September 2016 – Page 3 of 24 – My Blog

After much speculation and a leak, Samsung’s rumoured new smartphone – the Galaxy C9 – has reportedly appeared on Geekbench.

A smartphone bearing model number SM-C9000 was spotted on Geekbench, and it’s thought to be the Galaxy C9. A smartphone with the same model number was also recently spotted on Indian import-export website Zauba with a per unit price of Rs. 17,107. Note that import/ export website price listings are only declared values, and usually aren’t accurate reflections of actual market price. Coming back to the Geekbench listing, we see the smartphone is listed to sport a 6-inch display, quashing the early rumours of a 5.7-inch display. The device may also sport an octa-core Qualcomm CPU clocked at 1.4GHz.

The Geekbench listing also shows the Samsung Galaxy C9 to sport 6GB of RAM – significantly higher than all of Samsung’s flagship smartphones that have just 4GB of RAM. If the listing is correct, it will be the largest amount of RAM Samsung has offered in a smartphone yet. Of significance is that Samsung was anticipated to launch a 6GB of RAM variant of the Galaxy Note 7 in China last month, with the company’s mobile division chief citing intense competition with Chinese rivals as the decision for the move. However, that never happened.

It will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and other specifications look identical to Samsung Galaxy A9. As reported by Sammobile, Samsung may also be working on Galaxy C5 Pro and Galaxy C7 Pro as well. Both smartphones are thought to house mid-range smartphone specifications.

The Samsung Galaxy C range is presently available in China for now, so it is relatively safe to presume that the Galaxy C9 will launch in China initially.

Samsung launched the Galaxy C9’s predecessors in China – the Galaxy C5 and Galaxy C7 – in May this year. The Galaxy C5 was launched at a price of CNY 2,199 for its 32GB variant and CNY 2,399 for its 64GB variant, while the Galaxy C7 was priced at CNY 2,599 for its 32GB variant and CNY 2,799 for its 64GB variant.

The details are yet to be confirmed and we are not sure if the Galaxy C9 will launch with 6GB of RAM or not. Thus, we recommend you to take all of these details with a pinch of salt, until official details are spilled by Samsung.


Motorola back in June unveiled its flagship Moto Z smartphone with Moto Mods. The company alongside had also unveiled the Module Development Kit (MDK), which is now being referred to as Moto Mods Development Kit and was promised to be available by summer to third-party developers. The company after some delay has finally made the development kit available to wider audience and is also pushing for users to create new Mods.

Initially available in the US, the MDK comes with tools that are being used by the company to develop Moto Mods. The MDK is now available in more regions including China, Europe, and South America. The MDK will be available in Canada from October 5.

Motorola says MDK will enable developers to come up with new prototypes for Mods with the help of a reference Moto Mod that will feature all core computing functions; a perforated board with 364 solder points, and rear housing to carry the prototype around. Lenovo had previously confessed to establish an ecosystem for the Moto Mods.

Lenovo has so far showcased limited Moto Mods including the JBL SoundBoost for enhancing audio through speakers; the Moto Insta-Share Projector, which is meant to deliver a 70-inch projector experience, and the Power Pack, which is said to provide up to 22 hours of additional battery life.

To recall, Lenovo launched the Moto Z and Moto Z Force smartphones at its Tech World 2016 in San Francisco in June. The Chinese company also unveiled the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first Tango smartphone developed in collaboration with Google, at the same event.

Security research company last week announced it had discovered a flaw in Apple’s local password protected iTunes backups in iOS 10 that reportedly weakened password security. Apple has now acknowledged the flaw and has confirmed that it is working on a fix.

An Apple spokesperson in a statement to Forbes said, “We’re aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update.” The Cupertino-based giant again stressed that the flaw “does not affect iCloud backups.” In the meanwhile, Apple has recommended users to “ensure strong passwords on their Mac or PC.”

“We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption,” added the spokesperson. Unfortunately, the company has not revealed an exact timeline for the update.

The security research firm ElcomSoft claimed that the security flaw can let attackers develop a new attack that can bypass certain security checks when tallying passwords protecting local backups in iOS 10 devices. “The impact of this security weakness is severe,” claimed the firm. It also said that the new security check in iOS 10 was roughly “2,500 times weaker” compared to the one used in iOS 9 backups.

It’s worth mentioning that the flaw discovered cannot be exploited remotely and needed the attacker to have access of the local backups in iOS 10.


Mumbai: British lender Barclays is keen on being a research and development engine for the financial services industry and is making significant investments in this space, according its India chief operating officer Ram Gopal.

“Globally, there has been some disruption in financial services in recent times… as a response the industry is investing in innovation,” Mr Gopal told PTI here without disclosing the quantum of investment in this regard.

“Barclays is serious about being a research and development engine for financial services, and is investing in this space,” he added.

Speaking about India as a hub for fintech innovation for the bank, he said Barclays has over 29,000 people employed directly or through its partners, and a third of the group’s executive committee are Indians.

“There is a buzz in India,” he said.

“In the past decade, it has been around cost arbitrage; to get things done cheaper in India. But now we are actually going up the value chain. Some of the high-end work happens right here,” he pointed out.

The bank is conducting a hackathon, or a collaboration for computer programming in banking space, simultaneously in Mumbai and Manchester, Britain over the weekend to develop solutions for the bank ahead of the revised payment services directive (PSD2) in Europe, he explained.

The hackathon, facilitated through its fintech innovation platform – Rise – has over 1,000 participants and 20 enabling partners, including Google, IBM, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Twitter, Cisco, and Nasscom’s ‘10,000 Startups’.

Barclays launched the Rise programme here in June. This is its sixth site globally, following London, Manchester, New York, Cape Town and Tel Aviv hubs.

The Rise Mumbai chapter was set up to provide a physical site for fintech companies, offering a co-working environment, event spaces and meeting rooms.

“The investment in Rise has been made for three strategic reasons; to connect, co-create, and commercialize to scale,” Mr Gopal explained.

“We want to be engaged and create a digital community across the globe, and co-create solutions that could potentially define the shape of the financial services industry,” he added.

For the first time, the bank has opened up its ‘application programming interface’, to enable fintech start-ups participating in the hackathon to come up with collaborative solutions over the two next days.


New Delhi: As part of the consolidation process within the SBI Group, its five associate banks including State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) will soon submit to the Reserve Bank of India the scheme of acquisition as ratified by shareholders.

The board of the directors has considered the report of the expert committee set up to look into the written objections from shareholders in terms of the Grievance Redressal Mechanism set up as part of the scheme of acquisition, SBBJ said in a regulatory filing on stock exchanges on Monday.

The board on Monday approved the August 18 scheme of acquisition without any modification, it said.

It further said that scheme of acquisition of SBBJ along with the Report of the Expert Committee will be submitted to the RBI for their consideration and approval.

“Upon approval, RBI shall submit the scheme of acquisition as approved by it to the government of India for approval and issue of order of Acquisition under section 35 of the SBI Act 1955,” it said.

Other associates, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore, also made similar announcements on Monday.

The government had earlier this year cleared the proposal to merge SBI with its five associate banks – SBBJ, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad – and the new Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB).

In August, SBI had said that all its associate banks and BMB will be merged into it that will add an additional Rs. 8 lakh crore to its assets making it a banking behemoth with total assets of Rs. 30 lakh crore, an increase of about 36 per cent.

SBI deputy managing director (associates and subsidiaries) Neeraj Vyas said: “There were three valid grievances each for SBT, SBBJ and SBM, which were taken by the expert committee. The committee found the swap ratios to be correct and so rejected all the grievances.

“The boards of these three listed banks at a meeting held today viewed the expert committee recommendations and reconfirmed the swap ratio.”

In the filing, SBBJ, SBT and SBM said: “The boards have considered the report of the expert committee set up to consider the written objections from shareholders in terms of the grievance redressal mechanism set up as part of the merger scheme which was approved by the boards on August 18, and have approved the scheme without any modifications thereto.”

On August 18, the SBI board had announced the share swap ratio for three of the listed associate banks and Bhartiya Mahila Bank.

As per the merger proposal, SBBJ shareholders will get 28 shares of SBI (Rs. 1 each) for every 10 shares (Rs. 10 each).

Similarly, SBM and SBT shareholders will get 22 shares of SBI for every 10 shares.

In case of Bharatiya Mahila Bank, 4,42,31,510 shares of SBI will be swapped for every 100 crore of Rs. 10 each.

