Chip-Monks  ⁄  Motorola

Initially known as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, Motorola was established by two brothers in Chicago, in 1928. The first products it sold were battery eliminators!

In 1930 the company launched the first “inexpensive” car radio of its time, which was branded Motorola. The Motorola name became so well-known that Galvin Manufacturing Corporation later changed its brand name to Motorola, Inc.

By the year 1943, the company’s main business became manufacturing and selling TVs in addition to radios. In 1960, Motorola introduced the world’s first large screen portable TV.

Soon Motorola was manufacturing a complete range of consumer electronics, like laptops, computer processors, and a wide range of radio communication devices.

In 2005, Motorola launched its cellphone series Moto RAZR which sold 120 million units and created a major benchmark in the mobile phone industry.

However the good times did not last – Motorola suffered losses of to the tune of USD 4.3 billion dollars during 2007 to 2009. It was consequently divided into two independent public limited companies Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility.

On May 22, 2012, Google announced that it had closed on a deal to acquire Motorola Mobility. Then, just two years down the line, Google CEO Larry Page surprised the industry by announcing that Motorola Mobility would be acquired by Chinese technology company Lenovo.

The deal was closed on October 30, 2014, with Lenovo taking over Motorola Mobility.

  • Motorola’s wireless telephone handset division was a pioneer in cellular telephones. Also known as the Personal Communication Sector (PCS) prior to 2004, it pioneered the “mobile phone” with DynaTAC, “flip phone” with the MicroTAC as well as the “clam phone” with the StarTAC in the mid-1990s.
  • The current Motorola lineup includes the Moto Turbo, Moto X, and extremely successful Moto G and Moto E smartphones.
  • In 1930 Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced the Motorola radio, one of the first commercially successful car radios.
  • In 1936 Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser radio receiver, a one-way car radio designed to receive police broadcasts.
  • A 1955 Motorola germanium transistor for car radios was the world’s first commercial high-power transistor. It was also Motorola’s first mass-produced semiconductor.
  • Motorola’s first pager, the 1956 Handie-Talkie radio pager, could send a radio message to a specific person.
  • The world’s first commercial handheld cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC phone, received approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on September 21, 1983.
  • In 1995 Motorola introduced the world’s first two-way pager, the Tango two-way personal messaging pager. It allowed users to receive text messages and email, and reply with a standard response. It also could be connected to a computer to download long messages.
  • In June 2000, Motorola and Cisco Systems, Inc. supplied the world’s first commercial GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) cellular network to BT Cellnet in the United Kingdom. The system used the world’s first GPRS cellular phone, the Motorola Timeport P7389i model.
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Phone Brands Shifting Focus To Brick And Mortar Stores In India - Here's Why

Phone Brands Shifting Focus To Brick And Mortal Stores In India - Here Why

The differences in the prices of smartphones between online and offline stores are expected to diminish soon, with the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) – which is due to roll out on July 1.

In preparation of this transition, smartphone companies such as Asus, InFocus, Xiaomi, Motorola, ZTE and Huawei have had to come up with a new and more efficient strategy to retain the demand for their smartphones, in the offline market.

Currently, when you buy a device online, you find it at least a couple thousand bucks cheaper than you would in a neighborhood store. For brands like Xiaomi, and Motorola, that have majorly stuck to online stores so far, this plays into their court; they already have comparatively lower prices, and they can sell their devices at a lower tax rate online.

Presently, online sellers based in areas like Bengaluru and Hyderabad sell smartphones at a lower VAT (Value Added Tax) i.e. 5%, than those who are based in locations where the VAT% on smartphone devices are much higher (usually in the 10-15% range).
The national average is about 12%.

It is this imbalance in the VAT levied, that will soon become uniform across the nation via the GST since it is a national tax, and not a state-drive one.

So, even though these brands have off and on, been working on their offline sales strategies, to sell to the larger group of Indians that are not online, their focus has been the urban educated buyer who is already online. A change in this focus seems around the corner now, but the reason might not necessarily be a want for further expansion into the market; the reason this time is the need to get a better grip on the offline market before the playing field is leveled.

These brands have chalked out some novel plans of action to enhance the sale of their devices in India’s challenging market. Direct distribution, a partnership with large-format retail, building separate models for the offline market, putting together their own stores, expanding marketing expenditure – are some of the ways in which the smartphone makers are planning their extension.

There is a scramble amongst online smartphone brands to expand into offline retail. While a couple of brands like Xiaomi and Huawei are intensifying efforts, most others are making fresh attempts. With GST, the value added tax (VAT) advantage, which the online sellers enjoy, will disappear completely, making online and offline a much more level playing field”, announced cellphone retail chain Hotspot’s director, Subhasish Mohanty.

With the new approach that the brands are gearing up to adopt, they would directly sell the smartphone to the retail stores – not just any retail stores though – only stores that they have collaborated with.

Xiaomi, for the same, has recently collaborated with four of the major South Indian retail stores, namely, Sangeetha, Poorvika, BigC and LOT. The Chinese budget brand also plans to set up self-owned Mi Home stores in India, just like the ones they have in China.

Asus is another Chinese brand that has mostly had an online presence in the country so far, and is now planning on expanding into the offline market.
InFocus, a Foxconn-owned brand, which plans to invest big money in offline trade and marketing replicating the strategy of Chinese rivals, Oppo and Vivo, too, is re-launching its offline business and building a portfolio of models.
ZTE is also going into offline expansion, including expansion into smaller towns, and so is Huawei.

These changes are going to be interesting not just for the smartphones they bring, but also for the Indian e-commerce market, given that the business of smartphones is quite a chunk of it. It is because of that, that companies such as Amazon and Flipkart are drawing up plans to foray into the offline distribution of smartphones for brands like Coolpad, OnePlus and Lenovo.

This, altogether, could be an interesting change in the smartphone world. Bigger brands such as Samsung, LG, HTC etc., already sell through their offline stores heavily in India. Even Apple has third party reseller stores in the country and is soon opening up its own stores.

Thus, these “economical” brands might find it difficult to sink their teeth in to a market that is already quite populated, and to an extent, these brands may be outclassed by the larger ones.

On the other hand, they might also be welcomed open armed, given how well they’ve done through their online channels so far.

Lenovo To Launch It's Cheapest Smartphones Ever

Lenovo To Launch It is Cheapest Smartphones Ever

Apparently, Lenovo is trying to surprise customers who like to keep a tight leash on their budgets by releasing ‘in budget’ handsets. The other agenda is probably to attract first-time  smartphone buyers by trying to fit their needs and also breaking the myth that cheap phones need to be bottom-run performers.

Lenovo is reportedly working with it’s in-house Moto team on a mission to create the brand’s “most affordable handsets ever”, and tread in the challenging narrow budget lane.

The company is expected to release two models – the Moto C and the Moto C Plus. The pair will have features similar to the Moto G5 and the Moto G5 Plus, but are expected to cost significantly lesser than their inspiration.

Some of the specs of the upcoming handsets have already leaked online – both the phones are said to run the latest Android OS (Android 7.0 Nougat), offer a 5 inch display and will be powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor.

While the Moto C is said to have a non-HD resolution of 854×480 pixels, the Moto C Plus will carry an HD screen (1,280×720 pixels). The phones will be available in 4G configuration and carry slightly different battery capacities. The Moto C is said to be powered by a 2,350 mAh battery while the Moto C Plus will have double that capacity at 4,000 mAh.

Conjecture has it that the Moto C will be priced at INR 5,000, while the Moto C Plus would cost about INR 7,000.

No official announcement regarding the phones or the launch availability has been made yet by Lenovo.

Lenovo Backtracks 'Moto By Lenovo' Branding, Puts Smartwatches On Hold

Lenovo Backtracks 'Moto By Lenovo Branding Puts Smartwatches On Hold

It was just last year that Lenovo had announced that it planned to completely re-brand the ‘Moto’ line of devices that they’d acquired a couple years ago from Google, to ‘Moto by Lenovo’, completely dissolving Motorola name.

But with a change in leadership at Lenovo, there is word that the company might be planning to backtrack this branding strategy and let Moto remain pinned with Motorola, and retaining the “bat wing” M logo that has become the face of Moto over the years.

Additionally, word is that Lenovo might also be putting the smartwatches line (subsequent to the second-gen Moto 360) on hold for a while.

In a more surprising (but imminently intelligent) move, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is also said to be contemplating a switch of all of its subsidiary brands to Moto’s branding. This would also include the sub-brands like Zuk. The switchover, however, is expected to be gradual.

This news comes in the back of other market decisions the company is making under the new leadership. This also includes plans of doubling down on Moto Mods, as well as bringing the Moto Z to more carriers in the US.

Coming back to rumour of Lenovo’s decision to halt any smartwatches for the time being, this ‘decision’ is said to be based on the fact that they did not sell enough smartwatches to justify the existence of the business, and in the highly dynamic smartwatch market, it indeed is hard to survive.

I don’t want to be in the business doing a product for the sake of doing a product because we need to do a follow-up”, said Motorola Chairman and President, Aymar de Lencquesaing.

But one must be clear that this halt on smartwatches is only towards bringing out new smartwatches to the market. The company will continue to work on the device, with the hope of coming up with something that could be brought to the market at some time in the future.

Lenovo seems to be acting on the instinct to tap into the legacy of the Motorola brand, for starters. Motorola was one of the pioneers of smartphones in the last decade, and their flip phones are an image that most of us can not get out of our heads. Then things went downhill thanks to some poor decisions. Subsequently bought by Google for primarily its patents, Motorola sold off to Lenovo in 2014.

With this decision, the brand might again gain some stability, which it well deserves after having given the market the famed Moto G series of mid-range smartphones that have been rocking the market for many years.

Welcome back, Motorola!

Google Daydream Open To All Developers

Google Daydream finally open to all developers

The VR platform everyone had been waiting for is finally open to all developers. As of this week, any developer can make an app for Google Daydream.

Google had been arguably a little late to the VR party, but when it did arrive, it did not bring a device – it brought an entire ecosystem instead, something from where devices can be powered.

Google Daydream has been the center of curiosity of the many, ever since. Here’s a quick read, that should explain what Google Daydream is about.

The platform was announced back in May 2016 and has been live for a few months now but was only open to apps by a select few developers. For starters, the company was still in the process of testing the platform. Secondly, to ensure that the users appreciate the experience, Google had been quite particular about maintaining a quality standard for apps that were allowed to be available on the platform.

Limiting the number of developers they worked with allowed Google to work in close collaboration with partners and thus carefully curate, and manage, content for their new platform. But it of course also had a downside. It severely limited the number of apps one could download for the new headset ecosystem through the Google Play store. So while the experience was supposedly good, the variety was quite limited. Now that the platform is open to all developers, that is bound to change.

It would be interesting to see what this new move brings to the platform.

It would be interesting to see what this new move brings to the platform. While there are obviously many skilled developers waiting who have been waiting for the platform to open so that they can present their apps.
Similarly, of course, there also are many low-skilled developers who might end up pushing incomplete and low-quality apps onto the platform. Filtering then, in this new environment, would be an interesting task. Apps can be submitted through the Play Store, much like any other Android app is submitted at the moment.

Google, however, is still being very particular about the quality standard on its platform. The company has published a set of requirements for apps that can be published onto the VR platform. All developers must follow these requirements while submitting the apps, and the company expects to hold the standards high. These requirements include certain unique assets, such as 360-degree photosphere, a VR icon, and Motion Intensity Ratings.

This move has the capacity to dramatically shift the momentum in mobile VR. Especially given that the company is competing with the likes of Samsung Gear VR, which recently announced that they sold about 5 million VR headsets and Facebook’s Oculus.
Both of these have already made their way into global markets, and everyone has been wondering where Google’s Daydream is headed.

The apps on Daydream have been showing comparatively smaller download numbers. With more apps which can be expected to be available now, this can be expected to change, as users would have more options to choose from.

Google also announced Daydream View, a Daydream-compatible VR headset that was designed by Google, in October last year. The VR headset, Daydream View, for now has a limited availability, within the US. It is available at Verizon, Best Buy and the Google Store in the US.

For now, the apps and games on Daydream are powered by more than 50 partners. Various smartphones such as Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Moto Z and Moto Z Force support Google’s Daydream platform.

As the ecosystem grows, more and more headsets and phones can be expected to be compatible with it. Even though that sounds like a given thing, the catch is that curation in VR is quite tricky, especially given the fact that design problems and slight glitches don’t just mean a broken app on your phone, these could leave the users feeling ill, and with severe nausea, headache, and the likes. It is therefore important to get it just right, even if it means stalling the process a wee bit longer.

The move to open to platform to all developers is not really an unexpected or surprising move; it was a logical step that everyone had been waiting for. Google had previously indicated that it would be opening the platform to all developers in 2017. The move, nonetheless, is quite welcome.

Farewell, Motorola

Farewell Motorola

Come 2017, one of the noticeable changes in the market would be in Motorola’s branding on it’s devices. The phones would now instead be known as Moto by Lenovo; will still maintain the nickname of Moto, and the winged M as their brand sign.

We’ll slowly phase out Motorola“, said Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s Chief Operating Officer, told CNET about the change at CES, 2017.

The company has almost always maintained a significant position and visibility in the market since it’s invention of the mobile phone some 40 years ago. While the company seemed to be stagnating at the turn of the last decade, the buy-out by Google, and the launch of Moto X in 2013, restored some of it’s glory.

Motorola Mobility was then sold to Lenovo by Google in 2014, and since then the company has seen a significant shift in it’s brand and it’s products, coming more in alignment with the brand that Lenovo stands for – a budget brand that is more accessible to people. “It’s our treasure“, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing had said back then. “We plan to not only protect the Motorola brand, but make it stronger“.

This imminent phase out of the brand name is significant because once upon a time Motorola used to be the name that represented the pinnacle of wireless technology. “Lenovo does not have a bad brand but Motorola stands for a lot, especially in mobile“, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Kantar WorldPanel. “It would be a shame to move away from that“.

In the last two years, under the brand, an entire range of phones was built, and developed, ranging widely in price and quality. What Lenovo now seem to be doing is using the Moto brand for the high end products, and the homegrown Vibe and Zuk brands for their budget devices, as Motorola exists as a division of Lenovo, in the corporate sense of things.

In addition, Osterloh told CNET that Lenovo will continue to focus on these phones, and that his team will run mobile operations at Lenovo.

The decision also seems like a smart one, since it will help use the Moto brand name, which is popular with Android enthusiasts, to help acquaint them with the Lenovo brand. Lenovo, while it is the world’s largest PC maker in the market at the moment, is not that well know or popular with smartphones.

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

While the roll-out of Android Nougat 7.0 is still underway, Google has already started rolling out the beta version of Nougat 7.1.1 for certain devices.

The Nougat 7.1.1 version was put out in the developer preview in November, and was subsequently released for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Nexus 6P, Google Nexus 5X, Google Nexus 9, Google Pixel tablet, the Nexus player and other General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices.

