Friday, June 30, 2017

OnePlus 5 becomes highest grossing smartphone in launch week on Amazon India

OnePlus could be on the road to compete against Xiaomi, as its flagship smartphone, the OnePlus is setting records online. The OnePlus 5 was launched in India on July 20 and went on sale the same day exclusively via Amazon India. Prior to its launch, the smartphone had garnered almost one million ‘Notify Me’ subscriptions on Amazon India. OnePlus has now announced that “the OnePlus 5 is now the highest grossing phone in the launch week” on Amazon India.

OnePlus shared its new achievement on Twitter and thanked its community who made this possible. Getting the tag of highest grossing smartphone in the launch week, this means that the OnePlus 5 garnered the most number of profits and sales on Amazon India. The smartphone is currently available via open sale on Amazon India. Despite criticisms, the OnePlus 5 is doing quite well for the company in India as the smartphone went out of stock in its first sale.

OnePlus also has introductory offers on purchasing the OnePlus 5 which include flat Rs 1,500 cash back for SBI card holders, and 10GB 4G data for Vodafone users. Adding to its laurels, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei had tweeted that the OnePlus 5 is the company’s fastest selling device ever. The OnePlus 5 is available in two variants of 6GB RAM plus 64GB storage and 8GB RAM plus 128GB storage, priced at Rs 32,999 and Rs 37,999 respectively. 

In terms of specifications, the OnePlus 5 features a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor clocked at 2.45GHz. In the photography department, the smartphone sports a pair of 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel rear cameras. Up front, it houses a 16-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. 

Keeping the smartphone ticking is a 3,300mAh battery. On the software front, the OnePlus 5 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with OxygenOS 4.5.0 out-of-the-box. OnePlus has started rolling out updates to OxygenOS. Its connectivity options include dual-SIM support, 4G LTE with VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi and USB Type-C port.

OnePlus 5

LG V30 to ditch secondary display; feature an OLED panel instead

LG V series smartphones have consistently tried to be different from the lot. While everyone else jumped on the non-removable battery and the bezel-less display bandwagon, with the V series LG continued to launch devices that sport removable batteries and come with a secondary display. However, with the upcoming LG V30, LG has decided to change one of the key features, according to a new report. The phone will ditch the secondary display and instead, come with the in-demand OLED panel.

XDA Developers originally reported the change, attributing it to trusted sources in the industry and highlighted that the band might be shifting towards an 18:9 aspect ratio for the upcoming flagship. LG V10 and LG V20 have both featured the dual display, but the modern smartphone trend shifting towards larger displays and slimmer bezels has made the secondary display quite redundant. The LG V10 first came with the secondary display which helped segregate the main display from the notifications and also helped the display stay in the “always on” mode

As reported previously by The Investor, LG is ditching the LCD displays and moving to OLED displays with the LG V30 and the trend is expected to continue with the first LG flagship of 2018, LG G7. The reason LG has decided to make the switch is following the footsteps of Samsung where Samsung uses in-house AMOLED panels for displays and LG is now looking at boosting its own OLED display panels in the upcoming flagship devices. The production for the panels is expected to start in July and LG has also sources contracts from Chinese manufacturers looking to replace the displays in flagship smartphones.

The reasons, for now, are only speculation and LG has not released any official statement or justified the rumors. However, LG might not do away with the secondary display entirely. The brand might retain the dual display, but simply split the one display into two, instead of having a second completely different display. The secondary display features like the app shortcuts, clock, timer and other notifications which will continue to be a part of the new OLED display too, but in a new avatar. 

Apart from the display details, there are also specifications which leaked. However, apart from the fact that the phone will sport the OLED display, no other screen specifications like the size or the protection used, are known. The specifications mention a Snapdragon 835 processor coupled with 4GB RAM. Additionally, LG V30 will come in 64GB internal memory with an additional option for expansion. The phone is also expected to sport a dual-rear camera.


LG V20

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Amazon Alexa with Echo smart speaker to launch in India later this year

India has emerged as the hot new market for companies like Amazon. The e-commerce giant has not only scaled up its operations in the country, but also aggressively pushed its multimedia services through Amazon Prime Video, and products like Amazon Fire TV dongle. One of the key products missing from Amazon’s portfolio has been Alexa and its home speakers like Amazon Echo. According to reports though, the company will be filling that gap by end of this year.

ET reports that Amazon is planning to introduce Alexa Voice Service (AVS), and its Echo speakers in India later this year. The report further says that the company has already begun testing its products through select company executives and analysts. Before launching the product, Amazon is making sure that its Alexa assistant is compatible with the Indian languages — a key factor that has helped Google expand its base in India. 

ALSO READ: Amazon Prime Day Sale starting in India on July 10: Discounts, offers and more

According to the report, the speaker will initially understand English, but will soon be updated with support for Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi and Tamil. Already, a multilingual interface is in the works at Amazon’s facility in Chennai. Besides the language support, the company is ensuring the home speaker is capable of performing a slew of tasks like booking a cab or make online orders. 

However, the company faces challenges in India besides the diverse languages. The report cites factors such as large family culture and two-factor payment authentications as main hurdles. “We will work around these barriers using passphrases and other India-specific innovations,” ET quotes a senior executive at Amazon as saying.

“We expect Amazon to launch (Alexa and Echo) in the Indian market with very attractive offers in the beginning, a similar strategy used with Amazon Prime Video and something that worked well,“ adds an analyst. “These offerings are likely to be linked with existing users of Amazon’s services in India, making it more appealing for them.”

