Friday, 12 December 2014

Another goof-up: Snapdeal delivers 'marble stones' instead of iPhone to customer

In yet another goof-up, Snapdeal has delivered two huge ‘marble stones’ instead of iPhone Apple 4S, leaving another customer disappointed and angry. Darshan Kabra from Pune had ordered two Apple iPhone 4S on December 7, but instead of the smartphones, he received stones.

Kabra had chosen the cash on delivery (COD) option, and just to be sure, he opened the box in front of the delivery boy. Instead of his order, he found two stones in the box. He took the cash back from the delivery boy and wrote a letter to Snapdeal, and also asked the delivery boy to sign the letter. Kabra shared the letter with BGR India.

Snapdeal responded immediately with an apology letter and also assured him that the matter was being looked into:
Dear Darshan,
Thank you for contacting
Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced. Please note that your complaint against the order number (3862659450) has already been raised and we are working on the same.We will surely update you with the resolution at the earliest. Complaint Number: 13052788. We request you to bear with us in the interim.
Here's the receipt from Snapdeal:

Upset with the whole issue, the customer also told BGR India that he had faced similar disappointments before. Previously too, he had ordered brand new shoes from another e-commerce site, but was delivered used shoes instead.
This is not the first time Snapdeal has messed up with a delivery. Earlier, a person had ordered a Samsung Galaxy Core 2 via Snapdeal, but got a Vim Bar soap in the box. While Snapdeal is at fault again, it is not the only ecommerce site to mess up a delivery. Last month, a person who ordered a pen drive via Flipkart got sent an empty box, not once by thrice.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

YouTube offers buffer-free offline video service

Rajan Anandan, M.D, Google India at a press conference to launch You Tube buffer-free offline video experience held in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: Paul Noronha 
In a move to take advantage of the rapidly growing base of mobile Internet users, YouTube on Thursday launched an offline feature here.
The new offline feature for YouTube app lets people take videos offline, using WiFi or their data plans. Once taken offline, these can be viewed without an Internet connection for up to 48 hours, allowing users to enjoy the videos without the worry about slow connections.
YouTube is a subsidiary of Google Inc.
The offline feature is the YouTube’s latest effort in a series of initiatives to make video content more affordable and accessible to the large base of mobile Internet users in India. It is YouTube’s first release of ad-supported offline feature on Android and iOS, which was announced earlier this year with the launch of Android One smartphones.
Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan said, “India is the world’s largest mobile-only Internet user country, and of the 300 million Internet users, 180-190 million users access Internet through mobile phones.’’
Growing at the current rate, India will cross 500 million Internet users by 2017, and to get to that figure, Internet must be accessible and must have content, Mr. Anandan said adding, “the good news is there are a huge, growing number of users but the bad news is that India is bandwidth-starved with poor network quality and expensive data. The new feature lets people watch videos for short periods of low connectivity or no internet connection.’’
The feature has been built for intermittent Internet access as is the case in India. “We have 60 million YouTube users here. Globally, it is also being simultaneously launched on Thursday in Indonesia and the Philippines too. We will consider taking it to other Asian countries too,’’ Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director, YouTube Partnerships, YouTube Asia-Pacific, said.

New Google technology lets museums display exhibits to mobile users

Google has set up a platform for museums to help them showcase their exhibits to smartphone users.
According to TC World, through partnerships between museums worldwide and the Google Cultural Institute, there are now 11 museums and cultural institutions that have participated in this pilot project to date; their apps are live now on Google Play.
The search giant's cultural division called the Google Cultural Institute has taken up the responsibility of bringing cultural treasures from around the world online and making them accessible to all.
In the past, this group has spearheaded projects like digitizing the Dead Sea Scrolls, documenting the World Wonders in Street View and 3D, and bringing art museums online via Art Project.
The museums can make use of Google technology, including Street View and YouTube, to achieve their goal.

Patent Dispute Forces Xiaomi to Suspend Sales in India

Hands On With The Xiaomi Mi3
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is being forced to temporarily suspend sales of its devices in India amidst a patent case with equipment maker Ericsson.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered Xiaomi and its local sales partner Flipkart to stop importing and selling the devices in India until Feb. 5, when the court is scheduled to hear Ericsson's patent infringement claims against the budget handset maker, according to Reuters.
Xiaomi, whose smartphones are hugely popular in China, entered India this past July. As part of this week's order, the Delhi High Court also asked Xiaomi and Flipkart to hand over data about the phones they sold in the region that include the alleged infringing tech, as well as how much money they made from those sales, Reuters said.
Ericsson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a statement provided to Reuters, the company accused Xiaomi of using its smartphone technology without paying a licensing fee.
"To continue investing in research and enabling the development of new ideas, new standards and new platforms to the industry, we must obtain a fair return on our R&D investments," Ericsson said.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi's Chief of India Operations, Manu Jain, told Reuters that Xiaomi's legal team is currently "evaluating the situation based on the information we have."
Xiaomi in October became the world's third largest smartphone vendor for the first time ever, trailing only Samsung and Apple. Going forward, Xiaomi could face increased competition in India from Apple, which is reportedly planning to open 500 iOS-centric retail stores in the country in a major expansion into smaller Indian towns and cities.
In India, Xiaomi's arrival there was apparently met with much fanfare. As the company noted on its Facebook page, Xiaomi was one of the top 10 most discussed topics in 2014 on Facebook in India, trailing only the country's general election, the Indian Premier League, the World Cup, the Mars orbiter mission, and the floods that devastated Kashmir.
Earlier this month, meanwhile, a sale of 75,000 5.5-inch Xiaomi Redmi Note smartphones sold out in India in less than 10 seconds, the company sai

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Google Nexus 6 to be available from midnight

If you didn't manage to get in your Nexus 6 pre-order on Flipkart, worry not. You'll be able order the phone starting at midnight tonight when Google's Great Online Shopping Festival kicks off.
Unlike previous version of the Nexus, however, the Nexus 6 isn't exactly an impulse buy. You'll pay Rs. 44.000 for the 32 GB version and Rs. 49,000 for the 64 GB.
The Nexus 6 is a top-of-the-line smartphone from Motorola from that runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google's operating system for smartphones and tablets. It features a massive 5.96-inch display, 3 GB RAM and a powerful 2.7 GHz processor, so it should be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at with with minial lag or stuttering. There's also a 13-megapixel camera on the back, but Nexus line's track record with photography hasn't been stellar so far, so we'll have to wait and see if the pictures it takes are any good.

Sony hack reveals aliases used by actors

Hackers calling themselves Guardians of the Peace (GOP) have leaked a large number of confidential files from entertainment giant Sony, in a cyber attack that began on November 24. While the identity of the hackers remains unclear, the information in question has been circulated far and wide: the latest leak contained the secret names used by stars hoping to remain incognito.
Below, we summarise some of the more surprising details to emerge since the hack.
Jessica Alba's alias is "Cash Money"
The latest information leaked by the Sony Pictures hackers reveals the false names used by a number of Hollywood stars to protect their privacy when anonymously checking into hotels or using car booking services. In many cases, the monikers chosen are surprisingly revealing, referencing films, past roles, and family members. In other cases, the aliases are just plain strange – Jude Law's, for instance, is "Mr Perry", while Jessica Alba's is "Cash Money".
• Tom Hanks goes by Harry Lauder and Johnny Madrid. The former was the name of a famous Scottish comedian, while the latter may be a reference to half-Mexican gunslinger Johnny Madrid Lancer, a character on the Sixties US Western series, Lancer

Monday, 8 December 2014

Acer partners Snapdeal to restart smartphone business in India

Taiwanese IT company Acer today restarted its smartphone business in India in partnership with e-commerce firm Snapdeal with the launch of two new handsets, priced at Rs 11,999 and Rs 16,999, respectively 
NEW DELHI: Taiwanese IT company Acer today restarted its smartphone business in India in partnership with e-commerce firm Snapdeal with the launch of two new handsets, priced at Rs 11,999 and Rs 16,999, respectively.

"We have strong presence in IT business. IT industry is converging and at a point colliding with handset business. We want to leverage our strength of IT and smartphone business will compliment it," Acer Group's Vice President (smartphones) Allen Burnes said at the launch event.

The company launched Android Kitkat platform based Liquid Jade dual sim model for Rs 16,999 which has a 5-inch scratch resistant Gorilla glass 3 display, quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory and 13 megapixel main camera.

