Nintendo Switch Part of a Bigger Ecosystem, Says President

Nintendo Switch Part of a Bigger Ecosystem, Says President

Nintendo’s new gaming console Switch is part of a bigger plan that will include more accessories, a deeper lineup of software and possible tie-ups with other technologies.

In his first interview since unveiling the brand-new flagship product, President Tatsumi Kimishima said details about add-ons will be available in the new year. Kyoto-based Nintendo said earlier on Thursday that it will announce pricing and a specific launch date for Switch on January 13, followed by an event where the public can try it out.

“By no means was that everything,” Kimishima said, referring to a video a week ago that introduced the product’s name and showed Switch being used as both a console and portable device featuring modular controllers and accessories. Nintendo’s stock declined after the three-minute clip was released, which Kimishima said was unexpected.

“To tell you the truth, I was surprised,” Kimishima said. “I don’t understand why.”Getting Nintendo back on track is a top priority for Kimishima, who became president a year ago after the death of his predecessor, Satoru Iwata. Quarterly results released this week underscore how Nintendo’s core business is getting weaker due to a stronger yen that reduced the income earned abroad, as well as sharp declines in hardware and software sales. Even the success of Pokemon Go wasn’t enough to make up for sluggish sales, which have declined every fiscal year since 2009, when the Wii console was at the peak of its success.

Kimishima suggested that the Switch is part of a bigger ecosystem. “It may be appropriate to call them accessories. Or it might be better to call them add-on hardware. It’s probably more correct to call them accessories. You can assume that there will be a wider array.”

The new device features a tablet-like display unit that can dock at home and connect with a TV, or be taken out and about with two detachable controllers. Nintendo is betting the hybrid approach will help the Switch become a hit like the Wii, its most-successful console ever thanks to its motion-tracking controllers.

As for Switch’s software, he said Nintendo made a deliberate decision not to disclose specific titles: “One thing we still can’t show is the software lineup. We want people to touch the device in January and experience the software for themselves.”

A dearth of software releases for the Wii U has been cited as one of the reasons the console was never able to match the earlier Wii in sales.

Nintendo envisions many different scenarios where Switch can be used, such as a family, one person alone — or even by someone who doesn’t have a TV, Kimishima said. “What you see in the video, however, is the core product,” he said.

Asked whether Switch would work with hardware from other companies, Kimishima ruled out the possibility for now, but said “we are interested in VR,” referring to virtual-reality technology.

“VR offers new ways of playing, but that depends on what kind of software can be played,” he said. “If you ask us whether there are any possibilities, we can’t say no. It may be that we will build VR software titles, I think that opportunity is available to us.”

Iwata, Kimishima’s predecessor, had frequently mentioned that Nintendo should be able to post annual operating profit of at least 100 billion yen. The last time Nintendo exceeded that threshold was in the fiscal year ending March 2011. On Wednesday, Nintendo cut its operating profit outlook for the current year to 30 billion yen, down from the previous 45 billion yen, citing a stronger yen that weighed on 3DS and Wii U revenue. Asked whether that 100 billion yen threshold was achievable, Kimishima said it was.

“As our previous president has said before, an appropriate level of operating income for Nintendo is that level, and that is what everyone understands,” Kimishima said. “That’s what we want to achieve. Based on various projects and new projects that we have, achieving that result is the premise.”

He declined to give more specific forecasts for the Switch beyond the one disclosed this week, which is that Nintendo will sell 2 million units in its first month after it goes on sale in March. The company sold 5.84 million Wii machines in its first fiscal year. The device that followed it, the Wii U, was less successful, with 3.45 million units shipped.

“In terms of how many units will sell, we’re looking at past examples where competitors, and our own Wii, had a lot of momentum, and that means the first year after it goes on sale will be extremely important.”

Ola Drives in BMW Rides Starting at Rs. 250

Ola Drives in BMW Rides Starting at Rs. 250

  • BMW cabs will be available for Ola Lux platform
  • Prices for Ola Lux start at Rs. 250
  • Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru will get the BMW Lux cabs first

NEW DELHI: In a bid to provide people an opportunity to enjoy luxury travel on the roads, BMW India and Ola on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring on-demand luxury mobility in India.

