Friday, 29 August 2014

Apple will not fix all iPhone 5 batteries on its list under replacement program

Global recall ... Apple offered to replace the batteries inside some early iPhone 5 hands

APPLE’S worldwide iPhone 5 battery replacement program is more narrow than the company initially promised, with seemingly eligible Australian customers turned away from its stores.
The Cupertino-based technology giant will launch its iPhone 5 replacement program in Australia today, after admitting some iPhone 5 smartphones sold between September 2012 and January 2013 had faulty batteries.
The batteries, Apple said, “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently”.
Customers were encouraged to enter their iPhone 5’s serial number into an Apple website to determine a handset’s eligibility for a free battery replacement, or a refund if they had already paid to replace it.
But seemingly eligible Australian customers have already been rejected under the scheme after Apple added further tests.
Queensland Apple user Sue Vote said her iPhone 5, purchased shortly after its 2012 launch, was listed on Apple’s website as eligible for repair.
But after she visited the company’s Carindale store with its current user, her mother, Apple staff insisted on testing its battery and rescinded the battery replacement offer.
Ms Vote said the Apple staffer determined the battery was “borderline” defective but “not close enough” to warrant a free replacement, and asked for $99 to install a new battery.
“Mum’s been charging (the iPhone) up to 90 per cent regularly and it goes flat in a couple of hours. She actually carries another old phone with her now because she just can’t trust that it won’t run out of battery,” Ms Vote says.
“I’ve got friends on Facebook thinking they’ve got a ‘golden ticket’ with this Apple offer but that’s no longer clear.”
Apple’s Battery Replacement Program website states users must ensure eligible iPhone 5 handsets have no damage, like a cracked screen, and also states iPhones will “be examined prior to any service to verify (they are) eligible for this program and in working order”.
Apple Australia declined to comment on the issue.

40000 Xiaomi Redmi 1S units going up for sale via Flipkart this Tuesday

Flipkart and Xiaomi will be selling 40000 Redmi 1S units come this Tuesday, that’s on September 2, with the hope of leaving behind the drama over the Mi 3 order cancellations. This will be the very first time that the smartphone hits India and considering its price as well as the hype surrounding the brand presently, we can picture a few more flash sales for it in the future.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Flipkart

The first stock of 40000 phones should come as a wee bit of relief to fans eager to purchase the Xiaomi Redmi 1S seeing as the company has been releasing its Mi 3 in small batches of 10000 to 20000 through Flipkart in India. When it launched the upcoming budget Android handset in Singapore on July 15, it only had 5000 units to offer enthusiastic buyers.

The Redmi 1S is priced at Rs 5999, a price that’s sure to undercut competitors which are currently in the form of the Asus ZenFone 4 A450CG and Moto E, both costing Rs 6999. Even if it wasn’t for the Rs 1000 difference, the Xiaomi phone would still be comparatively impressive for a low-end one.

The phone comes with a quad core Snapdragon processor and a 4.7-inch HD display. It works on 1GB RAM and has 8GB of onboard memory. In case this falls short of your hoarding requirements, there’s always the microSD card slot for adding up to 64GB of extra space.

Quick look: Xiaomi Redmi 1S specs list

- 1.6GHz quad core Snapdragon 400 chip
- 4.7-inch 1280 x 720p IPS touchscreen
- 8MP main camera w/ flash, 1.6MP front lens
- Android v4.3 with MIUI software
- 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory
- 64GB expandability via microSD card slot
- 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi, GPS/AGPS, Bluetooth
- Dual SIM card slots
- 137 x 69 x 9.9 millimeters
- 158 grams
- 2000mAh Li-ion battery

In case you still haven’t registered for the Xiaomi Redmi 1S sale on Flipkart, you have until midnight of September 1 to do so from this page.

Videocon rolls out VStyle Smart phone for Rs 2950 and 4 other handsets

Videocon has gone full throttle and launched four new feature phones called the V-Style Mega, V-Style Curve, V-Style Flip and V-Style Mini in India. Apart from these, the company has also let loose the V-Style Smart device running on Android, a competitor to the Intex and Spice Mozilla Firefox OS phones.

The Videocon V-Style Smart works on the very outdated Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS and costs Rs 2950. It has a 3.5-inch 320 x 480p HVGA resolution screen and a 1GHz processor. There’s a measly 128MB of RAM under the hood and 256MB of ROM along with 16GB microSD card support.

