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

 

Lumia 630 launched in India – Overview & First Impressions

In the first Lumia launch in India after the Nokia Mobile division acquisition, Microsoft Devices today launched the Lumia 630 in India. The Lumia 630 is the first device which comes with Windows 8.1 out of the box, and to top that off, it’s also the first Lumia with Dual SIM capability. The 630 will be available in India as two variants; the Dual SIM will hit the stores first at a best buy price of Rs. 11,500 and the single SIM version will be available later for Rs. 10,500.

VT's 1020_20140512_13_18_57_Raw

Quick specs of the Lumia 630

[table th=”0″]

Display, 4.5 Inch Clear Black FWVGA (854 x 480) screen
Processor, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon S400
Memory, “512MB RAM,  8GB internal memory onboard, MicroSD up to 128GB + 7GB Cloud Storage on OneDrive”
Camera, 5 MegaPixel Autofocus rear camera
OS, Windows Phone 8.1
Dimensions, 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 mm weighing  134 grams
Colors, “Bright Orange, bright green, bright yellow, and white and black”
Connectivity, USB 2.0 | Bluetooth 4.0 | WiFi | 3G Network | A-GPS and Glonass | 3.5 mm audio connector
Battery, 1830 mAh removable battery for a rated talk time of 13.1 hours on 3G and standby time of 25 days
[/table]

Highlights of the Lumia 630

The  Lumia 630 features quite a few firsts in the Lumia Range of phones. As we mentioned earlier, this is the first to come with Windows Phone 8.1 factory installed. So you get all the Windows Phone 8.1 goodies like the Notification bar, Word Flow Keyboard, Third Row of tiles on the home screen. Did you know that the Guinness Record holder for the fastest texting using an on-screen keyboard used a Windows Phone 8.1 device with Word Flow?

This is also the first in the Lumia range to ditch the capacitive button at the bottom of the phone, and feature on screen buttons. The good thing here is that you can customize the color scheme for these buttons now, as evident from the screen below.

Customizable on Screen Buttons

It’s also the first Lumia with Dual SIM capabilities. The 630 also comes with a new SensorCore which allows the device to track motion for health apps like Bing Health and Fitness. The SensorCore is very low powered and won’t take up much power at all even if it tracks your activities all day.

The Dual SIM features on the phone come with a Smart SIM feature allowing you give a custom name each of your SIMs. The Message and Phone call logs for both SIMs can also be linked to give you a single view of all your activities across both SIMS.

Overview

Positives

The Lumia 630 comes with a lot of features packed in at the mid-range price point they are launching the phone at.

  • The Quad Core processor on the phone makes it run snappy. In fact, after playing with the device for a while at the launch event, I would have to say that the phone was well powered, not displaying lags at all. In fact, the Microsoft/Nokia folks featured a demo showing two of the competitors in the same price range choking with on a browser demo which worked well on the Lumia 630.
  • The build quality is in lines with the Nokia heritage of the device of sturdy but stylish devices. The bright colors options which they come in are meant to appeal to the youth. For oldies like me, give me a white or black any day.
  • The SensorCore continuously monitors motion data allowing health apps to track your activities, allowing you to track your fitness activities without investing on a separate health monitoring wearable. Initially you can use Bing Health and Fitness to track your progress, Microsoft will be exposing API to this for third party apps to use this data as well.
  • The Smart Dual SIM features are a welcome addition to the Lumia range. Also, the phone comes with an option to add additional storage via a Micro SC card. With Windows Phone 8.1, you can move your apps and data over to the Micro SD card to better manage the use of your storage.

 

Negatives

Apart from these plus points, there are a few negatives which I would like to highlight. Not all may see these as negatives, but if you are a spec hunter, you’ll find them missing on the 630.

