Friday, 15 December 2017

Apple iMac Pro coming soon to India for Rs. 4,15,000

Apple recently opened pre-order of the its most power and expensive iMac to date, iMac Pro at $4999. Now the company has announced India pricing as well.

The iMac Pro will be available in the country soon starting at Rs. 4,15,000. As of now, it looks like only the base model of the iMac Pro will be sold in India featuring 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB DDR4 EEC RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card and 1TB SSD. The  availability details is yet to be revealed.

The iMac Pro feature 27-inch 5K Retina display with support for one billion color. Other features are listed below:
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • 10GB Ethernet for up to 10-times faster networking
  • 4 x USB Type-A (v3.0 ports)
  • 4 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • SDXC card slot
  • 4 x microphones
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • WiFi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.2
These specs are of the India iMac Pro model. However, Apple is offering more powerful variants in the U.S that come with 10-core, 14-core or 18-core Intel Xeon chip, and can deliver up to 22 Teraflops of graphics performance with 128GB Vega 64 graphics. They can also be configured with additional 64GB/128GB RAM and 2TB/4TB SSD storage. The 18-core version with top-end configuration costs $13,199 (Rs. 8,46,910).


Samsung's Bixby speaker will reportedly arrive in 2018

Samsung is all set to foray into the smart speaker market to take on Apple, Google and Amazon. The South Korean tech giant chief DJ Koh has already confirmed this, but now some new details has surfaced.

According to a report from Bloomberg Samsung is planning to introduce its first smart speaker in the first half of 2018. While Amazon and Google are working on adding new functionalities to their smart speaker, Samsung's main focus is on the audio quality and management of connected home appliances such as lights and locks.

Samsung's smart speaker will be powered by Bixby digital assistant, and will be able to sync with Samsung devices such as TVs, smartphones and more, as well as act as an hub for SmartThings ecosystem.

The report also mentions that the prototype of the Samsung smart speaker is currently in tests, and is in size between Amazon's new Echo Speaker and Apple's HomePod.  Currently Samsung is working on improving the voice based web searched.

It is expected to come in multiple colors, but the unit that is brings tested is in Matte Black color. It will also of lights on top for visual feedback.

Interestingly the smart speaker is said to be priced at a competitive price of $200 (Rs. 13,000) in the U.S and is also expected to release in other markets as well.

Acer Predator 21 X curved screen gaming laptop lands in India for Rs. 6,99,999

Acer has launched the company's gaming beast, the Predator 21 X notebook in India sporting a curved screen. It has been priced at whooping Rs. 699,999 and is now available for pre-order via Flipkart. Acer will only make 500 units available, and shipping will start December 18. It also comes bundled with a custom hard-shell carrying trolley case.

The Acer Predator 21 X sports a 21-inch curved IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels. It also has Tobi infrared eye-tracking sensors in the display, which lets you control compatible games without using a controller.

The processing power is handled by 7th-gen Intel's Kaby Lake processor and has two 16GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with SLI, which makes it VR-ready. It can be configured with up to 64GB DDR4 RAM and comes with up to four 512GB SSD,and has room for another 1TB HDD. To keep the machine cool during long gaming sessions, it has five fans with several heat pipes.

It includes 2T2R 802.11ac + Bluetooth WiFi module, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 portsa USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, HDMI, microSD card reader and 2 x DisplayPort for connectivity. There's an IR camera as well for Windows Hello secure login.

It has  full-sized mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches, with programmable backlit keys, allowing you to customize the LEDs in 16.7 million color options. To offer enhanced sound experience, the laptop features  3-way (tweeter, midrange, woofer) audio design for Hi-Fi quality sound and is powered by 4 speakers (2 tweeters, 2 midrange) and 2 subwoofers to produce a full spectrum of sound.

The laptop comes pre-loaded with PredatorSense software,  that allows users to control and customize central interface, overclocking, lighting and fan control.

Instagram gets new superzoom effects, holidays-inspired face filters and stickers

Just in time for the holidays, Instagram has rolled out new superzoom effects, face filters and stickers to its platform. The new update arrives just days after the follow hashtags function.

The Superzoom feature was added to Instagram's camera during Halloween update, and allowed you to record short videos with dramatic zooming and sound effects. The updated app gets new zoom and sound effects like Bounce, Beats, and TV show. You can apply any of these effects by tapping the music icon in the Superzoom camera mode.

