Google Reader — Marked As Read

So, that’s the end of Google Reader.

By now you might have already switched to Feedly or a different RSS service as Google has officially shut down its 8-year-old popular RSS reader — Google Reader. The service had many active users, but for Google, it seemed to be fading away.

Google in a post said, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.”

Google Reader has now been discontinued. Visiting the site would display the following message:

Thank you for stopping by.

Google Reader has been discontinued. We want to thank all our loyal fans. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you’ll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.

Sincerely,

The Google Reader team

Google Reader Discontinued

Google Reader. Marked  as Read.

So, now what?

Well, for now you can stick to Feedly as it one of the best (free) available RSS service providing with additional features and capabilities. You can easily organize, read and share content that you have subscribed to. Feedly provides a magazine-like experience and is integrated with most of the popular social networks.

Alternatively, you can try a list of other popular service which can viewed here.

And this is how Hitler reacts to when he finds out Google Reader is shutting down:

Review: Lenovo S890 Features, Specifications, and Price

Lenovo announced the S890 Android smartphone back in January 2013, and it turned out to be one of the most popular smartphone in the 5 inch device category. The 5 inch screen phone comes with IPS display and the taste of Google’s Android Jelly Bean.

Although Lenovo’s focus is mostly on notebooks, the company has done an impressive piece of work in the mobile market. Unlike the predecessor, Lenovo S880, which lacked many features, the dual sim S890 totally fills in the gaps with a decent set of hardware specifications and making it really stand out from the crowd. However, how good is the Lenovo S890? It’s time to find out.

Lenovo S890

Design, Look and Feel

The Lenovo S890 is elegantly designed and the build quality is pretty impressive. The phone has a glossy and metallic finish with curvy edges making it look more premium and classy than almost any other mid-range smartphones. The shiny plastic back cover, which I loved the most, does a good job of masking fingerprints. On the sides, the phone has a chrome trim running along, which has a matte finish.

In terms of weight, the phone is slightly heavier at 176 gms when compared to similar size phablets such as the Micromax Canvas HD (156 grams) or the Samsung Galaxy Grand (162 grams), but is definitely slimmer.

The volume rocker on the right side of the phone is easily accessible while the power button (placed on top) is not that easy to reach out. However, you won’t be using the power button quite often to turn on/off the screen as Lenovo’s flip-cover that comes bundled with the phone enables auto screen on and off when the flip is opened or closed. Pretty neat.

Lenovo S890 Specifications

Dimensions:

  • 74.2mm (W) x 143.6mm (H) x 9.3mm (T)
Processor:

  • MTK 6577T 1.2GHz

 

Sim:

  • Dual Core Dual SIM
  • Uses traditional SIM size
Lenovo S890Memory:

  • RAM 1GB + 4GB (emmc)
  • Expandable storage:
  • Add up to 32GB with a microSD card

 

Connectivity/Radios:

  • BT 3.0 HS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g /n
  • USB 2.0 HS
  • A-GPS
  • FM receiver
 Display:

  • 5.0’’ 540×960 IPS
  • Capacitive 5 point multitouch
  • 16 Million colors

Weight:

  • 176g

Battery :

  • 2250mAh, User replaceable
  • Talk time: up to 17.5 hours
  • Standby: 13 days
 Operating System:

  • Android™ 4.1 JellyBean

Sound:

  • Smart Sound for perfect sound
  • clarity even in noisy environments

Buttons:

  • Power Key, Volume Key
  • Capacitive Menu, Home & back keys for Android
 Ports/Slots:

  • Micro SD supports up to 32GB
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Micro USB

Integrated Camera:

  • 0.3M fixed focus front camera
  • 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus,
  • LED flash w/ Geo-tagging

 

 

Included – S890 Flip Cover:

  • Protects your S890 from scratches, bumps and falls
  • In-built sensor automatically switches on the S890, when you open the cover.

Recommended – S890 Pen:

  • Write, draw & interact with this sleek capacitive pen
  • Fits into the 3.5mm headphone jack making it easy to carry

Lenovo S890 Features

The S890 features a 5-inch screen offering a 540 x 960 resolution and an IPS panel offering better contrast as well as brightness levels. Its brightness level can go really high of course the battery consumption will shoot up as well.

The Lenovo S890 comes with a MediaTek 6577T chipset that includes a 1.2 GHz dual core processor along with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU, all which work together to offer a fluid touch operations and faster response to application requests.