Videocon V-Style Smart

The dual SIM and dual standby handset is powered by a 1300mAh battery, has a basic 1.3MP back camera and a 118mm x 61.2mm x 9.6mm body. It can connect to GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. In terms of looks, you couldn’t ask for any design more generic than the one sported by the V-Style Smart.

The V-Style Mini carries a price of Rs 1299 and a QVGA resolution 2-inch screen phone. It also offers the standard specs you’d expect of it such as a VGA camera, 16GB memory expandability, Bluetooth support, GPRS connectivity, FM radio and a decent capacity 1000mAh battery.

The Videocon V-Style Flip and V-Style Curve are each pegged at Rs 1749. The former has 16GB microSD card support, while the latter allows for double the expansion. On other counts, both feature phones are remarkably alike. The first mentioned handset also arrives with a flip cover.

Each has a 2.4-inch QVGA panel, 900mAh rechargeable cell, a 1.3MP snapper, GPRS compatibility and FM radio. The Rs 1999 Videocon V-Style Mega boasts of a 3-inch IPS display, a 1.3MP camera, 32GB microSD card support, FM radio, GPRS, Bluetooth and a 1000mAh battery.

Flipkart Digiflip Pro ET701, XT911 and XT811 Intel-powered tablets: Quick read

The Flipkart Digiflip Pro ET701, XT911 and XT811 tablets with Intel processors under their hoods are the latest from India’s very own Amazon rival. The online retailer is so hot at present, Samsung decided to join the list of companies awarding it with exclusives and give it the Galaxy S5 mini for its very own.

Flipkart Digiflip Pro ET701

Prior to the newest launches, Flipkart rolled out the Digiflip Pro XT712 in June for Rs 9999. The ET701 lowers the price bar by selling for just Rs 5999 on the website, while the XT811 and XT911 are priced at Rs 10999 and Rs 15999, in that order. We will also be seeing two other tablets going by the names XT801 and XT901, up for sale in the future.

Starting with the Digiflip Pro ET701 tablet which shows off a 7-inch form factor, you get a 1024 x 600 pixel IPS touchscreen panel and a 1.2GHz dual core Atom Z2520 processor with it. Being a low-end tablet, we’re sure you didn’t expect more than 1GB of RAM, microSD card support, 8GB ROM and Wi-Fi. Also on offer is a 2MP main camera, VGA webcam and 2800mAh battery.

You have the option of grabbing it in the color red, blue, gray or white. Next comes the Digiflip Pro XT911 with an 8.9-inch full HD display and 3G as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. If you are satisfied with only Wi-Fi, then its XT901 version should do nicely for you. In terms of specifications, there’s a 2GHz dual core Atom Z2580 chip and 2GB of RAM under the hood.

The XT911 is fueled by a 6500mAh battery and boasts of 16GB internal memory along with 5MP and 2MP cameras. The Pro XT811 that has the Wi-Fi only XT801 as its cousin, would share much the same features if it wasn’t for its 4200mAh power house, 8-inch 1280 x 800 pixel screen and 1GB RAM. These Flipkart tablets run on Android Jelly Bean with the promise of an upgrade to KitKat at a later point.

You can certainly tell which one is the most expensive of the lot by simply looking closely at their designs. The first picture we’ve posted is that of the Digiflip Pro ET701 and although it adopts similarly rounded edges as the Digiflip Pro XT911, the appearance is just not as polished. As for the Digiflip Pro XT811 (image below), it has adopted an exterior which is smart and severe at the same time.

Here’s the link you should visit for the Flipkart Digiflip Pro ET701, while the Digiflip Pro XT911 is available on this page. In case you’re actually hunting down the Digiflip Pro XT811, it can be found here.

Devnagri script domain ‘dot bharat’ launched by govt

The Indian government announced the roll-out of the Dot Bharat country code top-level domain name in the Devnagri script in eight regional languages. The idea is to let the non-English speaking part of the population type URLs in the tongue they understand best. Dot Bharat is technically the English version of Dot IN, just in case you’re wondering.

Dot Bharat

Websites in regional languages (also called IDNs standing for Internationalized Domain Names) will help encourage the development of content in such localized scripts too. This should slowly but surely allow for inclusive growth of the Internet. The Dot Bharat launch by the government in the Devnagri script encompasses Hindi, Konkani, Marathi and five other languages.

Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, has disclosed that the venture will continue to expand, with all Indian languages expected to be added to the roster in the near future, reports The Economic Times. IDNs in Bangla, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu will also be delivered by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).

