Monday, 23 October 2017

Samsung rolls out Android Nougat for Galaxy J5 (2016)

Samsung's mid-range Galaxy J7 (2016) received Nougat treat back in August. And now the South Korean tech giant has started rolling out Nougat for its younger sibling Galaxy J5 (2016) in Europe starting with Poland. The handset is being updated from Android Marshmallow, directly to Android 7.1.1.

In addition to native Nougat 7.1.1 features, the update brings Samsung's latest user interface, Experience 8.5, that includes Samsung Cloud, revamped Device Manager application and shutter button zooming for the cameras. Overall, Experience 8.5 is said to be faster and smoother than Experience 8.1, that debut on Galaxy S8. The update is likely to include the latest security patch as well.

As mentioned earlier the update is currently live in Europe, and will be rolling out over-the-air, carrying a hefty file size of around 1GB. It will be seeded in phases, so it will take time to reach other market. 

If you've not yet received the push notification prompting you to download and install the update, go to Settings > About Device > Check for update, and if it's available you'll get the option to download.

To recap the specs, the Galaxy J7 (2016) features 5-inch HD Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 410 SoC, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 13MP/5MP cameras, 4G LTE and 3100mAh battery. 


Huawei is working on a foldable phone

It feels like just yesterday we were introduced to the concept of bezel-less phone design, but it has now become a trend among smartphone maker. From mid-range to high-end flagship, most of the phones have adapted to the bezel-less design. That said, we now have a new design concept in play: dual screen foldable phones.

ZTE recently unveiled the foldable Axon M smartphone, and now Huawei has revealed that it plans to launch a foldable smartphone sometime next year.

At the sidelines of Mate 10 launch event, Huawei CEO, Richard Yu speaking to CNET said that, the company has a working prototype of a foldable phone, but isn't ready for a commercial launch because the design needs improvements.

Yu said that, the company's foldable phone needs a better, flexible and mechanical design, and it will take some time to perfect this design. To remind you the recently announced Axon M has two displays, and when the device is unfolded to combine the two display, there's a noticeable gap between the two.

In its current form, Huawei's foldable phone also has two screens with a small gap between the two, and the company is exploring ways to get rid of it. For this it plans to use a single foldable screen.

Apart from Huawei, South Korean tech giant Samsung is also expected to release foldable phone called Galaxy X next year. 


HMD schedules October 31 event in India, Nokia 7 expected

HMD Global has scheduled an event in India on October 31, without revealing what it plans to launch. However, we can expect the company to launch Nokia 7, it latest mid-range phone.

As a reminder, the Nokia 7 was unveiled in China last month, and features 5.2-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 630 processor, 4GB/6GB RAM and 3000mAh battery.

For photography, it has 16MP Carl Zeiess camera with f/1.8 aperture and dual-LED flash, while the front shooter is a 5MP f/2/.0 unit. The cameras boasts "Dual-Sight" mode for "Boathie" experience that lets you use both front and back cameras simultaneously for split-screen photos and video. This feature also lets you stream directly to Facebook and YouTube Live as well in real-time.

Other features include fingerprint scanner, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G LTE, USB Type-C and Nokia OZO Audio enhancements to deliver immersive sound. It runs Android Nougat out of the box, and has a starting price of Rs. 25,000 in China, so the India price can be expected to be around Rs.s 27,000.

If not the Nokia 7, we can expect HMD to launch the entry-level Nokia 2 at the event. The phone is rumored to carry a price tag of $99 (Rs. 6,400) and expected to feature 5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 212 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, 8MP/5MP cameras and a massive 4000mAh battery.

We'll know more details about Nokia's latest offering for the Indian market, when it launches next week.

Nokia 7 registrations hits over 100,000 in China ahead of first flash sale

Last week HMD Global announced the new Nokia 7, and will go on sale first in China. Now it looks like Nokia's latest Android offering has already captured interest of buyers.

The Nokia 7 will go on sale in China tomorrow, October 24 via flash sale. And just one day before the sale day, the phone has managed to score over 100,000 registrations. The numbers are not high, when compared to response received to Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, Meizu or other China handsets, but Nokia 7 could still end up selling well, on its debut sale.

It's worth mentioning, that 100,000 figure indicates the level of interest, and for being notified about the flash sale. These are not pre-order, which means no payment has been made yet, so the final sales number could be lower.

To recap the specs, the Nokia 7 features 5.2-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 630 processor, 4GB/6GB RAM, 16MP/5MP rear and front camera with Boathie experience, 3000mAh battery and fingerprint scanner. It runs Android Nougat out of the box. 


New update brings October 2017 security patch for Nokia 3

HMD Global is rolling out a new update to the entry-level Nokia 3, that bumps the Android security patch level to October 2017. The update is out for Nokia 3 TA-1032 variant in India, but unfortunately it's not Android 7.1.2.

To remind you, few days back Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 received Android 7.1.2 update along with October security patch, while the Nokia 8 only received only the latest security patch.

