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How Covid-19 will change tech and business

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The impact of Covid-19 is likely to be seen and felt over the next decade, with both technology and business witnessing massing changes, says a new report from market research firm Forrester.

 Despite modern healthcare and the implementation of extensive pandemic management protocols, the effects of Covid-19 will cause profound near-, medium-, and longterm impacts, said the report titled The New, Unstable Normal: How Covid-19 Will Change Business And Technology Forever.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business. It has forced firms and policymakers to do things that were previously considered impossible,” Stephanie Balaouras, VP and Group Director at Forrester, said in a statement.

“As a result, business leaders are quickly embracing new, iterative ways to engage with customers, adapting to new ways of working, investing in technology innovation, and revisiting their business resiliency plans for long-term success.”

The research showed that the pandemic has affected global consumers in different ways, with their risk sensitivity and desire for convenience varying across region, age, and culture.

 In the medium term, financial strain and lack of in-person group interaction will cause consumers to feel a lack of meaning and purpose. This will influence spending on trusted brands that connect them to a greater cause.

In the long term, consumers will opt for brands that offer the most control over buying experiences.

Second, businesses will ride the digital engagement wave to create hybrid experiences. In the short term, as values-based consumers question the ethics of brands and as all experiences become digital in some way, new design practices will emerge that blend emotion and insights, said the report.

Moreover, the pandemic has revealed the ability to do things that once seemed infeasible, including shifting entire workforces to remote working. Remote working will boost regions around global economic hubs in the medium term as firms shed more than a quarter of their city-center office space, said the report.

Tech and business leaders that accelerate digital outputs — by retiring technical debt — will in the short term acquire a robust digital operating platform and the needed flexibility to overhaul business models.

In the long term, leaders will invest in enterprise risk management capabilities to better evaluate and respond to risk in real time, said the report.

With IANS inputs

Auto & Tech

Logitech launches affordable noiseless keyboard, mouse

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Switzerland-based tech firm Logitech on Tuesday launched a keyboard and mouse featuring new proprietary Si- lentTouch technology for Rs 2,995 in India. SilentTouch technology aims to remove 90 per cent of typing as well as clicking in the ‘MK295 Silent Wireless Combo’ and will be available in graphite and off-white colour option, the company said in a statement. The keyboard comes with an extra layer of utility and comfort. Its 36-month battery life reduces the hassle of changing batteries, so you can continue working with lag-free wireless ease. The mouse features a contoured shape along with 18-month battery life. It also comes with on and off switches so it’s ready to work when you are, the company said. In addition, the mouse supports wireless connection up to 10 meters with Logitech’s tiny plug-and-forget USB receiver. MK295 Silent Wireless Combo is available on Amazon.in.

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Nokia launches 2 affordable smartphones

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The HMD Global-owned smartphone maker Nokia has launched two new budget smartphones Nokia 2.4 and Nokia 3.4 in Europe. The Nokia 3.4 comes with triple rear cameras as well as sport a hole-punch
display design. The Nokia 2.4, on the other hand, comes with a waterdrop- style display notch and houses dual rear cameras. The Nokia 3.4 will be available globally from early October in 3/32GB, 3/64GB and 4/64GB memory and storage configurations, starting at an average global retail price of 159 euros.

The Nokia 2.4 will be also available globally from end of September and in 2/32GB and 3/64GB memory and storage configurations starting at an average global retail price of 119 euros. Nokia 3.4 features a 6.39-inch HD+ (720×1,560 pixels) display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 400 nits of peak brightness. Under the hood, there is an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 SoC, coupled with 3GB and 4GB RAM options. The Nokia 3.4 comes in 32GB and 64GB storage variants both of which support expansion via microSD card (up to 512GB) through a dedicated slot.

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Moto E7 Plus with dual rear camera launched in India

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Lenovo-owned smartphone brand Motorola on Wednesday launched a new budget smartphone Moto E7 Plus with a dual rear camera setup for Rs 9,499 in the In- dian market. The smartphone will be available in two colours, namely misty blue and twi- light orange starting September 30, 12 noon onwards, exclusively on Flipkart.

In terms of specifications, the smartphone features a 6.5-inch HD+ display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. The device is powered by the octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 SoC, coupled with Adreno 610 GPU and 4GB of RAM 64 GB internal storage that supports expansion using a microSD card (up to 512GB). The smartphone offers the dual rear camera setup that includes a 48MP primary sensor along with an f/1.7 lens and a 2MP secondary sensor with an f/2.4 lens. The phone also comes with an 8MP selfie camera sensor at the front that is paired with an f/2.2 lens. The Moto E7 Plus packs the 5,000mAh battery.

