Dictionary, Slow Motion Videos and more on apps this week

Instadict

Browsing through a page, find a word you don’t understand? Instadict to the rescue. Just highlight the word and shake your device. Currently has language packs for English, French and Italian.

Android –

Instadict
Instadict
Developer: Shashank.Mishra
Price: Free

645 Pro

Interested in iPhone photography? Do you like manual controls and dials? 645 Pro is the app for you. Let the video below explain it all:

645 PRO Mk III from Jag.gr on Vimeo.

‎645 PRO Mk III
‎645 PRO Mk III
Developer: Michael Hardaker
Price: 4,49 €

 

Groove Music

Microsoft has really stepped up it’s game when it comes to services. One of the newer additions to their suite of multi-platform apps is Groove Music (formerly XBox Music). What does it do? Well, you could get a Groove Music pass for $9.99 per month and stream from their collection of songs. What makes it much better though, especially for users of OneDrive or Office365, is that Groove Music allows you to stream from your music collectons stored on OneDrive, at no additional cost.

Android – 

Microsoft Groove
Microsoft Groove
Price: Free

iOS –
Microsoft Groove
Microsoft Groove
Price: Free

Windows/Windows Phone – Download from Windows Store

 

Le Kiosk

This section is more focussed on the service than the app itself and it’s availability would be limited to certain countries, but if you’re a magazine subscriber, I’d recommend Le Kiosk. There are different plans – 3 magazines a month for around €3.99, 10 for €9.99 and 25 for €19.99, with a 30 day free trial. It also offers a magazine discovery service and has most of the bigger publications along with a collection of the smaller magazines, the list varies by country. Currently, UK, France and Italy only.

Android – 


iOS – 
Windows/Windows Phone – Download from Windows Store

 

TruSloMo

TruSloMo is a must have app if you shoot slow motion videos on your iPhone and want an easy way to export and edit the videos. It’s much easier than using iMovie on your phone and even has an option to easily publish to Whatsapp or Instagram.

iOS – 

TruSloMo
TruSloMo
Developer: William Wu
Price: Free+

 

Morecast

For detailed, hyperlocal weather forecasts, you have the apps that use Forecast.io. However, the accuracy will depend on the weather stations available. If you’re in Europe, there’s another option – Morecast. With weather data from UBIMET which is a large weather data provider, the app is detailed and even looks good. The one downside though, is the lack of a 5 row wide widget (if you have a phablet).

Android – 

iOS – 

‎MORECAST Wetter App
‎MORECAST Wetter App
Developer: UBIMET
Price: Free+

Photography, image search and more on apps this week

ProShot

ProShot by Rise Up Games started out a while back as a fully featured camera app for Windows Phone back in 2012. It launched on iOS in 2014 and is now available on Android as well (for devices running 5.1 and up). On compatible phones, it gives you access to full manual control, editable presets, and on Android, RAW support (assuming your phone fully supports the camera2 API. Check the link above for the full feature listing for each platform.

Windows Phone:
Download from Windows Store

iOS:

Android:

ProShot
ProShot
Developer: Rise Up Games
Price: $4.99

 

Image Searcher

Looking for that Gif to send to a chat app? Or an image? Why bother searching and then downloading it when you can do it directly from the media share feature in the chat app? Your preferred chat app doesn’t have such a feature? Try Image Searcher. Just remember, don’t set a default while trying to share an image and it’s all good.

Android:

 

Google Drive on Windows Phone

Sure, Google doesn’t really bother supporting Windows Phone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use certain apps. If you are a Google Drive user, check out the unofficial drive client.. Check out the full review on All About Windows Phone.

Windows Phone:
Download from Windows Store

Polarr

What started out as a browser based photography app has now evolved into a free iOS app (with in app purchases, of course). It’s pretty feature rich and allows you to create and save your own presets as well.

iOS:

 

Next Lock Screen for Android by Microsoft

Late last month, Microsoft revealed a number of new products from the Microsoft Garage project one of which is the Next Lock Screen for Android .

