Chromium Flavored Opera for Android Released

After spending a little over two months in the beta-zone, Opera for Android is now ready for prime time. The Norwegian browser maker has published the first stable version of Opera with Chromium rendering engine to the Play store.

Opera for Android is a major revamp for the popular mobile browser. Under the hood, it ditches Opera’s Presto engine in favor of Google’s Chromium rendering engine, which itself is based on WebKit. The biggest advantage of Opera for Android is that it supports Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and up. Chrome for Android on the other hand requires at least Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). This is crucial as almost 40% of Android users are still on Gingerbread. Opera also mentioned that it intends to “stay closely in sync with the Chromium development cycle, doing frequent updates”. This might indicate that Opera intends to move away from feature driven release cycles to schedule driven rapid release cycles like that of Chrome and Firefox. Google has already announced that it will be forking WebKit to create its own rendering engine called Blink, which Opera will also be adopting.

In addition to everything that Chromium 26 supports, Opera for Android also features some additional ‘standardsy goodness’ like WebGL 3D context and CSS3 @supports. Another new feature is background playback support for native HTML5 audio. You can start playing a song on Soundcloud, switch to a different tab or even a different app, and the audio will continue playing. You will be able to control the playback from the notification area.


Opera for Android also features a complete revamp of the user interface, which is now more in line with Android design guidelines. It adds a new speed dial with folder support, a discover feature with latest news and updates, a combined search and address bar, and an off road mode. Off road mode is the new name for Opera Turbo, which compresses web pages to save bandwidth and improve browsing speed on slower networks. Some of the major features that didn’t make it to this release include Opera Link (sync) integration, custom search provider support, and access to about://flags. Support for tablets like the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 is also missing.

[ Download Opera for Android ]

New Samsung Galaxy SIII 4.2.2 Firmware Leaked

Samsung might be notorious for overloading its Android smartphones with oodles of gimmicky features; however, in spite of the plethora of software modifications, the Korean giant is generally among the quickest to push out Android updates. LG and Sony delivered Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to its 2012 devices only recently. HTC is still working on rolling out Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) to the One with the One X to follow later on. However, Samsung shipped the Galaxy SIV with the latest Android straight out of the gate, delivered Android 4.1 to the S II last year itself, and has been working for several months on bringing the latest version of Android to its older Galaxy SIII handset.

SamMobile has managed to get its hands on an Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean test firmware for the Galaxy S III – I9300XXUFME3. The new version doesn’t have all of the fancy new features of the SIV, many of which are expected to eventually end up on the SIII. However, it does have enough to make users happy. The new firmware has all of the official Jelly Bean goodness including lockscreen widgets, quick settings, and Daydream mode. Additionally, Samsung has added a driving mode, revamped the settings interface, improved S Voice, introduced full screen Samsung apps, and ported the SIV lockscreen with new unlock effects and the option to add custom text.

You can download the flash the firmware from here. Please keep in mind that this is a pre-release firmware.

95% of Total Android Smartphone Profit Goes to Samsung

SamsungIt is hardly a secret that Samsung is absolutely killing it with its Android smartphones. However, exactly how dominant the South Korean conglomerate is might still come as a surprise to most. Strategy Analytics believes that the Android smartphone industry generated a profit of $5.3 billion during Q1 2013, out of which Samsung’s share was $5.1 billion.

Samsung managed to collect an astonishing 95% of the total Android smartphone profit during the first quarter of this year. And, this is before the Galaxy SIV was released. On the other hand, Android smartphones as a whole managed to accumulate 43% of the total profit in the smartphone segment. Besides showing Samsung’s domination in the smartphone segment, these statistics also paint a sorry picture about its rivals. Android smartphones might be a big hit, but Samsung appears to be the only one who is raking in the dough. In fact, the only other manufacturer to even make an appearance in Strategy Analytics’ list is LG with a profit share of 2.5%. The past few months have been good for LG thanks to strong performers like the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Receiving Google’s blessings to launch the flagship model for Jellybean (Android 4.2) must have also helped Samsung’s Korean rival. The remaining OEMs contribute a combined operating profit of only $0.1 billion.

While Samsung has undoubtedly played a crucial role in the success of the Android ecosystem, its dominance is sure to make Google uncomfortable. Strategy Analytics believes that Samsung generates more revenue and profit from the Android platform than Google does. With its massive market share, Samsung is in a position to wield considerable influence over the Android ecosystem. Worse still, there is the possibility that one day Samsung might become confident enough in its software prowess to ditch Google and Google apps. In fact, rumors suggest that Samsung might test the water with Tizen as soon as end of this year.

