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Cafe in Providence, Rhode Island Serves Free Coffee To Students Who Provide Personal Data; Participants May Receive Info From Cafe's Corporate Sponsors
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 11:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's profiting-from-your-data department:
An anonymous reader shares an NPR report: Shiru Cafe looks like a regular coffee shop. Inside, machines whir, baristas dispense caffeine and customers hammer away on laptops. But all of the customers are students, and there's a reason for that. At Shiru Cafe, no college ID means no caffeine. "We definitely have some people that walk in off the street that are a little confused and a little taken aback when we can't sell them any coffee," said Sarah Ferris, assistant manager at the Shiru Cafe branch in Providence, R.I., located near Brown University. Ferris will turn away customers if they're not college students or faculty members. The cafe allows professors to pay, but students have something else the shop wants: their personal information. To get the free coffee, university students must give away their names, phone numbers, email addresses and majors, or in Brown's lingo, concentrations. Students also provide dates of birth and professional interests, entering all of the information in an online form. By doing so, the students also open themselves up to receiving information from corporate sponsors who pay the cafe to reach its clientele through logos, apps, digital advertisements on screens in stores and on mobile devices, signs, surveys and even baristas. According to Shiru's website: "We have specially trained staff members who give students additional information about our sponsors while they enjoy their coffee." The source article additionally explores privacy aspects of the business. The cafe, which is owned by Japanese company Enrission, says it shares general, aggregate data such as student majors and expected graduation years.

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Use of the Internet and Smartphones is No Longer on the Rise in America
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's bigger-picture department:
For years, the number of Americans who have reported using the internet, social media, and smartphones has been on a meteoric rise. But that rate has slowed to a near-stall. From a report: New data published this week by the Pew Research Center show that, since 2016, that number has plateaued, indicating those technologies have reached a saturation point among many groups of people. The percentage of Americans using smartphones (77%), the internet (88% to 89%), and social media (69%) has remained virtually unchanged during the last two years. "Put simply, in some instances there just aren't many non-users left," the report states. More than 90% of adults younger than 50 report they use the internet or own a smartphone. This number squares with some of the trends noticed earlier this year by Gartner, a global research firm. The fourth quarter of 2017 marked the first time since 2004 that the market for smartphones declined globally compared to the prior year. People are less frequently buying new phones.

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At a Workshop Last Week, a CERN Scientist Said 'Physics Was Invented and Built by Men -- Not By Invitation'; CERN Has Suspended the Scientist
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 08:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
New submitter ilguido writes: At a workshop organized by CERN, Prof Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University said that "physics was invented and built by men, it's not by invitation", BBC reported Monday. Strumia's presentation that supports the idea that "physics is not sexist against women[...], however the truth does not matter, because it is part of a political battle coming from outside" has already received a lot of criticism, with one female physicist defining Strumia's analysis as "simplistic, drawing on ideas that had long been discredited." In a statement on Sunday, CERN said, "It is unfortunate that one of the 38 presentations, by a scientist from one of the collaborating universities, risks overshadowing the important message and achievements of the event. CERN, like many members of the community, considers that the presentation, with its attacks on individuals, was unacceptable in any professional context and was contrary to the CERN Code of Conduct. It, therefore, decided to remove the slides from the online repository." On Monday, CERN said it has suspended the scientist from any activity at CERN with immediate effect, pending investigation into last week's event.

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HP Unveils Spectre Folio, a Convertible Laptop 'Made of Leather'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 08:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
HP announced Monday the Spectre Folio, a convertible laptop made of leather. From a report: Unveiled in an over-the-top press event in Manhattan today, that included such turns of phrase as "aluminum has become the gold standard," the device is a convertible laptop with a leather case. As HP put it at the event, "this isn't a PC that's wrapped in leather, it's a PC that's made of leather." So, what does that mean, exactly? Rather than covering the standard aluminum or plastic, the cow skin serves as both the chassis and hinge. The laptop has a 13.3 inch pen-enabled touch screen and an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor inside. There's 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage. The battery should get up to 18 hours of life on a charge, according to the company -- admittedly pretty solid. Price starts at $1,300 for the variant with the i5 processor.

