Friday 28 October 2011

What to Look for in a Web Host.

It’s tough these days to find a reliable Web host and get everything you need without breaking the bank. There are so many Web hosts out there with different advantages and ups and downs that it’s hard to pick just one that you like. I’ve put together a list of tips and things to keep in mind when choosing a place to host your Web site.

Choose a platform:

There are two platforms to choose from when hosting Web sites: Windows-based and Unix-based. Both have their unique attributes with Unix-based systems being the majority on the Web. Some of the best content management systems on the Web are built on the Unix platform, including this blog and others across the Web. Windows-based systems are great, too, and have their own unique powered architecture. You’re able to choose between both systems at most hosting sites; I personally recommend Unix-based systems (I find them easier to work with).


When choosing a Web host, be sure to look at how much storage you get for the price you pay. For anyone, a couple gigabytes is more than enough storage to host a blog with pictures and media. As a word of warning, sites that say they are “unlimited” are generally not. If you look in their Terms of Service, you’ll usually find a clause stating that if you go over “normal usage,” you can be suspended. There is no way of knowing what “normal” is, so be careful.


Bandwidth is a crucial part of your hosting; if you go over, your site may be cut off. Bandwidth is a tricky thing because it has an unknown: the popularity of your site. Use this as an example for your site: If your site has one MB of data and your monthly data cap is 10 MB, this means that you can only have 10 visitors a month, because each person visiting the site will have to download that one MB of data. Take a look at the hosting company’s terms again and decide for yourself how much you’ll use. Almost all hosts out there provide a dashboard for you to keep track of this, so you should use it (and use it often).

Domains and Subdomains:

Chances are that after you start your first site, you’re going to want to create another and another and another. It is possible to host these with subdomains (, so you don’t have to buy a domain every single time. It’s handy to have these, so be sure to check if your Web host supports it.

Email Accounts:

Many Web hosts offer free email hosting and they most likely will use a subpar tool to host it. You’ll be better off using Google Apps for hosting your domain’s email accounts. You’ll want to make sure that your host supports POP or IMAP so you can use your desktop email client.

Database Support:

Unless you are hosting a static Web site that you won’t be changing often, it is good to have some kind of database support. This can include MySQL, PostergreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server, or any other type of database management tool. These databases allow your Web site to become dynamic and pull different types of data fast without having to hard code it in for each and every instance.


Check what type of support your Web host offers. Having live chat or phone support is the best so you can get your questions answered quickly and troubleshoot your problems with a live person. It’s also great if they have a knowledge base or library with help article so you can support yourself.

Language Support:

No, I don’t mean language as in English; I mean language as in PHP, Ruby, Python, and other common scripting languages. PHP is a must for any Web host and is considered the standard for coding a Web site.


Chances are you’re going to break something on your Web site; I know, I’ve done it many times. If your host supports backups, be sure to take advantage so if something happens like your Web site gets hacked or something goes wrong, you can quickly restore.


A good question is to ask how up-to-date the hosts servers are. Having the latest frameworks and server versions ensures security around the server.


You don’t want your Web site going down, do you? Check your Web host’s uptime guarantee and see what its current servers’ uptimes are. Using a simple Google search, you can weed out the bad hosts by looking at reviews and third party uptime reports.

Free Domain and Extra Features:

While you may already have your domain name, some hosts offer a free one when you sign up. Be sure to also look through the Web host’s features list. See if there is anything that catches your eye like cron jobs or .htaccess support. These are great things to have and make maintaining your Web site a lot easier.

That’s about it for finding your first great Web host. These tips are meant to be for the first time user as a guide to finding what you should get and use. For more popular sites and seasoned users, try looking at a VPS (virtual private server) and using a CDN (content delivery network) to gain more control and save on bandwidth costs.

If you have any tips of your own, leave them in the comments below.

How to Save Your Battery Life in iOS 5.

If you own a new iPhone 4S, you’ve probably had the chance to enjoy the services of Siri, the virtual assistant that Apple recently included with the device. But you may have also noticed that your new friend, while being able to help you with everything from reminders to schedule changes to sending messages to making calls and beyond with just the sound of your voice, also likes to suck the life out of your iPhone 4S battery like a sea lamprey on an unlucky trout.

Location tracking services kept on in the background can have the same effect, and if you’ve got both Siri and location tracking services running simultaneously, you can actually watch your battery life’s percentage get lower and lower right before your very eyes. How can you maximize battery life on your iPhone 4S (or even any iPhone running iOS 5) while still enjoying the modern conveniences of its services?

In the system’s Settings, you can click on Location Services. Then, you scroll all the way down the list of apps that draw from these resources and click on System Services. Here, you can toggle any of these options On or Off:

Call Network Search
Compass Calibration
Diagnostics & Usage
Location-Based iAds
Setting Time Zone
But if you scroll down even further, you’ll see another setting:

Status Bar Icon

Toggling this particular option to On (Off seems to be the default), which will allow you to view either a purple location services icon in the status bar that will indicate when apps are using location services, or a grey location services icon when it’s already used your location within the past 24 hours.

Are there any iOS tips for saving battery life that you’ve come across and would like to share with us? Drop us a line here and let us know!

Is the BlackBerry Colt RIM’s new BBX superphone?

BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion, are set to launch their new BlackBerry Colt ‘superphone’, if a report by N4BB is to be believed. The phone will supposedly run on BlackBerry’s new hybrid OS, BBX.

The image above looks like it’s from an early prototype of the phone, and the actual phone might look a tad different when launched. The rumoured specifications of the phone include a dual-core processor, a 4-inch+ display and secondary as well as primary cameras with flash and focus for the rear one. It will be thinner than the earlier Bold phones, the 9900 and the 9930, but will have a similar outer frame and bezel. The phone might not have any physical buttons but will feature an inner bezel capable of swipe functionality. Also, users tired of having to do battery pulls with their devices might be happier getting the Colt, as it might have the same battery as the PlayBook.

That’s just an early prototype and a brief overview of the specs and design of the phone. Do you think RIM can conjure up something worthy enough of recognition this time around? Let us know in the comments section below.

Low-cost Aakash tablet to hit U.S. store shelves at $60.

India’s homebrewed low-cost Aakash tablet along with DataWind is now going places. This Android tablet will soon hit store shelves in the US and retail for $60 (Rs. 2,999). Moreover, VentureBeat gave a sneak peek into the device which has been flown to the U.S. by Vivek Wadhwa, a columnist from Washington Post. When pitted against the iPad, probably its price tag is the only savior. However, Chikodi Chima who has reviewed it for VentureBeat calls it a cheap but powerful device among other things like ‘jugaad’ (a local lingo we are familiar with).

Offering a taste Froyo 2.2, this 7-incher comes with Unisurfer Web browser, support for Wi-Fi, resistive screen, 2GB memory expandable up to 32GB and more. The Indian government has bought 100,000 Aakash tablet units from DataWind. By the end of next year, about 10 million to 12 million devices are likely to be distributed to students in India. At a government subsidized price, it will be made available for $35 (Rs. 1,750) to students. This also makes it the cheapest Android tablet till date.

iPhone 4S possibly to hit India by November 24.

It seems Apple is trying to shed its tag of using India as a dumping ground for its products. With the iPad 2 launching rather quickly in India, this time around it seems that the iPhone 4S will launch a month and 10 days after it was made available in the US. According to a report by, their sources have revealed that the latest iPhone will be announced by Aircel and Airtel on November 24th which is falling on a Thursday. They go on to claim that the phone will be made available from midnight on the 25th of November which is a Friday. Apple tends to stick to the tradition of having product launches on Fridays, so in all likelihood it will be the same here as well.

Apart from the date of availability, the website also reveals the tentative pricing of the iPhone 4S as well as the 8GB version of the iPhone 4. Their sources have informed them that the iPhone 4 8GB will sell for around Rs. 30,000 while the highest capacity iPhone 4S would sell in the region of Rs. 50,000. This is some seriously high pricing but it is not confirmed yet and apparently carriers are working out plans so hopefully these handsets will be available at a cheaper rate.

