Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Flipkart launches e-learning category

Flipkart launches e-learning category

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did Nadella confirm that Windows 9 will replace three OSes?

Did Nadella confirm that Windows 9 will replace three OSes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sony India unveils Xperia T3 priced at Rs27,990

Sony India unveils Xperia T3 priced at Rs27,990

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Android KitKat 4.4.4 update causes problems on the Motorola Moto

Android KitKat 4.4.4 update causes problems on the Motorola Moto X

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

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

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

iPhone 6 and iOS 8 Release Date

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

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

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

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

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

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

BlackBerry 9320, 9720 and Q5 prices cut in India

The BlackBerry 9320, 9720 and Q5 smartphones have received price cuts in India officially with the QWERTY range starting from under Rs 10000. The new promo is part of the company’s efforts to show its commitment in the QWERTY market and also offer fans an alluring deal on its classic devices, not to mention sell off remaining stock.

BlackBerry Q5

The BlackBerry Q5 is the only smartphone on the roster part of the BB10 lineup. The 9720 and 9320 phones, on the other handset, fall in the outdated OS 7 portfolio. While special offers usually have a time limited, there’s no mention of an expiry, so we’re assuming that these price cuts are permanent.

The BlackBerry Q5 is now available for Rs 13990, while the 9320 and 9720 are tagged at Rs 9900 and Rs 11990, respectively. The second phone is also the first 3G handset from the company to fall under the Rs 10000 price range.

The Z10 and Z30 all-touch devices have also been treated to reductions with the former performing exceptionally well in the country, even going out of stock multiple times. In other news, the BlackBerry Z3 smartphone was launched in India around a month back and sales appear to be promising.

Key specs of the BlackBerry Q5:

- 3.1-inch 720 x 720p display
- BB10.2 OS
- 1.2GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor
- 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, 32GB expandable
- 2MP front camera, 5MP rear shooter
- 2180mAh battery

The company has announced that the price cuts on the BlackBerry 9320, 9720 and Q5 are already in effect across all of its retail networks.

Will the Xiaomi Mi Band be a game changer for wearable devices?

It’s the dawn of wearable devices and smartbands are now becoming a trendy accessory to complement your smartphone. Xiaomi has already shaken the world with its insane pricing for its smartphones and now it seems that it is planning to keep up its momentum by launching affordable accessories.  At the Mi 4 smartphone launch event, Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun also announced the Mi Band, which is a health and fitness band with an unbelievable price of just $13 (Rs. 780 approx.).

If you thought the price was the best part, then hold on to your seats as the Mi Band is claimed to give a battery backup of about 30 days. This puts the Sony SmartBand (which costs about Rs. 6,000) to shame in pricing as well as battery backup. The Mi Band also has the ability to work as a proximity security unlock for your Xiaomi smartphone. This feature unlocks your device without requiring a password when you hold the smartphone in the same hand as you are wearing the band.

This is an extraordinary move by Xiaomi as the Mi Band is now the most affordable fitness band that you can get your hands on. We really thought that Sony had done a good job with its SmartBand but you get almost all of the features on the Mi Band at a price that's 10 times less.

This is definitely going to usher in similar products from different brands and at such a low price, one would not feel hesitant to try and experiment with such devices. The wearable tech market has not yet exploded here in India, but if products like these are introduced, there is a huge potential.
Will the Xiaomi Mi Band be a game changer for wearable devices? - See more at:
Will the Xiaomi Mi Band be a game changer for wearable devices? - See more at:

Panasonic launches T41, P41 and P61 smartphones

Panasonic India has launched three new smartphones namely T41, P41 and P61 at Rs 7,990, Rs 11,990 and Rs 14,990, respectively.

The T41, P41 and P61 models are powered by a 1.3GHz quad core processor and run Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The phones offer Glide play feature that enables apps to pop-out and glide along from one screen to the other. These devices also sport other features seen in Panasonic phones including Pop-i Player, Music Cafe and Gesture Play+.

The newly launched smartphones come with freebies.

Panasonic T41 is a dual-sim smartphone that sports a 4.5-inch display (480x854p). It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 512MB RAM. The phone comes with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot and a 1,650mAh battery.

