An introduction to the Google Play Console for Android Developers

Google Play Console

If you want to be a successful app developer, learning how to code and build apps is only part of the challenge. In order for anyone to actually buy your creation, you also need to upload it to the Google Play Store. Then there’s the busywork of responding to reviews, handling updates, monitoring sales, and looking out for errors. All of this is handled through the Google Play Console (AKA Developer Console).

The Developer Console has grown and changed a lot over the years. It has recently undergone heavy redesigns to become more powerful, user-friendly, and intuitive. A well-versed developer can use all this to boost sales and improve the experience for their users.

In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know and how to make the most of this control center for Android devs.

What is the Google Play Console?

The Google Play Console is the back-end interface that Android developers and publishers can use to upload new apps, manage existing ones, and monitor performance.

See also: A guide to Android app development for complete beginners in 5 easy steps

The latest changes to the Play Console introduced a more modern, Material Design-influenced interface, in keeping with Google’s other products.

Some of the things you can do from the Google Play Console include:

  • Upload and publish apps
  • Create/modify store listings
  • View sales and statistics
  • Manage different versions of your app
  • View ratings and reviews (and respond)
  • View crash reports

Getting started with the Play Console

To get started, you need to create a developer account. You can do this using your existing Google account. However, you should keep in mind that you will need to pay a one-off fee of $25 (which is significantly less than Apple, so let’s count ourselves lucky!). Developers must also be over 18.

Create App Developer Console

Credit: Adam Sinicki / Android Authority

Once that’s done, you’ll be able to upload your first app. Start by clicking “Create app” in the top right corner, and then begin entering the details for your application. Here, you’ll be able to set your app name, language, price, and more before uploading an APK, key certificate, and more. These are all things we can discuss in future posts, along with the process of uploading a new app creation. Google has recently uploaded a guide to avoiding policy violations, which is useful reading.

Once you’ve built your app, you’ll need to wait several hours until it goes live. This is due to a mostly-automated review process. (It is currently slightly slower due to Covid).

Google is aiming to make the process more transparent for users with a publishing overview page and managed publishing. The latter will give you a better idea of when to expect your app or update to go live, which is useful for marketing and announcements. You can see which changes are approved and which are still under review, as well as decide when you want to go live with those updates. Managed publishing can be turned on or off at any time.

Managed Publishing Play Console

Credit: Adam Sinicki / Android Authority

The app upload process includes several more steps to create a store listing. Developers will need to write a description for their app, for example. Additionally, you will need to add icons, screenshots, a cover image, and more. All of this will help to make your app stand out and increase discoverability.

The dashboard

Once you have uploaded an app, you’ll be able to log into the Play Console and see it listed on the “All apps” page. This first page shows a list of all your applications along with at-a-glance details. For example, you can see the date of your last upload, the number of active users, and the app’s status (whether it is currently live).

All apps page Play Console

Credit: Adam Sinicki / Android Authority

Click on any of the apps these apps and you will be taken to a dashboard. Here, you’ll see an icon in the top left indicating which app you are currently viewing, and you’ll be presented with a number of new options in the menu on the left.

These options include:

Dashboard: A control center where you can see a number of other key details about your app. Most useful are the “KPIs” or “Key Performance Indexes”. They give you an idea of how your app is performing.

Inbox: Important/useful updates about your app that need your attention.

Statistics: More detailed data regarding your users, growth, etc.

Publishing overview: The aforementioned page lets you see the status of your new updates.

Releases overview: This shows you a history of your app versions and releases. You can also see whether apps/updates are in production or testing.

Production: The Production menu is specifically for managing production releases of your app. You can also get data regarding stability for that particular release.

Testing: Internal tests can be made accessible via Managed Google Play, which we will get to in a moment. Testing is very useful for developers that are planning large roll-outs of complex apps. This can help you to find device-specific bugs and other issues prior to going live.

Device Catalog: This allows you to view compatible devices and manually restrict specific hardware.

