PS5 pre-orders on Amazon UK are shipping, but customers are receiving random items like a foot massager

November 19 was PlayStation 5’s launch day in the UK. Amazon started shipping pre-orders of the product, but customers are claiming the Amazon is shipping random items instead. Some PlayStation 5 (PS5) orders started shipping on Thursday but reportedly, they didn’t arrive, despite the seller marking them as delivered. Moreover, some customers claimed that their PS5 orders were substituted by the products they never ordered including a foot massager, cat food, and a coffee machine.

Freelance journalist Bex tweeted that Amazon UK had marked her PS5 order as “missed” at around noon Thursday, while the platform didn’t make any attempt to deliver the order. However, she received a parcel on the same evening. Surprisingly, it didn’t have PS5, instead, it contained an “unsolicited” air fryer. Following Bex’s post, several other Twitter and Reddit users came forward with similar claims. Furthermore, multiple customers said Amazon marked their PS5 orders as “delivered” without this actually being the case. 

Another user claims that their PS5 pre-order arrived. They even received the PS5 box. However, it was empty inside. The Twitter user also claims that Amazon UK has been of “no help won’t replace it or anything. Heard multiple theft stories as well on Reddit.” Some other users have claimed to have had similar experiences to Bex where unexpected products turning up instead. One customer received a coffee machine while the other received a foot massager. Moreover, one of the pre-orders arrived with cat food in place of the PS5. Amazon posted the following reply to the cat food user’s complaint:

One customer informed Amazon of the fake delivery. The Twitter user went on to explain that Amazon told them to wait for 48 hours, after which the platform would either refund the customer or ship them a new one.

Via: Business Insider

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Apple is halving its commission rate to 15% for most developers

Apple has announced a reduction to its 30% App Store commission under its Small Business Program. It is lowering the commission to 15% for developers who earned up to $1 million in proceeds during the previous calendar year. Apple says this program will benefit the vast majority of developers who sell digital goods and services on the store. It will provide them with a reduced commission on paid apps and in-app purchases. The App Store mall Business Program will launch on January 1, 2021.

The reduced commission translates to small developers and aspiring entrepreneurs having more resources to invest in and grow their businesses in the App Store ecosystem.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.”

Apple will reveal comprehensive details in early December. As of now, it has said that existing developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, can qualify for the program and the reduced commission. Further, if a participating developer surpasses the $1 million threshold, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year. Plus, if a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15 percent commission the year after.

This comes after the whole Apple-Epic Games fiasco.

The reduced cut comes after the whole Apple-Epic Games fiasco where Fortnite was banned from the App Store in August. Then, Apple just terminated Epics Developer Account, to which Epic responded by taking it up the legal way. The Cupertino company has had spats with Facebook, Microsoft, WordPress and more who some or the other way accused Apple of forcing to add in-app purchases.

Source

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Huawei sells Honor phone brand to government-backed consortium

Huawei has announced the sale of its smartphone brand Honor citing ‘tremendous pressure as of late.’ The company says it has had persistent unavailability of technical elements needed for their mobile phone business due to the US sanctions. Hence, it has decided to sell all of its Honor business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co., Ltd., which is a government-backed consortium. It is a company formed by a technology enterprise owned by the government of the southern city of Shenzhen, where Huawei is headquartered, with a group of Honor retailers. 

Huawei hopes this move will help Honor ‘ensure its own survival.’ Once the sale is complete, Huawei will not hold any shares or be involved in any business management or decision-making activities in the new Honor company. However, this announcement gives financial details. The company will retain its flagship Huawei smartphone brand.

The move comes after the Chinese tech giant was rumored to sell its budget smartphone brand, Honor recently. Huawei has been at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology, security, and spying. As per American officials, Huawei might facilitate Chinese spying, which the company denies. Further, the Trump government is lobbying European and other allies to exclude Huawei and other Chinese suppliers as they upgrade networks.

The US has blocked Huawei’s access to most US tech, which includes Google services, and it was tightened this year when the White House barred manufacturers worldwide from using US technology to produce chips for Huawei.

That said, we have no information on how Honor’s new owners planned to regain access to US chips and other technologies including Google services. For reference, Chinese brands like OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi operate without such restrictions.

