Saturday 6 September 2014

Moto 360 detailed, goes on sale in US today for $249.99

In addition to the brand new Moto G and Moto G smartphones, Motorola today officially detailed the Moto 360 smartwatch. Although the smartwatch was made official along with Android Wear back in June, not much information about it was available until now.

Featuring a round steel-frame, the Moto G sports a leather strap (metal version arriving later this fall) and includes a 1.56-inch 320x290p backlit LCD. It is powered by TI OMAP 3 processor and runs on Android Wear. All the usual Android Wear features are available in the watch and it can track your fitness information, heart-rate and more.

“Moto 360 is a classically-designed, modern timepiece powered by Android Wear. Comfortable, familiar, and crafted with the finest materials, Moto 360 keeps you up to date without taking you away from the moment. Glance at your wrist to see updates or just speak to get the info you need. Keep track of your steps and know your heart rate thanks to a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor,” Motorola noted in a blog post.

Like all Android Wear smartwatches, Moto 360 will work with all Android smartphones running on version 4.3 or above.

Pricing and availability

According to Motorola, Moto 360 will go on sale in black leather and a limited edition gray leather in the US today starting at noon EST for $249.99. The company will also release Moto 360 with two metal strap options later this fall for $299.99.

Availability and pricing information for other markets will be shared by the local Motorola units, although we do know that India will get the smartwatch later this month, while it will arrive in UK in early-October.

Motorola unveils Moto Hint, Power Pack Micro accessories

Motorola’s flurry of product announcements today weren’t just limited to the new smartphones and Moto 360 smartwatch, the company also unveiled the new Moto Hint and Power Pack Micro accessories.

Moto Hint is the same accessory, which was earlier teased by the company in the launch event invite. According to Motorola, Moto Hint is a wireless earbud, which allows you to control your phone without bringing it out of your pocket. Once paired, it acts as an extended microphone and speaker for your phone. So, you put in your ear and start saying voice commands.

“Moto Hint is a discreet wireless earbud designed to look good and feel great. It gives you complete control of your phone and allows you to access everything you need by just using your voice,” noted Motorola in a blog post.

The company states Moto Hint is compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, however we believe that it will work best with Moto X (201 & 2014) as the phones offer the best voice control for any smartphone available in the market.

It has been priced at a hefty $149.99 and will go on sale later this fall in the US. It is expected to land in other markets around the year-end.

Coming to Power Pack Micro, which is a fancy power bank for your phone. In addition to extra battery juice that it carries, the Power Bank Micro also comes with Motorola Keylink, a phone and key finder which helps locate your phone or keys when they’ve been misplaced.

Set to be available in multiple colour options, it will go on sale later today on in the US for $39.99.

Google details upcoming Android Wear updates

After the recent report, which revealed that Google is planning to issue a few feature updates for Android Wear, the search giant itself has now officially announced the update details.

In a blog post today, Google stated that it will be releasing couple of updates for Android Wear in the coming months but did not give a specific timeline.

“Our goal with Wear is to build technology that helps you connect with others and get stuff done. So often, technology can become something that gets in the way of everything else. But we want to build devices that you can use when you need and forget about when you don’t—technology that’s built for your sake, rather than its own sake. Coming throughout the rest of this year, we’re making some updates to Wear that will help you get even more out of your watch—and the rest of your life, too,” David Singleton, Engineering Director, Android Wear wrote in the blog post.

The first update, which will hit the Android Wear devices in the coming weeks, will bring offline music playback (via Bluetooth headsets) and GPS support, while the second update will add support for downloadable watch-faces. These watches-faces will be available via Google Play.

According to Google, all of the Android Wears devices, including the ones introduced this summer, will be getting the upcoming updates. The company also noted that it is working with device partners to add more such interesting and useful features to the platform.

In related news, Android Police recently reported that the first Android Wear update might arrive on October 15. Although there has been no official confirmation for the same, the scheduled debut of LG G Watch R on October 14 makes the timing quite plausible. If the update is indeed coming on October 15, LG might already be working to integrate in its smartwatch.

Motorola unveils new Moto X with 5.2-inch FHD display

Over a year after Motorola took the wraps of the original Moto X, the company today introduced its successor with the same name at a press event in New Delhi. The new Moto X improves on its predecessor in almost every aspect.

