Celkon Mobile Launches The ‘Rahmanishq’ AR 45

Celkon Mobile, a relatively new entrant in the Indian mobile market, today unveiled its new budget Android powered smartphone – the AR 45. The company will be offering the handset under the Rahmanishq series, and will be pre-loading some hit content of the musical composer on the handset.

On the specs side, the AR 45 does pretty well by offering a 4.5-inch screen with WVGA (800*480) resolution, a 1.2GHz dual-core A7 processor and 512MB of RAM. There is also 4GB of internal storage space, of which 1GB has been dedicated for installing apps. The presence of a microSD card slot should please all the music lovers by offering them abundant storage space.

 

Elaborating on the product, Mr. Murali Retineni, Executive Director, Celkon Mobiles said, “With the launch of RahmanIshq series, we are raising the bar for affordable innovation especially for the music lovers. AR45 has a full display touch screen and a 5MP rear camera with a novel feature of smile detector. RahmanIshq smartphones are power packed with pre-installed AR Rahman’s chartbusters.”

At the back of the AR 45 is a 5MP camera with software gimmicks like smile detection. Celkon has been emphasised on the music quality of the handset, and has packed in stereo speakers along with K-class amplifiers.

The handset will hit the retail stores for Rs 7,999 in October.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Exynos 5 Octa Benchmark Scores And Initial Hands-On Impressions

The Galaxy S4 is now available in nearly every major market(s) of the world. However, most of the major markets, including the United States are getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 powered Galaxy S4, and not the Exynos powered one. The Exynos 5410 powered Galaxy S4 is an interesting handset since it is the first mobile device ever to make use of ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. The Exynos 5410 consists of four ARM-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, and four low-powered Cortex-A7 cores.

The basic idea behind ARM’s big.LITTLE technology is that for general usage the handset uses the low-power consuming Cortex A7 cores, thus saving battery life. It is only when the user runs an intensive game, benchmark, browses a heavy website or when the device is under heavy load that the ARM-A15 cores switch themselves on to provide the performance boost. Samsung is only releasing the Exynos 5410 powered Galaxy S4 in non-LTE network markets, since the Exynos powered SGS4 does not support LTE networks.

I managed to spend some time with the Exynos variant of the Galaxy S4, and also managed to run some of the most popular benchmarks on the phone.

Benchmarks

The first benchmark I ran was the recently released 3D Mark for Android. I ran the Ice Storm test, and the results were pretty surprising. The Exynos powered Galaxy S4 managed to score 9439 points, which is lower than that of the Nexus 4. However, I won’t consider 3D Mark to be accurate, since according to them the Xperia SP — a dual core Snapdragon Krait phone – manages to beat the Exynos 5 Octa variant of the Galaxy S4.

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Next, I ran AnTuTu where the Galaxy S4 managed to score 25346 points.

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I then ran the popular and, arguably, one of the best benchmarks apps available on the Android platform – GLBenchmark. In each and every benchmark, the PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU inside the Galaxy S4 flexed its muscle and came out on top. The Galaxy S4 managed to beat the HTC One, Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and even the iPhone 5.

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You can compare the Galaxy S4 scores with other phones from AnandTech’s HTC One GPU performance review page.

Here is how the Galaxy S4 performs in browser based benchmarks like SunSpider and Google’s Octane benchmark. I ran both the benchmarks on the stock Samsung browser as well as on the latest stable version of Chrome.

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Google Octane scores -:

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For comparison sake, my Nexus 4 scores 1297ms on the SunSpider benchmark on the AOSP browser, and around 1500 points in the Octane benchmark. On the other hand, the HTC One scores 1110ms, and the iPhone 5 scores 908ms in the SunSpider benchmark. In the Google Octane benchmark, the HTC One (using the Chrome browser) scores 2032 points, and surprisingly, the Nexus 10 scores a whopping 3784 beating the Galaxy S4 by a huge margin. The huge difference in points can be attributed to the thermal restrictions of both the devices.

