Monday, 3 November 2014

Google Fit app lands in the Play Store

Google Fit has arrived in the Play Store. The app is meant to be the central repository for all your fitness-related data. It automatically detects whether you’re walking, biking, or running.
It lets you set and monitor fitness goals based on your activity levels, and it can be connected to other apps too – Strava, Withings, Runtastic, Runkeeper, and Noom Coach being name dropped by Google in its official announcement.

Sony to open the world-first Xperia Aquatech Store in Dubai on December 3

Sony has announced that the first of its kind Xperia Aquatech Store is near completion and is set to debut off the coast of Dubai on December 3. The shop will offer its customers the chance to go test the latest Sony smartphones, tablets and accessories under water.
One of the main stars in the aqua store are going to be the Xperia Z3 Tablet, Xperia Z3 Compact and they are going to sit four meters below the sea surface for visitors to check out.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Fitbit announced Charge, Charge HR, and Surge fitness bands

Fitbit has announced three new fitness bands to replace its current Fitbit Force. The new range includes the Fitbit Charge, Charge HR, and the Surge.
The Fitbit Charge is the base model and is priced at $129 and tracks basic information, such as steps taken, distance travelled, sleeping pattern, etc. It features an improved design that is less irritating on the skin than the Force. The device pairs with your smartphone and syncs the information with the Fitbit app, and also shows caller information on the OLED display. The Charge has a battery life of 7 days.

Samsung refuses to pay licenses to Microsoft after Nokia buyout

Samsung has issued a court filing regarding its collaboration with Microsoft on Windows Phone and states that it refuses to fulfill its end of the deal as it now sees the software giant as a direct competitor. The business collaboration agreement between the two companies sees Samsung pay Microsoft north of $1 billion in patent royalties and $6.9 million interest due to payment delays. Microsoft took action in early August in an attempt to collect the cash.

However, that's unlikely to happen if the New York federal court, where the filing is made, decides in favor of Samsung. The company says that because of the Nokia acquisition, Microsoft violated its 2011 deal with Samsung. According to the deal, Samsung had to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license on its Android smartphones.

Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, leaves Google

Andy Rubin has left Google. Rubin was heading Google's robotic division but has now left the company to start his own incubator for hardware startups. He will be replaced by James Kuffner.

Andy Rubin is the co-founder and ex-CEO or Danger Inc. and Android Inc. He oversaw the development of Android until March 2013, when Sundar Pichai took over and Rubin went on to manage Google's robotics division.

Lenovo completes Motorola acquisition from Google

Today, Lenovo announced that its acquisition of Motorola from Google is complete. The deal cost the Chinese company $2.91 billion and was announced in late January. Motorola remains headquartered in Chicago and it's brand is intact, but it's now a "Lenovo company".
Lenovo will operate Motorola as a wholly-owned subsidiary. It owns the brand and the company's portfolio, including current products like the Moto X (2014), Moto G (2014) and the Moto 360.

Oppo R5 officially becomes the world's thinnest smartphone

After the Oppo N3 cameraphone, the company unveiled its first 64-bit smartphone, which is coincidentally also its thinnest yet. The Oppo R5 measures just 4.85mm thick, the "slimmest phone in the world," Oppo claims. The company has shaved quite a bit of thickness compared to the 6.3mm Oppo R3.
The frame of the phone is made of 3D-welded aluminum alloy. The frame has been hand-polished and measures just 4mm thick. The other measurements are 148.9 x 74.5mm (that's rather tall for a 5.2" device) and the weight is 155g.

Anyway, the Oppo R5 has a 5.2" AMOLED screen of 1080p resolution (423ppi). The company is promising the best brightness, lowest reflectivity and highly accurate colors.

IHS iSuppli: Xiaomi outpaces Huawei as 3rd largest manufacturer

The champagne is popping over at Xiaomi headquarters as according to IHS iSuppli, the company is now the third largest phone manufacturer. The analysts reports that Xiaomi outpaced Huawei with a total of 19 million smartphones shipped in Q3 2014. For the same period, Huawei managed to sell 16.8 million smartphones.

