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): get link 0.9%
• Ice Cream Sandwich (versions 4.0.3 – 4.0.4): http://expertcomputing.co.uk/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron=1515507174.1273059844970703125000 0.9%
• Jelly Bean (versions 4.1.x – 4.3): source url 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!
Like BlackBerry, Nokia has great survival instincts. Considering how badly Microsoft’s experiment with Nokia bombed, a lot of us were curious to know what would happen to the once-foremost mobile phone brand.
Well, it persisted, and was ultimately acquired by HMD Global.
Considering the amount of money HMD must’ve put on the table, it’s no surprise that it’d be in a hurry to bring out some new models and begin the long resurrection journey asap.
HMD recently launched the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 at the MWC 2017. The iconic Nokia 3310 is also made a comeback in a modernized avatar.
Now, rumors are circulating about a potential flagship phone, Nokia 9.
Based on the report from NokiaPowerUser, it looks like the Nokia 9 is going to be HMD’s big bang for this year. A premium smartphone that is said to be running on an Android version that is pure, it will prove a challenge to many a brand in the higher-mid-range bracket.
First up, surprisingly, Nokia-HMD seems to have been able to lay their hands on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor (the same one powering Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ and Xiaomi’s much vaunted Mi 6; in fact the upcoming Sony Xperia XZ Premium is also going to be riding on the same top-tier processor).
Given the quantities that these three flagships are going to be demanded in, we know it couldn’t have been easy for Nokia-HMD to get their hands on this bad boy, so we shouldn’t really blame them for making us wait a bit (as the supply chain for the Snapdragon 835 will only roll around to Nokia-HMD’s needs after the first three top-tier devices’ orders have been met. It will be launched sometime in the third quarter of the year, which means we’re not seeing it before August, at the very least.
Moving on, the camera is most often the first thing people look for in a smartphone, hence HMD’s played it smart.
The Nokia 9 will most likely have a 22 megapixel rear camera, complete with Carl Zeiss optics. And that, is always indicative of a top-drawer device. Why? Well Carl Zeiss made the lenses that were used for capturing all that mind-boggling imagery in The Lord of the Rings.
Thus, software aside, there’s not much need for me to say anything more about its imaging potential. Since the software side of things will be handled by Android, you’re good to go on that front too.
Did I mention you’ll get all your selfies at 12 megapixels?!
This brings me to the thing that I am personally most excited about – the audio on the Nokia 9.
This is going to be the first smartphone that will have the Nokia Ozo technology.
I’ve seen its YouTube demo, and believe me when I say it – this technology will make your sound experience come alive. Each distinct sound from your surroundings would be audible, in crystal clear quality. 3D audio and an immersive VR experience will seal the deal!
The phone is actually a phablet that carries the now-mandatory 5.5 inch display, which will be a QHD OLED panel. From a data privacy and device safety standpoint, the Nokia 9’s iris scanner and fingerprint sensor should keep both secure.
There are rumoured to be 6 GB’s of RAM and 64 & 128 GB storage options, which make for high-end performance and ample storage. And the 3,800 mAh battery, coupled with the Quick Charge 4 technology, should mean that you never have to worry about your phone running out of battery!
It will be operating on Android 7.1.2 Nougat, and the device’s IP68 certification for dust and water resistance will help you enjoy the phablet in every possible situation, no matter the poor disposition of the climate and other environmental elements.
The price? Well, the Nokia 9 is expected to launch at USD 700, thus about INR 45,000, but we should all hold our thoughts till the device finally launches.
What more could you possibly ask for in a smartphone?
The Nokia 9 is sure to turn heads the moment it is launched. I am waiting with a bated breath!
Google Brokers A Consortium Amongst Top Android Partners To Increase Mutual Benefit
If you are a mobile manufacturing enterprise that produces Android-backed smartphones or tablets, then things just got sweeter for you!
Google and several top-drawer Android device manufacturing companies have agreed to a truce that will bring more openness into the Android applications and software market.
The agreement, namely the “Android Networked Cross License Agreement” has been melded together between a group comprising of Android giants Google, HTC, LG, Samsung, HMD, Foxconn and a variety of other companies. It pledges to share royalty-free patents amongst each other.
Licenses are going to be granted royalty-free to any company that manufactures devices with pre-installed Android applications which meet Android’s compatibility norms, with the condition that they join the group and adhere to the agreement.
The agreement is also being coined as PAX by executives at Google, which means ‘peace’ in Latin.
Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s Vice President of Business and Operations of the Android and Google Play wing said in an editorial, “It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX”.
On the PAX website, it mentions that any company that wishes to join, shall not be a party to interference, as all the other members will respect each other’s autonomy in their own affairs, as long-term freedom of action related to Google and Android shall be accorded everyone concerned.
What are the obvious benefits for signatories
The website also sheds light on certain facts such as that of the current member companies having a combined patent inventory of more than 230,000 patents. Hence, Google is quite excited and interested in welcoming other companies, large or small, to become signatories and reap the benefits of a sustainable, peaceful and friendly Android ecosystem.
Commercially, what the agreement will help the companies indirectly with, is the might to fight patent lawsuits collectively. As lawsuit rulings in favour of companies which acquired lawsuits amounted to a certain amount of income, the group might sue other companies together if the need arises. The direct benefits for companies are very high as there is no need to pay royalties to a ‘partner’ company.
Google, Samsung and HTC will really benefit from PAX. This is because, the Android ecosystem, owner by Google, will get a wider spectrum of companies of varying size in its family. Therefore, multiplying the acceptability of Android.
As a competitor of iOS, Google would really benefit. The smaller companies which feared litigation, would be exempt from it. Similarly, Samsung and HTC selling a huge number of devices integrated with Android and Google applications, looks to benefit the most. There would be hardly any risk form patent trolls given the nature of the agreement and the willingness to fight the lawsuits collectively.
However, it is not yet known what kind of patents will be shared or what threats these companies wish to defend against. That is the kind of details we would have to keep an eye out for.
HTC is undoubtedly already sweating over the fact that its contract for the production of the Google-owned Pixel smartphones is about to run out as soon as the second version of the Pixel series hits the market later this year.
HTC’s two year, two device contract for producing the Pixel phones was a huge feather in HTC’s hat, and the tremendously accruable reactions from Pixel #1 must’ve been hugely comforting for the brand that’s been struggling to receive market-sales-acclaim. Despite critics’ approval for the HTC 10, the Taiwanese manufacturer has been seeing a consistent slide in market demand for it’s devices.
Now, with the contract expiring, the 2018 Pixel job sheet is what HTC and every other Android-major is competing for.
The Chinese Publication Commercial Times reported that LG is currently leading the race and is the most probable winner for the production contract of the device currently being dubbed as ‘Pixel 3’. The order is estimated to be for 5 million units for just 2018.
LG and HTC have a long history of fighting tooth and nail for Google devices – LG has been Google’s comrade in its Nexus devices’ tryst, while HTC also has an impressive record of its involvement with Android, the Nexus project and most-significantly the ultra-important Pixel lineup.
As of now, Pixel 2 is expected to hit the shelves with features like a water resistant body and the possible capability of Quick Charge 4.0 (basically you charge for a lot less interval and enjoy a lot more).
The success of Pixel could be gauged by the fact that Google is having a hard time meeting the market’s ever-rising demand. This after HTC having already shipped 2.1 million Google Pixel and Pixel XL’s last September, the report suggests.
It will be fun to watch who finally gets the cake. Nonetheless, it will not be wrong to say that Pixel 2018 has already started to garner attention even before the beginning of its production – and that kind of enthusiasm is always a great morale high, in today’s whimsical and crowded marketplace.
Ever given a thought to what our lives would be like without any benchmarks? Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Everything that we do is measured by a set of standards – whether it’s our clothes, phones, laptops, or exam results, they are always up against certain expectations.
And in this world that’s brimming over with technology, in every facet of our day to day life, standards are a must-have.
GFXBench is one such benchmark that measures the performance of devices. A lot of companies run their upcoming devices through the tests to see how they rack up against their competition.
And a new Asus tablet has recently been noticed on their database.
According to the specifications seen on GFXBench, the tablet is 9.6 inches machine which boasts of a 2048×1536 resolution. The MediaTek MT8173 SoC CPU is complimented by a PowerVR GX6250 graphics chip from Imagination Technologies (the same folks who make the GPU for iPhones and iPads), supplemented with 4 GB of RAM.
Storage is a decent 64 GB and the cameras are fairly decent too – 7 megapixels at the rear, and 4.7 megapixels at the front.
Based on these specs and the fact that the new tablet operates on Android 7.0 Nougat, this tablet would probably be categorized as an upper mid-range product.
It sure is awesome, but don’t form an opinion just yet – because there’s some confusion around the processor that the tablet runs on – the GFXBench lists the MediaTek MT8173 as a dodeca-core processor when in fact other online resources indicate that it is a quad core processor.
The difference between the two is that a quad core chip has four different units for executing various processes, whereas a dodeca processor has twelve. Performance wise, a dodeca core chip is obviously better. But the website seems to have made a mistake, and now we’re left wondering which processor is actually being used.
Whether it turns out to be a dodeca core or a quad core, it has definitely given an aura of mystery to this new device. Too bad we’ll just have to wait and see.
I may be raining on your parade here, but all this excitement might be a little premature. Device specs are often changed before launch, and even then there is no guarantee that it will actually make the cut.
Regardless, you just rest easy – whether it launches or not, Chip-Monks will definitely keep you updated.
Sony recently took the world by surprise as it unexpectedly launched a new entry-level smartphone dubbed the Xperia L1 as the successor to the original Xperia L that was launched way back in 2013.
For those who follow the rumour mills though, the launch of this device isn’t completely out of the blue, as a Russian certification listing had pointed towards the release of this new device, a week before the launch of the Xperia L1, .
This new device keeps with the tradition of Sony’s design language of bezel-less displays and thus the Xperia L1 too, sports an almost edge-to-edge 5.5 inch 720p IPS LCD display.
Disappointingly though, it also means that Sony’s continued with the tradition of having pretty thick bezels at the top and bottom, much like in the newly launched Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XA Ultra smartphones that were released last month, at the MWC.
Under the hood, the Xperia L1 is powered by a 1.45 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor coupled with a Mali T720 MP2 graphics processor and 2 GB of RAM.
On the storage front, there is 16 GB of inbuilt memory which is expandable. The Xperia L1 runs on the latest Android Nougat software. What’s more, Sony has also added – to the budget smartphone, which adapts the device to your surrounding and predicts what you’d want to do or which app you’d like to use at that particular time.
For shutterbugs, the Xperia L1 carries a decent 13 megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options on this dual-sim smartphone include, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, and USB Type-C for charging and data syncing.
The Xperia L1 packs Android Nougat but at the same time, disappointingly, is driven by just a 2,620 mAh battery. This battery is also supported by Sony’s proprietary Qnovo Adaptive Charging and for times when you are on the go and running low on battery, you can always switch to Sony’s STAMINA mode to make the most of your dying battery.
The interesting part on this recently-launched phablet is that while it shares it’s name etymology with a four year old model, it is not very similar as its predecessor. This of course is a win-win situation for users as no one would really want their 2017 device to have specs reminiscent from such an old model.
The Xperia L which came in with a 4.30 inch display size, was powered by 1 GHz dual-core MSM8230 processor coupled with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It was powered by a 1750 mAh battery (my garage door opener has more battery nowadays).
Well now you must be thankful that the Xperia L1 is a huge upgrade to the Xperia L and hasn’t really inherited any of the features from its predecessor!
Target segment wise, the Xperia L1 has been launched only in select markets in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, North America and Latin America, at the moment. Whether Sony decides to roll out Xperia L1 in Indian market is something which is uncertain presently and might also depend on the performance of this device in other markets.
The price bracket for this smartphone hasn’t been pinned down as yet, though the company has made it clear that the device will be an affordable one, saying the phablet will be available from mid-April at an “accessible price point”.
On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is “Don’t give a darn” and 10 is “I could even ensure that if I have to”, how insignificant is the Terms and Conditions column for you (for any product you buy, or service you subscribe to)?
Your answer be 2 or 9 or anything else, by the time you finish reading this article, we’re going to attempt to turn you into a highly-alert commando who has a general mistrust of a T&C document and who won’t sleep too well, having passing over the terms and conditions section or anything hereafter!
The Internet might already seem like a crazy universe to you – full of fascinating stuff, inane stuff, and some downright absurd things too.. but you may have already heard that it also has its dark side.
The bad news is, our very very dear smartphones, too have a dark side!
Now a vital part of our life – right from waking you up in the morning to paying for your coffee, from sending confidential emails to making transactions worth thousands – almost everything is done via our phone.
And such a powerful device thrives thanks to the superpowers bestowed to it by apps that are built by the millions for any and every task. Thanks to the insane number of apps being used today, developers are the new messiahs.
But we need to address the elephant in the room – how safe and secure are these apps?
Amidst the ever-growing demand for freshly brewed apps and exponentially-inflating competition in the app-developer market, most developers are pressed for time and need to hit the Store shelves before competition beats them to the punch.
Thus, they often take the security feature of their application very lightly – intending to return to it later, but in this process, they jeopardise the device’s user.
Security is often not the primary concerns of the app developers, for a lion’s share of the apps available on Play Store, AppStore, and others, are click-bait content that often lures in their audience with fancy misleading information thrown in advertisements.
Often an average user, does not read the disclaimer that pops up before signing up for the product, thus missing out on the major chunk of the security and privacy breach warnings given out in a very subtle and placating format.
The bitter reality of the situation is though, that the user cannot contribute or enhance security of the app, even if they wish to. Thus, being cautious is their only option.
In layman’s terms, Apps are nothing short of helpers. By that very nature, they can get acquainted with your routine and empower themselves to derive information even without your knowledge. There have been cases of users’ personal data being breached – like their gender, age, phone number, location and other potential information – which is later collated and sold.
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that in-app ads in smartphones are one of the key players in this harvesting of data.
There are many shady apps available on app stores, that are designed to retrieve the unique ID number of each phone. Eventually, personal information given out during registrations for apps is matched with the Unique ID thus compiling a full-fledged profile of the user is compiled, which is then sold to companies, for marketing purposes.
What makes this even more convoluted is that App developers voluntarily accept in-app ads, for monetary gains. Frequent usage of a particular app provides information about a user’s likes and dislikes, thus creating a bait for in-app-ad companies to advertise products in the likes of the user.
None of this is fair. And the fact that it is unknown to most users only makes the matters worse. Security should be the major agenda of any and all app developers.
Banking apps are often the favorites of any hacker. This is obviously, thanks to the financial gain at play. But those aren’t the only targets. There are many more.
Targeting of applications for data can be done in various ways.
One would be the example of WhatsApp, the messenger service run by Facebook that recently switched to a 256-bit encryption which promises 100% security to its user and the conversation made. The exchanges that happen over this supposedly secure system are backed up to a server online and reside there for a period much longer than they would in your device. This results in automatic storage of a user’s data on a server, which has it’s own security problems going on.
This kind of storage can also be on a cloud. One exhibit of this is the automatic storage of User’s data on iCloud (for iOS users) and Google platform (for Android users). Every scrap of information and data generated using the smartphone is automatically backed-up into these storage platforms.
However, these supposedly-safe platforms for the storage of data have been proven unsafe.. Take for instance the leak of private images of Actress Jennifer Lawrence from her iCloud account. Following the leak, a wave of such cases was reported and Apple had to take measures to make the storage platform more secure and strong.
A recent experiment by a team of experts at Jots, “tested 110 popular, free Android and iOS apps to look for apps that shared personal, behavioral, and location data with third parties”.
The results were quite alarming and bizarre.
73% of Android apps shared personal information such as email address with third parties, and 47% of iOS apps shared geo-coordinates and other location data with third parties. That is almost three-fourth of the android apps and about half of the iOS apps that have been caught adding to this menace.
Reports said that an alarming 93% of the tested apps were connected to a hideous domain, safemovedm.com. Chances are, these stats are the mere tip of the iceberg.
Apple maybe the epitome of quality and safety, but even with such advanced technology as Google may possess, there seem to be gaps. Compared to iOS, Google’s Play Store does not have an impressive track record – and that stems from the fact that unlike Apple’s grit and determine there have been no sustained steps or procedures on Google’s part to check the relevance and safety of Apps before making them available in the Google Play Store.
This could probably be because unlike Apple, Google does not have many filters or strict controlling system that app developers need to clear before officially having their app in the store. Android apps are available even on uncertified platforms. Since Apple’s App Store is a centralized point of distribution, it provides users with confidence that the apps they download have been tested, certified and validated by Apple. Therefore, Apple’s App Store is near-100% malware-free and invulnerable to viruses.
Perhaps you’d now ask how is all this not illegal, and how do they keep doing it? Well, it is not illegal as long as they (app developers) put their data sharing or data mining intent somewhere in the fine print of the Terms and Conditions of the application.
Yes, the same one we barely pay any attention to! So, even though we might love the idea of sitting back with the how could they do this attitude, the onus of it also lies partially on us, our choice to be ignorant, and letting ourselves be abused.
So I’m advising that you stop believing the poster-boy persona that these companies keep putting out, look past the gloss! Wouldn’t you rather be safe, and have your privacy, than be blissfully unaware?!
So, the next time, prior to downloading an app, remember to:
As Blackberry works to revive it’s once-legendary brand, it’s going down two different paths – letting out it’s legendary security platform to other enterprises, and embracing Android firmly, for what may well be it’s (BlackBerry’s) final salvo in handset production.
It’s this second initiative that has us interested. BlackBerry’s just released another device with it’s trademark QWERTY physical keyboard that used to once upon a time be synonymous with the Blackberry brand name.
Called BlackBerry KEYone, this new smartphone seems to be a combination of a big screen device (an ode to contemporary market trends), with a physical keyboard from BlackBerry’s old-school phones.
