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Samsung unveils 'smart almirah' that can clean, iron your clothes

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Samsung Electronics has launched an innovative 'almirah' that can clean and iron clothes. This smart almirah is known as AirDresser that uses air and steam to clean clothes hung inside it.

"This latest home laundry solution AirDresser uses powerful air and steam to remove dust and germs, refreshing and sanitizing clothes to provide easy and convenient garment care," the electronic giant said.

Jet Air and Air Hangers release powerful air that help in removing dust from clothes hung inside the AirDresser. Unlike a usual washing machine, the appliance makes minimal noise and vibration when operated under quiet mode.

JetSteam sanitises garments to get rid of bacteria, viruses.  AirDresser uses 'Deodorizing Filter' function to freshen clothes. According to the technology giant, the AirDresser removes 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria, viruses, odors and wrinkles of any cloth.

Meanwhile, its 'Self Clean' technology dehumidifies, sanitises, and deodorises the interior of the AirDresser without any use of detergents. It is only the combination of heat, air and steam that helps in cleaning the clothes. Moreover, the AirDresser features portable water containers for steam at the bottom, so it doesn't require a water supply or drainage system.

So far, Samsung has only released the pictures of AirDresser without any price details.

Microsoft introduces Math Solver app, uses AI to solve problems

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Microsoft is making solving mathematic problems a little easier. The Redmond-headquartered technology giant has introduced an AI-based Math Solver application that can be used to solve math problems on a smartphone or a tablet. Microsoft says that the app can be used to help with a wide range of mathematical concepts-from elementary arithmetic and quadratic equations to calculus and statistics.

Available for iOS and Android platform, the user can use the smartphone camera to capture an image of the mathematical problem or can even scribble the math problem on the smartphone or the tablet's display.

How does it work?

According to Microsoft, the Math Solver uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to instantly recognise the problem and deliver an accurate solution. The app can also be used as a mathematical learning aid for students as it will also provide a step-by-step explanation with additional learning materials such as worksheets and video tutorials. It also provides interactive graphs to help learners understand the correlation. On the app, users can scan and plot X-Y data tables for linear or non-linear functions. With interactive definitions and explanations, students can easily grasp and retain concepts better.

Supported problems on the Math Solver app include elementary (arithmetic, real, complex numbers, LCM, GCD, factors, roman numerals), pre-algebra (radicals and exponents, fractions, matrices, determinants), algebra (quadratic equations, system of equations, inequalities, rational expressions, linear, quadratic and exponential graphs), basic calculus (summations, limits, derivatives, integrals), statistics (mean, median, mode, standard deviation, permutations, combinations) and word problems on math concepts, number theory, probability, volume, surface area.

How to use?

Interestingly, the Math Solver application supports a wide range of inputs - draw, scan or type. A user can simply draw on the device's display with a finger or use a stylus. As the application is AI-powered, it will recognise the handwriting and show the problem instantly in text form. The second method is to capture the photo of the equation and upload the image in the application. Alternatively, there is a provision to type the problem statement, using the scientific calculator in the app.

The app has a neat user interface with the scan, draw and type option on the centre top. On the top left is the notes icon that shows the list of problems that a user can try. This includes problems across fractions, rational equation, radical equation, logarithmic equation, arithmetic, trigonometry, differentiation and more.

Which languages does it support?

Microsoft's Math Solver application supports a wide range of languages. Of the 22 languages support, it includes 12 Indian languages namely Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. Some of the international languages supported include German, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Russian.

Xiaomi spins off POCO as an independent brand

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Xiaomi on Friday announced its plan to turn its sub-brand POCO into an independent brand. Introduced in August 2018, POCO was led by Jai Mani, the product head of the POCO, who exited the company in July 2019. "There has been an important change in the company structure with POCO spinning off as a standalone brand. With this restructuring, POCO will run independently of with its own team and go to market strategy," says the press release issued by Xiaomi.