SBI appointed an expert committee for grievance redressals of minority shareholders with regard to the share swap ratios. The panel was given 21 days to register their complaints. The grievance redressals committee was headed by a High Court judge and two chartered accountants.

The proposal will now be sent to the SBI board in 2-3 days which will take the final view, Mr Vyas said. Once the board takes a view, the bank will have to send the proposal to the RBI and then to the government for final approval.

In an interview earlier this month, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had told PTI that the merger process would begin by the end of October and would be completed by March 2017.

“The merger process will start by October-end… after the grievance committee report, we will send it to the Reserve Bank and then to the government, which may probably take a month. After this the merger can happen,” Ms Bhattacharya had said, adding that the intention is to complete the merger by March 2017.

With the merger of all five associates and BMBL, SBI will become a global-sized bank. The combined entity will have 22,500 branches and 58,000 ATMs serving over 50 crore customers.

SBI has now close to 16,500 branches, including 191 foreign offices spread across 36 countries. SBI first merged State Bank of Saurashtra with itself in 2008. Two years later, State Bank of Indore was merged.


Singapore/Hong Kong: Bank of America is set to cut about two dozen investment banking jobs in Asia, including some top dealmakers, sources told Reuters, as a slowdown forces western banks to cut costs.

The job cut plan comes after Reuters reported on Friday that Goldman Sachs is planning to cut almost 30 per cent of its 300 investment banking jobs in Asia outside Japan, in response to a fall in activity in the region.

Some bankers handling client coverage and deals will be made redundant, starting this week, with cuts expected in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, BofA’s big centres in Asia, the sources said, adding that the total number has not been finalised.

Bank of America’s cuts will account for a small portion of its total Asia corporate and investment banking staff, and are part of an annual cost trimming, one of the sources said.

A Hong Kong-based spokesman for Bank of America, which last year posted a roughly 3 per cent drop in its Asia net income, declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified as the information is not public.

The latest cuts in Asia come against the backdrop of a tough dealmaking environment as well as a slowdown in major economies including in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The banks’ business has also been eroded by local competitors.

Bank of America is on track to post higher third quarter revenues in its investment banking business compared to the second quarter, its investment banking head Christian Meissner said at an industry event earlier this month.

However, the bank was gaining market share in most regions except for Asia Pacific, he said.

In July, chief executive officer Brian Moynihan announced a new expense target of $53 billion for 2018, $3.3 billion less than its total expenses over the past four quarters.

The new target came after years of working through a sweeping cost-cutting project dubbed “New BAC” and an ongoing efficiency initiative called “Simplify and Improve”.

Besides Bank of America and Goldman, many western banks have announced plans to scale down their operations in Asia in the past year, as they grapple with slowing revenue growth and higher operating costs in the region.

Barclays said in January that it would cut about 1,000 staff in its investment bank operations worldwide, with the bulk in Asia, while Societe Generale decided to close its equities research desk in India.

Other European banks including BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank are expected to scale back operations in non-core Asian markets while last year Asia-focused Standard Chartered shut down its equities franchise.

The value of announced M&A deals for Asia-Pacific companies, excluding Japanese firms, fell 17.7 per cent to $553 billion in the first half, while share offerings in the region sank nearly 60 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

New Delhi: State-owned Bank of India has sold an 18 per cent stake in the insurance joint venture Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd (SUD) to its Japanese partner.

“Upon change in law, Bank of India has sold its 18 per cent stake in Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd (SUD) to Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited (DILIC),” the lender said in a regulatory filing.

“The shareholding of DILIC will be 44 per cent up from 26 per cent upon completion of the transaction after receiving necessary statutory/regulatory approvals,” it added.

Bank of India said the transaction was completed on September 26, 2016.

With this, the shareholding of Bank of India has come down to 30 per cent from 48 per cent in SUD, while Union Bank of India will continue to hold 26 per cent.

SUD was incorporated in 2007 as a joint venture among Bank of India, Union Bank of India and DILIC to undertake life insurance business in India.

As per the terms of the joint venture agreement, DILIC had an option to purchase 18 per cent additional stake in SUD upon change in law related to higher stake by foreign partners in their Indian joint ventures, allowing them to raise their stake from the allowed 26 per cent to up to 49 per cent.