BMW is now the “Lux Category Partner” for Ola.

Ola Lux is a luxury car service, available for booking at a minimum fare of Rs. 250 and Rs. 20-22 per/km afterwards.

 

The category also allows customers to book the cars on an hourly basis via its “Rentals” feature.

“The way people move is changing and this is also true for the premium clientele. Individuals want quick access to mobility without compromising on quality and comfort,” said Frank Schloeder, President (act.), BMW Group India, in a statement.
To begin with, Ola will induct the BMW cars into its fleet across three cities — Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru — and the service will later be extended to more locations.

“We look forward to growing our association with BMW and taking the Ola ‘Lux’ service to a greater scale throughout the country,” added Pranay Jivrajka, Chief Operating Officer, Ola.

Truecaller Priority Aims to Help E-Commerce Firms Complete Their Deliveries

Truecaller Priority Aims to Help E-Commerce Firms Complete Their Deliveries

  • Truecaller has partnered EKART, Flipkarts supply chain arm
  • Truecaller users will know if a delivery call is being made
  • Service will help users differentiate official calls from spam calls

Mobile communication app Truecaller on Tuesday launched ‘Truecaller Priority’ to aid last mile delivery in the e-commerce space. Truecaller says the new feature is available for all Android and iOS users.

Launched in partnership with EKART, the supply chain arm of Flipkart, the new feature will also provide contextual details on calls from Truecaller partners, such as letting users know when their package is about to reach them. Truecaller Priority will help EKART complete more deliveries through increased call completion and pick-up rate by boosting their efficiency.

Truecaller says the app will now be able to show all logistics related calls made by EKART clients such as Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Yepme, Paytm, Voonik, Hopscotch, and Healthkart. It adds that any company can join the Truecaller Priority service for free, as long as it agrees to Truecaller’s “demands on not spamming users”, and to only make important calls.

“Our mission at Truecaller is to build great communication products which are safe and efficient. With the launch of “Truecaller Priority”, EKART will ensure that users will only get relevant logistics calls from them. The expectation of receiving your delivery on time is very important for any user, and more so for the e-commerce companies, which is their core brand and service promise as well. We believe this is a game changing experience to this industry as a whole.” said Nami Zarringhalam, co-founder & CSO at Truecaller.Neeraj Aggarwal, Head-Supply Chain Operations at EKART, said, “Given the huge volume of shipments on a daily basis, we are often faced with challenges in connecting with our customers. The partnership with Truecaller will help us circumvent these barriers, without being mistaken for a spam call. We are a technology company known for our India centric innovations. With this association, we hope to bring in a radical addition to our customer outreach initiatives.”

SAP’s SuccessFactors Service to Be Available on Microsoft Azure

SAP's SuccessFactors Service to Be Available on Microsoft Azure

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that software and technology firm SAP will make its “SuccessFactors” cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) service available on the former’sAzure platform over the next five years. This is SAP’s first move to supplement its own infrastructure and operate SAP Cloud solutions in a third-party public cloud, Microsoft said in a statement.

“The combination of SAP’s market-leading, innovative HCM solutions with Microsoft’s intelligent Cloud will equip companies around the world to help maximise the potential and skills of their most valuable asset, their people,” said Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business at Microsoft.

SAP bought SuccessFactors for $3.5 billion in 2011. Azure provides enterprise-grade security, an open developer platform and advanced data services that organisations can use to innovate and grow. With nearly 90 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers, the Microsoft Cloud is offered in more worldwide data centre regions than any other major cloud provider.

“We’ve seen exponential growth in the past two years, with 42 million users now benefiting from our market-leading solutions. In selecting Azure, we will be able to expand our reach even further,” said Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors.

 

Evernote Says Small Number of Mac Users May Have Lost Notes, Offers Premium Subscription

Evernote Says Small Number of Mac Users May Have Lost Notes, Offers Premium Subscription

  • The company says it was only able to restore some lost notes
  • Users with lost notes can attempt to manually restore them
  • Premium users can use the gift code for an additional year of service

A small number of Evernote for Mac users are being sent an email by the company that apologises for a bug that caused data loss in certain types of notes – those featuring images or other attachments. Text notes are said to have remained unaffected. The company is making up for the issue by offering Evernote Premium, which also helps restore missing date from notes by using the premium Note History feature.