With the Nougat 7.1.1 update, Google is interestingly bringing some features that were initially seen only on the Pixel devices to the Nexus devices.

  • One of these is the app shortcut feature which now comes directly to your home screen and functions quite like the functionality of the iPhone without the pressure sensitive display.
  • The update also includes support for Google’s “Image Keyboard”, which basically lets you find and send pictures and GIFs without leaving your messaging app of choice.
  • An additional set of emojis to promote gender equality also come with the package.

While Google has moved on, most other non-Google brands are still yet to roll out the Nougat 7.0 version entirely.

  • Sony just started their roll out for their top range. This would include Multi-window support, longer battery life and a new messaging app for users.
  • HTC has started rolling out the version to unlocked versions of HTC One M9, HTC 10 in the US. They haven’t yet given a timeline for their other devices or regions.
  • Samsung has rolled out the update for their Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge phones too and is soon bringing the update to its other devices.

As budget smartphone brands, most of them Chinese, have been climbing up the charts for their products’ specs and capabilities, they all use heavily personalized versions of Android, to distinguish their products from the rivals in the market.
What this basically means for the users of these devices is that brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Gionee, Oppo, Vivo, Coolpad and LeEco, are almost always among the very last to roll out updates to their respective devices.

This time around, however, with Nougat 7.0, things seem to be a little different.

  • Huawei and Lenovo have already rolled out the update for some of their devices, Xiaomi reportedly is next in the line to do the same, and more is to follow in the next weeks around New Years.
  • Lenovo-backed Moto’s latest Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, as well as some of the Moto Z devices, have the update now as well.

And it is good news, as Android Nougat brings several improvements over the older versions of Android for the users.

  • It boasts redesigned notifications that crams more information into the Notification area without wasting screen real-estate, along with an overall clean design that makes it quicker and easier to read alerts.
  • It also promises a better battery life, in addition to a system UI tuner, quick replies, dozens of new emoji, to name some of the new features.

All this is very impressive. Android has historically be infamous for the glacial reach across brands. With the 7.0 update in the market for over a month now, and the 7.1.1 version already starting out, it stands to reason that updates should be rolling out even faster, as more and more companies seem ready to bring it to their devices.

For more information on if the update is yet available on your device or not, check for the update on your device, or stay tuned for more information.

Moto M, An All Metal Phone From Motorola

Moto M, An All Metal Phone From Motorola

Just the other day, a few of us at Chip-Monks were discussing how boring, predictable and 2013-remniscent Motorola’s devices were becoming. It seemed that all of Motorola’s focus, energy and creativity were going into upping devices’ internals and they were too tired to care about appearances.

Almost a week to the day, Motorola announced the launch of their glimmering brand-new, all-metal Moto M which will be available exclusively on Flipkart, December 15 onwards.

This is exciting news! The Moto M stand out from all of its predecessors thanks to its departures from all Motorola’s erstwhile standard design philosophy.

A full metal unibody design with rounded edges and antenna bands on the top and bottom, much like the iPhone 7. You could even be forgiven for thinking of it as an HTC or LeEco device on first glance

Another interesting departure on the Moto M, is that the fingerprint sensor now moves to a far more accessible spot at the rear of the phone, just below the camera module.
The jury is still out on the verdict – does the sensor make logical sense at the back or at the front of the device? Well, I can only say, it depends on user-comfort. From a workflow standpoint, I personally think Sony has found the best spot for it – right on the Sleep/Wake button itself (as it is used on the Sony Xperia X Performance).

Anyway, back to the Moto M. This shift of the fingerprint sensor has caused the Moto logo to shift from just below the camera, to the bottom of the device, which definitely lends the Moto M a unique look when compared to its predecessors like Moto G4 and Moto Z.

In terms of hardware, the Moto M seems like a classic mid-range device with a 5.5-inch full HD display, a MediaTek Helio P15 octa-core processor that packs 3 or 4 GB of RAM coupled with 32 GB or 64 GB (respectively) of internal storage (expandable up to 128 GB).
The dual-nano-SIM, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow powered phablet is driven by a 3,050 mAh battery which supports fast charging. The Moto M even carries Dolby ATMOS so it ticks all the major boxes.

What makes the Moto M even more attractive as a mid-range device is the fact that it is splash proof and comes coated with a double layer nano-coating to protect it from basic water exposure.

To appease shutterbugs and even the regular users (since cameras have become a primary consideration on smartphones these days), the Moto M sports a 16 megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and phase detection auto-focus. The front camera, on the other hand, is an 8 megapixel camera that ought to suffice for most folks’ selfie needs.

The Moto M has been launched at INR 15,999 for the 3 GB/32 GB (RAM and internal storage respectively) version, and at INR 17,999 for the 4 GB/64 GB. But that’s not all.

A lot of lucrative early bird and exclusive offers are also available on the purchase of Moto M. There’s a flat INR 1,000 discount for Citibank credit card holders and an additional INR 2,000 discount on exchange of old smartphones.
The EMI plans for the device begin at as low as INR 779. Not just that, early buyers can also get Moto Pulse 2 headset with a discount of INR 1,000 (it normally retails at a price of INR 1,499). Pretty festive.

2016 can be seen as a great year for Lenovo (Motorola’s parent company) in terms of shipments. If International Data Corporation’s (IDC) data for Q3, 2016 is to be believed then, Lenovo as a smartphone brand (including Motorola brand) is currently the second highest in India in terms of shipments!

As per IDC, Lenovo has approximately 10% share of the Indian smartphone market leaving behind smartphone brands like Micromax and Xiaomi that hold a little over 7% share each.

Moto X Is Alive!

Moto X Is Alive

Motorola garnered significant attention with their recent modular smartphone, the Moto Z, and people began to speculate that in subsequent flagships from the brand would continue the modular smartphones lineage.

However, Motorola seems to be taking the unexpected route of releasing the Next Big One without these Mods-capabilities and will be resorting to stock features trademark of its earlier flagship models.

But there’s a surprise. With the launch of Moto Z this year and no Moto X series devices for a while now, a lot of folks had surmised that the Moto X series had been culled (permanently). Yet, to the relief of Motorola fans including many at Chip-Monks, Lenovo made it clear that the Moto X series will not be discontinued!

Not only is the X series alive and clicking, there are speculations that a new Moto X device will be released in 2017. To add fuel to the speculations, some leaked images have surfaced, that show a new Moto device as a natural successor to the September 2015-released Moto X Style.

The leaked image posted by Twitter user Evan Blass hints at a design akin to the ongoing Moto G series. Motorola has always tried to distinguish the Moto series basis premium feel and not design. The smartphones therefore look similar from the front but each is different from the other in its own respect.

From the pictures, it is clear that the new smartphone sports a round Moto 360-like dial-camera at the rear which made its debut on the Moto Z, Z Force and Z Play. The new Moto X doesn’t seem to have the connectors for the Moto Mods, however, in terms of design and build, the phone seems to have a metal finish at the back just like the recently launched Moto M.

The new Moto M – Motorola’s first all-metal smartphone – has been launched exclusively on Flipkart in the Indian market. The Moto M comes with a 5.5 inches Full HD Super AMOLED display in two memory and RAM variants in India – a 32 GB + 3 GB model priced at INR 15,999, and the 64 GB + 4 GB version that costs INR 17,999.
The Dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) device runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and has a 64-bit MediaTek P15 Octa-core processor with a fingerprint sensor at the rear.

In case of the Moto X (2017), we believe it might sport a 5.5 or 5.7 inch screen with a physical home button which will serve as a fingerprint sensor.

No information about any other specs of the device are available as yet, however the smartphone is expected to be made available in Gold and Silver color variants.

Its interesting to know that before this, the new Moto X was also spotted on CCC certification website which pointed out a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4 GB RAM in this device. The display here was indicated to be a 5.5-inch AMOLED one with shatterproof glass atop.

Going a little back in time, in 2015 Motorola had launched three Moto X variants – Moto X Play, Moto X Style and Moto X Force. To refresh your memory, Moto X Play symbolized durability, Moto X Style offered mid-range flagship specifications and last Moto X Force had the shatterproof glass as its USP combined with specs similar to Moto X Style.

It is still vague as to whether the company plans to revive all three variants or would be interested on focusing only on the new 2017 variant, as with Lenovo becoming the parent company, Moto has changed its product portfolio by introducing multiple variants of a single series.

Motorola has been able to attain quite a lot of success with the Moto X series. The company has been able to offer a fusion of decent specs at competitive prices. It will be interesting to see whether the new Moto X can make a mark in the smartphone market like its predecessor, despite an even more competitive market nowadays.

Moto M Being Unveiled Soon!

Moto M Being Unveiled Soon

The Moto M has been subjected to many rumors and leaks with regards to its price and specs; in short it’s so all over the Internet, that in your head somewhere you might be assuming that the phone has already been released!

It’s not though.

Just spotted in some official press shots via the French news site NoWhereElse, device renders give away almost everything about the device (most we were already familiar with, thanks to the leaks and constant speculations).

While it is known that the Moto M already received TENAA certification two months back, the latest speculations predict its release on November 8 .

Now, as per the press shots, the Moto M looks much like its sibling, the Moto G4 Plus, except of course it’s sleeker and the odd fingerprint sensor at the front is gone (hopefully, for good).

What sets the Moto M apart from its predecessors, and is a major reason behind all the excitement for its release, is the device’s rumoured all-metal unibody design with glass covering the front, 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display.

The reports punt towards the device being waterproof and that the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the rear of the phone.

Under it’s hood, the Moto M is supposed to a 2.2 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P15 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage.

For the shutterbugs Moto M is hoped to pack a 16 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front-facing camera for the selfie crowd. A 3,050 mAh battery could be the powerhouse fueling the device.

Expected specs on the Moto M don’t end here as it is also said to feature USB Type-C, Turbo Charging technology and microSD card support up to 128 GB. It is expected to support Dolby Atmos speakers (which we last saw on the Lenovo A7000 Turbo) with 360-degree viewing.

The phone is to run on Android Marshmallow out of the box and is expected to cost somewhere around INR 19,000. Although these specs are nowhere near being officially confirmed by any means, however, at this price point, Moto M does have our attention!

In fact, keeping the price point in mind, the Moto M seems to be a better alternative to the recently launched Moto Z Play (at about the same price point and which shares quite a number of features), however, the thing segregating them is the Moto Mods which are compatible with Moto Z and not Moto M.

It’s not that Lenovo is solely working on the Moto series. Far from it! In fact the Lenovo Vibe P2 is expected to share the limelight with Moto M as they are launch alongside.

The star factor on the Lenovo Vibe P2 is its gargantuan 5,100 mAh battery and a 13 megapixel rear camera with a Sony sensor and a 5 megapixel front camera. The smartphone gets a fingerprint scanner on the front along with NFC support. There are two RAM options that Lenovo is said to be rolling out for P2 – 3 GB and 4 GB coupled with 32 GB of RAM, with both running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

We’ll all know the truth of it all soon, as Lenovo will officially release the phones in the next few weeks. Do read our review when we will take these devices for a spin.

Moto Z Line Up To Launch In India On 4th October

Moto Z Line Up To Launch In India On 4th October

Motorola is all set to launch its first modular smartphone Moto Z in India on October 4. In fact, the company has started sending “save the date” invites to media just to trigger some public enthusiasm for the upcoming release.

The Moto Z, which can be called the spiritual successor of the Moto X, was first unveiled at Lenovo’s Tech World conference in San Francisco, this year in early June. The Moto Z does actually look like a new-age Moto phone made with a fusion of top class hardware and premium looks.

Initially Motorola said that it would roll the phones in the market before Diwali – “It will come to India in September or October time frame and this is a product for which we think there is scope in the Indian market“, Aymar de Lencquesaing, Senior Vice President, Lenovo Group had said earlier. But now we do have a date which is October 4, and that may be just as well – Lenovo/Motorola need to have the device completely ready for the public – they can’t afford the flack from a hurried release a la the Galaxy Note7!

There are three variants of the phone that we know of so far:  Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play.
Moto Z and Moto Z Force were launched at company’s Tech World Conference while Moto Z Play was made official at IFA 2016.

It’s interesting to see how Motorola has taken a positive approach towards modular phones, considering the recent killing of Project Ara by Google because of the jaded demand for modular devices.

With Google confirming the death of its Project Ara and admitting the lacklustre demand for modular devices, Motorola taking the road less travelled is definitely like setting a new trend. In fact, Motorola looks at modular smartphones as the way forward and is putting in double the efforts.

Lenovo’s Ken Wong said, “We believe our solution is the most advanced right now and the competition is playing catch up”. He added, “We see a demand for such design like with the Mods. I don’t think competition can catch up with us in a short period of time. And if they do, we are confident we can stay ahead. If more people join and create that category we’re super happy”.

Motorola has managed to make Moto Z and Moto Z Force a top-end flagship. The Moto Z comes with a 5.5 inch Quad HD display and is just 5.2 mm thick. Both Moto Z and Moto Z Force come with 4GB RAM and option of 32GB or 64GB storage. Both Moto Z and Moto Z Force don’t have the 3.5 mm headphone jack which means audio is routed via the USB Type-C port. In fact, technically it is Lenovo that has beaten Apple in this regard as it chucked out the audio jack way before the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus came out.

The Moto Z runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB RAM, 64 GB of internal memory which can be expanded through a microSD card and fingerprint scanner. There’s a 13 megapixel rear camera with a 5 megapixel front shooter. All this is backed by a 2,600 mAh battery which is significantly smaller than that on the Moto Z Force (which is a 3,500 mAh unit) and even the Moto Z Play (a 3,510 mAh unit).

What makes the whole Z series exciting is the concept of Moto Mods, 16 magnetic connector pins at the back that might be launched alongside these devices.
Moto Mods are modules that can be added to improve and increase the functionality of the phone. These include fun stuff like Moto Insta-Share Projector, Moto shells, battery packs, a JBL speaker, a Pico projector and a high-end Hasselblad camera that allows for up to 10 X optical zoom on the Moto Z.

That’s not all, for all those who are very particular about how their phone appears or want to customise things as per their fashion needs, a whole batch of custom rear skin modules for the Moto Z will be available.

The Moto Z Force is pretty much same in that its display is the same size, it’s just that it is shatterproof and in the camera department the primary camera is 21 megapixel and the secondary one is 5 megapixel. The storage options are same as that of Moto Z.

Whereas Moto Z Play looks like a toned down version of Moto Z Force. With the same display size it runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. A 16 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera and the highest 3,510 mAh battery completes the package.

The only mystery that surrounds the Moto Z line up is that of the price of the smartphones. In case of a market that is cost conscious, innovation needs to be balanced with decent pricing. For the final word regarding pricing, we need to wait for October 4.

Moto E3 Seems Headed To India

Will India be introduced to Moto E3 soon

After announcing the Moto G4 and G4 Plus, Motorola is gearing up for the launching their third generation budget smartphone i.e. Moto E3.