Next Lock Screen combines an agenda view sourced from your phone’s calendar with a quick launcher system, accessible via a slide-up drawer from the bottom of the screen.  You can change these to fit different “locations” (each of which have different wallpapers), so they adapt to your current situation – At Work, At Home & On The Go

 

microsoft_next_lock_screen_app

Next puts important info—like your upcoming meetings, missed calls, and text messages on your lock screen for instant access. You can swipe notifications away to dismiss them, and swipe down to unlock the screen. Check out the video from Microsoft –

Next is still in its early stages, so it has its limitations—SMS notifications don’t work if you use Hangouts, and  email notifications do not appear on the lock screen. It’s currently not available in India, but a quick Google search should give you the apk! Something to keep your eye on perhaps?

Next Lock Screen
Next Lock Screen
Price: Free

 

Sony Xperia Z2 – A Few Months Later: Z Life

Sony have been trying really hard to getting their game right in the flagship module. The Xperia Z1 was not really up to the mark, primarily because of the screen, but they had got it right with the build quality and waterproofing. They also struck the right balance with the Z1 compact which is still regarded as the best sub flagship mini in the market right now.

So lets find out if they have got it right with this year’s flagship the Xperia Z2, after a few months of use.

On the face of it, the Xperia Z2 has all the bells and whistles one expects out of a flagship. It packs in the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with 3GB RAM on board. They have also tweaked the UI.

Xperia Z2 First Boot

Quick Look at the specs

Operating System : Android KitKat 4.4.2 (as of testing)

Dimension : 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm. 163g.

Camera : 20.7MP autofocus camera with a 1/2.3″ Exmor RS sensor and F/2.0 Sony G Lens.

2160p video recording @ 30fps, [email protected] 60fps, [email protected] 120fps.

2.2MP front camera with 1080p video recording.

Display : 5.2″ 16M-color 1080p IPS capacitive touchscreen Triluminos display (424ppi pixel density) with X-Reality engine

Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset (MSM8974AB): quad-core 2.3GHz Krait 400 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Adreno 330 GPU

Memory & Storage : 3GB RAM + 16GB inbuilt storage. Expandable upto 128GB.

Battery :  3,200mAh battery

Colours : White, Black and Purple.

Design and Handling

The Sony Xperia Z2 has 5.2” Full HD display with a pixel density of 424 ppi. This coupled with the X-Reality Engine results in a gorgeous display. The phone is packaged in a mixture aluminum and scratch resistant glass. The back is completely finished in scratch resistant glass and feels really classy and great to hold. It definitely feels like an expensive phone.

Sony Xperia Z2 Front Home Screen

The phone has no unnecessary undulations or uneven surfaces like camera bumps. The front and the back are completely flat and minimalistic, adding to the classy look. As mentioned, the rear is made of glass (Sony classifies it as scratch proof and shatter resistant). So far, it has not shown signs of wear, although the phone hasn’t really hit the pavement so far.

Sony Xperia Z2 Glass Back

Coming to the controls, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top along with a secondary microphone for stereo sound video recording. The right holds the Power button, the volume controls, the microSD card slot and the camera button. The bottom has the microphone. the left side holds the SIM tray and the micro USB port. While the flap covering the USB is a little fiddly for day-to-day charging, you do have pogo pins that can be used with a charging dock or snap -on magnetic cables for easy charging. It does not have Qi Wireless Charging though. Even though the flap makes the phone dust and water-proof, opening the flap for charging daily and closing it back later does allow some grime to collect at the edges, as evident from the photo below.

VT's 1020_20140924_18_32_32_Pro

The Z2 gets stereo speakers for quality output, one located at the top and one at the bottom. It isn’t as loud or rich sounding as the “Boomsound” speakers on the HTC M8, but it is not that far behind.

VT's 1020_20140924_18_36_42_Pro

There is a 2.2MP camera on the front. The back holds the 20.7 MP autofocus camera with a single LED flash.

Display and User Interface

The Z2 comes with Android KitKat 4.4 out of the box. It was also, the company’s first phone to do so. The UI is pretty similar to the previous versions on Z1 and Z1 compact with a few nips and tucks.

