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Micron Forecasts Q4 Earnings Below Expectations, Raises Concern About Chip Down Cycle

Memory-chip firm Micron Technology announced a significantly weaker than expected business outlook on Thursday, raising concern that following nearly two years of strong demand, the industry was turning towards a down cycle.

Micron forecast adjusted revenue for the current quarter at $7.2 billion (nearly Rs. 56,800 crore), plus or minus $400 million (nearly Rs. 3,200 crore), while Wall Street’s outlook was an average of $9.05 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

“We believe that demand has weakened considerably and we’ve seen that even in the areas that have been significantly constrained,” Nikolay Todorov, analyst at Longbow Research, said. “Micron will essentially start or signal that the semiconductor cycle is turning.”

Shares of the Boise, Idaho-based company initially fell 6.3 percent in extended trading but later pared some losses. Summit Insights Group analyst Kinngai Chan said the stock was holding up as some investors see this as the bottom of the cycle. “We, however, believe there’s more downside risk to earnings as our industry checks suggest possible further industry pricing pressure through 1H23,” he said.

While Micron executives were confident about demand for their chips in the long term, they were hunkering down for a tough road ahead by cutting the amount of chips they make to ensure chip prices. While Micron did not provide any numbers, it said it will reduce spending on manufacturing of chips in fiscal year 2023 which starts in September.

“I think the extent of the shift has definitely been bigger than anyone was anticipating in the ecosystem,” Micron’s chief business officer, Sumit Sadana, told Reuters. “These changes are rippling through the ecosystem now.”

Sadana said during the earnings call that China’s lockdown is causing a 30 percent drop in Micron’s China revenue for the current quarter, and a drop of 10 percent in total revenue.

The outlook for memory chip makers has worsened in recent months as surging inflation, China’s cooling economy and the Russia-Ukraine war hit consumer spending on smartphones and personal computers, a crucial market for the industry. Sadana said the demand for that segment was worse than expected.

That has driven down chip prices and led to a buildup of inventories, with research firm TrendForce estimating a drop of 3 percent to 8 percent in prices of DRAM chips during the third quarter of 2022.

Sadana said Micron will hold a portion of chips it has already produced in the warehouse rather than releasing them to the market, and supplement any supply shortage that could occur as it cuts back chip production.

“We don’t mind holding this inventory and it’ll enable us to just drive better pricing discipline in the market,” Sadana told Reuters.

DRAM chips — widely used in data centres, personal computers and other devices — account for two-thirds of Micron’s revenue, and the company also makes NAND memory chips that serve the data storage market.

The company expects adjusted profit for the quarter of $1.63 (nearly Rs. 130) per share, plus or minus 20 cents, compared with estimates of $2.57 (nearly Rs. 200) per share.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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YouTube Adds Three New Features for Reducing Spam Comments, Impersonators

YouTube is working on reducing comment spams and impersonation on the video sharing platform by adding new features. YouTube announced that, as of July 29, 2022, it will no longer allow channels to hide the number of subscribers they have. The company said that this will make it harder for impersonators to pose as other creators on the platform. YouTube has also added a new comment moderation setting to increase strictness. moreover, it is limiting the type and frequency of special characters that can be used in a channel name.

In an official community post, YouTube has announced three new features to counter the problem of spam comments and impersonators. YouTube will no long allow channels to hide their subscriber counts to make it harder for people who impersonate popular YouTube creators. As of July 29, 2022, users will no longer have to option to disable the visibility of the number of subscribers on their channel.

YouTube said, “We’ve seen bad actors hide their channels’ subscriber counts to impersonate larger, more prominent channels on YouTube — they pretend to be other creators in comments, then lure people to their impersonating channel page.” The platform also acknowledged the fact that some creators like to hide the number of subscribers they have while building an audience. YouTube added, “We made this decision to help our community be safer as a whole but we recognize not all creators using this option are bad actors.”

The video sharing platform has also added improved creator comment moderation setting in YouTube Studio. Creators will be able to use the improved moderation setting to increase strictness in the Held for Review tab. It has been added as an optional feature that can filter out more spam and identity abuse comments.

Impersonators, earlier, could tweak their name by adding special characters to their YouTube channel’s name that allowed them to have names identical to other famous creators. Hence, YouTube is reducing the number of characters available for choosing a channel name. The company said that the update will not let impersonators update their channel name to something like “¥ouⓉube✅”.

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Microsoft Teams on Web Gets Custom Backgrounds, Live Captions in 27 New Languages Including Hindi

Microsoft has announced a new update for its video conferencing platform Teams on Web with several new features. With this new update, Microsoft is introducing background effects for Teams on Web that will now allow users to add custom backgrounds, like blur. These custom backgrounds were earlier only available to Teams application users. Moreover, Teams on Web users can now view captions from a CART provider within the meeting window instead of opening up a new window. The new update brings live captions support for 27 new languages on Teams on Web, including Hindi, as well.

In a blog post, Microsoft has announced that the American company is adding a bunch of new features to the Microsoft Teams on Web. Among the new features, the company is bringing the background effects that were already present on the application version of Teams. Users can now choose to blur the background or select different Microsoft-provided backgrounds during a video conference or meeting. It is to be noted that the blurring or replacing of background may not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the meeting.

Microsoft Teams on Web users can now view captions from a CART provider within the meeting window instead of a second one. Users can choose to enable the feature from their meeting options. The web version of the video conferencing platform is also getting the live captions with speaker attribution feature that will allow users to see who is speaking and what the speaker is saying. For captions, Microsoft has added 27 new spoken languages to the Teams on Web, including Hindi, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Japanese, and more. The live captions feature will work for these newly added languages as well.

The new update is also bringing live transcripts for the above mentioned newly added languages to the Microsoft Teams on Web. This feature will allow users to follow and review conversations that are happening and that a user might have missed with ease during a video or an audio conference. Microsoft also said that this promotes inclusivity for users who suffer from hearing disabilities or have a different level of language proficiency. Admins have to turn on the Allow Transcription policy to enable the feature.

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Google-Bharti Airtel Deal Gets Approval From CCI for Up to $1 Billion Investment

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Bharti Airtel Defers Payment of AGR Dues Up to FY19 After DoT’s Moratorium Offer

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it has opted to defer the payment of AGR dues up to FY 2018-19, that are not tabulated in the Supreme Court’s order, by up to four years.

It has retained the right to pre-pay instalment amounts and would not avail the option of conversion of the interest dues that would accrue into equity.

Sources at the company said the amount of dues add up to about Rs. 3,000 crore for the additional years.

“We wish to inform you that the company has informed to DoT (Department of Telecom) that the company shall avail the option to defer the payment of the AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) dues up to FY 2018-19 which are not tabulated in the Hon’ble Supreme Court order, up to four years (applicable from FY 2021-22 to FY 2024-25) while retaining the right to pre-pay the instalment amounts,” Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing.

The company also made it clear that it will “not avail the option of conversion of the interest dues that accrue under aforesaid option into equity”.

Airtel said DoT had offered the option of four-year moratorium (applicable from FY 2021-22 to FY 2024-25) for AGR dues up to FY 2018-19 which are not tabulated in the Supreme Court order pertaining to statutory dues as well as for the conversion of the interest dues that accrue into equity.

The government calculates its share of revenue from telecom operators based on their AGR, which is considered to have been earned by them from the sale of services.

Last week, debt-ridden telecom operator Vodafone Idea (VIL) decided to defer payment of additional AGR dues of Rs. 8,837 crore by a period of four years.

In a filing on June 22, the company said DoT, on June 15, raised AGR demand for additional two financial years beyond 2016-17, which were not covered under the Supreme Court order on the statutory dues.

VIL had mentioned that its board of directors “has approved the exercise of the option of deferment of the AGR related dues by a period of four years with immediate effect, in accordance with the said DoT letter”.

“The amount of the AGR related dues as stated in the said DoT letter is Rs. 8,837 crore, which is subject to revision on account of disposal of various representations,” it had said.

Telecom service providers had got a shot in the arm with the government last year approving a blockbuster relief package that included a four-year break for companies from paying statutory dues, permission to share scarce airwaves, change in the definition of revenue on which levies are paid and 100 per cent foreign investment through the automatic route.

According to official data, telecom operators owe over Rs. 1.65 lakh crore to the government in adjusted gross revenue up to the financial year 2018-19.

The fresh calculation shows total AGR liability on Bharti Airtel is Rs. 31,280 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs. 59,230 crore, Tata Group Rs. 12,930 crore, Reliance Jio Rs. 630 crore, BSNL Rs. 16,220 crore and MTNL Rs 5,010 crore up to the financial year 2018-19.

Most of the telecom operators have made part payment of AGR demand raised till fiscal year 2016-17.

Bharti Airtel had an outstanding of Rs. 25,970 crore, VIL Rs. 50,400 crore, Tata Group companies Rs. 12,600 crore, BSNL Rs. 5,840 crore and MTNL Rs. 4,350 crore as on March 31, 2021.

The demand was also raised for some of the telecom companies like Sistema Shyam, Etisalat DB Telecom, S Tel, Reliance Communications that have shut down their telecom services business.

This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discuss iPhone 13, new iPad and iPad mini, and Apple Watch Series 7 — and what they mean to the Indian market. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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ISRO Successfully Launches PSLV-C53 With 3 Satellites From Singapore Onboard

The PSLV-C53/DS-EO mission has been successfully accomplished, said Indian Space Research Organisation on Thursday.

The launch was scheduled for 6 PM from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space, Sriharikota, added ISRO.

The countdown of 25 hours leading to the launch started at 5 PM on Wednesday.

PSLV-C53 is the second dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). It is designed to orbit the DS-EO satellites along with two other co-passenger satellites from Singapore.

This is the 55th mission of PSLV and the 15th mission using the PSLV-Core Alone variant. It is the 16th PSLV launch from the second launch pad.

The mission proposes to demonstrate the utilisation of the spent upper stage of the launch vehicle as a stabilized platform for scientific payloads subsequent to the separation of the satellites.

Digantara, a spacetech startup, said that the “world’s first commercial space-based space weather system”, ROBI (ROBust Integrating proton fluence meter), designed by it was also launched onboard ISRO’s PSLV-C53 Mission.

With the launch of the world’s smallest digital space weather sensor for monitoring space weather, the company has taken a giant leap towards building their space infrastructure for providing a one-stop comprehensive space situational awareness solution, it said.

Noting that space weather is a complex phenomenon that arises from high energy particles, plasma, and electromagnetic waves originating from the sun or the cosmos interacting with the earth’s magnetic field, Digantara said, a major space weather event can have significant repercussions on both space and terrestrial systems.

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Amazfit T-Rex 2 Now Available for Pre-Order in India; Deliveries to Begin on July 2: Price, Specifications

Amazfit T-Rex 2 is now available for pre-order in India and the deliveries of the smartwatch will begin on July 2. It was launched globally on May 24 with a 500mAh battery pack that can power the smartwatch for up to 24 days of normal use. It also comes with 10 ATM water resistance and high-precision GPS technology. The smartwatch is currently available for pre-order on Amazfit’s official website. Recently, the landing page of the smartwatch on Amazon also went live, indicating that it will be soon available for purchase on Amazon as well.

Amazfit T-Rex 2 availability, price in India

The new rugged smartwatch from Amazfit is currently available for pre-order on Amazfit’s India website with price tag of Rs. 15,999. Amazfit T-Rex 2 is being offered in Astro Black and Gold, Amber Black, and Wild Green colour options in India. The deliveries of the pre-ordered smartwatches will begin on July 2 at 12pm. The company is also giving a limited launch offer gym bag worth Rs. 1,999 to customers who pre-order the wearable.

The Amazon landing page for the Amazfit T-Rex 2 also went live a few days back, hinting the availability of the smartwatch on soon.

Amazfit T-Rex 2 was globally launched last month on May 24. The smartwatch, available on the Amazfit US site, was priced starting $229.99 (roughly Rs. 19,000).

Amazfit T-Rex 2 specifications

The latest offering from Amazfit features a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with 454×454 pixels resolution. Amazfit T-Rex 2 is powered by a 500mAh battery that, as per the company claims, can reach full charge in about 2 hours. The claimed battery life of the smartwatch is up to 24 days with normal use. The rugged smartwatch also comes with a Battery Saver Mode that is claimed to extend the battery life to up to 45 days.

Amazfit T-Rex 2 gets dual-band positioning and five-satellite navigation system support. It comes with high-precision GPS technology for wearer to navigate their way through busy city roads and natural trails. These natural trails can be imported from the Zepp application. The smartwatch comes with a function that prompts wearers to take a blood oxygen saturation test if it detects altitude changes. It can constantly monitor the wearer’s blood oxygen levels as well.

Since, T-Rex 2 is a rugged smartwatch, it comes with military-grade durability and have the ability to function in extreme temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius. The smartwatch also gets 10 ATM water resistance and lets it resist water pressure equivalent to up to 100 meters. The wearable comes with 150 sports modes and EverSense technology that can automatically detect eight types of sports movements.

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Google, Vodafone Partner to Work Towards Extending Wear OS Smartwatch Battery Life

Vodafone is working with Google to extend the battery life of a smartwatch by reducing the “chatter” between the device and the network, a bigger drain of energy than screen brightness and other settings targeted by low power modes.

The mobile operator has developed an API (application programming interface) that enables apps and operating systems, such as Google Android‘s Wear OS, to reconfigure how they communicate with its network, said Vodafone‘s director of network architecture Santiago Tenorio.

“With wearables, such as smartwatches and other devices, battery life is incredibly important for our users,” the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

“That’s why Vodafone and Google’s Android team are collaborating to optimise battery life on Wear OS by Google watches.”

Changes such as making the watch connect to the network intermittently instead of constantly and releasing the channel through which it was transmitting more quickly had been tested, Tenorio said.

Given the small size of battery in smartwatches, changing these parameters could extend the life of the device “very significantly”, he said.

There was a cost in performance but the API could save users enough power to last until the end of a long run, he added.

The tech stems from Vodafone’s involvement in a 2017 project with elite runner Kenenisa Bekele to break the two-hour marathon barrier.

The amount of data transmitted by sensors in the attempt drained a smartwatch battery in less than an hour, Tenorio said.

“Bekele was fast, but he wasn’t that fast,” he said. “In a couple of years we were able to extend the (battery) life to three and a half hours.”

The technology could be available in Wear OS in the coming months, he said, adding that “many more” wearables partners were interested in the API.

© Thomson Reuters 2022



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Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 Launch Set for July 4, Teased to Feature 4K OLED display

Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 is all set to launch on July 4 in China alongside the Xiaomi 12S series. The Chinese electronics brand, via Weibo, has confirmed the arrival of the new laptop in its home country. It has also shared a poster on the Chinese microblogging platform, revealing the Mi Notebook Pro successor’s design. The Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 is teased to pack a 4K OLED display and will measure 14.9mm in thickness. The display will support Dolby Vision as well.

The launch of Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 will be held in China on July 4, as per teaser posters shared (in Chinese) by Xiaomi on Weibo. As mentioned, teaser images suggest that Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 will have a 4K OLED display with support for Dolby Vision. The laptop will have a lightweight build with 14.9mm thickness. The Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 will be launched alongside Xiaomi 12S series. The lineup, which is expected to include three models – Xiaomi 12S Ultra, Xiaomi 12S Pro, and Xiaomi 12S will go official at 7pm CST Asia (4:30pm IST) on July 4.

The new Xiaomi Book Pro 2022 is expected to succeed the Mi NoteBook Pro that was released in India in August last year with an initial price tag of Rs. 56,999 for the Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM configuration. The Core i5 + 16GB RAM model costs Rs. 59,999. The top-of-the-line Core i7 + 16GB RAM model costs Rs. 72,999.

The Mi NoteBook Pro features a 14-inch 2.5K (2,560×1,600 pixels) display and is powered by up to an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor with Iris Xe graphics. It offers up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The Mi NoteBook Pro has a 56Whr battery.

