Amazon Refunding Customers Who Bought Unverified Solar Eclipse Glasses

Amazon Refunding Customers Who Bought Unverified Solar Eclipse Glasses

E-commerce giant Amazon is offering refunds to customers who purchased eclipse glasses from the platform and warned them not to use the spectacles to view the total solar eclipse that will occur on August 21.

The company began notifying the buyers about the “unverified” glasses on Saturday. Those who did not receive a recall email are safe to use the ones they purchased, CNET reported on Sunday.

“We recommend that you do not use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” the email issuing the warning read.

Amazon said it issued the recall over concerns with the quality of the glasses.

“Safety is among our highest priorities. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards.

“We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard,” the company added.

The solar eclipse will cross the US from Oregon to South Carolina over the course of an hour-and-a-half and 14 US states will experience night-like darkness for approximately two minutes in the middle of the day.

In India, the Delhi-based Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators will live-stream the upcoming celestial event from the US.

The live streaming will be done from Idaho using a 50 mm f/5 finderscope, a small auxiliary telescope mounted on an Astrotrac tracker – the main astronomical telescope – to follow the Sun.

The device will have a webcam and a solar filter fitted to it, which will enable streaming directly on the official YouTube channel of Space India and will also be available on the organisation’s website.

First Windows 10 S Education Laptops Launched by Acer and HP

acertravelmate main Acer

Soon after Microsoft announced the stripped-down Windows 10 S version, alongside the Surface Laptop, partners have introduced their first notebook variants running on the education-focused software. HP has introduced the ProBook x360 eEducation Edition and Acer has introduces the TravelMate Spin B1 – both running on Windows 10 S. Both the laptops have been launched earlier, and the hardware remains the same, but the software in it is the new Windows 10 S, and the price tag is much cheaper.

Starting with the HP ProBook x360 Education Edition, the rugged device has a 11.6-inch (1336×768 pixels) display powered by an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. This laptop was launched in December last year, and was made with schools and students in mind. The company touts the new ProBook x360 Education Edition to be military standard certified to withstand accidental spills and drops by kids. It has a 360-degree hinge to rotate completely into a tablet, or even a tent stand for ease of viewing. Furthermore, there’s a dual camera system which uses a 1080p HD camera embedded in the keyboard to let users take video in tablet mode as well. There are two USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C ports, one HDMI 1.4b port, one AC power connector, and one 3.5mm audio jack. The company claims that laptop can stay active for up to 11 hours of school activities and homework. The Windows 10 S version will retail for $299 (roughly Rs. 19,200), and is available in select stores right away.

The Acer TravelMate Spin B1 convertible has a similar 11.6-inch (1920×1080 pixels) display, is powered by an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The laptop also has a 360 degree hinge, and comes with a stylus as well. Connectivity options include a dual-band 802.11ac 2~CHECK~2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a GbE port, USB ports, a webcam, an SD card reader, a touchpad, and a spill-resistant keyboard. The Windows 10 S variant is priced at $299 (roughly Rs. 19,200) as well, and is available in select retail stores in the US and online as well. Dell and Asus are also set to launch their own education laptops in the US market soon.

Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse Launched as a Companion for the Surface Laptop

Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse Launched as a Companion for the Surface Laptop

While Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S managed to take the spotlight on Tuesday, the Redmond-based company also launched the new version of its Arc Touch Mouse – called the Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse. While the mouse still comes with the same arc design that provided a distinct look to the earlier versions, the latest iteration doesn’t have distinguishable left and right click buttons as before. The company has priced the accessory at $80 (roughly Rs. 5,100) and interested users can already pre-order the device from company’s website.

In order to power up the new Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse, users simply need to snap the mouse into its curved position and can snap it into a flat position to power it down, or better store and carry it. The new mouse comes with two buttons (left and right click) but on a single surface, featuring a capacitive touch ‘full scroll pane’. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity – this limits use with certain Apple and Windows 7 machines, the company said. The accessory comes with 2 AAA alkaline batteries (included) and has a battery life of up to 9 months, as per the company’s claims. The Surface Arc Mouse has frequency range of 2.4GHz and will be made available in Burgundy, Light Gray, and Cobalt Blue colours – which complement the newly launched Surface Laptop.