Starting with the lockscreen, like most smartphones these days it supports widgets on every pane. You can also go straight to the camera from the lockscreen, a feature of KitKat. Security wise you get the usual Face, Pattern, PIN or Password Unlock.

Enter the homescreen and you will be greeted with five panes which can be customized. You can add or remove panes, seven being the maximum. Any of these panes can be made default and a press of the home button will take straight to the default pane.

The phone comes inbuilt with a host of static and live wallpapers and as with all Xperia devices, the theme can also be changed using the Theme Chooser. There are a few inbuilt themes and you can also download themes from the Sony Select  app or from the Play Store, where you can find third party themes and customize your phone as per your need.

It’s a similar story with the app drawer. Swipe from the left and you can sort apps in the app drawer manually, alphabetically, most used and most recently installed. You can also define your own order. Searching for an app shouldn’t be difficult as the search option comes in handy. Uninstalling an app can also be done from here.

The Notification draw and the Quick settings have been split now to give space for more information and shortcuts at ease. Swiping down from the top of the screen with one finger reveals the Notification draw and with two fingers reveals the Quick Settings.  The Quick settings toggles can be customized and one can choose from over 20 different toggles.

One new app in the Z2 is the What’s New. As the name indicates the app tell you what’s hot and happening the the app world and as well as keeps you updated with multimedia. It also displays the latest from the Sony Playstation Store as well. Unfortunately, this service is offered as one short-cut when you swipe up from the home button, along with Google Now.

Sony keeps updating it’s stock apps from time to time, adding new functions, though this is handled by the Sony Updater and not via the Play Store like Motorola and HTC have been doing of late.

Battery

The Z2 comes packaged with a massive 3200 mAh battery. We threw everything possible at it, gaming, browsing, extensive camera use and we were still able to manage more than day’s usage on a single charge. The Power Manager lets you toggle between various settings to squeeze the most out your battery.

The STAMINA mode lets you disable mobile data and WiFi when the screen if off, but the clever thing is you can turn on data only for a set of applications which is user defined. It can also restrict device performance to squeeze that extra juice out of your battery. You can set all this to be done ‘Always’ or when your battery goes down a certain percentage.

The phone also has location based WiFi which essentially activates WiFi only when certain saved WiFi signals are in range.

 

Camera

The camera is a 20.7 MP unit which is the same as the ones in the Z1 and the Z1 compact. We have already seen the improvements in imaging in the Z1 compact over the Z1 using the same camera unit. Lets find out how different it is in the Z2.

The camera unit comes with a Exmor RS backside illuminated 1/ 2.3” sensor, which is about 70% bigger than the standard 1/3”. The lens is a 27mm wide angle Sony G Lens with f/2.0 aperture and BIONZ image processor. It captures images with a maximum resolution of 5248 x 3936 in 4:3 aspect ratio.

The Layout is pretty simple and all your basic and commonly used controls are just a click. The Camera module is supported by an array of filters and modes. As with the Z1 you get a Superior Auto mode, manual mode, burst mode, background defocus, creative effect, AR Effect and many more.

The results are a mixed bag, there are some features that we liked and some which are not up to standard. Images are best captured in Superior Auto Mode but unfortunately the resolution of these images maxes out at 8MP. The Manual does  let you shoot in 20.7 MP but the results are not upto a flagship phone mark. There is plenty of detail  but it still doesn’t match up to the S5 in sharpness and color accuracy.

The HDR mode is quite a letdown as all it does is brightens up the image without preserving detail. The images look blown out and the colors look washed out.

The Z2 offers quite a lot when it comes to videos. For starters it offers 4K video capture at 30fps but it is limited to just 5 minutes. There is also an option of recording Full HD videos at either 30fps or 60fps. It is also capable of capturing 720p videos at 120fps. Audio is captured in stereo mode and is pretty impressive. There is no optical image stabilization on board but the digital image stabilization does the part pretty efficiently.

One interesting video feature is the Timeshift video, which captures videos in 720p at 120 fps an then lets you slow down selected moments in the video, unlike the S5 which captures the whole video in 120fps. This feature was first seen in the iPhone 5s but it could slow down only one part of the video. Sony has bettered this feature and you can slow down multiple parts of a video.

