Thursday, December 28, 2017

LG V30 getting Android 8.0 Oreo update in South Korea

LG has released Android 8.0 Oreo update for its flagship V30 smartphone. The Oreo beta program went live for LG V30 last month, and now the final build has started rolling out.

The update is about 1,412MB in size, and is available via OTA update as well as LG Bridge software. LG V30 users can either update their device from software update option or by manually downloading the update through the supplied software. The update, for now, is limited to V30 users in South Korea but users in other markets should get the update in the coming months.

The Oreo update brings improvements to V30 in key areas like performance, battery life and speed. The update improves boot time on smartphones and brings streamlined notification cards. Other improvements include Oreo defaulting to the maximum aspect ratio of the screen instead of the 1.86:1 aspect ratio adopted with the previous versions.

The Android 8.0 Oreo version on V30 is based on LG’s own UX, which enhances the screen configuration, graphics and convenience features. On V30, users can watch videos in picture-in-picture (PIP) mode, and apps like Netflix will turn into a small screen when another app is running. The update also brings LDAC-related improvements that minimizes sound source loss.

“We will provide a differentiated user experience with stable and complete software,” said Lee Sang-kyu of LG Electronics Mobile Korea Group.

With the release of Oreo for V30, LG has become one of the very few smartphone makers to release newest version of Android for their devices. Apart from Google, only Nokia, Sony and OnePlus have released Oreo update for their devices. Android 8.0 Oreo had a market share of just 0.5 percent at the beginning of December.

To recall, LG launched V30+, a variant of V30, with more storage in India early this month. The smartphone features a 6-inch P-OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, and 128GB internal storage. It features dual rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 13-megapixel secondary sensor. There is a 5-megapixel front camera with support for 120-degree wide-angle selfies.

The smartphone comes with Quad-DAC support, and is priced at Rs 44,990. Since the V30+ is basically a variant of V30, it should also receive Android 8.0 Oreo in the coming months.

LG V30+

Facebook testing Aadhaar prompt for new users in India, says it's not mandatory

Facebook has started testing a new prompt asking new users in India to sign up using their real name as mentioned on the Aadhaar card. The move comes amidst the ongoing debate whether Aadhaar should be made mandatory for anything beyond mandatory services. The new sign up process encouraged users to use the name on their Aadhaar card but didn’t ask for 12-digit Aadhaar number or other personal details.

Facebook is testing a new “name as per Aadhaar” prompt when users create a new account on its mobile site. The prompt reads “What’s your name? Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognize you.” The mobile version of Facebook with Aadhaar prompt was first spotted by Reddit users and consequently shared on Twitter.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) with dual selfie cameras, Infinity Display launched: Price, Specs and features

Facebook says the new Aadhaar name prompt is designed to curb the number of fake accounts on its social media platform. Facebook has over two billion active users but India is its largest market with over 241 million active users.

The social networking giant says the move will encourage users to sign up with their real identity. “We want to make sure people can use the names they’re known by on Facebook, and can easily connect with friends and family. This is a small test where we provide additional language when people sign up for an account to say that using the name on their Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognize them. This is an optional prompt which we are testing, people are not required to enter the name on their Aadhaar card,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Google Assistant now rolling out to Android Lollipop tablets and smartphones

The prompt is being seen by only a small number of users and it even seems that Facebook is curtailing on its widespread testing since it was spotted by Reddit users. Facebook makes it clear that using the name mentioned on Aadhaar is optional and the only goal is to make sure that people sign up with their real name.

The mobile site only asks users to sign up with their real name as seen on their Aadhaar ID and doesn’t request for Aadhaar details. The Silicon Valley giant is steering away from Aadhaar privacy issues here but it is not clear what Facebook gains by particularly mentioning Aadhaar in its sign-up page.

Aadhaar was conceived to be a unified ID for Indians that would aid in availing critical benefits from the government. However, it was not designed to be used as a verification tool on social media platforms. Facebook has not clarified whether it sought permission from the government or UIDAI before showing Aadhaar prompt to a small set of users.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Samsung Pay update in India now allows users to pay their bills within the app

After launching the Samsung Pay platform in India earlier this year, Samsung has gradually expanded the service by making some strategic investments. Samsung has also partnered with Paytm and Mobikwik to include their respective wallets within the app. Now, the South Korean tech giant has updated the Samsung Pay app in India which brings new features to the platform.

