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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Launch of the 1st Ever Microsoft Priority Reseller Store in the World

Microsoft today ushered in the first ever Microsoft Priority Store in the post Nokia era. This is beginning of the transition to a period where Nokia brand name shall be formally be discontinued from use.

Press Note:

Starting 28 April 2015, Microsoft formally begins the transition of Nokia branded outlets to Microsoft.  To begin, the 1st ever Microsoft Priority Reseller Store in the world was opened in India at Ambience Mall - Gurgaon. This rebranded store was unveiled by Mr. Chris Weber, Corporate Vice President, Mobile Device Sales at Microsoft.
Global Transition:In total, 15,684 retail outlets and 324 care centers across the globe will get a makeover. Out of these, 3,287 of the retail outlets will get a complete makeover, with new furniture and signage to showcase products and services. The rest will be refreshed, with existing furniture being refurbished to the Microsoft branding with new signage.
Transition in India:India is the first country to roll out the new look. Beginning with the 1st launch, the transition will be made across a total of 8,872 stores and 119 Care centres. Out of the total number in India, 441 outlets will get a completely new design while the remaining stores will be refreshed with new signage by end of June 2015. The new look stores will ensure an improved shopper experience and provide consumers a better flavor of the connected devices story with clear signage and improved navigation.
Relevance for Microsoft:This retail transition not just marks the beginning of a new era for the current Nokia stores, but is also a big step for the Microsoft brand in terms of scaling up its retail footprint. The rebranded stores enable Microsoft to reach out to millions of new customers with products beyond just phones. For many customers, particularly those in emerging markets, the rebranded shops will be their first experience of Microsoft as a consumer hardware manufacturer.
With the new look, Microsoft will also introduce a new nomenclature for the retail outlets. The branded retail stores will be called 'Microsoft Priority Reseller stores', while the value and experience stores will be known as 'Microsoft Mobile Reseller stores'.
Commitment to Existing Customers:Alongside the announcement of rebranding, Microsoft will continue to honor existing Nokia device warranties and remain committed to providing world-class care and customer service. All the existing Nokia and Lumia devices will continue to be serviced through Care centers. Microsoft will keep bringing new experiences and leading edge technology to help consumers share, explore, inspire and connect with everyone and everything that’s important to them.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Aloft announces Keyless Entry into its rooms

It is a mobile office. It’s a virtual wallet. It’s a lifeline. And now, it’s a hotel room key. The smartphone just got a whole lot smarter – especially while on the road. Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), introduced SPG Keyless, the hospitality industry’s first mobile, keyless entry system allowing guests to use their smartphone as a key. Rolling out to Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, SPG Keyless made its official debut in India.





SPG Keyless is a groundbreaking turning point in the traditional hotel experience, redefining the age-old way guests arrive and check-in to their rooms. SPG Keyless – powered by the SPG app – enables guests to unlock their room with a simple tap of their smartphone. 

“SPG Keyless transforms the first interaction with our guests from one that is transactional to something more personal,” said Stephen Ho, President Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts. “This is just the beginning, because through mobile we have the opportunity to marry high tech and high touch to transform the hotel experience in many exciting ways.”  

“We are delighted to be the first Hotel company to launch Keyless Check-in in India. Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park was the natural choice given the Aloft brand’s strong focus on forward-design and tech-savvy spaces and the fact that this hotel is located within the city’s hot high tech hub”, said Dilip Puri Managing Director India and Regional Vice President South Asia.

Starwood has been rapidly rolling out SPG Keyless with plans for it to be available on 30,000 doors in 150 hotels around the globe by early 2015 across Aloft, Element and W hotels. SPG Keyless is available to SPG members who book a hotel room through one of Starwood’s channels (hotel websites, SPG.com, the SPG app or customer contact centers).

HOW IT WORKS
*      SPG Members must register their phone once through the SPG App and allow push notifications.
*      After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel and approximately 24 hours before arrival, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless.
*      Guests will receive a push notification noting that they are checked in and the SPG App will update with his/her room number and Bluetooth key when the room is ready.
*      Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.
*      After ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, holds the smartphone to the door lock, waits for the solid green light and enters the room.

SPG Keyless is an evolution of Starwood’s Smart Check-In, another industry-first that debuted at Aloft hotels in 2011, allowing guests to bypass traditional check-in and access their rooms with a RFID-equipped key card. Building upon those early learnings to develop SPG Keyless, Starwood tapped the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, to create an all-new, Bluetooth-enabled lock as well as keyless software, which are designed to securely recognize and connect with a guest’s mobile device.

In addition to the aggressive keyless rollout schedule, Starwood is simultaneously piloting innovations for the next wave of upgrades to the SPG App, which will support and enhance SPG Keyless. These upgrades aim to not only empower guests to control aspects of their stay, but equip hotel associates with the tools they need to continue Starwood’s legacy of personalization and provide meaningful, custom services away from the front desk.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Xiaomi Drops price of Mi4, hints at extended availability

Mi India offered a special price for Mi 4 during Mi Fan Festival, and it was very well received. They have now decided to make this price drop permanent. The Mi 4 16GB will now go for Rs. 17,999, and 64GB model for Rs. 21,999 (down from Rs. 19,999 and Rs. 23,999 respectively).

