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Hardik Patel

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Showing posts with label Mobile Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile Technology. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

How to choose the right smartphone?

Shopping for a new handset? Great! You can finally buy that device you've always wanted. But how do you navigate through jargon like dual- and quad-core , GHz, mAh, and megapixels? What makes one operating system different from the other? After reading this primer, you will be sufficiently armed with answers to help you pick a phone that's right for you..

Operating system
Make no mistake, it's the OS that puts the 'smart' in your smartphone, so before buying, it's always a good idea to know about the different ecosystems that exist...

Android OS promises native integration with Google services that include Search, Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, YouTube, etc. Besides, you get access to over a million apps in its Play store. The best part? Titles that might be paid downloads on iOS and Windows Phone are sometimes available for free here. Another advantage of an Android handset is that these are plug-and-play . You can simply connect it to your PC via a USB cable to begin transferring files to and from the device with zero hassles. Also, you can choose from phones—costing as less as 4,000 right to those that are priced at over 50k—from vendors such as HTC, LG, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and even from local players like Karbonn, Lava, Micromax, Spice and Xolo. Just remember, Android versions are alphabetically named, and the latest in the market are Jelly Bean and Kit-Kat . Make sure you're putting your money on either of these.

Windows Phone is now playing catch-up with Android and iOS - and at last count, its app store just had over two lakh titles. Still, most popular apps have already made their way to this platform. Also, WP handsets in India primarily come from Nokia - and while the OS needs improvements, you get really good hardware for the price you pay. Plus, these devices come with subscriptions to free content like music and movies (depending on the model you buy), and also Here Maps and Drive+, which are arguably the best map and navigation services in the country.

iOS, only found in iPhones, is extremely intuitive to use - and since Apple vets every title that makes it to its App store, you're promised high-quality digital content in the form of educational material, music, videos and apps. The OS itself promises smooth operations, and you'll find very rare instances of iPhones freezing during use. On the downside, you'll have to use iTunes to connect the handset to your PC, and this can prove to be quite annoying. And yes, only buy from local authorised dealers; iPhones picked up from abroad are not covered under local warranty.

Processors 
When shopping, you are bound to hear about dual-core , quad-core , and even octacore processors. But what should you put your money on?
While a greater number of cores are supposedly better, it does not give you a true picture of how a smartphone may perform. Why? Well, not all cores are designed identically. UK-based ARM, which designs these chips, licenses different architectures - with names such as Cortex A5, A7, A8, A9, A12, A15 - to manufacturers. Here, higher numbers mean better chips. In effect, a phone that uses a quad-core A15 will definitely be more advanced than a handset with a quad-core A5. In fact, there might be instances where dual-core processors might fare better than quad-core chips.

Also, a lot of how a processor performs depends on how the OS utilises its abilities. So an iPhone on a dual-core processor could be a bett er performer than many quad-core Android phones.

That said, these are some of the names you can expect to hear when shopping... Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 600 and 800 chips, Samsung's octacore Exynos, and Apple's dual-core A7 (found on the iPhone 5s, and not to be confused with ARM's Cortex series) are the top dogs in this market.

Devices like the Nokia Lumias use mid-range dual-core Qualcomm S4 chipsets that are also seen in handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro and the Sony Experia M. Older iPhones use a dualcore A6 processor (again, not to be confused with ARM Cortex).
In the mid- to low-price brackets, you'll find dual-core Intel Atom chips, the quadcore MediaTek MT6589, and Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon 200 and 400.

Display 
The best way to judge a smartphone's screen is to look at it from different angles for changes in colour, and also in varying lighting conditions for visibility. Invest in a Full HD (1080p) display if you're buying a phablet. On the other hand, HD (720p) screens work well for devices up to five inches in size. On smaller devices, load a web page to see if the text is crisp, and can be read without any strain to your eyes.

In any case, avoid smartphones with lesser than WVGA (800x480px) resolution. AMOLED screens are best when it comes to displaying punchy colours. LCD screens with IPS technology comes a close second, while TFT LCDs should be avoided if you can.

RAM 
It's plain and simple: more RAM is always better.

Storage 
We carry our world - e-mails , social networks, photographs, videos, music - with us on our smartphones, so when buying, always budget for a phone that comes with ample storage. Generally, if a phone lists its capacity as 8GB, only about 6.5GB will be available to the user. So if you need 4GB, buy a phone with 8 to 16GB.

More megapixels and HD video recording capabilities result in images and videos that occupy more space. Also, if you plan on watching Full HD movies on your phone, ensure you have at least 32GB storage.
If possible, opt for a model that supports microSD cards of up to 64GB so you can always add more memory when you need it.

Size 
In our experience, a screen of four to five inches works well for most purposes.

A phone that has a screen bigger than five inches could be slightly uncomfortable to use with one hand. Also keep in mind that big-screen phones are heavy, and can be uncomfortable to carry in your pocket.