See also: Android App Bundles: What are they and how to create them

App bundle explorer: These days, apps can be uploaded in many permutations. Bundles allow Google to generate and serve optimized APKs for specific devices, thus saving space on a user’s device and avoiding compatibility issues. Bundles are created in Android Studio and can’t be run natively on Android devices.

Controlling store presence through the Google Play Console

Beneath these options, you’ll find several more menu items specifically for handling your app’s “store presence.” In other words, this is where you can make changes to the store listing – such as app name, icon, screenshots, etc.

A “Custom store listings” page lets you create tailored store listings for specific regions, for example. “Store listing experiments” allow you to run A/B tests on your listing. These tests let you run two slight variations of your store listing side-by-side. They then compare how each one performed. This is useful because it lets you see which changes positively impact your number of downloads.

A B Tests Developer Console

Credit: Adam Sinicki / Android Authority

Store settings allow you to manage more options – such as app category and contact details. You can also order a translation service, view store performance metrics (conversions, traffic sources), and manage Play Games Services.

See also: Google Play Services – Everything you need to know

Under “Quality,” you will be able to see reviews and ratings. It’s important to respond to reviews in order to appear responsive and to manage your reputation. Remember though: the customer is always right! Take the high road and it will pay off in the long-term.

“Android vitals” meanwhile refers to performance metrics such as battery usage, stability, load time, and more. This is where you can get information about Crashes, allowing you to improve performance across Android devices.

Finally, the “Monetize” menu includes a range of options for controlling monetization. These include not only the direct pricing of the app itself but also the management of in-app products, subscriptions, and more. This is also where you’ll be able to see your financial reports.

Some advanced options

Depending on the type of developer you are, you may also want to dive into some of the more advanced settings hidden under the hood. Most of these are, unsurprisingly, located in the “Advanced settings” menu (found under Setup).

The Play Console offers features for B2C services, advanced optimization, and more.

One useful option here is “Managed Google Play.” What this allows you to do is to give access to a private app for specific organizations. This is useful for developers providing clients with bespoke apps that enhance workflow. Also useful is “Carrier targeting” which allows you to restrict your app’s access to specific carriers.

Closing Comments

As you can see, the Play Console is crucial for Android developers that want to reach the widest possible audience. More than that though, it offers features for B2C services, advanced optimization, and more. Hopefully, this Google Play Console guide has given you a good idea of what you can find here and just how powerful and useful the platform is.

Apple settles with states for $113M over iPhone battery throttling

An iPhone 6 pictured from behind, showing the Apple logo.

The attorneys general for 33 states and the District of Columbia have reached a $113 million settlement with Apple over allegations that the iPhone maker throttled performance in several generations of the device to conceal a design defect in the battery.

The states alleged that Apple throttled performance in aging iPhones without telling consumers it was doing it or why. That concealment violated states’ consumer protection laws, the attorneys general argued.

“Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said when announcing the settlement. “Today’s settlement ensures consumers will have access to the information they need to make a well-informed decision when purchasing and using Apple products.”

In 2016 and 2017, consumers using both the regular and Plus versions of iPhone 6, 6S, SE, and 7 devices complained that their phones became significantly slower over time. User testing discovered that the iPhone was apparently throttling performance intentionally to preserve battery life or avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery failures as the handsets aged.

Apple confirmed in December 2017 that newer versions of iOS were indeed intentionally reducing performance on those devices to prevent taxing the batteries. The company offered owners of those phones reduced-price battery replacements—$29, instead of $79—throughout 2018 in order to alleviate the issue.

The company’s move to throttle performance was perhaps understandable, but Apple’s lack of transparency landed it in trouble with state and federal regulators in addition to ticked-off consumers. The consumer suit wrapped up before the state suits did: Apple settled a class-action claim back in March, giving iPhone owners up to $25 per affected device.

The proposed settlement with the states (PDF) doesn’t kick any money to consumers. The $113 million will instead be divided among the participating offices to support their consumer protection divisions and recoup the cost of litigation. Additionally, the settlement mostly requires Apple to be more transparent about its behavior, providing “clear and conspicuous information” to consumers about device performance management and battery health.

