Cyber criminals are paying a lotta heed to your Androids, which translates to some bad news.
Malware affects 9 out of 10 Android devices worldwide.
Thus, we urge you to look into your phone and give it a through check, including reviewing which all apps you’ve installed on your phone, and where you sourced them from (which is a critical element of security).
It’s not even been five full months in this year, and yet, notorious minds have managed to circulate a flashy number of 7,50,000 apps – all aimed to disturb your handsets. This number is set to escalate by the end of the year to a drastic 3 million+ apps!
By which time you would encounter around 8,400 freshly-served malware every day!
The problem that basically underlines this cancer, is the lack of updates.
Android 7 which has been available in the market since August 2016, has reached a mere 4.9% of all Android smartphones.
That’s an important factoid. We looked at the numbers and researched around online, to find the percentage of infected apps, by Android version. Ready?
• Gingerbread (versions 2.3 – 2.3.7): 0.9%
• Ice Cream Sandwich (versions 4.0.3 – 4.0.4): 0.9%
• Jelly Bean (versions 4.1.x – 4.3): 10.1%
• KitKat (version 4.4): 20.0%
• Lollipop (versions 5.0 – 5.1): 32.0%
• Marshmallow (version 6.0): 31.2%
• Nougat (versions 7.0 – 7.1): 4.9%
As you can make out versions 4 thru 6 are the bedrock of vulnerability.
Android gives complete independence to its developers and users to customise the platform according to their requirements. In the same vein, device manufacturers and carriers also have tremendous freedom to develop the ecosystem to suit their needs and preferences.
The big OEMs are also slow in releasing the updates, as they take time to add layers and layers of bloatware in the guise of customizing the OS.
Hence, either the updates provided are very late or they are not provided at all.
And therein, lies the rub.
Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst for security firm BitDefender had forewarned us of this problem in an interview with CNET way back in 2014. Commenting on the increase in the accessibility of malware, he’d said “no coding is required to bind Android apps with malicious programs“, and “people look at phones more like phones, rather than intelligent computers“, that is to say people need to understand that their smart-devices are prone to the same malware grievances if not more like their computers.
Google had in fact, taken a stand on the use of ancient Android versions in the current crop of smart devices. In the interest of culling the fragmentation of Android OS at the manufacturer-level, and to plug the gaps festooning older versions of Android, Google had declared that they would not approve access to Google Apps and the Play Store (which Google presides over more actively), to newly-released Android devices that carried OS versions that were older than the then-current version. Additionally any existing devices that carried an old Android version, nine months after the latest Android OS was released, would also not be welcomed on the Play Store or be able to get Google’s own apps.
Given the increasing usage of Androids in every of walk of life, Security has come to occupy the forefront. It is an issue that needs due attention to make everyday activity safe for Android users. But Google can’t combat this alone.
Has the situation become insurmountable, or is there hope?
Well there is plenty of hope to salvage the situation. It would need a little bit of alertness, intelligence and perseverance on your part, to maintain the safety of your device and restraint in its use. So what’ve you gotta do?
See, that wasn’t so difficult! Stay updated, and stay safe. Please exhibit the same caution as you do with your Debit Card and your personal safety!
There’s no question about it. Wearables are poised to become the next big thing in the consumer-tech industry. But it’s not because they’re a new must-have breed of gadgets that people are yearning for whimsically. There’s more to it than idle hankering.
In fact, there are plenty of good reasons, most of which aren’t yet expressly known even to the yearners.
Human life is changing. Caught in a constant flux, people are always on the go. And no, it doesn’t have to do with vocational pressure or the desire for material gain. Its got to do with being the target (or recipient) of a constant, unending stream of updates, notifications, alerts, calls and email dings. Consequently, we’ve all got a new perpetual appendage. Our smartphone(s), and every single person in the modern world is suffering fatigue from it.
Fatigue of a nature that’s never been seen, felt or even estimated earlier.
People are already suffering notification-fatigue, with countless apps, social networks and emails constantly bubbling through the day – even day seems like a constant stream née barrage.
Phones don’t leave hands, and if they do, its only because they’re sucking in more juice because the battery’s running out, not because we decided to put it away voluntarily.
Many suffer mental fatigue. There’s always so much going on, that there’s a dullness in the mind. Constantly. Even at 10 am.
The thing is (and most people don’t realise this intuitively) – a notification is not as innocuous as it sounds. It’s actually the sound of the opening of a vortex.
Picture this: You have a vacant half hour in an otherwise busy day. You plan to grab a bite before the next meeting. You hear a ding, you drop the sandwich, grab the phone, check the notification, then the next one, and then remember you had to text someone. You do that and then there’s the mailbox you want to peek at in case you got something new. Nothing new? Well, looking at the unending list in the mailbox, you remember a mail you wanted to action – suddenly you’re pecking away a response. Then you realise that the reason you hadn’t responded earlier was because you needed to check a factoid with a coworker before penning the response – so a quick call to the coworker, back to the email. As you do that, someone WhatsApp’s you, you shoot off a quick emoticon.
Look at the watch, 42 minutes gone. You’re now late for the next appointment.
The sandwich lost its place in your day. And you’re going to have a rumbling tummy that speaks out exactly as you enter the meeting room and commence your apology speech.
Here’s another challenge – recall, immediately, didn’t you just check your phone to see how much battery you had left on it? Be honest – a minute ago, ten? Bet I’m right. We’re so paranoid now, that we’d be cut off if the phone dies, we’re on tenterhooks all the time… subconsciously waiting for the phone to buzz (just so that we know its alive and well) that even silence unsettles us!
Its a crazy world to live in. And its not going to get any easier.
Yet, there’s something we can do about it. Something that’s a little weird at first mention. But bear with me…
Much as I painted a forlorn picture about devices, the solution I’m about to recommend is actually going to be a more of the same!
Come a day that you have the money, get a wearable – for the 2-3 top activities you do on the phone. Let me explain.
If you want to get on the exercise bandwagon (to watch your weight, to pump your arteries, or simply because you like being limber), get a fitness band and leave your phone at home as you exercise.
If you want music when you walk, get an iPod.
If you want to know about your Facebook feed, or know when an email comes in, or just to stay aware of whats going on, on your phone, get a smart watch (something nominal will do too).
Why? Because without really knowing it, you’re getting a little tired of carrying your phone(s) around everywhere, or holding it constantly, in order to monitor it. You need a break, and a well-equipped wearable is going to help.
It’ll monitor what it needs to, apprise you as needed, and do only a few things, but do all of them discretely. And, it’ll only notify. Which means it’ll grant you an option – to register the cause of the alert and either just tap it away or run a quick acknowledgement to the sender/app and continue enjoy what you were doing. It’ll simplify your day, and handle some of the mundane things that you needn’t worry about just yet. And maybe, just maybe the vortex will close down for a bit, till you’re ready to be sucked in again.
Important Disclaimer: While there are a million manufacturers making all sorts of wearables these days, most wearables are still at version 1.0 of their evolution. So if you’re smart you should buy something basis functionality, not price, nor brand and definitely not basis colourful ads. Go easy on the pocket right now, and get the crackerjack version a year or two later. By that time kinks would’ve been ironed out, and you won’t need to buy disparate hardware for different tasks/purposes. Wearables, like all other equipment before them, will reach their zenith in future evolutions, and will amalgamate such that only the fittest will survive. Wait out for Mr. Darwin’s theory to strike the usual death knell. You’ll be the richer for the savings.
Chip-Monks has been researching wearables for a while now, and we’ve collated a great list here. Head over, check it out and get something that meets your needs.
But as we sign off, here’s some more sage advise from the ‘Monks – Get off your phone! Look up! There’s a whole world out there – with birds, and flowers and the setting sun, people and smiles, an elder who needs help crossing the street, a huggably cute puppy, perhaps a new dress in a shop window and (as in my case) a child whose chattering away to you, believing you’re listening to every word.
Listen. Enjoy. Live a little.
Get off your phone, get a wearable, ‘cos you aren’t getting today back.
Quite high up on the list of significant things that happened this month is the formation of the Global Virtual Reality Association.
Founded by notable virtual reality companies: Acer Starbreeze, Facebook’s Oculus, Google, HTC, and Samsung, the mission of this organization is to promote the development of Virtual Reality globally, in a responsible manner.
In the light of announcements of such new associations, one usually questions the need for an organization of this kind?
Well, for starters, the world of Virtual Reality is quite disorganized at the time, where there are cardboard boxes, on the one hand, being used as tools of VR, and on the other hand are high-end devices costing over USD 1000 a piece.
The technology is available only in a very limited manner and it is quite the more confusing for the intended audience than it is entertaining for them.
What is then important to note is that the GVRA is not an organization meant to bring cross-organization compatibility, or sharing of technology, or making sure that every manufacturer is keeping up to the same standard. It is not a regulatory body, nor the body to set standards of any kind.
Instead what it is, is an Industry Promoter Group, working towards stoking awareness of, and creating interest in Virtual Reality, not only among customers but also among governmental agencies, educators and researchers, alike.
“The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally”, said the group in a release. “The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses“.
Most significant industries have bodies of this kind, meant for promotion and lobbying, and working towards ensuring that the size of the pie is expanding. Companies from the entire industry come together for common causes like this; while they can be fierce rivals on the shelves, they need to have each other’s back with the rest of the world.