Xiaomi's pace has been growing continuously over the past couple of years. In 2012, it sold 5.7 million phones and 18.7 million in 2014 (note that these are full year numbers). This year it sold 11 million and 15.1 million in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Specs

Also known as Samsung Galaxy A5 SM-A500F
Available as Samsung Galaxy A5 SM-A500G/DS, A500H/DS, A500M/DS with dual SIM card slots
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2 - SM-A500G/DS, A500H/DS, A500M/DS
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE
SIM Optional Dual SIM (dual stand-by)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, November

Samsung Galaxy A3 Specs

Also known as Samsung Galaxy A3 SM-A300F
Available as Samsung Galaxy A3 SM-A300F/DS, A300G/DS, A300H/DS, A300M/DS with dual SIM card slots
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SM-A300F
  GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2 - SM-A300F/DS, SM-A300G/DS, A300H/DS, A300M/DS
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE
SIM Optional Dual SIM (dual stand-by)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, November

LG G3 Dual-LTE Specs

Also known as LG G3 Dual-LTE D856
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100 - SIM 1
4G Network LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 TD-LTE 2300
(Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 40) - SIM 1
SIM Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, November

Oppo R5 Specs

Oppo R5

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE 700 / 800 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 
TD-LTE 2300 (Bands 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 17, 20, 28, 40)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. 2014, November

Oppo N3 Specs

Oppo N3

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE 700 / 800 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 
TD-LTE 2300 (Bands 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 17, 20, 28, 40)
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM/ Micro-SIM)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. 2014, November

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sony Xperia E3 review

Sony's cheapest LTE smartphone - that is the Xperia E3 key selling point, but is it more to it than that? It has the same design language as the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact so the trendy looks are also here and we have the latest Android KitKat decked out in Sony team colors.
The price point is always going to mandate some corner cutting but as Motorola's Moto G though us the overall experience doesn't necessarily need to be sub-par.
Sony Xperia E3 Sony Xperia E3 Sony Xperia E3 Sony Xperia E3
Sony Xperia E3
We can probably live with the not-quite-slim bezels, but we won't be able to forgive poor performance. Fortunately, the Snapdragon 400 inside the Xperia E3 has a good track record and the WVGA resolution shouldn't put too much strain on it.
Before we go any further, let's check the Sony Xperia E3 review cheat sheet.

Lenovo Smartband allows you to unlock your PC without a password

Lenovo has revealed its first wearable product, the Smartband SW-B100. While its name isn’t inspiring, the smartband is capable of doing some helpful things for you. It tracks your daily exercise, heart rate and sleep in addition to displaying notifications to suit your personal and work time.
One of the coolest features of the Lenovo Smartband is that it’s capable of logging you to your PC without having to enter a password. It works with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and above as well as iOS 7.1 and up.While Windows PCs are supported, Lenovo hasn’t said anything about supporting Windows Phone devices.

House of Marley Liberate on-ear headphones review

The House of Marley Liberate headphones sit in the middle of the company’s on-ear lineup. The headset aims to deliver attractive looks, eco-friendly materials, and House of Marley’s signature sound for less than $100.

In past encounters, I found House of Marley headphones to cut a fine balance between style, sonic experience, feel good factor, and price. Let’s find out if the Liberate on-ear model fits into the same mold.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

HTC Nexus 9 hands-on

The Nexus 9 by HTC was a hotly anticipated device on several fronts - it's the first tablet with Android 5.0 Lollipop, it brings HTC back into the tablet game, it's the first big Nexus tablet in two years and it's the first Nexus tablet that goes after a more premium market.
Google Nexus 9 by HTC official photos
HTC hasn't made a tablet since 2011's Jetstream and we have to say we've missed it. The company's well-known premium touch has been carried over to the Nexus lineup, which in recent years focused solely on mass market affordability. The new Nexus 6 (by Motorola) smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet (by HTC) show Google has enough confidence in its home brand to push for the higher segments of the market.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review

