Saturday 31 January 2015

HTC launches upgraded Desire 816G with octa-core processor for INR 19,990

Just three months after introducing the Desire 816G in the country with a quad-core processor, Taiwanese manufacturer HTC has announced the launch of an upgraded version of the smartphone in the country. The new model is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core processor, instead of the quad-core chip in the original.

According to HTC, the new Desire 816G will retail for INR 19,990 in the country and will go on sale in the coming days.

“The new offering under the HTC Desire series is our next step towards a power packed combination of beautiful design and flagship performance all backed by a powerful 1.7 GHz Octa-Core Processor. The HTC Desire 816G is the best buy amongst big screen devices, packing powerful performance and innovative design perfectly at a great price.” said Faisal Siddiqui, Vice President and Country Head, HTC India.

Other specifications of the new variant are similar to the original like 5.5-inch HD display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and 2600 mAh battery. The phone also packs 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front shooter with dual-front speakers. In addition, Desire 816G includes dual-SIM support and runs on Android with HTC Sense UI.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 3 breaks cover, expected to arrive soon

Samsung seems to be getting ready to introduce the third smartphone in its Galaxy XCover line of rugged Android smartphones. Likely to be dubbed as Samsung Galaxy XCover 3, the smartphone has been leaked online with both alleged images and specifications out in the wild.

According to a report in GSM Arena, the phone will carry the model number SM-G388F and will come with entry-level specifications. The phone will feature a 4.8-inch WVGA display and be powered by 1.2GHz quad-core Marvell PXA1908 processor.

Other specifications of the phone will include 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 2MP front shooter and 8GB of internal storage. Galaxy XCover 3 is also expected to pack 3G, NFC, Android 4.4.4, and the usual set of connectivity options.

There is no word on the pricing or availability details at this point, but we expect to see the official announcement in the coming weeks.

To remind you, Samsung has launched two smartphones till date in the XCover-series – the original Galaxy XCover in 2011 and Galaxy XCover 2 in 2013. Both smartphones were targeted to the outdoor enthusiasts and explorers. They were water resistant, dust resistant and could withstand accidental drops.

iBall releases Andi 5Q Cobalt Solus smartphone for INR 11,999

iBall, Indian electronics manufacturer, has quietly released the new Andi 5Q Cobalt Solus smartphone in the Indian market. Available on for INR 11,999, the smartphone boasts of some decent specs including an octa-core processor in a slim and lightweight design. The phone can now be purchased from ebay, and we expect to see expanded availability soon.

Powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Cortex-A7 processor, the dual-SIM Andi 5Q Cobalt Solus comes loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and features 16GB of internal memory and 2GB of RAM. The memory can be increased by using microSD card of upto 32GB. The phone also sports a 5-inch 1280x720p HD(289 PPI) OGS touch panel, 2250 mAh battery, and a durable rear panel with glass finish to give it a premium look.

On the camera front, the smartphone features a 13MP auto-focus shooter with LED flash at the back and a 5MP front-facing camera for video calling and selfies. The rear camera supports Live photo option,  Face beauty, Panorama mode, Face detection, Smile shot and V capture modes. Among the connectivity options, the Andi 5Q Cobalt Solus comes with 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and A-GPS and a microUSB port.

Similar to other Android smartphones, Andi 5Q has proximity sensor,  ambient light sensor, magnetic sensor and G-sensor. Other nifty features include Smart Answer, Smart Dial, Flip to mute, Shake to Answer and OTG Function. iBall has made sure to offer a feature-packed smartphone while competing against the likes of Moto G (2nd gen) and the newly launched Yu Yureka.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Facebook introduces new Facebook Lite Android app for emerging markets

If you remember, Facebook redesigned its main Android app last year to provide better performance, data efficiency, networking, and application size for low-cost Android devices. But now it looks like that Facebook is satisfied with that. The social giant has quietly launched a lighter version of its official Android app for the consumers in the emerging markets.

Unlike the existing Facebook for Android app, which is over 27MB in size (in high-end phones, there are multiple APKs for different phones), the new Facebook Lite app weighs just 252KB. It is now available in markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. There is no word on whether the app will reach other markets, but if it indeed sees decent adoption in the target markets, I don’t see why Facebook won’t expand its availability.

With its overall low size and footprint, the Facebook Lite has been built for affordable Android smartphones, which don’t include much internal storage. The app is also likely to consume less data than the main app to help the users with their data costs and work efficiently in locations with slower data speed.

During my brief usage of the Facebook Lite app, I found it to be working quite nicely and majority of the features have been included. Apart from the overall user-interface, one won’t miss much in the new app.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Draft rules for full mobile number portability issued by TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued draft regulations to facilitate full mobile number portability (MNP), which is set to start from May 3. Currently, MNP norms allow users to retain their numbers while changing their operators within the same service area. India has 22 telecom circles or service areas.

The full or nationwide mobile number portability (MNP) will allow consumers to change service provider in any part of the country while retaining their existing number. Under the full MNP regime, a subscriber in Delhi NCR, for instance, will be able to switch to the network of either the same or any other telecom operator in a different state while retaining the same mobile number.

On November 3, 2014 the Department of Telecom (DoT) had issued amendments to the MNP License Agreement and asked telecom operators to implement full MNP within a period of six months from the date of amendment. Two months ago, DoT said that in order to implement full MNP, the word ‘each intra’ is modified to be read as ‘inter and intra’ in the instructions for MNP, which were issued on May 6, 2009.

In the new amendment, the telecom regulator wants to introduce a clause to safeguard interest of postpaid mobile service users who face disconnection in a new network even after clearing all their dues of their old service provider. The telecom regulator has sought public comments on the subject by February 6, 2015. Over 13 crores people had requested for MNP facility as of August 31, as per the data released by the TRAI.

Lava Iris 350 smartphone with 3G support for Rs. 3500

Lava has listed the Iris 350 on their website. It is a 1GHz powered handset with dual SIM slots (3G supported) for Rs. 3,500. This handset is running Android KitKat and it will hit the stores soon.

Lava Mobiles had launched the Lava iris 350M sometime in June 2014, it was a dual core handset with 2G support. The Iris 350 is also powered by 1GHz processor (unknown chipset and core, probably it’s dual core). There are dual SIM slots with 3G support.

Iris 350 sports a 3.5 inch TFT screen with HVGA (480 x 320 pixels) resolution with 16M colours. Handset is light weight at 110 grams and is 12.4mm thick. It is running Android version 4.4.2 (KitKat) out of the box with 256MB RAM, 512MB internal storage and 32GB external card support.

A VGA camera is packed on the front and a 2MP fixed focus camera on the rear. Rear camera comes with LED flash support. Additional features are 3G, 2G (EDGE/GPRS), GPS with A-GPS support, Bluetooth 2.1 and Wi-Fi (b/g/n).

This handset gets power from a 1400 mAh battery that as per the company can play videos for up to 5 hours using wired headset. Lava Iris 350 will hit the stores soon for Rs. 3,500.

Xiaomi to hold a one-day sale for Mi 3 on Today

In an attempt to clear any remaining Mi 3 inventory before the introduction of Mi 4 smartphone next week in India, Xiaomi is holding a one-day sale for the smartphone on January 26. As usual, there is no easy way to participate in the sale and the company wants you to jump through multiple hoops before you are able to buy the smartphone.

As per a post on the company’s official Facebook page, the sale will take place at 5PM on January 26 and to participate the sale, you will have to complete a few tasks given in Facebook post. If you really want the phone, here is a quick look at the tasks.

1. Like this post on Facebook and share with 3 or more friends
2. Submit your Flipkart registered email address once the registration link is available on 12 noon at       this link.
3. Log into at 5 PM on the same day– if you were fast enough to sign up, you will     find the device in your shopping cart.
4. Complete the payment on Flipkart.

To remind you, Xiaomi Mi 3 is a high-end smartphone and comes with specifications such as 5-inch full HD IPS display, Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear camera and 2MP front shooter. The phone also packs 16GB of internal storage, 3050 mAh battery, Android 4.3-based MIUI v5 (Android 4.4 update is available). The phone carries a price-tag of INR 13,999.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Xiaomi begins offering refurbished Redmi 1S smartphones in India

While there is a big market for the second-hand goods in India, but we don’t much see official refurbished product sales from the company themselves, although it is quite common in other countries.

Now, Xiaomi has decided to offer the refurbished or just unboxed units of its Redmi 1S smartphone in the country. The company has partnered with for the first sale, which is happening today and requires an invite like other Xiaomi sales.

BGR India reports that it is a pilot sale and based on its performance, Xiaomi will decided whether it wants to continue with such sales or not. At the time of writing this report, there were just four units of the unboxed Redmi 1S and nine units of refurbished Redmi 1S left in the sale, so it seems to have gone decently.

For those of you, who are not familiar with refurbished products, there are the units, which are returned by the consumers because some fault and the company fixed them and then offers them as refurbished units. Unboxed products, on the other hand, are basically new units, but were returned by the consumers after opening. Both types of products are sold at discount like the unboxed Redmi 1S is being sold by Xiaomi at just INR 4,990 and refurbished units are available for just INR 4,590, while a new Redmi 1S retail for INR 5,999 at Flipkart.

Samsung Galaxy S6 specifications leaked, to include 5.1-inch Quad-HD S-AMOLED display

For the last few years, Samsung has been really secretive about its Galaxy S-series flagship models and that too successfully, resulting in very few credible leaks and the same is happening with upcoming Galaxy S6 smartphone. We are yet to see a proper image or the full specifications of the smartphone. Now, BGR has come up with what could be the key features of the phone, but given BGR’s not-so-great record in the recent times, we can’t be certain.

According to BGR, Samsung Galaxy S6 will come with a 5.1-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED display, a 64-bit octa-core processor based on 14nm process, and 2550 mAh battery. The phone will also reportedly pack 32/ 64/ 128GB of internal storage, 20MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, 5MP f1.8 front shooter and wireless charging support.

In addition, Samsung is rumored to have included Gorilla Glass 4, a dim-light mode, 4G LTE Cat 6 support, quick-charge functionality to provide four hours of battery juice in just 10 mixtures of charging, and NFC with Samsung Pay.

There is no way to authenticate these specifications, but they seem plausible. As per previous rumours, other specifications of the phone will include 3GB of RAM, microSD card slot, and Android 5.0 with TouchWiz.

Anyway, there is just over a month left for the official announcement, which is expected on March 2 and we will know all the details soon enough.