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Hardik Patel

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Showing posts with label Android. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Android. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Budget Battle: Moto G Vs Asus ZenFone 5



Considering the high-end segment is mostly dominated by Samsung and Apple, the Finnish brand Nokia (now owned by Microsoft) turned its attention to the budget smartphone market. Similar strategy worked wonders for Motorola, and now the latest company to follow the suite is Asus. By pricing its feature-packed ZenFone 5 aggressively, the Taiwanese company is planning to take on the Moto G. Let's find out how they stack up against each other.
Construction And Aesthetic
As far as the sturdiness is concerned, both the Moto G and ZenFone 5 offer excellent quality for the price. These phones can easily withstand a few (accidental) drops. The materials used in construction are also top-notch. In terms of looks, the stylish ZenFone 5 fares better than Motorola's clunky phone. As mentioned in its review, Asus has "borrowed" the design elements from HTC's premium handset, One, but we are not complaining since it looks nice.

Display
The ZenFone 5 as its name suggests sports a 5-inch screen, while the Moto G settles for a 4.5-incher. Both these panels are IPS type so the colour reproduction and viewing angles are good. These screens are covered by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. Since the Moto G packs in HD resolution in a relatively smaller size, you get higher pixel density. It's 325 ppi Vs. ZenFone 5's 294 ppi to be precise. However, it doesn't make much of a difference. So I think it's a tie in the screen department.
Software
Moto G supports the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat, which is a great thing at this price tag. The stock Android interface looks much better than what Samsung, Sony, LG, Lenovo, and Gionee offer. On the other hand, Asus offers highly-modified ZenUI. Thankfully, it looks and performs very well. Plus, it's more consistent and cohesive compared to Google's design language. However, as far as the version number is concerned, Asus lags behind Moto with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Coming to the subject of future updates, Moto G has a clear advantage. It's eligible for Android L, while the ZenFone 5 hasn't even got Kitkat yet.

Firepower
The Moto G is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 chipset. Based on ARM's tried-and-tested Cortex A7 architecture, the SoC (System on Chip) is clocked at 1.2 GHz. Then, there's 1 GB RAM and Adreno 305 GPU to handle gaming. On the other hand, the ZenFone 5 is based on Intel's Atom platform. This particular handset runs a Dual-Core Atom Z2560 chipset clocked at 1.6 GHz. It features 1 GB \ 2 GB (16 GB version) RAM and PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. That's more than enough to handle all the popular Android games including Real Racing 3. In terms of performance, Asus' device is as good as the Moto G.
Camera
The ZenFone 5 sports an 8 megapixel camera. It comes with PixelMaster enhancement, which let's you snap decent photographs in low-light conditions. In well-lit environments, the ZenFone 5 produces quality images. Compared to it, Moto G's 5 megapixel camera module disappoints with its performance. Forget night-mode, even in normal conditions, Motorola's handset produces grainy pictures. So if you're into photography, ZenFone 5 is a much better option than the Moto G.
Miscellaneous Features
Contrary to Motorola, the Taiwanese brand Asus duly covers all the essential accessories such as a wall charger, USB cable, and decent earphones. Another area where Asus takes the lead is the expandable storage. It supports up to 64 GB microSD card slot. On the other hand, you're stuck with limited space to store your music and movies on the Moto G.
Price
The Moto G (16 GB) costs Rs 14,000. There's no point in buying an 8 GB version, as the Moto G lacks a microSD card slot. In comparison, priced at Rs 10,000 (8 GB + microSD slot), the ZenFone makes the Moto G look overpriced. For us price conscious Indians, that makes a lot of difference. So the aggressive pricing clearly puts the Asus' product ahead of the Moto G.

How To: Make Your Android Phone's Battery Last Longer



One of the biggest problems with Android is its lacklustre battery life. Compared to iOS and Windows Phone, Google's mobile platform saps battery at a faster rate. Many Android phones don't even last from dawn till dusk. There's no silver bullet to solve this problem. However, by altering a few settings, you can make your device's juice last a little longer. Here's how to go on about it:

Lower The Screen Brightness
Cranking up the brightness improves the screen readability. However, high screen brightness can drain your phone's battery like anything. So if you want your phone's battery to last longer, go to Settings, and set the brightness to the lowest value you're comfortable with. If your phone has an AMOLED screen, use a black background. AMOLED, being an emissive type screen, can switch off pixels to produce deep blacks. In effect, the phone requires relatively less juice to power the display. In addition to this, shorten your phone's screen timeout time to minimum.
De-Activate Live Wallpapers And Useless Widgets
Unique to Android, the Live Wallpapers look fancy. However, rendering all these real-time animations take a toll on the battery life. If you want to conserve the phone's battery, do not use the live wallpapers. Similarly, widgets continuously consume your phone's battery. However, some of the widgets are useful as they serve you the information right on the homescreen. So, what you need to do is remove the widgets that you don't really require.
Use Wi-Fi Instead Of 3G
To make the most of your smartphone, it needs to be connected to Internet all the time. While 3G offers excellent browsing and download speeds, it eats-up battery rapidly. Things get worse, when the 3G signal reception is weak and flaky. On the other hand, in recent smartphones, Wi-Fi uses less battery compared to 3G. So whenever available, make it a point to choose Wi-Fi over 3G data. Plus, it will also help you save money on data charges.
Keep GPS And Bluetooth Off
Smartphones these days come with a multiple wireless radios including Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi. Save for Wi-Fi, you don't require these connectivity options most of the times. Therefore, it's advisable to switch them off unless you're actually using these features. On stock Android, you can quickly do so by pulling down notification bar and then selecting the Settings Panel. If not all, at least keep the GPS and Bluetooth radios off as these two connectivity options drain the battery at a rapid pace.
Keep A Check On Background Processes
From the multitasking menu, clear the list of recently used apps. You don't want to keep a heavy game run in the background as it can hurt your phone's battery life real bad. Also, check the list of services running in the background. If you see any unnecessary process running there, stop it. If you're unsure about a certain service, click on it to find more information regarding it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Motorola to replicate India success in South East Asia



BANGALORE: Mobile phone brand Motorola is hoping to replicate the success it has had with the web-only strategy in India in other markets like Indonesia.

Five months ago Motorola started selling its phones in India only through online retailer Flipkart. The site has sold one million Motorola phones across three models in that time, said Flipkart chief executive Sachin Bansal.

Last month the company started selling its Moto G phones in Indonesia only through online portal Lazada, backed by German investor Rocket Internet.

"We are leveraging lessons learnt here and applying it in Indonesia," said Magnus Ahlqvist, corporate vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific at Motorola Mobility.

Ahlqvist said the company is now evaluating the online-only route in other markets in South East Asia.

The Motorola partnership has worked well for Flipkart as well. The cheapest Motorola phone, Moto E, is priced at Rs 6,999. That would mean Flipkart has sold at least Rs 700 crore worth Motorola products in just five months. Last fiscal Flipkart sold Rs 6,000 crore worth of goods.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Android L Camera 2 API Features Include Burst Mode, HDR+ and More



After the release of Android L Preview source code for Nexus devices, we now have details on what features the new Camera 2 API includes and what Google has been working on from the past few months.
Android Police reveals some of the features that the new Camera 2 API brings along and how it is bumped up over its previous interface.
One of the most touted features of the Android L Camera 2 API is its ability to deliver full resolution images at the same speed the hardware is designed to capture. This means that the Nexus 5 , using the Camera 2 API, can capture videos at 30 frames per second in its maximum 8-megapixels resolution.
The Android L's Camera 2 API also includes the burst mode, Digital Negative Format, HDR+ alongside a complete manual control on the post-processing features.
Some of the other reported features included in Android L's Camera 2 API that can be controlled are exposure time, ISO sensitivity, frame duration, lens focus distance, flash trigger, colour correction matrix, jpeg metadata, tonemap curve, crop region, AE/ AF/ AWB mode, AE/ AWB lock, AF trigger, precapture AE trigger, metering regions, exposure compensation, target FPS range, capture intent, and video stabilization.
Last Google updated its Camera app in May with version 2.2 for devices running Android 4.4+ KitKat OS. The update featured two new Panorama capturing modes, besides the existing horizontal and vertical Panorama modes. The two new Panorama modes are said to be fisheye mode and wide-angle mode. The update also let users the option to click images in 16:9 ratio along with a timer mode with 10 seconds and 3 seconds option.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Android Wear review: Taking smartwatches in the right direction



When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don't find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already (remember Microsoft SPOT?), but the category hasn't evolved at the same pace as smartphones. It's not because there's a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. The problem is that there's no common platform for third-party apps, which means there's little potential for growth.
There also doesn't seem to be any vision. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call "fashionably challenged" -- they simply aren't attractive enough to entice the masses. Google's solution is to extend its Android platform -- which has very strong market share and developer support -- to the wearables genre with Android Wear.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Samsung launches Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2 smartphones


NEW DELHI: Samsung has added four new smartphones to its Galaxy line-up, namely, Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2. All of the four phones feature Samsung's TouchWiz Essence user interface, and come with the latest version of Android, Kitkat. 