The device was recently spotted on Zauba, an Indian import-export tracking website, indicating that around 30 smartphone units were imported in India, probably for testing.

The phone masquerades under the model number XT1706 on the listing site and the units have been imported at INR 5,446 per unit, however that is clearly not the indicative retail price.

It is speculated that Moto E3 could launch at a sub INR 10,000 price point, in tandem with devices made by other Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Coolpad and Meizu.

Apart for the Nexus series by Google, smartphones by Motorola are usually the first ones to receive Android updates, putting them a notch above others.

Motorola E3 comes with a 5-inch HD display with 720p resolution; a hike from the 4.5 inch screen of the Moto E2. The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, comes with 2 GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage equipped with a 2,800 mAh battery.

Other than this, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and Adreno 530 GPU will power the device.

As far as the shutterbugs are concerned, the phone sports an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera for your selfies. While there are two variants of the existing Moto E2 (3G and 4G), the Moto E3 is expected to release only in one variant.

It’s good to see Motorola focusing on this segment as historic Moto E variants have been quite successful in India, primarily because they offer competitive hardware at affordable prices.

Earlier, when Lenovo took over Motorola, there were rumors that Lenovo would kill budget smartphones by Motorola lest they cannibalize the existing Lenovo range. However, Lenovo denied any such reports and now it’s reassuring to see Moto budget smartphones being continued.

Now, it would be interesting to see how Lenovo prices the Moto E3 in India. The company has already almost phased out Moto G3, but it is still there in the neighborhood of INR 9,000 and Lenovo K5 is around INR 7,000.

To prove that Motorola’s not going into the dark night any time soon, it seems to be ready to launch it’s next flagship duo of Moto Z and Moto Z Force – lined up for September. The Moto Z Force, with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 graphics, 4 GB RAM with shatterproof protection is said to be more powerful out of the two.

Lets wait till the official announcements made by the company regarding Moto E3. We’ll keep you posted.

The Tough Just Got Tougher: Introducing Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5!

The Tough Just Got Tougher Introducing Corning s Gorilla Glass 5

This one goes out to all my clumsy comrades who keep dropping their smartphones from new heights and of course, to all you other more sapient creatures who’d like to know just how sturdy the next generation of touchscreen iPhones is going to be.

Corning is coming up with the King Kong of tough glass material, the “Gorilla Glass 5”.

Established in 1851, Corning Inc. is a veteran in the glass and ceramics manufacturing industry with the experience of over a century and a half under its belt, and the credit for developing the ion exchange and fusion process to make toughened glass – a kind of shatterproof glass with a high resistance to physical and thermal pressure. It is used everywhere from automobiles to buildings to cookware to bulletproof windows and even space shuttles!

Corning Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 4.5 billion devices worldwide, including more than 1,800 product models across 40 major brands! Some companies that use Corning Glass in their products are: Acer, Asus, HP, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, Micromax and Huawei.

A standard feature of any smartphone worth its salt, Corning’s Gorilla Glass is a similarly toughened glass made especially for electronic devices and displays. Interestingly, it was used for the very first time in the first generation of iPhones that was launched in 2007 – months before Corning made it available on the market. While thin and lightweight, it is highly resistant to the battery of scratches that befall a smartphone on a daily basis.

Vice President and General Manager at Corning Gorilla Glass, John Bayne, states on Corning’s website that the new product will secure Corning’s position over those of its competitors.

According to a recent global study, over 85% of smartphone owners have dropped their phones at least once per year and 55% have dropped their phones three times or more. Additionally, more than 60% of smartphone owners reported dropping their devices between shoulder and waist height.

In addition to the ability to withstand unfortunate falls, the tougher glass promises an unmatched clarity and sensitivity while being thin enough for your smartphone to look as slim and slick as ever.

Mobile devices are the primary tools consumers use to capture, view, create, send and consume digital content, and the cover glass is the interface for touching, typing and swiping that content. Consumers count on their cover glass to deliver damage resistance, optical clarity, touch sensitivity, and protection from drops.

Gorilla Glass 5 is a marked improvement over its previous iterations. Where Gorilla Glass 4 could only survive falls of up to 3.2 feet, the new one can survive those of up to 5.2 feet. With more than half of all smartphone users dropping their cell phones at least thrice each year, and with most of those falls occurring from shoulder or waist height, the new glass is a much-needed advancement in prolonging the lifespan of our precious devices.

There has also been some speculation, ever since the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2014, over whether Apple might choose Sapphire glass, a harder material made of Sapphire crystal, over Corning’s Gorilla Glass. However, Apple has consistently refused to use it on its displays and with good reason.

Sapphire is costlier and bulkier than glass. It is also less transparent, which means that more light must pass through the display for it to be bright enough, putting a strain on battery life while making the iPhone bulkier and costlier. Sapphire is, however, practically immune to scratches and which is why Apple uses it on the camera and home button/fingerprint scanner of the iPhone 6.

In all probability, the upcoming series of iPhones will feature Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. Not only would this be in line with Apple’s plan to make a stronger build of the iPhone after the “Bendgate” fiasco, but it would also make sense given the fact that each successive generation of the iconic phone has used Corning’s high strength glass.

Even though Corning and Apple work in a rather clandestine fashion, and there has been no official statement on the matter, it would be rather safe to make that prediction.

Motorola Is Back With ‘Moto Mods’

Motorola Is Back With ‘Moto Mods’

In an attempt to reclaim some of the smartphone space dominated by Apple and Samsung, Lenovo-owned Motorola recently unveiled a new hardware project called “Moto Mods”.

Moto Mods is a series of swappable accessories that can bring new capabilities to their Moto Z line of handsets. Clearly, Motorola has taken a leaf from Apple’s playbook – of self-branded accessories and add-ons.

As it were, with burgeoning device prices, these days it’s rare to see a smartphone without accessories and add-ons like protective cases, headphones, zoom lenses, and many more. Owners have started spending more on ancillaries, in order to protect their investments in the primary handset, and to also derive more value from it, for a longer period.

In fact, these add-ons and accessories brought in their manufacturers an estimated $80 billion last year.
Apple had started the trend of defining the design for the accessories and add-ons compatible with their devices, however they did not bring the manufacturing process under their own roof; a step that Motorola has just taken with this program. Motorola supports the advent, by an official development kit.

Motorola is definitely trying to give this new sub-series a leg up in the marketplace. Motorola hopes to bring accessories into the design spotlight, by adding definitive value through these ancillaries.

Moto Mods snap onto the back of a Moto Z series phone and add enhancements such as a longer battery life or a portable loudspeaker. In more advanced examples, Motorola has even showcased a snap-on projector built into a case, that will allow users to display an image up to 70 inches in size from their Moto Z smartphone! This projector accessory even includes an independent battery that provides an hour-long life before it taps into the battery on the phone itself.

Clearly, these are not dead-wood appendages. In fact Motorola’s even tweaked it’s version of Android that comes on Moto Z phones, to be able to support these add-ons. When you attach a Moto Mod to a Moto Z device, the phone vibrates and also gets on-screen notifications – which range from a full-screen alert to a more subtle extra battery percentage icon for the add-on.

Sound-Boost is perhaps the most impressive of the three initial Mods that Motorola had on display at Tech World.
It is actually a 6-watt stereo speaker that’s less built into a case. Less than an inch thick, it is loud. Loud enough that we could can hear it from the back of the crowded auditorium of the Expo. The speakers are less than an inch thick with a subtle curve on both ends, and a slim red kickstand that folds out from the middle to prop up your phone. Though it can’t replicate the highs and lows of a portable speaker like the Bose SoundLink, yet the Sound-Boost is a nice touch that enables you rock an impromptu jig.
But perhaps the best feature is one it lacks – no cumbersome Bluetooth pairing! Once the magnets connect, you’re set to rock on!
Like the other Mods, the USB-C port is available to charge its built-in, 10-hour battery, though it will charge automatically when it’s connected to a Moto Z that’s plugged into an electric supply.

The projector Mod mirrors the good looks of the SoundBoost, and also comes with a built-in battery and kickstand. But like most mobile projectors, its bulb is weak in all but a darkened room, making it impractical for the sort of impromptu family photo or quarterly sales slideshows for which it’s supposedly intended.

The power bank, projector, and speaker were developed by Lenovo in partnership with JBL and the designers.

They are “concepts to help seed the market“, said Lenovo’s Chief Technology Officer Peter Hortensius. With its Mod Development Kit, the company envisions and also aims a sea of third-party Mods that will be compatible with any pogo-equipped Motorola phone, making it most efficient.

As for the phones themselves, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force are standard Motorola fare: stylish and powerful. A bit about these ‘hosts’.

The 5.2 mm Moto Z smartphone is made from aluminium and stainless steel, and has a water-repellent coating. (Nonetheless, judging from the amount of fingerprints on the Tech World demo units, it’s oleophobic properties aren’t so great).

On the inside, Moto Z has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with well-equipped optical image stabilization, a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter, and a 2,600 mAh battery that can be recharged to deliver eight hours of power in 15 minutes.
It runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and includes 32 GB of storage. There’s also USB-C and microSD (up to 2 TB) support and a fingerprint reader.

The Moto Z Force is slightly thicker and includes a higher-resolution camera and longer-lasting battery, though is otherwise identical to the base Z model. If you don’t have a Mod power bank, you’ll appreciate its ability to get what Motorola claims is 15 hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge.

Getting back to the ‘Mods’, they are certainly innovative, but whether or not they are able to ignite a smartphone revolution will depend to a large degree on their price tags, which haven’t been announced yet.

In a presentation to the press, Motorola teased that the Mods will serve as a high advantage to the Motorola users, as they will provide an experience different from the usual stuff.

Nevertheless, the company seems to have tapped into a truism of smartphone users: some may need a 20-hour battery life, and others might crave JBL speakers. None of these users can reasonably expect their phones to come with those features built-in. Therefore, they might be willing to pay extra for the privilege of having them in an easy-to-use accessory that doesn’t make their phone look like a silicone camel.

Xiaomi Now The Top Wearables Vendor

Xiaomi Now The Top Wearables Vendor

Xiaomi with its flagship affordable fitness tracker, Mi Band, has managed to secure the top position with a 27.1% market share in the first quarter of 2016 for the Wearable category in India, according to research reports by IDC.

International Data Corporation (IDC) is a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

The study puts GOQii at the second position with 18.1% of market share during the Q1 2016. Fitbit arrives third, with 6.2% market share in terms of units, however the brand leads in terms of market value share, with it being currently over 10% greater than its closest competitor.

In terms of units, Xiaomi and GOQii together contributed over 45% share, however Fitbit had maximum market value share.

Korean smartphone maker Samsung bagged the fourth position in the wearable segment with a 2.5% market share. But, Samsung has a 20.4% market share in the Smart Wearable category owing to the success of its Gear S2 smartwatch.

Motorola stands at number five in the list with 1.4% market share.

Smart Wearables (any wearable that is capable of running third-party application) were low at 12.3% as compared to fitness bands with 87.7% market share according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report.

The smart wearables have not yet gained enough ground because of the higher price attached to them“, shared Senior Market Analyst, Client Devices at IDC Raj Nimesh.

The wearable devices have become immensely popular in the past one year, and more players are expected to make an entry into the market in both the basic and smart wearable categories“, Nimesh said.

The first two positions here were bagged by Samsung and Motorola while surprisingly enough the global smartwatch leader Apple stood third due to channel-related issues.

The increase in volume is giving more scope to the vendors to come up with better features such as display and NFC. Both Intex’s recently launched Fitrist and Xiaomi’s soon-to-be-launched Mi Band 2 come with a display at affordable prices“, IDC India Research Director Swapnil Bhatnagar said.

To recall, Mi Band which helped Xiaomi secure the first position with 27.1% market share in the first quarter of 2016, was launched at an amazingly low price of INR 999.

Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Mi Band has two components – the band and a Bluetooth capsule that tracks your activity. The three LED indicators on the top of the Bluetooth capsule let you know about how close you are to achieving your daily step goal at any given point, and in addition the capsule is capable of tracking your sleep patterns, let you unlock your phone without a password when it is nearby (a feature enjoyed by the Android users), and vibrate to alert you about incoming calls and alarms.

Xiaomi has been active this year with a number of launches in their portfolio, ranging from smartphones, tablets, wearables (the Mi Band 2 was recently released), add-ons and even a drone. Now, they really are a force to reckon with.

Lenovo Trademarks ‘Moto Z’

Lenovo Trademarks ‘MOTO Z’

Motorola’s brand is still alive, but these days it’s wrapped up inside the Lenovo Corporation, operating behind the scenes. The brand is still in process for designing and producing phones and tablets.

The firm’s legacy lives on through the Moto brand, a brand which while under Motorola (and Google) created some very popular device series including the Moto X and Moto G handsets which offered a competitive specification user customisation, a relatively low price point, optimised hardware and software, and a clean, stock Android experience.

So while the announcement for this year’s Moto devices has come via Lenovo, one has to be assured it is still a Motorola product through-and-through. A new change in branding from “Motorola Moto” to just “Moto” can be seen clearly.

The new handsets just unveiled in June have also switched things further just like the brand name. These are still the premium category in the vein of the Moto X- many fans know and love, however, it’s now the Moto Z, and the Moto Z Force.

These are the successor models to last year’s Moto X Style and Moto X Play, so yes, the rumours were true regarding a big re-brand.

Plenty of the other rumours turned out to be true as well, including, most importantly, the MotoMod Modular’s back panel design which allows a wide range of bolt-on features and capabilities, as well as visual customisation in-keeping with the Moto brand.

Lenovo, at the Tech World 2016 in San Francisco unveiled Moto Z and Moto Z Force, as semi-modular smartphones with replaceable back covers called MotoMods. Imagine a smartphone that doesn’t only look aesthetically appealing, but also transforms in to a new device each time you snap on its back cover. This is what Lenovo is offering with Moto Z.

The Moto Mods provide various function to the smartphone when attached to them. Some of the function are:

Power Packs

So the first among the lot is- the Power Packs. The module looks sleek and can be snapped to the rear of Moto Z and Moto Z Force to add an extra 2,200 mAh battery life. The Power Packs gives up to 22 hours of battery life. It is almost double of what Moto Z’s built-in 2,600 mAh battery offers.
Motorola has partnered with Kate Spade New York, TUMI and Incipio to create fashionable designs for Power Packs.

JBL SoundBoost

Lenovo and JBL have created a Mod to amplify the sound on these smartphones and it’s good enough to transform the smartphone into a speaker!
JBL SoundBoost has two three-watt drivers, and a built-in 1,000mAh battery.

Like an instant party maker with the JBL SoundBoost – it’s really, really loud”, says Motorola.

