Thursday, February 28, 2013

Google Settings App is nothing to worry about

Recently, many users have been surprised as well as concerned to see a new Google Settings app in their Android app drawer which, on clicking, gives you access to previously hidden dashboard of settings.

The more aware of the lot may have suspected it to be another malicious app that you might have download by unknowingly clicking on a link but what has actually happened is a silent update to Google Play Services app.

As far as the topic of functionality goes, it doesn't have nothing new and is a shortcut to Settings -> Account -> Google options in a way, as it contains the exact same options, with the addition of Google+ sign-in options.

Although Google could have done quite much with this new app but this does open doors for them to incorporate some unique settings, toggles and options in the future. But for now it is just going to be another cute and pretty icon on your app drawer. 
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Ultimate History of Facebook

Facebook has become world's biggest social network and it growing day by day to achieve new heights. It is loved by people of all age and has been the reason for countless sweet and happy memories to people all over the world. It has come a long way now, from a dorm code to now a household name. The essence of its history has been documented numerous times and even in the form a very controversial movie, The Social Network. But just when you thought you know it all, folks at have come up with an amazing inforgraphic to tell the story.

So next time you use facebook you can rely on one fact for sure, Everything has a story behind it and more often than not its awesome.
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Galaxy SIV will be announced on March 14

Samsung Galaxy SIV is one of the most anticipated devices of the year 2013. It is supposed to become the best and most wanted smartphone on the market as soon as it is released. The launch date was rumored to be March 14 and place, New York. Although rumor mill was quite sure of it but there wasn't any official confirmation from Samsung, yet. Today, Samsung has sent out press invites to an unpacked event which will be held on March 14 in New York, USA.

As we know, Samsung's unpacked events are its stages to set off the sale of new devices and this time it will Samsung Galaxy S4 making it Samsung's first out-of-Europe launch in 3 years. Samsung states requests from US Mobile careers to be the reason for this change.

The smartphone is rumored to be running on Samsung's latest Exynos 5 SoC, a 5 inch 1080p display to rumble with the competition and a 13 MP shooter.

All of this is just speculation at the moment but this device is going to become Samsung's new flagship and thus, is supposed to be equipped with the latest and greatest in mobile tech. Its going to be fun to see what Samsung throws in the mix this time.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MWC 2013: Nokia announces Lumia 720 and 520

Nokia's Lumia range is considered to be the most successful of all Windows Phone based smartphones. At this year's MWC, some really nice devices have been unveiled. Samsung was still missing out but then it sent out invites to its March 14 event to launch Samsung Galaxy SIV. Now, its Nokia's turn. Nokia has just added two other members, Lumia 720 and Lumia 520, to its very successful Windows Phone based series.

Nokia Lumia 720

The Nokia Lumia 720 is a mid-range addition to the Lumia range. It runs on a 1.5 GHz dual core Krait processor coupled with 512 MB of RAM and a 4.3" WVGA (800 X 480) ClearBlack super-sensitive which means it can work with nails, gloves etc. It comes with NFC and a 200 mAh battery. Being only 9mm thick and weighing at 128 gm, it definitely comes in smaller and lighter package then the company flagship, Nokia Lumia 920.

This Lumia comes with 8 gigs of storage space on board which is expendable to 64GB through the provided micro SD card slot and it comes with wireless charging activated. It has a 6.7 MP (odd!) camera with a bright f/1.9" aperture and Carl Zeiss Optics.

Nokia Lumia 720 is made of plastic body and comes in various colors as is the fashion in Lumia range.

There is a catch in the availability. The device will only launch in Asia (TD-SCDMA version for China) and in selected European countries this quarter for a price of €249 (around 330$). Since it lacks LTE, Nokia, probably, has made the right decision of skipping US for this phone.

Nokia Lumia 520

The lesser of the two newly launched phones comes equipped with a 1 GHz dual core processor and 512 MB RAM. It has a 4" WVGA IPS LCD panel with super sensitive touch like its 720 sibling.

Nokia Lumia 520 is a light phone weighing at 124gm and not that thick phone for its category at 9.9mm. It comes equipped with a 5 MP camera which can do 720p video capture.

Similar to Nokia Lumia 720, this one also will have availability only in Asia and selected European countries but with an exception of being available on T-Mobile as wll.. Lumia 520 is supposed to go on sale in China for about $183 this quarter and then it will hit rest of the regions.