Low light performance is pretty good too. We were able to capture some really amazing low light photos without the use of flash. The flash itself isnt very harsh on subjects and lights up the area pretty damn well.

One thing that we have noticed though, is that the camera performance has improved over time with different firmware updates from Sony. So we hope that with future updates, it will get even better.

The front camera is a 2.2MP unit and it performs like any other front camera unit on the market, it is able to capture Full HD video and does its part.

Performance

The Snapdragon 801 processor is a tried and tested processor and we didn’t encounter any lags or glitches in heavy usage. It isn’t the top of the line MSM8974AC, but there’s nothing really lacking in the SOC. The onboard 3GB RAM is a boon and gives the phone that extra edge. We were able to comfortably able to switch between applications while playing games. One problem we encounter though is that the phone does heat up when subjected to heavy usage, especially when using the 4K video capture. This is very uncomfortable and thankfully the phone force shuts the camera app before it can get any worse..

The graphics are pretty impressive, we tried a couple of action games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Batman:Arkham Asylum and the detail of the game play was on par with its competitors.

Connectivity and Browser

The default browser was satisfactory in all aspects. We threw whatever possible at it and it renders content smooth and fast. Zooming into content renders smooth and crisp fonts and images, thanks to the 1080p screen. Videos too ran smooth and we didn’t encounter any sorts of lag during browsing.

Coming to the connectivity side, unfortunately, the Z2 does not support Band 40 (2300 MHz TDD LTE) for LTE service in India, which is a bit of a letdown. It does support Dual-Band WiFi along with 802.11 ac, which is a good thing, assuming you have a capable router (and network connection). Having said that, we had no real issues (aside from the lack of LTE) and if you’re in an area which is not covered by LTE (which basically means most of India right now), you won’t miss the LTE support (or lack thereof).

Conclusion

The Xperia Z2 is quite the step up from its older siblings, the phone has got a very sophisticated, neat and classy look to it. The gorgeous screen is complimented by the powerful Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM onboard. There were very few moments where the phone let us down. Sure the still Camera module is still not up to the mark, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker as its Video capabilities make up for it. In the past, Sony really did not bother with firmware updates, but things have changed and they are among the first of the non Nexus/Motorola devices to get updates to the newer versions of android. The Z2 definitely has what it takes to be a high quality flagship and also a big thumbs up from our side. The only thing to note is that Sony is on a 6 month release cycle (as of this article, the Xperia Z3 is already available in some markets). The flipside is that you can now get the Z2 for cheaper when the Z3 rolls out at their top end phone.

Mobile Banking with ING Vysya App on Android and iOS

This has to be the first review of a banking app here on this site. We rarely ever cover mobile banking apps where since most of them are pretty limited in nature to check account balances and the last few transactions just a few other minor features thrown in. They’re great to see your account balance (or lack of) on the mobile, but you rarely ever do any transactions using a mobile app usually.

ING Vysya’s Mobile App

When I was initially asked to meet the team behind building the ING Vysya mobile apps a some weeks back, I was skeptical about being introduced to “yet another” mobile banking app. This changed as soon as I got my hands on a test build of the app running on my phone, and of course tied to an account with “test” money to play with. This was great to try out all the features of the app without actually playing around with real money. My initial views of app just from the few screens I saw was that it was quite mature and had a polished UI. The designers behind the app ensured that the app has great visuals and the UI flow which is intuitive. Just this refined look of the app encouraged me to dig in more and explore.

Full Featured

The more I explored, I found that this app manages to provide almost all the features that the online banking site provides right here on the mobile. They succeeded in doing this without having overtly complex menu systems. Here are some of the features that the app provides:

  • Account Balance, Recent transactions, Transaction report between dates and the ability to email or mail details of these transactions to you,
  • Open Recurring or Fixed Deposits
  • Fund Transfers
  • Bill Payments – Phones, Utilities, Charities, Insurance, DTH and even subscriptions to Readers Digest and India Today Magazines
  • Investments, Loans and Demat tracking
  • Shopping deals
  • Even last-minute gifting via e-gift vouchers which you can send your friends
  • ATM and branch Locator
  • Cheque snapshot feature – a little more on this coming up.

