Thursday, 22 June 2017

Facebook pilots tools that prevents profile pictures from being stolen

Facebook is piloting new safety tools, that gives users more control over who can download and share their profile photos that include the face. The tool is currently being tested in India, and Facebook plans to roll out to other countries soon.

The new tool is called profile picture guard, and prevents other users from being able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook. Moreover, people who are not you're friends, won't be able to tag anyone, including themselves in your profile photo. 

Where possible, Facebook will prevent other from taking a screenshot of your profile photo. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for Android devices, and not for desktops. You'll see a blue border and shield around the profile photo of a user who is using  profile picture guard.  

Also now on-wards, Facebook users in India will also start seeing a step-by-step guide on how to add an optional profile picture guard. 

In addition, Facebook is also exploring ways people could more easily add designs to their profile photos, which Facebook research has shown helpful in deterring misuse. For this feature, Facebook has teamed up with Jessica Singh, an illustrator who took inspiration from traditional Indian textile designs such as bandhni and kantha, to create designs for people to add to their profile picture. If a profile picture marked with design is being misused, you can report it to Facebook, and it will remove it.

The new safety tools has been developed in collaboration with India's safety organization like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz.  A research with people and safety organizations in the country revealed that some women choose not to upload profile pictures of their faces because they fear of the photo being misused. Based on preliminary tests, Facebook has learned that 75 percent of users are less likely to copy a protected profile picture. 


Sony rolls out Android 7.1.1 to Xperia X and Xperia X Compact

Sony released Android 7.0 Nougat for the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact back in December 2016. Now it has begun the process of rolling out Android 7.1.1 to these devices.

The new update  bumps the build number on both Xperia X and Xperia X Compact from 34.2.A.2.69 to 34.3.A.0.194. A changelog is not yet provided, but according to the source, the software comes with security patches for the month of June.

However, the update is most likely to bring  native Android 7.1.1 features like new emoji, rounded icons and support for app shortcuts, along with bug fixes and improved performance.

As always the update has just started rolling out, so it will take time for a wider roll out for other regions. If you've not been notified about the update, do a manual check by going to settings >> about phone >> system update. You can even update it through Sony's Xperia Companion available for PCs and Mac.

Just a few days back Sony seeded Android 7.1.1 to Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra.


Sega Forever brings classic games to Android and iOS devices

Sega is bringing some of its classic gaming titles to mobile devices. The collection is called SEGA Forever and includes games developed for the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, and Dreamcast consoles.

The first batch of SEGA Forever includes Sonic The Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon and Altered Beast. The games will be available to download from Google Play Store for Android devices, and on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. 

Sonic The Hedgehog, the 1991 household classic that has remained at the forefront of hearts and minds since inception
Phantasy Star II, the longtime fan-favourite RPG from 1989
Comix Zone and Kid Chameleon, two American titles developed by SEGA’s in-house studio STI
Altered Beast, the original Genesis pack-in title, a beat-em-up set in Ancient Greece

SEGA Forever collections are free to play, but are ad-supported. However if you want an ad-free mobile gaming experience, you have to purchase (in-app) the game for $.199.  The games can be played offline and comes with features like cloud save, and leader-boards. They also have controller support, for a console-like experience.

The company says that SEGA Forever collections will continue to grow with additional releases coming every two weeks, and these will include both official emulations and ported games that pan all SEGA console eras, each adapted specifically for mobile devices.

OnePlus 5 India pricing revealed

OnePlus officially announced the OnePlus 5 on Tuesday for the global market. However, the OnePlus 5 India launch was set for today, and the company has revealed the pricing details.

The 6GB RAM + 64GB storage + Slate Grey variant of OnePlus 5 has been priced at Rs. 32,999, while the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage + Midnight Black version will cost Rs. 37,999, making its OnePlus' most expensive flagship offering till date.

The OnePlus 5 will be available to buy exclusively from Amazon India starting today at 4:30pm as part of early access sale. It will be available through open sale from OnePlus India online store, and Amazon India starting June 27. Launch offers include Kindle discounts, Cashback for SBI credit card users, accidental coverage from Kotak, and Vodafone data offers.

To refresh your memory, the all-metal OnePlus 5, is OnePlus's slimmest flagship offering to date having a thickness of 7.25mm and features dual-camera setup. There's also a fingerprint sensor, that's hidden under the phone's physical home button and Alert Slider that lets you control notifications. 