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New Zealand Travelers Refusing Digital Search Now Face $5000 Customs Fine
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 08:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-New-Zealand department:
Travelers in New Zealand who refuse to hand over their phone or laptop passwords to Customs officials can now be slapped with a $5000 fine. From a report: The Customs and Excise Act 2018 -- which comes into effect today -- sets guidelines around how Customs can carry out "digital strip-searches." Previously, Customs could stop anyone at the border and demand to see their electronic devices. However, the law did not specify that people had to also provide a password. The updated law makes clear that travelers must provide access -- whether that be a password, pin-code or fingerprint -- but officials would need to have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. "It is a file-by-file [search] on your phone. We're not going into 'the cloud.' We'll examine your phone while it's on flight mode," Customs spokesperson Terry Brown said. If people refused to comply, they could be fined up to $5000 and their device would be seized and forensically searched. Mr Brown said the law struck the "delicate balance" between a person's right to privacy and Customs' law enforcement responsibilities. "I personally have an e-device and it maintains all my records -- banking data, et cetera, et cetera -- so we understand the importance and significance of it."

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FBI Forced Suspect To Unlock His iPhone X Through Face ID
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
In what may be a world first, the FBI has forced a suspect to unlock his iPhone X using Apple's Face ID feature. From a report: Agents in Columbus, Ohio entered the home of 28-year-old Grant Michalski, who was suspected of child abuse, according to court documents spotted by Forbes. With a search warrant in hand, they forced him to put his face on front of the device to unlock it. They were then able to freely search for his photos, chats and any other potential evidence. The FBI started investigating Michalski after discovering his ad on Craigslist titled "taboo." Later, they discovered emails in which he discussed incest and sex with minors with another defendant, William Weekly.

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Netflix is Developing a Slate of Specials That Will Let Viewers Choose the Next Storyline in a TV Episode or Movie, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 05:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Netflix is about to let you decide how your favorite show will end, Bloomberg reported Monday. From the report: The streaming service is developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie, according to people familiar with the matter. The company expects to release the first of these projects before the end of this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still private. Viewers will get to choose their own storylines in one episode of the upcoming season of "Black Mirror," the Emmy-winning science-fiction anthology series. The show is famous for exploring the social implications of technology, including an episode where humans jockey to receive higher ratings from their peers. The fifth season of the show is expected to be released in December. The foray into choose-your-own-adventure programming represents a big bet on a nascent form of entertainment known as interactive TV. As Netflix expands around the world, it's looking for new ways to lure customers. By blending elements of video games with traditional television, the company could create a formula that can be applied to any number of series.

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An Open Source Resistance Takes Shape as Tech Giants Race To Map the World
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 04:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's keeping-the-fight-on department:
Shadma Shaikh, reporting for FactorDaily: Chetan Gowda, 27, was speaking to a room full of students in IIIT Hyderabad for a workshop on OpenStreetMap for beginners organized by Swecha, a non-profit organization to support free software movement last month. There were close to 40 students in the room. Beginners often ask him: Why use open source maps when we already have Google Maps? For Gowda, it was the fact that Google Maps is a global, commercial product and did not capture local detail. Like the old banyan tree that was a major landmark in his hometown Hassan or public benches just outside the town where pedestrians could stop to catch a break or fire catchment areas in Bellandur lake in Bengaluru, India. "It was fascinating to add little but important details of my town to open maps," says Gowda who was introduced in 2013 to OSM or OpenStreetMap, a global community of mappers formed as a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world in 2004. Since then he has been an active contributor to OpenStreetMap and has conducted many workshops in colleges and institutes to induct more people in the community. Gowda has made 8500 edits in the OpenStreetMap, mainly covering areas in Bengaluru, Hassan and Hyderabad. Gowda and a few other contributors from India are part of a tiny yet growing resistance movement which doesn't want giant corporations to own all the mapping data. For the average consumer, this may not seem like a big deal. But mapping is big business. The market opportunity for suppliers of mapping to the autonomous car industry is going to be worth over $24 billion by 2050, according to one estimate [PDF]. And that's just one industry. A study commissioned by Google in 2015 estimated that industries that run on top of the Global Positioning Satellite Systems and mapping generate nearly $73 billion in annual revenue. Worldwide, that industry is was estimated to generate $150- $270 billion in revenues. Although new research isn't available, with growing smartphone usage and the birth of companies such as Uber and many others it is safe to assume that the industry has only grown bigger. All the more reason why map data can't be held by only a few companies. With Google Maps beginning to charge small and medium-sized businesses and indie developers more for access to its platform, many have started to explore and switch to open source alternatives of Maps, and commercial services such as Here Maps. Further reading: What OpenStreetMap Can Be, and Ten Years of Google Maps, From Slashdot to Ground Truth.

