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The popular UAE-developed mobile application ToTok has returned to the Google Play Store after it was removed on claims it was being used for government spying, the company said Saturday.

Google and Apple removed the app from their online marketplaces last month after The New York Times reported ToTok allowed the UAE government to track the conversations, movements and other details of people who installed it on their phone.

"We are happy to inform you #ToTok is now available for download on the Google Play Store," a statement on ToTok's Twitter account said.

On its platform, Google lists a series of "updates" to the app, including requesting access to permissions and data and a "newly designed dialogue to ask your authorisation of accessing and syncing your contact list".

The app remains unavailable on the Apple Store.

Apple told AFP that ToTok was removed from its App Store pending a review, while Google said it was taken down from the Play Store "for a policy issue".

ToTok became popular by offering free calling and messaging to millions of users in countries like the United Arab Emirates where internet calling services like Skype are blocked.

Launched in 2019, ToTok was developed by Breej Holding, which The Times reported is likely a "front company" affiliated with DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyberintelligence and hacking firm.

The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority denied the accusations, saying that the country's laws "prohibit any kind of data breach and unlawful interception".

Security researcher Patrick Wardle, who assisted The New York Times, has said ToTok appeared to be part of a "mass surveillance operation", which "likely afforded in-depth insight in a large percentage of the country's population".

ToTok appeared to trick users of iPhones and Android devices into handing over access to their location and private data on their devices, Wardle said.

It was also promoted by what appeared to be fake reviews, he added.


 

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Dell has launched the updated version of its popular XPS 13 laptop ahead of CES 2020. Simply called XPS 13 (model number 9300), Dell's latest laptop features a larger 16:10 display with even thinner bezels than its predecessor and a uniform bezel thickness on all sides. Despite packing a larger display with higher brightness, the size of the new XPS 13 laptop is smaller than its predecessor. It retains the metal and glass build, but also has a larger keyboard and trackpad, while Intel's 10th gen processors power the device. Alongside the standard XPS 13, Dell has also launched XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop that runs the latest build of Ubuntu.

Dell XPS 13, XPS 13 Developer Edition price, availability      

The Dell XPS 13 is priced starting at $999.99 (roughly Rs. 72,000) and will be available starting January 7 in Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, UK, and the US. Globally, the laptop will be available starting February. As for the XPS 13 Developer Edition, it will be up for grabs starting $1,199 (roughly Rs. 86,000) and will be available in Canada, US, and select European countries starting February.

Dell XPS 13 specifications    

The Dell XPS 13 features a 13.4-inch display whose resolution can go up to UHD+(3,840 x 2,400 pixels) with peak 500 nits of brightness, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree viewing angle, and 91.5% screen-to-body ratio. It is powered by the 10th gen Intel Core processors, starting from Intel Core i3 (1005G1), going all the way up to quad-core Intel Core i7 (1065G7) processor.


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Realising that people are not even reading magazines like Rolling Stone or Conde Nast Traveller and newspapers online, Google has decided to discontinue 'print replica' PDFs of magazines on its Google News app. The tech giant is sending emails to Google News users about full refunds that are being processed and there will be no new issues coming, reports Android Police.

The print replica magazines in Google News are the PDF versions of print editions that you could view on smartphones or desktop.

Readers could still visit a magazine's website if they wish to read the e-version of the magazine, the report said on Friday.

"This notification is to inform you that we're discontinuing print-replica magazines in Google News.

"Publishers can continue selling content on Google News in the form of paywalled RSS-based publications - it is only the support for the sale of discrete digital files that is changing," read the Google email.

However, you'll continue to have access to all issues you previously subscribed to in the Google News app, in the Following or Favourites tab, depending on your app version.

"To continue to read the latest articles, we encourage you to search for that publication in Google News, or visit the publication's website," said Google.

Google started providing magazine content in 2012 with the Play Magazines app.

The company later renamed it to Play Newsstand and merged it into Google News.


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D-Link has expanded its lineup of networking equipments and has launched a whole new range of Wi-Fi routers, all of which support the mesh system. Some of the new Wi-Fi routers unveiled by D-Link also offer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity support. The company's new routers come with enhanced parental controls with an interactive tap-and-set approach to let users quickly create profiles for each family member, aside from letting them add more devices and set schedules. D-Link has launched a total of seven Wi-Fi routers, three range extenders, and a dedicated home mesh system. Read on for more details about D-Link Wi-Fi routers, range extenders, and more.