Sporting a curved metal frame, the new Moto X runs on almost-stock version of Android and comes with enhanced voice control, which lets the consumers select custom voice prompt as well as adds several new voice-commands. The company has also included four noise-cancellation mic on the phone for better voice reception in environments with heavy background noise.

Coming to the specifications, the new Moto X features a 5.2-inch full HD IPS display, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM and 2300 mAh battery. The phone also comes with 16GB of internal storage (32GB option in Moto Maker), 13MP rear camera and 2MP front shooter. Full specifications are listed later in the report.

On the customisation front, Motorola will give the Moto X (2014) buyers with an option to choose from 25 back finishes including wood and leather backs via Moto Maker.

Availability: New Moto X will go on sale in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia later this month. It will be priced at $99.99 with the usual two-year contract ($499.99 without contract) in the US.

India Launch: Like other countries, the new Moto X will arrive to India later this month, no word on pricing.

New Moto X (2014) specifications

OS: Android 4.4.4, Kitkat

Processor: 2.5 GHz Snapdragon Qualcomm 801, quad-core CPU, Adreno 330 GPU

Memory: 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage

Display: 5.2-inch FHD (1920x1080p), AMOLED

Cameras: 13MP rear with dual-LED flash, 2MP front

Speakers: Front (bottom)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi a/g/b/n/ac , 3G, 4G LTE

Size: 140.8×72.4×9.97 mm, 144 grams

Battery: 2300 mAh

New Moto G goes on sale at Flipkart for INR 12,999

As promised, Indian e-retailer Flipkart has started selling the new Moto G smartphone in the country. The phone can now be ordered from the retailer in white or black colour options and carries a price-tag of INR 12,999.

Originally unveiled on Friday, the second-generation Moto G sports a 5-inch display with 1280x720p resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is powered by 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor and packs 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and microSD card slot.

The new Moto G also includes a microSD card slot capable of housing up to 32GB of external storage and dual-SIM card support. On the connectivity front, Motorola has housed 3G support, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS and Glonass on the smartphone.

Moto G successor also comes with an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, 2MP front shooter and 2070 mAH battery. The phone runs on Android 4.4.4 and will come pre-loaded with Motorola enhancements like Moto Assist, Moto Migrate, Moto Alert as well as Intelligent Calling.

The company has also made the phone customisable, so like its predecessor, you can pop-in colourful Motorola Shells (Back covers) as per your taste. Motorola will be selling the Moto G shells in Lime, Turquoise, Cherry, Chaulk, Licorice, Violet and Royal Blue colours. These will be priced at INR 800 each. Motorola is also offering official flip covers for the phone for INR 1,700 each in the same colours as the Motorola Shells.

The new smartphone might not pack a whole lot of improvements over the original Moto G but the phone is still a worthy successor to Motorola’s most selling smartphone till date. During my brief usage of the phone during the launch event, I found it to be nicely made and it felt solid in hand. The overall performance was decent and there was no lag during normal usage. I will be detailing my first impressions of the smartphone in a separate report.

As per the import data present on, Flipkart has imported over 140,000 units of the phone. So, you should have no issue in buying the phone, however compared to Black, White units are less.

Launch day offers: For the next 24 hours, everyone who buys the new Moto G buyers will get the following goodies:

Chance to get 100pc cashback via lucky draw
Extra 35 percent discount on shopping via Myntra app
Flats 50 percent discount on Moto G cases and covers
Discounts worth INR 6,000 on shopping via Flipkart
Free pre-selected e-Books worth INR 1,000

Thursday 4 September 2014

Asus ZenWatch is official, priced at €199

After a number of teasers and rumours, Asus on Wednesday unveiled its first Android Wear smartwatch in Berlin. The new Asus ZenWatch sports similar internals to those present in other Android Wear devices but the company seems to have spent quite some time in designing the device as it looks far better than other square smartwatches.

“ZenWatch brings the luxury tradition of fine watchmaking to Android Wear, with an elegant, detail-focused design and use of high-quality materials. It is designed for supreme comfort, with a soft genuine stitched-leather strap and quick-release clasp,” Asus noted in a press release.

Featuring a curved stainless-steel case, the ZenWatch sports 1.63-inch 320x320p AMOLED display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3. It also comes with 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and Bluetooth 4.0. The watch also packs a heart-rate sensor and microphone.

Like all Android Wear smartwatches, ZenWatch can monitor and track a range of fitness related data like steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level.

