Cyber criminals are paying a lotta heed to your Androids, which translates to some bad news.
Malware affects 9 out of 10 Android devices worldwide.
Thus, we urge you to look into your phone and give it a through check, including reviewing which all apps you’ve installed on your phone, and where you sourced them from (which is a critical element of security).
It’s not even been five full months in this year, and yet, notorious minds have managed to circulate a flashy number of 7,50,000 apps – all aimed to disturb your handsets. This number is set to escalate by the end of the year to a drastic 3 million+ apps!
By which time you would encounter around 8,400 freshly-served malware every day!
The problem that basically underlines this cancer, is the lack of updates.
Android 7 which has been available in the market since August 2016, has reached a mere 4.9% of all Android smartphones.
That’s an important factoid. We looked at the numbers and researched around online, to find the percentage of infected apps, by Android version. Ready?
• Gingerbread (versions 2.3 – 2.3.7): 0.9%
• Ice Cream Sandwich (versions 4.0.3 – 4.0.4): 0.9%
• Jelly Bean (versions 4.1.x – 4.3): 10.1%
• KitKat (version 4.4): 20.0%
• Lollipop (versions 5.0 – 5.1): 32.0%
• Marshmallow (version 6.0): 31.2%
• Nougat (versions 7.0 – 7.1): 4.9%
As you can make out versions 4 thru 6 are the bedrock of vulnerability.
Android gives complete independence to its developers and users to customise the platform according to their requirements. In the same vein, device manufacturers and carriers also have tremendous freedom to develop the ecosystem to suit their needs and preferences.
The big OEMs are also slow in releasing the updates, as they take time to add layers and layers of bloatware in the guise of customizing the OS.
Hence, either the updates provided are very late or they are not provided at all.
And therein, lies the rub.
Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst for security firm BitDefender had forewarned us of this problem in an interview with CNET way back in 2014. Commenting on the increase in the accessibility of malware, he’d said “no coding is required to bind Android apps with malicious programs“, and “people look at phones more like phones, rather than intelligent computers“, that is to say people need to understand that their smart-devices are prone to the same malware grievances if not more like their computers.
Google had in fact, taken a stand on the use of ancient Android versions in the current crop of smart devices. In the interest of culling the fragmentation of Android OS at the manufacturer-level, and to plug the gaps festooning older versions of Android, Google had declared that they would not approve access to Google Apps and the Play Store (which Google presides over more actively), to newly-released Android devices that carried OS versions that were older than the then-current version. Additionally any existing devices that carried an old Android version, nine months after the latest Android OS was released, would also not be welcomed on the Play Store or be able to get Google’s own apps.
Given the increasing usage of Androids in every of walk of life, Security has come to occupy the forefront. It is an issue that needs due attention to make everyday activity safe for Android users. But Google can’t combat this alone.
Has the situation become insurmountable, or is there hope?
Well there is plenty of hope to salvage the situation. It would need a little bit of alertness, intelligence and perseverance on your part, to maintain the safety of your device and restraint in its use. So what’ve you gotta do?
See, that wasn’t so difficult! Stay updated, and stay safe. Please exhibit the same caution as you do with your Debit Card and your personal safety!
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!
Bug In OnePlus 3 And OnePlus 3T Allows Hackers To Violate The Smartphone Using Malicious Chargers
OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T have fast become very popular around the globe. However, in light of some recently uncovered information, it looks like these smartphones might have a security flaw – which might cause the trend to spiral a bit. Unless fixed.
Researchers at Aleph Security, a cyber security company, discovered and disclosed a bug on the devices, that poses quite a serious security risk for the users. As per the information uncovered, hackers can infect your device using a malicious charger!
This newly discovered bug, named CVE-2017-5622, allows hackers to take over a device even when it is completely turned off. The flaw leverages existing vulnerabilities and bugs and gains access to the user’s personal data. And all this happens without the user even realising that her device is being usurped!
What makes the situation even more serious is that this new bug works with the support of the already existing older bugs. So they use one vulnerability to enter the device, and another one to eliminate any evidence that the device had been hacked, or its security breached.
Videos demonstrating the effects of the bug have surfaced recently. The first video shows the attack as the device lies charging. The hackers gain gains temporary root access to the violated smartphone, replacing the operating system with an affected one.
In the second video, the same process is used to install an app onto the smartphone which appears to be visible to the smartphone user. The latter can give the hackers much more sensitive information than the former can.
What is also noteworthy is that the same researchers reported to having pointed the bugs out to OnePlus, who subsequently claimed to have fixed it via the OxygenOS 4.0.3 update. Also, the bug only affected the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, and not the OnePlus 2, so some of the users can rest easy there.
That said, OnePlus, get on the horse mates, and cracked the whip on the bugs, before customers bolt from the stable.
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.
From aiming to put a bullet into Google’s OS Android, to stoking high hopes in the geek community by building the first open source ROM, to finally crashing to pieces of code with no future – is quite a journey.
CyanogenMod started as the most widely used custom Android ROM and was aiming to dethrone Google with its open source technology and community build. Like every rising star that falls to ashes eventually, CyanogenMod is being discontinued forever.
With Cyanogen services being shut down, smartphones running CyanogenOS like the OnePlus One and Lenovo Zuk Z1 won’t be receiving further updates from the company. Which is a sad truth that owners must bear, and move on. The devices will continue to work though, just that they’d get boring beyond a point, apps will no longer be made for them, and over time they may become vulnerable to security breakdowns.