On the flip side, large screens allow for a better experience while watching movies, playing games and browsing the web.

Camera 
A 5MP camera is capable of 8x6-inch prints even at 300dpi (dots per inch), which is the standard resolution used in professional printing.

So, if you're looking for a good camera phone, dump the idea that more megapixels will give you better pictures. Instead, look for phones that boast of good camera optics (go for devices that come with Carl Zeiss lens). Remember, a high-resolution camera with a low-quality lens will only give you low-quality pictures in high resolution.
In any case, if you need a snapper only for photos you'd like to share on social networks or Instagram, a 10MP camera phone is going to be overkill.

Opt for cameras with BSI (backside illumination) sensors for better low-light photography; make sure it comes with an LED flash.
In our experience, if you want a good shooter, you have to shell out extra bucks. Good photos are a result of adequate megapixels, good lens and sensor technology, as well as high-end processor chipsets. The Nokia Lumia 1520, 1020 and 925, the Apple iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and S4 Zoom, LG G2, and HTC One are known for their good snappers.
For your front-facing camera, one megapixel is more than adequate.

Battery 
You may have the best hardware at your disposal, but if you keep running out of battery, your handset is quite useless...
Bigger screens, extra cores, and more sensors mean greater power consumption. If you're considering a smartphone over 4.5-inches in size, look at devices that come with at least a 2000mAh (milliamp-hour) battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last.
If possible, select devices that come with lithiumpolymer batteries over lithium-ion . The former are lighter, and also retain their charge for longer.

And yes, preferably, buy a device that comes with a user-replaceable battery (although a handset like the Lenovo P780, which comes with a 4000mAh non-removable li-polymer battery, could prove to be an exception to the rule).

iPhone 6 to Enter Mass Production in July: Report


Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronic goods, will begin mass production of Apple Inc's next-generation iPhone (expected to be called the iPhone 6) this month, Taipei media reported Friday.

Mass production of a 4.7-inch successor to the wildly popular iPhone 5 series of smartphones will begin during the third week of July, Taiwan's Economic Daily News said, without citing sources. Production of a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 version will begin during the second week of August, it said.

A separate report issued Thursday by a China state-run news service said Hon Hai is planning to hire 100,000 workers at its mainland facilities to meet future demand for Apple's latest smartphone, citing comments made by the chief of the Henan Provincial Commerce Department.

Fellow Taiwanese contract manufacturer Pegatron Corp this month also began recruitment of over 10,000 workers for its mainland facilities to manufacture the phone, according to the Economic Daily News report.

Hon Hai had no comment on the report. Representatives for Pegatron and the Henan Provincial Commerce Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Budget Battle: Moto G Vs Asus ZenFone 5



Considering the high-end segment is mostly dominated by Samsung and Apple, the Finnish brand Nokia (now owned by Microsoft) turned its attention to the budget smartphone market. Similar strategy worked wonders for Motorola, and now the latest company to follow the suite is Asus. By pricing its feature-packed ZenFone 5 aggressively, the Taiwanese company is planning to take on the Moto G. Let's find out how they stack up against each other.
Construction And Aesthetic
As far as the sturdiness is concerned, both the Moto G and ZenFone 5 offer excellent quality for the price. These phones can easily withstand a few (accidental) drops. The materials used in construction are also top-notch. In terms of looks, the stylish ZenFone 5 fares better than Motorola's clunky phone. As mentioned in its review, Asus has "borrowed" the design elements from HTC's premium handset, One, but we are not complaining since it looks nice.

Display
The ZenFone 5 as its name suggests sports a 5-inch screen, while the Moto G settles for a 4.5-incher. Both these panels are IPS type so the colour reproduction and viewing angles are good. These screens are covered by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. Since the Moto G packs in HD resolution in a relatively smaller size, you get higher pixel density. It's 325 ppi Vs. ZenFone 5's 294 ppi to be precise. However, it doesn't make much of a difference. So I think it's a tie in the screen department.
Software
Moto G supports the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat, which is a great thing at this price tag. The stock Android interface looks much better than what Samsung, Sony, LG, Lenovo, and Gionee offer. On the other hand, Asus offers highly-modified ZenUI. Thankfully, it looks and performs very well. Plus, it's more consistent and cohesive compared to Google's design language. However, as far as the version number is concerned, Asus lags behind Moto with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Coming to the subject of future updates, Moto G has a clear advantage. It's eligible for Android L, while the ZenFone 5 hasn't even got Kitkat yet.

