Moto G5 Plus India Launch, Airtel Free Roaming, Paytm’s 200 Million Users, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moto G5 Plus to be launched in India on March 15
  • Airtel ends roaming charges on incoming and outgoing calls
  • Paytm user base hits 200 million, new Paytm Mall app launched

Just a day after the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus global launch, Lenovo has sent out invites announcing the India launch date of the latter. The invite says that the Moto G5 Plus will be launched in India on March 15, but there was no mention of the Moto G5 for the domestic market. At the MWC 2017 event, Moto G5 Plus price for the 2GB RAM + 32GB variant was announced as $229 (roughly Rs. 15,300), whereas the 3GB RAM + 32GB model has been priced at $279 (approximately Rs. 19,700). Price of the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model has not been announced so far.

Moto G5 Plus India Launch, Airtel Free Roaming, Paytm’s 200 Million Users, and More: Your 360 Daily

The new Moto G5 Plus has a 5.2-inch full-HD screen, 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset, microSD card expansion up to 128GB, 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, 5-megapixel front camera, 3000mAh battery with TurboPower fast charging technology. On the software side, the Moto G5 Plus runs the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and supports Google Assistant AI-based digital assistant, along with features such as Moto Display, Moto Actions, Twist, and a new One Button Nav that allows users to navigate the interface using the fingerprint sensor.

But this is not the only launch to get excited about, as MWC 2017 saw a number of smartphones and other devices being announced. Let’s take a look at those, and more, in 360 Daily. For other MWC stories including all the announcements from Nokia, LG, Moto, Samsung, and others, check out our MWC hub.

Oppo unveils 5x Dual Camera Zoom system
At the ongoing MWC 2017, Oppo unveiled its new 5x Dual Camera Zoom system, which features a periscope-style setup that is claimed to kill the need of the camera bump on the back because of its 5.7mm thickness. The 5x Dual Camera Zoom system packs more than 50 parts which have been stacked in a 5.7mm module. Oppo’s new camera zoom system diverts light through a prism into a stabilised telephoto lens set at a 90-degree angle. The new imaging system will make its way to Oppo smartphones later this year.

Airtel announces ‘war on roaming’ with free incoming calls in all circles
Airtel has repealed roaming charges for users for incoming calls outside their home circle, terming this a “war on roaming.” India’s biggest telecom operator also said that it will stop premium charges on outgoing calls while roaming. For international roaming starting April 1 2017, the company will offer customers protection from bill shocks. Call charges have been reduced by up to 90 percent to as low as Rs. 3 per minute on international roaming, while data charges by up to 99 percent to Rs. 3 per MB in popular roaming destinations, Airtel said on Monday.

Paytm Mall app launched for standalone e-commerce services
Paytm has spun off the e-commerce part of its app into a standalone app named Paytm Mall, while the wallet business remains in the main app. The Paytm Mall app features the expected categories, such as electronics, fashion, furnishings, and so on. Cashback offers that were provided on the Paytm app e-commerce transactions till now are offered on the Paytm Mall app. The company also announced today that its user base has crossed the 200 million mark.

 

Lenovo Tab 4 series Android tablets launched
While Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book were the tablets of note at MWC 2017, Lenovo launched its new Tab 4 series models at the event. The four Lenovo tablets, named Tab 4 8, Tab 4 10, Tab 4 8 Plus, and Tab 4 10 Plus, run Android 7.0 Nougat and offer battery life of up to 12 hours, the company said. The four models are being targeted at both kids and adults, and come with multi-user mode.

The Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Tab 4 10 sport 8-inch and 10.1-inch displays, respectively; both feature HD screens, Snapdragon 425 SoC, 2GB of RAM, and come in 16GB and 32GB storage options. The respective Plus models feature the same screen size but come with Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM.