Manu Jain, Xiaomi Vice President and Xiaomi India Managing Director, says, "What started as a sub-brand in POCO has grown into its own identity in a short span of time. POCO F1 is an extremely popular phone across user groups, and remains a top contender in its category even in 2020. We feel the time is right to let POCO operate on its own now, which is why we're excited to announce that POCO will spin off as an independent brand. Join me in wishing the POCO team the best!"

The POCO F1 was a mid-budget flagship smartphone powered by the flagship Qualcomm 845 processor and featured a 12-MP primary sensor with f/1.9 aperture and the 5-MP depth sensor with f/2.0 aperture. Priced aggressively at Rs 20,990 for the 6GB variant, it gave tough competition to Asus Zenfone 5Z and OnePlus 6.

Earlier this week, Xiaomi shared its plans for a renewed focus on its Mi sub-brand along with Redmi in the Indian market. The company intends to launch products across categories including the ultra-premium smartphones and Mi Home portfolio. Until now, the focus had been on the Redmi series, which has helped the company garner popularity as well as the market share in the Indian market.

Raghu Reddy, Head of Categories, Xiaomi India explained, "Post 2017 we've not launched anything in the Mi smartphone portfolio, except the Mi A-series that has continued from 2017 to 2019. A large part of our business has been built on the Redmi portfolio whereas Mi has been conspicuously absent. We believe that the market is now significantly bigger than what it was two or three years ago for us to start treating it as big enough opportunity to go after. From the organisation's standpoint, we are a lot more stable and organised in 2020 compared to 2017. Going into 2020, we are organising ourselves the way we are organised in China, where there is a distinct focus on Redmi and Mi as sub-brands. So, with 2020, you will see us getting into the market with more of premium flagship devices in India.

According to CMR India Mobile Handset Market Review Report for the third quarter of 2019, while Xiaomi continues to be the market leader in smartphone shipments in the country, its growth declined by 2 per cent year-on-year. The Redmi 7A, Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S together contributed more than 50 per cent to its overall shipments. The company even saw positive growth for Redmi K20 series that contributed 13 per cent to its overall shipments of premium smartphones. On the other hand, the BBK Group, the parent company of OPPO, Vivo, Realme, and OnePlus, achieved a record high of 42 per cent in Q3 2019, registering a 23 per cent year-on-year growth.

IT spending to reach $3.9 trillion in 2020 globally

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total USD 3.9 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.4 per cent from the previous calendar year, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

Global IT spending is expected to cross into $ 4 trillion territory next year, the research firm said.

"Although political uncertainties pushed the global economy closer to recession, it did not occur in 2019 and is still not the most likely scenario for 2020 and beyond, said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.

"With the waning of global uncertainties, businesses are redoubling investments in IT as they anticipate revenue growth, but their spending patterns are continually shifting," he added.

Software will be the fastest-growing major market this year, reaching double-digit growth at 10.5 per cent.

"Almost all of the market segments with enterprise software are being driven by the adoption of software as a service (SaaS)," he said.

"We even expect spending on forms of software that are not cloud to continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate. SaaS is gaining more of the new spending, although licensed-based software will still be purchased and its use expanded through 2023," Lovelock added.

Growth in enterprise IT spending for cloud-based offerings will be faster than growth in traditional (non- cloud) IT offerings through 2022, Gartner said.

Organisations with a high percentage of IT spending dedicated to cloud adoption is indicative of where the next- generation, disruptive business models will emerge, it noted.

The headwind coming from a strong U.S dollar has become a deterrent to IT spending on devices and data centre equipment in effected countries.

"For example, mobile phone spending in Japan will decline this year due to local average selling prices going up as a result of the U.S dollar increasing. The U.K's spending on PCs, printers, servers and even external storage systems is expected to decline by three per cent, too," said Lovelock.

Despite last quarter showing the sharpest decline within the device market among all segments, it will return to overall growth in 2020 due to the adoption of new, less- expensive phone options from emerging countries.

"The almost USD 10 billion increase in device spending in Greater China and Emerging Asia/Pacific is more than enough to offset the expected declines in Western Europe and Latin America," said Lovelock.