Firepower
The Moto G is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 chipset. Based on ARM's tried-and-tested Cortex A7 architecture, the SoC (System on Chip) is clocked at 1.2 GHz. Then, there's 1 GB RAM and Adreno 305 GPU to handle gaming. On the other hand, the ZenFone 5 is based on Intel's Atom platform. This particular handset runs a Dual-Core Atom Z2560 chipset clocked at 1.6 GHz. It features 1 GB \ 2 GB (16 GB version) RAM and PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. That's more than enough to handle all the popular Android games including Real Racing 3. In terms of performance, Asus' device is as good as the Moto G.
Camera
The ZenFone 5 sports an 8 megapixel camera. It comes with PixelMaster enhancement, which let's you snap decent photographs in low-light conditions. In well-lit environments, the ZenFone 5 produces quality images. Compared to it, Moto G's 5 megapixel camera module disappoints with its performance. Forget night-mode, even in normal conditions, Motorola's handset produces grainy pictures. So if you're into photography, ZenFone 5 is a much better option than the Moto G.
Miscellaneous Features
Contrary to Motorola, the Taiwanese brand Asus duly covers all the essential accessories such as a wall charger, USB cable, and decent earphones. Another area where Asus takes the lead is the expandable storage. It supports up to 64 GB microSD card slot. On the other hand, you're stuck with limited space to store your music and movies on the Moto G.
Price
The Moto G (16 GB) costs Rs 14,000. There's no point in buying an 8 GB version, as the Moto G lacks a microSD card slot. In comparison, priced at Rs 10,000 (8 GB + microSD slot), the ZenFone makes the Moto G look overpriced. For us price conscious Indians, that makes a lot of difference. So the aggressive pricing clearly puts the Asus' product ahead of the Moto G.

How To: Make Your Android Phone's Battery Last Longer



One of the biggest problems with Android is its lacklustre battery life. Compared to iOS and Windows Phone, Google's mobile platform saps battery at a faster rate. Many Android phones don't even last from dawn till dusk. There's no silver bullet to solve this problem. However, by altering a few settings, you can make your device's juice last a little longer. Here's how to go on about it:

Lower The Screen Brightness
Cranking up the brightness improves the screen readability. However, high screen brightness can drain your phone's battery like anything. So if you want your phone's battery to last longer, go to Settings, and set the brightness to the lowest value you're comfortable with. If your phone has an AMOLED screen, use a black background. AMOLED, being an emissive type screen, can switch off pixels to produce deep blacks. In effect, the phone requires relatively less juice to power the display. In addition to this, shorten your phone's screen timeout time to minimum.
De-Activate Live Wallpapers And Useless Widgets
Unique to Android, the Live Wallpapers look fancy. However, rendering all these real-time animations take a toll on the battery life. If you want to conserve the phone's battery, do not use the live wallpapers. Similarly, widgets continuously consume your phone's battery. However, some of the widgets are useful as they serve you the information right on the homescreen. So, what you need to do is remove the widgets that you don't really require.
Use Wi-Fi Instead Of 3G
To make the most of your smartphone, it needs to be connected to Internet all the time. While 3G offers excellent browsing and download speeds, it eats-up battery rapidly. Things get worse, when the 3G signal reception is weak and flaky. On the other hand, in recent smartphones, Wi-Fi uses less battery compared to 3G. So whenever available, make it a point to choose Wi-Fi over 3G data. Plus, it will also help you save money on data charges.
Keep GPS And Bluetooth Off
Smartphones these days come with a multiple wireless radios including Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi. Save for Wi-Fi, you don't require these connectivity options most of the times. Therefore, it's advisable to switch them off unless you're actually using these features. On stock Android, you can quickly do so by pulling down notification bar and then selecting the Settings Panel. If not all, at least keep the GPS and Bluetooth radios off as these two connectivity options drain the battery at a rapid pace.
Keep A Check On Background Processes
From the multitasking menu, clear the list of recently used apps. You don't want to keep a heavy game run in the background as it can hurt your phone's battery life real bad. Also, check the list of services running in the background. If you see any unnecessary process running there, stop it. If you're unsure about a certain service, click on it to find more information regarding it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Motorola to replicate India success in South East Asia



BANGALORE: Mobile phone brand Motorola is hoping to replicate the success it has had with the web-only strategy in India in other markets like Indonesia.

Five months ago Motorola started selling its phones in India only through online retailer Flipkart. The site has sold one million Motorola phones across three models in that time, said Flipkart chief executive Sachin Bansal.

Last month the company started selling its Moto G phones in Indonesia only through online portal Lazada, backed by German investor Rocket Internet.

"We are leveraging lessons learnt here and applying it in Indonesia," said Magnus Ahlqvist, corporate vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific at Motorola Mobility.

Ahlqvist said the company is now evaluating the online-only route in other markets in South East Asia.

