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BSNL Rs. 2,022 Prepaid Recharge Plan With 75GB Monthly Data, 300 Days Validity Announced


Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched a Rs. 2,022 prepaid recharge plan that brings benefits including unlimited voice calling as well as 75GB of high-speed data access on a monthly basis for 300 days. The new BSNL prepaid plan is available to all prepaid users of the state-owned telecom operator. Alongside the data and calling benefits, the new prepaid plan also brings 100 SMS messages on a daily basis. BSNL has announced the new plan as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Plan 2022’ ahead of India’s Independence Day.

BSNL on Monday announced the launch of its new recharge plan dubbed Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Plan 2022 priced at Rs. 2,022, via a press release. The special prepaid recharge plan brings unlimited voice calls, 100 SMS messages on a daily basis, and access to unlimited data for long-term. It also grants access to a total of 75GB of high-speed data on a monthly basis. Post the available quota, customers get unlimited data access at 40Kbps speed. That means, the high-speed data can be accessed for the first 60 days, after which users would be required to recharge using data vouchers. The plan’s validity is 300 days.

The new prepaid recharge plan by the state-run BSNL is available to its prepaid subscribers on a pan-India basis. The new plan will be available till August 31.

BSNL is also offering 75GB additional data with validity equal to the validity of the existing plan with the Rs. 2,399 and Rs. 2,999 prepaid recharge plans. This limited-time offer will be in place until August 31.

The telecom operator is reportedly planning to roll out 4G services in India in the next 18-24 months. The 5G service from BSNL is also reportedly ready and undergoing final testing.


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Baidu EV Arm Jidu Auto’s Autonomous Driving Technology Will Be Ahead of Tesla, CEO Robin Li Claims





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Baidu EV Arm Jidu Auto’s Autonomous Driving Technology Will Be Ahead of Tesla, CEO Robin Li Claims


Baidu’s electric vehicle (EV) firm Jidu Auto will be one-generation ahead of Tesla in terms of autonomous driving technologies, Baidu chief executive Robin Li said in a statement on Monday.

“Our understanding of smart vehicles is that being electric is the semi-final while being intelligent is the final,” Li added.

Jidu aims to be able to deliver 800,000 of its “robot” cars in 2028, Jidu chief executive Joe Xia Yiping said in the statement.

Jidu also plans to deliver its second model for mass production in 2024, Xia said.

Jidu revealed its first “robot” concept car, which has no door handles and can be fully controlled via voice recognition, in June, with the plan to mass produce the model in 2023.

Besides equipping the car with autonomous driving software technology powered by Baidu, Jidu’s “robot” vehicles will have two lidars and 12 cameras. Lidars are detection systems, similar to radars, that use pulsed laser light rather than radio waves.

Tesla does not use lidar censors.

Baidu’s EV-making plan comes as tech companies around the world race to develop smart cars after Tesla’s success in commercializing EVs.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi and Didi Global are among other Chinese tech giants pursuing automaking ambitions.

Baidu said on Monday it has obtained permits to operate the first fully driverless robotaxi services on open roads in two Chinese cities.

The search engine giant said the permits awarded by the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and the central city of Wuhan marked a “turning point” in China’s policy-making towards autonomous driving.

“These permits have deep significance for the industry,” Wei Dong, chief safety operation officer of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group, told Reuters in an interview. “If we think of the exploration of space, this moment is equal to landing on the moon.”

At first, Baidu will deploy a batch of five fee-charging robotaxis in each city, where they will be allowed to operate in designated areas from 9am to 5pm in Wuhan and 9:30am to 4:30pm in Chongqing, the company said in a statement.

The service areas span 30 square km in Chongqing’s Yongchuan District and 13 square km in the Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone.

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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Realme Watch 3 Pro India Launch Confirmed, Teased to Feature AMOLED Display


Realme Watch 3 with 1.8-inch touchscreen display was recently unveiled in India. Now, the Chinese electronics brand is all set to launch another new wearable in the country with the Realme Watch 3 Pro moniker. Although the company is yet to announce the exact date of its debut, it has teased the arrival of the Realme Watch 3 Pro via a dedicated landing page on its website. The upcoming model will sport an AMOLED display and is likely to succeed Realme Watch 2 Pro which made its debut in India in July last year.