The new mouse from Microsoft measures 131x55x14mm and weighs 82.49 grams. “Slim, light, and ready to travel, Surface Arc Mouse is designed to conform to your hand and snaps flat to fit easily in your bag,” the company says on its website.

On Tuesday, alongside education-focused Windows 10 S, Microsoft also launched its Surface Laptop at its New York Spring event. The new device runs on the Windows 10 S, and will be made available in four colour options including Burgundy, Graphite Gold, Platinum, and Cobalt Blue. The Surface laptop has been made available for pre-orders right away, and will be shipped starting June 15.

Office 365 for Education Coming to Windows Store, Edge Is Default Windows 10 S Browser

Office 365 for Education Coming to Windows Store, Edge Is Default Windows 10 S Browser

Microsoft’s New York Spring Event headlines were the Surface Laptop and the new Windows 10 S education-focused operating system. However, at the event, Microsoft also announced that full-featured version of its desktop Office 365 applications was coming to the Windows Store, with a focus on education. Separately, more details about the default app settings of Windows 10 S were revealed.

Microsoft announced that the Office 365 for Education suite of apps is free for all students and teachers – and it includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams, and other classroom tools. These apps are not available in the Windows Store right away, and preview versions for a few apps are coming in June. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be available for testing to Office 365 Education subscribers starting next month. All the apps will be 32-bit only, and will be purchasable, downloadable through the Windows Store freely sometime in the fall of this year.

Other apps such as Access and Publisher will be made available gradually, while OneNote and Sway apps will stay in UWP form, and are available for download right away. This is because these apps already exist in fully-featured form. These new Windows Store apps are possible because of Microsoft’s Project Centennial which enables the developer to convert desktop apps into a neat package for the Windows Store. Office 365 for Education will allow Web add-ins, but not COM add-ins on Windows 10 S.

The new Teams app will be made available sometime in the third quarter of 2017. Schools can install the preview on devices using the Set Up School PCs app or Microsoft Intune for Education. The preview will also be available for consumers through the Windows Store and can be activated on a Windows 10 S device with an Office 365 subscription.

While these apps will increase productivity among students in classrooms, Microsoft has also added some Window 10 S restrictions that may not be liked by all. For instance, the Windows FAQ page reveals that the default browser on Windows 10 S laptops will be Edge, even though other browsers will be downloadable from the Windows 10 Store. This means, any link you click in your email app, or other apps will open up on Edge by default – and this setting cannot be changed. Furthermore, the default search provider in Edge and Internet Explorer is Bing, and Microsoft is preventing users from using Google or other search engines as defaults. There is no clarity on whether these default options can be disabled or changed in Settings or not, but we hope there is. Microsoft did not impose such restrictions before, and it’s surprising to see this change on the Windows 10 S platform.

“Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Windows 10 S. You are able to download another browser that might be available from the Windows Store, but Microsoft Edge will remain the default if, for example, you open an .htm file. Additionally, the default search provider in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer cannot be changed,” one FAQ answer reads.

HP and Acer have both introduced convertibles with Windows 10 S software for $299. The new Surface Laptop is priced at $999, and is available for pre-order right away.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Takes a Step Closer to the Stars

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Takes a Step Closer to the Stars

The James Webb space telescope, designed to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, has come a step closer to “reaching the stars” as it has completed its environmental testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA said the Webb telescope will now be shipped to its Johnson Space Centre in Houston for end-to-end optical testing in a vacuum at its extremely cold operating temperatures.

Then it will continue on its journey to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, for final assembly and testing prior to launch in 2018.

After undergoing rigorous environmental tests simulating the stresses of its rocket launch, the Webb telescope team at Goddard analysed the results from this critical optical test and compared it to the pre-test measurements.

The team concluded that the mirrors passed the test with the optical system unscathed.

