Panasonic launches seven air purifiers in India

Panasonic air purifier launch

Mr. Syed Moonis Alvi, General Manager – Purifier Business, Panasonic India

This Diwali was a wakeup call for many Indians, especially in cities like New Delhi.

Air pollution has suddenly become one of the biggest public health issues in the country and the governments are doing little to solve the problem. Forced to take on the problem alone, the consumers have ended up becoming dependent on the stop-gap arrangements like air purifiers, making it a lucrative product category for the consumer technology companies.

To tap the growing segment, Panasonic has expanded its air purifier portfolio in the market with the introduction of seven new models. Priced starting INR 11,995, the air cleaners come equipped with the technology to filter out PM 2.5 particles, which are considered most harmful to the human body as our body’s natural filters are not able to stop them.

According to the official press release, Panasonic’s new air filters can cater to room sizes from 283 sq. ft. to 452 sq. ft. The purifiers also come with house-dust catcher, which helps in eliminating hair, fine dust particles, germs and mold.

Other Salient details about the launch:

  • Available with two types of air-filters – HEPA Composite and Composite Air Filter
  • Composite Air Filter can inhibit 17 kinds of virus, bacteria and allergens up to 99%.
  • HEPA Composite Air Filter can remove 99.7% particles from the air
  • Air filters have a life of 10 years

Pricing and models

  • F-PBJ30ADD [Orange] – INR 11,995
  • F-PXJ30AAD [Turquoise] – INR 16,995
  • F-PXM35ASD [Silver] – INR 20,995
  • F-PXM35AAD [Flower] – INR 21,995
  • F-VXM35AAD [L-Blue] – INR 27,995
  • F-PXM55AND [C-Gold] – INR 34,995
  •  F-PXM55AAD [O-Blue] – INR 33,995

More details at the Panasonic website.

Amazon launches Amazon.in marketplace in India

Amazon IndiaAfter testing waters with Junglee.com, Amazon has fully jumped in the Indian retail market. The company today announced that its India-specific marketplace Amazon.in is now live for business.

The site is currently offering books and physical media for movies and TV shows, although the company is promising to start offering mobiles, cameras and more in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Mega.co.nz, Kim Dotcom’s Dropbox challenger, is live

mega_file_uploadMegaupload founder Kim Dotcom has made his brand new cloud storage service Mega live. Accessible at Mega.co.nz domain after the Me.ga debacle, the service offers 50GB of free cloud stage to anyone who signs up. In addition, there are three paid pro plans as well, which provide as much as 4TB of online storage for just $30 per month.

Running a little slow right now, probably because of heavy launch traffic, it is likely to stabilise in the coming days. Kit Dotcom has some huge plans to Mega, which it seems will have file system integration, so that you can access Mega like a drive in your computer. Other upcoming features include collaboration tools, a SDK, real-time syncing between platforms as well as built-in word processing and speadsheet apps. You can read more about Mega’s future plans in this blog post.

Mega launch come exactly one year after the demise of Megaupload, which was closed down due to copyright violations and more. That never happens again that’s why Mega comes with heavy encryption, intended to protect both users and the site’s owners from copyright infringement issues.

“We are a dedicated group of technologists who were given the time, opportunity and Internet access to build an awesome cloud storage service that will help protect your privacy. We have programmed this Internet service from scratch in Auckland, New Zealand. Unlike most of our competitors, we use a state of the art browser based encryption technology where you, not us, control the keys, Mega Limited notes on its ‘About Us’ page.mega-about_us

Launch Jitters:

As we previously talked in the report that Mega is very slow right now and same has been pointed out by Kim Dotcom, who tweeted that the cloud storage service is currently under heavy load and had utilised ten gigabits of bandwidth within ten minutes of the official launch. Kim also claims that the site is getting thousands of user registrations per minute.

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Mega plans to take on Dropbox with 50GB free storage, paid ‘Pro’ tiers

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is ready to take the wraps off his new offering “Mega,” a cloud storage service, which aims to grow into a lot more. The official launch is scheduled for January 20th, but early reports and a set of tweets from founder itself have revealed a lot of details.

Mega will come with 50GB of free storage for anyone who signs up, but apart from this, there will be “Pro” options. These paid plans offer 500GB, 2TB, and 4TB of cloud for €9.99, €19.99 and €29.99 per month respectively.mega-pro-plans

Pro tiers have other benefits as well, including ability to share files with more people. From the looks of its, Mega is clearly aiming for Dropbox and Box market.

Future plans are even more interesting, Mega will have filesystem mount Integration for Windows (linux and OS X as well), mobile access, up-to-date syncing between platforms, SDK with fully documented API, collaboration tools and built-in word processing / spreadsheet apps. There is no word right now on when we will be able to see these extra features, we might get to hear more about timelines for these features at the official launch.

Mega will be accessible at domain name Mega.co.nz.

