Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Google Nexus 8 Confirmed as HTC T1 aka Volantis/Flounder with Freshly-Leaked Specs & Features – Reports

More leaked details appear to confirm that the upcoming HTC T1 tablet will be the Google Nexus 6 on release date as the fresh torrent of tweets revealed the device's market destination and accessories.

Before August 2014 ended, @UpLeaks, who seemingly replaced the recently retired @evleaks in providing exciting information on forthcoming devices, let out series of tweets that revealed some juicy details about the HTC T1.

In the first revelation, @UpLeaks teased that the T1, which he maintained is the Nexus 8, will come out of the box with a sufficient supply of accessories - case cover and keyboard alike.

"HTC T1 accessories; Magic Cover Leather (Natural/Black), Magic Cover TPU (Coral Amethyst/Mint Indigo/Lime Stone/Indigo Black), Keyboard Folio," said the shout out on August 30.

In his second tweet, @UpLeaks seemed to confirm that the stock Android tab will the market in Wi-Fi and cellular versions and among the countries to initially get the device are Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan and Korea.

This next Nexus is destined to "soooooo many countries," the gadget scooper said, hinting that fans from Asia and Europe are sure to play around with the device very soon.

The series of tweets, however, stopped short of saying when exactly is the HTC T1 coming to town.

Earlier, the same leak source echoed the prevailing belief among the Android universe that Google has chosen HTC to build the Nexus 7 successor, which is an 8.9-inch device that goes by the internal name Flounder or Volantis.

It is also alleged that the Nexus 8 is a beast that will draw its power from a dual-core 64-bit Tegra K1 processing chip. The CPU's existence was recently affirmed in a press release issued by NVIDIA, which highlighted the Project David chip's top-notch performance capabilities and high energy-efficient quality.

And like its Nexus 6 cousin, the Nexus 8 or 9 (owing to its near 9-inch profile) will be the first Android device to benefit from the Android L experience that Google had previewed during the 2014 edition of its annual I/O Developers Conference last June.

In a recent report, it was suggested that the upcoming Android edition is actually the build 5.0 that will effectively end the 4x-series. By replacing KitKat 4.4x, Google will reportedly label the next Android version as Lemon Meringue Pie or LMP.

So LMP is likely coming out with the Nexus 8 release date on November 2014, per projections by Android watchers, or a few weeks after the deemed Nexus 6 rollout in October.

What to do when your laptop's touchpad stops working

The built-in touchpad in Raji Yusuff Oluwagbenga's laptop no longer works, making Windows nearly impossible to use. Here's how to (hopefully) fix the problem.

0901 mouse properties

Have you ever tried to use a Windows PC without a mouse, touchpad, or other pointing device? It's all but impossible. So when your laptop's touchpad stops responding to your fingers, you've got a problem.

If the problem just started, reboot your computer and see if that fixes it. (Yes, I know that's painfully obvious, but we all sometimes overlook the obvious.) If that doesn't work, try these solutions.

First, make sure you haven't accidentally disabled the touchpad. In all likelihood, there's a key combination that will toggle the touchpad on and off. It usually involves holding down the Fn key (which is probably near the lower-left corner of the keyboard) while pressing another key.

But what other key should you press? It's probably one of the function keys (F1 through F12), although it might be something else. Examine the keyboard, paying particular attention to the little icons (usually blue) on some of the keys. Look for an icon that might suggest the touchpad.

Unfortunately, not all touchpad icons are easy to figure out. I never would have guessed the one on my Lenovo X220. I found it by googling the model name and number plus disable touchpad. If you can't guess the icon, I suggest you do the same.

If that doesn't fix the problem, check the touchpad settings. Go to the Start menu or the Windows 8 search charm and type mouse settings. Select Change mouse settings (there are other options that are very similar, so pick the one with that exact wording).

Once in the dialog box, click the tab that seems to be for your touchpad (the name varies from model to model). Make sure that everything is enabled. If there are setting buttons, make sure that everything is on.

If that doesn't help, you may need a new driver. Go to your laptop manufacturer's web site and search for your model number and the words touchpad driver. See if there's a driver you can download and install.

If none of these suggestions work, you've got a hardware problem. Assuming you're not ready to try this sort of repair yourself, you have two options: You can send the laptop to a shop for repairs, or you can buy a small, wireless mouse and use that in its place.

Nintendo Says Star Fox, Zelda And More Coming In 2015

zelda wii u

Nintendo has just unveiled a new schedule of sorts for the Wii U, one with twenty new games spanning 2014 and 2015, but only one solid release date between them.

Hyrule Warriors, with its (hopefully) firm September 26th premiere kicks off the parade that ends 2014 with a holiday release of Super Smash Bros. Many have worried that Smash may not actually make the 2014 cut, as it keeps drawing closer and closer without an actual release date in sight. Granted, Nintendo still has a few months to firm up that date, but a few fans are getting nervous nonetheless.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Nintendo is now putting the new Wii U Star Fox in 2015 as well, alongside the hotly anticipated Wii U Zelda title. But while Zelda at least received an official preview at this year’s E3, we’ve heard/seen next to nothing regarding Star Fox, and it remains a mystery where Miyamoto will take the franchise.

It seems…ambitious for Nintendo to list both of these games as 2015. Zelda is tacked on as the last title on a chart that does seem to largely be in chronological order. The odds seem fairly low of a game that massive in scope (the new Zelda is said to be open world with a non-traditional mission structure) will be out on time given Nintendo’s forever sliding release dates. Not that it’s a bad thing for them to delay it and make it better, it’s just that at this point, you look at a chart like this and almost expect at least half the games shown to be delayed past their proposed launch windows, Zelda especially.

The chart serves an additional purpose of at least letting consumers know that good games for the Wii U are coming. Obviously Smash, Star Fox and Zelda are the heavy hitters, but all in all it seems to be a pretty solid line-up.

But obviously Nintendo’s first-party games have never been their issue. The problem is now is that you’re probably looking at nearly every game worth playing on the Wii U over the next two years. And that means you’re missing a huge collection of third party, multi-platform titles that will be appearing on PS4 and Xbox One.

Nintendo’s third party support has gotten so bad now, losing even staple franchises like Madden and Call of Duty alongside missing out on new series like Destiny, that their calender looks nothing like its competition. That could be viewed as a plus in some ways, as a welcome alternative to the boring Microsoft/Sony slugfest, but not when it comes at the expense of a lot of great games. Xbox One and PS4 share an identical third party line-up, swapping out a few exclusive series here and there, but Nintendo is becoming more and more on an island.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun little world, but imagine if this list of great first party, third-party collabs were bolstered by a more traditional line-up of multiplatform games. There’d be no stopping Nintendo. And yet, for many, it’s clear that the Wii U cannot serve as a primary game console, as if you only own it and no other system, you’ll miss out on an incredible amount of third party games.

I think this is a pretty killer list for the Wii U, spread across the next few years. But, if these really are all the major titles Nintendo has coming up, I’m slightly worried for 2015. When the two biggest titles listed for 2015 are also the two that seem most likely to be delayed, I’m wondering how the Wii U will fare if Splatoon, Yoshi and Kirby are the biggest games of the year instead, and Nintendo has nearly no third-party, multiplatform hits to back them up.

Xbox One Minecraft Is Nearly Ready

he Xbox One version of Minecraft, Mojang's open-ended sandbox game, is nearly ready to be released. Developer 4J Studios writes on Twitter that the game has been handed over to Microsoft for final certification testing. If the game passes, you can expect it to be released soon.

Mincraft for Xbox One is already late, as it was originally expected to launch on Microsoft's new console in August.

4J Studios sent the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft to Sony for certification last month, but the game failed Sony's testing. The developer has since re-submitted the game.

If you already own the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 version of Minecraft, you can get the game on Xbox One or PS4 for $5, and your saves will carry forward. When it's released, the PS Vita version of Minecraft will be available as a cross-buy game with the PS3 iteration.

Minecraft has been an incredible success since its full release on PC in 2011. The game has sold around 54 million copies across all platforms, and it's even possible that it could come to Nintendo platforms like the Wii U or 3DS someday.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Nexus 6 Release Date, Price & Specs: Nexus 5 Discounted; Nexus X Codename 'Motorola Shamu' Launch Depends on Google's Smartwatch, Nexus 8 Plans

nexus 6

Discounts and lower prices for the Google Nexus 5 suggest that the Nexus 6 might be released soon, according to Christian Today. The current iteration of the Nexus has been on the shelves for a year now, and with the idea of a newer version in the works, a price drop on the generally positively reviewed gadget is very much appreciated.

The Nexus 5 has been known for coming with a cheaper price tag when compared to the other high-end smartphones while providing excellent specifications at par with its direct competitors. Currently, the device is offered on eBay for $324.99 for the 16 GB variant -- a $25 drop from the original price. However, the 32 GB version is still sold at $400 in the Google Play Store.

It's not unreasonable to expect the release of the Nexus 6 to be sometime soon since slashing the price is something that has happened in the past to indicate that a new device is on its way. Also, it is a common trend to many things in the market, not just gadgets, to try to sell as many units as possible to exhaust the stocks of the present device.

According to PC Advisor, the Google Nexus 6 is being worked on by Motorola, giving it the codename Motorola Shamu. Another codename for the device is Nexus X. Rumors say that the specifications of the device would feature a 5.2-inch Quad-HD Display with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, a 12 or 13 megapixel primary camera and a 2.1 megapixel front camera. It would feature 32 GB storage and would run on Android 5.0 L. Of course, connectivity has been a standard for modern smartphones. The device is slated to cost about $550.

IB Times suggests that the Nexus 6 is set to be released around Halloween, or that it could be pushed back to November, depending on whether Google plans to release its other gadgets including their wearable smartwatch and the Nexus 8.

Google Sends Invites for September 15 India Event; Android One Launch Likely


Google has sent invitations for an event in India on September 15. While the invite itself says "More details closer to the date!", it is expected that the much-awaited Android One smartphones will make their debut at the event.

Android One was announced back in June at Google I/O with India's Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice the confirmed launch partners, though more Indian companies have reportedly joined the list since then.

Android One smartphones with their affordable price tag and near-stock Android software are Google's attempts to regain control of the customer experience in the entry-level segment. While the success of the likes of Moto E (Review | Pictures) has made a little bit of a difference, the experience in the sub-Rs. 10,000 smartphone segment has been sub-par for most Android users.

This can largely be attributed to low-end hardware and an OS that often comes pre-installed with all kinds of bloatware due to the marketing deals that many manufacturers sign in a bid to offset some of the costs.

Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Android, Chrome and Apps at Google told NDTV Gadgets that the Mountain View-based company will not subside Android One hardware. Instead, Pichai hoped that the by sharing resources between Google and the OEMs, the companies would be able to keep the total cost of manufacturing in check.

It is widely believed that Pichai himself will make an appearance at the September 15 event, given the importance of the Android One project to the company.

BlackBerry Unveils Four New Smartphones, Including new BlackBerry Q20

BlackBerry is going on the offensive to reclaim some of its lost market share with four new smartphones being released later this year. A news website devoted to the brand of smart-devices has obtained the company’s product roadmap for 2014. Despite fighting an uphill battle against Apple and Android devices which remain far more popular, BlackBerry is not giving up the fight yet. The released document shows four new smartphones slated for launch this autumn, each one targeting a different market demographic.

BlackBerry Q10 Review

The roadmap classifies the four new devices as “Affordable,” “Classic,” “Innovative,” and “Prestige.” The Classic Q20, innovative “Windermere” Passport, and prestige “Khan” P’9983 all sport the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboards, whereas the affordable “Manitoba” Z3 LTE is a more standard smartphone with a larger touchscreen and no keypad. The Passport and P’9983 are scheduled for a release in Q3 2014, whereas the Q20 and Z3 LTE have no stated 2014 launch date as of yet. However, given that new tech is usually launched in the fall, it is highly likely that they will be made available by Q4 of this year.

The Classic Q20 is aptly named, representing the most standard and recognizable of the BlackBerry designs. The Q20 will be the more affordable option for users who desire a physical keyboard, as the more powerful Z3 LTE and P’9983 are targeted at more up-scale markets. The Classic Q20 will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a trackpad for easy one-handed use. It will ship with the latest 10.3 BlackBerry OS. (Picture: BlackBerry Q10)

BlackBerry has lost most of its market share to its Apple iOS and Google Android competitors, but is not ceding the fight just yet.

The company is marketing its products towards professionals as well as average users who still desire a physical QWERTY keyboard on their smartphones, such as with the Classic Q20. BlackBerry may yet have the potential to recapture some lost ground and create a niche for itself, and the new devices being released this year will be a test for the company to rediscover its appeal to consumers.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S – Quick review

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S goes on sale starting tomorrow and if you’re planning to pick up a unit, we’ve put together a brief review of the phone’s pros and cons. This way, you’ll know what you’re getting into and you’ll also be able to decide whether this handset is the right choice for you or not.

At Rs 5999, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is the most affordable mid-range smartphone on the market. Other OEMs like Karbonn, Spice and Lava amongst others have alluring devices in the same category, but none even come close where price and features are concerned. Now just because the handset is cheap, it doesn’t mean that it’s of low-quality.

The Redmi 1S comes in a simple packaging made from recycled material. Along with the usual documentations and warranty info, the company has bundled the phone with a USB cable and a wall socket. Sadly, there are no earphones onboard and you’ll have to supply your own. Being made from polycarbonate, the phone doesn’t look cheap and it has a very durable feel to it.

In fact, its curved edges deliver a comfortable grip, although a weight of 158 grams is a bit outside our comfort zone. And the handset isn’t the slimmest either as it measures 9.9mm thick. Well, these small drawbacks can be easily overlooked them moment you glance at that attractive price tag.

Let’s take a quick look at the Xiaomi Redmi 1S’ specs:

- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- 4.7-inch 720p HD display
- 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, 64GB expandable
- 1.6GHz quad core Snapdragon 400 processor
- 8MP rear camera, 1.6MP front snapper
- Dual SIM (3G + 2G) support, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
- 2000mAh battery (removable)

In the same price range, the Moto E from Motorola has been a hot seller. Well, Xiaomi’s cheapest smartphone is capable of delivering 2x performance, while selling for a little cheaper. The hardware found here is quite similar to the components you’d get on the Rs 11990 Moto G. The 4.7-inch display on the front looks great and visuals are crisp with great color reproduction and viewing angles.

There’s a lot of eye candy delivered through the MIUI interface which is basically Android like you’ve (probably) never seen before. Compared to the standard UIs we’ve seen on most Google-powered smartphones, the Xiaomi phone is customizable to a great extent via downloadable themes which can modify everything from the lock screen style, to the notification bar, to the icons to the boot animation and more.

It’s a bit hard getting your way around the UI, but it didn’t take us long to feel at home. Where performance is concerned, the Redmi 1S managed to run everything we threw at it. Games like Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8 as well as the benchmarking title Epic Citadel , work flawlessly and the credit goes to the higher clocked 1.6GHz quad core Snapdragon 400 SOC.

Coming to the cameras, the 1.6MP lens on the front is a fixed-focus one and it can deliver decent selfies under good lighting. The 8MP sensor on the rear is also an average shooter and performs well in bright conditions. For low-light capturing, the LED flash works well, but can overexpose the image at times leaving you with an excessively bright picture.

You’ll also be able to record video in 1080p FHD which makes the device all the more desirable. Coming to battery life, Xiaomi has included a 2000mAh cell and our tests have shown that the phone can deliver over 5 hours of FHD video playback or around 7 hours of activity on moderate usage.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is certainly a bang for your every buck and we’d definitely recommend it not only to first-time smartphone buyers, but also customers looking for a great mid-range handset on a budget. To round things up from this review, you get a decent looking phone with a great display, brilliant performance and moderate battery life.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Google Can Kill Samsung with Android KitKat and Android One: Here's How

Google's operating system, Android KitKat and the Android One Initiative, signify yet another bad news for Korean Electronics Giant, Samsung.  Emerging markets like India and the Philippines, which are both very populated countries, are switching from feature phones to smartphones. People find it exciting to get the upgrades at cheaper costs.

Although, Google's latest upgrade with its Android Kitkat 4.4 does not impress anybody with more innovative designs and state of the art feature changes, it is certainly able to reach its main goal of being available for all kinds of smartphones, be it high-end or low-end.  Google's intention is to make the operating system a little bit smaller so that it can be used on more devices.  This certainly narrows the wide gap between high spectrum and low spectrum phones.

Lower end devices typically use only 512mb of memory so that they can keep their device affordable according to the Economic Times.  But this makes the smartphones react slower than expected.  However, Google has made Kitkat a more practical operating system, which can run efficiently with just 340 mb of memory. This is an incremental improvement for users in terms of speed and efficiency. With the help of Kitkat, people can now purchase low-cost smartphones but get the high-end experience. Users in India, are particularly ecstatic about this development.

Moving forward, this poses a grave threat to Samsung.  Xiaomi, translated as "little rice" in English, has already penetrated and beaten them in China with $100 smartphone offerings according to TIME.  The danger becomes more imminent with the availability of Kitkat and Android One.  The Android One aims to provide design references to smartphone makers who will price their phones at $100.  Currently, brand names such as Karbonn, Spice and Micromax are hitting the stores and continuing to loom over the Korean titan, Samsung.

Samsung, LG ready to display future of electronics

Samsung Electronics will showcase its updated "smart home" technology and new televisions at the upcoming IFA technology fair in Berlin, with a view to strengthening the company's grip on the global market.

LG Electronics will also roll out new gadgets, including televisions and wireless vacuum cleaners, raising market expectations around the world for Europe's largest consumer electronics conference.

This year's "Internationale Funkausstellung," an international tech fair also known as International Radio Exhibition Berlin or the Berlin Radio Show, but more widely called the IFA, will be held from Sept. 5 through 10, local time, at a convention center called Messe Berlin in the German capital. The event is considered one of the three most significant IT fairs alongside the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

This year, Samsung Electronics will have a presence in a newly built hall, "CityCube Berlin," next to the main convention hall. At its new venue, the company is expected to emphasize the smart home technology in its electrical home appliances, which makes them "smarter."

The smart home concept involves using Internet of Things (IoT) technology to embed Internet connections in home appliances such as lighting systems, air conditioners and washing machines, allowing users to control them remotely or automatically.

The electronics giant will update four new functions ― safety service, energy monitoring, location recognition and voice control ― to its smart home lineup this year.

Samsung Electronics will also show off its technological prowess with 78-inch bendable ultra-high-definition (UHD) televisions and 105-inch curved UHD televisions.

The bendable UHD TV is designed to help viewers concentrate better on the screen. The 105-inch curved UHD TV is the model with the largest screen and is expected to appeal to European consumers.

Yoon Boo-keun, consumer electronics president of Samsung Electronics, will deliver a keynote speech about the future of the company's smart home segment.

It is also said that Samsung Electronics might release a prototype of a new television using a color-reproduction technology called "quantum dots" at this year's fair.

LG Electronics will bring its UHD-class organic light-emitting diode (OLED) television to the fair for the first time in the world.

Ha Hyun-hwoi, president of LG Electronics' home entertainment division, said the company expects that the OLED televisions will replace liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions within two to three years on the strength of their technological advantages in terms of visual clarity.

The company will also exhibit wireless vacuum cleaners, dubbed "cord-zero" models. The company said it had improved the gadget's sweeping power and battery capacity using self-developed motor technology and new battery technology designed for electric cars by another LG Group affiliate, LG Chem.

The major exhibits at previous IFA fairs were domestic appliances and audiovisual apparatuses such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines. But recent events have diversified to include more "smart" devices, such as new smartphones and "smartwatches."

Samsung Electronics will hold an "unpacking" event Sept. 3 in Berlin before the fair and unveil the Galaxy Note 4, which is expected to be equipped with OLED displays on each side of the device as well as its front panel. The company will also release its new smartwatch "Samsung Gear S," which has a curved super-AMOLED display.

Sources said the electronics giant would release its new virtual reality head-up display device, called "Gear VR," during the fair and set its price at $199. The new device can be connected to the new Galaxy Note 4 and can be used to display a larger version of the smartphone's screen.

LG Electronics will reveal a new smartwatch called the "LG G Watch R." It is the world's first pure round-type smartwatch that features an OLED display. The firm also plans to roll out a new smartphone, the "G3 Stylus," the latest model in the company's G3 smartphone lineup.

Alongside Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, about 1,500 companies including global IT conglomerates such as Siemens, Philips, Dison, Bosch, Sony, Toshiba and Haier will join in from 47 countries, drawing over 240,000 spectators.