“The Webb telescope is about to embark on its next step in reaching the stars as it has successfully completed its integration and testing at Goddard,” Bill Ochs, NASA’s Webb telescope project manager, said in a statement on Monday.

Rocket launches create high levels of vibration and noise that rattle spacecraft and telescopes.

At Goddard, engineers tested the Webb telescope in vibration and acoustics test facilities that simulate the launch environment to ensure that functionality is not impaired by the rigorous ride on a rocket into space.

Before and after these environmental tests took place, optical engineers set up an interferometre, the main device used to measure the shape of the Webb telescope’s mirror.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s most advanced space observatory designed to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, from discovering the first stars and galaxies that formed after the big bang to studying the atmospheres of planets around other stars.

It is a joint project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

Apple Reports Marginal Dip in iPhone Unit Sales, but Average Selling Price Is Up

Apple Reports Marginal Dip in iPhone Unit Sales, but Average Selling Price Is Up

Apple Inc reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales for its second quarter on Tuesday, indicating that customers may have held back purchases in anticipation of the 10th-anniversary edition of the company’s most important product later this year.

Under pressure from shareholders to hand over more of its $250 billion-plus (roughly Rs. 16,03,228 crores) hoard of cash and investments, Apple boosted its capital return programme by $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,20,648 crores), increased its share repurchase authorization by $35 billion (roughly Rs. 2,24,448 crores) and raised its quarterly dividend by 10.5 percent.

Investors were unmoved, sending shares of the world’s most valuable listed company down 1.9 percent at $144.65 in after-hours trading.

Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones in its fiscal second quarter ended April 1, down from 51.19 million a year earlier.

Apple Inc reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales for its second quarter on Tuesday, indicating that customers may have held back purchases in anticipation of the 10th-anniversary edition of the company’s most important product later this year.

Under pressure from shareholders to hand over more of its $250 billion-plus (roughly Rs. 16,03,228 crores) hoard of cash and investments, Apple boosted its capital return programme by $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,20,648 crores), increased its share repurchase authorization by $35 billion (roughly Rs. 2,24,448 crores) and raised its quarterly dividend by 10.5 percent.

Investors were unmoved, sending shares of the world’s most valuable listed company down 1.9 percent at $144.65 in after-hours trading.

Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones in its fiscal second quarter ended April 1, down from 51.19 million a year earlier.

10th anniversary
Expectations are building ahead of Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone range this fall, with investors hoping that the launch would help bolster sales.

Apple typically launches its new iPhones in September.

A big jump in sales usually follows in the holiday quarter, before demand tapers over the next few quarters as customers hold back ahead of the next launch.

Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone range might sport features such as wireless charging, 3D facial recognition and a curved display.

“There is a general softening in phone demand to contend with as well as expectations of a big upgrade, all of which softens the blow of this quarter’s miss,” said James McQuivey, a Forrester Research analyst. “If we see Apple downplaying expectations before the next upgrade cycle, it might mean that the company isn’t confident it will beat those expectations.”

The company forecast total revenue of between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion (roughly Rs. 2,78,952 crores and Rs. 2,91,764 crores) for the current quarter, while analysts on average were expecting $45.60 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts on average expect the company to sell 42.31 million iPhones in the current quarter, according to FactSet.

For the second quarter, the company’s net income rose to $11.03 billion (roughly Rs. 70,728 crores), or $2.10 per share, compared with $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 457 crores), or $1.90 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected $2.02 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion (roughly Rs. 3,39,197 crores) in the quarter, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $53.02 billion (roughly Rs. 3,39,964 crores).

A 17.5 percent jump in the company’s services business – which includes the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud – to $7.04 billion (roughly Rs. 45,141 crores), boosted revenue.

“We are particularly encouraged by the fact that service revenue is nowhere near as cyclical as product revenue,” Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData Retail, wrote in a note to clients.

Apple’s revenue from the Greater China region fell 14.1 percent to $10.73 billion (roughly Rs. 68,806 crores) in the quarter, as cheaper rivals in the region chipped away at sales.

