Event Diary – 21st June, 2012, Thursday
Microsoft announced Windows 8 mobile operating system
Microsoft officially announced its new phone software, called Windows Phone 8, at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The new phones – made by handset makers Nokia, Samsung Electronics, HTC Corp and Huawei on Qualcomm dual-core chips – will feature voice commands, Skype calling, near-field communication (NFC) for wireless transactions and built-in maps for GPS directions.
Microsoft’s voice recognition feature goes beyond Apple’s rival Siri service by allowing users to issue commands to apps, not just the phone’s core operating system.
The new software will support NFC transactions – in which the user taps a reader to make a purchase – but Microsoft is leaving it to independent software makers to write the actual applications controlling the process, meaning it will not be a direct competitor to the Google Wallet service for Android phones.
Microsoft’s new phones will have an updated, customizable start screen in Microsoft’s new ‘Metro’ style, which centers on touchable ’tiles’, or colorful squares, representing people, applications and services which update in real time, for example showing Facebook posts or new email.
The Metro style is also the interface for Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system – designed to run on both tablets and traditional PCs – which Microsoft is expected to launch around October.
Minor Quake in Kozhikode
Around 2.15 p.m. on Wednesday, an earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale was experienced in different parts of Kozhikode district and bordering areas of Malappuram district, sending a wave of panic among the people.
No loss of life or large-scale destruction of property was reported from any part of the districts.
FED to keep the rates low until late 2014
“Operation Twist,” the central bank’s programme for extending the average maturity of its securities portfolio was extended by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday, but it refrained from adopting quantitative easing (QE3), which is supposed to be a more aggressive approach to boost investment and growth domestically.
The central bank reaffirmed its intent to hold the target range for the federal funds rate at 0-0.25 per cent and more generally “maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy.” so as to keep a check on the already elevated unemployment rate and a housing sector that remained “depressed”.
Digitisation of Cable TV services in metros deferred
Digitisation of Cable TV services in metros deferred by four months, as the operators and service providers are not yet ready for it. It was announced by the I&B Ministry of the government on Wednesday.
Facebook to allow payment in local currencies soon
Facebook users worldwide will pay for various paid applications and games in their local currencies, a move that would help it in diversifying revenue streams. “We are updating our payments product to support pricing in local currency instead of Credits,” Facebook mentioned on its website.