Apple seemed to have learned that particular lesson after it got caught in the first place: after catching flak over the throttling, Apple in 2018 introduced a setting that allows users to choose whether to enable the power-management settings that limit device performance.

The attorneys general for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District Of Columbia participated in the settlement.

Sonos Cyber Monday deals offer $50 off top speakers

Sonos Cyber Monday deals are going on right now, offering $50 off two of the company’s top speakers.

Sonos Cyber Monday deals

The premium speaker company has already started its Cyber Monday sale, including $50 off the Sonos One (Gen 2) and Sonos One SL. The Sonos One is a premium speaker that can be used standalone or wirelessly connected in a stereo pair for richer listening. The Gen 2 model offers Alexa and Google Assistant, while the SL variant lacks a microphone or voice assistant, relying only on app control.

Sonos is of Apple’s biggest HomePod rivals, with connected speakers known for hi-fi audio quality. This is a chance to save big on gifts that are sure to please the music lover in your life.

The deals are available from third-party retailers like Adorama, B&H, and Amazon — and directly from Sonos.


  • Sonos One (Gen 2): $149 ($50 off)
  • Sonos One SL: $129 ($50 off)


  • Sonos One (Gen 2): $149 ($50 off)
  • Sonos One SL: $129 ($50 off)


  • Sonos One (Gen 2): $149 ($50 off)
  • Sonos One SL: $129 ($50 off)


  • Sonos One (Gen 2): $149 ($50 off)
  • Sonos One SL: $129 ($50 off)

Additional Apple deals

Best Apple Prices

Mobile App Design Software Market Size, Trends, Growth, Scope, Overall Analysis and Forecast by 2027 – The Haitian-Caribbean News Network

New Jersey, United States: Market Research Intellect has added a new report to its huge database of research reports, entitled “Mobile App Design Software Market Size and Forecast to 2027“. The report offers a comprehensive assessment of the market including insights, historical data, facts, and industry-validated market data. It also covers the projections using appropriate approximations and methods.

Mobile App Design Software Market Overview

The Mobile App Design Software Market Report provides comprehensive data on market dynamics, market trends, product growth rate, and price. The Mobile App Design Software market report has various facts and statistics assuming the future predictions of the upcoming market participants. In addition, it offers business security taking into account sales, profit, market volume, demand and market supply ratio. The in-depth study provides vital information related to market growth, driving factors, major challenges, opportunities, and threats that will prove to be very helpful for market participants in making upcoming decisions.

Mobile App Design Software Market: Competitive Landscape

The Mobile App Design Software Market report consists of the Competitive Landscape section which provides a complete and in-depth analysis of current market trends, changing technologies, and enhancements that are of value to companies competing in the market. The report provides an overview of sales, demand, futuristic costs and data supply as well as a growth analysis in the forecast year. The key vendors in the market that are performing the analysis are also clearly presented in the report. Their development plans, their growth approaches, and their merger and acquisition plans are also identified. Information specific to a keyword in each of these regions is also provided. This report also discusses the submarkets of these regions and their growth prospects.

Prominent players operating in the market:

  • Sketch
  • Adobe
  • Axure
  • Marvel
  • Snq Digital
  • Facebook
  • The Omni Group
  • Balsamiq
  • Justinmind
  • Hotgloo

Mobile App Design Software Market Segmentation

The report contains the market size with 2019 as the base year and an annual forecast up to 2027 in terms of sales (in million USD). For the forecast period mentioned above, estimates for all segments including type and application have been presented on a regional basis. We implemented a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to market size and analyzed key regional markets, dynamics and trends for different applications.

Mobile App Design Software Market Segment by Type:

Mobile App Design Software Market Segment by Application:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Other

Mobile App Design Software Market Regional overview:

In the report, experts analyze and forecast the Mobile App Design Software market on a global as well as regional level. Taking into account all aspects of the market in terms of regions, the focus of the report is on North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and South America. The prevailing trends and various opportunities in these regions are studied that can convince the growth of the market in the forecast period 2020 to 2027.