Source

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PUBG Mobile to make a comeback in India

In September, India banned PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite citing threats to the privacy of users and security of the nation. These games are owned by China’s Tencent and were said to engage “in activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.” However, in a recent turn of events, PUBG Mobile is making a comeback in India.

PUBG Corporation has announced it is preparing to launch a new game called ‘PUBG Mobile India’. It says this game is “created specifically for the Indian market.” The developers added that they will improve in-game content and also customize it to “reflect local needs.” These changes include clothing on new characters, a virtual simulation training ground setting, and green hit effects instead of red. Further, it will also add a feature to restrict game time for younger players.

The corporation has announced this new game will maximize data security for its players and adhere to the local regulations by conducting regular audits and verifications on the storage systems that store the personal information of Indian users. This will be done in order to make sure that the data is kept safe.

PUBG Corporation also said that it is planning to establish a local office. It will hire over 100 employees to enhance communications and services with players. “In addition to establishing a local office, the company will look to actively collaborate and leverage local businesses to strengthen its gaming service,” the developers added. Furthermore, Krafton, PUBG Corporation’s parent company announced its plans to invest $100 million in India. This will be done to “cultivate the local video game, e-sports, entertainment, and IT industries.” However, there is no exact release date for PUBG Mobile India yet.

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Amazon sells more iPhones in one day than entire Indian festival sale last year

Amazon says it has sold more iPhones on the opening day of its Great Indian Festival than its entire last year’s sale. Notably, the first day of sale was only open to Prime members. The sale numbers can undoubtedly be attributed to the fact that Amazon is selling the iPhone 11 at a good discount. The device was priced at INR 47,999 during the first day of the sale, which is down from INR 62,999 regular selling price. For the unaware, the smartphone has received a price cut after the launch of iPhone 12.

Further, the top sold categories have been smartphones, large appliances, and consumer electronics. Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, and Xiaomi have sold products in record numbers. Other top searches include laptops, headphones, tablets, cameras, and smartwatches, alongside security cameras and drones. Asus, Lenovo, and HP have been the top-selling brands in laptops, while Samsung and Apple have sold the most number of tablets.

In smartphones, iPhone 11, Redmi Note Series, Redmi 9A, OnePlus 8T, OnePlus Nord and Samsung Galaxy M31 have been the best selling products. Moreover, OnePlus 43-inch and 32-inch, along with Samsung 32-inch, have been the most popular TVs.

Further, Amazon has also sold 2.5 times more Kindle devices than on the first day of the sale last year. The Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot (3rd Generation) are heavily discounted, and they have been among the top 10 products sold on the e-commerce site during the sale. Plus, customers have bought twice the streaming devices than that of last year’s sale. Amazon also claims that 85 percent more people signed up for Prime membership to get early access to the sale this year compared to last year. 

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Samsung India announces ‘Reward Yourself’ program: Check out the offers here

Samsung India has announced its ‘Reward Yourself’ program in the Indian festive season. With ‘Reward Yourself’, consumers get flat 10% cashback with HDFC Bank credit and debit cards and SBI credit cards, exciting bundle offers and a range of other benefits on Samsung’s wide portfolio of smartphones, wearables and tablets. It covers a range of products including smartphones, tablets and wearables. Here are the offers that are applicable under this program:

10% cashback on HDFC Bank cards: This offer is applicable on select smartphones, tablets and wearables priced between INR 4,999 to INR 104,999. It is valid from October 15 to October 27, 2020.

10% cashback on SBI credit cards: This offer is applicable on all Galaxy smartphones priced between INR 4,999 to INR 47,999 and select tablets and wearables. It is valid from October 28 to November 17, 2020. 

Instant cashback: Consumers can get INR 10,000 cashback on purchase of Galaxy Note20. This offer is valid from October 16 to October 25, 2020.

No Cost EMI with Zero down payment: It is applicable on Galaxy A Series and all flagship devices. Consumers can purchase these Galaxy smartphone with zero down payment, zero processing fee and zero interest.

Upgrade offer: Customers can get an upgrade bonus of up to INR 13,000 and Samsung voucher worth INR 7,000 on purchase of Galaxy Note20 Ultra from October 16 to October 25, 2020.

UV Sterilizer at 50% of MRP: This offer is valid from October 15 to November 17, 2020 on Galaxy A71, Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A31.

Buy a tablet and get INR 10000 off on Keyboard cover: This bundle offer is applicable on Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Tab S7+. Valid from October 15 to November 30, 2020.

Buy a Galaxy smartwatch and get Galaxy Buds+ at INR 3,990: It is valid from October 15 to November 17 along with 10% cashback on all leading banks’ cards in October and November. The 10% cashback on all leading banks’ cards is also available on standalone purchases of Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Live for the same period.

Samsung Care+ offer: Consumers can avail 50% off on accidental and liquid damage (ADLD) protection plan on select smartphones and LTE based tablets. Valid from October 16 to November 17, 2020.

Galaxy Forever offer: Purchasers can buy a brand new Galaxy smartphone at just 60% of the price.

Galaxy Assured offer: Consumers can purchase a brand new Galaxy smartphone with exciting buyback offers of up to 70% device cost.

Galaxy Forever & Galaxy Assured offers are applicable on select flagships and premium devices.

Samsung Finance+ offer: Consumers can buy Galaxy smartphones with easy paperless finance from the comfort of their homes.

All of these offers will be available on the purchases made on leading retail stores and Samsung.com.

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Apple doesn’t agree with the latest US Government’s antitrust report

Several US companies have been under investigation by the US House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. It concluded that tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon are the “kinds of monopolies” found in “the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.”

However, Apple told MacRumors in a statement that it “strongly disagrees with the conclusions reached in the report.”

“We have always said that scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate but we vehemently disagree with the conclusions reached in this staff report with respect to Apple. Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. From its beginnings 12 years ago with just 500 apps, we’ve built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps and a supportive way for developers to create and sell apps globally. Hosting close to two million apps today, the ‌App Store‌ has delivered on that promise and met the highest standards for privacy, security and quality. The ‌App Store‌ has enabled new markets, new services and new products that were unimaginable a dozen years ago, and developers have been primary beneficiaries of this ecosystem. Last year in the United States alone, the ‌App Store‌ facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers. Apple’s commission rates are firmly in the mainstream of those charged by other app stores and gaming marketplaces. Competition drives innovation, and innovation has always defined us at Apple. We work tirelessly to deliver the best products to our customers, with safety and privacy at their core, and we will continue to do so.”

This report also explains how these companies share common problems, such as controlling access to markets, charging exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms, and using their dominant positions to keep their control of the market by eliminating possible rivals. If you want to take a look at the report, you can do so by following this link. Now, I’m only curious to know what Epic Games thinks of this report, and how it may prove that the creators of Fortnite weren’t mistaken when they challenged the App Store Monopoly.

Source MacRumors

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Paytm says it has launched a ‘Mini App Store’ but it hasn’t

Indian digital payments app giant, Paytm is sending out a press release saying that it has launched a Mini App Store for Indian developers. It comes a few days after tech entrepreneurs in India rallied for a national app store. In reality, the new ‘App Store’ isn’t an app store. Paytm is just hosting links to progressive Web apps (PWAs). For reference, these are light apps that can run within a Web browser without requiring any installation.

As per the press release, the Mini App store is designed to help small developers and businesses in India to set up low-cost and easy-to-build apps. The company is associating its latest development to the “Atmanirbhar Bharat mission”, which has been the trending buzz word in the Indian app ecosystem since the TikTok ban.

Paytm says this app store has been running in beta with “select users”. Further, it goes on to say that it witnessed over 12 million visits in the month of September. I’m not a beta tester for the Paytm app and this ‘Mini App Store’ has been active for a couple of months now. You can go to the “Discover” section in the Paytm app to browse the PWAs. It looks like the company has just announced its Mini App Store to ride on nationalism sentiments in the country.

It all comes after Google removed Paytm from its Play Store for a short while. Although, within a few hours it was restored. However, Paytm published a blog post accusing Google of “making policies which are over and above the laws” in India and implementing them “arbitrarily.” Google replied with another blog post to bust Paytm’s claim saying online casinos or unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting on sports are not allowed on the platform. Still, according to Paytm, Google “enormous control over which apps you download through its Play Store policies.”

Recently, Google also announced that it would enforce its 30 percent fee for apps that are on Google Play but are not using its billing system. This development led Indian app developers and entrepreneurs to demand a national app store alternative to Google Play. Now, Paytm aims to counter the Play Store with its Mini App Store that isn’t even a real app store.

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Apple Store Online goes live in India with student discounts, trade-ins, direct customer support

Apple Online Store is now live in India giving customers the ability to purchase products directly from the Apple Store. The company is offering financing options, student discounts, and trade-ins on eligible products. For reference, up till now, Apple products used to sell through e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart and Apple authorized retailers. In contrast, now customers can purchase Apple devices straight from the company store.

Coming to the Apple Online Store offerings, you can get in touch with an Apple Specialists through call or chat for advice or support on a particular product. Moreover, you can custom-configure your Macs. As for the specialists, they can help customers in setting up their new devices too. For now, the support if being offered in English and Hindi.

There’s also a trade-in program for iPhones. You can exchange any eligible smartphone for credit towards a new iPhone. For this process, you’ll need to answer a few questions and the store will provide a trade-in value up to Rs. 35,000. It can be used towards getting a new iPhone. The company says trade-in values will vary based on the condition, year, and configuration of your device you’re trading in. Further, not all devices are eligible.

The Apple Store Online is also offering special discount prices for students. It brings the price of the MacBook Air base variant from around Rs 92,000 to Rs 83,000. There are discounts on accessories and the company’s extended warranty programme, AppleCare+ too. There are multiple modes of payments including credit and debit cards, credit card EMI, UPI, RuPay, net banking, and credit card on delivery option.

Further, the company is offering a cashback of 6 percent (up to Rs 10,000) of the cart value on purchases made using HDFC Bank credit cards.  The offer is valid till October 16 for cart value of Rs 20,900 or more.

While Apple says it will ship products within 72 hours, some Mac products are showing shipping times of up to a month. For instance, the MacBook Air shipping date is October 1-8 (for a Noida pincode) if you order one today, September 23. You can visit the Apple Store Online here.

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It’s happening: NVIDIA to acquire Arm for $40 billion

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) have announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SoftBank for $40 billion. As part of NVIDIA, Arm will continue to operate its open-licensing model. It will operate as a division of NVIDIA and will remain headquartered in the UK. It will “continue to operate its open-licensing model while maintaining its global customer neutrality,” the company said. NVIDIA intends to retain the name and strong brand identity of Arm and expand its base in Cambridge. Arm’s intellectual property will remain registered in the U.K. 

To recall, SoftBank bought Arm for $31 billion four years ago. The undertakings are scheduled to complete in September 2021. Arm’s tech powers mobile device processors for several companies including Samsung, Apple, and Qualcomm. Moreover, Apple recently announced its switch to Arm-based chips for future Macs. On the other hand, Microsoft is making an Arm-based Surface and a version of Windows for Arm. Hence, the British company will likely only increase in value, as it has since SoftBank acquisition.

For reference, NVIDIA doesn’t do much in mobile hardware. However, it is the leading maker of GPUs, and manufactures Tegra line of mobile chipsets used in devices like the Nintendo Switch. The company is positioning the acquisition as setting up the next stage of AI computing.

Bloomberg reports that “Huang said Nvidia is spending a lot of money for the acquisition and has no incentive to do anything that would cause clients to walk away.” The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals for the U.K., China, the European Union and the United States. Hence, the deal is likely to face intense regulatory scrutiny.

“Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education,” said Simon Segars, CEO of Arm.

Source

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HUAWEI details HMS Core’s gaming potential

At HDC 2020, HUAWEI has detailed what it’s doing in the gaming sector with the help of HMS Core. The gaming industry is booming, and HUAWEI says smartphones are closing in on consoles with the processing prowess. Mobile gaming is more popular than ever, thanks to the quarantine. It presents opportunities for consumers, brands, and developers alike. HUAWEI launched the GameCenter this year, which is a one-stop game service platform.

AppGallery is said to be seeing strong growth in gaming availability with over 12,000 games available and over 80 million games installed. It now has 490 million monthly active users, 1.8 million registered developers, 96,000 apps integrated with HMS Core, 261 billion app downloads in the first half of 2020.

HUAWEI is simplifying game creation through Cocos Creator, which is a free open-source game engine. It enables developers to publish games on different mobile platforms with one code base. It is helping improve developing speed and build a better ecosystem. Now, Cocos is working with AppGallery to embed HMS kits in their engines. It plans to open these capabilities to all game developers with HUAWEI.

Gaming developers like Gameloft are creating unique user experiences with Cast+ Kit in HMS Core that allows players to project the game on a bigger display, and use the smartphone as a remote or second screen.

HUAWEI claims AppGallery is providing commercial opportunities to developers throughout its 490 million monthly active users across the 170 countries and regions. It is working with developers to help drive revenue by acquiring more users. The company helps improve brand exposure and provides game developers with 85% percent of the revenue share. AppGallery also supports the ecosystem through the Huawei Developer Fund.

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HUAWEI HMS Core boosts its e-commerce capabilities using AR and ML

At HDC 2020, HUAWEI took the stage to explain how it is boosting e-commerce capabilities for developers and businesses with its HMS Core. The AI and AR kits integrated into HMS Core offers new features to vendors and developers. Moreover, the AR capabilities are integrated into e-commerce platforms. Hence, products can now be displayed in a visual way with more immersive user experience. The chosen products can be displayed separately to those being shown by the presenter.

There is a new Reality Studio for 3D content development. It improves the efficiency of development and of AR/VR content. Moreover, HUAWEI has introduced a Try Before You Buy feature, which allows customers to place products into real-life scenarios by using their phone camera. By using it, the customers can get an in-depth look at the products. HUAWEI combines product display, customer searching, and reviewing. It helps partners to showcase products with automatic classification and labeling,

The company’s virtualization kit offers camera-positioning that provides alternate shots for modeling to presenters. Plus, HMS HiAI provides a better livestream experience. It provides real-time video processing, which includes real-time backdrop processing providing the audience an intuitive way to shop.

Mobile phones can intelligently detect the wireless network status in real-time, which helps in reduce latency and frame freezing. To enable these features, Reality Studio is available to download from the Huawei Developer Hub.

HUAWEI is basically using four kits within HMS Core to focus on key areas. Ads Kit for advertising, Push and Analytics Kits for delivering targeted push campaigns, ML Kit to drive Intelligent Shopping solutions, and Scan Kit for QR code-based shopping coupons.

The HUAWEI AppGallery too provides e-commerce platforms with marketing support. For reference, KUMU, a community platform where you can get paid by becoming a live streamer, has taken advantage of AppGallery’s in-app resources to increase its revenue by up to 40 times.

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Chinese government could now block TikToK sale to US companies

The famous Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance has also suffered attacks by the US Government over alleged privacy and security concerns. On August 1, President Trump admitted he wanted to ban TikTok in the United States, and he also said that he wasn’t happy with US companies’ interest in acquiring the app.

Things changed some days later as he signed an executive order on August 6 that would block transactions with Bytedance on September 20, which then extended to November 12, giving the Chinese company five more days to close any deal with US companies. The most interested in a possible acquisition have been Microsoft, Twitter, and Google Discover, with Walmart recently joining in together with Microsoft. However, things may get a bit more complicated as the Chinese government may block a possible TikTok sale.

A new turn of events could now block TikTok from selling its US operations to a US company. The Chinese government has changed its rules on tech exports, which bans the commercialization of specific technology categories to foreign countries. And now, according to The Guardian, some of these changes may seem as intended to include the video-sharing app.

“Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval – a process that can take up to 30 days. In mid-August, Trump gave the company 90 days to sell up or face a shutdown.
“The rules, which hadn’t been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president.
“Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.
“TikTok’s recommendation algorithm relies on domestic technology that might need to be transferred to a new overseas owner.”

Further, Professor Cui Fan, a Chinese trade expert, told news agency Xinhua that:

“China was not in favour of “decoupling” from the US, but “some forefront technologies, however, might impact national security and public welfare, and need to be included in catalogue management.
“Cui said ByteDance should “seriously and cautiously consider whether it is necessary to suspend the [TikTok sale negotiations]”.

Source 9to5Mac

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Apple has acquired VR startup Spaces

It is being reported that Apple has acquired a VR startup named Spaces. According to a report from Protocol, Spaces has a dedicated team that specializes in virtual reality-based technology. The company was created by veterans from DreamWorks Animation back in 2016.

Spaces has built tools for Zoom in the form of an add-on that allows users to hold virtual reality video conferences and use animated avatars. The company has been developing VR products for a while now. However, it abruptly ended all of its services last week, without any further details or prior notice.

Spaces’ website states that the company is “heading in a new direction.” The official note says, “Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more.” Both Apple and Spaces haven’t responded to the matter yet.

Source: Protocol

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