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Facebook secures exclusive digital rights for ICC cricket events – TechCrunch

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If you’re a cricket fan, you will be visiting Facebook way more often in the coming months and years. The social juggernaut announced on Thursday it has partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the global governing body of cricket, to secure exclusive digital content rights until 2023 for global ICC events in the Indian subcontinent.

As part of the four-year deal, financial details of which were not disclosed, Facebook will show post-match recaps and in-play key moments and other “feature content” of the matches in the Indian subcontinent. The exclusive rights are limited to the Indian subcontinent, elsewhere the company will carry post-match recaps. Facebook said it hopes to serve “hundreds of millions of cricket fans” through this “unprecedented” and “ground-breaking” deal.

A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company won’t be live streaming the matches in any market.

In a statement, Ajit Mohan, VP and Managing Director Facebook India, said, “with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans. Every day, people come to our platforms to talk about, and form friendships around, cricket. With this partnership, we will be able to serve these fans with the kind of premium content that can ignite new conversations, new connections and new followership.”

Though not as popular in the U.S., cricket is one of the most celebrated sporting events in many key Facebook markets including the UK, India, and Australia. How popular? Hotstar, a streaming service in India owned by Disney, has set global record for most concurrent views on a live streaming event thanks to cricket.

Facebook is well aware. In 2017, the company bid $600 million for online streaming rights of IPL, a popular cricket tournament in India, for a period of five years. It lost the bid to Star India, which operates Hotstar. Last year, the company tested the waters after it acquired streaming rights to show La Liga games in India.

The recently concluded ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup garnered 4.6 billion video views across ICC’s digital and social media platforms, ICC said.

Today’s deal includes coverage of following events: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021, ICC World Test Championship Final 2021, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2022, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, ICC World Test Championship Final 2023, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2022, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, and ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022.

Last year, Star India acquired digital and TV rights to live-stream and broadcast all of Indian cricket team’s matches globally for a sum of $944 million.

Facebook’s Mohan, who served as the chief executive of Hotstar prior to joining the social juggernaut, added,”the future of AR and VR is being charted by Facebook and we are excited about the possibility of bringing the best of our innovations to fans around the world.”



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Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro flaunts Snapdragon 888 and a shocking price tag

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Although it is Qualcomm’s best bet for 2021, very few phones so far carry its Snapdragon 888 chipset. Those that do also have rather high price tags, including the Xiaomi Mi 11 to some extent. The Chinese smartphone superstar, however, isn’t done with the Snapdragon 888 just yet and, at least for certain markets, it may have an even better offer in the guise of the Redmi K40 Pro and Redmi K40 Pro+.

The base Redmi K40 is actually the first of the brand’s K-series to use a Snapdragon 8-series processor. That said, Redmi opted for the Snapdragon 870 here instead, reserving the Snapdragon 888 for the “Pro” models. Both, of course, are 5G-capable and few users might see much difference between the two in real-world use.

The Redmi K40, Redmi K40 Pro, and Redmi K40 Pro+ do share many things in common, particularly the 6.67-inch Samsung E4 AMOLED display with a 2400×1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. This screen has a punch-hole cutout in the middle, hiding a single 20MP camera common to all three. The siblings also have the same 4,520 mAh battery that supports 33W wired fast charging and no wireless charging capabilities at all.

They naturally differ in some aspects, particularly the cameras. While they share the same 8MP ultra-wide and 5MP telemacro cameras, only the Redmi K40 Pro+ boasts of having a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2. The Redmi K40 Pro gets a 64MP Sony IMX686 while the Redmi K40 settles for a 48MP Sony IMX582.

As with many Redmi phones, price is where it’s at. The Redmi K40 Pro+, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, goes for 3,699 RMB ($570), lower than an equivalent Xiaomi Mi 11 at 4,699 RMB ($727). Of course, the Xiaomi Mi 11 has more features and some better hardware but the Redmi K40 Pro+ definitely covers the basics already. Xiaomi also announced the Redmi AirDots 3 for 199 RMB ($31) that will be launching on March 4 in China along with the Redmi K40 series.

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Wear OS “OK, Google” bug is finally getting a fix soon

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Smartwatches are rather curious little gadgets that are like miniaturized and watered-down versions of our smartwatches. For better or worse, that means that smartwatches can’t really use the same interaction conventions and UIs that are almost second nature on smartphones. While touch screens and buttons are always an option, Google has been pushing for more hands-free controls on Wear OS using Google Assistant. Unfortunately, an important part of the process has been broken for months before the company committed to working on a fix.

If Google’s vision is to be followed, smartwatches will primarily be controlled by voice with the screen simply providing visual feedback in addition to spoken responses. Google Assistant is perfect for that role and there are multiple ways to call it up on your wrist. The most convenient is, of course, to literally call it up with “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google” but, unfortunately, that is also the most broken method at the moment.

Users have been complaining that the wake words just don’t work on their Wear OS smartwatches, no matter the brand. It has apparently been the case since November last year but there are also claims that the problem was present even back in June 2020. During that period, Google has seemingly been silent, which naturally caused a lot of disappointment among Wear OS users.

The good news is that Google is no longer silent. It told The Verge that it is aware of users reporting issues and will work with its partners to address those. It doesn’t explain, however, why it took so long for it to even respond to the numerous and loud complaints.

Google also hasn’t given a timeline for the availability of the fix, which could still take weeks or even months. Unfortunately, the incident has opened up old wounds about the state of Wear OS and the dissatisfaction users have over its development or lack of it.

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Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G specs give weight to its name

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The tablet market today is mostly dominated by Apple’s iPads and only a few Android manufacturers have stuck to that device category through thick and thin. Samsung is arguably the biggest of those, launching a few tablets across different price tiers. Rumor has it that it has at least two more coming soon headed for the mid-range market. One of those may have appeared on a benchmark site showing that the Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G might indeed be light in almost every sense.

Samsung doesn’t always put out “lite” versions of its tablets and when it does, it doesn’t always use the same naming scheme. There was a Galaxy Tab S6 Lite last year but that was preceded by a Galaxy Tab S5e. Curiously, there was no “non-lite” Galaxy Tab S5.

There were rumors that a Galaxy Tab S7 Lite would be coming and, based on the most recent leak, it would have some heavyweight features like a large 12.4-inch screen and 5G connectivity. The latter, however, is no longer exclusive to high-end and expensive devices thanks to Qualcomm’s numerous 5G-capable chips and that seems to be the case with the mid-range version of last year’s high-end Samsung tablet.

Spotted on Geekbench is an entry for a certain SM-T736B, believed to either be the Galaxy Tab S7 Lite or a Galaxy Tab S8e. Although the entry doesn’t actually name the processor, MySmartPrice suggests that the specs, like the 2.21 GHz clock speed and Adreno 619 GPU, point to a Snapdragon 750G chipset. This is indeed one of Qualcomm’s mid-range processors capable of 5G connectivity.

The site also puts 3.28GB RAM in the tablet, which could either be 4GB or even 3.5GB in reality. The scores that this device gets on Geekbench aren’t exactly reassuring, especially for a tablet with a large screen and fast data connectivity.

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