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Hardik Patel

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Showing posts with label INFORMATIONS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label INFORMATIONS. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

How to choose the right smartphone?

Shopping for a new handset? Great! You can finally buy that device you've always wanted. But how do you navigate through jargon like dual- and quad-core , GHz, mAh, and megapixels? What makes one operating system different from the other? After reading this primer, you will be sufficiently armed with answers to help you pick a phone that's right for you..

Operating system
Make no mistake, it's the OS that puts the 'smart' in your smartphone, so before buying, it's always a good idea to know about the different ecosystems that exist...

Android OS promises native integration with Google services that include Search, Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, YouTube, etc. Besides, you get access to over a million apps in its Play store. The best part? Titles that might be paid downloads on iOS and Windows Phone are sometimes available for free here. Another advantage of an Android handset is that these are plug-and-play . You can simply connect it to your PC via a USB cable to begin transferring files to and from the device with zero hassles. Also, you can choose from phones—costing as less as 4,000 right to those that are priced at over 50k—from vendors such as HTC, LG, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and even from local players like Karbonn, Lava, Micromax, Spice and Xolo. Just remember, Android versions are alphabetically named, and the latest in the market are Jelly Bean and Kit-Kat . Make sure you're putting your money on either of these.

Windows Phone is now playing catch-up with Android and iOS - and at last count, its app store just had over two lakh titles. Still, most popular apps have already made their way to this platform. Also, WP handsets in India primarily come from Nokia - and while the OS needs improvements, you get really good hardware for the price you pay. Plus, these devices come with subscriptions to free content like music and movies (depending on the model you buy), and also Here Maps and Drive+, which are arguably the best map and navigation services in the country.

iOS, only found in iPhones, is extremely intuitive to use - and since Apple vets every title that makes it to its App store, you're promised high-quality digital content in the form of educational material, music, videos and apps. The OS itself promises smooth operations, and you'll find very rare instances of iPhones freezing during use. On the downside, you'll have to use iTunes to connect the handset to your PC, and this can prove to be quite annoying. And yes, only buy from local authorised dealers; iPhones picked up from abroad are not covered under local warranty.

When shopping, you are bound to hear about dual-core , quad-core , and even octacore processors. But what should you put your money on?
While a greater number of cores are supposedly better, it does not give you a true picture of how a smartphone may perform. Why? Well, not all cores are designed identically. UK-based ARM, which designs these chips, licenses different architectures - with names such as Cortex A5, A7, A8, A9, A12, A15 - to manufacturers. Here, higher numbers mean better chips. In effect, a phone that uses a quad-core A15 will definitely be more advanced than a handset with a quad-core A5. In fact, there might be instances where dual-core processors might fare better than quad-core chips.

Also, a lot of how a processor performs depends on how the OS utilises its abilities. So an iPhone on a dual-core processor could be a bett er performer than many quad-core Android phones.

That said, these are some of the names you can expect to hear when shopping... Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 600 and 800 chips, Samsung's octacore Exynos, and Apple's dual-core A7 (found on the iPhone 5s, and not to be confused with ARM's Cortex series) are the top dogs in this market.

Devices like the Nokia Lumias use mid-range dual-core Qualcomm S4 chipsets that are also seen in handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro and the Sony Experia M. Older iPhones use a dualcore A6 processor (again, not to be confused with ARM Cortex).
In the mid- to low-price brackets, you'll find dual-core Intel Atom chips, the quadcore MediaTek MT6589, and Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon 200 and 400.

The best way to judge a smartphone's screen is to look at it from different angles for changes in colour, and also in varying lighting conditions for visibility. Invest in a Full HD (1080p) display if you're buying a phablet. On the other hand, HD (720p) screens work well for devices up to five inches in size. On smaller devices, load a web page to see if the text is crisp, and can be read without any strain to your eyes.

In any case, avoid smartphones with lesser than WVGA (800x480px) resolution. AMOLED screens are best when it comes to displaying punchy colours. LCD screens with IPS technology comes a close second, while TFT LCDs should be avoided if you can.

It's plain and simple: more RAM is always better.

We carry our world - e-mails , social networks, photographs, videos, music - with us on our smartphones, so when buying, always budget for a phone that comes with ample storage. Generally, if a phone lists its capacity as 8GB, only about 6.5GB will be available to the user. So if you need 4GB, buy a phone with 8 to 16GB.

More megapixels and HD video recording capabilities result in images and videos that occupy more space. Also, if you plan on watching Full HD movies on your phone, ensure you have at least 32GB storage.
If possible, opt for a model that supports microSD cards of up to 64GB so you can always add more memory when you need it.

In our experience, a screen of four to five inches works well for most purposes.

A phone that has a screen bigger than five inches could be slightly uncomfortable to use with one hand. Also keep in mind that big-screen phones are heavy, and can be uncomfortable to carry in your pocket.

On the flip side, large screens allow for a better experience while watching movies, playing games and browsing the web.

A 5MP camera is capable of 8x6-inch prints even at 300dpi (dots per inch), which is the standard resolution used in professional printing.

So, if you're looking for a good camera phone, dump the idea that more megapixels will give you better pictures. Instead, look for phones that boast of good camera optics (go for devices that come with Carl Zeiss lens). Remember, a high-resolution camera with a low-quality lens will only give you low-quality pictures in high resolution.
In any case, if you need a snapper only for photos you'd like to share on social networks or Instagram, a 10MP camera phone is going to be overkill.

Opt for cameras with BSI (backside illumination) sensors for better low-light photography; make sure it comes with an LED flash.
In our experience, if you want a good shooter, you have to shell out extra bucks. Good photos are a result of adequate megapixels, good lens and sensor technology, as well as high-end processor chipsets. The Nokia Lumia 1520, 1020 and 925, the Apple iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and S4 Zoom, LG G2, and HTC One are known for their good snappers.
For your front-facing camera, one megapixel is more than adequate.

You may have the best hardware at your disposal, but if you keep running out of battery, your handset is quite useless...
Bigger screens, extra cores, and more sensors mean greater power consumption. If you're considering a smartphone over 4.5-inches in size, look at devices that come with at least a 2000mAh (milliamp-hour) battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last.
If possible, select devices that come with lithiumpolymer batteries over lithium-ion . The former are lighter, and also retain their charge for longer.

And yes, preferably, buy a device that comes with a user-replaceable battery (although a handset like the Lenovo P780, which comes with a 4000mAh non-removable li-polymer battery, could prove to be an exception to the rule).

iPhone 6 to Enter Mass Production in July: Report

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronic goods, will begin mass production of Apple Inc's next-generation iPhone (expected to be called the iPhone 6) this month, Taipei media reported Friday.

Mass production of a 4.7-inch successor to the wildly popular iPhone 5 series of smartphones will begin during the third week of July, Taiwan's Economic Daily News said, without citing sources. Production of a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 version will begin during the second week of August, it said.

A separate report issued Thursday by a China state-run news service said Hon Hai is planning to hire 100,000 workers at its mainland facilities to meet future demand for Apple's latest smartphone, citing comments made by the chief of the Henan Provincial Commerce Department.

Fellow Taiwanese contract manufacturer Pegatron Corp this month also began recruitment of over 10,000 workers for its mainland facilities to manufacture the phone, according to the Economic Daily News report.

Hon Hai had no comment on the report. Representatives for Pegatron and the Henan Provincial Commerce Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Google Q2 revenue up 22%, overshadows slow growth

