Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Android O is now Android Oreo

Google has officially announced that Android O will be called Android Oreo, and going forward will be referred as Android 8.0 Oreo. The search-giant has partnered with snack maker Nabisco for the Oreo branding. This is not the first time Google is entering into Android-related partnership, earlier it partnered with Nestle to bring KitKat for the v4.4 of Android back in 2013.

Google has released final system images for Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C and Nexus Player, that can be downloaded from Android developer website. For those who signed up for the beta program, the update is rolling out over the air. It is also pushing the Android Oreo source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to access.

Google also said that OEMs including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global (Nokia), Huawei, HTC, LG, Kyocera, Sharp, Motorola, Samsung has all committed to update existing smartphones running Nougat to Oreo by the end of the year, in addition to announcing new smartphones running Oreo.

Android 8.0 Oreo will bring news features to the user interface as well as under the hood like picture-in-picture (PIP) mode for multi-tasking, Instant apps, limiting background processes to improve battery life, improved auto-fill, notifications dots, adaptive icons, Google Play Protect, new emoji, downloadable fonts, TextView auto-sizing, sorting notifications through categories, Notification snoozing and more.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Xiaomi is reportedly working with Google on next Android One smartphone

It appears that Google's Android One program is getting a big boost. According to a report Xiaomi is working on an Android One smartphone, in collaboration with Google.

The report says that, the Chinese device maker is developing an affordable model of Mi 5X with Google's Android One platform. Utilizing Android One means Xiaomi will ditch in-house feature-packed MIUI in favor of stock Android UI, and as part of Android One experience comes the benefit of guaranteed timely OS updates, and less bloatwares.

The phone is expected to launch as Xiaomi Mi A1 globally, and given Xiaomi's track-record we can expect top-notch specs at a killer price. 

Initially, Google teamed up with Indian OEMs Karbonn, Spice and Micromax for Android One, but they hardly made any impact. Xiaomi could prove to be right choice for Google's Android One program, given its popularity in Asian market including India.

The company is capable of making good phones at various price points without comprising the hardware and build quality. Moreover it has a stronghold in the budget to mid-range segment. Taking all this into account, Android One program will definitely get a boost.

Unfortunately, it is not known when Xiaomi plans to launch its first Android One smartphone.

Moto X4 hands-on image shows shiny design, dual-camera and more

Hands-on images of Motorola's upcoming Moto X4 have hit the interweb, showing off the the glass back for a shiny and glossy finish, similar to previous leaks

The Moto X4 will belong to the upper mid-range category, and the photos show the dual-camera, rounder corners, thick bezels at top and bottom, and fingerprint scanner/gesture-based home button below the display.

In terms of specifications, the Moto X4 will feature 5.2-inch Full HD LCD display, Snapdragon 630 processor and 3000mAh battery. It will arrive in two RAM/Storage variants: 3GB RAM/32GB storage for the Europe, North America and Latin America region, and 4GB RAM/64GB storage for the Asia-Pacific region including India.

The dual-camera at the back has a 12MP sensor with dual auto-focus, f/2.0 aperture and 1.4µm pixel size plus an 8MP ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size and 120-degree field of view. There will be 16MP camera on the front assisted by a LED flash, for ultra-low light selfie, and support for 4K video recording.

It will run Android Nougat, and the body will boast IP68 water and dust resistance rating. Color options are Super Black and Sterling Blue.

It is still not known, when Motorola plans to unveil the Moto X4.

Acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible with 8th gen Core i7 processor announced

Acer has announced a new convertible notebook designed for casual gamers called Nitro 5 Spin, featuring Intel's new 8th generation Core i7 Kaby Lake-R processor. It flaunts all-aluminum chassis with black brushed hairline finish and red accents.

The Acer Nitro 5 Spin features 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display and a 360-degree hinge, that lets you use the laptop in tablet, stand or tent modes. It packs up to 16GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, and up to 512GB PCIe SSD.

It houses stereo front-facing speakers with a subwoofer, HD Webcam, backlit keyboard 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an HDMI port, while the wireless connection is handled by WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth. It supports Windows Hello and offers up to 10 hours of battery life.