If you issue cheques regularly, you might be filling out the details on a slip at the back of the chequebook to keep track of details. This app comes with a feature where you can just click a snap of the filled out cheque and it’s stored on the phone and on the bank’s cloud. You can take a refer to these later when you need to look up details.

There’s not much you can’t do within the app making your mobile banking experience a full featured experience.

Screenshots from the ING Vysya App

It just doesn’t stop there, after I got my actual account activated in the Bank, I headed over to Google Play to download the app. The first thing I noticed was the reviews on the app, and the bank does seem quite proactive with reviews where people were facing issues and guiding them. It’s a great initiative for a bank to be on top of user’s feedback. So if you have an account in ING Vysya, go ahead and install the app for banking on the go.

Download

Download from iTunes

Download from Google Play

Download for Windows Phone

Motorola’s Moto E Launched in India at Rs. 6999

After all the leaks and the teasing the Moto E is finally Official. The phone was launched in India in partnership with Flipkart at a price of Rs 6,999.

The Moto E is a direct competitor to the Nokia X and comes packed with a 4.3″ screen with a qHD display (540 x 960 pixels) and a pixel density of 256 ppi. The phone measures 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.33 mm in dimensions and weighs 140g. Powering the phone is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor with Adreno 302 GPU. Memory includes a 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal memory expandable up to 32 GB through a micro SD card.

moto e front and back

On the Camera front, the Moto E features a 5 MP rear camera with touch focus, without autofocus unfortunately, and 480p capture at 30fps. Unfortunately there is no flash nor a front facing camera. The phone runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box and a 1980mAh Li-On battery holds the charge.

moto e colors

The phone comes in White,  Black, Turquoise and Lemon color options. Flipkart is offering 50% on Moto E Covers and 50% off on 8GB Transcend Memory Card and Rs. 1000 worth preselected eBooks only for today. Head over To Flipkart if you can’t wait to get your hands on the Moto E.

Moto E Specifications

[table th=”0″]
Processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 with 1.2GHz dual-core A7 CPU Adreno 302 400MHz single-core GPU
Display, 4.3 inches 540 x 960 qHD with a pixel density of 256ppi
OS, Android Kitkat 4.4
Dimensions, 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.3mm weighing 142 grams
Camera, 5 Megapixel rear camera capable of recording video at a resolution of 854×480 at 30 fps
Battery, Built in 1980mAh battery capable of 24 hours mixed usage
Connectivity, “Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz, 3G network Connectivity, MicroUSB with USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM Radio, GPS – Glosnas”
[/table]

Football Frenzy – Apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone

With the UEFA Champions League and Europa Cup Finals just around the corner and with the FIFA World Cup just a month away, here’s a few apps that are must haves to keep track of the news and updates.

 

Forza Football

Forza FootballForza Football recently underwent a transformation, with a new name (it was formerly called Live Score Addicts), new icon and with a news section added in. It’s the app that I use, and it’s a brilliant, must have app.

You can control the update rate, from an addict friendly 5 seconds to a battery friendly 180 seconds. You can select leagues, teams and tournaments to follow, and it’ll even suggest the league and teams based on your location during initial setup. This includes almost every league and tournament in the world along with international competitions. You can customize what updates you want: Cards, Goals, Game start/half-time/full-time notifications and other events. You have league tables, player stats and much more. But the best part has to be the fact that you can mute notifications for a preset time period or during the nights.

Check them out over at footballaddicts.com

Get the app for iOS and Android (sorry Windows Phone folks):

Download from iTunes

‎Forza Football
‎Forza Football
Developer: FootballAddicts
Price: Free+

Download from Google Play

 

ESPN FCESPN FC

ESPN recently launched an updated app for the World Cup and certain leagues and clubs. It also has video highlights, which unfortunately, is US only.