SAN FRANCISCO: Google's earnings rose modestly in the second quarter as the internet company's expensive ambitions devoured most of a surprisingly strong gain in revenue.
The report released on Thursday also showed that Google's advertising prices are still dropping to extend a nearly three-year slump.
Meanwhile, the company's expenses are steadily rising as it hires more workers, promotes products and ventures into new technological frontiers such as internet-connected eyewear, driverless cars and robots.
Those trends have frustrated many investors, causing Google's stock to lag the broader market this year even though most analysts still view the company as a prudent long-term investment. The company's shares had gained 4% through Thursday's close, compared to a 6% increase in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
Investors saw more positives than negatives in the second-quarter numbers as Google's stock added $5.74 to $579.47 in extended trading.
Besides reviewing its second quarter, Google also announced chief business officer Nikesh Arora is leaving the company after a decade to become a top executive at SoftBank. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Omid Kordestani, Google's original advertising chief.
Arora is being allowed to keep an $8 million bonus that he was supposed to repay to Google if he left the company before April 25, 2015. In a Thursday regulatory filing, Google said it was waiving the requirement imposed on Arora when he received the bonus in 2012.
Google earned $3.4 billion, or $4.99 per share, during the April-June quarter. That compared to income of $3.2 billion, or $4.77 per share, in the same period last year.
If not for the costs of employee stock compensation, Google said it would have earned $6.08 per share. That figure missed the average analyst target of $6.23 per share, according to FactSet. It marks the third time in the last four quarters that Google's adjusted earnings have fallen below analyst estimates.
Revenue totaled nearly $16 billion, a 22% increase from a year ago.
After subtracting the commissions paid to Google's advertising partners, revenue stood at $12.8 billion — nearly $500 million above analysts' projections.
Excluding its cost of revenue, Google's core expenses in the second quarter jumped 26% from last year.
The increase included the addition of another 2,200 employees during the quarter. Google hired about 4,300 employees through the first half of the year to increase its payroll to about 52,000 people. The expansion contrasts with a contraction at one of its main rivals, Microsoft, which announced plans to lay off 18,000 workers on Thursday.
Google's revenue growth is being held back by a persisting decline in the average prices for the ads that appear alongside search results and other web content, a measure known as "cost per click." The average price fell by 6% from the same time last year, marking Google's 11th consecutive quarter of erosion.
Ad prices have been sagging because marketers haven't been willing to pay as much to pitch consumers who are squinting at the smaller screens on the smartphones that are drawing eyeballs away from desktop and laptop computers. Google executives are confident advertisers eventually will be willing to pay more to connect with prospective customers on smartphones and tablets as mobile computing becomes even more pervasive.
The desktop-to-mobile transition would be hurting Google even more if people weren't clicking on ads more frequently. The volume of activity is important because Google bills advertisers when people click on a promotional link. Google's paid clicks during the second quarter climbed 25% from last year.
Although Google still makes most of its money from internet searches, the company has been generating more revenue from other channels such as YouTube and its Play store that sells content and applications for the more than 1 billion devices running on its Android software.
Google executives consistently say YouTube is attracting more advertisers without providing specifics. The research firm eMarketer is expects YouTube's ad revenue to total $5.6 billion this year, a 51% increase from last year.
The Mountain View, California company also doesn't disclose its Play sales, but says the mobile store generates most of its revenue outside of digital ads. Google's non-ad revenue totaled $1.6 billion in the second quarter, a 53% increase from last year.

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.

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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

Amazon Asks Permission From F.A.A. to Test Drone Delivery System

In some ways, this was not the best week for Amazon. The Federal Trade Commission sued it for improperly billing customers for games used by their children. And it continues to be enmeshed in a nasty public relations battle with the publisher Hachette.
But Amazon still has the drones. In a filing with the Federal Aviation Administration that got widespread attention Friday, Amazon asked for permission to test its drone delivery system outdoors, a practice that is banned for safety reasons.
Never mind for the moment the fact that the F.A.A. said a few weeks ago that there would be no commercial uses of drones in a memo that did not mention Amazon but pointedly excluded even the free shipping of items by drone. That’s a lobbying battle for another day.
Delivery by drone was first mentioned by Amazon last year on “60 Minutes,” and quickly became a viral sensation despite, or because of, the fact that it was unlikely to happen anytime soon. If nothing else, it was a vivid demonstration of Amazon’s gift for showmanship.
In the filing to Michael P. Huerta, the F.A.A. administrator, Amazon said that it should get an exemption from the rules because of the “enormous consumer benefits” of what it is calling Prime Air: getting stuff to people quickly.
Amazon said that if it did not get what it wanted, it would have to move the drone team to another country.
“Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States,” the letter said.
Amazon stock shot up Friday faster than a you know what, jumping more than 5 percent. It was either the power of the drone or analysts’ reports predicting a good second quarter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

ET deals: $270 off Toshiba Satellite P50T Core i7 touch laptop

Sometimes you want a laptop that just has it all, but while you know it’ll be expensive, you still don’t want to pay the sticker price. Enter the Toshiba P50T, an excellently spec’d machine at the lowest price we’ve seen yet, thanks to a limited time $100 coupon. That helps knock the price down to $1530, a tidy 15% off.
Toshiba’s Satellite P50T-BST2N01 is absolutely loaded with cutting edge features, highlighted by the gorgeous 15.6″ Ultra HD 3840×2160 touchscreen panel, an incredibly rich display that you’ll find on precious few other laptops out there. It also packs an overclockable Core i7-4700HQ processor and a 2GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon R9 M265X graphics card, so it will easily fly through even demanding tasks from hardcore gaming to professional multimedia creation. Pretty much no matter what you’re doing, this laptop will make it look easy.

For your top dollar you’re also getting plenty of other notable specs. Data storage is taken care of on the speedy 1TB hybrid hard drive, and multitasking is handled by a gigantic 16GB of RAM.

Connectivity will be about as strong as it gets, with an ultrafast 867Mbps Intel Dual-Band Wireless-N 7260 AC wireless card, plus Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also a generous allotment of four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI with 4K, gig ethernet, a multicard reader, and a DVD-RW too.
With a backlit keyboard, harman/kardon speakers, and plenty of other premium features, this is a beast of a laptop that will remain a powerhouse for years to come. At 5.1lbs and with 3 hours of battery life, it’s even reasonably portable considering the firepower within. Pick up this souped up notebook today for the best price we’ve found.

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

50 Cent's new sports headphones aren't subtle, and that's OK

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson was kind enough to give us an early look at his line of sport-friendly headphones on stage back at CES. Today, you get to see them out in the wild. As a refresher, there are on-ear and in-ear models and you can choose wired (Street) or wireless (Sync) varieties depending on how you roll. The on-ears come with a sweat-proof inner chamber and a rubberized coating to keep them looking box-fresh no matter how many laps you put them through, and there's even a sports "towel" (it's more of a cloth) included to mop your brow! The in-ears won't come with such luxuries, but they do come in the same striking blue, pink or yellow color options. The Bluetooth variants all support aptX, which is more than can be said for the other rapper-backed sports buds we saw recently. Prices are $80/$150 for the in-ears (wired/wireless) and $180/230 for the on-ears -- and we got an early look at some.

Running with headphones is a divisive subject. Some swear by it; others deplore it. Whatever camp you're in, earbuds are usually the weapon of choice. Not me. I much prefer the extra isolation that on-ears provide. I don't run on the roads, so traffic and other such obstacles aren't much of a concern. The problem is, until now, there haven't been many sweat/sport-friendly pairs of on-ears. Let alone wireless ones. These are two instant plus points for the new Sync model straight away. Not to mention that running isn't the only activity that might cause a sweat, where the participants want to listen to their tunes; there's a whole host of music-loving active types to cater to.

The new Sync wireless sports from SMS are, unsurprisingly, very similar to the existing Sync model. The most significant difference is the finish. The shiny plastic of the current model is out, and a new rubberized nano-coating is in. It's a decent upgrade both in terms of aesthetics (shiny plastic never really looks that good), and the textured finish also feelsnicer. The ear pads have been toughened up too. Not only are they covered with a perforated leather, but also the chamber inside is sweat-proof. The result is a sporty-looking headset that definitely feels comfortable once the heart rate (and sweat) starts to rise.

Looks are one thing, but audio is the money here, right? Already I suspect that critics are sharpening their knives, as is de rigueur when discussing any celebrity-made/owned/built/endorsed headphones. The Sync wireless sport are loud and definitely "ample" when it comes to the low-end frequencies; there's no skirting it. But, you know what? When I'm five miles deep on a run, that's pretty much what I want. The bass isn't ridiculous -- it's what you might refer to as "generous." I'd reach for these over a pair with a flatter response every workout, every time. You may differ of course, but if thick, pronounced jams are what you want, then these will give it to you.

Despite the obvious leaning toward sporting use, the Syncs will gladly fill the role of full-time headphones if you wish. The battery should be good for upwards of eight hours of playback (or talk, given that they double as a hands-free too). If you find you do drain them, there's a 3.5mm jack (and cable) so you can wire them in like regular headphones (which means they're good for all devices, Bluetooth or otherwise). When it comes to sport-friendly on-ears, the Sync wireless are hard to knock. Yes, some will malign the "healthy" bass; others (like me) will appreciate it when trying to eke out that extra drop of energy. More than that, these are the best wireless model I've seen from SMS to date, so either way, things are looking up.

iPhone 6 to Launch on September 25, 5.5-Inch Model Named iPhone Air: Report

Another day and another iPhone 6 rumour. This time a report out of China details an astonishing new launch date for the next iPhone from Apple, ahead of most dates in previous leaks. The report is accompanied with purported pricing details, as well as the name of the anticipated larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant - iPhone Air.
The report citing industry sources claims Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 on September 15, which falls on a Monday, while retail availability will begin on September 25, which falls on a Thursday.
Apple traditionally starts sales of new iPhone models on a Friday to capture the weekend crowd, so the dates seem a little fishy. Previous leaks (including a purported internal communication from a German telecom carrier) had indicated a more credible launch date of September 19, which happens to be Friday.
According to the China.com report (via GforGames), China will also be amongst the first countries to receive the iPhone. The report also details the pricing, which matches previous leaks, claiming the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) will cost CNY 5,288 (roughly Rs. 50,800), while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 (16GB) will be priced at CNY 5,998 (roughly Rs. 57,600). This would also imply the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (32GB) is cheaper than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s (16GB), which costs CNY 5,300.
The same report claims the much-rumoured 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will be called the iPhone Air, following the naming scheme of the latest, largest iPad. The report adds that China Mobile and China Unicom, Apple's carriers in the country, have begun field testing the iPhone 6 on their networks.

Recently, Japanese daily Nikkei had posted two alleged images of the rumoured 4.7-inch iPhone 6 dummy model, side by side with an iPhone 5s. The leaked images corroborate what's has been widely expected based on earlier leaks, that the next iPhone will house the power button on the right panel of the device, instead on the top panel seen on current iPhone models. It also seen to feature the Touch ID sensor.

Previously, another Chinese report indicated the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will feature a 128GB storage variant. The report further claims that the 128GB storage variant will be limited to the bigger variant of the rumoured iPhone 6, and the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will offer the conventional 64GB as its maximum storage variant, while the 16GB variant will be dumped for both models.

An earlier report citing a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested that the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would sport OIS (optical image stabilisation) for the rear camera. The report further claimed that the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will not come with OIS.

The Cupertino-based company has also been rumoured to be testing a higher screen resolution of 960x1704 pixels on at least one of the two iPhone models likely to debut this year.

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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Facebook buys video ad company LiveRail

Facebook is acquiring video advertising company LiveRail in the internet social network's latest step to make video ads a bigger part of its business. 

Facebook did not disclose a price for the San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2007 and has offices in several countries. 

LiveRail's technology automatically pairs video ads with the videos that appear on many websites, such as the sites for Major League Baseball, ABC and A&E Networks. 

Facebook would not discuss plans for using the technology on its own website. 

In March, Facebook began offering 15-second video ads from a limited number of companies on its website. The company has moved cautiously in introducing the video ads on its social network to prevent a backlash from users who might find the ads annoying. 

Video ads command higher prices than other forms of online advertising such as banner ads. Facebook and internet rivals like Google are increasingly trying to grab a slice of lucrative TV-marketing budgets as they try to sustain rapid growth.

IBM proposes to build first carbon computer by 2020

People often compare computers with our brains, but there are important differences between them. One difference, which the wider public seldom thinks about, is that computer brains are made of silicon while our brains are made of carbon. All known life is made of carbon, which is the most versatile element in the universe. Why should computers be made of silicon, even if it is the second most versatile element in the universe? IBM now thinks that the silicon age of computers is about to end, and that we might see the first carbon computer in just six years. 

It is a bold statement, tempered with caveats, made more with hope than authority. Carbon nanotube chips would be not very different from silicon chips, only much faster. However, making them in large scale still requires significant technology advances. The year 2020 is around the time when silicon is supposed to hit a roadblock, yet again. 

It will be great to get nanotube chips ready by then. This is what IBM hopes for, and also a large section of the industry also hopes for. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, an industry organisation formed by the leading semiconductor companies in the world, silicon chips would reach a feature size of four nanometers by 2020, which is three generations from the current 22 nanometers. No one has an answer to the intense technical problems that can crop up at this size. 

The industry wants to get a replacement technology by then, and carbon nanotubes seem to be its best bet at the moment. It is not a passing issue but a serious problem that can slow down the industry significantly. It could slow down global innovation too, as much of technology innovation is based on continual increase of computing power. According to the Linley Group, a technology consultancy, costs per transistor are set to rise from now onwards, after falling steadily for decades. 

The next generation of chips, of 14 nanometer size, may be expensive and not so widely used for a while. Technical problems and the cost increase as they shrink further. Currents leak. Chips get too hot. They resist mass production. The industry needs new materials for chips, and many have been tried. Nanotubes have performed very well, and they have the additional advantage of being technologically similar to silicon and yet being carbon, a smaller atom that may one day let us do many wonderful things. 

IBM's research gives us hope that nanotubes will work, as the company has made nanotube transistors already. But the nanotubes are not close enough to each other; it is a difficult problem to solve because we do not have the technology to do so. What if it is not solved by 2020? One factor we often forget, due to our obsession with Moore's Law, is that software has been advancing too, at least as rapidly as hardware has done. 

Advances in software can drive computing even if hardware grinds to a halt for some time. Let us look at how brains evolved. Between two million and 100,000 years ago, the human brain rapidly increased in size in two spurts. But it has decreased in size by 10% in the last 15,000 years. Does that mean that we are less intelligent than our ancestors? Probably not. 

After reaching a certain size, the brain may have learned to work more efficiently. The human brain needs a lot of energy, and it is always good to have it just at the right size. Chips can follow the same logic in reverse. As their size stands still, we can make them more efficient. 

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.

Google buys music streaming service Songza

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is fine-tuning its digital music strategy with the acquisition of Songza, a service that creates soundtracks tailored for people's changing moods. 

Financial terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed. That means the price is considered to be too small to affect Google, which ended March with $59 billion in cash. 

The acquisition highlights the growing importance of services that customize playlists as more people listen to music through internet connections on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers. 

Apple is buying headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3 billion largely because it prizes the song-picking prowess of a digital music service that Beats has been building. The music service combines automated formulas with the expertise of a team led by Beats' co-founders, longtime recording industry executive Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop producer and rapper Dr Dre. 

Amazon.com also recently rolled out a music-streaming service that is part the company's $99-per-year Prime package. 

Those two technology powerhouses, along with Google, are trying to topple the early leaders in music streaming, Pandora Media and Spotify. 

No immediate changes will occur at Songza, which makes applications for Apple's iPhone, iPad and devices running on Google's Android software. 

"We can't think of a better company to join in our quest to provide the perfect soundtrack for everything you do," Songza said in a post announcing its sale. 

Google plans to blend Songza's technology into its own music-streaming service, which costs $10 per month. Songza's tools also might be used to recommend musical videos at Google's YouTube site, which is preparing to introduce a subscription option, too.

Friday, June 27, 2014

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.

Apple working on smart home devices: Report

Apple is reportedly working on new connected home products for consumers, according to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman.
Although Apple unveiled its HomeKit platform for developers at this year's WWDC, the company is now working on actual hardware products for everyday users. 

Gurman's sources haven't specified exactly what types of devices Apple is working on, but they did reportedly say that the connected home space will be an important market for Apple moving forward. 

These smart home devices would integrate deeply with Apple's existing products, such as its line of iPhones and iPads. 

Apple's smart home product probably won't compete with the Nest Learning Thermostat or the newly announced Honeywell Lyric. Rather, it will focus on something a little more mainstream that will get more widespread usage. 

This could mean Apple is working on a smart speaker system or some type of controller for the devices in your home, Gurman's sources reportedly said. There's also no specific timeline for the product(s), so there's no telling when or if we'll see such devices hit the market. 

9to5Mac's report comes just after The Information reported similar news on Wednesday regarding Apple's plan to develop devices for the smart home. 

This also isn't the first time we've heard that Apple is interested in creating a gadget that can act as a universal controller for your home. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White predicted last year that Apple's long-rumored iWatch could be used as a multi-media controller for your home. 

It's not entirely surprising that Apple could be creating hardware geared toward the connected home. Now that Apple has baked support for smart home functionality into iOS 8, we would naturally expect some new products to go along with it.