OnePlus 5T Review: The Best got even Better!

OnePlus 5T Review

OnePlus unveiled the second flagship smartphone for 2017, OnePlus 5T few weeks ago. I have been using this phone for over 3 weeks now and the experience has been super awesome. Let us demystify what makes this phone a worthy phone to recommend anyone. Keeping it simple, it isn’t just the hardware.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The build quality is solid and the phone looks premium. Weighing 162 grams and at 7.3 mm thickness, its one of the thinnest flagships available currently in the market. Make no mistake in underestimating the build quality of the phone. Its strong and durable in every aspect, be it the keys, glass, finger print scanner or the entire construction in whole.

The Dual-SIM tray & power keys are located on the right, while the alert slider & volume rocker are placed on the left. Top stays flat and the bottom houses the speaker grill, type-c port and the 3.5 mm audio jack. The Alert Slider from the earlier OnePlus phones retains on this as well. This helps in toggling between silent, priority and all notifications with the reach of a button and is unique to the OnePlus phones.

The finger print sensor is now available on the rear side of the phone. The Sensor is blazingly fast unlocking the device in 0.2 seconds from sleep and accurate most of the times. It’s a true 360 degree sensor in a way that it works perfect when pressing from any direction.

OnePlus 5T Camera

The face unlock is the fastest way to get into your phone. Trust me, Its crazy fast. I like the way, how it takes you right into the homescreen. Although unlike FaceID, this is more a convenience feature than an advanced security one.

The OnePlus 5T sensor does not wake the screen up with incorrect inputs. The sensor just vibrates the phone when finger print is not recognised and wakes up only when there is a match. This is a good use case since there will be multiple instances you ending up touching the sensor by mistake while holding the phone.

Primary camera is located on the top left of the back with a slight protrusion which according to us is not the best in design and may not be for everyone’s liking. With a phone case, this protrusion should not be too annoying. OnePlus has released a variety of cases for this device which are available on Amazon.in

The OnePlus 5T runs on top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor running at 2.35GHz, a slightly bigger 3,400mAh battery, and the 16MP front-facing camera.

The device comes with impressive hardware specs like 64/128GB storage (based on UFS 2.0 technology), 6/8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Dash Charge, Type-C port, Bluetooth 5. The device also supports NFC.

“Currently this is the one among the very few smartphones available in India with a mammoth 8 GB of RAM. While this may sound an overkill by today’s standards, we appreciate this move from OnePlus since this makes the phone future proof. Also this combination of RAM and processing power makes the phone a very smooth device. UI is snappy, and even 4K video editing works very slick.”

Display:

The OnePlus 5T sports a 18:9 resolution Optic AMOLED display protected by a 2.5D curved gorilla glass 5 from Corning. Offers a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. With a pixel density of 401 PPI, the display is crisp & vivid with deeper blacks and brighter whites.

Outdoor visibility is excellent with the Adaptive brightness coming to play and automatically optimising the screen brightness level based on available light conditions. There is a night mode when enabled filters out harmful blue light emission from the screen and reduces eye strain in the dark. Additional display features include a color balancing slider to choose between warmer and cooler color temperatures according to the user preference.

Software, User Experience:

OnePlus 5T comes with the latest edition of Oxygen OS which is based on Android Nougat. The Oreo update is scheduled to arrive soon. Oxygen OS is a clean, light, bloat-free OS supporting UI customisation, gesture support etc.

A lot of bugs from the earlier editions has been addressed on this and the OS feels super smooth next to Pixel. There is option to enable software navigation buttons and they can even be customized for performing different actions based on user preference. For users who don’t prefer the white theme, there is a dark theme that can be customized with an accent colour.

Screen-Off Gesture support include features like double tap to wake screen, drawing a circle to launch camera, drawing a V for flashlight, two finger swipe downwards to play/pause music, </> for previous/next track navigation and all of them worked flawlessly during our testing. Unfortunately, these are the only options which have been available since OnePlus One. We wished if there were more options or custom gestures.

With Oxygen OS, the same phone can be used by multiple users. New users can be added to the system and each user will have their dedicated space comprising of apps, wallpapers, layout etc. Also, features guest mode which is a nifty feature when enabled hides all photos, call history, messages etc.

Powered by the Adreno 540 GPU, gaming performance is excellent and there are no frame drops while playing graphics intensive games. Call quality is good and the Built-in speaker is loud and clear.

Camera:

For the primary camera, the OnePlus 5G uses Dual: 16 MP (f/1.7, 27mm, 1/2.8″, 1.12 µm, gyro EIS) + 20 MP (f/1.7, 27mm, 1/2.8″, 1 µm). The front camera is an 16MP shooter with 1.4 µm pixels and f/2.0 aperture.

Camera interface is simple and includes features like Auto HDR, a robust manual mode, Panorama and support for RAW images. Thanks to PDAF, the primary camera is quick to focus and shoots good pictures in both outdoor and artificial lighting conditions with very little noise. Occasionally, there are some focus stacking issues when the subject you click is busy.

The OnePlus 5T has an EIS built-in which makes the videos more stable. The camera software has improved over the years with better stabilisation algorithms now. Video recording features include support for time lapse, slow motion (720p at 120fps) and 4K video (30fps). Recorded audio from video footage could have been louder.

Coming to the front camera, it can shoot up to 1080P video at 30fps. We personally liked the Smile Capture feature for selfies which triggers a 3 sec timer shot when you smile. The circle gesture for launching camera from sleep mode worked flawlessly every time.

Have a look at some of the camera samples below. I will add more samples in future.

Dash Charge:

The OnePlus 5T features a 3400mAh non-removable battery with an impressive proprietary quick charge technology which the company calls Dash Charge. While keeping the phone cooler, Dash Charge replenishes more than 60% of the battery within half-an-hour. This is made possible by leveraging a large electric current (5V 4A) for stable, consistent charging speeds and shifting the power management system from phone to the Dash Charge adapter.

While this setup helps in maintaining lower temperatures during charging, it brings another great advantage. There won’t be any CPU throttling issues and hence the charging speed won’t get affected by intensive phone usage in parallel like streaming video or playing heavy games.

During our battery charge test, the OnePlus 5T managed to stay cool throughout the time. While reaching 96% in under an hour, the phone managed to charge the battery to 100% in little over an hour which is incredible.

The only downside we see with the dash charge technology is the limitation of relying on the dash charge adapter for faster charging. In other words, when using a 3rd party Type-C fast charging adapter, the OnePlus 5T will charge in regular charging speeds and won’t get charged quickly.

Power management options include a battery saver feature that can be trigged automatically when battery reaches a percentage level. However the battery saver settings cannot be customized.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Great Display, Impeccable Finger Print Sensor, A very good Front & Rear Camera along with the 8 GB RAM definitely makes it worth the buy. The dash charge is worth a mention. The form factor is compact and comfortable to use. The performance is top-notch, and the phone gives a very premium feel; certainly making it the Flagship.

Do let us know your thoughts and questions if any. Thanks for reading.

Mi Wifi Router 3C Review: Smarter and Faster with better Control

Mi has officially announced their Mi 3C WiFi router in India, today. If you’re looking for a router that’s simple, sleek, lightweight, good range, and with good control and flexibility, look no further, we found your perfect match. This Router is equipped with 4 outer antennas with 2.4 GHz single frequency, that makes it accessible from long distances, suited for larger homes. Also ensures a more stable connection with fast and optimised signal, with the highest rate of 300 MBps.

The Mi 3C router is designed for people who don’t really enjoy navigating through the admin console on the browser for setting up the router. Well, to be honest, it is not such a huge deal setting up a router, but who doesn’t love a simple app with a good interface especially when compared to a really outdated version of the same on the browser; The WiFi router can be set up with an app (Android or iOS). You’re good to go in a few steps; Just make sure you create an account with Mi. We can talk later about the app, but for now, here are some screen grabs to give you an idea of how this works.

The app reports both upload and download speeds coming into the router, making it easy to monitor the speed and usage more carefully. If you’re obsessive about testing your home WiFi speed at various points of the day, (really?) this can be done remotely too! So I ran some speed tests on the device to see how it fares on my WiFi, with the WiFi boost option etc. The WiFi boost option basically checks the WiFi quality, signal strength, Bandwidth allocation and network speed and makes decisions for optimisation. However, on my network, every time it said no optimisation was required.

I personally like how I can limit and set priorities for bandwidth usage of every connected device. If I’m streaming music and gaming at the same time, I would allocate more bandwidth for the gaming device compared to music streaming, and such. This is rather helpful if you are constantly maxing out on your connection. So, the next time your roommate’s friend is coming over and using up all your bandwidth, you know what to do!

You can also create guest networks for friends to use if you don’t want to share your password with them, and if you want to restrict access to shared files (if any). In case you’d like to share the password, the sharing options have also been made simple, like copying to a clipboard etc., and sharing over Messaging apps like ‘WeChat’. 

I agree, if you are more of an advanced user who likes playing around with the connection settings on the console, installing custom firmware or setting up various access points with the same network, you may not want to use the app but seriously, who would not like a no-nonsense setup and usage? The console on the browser can also be used if you’re concerned about the flexibility of options. In my observation, one of the primary drawbacks of this device is the presence of only three Ethernet ports. However, my connection speeds with the cable and over WiFi was pretty much the same. So unless you need connecting to multiple machines via LAN cables, this shouldn’t be an issue.

The Mi Wifi Router 3C priced at INR 1199, is a steal deal and definitely is a competition to the market leaders like D-link in this segment. To wrap up the review, for convenience, a great performance right out of the box. I would prefer this pocket-friendly, lightweight and consumer experience focussed router to the more expensive counterparts with the Guest Access/App Setup/Home control features.

As the first step to a whole wider range of other IoT/home automation devices and home connectivity, this is a really welcome beginning!

A new tale of Nokia – Hello HMD

Nokia has a history. A company charm had fade way, when it was at its peak. It’s hard to believe but the brand has made a come back. Yes, you heard it right. Nokia has bounced back into the industry with its innovative technology and sticking to its ground rules.

Although comebacks are very difficult & are rarely successful, beat it in any segment. If we talk about telecom & technology sector the trend of re-birth has been a failure for most of the brands. The expectation has torn apart the demand of the consumer.

Last year in May 2016, Nokia has joined hands with HMD Global – a Finnish company, for next 10 years and gave exclusive global license to create Smartphone’s and tablets under Nokia brand name. With this association between Nokia & HMD, Nokia aims to be among the top three players & India will be its key market.

The tie up between the two is solely on the basis of the advanced technology and licensing unit of Nokia Corporation, giving HMD sole use of the Nokia brand for mobile phones and tablets worldwide.

HMD has approached both the Microsoft and Nokia for the use of the Nokia brand and some design rights. HMD has a huge plan to bring back the Nokia brand. It has planned to spend odd 400 million euros to market the Nokia brand for the next three years.

HMD has also joined hands & developed strategic partnerships with some of the world’s leading technology companies, including FIH Mobile and Google, to strengthen its Nokia-branded product portfolio.

This time Nokia is returning with the Android devices, moreover, prior to this Nokia was associated with Microsoft & business strategy was sync with the Microsoft phablet segment.

This year in January Nokia has released first Android Smartphone that is Nokia 6 in China & did a comeback in industry with it at a price of $245. The handset bundles up with 64 GB storage, 4GB of RAM, a 16MP and an 8MP back & front camera respectively. This device got a great response from the consumer got sold within a minute. Nokia also witness great success when it was associated with Microsoft & produced Lumia 500 and Lumia 735. Slowly, gradually the windows phones started fading off.

Nokia has also launched Nokia 3, Nokia 5 & a revamp version of its iconic device Nokia 3310 at Mobile World Congress ( MWC). There rumours says Nokia is coming up with dozen of handset this year.

Coming back of Nokia, can be a major threat to the brands like Huawei, Xiaomi & other budget Smartphone brands.

Talking about the presence, Nokia will have presence in 250 cities and towns in India itself. Nokia along with HMD is going to offer innovative technology to its consumers. It will has it is presence in both online & offline market. Nokia claims that its strength lies in offline market, to reach to wider market they will foray into online market as well with different products. The price range will differ when it comes to offline & online market.

According to Gartner, the Mobile handset shipment has reached 265 million in 2016. More than 50 percent of market is captured by feature phones. Feature phones business has huge scope in India in comparison to the Smartphone market as per the Nokia. Nokia wish to capture a significant amount of market with the help of HMD Global, according to a source.

We cannot ignore the fact that devices are not from the house of Nokia any more, it will be HMD Global would be producing the devices. We can assure, current version of Nokia is not an old Nokia, they are all renewed brand & they have long way to go this time. Nokia to follow its core values of reliability, consistency, simplicity, human touch, trust in a better & more modernised way to suit the needs of the new consumers.

Union of Nokia & HMD Global for mobile handset & tablets is reaching to Thailand market as well very soon. The company has set up an office in Bangkok and appointed business partners, including distributors.

HMD has a very focus plans towards bring the technology & Nokia brand. And Thailand is one of the target countries out of five Southeast Asian markets on which HMD has focused, said Rutherfoord, who is a former Nokia executive. HMD chief executive officer Arto Nummela said his company had set an ambitious goal of becoming one of the top global players in the smartphone market in the next few years, according to an online source. Nokia is coming to the next chapter or a next phase of life.

Nokia has always believed in taking challenges with its quirky products & innovative design. The brand always worked on the quality & they were fun, adventurous and never dull. We are sure, they are going to create magic and touch more lives, of-course courtesy HMD.

MWC 2017: Round Up

The Mobile World Congress which is held in Barcelona is a great platform for both the smartphone makers & tech community. This year MWC was bigger & better than the previous one.

MWC 2017 witness the key announcements from big players like LG,Motorola, Huawei, Sony are few to names. Not only this, this time MWC 2017 gave re-birth to some of the key players like Nokia & Blackberry.

Nokia 3310 & other Android Devices

The biggest turn around & the most awaited device was launched by NOKIA. This year Nokia has done a comeback in the devices segment. The brand has introduced couple of Android powered Smartphone’s along with an updated version of the legendary Nokia 3310.

Nokia has joined hands with HMD Global, owners of the Nokia brand.  Nokia 3310 has 2.4-inch colour display (320 x 240 pixels), 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB port and a 2MP rear camera. There is a D-pad in the center of the device.

The device has 16GB storage which can be expandable up to 32GB and support a 1,200mAh battery. It comes in four different colour variants, runs on the Symbian 30 operating system and will come with a new version of classic Snake game.

NOKIA 6

Another feather Nokia’s has added to its hat during MWC 2017 was launch of Nokia 6. The devices comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 5.5′ fullHD display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 435 processor. On the imaging front, the smartphone features a 16MP rear camera with PDAF and an 8MP front camera for selfies.

It has four color variants namely Matte Black, Silver, Copper and Tempered Blue and will be launched at a price of 249 Euros which is around Rs 17,600. There is also an ARTE Black version of the smartphone with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage for 299 Euros which is around Rs 21,000.

Huawei P10

Huawei has come up with the most powerful device at MWC 2017. The P10 comes in 5.1 inch IPS LCD screen with 1080p HD display and the P10 Plus with 5.5 inch screen with quadHD display. The phones deploy 8 core processors and sport 12 megapixel camera. The brand claims to support data speed in Gigabytes!

Blackberry

Blackberry is another brand which is coming back in the smartphone market with its new devices. The brand has called off for not manufacturing the devices anymore. BlackBerry has tie up with TCL to manufacture their devices. This year at MWC 2017, the Canadian firm’s launched the BlackBerry KEYone. The 4.5 inch smartphone comes with a physical keypad, fingerprint sensor, runs on Android Nougat and 13 MP cameras.

Moto G5 and G5 Plus

Motorola never fails to impress the consumer with its unique design & specifications. This year too, at MWC 2017 The Moto G5 and G5 Plus come with a unique design with a circular camera panel, a metal body, slightly rounded edges, a home button up front and a new silver colour variant. Built from metal, they also look and feel more premium than the plastic G4/G4 Plus.

The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch fullHD display, a 3,000mAh battery with TurboPower quick charging support, Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, 32/64GB of expandable storage as well as a fingerprint scanner.

The Moto G5 on the other hand comes with a smaller 5.0′ fullHD display, 32 GB of expandable storage and the slower Snapdragon 430 processor. On the imaging front, the G5 has a 13MP rear camera with a 5MP camera at the front.

Both the smartphone is powered by Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 2/4GB of RAM.

LG G6

The Korean firm LG, unveiled the biggest phone of MWC 2017 – the LG G6. The LG G6 comes in 5.7 inch screen size. The LG G6 is water and dust resistant devices. The LG G6 comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage and fingerprint sensor.

The phone is coupled with carries 3300 mAh battery. G6 sports a dual camera array on the back with two 13MP sensors with one of them having a wide-angle lens with a 125-degree field of view.

LG has not yet announced the pricing of the device. Let’s see what they have in for the consumers.

ZTE

ZTE has surprised the audience at MWC 2017. This Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE claimed to have launched world’s first Gigabit phone to be used on 5G networks. Named Gigabit Phone, this smartphone from ZTE offers download speed up to 1 gigabit per second!

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony has been in news for its premium segment devices. This year at MWC Sony, has introduced Xperia XZ Premium. The Smartphone is bundled with 4GB of RAM, a 3,230mAh battery with QuickCharge 3.0 support and Android 7.0 out of the box. As with previous Xperia’s, the power button doubles up as a fingerprint scanner.

Oppo 5X

Oppo like always has played around the camera technology. This year at MWC 2017 they have  unveiled a revolutionary new camera technology that allows 5X optical zoom on smartphones. This technology allows for 5X optical zoom without any bulk.

The camera barely peeks out of the smartphone’s surface. The system has a set of lenses stacked along the phone’s width that move to change focal length going from 1X all the way through 2X, 3x and 5X in steps.

This year MWC 2017 was a revolution for smartphones or devices from across the brand. Some of the players vent into the flagship devices or some of the brands launched unique technology driven devices.

Next Big Thing in 2017: Mixed Reality

Mixed reality (MR), as the name says is a hybrid version. It is also called as hybrid reality. Hybrids reality is a mixture of the virtual and real worlds.

Basically, it is a mixture of things we see in the real world and things that we see on the screen. In other words, it is the merging of real and virtual technology worlds to induce new environments and visualisations. It is expected that this industry will become $165 bn dollars by 2020. Throwing some light on it; mixed reality also encompasses augmented reality and augmented virtuality, both differs a lot.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a digital environment which transposes users. VR takes us to another world than the place where we are via googles or closed visors. Brands like Google, HTC, Intex already has the presence in VR.

Whereas augmented Reality gives more importance to digital content & keeps it up than physical content. Augmented reality is created by putting 2D or 3D content over real world object. Mixed reality is far more advanced than VR as it incorporates several types of technologies.

These technologies can be sensors, advanced optics and next-gen computing power which is combining in one device. This device can offer the user with the aptitude to overlay increased holographic digital content into your time period area, making eventualities that are improbably realistic and mind-blowing.

Mixed Reality works by skimming through the physical environment one is a presence, creates a 3D map of ambiances so the device will know exactly where and how to place digital content into that space – realistically – while allowing you to interact with it using gestures.

In hybrid reality, user is completely involved in the different world, and experience invites digital content into real-time surrounding, and allow one to interact with the environment.

The use of clear lenses, abstraction sound and understanding of physical surroundings can permit holograms to appear, sound and behave like real objects that will create a two-way communication surroundings.

Mixed Reality utilisation is not restricted to any specific vertical or industry & not only restricted to gaming & consoling. It has been used in various segments of business, manufacturing and education worlds with systems. Mixed reality helps in generating a whole new world of interactions, apps, games and experiences we have yet to imagine.

Mixed Reality applications

Simulation-Based Learning: Moving from e-learning to s-learning—state of the art in knowledge transfer for education. Simulation/VR-based training, interactive experiential learning. Package and show solutions with ascendable accredited program development model.

Interactive Product Content Management: Moving from static product catalogs to interactive 3D smart digital replicas. The solution consists of application software products with scalable license model.

Military Training: Combat reality is simulated and represented in complex layered data through HMD.

Real Asset Virtualisation Environment: 3D Models of manufacturing machinery are incorporated into a virtual environment and then linked to real-time data associated with that asset. Avatars allow for multidisciplinary collaboration and decision-making based on the data presented in the virtual environment.

Mixed Reality will be acceptable world wide if the devices are affordable & compatible Brand like Microsoft has already introduced Mixed Reality device called Hololens which cost $3,000 and is a premium device.

Hololens serve enterprise and engineers and does not yet have a mainstream consumer base. There is another device called Meta 2 which was supposed to hit the market at the price point of $949.

For Mixed reality devices, we would be requiring 5G Networks & such devices should not leave any glitch in terms of transferring data or limiting experience.

Devices that are available in the market so far:

Occipital introduced The Bridge MR / VR headset only for iOS devices for $399. A hybrid device (MR/VR HMD) from a bucket of a startup Occipital called The Bridge is designed specifically for iOS with a $399 price. The headset bundles with a 120-degree wide angle lens and a depth sensor called the “Structure Sensor” that Occipital has been working on for several years. This allows it to perform inside-out positional tracking (one that doesn’t rely on external sensors) that could be fast and accurate enough to allow augmented objects to appear anchored in the real world so they actually seem real.

ZapBox – Cardboard Mixed Reality for $30: AR company Zappar announced the world’s first cardboard Mixed Reality headset. It comes complete with cardboard controllers and a special wide-angle camera lens for only $30 on Kickstarter.

CES 2017 also showed some of the great Mixed Reality products. Asus is one the brand which made an announcement to venture into Mixed Reality soon. In nutshell, 2017 will mark an era of digital content in the technology sphere. With this one can expect some of great innovation as well.

Our Favourite Software Features from the Huawei EMUI

Huawei has impacted smartphone industry in a big way. The brand has created a niche for itself in the global market; due credits can be attributed towards the wide range of devices in all the price package with great specifications.

Few days ago, Huawei announced Honor 6X in India. Not just the hardware, the software on these phones is our favourite too. The phone offers the latest version of EMUI, with an intuitive interface with several gesture tricks. Here we list our favourite features that make Huawei’s EMUI unique.

Home Screen Customisations: With EMUI, one can customise home screen as per their own requirement. Pinching the home screen with two fingers will reduce the screen size and four options will appear at the bottom wallpapers, widgets, transition, and layout.

The EMUI user interface lets you accomplish several tasks even without unlocking your device, this makes usage of device hassle free. If you swipe up from the bottom of the display while the device is locked. A menu pops up, which lets you use the device as a voice recorder, calculator, firing the camera or let you use the rear LED as a torch.

With the great screen display , Huawei provides its users with the good collection of wallpapers. One can change the wallpaper by both ways manually & with the use of EMUI. By shaking the device one can change the wallpaper. To activate the feature, go to the wallpaper section and activate the desired toggle.

Motion & Gestures Friendly: EMUI provides seamless functioning with gestures and motions for controlling the device. The various options that EMUI gives are flip to mute, shake to rearrange and tilt to move icons, pick up to reduce volume, widgets, keyboard, dialler or navigation bar. Steps: Go to Settings>>All>>Smart Assistance>>Motion Control and customise the required gestures.

Notification Modifications: EMUI user interface lets one control the notification behaviour of the apps. You can allow any app to send you the notification or block it permanently. Steps: Settings>>All>Notification Manager and tap on the app icon, which you want to restrict. A popup window will appear with Allow, Notify and Restrict options.

Dropzone Manager: DropZone Manager is a key feature from the house Huawei to make the screen less cluttered. DropZone allows any seven apps to send floating notification. Steps: navigate to Settings>>All>>DropZone Manager

Two Profile creation: With Huawei phones, one can hide their Contact, Album, and App. It also gives you an option to restrict certain albums, apps, and contacts to yourself only. The EMUI allows you to creates two user profiles ó Administrator and Guest.

If you are logged with the admin password, everything will remain open to using, but if logged in using the guest password, certain user-mentioned contacts, albums, and apps won’t be visible or accessible. Steps: Navigate to Settings>>All>>Security>>Privacy Protection. First, you’ll be prompted to create the admin password and then the guest password.

Modification of Navigation Bar: Every Huawei phone comes with three control menus at the bottom of the display. But EMUI allows changing the order or adding the notification panel open option on that bar. Steps: Navigate to Settings>>All>>Smart Assistance>>Navigation Bar and turn on the Navigation Bar toggle and choose the desired option.

Display Customisation – Daydream, Colour Temperature: With EMUI one can change Huawei smartphones display according to their preference. The EMUI offers you options to change the display colour temperature and brightness. We always prefer to leave the colour temperature to phone’s default settings, an option for modifying colour temperature comes as a great help to make the screen comfortable for reading as per your convenience.

As always, CES lived up to its expectations: 2017 Round Up

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) gave us a trend which is going to rule in 2017. We would like to share some key innovations & trends that were announced, call it the CES 2017 Round up. This year CES witnessed an array of innovation’s across the segments. The major launches we saw were ranging from home audio products, appliances, laptops, TVs and many more. With this great year ahead, we can see some technology innovations to hit Indian market as well.

LeEco unveiled Android-powered BikeOS and feature touchscreen display named as Smart Road Bike that helps cyclists navigate rides and track performance. It features handlebar, SR Suntour XCR Air front fork, and 27.5-inch diameter wheelset. This one weighs 26.9 pounds. LeEco Smart Road Bike features an aerodynamic Toray T700 carbon fiber frame, fork, seat post, handlebar, and wheels. It weighs 18.5 pounds. LeEco’s smart bikes will be available in the US in second quarter of 2017.

Asus launched Chromebooks, slim laptops, and compact PCs. Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer has been amusing consumers by its latest innovation in segments like smartphones, PCs, Laptops, tablets etc. Asus has recently introduced   Chromebook Flip C302 at CES 2017, which has a screen that bends 360 degrees to go into tablet mode. It runs Chrome OS and supports Android apps too.

Not only this, the brand has unveiled “the thinnest business notebook in the world”,  AsusPro B9440 as per the company. It has a full-HD display, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.  The VivoPC X is around the size of a gaming console, and packs hardware that’s ready for VR gaming, thanks to an NVIDIA GTX 1060 inside. The keyboard has an interesting tilted angle for easier typing, kind of like the Surface Pro 4.

Qualcomm has been batting big on System on Chip (SoC) in recent past. Recent development has been the major achievement from the brand. The Snapdragon 835 is an octa-core chip built on a 10nm fabrication process features Quick Charge 4.0 and has improvements across the board. Two years down the line, Qualcomm introduced Snapdragon 810 chip, which was not up to the mark. Last year, 2016 the brand launched Snapdragon 820. We heard a lot about Snapdragon 835 at the end of last year, which provides power to a majority of Android flagships, finally, it has been launched.

Wearable & Virtual Reality (VR)

Last year, was a year for wearables. We saw brands & startups came up with new wearables devices. This year as well, we are going to witness some great wearables from the brand. At biggest technology event, CES we saw some great innovations in wearables. Some are worth mentioning.

Fitness Ring Motiv with a Built-In Heart Rate Sensor was unveiled. Motiv is a new fitness wearable that’s been unveiled. It’s a ring with a built-in heart rate sensor that sets a daily “active minutes” goal for you. This ring will track your steps, sleep, and the amount of time you remain active.

Wair, a French Startup introduced a scarf called, dubbed Wair, it is first “anti-pollution scraf” which can be both fashionable accessories & anti-pollution gas mask.

The scarf is worn as a normal scraf wrap, but it is baggy from the middle. If app notifies you, called “Supairman” — you can pull it up over your face and seal a respirator mask over your nose and mouth.

The scarf is supposed to contain an embedded filter that can remove dust, gases and bacteria. It’s unclear just how effective it will be, although the startup notes that the filter will need changing every two to four weeks, at roughly $5 to $10 each time. The product is expected to ship in a few months, starting at about $55 for men and $90 for women.

Another unique product came up from HTC, trackers for its Vive virtual-reality system that users can attach to physical objects such as bats or toy guns in order to make them part of a virtual reality adventure.

The company introduced a number of tracker-enabled accessories; including what it says is the first VR camera, multiple rifles built for VR shooters and haptic gloves. The tracker weighs less than three ounces; the company hasn’t set a price. HTC plans to give away up to 1,000 trackers to developers. The company will also offer first ever app subscription service, which will allow unlimited access to VR apps for a flat monthly fee. That service will launch in early 2017. However, HTC didn’t give a word on the prices.

TV’s are back!

There was a phase where, TVs were demand was diminishing with growing demand of laptops & tablets. This year at CES we saw major brands like Samsung, Panasonic ,LG & Sony introducing new & improvised version of TV’s. The moves come as high-definition and 4K TVs are becoming cheaper and more mainstream, so top TV makers are competing for the higher end of the market.

Xiaomi showcased the Mi TV 4. Mi TV 4 has a 4.9mm ultra-thin frameless metal body. The 65-inch version is designed with a modular approach, with the separate Mi TV Bar consisting of the mainboard and a sound system that supports Dolby Atmos, delivering a stunning viewing experience within the home that rivals the experience in a cinema.

New television sets from LG will include an ultra-slim model that’s less than 4 millimetres (0.15 inch) thick. The thin design also allows the TV to be wall mounted on a steel frame via magnetic brackets, thereby eliminating the gap between the TV and the wall.

The new TV will also have better audio, using Dolby Atmos technology, along with high-end OLED screen technology. OLED — which stands for organic light-emitting diode — can produce better pictures because each pixel produces light individually. OLED is rare in TVs and is currently found mostly in smartphones. LG also says an LG Technicolor mode will be added to TVs in 2017 to add to colour accuracy.

PANASONIC unveiled EZ1000 OLED TV and claims that it is the first HDR-capable OLED TV in the world. Whereas, Sony announced its first OLED 4k smart Bravia TV —XBR-A1E. It has a unique fold out stand that has all the ports and hides the TV’s internals. The range will include panel sizes of 55, 65 and 77-inches and all three will run Android TV. Sony’s standout feature for the OLED TV is audio.

Gaming Laptops

In our last post, we have mentioned about certain laptops & laptops which are prominent for gaming. Within the 4 days of span, we have come across certain more laptops from various brand.

LENOVO & Acer has launched LEGION Y720 & ACER ASPIRE VX15 respectively. Legion is Lenovo’s new subbrand for gaming laptops. The current launched model Y720, is powered by a 7th gen Intel Core i7 processor, NVidia 1060 GPU with 6GB dedicated memory, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. It has a 15.6-inch display with option of full HD or 4k resolution, multicolour backlit keyboard and is Oculus certified for VR.

It is also the first PC that is Dolby Atmos certified. ACER ASPIRE VX 15 a 15-inch full HD display and weighs 2.5kg. Hardware includes a 7th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32 GB RAM, NVidia graphics with 4 GB dedicated memory and up to 512 GB SSD. There are four USB ports (3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0), HDMI, Ethernet and an SD card reader. The gaming notebook is aimed at budget gamers with prices starting as low as US$ 800.

Kingston also introduced its DataTraveler Ultimate GT flash drive, touted as world’s highest capacity USB flash drive, with storage capacity up to 2TB. The newly-launched flash drive has been launched by Kingston in two storage variants of 1TB and 2TB. It will start shipping in February.

The leading brand in camera, CANON has introduced Powershot G9 X MARK II. It is a compact form & is the smallest cameras with a large 1 inch 20MP sensor. This one continues with its compact form factor and is amongst the smallest cameras with a large 1-inch 20MP sensor. The camera is powered by Digic 7 image processor, has 3X optical zoom, ISO 12800, full HD video recording and 8.2fps continuous shooting speed. There is a 3-inch touchscreen display along with WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.

 

ChatBots: An artifical Human Being

We are in an era which is ruling by technology revolution. With each passage of time, we see new services or a term is coined. The word has been derived from Robots & we generally address it as bots. Bots is a software that automates the work you usually do.These days the most common bot is a Chatbot.

As the name says, Chatbots is very much related to chats. But what actually holds in Chatbots is the main question that arises. Recent study, suggest people are spending more time using various chat apps than social media.

Today, we discuss about Chatbots and its utility. In recent times, Chatbots are the big opportunity for any brand, from a traditionally established brand to a startups. To initiate the same, Chatbot is a synchronisation of both AI (Artificial Intelligence) & chat interface. It is a set of rules as well.

The Chatbots service could vary from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product like Telegram, Facebook, Text Messages & more. In general, we see 2 types of Chatbots:

  • A chatbot which is works on rules & regulations- This set of Chatbots works on limited functionality as they are based on rules. This is programmed with specific sets of rules & it smart enough till rules apply to them.
  • Another which uses machine language called Artificial Intelligence- This kind of bots keep getting smarter, the more you interact with it.

The number of apps have grown tremendously over a decade. Although, Chatbots are still in its nascent stage & are replacing individual apps. “Bots are the new app,” declared Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a conference in San Francisco in March.

Rather than closing Facebook Messenger and opening Uber, you can simply message Uber and ask for a ride. Bots coming in, we see bots will have an edge of any app. Let see what makes Bots better than an app.

  1. Apps need download options, but Bots don’t – Individual apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Kik, Snapchat all of them required download via website or a Playstore. When it comes to Bots, you need not any permission to download. They can be use immediately without any hassle.
  2. Bots are Viral – Bots are in built in apps itself, and sharing bots become easy with each passage of time. Hence, they become viral too early.
  3. Easy to Build – Application development involves huge cost & time. When it comes to Bots, they are easy to build & cost friendly.
  4. Long Tail Wings – It is not possible to download long tail apps but when using bots once can use long tail bots easily.
  5. Server- Affable – Bots upgrades in operations & functionality within fraction of seconds, as they have a presence in the app itself. Therefore, they are server friendly bots.
  6. Push- Pull – At any given point of time, Bots can push messages to their users, even after a long gap of inactivity.
  7. Present anywhere & everywhere – Bots are omnipresent & they can be present on mobile, website, cars etc..One can say a world of Bots.

It would be interesting to see how bots will over power the apps and how users interact with it. Things are going to be quite amazing!

Say Hello with Google’s Allo – Messaging Platform

In an era of technology, we do have multiple ways to communicate. With the rising users of smartphones ,we have rising numbers of messaging apps across the platforms. WhatsApp; Hangout; Facebook Messenger; Snapchat are some key apps to mention.

Recently, the search giant Google has introduced Allo, a messaging app specially for mobile users, which also acts like a personal assistant.  Google Allo helps you say more and do more right within your chats including making plans, finding information, and expressing yourself more easily. Packed with innovative features including smart reply, options for sharing photos, emojis and stickers.

Officially, Google announced the app in May in a mega event of Google I/O. With this announcement Google venture into the domain of Artificial Intelligence. Google also plans to introduce Allo to desktop in near future. Google introduced Allo, soon after the launch of Duo a video calling app which is available for both the platforms Android & iOS.

For Indian users, Google has enabled smart replies in Hinglish. Further, rolling out at launch are over 200 stickers created by popular independent artists that are relevant to and will appeal to Indian users.

Allo India Hinglish Inputs

Allo user interface is very similar to other Google apps and maintains the clean UI philosphy.  Allo syncs with your phonebook & you can chat with anyone from your phonebook. Phonebook sync is the key where Google has kept a difference between Hangout & Allo.

Allo a smart messaging app, works on the suggestive response.
The presence of inbuilt chatbot in Allo makes it easy as virtual assistant provides responsive answers to the users. Here, chatbot is trying to be artificially intelligent.

The virtual assistant helps in giving specific information, setting reminders, timers and serving up the news as well. Not only this, the virtual assistant has a conversation with you – shares a joke, chat about any & everything. Google Allo gives fun features to the users, stickers, group chatting; the message expire option as well.

Allo provides you with the feature called Whisper or shout. This will let you slide up or down on the send button to change the size of your reply, meaning you do no need to write in caps all the time when you’re angry. Simple subtle UX features to make people use the platform to have conversations.

The best feature of Allo is using of Google inside where one needs to, mention Google by typing “@Google” and words to search for — like things to do or places to eat. Google Assistant also has access to Google’s Knowledge Graph, so it can help you with all sorts of situations. Imagine this scene, you are talking to your friend on Allo and making plans for lunch. You loop in @google and ask for suggestions for places around you. Everything in one single window.

google-allo

Messages in Allo are encrypted by Google servers, only sender & recipient can see the messages. All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like Transport Layer Security (TLS). Anyone who tries to interrupt will see the jumbled characters. Google Allo also supports incognito chat; the app hides the name of the sender when the notification pops up. Also, there’s also a way to erase chat history by setting the expiration anywhere from five seconds to one week. Here each user can reset the expiration time for any of the messages, as well thus keeping your messages private.

Unfortunately, some of the questions ends up being a Google Search result or basically asks you to search on Web. Makes one wonder, why should you ask Allo in the first place. I believe, integration is going to be the key. Like we saw yesterday, Allo is built as an Personal Assistant right inside the OS for Pixel, so that the users can use it on the go. It would take time to get better.

IoT Basics: How to Install an OS on Raspberry Pi

Due to a lot of requests, we’re introducing the ‘IoT Basics’ to our Explainer series covering all the important things you need to know to get started with a Raspberry Pi, aimed at newbies. We will be covering topics like – using a breadboard, the use of resistors, GPIO pins, among others. Let us look at how to install an OS on Raspberry Pi.

We all start pretty much in the same place; Buy a Raspberry Pi, unpack it, connect it to the power cable, install an Operating System and then may be start brainstorming for things to do with the Rpi, or start playing minecraft. (If you’re curious about the game, check pi store after installing the OS)

So, let’s begin with installing the OS.

First, select the Operating System. You can find the list of supported OS on ‘downloads’ page on the Raspberry pi website. You can download the OS from here.

IMPORTANT: Please note that the ‘dd’ tool can write over pretty much any partition on your machine, including the linux partition. So, please be careful when you specify the device name for writing over.

Preparing the SD card:

Run $ df -h to list all the currently mounted devices. Then insert the SD card and run the same command again. The newly appeared device on the list in the SD card that we are going to be writing the disk image to, so note the device id of the same. The device id on my machine is /dev/sdb

If your device id has a suffix like ‘p1’ or ‘1’ then it is referring to the partition. But remember that we need to write to the whole disk and not just the partition, so wherever we use the device id, drop the partition suffix and write unless specifically mentioned. For example, if the device id is /dev/mmcblk0p1 or /dev/sdb1, drop the last part ‘p1’ or ‘1’ respectively.

Now unmount the SD card, so that files can’t be read in or copied to the card while the image is being copied to the card.

Run $ sudo umount /dev/sdb1 including the partition number. If the list of devices showed up more than one device due to multiple partitions, unmount all of them. The command requires root permissions, so if you are not logged in as root, prefix all commands with sudo.

Now, run $ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb command to write the OS image to the card

Make sure you replace the ’if’ parameter value with the path to the OS image that needs to be written, and the ‘of’ parameter value needs to be replaced with the device id of the SD card. Please make sure to be careful to specify the right name for the device name, as mentioned earlier. The device name should be specified without the partition number.

This will roughly take up to 3 to 4 minutes and the terminal would look like the process is frozen. If you are using an SD card reader, then the LED on it would blink continuously. Otherwise just run $ sudo pkill -USR1 -n -x dd on another terminal, and the progress would be displayed in the original terminal window.

Note: The block size is mentioned as ‘4M’ in the command. If it does not work, then change it to as less as ‘1M’ but remember that this will slow down the process quite a bit.

$ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb
958+1 records in
958+1 records out
4019191808 bytes (4.0 GB) copied, 405.585 s, 9.9 MB/s

Finally, use $ sync to ensure that the write cache is flushed and it is safe to unmount the SD card.

If you are using windows, then check out Win32DiskImager utility.  Okay now that we’re done prepping the memory card, what next?

Booting for the first time:

For this you would require a USB keyboard, USB mouse, 5V USB power supply, HDMI monitor (I just connect the pi to my television), and of course the Raspberry Pi.

Installing OS on the Raspberry Pi3

Connect power and you should see the boot sequence on the TV. After first boot, the Raspberry Pi boots up in setup mode and if not, you can type the following command to get there:

$ sudo raspi-config

First things that need to be done are, resizing the file system to use the entire SD card, in my case it is 32GB. Check the first option on the setup menu. Then change the location and timezone to match yours. By default it is set to United Kingdom.

Now on rebooting the Raspberry Pi, it boots with the new configuration. The setup is now done and ready to use for any projects you’d like. For getting started with your first ever DIY project on the Raspberry Pi, check out this project.