Through a dedicated microsite, Realme has teased the India launch and key specifications of the Realme Watch 3 Pro. The listing, however, does not specify the exact launch date of the upcoming smartwatch. The smartwatch is speculated to launch alongside the Realme 9i 5G on August 18.

The Realme Watch 3 Pro is shown with a rectangular black dial with a side-mounted button for navigation. The wearable could also offer Bluetooth calling support that allows users to receive and make calls directly from their wrists. It is likely to be positioned above the recently launched Realme Watch 3 in the country.

The upcoming Realme Watch 3 Pro is likely to come with upgrades over the Realme Watch 2 Pro smartwatch launched in the country in July last year with a price tag of Rs. 4,999. The price of new wearable could be aligned with this, although the company is yet to make an announcement related to its pricing.

The Realme Watch 2 Pro sports a 1.75-inch (320×385 pixels) colour touchscreen and has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. It supports both heart rate and SpO2 monitoring and offers over 100 watch faces for customisation. The Realme Watch 2 Pro connects with a smartphone using the Realme Link app and works with both Android and iOS. It packs 390mAh battery and offers Bluetooth v5 connectivity, according to the company.


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Self-Driving Vehicle Rules for Public Transport Drafted by China: Details





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Self-Driving Vehicle Rules for Public Transport Drafted by China: Details


China should adopt autonomous vehicles in passenger transport with care, the country’s Ministry of Transportation said in drafted rules to regulate the self-driving industry.

The ministry will encourage the use of autonomous vehicles as taxis in easily controlled scenarios in low traffic situations, according to a draft seeking public advice published on Monday.

“The management of transportation with autonomous driving vehicles should stick to the principles with safety as the top priority,” the Ministry of Transportation said in the drafted rules.

China and the US are in a race to commercialize autonomous driving, from cutting-edge technologies in sensors and mapping to regulations balancing between development and safety.

US states like Arizona have been allowing self-driving trucking companies to operate without human drivers, while California approved General Motor‘s robotaxi unit Cruise in June to start charging passengers for its driverless rides.

In China, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen have also allowed robotaxi operations by companies including Baidu and Pony.ai in restricted areas.

Baidu said on Monday, that it obtained permits to operate the first fully driverless robotaxi services on open roads in two Chinese cities.

The search engine giant said the permits awarded by the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and the central city of Wuhan marked a “turning point” in China’s policy-making towards autonomous driving.

“These permits have deep significance for the industry,” Wei Dong, chief safety operation officer of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group, told Reuters in an interview. “If we think of the exploration of space, this moment is equal to landing on the moon.”

At first, Baidu will deploy a batch of five fee-charging robotaxis in each city, where they will be allowed to operate in designated areas from 9am to 5pm in Wuhan and 9:30am to 4:30pm in Chongqing, the company said in a statement.

The service areas span 30 square km in Chongqing’s Yongchuan District and 13 square km in the Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone.

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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Vivo V25 Pro India Launch Teased, to Come With 64-Megapixel Triple Rear Camera Setup


Vivo V25 Pro India launch has been teased and the smartphone’s key specifications have been teased. Vivo will equip the smartphone with a colour changing back panel and 3D curved screen. The smartphone will sport a 64-megapixel main sensor in the triple rear camera setup. The camera will have optical image stabilisation (OIS) and hybrid image stabilisation alongside a few tricks for night photography. The phone will come with a 120Hz screen refresh rate and will be powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC.

Vivo posted a small video on Twitter teasing the India launch of the Vivo V25 series. The smartphone has also been teased by a microsite on Flipkart suggesting that it will be available on (at least) Flipkart when it launched in India. The Vivo V25 series is said to have the Vivo V25 and Vivo V25 Pro smartphones.

Vivo V25 Pro specifications

Vivo also teased and revealed some specifications of the Vivo V25 Pro ahead of its launch in India. The smartphone will come with a colour-changing back design and a 3D curved screen. It will sport a triple rear camera setup with 64-megapixel main camera that will support optical image stabilisation. The camera setup will also come with hybrid image stabilisation for vlogging and night videography.

