No sex apps on Oculus, says Facebook

No sex apps on Oculus, says Facebook


Oculus wants your virtual reality experience to be safe and pleasant.

The Facebook-owned company will start selling its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in the first quarter of next year. And it will operate its own app store (similar to Apple’s app store) so you can download games and other engrossing apps that deliver the thrills of virtual reality. Oculus will reportedly vet which apps appear in its store, and even rate the apps.

But one thing that has no place is Oculus’ brave new world is virtual sex. A company representative re-iterated the Oculus position on the matter when we asked about it on Friday: “Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service which forbid pornographic content from being a part of the Oculus Store,” the spokesman said.

Fair enough. But that got us thinking, what about violence? If Oculus intends to make the world inside its headsets family-friendly, how will it handle violent content?

Here, Oculus had an interesting response:

“Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service, but they aren’t open to discuss what those terms are at this time.”

It’s a curious silence for an issue that’s not likely to remain hypothetical.

Gaming is expected to be one of the most popular uses of virtual reality headsets like Oculus, and many video games, from first-person shooters to fighting games, are inherently violent. But virtual reality will also open the door to other forms of entertainment, many of it more movie-like. That means the makers of gory horror movies will also gravitate to VR platforms like Oculus. Will Oculus draw the line on what level of violence is too much or how graphic the depictions of violence can be? It’s a good question, just don’t look to Oculus for answers right now.

Of course, this only applies to apps available through Oculus’ official app store. There will likely be unofficial app stores where users will be able to download whatever they want. But the rules for the official Oculus app store are important, since that’s how most mainstream consumers may experience virtual reality.

Xolo’s first ‘Black’ phone to be priced under Rs 15,000, Flipkart exclusive

Xolo's first 'Black' phone to be priced under Rs 15,000, Flipkart exclusive


NEW DELHI: Domestic handset maker Xolo plans to launch new handset every quarter under sub-brand Black as it looks to compete aggressively with brands like Xiaomi, Motorola and Yu that drive significant chunk of their revenues from online sales.

Xolo, which has launched Black to cash in on the increasing consumer comfort for buying handsets online, will unveil its first device under the series later this month in the sub-Rs 15,000 range.

“At Xolo, we have always focused on building a strong digital presence. Even now, Xolo has 20-22% of the total sales coming from online channels. Introducing an ‘online-only’ sub-brand is a natural progression for Xolo, catering to the experience-seeking online customers,” Xolo Business Head Sunil Raina told .

He, however, declined to comment on the contribution of Black to online sales.

Raina said that the company is looking at launching a new handset under the Black Series every quarter.

“Eventually, we will have three-four devices in its portfolio at any given point in time,” he said.

Xolo has partnered e-commerce major Flipkart to sell the first device in the Black range.

“Their premium sub-brand ‘Xolo Black, which will be an exclusive on Flipkart, brings some interesting features for customers,” Flipkart Vice President Commerce Platform & Head (Strategic Brand Alliances) Michael Adnani said.

Previously, homegrown smartphone major Micromax had launched its online-only ‘Yu’ brand in India.

Similarly, China’s Huawei had commenced selling devices online under its ‘Honor’ range, but has now expanded into offline channels too.

Another Chinese firm, ZTE has a ‘Nubia’ range to focus on online sales.

“Metro cities and tier I cities make up for about 40-50 per cent of our business and this region also has a strong uptake for online buying. Black will be about high-end technology at honest pricing,” Xolo’s Raina said.

Black series will include a portfolio of products, which will be future ready when it comes to technology as well as network and all Black devices will be LTE-ready, he added.

With QR codes, online movie tickets go completely paperless


With QR codes, online movie tickets go completely paperless

MUMBAI: Here’s the next change at the box office: paperless entry to the cinema hall.

The box office as we know it may soon be a thing of the past as movie exhibitors across the country led by PVR Cinemas and Cinepolis in the era of paperless ticketing. Consumers increasingly prefer to make movie bookings online or on apps, in the same manner as airline passengers. Instead of a paper ticket, they get a Quick Response Code generated on their smartphones, which consumers get scanned at the entry point before taking their pre-selected seats. No ticket stubs. No printouts.