The phone also features 1 GB of RAM including 4 GB of internal storage, which is expandable to 32 GB. The 1 GB RAM is very much enough to give a smooth usage of the phone and works pretty will the dual core processor.

Lenovo S890 Features

The phone does lag when too many applications are running in background, however, this was simply a test that we conducted, and phone with similar specifications will results is slow performance.

Along with the 8MP rear camera, the device features a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera that is good enough for video calling. The camera build is quite impressive. Pictures taken from the rear camera have sharp details and natural colors. The quality of the images taken is pretty decent, however, there are certain low light issues. That is, there is too much of noise visible when shot in low light conditions.

One of the best features of the phone is Lenovo’s Energy smart feature that enables you to keep a track of your phone’s battery usage and optimize it accordingly. The 2,250mAh battery should give enough battery life, and with normal usage it would approximately last over a day and a half.

Conclusion and Pricing

The downside is that the phone does not support full HD video recording, but the bigger turn off is the weight of the phone. If that isn’t any issue, then the phone is a great buy and worth it. The Lenovo S890 is priced at Rs. 20,899. At this range, it competes heavily with the Samsung Galaxy Grand, however, both the smartphones have unique features and have their own set of pros and cons, but if asked to choose between the two, the Lenovo S890 is a better choice.

Yahoo Redesigns Flickr and Gives Away 1TB of Free Storage

Looks like Yahoo isn’t done yet after the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. The tech giant has finally made an attempt to make its once popular photo-sharing service Flickr alive again, with the hopes to reboot the service not only in a beautiful manner, but bigger and better than anything else.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Monday took stage to debut the all new redesigned Flickr photo site, including an announcement of 1TB free storage to all its users, which is enough to host nearly 537,731 photos in “full original quality” (6.5 megapixels). The downside, however, is that everyone who opts for the free storage will be seeing ads.

Flickr is now a whole new experience. The redesigned Photostreams and Sets layout is cleaned up to display the pictures in a proper grid fashion. Along with that, it is now easier to share photos on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, email, and of course, Tumblr.

The new layout also has a cover photo just like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, where users can edit it and replace the default picture with any of their existing uploaded photos. The photos are displayed in a grid format, where users can open them in a new page or simply mouse hover the cursor and click on the double-arrowed button to open in lightbox.

Flickr Photostream before

Flickr Old

Flickr Photostream after

Flickr New

The Explore option, which is quite a known feature on Flickr, has been added to the navigation bar, which shows off the most popular uploaded images on a day-to-day basis. There is also a little slideshow button on the second navigation bar, which on clicked will switch to full-screen mode and you can navigate through the photos.

The redesign also comes to mobile devices on iOS and Android. On the other hand, Flickr Pro is no longer supported on the site as many of the features have been integrated with the free account. To quote Marissa Mayer’s words, she says “there’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, there is no such thing as professional photographers.” However, Flickr provides two options to upgrade their account: Go ad-free and Double your space.

The ‘Go ad-free’ option, of course, will remove ads displayed on your stream, which is priced at $49.99 a year. The ‘Double your space’ option will give you an addition 1TB of space for $499.99 a year, which I think is very unlikely that anyone would want to buy it. 1TB itself is a huge amount of space.

Flickr Upgrade

Yahoo is the new buzz now. What more can we expect from the new CEO? Only time will reveal.

And just in case you didn’t notice, visit dearmarissamayer.com

 

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr for $1.1 Billion

The acquisition is now official. Yahoo! in an official statement announced the acquisition of popular blogging platform Tumblr for approximately $1.1 billion, all in cash. In comparison, it’s just a little more than what Facebook paid for Instagram last summer.

In a blog post, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promises that it “won’t screw it (Tumblr) up.” The CEO said that it plans to run Tumblr independently, and Tumblr founder David Karp will remain in his role as CEO. Mayer says that Yahoo will be helping Tumblr to “get even better, faster.”

With this acquisition Yahoo adds itself to the list of established Internet companies, including Google and Facebook that have spent more than $1 billion to acquire startup companies in hope of expanding their services and gaining an edge in growth.

Many Tumblr users are now worried whether Yahoo would screw it up, however, CEO Marissa Mayer has promised to evolve Tumblr to a better and faster blogging platform. She adds, “both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design – and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.”