The Motorola partnership has worked well for Flipkart as well. The cheapest Motorola phone, Moto E, is priced at Rs 6,999. That would mean Flipkart has sold at least Rs 700 crore worth Motorola products in just five months. Last fiscal Flipkart sold Rs 6,000 crore worth of goods.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Android L Camera 2 API Features Include Burst Mode, HDR+ and More



After the release of Android L Preview source code for Nexus devices, we now have details on what features the new Camera 2 API includes and what Google has been working on from the past few months.
Android Police reveals some of the features that the new Camera 2 API brings along and how it is bumped up over its previous interface.
One of the most touted features of the Android L Camera 2 API is its ability to deliver full resolution images at the same speed the hardware is designed to capture. This means that the Nexus 5 , using the Camera 2 API, can capture videos at 30 frames per second in its maximum 8-megapixels resolution.
The Android L's Camera 2 API also includes the burst mode, Digital Negative Format, HDR+ alongside a complete manual control on the post-processing features.
Some of the other reported features included in Android L's Camera 2 API that can be controlled are exposure time, ISO sensitivity, frame duration, lens focus distance, flash trigger, colour correction matrix, jpeg metadata, tonemap curve, crop region, AE/ AF/ AWB mode, AE/ AWB lock, AF trigger, precapture AE trigger, metering regions, exposure compensation, target FPS range, capture intent, and video stabilization.
Last Google updated its Camera app in May with version 2.2 for devices running Android 4.4+ KitKat OS. The update featured two new Panorama capturing modes, besides the existing horizontal and vertical Panorama modes. The two new Panorama modes are said to be fisheye mode and wide-angle mode. The update also let users the option to click images in 16:9 ratio along with a timer mode with 10 seconds and 3 seconds option.

Friday, July 4, 2014

iPhone 6 to Launch on September 25, 5.5-Inch Model Named iPhone Air: Report


Another day and another iPhone 6 rumour. This time a report out of China details an astonishing new launch date for the next iPhone from Apple, ahead of most dates in previous leaks. The report is accompanied with purported pricing details, as well as the name of the anticipated larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant - iPhone Air.
The report citing industry sources claims Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 on September 15, which falls on a Monday, while retail availability will begin on September 25, which falls on a Thursday.
Apple traditionally starts sales of new iPhone models on a Friday to capture the weekend crowd, so the dates seem a little fishy. Previous leaks (including a purported internal communication from a German telecom carrier) had indicated a more credible launch date of September 19, which happens to be Friday.
According to the China.com report (via GforGames), China will also be amongst the first countries to receive the iPhone. The report also details the pricing, which matches previous leaks, claiming the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) will cost CNY 5,288 (roughly Rs. 50,800), while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 (16GB) will be priced at CNY 5,998 (roughly Rs. 57,600). This would also imply the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) is cheaper than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s (16GB), which costs CNY 5,300.
The same report claims the much-rumoured 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will be called the iPhone Air, following the naming scheme of the latest, largest iPad. The report adds that China Mobile and China Unicom, Apple's carriers in the country, have begun field testing the iPhone 6 on their networks.

Recently, Japanese daily Nikkei had posted two alleged images of the rumoured 4.7-inch iPhone 6 dummy model, side by side with an iPhone 5s. The leaked images corroborate what's has been widely expected based on earlier leaks, that the next iPhone will house the power button on the right panel of the device, instead on the top panel seen on current iPhone models. It also seen to feature the Touch ID sensor.

Previously, another Chinese report indicated the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will feature a 128GB storage variant. The report further claims that the 128GB storage variant will be limited to the bigger variant of the rumoured iPhone 6, and the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will offer the conventional 64GB as its maximum storage variant, while the 16GB variant will be dumped for both models.

An earlier report citing a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested that the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would sport OIS (optical image stabilisation) for the rear camera. The report further claimed that the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will not come with OIS.

The Cupertino-based company has also been rumoured to be testing a higher screen resolution of 960x1704 pixels on at least one of the two iPhone models likely to debut this year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Samsung launches Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2 smartphones


NEW DELHI: Samsung has added four new smartphones to its Galaxy line-up, namely, Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2. All of the four phones feature Samsung's TouchWiz Essence user interface, and come with the latest version of Android, Kitkat. 


Samsung Galaxy Core II is a dual SIM phone with 4.5-inch (480x800p) display. It is available in two colours - black and white. Powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 768MB of RAM, it has a 2,000mAh battery. 

The phone offers a front camera apart from a 5MP main camera and an LED flash. It has 4GB internal storage and supports microSD cards of up to 64GB. 

Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 has 4-inch (480x800p) display. The phone is powered by 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. It has a 1500mAh battery and is available only in black colour. The phone also has a 5MP rear camera, an enhanced camera UI and LED flash, and a front camera. It has 4GB of internal storage and can support a microSD card of up to 64GB. 

Galaxy Young 2 is available in the colours black and white. The dual SIM phone has a 3.5-inch (320x480p) display. It is powered by 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM and has a 1300mAh battery. It features a 3.15MP camera. 

On the storage front, the phone comes with a microSD card slot that supports card of up to 32GB in addition to offering internal storage capacity of 4GB. 

Galaxy Star 2 is a dual SIM phone that has a 3.5-inch (320x480p) display. It comes with a 1,300mAh battery. 

The phone supports only 2G networks to its users for accessing data and features a 2MP rear camera. The phone is powered by 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM. 

It has 4GB of internal storage and can support microSD cards of up to 32GB.