The Mi 4 is available on Flipkart and The Mobile Store for now, and will be available on Snapdeal and Amazon India soon.

You can buy the products on Flipkart below here.

Buy Mi4 64 GB from Flipkart.com

Buy Mi4 16 GB from Flipkart.com

Amazon giving away $105 worth apps for free in the latest giveaway

Amazon is giving away $105 worth of apps in the latest giveaway. The offer appears to be valid only today so make sure you hurry. On the list today are apps like Runtastic Pro, Wolfram Alpha and many others. A complete list has been included below. Make sure you hit the link below the list to buy these apps.

  1. A Better Camera Unlocked
  2. Adventure Time Game Wizard
  3. Amazing Alex Premium
  4. Chess and Mate – Premium
  5. CityMaps2Go Pro
  6. F18 Carrier Landing II Pro
  7. Flightradar24 Pro – Kindle Edition
  8. Fun English Course
  9. LectureNotes
  10. MeteoEarth
  11. Mobile Doc Scanner (MDScan)
  12. Pudding Monsters HD
  13. Prince of Persia Classic
  14. Osmos HD
  15. Oxford Spanish Dictionary
  16. RDP Pro Client: aRDP
  17. Runtastic PRO
  18. Songsterr Guitar Tabs & Chords
  19. Splashtop Whiteboard
  20. Table Top Racing
  21. TouchDraw
  22. Virtua Tennis Challenge
  23. Unmechanical
  24. WolframAlpha
Amazon Apps Give Away

Google Handwriting Input in 82 languages on your Android mobile device

Entering text on mobile devices is still considered inconvenient by many; touchscreen keyboards, although much improved over the years, require a lot of attention to hit the right buttons. Voice input is an option, but there are situations where it is not feasible, such as in a noisy environment or during a meeting. Using handwriting as an input method can allow for natural and intuitive input method for text entry which complements typing and speech input methods. However, until recently there have been many languages where enabling this functionality presented significant challenges. 

Today we launched Google Handwriting Input, which lets users handwrite text on their Android mobile device as an additional input method for any Android app. Google Handwriting Input supports 82 languages in 20 distinct scripts, and works with both printed and cursive writing input with or without a stylus. Beyond text input, it also provides a fun way to enter hundreds of emojis by drawing them (simply press and hold the ‘enter’ button to switch modes). Google Handwriting Input works with or without an Internet connection.
By building on large-scale language modelingrobust multi-language OCR, and incorporating large-scale neural-networks and approximate nearest neighbor search for character classification, Google Handwriting Input supports languages that can be challenging to type on a virtual keyboard. For example, keyboards for ideographic languages (such as Chinese) are often based on a particular dialect of the language, but if a user does not know that dialect, they may be hard to use. Additionally, keyboards for complex script languages (like many South Asian languages) are less standardized and may be unfamiliar. Even for languages where virtual keyboards are more widely used (like English or Spanish), some users find that handwriting is more intuitive, faster, and generally more comfortable.
Writing 'Hello' in Chinese, German, and Tamil.
Google Handwriting Input is the result of many years of research at Google. Initially, cloud based handwriting recognition supported the Translate Apps on Android and iOSMobile Search, and Google Input Tools (in Chrome,ChromeOSGmail and Docstranslate.google.com, and the Docs symbol picker). However, other products required recognizers to run directly on an Android device without an Internet connection. So we worked to make recognition models smaller and faster for use in Android handwriting input methods for Simplified and TraditionalChinese, Cantonese, and Hindi, as well as multi-language support in Gesture Search. Google Handwriting Input combines these efforts, allowing recognition both on-device and in the cloud (by tapping on the cloud icon) in any Android app.

You can install Google Handwriting Input from the Play Store here. More information and FAQs can be found here.

Cross posted from the Google Research Blog.

New Lenovo WRITEit Technology Makes Handwriting on PCs and Tablets Better

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced WRITEit, an innovative new software application that makes the handwriting experience on select pen-enabled devices better. WRITEit transforms pen writing to a truly useful and practical solution for entering input: It allows users to write nearly anywhere they can type. It works across select Lenovo Windows 8 devices with digitizer, active pen or AnyPen technology and provides real-time feedback and correction. All these advantages encourage more opportunities for users to write with a pen rather than type on a keyboard, giving them a continuous, faster and more accurate experience.

Freedom to Write Nearly Anywhere
Unlike the handwriting experience on many devices today, WRITEit lets users write their input directly into virtually any text field that accepts typed input, even if the field is in an app without native pen support. This capability takes handwriting from a limited, app-specific novelty to a truly viable means of input. WRITEit opens up a world of new writing possibilities beyond typical note-taking and drawing apps. For example, users can write search terms directly in a browser to quickly search the web instead of using the on-screen keyboard. WRITEit also works well for emails, social media, online forms and more.