In partnership with photography benchmark group DxO Labs, OnePlus has developed the dual-camera system for the OnePlus 5. This consists of a 16MP f/1.7 wide-angle lens and 20MP telephoto shooter. The cameras are capable of capturing depth-of-field potrait images, that blurs backdrops and supports  optical zoom. It is capable of recording 4K videos and has f/1.7 aperture and electronic image stabilization. For selfie you're getting a 16MP Sony IMX371 front shooter, and can record Full HD videos.

The OnePlus 5 has 5.5-inch optic AMOLED with Full HD resolution and the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 display. Performance is handled by Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform and Adreno 540 GPU.

Connectivity duties are handled by 4G with VoLTE, dual-SIM slots, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C, NFC and GPS. It runs Android Nougat based Oxygen OS that brings new features like a new Reading Mode, gaming mode and more. It is fueled by 3300mAh battery, and supports OnePlus's Dash Charging fast charging technology that promises a day of battery life with half and hour of charge.

ZTE outs Small Fresh 5 with dual-cameras, Android Nougat

ZTE is adding a new smartphone to its Small Fresh line. The Small Fresh 5 has been announced in China, and comes with some major upgrades over its predecessor in terms of design and specs. 

Unlike Fresh 4, this doesn't have a full metal design, instead ZTE has used anodized texture paint and custom metal spraying process to achieve a metal texture. The fingerprint scanner is located at the back, and it now gets dual-camera system.

The ZTE Small Fresh 5 features 5-inch HD IPS 2.5D curved glass display and is equipped with dual-rear cameras consisting of a 13MP sensor along with a 2MP sensor to capture depth information, with an LED flash module. For selfies, there's a 5MP shooter on the front.

The performance will be handled by quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor clocked at 1.4GHz, Adreno 308GPU and a 2500mAh battery. It will be offered in two versions 3GB RAM/16GB storage and 4GB RAM/32GB storage. The storage can be further expanded via microSD card.

Running Android Nougat based MiFavor UI 4.2, the phones connectivity options include dual-SIM support, 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, 3.5mm audio jack and GPS.

The 3GB RAM model of ZTE Small Fresh 5 is priced at CNY 999 ($146 | Rs. 9,400), and the 4GB RAM version will cost CNY 1399 ($204 | Rs. 13,200). It will go on sale in China starting July 5 in various colors including Dark Night Gray, Elegant Gold, Glacier Blue and Green. 


Flipkart "Own Your Dream Phone" sale: discounts on Google Pixel, iPhone 7, Moto Z and more

Flipkart has kicked off a 3-day flagship phones sale dubbed "Own Your Dream Phone", under which the e-tailer is offering discounts, exchange offers and no-cost EMI options on smartphones like Google Pixel, iPhone 7 and Moto Z. 

Best Deals on flagship smartphones on Flipkart
iPhone 7 32GB — Rs. 42,999 (Rs. 17,501 off + up to Rs. 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone 7 128GB — Rs. 51,499 (Rs. 18,501 off + up to 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone 7 Plus 128GB — Rs. 59,999 (Rs. 22,001 off + up to 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone 6s 32GB — Rs. 32,999 (Rs. 15,000 off + up to 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone 6 16GB Space Grey— Rs. 22,999 (Rs. 13,991 off + up to 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone SE 32GB — Rs. 21,999 (Rs. 5,201 off + up to 15,000 off on exchange)
iPhone 5s 16GB Silver — Rs. 14,999 (Rs. 5,001 off + up to 14,000 off on exchange)
Google Pixel 32GB — Rs. 39,999 (Rs. 13,000 off + up to 15,800 off on exchange)
Moto Z with Style Mod — Rs. 29,999 (Rs. 10,000 off + up to 17,000 off on exchange)
Lenovo Z2 Plus 32GB — Rs. 9,999 (Rs. 5,000 off)
Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro — Rs. 31,900 (Rs. 5000 off + up to Rs. 15,000 off on exchange)

Axis Bank Buzz credit card holders can avail an extra five percent off on the purchase of these device. The sale period will end on June 24, or till stocks last.

Snapchat's Snap Map shows you where your friends are

Snapchat is adding a new location-sharing feature to its platform called Snap Maps, that will show where your friends are Snapchatting from. The feature also allows users to share their locations with each other as well.

