Thursday 26 February 2015

Moto E (2nd Gen) 3G to retail at INR 6,999 in India

Motorola’s newly announced Moto E (2nd Gen) smartphone is coming soon to the Indian market and as you can expect, it will be exclusive to e-retailer Flipkart, but what everyone is wondering about is the price of the phone. According to a video published by Motorola Mobility on YouTube, the 3G version of the phone will retail at INR 6,999 in the country, same as the last-gen Moto E, which is now available for INR 5,999.

Motorola India has already confirmed in a tweet that India will be getting the dual-SIM version of the phone. Now, the only thing that remains a mystery is whether the company will release the 4G version of Moto E (2nd Gen) in the country, which is a more powerful smartphone, thanks to the 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor on-board instead of the 32-bit Snapdragon 200 in the 3G version.

To remind you, other features of the new Moto E include a 4.5-inch qHD IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 2390 mAh battery, Android 5.0, 5MP rear camera and VGA front shooter.

We expect to see an official announcement in the coming days.

WhatsApp Web gets support for Firefox & Opera browsers

WhatsApp has announced that WhatsApp Web client can now work with the Firefox as well as Opera browsers. Earlier, the support for WhatsApp Web was limited to Chrome browser. Among the major web browsers, there is still no support for Internet Explorer and we have no idea when that will happen.

To remind you, WhatsApp Web is currently available for Android, Windows Phone as well as BlackBerry users.

Google launches Android for Work

After first showcasing it at I/O 2014, Google is finally ready with Android for Work. The company late Wednesday announced in a blog post that Android for Work is now available for enterprise users, as a platform to best use the personal Android devices as a work device.

“For the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped. Today we’re announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we’re helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform,” wrote Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Work in the blog post.

According to Google, Android for Work includes four main components – work profiles in Android 5.0 Lollipop to keep personal and work data seperate and protected, Android for Work app in Android 4.0 to 4.4 for secure access to work apps (as there is no profiles support in older Android versions), Google Play for Work for secure and custom Appstore for work apps and productivity tools to meet enterprise needs.

The seach giant has partnered with device makers like Samsung, Sony, LG, Lenovo, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Dell and HP to make their compliant with Android for Work as well as enterprise apps and tools maker like SAP, Cisco, Box and more to build apps ready for the Google platform.

Google is hoping the Android for Work will help it stop the migration for enterprise users from BlackBerry to iOS and get them to its fold.

You can read more about Android for Work on the company website.

LG introduces Watch Urbane LTE, ditches Android Wear for proprietary OS

LG has unveiled a variant of its recently unveiled Watch Urbane in the form of Watch Urbane LTE. A competitor to Samsung’s Gear S, the Watch Urbane LTE includes 4G LTE as well as voice-calling support.

According to LG, the smartwatch sports a 1.3-inch circular P-OLED display and includes 700 mAh battery, unlike 410 mAh in non-LTE version, and NFC for mobile payments.

Among other features, the Watch Urbane can make “walkie-talkie” like voice-calls, do speech translation, and location share. The operating system of the smartwatch is unclear at this point, but it is not WebOS or Android Wear and the company is most likely using a proprietary system.

LG has packed three buttons on the smartwatch, of which the top one shows the settings screen, middle one shows the clock app and some list mode and the lower button is like a back key and can also be used as a shortcut to call a preset number in case of emergencies. LG Watch Urbane LTE is made of scratch-resistant stainless steel and the strap features a special rubber material.

The pricing and availability details remain a mystery at this point, but we hope to hear more at the MWC 2015 in March.

LG Watch Urbane LTE Specifications

  • Connectivity: LTE, Bluetooth, NFC
  • Processor: 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • Display: 1.3-inch plastic OLED (320×320, 245ppi)
  • Memory: 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage
  • Sensors: 9-axis (gyro / acceleration / compass), barometer, pressure sensor, heart rate sensor, GPS
  • Waterproof and dustproof: IP67 certified
  • Battery: 700mAh
  • Colors: Silver

Motorola unveils Moto E (2nd Gen)

After getting everyone’s hopes up for something unique, Motorola on Wednesday revealed that it is just announcing the new Moto E (2nd Gen) smartphone, which will be released in 4G LTE, 3G as well as 3G dual-SIM versions.

“We’re introducing the next generation, packed with more features and functionality to give people around the world even greater access to life’s possibilities – without a hefty price tag. Because we believe access to the mobile internet should be a choice, not a privilege,” wrote Motorola in a blog post.

Anyway, the new Moto E runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and sports a 4.5-inch qHD display with Gorilla Glass 3. It also comes with 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor (Snapdragon 200 in 3G version), 2390 mAh battery and 4G LTE support (optional). Among other specifications, Motorola has included 5MP auto-focus rear camera, secondary front camera, 8GB of internal storage, and microSD card slot. Check out the full specifications later in the report.

Motorola also allows the consumers to customize the new Moto E design to their liking by swapping the existing Black or White bands with any one of the six colourful bands being released by the company. It will also offer five colourful Motorola Grip Shells for the phone.

According to Motorola, the Moto E (2nd Gen) goes on sale beginning today in select markets for $119.99 (3G version) and $149.99 (4G version). It will be released in over 50 markets in Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia over the coming months.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

LG begins G Flex 2 global roll-out

LG has announced that it has started the global roll-out of the G Flex 2 smartphone. The phone was first launched in the company’s home market “South Korea” in January at 800,000 won.

According to LG, United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Germany and the U.K. will be among the first to get the G Flex 2, followed by major smartphone markets in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

LG G Flex 2 is the company’s second curved-screen smartphone, but look much more palatable, thanks to a smaller display, a refined design and better specifications than its predecessor.