In this early stage of development, the organization and its participant parties can be expected to concentrate on the development of the hardware. As far as software and content are concerned, for now, there is a very limited existence of the two of those, primarily owing to the very limited targetable audience. There is a lot of scope for the development of that, but that is a rather long term idea, instead of a short-term one.
What needs be developed at this time, is a sustainable VR hardware standard, like we have for smartphones, and tablets, and computers – most of which in the market, are quite similar and quite comprehensible to an average man.
At this time in the device market, the scope for Virtual and Augmented Reality market is valued in the ballpark of $5.2 billion. By the year 2020, the expected growth of the market is at least a dozen folds, with the revenues expected to be in the ballpark of $160 billion!
Add to that, that the potential for application of VR and AR is very wide ranging – from arts to entertainment, to science, to healthcare, to real estate. With this amazing a scope, the industry is actually faced with nascent problems, like content development, and solutions for things like motion sickness that can be a result of experiencing virtual reality at times.
Most of the VR industry has until now been led by companies that were start-ups, that were subsequently acquired by big industry players. GVRA should bring them some kind of stability. While the startups will always have a space to disrupt the market, the GVRA should bring a platform for them to all come together and open up to the much-needed conversation in the regards to VR, helping the market, in the end, grow for everyone.
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.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, two things have definitely changed – our ability to “upgrade” our device’s capabilities (simply by downloading new apps whatever specific need we have) almost infinitely and secondly, the amount of content we consume every single day.
Content has become a raging industry, and is no longer limited to the usual “media” channels and sources.
Recognising the huge import of content in our lives, Facebook has been make tons of unobtrusive changes to its platforms and apps, that facilitate consumption. One of the more impactful changes was the launch of ‘Instant Articles‘ about a year ago. Facebook created technology and some key algorithms to that surfaced interesting content and ensured it loaded faster than traditional articles.
These articles, which were hosted on Facebook’s servers, were designed to create a provide better experience than the typical 8-second wait for an article to load on the mobile web. And it worked. There was a noticeable increase in readership; conversely, other (non-Instant Articles) saw some decline in readership.
The evolution of Instant Articles in the field of news domination was termed as a “watershed moment” by some. Accusations flew that publishers would now be more dependent on the platform that they won’t be able to control. Those concerns might have had been valid, but it didn’t stop big partners from signing up.
Now, the Facebook Messenger too supports Instant Articles, especially on Android devices.
As a Facebook representative said, “Since launching Instant Articles to publishers around the world, we’ve seen clear evidence they provide a better reading experience for people on Facebook. People are responding to the faster, more immersive experience, so we’re excited to bring Instant Articles to even more mobile surfaces across Facebook.”
The choice of Android OS as a starting point is not an innocent one; it is a marker of the wide reach of the Android users.
Publishers will now have to sign up through a third party plugin, which support platforms like WordPress and Drupal, or they can use the Instant Articles API or an RSS feed.
In addition to Facebook’s own articles, items will appear up to 10 times faster and the communication application will offer the same reading experience as the full featured social app.
When someone shares a link with you, a lightning bolt icon will let you know that it’s available as one of the quick-to-load stories, meaning you won’t have to wait for it to appear like a regular ol’ web article.
There are ads inside the Instant Articles and those will make the trip over to Messenger as well. As more and more people are now using Messenger to share entertaining content and information, Facebook says it found scope for adding the Instant Articles feature to its Messenger app.
“If you’re a publisher that has enabled Instant Articles, we’ll render the Instant Articles version of your article, whenever its URL is shared in Messenger”, said Facebook in its post announcing the new update.
While, the publishers who use Instant Articles get a cut of the advertising money made from their articles being on Facebook — it’s just not yet really known if that deal will allow publishers to make the same or more money than they do from their own original websites. However, now that Instant Articles are in Messenger, their popularity is only set to grow, especially considering the fact that Messenger boasts of a hefty 900 million users!
The list of launch partners includes NBC News, The Atlantic, Slate, The New York Times, The Daily Mail, National Geographic, and the Washington Post.
Facebook has become a de facto platform for many to get their daily news, and internal data has shown that personal sharing on the site has reduced with more articles, news links being shared by users.
The reason to extend Instant Articles into Facebook Messenger is hence quite a obvious one. Go where the users are, and provide them experience that influence even the recipients to convert. And all this works to what may be Facebook’s end goal – become the de facto platform that publishers, large and small, publish on.
Google loves experimenting with the apps – allowing Android users to experience new and exciting features and also to prevent them from getting bored with their apps.
Recently the company rolled out an update for its Hangout app (now version 11.0) that is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
Earlier this year, Google had amended the duration limit on videos that could be recorded and sent via Hangouts – increasing it to one minute (from ten seconds).
The latest update further increases the duration limit to two minutes on iOS, while the Android version is still restricted to a one minute limit at this time.
Other changes common to updated Android and iOS apps for Google Hangouts include the ability to remove users from group conversations.
Interestingly, one of the Android-only features – the ‘Merged Conversations’ feature has also been removed from the new version. This was the ability to display SMS and chat messages in a single conversation.
The concept of a joint message center was first seen in BlackBerry, where the SMS and Emails could be combined into one under what came to be known as the BlackBerry Hub.
In their support page, Google explained the change by saying, “Merged conversations used to let you see your Hangouts messages and text messages in the same conversation. We have decided to remove it, because it caused user confusion and had low usage. However, the users will not lose any of the messages sent and can see them right there in Hangouts”.
The latest version isn’t yet on the Google Play Store and doesn’t include support for playing video right within the conversation; you’ll need a separate app to view the clip. Hopefully that will be resolved by the time Google pushes it to its app store or in a subsequent release.
If you’re keen to try it right away, you can grab the installer right now from APKMirror, provided you have a 64-bit device.
Once you get it up and running, you should be able to send video messages to your Hangouts contacts using an Android device. You’ll be able to access the feature through a video camera icon on the bar at the bottom, and it’s all pretty easy and straightforward.
Just tap the icon, record your video message and send it out. As simple as that.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that the APK may not enable the feature for everyone as there may still be some kinks to iron out. In this case, the best course of action is to wait until the update officially rolls out through the Play Store. Take heart from the fact that with the APK already available, the official rollout should be just around the corner.
Android as an OS, has developed greatly over the past few years – and has grown into a platform today that has to play a multitude of functions and live up to every expectation from it’s user.
But every portable device has a limited battery to rely on, which must be preserved through the day so as to be able to accompany the user back home, at least. Many Android users complain about their phone’s battery running out in the middle of the day. There are many solutions, but as a starting point, try these tips and tricks to try and get boost on your device’s battery.
1. Turn Off Whatever’s Unnecessary:
When you leave a room, you switch off the light or fan, don’t you? That’s because it saves energy. Same is with your phone. Turn off anything that you aren’t using at that moment.
Here are some features you can toggle on and off as and when you need them:
You should add an easy Toggle Widget to access and control all of these easily and rapidly. In fact, there’s an App for that! Try Power Toggles from the Play Store. We’ve got a great How-To article about Using Power Toggles, head over to your device’s Assistance section on our website to read about that.
You could even use third party apps like Tasker to automate this function.
Tasker is an app that is used to automate many such functions and even more on a time or location based setting e.g: Turn Mobile Data off and Turn WiFi from 9 AM to 6 PM.
2. Mobile Networks And WiFi
Whenever you have the choice of connecting to the internet over Wi-Fi or Mobile Data, go with the former. Wi-Fi saves a lot of battery because it has a short range signal and hence the signal strength is consistently good. Consequently, your phone doesn’t drain energy constantly searching for a strong signal.
Even when you are connected on Mobile Data, keep 3G or 4G off whenever not needed. Features like Gmail, WhatsApp etc work just fine on 2G (hard to believe, but true).
Not only do 3G and 4G suck a lot of battery, using them also heats the phone which according to layman Physics further depletes battery charge at an expeditious rate.
To learn how to switch between 2G and 3G check out our article on that.
This is one of the major players here. A phone’s display is majorly responsible for its battery running out. You can save your battery by lowering the phone brightness whenever indoors. In fact, when you’re indoors, it’s advisable to keep brightness at the lowest possible value.
When you go out, you can adjust brightness as per need. You can use the Auto Adjust feature for controlling brightness, but that keeps the Ambient Light sensor on all day, and is therefore a little counterproductive. How about switching that off too, if you’re okay manually increasing the brightness temporarily?
Another thing you can do is shorten the Screen Timeout time – it’ll turn off your screen quicker when not in use and save a lot of battery.
Both brightness and screen timeout can be adjusted from the Display tab in your phone settings.
5. Haptic Feedback
Haptic feedback refers to the vibration that takes place in the device. Now we’re not saying that you disable it all together. You do need it when you need to be notified when your phone is on silent or in your pocket. However, you can turn off additional haptic features.
For example, you don’t need your phone to vibrate every time you touch the screen, or at each keystroke when you type something using your keyboard!
You can turn such things off from your phone settings.
Keyboard haptic feedback can be turned off from keyboard settings.
It is advisable that you keep haptic feedback ‘on’ only for necessary interactions with the UI.