True to its name, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is small, light, durable and powerful. Hardly a surprise to anyone who's been watching Sony lately. Two generations of mini superphones saw the Z Compact series become the benchmark for design excellence and flagship-worthy performance. Keen to keep the momentum, Sony is bringing the same game to tablets.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact official images
Apple's lukewarm iPad mini 3 announcement this year is leaving the field wide open for the likes of the Z3 Tablet Compact and the HTC Nexus 9. Sony's player is unmatched among 8" tablets in how thin and light it is. To put things in perspective, it's thinner than an iPhone 6 and it weighs a measly 270g - mightily impressive when you consider we've handled phones such as the Oppo N1 or the Lumia 1520 that are well over the 200g mark.

HTC One (M8) for Windows review

What if you could pick a phone and then choose its operating system? What if you could get a popular flagship such as the HTC One (M8) and replace the Android OS with Windows Phone? Wonder no more - meet the HTC One (M8) for Windows - the only smartphone giving you the choice!
HTC is the first manufacturer to launch a popular smartphone running on another platform. HTC One (M8) has been around since the last spring season and it has become favorite to many. Now it has a chance to expand its reach beyond the Android users.
HTC One M8 For Windows

Windows Phone is still young and advancing operation system, but since the Windows Phone 8.1, it has become a true competitor to Android and iOS in terms of usability and features. The growing popularity and the free license of Windows Phone to devices under 8" are probably among the reasons HTC has decided on launching its most popular smartphone - the One (M8) - running on Microsoft's OS.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos Specs

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos

For China
Also known as Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos SM-N9100
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1
  GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - SIM 1
  TD-SCDMA 1880 / 2010 - SIM 1
4G Network LTE 1800 / 2100 / 2600 (Bands 1, 3, 7) - SIM 1
  TD-LTE 1900 / 2300 / 2500 / 2600 (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41) - SIM 1
SIM Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
Announced 2014, October
Status Available. Released 2014, October

Rockstar starts Grand Theft Auto III, San Andreas and Vice City sale

Rockstar Games is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and is offering San Andreas, Vice City and the original GTA III with a big discount. The deal is available for iOS and Android through both the Play Store and the Amazon Appstore.
The mobile version of GTA III launched in 2011 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the PC version and later in 2012 Rockstar released GTA: Vice City, again to celebrate its 10th birthday.

Pixelmator now available on the iPad for $4.99

Popular image editing application for OS X – Pixelmator – was announced for the iPad back at the iPad Air 2 launch event. The app is now available on the App Store and can be purchased for $4.99.
Pixelmator on OS X is a full fledged image creation and editing application. It can do most of the things that you can with Photoshop but at a fraction of the cost. But most importantly, it is beautifully made and works seamlessly with the OS as if it’s a native app.

Rooms message board app by Facebook launches for iOS

Facebook launched a brand new app for iOS dubbed Rooms. The newcomer allows users to create or participate in message boards that cover any topic they might be interested in.
The app consist of rooms that are organized by area of interest. Users can choose a different nickname for every room, as well as customize its look and feel.
The message boards in Rooms will support moderators, age restriction, as well as rules for participation. The app will not be connected to Facebook and your list of friends.
Josh Miller is the man behind Rooms. Branch, the web discussions website he co-founded was acquired by the social networking giant last year.

Microsoft launches Kinect adpater for Windows 8 and 8.1

Microsoft is enabling Kinect owners to use it with Windows by launching today a special adapter for PCs. It makes the Kinect fully compatible with WIndows 8 and Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets with identical performance to the Xbox One.
The new Kinect adapter only works with the newly announced Kinect SDK 2.0. It allows developers to create third-party apps for the Kinect and upload them to the Windows Store. Hopefully, we get to see some cool new uses of the gadget apart from making voice commands and playing fitness-oriented games.

