Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Latest WhatsApp for Android update brings voice calling to everyone

WhatsApp has included the voice calling update in the latest version of the Android app. The feature is available through the 2.12.19 update and for now has to be downloaded through the company’s website, although should soon be available through the Play Store as well.
WhatsApp started rolling out the voice calling feature a while back but instead of making it available to everyone at once, they used sort of an invite system, where a user who already has the feature has to call you for you to get the calling feature. And this worked within a time window, so if you didn’t manage to get it activated then you’d have to wait for the next time window, whenever it arrived.

Gmail for Android update enables unified “All inboxes” view, smarter search

Today Google has announced a new update for its Gmail app for Android. This is supposedly already rolling out, so watch out for the new version (but keep in mind it might be a few days before it reaches you). The new Gmail for Android comes with a few new features, the most important of which is the addition of an “All inboxes” view.
As its moniker implies, this will show you all the email from all your accounts, in a unified view. This will clearly benefit those who have and routinely use multiple email accounts in the Gmail app. Just to clarify, the app did have multiple account support before today, but it did not boast the unified inbox view.

Your Google+ photos now show up in Google Drive

While not relaunched as a separate service (or at least not yet), as has been rumored for a long time now, Google+ Photos has received some neat integration with Google Drive today. In short, your Google+ Photos will now show up in a dedicated place in Google Drive.
A new menu for Photos should show up in Google Drive on iOS, Android, and the Web, as seen in the image above.

Spotify-powered PlayStation Music goes live for PS4, PS3

Back in January, after phasing out Music Unlimited for PlayStation, Sony announced a new music service called PlayStation Music in partnership with Spotify. Now Spotify music is available to Sony PlayStation users located in 41 different regions across the world.
Ad-supported Spotify app is available for free on the PlayStation network. PlayStation Music powered by Spotify runs on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles. To use PlayStation Music, existing PlayStation Network owners will have to link their account to Spotify. They can also opt for the optional Spotify Premium service for $9.99 a month.

Virtual tech, transforming to reality in Africa

AFrica’s technology market has clearly emerged the beautiful bride toasted by well established global business organisations. Reasons for the romance are not far- fetched. With American and European markets attaining saturation, coupled with economic and recession issues, it makes the most business sense to approach a great continent with young, aggressive, educated people, who want to make a difference and are hungry for technology.

Today most of the companies that usually service the continent from the outside are establishing multiple- presence, signifying that it is the continent of next destination in technology business.

Huawei opens first global aesthetics research center in Paris

As part of its $600 million investment plan in France in the coming 5 years, Huawei yesterday opened its first global research center focused on innovation in aesthetics and design.
The Paris Aesthetics Research Center will bring creative ideas in color and style to Huawei products, integrating innovative technologies with aesthetics.
The Center has already contributed to the design of Huawei’s second-generation fitness band, the TalkBand B2, just released at the just concluded Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Creating and sharing themes for Samsung Galaxy S6 coming this April

The latest version of Samsung’s proprietary launcher – TouchWiz – finally introduced themes support. The Galaxy A series (A3, A5 and A7) were the first devices to feature TouchWiz themes, joined by the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6 later on.
Unfortunately the default themes are just few and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The Chinese models of the Galaxy A5, Galaxy A7 and Galaxy Note 4 already have a solution – a theme creation tool that allows you to design and share your very own theme.

Apple Watch Edition buyers will have access to a number of special perks

According to report in 9to5Mac, buyers of the $10,000 and up Apple Watch Edition will be treated to e number of perks. The special treatment for the big spenders will begin with no waiting in line when they are buying the watch or need help with it.
After shelling out the eye watering asking price for the gold Apple Watch, users will have access to a special Edition phone support line, which will be available around the clock for two years (three years with AppleCare+). Such service is not unseen in the tech world – Vertu has been offering similar treatment for its equally expensive phones for a while now.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sony Xperia E4 Review