The Acer Nitro 5 Spin will be available in October in North America starting at $999 (Rs. 64,000), and in EMEA region starting 1199 Euros (Rs. 90,200).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A goes official with 16MP selfie camera, MIUI 9

Xiaomi has officially announced its latest budget smartphone, the Redmi Note 5A in India. It comes in two different configurations flaunting a premium metal unibody design, with the top-end model getting a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and selfie flash.

They run Android 7.1.1 Nougat based MIUI 9 and have 2 + 1 card tray design, which means there's dedicated slots for dual-SIMs and microSD card.

The Redmi Note 5A low-end version comes with 5.5-inch HD display and is powered by 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. It has 13MP f/2.2 PDAF assisted camera at the back witth LED flash and 5MP f/2.0 front facing camera. A 3080mAh battery keeps the lights on. It has been priced at CNY 699 ($104 | Rs. 6,700).

The top-end Redmi Note 5A also has 5.5-inch HD 2.5D curved glass display, but utilizes 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 435 processor. For photography, it gets 13MP f/2.2 PDAF assisted rear camera with LED flash, and 16MP f/2.0 76.4-degree wide angle selfie shooter accompanied by an LED flash, for delivering better selfies in low-light condition. It has a fingerprint scanner at the back and is fueled by 3080mAh battery. 

It will be offered into two variants: 3GB RAM/32GB storage priced at CNY 899 ($134 | Rs. 8,600) and 4GB RAM/64GB storage with CNY 1199 ($180 | Rs. 11,500) price tag. 

All the Redmi Note 5A variants feature 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack and Infrared sensor. Color options are Champagne Gold, Rose Gold and Platinum Silver.

Xiaomi will sell the Redmi Note 5A in China starting from tomorrow, August 22.

Videocon Metal Pro 2 with 13MP camera, 4G VoLTE launched at Rs. 6,999

Videocon is out with a new entry-level smartphone in India called Metal Pro 2. As the name suggests, the phone flaunts a CNC alloyed metal back for a premium look that comes in two color: Gold and Space Grey.

The Videocon Metal Pro features 5-inch HD IPS display and packs 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor and 2000mAh battery. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

The camera department includes a 13MP rear camera with an LED flash and a 3.2MP front shooter. Running Android Nougat, the dual-SIM supports 4G, VoLTE, WiFi Bluetooth and GPS.

The Metal Pro 2 is priced at Rs. 6,999 and will be available through offline stores by end of the month. Videocon is also bundling one-year subscription of Eros Now, a Gameloft game and 100 days replacement policy with the phone.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen convertible with Kaby Lake-R coming in September

Samsung back in May introduced the S-Pen toting Notebook 9 Pro convertible featuring 7th generation Intel Core i7 processors. Now the South Korean tech giant is giving it an upgrade with a new model called Notebook 9 Pen with the just announced 8th generation Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake-R processor, which is 40 percent percent faster than the 7th generation.

Apart from the processor upgrade the rest of the configuration will remain unchanged. Just like NoteBook 9 Pro, the Notebook 9 Pen will be offered in 13.3-inch and 15-inch screen models and both include Full HD display and touchscreen panel. They will sport 360-degree rotatable hinge, which allows the device to be used in several modes like laptop, tablet, stand and tent. 

The 13.3-inch packs on-board Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 8GB DDR4 RAM, while the 15-inch model has AMD Radeon 540 GPU with dedicated 2GB memory, and 16GB DDR4 RAM.

Both models will come with 256GB SSD, HD camera, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, HDMI port, microSD card slot, WIFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, fast charging support and 1.5W x 2 stereo speakers.

The built-in Stylus S-Pen comes with a 0.7mm tip that can detect more than 4,000 levels of pressure. It is also able to detect tilt for shading, and is compatible with Samsung's Air Command software, and Windows Ink functions.

The pricing has not been revealed, but Samsung says it will first roll out to home market of South Korea in September, followed by other markets as well. 


New OnePlus 3/3T OxygenOS Open Beta with bug fixes, optimizations is rolling out

New OxygenOS beta update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T is now rolling out over-the-air to anyone who is on a previous beta build.