The email to users states that a small number of users running versions of Evernote for Mac released in June and September were affected, which is a rather vague description for those worried users who may have lost data in hundreds of notes. However, the company confirmed to TechCrunch that specific versions 453991 (which was available directly from Evernote servers) and 454042 (available from the Mac App Store) were the ones affected, under “specific conditions”.

Evernote in its email tells users to update immediately to the latest version – v6.9.2 (454158 from Evernote and 454159 from the Mac App Store) – to avoid the issue and also prevent any “further loss of data”. The company added that as soon as it discovered the issue it “worked quickly to implement a solution and attempted to restore all lost data”, however, it did not succeed in some cases.

 

Those users that lost data can manually restore the data by using the Note History feature available to Evernote Premium subscribers, which as we mentioned was also being provided to free users that were affected by the issue via a redemption code. Those users already on Evernote Premium can use the code to buy another year of premium services, or save them as Points to be used at a later point.

The company is telling users to update their Evernote for Mac app via the menu, from where they can navigate to Help > Check For Updates… It adds that users who do not see the option should visit the Mac App Store or the Evernote website to download the latest version of the app.

Of course, the entire debacle is very embarrassing for a note-taking service. Evernote told TechCrunch however that once its recently-begun migration to the Google Cloud platform is complete, such issues will be a easier to prevent and resolve. The full email, with the subject “We’re sorry. Please update Evernote for Mac”, can be seen below.

We have identified a bug in some versions of Evernote for Mac that can cause images and other attachments to be deleted from a note under specific conditions. We believe you are one of a small number of people impacted by this bug.

Please update Evernote on your Mac to the latest version as soon as possible:

From the menu, go to Help > Check For Updates…

If you do not see this menu option, update through the Mac App Store or from our website

The bug can occur in the version of Evernote for Mac released in September, and less frequently in versions released since June. In these versions, certain sequences of events, such as skimming quickly through a large number of notes, can cause an image or other attachments to be deleted from a note without warning. Text in notes is not affected.

Once we identified the problem, we worked quickly to implement a solution and attempted to restore all lost data. Unfortunately, some of your attachments couldn’t be automatically restored. However, you may be able to recover your attachments using Evernote’s note history feature available through Evernote Premium.

We are giving your account one free year of Evernote Premium to make amends and give you access to priority customer support via chat or email. If you already have Premium, the gift code can be used to extend your subscription for one additional year, or banked as Points to use for later.

If you run into any difficulties redeeming your code, follow ….

We understand how important your notes and attachments are, and we apologize. Again, please update your app as soon as possible to prevent any further loss of data.

 

Signal’s Encrypted Messaging and Privacy Promise Tested by US Subpoena

Signal's Encrypted Messaging and Privacy Promise Tested by US SubpoenaThe company responsible for spreading top-of-the-line message encryption across the internet has had a first legal skirmish with the US government.

Open Whisper Systems – whose Signal app pioneered the end-to-end encryption technique now used by a swath of messaging services – was subpoenaed for information about one of its users earlier this year, according to legal correspondence released Tuesday. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the company, said the small San Francisco firm didn’t produce the user’s name, address, call logs or other details requested by the government.

“That’s not because Signal chose not to provide logs of information,” ACLU lawyer Brett Kaufman said in a telephone interview. “It’s just that it couldn’t.”

Created by anarchist yachtsman Moxie Marlinspike and a crew of surf-happy developers, Signal has evolved from a niche app used by dissidents and protest leaders into the foundation stone for the encryption of huge tranches of the world’s communications data. When any one of WhatsApp’s billion-plus users sees a discreet lock icon with the words, “Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption,” they have Signal to thank. Facebook’s recently launched private chat feature, Secret Conversations , uses Signal’s technology; so too does the incognito mode on Google’s messenger service Allo.

