Today was the day of calm in the world of tech with smartphones getting the much-needed software updates and app downloads registering record growth in emerging markets. However, the day belonged to WhatsApp Business app which was launched late yesterday and about which we told you in our wrap last evening.
In fresh news, Apple brought its redesigned App Store to the Web after making it available on iOS and macOS for sometime now. Reliance Jio, the telecom operator which recently turned a year old, recorded its first ever quarterly profit and Paytm is killing transfer of cashback with the launch of Paytm Cash. If you own a Redmi 5A then your smartphone will soon look new with the release of MIUI9 update. Let’s run you down with all the major tech stories from the world of technology.
Reliance Jio posts first ever profit
Reliance Jio announced its first ever profit with strong growth in subscriber numbers and record data consumption. The telecom operator announced that Jio’s profit for the quarter ending December came in at 504 crore as opposed to loss of Rs 271 crore in the previous quarter.
The strong results are primarily driven by increase in average revenue per user to Rs 154 per subscriber per month and continued renewal of subscription to company’s Rs 399 data plan offering 1GB data per day for 84 days. The company also reported record data consumption of 431 crore GB during the quarter and video consumption growing to 200 crore hours per month on the network.
Apple debuts redesigned web interface for iOS and Mac Apps
With the release of iOS 11 last year, Apple brought a major redesign to App Store. Now the Cupertino-based company is bringing that fresh look to the web as well. App Store for Web now resonates with the one on iOS and macOS with same clean user interface and a typography centered around large icons.
The changes to the web interface of the App Store follows the launch of iTunes version 12.7. With the interface now making its way down to the web as well, the same clean interface will be available across mobile and desktop.
Paytm no longer allows users to transfer cashbacks
Paytm is changing the way its users make use of the cashback received while shopping or making transactions on its platform. The company announced Paytm Cash which technically spells the death of Paytm cashback and it will be visible in the passbook section of the app.
The Paytm Cash is a feature that essentially locks your cashback amount and will only allow it to be used while making payment at vendors accepting Paytm. The release of this feature means that cashback becomes non-transferable to bank as well as fellow Paytm users.
Duty recast could make imported high-end mobile phones costlier
In order to further boost the Make In India initiative, the government is planning a major rejig to customs duty with budget for the financial year 2018-19. The government has already raised customs duty from 10 percent to 15 percent in July last year and with further increase, the idea of importing phones by Apple and Samsung will become even more expensive proposition.
The increase in customs duty is also expected to hit components such as printed circuit boards, camera modules and displays that are given duty free entry for now. The idea is to encourage more companies to start manufacturing in the country especially electronics and may lead to switch from assembling here.
Xiaomi Redmi 5A receives MIUI 9 Global Stable ROM
Xiaomi Redmi 5A, the entry-level smartphone from the Chinese smartphone maker, is receiving MIUI9 stable update. The MIUI 9 update is based on Android 7. Nougat and brings new features like split-screen multitasking, universal search for images, AI integration to name a few.
Xiaomi confirmed that it will update 40 of its devices with MIUI 9 yesterday and Redmi 5A is one of the beneficiaries. The update is being rolled out as an OTA update and Redmi 5A users can head to Updater app to see if the new software is available for their device.
App downloads in India grew 215 percent in 2017: App Annie
India has surpassed the US in app downloads with a growth of 215 percent. App Annie reports that app downloads saw a 60 percent growth globally while the time spent in apps grew by 30 percent. It says an average Indian smartphone user has about 80 apps on their phone and uses 40 of them.
The numbers are better than that of China and Japan where users have over 100 apps on their phone but use only 40 of them. India is behind China when it comes to time spent by users in apps across platforms like iOS, Google Play and forked versions of Android. The growth in app downloads and usage in the country is primarily driven by Jio’s data offering. WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger were the top three app while Amazon, Paytm and Instagram rounded out the top 10 most downloaded apps list.
Uber completes sale of $9.3 billion in stock led by SoftBank
Uber has sold a total of $9.3 billion in stock to Japan’s SoftBank as part of company’s effort to reshape its business under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. SoftBank acquired the stock from existing investors at a discounted valuation of $48 billion as opposed to previous $70 billion valuation.
SoftBank’s investment also means that Uber will have access to more funds and help it come out of the negativity surrounding the company which led to departure of co-founder Kalanick. Khosrowshahi plans to take the company public sometime next year while he brings cultural integrity to the organization.