6. Wallpapers And Themes
Don’t keep a lot of widgets that constantly connect to the ‘Net to download dynamic updates on the homescreen.
For example, your weather widget or a news widget constantly updates itself every few minutes. You can manually open their apps and see the required content without having the widget connect to the ‘Net every few minutes!
8. Keep Your Phone Cool
Make sure your phone’s temperature isn’t high. As we mentioned earlier, if you play a CPU intensive game, your phone gets heated up. Even if you leave your phone in the car for a day, you lose battery drastically. Moreover, it reduces the overall life of the battery. Li-ion batteries are supposed to function better at relatively lower temperatures like air conditioned environments.
Hope these helped. We’ll let you know if we think of more tips to help your device stay alive longer.
Smartphones and kids of this generation are a match made in heaven and this is the reason why you could see a mere 7-8 year old child holding a smartphone in his hand and eyes glued to the screen, playing the latest game available.
Every technology comes with its pros and cons, and so is the case with the smartphones which might end up displaying certain unwanted, explicit, sensitive information to your kids. On the brighter side, in case of an emergency the phone might prove as a boon in aiding the child’s security.
Fortunately, a few things about smartphones and tablets are controllable at a parent’s behest – content quality is one of them!
If you don’t want your child to be exposed to the unwanted elements of internet, or want to keep a tab on their browsing activity, then you should probably take a look at a third-party launcher for Android smartphones called Kakatu.
Kakatu essentially looks like a basic Android launcher with some customisable options, and a few hidden features that make it a must have app to instal on kids’ smartphones. Let’s talk about a few of it’s features to explain why.
Kakatu’s App Management Feature enables you to manually choose which apps your kids have access to. This means that your kid will see only what you want him/her to see.
This also implies that you can remove their access to their smartphone’s web browser, Google Play, social media apps or anything else that find inappropriate for them.
For even better results, you could simply uninstall any apps from the phone that you don’t want them to have access to.
It’s important to remember that Kakatu can only prevent the apps themselves from launching, but it cannot restrict Android notifications.
Kakatu also allows you to set a limit on how much time your child spends with the smartphone in a day! Once the time limit is reached, the child encounters a custom message telling him to back off from the phone. Your kid will still be able to make phone calls or send text messages, but will not be able to launch any other apps.
Oh I can see that evil smile on parents’ faces at this moment!
This is in line with a feature on Samsung’s Safety App whereby if a child’s face is too close to the device’s screen, a cute cartoon pops up on the screen warning the child to back off from the screen and till the time the child is not at a safe distance the cartoon doesn’t vanish.
Although in case of Kakatu, you can add a personal touch to the warning that pops up on the screen.
Most parents give their kids smartphones at an early age to ensure their safety and to keep in touch with their kids when the kids are out for their tuitions or football practice. Kakatu can’t totally block all communications, but it does have an option to blacklist or whitelist phone numbers that are undesirable or that distract your child from their homework.
Your child can thus receive selective calls like from close friends or family members.
Some parents like to constantly know the location of their kids at all times. Where the child is going and for how long the child is lingering at that park instead of attending classes is all that you could know through this app.
When compared to apps like Life360, Kakatu is a little passive in tracking the location of the device. This is because though there is a representation of historic data still there is no parental control app which the guardian can use to track the location of their kids’ device at all times.
Well, Kakatu is not the only app out there, there are others like MMGuardian, which other than the features found in Kakatu lets you check text messages also and are good at providing the location of your child any time.
Bear in mind though, all this might not go down well with your teenage child as it curtails his/her freedom and gives the guardian the power of constant surveillance! Parents need to remember they too were kids once (though the number of decades may vary
Kakatu is not the ultimate safety app that is there but is a decent app with almost all features to monitor your child at all times and might prove to be your best friend in these rapidly changing times.
A family of malware, popularly named ‘Godless’, has affected over 8.5 million devices in the last month. It was first reported last week by the tech website Trend Micro.
On an operating system like Android, which is widely used and has a lot of open doors across various platforms, malware is comparatively easier to develop and foster. On the other hand, an operating system like iOS, which is controlled by a single company, is comparatively safer and with stringent monitoring.
Let us introduce you to the Godless malware:
Who is it affecting? Android devices across the world are getting affected by this family of malware, with about 47% of the devices that have been reportedly affected have been in India. Other countries that have seen a significant affect-rate are Thailand at about 10% and Indonesia at about 11% while Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Russia, United States and Iran are also on the list.
The malware detected as ANDROIDOS_GODLESS.HRX can target virtually any Android device running on Android 5.1 Lollipop or an earlier version. No reports of any effect on Android 6.0 Marshmallow have yet been reported, but one can’t still speculate how safe that it, regardless.
How is it getting in? Malicious apps related to this threat can be found in prominent app stores, including Google Play Store. There are various apps on Google Play Store than contain this malware and they range from apps like flashlights and Wi-Fi apps to copies of popular games. One example is the flashlight app called ‘Summer Flashlight’ that is a medium for the malware.
Not only do certain apps contain this malware, but copies of apps have been made that can also carry this malware. A lot of clean apps on Google Play Store also have corresponding dirty copies of the app, which share the same developer certificate. What this mean is that certain clean apps can be auto updated for the malicious ones, without the users knowing what it is that they are signing up for.
What is it doing? The malware has various exploits that can be used to root various Android-based devices. It can receive remote instructions on which app to download and silently install on mobile devices. It will then lead to users receiving unwanted applications on their devices, and then receiving unwanted ads. But that is not where the major problem lies.
The major threat that this malware poses does come from the same place, i.e. that it can silently trigger downloads of apps on mobile devices. What it can also do is silently develop backdoor and be the tool of spying on the users.
How does it do what it does? Once the malware has taken up residence within your device, it waits for your screen to be turned off to start its rooting routine. Once it is done with the rooting routine, it then drops the payload as a systems app that can’t be easily removed. The malware, until this step, has existed before.
Recently a new variant of the malware has come into notice, which basically works to fetch the exploits and the payload, and can be instructed by a remote command. This new routine ensures that the malware can bypass security checks done by app stores, including the one done by Google Play Store.
Is there a solution? No immediate solution on an individual level can be stated just yet. We hope to have one soon, and keep you posted regarding this.
Is anyone doing anything? Trend Micro, the ones to initially report the malware, have reportedly also informed Google, the company that runs Android operating systems, about the malware. Google should be taking appropriate action soon if it hasn’t already started. Dealing with a problem on this level, however, can certainly be expected to be quite tough, if not next to impossible altogether.
How to save yourself? There isn’t much one can do to save themselves rather than just be careful. Have a secure mobile security that can mitigate mobile malware, if you don’t already have one. Avoid updating your apps for a while, and if the updating process is set on automatic, then turn it off.
“When downloading apps, regardless if it’s a utility tool or a popular game, users should always review the developer. Unknown developers with very little or no background information may be the source of these malicious apps”, says Veo Zhang, Mobile Threat Analyst.
Also, make sure you don’t download any apps from any unknown stores, and stick to the popular and trusted ones like Amazon and Google Play Store.
Buying a new phone is an event that most of us, if not all, absolutely adore. A new phone brings with it brand new functionalities and in most cases, an updated version of whatever OS you were on, be it Android or iOS. And if you’re moving cross-platform, although it’s one of the best feelings there is, it can tend to get a little confusing at first, especially as far as migrating your data is concerned.
Well, do not worry, I’m here to help you out with that and to ensure that buying a new phone brings you nothing but happiness!
Android to Android
This teensy little tip goes a long way. If you are signed into your Google account, Google takes care of backing up pretty much all the major stuff on your phone. Here’s what you need to do:
2. Head over to ‘Google Settings’ for backing up passwords and photos.
On your phone, you’ll find an app called ‘Google Settings’. This controls a number of different services connected to your Google account. Just open the app drawer on your device and tap on Google Settings to open the app.
3. Transfer SMS and MMS messages
Alright. This is probably the most cumbersome process of them all. Well, if you use Facebook messenger, Hangouts or WhatsApp for the most part of your day, they’ll have you covered as far as backups are concerned since all you have to do is sign in. Since WhatsApp only recently announced their backup integration with Google Drive, Let me guide you on how to go about it:
Moving on to the messy part, SMS and MMS messages. An all time favourite app on the Play Store designed for this purpose is: SMS Backup and Restore. It’s really as simple as it sounds. The app will offload your messages to a microSD card (if your phone has one).
Otherwise, export them to a PC and then use the app to restore them on your new phone by connecting your Android device to the said PC.
4. Keep your music safe.
Frankly speaking, most people today use an over-the-top service for music. If you use Apple Music or Spotify, all you need to do is sign in to your respective account and you’ll be able to see all of your music right there in front of you. If you use Google Play Music, open the browser on your PC and head over to the desktop version of Google Play Music and upload your music there. This way, you’ll just need to sign in to Play Music on your new phone and all your tracks will be there, safe and secure.
Sadly the only service that works in India from the three mentioned above is Apple Music. So the oldest method of using a good old USB cable is still the best. Copy your music to a computer using a file browser, and then paste it into your new phone’s music folder. As simple as that.
iOS to Android
Why? Because if you recently switched from an iPhone to any other platform (Android/Blackberry/Windows) and didn’t turn off iMessage, your number is still sending iMessages, not SMS or text. You won’t be able to receive the SMS/text messages someone sends you from his/her iPhone.