First up, you should read our write up about the device, available here.
Second, the verdict (since most of you will be eager to get to that aspect first) – the device is a fairly solid product, really!
The physical QWERTY keypad is brilliantly made – the keys are the perfect combination of soft, and tactile. The individual keys may appear to be a bit smaller than most would like, but that’s only a initial experience, during the teething phase. Once your hands settle in on the phone, your thumbs find their exact spots fairly quickly.
The phone comes with a 4.5 inch touchscreen display which is kind of a perfect in-between size (between a 4 inch small phone, and the 5.5 inch large-screen layout of most phablets).
The device is powered by a mid-level (but quite adequate) Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM. Smartly done, the KEYone runs on the latest Android version, the 7.1 Nougat.
Clearly, the KEYone has a screen larger than older Blackberry devices, which is kind of an experiment, I think – to find the sweet spot that BlackBerry is still trying to establish for it’s current line of “hybrid” phones.
Many sites belabour the fact that Blackberry’s place in the market has been on the way down over the past several years, to a point where it almost seemed dead. We have always differed.
If there is one thing that no one can ever, ever brand BlackBerry with – is helplessness. BlackBerry never sits in a corner, wringing it’s hands, or cowers away from trying new things.
One of the grittiest brands ever, BlackBerry has astonished many, many people with it’s desire to try and reinvent itself, and even attempting pivots – finding things in it’s immense arsenal, to bootstrap it’s way back to high ground, and to keep it’s hardware business going.
With this device, and the nostalgia that Blackberry seems to be trying to invoke, the company seems to be planning to return to branding their devices as business phones.
They’re positioning this device as easy to use, comfortable to type and scroll on, blessed with good battery life – all of it with the very famous security and privacy that no other company has been able to topple.
The company didn’t shy away from emphasizing the security of the device. “At BlackBerry, we live and breathe security. Security has been engineered into the entire manufacturing process, throughout the hardware and of course the software“, said Alex Thurber, the General Manager of BlackBerry’s Mobility Solutions unit.
What is perhaps noteworthy is that the Blackberry KEYone, even though under the Blackberry brand name, is not a device that has been designed or produced in-house by the Canadian company. Back in December, the company had announced that they were halting all in-house smartphone production. Subsequently they signed a deal with the Chinese electronics brand TCL, giving them the rights to produce devices under the BlackBerry brand.
As per the deal, Blackberry will stay in control of the security on the devices, as well as the software, while TCL will produce Android-run devices. The KEYone is thus, the first BlackBerry device that this combination has brought to the market.
“The new BlackBerry portfolio has a chance of success because few companies now offer BlackBerry-style design and features, and the productivity-focused smartphone segment is underserved“, said Ian Fogg, Head of Mobile at research firm IHS.
The phone certainly makes it feel like BlackBerry is back, and all set for the competition!
HTC has been in the news for quite long as there were rumours about the three U-series smartphones in its pipeline. Ahead its official launch on January 12, popular tipster and ROM developer @LlabTooFer made public, HTC’s codenames that were being used for the three devices which are HTC Alpine, HTC Ocean Note and HTC E66.
Now that two of these three smartphones have launched on January 12, we can put all the rumours to rest and see what all HTC’s offering through these new devices.
HTC Alpine a.k.a. HTC U Play
HTC U Play sports a 5.2-inch Full-HD display (1080p) with a MediaTek Helio 64-bit octa-core processor and 4 GB RAM. Memory is expandable up to a whopping 2 TB via microSD card. In terms of software, the device runs on Android Nougat with HTC Sense, offering Google Assistant as well.
For the shutterbug in you, the HTC U Play boasts of a 16 megapixel rear camera which comes loaded with BSI sensor, Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stablisation and f/2.0 aperture. Further, it supports Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps.
The U Play caters well to selfie aficionados too, as it boasts of a 16 megapixel front camera that comes bundled with UltraPixel mode, BSI sensor and f/2.0 aperture. Just like the rear camera, the secondary camera also supports Full HD 1080p video recording.
The device is sustained by a 2,500 mAh battery enabled with fast charging support (5V/2A) that can offer up to 15 hours of talk-time and up to 427 hours of standby time. Cool!
The 4G VoLTE-enabled HTC U Play will hit the shelves somewhere in mid-March and the 64 GB storage variant will be available for INR 40,000 in Blue, Black, Pink, and White colour variants.
HTC Ocean a.k.a. HTC U Ultra
The HTC U Ultra sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560×1,440 pixels) Super LCD display along with a secondary 2-inch display with 1040×160 pixels resolution in the same manner as found in LG V20. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
Under the hood, the U Ultra is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset paired with 4 GB of RAM.
In India, the U Ultra has been launched in its 64 GB inbuilt storage variant and sadly there will be no 128 GB variant here. Just like U Play, the storage can be expanded up to 2 TB.
Camera-wise, the HTC U Ultra comes endowed with a 12 UltraPixel rear camera with 1.55-micron pixels, a BSI sensor, laser + phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation, an f/2.8 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. For all your video chat needs, the device boasts a 16 megapixel camera with an UltraPixel mode, and a BSI sensor.
The 4G-enabled HTC U Ultra will be available from March 6 in Blue, Black, Pink, and White colour options for INR 60,000.
Things common to the U Ultra and U Play
Both phones come bundled with a one-year insurance that covers liquid as well as physical damage to the smartphones.
Both, HTC U Play and HTC U Ultra utilise USonic technology to deliver high quality audio. Additionally, the phones also pack a pair of USonic earphones, which can detect sonic pulses and adjust the audio accordingly to match each user’s unique ear architecture.
Another USP that the devices share is the Sense Companion feature, which is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system that, basis the user’s daily routine, figures out recommendations and suggestions. The voice-assisted virtual-assistant will in some ways, be similar to Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S Voice.
But to delineate itself, HTC has gone a step ahead and has claimed that its virtual assistant has the potential to make suggestions just on the basis of user’s calendar or preferences.
HTC E66 a.k.a. HTC One X10
The HTC One X10 is the only smartphone that is still under a shroud of secrecy, since HTC hasn’t outed it yet.
Well, on the basis of previous reports and leaks, this is expected to be a phablet that sports a 5.5-inch display with a Full-HD resolution. Under the hood, the device is expected to be powered by an octa-core 1.9 GHz MediaTek MT6755V/C Helio P10 processor, supported by the Mali T860 graphics processing unit. On the storage front, this device is expected to offer 3 GB RAM coupled with 32 GB of built-in storage.
The cameras on the One X10 are expected to be 16.3 megapixel on the rear and an 8 megapixel unit on the front.
Details about the availability of One X10 aren’t out as yet but we do have a price group in which to place the device. This smartphone is rumoured to be about CNY 1,200 or INR 11,500 (approximately).
The pricing on this one places it in the mid-range smartphone bracket and it might be good enough to give a tough fight to similarly positioned offers from Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Meizu.
HTC struggled to leave its mark in the smartphone industry throughout 2016 despite delivering the HTC 10 which did decently well, but not well enough to dredge HTC out of it’s current slump.
All this clearly implies that HTC’s hopes are now hooked onto the U-series which might help it emerge victorious in this universe of Galaxies and Pixels.
HMD Global, the Finnish company that now owns the rights to use Nokia’s brand name on phones and tablets has decided to make 2017 grand for all the Nokia fans, as it is planning to launch new devices at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on February 26.
If you aren’t already excited, let me scale up the excitement for you, one of those four devices is the much loved Nokia 3310!
We make it sound as if it’s only about the Nokia 3310, however, that is not the case. There is an exciting line up of four devices which includes the global version of the now-successful Nokia 6.
The Nokia 6, if you recall, was launched exclusively in China on the 19th January and has enjoyed huge popularity in a short span of time.
Nokia 6, for the uninitiated, sports a 5.5-inch screen with Full HD resolution that’s protected by 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The device packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, X6 LTE modem, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage, 16 megapixel rear camera with phase detection auto focus, 8 megapixel front camera, dual speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and Android 7.0 Nougat running the show, phew!
Nokia 6 has very evident signs of borrowing some features from Apple’s iPhone 7 like the 2.5D screen and the antenna lines on the back. The phone launched at a price of 1,699 CNY (approx. INR 16,500) saw an unprecedented 1.4 million registrations by interested buyers, so much so, there aren’t enough devices to supply by the manufacturer!
Now it’s not only Nokia 6 that is going to make its global debut, Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 are also making news. Evan Blass, the famous tech-leakster, brought it to everyone’s attention that HMD Global is likely to manufacture two Android 7.0 Nougat devices – the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3, along with the global version of the Nokia 6.
There isn’t much that is out as yet about these devices, but as per reports, Nokia 5 is being labelled as a diluted version of Nokia 6 in terms of its specifications. It is expected to sport a 5.2 HD (720p) HD display, 2 GB RAM, and a 12 megapixel rear-facing shooter and will be somewhere near € 199 (~ INR 14,000). Nokia 6 as mentioned above as well sports better specs and thus comes at a slightly higher price of €249 (~ INR 17,500).
Unfortunately, the only information that is out in the open related to Nokia 3, a no frills, entry-level Android phone, is its price tag of €149 (~ INR 10,500). No other specs have been mentioned and the only thing that one could be sure of is the fact that the device will pack in Android 7.0 Nougat just like Nokia 5.
Well it does have competition from the Motorola phones to overcome in this price range.
The part of news that would excite a millennial and a 90’s kid, is the possibility of the relaunch of the Nokia 3310 – the utterly robust, long battery life phone with drop-dead hassle free design. Like its predecessor, this one will stick to the basics and will be sold for €59 (~ INR 4,000), standing in direct competition to low-end Android smartphones.
Nokia’s comeback in the smartphone market is constantly under the scanner and with devices like Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 it can definitely make a difference in the mid-range smartphone section.
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.
The odds of you reading this article on an HTC phone are about equal to the amount of time spent by someone on deciding which HTC handset to buy – almost next to nothing.
No, we are not subtly taking a dig at the Taiwanese phone brand here. We’re just being outright honest.
For some reason, HTC has just not found it’s stride in the smartphone’s world. What’s even more curious is that most people we know hold HTC in very high regard. But do they buy an HTC device when the time comes? Nope.
Somehow most of us also consider HTC not to be at blame for their downfall in the handset industry – HTC was one of the finest phone manufacturers in the game, dominating global feature phone markets, but unfortunately that was prior to the boom of the smartphone industry (which somewhat began in 2008).
HTC just didn’t get aboard the smartphone train for some reason. However it’s not at the behest of not trying (which sounds more like BlackBerry’s and Nokia’s approach) – they’ve tried hard, releasing multiple, beautifully crafted, almost iPhone-esque phones that were technically very sound too. But none managed to excite people enough to dip into their wallets.
Truly speaking, while HTC have not left any stones unturned in their attempt at getting back into the game, we believe they just need to change, to do more.
And they have. HTC’s upcoming ‘U series’ could be their trump card.
This series of devices has quite a lot on offer and literally does promise a lot. At the moment, it comprises two new phones – HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play.
The U Ultra flaunts a 5.7 inch screen while the latter’s is a bit smaller, measuring 5.2 inches. Though smaller in size, U Play carries almost the same features as U Ultra!
Both handsets under the U Series are enabled with company’s new Sense Companion. In simple terms, it is somewhat along same lines as Siri and Allo and serves the same purpose.
But, the similarity ends right about there, as HTC’s Sense Companion is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system which with time and daily usage patterns, learns your habits and thence provides relevant recommendations and suggestions.
Once set up, Sense Companion will automatically manage itself, mimicking a Virtual Personal Assistant, and supporting your diverse and spontaneous needs with equal ease.
Moving on, the U Ultra flaunts a brilliant secondary screen on the top of the regular – for notifications, or to see your recent contacts, view app shortcuts and more.
While maybe-just-maybe, this feature is inspired from LG’s V series, however knowing HTC, they’ll have do it better!
The HTC U Play lacks this feature probably because of its non-phablet screen size.
Both phones under the U series will have biometric voice recognition ability, making the phones more secure yet easier to use, by enabling the device to recognise and obey only the registered user’s voice commands. It also means that the user would not need to unlock their phone physically and just use the magic spells (password, obviously) to unlock the phone.
How diligently has HTC focused on catering to our laziness! Seriously though, this could be the solution to the issue that current fingerprint sensors present on cold days when our hands are snugly inside the warm gloves but we’re forced to de-glove to unlock and user our devices.
Clearly, this is may be enough to lure a few of us into buying the new U Ultra model, but there is more!
HTC has upped the game with a ridiculously-amazing USonic feature. Engineers and developers at HTC believe a person’s hearing capability is as unique as their fingerprint. Thus, both the phones flaunt USonic that analyses your inner ear using a sonic pulse, and then adapts audio output to the user’s need!
‘’It’s like having a sound engineer in your phone; now you can hear the details that you were missing’’, they say.
Another feature on the flamboyant U Ultra is the four-omni-directional, high-sensitivity based microphones set up that’s capable of recording sounds in 360 degrees, to give your vacatio and birthday videos a “real-life” feeling.
Tired? There’s yet more.
The camera boquet is another selling proposition on both phones.
U Ultra features a 12 megapixel Ultrapixel 2 rear camera with support for Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), Phase Detection- and Laser based autofocus and auto-HDR.
The front camera has a 16 megapixel sensor which can be switched into the Ultrapixel mode when required.
U Play flaunts almost exactly the similar camera specs, except the rear shooter is a16 megapixel unit minus the Laser auto-focus.
Hold that drool, sir!
Given the elaborate, detailed care HTC has put into its features, stating the basic specifications seems redundant but since its customary, I must.
Weighing a good 170 grams, the HTC U Ultra also contains 64 GB/128 GB of inbuilt storage options, expandable via microSD card (up to 2 TB), 4G LTE with VoLTE, GPS/ A-GPS, Bluetooth v4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, DLNA, Miracast, HTC Connect, an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, and gyroscope all of it backed up by a 3,000 mah battery.
On the other hand, the U Play weighs 145 grams and comes in two combos – 3 GB RAM/32 GB storage or 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage, 5.2-inch LCD display with Gorilla Glass, 4G LTE with VoLTE, GPS/ A-GPS, Bluetooth v4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, DLNA, Miracast, HTC Connect, an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, and gyroscope, just like U Ultra.
Okay, now I need a coffee!
HTC plans to launch both the phones sometime in March 2017 and sources confirm that U Ultra is priced at 750€ (approximately INR 54,000) and U Play is priced at 449€ (approximately INR 34,000).
On a final note, we regret taking a dig at HTC in the first place. We have always loved HTC, and have rooted for it to get a grip in the unforgiving smartphones market. We hope the U series provides HTC the traction it was missing!
Let us begin by addressing the elephant in the room.
What is Virtual Reality or VR?
People who are fond of tech stuff would not have an articulate definition of Virtual Reality, although they would be well acquainted with the concept. Well, we got your back, Jack!
Virtual Reality, is the creation of a simulated environment, by providing an experience to the user, via interacting with the 3D world, using computer aided technology.
Okay, in English: VR is the future of technology, and by extension of mankind.
But our primary concern here in this article is, is VR the future of HTC?
Is VR going to help the Taiwanese tech giant HTC rebound to the good old days, when it commanded the global smartphone market? Is HTC going to end their dry spell, and, is getting serious with VR going to serve them well?
Given the company’s streak with their products, anything and everything they bring out, needs to be a wild card from the deck. Else, oh captain, my Captain, you are rowing the boat the wrong direction!
HTC, entered the virtual reality market in April 2016, with their product HTC Vive, a virtual reality headset, in collaboration with Valve Corporation.
The product garnered a lot of attention, which helped them generate quite some revenue.
HTC Vive was a subtle note put out by HTC, which implied “we’ve not given up..”
Since then, the company has set a new benchmark in the VR Industry. In the months that followed, HTC invested a lot of time venturing and innovating in this nascent field of VR.
The release of new and improved products, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is a potential validation.
The first and foremost product HTC unveiled and which interested us the most, was the Vive Tracker. The device when attached to any real world object turns into a VR toy!
Vive Tracker is a small peripheral, just about the size of the head of a Vive controller but having all the same tracking points as a controller.
The Tracker puts almost every gamer’s fantasies into life. The user could literally be using a baseball bat or a lawn mower to actually ward off the Zombies, by integrating the tracker with it’s peripherals. It is possible you missed your letter from Hogwarts, but you now have your own set of magic spells, bwoy!
However, one dangerous element that hovers around this hardware is the inevitable possibility of your granny or some other unsuspecting person taking a blow if you swing the ‘baseball bat’ while in full flow of the game! It is time to recall the wise words, “With more power comes, greater responsibilities”.
Vive Tracker weighs around 85 grams and is claimed to last for 5-6 hours on a charge.
The second interesting VR gadget HTC unveiled was a new head strap with integrated audio for a better fit. The Vive Deluxe Audio strap goes over the head and has a headset incorporated in it to provide a better and far more comfortable experience.
The design however, is probably inspired from Sony’s Playstation VR Headset.
Whatever be the case, compared to the predecessor, these Deluxe Audio straps are found to be more rigid and the audio band is expected to increase the sound quality.
Prices have not been announced for either of the new releases and both are expected to come out only in the second quarter of the year. Bummer!
Another bonanza by HTC for its VR audience, is the something on the lines of Netflix.
HTC is ready to release a subscription service for HTC Vive VR Headset. This service is to provide its subscribers content for their own devices without having to pay individually for each bit of content.
HTC is expected to release a month subscription, and also increase the content in the Viveport App Store.
Developers in particular, are expected to substantially gain from this. With proper plans put in place, if insufficient developers turn up, it could lead to disproportionately less content available, making the monthly subscription seem redundant to its user.
Looks like HTC is not leaving any stones unturned to get this working; because when and if it is a success, this could be a game-changer in the VR market.
