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Pak’s satellites PRSS- 1, PakTES-1A become fully operational

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: After the successful tests in the orbit, Pakistan’s first Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) and Pakistan’s indigenous Technology Evaluation Satellite (PakTES-1A) beca-me fully operational on Tues-day.

The control of PRSS-1 Satellite was successfully transferred to Ground Control Stations in Pakistan, a statement issued by the Planning Commission here said. The satellites were successfully launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, China on July 9, 2018.

According to the statement, President Mamnoon Hussain and the Prime Minister Justice ® Nasir-ul-Mulk have appreciated the efforts of SUPARCO’s engineers and scientists in achieving a yet another milestone in the space domain, coinciding this feat with Pakistan’s 71st Independence Day.

The President and the Prime Minister  have also expressed the hope that the launching and operationalization of these satellites will add to the confidence of our space engineers and related technical personnel, and the services rendered by these would be instrumental in improving socio-economic development of the country.

Pakistani nation is rightly proud to attain this milestone; entering the League of Nations owning and operating the remote sensing satellites, the statement added.

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Android devices are at risk of attacks

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: With hacking incidents happening more frequently, the last thing you want to hear is that your phone is not secure.

According to a report by Security firm Kryptowire, Android’s open operating system may be open to vulnerabilities.

The security firm ran tests on 10 devices running the Android OS and found that bugs in their firmware left them open to attacks.

“Pre-installed apps and firmware pose a risk due to vulnerabilities that can be pre-positioned on a device, rendering the device vulnerable on purchase,” an overview of the report reads.

The study by Kryptowire was conducted under the Department of Homeland Security’s grant because some of the devices tested came from Chinese firm ZTE.

The US federal government has barred military employees from using ZTE and Huawei devices, in line with the intelligence community’s advise that such devices could pose a national security risk if they were to be used by China to spy on US citizens.

The firm further added that if users download a malicious app on their ZTE ZMax devices, they become highly vulnerable, potentially giving the app complete access to their data and device operation. Other affected phones came from Vivo, Sony, and Sky, among others.

Wired magazine described this vulnerability as a ‘byproduct’ of the Android OS business strategy which lets third-party companies, such as ZTE, modify the code. This, though makes an Android device attractive for phone companies, is what’s responsible for the cracks that might allow a malicious app to take over.

Although this may sound distressing to the users, an important thing to remember is that a device is only vulnerable to these bad actors if a user downloads an app. Apps that go through the Google Play store are subject to stringent review that should prevent a malicious app from even seeing the light of day.

Unless users are downloading apps directly from their makers or using non-Google verified app service, their Android devices should remain secure.

Recently there has been all manner of questions about the merits of an app developer stepping away from Google’s Play Store. This began since the developers of the popular multiplayer game ‘Fortnite’ announced that they will make the game available directly through Epic Games’ website.

Doing so allows the developer to skirt around Google’s 30 per cent cut, but the Kryptowire report reinforces the already serious security concerns.

Downloading unverified third-party apps already make an Android device vulnerable, and the report by Kryptowire further raises concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Samsung launches gaming-friendly Note-9

NEW YORK (Reuters): Samsung Electronics Co Ltd launched the Galaxy Note 9 “phablet” in New York on Thursday, promising better battery life and quick cooling to attract gamers and revive flagging sales.

The focus on gamer-friendly features appears to be a shift away from Samsung’s previous positioning of the Note as a productivity-boosting device, and is an attempt to lure younger customers as the company’s smartphone sales falter.

U.S. carrier Verizon Communications Inc said the new device will be available for pre-order from August 10, with the 128 gigabyte model priced at $999.99 for the and 512GB model at $1,249.99.

Sprint Corp will introduce the smartphone on August 24 and offer a 50 percent discount as part of a promotional scheme.

Samsung also launched the Galaxy Home speaker, a device that will use its Bixby voice assistant and compete with similar products from Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

The company last month posted its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year as rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies nipped at its heels, challenging the market leader with cheaper, feature-packed models.