ALSO READ: Amazon India smartphone sale: Offers on Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On8, Moto Z, Moto X Force and more

While Amazon’s home speakers are selling like hotcakes in the US, the company perhaps must be encouraged with the growing internet penetration, and improved LTE infrastructure in India. In the US, Amazon owns 70.6 percent market share, but faces strong competition from Google’s Home speakers. And now, Apple has also entered the segment with its HomePods. Amazon, in the meanwhile, will be looking to gain the first mover advantage in India. 

Considering India is a price sensitive market, Amazon is expected to give attractive offers on its devices, perhaps clubbing the devices with Amazon Prime subscriptions. However, the initial target audience is expected to be urban customers who are more likely to pay for the services, and have an improved broadband infrastructure.

Amazon Prime Day Sale starting in India on July 10: Discounts, offers and more

Amazon is back with a sale especially for Amazon Prime customers known as the Amazon Prime Day sale. While so far, Amazon held the Prime Day sale in many countries, this is the first time Amazon India has announced the sale as well. The Amazon Prime Day sale offers huge discounts and price-drops on multiple products to Amazon Prime customers. There are also additional cash-back offers for Prime members. The sale is considered to be at par with the Black Friday Sale and Cyber Monday sales held in many western countries and has even broken records in many countries. 

In India, the Amazon Prime Day Sale is set to commence from the evening of July 10 at 6.00PM and continue for 30 hours, that is little over a day to midnight July 11. The sale will see products from multiple brands on discount and while some of the names have been revealed by Amazon India, more will be disclosed as the sale date approaches. Amazon India plans to start unveiling offers and associated brands starting July 5 and up to July 9. The e-commerce site has already started teasing the Amazon Prime Day Sale on different social media platforms across the country.

ALSO READ: Amazon India smartphone sale: Offers on Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On8, Moto Z, Moto X Force and more

The Amazon Prime Day Sale is only for Prime members. Non-Prime members can register for an avail Prime membership anytime before the sale commences. However, on initially signing up, Amazon India offers a 30-day free trial period. The user needs to be a paid Prime member, and skip the free membership, opting for the Rs 499 annual fee to avail the offers during the Amazon Prime Sale period. All the deals will be unveiled on July 9 so Prime members can plan in advance and purchase the products accordingly.

Brands like Honor, IFB, Basics, Delsey Paris, Lego and GAP are already part of the sale as revealed by Amazon India, and more are expected to soon join. Amazon Prime Video is offering users six new titles starting July 5 under the sale period. The titles will be exclusive and only for Prime members during the promotional period. The titles on offer include Star Trek Beyond, Deepwater Horizon, Baahubali, Sully, Haq Se Single and Inside Edge. During the sale period, Amazon TV Fire Stick will be offered with Rs 499 cashback.

Additionally, the sale offers customers free one-day and two-day delivery on Amazon Fulfilled products. There will also be no minimum order value. Prime members can also avail same-day delivery at a discounted price of Rs 50. Amazon India has tied up with partners like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, Swiggy and more to offer users additional discounts. Shopping on Amazon India during the sale period will get the user Rs 750 discount code for MakeMyTrip which can be availed on return flight bookings of Rs 5,000 or more, valid till September 15, 2017. The BookMyShow offer gives users discount of Rs 200 or 50 percent (lower of the two) on movie tickets, with validity up to September 30. Voucher with instant discount of Rs 150 on food home delivery bookings of Rs 450 on Swiggy are also part of the offer.

Amazon Pay Wallet users get 20 percent cashback (maximum Rs 2,000) on loading minimum Rs 500 between June 29 and July 11. Additionally, HDFC Card users can also avail 15 percent cashback (maximum of Rs 2,000) on minimum transaction of Rs 5,000. The cashback will be credited to the user account in October. Multiple Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day will also be on offer during the 30-hour sale period.

“Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members. Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. This year’s Prime Day is too big for 24 hours – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop!” said Greg Greeley, Vice President, Amazon Prime in a statement.

Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia Z4 Tablet, and Xperia Z3+ receive the Android Nougat 7.1.1 update

Sony has started rolling out the Android Nougat 7.1.1 update, which is the latest Android version, to some of it’s older devices. The crop of phones receiving the Android upgrade are: Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia Z4 Tablet, and Xperia Z3+. The devices are nearly 2 years old and come with the latest Android Nougat version. Sony had previously promised to announce the latest Android version for the smartphones and the brand has delivered on its promise.

The new build number for the latest update is 32.4.A.0.160 and it changes from the original build number 32.3.A.2.33. The new build version does not bring considerable changes to the device. However, once the new version is installed, it cannot be changed back to the old version. The update also brings bug fixes and minor optimizations to the device. The update also brings the latest June 1, 2017 Android security patch to he Xperia range of devices.

The update is available for users and Sony is streaming it OTA. If the notification for the update does not appear automatically, users can visit the phone Settings to check for availability. The update is being rolled out in phases so it might be a while before some users get the new version. Users are also advised to create a backup of their data before starting the phone update as otherwise for security purposes.

The new features comes with Multi-Window support and as Sony states on its support page, “You can now run two apps simultaneously in a new split-screen view – ideal for keeping vital information close by. And, when you’re multitasking, just double tap to switch between your two most recent apps.” The update also brings battery improvements to the phone. The update also comes with Doze feature.

Sony also introduces a new STAMINA mode with three power saving levels and automatically adjusts settings to improve phone performance and keep the device powered for longer. Photos, Videos and otheblogr media files can be shared directly over Messaging app with the Android Nougat 7.1.1 update. Additionally, the features also bring camera changes with  the timer selfie mode for the camera.

The Home Screen is also updated with the Google Now integration. As the support page mentions, “Swipe left to find your new home screen, complete with integrated Google Now access. Your Xperia will also display personalised app suggestions here based on your usage and habits.” Users can also visit the page to check for updates and whether there are any updates available for othe Sony devices. Users of Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia Z4 Tablet, and Xperia Z3+ can expect the update in the near future if not already available.