Samsung unveils Galaxy S5 mini smartphone



NEW DELHI: Samsung has taken the covers off the Galaxy S5 mini smartphone, bringing the exclusive features of the company's top smartphone in a compact size. 

The main differences between Galaxy S5 and S5 mini are in display, camera and processor. Galaxy S5 mini has a 4.5-inch HD (720p) screen, which is quite smaller than the 5.1-inch Full HD (1080p) display of Galaxy S5. The camera resolution has gone down from 16MP in the older model to 8MP in the new smartphone. 

While the India version of Galaxy S5 comes with an eight-core Exynos processor, the new Galaxy S5 mini runs on a quad-core 1.4GHz processor, but Samsung has not revealed the chipmaker's name. 

Despite these downgrades, Samsung has retained the fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor, which debuted with Galaxy S5, in Galaxy S5 mini. The smartphone is IP67 certified, meaning that it is water and dust resistant to an extent, and has Galaxy S5's Ultra Power Saving mode. 

Other key hardware specifications of the new Samsung Galaxy S5 mini are 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 64GB microSD support, LED flash on the back, 2.1MP front camera and 2,100mAh battery. Connectivity suite of the smartphone consists of 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. 

This smartphone runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and comes with Samsung's proprietary UI on top.

Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Best Free Android Games

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Usually Gameloft has tried to ape PC games, bringing their distinct console flavour to smartphones, though with mixed results. However, with Asphalt 8: Airborne, Gameloft has a clear winner. It is extremely hard to believe that this game is just given out for free. You will probably never notice the microtransactions, and as casual gamers you can easily launch the app, race and get out quick. With its visceral sense of speed, easy-to-use controls, beautiful tracks and licenced cars, Airborne hits all the right buttons.

Real Racing 3

If Asphalt 8: Airborne is too arcadey for you, and you want something more serious and simulation-like to bring out the motoring aficionado in you, then Real Racing 3 is the best game for you. With jaw dropping visuals that demand a well-equipped Android device and realistic driving along very real circuits and campaigns, Real Racing 3 lives up to its name, literally.

Blood Brothers

Until the popular battle card game on iOS, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, makes it to Android, you can indulge in Blood Brothers. Part board game, part RPG and part card-based game, Blood Brothers is a unique game set in a dark world filled with mythical creatures. If you like your RPGs a bit different, give Blood Brothers a whirl. It won't cost you a thing.

Clash of Clans

Fancy a bit of strategy? Then jump headfirst into Clash of Clans, a realtime multiplayer online strategy game. You can build your village and defend it from attacks and train troops to attack other players. The biggest selling point of the game is the massive online community of players all hooked to it.

Dead Trigger 2

There's no better way to pass a boring train journey than killing scores of zombies. Dead Trigger 2 throws you bang in the middle of a zombie apocaplyse, where you just have to keep on killin’. With simple controls that let you focus on just running-and-gunning and a surprisingly deep crafting system, Dead Trigger 2 is a game you have to have on your smartphone. However, be warned: It’s gory and will need a beefy device to look it’s best.

Dots

Sick of those Candy Crush Saga-type puzzle games that flood your inbox with invites? Dots is a brand new smart puzzle game that not only plays smart but looks the part too. The premise is simple: You just have to join dots of same colours in 60 seconds. You can also connect online and play multiplayer. It is easily a fun and simple game you have to have.

Dungeon Hunter 4

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter series has always been the Diablo of mobile gaming. While it may not be as deep, it’s still a fun and frenzied dungeon romp. With four types of characters to choose from, tonnes of weapons and spells, there's a whole lot of loot to be found in Dungeon Hunter 4.

Galaxy on Fire 2

Take to the stars in an unbelievable space sim game, much like the Wing Commander series. In Galaxy on Fire 2, you fly a spaceship in a huge game world, fight, trade and even mine for money. With superb graphics, easy-to-use flight mechanics, challenging dogfights in space and a pretty cool story, this game will put most PC games to shame.

Plants vs Zombies 2

This unique take on the zombie genre has won countless awards. Plants vs Zombies 2 is pure fun from the beginning to the end, and it’s free. Build an army of plants all supercharged with plant food to take on the zombie hordes. Don't let the humorous graphics and cutesy characters fool you, this game needs some serious tactical thinking.

Ready Steady Bang

A supremely simple game that is surprisingly fun. Ready Steady Bang is as simple as a good old gunfight in the good ‘ol western style showdown, where a quick and controlled trigger finger makes all the difference. It can get quite boring playing with bots, but when you get in another player who can play on the same phone your cafeteria fun time will become way more fun. Also, the old school LCD-look works like a charm in this game.

How Google Now puts Siri to shame


If you have Siri set to speak in English, she will not understand the word "gracias." But Google on Thursday updated its Google Now voice search and assistant app so it can quickly switch between multiple languages on the fly, CNET reports.