 

An industry source said the new Note would be priced similarly to its predecessor Note 8, which sold at around $950. The Note 8 sported dual rear cameras and the biggest screen to date on a Samsung smartphone.

The new Note will support up to 1 terabyte of memory – it will have a 512 GB version that will support an additional 512 GB memory card – the source said, making Samsung the first major smartphone maker to sell a 1TB phone.

Samsung launched the Note 9 at 11 a.m. in New York on Thursday, or Friday midnight in Seoul. The new Note is set to hit stores on Aug. 24, Samsung said.

The launch comes about three weeks earlier than its predecessor’s release date, a move prompted by increased competition in the second half of the year as rivals release new smartphone models.

During the event, the company also unveiled its Samsung Galaxy watch with a wireless pad and charger duo for its watch and Note 9.

Samsung said the Note 9 will be the first Android phone to support Fortnite, a hugely popular video-and-smartphone survival game that was only playable on computers, consoles and Apple products until now. Lovers of the game will get an exclusive Note 9 character skin or alternative appearance for characters.

The phablet – a cross between a smartphone and a tablet – would also be able to cool down quickly during game sessions that typically heat up phones a lot.

Its S Pen stylus is Bluetooth-enabled and designed to act as a remote for controlling YouTube video playback.

Drew Blackard, Samsung’s Senior Director of Product Marketing describes the new Samsung Galaxy Note9 during a product launch event in Brooklyn, New York, August 8. Reuters

For its smart speakers, Samsung has partnered with Spotify Technology SA for music streaming. Spotify shares rose nearly 5 percent to $186.96 after the announcement.

“We expect the Note 9 to sell more than its previous model and we will mobilize all our sales and marketing resources to ensure the successful launch,” KyeongTae Lee, Samsung’s vice-president of mobile communication, told investors on the company’s earnings conference call last week.

Samsung does not break out shipments of its smartphone models, but analysts reckon it has shipped around 10 million Note 8 models so far.

The company hopes to break through its sales slump with the new Note, after it reported last month that its flagship Galaxy S9 phone missed sales targets. Profit in the mobile division fell by a third in the April-June quarter.

 

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Apple removes ‘wrong apps’ in gambling purge

LONDON (BBC News): Apple has been accused of accidentally removing apps from the App Store in a crackdown on gambling content.

Several developers complained via social media that their apps, which they said had nothing to do with gambling, were taken down.

The affected apps included a Polish magazine, a gif-sharing service and a platform for sending clips of Xbox games to friends. The BBC has contacted Apple for comment.

A message sent to affected developers said that Apple was removing gambling-related apps made by individuals in an effort to “reduce fraudulent activity… and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity”.

Recently, Norway succeeded in getting Apple to ban all gambling apps from its App Store in the country, although the recent removals appear to have been effected worldwide.

Some of the removed apps are now coming back online.

“Apple says these apps contain gambling but they don’t reveal how they have detected this,” said Simon Stovring, a Copenhagen-based developer behind a gif-sharing app called Gifferent.

“It seems like an unfortunate but honest mistake,” he told the BBC.

Mr Stovring said about 10 fellow-developers had contacted him to say that they too had been hit by the ban. Wojtek Pietrusiewicz, co-owner of the Polish app iMagazine, said it had also been “caught in the crossfire”.

‘Angry comment’

He said he thought the removal might have occurred because the app contains access to the wider internet, which allows users to potentially click through to gambling content.

The app, which has thousands of users, was down for a total of 15 hours.

While it didn’t cause any serious issues, Mr Pietrusiewicz said it did result in “one angry comment from a reader and a lot of stress for our team”.

Another developer, Niall Watchorn, also watched as his app for sharing Xbox game footage was reinstated after several hours.

“It was very frustrating though, as my app has just started gaining traction,” he told the BBC.