Moto Insta-Share projector

Moto Insta-Share projector is a 70-inch movie projector, which can be used to either beam images or videos on to any surface. Moto Insta-Share projector is the most bulky of the three modules, and comes with a slightly protruding unit. The project also has a look of a built-in speaker.

Lenovo said that the MotoMods are designed to work with future generations of Moto Z smartphones too.

Coming back to the smartphones and their specifications,

Moto Z features a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. The smartphone has 4 GB RAM and will be available in 32/64 GB storage options.
Moto Z features a 13 megapixel primary camera with f/1.8 aperture lens and a dual-LED flash. The rear camera also comes with laser autofocus and dual-LED flash. The front camera is a 5 megapixel that’s capable of recording 1080p videos.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force feature same display, same amount of RAM and storage. Moto Z skips 3.5 mm headphone jack and uses USB-C to 3.5 mm adaptor for audio playback. The smartphone is backed by a 2600 mAh battery.

Moto Z Force, on the other hand, comes with a shatterproof display like Moto X Force. Additionally, Moto Z Force gets a 21 megapixel rear camera and is backed by a beefy 3,500 mAh battery.

Lenovo’s Moto smartphones along with the Mods start selling in the US in September. The company has not announced any pricing on the device or its modules.

India will soon see a boom of the smartphone in its market due of their exceptional features and advantages, which put them in a different light from others.

Samsung Remains on Top In India

Samsung Remains on Top In India NEW11111

India is a huge market and lots of international brands have descended upon this “goldmine” hoping to make a mark in it’s effervescent waters. And a lot of them seem to have hit paydirt.

Budget smartphone mega brands like Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo seemed to be staking major claims in the marketplace, however Samsung, the South Korean monster-brand has retained its lead in the market.

In the past year, these budget brands have brought out flagship devices which have earned them fairly big shares in the already saturated market space. International Data Corporation (IDC) released data for the Indian smartphone market that shows 64.3 million units were sold in the fourth quarter of 2015, which is a drop of 11% from the last quarter and that of 5% from the previous year. This clearly signifies there’s some saturation setting in now.

That said, Samsung has managed to keep their lead in the market, retaining its number one position for the total number of devices sold. Given that Samsung is a brand that has a device for you in every single price bracket you can think of, from a feature phone to a flagship smartphone. With the J-series and On series, Samsung has managed to retain a little more than 29% of the smartphone market in the top 30 cities in the country.

Micromax, enjoyed a good run too, in it’s home-market, with a 14.7% share coming in at second position in the ranking, having gained credibility and trust in the Indian market over the last couple of years. It has however, suffered a loss of about 2.5% of it’s market share in the last six months, facing severe competition from brands like Intex and Lava.

With 10.1% market share, Lenovo and Motorola hold a joint third position in the market.  With devices such a Lenovo K3 Note, Lenovo Vibe P1m and Motorola Moto G ( Gen 3), the brands have gained a “value for money” reputation, with both brands having moved up on the Brand popularity ladder.
Intex with 8.2% and Lava with 7.1%, bagged the fifth and the sixth position respectively. Both brands have slipped by a couple spots, having been nudged over by Lenovo and Motorola.

This is only the second time that Intex has featured on the top 5 list, and could be owed to its focused launches and increased retail presence strategies. Lava also seems consistent in its market presence, despite its slip in position this year.

One of the notable brand movements since the last quarter in the market was Apple, with 4.6% share of the overall market, managed to pass Xiaomi.
At the end of the last quarter, the ranking was the other way around. While Apple dominates the over INR 20,000 market with a 42% share, Xiaomi has turned into a big name in the budget smartphone market, bringing feature-loaded devices to people. It has managed to gain a 3.5% share of the overall market in spite of having received a ban on a certain handset, and other hiccups over the quarter with its online-only approach.
Xiaomi’s Head, Hugo Barra, reportedly said that they do not plan to focus on competing with Apple, nor have they been doing so as of now.

That’s an interesting claim since I (and quite a few others) feel that their detail to construct, and even their website has inspiration from Apple written all over!

Proving their quality, the traction that these Chinese brands, and their established citizen brand, Motorola are gaining in the market is impressive, even though their low-end prices continue to make some people doubtful of the said features. The technology in their devices and the promised user experience thereafter are gaining trust and popularity faster in the leading cities.

There is a clear trend of migration from feature phones to low end smartphones in smaller cities and towns, making these markets the next growth engine for the smartphone industry. With the first time mobile phone users coming on a smartphone, it will be their only connected device which meets all of their internet and entertainment needs,” reportedly said Swapnil Bhatnagar, Research Director, IDC India.

One of the brands that has disappeared from the top ranking in the last six months has been Nokia. It was taken over by Microsoft last year and had been struggling to keep up with the current smartphone market, however things could change for them as they now enter into the ever growing Android ecosystem.

Looking at the data with regards to cities, New Delhi, followed by Mumbai, has managed to be the leading city in the country to having generated maximum demand. As per IDC’s monthly city level smartphone tracker, the top 30 cities in the country make for 51% of the smartphone market in the last quarter of 2015, with the top 5 cities making up about 60% of the online smartphone market.

Segments wise, Samsung has managed to be the biggest winner in the market, dominating both, the high-end as well as the budget market by sheer length and breadth of their product offering. Apple seems to be dominating the high-end market, while the mid-range Android smartphone market has Motorola, Lenovo and Micromax fairing well and Xiaomi for now seems to be dwindling between the midrange and budget segments.  

Motorola Now Available On Amazon India!

Motorola now available on Amazon India!

Motorola has started to sell its entire smartphone portfolio on Amazon.

So, what is so big about that?

Motorola has always existed in the Indian market hasn’t it?!

Yes, it has! But the news here is that Motorola’s smartphones and smartwatches have been a Flipkart exclusive up to now, from an e-retail standpoint.

Motorola’s opening up to to Amazon.co.in comes as a part of the sales strategy of their newer devices, the Moto 360 (2nd gen), Moto G Turbo Edition and the Moto X Force.
While initially, these were the three Motorola products available on sale on Amazon, eventually Motorola brought its entire portfolio to the e-commerce giant.

But that’s not all there is to it!

The Motorola sale on Amazon came with inaugural offers on all smart devices. This was in addition to a 10% cashback (up to INR 1,500) on purchases made using State Bank of India (SBI) credit and debit cards, which would only be applicable until the stocks last.

Amongst other offers:

  • Moto E (2nd Gen) 4G is available atINR 5,999, an exact INR 1,000 below its usual retail price.
  • Moto G (Gen 3) is available at INR 8,999 and INR 9,999 respectively for the 8 GB and 16 GB versions, INR 1,000 below their retail price.
  • The recurring INR 1,000 discount was also seen in the Moto G Turbo Edition which is available at INR 11,999, while the Moto 360 (2nd Gen) is available at INR 18,999, a whopping INR 3,000 below its max retail price.
  • The Moto X Force, however, hasn’t been this lucky; it shall be sold at its regular price of INR 49,999.

What exactly does this opening up come in the wake of for Motorola as an international brand?

Motorola has been in the international market for a long while now, riding its waves on and off, the last round being the latter types (more off than on). A largely Android-based brand, it has been trying to come back to the centre for a while now, trying to reach more people across more popular platforms.

After having withdrawn from the Indian market, the brand re-entered the market in February 2014, making Flipkart the centre of its market strategy – the two of them completed two years of partnership together recently.

It was in September 2015, that the company had announced its plans to partner up with new e-commerce retail partners like Amazon and Snapdeal, in addition to selling its devices via select Airtel stores.
Responding to growing demand from our consumers we have made a strategic move of increasing the availability of our portfolio across offline and multiple online shopping platforms. To start off, we will be available at select stores for our consumers to experience and purchase the device. Consumers are at the heart of whatever we do and we will leave no stone unturned to enhance their buying experiences,” said Amit Boni, General Manager, Motorola Mobility India.

Does Motorola plan to open up to more e-commerce platforms in the country?

No announcements in this regard have been made yet by the company, but Snapdeal has been a part of the market strategy for a while now. Most Motorola products can be bought off Snapdeal and a couple of other Indian e-commerce channels including Naaptol and eBay.

However, the company had been focusing on Flipkart and now on Amazon for its newer products, including its flagships. It also hasn’t been offering any special discounts on the products that are available on other websites.

Moto G (Gen 2) To Get The Marshmallow Update

Moto G 2nd Gen To Get The Marshmallow Update

Like me, I’m sure many of you have been waiting to upgrade your precious Motorola devices to Android’s latest 6.0 Marshmallow.

Well, for all of those people who are using the Motorola G (Gen 2), there’s some awesome news!.

Well, the 6.0 Marshmallow update is on it’s way to you, and will soon be available in India, per Motorola’s Indian website.

Motorola has been busy pushing out updates for its smartphones starting November last year when it rolled out the Android Marshmallow update for its Moto X Style. The same update was made available for Moto X Play users in January 2016, followed by the update being available for the users of the Moto G (Gen 3).

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Moto G (Gen 2) should be available right after the update is released for the Moto G Turbo Edition.

Having been launched in September 2014, Moto G (Gen 2) initially ran on Android 4.4.4 KitKat but soon received the Android 5.0 Lollipop update.

Since it did not receive the Android 5.1 update, it looks like the phone will long-jump from Android 5.0 Lollipop to Android 6.0 Marshmallow update which is sure to make a huge difference in the phone’s functionality.

As a side note, which the release notes available on the company’s website mention the standard Moto G (Gen 2)  smartphone but we’re expecting the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to be available for Moto G (Gen 2) 4G LTE model to be available very soon.

As soon as we see the update rolling out for Moto G (Gen 2) users in one part of the world, we can be sure to have it roll out to other regions very quickly. So stay tuned for more updates.

At our end, Chip-Monks will surely let you know as soon as the update is available for Moto G (Gen 2) users around the globe.

It’s always exciting to keep a track of new Android’s latest software updates and about what users have to say about a particular OS update.

Do let us know about your experience and how you like the cool new features of this update.

Moto G Turbo Edition Launched In India

Moto G Turbo Edition Launched In India

Moto G Turbo Edition, a mid range phone from the Motorola stable has been introduced in India today, pegged at INR 14,499. The device is not new to the world as it has already been launched in Mexico and now finds its way into the Indian market.

The Moto G Turbo Edition packs:

  • 5 inch, HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (1.5 GHz octa-core processor and Adreno 405 graphics)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage, expandable using a microSD Card
  • 13 mega Pixel rear camera and a 5 mega Pixel front facing camera
  • 4G LTE
  • 2,470 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • TurboPower (15 minutes of charging time powers the phone for 6 hours)
  • IP67 Certification (making the phone dust proof and can be submerged to about 1 meter in water).

The Moto G Turbo Edition in Mexico costs USD 285 (roughly INR 18,600), and the retail price of the device in India is INR 14,499 (the regular edition of the phone is available at INR 11,999, with the 2 GB variant being retailed at INR 12,999).

In addition, Moto X Play, which is superior phone with regards to specs also retails at INR 18,500, which should be a reason enough for Moto G Turbo Edition to retail at around INR 15K.

Vibe Smartphones Not Being Discontinued By Lenovo

a background of blue 'sun rise' lines with a defuse centre

Last week, there were reports surfacing online stating that Lenovo was to discontinue its Vibe series of smartphones to focus on Motorola’s line of smartphones.

Lenovo, the premier Chinese PC and smartphone maker acquired Motorola last year for $2.91 billion and as part of the merger, the company said that it would rely on Motorola for designing, developing, and manufacturing its smartphone products.

Accordingly, Lenovo began integrating its own mobile arm, the Mobile Business Group (MBG) into Motorola Mobility earlier this year.

This recent ‘report’ supposedly quoting Chen Xudong, President of Lenovo’s Mobile Business Group, claimed the company to be abandoning the Vibe lineup of smartphones.

Apparently the report was someone’s pipe dream. Lenovo was quick to react and clear the air. An official statement issued by Lenovo, “Vibe remains an important brand in the Lenovo mobile family and we plan to continue to expand and grow the franchise in select markets around the world”, nixes the fallacious ‘report’ about the Vibe smartphones being discontinued.

That said, the innocuous inclusion of the phrase “select markets” does suggest though, that Lenovo may indeed pull the plug in some countries and persevere in others – which could be the reason for the errant rumor.

In India, Lenovo is the fourth biggest smartphone vendor. Their Vibe range includes the P1, P1m and recently launched S1, which fall in the relative price bracket of Moto G and Moto X Play.

According to a recent report, Lenovo is striving to take the second spot in India and is looking to almost double the local production to 10 million units annually by next year. The report also adds that Lenovo plans to export from its Chennai facility and will make more models in India.

While Motorola is a way more established brand of mobile devices (and their recent success with the manufactured-for-Google Nexus 6 adds to the lustre), Lenovo ought to stay focussed on their Vibe line too, as it allows a multi-pronged salvo in this crowded marketplace.

One thing’s for certain though, whatever their strategy be, Lenovo the brand is here to stay. And it’s a good thing!

The Unbreakable Moto Droid Turbo2

What Makes The Droid Turbo2 Different From Its Competitors

The smartphone industry hasn’t witnessed any major developments of late, and has been stagnant for a while now, especially in the realm of Android phones.

Barring a few magnificent designs, there haven’t been any significant breakthroughs in the field of technology or hardware, for that matter.

However, with their latest smartphone, Motorola introduces something that should make the world (and it’s competition) sit up and take notice. Motorola’s Droid Turbo 2 is the world’s first smartphone with a shatterproof display – Motorola in fact claims this screen to be unbreakable!

Why? Well, it’s simple. Replacing broken screens usually costs almost half the device’s original, and screens so far have been the single largest casualties on portable devices.
Motorola says that 37% of smartphone owners have cracked their screens, with one display shattering every two seconds.

Consequently, people have stopped feeling disgruntled about their cracked screens, and have learnt to live with the crazy lines scattered across their otherwise-beautiful devices.

The Chicago-based electronics manufacturer maintains that the non-breakable screen is an engineering breakthrough. In an interview, Rick Osterloh, President of Motorola, said, “People take it for granted that screens on phones would break. Our big realization was: We shouldn’t accept that. We spent three years to do the research and development on this. It was really hard, and it took some terrific engineering work“.

Shatterproof technology is something that’s been attempted by screen makers for a long, long time; but none of them found success with it – until Motorola discovered this engineering marvel.

The new Droid Turbo 2 features Moto ShatterShield, the world’s first shatterproof display. Our exclusive Moto ShatterShield display technology is an integrated system consisting of five layers designed from materials that absorb shock from impact and are guaranteed not to shatter“, says Motorola.

So how did Motorola achieve this?

Motorola went back to basics and looked at what causes screens to crack. They found that shock from the impact was the primary culprit. Having identified that, they worked to eliminate the shock experienced by the screen during drops or bangs.

Moto’s technology involves having five distinct layers to provide the screen with immense structural strength while enabling it with shock absorption capabilities, thus allowing it to suffer minimum damage during impact.