Maestri said that sales of Macs and the company’s services were strong in China during the March quarter. “The performance we’re seeing in China should get better going forward this year,” he said.

Apple’s gross margin hit 38.9 percent, slightly ahead of analysts’ average expectation of 38.7 percent, despite higher prices for memory chips. The company said it expects gross margins next quarter between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent, versus analysts’ expectation of 38.3 percent, according to FactSet.

“NAND and DRAM (memory chips) are under pressure right now in terms of some price pressure. We saw that in the March quarter and expect that to continue into the June quarter, but for all the other commodities, we see prices declining,” Maestri said.

Android Nougat Now Present on 7.1 Percent of All Active Devices, Says Google

Android Nougat Now Present on 7.1 Percent of All Active Devices, Says Google

Google has updated its Google Play distribution data, providing figures for the seven-day period ending Tuesday, May 2, 2017. The data shows Android Nougat (Android 7.0 and Android 7.1) now running on 7.1 percent of active devices. The latest figures reveal that the Android Nougat-based devices logging into the store are slowly rising, while devices running Android Marshmallow are still running on over 30 percent devices.

The latest distribution numbers confirm that Android 7.0 is now present on 6.6 percent and Android 7.1 on 0.5 percent devices – jointly running on 7.1 percent devices. The new figures are up from 4.9 percent from last month’s data and a significant improvement from March’s data which stood at 2.8 percent.

Sharing the latest distribution data of different versions of Android, Google reported that Marshmallow has a total share of 31.2 percent of Android devices that check into Google Play, which is same as last month.

Steady Android Nougat adoption also means that older Android versions are slowly dropping in numbers. In the latest data released by Google, Android Lollipop has a total share of 32 percent of active Android devices (with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 8.7 percent of devices and Android 5.1 Lollipop at 23.3 percent) that checked into Google Play. Last month, Android Lollipop was running on 32 percent of active Android devices with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 9 percent of devices and Android 5.1 Lollipop at 23 percent. Based on the latest figures, Android Lollipop is present on majority of active Android devices.

The Android Developers’ webpage shows that Android KitKat now powers 18.8 percent of devices compared to 20 percent last month.

Other older Android versions listed in the latest distribution data include Android Jelly Bean which has a combined share of 9.1 percent while Android 4.0.x or Ice Cream Sandwich has 0.8 percent share, and Android Gingerbread (v2.3.3-2.3.7), in Google’s latest numbers, registered a share of 1 percent.

The latest OpenGL version distribution numbers, on the other hand, saw OpenGL 3.0 at 43.5 percent, and OpenGL version 2.0 steadily rising to 38.3 percent.

Logitech Slim Folio Bluetooth iPad Case Launched With 4-Year Battery Life

Logitech Slim Folio Bluetooth iPad Case Launched With 4-Year Battery Life

Logitech has launched a new Bluetooth keyboard accessory, called Logitech Slim Folio, meant for use with the latest generation 9.7-inch iPad that was launched earlier this year. Interestingly, the new accessory from the company has been claimed to have 4 years of battery life, before its batteries are required to be replaced. The company has priced the Logitech Slim Folio at $99 (roughly Rs. 6,350). The accessory is already available for pre-order on the company’s website.

The Slim Folio Bluetooth keyboard accessory has an auto on-off function that turns on the iPad every time you open the case and puts it to sleep when you close it. Logitech claims that the new keyboard accessory allows comfortable and flexible typing experience for hours with its “large well-spaced keys” that are stretched edge-to-edge.

“Mechanical scissor keys are tuned for productivity with 1.5 mm key travel – an optimal depth for comfortable and responsive typing. A full row of iOS shortcut keys put iPad controls at your fingertips – change volume, language and more – all without leaving the keyboard,” the company says on its website.

Apart from the improved typing experience, the Bluetooth 4.0 accessory is claimed to provide protection against bumps, scratches and spills. “Outer technical fabric is soft to touch, yet resistant to wear and tear and spills. On the inside, a lightweight frame and keyboard module provide structural integrity without weighing down your iPad,” Loigitech says.

The Logitech Slim Folio measures 248x182x20mm and weighs 700 grams. The keys on the keyboard accessory come with key life of more than 5 million strokes and features two replaceable coin cell batteries.

Nokia 3310 Contest Lets You Design a Limited Edition Variant

Nokia 3310 Contest Lets You Design a Limited Edition Variant

When HMD Global revived the Nokia brand earlier this year at MWC 2017, the one phone that caught everyone’s attention was the revamped Nokia 3310 (2017). The feature phone was unveiled to bring the best of the iconic Nokia 3310 with modern-day aesthetics. The handset is being offered in Warm Red, Dark Blue, Yellow, and Grey colours, but HMD Global is trying to add a creative flavour to the phone, asking its Instagram followers to pitch in.

HMD Global announced on the Nokia Mobile Instagram page that it’s looking for artists, designers, and illustrators to come out with creative artworksfor the Nokia 3310 (2017). Those interested can post their work on Instagram with the hashtag #3310art for a chance to have it featured on a limited edition Nokia 3310 (2017).

Those interested can upload their Nokia 3310 artwork on Instagram with the hashtag and will also need to follow @NokiaMobile to follow all the latest details regarding the competition. The submissions will be judged by HMD Global and I Love Dust, a UK-based design studio. Last day for submitting the designs has been extended till May 10.

The Nokia 3310 (2017) is yet to go on sale and is expected to hit some countries such as Spain this month. We do know that the feature phone along with the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 are set for a Q2 release so we can expect to hear something on this in the next few weeks. Furthermore, although the company hasn’t stated it explicitly, the limited edition Nokia 3310 (2017) may also be launched this quarter.

The new Nokia 3310 (2017) sports a refreshed design, keeping the rounded edges and sturdy build iconic to the original 3310. The new curved screen window is designed for better “readability in sunlight.” The phone also sports new push buttons and a new UI with similarities to the original.

The 2-megapixel rear camera on the Nokia 3310 (2017) and a 3.5mm audio jack are some of the biggest updates to the handset. Other Nokia 3310 specifications include a 2.4-inch QVGA display, 2G connectivity, and Nokia Series 30+ OS. The handset comes with 16MB storage and supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 32GB). It also packs a 1200mAh battery pack which promises talk time of up to 22 hours and standby time of up to 31 days.

Rechargeable Nickle-Zinc Batteries Safer Than Lithium-Ion Counterparts, Claim Researchers

Rechargeable Nickle-Zinc Batteries Safer Than Lithium-Ion Counterparts, Claim Researchers

Scientists have developed a safer alternative to fire-prone lithium-ion batteries, which are common in household devices such as smartphones and laptops.

Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the nickel-zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries in which a three-dimensional (3D) Zn “sponge” replaces the powdered zinc anode, or positively charged electrode, traditionally used.

With 3D Zn, the battery provides an energy content and rechargeability that rival lithium-ion batteries while avoiding the safety issues that continue to plague lithium.

“The 3D sponge form factor allows us to reimagine zinc, a well-known battery material, for the 21st century,” said Debra Rolison from NRL’s Advanced Electrochemical Materials group.

Zinc-based batteries are the go-to global battery for single-use applications, but are not considered rechargeable in practice due to their tendency to grow conductive whiskers (dendrites) inside the battery, which can grow long enough to cause short circuits.

“The key to realising rechargeable zinc-based batteries lies in controlling the behaviour of the zinc during cycling,” said Joseph Parke, lead author of the research paper published in the journal Science.

“Electric currents are more uniformly distributed within the sponge, making it physically difficult to form dendrites,” said Parke.

With the benefits of rechargeability, the 3D Zn sponge is ready to be deployed within the entire family of Zn-based alkaline batteries across the civilian and military sectors, researchers said.

“We can now offer an energy-relevant alternative, from drop-in replacements for lithium-ion to new opportunities in portable and wearable power, and manned and unmanned electric vehicles, while reducing safety hazards, easing transportation restrictions, and using earth-abundant materials,” said Jeffrey Long from NRL.