To get started, you just have to pinch your home screen to zoom in to bring up Snap Map view. If you're friends are sharing their locations with you, their Actionmoji will appear on the Map.  Actionmojis only update when you open Snapchat. And when you tap on your friends Actionemoji, you'll be taken to their latest story.

There's also heat zones in the Snap Map to show where lots of activity is happening. You can even chosse not to share your location with friends or a select friend by turning on Ghost Mode, and Snapchat will stop collecting location data.

The new Snap Map feature is now available on iOS devices, and will roll out to Android soon.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny with NVIDIA Quadro graphics announced

Lenovo has announced ThinkStation P320 Tiny, a small workstation that ties into Lenovo's PC as a service offering, and it's certified for independent software vendors (ISV). ISV certification means the workstation will provide a consistent and accurate software experience for applications like AutoCAD, Vectorworks, and more.

The ThinkStation P320 Tiny uses Intel's latest 7th generation Core i processors and NVIDIA Quadro P600 graphics. It can be configured with up to 32GB DDR4 RAM and up to 2TB storage. It has two storage slots and two SODIMM slots for memory expansion.

As for the external ports, there are 6 x USB 3.0 ports, 4 x MiniDisplay Ports, 2 x DisplayPorts, ethernet, optical disc drive and front audio. For operating system, it supports Windows 7, Windows 10 and Linux.

The whole system weighs just 2.9 pounds and measures at 1.4" x 7.1" x 7.2" (1L in volume). Though it has a small size, the workstation can support up to six display.

The ThinkStation P320 Tiny is now available at $799. 


Lenovo shows off a bendable laptop concept

Lenovo at its Transform event in New York showed a futuristic looking laptop concept with a unibody design with flexible screen that could bend. Unfortunately, it is just a render, and doesn't exist as a working prototype. 

The concept design shows a flexible display, that gives you more screen space than the regular laptop with a standard display. There is no hinge and connectivity ports. The screen covers the entire top portion and runs towards the keyboard. And since the screen can bend in half, you can fold the laptop when not in use.

The company says the bendable laptop would use "advanced materials," "new screen technologies," and have "always connected features". It will  have pen support and built-in keyboard with a red TrackPoint button on the middle. But, a touch pad is not to be seen. It also has support for voice commands, and will rely heavily on it.

This is not the first time Lenovo is showing off concept device with flexible display. Last year at its TechWorld event, Lenovo showed off working prototype of a flexible smartphone called C Plus, a foldable tablet, Folio. Both are yet to see the light of the day, so don't expect Lenovo's bendable laptop to hit the market anytime soon. 


ZOPO Speed X with dual-cameras announced

Back in May ZOPO teased its first dual-camera smartphone called Speed X. Today the Chinese device maker has officially announced the phone, and revealed the complete specs sheet.

Also ZOPO has teamed with Niki, an AI based chat-bot backed by Ratan Data. The voice assisted digital assistant will provide easy purchase options with 20+ e-commerce services across travel, entertainment & daily utilities. Users will have to chat with Niki, to pay bills, book cabs, buses, hotels, movie tickets and a lot more within seconds.

The metal-clad ZOPO Speed X features 5-inch Full HD display and is powered by 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor backed by Mali T720 GPU and 3GB RAM. It comes with 32GB internal storage, and can be expanded via microSD card.

Running Android Nougat, the phone flaunts dual-rear cameras, consisting of a 13MP Omnivision sensor with f/2.2 aperture + 2MP secondary camera to capture depth information. For selfies, you get a 13MP camera on the front with Omnivision OV12830 sensor and f/2.0 aperture. Both front and rear cameras are assisted by LED flash. Below the cameras at the back, you'll find a fingerprint scanner.

In terms of connectivity, the phone gets support for dual-SIMs, 4G, VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm audio jack and GPS. A 2680mAh battery completes the specs list. The color options include Royale Gold, Charcoal Black, Orchid Gold and Space Grey.

ZOPO says that Speed X will go an sale soon, but did not reveal the pricing and  availability details.

Samsung will reportedly announce the Galaxy Note8 in August

The Galaxy Note7 was a nightmare for Samsung, but it bounced back with its Galaxy S series flagship, Galaxy S8 & S8 Plus. After last year's Galaxy Note7 fiasco, all eyes are on the  Galaxy Note line, which will return to market after a gap of two years. It is no secret that the South Korean tech giant will unveil the Galaxy Note 8 later this year. However, now we have a possible unveiling time-frame.

