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.

OnePlus 6 to launch in early 2018; OnePlus 5T likely to be skipped

OnePlus 3 was among the best devices in the sub-Rs 30,000 segment last year. Looking at its demand, the company launched an upgraded variant, called the OnePlus 3T. Fast forward to the year 2017 where OnePlus launched the OnePlus 5, again a smartphone that offers flagship specifications at a much cheaper price compared to other premium devices. But, if the latest reports are to be believed, OnePlus might skip the OnePlus 5T this year, and instead launch the OnePlus 6.

According to androidmarvel, OnePlus might launch the OnePlus 6 sometime in the first half of 2018. Apart from that, Android Headlines states that the OnePlus 6 could come with big changes in design, including a bezel-less display. The OnePlus 6 is expected to feature a 6-inch display, with the fingerprint scanner pushed to the rear of the phone. To put that into perspective, the current OnePlus devices flaunt 5.5-inch displays. Under the hood, the flagship device could come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 SoC, paired with 6GB and 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of internal storage.

There are however reports claiming that the OnePlus 6 could be among the first devices to be powered by a Snapdragon 845 SoC. However, reports also claim that Samsung’s Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ will hog the initial stocks of Snapdragon 845 SoC.

Apart from that, a report also hints that the OnePlus 6 could be more water resistant when compared to the current flagship device. Talking about the price of the smartphone, OnePlus 6 is expected to be priced between Rs 35,000 and Rs 40,000 which is almost similar to OnePlus 5. There are also rumors about a launch at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Spain. OnePlus, at the moment, has not confirmed anything and hence, we suggest you take this information with a grain of salt.

OnePlus 5

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

Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has released a beta version of a new emoji set for Android OS that appears quite similar to Apple’s designs. Apart from Apple, Facebook and Twitter have their own custom emoji set within the app.

“At a glance, these could be confused for Apple’s own emojis. Side-by-side the differences are clear for some emojis, but others are very close to what Apple displays,” a blog on a post on Emojipedia said.

WhatsApp beta Android version, released today, comes with its own set of emojis that seem to be inspired by the iOS emojis. While they appear identical, there are subtle differences. For example, the girl emoji has different hair in the WhatsApp version as compared to the iOS set, even as they are racially diverse. Secondly, the water droplets emoji is purple in color in the beta version for Android, while on iOS, it is blue in color.

WhatsApp was first to implement the middle finger emoji and briefly added an emoji for the Olympic Rings. The blog said that with this beta release, WhatsApp was ahead of iOS native emoji support. Since this is only a beta version, these emojis might change before public release or not even make a public release. In July, WhatsApp announced that it has a billion users who send messages on it daily.

WhatsApp also said that users send 55 billion messages per day, 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion videos, has 1.3 billion monthly active users and 60 languages are supported on the platform.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime and J5 Prime 32GB smartphones get a price cut of Rs. 2000

Samsung has reportedly reduced the price of Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime and J5 Prime 32GB smartphone, according to Mahesh Telecom, a Mumbai-based mobile phone retailer. The reatiler announced the price cut via its social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter). However, there is no official confirmation from Samsung regarding the same.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 32GB has got a price cut by Rs 2,000 and will now be available at Rs 14,900. The Galaxy J7 Prime 32GB smartphone was launched in May this year at Rs 16,900. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime 32GB has also got a price cut by Rs 2,000 and will now be available at Rs 12,990. The Galaxy J5 Prime 32GB smartphone was also launched in May this year at Rs 14,900. Both the smartphones come in Gold and Black colour variants.

As far as specifications are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime has a metal body and a 5.5-inch 2.5D glass display that comes with 1920x1080 pixels resolution and Gorilla Glass 4. It is powered by a 1.6 GHz Octa-core processor, which is paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. An expandable storage slot is there for a micro SD card of up to 256 GB capacity. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system and also offers a fingerprint scanner, which is integrated on the home button.

The Galaxy J7 Prime has a 3300 mAh battery and comes with S Bike mode. To activate S Bike mode, all you have to do is attach an NFC tag, which comes bundled with the phone, with your bike (like on the petrol tank). Just before getting on your bike, the user just needs to tap the phone with the NFC tag that will turn on the S Bike mode. Once activated, callers will hear a message that the person is riding and they can leave messages.

The Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime comes with a full metal body and a 5-inch HD (720p) display, It is powered by a Exynos quad-core processor, which is paired with 2GB RAM. The Galaxy J5 Prime comes with 32GB of internal memory, which can be further expandable up to 256GB via a micro SD card. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system and is backed by a 2,400 mAh battery.

On the camera front, Galaxy J5 Prime flaunts a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and an LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture for selfies and video chats. The smartphone also has a fingerprint sensor that is integrated into its home button. Besides, the smartphone offers dual-SIM slots, 4G with VoLTE support, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a micro USB port.

Galaxy J7 Prime (16GB) 

Galaxy J7 Prime Gold (32GB) 

Galaxy J7 Prime Black (32GB) 

Galaxy J5 Prime Gold (32GB) 

Galaxy J5 Prime Black (32GB) 

HMD Global confirms Android P upgrade for all Nokia smartphones

HMD Global, the company responsible for resurrecting Nokia smartphones with Android OS went on record earlier this year saying that Android 8.0 Oreo update will be released by the end of this year. While the new Android update is on its way, HMD Global has now announced that the current batch Nokia smartphones will also be upgraded to Android P.

So far, the company has released Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6 and Nokia 8 smartphones. It is rumored to launch a couple of more handsets by the end of this year, following HMD Global’s earlier plans of launching over half a dozen Nokia Android smartphones in 2017. Going by the company’s word, the latest Nokia smartphones based on Android 7.0 Nougat will be getting two major Android OS upgrades. This will certainly cheer up a lot Nokia fans as the company seems to be keeping up with the promise it made when it announced the Nokia smartphones.

ALSO READ: Nokia 8 with dual-camera setup, Snapdragon 835 SoC launched in India: Price, Specs and features

Moreover, Nokia is not keeping the latest Android experience to only the high-end or mid-range smartphones but keeping each of its launches this year in the Android upgrade program. According to Gizbot, the yet-to-be-announced Nokia 2 might not get the Android P update as it is said to be the entry-level smartphone with a basic line of specifications. However, this cannot be confirmed until the company releases the list of smartphones to get Android P.

Earlier this month, Nokia 8 was reported running Android 8.0 Oreo beta builds hinting at the imminent release. The company had also teased the flagship running the latest Android on Twitter. While Android P still has a lot of time before it comes out in wild, Nokia smartphones are currently in line to get the Android 8.0 Oreo upgrade. Notably, the eight iterations of Android has officially been released to a select Pixel and Nexus smartphones only. 

Other smartphones like OnePlus 5 are spotted testing Android 8.0 Oreo beta builds. Previously, Lenovo-owned Motorola and Sony have also out their list of smartphones getting the Android 8.0 oreo. As of now, Android 8.0 Oreo is installed on less than one percent of active Android devices across the globe, as seen in last Android distribution report by Google. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6, Nokia 8 to get Android Oreo by year-end: HMD Global

HMD Global has been consistent with software updates for the Nokia smartphones. While the company has already confirmed Android 8.0 Oreo update for all the Nokia smartphones, it has now hinted at a timeframe. HMD Global says that Android Oreo will arrive on all Nokia smartphones by year-end.

HMD’s General Manager Mark Trundle confirmed this information in an interview with GadgetGaul. HMD Global’s flagship smartphone, the Nokia 8, is first in line to receive the update. Recently, HMD Global, CPO, Juho Sarvikas tweeted showing the Nokia 8 running Android Oreo beta version. The stable version of Android Oreo is expected to roll out soon. In the coming months we can expect the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 receiving Android Oreo update gradually.

HMD Global has been providing software updates as promised. The Nokia 3 was recently upgraded to Android 7.1.1 Nougat as scheduled. The Nokia 3 is quite the highlight here since it is the cheapest of the lot with a price tag of Rs 9,499. Google officially rolled out Android Oreo last month, and the pace HMD Global is on right now seems pretty quick.