 

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Athan features at Google App Summit

F.P. Report

Lahore: VentureDive’s application, Athan, made global waves after it got featured as one of the fastest growing applications in the Asia Pacific region at the Google App Summit’18, held in Singapore. Athan was the only ‘made in Pakistan’ app to feature at the event. Representing Athan at the summit, VentureDive’s Managing Director Saad Fazil and Senior Product Manager Ali Raza made a memorable footprint for the country by being the only Pakistanis at the invite-only event.

Commenting on the significant occasion, Saad Fazil, MD and Co-founder said, “As is the case with all products and services associated with VentureDive, our aim is to reach larger communities with a tech-based solution for their daily routines in order to make life easier for them. It is heartening for us to see that we are achieving that with Athan.”

“While the impact of an app like Athan cannot be felt in full force in the Muslim-majority countries where calls for prayers are made five times a day and the general culture of the place makes it easier to adjust routines during times such as Ramadan, it is the non-Muslim majority countries where the inclusive aspect of the app is felt in full force. Many of our users living in the West find Athan useful as it makes it easier for them to follow their religion.” Adapting to modern advancements in technology and innovation, Athan brings an all-immersive experience for Muslims across the globe; bridging religion with technology for convenience.

Developed in 2014, Athan has become the most reliable Islamic application for Muslims all over the world today. Since its inception, the app has helped Muslims in every corner of the globe follow accurate prayer times as per their location and jurisdiction, helped them find the direction of the Qibla from anywhere, and provided heaps of vital information on Islamic principles.

Athan was developed by IslamicFinder.org; the most authentic source of Islamic information available online. The mission behind Athan has been to help Muslims navigate in their daily lives with convenience, regardless of whether they are based in a Muslim-majority country or not. The app is available in 6 major languages and keeps users posted with accurate prayer times of more than 6 million locations worldwide.

Athan has grown significantly since its inception and continues to do so. Its recognition has been significant across various regions such as USA, Canada and the UK, over the years; whereby the seeds of islamicfinder.org were initially sown. Athan provides features meant for a Muslim’s everyday convenience, especially in locations where it may be more difficult to comply with Islam. Athan’s participation at the App Summit reinforced the impact that organization’s like VentureDive, and the Pakistani tech industry at large, can make on a global scale.

 

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Samsung smartphones to receive Oreo in early 2019

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: On one side Google has launched Android 9.0 Pie, and on the other side, Samsung is still struggling to provide its users with Oreo Updates. However, if you have bought a Samsung flagship device in the last two years, your phone will be updated to Android Oreo. Samsung Smartphones are widely bought in Pakistan so Pakistani here is a good news for you.

Samsung always prioritise its mid-range smartphones so it has updated plenty of smartphones with Oreo update. Now there is good news for Samsung lovers: the South Korean company will now offer some mid-range Oreo updates.

Some pictures containing the list of Samsung phones will be updated to Android Oreo are leaked after the company shared it in Samsung Members app.

The document has named 12 devices that will get Android Oreo update, all in the mid-range:

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Xiaomi releases first look of Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Monitoring Desk

BEIJING: Xiaomi is currently working on new device and soon it will launch this new device which is currently called Pocophone F1. However, the name is not confirmed and that can be change at the time of launch. First Xiaomi Pocophone F1 was certified for Bluetooth connectivity and then popped up on AnTuTu. Recently, a Belarusian site leaked some specs, but now a first image Xiaomi Pocophone F1 has surfaced in Romania, that gives bit different sheet of specs.

According to Romanian retailer PC Garage the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is expected to have Snapdragon 845 with octa-core CPU and Adreno 630 GPU.

The phone will have RAM of 6 GB, while storage is 64 GB with a slot for microSD in the hybrid SIM slot. This upcoming device camera section will have setups of 12 MP + 5 MP on the back, 20 MP on the front.

Belarusian site reported that Pocophone F1 will feature 6.18” Full HD+ screen but the Romanian site, which leaked first image Xiaomi Pocophone F1, says that the phone will have 5.99” IPS panel.

