Home » Apple’s ‘spyware’ warning, OnePlus’ ‘retail troubles’, new phones from Samsung, Oppo; and other top tech news of the week – Times of India

Apple’s ‘spyware’ warning, OnePlus’ ‘retail troubles’, new phones from Samsung, Oppo; and other top tech news of the week – Times of India

Apple has warned users in India and 91 other countries about ‘mercenary spyware’. Ola has exited the international markets. New version of DigiYatra app has been launched, the old app has become inactive. Samsung and Oppo launched new phones. All this and more in TOI Tech’s weekly news wrap.

Apple warns: Users in India and 91 other countries impacted by “mercenary spyware” attack

Apple is likely to soon notify iPhone users in India and 91 other countries that they may have been targeted by a “mercenary spyware” attack, according to an exclusive report in Economic Times (ET).This type of attack is distinct from typical cybercrime and aims to gain unauthorised access to a user’s device.
Mercenary spyware attacks, such as those using Pegasus from the NSO Group, are exceptionally rare and vastly more sophisticated than regular cybercriminal activity or consumer malware, the threat notification mail sent by Apple read reportedly reads.
The notification explains that mercenary spyware attacks, unlike common malware, are exceptionally rare and target specific individuals. These attacks are said to be often highly sophisticated, and Apple emphasises the importance of taking the warning seriously. Read the full story here

WhatsApp starts testing Meta AI chatbot in India: What it does and how you can use it

WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta has started testing Meta AI — an AI-powered chatbot in India. Following an initial phase of restricted trials in the US, Meta is expanding another round of limited testing for the Meta AI-driven chatbot on WhatsApp to several countries including India.
As reported by WABteaInfo, the feature is available for iOS and Android beta testers who have installed the latest beta version of the app. The Meta AI chatbot is designed to integrate suggestions and prompts to facilitate user interaction with Meta AI directly from the search interface. Click here to read more

Ola quits UK, Australia and New Zealand; here’s what the company said on shutting down operations

Ola, the Indian ride-hailing major, has announced that it will be shutting down its operations in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand by the end of April. The move comes as the company shifts its focus to strengthening its domestic business and preparing for an initial public offering (IPO).
The company has started sending out notifications to users about the impending closure of its services. In Australia, operations are set to cease from April 12, with the company asking its drivers to remove all related labels and stop taking bookings under its permits from that date.
Ola expanded to international markets in 2018, launching services in Australia and New Zealand, followed by the UK. Read the full story here

DigiYatra app: Why it’s time to uninstall the old app and install the new

There’s an important update for DigiYatra app users. DigiYatra Foundation, the organisation behind Digi Yatra app, has announced that an all-new app is now available for download. It also informs users that the old DigiYatra app will not work. “Dear Digi Yatris, If you are excperiencing issues with the Digi Yatra app, it is likely because you are using an outdated version that has been disabled. To continue enjoying its benefits, please follow the steps mentioned on the website,” reads a message on Digi Yatra Foundation website.
For those wondering what happened, last week (April 3) Digi Yatra had hinted that a new app is coming. A post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), from Digi Yatra’s official account said, “We regret any inconvenience caused due to the upgradation of the Digi Yatra app. This upgrade is part of our ongoing effort to improve our services, as our commitment to enhancing the travel experience among users remains undeterred. While we understand your concern, rest assured that these apps belong to Digi Yatra Foundation and we are working to ensure that the transition from the OLD to NEW App is seamless. Our team is actively addressing any issues that may have arisen due to this upgrade. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process.” Click here to read more

Why these mobile retail chains are threatening to discontinue sale of OnePlus devices from May 1

Major mobile retail chains in India have reportedly decided to stop selling OnePlus smartphones, tablets, and wearables from May 1. The reason is said to be continued issues with OnePlus, according to a letter sent by the South Indian Organised Retailers Association (ORA) to OnePlus India’s director of sales, Ranjeet Singh, as reported by Moneycontrol.
The decision affects 4,500 stores across 23 retail chains in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. “Throughout the past year, we have encountered significant obstacles associated with selling OnePlus products, which remain unresolved,” said Sridhar TS, president of ORA, in the letter, as seen by Moneycontrol. Read the full story here

Google’s AI photo editing tools are coming to all Photos users for free

oogle is freebeing its AI-powered photo editing tools, coming soon to all Google Photos users. Yes, you read it right, for free, and you don’t need a Pixel or even an Android for that matter anymore. An iPhone would also do. Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Portrait Light, and even the generative AI-powered Magic Editor will be available to anyone and everyone using Google Photos on Android, iOS, and Chromebooks.
These features have been previously limited to those having a Pixel phone or those willing to shell out for a Google One subscription, but starting May 15, these will be available to all. But there are some catches to catch.
For starters, there are some hardware requirements to note. Your phone should be running Android 8.0 or later, and if it’s an iPhone, it should be on at least iOS 15. For those on Chromebooks, you need to have ChromeOS version 118+ installed. You also need at least 4GB RAM, no matter what device you are using Google Photos on. Click here to read more

Meta debuts new generation of AI chip: Why these chips matter and maybe not that much