Internal conflicts in the Cyanogen Inc. team may have lead to the fall of Cyanogen.
Before you experience sorrow and drown a few beers in regret, for buying a device running CyanogenMod, over Android or iOS, there is good news.
A new brand of Cyanogen is being introduced, called Lineage OS and it promises to keep most of what you loved about CyanogenMod. The community and team posted in a blog post that the open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod on personally.
What really happened and what does the future hold?
According to chatter, there is lot of drama surrounding the death of CyanogenMod.
Cyanogen started as a community based open source ROM that aimed at providing a “better Android experience” to users by removing drags like carrier bloatware and garbage-heavy skins.
Before the launch of Nexus and Pixel devices, CyanogenMod was the only way to experience pure Android on smartphones.
In 2013, leading ROM developer Steve Kondik and few more developers created Cyanogen Inc. to build commercial variants of the ROM. They worked with phone brands like OnePlus and Micromax to bring their ROM to multiple phones and hence all new versions and nightly builds of the open source CyanogenMod projects were maintained by the Cyanogen Inc.
It appears that repeated and long-running conflicts in the vision that Kondik and McMaster had for the company’s future led to removal of McMaster as the CEO. Kondik, considered the main brain behind the company had already left the company.
The company broke their deal with OnePlus which resulted in them loosing their most trusting partner. The new management took over and decided to stop maintaining the open source project. Which meant no more nightly builds and no more development. Instead the company decided to focus on what they called the Cyanogen Modular OS program.
CyanogenMod team in a separate blog post pointed out a few reasons why open source project of Cyanogen was affected and what lead to the shutdown. “It will come as no surprise that this most recent action from Cyanogen is definitely a death blow for CyanogenMod”, the team wrote and explained in a blog post. In a separate long post, the CyanogenMod team fully have shared how decisions taken by some of the team members were affecting the very future of CyanogenMod.
The official statement from the company confirmed that it’s next open source initiative and the so called future of CyanogenMod, Lineage OS, will be created and developed with the help of some folks from the original team, and be taking several steps forward from the CyanogenMod.
Taking some words from the blog post to convey the same: “Embracing that spirit, we the community of developers, designers, device maintainers and translators have taken the steps necessary to produce a fork of the CM source code and pending patches. This is more than just a ‘rebrand’. This fork will return to the grassroots community effort that used to define CM while maintaining the professional quality and reliability you have come to expect more recently”.
Cyanogen Inc. took some abrupt decisions and community is still getting over the decision and significance of consequences that follow the decision. The team states that Lineage OS comes as the next generation instead of a rebrand and it can prepare for any kind of transition for CyanogenMod user and have little time for the development on its own.
Let’s see how this works out. The one thing that’s for certain though, is that there are thus only two really mobile OS’ left out there – with Samsung going cold on Tizen development, and now CyanogenMod getting shuttered, Android and iOS become the only pillars left standing.
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.
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.
Now, as per a new report on the AndroidAuthority website, OnePlus 3 has apparently been discontinued in certain countries in Europe, as well as in the U.S (which are also the first two regions where the OnePlus 3T was launched).
Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the OnePlus 3 might just be discontinued in other geographies as well – all those that have witnessed the launch of OnePlus 3T. That said, the smartphone maker hasn’t mentioned anything on its plans to launch the OnePlus 3T in India (*sigh*).
Priced at ~ INR 29,600 (post conversion), the OnePlus 3T will go onto pre-order through the company’s official website in the US starting November 22, and in other European regions (from November 28), the actual delivery in those territories will begin November 28.
Crafted out of anodized aluminium, the new OnePlus 3T is available in Soft Gold and Gunmetal colour variants. The handset includes a faster chipset, better front-facing camera, and bigger battery as compared to the OnePlus 3. However, its overall design is the same as the OnePlus 3. I really think you should read more about the OnePlus 3T (by clicking here). It is by far, one of the most interesting devices released in the last six months or so.
There’s some good news though, both, the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T will receive the Android 7.0 Nougat update later this year, as per the brand.
We’ll let you know once we hear more about the roll-out.
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.
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’d written about the imminent launch of proprietary Service and Support Centres by OnePlus back in October last year. Well, OnePlus just announced the launch of another kind of store – their very own online store!
Encouraged by the amazing response for its products in India, OnePlus launched its exclusive online store in India on October 13 (just ahead of the festive season). However, there is a catch here: the OnePlus store, unlike other OEM stores, will currently only sell accessories and continue to sell the primary devices i.e. their smartphones exclusively through amazon.in.
While the OnePlus 3 is listed on OnePlus’ online store however it redirects you to Amazon India to buy the phone.
While this may appear to be a curious state of affairs, however we believe this restriction actually pertains to an existing contract with Amazon that may have precluded sales from any other platform or retail channels.
Speaking to the Press, the Chinese company seemed of the view that it’s new online store will definitely help improve the availability of OnePlus products in India. Given our assumption about contractual stipulations above, it seems that the company plans to use the platform to engage the OnePlus community by selling only accessories and “exclusive original merchandise” via their own online store.