BlackBerry Messenger Coming to Android and iOS as Free Download

BlackBerryBlackBerry Messenger or BBM used be the one killer features of BlackBerry. In fact it’s still the reason why many people purchase a BlackBerry. However, thanks to the popularity of multi-platform apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and Viber, BBM no longer commands the respect it used to. WhatsApp recently reported that it has 200 million active monthly users, which is more than thrice that of BBM’s active user count. Sure, BlackBerry Messenger is a lot more secure than WhatsApp, which is frankly a security nightmare. However, this can hardly enough to sway the opinion of millions of smartphone buyers. It has long been rumoured that the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer will be opening up BBM. Perhaps feeling the pressure, BlackBerry has finally bit the bullet.

BlackBerry just announced at the BBLive conference that it will be launching the BBM as an independent app on Android and iPhone this “summer”. No concrete dates were given; however, Android Police is reporting that the BlackBerry Messenger will be a free download that will require at least ICS (Android 4.0). It will be initially released with support for messaging and groups with additional features including voice, screen share, and channels being added later on. BBM users will be able to setup groups and share voice notes, calendar, photos, files and more. “For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service”, said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry.

Microsoft: Windows Blue Will Be a Free Update Downloadable from Store as Windows 8.1

Windows-Blue Microsoft doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations when it comes to keeping cards close to its chest. Windows Blue is turning out to be no exception. We have had tips from insiders, leaks from partners, and even functional builds available for download on torrent websites. Now, Microsoft has finally opened up about its plans for the next iteration of the Windows operating system.

Speaking to shareholders, Tami Reller — who is the new Windows CFO, confirmed at the JP Morgan Media & Telecom Conference that Windows Blue indeed exists, and will hit the market by the end of this year. He also revealed that the operating system will be officially known as Windows 8.1. The best piece of news for current Windows 8 users is that the update will be available as a free download from the Windows 8 Store. Reller didn’t provide any insights into the expected enhancements in the next edition of Windows. However, the good news is that a public beta will be released on June 26th at the Build conference.

Barnes & Noble Breaks Down the Walls, Nook Gets Access to Play Store and Other Google Apps

One of the oft-cited drawbacks of the Barnes and Noble Nook has been its closed ecosystem. Both the Nook HD and the Nook HD+ are attractively priced competent Android tablets. Yet, their sales have been so underwhelming that at one point B&N was reportedly considering quitting the hardware business. The Nook’s biggest weakness is its poor app catalogue. Nook runs a heavily customized version of Android that only allowed users to access its own app catalogue, which housed just a few thousand apps (a good chunk of which are paid). By comparison, the Google Play Store has nearly a million apps in its catalogue. Amazon also takes a similar approach with its Kindle tablets. However, thanks to heavy promotion and great deals, the Amazon App Store has has managed to cross the 75,000 mark.

All this is changing now. Barnes and Noble is pushing out an update to its Nook HD users, which will bring down the wall and provide access to the Google Play Store. Since, Google’s Android app offering is a “take it all or leave it” proposition, Nook is now sporting Google’s full suite of apps including Gmail, Chrome, Maps, and YouTube. As of now, the update is restricted to the Nook HD and Nook HD+, with no mention of Nook Tablet and Color owners.


Obviously, the new open stance from B&N means that you get access to your full catalogue of Android apps that you might have purchased on some other device. Apps installed via the B&N app store are now watermarked with an ‘n’ on the icon to indicate its source. The update also makes it possible to install Amazon Kindle on your Nook, and enjoy content you might have purchased from Barnes and Noble’s biggest competitor.

Both Nook HD and Nook HD+ are good pieces of hardware that were being held back by the software. The latest update liberates the tablets from the Barnes and Noble’s walled garden, and users will finally be able to realize the full potential of the devices they paid for.

Opera: Facebook Most Popular Website, Samsung Most Popular Smartphone Manufacturer in India [Infographic]

The latest edition of Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report is out, and this time the focus is squarely on India — Android users in India to be more specific. Android is making its presence felt in India thanks to the multitude of affordable Android smartphones, some of which available for less than $70. The availability of cheap smartphones, combined with the dearth of cheap and fast internet connection makes Indians the ideal demographic for Opera Mini, which reduces page load times as well as bandwidth consumption thanks to its compression technology. Unsurprisingly, India is home to the largest number of Opera Mini users in the world. Over the last year, Opera Mini users on smartphones in India increased by 136.6%, constituting 19% of the total Opera Mini users in India.