“The G Flex 2 shows the world that there’s still room for design innovation in today’s smartphones beyond just metal frames and larger displays. We think the G Flex2 is the perfect example of form and function coming together beautifully. It’s a smartphone that people simply won’t be able to take their eyes off of,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

LG Flex 2 specifications

  • 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 64-bit Octa-Core CPU
  • 5.5-inch full HD Curved P-OLED display
  • 16/ 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM and microSD slot (up to 2TB)
  • 13.0MP rear camera with OIS+ and Laser Auto Focus, 2.1MP front shooter
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 149.1×75.3×7.1-9.4mm, 152grams
  • 4G LTE, HSPA+ 21/42 Mbps, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth Smart Ready 4.1, NFC, SlimPort, A-GPS, Glonass and MicroUSB 2.0

Sony to introduce Xperia M4 Aqua at MWC 2015 – Exclusive

In addition to the just revealed Xperia Z4 Tablet, Sony will unveil a new mid-range smartphone at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. According to sources familiar with Sony’s plans, the company will announce the new Xperia M4 Aqua at the event.

The smartphone will succeed the company’s Xperia M2 Aqua phone, which was introduced in August last year. Like its predecessor, Xperia M4 Aqua will also be water and dust-proof with IP65/68 rating.

According to one source, Xperia M4 Aqua will run Android 5.0 Lollipop. Other specifications of the smartphone are a mystery at this point, but we believe the phone will sport a 5-inch 720p HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 2300 mAh battery.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua will go on sale in Q2 of 2015 for somewhere between GBP 200 and 250.

With the Mobile World Congress 2015 less than a week away, we will soon get a confirmation on the specifications as well as availability.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet revealed, to be announced at MWC in March

Sony is getting ready to introduce a new Android tablet at the upcoming Mobile World Congress. Dubbed as Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet, it was confirmed by an accidental listing by the company on its Xperia Lounge application. The listing has now been removed, but not before a quick Xperia Blog reader snapped a screenshot.

The screenshot doesn’t reveal many specifics about the device, but it does note that the tablet will include 2K display, latest ultra fast processor and industry leading battery performance. The processor will most likely be Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. There is little doubt that the tablet will run on Android 5.0 with Sony’s software enhancements. We also expect it to include around 3GB of RAM, 16/ 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, NFC, and Wi-Fi.

The exact display size of the Xperia Z4 Tablet remain unclear and it could be 10.1-inch like Xperia Z2 Tablet or 8-inch like Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Anyway, with less than a week to go for MWC, we will soon have all the details.

Monday 23 February 2015

This is the best official look at Samsung Galaxy S6

We have seen a number of leaked renders from case makers to other sources, but these can never be as credible as the one from an official source.

US telecom operator T-Mobile has published a Galaxy S6 teaser on its website, which gives us the first official look at the smartphone. Although not much is visible in the image, we can still see the curved rim that borders the overflowing cover glass on the phone. I believe (based on the teaser image) that Samsung Galaxy S6 will include a normal display (not curved), but the cover glass will be curved and overflow on the left and right sides of the smartphone. The cover glass will still leave space for the power button as well as volume rocker to be placed on the sides of the smartphone.

The profile of the smartphone, which has been pictured in the teaser, also confirms the rumoured slim design.

No other details have been revealed, but as per previous leaks, Samsung Galaxy S6 will feature a 5.1-inch QHD display, Exynos 7 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, fingerprint sensor and Android 5.0.

Motorola to unveil mystery product this week: Report

Lenovo-owned Motorola Mobility is getting ready to unveil a mystery device sometime this week, revealed the invites received by US tech media last week.

“Motorola is making an exciting announcement next week and wants you to be in the front row. The best part? You get to choose where and when you’d like to experience it. Everything you need fits inside one box, which we will deliver to your doorstep on Wednesday,” read the invite.

It is unclear what Motorola will be introducing this week, but speculations have ranged from Moto 360 successor to some other wearable device to an Android tablet. Motorola is also rumoured to launch the next-gen Moto E smartphone in the coming weeks, but it seems unlikely that the company will be making so much fuss for a budget smartphone.

We hope to learn more on Feb 25, when select publications will get hold of the box that Motorola has talked about in the invite. May be it will shed some light on the upcoming device.

LG unveils new mid-range smartphones – Magna, Spirit, Leon & Joy

LG on Monday announced four new Android smartphones, which will be part of its mid-range portfolio. LG has ditched the usual L or F-series branding and the new phones have been simply named as LG Magna, LG Spirit, LG Leon and LG Joy. These phones will go on sale the week starting February 23 in select markets and will continue rolling out over the coming months.

The company will also be showcasing the phones at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona next month.

“LG’s new mid-range collection continues our legacy of offering amazing smartphones at reasonable prices. For millions of consumers around the world, the deciding factor on which smartphone to buy isn’t how fast or how big it is but how balanced it is. With our new mid-range smartphones, more and more customers will be looking to LG for their next handsets,”said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

On the design front, the smartphones sport LG’s trademark back-buttons and the rest of it is pretty much average.

LG’s Magna, Spirit, Leon and Joy run on Android 5.0 with an upgraded version of the company’s UX, making them the company’s first Android phones to feature the latest Android version. The usual LG UX enhancements like Gesture Shot and Glance View are also present on the phones.

The smartphone pricing details are a mystery at this point and so are the India release plans.