The new official website – oneplusstore.in is what you need to visit to take home some exclusive, exciting and latest merchandise by OnePlus. The store even carries merchandise with some limited period offers for OnePlus’ existing and registered users.
The users need to register themselves with the IMEI details of their smartphones on the OnePlus online store.
The cool official stuff that you can get for your OnePlus smartphone includes Tempered Glass Protectors, Protective Cases, Flip Covers, Otterbox Cases and some bundles for your smartphone.
Further, Dash Type-C Cables, Dash Power Adapters, Dash Car Chargers for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus Icons earphones are also available on this online store.
That’s not all; accessories for the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X such as cases can also be found here.
Talking about the launch of the e-commerce store in India, Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, India for OnePlus said, “We are very excited to bring the globally acclaimed OnePlus shopping experience to our fans in India. With the new platform, our users will find it easier to purchase genuine OnePlus products and fan merchandise, right from the comfort of their homes. The e-commerce platform marks yet another major milestone in our India journey and reiterates our long term commitment towards the Indian market and our fan community here”.
In other news, the company recently made an addition to the OnePlus 3 range by bringing in the Soft Gold variant of the device at the same price tag (INR 27,999) as that of the Graphite variant launched earlier.
Looking forward, the rumor mill is abuzz with speculations about OnePlus’ new smartphone dubbed as the OnePlus 3T, slated to be an upgrade to OnePlus 3 and is expected to sport Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, run on Android 7.0 Nougat and is expected to launch in December this year at a speculated price of INR 27,999 (just like OnePlus 3 at the time of its launch).
Watch this space!
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.
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?
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.
The OnePlus 3 received its share of limelight as it released amidst huge pomp and show but the device almost immediately faced a lot of criticism once customers started using the phone. Quite a few reported issues with the phone, especially on the fronts of display output and storage.
OnePlus noted the consternation, and swung in to resolve the highlighted issues, via an update which is receivable OTA. This version (Oxygen OS version 3.1.4) comes as a sort of apology for the inconvenience caused and as an announcement for the action to be taken in near future.
The issues plaguing the display arose as the display was calibrated to a standard different than the industry-standard sRGB spec. As a result, the OnePlus 3 offered a color balance that was off the acceptable norms, by enhancing colors way too much.
Consequently, images looked totally different than they ought to have.
What the update will ensure is that the sRGB mode can be enabled, and thus, the colour saturation can be reduced somewhat, which in turn, would lend a realistic look to images and media.
The mouse in the RAM cottage was a trickier one to pin down. OnePlus 3, despite a substantial 6 GB of RAM cuts off apps that it deemed unused, a little too over-zealously. Consequently, this result in such apps taking much longer to launch, when reopened. This of course, is irritating at most times.
The current update ensures that apps are kept in memory longer, thereby delaying their termination cut-off.
The display-related issue managed to spark quite a lot of controversy especially when AnandTech reviewed the phone and rated the display as extremely disappointing. Some users on Reddit stoked fires further, speculating that OnePlus had cut corners in order to save the costs on display. Redditor “tiagom0702” said, OnePlus “needed to cut somewhere and since they managed to get Samsung panels on discount it’s not that surprising if compared with recent devices“.
Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus got tired of the scathing remarks and set into a rant, during which he elaborated on the company’s decision to use the display was based on user experience. Pei posted, “I’m sick and tired of sentiment like this. It may not seem so, but for a product company – it’s insulting“.
Some Reddit users suggested that OnePlus should have picked 2K display, Pei spoke on this as well and claimed that the company could have done so because the price difference between 2K and 1080p is very less, but the company went for 1080p display simply because they wanted to increase the user experience.
“Higher resolutions also means higher battery and CPU/GPU use, for example,” wrote Pei. “The display that Samsung made for the OnePlus was made to the company’s intentional specifications, and not simply off-the-shelf, cheap components“, explained Pei.
Thus, the 2K display would have taken a toll on the battery, which is an even bigger issue for most users these days, than display resolution (relatively speaking). This is to say that financial reasons were not a consideration, instead it was a conscious, well thought decision based on user experience.
Talking about the color issue, Pei admitted that the display wasn’t compatible to use sRGB, but that is because the company thinks that the users wouldn’t want it anyway. With the update sRGB would still be an option available on the phone.
There were a lot of comparisons between the OnePlus 3 and other phones like Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s. Out of these three, OnePlus 3 emerged as the slowest of all despite packaging a 6 GB of hefty RAM.
This of course, was clarified by Pei saying that the RAM performance was intentional and meant to conserve battery life.
Pei concluded the post by answering all those who thought that OnePlus had cut the corners to save on cost, straightaway saying “there are no corners cut on the product, and there will never be. OnePlus cuts corners on business model (direct to consumer), org structure (nimble and fast team), and marketing (organic word of mouth focused)“.
What this incident specifically highlights is OnePlus’ active team who is ready to take note of issues and fix them. At the same time ensuring that the company doesn’t bear any sort of defamation or insults for the wrong reasons. The decision of using sRGB display and explanation by Pei clearly points out to the very importance of user experience and customers for OnePlus.
Everything is not that rosy though since the general public will have to wait for the update to reach them. This is because OxygenOS version 3.1.4 is being pushed out to review units only, which will be treated as beta testers for the public OTA release that will follow “later on.”