Signal remains a favourite among security-minded users, among them National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. A key selling point has been Open Whisper Systems’ refusal to retain nearly any form of metadata – the often revealing who-how-when-where of calls and messages.
“We try to have as little information as possible,” Marlinspike said in an interview (over Signal, naturally.)

Kaufman said that the request – and Signal’s response to it – was a model for companies hoping to insulate themselves from the fraught process of handing over their customers’ data.

“We hope it’s an example for other companies how they can continue to stand for customers’ privacy,” he said.

Is Apple Logging Your iMessage Contacts and Sharing Them With the Police?

Is Apple Logging Your iMessage Contacts and Sharing Them With Law Enforcement Authorities?Apple has talked up privacy and end-to-end encryption of iMessage conversations, but a new report suggests that Apple may be logging and potentially sharing information like phone numbers of people that you iMessage with law enforcement agencies.

A report in The Intercept goes into the technical details of what happens every time a user types a number into an iPhone for a text conversation. According to the publication, the Messages app “contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network”. This determination results in the green-coloured conversations for SMS and blue-coloured for iMessage chats, which should be familiar to every iPhone user by now.

The accusation made by the publication is that Apple logs and stores each of these queries for X days, with the date & time stamp as well as the IP address, which the publication claims can be used to identify a user’s location. The Intercept acquired this document as part of a large chunk of documents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team. Although the contents of iMessages sent over Apple’s servers are encrypted end-to-end, thereby making them unreadable even to Apple, the metadata mentioned above could be used to connect dots during a criminal investigation.

Apple is known for its strong stance towards customer privacy in recent times, including denying the FBI’s request to unlock an iPhone of one of the two accused in the San Bernardino shootings in the US. So does the report suggest that Apple is not playing by the high standards it has set for itself?

9to5Mac.com’s Jordan Kahn points out that Apple has openly admitted in the past to the alleged accusations. It is mentioned several times in Apple’s legal page on their website, that Apple does log this information. The company says, “When you use your device, your phone number and certain unique identifiers for your iOS Device are sent to Apple in order to allow others to reach you by your phone number when using various communication features of the iOS Software, such as iMessage and FaceTime.”
Furthermore, “Apple has FaceTime call invitation logs when a FaceTime call invitation is initiated. These logs do not indicate that any communication between users actually took place.”

The same page also suggests that if a device is running iOS 8 or above, Apple will not be able to extract any information, as the data is protected by an encryption key tied to the product’s passcode. At this point, only 3 percent of devices run a version older than iOS 8, according to Apple’s Developer page. Apple admits it will be able to extract data on products running versions prior to iOS 8, including SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history.

Apple also suggest that upon a search warrant, it may be able to provide iCloud content including photos, documents, contacts, calendars, bookmarks and iOS device backups which contain iMessage, SMS, and MMS messages and voicemail to the authorities.

Lastly, The Intercept’s claim of Apple storing a user’s location was debunked by 9to5Mac, suggesting that IP addresses don’t “offer exact location or even always accurate location data that could allow law enforcement or anyone else to pinpoint your location.”

Opera for Desktop Gets Free VPN on Windows, Linux, and Mac

Opera for Desktop Gets Free VPN on Windows, Linux, and Mac

  • Opera VPN for Desktop has launched officially
  • It is free to use and unlimited
  • You can set use the VPN to access geo-restricted content

After bringing its free VPN services to iOS and Android, Opera has now released a free, no-login VPN for desktop users as well. The VPN is bundled in to the Opera browser and requires no sign-in or any setup – using it is as simple as the press of a single button. What this does is make using a VPN simple even for users who are not technologically-inclined. Opera’s browser VPN was firstlaunched as a beta in April this year.

A month later, Opera VPN was available as a standalone app on iOS. The VPN was then launched for Android in August before finally rolling out the final version for desktop users now.

The VPN functions the same way on all three platforms. It’s free and unlimited, and allows you to change your geographic location while also protecting your data from third party snooping. Opera VPN lets you choose from one of five locations – Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Singapore, and USA. This allows you to pose as someone who’s visiting any given website from one of these five nations. This, in turn, will allow you to access region-locked content. The app supports English, Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish languages.