A wireless upgradation to the VR Vive Headset might also be in cards for HTC. Given the ridiculous amount of advancements in technology, special attention has to be given to make the experience a luxurious one and HTC is on it. The most annoying part of a VR Headset are the wires, for it creates a mayhem and mess all together for the user. Stating the obvious, it binds the user’s movement to a certain area. Hence, the rumour that HTC is working on bringing a wireless tangle-free experience for its audience has many of us super-excited!
Are you are still waiting for a closure on whether HTC is going to gain from upping its game in the VR industry, seriously!
The aforementioned promises made by the company could be a real boon for them, provided financial aspect is also taken into consideration while launching them.
We hope HTC does not forget that any loopholes in the plan could lead them to the same fate they had with smartphones and smartwatches!
There are tons of productivity apps available on Play Store, that are aimed at helping users minimise their work load substantially while also helping users plan their lives better.
Some of the most popular productivity apps are Evernote, Outlook and Google Drive.
There’s a new one on the Store, which is a smart time-saving app released by Samsung.
Called Samsung Focus, it is an all-in-one productivity app, designed largely for the needs of business users who virtually spent a lot of time doing their share of labour on different apps. Focus brings together a lot of these complementary things like email, memos, calendar and contacts under one roof, enabling the user through a hassle-free, streamlined experience.
We’d written about Samsung Focus as far back as May 2016 when we’d heard it was coming to the Note 6 (which was before Samsung leapfrogged the numbering chrono for their Galaxy Note series and went directly to Note7). Well, we were right about the call.
Focus sports a lot of features including a tabbed interface, support for multiple accounts, even honours keywords, and does smart things like prioritising your notifications.
To start with, unlike other productivity apps, Focus is not complicated, nor complex-looking. The app flaunts a simple yet appealing and un-congested design. The main screen shows all of your upcoming events as well as some recent emails.
You can add calendar entries and manage invites, create memos about important tasks and more, right from there. The app has tabs that carry information which are synced to each other via a tabbed interface.
There is a universal search tab option available, that primarily is a search engine which exultantly digs out information from related parts of the phone.
As I used the app, I realised that Samsung has spent quite some time understanding the nuances of work life. In fact, the next feature of Focus I’m about to showcase clearly validates it.
Considering the widespread Notification Fatigue on smart devices today (thanks to the hundreds of apps, social platforms and increasingly-mobile-first nature of business), Focus helps reduce the clutter.
Focus actually provides a summarised list of your major notifications in an easy-to-read card-like UX that can be customised to your preference and whims. You can customise the notifications according to what you wish to see, and who from.
Your VIPs (bosses, customers and the spouse) can be flagged as Priority Contacts. Notifications of activity from these VIPs can be set to different alert levels and tones.
You could even choose to be notified only about the emails from contacts you’ve flagged as important, fencing yourself from all the unwanted mess of commercial publicity emails that amass every other minute. However, it is worth noting that only Exchange ActiveSync (“EAS”) IMAP/POP3 email addresses are supported by Focus.
Another smart feature in the app is the Keyword Setup. This feature essentially lets you choose a few keywords around which the notifications of emails revolve.
For example, if the desired keywords you’ve set are “important”, “meeting”, “trip”, you’ll receive specific notifications of emails carrying those words.
Essentially, it is just another way to prioritise your alerts, this time with Keywords.
While the primary/normal view of the app notifies you of you upcoming tasks, appointments, messages, it also does something else that most other apps don’t – helps you set up a conference call with an email. Conference calls can then be easily joined simply by clicking a single button.
Given that it has access to all this information about you, your preferences and importantly, your work, Samsung has been smart to ensure that the Focus app saves all the data it gathers/uses about your life on your device itself, and does not transmit it to any Servers or external repositories.
Samsung also clarified that Samsung Electronics never shares any User Data. “Samsung Focus does not operate any cloud servers. It connects only to the actual mail servers. It stores your account’s data on the device, and Samsung Electronics never access any user data“, the company clarifies in a note in the app’s Google Play Store listing.
Okay, if you’re wondering if the app is supported on all Android phones… well, the name is a dead giveaway! The app is only supported on Samsung phones – that too, only on those that run Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) or above, as their operating system. Bummer! Well, another reason for you to upgrade, I guess!
Some say Focus is an app that Samsung sought inspiration from the BlackBerry Hub. Fortunately enough (for Samsung), it’s not an outright copy – the BB Hub is mostly about messages (emails and texts), whereas Samsung Focus appears to be emphasising on all things “productivity”.
But I’ll admit, it does look a little familiar (*halo shining*)
While the roll-out of Android Nougat 7.0 is still underway, Google has already started rolling out the beta version of Nougat 7.1.1 for certain devices.
The Nougat 7.1.1 version was put out in the developer preview in November, and was subsequently released for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Nexus 6P, Google Nexus 5X, Google Nexus 9, Google Pixel tablet, the Nexus player and other General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices.
With the Nougat 7.1.1 update, Google is interestingly bringing some features that were initially seen only on the Pixel devices to the Nexus devices.
While Google has moved on, most other non-Google brands are still yet to roll out the Nougat 7.0 version entirely.
As budget smartphone brands, most of them Chinese, have been climbing up the charts for their products’ specs and capabilities, they all use heavily personalized versions of Android, to distinguish their products from the rivals in the market.
What this basically means for the users of these devices is that brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Gionee, Oppo, Vivo, Coolpad and LeEco, are almost always among the very last to roll out updates to their respective devices.
This time around, however, with Nougat 7.0, things seem to be a little different.
And it is good news, as Android Nougat brings several improvements over the older versions of Android for the users.
All this is very impressive. Android has historically be infamous for the glacial reach across brands. With the 7.0 update in the market for over a month now, and the 7.1.1 version already starting out, it stands to reason that updates should be rolling out even faster, as more and more companies seem ready to bring it to their devices.
For more information on if the update is yet available on your device or not, check for the update on your device, or stay tuned for more information.
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.
HTC had released the HTC Bolt exclusively on Sprint in the United States.
Now, they’ve announced the HTC 10 Evo, which is the same phone as the Bolt, but one that will be available for the U.K. and other regions.
This HTC Bolt has been the talk of the town for quite a while, for it’s specifications and setup.
The HTC 10 Evo is wrapped in a full metal unibody which is water-, splash- and dust-resistant, all credits to the IP57 ratings. However, this is a notch below the protection offered by Samsung on its Galaxy S7 and S7 edge with the IP 68 ratings or the IP 67 rating offered on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The 5.5 inch, 2560×1440 pixel screen is protected by Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass 5, which as per HTC is meant to provide protection to the device against various phone drops and smashing.
In fact, the Evo looks a lot like the HTC 10. The difference being that the newer device comes with a flat back instead of a curved one, simply because the larger framework was necessary to house the bigger, 5.5 inch Quad HD display, which in turn, provided HTC more room to pack in all the necessaries.
For the shutterbugs, the rear camera is a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and phase detection autofocus. And then there’s also a Manual mode which allows for complete control over your shots and provides you with an option to save the resultant file in a RAW format.
To serve all your selfie needs, there is an 8 megapixel front camera with an auto HDR mode. The physical home button on the HTC Evo serves as a fingerprint sensor which is claimed to unlock the device in a mere 0.2 seconds .The device houses a fast-charging 3,200 mAh battery to sustain all the functionality on the HTC 10 Evo.
HTC Evo runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and thus is capable of performing functions like split-screen view, free unlimited photo storage with Google Photos app, and inbuilt Google Duo video calling app.
The only decision made by HTC that looks a little surprising is the use of the dated Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 under the hood. While this is the version 2.0 or the Snapdragon 810 that was notoriously famous for heating issues with many smartphones, Qualcomm has fixed that issue in version 2.0 chipsets. Other than that, the device packs 3 GB of RAM which can be expanded up to 2 TB via microSD card.
Audio on HTC smartphones has always been a USP. This time, it seems HTC has also taken the hot controversial route of dropping the 3.5 mm audio jack and utilising the USB Type-C port instead to plug in the supplied earphones. In case of HTC Evo, the phone comes with a pair of BoomSound Adaptive Audio earphones that are capable of adjusting the sound being played according to various factors around you such as the structure of your ear or the environment that you currently inhabit. For instance, if you are travelling on metro and surrounded by a lot of noise of fellow passengers then these smart earphones will detect it and play back 24-bit hi-res audio files. Cool right?
HTC has always made audio a selling point of its phones, but like Apple, has taken the controversial decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone socket. This means utilizing the USB Type-C port to plug in a pair of supplied headphones, buying a new pair with the right connection, or choosing to go wireless with a set of Bluetooth headphones.
Just like the HTC Bolt, the HTC 10 Evo will be available in three color variants – Gunmetal, Silver, and Gold. The device is now available to pre-order in Taiwan from the HTC’s e-Store.
Fun Fact: This is the first time that HTC is selling the device online only. This in itself is quite a daunting task for a company like HTC which has benefitted from its relationship with carrier partners in the past.
The HTC 10 Evo has been priced at TWD 17,990 (approximately INR 38,500) for the 32 GB variant while the 64 GB variant has been priced slightly higher at TWD 19,900 (approximately INR 43,000).
The company website confirms that the HTC 10 Evo will start shipping in Taiwan from November 28. However, for all those in India who are eagerly waiting for the arrival of this smartphone there is no word regarding when and what price the smartphone will be available in India.
We’ll let you know as we hear more about this device.
Huawei is said to have been working on P10, the much awaited successor to it’s P9 flagship for a while now.
The Huawei P9 turned a lot of heads and landed in many hands this year.
A few days ago some photos were spotted floating on the internet, that teased us with the supposed P10, and, one can safely say that it certainly comes with distinct changes.
Huawei, a Chinese brand that not many had really heard of in the International waters, has made quite a name for itself in the smartphone world in the last couple of years. It has done so by offering devices with premium build quality and some great specs, for rock-bottom prices compared to it’s many competitors.
All this has enabled Huawei devices to garner serious consideration with lesser post-purchase dissonance.
The company usually announces it’s incoming P-series flagship smartphones in April every year, and the Mate-series in the last quarter of the year. With the last Mate launch out of the way, all eyes are now on the P10 launch.
Can The Success Of P10 Be Predicted Based On The Performance Of Its Predecessor, The Huawei P9?
Some images recently appeared on Weibo, showing what they claim are an engineering sample of the Huawei P10 in a Rose Gold colour.
While it seems to have features similar to P9, there seem to be some changes.
One significant change would be the fingerprint sensor. The Huawei P9 has its fingerprint sensor mounted on to the back, however the alleged leaks show that the P10 might have a front-mounted fingerprint sensor just below the screen, where the usual home button is on most phones.
What might also be interesting is that it is speculated that this ‘home button’ for the P10 might not function as a physical home button, but mimic a capacitative home button (like on the iPhones 7). Huawei did put a fingerprint sensor on the front in their special edition Mate 9 Porsche Design model, perhaps to test the waters out for the P10.
The leaked photos also show that the Huawei P10 might also have a dual curved display, a design that looks quite similar to the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design unit, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge.
Will the P10 come in two variants; one of them a regular flat screen while the other boosting a dual-curved screen? Tough to say, at this time.
Leaked renders do present a flat solid metal unibody design with a dual camera setup on the rear and as with the P9, the camera sensors and flash seem to be positioned at the top within the antenna band. Details about the camera are not too clear yet, however we have our ear to the ground and will keep you posted.
The Huawei P10 is rumoured to have a 5.5 inch quad HD display, with the Huawei Kirin 960 SoC processor, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB/256 GB of storage. On the software side, the handset will be running Android 7.0 Nougat (maybe even 7.1) with the Huawei-personalised interface EMUI v5.0 running on top.
Given the Huawei brand, we can also expect lower priced variants of the device, with lesser RAM and storage to be released over time.
Going by the release schedule Huawei resorted to in 2016, we can expect the device to be out sometime in April 2017.
We will keep you posted on the specs as we gather them, do read our articles on all the other smartphones to be launched in 2017. It promises to be a busy year.
Huawei on November 3rd launched two of its Mate 9 variants in Munich – the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche design and the pure Mate 9.
Well, Huawei believes that with the Mate 9 Porsche Design, the customers would in for a refined, luxurious user experience.
First, let me just break the price of the Mate 9 Porsche Design and then go on to the features that make it ‘amazing’. The limited edition, designer smartphone will be available exclusively in a Graphite Black colour and is priced at EUR 1,395 (roughly Rs. 1,03,000).
Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group, also quoted while launching both the new devices (though his comment was mainly for the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design smartphone), “We identified a new type of luxury consumer is emerging. One who needs a smartphone that matches the special demands of their successful, global lifestyles. Porsche Design is synonymous with excellence in innovation, unique design and perfection. The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 sets a new benchmark in design and performance and delivers a revolutionary smartphone experience that will enhance even the fastest-paced business and personal lifestyles”.
Let’s see what he’s on about.
The specifications on the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design are evidently superior and more powerful than on the vanilla Huawei Mate 9. The Porsche Design sports a 5.5 inch QHD display with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels and a pixel density of 534 ppi as opposed to the larger 5.9 inch Full HD display with a pixel resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and 373 ppi pixel density on the Mate 9.
The internal memory on the Porsche Design is a gargantuan 256 GB which is way more than Mate 9 at 64 GB. The RAM in Porsche Design is of 6 GB which is powerful enough to support a mini-server grade PC.
There are a lot of similarities between the two devices too.
Huawei Mate 9 and the Mate 9 Porsche Design use the Hisilicon Kirin 960 octa-core processor and same Mali G71MP8 graphics processor. Both the smartphones come with the same Android version – Android Nougat. Both come with a fingerprint sensor.
In fact, if one sits down to write out the common specs on both the devices a lot of the spec sheet would look identical. Even the battery that sustains them is exactly the same – a 4,000 mAh unit with a fast charge feature that supports quick charging in limited time.
The star highlight on this Mate 9 Series duo is the dual camera setup which is a pretty common feature found on high-end phones these days. That said, the cameras in Huawei Mate 9 duo are fairly top-end. The rear camera with 20 megapixels is the primary camera which comes with a monochrome colour sensor though the secondary rear end camera is a 12 megapixel shooter and can support the RGB colour spectrum. The cameras come with Leica Optics and support Phase Detection Auto-Focus, laser auto-focus, dual LED flash, and multiple other smartphone photography modes. The front camera for the selfies is an 8 megapixel unit.
Huawei Mate 9 is available in an abundance of colours: Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White, Black and is priced at Euro 699 (~ INR 51,266).
There is no official news about the Indian launch date of these devices. In fact, when one reflects upon the kind of limited elite niche users that the phone targets, it is highly unlikely that Huawei would launch its Mate 9 Porsche Design costing over 1 lakh in India, anytime soon.
On the launch of these devices in Munich, Richard Yu, Chief Executive of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, expressed his desire to become the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones in two years. In the third quarter of 2016, Huawei was the world’s third-largest smartphone maker with 33.6 million shipped devices that constitutes a 9% market share as per research firm Strategy Analytics.
If this tremendous performance is taken into consideration then definitely Huawei is on its way to become the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones in two years.
Not just that, Huawei also intends to compete with Apple which is currently ahead with 45.5 million devices. “We are going to take them (Apple) step-by-step, innovation-by-innovation“, Yu said, adding that he expected to improve Huawei’s position along the lines of technology shifts.
When was the last time you saw someone carrying an HTC mobile phone? When was the last time you owned an HTC handset?
A lion’s share of people would probably answer “A long time back” for both the questions posed. That’s probably because the master of the game, is not what it used to be. HTC did adopt loads of changes over the years, in order to regain some of it’s popularity, but as the dismal sales figures suggest, the changes didn’t really work in their favour.
HTC Corporation, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company, was founded in 1997. Known under varying tags in the realm of electronic gadgets for its original manufacturing designs and quality looks, HTC was the company that created the world’s first touch and handheld devices, – remember the XDA?
It was also the creator of the first touchscreen Smartphone – HTC Touch, and also the immaculate brains behind the first Android phone.
A list of HTC’s technological firsts:
* First Windows PDA (1998)
* First Windows Phone (June 2002)
* First 3G CDMA EVDO smartphone (October 2005)
* First gesture-based smartphone (June 2007)
* First Google Android smartphone (October 2008)
* First 4G WiMax smartphone (November 2008)
HTC’s credentials don’t end here, but any more additions would only catalyse the sorrow we’re going to feel when we, further, talk about it’s downfall.
It is very likely that you may have owned an HTC Desire device some time after 2010. The phones seemed the best of their time. But smartphones are a tricky business.
It’s a given, that HTC makes quality handsets with insanely good designs but as the saying goes “The cookie doesn’t sell itself”.
There are many factors that govern the entry of a smartphone into the Top 10 list, the number of days it would remain in the market, and then it fading from the consumers wandering eyes.
While HTC focused on delivering quality products, it’s rival brands focused on propagating their worth with lower prices, powerful specifications with catchier designs, and with ridiculously huge marketing budgets.
One such brand is Samsung. The smartphone market’s fuse was lit around 2010 and Samsung was the key player then, beating HTC hands-down, for years at end.
HTC’s market share of shipments in 2008 was 5% compared to Samsung’s 3.6% but by the end of 2012, Samsung witnessed a growth of 30.3% in comparison to next-to-nothing increase of HTC to 6%.
Samsung, was clearly the Pac-man sweeping away points with its inexpensive handsets combined with competent features. The boon of Samsung’s empire was conspicuously evident, and so was the annihilation of HTC.
Another convincing reason which threw HTC off its course, was the astronomical ad budgets that rival companies resorted to, to campaign their products. The insane amount of money that the OEMs shell out to this day, is enough to start HTC all over again.
A look into the data given out by CNET, gives us a clear picture of the situation. In 2013, Samsung spent approximately USD 363 million for marketing – in the U.S. alone!