The new listing also includes a price tag of RON1,999 which is equivalent of €430/$500. It is to be expected that device will feature one of the cheapest Snapdragon 845. The leak suggests that the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 will feature 4,000mAh battery but there is no word on a 3.5mm jack.

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WhatsApp to bring Picture-in-Picture Mode to watch YouTube

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: WhatsApp is working on picture-in-picture feature that could soon be available for Android users. This new feature will let WhatsApp users to play videos from Instagram and YouTube in a small window within the messaging app. WhatsApp for Android Bringing Picture-in-Picture Mode so you will not need to go to Instagram or YouTube apps to view a video sent by a contact.

WABetaInfo has reported, this new feature is available for WhatsApp Android beta version 2.18.234, but it is currently under development and has not been enabled for beta testers. The report also further added that the feature still needs to get many other improvements before it’s launch.

WhatsApp for Android Bringing Picture-in-Picture Mode

There is still no information that when exactly will be this feature launched. However, this feature is already available in the iOS app, so it should be available for Android soon.

According to the report that WhatsApp has been working for the last few months in order to add this feature and it may be available in one of the next few updates.

When the picture-in-picture feature rolls out on WhatsApp for Android, then users will see a White-colored Play icon on any YouTube or Instagram video link shared on the messaging app. They will have to tap on the icon and the video will pop-up inside the app in a small box. This box can be expanded or placed anywhere within the app itself and users will be able to keep on texting with the contacts.

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Samsung leaks official image of Galaxy Note 9

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Samsung has a bad habit of “accidentally” leaking the images of their upcoming devices. Just like always, Samsung has Accidentally leaked Official Image of Galaxy Note 9, keeping their tradition alive.

Samsung has opened up reservations for Galaxy Note 9 on its website ahead of the actual launch. However, the phone is still to be announced yet. Making us to able to reserve the latest Galaxy smartphone, this week, Samsung launched a new page on its website and customers can get a special offer in the process. So if you are planning to buy the Note 9 anyway, then reserve your’s one now.

As Samsung has the routine of leaking its own products and this time the tech giant has gone out of the way. The Preorder page was a part of the newsletter that the company has sent to its customers in New Zealand. However, when you click on the preorder button, it gives an error page as Note 9 preorders are likely still a few weeks away.

The image of Galaxy Note 9 above shows that it is just like Note 8 with a headphone jack, a USB-C port, dual rear cameras, and a rear fingerprint sensor. We can see the rear of the phone, pictured in blue, alongside a yellow stylus.

A few days back Samsung had accidentally leaked Galaxy Watch on its website. Samsung is not the only company who opt for this “accidental leak” to market their device before launch, Apple once has also announced the iPhone 7 on Twitter “accidentally”.

 

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Facebook, Instagram to introduce time-management features

PARIS (AFP): Do you worry that you, or your children, spend too much time on social media? Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday said they want to help you take control.

In a statement, the social media giants — which are both owned by Facebook — announced “new tools to help people manage their time” spent on the platforms.

Among the tools are a way to limit notifications, and a dashboard that allows users to keep track of how much time they have spent on the platforms.

“We want the time people spend on Instagram and Facebook to be intentional, positive and inspiring,” the statement said.

“Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them,” it added.

Facebook said it was introducing a daily reminder, whereby users are alerted when they reach the time limit they set for themselves to spend on the app.

It is also introducing an option to deactivate notifications on smartphones.

Facebook has in recent months introduced a string of changes to its content, including a major plan earlier this year to update its newsfeed to emphasise posts from friends and family.

That shift had prompted fears it could drive away advertisers if people spent less time on the social network.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had announced the changes in 2017, as his firm sought to respond to accusations that it encouraged addiction to its platform.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg said: “In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn´t just fun to use, but also good for people´s well-being and for society.”

Since the measures were introduced, viral videos have seen a significant drop in reach.

The plan, in turn, saw a 5 per cent drop in time spent on Facebook in the last quarter of 2017.