With Android Oreo, Nokia smartphones will be treated to some new and interesting features. The notable ones include Picture-in-Picture mode, Notification Dots, Android Instant Apps, and Google Play Protect among others. Android Oreo also promises optimizations such as minimizing background activity in the apps least used, better connectivity, and a longer battery life. 

ALSO READ: Nokia 8 with dual-camera setup, Snapdragon 835 SoC launched in India: Price, Specs and features

Nokia 8 users in India would also be part of the software rollout as the smartphone was launched here earlier this week. The Nokia 8 is priced at Rs 36,999, and will be available via Amazon India and offline channels from October 14. 

Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge to soon get Galaxy Note 8 UI: Report

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has more to it than the Infinity Display which makes it one of the Samsung’s best smartphones ever. One such thing is the new UI that adds up to the whole premium experience on the company’s latest flagship smartphone. However, the South Korean giant doesn’t want to keep the previous flagship smartphone owners away from the new UI experience.

Samsung this year launched the Galaxy S8 duo smartphones with Samsung Experience 8.1 and Galaxy Note 8 with upgrade Samsung Experience 8.5. According to SamMobile report, the company will soon be rolling out the new user interface along with firmware upgrade to Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge smartphones. While mid-range Galaxy J5 and J7 have already been getting the new UX, it is believed that Samsung is holding back on the new UX release for Galaxy S7 duo as it plans to roll that out along with Android Oreo upgrade.

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were launched in 2016 running Android 6.0 Marshmallow based TouchWiz UX. The smartphone was unofficially treated with Android 7.0 Nougat based Grace UX as well. However, ever since Samsung showcased the new Samsung Experience UX, fans have been waiting for it to be extended to last year’s flagship as well.

The current Samsung Experience UX is based on Android 7.0 Nougat and is more of a cosmetic upgrade from the previous versions. It is much intuitive and comes with new icon packs, typography, and other elements. Samsung has not yet out an official timeline around which it will release Android 8.0 Oreo updates. Also, it is not known what smartphones Samsung will be covered under the new Android OS upgrade. If reports are to go by, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge users will have to wait until the end of the year to get the Android 8.0 Oreo-based Samsung Experience UX.

Galaxy Note 8 

Galaxy S7 edge

Moto X Play starts receiving Android 7.1.1 Nougat update

One of Motorola‘s popular older smartphones, the Moto X Play has started receiving Android 7.1.1 Nougat update. The Moto X Play launched back in 2015 with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, after it which it received Android 6.0 Marshmallow update in early 2016. Motorola has skipped Android 7.0 Nougat update altogether and rolled out the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for the device.

Motorola announced back in June the rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat for the Moto X Play but didn’t provide a date. According to screenshots shared (via TAS) by Moto X Play users in Brazil, Android 7.1.1 Nougat has arrived on the smartphone. With this update, Moto X Play users will get access to features such as split-screen mode and improved battery life, among others.

You can also now double tap the recent apps key on your smartphone to go back to the last app. In addition to this, with the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, Google Duo will be installed on the smartphone as a system app. Google has also released its monthly security patch but the month isn’t listed. It could be for either August or September. The update will roll out gradually to Moto X Play users globally. If you haven’t received a notification for the update you can manually check for it using the following steps. Head over to Settings>About Phone>Software Update. This would be the last Android OS upgrade for the Moto X Play. 

Moto G5 Plus 

Moto G5s Plus 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Microsoft Office 2019 to be released next year

The next version of Microsoft Office — Office 2019 — will be released in the second half of 2018 and its previews will start shipping mid-year. The release will include perpetual versions of the Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook and servers including Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business, Microsoft said in statement late on Tuesday. Office 2019 will add new capabilities for customers, including improved inking features like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects and ink replay.

“New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful. Visual animation features like Morph and Zoom will add polish to PowerPoint presentations,” the company added. The release will bring server enhancements, which will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice and security. Office 2016 — the current version — was launched two years ago. 

Earlier this month, Microsoft rolled out a feature on its ‘Teams’ service which will allow guest access to all Office 365 commercial and education customers. The feature will allow Office 365 users to add people from outside their company to a team, so the guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents and more.

Huawei aims to make India 5G-ready, aims to invest $600 million by 2018

Huawei is continually investing in market-specific partnerships, developing localized solutions and conducting trials to ensure that India joins the ranks of other developed global economies in 5Gs commercial roll-out, the company said. On the first day of the “India Mobile Congress 2017″, Huawei highlighted its efforts in ensuring that the commercial roll-out of the 5G network in the country happens along with the developed global economies of the world.

The company, which began investing in 5G research in 2009, is aiming to invest $600 million in the technology by 2018. “The 5G era is approaching, and we are confident that 5G deployment in India will happen in line with the global timeline,” said Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei India.

“Huawei continues to promote joint innovation with operators in the 5G field around the world and in India, and is joining hands with upstream and downstream industry partners to promote the sustainable development of the 5G industry,” Chen added.

Huawei, together with Bharti Airtel, recently launched the country’s first massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) antenna technology implementations, which can potentially increase spectrum efficiency by six to ten times. The move will significantly decrease networking costs, enhancing intensive coverage and user experience in India.

Last month, Huawei released its 5G-oriented mobile bearer solution ‘X-Haul’, which is now available in India. The solution will help operators in India build end-to-end 5G networks.

MediaTek launches new chipset MT6739 at India Mobile Congress 2017

Taiwan-based semiconductor leader MediaTek launched its MT6739 SoC designed for mid- to entry-level 4G smartphone users at the ongoing India Mobile Congress 2017 in New Delhi. The high-speed quad-core system on chip (SoC) is built for the rapidly growing 4G market.

The MediaTek MT6739 SoC features an advanced WorldMode LTE Cat. 4 modems, dual-camera photography and 18:9 display support to bring the latest 4G LTE functions to users.

“Consumers expect smartphones to do more than ever before. That’s why we designed the smartphone chipsets with features to let you share, do and capture more and at the same time plug in less,” said Dr Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager, International Corporate Sales, MediaTek. “Our latest offering in India allows OEMs and ODMs to create 4G-entry smartphones that deliver premium features that provide high-end value at affordable prices,” Moynihan added.

The MediaTek MT6739 SoC is a quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor and operates up to 1.5GHz. In addition to MT6739, MediaTek is also introducing its Helio P23 chipset to India. The MediaTek Helio P23 delivers performance and power efficiency, dual-camera photography, dual-SIM and dual 4G VoLTE capabilities.

MT6739 and Helio P23-enabled devices will be available in India and the global market by the end of this year, the company said. MediaTek is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables 1.5 billion connected devices a year.

Nokia 3310 3G variant launched with more storage, new colors: Price, specifications

HMD Global revived the iconic Nokia 3310 feature phone this year at MWC 2017. The revamped Nokia 3310 has brighter colors, upgraded specifications, all wrapped with the nostalgic essence. In terms of connectivity, the Nokia 3310 however came with 2G support only. But the company has launched a 3G variant.

The Nokia 3310 3G variant is priced at €69, which translates to approximately Rs 5,400. In India, the 2G variant of the Nokia 3310 is priced at Rs 3,310. In terms of availability, it will go on sale in mid-October. The device will reach Australia first in October 16 followed by markets like Singapore and the US later. There are no launch and availability details for India as yet.

Design wise, the 3310 looks the same as its 2G variant but with silver keypads now. The keys are also spaced wider now for a more comfortable experience. However, HMD Global’s CPO, Juho Sarvikas says that it is 13.29 percent larger than the 2G variant. Also, there are two new colors introduced for the Nokia 3310 3G. These include Azure and Charcoal along with the existing yellow and warm red, all given a matte finish. 

With the addition of 3G connectivity, the new 3310 also comes with a customizable retro UI. You can now choose color themes, and position the icons according to your preference. In case some of you are worried, the iconic Snake game is still available with slight upgrades in the Nokia 3310 3G. There are slight changes under the hood of the phone as well. The Nokia 3310 3G features the same 2.4-inch QVGA display, but is now powered by Feature OS. The memory has been increased to 64GB from the existing 32GB. You can still expand the memory using a microSD card. 

The Nokia 3310 is fueled by the same 1,200mAh battery. HMD Global says that it can provide up to 6.5 hours of talktime and standby time up to 27 days. It further sports a 2-megapixel camera at the rear with LED flash. Connectivity options include dual-SIM support, Bluetooth 2.1, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack. For entertainment, it comes with a built-in FM radio, and MP3 player.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Apple drops Bing for Google on Siri and macOS searches

Apple has switched the default provider of its web searches for Siri on iOS and Spotlight on the Mac to Google from Microsoft’s Bing. Now if you ask Siri to search something on the internet, you will get Google results instead of Bing on iOS and Spotlight — a system-wide desktop search feature of Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems.

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Apple’s web browser Safari on Mac and iOS already use Google search as the default provider, thanks to a deal worth billions to Apple (and Google) over the last decade, Tech Crunch reported. “Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” Apple said in a statement.

“We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.” The search results would include regular ‘web links’ as well as video results. Web image results from Siri will still come from Bing, for now, the report added.

Meanwhile, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company value the relationship with Apple and look forward to continuing to partner with the iPhone maker in many ways, including on Bing Image Search in Siri, to provide the best experience possible for our customers.

“Bing has grown every year since its launch, now powering over a third of all the PC search volume in the US, and continues to grow worldwide. It also powers the search experiences of many other partners, including Yahoo (Verizon), AOL and Amazon, as well as the multi-lingual abilities of Twitter,” the spokesperson said. Given Microsoft’s work to advance the field of artificial intelligence, the company was confident that Bing would be at the forefront of providing a more intelligent search experience for its customers and partners.

Google extends security updates for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P until November 2018

Google has announced that it is extending security update period for its Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices to November 2018. Earlier, both Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices were slated to get the security updates from Google till September 2018, but the date has been extended now. This simply means that the aforementioned devices might not receive guaranteed security updates after this period from Google.

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The new timelines for Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have been updated in the list mentioned on Google's support page. Normally, the pattern under which Google pushes out device support includes two years of significant Android updates and three years of Android security updates. Since the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are already around two years old, the security update for both of them will end in November next year. The Android update date is still September 2017, after which there are no guaranteed Android version updates for the devices, says Google.

Google has not stated the reason behind the extension of end-date for Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Besides, Google has even pushed back the cut-off telephone and online support for both the devices to the same period, i.e., November 2018. While this is a rough indication from Google to the owners of these devices that they should perhaps switch to some newer device, it does not mean that the devices would stop functioning. However, it makes sense on the tech giant's part as it is preparing to launch its next generation Pixel devices on October 4, where it is also expected to unveil new Daydream headsets and more.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Opera browser adds 360-degree virtual reality support in version 49

Opera is adding support for 360-degree virtual reality video in its Developer browser version 49. This new developer update comes with a built-in VR 360 player for headsets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and other OpenVR compatible devices.

Although VR headsets have been around for a while now, associated content hasn’t taken off to the extent we’d expect. Besides, pairing the headset has been a cumbersome process as well. Opera is trying to fix that with the new developer update.

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“The rapid growth of the 360 videos and soon WebVR bring an exciting revolution for VR content on the web. However, with limited software support, it has been difficult for VR headset owners to easily enjoy the fast growing library of 360-degree content on Youtube, Facebook and other video portals,” Opera said.

“So far they had to use inconvenient workarounds: download the video first, including spending time on finding a “download” button and waiting for the download, then quit the browser and launch a separate player app. It wastes time and bandwidth on blindly downloading a video. Sounds ancient.”

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And so, Opera is focusing on creating and embedding direct VR playback into the browser. This functionality enables users to watch virtual reality videos, and standard 2D videos, instantly through their VR headsets. Which means, the new Opera developer version comes with VR 360 player feature enabled and will automatically detect an installed VR headset. When a user browses through a video, a button above the video (next to Opera’s video pop out button) labeled ‘Watch in VR’ will appear. Click on that, and VR away! Needless to say, besides 360-degree videos, it was also support the standard videos, which is the 2D/180-degree ones.