Sony started small with the E-series and hasn't tried anything crazy since but the entry-level lineup is in its fourth generation now and offering quite a bit of choice to the budget-conscious buyer. Of course, everything you get in this price range requires a certain trade-off.
The Xperia E4 is a simple and affordable package that gives up the LTE connectivity of the predecessor but offers a 5" screen in return. The resolution gets a welcome though inexpensive boost and the best thing is that nearly all the extra screen real estate comes at the expense of bezel in the Xperia E3. The downside is the Xperia E4 is quite chubby at 10.5mm, tangibly thicker than the E3.
Well, at 130 euro or practically free on contract, this may not be a big deal. Here's what else you get.
Sony Xperia E4 Sony Xperia E4 Sony Xperia E4 Sony Xperia E4
Sony Xperia E4 official images
The Xperia E4 is powered by a MediaTek MT6582 chipset with four Cortex-A7 cores, clocked at 1.3GHz and a Mali-400MP2 GPU, and comes with 1GB of RAM. This is essentially a mid-range chip form a generation ago and its age is starting to show.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Review

The Momentum is Sennheiser’s series of premium portable headphones for the fashion-conscious crowd. While there is an undeniable whiff of Beats envy in the series, as that’s pretty much the same target audience that Beats caters to, being Sennheiser, the Momentum products didn’t at least sound terrible.
The company originally launched the around the ear circumaural headphones, which were later followed by the on-ear supra-aural model. The latest entrant in the series is the Momentum In-Ear, which, as you can guess, are a pair of in-ear earphones.

Slack introduces two-factor authentication after getting hacked

Team communication service Slack got in a bit of a pickle yesterday after the database was hacked. The hackers were able to access the stored usernames, email addresses, and passwords on the database.
Fortunately, Slack uses one-way encryption for its database, so even if the hackers got access to the data, there is no guarantee they were able to decrypt it. Slack also claims no financial or payment information was accessed or compromised in this attack.
The company is investigating the incident further but in the meantime has launched a two-factor authentication feature for users, so in case of future incidents, the attackers won’t be able to log into user accounts even if they do manage to get access to user’s username and passwords.
If you use Slack, it is highly recommend you change your and your team members’ passwords and switch to two-factor authentication immediately. More information in the link below.

Xbox One will get voice messaging via a system update in April

Microsoft is about to make it easy for Xbox One gamers to never leave their precious controllers. An update to the popular gaming console is about to bring a heavily requested feature – Voice Messaging.
The new functionality will allow users to compose and play voice messages via the device’s messaging app. Xbox One users who participate in the preview program will receive the April system update later today.
Double tapping the Xbox button will record a voice message and send it to buddies. These messages can be exchanged between Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles.
Dedicated party chat servers will improve the quality, reliability, and stability of the chat relay services that are in progress. Apart from that, the activity feed will also include game hub content for easy discovery.

Windows Phone already has an unofficial Periscope app

Just yesterday Twitter launched its entrant into the rapidly growing live video streaming app space. It’s called Periscope, and for now it’s only available for iOS. Twitter did promise an Android version, but remained absolutely mum when it comes to Windows Phone.
Not to worry, though, for there is already an unofficial alternative for Microsoft’s mobile platform. Telescope for Periscope has been created by a developer who was eager to use Twitter’s new service on Windows Phone.

A free wireless charger with a preorder of Galaxy S6 and S6 edge from BestBuy

As most of our US reader are surely aware, the eagerly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are finally up for preorder today. The devices can be picked-up from a wide variety of vendors, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon, which carry both devices, as well as Boost, Cricket and MetroPSC, which only have the basic S6 model.
As it turns of, BestBuy is also offering preorders for both smartphones and to make the deal even sweeter, it will throw in a free wireless charger with the purchase. There is one condition,though – preorders must be made between today and April 11 to be eligible for the gift.
This is only natural, though, considering that most vendors will start shipping units around that time, so, technically, it is not really a preorder after that.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are the first two smartphones with a 14nm chipset, Samsung’s Exynos 7420. Both are running a Samsung-customized version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. They both have 3GB of RAM and come with a 5.1-inch, 1440 x 2560 pixel, Super AMOLED display, curved on both sides in the edge model. The camera setup is also quite impressive with a 16 MP, 2988 x 5312 pixels, OIS enabled shooter on the back and a 5MP front-facing one.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 lets you disable unwanted preinstalled apps