Cinema halls are now preparing to go digital all the way — to generate additional revenue, provide convenience and become environment friendly.

“The response to the online-plus-ticket less experience has been very good across our 90 cinemas where we have introduced it,” said Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, joint managing director at PVR, which gets 35% of its bookings from its website or through aggregators such as investment works out to about Rs 1 lakh per screen, according to Meenakshi Vajpai, chief information officer at PVR, which pioneered the QR code in the country. Cinema halls are counting on more people using their phones to transact on the internet.

“As the telecom infrastructure develops, the entertainment business will undergo a tectonic shift in consumption patterns,” said Jehil Thakkar, head M&E at KPMG.

It also helps that such consumers are tech savvy, book more seats and generally choose higher-value tickets. PVR’s online bookings contributed 42% of the chain’s box office revenue, including the convenience fees charged for such transactions, Vajpai said.

“We believe in taking the box office to our customers and not the other way around,” said Alok Tandon, CEO of Inox Leisure. “We have seen an online growth of 35-40% year-on-year over the last three years, while in the smaller towns, it is approximately 30-35%. We are working on a paperless entry, which we will be launching in the next few weeks.” In the tech cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad, close to 50% of the theatre-goers buy virtual tickets. Mumbai and Delhi/National Capital Region have picked up pace in the past few months, as have towns such as Bhilai and Latur.

“The growth of online ticket booking has been very strong in metros and non-metros alike,” said Devang Sampat, chief strategy officer at Cinepolis. “The digital divide between tier-1 and tier-2 cities is gradually vanishing with the increase in mobile phones and internet connectivity.”

According to Ashish Saksena, COO cinemas at, online bookings doubled in 2014-15 from a year earlier even though the number of people visiting cinema halls declined in this period. “This growth in online space has been propelled more due to the increased penetration in cities beyond the metros,” Saksena said. “This increase in smaller towns and cities was achieved by coming up with innovative campaigns and promotions to increase use of credit cards.” Carnival Films, which runs the Carnival cinema chain and acquired Big Cinemas, is gearing up for the next stage after tier-2 and tier-3 towns contributed to growth in online booking.

“Tickets are the main source of consumption of paper, so ‘ticketless’ is the goal we are aiming at,” said PV Sunil, CEO and director at Carnival, which has set up remote booking counters. “In some of the smaller towns, apart from our box office at the property, we have set up such remote counters where people can walk in and book tickets, especially for people who do not have proper internet connectivity. This has been a big success.”

For the shift to complete paperless ticketing, there is a hurdle: the rules need to change. The government requires all cinema halls to print tickets that are preapproved and stamped, with one copy each for the government, the company and the consumer. A representation has been made to the government to replace the current system with online reports of ticket sales. Apart from revenue and convenience considerations, movie exhibitors are agreed that ticketless bookings curb the consumption of paper and help save the environment.

“With introduction of ticketless entry at all centres in the near future and projecting this for a year, we would save 13,00,000 sheets of A4 paper every year, which would be a step towards a greener world,” said Sampat of Cinepolis. “It is a paradigm shift in thinking but we have to make people environmentally conscious. Along with reducing our carbon footprint, we are making things more convenient for consumers,” said Bijli of PVR.

iPhone manufacturer Foxconn’s executives to visit Maharashtra soon

iPhone manufacturer Foxconn’s executives to visit Maharashtra soon


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government said it has invited iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to scout for locations in the state for setting up iPhone unit.

“Foxconn is sending a delegation of their officers to scout for locations in Maharashtra. We expect it to visit the state in a month’s time,” state industry minister Subhash Desai said.

During his China visit in May, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had met representatives of the leading Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn.

“Visited the leading electronic manufacturer Foxconn, had good meeting with the founder Terry Gou and his team,” Fadnavis had said.

“Very happy to know from Terry that Foxconn is keen to invest in Maharashtra for data centres, mobile phones, tablets, television, etc. A detailed plan on proposed investments in Maharashtra for 2015-2017 too was presented by Foxconn. Had a great discussion on it,” the chief minister had said.