The phone sports a 5MP rear camera with LED flash and a VGA front-facing camera. The smartphone also supports multi connectivity options like WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct and other multiple sensors. It will be available in bright red, black and pearl white colour variants.

Panasonic P41 is a dual-sim smartphone that sports a 5-inch IPS display (540x960p). It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. The phone comes with 8GB internal storage, a microSD card slot and a 2,000mAh battery.

The phone sports an 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2MP front-facing camera. The smartphone also supports multi connectivity options like WiFi 802.11b/g/n, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct and other multiple sensors. It will be available in black and pearl white colour variants.

Panasonic P61 is also a dual-sim smartphone that sports a 6-inch IPS display (720x1280p). The 8.2mm thick phablet sports a metal back cover design.

It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. The phone comes with 16GB internal storage, a microSD card slot and a 2,800mAh battery.

The phone sports an 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2MP front-facing camera. The smartphone also supports multi connectivity options like WiFi 802.11b/g/n, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct and other multiple sensors. It will be available in black and pearl white colour variants.

Commenting the launch, Manish Sharma, managing director, Panasonic India said "The mobility landscape in India is rapidly evolving driven by factors such as improving mobility infrastructure and lowering prices of technology. In line with this, the company offers a range of mobility solutions catering to the entire spectrum of its consumers. One of the key focus areas for Panasonic India is to build a strong connect with the consumers by bringing alive brand experiences through our innovative product line up. The models thus resonate with the consumer's pulse and passion, mirroring their preference for on- the-go smart solutions thus empowering our consumers." 

Amazon Fire Phone Review

After years of rumors, Amazon's first smartphone is finally, finally here. It's unique, it's can be fun, it's a pretty decent phone. And you can do better.

What Is It?

The first smartphone from Amazon, and the first running Fire OS, Amazon's heavily modified version of Google's ubiquitous Android platform. A phone with a 4.7-inch HD screen, Snapdragon 800 processor, and 32GB storage. $200 on-contract (with a limited time offer of a free year of Prime). It has a few tricks built in, like tracking your face with four front-facing cameras.
Most of all, though, it's the world's largest store, squeezed into your pocket.

Why Does It Matter?

Amazon's e-readers are in a class by themselves; its latest tablets are surprisingly adept little devices. Which makes the Fire Phone not only the tech goliath's long-awaited entry to the smartphone game, but also a test of Amazon's evolving hardware philosophy.
Amazon devices started as dirt cheap but good hardware sold essentially at cost. But with the release of the HDX line, the company eased into higher-quality and slightly more expensive devices. The Fire Phone is the culmination of that shift. It's not cheap, it's not even cheap-ish; it's full-on premium. And it's a test of whether that's a space where Amazon can compete. This is a big step for Amazon.
As for why it matters for you: Well, no one has ever put six goddamn cameras on a phone before. Six!


Like any good smartphone, the Fire Phone is an attractive rectangular prism. It's got lightly-rounded corners that make it look an awful lot like a slightly bigger iPhone, and a Samsung-esque oval home button. It's also a little heavy. At 160 grams it's not quite as burdensome as a Lumia 920, but it's noticeably heftier than an iPhone 5S (112 grams), Nexus 5 (130 grams), or Galaxy S5 (145 grams). It's a chunker, but not to the point that you'd feel it weighing down your jeans.
The rounded sides of the Fire Phone are rubberized for grippiness, but considering the back is glass it's still a bit prone to sliding on tables, just not out of your hand. It's kind of a disappointed step back from the fun, weird, but ergonomic and cool-looking angles of the Kindle Fire HDX line. Instead, the Fire Phone is a lot more nondescript.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
The buttons are nice and solid, way less cheap feeling than the ones on my Nexus 5, and it's kind of fun to have a devoted camera button (and Firefly button, if you hold it down) though, I kept accidentally activating the camera and taking mistaken creepshots of strangers on the train while I fumbled around to stop it.
Its most distinguishing feature comes in the form of the five front-facing cameras sprinkled across its face; one is for selfies, the other four are devoted to tracking your face to pull off its fancy 3D tricks. The Fire's 4.7-inch, 720 x 1280 pixel IPS display has a nice, wide viewing angle, which you'll need when you're tilting the phone all over the place. And size-wise it's a sweet spot, at least for my largish man hands. 4.7 inches is juuuust on the top end of screens that are still small enough that my thumb can touch any corner without struggling.
All of which is to say that the Fire Phone is fine-looking, if also kind of boring. Some of my coworkers disagree though, and at least a handful find the thing to be down right ugly.

