India

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s ambitious project to explore the Moon

Only the US, China, and Russia have achieved this so far

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Fifty years back the United States became the first country to send man to the Moon. Since then, many countries like the former-Soviet Union, China, and the EU have tried to accomplish similar feats. Thanks to advancing technology, we no longer need to send humans to the Moon for exploration. Rovers and satellites have sufficient capabilities to explore the surface and all operations can be handled remotely.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been at the cutting edge of technology and managed to make huge strides in space exploration. The agency is India’s backbone for sending satellites and has a spectacular track record of successful launches. Their first mission to the Moon was Chandrayaan-1 and it was launched in 2008. The spacecraft was able to complete 95 percent of its objectives before a connection was lost and it crashed on the Moon’s surface.

Now, India is back with a new project called the Chandrayaan-2. Chandra means Moon in Sanskrit and Yaan means a vehicle, the project marks the entry of the developing country in an elite club of nations with similar space exploration capabilities. In fact, the mission has cost just INR 1,000 crores, equivalent to US$ 145 million. For comparison, a single Transformer movie costs upwards of US$ 200 million.

ISRO

This cost-effective method of research and development gives India a unique edge. The Chandrayaan-2 intends to do a soft-landing on the surface of the Moon. So far, only the US, China, and Russia have been able to master soft landings and India aims to join the list.

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft consists of an orbiter named Vikram and a moon rover called Pragyaan. The landing module sits on top of the rocket and is covered in a composite golden film to protect the components from extreme temperatures. The surface rover is safely tucked inside the lander and shall come down a ramp once the soft-landing is complete.

ISRO

Propelling the spacecraft is a GSLV Mk 3 rocket (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) that’s 44 meters tall and weighs 640 tons. After separation, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will travel 3.84 lakh kilometers and land near the South Pole of the Moon, a region which hasn’t been fully explored by humans yet.

The mission was supposed to launch in the early hours of July 15 but a last moment technical snag in the rocket delayed the launch. Now, ISRO has announced Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on July 22 at 2.43 p.m. from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The country also plans to send a manned mission to the Moon in the coming years and has tied up with multiple international companies for transfer of technology.

India

Google Pixel 4 won’t be coming to India

Google failed to secure permission from local authorities

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Bad news for Pixel fans in India — shortly after the global launch of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL today, Google announced that they would not be bringing the new Pixels to the sub-continent.

A Google spokesperson stated that the company, “has a wide range of products that we make available in different regions around the world. We determine availability based on a variety of factors, including local trends, and product features. We decided not to make Pixel 4 available in India. We remain committed to our current Pixel phones and look forward to bringing future Pixel devices to India.”

While Google has not explicitly given a reason, the decision is rumored to be due to the Pixel 4’s headline feature, Project Soli, which is a radar-based motion-sensing chip that depends on using the 60GHz mmWave frequency band. This frequency band is not open for unlicensed civilian usage in India, and the company has seemingly not been able to secure permission from Indian authorities to use it.

In the US, the FCC approved Project Soli earlier this year, and the 60GHz frequency is unlicensed and usable, so Pixel 4 is already up for pre-order.

In India, the local TRAI recommendation in 2014 was to allow for opening up the 60GHz frequency band but it still remains locked and only permitted for military projects. As a result, Google is unable to sell the phone in the country. Disabling the Soli chip won’t be enough either as the mere presence of the 60GHz radar hardware itself is not allowed under current Indian laws.

An alternative available to Google would be to create a different variant of the Pixel 4 without the Soli hardware, but that would have further complicated the entire Pixel experience just for one market.

The Project Soli chip in the Pixel 4 allows for some cool features on the phone, such as the ability to detect human interactions, and recognize gestures, so you could wave your hand to silence a call or skip a song.

At the event today, VP of Product Management at Google Sabrina Ellis even claimed that this allows Pixel 4 to have “the fastest secure face unlock on a smartphone, because the process starts before you have even picked up the smartphone.”

According to research firm Counterpoint, over 99 percent of smartphones shipped in India last year were powered by Android. India is the second largest smartphone market in the world, so Google would be missing out for opting to not sell the Pixel 4. Here’s to hoping Google manages to get permission from the local Indian authorities, because there’s a lot to love about the kind of innovation that the Pixel 4 brings along.

Source: TechCrunch

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Motorola One Macro is an affordable phone with triple-rear cameras

Also sports a 5000mAh battery

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While Xiaomi was launching the Redmi 8 today in India, Motorola was busy showing-off its new offering. Called the One Macro, it’s an affordable phone that’s packed to the brim with features. This segment is very crowded with multiple offerings from Xiaomi, Realme, and Nokia. How is One Macro different?

For starters, it has a triple-rear camera setup that consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Yes, the phone is named after its macro lens and Motorola is hoping this will be enough to sell the phone in such a competitive market.

Motorola claims it can focus from as close as 2cm and the macro shot automatically generates a natural bokeh effect in the background.

On the front is a 6.2-inch HD+ display. A small notch is located on the top that houses an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Helio P70 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. You can expand storage via a hybrid card slot — you’ll have to choose between two nano-SIMs or nano-SIM + microSD.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear along with face unlock support. The One Macro is backed by a 4000mAh battery with support for 10W fast charging. The fast charger is included in the box and connects to the phone via USB-C. Lastly, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box.

The phone is available in one configuration only and the 4GB+64GB combo costs INR 9,999 (US$ 140). Even color option has been restricted to Space Blue. Sale starts from October 12 via Flipkart.

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Redmi 8 with dual cameras, 5000mAh battery now available

Comes with a special launch price

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A couple of weeks back Xiaomi launched the Redmi 8A in India, now the brand is back with a slightly upgraded offering, dubbed the Redmi 8. These phones are extremely crucial for Xiaomi because they account for a majority of the sales.

Being a developing market, demand for affordable phones is maximum. Taking advantage of this, the brand has successfully ruled the segment for quite some time and the Redmi 8 is expected to continue this legacy.

It features a 6.2-inch HD+ display with a tiny notch on top. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and the body consists of P2i splash-resistant coating. The corners have been reinforced to offer better drop protection and extended usage-life.

The phone shares its processor with the Redmi 8A — Qualcomm Snapdragon 439. The base option comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage that is expandable via a microSD card. For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and even face unlock has been included.

Coming to the cameras, the rear sports a 12-megapixel primary sensor along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. The software comes preloaded with AI-backed portrait mode and auto-scene recognition.

A key highlight of the phone is its massive 5000mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging via USB-C. A 3.5mm headphone jack has also been included and the phone will be available in Onyx Black, Sapphire Blue, and Ruby Red color options.

The 3GB+32GB base option costs INR 7,999 (US$ 112) and the 4GB+64GB variant costs INR 8,999 (US$ 126). Though, the first 5 million buyers will be able to get the 4GB+64GB option for INR 7,999. Sale stars from October 12 via Flipkart and Mi.com.

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