Nokia XL Hands On

We got our hands on a Nokia XL at a recently held bloggers meet by Nokia India. The Nokia XL was announced at MWC 2014 along with X and X+. As a refresher, the Nokia XL is an android based phone with a lot of tweaking to give it a Nokia flavor. The Nokia X was launched in early March 2014 and Nokia says the X+ and XL will be available in a couple of weeks. We covered the basic specs about the Nokia X platform in our write up here.

Nokia XL Meetup

We can say it was Nokia’s first event after it was completely taken over by Microsoft on 25th April, 2014. Addressing the event, Pranav Shroff, Product Marketing Manager, Nokia mentioned that the takeover will not hamper the Nokia X platform and that development and support will continue as usual. So the Nokia X platform is here to stay!

A Quick Look at the Nokia XL specifications:


  • Operating System – Nokia X Software Platform (based on Android 4.1.2)
  • Dimension – 141.4 x 77.7 x 10.9 mm
  • Camera – 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash. Video at [email protected]  2 MP front facing camera.
  • Display – IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. 480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches with 187 ppi pixel density.
  • Processor – Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon S4 Play
  • Memory & Storage – 768 MB RAM + 4GB storage. Expandable up to 32GB through microSD card slot.
  • Battery – 2000 mAh battery with 13 hours of talk time on 3G and up to  30 days stand by on 3G.
  • Colours – Bright green, orange, cyan, yellow, black, white.

_DSC0018

As you can see the Nokia XL gains a lot over Nokia X. Starting with the obvious 5 inch screen, the RAM also has been bumped upto 768 MB. The camera unit is a 5MP auto-focus module aided by an LED flash, the phone also has a 2MP front facing camera for selfies. Bright orange is a new addition to the colour range and only available on the Nokia XL.

We were given a chance to toy around with the device and we had mix reviews about it. For instance we liked the way the phone is packaged, it gives you a uni-body look. But the 5″ phone is too large for one handed operation and also a bit heavy. The image above shows a size comparison between the Lumia 920 which is 4.5″ and as you can see clearly it is a pretty big in-your-face phone. The 5MP snapper was quick to focus and take photos. The photos themselves have a good amount of detail, but the video quality disappointed us. We were disappointed that the camera isn’t capable of capturing 720p HD videos, whereas the Lumia 520/525 in the same price bracket is capable of it. Maybe it is an indication that Nokia wants to keep the X series as low devices only.

image - Nokia XL Opened Back Cover

As mentioned the Nokia X post Google Play is not supported, one has to do use the Nokia Store or any of the other third party app stores like Amazon Apps, Yandex, Mobango or more. In fact, if you don’t find an app on the Nokia Store, they’ll give you suggestions on where you can get that app. Also, like the Nokia X the phone comes preloaded with a lot of apps – Vine, Skype, Facebook, BBM, Fruit Ninja, Simcity and more.

Nokia-XL-Colors

Price and availability wasn’t announced, but it was mentioned that the device would launched in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, head over to our gallery for a hands-on.

Logitech PowerShell launches in India for iPhone Gamers

Last week we were invited to attend the launch of the Logitech PowerShell in India. Mr Ashok Jangra, Cluster Marketing Manager, India & SW Asia formally launched the device. The device is essentially an iPhone only gaming controller. Powershell 1 Physically the device tries to mimic the likes of the Playstation Portable, and to an extent one could easily mistake for a PSP with the iPhone plugged in. The device comes with an analog d-pad, shoulder triggers and a button cluster to give you a console like feeling. The device is pretty easy to use; one needs to just place the device in the dock and you are ready to go.Logitech PowerShell The device supports a pretty exhaustive list of games, Sonic and Overkill 2 being our favourites. For more information, you can check out the Logitech PowerShell website for a complete list of supported games. List of Supported Games With the little time we got to play with the device we did enjoy using it, but we would have preferred a joystick for shooting games as it was very difficult to focus on a target with the d-pad. Though the device offers buttons to control to play games, it doesn’t offer control over the game menu options, which has to be done only by touching the screen. This is not really a deal breaker, though a joystick would be very useful for menu controls as well as gaming. Powershell 2 Talking about daily usage, with the iPhone plugged the PowerShell doesn’t really compromise on the phones features, you can still make your calls, listen to music and even take photos. Logitech has also provided a neat little headphone extension jack and also an extension to charge the device as you play. The device comes with a built-in 1500mAh battery for added game time. We did notice that the build quality isn’t up to the mark and doesn’t feel like it is built to last. Also, with rumors of the next Apple iPhone being bigger than the current 4.5” the PowerShell may not be really Future Proof. The device was launched at a sticker price of Rs.8990, but one should be able to find one for a lesser price in the market.

Galaxy K Zoom, Snooping Skype, Smash a Phone for a OnePlus One – News Bits

3G intra-circle roaming now allowed in India

Earlier if an operator didn’t have a licence for operating 3G services for a region, they tied up with an operator which had the required licence in order to provide these services. The government office of TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) came up about a year back and put up a ban on such tie-ups. This ruling caused operators to abruptly stop providing 3G services where they didn’t have a licence to operate.

Now finally after a prolonged period of rumination, TDSAT has reversed the ban on operator tie-ups for 3G services. Hopefully operators will bring back their old tie-ups and start 3G services soon in most regions. This should bring a boost in 3G penetration in India with this in effect.

More on this from Medianama.

Is it a Phone, Is it a Camera – Samsung Galaxy K Zoom?

Samsung unveiled the latest Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, a camera centric smart phone this week. Don’t get us wrong, this is not a slim and sleek mobile phone. The form factor of the Galaxy K Zoom is more like a point and shoot camera with smart phone functionality baked into it.

The camera has a 20.7 megapixel sensor with a retractable lens system. It features Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) to minimize motion blur due to shaky hands. The Zenon flash on this allows for better nighttime shots. The smart phone side of the device is powered by Android 4.4.2 running on a 1.3Ghz hexa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 8 GB of Internal Storage and a 2430 mAH battery.

Take a look at this video to see what the Galaxy K Zoom has to offer.

Get more information about the product on Samsung’s page.

http://www.gizmodo.in/indiamodo/Samsung-Galaxy-K-Zoom-Smartphone-Unveiled/articleshow/34376821.cms

Security goof up by Skype

It seems like Microsoft has performed a security no-no here with Skype. It looks like they’re storing Archived Messages, Contact Information, and more unencrypted on the device in a local database. It’s also quite easy for a novice programmer to gain a hold of all your Skype conversations and contacts if they access your device or system. So you may want to be careful with your laptops and devices by password or pin protecting access to them to ensure that no one has access to it. Read more about this from Security Affairs

Smash your Phone and get a OnePlus One at $1

OnePlus One
The latest entrant into the smart phone race, OnePlus, has launched their latest OnePlus One. A CyanogenMod driven phone runs on a Qualcom Quad-core processor, 3GB RAM and 16 or 64GB onboard storage depending on the variety you get.

The smart phone is powered by a 3100 mAh battery which should go quite a way between recharges. With Global LTE (4G) support, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 you’re covered by most global networks and accessories. The phone also comes with 3 microphones for active noise cancellation. In the camera section, the One Plus One comes with a 13 Megapixel Sony Exmore camera with Dual LED and a front camera is a 5 megapixel one. The phone can record video in 4K resolution.

As you can see the specs of the One Plus are really good, inline with most flagship phones. What’s amazing is that OnePlus plans on selling the 16GB version for just $299 (approx. Rs.18,000) and the 64GB one for $349 (approx. Rs. 21,000). These are killer prices for a flagship device.