Using It

Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
Fire OS 3.5
At its core, the Fire is a perfectly usable-if not fantastic-phone. Fire OS, Amazon's unrecognizable fork of Android, has moved past the awkward teen years. But Fire OS 3.5 often feels better-suited to the tablets it was originally meant for than it does a phone. There's a difference between idly swiping through apps and movies and books on your tablet, and pulling out your phone to glance at what's next on the agenda before you duck into the subway, and Fire OS still leans a little bit to the wrong side.
For instance, the main interface is a still a giant, space-devouring icon carousel better suited for a larger, landscape screen. Fortunately you can pin important apps to the front of it now, and beneath each icon is a little widget that provides a glimpse at the data inside. A quick look at your last two emails from the home screen is super convenient, though not every app offers bonus data that's quite so useful.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
Helpful! / Not helpful!
Fortunately the icon wheel isn't your only way to navigate. With an inward flick of the wrist (that registers maybe like 40 percent of the time) you can call up a more efficient menu that categorizes all the different types of stuff you have on your phone; the categories include Apps, Games, Web, Music, Videos, Books, etc. It's a way more convenient way to get around, but actually engaging it with the gesture controls was so iffy that I usually wound up just swiping up on the dock to access a more traditional app drawer. Fire OS offers unique ways to navigate, but none of them is preferable to the basics.
Extras are fine, even if you're ultimately ignoring them, but Fire OS 3.5 is also missing some features that are pretty standard now across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.1. Fire OS's voice assistant, for example, is way behind Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. If you ask it to open an app, for instance, it'll apologize and offer you the paltry list of things it can d Make calls, send texts, send emails, and search the web. And if you ask it for directions to the nearest gas station, it'll return a query for "gas_station" on the Yelp mobile site. Lots of room for improvement here. Fortunately some of the other glaring abscense that we noticed in our hands-on time-like a lack of transit directions and a task switcher-have shown up.
But the big Fire OS omission that is still here and here to stay is the absence of Google's suite of apps. It hurts far more on a phone than it ever did on a tablet because where a Kindle Fire is generally a sidekick device, the Fire Phone wants to be your daily driver. That said, the lack of Google apps never made the Fire Phone feel altogether unusable. After all, it has things like Nokia's (great!) Here maps for directions, Amazon's Silk browser for web surfing, and native email and messaging clients. But the little annoyances of not having Google still add up.
Chief among them is the lack of an official Gmail client. Sure, it's easy to just connect that sucker to the Fire's default Mail app, but you lose the precious tabs that separate the email wheat from spammy chaff. Every single promotion and update and newsletter you never opted out of because it was tucked away in some other tab has now been promoted to a first class citizen. I practically drowned in Twitter and LinkedIn notification emails before I finally turned them off.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
The Fire Phone approximates some of Google's other absent features as best it can. There's a menu you can pull out from the right side of the homescreen that tries its damnedest to be Google Now by offering you info about the weather and the events on your calendar. As a feature it's reflective of Fire OS as a whole; not as good as the competition, but still good enough.
Dynamic Perspective
Dynamic Perspective is ostensibly the Fire Phone's killer feature. It's the first billed on Amazon's feature list, and the secret star of Amazon's initial teaser trailers. It's the trick where the Fire Phone uses its four front-facing infrared cameras (and corresponding infrared LEDs) to track your face on three axis (x, y, and z), enabling you to alter what's on the phone's screen by either tilting the display from side to side or moving your head around. It can see you, even in total darkness.
It's impressive tech! It's also pretty useless.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
First, and to be absolutely clear, Dynamic Perspective will impress you the first time you see it, and Amazon is pretty good at showing it off. The Fire Phone's lock screen is by default one of several Dynamic Perspective-enabled scenes, displaying the time as one of several different objects. It's made of rocks in the "Egyptian ruins" mode, it's written on the table in spilled milk in the "food fight," which features a shattering milk bottle frozen in mid-shatter. It's parallax taken to its natural extreme by making everything a slightly rotatable 3D object that reacts not only to the movement of your hand but also the movement of your head. It's neat!
