The Indian government has been making a constant endeavor to use technology to advance the small towns and villages in India. Towards this, the Communications Ministry has announced that 55,669 villages will be brought under mobile connectivity by 2018.
This development is planned under the Digital India program and will occur in a phased manner so that it can receive aid from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
While the rest of the country is enjoying internet at 3G and 4G speeds, lack of mobile connectivity is affecting development in remote areas. Therefore, if the government’s plan works out successfully, people in remote areas would be able to use technology to their benefit.
Digital India Movement to cover all panchayats
Offering mobile connectivity to remote areas is a major concern for the government. But government officials have said that an important factor for the movement is to offer high speed internet to remote areas.
This is not all. The movement also aims at offering government services on the web and promoting electronic manufacturing. This move is expected to generate more jobs to reduce youth unemployment.
The government has also covered 23,604 villages with optic fiber cables under the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) project. Though the project has crossed its deadline, it is still an important achievement as 2.5 lakh panchayats are expected to come under this network by the end of 2016.
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in USA, they discussed bringing 50,000 villages under the umbrella of technology. This is reportedly Modi government’s way to have more transparent governance.
“We will transform governance, making it more transparent, accountable, accessible and participative,” Modi told The Hindu.
He wants to turn the digital India movement into a mass movement, while ensuring that individuals’ privacy is not invaded. Our team went to some villages to understand what rural India thinks of this move. Here’s how they think technology will influence their lives:
“Our kids will have better education and will get access to the world happenings if internet comes to local schools,” said Sukram Pal of Shamli village in UP.
“I will order high quality seeds online and will grow better crops, “says one farmer.
There are some educated service class people who think that with everything going digital ,the corruption level may go down.
Here is what one responsible citizen (name not revealed on request) had to say about Modi’s digital India movement, “The babu culture in India will reduce. We no more have to give bribe to get our things done. I have recently learned how to pay income tax online and it was so easy. With everything going digital everything will be easily accessible and even the siffarish culture and paper work will reduce.”
With public Wi-Fi hot spots planned soon across the Indian landscape, the country may soon advance in race to become a developed country.
Meanwhile, TechThirsty continues to hail technology.
Apple iPhone 6s is out in the stores. To raise cheer, CEO of the company Tim Cook made a surprise visit to the Apple store in Georgetown. Visitors who were at the store at that time say store employees were busy alerting each other. “Focus! Focus! Focus!”, they said. Meanwhile, customers queued outside were busy clicking pictures with Cook.
Although the CEO’s visit to the store came as a surprise for everyone present there, this is not the first time he has done something like that. Apple’s chief executives often make surprise visits to the stores, especially on the day a new phone is launched.
Cook last visited an Apple store in December 2014.
Expect Apple iPhones to sell in millions
This weekend is special for Apple as the company is expecting to sell over one million pieces of iPhone 6s and and iPhone 6s Plus and Cook’s surprise visit may boost the sales further.
While there has been an initial disappointment regarding the high price of the iPhone, it might not affect sales adversely. On day one, most Apple stores stocking the phone saw people lining up in large numbers.
Many users were there to move to an iPhone from Android phones. Apple iPhones have a great hold in the US market and the release of the latest range would establish them further. … Read the rest
We were at the Apple store in New York recently and got an opportunity to test the latest iPhone 6s. To start with, we wanted to check if bending issues that were seen with the iPhone 6 remain. Good news, the iPhone 6s does not bend. Instead, it looks stronger than the iPhone 6. For those who are clumsy with their phones, this one could be a better bet.
Apple offerings after the iPhone 3 have been a little fragile. Many users changed their handsets because they found the iPhone delicate. If you are not a fan of the thin bezel that accompanied the previous iPhones, be prepared for a surprise this time. The latest iPhone has a sturdy and secure built.
An interesting feature of the iPhone 6s is the new 3D touch, which makes multitasking faster and easier. It allows users to access everything with one tap from peek and pop. All this makes adjusting, enabling and disabling so simple. However, users will need to dedicate a few hours to understand this feature.
With so much on its side, the first batch of iPhone 6S will be a complete sell out.
We met a user Charles at the store, also is avid iPhone user. He bought the phone and the first thing he did was to take a picture. “This is why I buy iPhones. They give you the most beautiful pictures,” he said.
After gaining a strong foothold in the smartphones market, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is all set to launch a laptop. Bloomberg News had earlier hinted at Xiaomi’s plans to enter the laptop industry. This news was recently confirmed by Taipei Times, which reported that hardware firm Inventec has been roped in to manufacture the laptop.
Taipei Times said Inventec chairman Richard Lee has confirmed that the Xiaomi laptop could start shipping as early as the beginning of 2016. “I am upbeat about the business outlook for Xiaomi’s notebook computers, as the firm has more than 200 million registered smartphone users,” Lee said.
Competing with Apple
Xiaomi is known for producing sleek and quality devices at low costs. This means, it could give tough competition to Apple’s range of laptops in China. On the other hand, it could face competition from Apple in the US market where the latter seems to have established a monopoly.
Although little is known about the new Xiaomi laptop, it is expected to feature a sleek look with some powerful hardware.
Watch this space for all the developing information on this laptop.
Google has now introduced note taking app Google Keep for the Apple iOS. The app was first introduced way back in March 2013 for web and Android users. It was then brought to Android Wear in 2014. All this while, it was not available for iOS users.
