Thursday, 24 July 2014

Cortana Comes To Nokia Lumia 1520 Via AT&T's Windows Phone 8.1 Software Update

AT&T has some great news for Nokia Lumia 1520 handset owners. Effectively immediately, you can download and install the Windows Phone 8.1 software update for your phone and start enjoying Cortana, a personal virtual assistant. Unlike the virtual assistants on other platforms, Cortana is the only one that can set reminders by people, as well as by time or location.
There are a lot of changes that go beyond Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. Users have greater control over personalization -- Live Tiles with multiple sizes and color options let you pin apps, music, and people to your Start Screen so you can see the information you want right from the get-go.


"The Windows Phone 8.1 update also takes full advantage of the Lumia 1520’s Quad-core processor, large, bright 6-inch HD 1080p display, and Nokia Rich Recording suite – four digital microphones and 140 dB recording range provide unparalleled stereo sound for video captured by the Lumia 1520," AT&T says.

Even the Lumia 1520's 20MP PureView sensor gets better with the Windows Phone 8.1 update -- according to AT&T, it adds new features and apps for sharing your images.

Huawei Honor 3C smartphone: Review

When I received this new phone for review, for a while I kept on wondering what company it is! The box just said ‘Honor’. Similarly, the rear section of the phone was branded as “Honor”. I went to “Settings” and nowhere was it apparent what brand it is until I reached the “Legal information” section that talked about Huawei Privacy Policy. Oh, so much for finding a brand name!

The Huawei Honor 3C is amongst the newest smartphones to hit the Indian market.
The Huawei Honor 3C is amongst the newest smartphones to hit the Indian market. Huawei claims the Honor 3C has been “specially designed to fulfil all the aspirations that you can have from a smartphone.” It further adds that, to make it possible, every feature of the phone has been enhanced—bigger screen, a better processor, a better camera and a stronger battery. Sure, the Honor 3C starts to impress you once you unlock it and the screen comes to life. But how is the overall impression? Let’s find out.

First, the build quality. The Honor 3C, sure, is not in the league of, say, the Huawei Ascend G6 as far as build quality is concerned, yet it doesn’t really disappoint. (Okay, it is a bit too glossy and that means it will have fingerprints all over its body minutes after you start using it.) But the five-inch HD LCD screen of the Honor 3C gives you dynamic and rich colours so that you can enjoy lifelike images and videos. The screen is highly responsive and its reflection levels are just right. The phone has this unique rounded edge design that makes it comfortable to hold and experience. Further, its screen-to-body ratio is quite good—the upper bezel of 4.5 mm reduces down to 2.2 mm on the sides of the screen and that to the compactness of the phone.

The Huawei Honor 3C comes with a 1.3 GHz QuadCore processor. No issues with this. In fact, although this is not among the best processors in the market, it works well in combination with the 2GB RAM. So, be it playing online games, downloading or watching streaming videos, or sending mails– the phone handles most tasks decently.

Now, let’s talk about the camera. The Honor 3C comes with an 8-megapixel Sony BSI camera. Huawei says the camera boasts of a Blue Glass Filter that gives you the luxury of choosing the desired hue for your photos. The camera clicks good and clear photos and the videos it

shoots are also of HD quality. Well, nowadays, an 8-megapixel camera is getting common in most smartphones. So what is special about this camera? It is the Voice Photograph function, which enables you to click photographs by voice command. Nice. The front camera, too, is innovative. As you activate it, it tells you where to look on the screen (in a preview window that pops up) so that your expression is properly captured. At 5-megapixel, the front camera shoots great selfies and, as we found out, makes the video calling experience quite good. This camera also has a 22-mm wide angle lens.

The Honor 3C is powered by the Android 4.2 OS. Then there is this additional benefit of the EmotionUI 2.0 system (developed by Huawei) that makes phone management simple. For example, it starts your selected applications automatically when you turn the phone on. Besides, your applications also get better security through features such as harassment filter, permission manager and notification manager. It also gets motion control feature so that you can flip it to mute, shake to rearrange, double touch to turn on the screen and slide to turn on the screen and open specified apps.

Powered by a 2300 mAh battery, the Honor 3C also gets the Huawei patented power saving technology that uses the power 30% more efficiently than any other phone. This means that you can play more games, watch more videos and talk longer on a single charge. Although we couldn’t use 3G for a long period of time on the Honor 3C, we believe the battery life is among its strongest points.

At Rs 14,999, the Honor 3C is in a segment where it has to face a lot of competition. Agreed, it is not the best looker of the lot, but it certainly is among the better performers.

Estimated street price: Rs 14,999

Xolo Win Q900s With Windows Phone 8.1 Launched at Rs. 11,999


After launching the Xolo Q900s, the Android version of the handset on Wednesday, the firm has finally launched the Windows Phone 8.1 version of the handset, the Win Q900s, listing it on its site with a buy now option and a price of Rs. 11,999.

Clicking on the buy button for the Xolo Win Q900s on the company's site, users are led to Snapdeal, where the phone is listed as sold-out at Rs. 10,999. Notably, Snapdeal also started taking pre-orders for the Xolo Win Q900s since last month for a discounted price of Rs. 9,999. Interestingly, the phone has also been listed on Flipkart, where the handset is listed as available at Rs. 11,999.

Xolo claims that the Win Q900s smartphone, with a weight of 100 grams, is the lightest Windows Phone smartphone available. The Xolo Win Q900s is a dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) device and the first smartphone in the company's line-up to run Windows Phone 8.1.

The Win Q900s features a 4.7-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display with One Glass Solution (OGS) and Dragon Trail Glass. The Xolo Win Q900s is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (MSM 8212) alongside 1GB of RAM and Adreno 302 GPU.

The Xolo Win Q900s sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with PureCel sensor and LED flash, while it also houses a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The smartphone includes 8GB of inbuilt storage which is further expandable up to 32GB via microSD card.

The smartphone is currently available in Black colour variants only. The smartphone measures 135x67x7mm. The Win Q900s packs an 1800mAh battery which is rated to deliver up to 14 hours of talk time and up to 246 hours of standby time on 3G network. The smartphone comes with GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and Micro-USB connectivity options.

Spice launches Android KitKat smartphones Stellar 526, 520

Indian smartphone brand Spice has launched two budget smartphones, named Stellar 526 and Stellar 520. The former has been priced at Rs 11,499, while the latter can be purchased for Rs 8,999.

Both smartphones feature 5-inch IPS displays with 720p resolution and run on Android 4.4 (KitKat). The two also have 1GB RAM and 8MP rear cameras with LED flash.

Stellar 526 will compete against Moto G, Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo, HTC Desire 516, Sony Xperia L and Xolo Q2000. Spice has pitted Stellar 520 against the likes of Asus ZenFone 5, Lava X1, Nokia Lumia 630 Dual, Sony Xperia M, Xolo Q1010i and Micromax Canvas Doodle 3.

Spice Stellar 526 is powered by a 1.5GHz hexa-core processor, where all cores can run simultaneously, and has a 600MHz Mali 450 GPU. It has 8GB internal storage and support microSD card expansion up to 32GB. The smartphone is 8.3mm-thick, has a 2,500mAh battery, 3.2MP front camera, dual Wi-Fi mode (5GHz and 2.4GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-sim (3G+3G) support.

The new Stellar 520 runs on a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and comes with 4GB internal storage, with microSD support up to 32GB. This smartphone also has dual-sim (3G+3G) functionality, but comes with a 2,000mAh battery and 2MP camera. Other features of the smartphone include Bluetooth 3.0 and thickness of 8.4mm.

Both smartphones are available in store starting today as well as Spice's e-commerce website Saholic. Spice is offering flip covers worth Rs 500 free with both smartphones.

Gionee Elife E7 Mini Gets Android 4.4.2 KitKat Update in India


Gionee, a popular Chinese smartphone maker, has released the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update for its Elife E7 Mini handset in India. It is worth noting that the smartphone, when launched in December last year, came with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.

For now, customers will not be able to update their handsets, and will have to visit a Gionee service centre (full list) to get their Elife E7 Mini updated to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The company made the announcement via a post on its Facebook page for India. A detailed changelog is also available (via Android OS), with the various changes the update brings with it.

The Android 4.4.2 KitKat update is said to bring a new desktop layout design, updated Amigo paper with redesigned user interface, Du speed booster for faster performance, new gaming user interface giving a better grip over gaming applications, as well as a new TouchPal input method and camcard.

The Gionee Elife E7 Mini also gets several changes to applications with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update, including updates for GioneeXender for high-speed file transfers, UC browser for much responsive and better page-loading effects, NQ Mobile Security, Kingsoft WPS, and Map for one single entrance into the main menu, come as a part of the OS update.

The Elife E7 Mini comes with a 4.7-inch display with a 720x1280 pixels resolution. It is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor alongside a Mali 450MP4 GPU and 1GB of RAM. The highlight of the Elife E7 mini is its 13-megapixel camera which comes with rotating capabilities; something we already saw on Oppo N1 smartphone.

Key Specs





Front Camera



720x1280 pixels




Android 4.2



Rear Camera


Battery capacity


Aircel unveils Micromax Canvas Beat 3G music smartphone

The Micromax Canvas Beat has been launched in India as the first 3G music smartphone and Aircel appears to hold exclusivity over it in the country. The device will be available through the network provider for just under Rs 10000, bundled with various features.

Micromax Canvas Beat 
What’s more, the Micromax Canvas Beat will be packed with content designed specifically for music buffs, reports BGR India where PTI has been cited as the source. The smartphone is yet to make its appearance on the company’s website, but popped up on an online retailer last month where it was tagged at Rs 9499.

For reminder’s sake, this same smartphone was one of the first from Micromax to go on sale in Russia and a rebranded version has been available in India for months now as the Canvas 2.2 A114. Well, the handset has a different design altogether and based on the retail listing, it features dual stereo speaks on the rear.

For an entry-level handset, it has other interesting attributes as well, including a 5-inch qHD display, dual SIM support and HSPA+ 21Mbps. The Canvas Beat also packs a 1.2GHz quad core processor, an entire gigabyte of RAM, 4GB of storage and microSD memory expansion. Then there’s a 2MP front camera and an 8MP rear snapper, while a 1900mAh battery is tucked away on the inside.

Overview of the Micromax Canvas Beat specs:

- OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, 32GB expandable
- Chipset: 1.2GHz quad core
- Display: 5-inch qHD panel
- Connectivity: Dual SIM, HSPA+, Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi
- Battery: 1900mAh
- Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front
- Dimensions: 147.9mm x 72.4mm x 8.6mm
- Weight: 144 grams

Aircel should start offering the Micromax Canvas Beat soon or you can register for alerts on HomeShop18 to be notified when the device is available.

HTC One (M8) receives Android 4.4.3 KitKat update

HTC's Vice President of Management, Mo Versi, has posted a tweet saying that the HTC One (M8) Android 4.4.3 OTA update will arrive "late next week." The update will be available to the international unlocked version of the phone as well as its developer edition.

Versi added that the update includes security fixes from the Android 4.4.4 version, which is good news. This means the company will skip the Android 4.4.4 update for the device and move straight to the Android L-release and do it fast.

The carrier versions of the phone for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will also receive the update. Sprint users have been lucky and are already rocking Android 4.4.3 on their One (M8).

LG's Smartwatch Shows Android Wear Operating System Has a Long Way to Go

GOOGLE has a new operating system for wearable devices like smartwatches. It’s called Android Wear and it works like a miniature version of an Android phone on your wrist.

One day, it will do a lot of things, from telling your Nest Thermostat (also made by Google) to turn up the heat because you are on your way home to reminding your television to record a baseball game. It offers a glimpse of a smartwatch future — useful and integrated with your entire digital life.

But that’s the rosy future and this, sadly, is the half-baked now. Although Android Wear is simple and familiar for Android users to operate, its overall incompleteness make it a must-have only for the truly enthusiastic tech fan.

I tried Android Wear on the $230 LG G Watch, one of two smartwatches that run the operating system. The other is the Samsung Gear Live, which costs $200.

The LG G Watch does little to elevate the style and wearability of smartwatches.

It’s a beefy, indelicate package even though LG is trying to make the watch seem more high-fashion and possibly even appealing to women.

The watch is available with either a black band or a white band with gold accents, and you can change out its strap. The white band looks nicer in photos, but no band can diminish the sheer size of the big square watch face or its inorganic rectangular shape.

I got the black-on-black version, which looks a bit like one of the house-arrest monitoring devices you’d wear on an ankle.

The LG G Watch has no buttons, other than a reset button on the back. You operate it with taps and gestures on its 1.6-inch screen. To power it on, you place it on a bulky external charger. To start using it, you download the free Android Wear app to your smartphone (Android only) and match it to the watch using Bluetooth.

It is easy to pair the watch with the phone.

The Android Wear app feels unfinished, however.

It has a simple interface, but feels as if it were meant for app developers rather than consumers.

For example, the settings screen includes an option for “Debugging over Bluetooth.”

When you’re pairing with a new device, one option is, “Pair with emulator.” And one of the two separate settings menus includes an option called Demo Cards that just sends examples of Android Wear features to the watch — fake package tracking notifications, restaurant reservations, boarding passes and so on.

Android Wear seems still in the experimental stage, but this app is not labeled a beta.

In fact, when I mentioned these odd features, an Android Wear product manager seemed surprised they were in the app at all. By the time you read this, they could be gone.

He said Demo Cards, though, was intentionally included to show what’s possible with Android Wear. It is a long list that includes traffic, weather and sports scores, as well as boarding passes, flight status and coming reservations and calendar appointments.

All those notifications are courtesy of Google Now, the digital assistant that scans your email, search history and location history to offer information it thinks you need throughout the day.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

I’m a fan of Google Now, but it has shortcomings. For one thing, all your scheduling emails have to go to the same email address — the one you’re using for Google Now. So if you book a flight for business and send the confirmation to your work address, it might not get tracked.

Also, notifications appear inconsistently, even for things like incoming email.

That said, having Google Now notifications on your Android Wear device puts it well ahead of other smartwatches.

It is rich and usually has useful information. And the notifications are subtle: Information cards simply appear, without beeping or buzzing. The same is true for notifications about tweets or Facebook updates.

The watch buzzes gently when you get new email or texts, and sounds like a ringing phone when someone is calling.

But you can disable alerts for emails, and the notifications for texts and calls are useful.

The watch interface is simple: Just swipe left, right, up or down for more information, to get rid of cards or to access more features. And voice controls are a major benefit.

You can use your voice to initiate text or email messages, open apps and ask for Google Now information. For example, you can tap the watch and say “My reservations” to see coming appointments.

Voice controls depend on individual apps. LG, the maker of the LG G Watch, hasn’t updated its text message app on the LG G3 smartphone to support voice controls on Android Wear, so you can’t use your voice to respond to text messages that show up on the watch. But it works reliably with Google products: You can speak responses to Google Hangouts (Google’s app for messaging and videoconferencing) or incoming mail on a Google account.

And the voice recognition on the LG G Watch is shaky. Composing texts and emails is frustrating, and when a sentence was too long or complicated, the watch simply gave me a “disconnected” error.

Google wouldn’t provide an exact count of available apps, but said most Android apps could do basic notifications through the watch. The Android Wear app links to a curated list of about 40 apps with more advanced features for Android Wear.

But these also have a way to go before they’re truly useful. I use an app called Eat24 to order restaurant delivery.

In Android Wear, the app only lets you reorder the last thing you got. And it’s hard to tell what you’re doing: I accidentally ordered $45 worth of Indian food and had to call customer support to cancel.

Not all your daily apps may be available, either. There’s no Uber app, so I installed Lyft. On the watch, you can say, “O.K., Google, call a car.” But be warned: The next thing you know, a car is on the way.

The Lyft app works with one tap on the phone, and there is no confirmation screen.

Using your voice and a wristwatch to call a car to your precise location is both futuristic and really superconvenient. Android Wear presents a vision of a legitimately useful wearable future.

One thing to watch for is the intriguing Moto 360, by Motorola Mobility (which Google is in the process of selling to Lenovo), which is supposed to arrive “later this summer,” according to Google.

It will also run Android Wear and has an attractive, round watch face.

But right now, there are a few too many kinks for me to recommend Android Wear to anyone but hard-core tech enthusiasts. And that’s fine: It seems Google isn’t quite ready, either.

EA delays 'Battlefield,' 'Dragon Age'

The heavy October video game slate just got a little lighter.

Electronic Arts revealed it will push two of its big releases -- Battlefield: Hardline and Dragon Age: Inquisition -- out of October. Hardline will launch in 2015, while Dragon Age arrives on November 18.

In a statement released on the official Battlefield blog, Karl Magnus Troedsson, vice president and group general manager of studio DICE, said the delay was fueled by player feedback off a beta testing period for Hardline that launched during June's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

"The more we thought about these ideas, the more we knew we had to get them into the game you will all be playing," said Troedsson. "However, there was only one problem. We would need more time. Time that we didn't have if we decided to move forward with launching in just a couple of months."

Hardline is being developed by Dead Space studio Visceral Games in a collaboration with DICE. The games steps away from the traditional military battlefield in favor of urban warfare between cops and crooks. A multiplayer game mode showcased at E3 featured Heists, where robbers and police battle over stolen loot.

As for Dragon Age, executive producer Mark Darrah said in a statement the game was pushed back by a month to further polish the experience.

"I'm privileged to be a part of a team that has been working very hard to surpass every measure they've set for themselves," says Darrah. "That has meant completing huge amounts of game content, fixing bugs both big and small, and improving the overall experience."

Inquisition takes place during a war between mages and templars, and players and their party of allies must restore order.

The delays move both titles away from an increasingly packed October video game schedule. Among the games launching that month: Alien: Isolation, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, NBA 2K15, The Evil Within, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Evolve.

Apple May Debut iPhone 6, iTime Watch This Fall

The Apple logo is seen at an Apple store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Apple is likely planning a September event to unveil the next generation iPhone 6, followed by a debut of a much anticipated smartwatch called “iTime” in October, according to reports by Silicon Valley insiders.

An Apple keynote speech tentatively planned for mid-September will reveal a new iPhone 6, and announce final details on the new iOS 8 operating system for the company’s devices, Apple-focused blog 9to5Mac reports. New features for iOS may include dual-screen multitasking mode for iPads and new functions for its Maps application, 9to5Mac reports.

The new iPhone may also use Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint password feature unveiled on the 2013 iPhone 5S as part of a new mobile payment system, which would partner with credit card firms like Visa, 9to5Mac reports.

 Unveiling a new phone in September has become something of an annual event for Apple, which has sold more than 500 million units of the iPhone worldwide since the product first debuted in 2007. Despite its success the company is under pressure from investors and competitors to unveil new types of products.

To keep its innovative edge Apple has been widely reported that it will unveil a health-monitoring smart watch in October, designed to be both fashionable as a watch and functional as a fitness wristband. That device may be called the iTime, according to a patent granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to the patent, which includes diagrams, the watch will sync with iPhones, iPads and other computers in a "personal wireless environment."

 The patent outlines that sensors in the device may respond to arm and wrist gestures, which could be used to answer calls or make other commands. The patent also indicates the watch with a square-shaped can be removed from straps and operate like an iPod.

Apple, known for a design culture of perfection, might feature more bells and whistles on it's iTime than those on similar devices such as those supported by Google’s Android Wear operating system. That culture also might leave open the possibility that while Apple could debut the smartwatch in October, it might not sell the watch immediately to allow a final chance to tinker with the design.

Images leaked by phone component makers earlier this year also hint at what the iPhone 6 may look like. The next generation iPhone will likely have a 4.7-inch screen, featuring a slimmer frame and wider screen than the current iPhone 5S. 

Hacking virus ‘Bladabindi’ may be lurking in your pen drives and operating systems

‘Bladabindi’ is a virus you need to be wary of if you live in India, since this cyber bug is wreaking havoc in the country and has a high potential of compromising you personal details. The state-run Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued a warning about this virus and has also suggested some countermeasures against it.

Representational Image
‘Bladabindi’ has the potential of infecting the Microsoft Windows operating system and is mainly spreading through USB flash drives or pen drives as they’re more commonly known in India. It steals sensitive user information from infected computers and is even capable to propagating further malware downloads to provide remote attackers with backdoor access.

CERT-In has said that this virus can use up to 12 aliases so as to conceal its real identity, and moreover, it can be created easily through a publicly available malicious hacker tool. While bypassing firewalls is one of its properties, it has been reported to steal your name, country, Windows username, OS version and more importantly, saved passwords on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

The agency has suggested a few measures that can be taken in order to ensure that you’re not affected by ‘Bladabindi.’ Firstly, a complete system scan needs to be performed with any antivirus software which is up to date. Secondly, you should also disable the autorun functionality in Windows and scan your USB drives before opening them.

These simple measures can keep you away from the ‘Bladabindi’ hacking virus, but to stay safe on the Internet, you should also be cautious about the legitimacy of the links you’re clicking, the attachments you’re downloading and sites you’re visiting.

Oplus XonPhone 5 launched on Snapdeal with Android 4.4.2 KitKat

The Oplus XonPhone 5 may have a weird name, but it has gone official in India featuring a pretty alluring design and a decent offering of specs. The handset is being sold exclusively through Snapdeal where it’s priced at 7999 and is already available to purchase.

Oplus XonPhone 5
The Oplus XonPhone 5 is the second device to reach India from the Taiwanese company. The Oplus XonPad 7 which is a 7-inch Android tablet was launched earlier this year and was also exclusively sold through Snapdeal. The new smartphone is KitKat powered which gives it an advantage over many others still stuck on Jelly Bean.

If that wasn’t enough, the phone packs a good deal of features at the said price. Most handsets in this range would offer a low-resolution display, but the XonPhone 5 is equipped with a 5-inch IPS panel proffering 720p HD visuals.

Coming to the design, the smartphone looks nothing out of the ordinary from the front, but flip over to the rear and you’ll be presented with a textured panel. It more or less looks like a combination of LG G3’s arc look with the Samsung Galaxy S5’s dimpled finish. The phone is 8mm thick and it tips the scales at 170 grams which is quite heavy for its size.

Oplus XonPhone 5 key specs:

- 5-inch HD IPS OGS display
- 1.3GHz quad core MediaTek processor
- 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, 32GB expandable
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- Dual SIM slots
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front shooter
- 2000mAh battery

If you’re interested in the Oplus XonPhone 5, head over to Snapdeal to purchase the smartphone in options of silver, grey and gold shades.

Nintendo is back: why summer 2014 belongs to the Wii U

Nintendo's star gets wheels in Mario Kart 8. 

Nintendo's star gets wheels in Mario Kart 8. Mario Kart 8 – one of the best games you'll play this summer

It is the oldest cliche in the great book of video game cliches: never underestimate Nintendo.

The industry veteran is a master of comebacks and agenda-setting lateral business moves; it practically invented handheld gaming as a viable global entertainment platform; it watched its 95% console market share eaten away by the Mega Drive, and then pummelled its upstart competition with a hundred classic SNES games.

Then it fell behind Sony and Microsoft in the tech arms race, so it built the Wii out of old bits and pieces it found in Radio Shack and sold a 100m units.

As for the Wii U? It's been a sorry tale so far. A bungled announcement, an inability to explain what the GamePad is for, a lack of games, the dwindling support of the major third-party game publishers. It all looked pretty grim for a while.

But in a survey published by IHS Technology and Gamer Network this week, consumers showed a 50% increase in "purchasing intent" for the Wii U, after a wonderful showing at the E3 games event in Los Angeles.

Big, bright family games like Yoshi's Woolly World, Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker, Super Smash Bros and Mario Maker promised fun in abundance; a world away from the grittily bombastic, grim-faced action adventures duking it out in however-many-frames-per-second on PS4 and Xbox One.

And then there's Mario Kart 8, easily a game of the year contender with half the year to go. It is a sublime and inventive addition to a much-loved series, combining all the traits we have come to expect from top line Nintendo-developed titles: accessibility, variety and depth.

Kids can play against each other, parents can play against kids, adults can play against each other, and everyone has a chance – and yet skilled driving is always rewarded. It will be a key feature of many lazy days during the coming school holidays (note: families can still go outside while not enjoying video games – it's okay to have both).

The key thing is that there's not much coming from the other "next-gen" consoles to counter Mario Kart 8 this summer. There will be a few interesting digital-only releases, but the mainstream schedule is, as usual, a wasteland until September.

This gives Nintendo several weeks to really push the Wii U, centred on Mario Kart 8, but also reminding people about a back catalogue that, while hardly an embarrassment of riches, is certainly not an actual embarrassment. Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101 and Lego City Undercover are all there to be discovered.

Nintendo is even trying to improve the Wii U's online functionality. A new update allows players to finally transfer data and accounts from one machine to another, and to navigate more easily to the eShop digital store.

And there are hints that the company may finally be making games that genuinely explore the capabilities of the GamePad, the Wii U's "second screen" controller that promised a future of asymmetrical multiplayer experiences, but then delivered... a gigantic Fisher Price tablet that pretty much acted as a glorified mini-map for most titles.

At E3, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto showed off a couple of interesting experimental concepts – Project Giant Robot and Project Guard – that use the device in interesting ways. And the team-based shooter Splatoon has promise.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have some amazing titles lined up for later in the year, and even more in 2015. Let's not get silly here: Wii U is not going to trouble them for some time – if ever. But it can safe itself from the nosedive.

And right now, you can get Wii U and Mario Kart 8 in a bundle for £240 and that's probably the most fun you're going to have with a games machine this summer (while you're not outside at the beach or cycling or, you know, hand-gliding off the Malvern hills or whatever).

Nintendo needs to move fast – with its marketing, with its special offers, with whatever it has. Fun and light have always been the dual currencies of the Nintendo empire, and we need both right now. 

Yo-Yo Ma! Seinfeld Emoji Have Come to the iPhone

Yo-Yo Ma! Seinfeld Emoji Have Come to the iPhone 

With hundreds of emoji supported on iPhone, Android, and the Web, it seemed like there was a smiley face, cartoon figure, or icon for almost any occasion imaginable. 

That is, until you wanted to call someone a Soup Nazi and had to actually type it out with boring old text.

But that’s all in the past now, because a new iPhone app called Emoji – Seinfeld Editionjust launched featuring 42 Seinfeld emoji to help you better express your inner Art Vandelay.

There are all the main characters, of course, as well as a Junior Mints emoji, a Kenny Bania emoji, both of Jerry Seinfeld’s parents, a Pez dispenser, the Frogger machine, and other favorites. 

The app doesn’t replace your phone’s current emoji keyboard –– that feature is coming with iOS 8, due out this fall –– so, for now, the only way to share these Seinfeld icons is by exporting them from the app as picture messages, Twitter images, or Facebook/Instagram photos. You can also save them to your Camera Roll for sharing in any other way you like.

Emoji – Seinfeld Edition.

Much like everything else Seinfeld today, Emoji – Seinfeld Edition was hatched from the brain of the indispensable Jason Richards, mastermind behind @seinfeld2000. For more than a year and a half, Richards’ amusingly sic-laden “Seinfeld Current Day” stream of consciousness has helped us “imagen” what the former NBC-TV show Seinfeld would be like if it were still on the air today. The Twitter account is packed with images of the show’s characters involved in typically high-tech and NYC-centric activities, and is a lampoon of the more popular, workaday @SeinfeldToday account. 

Many of the 42 emoji in the app are modernized versions of the characters and icons we remember, as imagined by Richards: Jerry wearing Google Glass, for example and a Breaking Bad version of the dentist Tim Whatley (played by Bryan Cranston, who went on to play Walter White). 

Some classic emoji we felt were missing from the collection — and some missed opportunities for “modarnizing” the characters: Kramer’s coffee table ebook about coffee tables, the couch Poppie peed on, David Puddy with New Jersey Devil face paint, Elaine with ombré hair, a poison envelope, H.E. Pennypacker wearing a smartwatch, a GORE-TEX coat, a Cronut muffin top, and Fusilli Jerry.

At the time of launch, this Seinfeld app is available only on iPhone (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The creators have promised an Android version, but no release date has been announced. Of course, we’re hoping it’s before the holidays, because that would surely feel like a Festivus miracle for us Google smartphone owners.

We could go on and on — yada yada yada — about the emoji app forever, but unless you’re too much of a hipster doofus, you iPhone people should probably just try Emoji – Seinfeld Edition for yourself. It’s free, so grab it now from iTunes, Mojambo.

Tech Five: Facebook, Nokia stock soaring

Two tech companies are surging early in midday trading. Let's take a look at the technology stocks to watch Thursday:

Facebook. Shares of the social network are up 7% -- double its IPO price of $38 -- as mobile ad revenue continues to spur growth. The company reported a 61% bump in revenue and more than doubled its profit during the second quarter. Meanwhile, mobile advertising revenue skyrocketed 151% compared to the same time last year.

Nokia. The sale of its handset business to Microsoft seems to be paying off. Shares of Nokia are up 7.5% after boosting its forecast on profit for the year, AP reports. Although revenue dipped during the second quarter, profit jumped 20%. The company closed its deal to sell its handset unit to Microsoft for more than $7 billion in April.

Amazon. The online retailing titan reports second quarter earnings after the markets close, just as its first entry into the smartphone market makes its debut. Amazon is predicted to report a loss of 15 cents per share off $19.3 billion in revenue, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pandora. Shares of the streaming music service jumped 1.6% ahead of its second quarter earnings announcement Thursday. Analysts expect quarterly revenue of $218 million with an earnings per share of 3 cents.

Twitter. The social media company becomes the latest tech firm scrutinized for a lack of diversity after releasing workforce figures Wednesday. In the U.S., nearly 90% of Twitter's employees are white or Asian, while men make up 70% of all staff.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Flipkart launches e-learning category

Flipkart launches e-learning category

Homegrown online marketplace Flipkart Wednesday announced the launch of its E-learning category.

With over 1900 products and titles, this category will offer an exhaustive range of E-learning material, certification courses and online tests catering to students with a variety of requirements, Flipkart said in a release.

With this announcement, Flipkart will be extending its virtual academic books category to feature a selection of offerings for students in schools, colleges as well as those students appearing for competitive exams, it added.

Flipkart said study material from reputed brands like Career Launcher, Edurite, EduKart, Merit Nation, TCY Online and Practice Guru, will be a part of this selection.

Also, Flipkart will continue to expand its E-learning portfolio with exclusive offerings for students with varied needs, it stated.

"The availability of eBooks, certificate courses and online tests - all on one platform, will make the entire process of buying/accessing e-learning material very easy for students who form a significant part of our customer base today," Flipkart Senior Director (Retail) Nipun Mehra said.      

Did Nadella confirm that Windows 9 will replace three OSes?

Did Nadella confirm that Windows 9 will replace three OSes?

Amidst all the bad news about job losses and closures, somewhere in Microsoft's quarterly conference call, held yesterday, the company's CEO Satya Nadella, confirmed that the company was working towards a unified Windows operating system, potentially replacing Windows RT, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Following the release of the Universal Windows Apps developer tools back in April, Nadella said that "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes."

He added, "In the past we had multiple teams working on different versions of Windows. Now we have one team with a common architecture. This allows us to scale, create Universal Windows Apps."

In practice, developers are still having to deal with two fundamentally different architectures (x86 and ARM) but development tools (like Visual Studio) transparently handles the coding process, making it less demanding in terms of money and human resource.

Microsoft biggest competitors, Apple and Google are also likely to merge their mobile and desktop OSes; MacOS has adopted some of iOS' features while Google confirmed years ago that Chrome OS and Android will merge sooner or later.

What that entails in the long term is an architecture agnostic approach that focuses more on the market, the audience needs and the screen sizes. Windows Pro, Windows Phone, Windows Enterprise, Windows Embedded and other versions will still exist, albeit in slightly different formats.

Sony India unveils Xperia T3 priced at Rs27,990

Sony India unveils Xperia T3 priced at Rs27,990

Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. on Wednesday introduced the ultra thin smartphone Xperia T3 for the Indian market priced at Rs.27,990. 

The handset, with a screen size of 5.3 inches, will be available in white, black and purple. It will be at retail outlets by the end of this month. 

“Xperia T3 is a light smartphone designed from premium materials including stainless steel. The industry-leading Sony technology is packed into world’s slimmest smartphone,” the company said in a release. 

Featuring a high definition (HD) display with Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, Xperia T3 remains light at a mere 148 grams, it added. 

The phone comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a 2500 mAh battery, as well as an 8-megapixel camera. 

Xperia T3 features camera apps such as Social live that allows the user to broadcast live via Facebook and allows to share comments in real time on the phone’s screen. 

It also has Xperia Transfer, a simple app that helps move contacts, photos, bookmarks, apps, music, messages from an old Android or iOS device to the new Xperia T3. 

It will be available at all Sony centres, Xperia Flagship and major electronic stores across India from 28 July.

Android KitKat 4.4.4 update causes problems on the Motorola Moto

Android KitKat 4.4.4 update causes problems on the Motorola Moto X

Updates are designed to fix past issues, at least in theory. Sometimes however, things do go wrong. Such was the case with the Android KitKat 4.4.3 update on the Nexus line, and history seems to be repeating itself now with the Android KitKat 4.4.4 update too. This time however, the affected phone seems to be the Motorola Moto X. Apparently, multiple Moto X users have posted complains on the Moto X boards about poor battery life following the KitKat 4.4.4 update. The firmware seems to have done more wrong than right this time around, seriously affecting the phone’s battery life.

The problems come from various sources, such as data cache problems with applications that cause additional drain, poor network signal which also affects battery life due to constant signal searching and even problems with overheating. In addition, the WiFi signal receiving seems to be affected, as well as the carrier frequencies, which all add up to considerably hit the phone’s power reserves. There are of course temporary workarounds to keep a lid on things for now, but if you’ve already upgraded to KitKat 4.4.4, you’ll likely be facing some issues that can’t really be solved until Motorola launches a new firmware version. Using Airplane Mode can help with network signal search drains, while setting your WiFi to stop connecting to weak signal networks may also be of some use.

Why Apple’s iPhone 6 should launch on September 12th

iPhone 6 and iOS 8 Release Date

While some reports say the next-gen iPhones will be launched on September 19th – not to mention that some retailers already offer pre-order options of the iPhone 6, despite the fact that it doesn’t yet exist – Business Insider has a different take on when the iPhone 6 should be released.

The publication says that since Tim Cook took over the CEO position from Steve Jobs, Apple always launched an iPhone two days after the operating system version made alongside that model was released for earlier devices. And the latest iOS version was released to users exactly 100 days after being unveiled at that year’s WWDC edition.

That’s why Apple may launch iOS 8 on September 10th (a Wednesday) and the iPhone 6 on September 12th (a Friday).

iOS was introduced on June 11th, released 100 days later (on Wednesday, September 19th) and followed two days later, on a Friday, by the iPhone 5. iOS 7 was unveiled on June 10th, released 100 days later on September 18th (again a Wednesday), and followed by the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on September 20th, also a Friday – Apple almost always launches new iPhones on a Friday.

This year, Apple unveiled iOS 8 on June 2nd at WWDC. By applying the same math, September 12th comes up as the potential launch date for the iPhone 6.

Unless the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s launches were simple coincidences – launching 102 days after their respective iOS version were unveiled – Apple could follow a similar pattern this year with the new iPhone 6 models.