Bajaj Chetak electric scooter launched, price starts at Rs 1-1.15 lakh

Homegrown two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto on Tuesday launched the electric version of its iconic Chetak scooter that had ruled the Indian two-wheeler landscape for three decades between 1972 and 2006.

With this, Bajaj also re-enters the scooter segment, a category it had ruled for much of the 70s and 80s but had then relinquished in 2006 as it shifted its focus purely to motorcycles. Priced at Rs 1 lakh for the base Urbane variant that gets drum brakes and Rs 1.15 lakh for the Premium version with disc brakes, bookings for the electric Chetak begin from Wednesday and to begin with will be available in four dealerships in Pune and 13 dealerships in Bangalore. The prices are inclusive of the subsidies applicable for electric vehicles in both the markets and exclusive of insurance and road tax. Additionally, Bajaj will also provide a home-charging station which is included in the package.

Customer can book the vehicle for Rs 2,000 in Pune and Bangalore and deliveries are expected to commence by end of February. At the heart of the new Chetak is an IP67 rated 3 Kwh Lithium-Ion battery with NCA cells. There are two driving modes on offer-Eco and Sport, with a range of 85 kilometre and 95 kilometre respectively. The battery is charged using a standard household 15 amp electrical outlet and it takes about 5 hours to charge it fully.

The company said the vehicle requires minimal maintenance with a service interval of 12,000 kilometres or one year (whichever is earlier) and comes with an overall warranty of 3 years or 50,000 kilometres (whichever is earlier) inclusive of the Lithium-Ion battery.

"The return of the legendary Chetak now in a modern electric avatar is indeed a proud moment for all of us at Bajaj Auto. From 15th Jan, 2020 onwards Chetak will be available in 2 cities and this will mark the commencement of a new era in two-wheeler mobility," said Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto. "We are confident that Chetak will set absolutely new benchmark standards of clean tech driven, elegant and a delightful ownership experience shaping the very future of personal commuting and building hamara kal."

While a number of new entrants and startups like Ather Energy, Revolt Motors. Okinawa and Twenty Two Motors have launched electric two-wheelers in the last 2 years, Bajaj is the first established mass-market two-wheeler manufacturer to foray into this segment. 

"We are engineers who do our own work. We are not a battery or a steel maker or a failed two-wheeler company. We are a company with a very rich past, a strong track record and a rich legacy. It is this credibility that gives us a solid foundation to make a foray into the future," Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj had said in October in New Delhi when the vehicle was first unveiled.

"Sometimes when it comes to creating new things there is anxiety whether it will work. In the context of EVs, the question is on whether the customer is ready, in charging infrastructure, and whether it is viable and practical. Nevertheless, our belief is if we are not the first or at worst second to the market then we will lose the market forever. It is with this attitude that we have decided to move into the future of EVs with the Chetak."

At its peak, the Chetak enjoyed unprecedented popularity with waiting periods exceeding 10 years and a resale value greater than its purchase price. In its 34 year stint, more than 1.3 crore Chetaks were sold in India. In the new avatar, the timeless design of the vehicle has been updated with features like LED headlight with DRLs, electronic switches, sequential scrolling LED blinkers and a large digital console intuitively displays vehicle information with crisp clarity.

The Indian government has been pushing the automobile industry towards electric mobility and policy to move to 100 per cent e-mobility for two-wheelers between 2023 and 2025 was also mooted earlier this year. It was, however, disbanded following intense pushback from the industry. Bajaj was at the forefront in that.

"My only disagreement (with NitiAyog) was when a policy was proposed for a very rapid conversion to 100 per cent EVs by 2023 and 2025. Thankfully that prospect seems to have faded. But after that brahmastra was sent, 50 per cent of my thinking time was occupied by EVs since June 21," Bajaj said. "If 50 per cent of my mind is on EVs today, in reality too it will be 50 per cent soon. We are constantly trying to align ourselves with the government's policies."


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