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Google Play delays 30% cut in India to 2022



Google will be delaying the implementation of its mandatory 30% cut on the Play Store in India to March 2022.

The policy will still go ahead as planned in other territories, but Purnima Kochikar, director of business development of games and applications at Google Play, said the tech giant was setting up “listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply.”

Google announced last week that, from September 2021, all apps selling digital goods through the Play Store will be required to go through Google’s own payment system. But Indian startups formed an alliance to push back against the announcement, TechCrunch reported.

“We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies,” Kochikar continued. “And we’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system we set a timeline of 31st March 2022.”

She added: “We have always said developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps, and that stores should compete for consumers’ and developers’ business.”

The coalition protesting the policy comprised 150 startups and companies, expressing concerns over Google’s monopoly in India and considering the launch of an alternative store in the country. 50 Indian executives relayed these concerns to India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology over the weekend, TechCrunch noted.

Google’s Android represents 99% of the Indian mobile market, with Apple having just launched its online store in the country.

In the past few months, India has added a number of games to its list of apps blocked apparently over their ties to Chinese companies. Tencent’s PUBG Mobile was one of them, leading to PUBG Corp withdrawing Tencent’s licence to publish the game in India with plans to self-publish instead.

Last week, a senior Indian government official told Reuters there were no plans to revoke the ban.

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Canada's C-Suite flocks to emerging audio app Clubhouse, but long-term appeal unclear – BNN



TORONTO – When earnings season rolls around, Duncan Fulton spends days preparing for calls with media, analysts and investors, but hardly ever gets a chance to deliver his messages directly to the people who frequent his Tim Hortons coffee shops or Popeyes drive-thrus.

That changed in February when the chief corporate officer of Restaurant Brands International joined chief executive Jose Cil on Clubhouse – an emerging audio platform that gives anyone with an iPhone and an app the ability to host and access discussions on every topic imaginable.

“It’s like reimagined talk radio with calls, but we are the producer,” said Fulton, who hosted an “open kitchen” talk the day after RBI released its latest quarterly earnings.

“Our guests don’t care about our adjusted EBITDA. They care about real stuff, about our food, our brands, and so we said, ‘Why don’t we use Clubhouse?”’

Fulton and Cil are the latest Canadian executives to turn to the app started by San Francisco serial entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth last spring as a new way to host public conversations.

As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe and lockdowns kept millions of people at home, executives from top venture capital and tech firms began to jockey for access to the invite-only audio platform.

By the start of 2021, hundreds of business leaders and other Canadians had joined Clubhouse, which has offered increasing numbers of invites since late last year.

Members have been able to hear SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discuss whether he believes in aliens, Shopify executives Tobi Lutke and Harley Finkelstein wax poetic about entrepreneurship and Wattpad founder Allen Lau talk about his recent decision to sell the company.

“It’s really democratizing corporate Canada and corporate America in a way,” says Fulton, “because normally consumers wouldn’t get this access to senior business leaders.”

He pitched a Clubhouse talk to Cil after being introduced to the platform by Ottawa restaurateur Stephen Beckta, who got his invite from Finkelstein.

After dipping into music conversations, Fulton found he liked the exploratory nature of the platform and that moderators have control over who can speak and when.

“If you’re a business leader that wants the safety of not taking questions, you can still go on there, share your views, and there’s lots of people that are happy to not participate, not ask questions and just listen,” he said.

Richard Lachman, a digital media professor at Ryerson University, agreed the platform can be helpful for executives wanting to manage their image, but said users will quickly drop out of conversations if a speaker is boring them or recognize when someone is too scripted.

Though executives go through media training, he said a few “embarrassments” will likely arise on the app if people don’t know how to respond to “aggressive” questions or can’t kick someone out of a discussion fast enough.

While the app doesn’t overtly market itself as private, its invite-only nature has built a casual atmosphere, even as its userbase grows.

Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment, but has a “rule” banning transcribing, recording or sharing personal information heard on the app. The company recently removed a bot it found sneaking into discussions to restream them to people without the app.

Still, a quick search on social media reveals dozens of recordings and quotes from the app available online.

Prominent venture capitalists faced criticism last year when audio leaked of them ridiculing New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz and complaining that so-called cancel culture – sometimes described as withdrawing support for someone caught misbehaving or using outmoded language and expressions – had gone too far.

There have also been privacy complaints from users who opted not to give the app access to their contact lists, but say it is detecting their sign-ups and alerting friends whose numbers they have stored.

Once on the app, some users reported they stumbled upon misogyny and racism in discussions, despite rules against abuse and bullying and a feature to report problematic users.

“Some of the challenges (Clubhouse) is facing is that this content is very unmoderated and we are not in 2003 in (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, pretending that anything we make we know where it’ll go and we’ll just let the market figure it out,” said Lachman.

“We know what might happen. Online spaces can be incredibly toxic, they can be harsh and we know that things can be taken out context very quickly and easily duplicated on other platforms.”

Despite the issues, Deepak Anand, chief executive of medical cannabis company Materia Ventures, joined the app. He hosts several pot discussions on it every week, but is careful in his approach.

He doesn’t share anything on Clubhouse he wouldn’t be comfortable with if it were leaked, but has seen several instances of people not realizing how public the app is.

“People generally like to share more than they normally would on the platform because it’s easy to get carried away and it almost seems like you’re having a conversation with friends,” he said.

Among the positives, Anand says Clubhouse has helped him discover new ways to network while stuck at home during the pandemic and increased his social media followers.

He’s unsure the app will continue to be his go-to because a competitor, Twitter Spaces, has caught his eye.

Tech Crunch reported that users who mined Twitter’s coding have found Spaces, which is still in pilot mode, experimenting with ways to embed tweets into discussions, offer transcription for users with disabilities and enhance blocking capabilities.

Facebook is said to be developing a similar platform, but hasn’t formally released any details.

The number of emerging audio apps and the flood of new Clubhouse users will make it even tougher for executives to stand out, Lachman predicted.

“This might have value right now, but in a year or two from now, that might get lost.”

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How to use the LiDAR scanner in iPhone 12 Pro – AppleInsider



You’ve got a LiDAR scanner if you’ve got an iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, or an iPad Pro, but Apple doesn’t appear to give you any way to use it. Here’s how you can, what you need, and why LiDAR is so useful.

LiDAR is part of the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the iPad Pro, but you could be forgiven for not even noticing. Apple barely mentions it at all, and there is no LiDAR app on the phone for you to try.

Given that one of its key uses is in photography, you’d expect some kind of LiDAR controls in the Camera app, or at least something in Settings. But there’s neither.

There’s also little incentive to go looking for such controls because until you’ve seen it in action, it’s hard to grasp just what LiDAR can do for you. The technology scans your environment, building up a 3D image of it, and that’s going to change how well AR and VR works.

For now, Apple seems happy to let LiDAR subtly help you out by how it supplements existing apps and functions.

How you’re already using LiDAR

If you’ve previously given up on using Apple’s Measure app, try it again. The app is now aided by LiDAR and that’s improved it noticeably.

Measure is now faster to start using, because it senses its surroundings quicker. And because LiDAR is working to scan your whole environment, measurements you make are more accurate.

That’s the theory and in practice, you find that Measure is just more useful than it used to be. Rather than an app you used for rough measurements when you didn’t have a tape measure, it’s now good enough, and quick enough, to use anywhere.

Next, while it’s harder to see, LiDAR has also made your Camera’s autofocus work faster. Again, it’s because LiDAR maps out the environment around you, so it’s begun calculating just how far or near an object is, as you tap the button to take the shot.

If Measure and autofocus are the only two discernible uses of LiDAR from Apple, though, there are already third-party apps that will do much more. There are very many of these, and most feel like experiments in finding out what’s possible.

But broadly, they also tend to be good at one of two things. Either they are great at capturing a photograph-like 3D image of your environment, or they’re better at capturing an image of an object.

It’s a balance between scanning slowly enough to avoid blur, and quickly enough to finish while the app can still store the data

Capturing your whole environment

Use Canvas: Pocket 3D Room Scanner for iPhone — free on the iOS App Store — and you can scan your surroundings. Stand in the middle of the room, tap the Measure-like controls, and then slowly turn around.

What you see through the Canvas screen is like standing in a “Star Trek” holodeck. Alongside a camera view of what’s immediately in front of you, there’s a grid next to it. As you turn, the grid gets filled in which an image of your surroundings.

Move too quickly, and the resulting image is low on detail. Move too slowly, and the app can run out of memory before you complete the scan. So it’s a compromise between detail and completeness, but what it gets you is a 360 degree image of your room.

Right there on the iPhone, you can choose to zoom out to see an isomorphic projection of the room, rotate it with a gesture, and zoom in to see it from any angle. Swipe to show the room in closeup full screen, and you can then either swipe to move around — or physically move the phone.

Physically moving the phone shows you what the captured environment looks like as you turn around. But you don’t have to be in that same environment that you captured.

You can instead take your phone and examine the scan anywhere else. Stand outside in field, for instance, and see your office on your iPhone screen. Move around the field, and the screen looks as if you’re moving around the office.

No question — police officers are going to be taking LiDAR scans of crime scenes in the future. It’s only a matter of time before such a scan delivers the deciding clue in an episode of “NCIS.”

Even a hurried scan lets you go back in later to measure objects in the environment

Even a hurried scan lets you go back in later to measure objects in the environment

Scanning objects with LiDAR

You’ve already seen this with selected Apple devices. Through AR, and scanned images, your iPhone can show you what, say, a Mac Pro would look like on your desk. LiDAR scanners let you capture an object’s image and do exactly that yourself.

Canvas is capable of this, though in our testing it felt optimized for scanning rooms. Equally, the free 3D Scanner App can and does do rooms, but it seems best at capturing objects.

Again, though, there are increasing numbers of LiDAR scanning apps, with many of them free to try.

And again, 3D Scanner App resembles a holodeck in how it presents a grid over your object, which gets filled in and replaced as you scan.

What you can do with LiDAR scans

Next time you move house, take a LiDAR scan of any new property you’re considering buying. We’re not at the stage yet where apps make it very easy to take a scan of a room, and then drop in separate scans of your furniture, but you can do it.

More usefully, you can get a better feel for the size of apartments when you’re comparing them. Being able to effectively walk around each apartment is much more intuitive than relying on floor plans and measurements.

Or if you’re slowly clearing out a storage rental, then taking a quick LiDAR scan is visually much more useful than listing how many boxes are left.

These are all uses that benefit you, as the user who took the LiDAR scans, or the measurements and photographs. If someone else has the same app as you, you can typically send them the scan.

And ones, such as Canvas, include an option to send a scan online. It’s not the same as being able to turn your phone around as you walk about a virtual room. But you can see a 360 degree scanned image on your Mac.

What’s next for LiDAR

Apps will get more sophisticated as developers explore the technology — and as it becomes more worth their while when LiDAR becomes commonplace. That will surely also extend to new ways of sharing or downloading such scans.

And maybe then we’ll see more, maybe then we’ll also have more Apple AR, too.

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Xiaomi CEO confirms Super AMOLED displays for Redmi Note 10 series – news –



After plenty of speculation, Xiaomi India CEO Manu Kumar Jain finally confirmed that the upcoming Redmi Note 10 series will feature Super AMOLED displays. It remains to be seen if all three models (vanilla, Pro and Pro Max) get this feature or if it’s only reserved for the more expensive variants. Either way, these will be the first devices with AMOLED panels in the Redmi Note series.

The Redmi Note 10 series will be announced on March 4 and based on past rumors and leaks we’re expecting a 6.43-inch FHD+ panel on the Redmi Note 10 alongside a 48MP primary camera and the Snapdragon 678 chipset.

The Note 10 Pro should arrive with the Snapdragon 750G with 6/8GB RAM, 128GB storage and a 6.67-inch SuperAMOLED display. The Pro Max should offer even better specs but we’re short on details at the moment. Make sure to tune in to our homepage on Thursday when we’ll have all the specs and details.

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