Reasons to Buy the Mobile App Design Software Market Report:

• Outlook analysis of the Mobile App Design Software market sector with current trends and SWOT analysis.
• This study evaluates the dynamics, competition, industrial strategies and strategies of the emerging countries.
• This report has a comprehensive guide that provides market insights and detailed data on each market segment
• Market growth factors and risks are presented.
• More precise information provision on the Mobile App Design Software market for different countries.
• Provide visions on factors influencing the growth of the market.
• Market segmentation analysis, including quantitative and qualitative research considering the impact of economic and non-economic aspects
• Comprehensive company profiles with product offerings, important financial information and the latest developments.

If you have any custom requirements, please let us know and we will offer you the customized report as per your requirements.

About Us:

Market Research Intellect provides syndicated and customized research reports to clients from various industries and organizations with the aim of delivering functional expertise. We provide reports for all industries including Energy, Technology, Manufacturing and Construction, Chemicals and Materials, Food and Beverage, and more. These reports deliver an in-depth study of the market with industry analysis, the market value for regions and countries, and trends that are pertinent to the industry.

Contact us:

Mr. Steven Fernandes

Market Research Intellect

New Jersey ( USA )

Tel: +1-650-781-4080

Website –

WarGames for real: How one 1983 exercise nearly triggered WWIII

WarGames for real: How one 1983 exercise nearly triggered WWIII

Update, 11/29/20: It’s a very different Thanksgiving weekend here in 2020, but even if tables were smaller and travel non-existent, Ars staff is off for the holiday in order to recharge, take a mental afk break, and maybe stream a movie or five. But five years ago around this time, we were following a newly declassified government report from 1990 that outlined a KGB computer model… one that almost pulled a WarGames, just IRL. With the film now streaming on Netflix (thus setting our off day schedule), we thought we’d resurface this story for an accompanying Sunday read. This piece first published on November 25, 2015, and it appears unchanged below.

“Let’s play Global Thermonuclear War.”

Thirty-two years ago, just months after the release of the movie WarGames, the world came the closest it ever has to nuclear Armageddon. In the movie version of a global near-death experience, a teenage hacker messing around with an artificial intelligence program that just happened to control the American nuclear missile force unleashes chaos. In reality, a very different computer program run by the Soviets fed growing paranoia about the intentions of the United States, very nearly triggering a nuclear war.

The software in question was a KGB computer model constructed as part of Operation RYAN (РЯН), details of which were obtained from Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB’s London section chief who was at the same time spying for Britain’s MI6. Named for an acronym for “Nuclear Missile Attack” (Ракетное Ядерное Нападение), RYAN was an intelligence operation started in 1981 to help the intelligence agency forecast if the US and its allies were planning a nuclear strike. The KGB believed that by analyzing quantitative data from intelligence on US and NATO activities relative to the Soviet Union, they could predict when a sneak attack was most likely.

As it turned out, Exercise Able Archer ’83 triggered that forecast. The war game, which was staged over two weeks in November of 1983, simulated the procedures that NATO would go through prior to a nuclear launch. Many of these procedures and tactics were things the Soviets had never seen, and the whole exercise came after a series of feints by US and NATO forces to size up Soviet defenses and the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983. So as Soviet leaders monitored the exercise and considered the current climate, they put one and one together. Able Archer, according to Soviet leadership at least, must have been a cover for a genuine surprise attack planned by the US, then led by a president possibly insane enough to do it.

While some studies, including an analysis some 12 years ago by historian Fritz Earth, have downplayed the actual Soviet response to Able Archer, a newly published declassified 1990 report from the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) to President George H. W. Bush obtained by the National Security Archive suggests that the danger was all too real. The document was classified as Top Secret with the code word UMBRA, denoting the most sensitive compartment of classified material, and it cites data from sources that to this day remain highly classified. When combined with previously released CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), and Defense Department documents, this PFIAB report shows that only the illness of Soviet leader Yuri Andropov—and the instincts of one mid-level Soviet officer—may have prevented a nuclear launch.

