Friday, October 13, 2017

Microsoft Edge for Android now available on the Play Store

In a surprise move last week, Microsoft said it was bringing its Edge Web browser to Android and iOS platforms. A week later, the company has made a preview of Edge available on Google Play for customers with Android devices.

Last week, the company released a preview version of Edge for iOS via test flight beta channel. At the time, the company was not yet ready to release the Android version of Edge, and instead was only accepting requests from customers who wanted to have Edge on their phone.

If you had signed up to be notified about Microsoft Edge's availability on Android, you may have received an email from the company. "Thank you for your interest! The Microsoft Edge Preview for Android is now available for download in the Google Play Store," the message states.

Microsoft Edge Preview for Android offers a range of features that you may have appreciated on its desktop client. There is Continue on PC, which lets you pick up things from where you left off between your mobile device and PC. Microsoft says Edge will also sync a user's favourites and reading lists across devices.

There is also Hub View which lists all your favourites, reading list, history and books all in one place. Then of course, there is the Reading View, which reorganises content on a webpage to make it easier for a reader to read them.

Microsoft has also thrown in a QR Code Reader, which pulls up information once it has scanned it, and Voice Search, letting people ask questions without the hassle of typing things.

Microsoft Edge for Android is using Blink rendering engine from the Chromium browser project. "This approach gives us more control and better performance than using the Android WebView control, but means that we are shipping our own copy of the rendering engine in the app. Much like other Android browsers based on Chromium, we expect to keep up with Chromium releases," the company said last week.
Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro receives a price cut in India again, now available for Rs 29,990

After a Rs 5,000 price cut back in June, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro has received yet another price cut, and this time it has been lowered by Rs 2,000. This means, as opposed to the launch price of Rs 36,900, the Galaxy C9 Pro is now available at Rs 29,900. The smartphone can be purchased across e-commerce platforms, and via Samsung’s official website. The price cut was first tipped by Mumbai-based offline retailer Mahesh Telecom on Twitter.

Launched in January this year, the Galaxy C9 Pro was the first Samsung smartphone to come with 6GB of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro comes with a 6-inch full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on top. That screen size points the device more towards the phablet category. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 octa-core chipset paired with Adreno 510 GPU. It is equipped with 6GB of RAM, and 64GB onboard storage, which is expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card.

In terms of photography, the phablet features a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture, dual-tone LED flash and 1080p video recording capabilities. It also has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. Fuelling the phablet is a 4,000mAh battery, fingerprint sensor embedded into the home button, and a Cirrus HiFi Codec for better audio performance.

Connectivity options on the device include dual-SIM card slots, 4G LTE support, USB Type-C port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. On the software front, the phablet runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 out-of-the-box wrapped under TouchWiz UI.

Galaxy C9 Pro (Rs. 29,990) 

Galaxy A7 2017 (Rs. 24,900) 

Galaxy A5 2017 (Rs. 22,400) 

Google Tez UPI app hits 5 million downloads on Play Store

Last month, Google launched its first payment service in India - Google Tez. The app created with an objective of facilitating digital payments, aims to contribute to the Digital India initiative and has now been downloaded five million times from the Google Play Store.

Google Tez is based on UPI and is available on iOS and Android. At the time of launch, the app supported Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India, among other banks supported by UPI. It also supports online payment partners through which you can place orders on Dominos, RedBus, and Jet Airways.

One of the talking points of the app is its ‘Nearby’ feature. Similar to how file transfer app ShareIt works, Google Tez allows you to transact with your friends nearby. This is done using the Cash Mode, which allows you to instantly transfer cash to anyone nearby without the need to share your contact or bank details. This feature works in the same way as sharing photos or media to a nearby device connected over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. 

To recall, when launched, Google saw nearly 1.8 crore gross merchandise volume (GMV) done with over four lakh active users. To accelerate the adoption, Google also offered Tez Scratch Cards within the app at the time of launch. Using the scratch cards, you can earn up to Rs 1,000 for eligible transactions. You can also enrol in Lucky Sundays offer to win up to Rs 1 lakh every week.

Google Tez adds to the growing portfolio of digital payment services including Paytm, BHIM, and MobiKwik among others. Another key element of the app is that it is said to be made for India and hence, brings support for Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu, in addition to English. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OnePlus 5T with 6-inch display and 18:9 aspect ratio might launch in November: Report

OnePlus might not actually skip the successor to its OnePlus 5. If latest rumors are to be believed, the company is mulling the OnePlus 5T device. Similar to how the OnePlus 3T came as a surprise to a lot of OnePlus 3 customers, the same might hold true for OnePlus 5 users as well.

It was recently reported that OnePlus 5 units were out of stock in the US market, sparking rumors that the next smartphone-in-line could be launched sooner. However, those reports were met with contradictions when some suggested that the next smartphone would be called the OnePlus 6 and not the OnePlus 5T. Now, further leading to confusion, a GizmoChina report shows off what it calls the OnePlus 5T.

According to the report, the purported OnePlus 5T will release as soon as November 2017, five months after the launch of the OnePlus 5. The OnePlus 5 has received a positive response from the consumers and the arrival of the OnePlus 5T might upset a few of them. Nonetheless, there are some upgrades in the upcoming model, with the biggest changes in terms of display.

Based on the renders, the purported OnePlus 5T smartphone appears to feature bezel-less display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The size of the display has also received an increase to 6-inches with 2160 x 1080p resolution. On the whole, the narrow bezels on all sides give the phone an edge-to-edge appearance. It is also worth pointing that the phone now features curved edges, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 lineup. 