Vivo further confirmed that the Vivo V25 Pro will pack a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC. The smartphone will pack a 4,830mAh battery with support for 66W Flash charge. The phone will come with a 120Hz screen refresh rate.

A previous report suggested that the smartphone could come with 8GB of RAM, a full-HD+ display with a waterdrop style notch, and run on Android 12 with Funtouch OS 12 skin on top. The smartphone is said to launch in India during the third week of August.


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Hyundai Expects Chip Shortage to Improve by 2023 Amid Ongoing Production Constraints, Company Official Says





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Hyundai Expects Chip Shortage to Improve by 2023 Amid Ongoing Production Constraints, Company Official Says


Hyundai Motor India expects the semiconductor shortage issue to improve next year and the emergence of a clear picture of the competitive scenario as it faces production constraints at present, according to a senior company official. The second largest passenger vehicle maker in the domestic market by volume has been facing stiff competition from homegrown manufacturers Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, which are riding high on their new SUV models.

Besides, Maruti Suzuki has also revved up its SUV plans with the launch of the new Brezza and Grand Vitara.

Leading up to the festive season, HMIL, the maker of popular SUVs, Creta and Venue is sitting on a backlog of 1.3 lakh pending orders.

“2022 is driven more by the chip issue, so the real situation of demand will only emerge once we are able to produce with no constraints of semiconductor supplies and that is sometime away,” Hyundai Motor India Director (Sales, Marketing and Service) Tarun Garg told PTI in an interaction.

He was replying to a query about whether the company would be able to lead the SUV segment this year as competition has intensified.

“It is very difficult to judge now..we feel that going forward, in 2023 the situation will improve and then the real demand situation will come into play,” Garg noted.

For the company, the demand is clearly outstripping the supply, he stated.

“The competition is definitely increasing. More and more models are being introduced…80-90 percent of the models launched in the last few years have been in the SUV space…this is where the growth is,” Garg said.

In the April-June quarter, the domestic passenger vehicle sales stood at 9,10,431 units as compared with 6,46,272 units in the same period of FY22.

Hyundai dispatched 1,35,295 units to dealers in the period under review, Tata Motors 1,31,940 units while Mahindra & Mahindra sold 76,310 units during the June quarter.

Garg noted that Hyundai has been able to build a strong brand image in the country over the past two decades.

The automaker believes very strongly that as long as it would continue to really bring in technological innovations to India, customers will continue to prefer it over others, he added.

Besides, with it continuing to offer diesel cars which have a very strong demand in various states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana, is also a positive factor for the company.

“India being such a country, geography wise diesel (segment) is very very important in certain states ..demand is continuously going up in these regions..it is still very relevant..still a very strong proposition..,” Garg said.

He noted that the overall SUV segment continues to grow at a fast clip and now accounts for 41 percent of the 30 lakh strong domestic passenger vehicle market.

On festive season sales, he noted that semiconductor supplies have improved, helping its production to go up steadily in the last couple of months.

“We are encouraged by that and the demand continues to be very strong. We believe with improvement in the chip supplies we will be able to clear some of the backlog during the festive period,” Garg said.




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Airtel Reports 16.6 Percent YoY Increase in Mobile Data Consumption, Posts 22 Percent Rise in Q2 Revenue


Bharti Airtel, India’s second-biggest telecom operator, on Monday, reported a 22.2 percent increase in quarterly revenue, boosted by 4G subscriber additions and higher data consumption.

The average revenue per user (ARPU)– a key performance indicator in the telecom industry – came in at Rs. 183 rupees for the quarter, up from Rs. 146 from a year earlier. ARPU of rivals Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea for the same period was Rs. 175.7 and Rs. 128, respectively.

Analysts expected the first-quarter ARPU to be boosted by a residual impact of tariff increase done late last year.

The company’s consolidated revenue from operations rose to Rs. 32,805 crore for the quarter ended June 30, from Rs. 26,854 billion in the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing.

Airtel said mobile data consumption surged by 16.6 percent from a year ago, with consumption per mobile data customer at 19.5 GB per month.

The company said in November, when it announced tariff hikes, that mobile ARPU needed to be at Rs. 200 and ultimately at Rs. 300, for a financially healthy business model.

Consolidated net profit rose to Rs. 1,607 crore rupees for the quarter ended June 30, from Rs. 284 crore a year ago.