  • The device doesn’t come with a front camera, so if you are someone who takes a lot of selfies or uses Skype for video calls, this may be a disappointment. Even though the phone takes good quality pictures with normal indoor and daylight conditions and features the brilliant Nokia Camera App, the phone lacks a flash if you need that for night shots.
  • The display Clear Black display is quite good, and has a large viewing angle but unfortunately, is only a FWVGA screen which means that it’s resolution is 854 X 480 with a pixel density of 218 pixels per inch. It would have been great if they had managed to pack in at least a 720p display in here, since some competitors in that price range feature that.
  • The 630 also comes only with 512 MB RAM on the phone. Even though Microsoft says that almost all the apps on the store should work on this configuration, there may be one or two games which may choke on this. Of course, if you are not a heavy gamer, you can ignore this shortcoming, since it won’t affect you at all.

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.

Improved Facebook for Windows Phone in now in Beta

In the good news department, Microsoft is finally working on a newer and better Facebook for Windows Phone. The current version of Facebook on the Windows Phone store is quite antiquated and doesn’t work very well at all. Windows Phone users have been complaining about the app’s bad usability, which is evident in the app reviews on the Windows Phone Store.

Here’s what the Windows Phone Blog has to say about the beta app, “Today we’re launching a new program designed to help speed up delivery of new features in the official Facebook app for Windows Phone and need sharp-eyed, energetic volunteers to download a beta version of our next release and tell us how to make it better.

The beta app is a major update from the older one, with the “Metro” style UI being discarded for the standard Facebook Timeline UI which is the staple on the major platforms. It also seems more responsive and faster as well. Photos go hi-res, both on the timeline and when you upload. At the same time, I find a few features still missing or not working as expected.

The good part of the beta app is that you can report these anomalies to Microsoft, so they can add or fix features as they progress along with the beta program. To do this, head over to Settings>About and then click on the “send feedback” button to send that in.

Since this is a beta version, there could be issues with the app, so I’d suggest that you install this beta version along the official Facebook app on your phone, and don’t replace it yet. This way you can access Facebook on the official app in case the beta app goes kaput.

Download

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Photosynth finally arrives for Windows Phone 8 users. Hurray!

Finally my favorite Panorama app arrives for Windows Phone 8. I’m a long time Photosynth user, way back when Windows Phone 7 didn’t even exist. In fact most non-iDevice users may not know that Photosynth from Microsoft was first released for the iPhone way before Windows Phone was even released. My complaint last year was that Microsoft was dragging their feet while getting Photosynth for Windows Phone 7 and this year that Photosynth was notably missing from the Windows Phone 8 yet again!

Finally Microsoft has announced that Photosynth is now officially available for WP8 users through the Windows Phone Store. For those of you who haven’t yet tried it or know about the app are advised to first go download it!

Capturing a scene using Photosynth

 The app allows you to create immersive panorama spheres which you can later explore by scrolling both sides and even up and down. It’s almost like being there. The best part is that it’s quite easy to capture the photo. All you need to do is to keep moving your camera around and up and down to capture the entire scene, while the app guides you and auto clicks the scene. Once you’ve captured the entire site, the app stitches up the entire scene allows you to preview it and save it to your phone. You can then share it from there with your friends through Facebook, Twitter and Email. To give you an idea of how the final image comes, here’s one I captured quite a while back with Photosynth.

Do keep in mind that Photosynth like most panorama captures work well when you’re not trying to capture very near by objects, but from a distance.

The Photosynth blog also mentions that the new features for Windows Phone 8 are:

  • Camera lens integration – Quickly capture and view panoramas by launching Photosynth directly from the built-in camera app
  • View shared panoramas – View panoramas shared with you via email, Facebook, or Twitter directly on your mobile device
  • More camera controls – Adjust for various lighting conditions by using new exposure and white balance locking options

Download Link

 

 

via: Photosynth Blog

App #Switch from Android or iOS to Windows Phone

I’ve had this problem when I first switched over to a Windows Phone early this year. I didn’t know the app ecosystem on the Windows Phone platform and admittedly that App search experience in the Windows Marketplace still has scope for improvement. Finding alternates to apps I used  on the Android platform was a hit and miss experience.

