WhatsApp users on Android can now pin up to three conversation threads, allowing for easy access regardless of how long ago they were last active. Pinned WhatsApp chats will always be visible at the top of the Chats tab. The process is as simple as long-pressing a conversation and selecting or deselecting the Pin option that will be shown. All other conversation threads will be shown below the pinned ones, as usual.
Over to the other big newsmakers of the day:
New GST regime could make smartphones and PCs more expensive
Efforts to introduce GST in India are going ahead, with the government's GST Council meeting today to discuss the tax slabs that various categories of products should fall under. Initial reports suggest that the Make in India initiative will face a setback due to an increase in taxes, making it less attractive for companies to move manufacturing operations to India. Also, regardless of where they are made, smartphones could get more expensive with an increase in price overall.
Computers and computer components could fall under the 18 percent or 28 percent slabs, and further clarity is required. The fate of TVs is also uncertain, while game consoles and games could see a tiny reduction from the current 28.5 percent rate of taxation, which isn't expected to have any effect on retail prices. The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has expressed dissatisfaction with the suggested 18 percent tax rate on telecom services, saying that the industry is already stretched thin, and that the rollout of infrastructure and developmental services could be affected.
Reliance Jio to provide free services to Punjab colleges
Reliance Jio has tied up with the government of Punjab to roll out free Wi-Fi access in all government colleges including ITIs, polytechnics, and engineering colleges. Reliance Jio will set up all the required infrastructure and pay for its operation and maintenance, and colleges only have to provide space for the equipment to be installed. "Objectionable websites" will be blocked on the free Jio Wi-Fo network, as per government norms.
Wannacry continues to spread across India
The WannaCry ransomware saga continues, with more and more Indians reporting that their computers have been attacked, despite efforts to educate people about preventative measures. At least 193 cases have been confirmed, more than doubling the total as of the previous day. Those affected include individuals and small businesses. The CERT-In emergency response team is continuing to do what it can to arrest the spread of the malware. Analysts warn that the widespread piracy of Windows could mean that a huge number of computers are vulnerable.
Meanwhile, a group of French researchers says that it has found a way to decrypt files that are being held to ransom, but only if users act quickly and do not reboot their PCs after being infected.
Karnataka Government proud of iPhone SE production
The Government of Karnataka has expressed delight at the commencement of Apple's Indian iPhone manufacturing operations, and has promised the company full support. Apple said on Wednesday that it had begun the production of a small number of iPhone SE units and would begin selling them locally this month.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 to launch in China next week
Xiaomi has confirmed that it will unveil its Mi Max 2 on May 25. The company is teasing features including a 6-inch screen and 5000mAh battery. Rumours and leaks indicate that the phone will come in multiple variants, one with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 SoC with 4GB of RAM, and one with a Snapdragon 660 plus 6GB of RAM. It could also have a metal body and USB Type-C port. Plans to launch the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 in India have not been announced yet.
Twitter goes down in parts of the world
Users in many countries have been having trouble with Twitter all day. The outage affects all apps and services, and several users have reported being unable to read or send tweets. Multiple error messages have been spotted, but no specific cause has been identified yet. Twitter has acknowledged the problems through its official Twitter Support account.
Lava A77 launched in India, Nubia N1 Lite coming soon
Lava has launched a new budget model called the Lava A77. It supports VoLTE and has a 4.5-inch 480x800-pixel screen, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. It is already on sale, at a surprisingly low street price of Rs. 4,999, in three colours. There are 5-megapixel cameras on the front as well as back, both with LED flashes.
ZTE's Nubia N1 Lite could launch in India as soon as the coming Monday. The phone made its international debut at MWC 2017 with a 5.5-inch HD screen and running Android 6.0. It has a quad-core processor, a 3000mAH battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
Lenovo launches new IdeaPad and Legion laptops
Lenovo unveiled a refresh of its IdeaPad lineup with new slimmer IdeaPad 720S, IdeaPad 320S, and IdeaPad 320 models plus the powerful Legion Y920 gaming laptop and Flex 5 2-in-1. Pricing in India isn't known yet, but they will be available in retail next month. The new models IdeaPad models cover a range of prices and specifications up to Intel's 7th-generation Core lineup, solid-state storage, full-HD screens, backlit keyboards, and support for Windows Hello authentication. The Legion Y920 is described as VR-ready and overclockable. It has a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU and backlit mechanical keyboard. The Flex 5 is compact, has a swivelling hinge, and will be available in two sizes.