Now, they haven’t started selling these phones yet. You can enter the Oppo Smash the Past Contest where you send them a video of you smashing your current smart phone and win a chance of buying a OnePlus One at $1 and 3 invites to buy the phone, which you can give your friends. Check the contest and contest details over at: oneplus.net/smash. It’s not any old smart phone they want you to smashup, but the latest line of flagship phones from other manufacturers!

If you’re not yet ready to smash your current phone to buy a OnePlus One, the company says that you may have to wait till June to get your hands on one.

Developer Contest from Silicon Image for Creating Dual Screen Android App

Developers on the Android platform should take a look at this contest from Silicon Image. If you have an idea of an Android app which uses Dual Screen Technology, present from Android 4.2 upwards, try your luck at winning this contest with a total prize pool of $100,000.

Your app can fall in the following categories:

  • Games
  • Productivity
  • Entertainment
     
    You may enter as many apps as you like to this contest. The key feature of the app should be the use of Dual Screen technology, which means that the phone screen would have to show one display while the connected display should be showing the user another screen (not a mirrored display). Your game should also be publicly available on an app store like Google Play. You can get more information about the prizes, eligibility,requirements and judging criteria over at the contest page.

If you already have an app that meets these requirements, register for the contest, and submit your app. Registration is open till Monday, July 21, 2014. That gives you enough time to create an app if you don’t have an eligible one already.

For more information about the contest, check out Silicon Image’s blog post. If you are on twitter, follow #mobile2screen for updates on the contest.

Picture Credit: ccinsights on flickr

IFTTT on Android and An Affordable Flagship Phone – News Bits

IFTTT now available on Android

If this then that. It’s a service that let’s you use triggers to complete actions and is automated. It was Web only at first. It was released for iOS last year. It’s now available for Android devices as well. The Verge has a really good write-up, outlining the new Android Specific actions that are available.

Read the write-up by The Verge here. You can use the service on the web over at IFTTT.com.

IFTTT
IFTTT
Developer: IFTTT, Inc
Price: Free
‎IFTTT
‎IFTTT
Developer: IFTTT
Price: Free+

The ONEPLUS ONE is officially available

Well, kind of. You still have to be invited to purchase the handset as of now, but the OnePlus One actually seems to live up to all the hype the company has been generating. Their motto is “Never Settle” and they aim to offer quality handsets at affordable prices. Going by the OnePlus One, the quality extends to beyond just build quality – it has top end internals and runs a version of CyanogenMod 11 that was made specifically for this device. The OS itself is customisable and you can change pretty much everything about it. Want on-screen buttons instead of using the capacitive buttons? Can do. Want to change the lockscreen look and shortcuts? Can do.

OnePlus is calling the One (not to be confused the HTC One or the HTC One -M8) the “2014 Flagship Killer”.


Specs:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz
  • Display: 5.5″ 1080p LTPS IPS Display from JDI (Japan Display)
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM, 16/64 GB Storage (eMMC 5.0)
  • Battery: 3100 Lithium Polymer Battery
  • Imaging: 13 MP Rear camera, 5 MP Front Camera. Record Videos upto 4K, Slo-mo 120fps at 720p
  • Connectivity:GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz,  WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/8 (Basically, every band in use), LTE: Bands: 1/3/4/7/17/38/40 (FDD LTE, covers a huge part of the world), Dual-band Wi-Fi  802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC

The Phone will be available starting Q2 2014 for $299 for the 16 GB variant and 349 for the 32 GB variant. You can also change the backplate, and OnePlus will soon offer options including Kevlar, Bamboo and Denim!

Check them out over at OnePlus.net.

Here’s the introduction video from OnePlus:

Nokia X sells out in 4 minutes, Batterybox gives Macbook Air 12 Hours Backup – News Bits

Nokia X sells out in China in under 4 minutes

Nokia X phone - fast laneIt looks like the Nokia X appears to have a great fan following in China. JD.com, a Chinese online store, reports that they ran out of their entire lot of Nokia X devices in less than 4 minutes after it went on sale.

One of the reasons that the Chinese market is warming up to the Nokia X could be due to the fact that Google services are not exactly popular there. So the Nokia X phone, which is devoid of Google services, seems to be a great device for the folks there to buy. Also China has quite a few alternate third party stores where Android users can download apps.

JD.com expects the next lot of Nokia X devices to go on sale on March 31st. Let’s see how well that batch of phones sell.

BatteryBox keeps a Macbook Air charged for 12 hours

BatteryBox - portable charger for mac and iPhone side view
Here’s a tech which should see the light of day towards the end of this year. Battery Box is a portable battery pack which can keep your Macbook Air powered up for 12 hours or charge an iPhone 8 times.

The BatteryBox is equipped with a 12,000 mAH battery which can deliver 50 Whr(Watt Hour) of power to keep your Macbook Air powered up for 12 hours or charge an iPhone 8 times. It comes with a Magsafe 2 connector and USB connector for any USB chargeable device.

The BatteryBox unit itself is charged via microUSB

Since there’s not been much improvement in battery technology of late, instead of re-inventing the battery the folks from GBatteries have developed a method of controlling energy in lithium-ion batteries, which help them to hold more capacity and not degrade over time. They call this tech the BatteryOS (b.OS for short). BatteryOS, by controlling, the workings of the lithium-ion battery, allows the unit to hold 10-40% more charge, and last a long time. Infact, when the product launches, the company will be giving a 5 year warranty for the battery!

They’re open for pre-orders, and are booking orders at $139 per unit.

Learn more about BatteryBox

Samsung Galaxy S5 to Launch in India on March 27th

It looks like Samsung is launching their latest flagship, the Galaxy S5, in India on Thursday (the 27th of March) at an approximate price point of Rs. 45,000-50,000.

Samsung Galaxy S5 FrontIn the looks department, nothing much has changed from the S4 days. In fact, if you look at the front profile, it looks almost the same. Samsung has changed the back of the phone. It now features a dimpled design which presents itself at the back.

The S5 comes with a slightly bigger screen that the Galaxy S4, by slightly, I mean around 0.1mm more. The screen is a 1080p AMOLED display. It’s powered by a quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, so Samsung has given up on Octa-core processors for now. The phone comes in a 16GB and 32GB variants, but we’re not sure if both will be available at launch.

The Galaxy S5’s camera system features a 16 Megapixel rear camera capable of capturing 4K video, and a auto-focus speed of 0.3 seconds, which they claim is the fastest. It also has a 2 Megapixel front shooter.

Samsung has further added a fingerprint scanner on the S5, so now Android users don’t have to envy the iPhone specs anymore. It also features a heart rate monitor which uses a sensor near the rear camera’s flash and health and fitness tracking apps bundled with the phone.

In the battery department, again the S5 comes with a slightly higher capacity than the older S4 at 2800mAh. This aside, Samsung promises 21 hours of talk time and around 16 hours of standby time. It also features with an Ultra Power Saving mode which they claim doubles battery life if you’re running low on charge.

The Galaxy S5 is also dust proof and waterproof and is IP67 certified. This doesn’t mean that you can take this phone for a swim yet. It just means that it is totally protected against dust and against the effect of temporary immersion in liquids in depths between 15cm and 1 meter.

Via

dataStickies — Sticky Notes which aim to replace USB Storage

From the realms of Sci-Fi, here’s some interesting technology which could replace USB drives – imagine carrying your work data, photos and media in a book or your wallet and stick it on the computer to share data.

An Indian Duo have designed a product concept called dataStickies which is a cross between PostIt Notes and a USB drive. Of course, you can’t go online and buy these yet, they’re still in the concept stages. That didn’t stop the folks behind this, Aditi Singh and Parag Anand, from winning awards for it already.

dataSTICKIES- using graphene

The dataStickies themselves are will be made of Graphene, new material made of carbon atoms. A thin sheet of Graphene could carry a large volume of data which makes it a possibility to make thin layers of storage for the DataStickies. dataStickies will come in storage spaces ranging from 4GB to 32GB. Of course, if you need more storage, the creators mention the use of a multi-use conductive adhesive for these which allow users to stack up multiple units to increase the storage capacity.

Instead of plugging these into a USB slot, the dataStickies just need to be stuck on a unit called the ODTS (Optical Data Transfer Surfaces), which can be placed in front of a computer or a TV screen. These sticky data units transfer information to a computer via the proprietary ODTS interface. Once done, take it back and store in a box, or stick it on your phone or anywhere convenient.

dataSTICKIES-anywhere

I can already see potential uses for technology like this – textbooks can be augmented extra content on dataStickies or we could be seeing an advertiser send out augmented content in physical mailers. Better yet, make business cards which have printed contact details on the outside and additional marketing or introductory material when slapped onto your computer or laptop’s screen.

Now since Graphene is a new technology, it could take some time to commercialise this product, with having to source mass-produced Graphene, to engineering and designing the rest of the product to work and at the same time be affordable. I’m for one rooting for Aditi and Parag to get dataStickies out in the market as soon as they can.

Android Wearables, Drool-worthy Moto 360 – News Bits

Android for Wearables

Google announced Android Wear, which is described as “a project that extends Android to wearables”. Google states in their blog post that they’re working with various manufacturers. Chip makers and Fashion Brands are working hard to get these devices to the market. LG and Motorola have already announced that they’re working on wearables that will run Android Wear. If you check out the video from Google below, you’ll see that Android Wear is based heavily off The Google Now features and voice recognition input.

Read about this from Google’s Blog

Moto 360 – A Geek’s Droolware Smartwatch

Right on the heels of Google announcing the Android Wear, Motorola announced the Moto 360, the smart watch that has us Geeks drooling over it. It’s not too far out in the future as well, they say they’re launching in Summer 2014, which is just a few months away. All we can do is admire this product and send Motorola our email ids so they can get let us know when it’s available.

Check out the Moto 360

The All New HTC One to be available on launch day, in the UK at least

Android Central is reporting that certain stores of some UK retailers will have the all new HTC One for sale right on launch day, soon after the announcement. Now that’s the way it’s done Samsung and Sony.

Read

MotoX on Sale, Google Drive – More for Less, iPhone 5C 8GB – News Bits

MotoX to launch tomorrow on Flipkart for Rs. 23999

After pulling a coup in India mobile sales with the Moto G, Flipkart is all set to launch the Moto X in India tomorrow (Wednesday). As with the Moto G, the Moto X will be exclusively available online only at Flipkart. If you take a look at their Moto X product page, you’ll see that they have some offers for the launch day, where you get a 1000 bucks off if you buy the Moto X on EMIs, 70% off on Moto X cases and a lucky few get 100% cashback on their purchase.

The phone will be available in 5 colors starting at Rs. 23,999 up to Rs. 25,999 for the two wood back finish devices.

Check out Flipkart’s page for more details and to get notified when they start sales of the Moto X.

Buy more Google Drive storage for less

Google has slashed the pricing structure of its Google Drive plans, undercutting Dropbox and others. 1TB of storage will now cost just $9.99 per month! 100GB of storage will now cost a measly $1.99 per month. What can you use this for you ask? Your photo and video backups via Google+ auto backup on iOS and Android, your documents and more.

Read

iPhone 5c for less as well – out comes the 8GB version

Apple-iPhone-5C
It’s no secret that Apple hasn’t been able to sell very many of their polycarbonate bodied iPhone 5C. In hopes of improving sales of the model, they’ve just launched a lower capacity model for a slightly lower cost.

The 8GB version went on sale in the Apple UK store for £429, which is £40 (about Rs. 4000) cheaper than the 16GB version. No news of when this will hit the Indian shores, but will a paying around Rs. 34,000 for an 8GB iPhone be enough of a motivator to sell more Apple phones?

Read more