The other model, Liquid E700, priced at Rs 11,999 has a 5-inch high definition screen. The phone has slot for three sims and comes with 3,500 mAh battery which promises up to 24 hours of talk time, 60 hours of standby time, 12 hours of video viewing and 100 hours of music playback.

"India is a big market, particularly a big wireless market and soon there will be wide spread of 3G and 4G services. Not being here will be a strategic error," Burnes said.

Liquid E700 is also built on Android Kitkat platform and has a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage besides a micro SD card slot for expandable storage.

The company will start selling its phones exclusively on Snapdeal from December 10.

"We are currently reaching out to about 5,000 pin code locations. Acer will be able to have large geographic reach from Day 1 of launching its products," Snapdeal Vice President for Business Strategy Abhishek Passi said.

Passi said Snapdeal is looking to double the number of sellers on its platform to 1 million in next 3 years.

"We are also reaching out to people who do not have access to Internet shopping through Fino stores. We have done pilot (project) across their 200 stores and expand our presence in phased manner to about 7,000 centres," Passi added.

Karnataka govt services now on your fingertips

Citizens of Karnataka now have a reason to cheer. Thanks to Karnataka MobileOne, they can now access around 4,500 services, both public and private, on their fingertips.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday launched the multi-mode mobile governance platform of Karnataka government — a first of its kind initiative in India for the delivery of citizens’ services.

“This unique initiative...signals a new era in governance,” said Pranab Mukherjee during his inaugural address.

The app is available across all platforms, including iOS and Android. On feature phones, the service could be availed through integrated voice response (IVR) and SMS. Users can even dial 161 or *161# to access MobileOne services.

With MobileOne, people will now be able to access a number of services, including payment of utility bills, property tax, booking railway tickets, driving licenses and file income tax returns, among others on their mobile phones.

The platform also enables users to bring to the civic authorities’ attention any non-functioning services. Citizens can even take a simple picture of road potholes or street lights and send it automatically to the concerned officials for redressal. This initiative named as 'ICARE', is one of a kind government citizen engagement model.

Around 4,500 services including G2C, B2C and G2B services can be availed through this mobile governance initiative. These anytime, anywhere, anyhow services will be available round the clock throughout the year at any location in the state or from anywhere in the world on any mobile device.

Payments on MobileOne can be done through debit or credit cards and online wallets. The government has also introduced ‘Karnataka Wallet’ through which payments could be integrated.

The platform, developed through public-private partnership mode with IMI Mobile, has also been integrated with social media websites.

The Karnataka Mobile One will integrate digital media and advertising going forward to enable it to be a self-sustaining model for some select services via advertising revenue, user fees and subscription models.

"Delighted that many start-ups have contributed to Karnataka's visionary MobileOne platform. The Karnataka government has been extremely supportive of young technology companies for whom MobileOne can be an excellent and cost effective distribution channel for gyro offerings,” said Ravi Gururaj, Chairman of Nasscom Product Council.

"Karnataka is also the first state to develop a mobile application approved by the Apple Store. Karnataka is the first state     to have a mobile app that is accessible all India, all telecos, all circles. You can call us from anywhere in India on the unique 3-digit number 161 and get our app from 1-800-425-425-425," Siddaramaiah said.

More services are in the offing on Mobile One. Soon Metro Rail users will be able to pay for their ride from their phone itself and once the legal formalities are completed by the judiciary, citizens can even consider filing FIRs from the comfort of their home or office.

As of now, presence of the citizen is required in person to sign documents, in front of a police officer. An auction system for agricultural market places will also be introduced on the Mobile One in the future and connect farmers and artisans with other larger markets in India for their produce to get better prices, the chief minister added.

PM Narendra Modi, Mukesh Ambani most searched personalities in 2014: Yahoo

BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Mukesh Ambani feature amongst the most searched personalities online this year, according to search engine Yahoo.

According to the seventh edition of Yahoo India's 'Year in Review', Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the list of 'High and Mighty? the Political Top 10' in 2014, followed by his aides Arun Jaitley (Finance and I&B Minister) and BJP President Amit Shah.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav have also been named in the list.

The review is based on users' daily search habits and an editorial selection of what they read, recommended and shared most on Yahoo in India.

"The slew of reforms and Modi's efforts to improve diplomatic ties were of ongoing interest to Yahoo users. 'Make in India' made it to the top of the list of Biggest Financial Events of the Year," Yahoo said.

Industrialist Mukesh Ambani made a second appearance at the No 1 spot as the nation's most influential people, followed by Tata Group boss Cyrus Mistry and Gautam Adani, Chief of Adani Group of Industries.

This year's top finance newsmakers include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka, Flipkart's Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal and Snapdeal's Rohit Bansal.

Two high-profile deaths in the corporate world -- the mysterious plane crash of French oil major Total's CEO Christophe de Margerie's in Moscow and the death of Tata Motors' MD Karl Slym in Bangkok -- were among other top searches in this category.

Sachin Tendulkar, with his much talked about autobiography, topped the cricketers of the year list, followed by Phil Hughes, MS Dhoni and N Srinivasan.

Sunny Leone was the most-searched celebrity for the third year in a row, along with names like Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham.

In the tech category, Yahoo users searched for Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4, Microsoft XBox One, Amazon Kindle Fire, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Most popular cars in terms of online search were Hyundai Xcent, Tata Zest, Hyundai Elite i20, Maruti Ciaz and Diesel powered Honda City.

Micromax Canvas Selfie with 13MP front camera announced

NEW DELHI: Micromax has unveiled a new selfie-focused Android smartphone, Canvas Selfie in the Indian market. The phone's unique selling proposition is its 13MP front camera which is accompanied by an LED flash. The company has not revealed the pricing of the phone but has said that it will be available via online and offline stores starting second week of January.

The phone will be available in mystic blue and angelic white colour variants and sports a faux leather finish at the back. It has a 4.7-inch HD (720x1280p) IPS display.

Powered by a 1.7GHz MediaTek octa core processor and 2GB RAM, the phone comes with 16GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 32GB. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

The Canvas Selfie features a 13MP rear camera with LED flash, and a 13MP front-facing camera also accompanied by a flash. Both cameras have auto focus and Sony sensors. The smartphone comes with inbuilt beauty tools for taking better selfies in the camera application including 'Eye Enhancement' which makes eyes bigger & brighter; 'Face slimming' which offers high cheek bone effect & rid you of the double chin; 'Skin Smoothening' which helps remove blemishes; 'Teeth Whitening' for whitening teeth; and 'Remove Oil' tool to get rid of the oil patches.

Users can also add make up effects like mascara, eye-shadow, blush and lip gloss.

The dual sim smartphone supports 3G, Wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS connectivity options. It comes with a 2300mAh battery.

Other selfie focused phones include HTC Desire 820 which sports an 8MP front camera. Oppo N1, N1 Mini and N3 phones also come with rotating camera swivels so a single module doubles up as the front as well as the rear camera, offering enhanced selfies.

Commenting on the launch, Vineet Taneja, chief executive officer, Micromax said, "At Micromax, customer centricity has always been at the core of developing products. With over a million selfies being taken every day, out of which 40% claim to re-touch them, we have created a perfect blend of hardware and software to give you that perfect selfie. The Canvas Selfie is an ideal smartphone for the selfie-obsessed users delivering fantastic images and equipping them with great beauty editing tools to look glamourous always."