Samsung Galaxy Core II is a dual SIM phone with 4.5-inch (480x800p) display. It is available in two colours - black and white. Powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 768MB of RAM, it has a 2,000mAh battery. 

The phone offers a front camera apart from a 5MP main camera and an LED flash. It has 4GB internal storage and supports microSD cards of up to 64GB. 

Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 has 4-inch (480x800p) display. The phone is powered by 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. It has a 1500mAh battery and is available only in black colour. The phone also has a 5MP rear camera, an enhanced camera UI and LED flash, and a front camera. It has 4GB of internal storage and can support a microSD card of up to 64GB. 

Galaxy Young 2 is available in the colours black and white. The dual SIM phone has a 3.5-inch (320x480p) display. It is powered by 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM and has a 1300mAh battery. It features a 3.15MP camera. 

On the storage front, the phone comes with a microSD card slot that supports card of up to 32GB in addition to offering internal storage capacity of 4GB. 

Galaxy Star 2 is a dual SIM phone that has a 3.5-inch (320x480p) display. It comes with a 1,300mAh battery. 

The phone supports only 2G networks to its users for accessing data and features a 2MP rear camera. The phone is powered by 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM. 

It has 4GB of internal storage and can support microSD cards of up to 32GB.

Samsung unveils Galaxy S5 mini smartphone



NEW DELHI: Samsung has taken the covers off the Galaxy S5 mini smartphone, bringing the exclusive features of the company's top smartphone in a compact size. 

The main differences between Galaxy S5 and S5 mini are in display, camera and processor. Galaxy S5 mini has a 4.5-inch HD (720p) screen, which is quite smaller than the 5.1-inch Full HD (1080p) display of Galaxy S5. The camera resolution has gone down from 16MP in the older model to 8MP in the new smartphone. 

While the India version of Galaxy S5 comes with an eight-core Exynos processor, the new Galaxy S5 mini runs on a quad-core 1.4GHz processor, but Samsung has not revealed the chipmaker's name. 

Despite these downgrades, Samsung has retained the fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor, which debuted with Galaxy S5, in Galaxy S5 mini. The smartphone is IP67 certified, meaning that it is water and dust resistant to an extent, and has Galaxy S5's Ultra Power Saving mode. 

Other key hardware specifications of the new Samsung Galaxy S5 mini are 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 64GB microSD support, LED flash on the back, 2.1MP front camera and 2,100mAh battery. Connectivity suite of the smartphone consists of 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. 

This smartphone runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and comes with Samsung's proprietary UI on top.

Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Best Free Android Games

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Usually Gameloft has tried to ape PC games, bringing their distinct console flavour to smartphones, though with mixed results. However, with Asphalt 8: Airborne, Gameloft has a clear winner. It is extremely hard to believe that this game is just given out for free. You will probably never notice the microtransactions, and as casual gamers you can easily launch the app, race and get out quick. With its visceral sense of speed, easy-to-use controls, beautiful tracks and licenced cars, Airborne hits all the right buttons.

Real Racing 3

If Asphalt 8: Airborne is too arcadey for you, and you want something more serious and simulation-like to bring out the motoring aficionado in you, then Real Racing 3 is the best game for you. With jaw dropping visuals that demand a well-equipped Android device and realistic driving along very real circuits and campaigns, Real Racing 3 lives up to its name, literally.

Blood Brothers

Until the popular battle card game on iOS, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, makes it to Android, you can indulge in Blood Brothers. Part board game, part RPG and part card-based game, Blood Brothers is a unique game set in a dark world filled with mythical creatures. If you like your RPGs a bit different, give Blood Brothers a whirl. It won't cost you a thing.

Clash of Clans

Fancy a bit of strategy? Then jump headfirst into Clash of Clans, a realtime multiplayer online strategy game. You can build your village and defend it from attacks and train troops to attack other players. The biggest selling point of the game is the massive online community of players all hooked to it.