The OxygenOS Open Beta 22 for OnePlus 3, and Open Beta 13 for OnePlus 3T weighs at around 400MB and includes bug fixes and optimizations for performance improvements. 

To recall, the last OxygenOS betas for OnePlus 3 & 3T added a new feature called "Parallel apps" that lets you runs parallel version of an app using a separate account. The latest beta build fixes installation issues of some parallel apps. It also fixes an issue that caused expanded screenshot to fail on parallel apps. Other fixes include for Weather Widget and system font.

The update also adds optimizations for expanded screenshots and data usage tracking. Additionally, OnePlus apps like App Locker, FileManager, Weather, Note (shelf), Launcher and Push have all been updated.

Here's the complete list of changes
  • Data usage tracking optimizations
    • The system is now better at tracking data usage
  • Expanded screenshot optimizations
  • OnePlus apps updates
    • App locker, FileManager, Weather, Note (shelf), Launcher, and OnePlus Push have all been updated
Bug Fixes:
  • Installation issues of some parallel apps
  • Screenshot issues on some parallel apps
    • Sometimes the expanded screenshot would fail on parallel apps
  • Weather widget sometimes won’t update
    • Weather widget in Shelf will now update properly
  • Font issue after changing system language
    • Sometimes the system font did not display properly after changing system language
As mentioned earlier, for OnePlus 3 & 3T devices on previous beta build, the latest beta build will roll out over-the-air. Others will have to download the OTA zip file from OnePlus and flash it manually. 


Gionee X1 with 5-inch display, fingerprint scanner, Nougat launched in India for Rs. 8,999

Gionee is launching a new budget smartphone in India dubbed X1. It sports premium all-metal unibody design with rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and runs Android Nougat based Amigo 4.0 UI out of the box.

The Gionee X1 features 5-inch HD display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. It gets 8MP rear camera with LED flash, and 8MP front shooter for selfies and video calling. 

Connectivity options on-board are dual-SIM slots, microSD card slot, 4G, VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. A 3000mAh battery runs the show.

The Gionee X1 has been priced at Rs. 8,999 and is now available for purchase via offline retailers. Launch offers include additional 10GB data per month for six months for Airtel users, and two Rs. 250 cash back coupon from Paytm.

Microsoft announces Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition

Microsoft introduced its most powerful gaming console Xbox One X, at the annual E3 2017, back in June.  Now the console is up for pre-order starting at $499. In addition, Microsoft is also rolling out a special edition called Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition for a limited time. To recall Xbox One X was referred to as Project Scorpio during its development.

The hardware inside is the same as the original model, but the difference is in-terms of aesthetic. The Project Scorpio Edition has a "sophisticated and dynamic graphic pattern across the exterior, vertical stand, and “Project Scorpio” printed on both the console and controller." It is priced same as the regular model, starting at $499. 

Microsoft XBox One X / Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition features
The Xbox One X features six teraflops of processing power, topping arch rival Sony's Play Station 4 Pro's four teraflops. It is equipped with 2.3GHz octa-core processor and 128GB GDDR5 RAM, and has a memory bandwidth of 326 GB/s. It is capable of running 4K games at 60fps. However, 1080p display can even take the advantage of the enhanced hardware, as Xbox One X can perform "super sampling".

The console offers complete 4K entertainment package with 4K UHD for Blu-ray drive and streamed content, HDR support for gaming and video, spatial audio and Dolby Atmos support for enhanced sound experience. 

Other specs include advanced liquid cooling system, built-in power supply, 3 x USB 3.0 ports and IR blaster. The console can be placed horizontally and vertically with an optional stand.

Moving on, Microsoft also announced that it now has over 100 Xbox One game titles ready and enhanced for the Xbox One X. Some of the notable games include Halo 5, NBA 2K18, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, ReCore: Definitive Edition, FIFA 18, Star Wars Battlefront II, Below and remastered versions of Disneyland Adventures, Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure and Zoo Tycoon. You can check out the complete list here.

Pricing and availability
The Xbox One X Project Scorpio Limited Edition is priced at $499 (Rs. 31,970) / 449 GBP / 499 EUR and is now available for pre-order from Xbox.com, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Best Buy, Gamestop, Target, Walmart among others, and will start rolling out November 7.