BGR is usually quite spot on regarding Apple related information and if this turns out to be true, one should start saving from now itself if they want to pick up the ‘best iPhone ever.’

Thursday 27 October 2011

Nokia displays device with flexible OLED display at Nokia World.

After Samsung’s flexible displays, Nokia has showcased their new ‘Nokia kinetic device’, which is a phone with a flexible OLED display. It comes with a large display that can be bent from either the centre of the screen or around the corners. The phone uses this bend feature to control the user interface on the screen. So, simply bending it from the centre will help zoom in and out of the screen. Scrolling can be done by bending the phone from the corners.

So, what are the pros and cons of this technology? Firstly, since there’s physical movement involved, you can actually use the device without looking at it. Secondly, it’s not restricted to your fingers only; it recognizes touch through gloves as well. The downside is that you need to compulsorily use both your hands and it involves much more effort than the present technology, which involves just tapping on the screen.

Obviously, the Nokia kinetic device is more of a prototype, but it gives you a glimpse of the path touch-oriented devices may take in the near future. The uses could be a little indirect though, like, for example, smartphone watches, or usage in construction areas. It’s yet hard to gauge that you’ll be twisting, turning and bending your smartphone to get your work done.

Here’s a hands on video of Nokia’s new technology by GSM Arena.

Nokia announces Asha Touch & Type series devices at Nokia World.

Nokia World 2011 was rampant with new devices this year as well, and although the biggest news to come from the Finnish company was the launch of the Lumia WP7 smartphones, there were a few other big announcements as well. Aside from the Lumia range, Nokia also announced an all new range of devices called Asha, meaning ‘Hope’ and kidding aside, Nokia could use that sentiment at the moment. Three new handsets in this series were unveiled, take a closer look –

First up is the Asha 303 Touch and Type (QWERTY) handset with a chic metallic finish, running on a 1GHz processor. Social networks, email and IM are at the centre of this handset’s experience and are made easily accessible from the homescreen. The Nokia Asha 303 is powered by the cloud-based Nokia Browser, which, by compressing the web by up to 90 percent, should provide higher speeds and a more affordable access to the Internet. Nokia has also preinstalled Angry Birds Lite, Facebook Chat, WhatsApp messaging and the latest release of Nokia Maps for Series 40 (for selected markets).

Other specs include:

1.> a 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution
2.> 3G, EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi
3.> Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP + EDR, USB-on-the-go
4.> 3.2MP fixed focus camera
5.> Stereo FM radio
6.> MicroSD card support for up to 32GB

The estimated retail price for the Nokia Asha 303 will be approximately 115 EUR, which works out to about Rs. 8,000, excluding taxes and subsidies. It is expected to start shipping before the year.

The second handset in the Asha series is the Asha 300, that looks like a cross between the Nokia C3-01 and the X3-02 Touch and Type handsets. The 300 features a standard alphanumeric mobile keypad but like the 303, this one too sports a 1GHz processor, the new Nokia browser and comes with Angry Birds Lite preloaded.

Here’s a closer look at the specs that the Asha 300 comes loaded with:

1.> a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution
3.> Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP + EDR, USB-on-the-go
4.> 5MP fixed focus camera
5.> Stereo FM radio
6.> MicroSD card support for up to 32GB

The Nokia Asha 300 will be approximately 85 EUR which is approximately Rs. 5,900, excluding taxes and subsidies. It too is expected to start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Next up are the very Nokia C3 like Asha 201 and Asha 200 QWERTY keypad equipped devices. They bear almost identical specs however the Asha 200 is a Dual-SIM (hot swappable) device whereas the 201 is not. Both are designed to allow users to connect to social networks and access email much like their predecessor, the C3. The Nokia Asha 201 also supports push email as well as the popular WhatsApp messaging app.

Here are their specs:

1.> a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution
3.> Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP + EDR, USB
4.> 2MP fixed focus camera
5.> Stereo FM radio
6.> MicroSD card support for up to 32GB

The estimated retail price for both handsets will be approximately 60 EUR (Rs, 4,100) excluding taxes and subsidies. The Asha 200 Dual SIM Touch and Type device is expected to start shipping this year however the Single SIM edition i.e. the Asha 201 should be out sometime at the beginning of 2012.

Nokia unveils first Windows phones.

The world's largest cellphone maker Nokia unveiled its first phones using Microsoft software on Wednesday, hoping they will kick-start a rescue of its ailing smartphone business. The Finnish group, struggling to keep up with nimbler rivals in a hotly contested industry, unveiled the lumia 710 and lumia 800 in London and priced them at 270 and 420 euros respectively excluding taxes and subsidies. Crucially, the lumia 800 will include the full and free navigation service users crave. The phones will be available in European and other markets around the world by the end of this year and in the United States in early 2012 and into mainland China in the first half of 2012. Left in the dust by Apple and Google in the booming smartphone market, Nokia decided to ditch its aging Symbian platform in favour of Microsoft's software in a risky deal in February that spooked investors. Nokia has not rushed with the new phones.

Nimbler rivals HTC, Fujitsu and Samsung Electronics have beaten it with models using the latest Windows software, Mango. Nokia and Microsoft have said they will focus on close co-operation with operators to support the platform. "Operators really want to have another company on the scene: they don't want Google and Apple to rule the mobile universe," said Magnus Jern, chief executive of Barcelona-based mobile app development firm Golden Gekko, speaking ahead of the launch.

Lumia has dark background

Nokia's market value has halved since February as investors are unsure whether it can ever regain the market share it has lost. Its third-quarter results beat low expectations, sparking hopes that the company can survive a painful revamp, but smartphone sales still dropped 38 percent from a year ago. With Microsoft software, Nokia hopes to gain the kind of attention Apple and Google have attracted from software developers that enrich their devices. Research firm Strategy Analytics expects Microsoft to double its share of the Western European smartphone market during 2012 to 12.3 percent, helped by the Nokia partnership. The 12.3 percent forecast for Microsoft's software refers to its use across several mobile phone makers and compares with the much higher market share Nokia's Symbian platform alone previously enjoyed - it controlled 41 percent of the West European market as recently as the first half of 2010. The annual Nokia World media and industry event in London on Wednesday includes speakers from the world's largest carriers: China Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and MTN.


Wednesday 26 October 2011

Kindle Cloud Reader: Read Kindle Books Without Kindle.

Are you looking for ways to read books in your Kindle library without the actual Kindle device? For people who have Google Chrome or Safari, this is possible thanks to a web service called Kindle Cloud Reader.

Kindle Cloud Reader is a free to use web app by Amazon that gives you online access to your Kindle library. The app works with Google Chrome and Safari (either on a computer or on the iPad). You can browse your library using the app and read new books as well. Thanks to HTML5 you can download your books for offline reading. This means you can continue reading even when the Internet goes out.


1.> A user-friendly web service.
2.> Works with Chrome and Safari on computers and iPads.
3.> Lets you access your Kindle library online.
4.> Lets you get and read new books.
5.> Supports offline reading and book downloading.

Check out Kindle Cloud Reader from here @

Tuesday 25 October 2011

HTC and Dropbox bring 5GB free storage to Android phones.

Everyone seems to want a scoop of the cloud these days. The most recent is HTC revealing through its official Facebook page a partnership with Dropbox for its Android devices.

The news has it that all HTC Android phones will come preloaded with the Dropbox app. Moreover, Android users can reap benefits from 5GB of free storage space. Usually an account holder gets 2GB storage space but HTC users can take home additional 3GB space. In a similar partnership, Dropbox had joined hands with Sony Ericsson. However, Xperia users weren’t given any additional storage facility.

iOS outdoes Android in the enterprise.