The “base plate” which is made of aluminium forms a chassis to provide structural integrity to the screen and connects it to the smartphone body. Then comes the AMOLED screen which in turn is covered by the “dual touch layer” that builds the contingency of two touch screens in case one gets damaged!
The second-from-top layer is what Motorola calls “Interior Lens” that provides additional protection under the top “Exterior Protective Lens”.

So sure is Motorola of the infallibility of this concoction, that Motorola provides a four year shatterproof warranty (including shattering and cracking) for the screen!

Gratifyingly, Motorola’s also ensured that the Droid Turbo 2’s specs are not average by any standards –

  • 5.43-inch Quad-HD, plastic-OLED display with ShatterShield technology
  • Octa-core Snapdragon 810 Processor coupled with 3 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB and 64 GB internal memory options
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 21 megapixel rear-facing shooter and 5 megapixel selfie camera
  • 3,760 mAh Battery with Turbo & Fast Wireless Charging

The Droid Turbo 2 is priced starting at USD 624 (~ INR 40,000), and will be sold exclusively through Verizon in the U.S. We’ll keep you posted when it becomes available in the Indian markets.

Moto 360 2015, Now In India

Moto 360 2015 Now In India For INR 19999

Motorola has launched their new Moto 360 (second generation) Collection in India, and it starts from an extremely affordably INR 20,000!

The new Moto 360 shows some design refinements – first the material’s changed – Motorola’s used materials like horween leather and aircraft-grade 316L stainless steel. Design wise the biggest change is that of the crown moving to the 2 o’clock position from the standard 3 o’clock position.

And… Motorola’s even created a collection aimed at fitness enthusiasts, just to round up as much interest as it can for this new version.

Taking further inspiration from the traditional watch world, Moto 360’s case design now features lugs specifically tailored for men and women, and polished bezels in new styles.

Motorola will introduce five variants of Moto 360 in India – three metal and two leather variants and for the first time, the company is introducing two variants exclusively for women: a distinctive Rose Gold (similar to the Apple Watch) with blush leather and the other as a natural metal variant. The choices in the men’s design are models available in cognac, black leather and black metal.

 

Wrists come in different sizes, thus watches ought to too and Moto 360 allows you to currently make a choice from two case sizes:

  • Standard 46mm model with a 1.56-inch display (360×360 pixels and 233 ppi pixels density)
  • Smaller 42mm model with a 1.37-inch display (360×325 pixels and 263 ppi pixels density),

The new Moto 360 is IP67 rated which means that it is sufficiently protected against dust and water immersion from 15 cm to 1 meter.

The black strip on the bottom of the screen houses the ambient light sensors, and with the display being Corning Glass, the screen seems adequately protected against normal wear and tear

The durability of the watch coupled with the heart rate sensor, make it a viable outdoor companion.

The watch comes with a Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.3 GHz, an Adreno 306 GPU with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB internal memory.

While the Moto 360 (Gen 2) comes with Bluetooth 4.0 LE it also brings Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n to keep the user connected.

Thankfully, it also features an extended battery life over its predecessor.
The smaller 42mm model has 300 mah battery while the 46 mm model comes with a more powerful 400 mah battery. Motorola says the battery will last for about 36 hours for the smaller battery and 48 hours for the 46mm model, a considerable improvement over their competitor, the Apple Watch, which barely lasts about 18 hours under normal conditions!

The Moto 360 (Gen 2) despite being an Android Wear based watch, does support iPhones, however it loses some functionality, so it maybe not the best buy for the Apple loyalists.

The Android Wear based smartwatches will be available starting Dec 1, 2015, and will be sold exclusively via Flipkart and Myntra at prices starting at INR 20,000.

Sneak A Peek At Motorola Bounce!

What is Motorola Bounce

Bounce is the codename designated to Motorola’s new flagship smartphone/phablet that is apparently scheduled for release in December this year. The device will be named Moto X Force (a.k.a. Motorola Droid Turbo 2 in the US) upon release.

A picture and some purported specs of the rumoured smartphone were leaked just few days back by a Twitter account, @upleaks, however the credibility of the information hasn’t been confirmed by Motorola or by Verizon (the exclusive seller for the device in the US).

The speculated specs for the device include:

  • A 5.43-inch shatterproof QHD display with 2560×1440 pixel resolution with 541 pixels per inch (which is very good).
  • 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSN 8994 processor, supported by the Adreno 430 graphics processor.
  • 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB or 64 GB storage options.
  • 21 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5 megapixel front camera.
  • 3,760 mAh battery, which is fairly big and should last you the better part of the day.
  • Android M (Marshmallow).

The “shatterproof” display indicates the military standard (MIL-STD) rating. Not sure what this implies and how it’d all work out. We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know what learn along the way.

Apart from that mil-spec glass, the device also brandishes water and dust resistant features. The battery life can be expected to be admirable however the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner is not yet confirmed. On the flip side though, the Bounce might be equipped with some new sensors, which will add rich functionality to this device.

Interestingly, the several colors surrounding the camera module indicate that customers will be able to customize the Bounce via the Moto Maker website. Like the Droid Turbo, the device might not come with an expandable memory option though.

The price tag for Bounce is not yet revealed, however the speculations place it at a ballpark figure of INR 30,000.

Will Moto X Force eat into the flagship market of costlier phones from other Android brands? It certainly has the individual ingredients!

Visit us for the exclusive review of the device upon its launch and how it measures other Android smartphones.

Raise A Toast To The Motorola Moto 360 2

moto 360 2

The Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch turned a lot of heads when it was first launched way back in 2014. It was the first traditional looking smartwatch, extremely understated in its appearance and its build quality and attention to detail was such that it convinced a lot of people (previously disillusioned by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Gear) that a smartwatch could be a viable replacement for a traditional wristwatch.

Motorola is planning to launch the successor to the 360 on the 8th of September, and are promising their customers a lot more features than what the predecessor offered. However, the Moto 360 2 (as it called), being an Android smartwatch, works on the same concept of Android Wear that disappointed users who found it less than practical use in daily lives.

The Moto 360 2 retains the stainless steel body for it’s premium look and durability, and is of a slimmer design (11.44mm) than its forerunner making it look sleek and classy.

Learning from Apple, this time around, Motorola has kept the gender factor in mind and designed products differently for men and women. (Are LG and Alcatel listening?)

There are two variants for men – one is a 46mm design and the other is a slightly smaller 42mm design. Women however, have just a single model of 42mm – this ain’t gender bias!
Chip-Monks believes Motorola would’ve been restricted by the fact that smaller sizes would further compromise the already-frugal real estate on the display. Apple does have a 38mm variant for their Apple Watch, however their squarish design inherently allows more screen area.

This time around, Motorola’s biggest focus while designing the new wearable has been personalisation. While the former device offered its users only a few alternatives in terms of case and band colors, the new avatar lets the user choose from a variety of options – Motorola claims that Moto 360 2 will be available in 300 different case and band combinations!

There are some preconfigured builds which are available in partner websites and retail stores, but extremely personalised configurations, can be created via the Moto Maker website.

Specifications… the Moto 360 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512 MB RAM (which is quite enough, thank you). The device has an onboard storage of 4 GB, and the backlit LCD has a Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Connectivity wise, the Moto 360 2 has Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g.

Interestingly, to dispel the misnomer, the Moto 360 2 is not restricted for use with Motorola’s phones alone. Like the original Moto 360, the successor too works with any Android phone (Android 4.3 JellyBean or later) as well as any iPhone (using iOS 8.2 or later).

The brand-new Moto 360 2 will offer three basic variants for purchase – the Sport model (£220), Rose Gold, (£240) and the Cognac Leather (£270).

The devices will be made available for pre-order on the official Moto Maker website, once it launches in the market on the 8th of September.

Say Hello To The New Moto - The Moto G (Gen 3)

motog3_specs_expanded_d_0

Given the magnitude of success and appreciation Motorola has enjoyed over the last many years for practically each of their smartphone launches, it’s hardly a surprise that the world’s been waiting quite a while for Motorola to launch a new flagship smartphone.

Most expected the Moto X (Gen 2) to be revamped and launched as the newest flagship, but Motorola threw out a googly by firing out Moto G (Gen 3) as their flagship for 2015.

Thinking back, it shouldn’t really have been a surprise. With the cult following garnered by successive Moto G variants (the Moto G sub-line comprising Moto G and Moto G (Gen 2) has become Motorola’s most successful phone series by a mile), Motorola really has changed perspectives about how a budget smartphone should look, feel, perform and most importantly cost.

Let’s be clear, the Moto G (let’s call it that now) is not out there to compete with high-end 40K+ Samsung and Apple phones – it is a budget phone and a very good one at that. We may all agree that in the look and feel department, this smartphone does not stand out, it doesn’t feature the current favourite glass-and-metal ministrations, however, the in-hand experience surprisingly feels a little bit classier than the segment cliche and quite delightful. Infact the way it feels in your hands would not be out of place on a more expensive phone.

Peeking inside, the Moto G comes equipped with a beefy 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset and 2GB of RAM on board, as well as a 13 megapixel main camera with 1080p video capture.

The 720p 5-inch display retailed on the phone actually feels much smaller – testament to the excellent body-to-screen ratio that Motorola’s engineers and designers have conjured up.

The 2 GB RAM, near-stock Android 5.1.1 and the suitably powered processor yield a phone that  is very efficient has a very decent  battery life (which is expected to be between 14 to 16 hours).

The standout feature in this INR 12,999 priced smartphone is that it is a certified IPX7 unit, i.e. water resistant unit. Motorola claims that Moto G can survive under 3 metres underwater for up to 30 minutes. Which is more than reasonable.

Clearly Motorola know what they’re doing, and the niche they want to preside over. Given Indian- and even global users’ increasingly straightforward needs from their phones, Motorola continues to delight, at an extremely affordable price – lookout… Chinese and Indian brands!

Motorola's 3rd Gen Moto X And Moto G Leaked

Moto X3 gen

The Moto G may not have been Motorola’s flagship device, but it was certainly it’s Dark Knight.

In fact, the Moto G was one of the most well received budget smartphones ever, offering mid-range specs at an affordable price tag. It proved to be efficient and cost effective device for the US-based company.

The Moto X, was another device that played a huge part in Motorola’s revival in the Indian subcontinent. While, at a moderate price tag, it offered a stock UI experience along with several other intuitive features which seduced many a customer.

They were so successful that they both received successor devices in 2014.

Now, according to a report from GSMarena, leaks found on popular online Indian retailer FlipKart and a new report from Entel (Chile’s largest carrier), Motorola are lining up new versions for both these devices for release in the coming days.

Moto G 2015

Since we’ve already seen plenty of allegedly leaked images, specs and a video showcasing the third generation Moto G, these latest reports just confirm what we already knew about this handset.

The Moto G 2015 is rumoured to pack 8 GB of storage along with a microSD slot for adding extra space. This device is reportedly identical to the Moto G (Gen 2) and comes with a 5 inch display with 720p resolution.

Under the hood, the Moto G 2015 is believed to be powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.4 GHz backed by 1 GB of RAM. Furthermore, this unit is expected to boast a 13 megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 5 megapixel front camera specifically designed for selfies and video chats.

According to several reports, other versions of this device include a dual-SIM model and versions with different memory configurations to suit the budget of the audience.

Moto X 2015/Moto X Sport

Being referred to as the Moto X Sport, the latest Moto X seems to boast a more rugged exterior, as compared to it’s predecessor.

The handset is rumoured to incorporate a 5.2 inch display with no other details yet mentioned.

Though we found some more mentions elsewhere, pertaining to the device’s cameras. It is that that on the rear, there’s  a 16 megapixel camera and at the front is a 5 megapixel shooter.

Not many other details have been leaked regarding the processor, although we can confirm that this device will sport a quad-core processor. Both these devices are rumoured to be released in August 2015.

Please note that these specs regarding the latest Moto G and the Moto X have not been confirmed by Motorola yet.

Tête-à-Tête With The Apple Watch

Apple Watch (2)

This is going to be a long read. Grab your coffee before you sit down with this.

To make things somewhat easier, we’re going to split this article (or an epic, some might say) into sections, to tell the story at our pace.

 They Aren’t New

A smartwatch is a wristwatch bestowed with capabilities additional to just keeping time for you. But it’s not as simple as that. The expedition to make watches smarter commenced in early 1972 with the unveiling of the Pulsar Watch, conjured up by Hamilton Watch Company (now owned by Seiko). It had an elephantine memory bank of 24 characters.

Since then, many, many manufacturers campaigned the same trekking path, producing more watches with similar data-bank capabilities – you might remember some models from Casio – in fact, one of the most notable range came from them.

The next evolutionary jump happened when GPS was integrated into wrist pieces, along with advanced sensors to measure temperature, pressure, depth, altitude and a plethora of futuristic features. This evolution made them valuable companions for outdoor trips.

 2015

Fast forward to today. With smartphones becoming integral cogs of our rather busy lives, it was but inevitable for smartphone-features to spill over into wristwatches of today.

Samsung, LG, Motorola and Pebble have all released smart wearable devices, to varying degrees of acceptance and affection from Connected Citizens. While these smart wearable devices (of which smartwatches are but a subcategory) have all delved into similar consumer needs, some have sunk and some have shone bright.

Yet a lot of the Connected Citizens have been waiting for Apple to unveil their smart wearable device for years now. Fuelled by swirling rumors, supposed photos, articles that hypothesized and theorized, ad nauseam – very reminiscent of the state of affairs in the run up to the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007. They waited and waited for a launch. Then the clamor reached a crescendo since Apple’s Apple Watch announcement in September 2014. The wait since has seemed interminable.

Finally, the day has come for the Apple Watch to meet the curious humans.

Apple Watch, designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson, has just been released amongst four tons of fanfare and more than a handful of slick adverts.

Apple Watch

While the literature capturing the curiosity of many, post-launch, the Apple Watch has earned a mix bag of accolades and brickbats from early adopters, fence sitters and critics.

Let us explore the Apple Watch for ourselves, to see where we at Chip-Monks stand.

 Apple Watch Defined

As always, Apple Inc. created a buzz with their attention to detail, the design and most importantly, the materials used for their products. Such a mix has always allowed Apple to position their devices in the Premium segment.

Apple watch crown

The Apple Watch is a square watch by design and will come in two sizes – 38mm and 42mm.

 

Apple watch model

It will have three models differentiated basis materials used. Construct though, is common across all models:

  • Apple Sports Watch made of aluminum, price starting USD 350;
  • Apple Watch made of stainless steel, available starting USD 550;
  • Apple Watch Edition with real gold in, and on it. Should we even mention the price?

The options don’t end there – the three variants come in 9 models, 6 different types of bands and 19-color variations for you to choose from!

All three watches have extremely intricate finishes, right down to the laser-etched crown, but the materials used for each set them apart.