The Leagues that are supported so far include the top English, German, French, Mexican and American leagues (and a few more), along with the top tournaments. You can get play-by-play updates, match analysis, transfer news bits and more.

Download from iTunes

Download from Google Play

Sorry Windows Phone users. You could try out ESPN Sportscenter:

 

FIFA

When in doubt, get the official app from the governing body itself: the official FIFA app. You get coverage of pretty much all the leagues and cups. I was quite surprised when the app turned out to be actually nice.

Apart from the news, game schedules and scores, the app also has a section outlining FIFA’s various initiatives.

Again, sorry windows phones fans, the app is iOS and Android only. For some weird reason, they don’t have an universal iOS app.

FIFA for iPhone

‎FIFA - Fussball Nachrichten
‎FIFA - Fussball Nachrichten
Developer: FIFA
Price: Free

FIFA for iPad

FIFA für iPad
FIFA für iPad
Developer: FIFA
Price: Free

Download from Windows Phone Store

ScoreMobile FC

ScoreMobile FC, so far at least, has been the only app that I have found that exists on almost every platform. It’s available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone & Blackberry (10 and OS7). It even used to exist on Symbian, until Nokia shut down the Ovi Store (you could probably search for a .sis file, I haven’t linked to one since I am not sure which is the right forum to look at for Symbian nowadays). While the standard features (score updates, game events, match schedules, etc) are present on all platforms, there are limitations on some platforms, primarily when it comes to push notifications.

Get the apps:

Download from iTunes

Download from Google Play

Download from Windows Phone Store

For Pre Blackberry 10 Devices, get the app hereBB10 users, the app has been renamed and is now called theScore. Get it here.

LiveSoccer World Cup Edition

A relatively new app on Android, one that I have not extensively used, is LiveSoccer. Honestly, it’s Football, not Soccer. But the app works pretty well and has the main functionalities that one would expect, with notifications, match details, schedules & news.

Download from Google Play

Are there any apps on your platform of choice that should be here? Let us know in the comments below.

 Image Credit: Wikipedia

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

HTC launches the HTC One M8 In India – Hitting the Stores in May

HTC launched their much awaited flagship the HTC One M8, here in India today. They’ve priced the M8 at Rs. 49,900 and the phones should hit the retail shelves in the first week of May. The M8, which is the successor of the HTC One which launched last year, see a few upgrades from the predecessor.
HTC One M8 Front and Back
Let’s start with the specs of the HTC One M8:


  • Body Finish: The HTC One M8’s features a brushed metal body for a premium feel on the phone.
  • Dimensions: 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm weighing at 180 grams
  • Display: 5.0 inches, Full HD 1080p with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 2.5GHz Quad-core processor
  • Operating System: Android 4.4 with HTC Sense 6.0
  • Memory & Storage: 2GB RAM & 16 GB onboard storage. According to HTC, you may get only around 10GB usable storage. You can opt to use an additional microSD card for more space on the phone.
  • Camera: The Rear Camera is a HTC UltraPixel™ camera, BSI sensor, pixel sensor size 1/3”, f/2.0, 28mm lens. They have a secondary rear camera which is used to capture depth information. The front facing camera is a 5 Megapixel shooter capable of capturing HD video
  • SIM: Nano Sim. If you don’t have one yet, you’ll have to as your telecom operator for a new SIM to use this phone.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm Headphone Jack, NFC, WiFi, 4G LTE, 3G,MicroUSB & DLNA for wirelessly streaming media to compatible devices
  • Battery: 2600mAh battery rated for up to 20 hours of 3G talk time.
  • Colors & Finishes: Gunmetal Gray & Glacial Silver available during launch and the Amber Gold version will follow after the initial launch.

HTC is pushing hard with the imaging capabilities of the M8, with a dual camera & dual flash setup for the rear camera. With the secondary camera used for depth capturing, the HTC One M8 can take pictures like the Nokia Re-Focus app, which HTC calls UFocus. Ufocus snaps can be re-focused after you’ve taken your snap. The HTC one also offers Panorama modes, an “Always Smile” mode, and Video effects to help you capture the best of your moments.