While Android app downloads may outdo iOS apps, smartphone and tablets running iOS have had way more activations in the enterprise sector than Android smartphones and tablets. The report comes from a Good Technology report, a company which helps companies manage iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as other devices. The report says the iPhone accounted for 61% of smartphone activations while Android based phones accounted for 39%. However, when compared with the stats from last quarter, it is apparent that Android is catching up to iOS because Android's percent share was 33% while iOS had 66% of the activations.

The fall in iPhone percentages, according to John Herrema, senior vice president of Good Technology, could be due to the anticipation of the upcoming iPhone 4S. Upon running the statistics for iPhone 4S activations on its opening weekend, they already found a 25% increase in activations compared to the 3Q daily average for the iPhone 4. "Looking forward to Q4, 2011, we expect to see the iPhone 4S to be the catalyst for an Apple rally," Herrema said.

The iPad on the other hand accounted for 96% of tablet activations in the enterprise sector while Android-based tablets accounted for 4%. However, it's also been reported that Android tablet shipments have been increasing (not sales), so the number might be different in the next quarter.

Siri ported to iPad.

Just as Siri was previously ported over to the iPhone 4, a developer has now found a way for Siri to function on the iPad, which, goes without saying, was jailbroken. Of course, the catch, as with Siri on the iPhone 4, is that it does not interact with Apple's servers, therefore isn't fully functional on devices that are not the iPhone 4S. Developer @jackoplane managed to get Siri on the iPad 1, this comes a few weeks after Steve Troughton was able to get the personal assistant on a jailbroken iPhone 4. Troughton says that any jailbroken device can be made to look like the iPhone 4S and therefore Siri could even work with Google.

Apple claims the reason they're restricting Siri to the iPhone 4S is hardware compatibility issues. On first thought, this makes sense as the iPhone 4S has higher processing power than other iDevices but of course, since it obviously works on the iPhone 4 and the iPad 1, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with hardware. So the question is why. For one, it could be a way to boost iPhone 4S sales and for another, it could be a way to control traffic in the cloud. Siri first launched with periods of instability because so many users were using the service and the cloud. If iPhone 4 users joined the rush, of course, that would cause a bigger traffic jam than Apple could handle.

Prototypes of Apple televisions reportedly 'in the works'.

A few days ago we reported that Steve Jobs’ final project was an integrated Apple HDTV. This was said in reference to a biography written about Apple’s co-founder Walter Issacson. Adding fuel to the fire that this could definitely be a possibility is a report by analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, who back in August claimed that Apple would be launching an Apple television set by late 2012.

Gene Munster is back at it again and in a report by Fortune, the analyst states that prototypes of these Apple television sets are already in the works. The analyst lists points indicating why he believes that these sets would be available by next year. He states, “Based on Jan-11 meetings in Asia (not with component suppliers), we believe Apple is investing in manufacturing facilities and securing supply for LCD displays. These displays could range from 3.5" mobile displays to 50" television displays. More recently, in Sept-11 we met with a contact close to an Asian component supplier who indicated that prototypes of an Apple television are in the works. More recently, in US patent 7,865,927 published in Jan-11, Apple explores advanced TV broadcast menus. In these patents, Apple refers to a system that could "include a set-top box with or without a digital video recorder (DVR) (or, personal video recorder (PVR). In other example implementations, a display with built-in functionality (e.g, a television)."

This seems to confirm the fact about the line which Issacson mentions in the biography in which Steve Jobs says, “No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.” Munster believes that these HDTVs would cost approximately $1800 in 2012 and the price would gradually drop to $1400 by 2014.

Let us know your reactions about Apple launching a fully integrated television in the comments below.

Cool Lost Mobile Tracking Application for Android.

People normally take precautions by installing mobile tracking applications on their phone. But what if your phone is already lost and you do not have such an app installed on it? The solution to that problem is an Android application called Plan B.

You start by remotely installing the app from the Android Marketplace. Then the app will automatically start, turn on the phone’s GPS, and email your phone’s location to your Gmail account. To keep a track of your phone simply text “locate” to your lost phone and its position will be communicated to you.

Follow these easy steps to use Plan B:

1. Install Plan B to the phone that you are trying to find from the Android Market website
2. Plan B will start automatically and send your phone’s location to your Gmail address.
3. To locate again after 10 minutes, borrow a friend’s phone and text the word “locate” to your lost phone.


1.> A user-friendly phone app.
2.> Compatible with Android devices.
3.> Helps find your lost phone.
4.> Automatically starts and turns on the phone’s GPS.

MPlayer: Stream & Share Currently Popular Songs.

Music fans like to stay updated with the music that is topping the charts. If you would like to stay tuned into the music charts and be able to stream the music on them, then MPlayer is just the tool you need.
MPlayer is a web service that connects to your Facebook account and lets you stream currently popular music. The site lists songs from the UK and US top 40 charts. It also lists songs from the US and UK iTunes along with MPlayer’s own user favorites. A list rank, buying link, and sharing button for each song is given next to its thumbnail.
You can mark songs as favorites and return to them later. You can also search for particular songs in MPlayer’s archive.


1.> A user-friendly web service.
2.> Lets you stream popular songs.
3.> Lists songs from the top 40 US and UK songs.
4.> Includes popular songs from the US and UK iTunes.
5.> Lets you favorite and share songs.

Visit MPlayer from here @

Acer Has A Diwali Offer.

With Diwali almost here, companies have been doing their best to attract customers. Acer, India's second-largest PC vendor, has joined the bandwagon through its scratch-and-win offer. This festive bid is available on Acer's Aspire range of notebooks such as Gorgeous by Nature, TimelineX, Acer smartphones, and ICONIA range of tablets.

Acer claims that this is a chance for every customer to get lucky with an assured gift on every purchase. The company will give away prizes ranging from Polo Club watches to MTV Sunglasses, a 2 GB Apple iPod, an induction cook-top, and even a Kodak camera. Furthermore, customers can get cash back on their purchase worth Rs 2500.

All customers are required to register their promotional code on and send their scratch card with the appropriate handling charge to the following address:

Countrywide Network Private Ltd.
204, Chiranjiv Tower,
43, Nehru Place,
New Delhi - 110019

The above offer is valid up to 27 October 2011.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro priced in India at INR 23,990.

When Sony Ericsson India recently announced its Android QWERTY slider Xperia Pro, it did not officially reveal the price of the smartphone. But, thanks for the product listing at online retailer Flipkart, we now have the official price-tag. Listed as “coming soon” Xperia Pro costs INR 23,990.

Xperia Pro sports a slide out full QWERTY keypad, Android 2.3 and 1GHz Qualcomm processor. Other features include 8.1MP rear camera, 0.3 MP front camera, 3.7 inch display with Mobile Bravia Engine, 512 MB RAM with 1500 mAh battery.

Company is also pre-loading an app store called “App Extra” on the smartphone, which will give you access to India-specific Android applications.

There is still no confirmed release date, although it was said to coming last week, which never happened.

Monday 24 October 2011

Google, PE firms mull bid for Yahoo?

Google Inc has spoken to at least two private equity firms about possibly helping them finance a deal to buy Yahoo Inc's core business, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Google and prospective partners have held preliminary discussions but have not come up with a formal proposal, and Google may end up deciding not to pursue a bid, the source said. It is not clear which private equity firms Google has spoken to, the WSJ said. Representatives of Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

Any potential deal between the two biggest Internet companies would likely arouse antitrust scrutiny. Google is interested in selling some advertising across Yahoo's websites, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Microsoft Corp is now considering financing part of a bid for Yahoo by a private equity firm, people familiar with the matter have said. Yahoo has been in a state of chaos since it fired former CEO Carol Bartz in early September. The company retained investment banking firm Allen & Co to help conduct a "strategic review" of its business and is reportedly working with executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to find a new CEO.

A number of potential buyers have expressed interest in a deal with Yahoo. Private equity firms Silver Lake Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Bain Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone Group, and KKR are among those likely to get a look at the limited financial data Yahoo's advisers are circulating.

‘Xbox Next’ to launch in 2013?