LG Magna Specifications:

Display: 5.0-inch HD (294 ppi)
Chipset: 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz Quad-Core*
Cameras: Rear 8MP / Front 5MP
Memory: 8GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM
Battery: 2,540mAh (removable)
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
Network: LTE Cat. 4 / HSPA+ 21Mbps
Size: 139.7 x 69.9 x 10.2mm

LG Spirit Specifications:

Display: 4.7-inch HD (312 ppi)
Chipset: 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz Quad-Core*
Cameras: Rear 8MP or 5MP* / Front 1MP
Memory: 8GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM
Battery: 2,100mAh (removable)
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
Network: LTE Cat. 4 / HSPA+ 21Mbps
Size: 133.3 x 66.1 x 9.9mm

LG Leon Specifications:

Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA (220 ppi)
Chipset: 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz Quad-Core*
Cameras: Rear 8MP or 5MP* / Front VGA
Memory: 8GB of internal storage/ 1GB of RAM
Battery: 1,900mAh (removable)
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
Network: LTE Cat. 4 / HSPA+ 21Mbps
Size: 129.9 x 64.9 x 10.9mm

LG Joy Specifications:

Display: 4.0-inch WVGA (233 ppi)
Chipset: 1.2GHz Quad-Core / 1.2GHz Dual-Core*
Cameras: Rear 5MP / Front VGA
Memory: 8GB or 4GB* of internal storage/ 1GB or 512MB* of RAM
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop / Android 4.4 KitKat
Battery: 1,900mAh (removable)
Network: LTE Cat. 4 / HSPA+ 21Mbps
Size: 122.7 x 64.0 x 11.9mm

Thursday 19 February 2015

Intex unveils Aqua Y2 Remote smartphone with IR blaster for INR 4,390

Although IR blasters have become common in the flagship smartphones, they remain absent in the budget phones. In an attempt to cater to the niche consumer-set, which wants IR blaster in its smartphones, Indian smartphone vendor Intex has introduced the new Aqua Y2 Remote smartphone.

The Intex smartphone packs an IR blaster and comes pre-loaded with ZaZa Remote app, which will allow the consumers to control their electronic appliances like TV, Set-top box, AC, Speakers, etc with their Android phone.

The Aqua Y2 Remote has been priced at INR 4,390 and includes budget specifications like a 4-inch WVGA display, 1500 mAh battery, dual-SIM support, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The phone also features 1.2GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6572 processor, 5MP rear camera, 2MP front shooter, 3G and Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

“The new Aqua Y2 Remote is the most reasonable smartphones with a soothing display to suit the user requirement. As the name suggests, the smartphone turns into a remote once synced with the products,” said Sanjay Kumar Karilona, Mobile Business Head at Intex Technologies.

According to Intex, Aqua Y2 Remote will be available in three colors – Grey, White & Black.

Oppo releases R5 Gilded Limited Edition in India

Oppo has announced that it is releasing a limited edition variant of the R5 smartphone in the Indian market. The new Oppo R5 Gilded Limited Edition comes with a gold frame instead of the usual Silver frame.

“Oppo R5 Gilded Limited Edition defines luxury. The uber stylish gold frame adds a unique look to the smartphone and is sure to turn heads for its chic look,” noted Oppo in a press release.

“The gold frame has been forged nine times and then finished by hand to give a perfect sheen and feel. It has a quality that is not available anywhere else in the industry,”added Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO India.

According to Oppo, only 10,000 units of the R5 Gilded Limited Edition will be released globally. It will retail at the same price as the normal R5 in the country, which is INR 29,990.

Apart from the Gold frame, there seems to be no other difference between the Gilded edition and the normal R5.

To remind you, Oppo R5 is the company’s thinnest smartphone with 4.85mm thickness. It features a 5.2-inch full HD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and Android 4.4-based Color 2.0.1 OS. The phone also packs 13MP rear camera, 5MP front shooter, 16GB of internal storage, 2000 mAh battery and 4G LTE support.

Flipkart teases the impending launch of Moto Maxx aka Droid Turbo

E-retail giant Flipkart has begun teasing the arrival of a new Motorola smartphone in the country. Although the e-retailer has not explicitly revealed the name of this smartphone, the teaser includes details like the presence of Ballistic Nylon, which clearly indicate that we are going see the launch of Moto Maxx, also known as Droid Turbo.

Originally unveiled in October last year on US telecom operator Verizon Wireless as Droid Turbo and later introduced as Moto Maxx for the international markets, the smartphone features a 5.2-inch QHD display, 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM and 3500 mAh battery. In addition, the phone packs 21MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, 2MP front shooter, 32/ 64GB of internal storage and Android 4.4. The phone is expected to get Android 5.0 in the coming weeks.

In addition, the phone is built using ballistic nylon and Kevlar for enhanced durability and comes with a water-repellent nano-coating to provide resistance against everyday spills.

There is no word on the exact release date or pricing at this point, but we hope to hear from Motorola and Flipkart in the coming days.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge getting Lollipop update

Samsung has begun the Android 5.0 Lollipop update roll-out for Galaxy Note Edge smartphone. It is currently available over-the-air (OTA) in Australia and is expected to reach other markets in the coming weeks.

The official change-log is not available, but you can expect to see upgraded TouchWiz UX, performance enhancements, ART as default runtime, enhanced notifications, and more.

To remind you, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is the first curved-screen smartphone from the company and was unveiled alongside Note 4 at IFA trade fair last year. It is currently on sale in select markets globally and will soon be joined by another curved-screen phone from Samsung, which is likely to be dubbed Galaxy S Edge or Galaxy S6 Edge. (Source: YouMobile)

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to get Lollipop update

In related news, Samsung has confirmed that it will be releasing the Lollipop update for Note II smartphone. Galaxy Note 2 was originally unveiled with Android 4.1 in August 2012 and has since received Android 4.3 and 4.4 updates. Android 5.0 will be the last major Android update for the update.