Rather than select a single language setting from Google's list of about 50, Google Now can now recognize and understand the speaker's language and allow users to switch up to seven different ones on the fly. According to Google, you'll have to pre-select your secondary languages, but after that the feature will work automatically.

In an interview with CNET, Google said "seemingly simple language-recognition tasks are much harder than they appear," and that it's still working on making Google Now a true linguist by understanding complex accents and minimizing ambient noise.

Simultaneous multi-language support will roll out to Google Now users within "the coming days," Google said.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Android L: 8 New Features in the Next Major Android Release

Android has grown from a tiny upstart to the world's dominant mobile computing platform with over a billion active users. Google isn't sitting still, though, and has just unveiled what it calls the most ambitious Android release yet. Currently known only as Android L, there's no dessert-themed codename or even formal version number yet. Android L will release later this year, though an exact date isn't known.
We hope to see new smartphones launch around the same time which take advantage of all the new features, and also updates to existing smartphones. HTC is amongst the companies committed to bringing it to its existing HTC One family, while others should announce support soon.
Here are some of the most exciting new features of Android L



   Material design
Android will receive a complete visual overhaul aimed at promoting a consistent experience across Android device sizes and types. The new "Material Design" identity is bolder, more colourful, and more animated. Every transition between screens and every user interaction has been refined, down to the system-wide Roboto typeface and the Android navigation buttons.
Screen elements will be able to simulate depth, with automatic shadows and scaling, but will also inherit elements of classic magazine typography and layout. There's more emphasis on simple shapes and consistent actions that lead you from one app into another. Google's new design page offers hints of what is to come.
The change could also be aimed at discouraging third-party vendors from developing custom Android overlays which greatly deviate from Google's vision. A strong enough core UI experience could lead users to reject anything seen as inferior to it.
The Material Design identity integrates elements of responsive Web design and will extend to other Google properties including Gmail, which will be redesigned for the Web as well as mobile apps. Material Design takes into account the fact that touch, voice, mouse and keyboard are all equally important input methods, clearly illustrating goals above and beyond smartphone usage scenarios.



Improved notifications
You will be able to interact with notifications more easily in Android L. For starters, you can choose which ones show up on the lock screen and what amount of detail they'll show. You can decide whether snippets of actual messages are displayed when your phone is potentially visible to others, or whether more details will only be revealed when you unlock it. They also aren't necessarily displayed in chronological order anymore - the OS can learn which ones you're more likely to respond to urgently and prioritise those.
There's also a new type of notification altogether - Google calls these heads ups. These appear on top of whatever you're doing and allow you to take action or dismiss them immediately. These are meant to be less intrusive, and can be used for things that can't wait, such as incoming calls.
Trusted environments
Speaking of the lock screen, you'll soon be able to have your phone detect when it's in a trusted environment, which will dispense with the lock code. This could be triggered by the presence of a Bluetooth device such a smartwatch that you wear all the time, a specific Wi-Fi access point, or other factors. When the environment is deemed safe, you won't have to bother with unlocking your phone.



Project Volta, battery improvements
Android L will be able to manage battery life much better, but Google's moves go beyond that to the app development stage, for which new tools have been developed that let developers track battery drain and optimise apps before they ever reach end users. The battery saver mode is similar to those implemented by third parties so far - non-essential services can be turned off or made to run only at intervals in order to save power. Android L will also be able to lower the screen refresh rate, reduce the frequency of data exchanges, or force apps to change their behaviour to match the prevailing battery state.
Google Fit
Everyone's getting into health and activity tracking, and Google is no exception. The new Google Fit framework will take Apple's Healthkit head on, tying into sensors on phones themselves as well as connected accessories to collect data which will be ready for apps to use. Major partners including Nike, Adidas, Runkeeper, HTC, Asus, LG and Motorola are already on board. Google Fit could monitor physical activity and food intake as well as health indicators such as heart rate and breathing.
Greater Web integration
There's also a change to the way individual tabs and documents in apps are handled by Android L. They'll now show up as individual entries in the Recents menu, allowing users to jump directly between them. This pulls the focus away from apps and puts it onto all the things you do with them. For example, Web apps open in Chrome tabs would appear much like native apps running on your device, and you'd be able to jump in and out of them more quickly.



Links on the Web can now also be used to launch apps instead of websites (presumably falling back to the website in case the app is not installed). For example, Google demonstrated looking up a restaurant in Chrome and then tapping a link to not only launch the OpenTable app, but also have it know that it should bring up that restaurant's booking page. Google search results can also now be links that trigger an app, rather than links to websites.
ART Runtime and Android Extension Pack
Google is ditching the Dalvik runtime which has served well for years, in favour of a new one called ART. It can make apps load and run quite a bit faster while using less RAM. ART is 64-bit compatible, and is also engineered to allow apps to work across hardware architectures such as ARM and X86. This also means that Android devices will be able to address more RAM than the 32-bit limit allowed.
With greater diversity in Android hardware obviously envisioned for the near future, the move is a welcome change. Google has worked with major hardware vendors to enable more fluid graphics, potentially paving the way for new Android-based game consoles and set-top boxes. Desktop-class graphics including tessellation, geometry shaders and texture compression will potentially be possible on Android devices.