On the other hand, this acquisition could be a part of Yahoo’s rebuilding strategy, which the company has been trying to build stronger core for the last couple of years.

Here’s how Mayer made the announcement:

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr

Yahoo’s stock was down 0.3% Friday, trading at $26.50 a share.

Update:

Yahoo! also made an announcement that it’s official blog is now located at yahoo.tumblr.com

Facebook Home Download Mark Hits 1 Million

A month after its release, Facebook Home has finally crossed the 1 million downloads milestone, after the company released a minor update few days back as a part of its “new every four week” cycle.

However, after the release of Facebook Home, the launcher was heavily criticized by users and was poorly rated in Google’s Play Store. In the first 10 days after its launch, the app was downloaded 500,000 times, however, it took twice as long to hit the other 500,000 downloads. The app has been awarded a cumulative two-star review from the more than 16,700 reviews on its Google Play page.

Facebook Home Ratings

Facebook product director Adam Mosseri said that the latest Facebook Home update includes the following changes and improvements:

  • Chat Heads improvements that make chatting more seamless with fewer steps.
  • A new, full-screen interface for your dock of apps that you can access more simply through a single swipe.
  • Subfolders within the app dock, kind of like you see in the iOS app launcher.
  • More “Blue’s Clues” pop-up prompts to educate users on new features.

Facebook has also said that it is carefully going through most of the valuable reviews and feedbacks given by users on Play Store and has promised that in the upcoming updates it would probably make the necessary changes that users are suggesting.

Facebook Planning to Buy Waze for Up to $1 Billion

Facebook seems to be all geared up to close yet another billion-dollar acquisition deal in an attempt to strengthen its mobile platform. The social media giant is in talks to buy the GPS company Waze for $800 million to $1 billion, Israeli daily newspaper Calcalist reports.

The negotiations between the social network and the Israeli start-up Waze Mobile apparently began six months ago. It is said that both companies have signed a term sheet, and that Facebook is doing due diligence.

Waze is a free social GPS application featuring turn-by-turn navigation app that uses crowdsourcing to gather real-time conditions on the road. In April 2013, the app had a base of 44 million users.

Facebook to Acquire Waze

Waze is already a part of Faceobook. Waze enables its users to share their drive with Facebook friends. It makes sense to why Facebook is interested in acquiring Waze. If the deal between the two companies goes through, it will be quite interesting to see how Facebook plans to incubate itself in the GPS space.

Last year in April, Facebook acquired Instagram for a whopping 1 billion USD and it isn’t surprising if Facebook spends the same on Waze. The company also acquired two Israeli startups: Snaptu in March 2011 for $70 million and Face.com in June 2012 for $60 million.

Waze has been in the subject of acquisition talk for a while now. Six months ago it was reported that Apple was interested to acquire the company for $400 million and plus $100 million in incentives. Waze tried to push the offer to $750 million, however, the deal didn’t pass through. The only reason why Apple wanted to buy Waze is pretty obvious – improve its own, much criticized Maps product.

HTC First Facebook Phone Price Drops to $0.99 at AT&T

The only Android smartphone to have the new Facebook Home loaded on top right from start is now available for just $0.99. HTC First is available for purchase through wireless carrier AT&T in the United States at only $0.99 with the signing of a two-year contract agreement.

The phone was announced a month ago and was originally sold for $99 with a two-year contract. Although we’re not aware why the phone’s price has dropped from a huge margin, but what we assume is that Facebook is trying to get Home into the hands of more users.

HTC First Price Drop

Facebook’s entry into the hardware market hasn’t been a pleasing one. At the time of writing this post 15,855 users had rated Facebook Home, however, the app has a low rating on just 2.2 stars out of 5, with only 2,763 users rating it a 5 while a majority number of users rating it 1 star.

According to Business Insider, “the price drop also backs up reports from analysts that the phone hasn’t been selling very well. One analyst reported that he called an AT&T store whose employees claimed they hadn’t sold any HTC First phones”.

WhatsApp is Bigger Than Twitter says CEO, Jan Koum

Ever since it debuted in 2009, WhatsApp has become the only single most-used smartphone app and is one of the most popular apps across all platforms. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum who was speaking at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Media conference claims that the service handles more than 200 million users  and processes 12 billion outbound messages per day. Impressive!