LG L25 With 4G LTE Support, Firefox OS, and Snapdragon 400 SoC Tipped

LG appears to be working on a new L series smartphone, the Firefox OS-based LG L25, as the purported sketches of the handset along with some specifications have emerged online.
One of the highlights for the LG's rumoured L25 smartphone is said to be its Firefox OS, which is yet to debut in any LG device. The leaked UI screenshots come via @upleaks, in a Twitter post. According to the the tipster, the LG L25 will initially only be available with Japanese carrier KDDI.
As per the smartphone sketches, the LG L25 is likely to feature a single home button, a front-facing camera, sensors, rear camera with flash, and a speaker at the lower right at the rear panel.
Another Twitter post from the popular tipster shows the purported specifications sheet of the LG L25 handset. The smartphone is said to feature a 4.6-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) resolution display with 313ppi pixel density, 16GB of inbuilt storage, and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with a Cortex A7 cores coupled with 1.5GB of RAM.
The LG L25 is also said to sport an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, and Bluetooth 3.0. LG L25 will measure 70x139x10.5mm and weigh 148 grams. The pricing details of the handset have not yet been tipped, though we expect if real the smartphone would be an affordable mid-range offering.
LG launched its last L-series smartphone in India, the L45 Dual back in October at Rs. 6,500. Some of the other smartphones launched in India this year by LG include the LG L Bello, LG L Fino and LG L Prime.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Facebook Relaunches Slingshot, a More Snapchat-like 'Share Life as it Happens' App

Barely six months later when it was launched, Slingshot gets makeover to allow smoother sharing between users. Facebook had initially wanted the app to compete against Snapchat. However, Slingshot would normally require a user to reply with a photo or video in order to see the one that was sent by a friend. This feature is one of the Facebook Creative Labs' early releases as part of the experimental phase in mobile app design.
Eventually, Facebook learned that the feature does not promote frictionless sharing and has decided to reinvent the app by removing the restriction. From being a Snapchat-clone app, Slingshot has now become an authentic photo messaging app with Instagram-inspired filters.
In the redesigned app, users can easily send looping videos and full-screen images in a matter of two taps. They can also choose from five filters, add captions and drawings, and show their reaction by sending a shot.
"You can now filter, draw on and caption reactions for more personal and creative conversations. Also, just like with the regular camera, you can now preview reactions before sending," said Slingshot in a blog post.
Just like Snapchat, users can keep a reel of photos and videos which remain unswiped within 24 hours. They can easily see the content that they have sent or received after pulling down the camera which is pretty much similar with Snapchat's 'My Story.' Users can share their photos to other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
"Every time you pull down the camera you'll see a grid of the most recent content from the past day - shots only stick around for 24 hours or until they're swiped away. We've also made it easier than ever to move between shots, reactions, people and the camera with our new swipeable tab design," said Slingshot.
The team from the Creative Labs also added a feature that will allow users to learn about other users who they can follow. Follower requests can be approved manually and special notifications can be set for a particular group of friends.
"You can always choose to manually approve each follower request if that's your jam. Also, turn on instant notifications for your favorite people to get notified whenever they sling a shot," added Slingshot.
The redesigned Slingshot is now available on Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop versions of Android and iOS7 and higher versions of the iPhone

Disney Research’s new technique aims to make HDR video look better on consumer displays

Disney Research’s new technique aims to make HDR video look better on consumer displays
A new image processing technique developed by Disney Research could make high dynamic range (HDR) video look better when shown on consumer-quality displays.
The technique works by preserving much of the rich visual detail while eliminating “ghosting” and other unwanted visual artifacts.
The combination of HDR acquisition and the new technique enables video effects such as showing the detail of an actor’s face even as lighting shifts from shadow to direct sunlight and back to shadow.
HDR is a means of capturing images with a greater range of lighting and contrast – from dark shadows to bright sunlight – than is possible with standard photography and that is closer to how people perceive natural scenes.
But HDR currently outstrips the dynamic range that most televisions and video monitors can display, so HDR video must go through a process called tone mapping to adapt those images to the limitations of displays.
A number of such techniques, or tone mapping operators (TMO), exist, noted Tunc Aydin, an Associate Research Scientist at Disney Research Zurich.
But though they reduce the dynamic range of the video, they either lose some of the visual details or they introduce unwanted effects, such as brightness flickering, or amplify camera noise to create ghosting.
The local tone mapping method developed by Aydin and his colleagues at Disney Research uses an approach taken with many TMOs – decomposing the signal into a base and a detail layer.
In that way, the dynamic range of the base layer can be reduced while preserving a great amount of detail and fine scale contrast.
The main difference that the Disney team introduced is using a temporal filter on the detail layer and a spatiotemporal filter on the base layer.
They also developed a simple interface that enables a user to perform tone mapping interactively once the base and detail layers have been pre-computed.
Researchers found that the technique was capable of tone mapping video sequences with complex motion and lighting changes and was worked particularly well in low-light situations where camera noise was high.

Mark Zuckerberg dismisses Apple CEO's statement about ads as 'ridiculous'

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected Tim Cook's claim that ads turn customers into products, saying that it was a "ridiculous concept".
According to the Verge, Zuckerberg was apparently irritated by the claim that ad supported services are bad for users. Zuckerberg said that he was frustrated about people equating an advertising business model with being out of alignment with your customers, reported the Verge.
Zuckerberg was referring to comments made by Cook in September at the time when Cook defended Apple's approach to security after hundreds of nude and private images of celebrities were stolen from iCloud.
Zuckerberg said that his company's mission was to connect with everyone in the world and that it cannot be done by making people pay for a service.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S to Go on Sale Without Registration on Monday

Xiaomi has announced that the popular Redmi 1S budget smartphone will go on sale on Monday via Flipkart without registration 'while stocks last'. The company has not announced exactly when the sale will begin.

The December 8 sale of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S was announced by the firm on its Facebook page and Twitter handle, with the image captioned 'Open for all. No registration. While stocks last.'

The previous time the Redmi 1S went on sale was on November 25, but Xiaomi did not reveal how many units had gone on sale, and it was widely held as the last flash sale for the popular Rs. 5,999 smartphone.

Xiaomi, also known as China's Apple, had in the same week launched its new budget offering in the market, the Xiaomi Redmi Note phablet, and had successfully conducted the first flash sale on Flipkart on December 2, seeing 50,000 units go 'out of stock' in 6 seconds.

The week before that, Xiaomi had put up 65,000 units of the Redmi 1S for sale on Flipkart. The company however did not detail how fast these units were snapped up. The dual-SIM Xiaomi Redmi 1S features a 4.7-inch 720x1280 pixel IPS-LCD display; Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with MIUI v5; 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC (MSM8228); Adreno 305 GPU; 1GB of RAM; 8GB of built-in storage; expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB); 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with flash; 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, and 2000mAh battery.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note is the company's new cash crop in India until the higher-end Mi 4 flagship finally rolls out in the country. The company launched two models in India, with a single-SIM 4G LTE variant priced at Rs. 9,999, and running Android 4.4.2 KitKat on a quad-core 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU and 3GB of RAM. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G - becoming available via flash sales and Airtel stores in the second half of December.

The regular dual-SIM Xiaomi Redmi Note 3G is priced at Rs. 8,999 and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean on a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MTK6592 SoC, coupled with 2GB of RAM. Both variants bear a 5.5-inch 720x1280-pixel IPS LCD screen, and feature a 13-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash, as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. They come with 8GB of built-in storage with expansion via microSD card (up to 32GB).

Apple to set up 500 dedicated stores in India soon

Apple is said to be readying for a big push in India, and according to a media report, is planning on setting up 500 dedicated stores. With this push, the Cupertino-based company wants to move beyond the metros and focus on smaller towns and cities.
This isn’t the first time we are hearing of Apple’s plans to set up exclusive stores in India. Earlier this year, BGR India had exclusively reported about Apple’s plans to set up stores to sell iPhones and iPads in the country. These stores are likely to be smaller than a typical Apple Premium Reseller store that has to stock all Apple products. This is in line with the ToI report, which claims that the stores “will be smaller in size and could range from 300-600 sq ft against over 2,000 sq ft size of existing stores in bigger cities.”
Since India doesn’t allow FDI in single-brand retail, Apple won’t be able to setup its own stores, and will instead have to go the franchise way. The company will offer up to 9.5% in margin for every iPhone or iPad sold, of which 5 percent would be upfront and the remaining 4.5% would be given later. It will also offer up to 6% margin on accessories, both from Apple and third parties.
As for the stores themselves, they would consist of one store manager, one iOS promoter (provided by Apple) and one to two sales managers, which signifies these would be tiny stores. The stores will also be required to have 10-15 demo devices, of which Apple would bear 50 percent of the cost. The ToI report further claims that Apple will be ramping up its marketing and advertising budget for its products in India.
It is not surprising to see Apple pay so much attention to India, which is also the fastest growing smartphone market in the Asia-Pacific region. While Apple’s iPhones have sold relatively well in India, the Cupertino-based giant is not even in the top-five smartphone companies in the country. According to a recent IDC report, Apple’s chief rival Samsung is the market leader followed by Micromax, Karbonn and Lava, and Motorola.
“All this will change now. The company is finalizing plans to become a serious player in India, which is being seen as a strategic and one of the most promising markets globally,” an Apple executive told the publication.
Apple recently launched the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in India, and according to the publication, sold around a million iPhones in the country in the year ending September 2014. Going forward, the company expects to triple that number and cross the three million mark.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Reliance Comm signs seven year managed services deal with Ericsson

