HP Launches Its First Omen X-Branded Gaming Laptop, Sports a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU

Remember HP’s cube-shaped Omen X desktop from last year? Now, the company has gone ahead and launched its first laptop with the Omen X branding. As you might expect from an Omen X branded product, the new laptop is aimed at gaming enthusiasts. Interestingly, the new Omen X laptop comes with thermals to support unlocked CPUs to allow overclocking and factory-overclocked GPUs, as per the company. The pricing for the Omen X gaming laptop starts from $2,299 (roughly Rs. 1.47 lakhs) and it will be made available for purchase from HP’s website from November.

The new Omen X laptop from HP is aimed at the e-sports athletes and comes with seventh-generation unlocked Intel Core i7 processors, XMP memory options for memory overclocking and tested profiles up to DDR4-2800, and factory-overclocked graphics cards up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, HP said in its release. The laptop will be offered with screen options up to 4K resolution with 120Hz (with G-Sync) frequency.

The new gaming laptop from HP comes with “Omen Command Center Software to custom tune and push hardware to its limits, with the ability to manage CPU and RAM overclocking,” HP said in its release. This new software also moves the gaming network traffic with a network booster for reduction of latency in online games. The Omen X laptop from HP will be made available with “RAID0 SSD” option to provide “ultra-fast boot” and improve loading time for games. There will be option for PCIe SSD+HDD storage that would allow for “quick responsiveness and massive storage capacity, or standalone 1TB 7200 rpm HDD option,” HP said.

HP Launches Its First Omen X-Branded Gaming Laptop, Sports a GeForce GTX 1080 GPUIn terms of connectivity options, the new gaming laptop offers options including three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3-certified USB 3.1 Type-C ports, an HDMI 2.0a port with HDR support, Mini DisplayPort, RJ45 and a multi-format media card reader.

The Omen X gaming laptop comes with an “integrated vapor chamber” that has four 3.5mm heat pipes to improve the heat transfer from GPU and CPU to the rear corner-mounted radiators, as per the company’s release. As you might expect from a high-end gaming laptop, it features a mechanical and RGB LED-per key backlit keyboard. The keyboard on the Omen X laptop comes with 2.5 mm travel with tactile feel and mechanical switches to provide instant feedback, the company said in its release.

“E-sports is one of the fastest growing categories in gaming and we are excited by the popularity of HP’s OMEN family of products,” said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, Consumer Personal Systems, HP Inc. “With the release of the OMEN X Laptop, HP is bringing key innovations to performance, industrial design and customizability that were once only possible on a desktop, to give gamers a competitive edge,” he said.

Netgear Arlo Pro Wireless Weatherproof Security Camera Launched in India

Netgear has launched the Netgear Arlo Pro smart camera for home security in India. Netgear calls the Arlo Pro a “wire-free, weatherproof HD camera” and claims that it has a wide 130-degree field of view. The Arlo Pro uses two rechargeable batteries and that means you can place it inside or outside your home. There’s no need to connect the camera to a power socket but in case you want to do that, the option is available. The Arlo Pro system launched in India is model VMS4230, which comes with two security cameras (with rechargeable batteries) and one base station, and it has been priced at Rs. 44,900.

An interesting feature of the Netgear Arlo Pro is two-way audio. This means that you can use this camera to talk to people standing near it, which could prompt some people to use this as a video doorbell. You can even monitor children from a different room such as the kitchen and keep talking to them while you cook.

Netgear says the Arlo Pro has instant motion alerts and a smart siren, which are targeted at alerting you about intruders. The siren is rated at over 100 decibels and could be an important deterrent for potential intruders. The camera also has night vision so it is useful both during the day and night. The camera is capable of providing HD video in complete darkness, thanks to its RGB-IR night vision technology. Netgear claims this tech illuminates the scene evenly and provides crisp details about things happening both near and far from the camera. Its passive motion sensor can detect movement up to 7 metres away from the camera and send an alert to your phone.

Netgear Arlo Pro Wireless Weatherproof Security Camera Launched in IndiaThe companion app for Netgear Arlo Pro also has some new features. It now lets you arm or disarm the camera based on your location or schedule. The app is also available on Apple TV, which can be used to view camera feeds on the big screen. Netgear says Arlo can be connected to other smart home devices through services such as IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings.

Netgear claims that the Arlo Pro will get smart motion recognition technology later this year, which will use machine learning algorithms to identify people, cars, animals, among other things. This will allow the camera to send alerts for specific objects, species, or people, Netgear says.

