Tuesday 31 March 2015

WhatsApp calling now available to everyone, without invite

After running a long invite-exclusive test run, WhatsApp has finally made the new calling feature available to every user.

Initially, activating the voice calling feature in WhatsApp required many pre-requisites, such as receiving a call from the user with pre-installed calling for activating it in your app. Thankfully, the feature is now readily available with the latest 2.12.19 version of WhatsApp for Android, there is no need to call first in order to activate, the service is pre-activated with the version upgrade.

The users need to install the WhatsApp 2.12.19 version. After the update, new feature such as “Calls log” will appear in the top menu tab, making new call just requires a tap on the “plus” button. The calling feature enables users to hang up, activate the speaker, mute, and switch to chat, and much more. The calls are connected instantly and sound quality is crisp, however, a lot of that depends on the internet speed too.

Also, there stays a chance that the feature might be rolled on the basis of server (it might involve little wait until everyone gets it), many users have already got the feature without the need to call first. Moreover, taking a hint from tips and reports submitted in the Android forums, the feature is can now be deemed as available far and wide.

To download the latest version 2.12.19 of WhatsApp, head over to the Play Store or WhatsApp’s website. If it is being downloaded from Whatsapp’s website then users will be required to enable “installing apps from unknown sources” in the download settings.

Micromax launches Bolt S300 and Bolt D320 smartphones, priced starting INR 3,300

Micromax on Tuesday announced the launch of two affordable 3G Android smartphones in the Indian market. Part of the company’s Bolt line-up, the new Micromax Bolt S300 and Bolt D320 smartphones pack entry-level specifications.

According to the company, the Bolt S300 is now available in the country at INR 3,300 in Black colour, however Bolt D320 will go on sale beginning mid-April. Micromax has not revealed the price of D320 at this point, but it has stated that both smartphones will get free data for 2 months from telecom operator Vodafone.

“As always we have taken time to understand the consumer need & delivered superb value to the first time 3G user. The new range of 3G smartphones is designed to deliver an unparalleled experience through a combination of faster speed, large screen, good battery life and optimal processing power,” said Vineet Taneja, Chief Executive Officer, Micromax.

Coming to the specifications, the Bolt S300 features a 4-inch WVGA display, 1GHz processor, 1200 mAh battery, and Android 4.4 KitKat. The phone also packs 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and 0.3MP front as well as rear camera.

On the other hand, Bolt D320 sports a 4.5-inch FWVGA display and is powered by 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The phone also comes with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, 3.2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front shooter and 1600 mAh battery.

In addition, both smartphones include 3G support and the usual set of connectivity options.

Gmail app update for Android brings all your emails in a single inbox

Almost five months after including the support for third-party email accounts in the Gmail Android application, Google has now announced that it is rolling out an update for the app, which will make it even easier to use multiple email accounts in the Gmail app.

According to Google, with the latest update, the Gmail Android app users will be able to view emails from all accounts at one place using the “All Inboxes” option.

“This way you can read and respond to all your messages without having to hop between accounts,” wrote Régis Décamps of Google in a blog post.

As a part of All Inboxes, the messages from third-party accounts will also get threaded conversations, like the Gmail messages.

Among other changes, the updated Gmail app also gets better auto-complete in search, more responsive animations, and larger attachment previews.

The new version will roll-out over the next few days via Play Store to all Android devices.

Motorola India opens first experience centre in Bengaluru

Motorola India on Tuesday announced that it has established the first experience centre in Bengaluru. This experience-cum-service centre is now open at The High Street, 11th Main Rd, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru.

“As further proof of Motorola’s focus on service, today we unveiled our first ‘Moto Care’ flagship center in India. Located in the heart of Bangalore, this facility will provide best-in-class service and support to customers – while also offering a state-of-the art experience zone, allowing consumers to get ‘hands on’ with our product portfolio. It is also another example of the importance and priority of the Indian consumer to our business,” Motorola wrote in a press statement.

The Moto Care shop will allow consumers to not only check out the latest Motorola products, but will also provide after-sales service and support. As Motorola still retails its products exclusively via Flipkart online, the experience centre will not sell the devices, but they will help the consumers order devices via Flipkart. Despite the lack of sales points, this is a welcome move from the company.

There is no word on when and where the company will be setting up more experience centres in the country, but the company had earlier stated that it will target the metropolitan cities first. It intends to establish around 5-10 centres initially.

Asus Zenfone 2 will reach India before April-end

Asus India has revealed in a press statement that the company is planning to launch the new Zenfone 2 smartphone before the end of April. The company has not given a specific launch date at this point or details about which Zenfone 2 models it intends to release in the country, but we expect to hear these details closer to the actual availability.

