Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Intex launches Cloud C1, Aqua S1 entry-level Android Nougat smartphones

Domestic smartphone maker Intex has launched two ultra-affordable smartphones priced below Rs. 4,000. Dubbed Cloud C1 and Aqua S1, both run Android Nougat out of the box, supports 4G VoLTE, and have separate slots for dual-SIM and microSD card.

The Intex Cloud C1 features 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800 pixels) display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core Spreadtrum SC9832 processor backed by Mali 400 GPU and 1GB RAM, along with 8GB of expandable storage. It comes with 5MP/2MP rear and front cameras, and a 1750mAh battery keeps the lights on. It comes in Black color.

The Aqua S1 comes with a bigger 5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) TN display, 1.25GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737V processor (w/ Mali T720 GPU), 1GB RAM/8GB internal storage, 5MP front and rear cameras, and 2300mAh battery. Color options are Black and Champagne Gold.

Coming to the pricing, the Cloud C1 and Aqua S1 are priced at Rs. 3,499 and Rs. 3,999 respectively. Both are available for purchase exclusively on Amazon India.

Amazon refreshes the Fire HD 10 tablet with Full HD display

Amazon is refreshing its Fire HD 10 tablet with a new model that has higher-resolution display, and is 30 percent faster with 2x the RAM and better quad-core processor, when compared to its predecessor.

It also gets a new Alexa hands-free function that lets you ask Alexa to control video playback, launch an app, play favorite song or read an audiobook. You can also ask Alexa to answer questions, read news, get traffic and weather updates, turn off the lights, set alarms and timers and more.

In terms of specifications, the new Fire HD 10 tablet features 10-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixels) IPS display and is powered by quad-core MediaTek processor. It comes with 2GB RAM, and with storage option of 32GB and 64GB. There's microSD card slot for storage expansion.

It has 2MP rear camera, VGA front facing camera, built-in microphone and dual stereo speakers tuned by Dolby Atmos. Connectivity features on-board include WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth with A2DP support, USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio jack. The tablet runs Android based Fire OS 5 and promises up to 10 hours of battery life on mixed usage.

The new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet has been priced at $149.99 (Rs. 9,600) for the 32GB storage model, and $189.99 (Rs. 12,200) for the 64GB storage model. It is up for pre-order in the U.S from Amazon.com, and shipping will begin October 11. It is available in Black, Marine Blue and Punch Red colors.

Gionee X1s with 16MP selfie camera, 4000mAh battery launched in India for Rs. 12,999

Last month Gionee launched X1, a budget smartphone for Rs. 8,999 in India. And now the Chinese smartphone maker is launching an upgraded variant called X1s with slightly larger display, more RAM, improved front & rear camera and bigger battery.

The Gionee X1s comes with 5.2-inch display HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and is powered by 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor and 3GB RAM. On-board storage is 16GB, which can be expanded via microSD card.

The camera department include 13MP rear camera rear camera with an LED flash and 16MP front facing camera for selfies and video calling. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. It runs Android Nougat based Amigo 4.0 UI, and is fueled by 4000mAh battery. There's also a fingerprint scanner at the back and dedicated slot for dual-SIM and microSD card.

For comparison, the Gionee X1 had 5-inch HD display, 2GB RAM, 8MP front and rear cameras and 3000mAh battery.

The Gionee X1s has been priced at Rs. 12,999 and will be available from offline stores across the country starting Septmeber 21 in Black and Gold colors. Launch offers include additional 10GB data per month for six months for Airtel users, and two Rs. 250 cash back coupon from Paytm.

Samsung now lets you disable Bixby button

Samsung's popular flagships, the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note8 comes with a dedicated physical button for accessing digital assistant Bixby. However, many users don't find it useful, as it can only be used to access Bixby Voice, where available, and Bixby Home.

Now Samsung is giving the option to users to disable the Bixby button. The South Korean tech giant is rolling out a software update to some Samsung Galaxy owners, which will allow them to disable the dedicated Bixby button.

The update adds a new toggle at the top of Bixby Home, that gives users the option whether or not Bixby home should be launched when the dedicated button is pressed. This can also configured from the Bixby settings menu. 

The new update will prevent a user from accidentally pressing the dedicated Bixby button instead of the volume button, which is located on the same side. 

After disabling the Bixby button, you can still access Bixby Home by swiping left from the home screen. You can still continue to access Bixby Voice by long pressing the button. However, users will still not be able to remap the button to set it to third party apps. The software update is 'random' so not all Galaxy devices have received it yet. 


Sony India to launch Xperia XZ1 on September 25

Sony introduced its latest flagship, the Xperia XZ1 at IFA trade show last month, and now the phone is all set to launch in India. Sony Mobie India has sent out invites for the launch of the Xperia XZ1 in the country on September 25. The company will also reveal the local pricing and availability of the device.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 is the first smartphone to ship with Android 8.0 Oreo. While most of the smartphone makers are coming out with near bezel-less smartphone, Sony is sticking with the old OmniBalance design on the Xperia XZ1 with thick bezels at top and bottom. However, the phone's body boasts IP68 water and dust resistance rating.

Like previous Xperia high-end devices, the main highlight of the Xperia XZ1 is the camera department. It comes with 19MP Motioneye f/2.0 rear camera with EIS, 960fps slow-motion recording, PDAF and laser auto-focus. For selfies there's 13MP f/2.0 front shooter with HDR support. The main camera also gets a new feature called 3D scanning function that lets you capture three-dimensional objects. It has four modes: Face Scan, Head Scan, Food Scan and Free Form.

Coming to the other specs, the Xperia XZ1 will have 5.2-inch Full HD Gorilla Glass 5 display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, 4G VoLTE, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, fingerprint scanner and 2700mAh battery. Color options include Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue, Venus Pink, and Black.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 recently was up for pre-order in the UK and Europe at 599 GBP and 699 Euros respectively, which translates to roughly 53,000, so we can expect the India pricing to be somewhere around this point.

Moto G4 Plus will get Android Oreo

Motorola recently released list of smartphones that will get update to Android 8.0 Oreo. Sadly it left out the Moto G4 line, even though the marketing materials clearly mentioned Moto G4 Plus will get Android Oreo, which left many users disappointed. 

That said, Motorola has some good news as it has confirmed that Moto G4 Plus will receive Android Oreo. Motorola in a blog post said that the mention of Android O upgrade for Moto G4 Plus was an error, and the company's general practice is to push one major upgrade to the Moto G family. To remind you the Moto G4 line was launched running Android Marshmallow, and got update to Android Nougat.

It further mentioned that since, Android Oreo is an unplanned upgrade for the Moto G4 Plus, it will take some time to it the upgrade schedule. However, it is still not clear if the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Play will get Android Oreo, but they are highly unlikely to get Oreo.

Other Motorola devices that will be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo include Moto Z/Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Moto Z Play/Z Play Droid, Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Force, Moto X4, Moto G5/G5 Plus and Moto G5S/G5S Plus.

All this drama makes one thing clear, that Android Oreo will be the last major OS upgrade for the latest Moto G5 family, unless Motorola has a change of heart.

Saregama Carvaan Mini portable speaker launched for Rs. 2,490

Saregama launched Carvaan, a portable music player with 5000 pre-loaded songs earlier this year for Rs. 5,990. Now the music company has launched a new compact and lighter version of  the speaker called Carvaan Mini.

The Carvaan Mini Bluetooth Speaker comes pre-loaded with popular 251 retro Hindi songs sung by Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mukesh.

You can even connect your smartphone to the speaker via Bluetooth (v.4.1) connectivity, and play music from your collection or music streaming app. There's also a USB 2.0 for connecting pen drive, and AUX in port as well to play music. 

It has rechargeable and promises up to four to five hours of music playback in a single charge.

The Carvaan Mini is priced at Rs. 2,490 and is available for purchase from saregama.com, Amazon India and offline retailers like Croma, Reliance Digital and more. It comes in Blue and Red colors.

Panasonic India outs Eluga Ray 500 and Eluga Ray 700

Panasonic has launched two new budget smartphones in the country: the dual-camera toting Eluga Ray 500 and the battery centric Eluga Ray 700. Both are dual-SIM phones running Android Nougat, and supports 4G VoLTE. They also get fingerprint scanner, that's embedded into the home button.

The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500's main highlight is the dual-cameras consisting of 13MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.4 wide-angle sensors. For selfies there's 8MP f/2.4 front camera. It also gets a beefy battery capacity of 4000mAh. As for the other specs, the Eluga Ray 500 features 5-inch HD IPS 2.5D curved glass display, 1.25GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, which can be expanded via micro SD card.

The Panaosic Eluga Ray 700 on the other hands packs a beefy battery capacity of 5000mAh, which is likely to last two days on a single charge. It features 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and is powered by 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, that's expandable via microSD card. For photography it gets single PDAF assisted 13MP f/2.2 rear camera with LED flash, and 13MP f/2.2 front facing camera with a dedicated flash unit.

Coming to the pricing, the Eluga Ray 500 and Eluga Ray 700 are priced at Rs. 8,999 and Rs. 9,999 respectively, and will be available exclusively on Flipkart starting today midnight. Both come in Mocha Gold, Marine Blue and Champagne Gold colors.

Nokia 8 Android Oreo update in the works

HMD has already confirmed that Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6 and Nokia 8 will get Android 8.0 Oreo sometime in the future. Now it appears that the flagship Nokia 8 is set to receive Android Oreo soon.

The Nokia 8 was recently spotted on Geekbench running Android Oreo, indicating Android Oreo test has begun. And over-the-weekend HMD Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas sharead a couple of photos of Nokia 8 on Twitter with Android Oreo Beta ready for install. 