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Noise ColorFit Pro 4, ColorFit Pro 4 Max with Bluetooth Calling Launched in India: Price, Specifications

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Noise ColorFit Pro 4, ColorFit Pro 4 Max with Bluetooth Calling Launched in India: Price, Specifications

Noise has launched two new smartwatches in India, ColorFit Pro 4 and ColorFit Pro 4 Max, on Thursday. These smartwatches boast a large display — the ColorFit Pro 4 has a 1.72-inch screen whereas the ColorFit Pro 4 Max has a 1.8-inch display. They feature Bluetooth calling support, 100 sports modes, and over 100 watch faces. Both of these smartwatches will go on sale next week for the first time in India. They will be available on Amazon and come in several colours.

Noise ColorFit Pro 4, ColorFit Pro 4 Max price availability

The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 will go on sale on Amazon on July 4 at 12pm. It will be available at a special launch price of Rs. 3,499 and will come in Charcoal Black, Deep Wine, Midnight Blue, Mint Green, Rose Pink, Silver Grey, Sunset Orange, and Teal Blue colours.

On the other hand, the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 Max will have an introductory price of Rs. 3,999. It will also go on sale on Amazon on July 4 at 12pm. It will be available in Navy Gold, Rose Gold, Silver Grey, and Vintage Brown colours.

Noise ColorFit Pro 4 specifications, features

This new smartwatch from Noise has a 1.72-inch display with a 60Hz refresh rate, 500 nits of brightness and 331 pixels per inch (ppi) of pixel density. The ColorFit Pro 4 sports a multi-function crown that can be used to navigate menus, adjust volumes, and swap watch faces. It also supports Bluetooth calling functionality. It comes with 100 sports modes, including football, cycling, running, and more. It features the Noise Health Suite that packs a heart rate sensor and sleep monitor. Users can also set up alarms, get stock market updates, and more.

Noise ColorFit Pro 4 Max specifications, features

The Noise ColorFit Pro 4 Max has a 1.8-inch display, claimed to be the biggest ever feature on a Noise smartwatch. You get a built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant as well as Bluetooth calling support. The Noise Heal Suite brings a heart rate sensor, SpO2 monitor, and sleep monitor. The ColorFit Pro Max 4 features 100 sports modes, including yoga, swimming, running, and more. This wearable includes a feature that notifies you when it detects unbearable external noise. The smartwatch has an IP68-rated water-resistant design and gets over 150 watch faces.

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Binance Onboards TikTok, Instagram Influencer Khaby to Bust Web3 Myths in Signature Style

Binance has roped-in TikTok star Khaby Lame to create awareness around cryptocurrencies and Web3 via social media. Lame, 22, is a Senegalese social media celebrity based in Italy. With over 78 million followers on Instagram and over 145 million fans on TikTok, Khaby is one of the most followed social media influencers in the world. He rose to fame when his silent ‘life hack’ videos, simplifying complicated actions, went viral some years ago.

This move from Binance comes at a time the crypto industry is going through a downtime. Clouded by fears of recessions and industrial slowdowns, the crypto sector shed out billions in recent months. Several investors pulled back their capital from crypto assets because of the prevailing situation of low-risk appetite.

Binance is concerned that misinformation around the Web3 sector could further delay mass adoption of these newer technologies, that are already facing regulatory uncertainties in several parts of the world.

“With so much nuance around Web 3 and misinformation in the world, it was a perfect match to have Khaby on board to help debunk some of the myths around this space. Khaby has become a cultural icon. We love his charm and sense of humour, and think it will bring relevance and relatability as we scale Web3 adoption,” said James Rothwell, Global Vice President of Marketing, Binance while commenting on the subject.

In his statement, Khaby revealed he has been curious and intrigued about the Web3 space himself. This drove him to accept Binance’s offer.

“I jumped at the chance to partner with a leader like Binance because it aligns perfectly with what I usually do: make complex stuff easy and fun for everyone,” the influencer noted. Binance announced Khaby as its ‘Brand Ambassador’ via a Twitter post.

In the post, the company revealed that it will be launching Khaby-exclusive NFT collections and drive crypto education.

Binance has been making the headlines for an array of recent announcements despite the ongoing crypto market slump.

Earlier this month, it announced a flagship programme for VIP and institutional investors.

Last week, Binance US said it was expecting to raise around $50 million (roughly Rs. 390 crore) in funding the continuation of its seed round of investments in the coming days.

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