To turn off iMessage, you need to make sure you have your SIM card inserted into your iPhone and have a data connection/WiFi. Head over to the app’s settings and simply flip the iMessage slider all the way to the left. If you don’t have your iPhone anymore and you forgot to do this, you can go to the iMessage webpage and get this done pretty easily.
2. Back up your contacts
First of all, you need to know which account of yours is being used to save your contacts. If you don’t know this, tap on ‘Settings’ and go to ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’. Once you’re in the Contacts section, tap on ‘default account’ to see which account is selected. If it’s a Gmail account, Google’s got you covered as always. You just need to sign-in to your Google account on your new device and you’re good to go. If it’s an iCloud account, you can transfer contacts from iCloud to Android as follows:
3. Back up your photos
Google Photos is one of the best apps that you can use for backing up your photos/videos. On your iPhone, simply install the app and go to the app settings after you’re done singing in to your Google account. Select ‘Backup and Sync’ and turn it on. Take a breather as all your photos/videos are saved to the cloud. This may take a while depending on the amount of photos and videos you have on your iPhone. On your new Android device, open the Photos app and you’ll be able to see all the photos from your iPhone.
4. Onto your Music
The simplest way to listen to your iTunes music library on an Android phone is to download and install the Apple Music app from the Play Store. Open the app, sign into your apple account and your good to go, all your music purchased from iTunes will show up.
That’s it, for now. You’re well set with your new phone! Congratulations!!
One of today’s most joyous moments is that of buying a new iPhone. And why shouldn’t it be! Any iPhone, be it the shiny new iPhone 6s or the huge iPhone 6s Plus or even the iPhone SE, is a gorgeous device and arguably the best smartphones and phablets out there.
I’m here to take you through the not-so-tedious process of migrating your data from your current device (Android/iOS) to your new iPhone. Despite whatever misgivings you may, it’s fairly easy, trust us.
So, let’s get right to it!
Android to iOS
If you’re one of those people who tend to stay up to date with tech news and updates, you’d most definitely have heard about a certain app that Apple released on the Android Play Store a little while ago called Move to iOS.
This app aims at making the transfer from the Android ecosystem into the vaunted Apple playground a walk in the park (pun not intended).
Without a shadow of a doubt, this app was a brilliant move by Apple as they realised that a lot of people wanting to move from Android to iOS faced a big barrier (and very often, abject fear) when it came to backing up their data (failing which there was an imminent threat of the loss of extremely personal and important data) and getting it across safely to an iOS based device.
Thanks to this app, there’s no longer any need to worry! No need to save your stuff elsewhere before switching from Android as the Move to iOS app securely and painlessly transfers your content for you.
Here’s what you need to do:
iOS to iOS
Moving all your data from one iPhone to another is just as simple. All you need to do is backup your iPhone to the iCloud via the Backup option in the iCloud settings. Then sign up on your new iPhone with the same Apple ID, and restore that particular backup (the latest one that shows up) onto your new iPhone.
Here are some steps to ease the journey:
In both cases, remember to try and stay on the Wi-Fi for a while longer as the phone may be downloading Apps or App Data or even syncing back to iCloud.
Now, Chip-Monks understands that the above steps may prove to be too skimpy on details for some of you. If you need to get step-by-step tutorials on how to activate and inaugurate your new device, migrate your data, or maybe to even choose the right settings in various places, do remember to head over to our very detailed, helpful and simple How-To tutorials.
All you have to do is search for your device in our search bar, click on it’s name in then choose the ‘Assistance’ tab when you land on a new page.
Lastly, we’re right here for you. If you need even more help or are stuck with something, drop us a line (or two) at email@example.com and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through whatever you need. Reach out!
Slowing down of devices is becoming a fairly well known phenomenon now. Be it your original Nexus 7 or even a Nexus 4 running the latest version of Android, lag is something none of us can escape from.
It’s not that the hardware becomes crusty and old. Nor is it that the drive becomes ragged from overuse (thankfully smartphones and tablets today use only solid-state-storage which doesn’t wear with use). So, it’s largely a myth that hardware degrades over time.
First things first, you have every right to know why your phone has started to slow down:
If your phone came with Android Kit-Kat, for instance, and you recently got a Marshamallow update which was not properly optimized for your phone, you may experience lag in general.
Even if you’ve never received any OS updates, you are experiencing a visible lag? That’s because the apps running on your phone are newer and no longer optimised for your “older” OS.
Additionally, apps have become heavier over time.
Whether you’re using newer apps or updated versions of the apps that you were using a year ago, apps in general have become more demanding, due to the technological advancement in the field of communication, and they expect processing power to be adequately available at all times. Which is often not the case.
The Big Question – How Do You Deal With This?
Cache can be cleared by going into the Storage screen and tapping on the ‘Cached data’ button at the bottom. This will clear cache for all the apps on your device in a flash!
These are a few tips that I can give you as starters, if you feel your phone has become a tad bit less responsive. For more, head over to your device’s page on our website (by searching for your device in our search bar), and thereafter onto the Device Assistance|How To section. There’s tons more tips there for you to try.
Parents all over the globe would’ve definitely said this to their children numerous times a day – “If you sit too close to the TV, you will end up with spectacles sitting at the top of your nose”.
Exaggerated as that claim might have been, there’s never been a time more crucial that today, with devices as personal and unfortunately, as mobile as smartphones and tablets being most people’s primary drivers.
Smartphones and tablets have become an indispensable part of not only the busy lives of adults but also of children who use it both as a source of entertainment and knowledge. Children sometimes while playing games on tablet get so engrossed that they literally sit with their eyes “glued” to the screen, scant millimetres away from those bright, iridescent screens; which of course is something which is not advisable and is bad for the eyes and vision in the longer run.
As per a Vision Council report, the cases of myopia have increased and the scientists hold genetic and environmental factors including increased extended exposure to near range activities such as the use of digital devices responsible for it. Besides this, there is a decreased exposure to natural activity in absence of outdoor activities. Digital eye strain can be caused due to reading something on the screen held too close to eyes or while playing games on tablets. This can affect children and teens and can cause damaged eye sight in the longer run.
Well, it’s 2016 and technology has developed by leaps and bounds. So now, there’s something that can be done about this subconscious probity.
Say hello to Samsung’s new app called Safety Screen.
This app could be the one-stop solution for all parents who worry about their kids (and adults alike) straining their eyes. The application utilizes the front camera of the device to judge the distance between the user and the screen and when the Safety Screen app detects that the child’s eyes are too close to the screen, a cute multi-eyed animation character pops up on the screen shutting off the screen and making the game/video/ function inaccessible till the user moves away from the screen. The animation disappears when the child moves back to an optimally safe viewing distance.
Safety Screen is something which can be enabled by any user and is password protected so that the kids in this case can’t mischievously turn it off in their parent’s absence (since its not feasible for parents to be continually policing the device).
Samsung’s innovative move in collaboration with Leo Burnett MENA, can act as a respite for many parents, transforming lives via technology.
Tarek Sabbagh, Head of IT and Mobile Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics commented, “The usage of electronic devices, such as mobiles and tablets, is increasing extremely fast, within all age groups, from entertainment such as watching movies, to gaming and lately education where many schools started using the tablets in their curriculum. We noticed that children spend extended time using their devices, holding them too close to their eyes, which is not ideal and might cause damage to their sight. Hence, in Samsung, as leaders in innovation, we also care for the health and safety of our consumers. Therefore, we are introducing today an innovative app that helps protect users eyes by reminding them to their devices at a safe distance.”
It’s good to see tech majors like Samsung making the health of users a priority in their own thought processes and product design.
Apple is already at it. They launched CareKit, a new Developer tool aimed at encouraging Developers to build healthcare apps for iOS devices, in March 2016.
The Safety Screen app is compatible with all Android devices that have a front camera and run Android 4.3 and above (click here to download the app). iOS users in the meantime will have to monitor their kids the old-school way.
The Samsung Safety Screen application looks like an amazing innovation, so much so that it has already been awarded at the recent Dubai Lynx awards.
While their parents will have to wait till June of 2016 for Xiaomi’s Mi smartwatch, their kids could get a smartwatch for themselves now!
Xiaomi just launched a super cute yet totally technologically with-it smartwatch for kids called the Mi Bunny.
While it may seem strange for a brand to launch a goody for offsprings before their full-grown parents, yet Xiaomi maybe onto something smart on this one…. Not only are they attracting the more influenceable and influencive members of the household first, they’re also leveraging the fact that parents will be just as eager for the kids to get these gadgets a.s.a.p.
Well, the Mi Bunny smartwatch packs a lot of features that enable the parents to keep a tab on their child and monitor their safety.
For starters, the Mi Bunny includes the all-important feature of GPS connectivity combined with GLONASS (an alternate to the US-based GPS system. Does much the same thing).
It also supports voice calling and comes with a pre-embedded SIM card out of the box.
This smartwatch enables the users to store upto 6 family members’ contact numbers and talk to them for free.
The associated app also allows parents to interact with their children, when they are not around hence it provides the peace of mind that with the Mi Bunny smartwatch strapped on, your kids are just one tap away.