The changelog only mentions "Upgrade to Android Oreo Beta", and the update size is 1.3GB. Unfortunately, it is not known, when HMD plans to roll out the stable update or plans to open Android Beta Program wherein public can test the software. However, Sarvikas said Android Oreo is “maturing nicely” on Nokia 8 and the HMD will “release when perfect”.

The Nokia 8 is HMD's first flagship offering currently running Android 7.1.1. It features 5.2-inch QHD display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, dual 13MP Carl Zeiss camera, 13MP selfie camera, USB Type-C port and 3900mAh battery. The Nokia 8 is priced at 599 Euros (Rs. 45,000) and is already available in select market. It is yet to be launched in India.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Asus ZenFone V with last year's specs launched in the U.S

Asus ZenFone V has been launched in the U.S as a Verizon exclusive. It boasts ZenFone 3 Deluxe like-premium metal unibody design and packs hardware that you would find on last years (2016) high-end flagship devices.

The ZenFone V features 5.2-inch Full HD AMOLED display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass on top and is powered by last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. It comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

For photography it gets 23MP f/2.0 rear camera and is assisted by dual-tone LED flash, laser auto-focus, 4-axis optical image stabilization, EIS and Pixel Master camera modes like low light, portrait and selfie panorama. On the front there's  8MP selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture.

Connectivity features include 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, USB TYpe-C and GPS. It runs Android Nougat based ZenUI 3.0 and is fueled by 3000mAh battery backed by fast charging technology. 

The ZenFone V will be exclusive to Verizon in the U.S and carry a price tag of $384 (Rs. 25,000) or $16 per month for 24 months. It is available in Sapphire Black color.

WhatsApp will soon let Android users manage chat data storage

WhatsApp will soon let Android users manage their phone's storage, within the app and delete unwanted files. The feature is already available for iOS platform, and is now being tested for Android in the WhatsApp beta version 2.17.340. 

To use this feature head to 'Settings' and then 'Data And Storage Usage'. Next tap on 'Storage Usage', and the next page will show all your chat conversations with your contacts/groups, ranked according to the storage usage. 

Opening a contact/group will show how much storage space he/she has taken for every type of messages including texts, videos, images, GIFs, locations, shared contacts, audio clips and documents. Here you can manage the phone's storage by deleting the media files or messages, by tapping the 'Manage Messages' option.This feature will be useful to delete unnecessary chats and files that's taking space on your device. 

As mention earlier, the feature is still in beta, so you must have WhatsApp Beta for Android to test it out. The public roll out should take place in the coming days.

Apart from the storage control feature, WhatsApp in the future will also get new functions like  delete/unsend a message and integration with UPI. 


Airtel Payment Bank get UPI integration

Airtel has integrated the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on its digital payment platform -  Airtel Payments Bank, making it the first payment bank in India to do so. With UPI integration, the telecom operator is aiming at making secure digital payments and instant money transfers easy for its customers.

Using Airtel Payments Bank, customers can make secure digital payments to online and offline merchants from their smartphones. It also allows customers to make instant money transfers to any bank account in India. For UPI based payments and transfers, Customers don't have to provide personal details like bank account or phone number, instead create custom IDs.

How to create Airtel Payments Bank UPI account:
  • Customers need to update their My Airtel App
  • Select UPI from the ‘Bank’ section
  • Verify using SMS
  • Create personalized handle name (E.g.: mobile no@airtel). Default will the customer’s mobile number
After creating the Airtel Payments Bank UPI account, customers can link their Airtel Payments Bank savings accounts to any of their UPI handles on popular apps such as BHIM or UPI apps of other banks.

Using the MyAirtel App (Bank section), customers can scan any UPI QR code for making merchant payments. Online and offline merchants can use Airtel Payments Bank as a payment mode to accept payments  seamlessly from their customers. 


Micromax launches Bharat 3, Bharat 4 with 4G VoLTE, Nougat, selfie flash

Micromax is expanding its popular budget Bharat line up with two new models. Dubbed Bharat 3 and Bharat 3, both are entry-level dual-SIM handset with low-end specs. They support 4G LTE & VoLTE, have front facing flash for improved low-light selfies and run Android Nougat out of the box.

Talking about Micromax Bharat 3 first, it comes with 4.5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor paired with Mali-T720 GPU and 1GB RAM. It comes with 8GB on-board storage, that's expandable via microSD card. For photgraphy, it gets 5MP front and rear facing camera, while a 2000mAh keeps the lights on.

The Bharat 4 offers the same processor, RAM, and camera units, but comes with a bigger 5-inch HD 2.5D curved glass display, 16GB of expandable storage and 2500mAh battery.

As for the pricing, the Bharat 3 has been priced at Rs. 4,499, and the Bharat 4 at Rs. 4,999. Both come in Black color, and is now available via offline stores across the country.