But if there's some cool, useful functionality to be had from super-aggressive, super-accurate face tracking, the Fire Phone doesn't have it. Dynamic Perspective is packed into pretty much every corner of the Fire Phone, but in ways that range "amusing the first dozen times" to straight up annoying.
Dynamic Perspective touches nearly everything in Fire OS 3.5. Icons in the carousel are Dynamic Perspective-enabled 3D objects that shimmy and shake under your gaze. Unless they're third party apps, in which case the two-dimensional icon awkwardly flaps around. Ditto the icons in the dock. And the icons in the master icon drawer. And the text in the the Fire Phone's main navigational menu. And the numbers in the dialer.
The technique is used to greater effect in some of the games that support it. It's at its best in games like Planet Puzzles, in which you rotate 3D Rubiks Cube-esque puzzle cuboids to see and interact with their different sides. It's at its worst in Monkey Buddy where, if you tilt the screen far enough, you can reveal a hidden "about" page. Ooooooo.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
Revealing hidden information at specific angles is Dynamic Perspective's other main trick, and it isn't just limited to easter eggs hidden in the upper left- or right-hand corners of lock screens or games; it's built right into Fire OS in the form of something called Peek. The idea here is that if you rotate the phone just slightly askew, or move your head to the side to create the same sort of screen-to-eyes relationship, additional information will appear. That's right; you can reveal data by moving your phone to a position that's (slightly) less readable than head-on.
The most aggressive (and annoying) instance of this is that the status bar-where you see the time, your signal strength, and battery power-is invisible when you look directly at your phone. There's an option to disable this in settings, but considering that the status bar area is just wasted space otherwise, why even do this at all? And it's not just the status bar. I didn't see a single instance of Peek where it revealed some sort of information that couldn't have just been there all along, or didn't need to be there at all.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
No peek / Peek
The Fire Phone's other big selling point is Firefly, the identify-anything-and-then-buy-it-on-Amazon-please app with its own dedicated hardware button. Here's a video of it identifying-and failing to identify-a random assortment of objects that were in close proximity to my desk.
It should come as no surprise that Firefly can't identify everything you throw at it; objects sans packaging are generally a no-go, so you won't be able to index your buddy's entire apartment when he's not looking. But that's not what Firefly is for. When I waltzed through a local bodega and stood awkwardly, holding my phone expectantly in front of a variety of foodstuffs, Firefly hit the nail on the head 13 out of 15 times. The two misses included a bag of chips with a big ol' "$2 OFF" sticker on the front (Firefly misread the flavor but got the brand right), and a box of tea from some obscure brand that for all I know is hand-boxed in the back for this specific shop.
Between that hit rate and the track record Firefly had identifying still-boxed gadgets and toys laying around the office, the feature makes a strong case for the Fire Phone as a "I want to buy that thing right now, but from Amazon" machine. It seems to aim for the small niche of impulse-buying price-matchers. Or people keen on putting local shops out of business out of spite.
Firefly doesn't just identify physical objects, though. It also does music, movies, and TV by using Shazam-like super powers. It nailed everything from my favorite Streetlight Manifesto songs to random episodes of Scandal I loaded up on Hulu. The catch is, it (naturally) directs you to Amazon once it identifies, so I found myself presented with an offer to purchase the songs I was listening to for free on Spotify, and the shows I was watching for free on Hulu. Not that there's anything wrong with purchasing goods instead of streaming them, but in its attempts to funnel you further into the Amazon ecosystem, Amazon (obviously) isn't going to have your monetary interests in mind.
While the cameras on the front of the Fire Phone don't often get put to good use, the 13MP shooter on the back isn't bad. It's nothing to write home about either though. It falls pretty squarely in the middle of the Android pack, which is more than good enough if you just want to do some tweets and Instagrams.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
While the Fire Phone's image quality is nothing to sneeze at, its camera is pretty remarkably feature sparse. You won't get any of the slow-mo video shooting or photo-spheres, or RAW images you're able to get elsewhere in wide world of more specialized camera phones. The Fire Phone's got panoramas aaaaand that's about it. If you're a quantity over quality person though, you will get totally unlimited cloud storage for all your Fire Phone photos thanks to Amazon, which is a nice touch.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step