The update also adds three new filters to get into the festive spirit such as balloons bursting with confetti, holiday makeup and snow-frosted glass. To use these face filters, open the Instagram camera and tap the face icon in the bottom right corner.

Lastly, Instagram gets new holiday themed stickers for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza, as well as seasonal stickers. In addition users can find their favorite stickers and emojis by searching them using keywords in English.

These updates are part of Instagram of version number 26 and will roll out in the coming days for Android and iOS. 


BlackBerry Priv support has ended

The Priv was BlackBerry's first Android smartphone and it sported a bold design featuring a slideout keyboard. It debut in November 2015, and now two years later the Canadian company has announced that it is ending software support for Priv. 

This means it will not get future monthly security updates from BlackBerry. However, in case of a critical security vulnerability gets exposed, BlackBerry will deliver the necessary patches for the fix. It's worth mentioning that during the support period BlackBerry used to push the security update to the Priv monthly without fail.

Having said that, BlackBerry will continue to fulfill all warranty obligations for the Priv. 

The company also revealed that it will soon introduce a trade-up program for current Priv users, as well as for users with BB10 and BBOS device. Under the program, BlackBerry will offer discounts and incentives to Priv users to upgrade their device to a new Keyone or Motion.

Lastly, the company also confirmed that it will continue to support devices running BB10 and BBOS for atleast two more year. Unfortunately, some ancillary service will be discontinued such as the BlackBerry World app store (12/31/2019), the BlackBerry Travel site (February 2018), and the Playbook video calling service (March 2018). 


Vodafone rolls out Rs. 179 SuperPlan in Bihar & Jharkand and Assam & Northeast circle; revises Rs. 348 plan

A few days ago Vodafone India rolled out Rs. 176 tariff plan for its customers in the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgrah circle with unlimited voice calls and 1GB of 2G data per day for 28 days. Now the telecom operator has launched a new Rs. 179 plan for its prepaid customers in Bihar & Jharkand and Assam & Northeast circles, but with different benefits. Meanwhile, it has also revised the Rs. 348 tariff plan to offer extra data. 

Rs. 179 plan for Bihar & Jharkand circles
Customers will get 'unlimited' 2G data (without FUP) along with  unlimited voice calls to any network across the country even on roaming for 28 days. Voice calls are limited to 250 minutes per day and 1000 minutes per week, and a customer can make calls to only 300 unique numbers during the validity period. If the limit is exhausted, calls will be charged at 30 paise per minute. 

Rs. 179 plan for Assam & Northeast circles
The plan is valid for 28 days and offer 'only' 1GB of 2G/3G/4G data along with unlimited local and STD calls to any network, as well as unlimited incoming and outgoing calls. Customers can also send messages at 25 paise per SMS for a period of 28 days.

Both the offers will be available across all Vodafone Stores, retail outlets, website, and the My Vodafone App. 

Revised Rs. 348 plan
This plan was earlier launched for Vodafone prepaid customers in Rajasthan with 1GB data per day for 28 days, but is now available in Delhi/NCR with extra per day data. The revised Rs. 348 plan now offers 2GB data per day for 28 days, for a total of 56 high-speed data during the period. 

The plan applies for all handsets including 3G and 4G, and also offers unlimited local, STD, and roaming calls with daily capping of 250 minutes per day, after which 1 paisa per second will be charged. There is a weekly cap of 1000 calling minutes. This offer can be availed from MyVodafone App.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ surface in renders

We got the first unofficial look at the Galaxy S9 yesterday, and now we get to see its bigger sibling the Galaxy S9+. MySmartPrice in collaboration with @OnLeaks have shared CAD based renders and 360-degree video of the device.

As seen in the images, the Galaxy S9+ will have the same design as Galaxy S9, but will be larger and have dual-cameras at the back. When compared to its predecessor, there won't be any difference, but a few tweaks.

Similar to the Galaxy S8+, the Galaxy S9+ will have a full screen Infinity display with minimal bezels at each sides. However, the bezels will be 0.1mm slimmer than it predecessor. The source claims that the Galaxy S9+ will sport 6.1-inch display and the phone's dimension are 157.7 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, which makes it 1.8mm smaller, 0.4mm wider and 0.4mm thicker than Galaxy S8+.