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Pioneer launches 3 new car AV receivers with built-in Alexa

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Japanese car infotainment manufacturer Pioneer on Wednesday announced the launch of three new car audio-video receivers with built-in Alexa in India. The new AV receivers are DMH-Z6350BT (6.8-inch car stereo), DMH-ZS9350BT (9-inch car stereo) and DMH-ZF9350BT (9-inch floating display car stereo) and are priced at Rs 49,990, Rs 79,990 and Rs 84,990 respectively. With built-in Alexa, users can talk to Alexa directly through the Pioneer DMH receivers. Customers can ask Alexa to add items to their shopping cart, play music, listen to the news, check the weather, control smart home devices, and a lot more. With the help of built-in Apple CarPlay, one can use mobile apps, make calls, and more. In addition, with Android Auto these displays claim to bring useful information and organises them into simple cards that appear just when they are needed.

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Samsung M51: Mid-segment all-rounder powered with 7000 mAh battery

Richa Kapoor

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The all new Samsung M51, a mid-range smartphone, is altogether ‘new’, unlike the others from the series which are merely an uplift from their predecessors. The highlight of this device is the industry first — 7000mAh battery. Some other exciting additions in the device are full HD+ resolution, quad camera module (64MP main lens), and Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Chipset.

Design

The design of the M51 is kept simple and minimalistic. Just like the others in the M Series, this too gets a plastic body and a glass-like cover on the back. You would need a cover on it if the finger marks bother you. You get a rectangular rear camera module. The design for a camera module in smartphones started to get unique over the period, so it is more of a personal preference if you like the rectangular set up or not. It does not bulge out nor does the rear look overstuffed with the lens. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass and a punch hole screen. Personally, I like the simplicity of the M51 design which might look a bit boring to a few.

Display

The Galaxy M51 sports a 6.7-inch screen of a full HD+ resolution and 20:9 aspect ratio. Though the screen is flat, it has a curved glass on top making it easy to use, especially with gesture navigation. The bezels around it are minimal and even the most prominent bottom bezel is thinner than those in other phones in the segment. The display has a punch hole at top-centre for the front camera. The screen of the device is good and very responsive. The colour is bright and vivid. Viewing from all angles was easy and uninterpreted. The punch hole on the screen might bother gamers a bit. HDR is available only for YouTube videos and not for other OTT platforms.

Performance

The Galaxy M51 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G system-on-chip, paired with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The phone boots Android 10 operating system-based OneUI 2.1 Core. Performance wise, the M51 is satisfactory. Multi-tasking is easy and seamless. For the budget, the device’s performance is up to the mark. Day-to-day usage with a couple of hours of content consumption was easy on the device.

Battery

The Galaxy M51 ships with a 7,000 mAH battery, the biggest in terms of rated capacity currently available on any smart- phone. This is a major highlight of the device. Especially nowadays, when we are most of the time on our smartphones. The device lasts easily for 2 days with over normal usage as well. As for its own charging, it supports a 25W fast charger (in-box accessory), which refills a completely drained battery to 100 percent in around two hours.

Camera

Galaxy M51 gets a rear camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor, coupled with an f/1.8 lens. Sat next to it is a 12-megapixel ultra- wide-angle lens that brings with itself the promise of 123-degree field-of- view, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, there is a 32-megapixel lens. The similar 64MP main lens was earlier witnessed on the Galaxy M31s and just like that this one also gives you images as per your requirements. Daylight photography on all Samsung devices is a delight and the M51 is no different. The images obtained are appealing and colour reproduction is accurate. The ultrawide lens just like the main sensor helps obtain images which are beautifully detailed and not blurred. The depth sensor works well too. The front camera is a good 32MP lens which helps obtain good selfies worth social media posts without filters. All in all, the camera department leaves me delighted and happy with the results.

Verdict

Priced at Rs 24,999 for the base 6GB RAM variant, the Galaxy M51 can easily be called an all- rounder device from Samsung. The device comes with a capable battery and camera setup. M51 performance is also at par. It is for sure quite a simple look- ing device which might be a let- down for a few consumers. The device is competing with the likes of Oppo F17 Pro, One Plus Nord & Realme 7 Pro. Keeping the competition in mind the looks might be something where the M51 might lag a bit but the other departments, the device is a pure winner.