Probably with this little incident that happened with OnePlus 3, other companies have taken life lessons. Okay I admit life lessons is an exaggeration, well at least Industry based lessons? Such as, if the software is deprived of required amount of attention, then no amount of impressive hardware can compensate that.
When OnePlus first landed in the market few years ago, it was a total newcomer: no prior reputation, no baggage of catering to a certain set of audience and no pressure of expectation.
They started out as a breath of fresh air with an innovative approach to marketing and consumer interaction, an intriguing distribution model, and a handset with a relatively low price combined with decent specs. Like a predator they had smartly gauged the market for weaknesses and angles of attack. Every thing was purposeful and strategic.
Now, at the launch of OnePlus 3 one can make out, it’s their first proper foray at gaining a seat at the big boys’ table. But… how does their attempt fare?
Pretty darn well.
For starters, the annoying invite system is gone: the limited number, invite-only distribution model has served it’s purpose; and OnePlus realises that it’s best not to overdo it. Now, their supply chain too, is upto speed, and OnePlus’ management has found their feet and their confidence in the ability to attract customers, despite their product’s ‘affordable’ price tags.
“The invite system has a special place in our history”, said OnePlus on its official blog. “When we first started out, our team was incredibly small. We had no idea what the demand of the OnePlus One would look like. We also weren’t fans of flash sales, where there’s a risk of everything selling out immediately, forcing fans to wait indefinitely. To address this, we designed the invite system to give customers a chance to purchase a phone as soon as we had inventory ready”.
“With the OnePlus 3” OnePlus added, “we’re officially saying goodbye to invites. It’s a big step for us as a company, our fans, and fellow tech enthusiasts. After sending out millions of invites over the past two years, it’s hard to not think back to the early days and how far we’ve come. We’re proud to have reached a point where we feel confident in making our new device available without invites from day one.”
OnePlus has also dialled up on its spec-to-price ratio offering a metal-build, premium-grade, and flagship-level spec smartphone at a mid-range price point – a mere INR 26,000!
Here are some of the specifications that the new flagship from OnePlus bears:
The move from Snapdragon 810 to 820 will certainly improve performance, especially when you consider the app detection that OnePlus was doing which crippled web performance on the OnePlus 2.
The use of 6 GB RAM, while appreciable, is difficult to fathom at the same time since the device won’t be using a astronomically high number of apps at any given moment during daily usage to warrant a 6 GB resident memory usage. Bear in mind, that there is an energy cost to adding more RAM as each memory cell has to be periodically refreshed to maintain data integrity.
The 1080p display means that it is more than a few pixels short to be be cohesive with Google’s Daydream VR platform but the relevance of that is restricted at least until next year.
OnePlus 3 will run on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based OxygenOS out-of-the-box and comes with LTE support.
For the cameras, OnePlus has gone back to Sony sensors.
One distinctly identifiable trait that the users will find is that on the exterior design front OnePlus has moved to an aluminum unibody design. In doing so they’ve addressed pretty much all of the more vocally called out issues with the OnePlus 2. Starting with the back of the device, you no longer have the sandstone finish.
The OnePlus 3 feels like a much more premium buy, particularly because there are no longer three distinct sections of the phone that all have seams and gaps between one another.
It features a USB Type C charging port, as well as a fingerprint reader located in the physical home button on the phone’s front. The device is available in Graphite and Soft Gold colours.
The best thing (for the company that is) perhaps, is that there seems to be a back track on the hyperbole.
The device that released on 15th June last month is no longer claiming to be a ‘flagship beater’ like its sibling OnePlus 2 did. Instead its in the market to compete.
And there’s a lot to love, the price is right and the invite system finally gone for good – OnePlus might finally be that politician coming good on their promises, at least in this essay.
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!
Smartphone manufacturers are being forced to try all kinds of tricks and treats to promote their products. One of the most successful tricks in 2014 turned out to be the invite-only method.
OnePlus was the company that introduced India to invitation sales, to quite a remarkable success.
Now, they’ve leveraged a similar trick to garner interest towards their next device, the OnePlus 3, but with a big twist! This time around, it’s not the device that will be sold via invitaions, rather, its an accessory to the device, that will be provided free to a lucky few.
OnePlus had conducted a flash-booking event where 30,000 Loop VR headsets were being given away totally free on a first-come-first-get basis.
All that people were supposed to do was to fill in their details on Amazon, pay Re 1 a nominal shipping fee to get their Loop VR headset, delivered at their doorstep.
Now anything that comes for free or at such a nominal price is bound to run out of stock immediately. In fact, all 30,000 headsets were gone within 5 seconds. A lucky few could manage to place their orders in time and few others were left a little sad.
Did you and I miss out on the most amazing part of the deal? Seems like it
In case you are wondering about some second round of free orders emerging on the scene then let me crush your entire hopes buddy, it ain’t happening.
One might think why give away thousands of these VR headsets for such a small amount? Well, that’s because the OnePlus 3 launch will be broadcast through the Loop VR app and is the only way you could watch the launch event sitting comfortably at your home!
News is, the headsets are now on their way to reach their customers who did book them, and they’re arriving well in time before the launch of OnePlus 3 smartphone.
The OnePlus Loop VR is almost like the Samsung Gear VR headset and requires a smartphone to act as its screen. However, unlike Samsung’s offering, in the case of the Loop VR headset, most 5-6 inch smartphones would fit right in – so the 366 gram headset is not limited to being used with just OnePlus devices and is compatible with other mobile VR experiences and software too.