Mi Bunny has some other, more unique features to boast of too. Such as:
The best part? Even with all these cool high-end features, the smartwatch manages to look very cute. In fact its perfect for kids – its LED dot matrix display is much easier to read than the AMOLED etc. versions that adorn adult-oriented watches, and its Corning liquid silicone strap looks fairly durable too. From the imagery we’ve seen, and knowing Xiaomi’s attention to detail, we’re sure the straps will be able to handle a lot of abuse and wear-and-tear that ensue during a child’s daily activities.
This watch is compatible with Android 4.2 and above, as well as iOS 8 and above. That makes the practically the whole world the target audience for this watch. Smart move, Xiaomi!
The smartwatch will be available in Blue and Pink colours in China (to start with), where its priced at just 299 Yuan (approximately INR 3,000).
Given all the above, wouldn’t you agree that it’s a smart move by Xiaomi? We at Chip-Monks believe that the Mi Bunny is surely one gadget that most the parents would like their kids to have. We’ll keep you posted when it hits Indian shores.
Your Nexus (and a lot of the top-of-the-shelf Android devices) have an ace up their sleeve. And we’re here to tell you about it!
Your Nexus smartphone is probably the reservoir of thousands of songs, movies and even your official documents – yet why should that content remain landlocked to just your phone (and hence only for personal consumption)? And why should you have to squint toward that 5 inch screen?
Let’s get to the big screen, or to those brilliant deep-throated speakers!!
Ever since the JellyBean 4.2 update, some of you may’ve noticed an additional option ‘Wireless Display‘ under the display settings on your Nexus device. In case couldn’t figure out what it actually did, this article should help.
I’m sure the term ‘mirror’ would sound familiar as you would have used HDMI or VGA cables to connect your laptop to bigger screens like projectors at office, or TVs at home. Now, with the Wireless Display functionality, wires are out of the picture – you can ‘broadcast’ your screen onto your TV or any other external display, over the air!
Created by Wi-Fi Alliance, Miracast is the technology that lets you duplicate (also called ‘mirror’) your Nexus device onto an external display. Miracast is on its way to become an international standard and is being incorporated by brands like Sony, Panasonic and LG into their new televisions, smart phones, projectors etc. This technology has its foundation in the Wi-Fi Direct protocol introduced way back with Android 4.0.
Too much jargon? Well, the bottom-line is: As of today, any Nexus device running KitKat 4.4 or higher can mirror the screen and wirelessly stream audio/video at up to 1080p (Full HD) resolution to a variety of displays and televisions that support Miracast and provide 5.1 surround sound (onto Home Theater systems).
The best part? You can stream even if there is no Wi-Fi connection! Sounds cool, right? It is!!
If you’ve purchased your TV within the last year or so, then there is a good chance of it already being Miracast compatible. However, if it’s older than that, then like the most of us regular folks, you’ll have to purchase an adapter/receiver (Miracast Dongle). This adapter, when connected to your regular TV will transform it to a semi ‘Smart TV’ and enable you to use it as a wireless display.
You can find some options when it comes to buying the receiver but one of the most popular among them is the Netgear Push2TV which should cost you about Rs. 6,500.
How to go about it
So once you have your Miracast compatible receiver, which might be an external adapter or your TV itself, it’s pretty simple thereon.
Why Do It?
You can play games, stream videos in 1080p with audio, play your favourite songs (onto your TV or Home Theater) and what not.
Add to that the pomp-and-show of showboating your photography or giving presentations at work from your mobile device cannot be more convenient!
We have had a few Android devices in the past that did offer mirroring to an external display through ports and HDMI cables, but the wire-free Miracast is definitely one (huge) step ahead of that, and with this technology becoming a benchmark for all Tech Giants to strive for, we can hope for an even richer experience in the near future.
There’s Chromecast too, that you’d have heard of – we’ll cover that in a different article, in a bit.
Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, has been in the limelight for all the right reasons. It works well, is reliable, and to a large extent, fairly useful.
Now, it adds another capability – the ability to serve people on Android and iOS devices.
This expansion to bring it on additional platforms in addition to Windows 10, enables Microsoft to engage many more users of much larger platforms (than Windows 10 itself), and thus provides Microsoft a great opportunity to gather valuable data.
Cortana is now available for select devices running on Android, iOS and Cyanogen OS (OnePlus One device) and may soon be available on Microsoft’s Xbox.
The advantage Cortana will also enjoy by being cross-platform is that it can become seamless and you’d be able to transition between your devices – your Windows PC, your Android tablet and your iPhone (or any other such permutation). So all you search data and activities are available everywhere.
There’s another benefit – it also understands local accents from around the world and help engage appropriately (it does have an upper hand over Siri in this regard).
So, Android and iOS users (with devices running Android 4.1.2 or later and iOS devices running iOS 8 or higher, respectively) can enjoy Cortana; however with developer restrictions on Android and iOS, makes it difficult to completely integrate Cortana, which does not seem to be a problem with Cyanogen.
One glaring feature that is missing is outside of Windows 10 is the ability to engage Cortana without with the “Hey Cortana” voice command (for the Android users it is only available if you are already in the Cortana App or on the Android home screen).
The ability to maneuver settings and opening of apps will also be restricted on the Android and iOS devices.
Cortana however seems a bit more integrated with the Cyanogen OS (for the OnePlus One devices), with the handsfree “Hey Cortana” feature being active and integrated into the OS. So, Cyanogen users will be able to engage Cortana within most screens and be able to toggle settings for networks, power modes or even engage the silent mode.
The Cortana app is currently available in US and China and can be downloaded free from the respective Google Play Store and Apple’s iTunes Store in those countries.
We hear the list of compatible countries will grow shortly.
Samsung Pay has made a grand entry in the booming market of mobile payment solutions, already having crossed the 500K users mark ahead of its US launch on 28th September. The South Korean company’s take on mobile payments along the lines of Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay has already been used for 1.5 million transactions (in its first three months of existence), of which 60% were carried out by Galaxy Note5 users. Consider please, that the Note5 itself was released less than three months ago!
Mobile payments have really erupted in 2015 after Apple made a huge push into the space with Apple Pay and Google introduced their Android Pay. Samsung Pay is currently available only on Samsung’s 2015 devices i.e. Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, and Note5 and requires a one-time over-the-air update to work. The service will also be available on Samsung’s new smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S2 with the feature being made available on the watch, come November.
Samsung Pay made its debut in Samsung’s home country of South Korea on 20th August and it seems (as reported by Business Korea) that both Samsung and the ICT Industry were surprised to see these unexpectedly high adoption rate for this nascent service.
What makes Samsung Pay different from other mobile pay services is that it not only supports purchases via NFC (like Android Pay), but also allows payments using the Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology with the swipe of a fingerprint. This feature will permit Samsung Pay to make mobile payments at ‘most’ retailers that accept regular credit cards that are swiped through a card reader. Samsung acquired this capability thanks to their acquisition of LoopPay – which handles the backend technology and encryption.
Lets pause a second, to understand Magnetic Secure Transmission (we at Chip-Monks don’t like to rattle off jargon and not explain it). Magnetic credit card readers basically read the black strip at the back of a regular plastic credit/debit car as the plastic is swiped across the “head” of the card reader. MST basically generates a temporary magnetic field around the device, by changing magnetic fields over a very short period of time. This is accomplished by passing alternating current through an inductive loop, which is then received by the magnetic read-head of the credit card reader. The signal received from the device emulates the same magnetic field change as a magnetic strip card when swiped across the same read-head. Apparently, LoopPay works only within a 3-inch distance from the card reader’s head with the magnetic field dissipating rapidly beyond that point. In this fashion, the field thus exists only during a transmission initiated by the user.
Samsung Pay is gaining popularity for its multiple layers of security, guaranteeing its customers protection from online monetary thefts. Samsung Pay carries out the transaction without passing your credit card information through the retailer’s system, instead it uses a secure ‘token’. Additionally it exponentially increases the acceptability of this payment service, due to its interoperability with hardware existing in almost every retail store on the planet, and relatively low investment by the retailer.
At this point, Samsung is working on securing agreements with all of the largest banks in the US – Bank of America, US Bank, Citi, American Express, Visa as well as MasterCard as it gears up to launch the service in the US on 28th September. It is said that Samsung is also finalising its deal with China’s largest card issuer, UnionPay.
With countries like China, UK, Spain on its roadmap, Samsung seems almost completely ready to tap into the potential of mobile payment market. Trend analysts says that if the present adoption trend continues, Samsung pay will soon touch the coveted one million mark with Samsung Pay expanding its global availability even more with time.
Whether Samsung Pay will be a success in US where its rivals like Apple Pay hold a strong section of the market share is yet to be seen. Yet, its outstanding performance in South Korea is promising and indicates that Samsung Pay is shaping up strongly for the world market.
It also indicates that Samsung is evolving to look at Services as a viable revenue model. Which is extremely cool, as this altered focus alludes to Samsung’s growing maturity as brand and it’s desire to have an identity beyond just hardware.
Like other brands that branch out as they mature, Samsung definitely needs to become a more intrinsic part of their customers’ lives. And its a much-needed shot in the arm for a brand that’s becoming a little frayed around the edges, especially in 2014-15 where not much has worked in their favour.
