At an event held in Mumbai yesterday, Ricoh India announced the Theta S— the company’s latest handheld 360 degree camera and the successor to the previous generation Theta m15. The new model, touted by the company as “high-spec top-of-the-line” has been priced at Rs. 40,000 in India and is capable of capturing full 360 degree images with a single click, as well as Full HD 360 degree video at 30fps with 25 minutes of continuous shooting. The battery life is pegged at around 300 shots.
I got to spend some “hands-on” time with the Theta S at the event and it is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cameras that I’ve come across. It is fairly small, about as tall as a typical smartphone and as wide as a matchbox (or around 130mm x 44mm x 18mm) and weighs about 125 grams. It has two fish-eye lenses pointing in the opposite direction that capture 12 Megapixels each and output an image that’s equivalent to 14 Megapixels. The Theta S does an incredible job of stitching the images it captures — I perused through about 20-odd images and not one had any visible stitch lines, except for the areas exactly below the camera, usually due to your hand that holds the camera.
The Theta S has a apps available for iOS and Android (similar to GoPro cameras) that let you control your camera with your smartphone and transfer the images taken from it. I connected my iPhone 6 to the demo unit available at the event and setup over Wi-Fi was ridiculously easy. Once you transfer the images, you can edit them (like blur out certain areas) and publish them to social networks right within the app.
I love the fact that the Theta S adheres to Google’s Spherical Image API spec and is compatible with the Google Street View app. I have been taking Photo Sphere images at places I’ve traveled to and publishing them to Google Maps (Here’s my profile) and it was great to know that the Theta S works directly with the app. When you have the camera connected to your smartphone, you can use it from within the Google Street View app to take one-click photos and publish them to Google Maps (or keep them private). This alone makes the Theta S a far more interesting camera for me. If you’re a developer, there’s also an official API and SDK available for you.
I only got to spend a few minutes with the Ricoh Theta S, so I’ll reserve my full judgement after I get to try it for a few days at a stretch, but you can probably tell how excited I am about it. At INR 40,000, it’s not something that’d interest a lot of buyers, but enthusiasts are definitely going to love it.
Here’s a test photo I clicked on the demo Theta S at the event (requires Flash to view):
First Test Photo – Test Photo from the RICOH THETA S
OnePlus today announced the schedule they’ll be following for rolling out the Android Marshmallow update for the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X:
The OnePlus 2 will also be updated in Q1, and the update will include the new standard Marshmallow API for the fingerprint sensor. We’ve heard requests for us creating an API for the current fingerprint implementation in OxygenOS, but have decided against this since we’re switching over to the standard Android M implementation soon.
The OnePlus One, which runs CyanogenOS, will get the update when Cyanogen updates it in Q1 2016. If you’re running OxygenOS on your OnePlus One though, prepare to be disappointed:
We created a community build of OxygenOS for the OnePlus One, but this isn’t what the product officially ships with. We will be updating the community build of OxygenOS for the OnePlus One when time allows.
Dawn Chmielewski and Jason Del Rey reporting for Re/code:
The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant is in talks with several big U.S. banks to develop a digital payments system that would let people send money to each other via their phones, similar to services offered by PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
Federico Viticci’s mammoth review of iPad Pro is now available on MacStories. Viticci has some great insights on using it as your primary device, so make sure you settle down before you start reading it.
The iPad Pro is positioned as a more productive take on the iPad for those who need to get work done on it. My recommendation couldn’t be more straightforward: if iOS is your main computing platform, or if you plan to turn an iPad into your primary computer, you’ll want an iPad Pro. Its powerful hardware, multitasking interface, and extensible nature are superior to every other iPad. I don’t see myself using a Mac as my primary computer ever again.
Just last week, I linked to an Economic Times report that claimed that the Indian Government was planning to relax Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules relating to compulsory local outsourcing. In case of Apple, the rules meant that they’d have to source at least 30% of the raw material from India for their products if they planned to invest in opening Apple Stores in the country.
Today, the Indian Government has issued a press release announcing FDI reforms across fifteen sectors, including some big changes related to Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT) and E-commerce companies.
The relaxed norms contain the following two notable points:
Presently, the FDI policy considers the date of receipt of the FDI for sourcing 30% of the value of goods. With the changes announced today, the period starting from the date of opening of the first store will instead be considered.
Secondly, and more importantly, the govt. has also considered making special exceptions. Section 8 (i) of the press note states that:
Further, it is seen that in certain high technology segments, it is not possible for retail entity to comply with the sourcing norms. To provide opportunity to such single brand entities, it has been decided that in case of ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting- edge technology’ sourcing norms can be relaxed subject to Government approval.
This means that for some companies (Hint: Apple), it is now possible to get an approval from the govt. without the fulfilling the sourcing requirement. Seeing company-operated Apple Stores in India doesn’t seem like a distant dream any more.
Ruchika Chitravanshi reporting for the Economic Times:
The government may consider relaxing compulsory local sourcing conditions for high-end, hi-tech, single-brand retailers. Such a move might help persuade Apple, which is seeking to widen market access in India, to establish wholly owned stores in the country.
The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) is considering such a move to enable investments by foreign brands such as Apple, a senior government official told ET.
This is a big IF. The Govt. may consider this, and even if does end up happening, it’ll be years before we see a company-run Apple Store in India. I wouldn’t get my hopes high yet.
This is Part I of a multi-part series that takes a look at the various video streaming services available for India.
If you’re a savvy internet user like me, you know there are quite a few streaming services now available for the Indian audience, both for audio and video content. I have tried and/or extensively used quite a lot of these video streaming services over the last year or so, and while we’re still far from seeing Netflix or Hulu launch here in India, the services that we do have available are definitely showing some promise.
I’m starting off this series with a look at Spuul. Spuul is one of the first streaming services that I had come across, somewhere around 2013, a year after its public launch. Spuul currently focuses on offering a large catalogue of Indian movies and TV shows to a global audience and offers a Universal iOS app, an Android app, as well as the option to streaming movies in a broswer (Flash required).
Read more →
The Apple Watch is all set to officially launch in India on November 6th, 2015, just in time for Diwali. Although the pricing for it hasn’t been announced by Apple, the folks at Gadgets 360° have managed to get their hands onto the pricing information for India.
the Apple Watch Sport will start at Rs. 30,900 for the 38mm variant. The 42mm variant of the Apple Watch Sport will retail at Rs. 34,900. Both prices are MRP, inclusive of all taxes. It’s worth noting that the 38mm and 42mm models retail in the US at $349 (Rs. 22,700 approximately) and $399 (Rs. 25,900 approximately) respectively, before taxes.
I was actually expecting the pricing to start at around ₹32,900, so this is nice to hear. The article has the pricing info for other watch models and also the bands, so go ahead and check it out. There’s also this bit:
Apple is planning to launch the entire Watch lineup in India, with the most expensive model (Apple Watch Edition with Gold Case and Modern Buckle) costing a cool Rs. 14.2 lakhs, compared to its US price of $17,000 (Rs. 11 lakh approximately), before taxes.
You can’t help but chuckle at that. It’d be cheaper for someone to actually fly to the US and buy that Apple Watch Edition than pay a whopping 3 Lakh premium for it here.
Nice scoop by Kunal and his team.
The folks at Studio Neat, known for making some super stellar and nifty products, have just announced a new product for the new Apple TV that went up for pre-order earlier today.
The Apple TV Remote Stand is a beautiful stand milled from a piece of solid walnut. The bottom of the stand features a micro-suction pad so that the stand doesn’t slip and adheres to nearly any flat surface. You prop up your Apple TV remote upright, so it’s easy to grab when you want to use it. The stand is manufactured in Austin, Texas (USA) and is priced at just $12.
If you’re picking up an Apple TV, you should totally get this Apple TV Remote Stand. They also have a lovely product video for it.
The new Apple TV that Apple announced at an event in September is now up for pre-order on Apple’s online store. The 32GB model costs $149 whereas the 64GB model costs $199 and the earliest orders start shipping on October 30th.
The pre-orders new Apple TV was supposed to be available in 80 countries after launch, though it seems the pre-orders are only live for US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and a few other countries. Apple hasn’t sent out a press release for this and the Apple TV page hasn’t been updated yet either.
I’ll update this post as soon as I hear about the India launch and pricing.