“DILIC has since exercised the call option to acquire the said stake from Bank of India and increased shareholding of DILIC will be 44 per cent up from 26 per cent upon completion of the transaction after receiving necessary regulatory approvals,” it said.


Along with its 4G VoLTE capable X28 smartphone, Lava has launched its 5-inch smartphone Lava A56 in India at a price of Rs. 4,199. The smartphone will be available with offline retailers across the country.

Lava A56 is a dual-SIM 2G smartphone and will come running Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

The smartphone packs a FWVGA (480×854 pixels) display and is powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core processor coupled with 512MB of RAM. In terms of optics, A56 sports a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash support and a VGA (0.3-megapixels) camera at front.

The device comes with 4GB of internal storage and supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 32GB). A56 houses a 1850mAh battery. As far as connectivity options are concerned, the smartphone offers GPRS/ EDGE, Bluetooth v2.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Lava A56 measures 147×72.2×9.9mm and is available in White and Black colour options.

Lava also launched its 5.5-inch 4G VoLTE smartphone Lava X28 at Rs. 7,349. The X28 comes running Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box and packs a 1.3GHz quad-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM.

Lava announced earlier this month that ahead of the festive season it is offering a one-time screen-replacement offer valid for duration of 365 days. The offer was announced for Lava mobiles purchased between September 15 and November 15 (both days inclusive) and is applicable to smartphones as well as feature phones.

Google has been teasing its Pixel line of smartphones for a while now, and the company is expected to launch them running the first update to Nougat – Android 7.1. After confirming on Monday that it would be launching the new smartphones at an October 4 event, leaked renders of the alleged Pixel and Pixel XL devices were found online. It now looks like the company is ready to bring the restart option to the Pixel smartphones, introducing it alongside Android 7.1 Nougat.

While the restart button is a common feature seen from the likes of Samsung and LG, Google has so far refused its users of this tiny, time-saving option. Prior Nexus devices would only feature a “Power Off” option, while the leaked image posted by Android Police shows the added “Restart” option as well.

It is still, however, a leak that should be take with a pinch of salt. The reboot option seen in the image is claimed to have been taken from a Pixel phone that is running Android 7.1 beta version, which means only developers are currently enjoying the feature.

Google could be testing out the feature as of now and there is no guarantee that the final Pixel product will feature the restart option. However, after dropping the ‘Nexus’ branding for its own brand, Google will likely bring in some much-needed changes, perhaps starting with the restart option.

A separate rumour also reveals the starting price of the Pixel smartphone. The rumour suggests that the pricing for the 5-inch model of the Pixel will start from $649 (roughly Rs. 43,500). GeekBench’s benchmark test reveals that the Pixel smartphone will pack 4GB of RAM and is expected to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC.

Google has started sending invites for the October 4 event, to be held at 9am local time in San Francisco.


In today’s weird news, a Chinese billionaire’s son purchased eight iPhone 7 smartphones. But that’s not the weird part. The iPhone 7 smartphones were purchased for the son’s dog. You may need a moment to digest what you just read, but the story is fantastically true.

Wang Sicong is the son of Wang Jialin, a Chinese businessman whose net worth is over $30 billion (roughly Rs. 2,01,073 crores). The son bought his dog Coco eight iPhone 7s, according to a post on the dog’s account on Weibo. Yes, the dog has his own Weibo account too – and, it’s verified. The iPhone 7 in China is priced between CNY 6,388 and 7,988 (roughly Rs. 64,210 to Rs. 80,000), which means Sicong spent upwards of CNY 51,071 (roughly Rs. 5,13,000). For the son of a businessman worth $30 billion, that price would not pinch too much.

While Apple fans in China started lining up outside the Apple Store on Friday, Sicong easily managed to get eight of the latest devices from Apple only to give it to his beloved dog. The dog, of course, is seen happily posing with his new collection.

This isn’t the first time Wang Sicong’s dog has received such spotlight. In May 2015, Sicong purchased two Apple Watch Editions for his dog (named Wang Ke Chi Bi), which the dog flaunted on his two front paws. In fact, the Apple Watch Edition models were a lot pricier compared to the iPhone 7, costing somewhere between $10,000 (roughly Rs. 6,40,000) and $17,000 (roughly Rs. 11,00,000) each.

By the looks of it, Sicong’s dog is an all out Apple fan and one can expect him to sport the latest Apple Watch Series 2 in the near future.