On the software front, Asus has included several watch faces as well as smart features on the device. Some of the software customisations include Watch Unlock, Tap Tap, Remote Camera, Cover to Mute, Find My Phone and Presentation Control. As the names of the features suggest, most of them allow the users to control their smartphone with the smartwatch.

According to Asus, ZenWatch will work with all Android smartphones running version 4.3 or above but ZenFone users get select additional feaatures like support for What’s Next and Do It Later apps.

Pricing: The smartwatch will retail for 199 euros, when it goes on sale in late-Q3 or early-Q4.

Google updates Maps for Android with Hindi voice-navigation

Like all Wednesdays, Google has released a couple of app updates today including a small one for Google Maps. This Maps update includes support for turn-by-turn voice navigation in Hindi as well as improved navigation notifications on Android Wear devices.

Talking about Hindi voice navigation support, Android users will now be able to use Hindi as the language of voice-prompts in turn-by-turn navigation. As there is now way to specify the voice-navigation language in the Maps app, you will need to change the language at OS level to avail the feature. To change the language on your Android device, go to Settings >Language and Input (the options can be little different depending on device manufacturer).

This is the latest step in Google’s attempt to make its services available for the Hindi users. Earlier, the company had launched Maps app in Hindi and released support Hindi in Voice Search.

The updated version of Maps will automatically reach your Android device over the coming days.

Among other Google app updates, the company has rolled out an updated version of News and Weather app with bug-fixes.

Samsung introduces Galaxy Note 4 & Note Edge smartphones

Korean smartphone giant Samsung on Wednesday took the wraps off the new Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge smartphones at a press event in Berlin.  The Note 4 will start rolling out globally next month and will be released in all major markets across the world, while the Note Edge will be available in select markets later this year.

“The Galaxy Note series signaled extraordinary innovation within the technology industry. Its larger screen size and iconic S Pen technology launched a new standard in smartphone culture. With the introduction of the Galaxy Note series, we brought the age-old culture of the pen and notepad into the digital world. The new Galaxy Note 4 introduces the most refined Note experience to-date by combining all the latest technology that users expect from the Galaxy series,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics.

Coming to the smartphone specifics, the Galaxy Note 4 sports a Super AMOLED display, however Samsung has included a curved display in Note Edge, which is wrapped over the right-edge of the phone.The display area on the edge can be used for stuff like notifications, weather information, stock tickers, clock, news feeds, quick shortcuts and more.

“The Galaxy Note Edge’s unique curved Edge screen provides quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and device functionality – even when the cover is closed – all with the swipe of a thumb. Users can also receive notifications directly on the Edge Screen while watching videos without disturbing their viewing,” explained Samsung.

Apart from the edge display, the Note Edge is pretty much same as the normal Note 4, which is powered by 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor. The company will be including 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos 5433 processor in Note 4 in select markets. The phone also features 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and Android 4.4 with TouchWiz UI.

On the design front, Note 4 sports metallic frame like Galaxy Alpha, a faux-leather soft touch back and 2.5D glass screen, all of which comes together to form a pretty decent smartphone. In addition, like all other Note-series devices, Note 4 (and Note Edge) will come with S-Pen stylus, which, the company claims, is most refined version from it till date and includes enhanced fuctionality.

Availability: According to Samsung, Galaxy Note 4 will be released in four colour options – White, Black, Gold and Pink. Note Edge will however come in only two colours – White and Black.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 specifications

Display: 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD (2560x1440p)

Processor: 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 quad-core / 1.9GHz Exynos 5433 octa-core (depends on the region)

Memory: 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot

Battery: 3220 mAh

OS: Android 4.4.4 with TouchWiz UI

Cameras: 16MP rear with optical image stabilisation & LED flash

Connectivity: LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, IR LED, NFC

Ports: MicroUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack

Size: 153.5×78.6×8.5mm

Others: Heart-rate sensor, fingerprint scanner, UV sensor, barometer

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge specifications

Display: 5.6-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ (2560x1440p on the front & 160px on the side)

Processor: 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 quad-core

Memory: 3GB of RAM, 32/ 64GB of internal storage, microSD card slot

Battery: 3000 mAh

Cameras: 16MP rear with optical image stabilisation & LED flash, 3.7MP f/1.9 front camera

Connectivity: LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, IR LED, NFC

Ports: MicroUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack

Size: 151.3×82.4×8.3mm

Others: Heart-rate sensor, fingerprint scanner, UV sensor, barometer