Apple watch sports

APPLE SPORTS WATCH 

Apple Sports Watch uses anodized 7000 series aluminum, aluminosilicate glass screen and has removable rubber straps making it the lightest of the three siblings.

You will have two colors to choose from – Silver Aluminum and Space Grey.

Apple watch1

APPLE WATCH

 Apple Watch uses stainless steel and comes in glossy metal – available in Stainless Steel or Space Black finishes. This variant has a sapphire crystal screen unlike the Sports version, making it a more durable screen.

 Apple Watch Edition

APPLE WATCH EDITION

Apple Watch Edition has caught the eye of many, and rightfully so. It comes with an 18 carat gold case in two colors of gold – Yellow Gold and Rose Gold. Both come with matching color bands in leather or fluoroelastomer plastic.

These smart timepieces will set you back by USD 17,000.

To add to your customization neé personalization experience, Apple has created several proprietary bands for each variant, all of which can be swapped extremely easily.

Apple watch bands

The ‘Link Bracelet’ and the ‘Milanese Loop’ are both in stainless steel, the ‘Leather Loop’ and ‘Classic Band’ in leather, along with numerous colored fluoroelastomer bands.

Apple hopes that you’ll go ahead and stack up the bands, given that the bands are easy to change with just a click of the button – literally.

 Apple Watch – In Use

Once we moved past gawking at the watch, we wanted to put it to test. And we were enthralled.

The Watch is definitely not an iPod scaled down to strap onto your wrist!

Apple Watch allows you to see time, monitor your fitness, enjoy your music wirelessly, use Apple Pay and communicate via messages, phone calls and notifications amongst other functionalities.

You’ll appreciate Siri even more – with her residing on your wrists and assisting you night and day. Simply raise your watch and say ‘Hey Siri’ to issue commands.

Testing Siri was fun, till I realized that I was flicking my wrists way more than I should and talking to my watch way more than I should – well you get the drift.

Another indulgence I succumbed to was taking photos. The Watch thankfully does not come with a camera on board – we really see no point in that save for FaceTime calls! The Watch instead acts only as a remote trigger for your phone’s camera, with the Watch’s itsy-bitsy screen doing a great job as a viewfinder. So, place your iPhone on a sold surface, and go join the group and smile! The Watch will help you click a selfie without your arms outstretched or your backs arched weirdly. A function, which will be worshipped by the “Selfie” addicts.

Accessing the functions of the smartwatch – was a valid concern of all prospective buyers, especially ones with broad fingers.

Apple watch close-up detail

Apple’s design team came up with an ingenious solution of using the crown to scroll and select Apps and functions on the watch.

Apple watch Interface

Interface wise too, the Apple Watch received a lot of thought and research. It has a carousal of icons which change in size and placement enabling the Apple Watch to accommodate more apps directly on one screen while retaining ease of access for all finger types.

The user winds the crown for scrolling, selecting and zooming and a new ‘forced press’ interaction to access secondary functions.

There’s a second button, beside the crown that can be used to access Apple Pay or quickly get to your contacts list.

Thankfully the Apple Watch is not festooned with buttons all over it’s existence. Instead it has just two, discretely placed but craftily empowered buttons. The Watch overall looks gob-smackingly beautiful!

Next, we tried the calling from the Watch and surprisingly, the recipient of the call could not differentiate if it was from a phone or the Watch! That said, holding your hand up to talk into your wrist can be tiresome and plain weird for people who haven’t yet been sensitized to a smartwatch.

The Watch itself communicates with you via notifications from your phone, seamlessly and discreetly, using a ‘Taptic Engine’.

Located at the top right corner of the Watch, beneath the screen, the Taptic Engine is a small mechanism that vibrates to notify the user-using minute, customizable vibrations.

Apple watch notification

Apple has currently included notifications relating to messages, phone calls, calendar, news, mail and the Activity app. There are more in the works, I’m sure, as are notifications from Third-Party app developers.

In addition, using the Taptic Engine and the heart rate sensor on the watch, one can send their heart beat rhythm to a fellow Apple Watch user.

While not extremely useful, however intimate couples might appreciate the feature.

Another feature which is a boon for the frequent flyers and nomads is the Wallet, which allows you to store and seamlessly use your data regarding travel, boarding passes, airline loyalty cards and tickets in addition to your credit cards, debit cards and even store loyalty cards!

So, you can have your financial information at your wrist at all times, making purchases without taking out your wallets.

With all loyalty card information in your Wallet app – you no longer need to stack your wallet with numerous physical loyalty cards.

One question crossed my mind though – with people now carrying lesser physical cards and currency, will the crime by mugging and stealing reduce?

A new technology included in the watch is the ‘Force Touch’. It’s an intriguing and interesting new technology. It allows different functions to be activated on the Watch, basis the intensity of force applied while touching the screen.

The technology allows the screen to differentiate between a light flick, a light touch (like a regular touch on your iPhone) and a hard press, thus allowing them to be allocated different functionalities.

Just to clarify, this is different from ‘Multi Touch’ – that’s the technology that allows user to interact with a device using more than one finger simultaneously (think of the two-finger pinch or zoom).

‘Forced Touch’ enables the user to access far more functionality via the itsy-bitsy touchscreen on the Watch than otherwise possible. The functionality is experienced while setting clock faces, messaging, clearing of notifications, while searching for a location on the map, in the music app to shuffle between music source, working the alarm and in accessing the details of your calendar!

One major drawback we came up against was the battery life of the watch. The Apple Watch has a 205 mAh, non-replaceable battery that Apple claims lasts 18 hours of mixed use. This duration can be stretched a tad bit by putting the Watch to sleep when not in active use. This ‘Power Reserve Mode’, as Apple calls it, puts all other functions to sleep, allowing the watch to function only as a humble wristwatch for the coming 72 hours.

However, our active fingers fueled by curiosity ran through a complete charge in less than 10 hours and we were not happy at all!

So if you have an active lifestyle where you exercise for an hour using the heart rate monitor and then get on calls post that, you will get to be intimate buddies with your Apple Watch’s wireless charger. Which is another peeve altogether – there’s yet another form of charger that Apple’s introduced. And with the paltry battery life, you’re going to have to carry it around too *frown*.

The ‘silver lining’ just to be slightly generous to Apple, is the Watch’s ability to charge to 80% in just 90 minutes, and to completely charge in 150 minutes.

Apple watch uses an inductive magnetic charger (designed along the same line with their Mag Safe notebook chargers) for charging wireless.

 Making The Watch Your Own

Our fascination with customizing our Apple Watch kept us awake well past midnight, and we kept shifting between the nine watch faces Apple has pre-loaded.

Apple watch Edition Size

While the ladies and the kids liked Mickey tapping, I preferred the simple modular watch face with adequate displays of notifications, battery life and calendar.

Customizing was easy – just Force Touch the screen and swipe to see different watch faces and choose. Going forward, we hope the next OS update allows the third party watch faces (Apple is currently blocking all third party watch faces being installed on the Watch) and also allow us to set pictures from our own photo gallery as wallpapers.

Is It Just A Glorified Fitness Tracker?

Late night to early morning was a very short time. We allowed the Watch to charge and a little before sunrise I strapped the Watch and got my rather out-of-shape self to put the fitness functions to test. I’ve not included a picture, lest I get hounded for scaring our readers with a weak heart.

Apple watch fitness

The Watch does not discriminate – at least in functionality with the fitness levels or the lack thereof and tracks all manners of data diligently. Fortunately Siri knows her place, and made no bones about my bones.

The Watch pairs with all iPhones starting from the 4S, so most of you would be good to pair up with the Watch right away.

Interestingly, it’s worth a mention that the Apple Watch does not retail under the health and fitness equipment as it hasn’t yet cleared the Stress and Blood Pressure monitoring benchmarks set for certification of devices.

Having said that, Apple watch was pretty accurate when we put it to test.

Ideally, you should not compare the Apple Watch to advanced fitness trackers from Garmin, Fitbit or Polar, as those are specialty devices aimed at measuring just your basic exercise parameters. Apple Watch is a wearable device that brings basic health functionalities along with mobile communication capabilities. That said, the Watch’s price does make you question it.

Moving on, the Watch did coax us to keep moving. Like the Nike Fuelband, Apple aims to connect you to people around you and motivate you to start moving in step with a global community. The community is at your fingertips – you can communicate with them, while the fitness trackers track our individual data and performance in isolation. There’s a minimal sharing of data.

The Watch also tracks and notifies you of inactivity for an extended time period, using sensors that monitor the movements (steps, stairs climbed, runs, aerobics and a range of outdoor and indoor activities), heart rate, movement, exercise and even just standing up. All this pairs up and feeds into the Health App on your iPhone too!

I’d been reading about the concept of standing desks at work and even standing meetings – where just basic standing is promoted; guess what – your Apple Watch will also prompt you to stand for at least a minute for every hour.

It even has a workout app which tracks and notifies you of your milestones achievements and shortfalls. Another interesting feature I found was the ability to set goals based on distance (for outdoor activities), time or calories (allowing us to focus on the exercise and have a satisfying notification of burning the set amount of calories). The Watch uses distance, pace, speed, calories burnt and time to report the workout metric – both on the watch and on your iPhone. You can further add to the functionality of the watch with Bluetooth enables add-ons.

Did We Like It?

To change that question slightly, ‘was it worth it – the wait, the hype, the cost?’

Well, let’s put it this way – Chip-Monks sees, experiences, tests and validates new devices every singly day. Some are good, some outright excellent, while few catch our imagination any more though.

Not only did the Watch keep me up late at night, for a quite a few nights, it took over my days too.

It took me a quite while to come out of my mesmerized awe to objectively gauge the relevance of Apple Watch in my life.

It is not about what it measures, but how the watch reports and displays the information, allowing you to view, act, (more importantly) ignore, and share stuff that prompts you appreciate this device.

It may not be a complete health device, but unless you are an Olympian, the watch will serve you well, albeit the battery – and the wireless charger will become your next best friend.

All said and done, the Apple Watch is worth it, especially since you leave your phone in your pocket a lot more, and spend way more time away from fiddling with it. And Day 3 onwards, you stop fiddling with your Watch too, and leave it be, to let it do what it’s designed to – intimate you, intimately. And become your ubiquitous, subservient buddy.

A New Variant Of Moto X Launched On Flipkart

Moto Congac launched on Flipkart2

The Moto X (Gen 2) shook the world, proving irrefutably that well made, high-spec phones from world-class manufacturers could be mass-produced and sold off the shelf in the INR 20,000-25,000 range.

The Moto X (Gen 2) was extremely well received in India, and its ‘cool’ attractive design regularly turned heads.

Probably in order to proactively deflect criticism for an unduly long silence about the Moto X (Gen 3, as we assume it’d be called, in keep with the lineage) launch – and there’s not much by way of discussions on when that would be, Motorola has quietly launched a new variant of the extremely popular Moto X (Gen 2) on Flipkart.

We aren’t sure if this is an interim “refresh” to cover for a delayed new product, or if the beleaguered Motorola neé Lenovo team has taken the year off (we just hope the very talented team that brought us the Moto G, Moto X, Moto E, Nexus 6, Moto 360 haven’t been sent to the gallows by the guys at the Big L).

This new edition to the Moto X series goes by the name of ‘Cognac’ and is priced at INR 25,999. Cognac is basically a color shade (and is also a variety of brandy) and the choice of name is a big departure from any precedent at Motorola.

From the photos on Flipkart that we have seen so far, Cognac is probably the most stylish looking of all leather variants that Motorola has launched for the Moto X (Gen 2) until now. If you already own a Moto X and are looking for a change, or if you’re plain sick of all the plastic that most phones suffer from – stand out from the crowd, lay your hands on this new baby. Price wise, the 32 GB Cognac variant is only INR 1,000 more than its older sibling the Moto X (Gen 2)

Talking technical: The Cognac variant of the Moto X comes with a 5.2 inch display, 13 megapixel rear camera with dual ring LED flash, 2 megapixel front shooter and a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor clocked at 2.5 GHz which is backed by 2 GB of RAM.

This device is also said to be upgradable over-the-air to Android Lollipop.

Currently, Flipkart is sweeting the deal with an exchange offer on the Moto X (Gen 1), allowing you to grab the Cognac variant for just ₹20,999.

Wanna sip?

What Will The Moto X 2015 Offer?

What Will The Moto X 2015 Offer

Motorola are rumoured to announce new Android phones sometime around the last week of July. This includes a new version of their flagship device, the Moto X (Gen 2), and a latest version of the highly well received budget smartphone, the Moto G (Gen 2).

A lot has been leaked about both these devices over the past few weeks including unofficial pictures and several other details. If these rumours are to be believed, the new Moto X (Gen 3) as we believe it will be called, could very easily be the smartphone to buy this year!

From what we gathered at Chip-Monks, the Moto X (Gen 3) may be one of the first few smartphones to feature a front-facing camera with flash! Considering the rate at which selfies are being clicked, it might turn out to be a good move.

Another interesting feature, Motorola are rumoured to have incorporated in the Moto X (Gen 3), is a fingerprint sensor in the bottom speaker (at the front of the device). Although this is mere speculation at this time, if true, it might turn several heads.

The latest Moto X supposedly also carries a massive 5.5 inch display with 1080p resolution, putting this device in direct competition with the the likes of the LG G4 and the HTC One M9.

Apart from this, the Moto X (Gen 3) is rumoured to feature a 21 megapixel rear camera with the aforementioned 5 megapixel front camera with flash. The battery powering the Moto X is said to be a 3,600 mAh unit, which sounds impressive.

To keep things ticking over fluidly, the Moto X (Gen 3) is rumoured to have a massive 4 GB of RAM with the Snapdragon 810 SoC.

Finally, the phone will be available in different color options, including Gold and White.

Let the unveiling begin!

Will The Moto X (First Gen) Get An Android Lollipop Update

Will the Moto X (First Gen) get an Android Lollipop update

Users who have picked up the first generation Motorola Moto X are a worried lot. Smartphones, including models like the Motorola Moto G or the Motorola Moto E, have either already received the Lollipop 5.0 update via OTA or are waiting in line for the much awaited update, while the Motorola Moto X users have no clue about when their device is expected to come by the update!

And yes, to add to their misery, the second generation Moto X has already been “Lollipopped”.

It is not that the Illinois based telecom giant doesn’t want its users to enjoy the benefits of the latest and possibly one of the greatest stock Android update. Motorola has made it clear that it is the chipset that is responsible for this denial of opportunity as the second generation Moto X uses a quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU while the first generation model has an out-dated dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.

There are speculations that the older generation Motorola Moto X will get the Lollipop update (Android 5.0), but Motorola is yet to get through it.

The past few years have shown that Motorola always goes for what the company calls a “soak test” where they test software updates before the official release or formal announcement of that update.

They do this by sending it to the limited members of the Motorola Feedback Network, who test the software and approve it before the final release to its carriers.

