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Roposo gains 22 million users in 2 days after TikTok ban; Mitron, Chingari also see rise in downloads

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With popular short video-making app TikTok down in India, rival apps have lately been all the rage in the country. After a border clash with the neighboring country China went on to eventually generate an anti-China sentiment across the nation, a total of 59 Chinese apps were banned in India at once over security concerns, including TikTok. Now rival apps including Mitron, Chingari, and Roposo are rising up in download numbers.

TikTok had 200 million users in India. After the ban came into effect, all these users were suddenly left with no content to post or view content off. A lack of options led to alternate short video-making apps becoming popular in the country.

Watch: Alternatives to banned Chinese apps including TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, CamScanner

One of the alternatives, Roposo, which has existed since 2014, saw its user-base jump up by 22 million in just two days after the app was taken down. “In the last few days I’ve slept for a total of five hours, and it’s the same for our entire team,” Bhangadia said. “The load is so much and we’re just ensuring that the experience is as smooth as possible,” said Mayank Bhangadia, Roposo founder in a report by Reuters.

Roposo now has over 80 million downloads on Android. As per Bhangadia, this figure may cross 100 million in a few more days. Roposo had about 50 million downloads before TikTok was taken down, which is still a considerable share amidst the 500 million smartphones in India.

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The Bengaluru-based company is run by about 200 people but plans on going international over the next two years. It will also reportedly be hiring an additional 10,000 people in this time frame for the same. Meanwhile, other rival apps like Mitron and Chingari are riding over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atma-Nirbhar’ wave and enjoying popularity. These apps too have seen a rise in user-base after the TikTok ban.

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E Ink demos a folding e-reader that can also take notes

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Folding smartphones are slowly making their way into the mainstream. Could foldable e-readers be next? The E Ink Corporation, the company behind the digital paper tech found in the majority of e-readers, is trying to make it happen. The firm’s R&D lab has been developing foldable e-ink screens for a while, and its latest prototype clearly demonstrates the idea’s potential.

The video above comes from GoodEReader.com and shows a foldable e-reader prototype developed by E Ink. An earlier version came out in June, but the latest hardware adds a sturdier hinge, five dedicated buttons down the right hand side of the device, and two lightbars positioned at the top of the screen for illumination. There’s also integrated Wacom technology for taking notes, making annotations, and highlighting passages with a stylus.


The folding action looks smooth, even though the prototype hardware isn’t ready for the mainstream.
GIF: GoodEReader.com

The overall concept is intriguing. As with folding smartphones, a foldable e reader promises more screen real estate in a smaller package. There’s also the pleasing familiarity of the folding format, making the device more like a book or notepad. Add in the capacity to take notes and sync reading material and you’d have an extremely useful bit of kit.

But it seems the technology is not quite there just yet. The bezels on this prototype are huge, the flip-up lightbars are reminiscent of gadgets from the 1990s, while note-taking on e-readers generally is still constrained by low latency. Using e-readers to take notes is certainly a growing market, but it’s not yet a seamless enough experience to overtake old fashioned pen and paper. Still, we’ll be watching the development of this tech with interest.

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WhatsApp working on multiple device support with chat sync

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp appears to be working on new multiple device support with synchronized chat history. WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp is testing the ability to use an account on multiple devices, including a separate iPad app. WhatsApp currently supports multiple devices through WhatsApp Web, which connects back to a phone account.

WhatsApp Web requires a phone to be powered on and connected to the web, but this new multiple device support won’t need to constantly connect back to a phone and will allow people to use WhatsApp on multiple devices simultaneously.

This new multiple devices feature, which has been rumored for months, will also likely support chat history sync, allowing WhatsApp users to sync their messages across devices. WABetaInfo also reports that WhatsApp will release its long-rumored iPad app once the multiple devices support is ready to be released.

WhatsApp now has 2 billion users and has been introducing features to limit the forwarding of viral messages in recent months. WhatsApp also added a search feature last week to help users debunk misinformation that can spread on the messaging service.

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Brydge releases new line of ‘Designed for Surface’ keyboards and accessories

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On August 17th, Brydge will begin selling a new lineup of Surface accessories that have the “Designed for Surface” badge, meaning that they were made in collaboration with Microsoft. The lineup includes keyboards for the Surface Pro and Surface Go, but the most intriguing product in the group is the $99.99 W-Touch standalone trackpad. It’s apparently the first standalone wireless trackpad made for Windows 10.

The W-Touch is like a Magic Trackpad 2 that’s built for Windows 10 instead, coated in a striking black with an aluminum build. It has Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and it supports Precision drivers and multitouch gestures, like pinch to zoom, and multifinger swipes to switch desktops. This trackpad has a large glass surface to comfortably move around in, measuring at 5.5 inches across and 3.3 inches deep, so a little smaller than Apple’s version but still spacious.

The W-Touch is said to delivery one-month battery life, and it recharges via USB-C. One hundred dollars isn’t cheap for a trackpad, but as the only standalone, wireless option made in partnership with Microsoft, Brydge gets to set the price. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it could be a great accessory to have around if a mouse doesn’t jive with your workflow.

Brydge
Both the Brydge W-Touch and W-Type claim one month of battery life per charge. Also, each features a USB-C port to make recharging easy.
Photo: Brydge

Brydge is also releasing the W-Type to complement the W-Touch. It’s a full-size wireless keyboard with aluminum detailing and a complete row of function keys. Right out of the gate, it seems like an excellent value at $59.99. The overall design, and even the printing on the keys, makes it look like an accessory that Microsoft might make — and perhaps severely overcharge for. The keys use a scissor mechanism and each has 2mm travel, which Brydge claims is the “perfect” amount of key travel. If it’s anything like what the Surface Laptop 3 has built in, there’s plenty of reason to get excited.

This model has Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity with support for up to four devices, so you can easily switch the computer to which it’s connected. Brydge claims it can last up to a month on a charge. When it zaps out, you can charge it via USB-C.

Rounding out the lineup are the new Brydge 12.3 Pro Plus and 10.5 Go Plus keyboards. The $149.99 Pro Plus model works with the Surface Pro 4, 5, 6, and 7, while the $129.99 Go Plus works with the Surface Go and Go 2. Both feature Bluetooth 5.0, backlit keys, Windows Precision trackpads with full multitouch gesture support, USB-C ports for charging, and an antimicrobial coating on the deck. Brydge has had a keyboard for the Surface Pro for some time now — this new model has a redesigned hinge, 70 percent larger trackpad, native multi-touch control in Windows, updated Bluetooth connectivity, and a plastic deck as opposed to aluminum. (The bottom of the keyboard is still metal.) It also weighs 70 grams less.

Brydge 12.3 Pro Plus
The Brydge 12.3 Pro Plus keyboard attaches to the Surface Pro with hinge clamps to turn it into a traditional laptop.
Photo: Brydge

Like the Brydge Pro Plus keyboard for the iPad Pro, these turn your Surface into a more traditional clamshell laptop that can be easily balanced on your lap or closed up and thrown in a bag. When you want to use the Surface as a tablet, you can just pop it out of the Brydge’s hinge and go.

Compared to Microsoft’s Surface keyboards, the Brydge provides a more stable typing experience and longer travel on the keys. But it does require charging roughly every three months and Bluetooth isn’t as reliable of a connection as the pogo pins the Surface keyboards use. It also makes the Surface noticeably thicker and heavier, but it’s still a quite portable package.

All of these products will go on sale starting August 17th, and aside from the 10.5 Go Plus that ships the week of September 7th, the others will ship the week of August 31st.

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