Reliance Communications (RCom) has signed a seven-year full-scope managed services agreement with Ericsson to operate and manage their wireline and wireless networks across India, a statement said Friday.
The Swedish telecom gear maker will also take over responsibility for the field maintenance, network operations and operational planning of RCom's 2G, CDMA and 3G mobile networks, Ericsson said in the statement.
This strategic pan-Indian deal is an expansion of the existing agreement, which enables Ericsson to deepen its partnership with RCom and extends its managed services footprint nationwide across all the 22 circles in India.
This is the first pan-Indian managed services deal for Ericsson, the statement said.
"Given the complexity of networks and the growing performance expectations from customers, we are banking on the experience, innovation and technical expertise of Ericsson to improve the productivity of our network and ensure customer satisfaction and retention by delivering superior network performance and service quality at optimized costs," said Suresh Rangachar, head of commercial, Reliance Communications.
"We have been managing their (RCom) networks in north and west and are now pleased to extend this support to all 22 circles. The growing uptake in the use of new technologies requires an increased focus on customer experience management, and that will be our focus as we take on this mandate," said Magnus Mandersson, Ericsson's executive vice president and head of its Business Unit Global Services.
Ericsson will streamline RCom's operations by bringing all aspects of fibre, mobile networks and wireline access networks to RCom's wireless and Global Enterprise Business, across differentiated product lines.
Under this agreement, Ericsson will also work with RCom to identify opportunities to introduce new services and expand its existing businesses to help realize the full potential of its network. The integration is effective as of Dec 1.
RCom's infrastructure covers over 150,000 km of fibre, 2G/3G/CDMA mobile network, wireline access and enterprise network in 22 telecom circles, across India and includes 21,000 towns and 400,000 villages to which it offers converged services including voice, data and video.

Looking for the best mobile plan? Try this app

NEW DELHI: A new web-cum-mobile application-based service promises to take the drudgery out of searching for the best telecom network and tariff plan that mobile phone users should opt for.

Two former top executives of Vodafone India and Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm have teamed up to launch Billbachao, which notifies mobile phone users about the operator which has the best connectivity in the area and the tariff plan that suits them on the basis of their individual profiles.

Jonathan Bill, who worked for Vodafone India and is the managing director and co-founder of Billbachao, told ET that the app can help users save up to 25% on their tariffs — whether it's prepaid or postpaid — with the same operator.

"The app also has recommendations for the most optimum network based on where you live, work and travel," he said.

Co-founder Arvind Rao, who worked with Reliance Jio Infocomm as its innovation head, said it was just the right time for him and Bill to launch the company.

How bad the app problem in Windows Phone really is

Microsoft's Windows Phone is a fine platform with a huge app problem. Popular apps available for iOS and Android simply aren't there for Windows Phone.

Worse, Microsoft's app store is filled with fakes and ripoffs — and some of those are among the 100 most popular.

A 30-page report published by Jackdaw Research highlights how bad the situation is.

For instance:

* A search for "YouTube" on the Windows Phone returns dozens of obvious fake YouTube apps. Check out a screenshot here. The official Microsoft app is circled. (Google won't make one.)

* A search for "Swing Copters," a game for iOS and Android created by the maker of "Flappy Bird," returns more than 25 fake apps with "Swing Copters" in their title. In fact, the app isn't available for Windows Phone.

* Of the top 100 most popular apps, 38 of them are also available on iOS and Android (in other words, Windows Phone has very few exclusives), 38 are generic apps like flashlights, 9 are substitutes for popular apps that haven't come to Windows Phone yet (like Snapchat), 8 are fakes, and 7 were made by Microsoft.

* There's usually a lag of at least 200 days between the time a popular app comes to iOS and Android and when it comes to Windows Phone. Microsoft's platform is almost never in the first wave of releases.

The paper also suggests that Microsoft may never be able to turn it around. Because Windows Phone's market share is so low — it peaked at 3.4% in the last quarter of 2013 and has since fallen to 2.8%, according to IDC — that developers see little reason to build apps for it. The lack of apps drives people to other platforms, which keeps popularity low, which keeps app count low, and so on, into a death spiral.

The researchers don't think Windows 10 will help. Microsoft says with Windows 10, programmers will be able to make apps for PCs, tablets, and phones without much extra work for each platform. But the types of apps that are needed on Windows Phone typically aren't the same kinds of apps made for PCs, and developers may not do the work necessary to customize their apps for the smaller screen because, again, there's not enough opportunity to justify the cost.

Jackdaw's recommendation for Microsoft? Build a great flagship phone, explain what Windows Phone actually stands for and somehow convince developers that they can make money on the platform.

Apple to focus on India, 500 retail stores coming soon

Apple to focus on India, 500 retail stores coming soon
Apple is reportedly finalising plans to strengthen its presence in India by setting up 500 stores in the country and focusing on smaller towns and cities.
Though Apple iPhones have sold fairly well in India in the recent past, Samsung still tops the smartphone market in India, followed by Micromax and Xiaomi. “All this will change now. The company is finalizing plans to become a serious player in India, which is being seen as a strategic and one of the most promising markets globally,” an Apple executive told Times of India.
The iPhone 6 has been a massive success in developed countries, which has put Apple on course for a record quarter. Apple ranks number one in terms of the overall smartphone market share both in the US and UK. It has also been a massive success in China, though Xiaomi still reigns as the top smartphone manufacturer there. It recently crossed the $700 billion market cap milestone in the US.
In India, however, Apple lags far behind not making it even to the top five smartphone vendors in the country. Thanks to the huge demand for entry-level smartphones and basic handsets, Apple faces competition from brands like Samsung, Micromax, Karbonn and Lava. To add to that, there are few retail stores that sell Apple products compared with its rivals.
According to Insider Monkey, a big problem for Apple in India is that the price of the iPhone is generally out of the reach of many average Indians. Unlike in countries such as the US and UK, it can’t sell its iPhones at a subsidised cost in exchange for a two-year contract with a wireless carrier. In India, the phones sell at a full retail price, which puts it in the Rs 40,000-plus price bracket.
Apple itself  did not take India seriously for a very long time. It had re-launched the outdated iPhone 4 earlier this year at a mid-range price, while newer phones such as the iPhone 5, 5s and the latest iPhone 6 models arrived considerably late. Similarly, many of the features in Apple devices are yet to come to India. Two years ago, Tim Cook had said “I love India, but I believe Apple has some higher potential in the intermediate term in some other countries.” He added, “We have a business there and the business is growing but the multi-layered distribution there really adds to the cost of getting products to market.”
Fast forward to 2014, and India has emerged as the fastest growing smartphone market in Asia. While budget handsets continue to be the driver of smartphone sales, there’s also a growing demand for expensive smartphones. Apple, for one, can’t afford to ignore this market. Times of India reports that Apple sold around one million phones in India by September 2014 and expects the demand to increase this year and top 3 million. However, with the changing economic scenario along with the increasing buying power, India has become a viable market for premium smartphones.
There’s enough evidence to indicate a growing demand for Apple products in India. With the delay in the iPhone 6 launch in India, the phones were selling for over a lakh through grey-market channels. Ahead of the launch of the iPhone 6, it also saw buyers queuing up Apple stores to get their hands on Apple’s latest smartphones and the new iPhones ran out of stock just weeks after the launch. According to PatentlyApple, Apple is way ahead of Samsung in India in the premium smartphone market with a 55.3% share against Samsung’s 24.2% share.
Apple’s push for a greater reach in India will help it tap the burgeoning demand for premium smartphones. “These new stores will be smaller in size and could range from 300-600 sq ft against over 2,000 sq ft size of existing stores in bigger cities,” a source said to Times of India. The report adds that Apple is likely to carry on with its franchise model for selling its devices, which may be spearheaded by Redington. Apple is also expected to invest in direct advertising in India, apart from the publicity provided by its distributors.