The company has been raising money to fund its digital ambitions, including developing home broadband, data centres, cloud adoption as it prepares to launch its next-generation 5G services in the country.

Airtel last week won 5G spectrum worth $5.4 billion (roughly Rs. 43,000 crore) in the country’s $19 billion (roughly Rs. 1.5 lakh crore) auction. The government aims to begin the rollout of 5G – which it says can provide data speeds about 10 times faster than 4G – by October this year.

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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The Length of Earth’s Days Has Been Mysteriously Increasing, and Scientists Don’t Know Why


Atomic clocks, combined with precise astronomical measurements, have revealed that the length of a day is suddenly getting longer, and scientists don’t know why. This has critical impacts not just on our timekeeping, but also on things like GPS and other technologies that govern our modern life.

Over the past few decades, Earth‘s rotation around its axis – which determines how long a day is – has been speeding up. This trend has been making our days shorter; in fact, in June 2022 we set a record for the shortest day over the past half a century or so.

But despite this record, since 2020 that steady speedup has curiously switched to a slowdown – days are getting longer again, and the reason is so far a mystery.

While the clocks in our phones indicate there are exactly 24 hours in a day, the actual time it takes for Earth to complete a single rotation varies ever so slightly. These changes occur over periods of millions of years to almost instantly – even earthquakes and storm events can play a role.

It turns out a day is very rarely exactly the magic number of 86,400 seconds.

The ever-changing planet

Over millions of years, Earth’s rotation has been slowing down due to friction effects associated with the tides driven by the Moon. That process adds about 2.3 milliseconds to the length of each day every century. A few billion years ago an Earth day was only about 19 hours.

For the past 20,000 years, another process has been working in the opposite direction, speeding up Earth’s rotation. When the last ice age ended, melting polar ice sheets reduced surface pressure, and Earth’s mantle started steadily moving toward the poles.

Just as a ballet dancer spins faster as they bring their arms toward their body – the axis around which they spin – so our planet’s spin rate increases when this mass of mantle moves closer to Earth’s axis. And this process shortens each day by about 0.6 milliseconds each century.

Over decades and longer, the connection between Earth’s interior and surface comes into play too. Major earthquakes can change the length of the day, although normally by small amounts. For example, the Great Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011 in Japan, with a magnitude of 8.9, is believed to have sped up Earth’s rotation by a relatively tiny 1.8 microseconds.

Apart from these large-scale changes, over shorter periods weather and climate also have important impacts on Earth’s rotation, causing variations in both directions.

The fortnightly and monthly tidal cycles move mass around the planet, causing changes in the length of the day by up to a millisecond in either direction. We can see tidal variations in length-of-day records over periods as long as 18.6 years. The movement of our atmosphere has a particularly strong effect, and ocean currents also play a role. Seasonal snow cover and rainfall, or groundwater extraction, alter things further.

Why is Earth suddenly slowing down?

Since the 1960s, when operators of radio telescopes around the planet started to devise techniques to simultaneously observe cosmic objects like quasars, we have had very precise estimates of Earth’s rate of rotation.

A comparison between these estimates and an atomic clock has revealed a seemingly ever-shortening length of day over the past few years.

But there’s a surprising reveal once we take away the rotation speed fluctuations we know happen due to the tides and seasonal effects. Despite Earth reaching its shortest day on June 29 2022, the long-term trajectory seems to have shifted from shortening to lengthening since 2020. This change is unprecedented over the past 50 years.

The reason for this change is not clear. It could be due to changes in weather systems, with back-to-back La Niña events, although these have occurred before. It could be increased melting of the ice sheets, although those have not deviated hugely from their steady rate of melt in recent years. Could it be related to the huge volcano explosion in Tonga injecting huge amounts of water into the atmosphere? Probably not, given that occurred in January 2022.

Scientists have speculated this recent, mysterious change in the planet’s rotational speed is related to a phenomenon called the “Chandler wobble” – a small deviation in Earth’s rotation axis with a period of about 430 days. Observations from radio telescopes also show that the wobble has diminished in recent years; the two may be linked.

One final possibility, which we think is plausible, is that nothing specific has changed inside or around Earth. It could just be long-term tidal effects working in parallel with other periodic processes to produce a temporary change in Earth’s rotation rate.