Torque by Microsoft is a nifty search app for Android Wear

Microsoft launched a crafty search application for Android Wear devices dubbed Torque. The app activates on the Android Wear device via a twist of the user’s wrist.
Of course, the search engine used by the app is powered by Bing, not Google’s own solution. Using Torque is as easy as it gets – you twist your wrist and ask your Android Wear device the question you need answer to.

Google Earth 8.0 for Android adds new 3D tech, quicker map updates

Google has just announced a pretty big update for the Google Earth app for Android. The new version will be rolling out over the next week, bringing with it faster and smoother transitions as you’re zooming in.
Mountains and cities get sharper 3D views too, thanks to an overhauled 3D rendering technology that was built from scratch. This is, in fact, the first big upgrade for the 3D tech since Google Earth launched 10 years ago. And more 3D updates are promised for the coming months.

Olloclip unveils 4-in-1 photo lens for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Olloclip is a name you may have heard if you ever looked for attachable lenses for your iPhone. The company has created a new edition of its 4-in-1 photo lens for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The design has been updated to allow the lens clip to be carried as a pendant, making it easier to bring with you everywhere.
The 4-in-1 photo lens includes a fish eye lens and a wide-angle lens. You can unscrew them to get a 15x macro and 10x macro lens respectively.

Nexus 6 compared to iPhone 6 Plus, found to be bigger than bigger than bigger

The Nexus 6 is a big phone. You can tell that from the display size or from reading the dimensions. But nothing drives the point home than watching it being compared with phones that we are already familiar with.
TechCrunch did a hands-on with the Nexus 6 and there are two images from the article that are worth focusing on. The first is the image above, where the Nexus 6 sits next to the iPhone 6 PlusNow the iPhone 6 Plus is a big phone, but the Nexus 6 isn’t that much bigger despite packing half an inch of extra screen. But the more hilarious image is the one below.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Skype for Windows Phone adds drawing feature

Microsoft has published a new update for Skype in the Windows Phone app store. The new version is 2.24, and it debuts an interesting feature: drawing.
It’s just as it sounds, basically. You can tap the “+” icon in any chat and then select “drawing” to, well, draw – a picture, or whatever else your talent level allows you to. There’s also the possibility of adding a “personal touch” to a photo, or to annotate a Bing map.

Dropbox adds Touch ID support for iOS 8

Dropbox has updated its mobile app for iOS today, and with the new version comes support for Touch ID. Specifically, you can use the fingerprint sensor embedded into Apple’s wares to get access to your Dropbox.
This means no more entering passwords to view the files you have stored in this particular cloud service.

Nexus 4 receives a functional Android 5.0 Lollipop port

Thanks to the hard work of very talented developers over at the XDA-Developers community, the LG Nexus 4 has received Android 5.0 Lollipop earlier than Google is rolling it out officially. In addition, you can now get all of the Google apps with the updated looks on your own phone.
However, only rooted users may apply and the apps won’t work on all smartphones. Currently, the latest Material Design Google apps that are available as downloadable .apk files include Play Music, Play Books, Keep, Calendar, Gmail, Drive, Maps, Messenger and Fit.

Tizen Association welcomes 16 new members, surpasses 100

The Tizen Association has added 16 additional partners to its list making the list grow to more than 100 members. The announcement came at the Tizen Developer Summit in Shanghai that’s taking place today.
The focus of the conference in on wearables and Internet of Things. However, the members are also discussing the possibilities of Tizen to make a mark in the automotive industry and in the consumer electronics industry.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus Specs

Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus

Also known as Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus SM-G901F
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 
(Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, November

Monday, 20 October 2014

Microsoft tipped to release a wearable device in the near future

According to a report in Forbes, Microsoft is about to launch a wearable device in the coming weeks. The gadget will reportedly hit the shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.
Microsoft’s upcoming creation will focus on tracking physical activities that include steps, heart rate, and calories burned among others. Some smartwatch functionality is also expected, though it will not be the product’s main highlight. Battery life of the wearable device is tipped to be in the ballpark of two days.
The upcoming device will work on Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. Microsoft will offer a dedicated app for each OS.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

‘Angry Birds Transformers’ for iOS and Android game review

Angry Birds Transformers is the latest and tenth installment in the Angry Bird series of games. Made in collaboration with Hasbro, Angry Birds Transformers is based on the Transformers series, the original animated one, not the terrible movies made by Michael Bay.
After a soft launch the game is now available worldwide on iOS right now and will be available on Android at the end of the month. Anyway, let’s get on with the review.