To activate it, Mac users just need to click the Opera menu, select “Preferences” and toggle the feature VPN on, while Windows and Linux users need to go to the “Privacy and Security” section in “Settings” and enable VPN there.

“If people knew how the internet truly works, I believe they all would use a VPN,” says Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Opera browser for computers. “By making our browser VPN free and easy to use, we hope to make it an essential tool, just as the lock and key is to your house.”

People can also let the Opera browser intelligently select the optimal server location based on factors such as network speed, latency, location and server capacity. When in automatic location mode, browsing through the VPN is always at maximum available speed.

“We know that people are concerned about their privacy online and that the interest for VPN is increasing,” Kolondra adds. “However, two major obstacles are blocking people from using it: VPNs are too complicated to use, and they require a monthly subscription. Opera resolves both issues by introducing its free and easy-to-use service right into the browser.”

 

Google Acknowledges Play Store Causing Battery Life Issues for Some Users; Fix Coming

Google Acknowledges Play Store Causing Battery Life Issues for Some Users; Fix Coming

  • Google Play v6.9.15 was said to be causing the problem
  • Google said only a small number of users were affected
  • Bug caused by frequent unsuccessful location requests

Google was in the headlines for the wrong reasons this week, with reports of 24×7 location tracking on Androiddevices. The search giant was also in the news for the most recent version of Google Play (v6.9.15) causing battery life issues for some users. Google has responded to the latter reports on its product forums.

Addressing the issue, Google Play Community Manager Amanda said, “We identified a bug affecting a small number of users in a recent release of the Google Play. For users in the error state, the Google Play app was unable to obtain GPS, causing it to make frequent unsuccessful requests and use battery. We will be rolling out a fix in the next few days.”

As Google says, users can expect a fix to come their way soon, solving their battery problem. Till then, they can revert to an older version of Google Play (v5.1.11 is reportedly not causing any problems), a method complaining users on the Google Product Forum resorted to.

To recall, users have since last week been reporting Google Play v6.9.15 is eating up a lot of their battery, with a Searching for GPS notification being triggered and persisting despite attempts to remove it.

As we mentioned, Google was in the news earlier this week when a security researcher accused it of tracking the location of Android users 24×7 via Google Play services. The researcher noted that if users attempt to disable location permission for Google Play services, they will be notified that the location services of the entire phone (and for all other apps that use Google’s Play location API) will be disabled alongside. This causal relationship is surprising, given the move towards granular privacy controls.

 

Nintendo Skyrockets on Super Mario Game for iPhone

Nintendo Skyrockets on Super Mario Game for iPhone
Nintendo skyrocketed Thursday after the Japanese gaming giant and Apple announced that an exclusive Super Mario game will be available on iPhones later this year.

The Tokyo-listed stock surged 18 percent to 29,200 yen ($287) at the open in response to the news.

Apple and Nintendo jointly announced that “Super Mario Run”, featuring Nintendo’s iconic game character, would be sold in App stores for use on the US firm’s hugely popular smartphone.

The news came after the global success of mobile game Pokemon Go, based on another Nintendo character, which has now been downloaded about half a billion times.

 

The app sparked a worldwide frenzy among millions of users who took to the streets with their smartphones in a bid to capture and train mythical creatures for battles.
Nintendo shares soared in the wake of the game’s summer release, making the company more valuable than Sony at one stage, as markets cheered it as a great sign for its long-awaited move into the mobile games market.

After years of pressure, Nintendo – which also created the Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda brands – abandoned a longstanding consoles-only policy and opened the door to licensing some of its characters for mobile game use.

 

“It is a big deal,” Neil Campling, an analyst at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said of the Nintendo-Apple announcement.

“This venture is perhaps the biggest endorsement we could possibly have imagined that Nintendo’s strategy to monetise their huge franchise IP (intellectual property) on mobile and ex-platform reliant technology is the right one,” he said in a commentary.

The new venture was announced Wednesday at an Apple event in the United States, where Nintendo and Pokemon Go maker Niantic also announced it would be available for Apple Watch users later this month.

 

Nintendo has invested in Niantic and owns about one-third of the Pokemon Company, which will get licensing fees for loaning out the cuddly monsters’ brand.