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IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Nokia N1: Android Lollipop Tablet with Nokia Z Launcher

Nokia today announced the N1, the first Nokia-branded Android tablet. The N1 offers the innovative, predictive Nokia Z Launcher interface, and a carefully crafted industrial design by Nokia with a focus on simplicity. The N1 will be brought to market in Q1 2015 through a brand-licensing agreement with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner responsible for manufacturing, distribution and sales.

“We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple,” said Sebastian Nyström, Head of Products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the N1 at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki. “The N1 has a delightfully intuitive interface and an industrial design to match it. This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet.”

Consumers use and manage a large set of applications in their digital lives. The N1 makes that easy with the Z Launcher, which allows users to scribble a letter or two to find their content quickly. Over time the Z Launcher learns what applications are in use, and predicts and highlights the applications consumers are expected to want based on time of day and location.

The industrial design of the N1 is deliberately developed to match the elegant simplicity of the interface. It has a unique one-piece aluminum design with a soft finish in both Lava Grey and Natural Aluminum colors that make it stand out from other tablets. The 7.9″ laminated display sits in a 6.9mm thin and light design that makes the device comfortable to hold even with one hand. A 2.4Ghz Intel© AtomTM quad-core processor provides great performance for the Android Lollipop operating system on the N1.

Nokia-N1-bottom-grill

The N1 is planned to be available for purchase in China in Q1 2015 for an estimated USD 249 before taxes, with the anticipation of expanding sales to other markets.

In addition to the Nokia brand, Nokia is licensing the industrial design, Z Launcher software layer and IP on a running royalty basis to the OEM partner. The OEM partner is responsible for full business execution, from engineering and sales to customer care, including liabilities and warranty costs, inbound IP and software licensing and contractual agreements with 3rd parties.

The N1’s industrial design and Z Launcher application originate within the Nokia Technologies business, which is focused on strengthening Nokia’s industry-leading innovation portfolio through patent, technology and brand licensing.

To know more on Nokia N1, check this.

Source: Nokia Press

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News

Welcome Google Nexus 6; Android 5.0 Lollipop – Features

The leaked reports were right. Motorola has developed the Google Nexus 6. This new phone has a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The large screen is complemented by dual front-facing stereo speakers. The Nexus 6 powers a Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz processor and the Adreno 420 GPU for a good graphics experience.

The rear camera on the Nexus 6 is going to be a f2.0 lens and 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization capture great photos in daylight and low light.

nexus_6

Nexus 6 also comes with a Turbo Charger, so you can get up to six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.

Lollipop is debuting on three new Nexus devices — the Nexus 6 smartphone, Nexus 9 tablet, and Nexus Player streaming media device. Lollipop brings in some new advancements in User Experience design, Device Sharing Features and Security options.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Features:

To begin with the Device setup can get really simple. Lollipop introduces Tap & go, an instant set up of your new Android phone or tablet by simply tapping it to your old one (requires NFC). Also, you can migrate your apps from Google Play automatically from any of your old Android devices.

The new Android Runtime improves application performance by 4X times, and support for Smoother UI for complex, visually rich applications. Support for 64-bit is gonna mean big; desktop class performance on tablets and support to run 64 bit applications.

lollipopMaterial Design is going to bring in a nice colorful, natural motion, realistic lighting and shadows and responsive UI design for intuitive experiences across all devices. Also new vivid colors, emphasis on typography, and edge-to-edge imagery to help to focus your attention.

Photography gets better on Lollipop giving more options to Control capture settings for the sensor, lens, and flash per individual frame, capture full resolution frames around 30 fps and support raw formats like YUV and Bayer RAW.

There is a new layout on Notifications as well. There are some new ways to control when and how you receive messages. You can now view and respond to messages directly from your lock screen. Nothing to worry here, you have options to hide sensitive content for these notifications and you also have priority mode to receive notifications only from certain people. You can even schedule your notifications; something similar to Do Not Disturb mode.

Multi-tasking got better. For example, incoming phone calls will not interrupt your video or game. You can choose to answer the call or just keep doing what you’re doing. Also apps now appear like cards or papers. You can easily toggle between them.

With Tap & pay, one can easily manage multiple payment apps by quickly switching between them. This could be a combination of NFC and Google Wallet. Not sure if this could get any closer to the Apple Pay which was announced few days ago. However, we will research on this more on how this would work.

The songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all of your Android devices.

Lollipop introduces Android Smart Lock to secure your phone or tablet by pairing it with a trusted device like your wearable or even your car. A neat implementation would mean a lot here. Also, new devices come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices.

Device Sharing has always been in the radar of Android. We have seen some demos on multiple users sharing the phone; but nothing was really concrete. However, Lollipop brings in more options to flexible sharing. Multiple users for phones. If you forget your phone, you still can call any of your friends (or access any of your messages, photos etc.) by simply logging into another Android phone running Lollipop. Also perfect for families who want to share a phone, but not their your critical data. You now have a Guest Mode with which you can showcase your phone with your friends, but still have then away from your personal data. Lollipop also introduces Screen pinning, with which you can pin your screen so another user can access just that content without messing with your other things on your phone.

Lollipop also brings in a battery saver feature which extends device use by up to 90 mins.

Android 5.0 Lollipop will also be available on Nexus 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks. No official reports on the dates.

For folks who were voting for Laddoo and other desserts, here is a funny take on how Google did the sweet cast search for L:

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News

Google Launched Android One Phones in India

Today Google launched the first family of Android One phones in India as part of a larger initiative to bring high-quality smartphones to as many people as possible. These phones are available for purchase through online channels in India from today and at retail stores across India from early October.
The first three Android One smartphones are the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO. The Karbonn Sparkle V (Magnum Blue, Mild Grey, Wild Red and Pearl White) is available online exclusively at Snapdeal; the Micromax Canvas A1 (Black, White) is available online exclusively at Amazon; and the Spice Dream UNO (Black, White) is available online exclusively at Flipkart. Prices start at Rs 6399.

The Android One phones offer a high-quality experience, running the latest version of Android (4.4 KitKat). They will be some of the first phones to get the new Android L release — an update that will offer Google’s new material design, improved battery life, enhanced security features, and smarter notifications. In terms of hardware, the phones feature front- and rear-facing cameras, 1G of memory, fast quad-core MediaTek processor, long battery life as well as features particularly important to Indians, including dual SIM slots, a FM radio tuner, and a microSD card slot for additional storage.

Through Google Play, Android One phones have access to over one million apps that allow people to message friends, make video calls, socialize, check news and weather, and play games. Google apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, and Google Translate will come pre-loaded on the phones.

Airtel is offering a promotion to reduce data costs for those who buy Android One phones.  With an Airtel SIM card, Android One users will get free over-the-air (OTA) updates, and 200MB per month worth of app downloads from Google Play for the first six months — all without counting toward their mobile data plan. Additionally, a data compression feature on Android One’s Chrome browser will help compress the amount of data flowing between the phone and the Internet.

Google also announced that in coming weeks much of YouTube will be available offline in India, meaning that people can store videos in the YouTube app when they are on WiFi and watch them later — a great benefit for times with a slow connection or re-watching videos without using up the data plan.

Sundar Pichai, Google Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome & Apps, said, “If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone.”

At today’s Google press conference, Pichai also announced an expanded set of hardware partners for the Android One initiative, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo, as well as chipmaker Qualcomm.

Google also unveiled that Android One program will be available to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.

Categories
IT News, Tech Information and Analysis Smartphones

Intex Aqua Style Review: KitKat Powered Entry Level Smartphone

The Indian Smartphone market is one of the best places for business today. Its no more big players in the race; we have quite a few other Indian and Chinese brands in the market who have seeded some amazing devices. Intex has joined this league with its Aqua Style range phones.
Intex Technologies has established itself as a trusted name in the industry today. The company’s flagship brand ‘INTEX’ covers 4 business segments which are mobile handsets, consumer durables, IT accessories and retail. The Brand exhibits an exhaustive portfolio of more than 15 product categories ranging from mobile handsets, multimedia speakers, LED TVs, washing machines to name a few.

I have been using this device for a couple of weeks now and here are some excerpts from my experience.

Hardware, Battery and Design

The new Intex Aqua Style comes with a 4-inch form factor and is powered by 1.3 GHz Quad-core processor and a 1GB RAM. The build quality feels surprisingly good and quite comfortable to hold. You can find the power-button towards the right-side of the phone and the volume rockers in the left. The phone is 9.3mm thick and about 110 grams with battery.

box-slim

The handset has an IPS display offering a 800×480 pixel resolution with 16M display colors. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi.

display

Intex Aqua Style is a dual SIM Phone with support for 3G as well. It also offers a 4GB ROM (usable of 1.75 GB) with an option for expandable storage micro SD card of 32GB. The intex Aqual Style offers a 1400 mAh battery which might favour the entry level segment phone users. It’s pretty hard to get a day, when you start using the phone quite extensively. However, on standby it performs quite well.

dual-sim

If you do not like the flashing black back-panel, You also get a matte finish cover free included in the box.

covers

On the hardware and display department, this phone scores a good 7 out of 10. Could’ve been better, but this isn’t bad either.

Software, User Experience:

This was the most surprising element for me. The entry level phone is offering Google’s latest Android OS, KitKat. Intex Aqua Style is definitely faster when compared to the competition in this segment who still run on Jellybean. Kitkat is a lighter and much better; which works pretty slick as it has a better resource utilization options. Its also much faster when compared to the older generations of Android OS. The handset comes offering the official Google-based Android v4.4.2 KitKat OS. The UX is quite smooth too. I would’ve wished if the icons and texts were placed better on the screen. It sometimes feels as if the icons are stuck to the edges of the display. The interface is not buggy; but it isn’t very remarkable and refreshing too. The phone comes with few pre-loaded applications and games.

With just 1GB of RAM, where the OS would take almost 50% of the computing power, I would not recommend this phone, if you like more CPU intensive apps and games. However, for occasional emails, basic games and social media apps, this phone is decent enough.

The rest of the OS experience is as same as any device running KitKat and I do not want to talk a lot about the OS features here. On the User Experience front, I would score this a decent 6 out of 10. It does the basic tasks right.

buttons

Camera:

The Intex Aqua Style comes with 5 MP rear camera that allows you to take pictures in different modes including Panorama, HDR and continous shot. It also has a 2MP front camera for video chats and selfies. Auto Focus is quite buggy though. Color reproduction is good but sharpness could’ve been better.

Here are some samples. In the camera department, I would again score it a decent 6 out of 10. This phone captures pictures, but definitely not a quick snapper and sometimes focus could be a bummer!

sample1 sample2 sample3

Value for Money:

We have seen a lot of junk smartphones in this segment claiming to make better phones and they spoil the entire Android ecosystem. However, With the introduction of Android One devices, we should see some change in this trend.

The Intex Aqua Style is definitely not the best Entry Level Android Phone; and not the worst ones either. The phone delivers what it promises and it does it quite well. If you are looking at a backup phone, this could be a nice option. This is one of the very few phones which runs on Android Kitkat and that could be the only USP of this phone. I would recommend you to try this phone before you decide on buying the same. However, if you are planning to buy it online, I would either vouch for a RedMi 1S or even a Nokia Lumia 530 as an alternative in this segment.

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Register: Android App Development Contest from Silicon Image

Silicon Image a leading provider of HD connectivity solutions, announced that it is sponsoring a contest for Android application developers to enable dual screen experiences. The “Dual Screen App Challenge” promotes the creation of games, entertainment and productivity applications that leverage leading mobile-to-display connectivity technologies including MHL® and WirelessHD®.

The total contest prize pool is $100,000.

“We are very excited to sponsor this contest for Android application developers,” said Jim Chase, chief evangelist and senior director of business development at Silicon Image, Inc. “With the advanced processing and graphics power of the latest generation of mobile processors, smartphones and tablets with MHL and WirelessHD connectivity can enhance traditional mobile applications to enable a truly immersive dual screen, real-time, high quality video experience. These applications will establish a new category of compelling interactive gaming, productivity and home entertainment content for consumers.”

About MHL Technology:  The MHL technology standard was developed by promoters Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony, and Toshiba. The MHL Consortium now has approximately 200 adopters and members supporting the MHL standard, including some of the largest mobile device and consumer electronics companies in the world. MHL-enabled products include smartphones, tablets, DTVs, monitors, projectors, A/V receivers, Blu-ray Disc™ players, cables, TV accessories, adapters, automotive accessories and more. Since the retail introduction of the first MHL-enabled devices in 2011, the MHL ecosystem has grown to an installed base of over half a billion products and greater than 300 unique products in the marketplace today.  For a complete list of MHL-enable products, please click here.

About WirelessHD Technology : The WirelessHD standard is the first global 60GHz RF standard for multi-gigabit data rate wireless connectivity. WirelessHD solutions deliver Full HD video, audio and data, with near zero latency—enabling cost-effective, high-quality, end-to-end wireless interactive video solutions for mobile devices, consumer electronics, personal computing and display applications.

Silicon-Image

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General Microsoft

Download Microsoft Office for iPad and Android Phones : First Thoughts

Microsoft today announced several new and updated applications and services including Microsoft Office for iPad and free Office Mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones. Microsoft also announced the Enterprise Mobility Suite, a comprehensive set of cloud services to help businesses manage corporate data and services on the devices people use at work and at home. In addition, the company announced the upcoming availability of Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium and enhancements to Windows Intune.

The new Windows Intune features and Azure Active Directory Premium will be available in April, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite will be available via Microsoft Volume Licensing channels on May 1.

Office 365 for iPad

Office for iPad brings full file fidelity across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone, and along with cloud storage from OneDrive or OneDrive for Business your files are up to date, wherever you need them on whatever device you want to use. Office for iPad apps have a familiar look and feel that are unmistakably Office but are built from the ground up for iPad, factoring in the unique nature of touch and functionality native to iPad along with what people most commonly want to do on a tablet.

“Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It’s a unique approach that centers on people — enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer for Microsoft.

Starting today, Office 365 subscribers can simply add an iPad as one of their chosen devices included in their subscription benefits, and can create and edit documents with Word for iPad, PowerPoint for iPad and Excel for iPad. These apps are available as free downloads from the App Store, enabling people to read and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Office 365 subscription not only gets you the Office for iPad apps installed on up to 5 tablets, but also 5 copies across Office for your PCs and Macs. With one subscription all of your devices are covered, so you can work the way you want.

Microsoft Office for iPadThe apps have the robust capabilities and familiar look and feel that is unmistakably Office, while offering a fantastic touch experience built from the ground up for iPad.  With the free versions of the apps, you can read your Word documents, view your Excel data and present with PowerPoint. Your documents will look as good as they do on your PC and Mac®, and better than ever on your iPad.  With an Office 365 subscription, you can edit and create new documents with the iPad.

Word for iPadWhen you edit a document, you can be sure that content and formatting will be maintained across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone. And, you always have access to your up-to-date documents in OneDrive and OneDrive for Business. In Word, images, tables, SmartArt, footnotes, equations are all there, perfectly formatted. Formulas, charts, sparklines, conditional formatting, and filters in Excel help you make better decisions.

Excel for iPad

PowerPoint presentations pack a punch with transitions, animations, speaker notes and much more. When presenting, you can even use a built-in laser pointer, pens and highlighters to get your point across. The Ribbon layout and experience is familiar, with the most common commands under Home, and Chart commands automatically show up when you select a chart.

Powerpoint for iPad

At the same time, these apps were created from the ground up for iPad. The large touch areas on the Ribbon and in overlay menus make it simple to create, edit and format documents using only touch. Resize and rotate objects like pictures with touch-friendly handles. When you hold and move the objects, text flows smoothly around them. No keyboard and mouse required. You can even use iPad features like voice dictation to draft a Word document or AirPlay® to project a presentation wirelessly on a TV screen. In addition, the apps make it easy to work together. Simply share your content with others thanks to OneDrive and then work simultaneously with multiple people on the same document or presentation.  And, reviewing documents is now great on the iPad.  Word documents can track changes, have threaded comments and easily accept or reject edits all right on the iPad.


Note: You need an iPad running iOS 7.0 or later. You can download the Office apps for free and read, view and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  To get the full editing and creation experience, you need an Office 365 subscription

Starting today, Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones is free for everyone. With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go.  Office Mobile is available in the App Store and Google Play.

Microsoft Office Mobile for Android

This is definitely a good thing, if you (or your company) has an Office 365 subscription. However, if I have to recommend the same to an Individual, I would definitely recommend Google Drive which offers both Editing and Viewing capabilities on an iPad with neither any cost nor ads. Its just that, when Pages, Keynote, Numbers and iCloud (Apple proprietory software) are already available free on iPad, it would take a very strong case, if someone would like to use Office on an iPad just as an individual case. However, if your enterprise or company has an active office 365 subscription and use SharePoint really well, this software would work like a cake for you.

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Google

Develop Android Application using App Inventor from Google

This morning, i got an invite from Google to try out  App Inventor. I was personally very excited because, you do not need to be a developer to use App Inventor and develop Android Apps. Instead of writing code, you will be visually designing the way your app might looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.

I couldn’t wait to try no longer and started to play with it. The initial reactions were really impressive. It never made me feel that, i am working on a Web application. The Experience was just too good. App Inventor is simple to use, but also very powerful. Apps you build can even store data created by users in a database! You also have a separate work area to save your works. All of this, with just your gmail account. (click the image below to see the complete layout on how this platform appears)

Google App Inventor

App Inventor runs through a Web browser. Your phone will be connected to your computer through a USB cord and your app will emerge on the phone as you work in the Web browser. When you’re done, you can “package” your finished app to produce an “application package” (Android apk file) that can be shared around and installed on any Android phone, just like any other Android app.

The compiler that translates the visual blocks language for implementation on Android uses the Kawa Language Framework and Kawa’s dialect of the Scheme programming language, developed by Per Bothner and distributed as part of the Gnu Operating System by the Free Software Foundation.

Complete this form and you will be all ready to build apps soon!

For more information on Google App Inventor –

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Google Tools

Android Scripting Environment (ASE) – Edit and Execute Scripts on Device

The Android Scripting Environment (ASE) brings scripting languages to Android by allowing you to edit and execute scripts and interactive interpreters directly on the Android device. These scripts have access to many of the APIs available to full-fledged Android applications, but with a greatly simplified interface that makes it easy to get things done.

Scripts can be run interactively in a terminal, in the background, or via Locale. Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell are currently supported..!

Currently, the ASE project provides:

  • Scripting language interpreters that have been compiled to run on the Android platform.
  • An abstraction layer above the Android API that simplifies common use cases (e.g. reading sensors, displaying dialogs, changing settings, etc.)
  • IPC to the abstraction layer from processes that do not have access to the native Android APIs.
  • An on-device development environment for supported scripting languages.

Read more and Download the Android Scripting Environment here – http://code.google.com/p/android-scripting/

ASE is designed for developers and is alpha quality software. To install ASE, you will need to enable the “Unknown sources” option in your device’s “Application” settings.

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Download Android SDK for Facebook

Facebook released its first official SDK for Android, offering developers on Google’s mobile OS an easy way to tie their Android native apps to Facebook Platform.

This SDK is said to be more advanced than the iPhone SDK because it features Facebook’s Graph API, which was unveiled at its f8 developer conference last month. You can start integrating the following Facebook Platform features into your Android applications today:

  • Strong authentication using OAuth 2.0
  • Making requests to the new Graph API
  • Publishing stories back to Facebook via Feed forms

Download the Android SDK for Facebook to begin with!

Courtesy: Facebook Developer Blog

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General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Digg for Mobile – iPhone/iPod and Android Phones Applications

The Digg app is now available for iPhone/iPod touch and Android phones! 

Digg and view top stories, read comments, save stories for reading later, and do it all in a sleek interface with one tap from your home screen. It’s all the stuff you care about on the internet, now elegantly presented in mobile form. Download this iphone application here, Watch this iPhone application in Action, 

 

Digg App for Android – For those of you using Android devices, the Digg Android app gives you the power of Digg even when you’re away from your computer. Just like the iPhone app, you can Digg and bury stories, read the top comments, and unique to Android phones, it also supports landscape mode. Because it works with an in-app browser, you can easily pan around and zoom in and out of content. Download this Android App here

If you don’t have an iPhone or Android device, you can always use our current mobile site – m.digg.com – which is optimized to work on any mobile browser!