Arlo’s free cloud storage allows you to record and store videos for seven days for free. You can connect up to five Arlo cameras to the cloud without paying any subscription fees. Additional storage can be purchased with a fee.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Full-Frame DSLR, EOS 200D Entry-Level DSLR Cameras Launched

Canon is celebrating National Camera Day in the US, with the launch of the EOS 6D Mark II full-frame DSLR and the EOS Rebel SL2, which will be known as the EOS 200D outside the United States. The EOS 6D Mark II comes nearly five years after Canon first introduced the EOS 6D back in 2012, and the new model will go on sale in late July starting at $1,999 (roughly Rs. 1,35,900). We don’t have any India price or availability for the 6D Mark II at the moment. On the other hand, Canon India has announced that the EOS 200D is will also go on sale late July in India for Rs. 47,495 with the EF-S18-55 IS STM kit lens. It will also be available with the EF-S18-55 IS STM plus EF-S55-250 IS STM lens combo for Rs. 60,495.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is designed for enthusiast-level photographers in mind thanks to its full-frame sensor and brand new 26.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. Other features include a 45-point, cross-type autofocus system with Dual Pixel autofocus for live mode. The camera also uses the new DIGIC 7 image processor and boasts of an ISO 100-40000 range. It has a articulated, 3-inch touchscreen panel, continuous shooting of up to 6.5fps, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and is dust and water resistant. Sadly, video recording still maxes out only at 1080p at 60fps, as there’s no 4K support.

canon 6d markII thumb canonThe Canon EOS 200D

On the other hand, the Canon EOS 200D is an entry-level DSLR designed for beginners in mind but doesn’t skimp much on the features. It boasts of a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel autofocus, DIGIC 7 image processor, 9-point autofocus system, full-HD video recording and built-in wireless connectivity features. The big appeal of the 200D is the small and lightweight body, which should help ease smartphone photographers stepping into the world of DSLRs.

Commenting on the launch, Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A said, “In an industry where choices are abundant, providing consumers with the photographic tools that match their developing skill levels as they continue to embrace their passion for photography is a long-standing goal of Canon and stands at the core of our research and development. The new EOS 6D Mark II and EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR cameras are the result of Canon’s dedication to providing a wide range of camera choices for photographers of all skill levels, whether it’s someone taking their first picture or video with a DSLR camera or those looking to make the jump to a Full-Frame sensor camera.”

Hydrogen One Is Camera Maker Red’s First Smartphone

Camera maker Red is making its foray into the smartphone space. On Wednesday, the company announced a phone called the Hydrogen One, which, the company claims, will be “the world’s first holographic media machine.”

In a jargon-laden blog post, the company boasts of the Red Hydrogen’s display, camera capabilities, sound system, and support for modularity, a familiar feature that several companies including Motorola and LG have explored in recent years. At least one module will focus on higher quality motion.

The Red Hydrogen One smartphone features a “retina-riveting” display, which supposedly springs between “3D” and 2D modes depending on the content. One would be able to enjoy such content with wearing glasses, the company claims. About that, Red has also announced a channel where it will offer “4-view holographic” content.

Hydrogen One Is Camera Maker Red's First SmartphoneThe Red Hydrogen One will work with Red’s professional camera program (it’s unclear if one would actually be able to plug their Red DSLR cameras), and offer familiar user interface and monitor. Much like several recent flagship phones, the Red Hydrogen One will also comes equipped with a USB-C port, but interestingly also has a microSD card should you need more storage. A 3.5mm headphone jack will also be present.

The Red Hydrogen runs Android with several proprietary features such as “H3O algorithm that converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio.” We will have to wait to find out what exactly that means but the company says that the sound experience would be as good as plugging 5.1 audio out headphones.

Which brings us to the least exciting parts about the Red Hydrogen One. The phone comes in two variants: Aluminium, which will retail at $1,195 (roughly Rs. 77,350); and Titanium, which will retail at $1,595 (roughly Rs. 103,250). No word on the phone’s India availability, though readers in the US can expect it to arrive in Q1 2018. Pre-orders for the phone begin today.

Prisma Launches Website to Share Its Deep Learning Tech With Other Companies

Prisma was all the craze in 2016. And you’ll still find the odd artistic Prisma-generated photo on Instagram and Facebook. But the startup behind the AI-based app wants to continue to stay relevant amidst competition from the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, and it hopes to do so by moving into the B2B space. The company believes that its technology can be used by for a range of purposes and is planning to sell its tools to third-party developers.