The new update is about 80MB in size. To update, open Samsung Pay, tap on the three dots on the top right > followed by settings > about Samsung Pay. Here, you will see the update button, just click on it. Among the new features, Samsung has introduced utility bill payment option, and the ability to add money to mobile wallet using your favorite cards. You can also save bank account and IFSC information of your family and friends when transferring money using UPI.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) with dual selfie cameras, Infinity Display launched: Price, Specs and features

After the update, you will see the new ‘Pay Bills’ option on the home screen. You can add your Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Tata Docomo and Vodafone postpaid mobile numbers under. In case of electricity bill payments, Samsung has added BEST Mumbai, BSES, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution, Tata Power, Reliance Energy and Noida Power. While DTH operators such as Sun Direct, Dish TV and Tata Sky are included, Reliance Digital TV is not a part of it, yet.

Similarly, you can also make broadband bill payments for ACT Fibernet, BSNL, Connect and MTNL Delhi Broadband; landline payments for BSNL, Airtel, and MTNL (Mumbai & Delhi). Lastly, you also have Adani Gas, Mahanagar Gas and Indraprastha Gas; and Delhi Jal Board and Municipal Corporation of Gurugram.

After you add these billers, the app will alert you when the respective bill is generated. The bill amount will be visible on the ‘Pay Bills’ page, along with the due date. What’s more, once the bill is generated, you can also add a reminder for the same – which could be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. You can then pay the bills using your bank account linked to the UPI ID.

ALSO READ: Google Assistant now rolling out to Android Lollipop tablets and smartphones

The second feature is the ability to save IFSC code and bank account number of your family or friends, when you transfer money using UPI. This will allow you to save the contacts you frequently transfer money to. Lastly, Samsung has also added the ability to add money to Paytm or Mobikwik wallet from saved credit and debit cards. These nifty additions to the platform prove that Samsung is serious about Samsung Pay as a cashless mode of payment in India.

Source: SamMobile

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) with dual selfie cameras, Infinity Display launched: Price, Specs and features

Samsung has launched the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018), the successors to Galaxy A5 (2017) and A7 (2017). The smartphones bring Samsung’s Infinity Display design to the mid-range price segment and also debuts the new name scheme.

As expected, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) sport the Infinity Display design similar to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8 smartphones. The Galaxy A8 (2018) sports a 5.6-inch display while the Galaxy A8+ (2018) features a larger 6-inch display. Both the models use a Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2220 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.

The display sizes mean that the Galaxy A8 (2018) series sits right between the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+. The use of Infinity Display design supporting Full HD+ resolution means that the new A-series finally support Gear VR.

"With the release of the Galaxy A8(2018) and A8+(2018), we're bringing our customers' favorite features from our flagship smartphones, such as the Infinity Display and our first Dual Front Camera with Live Focus, to our Galaxy A series, which is already known for its premium design", Junho Park, vice president of Global Product Planning, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics said. 

Apart from display and design, Samsung has also added dual-front camera setup to the new Galaxy A8 (2018) series. The Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) feature a combination of 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel front camera setup with f/1.9 aperture and support for Live Focus, that allows users to capture pictures in bokeh mode and add blur even after the picture is shot. The smartphones will seamlessly switch between the two front cameras to get the desired effect.

The rear camera has also been updated with new 16-megapixel sensor and wider f/1.7 aperture. The rear camera lacks optical image stabilization, but there is digital image stabilization for shooting steady videos while added hyperlapse mode allows for shooting timelapse on the go.

The Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) are powered by an octa-core processor, but Samsung isn’t confirming whether it’s Exynos or a Snapdragon chipset. The Galaxy A8 (2018) has a 4GB RAM and option for either 32GB or 64GB internal storage. The Galaxy A8+ (2018) comes in two storage variants: 32GB storage with 4GB RAM, and a 64GB variant with 6GB RAM. Both the smartphones are IP68 water and dust resistant and support Samsung Pay for contactless mobile payment.

They run Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, which is disappointing considering that Android Oreo has been out for nearly four months now. The Galaxy A8 (2018) houses a 3,000mAh battery while the A8 (2018) gets a larger 3,500mAh power pack. Both the devices charge over USB Type-C port and support fast charging. 

Samsung is yet to formally announce pricing for the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ 2018, it is being speculated that while the A8 will be priced at 499 Euros (roughly Rs 37,755), the larger A8+ will be available for 599 Euros (roughly Rs 45,323). Samsung will likely announce the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ 2018 for global markets (including India) at CES 2018 in January.

Samsung Galaxy A7 2017

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Google Maps Go app launched on Google Play Store

After launched Files Go and Google Go in India last week, Google is now following up this initiative with the launch of Google Maps Go. This new app is essentially a slimmed down version of Google Maps, which offers less processor-intensive function, and doesn’t require the networking resources of its full-featured forebear.

Technically speaking, the Google Maps Go is not available on any smartphone other than the ones running Android Go. However, as reported by Android Police, the app has been released in the form of a Progressive Web Application (PWA) on Google’s servers. This means, if you already have Google Maps installed, simply copying and pasting the link in Google Chrome pulls up Google Maps Go.

ALSO READ: Google Assistant now rolling out to Android Lollipop tablets and smartphones 

Google Maps Go is supported in over 70 countries, and has most of Maps’ core features, including turn-by-turn directions, map layers, and highlighted areas of interest. The app in functionally is the same as Google Maps, but less aesthetically pleasing. But that also means that it is less graphically demanding. You can add it to your homescreen through the overflow menu, and just like Twitter Lite for example, it will take on the Maps Go icon.

As reported, the PWA version of the app will also allow to detect location, give directions for cars and public transit and walking, search for places, show different layers, share your locations, and more.

Last week, as part of its Google For India initiative, Google launched the Google Go and Files Go app. Google Go is a tailor-made app for first-time internet users who mostly use entry-level devices. Google Go comes with three features. The fist is a tap-first user interface that helps users explore ideas, and find things around the web. Secondly, the Google Go app comes with small app size, and lastly, Google has made it easy to switch between languages, for instance, Hindi and English. As of now, it works with ten Indian languages. The new customized Go app is said to consume 40 percent less data. Google Go is available as a preview starting today on the Google Play Store in India.

Files Go, on the other hand, is another new app that helps free up space, find files faster and share files offline with people nearby. Like Maps Go, the app has been custom built for Go edition devices. Files Go simple interface that can give users quick insights about all the files and folders on your device. The app automatically scans for duplicate apps and allows you to ditch the ones that are not needed, identifies large files, and gives you different tips on how to save some extra storage out of your phone.

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Google Assistant now rolling out to Android Lollipop tablets and smartphones

Google Assistant, the AI-based digital assistant, is finally coming to tablets and phones running older versions of Android. Google has announced that Assistant will be rolled out to tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow, and smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Google Assistant was first announced at Google I/O last year as the search giant’s answer to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. It was initially made available for smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat only, but soon Google expanded the availability to devices running Marshmallow as well. Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with an active install base of 29.7 percent, is the most widely used version of Google’s mobile operating system.

Now with the rollout of Assistant for Lollipop as well, Google Assistant is available on nearly 80 percent of all active Android devices around the world. The Assistant is available on smartphones running Lollipop as part of an update to the Google Play Services.

Google continues to struggle with Android fragmentation issues, and has taken initiatives like Project Treble and Android Go to push the adoption of latest version among smartphone makers. However, it has seen limited success, and has now resorted to pushing features like Assistant to older versions as well.

In a blog post, Google says the Assistant will only be available to Android Lollipop users in the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada and Singapore, as well as to those who have set their default language to Spanish in the US, Mexico and Spain. It will also be available to users in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea. Once users update to latest version of Google Play Services, they will see an Assistant app icon in their “All apps” list.

The Assistant on tablets will be rolling out over the coming weeks to users with default language set to English in the US. Google also notes that Assistant on a tablet will be ideal to control smart devices like plugs and lights or ask about the weather.

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are reshaping their products with an AI-first approach. Google, in particular, seems to be making that transition faster than its rivals by integrating its voice-activated assistant on speakers and even headphones from brands like Bose. At the third edition of Google For India event in New Delhi, Google brought Assistant to JioPhone strongly indicating its future plan.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

YouTube to launch story feature 'Reels' akin to Snapchat, Instagram

Facebook took Snapchat’s prime feature, and marketed it in the most successful way possible. Taking inspiration from the most trending feature on social media, YouTube is going to launch its own version of Stories. YouTube will be calling it ‘Reels’, and the feature will be exclusive to YouTube Community launched last September for creators.

YouTube, in a blog post, announces its latest updates on Community and towards the end mentions about Reels. Through Reels, YouTube wants creators to increase engagements with their fans. YouTube says that Reels is the company’s “spin on the popular stories format, but designed specifically for YouTube creators”. Creators will be able to make short videos with duration extending up to 30 seconds. YouTube is also integrating features already available on Community for Reels. This means that creators will be able to add media on their videos like text, images, animated GIFs, music, and also “YouTube-y stickers”.

ALSO READ: Google Datally app launched in India to control real-time mobile data usage

Creators will also be allowed to link YouTube videos to Reels. However, unlike Stories, videos posted on Reels will not come with an expiry date. On Snapchat, Instagram and other social platforms, Stories posted have an expiry time of 24 hours. After the said duration, Stories disappear from their accounts.

YouTube has shared a video of how Reels looks like. From the video, we can see that you can create Reels of different categories, and add videos accordingly. Reels is currently in beta mode and the final product is expected to launch soon, but after proper experimentation. In addition to announcing Reels, YouTube has also expanded Community to creators with over 10,000 subscribers.

YouTube has also made some changes to the Community tab. Now the most engaged viewers will see Community posts in their Home feed regardless of being subscribed to the channel or not. YouTube also says that it has optimized notifications for Community. However, this doesn’t assure that notifications for every Community post will be received.

Google Datally app launched in India to control real-time mobile data usage

Back in June, Google was working on a dedicated app that could monitor and control the mobile data used by apps. Today, the company has launched the Google Datally app in the country that helps you understand which all apps are consuming data, control that usage, and in turn save mobile data.

Datally is live on the Google Play Store and is compatible with all phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher. The app is close to 5MB in size, and is free for download. As Google says, with Datally app, “Users can track their data usage in real time, and get personalized recommendations on saving data along with notifications of public Wi-Fi spots available nearby.”

“Mobile data is expensive for many people around the world. And what’s worse, it’s hard to figure out where it all goes. That’s why we built Datally, an app that helps you to control, save more and do more with your data. We’ve been testing Datally in the Philippines for the past few months, and people are saving up to 30 percent on their data,” said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users, Google.

The application was for a software for measuring data use, and interestingly, “arranging and conducting incentive reward programs to promote the use and sale of computer software; provision of an on-line marketplace for buyers and sellers of goods and services; providing an online network for telecommunications companies and mobile application developers to bid on and exchange data by means of an online marketplace for the purpose of allowing users to redistribute data usage of telecommunications customers.”

Now whether this sparks another privacy debate is yet to be seen over the access to the use of mobile data. However, as Google explains, the app helps you understand your data through hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Datally also offers personalized tips on how you can save more data.

If you turn on the Data Saver option, the app can also block background data usage and track real-time data usage while using each of your apps. It can also block data with one tap if an app’s data usage gets out of control. Datally also prompts if you are near a public Wi-Fi to help you connect.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) leak reveals Galaxy S8-like Infinity Display, dual front cameras

Samsung will soon be updating its Galaxy A series smartphones. The lineup is expected to consist of the 2018 iteration of the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7. Samsung is also rumored to launch the Galaxy A8 (2018), which would be the high-end model in the series. The smartphone’s alleged design has been leaked now which shows a Galaxy S8-like Infinity Display.

The leak (via GizChina) shows  cutout of what would be the display of the Galaxy A8 (2018). The smartphone has very thin bezels on top and bottom and almost none on the sides. The display also appears to be curved like the Galaxy S8. What’s striking is the dual-camera setup located on the top chin of the smartphone. Samsung only recently introduced the dual-camera setup on the Galaxy Note 8, and a dual-selfie camera module seems very unlikely.

ALSO READ: Samsung devices to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update leaked in list

With an edge-to-edge display, there won’t be a Home button on the smartphone. The fingerprint sensor will most likely be placed at the rear. This leaked design is in line with rumors and reports on the Galaxy A5 (2018) and Galaxy A7 (2018). For long, Samsung has been rumored for quite long to introduce Galaxy S8-like Infinity display on the 2018 Galaxy A series. Details on the smartphone’s features and specifications are still unknown.

Speaking about the Galaxy A5 (2018) and Galaxy A7 (2018), the smartphones are expected to feature a 5.5-inch and 6-inch full HD Infinity display, respectively. The smartphones could be powered by in-house Exynos 7885 SoC or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 paired with 4GB of RAM. For connectivity, the smartphones are so far rumored to feature a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB Type-C port. Going by Samsung’s schedule, the 2018 Galaxy A series should launch by December or the beginning of 2018.

Galaxy A7 2017 

Galaxy A5 2017 

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Samsung devices to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update leaked in list

Google officially unveiled Android 8.0 Oreo three months ago. However, the latest OS update is yet to be rolled out by many key manufacturers across devices. One of these is Samsung, which is yet to make some of its devices Oreo-sweet. Samsung is known to have released only the Oreo beta update for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, but there had been no clarity as to which devices from its portfolio will definitely get the stable Android Oreo release, until now.

Thanks to a Weibo user, who goes by the name ‘i ice universe’, a list of Samsung Android devices which will get the Oreo update has been leaked. reports that the user has a decent record of leaks, however, one must take the information with the proverbial pinch of salt.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) starts rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat update in India

According to the list, a total of 36 Samsung devices will receive the Oreo update. Notable mentions include the two-year-old Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. Interestingly, the list also reveals some unannounced devices as well. From the Galaxy A series, the 2018-edition of Galaxy A5, Galaxy A7, and Galaxy A3 will receive the Android Oreo update. These phones have been rumored by far to run Android Nougat out-of-the-box when they are launched.

As for the existing devices, the Galaxy A5, Galaxy A7, Galaxy A3 (2017) models will receive the update. From the Galaxy J series, upgradable models will be Galaxy J7 (2016), Galaxy J7 Pro, Galaxy J5 Pro among others. Other devices are from the Galaxy On series and Galaxy Tab series with models dating up to two years old.

Recently, OnePlus started rolling out the Android Oreo update to its OnePlus 3 and 3T models. It is also expected the Oreo update will soon make its way to the OnePlus 5 and bring Face Unlock capabilities.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

OnePlus 5T starts receiving OxygenOS 4.7.2, optimizes Face Unlock, fingerprint sensor, more

OnePlus recently launched the OnePlus 5T, which went on sale two days ago in India and global markets. While it may still seem too early, the OnePlus 5T has already received its first software update. OnePlus has started to roll out the OxygenOS 4.7.2 update.

OnePlus software updates are usually posted on the company’s forum, but this one in particular hasn’t been announced as yet. However folks at Android Police using the OnePlus 5T have received the update. OxygenOS 4.7.2 is sized 107MB and comes with important optimizations and improvements. To start with, this update brings optimizations for fingerprint unlock and face unlock. OnePlus 5T has an iPhone X-like facial recognition system, but features a rear fingerprint sensor too as an alternative.

ALSO READ: OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T start receiving Android 8.0 Oreo update

OxygenOS 4.7.2 also improves accuracy for screen off gestures. When the smartphone is locked you can draw gestures on the screen for some key functions. The update also bring improvement to the Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) during 4K video recording on the OnePlus 5T. The update also comes with the recently discovered KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability patch for the OnePlus 5T. This vulnerability could allow attackers to spy on your Wi-Fi network service. Lastly, the OxygenOS 4.7.2 update brings the general stability improvements and bug fixes.

As with every OxygenOS update, this one too will be rolled out as an OTA update. If you haven’t received it yet, you should get it very soon. To recall, the OnePlus 5T features a 6-inch FHD+ Optic AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio. Under its hood runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor. In terms of memory, the OnePlus 5T comes in two variants of 6GB RAM plus 64GB storage, and 8GB RAM plus 128GB storage.

For photography, the OnePlus 5T sports a dual-camera module of 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensors at the rear. Up front, it houses a 16-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. On the software front, the OnePlus 5T runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It is fueled by a 3,300mAh battery.

OnePlus 5T

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Monday, November 20, 2017

OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T start receiving Android 8.0 Oreo update

Turns out, OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T users are luckier than the new OnePlus 5T users – at least in terms of receiving the new OS update. It was recently announced that the OnePlus 5T won’t receive an official build of Android Oreo until some point in 2018. However, if you own a OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T, an over-the-air update for Oreo is rolling out as we speak. An open beta for Oreo on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T began rolling out in October, but this update is being made available for all users as an official build.

This means, that with the OxygenOS 5.0 update out for the said devices, users will soon have access to the likes of notification dots, picture-in-picture, Google’s Autofill API, and smart text selection. However, in typical OnePlus fashion, you’ll also find a variety of custom tweaks as well. 

OnePlus is adding a new folder design within its launcher. Users will also see a new option to upload photos they have clicked, directly to Shot on OnePlus. There will also be the recently announced Parallel Apps feature that allows users to have two separate instances of the same application is here as well. Similar to what is called dual apps on Xiaomi. Lastly, the update comes with the September security patch (and strangely not the more recent November one). 

Despite the seemingly small  changelog, it is a pretty big update, as the majority of changes are of course under the “Update to Android O” upgrade. 

OnePlus 5T  

OnePlus 5

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) starts rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat update in India

The Galaxy J7 (2016) was updated to Android 7.0 Nougat in India almost two months ago, and we had assumed at the time that the update would also be offered to the Galaxy J5 (2016). According to Sammobile, Samsung has started rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, along with Samsung Experience 8.5 UX in India.

This update is rolling out over-the-air, and, if you receive an update notification, just tap on Install now. The update can take a couple of days to reach all the units. However, if you don’t receive a notification or can’t wait for it, you can check for the update manually by going to Settings -> About phone -> System updates -> Install now. 

The update comes with a host of improvements and features including new power saving and background management features. The update also brings added support for dual-SIM dual-standby for 4G and 3G networks. The new update will also allow users to integrate GIFs directly on your keyboard with compatible apps like Google Allo, Google Messenger and Hangouts. The update also allows users to launch actions within an app by long pressing the app. Apart from the Nougat update, users will also get Samsung‘s Experience 8.5 user interface, which includes some improvements like Samsung Cloud integration, a new Device Manager app, as well as shutter button zoom option for the camera.

Galaxy J7 2016 

Galaxy J5 2016 

Galaxy J7 Max 

Galaxy J7 Pro 

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Google Assistant can help troubleshoot your Pixel 2 phones

Google rolled out Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview for Pixel and Nexus devices last month. The preview build for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL may have an advanced and upgraded Google Assistant. A Pixel 2 XL user running the preview build of Android 8.1 Oreo discovered that Google Assistant ran a troubleshoot program on the smartphone. It started with the user questioning Google Assistant why his phone was not charging to 100 percent.

The conversation turned into a long one with Google Assistant also taking further actions wile troubleshooting, Android Police reports. The Assistant first asked the user if it was okay to “check a few things” on his smartphone to find out the problem. Then it started troubleshooting, and scanned the battery health which turned out fine. It even found out that there were no apps draining the smartphone’s battery. Failing to find the root problem behind the battery problem, Assistant suggested connecting to Google Support via call or chat.

The Pixel 2 XL user later inquired about more problems by simply typing ‘troubleshoot camera’ and ‘troubleshoot Bluetooth”. Google Assistant carried out the same procedures of checking the respective areas in the smartphone. It even suggested some basic instructions like restarting the smartphone for the camera issue. As for Bluetooth, Google Assistant laid out a step-by-step instruction of checking if the feature is turned on or not.

This feature worked on a Pixel 2 XL in the US, and appears to be exclusive to the region. Also, this doesn’t work on the first-generation Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones as of now. Since this feature is still in the developer build, it can’t be confirmed if Google will eventually make it available. This discovery comes after Google Assistant received a heap of features aimed at users and developers. Google Assistant can now be connected with Google Home and your smartphone. Developers also get to build apps in different languages, and check their status and ratings.

Google Pixel 2 

Google Pixel XL 

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Samsung Galaxy S9 spotted on Geekbench with Exynos 9810 SoC, Android Oreo

The rumor mill is currently buzzing with leaks on Samsung’s upcoming flagship smartphones. Recently we came across reports of Samsung launching the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at MWC 2018. It is now suggested that after the launch, the Galaxy S9 series will be available for purchase in April. Now, the Galaxy S9+ has been listed on Geekbench.

The benchmarking website lists a Samsung smartphone bearing the model number SM-G960F. While the listing doesn’t explicitly mention Galaxy S9, the specifications make it seem likely that it is the said smartphone. According to the listing, the Galaxy S9 has a single-core score of 2,680, and a multi-core score of 7,787. As of now, these scores make the Galaxy S9 the most powerful Android smartphone.

The smartphone runs on the latest Android 8.0 Oreo, and comes with 4GB of RAM. Powering the Galaxy S9 is the new Exynos 9 Series 9810 octa-core processor. In other markets, the Galaxy S9 is likely to launch with the latest Snapdragon processor – heavily rumored to be the upcoming Snapdragon 845 SoC. Although this un-released Galaxy S9 shows an impressive score on Geekbench, it still isn’t on par with the new Apple iPhone X or even the iPhone 8 series. The iPhone X has a single-core score of 4,197, and multi-core score of 10,051. 

However, it is still too early to draw any conclusions on the Galaxy S9. Recently, the Galaxy S9 has been rumored to feature 3D sensing cameras for facial recognition like Face ID on the iPhone X. The smartphone is also rumored to feature a dual-camera setup which “uses anti-glare BBAR layer ghost technology”. This technology in simple terms is used to eliminate glare, and dual images on photos.

Galaxy Note 8

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) support page listed on official website

Samsung will be upgrading its Galaxy A-series lineup soon. The possible lineup includes the 2018 iteration of Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7. Although Samsung hasn’t officially announced anything as yet, the Galaxy A7 (2018) may have been confirmed by the company. Samsung Kazakhstan has updated its official website (via Let’s Go Digital) with a support page for the Galaxy A7 (2018) with the model number SM-A730F / DS.

The Galaxy A7 (2018) had been rumored for quite some time now with the same model number. The support page listing doesn’t reveal any details on the Galaxy A7 (2018). Although, the DS initials does confirm that this is the dual-SIM variant. There have been leaked renders of the Galaxy A7 (2018) in the past which reveal an edge-to-edge display design. The smartphone has also been spotted with a Bixby button. With no Home button now, the Galaxy A7 (2018) will possibly feature a rear fingerprint sensor.

According to past rumors, the Galaxy A7 (2018) is expected to feature a 6-inch full HD+ Infinity Display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The smartphone could be powered by in-house Exynos 7885 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM. The Galaxy A7 (2018) is also rumored to come with IP68 certification for dust and water resistance. More expected features include USB Type-C port, Samsung Pay support, and a 3.55mm audio jack. There are some reports which also suggest a dual-camera setup on the front of the Galaxy A7 (2018). On the software front, it could run Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box.

In comparison, the 2017 iteration of the Galaxy A7 comes with a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. Under its hood, runs an Exynos 7880 octa-core chipset. For photography, the Galaxy A7 (2017) sports a 16-megapixel rear and a 16-megapixel front camera. On the software front, it runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It is fueled by a 3,600mAh battery. 

Galaxy A7 (2017)

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Google Maps redesigned with the aim of highlighting important Information

Google Maps has updated driving, navigation, transit and explore maps to highlight information that the company thinks will be most relevant. The company has also updated color scheme and added new icons to help the users quickly identify exactly what kind of point of interest they are looking at.

Places like a cafe, church, museum or hospital will have a designated color and icon so that it’s easy to find that type of destination on the map. People will see these changes over the next few weeks in all Google products that incorporate Google Maps, including the Assistant, Search, Earth and Android Auto, Liz Hunt and Product Manager, Google Maps said.

The new style will also appear in the apps, websites and experiences offered by companies that use Google Maps APIs as well. The company recently announced that one can now virtually visit all planets and moons in our solar system using Google Maps.

Google Maps now enables a visit to Saturn’s natural satellites such as Enceladus, Dione or Iapetus, Rhea and Mimas as well as Jupiter’s Europa and Ganymede. Google has also added to its lineup imagery of Pluto, Venus and several moons as well as made it easier to find them in maps.

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This 10 year old was able to unlock his mom's iPhone X using Face ID

After Apple’s new and “secure” Face ID was duped using a mask, the technology is facing another low moment, now being fooled by a 10-year-old. This was discovered by Attaullah Malik and his wife Sana Sherwani, whose son Amaar, managed to break into Sherwani’s iPhone X. How? Because he looks a lot like his mother. 

Malik describes in his YouTube post, that after the couple received their new iPhone Xs, both of them set up the Face ID soon after. That’s when their son walked into the bedroom to admire their new pair of iPhone Xs. “There’s no way you’re getting access to this phone,” the older Malik remembers his wife telling her son, in a half-joking show of strictness. He continues, “Acting exactly as a kid would do when asked to not do something, he picked up her phone and with just a glance got right in.”

The parents were naturally shocked. Ten-year-old Ammar thought it was hilarious though. “It was funny at first,” Malik told WIRED in a phone call a few days later. “But it wasn’t really funny afterward. My wife and I text all the time and there might be something we don’t want him to see. Now my wife has to delete her texts when there’s something she doesn’t want Ammar to look at.”

These come just days after a couple of Vietnamese hackers used a composite 3D-printed mask, to fool Apple’s Face ID authentication system. They stressed that the face recognition is “not mature enough” to guarantee security for smartphones. Although, to be fair, the method used by them was largely impractical. Their method required obtaining a detailed digital scan of their victim’s face, and building a mask out of 3-D-printed plastic, silicone, makeup, and paper. But again, Apple’s Senior Vice President Phil Schiller has clearly said at the launch event that the Face ID can distinguish human’s real face from masks, thanks to its artificial intelligence (AI). 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

UC Browser disappears from Google Play Store, reportedly due to ‘malicious promotion’

One of the most popular web browsers in India, UC Browser, which has over 500 million downloads, suddenly stands disappeared from the Google Play Store. And the reason reportedly is misleading campaigns that the UC Browser has been alleged to be running. To put in perspective how big UC Browser is in India – it has a larger user base than Google Chrome in the country. If you go to Google Play store right now, and search for UC Browser, you will see only the Mini version of the browser in search results, with UC Browser nowhere to be found.

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This, according to Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii, was caused due to UC Browser using ‘Malicious Promotion’ methods. Russakovskii shared this information attributing it to an email from the UC Union, which is the company’s network affiliate.

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In line with this report, Android Central too shared the content of an email, which points the reason of “take down” to be “malicious redirect ads served up by UC Web’s affiliates to inflate installs.” The entire email has been shared on Reddit. (Or you can read the mail below at the end of the story.) 

Affirming for the same reason is a tweet by a UC Browser employee Mike Ross, who explains that the app was taken down for a similar reason.

Google has lately been very strict about apps using dubious tricks to increase install base, or any app that is trying to trick a user in other ways. Just earlier this week, Google warned app developers not to use its Accessibility Services — designed for users with disabilities — for other purposes that may create security issues, adding that it will remove such apps from its Play Store. Apps like LastPass, Universal Copy, Clipboard Actions, Cerberus, Tasker and Network Monitor Mini use Accessibility Services. 

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Apple A11X chipset to feature an 8-core CPU, based on 7nm process: Report

Along with the new iPhone 8 duo and the iPhone X smartphones, Apple also announced a new A11 bionic chipset, which powers these devices. As is the custom, every time Apple introduces a new chipset, it also manufactures an ‘X’ version of the chips that generally power the new iPads. Presumingly, that is happening this time too. And if industry reports are to be believed, the A11X will be the first Apple chipset with eight CPU cores and will be built on the TSMC’s 7nm process.

Further, as stated in a report by GSMArena, the new octa-core CPU is expected to come with “three powerful Monsoon cores and five efficient Mistral cores. It should start shipping in the first quarter next year, right in time for the iPad Pro 2018 series launch”.

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Few months ago, MacRumor has also shared a predicted benchmark score for the A11X chipset. According to the publication’s anticipation, A11X will score a 4,500 in single-core test, and 12,000 in multi-core test, and Compute would stand at 45,000. 

For perspective, the A11 Bionic is, as Apple says, the most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone. It features a six-core CPU design with two performance cores that are 25 percent faster, and four efficiency cores that are 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion. The new, second-generation performance controller can harness all six cores simultaneously, delivering up to 70 percent greater performance for multi-threaded workloads. 

ALSO READ: Motorola Moto X4 with dual rear camera, Snapdragon 630 SoC launched in India, Price starting at Rs. 20,999: specifications, features, launch offers and more 

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