Thursday, 31 July 2014

Samsung expected to launch Galaxy Alpha, its first all-metal smartphone, on August 4th


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In line with what we heard earlier this month and following leaked photos of the device that surfaced last week, a new report from SamMobile claims that Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Alpha on August 4th. Despite being an all-metal smartphone, the Galaxy Alpha will not positioned as a premium device alongside the flagship Galaxy S5, but rather as a mid-tier variant that uses a mix of high-end and mid-range hardware.

According to the report, Samsung will launch the Galaxy Alpha earlier in August to allow for hype surrounding the smartphone to die down by the end of the month. The reason for that move is because Samsung is expected to unveil the more important Galaxy Note 4 in September, which is perhaps the second most important device in its smartphone lineup next to the Galaxy S.

The medal-clad Samsung Galaxy Alpha is rumored to have a 4.8-inch 720p display, 32 GB non-removable internal storage and a fingerprint scanner.


Amazon is giving away over $100 worth of Android apps for free


amazon-appstore-android-free-sale

Amazon has just kicked off a 2-day Android App sale that includes 30 different apps for free. These “essential” apps cover a range of categories including games, utilities, travel, finance, fitness and more. This sale is a great way to pad your app library without spending a dime.

Before you get started, make sure you have the Amazon Appstore for Android installed on your smartphone or tablet.

Here’s our top picks:


Google adds more of India’s historical locations to Street View




Google announced today the availability of 76 historical sites in India that can be viewed from Google Maps or through the Google Cultural Institute site. These 360-degree photos will let you take a tour of the Kangra Fort without having to pack a single bag. Thanks to support from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), along with previous efforts, Google’s imagery of historic shots of India has surpassed 100 pictures, with locations like the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb already available to view.


In addition to historical places to visit, Google has added content from several new Indian arts and archival institutions to its cultural portal. This includes exhibits organized by Indian screenwriter and photographer Sooni Taraporevala at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi. History buffs can also have a virtual encounter with India’s first Independence Day in 1947 through eyes of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by way of content from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

LG G Vista now available from Verizon for $100 on a two year service agreement


After weeks of leaks and tips, the LG G Vista has officially landed on Verizon. Priced at $100 on a two year service agreement, this handset is a case of a big screen and not so big hardware. The G Vista packs a robust 5.7-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter and Android 4.4 KitKat.

LG G Vista

Powered by a 3,200mAh battery, this mid-range G3 lookalike also ships with LG’s Knock Code security feature that lets you wake and lock your device with a few quick screen taps. If you’re looking for a cheap phone that plays nice with Big Red’s XLTE setup, the G Vista might be worth your consideration, however you’ll probably be able to get a little more bang for your buck if you sit down and do a little research.


Microsoft’s Snap Attack word-building game will stretch your vocabulary


Snap Attack

Microsoft recently released Snap Attack, a word-building game for Android that places players against each other in a beat the clock tournament challenge. Games consist of two and a half minute rounds, where players from across the globe compete with each other using colored movable word tiles to “snap” together words on fixed black letter tiles across the game board.


At the end of each round, scores are added to a real-time leaderboard ranking players by score. Similar to a crossword puzzle or Scrabble, words can be created from left to right and top to bottom. Snaps are scored based on letter count, so the more tiles used in a word, the higher its value and you can also add on to an existing snap to score even more points. Snap Attack is free to play, but its in-game ads are unavoidable. However, if you’re looking for a fun word game to kill some free time, Microsoft’s latest effort is definitely worth its required 21MB of storage space.

SwiftKey updated with performance improvements and new themes


SwiftKey

SwiftKey received an update today that resolves some of the keyboard app’s recent performance issues. According to the software’s changelog, users should experience improved typing, loading times, translations, and several other bug fixes for glitches that caused force closes. In addition to some much needed technical improvements, SwiftKey announced the availability of five new themes: Spotlight Purple, Edge Green, Pulse Yellow, Pulse Pink and Hazy Pink.  If you’re interested in upgrading the look and feel of your keyboard, the outfit is holding a special summer sale that discounts prices on select themes by up to 33 percent.


Lastly, SwiftKey says it will be adding support for additional languages, including: Kyrgyz, Tajik and Turkmen, as well as adding emoji prediction for Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Polish and Russian. If your phone’s stock keyboard isn’t cutting it, or you’re just looking for a new freebie app to test out, SwiftKey 5.0.2.4 is now available to download from Google Play.

Ten Things You Need To Know About Amazon’s Fire Phone




Amazon becomes a new competitor in the market of smartphone.Yes it unveiled its new smartphone,Fire Phone.Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said that it’s smaller than leading Android phones, but larger than Apple’s iPhone.The Fire Phone will bring features found in other Amazon devices, such as X-Ray for supplemental content and Mayday for live tech support.

Have a look on the features it has: 

1.The phone screen that measures 4.7 inches diagonally. One-handed use will be better experience. 

2.It has image stabilisation to counteract shaking as people take shots. Amazon is offering unlimited free storage on its Cloud Drive service. 

3.No tangled cords.The phone will come with earbuds that have flat cords and magnets to clasp them together. 

4.A good news for online buyers.Some analysts speculate that the 3-D feature might tie into an Amazon shopping app. Shoppers might be able to use the phone to take a 3-D picture of a product in a store, then search for the object on Amazon and buy it online. 

5.Amazon’s Kindle tablets run a highly modified version of Google’s Android system, and it’s likely an Amazon phone would do the same. That means apps for the phone would be limited to what’s available through Amazon’s own app store. The store has grown to include more than 240,000 apps, but there’s much more for Android and Apple devices. 

6.Analysts say the phone might come with a data plan that could let owners use Amazon services without using up any data. That’s really good. 

7.Facebook once tried to release a phone tied to its services. The HTC First, released in April 2013, came with Facebook’s Home software, which takes over the phone’s front screen to present status updates, messages and other content. Both the phone and the software flopped. 

8.Amazon.com got its start in books and soon moved into music, video, devices and more. Analysts believe the goal of an Amazon-branded smartphone is to get customers to buy more things from the nation’s largest e-commerce company. The device might include an Amazon shopping app or other features tied to the company’s products and services. 

9.Amazon’s first gadget was a Kindle e-reader, released in 2007. Although there are plenty of devices that do more, many people still prefer stand-alone e-book readers because they typically have better screens for reading in direct sunlight and don’t have distractions such as Facebook and email. 

10.The company started making Kindle Fire tablets in 2011. The latest models, HDX, are notable for a Mayday help button that accesses live tech support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You see the representatives in a video box, but they can only hear you and see what’s on your screen. They can also help guide you by placing orange markers on your screen or taking control of your device completely. 



Apple Stores to finally begin iPhone 5s display replacements on August 4th


iPhone screen

Apple will finally begin offering iPhone 5s screen replacements in its official U.S. and Canada retail stores in the coming days, according to several sources. Apple Store Genius Bars are said to have begun taking delivery of large quantities of iPhone 5s screens for the repair program. The crucial service’s debut is currently scheduled for Monday, August 4th. This upcoming rollout will mark an official launch as a few stores in the U.S. have piloted iPhone 5s screen repairs over the past several months. Apple officially rolled out iPhone 5c screen repairs in January, and it began replacing other iPhone 5c and 5s parts late in 2013. The screen replacements will cost approximately $150 per repair, and this is more affordable than the $269 price of completely replacing a broken iPhone 5s.

Tesla, Panasonic team up to build Gigafactory




Two companies building $5 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant.

Tesla Motors and Panasonic have signed an agreement to build a roughly $5 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in the U.S.
The companies will cooperate to build a plant known as the Gigafactory, which will produce cells, modules and packs for Tesla’s electric vehicles and for the stationary storage market. The Gigafactory is being designed to reduce cell costs and by 2020, Tesla hopes it will produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.
Tesla  TSLA , which announces second-quarter results later on Thursday, said it will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities for the project, while Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in needed equipment, machinery and other manufacturing tools. Tesla intends to take the cells and other components to assemble battery modules and packs and to meet projected demand for cells, continue to buy cells produced in Panasonic’s factories in Japan. The Gigafactory is expected to employ about 6,500 by 2020.
Tesla, known for its electric Model S sedan, this year is expanding into several international markets after delivering over 25,000 of the Model S vehicles to North American and Europe through the end of 2013. The company is also planning a Model X crossover, which should be delivered to customers next year, and is also developing a third-generation electric vehicle. Tesla posted $2 billion in revenue last year, up sharply from $413 million in 2012, and the net loss for 2013 sharply narrowed.
The automaker has said it and its partners will invest between$4 billion to $5 billion in the Gigafactory through 2020. The battery packs made at the Gigafactory site, the location of which still hasn’t been determined, will then be sent to California for vehicle assembly.

Apple letting go of redundant Beats employees




Report says some Beats employees won’t be part of the company now that it is to become a unit of Apple.

If you work at Beats by Dre and someone at Apple already does your job, you’d better be polishing up your resume.
According to the Apple news site 9to5mac.com, redundant employees of the recently-acquired music streaming and headphone company will be let go. Sources told the website that Apple executives are visiting Beats headquarters in Santa Monica to offer some employees positions and let others know that they won’t be part of the company now that it is a unit of Apple.
Development and creative positions are likely safe, according to the report. Those who work in support positions, such as finance and human resources, though, likely won’t be making the move north to Cupertino. The report also notes that the four most famous employees at Beats — hip hop artist Dr. Dre, legendary producer Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and CEO Ian Rodgers — will all be involved at Apple in some capacity.
In addition to working on the human side of the transition, 9to5mac also notes that the company is working on transitioning the Beats streaming service on to the iTunes platform, something that may take some time.
Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion earlier this year, the tech giant’s largest-ever acquisition.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Lenovo Announces Android 4.4 KitKat Updates for 6 Mid-Range Smartphones


lenovo_s820.jpg

Lenovo has announced that it will soon be releasing the Android 4.4 KitKat update for several of its recently launched mid-range smartphones, specifically 5 of its S series smartphones - S930, S650, S820, S920, S660 - and the P780.

The Chinese electronics giant announced that Android 4.4. KitKat updates for the six recently announced mid-range smartphones will be made available in a phased manner starting from this week ending with the roll-out of the S660's update in September. Notably, Lenovo recommends users back up their data before updating their phones from Android 4.4 KitKat.

Lenovo further said that the update for the six smartphones will bring the UI available in its Vibe series of smartphones, along with the Lenovo 'Premium DOit' apps. The UI will according to the company get a 'simple clutter-free look' and a 'user-friendly incoming call interface'. Also new, is enhanced notification access, an updated theme centre, an automatic profile changer, expanded accessibility APIs, the face orientation rotation feature, the smart call feature, the smart swipe feature, the new pocket and parental mode, as well as the smart dialler.

Describing three of the most popular the Premium DOit apps, Lenovo says SECUREit will help users track, analyse and optimise their data usage; the SHAREit app provides the fast phone-to-phone data transfer capability without the need for Wi-Fi or mobile network; and SYNCit will let users to have a permanent backup of all their data and whilst making it accessible on any device.

Elaborating on the changes the Android 4.4 KitKat update will bring, Lenovo added improved application compatibility, security enhancements, as well as bug fixes. Also new is an update to the Lenovo power manager, delivering improved battery utilisation. The camera apps have also been improved, for more efficient autofocus and white balance capabilities.

Commenting on the announcement, Sudhin Mathur, Director- Smartphone, Lenovo India, said, "After rolling out updates for Vibe Z, Vibe X and S860 last month, we are now bringing Android 4.4 to six of our mid-range smartphones at various price points. These updates are poised to take the user experience of these phone to a different level. In the last two years in India, we have grown leaps and bounds launching over 18 smartphones, each addressing specific user requirement, and we aim to continue this growth trajectory with newer models and iterations."


Google, Linaro develop custom Android edition for Project Ara


Google is working with open-source development organization Linaro to develop a special edition of Android for the Project Ara customizable smartphone.

Google’s yet unreleased Project Ara is a build-your-own smartphone that allows users to mix and match features. The $50 configurable smartphone will come with an empty phone frame and screen, and users can snap on or take out modular parts from the rear of the handset to add or remove features.

The smartphone, which will ship early next year, has already sparked the development of Lego-like modules that can be attached. Google has talked about detachable antenna and camera modules, but developers are also considering modules for wireless networking, gaming, storage and thermometers.

A special edition of Android had to be created for the unique customizable design of Project Ara, said George Grey, CEO of Linaro.

Work is being done around plug-and-play recognition of modules so Android can “understand the concept of devices that can come in and go away,” Grey said.

“If you add more battery, Android has to [recognize] a new battery, update the icon and now you have more life,” Grey said. “Some interesting changes to Android will be needed to score this functionality.”

Project Ara

Android can already plug and play SD cards. But Grey said additional OS functionality is needed for storage, cameras and other modules that are typically inside smartphones, but can now be externally added to Project Ara.

A lot of work is also being done on UniPro transport drivers, which connect modules and components in Project Ara. UniPro protocol drivers in Android will function much like the USB protocol, where modules will be recognized based on different driver “classes,” such as those for networking, sensor, imaging, input and others.

Some attachable parts may not be recognized by Android. For those parts, separate drivers need to be developed by module makers through emulators. “That will be need to be done in a secure system so the device can’t do damage to the system,” Grey said.

Google already offers a module developers kit (MDK) for Project Ara platform through which developers can take advantage of the UniPro hardware and protocol stack.

Grey couldn’t share any more information on release dates for the OS, citing a confidentiality agreement with Google. He did not say whether the version of Android would be based on the latest L release, which supports 64-bit ARM processors. Linaro is working on Android with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) unit, which is leading the development of Project Ara.

However, more details about the Android edition may be shared at the second Project Ara developer conference scheduled for the end of November, which is when Google also plans to release an updated version of the MDK.

But the ultimate goal—like all Linaro projects—is to make improvements and additional functionality in the version “part of mainline Android,” Grey said.

Linaro has developed versions of Android for smartphones and tablets. It also releases versions of Linux for ARM servers.

“We’re not rewriting the operating system or anything like that,” Grey said.

Project Ara is a very disruptive concept, and it turns around conventional thinking on how to build phones, Grey said.

“You don’t have to go through an expensive repair process,” Grey said.

Google’s Nexus Device Line Will Continue: A 5.9-Inch Nexus 6 Smartphone Could Kill Android Silver


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Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is shaking up the mobile industry with its new operating system Android L, but the tech giant could be falling back to its old and faithful hardware as other plans for device upgrades may now be uncertain.

Reports from April indicated that Google had plans to introduce a new device program called “Android Silver,” which would replace the current Nexus program that introduces new smartphones and tablets running Google’s stock Android software each year.

Many tech informants and analysts have given their predictions as to what Android Silver might be and what the program might mean for Google. The Information, in particular, speculated that Google may release Android Silver to compete with the congruent iOS ecosystem that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has developed. However, it appears the tables may be turning and the Nexus program might be here to stay while the proposed Android Silver program might be phased out before it even starts.

Recent rumors now suggest that Google has a Nexus 6 smartphone in its pipeline. According to tech website Android Police, Google has given the upcoming device the codename “Shamu” due to its size; the device may be a 5.9-inch “phablet,” which may be manufactured by Motorola (NYSE: MSI).

Notably, Google sold Motorola to Lenovo (HKG:0992) in January after having the smartphone maker as a subsidiary for about a year. The company’s relationship proved to be a conflict of interest, which prevented them from working together on the Nexus program.

A new report by the Information says Google and Motorola began developing the new Nexus hardware soon after their business relationship dissolved. Google reportedly wanted access to Motorola’s Active Display and Touchless Control technologies, which are featured on the Moto X smartphone, for its own devices.

There are few details about the Nexus 6, other than its potential screen-size. The device being called the “Nexus 6” is not even certain at this point. But its purported development could in fact mean the end of Android Silver.

Google previewed its Android L software in June, after which Dave Burke, the head of Android engineering confirmed there were more Nexus devices on the way. Burke told Dan Rowinski of ReadWrite Google’s Nexus hardware is essential to the development of its Android software. Conversely, he would not share any details on Android Silver.

Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora -- who is leaving Google to head Softbank Internet and Media as CEO -- notably ran the Android Silver program and his absence may be the reason the program won’t move forward.

Several sources have told the Information Google may not have much interest in Android silver without Arora. Android Silver is -- or was -- reportedly intended to resolve fragmentation issues for Android software and to give Google control over updating devices marketed by third-party manufacturers. Similar to how most iPhones and iPads are readily compatible with each new iOS version, it is believed that Android Silver would make it so all of the most current Android devices will be able to update at the same time.

Android Silver devices were expected to be similar to Google Play Edition devices, which run stock Android, or the operating system without any third-party modifications. Many smartphone makers that use the Android operating system like to add their own user interfaces and other alterations to the software, much to Google's chagrin. This was believed to be the primary motivation for Android Silver; however, it remains to be seen if program will ever come to fruition. Android Silver was expected to launch sometime in 2015.

Now, among many questions is: How will consumers react to a Nexus phablet? Prior Nexus devices have been relatively small with the current Nexus 5 with a 5-inch display. With rumors Apple may be releasing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones, much larger than any previous iPhone model, Google might simply be trying to keep up with the industry.

Google's Android Has a Fake-ID Problem


Google's Android Has a Fake-ID Problem

Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system has a security flaw that could allow hackers to impersonate trusted applications and potentially hijack your phone or tablet, according to research released today.
The basic issue is the way in which Android checks—or rather, does not check—that certain applications are what they say they are, according to Bluebox Security, the company that identified the vulnerability. Hence the catchy name, “Fake ID.”
Verifying identity is one of the most fundamental issues online. Is someone logging into a bank account the owner of that account? Is an application what it claims to be? San Francisco-based Bluebox helps companies secure their data on mobile devices, and its staff members work to research and understand the architecture of the mobile operating systems that Bluebox builds onto, says Jeff Forristal, chief technology officer.
Each Android application has its own digital signature—an ID card, in essence.Adobe Systems (ADBE), for example, has a specific signature on Android, and all programs from Adobe have an ID that’s based on that signature. Bluebox discovered that when an application flashes an Adobe ID, for example, Android does not check back with Adobe that it’s an authentic one. That means that a malicious actor could create malware based on Adobe’s signature and infect your system. The problem isn’t specific to Adobe; a hacker could create a malicious application that impersonates Google Wallet and then access payment and financial data. The same issue applies to administrative software present on some devices, allowing full control of the entire system.
“We basically discovered a way to create fake ID cards,” says Forristal. “There are different vectors. They all come down to: I can create a fake ID card. The question is, which fake ID card do I create?”
The flaw affects Android systems from 2.1 (released in January 2010) on up, though the latest version, 4.4 or KitKat, has closed the hole as it relates to Adobe, according to Bluebox. To give an idea of scale: From 2012 to 2013, about 1.4 billion new devices shipped with the Android operating system, according to GartnerGartner(IT) estimates that 1.17 billion additional Android devices will ship this year.
“We appreciate Bluebox responsibly reporting this vulnerability to us; third party research is one of the ways Android is made stronger for users,” said Christopher Katsaros, a Google spokesman.
The revelation of this particular vulnerability illustrates how security researchers and Google handle the discovery of flaws in software or programs. It also shows the complexity of handling a vulnerability affecting Android because fixes require adjustments from not only Google but also from various app developers and device makers.
Bluebox concluded its research in late March and submitted the bug to Google by March 31, according to Forristal. The Android security team developed a fix in April and provided the patch to vendors, who had 90 days to implement it before Bluebox publicized its findings, he says. Bluebox has tested about 40 Android-based devices out of more than 6,300 in the market. So far Bluebox knows of only one vendor that has put a patch out, he adds.
Google Play and Verify Apps have been enhanced to protect users from the Fake ID issue, said Katsaros, the Google spokesman.
“At this time, we have scanned all applications submitted to Google Play as well as those Google has reviewed from outside of Google Play and we have seen no evidence of attempted exploitation of this vulnerability,” Katsaros said.
Bluebox plans to discuss its findings at the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas next week. Expect a lot more troubling security news before then. Black Hat tends to bring it out.

Android 4.4.3/4.4.4 Kitkat update for Samsung Galaxy devices still being held back


Although it has been almost a year since Google announced the Android 4.4 Kitkat OS, Samsung is still having difficulty in rolling out the latest version of the operating system.
Last month, tech Google rolled out the fourth and final version of Android 4.4 Kitkat OS. Right after its release, Nexus and Google Play Edition devices immediately received the update. Moreover, other Android-based smartphones followed suit.
Currently, Samsung is still in the middle of rolling out the 4.4.2 version of the Kitkat OS in its Galaxy devices. Moreover, reports repeatedly pick up the signs and signals of the possible release date of 4.4.3 and 4.4.4 versions of the latest Android mobile software.
Throughout this month, Samsung has been rolling out the Android 4.4.2 Kitkat OS updateto Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, and even Samsung Galaxy S5 users.
The delay in rolling out the Android OS update has been one of the complaints of users. This is also one of the reasons why some buyers opted for other devices like handsets from HTC and Sony because the aforementioned mobile manufacturers roll out their version of the Android OS more quickly.
Meanwhile, some Android-based devices are already enjoying the fixes brought about the by the Android 4.4.4 Kitkat OS. The update is 2.5MB and is claimed to bring fixes to security issues such as the OpenSSL bug. "The software update will upgrade your Nexus 5 to 4.4.4, which improves performance, security, stability and fixes bugs," the update page which flashes on the devices reads.
The Android 4.4.4 Kitkat OS update is a crucial update compared to the previous Android 4.4.3 Kitkat as the former brings the overall version of KTU84P firmware. The latest update brought very minimal changes to the devices such as slight changes to Chromium Web browser and WebView.
Until now, Samsung has not provided its users with a concrete release date of the much awaited Android OS update.

BlackBerry hints at redesign for BBM iOS, Android apps


BlackBerry's BBM applications for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems appear headed for a makeover at some point down the road.



During a Q&A at Tuesday's BlackBerry Security Summit, blog site N4BB asked BlackBerry President John Sims about the future look of the iOS and Android versions of BlackBerry Messenger, the company's free chatting and voice calling app. Released last October, both versions added more than 40 million registered users to the total BBM population by the time 2013 was over.

In responding to N4BB, Sims said he disagreed with previous management who felt that the BBM app should have the same look across all the platforms. The BBM apps for iOS and Android don't exactly look and feel like iOS and Android apps. Instead, they take their design cues more from the native BBM client that runs on BlackBerry 10. That may be vexing and even confusing to users who are accustomed to the way apps are specifically designed for and function on iOS and Android.

So does that mean a visual overhaul is in order for both versions? Apparently so.

Sims cited the new BBM app for Windows Phone, pointing out that it's designed for the Windows Phone environment so that it's familiar and comfortable to users of Microsoft's mobile OS. He said the same should hold true for the iOS and Android versions.

The BBM experience on iPhone and Android "needs to be more of a native app experience," Sims said, according to N4BB. "You can expect to see that manifest itself in our Android and iPhone BBM apps."

Sims didn't spill any details on when BBM for iOS and Android may undergo a redesign. BlackBerry has continued to add more features to both versions, but the apps themselves have gone almost ten months without any interface changes. A makeover is something that should be high on BlackBerry's priority list at this point.

A MORROWIND PORT IS HEADING TO ANDROID


A modding community is developing an unofficial Android port of Bethesda’s action role-playing game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind as an open source port dubbed OpenMW.



OpenMW was created primarily to support Linux and OSX and the 2002 open world fantasy title’s main quest is now finishable on those platforms, according to a recent post. Spearheaded by community member Sandstranger, and spotted by Android Authority via Something Awful Forums, development of the Android port began two months ago and is currently in the very early stages of development.

Developers and testers on OpenMW’s official forum thread report varying degrees of success running the current build. Testing the build on a variety of Android-operated devices, modders are reporting anywhere between 1 frame per second, to 9 fps for internal environments, while others reportedly achieve up to 60 fps running it on a Tegra 3-powered device.

You can learn more about the unofficial project to bring the classic RPG to Android devices on the project’s Github page and the OpenMW forums, where APKs of the test build are located. For those interested, you can also view sample footage of OpenMW running on Android.

In December, another group of modders released the alpha of a Skyrim mod called Skywind that recreates the world of Morrowind using Skyrim's engine.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 launched exclusively through Snapdeal at Rs 4020


The Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 handset has been launched in India as the company’s first smartphone to offer Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. And at Rs 4020, it’s one of the most affordable devices in the market to deliver the latest software Google has to offer.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21

Like many new launches, the Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 will also be exclusive to an online retailer. The previous handset from the OEM was the GenxDroid7 AX356 that’s solely available through Infibeam, but Snapdeal has managed to nab the latest one for itself. What’s worth mentioning is that this release is one of the several other smartphones that will be launched by the company in the coming weeks.

For the said price, Maxx Mobile has delivered a pretty attractive smartphone that not only looks good, but also cuts a good deal of features. The handset is loaded with a 4-inch touchscreen on the front along with a VGA camera, while the rear dons a 3.2MP snapper and flaunts a design similar to what you’d find on the Note 3 from Samsung.

Coming to the innards, there’s a 1GHz dual core processor hard at work and 512MB of RAM which was expected. Storage provisions are also standard where 4GB of flash memory is provided with a microSD card slot. Additionally, the phone has dual SIM card slots and even connects to 3G networks.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 specs:


- 1GHz dual core MediaTek processor
- 4-inch WVGA display
- Dual SIM support
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 512MB RAM, 4GB storage
- VGA front snapper, 3.2MP rear lens
- 1450mAh battery
- Up to 4 hours of talktime

For the Rs 4020 price, Snapdeal is offering the Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 in choices of black, white, yellow, or red, and with a free 16GB memory card.

Logitech unveils the G402 Hyperion Fury, the 'world's fastest gaming mouse'


On Wednesday, Logitech unveiled the new G402 Hyperion Fury mouse, which it's calling "the world's fastest gaming mouse." The device uses multiple sensors, allowing it to accurately track ultra-fast swipes of up to 500 inches per second across your mousepad or desk, and is marketed towards first-person shooter (FPS) fanatics.

Many FPS players use a low mouse CPI (counts-per-inch, or how many pixels the pointer moves for each inch of desk space) because it improves accuracy. The trade-off is that you need to move the mouse across broad swathes of desk space to turn the camera. In the midst of these big movements, especially at a high level of play, the mouse's laser/optical sensor can't keep up and accuracy suffers. For reference, Logitech's own G502 mouse is rated at 300 inches per second maximum.

The G402 attains its hyper-sensitivity by tracking multiple sensors at once—it features your standard optical sensor, but also an accelerometer and a gyroscope. These three components make up what Logitech has branded the "Fusion Engine." The Fusion Engine is powered by a 32-bit ARM processor inside the mouse itself.

logitech mouse

You've also got eight programmable buttons (with settings saved to onboard memory), a 1000Hz (one millisecond) polling rate, and on-the-fly DPI switching. I don't know yet whether the G402 will feature any weight adjustments like other Logitech models.

We'll see whether the mouse is adopted by those in the FPS e-sports crowd where speed and accuracy are important. Me? Well, I'm no professional FPS player, and I tend to keep my CPI pretty high. I also don't know what my average mouse movement speed is, but since my name isn't Bruce Lee I'm going to guess it's nowhere near 500 inches per second.

Still, I'm looking forward to testing out the G402—I've been playing with Logitech's G502 mouse for a few months and it's become one of my all-time favorites. The G402 goes on sale in August at a list price of $60.

Instagram starts slow roll-out of Bolt instant messaging app


Bolt

Instagram has launched its own take on the instant messaging app, called Bolt.

Bolt works on a similar principle to rivals Mirage and Tapchat, stripping the image and video sharing experience on your mobile to the bare minimum. 

The app presents you with a camera viewfinder and a series of thumbnail photos of your friends - four favourites, and up to 20 others that can be accessed with a swipe. All you have to do is tap on one of those images to send them whatever's in the viewfinder at that moment. Holding the image will send a video, while shaking your phone will undo the last image share.

On the other end, swiping away received images deletes them for good.

If that all sounds appealing, don't get too excited. Bolt is currently only available to iOS and Android users in New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore.

Instagram is slowly rolling out its new service to ensure it can scale the experience up properly, which is why it's selected small, tech-savvy communities for the initial launch ahead of the US or UK.

Interestingly, the app launches not too long after Slingshot, Facebook's own new instant messaging app. Instagram, of course, is owned by Facebook.

A closer look should show you that the two apps are really very different approaches to the same sharing craze. Slingshot is all about sharing quickly with groups of people. Meanwhile Bolt is all about one-to-one interaction.

Is there enough of a unique angle to Bolt to make it the next big thing, though? We'll only truly find out once it attains a wider launch.