Dead Trigger 2

There's no better way to pass a boring train journey than killing scores of zombies. Dead Trigger 2 throws you bang in the middle of a zombie apocaplyse, where you just have to keep on killin’. With simple controls that let you focus on just running-and-gunning and a surprisingly deep crafting system, Dead Trigger 2 is a game you have to have on your smartphone. However, be warned: It’s gory and will need a beefy device to look it’s best.

Dots

Sick of those Candy Crush Saga-type puzzle games that flood your inbox with invites? Dots is a brand new smart puzzle game that not only plays smart but looks the part too. The premise is simple: You just have to join dots of same colours in 60 seconds. You can also connect online and play multiplayer. It is easily a fun and simple game you have to have.

Dungeon Hunter 4

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter series has always been the Diablo of mobile gaming. While it may not be as deep, it’s still a fun and frenzied dungeon romp. With four types of characters to choose from, tonnes of weapons and spells, there's a whole lot of loot to be found in Dungeon Hunter 4.

Galaxy on Fire 2

Take to the stars in an unbelievable space sim game, much like the Wing Commander series. In Galaxy on Fire 2, you fly a spaceship in a huge game world, fight, trade and even mine for money. With superb graphics, easy-to-use flight mechanics, challenging dogfights in space and a pretty cool story, this game will put most PC games to shame.

Plants vs Zombies 2

This unique take on the zombie genre has won countless awards. Plants vs Zombies 2 is pure fun from the beginning to the end, and it’s free. Build an army of plants all supercharged with plant food to take on the zombie hordes. Don't let the humorous graphics and cutesy characters fool you, this game needs some serious tactical thinking.

Ready Steady Bang

A supremely simple game that is surprisingly fun. Ready Steady Bang is as simple as a good old gunfight in the good ‘ol western style showdown, where a quick and controlled trigger finger makes all the difference. It can get quite boring playing with bots, but when you get in another player who can play on the same phone your cafeteria fun time will become way more fun. Also, the old school LCD-look works like a charm in this game.

How Google Now puts Siri to shame


If you have Siri set to speak in English, she will not understand the word "gracias." But Google on Thursday updated its Google Now voice search and assistant app so it can quickly switch between multiple languages on the fly, CNET reports.

Rather than select a single language setting from Google's list of about 50, Google Now can now recognize and understand the speaker's language and allow users to switch up to seven different ones on the fly. According to Google, you'll have to pre-select your secondary languages, but after that the feature will work automatically.

In an interview with CNET, Google said "seemingly simple language-recognition tasks are much harder than they appear," and that it's still working on making Google Now a true linguist by understanding complex accents and minimizing ambient noise.

Simultaneous multi-language support will roll out to Google Now users within "the coming days," Google said.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Android L: 8 New Features in the Next Major Android Release

Android has grown from a tiny upstart to the world's dominant mobile computing platform with over a billion active users. Google isn't sitting still, though, and has just unveiled what it calls the most ambitious Android release yet. Currently known only as Android L, there's no dessert-themed codename or even formal version number yet. Android L will release later this year, though an exact date isn't known.
We hope to see new smartphones launch around the same time which take advantage of all the new features, and also updates to existing smartphones. HTC is amongst the companies committed to bringing it to its existing HTC One family, while others should announce support soon.
Here are some of the most exciting new features of Android L



   Material design
Android will receive a complete visual overhaul aimed at promoting a consistent experience across Android device sizes and types. The new "Material Design" identity is bolder, more colourful, and more animated. Every transition between screens and every user interaction has been refined, down to the system-wide Roboto typeface and the Android navigation buttons.
Screen elements will be able to simulate depth, with automatic shadows and scaling, but will also inherit elements of classic magazine typography and layout. There's more emphasis on simple shapes and consistent actions that lead you from one app into another. Google's new design page offers hints of what is to come.
The change could also be aimed at discouraging third-party vendors from developing custom Android overlays which greatly deviate from Google's vision. A strong enough core UI experience could lead users to reject anything seen as inferior to it.
The Material Design identity integrates elements of responsive Web design and will extend to other Google properties including Gmail, which will be redesigned for the Web as well as mobile apps. Material Design takes into account the fact that touch, voice, mouse and keyboard are all equally important input methods, clearly illustrating goals above and beyond smartphone usage scenarios.



Improved notifications
You will be able to interact with notifications more easily in Android L. For starters, you can choose which ones show up on the lock screen and what amount of detail they'll show. You can decide whether snippets of actual messages are displayed when your phone is potentially visible to others, or whether more details will only be revealed when you unlock it. They also aren't necessarily displayed in chronological order anymore - the OS can learn which ones you're more likely to respond to urgently and prioritise those.
There's also a new type of notification altogether - Google calls these heads ups. These appear on top of whatever you're doing and allow you to take action or dismiss them immediately. These are meant to be less intrusive, and can be used for things that can't wait, such as incoming calls.
Trusted environments
Speaking of the lock screen, you'll soon be able to have your phone detect when it's in a trusted environment, which will dispense with the lock code. This could be triggered by the presence of a Bluetooth device such a smartwatch that you wear all the time, a specific Wi-Fi access point, or other factors. When the environment is deemed safe, you won't have to bother with unlocking your phone.



Project Volta, battery improvements
Android L will be able to manage battery life much better, but Google's moves go beyond that to the app development stage, for which new tools have been developed that let developers track battery drain and optimise apps before they ever reach end users. The battery saver mode is similar to those implemented by third parties so far - non-essential services can be turned off or made to run only at intervals in order to save power. Android L will also be able to lower the screen refresh rate, reduce the frequency of data exchanges, or force apps to change their behaviour to match the prevailing battery state.
Google Fit
Everyone's getting into health and activity tracking, and Google is no exception. The new Google Fit framework will take Apple's Healthkit head on, tying into sensors on phones themselves as well as connected accessories to collect data which will be ready for apps to use. Major partners including Nike, Adidas, Runkeeper, HTC, Asus, LG and Motorola are already on board. Google Fit could monitor physical activity and food intake as well as health indicators such as heart rate and breathing.
Greater Web integration
There's also a change to the way individual tabs and documents in apps are handled by Android L. They'll now show up as individual entries in the Recents menu, allowing users to jump directly between them. This pulls the focus away from apps and puts it onto all the things you do with them. For example, Web apps open in Chrome tabs would appear much like native apps running on your device, and you'd be able to jump in and out of them more quickly.



Links on the Web can now also be used to launch apps instead of websites (presumably falling back to the website in case the app is not installed). For example, Google demonstrated looking up a restaurant in Chrome and then tapping a link to not only launch the OpenTable app, but also have it know that it should bring up that restaurant's booking page. Google search results can also now be links that trigger an app, rather than links to websites.
ART Runtime and Android Extension Pack
Google is ditching the Dalvik runtime which has served well for years, in favour of a new one called ART. It can make apps load and run quite a bit faster while using less RAM. ART is 64-bit compatible, and is also engineered to allow apps to work across hardware architectures such as ARM and X86. This also means that Android devices will be able to address more RAM than the 32-bit limit allowed.
With greater diversity in Android hardware obviously envisioned for the near future, the move is a welcome change. Google has worked with major hardware vendors to enable more fluid graphics, potentially paving the way for new Android-based game consoles and set-top boxes. Desktop-class graphics including tessellation, geometry shaders and texture compression will potentially be possible on Android devices.




Knox
Google also made a few announcements that indicate interesting things on the horizon for enterprise users. The company announced that Samsung's Knox feature for work and personal separation will become a part of Android itself. Knox allows corporate IT administrators to control work-related data and policies on employees' smartphones while letting the employees themselves continue to store personal data and use unrelated apps. This alleviates many of the problems with accessing secure information from mobile devices and could make Android far more attractive to businesses.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Google to Unveil New Android TV Set-Top Box on Wednesday: Reports



Google Inc is expected to unveil at least one small set-top box that resembles products like the Roku, Amazon's Fire TV, and Apple Inc's Apple TV, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources who have seen the device.
Google will show off the set-top box on Wednesday during its developer conference, the Journal said.
The set-top box will be powered by Google's new Android TV software designed to play movies, games and other content on television. However, the device will carry another company's brand name, the newspaper said.
Representatives from Google were not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Tech companies from Microsoft Corp to Apple are vying for space on the TV - the traditional family entertainment center and where people used to spend most of their leisure time before the advent of the smartphone and tablet.
Amazon unveiled a $99 video streaming device "Fire TV" video and game streaming device in April, with hopes of boosting its main online retail business over the longer term.
In December 2012, Google sold its set-top TV box maker Motorola Home to Arris Group Inc for $2.35 billion.