D-Link says in its press release that its new Wi-Fi routers also bundle in the stronger WPA3 encryption support, voice compatibility with the likes of Google Assistant and Alexa, and BSS Coloring. But that's not all. The new Wi-Fi routers by D-Link also allow IFTTT integration and can facilitate quick resolution of issues through chat support via the D-Link Wi-Fi app. The top-of-the-line Smart AX5400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 router reportedly packs two USB ports and four Ethernet ports. It will go on sale in the first quarter of 2020 carrying a price tag of $279.99 (roughly Rs. 20,000).

Below it sits the Smart AX2400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 router that is priced at $159.99 (roughly Rs. 11,600) and will hit the shelves in Q3 2020, while the Smart AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 router will be available starting Q2 2020 for $139.99 (roughly Rs. 10,000). The non-Wi-Fi 6 supported models include the AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi router and the AC1900 Mesh Wi-Fi router, both of which will be available in the ongoing year's first quarter and are priced at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 7,100) and $119.99 (roughly Rs. 8,600 respectively). D-Link's AC1750 and AC1950 Mesh Wi-Fi range extenders will also make it to the market in Q1 2020.


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Tesla beat Wall Street estimates for annual vehicle deliveries and met the low-end of its own target, sending shares to a record high in a vindication for Chief Executive Elon Musk after a few turbulent years. Boosted by demand for its mass-produced Model 3 sedans as overseas sales pick up, Tesla on Friday said it delivered 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, including 92,550 Model 3s and 19,450 Model S/X SUVs, which was above expectations of 104,960 vehicles, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Silicon Valley carmaker delivered approximately 367,500 vehicles during all of 2019, just meeting the low end of its target to deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles in 2019.

Tesla shares were up as much as 5.5 percent at $454 (roughly Rs. 32,600), touching a record high.

The stock has had a strong run in recent months after posting a rare profit in the latest quarter and news of China ramp up. With a market valuation of more than $80 billion, Tesla is far outstripping those of traditional carmakers General Motors and Ford Motor.

The delivery results defy skeptics of Musk, whose mercurial behaviour over the last two years came under close scrutiny from federal regulators and shareholders of Tesla.

Musk, who has more than 30 million Twitter followers, has a history of firing off tweets that resulted in an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and a defamation trial against him.

The Tesla CEO settled the SEC complaint for $20 million (roughly Rs. 143.52 crores) in 2018 and a Los Angeles jury cleared Musk in the defamation case in December.

"Elon has Tesla executing right on track," said Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin.

China ramp-up
Tesla also provided an update on its Shanghai factory, which has started churning out Model 3 cars. It said the plant demonstrated a production run-rate capability of more than 3,000 units per week.

The run-rate shows that the factory appears to be ramping faster than expected, Baird Equity Research analyst Ben Kallo said. "Shanghai deliveries should be the next catalyst to drive volume growth."

The $2-billion factory, Tesla's first car manufacturing site outside the United States, is the centrepiece of its ambitions to boost sales in the world's biggest auto market and avoid higher import tariffs imposed on US-made cars.

A company representative on Thursday said that Tesla will deliver its first China-made Model 3 sedans to the public on January 7.

The Model 3 is Tesla's most affordable car, with lower-range versions available starting at $35,000 (roughly Rs. 25,11,600).

Analysts in the past have questioned how rapidly Tesla's vehicle sales will grow as government subsidies for electric vehicle purchases dwindle in the United States, China and other markets. Some analysts consider those subsidies the biggest driver for Tesla purchases.

Traditional automakers largely relying on fuel-powered vehicles on Friday reported a decline in fourth-quarter US sales and saw their shares tumble as a widening conflict with Iran pushed oil prices more than $2 a barrel on Friday.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Friday said it saw a two percent fall in US auto sales, while GM reported its fourth-quarter US deliveries were down more than six percent.

"The recently escalating geopolitical uncertainties driving oil prices higher are likely to create a tailwind for TSLA shares," Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer said.


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