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Google Says It ‘Immediately Removed’ Personal Loan Apps in India Violating User Safety Policies

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Google India on Thursday revealed that it “immediately removed” personal loan apps from Play store for violating its user safety policies. The company wrote in a blog post that it reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in the country based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The new move comes months after several users raised issues against some mobile apps offering short-term loans harassing customers in case of non-payments. Some of the affected customers alleged that the apps were accessing their contact details, which were allegedly used by recovery agents to bully them.

Although Google didn’t provide the number of apps being removed by the latest decision, it mentioned that the developers of the remaining identified apps were asked to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations.

“Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice,” said Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, in the blog post.

Reuters noted in its investigation that at least 10 Indian lending apps on Google Play had no clarity on repayment lengths. That was a clear breach of Google’s rules for apps offering personal loans.

Google said that it only allowed personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued.

Some affected customers informed local authorities that various short-term loan apps were charging hefty interest that they weren’t aware of while applying for loans. It was also found that in many cases, the lending apps were accessing contacts that were used to harass customers in case of defaults or late payments.

Frey said that developers must only request necessary permissions to implement current features or services. “They should not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes,” she said.

Google has started sending out emails to the developers of lending apps to furnish documents related to approvals or licenses within five days. Sources familiar with the development told Gadgets 360 that the company delisted at least 100 apps from the Play store in the last 10 days. One of the first apps that were removed by Google seemed to be the Udhaar Loan app that was pulled in late December — after its recovery agents were found bullying some customers.

 

Some victims of bullying and harassments by recovery agents reportedly committed suicide in recent months. Gadgets 360 learnt that the Hyderabad police sent a list of 286 apps in total from their arrests to Google over harassing cases. The company assured that it would continue to work with law enforcement agencies in their investigation on the matter.

On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) responded to the recent concerns raised by customers and formed a working group to look at digital lending in the country. The central bank is, however, yet to frame specific rules around lending apps in the country.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Sony Xperia Pro With Micro-HDMI Port Launched for Professional Photographers: Price, Specifications

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Sony Xperia Pro has finally been launched as the company’s latest flagship that can double as a monitor for your existing camera or camcorder. The smartphone comes with a micro-HDMI connector to let you connect your camera or camcorder to get live feed on the phone’s high-quality 4K OLED display.Sony Xperia Pro also provides users with the option to transfer their footage from a camera to an FTP server using its inbuilt 5G connectivity. Sony Xperia Pro was originally announced as a 5G phone last year.

Sony Xperia Pro price, availability

Sony Xperia Pro price has been set at $2,499.99 (roughly Rs. 1,82,500). The phone is currently available for purchase in the US through Amazon, B&H Photo Video, and the Sony online store. Details about the global debut of the Xperia Pro are yet to be revealed.

In February last year, Sony Xperia Pro was announced alongside the launch of the Sony Xperia 1 II and the Xperia 10 II.

Sony Xperia Pro specifications

There aren’t many differences between Sony Xperia 1 II and Sony Xperia Pro. The latter is, however, targeted at professional photographers who already own a Sony Alpha camera or camcorder.

sony xperia pro camera connector Sony Xperia Pro

Sony Xperia Pro can be connected with a camera or camcorder using the micro-HDMI connector
Photo Credit: Sony

 

Sony Xperia Pro runs on Android 10. It features a 6.5-inch 4K HDR (1,644×3,840 pixels) OLED display with 21:9 aspect ratio. The display offers 100 percent coverage of DCI-P3 100 colour gamut and a dedicated Creator mode powered by CineAltra. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. The phone is powered by last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, along with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of UFS storage. This comes as an upgrade over Sony Xperia 1 II that had 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The inbuilt storage on both phones supports expansion through a microSD card (up to 1TB).

For photography, Sony Xperia Pro houses a triple rear camera setup that houses a 12-megapixel primary Exmor RS for mobile sensor with an f/1.7 lens. There are also two additional 12-megapixel sensors with an f/2.4 lens and an f/2.2 lens with an 124-degree field-of-view (FoV). For selfies and video chats, Sony Xperia Pro comes with a 8-megapixel shooter at the front, with an f/2.0 lens.