High-profile gadget making lord, Apple was not behind, shelling out USD 351 million on their marketing.
Compared to the mammoth budgets of these companies, HTC spent “only” USD 75 million in the entire year.
“You’ll have to sell the tree with the fence, mate“.
The saddest part of the HTC downfall saga, is that it witnessed it’s peak too early – much before the smartphone market began it’s golden era, in 2011.
Till then, HTC was clearly the undisputed king, ever since the launch of the first Android phone in collaboration with Google in 2008. But at that time, the smartphone industry was only expanding modestly.
HTC 10, the latest release from HTC, in 2016, was yet another benchmark in quality. It thus landed among the top 10 phones of 2016. But… once again, it is a high-profile phone with luxurious touch, costing nearly INR 38,000 in the Indian market. Clearly, it isn’t a budget phone and only a minuscule proportion of the mobile enthusiasts would want to own it as choices in the same OS range from Samsung to Google itself. So while it was lauded for it’s design, materials, and even it’s performance, it didn’t land in too many pockets.
Business Insider India stated, “HTC’s stock has sunk so low that its entire market capitalization is now worth less than the cash it has in the bank“. In simpler terms, acquiring the shares of HTC would cost you less than the money HTC has in its bank.
To put it in an even more bluntly, stock of HTC is worthless.
Therefore, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Should HTC continue to risk their game and if so, is it worth it ?
Inferring from what we have till now, HTC should take their lowering numbers as a cue to put an end to their mobile division and by extension, to the continued misery of the failure of their quality products. Figures don’t lie. Take note, learn from BlackBerry!
Google’s new smartphone duo, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are shaking up a storm in the blogsphere before they’ve even hit the marketplace.
The palpable excitement is not surprising in the least – how it’s going to actually perform, especially with Google rebranding their Nexus series, is more or less a no-brainer given that Google has been running Android (the world’s foremost platform for smart devices) for eons, and sponsoring Nexus devices for ages,
But the Pixels are the first smartphones ever to solitarily bear the tech giant’s name on them, so there’s a lot of curiosity around them.
Before we delve into what makes the Pixel duo special, let’s first get a run down on the devices.
Furthering a trend started by Apple (of releasing two similar devices of different sizes), Google launched Pixel and Pixel XL. And contrary to Apple’s way of separation of powers across the devices, Google’s decided to keep things simple, by making them near-identical despite the differences in sizes.
The Pixel has a 5 inch Full HD AMOLED display with a respectable 441 pixels per inch, while the Pixel XL (a phablet) has a 5.5 inches with a more sensible Quad HD AMOLED display with an appreciable 534 pixels per inch pixel density.
Both phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 chips, trumping most other flagships from the first half of the year as they all carried the previous, 820 version.
The duo feature a 12.3 megapixel rear camera; both have 4 GB of RAM and come with 32 GB and 128 GB onboard storage variants. For those sore from Apple’s elimination of the jack, the Pixels both have headphone jacks!
So what’s the difference between the two? Not much.
Aside from the screen size, they differ on battery, with the XL version having a larger battery at 3,450 mAh while the smaller sibling has a 2,700 mAh power source. You can expect up to 7 hours of battery life with 15 minutes of charge time using Pixel’s fast charging technology.
The phone will survive you the day, but it might die an hour or half sooner than the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7.
They both have a fingerprint scanner for security, which notably is on the back of the devices and not the front, unlike other popular flagship smartphones.
Now, moving past the specs (especially since they’re becoming boring and repetitive – at a time when virtually every high-end device in the market sports near-replica spec-sheets), let’s showcase what makes the Pixel duo different.
First off, (and clearly the biggest draw), the phones come enabled with Google’s own Artificial Intelligence (AI) based assistant called, well, Assistant.
Assistant enables the device(s) to specifically respond to the owner based on what it knows about her – things like her app preferences, frequent locations, tastes and usage history to ultimately provide relevant information in response to questions or instructions, with hope that this will enable Assistant to be a better butler than Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.
Google’s idea is to leverage all their (Google’s and Pixel’s) knowledge to serve the owner contextually and accurately.
Of the four big names in the world of AI, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, Google has maintained a lead on this, more often than not. With the AI on this new smartphone, Google’s claim is that it can carry forward a two-way conversation, meaning that you can ask it compound questions, conversationally and maintain that conversation, instead of just issuing instructions through discontinuous commands.
While it doesn’t seem too big of a leap in theory—‘Where is the Statue of Liberty and how old is it?’ should be an easy question to answer for an AI assistant—in practice it really is!
Real life use yields that the Assistant has not been perfected it, yet. While with easier conversations, like say about the weather, or about directions, it is fairly good, but with more complex conversations, say about restaurants, and movies, it fumbles through.
What might also be a concern for those concerned with privacy and security is that the Assistant records all your searches and even your location (the key to disabling that is buried deep inside the Search app settings), something that Apple’s more popular Siri does not do.
Adding to the mix, is the view from some critics who say that the assistant is dumber than they expected it to be, but Google claims that it will get better with time, something we all would like to see happen.
Second off, the phones ship with Android Nougat 7.1 out of the box and notably are the first phones to do so. Reportedly, the software updates are seamless and quick, and Google says the phones will continue receiving them for at least two years. (A rollout for Android N has recently started for other devices).
Since Google licenses their operating system to smartphone companies from all over the world (including one of their biggest competitions in the market, Samsung), and these companies then manipulate, or shall we say tweak, the system according to their own devices and needs, the stock version of Android is hard to find. For people who are fans of Android, this is a great device in terms of bringing the original forward, especially for those who are already hooked on Google’s suite of applications, from maps, photos, emails, to document editing apps.
With a starting price of $650, in league with the competition, the device would make for an attractive bid.
Well, not to be too harsh on Samsung, but all the phones needed to do to beat the legendary Note7, was to not spontaneously burst into flames. Sadly, (or well excitingly for Google) with the latest spontaneous burst reports from Australia, that might also be a criteria to beat Apple’s iPhone 7 now (if the incident in Australia was a lone wolf or part of a series, we will find out soon enough). One thing is for sure, that the absence of a competing device from Samsung from the last three months would work quite well for the Pixels (we have to rely on Samsung Galaxy S7 for the competition now).
Third USP, the camera. When compared with those in Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, Pixels’ camera does do better in low light situations. The photos have more dynamic range and color saturation.
Plus the Pixels come with unlimited cloud storage of full-resolution photos and video. Which means that you can easily remove photos from your device to make room on your phone with automatic and manual options.
The iPhone 7 Plus with its second lens does beat the Pixels’ camera, though when it comes to picture quality.
After Google’s repeated claims as to the best ever camera, it is a little disappointing to not offer ground-breaking or drool-worthy features in the devices, apart from the camera. The hardware seems to be around the market standard. The device is not water resistant, though it can survive water sprays. But Samsung Galaxy S7 and Apple iPhone 7 survive dives in water so Google might want to buck up.
The Snapdragon 821, though widely cheered, seems to be falling a little short of Apple’s contemporary A10, in aggressive testing. It also lacks Optical Image Stabilization, a telephoto lens, weather resistance, support for wide color gamut and stereo speakers.
For an Android comparison, it also lacks support for SD cards, something that virtually every Android device provides.
The bottom line is that Google’s reasoning for making its own phone has always and always been the software. The Pixels excel at that without a doubt, but buying the phones for anything else might not be such a great idea, given that they both are a sizable monetary investment (given their launch prices). The hardware does complement the software quite well, but it isn’t something that will make you wonder in awe.
Google, to my mind has missed the boat on this one. And like a colleague of mine at Chip-Monks, I get the feeling that the Pixels were intended to have launched earlier (2014, maybe early 2015) but got delayed. Now, when they’re seeing the light of day, the world has moved on.
We’re excited about Nokia, after a long, long time.
We wrote about the rumours around the the release of three smartphones by Nokia – two high-end flagship phones and one mid-range affordable device dubbed as D1C, last week.
Well, we were wrong. We aren’t wrong too often, but even though we are this time, we don’t really mind.
Not only us, but many tech enthusiast and industry specialists have been toying with this presumption for a quite a while. Yet, it turns out, that Nokia is not making its comeback to the smartphone market with a smartphone!
Well, do not be disappointed with this news because on the other side of the coin – the Finnish tech company is returning to the market with its D1C Android tablet (suggested previously as the smartphone).
Earlier, benchmark listing websites GeekBench and AnTuTu had reports mentioning the release of a smartphone called D1C running on Android 7.0 Nougat and Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor coupled with 3 GB RAM, however the recent updates by GeekBench, posted by famous leakster Steve Hemmerstoffer, make it evident that D1C is, in fact, a tablet having a huge 13.8 inch screen with 1080p resolution.
Other features on the Nokia D1C include an 8 megapixel 1080p selfie camera for your beatific video calls along with a 16 megapixel 1080p rear camera.
In line with the previous reports, the Nokia D1C will run on entry-level Snapdragon 430 chipset (8x Cortex-A53, Adreno 505), Adreno 505) and have 3 GB of RAM with 16 GB storage running Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box.
The Nokia D1C is being seen as a competitor to Samsung’s 18.4 inch Galaxy View tablet and Alcatel’s Xess. Expected to be priced at the same bracket as the Samsung Galaxy View (expected price INR 35,000) and thus more expensive than the Alcatel Xess (expected price INR 29,999.
However, it should be kept in mind that the speculations about the price are entirely based on rumour and leaks, and nowhere near sanctimonious fact.
Other details about the upcoming Nokia Android tablet are not available yet.
Now, the question that arises is “Is Nokia making a right move by launching D1C?”
With D1C, it seems that Nokia is perhaps aiming at an Android-based home entertainment device.
And on the other hand, a very strong belief that Nokia seems to bank on is that it enjoys a strong sense of nostalgia attached to its brand name and it’s proven track record with durable and solid devices.
Given that tablets aren’t doing well in the market at this time, least of Android ones, it seems like a good place to enter, if the product is right and positioned correctly.
On another note, Nokia is also expected to unveil two high-end flagship phone having a 5.2 and 5.5-inch Quad HD displays with the Snapdragon 820 processor, a 22.6 megapixel rear camera, and 4K video recording support.
Both these devices might have AMOLED displays with Nokia’s Z-launcher flavored Android Nougat, Snapdragon 820 SoC (which we are hoping Nokia pushes up to Snapdragon 821 chipset).
As far as the build and design are concerned, the phones might come with an all-metal body and IP68 Waterproof and Dustproof protection, making the phone sturdier like its ancestors.
Till Nokia comes out and announces things officially, all we can do is hang around with the rumors and wait for the official release.
Nokia has witnessed one heck of a roller coaster ride in terms of its business in the past couple of years. Be it the acquisition by Microsoft in 2013 or the re-acquisition by HMD Global this year. Adding fuel to ignominy, Nokia’s sales saw an all-time low in 2013 as it struggled with its once-preferred Symbian OS and even Android-OS based-smartphones.
However, it seems things are getting back on track for Nokia, as after a very long time there are reports floating around about the release of three smartphones by Nokia – two high-end flagship phones and one mid-range affordable device (a new addition).
Not just that, these phones will run on the latest version of Android, Nougat.
Now this looks like an interesting and powerful comeback!
The Mid-Range Affordable Smartphone – D1C
If a benchmark listing on GeekBench is to be believed, then the (internally captioned) Nokia D1C would run on Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor, with an Adreno 505 GPU, and is coupled with 3 GB RAM and Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box (and we really hope that Nokia does not add a skin and keeps it close to stock Android for a better and richer experience, unlike last time).
This benchmark listing didn’t provide an information about the display size or resolution of the screen, nor the cameras; but the mere fact that Nokia is being loyal to its roots and is working on a budget smartphone is a delight in itself.
As you may know, the Snapdragon 430 SoC runs on eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.4 GHz and the chipset is capable of supporting display resolution up to Full-HD, so this is something which can be expected out of the phone in correspondence with the display size.
This further implies that a 21 megapixel camera (tops) could find its way on the phone as 21 megapixel camera modules are supported with 1080p 30FPS video recording.
Also, this would be the first Nokia smartphone that would roll out under the HMD Global and Foxconn (FIH) partnership.
Connectivity options on D1C are said to include dual-SIM 4G LTE support, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE.
Another benchmarking site, AnTuTu has some more masala to add to the saga of speculations as it revealed that the phone will come with a 13 megapixel primary camera with flash and an 8 megapixel front-facing camera. The optics are thus expected to be good. It is being speculated that the phone will have 32 GB internal memory which is expandable via microSD card.
Since D1C is a mid-range phone therefore high-quality lenses Carl Zeiss and Pure View won’t be making their way into this smartphone.
In keeping with the previous Nokia phones, it is expected that the exterior of the phone will be tough and durable. The company might also bring out a thin device to keep up with the existing trend. But expecting a superior battery life would be too much on this device.
Probably, Nokia is saving a host of specifications and internals for the two high end phones.
Two Anonymous High-end Flagship Phones
There are said to be two phones in the mix at Nokia, with different specifications and at different price bands. Some of the expected and rumoured specifications include 5.5 -inch 2k HD display in the larger model vs a 5.2-inch 2k HD display in the smaller model. Both these devices might have AMOLED displays.
Both the phones might have Nokia’s Z-launcher flavored Android Nougat, Snapdragon 820 SoC, which we are hoping Nokia pushes up to Snapdragon 821 chipset.
As far as the build and design are concerned, the phones might come with an all-metal body and IP68 Waterproof and Dustproof protection, making the phone sturdier like its ancestors.
The phones might also come with fingerprint scanners, 32 GB & 64 GB internal storage options.
The price bracket that is being pinned down by the rumours is in the bracket of USD 400-500 for these high end phones.
Well, only time to come will tell what solidifies and sees the day of the light. Till then, we can just hang around with the speculations and wait for the official release.
At its hardware launch event in San Francisco today, Google unveiled its new Chromecast Ultra, a streaming dongle that pairs with your phone and plugs into your TV to deliver 4K video-content.
The successor to last year’s 2nd Generation Chromecast, the new Chromecast Ultra also supports high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Vision output, so you should see improved contrast and lighting effects in videos!
The Chromecast Ultra will be released in the US in November 2016 at $69, double the price of its predecessor and will thereafter be made available in 15 countries around the world.
The Chromecast Ultra will be able to stream 4K content from YouTube, Netflix, and Vudu at launch, with films from Google Play Movies gaining support in November.
HDR content — both HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats are supported by the Ultra.
Google says the Ultra is its fastest Chromecast, regardless if you have a 4K TV or not and thanks to improved Wi Fi connectivity, loading videos 1.8 times faster than the standard Chromecast. The company is also including an Ethernet port on the power adapter for users whose Wi-Fi connections may not be able to handle 4K streams.
The design of the Ultra is very similar to the standard Chromecast – a flat hockey-puck design however with the ” G” logo instead of the Chrome badge, and a small attached HDMI cord allowing the device to easily hide behind your TV.
You can still mirror content from your Android phone and laptop, it will work in concert with Google Home. As mentioned earlier, and it bears repeating, the new Chromecast Ultra has an Ethernet port integrated into the power adaptor for increased connectivity options.
The device can be controlled hands-free when paired with the company’s Home voice-activated hub; you can fire up YouTube and (soon) Netflix content just by asking for whatever you want to watch, or check out photos from your library.
On the whole though, we at Chip-Monks think that the new device will be a hard sell, given that the only real upgrade that the Chromecast Ultra brings is higher resolution output. For that price, you can score Xiaomi’s new 4K-capable Android TV-based streaming box, which not only includes a full OS that supports a range of interactive apps, but also comes with a handheld remote that accepts voice commands.
And of course, there’s Apple’s new Apple TV out there, that’s got a lot of people interested.
That said, Google has reach. It’s sold more than 30 million Chromecast devices since they first launched, so obviously, they have quite a following of their own.
It will be very interesting to see how the latest addition does.
Google’s upcoming Pixel phones are touted to be the fastest Android smartphones in the world, all thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor.
Will they be fast enough to challenge the new iPhones too?
For those who are unaware of the existence of “Pixel” phones, they are the next in line from the erstwhile Google’s Nexus lineage.
After the explosive launch of the Galaxy Note7 (pun surely intended) and the huge global recall that followed, other smartphone makers can now fish millions of potential customers ripe for their taking. Both Apple and Google will undoubtedly capitalize on this.
That said, Google’s Pixel phones shouldn’t be taken for lightly, as they clearly have the potential to take the Android space by a storm. This is because phones made by Google – the almighty of all things Android, will naturally leave people intrigued, starting with the cost of the devices.
David Ruddock, Android Police’s Managing Editor, took to Twitter to unveil information about the Pixel phones. “By the way, as far as I can tell, the Pixels will by the first US devices with Snapdragon 821 by a long shot. No one else is using it”, he said.
This chip is claimed to be 10 % faster than the Snapdragon 820 with support for Virtual Reality (VR). Interestingly enough, the new Snapdragon 821 processor was supposed to be a part of the Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe, but the company launched the phone in India with the older 820 chip. Curious.
Ruddock also highlighted the fact that the OEMs might be avoiding the new Snapdragon 821 chipset because Qualcomm is charging “an arm and a leg” for the SoC.
This cost transferred to the customers results in higher prices.
While talking about the prices of Pixel phones, Ruddock said, Google “is getting out of the ‘cheap phone’ business at this point”, he said. “This one is more hearsay: price point being thrown around for Pixel XL is USD 649. Not clear if that’s 32 GB or 128 GB. Pixel phones will have exclusive Google support, exclusive software features, and exclusive financing options”, he also noted. “Google is going for it”
“So, if you’re the person who wanted Google to ‘really get out there and market their phones,’ you may finally see your wish granted”, Ruddock added.