Alongside October security patch, the new update for Nokia 3 also brings improved system stability and user-interface enhancements. The UI enhancements include the reshaped Google search box, which is not rounded instead of square.

The update is rolling out over-the-air and weighs in at 401.MB in size. You will either be notified to download this update, or you can do a manual check by going to Settings > About phone > System updates. HMD has already promised Android Oreo for Nokia 3.

To recap the specs, the Nokia 3 features 5-inch HD display, quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB expandable storage, 8MP front and rear camera, dual-SIM slot, 4G LTE, 2650mAh battery, and the usual connectivity suite. It is available in India via offline stores at Rs. 9,499. 


Sony starts rolling out Android Oreo for Xperia XZ Premium

Sony has announced that it has started rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo for the Xperia XZ Premium, beating others, to become the first OEM to push Android's latest iteration.

Android Oreo brings a lot of new features and improvements such as Picture in Picture (PIP) mode, adaptive icon, notification channels, background limits and more. Sony has also made some customization to the software by adding some its own features like 3D Creators, which was first introduced in Xperia Z1/Z1 Compact, Predictive Capture, Auto-focus burst and more.

Here's the list of features Android Oreo brings for Xperia XZ Premium
3D Creator – Our acclaimed 3D scanning feature first introduced with Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact. It lets you scan your face, head, food or any object, rendering it as a 3D avatar or free-form image in less than 60 seconds, and makes it easy to share on social media with friends or 3D print

Predictive Capture (smile) – Never miss an unexpected 🙂 again, as Predictive Capture automatically starts buffering images when it detects a smile (even before you press the shutter button), allowing you to pick the best from a selection of up to four shots

Auto-focus burst – Recognizes, tracks and captures sequences of moving objects in sharp focus for blur-free action shots

Improved sound quality – Tuning improvements to the front-facing stereo speakers, and Qualcomm aptX HD audio support for high-quality sounds when using wireless headphones

App Shortcuts – Re-imagined app shortcuts, which allow easy access to actions menus by long pressing the app icon.

The Android Oreo for Xperia XZ Premium will be rolled out in phases, so it will take time for the update to roll out globally, and cover all devices.

Apart from Xperia XZ Premium, Sony has promised Oreo treat for Xperia X, Xperia X Performance, Xperia XZ, Xperia X Compact, Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1, Xperia XA1 Ultra, Xperia XA1 Plus, and Xperia Touch projector. 

Source | Via | Oreo Image Credit

Essential Phone now costs $499

Andy Rubin's Essential Products has announced a massive and permanent price cut of $200 of its first smartphone, just two months after it shipped the phone to customers.

The Essential phone is now priced at $499, down from the launch price of $699. At the revised price, the Essential Phone can be purchased from 

Additionally, for those who already own an Essential Phone, Essential is offering a $200 friends & family code, which can be used towards Essential 360 Camera or another Essential phone.

As a reminder, the Essential phone boasts bezel-less design, dual-cameras, and modular attachments like a 360-degree camera. The specs include 5.7-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, 4GB RAM, 128GB internal storage, 13MP dual cameras, 8MP selfie camera, NFC, USB Type-C port, fingerprint scanner, and 3040mAh battery. It runs Android Nougat and is expected to get Android Oreo soon.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

WhatsApp testing group voice calls feature

WhatsApp added the ability to make voice calls within its app last year. Now it appears, that the world's popular messaging platform will soon get the ability for group voice calls. 

WaBetaInfo, a popular group that tests new WhatsApp features, stated that WhatsApp is testing the group calling functionality internally. The latest 2.17.70 beta release for iOS contains a lots of hidden references to the group voice calls feature. Users will be able to add other WhatsApp contacts while being on an voice call with someone. 

A line of code was unearthed indicating that if a user make a voice call to someone on WhatsApp, the messaging app will send a request to the server to check whether the person is engaged in a group voice call. That being said, it is not yet known, how many number of users will be able to join a group voice call.

Apart from group voice calling, the source also found only one reference of group video calling as well. This means users will also be able to make group video calls through WhatsApp.

It can be expected that WhatsApp will first roll out group voice calling feature, followed by group video calling function. Unfortunately, there's no ETA for the said feature. To remind you Facebook already has group voice & video calling function on its Messenger app.

Additionally, WhatsApp is also testing several other features that will roll out in the near future. These include
  • Smaller app size
  • A feature that would notify your friends when you change your phone number,
  • Improved group management tool including a tool that will prevent the group creator to be removed from the group by other administrators; remove more participants at once; administrator will be able to choose if other participants can modify the subject of the group, its icon and description
  • Unsend function that will let you delete sent message, images, videos, GIFs and other files
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) integration for  peer-to-peer payments

BPL to launch Alexa-enabled smart speaker next year

BPL, a popular Indian electronics brand of  90's is all set to foray into the smart speaker market. The company has announced that it will introduce a smart speaker featuring Amazon's voice assistant Alexa. 

BPL's smart speaker will be called as BPL Voice One, and currently isin prototype stage. It will be launched next year, and will be available exclusively from Amazon India. BPL says it will be offered at an attractive price. 

“As a brand that pioneered numerous technologies in India, I am happy that we have the opportunity to be the first Indian consumer company to bring out an AVS (Alexa Voice Service)-enabled smart speaker. Our relationship with Amazon has been engaging and insightful, and we do believe that through AVS we will continue to give our customers the perfect mix of innovation and reliability in a brand,” Manmohan Ganesh, head of corporate strategy at BPL, said in a statement.

Similar to Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo speaker, BPL Voice One, will connect to the cloud-based Alexa voice service to play music, set alarms and timers, check the calendar and weather, and control smart home devices, among others.

Amazon India is also said to form more such partnerships with Indian manufacturers in the coming months.

To remind you earlier this month, Amazon launched it Alexa and Echo speakers in India. They are currently on pre-order on an invitation basis, and will start shipping early next month. 


Entry-level Nokia 2 expected to cost $100

Multiple reports in the past have suggested that HMD is planning to release a new entry-level Nokia model dubbed Nokia 2. The handset was last month certified by FCC, which means the launch is nearing. While an exact release date of Nokia 2 is not known, reliable tipster, Roland Quandt has got hold of the handsets pricing.

According to a listing on U.S e-commerce website B&H Photo Video, spotted by Quandt, the Nokia 2 will be cheaper than Nokia 3, priced at $100 (Rs. 6,500) in the U.S, making it the most affordable Nokia phone in the market. 

The listing further further reveals that Nokia 2 will carry the model number TA-1035 and will support dual-SIM, and come in White and Black color. Unfortunately, the online retailer has not published the specs.

That said, the FCC filing of Nokia 2 revealed that it will pack a massive 4000mAh battery, while Geekbench listing revealed that it will be equipped with Snapdragon 212 processor, 1GB RAM and run Android 7.1.1 Nougat. 

As for the other specs, rumors has it that the Nokia 2 will feature 5-inch HD display, 8GB internal storage (2GB/16GB variant also rumored), 8MP/5MP rear & front cameras and 4G VoLTE. 

It is still not known, when HMD plans to unveil the Nokia 2, but now that the handset is showing up on major retailers website, an official announcement can be expected soon.  


Saturday, 21 October 2017

ZTE outs budget-friendly Blade X in the U.S for $119

ZTE released the 6-inch Blade X Max phablet  in the U.S for Cricket Wireless back in May, and now it is launching its younger sibling called Blade X. The budget-friendly handset will also be available in the U.S exclusively at Cricket Wireless.

In terms of specifications, the ZTE Blade X features 5.5-inch HD display and is powered by Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

The camera department include 13MP rear camera with an LED flash and 5MP front facing camera. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS.

It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box and a 3000mAh battery runs the show, that's rated to deliver talk time up to 23.1 hours and standby time for 31 days. A fingerprint scanner is also part of the package.

Priced at $119, the ZTE Blade X is available for purchase in the U.S via Cricket Wireless website.

Pebble launches Dazzle Bluetooth speaker with RGB dancing lights

Domestic accessories maker Pebble has launched Dazzle, a Bluetooth speaker that comes with dancing LED RGB lights.

The Pebble Dazzle is a cylindrical shaped speaker which offers Bluetooth range of up to 10m. The speaker has the ability to function on a frequency of 40HZ - 20KHZ, and has a response sensitivity of 500mv.  It comes with 10 W power and reproduces sound with exceptional bass, clarity and volume.

The built-in battery can stream music up to 6 hours and there's support for FM Radio, Bluetooth 4.0 and headphones/Aux port. Apart from streaming music from smartphone, you can also play music either by plugging in a flash drive or inserting a microSD card, into the allocated port. 

Priced at Rs. 2,399, the Pebble Dazzle speaker will be available from Pebble's eStore as well as Amazon India.

Vodaone's Rs. 181 & Rs. 195 plan offers 1GB data and unlimited voice calls for 28 days

Vodafone India has come out with two new plans for its subscribers: Rs. 181 and Rs. 195, to take on Reliance Jio's Rs. 149 tariff plan. To remind you, Airtel and Idea Cellular also introduced similar plans.

The Rs. 181 plan is aimed at 2G users, and offer unlimited voice local & STD calls, and unlimited 2G data for 28 days.

The Rs. 195 plan on the other hand will be available for all users including 2G, 3G and 4G. This plan offers unlimited voice calls and 'only' 1GB data for 28 days. The unlimited voice calling is capped tp 250 minutes per day and 1000 minutes per week. 

The new offer comes soon after, Reliance Jio revised it plans. Now the Rs. 149 plan offers high speed 4.2GB data instead of 2GB data per month. However, the plan has a daily FUP data limit of 150MB, and once exhausted, you'll have to browser at 2G speed of 64kbps.

For comparison sake, Airtel's Rs. 199 plan and Idea's Rs. 198 plan offers the same benefits as Vodafone. They offer 1GB data and unlimited voice calling for 28 days. That said, these plans don't come with any daily data capping.