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2 new cars from Kia, Toyota enter the competitive small SUV space

Both Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser are based on already existing products; while the former takes inspiration from the Hyundai Venue, the latter is essentially a rebadged Vitara Brezza.

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The sub-compact or sub-4 metre SUV space is clearly one of the most keenly contested segments in the Indian passenger car space. There are some very popular cars present here like the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecos- port and the Mahindra XUV 300. As the festive season approaches, other automakers too are looking at getting some share of the lucrative pie. And so the past few days have seen the introduction of two new cars in the segment — the Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser. Interestingly, both these cars are based on already existing products; while the former takes inspiration from the Hyundai Venue, the latter is essentially a re- badged Vitara Brezza.

Kia Sonet

We told you in great detail about the Kia Sonet when its world premiere took place in August. That included the engine and transmission options along with all the features that have been provided with the car. Now with the launch past us, we know exactly how many variants the car comes in and what are their prices. The Korean company has launched the car at introductory price of Rs 6.71 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India) which is for the base HTE variant that comes with a 1.2 Petrol engine and a 5 speed Manual Transmission. In all, the Sonet is being offered across 17 variants, including two petrol engines, one diesel engine with two different configurations, five transmissions and two trim levels — Tech Line and GT-Line. Kia said that it was able to garner over 25,000 bookings for its car till the launch.

The 1.2 litre engine has come in the most afford- able variants that range from Rs 6.71 lakh to Rs 8.45 lakh. The popular 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine that we’ve seen on many cars from Hyundai like Venue and Verna, comes in 5 variants that range from Rs 9.49 lakh to Rs 11.99 lakh. Interestingly there is no manual transmission on offer here and the only available options are either a 7-speed DCT automatic or the new 6-speed IMT or intelligent manual transmission which is a clutchless technology but lets you change gears manually. Finally, the 7 diesel variants range from Rs 8.05 lakh to Rs 11.99 lakh and these include both manual and automatic options. However, the prices of some top-end variants of both
petrol and diesel engines are yet to be shared.

Kia has also revealed the fuel efficiency figures of all the engines. While the 1.2 petrol engine with 5 speed manual transmission delivers 18.4 kmpl, the 1.5 litre diesel promises 19.0 kmpl for 6-speed manual and an impressive 24.1 kmpl for the 6-speed automatic. Some of the features are a 10.25-inch HD touchscreen with navigation and live traffic information, an air purifier with virus and bacteria protection, BOSE premium seven-speaker sound system with sub-woofer, front ventilated driver and passenger seats, 4.2-inch colour instrument cluster, remote engine start via UVO connect and smart key (Automatic and Manual transmission), multi-drive & traction modes for automatic models and a wireless smartphone charger with cooling function.

Toyota Urban Cruiser

The Toyota Urban Cruiser is the second model to be launched in India under the global Toyota-Suzuki alliance following the premium hatchback, the Toyota Glanza. The Urban Cruiser is based on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, but the company has tried to make enough distinctions between the look and feel. On the exterior the SUV gets a two-slat wedge cut front grille with chrome that reminds of the Toyota Fortuner. The dual chamber LED projector headlamps with chrome accents and split LED tail lamps are also changed. There are 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels on offer and roof rails are finished in gun metal grey. The car also gets some new colour options in single tone as well as dual tone.

The interior also gets a new dark brown colour and you cannot miss the Toyota logo on the steering wheel. The 17.78 cm smart playcast touchscreen audio works with Android Auto, Apple Carplay and
Smartphone- based navigation. Some other features include engine push start/ stop button, rain-sensing wipers, auto AC and cruise control. The car runs on the same 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that we’ve seen on many cars from Maruti Suzuki including Vitara Brezza. Both Manual and Automatic Transmissions are on offer and claimed fuel efficiency figures are 17.03 kmpl and 18.76 kmpl respectively. All the variants of the car come with the smart hybrid technology which aids in better fuel efficiency.

In terms of safety the car gets dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, hill hold control and ISOFIX child seat restraint system. In all there are 6 variants on offer divided equally between manual and automatic. Prices for the manual variants range between Rs 8.40 and Rs.9.80 lakh (ex-showroom) while the automatic variants are priced between Rs 9.80 and Rs 11.30 lakh.

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