The Chinese tech firm Lenovo, just launched a brand-new, affordable tablet called the Tab 2 A7-20. Priced extremely sweetly at INR 5,499, it makes for an excellent Diwali gift (which may be precisely what Lenovo aimed for)!
The Tab 2 A7-20 carries decent budget-specs – it flaunts a 7-inch IPS display, is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz MediaTek processor with 1 GB of RAM and a 3,450 mAh battery to support it.
With a built-in storage of 8 GB, the tablet supports microSD cards up to 32 GB.
One of the surprises with this tablet is, that in this day and age of Android Lollipop, Lenovo has been tardy enough to launch a device on the now-archaic Android 4.4 (KitKat) OS; though it is reportedly upgradeable to Android 5.0 (Lollipop) however, neither has the update’s rollout date been announced, nor does Lenovo have a great record of being conscientious. Moreover, this should really not be something that users have to do!
The tablet is equipped with a 2 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera (Lenovo seems to have compromised on cameras on the tablet – lower camera specs reduce costs, and that may be okay, given that photography via tablets is not a core competence, nor one that most users look for when shortlisting tablets).
The Tab 2 A7-20 doesn’t feature any support for SIM cards (another cost saving move), and is only available in a Wi-Fi-only configuration. However it does offer other connectivity options – USB On-The-Go and micro-USB to get content onto the tablet.
Listed as being made only in one color option (Ebony Black), the Tab 2 A7-20 is yet to adorn shelves in brick-and-mortar retail stores, however impatient early experimenters can grab it online at Snapdeal, where it is offered at a discounted price of INR 5,001.
As an aside, Lenovo has unveiled two more tablets along with the Tab 2 A7-20 – Phab Plus (available in Croma and Reliance Digital outlets at INR 20,990) and Yoga Tab 3 (yet to launch, expected at a price of INR 16,999).
This product diversity seems to be a smart move by the Chinese tech firm targeting the Indian market just ahead of the festive season, expecting to widen their product sales.
Apple just introduced a new app in the Google Play Store called Move to iOS, along with the iOS 9 announcements this year.
Prior to this launch, Apple was spotted working on Android Music for Google’s very own OS, Android. Although Apple is still working on the same, in the meanwhile it is trying to pull away the users from Android.
“Move to iOS transfers your data securely from Android to iPhone or iPad”, is the app description in the Play Store.
The initiative taken by Apple covers all the essentials: Contacts, Email accounts, Photos and Videos, Web Bookmarks, Message History, and Calendars.
Given that personal data has become an integral part in the life of every smartphone user, and is an important factor that prevents the impatient users from switching their devices across different OS, this strategy might enable Apple draw a lot of Android users to their side of the fence, and boost their ever growing market share.
Apple has used a different technology for transferring all the data from an Android phone to iPhone, where, instead of simply syncing all the data over the cloud, it uses a private Wi-Fi network for the exchange. The user needs to set up a private Wi-Fi network on their iPhone and find the Android device, then request for a security code which when correctly entered, moves all the data and organizes it in the specific places on the iOS device.
The Move to iOS app was unveiled in advance of the launch of two new flagship phones by Apple. The app is compatible with the previous versions of the iPhone, which could mean that the team at Apple are aiming for Android users to move to their flagship introductions or even their erstwhile models.
In spite of the other alternatives available for data transfer across the two devices, this is a pretty simple and no fuss way adopted by Apple to avoid conflict between the different ecosystems and while we were writing this article, they have updated the app to version 1.59.1.
’tis the lustrum of Wearables! Everybody seems to be flicking their concoction into the pond to see what sinks and what causes a ripple.
Alcatel’s joined the gang, with their OneTouch smartwatch. But its not a frivolous tryst.
The OneTouch first appeared at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, and was acknowledged with an iF Design Award (from Germany’s iF International Forum Design GmbH)
The watch flaunts an elegant design with a series of finishes, all built around everyday traditional watches. Intended to attract regular wearers, it’s been launched with a very reasonable price tag of INR 7,999, and is now being sold exclusively on Flipkart in India.
The watch has an unisex appeal to it, and is available in two different styles – Red/Black and White, with rubber straps.
The Alcatel OneTouch smartwatch features:
In the noisy space of Wearables (especially watches) Chip-Monks believes that the Alcatel OneTouch smartwatch is an affordable, attractive basic smartwatch and has the potential to be noticed (in a good way) but we’ll have to test it firsthand to let you know if it stands above the crowd.
Freedom to customise and personalise one’s device has been the main reason why a lot of people choose Android over any other OS for their smartphones and tablets.
The launcher (usually consisting of the Home Screens and App Drawer, thus most of the visible interface of the Android device) , can easily be changed on Android. Launchers come in all sorts of designs and can be installed directly from the Play Store.
Home Screens can have different animations, or different docks at the bottom, or even a specific number of home screens itself. App Drawers can have more scrolling- or sorting options along with various transition effects.
Some of the popular third party launchers include: Nova Launcher, ADW launcher, Go Launcher, SPB Shell 3D and Launcher 7.
Installing and setting up a launcher is a fun thing to do!
In the world of launchers, a strategy frequently used by developers is to mimic the look and feel of the latest Stock Android launchers.
With Android 4.4 KitKat being the latest addition in Google’s Android flagship line, developers have acted fast enough to add plenty of KitKat style launchers on the Google Play Store.
One such launcher available for free download is Epic Launcher by Nikao.
Available on the Play Store, Epic launcher offers plenty of neat features that make this launcher stand out among a crowd of others.
When you open Epic Launcher for the first time, your device will automatically prompt you to indicate if you wish to set it as your default launcher or if you just want to try it once.
This launcher resembles the stock launcher and the nice part is when you open the launcher settings and see how much of the KitKat experience it brings to your phone.
Tapping on ‘Epic Settings‘ opens a ‘Google Now-esque’ settings window. You have customizable setting options such as Desktop, App drawer, Dock, Folder, Look and Feel, Gestures and buttons, Unread counts (available only on prime version), Advanced and Help & Feedback.
Desktop gives you many options such as: Lock Desktop i.e. prevent changes to the desktop, your default home screen layout, grid size, margin alignments, persistent search bar option, scrolling effects, infinite scrolling, elastic scrolling etc.
App Drawer gives you the options to hide apps from your app drawer, grid sizes, scrolling effects, background transparency etc.
Dock gives you the ability to assign the no. of dock pages, dock icons, margins, scrolling effects etc.
Folder lets you set the default preview style, preview background, background transparency, folder name option etc.
Gestures and Buttons helps you decide actions for your menu button and home button.
Overall, Epic Launcher is a neatly designed launcher and gives the user a good feel of the stock KitKat launcher on their phones. It can be installed on any Android device running Android 4.0.3 or above.
The number of users who have moved to the latest Android version i.e. Lollipop (5.0) is about 3% of the total population on Android OS. This is a very low number, especially when you compare the same with Apple’s iOS adoption rate, which currently hosts about 78% of the user base on iOS 8!
Android users are still on older OS versions, with Gingerbread covering about 6.9% and Ice Cream Sandwich engaging about 5.9% of the total Android users. These are Google’s own figures, from the data collected from their new Google Play Store app.
Data collected during a 7-day period ending on March 2, 2015.
* Any versions with less than 0.1% distribution are not shown.
As you can see, the bigger pieces of the pie are still with Jelly Bean with a 42.6% user base, closely followed by KitKat at 40.9% vs. a crazily unbelievable 78% of iOS devices already having climbed over their latest OS, the new and refreshed iOS 8.
Why is Lollipop adoption rate so dismally slow, you ask?
Well, we’ll have to explore several factors which could be influencing this slow adoption.
All other manufacurers have lagged considerably in rolling out their modified versions. This happens because all major OEMs take the basic Android OS and construct their proprietary interfaces for their devices, resulting in a rollout delayed by about 3 months, which when coupled with some carriers coming in, can delay it further.
LG, Samsung have now started to roll-out the Lollipop OS update for their devices in the last month.
Another major reason was also the failure of the OS to grab positive reviews from the early adopters, whereby the user back alleys were inundated with complaints on their devices failing on Wi-Fi connectivity, audio output quality, Apps crashing and device slowdowns with the Lollipop OS upgrade. Google did rectify the valid concerns, however the delay of a month may have cost them.
The majority of the Android users are on low to medium spec devices, which cannot or still await a go ahead for an OS update due to hardware constraints. Some examples in this area could be the Xiaomi, whose devices have taken India by storm. The jury is still out there “if” and “when” they would get the revered OS update.
The boon of an open source OS has also become a bane for Google with the fractured adoption of their OS versions in the real world.
Let’s wait and see if the users will be able to experience Android Lollipop for about 8 – 10 months before the next OS update.
Those of us who’ve witnessed the scientific marvel of Star Trek are well aware of what a ‘Universal translator’ is capable of. A Universal translator is exactly what it sounds like to be, it is a device that can translate your voice, be it in any language, to another language.
Most tech giants today are working on a device/app that can come close to the technological marvel of a universal translator. It’s safe to say that Google is coming close to achieving their dream of meeting this goal. Google’s Translate app has been totally revamped by the tech giant.