Xperia XZ Premium 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vivo Under Display Fingerprint Scanning Solution Unveiled at MWC Shanghai 2017

Vivo has done something Apple and Samsung have trying hard to achieve. Fingerprint sensors on smartphones have now become an industry standard — right from premium to low-end segments. However, until now sensors have either been embedded into physical home buttons up front, or separately at the back. Now though Vivo is looking at upping the game with its Under Display technology. According to Vivo India Tweet "Vivo is proud to unveil the latest Under Display Fingerprint Scanning Solution, a revolution in the world of smartphones! #VivoMWC2017"

The Vivo Under Display technology, as the name suggests, embeds the fingerprint sensor beneath the display of a smartphone. And what’s more; it can work not only through glass, OLED screen, but also aluminum. The technology has been built in collaboration with Qualcomm, and does not require a manufacturer to position the biometric sensor on the standard rear or front panel, Mashable reports. The Vivo Under Display technology leverages the display area, and allows users to touch the display at a designated spot to unlock or authenticate. This not only allows for the displays to cover the whole of the front panel, but also does away with the need to position the sensor at the back of the panel. The caveat, however, remains, that the authentication will be carried out only by touching a ‘designated’ area, and not anywhere on the display. This designated area is around the lower panel as it is more convenient in terms of ergonomics.

The sensor used by Vivo is Qualcomm’s ultrasonic sensor, which we have already seen on the Xiaomi Mi 5s. The specialty of the sensor is that it used ultrasonic sound waves which penetrate the skin of the finger to make a 3D map of users’ fingerprints. Interestingly, the potential of these ultrasonic sensors had been laid out first during CES when Qualcomm first introduced the sensors. As the design is based out of sound and not optical reading, it can work through a range of different materials including steel, sapphire, glass, and some plastics. When Qualcomm first introduced the sensor, it argued that the ultrasonic sensors are much more secure than traditional sensors as they do not create two-dimensional fingerprints, which can be stolen or used to trick an optical sensor. 

Now, the Vivo Under Display further improves on the sensor technology as it can penetrate 1.3mm of OLED, 525μm of aluminum or 800μm of glass. This is basically higher than Qualcomm’s previous technology that could only penetrate 400μm of glass, and capacitive scanners only go up to 300μm. In addition to that, Vivo’s technology is not affected by ambient light, and can also work with wet fingers or sweat. Going forward, Vivo is also working on a variant that works underwater (so divers could finally authenticate from under the sea).

ALSO READ: Vivo V5s With 20-Megapixel Front Camera Launched In India, Priced At Rs 18,990: Specifications And Features

Vivo’s technology has been laid out through a proof of concept, but the question remains – is it ready for end consumers yet? The answer is a yes and a no. Vivo only showcased the technology at the ongoing MWC Shanghai 2017, while brands like Apple and Samsung are long-rumored to be working on the same technology and possibly introduce it in the coming future. Although Apple is unlikely to use Vivo’s technology, there are huge possibilities of the upcoming iPhone 8 featuring an in-house sensor.

Meanwhile, Samsung is widely rumored to use Synaptics’ under-display ultrasonic sensor for its upcoming Galaxy Note 8. Nonetheless, Vivo’s demonstration of the technology in action does indicate early success amidst other manufacturers who are still struggling with getting the position of the fingerprint sensors right. It also envisions a future where smartphones could be more aesthetically pleasing with slimmer bezels and invisible fingerprint sensors.

Qualcomm announced Snapdragon 450 Midrange SoC

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 450 mobile platform, the latest 400-series SoC for smartphones, at MWC Shanghai 2017. Fabricated using the 14nm FinFET process, the platform promises improved performance and power consumption, while adding support for features that are not typically seen on the budget-friendly 400-series range of chipsets from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 450 is the successor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 platform.

Notable improvements in the platform include a higher performing CPU and GPU, with a claimed 25 percent increase in performance compared to the Snapdragon 435, largely thanks to the use of the more energy-efficient 14nm fabrication process. Battery life has also been improved, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 comes with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, allowing for native fast charging solutions on budget devices. Additional tweaks and upgrades come in the form of faster LTE connectivity, and support for dual-camera setups and real-time bokeh effects in photography.

ALSO READ: Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ Unveiled With 3 Improvements Over Quick Charge 4.0

Snapdragon 450 comes with eight Cortex ARM A53 cores clocked up to 1.8GHz, and fabricated on the 14nm process. The GPU is Adreno 506, with RAM support for the LPDDR3 specification. The SoC additionally supports up to 1080p displays, VoLTE and video capture at up to 1080p at 60fps. Support for dual-camera modules is present, allowing for either two 13-megapixel sensors, or one 21-megapixel sensor, along with edge-to-edge screen displays. 

ALSO READ: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Snapdragon 660 mobile platforms announced: better connectivity, better battery life, camera

Snapdragon 450 is expected to power budget and mid-range smartphones from Q4-2017. The platform is likely to be the SoC of choice for budget smartphones that offer more in the form of power and energy efficiency, as well as for mid-range smartphones that offer better features and technology while looking to the Snapdragon 450 platform for financial viability. Support for features such as dual-camera, Quick Charge 3.0, edge-to-edge display and fast LTE are new to the Snapdragon 400-series platform, and are likely to transform the budget smartphone space in the coming months. 

OnePlus says the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T will get Android O before the end of 2017

Now that the OnePlus has launched and is available for purchase, what happens to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T? It’s a natural question. And if we go according to publicly available information, then only last month OnePlus confirmed that the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T will receive the must awaited Android O update. 

Although the company didn’t give a exact timeframe of the roll out for updates, OnePlus has now revealed that users will receive the Android O update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T by end of this year. The revelation was made by a OnePlus employee during a Reddit AMA session.

The OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T smartphones were both launched in 2016. As far as OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T users go, they will have to wait for Google to launch the final version of Android O, which is expected to be sometime during late summer. Currently, Android O is available only as Developer Preview release and is compatible only with Google-branded smartphones. OnePlus will not be rolling out the same update for OnePlus 2 users. 

It’s highly unlikely that the OnePlus smartphones will be among the first wave of devices to receive Android O update, but hopefully, users will not have to wait for longer. That being said, OnePlus’ latest flagship smartphone OnePlus 5 runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box, so it’s extremely likely that the smartphone will also be getting Android O within this year.

ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 With 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 835 SoC, Dual Rear Camera Launched In India, Prices Start From Rs 32,999: Specifications, Features

The OnePlus 5 just yesterday received its first major update after launching worldwide. The update, OxygenOS v4.5.2, comes with several bug fixes and focuses on optimization of the smartphone. The update fixes issues related to app installation and system update. It also improves the camera performance whereas there has been improvements to Bluetooth, Network and System. According to the change log, the update also improves compatibility with the third party apps.

Meanwhile, the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T users received OxygenOS 4.1.5 update earlier this month. The update comes with minor improvements and tweaks to UI. It also includes bug fixes such as issues related VoLTE, third party file managers and more.

OnePlus 3T

Lenovo K6 Power, K6 Note Start Receiving Android 7.0 Nougat Update in India

The Lenovo K6 Power and K6 Note were launched in India late last year running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the company has now confirmed that the Nougat 7.0 update has started rolling out for the smartphones in the country. The update will bring features like multi-window support, data saver, smart notifications, and quick app switching to the smartphones.

Lenovo says that the Android 7.0 Nougat update for the K6 Power and K6 Note will let users experience a new interface wherein they will now be able to reply directly from the notification bar, save on battery life with an updated Doze mode, and play around with the font and display size, among other things.

The Lenovo K6 Power was launched starting at Rs. 9,999 and features a 5-inch display with full-HD (1080x1920 pixel) resolution. It is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 430 SoC with a choice of either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. Inbuilt storage is at 32GB, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

The smartphone sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX258 sensor, PDAF and LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front camera with a Sony IMX219 sensor and a wide-angle lens. Connectivity options on the dual-SIM (Nano SIM) K6 Power smartphone include 4G LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, FM radio, Micro-USB, and GPS/ A-GPS.

The Lenovo K6 Note starts at Rs. 14,900 and features a 5.5-inch full HD (1920×1080 pixels) display. It is powered by a Snapdragon 430 octa-core chipset clocked at 1.4GHz. The 32GB variant with 3GB of RAM is priced at Rs 13,999, while the other is the 64GB variant with 4GB of RAM. There is also support for microSD card slot, which can be used to expand onboard storage up to 128GB.

For photography, the K6 Note is equipped with a 16-megapixel rear camera with dual CCT flash and Phase Detection Auto-focus (PDAF) support. For selfies, there’s an 8-megapixel fixed-focus snapper up front.

Connectivity options include dual-SIM card slots (nano+nano), 4G with VoLTE support, WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, 3.5mm audio jack and A-GPS. The smartphone also features a 4,000mAh battery that Lenovo says is good enough for up to 31 hours of talktime, and up to 25 days on standby mode. 

Lenovo K6 Power 

Lenovo K6 Note 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 could be launch in September, retail at approximately Rs 72,200

The Galaxy Note 8 will be the most expensive Samsung smartphone yet. At least, that is what the latest reports indicate. An individual briefed on Samsung’s plan, told VentureBeat that the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 phablet will be priced at €999 (approximately Rs 72,200) and will be available in second half of September, ahead of the launch of Apple’s most expensive offering – the rumored iPhone 8.

After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, the Galaxy Note 8 is hoped to be a safe product as the global damages owing to the disaster have been huge for the South Korean manufacturer. Based on reports, the Galaxy Note 8 will boast a similar design language as the Galaxy S8 lineup with Infinity Display. However, what will make it an interesting prospect is that it will be the first Samsung smartphone to feature a dual camera module, an element which the Galaxy S8 skipped.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 with 4GB RAM, 6,000mAh battery, S Pen launched in India, priced at Rs 47,990: Specifications, features

According to the report, the Galaxy Note 8 will feature an edge-to-edge 18.5:9 aspect ratio AMOLED display with a size nearly the same as the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+. In addition to a large display, the Galaxy Note 8 will have support for the signature S Pen stylus.

Although Qualcomm is said to be working on the next advanced chipset – Snapdragon 836, the Galaxy Note 8 will house the current Snapdragon 835 SoC or its equivalent Exynos 8895 (based on market of release) and paired with 6GB of RAM. With a beefed up RAM, the Galaxy Note 8 will also be one of the few smartphones coming from Samsung to feature up to 6GB of memory. It is worth mentioning that the Galaxy S8 lineup packed only 4GB of RAM in the initial batches and it was only recently that the company launched a 6GB RAM variant for the larger Galaxy S8+. It is worth noting that there have been reports indicating that Samsung might opt for the newer SoC instead of the current Snapdragon 835 processor.

As for the camera, the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to bundle a pair of 12-megapixel sensors with optical image stabilization for the lens. The placement of the camera module is expected to be placed horizontally, similar to how it is placed in the current Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro, Galaxy J7 Max with Samsung Pay Mini, Android Nougat launched in India, prices start from Rs 17,900: Specifications, features

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is further expected to bring no innovation in terms of the placement of the fingerprint sensor. It will continue to be placed at the rear panel, even as competitors are working on under-screen sensors for biometric authentication. In terms of power, Samsung still appears to be reserved with the 3,300mAh battery threshold. This might also be attributed to last year’s Note 7 battery issue which led to combustion of the phones at will.

