Samsung acquires permit to test self-driving cars in CA

Four months after i-Phone maker and rival Apple Inc. secured permit to test self-driving cars, Samsung electronics joined the league in California on Thursday. The Samsung group sought permission from the South Korean authorities to test self-driving cars that have the company’s manufactured sensors and software systems.

The South Korean officials have confirmed that the car is being developed using a self-driving algorithm that enables it to safely drive in even adverse weather conditions. The website of California Department of Motor vehicle displayed Samsung’s name in the list along with a dozen other companies with similar permit.

The company which is mainly into manufacturing of electronic equipment such as Television, washing machines and cell-phones told Reuters that the procurement of the permit for this is to facilitate ‘smarter and safer’ transportation.

Samsung’s foray into the United States’ self-driving car market will be a huge step after the company’s  $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries. Other rivals in the market include Waymo, a division of Google parent Alphabet Inc besides Apple Inc.

In the early 1990s, Samsung had tried its hand in the automobile business but huge losses incurred due to Asian financial crisis forced the company to hand over its business to Renault.

SOURCES: REUTERS, LIVE MINT

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Apple steps up the Watch game   

Originally positioned as a luxury brand, Apple Inc. has recently focused more on fitness, and is planning to make its best seller a smarter watch. The company plans to release a version of its smartwatch towards the end of this year, which connects directly to cellular networks. This is to reduce the device’s reliability on its own products, untethering to new range of functionality.

Apple watches currently need wireless connectivity, but this will change. The latest watches come with LTE chips, which are planned for release by the end of this year. The technology jumbo is currently in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe to offer cellular networks. But in the wearables market, Apple stands third preceded by Xiaomi and Fitbit. Apple clearly has big plans for Watch both in the health segment and as a gateway to the connected home,” said Carolina Milanesi, consumer tech analyst at Creative Strategies.

According to Bloomberg‘s report, the new Watch gets its modem by Intel Corp. after legal troubles with Qualcomm Inc. This is a big win for Intel, which has been trying to get its components into more Apple gadgets for many years.

Apart from adding a cellular chip, Apple is also looking at software changes – more of Siri enabled features with payment options in iMessage and much more in WatchOS 4.

Sources: Bloomberg, BBC

Super Mario Run loses its position as highest grossing app in Many countries

The buzz created by Nintendo Co.’s debut mobile game, Super Mario Run, seems to be gradually subsiding.

According to latest data released by the researcher App Annie, Super Mario Run which was launched on December 15 for Apple Inc. devices, was no longer the highest grossing iOS app in any country as of December 24.

It was only a week back that the app claimed the title as the most profitable app in 49 nations. When it comes to free downloads, it is still the most downloaded app across 88 nations dropping from 138 in December 17.

The drop in rankings indicate the fact that Nintendo’s idea to charge for the game after a point has not worked well for them. Mario can be downloaded for free but users have to pay $10 to progress after the first three levels.

This is a problem since mobile games usually are not chargeable and players purchase items from the game itself to speed up progress. The latter is more preferred and users have criticised the lack of free content in Super Mario.

Nintendo shares rose to 4.8% on Monday because of the fact that company investors gave a cold shoulder to the negative reviews. But because of the game’s shaky start, the company’s shares slipped 20% from December 12 through last week.

Sources : Bloomberg, Livemint

Samsung Supposedly in Talks with LG over New Batteries

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is allegedly in talks with LG Chem Ltd to make LG one of its smartphone battery suppliers. Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Monday reported –“a move that would diversify its supplier base after the failure of its Galaxy Note 7”.

Currently, Samsung Electronics, the world’s top smart phone maker solicites Note batteries from China’s Amperex Technology and a group firm Samsung SDI.

An industry official was quoted in Chosun Ilbo saying that more than a 90 percent chance was there of a deal being struck and added that Samsung Electronics would likely begin using LG Chem batteries in their final products from the third quarter of next year.