Reliance Jio launch: Airtel, Vodafone, Idea unfazed

Reliance Jio launch: Airtel, Vodafone, Idea unfazed


KOLKATA: Reliance Jio Infocomm’s plans to launch 4G services in December has given incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular enough time to deploy their own high-speed broadband airwaves to unleash aggressive data plans and take on the Mukesh Ambani-owned adversary.

Industry insiders and analysts also say Reliance Jio’s rollout is fraught with challenges, given that voice offerings on the 4G-LTE technology platform, using the 2,300MHz band of airwaves, is yet to develop globally. Voice currently still makes up over 80% of industry revenue.

“We don’t see much of an impact of Jio’s December rollout, given that this is going to be phased and a pan-India presence is quite some time away,” said a chief executive of a leading telco, who did not wish to be named. “Jio’s scattered spectrum holdings across multiple bands, would pose challenges for seamless delivery of high-speed data services on-the-go”.

He said voice over LTE (VoLTE) had “security and delivery issues, which they (read: Jio) would have to contend with”.

At its annual shareholders’ meeting Friday, Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the company is in the throes of pre-launch testing and standardization drill of its digital broadband network that is equipped to handle both data and voice using ‘long term evolution’ or LTE — a technology standard for offering high-speed 4G services.

Another top executive of a leading GSM carrier said Jio’s biggest challenge would be offering voice and data services seamlessly across its countrywide LTE network.

“Since there’s zero clarity on whether Jio would offer a quality voice service on LTE, it remains to be seen if their data-dominant offering appeals to the mass market, given that 85% of industry revenues still stem from voice,” he said. Jaideep Ghosh, partner, management consulting, KPMG in India seconds the emotion. “Customer acquisitions will be Jio’s biggest worry as today’s announcements suggest it is primarily focusing on data play.”

According to Ghosh, unless Jio is able to bring much more to the table, both on the voice and data fronts, compared to what incumbents offer, it would be very difficult to “wean away” customers from the top three carriers.

Jio has said its mobile offerings of voice and data would be at Rs 300-500 price levels. Similar offerings currently cost around Rs 1,000 in the market.

KPMG’s Ghosh also said sub-Rs 4,000 4G devices, be it tablets or smartphones, “is unlikely to galvanise revenues or subscriber market share for Jio as urban telecom penetration is already over 100% and rural penetration is also around 50%”.

A top executive of one of India’s biggest GSM carriers noted that there was “a conspicuous absence of any voice strategy” in Jio’s announcements at the Reliance Industries AGM on Friday. “One mustn’t forget that voice remains the dominant telecom business driver in India, given that mobile carriers collectively generate nearly 4 billion incremental voice minutes a day.”

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, however, said “dual sim smartphones” could be an option for potential customers. “Given the lack of a traditional voice offering by Jio, we believe potential dual sim smartphones could be attractive to consumers as they could continue to use their existing telco SIM for voice calls and use Jio’s sim for access to cheaper, high-speed data offerings,” said the US brokerage in a note.

Still, the December launch, as opposed to industry expectations of mid-July-August, have given incumbents ample time to leverage their 4G spectrum wins in the past two auctions and cut data rates, said BK Syngal, ex-chairman of erstwhile VSNL (now Tata Communications).

Any cut in data rates by existing players, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, would, however, lead to another tariff war and further hurt a debt-laden sector.

YouTube launches dedicated website for gamers


YouTube launches dedicated website for gamers

LOS ANGELES: The online video giant announced plans ahead of next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo to launch a separate app and site specifically for fans of video games.

Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s global head of gaming content, unveiled YouTube Gaming during an event at YouTube Space LA, one of the site’s production facilities. He said YouTube Gaming will be a destination for users to find gaming videos, live streams and Internet personalities.

“Despite the crazy usage that gaming drives on YouTube, we’ve never really built gamers the experience that they deserve,” said Wyatt. “That’s something that changes today.”

The app and site, which is scheduled to debut in the US and UK later this summer, will feature individual pages dedicated to more than 25,000 games.

YouTube product designer Jonathan Terleski demonstrated that if a user began searching for the word “call” on the YouTube Gaming app, the military shooter “Call of Duty,” not the Carly Rae Jepsen tune “Call Me Maybe” would appear first.

YouTube is also seeking to make it easier for users to broadcast live and competitive gaming, known as e-sports, by creating singular links that can be shared, removing the need to schedule a broadcast and promoting live broadcasts.

“YouTube Gaming is built from the ground up for gamers, by gamers,” said Wyatt. “No longer is gaming going to be lost in a sea of content. We’re unleashing a brand-new user experience that puts games front and center. That includes live gaming, as well.”

The move by Google-owned YouTube takes direct aim at Twitch, the gaming-centric streaming video site acquired by Amazon in 2014 for nearly $1 billion. While YouTube remains the dominant online video site, Twitch has solidified itself over the past three years as a destination to stream gameplay from such titles as “League of Legends” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.” Twitch now boasts 100 million users who watch 1.5 million broadcasters a month.

“We welcome new entrants into the growing list of competitors,” said Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing, in a statement. “Gaming video is obviously a huge market that others have their eye on. It inspires us to work even harder to make the community proud.”

YouTube Gaming will be previewed at YouTube’s booth on the E3 show floor beginning Tuesday.

The announcement of YouTube’s renewed focus on gaming once again signals the importance of online video on the eve of E3, the gaming industry’s annual trade show. While the interactive extravaganza is no longer broadcast live on TV cable channels such as Spike and G4, the surprise-laced press conferences and flashy game demonstrations attract millions of viewers on YouTube, Twitch and other online streaming services.

“The way you reach a gamer today is very different than the way you would 20 or even 10 years ago,” said Michael Gallagher, president of the Electronic Software Association, which organizes E3.

With Android phone, no downside for BlackBerry


With Android phone, no downside for BlackBerry

TORONTO: BlackBerry Ltd’s move to embrace Android may be aimed at lifting revenue from its software and device management segment, but analysts say it may inadvertently give its device arm a fillip and a new lease on life.

“From the standpoint of marketing, this is a great way for BlackBerry to get visibility. It really doesn’t hurt them much, and the upside is high,” said Rob Enderle, who runs technology consulting firm Enderle Group.

Enderle and other financial and tech analysts agree that the move by BlackBerry does present its own set of challenges as the company would have to support two platforms and potentially put some resources into marketing an Android device, but with little to lose most agree it comes with little downside.

“If Android has one significant weakness it is security and that’s just the thing that BlackBerry can fix, so it could play out pretty well and I am actually quite surprised that they did not try this sooner,” said Enderle, adding that BlackBerry has to deliver a compelling device in order for the gambit to work.

Reuters reported that BlackBerry was considering a move to test run Android on its upcoming slider device, as part of a bid to convince potential corporate and government clients that its device management system, BES12, is truly able of manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices, but also devices powered by Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

“In order for BES12 to succeed it has to be viewed by all as platform agnostic, and what better way to demonstrate that other than by doing it yourself,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst with technology research firm IDC.

BlackBerry, which once dominated the smartphone market, has seen its market share drop to under 1%, as the iPhone and a slew of Android devices from Samsung have captured market share. John Chen, a turnaround expert brought in to fix its slide, is now pivoting BlackBerry to focus more on its well-regarded software and device management business.

Although the hardware business is becoming less relevant to BlackBerry as it works through its turnaround, the company still needs revenues from hardware as it ramps up new revenue streams.

“It certainly makes sense for BlackBerry’s hardware business to experiment with Android,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. “BlackBerry doesn’t have much to lose. There’s little downside and they just need one hit phone to justify the handset business.”

Cortana to get dedicated keyboard button in Windows 10


Cortana to get dedicated keyboard button in Windows 10

Toshiba will differentiate its notebooks, convertibles and desktop PCs by making a huge change to the keyboard. On the Windows 10 systems that will arrive later this year, Toshiba will add a dedicated key to access Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.

The change will be one of the most significant change to the keyboard since Windows 95 when Microsoft’s OEM partners began adding a dedicated Windows key for quick access to the Start menu. Toshiba says that the key will sit in the upper left area of the keyboard near the function keys.