Samsung Gear VR 2017 edition launched, comes with touch controller
The Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset received an update at MWC 2017, and it will now come with a VR controller which, Samsung says, makes it easier for the user to interact with VR apps and games. With the controller, users will be able to “point, drag and drop, tilt, shoot, among other actions, while the Trigger allows for enhanced gaming experiences.” The new Gear VR headset has 42mm lenses with 101-degree FOV (Field of View) and “advanced distortion correction technology” to minimise users’ motion sickness.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the first phone with Snapdragon 835 processor, launched
Sony surprised one and all with the launch of its Xperia XZ Premium smartphone, the first model with the new Snapdragon 835 chipset. However, while Sony beat Samsung – which has dibs on the new Qualcomm SoC – in announcing the first such smartphone, the new Xperia XZ Premium will not be available for purchase till Spring this year. The new Sony Xperia XZ Premium has a 5.5-inch 4K display, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, up to 256GB microSD card support, 19-megapixel rear camera with the new Motion Eye camera system, 13-megapixel front camera, Android 7.0 Nougat software, and a 3230mAh battery.

This was, however, not the only Sony launch at MWC 2017, as the company also unveiled the Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1 Ultra, and Xperia XA1 smartphones. Along with these, the company also launched the Xperia Touch interactive Android projector that can turn any surface into a touchscreen panel; it will be launched in April.

Gionee A1, A1 Plus selfie phones with big batteries launched
While for most brands selfie phones and big battery phones are two distinct niches, Gionee has gone ahead and combined the two with the new Android Nougat-based Gionee A1 and Gionee A1 Plus smartphones. Launched at MWC 2017, the new Gionee A1 has a 16-megapixel front camera and 40101mAh battery, while the Gionee A1 Plus comes with a 20-megapixel sensor in front and packs a 4550mAh battery.

Gionee A1 has a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, microSD support, 13-megapixel rear camera, and fingerprint sensor on the back. The Gionee A1 Plus has a bigger 6-inch full-HD screen, MediaTek Helio P25 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB inbuilt storage, microSD expansion, and dual 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras on the back.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360

Twitter Users Experiencing Issues in Several Parts of the World

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Issues are being faced in several parts of the world
  • The service is not let users post tweets
  • Issues are affecting websites and apps alike

Twitter appears to be down. Several users, including Gadgets 360 staff, are facing issues posting tweets on the social network. The issue is affecting the Web interface, mobile website, TweetDeck, as well as the Android and iOS apps. Third party apps like TweetBot also appear to be affected.

When trying to post a tweet on the website or apps, Twitter users are greeted with various messages, ranging from “Internet server error” to “Sorry! We did something wrong” and “Tweet not sent. We’re sorry, we weren’t able to send your Tweet. Would you like to retry or save this Tweet in drafts?”

Those trying various tabs of the Web interface also report being greeted by an error message, as seen above – “Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing—we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Twitter Users Experiencing Issues in Several Parts of the World

Crowdsourcing-based downtime tracking website Down Detector reports a major spike in reported problems at around 10:30am IST, and its live outage map at the time of writing this article showed error reports from several parts of the world, including the US, India, Europe, and Japan.

70 percent of the issues being reported are being faced by Twitter website users, while 21 percent are report issues via the Android app, and 8 percent are reporting issues via the iPad app, Down Detector indicates.

The micro-blogging service going down follows recent outages by Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The wide use of these services ensures that when they go down, there is much outrage and frustration voiced by users. Are you facing issues with Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Vine Users' Phone Numbers, Email Addresses Were Briefly Exposed, Twitter Reveals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Twitter made its Vine Archive live earlier this year
  • Twitter turned Vine into a pared-down camera app earlier this year
  • Twitter has already informed affected users about the bug

If you might remember, Twitter converted Vine into a dedicated camera app earlier this year. Shortly after, the company made Vine Archive live to help users see all Vines available on the site since 2013. While this was a noble idea in theory, it turns out that a bug that affected the Vine Archive potentially exposed the phone numbers and email addresses associated with Vine accounts to third-parties in certain conditions.

Vine Users' Phone Numbers, Email Addresses Were Briefly Exposed, Twitter Reveals

Twitter has clarified that the bug in question affected the Vine Archive for less than 24 hours and has since been fixed. The social media company says that it has already notified all affected account holders for whom it had a verified email address on file, so if you weren’t notified, you most likely weren’t affected.

“While we have no information indicating that any user information impacted by this incident has been misused, it’s always a good idea to be cautious of emails or text messages received from unknown senders,” the company said.

 

To recall, Twitter announced in October last year that it would be discontinuing it video-sharing mobile app Vine as a cost-cutting measure. There were reports that the company was considering a sale of the service instead of discontinuation but Twitter went ahead to convert the app into Vine Camera on January 17.