Speculations regarding specifications of the phones have it that one of these Pixel phones will have a 7-inch screen with AMOLED qHD display, 4 GB RAM, 12 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel front snapper.
Both, Pixel (Sailfish) and Pixel XL (Marlin) are believed to have the same 4K video recording capabilities. Also expected with the handset is the USB Type-C port with a massive battery (about 5,100 mAh) and running on Android OS, 7.0 Nougat.
“I think we’re going to see Google do with Pixel what they have so long hesitated to: take the gloves off and compete with Android partners”, Ruddock clarified in a tweet, highlighting the ambitions of the team that’s developing this phone.
Rumors regarding the Pixel phones show a phone complete with not so appealing rear design and a Google branding on the back.
With the prices now in the vicinity of Apple iPhones, the Pixel devices will leave the earlier playing field of Android phones and will showcase themselves with the likes of Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S Series – will they hold up is yet to be seen.
Finally, it’s showtime for Android 7.0 Nougat!!
Additionally, Android One devices will also be receiving the update.
Android 7.0 Nougat packs new features like customizable home screen widgets, split screen multitasking, expanded emojis and smarter battery usage via the Doze feature.
Data conscious users have also been kept in mind and the update packs in a Data Saver feature that will block background apps from accessing cellular data, helping you reduce on the excess usage of your data plan.
Across the pond, T-Mobile recently revealed a list of smartphones eligible for receiving Android 7.0 Nougat update, a little earlier than expected. We’re listing T-Mobile’s plans here, as they are indicative of how the roll-out will happen to devices from these brands, and the same mantra usually applies across the globe.
The T-Mobile list of devices as of now is small and over time will expand to include more devices. The current list contains eight devices: Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy Note7, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, HTC 10, and HTC One M9.
There is a possibility that more devices will be added soon in the second round. We say so because, initially HTC One A9 was to be there in the list and its presence was confirmed by HTC however we find it has disappeared from the current list.
In fact, as per other reports, HTC has already begun working on releasing the new update to some of its devices and the company plans to initially roll out the Android 7.0 Nougat on the HTC 10 in the fourth quarter of 2016, before seeding it to the One M9 (unlocked) and One A9 (unlocked).
Interestingly enough, it is not Google’s upcoming Nexus device but LG’s V20, which will be the first new smartphone to be shipped with Android 7.0 Nougat!
The LG V20, a new introduction, powered by a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 processor, comes with a 5.7-inch main IPS Quantum Display and a secondary display. It boasts a dual rear camera with a 135-degree 8-megapixel lens complimented by a 16-megapixel 75-degree lens. The front has a 5-megapixel 120-degree lens for your selfies and video communications. You can read more about the LG V20 in our intro article here.
Despite the announcement, there are no exact dates that have been mentioned for the release of this update. However, it is speculated that devices from manufacturers other than Samsung and HTC will receive the update a little later while some will get it next year.
Google’s casual stroll in the Alphabet stream has now stumbled upon the letter N.
Android N, also known as Nougat is now among us, albeit a little sooner than what most expected. Sony Xperia users were one of the first to try the Android N preview build that was released in March 2016!
But preview builds are often sweet distractions, riddled with bugs and other faults, which is why not everyone who was an Xperia user jumped the gun.
When the official launch came about on August 22, it was earlier than Google’s estimated September launch and naturally took a large part of its audience by surprise.
Usually, the launch of a new software benefits the launch of new devices and the ilk, since they possess more compatible hardware and thus this becomes the reason why a lot of the older, already existing devices miss out on a new software update.
This is one of the prime reasons why Microsoft released Windows 10 to their existing user base for free, allowing users to update from Windows 7 or 8, provided they were using a legitimate, licensed version of the software.
The prime earning source of earning from a new software is the collaboration when launching new devices, which is also the reason you do not have to pay to avail every new system update on your phone.
Now, we know that the range of smartphones under Google will be the first to try their hands at the Nougat pie but does the Nougat comes compatible with all devices in the Sony Xperia line?
Let’s have a look.
Sony published on their blog that they will be releasing Android 7.0 Nougat for a number of their devices. Here are the phones that will be getting an update:
Now the time that it might take for the update to reach these devices is a peculiar case. The Marshmallow update took 5 months after launch to reach most Sony devices. Nougat is expected to follow a similar trajectory provided the operator and market don’t play spoilsport.
So it seems like the Sony users will have to wait atleast until next year to get their day under the sun with Nougat.
So what if the Galaxy S8 is not being introduced by Samsung at the Mobile World Congress on February 26, there is something else that is! One wouldn’t expect the tech giant to not unveil anything in Barcelona now, is it?
Turns out, Samsung has sent out invites for its MWC Press Conference where it will apparently tease a device which netizens are saying will be a device with model number SM-T825. Some listings that mentioned this device with model number SM-T825 also mentioned that the device belongs to the “tablet” category running on Android 7.0 Nougat. Conjecture expands to say it might just be the all new Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
Just when some people might have thought that Android Tablets were dying off, Samsung seems ready to introduce the world to a new tablet. Which is surprising, given slacking tablet sales.
The Galaxy Tab S3 would succeed the Galaxy Tab S2 that was launched way back in 2015. As is with any new launch, there have been a lot of rumours and speculations.
Galaxy Tab S3 is expected to be Samsung’s first tablet with Android 7.0 Nougat, that brings the ability of native split-screen support to Android. Samsung has been constantly trying to bake in a custom-rolled split screen solution for some time now, but Google’s standardised API which the developers are actually expected to support was playing truant and acting as a hindrance.
The Tab S3 is expected to sport a 9.6-inch display with a 2048×1536 pixel resolution, though there are also rumours that the Tab S3 will be launched in two variants – an 8-inch and a 9.7 inch screen size, similar to the Galaxy Tab S2, launched back in 2015. Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab S3 might run a Snapdragon 820 SoC clocking 2.1 GHz coupled with 4 GB RAM. For shutterbugs, the Tab S3 is expected to feature a 12 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front shooter for all video calling and pouty-snaps needs.
There is word that Samsung might launch the device in two additional variants – one of them being an LTE model and another being a Wi-Fi only model (following Apple are we now, Samsung?).
The Tab S3 will apparently first hit the shelves in home country, South Korea at a price point of around USD 600 which more or less translates to INR 40,000. Customers in the United States will be able to purchase the Wi-Fi only model from Verizon and US Cellular. Availability of the device in other countries will be made clear once the device is officially announced by Samsung. In due course, the device will make its way to other markets around the globe as well, though no timeline has been unsealed as yet by Samsung.
The highlight on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 was it’s lithe form factor (being thin at 5.6 mm and light device at 392 grams). It seems that Samsung is going to continue to use the thin body of the device as its USP. The device is expected to be less than 5.6 mm thick and lighter than its predecessor. This of course has its own added advantage of making the tablet like a feel good handheld and an immensely portable device.
There’s a problem with a thinner body though – as it can imply scrimping on the battery’s size, which is not a welcome prospect for any user!
The Galaxy Tab S3 seems to have been enhanced from its predecessor in the RAM department though – RAM has been upped from 3 GB to 4 GB. The megapixels on the camera have also scaled up as the primary camera has gone up from 8 megapixels to 12megapixels.
However, these are not the only changes that can be noticed on the Galaxy Tab S3. We are referring to the absence of a separate slot in the device for the stylus, the S Pen. The S Pen on the Tab S3 will be sold as a stand-alone accessory for which you will have to shell extra bucks. Additional accessories like Book Cover case for the tablet and a Keyboard Folio too, will need to be bought to improve the functionality of the device.
There was conjecture earlier that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 might ditch the physical home button (as is said to happen on the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone) but with the invites that have been sent by Samsung for Mobile World Congress, it is apparent that the Tab S3 does have a physical home button.
The question we’re all left with is – is a tablet really something we’d get excited about? Is Samsung really licking it’s chops that bad after the Note7 fiasco that it’s holding off the (far more exciting) smartphone launches for the time being?
“Try, try until you succeed”.
This sure seems to be LG’s motto of late, as the company has decided to chance their arm yet again at making a successful modular phone.
Whether they are actually learning lessons or going into overkill after the debacle that was LG G5, isn’t clear at this time. While there are certain features on the LG V20, to be excited about, yet there is still a certain retentivity from their previous outings – both success and failures.
For starters. it would be a massive mistake to compare the LG V20 with the amorphous blob that was the LG G5! The angular metal body of the V20 is a leaps-and-bounds improvement from the previous rendition, in that respect.
The newest flagship smartphone is set to be launched on September 6 alongside what the company is prodding as ‘never-seen-before’ features. However, rumours indicate that LG hasn’t really learnt the lesson on battery life failure that plagued the LG V10, since they have apparently not upgraded the battery on the forthcoming V20.
On the ‘up’ side of things, the Korean electronics giant announced that the LG V20 will feature a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (digital to analog converter).
A DAC reprocesses audio content while converting it from it’s digital form (as it is stored or streamed by the parent device) into the analog beats played by the speaker/earphones.
LG said their DAC produces a crisp and clear sound reproduction that reduces ambient noise by up to 50%! The DAC being introduced by LG on a smartphone is also being claimed to be an industry debut.
“As smartphones mature, we’re seeing more and more customers looking beyond just fast processors and big displays in their devices” said Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company. “Higher quality audio is simply the natural evolution of the smartphone, as the industry moves toward a more holistic multimedia consumption experience. We’re pleased to continue this long-term partnership with ESS and bring best in class audio to LG V20 users”.
This ground-breaking multimedia feature was brought to life through the partnership of LG and ESS technology.
“We are extremely excited that our Quad DAC technology will be featured in the V20, LG’s latest flagship smartphone for consumers who demand the best media experience,” said Robert Blair, President and Chief Executive Officer of ESS Technology. “As a technology more typically available in high-end audio equipment, Quad DAC on the V20 will make users feel as if they are carrying around a professional home-audio system on their smartphone”.
In addition to its DAC, the LG V20 is also being touted to be the first smartphone to sport the new Android 7.0 operating system, known as Nougat. Typically, Google ensures that it’s Nexus line of devices lead the race on launching every new Android version, but this time, LG V20 seems to be getting to the launch podium first.
It is also being presumed that the LG V20 will be the second smartphone to adopt USB Type-C unlike the LG V10’s micro USB standard. Additionally, LG V20’s processor is expected to be a Snapdragon 820 or 821 with 4 GB of RAM.
So, the LG V20 has a lot going for it, but we’ll all have to wait and see what actually rolls out of the Stocking come launch date. Fingers crossed, LG would have hit a home run this time. God knows, they need one!
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 7 to the world at their Galaxy Unpacked event in New York on 2nd August, with much fanfare.
Their flagship phablet was announced in India a few days later, with the promise that the device would become available here from 2nd September, and would be priced at INR 59,900.
Colours? The Note7 will be available in Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, and Black Onyx color variants, however the Blue Coral color variant available in other regions, hasn’t been launched in India, at this time.
The Indian version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have the hybrid dual-SIM feature, whereby one of the SIM slots could also be used for a microSD card (up to 256GB) instead of the second SIM card.
An Iris Scanner that will allow you to unlock the phone and also secure the folders through the iris pattern. This is part of the Knox Security suite on the Note 7 which leverages biometric authentication through both the Iris Scanner and fingerprint scanner to make the device impenetrable.
Samsung has made claims that its new Iris Scanner is safer than fingerprint sensors found on many Android smartphones, though we will have to wait and watch on this one.
The new Secure Folder associated with biometric security houses selected apps and their data in a secure, separate location and even allows the users to have two instances of the same app on the smartphone.
Apart from the security measures, the Galaxy Note 7 boasts of a dual-edge 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and comes with an IP68 rating, making it water- and dust-resistant.
Samsung at the time of global launch of the device said, “With the peace of mind that IP68 water resistant provides, the Galaxy Note 7 S Pen lets users jot down their thoughts without interruption, even when the screen gets wet“.
The phablet runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Samsung’s own skin atop. The variant launched in India is powered by a Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa SoC (four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four cores clocked at 1.6GHz), coupled with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, however, it has been reported that some regions including the US will receive a variant powered by the Snapdragon 820 SoC (two Kryo cores clocked at 2.15GHz and two Kyro cores clocked at 1.6GHz).
The device comes with 64 GB of inbuilt storage, expandable up to 256 GB via microSD card. A 3,500mAh non-removable battery powers the Note 7, which supports fast charging with both wired and wireless chargers, considering that the device is compatible with WPC and PMA wireless charging standards.
As for the shutterbugs, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 sports a 12-megapixel rear camera with Dual Pixel technology enabling you to take better pictures in low-light and features phase detection autofocus (PDAF), optical image stabilization (OIS) with an f/1.7 aperture, dual-LED flash, and Auto-HDR feature. The front camera comes with a 5-megapixel sensor while it retains the f/1.7 aperture.
Not sure whether it caught your attention, however it did catch ours that Samsung has skipped a number in the naming series of the Note device from Note5 to Note7. In case you are wondering why, this move comes in the wake of unifying the whole product portfolio, to gel in all their devices together.
“There are a couple reasons why. First, the Galaxy Note7 will complement our Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and unify our product portfolio. Second, the Galaxy Note7 will minimize confusion about the latest mobile technology from Samsung, and provide full alignment with Galaxy S smartphone“, said the company.
The S Pen has also seen a lot of improvements including the ability to now create GIF image animations from videos using the Smart Select feature, apart from new Air Command functions to magnify and translate. The S Pen also provides easy access to Samsung Notes, a new unified app for writing notes, drawing, or editing memos, with the device having the capability to translate in 71 languages, including 11 Indian languages! Additionally, the S Pen just like a real ball point pen now has a smaller tip (0.7 mm, to be precise) than the previous one (1.66 mm), which in turn enables improved pressure sensitivity.
At the global event, the company also unveiled the new Samsung Gear VR, Gear IconX wireless earbud and Gear Fit 2 wearable. The Gear VR has slightly changed in design with a wider 101 degrees field of view. The device includes a USB Type-C port in addition to a micro USB port for compatibility with other Galaxy devices.
Pre-bookings for the Samsung Galaxy Note7 start from August 22 through till August 30, with the company having already made it clear that the units will be available in limited quantities during this period. So if you really want this phablet, be quick with your pre- bookings!
An added incentive to acquiring Note7 in the pre-booking offer (up till August 30) entitles the users to get the new Gear VR at a discounted price of INR 1,990 only.
To make the deal even more tempting, the company is also providing interested users an opportunity to avail of the Reliance Jio Preview Offer, which comes with voice and data benefits for 90 days, alongside access to the Jio Digital Life content service.
Pride was obvious in LG’s stance when they announced their LG V20 smartphone would be the first smartphone in the world, to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat right out of the box.
LG has pinned down the final date – the LG V20 comes to San Francisco on September 6, 2016 in a four day event. LG however hasn’t shared the specifications or made any official announcements regarding the device.
With that LG outshone the soon-to-launch Nexus phone that was reported to pack the Nougat-y punch.
The new or unknown as we all know, generates a level of excitement and curiosity and same goes for LG V20.
Since V20 is a successor to V10, we can safely speculate that V20 may sport dual-screens. A main 5.7 inch, 2560×1440 pixels display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection and a second Always-On 2.1-inches (1040×160 pixels) ribbon display at the top, which is for notifications and quick app access.
The phone might run on a Snapdragon 820 chipset, coupled with an Andreno 530 graphics processor and feature a finger print scanner.
The LG V20 will just enthral users with its rumoured 20 megapixel back camera paired with an 8 megapixel front camera.
Android 7.0 Nougat will pack new features like multi-window support, enhanced notifications, revamped doze, number blocking, and a redesigned Camera app. Other than that, the layout will get additional Grid options, and revive the manual exposure mode which was missed by a lot of people. Android Nougat will bring “Doze on the Go”, a feature that enables the phone to enter battery saving mode as soon as the phone’s screen is turned off. The notifications bar has also been refurbished to present a more minimalist and clean look.
All these features at an exciting price point of around IN 40,000!
“We are excited to offer the first phone in the world to feature Nougat out of the box”, said Juno Cho, President of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company. “The LG V20 upgrades and extends its predecessor’s cutting-edge multimedia features a step further, providing distinctive mobile experience and sets a new standard for premium phones for consumers”.
The invitation for this unveiling of V20 comes with a colorful book which has a tagline ‘Play More’, hinting strongly at the smartphone’s capability to multi-tasking capabilities, and some functionality like the LG G5, since the company had introduced this tagline with its 2016 flagship earlier in the year.
LG G5 may have failed in the sense that it didn’t manage to grab attention and had weaker sales than the company anticipated, owing to its production difficulties.
LG V20 is the successor to the V10, which was launched in October 2015.
Engadget claimed the V10’s second screen was one of the best executions to date, with easy access to audio controls and a quick glance at an email thread. However, with two front cameras, V10 seemed to have gone overboard for users who may not need two lens options while clicking a selfie.
LG attracted focus on the company’s close cooperation with Google and we are assuming that this is the reason that is enabling LG to roll out an Android Nougat phone so early (with even a custom LG skin already created for it), while Google hasn’t yet even provided an official release date for Nougat on its own Nexus devices!
All this is vitally important for LG to boost its mobile business. Understandably, LG is upbeat about the forthcoming launch. In fact, LG is touting that the V20 is “expected to set new standards” for the premium phone market and it will be interesting to see the battle between LG V20 and Samsung’s Note7 as the latter is also round the corner.
Starting from scratch, like last year, two Nexus smartphones are expected to be introduced this year- one aimed at regular users while the other sibling would be a comparatively high-end device.
So far leaks have proposed that the devices have been codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, or M1 and S1.
If the freshly leaked images and reports from GFXBench (whose speciality is that it is expansive in its hardware readout) are to be believed, Nexus 5P (a.k.a. Sailfish) that would release soon would sport a 5- inch touchscreen with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. The leaks also point to the primary camera being 12 megapixels with 4K recording capability while the secondary camera is an 8 megapixel unit capable of 2K recording.