On a closer look, the renders appear identical to the recently leaked OPPO F5, which is expected to release on October 26 in Manila. The smartphone is speculated to feature a tall, bezel-less 18:9 display and carry forward the selfie-centric capabilities from the OPPO F3 with a pair of 16-megapixel dual-camera on the front.

As OnePlus is yet to officially confirm the existence of the OnePlus 5 successor or a new OnePlus 6 model, it is advisable to take the information with a grain of salt. As for the OnePlus 5; the flagship smartphone is priced at Rs 32,999 and sells exclusively on Amazon. The USP of the smartphone is the 20-megapixel + 16-megapixel dual-camera setup at the back, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 under the hood, 6GB of RAM, and Android Nougat out-of-the-box.

OnePlus 5 (Rs. 32,999) 

OnePlus 3T (Rs. 25,999) 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Rs. 67,990) 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A with 5,000mAh battery, Snapdragon 425 SoC launched in India: Price, specifications

After the Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung has launched a new tablet called the Galaxy Tab A in India. Successor to the Galaxy Tab A (2016), the new Galaxy Tab A is priced at Rs 17,990, and will be available for purchase on online and offline platforms. Samsung had first unveiled the Galaxy Tab A in Vietnam last month. Buyers will be able to choose from two color options of black and gold.

The Galaxy Tab A measures 212.1×124.1×8.9 mm, and weighs 364 grams. There’s a home button up front that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. The tablet houses the volume rocker and power key on the right side. The USB Type-C port, and a speaker grille is placed on the bottom panel. Making it a first, the Galaxy Tab A comes with Bixby Home integrated.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A specifications

The Galaxy Tab A features an 8-inch HD IPS display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, and 2GB of RAM. There’s also 16GB of onboard storage, which is further expandbale up to 256GB using a microSD card. In the photography department, the Galaxy Tab A sports an 8-megapixel rear camera of f/1.9 aperture accompanied by an LED flash and auto-focus. Up front, it sports an 5-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. 

The connectivity options available on the Galaxy Tab A include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, and USB Type-C port. On the software front, the tablet runs on Android 7.1. Nougat out-of-the-box. Keeping the tablet ticking is a 5,000mAh battery, which Samsung says can provide up to 36 hours of talktime, and 14 hours of video playback over LTE or Wi-Fi connectivity. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (Rs. 47,990) 

Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 (Sale discont Price Rs. 20,990) 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (Sale discount Price Rs. 17,990) 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Apple investigating claims of iPhone 8 splitting open while charging

Within a week of going on sale, the Apple iPhone 8 is again in news, and not for the best reasons. There have been a few reports of the iPhone 8 duo splitting up due to some alleged battery issue. There was one such case reported in Japan, and one in Taiwan. And earlier today, Apple has acknowledged the issue, and said that it is investigating the cause of the issue. Apple told The Independent, that it is “looking into” reports that customers in Asia have seen their new iPhones split apart while charging them.

In one case, the user was charging her iPhone 8 – using an official Apple adapter – when she said the phone suddenly snapped apart. In the other case, an iPhone 8 Plus owner tweeted photos of his new phone with the screen practically popping off due to a “swollen battery”. According to the owner, the phone was damaged before he even opened the box.

However, at this point, it is important to note, that the number of reported incidents is relatively small, which can be counted down to two as of now. This in turn is indicative of a possible manufacturing defects. And that is why it would be wrong to categorize these incidents as a larger design issue like the one that forced a recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7  last year.

Interestingly, according to The Next Web, some unconfirmed reports suggest that Apple iPhone 8 Plus uses a battery made by the same manufacturer Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) as the Galaxy Note 7. Notably, no burn marks or wear and tear has been noted in the two cases.

Last year, post the launch of the iPhone 7 duo, and around the same time when the Galaxy Note 7 was reported of explosion, a bunch of iPhones were found to be catching fire too. Though that never came to be zeroed to a design and manufacturing issue. The iPhone 6 faced a more serious issue, when the reports of ‘bendgate’ went viral, wherein, the infuriated customers revealed that the device was susceptible to bending.

iPhone 8

iPhone 8 Plus

Facebook reportedly testing facial recognition feature for account logins

Facial recognition is the new buzzword in tech. After Apple made it the talking point with its Face ID feature on the iPhone X, social networking giant Facebook is said to be testing facial scanning for account logins. The company is working on a feature to help users locked out of their accounts regain access through a face scan. This could be particularly useful in times when a two-factor authentication via SMS is not possible, say on-flight or in a poor-network zone.

The development was first spotted by a social media researcher who passed on a screenshot to The Next Web. Further screenshots have surfaced on social media that reveal Facebook’s upcoming Face Recognition Settings. “To recognize whether you’re in a photo or video, our system compares it with your profile picture, and photos and videos that you’re tagged in. This lets us know when you’re in other photos and videos so we can create better experience,” Facebook states on the panel.

ALSO READ: WhatsApp introduces its own emoji set in the latest Android beta v2.17.364

Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed testing a Face ID feature. “We are testing a new feature for people who want to quickly and easily verify account ownership during the account recovery process. This optional feature is available only on devices you’ve already used to log in. It is another step, alongside two-factor authentication via SMS, that were taking to make sure account owners can confirm their identity,” it told TechCrunch. Facebook has also trained neural networks to identify people by their hair, body shape, and posture. 

While biometric authentication is surely safer than a regular two-factor authentication, it is bound to raise concerns around privacy. Also, facial recognition wouldn’t work for accounts that don’t have a face as its display picture — and that is common as users put up pictures of their kids or pets as display pictures. Additionally, some users disable photo-tagging too. Hence, Facebook would technically be unable to search for images that resemble such users’ faces. Only time will tell how the facial recognition feature fits into such situations. But for now, it seems like an interesting development.