The rear side has the dual-camera setup with fingerprint scanner placed below it, making it easier to reach. On the Galaxy S8, the sensor was placed next to the camera, and many users were not happy with this.

Speaking of other features, the top chin of the front panel houses selfie camera and a bunch of sensors. The secondary microphone and the SIM card/microSD card slot are at the top, the power button is at the right side, while the volume rocker and Bixby button are at the left. At the bottom, there's USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker and primary microphone.

The Galaxy S9+ will share the same specs sheet as Galaxy S9, but come with 6GB RAM, a bigger battery and dual-camera. It will be powered by Exynos 9810 and Snapdragon 845 processor depending on the market, and ship with Android Oreo.

Sony launches SA-D40 and SD-D20 multimedia speakers in India

Sony is extending its home audio line-up in India by launching two multimedia speakers: SA-D40 priced at Rs. 7,990 and SD-D20 priced at Rs. 6,990. These speakers are designed for both television and smartphone usage to offer powerful sound with strong bass and enhanced connectivity.

The SA-D40 is a 4.1 channel speaker (four speakers and one sub-woofer) with 80W power output and the SA-D20 is a 2.1-channel speaker (two speakers and one sub-woofer) with 60W power output. They are embedded with a big size sub-woofer to reproduce massive deep bass. For high quality audio, the SA-D40 especially offers a wider peak frequency range providing a holistic audio treat for the consumers.

Both speaker have support for wireless streaming over Bluetooth, and houses USB port, so you can plug in a pen drive and directly play music. The speaker can remember up to eight Bluetooth devices at once for easy connection. There's also an AUX connectivity as well. 

The speakers also come bundled with a remote for controlling the speakers as well as a single cable for connecting to the TV.

The Sony SA-D40 and SA-D2- speakers will be available in Black color, starting December 13 across all Sony Centre outlets and other major electronic store partners in the country.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Honor 9 Lite with dual front & rear cameras, Android Oreo to be announced on December 21

Huawei will unveil a new budget phone, the Enjoy 7S in China on December 18. A few days later on December 21, Huawei's sub-brand Honor will also introduce a new budget phone called Honor 9 Lite in home country.

As with all China devices before release, the Honor 9 Lite has been certified by China's TENAA, and the specs and design is already known.

Interestingly the Honor 9 Lite will have the same specs as Enjoy 7S, but pack only 4GB RAM and include dual-front cameras (13MP+2MP). As a reminder, the Enjoy 7S is expected to come with 3GB/4GB RAM and single front camera. The design is also different, however, similar to Enjoy 7S, the Honor 9 Lite will also have minimal bezels on the sides of the display. The main design change is seen at the back.

Check out the specs of Honor 9 Lite listed by TENAA below:
5.65-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) display with 18:9 aspect ratio
Octa-core Kirin 659 processor
32GB/64GB storage (expandable via microSD card)
13MP + 2MP rear camera
13MP + 2MP front camera
Android Oreo based EMUI 8.0
Fingerprint scanner
Hybrid dual-SIM slots
3000mAh battery

The TENAA listing further reveals that Honor 9 Lite will arrive to the market in Black, White, Blue and Grey colors. We should know the price when the phone goes official next week. 


MediaTek's Sensio MT6381 module will let you track health data with your smartphone

MediaTek is well know for making chips for affordable and mid-range smartphone. But now the company is launching a module designed for health monitoring: MediaTek Sensio MT6381.

The MediaTek Sensio MT6381 is a 6-in-1 smartphone biosensor module and can track heart rate, blood pressure trends, pheripherals oxygen saturation levels and more. In other words the module is a hardware and software solution that can be easily embedded into a smartphone to allow users to track the  following health data using their smartphone:
  • Heart-rate – measures heart beats per minute.
  • Heart-Rate Variability – measures variation in the time between heartbeats.
  • Blood Pressure Trends – measures blood pressure trends so users can see a range of data over a period of time.
  • Peripheral Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) – measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) – measures the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time and displays it in graph form.
  • Photoplethysmography (PPG) – measures the change in volume of blood.
The module uses LEDs in conjunction with a light sensitive sensor to measure  the absorption of red and infrared light by the user’s fingertips. Note that light sensitive sensors will be placed in three separate areas on your smartphone (one at the rear and two on the side), and you'll have to place your fingertips on each of them simultaneously to get an accurate reading.