According to rumours flying on the internet, Microsoft and other industry partners are working hard at a possible 2013 launch for the next generation Xbox 360. Develop-online has got some inside tips from multiple sources across the industry, from chip manufacturers to other middleware companies that the new X360 or ‘Xbox Next’ should see an E3 2013 unveiling. If there are unforeseen delays (as there usually are), this timeline may be pushed back to early 2014. We just hope Microsoft don’t rush into it like they did last time, just to have the ‘First in the world’ title and end up ruining a good product.

Details are still very sketchy at this point in time about the features of the console and what it can do but you can be assured of one thing, it will have a deep integration with their Windows Phone 7 platform as well as Kinect motion controller. There’s also word that Lionhead Studios is working on a project, internally named ‘Fable Next’, which is supposed to be one of the launch titles for the new console. Epic Games founder, Tim Sweeny, also revealed that a new Unreal Engine would be ready before 2014, so we can expect games based on that as well. Microsoft is not the only one who’s busy at work, rumour has it that even Sony is hard at work at their next-gen PS4 console.

Google+ got 40 million users in less time than Facebook.

Google+ has crossed the 40 million user mark and keep in mind that this service was launched in June of this year. The service, as you remember, was not public when it started, Google opened its doors only in September. Facebook, which was launched in 2004, took 3 years to cross the 25 million mark and crossed the 50 million mark in October 2007. The large interest which these numbers reflect on consumer behaviour have encouraged Google to make trial services available to its users as a part of the social networking site.

While these numbers may reflect Google's victory over Facebook, of course, the environments in which these social networks were launched in have to be considered. Facebook launched at a time when really the only major social network that was out there was MySpace. Which really wasn't all that and a bag of chips. Facebook not only had to integrate itself but also had to integrate the concept of 'social networking' to its users. Google+ comes at a time when social networking is such a big part of our everyday existence that it's hard to imagine our phones and computers not being used for the purpose. In other words, Google+ had its work done for it. Now let's see how well their 40 million users stick.

Nokia 800 teaser TV adverts go live.

Earlier on this month we reported that an official image of the Nokia Sun had surfaced. An indication was given that this Windows Mango enabled handset would be called the Nokia 800. This bit of information appears to be true as the Finnish mobile manufacturing giant have released a series of second long teasers displaying the handset.

According to a report by MyNokiaBlog, this phone has not been announced yet but the teasers have already surfaced on UK television airwaves. In all likelihood the handset will be released at the Nokia World event in London. These teasers stick with the disco theme we saw in the ad that had surfaced before.

1.> Some of the rumoured specifications of the Nokia 800 are:
2.> Windows Phone Mango 7.5
3.> 3.7-inch AMOLED screen
4.> 1.4GHz processor
5.> 16GB of inbuilt memory

We have to wait a few days till the official announcement from Nokia about the 800, but for now we can enjoy the compilation video made by the website.

Seagate launches GoFlex Satellite external storage for mobile devices.

Seagate has announced GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage making it the first battery-powered external hard drive to wirelessly extend the storage capacity of any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. With 500GB and Wi-Fi access over 802.11 b/ g/n and a rechargeable battery, this latest member of the GoFlex family provides the ability to carry an entire library of video, music, pictures and documents with you. Devices are wirelessly connected directly to the GoFlex Satellite drive by use of the free GoFlex Media app available now on iTunes, Android Market or a web browser. The drive will be available from the end of October for a retail price of Rs.11,500.

The GoFlex Satellite is capable of providing hours of entertainment for up to three connections. With a stand-by battery life of up to 25 hours, the lithium polymer battery delivers up to five hours of continuously streaming video. To help with extending battery life, the free GoFlex Media App provides a progressive download feature, which temporarily loads the video on to the Android device it is being streamed to, allowing the drive to go into stand-by mode. GoFlex Satellite mobile storage wirelessly serves up media content as a local attached storage for up to three devices at the same time. The included Media Sync software makes grabbing media from a Windows PC or Mac OS X computer easy. It can be easily configured to only place files on the drive that are compatible with your iOS or Android device. Even music and videos purchased through iTunes can be loaded to the GoFlex Satellite drive and will play on all authorized devices. The drive can alternately connect to your PC via USB 3.0 for quickly dumping the files on to it.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Online TV Player Basic for your pc.

Online TV Player is an application using which you can watch over 850 free internet TV channels and listen to over 1500 free online radio stations right on your PC. The application lets you watch the channels directly without experiencing the annoyances of a website, including slow-loading pages and pop-up ads. The software player supports playback of online video streams in both Windows Media as well as Real Video format. You can set the window size according to your choice, including full screen.

Here are some of the main features of the program:

1.> Completely free with no ads
2.> Over 850 free online TV channels from 100 countries
3.> Over 1500 free online radio stations from 120 countries
4.> Thousands of TV shows, movies, songs, music, and MP3s
5.> No additional equipment required, just a PC with internet connectivity
6.> Easy to use; click on station from the displayed list and play
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How to Save Money on Solar Power.

All right, so you’ve decided to do yourself and the environment a favor and subsidize your energy usage with some solar panels on your roof or in your yard. Congratulations, you may discover that there are more than a few financial perks to having solar power installed, especially if you’re still connected to “the grid.”

It amazed me how few people actually took advantage of the rebates Government offered for solar installations. What was even more surprising was how low the solar customers’ electric bills were. Often, we paid them to use our service. Tens of thousands of dollars in rebates were often overlooked by new solar customers, which could have given them enough savings to make even more improvements on their home.

Here are a few ways to save money on solar:

Call Your Electric Company:

Electric companies sell so-called “green” energy at a premium. This is done in part due to expensive contracts they establish with dedicated green energy providers that produce energy through solar, wind, and biological resources such as landfill emission collection. By having solar panels installed on your home, you are actually contributing to the company’s green energy input, which means more money for it as your excess energy is re-sold to other customers. In addition, many electric companies use their solar subsidies as a write-off for taxes, meaning that you’re doing them a favor by getting them to pay for part of your installation.

Call Your Local Government:

Whatever your feeling about government subsidies, your local and state government may have programs in place to help you pay for an otherwise costly solar project. Don’t worry, that money doesn’t always come directly from taxpayers. Often, this money comes from the windfall of venture funds some city governments invest in. This windfall has to be passed on to the taxpayer in some way, since city governments have to remain non-profit. Programs like these are put in place for this very reason.

Consider it an Investment:

This isn’t actually a money saving tip, but something to consider when you look at solar as an expensive undertaking. The energy you don’t use from your solar power system is actually sold to your local utility company. It, in turn, will cut you an actual check for the amount it pulled from your residence. Imagine being able to reverse the meter and have the electric company pay you for using its services. That’s exactly what happens in the case of customers with solar and wind generators. In addition, your property value will increase significantly from the installation itself.

Get a Neighbor Involved:

This may be a crazy idea, but have you thought about calling your neighbor to see if they might be interested in going solar, themselves? Companies that sell and install solar systems would likely greatly appreciate the close proximity and bulk business multiple customers would bring. Many of these companies are small, and open for negotiations. If you bring two customers instead of one to the table, that tips the odds in your favor of getting a good deal on your installation.

Do It Yourself:

All right, not everyone is a certified and licensed electrician, but there are some steps you can take to lower your overhead costs. Scout out better deals on the equipment through other sources and give your nearby companies a call to see if they offer installation services for equipment they don’t provide. Chances are, they do, and you’ll save on their retail markup while enjoying their lower installation fee.

Do your research first when doing this. Buying all the equipment you think you need only to discover that it isn’t what your particular home requires can be a costly mistake.

Over all, plenty of people are saving a significant amount of money each year by switching to solar. If you feel that a system large enough to power your entire home is too costly, don’t worry. You’re still connected to your regular utility, so you can still pull from its service when usage peaks.

Is Your Roof Efficient Enough for Solar Power?