Sailfish an upgrade to the Nexus 5X, will be backed by a Snapdragon 820 SoC clocked at 2.1 GHz coupled with an Adreno 530 graphics processing unit to power the good stuff. The tested model had 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The phone comes with usual connectivity options like GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi sensors and is a single SIM device.
It isn’t yet clear as to whether the phone has a provision for microSD card.
So far, everything is in keeping with a flagship device, including an Android version the GFXBench tags as an “INVALID Android Google Edition”, which is probably Android Nougat. If the software is taken into consideration, then the tested device was running on Android N, Manufacture Release 1.
Rumor has it that Nexus Sailfish will support swipe gestures through it’s fingerprint sensor, in order to view notifications and access similar functions, a USB Type-C port and bottom firing speakers.
A larger 5.5-inch Nexus device by HTC called the Marlin is also expected to roll out as it had been spotted in a Geekbench listing which managed to reveal almost all specs of the device. It will have a 2K screen resolution, be driven by a 3,450 mAh battery and powered by a quad-core 1.6 GHz processor (said to be SD820 SoC) coupled with 4 GB of RAM.
The phone is said to feature a USB Type-C port as well as a fingerprint scanner on the back. Marlin just like Sailfish will sport a 12 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera with 32 GB and 128 GB storage options and a 3,450 mAh battery.
Pure speculation: The devices, Marlin and Sailfish ought to come with Android N out-of-the-box and would probably support functions like ambient display functions and more.
The Nexus 5P too, is reportedly being built by HTC. But all the rumors should be taken with a grain of salt as nothing has been officially announced by the company.
So far with all these rumors and leaks, it’s exciting to see how the Nexus 5P, the Sailfish device is shaping up. Also, since both Sailfish and Marlin feature Android N, it will be worth a try.
Google Play, the tech giant’s app store, will now only display the true size of the application, enabling you to manage the space within your device effectively. What this will help you with is ensuring that you have enough space for what you’re downloading and that you can free up some space beforehand, if you’re downloading something bigger in size, like say a heavy game or VR experience.
What Was The Scene Before?
Previously, you could only see the size of the APK file on the Google Play Store. So, presume the APK file displayed is at 50 MB, the size of the actual update could be more, sometimes even double the size displayed.
For example, if you’re downloading an update to an app, and the size shown on the Play Store is 3.12 MB, then Google will now ensure that that is the correct size of the update and that what you download is only 3.12 MB, and not more.
Other Related News
In other news, Google has also tweaked its Play Store algorithm, to make app updates smaller in size.
How app updates work is that Updates only download the changes to their APK files when you update them, and those new files merge with the old ones.
What the new algorithm will do is make these updates up to 50% smaller. Now instead of downloading the entire APK files again, the Play Store will only download the changes to the files and merge them with the already existing files on your phone.
While this change does not feel significant at all, it could matter a lot when it comes to big files such as that of games.
Who Is It Going To Matter To?
A big file (like that of games, or even a nice, well-endowed, self-contained App) can weigh a healthy 2 GB on an average. With this new algorithm, Google would help reduce the size of these big files by about 10-12%.
An obvious question is ‘who is this going to matter to really?’ Well, in all frankness, it probably won’t make much of a difference to someone with a high-end Android phone (space wise), but it could be a boon for the budget smartphones flooding the market, with most budget phones being on Android OS.
Another segment that it will affect positively are the users operating on Mobile Data and not broadband powered Wi-Fi. Mobile Data packages are higher in cost and have daily usage caps, which means that a big download in a day could affect the user’s internet usage over the time. Smaller sizes mean they don’t have to sweat it that much anymore
Back in May, when at the Google I/O Conference, a slew of new developer features were unveiled, something like this could be seen not too far away.
Smaller file sizes will enable user’s devices to run smoother, and better, enhancing not only their experience with the phones but also with the applications in concern.
The change is already in place at the Play Store since the news went big in the last week of July.
The idea for using your smartphone as a laptop is not a new one. What’s new is the inexpensive solution to do that.
Microsoft has been the most visible proponent of this idea in recent months; its Continuum feature allows Windows Phones to run a lightweight version of Windows 10 when plugged into a display dock.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that masses are not swayed towards buying Windows Phones.
Before Microsoft, there was Ubuntu. It struggled long and hard to gain traction with similar promises, dating back to its failed Edge project in 2013.
Before even Ubuntu, there was Motorola, with its Atrix phone that worked much the same way, but its laptop dock cost USD 500, the software you used with it was half-baked, and the phone was only “strong” by 2011’s standards. Again, few people cared as it did not seem viable.
Andromium, made its first attempt at a fully functioning phone-based workstation in 2014. Plugged into an MHL-compatible phone, it gave users the ability to connect an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although it had potential, backers apparently weren’t keen on a connecting various peripherals via a tangle of USB and HDMI cables, and the Andromium Dock never reached its funding goals.
Andromium took note and now has ditched all its peripherals and commenced a new project. Taking the idea of “democratization of the laptop” to a certain new level, the team at Andromium has started a crowdsourcing campaign to launch the Superbook – a USD 99 laptop dock for Android smartphones.
Aesthetically, the Superbook is a convincing Apple MacBook Air 11-inch clone. The device offers an 11.6-inch, 1366×768 LCD panel, what appears to be a full-size island-style keyboard and a large gesture-capable touchpad with a built-in battery that Andromium claims will last eight hours.
Outside of that, the Superbook is an empty shell, just waiting for you to hook up your Android phone via the USB Type-C or micro USB port.
Download the Andromium app on a device running Android 5.0 or later, connect the device using either a micro-USB or USB-C cord, and the laptop shell will power on mimicking a laptop.
Imaginatively, you’re not limited to any particular model of Android smartphone, but the company points out that the phone should have at least 1.5 GB of RAM, a dual-core chip, and Android 5.0 or higher. It also has to support the USB-OTG standard, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the vast majority of devices.
The idea, as it’s always been, is to leverage your phone’s power with a laptop’s form factor. In Andromium, buying a new phone then becomes akin to buying a new laptop. Some specs will get bumped up as stretch goals get surpassed, the USD 500,000 goal takes the battery up to 10 or more hours of use, for example.
Andromium is offering a whole bouquet of perks to get the project funded adequately.
So far, the project has raised more than USD 700,100 on Kickstarter, comfortably outdoing the initial USD 50,000 goal with 26 days remaining!
The most basic Superbook pack, which includes a Gold laptop, a USB-OTG cable and wall adapter, is at the USD 99 pledge level, but jumping to USD 159 will get you a Superbook in Blue or Gold, a universal smartphone mount for the screen-edge and a wall charger.
If everything goes to plan, shipping should start in February 2017. The Kickstarter funding for the project ends on August 20.
Ready to book yours?
Would You Believe Us If We Said A 16 Megapixel Front Camera Was Coming?
Sony recently released a teaser on its social media pages stoking their fans with the news that their next flagship (we believe they’re referring to the Sony Xperia XA Ultra), which will be a ‘perfect selfie companion’, is all set to release in India, soon.
Naughtily, they’ve held back on announcing pricing and availability details, which will be officially announced on 25th July.
To refresh your memory, the Sony Xperia XA Ultra was announced on the company’s global website in May 2016, and the teaser back then had mentioned the camera on XA Ultra as the star of the smartphone. The recent tweet seems to tie back to the selfie-camera’s capability to the XA Ultra’s photographic prowess.
From a genealogy standpoint, it is evident by the name that the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is the Xperia XA’s upgraded model.
From what we gather, the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is dual-SIM phablet that will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’ll have a 6-inch Full-HD display that’s going to be powered by the new Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2.
The power plant on the XA Ultra is expected to be a 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 octa-core processor paired with 3 GB of RAM. It is expected to offer 16 GB of inbuilt storage which can be expanded via up to 200 GB microSD card.
The phablet has a great 21.5 megapixel camera around the back, with Exmor RS sensor, hybrid autofocus, HDR photo mode, auto-scene recognition, and LED flash.
The selfie camera is a hitherto unheardof 16 megapixel camera with a Sony Exmor R sensor, front-facing flash, OIS, auto-focus, HDR photo mode, and wide angle lens (up to 88 degrees).
The Xperia XA Ultra is also going to be one of the first few smartphones/phablets to feature to optical image stabilisation in the front camera! The HTC 10 of course, was the pioneer of that, thought it carried an ‘only’ 5 megapixel front camera!
All this is expected to be driven by a 2700 mAh battery that can go for 2 days without needing a recharge. We’ll take with a pinch of salt, thank you!
Impressively, the whole package is going to come with a quick charger that claims to deliver 5.5 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes of charging!
This 6-inch phablet will be available in three color options – White, Graphite Black, and Lime Gold colour options.
One of the foremost tech sites in India has, on the basis of industry insider news speculated that the Xperia X Ultra might fall in the range of INR 28,000 and INR 30,000.
Let’s see how the chips fall on this one.
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.
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.
Two Nexus smartphones are expected to be released this year – one for average users and the other, a comparatively high-end device – just like last year.
So far, leaks have premised that the devices are codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, or M1 and S1.
Let’s tell you about ‘Marlin’ since that’s the only one that leaks have so far provided any specifics for.
First, it’s said to be manufactured by HTC. Rumoured to carry the Snapdragon 821 CPU-chipset, as per reports from Asia. This would raise the ‘HTC Nexus’ a nick above all the phones from this year, as they’re mostly running the Snapdragon 820 – including the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, HTC 10, LG G5 and OnePlus 3.
We know very little about the Snapdragon 821 and it was expected that Qualcomm’s next mobile processor would be the Snapdragon 823, but with 821 there seems to be a minor, short-term bump in terms of power.
So far the only other mention of the Snapdragon 821 has been with the ZenFone 3 Deluxe from Asus and seemingly two of its four cores run at 2.3 GHz (hiked up from 2.1 GHz in the Snapdragon 820). It is possible that the new Nexuses will have 4 GB of RAM.
Android Police has come up with its own set of specifications that they think might feature on the HTC Marlin. If the rumours are to be believed then the phone might sport a 5-inch, 1080p display powered by Quad-core 2.0 GHz 64-bit processor, 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. To sustain it all is a 2,770 mAh battery and at the front of camera – a 12 megapixel rear camera and a 8 megapixel front camera. The fingerprint scanner and top mounted headphone jack with USB-C port, too might find their way into the HTC Marlin.
However, it’s important to remember that nothing has been received from any reliable sources or from the manufacturer; hence all these speculated specifications might change at any point of time.
Some interesting decisions made by HTC can be gauged out of these expected specs, such as the move to keep the headphone jack as opposed to Apple and other companies who are allegedly getting rid of the headphone jack and going wireless.
But with a 5-inch display Nexus seems to be fitting in the trend of less is more, as is the case with Apple going back to 4-inch screen on the iPhone SE from the huge screens on the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus.
Another set of reports from India Today suggest that the HTC 10 (launched Jan 2016) will be the basis on which the Nexus phone will be built but of course with an upgraded processor and some more changes. The upgraded processor as mentioned above is Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and might also carry a “tweaked” fingerprint sensor.
Being the newest, most unfamiliar processor, the Snapdragon 821 is expected to have a slightly higher top speed providing better heat efficiency and power management at the same time.
Some other, more divergent reports question all this, suggesting that Huawei could be involved as well, just the way it was last year.
To recall, HTC last manufactured the Nexus 9 for Google which didn’t go well with the users, whereas, the original Nexus One was better received.
Perhaps, Marlin is that device which will act as that launching pad that HTC needs.
Also, Interestingly, Google is expected to reveal the 2016 Nexus smartphones later in the year, around September, for an October release. The Android N operating system will also launch on these devices which coupled with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU will make the devices worth a try.
So, despite this confusing state of affairs, it still is an exciting prospect!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through whatever you need. Reach out!
After a false start, it’s pretty much been held with certainty in the last couple of months that HTC will be making this year’s Nexus devices.
Google the Android giant, makes two Nexus smartphones each year – one, a ‘P’ version which is the high-end version, and one that’s the ‘X’ version, which is usually the more affordable one.
It was towards the end of April that the rumours started buzzing of HTC having two new Nexus devices this year, and over time it had become almost certain.
But maybe HTC should wait for a little before hanging their boots with Nexus just yet.
In a statement issued earlier this week, almost unintentionally, by Charlene Munilall, General Manager for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group in South Africa, Huawei seems to also be working on a Nexus device for the year.
The statement was issued in an interview with Gear Burn, at the launch of a new trio of smartphones by Huawei. Neither Huawei nor Google has backed the statement yet.
The statement, of course, has the tech world tripping.
Putting aside the credibility of the statement for the moment, let us see what it would mean if it were true. Huawei last year did make the Nexus 6P for Google, and the devices have been undoubtedly the best received Nexus device as yet.
The critical reviews, the design, the sales, all speak for it. A few people might call the phone a little too big for their liking, but overall the pros outweigh the cons. It’s smooth, it’s edgy, and people want it. If the statement by Munilall is true then Huawei could be behind another Nexus device this year.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of Google; what’s in it for them, and what’s not. If Google goes with HTC, they’d be going back to the company that made their first ever smartphone, the Nexus One. Back in 2010, the phone was the ultimate Android handset, on paper. In reality, there were a lot of kinks that Google had to work out. And over the years, Google certainly has!
As of today, going with HTC gives Google an upper hand.
The Taiwanese company has been struggling in the last year, and Google recently has been indicating that it wants more control over the Nexus devices. Going with HTC might give it that. It might get to have more influence over the design, over the features, and the overall Nexus experience, if it were to go with HTC.
On the other hand, with Huawei, Google might get to use the expertise that it displayed with the Nexus 6P device. Google has certainly been very satisfied with the Chinese company and their collaboration last year. It would be a safe bet for Google to go with Huawei since a certain quality and standard has already been established.
On the other hand, Google might be wanting to explore more option with the motive of expanding beyond these certain quality standards; it might give Google chance to try something new.
While none of this has been officially confirmed by any of the companies involved, the speculations are obviously piling on. One thing can be speculated with certainty, though, that Google would be bringing out two new Nexus devices this year.
Now, whether it goes with HTC or Huawei, or with both, is yet to be seen.
My money is on Google going with both; the security of Huawei as a brand, and the ability to have greater influence over the product with HTC.
A lot of rumor has been building up around the Nexus smartphones for this year.
Who is the manufacturer that Google is going to entrust with for make its next Nexus device(s)? Is it going to be Huawei who delivered the well acclaimed Nexus 6P? Is it HTC?
These questions have been bugging us all for quite a while. But looks like Charlene Munilall, the General Manager for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group just gave out the answers.
Munilall, at the launch event of Huawei P9 trio in South Africa confirmed the news of Huawei making the Nexus smartphone this year. Munilall stated, “The Nexus device is a very niche product loved by techies around the world. But the buyers of the instrument are minuscule in number. We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way“.
In this manner, she has put a full stop to all the rumours and speculations about the Nexus smartphone.
This is a little surprising comment because Google hadn’t as yet announced anything about the next Nexus hardware.
However, a few days ago, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview that Google plans to continue releasing Nexus devices. While Google wouldn’t manufacture the hardware on its own, but it plans to be more engaged with Nexus devices.
Pichai also made it clear that the future Nexus devices may not run on stock Android, instead, Google intends to focus its attention on bringing in more software tweaks to Nexus devices. This in turn assures us of the fact that Google definitely will release Nexus devices this year.
The new Nexus by would be the second Google device manufactured by Huawei, followed by the grand success of the Nexus 6P launched last year.
The Nexus 6P was highly appreciated for its design and form factor and can be safely crowned as the best Android device as of now. No doubt, Google chose Huawei to shoulder the next Nexus device basis that achievement.
Now for a surprise.
If you thought that it’s just Huawei who is exclusively making the next Nexus baby, then you have got it all wrong my friend!
Google actually has plans to add around three Nexus devices this year, with the other two being manufactured by HTC!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Google’s earlier announcements- Google has already confirmed that there would be two kinds of Nexus smartphones: one being a ‘Nexus X’ device to embody the core Nexus experience and another being a ‘Nexus P’ device to provide users with premium experience.
This is the point where a significant question arises – Does Google desire HTC and Huawei to produce a base model and a premium model each?
If reports are to be believed then as per Huawei director Richard Yu’s comments, the next Nexus device that is to be manufactured by Huawei might pack the Daydream capabilities. For those who have long inhabited their dream world and haven’t been able to keep themselves abreast, Daydream is Google’s recently announced Android VR platform.
However, it’s important to remember at this stage that all these are speculations and nothing has been set in stone. What is for sure though, is that it would be really interesting to see how different or similar the Nexus devices manufactured by both Huawei and HTC turn out this year.
It’s time to bid farewell to the HTC Nexus 9 tablet which was released way back in October 2014.
HTC confirmed (to CNET) its decision to stop manufacturing Google’s flagship tablet. This was actually expected since the device was pulled off from Google Play store last month, though some models of the Nexus 9 are still available for sale on HTC’s official website and through third party retailers like Amazon. But that’s only going to be till stocks last.
The 8.9-inch Nexus 9 was never able to follow in the success of its early predecessor, Asus’s Nexus 7 tablet. While Nexus 7 was famous for its low price of USD 199, Nexus 9 due to its high pricing of USD 399, its poor build quality and quality control issues got universally panned in the review and was eventually never able to garner as much attention as the Nexus 7.
The Nexus 9 was presented in 2014 as a full featured tablet intended to compete against Apple’s iPad. However, the device with its setbacks mentioned above wasn’t received warmly by the customers and failed miserably.
Taiwanese device maker HTC is obviously not citing (the lack of) demand factor as the reason for its decision of stopping the manufacturing of HTC Nexus 9, instead the company simply states that the device has completed its manufacturing run and hence is being pulled off.