The balance of paranoia

As Able Archer ’83 was getting underway, the US defense and intelligence community believed the Soviet Union was strategically secure. A top-secret Defense Department-CIA Joint Net Assessment published in November of 1983 stated, “The Soviets, in our view, have some clear advantages today, and these advantages are projected to continue, although differences may narrow somewhat in the next 10 years. It is likely, however, that the Soviets do not see their advantage as being as great as we would assess.”

The assessment was spot on—the Soviets certainly did not see it this way. In 1981, the KGB foreign intelligence directorate ran a computer analysis using an early version of the RYAN system, seeking the “correlation of world forces” between the USSR and the United States. The numbers suggested one thing: the Soviet Union was losing the Cold War, and the US might soon be in a strategically dominant position. And if that happened, the Soviets believed its adversary would strike to destroy them and their Warsaw Pact allies.

This data was everything the leadership expected given the intransigence of the Reagan administration. The US’ aggressive foreign policy in the late 1970s and early 1980s confused and worried the USSR. They didn’t understand the reaction to the invasion of Afghanistan, which they thought the US would just recognize as a vital security operation.

The US was even funding the mujaheddin fighting them, “training and sending armed terrorists,” as Communist Party Secretary Mikhail Suslov put it in a 1980 speech (those trainees including a young Saudi inspired to jihad by the name of Osama bin Laden). And in Nicaragua, the US was funneling arms to the Contras fighting the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega. All the while, Reagan was refusing to engage the Soviets on arms control. This mounting evidence convinced some in the Soviet leadership that Reagan was willing to go even further in his efforts to destroy what he would soon describe as the “evil empire.”

USSR had plenty of reason to think the US also believed it could win a nuclear war. The rhetoric of the Reagan administration was backed up by a surge in military capabilities, and much of the Soviet military’s nuclear capabilities were vulnerable to surprise attack. In 1983, the United States was in the midst of its biggest military buildup in decades. And thanks to a direct line into some of the US’ most sensitive communications, the KGB had plenty of bad news to share about that with the Kremlin.

The seaborne leg of the Soviet strategic force was especially vulnerable. The US Navy’s SOSUS (sound surveillance system), a network of hydrophone arrays, tracked nearly every Russian submarine that entered the Atlantic and much of the Pacific, and US antisubmarine forces (P-3 Orion patrol planes, fast attack subs, and destroyers and frigates) were practically on top of, or in the wake of, Soviet ballistic missile subs during their patrols. The US had mapped out the “Yankee Patrol Boxes” where Soviet Navaga-class (NATO designation “Yankee”) ballistic missile subs stationed themselves off the US’ east and west coasts. Again, the Soviets knew all of this thanks to the spy John Walker, so confidence in their sub fleet’s survivability was likely low.

The air-based leg of the Soviet triad was no better off.  By the 1980s, the Soviet Union had the largest air force in the world. But the deployment of the Tomahawk cruise missile, initial production of the US Air Force’s AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile, and the pending deployment of Pershing II intermediate range ballistic missiles to Europe meant that NATO could strike at Soviet air fields with very little warning. Unfortunately, the Soviet strategic air force needed as much warning as it could get. Soviet long-range bombers were “kept at a low state of readiness,” the advisory board report noted. Hours or days would have been required to get bombers ready for an all-out war. In all likelihood, the Soviet leadership assumed their entire bomber force would be caught on the ground in a sneak attack and wiped out.

Even theater nuclear forces like the RSD-10 Pioneer—one of the weapons systems that prompted the deployment of the Pershing II to Europe—were vulnerable. They generally didn’t have warheads or missiles loaded into their mobile launcher systems when not on alert. The only leg not overly vulnerable to a first strike by NATO was the Soviets’ intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force. Its readiness was in question, however. According to the 1990 briefing paper by the PFIAB, about 95 percent of the Soviet ICBM force was ready to respond to an attack alert within 15 minutes during the early 1980s. The silo-based missiles were out of range of anything but US submarine-launched and land-based ballistic missiles.