Facebook takes ‘Slingshot’ at Snapchat with revamp

Facebook has added a host of new features for Slingshot users.— AFP-Relaxnews picLOS ANGELES, Dec 5 — In another attempt to out-Snapchat Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app of choice for most of the world’s teenagers, Facebook has added a host of new features.
Now, as well as sending direct, time-limited messages and images, Slingshot users can view a 24-hour feed of their friends’ posts — or as Facebook calls them, ‘Slings’ — rather like Snapchat’s Stories feature.
However, there is a subtle twist in terms of presentation, anyway. There’s no need to select an individual friend in order to view posts; all recent posts from friends are grouped together in a grid. And there’s also the option to discover and follow others beyond a user’s contacts book.
Perhaps the most unusual new feature, considering that at its core, Slingshot is meant to be ephemeral moments, is the ability to look back on the last day’s posts and share them via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
In a blogpost announcing the rejuvenated app, the Slingshot crew said that the changes were based on what existing users wanted: “With Slingshot we originally set out to create a place where you could share real, raw moments with your friends. Since we released the first version we have been listening to all of the great feedback from our community and have been cranking away at a big update.”
Slingshot initially launched in June and attempted to set itself apart form other ephemeral messaging apps by forcing users to reply with a photo or video in order to see a post sent by a friend. At the time its product manager, Will Ruben said that the reason for the feature was because: “it’s an app where everyone is a creator and no one is a spectator.”

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Moto E 2nd generation specs get leaked

Motorola’s Moto E proved to be an extremely successful smartphone in developing markets where it also went on to become a trend-setter thanks to its advanced hardware and software offerings that were offered at a low price. It’s therefore no surprise that the company is now planning a 2nd generation version of it, and specs of the said smartphone have been leaked already.
The second gen Moto E will be pretty similar to the first gen Moto G in terms of internal components. A Greek website named Techmaniacs (via GSM Arena) claims to have seen the device in the flesh and has revealed that it houses a 4.5-inch touchscreen display on its front. While the resolution of the panel of the same size on the Moto G is 720p HD, the one on this phone will apparently remain fixed at 540 x 960p.
Moto E
The first gen Moto E came with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box which forced other manufacturers to start living up to this standard pretty quickly. Its successor will keep the tradition alive and ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop pre-installed on it. This handset will be 4G LTE-compatible for markets supporting the super-fast connectivity standard.
Also Read: Xiaomi Redmi 1S smartphone for Rs 6999 can beat the Moto E in India
The camera on its predecessor was a lousy one despite grabbing a 5MP sensor as it did not feature the auto-focus ability. While the second-gen Moto E too will carry a 5MP shooter, we’re hoping that Motorola blesses it with auto-focus this time around at least. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 or its 410 variant is the chipset that’s expected to be embedded inside it.
The 2nd gen Moto E could be unveiled in the days to come as Motorola (Lenovo) would want to cash in on the holiday season shopping rush. But if it’s not ready until then, we will have to keep guessing about the company’s plans for it.

Asus VivoMini PCs UN42 and UN62 unveiled in India

The Asus VivoMini UN42 and VivoMini UN62 are portable and compact PCs that can now be purchased by interested parties in India by shelling out Rs 13500 and Rs 26500, respectively. Once you’ve done that, all you’ll need is a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse, as their small form factor offers you everything else that you’ve come to expect from a basic computer.
These mini PC systems will come with 64-bit professional versions of either Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 OS pre-installed on them. While the Asus VivoMini UN42 is fueled by a 1.4GHz dual core Intel Celeron 2957U processor, the VivoMini UN62 can be purchased with either a 4th generation Intel Core i3 or Core i5 processor aboard, according to your preference.
Asus Vivo Mini PCs
It has been revealed by Asus that the base model of the VivoMini UN42 kicks in 2GB worth of RAM which can be stretched till up to 16GB. Options for storage include a 32GB or 256GB SSD. The VivoMini UN62 variant grabs 4GB (or up to 16GB) worth of RAM, and this PC too comes with 32GB to 256GB SSD storage options.
Also Read: New Asus PadFone mini outed in India at Rs 15999
These new compact machines from Asus bring in support for Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.0. They even house four USB 3.0 ports and terminals for HDMI, RJ45 LAN, display, audio, four-in-one card reader, Kensington lock and DC-in. They can support three independent displays via HDMI and DisplayPort++, and they even offer 4K/UHD visuals on compatible monitors.
Measuring in at 131mm x 131mm x 42mm, the Asus VivoMini UN42 and VivoMini UN62 will be released into the Indian market sometime this month, with their asking amounts starting at the above mentioned price tags of Rs 13500 and Rs 26500, in that order.

Truecaller updates app, crosses 100 million global users

Truecaller updates app, crosses 100 million global usersTruecaller has launched an update for its app on Google Play. The new update focuses on predictive style features, which suggests who to contact based on call history, time of day, and place.
Truecaller has surpassed 100 million users globally, and has doubled its daily new users in less than three months. Consumers use Truecaller to identify unknown numbers, block unwanted calls, and search contact information among people and businesses. In addition to the surge in the user base, Truecaller also receives more than 1.5 billion search requests per month.
New features
Receive Suggested Contacts: Truecaller can now predict who you may want to reach and make relevant suggestions based on call history, time, or location.
Complete Contact Profiles: Truecaller keeps the phonebook up to date with relevant information by adding social media profiles and photos.
Smarter Search and Discovery: Now you can search within your contacts as well as names and numbers beyond your existing phone book with an extensive list of more than 1.5 billion contacts.

Living With a Google Nexus 9

Nexus 9
For the past several weeks, I've been carrying a Google Nexus 9 tablet. It has proven to be a nicely built, fast Android tablet that works well, with an emphasis on showing off Android 5.0 Lollipop on a 64-bit processor.
The hardware itself, built by HTC, seems quite solid. Measuring 8.98 by 6.05 by 0.31 inches (HWD) and weighing 15 ounces, it's not quite as thin as an iPad Air 2 or as light as the Amazon Fire HDX (which has the same size but higher resolution display), but it's still quite easy to handle. The rubberized back feels quite solid in your hand, though it picks up fingerprints very rapidly. The 8.9-inch IPS LCD display has a 2,048-by-1,536 resolution, the same as the 9.7-inch iPad Air. The screen generally seems quite nice, if not quite up to the screens on the iPad Air 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S. I noticed a bit more reflection than on the iPad, and the resolution and color depth weren't quite up to the Tab S.
The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera is adequate but nothing special. In general, I found the iPad Air camera to be better; though then again, I'm not sure I would really use a tablet this large as a general camera.
What sets the Nexus 9 apart from a hardware perspective is the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor in the version with 192 "CUDA cores" (essentially programmable shaders) and Nvidia's custom 64-bit ARMv8 cores, known as Project Denver. Nvidia says this is the first 64-bit ARM processor designed for Android Lollipop and should support the latest graphics standards as well as providing great performance.
The graphics benchmarks on the chip look great, and the games I tried really seemed quite fast with graphics and details that looked better than I've seen on other Android tablets. On the other hand, Web browsing benchmarks don't look nearly as good, and there were many websites that seem to load faster on the iPad (when both were connected via Wi-Fi). Some of this may just be early software running 32-bit applications but not yet fully optimized for 64-bit processing, but it was a bit disappointing.
Still, what really makes the Nexus 9 stand out is the Android 5.0 Lollipop software, which has appeared first on this and the Nexus 6 phone, although versions should eventually be out for a variety of other, older Android devices as well, starting with older Nexus devices fairly soon now.
The biggest change in Lollipop—other than the 64-bit support—is the look, with what Google is calling its "material design" user interface, aimed at making the look and feel more consistent across devices and applications. In practice, this is a flatter, somewhat more rounded design, with new animations and transitions that definitely improve the look of Android, while in general keeping the speed improvements that came with the previous Android update. You'll notice this in little things, such as a tiny round shadow pulling down or up when you reach the top or bottom of a Web page. Not all applications are updated for Lollipop yet, but I do notice it in a number of third-party solutions already, and more should be coming. Overall, they do make Android feel a bit smoother and more polished.
Another significant change is to Notifications. You can now view and respond to notifications directly from the lock screen, and you can set certain messages or people for priority status, and then let only those messages through (or set it for particular times). I think this is useful, though likely to be more helpful on a phone. In addition, Lollipop comes with encryption automatically turned on; and with the ability to easily switch your device to another user or even a "guest" user, something you can't do with an iPad.
The Nexus series runs stock Lollipop, of course, so there isn't any of the third-party additions or "bloatware" that exist with many Android devices. The bottom of the screen typically displays three buttons: back, home, and recently used applications (which pop up as a series of "cards" heading backwards, just like Google Now). And speaking of Google Now, this shows up when you pull up from the home button or swipe left to right from the first home page of applications.
A number of applications have been rewritten for Lollipop, including Chrome, Gmail, Google Play Music, and Calendar (which looks much cleaner).
As pure Android, the tablet feels a little cleaner and more organized than most third-party Android tablets. There is no separate Gallery application; instead you use Photos, which is linked with Google's online photo storage to view your photos or play back videos. (Of course, you can download third-party apps.)
A shortcut menu giving you access to the most frequently used hardware options (such as turning on and off Wi-Fi) appear when you swipe down twice from the top. That's useful, although most Android vendors like Samsung, LG, or Huawei have already added similar features.
I tend to like the "pure Android" look without the third-party applications, though that's a matter of personal preference. But there are some third-party additions I missed: the Android tablets I've used lately from Samsung and LG all have the ability to display multiple applications at once, something I've found quite useful—for instance, when responding to a mail message about my schedule.
As usual, there are lots of applications for Android tablets, but in general, I've found the iPad has more tablet-specific choices or simply more advanced versions. (Check out the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, for instance, or look for the ESPN Sports Center app.) That's not to say the Android tablets don't work; they just aren't quite as advanced from that perspective. On the other hand, as usual, the Android ecosystem often includes lots of choices that Apple simply doesn't have.
Indeed, the Nexus 9 is just one of a number of similarly sized Android tablets that have come out this year, and it has its strengths and weaknesses. It runs the latest version of Android, and a pure version at that, so it's simpler and smoother than most. The processor is particularly fast for playing games, but other tablets have higher-resolution displays. On the other hand, it lacks the ability to show two applications at the same time, and on the hardware side, lacks any memory expansion ability, replaceable battery, or HDMI out—all of which are available on some alternatives.
At $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi version or $479 for a 32GB one, the Nexus 9 is a relatively high-end tablet with great specs but not quite the top of the market. It's a good choice for a full-size Android tablet, but personally I'd probably choose the Galaxy Tab S with its better screen and multi-tasking features.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3G Review

