft Modern Keyboard runs on two AAA alkaline rechargeable batteries. Microsoft claims a battery life of up to 2 months on full charge. The Redmond giant will be offering one-year limited warranty on the keyboard.