The latest version of Google Translate, which should hit Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store in the next few days offers two key features:
Although both these features have been present on the app for a while now, Google’s main objective behind this update is to enhance and simplify these features so that they work more fluidly, without any visible lag.
In the latest Google Translate app, to converse with someone speaking in a different language, a user chooses his language and that of the other speaker. He then taps the microphone icon, inputs his native language and then taps the microphone icon again. The app automatically recognizes which of the two selected languages is being spoken so the user can carry on his conversation without having to tap the mic each time he speaks in his language.
As far as image recognition is concerned, Google has improved that feature of the app as well. In earlier versions of this app, you had to take a photo of the foreign text to let the app translate it for you. Now, all you have to do is point your camera at the sign and the translated text appears on your screen.
The best thing about this entire process is that you don’t need Internet to use this feature! As of now, this feature supports English translated to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Google says it’s working to add more languages in addition to these languages.
Tech biggies such as Microsoft are also trying to enter this sector with their latest preview version of Skype Translator. As of now, Microsoft are aiming to release it only to Windows 8.1 PC’s and tablets and supported languages will be only Spanish and English. But Microsoft plan on expanding Skype Translator within the next few months.
Language translators are of immense importance to all those people who tend to travel across the globe. I am sure these fantastic new updates to Google Translate will immensely benefit such travelers!
Acer, at the IFA event in Berlin recently, announced its high end device running the latest Windows 10 OS, the Jade Primo.
The Jade Primo comes packed with an innovative feature of the new OS – Microsoft’s Continuum docking station which allows the touchscreen device to connect to the keyboard, mouse, and other peripheral devices, turning the handset into a PC.
Acer has been marketing the handset as a “Pocket PC” packed with all the new features of the Microsoft Windows 10.
The Continuum dock does not use wireless technology though, and requires a hardware connection for its functioning and at the Acer’s IFA press conference, the handset was connected to a standard PC display, keyboard and mouse, to demonstrate the device. The secondary display connected to the handset resembled the design and the appearance of the Windows 10 mobile start screen rather than having an appearance of the Windows 10 for PCs.
The handset is also restricted to running only the x86-based apps and the universal apps on it, and still has no support for the desktop applications.
Although Acer hasn’t revealed the detailed specifications of the upcoming device, the basic specs we found were that it sports a super AMOLED 5.5-inch screen, 21 megapixel rear-facing camera with dual-LED flash, and 8 megapixel front-facing camera, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. The handset comes with a docking station, and other accessories like a keyboard and wireless mouse, to enable the smooth transition from mobile to desktop modes.
Being the first in its kind, Acer’s latest handset might prove to be a replacement for the desktops and laptops, for some of the tasks that one can manage with a light processor. Also, as the device is introduced in the market by Acer, it indicates the price to be pocket-friendly.
However, nothing is specified yet about the pricing or the launch date of the device.
The Galaxy Note 4 is a beautifully crafted device. It is the fourth addition to Samsung’s prestigious Note series, which has set the standard for a sturdy phones with top-notch specs and an amazing battery life.
However that wasn’t enough for Samsung. Shortly after releasing the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung decided to spice things up a little and manufacture a phone that is truly one of it’s kind – the Galaxy Note Edge.
Released earlier this month, the Galaxy Note Edge became one of the first smartphones in the world to feature curved screen technology.
Before we go ahead, you’ve got to know what curved screen technology actually is, and the research, innovation and perseverance that goes into it. We had written this absolutely brilliant article back in October 2013, that I heartily suggest you read. You can continue reading about the Note 4 and the Note Edge after you’ve been through that article, so you have a better understanding of the coup that Samsung’s just pulled off. We promise, it’ll be a worthwhile read!
Back to the Note Edge – This latest addition to the Galaxy Note series sports a 5.6 inch Super AMOLED display with an impressive resolution of 1600×2560 pixels and a pixel density of 524 ppi.
Just adjacent to this main display is a curved screen is the key talking point of this device. This “edge” is used for notifications and displaying the time. While it’s good to see that Samsung are finally doing something out-of-the-box (on their own) while designing their flagship devices, yet the benefits and utility of this new display format will take time to be fully proven.
Hopefully the app developers will pitch in too!
Barring this curved display, the rest of the phone is vintage Samsung – the standard Home button with an integrated fingerprint reader, just as on the Galaxy S5, a silver earpiece with the front camera and sensors all located close to each other and patterned plastic covering the device as a whole. The faux leather texture also makes a return at the back of the smartphone, just as it has always been on Note devices.
Due to the curved display, the positioning of the buttons has changed a bit – the power button is now placed at the top of the device instead of the right hand side, the volume rocker is located to the left of the device and there’s a 3.5mm jack at the top of the device. The micro-USB charging port and the S-Pen silo is situated at the bottom of the device, as always.
The Galaxy Note Edge is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC (2.7GHz), an integrated Adreno 420 graphics chip and 3 GB of RAM
All this leads to a capable device, which shows no sign of lag or fatigue.
The Note Edge runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box and is going to be upgradable to many upcoming version of Android’s OS. Sitting on top of this is the classic TouchWiz UI, which has been cleansed and purified to provide a smooth and fluid experience.
The S-Pen stylus is identical to the one found on the Galaxy Note 4.
The Note Edge is a great business phone, aimed clearly for people who work on the move or rely heavily on their handheld to stay connected and conduct business wherever they be.
For more on the Note Edge head over to our page dedicated to this awesome device.
It’s latest offering, the Xiaomi Mi 3, has taken the market by storm – the smartphone so far available only for online ordering via Flipkart, sold out within half an hour of its launch!
So, what makes this newcomer so special? That what matters the most to Indian customers: Its unbelievable price!
Priced at just INR 13,999, the Mi 3 is far cheaper than any of Samsung’s Galaxy devices that offer similar specifications. In fact, the Mi 3 is the only Android based smartphone to offer the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset at a price below INR 15K!
Its quad-core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, packed with 2 GB RAM along with a heavily tweaked version of the Android 4.4 KitKat, called the MIUI Version 5 combine to result in incredible performance.
The Mi 3 also boasts of a 5-inch LED HD display, a 13 megapixel rear camera, a 2 megapixel front camera; all backed by a 3,050 MAh battery.
What’s not to love?!
Xiaomi, which is known as China’s Apple, has already made its intentions known, when it stated that India has the potential to become its largest market outside its home country, within just a few years.
Realizing the importance of customer care in a country like India, the company is also investing in service centres across the country. As of now, there are two exclusive centres in Delhi and Bangalore, and 34 more in partnership with multi-brand outlets in over 20 Indian cities.
This is only the beginning. Xiaomi has also announced the launch of the Redmi 1S, a budget smartphone and the Redmi Note, a tablet – both of which will be available at extremely affordable prices later this year.
The company’s Vice President Hugo Barra also announced that Xiaomi planned to invest in devices that were India-centric as well as set up a local team to help penetrate the market.
Indeed, Xiaomi does have a lot going for it and it would hardly be considered “overly optimistic” to say that Xiaomi is slated to be a huge success in India.
Trudging ahead with its Android ambitions, Nokia just released the Z launcher app for Android devices.
Designed and developed by a small software unit within Nokia, one that has remained largely independent post the Microsoft acquisition, the launcher joins the ranks of the several other existing Android launchers like Yahoo’s Aviate, Cover, EverythingMe etc.
Well, what is it?
The Z launcher neatly transforms the default Android interface that consists of several pages of apps, into a single page on the homescreen. It lists six apps at a time along with the clock and appointments displayed on the top left and right corners respectively.
These six apps are displayed taking into consideration a number of factors such as the time of the day, recent activities on the phone, location and others.
So, the accuracy and utility of the predictions would increase usage.
That’s not all. The Z Launcher makes hunting for stuff like your desired apps much, much easier. It lets you simply scribble shortcut alphabets directly on the screen instead of typing on a keyboard.
The app filters your list of contacts and apps, surfacing the ones you want. For this bit of magic, the app incorporates MyScript for handwriting recognition, another piece of skullduggery from Nokia.
While the functionality of the app is rather basic as of now, Brook Eaton, the Product Head of the unit, promises improved features and smarter predictions once the device moves out of it ‘pre-beta’ phase.
Go give it a scribble! You can find the app here.
In today’s hyper connected world, security apps have become a necessity.
There are numerous apps available from third party vendors, that cater to devices across platforms. Additionally, device manufacturers too, have ventured into integrating security services and capabilities into their devices, right out of the box.
Samsung has a third party app built into its Galaxy S5, Motorola just launched an Alert App of it’s own.
We’re showcasing Motorola’s Alert here as it even has an emergency beacon that will send out messages or call your emergency contacts and update your location, should the user trigger such action.
Motorola has launched this app on built into the Moto E, and has also made the app available for their Moto G and Moto X phones.
Once the user downloads the app, the set up is self-explanatory.
Android’s App Permissions are usually hard for even the best of people to understand, however we’re grateful to see that Motorola has done a very good job explaining the app and the reason behind accessing contacts and locations during setup.
The steps include picking friends or relatives who the user would want, to be alerted by the app.
The app has an Emergency button which the user can set to dial the emergency contacts’ number, sound an alarm or do both.
Reports state that the app is being readied to be used on other Motorola and Droid phones too, though no date has been specified yet.