The VR headset has an in-built orthoscopic lens and provides over a 100-degree field of view, and for folks like me, the best part – it can be used over spectacles too!
The Loop VR headset can be thought of as an improvised, comfortable, next-generation successor of the cardboard headset that was launched last year alongside the launch of OnePlus 2 smartphone.
This time around, the headset has a plastic body in a black and white color combination. The front space is used to insert the smartphone which has a display size ranging between 5-6 inches. Behind the Loop VR and ANTVR logo there are two viewing lenses which can be adjusted to suit the eyesight of the user.
Behind the plastic body of course is foam, space to place your nose and some straps to keep your headset in place and comfy. The outer appearance might be similar to Samsung Gear VR headset but in terms of functionality there are not a lot of similarities. To count a few differences, there is no micro-USB cable to connect the headset to the phone, a complete absence of physical buttons on the Loop VR etc. among others.
Absence of buttons might make interaction with the device frustrating because you will have to first fire up the app or game and then insert the smartphone into the headset. This sure looks like a problem.
Probably this can be justified by the mere fact that the headset is being hurriedly launched and shipped in just in time for the launch of the OnePlus 3. The company has set up a virtual space station for the launch and the event is being hosted in Shenzen, China at 10am local time on 15th June. For other parts of the world, the international VR launch event will take place on 14th June from 12:30PM EST.
To accentuate the buzz around this flagship phone OnePlus 3, OnePlus collaborated with online cab service, Uber to make it easier for OnePlus fans to get their hands on the OnePlus Loop VR headset, just in time before the phone gets launched. The VR headset is delivered to your doorstep within minutes of booking it via the Uber app. All you need is a valid Uber ID and ONEPLUS3VR promo code. Isn’t it cool?
Fans will be able to order their OnePlus Loop VR Headsets starting 14 June from 3PM. All they will need to do is log on to the Uber app using a valid Uber ID and enter the ONEPLUS3VR promo code under the “Promotions” tab. After entering the promo code, users will need to head back to the main screen and click on the UberVR icon. An Uber cab will be on its way to deliver the headset for free. Public sales for the OnePlus 3 will begin soon after the event on Amazon.in at 12:30 AM IST.
The registrations for OnePlus 3 have touched a million! Would you believe that!
Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, in this regard said, “We are naturally elated at the response from the OnePlus community to obtain the Loop VR headsets to view the OnePlus 3 launch”.
OnePlus this time has gone all out to get all the desired limelight. OnePlus partnered with Glynk, a social networking platform where through a contest which ends on June 12, 20 VR headsets will be given to 100 participants. These headsets are expected to reach the customers by June 13, a day before the launch of the much hyped and speculated about OnePlus 3.
Besides all this, OnePlus has made an interesting innovation in terms of global shopping experience in VR, whereby the customers can buy the new handset during the first two hours of the launch exclusively on the Loop. The open sales for OnePlus 3, will begin on June 15 at 12:30 p.m. IST exclusively on Amazon.in for $369 i.e. around INR 25,000.
Now you know all the what, when and where to head to, to get your OnePlus VR headset and OnePlus 3.
Battery technology in general is something that is constantly evolving, in this universe of hungrier, bigger and busier gadgets.
We all want to be free (wireless), use less power and draw more benefits from our omnipresent devices. Keeping all this in consideration, different smartphone makers are researching and developing efficient ways of making devices more powerful but more efficient in power utilisation.
One such device that uses new-age tech is the OnePlus 3, which uses a new technology called Dash Charge.
What is Dash Charge?
Dash Charge is a technology that OnePlus has introduced through its latest flagship phone. This enables the phone to recharged with a day’s-worth of additional battery life in just 30 minutes.
Digging into details more precisely, we learn that the Dash Charge technology charges the 3,000 mAh battery that comes inside of the OnePlus 3 up to 60% in just half an hour. That’s fast, but not as fast as its rivals like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, which claims to be able to reach 80% in 35 minutes!
The job of Dash Charge doesn’t end here though – it is also said to continue supplying a fast charge rate even when the users engage in activities that end up draining the battery quickly, like playing games or streaming a video. Isn’t that cool?
Dash Charge technology is not only rapid, but it also purportedly functions at a lower temperature when compared to other fast charge solutions (according to OnePlus). This is made possible as the power management is handled by the Dash Charge itself, instead of by the phone; thereby regulating the temperature of the phone.
This is what leads to OnePlus’ claim that the phone should never end up overheating as most of the heat being generated during the charging process won’t even reach the device. This should also make the charging process safer!
Lastly, OnePlus says that Dash Charge allows five layers of protection to safeguard the adaptor, cable and phone itself!
Prerequisites for Dash Charge
Carl Pei, CEO of OnePlus mentioned that in order to use Dash Charge correctly, OnePlus 3 owners will need to use both the cable and charger that have been supplied with the device.
“The Dash Charge cable is thicker to physically push through more amps. You need both adapter and cable to achieve Dash Charge speeds”, explains Pei.
Here’s what happens behind the scenes – the circuits in the charger first check for the correct type of cable before powering the electricity through the cable, and in case you are using a different type of cable then the charging speed would switch to the regular one.
This happens in order to ensure a safe transmission of electric current.