Do we need a ‘negative leap second’?

Precisely understanding Earth’s rotation rate is crucial for a host of applications – navigation systems such as GPS wouldn’t work without it. Also, every few years timekeepers insert leap seconds into our official timescales to make sure they don’t drift out of sync with our planet.

If Earth were to shift to even longer days, we may need to incorporate a “negative leap second” – this would be unprecedented, and may break the internet.

The need for negative leap seconds is regarded as unlikely right now. For now, we can welcome the news that – at least for a while – we all have a few extra milliseconds each day.




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Helix Metalfit 3.0 With SpO2 Tracking, Sports Mode Launched in India by Timex: Price, Specifications


Helix Metalfit 3.0 smartwatch by Timex Group India was launched in India on Monday. The wearable comes with features such as SpO2 tracking, multiple sports modes, heart rate monitoring, IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and a temperature sensor. It also has support for music and camera control, over 100 watch faces, and sleep tracking. It comes with a metal case and silicone straps. As per the company, the smartwatch is aimed at fashion enthusiasts and young audiences.

Helix Metalfit 3.0 price in India is set at Rs. 3,995, as per the company’s website. However, it can be purchased at an inaugural offer price of Rs. 2,995. We have reached out to Timex for more details on this inaugural offer and will update this space soon. The smartwatch can be purchased in Black, Blue, Grey, and Pink colour options.

The Helix Metalfit 3.0 sports a 1.69-inch rectangular display with 240×280 pixels resolution. It comes with a metal case and an option to choose from four coloured silicone bands. As per the company, the wearable comes with support for over 100 watch faces.

Health-related features on the Helix Metalfit 3.0 smartwatch include blood pressure monitor, temperature sensor, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring. Fitness-related features include multiple sports modes and activity tracking (such as steps counts and calories).

The Helix Metalfit 3.0 is claimed to offer up to 7 days of battery life. It offers features such as music and camera control. The smartwatch comes with IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Timex says that the wearable is manufactured in India.


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India Wins Bronze in Dota 2 at Inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022





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India Wins Bronze in Dota 2 at Inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022


The team representing India in the Dota 2 tournament at the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022 won a bronze medal on Sunday. India defeated the team representing New Zealand by 2-0 in a best-of-three match to grab the medal. India won a bronze medal at the Asian Games 2018 as well and is now looking to make an impact in the Asian Games 2022, where e-sports is a proper medal event. The team representing Rocket League could not win any medal.

The Indian Dota 2 team included Moin Ejaz (captain), Ketan Goyal, Abhishek Yadav, Shubhnam Goli, and Vishal Vernekar. With an intense gameplay and multiple strategies, the Indian team defeated the New Zealand team by 2-0 in a best-of-three format. India also won against Wales, got a bye against Trinidad and Tobago, but lost to England. They were later defeated by the Malaysian team and defeated New Zealand to win the medal. Malaysia won the gold medal in the Dota 2 tournament.

“This win symbolises the amount of hard work the team has put in over the years and we dedicate this win to our country. Winning a medal at the Commonwealth was a dream for us and we’re super proud as a team,” said Moin Ejaz after recently-concluded Commonwealth Esports Championships 2022 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on August 6-7, 2022.

This was the country’s first ever medal in e-sports in the Commonwealth Games. India has also won a bronze medal at the Asian Games 2018. Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation said that the next stop will be Asian Games 2022, where e-sports is a proper medal event. “Our focus is to excel in the tournament with multiple podium finishes and bringing the laurels for our country. The e-sports community wants and requires esports to be recognised by the government as a sport in India to gain the benefits and support any sports community and athletes would receive,” said Suji.

India also competed in Rocket League and the team was led by Hargun Singh, Sandeep Sahani, and Rushil Reddy. They lost to Canada by 3-0 in the best of five series in their first group stage match. The team also faced defeats against Wales and England, eventually bowing out of the championship early in the group stage. Alongside Dota 2 and Rocket League, PES 2022 was also part of the tournament.

Malaysia tops the medal table, with three golds. Host England took the second spot with one gold, three silvers, and a bronze. Wales completed the top three with a gold, silver, and bronze.




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