On the software front, the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to place its custom Android skin with improved split-screen multitasking and add more functionalities to the S Pen, including full-sentence language translation and currency conversion. The stylus has reportedly been added with the ability to pin handwritten notes to the always-on display.

Other speculated features for the Galaxy Note 8 include DeX support. The separate hardware was announced alongside the Galaxy S8 lineup and allows one to use the smartphone for a full-fledged desktop experience by connecting peripherals such as a monitor and keyboard. Lastly, the Gaalxy Note 8 is expected to be available in color options of blue, black and gold.

Friday, June 23, 2017

WhatsApp reportedly testing a new feature that will allow you to share any type of files on Android, iOS, Windows

Social media is all about sharing and WhatsApp wants to stay ahead in the competition. The Facebook-owned company is reportedly working on a new update that will allow users to share any and every type of file with people in their friends’ list, and that also includes APK files!

WhatsApp currently allows one to send files including images, video, audio, and more recently PDF, Word documents, spreadsheets, and slides. However, within these categories, only certain formats are supported. So, if you want to share a different kind of file on WhatsApp which is not supported, you are required to download the compatible app separately such as Google Drive or iCloud, or convert the file in a supported format and then share. Now, WABetainfo has discovered that WhatsApp is experimenting with a new update for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users that will allow sharing of all types of archive and media files.

The purported update will also mean that all photos, videos, GIFs, etc will be shared without being compressed. However, there will be size limitations to the content shared. According to the report, for iOS users, the size for videos will be restricted to a maximum of 128MB while it will be lower for Android users at just 100MB. Some early users have been able to share different types of files and posted screenshots on Twitter.

It is worth mentioning that the said feature is currently being rolled out to select users and it is unclear if it will be officially launched anytime soon. Users for whom the feature has been rolled out will be able to share all file types through both the desktop and mobile client. 

Recently, WhatsApp announced that it will continue to support BlackBerry and Symbian OS till the end of 2017 and 2018 respectively. This marked a U-turn from the company’s earlier decision of ending support for the two platforms by June this year. BlackBerry OS 7+ and BlackBerry 10 users will be able to use WhatsApp until December 31. As for Symbian users, WhatsApp will continue support for devices running Nokia S40 until December 31, 2018. There is no change for Nokia S60 however, and WhatsApp support for this OS will end by June 30, 2017. 

YouTube announces VR180 video format work on screens and headsets
At its VidCon 2017, YouTube announced a new virtual reality (VR) platform, VR180. With VR180, YouTube aims to make videos more immersive on its platform. YouTube has been working with Google’s Daydream team to make this video format that is believed to make VR content easier to create. In addition to creating the video format, YouTube is also making VR180-compatible cameras with companies like YI, Lenovo and LG. The first VR180 cameras will arrive by the end of 2017.

Speaking about the video format, VR180 will focus on giving an immersive experience within 180 degrees, meaning you get the best by facing straight. VR180 videos, however, restrict turning around and looking behind while viewing the content. To view VR180 videos in full VR experience, one can do so by watching it on the YouTube app using a Google Cardboard headset, Daydream View, and PlayStation VR. These videos can be watched normally as well on desktop and mobile. Although the VR experience won’t be available otherwise, YouTube says that it will still be impressive with high resolution.

Creators can set up and film their videos normally like they do with any other camera. Creators will also be able to edit their VR180 videos with tools like Adobe Premiere Pro, which will be introduced soon. Also, VR180 video format will have support livestreaming support which would be beneficial for game play videos. YouTube aims to give users a more immersive experience with VR180 content like vlogs, makeup tutorials and music videos.

The VR180 cameras are being made from scratch by Google’s Daydream team along with the aforementioned manufacturers. These cameras are not aimed at only professional creators, but can also be easily used people to capture their everyday moments. The pricing hasn’t been revealed as yet but YouTube says that the cameras will cost around the same as point-and-shoot cameras. 

Other than the three companies working on the cameras, YouTube is also opening up a VR180 certification program for other manufacturers. Z CAM will be YouTube’s first partner under the VR180 certification program. There’s an early bird offer as well for eligible creators who can loan a VR180-enabled camera from YouTube Spaces and try it out. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

OnePlus 5 with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 835 SoC, Dual Rear Camera launched in India, prices start from Rs 32,999: Specifications, features

After the global reveal of the OnePlus 5 by CEO Pete Lau on June 20, the company has launched the phone in India today. The device is priced at Rs 32,999 for the variant with 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage, while the variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage is priced at Rs 37,999. The smartphone goes on open sale today exclusively through Amazon India, with no invites or registration needed to purchase the phone.

OnePlus 5 Specifications, features

The OnePlus 5 comes with a dual-camera setup at the rear. With a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensor at the back, the phone is capable of up to 2X lossless zoom using the 20-megapixel telephoto lens, and can also use data from the two sensors to create a depth-of-field effect, similar to Apple’s Portrait Mode. This is achieved thanks to the main Sony IMX398 sensor featuring a wider f/1.7 aperture, while the secondary Sony IMX350 telephoto sensor comes with a narrower f/2.6 aperture. The camera also features EIS, 4K video recording and RAW format capture, while the front camera is a 16-megapixel shooter with EIS and f/2.0 aperture.

The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC, which is fabricated on the 10nm process and comes with eight custom Kyro cores providing the processing power and a clock speed of up to 2.45GHz. Internal storage and RAM vary according to the version you buy, with the lower-priced variant offering 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the higher-priced variant comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The RAM is at LPDDR4X specification, while the storage is up to UFS 2.1 standards.