Firefly is good at what it does. Not perfect, but good. Whether or not you should be or need to be impulse buying everything you see from Amazon, Firefly helps you do it, so long as physical things you are trying to buy generally include some sort of packaging. And even besides the practical use, pointing a Fire Phone at things to see if it can identify them is a fun game. When it can identify something particularly obscure, it's a victory for everyone involved. A hell yes, technology!moment. That's a nice feeling.
The Fire Phone's pack-ins are great. Its earbuds take pretty much the same form as the iPhone's EarPods, but their tangle-free magnetization trick really works. They don't sound great, but they are wildly functional for cheap headphones. You will want to use them until they break, and that will probably take a while. This is what pack-in headphones should aspire to be. That, and the included USB charging cable is a glorious five feet long.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step
For running four cameras at you pretty much all the time, the Fire Phone's battery life is surprisingly solid. The Fire Phone can handle a day of pretty intense app-using, email-checking, and web-surfing and make it into the wee hours of the morning with as much as 20 percent power to spare, no doubt thanks in part to a relative of the same battery-saving tech that let the Kindle Fire HDX make it 17 hours in reading mode. More intense activities like using Firefly or Dynamic Perspective-heavy games will chew through the batter faster though. I lost 10 percent in 30 minutes playing To-Fu Fury on the way to work this morning.
Dynamic Perspective is cool. It's not useful, and it gets old fast, but it's still cool. Every time I started to get sick of it and handed it to another person who hadn't seen it before, they'd ooo andahh and it'd remind me "Oh hey yeah this is kind of cool!"

No Like

Fire OS is fine, but as an operating system for your primary mobile device, it is notably inferior to Android, iOS, or even Windows Phone 8.1. The lack of Google apps is a big handicap, and the lack of robust alternatives (Windows Phone at least has all those Microsoft services packed in) is an annoyance that will grate on you.
For all its neatness, Dynamic Perspective doesn't transcend beyond gimmick (so far). It works fine but it just doesn't improve on the phone experience in a way that justifies its existence or the four additional cameras that it requires. Some developer might find a killer use for it some day. But they sure haven't yet.
The Fire Phone gets really hot when you're playing games with a lot of Dynamic Perspective or using Firefly for more than 15 or 30 seconds. Not like, untouchably hot, but definitely warm enough to be obnoxious and borderline worrisome.
Amazon Fire Phone Review: A Shaky First Step

Should You Buy It?

Nope. Definitely not. None of the Fire Phone's flaws are totally insufferable, but there's just no reason to suffer them at all. Fire OS is workable but mediocre as a smartphone operating system, and the hardware doesn't bring anything to the table that counteracts that.
At a $200 on-contract, $650 unlocked price point you'll be better served with just about any other flagship phone, whether it runs iOS, stock Android, skinned Android, or Windows Phone 8.1. Even with a free year of Amazon Prime bundled in, there are still better options. Go pick up a Moto X or something. You can find it for cheap and it's a better phone.
In an alternate universe, it's possible to see how a dirt cheap Fire Phone touting Firefly as its killer feature could have filled some sort of niche need for technology averse Amazon junkies. But as it stands-a premium quality phone with decent but not great software that attempts to hang its hat on a mainly on a gimmick-the Fire Phone isn't something you want in your pocket. Maybe someday, some endeavoring developer will find a truly transcendent use for those four front-facing cameras. But until then, you're better off with just about anything else.

Dell Venue 8 Pro : Review

What is it?

A slew of Windows 8 mini-tablets hit the market recently while the Windows 8.1 update also added some features and capabilities that lend very well to the small form factor. Dell's maiden Windows tablet, the Dell Venue 8 Pro, gets most of the things right and competes well with many of the Android tablets in the market. But it is not without a few miscues that come along the way.