Redmi Note Main.jpg 


  • Very affordable
  • Good camera quality
  • Smooth UI


  • Glossy back makes it slippery
  • Bad sunlight visibility
  • Battery life could have been better

Our Verdict

The budget smartphone segment needed a good phablet and Xiaomi is the first to oblige. The company has done a pretty good job with the Redmi Note, but it is not without compromises. The smartphone fits the price that is being asked for it, but we have come to expect more from Xiaomi. Nevertheless, if you want a phablet at a budget and a value for money device, then look no further.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

OnePlus: India to be our biggest market soon

NEW DELHI: Bullish on the multi-billion dollar opportunity in the Indian smartphone segment, Chinese handset maker OnePlus has said it expects India to become its biggest market in the next few months.

At present, China is the biggest market for OnePlus, which has announced its foray into India with the launch of its 'One' smartphone at Rs 21,999.

"In the next few months, we expect India to be our biggest market, it will overtake China," OnePlus India general manager Vikas Agarwal said.

In line with its global practice, users in India will receive India-specific invites through OnePlus and The two platforms have been integrated so that invites can be used to purchase the device exclusively on e-commerce major

"We will bring in as many devices as possible in sync with our production capacity. Cumulatively, till mid-October, we have already sold 500,000 devices (globally)," he added.

This is the first time that OnePlus has entered a new market with local presence and collaboration with a local partner.

It has set up a local team in India, led by Agarwal, for marketing and sales. The Chinese startup is also putting together an engineering team in Bangalore in the next few months.

OnePlus One sports a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 5.5-inch display, 3GB RAM, 64GB memory, 13MP rear and 5MP front camera, 3,100mAh battery, 4G support and NFC.

It runs CyanogenMod 11S, a custom aftermarket version of Android, developed by Cyanogen.

OnePlus is developing its own version of Android Lollipop-based OS (the latest version), which will be released for Indian users next month. A final build of the OS will be released in February next year.

The company has partnered with HCL Care to offer after-sales service across 20 cities in India.

India, which is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets globally, is also one of the most lucrative opportunities that handset makers are vying for.

In the last few months, new players like Xiaomi, Oppo and Jolla have entered the Indian market to challenge established players like Samsung, Micromax and Nokia (now Microsoft Devices).

According to IDC, about 44 million smartphones were sold last year. For 2014, it expects the number to cross 80.57 million units.

Android KitKat running on a third of all Android devices

It's taken over a year, but now Android 4.4 KitKat is running on a third of all Android devices, according to figures released by Google.

Android usage
(Image: Google)
KitKat, which first debuted 31 October, 2013 and made its public appearance on the Nexus 5, hit a usage share of 33.9 percent during the seven-day period ending December 1, beating its nearest rivals Android 4.1 and 4.2 (both codenamed Jelly Bean) which stand at 21.3 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively.
Since Google last released Android usage data back in November, KitKat has grabbed around three percentage points of usage share.
Compare this to iOS 8, which is now running on 60 percent of all iPhone and iPads after only two and a half months. However, even Apple has found it hard to get users to upgrade to iOS 8/8.1.
With KitKat and Jelly Bean now powering four out of every five Android devices accessing the Google Play store, the older platforms are slowly being squeezed out. However, they are still likely to remain significant well into 2015, by which time, KitKat will have been superseded by Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest Android release, will be fighting to gain traction and usage.

Twitter Brings Instagram-Style Photo Filters to Android and iOS Apps

Microblogging website Twitter on Wednesday added a number of Instagram-style adjustable photo filters to its Android and iOS apps.
"We're rolling out new filters to spice up your photos. Download the latest Twitter for iPhone or Android to enjoy," mentioned the tweet posted by Twitter Mobile.
Filters can be accessed by tapping on the image after it has been embedded to a tweet. Double-tapping on the filter brings up the intensity scale slider of the selected filter, allowing users to adjust it to their liking. All old filters are now also adjustable. A total of eight filters are available on the Twitter apps, namely Radiant, Positive, Warm, Breeze, Glow, Golden, Fame and Stark, all of which can be adjusted separately.
Apart from ensuring users won't leave the app for their basic photo editing needs, the inclusion of new photo filters in the Android and iOS apps is be hoped to help recover some lost user engagement reported by Twitter in October this year.
Twitter notably introduced photo filters in December 2012.
Recently, TweetDeck, a social media dashboard app for managing one or more Twitter accounts, started allowing users to embed or attach multiple photos in a tweet - a feature that was introduced by Twitter earlier this year.
Twitter last month rolled out a feature that let micro bloggers share a public tweet through direct messages. It also added a support for sharing URLs via direct messages (DM), a feature that was previously halted as the firm was updating its backend and infrastructure.

iPhone and Galaxy Note designs are boring: Futuristic phone concepts we wish were real