There is no word on the when the update will reach the smartphone, but we will let you folks as as soon as we hear something credible. 

Delhi & Pune residents can now check air quality level in SAFAR Air Android app

Do you live in New Delhi or Pune and wonder about the air quality in your city or area, there is now an Android app to check out the Air Quality Intex (AQI) and Particulate Matter (PM) details.

Dubbed as SAFAR (short for SYSTEM of AIR POLLUTION monitoring and FORECASTING) Air, the app has been jointly developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and uses data from Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather Service of Ministry of Earth Sciences to show the current AQI and PM details. It also provides next day’s forecast.

Released on February 16 in Google Play, the SAFAR Air app can be downloaded for free from Google play store.

SAFAR was originally started ahead of the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 as a website. It is aimed to provide air quality data for all major metropolitan cities in the country. To collect this information, SAFAR has set-up around ten monitoring stations in Delhi and Pune to gather data on air quality every five minutes.

The app will add support for Mumbai sometime in April or May 2015, followed by Chennai and Kolkata in 2017.

5-inch Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500CL gets detailed

As you might remember, we recently told you about the existence of the 5-inch Asus Zenfone 2 smartphone. Now, the full specifications of the phone have been revealed along with a likely release date for the Taiwanese market.

According to a report in Sogi Taiwan, the Intel-powered 5-inch version of Asus Zenfone 2 carries the model number ZE500CL and will feature a 720p HD IPS display. It will also come with 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 2500 mAh battery and 16GB of internal storage. The phone will run on Android 5.0 with Zen UI and pack microSD card slot, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front shooter and 4G LTE support.

As you can see, most of these specifications are same as the existing Zenfone 5, but Asus has upgraded the OS and battery in the ZE500CL.

Sogi notes that Zenfone 2 ZE500CL will most likely join the 5.5-inch Zenfone 2 ZE551ML, which the latter goes on sale in Taiwan on March 9. There is no word on price and we are still waiting for an official announcement, which we expect will be made at the Mobile World Congress in early-March.

Pushbullet update brings reply support for WhatsApp, Hangouts & more

Pushbullet has released an update for its Android application that allows the users to reply to messages on WhatsApp, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Line and Telegram right from their computer. For now, Pushbullet only supports the previously-mentioned messaging services, but it plans to add more to the list.

Pushbullet is known for providing seamless integration between a smartphone and a computer and this update enables quick replies from the ease of your desktop without picking up your smartphone. The redesigned notification window will be displayed on your computer screen with a new reply option along with the usual dismiss button. Specifically for the Hangouts notifications, the users will have to install the Android Wear app on their smartphone, however they will neither need a smartwatch nor open the app for the reply support to function in Pushbullet notifications.

In addition, Pushbullet has rolled out a new widget for Android home-screen, which will allow a user to toggle Android-to-computer notification forwarding with the tap of a button.

The updated version of Pushbullet requires Android 4.4 and above and can be downloaded from Google Play store.

Micromax releases Bolt A082 smartphone for INR 5,499

Micromax has silently launched a new budget Android smartphone in the Indian market. Part of the company’s Bolt-series, the new Bolt A82 was recently listed on the company website and is now on sale at e-retailer HomeShop18. It has been priced at INR 5,499 and can be grabbed in Black colour option.

India is the second market to get Bolt A82, as the smartphone has already been released in Russia by Micromax some time back for 7,990 rubles.

Micromax Bolt A82 runs on Android 4.4.2 and features a 5-inch FWVGA display, 1.3GHz dual-core MT6572 processor, and 1800 mAh battery. The phone also packs 5MP fixed-focus rear camera and 0.3MP front shooter. In addition, Micromax has included 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, 3G, dual-SIM support and microSD card slot.

On the software front, the phone comes pre-loaded with Clean Master, MiGames, MiLive, Newshunt, Chaatz, Quickr and Opera Mini applications as well as support for 20 Indian regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, etc.

Micromax Canvas Xpress A99 getting Android 5.0 update

Micromax has announced that it has started rolling out Android 5.0 update for its Canvas Xpress A99 smartphone in the Indian market. The update is now available over-the-air and you will automatically get a notification on your phone. To manually look for the update, go to Settings > About Phone > Software update.

“As a brand, we are committed to keep our customers delighted with best in class technologies and experience. Riding on the same thought, we are today rolling out the Android L update with Canvas Xpress, making the overall user experience more efficient and seamless, Micromax thrives on consumer centricity and that is clearly visible through the company’s continued growth trajectory and high recall in consumer mind share,” stated a company spokesperson in a pres note.

In addition to Canvas Xperss, Micromax has also revealed that it will roll-out Android 5.0 for select other Canvas-series smartphones, but did not specify their names. Micromax is the second smartphone vendor from India to release the Android 5.0 update for one or more of its phones.

Monday 16 February 2015

Google Nexus 9 LTE goes on sale in India for INR 43,073

HTC and Google have quietly released the cellular variant of the Nexus 9 tablet in the Indian market. The tablet is now available at Amazon India, which also exclusively retails the Wi-Fi only version of the tablet.

The Google Nexus 9 LTE version can be grabbed for INR 43,073 in the country and is being sold in Black colour option. Although Google is selling the 4G LTE version of the tablet, it is unlikely to work with Airtel’s 4G LTE network in the country, so you will only be able to use 3G or 2G in the device.

To remind you, Google Nexus 9 LTE features 8.9-inch 2048x1536p display with Gorilla Glass 3, NVIDIA Tegra K1 dual-core 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and 6700 mAh battery. The tablet also packs Android 5.0, 8MP rear camera, 1.6MP front shooter, NFC, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The 16GB Wi-Fi of the tablet currently retails for INR 28,699.

Google in talks with telcos & app devs to offer free data for select apps: Report

Google is reportedly chalking out details of an initiative, which will allow the consumers in emerging markets to access certain Android apps for free on their smartphone. According to The Information, the search giant has been in talks with wireless carriers as well as third-party app developers for the same in the recent months.

“Data costs are still stifling app usage in emerging markets like India, spurring Google to talk to third-party app developers about discounting data costs for their users. The effort is also a gambit by Google to sell more Android One phones as potential rivals like Xiaomi and Cyanogen enter such markets,” wrote The Information in its report.

The publication notes that the initiative will be an improved version of something called “zero rating,” which has been prevalent for years, but typically includes one-off deals between a telecom operator and an app developer like WhatsApp or Twitter to offer access to that app for free. Google’s version of zero rating will be broader and include multiple apps or allow any dev to partner Google for this program.

Google is likely to initially bring the support for this initiative to Android One smartphones in markets such as India, where existing telecom partnership with Airtel already allows the Android One to users to download Android apps for six months for free from Google Play (upto 200MB per month).

No other details are available at this point, but we hope to hear from Google regarding the zero rating initiative at the I/O developer conference in May this year.

Samsung introduces Galaxy Grand Prime 4G, Core Prime 4G & J1 4G

Samsung is holding its yearly Samsung Forum gathering in Thailand today and the company has introduced three new smartphones for Asian markets at this event. The new Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 4G, Galaxy Core Prime 4G and Galaxy J1 4G are the LTE-variants of the company’s existing smartphones of the same name (minus the obvious 4G) and include slightly tweaked specifications.

Talking about the new smartphones individually, the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 4G comes with a 5-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 8MP rear camera and 2600 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G, on the other hand, packs a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 5MP rear camera and 2000 mAh battery.

Lastly, Samsung Galaxy J1 4G, unlike its its 3G cousin, is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and features 768MB of RAM, 1850 mAh battery, and 4.3-inch WVGA display.

According to Samsung, the new 4G LTE smartphones will go on sale in mid-March in India for starting INR 9,990. Other pricing details will be revealed closer to the actual availability.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Xiaomi to enter US market in next few months, but without phones or tablet

Xiaomi revealed at its first press event in the United States on Thursday that it will be entering the country in the next few months. The company was however quick to point out that it won’t be offering the smartphones, tablets or Smart TVs in the US anytime soon, but will focus on the sales of accessories like Mi Power Bank, headphones, Mi Band fitness tracker and more.

Xiaomi stated that it is initially going with products that don’t require much localisation or need extensive certification to sell in the country.

The company will use the direct-to-consumer model that it follows in most of the markets for the sale of its accessories in the US and for the same, it will launch the store in the country.

There is no word on an exact date when US consumers can expect to start grabbing the Xiaomi products, but we hope to hear more from Xiaomi in the coming months.

To remind you, Xiaomi is a China-based internet company, which offers aggressively priced smartphones, smartphone accessories, Smart TVs, set-top boxes and more. It currently operates only in Asia, but will be expanding to Latin America (and US) this year. Check out the related links below for more information on the company and its products.

Friday 13 February 2015

Hike announces its first content partnership with CricBuzz, to offer score updates and more.

Hike messenger, India’s only homegrown chat application, today launched ‘World Cup 2015’ on hike, in partnership with CricBuzz, a Times Internet Limited Property.

‘World Cup 2015’ on hike will allow hikers to avail of score updates, news and analysis curated by Cricbuzz. For every android user on hike, a new chat window, called ‘World Cup 2015’, will appear in the users’ chat list, which will be active during the entire World Cup.

Hike’s android users will receive a card with real-time score updates and match results starting February 13, 2015. This chat will be active until March 31st and will contain content relevant to the latest match; post which the chat will disappear from all the users’ chat roster. In addition, hikers will also have access to view detailed scorecards and news from the World Cup, Points Tables and additional content, within Hike itself. What makes this feature powerful in a social setting is that match scorecards can be shared with friends in one-to-one and group chats, leading to fun conversations around the tournament.

"Commenting on the launch, Kavin Mittal, Founder and CEO, hike messenger, said, “It is a known fact that our country is crazy about cricket. We’re excited to partner with CricBuzz to launch ‘World Cup 2015’ on hike that will allow tens of millions of hikers to enjoy real-time cricket scores & updates all through the World Cup. Like messaging, we’ve kept the experience quite simple and bite sized so that it feels absolutely effortless to consume cricket content, inside hike itself.”

To get this feature, hike’s android users must download the latest version of the app from Google Play.

Panasonic launches rugged Toughpad FZ-B2 tablet in India for businesses

Panasonic, which is known for its rugged mobile internet devices, has released a new Toughpad in the Indian market. The company is releasing the 7-inch Toughpad FZ-B2 in the country, which will be sold for INR 75,000 to the businesses.

“The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-B2 is a rugged 7-inch tablet powered by Android for field-based workforces. With durability, power and a range of configurability options — at a price within reach of any business — the Toughpad FZ-B2 is an ideal tool for field service professionals,” notes Panasonic in the product description.

The tablet runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and is powered by quad-core Intel Celeron processor. It also includes enterprise-grade features including a quick-charging, user-replaceable full-shift battery, as well as software encryption for security and management. Other features of the Toughpad include a 5-foot drop and all-weather IP65 dust and water resistant design, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS ad USB 3.0 port. On the imaging front, there is a 5MP rear camera as well as an HD front shooter in the tablet.

There is no word on the availability details, but the businesses can contact Panasonic for more information regarding the same.

Yahoo takes search on home-screen global in Aviate launcher

Yahoo has announced that Aviate Launcher users in 70 countries will now be able to search right on their Android home-screen. The company has released an updated version of Yahoo Aviate Launcher in Google Play, which has removed the need to open a new window to complete a search. The feature was earlier only available to users in the United States.

“Today we’ve rolled out Search to Aviate users around the world. No need to open a new window, because Aviate shows your Apps, Contacts and Web Search results right on your homescreen,” noted Yahoo Aviate team in blog post.

In addition to search on home-screen, the updated version of the Aviate Launcher brings performance improvements and bug-fixes.

Yahoo Aviate Launcher is one of most functional and beautiful launchers on Android. It can be downloaded for free from Google Play.

Intex unveils Android 5.0-powered Aqua Star L for INR 6,990

Intex has become the first Indian smartphone vendor to launch an Android smartphone powered by 5.0 Lollipop in the country. The company has unveiled the new Aqua Star L, which will go on sale exclusively at e-retailer for INR 6,990.

“Our newest offering in the Aqua collection, the Aqua Star L proves Intex’s dedication to remain a technology supernal. It is absolutely imperative to run along with the technological advancements to stay in a competitive environment,” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, Mobile Business Head, Intex Technologies.

Intex Star L features a 5-inch FWVGA display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and Android 5.0. The phone also comes with 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and 2000 mAh battery. In addition, Intex has included dual-SIM support, 3G, 8MP rear camera and 2MP front shooter in the smartphone.

According to Intex, Aqua Star L will be available beginning February 16 in Black and White colour options.

Thursday 12 February 2015

Spice introduces Stellar 431 budget smartphone for INR 3,499

Spice on Thursday added a new budget Android smartphone to its portfolio in the Indian market. The company has launched the Stellar 431 smartphone, which will retail for INR 3,499.

“The Spice Stellar 431 is a budget friendly fully-loaded smartphone, combining best-in-class technological innovations and superior looks targeted at our younger consumers. Keeping in mind their need to be always connected, we have designed the phone to support an impeccable internet experience at a very pocket friendly price,” said Prashant Bindal, CEO, Spice Mobility Ltd.

Coming to the specifications, the phone sports a 4-inch WVGA display and is powered by 1GHz dual-core processor. It also comes with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and 1500 mAh battery. In addition, Spice has included dual-SIM support, 3G, 3.2MP rear camera and 1.3MP front shooter in the Stellar 431. At the given price-tag, these are some quite decent specs.

According to Spice, the phone is now go on sale at as well as all major retailers in the country. It can be grabbed in Blue colour option, but comes bundles with four additional back panels in vibrant colours.

Oppo launches Mirror 3 smartphone in India for INR 16,990

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo on Thursday announced the launch of its Mirror 3 smartphone in the Indian market. It is the same phone, which is known as Oppo 3000 in China and was originally introduced as Oppo Mirror 3 in Vietnam.

According to Oppo, the Mirror 3 will retail for INR 16,990 in the country and will be available in Grey and White colours.

The smartphone sports a 4.7-inch 720p HD IPS display and is powered by 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. It also comes with 8MP rear camera with Sony IMX179 sensor and LED flash as well as a 5MP front shooter.

“We are excited to introduce Mirror 3 to our picture-loving Indian customers. It comes with phenomenal camera quality. No matter day or night, the image quality taken from a Mirror 3 smartphone is greatly enhanced as a result of increased CMOS sensitivity, higher resolution, and effective filtering for infrared light. This packed with a host of other features gives the consumer a power packed selfie experience,”said Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO Mobiles India.

Other specifications of the phone include 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and dual-SIM connectivity. Oppo Mirror 3 runs on Color OS 2.01-based on Android 4.4 KitKat.

The price-tag is clearly on the upside and the phone will have a hard time getting buyers in the country.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G now available without flash sale on Flipkart

Xiaomi has announced that it is ending flash sales for Redmi Note 4G smartphone in India and the smartphone will now be available normally like any other product on Flipkart. The open sale is now live and you can grab the smartphone any time any day for INR 9,999.

“Good news! We now have sufficient stock of #RedmiNote4G for all Mi fans. No registration required, open sale starts on Feb 12th,” revealed Xiaomi in a tweet.

To remind you, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G is budget Android smartphone with specifications like 5.5-inch HD IPS display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM and 13MP rear camera. The phone also packs 5MP front shooter, 3100 mAh battery, 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and Android 4.4-based MIUI 5.0. Xiaomi is reportedly set to start the MIUI 6.0 over-the-air update or Redmi Note 4G this week.

In related news, the next Xiaomi Mi 4 sale is scheduled for February 17 and the registrations are already open. If you plan to buy the Mi 4, make sure that you have registered before the end of Feb 16.

Lava releases new iris 465 smartphone for INR 4,499

Indian smartphone vendor Lava has introduced the new iris 465 smartphone in the Indian market. Priced at INR 4,499, the phone comes with support for 21 Indian sub-continent languages and will go on sale next week at all major retailers as well as brick-and-mortar stores.

According to Lava, the smartphone supports Hindi, Bodo, Sanskrit, Nepali, Marathi, Dogri, Konkani, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bengali, Assamese, Maithili, Maniouri, Gujarati, Punjabi, Santali, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Kannada languages.

Coming to the specifications, the phone features a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 1.3GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM and dual-SIM connectivity. The phone also packs 1750 mAh battery, 3.2MP rear camera, 3G, 4GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. Lava has also included 0.3MP front shooter, Android 4.4 KitKat, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS in the smartphone.

Lava iris 465 will be released in Black colour option.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Asus launches Zenfone C in India for INR 5,999

Asus on Wednesday announced the launch of its new Zenfone C smartphone in the Indian market. The phone has been priced at INR 5,999 and is now on sale at e-retailer Flipkart and will be available starting February 18 at Asus stores in the country.

“Redefining the smartphone experience for consumers at affordable price points is the new ZenFone C. It incorporates the strategic features of the range like a sublime interface and seamless functionality that has already captured a sizeable portion of the tech-savvy market. Combining finely crafted design with ace performance; this is a pocket friendly device that makes for an incredible customer experience,” said Peter Chang, Regional Head, South Asia & Country Manager, System Business Group, Asus India.

Originally introduced in Malaysia in January this year, Zenfone C features a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor and 1GB of RAM. The phone also packs 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front shooter, 8GB of internal storage and microSD card slot.

The Asus Zenfone C runs on Android 4.4 with Zen UI on top and comes with 2100 mAh battery, dual-SIM support and 3G. It will be replacing the Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG in the Indian market, which includes similar specifications and has been out-of-stock for the last few weeks.

Uber integration in Google Maps goes live in India

Uber app adds safety features

Google has silently rolled-out Uber integration in its Maps app in the Indian market. The feature, which was originally unveiled in May 2014, went live in the country sometime last week and was confirmed by Uber Delhi on social media.

So, from now on, whenever you will search for public transit or walking directions on Google Maps on mobile in Uber-operated cities and have Uber app installed on your phone, Maps will show you estimated Uber ride time, fare as well as expected pick-up time. You can just tap on the Uber details to directly jump in the Uber app to confirm your booking.

Currently, Google Maps only shows details for UberX cabs, nothing on UberBlack or UberGo, but we don’t see why Google won’t include them in a future update.

Uber app gets two new safety features in India

In related news, Uber has updated its application in the Indian market with two new safety related features – Send Status and SOS.

Send Status is an improved version of the existing Share my ETA feature and allows the Uber users to share details about their driver and vehicle – including live GPS tracking, driver photo, name and vehicle license number – with family and friends. With Send Status, the riders will be able to share the details with as many as five pre-selected contacts in one tap.

SOS feature, on the other hand, helps Uber users in contacting local authorities in a case of emergency. Just tap the SOS button on the right-top of the app and confirm that you want to call the local police.

According to Uber, both features are available immediately for Android users.

Google I/O 2015 dates revealed, registrations open March 17

Google has announced that this year’s Google I/O developer conference will be happening on May 28 and 29 and the interested developers will be able to register for the event on March 17.

Reports indicate that like last year Google will follow the lottery system to pick the I/O attendees from the interested developers. So, just register for the event and hope that you get picked.

To remind you, I/O is Google’s flagship developer event of the year and it includes several developer related announcements as well as sessions from Android, Chrome, Google+, and other divisions of the search giant.

We expect to hear about the next Android version at this year’s I/O along with improvements on Android TV, Wear and Auto platforms. Google will also most likely talk about developments on Chrome OS as well as Google Glass, Project Tango and Project Ara.

You can find more information about I/O 2015 at the official website.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Sony unveils entry-level Xperia E4 smartphone

Sony has unveiled its first smartphone of 2015 and it is no flagship or high-end device, but an affordable smartphone, targeted to the mass market. Part of the company’s entry-level E-series, the new Sony Xperia E4 sports a 5-inch qHD (960x540p) IPS display.

Other specifications of the smartphone include 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor, 1GB of RAM. 8GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. On the imaging front, the phone comes with 5MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2MP front shooter.

The E4 runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and packs the company’s battery enhancement feature Stamina mode, theme suppot as well as Xperia Transfer app. The company claims that thanks to Stamina mode in Xperia E4, the smartphone will be able to offer two-days of usage.

“With Xperia E4, we wanted to offer people some of the premium Sony features they have come to expect – with unparalleled ease of use – at a highly-competitive price point. With a simple set-up, great screen and unrivalled 2 day battery life we’ve created an on-the-go entertainment device that will keep on going, wherever you are,” says Tony McNulty, Vice President, Value Category Business Management at Sony Mobile Communications.

There is no word on pricing at this point, but the phone is unlikely to cost more than $150-170. Sony has stated that the E4 wil go on sale later this month in Black and White colour options. Android app now available in India

Facebook on Tuesday announced the launch of Android application in the Indian market at a press event in Mumbai. The social giant has partnered with telecom operator Reliance Communications for this initiative.

For those of unaware of, it is a Facebook-backed global initiative, which is aimed at bringing affordable internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it right now. While the initiative distorts the basic principles of Net Neutrality, it continues to reach new markets each day and India has become the sixth market to get access to

According to Facebook, Reliance Comm customers in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Telangana will now have access to more than three dozen services ranging from news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, communication, and local government information for free via Android app or website on mobile. While the Android app is obviously only accessible on Android smartphones or Android tablets with 3G support, the website will be available across operating systems using Opera Mini or UC Browser.

Here is a look at the services and website, which will be accessible without data charges to RCom consumers:

Aaj Tak, AccuWeather,, AP Speaks, Babajob, BabyCenter & MAMA, BBC News, Bing Search, Cleartrip. Daily Bhaskar,, ESPN Cricinfo, Facebook, Facts for Life, Girl Effect, HungamaPlay, IBNLive, iLearn, India Today, Internet Basics. Jagran, Jagran Josh, Maalai Malar, Maharashtra Times, Malaria No More,, Facebook Messenger, NDTV, Newshunt, OLX, Reliance Astrology, Reuters Market Lite, Socialblood, Times of India. TimesJobs, Translator, Wikipedia, and wikiHow

Samsung Galaxy S4 getting Android 5.0 Lollipop update in India

Samsung has started rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Galaxy S4 smartphone in the Indian market. The update is now available over-the-air (OTA) as well as via Kies application.

Over 990MB in size, the update is based on Android 5.0.1 and brings the usual Lollipop changes to the smartphone like updated version of TouchWiz UX with material design changes, performance enhancements, better notifications, ART as default runtime, updated version of system apps, and more.

To remind you, Samsung retails the Exynos version of Galaxy S4 in the country. The S4 owners will automatically get a notifications once the update is available for their smartphone, however you can also manually look for the update by going to Settings > About Phone > System Updates.

If you have already updated your smartphone, do let us know about the experience in the comments section.

Monday 9 February 2015

Xiaomi to launch 64GB version of Mi 4 on Feb 24 in India

Xiaomi gets ready to begin the sales of the 16GB version of Mi 4 smartphone tomorrow in the Indian market, the company has announced that it will launch the 64GB Mi 4 on February 24 in the country.

As per the statements released by the company on social media, the 64GB variant will retail for INR 23,999, INR 4,000 more than the pricing of the 16GB version. There is no word on whether the company will release only the White colour model for the 64GB version or other colours will also be available.

To remind you, Xiaomi Mi 4 features a 5-inch full HD display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM and 13MP rear camera. The phone also packs 8MP front shooter, 3080 mAh battery, and Android 4.4-based MIUI 6.0.

Xiaomi to hold first Mi 4 sale in India on Feb 10

Xiaomi is all set for the first flash sale of the Mi 4 smartphone in the Indian market. The company will be holding the sale on February 10 at e-retailer Flipkart. Priced at INR 19,999, the Mi 4 smartphone has already seen over 250,000 registrations for tomorrow’s sale.

If you haven’t registered for the Mi 4 sale, you still have today to enroll for the sale. The registrations will close at midnight tonight.

To be sold in 16GB White version, the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone comes with 3GB of RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, Android 4.4.4-based MIUI 6, and 5-inch full HD IPS display. The phone also packs 13MP rear camera, 8MP front shooter, 3G support and IR LED.

In related news, Xiaomi will also be hosting the next Redmi Note 4G sale as well on Feb 10. The Note 4G smartphone retails at INR 9,999 and the registration of its sale are open as well until midnight tonight.

Moto E gets a price-cut in India, now available for INR 5,999

Motorola and Flipkart have reduced the price of the much-popular budget Android smartphone “Moto E” in the country. The smartphone, which exclusively retails via Flipkart like other Motorola phones, is now available at just INR 5,999, down INR 1,000 from the original INR 6,999 price-tag.

With Lollipop update expected any day now, Moto E is a great option for anyone looking for buy a decent entry-level Android phone.

To remind you, Moto E features a 4.3-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM and 1980 mAh battery. The phone also packs dual-SIM support, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, and 5MP camera.

E-retailer Flipkart is also running a promotion on its website for Moto E, as a part of which, Moto E buyers will get 500 MB 3G/2G data per month for 2 months in 3G/2G circles for Airtel prepaid and Bill discounts of INR 150 and INR 100 per month for 2 months on subscription of 3G and 2G data boosters of 500 MB and above in 3G and 2G circles respectively for Airtel postpaid.

Monday 2 February 2015

LG F60 goes on sale in India for INR 14,200

Over three months after the LG F60 was spotted on LG’s India website, the phone is now available in the country. According to Mumbai-based retailer Mahesh Telecom, the phone is being sold at INR 14,200 (MRP: INR 15,000).

Featuring support for 4G LTE connectivity, the LG F60 was originally unveiled in October 2014. It sports a 4.5-inch WVGA display and is powered by 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor. The phone also packs 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. In addition, LG has included 5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front shooter, dual-SIM support and 2100 mAh battery in the phone.

On the software front, the phone runs on Android 4.4.2 and comes with support for Gesture shot, Touch & Shoot, Knock Code, and other user-experience enhancements from LG.

As you can see, the phone has clearly been over-priced and with the recent launch of Yu Yureka, Lenovo A6000 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G phones in the country, we don’t see many consumers going for LG F60 as their next smartphone.

HTC One (M8) getting Android 5.0 Lollipop update in India

HTC has finally started rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop update for One (M8) smartphone in the Indian market. The update is now available over-the-air (OTA) and is being released in a phased manner.

Your One (M8) smartphone will automatically get a notification once the update is available for your smartphone, or you can also check manually by going to Settings > About Phone > Software update.

Over 574MB in size, the update brings Android 5.0 platform, UI improvements, security enhancements, and ART as default runtime as well as new privacy features, improved notifications, improvements to recent apps interface, search in settings and more to the phone.

If you have already updated your phone, do let us know about the experience in comments section.

Now that HTC has released Lollipop for One (M8), we expect to see the update for One (M7) in the coming weeks.

Project Tango moves from ATAP to a new home within Google

Weeks after Google’s Project Glass graduated from Google X labs to get its own team within the search giant’s home at Mountain View, the company’s Project Tango is doing the same from Google ATAP.

To remind you, Google Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) is fast moving world, where multiple small teams work on different projects simultaneously with fixed time-tables and goals. In ATAP, either you succeed to join the main Google or get scrapped and Project Tango has been lucky to be the former.

In a post on Google+, ATAP team announced that after two fast-paced years in ATAP, and many technical successes, the Tango team is transitioning from ATAP to a new home within Google. Tango team will continue to work on 3D mapping, depth perception, object tracking, and bringing the computer vision closer to human vision.