Motorola has recently rolled out Android 5.1 Lollipop updates for Moto G Google Play and it is expected that the updates for others will follow shortly after the company has published a support page giving details about the operating system for several Motorola units which may include the older generation models.

The models could include Moto X, Moto G, Moto G 4G LTE, DROID Turbo, DROID Maxx, DROID Mini and Moto E. Now, for those users handling their older generation Moto X desperately waiting for the Lollipop update, it is a sigh of relief.

The decision to update these devices directly to Android 5.1 from KitKat has been taken by Motorola, when the company noted that all of the improvements found with the latest Android build will be more stable if they skip the Android 5.0 update for these devices as Motorola has experience with Android 5.1 running on a Moto device.

David Schuster, Motorola’s software product manager confirmed that, the improvements in Lollipop 5.1 have urged Motorola to ramp up their efforts so their remaining devices get the 5.1 update directly.

This seems to be a good decision by Motorola, as they learnt last year, where the team had observed the KitKat upgrades had many bugs that were supposedly fixed by 5.0.1 and 5.0.2. To avoid this kind of situation, Motorola has decided to skip 5.0, 5.0.1, or 5.0.2 and let its users directly enjoy the benefits of Android Lollipop 5.1.

Motorola Moto E (Gen 2) 4G Now Available In India

Motorola Moto E (Gen 2) 4G on sale in India

Motorola’s Moto E (Gen 2) 4G is now available on Flipkart for INR 7,999 which is just a thousand bucks more than the 3G version.

There’s another reason for the price difference.

The 4G version comes with a 64-bit quad core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC (with Adreno 306 graphics processor) with 1 GB of RAM, whereas the 3G variant has a slightly lower grade 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC with Adreno 302.

Overall, both the Moto E (Gen 2) variants are dual SIM phones, with entry level specifications, however the price and the robust construction with the latest Android OS (Android 5.0.2 out of the box) does the trick.

The Moto E (Gen 2) has a bigger screen, a better battery and larger a storage compared to the erstwhile Moto E.

Taking into consideration the customer feedback from the last launch, a front VGA camera has been included along with the 5 megapixel rear camera with capability to increase the memory via a microSD card (32 GB) in addition to the 8 GB internal phone memory.

The phone is powered by a 2,390 mAh battery now features a 4.5 inch qHD display with 245 pixels per inch, with Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Clearly, Motorola has taken into account the competition it faces from local and Chinese brands like Asus (ZenFone C) and Microsoft (Lumia 435) in the current market, hence have included data bundles along with discounts for the prospective buyers via Flipkart.

Moto X - 3rd Gen?

Moto-X-3rd-Gen (1)

Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s President, in his recent tweet (while responding to a question on Twitter as part of the #AskRickO initiative), may have revealed that the 3rd generation Moto X should be out this fall, keeping in line with their annual product cycle.

We try to stay on a roughly annual cycle for all of our products including Moto X“, he tweeted. 
There are some speculations on the hardware included, like the inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor.
 “Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm have a long history of cooperating to create amazing mobile experiences,” he also said, continuing on to say, “The Snapdragon 810 processor will enable us to push the boundaries even further so we can continue delighting our customers with devices that give them new choices.

So, in summary, it is expected that Moto X 3rd Gen (we don’t have a formal name for it yet), would be launched with Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box (Moto X 2nd Gen has already received the Lollipop upgrade), riding a Snapdragon 810 processor, and promises tosome have interesting features for users. One feature that will be absent though, would be a fingerprint sensor. Motorola had incorporated the feature in their device Motorola Atrix in 2011, with disastrous results and are thus staying away.

Nexus 6 Back Covers Come Undone

Nexus-6-with-defective-back-covers (1)

Google unveiled their Nexus 6 mid-october 2014, and released it to the public early November 2014.

All was well till the back covers for some devices started to have a mind of their own and started to pop off.

 

nexus-6-with-defective-back-covers (2)

The problem, as seen in multiple images in the cyber world, is that the back cover comes unstuck and starts to bulge from the middle. Almost uncannily like humans who hit middle-age 😉

However, owners aren’t amused, with many of them having taken to social networks to vent their ire. Some owners have even claimed that the they received such a “bloated” phone out of the box.

As the clamour grew, speculations started circulating, that faulty batteries were causing bloating and causing the cover to come undone. However, Motorola quickly clarified that it was a result of a faulty glue, and the battery was nice and lean, thank you very much.

They were equally quick to deal with issue effectively – they acknowledged the flaw and announced how impacted owners could get immediate replacements.

They also advised owners against trying to resolve the problem using their own innovative methods, lest they inadvertently negate their warranty.

Get To Know The Moto X (Gen 2)

Let Us Get To Know The Moto X (2014)

Motorola Mobility launched their second generation Moto X and have us excited once again, which is no mean feat, considering the plethora of options available to the users across device brands and features.

I will explore some important features of Moto X (Gen 2) that captured my attention, in a general overview, a detailed review will follow.

Physical Construct

The Moto X (Gen 2) is a tad bigger than its predecessor, boasting a 5.2 inch screen and weighing in at a healthy 144 grams. The curve on the back makes the phone comfortable to hold and the “logo” dimple adds to the ergonomic design allowing your finger to comfortably rest there while operating the phone using one hand.

The phone now has a metal body (with options of either white or black front) and spoils the users with more than 15 colour options and a choice of wood and leather trims for the back!

You can now even customise the signature logo dimple on the back panel.

Camera

Moto X (Gen 2) boasts of a 13 megapixel rear camera with slow motion recording capability and includes geo-tagging, panoramic shooting with HD video recording capability. It records in 2,160p ultra HD 4K and allows users to take photos while shooting a video with the capability to pause live recording. The absence of optical image stabilisation can be felt when you try to capture indoor images on the move, though.

The first feature to tick off on my list would be “control focus and exposure”, which allows you to lock in the lighting exposure or focus of certain areas and objects inside the picture. This feature needs getting a little used to before you can use it efficiently.

The camera comes with a default setting of 16:9 aspect ratio at 9.7 megapixel resolution, however, it can be changed to a 4:3 aspect ratio at 13 megapixel resolution.

Another feature it retains from its predecessor is the ability to launch the camera by the flick of your wrist, with the ability to engage the 4x digital zoom by swiping vertically on the side of the viewfinder.

Software

The Moto X (Gen 2) is not a Stock Android device. However, it is close enough. It does come with apps like Google Drive, Gmail, the Chrome Browser, Maps, and Quickoffice and has Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box, which is going to be upgradable to Android Lollipop as soon as it is released to the world at large.

Motorola has intelligently bundled their four main features – Moto Voice, Moto Display, Moto Assist and Moto Actions.

Moto Voice allows you to “do more with using just your voice”. It enables the user with appropriate responses and actions by preempting their needs. You ask it if you’ll need an umbrella today and it responds with the weather report for your local area! You ask it to find your phone, it will ring your phone for you. You tell it you’re going home, it gets you there by firing up Google Maps with your home address and route already plotted.
It also launches apps, as in you can ask it to click a selfie and it will take a picture from the front camera. You can do other things like pick out a message post on twitter etc etc. All of this can be done by voice command!

Moto Display, Motorola’s touch-free display navigation has been upgraded to include calendar data and power notifications.

Moto Assist retains it’s utility with different modes allowing the phone to adapt to the different user environments.

Moto Actions is a new entrant which uses the IR ports and sensors in the front of the device to enable gesture controls.

On the performance side, this phone is quite brilliant and it does give you a smooth and effortless feel while operating the phone. And given it’s internal hardware, it is noticeably faster than its predecessor.

After having checked out the specifications and features and basically sizing it up against other top-end smartphones in the market, I would say this phone is totally worth the money. It has the hardware and the performance to put it just half a step behind the premium phones, which is a considerable achievement, considering the low price it requires.

The biggest selling point of this phone for me, is how close it gets you to the best in market at price that it does.

Motorola Rumoured To Be Working On The Next Nexus Phone Codenamed “Shamu”

Motorola rumored to be working on the next Nexus phone code named Shamu

Numerous rumors are doing the rounds on the future of Google’s Nexus devices. The latest is about a Nexus device from Motorola’s stable, code named Shamu.

Nexus phones in the past have always been code named with sea creatures like the Tilapia and Maguro and now Shamu keeps up with the tradition.

What’s most interesting though, is that Motorola seems to have pipped LG as the preferred partner on this project.

The phone is rumored to have a 5.9 inch display and include a finger print scanner. It’s name could be an indicator that since “Shamu the Whale” is oversized, the phone might be too!

Project Shamu is slated to be part of the Nexus program and will be released alongside HTC’s Volantis and will apparently running Android L.

Reviewers were surprised to see Motorola and Google working together so soon after it had been sold off to Lenovo however the move makes sense as this project has been in the mill for some time now.

The device is said to be set for a November release and will run on a Google-built Kernel. Other specs of the phone still are unclear and absence of any images for this device add to the mystery.

The image above is that of the Google tracker where the phone first showed up. This tracker comes from a company called Spirent Communications, which tests devices for error.

The image thus goes to show that they may have the instrument in their custody for testing

All is speculative information till we get our hands on concrete information of the device specifications, images and better still a physical device.

What Is Wireless Charging And How Does It Work?

Nokia-wireless-charging-plate-1 (1)

With everything (keyboards, mice, earphones, headphones et. al.) moving towards wireless –  how can chargers be left behind? Chargers after all are by far the most fundamental appendages to our devices!

Wireless Charging commonly known as Inductive Charging, is a way of charging your device without the hassle of tangled wires or USB cords.

In simple terms, Wireless Charging works using magnets. There are 2 magnetic coils involved – one in the charging plate and one in your device. Energy transfer occurs with the help of an electromagnetic field created between the two coils due to mutual ‘coupling’. All you really need is two pieces of hardware with compatible technology – the Qi standard for example. Armed with that technology, all you really need to do is place your device on the charging pad and it should start charging!

Truth be told though, technically the term ‘wireless’ is a bit misleading since this entire process is not truly ‘wireless‘. There still needs to be a cable to plug into the mains power supply and the device still needs to be left alone and can’t be charged while in your hand! The reason the term ‘wireless’ is used is because there isn’t a wire connecting the charger and the device.

Some major advantages of wireless charging include ease of charging, no trouble of wires at all, lesser wire-breakage due to fatigue (especially in the case of Apple’s iDevices, where the wires are notorious for tearing apart with no abuse or misuse by the user)! Then of course, the durability of your device itself increases since there’s no repeated plugging and unplugging of wires. Additionally, there are large-size charging pads that accommodate simultaneous charging of multiple devices.

There are several cons too unfortunately. This mode of charging comparatively takes more time than the normal way of charging devices via a wire. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use your phone freely while it is on charging, which is not the case with wired-adapter-charging, since your phone can be moved within a respectable range. Lastly, inductive charging pads currently cost a lot more than an average charger.

Despite these limiting factors, major manufacturers like Nokia, LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola recognise the potential of wireless charging and have already begun incubating it in their premium devices.

Just like Remote Unlocking became a norm in automobiles owing to clearly apparent benefits, there’s no question in our minds that all phones and tablets and add-ons will incorporate this mode of charging. Its just a matter of time.

Motorola To Launch Moto E In India On May 13th

Moto E

Motorola was in news earlier about the launch of Moto E exclusively in Mexico, however they have now confirmed the launch of Moto E in India and UK simultaneously.

Motorola’s plan to target India in addition to Latin America with a smartphone that is affordable could be a strategic move with India being one of the fastest growing markets for smartphone adoption (as per IDC data).

The Moto E is said to have a 4.3 inch screen powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core A7 CPU with 1 GB RAM. A 1,900 mAh battery would be powering Moto E which will have an internal memory of 4 GB expandable to 32 GB using a microSD card, a 5 megapixel camera and dual SIM capability.

The USP of this phone is its ultra thin profile (about 6 mm in thickness), somewhat going back to Motorola’s “Razr” roots – which is Motorola playing to its strength.

Priced lower than the Moto G (which costs around INR 12,000), the Moto E is priced competitively at about INR 6,999.

There are three variants to the phone – single SIM, dual SIM and a dual SIM version having digital TV.

There is still speculation as to whether all three variants will be available in India. The handset is also rumored to be initially available exclusively through Flipkart.com.

The phone may not be a high-end offering, however it does have a few more surprises in store, and taking Moto G’s performance into consideration, the Moto E could be a success considering its pricing.

Google Lays Down the Law: No More Device Launches With Dated Android OS

Apple has forever had an edge over the Android devices with regard to the high proportion of it’s user base that is on the most-contemporary iOS version.

Android on the other hand, struggles to overcome the highly fragmented adoption rate of it’s newer Android versions. Manufacturers are to blame, as is the overall ‘open source’ method of Android.

Android thus suffers poor users experience on it’s devices and Google has forever know that.

Now, Google might be taking their first step to regain some ground by introducing a policy applicable to all manufacturers utilizing Android OS for their devices.

The policy discourages them from releasing any new devices with an Android version which is 2 levels older than the current one.

Google wants to cull the fragmentation of Android OS at the manufacturer level and have taken a stand that they will not approve GMS (Google Mobile Service) distribution of devices nine months after the Android OS is released.

What this means to the manufacturer (and by extension, the users) is that if a brand’s device is found flouting this policy, it might not be able to access the Google Play Store at all, including the Google Mobile Service (GMS) which is a suite of all Google apps like Google Maps, Google Now, Hangouts etc., that are critical to the overall Android experience.

While the device will gunction normally even without the GMS, however it’s features and capabilities will be severely restricted as it will largely become an ‘island’ of a device. Can you imagine what the lack of access to the Play Store would do to your experience with your smartphone/tablet!

Well, here are the dates that Google’s specified:

GMS Timelines

The way we’ve heard it, Google will be enforcing this policy on budget phones and mid-range phones to start with, along with the top-of-line smartphones to follow suit.

They intend to apply the policy to cover not only the major players like Samsung, HTC, LG but also the upcoming brands and local brands that are flooding the market with their inexpensive devices that come with high-end specifications like Xiaomi, Micromax and Karbonn.

Should Google actually enforce this policy, one can envision a day when Google will unveil the latest version of the Android OS and all manufacturers will simultaneously launch it across their products on the same day rather than making their non-Nexus users wait months.

Here’s a beer to that!

Moto E, Motorola’s Ultra-Thin Smartphone For Mexico

Moto E

There have been reports pouring in over the past few weeks that Motorola is coming up with a new device in three variants – amongst whom is the new ultra-thin smartphone called the Moto E which is heading towards Mexico initially.

This phone is said to be in the affordable category. It is said to cost somewhere around USD 230 without a contract. It brings in features like a 4.3 inch 720 pixel display, 1.2 GHz dual core processor with 1 GB RAM and is powered by a 1,900 mAh battery, an internal memory of 4 GB.

Since it is extremely thin (approx 6 mm thin) whether this phone has an external memory card slot is still being speculated. It has a 5.0 megapixel main and front camera. And if rumours are to be believed the Moto E will come in three variants – single SIM, dual SIM and dual SIM plus TV tuner.