iPhone and Galaxy Note designs are boring: Futuristic phone concepts we wish were real
Smartphones are getting bigger, sleeker and more powerful. All that is good. But they are also getting very boring. Apple borrows from Samsung. Samsung, in turn, looks at Apple. HTC looks at them both and the Chinese borrow design cues from everyone. It is a vicious circle.
In fact, the phone industry has become incredibly conservative from a design perspective. It is an industry where there is an obsession about product attributes that one can measure empirically. How fast is it? What is the storage capacity? How big is the screen? How sharp is it? In essence, this is a comfortable space to compete in. You know that four is better than two and it doesn’t take much to convince people about that.
But the obsession with absolutes means that true design innovation has gone out the window. When was the last time you were truly taken in by the design of a phone? As Jony Ive, Apple’s design genius, once said, “Different and new is relatively easy. doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.”
And ‘genuinely better’ is something that most companies don’t do well.
The all new Gionee W900 with two 1080p displays seems like a breath of fresh air in the otherwise cliched mobile design market.  But even then the form factor remained the same. To take a break from this dreary world, we take a look at a world beyond the dreary phones of today. No, we can’t vouch for how practical they will be, but some of these design concepts are really interesting.
What we would love to see
While clamshells and sliders were once considered cool and chic, the need for a larger display may be the reason why manufacturers bid goodbye to the flip phone design. But, how about a slider that opens up to offer a larger display? Yes, we would love to see a slider smartphone that opens up in such way that the inner section can be aligned with the outer and together it serves as a large display. This would also mean, a more portable device.
Looking at the upcoming flexible/bendable display, we expect some innovations here too. How about a display sleek and flexible enough to be tucked into a tiny compartment? We came across the Samsung One concept that convinced us how cool it would be if a sleek pen could transform into a large screen phone. The pen easily fits into your pockets and pulling out the 6-inch flexible screen turns it into a full-fledged mobile device. To know all updates even without the need to pull out the screen, one could view notifications on the touchscreen embedded on the body of the concept pen. The image below shows the speaker, camera and also a cool charging dock. The question is how small yet effective will the battery be? Nevertheless, we are hopeful and would love to see this concept reach mainstream markets sometime in the near future.
Image: Yanko Design
With the increasing number of smartwatches and biggies like Apple and Google have taken the plunge into this sector, there could be a point when we could see an intersection of both categories. Now, a standalone smartwatch isn’t something novel, but how about it is capable of doing just about everything like your smartphone. How cool is a smartwatch with a projector that serves as a keypad. Take a look at the iPhone palm concept phone below. This device is truly futuristic and completely adheres to Apple’s weight loss therapy. You don’t have to carry it in your pockets, because the wearable device can be strapped around your wrist. It has a projector that projects the usual homescreen on your palm; your fingers do the rest of navigation using this projected display. The device has a small touchscreen with some shortcuts and notifications. Overall, really cool and innovative!
iPhone on the palm (Image Credit: Design Launches)
The smartwatch can also be built of flexible material, like the flexible/bendable displays we see these days, thought not widely commercial. The device can be strapped on your wrist and then unfolds as a phone. A lot of such concepts have been floating online, making us hope that someday they could turn into a reality. These device could further turn into fashionable accessories that can also serve as tech products.
When it comes to design, Oppo and LG seems to show some innovations – LG with its button arrangement on the G3 and Oppo N series comes with a swivel camera. Something on similar lines we can expect innovations on how the camera module is placed and used. Take a look at the Spinner Windows phone with a modular camera module. The device looks uber-premium and chic with a metallic frame.
Image: Phone Designer
Image: Phone Designer
What we don’t want to see
A phablet still seems a little large when it goes beyond 5.5-inches. But that doesn’t mean we would want to large tablet with a detachable phone. It’s just silly and meaningless. The Fujitsu concept known as “The Part” showing a detachable phone isn’t something we would like. We can manage with slightly larger phablets.
Image: YankoDesign
While smartwatches are all cool, we hope manufacturers don’t feel the need to look for something even sleeker. We don’t want people speaking into their finger rings. Moreover, additional dongles or clips to control the phone are also absurd, especially considering the smartwatch/band can be strapped onto your wrists. For instance –  FlyIdea, a dongle that serves as a wireless earphone to sync your device and use the camera, control music and record videos directly using the dongle, just seems like an additional minute device to carry.

Now, an app to tell callers what you are up to if you don't pick up your phone

Status, an iOS/Android app has been designed in such a way that it automatically updates and shares information about what the users are up to with their friends.
The app helps users to let their friends know why exactly they aren't able to receive their calls.
According to Tech Crunch, Status uses a big ol' array of data to figure out what one is up to, and automatically shares that information with a finely-honed list of friends.
Status can find out about the whereabouts of the users via geofencing (and the Wi-Fi network that one is connected to) and automatically set ones status to "At [wherever]."
The report added that in case the user is somewhere that the app doesn't recognize, it'll just say "Out and about.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

DoT plans to auction 3G spectrum in February: Trai

It is official that the (DoT) plans to conduct auction of 2,100MHz spectrum band in February, along with 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands. To facilitate the process, the has asked Telecom regulatory Authority of India (Trai), on November 27, to give its recommendations on what would be the reserve price of 2,100MHz band of airwaves.
Trai, on Tuesday, has floated a consultation paper on valuation and price of 2100MHz spectrum band which will be auctioned simultaneously with 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands. After comments and submission from the stakeholders, the regulator will give its recommendations on the base price.
"DoT requested Trai to expedite the process for its recommendations on the reserve price of 2100 Mhz band and related issues so that the auction of spectrum in this band could be conducted along with the auction of spectrum in the 800/900/1800 MHz bands scheduled in February 2015," according to a Trai statement.
There were doubts regarding the time of the auction of 2,100MHz band as the DoT had earlier said that the auction of the band cannot be conducted as there was no indication from the Defence on vacation of spectrum. However, the issue seemed to have been resolved after Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and newly appointed defence minister Manohar Parrikar met last month. Both the ministries are believed to have sorted the issue.
The industry has long been asking for additional spectrum for commercial use and has been asking the Government to auction 2,100MHz band of radiowaves. The main point of contention was a plan that the defence ministry would give 15 MHz of spectrum in the 2,100 MHz band in return for the same amount in the 1,900 band, which was with the DoT and had been reserved for providing spectrum to CDMA operators for expansion. Earlier, the two ministries had agreed the spectrum in the 1,700-2,000-MHz band would be equally divided between the two, each getting 150 MHz.
With the move, telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafane, Idea and Reliance Communications, which had feared a shortage of spectrum would lead to cut-throat competition and raise auction prices, can breathe easy.
Trai, in a statement, said stakeholders can send their comments regarding 2100 Mhz band auction by December 15 and counter-comments by December 19. Last week, Trai has reiterated its recommendations for 900 and 1800MHz bands while it has increased the base price by 15 per cent for 800MHz band.
The DoT has estimated that the next round of spectrum auction, scheduled in February, will add at least Rs 9,355 crore from sale of spectrum. As per estimates, auction of spectrum in 2100 Mhz band in February can fetch bids worth at least Rs 5,000 crore.

OnePlus One 64 GB phone launched at Rs 21,999

OnePlus One 64 GB phone launched at Rs 21,999
Chinese start-up OnePlus has launched its One smartphone in India after months of rumour and conjecture. The company has aggressively priced the 64GB variant of its device at Rs 21,999. The phone will be available via using the OnePlus invite system.
The phone has attracted the attention of geeks as it boasts powerful hardware and an innovative software layer built using Android known as Cyanogenmod.
However, its use in India is clouded as the Micromax, the popular Indian smartphone brand announced that the Cyanogenmod ROM will be exclusive to its soon to be launched Yu sub brand in India. The phone is based on Android 4.4 KitKat.
OnePlus says Indian users will be able to manually update the phone, but as per the Cyanogen deal with Micromax over the air updates for the phone will be disabled in India.
The company says that it is developing a community build based on Android Lollipop. It says that the community build of the Lollipop based ROM will be out by December, but a stable build will be available in February 2015.
The phone has a 5.5-inch 1080P IPS display, 3GB of RAM, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, a 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and a 3,100mAh battery. The phone is offered in two finishes - Sandstone Black and Silk White.

Lava Iris Win1 Windows smartphone unveiled in India at Rs 4999

The Lava Iris Win1 is yet another Windows Phone 8.1 device to be launched by an Indian brand within a fortnight, pegged at an extremely affordable price of just Rs 4999. This phone is slated to go on sale come December 4 exclusively through Flipkart, the manufacturer has revealed.
The Lava Iris Win1 carries pretty modest components that are highlighted by a 4-inch 480 x 800 pixel display and a 1.2GHz quad core Snapdragon processor. It features a 5MP BSI+ rear-facing camera which is accompanied by an LED flash, while its front surface is adorned by a 0.3MP snapper for selfies and video calling.
Lava Iris Win1
Despite its low asking amount, this Lava phone offers a 1GB RAM module, apart from 8GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable up to 32GB. It’s a dual SIM device which is powered by a 1950mAh battery and bears 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and microUSB connectivity choices.
Also Read: Celkon Win 400 vs Microsoft Lumia 530: Battle of the cheap Windows Phones
Last week saw the launch of a similarly priced handset from Celkon which is dubbed the Win 400. Other players like Micromax, Karbonn, Xolo and so on have already outed their Windows Phone 8.1 offerings in the past, while software giant Microsoft, introduced its newest offering dubbed the the Lumia 535 to Indian buyers late last month.
A neat look at the specs of the Lava Iris Win1:
- Display: 4-inch IPS, 480 x 800 pixels
- OS: Windows Phone 8.1
- Processor: 1.2GHz quad core
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB storage (expandable up to 32GB)
- Camera: 5MP BSI+ rear with flash, 0.3MP front
- Battery: 1950mAh
- Connectivity: dual SIM, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, micro USB
Like we said, the Lava Iris Win1 will be made available only via Flipkart from December 4 onward at the aforementioned cost of Rs 4999.