When looking at alternative ways of powering your house, you may have considered the option of installing solar panels on your roof. Some of the drawbacks are obvious: initial costs for such installations are still high (though getting lower all the time), and the collective efficiency of your roof may not be as optimal as you’d like. But how can you determine what that collective efficiency is if you don’t have the solar panels there in the first place to gauge their intake? Now, thanks to the efforts of scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, there may be a way.

By developing a GIS (graphical information system) tool — SEES (Solar Energy from Existing Structures) — the scientists are able to calculate a roof’s potential solar power collection efficiency and determine if installing costly solar panels will be of long-term benefit or burden to the people living underneath.

Researcher Fredrik Lindberg says: “The roof structures of a town may be more or less suitable for the installation of solar panels, depending on such factors as how much a particular roof is shadowed by surrounding buildings and vegetation, the gradient of the roof, and the angle of incidence of sunlight. It is now possible for the first time to determine how much solar energy a particular roof will receive during the year.”

A roof can have excellent gradient and its direction can seem perfect, but shadows cast from other sources (buildings, vegetation, flying circuses, etc.) can put a damper on the whole project; SEES can calculate how much such shade (and other variables) will detract from overall solar power collection efficiency over the course of a year. Compiling the data from a whole neighborhood’s roofs and their potential for solar power collection is child’s play for SEES. It then provides a map that lays out the neighborhood’s strongest and weakest points and determines the overall kilowatt hour value per square meter.

“We have used Gothenburg as pilot town in the project, but the method can be used in all municipalities where the necessary data is made available. The users can judge the suitability of a roof for solar voltaic panels or solar thermal panels across a wide range, based on this,” says Lindberg.

Facebook Messenger app gets major updates.

Facebook Messenger, the app from Facebook that consolidates all your communication in one place got a major update. For one, it's now
available for BlackBerry OS so when BBM's out again, you have yet another alternative. Additionally, you can now see which of your
Facebook friends is online, which of them is on their mobile, and when you're communicating with a friend, you can see when they are typing. They've also made it easier to send messages to people that you communicate with the most. Facebook's also added support for 22 new languages for their Messenger app on Android and for 12 new languages for their iOS app.

In addition to these new features, the app still shows you all your messages in real time, be it chat messages, Facebook messages or email (if you've set up Facebook email). The app allows easy group messaging and you can see the entire conversation in one thread. You can also share where you are when you send a message. It comes with a mapping feature that lets you find your friends when you're out and about. You can even share photos with messages to show your friends what you're doing. Facebook Messenger works across platforms and even on feature phones with normal text messaging capabilities.

Evernote for BlackBerry gets updated.

It’s been a while since Evernote for BlackBerry received some polishing and now, BlackBerry owners (OS 5+) have a new Evernote application.

Here are the features of the same:

First launch:

The first thing that happens when you launch the updated app is a sync. This sync pulls down thumbnails and some information about your notes: titles, tags, etc. Doing this allows you to browse through your note list, even when you’re offline.

Faster loading:

Now that more note content is stored on the device, browsing and opening notes is quicker. The BlackBerry app doesn’t request information from the service anymore.

Create notes without a network connection:

The new Evernote for BlackBerry lets you create new notes with text, audio and photos, whenever you like. These notes are pinned to the top of your note list in a pending state until you get onto a network, at which point they will sync into your account. You can even edit the pending notes, if you need to.

View notes offline:

Whenever you create a note, or view the note, it will be stored locally on your device. This means that you won’t need a network connection in order to view the note later. If the note has an attached file, say a PDF, you’ll first need to view the file while you have a network connection before it becomes available offline.

The Evernote App can be downloaded from the BlackBerry App World.

Steve Jobs' last project – An 'integrated' Apple HDTV.

In late August we reported that a plan of Apple debuting an HDTV by 2012 could possibly be in the pipeline. These were all based on rumours and speculations from sources of Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. At the time, sources had indicated that unlike the Apple TV that is available in the market right now, this would be a fully fledged HDTV that could stream Internet content. Adding to these rumours that Apple is seeking to produce a television, a report by The Washington Post reveals that the new biography of Steve Jobs which is set to release on Monday reveals a product. This new product is an integrated Apple TV.

The biography written by Walter Issacson, which was reviewed by the Washington Post indicates a ‘hint at something more to come.’ Issacson wrote, “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant. ‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

All this information is quite cryptic as of now, but this is the most solid piece of information we have received over all those unconfirmed rumours about Apple launching an HDTV. If the Cupertino company launches a television, what features do you think it will have that will make it stand out from the competition that is presently dominating the HDTV market?

Microsoft builds holographic interacting system, the Holodeck.

The research team of Microsoft seems to be kicking up some crazy new innovations, first up was the OmniTouch we covered. Now, we’ve got a video of a brilliant holographic system, that Microsoft calls the ‘holodesk’. Using Kinect, what these researchers have done is create a small area (underneath the glass) where users can interact with items from the digital world. Head over to the video below and we’re sure you’ll be amazed.

The technology is obviously yet in its nascent stages, but it’s giving us a glimpse into what the future holds for us. As can be seen from the video, physics of the virtual objects are extremely close to their renditions and the way we interact with them in the real world. That in itself deserves worthy recognition, and we can fairly say, it is the closest anybody has ever got in trying to bridge the gap between the digital and the real world. A commendable effort in terms of it being a research project, but the real world applications can be extremely vast. Where do you think can this technology be implemented - any particular games, video chatting navigation systems or even in real Human Life ? Let us know in the comments section below!

Saturday 22 October 2011

Want iOS interface on Android? Download Espier Launcher for Android.

Are you an Android fan who secretly admires the iOS interface? Well, our Chinese friends have come up with an Android launcher that is a shameless copy of iOS. The skin offers the closest iOS experience you can have on your Android. It not just changes the layout and icons, but also supports dynamic display of information. Moreover, it allows you to organise app folders the iOS way.

Other features include:

1.> Support for adding shortcuts on the desktop.
2.> Supports a variety of icon sorting methods.
3.> Easily search for applications, contacts, SMS, e-mails, and so on.
4.> Support for desktop configuration restore/backup.
5.> Press and hold any icon to open desktop editing mode.
6.> Sliding the taskbar into the system function area.

To Download Espier Launcher Click Here.

Toshiba Flaunts A 498 ppi Density LCD For Mobiles.

Toshiba Mobile Display's President, Masahiko Fukakushi has announced an LCD panel that features pixel dimensions of 2560x1600. This even beats the Full HD resolution format, which has 1920x1080 pixels. The 6.1" screen packs in a pixel density of 498 ppi (pixels per inch), a whopping 50% increase over Apple's Retina display.

According to the company, this LCD panel is a result of special processing techniques for forming high-performance Low-Temperature Poly-Silicon (LTPS) Thin-Film Transistors (TFT) on glass substrates, and other fabrication techniques that have been cultivated over the years. In short, this screen is currently one of its kind. It has a contrast ratio of 1000:1, can display 16.7 million colours, and offers a 176-degree viewing angle, both horizontally and vertically.

Toshiba will showcase this LCD next week at the FPD International 2011 exhibition in Yokohama, Japan. Needless to say, number-crunching fandroids will love to have this screen in their mobiles.

Happy Birthday G1 (HTC Dream)

Today is the third birthday of first ever Android smartphone HTC Dream aka T-Mobile G1. It was released back in 2008 today i.e. October 22 in US followed by October 30th release in UK.

October 22 was the start of what we see all around us these days – over 190 million Android smartphones – over 500 different models – over 550,000 activations daily and so on.

Android as an operating system and community has come a very long way. It is time that we look back and bask in glory of what our favorite OS has achieved. Today is also important because only a few days back we saw the eighth major version of Android being released (may be ninth, if you count 1.1 or 2.0).

It does not happen every now and then that we see an operating system being born and capturing the market so fast. According to some estimates, Android is nearing 50pc of the global smartphone market share. Yes, it is big; Android has achieved this within three years of releasing the first smartphone. We might be lacking on the Tablet side, but situation will change soon.