This naturally does act as a constraint for the consumers; they have more reason to purchase all of their charging accessories directly from OnePlus (kind of how Apple recommends that only Apple’s or MFI-certified chargers and the cables be used). Any other USB Type-C cables you use won’t be able to utilise this quick charge solution.
This is simply because of the proprietary charging technology that OnePlus has put to use. OnePlus is actually licensing the VOOC fast charging design from Oppo, which doesn’t come as a surprise since both have the same parent company.
With Oppo’s proficiency in fast charging technology using VOOC technology they have created a benchmark in preserving in-house fast charging. Oppo is not the only one on the list of in-house charging though – even Samsung provides adaptive charging on their Exynos-processor-powered Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Reassuringly, it’s not the end of the world if you lose the OnePlus 3 charging cable or if it wears out, you could always charge your phone with a normal USB cable or use a different charging adapter. The only catch here is that you won’t be able to get that rapid speed and would have to compromise with “slow” regular charging speed.
Just so you treat those babies with special care, you should know that a new OnePlus Dash Charge Adapter costs INR 1,390, while the Dash Charge Type-C Cable will set you back about INR 1,129.
Also, OnePlus has no intentions to make the Dash Charge facility available to third party manufacturers. So no luck for any other handsets jumping up with the exact same USP.
Why Dash Charge and not Quick Charge 3.0?
Since OnePlus 3 runs on the Snapdragon 820 CPU, it could have adhered to Qualcomm’s standards and gone ahead with Quick Charge 3.0 found on the likes of HTC 10 and LG G5. Quick Charge 3.0 supports a broad range of connectors as well, including USB Type-C. The question then arises why not Quick Charge 3.0 instead of Dash Charge?
It is possible that the Indian Government hasn’t given the permit to import Quick Charge 3.0 enabled adapters in the country as they haven’t got the BSI ratings required in the country to sell these electronics products.
We have some facts to back this speculation. Xiaomi Mi 5 and LG G5 both have been launched recently and support Quick Charge 3.0, but it is noteworthy that the company is not offering the 3.0 supported Chargers in the Indian retail units for these devices.
Swearing by its tagline ‘Never Settle’, OnePlus it seems has found a way to offer if not faster-charging technology, then at least technology equivalent to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0!
All we need to see now, are batteries that don’t even need to be topped up. Now that, would be an even greater achievement!
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!
One of the stars of the Mobile World Congress 2016 that’s gaining the attention is OnePlus’ next flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 3.
Carl Pei, OnePlus’ founder, had dropped a hint at the tail end of the MCW 2016, that the next big OnePlus launch can be expected within the second quarter of the year.
While listed as OnePlus A3000 for now, as the world knows, it is actually going to be titled as the OnePlus 3. Not everything is known about the device yet; only bits and pieces of the devices specs are known based on recent leaks and reports.
According to available information and speculations, the device is to be groundbreaking in its own right, deadly to the competition, and will be highly appreciated in the market.
The snippets we’ve gathered on the device specs are:
As can be expected, a lot of speculations about the new OnePlus smartphone have been doing the rounds. One such speculation in terms of the design, which is not that great news, is that the company might be getting rid of the textured Sandstone back in favour of a black, Brushed Steel finish.
Locationally, the rear camera might have moved higher up on the back and the fingerprint scanner does not seem visible anymore. This could mean the phone is looking at Iris scanning, a feature which is included in HP’s Elite x3.
The device’s pricing hasn’t yet been revealed; but it is expected to go with what OnePlus is known for – bringing technologically sound devices at budget prices. Given that the OnePlus 2 is priced roughly around INR 22,000, we can expect a similar number, or a very slight bump upwards.
Going by pure numbers, the camera and the display are not the best in the market, but they shall certainly land at the better-than-good spot in terms of the space that the device is looking to enter into.
On the plus side (no pun intended), the design of the OnePlus 2 was highly appreciated; so it is estimable that the newer phone shall be similar in design and execution, or maybe OnePlus could be smoothening it out even further.
In terms of market competition, the OnePlus 3 shall be dealing with its own predecessor, the OnePlus 2, alone with OnePlus X. It shall also be competing with Google Nexus 5x and Nexus 6P, Motorola Moto X Play, LG G4 and LG G5, and some Xiaomi and Huawei devices.
OnePlus 3 is perhaps then a device sound on its technology within a budgeted price range. It, however, has the chance to smoothen out the few tiny drawbacks – battery life, camera, and perhaps a better operating system in terms of the Oxygen OS – that were felt with the company’s previous handset, OnePlus 2.
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.
OnePlus just announced a price cut for its flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 2, this week.
Having entered the superheated Indian smartphone market just seven months ago, OnePlus has already managed to gain sustainable traction. With this permanent price cut, specifically drummed up for the Indian market, the brand should gain even more acceptance.
A price cut of INR 2,000 was announced for both the 16 GB and the 64 GB variants. Thus the 16 GB model is now available to the buyers at INR 20,999, while the 64 GB variant can now be bought at INR 22,999.
Interestingly though, the phones were already available at discounted prices on Amazon India for a while before the company made the price cut uniform across the board and officially permanent.