Knox
Google also made a few announcements that indicate interesting things on the horizon for enterprise users. The company announced that Samsung's Knox feature for work and personal separation will become a part of Android itself. Knox allows corporate IT administrators to control work-related data and policies on employees' smartphones while letting the employees themselves continue to store personal data and use unrelated apps. This alleviates many of the problems with accessing secure information from mobile devices and could make Android far more attractive to businesses.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BlackBerry Z3 With 5-Inch qHD Display Launched at Rs. 15,990



Canadian smartphone manufacturer has launched its recently unveiled large-screen smartphone in India, the BlackBerry Z3, priced at Rs. 15,990. The BB10 OS-based smartphone will be available to pre-order from Flipkart, The Mobile Store, and BlackBerry stores from Wednesday, and go on sale from July 2.

The BlackBerry Z3 is the first phone to be launched by BlackBerry since new CEO John Chen took the helm late last year. A special pre-order price of Rs. 14,990 is being offered by Flipkart and The Mobile Store.

The Z3 runs BlackBerry 10 OS (version 10.2.1) and features a 5-inch qHD (540x960 pixels) display offering an aspect ratio of 16:9. It is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8230) processor with 1.5GB of RAM.

BlackBerry's Z3 sports a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera and also houses a 1.1-megapixel fixed-focus front-facing camera. The smartphone includes 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card. 

The smartphone packs a 2500mAh battery, which is rated to deliver up to 15.5 hours talk time and up to 384 hours of standby time. Connectivity options on the BlackBerry Z3 include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, NFC and Micro-USB.

The BlackBerry Z3 smartphone also comes preloaded with some BlackBerry services such as BlackBerry Hub, BBM, Time Shift, Story Maker camera features, and BB10 browser.

The Z3 was initially announced in Indonesia and is one of the first devices being made with FIH Mobile Ltd, a unit of the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group best known for building devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone. 

The smartphone was made available for the Indonesian market starting in mid-May, and was priced less than $200 (roughly Rs. 12,000).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New iPhone Might Have a Built-In Barometer



Apple has already stepped into the health and fitness tracking market with its Health app for iOS. Now, the company could be upping the ante with its upcoming iPhone
New code spotted by developers who spoke with 9 to 5 Mac indicates the iPhone 6 could have a barometer built in.
See also: 10 Better Alternatives to Your iPhone's Native Apps
An integrated barometer would track altitude and air pressure and could infer temperature readings, too.
Existing apps already perform many of these tasks, but they use the iPhone's GPS and motion chips to do so. A piece of dedicated measurement hardware is likely to provide better performance. 

Intel's Pocket Avatars chat app packs 3D avatars that mimic your face and mood


Intel wants to inject passion and excitement into mobile chat through a new app that relies on face-tracking technology to assess facial expressions and mood.
With Pocket Avatars, users can chat with friends using animated three-dimensional avatars, but there’s a twist. A camera on a mobile device tracks a user’s face and expressions, and those emotions are reflected on the avatar during a chat.
The avatar serves as an alter-ego for those who don’t to put their real face on screen, said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel.
“It’s just a fun thing on top of standard messaging,” Bell said.
Emoticons have been a standard tool for expressions in text messaging. An animated chat that reflects a real person’s mood is more engaging, Bell said, adding that if a user is angry or happy, the avatar will show it, Bell said.
The camera captures moving faces, lighting conditions and a range of emotions such as smiles, blinking eyes or kisses. The recordings are processed through an algorithm and then mapped on the avatar in real time. The Pocket Avatars app then deletes the information.
“We are not storing databases with people’s faces,” Bell said. “We’re not selling ads or information. This is about social messaging, using an animated avatar. It’s not mining [data].”
intel 3d chat app avatar
One wouldn’t expect chat software from Intel, which specializes in making chips. But Intel’s research division has a diverse group of scientists and social scientists researching technology and other areas such as health and human behavior. Pocket Avatars was being kicked around the labs for a little while, and it represents the fun side of Intel’s research team, Bell said.
Chat and messaging software companies are also being valued highly so there is momentum in that area, Bell said. About 20 trillion over-the-top messages—messages sent through chat software—will be sent this year, and Intel wants a piece of that market, Bell said.
“Some of the evaluations of those companies... it’s not a joke,” Bell said. Facebook said earlier this year it would acquire WhatsApp in a stunning deal worth $19 billion.
Bell’s New Devices Group is also charged with exploring opportunities in the wearables market. Pocket Avatars represents Intel’s willingness to experiment and dabble in new areas, Bell said.
But some experiments for Intel haven’t panned out. Intel dropped plans to launch a TV service after failing to reach license agreements with content providers, and also shut down its own app store for PCs called AppUp.
Pocket Avatars is free for download and comes with forty avatars. Some avatars are free while others cost $0.99 for unlimited use. The avatars available include famous people, Lego characters and also YouTube star Annoying Orange.
Intel plans to add more avatars and capabilities as the app evolves, Bell said.