The viability of the ICBM force as a response to sneak attack was based entirely on how much warning time the Soviets had. In 1981, they brought a new over-the-horizon ballistic missile early warning (BMEW) radar system on-line. One year later, the Soviets activated the US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as “Oko” (Russian for “eye”). These two measures gave the Soviet command and control structure about 30 minutes’ warning of any US ICBM launch. But the deployment of Pershing II missiles to Europe could cut warning time to less than eight minutes, and attacks from US sub-launched missiles would have warning times in some cases of less than five minutes.

And then, President Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or “Star Wars” program—the predecessor to the current Missile Defense Agency efforts to counter limited ballistic missile attacks. While SDI was presented as defensive, it would likely only be effective if the US dramatically reduced the number of Soviet ICBMs launched by making a first strike. More than ever before, SDI convinced the Soviet leadership that Reagan was aiming to make a nuclear war against them winnable.

Combined with his ongoing anti-Soviet rhetoric, USSR leadership saw Reagan as an existential threat against the country on par with Hitler. In fact, they publicly made that comparison, accusing the Reagan administration of pushing the world closer to another global war. And maybe, they thought, the US president already believed it was possible to defeat the Soviets with a surprise attack.

Apple Fitness+ instructors promote video workouts before launch

Instructors for Apple’s soon-to-launch Fitness subscription have prompted the service on Instagram, with posts to their personal accounts showing what they will look like while recording workouts for subscribers.

Slated to arrive before the end of 2020, Apple Fitness+ will offer guided workouts fronted by a roster of instructors. Ahead of the launch of the service, those same instructors are putting the word out about the service, suggesting its launch could happen very soon.

Posts to accounts managed by Apple’s fitness coaches on Instagram, spotted by 9to5Mac, show them seemingly mid-recording of a video session, which will be streamed to users. The posts, published over the last few days, also include references to the @AppleFitnessPlus Instagram account, as well as the #CloseYourRings hashtag, well-known to be in reference to the Apple Watch.

While many of the posts largely follow the pattern of the instructors expressing they can’t wait to see their followers try out the service, some offer more of an introduction of the instructor to a potential new audience.

Josh Crosby’s post mentions his 15 years of coaching indoor rowing and “coming from 3 generations of rowers.” Amir Ekbatani brings up losing his leg in 2012, how fitness “had always been my sanctuary,” and how his life “has never been filled with more purpose” after realizing he could inspire others into working out harder.

Unveiled during the “Time Flies” event in September, Apple Fitness+ is a multi-platform workout app that will be available on iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV. The service will combine data from a user’s linked Apple Watch with the on-screen workout to monitor their progress, complete with graphics showing their progress on top of the video workout.

New studio workouts will be offered on a weekly basis, covering a wide variety of workout types such as HIIT, Yoga, and Strength Training.

When it launches, it will cost $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, with a 30-day free trial available. Buyers of a new Apple Watch will get three months of free access, with the app requiring an Apple Watch Series 3 or later to participate. Offered with Family Sharing support, it is also available as part of the Apple One subscription.

Why the PUBG Mobile Indian version needs to ensure compliant user data and privacy policies before releasing officially?

PUBG Mobile has established itself as one of the most prominent battle royale titles on the mobile platform. The game has a massive playerbase and has attracted millions of users worldwide. Also, it has found a special place in India.

However, the Indian fans and players were in dismay as the move by the Government of India to suspend the application came in as a bolt from the blue. Ever since then, users have been waiting for the renowned BR game’s comeback in the country and have followed every development related to the game.

The Press Release by PUBG Corporation had eased players as the company announced an exclusive version of PUBG Mobile for the Indian users. Post this, several teasers were released, and a website was set up.

Also read: PUBG Mobile Indian BETA version is yet to launch for early access, claims suggest it’s for influencers only

PUBG Mobile Indian version should ensure compliant user data and privacy policies before the official release

Around 118 applications were suspended by the Ministry of Electronics and Information over data security and privacy reasons. 

Earlier, there were also reports that the government may not allow the game’s return unless the concerns have been addressed. 

For the game’s comeback in the country, the Indian version of PUBG Mobile must ensure that it complies with all the requirements of the Government of India. This primarily includes the user data security and privacy, which have been the key reasons for the ban.

The South Korean company has been working on complying with all the requirements of data privacy and security. A few days ago, Krafton had inked a deal with Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service. 

As a part of the deal, Krafton and its subsidiaries, including PUBG Corporation, will be using the services of the Microsoft owned company for its products, including PUBG Mobile. This will ensure the safety and security of the data. With this deal, PUBG Corporation has put the seal on privacy as their top priority.

Apart from the announcement, the press release also stated about the company’s plans to establish a subsidiary in the country. A few days ago, PUBG India was registered as a private limited company.

Also read: List of official social media handles of PUBG Mobile India

Published 29 Nov 2020, 17:46 IST

Comcast to enforce 1.2TB data cap in entire 39-state territory in early 2021

Illustration of a Comcast Internet user being yanked away from a computer monitor and other equipment.

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

Comcast’s 1.2TB monthly data cap is coming to 12 more states and the District of Columbia starting January 2021. The unpopular policy was already enforced in most of Comcast’s 39-state US territory over the past few years, and the upcoming expansion will for the first time bring the cap to every market in Comcast’s territory.

Comcast will be providing some “courtesy months” in which newly capped customers can exceed 1.2TB without penalty, so the first overage charges for these customers will be assessed for data usage in the April 2021 billing period.

Comcast’s data cap has been imposed since 2016 in 27 of the 39 states in Comcast’s cable territory. The cap-less parts of Comcast’s network include Northeastern states where the cable company faces competition from Verizon’s un-capped FiOS fiber-to-the-home broadband service.

But last week, an update to Comcast’s website said that the cap is coming to Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The cap is also coming to parts of Virginia and Ohio where it wasn’t already implemented. In all, Comcast has nearly 28 million residential Internet customers.

We viewed the updated language on Comcast’s website Friday. Comcast appears to have taken the update off that webpage, but a Comcast spokesperson confirmed to Ars today that the data cap is going nationwide in January 2021 and said that notifications are being sent to customers in their bills. The updated language from the Comcast website was also preserved in a news article by Stop the Cap today.

Courtesy months for newly capped users

Comcast’s update said customers in newly capped markets “can take the months of January and February to understand how the new 1.2TB Internet Data Plan affects them without additional charges. We’ll credit your bill for any additional data usage charges over 1.2TB during those months if you’re not on an unlimited data plan.”

That would delay enforcement until March, but Comcast also provides all customers with one courtesy month in each 12-month period. Newly capped customers could thus start getting overage charges for their April 2021 usage.

“Comcast is certain to be criticized for expanding data caps in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as the number of cases explodes in the United States, pushing more people than ever to work from home,” Stop the Cap wrote.

The data-cap expansion will likely result in more disputes between Comcast and customers. Comcast has always said its data meter is accurate but has had to correct occasional mistakes, and customers who suddenly face overage fees often suspect the meter is wrong. Comcast provides no way for customers to independently verify the meter readings, and there’s no government regulation of broadband-data meters to ensure their accuracy.

Unlimited data options

Comcast’s overage charges are $10 for each additional block of 50GB, up to a maximum of $100 each month. Customers can avoid overage charges by spending an extra $30 a month on unlimited data or $25 for the “xFi Complete” plan that includes unlimited data and the rental cost for Comcast’s xFi gateway modem and router.

Comcast is trying to give customers in newly capped markets an incentive to upgrade to unlimited data before the caps actually go into effect. It’s a bit convoluted: customers who sign up for unlimited data in December or January will have the $30 unlimited-data charge waived until June, the Comcast spokesperson told Ars. People who sign up for unlimited data in February or March would be charged the extra $30 fee starting in April.