On the app front also we have also come a long way. Today itself I heard about a report that claimed the Android Market now houses over 500,000 apps with more and more coming daily. Hardware-wise, Android has also reached TVs, Navigation Systems, Music Players, Washing Machines, and Refrigerators etc.

Android has such awesome community of developers and users who are always ready to help each other. It is the result of this great community only that we get updated custom firmwares for the smartphones that get dumped by manufacturers.

Watching Android grow from day one has been a great ride of my life personally and I sure many of our readers will also have followed this journey. So time to make a stop and enjoy the day.

How to Control Location Tracking on the iPhone / iOS.

Location tracking is a double-edged sword for many users of popular smart phones running apps through advanced operating systems including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. This allows your system and third-party apps to use your current location in order to expand upon the software’s available features. For example, a photo can be tagged with a geolocation. Still, some users expect a higher level of control over which third-party apps do and do not have access to your location for both privacy and battery efficiency.

So, how do you control precisely what systems and apps have access to this data, and which ones do not? Surprisingly, iOS 5 has expanded upon existing location controls quite a bit, allowing us to shut off location-based services for everything from individual third-party apps to seemingly vital internal operating mechanisms including cell network search and traffic updates.

To access these controls, you’ll need to open up the Settings app on your iPhone, then hit Location Services located near the top of the menu, right below Notifications.

The primary Location Services switch on your phone, including system services that control your compass and GPS capabilities. To refine your controls, leave this switch in the on position and scroll down.

Here, you will see all of your third-party and non-system apps including Compass, Maps, Reminders, Weather, and Find My iPhone. You can switch any of these off you’d wish, but be forewarned that you may be shutting off functionality on the individual app you could be benefiting from unknowingly.

This menu also gives you an indication as to which apps have recently used your location during operation. Both within the past 24 hours, and current usage.

You can also fine-tune your Find My iPhone settings from here. By selecting the Find My iPhone option, you can both toggle the location services for that particular feature, and activae a Status Bar Icon that lets you know someone is actively tracking your iPhone from another device.

Moving further down the menu, you’ll reach the System Services submenu. Here, you can toggle the various system features that take advantage of your geolocation. For example, if you don’t want your phone using your location to automatically adjust your time zone, you can toggle it off. You can also turn on the Status Bar Icon so you can see a real-time indication of when these background system services are tracking you. By default, only the non-system and third-party apps give you any indication.

With this knowledge in mind, you can better control who does and doesn’t know exactly where you’re located at any given time. You can also avoid any accidental location giveaways, such as a photo taken at your home with location data on board.

MotoACTV Vs. iPod nano.

Recently, the MotoACTV has received a lot of heat for looking an awful lot like an iPod nano. While these two devices look very much the same on the surface, how far do the similarities actually go? Is the MotoACTV set to compete head-to-head with the iPod nano, or is it another copycat destined to fade into obscurity?

Operating System:

Surprisingly, the MotoACTV actually operates on Android, making it one of the first small-form Android devices. Though it may not be capable of running all of your favorite Android apps, it’s interesting to note that the open OS is finding its way on more and more devices that sit opposite iOS products.

The iPod nano runs iOS, and has only recently started to embrace the smartwatch form factor that so many users have taken advantage of.

Workout Tracking:

The iPod nano allows you to track your workouts through Nike+ using the built-in accelerometer. No additional devices or gadgets are needed to make this feature work. You can even sync your stats on the Nike+ site after your workout.

The MotoACTV has a built-in GPS and Accusense technology. This means that in addition to tracking your steps and pace using an accelerometer, the MotoACTV also tracks your pace and path of your workout. This allows you to accurately compare one workout to another, find out where your trouble areas are, and where you are improving.


The iPod nano syncs via iTunes and uses Genius playlist creation technology. This allows you to dynamically generate a playlist based on a particular song and/or artist. In a sense, it acts like a Pandora radio that uses your existing music to select what it plays. In addition, an FM radio is included that allows you to listen to your favorite station while out and about. In addition, the iPod nano has a few extra accessibility options such as VoiceOver, which allows you to control the device without even looking at it, and Mono Audio which routes both channels to each earbud so you can listen to your music with one earbud.

The MotoACTV does sync with iTunes, but it doesn’t use its own built-in genius playlist system. It does, however, have what Motorola calls a Smart Music Player. By learning what songs motivate you (tracking the intensity of your workout when certain songs play), it can dynamically select music based on your current workout performance. The company is marketing it as a musical fitness coach, and the idea behind it would support that description.

Other Options:

The MotoACTV has wired and wireless earphones with built-in heart rate monitoring that sync directly to the device. Keeping your heart rate in check during a workout is a great way to gauge whether or not you’re setting the right pace for yourself. These monitors aren’t bulky or cumbersome, and they attach through the same earbuds you’d wear to listen to music, anyway.

The MotoACTV can also connect you directly to your Android-based smart phone using Bluetooth. This allows you to receive text message, make and take calls, and more without breaking your stride to pull out your smart phone. In addition, you can sync your device to the MotoACTV site using Wi-Fi.

The iPod nano comes in a variety of colors to match your overall style. In addition, a large selection of watch faces recently added by Apple gives you the ability to stay stylish no matter what you’re wearing.

Both devices include a built-in clip touch-controlled capacitive screen.


Where these two devices have a big difference is in the price. The MotoACTV will be available at $249 for the 8 GB version and $299 for 16 GB. The iPod nano is available at a much lower $129 and $149 price point.

So, did the MotoACTV “rip off” the nano? If the company actually created a more feature-rich device, does it really matter? Comments welcome.

Steve Jobs' last project – An 'integrated' Apple HDTV.

Microsoft's new OmniTouch makes almost everything touch sensitive.

Microsoft researchers have developed a new wearable multi-touch interactive technology, called OmniTouch that will basically allow users to use almost any surface in their vicinity as a touchscreen interface.

Microsoft Research has defined OmniTouch as a wearable depth-sensing and projection system that enables interactive multi-touch applications on everyday surfaces. So, you can use it on your hands or arms (or even legs!) on nearby surfaces like books, walls or tables. As reported by the Daily Mail, the device is basically a wearable camera with a projection system that senses depth, movement and accordingly computes the data to provide an output, like the Kinect motion sensor gadget for the Xbox 360.

The only limitation currently the device has is that it has to be worn on one’s shoulders; which limits its functionality and practicality to a great extent. However, Microsoft and a team from Carnegie Mellon University have stated that they intend to bring the size down to about the size of a matchbox or a wearable pendant. It’s a little early, but OmniTouch does have the potential to make the smartphone craze, a thing of the past. Those wanting a glimpse of OmniTouch can check out the video after the break.

Mobile phones don't hike cancer risk - Danish study.

Mobile phones do not increase the risk of cancer, according to a large study involving more than 350,000 people by Danish researchers published on Friday. The results, released on the British Medical Journal's website, chime with a series of other studies that have reached similar conclusions. Scientists from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen looked at people aged at least 30 who subscribed to mobile phone contracts and compared their rates of brain tumours with non-subscribers between 1990 and 2007. Outside experts said the large scale of the trial was impressive.

"This paper supports most other reports which do not find any detrimental effects of phone use under normal exposures," said Malcolm Sperrin, director of Medical Physics at Britain's Royal Berkshire Hospital and Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. At the end of May, the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer decided cellphone use should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans", putting then in the same category as lead, chloroform and coffee. But just over a month later the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection's committee on epidemiology said the scientific evidence increasingly pointed away from a link between mobile phone use and brain tumours. The number of mobile phones has risen hugely since the early 1980s, with nearly 5 billion handsets in use today, prompting lengthy debate about their potential link to the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma.

Kingston launches Wi-Drive for iOS devices in India.

The amount of available storage on an iOS device has always been a limiting factor for users especially since there is no external memory support. Kingston has launched the Wi-Drive in India which is a handy solution for this issue faced by Apple iOS users. The Wi-Drive offers an extended storage option available in 16GB and 32GB capacities so one is no longer limited to the space available within their iPhone, iPod or iPad.