Nokia has been trying quite hard to give Microsoft's Windows Phone OS a breath of life and so far it has been successful to an extent. It is going to be interesting to see these two phones help it in its mission.
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When Sony launched its flagship, Xperia Z, smartphone at this year's CES, everyone was amazed by the leap Sony had made and talks of the launch of an amazing Xperia Tablet Z started gaining traction. Since Sony announced its Xperia Z tablet for Japanese folks, its global launch was surely imminent.Today, MWC 2013 saw Sony announce the global launch of its amazing and thinnest Android Slate, Xperia Z.

The specs are same as the one announced in Japan a month ago. It runs on a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM and a 1080p "reality display". It has a 6.9mm thick profile and 495 gram weight which Sony claims to be lightest and thinnest of the Android Tablets.

It is going to be LTE equipped and similar to its Z sibling, Xperia Z, it will be dust and water proof. It will be shipped with Android 4.1.2 JellyBean out of the box but Sony assures that a Android 4.2 update isn't far away.

Sony has released an interesting and cool promo video for its latest slate, Sony Xperia Tablet Z. Lets have a look at it.

Things are beginning to get very intense in the tablet category with the recent launch of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Apple's entry to 8 inch category with iPad Mini, a couple of months ago. Its going to get very interesting to see who wins and who has to taste the grounds.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

MWC 2013: Firefox OS comes out to play

Mozilla announced their Firefox OS sometime ago but we never actually got to see it working on actual retail devices, yet. The OS shares technology with Mozilla's own Firefox browser and runs HTML-5 based applications. According to Mozilla, they are very serious about privacy and security in the OS as they are for their browser and as they are focusing on web, they also emphasize on search. Also the OS has video calling over WebRTC which is a browser based tech(it is supposed to soon make its way to desktop browsers too) and can be previewed on Firefox Aurora Android app.

Mozilla's aim with Firefox OS is to create an open source OS where web developers can create apps and easily post them on Firefox Marketplace. As a matter of fact, you can find apps for facebook, twitter, Nokia's Here mapping solution and some games from EA mobile and Disney Mobile games on the marketplace already.

Today, Mozilla was very proud when they announced that they are officially launching the Firefox OS and thay they have snapped up deals with 18 network carriers already alongwith Qualcomm for chipsets and LG, ZTE, Alcatel and Huawei to make handsets to target the "500 million Mozilla users". A handset, each from ZTE and Alcatel, was also showcased at MWC 2013.

Alcatel One Touch Fire

The Alcatel One Touch Fire(named appropriately) is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor coupled with 256 MB of RAM and a 3.5" 320 X 480 screen. It has a 3.2 MP camera, 512 MB of storage with a micro SD card slot(it comes with a 2GB bundled card) and a 1400 mAh battery. To take care of the connectivity, it comes equipped with 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth and GPS, for which comes with Nokia HERE pre-installed.

As for the availability, the phone will first launch in China where China Unicom is Mozilla's partner, Latin America and then will be on its way to became first Firefox OS based phone to hit Europe with the first country being Poland under Deutsche Telecom. Lets have a look at the preview video of the Alcatel One Touch Fire they have made for us and their potential subscribers.

ZTE Open

The ZTE Open has very similar specifications to Alcatel's offering, One Touch Fire. It also runs on a Cortex A5 based 1 GHz processor with 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of storage which is expandable through the on-board micro-SD card slot(it also comes with a bundled 2GB micro-SD card). Similar to Alcatel, ZTE is also offering 3G, wi-fi b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity for its customers along with GPS and FM Radio.

LG and Huawei are supposed to announce there Firefox OS devices soon but until then ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire can enjoy the limelight. You can click here to know more info on telecom operators Mozilla has partnered with and countries Firefox will be launched in and you can click here to learn more about the OS.

As far as Firefox OS goes, although the devices have pretty mediocre configuration and thus sluggish performance, the concept of an open-source OS can be quite successful in itself if executed correctly.
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MWC 2013: Samsung finally unveils Galaxy Note 8.0

For some time now, the rumor mill was abuzz with speculation and leaks about an 8 inch addition to Samsung's hit Note series of mobile devices. First, it was spotted in the benchmarks where its GT-N5100 moniker was seen, then JK Shin (Samsung's Head of Mobile Communications) confirmed the device himself after which a couple of images of the device were leaked. After all this, it was just a matter of Samsung's announcement to make the existence of the device official. Today, at MWC 2013, Samsung finally unwrapped it in front of the audience for the first time.