Officially LG Chem spokesman was not ready to comment, while the Samsung Electronic spokeswoman did not give an immediate comment on the same.

Not long ago, in early September this year, Samsung Electronics declared a recall of 2.5 million fire- prone Note 7s, due to a defect in the Samsung SDI battery. Later, in October the production of $882 device was shut down as the battery in replacement phones developed by China’s Amperex Technology also started catching fire.

At the moment LG Chem only makes phone batteries for US based company Apple Inc and its affiliate LG Electronics.

Source : NDTV, Business Insider

Apple, Netflix, Amazon to pay ‘Google Tax’ in India

Global entities like Apple, Netflix and Amazon are under the radar of the Ministry of Finance in India. The Government of India is the first in the global scenario to impose a tax on digital transactions by introducing the equalization levy, also known as the ‘Google Tax’.

A source reveals, “The gamut of equalization levy could now cover cloud computing and entertainment services provided to Indians by multinationals. The change in law could come in the upcoming Budget,” as reported in the Economic times.

If this levy is imposed on other companies providing similar services, they are bound to shift the tax burden to their customers. Customers will be paying 6-8% more for these services, which were otherwise available freely or for a minimal cost.

Industry pundits say that cloud computing and other such online entertainment and retail services may feel the heat of this move as soon as it’s applicable.

If the budget incorporates these changes and takes places on February 1st as scheduled, these taxes will be applicable from the financial year starting 1st April 2017.

So far, the equalization tax was only applicable to companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, of which only LinkedIn passes on its tax burden to its customers.

Apart from this, the next year would also require companies to provide a detailed report of their revenue, turnover, employee base and taxes as required by the OECD guidelines, mainly to restrain tax evasions.

 

SOURCE: THE ECONOMIC TIMES, THE QUINT

IMAGE SOURCE: Representation image sourced from Mirror.co.uk

Samsung Electronics recall Galaxy Note 7 handsets after reports of explosion

On Friday, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd summoned a recall of all Galaxy note 7 handsets, this decision comes after reports of the phone exploding in the US and South Korea while charging.

The South Korean company’s decision to halt the sale of Galaxy 7 in 10 markets worldwide come as a blow to the company’s profits.

Reportedly, customers already in possession of the phone would be able to exchange it for a new handset.

Apparently, the company confessed that it had been difficult to reckon which phones were defected among the 2.5 million phones sold.

“It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety”, Koh Dong-jin said as reported by Reuters.

While recalls in the industry are a common occurrence, including smartphone giants and rival Apple Inc, the magnitude of the problem for Samsung is a major blow to its reputation, analysts said.

On the other hand, the firm revealed that it would take about 2 weeks to control the predicament and arrange for replacement devices.

Though Samsung seems to be already on its path to recover, the unprecedented recall comes just one week ahead of the launch of its rival Apple Inc’s latest IPhone 7 launch.

Source: Reuters BBC

Apple unveils iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S for a wider market

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On Tuesday, Apple Inc  unveiled  an iPhone with a fingerprint scanner which is a stand-out in the  crowded field of similar smartphones plus that it is a cheaper plastic model for emerging markets that proved pricier than expected. The “iPhone 5C” comes in five colours – blue, green, pink, yellow and white – and starts in the United States at $99 with a contract or $549 without. But an unlocked 5C will go for a dearer price of 4,488 yuan and above in China, more than the average urban resident earns in a month and a price that may disappoint those hoping for a more aggressive competition on the world’s largest cellular market. Apple has been losing ground to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd  and  go up in  market share.

The pricier “5S” begins at $199 with a contract and also comes in three colors – gray, silver and gold. It sports a faster processor, a camera that takes bursts of photos and chooses the best, and the fingerprint-scanner that unlocks the phone with a touch. It also includes a separate chip, called the “M7 Motion co-processor”, which can track motion data continuously without heavily draining the battery.

For new iPhones, in detail: click here and follow this story by clicking here.

(With inputs from Anupa Barik)