The Wi-Drive provides pocket-sized portable storage and easy file-sharing on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. It also features integrated Wi-Fi as well as one can download the Wi-Drive app for free from the App Store. This makes sharing of personal media extremely easy. By using this new storage solution, up to three people can access media and files at the same time. Apart from this, it instantly compiles and organizes files, music and videos in separate folders making it easier to locate your files when required.

Speaking about the launch of the Wi-Drive in India, Nidhi Sethi, Sales Director for Kingston India said, “Wi-Drive is an ideal solution for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users who feel confined by their current storage capacity. With a perfect blend of functionality and durability, I believe the product will be well received by both casual users as well as informed tech enthusiasts.”

Kingston claims that the flash-based memory technology found in the device is more durable than traditional platter-based hard drives, and enables faster file accessibility. The Wi-Drive is available in India at Rs. 9,900 for the 16GB and Rs. 11,900 for the 32GB. For more information, click the link here.

Amazon now accepting old Kindles in 'Trade-In' program.

The Kindle Fire is an amazing e-reader and you want it really bad, however, you already have an older generation of the e-reader and just don’t want to shell out the big bucks to pick up the newest model. Amazon has just announced a solution for this dilemma that is faced by many people by including the Kindle in their trade-in program.

According to a report by TFTS, Amazon said, “Starting today, Amazon Trade-In adds Kindles and other e-readers to the hundreds of thousands of eligible trade-in items. Amazon is constantly updating the Trade-In Program with new products. Based on customer feedback, Amazon learned that a lot of customers are interested in trading in their used Kindles and other electronics to upgrade to something new. With the launch of the new $79 Kindle as well as Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire, we expect many customers will be excited to upgrade to one of these new Kindles.”

In the Trade-In program one can get as much as $29.25 for an original version, up to $47.50 for the Kindle Keyboard 3G and up to $36.25 for the Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi. However, these prices may vary depending on the condition of the e-readers as well as accessories included. For more information on the Trade-In program from Amazon, click here.

Ice Cream Sandwich coming to Xperia handsets says Sony Ericsson.

Samsung may be the only smartphone manufacturer to have Google’s latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich on their Galaxy Nexus, however, the competition is not far behind. Yesterday it was reported that Motorola as well as HTC are looking at all features and functionalities to get the latest Android OS on to their handsets. Now, Sony Ericsson has announced that they too are ready for a taste of ICS on their Xperia line of handsets, a report by Engadget states.

When contacted by the website, the company responded by saying, “Sony Ericsson is currently rolling out the upgrade to Gingerbread 2.3.4 across its entire 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio. This software upgrade will be available through a phased roll out in select markets. Beyond Gingerbread 2.3.4, we plan to upgrade our 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio to the next Android platform made available to us.”

Engadget states that Sony Ericsson did not give any specific time frame as to when Ice Cream Sandwich would be available on their handsets. They did however say that all official announcements regarding software updates would be made known through their blog. So as of now, Samsung continues to lead the race as the sole manufacturer with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and though the competition is playing catch up, there is still a fair amount of time till they get a bite of ICS.

Friday 21 October 2011

eBay India, Nokia introduce shopping app for Nokia handsets.

e-Bay India and Nokia India have announced the new eBay India Nokia App that will let shoppers access eBay’s website on the go. Shoppers can browse new deals, compare prices and shop for products directly through their Nokia mobile phones. The app currently showcases products in categories like cameras, mobile phones, computers, electronics, apparels, watches and more.

The app can be downloaded from the Nokia Store for free. Currently, it’s available only for Nokia N8, E6, E7, 701, X7, C2-03 and C2-05 handsets. It also comes pre-loaded on Nokia C2-03 and C2-05 handsets. Alternatively, users can click here to download eBay India’s mobile offerings.

Here’s how the app works. Shoppers can look for the products they wish to buy on the eBay India Nokia app through the ‘Search’& ‘Browse categories’. By clicking on the desired product, users can read the description or details of the seller and view the ‘Best Deals’ that are offered. To buy the product, users can select the ‘Buy it Now’ option and confirm the purchase by selecting the ‘Commit to Buy’ option. Payment transactions cannot be completed via the phone. Payments for purchases can be done online on eBay’s website through PaisaPay. All purchases are secure and covered by the eBay Guarantee. Consumers can also access their ‘My eBay’ account, saved searches as well as reminders and messages from eBay.

BASIK MOBILE To Launch Ultra Mini Music Phone.

Soon you won't have to worry about your kids breaking open your mobile phone. Korean mobile manufacturer BASIK MOBILE plans to launch the world's smallest music phone named imini in October and November this year. The company plans to market the device targeting the young and kids. With a growing number of kids showing an interest in using mobile phones, the timing of this launch seems to be adequate.

The dual band GSM imini is said to be easy and simple to use. While the screen size appears to be tiny, it has buttons including a numeric keypad, call receiving and ending, email, and of course, music, which includes a button to switch on the music player and another to go up and down the playlist. It comes in a very small size of just 7.8 x 3.6 x 1.4 cm and weighs only 40 grams, which includes a 400 mAh battery. It comes with a 1 GB microSD card and stereo headset for listening to music and also making and receiving calls. In addition to MP3 playback, some of the additional features include FM radio, alarm clock, and vibration alert.

The mobile phones are available in basic plain white flavour and with Character designs, although the characters Momot and Bomai will probably be known only to kids in that part of the world. The company plans to launch the mobile phones in India as well, with the basic phone costing $69 (Rs 3400) and the Character design imini costing $79 (Rs 3900).

Will you buy the imini for your kid?

Check out the video to know more about the imini:

Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich code to be released soon.

After officially announcing Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich, Google Engineer Dan Morill has mentioned via a Google groups blog post that Google intends on releasing the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich, once it is available on Android devices. The last source code that was made public was Android Gingerbread 2.3.

This definitely comes as good news after Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the source code of which Google did not release, saying that they did not want developers to create tablet-centric apps for Honeycomb that would leave users with a negative experience. So, Android 3.0 was definitely not ‘open-source’ as most developers would have preferred it to be and as compared to Gingerbread and the earlier operating systems, Honeycomb didn’t allow very much customization.

So, we’re hoping that soon after the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, Google will give developers access to the Ice Cream Sandwich source code. Android 4.0 is touted to combine the best functionalities of both, the phone and the tablet, which were a part of the earlier operating systems. Also, there’s a redesigned interface and making the source code public will definitely give developers a chance to start off with their tweaking to provide more modifications, tuning and enhancements to users.

Gmail's getting a makeover.

A new version of Gmail seems to be coming soon according to a video that was accidentally posted to YouTube and has been since made private. Jason Cornwell, the user experience designer for Gmail demonstrates the new version in the video that was posted to Google's YouTube channel. Even though the video's been removed from public viewing, it's already made the rounds of reposting (you can watch it below).

Cornwell says in the video, "We’ve been hard at work to update Gmail with a new look." Some new features you can expect in the new Gmail include the email interfact dynamically expanding to fit in any size window. You will also be able to adjust the size of labels and chat areas. Email threads will resemble chat conversations as you would see in Instant Messaging or Google+ conversations. Profile pictures will be included in these email threads. They've also added new themes which are high resolution.

Google previewed its Gmail update back in July. The update is part of a promise that Google made after releasing Google+ to update all of its web products.

Ice Cream Sandwich: The Most Delicious Android Yet.

Unlock your phone with a smile, tab through the browser windows, shoot panoramic images, and automate polite text replies to unwanted calls -- Android 4.0 does it all.

From its navigation methods to fonts, Android is redesigned and refreshed in its Ice Cream Sandwich edition to meet the tastes of its users. Google introduced the update to Honeycomb and Gingerbread Tuesday night alongside Samsung's debut of the Galaxy Nexus. Here are the highlights.