Now Nokia and Xyologic have come up with an online site App #Switch to help users like us who are switching to Nokia Lumia phones or any other Windows Phone platform to search for alternates to apps which we are familiar with on the iOS and Android platforms. According to the site they state that the Windows Phone platform already has 46 of the 50 popular apps from the iOS and Android platforms. So you don’t have to go missing stuff you did on your older phones on your  New Lumia phone.

Select  Android or iPhone as your previous phone and search for your favorite app and the site provides suggestions for alternate apps available on the Windows Marketplace. They also provide the QR code which you can scan using the Bing visual search from the phone for an easy install.

You can check out their site at xyo.net/lumia and search for your favorite apps right away.

 via TNW

Top 5 Windows 8 tablets – A new dawn for the Post-PC Age

Microsoft Trusts its Competitors with its Future – A new dawn for the Post-PC Age

Windows 8 tablet PCs will shortly be hitting the shelves. So, which is model is going to blow the market away? The prices are out, so let the game commence! Here are our top 5. Keep an eye out for a desktop touting as a tablet.

Microsoft’s Surface
Microsoft’s Surface tablet PC completely changes the way we think about keyboards…kinda

1. Microsoft Surface. A beautiful piece of kit, the Surface is Microsoft’s best attempt at revolutionizing the tablet so far. With a magnesium chassis, a ClearType HD display and an awesome fold-out reimagining of that most archaic of peripherals, the keyboard, Microsoft may have played a blinder. Reviews are positive, and pricing seems competitive, starting at $599 for the basic 32GB model. Unlike Apple’s iPad, the Surface has upgradeable memory —you can whack an SD card in the back and boost your memory straight out. Brilliant.

The HP Envy x2 is pretty, but somehow familiar

2. HP Envy x2. The first hybrid tablet-cum-ultrabook device on our list, the HP Envy x2 is clearly designed to provoke a deadly sin in all who behold it. With a massive 64GB starting SSD, HP’s sleek new machine has been accused of copying the Apple MacBook Air, with its brushed aluminium shell and rounded corners. The Envy x2 looks like a strong competitor: boasting Beats Audio speakers, NFC support and a gorgeous IPS display. There’s always the fear, though, that HP may fall foul of the Cupertino patent machine. One for a wait-and-see approach.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad is designed with business and travel in mind

3. Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. Showcasing Intel’s signature tablet PC processor, the Atom Clover Trail, Lenovo’s ThinkPad has met with critical acclaim. It’s solidly built, spec-ed up to the rim, and includes a full version of Office 2013 at launch. Though the price tag puts it at the upper end of the category, it would not be paying over the odds for this extremely powerful tablet

The Vivo Tab RT is a mere 10.6” across

4. Asus Vivo Tab RT. We’ve not yet mentioned a Windows RT tablet PC in this run-down, but here’s one worth the mention. The little brother to the Asus Vivo Tab, the Vivo Tab RT features a fairly standard hybrid ultrabook detachable keyboard, an Nvidia Tegra 3 graphics chip and a Super IPS+ panel with a resolution of 1366×768, just tipping it into the ‘HD Ready’ category. And, because, it’s ARM-powered and running RT, the Vivo Tab RT comes bundled with Office 2013. Priced to sell at $599.99
This is one of the most interesting Windows RT machines to watch. Its success or failure may well be depend on Microsoft’s ability to acquire a mobile ecosystem full of customers.

The VAIO Tap 20 can be angled to virtually any inclination you want

5. Sony VAIO Tap 20. Perhaps unimpressed with the competition’s attempts to combine tablet and laptop into hybrid ultrabooks, Sony have instead tried to create and all-in-one desktop computer in a single touch-screen device. It’s got a cool stand – there’s something you don’t hear often in computer reviews – and it is a big old piece of kit that could easily serve as a family media hub. The 1TB hard drive it packs is, therefore, to be expected. But, is its lack of mobility stuck just a little too far in the past?