WRITEit Right
WRITEit works in the background as users are writing and converts handwriting to text characters in real time. Speedy writers will love the automatic suggestion tool that offers alternatives to unrecognized words, helping to catch typos and getting text right the first time. A collection of gesture commands also makes editing easy.

Quotes
“While touch technology has fundamentally changed the way consumers use their PCs and other devices today, handwriting technology has lagged behind, until now with WRITEit,” said Mark Cohen, vicepresident, Ecosystem and Monetization Business Group, Lenovo. “Users told us they wanted a more natural, intuitive and accurate handwriting experience to make their touch device much more of a creation engine, and that’s exactly what WRITEit delivers.”

Availability1
WRITEit is available for the following pen-enabled devices: ThinkPad YOGA, ThinkPad Helix, ThinkPad 10 and YOGA Tablet 2 8-in with Windows featuring AnyPen technology. Users of these models can download WRITEit for free starting April 15 here: http://www.getwriteit.com. Lenovo will be bringing WRITEit to future products later this year.

1All offers subject to availability. Products may only be available in selected markets. Lenovo reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.

About Lenovo
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a $39 billion global Fortune 500 company and a leader in providing innovative consumer, commercial, and enterprise technology. Our portfolio of high-quality, secure products and services covers PCs (including the legendary Think and multimode YOGA brands), workstations, servers, storage, smart TVs and a family of mobile products like smartphones (including the Motorola brand), tablets and apps. Join us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@Lenovo) or visit us at www.lenovo.com.

Videocon Telecom plans to acquire over 10Mn subscribers

Videocon Telecom, the versatile, friendly and dynamic telecom brand of the Indian conglomerate Videocon group, has announced its aggressive growth plans to become a preferred National Operator. As part of its network expansion drive, the telco announced 2489 new cell sites and 231 new exclusive stores in existing circles. The telco also plans to acquire over 10Mn subscribers and deliver a consolidated Top line Revenue of 3000 Cr in FY 2015-16 including its GSM business, NLD/ILD and Punjab Wireline business. The Telco is also planning to invest Rs 300-350 Cr in current financial year. The telco aims at taking up the data contribution to 15% of Gross Revenue by end of FY2015-16.

The company has posted an impressive 53% growth in its Top line Revenue in FY 2014-15 over last financial year with a consolidated Top line Gross Revenue of 1974 Cr including its GSM business, NLD/ILD and Punjab Wireline business. Earlier last year, the telco talked about its plans for a Top line Revenue of 2000 Cr in FY2014-15 and has been able to deliver 99% of the same.

Backed by its aggressive customer acquisition strategy, Videocon Telecom achieved approx 19% share of incremental customer market share in its 4 operational circles in FY2014-15. This has helped the telco to achieve an impressive growth of 38% in its Subscriber Base and cross the 10 Mn mark subscriber base as on March 2015.

Owing to telco’s strategy to upgrade its network to 2.75 G EDGE, the telco witnessed a substantial growth in its data revenues, attaining an impressive 147% growth in data revenue that surpasses the industry growth by almost 3 times. Now, Data contributes to over 11.5% of Gross Revenue (GR) and the telco aims at taking up the data contribution to 15% of GR by end of FY2015-16.

Owing to its business focus and operational efficiencies, the telco reported EBITDA positive in its Punjab GSM operations circle in March 2015 that is one of the fastest in the telecom history.

Mr. Arvind Bali, Director and CEO, Videocon Telecom said, “Year 2014-15 has been quite eventful and fulfilling for us. Just to list some of our achievements, we achieved 99% of our targeted Gross Revenue of 2000 Cr and grew our Top line by 53% over previous financial year. Also, we have crossed 1 Cr subscriber mark in our 4 circles, and the biggie being EBITDA positive in Punjab telecom circle.

Being a new entrant, our strategy was to attain incremental Customer and Revenue market leadership in our operational circles, and we have been able to achieve the same with approx 19% incremental customer market share in our 4 circles with a dominant leadership in Punjab and Haryana during last financial year.

We aim to maintain and accelerate this growth rate further. We are targeting over 10 Mn subscriber acquisitions and a Top line Revenue of 3000 Cr in Financial year 2015-16 and EBITDA positive in MP and Haryana telecom circles.Mr. Bali added.

About Videocon Telecom

Videocon Telecom, the next-generation GSM mobile service network was launched by $10 billion Videocon Group.  The company has partnered with global technology leaders to create a robust infrastructure featuring future ready mobile technologies. Powered by the most advanced GSM-EDGE network, Videocon Telecom aims to redefine the Indian mobile telecommunications industry by leveraging a combination of the parent company’s strong brand recall and retail reach with a spirit of innovation and customer centricity. Videocon endeavours to transform the life of every Indian consumer by changing the very paradigm of the way he or she communicates.
Videocon Telecom today symbolizes the market innovations and customer offerings rooted in the demands and needs of the Indian consumer. Videocon Telecom has notched up a subscriber base of over 9.5 million subscribers within 2 years of operations, a testament to the brand’s customer focused strategy. The company has invested significantly in research and development as well as in customer service to offer consumers innovative products and a superlative experience.