In a move to push its Digital India initiative, the Indian government has been working on connecting the whole nation with wireless telephony and broadband networks. It has set aside Rs 20000 crore in order to bring mobile connectivity to 55000 villages in the country over the next five years. Then there’s the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) project estimated to cost Rs 35000 crore.

The aim is to provide high speed Internet access to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by March 2017. 60000 villages are supposedly going to welcome broadband support in 2014. The years 2015 and 2016 are each anticipated to ring in web connectivity for 1 lakh rural regions. The government is looking towards NOFN to bring about an e-commerce revolution in India.

Gionee GPad G5 5.5-inch hexa core phablet laucned for Rs 14999

The Gionee GPad G5 phablet may have a hexa core processor, but it’s a downgrade in a manner of speaking when compared to its predecessor and this shows in the price of Rs 14999 attached to it. The GPad G4 is currently pegged at Rs 16999 officially even though it was launched for Rs 18999.

Gionee GPad G5

The only advantage the Gionee GPad G5 possesses at present is the fact that the Mi 3 has stepped away from the limelight temporarily. Otherwise, it’d be racking up a lot of criticism considering its price is Rs 1000 heavier than the Xiaomi phone’s tag.

And it’s not like the GPad G5 has anything spectacular to show in comparison. Apart from having a hexa core processor, its specs sheet isn’t too impressive. There’s 1GB of RAM onboard and 8GB of ROM, though it does come with expandability of up to 32GB unlike the Mi 3 and GPad G4.

Also see: Xiaomi Mi 3 handset disappears in 2.4 seconds from Flipkart, sales stopped indefinitely

The new GPad takes some design cues from the Mi 3 although it would have done better to borrow more tips on the internal components. The phone is sharp on all four corners and has an easy way about it on the back with its slightly curvy build which should offer a good grip.

Gionee Phone

This forthcoming Gionee device embeds dual SIM slots and 3G connectivity, but no 4G LTE. Its 5.5-inch IPS display which is protected with Dragontrail Glass would have been more interesting if it did full HD instead of sticking to 1280 x 720p resolution .

At least there’s Android KitKat inside and a decent capacity 2400mAh battery that will let you squeeze about 12 hours of 3G talk time out of it. You also get two SIM card slots and an 8MP camera with flash on the back. You’ll have to make do with a 2MP lens for video calls.

Gionee GPad G5 key specs at a glance:

- 5.5-inch 1280 x 720p IPS Dragontrail Glass screen
- Android v4.4 KitKat OS
- 8MP main camera w/ LED flash, 2MP front lens
- 1.5GHz hexa core Cortex A7 processor
- 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage
- 32GB memory expandability
- 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
- Dual SIM card slots
- 2400mAh battery, 12 hours 3G talk time
- 157.3 x 77.6 x 7.9 millimeters
- Black and white color options

The Gionee GPad 5 is not up for sale yet, but it will be made available soon enough through the company’s very own store as well as via other retailers.

Palo Alto startup Cyanogen may help Amazon, Microsoft, others compete with Google

Cyanogen, a Palo Alto startup that has developed a popular variation on the Android operating system, is reportedly being considered for acquisition or funding by Google Inc. rivals.
Kirk McMaster Cyanogen
The Information reported that Amazon.comInc., Microsoft Corp., Samsung Electronics and Yahoo Inc. are among potential partners or buyers of the company founded by former Samsung Mobile R&D chiefSteve Kondik, who works out of Seattle, and led by CEO Kirk McMaster in Palo Alto.
The tech giants are interested in CyanogenMod, a variation on Google's Android system developed by Kondik while he was at Samsung.
They are reportedly looking for ways to get around Mountain View-based Google's dominance of mobile operating systems, where Android has nearly 85 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC.
The report said that Cyanogen is planning a large Series C round of funding. It has raised about $30 million to date from investors who include Andreessen Horowitz, Tencent, Benchmark andRedpoint Ventures.
The company faces the usual challenges of startups that are built on open source software that is supported by enthusiastic developers. It would likely need to find services and apps that it can charge for on top of CyanogenMod.
But if it is acquired by a handset maker like Microsoft or Amazon, it could become an important differentiator from makers of other Android-powered devices.