Sony Xperia Pro has a list of connectivity options that include 5G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS/ A-GPS, NFC, USB Type-C, micro-HDMI, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone also comes with Dolby Atmos audio technology that powers front-facing speakers. It packs a 4,000mAh battery that supports Xperia Adaptive Charging and USB Power Delivery (PD) fast charging. The phone measures 170.18×76.2×10.16mm and weighs 225 grams.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Samsung Galaxy A72 Appears on US FCC With 25W Charging; Galaxy F62, Galaxy M62 Spotted on Bluetooth SIG Site

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Samsung Galaxy A72 has purportedly surfaced on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website with 25W fast charging support. The Samsung phone has appeared with the model number SM-A725M. The Samsung Galaxy A72 was also recently spotted on the TUV Rheinland certification and Geekbench benchmarking sites. In addition to the Galaxy A72, the Samsung Galaxy F62 and Galaxy M62 have reportedly been listed on the Bluetooth SIG certification site with model numbers SM-E625F_DS and SM-M625F_DS, respectively. The Samsung Galaxy M62 was also recently spotted on the Wi-Fi Alliance site with the same model numbers.

The US FCC listing suggests that the Samsung Galaxy A72 would come with a travel charger that supports 25W fast charging. This appears to be the same charging solution that Samsung has bundled with some of its existing mid-range and premium phones, including the Samsung Galaxy M51 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. A previous report had also suggested 25W charging on the Samsung Galaxy A72.

Apart from the charging details, the FCC listing doesn’t give away any other specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A72. However, its Geekbench listing suggests the Snapdragon 720G SoC. The phone is also rumoured to have a 5G variant and may come with a 6.7-inch display.

The Samsung Galaxy A72 was originally rumoured to be the company’s first penta-camera phone. However, it was later speculated to come with quad rear cameras instead.

In addition to the purported FCC listing of the Samsung Galaxy A72, the Samsung Galaxy F62 and Galaxy M62 have appeared on the Bluetooth SIG site with model numbers SM-E625F_DS and SM-M625F_DS, respectively, as reported by GizmoChina. That listing suggests Bluetooth v5.0 on both phones.

The Samsung Galaxy M62 has also appeared on the Wi-Fi Alliance site with the same model number SM-M625F/DS. That listing suggested 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and Android 11.

Details about the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A72, Galaxy F62, and the Galaxy M62 are yet to be revealed. The company is also yet to provide clarity on their existence and whether the phones will be specific to any markets.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Vi Subscribers Get Access to Voot Select Premium Content for Free, Rs. 2,595 Prepaid Plan Offers 50GB Extra Data

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Vi (Vodafone Idea) has partnered with Viacom 18 to offer premium Voot Select content on its digital platform – Vi Movies and TV app. Voot Select is a premium paid service that enables subscribers to watch select episodes before they are aired on TV channels and also offers access to premium original content like Asur, The Gone Game, and more. Separately, Vi is also offering 50GB of additional data with its year-long Rs. 2,595 prepaid plan to mobile app users.

Starting with Voot Select, the Vi Movies and TV website and app now offer content from the Voot Select catalogue. Download the Vi Movies and TV app from Google Play store or App Store to access Voot Select content. Users will have to login using the OTP method to access the premium content offering. Separately users can also head to the Vi app > go to the Vi Movies and TV section to access Voot Select content for free (after logging in).

Voot Select offers access to international content, originals, movies, network shows and 54 linear channels. It brings originals like The Gone Game, Crackdown, Asur, Illegal, and The Raikar Case. Voot is also home to premium Hindi shows of Colors and MTV like Bigg Boss, Roadies, Splitsvilla, and Khatron Ke Khiladi. Apart from this, Voot Select streams international shows like Shark Tank, Top Gear, The Office, Tin Star, Nancy Drew, and Pink Collar Crimes.

Apart from this strategic partnership with Voot Select, Vi has also introduced a 50GB additional data benefit on its year-long Rs. 2,595 prepaid plan. This development was first spotted by Telecom Talk, but we can see the offer in the mobile app as well. This additional data benefit is only offered to mobile app users, and subscribers who recharge using the website will not see this benefit. This app-only benefit is showing up in all circles where the plan is active.

 

vi 2595 app Vi

This additional data benefit is only offered to mobile app users

The Rs. 2,595 prepaid plan has a banner that reads ‘50GB extra’. This means Vi subscribers get additional 50GB data alongside the data benefit that already comes with the prepaid plan. The 50GB data can be used anytime during the validity. The plan lasts for 365 days, offers 2GB daily data, unlimited calls, 100 SMS messages per day, and one year of ZEE5 Premium subscription.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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