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James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo Win Nobel Prize For Medicine
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 03:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
An American and a Japanese scientist have won the 2018 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for discovery of a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment. The Institute -- 50 professors at the Stockholm facility -- chose the winners of the prize honoring research into the microscopic mechanisms of life and ways to fend off invaders that cut it short. From a report: James Allison and Tasuku Honjo will share the 9m Swedish kronor (roughly $1 million) prize, announced by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The two scientists have been awarded the prize for their discovery that the body's immune system can be harnessed to attack cancer cells. The immune system normally seeks out and destroys mutated cells, but cancer cells find sophisticated ways to hide from immune attacks, allowing them to thrive and grow. Many types of cancer do this by ramping up a braking mechanism that keeps immune cells in check. The discovery is transforming cancer treatments and has led to a new class of drugs that work by switching off the braking mechanism, prompting the immune cells to attack cancer cells. The drugs have significant side effects, but have been shown to be effective -- including, in some cases, against late-stage cancers that were previously untreatable. The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be named Friday. No literature prize is being given this year.

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Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Restore Net Neutrality in California; the Trump Administration is Already Trying To Block It
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 03:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Sunday a bill to restore net neutrality protections that President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission killed late last year. From a report: The new law prohibits internet service providers, or ISPs, from blocking or slowing access to legal online content, demanding special fees from websites to prioritize their traffic or charging customers for special exemptions to caps on their data use. Brown signed the measure without comment, setting up almost certain showdowns with both ISPs and the FCC, which barred states from setting their own rules in its repeal last December of protections instituted during the administration of President Barack Obama. The U.S. Justice Department quickly filed a federal action in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to block the new law Sunday night. In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: "Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce -- the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy." Brown also signed A.B. 1999, which makes it easier for local governments to build community broadband and offer competitive high-speed fiber.

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Trump Administration Prepares a Major Weakening of Mercury Emissions Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on October 01 '18 at 01:40 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
The Trump administration has completed a detailed legal proposal to dramatically weaken a major environmental regulation covering mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants, The New York Times reports, citing a person familiar with the matter. From the report: The proposal would not eliminate the mercury regulation entirely, but it is designed to put in place the legal justification for the Trump administration to weaken it and several other pollution rules, while setting the stage for a possible full repeal of the rule. Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who is now the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected in the coming days to send the proposal to the White House for approval. The move is the latest, and one of the most significant, in the Trump administration's steady march of rollbacks of Obama-era health and environmental regulations on polluting industries, particularly coal. The weakening of the mercury rule -- which the E.P.A. considers the most expensive clean air regulation ever put forth in terms of annual cost to industry -- would represent a major victory for the coal industry. Mercury is known to damage the nervous systems of children and fetuses.

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California Has a New Law: No More All-Male Boards
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 11:00 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Companies headquartered in California can no longer have all-male boards. From a report: That's according to a new law, enacted Sunday, which requires publicly traded firms in the state to place at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019 -- or face a penalty. It also requires companies with five directors to add two women by the end of 2021, and companies with six or more directors to add at least three more women by the end of the same year. It's the first such law on the books in the United States, though similar measures are common in European countries. The measure was passed by California's state legislature last month. And it was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday, along with a trove of other bills that look to "protect and support women, children and working families," the governor's office said in a release. A majority of companies in the S&P 500 have at least one woman on their boards, but only about a quarter have more than two, according to a study from PwC.