Comcast is doing something similar with the $25 xFi Complete add-on, which essentially combines two charges into one—a $14-per-month charge for Comcast’s gateway and another $11 to get unlimited data. Customers who upgrade to the unlimited-data version of xFi Complete in December or January will not be charged the extra $11 until June, the spokesperson said. Customers who sign up later will pay the charge starting in April.

Comcast says cap is for “super users”

The Comcast spokesperson defended the data-cap expansion, saying that “a very small number of customers drive a disproportionately large volume of traffic,” as “5 percent of residential customers make up more than 20 percent of our network usage.”

About 95 percent of Comcast residential customers use less than 1.2TB a month, with the median customer at 308GB, the spokesperson said. The cap is “for those super users, a very small subset of our customers,” and “for those super users we have unlimited options,” the spokesperson said.

But Comcast customers would likely use more data if they didn’t face caps. New research by OpenVault, a vendor that sells a data-usage tracking platform to ISPs, found that 9.4 percent of US customers with unlimited data plans exceeded 1TB a month and that 1.2 percent exceeded 2TB in Q3 2020. For customers with data caps, 8.3 percent exceeded 1TB and 0.9 percent exceeded 2TB.

Comcast did not provide a clear answer as to why the company decided that now is the right time to expand the data cap to more states. The spokesperson said Comcast has spent $12 billion to expand its network since 2017 and that increasing capacity helped the network perform well even as the COVID pandemic caused big increases in residential broadband usage. But Comcast reduced capital spending on its cable division in 2019 and reduced cable-division capital spending again in the first nine months of 2020.

Data caps generate revenue for ISPs

It’s been clear for years that Comcast’s data caps are a revenue-generating system rather than a congestion management tool. When Comcast was enforcing a 300GB monthly cap in 2015, a Comcast engineering executive said imposing the monthly data limit was a business decision, not one driven by technical necessity.

Monthly data caps are not useful for managing congestion in real time, since they apply only to a customer’s monthly total rather than actually addressing the impact heavy users might have on other customers at peak usage times. Comcast used to use a congestion-management system to slow down the heaviest Internet users, but turned the system off a few years ago, saying its network was strong enough that it was no longer needed.

Comcast began imposing the data cap and overage charges in some states in 2012. The cap was originally 300GB and was raised to 1TB in 2016.

Comcast waived the data cap for a few months during the pandemic, then raised it from 1TB to 1.2TB when it was reimposed in July. Despite the temporary data-cap waiver, Comcast boasted that its network was able to handle the pandemic-fueled usage.

One small ISP in Maryland, Antietam Broadband, decided to permanently remove data caps after finding that increased usage during the pandemic didn’t harm the network. Antietam also said that customers working at home switched to “broadband packages that more accurately reflected their broadband needs.” As Antietam’s experience shows, heavy Internet users often pay for faster speeds, ensuring that ISPs get more revenue from heavy users even when there’s no data cap.

As Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told Ars earlier this year, the pandemic showed that data caps aren’t necessary to manage network traffic. “Data caps have always been about socking consumers with extra fees to pad Big Cable’s profit margins,” Wyden said at the time. “Even after the COVID-19 emergency passes, ISPs should do away with unnecessary data caps.”

Get a five-month Apple Music subscription for free with Shazam

Apple this week activated a promotion that nets new Apple Music users a free five-month trial to the service, with the offer available through the company’s Shazam music identification app.

The special holiday offer was quietly announced in an update to Shazam’s App Store listing, which notes new users can receive five months of Apple Music for free by downloading Shazam and identifying a song. When a song is recognized, a conditional link appears and directs users to subscribe to the music streaming service.

Apple says the special runs through Jan. 17, 2021, and is available to new Apple Music subscribers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and other countries.

The standard Apple Music free trial period is limited to three months, after which customers are charged a recurring fee of $9.99 a month. Apple’s music streaming service also features in all Apple One bundles, including Family Plan and Premiere tiers.

This week’s Apple Music promo follows a similar campaign that presents new users three months of Apple News+ service for free.

Apple purchased Shazam in 2017 for a rumored $400 million. The audio recognition technology has since seen integration with Siri and the iOS Control Center.

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