BlackBerry to turn back to QWERTY, set to launch Passport, Classic in India

Faced with the onslaught of cheap Android phones, BlackBerry is turning back to its core, the popular QWERTY keyboards. In the coming months, BlackBerry will launch in India the Passport and Classic, two devices that will have the QWERTY keyboard at its USP.
BlackBerry is turning back to its core, the popular QWERTY keyboards. (Image source: Crackberry)
"QWERTY has been one of our strong suits, keeping with the consumer trend and demand, we will continue to launch devices based on QWERTY. There remains a large portion of the user base that are loyal to the QWERTY experience," said Sameer Bhatia, Director, Distribution at BlackBerry India.
The unique BlackBerry Passport will offer a 4.5-inch square full HD screen with with a touch-enabled keyboard. "You will be able to navigate web pages, apps and e-mails by lightly brushing your fingers over the keys, which helps with things like scrolling and cursor placement," he said, adding that the keyboard will also support custom commands.
The BlackBerry Classic, meanwhile, will bring back the trackpad and function keys to BlackBerry 10 devices. It will be second device to come out of the Foxconn partnership and could have an affordable price tag.
"We believe that our devices need to stay in step with the times while ensuring to provide die-hard BlackBerry users with the comfort of a keypad as well," said Bhatia.
However, BlackBerry is unlikely to shift to an online only approach like some of the new entrants in the market. "We believe that both traditional retail formats outlets and online platforms are complementary strategies that brands need to harness to ensure complete consumer access and reach," he said. Bhatia said it is imperative to look at OMNI channel presence and leverage both traditional as well as new age formats to reach out to consumers across segments. "Recently with the launch of the new BlackBerry Z3 we partnered with both The Mobile Store and Flipkart to offer consumers an exciting pre-launch offer. The offer was very well received by the consumers, proving that both brick & mortar and online formats have become an integral part of a brand’s retail strategy."

8 out of 10 internet consumers have privacy concerns over wearable devices

Nearly 80 % consumers have privacy concerns with wearable Internet of Things (IoT) connected technologies.

However, half of those same consumers were okay to share data if compensated with a coupon or discount.

The study conducted by Acquity Group, which is now part of Accenture Interactive, covered more than 2,000 consumers across the United States which reveals a gap in consumers' fears of data privacy and their actual purchasing behavior.

President of Acquity Group Jay Dettling said that companies should focus on specific benefits that sharing data will deliver to consumers.

Specifically, consumers are most willing to share wearable data for coupons and discounts based on their lifestyles (28 %), information on better workouts to reach their goals (22 %), information on the best foods to eat (22 %), coupons for fitness gear (19 %). 

8 things you must know before buying Intex or Spice Firefox smartphones

With the launch of two low cost Firefox smartphones- Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 in India, smartphone buyers have got a lot queries. From a layman perspective, here’s what you get and what you don’t get in these two Firefox smartphones. Also, to clear the doubts of confused masses, Firefox has nothing to do with Android. Both are completely different operating systems.
The Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 are 2G enabled smartphones and doesn’t support 3G. On the connectivity front, both the devices features WiFi, Bluetooth and USB tethering. Also, both the handsets are very basic in nature with the only mission to connect users to the Internet and social networking platforms. So, multimedia experience with both the handsets are pretty basic.
Here’s what you need to know:
1) You don’t need an email ID to operate Firefox OS. In Android, you need to have a Gmail account to access most features of the operating system along with Google Play. In Firefox, users are not required to enter an email ID to access the operating system. This makes sense given the fact that Firefox wants to connect the masses to Internet without any form of barrier.
2) Using Firefox smartphones are relatively easy when compared to Android. First time smartphone users will not encounter much difficulties in operating the OS. The call, messaging, contacts and Firefox browser icons are always present in plain sight and the experience is more like using the home screen of Android and you just have to swipe left or right to access apps.
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On the home screen, there’s a bar showing “I’m thinking of…” through which users are directed to Google search. Accessing Internet on the Firefox OS is very simple and user-friendly.
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3) Firefox OS supports all major social networking apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Quora, Pinterest.
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4) Very low internal memory. You will need a microSD card to start your multimedia experience with the device. So, if you don’t have one, add the price of a microSD card to the cost. Both handsets support up to 4 GB of external memory.
5) WhatsApp is not available directly. Yes, you got that right. The official WhatsApp instant messaging application is currently not there in Firefox Marketplace . “Users can connect to WhatsApp via third party app called ConnectA2,” said James Ho, senior director, Firefox Mobile Devices Group.
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We tried to connect to WhatsApp on the Intex Cloud FX smartphone using the ConnectA2 third party app and we failed. ConnectA2 asked for nick name, country and mobile number to register. Then it asked to enter a six-digit code which the app sent via SMS. The SMS never arrived! We also tried the voice call feature to get the code but failed again.
The ConnectA2 app should have worked but we have no clue as to why it failed us on the Intex Cloud FX.
6) Popular games and apps missing. There’s no Angry Birds or Temple Run or Candy Crush or other other popular games. However, you can play Flappy Birds. The Firefox Marketplace is in a pretty nascent stage but soon you can expect more apps on the platform as apps can be easily ported.
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7) Consumes less mobile data. Firefox OS uses web compression techniques which reduces mobile data consumption. Also, as both the devices are 2G only, the data consumption is low when compared to 3G enabled smartphone. So, users can expect 1 GB of data to last the entire month with average usage.
8) More battery life. You can expect both the Firefox handsets to have a greater battery life when compared to other low cost Android handsets.
Stay tuned to this space to read the exclusive in-depth review of both Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 soon.
Got questions? Feel free to ask at the comment section below.

With New 3DS Model, Nintendo Continues to Woo Hardcore Gamers

Nintendo's New 3DS, announced today, has a number of upgrades aimed at hardcore gamers.

Nintendo’s got a brand new 3DS, one that’s aimed at capturing more of the hardcore gamer market.

Announced today for an October 11 release in Japan, the New Nintendo 3DS (that’s its name) has a variety of upgrades that all seem to be aimed squarely at gamers that demand high-end experiences. It now has a second analog joystick, making camera controls in complex games like Monster Hunter significantly easier. Going along with that are two extra “shoulder buttons” on the back of the unit for more control options. The 3-D screen and camera have been given upgrades.

And most significantly, New Nintendo 3DS has more under the hood. The internals have been upgraded for flashier graphics and faster internet speeds. Nintendo being Nintendo, it hasn’t said how much of a boost New 3DS will get. But it has said that the new model will actually play some exclusive games that wouldn’t be possible on the current 3DS.

The first of these will be Xenoblade Chronicles, a version of the role-playing game that Nintendo released a few years back on its original Wii console. This is about as nerdy and hardcore-focused a piece of content as one could imagine: Nintendo launching a new platform with a 40-hour RPG? Who’d have imagined this in the days of Wii Sports?
Nintendo will release the New Nintendo 3DS in two models, roughly equivalent in size to the original 3DS and to the scaled-up 3DS XL model. They will retail for 18,800 yen and 16,000 yen respectively (about $180 and $160).

Other new features on both models include built-in support for near-field communication devices like Nintendo’s upcoming Amiibo interactive figures, more battery life and Micro SD card support.

Retreating Upmarket
Nintendo’s announcement of an upgraded portable machine designed to appeal to more discriminating, dedicated gamers comes hot on the heels of new comments by the company’s game design guru Shigeru Miyamoto that seemed to signal just this sort of shift.

Nintendo, he said to Edge magazine, no longer wants to chase after “the sort of people who, for example, might want to watch a movie. They might want to go to Disneyland.”

“Their attitude is, ‘okay, I am the customer. You are supposed to entertain me,’” Miyamoto said according to the report. “It’s kind of a passive attitude they’re taking, and to me it’s kind of a pathetic thing. They do not know how interesting it is if you move one step further and try to challenge yourself [with more advanced games].”

“Abandoning the lower-performance segments of an industry and moving upmarket is 100 percent predictable in disruption theory,” game design consultant Ben Cousins wrote on Twitter this week in response. “Was Miyamoto saying casual gamers were pathetic when the Nintendo stock was at $76?”

Advocates of disruption theory in books like The Innovator’s Dilemma—that’s one of the biz-school tomes that Nintendo name-checked when it launched the revolutionary Wii and DS hardware—would say that Nintendo is “retreating upmarket.”

Losing the “expanded audience” that it once courted to great effect with simplified gaming platforms—whether to mobile phone games or Disneyland—Nintendo is now, at least in the short term, pursuing the high-end consumer with products more geared to their needs. That’s more buttons, more joystick, more RPGs and more oomph.

You might notice that this is not a good long-term strategy, and indeed might be setting Nintendo up for death by a thousand cuts. That’s why Nintendo’s also working on its Quality of Life health-related gaming platform initiative, which might actually be able to capture a brand new audience again.

‘Til then, it’s “What, you want buttons? Here’s all the buttons.”

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, or check it out in app form on iOS or Android.

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

According to, 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 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: It was an off-shoot of the since-put-to-rest personal broadcasting medium,

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:

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.