Author Bio:

This article is written by Louise Miller. Louise graduated from LSE in 2011 with an MA in engineering and is now working as a freelance web designer. She loves blogging about tech and social media in her free time, especially all things Android.

“Things About To Change” on 5th September according to Nokia


In a newly uploaded teaser video on YouTube, Nokia states at the end that “Things are about to change” with the date 05.09.2012. This coincides with their Nokia World Event and the US Windows Phone event, where they are going to launch the new range of devices on the Windows Phone 8 platform.

We’re eagerly waiting to see what they have to offer in the new platform and devices. There’s not much information apart from “leaked” information on what the new Nokia range of devices would be. We’re also looking forward to see all the new features that the Windows Phone 8 brings on the table. The biggest question I have is whether Nokia’s PureView technology will finally make it to their Windows Phone platform. That would be the killer feature to have when they launch their new devices. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Microsoft unveils their new range of Surface Tablet

What’s 10.8 inches wide and 9.3mm in thickness, sports USB ports and runs Windows? It’s Microsoft’s new range of tablets which they just announced! This is Microsoft’s entry into the competitive Tablet market which is currently ruled by Apple, with Google as a far second. If you’re also confused with the ‘Surface’ in the name, Microsoft has renamed their earlier product Surface table to PixelSense now, to prevent further confusion with the names.

The new Surface tablet will be lauched around September of this year, when Windows 8 launches, and will come with two variants:

  • The Windows RT Model  will run only the Metro mode of Windows 8. Even though the pricing is not yet out for these tablets, our guess is that this would be priced around the iPad’s cost.
  • The Windows 8 Pro Model which will run the full featured version of Windows 8, which can also double up as your desktop/laptop as well. This would cost much more than the Windows RT model, and is slightly thicker and heavier than the RT version.
The nice touch in the Surface tablet is that the cover doubles up as a keyboard and trackpad as well. The case attaches itself to the tablet via a Magnetic contact, like the iPad 2 and 3’s cover. This along with the tablet stand makes this device function like like a ultraportable laptop.

Specifications

Window RT

  • OS : Windows RT
  • Processor : ARM based processor
  • Weight : 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 mm
  • Display: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
  • Battery: 31.5 Watt hour
  • Connections: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Features: Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Storage: 32 GB or 64 GB

Windows 8 Pro

  • OS : Windows 8 Pro
  • Processor: Intel (x86) Processor
  • Weight – 903 grams
  • Thickness: 13.5 mm
  • Display: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
  • Battery: 42 Watt hour
  • Connections: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Features: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Storage: 64 GB or 128 GB

Video

Here’s Microsoft’s Promo video for the Surface Tablet:

You can explore about the Windows Surface tablet at Microsoft’s site.

Apple Fanboy’s letter to Steve Balmer about the Nokia Lumia 900

Here’s an interesting letter which came up on Microsoft’s Windows Phone website. It’s a letter from an Apple “Fanboy” to Steve Balmer with his view of the Nokia Lumia 900 which he recently purchased. He also goes on to say that he also tried a Motorola Razr apart from the iPhone as well.

Here’s some highlights from his email which was published:

  • I actually use my phone as a phone. That concept seems to get lost in many product reviews. One of my employees actually thanked me for getting rid of my iPhone as it was so much easier to hear me.
  • Everything after set up has been painless as well. Adding apps, setting up email accounts, etc. I thought the iPhone was good. Your set up was actually smoother and took less time.
  • My family owns five vehicles, including two Fords with Sync. The 4S didn’t support all functions in any of them. My Nokia 900 was flawless out of the box.

Go on to the Windows Phone site to read the full email Steve G wrote – Apple fanboy loves his Windows phone

Now I really don’t know who Steve G – the Apple Fanboy who wrote this email is, but most of the points he covered in the email is certainly true. What do you say? Let us know by leaving us a comment.

via WMPoweruser and Microsoft