Microsoft to discard clip art from Office products

Microsoft has announced its decision to pull the plug on the last trace of clip art in its Office products, a report said.
The company will now guide its users, in need of imagery, towards Bing Image Search because they are already getting their images online anyway, reported Tech Crunch.
Bing images won't be vector art and hence, not as resizable as its predecessor but will give users a whole range of options. The search engine built inside Office is the same as the one that's built into its standard search engine, just with Creative Commons filters switched on by default to allow commercial use.

Xiaomi Redmi Note smartphone review: Great but might not impress everyone

The Xiaomi Redmi Note is here and this phone too has an eye-popping spec sheet at a jaw-dropping price. However, before you line up virtually on Flipkart, note that this is a really large device and one that runs on the now dated Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system. I played with the new Xiaomi phablet for five days before penning down this review.
Quick specs: 5.5-inch IPS display 720 x 1280 pixels | Android 4.3 OS with MIUI 5 | 1.7 GHz MediaTek MT 6592 octa-core CPU | Mali 450 GPU | 2GB RAM | 8GB internal memory expandable up to 32 GB | 13 MP rear camera | 5 MP front camera | Dual-SIM (regular SIM 3G+2G) | 3200 mAh battery
Picture gallery: Xiaomi Redmi Note
Box contents: Handset, USB cable and adapter.
Price: Rs 8,999
Design: The Redmi Note looks ordinary. After I unboxed the review unit, I was not sure this is something for which people will line up on Flipkart. However, at Rs 8,999, you really can’t expect more.
If you were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the previously launched Redmi 1S smartphone, then for you this phone will appear as an enlarged version of the same. For the rest, the Redmi Note will appear like just another smartphone made by any Indian brand.
Xiaomi Redmi Note and Redmi Note 4G launch
The front face sports a 5.5-inch screen above three red coloured capacitive navigation buttons. On the top is a 5 MP camera and speaker. A white glossy plastic back cover hides two SIM card slots, a microSD slot and a removable 3,100 mAh battery inside.
The Redmi Note with a 5.5-inch display is obviously a large smartphone to carry. However, the rounded edge makes one-handed operability easy. Weighing 200 grams, the Redmi Note is a bit bulky too. The device is mostly made out of cheap glossy plastic but it feels solid in the hand.
Xiaomi Redmi Note and Redmi Note 4G launch
Display: The Redmi Note sports a 5.5-inch 720p display with a pixel density of 267 ppi. The display is not Full HD but does a good job. It is clear and crisp. You shouldn’t have any reasons to complain about the display. The viewing angles are good. Outdoor visibility is surprising good at full brightness. At medium brightness, you will be able to operate the phone under direct sunlight without much difficulties.
Xiaomi Redmi Note and Redmi Note 4G launch
Performance: The Redmi Note offers good performance at this price range. The octa-core MediaTek MT6592 (32 bit, frequency 728 ~ 1664 MHz) with Mali 450 GPU and 2GB RAM will not disappoint you at all. It scored a decent 31337 on AnTuTu Benchmark (v5.3 ). General performance of the phone was good. I did not witness any lags at all while opening apps or doing regular things. On the gaming front, the CPU again performs well. Overall, multimedia experience is good and will satisfy most. However, I witnessed a slight lag while watching movies through USB OTG. The phone does heats up while playing games, but this should not be a problem.
Picture gallery: Xiaomi Redmi Note
Software: The Redmi Note runs on Android 4.2.2 sugarcoated with MIUI 5. There is no official word as to when the device will be upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, if not Android 5.0 Lollipop. The MIUI 5 comes without any app drawer. So, everything is there on the home screen itself.
Xiaomi Redmi Note and Redmi Note 4G launch
Android Wear is compatible with Android 4.3 or higher devices only. So, if you have any Android Wear-based device, it will not sync with the Redmi Note, at least now. On the app front, you will miss several new games, Quickoffice integration (which comes with KitKat) among several others. The MIUI 5 has a ‘Notes’ app, which seems like the only justification of the name Redmi Note.
The MIUI 5 makes Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean look better and easier too. The UI includes a Lite mode which makes it much easier for first time smartphone buyers and elderly non-techie users to use the phone.
For power users, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean will be a big turn off. However, if you are not much into apps, then you can live with it and wait for an update. Note that majority of the Android users are still on Android 4.1 or 4.2 Jelly Bean.
Xiaomi Redmi Note and Redmi Note 4G launch
Camera: This is one area Xiaomi has not compromised at all. For a phone priced at just Rs 8,999, I would say the camera is really good. It’s not the fastest but it will not disappoint you. The camera is capable of taking decent macro and HDR shots. Low light images without flash were surprisingly good. The 5 MP selfie camera is decent too.
Storage: The device offers around 6 GB of internal storage. MicroSD cards up to 32 GB are supported.
Connectivity: The smartphone comes with two regular SIM card slots. The first slot supports 3G while the Slot 2 supports only 2G networks. Overall, there is no issue with connectivity.
Picture gallery: Xiaomi Redmi Note
Battery: The 3100 mAh battery does a good job. The device easily lasts an entire day on normal usage. I managed to watch a 2.5-hour movie via USB OTG with just 16 per cent of battery life (medium brightness and data connection switched off). On the gaming front, two hours of continuous 3D gaming at full brightness and volume drained the battery from 75 per cent to 25 per cent. Overall, the battery life is good. However, the 3,100 mAh battery takes time to charge.
Verdict: The Xiaomi Redmi Note offers great value for money, no doubt. However, be sure about the size and obviously Android 4.2.2 OS, before buying. If you want a large-screened smartphone then this is the only option under Rs 10,000.

Monday, 1 December 2014

ZTE launches Grand S II smartphone at Rs 13,999 on

ZTE launches Grand S II smartphone at Rs 13,999 on Amazon.inZTE has exclusively launched its Grand S II smartphone at a price of Rs 13,999 on today. The Grand S II sports a 5.5-inch Full HD display and runs on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and Android Jelly Bean operating system sugarcoated with UI Mi Favor.
Powered by a 2500 mAh battery, the phone houses a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. On the memory front, it comes with 2GB of RAM with inbuilt storage capacity of 16 GB which can be further expanded up to 32 GB.
ZTE has also introduced ‘Hub and Spoke’ model for customer service and these centers are now open in major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Pune, Kolkata and Delhi. ZTE has approximately 300 service centers across the country and plans to expand to 600 outlets along with the growth of the smartphone business in India. Additionally, ZTE has tied up with five regional distributors with geographical focus for market expansion.
5.5-inch Full HD display
Android Jelly Bean with UI Mi Favor
quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
16GB internal memory expandable up to 32GB
13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera
2500 mAh battery

OnePlus One listed on Amazon India, no mention of CyanogenMod support

OnePlus One listed on Amazon India, no mention of CyanogenMod support
So the OnePlus One is coming to India tomorrow, but you already knew that. What you perhaps missed is that Amazon has already put up a way for you to win an invite for the device. All you need to do is open the website and click on the OnePlus One invite link. There you have to subscribe to the newsletter, just like on the OnePlus website. What's more interesting though is how there's no mention of CyanogenMod anymore. The technical specifications on the listing mentions everything except the operating system that the device runs on. OnePlus India General Manager Vikas Agarwal had earlier confirmed to us that the device would launch with CyanogenMod , which is what the global version of the One comes with, but OnePlus is also working on its own OS, which would be ready by February 2015. Agarwal said that the beta version for the new OS would be available in December itself.
While the OnePlus smartphone will be launched with the CyanogenMod 11S ROM on it, CM won't officially support the device anymore because of its exclusive tie-up with Micromax for its new range of Yu smartphones. Many of you have already indicated that this makes a big difference for you. Native CM support was the main reason behind many, especially power users, going for this smartphone. While the below Rs. 25,000 price tag remains quite attractive, the lack of CM support seems to have disappointed many users. Another clarification that we recieved was that while users are welcome to flash the international for CM onto the OnePlus One, OTA updates would still be unavailable and you would need to update devices manually and at your own risk. Of course, rooting never voids the warranty of a OnePlus One and the same shall still apply to India.
The OnePlus One is scheduled to launch in India tomorrow and we are hoping that the new OS is announced at the event tomorrow, so watch this space for more.