Motorola’s strategy to launch the phone in Mexico is to target Latin America with affordable prices, as the predecessor to this phone, the Moto G was a relative success in the global markets.

Reviewers have called this device a budget-friendly handset.

Motorola’s most successful smartphone till date has been the mid range and inexpensive Moto G. So this launch of the Moto E will be something to look forward to.

Watches – The Next Device To Get Telephony Capability

Watches-–-The-Next-Device-To-Get-Telephony-Capability-2 (1)

Factoid: the maximum use of a mobile phone is to check the time.

The above fact is perhaps a clear indication that the watches would be the next device category to be affected by the growth of the mobile devices (we have already seen GPS manufacturers being affected significantly by the commonplace integration of GPS into most smartphones).

As the war on who will launch the next smartwatch with telephony capability heats up, Apple has filed for a patent in Japan for its “iWatch” (as people are assuming it’ll be called).

One of the first watch-phones to come out was from Samsung – Samsung SPH-WP10 in 1999.

Many manufacturers have since forayed into combining watches with mobile telephony capability:

Radar-watches-with-telephony-21

LG (LG GD910)

Radar-watches-with-telephony-31 (1)

Hyundai MB-910

Sony-smart-watch

Sony Smartphone watch

Sony has launched a waterproof watch, which will act as peripheral device connecting to a phone via Bluetooth.

Despite quite a few manufacturers having attempted creating a product like a smartwatch, none of them have been able to create something truly disruptive or even anything that people’s attention or stoked their imagination.

Now with biggies like Apple and Samsung seemingly working to launch their own attempts at truly smart, good-looking and wearable watches, the interest in smartwatches has seen a resurgence.

Both these manufacturing majors have taken off their gloves and are clearly competing to launch their our attempts at usable and attractive smartwatches, in the coming year.

Apple is rumored to be aggressively developing one, while Samsung has had one in the pipeline for about a year now.

With the companies now filing patents for curved screens, flexible screens, curved batteries, to name a few – it seems assured that the race for the smartwatch is on the clock.

Watch this space to stay abreast with news, launches and reviews on Smartwatches.

Moto G now available in India!

Moto-G-black-front (1)

Motorola has officially launched the Moto G in India. This is one smartphone that’s not shy on features and comes at an extremely pocket friendly price. It’s compact with a 4.5” screen (which I’d say is the perfect screen size for a phone display) and comes with all of Android’s bells and whistles. Though it launched with the Android 4.3 operating system out of the box, it is now upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop. A perfect blend of value and specifications, as a regular smartphone user(read non geek) you couldn’t ask for more. Here are some of the specs this phone boasts of:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU
  • 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution, 329 ppi
  • Built-in rechargeable 2070 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 1.3 megapixel front camera

The phone is currently available on Flipkart in two memory variants: 8 GB priced at Rs. 12,499 and 16 GB priced at Rs. 13,999. You can read more about the Moto G at our dedicated page for it.

AT&T To Install Lookout Security App On All Android Phones

ATT-Lookout (1)

One of the biggest names in mobile security, Lookout has recently struck a deal with AT&T (which makes AT&T the third of four major U.S carriers) to sell it’s Android devices with the Mobile Security app pre-installed. This agreement is indicative of a clear acknowledgement of the rising vulnerability (and hence customer’s rising insecurity) of the Android ecology, to viruses and other malware.

Lookout’s mission statement is to tackle the most important mobile security issues, from identifying emerging threats to preventing fraud and fighting cyber crime.

While Google has always claimed Android is a self-sufficient operating system when it comes to securing personal data or preventing unwanted malware from affecting the device but that has never seemed to convince even the most loyal of its users.

Yet, a few months ago, Google quietly started incorporating some strengthened defence mechanisms through the Android Device Manager.

Being open source ought to have some disadvantages too, right? All those unauthorized APK’s [an APK is an Android Application Package file… like a zip file, used to distribute and install applications onto devices running Android operating system] that we come across on the web can often get your phone in trouble before you realise it.

Other anti-virus giants like Symantec have also been raising alarms about growing threats to Android users, making them insecure and look out for reliable security solutions.

Lookout Mobile Security

Other than virus and malware protection, Lookout also enables Android users to locate their device in case of theft, ring the device on full volume irrespective of its sound profile, lock their device and even erase all data with a single click, should the need arise. Lookout has a 4.5/5 rating on Google’s Play Store and has over 50 million downloads. Now, that’s a lot of downloads!

Back to the deal with telecom providers in the US, this deal enables the providers to pre-load the Lookout app to every Android phone they sell, and to charge customers for the app.

Normally customers are usually wary of apps that come pre-loaded with their mobile devices, commonly referred to as ‘Bloatware’ – the undesirability for such apps is induced by the fact that they can not be uninstalled or modified until the user ‘roots’ or manually tinkers with their device. These applications take up memory, slow the phone down and most often serve no practical purpose whatsoever. However, with Lookout we might be seeing a change in attitude towards pre-installed applications since it is a utilitarian software and quite effectively allows users a safer mobile experience and more piece of mind.

AT&T is currently shipping Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Lookout, it’ll be interesting to observe how the present climate of opinion transmutes.

The Android Dialer gets smarter with 4.4 KitKat

The Android Dialer gets smarter with 4 4 KitKat

We’ve all come across many dialers on the Play Store. Each dialer claims to have something different. Some dialers claim to modify your call log as per your frequently contacted people whereas others have a great UI.  What I’ll be focusing on, in this article, is the latest dialer provided by Google in their Kitkat update.

I’ve used many dialers myself, but I’ve never come across a dialer like this one!

Google and smartphones may have successfully helped remove the tedious process of memorizing phone numbers from our lives, but the dialer on Android 4.4 KitKat from Google takes things many levels ahead.

When you open this dialer, you are greeted with the last called contact shown at the top and a favorites tab just below it. Your favorites list is rather smart, because not only does it list the people you have specifically put in your favorites, but it adds in numbers that you’ve called a lot.

It constantly rearranges your favorites automatically based on how often you call certain numbers!

Android Kitkat dialer 1

 

You even have a search bar located at the top of the screen which lets you search for contacts as well as nearby places. This is a truly amazing feature. You also have a voice input option on the right of the search bar which enables you to search using your voice.

In case you want to view all your contacts, you can either scroll down and tap on the ‘All contacts’ button at the bottom or you can tap on the 3 dots context menu and go to ‘All contacts’.

Tapping on the context menu brings up several other options in addition to settings like: Import/export contacts, Clear frequents, New contact, All contacts.

Android Kitkat dialer 5

 

Scared of new stuff? The classic Android dialer can be accessed by tapping on the Dialer button at the bottom. This also has predictive input enabled by default.

 

Android Kitkat dialer 6

 

You can view the Call settings by tapping on Settings-> Call Settings. Here, you can customize things like your phone ringtone, dial pad touch tones, quick responses and call forwarding.

 

Android Kitkat dialer 4

 

The call log can be viewed by tapping on the Call log button (clock face) adjacent to the dialer button. Your logs are divided into 2 categories which are ‘All’ and ‘Missed’. Google have surely gone all the way with this new dialer of theirs!

 

Android Kitkat dialer 2

 

Here is a little more on the two great features this latest Android Dialer gives you, namely Caller ID by Google and Nearby Places.

 

Android Kitkat dialer 3

Caller ID by Google

This shows names for people and businesses not in your contacts. Users who have verified their phone number and have discovery turned on will have their names and Google Profile photos display whenever they call you, or you call them (it’s great if a new friend who hasn’t been saved in your contacts yet calls you).

Check your Google Account to make sure you are happy with how you appear on caller ID by Google: http://goo.gl/g9P3Bp

 

KitKat Caller ID

 

Nearby places

When you search from the phone app, this feature will use your location to find nearby places that match your query, even if they are not in your contacts. Of course, you need to have your location services enabled for this feature to be effective!

Android Kitkat dialer 8

I’m surely going to be using this dialer for a long, long time. What about you?

Moto X

As Motorola prepares to show off the newest member of its family in August 2013, the rumors surrounding the release of Moto X sure have us all excited.

Rumoured to be manufactured in the US and with speculations out that the Moto X will be running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the specs are exciting too. Rumoured to have a 720p display, 2 GB RAM and 1.7 GHz dual-core CPU, this flagship smartphone is expected to come with 16 GB of internal memory.

The Moto X could use a new octa-core processor developed by Motorola itself. An dual LTE antenna will also be a part of the Moto X.

Radar moto X1

 

With a devoted single core natural language processor, voice recognition has promised to be perfected through the “Touch-less control” feature that will assist you even if your screen is switched off.

 

Radar - Moto Quick capture

The new wrist gesture (Quick Capture) to access the camera at anytime seems to be a handy addition.

Keeping a minimalist and spontaneous UI, the camera app allows you to capture picture perfect moments by tapping anywhere on the screen while the camera is running.

Radar-Moto-Quick-capture-11

 

 

If you tap and hold, it releases burst mode, which stores limitless snapshots in HD quality. It is rumored to have the panorama and slow motion modes as well.

The Moto X has added a non-GPS motion sensor, that senses whether you are behind the wheel hitting the road or hanging out back home to give you a live feed and keep you connected.

Moto X may come with Moto Magic Glass; which is a single sheet of Gorilla Glass molded to make a continuous surface.

Most of these features are mere speculations and rumors. Nothing can be confirmed regarding their validity or functioning till the release. But speculation does have us on our toes waiting for the Moto X to hit the market.

[R]evolution Of The Stylus

stylus

Does anyone remember the Stylus any more? No? Let me remind you – and for that, I’ll have to take you back in time.

Believe it or not, when the iPhone wasn’t around, people used to carry bulky PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) running Palm OS or Windows OS on them. While both OS’ were intended for point-and-click interactions, the screen technology (called Resistive Touch) back then didn’t really do well with finger or touch interactions. Hence, every touchscreen device had this little stick (metal or plastic) called the Stylus that was used to register inputs.

Resistive Touch technology works on the basis of contact made to the surface of the touchscreen presses it which then makes contact with another sheet placed right under it, separated by ‘microdots’. On these two sheets are horizontal and vertical lines that when pushed together, register the precise location of the touch. And in order to hit somewhere near precisely on the screen, one needed a pencil-point-sized instrument. Thus, the ever-important stylus.

The Stylus was not only the go-to tool for using your touchscreen device; it even increased the “cool” quotient of your device back then… indicative of “next-gen technology” or The Future.

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HTC PDA device with Stylus

However, with the debut of the Capacitive Touchscreen technology in mobile phones via Mr. Jobs’ brilliant introduction of the pathbreaking iPhone in 2007, the Stylus was suddenly redundant, and soon, forgotten.

A Capacitive Screen is basically a glass panel coated with a transparent conductive material that relies on touch-input on the surface of the screen via the finger, to trigger an electric field and register input. In simple words, it works on the principle of electric charges. Physically pressing down on the screen was no longer required. This as we all now know from personal experience, it is a much smoother and simpler experience. There’s no need to go hunting for or scrunching down on a stylus all day.

Soon resistive screens like styli, too became redundant technology and capacitive screens were incorporated into every phone, PDA, medical equipment and almost every other form of displays that we interact with nowadays.

The Comeback

With the onset of any new technology, people tend to dismiss all objects associated with what was ‘old’ as rubbish and move on, rather quickly. Give them some more time though, and nostalgia sets in. And remarkable as it is, old becomes fashionable again. Ah, the circle of life…

I was among the many smart phone users who had started secretly craving the Stylus after the dust from the whole touch screen razzmatazz had settled. I missed it – not that I have pudgy fingers or anything. But sometimes the curry, the wet hands and very often, the urge to peck at my phone as it lay at my work desk, instead of having to hold it in my hands (imagine that!) just belied the otherwise convenient touchscreen. I just needed distance from the screen, mainly to safeguard my sophisticated box of (silicon) chips and easily-smudged glass.

Well, the wheel rolled over and the circle was complete. Samsung came out with their Galaxy Note and its ‘S-Pen’, which sold more than 5 million units and almost all the phone-makers-of-the-world turned their collective attention back to the Stylus.

Now we’re onto the third gen of the Note series with Galaxy Note 3  and ‘S-Pen’ thrives – Samsung has optimized features on it, and on their homegrown variant of the Android OS. The number and kinds of things that the S-Pen can do has advanced significantly with the third installment of the Note series. So much so, that even though the Note III impresses customers with its size, features and capabilities, the S-Pen is the most versatile feature of the phone especially with the increased customizability of the Stylus to meet varied user needs.

However (there’s that word again), as with practically everything in the Digital Age, this super stylus requires some power to live up to all that it does. It draws that power wirelessly from the device itself (imagine that!!). Its all quite miraculous, this piece of plastic.

If you think I’m on some hyperbole trip, here are some of the most intriguing functions offered by the S-Pen:
•    The Air Command feature lets you access the five most important functions from anywhere within the OS, just by clicking the S-Pen’s button while hovering over the screen,
•    Displaying the contents of any app or folder when hovered over with the S-Pen.
•    Drawing on the screen with the button pressed lets you clip anything that you’re reading to the clipboard; which then works beautifully with ‘S-Finder’ to help you look through all the content within your device including hand written notes (which also reminds me that the Hand Writing Recognition on this third gen Note is scarily accurate).

Other than this, the S-Pen has a lot more to offer and I believe it’s safe to say that it indeed is a very powerful tool capable of fulfilling expectations of all the creative minds out there, setting the Note III apart from all phones available in the market right now. It is commendable how Samsung has taken up the Stylus and introduced it as the mascot of their Note devices.

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 Samsung Galaxy Note with its dedicated Stylus [S-Pen]
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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with the updated S-Pen

Other giants have also been paying attention to Samsung’s exploits with the stylus and have begun their journeys to revive the stylus with their own styles. HTC came out with its tablet devices, the Flyer and View with a dedicated Stylus each, which it called the ‘Scribe Pen’.

The stylus enabled users to do things like photo editing and drawing with pinpoint accuracy with such ease and simplicity that the Stylus (the modern stylus, of course) was back in the game.

HTC-Flyer-Tablet1 (1)

HTC Flyer Tab with the Scribe Pen

Today, the demand for the Stylus is on the rise and there are many third party manufacturers catering to user’s needs by offering universal styli. We have styli for Apple devices too, however their limited use and cost has not made them a popular add-on for iOS devices. Yet.

However having taken a close look at the scenario today, I am not convinced that there are too many brands out there that have actually worked to harness the power of the Stylus. Most are just catching up with the Joneses, doing as they do, dancing as they dance.

With the evident popularity of the Samsung Galaxy Note and its sidekick, the S-Pen, there is a lot of potential for this simple tool to be re-incorporated with mobile devices and molded into something innovative and fresh. Opportunities are limitless, with touchscreen devices clearly being here to stay.