The 8 inch Dell Venue 8 Pro is pretty well designed with an impressive build quality for a budget device. It's thin, light, and easy to hold in one hand. The latter is actually true for most 8 inch tablets and a validation of the form factor over 10/11 inch devices.
The micro-patterned back feels good in the hand and the rubbery finish gives it a solid grip. Of course, it is not the lightest tablet in the market but feels, for a lack of better word, dense rather than heavy.
One of the awkward design choices in the Venue 8 Pro is the start button. Instead of a physical or capacitive button as expected on the bezel, the start button sits on the right end of the top edge if held in the portrait mode.
When you are using it for the first time, it definitely feels awkward. In most cases, I chose to use the Windows button via the Charms bar, rather than the physical button. But once you get the hang of it, it won't really matter. The position is well-thought-of and works well in the landscape mode.


From a hardware perspective, Dell gets most things right. Powered by Intel Atom Z3740D with 2 GB RAM, the tablet comes in two storage editions - 32 GB and 64 GB. The quad-core Bay Trail processor is a great improvement over the predecessor, Clover Trail series, and gives a snappy performance overall, as well as a good battery life.
The tablet packs in a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front camera. I am not a big fan of taking snapshots with a tablet, but the results are decent. The front camera also works well for video chats and web meetings. But the front camera is off-center - so you will have to position the tablet consciously instead of just facing it straight.

The tablet features a beautiful 1,280x800 IPS display and the colors are vibrant, without being over-saturated. The viewing angles are great, too. The non-full HD displays don't look good on the specifications sheet these days but honestly, that's more of a marketing pitch than practicality.

Out of the box, the screen brightness of the Venue 8 Pro is set to auto. The colors are dim and the details are difficult to view. But don't dismiss it right away. After the launch, Dell had issued a firmware update that corrects the issue with the ambient light sensor. The display now defaults to a better, readable setting that does justice to the true beauty of the screen.

I was actually quite surprised to learn that the Venue 8 Pro is packed with an active digitizer, a rarity in budget tablets of any size. You would need to buy the Dell Active Stylus separately, though. It is a better stylus than those useless capacitive pens, but still lacks in performance or accuracy. There has been a firmware fix for the stylus as well.

The addition of digitizer doesn't make up for some disappointing omissions. There's no micro-HDMI port, which is a shame if you are like me and prefer pushing your experience to a larger display. There's support for the Miracast, but the wireless streaming standard is not as ubiquitous as HDMI. Then there is the missing USB port. There is micro-USB but that just isn't the same thing, and you would need an adapter for most things.

Most tablet users spend a lot of time watching videos and playing games. And the Venue 8 Pro offers a glorious speaker, louder than most mobile devices. Granted that the sound gets a little distorted when pushed to maximum, but you won't complain.


Performance wise, the Venue 8 Pro is impressive. Apps get downloaded very quickly and can compete with an average PC in terms of speed. The animations and transitions in the modern UI fly though and the Bay Trail processor doesn't disappoint with lightweight desktop programs. Web browsing is a breeze and the pages load quick. Switching between tabs is a breeze as well.

But the tablet stutters while playing graphic-intensive games. When pushed hard, it also tends to get a little hot. For average user, however, these won't pose much problem.

Since the tablet runs on Windows 8, instead of Windows RT, you have access to full power of the desktop environment. But most desktop applications are not actually designed for an 8 inch touch screen. In most cases, you would misfire a lot and unless you are using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, it is practically unusable and frustrating. Microsoft Office, with its optimizations for touch screens, works fine here and the tablet comes bundled with Office 2013 Home & Student Edition.

The battery life is quite decent for an Intel-powered device of this form factor. We could manage more than eight hours in most cases, which is pretty good. For modest usage, you can even push it to 10 hours, we reckon.

Best Part

  • Great display
  • Pen input
  • Build quality, at the price point
  • Loudspeaker
Tragic flaws
  • No micro-HDMI port
  • Lack of capacitive start button and the position of the physical button
Should you buy it?