The OnePlus 5 has a 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) AMOLED screen and comes with a reading mode for comfortable viewing. Armed with a 3,300mAh battery, the smartphone also comes with support for the Dash Charge fast-charging format by OnePlus. Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX audio codec for wireless music listening, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and universal LTE band and VoLTE support are also present.

OnePlus 5 also comes with Paytm integration as a part of Oxygen OS. Long press on the fingerprint scanner opens the Paytm payment page, where you can scan the barcode or choose from your contacts to make cashless payments.

Next-gen Samsung Gear VR to come with 2,000 ppi OLED screen: Report

One of the drawbacks of the current VR headsets is that they are not independent of a secondary device. Even as the VR is becoming increasingly popular among masses, the technology companies are working to deliver a VR headset that is truly standalone. Google’s DayDream platform is believed to pave way for such affordable standalone VR headsets. In the meanwhile, Samsung, which has a pretty decent lineup of Gear VR headsets, is working on its own version of standalone virtual reality device.

According to a South Korean website, Naver, Samsung’s next-generation VR headset will come with a high-resolution display. The website says it will be an OLED display panel with a whopping pixel density of 2,000ppi. If the report is true, Samsung’s next-generation VR headset will be offering the highest resolution than any of the known VR headsets in the market right now. Along with a stunning high resolution, the device will consist of a Fine Metal Mask (FMM), which essentially is a layer on top of the OLED panel and comes with very tiny holes to collect the RGB pixels in particular areas.

An OLED panel will ensure users a richer experience with deeper colors. Also, the high pixel density is expected to give a closer to real-life experience to users. While the report confirms it will be a standalone VR headset, which means you don’t need to insert your phone into the device, but doesn’t really elaborate how it would function or content will be displayed. 

That being said, it’s not the first time we have heard that Samsung is building its own standalone VR headset. Back in May, the company had stated that it is working on “wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with” the mobile phones. The future Samsung VR headsets will also support hand and gesture tracking, as well as positional tracking.

Samsung’s dominance in the mobile space can help the company push its new VR headsets, something which could further propel the VR adoption among people. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg last year had also highlighted this strength of Samsung. It is notable that Facebook is also working extensively in the segment with its Oculus unit.

Meanwhile, another major push to the segment is expected to come from Google, which is credited for making the VR mainstream with affordable VR platforms like Cardboard. At its recently held Google I/O 2017 developer conference, the company showcased a standalone VR headset reference design. 

Based on a ‘WorldSense’ technology, the platform uses the reference design from Qualcomm, further empowering OEMs to build standalone VR headsets. Google has also partnered with Lenovo and HTC for building standalone VR devices, which are expected to be released “in coming months.” As far as Samsung’s new VR headsets go, they are expected to be unveiled at the MWC 2017 later this year.

Vivo teaser possibly confirms it's unveiling under-screen fingerprint sensor next week

Last week, a video surfaced online, allegedly showing off in-screen fingerprint sensing technology by Vivo. While there is still no proof if the video was true, the China-based manufacturer has now itself put out a teaser suggesting we might not be indeed far from the technology, where unlocking the device would be as simple as tapping anywhere on the display.

Vivo’s official teaser ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) – Shanghai, is now doing the rounds on the internet and was spotted by Twitter user Krispitech. Although the poster doesn’t explicitly mention the possible unveiling of an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the accompanying image, with just the boundary of the display and the fingerprint emerging from it, does drop the hint.

It is widely speculated that Vivo will showcase the technology where biometric authentication is carried out right from the main display of a device. Other than bringing a wider surface area to carry out the authentication process, such a technology would also help manufacturers to slim down on bezels and build a button-free front panel.

ALSO READ: Vivo V5s with 20-megapixel front camera launched in India, Priced at Rs 18,990: Specifications and features

Interestingly, if the purported technology does show up at the MWC Shanghai, it will make Vivo a pioneer in the said field where biggies Apple and Samsung are still in test-phase and unlikely to commercialize the technology anytime soon. For the longest time it had been rumored that Samsung will be the first to introduce the in-screen fingerprint technology through its Galaxy S8 lineup. However, that did not materialize and now the same rumors apply to the upcoming Galaxy Note 8, but owing to supply issues, it might again be delayed.

Meanwhile, Apple is expected to introduce it with the anniversary-edition iPhone 8 sometime later this year. Yet again, there are reports of delays owing to manufacturing-related glitches. As for Vivo, it is speculated that at the MWC Shanghai, the company will introduce the technology through a new smartphone – which would evidently be the world’s first to boast such a technology.

There are currently no details available about the specifications of the rumored smartphone. However, based on the leaked video, the fingerprint sensor might still be located at the lower half of the display for an intuitive recognition. In terms of other specifications, the purported smartphone appears to feature an all black finish with a curved display design.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lenovo ZUK Z3 Max leak hints at 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 836 SoC, bezel-less display

Just a few months back reports surfaced stating that Lenovo was planning on shutting down its ZUK Mobile business. Interestingly though, a yet-to-be-announced ZUK smartphone has been spotted online. Dubbed ZUK Z3 Max, the smartphone has been listed online, which reveals a few of its important specifications and features. The ZUK Z3 Max, as the name suggests, will be the successor to last year’s ZUK Z2.

The new smartphone was spotted on Weibo, with the post showing the alleged front panel of the device, along with a screenshot of its key specifications. The photo of the Z3 Max’s front panel hints at little to no bezels around the screen. You can also make out the power button and the volume rocker on the right side of the device. Under the hood, the device is expected to come with Snapdragon 836 processor clocked 2.5GHz paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. The device is likely to run on Android Nougat 7.1 out-of-the-box.