By touching the sensors and electrodes with your fingertips, the module creates a closed loop between your heart and the biosensor to measure ECG and PPG waveforms. MediaTek says that the module can deliver the readings of the six health data to the users  in about 60 seconds, which will be synced to an app.

Samsung already allows heart rate monitoring on their flagship product. It debut in Galaxy S5, and the models after that till Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8 also comes with the sensor. But with Sensio module, you'll be able to get more health data with a tap on the sensor.

The Sensio MT6381 will be made available to MediaTek partners in early 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S9 CAD based renders surface

After the success of Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8, all eyes are now on Samsung's next flagship Galaxy S9. It is expected to break cover in February or March next year. Even though the launch is three months away, the details of Galaxy S9 is no stranger to us. We have already come across leaked render, while Evan Blass revealed the possible specs.

Now 91Mobiles in collaboration with @OnLeaks has shared CAD-based render and 360-degree video of the Galaxy S9. There is nothing new revealed in the renders, as it is in line with the previously leaked image, but we get to see the device in all angles and know the footprint.

The source says that the Galaxy S9 will flaunt the same design as its predecessor (bezel-less), but the bezels will be 0.1mm slimmer than before. It will reportedly sport 5.65-inch display and the dimensions are 147.6 x 68.7 x 8.4mm. However, rumors has it that Galaxy S9 will have 5.8-inch display. So we'll have to wait for few more leaks for the exact display size to be revealed.

Nothing much as changed in the front side. However, the back panel has received some tweaks. The fingerprint scanner has been moved under the camera unit, while the heart rate sensor is on the right side of the camera module. 

The USB Type-C port, speaker, volume rocker, power and Bixby button follow the same placement as Galaxy S8. Thankfully, 3.5mm audio jack is still present. Do note the render shows a single camera at the back, so the device shown in the image is Galaxy S9. The Galaxy S9+ is said to come with dual-cameras.

According to earlier reports, the Galaxy S9 will be powered by Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9 series 9810 chips depending on the region. It is said to come with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, microSD card slot, 3.5mm audio jack and AKG-powered stereo speakers. The bigger Galaxy S9+ is rumored to feature 6.2-inch display, 6GB RAM and dual-cameras.

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition launched in India for Rs. 38,999

OnePlus introduced the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition at the Comic Con India in Bengaluru earlier this month. And now the phone has officially launched in the country for Rs. 38,999.  

The OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition sports a white back panel with smooth Sandstone finish and has Star Wars logo embossed in Red. It has black colored power button and volume rockers, and the alert slider is painted in Mineral Red color. It comes in a special box and OnePlus is bundling a Kylo Ren case as well. The phone also comes pre-loaded with 10 Star Wars wallpapers, widgets and a special Star Wars theme. 

The Star Wars edition will only be available in a single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant, and the specs are the same as regular model.

The phone comes with 6.01-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 835 chip, 16MP+20MP rear camera, 20MP selfie camera and 3300mAh battery. It runs Android Nougat based Oxygen OS and the software will be updated to Oreo early 2018. Other notable features are Dash Charge fast charging technology, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C port and dual-SIM slots. 

The OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition will be exclusively available on Amazon India, starting midnight tonight (00:00).  It will also be available through OnePlus experience zones in Bangalore and Noida from tomorrow.

OxygenOS 4.5.15 update for OnePlus 5 brings October security patch and fixes

OnePlus has rolled out a new update to the OnePlus 5 in the form of OxygenOS 4.5.15. Just last month, the OnePlus 5 received its first Android 8.0 Oreo based Open Beta build, but the new update is rolling out for users who are on the stable build.

The latest update brings GPS improvements, October security patch and general bug fixes. It also has fixes for issue related to alarm and Bitmoji. In the former's case, users were not able to set customized alarm ringtone, whereas in the latter's case users were not able to share emoji from Bitmoji. But now both issues are fixed.

Here's the changelog of OxygenOS 4.5.15
GPS improvements
Fixed issue of not able to set customized alarm ringtone
Fixed issue of sharing emoji from Bitmoji
Updated Android security patch to October
General bug fixes

The update weighs at 74MB and is rolling out over the air in phases, so only a small percentage of OnePlus 5 unit will get the update first, followed by a wider roll out in the coming days.