If you are looking for a Windows tablet, Dell Venue 8 Pro checks all the boxes. It is good value for money and the benefits ultimately outweigh the quirks of the tablet. A few issues have been ironed out in subsequent firmware updates.
However, there's a wider pool of devices if you have to choose from an Android tablet, the iPad Mini, and a Dell Venue 8 Pro. This one is a pretty good device, but not the best in class.

XOLO Silently Launches Its Q900s And A700s Smartphones On Official Website

Handset maker XOLO has launched two new Android smartphones on its official website. The new Q900s and A700s smartphones will go on sale in the coming days. The budget devices come with price tags of less than Rs 10,000. 

Looking at the specifications, XOLO Q900s is the Android variant of the Win Q900s that was launched earlier. The new handset carries a low-res display. The device runs on Android 4.3 and the company has also promised Android 4.4 upgrade. On the other hand, the phone include 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor, 4.7 inch qHD display, dual-SIM support, 1GB of RAM, and 1800 mAh battery. Experts believe that the Q900s will be competing with Asus' Zenfone 5, as this device comes with better specifications at the same cost. 

On the other hand, XOLO A700s is equipped with a 4.5 inch qHD display, 1.3GHz dual core MediaTek processor, Android 4.2, 5MP rear camera, and VGA front camera. Apart from these specifications, the smartphone includes 1800 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, dual-SIM support, as well as 3G. 

Lenovo S850 Launched In India For Rs 15,499

Lenovo has introduced a new smartphone in the Indian market. Dubbed as the Lenovo S850, it is the part of the S series smartphones by this company. The Lenovo S850 is priced at Rs 15,499.

Coming over to the specifications, Lenovo S850 features a 5-inch HD display with ultra-wide viewing 178 angles and 720 x 1280 pixels resolution. It is powered by MediaTek's 1.3 GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage.

The Lenovo S850 is a dual SIM smartphone that runs on Android 4.4 and comes with usual set of connectivity options. It comes with 2000mAh battery. For camera, there is a 13 megapixels rear camera with SNAPit Camera function and a 5 megapixel front camera.

This smartphone was originally showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014.

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

The Lenovo will be competing with the likes of the Xiomi Mi3. On paper, we think that Xiomi offering will outshine the current offering by Lenovo. However, we will be posting the reviews of both the smartphones really soon, which will give you a good idea of where these smartphones actually stand.

Indians Spend Over Three Hours Daily On Smartphones: Report

As per a new study conducted by telecom equipment maker Ericsson, smartphone users in the country are among the biggest consumers of data globally. Indian users spend three hours 18 minutes daily on their smartphones, the study said. It also revealed there has been a 63% increase in app usage in the past two years. 

The Ericsson Consumer Lab conducted the study on nearly 4,000 smartphone users across 18 urban cities in India. 

Ajay Gupta, Ericsson India's vice president for strategy and marketing, said, "India has higher smartphone usage compared to even the US, where the average is 132 minutes (2 hours 12 minutes). In some of the Asian countries, it ranges between 40-50 minutes." 

According to the study, the average respondent checked his or her phone 77 times a day, with about 26% doing so more than 100 times a day. 

"Smartphone usage is now no longer limited to just social media and chat apps. People are using mobile apps like WhatsApp and WeChat for business purposes, while many working professionals said they shop online using smartphones even while at work," said Gupta. 

Video consumption on mobile devices is on the rise, nearly 12% of housewives said they use smartphones as portable video players, while another 10% said they watch spiritual videos at the start of their day. 

The report also discovered that network performance shaped smartphone behavior and satisfied users spent more time streaming videos and browsing. As per the study, about 68% of all mobile minutes on the smartphone are at home. 

It also added that half of all mobile broadband issues faced by users occurred while they are indoors. Nearly, 76% of existing mobile broadband users said they are willing to pay more for guaranteed better mobile data experience. 

Nishant Batra, Ericsson India's vice president for engagement practices, said, "Network performance and app coverage are the critical areas of focus for mobile operators. We are focused on bringing solutions and global experience from leading markets to operators in India to deliver optimal consumer experience in sync with the growing needs of consumers."