Facebook parent Meta recently launched its next-generation Meta Training and Inference Accelerator (MTIA) chip, the successor to its 2023 MTIA v1. Called the “next-gen” Meta Training and Inference Accelerator (MTIA), the chip runs models including for ranking and recommending display ads on Meta’s properties, like Facebook. “This chip’s architecture is fundamentally focused on providing the right balance of compute, memory bandwidth, and memory capacity for serving ranking and recommendation models,” the company wrote in a blog post.
While the MTIA is already deployed in Meta’s data centres for tasks like ad ranking and recommendation, it’s not yet used for the company’s main focus – generative AI training. Although Meta is exploring this possibility, they acknowledge the chip won’t replace traditional GPUs entirely, suggesting a slower-than-intended pace in the AI hardware race.
The high cost of training cutting-edge generative AI models makes in-house hardware like the MTIA an attractive option. Meta is projected to spend a significant amount on GPUs this year, making developing their chips a potential cost-saving measure. Read the full story here

Samsung Galaxy M55 with 50MP front camera, Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset launched: Price, offers and more

Samsung Galaxy M55 is here. Samsung has expanded its mid-range smartphone lineup with the launch of the Galaxy M55 in India. Samsung Galaxy M55 comes with an AMOLED display and it is powered by a Qualcomm processor. The smartphone sports a 50MP main camera and is backed by a 5000 mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy M55 comes in three variants — 8GB+128GB, 8GB+256GB and 12GB+256GB priced at Rs 26,999, Rs 29,999 and Rs 32,999 respectively. The smartphone can be purchased in Denim Black and Light Green colour options. The smartphone will be available online on Amazon and Samsung India e-store. As part of the launch offers, the company is offering an instant discount of Rs 2,000 on credit and debit card payments. Click here to read more

Oppo A3 Pro with 12GB RAM and 67W fast charging support launched

Oppo A3 Pro is now official. Oppo has expanded its A-series of smartphones with the launch of Oppo A3 Pro smartphone in China. The smartphone packs an FHD+ display and is powered by a MediaTek chipset. The smartphone packs up to 12GB of RAM and is backed by a 5000 mAh battery.
Oppo A3 Pro comes with a starting price tag of 1,999 yuan (Rs 23,490). The smartphone can be purchased in Azure (Glass), Mountain Blue (Leather) and Yunjin Pink (Leather) colour options. The company has not yet revealed any details about the India launch of the smartphone. Read the full story here

Amazon CEO finds a ‘big Chinese problem’ in blocking of its iRobot deal

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy seems to be quite angry with regulators. Reason: Blocking corporate mergers. This includes the company’s planned acquisition of robotic vacuum maker iRobot in January 2024. Earlier this year, the US-based e-commerce giant couldn’t complete the merger of iRobot after it was blocked by the government over antitrust concerns.
In a recent interview with CNBC, CE Jassy said that the acquisition would’ve helped iRobot with a significant push against its rivals.
However, regulators blocked the deal “because they worry that we’re going to feature our vacuum cleaner, the Roomba, vs. others, which of course is not our model,” he added.
Jassy also said that the move showed that regulators “trust these two large Chinese companies with maps of the inside of US consumers’ homes more than they do Amazon.” Click here to read more

Dell launches AI-powered XPS 14, XPS 16, Alienware m16 R2, and Inspiron 14 Plus with Intel Core Ultra processors in India

Dell Technologies has launched its new lineup of AI-enabled consumer and gaming laptops in India, powered by the latest Intel Core Ultra processors. The portfolio includes the XPS 14 (9440), XPS 16 (9640), Alienware m16 R2, and the Inspiron 14 Plus (7440).
The XPS 16 (9640) starts at Rs 2,99,990, the XPS 14 (9440) at Rs 1,99,990, the Alienware m16 R2 at Rs 1,49,999, and the Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) at Rs 105,999. The new XPS devices will be available starting April 25, 2024, while the Alienware m16 R2 will be available across various retail channels from April 9, 2024. The Inspiron 14 Plus is already available for purchase. Read the full story here

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s “awe-inspiring” moment during solar eclipse

Google last week shared pointers on how Pixel smartphone users can click images of this year’s first solar eclipse, which took place on April 8. The company CEO Sundar Pichai has now shared three photos on his Instagram account “capturing the eclipse across North America”.
“Awe-inspiring to see #TeamPixel capturing the eclipse across North America. Here’s a shot from a Googler in Jasper, Indiana. Can’t wait to see how far camera technology will come in 20 years for the next one,” he captioned his post. Click here to read more

Facebook Messenger gets new features: HD photos, shared albums, and more

Facebook Messenger has rolled out a slew of exciting new features, including the ability to send high-definition photos, create shared albums, and send larger files up to 100MB, among all the other features. Here are all the features coming new to Messenger. Read the full story here

BharatPe co-founder and former MD Ashneer Grover returns to the fintech space with this new app

BharatPe co-founder and former managing director Ashneer Grover is set to make his comeback to the fintech space with a new app. Named ZeroPe, this app will offer medical loans to its users.
According to the app’s Google Play Store listing (which is still in testing), it has been developed by a company called Third Unicorn. Grover founded this company after his exit from BharatPe. In 2023, the company launched a fantasy gaming platform, called CrickPe. Click here to read more