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Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Restore Net Neutrality in California
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 08:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Sunday a bill to restore net neutrality protections that President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission killed late last year. From a report: The new law prohibits internet service providers, or ISPs, from blocking or slowing access to legal online content, demanding special fees from websites to prioritize their traffic or charging customers for special exemptions to caps on their data use. Brown signed the measure without comment, setting up almost certain showdowns with both ISPs and the FCC, which barred states from setting their own rules in its repeal last December of protections instituted during the administration of President Barack Obama. The U.S. Justice Department quickly filed a federal action in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to block the new law Sunday night. In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: "Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce -- the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy." Brown also signed A.B. 1999, which makes it easier for local governments to build community broadband and offer competitive high-speed fiber.

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Cloudflare Launches a Low-Cost Domain Registrar, Which Will Also Offer Free Privacy To Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 04:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
Cloudflare, which is celebrating its eighth birthday has announced yet another service: an at-cost domain registrar. From a report: While Cloudflare had already been handling domain registration through the company's Enterprise Registrar service, that service was intended for some of Cloudflare's high-end customers who wanted extra levels of security for their domain names. The new domain registrar business -- called Cloudflare Registrar -- will eventually be open to anyone, and it will charge exactly what it costs for Cloudflare to register a domain. As Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post this week, "We promise to never charge you anything more than the wholesale price each TLD charges." That includes the small fee assessed by ICANN for each registration. Prince said that he was motivated to take the company into the registrar business because of Cloudflare's own experience with registrars and by the perception that many registrars are in the business mostly to up-sell things that require no additional effort. "All the registrar does is record you as the owner of a particular domain," Prince said. "That just involves sending some commands to an API. In other words, domain registrars are charging you for being a middle-man and delivering essentially no value to justify their markup." Charging overhead for that sort of service, Prince said, "seemed as nutty to us as certificate authorities charging to run a bit of math." (Cloudflare also provides free SSL certificates.)

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Physicists Investigate Why Matter and Antimatter Are Not Mirror Images
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 03:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: As mismatches go, it's a big one. When physicists bring the Standard Model of particle physics and Einstein's general theory of relativity together they get a clear prediction. In the very early universe, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have come into being. Since the one famously annihilates the other, the result should be a universe full of radiation, but without the stars, planets and nebulae that make up galaxies. Yet stars, planets and nebulae do exist. The inference is that matter and antimatter are not quite as equal and opposite as the models predict. This problem has troubled physics for the past half-century, but it may now be approaching resolution. At CERN, a particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, three teams of researchers are applying different methods to answer the same question: does antimatter fall down, or up? Relativity predicts "down", just like matter. If it falls up, that could hint at a difference between the two that allowed a matter-dominated universe to form.

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FBI Solves Mystery Surrounding 15-Year-Old Fruitfly Mac Malware Which Was Used By a Man To Watch Victims Via their Webcams, and Listen in On Conversations
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 01:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's mystery-solved department:
The FBI has solved the final mystery surrounding a strain of Mac malware that was used by an Ohio man to spy on people for 14 years. From a report: The man, 28-year-old Phillip Durachinsky, was arrested in January 2017, and charged a year later, in January 2018. US authorities say he created the Fruitfly Mac malware (Quimitchin by some AV vendors) back in 2003 and used it until 2017 to infect victims and take control off their Mac computers to steal files, keyboard strokes, watch victims via the webcam, and listen in on conversations via the microphone. Court documents reveal Durachinsky wasn't particularly interested in financial crime but was primarily focused on watching victims, having collected millions of images on his computer, including many of underage children. Durachinsky created the malware when he was only 14, and used it for the next 14 years without Mac antivirus programs ever detecting it on victims' computers. [...] Describing the Fruitfly/Quimitchin malware, the FBI said the following: "The attack vector included the scanning and identification of externally facing services, to include the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP, port 548), RDP or other VNC, SSH (port 22), and Back to My Mac (BTMM), which would be targeted with weak passwords or passwords derived from third party data breaches." In other words, Durachinsky had used a technique know as port scanning to identify internet or network-connected Macs that were exposing remote access ports with weak or no passwords.

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Wikimedia Endowment Gets New $1 Million Backing From Amazon
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 01:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's further-development department:
Amazon has donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, a fund supporting Wikipedia, the e-commerce giant said this week. From a report: The gift was intended to support Wikipedia and its nonprofit parent Wikimedia, which Amazon relies on for answers on its Alexa voice assistant. It was Amazon's first ever to the free online information and education organization. "We are grateful for Amazon's support, and hope this marks the beginning of a long-term partnership to supporting Wikipedia's future," Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in a statement.

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Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Beta Now Available For Desktop, Cloud and Server Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 12:22 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's weekend-projects department:
Roughly three weeks ahead of the scheduled release of Ubuntu Linux 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish", the latest major update for the popular Linux distro, beta of all of its flavors -- desktop, cloud and server -- is now available for download. From a report: Codenamed 'Cosmic Cuttlefish,' 18.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs," says Adam Conrad, Software Engineer, Canonical. Conrad further says, "This beta release includes images from not only the Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, but also the Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu flavours. The beta images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of 18.10 that should be representative of the features intended to ship with the final release expected on October 18th, 2018." Further reading: Canonical Shares Desktop Plans For Ubuntu 18.10.

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Linux Kernel Finally Nearing Support For The Apple Magic Trackpad 2, Thanks To a Google Employee
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 11:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Michael Larabel, writing for Phoronix: Apple announced the Magic Trackpad 2 almost three years ago to the day while the mainline Linux kernel will finally be supporting this multi-touch device soon. The Magic Trackpad 2 is a wired/wireless touchpad with haptic feedback support and is a much larger touchpad compared to the original Magic Trackpad. There unfortunately hasn't been any mainline Linux kernel support for the Magic Trackpad 2, but some out-of-tree options. [...] However, as seen by this bug report there have been plenty of people since 2015 interested in using the Magic Trackpad 2 on Linux. Fortunately, Sean O'Brien of Google's Chrome OS team has been working on Magic Trackpad 2 support with a focus on getting it mainlined. The patch, which was also reviewed by other Google/ChromeOS developers, is now up to its third and perhaps final revision.

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MX Player, a Video App Used By More Than 175 Million Users, Debuts OTT Service. Android Enthusiasts Express Concern.
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '18 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
MX Player, a video app which has been downloaded more than 500 million times across the globe, kickstarted its OTT service in India, one of its largest markets, this week. MX Player, which is popular worldwide, has earned a loyal user base over the years for being the app that can run any video file you throw at it, even if your smartphone, tablet, or Android TV box doesn't have high-end specs or updated software. It was acquired by Times Internet, an India-based conglomerate this June, and now the big giant is beginning to show what it intends to do with the app. From a report: [...] All of these titles, including those produced by Times Internet, are now available to MX Player users in India at no charge, Karan Bedi, CEO of MX Player, told VentureBeat in an interview. Like most of Times Internet's properties, which include several TV channels and newspapers, MX Player will count on ads to generate revenue. Betting on ad-driven business model, a popular path in developing markets, could help MX Player quickly convince its existing user base to give the streaming offerings a try as it begins to compete in the Indian market. Star India's ad-supported service Hotstar, which offers about 80 percent of its catalog to customers for free, currently leads the video streaming market in the country. Going forward, Bedi said, the company remains committed to making investments in what made MX Player so popular among customers: The ability to play a plethora of video files on low-end devices. The company won't be bringing its new streaming offerings to the paid version of the MX Player app, MX Pro, he said. Additionally, MX Player's streaming offerings are limited to India, one of its largest markets, for now, although Bedi said the company is working on the right content catalog for other regions. Over at Android sub-reddit, where this story has been discussed, dozens of users expressed their concerns on the direction MX Player appears to be headed.

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