The popular cross-platform mobile messaging service is even bigger than Twitter says Jan Koum. There had been some buzz around the Web about Google planning to acquire WhatsApp, however, the company shot down all rumors and said that no such talks had occurred. There were also rumors about Facebook planning to acquire WhatsApp.

Koum also said that the service processes 12 billion outbound messages and 8 billion inbound every day, which is nowhere in the range of comparison with any other independent messaging service. With less than 50 engineers working for the company, it is said that it holds the highest ratio of active users per long-term employee today of any active company.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum

“We’re looking forward to a world with billions of phones. Once that happens it’s going to be extremely easy to monetize. But a lot more people need to join the smartphone revolution and a lot more people need to buy more goods on their phones.”

During this New Year’s eve WhatsApp processed 7 billion inbound and 11 billion outbound messages on a single day. Back in August 2012, WhatsApp said that it has reached 4 billion inbound messages in a day.

[via]

Facebook Chat Heads Coming to Its iOS Apps

Apple does not allow third-party apps to mess around with its interface like the way Google allows Android developers to do, which is why Facebook will be releasing an update to its Facebook for iOS app that features Facebook Home’s popular feature Chat Heads.

You can call the updated version of Facebook for iOS as the “lite” version of Facebook Home Android launcher, which will feature SMS text messages with Facebook messages and popping chats up on top of other apps.

Along with Facebook Chat Heads, the update also includes “stickers” for the messaging end on both iPad and iPhone. This will enables users to buy and share “stickers” from the social network’s new Stickers Store feature, which was recently introduced by Path. The updated iPad app will include Facebook’s newest newsfeed update to desktop. The mobile version, however, will continue to reflect the desktop version in-browser.

Facebook Chat Heads for iOS

Update: Facebook 6.0 is now live in the App Store.

Here’s a hands-on preview of the new app by The Verge:

Within the Facebook app, you can pop-out Chat Heads for your conversations, but they won’t work anywhere else because of the way that iOS keeps apps sandboxed. Just as with Android, Chat Heads pop out on incoming Facebook Messages (but not for SMS), or you can open a new one directly yourself.

 

Why I Uninstalled Facebook Home in a Few Hours

Facebook announced “Home” a new Android launcher that lets you “connect” with your friends by putting them in the heart of your phone. Connecting with friends is good, but staying connected 24/7 is something that I don’t want.

Facebook Home was rolled out on Google Play Store yesterday and just like every other curious user, I installed it on my Galaxy S3. It brought everything including photos, status updates, messages and services at the foreground of my phone’s screen.

At first it looked good, but as I started using it for a few hours, it got really annoying because every time I turned on my phone’s screen I only had to see Facebook updates. And that’s the main reason why I uninstalled it and switched back to normal ‘life.’

Other than that, I honestly missed all the widgets and folders that I had setup in the previous launcher — checking my calendar for events, being updated with the latest cricket scores, Google Play, and so on. Also, I missed the dock icons at the bottom of the screen where I could easily access my phone’s dialer, messages, camera and browser. With Facebook Home installed, all of these features were gone.

Facebook Home vs. Other Launcher

Sorry Facebook, I really don’t want to see you popping on my phone’s screen every time I unlock my phone.

Personally, Facebook Home is a waste of time and I would not recommend any normal user to install it. However, if you’re a Facebook addict and you can’t seem to live your day without checking Facebook very occasionally, this is app is perfectly designed for you. It allows you to access all Facebook’s features without actually opening the app or the site on the browser.

Having said that, I think I’m not the only one who is annoyed with Facebook Home. A majority number of people who have installed Facebook Home have felt the same. The app has been negatively reviewed and majorly rated with one star on Google Play Store.

facebook-rating-play-store

With Facebook Home, your Android device is no more a smartphone; it’s simply a “friendphone” without any smartness.

Here’s how you can change the default launcher or uninstall Facebook Home and return back to normal:

  • Open Settings and scroll down to the “Device” category, then select “Apps.”
  • This will bring up list of all of your installed apps. Scroll down and find Facebook Home.
  • Tap on the name, then scroll down to the bottom and select “Clear defaults.”
  • Hit the Home button again, which will again give you the option to pick your launcher; pick Launcher, and choose “Always” to make it the default.

Otherwise, you can simply uninstall Facebook Home app by tapping on the “uninstall” button.