TouchWiz has been regularly criticized for being much too crowded and packed with features beyond the needs of the average user. Actually, the phrase “resource hog” often popped up and we can’t wholeheartedly disagree.
Samsung aimed at putting critics to rest in that department as well, after having addressed the other main source of complaints, choice of materials. With the latest iteration of the company’s proprietary overlay, which debuted on the Galaxy S6, the user is now given the option to disable unused apps that are a part of the original package.

Google created a special tablet for use in Ebola treatment centers

Treatment centers for airborne diseases such as Ebola are no joke. Everything is locked down and the doctors and scientists working on the patients have to wear special suits and there is a strict control of objects getting in and leaving the center.
As such, it is difficult to communicate with people outside the center. One such center in Magburaka, Sierra Leone had a problem, where the doctors had to shout off information from a piece of paper and then destroy the paper. This is when Google stepped in and created a one-off devices specifically meant to be used in this environment.

Amazon to offer “unlocked” Android apps through its store

Amazon is one of those instantly recognizable online vendors that are constantly trying its hand at new services and consumer markets. Besides goods and books, both digital ant traditional, for which the store is best known, Amazon probably has the most diverse catalog from all the major online stores, including movies, music and also Android apps.
It is undoubtedly hard to achieve popularity as an app store under Google’s own mobile OS, which, has its own proprietary shop and is not too keen on sharing sales profits. Still, Amazon has managed to stick with the niche and in order to do so, often resorts to quite impressive app promotions, like the regular “free daily apps”, which is even currently available with 43 titles, to celebrate the store’s forth birthday.

The new Apple TV might share hardware with the iPhone 6 and even support 4K video

As most of you surely remember, last week Apple held its “Spring Forward”, which was buzzing with announcements. But amidst all the hype about the Apple Watch, which was undoubtedly the star of the show, a lot of you might have missed the news about the Apple TV, or at least not given it too much thought.
What Apple did was slash the price of the TV box from $99 to $69 and introduce the new HBO Now streaming service. A lot of people have speculated that this might be a precursor to an impending new Apple TV announcement and today a new rumor fuels speculations even further. Information slipped through the cracks that a new Apple TV is incoming and it will share the hardware platform of the iPhone 6.

Google is pushing on-body detection smart lock for Android

Google updated the Play Services quietly to add a couple of new security options. Smart Lock got new Trusted Places along with the existing Trusted Faces. To take the Smart Lock further, Google is now rolling out an “on-body detection” feature in the Smart Lock mode.
The idea is to let your phone detect its proximity to you in order to save itself and your data from being stolen. The new on-body protection feature uses the accelerometer to estimate whether you’re holding the device or it is in your pocket.

Facebook testing a Phone app to take on Truecaller

Facebook’s strategy for the mobile apps is full of surprises. With free Voice Calls in the Messenger app, the company decided to compete with the likes of Skype. Now it is testing out a diaper app called Phone to compete with the likes of Truecaller.
A random trial message showing up in the Facebook app for Android talks about installing a Phone app meant for Facebook only. This app will show information about who is calling and will automatically block calls from most commonly blocked number.

HTC One M9 review

One of the hottest bodies in business just got hotter, in time for next season. Touched-up and brushed-down, the HTC One M9 arrives spot on time third year in a row, looking like a celebrity and acting like a pro. There's an engine boost and upgrades in both the camera and sound department to go with the latest Sense over Lollipop, packed in a gorgeous glass and aluminum case.
HTC One M9 HTC One M9 HTC One M9 HTC One M9
HTC One M9 Official photos
This is the One we've come to know and love and this is HTC taking no risks. If it wasn't for the large square glass lens on the back, the casual observer would've been hard-pressed to recognize the new model. A minor, but welcome, tweak helps reveal the smartphone's true identity. The power button has, at long last, been relocated to the side.
Under the hood, several notable improvements ensure that the One M9 won't face its 2015 rivals unprepared. Qualcomm's top-of-the-line chipset is backed by a bump in operating memory. The questionable UltraPixel camera has been moved up front, to make room for a proper 20MP sensor at the rear. It can even do 4K videos, a feature the One (M8) didn't offer last year.
Unfortunately, there is no change in screen size or screen resolution.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Apple to debut online TV streaming service with 25 channels

Apple recently slashed the price of the Apple TV to $69 and also announced the HBO Now streaming service is landing on its platform. Now we learn that Apple has been in talks with big broadcasting companies to launch a subscription-based online TV streaming service, as reported by the WSJ.
There has to be a good reason why Apple TV is alive even though Steve Jobs never liked the idea of it.Apple had big plans to make money off the streaming multimedia content to larger screens and thereby conquer the living room as well.

Samsung Galaxy A7 review

The original Alpha project wanted no ties with the Galaxy line - which has been all over the place, from entry-level to premium. After a welcome identity boost, the A-series returns home. The Galaxy A7 is at the helm, a slim, light, metal-trimmed phablet to offer an alternative to the Galaxy Note 4 and other premium phablets.
Samsung Galaxy A7 Samsung Galaxy A7 Samsung Galaxy A7 Samsung Galaxy A7
Samsung Galaxy A7 official images
The A7 is a mere 6.3mm thick and has a metal frame, which gives the tall device a welcome degree of rigidity. At 35g lighter than the Note 4, this phablet feels smaller in the hand even though the height and width are very close.
Like its fellow Samsung flagships, the Galaxy A7 has a Super AMOLED screen, 5.5" big with 1080p resolution. It's powered by either an Exynos 5430 (like the Galaxy Alpha) or a 64-bit Snapdragon 615. In either case you get a 13MP main camera and a 5MP selfie camera.

Huawei Honor 6 review

High-performance hardware meets low-key design in the Huawei Honor 6, at a price that's frankly hard to beat. In a market segment where budget matters, the Honor 6 is offering some top-of-the-range specs to raise itself above the crowd.
Huawei Honor 6 Huawei Honor 6 Huawei Honor 6 Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6 official photos
The Honor 6 comes in an understated all-glass body that could have easily carried an Xperia badge. Speaking of, Honor is the only sort of branding and the Huawei logo is nowhere to be seen. Whatever marketing strategies are at play, the company's expertise is undeniable and is surely carried over to the Honor 6.

Samsung Galaxy S6 review

Choose one word to describe the Samsung Galaxy S6. Gorgeous. Powerful. Special. Different. Thank you. That will do. Galaxy S5 has only one of these under its belt and hint... it starts with a P.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is not the next big thing. It's "project zero". The reboot. But was there really anything wrong with the S-line - the standard-setter, the home of the super droids? OK, design needed looking at for sure. But hey, other brands do facelifts - Samsung goes for a complete overhaul.
This must've been the message they wanted to send.
And if it means giving up the memory card slot, the removable battery and the waterproofing, so be it. That's part of the message too.
Anyway, the Galaxy S6 was redone from scratch and bids farewell to plastic. Glass and metal is a critically acclaimed combination. Another way of saying it is - depending on how upset you are with the missing card slot and sealed battery - they're copying Apple and Sony. Alright, memory, battery and waterproofing are easy things to get upset about, so let's see what the Samsung Galaxy S6 offers in exchange.
The new look is impressive and exciting and Samsung's trademark AMOLED is the perfect match. It's an immersive 5.1 incher of QHD resolution, for the amazing 577ppi - though "amazing" doesn't work for Samsung. They'll call it "the best ever" - and will be right. And that's just the beginning.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 official pictures: black sapphire, blue topaz, gold platinum, white pearl

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Sony closing all its Canadian stores within the next couple of months

Sony has announced that it is closing all 14 of its brick-and-mortar retail stores in Canada, including three in Alberta and the Greater Vancouver area each, five in the Greater Toronto Area, and one in Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City each. The move will reportedly affect around 90 jobs and is likely be completed within the next six to eight weeks.
The Japanese company is encouraging its Canadian customers to purchase its products either from third-party retailers, its online store, or by telephone.

Google Search and Maps will inform you of ticket availability for live events

Google is making buying tickets for live events a bit less convoluted by striking a deal with live event companies Ticketfly, Ticketmaster and AXS. Now, tickets for live shows will be offered to you via Google’s Search and Maps services on both mobile and desktop.
Upon searching for a specific venue, you will see upcoming events and whether or not tickets are currently available. Artist schedules will also appear when you search for a specific band or performer.

Sony Xperia C3 and C3 Dual review: Let me take a selfie

The Sony Xperia C3 is touted as a PROselfie smartphone but it could've easily been missed in a growing crowd of handsets boasting high-res wide-angle front cams. Sony's first 5MP front-facer with a 25mm wide-angle lens sure took a while, yet latecomer Xperia C3 is keen to jump the queue. It's one of the few to offer a LED flash on the front, taking selfie photography to the next level.
Sony Xperia C3 Dual Sony Xperia C3 Dual Sony Xperia C3 Dual Sony Xperia C3 Dual
Sony Xperia C3 official pictures
As a midrange package, the Sony Xperia C3 looks nearly spot-on. The 5.5" IPS display of 720p resolution is enhanced by the Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, while the Snapdragon 400 chipset with four Cortex-A7s clocked at 1.2GHZ and 1GB of RAM must've been an easy pick. The Xperia C3 comes in two flavors: one with LTE connectivity and a dual-SIM version that's said to have dual-call support, still quite a rare option.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Facebook will show AMBER Alerts in its News Feed, on Web and mobile

Facebook will start showing AMBER Alerts to its users in their News Feeds. This will happen on both the Web and inside Facebook’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. Obviously, you’ll only see those alerts that are relevant to your location.
AMBER Alerts have been issued in the US since 1996. It’s a child abduction alert system, in case you didn’t know. So far AMBER Alerts have made it to radio and TV stations, and even digital road signs and LED billboards in some places. They are also sent via email and SMS, and have recently been expanded to appear in Google searches and in Google Maps.

Meizu MX4 Pro review: Sharpened up

Pro in a smartphone's name implies bigger and better - so much so that it's even been abused to fool the unsuspecting. Meizu did not resort to such trickery though and their MX4 Pro takes things up more than just a notch from the stock version.
An updated chipset and 3GB of RAM, a higher-res front cam, bigger screen and a fingerprint scanner are more than enough for the MX4 Pro to earn its stripes. But Meizu didn't stop there. They have the highest resolution screen on a mobile phone / phablet: 1536 x 2560px is between QHD (LG G3, Oppo Find 7 and the likes) and WQXGA (Samsung's S and Pro tablet series, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9).
Not least, the Meizu MX4 Pro almost managed to keep the impressive screen-to-body ratio of the stock MX4. The hardware Home button / fingerprint scanner obviously needed more space below the screen and it's probably the only reason why the Pro failed to match its sibling's 75.5% screen-to-body ratio. At 73.7%, it's close enough though.
Meizu MX4 Pro Meizu MX4 Pro Meizu MX4 Pro
Meizu MX4 Pro
The octa-core processor marks a change of allegiance from MediaTek back to Exynos and RAM has been bumped to 3GB. The selfie camera is a 5MP unit over the 2MP front-facer of the Meizu MX4. The battery capacity has seen an upgrade as well. We'll soon find out whether it's enough considering the outrageously pixel-rich screen. Let's get things going with a look at the Meizu MX4 Pro's key specs.