The most popular categories of websites in India are social networks, search, and cricket. About 21.7% of the data used by Opera Mini’s Android users in India is for Facebook, while Google used up about 5.8%, and ESPNCricinfo about 1.7%. However, Google remained the most popular website in India. Besides using Opera Mini for social networking, Indians were also searching for news and information, doing price comparison, and shopping online. Almost 50% of the top hundred domains visited by Opera Mini’s Android users belonged to these categories. The top ten websites were Google, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Cricbuzz, Indiatimes, Ask, Vuclip, and

When it comes to devices, the top ten list is dominated by budget handsets, with the record breaking Samsung Galaxy S III featuring as low as the 19th spot. All of the top nine handsets used by Opera Mini users were priced under Rs. 10,000 (about $186), with the Samsung Galaxy S II grabbing the tenth spot. The most popular Android smartphone among Opera Mini users were the Samsung Galaxy Y and the Samsung Galaxy U Duos. Samsung has clearly managed to corner the high volume low-end Android smartphone market. The only non-Samsung device to feature in the top ten is the HTC Explorer A310e, which is present at #8 in the list.

If the overdose of stats is putting you to sleep, here’s a neat infographic highlighting the key aspects of Opera’s report.


India’s CLAT Exam Leaks Applicant’s Emails, Leads to Phishing Scam

CLAT-Law-Exam-IndiaPrivacy and internet aren’t exactly best friends. In fact, it might well be better to assume that as long as you are on the web, you will suffer from an unexpected privacy breach sooner or later – whether it is due to your own naiveté or due to third party security mishaps. However, that doesn’t make irresponsible, careless, and purposeful data leaks any less aggravating. Today’s offender is CLAT or Common Law Admission Test.

CLAT is a fiercely competitive centralized test for admission to prominent National Law Universities in India. Last month, CLAT closed its application procedure. Soon after, in an amazingly dumb headed move, it mailed all applicants a PDF titled “3. Online Applications (UG) Submitted till 30th March 2013”. Here’s a look at its content.


Yes, someone in CLAT thought that it was perfectly appropriate to dispatch the full list of more than eighteen thousand candidates along with their email ids in a PDF. Now I understand that CLAT probably has more lawyers than technically minded folks, but it’s shocking that no one in its technical team acted to stop this amazingly boneheaded move. For good measure, CLAT also uploaded this document to its website (where it is still available).

Now, an email address isn’t very high on the list of sensitive information. However, in the wrong hands it can be misused. And, misused it was. Over the past few weeks, candidates listed in the document have been receiving mails appearing to be from [email protected], claiming to be sent by Dr. Dipak Das, Registrar In-Charge of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur and the Convenor of CLAT-2013. The mails ask the Candidates to immediately deposit Rs. 2000, in order to avoid cancellation of their application due to non-payment of fees. Considering the state of the candidates mind, and the relevance of the message, it’s not surprising that many have fallen victim to the phishing scam. Thankfully, the scammer in this particular case was naïve enough to demand a money transfer to an SBI (State Bank of India) account, which should be easily traceable. CLAT might not have a lot of technical expertise or common sense. However, one thing it does have is access to plenty of lawyers. Unsurprisingly, CLAT-2013/Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, is taking necessary legal steps.

(hat tip: Sameer Gupta)

Opera Sues Ex-Employee for Allegedly Leaking Trade Secrets to Mozilla

Opera-Sues-Hansen-for-Leaking-Trade-Secrets Opera has been full of surprises this year. First, it ditched its homemade rendering engine Presto in favor of Chromium flavor of WebKit. Then, it emerged that the switch was also accompanied by a significant downsizing. Soon after, when Google announced its new Blink rendering engine, Opera was quick to announce that it will be using Blink and not WebKit. Now, TheNextWeb is reporting that Opera Software is suing an ex-employee for leaking trade secrets to its competitor.

The employee in question is Trond Werner Hansen, who worked with Opera from 1999 to 2006. He is credited as a driving force behind many of Opera’s early innovations, including the search box and the speed dial. He returned to Opera as a consultant from 2009 to 2010. Last year, he worked with Mozilla on designing and developing an iPad prototype called Junior. Hansen can be seen discussing Junior in this video. Opera alleges that the video demonstrates several innovations that it was or is still working on. It is demanding 20 million Norwegian Krone, or roughly $3.4 million, in damages. Hansen who was in the USA, preparing to launch his first music album, has flown back to Norway, and is determined to defend himself vigorously. “When I left the Opera, I did not feel my ideas bore fruit, and I also notified management about. I am a very creative person and I feel that my ideas had value. I would like that my ideas were to reach users”, Hansen told Digi.No. The case is scheduled to be heard at the Oslo District Court on 22 August.