Intel 8th Generation Core processors announced

Intel has announced its latest 8th generation Intel Core processor family that promises to offer up to 40 percent speed boost over the previous 7th generation Kaby Lake processor, while multi-tasking, and up to 2.3x faster than a 5-year-old system. The first members of the 8th-generation chip family are not Coffe Lake chips, as previously expected, and is simply called "Kaby Lake refresh", and are aimed at ultrathin notebooks and 2-in-1s.

The 8th-generation core family are quad-core chips based on Kaby Lake architecture and 14nm+ process technology and gets optimzations, and design improvements. The chip maker announced four new U-series 15W processor: the Core i7-8650U, Core i7-8550U, Core i5-8350U and Core i5-8250U. 

The base model Core i5-8250U will run at 1.6GHz, with boost clock of 3.4GHz, while the fastest Core i7-8650U will run at 1.9GHz, with boost clock of 4.2GHz. The cache sizes are 6MB on Core i5 processor and 8MB on Core i7 processor, and only the Core i7 models will support Hyper-Threading. They will be intergrated with Intel UHD Graphics 620, with the GPUs of Core i5 models running at 1.1Ghz and Core i7 at 1.15GHz.

According to Intel, users can expect up to 10 hours of 4K UHD local video playback on a single charge. Tasks such as photo editing and creating a slideshow, are up to 48 percent faster, and editing video footage is up to 14.7x faster than the previous generation processor.

Intel says the first wave of 8th Gen Intel Core processor-powered devices featuring i5/i7 processors will come to market beginning in September, and 145 laptop models can be expected. It also said first desktop processors codenamed Coffee lake is coming in the fall, followed by the 10nm products codenamed Canon Lake. 


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Coolpad Cool Play 6 lands in India for Rs. 14,999

Coolpad has finally launched the Cool Play 6 in India, designed for gamers. It brings some of the flagship-grade specs at a budget like dual-cameras, 6GB RAM and bigger battery. The phone has been aggressively priced at Rs. 14,999 and will be exclusively available on Amazon India starting September 4 in Black and Gold colors.

The metal-clad Coolpad Cool Play 6 sports 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display and is powered by octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor paired with Adreno 510 GPU and 6GB RAM, along with 64GB on-board storage. There's no slot for microSD card for storage expansion.

For photography, it gets 13MP dual-cameras with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and dual-tone LED flash, while a 8MP f/2.2 selfie shooter sits in the front.  It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat based Journey UI and is fueled by 4060mAh battery, that's  rated to deliver up to 252 hours of stanby time, up to nine hours of web browsing, up to eight hours of video playback, and up to six hours of extreme gaming.

In terms of connectivity, it offers dual-SIM slots, 4G, VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, 3.5mm audio jack and USB Type-C port. Other features include rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, dual-speakers and a built-in intelligent temperature control technology, which ensures that the smartphone doesn't heat up during intense game sessions.

Amazon Echo to be reportedly launched in India around Diwali

Multiple reports in the past have suggested that Amazon plans to launch its voice-activated smart speaker Echo in India this year. Now according to Factor Daily, the e-commerce giant is planning to launch the speakers around Diwali season, which falls on October 18 this year.  

“(The) earlier plan was to launch it around December but it looks like they will be out sooner,” a company source told the publication. 

Amazon is said to be testing two smart speakers: Echo and the tiny Echo Dot. It will reportedly be priced around Rs. 11,000-Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 5,000-Rs. 6,000. 

Initially, Echo will support only English, but later via an update more languages will be added including Hindi and Tamil. Amazon is also developing a  multilingual interface at its Chennai facility.

The Amazon Echo speaker was launched back in 2014 and comes with Alexa integration, Bluetooth, WiFi and microphones. You can command Alexa to play music, set reminders, order food, read emails or ask for the latest new, weather updates and more. Google also has its own version of Echo-like product called Google Home, that comes with Google Assistant, and offers the same functionality.

Amazon Echo will have no competitors in the Indian market, but if it succeeds, will open doors for Google and others to bring their voice assisted smart speakers to the country.