In order to promote its new service, the company launched a website – prismalabs.ai – that provides APIs and SDKs to developers to incorporate its deep learning models in their apps. In a statement to The Verge, Prisma CEO and co-founder Alexey Moiseenkov says, “We see big opportunities in deep learning and communication.”

“We feel that a lot of companies need expertise in this area. Even Google is buying companies for computer vision. We can help companies put machine vision in their app because we understand how to implement the technology,” Moiseenkov says. The company plans to offer machine vision tools like segmentation, face mapping, object recognition, among others to developers.

Prisma Launches Website to Share Its Deep Learning Tech With Other CompaniesThis shift in focus towards B2B, however, does not mean that the company will stop support for the Prisma app. Moiseenkov assures that support for the app, which currently sees between 5 million and 10 million monthly active users, will continue. Back in April, Prisma Labs rolled out an in-app filter storeto the app that allows users to search for both free and paid filters.

Companies like Facebook have been working on implementing various filtering tools to their in-app cameras, leading many to believe that a startup like Prisma could be eventually bought, much like the acquisition of popular face-swapping app MSQRD last year. In a pretty vague email reply to The Verge, co-founder Aram Airapetyan says, “We want to go on doing what we do and what we can do best. The whole team is super motivated and passionately committed to what we do! So the rest doesn’t matter (where, when, with whom).”

Uber Hikes Hong Kong Fees Amid Legal Troubles

Uber Technologies Inc on Monday hiked its Hong Kong fees by up to 80 percent after a review of its business there, the embattled ridesharing company said, adding it was not having issues financing its operations in the Asian financial hub.

The San Francisco-based technology company, which recently suspended its services in the neighbouring Chinese city of Macau for the second time, told Reuters the price rise would benefit drivers as they pocketed most of the fares.

Starting on Monday fees for UberX and UberASSIST rides would rise by up to 80 percent to start at HKD 45 ($5.75), and a ride with the pricier UberBLACK would start at HKD 65 instead of HKD 50. The company said in a statement the adjustments were “based on an evaluation of the marketplace in Hong Kong.”

Uber Hikes Hong Kong Fees Amid Legal TroublesHong Kong authorities have clamped down on Uber’s operations multiple times, with the latest crackdown in May when police arrested 21 drivers for illegal car-hiring.

A Hong Kong court found five Uber drivers guilty of the same crime in March and fined them HKD 10,000 each. Uber has said it would help the drivers to appeal and criticised authorities for failing to keep up with innovation.

“We are committed to continue our investment here in Hong Kong,” the company said in its statement.

Hong Kong is not the only Asian city where the company has run into regulatory problems, as it also faces legal scrutiny in Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

WhatsApp Says It’s ‘Excited’ About Digital Projects in India

Day after the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on WhatsApp was spotted in the Google Play Beta Programme, a top WhatsApp executive says the mobile messaging app is excited about the government’s digitisation drive and the future projects in the country.

Without delving into the details about when the instant money transfer gateway would finally be introduced in India which has over 200 million WhatsApp monthly active users (MAUs), Alan Kao, Software Engineer at Facebook-owned platform, told IANS: “We are very excited about the digitisation of India and the projects in the future.”

Launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), UPI facilitates the instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on the mobile platform.

WhatsApp has been in the news for working towards a UPI-based interface in its platform. According to media reports, the leading messaging platform is already in talks with the NPCI and a few banks to facilitate financial transactions via UPI.

Some mobile messaging platforms like WeChat and Hike Messenger already support UPI-based payment services.

According to the blog website WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is giving shape to its plans towards bank-to-bank transfer using the UPI system.

When asked about how safe is end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp, Kao said the messaging app is secure and encryption is by “default” for all its over one billion users globally.

The company stressed it has been constantly working to maintain the privacy and security of its users.

“We take down third-party apps that claim to be applications somehow linked to WhatsApp. We take them down because it compromises the security of the user,” the executive said during a media interaction in New Delhi.

The company also recommended users not to install or use applications that can compromise security.

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption was implemented with help from Open Whisper Systems which is the maker of secure messaging application Signal.

WhatsApp Says It's 'Excited' About Digital Projects in India“We have worked with Open Whisper System’s Signal protocol for almost two years to bring end-to-end encryption,” Kao noted.

Giving details on how the end-to-end encryption works, Kao said: “Once the message is sent, while it is still in transit, nobody can read that message.”

The company, however, said that it is important for users to install only trusted applications because the keyboard application (in this specific case) can collect information if it does not come from a trusted source.

