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Microsoft introduces platform to build voice skills for Cortana

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To help businesses create custom voice apps for their employees and users, Microsoft has launched the “Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise” for developers. The kit will help enterprise developers use digital assistant’s natural-language processing to create custom voice skills for businesses. Currently available by invitation only, the development platform was unveiled at “Microsoft Ignite” conference in Orlando, Florida .
“At heart, we are about providing valuable assistance to users throughout their day. That assistance takes different forms depending on where the users are in their day and what they are trying to do,” said Javier Soltero, Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of Cortana. “It’s important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks,” he added.
According to Vivek Goswami, a programme manager on Soltero’s team, the platform is powered by the Azure Bot Service and leverages Language Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services, allowing developers to create company-specific skills for Cortana using known and trusted tools. Additional features include control via Azure Active Directory over when skills are deployed and who can access them.
“The specific skills that enterprises will create for Cortana remain to be revealed,” noted Goswami.
As a proof of concept, IT developers at Microsoft used the enterprise platform to create an IT help desk skill that enables Cortana to file tickets for employees who are having computer problems and connect them to someone who can help.


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Huawei Mate 20 X 5G Goes Official With 5G Support, Smaller Battery, and 40W Fast Charging

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Huawei Mate 20 X 5G – the 5G ready variant of the Huawei Mate 20 X – has finally gone official. After an alleged render and retail packaging of the phone surfaced online last month, Huawei has officially launched the phone and has also detailed its availability and pricing for the UK market. The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is identical to the Huawei Mate 20 X, except the fact that the former is 5G compatible and packs a smaller battery with support for faster 40W charging.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G price, availability
The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G has been priced at GBP 999 (roughly Rs. 89,500) in the UK. The phone will reportedly hit the shelves in June and will be available from leading operators like Vodafone, Three, EE, and O2. Three and O2 have individually confirmed that they will offer the 5G-ready Huawei phone in summer. Additionally, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G will be up for grabs from retail partners likes SKY, MPD, and A1 in the UK. There is no word from Huawei regarding the phone’s availability in other markets, including India. Huawei is also bringing the Huawei Mate X foldable phone to the UK market, but there is no official information regarding its pricing and availability as of now.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G specifications
As mentioned above the main difference between the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and the standard Huawei Mate 20 X is 5G support, which comes courtesy of the Balong 5000 modem inside the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G. But it has a smaller 4,200mAh battery with support for 40W charging, compared to the 5,000mAh battery inside the Huawei Mate 20 X that only supports 22.5W fast charging standard, just as a recent leak had indicated.
The rest of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G specifications include a 7.2-inch OLED full-HD+ (1080×2240 pixels) display and the in-house Kirin 980 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM. The phone features a 40-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens on the back, accompanied by a 20-megapixel ultra-wide-angle-lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. The Huawei Mate X packs a 24-megapixel front camera and comes with IP53 water and dust resistance rating.

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Sony HT-X8500 2.1 Channel Dolby Atmos Soundbar Launched in India

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Sony is steadily expanding its Dolby Atmos soundbar range in India, as its just added a new budget option called the HT-X8500. This soundbar supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and connects to a Bravia TV wirelessly, over Bluetooth. The HT-X8500 is on sale in India now for a price of Rs. 29,990 and is available online and through all of Sony’s stores and authorised retail partners.
Up until now, Sony had just one Dolby Atmos soundbar in the market called the HT-ST5000, which came at a steep premium of Rs. 1,39,990. The new HT-X8500 is a lot more accessible in that respect, which is part of Sony’s strategy to bring Dolby Atmos to a lot more living rooms. One of the reasons for this price gulf between the two models is that the HT-X8500 doesn’t come with a stand-alone sub-woofer and has fewer drivers in the soundbar.
Instead, there are two sub-woofers placed at the centre of the soundbar, which is supposed to deliver good bass. At either end of the soundbar are two full-range drivers, which together with the sub-woofers, simulate a 7.1.2 channel audio experience. Sony claims its Vertical Surround Sound technology is what makes getting a Dolby Atmos sound experience possible, without dedicated speakers for each channel. It also says that it can take stereo audio and simulate a surround effect too, with a dedicated mode on the remote.
The HT-X8500 soundbar measures 890x64x96mm and weighs around 3.1kg. It supports Bluetooth 5, HDMI ARC input, HDMI eARC output, is HDCP 2.2 compliant, and is compatible with HDR and DolbyVision. The soundbar can be placed on your TV stand or it can also be wall mounted.
“[The] Sony HT-X8500 soundbar is designed to enhance the audio to complement the TV viewing experience, said Hidenori Hino, Business Head, Audio, Sony India. “With Dolby Atmos and built-in subwoofer, cinema and music lovers will see, hear and feel their favourite shows, movies, and music like never-before,” he added.

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I like challenges thrown at me: Shreyas Talpade

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Shreyas Talpade says there have been times when he was written of as an actor but he always managed to prove his talent.
In his 19-year-old career, Shreyas has had a mix bag of hits and flops but every film has been a learning for him, says the actor.
“Coming from a non-film background, all you need is an opportunity to show your work, show your versatility. And I am grateful for all the work that I have done and reached this far and still doing work I think it is great. Every film has taught me something. The journey is not over yet,” he told PTI in an interview.
Best known for his critically-acclaimed turns in Dor and Iqbal, the actor says he has learnt to balance praise and brickbats that are a part of being a performer.
“If everything is going in your favour or is good, then you will become complacent. I like challenges thrown at me, I don’t mind when I am not called a star, or when people say I am finished or think I am a non-actor. I know what I am capable of. I believe in myself.”
Shreyas says it is tough to sustain in this industry and he is aware that everyone goes through highs and lows.
“Even the biggest of stars including Amitabh Bachchan sir had to go through a weak phase, he had to struggle. It is part of your professional journey. One who has the hunger and passion for cinema will do whatever it takes to do good work.
“One thing that the industry has taught me is that it is never too late to start or restart at any point. Like how Bachchan sir reinvented himself,” he says.

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