This news follows in the footsteps of Google confirming to discontinue its Nexus Player set-top box.
With the removal of HTC Nexus 9 tablet, the only Nexus-grade tablet remaining in the market is the one that Google itself is selling directly – the Pixel C which has a 10.2 inch display and is being sold for USD 499.
It is believed to be a hybrid tablet to contend the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 4.
Pixel C also has some flaws but those can be expected to be fixed with the arrival of Android N.
Since HTC said that Nexus 9 had run out of its production cycle and didn’t hold the demand factor responsible for the cessation of the device, therefore it is possible that the company plans to unveil a new Nexus tablet. However, Google launched two Nexus smartphones – Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X in 2015, which seems to hint at the fact that the company is more inclined to make handsets.
There was not even a slightest hint of the coming of a new Nexus tablet in the Google I/O conference. Does that mean that the third party tablet line is being dumped altogether? It is thus possible that another answer is that Google is channelizing all its efforts in the VR venture.
This decision of cessation of Nexus 9 might also correspond to the general decline in the demand for tablets in the last few quarters. As per an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the global market has reduced in the final quarter of 2015.
Around 65.9 million tablet units were shipped during the time, this figure marks a decline of around 13.7% compared to that of 2014.
The IDC also points out that a shift has been observed in case of tablets from stand-alone tablets to detachable (hybrid) tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Google Pixel C and more.
Jean Philippe Bouchard, the IDC’s research director for Tablets explains the reason for this trend, “One of the biggest reasons why detachables are growing so fast is because end users are seeing those devices as PC replacements…We believe Apple sold just over 2 million iPad Pros while Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices, a majority of which were Surface Pro and not the more affordable Surface 3.”
The IDC report also indicates that price is not always an aspect that is considered by many buyers while purchasing a detachable tablet.
So, should you run out and buy the Nexus 9 tablet before the stocks run out? No!
Chip-Monks would rather advise you to buy something nicer. If you’re in the market for a tablet, tell us what you intend to do with it (the tablet), and we’ll tell you which one to get. It’s that easy!!
A recent rumour found its way out of Samsung’s native South Korea, regarding the release of its new Galaxy Note in 2016.
According to this speculation, Samsung is going to align the naming scheme of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines by skipping the ‘Note 6’ and calling this year’s model the Samsung Galaxy Note7. The primary reason for this move is apparently related with consistency. Samsung seems to want to name all of its flagships released in the same year with the same number – so if this pans out, in 2016 we’ll have the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, and Galaxy Note 7.
According to a source, “When a Galaxy Note that has its model number lower than Galaxy S7, which is the newest model, is released, it can give out a feeling that it is an outdated phone and to negate this perception, Samsung Electronics has made the numbers same to unify a premium image”.
Another thought could be thatGalaxy this might also be an attempt to make the company’s products easily comparable with Apple, which is expected to launch their next batch of phones with the ‘7’ moniker i.e. the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, later this year.
Once again, a Note 6 competing with the iPhone 7 Plus can been perceived as an older and outdated phone by people who don’t really follow the smartphone market religiously, but do have the disposable income to want new “top-end” phones.
So, it’s basically, a marketing play.
Besides from the naming bump-up, the new Note is said to come with a dual-edge screen, so we may not see a Galaxy S7 edge+ launching after the Note 7, just like last year with the Note5 and S6 edge+.
Furthermore, the Note 7 will also have curved glass on its back, just like its predecessor Note 5. If true, this will be the first time from Samsung, that both sides of the phablet will sport such a curve.
According to a prior leak, the Samsung phablet will be powered by the Snapdragon 823 chipset, (an enhanced version of the powerful Snapdragon 820). There is also some talk that Samsung will stuff 6 GB of LPDDR4 RAM into this device, and officially provide it an IP certification (which is a dust- and water-protection standard) for the first time.
As compared with Galaxy Note 5, the new phablet will certainly bring more speed, more memory options, larger display, and a premium outer surround that will prove to be a huge difference. The camera specs also, are certain to get an upgrade as the rear camera is rumoured to feature a 32 megapixels while the front is said to feature a 9 megapixel snapper.
Samsung will reportedly release the Note 7 in early or mid-August. Either way, it will become available before August 20.
The launch date is pushed forward once again, presumably to let the phone to be in the market for more time and also before Apple releases its new devices.
So, Samsung is doing everything it possibly can to provide their premium phablet with any manner of advantage over the iPhone duo. Let’s see how that works out!
Fast Charging has been the thing for most high-end devices this past year. Almost all top-end devices came with fast-charge chargers, but that’s not all they had in common.
What they have also in common is the fact that most of these devices still use micro-USB even though the high-tech world has begun moving to the latest USB version, called USB Type-C.
There’s a reason for that. Most component manufacturers face challenges in delivering the requisite amount of (extra) power required for Fast Charging, through the slightly restrictive USB Type-C.
Recently Qualcomm used fast charging technology on the HTC 10 and LG G5 – both of which bear a USB Type-C port, thus proving that it’s (Qualcomm’s) new technology was able to work past the Type-C’s limitations. And that’s big news.
Before we get into this any further, there are two things we need to discuss:
First, what is fast-charging technology and how does it work?
Second, why is fast charging working on USB Type-C a revolutionary step?
But even before that, we need to talk about how your average phone charger works.
The principle is simple. You plug the charger into a socket and a certain amount of power flows from the power outlet, via the wire and to your phone.
What keeps the phone from receiving too much power and frying the battery is a regulator within the device.
The amount of time your phone takes to charge fully depends on the amount of power it is capable of absorbing every minute.
Corollary – The amount of power that a phone is capable of absorbing depends on the regulator within the phone. But that is not all there is to it. Some of it even depends on the charger.
Let’s try to understand this with a better example.
Say you have a bucket to fill, and it can take 30 litres of water. You have a mug that fits exactly one litre of water and you use it to dump one full mug every five minutes, and it will take the bucket an hour to fill up.
If you want to make it faster, then you have to put more water in each time. A fast charger does exactly that.
Some chargers are designed to emit more power than others. Chances are that the charger your phone came with has been particularly designed to be in sync with the phone’s charging needs.
Even without the brand name of a “fast charger” some charge will indeed work better on your devices than others.
This makes our understanding of the rest of the process much simpler.
What it then means is that fast charging does not simply depend on the phone, but also on the charger in question. There are multiple fast charging technologies in the market but one of the most popular ones is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0.
Quick Charge 2.0 is found on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Nexus 6, the HTC One (M8), and the Moto X (Gen 2).
What you’re basically doing with the quick charger is using a bigger mug to dump the water into the bucket so that every time you put water in, you can put in more than one litre.
Let’s go back to our primary question now:
Where does the port come in and how is using USB Type-C for fast charging revolutionary?
Well going with the same example your port is the mug you are using for dumping the water into the bucket. The voltage that a Type-C port can carry is not enough for a fast charging technology to work, or at least, it wasn’t.
With smarter technology like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, that is more efficient that the 2.0 version, fast charging via USB Type-C seems to be happening.
On the HTC 10 and LG G5 (both of which use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 and a USB Type-C port), the ports are designed for power of 4.45 volts and 5.25 volts respectively. Fast Charging technology works with increasing the voltage to 9 volts or 12 volts, which clearly violates the port’s specifications.
“When an OEM chooses to implement Quick Charge into their device, they can configure the voltage to fit within the specifications of the USB Type-C standard. We have received no reports of user experience or device malfunction issues with or without USB Type-C connectors”, Qualcomm said in an official statement.
With this, they seem to be stating that no problems have been reported despite the hardware that should logically be incompatible.
No problems have yet been reported doesn’t, however, leave Qualcomm off the hook. They would hate for it to turn into another Snapdragon 810 issue, where they had to take the hardware back because of over-heating issues.
Eyes are still all out on how this usage of Type-C port and fast charging technology works together, especially in the light of the fact that companies like Samsung passed over the Type-C port to retain their fast charging.
The past year has been very eventful for the smartphone market. There have been some massive improvements in technology and with the launch of the HTC 10, we should be seeing additions to them.
HTC, the Taiwanese phone maker recently announced their new flagship phone for the year with a naming change, to boot. This time the device is just HTC 10 without any alphabet to accompany it.
Let us formally introduce you to the HTC 10:
Seems to be a leaner, meaner version of HTC One M9
The HTC 10 packs in a punch in the software aspect, with each aspect of the hardware being optimized and maximized for performance.
The fly in the ointment is that the phone will come in two variants in terms of processors – Snapdragon 820 and 810 respectively, with the availability of each varying according to the markets.
While the US will only have two colour variants, the Glacier Silver and Carbon Grey, rest of the world markets will also have the choice of a Gold variant in addition to the two colours and Japan will enjoy an exclusive Red color option.
The online unlocked version should be available for USD 699.
Should the iPhone be looking over it’s shoulder yet?
What happens when you have much? You tend to give to others.
In the case of the well-endowed HTC 10, it is the passing down native AirPlay support to its siblings, the erstwhile HTC flagship models.
The updated HTC Connect app is set to bring one of the HTC 10’s most interesting features to the HTC One M7, One M8 and One M9. This will allow wireless streaming from all of the prominent One series phones to a number of other devices – all through Apple’s AirPlay protocol.
For those of you who have largely been on the Android boat for many years now, it bears some explanation. Through AirPlay, your older HTC flagship smartphone or phablet will be able to push audio and video to other devices that support the protocol. So for example, if you have an Apple TV in your home, you’ll be able to push (screencast) video or apps to your TV screen — much like you can with Chromecast. And if you have AirPlay-enabled speakers, you can wirelessly push your favourite music onto them!
Sure, there are several third-party apps in the Play Store that perform the same function, however the presence of the AirPlay icon on HTC devices is significant as it hints at a potentially noteworthy partnership between two popular tech manufacturers. HTC has acknowledged that this is a part of the company’s long-term policy that entails embracing the maximum options for users, even if it has not developed by them (as reported by Slash Gear).
Emphasising that HTC is not ‘platform agnostic’, Darren Sng, Vice President (Product Marketing) at the Taiwanese tech firm, said they are willing to go beyond just the streaming standards. For instance, if Apple and Samsung made Apple Pay and Samsung Pay available to third-party brand manufacturers respectively, HTC would certainly lap up the opportunity, the report quoted Sng as saying.
In spite of the competition, HTC has decided to use Apple’s proprietary AirPlay protocol on their devices as as well as many other prominent streaming formats – DNLA, Miracast, Chromecast, AllPlay and HTC Connect.
Why is this important? Surely, AirPlay is not a killer feature for most Android users. But HTC may be targeting iOS users who are already heavily invested – literally and figuratively – in Apple’s ecosystem. After all, people who spent a lot of money to build entertainment systems that support AirPlay need to be cajoled to give up on their iPhones for an Android device.
From that perspective, HTC is pretty smart to adopt AirPlay for its top of the line devices.
Sng substantiated his company’s stand on the issue saying that if one wouldn’t like credit card companies to decide what he/ she would want in their wallet, why would they go for a specific vendor to determine the payment system they want in their phone, Mac Rumors reported.
This is not the first time that Apple is releasing its in-house apps for Android users. Previously, the Cupertino tech giant rolled out it’s Move to iOS app, enabling Android users to move their data from an Android phone to their new iPhone, and Apple Music, which was developed from scratch for Android users with a view to expand the market for Apple’s music service. By releasing AirPlay for HTC 10, which was launched on Tuesday, Apple has once again made it clear that it is willing to work with rival companies.
This year, HTC has been focusing on an improved music experience, and this is proved by the company’s restructured BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition tech. By incorporating the AirPlay audio streaming into the HTC One devices, the company looks forward to be a step ahead over its primary rivals – Samsung, LG and even Xiaomi. And strange as it may sound, Apple might be the safest one to partner with!
The “White Heat of Tech Revolution”, or just the chip off an old block?
Tacky working names aside, Android N is the new Android kid on the block.
While some tech Luddites might scoff at the idea of Android facilitating greater access to tinkerers, the Developers Version gives an impression that users will finally have a greater access to customization.
Expected to launch somewhere around 2017, the “work in progress” version has user-friendly options like “Bundled Notifications” and “Multi-window Support”.
Since the Developers Version has been out in the wild for a bit and we’ve had an opportunity to tinker around, we thought we’d list some of those features for you:
Touted as a “much-requested multitasking feature” in the Developers Manifesto, multitasking window support will enable the user to use two apps at once on the screen – a really handy feature from an attribute called android:resizableActivity.
When using Android TV devices, the user can furthur enjoy a picture-in-picture mode as the split-screen mode will allow the inflow of content on one side while the user browses or interacts with a different app on the other.
The added convenience of the drag and drop feature will greatly enhance the user experience while using large devices like tablets.
Coming with cherry toppings like Template Updates and Custom Views, the option of Bundled Notifications and Direct Replies are the real cake.
Already up and running on compatible devices like Android Wear, the User now has the power to take actions like Dismiss or Archive on already-grouped messages.
Grouped notifications can be also be expanded into individual notifications by using a two-finger gesture.
Also, the pleasant additional Android support of Inline Replies allows for the quick response on the user’s part.
Profile–Guided JIT/AOT Compilation
Addition of Just In Time (JIT) compilation to Android Run Time (ART), which earlier had just Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compiler will give a major boost to the efficiency of the application.
In common parlance, Android-Run-Time with only Ahead-Of-Time compiler was like a medieval quack… Monkeying around with the whole body when he just needed to fix the nose for the cold!
With the introduction of Just In Time code profiling, the application response will be quicker, and surgically precise. The users finally will be able to breeze through the time taking the process of application installation!
With the update to Doze function, already introduced in the 6.0 version, there will be an improvement in the device’s battery life.
Anytime when the device is unplugged and the screen is off, the Android N will now mellow down the CPU usage and put partial network restrictions. This improvement in the feature allows the device to be in Optimum Power Consumption Mode, not only when it is stationary, but even when the device is on the move.
This might require some adaptation features, but overall, it’s a game-changing feature by a long shot The Doze feature, coupled wth an advanced design in the battery structure could be what the smartphones are looking for, to live longer through the day(s)!
Under the swish title of Project Svelte, Android is introducing new attempts to minimize RAM usage by the system and other devices optimizing the way apps run in the background.
Running on the combined prowess of applications such as Job Scheduler and GCMNetworkManager, Android can now schedule background work based on content, all the while making the user experience an elongated battery life with an optimal RAM usage.
Quick Setting Of Application Programming Interface (API) Tiles
Coming with a warning clause of “reserved for controls or actions that are either urgently required or frequently used, and should not be used as shortcuts to launching an app” the quick tile settings will now provide an unprecedented access to developers to tailor their applications accordingly.
With plenty of room, and added drag and drop function, this will surely revamp the look of the interface.
Carefully drawing an ethically fine line, Direct Boot function allows the Developers to deal with file encryption policies and data.
Already a hot discussion on the topic table, the privacy policies of the developers must be carefully formed so that difference between minimum data functionality even after reboot and data exposure don’t blur.
Although, there will be another option of “Verified Boot”, the exposure risk of the notifications to the third party is still there.
Teeming with numerous updates like official support for the Open GL ES 3.2 graphics API to the platform, Always-On VPN and Multi-Locale Support, Android N is pretty sure to become the new buzzword of the tech terrain.
Whether it chooses Nestle or Nescafe or Nachos or Nutella (for the ‘N’ moniker), we will eventually know – but what we already know, is that it will remain a user-friendly OS, and a fairly advanced one, at that.
Buying a new device is such bliss!!! But, switching to a new device is always a pain, mostly because we have a lot of data – contacts, pictures, messages, notes etc. – on our devices and using a new device that does not have all of our data on it feels a little gruesome.
This is precisely why making data transfer easy has become the focus of a lot of tech giants, because hey, the faster I can get my old life set up on the new device, the more likely I am to buy my new device (from a brand that takes the pain to create ways so I can move painlessly).
HTC, with its latest HTC Transfer Tool, seems to be doing exactly that – taking pains to create a tool that alleviates my pain!
HTC has been working really hard to create stellar devices in it’s HTC One series of smartphones. With all of the tech, software and effort thrown into their devices, why not go big and throw in a transfer tool which would make it super easy for users to switch from their old devices, regardless of the OS they have been using so far?
It is not like the concept they are bringing is entirely new.
HTC already had what they called Settings Transfer for a while now, which enabled you to use Bluetooth to connect to your old device and transfer important information. Settings Transfer has been list based, asking you to select the manufacturer, then the model, before prompting you to make a Bluetooth connection with your old device, and then commence transferring the selected data.
What they have done with HTC Transfer Tool is basically streamline the entire process and enable you to transfer more data than before, and made it easier too!
You can download the tool as an app, and it will establish a connection to your old device and move over your data. The data it will transfer is not just contacts, as one would imagine, but a lot more.
It includes your internet bookmarks, calendar, text messages, contacts, music, photos/videos and even personalised settings from your old device! The process, of course, takes a while, depending upon the bulk of the data that you have.
One noteworthy thing about the app though, is that it does not transfer your Google account’s information on it’s own. So if you have contacts or calendar items saved on your Google account, they will not be readily transferred and you will have to log into your Google account on your new device and download the data therein. This, so far, is how the transfer works on an Android to Android platform.
But what if you have an iPhone?
Well, it’s no biggie. HTC Transfer Tool offers you multiple options to transfer your data from your iOS smartphone to an HTC one. You can use Bluetooth, or you can use iTunes backup, by using HTC Sync Manager on your PC or Mac computer. It will basically backup your phone to the computer, and then give you a list of backed up data that you can move over to your HTC One.
And what about shifting from a Blackberry or a Windows phone?
Well, that is fairly easy too! It is enabled via Bluetooth and the transfer works mostly perfectly. A small catch, though: it would only copy over your contacts data and nothing else. Another point to note is that Blackberry Z10 is not listed on the list on the list of devices you can transfer data from (at this time at least).