The Lock and Homescreens:

The Android 4.0 lockscreen closely resembles the one found on Android Honeycomb tablets: a lock icon, surrounded by a circle, which you flick outward to unlock the phone. Home screens behave the same way as they currently do on Android (swipe left or right to navigate, open an app drawer, retrieve widgets, and so on) except you now get a customizable “favorites tray” that resembles the dock in iOS. Because the Galaxy Nexus lacks physical navigation buttons, the Back, Home, and Recent Apps icons are located at the bottom of the screen and lit up when touched. Google gave no word on how ICS will work on older phones with physical nav buttons, but future phones running Android 4.0 may lack them as well.

The app drawer is updated to look more like the one in Honeycomb and you now scroll through apps by swiping left or right. Widgets have their own tab in the app drawer to make them easier to find. They look and work like the ones we have seen on Honeycomb, and are resizeable so you can fit them wherever you feel like.

Taking another leaf out of Apple’s book, Android 4.0 lets you create folders by dragging one app onto another. Apps can be rearranged in folders by dragging them around and folders can be renamed to your liking.

Recent Apps and Gestures:

If you tap the Recent Apps icon at the bottom right of the screen, a scrollable list of running apps pops up -- each with a thumbnail image of that application. You can close a particular app by flicking it away. The flicking gesture command is accepted throughout Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and is also used to dismiss specific notifications in the Notification Tray.

Besides accepting gestures, the Notification Tray displays photos and supports music controls, so you don’t have to go into a specific app in order to skip a song or pause your music. The Notification Tray is now accessible without having to unlock your phone. Just drag down the tray from the lockscreen and you can quickly jump to new text messages or e-mail messages by tapping on a notification. I like the fact that you can quickly get into apps without having to unlock the phone first, but I hope Google puts a security measure in place so that not just anyone can access your private communications.

Speaking of security, in Android 4.0 your face can be used to unlock your phone. Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus support facial recognition, so the phone can be set to unlock only if it recognizes your face. When demoed on stage, the phone failed to recognize its owner and defaulted back to the traditional pattern unlock screen. Let's hope the Android team gets the kinks worked out before launch, and that other phone manufacturers support this feature in future handsets.

Core Apps Updated:

All the core Android apps are getting a facelift and new features, though only the Browser, Calender, and Gmail were explicitly detailed at the introduction event.

The Browser now supports incognito mode and your bookmarks from the Chrome browser on desktop are now synced to the Browser in ICS. Google adds support for tabbed browsing, and you can quickly view which tabs are open, each with a live preview of that page. As with the notifications and Recent Apps list, you can quickly close tabs by flicking them away.

The biggest update to the Browser has to be the capability to save pages for offline reading. You can save web pages exactly as they are, and access them even when you don’t have a data connection. This is great for people who find an interesting article they want to read, but are going to be in an area with little to no data coverage.

Gmail also received a substantial update and is now much faster to use, thanks to the new Action Bar at the bottom of the screen. The bar is context-sensitive and changes depending on where you are in Gmail. For example, when viewing your inbox you the Action Bar has options for composing a new message, searching for a specific message, and so on. However, once you select one or more e-mail messages, the Action Bar buttons change and offer options to Delete, Archive, or Move those selected messages.

A new preview pane allows you to preview messages without having to open them, and you can now search through the last 30 days of your e-mail offline. It's unclear whether these updates are exclusive to the ICS Gmail app, or if the Gmail app on older Android devices will be updated to support these features as well.

The Calendar was mentioned only briefly, but you can now pinch to zoom in on your calendar events to see more details about specific events or you can zoom out to see all your events for that day. It's pretty cool, and beats tapping each event individually to find out more about it.

Maps, Music, and other core apps were updated as well but weren’t demonstrated.

Talk To Me:

Yes, the Android keyboard is updated for better text predictions, but the show-stealer was definitely the improvements that were made to the speech-to-text software.

Previously, in order to dictate a text message or other text field, you had to manually press the voice command key on the keyboard to activate it. Now, you simply start talking to your phone and the software activates automatically. While it's not exactly on the level of Siri, this is huge for people who use their phones while driving, since it no longer requires them to fuss with their phones to activate the dictation software.

Cut and Paste is improved upon even further as well. Now you can drag selected text to the position you want, and the controls for cutting and pasting text are more consistent throughout the operating system.

Camera and Gallery:

The camera on the Galaxy Nexus has zero shutter lag -- and demonstrators proved it by rapidly taking a series of photos just seconds apart. We still aren’t sure if that is a feature of Android 4.0 or if it’s exclusive to the Galaxy Nexus, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Once you snap a photo, you can quickly share it by tapping on it. A list of applications you could use to share the photo will pop up, and you can quickly select where you’d like to send the photo. If the photo could use a touch-up, ICS provides an impressive array of photo editing tools. These include various filters (which were lovingly described as “hipster”), the capability to adjust the image angle, red eye removal, cropping capabilities, and a few others that were not discussed. Any edits you make to a photo will create a copy, in case you ever want to go back to the original.

ICS also comes with a simple-to-use panorama mode. You just set the mode to panoramic, then take the first picture. A slider at the bottom of the screen guides you so you know when to move the phone, and you can preview the image as the device stitches the pictures together. I would expect to see way more panoramic pictures on Facebook and Twitter once Android 4.0 launches.

Video recording gains continuous focus as well as support for time-lapse and video snapshots.

Like with the Notification Tray, you can quickly access the phone camera from the phone lockscreen by flicking the lock icon to the left. A small camera icon pops up and you can launch straight into the Camera app.

People App and the Dialer:

The Contacts app is revamped as the new People app. The People app functions in the same way as the Contacts app found in Android 2.x, but it changes contact cards to show much more information at a glance. Nice big photos replace the tiny thumbnails, and you can quickly see a contact's recent photos or status updates. If that person is your friend on a social network, that data is automatically pulled so you can easily see their latest Tweet without having to open the Twitter app. Though described as an evolution of the current Contacts app, this felt more like a fine-tuning than a sensational leap forward.

The Dialer also has a few tweaks here and there. You can now retrieve voice mails from inside the call log, and can speed up or slow down their playback. Those nice big photos in the People app take up the entire screen whenever someone calls you, and you can send a Quick Response to anyone whose call you decline. Quick Responses are customizable canned text message responses that you can send to a caller to explain why you declined their call. It's pretty neat, and I can see myself using them on people I want to avoid.

Android Beam:

Google is really pushing Near Field Communications with its Google Wallet app, and Android Beam in Ice Cream Sandwich is just another reason to own an NFC-equipped phone.

With Android Beam, you can share any contacts or content between two Android devices just by tapping them together. You can share webpages, maps, and even apps. It's handy if you want to give your friends directions or want to share an article you found while browsing the web.

Odds and Ends:

Google mentioned tighter Google+ integration in Ice Cream Sandwich, but didn’t really demo anything. Representatives did, however, bring up the subject of data caps, and described a way for to better manage data usage.

By going to Settings>Data Usage, you can see a chart of how much data you have used that month as well as an estimate of your expected usage. You can also set limits and alerts so that you know exactly when you exceed your data limit, so you don’t get hit with overages. You can also select specific sections of the chart to see which apps used the most data that day. The phone will show you a breakdown of how much data that app uses, and allow you to restrict the app so that it uses data only when you want it to.

This is a huge step in giving users more control over their phones, and should help save people the headache of accidentally exceeding data limits.

Android 4.0 adds a handful of new live wallpapers as well as a new font aptly titled "Roboto." The live wallpapers were kind of neat, but Roboto was interesting because it is designed to be used on high-density displays. Since Ice Cream Sandwich natively supports 1280-by-720-pixel displays, let’s hope it gets used a whole lot more often. Barometer support is also added, although its use is unclear.

The first Ice Cream Sandwich equipped phone will be the Nexus Galaxy, which launches in November, but the SDK is available for developers now on the website. Now we wait to find out which phones are getting a tasty Ice Cream Sandwich update.