ALSO READ: Amazon India smartphone sale: Offers on Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On8, Moto Z, Moto X Force and more

Despite all the rumors about shutting down, ZUK is also said to be working on a special edition of the ZUK Edge smartphone. Called ZUK Edge II Special Edition, the smartphone is said to be themed around Luo Tianyi, a Chinese Vocaloid character. The renders show that smartphone will come in light blue color. However, as far as the availability of the smartphone is considered, the smartphone is likely to be only available in China.

ALSO READ: Lenovo showed off a new concept laptop with bizarre foldable display 

Coming back to ZUK Z3 Max, the smartphone is expected to launch in the month of July. However, there is no official confirmation as of now, and so we would suggest you take this information with a pinch of salt.


Lenovo showed off a new concept laptop with bizarre foldable display

The Lenovo Transform event held in New York yesterday showcased the company’s ambitious future goals of a foldable laptop. To be more precise, the laptop comes with a foldable display that bends in the middle. The foldable laptop concept that was showcased has three major points which include – voice control, new screen technologies, and advanced materials. Interestingly, Lenovo’s iconic red track pointer is also visible on the keyboard.

Lenovo shared the image of the laptop on Twitter with the caption, “A foldable PC? Maybe someday. Just a concept for now.” The concept foldable laptop has a large screen which covers the entire upper part and extends till the lower-end, occupying around 20 percent of the area. The keyboard begins right below the display with no space visible and has the red track pointer in the middle, as aforementioned.

The right and left click buttons are placed at the bottom; however, there is no visible trackpad on the keyboard. This could mean that voice command will come into play majorly to perform functions. Also, there is a stylus in the form of a big pencil which can be used to draw on the laptop. The laptop is shown closed as well and this way, it takes the shape of a physical file folder.

Lenovo did grab everyone’s attention with its idea of a foldable laptop, but it did not specify on the details. The ‘advanced materials’ that would be used in making this laptop were not elaborated. This foldable laptop remains a concept only, and there isn’t any prototype available as yet. Even if Lenovo is actually working on something as big as this, reaching a commercial point will surely take a good amount of time. 

This isn’t the first time Lenovo has shared the idea of foldable displays. At last year’s Tech World event, Lenovo showcased prototypes of its future bendable smartphone and tablet. Presented by YouTube sensation Meghan McCarthy, the foldable smartphone can be worn on the wrist like a bracelet as well. A foldable tablet was also showcased whose display can be bent in the middle and used as a large screened smartphone. Lenovo’s foldable smartphone and tablet are also still far more commercial production. But it does say a lot about the fact that the company could be one of the firsts in bringing foldable display technology to the masses. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

OnePlus 5 with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 835 SoC, dual rear camera launched: Price, Specs and features

As expected and after many weeks of speculation, leaks and official teasers, the OnePlus 5 has been launched globally today. There are two variants that will go on sale; a 6GB RAM/64GB storage option and an 8GB RAM/128GB storage variant. US pricing has been revealed, with the phone priced at $479 (approximately Rs 31,000) for the 6GB/64GB variant and $499 (approximately Rs 32,300) for the 8GB/128GB variant. The phone will be officially launched in India on June 22, with sales expected to commence on the same day on, and India pricing will be revealed then. The OnePlus 5 is the successor to 2016’s OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, and the latter will remain on sale in India for the time being despite the launch and availability of the OnePlus 5.

Notably, this is the most expensive smartphone by OnePlus to date, and marks a significant departure from its roots as being a ‘flagship killer’ device that offered high-end hardware at a low price. The phone will be available in two color variants: slate gray and midnight black, and comes with Android 7.1.1 out of the box with Oxygen OS 4.5.0 on top.

ALSO READ: Amazon India smartphone sale: Offers on Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On8, Moto Z, Moto X Force and more

OnePlus 5 Specifications, features

As has been detailed in the various stories and rumors that have been floating around in the build-up to the launch, the biggest feature of the phone is its dual-camera setup at the rear. With a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensor at the back, the phone is capable of up to 2X optical zoom using the 20-megapixel telephoto lens, and can also use data from the two sensors to create a depth-of-field effect, similar to Apple’s Portrait Mode.

The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which is fabricated on the 10nm process and comes with eight custom Kyro cores providing the processing power. Internal storage and RAM vary according to the version you buy, with the lower-priced variant offering 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the higher-priced variant comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The OnePlus 5 has a 5.5-inch full-HD AMOLED screen, a 3,300mAh battery with support for the Dash Charge fast-charging format by OnePlus. Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi ac and universal LTE band and VoLTE support are also present. The smartphone will be available on or soon after launch in select markets around the world, including United States, Canada, much of Europe, China, Hong Kong and India.

OnePlus 3T

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 with 4GB RAM, 6,000mAh battery, S Pen launched in India, priced at Rs 47,990: Specifications, features

At MWC 2017 earlier this year, Samsung took the wraps off its latest tablet — Galaxy Tab S3. Successor to 2015’s Galaxy Tab S2, this new tablet is Samsung’s take on Apple’s iPad Pro 9.7-inch. The premium tablet is priced at Rs 47,990, and it is set to go on sale from today. It will be offered in black and silver color options. 

With the iPad Pro in its sights, the Galaxy Tab S3 is a premium offering for buyers. In terms of design, the tablet boasts a glass body held together by a metal frame. The talking point, however, is the S Pen, which Samsung says has been significantly improved giving it a 4,096 level of sensitivity. At this level, Samsung says that the experience of using the stylus is very close to the pen-to-paper feel. As seen on previous Galaxy Note devices, you get features like Air Command, and also the ability to doodle or take quick notes while the screen is off.