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LG sells 1 million Optimus G smartphones since launch

lg-optimus-g-jellybeanKorea manufacturer LG has revealed that it has sold over 1 million units of its flagship smartphone “LG Optimus G” since the launch four months ago.  Optimus G was announced in September last year along with Optimus Vu II, a phablet from the company. Thanks to all the efforts LG had put in Optimus G, the smartphone caught the fancy of the consumers and despite being released in select countries only, the smartphone has reached this milestone.

According to LG, Optimus G is currently sold in South Korea, Canada, Japan and the United States, although company plans to release it in China and several European countries this quarter.

LG also used Optimus G as the base of the Google Nexus 4 smartphone, which have further added credibility to the former and in the absence of Nexus 4 units, consumers turned to Optimus G.

According to a report in Yonhap news, LG sold a record of 7 million smartphones globally in Q3 2012 and 2.1 million of these were LTE smartphones.  LG will announce the Q4 earnings on January 30, which will give a clearer picture of Optimus G sales.

LG has been struggling in the smartphone segment for a while now, but thanks to smartphone like Optimus G, Optimus 4X HD, company is showing signs of turnaround and much will depend on company’s rumoured Optimus G successor. Reports indicate that G2 or Optimus G Pro is set to make its debut at Mobile World Congress, which is happening next month in Barcelona.

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Samsung releases Jelly Bean update for Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 2 series

Note_10.1_updateSamsung has officially announced that it has started rolling out the much awaited Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Wi-Fi versions of Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 series tablets in the United States.

According to Samsung, the Jelly Bean update brings the premium suite improvements as well as Android 4.1 performance enhancements to the Note 10.1. The Premium Suite update for Note 10.1 tablet includes improved S Pen support, ability to easily open and resize multiple apps, Air View, Quick Command and more. The detailed look at these features is given below.

Full Change-log of Premium Suite update for Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Multi-tasking & Productivity:

Enhanced Multi Window feature

Cascade View: The feature allows users to freely resize, move and pin selected applications in multiple views, running them simultaneously or while operating the home-screen.

Air View: Allows users to use S Pen to conveniently and quickly preview content without having to open it.

Quick Command: With Quick Command, the S Pen quickly activates applications and services that are used most often by allowing you to write command shortcuts using customized and preset S Pen strokes.

Enhanced Personalization:

Enhanced handwriting: Users can quickly and easily send personalized handwritten notes and memos to friends and family via email, as well as hand-write directly into their S Planner

Enhanced S Note: S Note now features additional ready-to-use templates; allows users to add effects to their digital content with Idea Sketch; and enables the insertion of video directly into not only Note templates but also other templates.

Easy Clip: Allows users to select and clip content to save, paste or share in seconds.

Photo Note: Add personalized handwritten notes on the back of your photos to help capture the moment.

Creativity:

Paper Artist: Besides enabling users to enliven sketches or content with different color or pencil styles, Paper Artist enables over 30 artistic effects that can be applied to images or media.

A smarter S Pen: The S Pen now allows users to select writing or color modes at the touch of a button, or unlock the home-screen simply by removing the S Pen.

On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 will also get the Jelly Bean improvements including more intuitive user interface, faster performance and response times and an overall smoother user experience.

You can further read about the update at Samsung USA.

The updates can be downloaded both OTA and via Kies application on PC and Mac.

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Assassin’s Creed III DLC announced for Wii U

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Ubisoft has announced that Assassin’s Creed III for the Wii U has received two DLC packs. The Hidden Secrets Pack is now available on the eShop for $4.99, and the Battle Hardened Pack is available for $9.99. These packs are already available for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC.

The Hidden Secrets DLC features three new missions namely the Lost Mayan Ruins, the Ghost of War and a Dangerous Secret, which were earlier available as pre-order bonuses. It also brings two single-player costumes, the captain of the ship Aquila’s uniform and traditional Colonial Assassin garb and two multiplayer characters, the Redcoat and the Sharpshooter.

The Battle Hardened Pack adds three new multiplayer maps – Charlestown, Fort St-Mathieu and Saint Pierre as well as three new multiplayer characters namely the Governor, Highlander and Coyote Man.

Ubisoft mentions that the next DLC pack for Assassin’s Creed 3 titled The Tyranny of King Washington, which is a three-episode trek through George Washington’s alternate history, is due to arrive later this year.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate landing on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in March

In other Nintendo news, Capcom has announced that gamers in US and Europe will be able to get their hands on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on March 19 and March 22 respectively. Additionally, fans can head to the eShop to catch demo of the game that will be downloadable.

The game sees players don the role of hunter who is sent on a mission to explore a settlement within the Monster Hunter universe. On their journey, they encounter and slay various monsters thereby improving upon their skills and also earning equipment upgrades.

The game which is an extended remake of Monster Hunter Tri already out in Japan features over 200 quests, according to Capcom.

What’s interesting is that Wii U and 3DS players will be able to play the game together. The game can be played alone, with friends online on Wii U, locally using up to four Nintendo 3DS systems or a combination of up to three 3DS systems and one Wii U system.

Users will be able to download the demo as early as February 21. The company has also revealed that the game for Wii U will support voice chat at launch and an update will add USB keyboard support as well.

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Sony announces Classic White PS3 limited edition bundle for $299, coming to US on Jan 27

Sony has announced that it is launching the limited edition 500GB Classic White PS3 in North America on January 27 for $299.99. It’s the first time the console is releasing in a different colour apart from the existing black one.

The announcement which came via the PlayStation blog also stated that users will also get a one-year membership to PlayStation Plus that includes a dozen PS3 games with the Instant Game Collection. A one-year pass to Sony’s premium service separately sells for $50.

With PlayStation Plus, players will be able to access popular games like inFAMOUS 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2, along with movies, TV shows, music, photos and other downloadable content from the playStation Store. The one-year membership to PlayStation Plus will offer users exclusive access to a host of features including:

  • 6 Additional games to play on your PlayStation Vita system including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, WipeOut 2048 and more
  • Exclusive discounts of 10% – 75% on the PlayStation Store
  • 1 GB of online storage on both your PS3 and PS Vita for game saves
  • Exclusive and early access to select demos and game betas, including the God of War: Ascension Multiplayer Beta

Those who are already PlayStation Plus members can avail the opportunity to extend their membership by an additional one year with the purchase of this limited edition bundle.

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In some more PlayStation news, online reports indicate that in a brief interview with Chilean website El Mercurio On-Line, Hiroshi Sakamoto, Vice president of Sony’s Home Entertainment division confirmed that the new PlayStation console will be heard about at E3 in June or “even earlier in May”.

That’s all he said. So we’re really keeping our fingers crossed on this one. This also means that Sony will be ahead of Microsoft this time in case it launches the console in May. Microsoft isn’t expected to reveal its console any sooner than E3.

Speaking of next-gen consoles, analyst Colin Sebastian recently gave his opinion with regards to pricing of these consoles. His findings suggest that they could be priced between $350-$400.

According to him, the next Xbox should expectedly arrive in November with the next Playstation to launch in October. But he also takes into account the fact that Sony’s PS4 may encounter early production issues, attributing this bit to his “field checks”.

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Apple iPad Mini, 4th-gen iPad now on sale in China

ipad_launchAs announced by the Cupertino based Apple, the iPad Mini and 4th-gen iPad are now on sale in China. Company is only selling Wi-Fi and Cellular versions of these iOS powered tablets in the country.

With the launch in China, iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad are currently available in more than 100 countries worldwide including the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and the UK, noted Apple in a press release.

If you already don’t know, Apple iPad mini is the smaller and cheaper iPad and comes with features like 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras, and 10 hours of battery life. On the other hand, the fourth generation iPad features a 9.7-inch Retina display, A6X chip, and FaceTime HD camera. Both iPad mini and the new fourth generation iPad come with iOS 6.

According to Apple, iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad will be available through Apple retail stores, apple.com and select Apple Authorized Resellers in China.

Coming to the pricing:

  • iPad mini WiFi + Cellular  16GB: RMB 3,488 (US $561)
  • iPad mini WiFi + Cellular 32 GB: RMB 4,288 (US $690)
  • iPad mini WiFi + Cellular 64 GB: RMB 5,088 (US $818)
  • Fourth generation iPad WiFi + Cellular 16GB: RMB 4,688 (US $754)
  • Fourth generation iPad WiFi + Cellular 32GB: RMB 5,488 (US $882)
  • Fourth generation iPad WiFi + Cellular 64GB: RMB 6,288 (US $1,011)

Apple has also revealed that iPad 2 is available at just US $399 in the country.

Image Credit: Xinhua

Sony HQ

Sony selling NY headquarters building, will rent the space now

Sony HQSony has announced that it is selling its U.S. headquarters building, located at 550 Madison Avenue in New York City for $1.1 billion. A consortium led by NY-based The Chetrit Group will now own the building, although the offices of Sony and its subsidiaries will continue in the building for the next three years under a leaseback arrangement with the purchaser.

After all the settlements, the deal is expected to bring in net cash of about $770 million ($685 million would be recorded as operating income).

This move does not come as a surprise considering the Japanese manufacturer continues with its drive to cut costs and bring in extra cash.

“Sony is undertaking a range of initiatives to strengthen its financial foundation and business competitiveness and for future growth. At the same time, Sony is balancing cash inflows and outflows while working to improve its cash flow by carefully selecting investments, selling assets and strengthening control of working capital such as inventory. This sale is made as a part of such initiatives,” Sony noted in a press release.

Reuters add that Sony has also put one of its main buildings in central Tokyo up for sale and it could raise as much as 100 billion yen ($1.14 billion). Company also seems to be considering sale of its battery business.

Image Credit: David Shankbone