Regarding the LTC capabilities of the HTC One M8, there are some reports that HTC will be selling the LTE version in India, which should get Indian LTE support after a software upgrade.

In the pricing section, HTC seems to have priced this flagship product below the Rs. 50k mark, bringing in a price war with Samsung’s flagship the Galaxy S5. There are reports already that Samsung has reduced their pricing already in response to this.

Let’s see how this competiton turns out in the market. I just hope that HTC learns from their past mistakes and makes this phone available properly through their retail networks.

Apps for the Week – Shifu, Mailbox, Quick Click & Airtel Pocket TV

Mailbox for Android

Mailbox_Android_swipe_archive
The much hyped about Gmail client app from iOS, now lands on Android devices. Mailbox aims to simplify your life by trying to keep your Inbox to Zero. The actions in the app are gesture driven, allowing you to send email to four different destinations – Archive, Delete, Send it to a List or Make it go for now and reappear later. This set of easy swipe gestures is what makes the heart of the app’s experience.

The Good: An easy to use app to try getting you to a Zero Inbox goal. The Swipe gestures really ease the task of filing the emails in the right places.

The Bad: Since Dropbox now owns Mailbox, they thought that it would be cool to make you signup for a Dropbox account before you can add your email account.

Shifu

Most task reminder apps these days allow you to make a list of ToDos and remind you to do these at fixed times of the day. But most of us don’t follow a fixed schedule or are caught up with other work and these tasks end up languishing in the reminder apps for hours and days at end.

Here’a where Shifu wants to make a difference. Instead of setting a fixed time Shifu allows to you remind you of tasks when you have free time. You can add tasks based on the amount of time it would take and Shifu will remind you when you have that free time. Shifu does this by analysing your data and see when you’re commuting and when you use your device to give it hints on when you’re free.

In addition, you can add other triggers to your reminders like location or when you’re connected to a certain Wifi Hotspot. It even enables you to add reminders when someone calls you. So you can set a reminder to ask about your raise when your boss calls in.

Apart from these smart reminders, Shifu also checks your calls to see which ones you’ve missed and asks if you want to call them back when you have sometime.

The Good: A really new look at getting your ToDo lists done properly when you have the time to do it. This could allow you to go through your list more efficiently. I love the reminders triggers for Wifi hotspot, Location and when someone calls, which help in setting contextual reminders very easily

The Bad: You can’t set fixed times for reminders, so if you really want a reminder at 5pm, there’s no option yet in the app.

QuickClick

Quick Click App Screenshot
Opening apps and performing actions quickly on your phone is the key feature of the QuickClick app. To achieve this, QuickClick leverages the use of the volume buttons on your phone.

You can set your phone to perform actions based on clicks of your Volume buttons. For example, I’ve programmed the app to start and stop the flash light on the phone when I click on the Volume Up thrice, and launch Zite for my news fix when I click on the Volume Down thrice. You can also set a click sequence to make calls to your friend or family member in case of emergency.

A tip to keep in mind is to head to settings and check the option to “Preserve Battery Life”. This option allows you to save your battery by making the app listen to your key click sequence only when the screen is on (even in the locked state).

The Good: Easy to use and setup and very handy to start your favorite apps even without having to unlock your phone.

The Bad: AD Driven app, but then it’s free so I can’t complain much there. Not a major one here, but unless you set the app in the “Preserve Battery Life” mode, you’ll end up draining your phone quite fast. It would have been preferable if this was the default mode.

QuickClick
QuickClick
Developer: Blor
Price: Free+

Airtel Pocket TV

Airtel, a leading Telecom and DTH provider in India, recently launched their Airtel Pocket TV app for the Android platform. The allows you to view more than 150 TV channels on your phone, along with a selection of on demand videos and movies.

To gain access to, you will need to shell out an additional Rs.60 / month on top your existing Airtel DTH subscription. They do have a few channels TV and Video which you can watch for free to try out the service before you go ahead with the subscription plan.

Airtel mentions that they will have iOS and other platform support soon. To get more information on the app, head over to Airtel Pocket TV and download the app using the link below: