Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Android LMP: Is Lemon Meringue Pie the name for the next version of Android?

Android LMP: Is Lemon Meringue Pie the name for the next version of Android?

Google had codenamed the next version of its Android operating system - that it has rolled out to developers - as Android L. The L, to many, stood for lollipop. But now, as many leaks are emerging - the next version of the most popular smartphone operating system could be Android LMP - the LMP probably stands for Lemon Meringue Pie.

Many mentions of LMP can be found in the Android Open Source Project repository. Even the WiFi certification for the Nexus 9, manufactured by HTC, lists its firmware as LMP.

The upcoming Nexus 6, that some believe could instead be called the Nexus X, is expected to come running on Android 5.0.

Lemon meringue pie is a dessert that has a flaky pie crust, tart lemon filling and soft meringue on top.

Google is known for nicknaming its Android mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets after desserts. But it surprised all, when it named its 4.4 version KitKat, after the popular chocolate candy bar. Android 4.4, was widely expected to be called Android Key Lime Pie.

Google might have a surprise up its sleeve this time around too.

LG L60 Dual smartphone listed online for Rs 7990

This is very awkward, but the LG L60 Dual has been put up on the company’s official website for India at a price of Rs 9000. We’re talking big bucks for a dual SIM phone with a dual core processor, 512MB RAM and a 4.3-inch WVGA screen, don’t you think?

LG Phone

Having KitKat inside is hardly an achievement for the LG L60 Dual handset seeing as even the cheapest of handsets have been arriving with Android 4.4 ever since the Moto E set an example. Quite thankfully, fans of the brand can still buy it at less than the officially announced cost since Amazon India is selling it for Rs 7990 here.

Reputed brand or not, you’ve gotta be gutsy to let out an unimpressive smartphone for Rs 9000 in a price-sensitive market like India at a time when the Redmi 1S and ZenFone 4 are making the headlines. The LG handset has to fight the battle equipped with a pitiful 512MB of RAM, 4GB internal storage, 5MP camera, 4.3-inch display and 32GB microSD card support, after all.

Quick look at LG L60 Dual features:

- Android v4.4 KitKat
- 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen
- Dual SIM slots
- 1.3GHz dual core Qualcomm chip
- Adreno 305 graphics
- 512MB of RAM, 4GB ROM
- 32GB memory expandability
- 5MP camera, VGA webcam
- 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AGPS
- 1700mAh battery
- 124.1 X 66.3 X 12 millimeters

It looks like the LG L60 Dual may provoke too many negative reactions owing to its price and badly timed launch. That’s probably company isn’t acknowledging its roll-out with a press release, a Facebook post or even a quick little tweet.

Amazon Buys Twitch, But What Is It?

Following rumored acquisition talks with other Silicon Valley bigwigs, video game streaming site Twitch will instead be purchased by Amazon for nearly $1 billion.
While billion-dollar deals are a dime a dozen these days, the uninitiated might be wondering why Amazon would shell out that type of coin for a service that just allows people to watch other people play video games. But a deeper look at the numbers shows that Twitch has caught on to an important, but mostly unexploited, facet of video game culture: it's fun to watch other people play.

So, what is Twitch?

Twitch is a service that allows gamers to stream their video game play for others to watch online. It connects with Xbox, PlayStation, PCs, and mobile gaming platforms. You can check some live gameplay streams right now over at twitch.tv, or check it out in app form on iOS or Android.

Is it really all that popular? Like $1 billion popular?

According to Alexa.com, Twitch.tv is the 166th most popular website in America. But that stat may be deceiving as there are various ways to access the Twitch platform other than the Web.
The network claims it has more than 55 million visitors per month and it's been reported that it is the fourth-largest source for U.S. Internet traffic —that's ahead of Hulu, Facebook, and Pandora. A May report from Sandvine, meanwhile, found that Twitch.tv generates more traffic in the U.S. than HBO GO.
But the more important figures may correspond to Twitch's very dedicated user base. According to numbers released by the company, 58 percent of Twitch users spend more than 20 hours per week on the service and the average age is 21. Those are the type of numbers that can cause any corporate marketing department to salivate.

So, it's just people showing off playing video games?

That's a major part of it, though the service also includes chat and social functions in addition to a library of recorded gameplay.
One of the most impressive numbers to think about is that 99 percent of users watch live streams, while only 25 percent use it to broadcast their gameplay. Video games have become their own form of passive entertainment. According to Twitch, 68 percent of users report decreasing TV viewing to focus on game entertainment. Basically, Twitch has become a new form of TV for many people.
Twitch also came along at just the right time to capitalize on the burgeoning e-sports phenomenon. In addition to gameplay broadcasts, the service also offers video-game centric shows and content.

Does it cost money to use Twitch?

GameloftThe service is free and ad-supported, though users can also sign up for a "Turbo" subscription for $8.99 a month that removes the ads and provides a bevy of other goodies such as a custom emoticon sets and increased online video storage.

Where did Twitch come from?

The site has been around since 2011 and was originally branded with its website name: Twitch.tv. It was an off-shoot of the since-put-to-rest personal broadcasting medium, Justin.tv.

What the hell is Amazon going to do with all that?

Only Bezos and company know for sure. One might see how a small pivot could allow it to rival YouTube as a video platform with all types of content. But Amazon has been moving into the gaming space of late. It launched Amazon Game Studios in 2012, and purchased gaming studio Double Helix earlier this year. It also released a game controller for its new Fire TV $84.00 at Amazon.

Oppo Find 7 Now Exclusively Available Online via Flipkart


Oppo India on Tuesday announced a partnership with Flipkart to sell its smartphone devices on the e-commerce platform.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer said the company's entire range launched in India thus far, will be available to online customers via Flipkart from Tuesday. Notably, this list includes the Oppo Find 7 (Review | Pictures) - famous for its QHD display - which is now exclusively available via Flipkart.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Tom Lu, CEO, Oppo Mobiles India, said "We have been striving to come closer to our customers and become a part of the society. With more and more consumers going online, having a digital presence has become a must. Flipkart is definitely one of the most popular shopping platforms with a very loyal customer base and by partnering with them, we are sure Oppo's smartphones will reach out to more customers. With our products, Indian customers will get a chance to experience the best in innovation, the way many customers have enjoyed globally."

Besides the famous Oppo N1 and the Oppo Find 7 smartphones, the brand's current India portfolio includes the Oppo R1, Oppo Find 5 Mini, Oppo Neo, Oppo Yoyo, Oppo Joy, Oppo Neo 3, Oppo Find 7a and the Oppo N1 Mini that was launched earlier this month at Rs. 26,990.

The Oppo Find 7 was launched alongside the Find 7a in June, though the former only became available on retail shelves in July.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S: Flipkart begins pre-booking for Rs 5,999 phone – Book here!

Xiaomi Redmi 1S: Flipkart begins pre-booking for Rs 5,999 phone

Close on the heels of the success of the Xiaomi Mi3, Flipkart today began the pre-booking registrations for the budget smartphone Xiaomi Redmi 1S on this link – Flipkart Xiaomi Redmi 1S. The new Xiaomi Redmi 1S sports a 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with Cortex-A7 core, 8 mega-pixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture and 28mm wide angle lens, and front camera with 1.6 mega-pixels. The pre-booking registrations that began on August 26 will end on September 1 midnight, after which the phone will be launched.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S also boasts of a 4.7 inch, 1280 x 720 display, WCDMA slot for 3G and GSM slot for 2G data, RAM of 1 GB and 8GB Flash memory. The Redmi 1S comes with Mini SIM slot, and not Micro SIM slot. It reportedly runs on Android Jelly Bean.

There is a lot of buzz in the Indian market about the Xiaomi brand. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S being an affordable alternative with good features, will compete in terms of goodwill with the September launches of the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Alpha.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Official Nokia Lumia Exclusive Behind the Scenes: Katy Perry "This Is How We Do"

Go behind the scenes of Katy Perry's new music video "This Is How We Do" featuring the Nokia Lumia 930.

The Nokia Lumia 930 features a 5” Full HD display, 20MP Pureview Camera, Surround Sound recording, and built-in wireless charging. Learn more about the Nokia Lumia 930:http://www.nokia.com/global/products/...

Amazon to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Image (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Amazon will acquire Twitch for over a billion dollars today. Twitch is a video game streaming website, that allows users to broadcast games and watch others play online.
Though the deal has not been formally announced by either company, sources have told the Wall Street Journal and The Information that the deal is set in stone. Google attempted to acquire Twitch earlier this year. 
UPDATE: Just after 4 p.m. on Monday, Amazon announced the details of the deal. The official sale price is $970 million in cash, just under the $1 billion anticipated. 
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered this statement,
Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said, 
Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming. Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”
The deal is expected to close later this year. 

Madden NFL 15 Release Date, Price: Already Available to Download on Xbox 360, Xbox One; Where to Purchase, Xbox One Bundle

EA Madden NFL 15

EA will be releasing the next title to their football game franchise, Madden NFL 15 tomorrow Aug. 26 in the U.S. and on Aug. 29 in Europe.

Madden NFL 15 will be the 26th title in the franchise made by Electronic Arts. Madden is much like the FIFA game franchise being based on the sport itself with its many player and clubs. While FIFA takes its teams from various football leagues like Barclay's Premier League or La Liga, Madden takes it teams from the American National Football League.

The game will be released on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and the Xbox One. The game is now available for purchase in various retailers like Gamestop, Amazon, and Best Buy.

EA's title is priced at $59.99 for all platforms and is already available for download for the Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game cannot be played, however, until it release at 12:01 a.m. PDT / 3:01 a.m. EST on Aug. 26.

Microsoft is also introducing a bundle for the Xbox One which includes the football game. Consumers can now buy the Xbox One console for $399 inclusive of the Madden NFL 15 title. Essentially, users save the $60 they would otherwise pay for the game.

The cover box art features Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The decision was made after a 16-player bracket vote that comprised of both offensive and defensive players. Other players included in the bracket were Jimmy Graham, Luke Keuchly, Nick Foles, Cam Newton, and Alfred Morris among others.

iBall Cobalt 3 has an Octa Core processor


Following up on the success of its Cobalt & Cobalt 2 smartphones, iBall has announced Cobalt with an octa core processor and 5 inch HD IPS OGS display.

Priced at Rs 12,499, Cobalt 3 has a 1.7GHz Octa Core processor and will run Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

Along with a 2MP front camera, the phone will offer a 12MP Auto Focus main camera with LED flash. The phone has an internal memory of 8GB and 2200 mAh battery.


Matter app will add 3D backgrounds to your photos

Fancy adding 3D backgrounds to your photos right from your iPhone or iPad with the Matter app which is up for grabs on iTunes? This iOS tool is designed to let users make some creative 3D changes to pictures clicked through their Apple devices and then export these as plain old images or even video loops.

Matter App

If you use the provided background sensibly in your photographs, then there good chances of the result turning out nicely. That’s because the 3D objects you can choose from within the Matter application are made to look somewhat realistic with the inclusion of reflections and shadows. You will be able to see what we mean by checking out the image posted below.

The shadow of the 3D structure can be adjusted to match the rest of the photo in which it is inserted. The positioning, strength and opacity of the shadow may be altered. What’s more, there’s an in-built editor which also permits users to erase parts of the 3D object in question. Customers get to pick from 4 packs of backgrounds covering basic geometric shapes to architectural pieces.

The 3D item you’ve added to your picture can be rendered opaque, reflective, translucent or refractive. As for the videos, you could choose from effects which make the concerned object pulse, spin or hover with the frame. The direction and rotation speed can be fine-tuned too. The Matter app is supported by Free for All community images which can be edited and shared by just about any user.

If you’re willing to cough up $1.99, the Matter app is all yours as a 26.8MB download. Here’s the link to the iTunes page hosting this Pixie creation.

LG is all set to launch the LG G Watch R at IFA 2014 in Berlin

With the Motorola Moto 360 expected to be officially launched on September 4, 2014, LG will be coming out with a round smartwatch of its own with the LG G Watch R. The LG G Watch R will be officially unveiled a week after the Moto 360 launch.
Unlike the Motorola Moto 360, the LG G Watch R comes in a full circle design and is considered better since it looks more like a piece of jewelry rather than a smartwatch. At first, the LG Watch R was believed to be something that would replace the existing G Watch. But as it turned out, the LG G Watch R is actually pegged as the latest member for LG’s Android Wear roster.
Design-wise, many feel that the LG G Watch R is a better version when you talk about the rounded design pitch. The Moto 360 is not actually entirely round with the screen being cuts off by a horizontal gap near the bottom portion.
For now, the best you can tell from the LG G Watch R is through the teaser video that they had released. No further details or specifics are available for now aside from the fact that it would run on Android Wear and that it will have buttons on the side.
Though the announcement of the LG G Watch R does somehow spoil the coming of the Moto 360, its popularity could now come with a time constraint, especially once LG officially announces its own bet next week.
The LG G Watch R is expected to be announced at the IFA 2014 electronics trade show in Berlin which could further shed off some more specific details that many would want to find out.

Xolo beaming Android 4.4 KitKat update to Q1200, Q900s, A500 Club, A600, A550 devices

Indian mobile manufacturer Xolo will be beaming the Android 4.4 KitKat update to a set of devices soon, and the company has already released a beta version of the software for the Q3000 phablet. Other products which are in lineup include the Q1200, the Q900s, the A500 Club, the A600 and the A550.

Xolo Logo

Indian companies not ignoring their affordable smartphones while preparing their update schedules, is quite a rare sight these days. This is why Xolo should be credited for showing commitment towards delivering new versions of Google’s OS to its devices.

In the past, the Q1010i, Q1010, Q700s and Q1000 Opus from Xolo were also been granted the Android 4.4 KitKat boost by the company, and it’s finally the turn of others from the league. While the Q1200, the Q900s, the A500 Club, the A600 and the A550 will be getting the upgrades in the months to come, the one for the Q3000 is live now in its beta form. It can be downloaded OTA or from the company’s website.

This smartphone which was released late last year originally ran the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. It kicks in a 5.7-inch full HD display and is fueled by a quad core 1.5GHz processor. 2GB worth of RAM and 16GB of storage serve its memory needs, while there’s a 4000mAh battery onboard as well, that keeps it going in between charges.

If you are the owner of any one the Xolo phones that are to receive the Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade soon, do stay with us for updates on the same.

Xiaomi Redmi 1s India launch today: Is it a better bet than the Moto E and Asus Zenfone 4?

Xiaomi Redmi 1s India launch today: Is it a better bet than the Moto E and Asus Zenfone 4?

After the success of its Mi 3, Xiaomi is all set to bring yet another uber-affordable smartphone with awesome specs in India. The company is all geared to officially unveil the Redmi 1s priced at Rs 6,999. Well, the pricing may sound familiar, as most entry-level devices come in a similar price bracket and aim to compete with the reigning budget Android, the Moto E.Another device that fits the bill is the Asus Zenfone 4, which has two variants with different displays. All three devices carry similar price tag and are also being sold exclusively via Flipkart, so which one is a better bargain. We’ve thrown them into  the ring to see which one emerges as the winner, at least on paper.

Comparison table

The Redmi 1s steals the show when it comes to the display. It not only sports a larger screen but also packs in 312 ppi pixel density thanks to the HD resolution, compared to the Moto E and Zenfone 4. The other two lag behind with 256 and 217 ppi respectively. This doesn’t mean the Moto E is bad, at the price point, it’s a pretty decent display. All three devices come across highly portable and the Zenfone is the lightest at 133 grams. However, it isn’t as sleek as the Redmi 1s.

The Mi 3 runs on Xiaomi’s customised UI called MIUI that is built upon Android. It is a highly customised UI that lets users choose from a plethora of themes for almost everything from homescreen to boot animations. It supports all the popular games and apps found on the Google Play Store too. However, if you are looking forward to stock Android, then Xiaomi may not be the device for you. The Asus Zenfone is also customised to some extent. The Moto E runs stock Android and comes from a seasoned OEM, with some pretty inoffensive customisations. On storage front, the Zenfone does a better job with 8GB onboard storage that is expandable up to 64GB. The Moto E does a mediocre job when it comes to the camera, and lags behind the competition.

In terms of processing speed, all three devices should be fairly good. In our review, the Moto E powered by dual-core Snapdragon 200 did a pretty good job and isn’t laggy for a budget Android. The Zenfone 4 running dual-core Intel Atom could be slightly better, but Xiaomi seems to have stepped up performance with the Redmi 1s that runs a quad-core Snapdragon 400, clocked at 1.6GHz, higher than the competition. In terms of performance and efficiency, the Redmi 1s could go beyond the other two, but we will have to reserve judgement till we put it through the paces in our labs.

In a nutshell, the Redmi 1s comes as a great pick for the hardware it offers at the price point. However, the OS could also be a deciding factor for many. Moreover, the Moto E and Zenfone 4 are easily available, while we wouldn’t be surprised if Xiaomi continuous its drama of playing hard to get.

Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG smartphone is on pre-order through Flipkart for Rs 6999

The Asus ZenFone 4 A450CG which has gone up for pre-order on Flipkart as well as the upcoming Redmi 1S both appear ready to give the Moto E a run for its money. The Asus phone is pegged at the same price as the Xiaomi handset, that’s Rs 6999. You’ll know about the ZenFone 4 not being the same as the previously released one just by looking at their model numbers.

Asus ZenFone 4 A450CG

The Asus ZenFone 4 A450CG smartphone is a beefier version of the A400CG that is currently up for grabs through Flipkart for Rs 5999. The forthcoming smartphone has a comparably better camera, a bigger screen and a larger battery as well. But the one major element you won’t see changed is the design, which is a very annoying thing because we think OEMs should ensure people can easily tell between different devices.

If you take a look at the Asus ZenFone 4 specs we’ve mentioned below and pit them against those of the Redmi 1S, you will see that the latter has a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, a much more impressive quad core chip from Qualcomm clocked at 1.6GHz and a 2000mAh battery.

Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG main specifications:

- 4.5-inch FWVGA touchscreen
- Dual core 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 processor
- 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal memory
- Up to 64GB expandability
- Android with Zen UI
- 8MP main camera, 1.3MP front lens
- Dual SIM support
- 1750mAh battery
- About 13 hours 3G talk time

You can follow this link to the pre-booking page on Flipkart, in case you wish to place an order for the Asus Zenfone 4 A450CG.

Enter The Ambitious World Of Yo

For better or worse, the creator of the notorious and 'stupid' Yo app has grand plans to change the way we communicate.

Oppo Find 7 review: Great design and stunning display, but poor battery life

Oppo might still be a relatively unheard of brand for many but for those who’ve used their products will attest to the high standards of build quality, right down to their budget offerings. So far we’ve seen the N1, Joy and even had a go at the R1 and Find 5 mini. Even though all fall in very different price brackets, the stellar build and attention to detail has never failed to impress.

Today, we have the flagship Find 7 with us, which is available in a slightly cheaper variant called the Find 7a, sans the Quad HD display. Priced much lower than most current flagships with the same hardware, can the Oppo Find 7 find its way into the hands of those looking for a capable flagship on a budget?

Design and Build
The Find 7 has a plastic chassis but manages to feel every bit as premium as you’d expect a flagship to be. It’s quite slim at 9.2mm but a bit on the heavier side at 171g. The weight is evenly distributed however throughout the phone and it sits well in your hand no matter which way you hold it. The bezel is also incredibly thin which gives the illusion of all-screen.

The Find 7 still uses capacitive buttons for navigating the menu but we found the backlighting to be rather insufficient. The back cover has a microscopic chequered pattern, which is only noticeable once held. It offers some amount of grip when held though, which is nice. We also have a 13MP shooter and dual-LED flash combo in the back.

The party piece of the Find 7 is the Quad HD, 5.5-inch display which is stunning to say the least. The brightness level is really good as well and is easily legible under sunlight. While the increased pixel density isn’t immediately discernable, it’s definitely one of the sharpest around.

The Find 7 runs on the same Colour OS that we’ve seen on previous Oppo phones. This heavily modified version of Android runs absolutely smoothly and is one of the best skins out there in terms of functionality. You can customise the look by switching between different themes as well.

The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, running at 2.5GHz. The Quad HD display version comes with an extra helping of RAM bringing the total up to 3GB. There’s also double the onboard storage at 32GB which is expandable further up to 128GB. Looking at the benchmarks, it’s easy to see that the Find 7 is every bit as good as the established brands, if not better.

We had a slight issue with the auto-brightness however which wasn’t very consistent when moving from dark to bright areas. Also, in complete darkness, the screen is simply too bright for comfortable viewing and you have to manually lower the brightness.

Media playback is very good and the Find 7 has a very loud speaker. Even at minimum volume, it sounds as if it’s at sixty percent. This  can be quite annoying at times, especially in office environments. The music player is pretty slick and we get sounds enhancements from Waves MaxxAudio. You can choose from a list of presets or customise it yourself.

The Find 7 supports LTE and quad-band 3G and 2G. Other features include Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, GPS and GLONASS. We’re missing Wi-Fi ‘ac’ here, which has become standard on high-end phones. There are plenty of productivity apps built-in like file manager and more.

This one packs in a 13MP camera in the back and a 5MP shooter in the front. Both feature an f/2.0 aperture which means you’ll be able to capture good low-light shots. The user interface has been heavily modified as well with plenty of more options added. Apart from slow shutter mode which we first saw in the N1, the Find 7 can also shoot in RAW.

Thanks to the beefed-up CPU, 4K video is also possible as well as 1080p at 60fps. Image quality is pretty good and phone is very snappy when it comes to focussing speed and saving an image.

Battery life
This version of the Find 7 packs in a 3000mAh battery but even that’s not enough to deliver good battery life. Compared to the G3, which had a similar screen and battery, the Find 7 drains its battery far more quickly and the main culprit is the display. The phone also lacks LG’s enhancements like Graphic RAM, which all help in prolonging battery life. You’ll be able to get through the day on a single charge with nominal use but use the screen or the camera too much and battery life goes for a toss.

Verdict and Price in India
The Oppo Find 7 is priced at Rs 37,990 which seems like good value at first when you factor in the Quad HD display. However, we feel the Find 7a makes more practical sense. Not only is it quite a bit cheaper, you also get a regular Full HD display, which shouldn’t impact battery life as much.

Rest of the specifications are more or less the same, which makes it a good alternative to the Nexus 5. If you’re dying to spend upwards of Rs 35,000 however, then we recommend the Samsung Galaxy S5 instead.


Sony Xperia C3 Dual 5MP selfie phone launched for Rs 23,990

Sony Xperia C3 Dual 5MP selfie phone launched for Rs 23,990

Sony has launched its selfie phone for India, intensifying competition in the segment of the market that has seen most launches recently. The Sony Xperia C3 will be a Dual-SIM phone and is priced at Rs. 23,990. It will be available from Monday, September 1.

The Xperia C3 was announced in July, and it’s clearly targetted at those who can’t have enough selfies in their lives. The highlight features  of the Xperia C3 smartphone are all centred around the front camera. There’s a 5-megapixel unit, with a 25mm wide-angle lens that Sony claims delivers an 80-degree field of view. And to top it all, there’s a soft LED flash as well. The back camera also sports a similar flash with an 8-megapixel sensor.

The Xperia C3 also has a single-SIM version, but the specifications are identical. In India, the dual-SIM version runs Android 4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box, with the typical Sony customisations on top, as well as some Sony apps. The dominating feature on the front is a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixel) Triluminos display which gets some help from the Bravia Engine 2 technology. The processor is the 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, which is also seen in the Moto G, coupled with Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM.

There’s 8GB of inbuilt storage and a micro SD card slot for expansion up to 32 GB. The battery life should be good considering the 2500mAh unit, which is rated for up to 24 hours of talk time and 1,071 hours of standby time, according to Sony. The C3 supports 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and GLONASS for navigation, besides GPS.

WhatsApp hits 600 million monthly active users

In the six months since Facebook announced it was buying the messaging app, the service's monthly active user base has grown by 150 million.

It appears WhatsApp's popularity hasn't slowed since Facebook announced it was buying the service in February. The messaging app's CEO and founder Jan Koum posted on Twitter Sunday that the service now has 600 million monthly active users.

"Now serving 600,000,000 monthly active users. Yes, active and registered are very different types of numbers..." Koum tweeted.

WhatsApp is the maker of a 5-year-old mobile messaging app for exchanging texts, photos, and videos. The application is in the process of being purchased by Facebook for around $19 billion in cash and various stock options. The proposed deal has been approved by the Federal Trade Commission, but Facebook still needs to get international regulatory approval before it can complete the purchase.

In April, WhatsApp announced it reached the half a billion users milestone and that people share 700 million photos and 100 million videos on the app on a daily basis. At the time of Facebook's buyout announcement, WhatsApp had about 450 million monthly active users.

At $1 a year, WhatsApp is a cheaper alternative to SMS for those users in emerging markets, and appears to be already growing Facebook's total audience beyond the 1.23 billion people using the social network -- though it's unclear just how many people use both apps.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

LG flagship smartphone offers subtle differences

If Samsung represents one extreme in the move to add bells and whistles to smartphones, LG seems to be aiming for the other end of the spectrum.

In its Galaxy S line of phones, Samsung has taken the kitchen sink approach each year by adding a host of new features, from new ways to shoot photos to new hardware elements such as pulse monitors. But too often, the add-ons have been either poorly conceived or partially developed.

LG takes the opposite approach. With its new flagship smartphone, the G3, the company focuses on only a handful of new features, most of which are subtle improvements rather than flashy advances.

I like the idea, but I think LG might have carried things too far. The G3 is a good phone, but it’s not exciting.

Like many other Android flagship phones these days, the G3 touts a jumbo screen, a long-life battery and a fast quad-core processor. But unlike those phones, the G3’s interface is relatively unmodified from standard Android. And its tweaks — like its three-page home screen that flips like pages in a book — are fairly subtle.

LG has sought to distinguish the G3 not through its interface or the size of its screen, but through the resolution of its display. It’s one of the first phones to have more than 500 pixels per inch.

By contrast, Apple’s iPhones, which flaunt a “Retina” display, have a resolution of about 326 pixels per inch, while the HTC One has a resolution of 440 pixels. LG calls the G3’s 538 pixel resolution “Quad HD,” noting that it has about four times the number of pixels as a 720p HD display.

The screen is certainly beautiful and vibrant. But the difference in pixel resolution is subtle at best, even if you are comparing the G3 with the iPhone 5S. And it’s likely to be imperceptible if you are comparing it with an ultra-high resolution Android phone such as the HTC One.

The other key feature that LG pushes with the G3 is the laser-based autofocus system for its camera. The company says the system, which is more commonly found in high-end DSLR cameras, is a first for a smartphone. It is supposed to focus much faster than a typical smartphone and perform better in low-light situations.

In my tests, I found the speed improvement marginal at best. In most cases, the time it took for my iPhone to focus and shoot wasn’t noticeably longer than the time it took the G3.

The G3’s camera did do a better job at quickly shifting focus from an object in the distance to one extremely close up. But that’s not a situation I experience frequently.

That said, the G3’s 13-megapixel camera is very good for a smartphone. The pictures it took were generally clear and sharp, even when I zoomed close in to examine particular details.

The G3 is a nice phone and worth consideration if you are looking at the Galaxy S5 or the HTC One. Just don’t expect to be wowed by it.

Apple May Give You A New iPhone Battery For Free

Is your Kim Kardashian game draining your iPhone battery too quickly? You may be eligible for a replacement from Apple.

In a post on its website, the company announced that it will replace the battery packs for free in some phones sold between September 2012 and January 2013. A flaw in a "very small percentage" of devices sold during that window causes the phones to suddenly lose charge and need to be plugged in frequently. The company started replacing the batteries on Aug. 22.

To find out if you're eligible, Apple has a serial number checker here. The company also said it would refund customers who have already paid to replace faulty batteries.

But, Apple noted, don't get all crazy and think it's going to give you a freebie after you accidentally dropped your phone on the dance floor last weekend. Broken screens and other damages can make it difficult to replace the battery, so even if you're eligible for a replacement, you might be on the hook for other costs, the company said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment on Sunday.