The Cortana key will appear on all of Toshiba’s Windows 10 systems, Jeff Barney, general manager of Toshiba America, told PC World.

Borrowing from mobile

Cortana initially was unveiled on Windows Phone as a competitor to Google Now on Android and Siri on iOS. On Windows Phone — which will be renamed Windows 10 Mobile when the platform gets upgraded this year — Cortana is accessible accessible via the search key on the phone.

On the PC, Cortana is currently accessible via a mouse click or on-screen tap of the Cortana icon that sits adjacent to the Start menu on the task bar. Toshiba’s dedicated physical key will make it less cumbersome to access one of the most important new features of Windows 10.

To make Cortana work better, Toshiba said that it has added better microphones to its systems so Cortana can better understand user’s spoken queries.

It’s unclear if other PC vendors or peripheral manufacturers – such as makers of mice and keyboards – will follow Toshiba’s lead. Windows 10 will arrive on July 29, and we don’t expect Toshiba’s new PCs with a dedicated Cortana key to launch before that date.

Get a song, painting from online custom art store in Mangaluru


Get a song, painting from online custom art store in Mangaluru

MANGALURU: Want to express your love to your loved one, but can’t croon? or rather gift a painting which is unique. No sweat. This online market store for custom art will help you.

Welcome to, which combines art and technology innovatively, to help people own their copy of a quality art including paint, a sketch and a song at very affordable price. Already the e-commerce site is already six songs and a couple of paintings old.

This is a novel attempt by lads from remote part of Dakshina Kannada District at Sullia. The venture launched couple of days back after payment gateway integration is all set to help.

Shreemukha, 21, founder/CEO of the venture claims this is the world’s first online store where one can shop for custom art, be it music, painting or sketch art. Till now, e-commerce sites gave you readymade products. We will give you customised readymade product.

He says: We did not get a stage, so we created our own. The idea was basically to synergise art and technology since I had friends around me good in arts.

For those interested in getting customised song, the process is simple. All one needs to do is upload a small description about the person or the subject of the song. If the song is to dedicate for someone the description can include name, language, mood, memories shared etc. Buttistore in house artistes will compose the poem, make the music, sing and studio record it and deliver it in a fortnight.

As on today the team consists of the CEO, Keerthi Sathya (Music Composer), Shabari Y Ganiga (Singer / Artist), Nagendra Nayak (Singer) and Melrick D’Souza (Singer / Voice over artist). The team is on the verge of expansion with Shreemukha inviting singers for auditions on social media.

Buttistore is conscious about copyright issues, hence that would be kept in mind during composition of lyrics and music, notes Shreemukha. Music recordings are done at professional studios in Mangaluru.

“Our products are quality-assured. If the customer is not satisfied there’s a refund policy also in place,” adds Shreemukha.


Reliance Jio internet plans to cost Rs 300-500 a month


Reliance Jio internet plans to cost Rs 300-500 a month

MUMBAI: Reliance Industries (RIL) will start commercial operations of its much-awaited telecom services in December, offering a 4G smartphone for as low as Rs 4,000 and a monthly bill of Rs 300-500, its chairman Mukesh Ambani said.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, the firm’s telecom arm, is testing network with a ‘beta launch’ due over the next few months and commercial operations around December.
“Our plan is to provide the same power of computing, communication and information to every individual, whether in towns or rural areas, that the US president had 10-15 years ago. All this at about Rs 300-500 per month,” he said during his over-an-hour long speech, a third of which was devoted to Jio.

Looking to tap the surging voice and data demand, Ambani said the 4G-enabled smartphone in India will be priced below Rs 4,000 by December.
Ambani’s re-entry into the telecom business nearly a decade after Dhirubhai Ambani’s Reliance empire was split and the communication business went to younger sibling Anil, will include offering voice and high-speed data services such as viewing HD television.
The company also plans to launch many software applications for providing news and entertainment services to its telecom services users, he added.
Targeting 100% national coverage within the next three years, Ambani said Reliance Jio has applied for a pan-India cable television multi-system operator (MSO) licence and plans to enter into broadcast TV distribution.

Besides, it has partnered with the State Bank of India to apply for a payments bank licence.