Now, the v1.0.4 version of Google Keep is available for download from the iOS App Store as well. It is compatible with the iOS 8 version and onward. With a size of 28MB, the app doesn’t occupy a lot of space. The only major turn off about this app is that it comes with the Material Design theme of Google, which may not be liked by ardent Apple fans.
One can make notes, lists and record voice reminders using Google Keep. They can even be categorized using labels, types and colors. This app also allows people set reminders based on date and location.
Another interesting feature of this app is that it allows users to share notes with other users in real time. Google Keep for iOS can transliterate voice memos and read the text from a picture to enable people find a note quickly by searching.
Though everything is pretty good about this app, the fact that iOS App Store already has EverNote and OneNote, will pose as a stiff competition for this late arrival. Moreover, the pre-instaled Notes app in iOS also got a major update recently.
We sure hope Google has thought through all the pros and cons of introducing this app on iOS and would have a vision for the prospect of this app on iOS platform that prompted its launch.… Read the rest
Truedialer, which allows users to find whether another person is available to take calls or not, has got a new update. For those who are avid users of Truecaller, the Truedialer is easy to get addicted to. Its only downside is that it works only in with numbers that have the same app installed. Recently, Truedialer got an update. We went out to find what people think about it.
“It is a great update. It tells me whether the person is available to call or not. I am happy with it,” says Sneha.
“What I like about it is that I no more have to change my availability status manually. It happens automatically,” says Nikhil Chopra.
With the new update, the status icon turns red when people are busy and green when they are free. The new update also syncs with calendars automatically.
“Just like WhatsApp, now I can even deactivate the availability feature if I like,” says Swati Malu.
Truedialer has really come a long way and created a niche for itself. The app supports dual sim because of which it appeals to masses. However, many people using Truedialer have also reported a rise in call drop rates.
It will need some more updates before it is a smooth sail for Truedialer.… Read the rest
Mom of two, Shilpi Gupta talks to us about how she used technology and made it a part of her life from pregnancy and child birth to bringing up her toddlers. Most connected women these days use technology as a means to know more about the precious nine months.
Technology has become a part of everyday lives. This is especially true for pregnancy and childbirth when the internet acts as a friend, guide, and to some extent a doctor.
These thoughts took centerstage during my pregnancy days. If it was not for niche apps along with the plethora of information available on the Internet, I may not have sailed through those joyous yet testing times.
Apps like Pregnancy Tracker, My Pregnancy Today and What to Expect gave me daily tips on what to eat, what to do, what not to do. They opened me up to all stages of pregnancy at every step of the way. They suggest our daily exercise routine, foods to eat and everything about and how the body will change in months to come.
Advice on common pregnancy issues are easy to locate with these apps. Household cures provided for problems of morning sickness, swelling in the feet or how to prevent acidity. Interestingly, most of the apps are reliable and share relevant information. They help users to take wise decisions for a safe delivery and healthy baby.
As women get busy with their lives and have little time to seek help, technology comes as a rescue. After I gave birth to my little one, my partner and me were anxious as to how we will raise him. There was immense curiosity about breastfeeding, vaccination and health of the baby. Again, I took shelter under a series of apps which helped me set reminders and provided useful tips.
I joined groups like breastfeeding support and babywearing on Facebook. This gave me a chance to speak to other expectant mothers. Shopping also becomes easy with the online shopping options available. Now that my little baby boy has grown up, I shop for all his needs from clothes and games to school paraphernalia from e-commerce websites.
Everything is simply a click away and the world has become a digital oyster.
(As told to Sonam Malik)… Read the rest
With 400 million active users monthly, Instagram is riding high on success leaving its immediate rival Twitter far behind. The recent development is going to boost advertising revenues to a great extend for Instagram.
In about nine months, the photo sharing website owned by Facebook has pulled in the latest 100 million users including celebrities like former athlete Caitlyn Jenner and soccer player David Beckham. It is worth mentioning that more than 50% of the newly-joined users are from outside of the USA. Most of them are from Europe and Asia with Japan, Brazil and Indonesia topping the list for having maximum number of users.
While Instagram users seem to be rising fast, Twitter seems to be struggling to draw in new users. Analysts are of the opinion that it is not Snapchat or Instagram, which are pulling down people’s interest on Twitter but the business model of the company itself.
Enders Analysis head of digital media Ian Maude told CNBC recently, “I think the concerns over Twitter are more general, i.e. it’s not about Instagram, it’s about while its growth has stalled, other social media, other instant messaging and communications services and tools continue to grow and it’s being outgrown and outpaced and I think that is the worry.”
One big reason for the success of Instagram is that it is used over the phone. This allows more people to use it on a regular basis. The app is a lot more user friendly when compared to Twitter. Plus, there’s no need to think of witty lines. Images do speak louder than words.
Back home, we spoke to some people and asked them which one they preferred. They had some really interesting things to say.
Software professional Arunima Bhattacharya said, “Because Instagram is more about pictures….we humans are narcissists after all.” Simply put, the younger generation wants to share their happy moments with friends all the time. Instagram is a faster and easier way to do that.
A student Chandan Lohia said, “Both have their own utility. When it comes to sharing updates, Twitter handles it better but instant image sharing is handled by Instagram better…. !!!”
Which is the one you prefer more and why? We are waiting to hear what you think. Leave us your comments below.… Read the rest