According to Reuters citing "person familiar with the matter", Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Note 8 at an event in New York City in the third or fourth week of August, ahead of IFA in September. The source also says that Galaxy Note8 will sport a curved screen larger than Galaxy S8+'s 6.2-inch screen, and will have dual-rear cameras. 

Previous rumors have claimed that the phablet will gave 6.4-inch OLED display with the same 18:9 aspect ratio and QHD+ resoltuon as Galaxy S8 & S8+. The dual-camera system is said to consist of 12MP wide-angle lens wide-angle lens supporting dual photodiodes, along with a 13MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. Both lens will offer six-element lenses and optical image stabilization.

Like the Galaxy S8 & S8 Plus, the Galaxy Note8 will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform or Samsung's in-house Exynos 8895 chipset depending on the market. It is confirmed to come with a fingerprint scanner, but reports are conflicting, where it will be placed.  Some say it will be hidden under the glass, meaning you can touch the screen to unlock the phone, or the sensor will be located at the back like the Galaxy S8. And not to forget the S-Pen Stylus.

With an early release in sight, it appears that Samsung will get a chance to bring its flagship device on the market, before Google's Pixel 2, LG's V30 and Apple's iPhone 8 (also Mi MIX 2). All these flagships are expected to come with bezel-less display.

HP launches Pavilion x360, Spectre x360 convertibles with Kaby Lake in India

HP is launching its refreshed Pavilion x360 and Spectre x360 Windows 10 convertible in India featuring Kaby Lake, touch-screen and a premium design.

As both are convertibles, they sport 360-degree rotatable hinges, that lets you use the device in various mode like laptop or tablet or  stand mode for video viewing or tent mode. They also support pen input and come bundled with a free HP Active Pen, which uses Windows Ink capabilities.

HP will offer the Pavilion x360 convertible in 11.6-inch and 14-inch screen models with Full HD touch display, with the option of up to 7th gen Intel Core processor (Core i3, Core i5, Core i7), up to 1TB HDD or 512GB SSD or dual storage options with 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD. Select models will feature NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card. Other features include Bang & Olufsen powered speakers, HP Audio Boost, fast charging and up to 10 hours of battery life.

Pricing of the 11.6-inch models starts at Rs. 40,290, while the 14-inch model starts at Rs. 55,290.

The HP Spectre x360 is a premium model featuring13.3-inch Full HD IPS touch display, and can be configured with up to 7th-gen Intel Core processors, 16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD. It also packs NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics with dedicated 2GB video memory. Other features include USB Type-C port w/ Thunderbolt, USB Type-C 3.1 port, HDMI port, DisplayPort 1.2, dual Bang & Olufsen speaker, infrared camera for Windows Hello log in and up to 12.45 hours of battery life.

It carries a premium price tag starting at Rs. 1,15,290.

The HP Pavilion x360 and Spectre x360 will be available across select HP World Stores and online e-commerce channels as well as on HP India's eStore sometime in first half of July.

LG V30 tipped to be announced at IFA 2017

The LG G6 is a few months old, and now the company's focus will be on its next flagship in V-series, most likely to be called V30. Last month, old-mock up images of what the device would look like surfaced online and now South Korean publication ETNews has shared a few details of the upcoming flagship including unveiling date.

The report says that the LG V30 will be unveiled during a press conference at IFA 2017. IFA 2017 kicks off September 1, but LG's press conference is said to be a day before. If the report is true, than LG's V30 will be presented on August 31. LG's previous V-series offering was unveiled in September, so it makes a lot of sense, that LG would release V30 at IFA 2017.

The report also mentions that in one or two weeks the V30 will hit South Korean market. However, there is no release date for other markets. It is expected to carry a price tag of around 800,000 KRW price tag in South Korea, which equals around $700 or Rs. 45,000.

It will reportedly have an OLED display and sport a bezel-less design, similar to the current flagship LG G6. It will most likely retain the secondary display. The LG G6 was powered by Snapdragon 821 chip, due to shortage of Snapdragon 835, but the LG V30 will utilise Qualcomm's high-end chip (SD-835). It will also have dual cameras at front and back, IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, new ESS quad DAC, 3.5mm audio jack and non-removable 3300mAh battery.

The LG G6 was initially available with the option of 64GB storage, but few days back it launched 32GB and 128GB storage model. That said, as per the report, the LG V30 will arrive in three storage versions: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

As always, take this report with a pinch of salt.