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Samsung to launch two premium devices, Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4, to take on Apple iPhone 6

South Korean phonemaker Samsung, which has been losing market share to rivals in India, is gearing up to launch two premium devices — the Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4 — to take on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The company has started talking to distributors and retailers to launch these devices in time for Diwali, ahead of the launch of the Apple devices in October.

Unlike previous Samsung phones that were clad in a plastic body, these will be the first Samsung phones with an external metal casing, something that iPhones have had for long. Priced a little over Rs 40,000 a piece, the Galaxy Alpha is expected to be cheaper than the new iPhone 6 but will have better features, an offline distributor briefed on Samsung's plans said.

The Galaxy Alpha, showcased by Samsung last month, has a partial metallic body, 4.7-inch screen and a top-of-the-line processor. It's the company's bet against iPhone 6 in the premium segment.

Samsung also announced the allnew Galaxy Note 4 with a 5.7-inch screen at IFA, the consumer electronics show in Berlin earlier this month. While Samsung has had big screen phones for a long time, the iPhone 6 Plus would be Apple's first such big device.

Apple's iPhones have traditionally been smaller in size. In 2010, when Apple was selling the iPhone 4, its iconic founder Steve Jobs had mocked rivals making big phones by saying that people won't buy phones if they couldn't even wrap their hands around them. Tim Cook, who took over Apple after Jobs' untimely death three years ago, has positioned the new iPhone 6 devices as phones that are "bigger than bigger".

Samsung didn't pass over the opportunity to take a dig at Apple. The South Korean company tweeted on Wednesday: "Big improvements and innovation come with change — even they thought so."

Samsung also released a graphic which actually quoted Steve Jobs: "No one is going to buy a big phone." It went on to add, "Guess who surprised themselves and changed their minds." With nearly 28 per cent market share, Samsung is the largest selling smartphone brand in the country followed by homegrown Micromax. 

However, in the premium segment, it faces stiff competition from Apple's iPhone.

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Watch out WhatsApp: Google may be launching a free messaging app very soon

Software giant Google Inc plans to launch a mobile messaging app it is likely to test in India and other emerging markets, the Economic Times reported on Friday, citing sources.

If launched, the mobile app will compete in the mobile chat space with the likes of WhatsApp, Line and Hike.

The daily said Google was in the early stages of development of the app, which will not make it mandatory to use a Google login. Moreover, unlike WhatsApp, where users have to pay Rs 53 annually after one year of usage, Google's messaging app will be free.

The Mountain View, California-based company is also looking at localisation, by adding Indian language support and voice-to-text messaging, the newspaper said.

A Google spokeswoman said the company did not comment on speculation.


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Assassin’s Creed Unity: Time Anomaly Trailer Sheds New Light on Contemporary Subplot

Earlier this week, Ubisoft quietly dropped another new trailer for Assassin’s Creed Unity. The Time Anomaly trailer gave players their first hint at the contemporary storyline that will carry over into the game. In the previous games, Desmond Miles was plugged into the Animus, which detected the “genetic memories” of his ancestors. Desmond Miles is out of the picture, so the main franchise story will likely move in the direction of another character’s bloodline. The previous games featured the ancestors of Desmond Miles, and Arno Dorian is not Desmond’s ancestor. The brand new trailer offers the first look at the present-day timeline. It appears that the stakes of using the Animus have changed. The Time Anomaly trailer offers some exciting new wrinkles for the Assassin’s Creed unity storyline.
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