LG Showcases Its 2013 Product Line at LG Tech Show

In a three day LG Tech Show in New Delhi, LG showcased its product line for 2013. Most of the products featured in the event had already been announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but were making their first appearances in India. LG Electronics India is targeting an overall growth of 20% in 2013. “As India is a strategic market for LG, we strive to introduce Global flagship products as well as India Insight products, designed especially for the Indian market”, noted Mr. Soon Kwon, the Managing Director of LG Electronics India. Over the years, LG’s home appliances arm has been a strong performer thanks to its dominance in key segments like washing machines and refrigerators. However, LG has languished behind its South Korean rival Samsung, when it comes to the crucial smartphone market.

LG showcased more than seventy products spread across all its business’. Some of the main attractions were:

LG Optimus G Pro: LG will be launching its next flagship, the Optimus G Pro, in the second half of the year (July-August). I recently reviewed its predecessor, the Optimus G, and found it to be easily among the best handsets available in the Indian market. The Optimus G Pro boasts of a powerful Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU, and bumps up the screen to 5.5 inches with full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels). The Pro also manages to pack in a 3,140 mAh battery within its slender body. While exact pricing will be announced later, the LG Optimus G Pro is expected to cost around Rs. 40,000 in India.


LG 55 inch OLED TV: The 55EM970V, which was one of the stars at the MWC, will also be launched in India towards the second half of the year. LG’s new 55 inch OLED display pushes the boundaries of what you expect from a HDTV. With a thickness of just 4mm it’s practically invisible from the sides, and weights only 10 kgs. LG’s first OLED 3D TV offers stunningly crisp, vibrant and detailed images with perfect viewing angles. This beauty is not expected to come in cheap, but will make you the envy of your friends.


LG Pocket Photo: LG seemed rather bullish about the prospects of a new premium product called Pocket Photo (PD233). The extremely portable printer is only 5.1 cm wide and 7.6 cm long. It supports NFC and Bluetooth and can wirelessly print photos from Android and iOS devices. It employs employs inkless printing technology from ZINK, which uses heat to activate the color-forming chemistry within the ZINK 2.0 paper. LG claims that ZINK’s inkless printing system produces photos that last longer and don’t smear. The portable photo printer will be launched in India within a couple of weeks, and cost about Rs. 12,000.


LG Windows 8 PCs: LG will be launching Windows 8 powered convertible PCs in Q3. The products on display were LG Tab-Book (H160) and LG Ultrabook (Z360). . The LG Tab-Book is a compact, 11.6-inch convertible, which boasts of 10 hours of battery life, is 15.9mm thick, and weighs in at 1.05Kg. The Z360 Ultrabook from LG is an ultrabook with a 1080p IPS display, and will be powered by 4th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors. The H160 will cost about Rs. 50,000, while the Z360 will cost somewhere in the north of Rs. 60,000. Curiously, LG is skipping Windows RT, and has no plans to launch a cheaper, ARM powered Windows tablet.


LG X-Boom: LG X-Boom (CM9730) takes a cue out of classic boom boxes, and offers a shocking 2300W RMS and 25000W PMPO. The X-Boom will appeal to the section of the Indian youth that loves loud music and wants to party at home. The gigantic speakers are loud enough to make you go deaf, and offers killer bass. The CM9730 also has a few interesting features including a Smart DJ, LED lightning, playlists, and wireless audio streaming. Smart DJ automatically mixes music using various commonly used effects, while LED lights act as beats visualizer. Although X-Boom sounds pretty decent, it won’t satisfy audiophiles.


LG Song Star: LG Song Star is a karaoke machine with over 4000+ songs in 9 languages including English, Hindi and regional, spread across genres like classic, rock, hip hop, jazz, and contemporary. Song Star also features Echo Key Control and Tempo control to add an extra flair to your singing. You get real-time score rating for your singing, and have the option of recording your songs and creating group competitions. It will be available in two variants – the NK230 will come with a Wired Mic, and the NK330 will have a Wired Mic and an additional Wireless sub-Mic.


Other products demoed include LG All in One PC with 10 finger multitouch and 3D display, mouse with scanner, refrigerators with Evercool technology, automatic vacuum cleaners called Home-Bot, and air conditioners with InverterV technology.