Can others use this app? Well the only prerequisite for other Android devices to use this app is to run on Android 4.4 KitKat (then enable ‘Unknown sources’ in the devices settings and download the app’s APK).
This App will help pacify a lot of restless minds and give hope in desperate situations.
Goes without saying, we hope no one ever, ever needs to use it!!
Be safe everyone!
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.
HTC is planning to launch a mini version of their HTC One M8 flagship.
This announcement came within few hours of the release of the HTC’s One M8.
Clearly, the tremendous struggle the company has experienced in the past, they would want to ensure that their position in the handset market stays afloat.
The Taiwanese company is expecting to gain traction in the global handset market with the launch of this device and rumors say that the expected launch is planned somewhere in May this year.
Sources say that this device will do wonders, as HTC has made several changes and included stuff that other flagship devices don’t have, at this time.
So let’s see what makes this a ‘different’ smartphone.
Talking about the specs, the device could have about a 4.3 to 4.5 inch screen display with 720-1080 pixels, As this phone may come with a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and 1 GB of RAM, it should have an edge over other devices with dual core processors.
The phone may feature Android 4.4 KitKat, with HTC Sense 6.0 for enhanced user experience and will sport 16 GB internal memory with an expandable micro SD slot. It will feature a 13 megapixel rear camera with a 5 megapixel front camera, however, the new device may not feature the duo camera present in the predecessor.
This device will maintain the same form factor and the built of its predecessor HTC One. You’ll see an aluminium unibody design with smooth curves with dual front facing speakers completing the design, giving it similar looks of the larger, full-function HTC One M8.
Such an approach will remind users of Moto G, which, hardly had any difference between their mini and flagship model.
The price for this device remains speculative.
Ever since the launch of Moto G, a mid-range smartphone with a long list of features, the perspective of a mid range device has changed.
Will the HTC One M8 mini match its biggest competitors, Sony Xperia Compact or Moto G is another question on our minds.
We’ll all have to just wait and see!
Tablets are fast replacing notebooks as they offer a convenience that notebooks can’t, and hence enjoy the same predatory advantage that notebooks once had over desktops.
Seeing this, manufacturers are bringing in new and improved technology to make this transition even more decisive.
On the downside, the most preferred tablets, the Apple iPads, have been priced where they are not in the comfort zone of a common Indian buyer and this is discomfort is being exploited by Samsung, by it’s range of devices that suit the common man’s pockets.
During the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January this year, Samsung launched their costliest Android Tablet called the Galaxy Note PRO, priced at INR 65,575.
Given this huge ticket price, Samsung is marketing the Note PRO as a professional grade tablet; it’s ironical that despite this huge number, the Note PRO is still cheaper that Apple’s iPad Air! The iPad Air retains the top price point in the market with a price tag of INR 65,900.
Samsung Galaxy Note PRO is Samsung’s first professional tablet, equipped with a 12.2 inch LCD screen with resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. The tablet has a stylus (and deep pen integration across the UI) with speakers mounted onto the side.
Powered by Samsung’s Exynos 5 octa 5420 CPU, the Galaxy Note PRO has 3 GB RAM and runs on Android 4.4. It is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera at the back with LED flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera allowing the user to have video chats.
The tablet comes with a 32 GB internal memory and 64 GB micro SD card for your data. It is powered by a 9,500 mAh battery and is available in Black and White colors with faux leather finish. With all the goodies, the device remains extremely slick weighing around 753 grams (1.6 lbs.) and is 8 mm slim.
As a bonus, Samsung is offering a free cover with the device which normally retails at around INR 3799.
The Galaxy Note PRO is similar to the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, the size being the very obvious difference between the two. The positive side in regards to this tablet is that it enables you multitask, running four apps on the screen at one time, a long battery life, and has powerful applications running on Android 4.4. The negative would be it’s pricing and followed by its size.
In our experience with the device, the tablet is large and yet, despite it’s huge screen it still does not replace the laptop. We’d recommend you consider you work day and see how much of content creation you do, vs. plain consumption. You’ll be better able to evaluate your needs better, whit that barometer in mind.
If you are looking for a tablet, get to know the features and compare few devices before actually picking up spontaneously. The Note PRO may not be the heaviest, however due to its size it is hard use it with one hand. It could also be an awkward size to be used by children. A lot of analysts are advising that unless you know that this tablet is going to suit your needs, you would do better by investing the money on more affordable devices.
You could also look at transformers or hybrids, which can be switched between a notebook and a tablet.
All of us love to run the latest version of Android on our phones – each software update brings with it plenty of changes in several departments, ranging from UI, appearance to features and capabilities.
OS manufacturers learn from each other, and from app developers, and often introduce evolutionary features that couldn’t make it to the previous build. All this usually adds up to a sumptuous new experience.
Android 4.4 KitKat was even more so!
The most noticeable and striking part of the recent Android 4.4 KitKat launch was the announcement of the all-new Google Experience Launcher.
Google initially made this launcher available for the newly launched Nexus 5 only, which didn’t play well with a lot of it’s loyal base that were using the still-relevant Nexus 4. However, Google, being the savvy folks they are, didn’t drag their feet at all; making the APK extensions of the launcher available online for the developer fraternity.
Consequently, there are now plenty of third-party launchers that support Android 4.0+ and give those users the all new KitKat experience on their devices!
Mini Launcher by Home Plus is one such launcher that can be downloaded from the Play Store. And installing it is easy… once you download it onto your device, simply open it from your app drawer and the app does the rest. We’ll cover that installation bit, a little later in the article.
The key feature of Mini is its handy sidebar that allows you to view current weather, recent apps, calls, messages and toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS etc. Interestingly, the Mini has inbuilt support for GO Widgets without you actually needing to install the GO Launcher EX app.
To expand utility even further, you can also download the Mini Sidebar app from the Play Store – Once downloaded, the sidebar automatically integrates into Mini Launcher and presents the current weather, quick setting toggles, missed call and message notifications, recent apps as well as access to the app settings. Crazy stuff!
Something to note though, is that Mini only supports up to 3 home screen pages at the most, as opposed to other launchers that offer seven, nine or even unlimited home screens.
So, how do you setup the Mini Launcher? Well, after you’re done downloading Mini from the Play Store, launch it from your app drawer itself. Your device will automatically ask if you want to set it as your default launcher or whether you want to use it just this once. You can choose to try it once, to see how you like the new avatar, and then decide if you like it enough to be your default go-to version. You can then set it as default, in the same way (app drawer route)
Moving on, using the Mini is pretty similar to the Stock Android launchers that we’ve witnessed in the past. To add widgets/apps onto your home screen, simply open the app drawer, touch on any app/widget and drag it to the homescreen you wish to add it to. Or tap and hold anywhere on your home screen to bring up the Add to Home screen.
You get a ‘Mini Settings‘ screen along with this launcher, from where you can access all of the launcher’s settings – you’ll get a wide range of customization options like Sidebar, Theme Manager, Desktop, Drawer, Dock and Look and Feel.
The Mini Sidebar shows you the settings of the Sidebar extension of this launcher. Here, you can do stuff like toggle haptic feedback, select the sidebar style and even disable the sidebar if you so wish.
Theme Manager lets you easily download themes for this launcher and toggle between your installed themes. Desktop lets you customize some settings such as wallpaper scrolling, home screens, hide notification bar.
Drawer lets you toggle with the settings of your app drawer like the app grid size, scroll effect, background transparency etc.
With Look and Feel you can custom create or choose your own color theme and set stuff like scroll speed and animation speed.
Other settings like Gestures and Buttons let you access and customize launcher settings like the long press menu, swipe up transition etc. The Copy Home Screen feature lets you copy entire home screens from another launcher into Mini – which is rather useful if you use multiple launchers on your phone and prefer a particular layout or design.
That more or less covers everything this app has to offer! You’d agree, its quite a lot!
We at Chip-Monks think that the Mini Launcher is a brilliantly designed launcher with amazing features and an attractive user interface. So if you’ve had your phone for a while and are bored or are looking for an interface change, consider downloading this launcher and giving it a whirl.
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:
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.
Samsung’s latest addition to the Galaxy family, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been launched. It will be exclusive to South Korea initially; priced at approximately Rs 55,350 (converted), the device is said to come with improved specifications and includes Korea’s very first LTE-A band.
The device will feature a 5.1 inch QHD Super AMOLED display, a Qualcomm chipset, quad core Snapdragon 805 SoC clocked at 2.5 GHz with 3 GB of RAM. The Galaxy S5 comes with 32 GB inbuilt storage which can be expanded to 128 GB through a micro SD card. Other features which remain similar to the original S5, include a 16 megapixel rear camera, a 2 megapixel front camera, 2800 mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat along with being resistant to water and dust. The Galaxy S5 will come preloaded with features like Ultra Power Saving Mode, Kids Mode, S Health and Private Mode and will be available in Charcoal Black, Copper gold, Electric Blue, Glam Red, Shimmer White, and Sweet Pink colour options to suit the diverse customer base.
While the reviewers say that this device will be lighter, thinner, faster and more stylish as compared to its predecessor, there are speculations as to when this device will be launched in other countries. Samsung enthusiast can look forward to a smartphone that has a fantastic screen, a versatile and high quality camera, excellent battery life, will keep you updated on the date.