In the Vine Archive, users can search for the Vines either by the year that they were uploaded or by their category. The categories mentioned on the site include Animals, Art, Comedy, Edits, Music & Dance, Sports, and Weird. Users can also choose to browse the Vines through categories Editor’s Picks, and Playlists such as “Do It For The Vine”, “Bruh”, and others. Users can also search for their favourite Vines by searching the name of their creator’s user name in the community section.

 

Facebook Launches Features to Connect US Users to Elected Officials

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New features intended to boost civic engagement among users in the US
  • New offerings come as Facebook tries to rehabilitate its image
  • Constituent Badges, Constituent Insights, District Targeting announced

Facebook announced a set of three new features on Wednesday intended to boost civic engagement among users in the United States on its platform by connecting them more easily with their elected representatives.

The new offerings come as the social media juggernaut has sought to rehabilitate its image as a credible source of information following a wave of criticism after last November’s presidential election that the company did too little to combat misleading or wholly fabricated political news stories during the campaign.

Facebook Launches Features to Connect US Users to Elected Officials

 

Among the features, Facebook will now allow users to turn on “Constituent Badges” to identify them as living in their elected officials’ district. The opt-in badge will be visible when a user comments on content shared by their federal, state and local representatives.

“District Targeting” creates a new preset audience selection that lets politicians’ pages target posts to people likely to be their constituents.

Facebook has continued to come under attack from prominent Democrats and some technology experts despite a raft of changes it has made in recent months that seek to help users consume more legitimate political news.

Hillary Clinton, who ran for president as a Democrat last year but lost to President Donald Trump, a Republican, said last week that Facebook was flooded with false information about her during the campaign and that people were understandably misled. She said she wanted Facebook to curate its network more aggressively.

 

Twitter Users, Blocked by Trump, Cry Censorship

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lawyers for two Twitter users sent the White House a letter Tuesday
  • They demanded to be unblocked from Donald Trump’s Twitter account
  • Some Twitter users say Trump is violating the First Amendment

President Donald Trump may be the nation’s tweeter-in-chief, but some Twitter users say he’s violating the First Amendment by blocking people from his feed after they posted scornful comments.

Lawyers for two Twitter users sent the White House a letter Tuesday demanding they be un-blocked from the Republican president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

Twitter Users, Blocked by Trump, Cry Censorship

“The viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional,” wrote attorneys at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tweeters – one a liberal activist, the other a cyclist who says he’s a registered Republican – have posted and retweeted plenty of complaints and jokes about Trump.

They say they found themselves blocked after replying to a couple of his recent tweets. The activist, Holly O’Reilly, posted a video of Pope Francis casting a sidelong look at Trump and suggested this was “how the whole world sees you.” The cyclist, Joe Papp, responded to the president’s weekly address by asking why he hadn’t attended a rally by supporters and adding, with a hashtag, “fakeleader.”

Blocking people on Twitter means they can’t easily see or reply to the blocker’s tweets.

Although Trump started @realDonaldTrump as a private citizen and Twitter isn’t government-run, the Knight institute lawyers argue that he’s made it a government-designated public forum by using it to discuss policies and engage with citizens. Indeed, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump’s tweets are “considered official statements by the president.”

The institute’s executive director, Jameel Jaffer, compares Trump’s Twitter account to a politician renting a privately-owned hall and inviting the public to a meeting.

“The crucial question is whether a government official has opened up some space, whether public or private, for expressive activity, and there’s no question that Trump has done that here,” Jaffer said. “The consequence of that is that he can’t exclude people based solely on his disagreement with them.”

The users weren’t told why they were blocked. Their lawyers maintain that the connection between their criticisms and the cutoff was plain.

Still, there’s scant law on free speech and social media blocking, legal scholars note.

“This is an emerging issue,” says Helen Norton, a University of Colorado Law School professor who specialises in First Amendment law.

Morgan Weiland, an affiliate scholar with Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, says the blocked tweeters’ complaint could air key questions if it ends up in court. Does the public forum concept apply in privately run social media? Does it matter if an account is a politician’s personal account, not an official one?

San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. declined to comment. The tweeters aren’t raising complaints about the company.