BlackBerry confirms Passport phone for September launch



BlackBerry has confirmed the recently-leaked handset code named 'Winder mere' will officially be announced under the name Passport. It will debut at an event in London this September.
Following its quarterly earnings report, during which it announced a return to profit of sorts, BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed that the short and wide-set device currently doing the rounds is the real deal.
Naturally, as Crack Berry reports, the device will be named after its passport-like dimensions. According to the presentation, the Blackberry Passport will feature a 4.5-inch 1440 x 1440 display that's as square as an Instagram photo.
The Passport will be a wide 3.18-inches, which is even wider than the pocket-busting 3.12-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 3. An accompanying photo shows the handset will have BlackBerry's stoutest keyboard yet featuring only three rows of physical buttons. The Passport also appeared along two other handsets named the Z3 and Classic.
Internally, the Passport is said to be packing a quad-core Snapdragon MSM8974 processor backed by an Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The phone will also supposedly be powered by a 3,450mAh battery.

Some juice left in the 'Berry?

Asidea new, albeit slightly odd smartphone, there was more good news for BlackBerry fans after seemingly years of gloom-laden financial reports.
BlackBerry surprised the bean counters on Wall Street by posting a small quarterly profit.
Waterloo managed to earn a net income $23 million (about £13.5m, AU24.5m) in the three months ending May 31, although after adjustments the loss was $60 million (about £35.2m, AU$63.9m).
The turnaround in fortunes, which resulted in a 10% share rise on Thursday, comes as BlackBerry continues to cut costs and moves awaythe business of selling hardware to consumers and towards a services-centric operation.
Fifty-four percent of its $966 million ( about £566m, AU$1.02bn) revenue in the quarter camesuch services, while only 39% camethe sales of 2.6 million BlackBerry phones, down steeply 3.4 million this time last year....

Apple's smartwatch to go in mass production in July



Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc will start mass production of Apple Inc's first smart watch in July, a source familiar with the matter said, as the US tech giant tries to prove it can still innovate against rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The watch, which remains unnamed but which company followers have dubbed the iWatch, will be Apple's first foray into a niche product category that many remain skeptical about, especially as to whether it can drive profits amid cooling growth in tech gadgets.

The production will be a boost to Quanta, given that its work for Apple till now has focused on laptops and iPods, product lines that are in decline. Quanta's role though is likely to raise questions about what involvement Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, one of Apple's biggest suppliers, will play in production.

While the watch is widely expected, the start date of its mass production and the extent of Quanta's involvement were not known until now. Mass production will start in July and the commercial launch will come as early as October, according to the source and another person familiar with the matter.
 
Apple will introduce a smart watch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, one of the sources said. The source added that the watch face will protrude slightlythe band, creating an arched shape, and will feature a touch interface and wingless capabilities.

The source said Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year of the product's release, although these types of initial estimates can be subject to change. The watch is currently in trial production at Quanta, which will be the main manufacturer, accounting for at least 70% of final assembly, the source said.

Like many other smart watches, Apple's watch will be able to perform some functions independently, but tasks messaging and voice chat will require a paired smartphone, according to the source. The device will only be compatible with gadgets running Apple's iOS,its flagship iPhone, one of the sources said.

Most mainstream smart watches collect data about the user's heart rate and other health-related metrics, in addition to facilitating tasks checking e-mail and making phone calls.

A third source said LG Display Co Ltd is the exclusive supplier of the screen for the gadget's initial batch of production. It also contains a sensor that monitors the user's pulse. Singapore-based imaging and sensor maker Heptagon is on the supplier list for the feature, two other sources said.

Apple declined to comment. Quanta, LG Display and Heptagon also declined to comment.

Game-changer?
Apple's move will follow on the heels of releases of similar devices by Samsung, Sony Corp, Motorola and LG Electronics Inc — gadgets that tech watchers say haven't been appealing or user-friendly enough to ignite a wave of mass adoption.

But the market is growing fast, with data firm IDC saying that worldwide shipments of wearable computing devices — a category that includes smart watches —will triple in size this year over 2013.

Apple has already dropped hints of its plans in this arena, hiring the former chief executive of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, a unit of Kering SA, and proclaiming that it will introduce "new product categories" this year.

Many are hoping that Apple's entry into the field of so-called smart wearable will be a game-changer that transforms the industry the company's iPhone did in 2007.

Some are foreseeing that smartphone sales, the current cash cow of the consumer tech world, will lose momentum in the years ahead as the market reaches saturation.
 
IDC predicts that worldwide smartphone sales will increase 23% this year, a slowdown the 39% growth of last year, and that growth will average only 12% annually 2013 to 2018.