Nexus 9 goes up for pre-order in India on the Play Store

The Nexus 9 has been put up for pre-order on the Play Store in India. India is one of the 22 markets worldwide that will be getting the Nexus 9 on day one.
The Nexus 9 is available in two configurations in India. There is the base 16GB version with Wi-Fi, that is priced at Rs. 28,900, and there is the 32GB LTE model that is priced at Rs. 44,900. The Nexus 9 is only available in the Indigo Black color in India for now.

Xolo One is a $105 smartphone that will get Android 5.0 Lollipop

Xolo introduced the latest addition to its lineup of attractively priced smartphones. Dubbed Xolo One the new droid costs just INR 6,599, which translates to about $105, making it one of the most affordable KitKat-powered handset around. More impressively, the company has committed to updating the Xolo One to Android 5.0 Lollipop later on, making it one of the cheapest tickets to Google’s latest ride.
As you could expect at this price point, the hardware of the smartphone isn’t quite as impressive. The Xolo One comes with a 4.5” IPS screen of the lowly FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels) that gives a pixel density of 218ppi. The handset is powered by a Mediatek MTK 6582M chipset with a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU running at 1.3GHz, a Mali 400 MP2 GPU and 1GB of RAM.

The Xolo One comes with dual SIM slots and support for 3G and 21Mbps HSPA networks, but no LTE. There’s a microSD card slot for expanding the 8GB of available storage by up to 32GB.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Huawei Ascend Mate7 review

The Huawei Ascend Mate7 is the company's first phablet ready for primetime, with two credible midrangers in the Mate series giving Huawei the confidence to stand up to rival flagships. Never mind the digit in the title, the Mate7 is actually a 6" device with premium looks, solid display and a capable chipset. It was built to stand out, outlast and outperform the competition and looks keen to muscle its way to the top instead of sneakily undercutting the competition.

The Ascend Mate7 is trying to impress in pretty much every aspect. Its body is made of aluminum, but the focus is well on the 6" IPS display of 1080p resolution. Huawei's very own Kirin 925 chipset is powering the Mate7, which offers all-round connectivity options and a capable 13MP snapper.

Huawei Ascend Mate7 Huawei Ascend Mate7 Huawei Ascend Mate7

Huawei Ascend Mate7 official pictures
Huawei maybe a novice in fingerprint security, at least on paper, but comes across as a quick learner - to say the least. Huawei's implementation are superior to some of the popular solutions on other handhelds by major manufacturers. The phablet comes with built-in and easy to access scanner, which is fast and secure enough, offering touch&pay via NFC.

Friday, 17 October 2014

BlackBerry Passport review

Canadian manufacturer BlackBerry looks to bring its no-nonsense smartphone approach in a form factor that is...unusual, to say the least. It's a company that's no stranger lately to being in the red for quarters on end and the Passport is yet another attempt by BlackBerry to regain its identity (and market share) in a cutthroat industry that's dominated by Android.
Even from a distance, it's apparent that the Passport is a device that's different for a reason. 
First, the company failed to market a "traditional" smartphone with the otherwise solid BlackBerry Z30. The BlackBerry Q5 QWERTY messenger wasn't any more successful as a return to the bread-and-butter. Now, the Passport hopes to strike gold with a formula that's the best of both worlds while being bound to neither.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport

BlackBerry Passport official pictures
The Passport certainly carries a spec sheet to put performance buffs at ease. With a Quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 801 chip and 3GB of RAM, it's easily the most robust BlackBerry smartphone to date. The 4.5-inch square display is also of an impressive 1440 x 1440px, which results in an excellent 453ppi. Here's what else it brings to the table: