Tuesday, 22 July 2014

iPhone 6 production confirmed: Foxconn hoping to make 120m handsets in 2014


iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has finally confirmed that it is hiring 100,000 new workers as production begins on Apple’s next iPhone.

iPhone 6. The Sign of Design.

The company said it is prepared to make as many as 120 million iPhones before the end of the year. The iPhone 5s and 5c collectively sold nine million units on their weekend release - and the iPhone range has, in total, sold in excess off 500 million units.

The news from Foxconn suggests that that Appleis looking to release two new smartphones this year, one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.5-inch screen, despite rumours that the larger iPhone wouldn’t be available to consumers until 2015.

It’s also thought the phones will include displays constructed from a sapphire-glass blend: a material that is more resistant to scratches than the Gorilla Glass 3 currently used in the iPhone 5s but not as tough as the pure sapphire that some rumours had originally suggested.

A video made by tech blogger Marques Brownleee (below) shows how displays supposedly leaked from the iPhone 6 supply chain are more resistant to scratching than those of the iPhone 5s – but are far from ‘indestructible’ as some people have claimed.

Apple’s reason for using a glass-sapphire blend (if they are – it’s impossible to say for sure) are most likely twofold: firstly, producing sapphire is extremely expensive and Apple has only ever used it in small amounts (such as the camera lens and home button on the 5s) and secondly, smartphone screens are best if they have a little bit of flex them – and pure sapphire might have proved too brittle.

And what else do we know about the iPhone 6 so far? Well, as ever, there’s a lot of rumours, but it seems a given that the devices will be released in September this year and that they will use iOS 8 – the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Unconfirmed leaks also suggest that they will be available in three colours (black, gold and grey), that the larger model will offer a new 128GB storage capacity, and that both versions will use an updated version of Apple’s 64-bit chip called the A8.

Microsoft is giving away Destiny beta keys for Xbox One and Xbox 360


 

There's just over 24 hours to go till the Destiny Xbox One and Xbox 360 beta. All preparations are now complete. Aoife has retreated to Manchester, supposedly for work reasons but actually in order to escape the blast radius when Joe's home-grown Hype-O-Meter goes nuclear. Ed is writing about himself in the third person, the better to control his own volatile emotions. Jonty was last seen trying to flag down an imaginary Star Destroyer.

How are your own preparations coming along? Got your beta key ready? If not, don't despair - Microsoft has a number to give away on social media. Simply RT this and like this for a chance at gaining entry on Xbox One, or RT this and like this if you'd rather play on Xbox 360. Alas, the offer is only open to residents of the UK right now - hopefully, it'll migrate to other territories as the day wears on. You'll also need to be 18 years old or over to qualify for consideration.

The giveaway runs from 22nd July to 23rd July 2014. 

Xbox Tweets Third-Party Games As Xbox One Exclusives


xbox one exclusives fake 

The official Xbox twitter page oddly tweeted out an image saying some huge third-party games are Xbox One exclusives. That’s kind of misleading.

The tweet showed images of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Sunset Overdrive, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 2 and Evolve. Out of the games listed, only three of them are Xbox One exclusives. If you want to get technical, only Sunset Overdrive is a real Xbox One exclusive. Forza Horizon 2 is getting an Xbox 360 version. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a remake that contains old Halo games. It’s an Xbox One exclusive sure, but the older games were released for the Xbox and Xbox 360 too.

The official Xbox twitter page shouldn’t have misled people into thinking all of these games are Xbox One exclusives. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is also coming to Xbox 360, PC, PS4 and PS3. Assassin’s Creed Unity is coming to PC and PS4. As for Evolve, that game is coming out on PC and PS4 too.

It’s worth mentioning many people saw this marketing blunder and Xbox deleted the original tweet. Kotaku managed to grab a screenshot of the original blunder. All in all, most of these games are not Xbox One exclusives. Activision, 2K and Ubisoft didn’t sell all their games to be Xbox One exclusives.

Wii U Update Version 5.1.0 Now Available


The latest update allows players to transfer data between Wii Us.



Previously, you could do a one-time transfer from a Wii to a Wii U, but there was no way to transfer data from a Wii U to a new Wii U. With update version 5.1.0, a "System Transfer" option is now available. You can learn more about that feature by heading here. Another new update moves the eShop away from exclusively using the GamePad, and lets players use a Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller, or a Classic Controller to navigate the shop. Otherwise, the only other update note is "Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience."

Android 4.4.2 KitKat Update For Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Duos, How To Install It Manually


Samsung-GalaxyS4Mini-Duos

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Duos with the model number GT-I9192 recently began receiving the Android 4.4.2 KitKat official firmware update, while the original Galaxy S4 Mini (GT-I9190) still runs on Android 4.2.2.

The new firmware for the Galaxy S4 mini Duos comes with the build number I9192XXUCNG2, and it includes general performance enhancement and a smooth user interface with new features such as status bar icons, new emojis, closed-captions support for videos and full-screen album art on the lock screen, SamMobile reported.

Although the firmware update is currently limited to Russia, users of the Galaxy S4 mini Duos can download the firmware and flash it manually on their handsets.

Here are the firmware details, provided by SamMobile:

Version: Android 4.4.2

Changelist: 1995154

Build date: Tue, 08 Jul 2014

PDA: I9192XXUCNG2

CSC: I9192SERCNG2

MODEM: I9192XXUCNG2

Here is a tutorial on how to upgrade the Galaxy S4 Mini Duos to the Android 4.4.2 KitKat I9192XXUCNG2 using Odin. But, before trying their hands on the installation process, users should be aware of certain aspects:

- All data stored in the handset must be backed up properly

- The handset should have at least 80 percent battery power

- The USB drivers for the device must be installed on the computer

- USB Debugging must be enabled

- After flashing the firmware, any installed custom ROM will be lost

- Custom recovery, such as ClockworkMod Recovery or TWRP, will also be lost

Note: International Business Times cannot be held responsible for anything that goes wrong. Users should proceed at their own risk.

Tutorial

Step 1: Download the firmware package and extract the zip file. There will be a .tar.md5 file along with some other files.

Step 2: Download Odin v3.09, and extract the zip file. There will be an Odin3 v3.09.exe file along with some other files.

Step 3: Run Odin3 v3.09 as an Administrator.

Step 4: Boot the Galaxy S4 Mini Duos into Download Mode by pressing and holding Volume Down, Home and Power buttons. After a warning message appears, press Volume Up key to enter Download Mode.

Step 5: Connect the phone to the computer via the USB cable and wait until an Added!! message appears in bottom left box in Odin.

Step 6: Go to the Odin window and click on the AP button and select the .tar.md5 file which was extracted in Step 1.

Step 7: In Odin, ensure that only the “Auto Reboot” and “F. Reset Time” options are checked while the “Re-Partition” option is disabled.

Step 8: Click on the Start button in Odin to begin flashing. Don’t press any buttons until all files are successfully flashed.

Step 9: After the process is complete, a “PASS!” message will appear in ID:COM port with green background and the device will restart.

Step 10: After the Samsung logo appears on the home screen, you can unplug the device from the computer. The Galaxy S4 Mini Duos will now be running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat I9192XXUCNG2.

BlackBerry says its square phone is already stealing back iOS and Android users


BlackBerry Passport Vs. iPhone 5s Galaxy S5



A lot of people who now use iPhones and Android phones once used BlackBerry devices many years ago, and now BlackBerry says that its new square BlackBerry Passport is bringing some of them back into the fold. In a new post highlighting consumer response to its newest smartphone, BlackBerry picks up on several comments left on different websites of people who say that they can’t wait to dump their current smartphones for the BlackBerry Passport.

“I  like it,” wrote one man named Hassam Mirzai. “The phone is small enough to carry in my pocket and large enough to read text comfortably. I currently have a Samsung Note II. When I bought my Note II, it looked weird too. After 2 or 3 days I got used to it. I will replace my Note II with the Blackberry Passport.”

An Engadget commenter who goes by the name of Ryboto, meanwhile, said that BlackBerry 10 is the only OS he ever wanted to use and that if he needs apps that aren’t available on BlackBerry World, he can just sideload ones that were built for Android.

Another former BlackBerry diehard who calls himself patbjackson18, meanwhile, explained that he didn’t need a phone that had a big app ecosystem since his sole desire is to just fire off emails and do real work.

“I want it,” he explained. “Just because it’s different, and I like the screen and keyboard. I miss Blackberry [and] I’m a huge emailer, and android and iOS just don’t do it for me. I’m all about communication and neither platform is doing the job right.”

You can read about all the iOS and Android users that BlackBerry is stealing back with the Passport by clicking the source link below.

The new Android Wear smartwatches already have their first game


The new Android Wear smartwatches already have their first game (exclusive)

You can finally play a game while making the world think you’re merely checking the time … for 15 minutes straight.

Developer Unit9 Games just released Swip3 on the Google Play app market, and it’s the first game designed for Android Wear smartwatches. These web-connected, touchscreen timepieces from companies like Motorola and Samsung enable you to interact with your email while getting updates and notifications from your calendar or social networks. Swip3 isn’t about checking the temperature or getting quick access to your text messages. Instead, it has you flicking and gesturing with your finger to move around a 5-by-5 playfield filled with different colored blocks. As you might expect, once you connect three or more like-colored blocks, they disappear and you get points. It’s out now for $1.69, and it is also playable on smartphones and tablets. Unit9 also has a version on the Web that you can try. Players spent $16 billion on mobile games last year, which made that the top app category for revenue. It’s possible games could make a lot on touchscreen watches as well — wearables are already pegged to be a $3 billion to $5 billion market.

But we’re all here because we want to experience the future, and that means playing games on our wrists. You’re probably wondering how something like that works, so check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of Swip3 in action on a number of different Android Wear smartwatches:

“We started this project after being impressed by the technology in the Android Wear,” Unit9 business development manager Steve Brown told GamesBeat. “We develop mobile games in Unity and wondered if the technology could also be used on the Wear.”

The team found out that getting a Unity game up and running on a Wear device wouldn’t require a ton of extra work, and so it started to focus on designing something that would make sense on your wrist.

Swip3 is a simple game that looks clean and uncluttered. That is not by accident.

“We knew we had to make the gameplay simple but addictive due to the constraints of the device,” said Brown. “The game itself is designed so it fits in the tiny screen of a watch and all you have to do is simply swipe your Android Wear with your finger to play. At any point all the user has to do is make a choice: left, down, up or right. And it’s not always obvious which is the best choice.”

Smartwatches are still a fairly new category. Google revealed its big Android Wear initiative at its I/O developer conference in June. The company is hoping to do for smartwatches what Android proper did for smartphones. Rumors suggest Apple is also working on a smartwatch of its own, but the company hasn’t announced anything yet.

With games dominating the app market on both iOS and Android, it isn’t a surprise that a developer is already coming to the scene with a game for smartwatches. Now we can find out if anyone cares about gaming on a watch or whether most will just stick to playing Candy Crush Saga on their smartphone.


How to Virtualize Android on Your PC So You Can Try Before You Buy


How to Virtualize Android on Your PC So You Can Try Before You Buy

You probably know that you can run a desktop operating system in a virtual machine for testing. You can do the same thing for Android, and it's a great way to test out a phone before you buy it. Here's how to set it up.

Why Virtualize Android?

How to Virtualize Android on Your PC So You Can Try Before You Buy

Your first question is probably: Why would you want to do this? Just like virtualizing a desktop OS, there are a few reasons you may want to try it out in a virtual machine. If you're thinking about buying an Android phone or tablet for the first time, setting up a virtual device is a great way to get to grips with the operating system ahead of time. Developers can use virtual machines to try out ideas, and it also gives regular users the opportunity to try out apps without worrying about affecting an important phone. It can be seen as a test bed where you can try out all of the software you've ever wanted to test.

There are various virtualization tools that you can use to run Android, but by far the most impressive is Genymotion. This free tool is based on VirtualBox (our favorite virtualization tool for Windows) and it runs specific devices rather than just a generic Android installation. So if you're thinking of buying a Nexus 7, for instance, you can download a virtual version and run it on your computer ahead of time.

How to Set Up Genymotion

How to Virtualize Android on Your PC So You Can Try Before You Buy
Genymotion is very easy to install and set up. Just follow these steps:
  1. Visit the Genymotion web site, click the Get Genymotion link, and then download the free version of the software. While you're here, you can also create a Genymotion account, which you'll need later on.
  2. Install Genymotion on your computer. Note that it will interrupt your network access, so make sure you don't have any big downloads running before you install.
  3. With the installation complete, launch Genymotion. It will detect that you don't have any virtual devices set up. Click Yes to create one.
  4. Click the Connect button, enter your Genymotion username and password, and you'll see a list of ready-made devices to choose from.
If the Genymotion download seems a little on the large side at 117MB, that's because it includes a bundled version of VirtualBox. You can download a VirtualBox-free version of Genymotion if you already have it installed, but the full package is a nice touch as it ensures everything you need is available without the need to visit other web sites.

If you check out Genymotion's list of devices, you'll see generic phones and tablets, as well as specific models like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and tablets like the Nexus 7. You can browse through the entire list or use the dropdown menu to filter by Android version and device model. To choose a device:
  1. Pick a device from the list and click Next.
  2. Enter a meaningful name for the virtual device and click Next.
  3. When the download completes—it is around 200MB—click Finish. Then, just select your chosen device from the list and click Play.
There will be a short delay while the device initializes, and then you'll see a familiar Android boot screen. A series of buttons to the right of the window provides access to toggles and controls, including the screen rotation option—you don't have to work in portrait mode the whole time.

Install the Google Play Store and Google Apps

How to Virtualize Android on Your PC So You Can Try Before You Buy
One thing you will probably immediately notice is that Google Play and other Google apps are not included. Thankfully, installing them is easy:
  1. Grab the ARM Translation Installer and the Google Apps bundle for the version of Android you're working with: Google Apps for Android 4.4,Google Apps for Android 4.3,Google Apps for Android 4.2, orGoogle Apps for Android 4.1.
  2. Once downloaded, drag and drop the ARM Translation ZIP file onto the Android window—there's no need to extract it. Genymotion will offer to flash the virtual device using the archive, so click OK to continue.
  3. When the flashing process finishes, click OK and then reboot the device.
  4. Now drag and drop the Google Apps ZIP file onto the virtual device window and click OK to start the file transfer.
  5. Reboot the device and you'll then be able to make use of Google Play and other Google apps.
Alternatively, you can install a third party store such as the Amazon Appstore. You need to permit the installation of third party apps to do this. Head to Settings, click the Security heading, and then check the Unknown Sources box. Fire up the built in web browser and download the Amazon Appstore. You can then browse through the available apps and install any that interest you.

There is nothing to stop you from setting up multiple virtual Android machines, so you can either try out different things on each, or run different versions of Android. Whether you're a seasoned Android user looking for a new way to use the operating system, or you want to try it out for the first time, Genymotion is a great, free option.

Western Digital's $299 6TB WD Red is a big hard drive for small(ish) budgets


western digital 6tb red



Western Digital is shipping two new 6TB hard drives as it tries to make its highest-capacity storage products more affordable.

The WD Red hard drive is $299 and the WD Green will go for $279. The WD Red is designed for enterprises with more NAS (network attached storage) and error-correction features. WD Green has more sensors and controls for lower power consumption, making it applicable to consumer desktops.

The 6TB drives are designed for use in 3.5-inch enclosures in desktops and external storage systems.

The pricing “is really affordable” for that class of product, said Fang Zhang, storage analyst at IHS.

The first hard drives that shipped with 4TB capacity were relatively higher in price, in terms of dollars per terabyte, Zhang said.

WD’s HGST unit already ships a 6TB hard drive, the Ultrastar HE6, which is selling for $477 on Amazon. Seagate’s 6TB desktop hard drive is selling for $299.99 on Newegg and B&H Photo and Video.

The 6TB drives could increase the available capacity on WD’s external storage products. WD is qualifying the Red product for the My Cloud, the two-bay My Cloud EX2 and the four-bay My Cloud EX4 external storage systems. The 6TB drive could also be plugged into network-attached storage systems and external storage bays that can be bought for under $10.

The 6TB drive could appeal to workstation users, gamers and enterprises, but there is generally more of a preference for cheaper, lower-capacity drives, Zhang said.

In the first quarter of this year, a majority of desktop hard drives shipped with up to 2TB of capacity, with only around 2 percent shipping with 3TB or 4TB of storage, Zhang said.

Seagate could release a 8TB hard drive sometime next year, after which the price of 6TB drives could come down further, Zhang said.

“Everything with lower density will come down,” Zhang said.

Hard drives with 6TB capacity won’t be going into laptops anytime soon, Zhang said. Laptops are getting thinner, and turning to SSDs. Users are also increasingly attaching external hard drives, and storing data in the cloud as demonstrated by Chromebooks, Zhang said.

WD is also shipping a 5TB Red drive for $249.

Why the MacBook Air Is the Best Laptop You Can Buy


macbookair lead

Although there’s a lot of strong laptop competition out there — in all shapes, sizes and prices —the MacBook Air 13-inch is everything a great notebook should be. That’s because Apple offers a near-perfect combination of design, comfort, performance and endurance. It’s also now priced at a quite reasonable $999.
On the fence about what to buy? Here’s why Apple’s ultraportable is hands-down the best laptop for your money.

Design without equal

Plenty of laptop makers have tried to copy the aluminum unibody design of the MacBook Air, but none has quite matched Apple’s combination of strong build quality and portability. I’ve never heard so much as a creak or pop when opening or closing the lid on my Air — or even when picking the light, 3-pound system up by the top half of the clamshell. No one beats Apple’s build quality.

The reason I prefer the 13-inch Air to the 11-inch model — other than the extra screen real estate — is that the larger version offers an SD card slot on the right. This is an important amenity for people who like to transfer photos from their cameras. Otherwise , you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt port for higher-speed peripherals. (I’m still waiting for more of those.)

The MacBook Air’s 1400 x 900-pixel screen isn’t nearly as sharp as some Windows-powered Ultrabooks — or Apple’s own 13-inch inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (2560 x 1600p) — but it’s quite bright and offers wide viewing angles. I’ve spent plenty of time working outdoors with this notebook without any issues.

Unbeatable keyboard and touchpad combo

It’s not easy to squeeze a comfortable keyboard into a laptop with a 0.68-inch profile, but Apple continues to outclass the competition. The layout is spacious and evenly backlit, and it’s extremely easy to type on for extended periods. There’s not even a hint of flex here. I also appreciate the shortcut key for Mission Control, which makes it easy to see all of your open apps at once.
keyboard touchpad
The Air’s touchpad continues to be second to none. Whether I’m scrolling with two fingers, pinching to zoom or just selecting text, the trackpad on this laptop is smooth and seamless. I also use the Notification Center gesture quite a bit; you just swipe in from the right edge with two fingers to see all your alerts. The click action feels solid, and Windows converts can click down with two fingers to generate a right-click-like response.

Crazy-long battery life

Whether you’re on a cross-country flight, running from meeting to meeting or have a day full of classes, the 13-inch MacBook Air has all the staying power you need — and then some. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi (at 100 nits of screen brightness), the Air lasted an epic 12 hours and 20 minutes. The average ultraportable lasts about 8 hours.

battery

We have tested other laptops with even more endurance, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s (14:36) and X240 (20:28), but getting that runtime requires a bulky secondary battery.

Not just fast, but responsive

For the $999 starting price, the MacBook Air 13-inch packs a 1.4-GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of zippy flash storage. This combination of components adds up to a system that’s always ready to do my bidding. I just flip the lid, and I can get right back to work within a couple of seconds. Many Windows systems stutter when resuming from sleep.

This is one lean and mean productivity powerhouse. For example, on our OpenOffice test, in which the system matches 20,000 names and addresses, the Air took a mere 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Competing notebooks from Acer, Dell and HP all took 5 minutes on the same tests.

A webcam that’s actually good

webcam

I don’t make many video calls (or take selfies), but it’s nice to know that the Air’s FaceTime camera delivers a better picture than most Windows laptops. Expect warm and accurate colors without the typical fuzziness that plagues other systems’ webcams. It’s also easy to chat with friends and colleagues over FaceTime if they have an iPhone or iPad.

Software that doesn’t get in your way

If you’re anxious about dropping Windows for OS X, I can tell you that switching is easier than you think. In fact, the Mac desktop environment feels more intuitive in some ways than Windows 8′s split personalities. I especially like Spotlight Search for finding anything I need (complete with handy previews) and interactive notifications, so I can respond to messages without leaving the app I’m using.

spotlight

Starting this fall, OS X will get even better with Yosemite, especially for those who own iOS devices. For example, you’ll be able to start an email on your iPhone or iPad, and then pick up right where you left off on the Mac. You’ll even be able to text and make calls from the desktop. Apple will also finally offer a better cloud storage solution with iCloud Drive, though I’ll probably keep using Dropbox.

MacBook Air vs. Windows Competition

There are plenty of great alternatives to the MacBook Air, including Windows 8 models with built-in touch screens. For instance, the HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook (also $999) sports a sharper QHD screen and a unique ultrawide touchpad. However, that notebook’s battery lasted 3 hours less on a charge. If you’re looking for a business-focused laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s is another excellent choice; starting at $949, it boasts a sturdy design, best-in-class keyboard and fantastic battery life.

windows

Don’t have a grand to spend? You’ll find plenty of compelling Windows notebooks for less than $500. Those with very simple computing needs may gravitate toward Chromebooks, such as the 13-inch Toshiba Chromebook, which costs just $269. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to live with limited offline functionality and much fewer apps than Mac and Windows systems.

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro

airvsproUltimately, the MacBook Air’s biggest competition is the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display. Although it costs $300 more, the Pro delivers a richer and higher-resolution screen and more horsepower, courtesy of a faster 2.4-GHz Core i5 processor. However, the MacBook Pro is also heavier and thicker, and while its 9.5 hours of battery life is fantastic, it’s still a few hours behind the Air.

Bottom Line


Thanks to its stellar design, superior touchpad, swift performance and all-day battery life, the 13-inch MacBook Air is the best all-around laptop money can buy.

Desktop or laptop – which computer is best for your business?


A curious thing about modern computing is that it's gone almost entirely portable. Tablets and smartphones are growing faster than their laptop counterparts, but the older-fashioned desktop computer still exists and a lot of people still want them.



In fact do not be fooled by the hype: the growth may be faster in extremely portable computers but according to figures from International Data Corporation (IDC) the good old PC has returned to growth. Over 10% more PCs were sold in the second quarter of 2014 than the same period in 2013.

So, why would you opt for a desktop-only model, and what is on offer?

You can divide desktop computers into two broad categories. One is the all-in-one unit, in which the computer appears to be built into the screen. Many people like the styling and convenience, but critics tend to call them "laptops on sticks" with very little scope to upgrade without the help of an expert.

Their chunkier counterparts are the more traditional-looking desktop systems that attach to a separate monitor. The advantages can be many, such as the ability to replace only the computer when it has gone wrong, rather than the monitor as well.

James Morrish, HP's chief technologist, UK and Ireland, says sales of desktop computers are still strong. "One of the key reasons is the affordability they offer as well as the ergonomics of a larger screen, keyboard and mouse," he explains. The first of those criteria is worth bearing in mind for home workers and people without a dedicated IT budget in their business; you get a lot more computing power for your money with a desktop system, the miniaturisation required for a laptop is something we take for granted but it comes at a premium. "If portability or mobility isn't a buyer's priority then a desktop is hard to beat," says Morrish. "Desktop PCs can provide more flexibility as they are often easier to configure and upgrade, less likely to be stolen or broken and offer a longer lifespan."

A quick straw poll of LinkedIn and Twitter users found that a lot of people still like a chunkier computer at their desk. On Twitter, PR manager Craig Coward says he prefers a desktop in the office because of the full-sized display and keyboard without the need to fiddle with USB connections and docking stations. Musician and teacher Darren Pullman was even more precise, saying he used a desktop computer because it had a 27in monitor.

Over on LinkedIn, Cathal Morrow says he prefers a laptop, with Matthew Tyler pointing out that he'd never left a desktop computer on a train. Sharon Sweeney highlighted the issue of touch typing, which she says is more difficult on a laptop.

As mentioned earlier, though, the form is changing. Morrish says: "Style and design are becoming as important for desktops as for other devices such as notebooks and tablets." However it's not just looks: size matters as well, says Morrish. "Increasingly, smaller form factors such as micro PCs or all-in-one designs are gaining popularity as they reduce the space taken up on the desk and improve the appearance of the workspace. Additionally, enhancements to the user interface are being made with better display technology and the incorporation of touch and gesture recognition. Overall the user experience with desktops can be a very rich and productive one."

The design issue has been important for decades but not quite understood until comparatively recently. In the mid-1990s when home computing began to become mainstream, manufacturer Packard Bell started issuing desktop systems with clip-on plastic strips of different colours to match someone's home décor. The journalists at the launch may have laughed, but appearance is vital now, not only for the home but for reception areas. The Apple iMac appears to be the sleek computing object of choice for many but it's far from the only one, with Dell's Inspiron 23 5000 Series Touch coming in as low as £599 on the web and looking very smart, while if you have a keyboard and monitor already, simply opting for the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop Mini PC will offer change from £450. Apple's kit is traditionally more expensive and it has just released its "budget" iMac desktop computer with a slightly slower chip than usual at £899.

The cost differentiator in the desktop versus laptop debate is a powerful argument and so is the sheer computing power at a particular price point. There appears to be life in the desktop market yet, and for the home worker who does not need to carry his or her entire office around with them daily, that is a good thing.

LG G3 Camera Review: So How Exactly Does the OIS+ Laser Work Out?


LG's growth, in the past, has been limited due to the previous presence of the likes of Samsung and Apple in the market. Sure the manufacturer makes and has already made a few notable handsets, but most of them are still shy of the recognition they deserve. However, LG's newest G3 handset won't go through any such issues.


The smartphones comes in at a time when the market is already flooded with a host of big name phones. With the likes of HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 already showcasing a massive presence in the market, it needs more than just a good phone to deliver a decent competition. And the G3 has just the goods inside.

The LG G3 is easily one of the most powerful devices currently in the market, apart from the fact that it's expected to make it big in the market with the year running down. Although it goes without saying that there will be a bit of problem in the price tag of the device as not many customers will be willing to pay such a big amount of money for a smartphone. 

 However, for once, if we are to leave aside the price factor of a device, the LG G3 easily features in the wishlists of a boatload of users looking to invest on a smartphone that will actually compliment the money that was invested on the smartphone in the first place.

But leaving aside all other aspects of the smartphone out for the moment, we are concentrating on the camera of the device. As you may already heard all around you, the device comes with a somewhat revolutionary camera that has already been touted one of the best in the business. 

As far as specs for the camera is concerned, the LG G3's imaging aspect is take care by a 13MP rear camera with OIS plus, Dual LED Flash, and 4K video recording and a new LG technology that uses Laser to Auto Focus. Apart from that, you will also get a 2.1MP front-facing shooter.
LG has provided quite a few hardware features into the LG G3's 13 megapixel camera. The device's dual-tone flash looks quite similar to that of the iPhone 5S and HTC One M8. However, the real innovation lies in the laser autofocus that's yet to be seen in a mobile-based camera. 

But then again, leaving aside the specs, what's so special about the camera and why is the entire web going absolutely crazy about the LG G3's camera offering? We take a closer look at a detailed camera review for the device.

Lenovo S850 With Android 4.4 KitKat Launched at Rs. 15,499


lenovo_s850_white.jpg

Lenovo, expanding its S-series of mid-range Android smartphones, has launched the S850 for the Indian market at Rs. 15,499. The company has announced that the latest Lenovo S850 will be hitting market shelves by the end of this month.

Notably, the smartphone is now up for pre-order at the company's official The Do Store at a discounted price of Rs. 15,299 and a shipping date of July 28.

The Lenovo S850 was globally unveiled at MWC this year, alongside the Lenovo S660 (Review | Pictures)  which was launched earlier this year in India at Rs. 13,999, and the Lenovo S860 which was unveiled recently at Rs. 21,500.

According to the company, the S850 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out-of-the-box; however, the company's official site still lists the smartphone running the dated Android 4.2. It supports dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) functionality and notably, 3G connectivity is supported for both SIMs.

The smartphone comes with a 5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) display and boasts an all-glass exterior. It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek (MT6582) processor along with 1GB of RAM. It sports a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera and also packs a 5-megapixel fixed focus front-facing camera. The smartphone includes 16GB of inbuilt storage, with no word on expandable storage support. Apart from 3G, the S850 includes Wi-Fi, GPRS/ EDGE, Bluetooth and Micro-USB connectivity options.

The S850 packs a 2000mAh battery, which is rated to deliver up to 336 hours of standby time, and 13 hours of talk time. The smartphone comes preloaded with apps such as SECUREit, which is security software; SHAREit that offers phone-to-phone data transfer without Wi-Fi or mobile network, and SYNCit, offers permanent backup of all data the device.

Commenting on the launch of Lenovo S850, Sudhin Mathur, Director, Smartphones, Lenovo India said, "As smartphones become more mainstream, consumers expect intuitive and fast products from all premium brands. The need is to go beyond the expected and provide extraordinary design that reflects their personality. Launched at MWC early this year, the Lenovo S850 has been widely-recognised as a stylish and a powerful device that signifies Lenovo's best in-class design."


Key Specs

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

1.3GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

720x1280 pixels

RAM

1GB

OS

Android 4.2

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

2000mAh

AUTOnCAB app launched for booking rickshaws and taxis


AUTOnCAB app launched for booking rickshaws and taxis

Delhiites can now book auto rickshaws or cabs by taking help of a recently launched app, AUTOnCAB that’s available for free download on Android and iOS devices.

AUTOnCAB aims to free people from the hassle of waiting for cabs or auto rickshaws, or negotiating the fares. The app makes use of location services on your smartphone or tablet to find any nearby autos or cabs.

The app claims to be useful to auto and cab drivers as well, as it would reduce the chances of them idly waiting to get hailed. They can also choose their duty timings and days of operation by clicking on the ‘On Duty’ option in the app and make themselves visible on the customer’s radar.

To be a part of the AUTOnCAB ecosystem, passengers and drivers would have to download the app and register to the service. Commuters can download the app for free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The pick-up location is detected automatically once GPS is enabled on the user’s device and the nearest driver is notified that there’s a passenger waiting for a pick-up.

Another advantage of the app is that passengers are charged by a fixed metering system within the app or by the vehicle’s meter.

The app comes with other features including a ‘Call’ option that allows passengers and drivers to communicate when required. There’s a built-in rating system, which allows passengers and drivers to rate each other and thereby creates a database of good service providers as well as happy passengers.

The facility will be initially available in South Delhi and its adjoining areas and will soon be rolled out to other parts of Delhi NCR. AUTOnCAB plans to go pan-India over the next 12 months.

The capital city recently received the Pooch-O app, which also allows people to hire rickshaws remotely. Pooch-O, however, is only available for Android devices and can’t be used for hiring taxis.

Google Maps Hindi version released for PCs and Android


Using Google Maps will no longer be a task for Indians whose first language is Hindi and not English, as the search giant has infused the utility with support for the nation’s official tongue. This applies to its PC and Android versions, but its iOS version has been left out of this change.

Everything from historical monuments to other places displayed on the popular online mapping and navigation service will have its name displayed in Hindi right below its English name. For this to be made possible, a few simple steps are needed to be performed by Google Maps users.

Google Maps

On the desktop version, you’ll have to log into your Google account, enter its setting menu and then select Hindi as your preferred language. There’s yet another way in which you can access the new feature – by clicking on the Hindi option at the bottom of the Google India homepage.

On Android, you’ll need to switch the language of the entire device to Hindi in order to be able to see this change. It can be done by entering the Settings menu and choosing the Language and Input option.

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to see labels of cities, localities, important roads and other well known places in your preferred language. Google has revealed that these labels were created by transliterating English names to Hindi and hence, could possibly have several errors. This is why it has requested users to report them if they find any.

The launch of Google Maps in Hindi is yet another step towards properly localizing the company’s brand in India. Another recent push from the tech giant was when it modified its Voice Search feature to work with the Indian accent.


Xiaomi Mi4 launched to take on high end smartphones


The Mi 4 comes as budget handset makers in China are competing more aggressively on price and generous features, with even high-end manufacturers feeling the pressure.

Xiaomi launched its flagship Mi 4 smartphone at a glitzy event in Beijing, where the Chinese budget handset maker's chief executive sought to challenge larger U.S. rival Apple Inc.

The Mi 4 comes as budget handset makers in China are competing more aggressively on price and generous features, with even high-end manufacturers feeling the pressure.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Ltd said this month that its disappointing smartphone shipments were due to poor sales in China, which had 1.27 billion mobile subscribers in June.

Dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took aim repeatedly at iPhone maker Apple during the presentation on Tuesday, comparing the design and manufacturing process of his new 4G handset to the U.S. firm's more expensive offerings.

"Our product really is better than the iPhone," said Lei.

"Our white version is also better than their white version," he joked. "Even our white color is whiter!"

Apple, which was due to announce second-quarter earnings later on Tuesday, was not immediately available to comment.

The forthright Jun spent nearly an hour on stage describing the Mi 4 phone's construction - particularly its beveled metal rim whose similarity with Apple's phones drew murmurs of "iPhone" from the journalists at the event.

The Mi 4, which goes on sale July 29 for 1999 yuan ($320), has a 5 inch, 1080p screen and a Qualcomm Inc Snapdragon 801 2.5 Ghz processor. An equivalent iPhone 5s costs $650.

Analyst Neil Shah at technology consultant Counterpoint said that while Xiaomi was gaining swiftly in emerging markets, it did not pose a real threat to Apple just yet.

"Right now it's more a big talk rather than real threat to Apple," said Shah.

"In emerging markets they are growing in leap and bounds, attracting buyers who aspire to Apple but they can't afford to buy Apple.

"But if tomorrow Xiaomi raise their price to Apple levels, they won't sell. They're trying to build that brand equity by comparing themselves to Apple."

Founded in 2010 by Lei and seven others, Xiaomi seeks to cut costs by eschewing brick-and-mortar stores in favor of web-based distribution and word-of-mouth marketing.

Xiaomi became the world's sixth-largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter of 2014, according to data firm Canalys, after repeatedly doubling its sales. The company was valued at $10 billion last year, drawing industry speculation that the fast-rising company could threaten Apple and Samsung, which dominate the premium market.

Xiaomi sold 18.7 million smartphones in 2013 and on

Demand for Xiaomi Mi 3 sends Flipkart site crashing




 Overwhelming demand for Chinese smartphone Xiaomi Mi3 on the first day of its sale caused the product page of e-commerce site Flipkart, its exclusive retailer in India, to crash.

Despite the glitches, Xiaomi, which entered India on July 15, said it sold the entire Mi 3 stock in 38 minutes and 50 seconds.

The crash, a little after noon on Tuesday, a few minutes after booking opened, prevented several customers from completing their orders.

The same thing had happened during the exclusive launch of MotoG and MotoE phones earlier.

According to Flipkart, the site received 100,000 registrations for the phone during the July 15-21 registration period.

“Based on the response we saw during the registration phase, we had anticipated a traffic spike and had scaled up our web services accordingly. But the number of customers who logged in immediately after the phone went live on our site caused the process to slow down for a while,” said the Flipkart spokesperson.

“We got about 100,000 registrations for the Mi3. We sold out within the first 30 minutes,” the spokesperson claimed.

Xiaomi Mi 3, which is priced at ₹13,999 on Flipkart, is pitted against Google’s Nexus handset.

Apologising to fans who couldn’t purchase the Mi 3 today, Manu Jain, India Operations Head, Xiaomi, said: “We underestimated the demand we would receive and we are taking steps to ramp up the supply as soon as possible.”
“We are working with Flipkart to ensure the purchase experience is improved further and technical issues are resolved,” he added.

The Flipkart spokesperson added: “We are expanding our capacity to provide a smoother shopping experience the next time.”

Though the company declined to comment on the number of units sold, it said it would be getting the phone back in stock next week.


Jain added that Xiaomi would ensure that customers who missed out on today’s sale are automatically registered to buy an Mi 3 during the next sale on July 29. 

Nintendo’s ‘Wii U to Wii U’ Transfer Feature Doesn’t Go Far Enough


Nintendo adds a system-to-system transfer option, but Wii U owners still can't backup save files or move data around conveniently.

I’m not sure it’s the feature that’ll motivate fence-sitters off their palisades to buy one, but if you already own a Wii U — or better still, two — the latest system update finally adds the option to run a full system transfer, Wii U to Wii U.



To be clear, you’re already able to transfer data off the Wii U, you just can’t back it up. Does that sound oxymoronic? Let me explain.

Wii U data can only exist in one place, so you either have it on the Wii U’s internal flash or an external USB storage device, but never in both places at once. If you brick your Wii U and your save files live on an external storage device, then you buy or receive a replacement Wii U, you’ve had no way of recovering those files. Making matters worse, Nintendo doesn’t offer cloud saves, so you could argue the Wii U is inferior to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (which in some cases allowed you to save straight to the cartridge) as well as most systems that’ve come after it.

Nintendo’s latest Wii U system update, out yesterday, goes some way toward rectifying this deficit, but the restrictions are pretty onerous. For starters, you’ll need the source Wii U alive and kicking and running the same system software version as the destination Wii U. From there, you’re in essence running an all-or-nothing clone operation: the source Wii U transfers “any users, Nintendo Network IDs, save data, and digital content” to the target Wii U, then wipes the source Wii U clean.

That’s helpful if you own a vanilla Wii U, say, and want to transition to the annual custom-painted limited edition. But we’re probably talking about a handful of hardcore Nintendophiles. Who wants to own two otherwise identical Wii Us? And even then, you’re not backing anything up, you’re just moving it from one system to another.

It’s a shame, because what I’d wager Wii U owners really want — or at least what I do — is a way to back up those Wii U save files, be it to the cloud or an external storage device. Microsoft and Sony have supported save file duplication to external storage as well as cloud save-file backups for years. Nintendo’s system update is arguably helpful for a tiny fraction of Nintendo’s audience, in other words, but not the backup/transfer feature Wii U owners have long deserved.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Google's Project Athena to bring Android L-style design to Chrome OS


GOOGLE IS TINKERING with the design of Chrome OS, the operating system that runs on its Chromebook laptops.

Google Chrome logo

Project Athena will have an entirely revamped user interface (UI) which brings Chrome much closer to the planned design of the recently announced Android L mobile operating system.

Google's Francois Beaufort, who reguarly reveals news of the company's plans on Google+, has shown screenshots of the work in progress, revealing a flatter, more spacious interface.

However there is still much to do before public release of the new version, which is not even fit for the developer Canary channel yet, with no indication of when it will be completed.

If you simply can't wait, it is possible to compile a version of Chromium with the new design so far, but it isn't recommended for the faint of heart.

The convergence between Android and Chrome has been a theme in recent weeks, with the intention being to allow Android apps to run within the Chrome environment.

With the Chromecast streaming device essentially being a cut-down Chrome web browser, this could pave the way to run Android apps on the big screen too.

With Google having focused on reducing the footprint of Android 4.4 Kitkat in order to reduce fragentation between different versions on different devices, it appears that Android L is all about bringing the two operating systems together into a cross-platform Android ecosystem.

Apple has been working towards this for some time and recently reported that over 90 percent of iOS devices were running the latest version .

Gionee's 5mm-Thick Next Contender for World's Slimmest Smartphone Spotted


gionee_gn9005_front_side_spotted_tenna.jpg

While Gionee's current contender for the world's slimmest smartphone crown, the Gionee Elife S5.5 (Review | Pictures), does certainly make an impression with its 5.5mm thickness - it looks like the company is looking to make an even slimmer phone before anyone challenges its claimed record. A 5mm-thick handset has been spotted at the China-equivalent of the FCC, called the Gionee GN9005.

Notably, with the launch of Gionee Elife S5.5, the firm managed to beat the record previously held by Vivo X3 by 0.25mm. To give a better idea of the yet-to-be-announced Gionee GN9005's 5mm thickness, the Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5 measure 7.6mm and 8.1mm respectively in thickness. However, with the slimness, Gionee seems to be shedding some of the high-end specifications on the GN9005 that were found on the Elife S5.5.

The Gionee GN9005, which appears not to be the final name of the smartphone, was spotted listed Tenaa with specifications.

According to the Tenaa listing, the Gionee GN9005 sports a 4.8-inch HD (720x1280 pixel) AMOLED display. The smartphone is also seen running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box and powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (unspecified) paired with 1GB of RAM. While the handset comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage, it also features an 8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixle front-facing camera. A 2050mAh battery backs the handset.

With the listing smartphone seems to be headed first for China Mobile, and is expected to be 4G LTE network compatible. As expected, the Gionee GN9005 is yet to be allotted a price tag. Also, there is no word on its launch time frame.

To recall, the Gionee Elife S5.5 is a single-SIM smartphone that runs the company's Amigo 2.0 UI on top of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. However, earlier this month the smartphone was said to have been receiving the Android 4.4.2 update.

Some of the other key specifications are 5-inch Super AMOLED (1080x1920 pixels) Plus display, 1.7GHz octa-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front camera, 16GB of internal storage with no expandability options, and 2300mAh battery. The handset was first unveiled in February, ahead of the Mobile World Congress 2014 event.