As expected, it is powered by an Exynos 4412 1.6 GHz ARM Coretx A9 based quad-core processor with Mali-400MP GPU and 2 GB RAM. It has a 5 MP back shooter and a 1.3 MP front camera. It comes with a 16 gig and a 32 gig model with microSD card slot for memory expansion. The display is a 8 inch 1280 X 800 TFT display with Android 4.1.2 JellyBean running on it and obviously, it is S-Pen equipped. The OS runs with Samsung's custom TouchWiz UI skin running atop of it and as usual Samsung has included the nifty tricks it did to Samsung Galaxy Note II like Smart Stay, Direct Call and a couple of S-Pen based ones. In addition to that, this time Samsung has put in a IR sensor in device's right side and taught it Smart Remote as well.


Samsung also made an announcement that US will be getting only Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + LTE (no voice call supported) versions while the rest of the world will be getting Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + HSPA+ (voice call supported) versions.

Although the prices haven't been announced yet but they are supposed to be in a fighting bracket with iPad Mini as we all expect these two to go head against each other.

While this puts a Note device in almost every mobile device category (among smartphones and tablets) these days, it is yet to be seen if people get as attracted to device which sits right in the middle of a 5.55" Note II and 10.1" Note 10.1 . Also, it also has to fend off attacks from iPad Mini. Its getting interesting!
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Google expands Glass pre-orders

Google is known for its amazing start-up projects like its purchase of Android OS. When it announced its wearable augmented reality gadget project, Google Glass, last year, the world was amazed and thrilled about it. Since then, many Google employees, including Sergey Brin himself, have field tested the project by touring across US and other countries visiting and snapping pictures of daily life and high profile events.

The opportunity to pre-order this amazing project was only made available to 1500 attendees(which include media persons and developers) of Google I/O 2012, the launch stage of Google Glass. Now, this has changed as Google has decided to expand pre-orders for the Glass and they are "looking for bold, creative individuals" to join them so that more number of users can "be a part of shaping the future of glass".

To get your hands on Google Glass, you need to answer to "What would you do if you had Glass?" to Google as this is the question they are asking and have focused on in their latest promotion video. You can answer the question by writing it on Twitter or Google+, with a #ifihadglass hash tag, in not more than 50 words. Other than this, you need to be atleast 18 years old and live in US. Unfortunately, if, like me, you too live outside US, than you will have to wait.

The latest promotion video tells us how Glass can be useful and fun in daily life. Lets see "How It Feels".

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Galaxy SIV camera samples and AnTuTu score surface

Samsung Galaxy SIII has been enjoying the regalia of being a flagship for quite some time now but recently the rumors of Samsung Galaxy SIV being launched on March 14 in New York have been building up quite heavily. The new king is supposed to sport a 5 inch 1080p screen, 2GB RAM, Exynos 5 SoC and 13MP shooter. While rumor mill is still speculating, there wasn't any alleged proof of 13MP shooter being used in SGS4 as same rumors were present at the time of SGS3 for which Samsung went for a better 8MP module only. But things do not remain as they are always.

Today, a couple of images have leaked on Google+ whose EXIF data list the device as GT-I9500 which is consistent with Samsung's numbering patterns. Both the images have 16:9 aspect ration with 4128 X 2322 (approximately 9.6MP) of resolution which can very easily mean that these shots have been taken from a 13MP(in 4:3 aspect ratio) snapper.

The samples aren't that good but that can be because of bad lighting or pre-release software. Anyways, the picassa information is what makes these pictures really worthy of a look.

As it can be seen, the aperture is f/2.2 instead of the f/2.6, which is used in Samsung Galaxy SIII's camera module. Also, as these leaked alleged SGS4 camera samples report a focal length of 4mm and we assume that its 35 mm equivalent focal length is 28mm then it should have a 7x crop factor which in turn translates to a sensor size of 1/3", which is same as what Sony uses in its 13MP BSI sensor on Sony Xperia Z.

Not only this, a look at the updated AnTuTu score list reveals score of a new device with code name GT-I9500 which is again quite similar to how Samsung names it Galaxy S series devices and also is same as the code name seen in the EXIF data of the two images. Although, the device did not top the charts, its score tile did give us three vital informations about the device - its CPU is clocked at 1800 MHz(1.8 GHz), it sports a 1080p (1920 X 1080) screen and it runs on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean.

While these two leaks do look promising and as March 14 is the purported date for the launch, these are also timed quite correctly. But, as always with the leaks, you should keep an open mind and a pinch of salt about this info.
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