Having received the warm reception the brand received in India, it perhaps spotted a price cut as good strategy for the extremely buoyant Indian market where INR 2,000 bonus matters a lot to the cost conscious Indian middle-class user base. Obviously the company is trying to focus on this base specifically and provide value to them at prices that are appealing to their sensibilities.
To recap the features of the smartphone head over to our detailed product page for the OnePlus 2.
To explain the price cut in the Indian market, the company stated that it has been able to expand its operations in the country, bringing them to a sizeable manufacturing capability, thus giving the brand a lot more flexibility.
“Why have the price drop? Let’s just say that thanks to both timing and scale, our operations have sized up sufficiently propelling us to offer our flagship offering as an even better proposition for your connectivity needs,” said the company spokesperson.
One can also maybe deduce that another flagship might be on the way for the company. Carl Pei, the brand’s co-founder, in an interview with CNET, confirmed that a flagship for the company could be on its way as soon as June this year.
Without revealing much about the new flagship smart-device, he said that they plan to follow a radical design, different from the OnePlus 2, in an attempt to aim for the effect that OnePlus One had on the market. Certainly then, that is how the tech world goes, lowering prices before it launches the next salvo.
Vikas Agarwal, the OnePlus India General Manager, on the launch of OnePlus 2 in India had said “India is an important market for us and our fans are sure to get their hands on OnePlus 2 simultaneously with the rest of the world”. With the price slash, the company is now all set to claim more of the great Indian market. Let’s just hope that OnePlus retains its promise of products with excellent specifications at tremendous value.
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.
There are brands out there who would give their right arms and left kidney to hire the marketing geniuses behind OnePlus. Seldom has any brand made such a resounding entry to a space as crowded as that of smartphones, as OnePlus did.
Full of bright ideas and innovative approaches, OnePlus’ campaigns have garnered it much attention taking to near cult status in terms of desirability. Their invite-only approach in particular added to the mystique, appeal and consequently pent-up demand. The demand was akin to that previously enjoyed only by iPhones and possibly the Redmi 1S.
Now with their much hyped sequel the OnePlus 2 (which is equipped with some high-end features, stunning design and top-notch hardware, at INR 24,999) reaching buyers in India, China, US, Canada and select European regions, the company is hoping to rekindle on that fanboism. OnePlus 2 is relying on the same by-invite-only approach to churn up demand.
In addition to the invite-only route, there’s another way to get the phone. A new ploy by the Chinese smartphone maker by way of an event tagged as #TakeTheEdgeOff, where it came up with a preposterous offer to allow 50 lucky individuals to trade-in their Samsung flagship devices like Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ or Note5 for a brand new OnePlus 2. The company claims that it would donate the exchanged Samsung smartphones to a forward-thinking non-profit organization named Hope Phones, that recycles phones to fund healthcare programs in developing countries!
To enter the contest, you have to use the hashtag #TakeTheEdgeOff on a social media account of yours (Facebook, Twitter or any other prominent one), then fill out a form (at https://oneplus.net/uk/take-the-edge-off). If you are selected, a OnePlus representative will contact you through mail to finalize the exchange deal.
The OnePlus 2 promises to be a fairly good phone, and if you’re really in a mood to get one, you better get started pitching your hat.
Best of luck!
OnePlus customers reeling under the dearth of service centers in India, can finally let out a long sigh of relief. The China based company has announced its plan to start manufacturing some of their devices in India; which consequently means that they’ll be setting up centers to support the devices too.
OnePlus has tied up with Foxconn (the Taiwanese company reputed for making Apple products), to start manufacturing its devices in India as early as the end of the current year.
OnePlus announced this partnership on12th October, revealing that the manufacturing will take place in Sri City Integrated Business City in Andhra Pradesh. The 30,000 square feet facility will shoot to put out 500,000 units per month.
During the official announcement held in Bengaluru, Pete Lau, Founder & CEO, OnePlus said “India being one of our biggest markets worldwide, we are committed to a long term sustainable growth path. This move will strengthen our presence and help us step up momentum in India.” He also stated the fact that about a third of the company’s smartphone sales comes directly from the Indian market.
This decision by OnePlus is estimated to generate substantial direct employment of over 1,000 full-time workers. While the company attributes this move as its share in the “Make in India “ campaign initiated by our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to encourage manufacturing in india, the other reason for this decision to start manufacturing locally could be to resolve ongoing supply chain related problems that inhibited the launch of the OnePlus 2.
Plus, India can be a one-stop-shop, which can allow an OEM to have software and hardware design, development, testing and manufacturing all under one roof.
This step by OnePlus is nothing out of the blue – India being one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets, is already attracting many handset companies to commence manufacturing here, so as to also tap the unexplored potential of inexpensive skilled labour which would enable the OEM cheaper access to manpower and consumers.
For Oneplus, India (both rural and urban demographics) has proven to be a golden market, given that most Indians prefer technologically competent yet budget-friendly devices. This gives budget brands an edge – to create products that rly on value-for-money, unlike Apple or Samsung’s flagships, which burn a hole in their pockets, and are thus not their first choice.
When OnePlus One was launched in India, the stir it created could easily be judged by the fact that people paid money to get invites for the phone!
Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, has said that it is aiming to develop 10-12 facilities (which will include factories and data centers) in India by 2020, thereby allowing OEMs to offer a comprehensive customer experience with after sales services for their devices in addition to just sales.
India: get ready for some mollycoddling!
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.