So, in summary, HTC Transfer Tool takes HTC’s Get Started online process to the next level.
With their latest range of devices, HTC started what they call the Get Started online process, which basically enables you to personalize your HTC device to a great extent even before you have it in your hand. It enables you to do so via the use of a website: start.htcsense.com.
You can select to preinstall apps, set-up Blink Feed, sign into Dropbox and so on. All you have to do is sign-in to your device when it arrives and your settings from the Get Started online process will download onto your device!
All in all, the transfer process from Android to Android has always been easy, but HTC’s Transfer Tool will make it more fun and less painful.
Transfer process from Windows or Blackberry has been made easier, and as far as the iOS is concerned, Apple’s OS has always refused to ‘talk’ to other operating systems and would still require a laptop and data cables to be involved; it would comparatively be easier, though.
Hope this helped!
Thanks to HTC’s line of Desire smartphones, the Taiwanese manufacturer is all-too familiar with the mid segment market and has found a comfortable play area. Hence, the brand continues to manufacture mid-range smartphones with decent specs and great build quality. The latest in this price zone is the HTC A16.
The first thing that strikes you upon seeing the leaked pictures of this smartphone is that the device is classy, with simple lines, as we have come to expect from HTC.
As per a leakster Evan Blass (@evleaks), HTC’s A16 is in fact a smartphone with specs in keeping with those found within the Desire series and could come backed by a Snapdragon 210 processor, running atop 1.5 GB of RAM and bearing a 5 inch 720 pixel display in a plastic body.
Camera-wise the HTC A16 would come with a 8 megapixel rear camera (with an LED flash) and a 5 megapixel front camera. The smartphone is said to be powered by a 2,200 mAh battery. Storage space is said to be 8 GB of onboard internal storage, expandable with the help of a microSD card.
Purely from a cosmetic construct viewpoint, there are speculative rumours around perforations in the circular module on the back, which range from it being for a lanyard to a charging port. Our wish list definitely would be for the device to launch on Marshmallow installed out of the box – a feature which could make it stand out in the market that’s still sitting on severely outdated versions of Android for the most bit.
Given the limited specifications that the phone may have, we are not expecting the phone to be costly enough to be able to blow a hole in your pocket, and should be priced in the neighbourhood of USD 150, which apparently is cheaper than the HTC Desire 626S when it was launched. Pretty reasonable for HTC isn’t it?
Talking about the colour options – five options, namely Black, White, Navy, Red, Sparkly Black and White seem to be the colour palette available.
HTC is said to be launching its new smartphone very soon and it is only then that we’d actually get further information on this new device.
Stay tuned for further updates.
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.
HTC has launched their Desire 828 Dual SIM phone exclusively on Flipkart.
This is HTC’s second launch after their HTC One A9.
Vignesh Ramakrishna, Director at Flipkart shared, “The portfolio of Desire smartphones by HTC has done extremely well in India. We are happy to launch the latest addition to this series exclusively on Flipkart.”
The Desire 828 Dual SIM phone comes with many goodies, and holds the distinction of being the first phone in the Desire series to include the Optimal image Stabilization (OIS) feature.
The phablet, priced at INR 19,999 comes with:
Some features worth highlighting would be the expandable memory, with the device supporting 2 TB of externally expandable storage.
The Desire 828 Dual SIM phone comes with OIS enriched rear camera and the HTC UltraSelfie mode for selfies. The device will go on sale on Flipkart on the night of 14 December, and will be available in Dark Gray and Pearl White colours.
HTC has not had a conducive 2015 in any manner of speaking. While Apple danced their way to their banks, HTC has been struggling to hold ground and stay afloat.
HTC Corp. was delisted from the FTSE TWSE Taiwan 50 Index and their shares fell more than 66%.
Their marketshare in the smartphones space is in a deep spiral. They’ve witnessed a huge decline from being a one-time leader in Windows Phone (holding around 75% market share) and a very respected Android player (it formed a holy trinity with Samsung and LG to compete with the goliath Apple, for design and performance of their devices).
They need a break and a successful device may give them just that traction they need to claw back their eroding markets.
Will their next smartphone, the HTC One A9 turn it around for them? We certainly hope so.
As HTC takes their time to perfect and launch the One A9, guarding its nuances from prying eyes, the rumour factory cranks away, listing more and more wishful preponderances from HTC’s latest and leaking juicy tidbits week after week.
Then the unthinkable happened, Orange, a French carrier, accidentally leaked the HTC One A9’s price, broad specs and key design features on their website!
A webpage dedicated to the device confirmed many of the hypothesis, and listed the prices as €599.90 (roughly INR 45,000), a price tag which seems to be way out of league for a mid range device like the One A9; so take that with a pinch of salt.
Price aside, we’ve collated the specs listed in the leaks on the One A9 so far:
So far everything listed on Orange’s site corroborates the leaks, barring the pricing which seems to be out of place. However, we’ll have to wait for the Taiwanese company to make an official announcement, which going by the deluge of reports coming in mayn’t be long as HTC is said to be hosting their launch event in four cities: New York City, London, New Delhi and Taipei on 20 October and may stream the webcast live online.
Given the financial and business crisis the company is facing, the new smartphone has a lot riding on it’s back, with the markets analysts keeping a hawk’s eye to see whether the new device will steady the ship or drown it altogether.
As with BlackBerry, Chip-Monks really believes that HTC needs to survive, its too good to give up the fight!
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.
HTC has apparently revealed its plans to launch a new smartphone, HTC Aero A9, by the end of this week.
An image was posted on HTC’s own Weibo (the microblogging platform) account, indicating the possibility of a device launch scheduled for Sunday, September 6th.
The teaser image posted by HTC displays the layout of a smartphone, along with a text in Chinese reading a ‘superior, handsome’ top-end smartphone. Earlier, leaked images comparing the HTC Aero A9 with the Apple’s iPhone 6 had suggested that the latest HTC device will share some design features with the premium-built iPhone 6.
Some leaked images showing the front and rear panels of the rumoured HTC Aero A9 smartphone have popped up across some fan sites.
The rear panel and the white plastic strip on the top and the bottom along with the curved corners of the HTC Aero A9 resemble the iPhone 6 device. The camera position is differed in both the devices with the HTC handset sporting the camera in the middle, while Apple’s device houses it in the top-left corner.
The HTC Aero A9 will reportedly sport:
The device is also believed to flaunt a full metal unibody design and a state-of-art camera on the rear side, which is supposedly superior than the HTC One M9.
The speculations also suggests that the device will be priced around RMB 3000-4000 (INR 29,000-38,000).
When politics and tech development merge, we have interesting developments – the cold war is a testament to this. It was during this phase that “putting the man on the moon” developments by NASA and developments in the defense sectors took place which later translated into civilian technology – camera capability, night vision, GPS, Kevlar protection, nuclear power, wireless technology and many more.
The political scenario is ripe again with economies falling, new powers emerging and secrets being revealed – to fuel a nation’s thirst for technology to aid their security and progress giving them the added advantage over other nations.
China has been reluctant to let US based technology into China and has been heavily policing or blocking them. The websites most of us use in our everyday life are not accessible to the Chinese public; the list is long and includes Google Drive, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, WordPress, Vimeo, Dropbox and many more.
The Chinese government have been exploring home grown technologies that abide by the Chinese guidelines, thus reducing their perceived threat against technological independence.
WSJ were the first to report that HTC might have joined hands with the Chinese government to develop an operating system (OS) specifically for the Chinese users to effectively gain a deeper penetration into the fertile Chinese markets.
Working with the Chinese Government will ensure that they have an upper hand at regulatory compliances and will be better integrated with apps aimed at the Chinese markets. Maybe this is the turning point in their dwindling market share.
HTC Chairwoman, Cher Wang, has personally been at the helm developing the smartphone maker’s operating system and HTC aims at releasing it by year-end.
HTC has been bitten by Google and Microsoft before and may not want to depend on them for the OS on their devices alone (HTC remains a member of the “Open Handset Alliance” led by Google for Android). Are they unhitching their wagon and going the Apple way: develop your own Operating System. Developing a new “OS” is not all that difficult; you have Linux based OSes to work with like in the cases of Tizen (Samsung and Intel) and Sailfish (Nokia and Jolla). HTC can also explore Android, however it could be a thorny relationship as Google may restrict them.
An alliance with the Chinese government should help HTC gain some traction in China while it regroups to address their loss in the Global Markets. Should the Android and iOS team be worried? The trade pundits have not yet raised any alarms, but the long-term changes may not be in sight just yet.
With everything (keyboards, mice, earphones, headphones et. al.) moving towards wireless – how can chargers be left behind? Chargers after all are by far the most fundamental appendages to our devices!
Wireless Charging commonly known as Inductive Charging, is a way of charging your device without the hassle of tangled wires or USB cords.
In simple terms, Wireless Charging works using magnets. There are 2 magnetic coils involved – one in the charging plate and one in your device. Energy transfer occurs with the help of an electromagnetic field created between the two coils due to mutual ‘coupling’. All you really need is two pieces of hardware with compatible technology – the Qi standard for example. Armed with that technology, all you really need to do is place your device on the charging pad and it should start charging!
Truth be told though, technically the term ‘wireless’ is a bit misleading since this entire process is not truly ‘wireless‘. There still needs to be a cable to plug into the mains power supply and the device still needs to be left alone and can’t be charged while in your hand! The reason the term ‘wireless’ is used is because there isn’t a wire connecting the charger and the device.
Some major advantages of wireless charging include ease of charging, no trouble of wires at all, lesser wire-breakage due to fatigue (especially in the case of Apple’s iDevices, where the wires are notorious for tearing apart with no abuse or misuse by the user)! Then of course, the durability of your device itself increases since there’s no repeated plugging and unplugging of wires. Additionally, there are large-size charging pads that accommodate simultaneous charging of multiple devices.
There are several cons too unfortunately. This mode of charging comparatively takes more time than the normal way of charging devices via a wire. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use your phone freely while it is on charging, which is not the case with wired-adapter-charging, since your phone can be moved within a respectable range. Lastly, inductive charging pads currently cost a lot more than an average charger.
Despite these limiting factors, major manufacturers like Nokia, LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola recognise the potential of wireless charging and have already begun incubating it in their premium devices.
Just like Remote Unlocking became a norm in automobiles owing to clearly apparent benefits, there’s no question in our minds that all phones and tablets and add-ons will incorporate this mode of charging. Its just a matter of time.
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!
It’s become a trend to launch stripped-down versions of a flagship device, at a lower cost so as to target the masses.
HTC is taking a leaf out of the same strategy with the launch of a smaller, scaled down version of the HTC One M8, and calling it HTC One Mini 2.
Leaked once again, via the alleged image (above), the rendered leak suggests that the device would not feature the Duo Camera, which means no depth sensor for post capturing focus adjustment and “Bokeh Effect”.
Bokeh Effect is an aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out of focus parts of an image produced by a lens.
In addition, the smartphone will not have the rear facing UltraPixel camera, however, as compensation the company is said to pack in a 13 megapixel shooter instead.
The rumoured device said to run on Android KitKat 4.4.2 with HTC’s latest Sense 6.0 UI (user interface), and a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 1 GB of RAM.
The One Mini 2 is also said to feature a 4.5 inch display with a 720×1280 pixels resolution. A 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front facing camera and an internal storage of 16 GB with the option to expand via a microSD card should suit the photographer in you.
Reviewers, taking the devices specifications into consideration have said that the device will be a mid ranged smartphone, following its previous strategy of the HTC One and the HTC One Mini where one was priced higher and the other mid-ranged.
Since the Taiwanese company has previously come out with a dual–SIM variant of its flagship last year, it will be interesting to see if there will be a dual-SIM HTC One Mini too coming this quarter.
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!
Samsung’s latest, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was launched internationally last month, is finally going to be available to Indian users on 11th April. It’ll arrive in four colors – White, Black, Blue and Gold.
While there was a huge, almost tidal bout of collective bated breath in the run up to the public release of the device’s specifics, but with it’s announcement, there’s been a great lull. We’d peg it to deep disappointment, now that it’s finally here and the device isn’t all that people prayed it would be.
With a slightly larger 5.2 inch display, the Galaxy S5 has more or less the same structure and design as its predecessors in the Galaxy family. Opting for only a perforated back surface, perhaps as an effort to aid grip or simply to tackle the ‘plasticky’ perception that has come to be associated with this series, the smartphone does not feature a substantive improvement or redesign over it’s elder sibling.
While the evolutionary-not-revolutionary update may, by itself not been such a disappointment – but Samsung’s incomprehensibly unilateral decision to power the Indian version of the Galaxy S5 with a sub-par Exynos octa-core processor instead of the far more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 used in other countries has left most people miffed.
Thankfully, since the Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s launch vehicle of their foray into the world of biometrics, – introducing a rather fancy Fingerprint Scanner right at the lock screen and a Heart Rate Sensor, it does hence have two crowning features that give it some bragging rights.
Here’s the catch though: Priced at a whopping INR 52,000, without being able to justify that humongous a price tag, it may just be discouragement enough for a lot of people from going for it.
There’s little value-addition, basically just a few tweaks here and there, and less than a handful of usable, exciting new features. Dunno why, but one feels that Samsung’s missed the boat on this one and it might have been an expensive no-show considering Apple’s firing on all cylinders and HTC”s biting at the heels.
A lot of things have changed with the updated HTC’s proprietary Sense feature, now called the Sense 5.5.
I’ve come across a couple of them already and I’m still figuring out some!
The Gallery is not what it used to look like, not at all. The Gallery now opens and adopts a carousel for navigation. So, from your albums you can swipe sideways to the ‘Events’ or “My HTC Shares” panel.
The Album view in Sense 5.5 now looks more like the “Events” view in Sense 5, with full-width previews, rather than the square boxes of before. That means you get a nice big image from your camera shots, downloads and highlights, which is a great thing.
The big change comes when you tap on your Camera Shots. This again has a carousel style, swiping across to video highlights, or through to locations. It makes the camera album feel more engaging than the static drop down menu of before.
Looks like HTC has worked hard on this 4.3 update!
Undoubtedly, the highlight videos are one of our favourite features. In Sense 5.5 they are easier to control, with more styles and themes and an option to add your own music. You can individually choose the photos that you want included in the video.
Video and audio customization can be achieved by going into ‘Video and audio settings’ by tapping on contextual menu. As shown below you do have the option to trim the selected audio track.
Select one image and Sense 5.5 will offer to find similar content from your Gallery itself. If you’ve gone for a trip to the hills, for example, it automatically picks up similar pictures, still giving you the option to select alternatives. It seems a pretty straightforward feature, pulling together relevant content for your video highlight, yet allowing you to avoid that odd picture that doesn’t belong, is sheer brilliance.
Here is what the Content, Themes and Music screenshots look like:
Sense 5.5 brings a lot of changes in terms of the user interface, cheers to this one!
HTC has had a bad run the last 2-3 years and lost its space on many industry rankings as of 2012.
Given the falling sales and nosediving profits, HTC has been active in trying to penetrate and tap the Chinese market to try to turn their fortunes around.
In the same essence, on the global landscape, they plan to launch three devices in 2014. In that cluster, is nestled the wearable device – a smartwatch, which could be unveiled to us before the year end.
HTC always had interest in smart watches and wearable devices, but it is only of late that they are focusing on getting this technology to the market.
In an interview with Bloomberg, HTC’s Chairman, Cher Wang said, “A wearable device will be available by this year’s Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges. Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems”.
Other prominent players in the market of smart watches are Sony (SmartWatch), Samsung (Galaxy Gear) and Qualcomm (Toq), while Apple and Google are touted to be the big entrants, lined up with their wearable devices this year.
So there are chances that HTC will have a tough time with their footing in this emerging market.
Their CFO still seems optimistic and positive that they will turn around their dwindling fortunes this year with the launch of this product line.
HTC’s smart watch is based on Qualcomm’s Toq device, along with its Mirasol display technology, and would probably carry Bluetooth connectivity and a music player.
HTC may even bring a homegrown platform known as RTOS instead of Google’s Android Wear for its first smartwatch.
The company has declined to comment on the development at the moment so we have to wait for the official unveiling of these products.
Though the designs of smartphones and tablets out in today’s market are intriguing and attractive, leading smartphone manufacturers are trying to attract additional potential buyers from different buying groups by releasing mini versions of their top-selling devices.
Having successfully released HTC HD Mini back in 2010, tech platforms are now abuzz in anticipation of the HTC One Mini, the miniaturized version of HTC’s best selling and highly recommended smartphone HTC One.
The launch reveals a 4.3 inch screen, 720p resolution, dual core CPU, ultra-pixel camera, 1 GB RAM.
Dual frontal speakers with inbuilt amplifiers installed with Beats Audio and a polished aluminium body with a stylish plastic band stretched along the edge set the HTC One mini apart.
Comparing the One Mini and One, HTC has dropped the NFC and Image stabilizer from the ultra-pixel camera in the One mini, but it does contain HTC Zoe.
This brings your gallery to life (it selects the highlights of an event and crafts a stunning 30-second show) and click HD photos to walk you through all your facial expressions. With Object Removal, it’s a few taps to remove unwanted passersby and other unwanted stray objects.
The HTC BlinkFeed continues to keep you engaged via a live feed of all news surrounding you and keeping you in touch with all that’s important to you.
The HTC One Mini provides more or less the same conveniences and applications as the HTC One; packed with Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor and Ambient light sensor and features like Kid Mode for parental control and limit the access to various applications.
It also connects with HTC Get Started; enabling you to access your device from your laptop to synchronize music, photos, wallpapers etc.
Samsung has also designed a smaller version of its leading smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini) to challenge the HTC One Mini. Let’s see how this battle plays out.