Weekly Bytes | PUBG: New State’s release, Teams’ end-to-end encryption, and more

PUBG: New State to release on November 11. | Picture by special arrangement.  

PUBG: New State to release on November 11

Krafton, the creator of PUBG: Battlegrounds, plans to launch its next-generation battle royale game on November 11. PUBG: New State will be available as a free-to-play game in 17 different languages for iOS and Android users in over 200 countries, including India. The next-generation battle royale gaming experience is set in the year 2051 with original gameplay features that include, weapon customisation, the drone store, a unique player recruitment system, and four unique maps at launch. It will be regularly updated with new content and improved gameplay, the firm said. Krafton also noted it will ban the use of an unauthorised program, emulators, keyboard and mouse, and actively detect and restrict hacks to prevent cheating and protect the game’s code. The company claims that the game has surpassed 50 million pre-registrations on iOS and Android since February. Earlier this year, Krafton had launched Battlegrounds Mobile India, a version of the now-banned online multiplayer game PUBG, developed exclusively for gaming enthusiasts and fans in India, on Android and iOS.

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End-to-end encrypted Teams calls

Microsoft is bringing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) support for one-to-one Teams calls. The optional security feature will be initially available on public preview and can be activated by an organisation’s IT admins. Two people can communicate using E2EE, provided they have the security feature turned on. “No other party, including Microsoft, has access to the decrypted conversation,” the company said in a blog post. Users will be able to access the feature in their account settings. Once activated, they will be able to use it for video as well as voice calls across all their devices. The feature will work on the latest versions of the Teams desktop client for Windows or Mac, along with iOS and Android apps. When using E2EE during one-to-one calls, certain features like recording, call merge, live caption and transcription won’t be available, the blog post noted. Recently, Microsoft had also added some new features in Teams to improve the meeting experience.

Meet hosts get more control over audio, video

Google has introduced improved controls for Meet hosts that will enable them to turn off the microphones and cameras of other participants in a meeting. The new audio and video locks also don’t allow participants to turn their mics and cameras back on until the hosts unlock them. This feature gives meeting hosts more control over their meetings by letting them decide when they want to allow different levels of participation from attendees, for example, to address disruptive participants, Google noted. Besides, locks set by the host in the main meeting will also apply to subsequently launched breakout rooms. The new locks work with Android OS version M or newer, iOS version 12 or later, and the most updated version of Meet or Gmail app. The feature has started rolling out, and will be available to all Google Workspace customers, and G Suite Basic and Business customers, the company said. This week, Google also announced the newest iteration of its smartphone, Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, which will be powered by the company’s first chip called Tensor.

Musk’s ‘Loop’ expansion plans

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has received initial approval for the expansion of its ‘Vegas Loop’, an all-electric, underground public transportation system. The Vegas Loop’s proposed expansion includes 29 miles of tunnels and 51 stations with a capacity to carry 57,000 passengers per hour. The LVCC Loop, which was opened earlier this year, will also be part of the larger Vegas Loop. The Commissioners of Clark County in Nevada approved the agreement with the Boring Company to establish and maintain the transportation system. The franchise agreement is for 50 years and the California-based firm will pay for the tunnels, according to the agreement. Musk’s company would require some more permits and agreements before starting the expansion of the project. When completed, the Loop system will allow people to conveniently travel underground between different locations in the city, without worrying about traffic jams on the surface. In a separate development, the world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office to slash import taxes on electric vehicles before it enters the market.

India’s Q3 smartphone shipments fall

India, the second-largest smartphone market globally, witnessed a drop in smartphone shipments in the September ending quarter as vendors struggled with supply issues for low-end models. The shipments dropped 5% year on year in the third quarter to 475 lakh units, according to a report by market analyst firm Canalys. Although, there was a sequential growth with Q3 2021 shipments 47% higher than the Q2 2021, as consumer demand bounced back rapidly due to India’s recovery from the second COVID-19 wave. Xiaomi took the top spot in the smartphone market, shipping 112 lakh units for a 24% share. Samsung retained the second position with 91 lakh units, accounting for 19% of the market. Vivo came third with a 17% market share after shipping 81 lakh units. Realme remained in fourth place with 75 lakh units, while OPPO finished fifth with 62 lakh units. In another update, a recent report noted that smartphone shipments in the second half of 2021 is expected to grow by only 6% annually, down from the earlier forecast of 9%.

Intel’s tech skilling programme

Intel has launched a technology skilling programme to help students in India. Under the initiative, the tech giant plans to set up 100 data-centric labs in emerging technologies over the next year across universities and engineering institutes in the country. According to the company, each lab includes hardware and software stack recommendations from Intel, course content and co-branded course completion certificates for students. Currently, labs are available for AI, FPGA solutions and AIIoT. The Unnati programme will emphasise hands-on experiences to build confidence among students in the use of hardware and software toolkits. Intel’s initiative aims to provide the country’s higher educational institutions with long-term capabilities in technology and lab infrastructure, enabling a greater focus on research and innovation. In a separate development, Microsoft launched a new initiative to empower AI startups in India.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 10:33:21 AM |

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