OnePlus has sent out invites for the 20th of April, inviting everyone – they just forgot to mention why, and have thus made our over analytical minds go into overdrive!
We have explored all possibilities, some logical and most insanely out of the box possibilities (someone had them pegged on launching commercial drone!).
Let’s explore the lone logical option.
We might see the OnePlus Two being announced to the world – the OnePlus One was unveiled on 23rd April 2014 and released on 25th April 2014, so OnePlus Two following about the same launch cycle should be a viable presumption. Most companies like having a specific part of year as their preferred product launch timeframe, for planning, execution and operational purposes.
OnePlus Two should surprise us with the screen size, as Carl Pei’s announcement on the same has had people guessing. The new device could have a Snapdragon 810 processor and 4 GB RAM running a custom ROM based on Android 5.0 Lollipop.
It took more than six months for the OnePlus One to hit the Indian shores via Amazon India – we’re hoping that we do not have to wait that long for the new introduction.
Carl had assured Indian customers that India would be one of the first markets they would like to introduce the device in – so here’s hoping he remembers.
Carl had also confirmed the OnePlus One will be sold at a discounted price until stocks run out.
Happy Shopping! Stay strong in the wait!
The release of OnePlus Two is finally out, set to launch in the 3rd quarter of this year, and going by what we’re hearing, the device will send tremors down the budget-phones lane.
OnePlus came into being in December 2013 with just 6 employees. They sold 1 million devices in 2014, and aim to sell about 5 million in the current year.
Want to know their sale target of 2016? 10 million.
OnePlus not only came to market with a surprisingly good phone, they also came with a surprisingly offbeat marketing strategy – restrict sales to increase desire!
Folks could get their hands on the OnePlus One only when they were invited by the brand. Causing hunger, the device sold as did the concept. It’s only recently that OnePlus has done away with the invites protocol for acquiring the OnePlus One.
OnePlus Two should follow the same sales strategy.
The release of OnePlus Two should have their OxygenOS out of the box, which offers the users a software that is open, customisable, and free of bloat (i.e. unnecessary) features.
OxygenOS is OnePlus’ first attempt at creating its own custom Android ROM based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, as they had launched with CyanogenMod’s custom ROM built upon Android OS.
The new model will boast a unibody metal frame over a polycarbonate one and have 4 GB RAM powered by a larger battery. There is speculation on the size of the screen, which could be smaller than the current device (like the LG G Flex 2, which has a smaller screen size than its predecessor).
As per Canalys, OnePlus’s largest markets are Europe and the U.S., accounting for 52% share of total sales, followed by East Asia (39%) and India amounting to 7%. So India has some catching up to do.
Hopefully OnePlus will auger for more stock to hit Indian shores, this time around.
There’s more – OnePlus has indicated that they will release an inexpensive variant at the end of the year, which could enable them to catch up with the existing OEMs in India.
This is going to be an interesting salvo from OnePlus!
OnePlus Embraces An Innovative Launch Strategy To Launch Their Maiden Device
With not a single commercial on television, no printed ads, nor banners on websites that tech enthusiasts frequent, this start up has managed to grab attention of its target audience surprisingly well!
Android fans were familiar with the OnePlus One’s features long before the product was even close to launch. That is in stark contrast with the secrecy that surrounds most other smartphone releases.
By slowly lifting the veil on the One, OnePlus created genuine buzz in blog posts, comments, forums on Reddit and every other channel where phone enthusiasts congregate.
While big name companies are spending millions on marketing, advertising and endorsements, OnePlus has recruited brand builders from all over the globe, for free.
A smart idea thought of by this Beijing based startup!
It’s “Smash your Phone” campaign has definitely caught our attention, where potential buyers need to record and send a video of smashing their current phones. Mind you, these phones cannot be just any Nokia 100s – they have to be from OnePlus’ list, which incidentally contains only has phones that are currently popular in the market, and form OnePlus One’s nemeses.
The top 100 entries (smashing their phones) get the OnePlus One phone for just USD 1 along with 3 invites to spread the cheer with this friends.
This brings us to the unique Invite-only system of engaging buyers that OnePlus adopted. There is a mixed response towards this novel way of purchase, where a person will need an invite to buy the OnePlus One – the device is not going to be purchasable off any store or online platform for retail sale.
While some think of it to be a senseless way that will only curb the sales of the product, a lot of people have amazed us with their ability to whip out credit cards and go for a product that they have not even seen before! The sense of scarcity has mostly created a desirable effect.
In addition, since it is a startup after all, the invite model will help OnePlus in gauging the demand for its product accurately, and produce only in the required quantities. Smart!!
Apart from the features, price and the confidence in its product, the level of communication maintained with the potential customers by the OnePlus team has helped build a positive rapport. OnePlus has communicated with its customers from Day One. It’s open, friendly, inclusive discussion with existing and prospective customers makes a refreshing change in the tech world, and we hope it continues even after the phone’s sales have begun.
The tech media (like us at Chip-monks) is often harping on about innovation or more specifically, a lack of it in the industry. The OnePlus One may or may not stand up to the quality of smartphones that exist in the market. However, the way it has been brought to life and how it will be eventually sold is definitely innovative.
There’s another thing though – companies looking to upset the balance on the mobile battleground can learn a thing or two from OnePlus’ fresh approach to sales and marketing.
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!