Just like the iPad Pro, the Tab S3 also comes with four speakers tuned by AKG. The Galaxy Tab S3 also boasts a set of pogo-pins that lets you attach external accessories. These include a keyboard, which will be available for Rs 8,499. Samsung will also be selling a back cover priced at Rs 2,999. There are other launch offers too, such as one-time screen replacement valid till July 31, double data offer on Reliance Jio, valid till December 31 on a minimum recharge of Rs 309, and easy EMI options too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 specifications, features

As far as specifications are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 flaunts a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED QXGA (2048×1536 pixels) display with support for HDR. Under the hood is last year’s flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. The Tab S3 also comes with Vulkan API support for better graphics performance. There is 32GB of internal storage on offer, which can be expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card.

For photography, the Galaxy Tab S3 is equipped with a 13-megapixel auto-focus camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies and video calling. Making sure everything ticks is a massive 6,000mAh battery underneath with support for fast charging. Samsung claims that the battery is good enough to offer up to 12 hours of usage on a single charge.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, and GPS, while the cellular variant supports LTE Cat.6 with maximum speeds up to 300Mbps. On the software front, the Galaxy Tab S3 runs on Android Nougat with TouchWiz UI on top.

Galaxy Tab S2

Monday, June 19, 2017

Amazon India smartphone sale: Offers on Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On8, Moto Z, Moto X Force and more

Before the month of July kicks in and GST comes into effect, e-commerce websites like Amazon India and Flipkart are holding massive sales to clear inventories sourced from states with lower tax than the proposed 12 percent GST. Essentially, once GST kicks in, tax differential between states will no longer work. And therefore, along with Flipkart, Amazon India is holding a number of sales on merchandise, home appliances, and smartphones. The smartphone sale begins today, that is June 19, and will go on till June 21.

Under this sale, Amazon India is offering a bunch of deals that range from low to high-end smartphones. Other than some pretty attractive discounts, there are also exchange offers, where you can trade your older smartphone for the new one, to get an additional discount worth your old device. Additionally, before we move on to discussing the discounts, Amazon India also has an offer on new Prime memberships. According to the offer, on joining the Amazon Prime right now, members will get a cashback of 20 percent on adding Amazon Pay balance. Back to the discounts on smartphones, here’s taking a look at some of the best deals in each category.

Under Rs 8,000 category

In this ultra-budget category, there are some pretty interesting discounts going up to 50 percent. For instance, the Coolpad Note 5 Lite with 3GB of RAM and 16GB onboard storage is available at a 22 percent discount, bringing the price down to Rs 6,999. Additionally you can save another Rs 1,000 by exchanging an older device.

The Samsung On5 Pro Gold variant is now discounted by Rs 800 — down from Rs 7,990 to Rs 7,190. Further, the Moto G4 Play, is also on offer with a discount of Rs 1,500 that brings the price tag down to Rs 7,499. However, the heftiest discount we see in this category is on Intex Aqua Supreme+ with a discount of 53 percent. This brings its price down from Rs 11,900 to Rs 5,499. 

Coolpad Note 5 Lite
Galaxy On5 Pro

Moto G4 Play

Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 category

Moving to the budget category, smartphones like Samsung On7 Pro, Moto G4 Plus, Honor 6x and Coolpad Cool 1 among others are under discount. The Samsung On7 Pro Gold and Black variant is available with a Rs 800 discount, bringing the price down from Rs 9,490 to Rs 8,690. The Moto G Plus 16GB variant is retailing at 22 percent lower — down from Rs 13,499 to Rs 10,499. The 32GB variant of Moto G Plus, on the other hand, is now retailing at Rs 13,699 from Rs 15,999 earlier.

The Honor 6X, which was launched earlier this year is also up for a discount. The 32GB variant, is now down from Rs 12,999 to Rs 10,999. The 64GB variant of the same is now available at Rs 13,999, down from Rs 15,999. The Coolpad Cool 1 4GB variant, too gets a 20 percent discount. From Rs 14,999 earlier, the smartphone is now available at Rs 11,999.

Galaxy On7 Pro
Moto G4 Play
Honor 6X
\Coolpad Cool 1 

Rs 12,000 – Rs 25,000 category

The discounts available on the mid-range smartphones are the most exciting. For instance, Apple iPhone SE 16GB variant is available at Rs 19,999. The 32GB variant is available at Rs 23,388, down from Rs 27,200. The 64GB variant remains undiscounted. While on most other smartphone the exchange offers weren’t all that great, the iPhone SE has an interesting deal, where you can get an additional discount of up to Rs 13,060. The Moto X Force 32GB variant is available at Rs 12,999, down from Rs 34,999. 

The Samsung Galaxy On8 Gold variant is also on discount. Down from Rs 13,490, the smartphone is now available at Rs 12,490. The Apple iPhone 6 32Gb variant is also available under this offer, and is now priced at Rs 24,999, down from Rs 30,700. The Gionee A1 is also discounted by 22 percent, which is now available at Rs 16,750.

Moto X Force
Moto G5 Play
Galaxy on8
iPhone SE
iPhone 6
Gionee A1 

Above Rs 25,000 category

In the premium segment, the most attractive discounts are on the Apple iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro, and the Moto Z. Under the sale, the Apple iPhone 7 32GB black variant is being sold at Rs 42,999, down from Rs 60,000. The 128GB variant of the iPhone 7 is available at Rs 53,831, down from Rs 70,000, and the 256GB black variant is available at Rs 69,180, down from Rs 80,000, and the gold variants in 256GB is available at Rs 65,900.

The Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro is also on offer, discounted by Rs 4,000, and is now available at Rs 25,990. Also the Motorola Moto Z, which comes with a Style Mod, is discounted by a good Rs 10,000. Down from Rs 39,999, the smartphone is now available at Rs 29,999. Additionally, if you scroll down on the Moto Z listing, there is a list of special offers on JBL Soundboost, Hasselblad True Zoom Camera, Insta-Share Projector, and other Mods.

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7
Galaxy C7 Pro

Moto Z