Asus Zenfone 2 smartphone are already on sale in the company’s home-market Taiwan and is expected to reach more countries in the coming weeks.

Asus had earlier revealed in a teaser that the company will not be following the flash sale mode, which has caught the fancy of many smartphone vendors, instead it will offer the Zenfone 2 as a part of the open sale. The phone is likely to retail via e-retailer Flipkart.com and physical Asus stores.

Asus Zenfone 2-series consists of five smartphones – first with 5.5-inch FHD display, Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 4GB RAM & 64GB of on-board storage, second with 5.5-inch FHD display, Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 4GB RAM & 32GB of on-board storage, third with 5.5-inch FHD display, Intel Atom Z3560 processor, 2GB RAM & 32GB of on-board storage, fourth with 5-inch HD display, Intel Atom Z3560 processor, 2GB RAM & 16GB of on-board storage and fifth with 5-inch 720p HD display, Intel Atom Z2560 processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

iBall launches Slide Q40i tablet in India, priced at INR 4,999

iBall has added another budget tablet to its Slide line-up in the Indian market. Now available at major retail stores, the new iBall Slide Q40i tablet carries a price-tag of INR 4,999.

Given the affordable pricing, the specifications of the device are quite modest. It features a 7-inch 1024x600p display, 512MB of RAM, 1.3GHz quad-core processor and Android 4.4. The tablet also comes with 8GB of on-board storage, microSD card slot, 2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front shooter and USB-OTG support.

In addition, iBall has included an FM radio antenna on the device, which allows for wire-free broadcast and will be liked by the users, who listen to FM a lot.

“iBall Slide Q40i is with amazing five benefit feature to the users right from the power of quad-core processor to the entertainment on HD display and FM wire-free. Not to forget the dual camera included. We are sure this will be excellent for every household to possess one,”said Sandeep Parasrampuria, Director, iBall.

Yu teases Project Caesar smartphone, reveals key specs

As we had reported earlier, Yu Televentures is working on its second smartphone and it is code-named Project Caesar. Although the company has been mostly silent about the smartphone, it recently shared a teaser of the phone and revealed three key specifications in the process.

According to the Yu teaser, the upcoming smartphone will feature a 64-bit processor (Snapdragon 410 likely), 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. We already know that the phone will run on Android 5.0-based Cyanogen OS 12.

Other specs of the phone are still a mystery, but I believe the phone will include a 5-inch HD display and 8MP rear camera.

The company is planning to compete with Xiaomi Redmi 2 with the upcoming phone and has even taken a dig at the Chinese smartphone maker in the teaser. There is no word on the exact release date or pricing of the next Yu phone, but it is rumoured to arrive in April with a price-tag around INR 6,500.

Oppo’s upcoming smartphone (almost) ditches side-bezels

Oppo is working on a new Android smartphone, which will include almost non-existent side-bezels. The smartphone was recently leaked online, giving us the first look at its ultra-thin bezels.

Oppo is not the first company to achieve this feat, in fact Sharp’s Aqous Crystal smartphone had super-thin bezel on three sides, not just two.

There is no word on when this Oppo smartphone will become official, but some rumours suggest that it is the company’s upcoming R7 smartphone. In addition to the ultra-slim bezels, the phone will also be super-thin like R-series phones. The phone is also expected to feature an octa-core MediaTek processor, a 20.7-megapixel rear camera and 4G LTE support.

We hope to hear from Oppo soon.

Xiaomi Ferrari smartphone leaked, 4.9-inch FHD screen & Android 5.0 in tow

Looks like, Xiaomi is getting ready to expand its smartphone portfolio with the introduction of a mid-range Android phone. The company is working on a smartphone codenamed “Ferrari,” which is expected to launch in the coming months. The smartphone was recently spotted in the databases of GFXBench and Geekbench.

As per the benchmark databases, the phone sports a 4.9-inch full HD display and will be powered by 1.6GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor. The phone also packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, 13MP rear camera, 5MP front shooter and Android 5.0.2.

In addition, the usual connectivity options are present in the phone. Other details like the presence or lack of microSD card slot and battery capacity are a mystery at this point.

Given the leaked specifications, the Xiaomi Ferrari will be priced between Redmi Note 4G and Mi 4, thus filling a crucial gap in the company portfolio.

Monday 2 March 2015

HTC announces Vive VR headset & Grip fitness tracker

HTC is expanding its product portfolio with the announcement of the new Vive virtual reality (VR) headset and Grip fitness tracker. Given that HTC is new in both product categories, the company has partnered with gaming firm Valve for the VR headset and Under Armour for the fitness tracker.