WhatsApp released end-to-end encryption for messages in 2016 and later expanded it to voice as well as video calling features.

“This is the largest-ever deployment of end-to-end encryption in history and this has been a big step up for free speech,” Kao added.

Snapchat Gets a Daily News Show, Courtesy CNN

CNN on Monday began streaming The Update, a daily show on Snapchat featuring at least five news stories each episode from reporters and bureaus around the world, to attract younger viewers.

CNN, NBC and other networks are creating more digital content to reach millennials, who increasingly get their news from social media.

CNN had 42 million unique visitors between 18 and 34 across desktops and mobile phones in July. That already makes it the top digital news source among millennials, ahead of BuzzFeed and New York Times Digital , according to comScore data.

The Update will stream daily at 6pm ET and have both existing footage from the field and video shot exclusively for Snapchat.

Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc have fallen 44 percent from their closing price on March 2, their first day of trading. Some investors have questioned the company’s ability to vie for users and advertising dollars with rivals like Facebook’s Instagram, which has similar features.

Snapchat Gets a Daily News Show, Courtesy CNNCNN was an original content partner for Discover, a Snapchat feature that was introduced in January 2015 and lets users watch stories from publishers.

The Update is CNN’s first show on Snapchat. It follows NBC’s Stay Tuned news program, which has drawn more than 29 million unique total viewers since its launch last month, Snap confirmed. Axios first reported the viewership numbers.

More than 60 percent of the Stay Tuned audience is under 25, and more than 40 percent watched the show at least three days a week, showing potential for publishers to reach a key younger audience on Snapchat.

CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner, whose planned sale to AT&T is under regulatory review.

Hotstar Now Offering Annual Plan at Rs. 1,200, 9 Months at Rs. 999

Hotstar is offering an annual membership plan at Rs. 1,200 for a limited time to new subscribers, a staggering 50 percent off, given it costs Rs. 199 per month. That’s one of two “special offers” the Star India-owned streaming service is currently running, alongside a 9-month Rs. 999 offer, which saves you about 44 percent. The new plans are available via Hotstar.com.

Both these offers are only applicable if you pay with a debit card. The Rs. 999 offer is only available till September 12, as it’s targeted towards viewers of Premier League, and Bundesliga, what with the 2017-18 football season gearing up.

We’ve reached out to Hotstar India for comment on whether there’s an expiry date on the annual Rs. 1,200 plan as well, the reason behind the debit card limitation, and whether existing subscribers can avail these plans without having to cancel their on-going subscription.

hotstar special offers Hotstar

Until now, the best way to get a Hotstar subscription used to be via iTunes billing, as Apple’s restrictions meant it cost Rs. 190 per month. If you’d been holding out on Hotstar owing to price, there won’t be a better time to opt in.

The cheapest of the lot is still Amazon Prime Video, which costs Rs. 499 for the full year. Netflix is the most expensive, with plans starting at Rs. 500 per month (for SD). But the pricing is also reflective of the catalogue size.

Hotstar is somewhere in the middle, but it’s the only one to dabble in both entertainment and live sports. On the former, it has deals with Fox, HBO, Disney, and Showtime among others. With the latter, you get the IPL and ICC World Cup in cricket, the aforementioned leagues in football, Wimbledon and Roland Garros in tennis, F1, and more.

Snapchat Set to Overtake Facebook This Year in the US: eMarketer

Photo-sharing app Snapchat is expected to overtake Facebook for the first time in the US, as the user growth of Facebook will slow among teens and adults, market research firm eMarketer has said.

Snapchat is forecast to overtake both Instagram and Facebook in terms of total users aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 for the first time in 2017, that will shoot up Snapchat’s share of US social network users to 40.8 percent.

The decline in user growth will also impact Facebook’s ad revenues as the company tries to make the platform an attractive destination for the advertisers by boasting about its young users.

Facebook reported nearly $9.2 billion in ad revenue in the second quarter of 2017, a rise of 47 percent from the same period last year.

“We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate-that is, using visual content.

Snapchat Set to Overtake Facebook This Year in the US: eMarketer“Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged-logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform,” said Oscar Orozco, a senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.

According to the market research firm, Facebook’s loss of monthly users between the ages of 12 and 17 will accelerate to 3.4 percent this year compared to a 1.2 percent drop in 2016.

eMarketer also predicted that Facebook-owned Instagram is expected to post growth of 23.8 percent this year. Its monthly users under 12 years age are also expected to increase 19 percent, and those in the age group of 12-to-17 to 8.8 percent.