Android 6.0 Marshmallow Won’t Come With Dark Theme

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Won't Come With Dark Theme

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Won’t Come With Dark Theme
The Dark Theme, which Google quietly added as an experimental feature in the Android M Developer Preview, won’t make a cut to the final Android 6.0 Marshmallow build. The feature, which was left out of the second developer preview of the forthcoming Android version, isn’t on the cards for a public release.

If you were hoping to replace the regular Light Theme with the elegant-looking Dark Theme, that’s not going to be happening on the forthcoming Android 6.0 Marshmallow update. Responding to a user request to bring back the Dark Theme with several refinements, a Google engineer said that while the Dark Theme feature won’t be coming in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it may come in future releases.

“Please bring back the Dark Theme In the Android M, this time with pitch Black colour applicable for displays like the notification centre, title bar & app drawer,” a user asked. “Thanks for the suggestion. Our development team has looked into this feature request. This will not be included in the M release. However, this may be considered for future releases,” the Googler responded.
The feature was seen in the demonstration at I/O developer conference earlier this year, and also was a part of the first developer preview of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But the company quietly pulled it subsequent new developer preview. The Dark Theme could have been a useful addition and many users would have liked using it at night. You can, however, still look out for that feature on Google Play to see if any third-party app or launcher offers this functionality.

Android Marshmallow is latest major update for Google’s mobile operating system. It comes with a handful of interesting features and refinements including apps permission and built-in support for fingerprint scanner, and RAM manager.

Tags: Android, Android M, Google, Google Play, Marshmallow


Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale Day Two: What’s on Offer

Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale Day Two: What's on Offer

Flipkart Big Billion Days sale is well and truly underway, and in case you missed out on the first day, which was majorly about fashion deals, don’t worry, there’s plenty more still to come. And not just from Flipkart, as rivals Amazon and Snapdeal are holding sales of their own, making this week India’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday rolled into one.

(Also see: Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale Thursday Offers – Mobiles, Mobiles, and Mobiles)

Wednesday is the first day of best deals on home appliances, with more offers expected on the rest of the days of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale, which is on till Saturday. Remember that all deals as part of the Big Billion sale are app-only, which means you will need to be using the Flipkart app to be eligible for discounts.

(Also see: Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale Off to a Rocky Start)

Flipkart Big Billion Days deals on Wednesday include Vu 40-inch full-HD TV at Rs. 19,990; Noble 32-inch LED TV at Rs. 10,990; Sansui 40-inch full-HD TV at Rs. 24,990; LG 32-inch LED TV at Rs. 18,490; and Micromax 42-inch Ultra HD Smart TV at Rs 33,490.

As part of Big Billion Days sale, Flipkart is also offering Kelvinator 6kg fully automatic washing machine at Rs. 7,990; IFB 5.5kg fully automatic front load at Rs. 20,990; Kelvinator 245L double door refrigerator at Rs. 13,990; and Whirlpool 190L single door refrigerator at Rs. 10490.

If you are looking at other product categories, the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale offers Sansui 1.5 Ton 5-Star air conditioner at Rs. 23,490 (with free installation); Bajaj Solo 17l microwave oven at just Rs. 2,899; Pelonis 28L convection microwave oven at Rs. 8,499.

(Also see: Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale: What You Can Expect and How to Make the Most of It)

Remember you can save more by using your SBI card on all days of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale except for 15th. On Thursday (15th), Citibank, Yes Bank, and Standard Chartered customers will get a chance to save 10 percent. Here are some other tips to make the best of Flipkart Big Billion Days sale.

If you are interested in knowing what’s coming up next in the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale, here’s a little reminder. Days 2 to 5 – Wednesday through Saturday – we will see deals on home products and appliances. Thursday might turn out to be the biggest day of Flipkart Big Billion Days sale, as it’s the first day mobiles and accessories will be offered on sale.

The discounts are expected to continue on Friday and Saturday as well. Those two days will also see on deals on other electronics and automative products as part of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale. Finally, the last day of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale will see deals on books, the category that kickstarted the rise of the multi-billion dollar behemoth we now know as Flipkart.

What are you planning to purchase during the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale? Let us know via the comments.

Tags: Flipkart, Flipkart Big Billion Days



Mobile Phone Production in India May Reach 500 Million in 2 Years: DoT

Mobile Phone Production in India May Reach 500 Million in 2 Years: DoT

Mobile Phone Production in India May Reach 500 Million in 2 Years: DoT
Mobile phone manufacturing in the country may reach 500 million units in coming two years on the back of good base of talent and an incentive policy, a top Department of Telecom (DoT) official said Sunday.

This year, India produced 100 million phones as compared to 45 million last year.

“The number of phones being manufactured was 10 million sometime back (which increased) to 45 million last year and 100 million this year. The time has come when we will reach 500 million, may be in 2 years,” Telecom Secretary J S Deepak said in New Delhi.

(Also see: Mobile Phone Production in India Reaches 100 Million)

He was speaking on the second day of a seminar on Telecom and Broadcasting theme – ART (Adjudication, Regulation, Telecommunication) of Convergence, TDSAT.

He added that apart from phones, the differential tariff is helping domestic manufacturers to get into other areas like medical electronics, consumer electronics as well as broadband equipment, set up boxes.

“Today with base of talent and incentive policy, India is becoming a global hub for manufacturing of phones and specially low-end phones,” he added.

The government is making efforts to reduce imports of electronic products and meet requirement of domestic market through indigenous production.
The government has received proposals worth Rs. 1.13 lakh crore in the electronics manufacturing segment from major brands under the modified special incentive package scheme (M-SIPS).

M-SIPS has been extended till July 2020, which was earlier valid till July 2017. The scheme offers capital subsidies to large investments in electronics manufacturing and system design.

The Secretary also said that making high-speed broadband available to individuals in rural areas is a priority of the government.

According to a survey, he said, while Internet users may have touched 400 million, broadband users are in the range of 40-50 million and growing very slowly in rural areas.

“May be 7 percent people in rural areas use Internet.

More importantly, it’s the issue of digital divide. We have only 14 percent rural households which are digitally literate…this needs to change,” he said.

Tags: DoT, Mobiles, Telecom


Ubisoft to Open Amusement Park in Montreal

Ubisoft to Open Amusement Park in Montreal

Video game publisher Ubisoft said Wednesday it will open an amusement park for children in Montreal this summer based on its popular Raving Rabbids franchise.

The game series in which large, crazy rabbits cause havoc and mischief was spun off of another game, Rayman, in 2009.

The so-called floppy-eared Rabbids have also appeared in a number of other Ubisoft games such as Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The indoor theme park will cover 15,000 square feet (about 1,400 square meters) with plenty of activities for children up to 12 years old, Ubisoft spokesman Jeyson Acevedo told AFP.

It is scheduled to open in August, building on the popularity of a single ride based on the franchise created for the Poitiers Futuroscope theme park in France in late 2013.

Montreal is home to Ubisoft’s largest digital game development studio, with some 3,000 employees.

If the Rabbids theme park is a success, it could be replicated in other cities around the world, said Acevedo.

“We saw an opportunity to diversify our offerings outside of gaming,” he explained. The game developer has also started expanding into television, movies and comics.

It announced last September that it would open a large outdoor theme park devoted to its top-selling games in Kuala Lumpur in 2020.

Tags: Apps, Gaming, Rabbids theme park, Ubisoft


Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion
DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind family blockbusters “Kung Fu Panda” and the Oscar-winning “Shrek,” is being snapped up by US entertainment and cable giant Comcast in a $3.8 billion (roughly Rs. 25,276 crores) deal announced Thursday.

Originally part of the DreamWorks group created in the 1990s by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and former top Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio was spun off as a separate company in 2004.

“DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come,” said Steve Burke, chief executive of Comcast unit NBCUniversal.

Under the deal, the animation studio will become part of NBCU’s Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures.

Upon completion, the studio’s chief executive Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will include some NBCU television operations.

The new role for Katzenberg, which includes acting as consultant to NBC Universal, appeared to confirm reports he was giving up the reins at the studio he built.

“Having spent the past two decades working together with our team to build DreamWorks Animation into one of the world’s most beloved brands, I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company; a home that will embrace the legacy of our storytelling and grow our businesses to their fullest potential,” said Katzenberg.

“As for my role, I am incredibly excited to continue exploring the potential of AwesomenessTV, NOVA and other new media opportunities, and can’t wait to get started,” he said.

Burke said that Chris Meledandri, who heads Comcast’s Illumination Entertainment unit, would “help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”

The deal represents consolidation in a sector which is being challenged by the emergence of new Internet-based video services such as Netflix and Amazon, which are boosting their original programming.

It aims to strengthen NBCU programming for family and children in film, television and on-demand video potentially challenging the Walt Disney Co., which owns the Pixar animation studio.

Conquering the family space
In addition to hit movie series “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” Comcast will acquire a string of popular franchises such as “Shark Tale” and “Monsters vs Aliens.”

The animation studio has released 32 feature films that together have pulled in more than $13 billion in global box office receipts.
Comcast has agreed to pay $41 a share in the deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

As an independent studio, DreamWorks Animation has become an attractive target, “particularly for traditional media conglomerates that may increasingly look to diversify away from traditional TV networks,” said Ryan Fiftal, a Morgan Stanley analyst, in a note to clients this week.

DreamWorks’ “premium content and intellectual property is becoming increasingly scarce as new online video distributors compete aggressively for content that can stand out.”

But Richard Greenfield at BTIG Research said the deal was overvalued and shows “a lack of financial discipline that should concern investors” of Comcast.

Greenfield wrote in a blog post that DreamWorks’ “core movie business continues to struggle” and that “the quality of the television content has not been compelling to-date.”

He argued that the studio has produced “very few iconic movies, beyond Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.”

Comcast, which is the largest US cable TV operator, acquired a majority of NBC Universal in 2009 and in 2013 boosted its stake to 100 percent.

That gave Comcast the large NBC television network as well as Universal Studios in Hollywood and its theme parks.

DreamWorks shares surged 24 percent to $39.95 on the news while Comcast added 0.64 percent to $61.70

Earlier this week, Comcast reported a first quarter net profit of $2.1 billion on $18.8 billion in revenues. Its 2015 profit was $8.2 billion on $74.5 billion in revenues.

Tags: Comcast, DreamWorks, DreamWorks Animation, Home entertainment, Internet, Telecom


Google I/O 2016: Awareness API, YouTube VR App, and More Announcements

Google I/O 2016: Awareness API, YouTube VR App, and More Announcements

Google I/O 2016: Awareness API, YouTube VR App, and More Announcements
Day 2 of Google I/O saw several developer facing announcements.
Few customer facing announcements were also made, like YouTube VR.
Also spotted was the new Google Keyboard with theme support.
Google on Day 2 of its I/O 2016 developer conference had several developer facing announcements, from the new Awareness API, to refreshed APIs for Google Drive apps, a sustained performance mode on Android, and more. There were a few consumer facing announcements as well, such as a showcase of the YouTube VR app for Daydream. Some features that were not installed were also discovered in the meanwhile, including the new Google Keyboard for Android N.

The Awareness API was one of the biggest announcements of Google I/O so far, and will help app makers and smartphone manufacturers a single place to access a variety of signals collected by the device related to location and usage. There are seven signals in total – activity, beacons, headphones, location, places, time, and weather. Google says with the API, the device should see improved battery life due to the conservation of resources.

With the API, apps will get all the processed data from these signals when required, and respond with various actions (examples seen below). Google said there are two APIs within the Awareness API – Fences, where the app performs an action when certain signal conditions are met, and Snapshot, where the app queries for data. With Fences, app can also open just when they are required.

Next up are the new APIs for Google Sheets and Slides, as well as a new Classroom API, both of which are aimed at providing deeper app integrations for users. The updated Sheets API lets app developers send data to Sheets, allow users to edit it, and then bring it back to the app complete with changes. The Slides API, which is not yet ready, will allow for similar functionality, allowing users to create charts using data from another app. As for the new Classroom API, it gives access coursework endpoints, and the ability to access and save data in Google Drive.
The search giant has also unveiled a Sustained Performance API alongside Android Developer Preview 3, meant to give developers the ability to optimise their apps for performance over a long period of time. It is meant for those apps that are kept active over a long period of time.

We come to the new Mobile Payments API, which is aimed at bringing Android Pay-like functionality to mobile websites. The API is meant to store payment information, reported The Next Web, and also identify any new payment information users enter on websites. It works independently of Android Pay, and will provide users the payment information they want next time they visit a website.

The company also showcased the newest version of Google Keyboard (v5.1) which is currently only available for users of the Android N Developer Preview 3, but Android Police confirms it works on older version of Android as well. It can be sideloaded from APK Mirror. The keyboard app gets improved functionality and design, with the biggest feature possibly the expanded theme support, and the presence of a smorgasbord of emojis, including those present in Unicode 9.0.

google_keyboard_5.1_android_police.jpgFinally, we come the new YouTube VR app for the company’s Daydream virtual reality platform. On Thursday, Google showcased the app to attendees, reported 9to5Google, and it appears to be a refined version of the YouTube app for Google Cardboard. The company additionally announced that YouTube creators will have access to the Jump VR cameras it had unveiled last year, as they will be made available at YouTube Spaces in various locations across the world.

The company also added it will be curating Daydream VR apps on Google Play. Speaking to The Verge, Google’s head of VR Clay Bavor said, “So on Daydream apps, on VR apps, we’re going to take a very, very strong stance on quality, on performance, sustained framerate, latency, all that, we want to make sure that we’re representing good VR to our users. And so I think that one of our goals in this announcement next week is to put this out in front of developers, and we have some pretty good instincts in how and where and in what ways we’ll be curating. Performance is a non-starter, it needs to be performant, because if it’s not it won’t be comfortable… But we’re going to be seeking feedback from developers on how to go about this, but I think at a high level the quality bar is super super important to that and we’ll be maintaining that.”

Tags: Android, Awareness API, Classroom, Classroom API, Google, Google IO, Google IO 2016, Google IO 2016 Highlights, Google IO 2016 Latest Updates, Mobiles, Sheets, Sheets API, Slides, Slides API, Sustained Performance API, YouTube VR for Daydream


Microsoft Build 2016 India: Bots, IoT, and Windows Apps

Microsoft Build 2016 India: Bots, IoT, and Windows Apps

Microsoft Build 2016 India: Bots, IoT, and Windows Apps
Build is Microsoft’s conference for Windows developers.
It was held in various parts of the world, including India.
Bots as a conversation platform was the big theme of the conference.
Bengaluru-based startup Yellow Messenger is one of the companies in India that’s exploring conversational commerce through bots. You tell the bot to show you shoes and then continue the conversation by asking for men’s shoes, or women’s, and so on. Yellow Messenger is just one of the startups in India that’s making use of Microsoft’s Cognitive Services.

These are a collection of APIs that allow systems to use natural language processing to hear, see, speak, understand and interpret the needs of users. Cognitive Services were one of the tools that Microsoft demonstrated in Pune, at its Build 2016 tour event on Friday.

Build is an event for Windows developers, where Microsoft showcases all the tools developers can use to make Windows apps. With over 40 percent of Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure’s revenue coming from ISVs (Independent Software Ventures) and startups, the focus of the keynote was naturally on reaching out to them.

“When developers want to do machine learning, when they want to use bots, we want them to think about us,” Jeffrey Burtoft, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, said during the keynote. The purpose behind using bots is to have conversations without having a human on the other end. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services work on services such as Skype, Web, Slack, Facebook Messenger, among others.


Harish Vaidyanathan, Director of ISV Business at Microsoft, added to this, talking about the work Microsoft is doing to bring these tools to India. “Not all conversations are in English. This is India right? Being able to do multilingual conversations in one stroke [is one of Yellow Messenger’s key features],” he added. Vaidyanathan said Yellow Messenger can also do other things, like take a picture and say, ‘Show me something like this.’ “Those are some of the things that Yellow Messenger does. It’s already live on Facebook, Telegram, and Skype,” he said.

He also talked about how India can use the Internet of Things to address seasonal demand of resources. “If you think of Indians, we’re very aspirational. We want everything but we don’t want to buy everything we want,” Vaidyanathan said.
He explained this with the example of another company, called iBot. The minimum price of a Eureka Forbes Aquaguard water purifier is around Rs. 8,500, which is a bit too high for quite a few people. “What iBot enabled, is that you can take Aquaguard and use it on a prepaid basis. This is pure water, as a service. People pay for what they use,” he said, adding that the sensor is connected to Microsoft’s cloud platform.

Burtoft said Azure has 30 data centres around the world, which is more than both Amazon and Google. Three of these data centres are in India, one of which is in Pune. Highlighting the importance of Microsoft cloud in the Indian market, he said 50 percent of the top 100 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) use Microsoft cloud services. Globally, he said, Azure gets over 120,000 new subscriptions every month, and over two trillion messages per week are processed by Azure IoT.


After holding the Build 2016 conference in San Francisco earlier this year, the company has been taking the conference to various parts of the world. The Pune leg of the Build 2016 tour was attended by over 600 developers from India.

On the consumer side, Burtoft said Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most successful version of Windows with over 300 million active users. He also showed Project Centennial, Microsoft’s bid to get more apps on its Windows Store. This makes it easy for developers to port their Win32 apps to the Windows Store and to monetise these apps through the store. Burtoft said the Windows 10 Store has had over 5 billion visits since its launch and Project Centennial will help users find safe (virus-free) copies of the apps they want to download. “It’s becoming harder and harder to get Win32 apps [to find a safe, malware-free download],” he said.

Disclosure: Microsoft India sponsored the correspondent’s travel for this event.

Tags: Azure, Cloud, Cloud Services, Cognitive Services, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Harish Vaidyanathan, IOT, ISV, Jeffrey Burtoft, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Skype, Slack, Startups, Yellow Messenger, iBot


Twitter for Android Finally Gets a Night Mode

Twitter for Android Finally Gets a Night Mode

Twitter for Android Finally Gets a Night Mode
The feature turns app’s theme to dark and is meant for use at night
The feature was being tested by alpha testers in May
The feature is currently available only for Android
After testing ‘Night Mode’ UI on Android in May, Twitter on Tuesday finally released the feature for its app on Google’s mobile platform. The Night Mode essentially changes the app from its regular theme to a darker one (midnight blue in colour) and makes it more comfortable to use at night. There’s no information about when the feature will be rolled out for iOS.

You can switch on the ‘Night Mode’ feature on Android in the top menu, where you’ll either see the navigation menu icon or your profile icon depending on the device you have – tap either of those, and then switch the Night Mode toggle on. Twitter made the announcement in tweet on Tuesday.

In May, we reported that the testing of the feature happened among a small number of alpha testers, as reported by a Twitter user running the v5.112.0-alpha.423 build. At the time, the UI was said to switch automatically at night time, and come back to the standard white background UI with black text in the day time.

However, as pointed out by The Verge, in the latest addition to the app, there is no automatic trigger that switches on the ‘Night Mode’ according to certain times of day or based on your phone display’s brightness.
Last month, the micro-blogging website rolled out an update that redesigned Android app based upon Google’s Material Design that makes use of grid-based layouts, has responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects like lighting and shadows.

Recently, it was also revealed that Twitter-owned video clip-sharing website Vine’s entire source code was available for anyone to see till March, till an ethical hacker pointed out the flaw that allowed for the source code to be downloaded. The website then fixed the bug within 5 minutes following a demonstration by the hacker.

Tags: Android, Mobiles, Twitter, Twitter Android App, Twitter Night Mode


Twitter for iOS Gets the Long-Awaited Night Mode Feature

Twitter for iOS Gets the Long-Awaited Night Mode Feature

Twitter for iOS Gets the Long-Awaited Night Mode Feature
Night Mode makes its way to Twitter on iOS
Night Mode available with version 6.60 of the Twitter app
No automatic trigger, users have to switch manually to Night Mode
After its introduction to Twitter’s Android app last month, Night Mode has finally made its way to iOS. The feature has been in works for quite some time now and was spotted being tested by the social media networking website in May.

The Night Mode essentially changes the theme of the app from regular to a darker one (midnight blue in colour) and makes it more comfortable to use in conditions of low light.

In order to switch on the Night Mode on your iOS device, you need to head to the Settings tab on the updated Twitter app and enable Night Mode.

Twitter said in a tweet on Monday that it is rolling out the Night Mode feature from the same day. Night Mode can be found in version 6.60 update of the iOS app which is already available in App Store in India.
In May, we reported that the testing of the feature happened among a small number of alpha testers, as reported by a Twitter user running the v5.112.0-alpha.423 build. At the time, the UI was said to switch automatically at night time, and come back to the standard white background UI with black text in the day time.

However, Just like on Android, there is no automatic trigger on iOS that switches on the Night Mode according to certain times of day or based on your phone display’s brightness.

Tags: Apple, Night Mode, Twitter, Twitter Dark Theme, Twitter Night Mode iOS, iOS