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Truecaller now lets you set call reason, SMS scheduling, translation

Media|Business|: Bengaluru: Swedish caller identification app Truecaller on Wednesday introduced new features, including one that allows users to set a reason for their call, and enable the receiver to check whether the incoming call is personal, business or something urgent. Termed "Call Reason," this feature is expected to increase pick up rates, especially when callers are calling from new numbers. The other two features introduced by Truecaller for its 250 million active users globally are "Schedule SMS" and "SMS Translate". "We are thrilled at the launch of Call reason, Schedule SMS and SMS Translate. We have been working towards building an innovative communication suite for our users and these three features are the next big step in line with this mission," Rishit Jhunjhunwala, Chief Product Officer at Truecaller, said while introducing the new features at a virtual event. Truecaller said that Call Reason will start rolling out from Wednesday to all Android users and will be launching for iOS early next year. The new Schedule SMS feature extends the platform's Caller ID feature to enable users to schedule a message reminder of any events, meetings, or what groceries you need to pick up at the end of the day. Users can schedule SMS by simply selecting the icon while messaging and choose a date and time. Your message will be sent then, and you will always be able to see it scheduled in your chat. This feature is available for Android users only. Additionally, the SMS Translate feature allows users to instantly translate the content of their messages directly in Truecaller without leaving the app. This feature works for both SMS and instant messages (IM). The app automatically detects if a foreign language is used in the messaging screen and will show that a translation is available. This feature is powered by Google's ML Kit and all messages are processed locally in the phone, which means the content of your messages never leaves your device. Language packs are downloaded to your device before translation begins. Users can also download additional languages to use them offline, anytime and anywhere. The SMS Translate feature will only be available for Android. All these features will be free for all consumers, said Truecaller which earlier this month claimed to have 185 million monthly active users and over 150 million daily active users in India.

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iPhone 12 Pro Max battery smaller than iPhone 11 Pro Max

San Francisco: Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is reportedly equipped with a less capacious battery than last year's iPhone 11 Pro Max, the media reported. A filing with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center (TENAA) cites iPhone 12 Pro Max's battery capacity as 3,687mAh. By comparison, iPhone 11 Pro Max, which the 12 Pro Max replaces, was powered by a 3,969mAh battery, reports AppleInsider. The battery capacities for the rest of the new iPhones were also revealed through official listings on Vodafone Netherlands. The 12 and 12 Pro come with 2,815 mAh cells while the 12 mini packs the smallest battery at 2,227 mAh. The TENAA page also said the 12 Pro Max comes with 6GB RAM, mirroring information discovered in plist files included with Apple's Xcode 12.1 beta last week. The iPhone 12 Pro Max was launched alongside the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, and the iPhone 12 Pro during Apple's "Hi, Speed" virtual launch presentation. The iPhone 12 Pro Max carries the biggest screen ever seen on an iPhone, with its 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max -- will be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue, starting at Rs 119,900 and Rs 129,900, respectively. iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models in blue, green, black, white and red colours, starting at Rs 79,900 and Rs 69,900, respectively.

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With Microsoft Cloud, CropData helping Indian farmers earn better

Technology|India|: New Delhi: India has now embarked on a journey to bring AI sensors into the fields and agri-tech startup CropData is helping small farmers improve their yields and sell directly to buyers by utilising new-age technologies like Blockchain and AI-enabled Cloud. CropData has built an e-marketplace, using the capabilities of Microsoft Azure, to empower the farmers in the country. "Our purpose is to help the smallest farmer in the remotest part of India make a viable living," Sachin Suri, Managing Director, CropData, said in Microsoft blog post on Wednesday. The e-marketplace called Agriota connects all stakeholders with a focus on providing utmost transparency with the use of Blockchain. The solution is helping Indian farmers to sell their produce directly to end buyers in open auctions, in partnership with the UAE's Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). "In our first year, our aim is to have 150,000 farmers on the marketplace and touch five million in the first five years. This, we estimate, will translate into a gross merchandise value of transactions of $250 million in the first year and $8.5 billion in five years," Suri added. The company now has a footprint in 30 districts across eight states and over 50,000 farmers on the marketplace. With its technology, Nagpur-based CropData connects farmers to bulk buyers on its e-marketplace, where their harvest is hedged very early in the crop cycle according to the predicted quality and yield from their farm. This gives farmers an early visibility into their income and ensures that they have the incentive to put in all the effort that goes into a crop cycle. "To do that, we've created an e-marketplace on Microsoft Azure called Agriota that connects all stakeholders with a focus on providing utmost transparency with the use of Blockchain," Suri informed. The end buyers also get visibility with regular updates right up to the time they receive the product. "We augment that with deep trade analytics like price analysis, reports, and geospatial data. We also provide them with a secondary market option, where they can re-trade and even liquidate their existing positions," he said. The startup is working closely with Microsoft's engineering teams to build products and incorporate some of the AI work that has been done on FarmBeats into its workflows during the diagnostics process. "Once we onboard a farmer, we perform diagnostics on the farm. This includes crop health assessment with weather correlations, aerial imagery, the kind of seeds that are planted, how they are planted, the stress levels, and much more. We call it Dr Krishi module," Suri informed. Once the on-ground diagnostics are done, machine learning (ML) algorithms take over. "It also helps us club together farms that are similar in terms of their risks, crops, quality, and other health parameters," Suri said.

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Amazon extends work from home option till June

Business|Companies|: Amazon.com Inc on Tuesday told employees whose work can be done from home that they can do so until June, extending the timeline on a return to office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until June 30, 2021", an Amazon spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Tuesday, adding the guidance is applicable globally. Amazon had earlier allowed that option until January. The development comes less than three weeks after the world's largest online retailer said more than 19,000 of its U.S. frontline workers contracted the coronavirus this year. Some staff, elected officials and unions in recent months have said that Amazon put employees' health at risk by keeping warehouses open during the pandemic. "We have invested significant funds and resources to keep those who choose to come to the office safe through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and by providing face coverings and hand sanitizer," the Amazon spokeswoman said on Tuesday. In May, Twitter Inc became the first major tech company to allow employees who can work remotely to do so indefinitely. Other tech giants have extended the work from home option for their employees with Microsoft Corp saying earlier this month it will let most employees work remotely for up to half their weekly working hours. Facebook Inc had said it would allow its employees to work from home till July next year, while Google had extended the remote working period for employees who do not need to be in the office till June.

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We still have much work to do in India market: Netflix

Business|Companies|: New Delhi: Content streaming giant Netflix which reported slow growth in its third quarter (July-September period) despite the social distancing times admitted that it has much work to do in countries like India which are lagging behind in terms of growth for the company. Netflix said growth has slowed with 2.2 million paid subscribers in Q3 while the company added 6.8 million paid net adds in the same quarter last year. While the APAC region was the largest contributor to its paid membership growth (accounting for 46 per cent of all global paid net adds) as APAC revenue rose 66 per cent (year over year) especially in South Korea and Japan, Netflix said it has a lot of ground to cover in India. "We're working with local partners like Reliance Jio, India's largest mobile operator, where in Q3 we launched a bundle with their mobile and fiber broadband plans. As part of this broad partnership, we'll integrate Netflix with two of Jio's set top boxes," the company said in a letter to its shareholders on Tuesday. "We've also partnered with financial institutions in India to make payment processing easier and more seamless for our members, which we expect will have retention benefits," it added. The OTT streaming company is also planning to give its users in India access to free streaming for a weekend. "We think that giving away everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have, the service and how it works," Greg Peters, COO and Chief Product Officer at Netflix, said during the earnings call. Netflix said that its non-fiction series 'Indian Matchmaking' was watched by a quarter of its members in India and millions of members outside of India in its first four weeks. "We invest heavily into improving our product, partnerships and overall consumer experience. For example, in India in Q3, we localized our service to support Hindi in our user interface," the streaming platform said. "We strive to be a global entertainment service that can satisfy the needs of members all over the world. Commissioning and producing local language content is an important part of that". The company generated over 1.3 billion in net cash in Q3 2020. Free cash flow was positive for a third consecutive quarter at $1.1 billion. Admitting that the state of the pandemic and its impact continues to make projections very uncertain, Netflix said it expects growth to revert back to levels similar to pre-Covid in 2021. "With $8.4 billion in cash on our balance sheet at the end of the quarter plus our $750m credit facility (which is undrawn), our need for external financing is diminishing. As indicated last quarter, we don't have plans to access the capital markets this year," Netflix told shareholders.