HTC Vive

It is a full-fledged VR headset unlike Samsung’s Gear VR, and is powered by Valve’s SteamVR technology, however it is being designed by HTC. It sports a 1200x1080p screen in front of each eye with refresh rate of 90 frames per second. The company claims that fast refresh rate will eliminate the jitter common to other VR headsets.

Vive also includes a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor to track your head movement, allowing you to look around the virtual reality naturally. The company will also provide SteamVR base stations to track your physical location, so that you can walk around the virtual world.

In addition, HTC will ship Vive with two wireless controllers to help consumers play games and explore and interact with virtual world.

HTC has already partnered with multiple firms to develop games or virtual experiences for the Vive headset.


According to HTC, A developer edition of the Vive will arrive in the spring and the commercial version is expected by the end of 2015. There is no word on the pricing at this point.

HTC Grip

This sporty-looking fitness tracker from HTC and Under Armour is being targeted not only to the enthusiasts but also serious athletes. It is full of features and will sync with Under Armour Record application.

HTC Grip can track data about running, cycling, weight training, and gym session and also works as a sleep monitor. On the downside, you will have to select every fitness activity manually and Grip can’t auto-detect whether you are running or cycling or doing some other thing.

It also packs a GPS, so it can record your running or cycling route. In addition, like some of the smartbands, Grip can also show notifications from your smartphone on its 1.8-inch P-OLED display.

Availability & pricing

According to HTC, Grip will be offered in large, medium and small sizes with just one Black-Green colour option. It will go on sale this spring for $199 at HTC.com, Under Armour, and other retailers.

Vibe Shot is Lenovo’s first camera-phone for $349

Lenovo has announced its first camera-phone in the form of Vibe Shot at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. The smartphone packs 16MP shooter on the back, which comes with six-piece modular lens, IR autofocus like Samsung’s new Galaxy S6, tricolour flash as well as optical image stabilisation.

The company has also included a dedicated physical camera button in Vibe Shot along with Smart preset settings and advanced Pro settings, which can be switch with the flick of a switch.

“Our first camera smartphone, the VIBE Shot, delivers a highly natural and intuitive photography experience without compromising on key smartphone performance,” said Shao Tao, vice president, Mobile Business Group, Lenovo.

Other specifications of the phone include 5-inch full HD display, 1.7GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, Android 5.0 and 2900 mAh battery. In addition, the smartphone packs 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 4G LTE, 8MP front shooter, microSD card slot and dual-SIM support.

Pricing and availability

According to Lenovo, Vibe Shot will go on sale beginning June 2015 in select countries for starting $349.

Lenovo announces A7000 with 5.5-inch HD display for $169

Lenovo’s 5-inch A6000 has just gone on sale in select markets and the company has already announced a bigger-screen cousin of the phone in the form of A7000. The new Lenovo A7000 sports a 5.5-inch HD display and will join the A6000 in the company’s budget smartphone portfolio. It is also the first smartphone to pack Dolby Atmos technology.

“Users will immediately hear the Dolby Atmos difference using headphones: sounds of people, places, things, and music become more vivid and move from all directions, including overhead, with astonishing clarity, richness and depth. Voices and noises have a broader range from highs to lows, with the greatest subtlety. The technology also makes playback volume more consistent across all types of content,” noted Lenovo in a press release.

The A7000 is powered by MediaTek’s MT6752m octa-core processor and comes with 8MP rear camera and 5MP front shooter. In addition, Lenovo has included 2GB of RAM, dual-SIM support, USB-OTG, and 2900 mAh battery. The smartphone runs on Android 5.0 and packs Lenovo Vibe UI with DOit apps.

Other specifications of the phone include 4G LTE support, 8GB of internal storage, and microSD card slot.

Pricing and Availability

According to Lenovo, A7000 will go on sale in March in select countries for starting $169 in White and Black colour options.

Samsung announces Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones

Samsung has kicked off its Mobile World Congress 2015 journey with the unveiling of the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones. The S6 and S6 Edge will be lead the charge of the company’s smartphone portfolio this year and compete with the flagship smartphones from companies like Apple, HTC and LG.

“With the all new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung is offering what’s next in mobility, along with a new standard to drive the global mobile agenda. By listening to our customers, and learning from both our success and missteps, we continuously push forward new technologies and ideas. With a reimagined design, robust partner network and novel services, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge offer users the ultimate experience in smartphone options,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

Unlike the plastic Galaxy S5, Samsung’s new S6 phones are encased in a frame made of reinforced glass and aircraft-grade aluminum.

Coming to the specifications, both Galaxy S6 sports a 5.1-inch Quad-HD (2560x1440p) Super AMOLED display, but the left and right edges of the display are curved in S6 Edge. The phones are powered by 64-bit 2.1GHz Exynos octa-core processor and run on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with the company’s TouchWiz UX, which has been refined as per Google’s material design and doesn’t include too-much bloatware.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge also include 3GB of RAM, 32/ 64/ 128GB of storage, 4G LTE support, 2550 mAh battery (2600 mAh in S6 Edge) and wireless charging support.

On the imaging front, Samsung has packed f1.9 16MP sensor on the back with optical image stabilization as well as IR auto-focus and 5MP shooter on the front. The company has also added something called “Quick Launch” in the phones, which provides fast, direct access to the camera from any screen in just 0.7 seconds by simply double clicking the home button.

According to Samsung, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge will go on sale beginning April 10, 2015 in 20 countries. The phones will retail in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz (Galaxy S6 only) and Green Emerald (Galaxy S6 edge only) colour options.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge specifications

OS: Android 5.0.2 with TouchWiz

Display: 5.1-inch QHD (2560x1440p) Super AMOLED, dual curved edges in S6 edge

Processor: Octa-core, 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos

Memory: 3GB of RAM & 32GB, 64GB, 128GB of storage(non-expandable)

Cameras: 16MP f1.9 rear with OIS, 5MP ƒ/1.9 front

Connectivity: 4G LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, NFC, IR remote

Sensors: Accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, compass, fingerprint, gyroscope, hall, heart rate monitor, HRM, proximity

Battery : 2550mAh (in S6), 2600mAh (in S5 edge), both with wireless charging (WPC & PMA support)

Security: one-touch fingerprint scanner, KNOX management software

HTC One M9 is official

After weeks of leaks and rumours, HTC has finally unveiled the new One M9 smartphone. Pretty much all the leaks were true and there doesn’t seem to be any surprises in the phone.

The smartphone sports the same unibody metal design that we had seen in the One M7 and One M9, however it now includes dual-tone colour scheme and slightly refined exterior. The One M9 packs 5-inch full HD Super LCD 3 display and is powered by 64-bit 2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. It features a 20MP image sensor on the back with BSI and dual-LED flash, Ultrapixel camera on the front and 3GB of RAM. HTC has also included 32GB of internal storage and microSD card slot in the smartphone.

“HTC has built its reputation on challenging expectations in the mobile industry. The HTC One M9 accomplishes this once again with stunning elegance and design, combined with smart features that help bring your world to life, connecting you in a deeper way to the things you consider most important. So much more than just a phone, the HTC One M9 is an extension of who you are,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman, HTC.

On the software front, HTC One M9 runs on Android 5.0 with new Sense 7.0 UI. According to HTC, Sense 7.0 introduces the new Home Widget, which shows apps based on where you are and also recommends new applications. In addition, the new Sense brings theme builder as well as restaurant recommendations in Blinkfeed. This is not all, HTC is introducing something called “HTC Connect” as well. It allows the consumers to connect One M9 to compatible TVs or speakers with just a three-finger swipe.

“Smartphones are fast becoming the central hub for home entertainment and HTC Connect makes it easy to enjoy your multimedia experience beyond your phone. A three-finger swipe on the screen connects the phone to compatible TVs or external speakers from leading manufacturers including Harman Kardon. HTC Connect’s integration with Qualcomm AllPlay smart media platform and Blackfire Research wireless media technology, allows you and your friends to stream high quality content from your smartphones to multiple home entertainment devices around the house,” HTC noted in a press release.

Lastly, One M9 packs BoomSound speakers with 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, 2,840mAh battery and the usual connectivity options including 4G LTE.


HTC One M9 will go on sale in mid-March in Asia Pacific including India in four colour options – Grey, Silver, Pink and Gold. US release is set for early-spring on all major telcos.

Huawei’s first Android Wear smartwatch is official

The new Huawei Watch, about which we told you a few hours ago, has now become official. Huawei announced the smartwatch at a press event in Barcelona. It is the first Android Wear device from the company and will go on sale in over 20 countries around the world.

“We have responded to consumers’ requests from around the world asking for a smartwatch featuring a timeless design that is truly smart from within. Through Huawei’s continued commitment to ‘Make It Possible,’ the Huawei Watch delivers on that promise and gives the consumer a premium smartwatch that is technologically innovative,” said Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group.

Coming to the specifications, the Huawei Watch sports a 1.4-inch circular 400x400p AMOLED display with scratch-proof sapphire crystal lens in a corrosive-resistant stainless steel chassis. It is powered by 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor (Snapdragon 400 likely) and comes with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and Bluetooth 4.1. In terms of sensors, it packs heart rate monitor, 6-Axis motion sensor, and barometer. The smartwatch also supports wireless charging.

The markets, which are confirmed to get the Huawei Watch, include United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates. There is no word on the exact availability details or pricing at this moment.

It will be available in gold, silver and black colours.