Initial Hands-On Impression

The first thing that will strike you about the Galaxy S4 is the screen-to-bezel ratio. Samsung has done a commendable job in fitting a 5-inch screen inside a phone whose dimensions are the same as its predecessor. The Super AMOLED HD screen on the Galaxy S4 is also much brighter than the display found on the Galaxy Note 2 and S3.

What kills the excellent hardware of Galaxy S4 is TouchWIZ. TouchWIZ on the Galaxy S2 was decent enough with good usability features. On the Galaxy S3, TouchWIZ felt slightly bloated, and on the Galaxy S4, Samsung has taken the meaning of bloat to a whole new level. The new re-organized Settings menu is simply terrible and just confuses the user. All the new S-features are nothing but a gimmick as well.

All these bloat does show its negative side as well. In day-to-day usage, you will actually find the Nexus 4 smoother than the Galaxy S4. For example, the browser switching animation/process on the Galaxy S4 is terribly slow, and by the time the browser tab window opened in the S4, I had opened two new tabs on my Nexus 4. I had used a pre-production HTC One back in mid-March and never did the device lag once. The Galaxy S4, even with a much faster and arguably superior chipset, and the final retail software, lags in some places and this is downright unacceptable.

T-Mobile One S Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

T-Mobile One S owners, here is a news that is sure to brighten up your day. T-Mobile and HTC have finally gotten around to rolling out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for your phone. While T-Mobile is yet to officially announce the roll-out, many T-Mobile One S owners have already got the OTA update on their phone.
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The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update will bring with it Project Butter, Google Now, an enhanced notification bar, better voice recognition and speech-to-text support, and minor UI changes. HTC has also toned down the Sense UI a bit, enhanced the camera app, and removed some of the unneeded animations. The OTA update is a whopping 675MB in size and will is only downloaded when your One S is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

T-Mobile expects to complete the OTA update roll-out within the next two weeks. If you own a T-Mobile One S, you can try to manually pull the Jelly Bean update as well by going to Settings -> About Phone -> Software Updates and then pressing the Check for Updates option.

Via – T-Mobile

 

HTC One Software Update Greatly Improves Camera Performance; Brings Other Fixes As Well

HTC has started rolling out a new software update (v1.29) for its latest flagship – the One – that greatly improves the camera performance of the handset. The update is only available to the EU variant of the One, with the others variants slated to get the update over the next month or so.

The official change-log of the update is as follows -:

• Improvement to sound capture with Zoe
• Noise reduction in slow motion movie capture
• Improved color reproduction and dynamic range (reduced over-exposure in non-HDR images) in certain conditions
• Fix to display correct ISO in EXIF information when ISO settings are manually changed by the user
• Improved system performance and stability

However, there is more to this update than what the change-log suggests. The update brings about a massive improvement in the camera quality. How massive? See the image below from Android PIT for example -:

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The update also improves the overall system performance and stability, along with the audio recording capabilities of the One in Zoe mode. If you own an EU model of the One, then the update should hit your phone within a couple of weeks. If not, sit tight and hope that HTC rolls out the update to other variants of the One soon as well.

Via – SlashGear

Apple Announces WWDC Schedule; To Start From 10th June

Apple today published the schedule of its annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) that is all set to be held from June 10th to June 14th. The event will be held at Moscone West in San Franscisco.

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For the first time, Apple has also announced the time as to when the tickets will go on pre-order. The tickets will go on sales from April 25 at 10AM PDT/1PM ET. Last year, the tickets to WWDC sold out in less than 2 hours so it will be interesting to see if developers and Apple lovers are able to best their own record this time or not.

The WWDC logo from Apple is very bold this time as well. In fact, this is the first time I have seen Apple use such a bold and colourful logo. This will be the first event from Apple since iOS VP Scott Forstall left the company, and Ive took over the iOS UI department.

Apple will be giving the world a sneak peek into the next version of iOS and OS X to developers at WWDC, along with holding more than 100 sessions to cater to the needs of developers.

Via – The Verge

Sony Xperia P, go and E Dual Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

Sony Mobile today announced that it would start rolling out the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Xperia P, go and E dual from this week. The roll out is being done is phased stages, so it might not be available immediately in your country.

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The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update brings in addition to all the Google enhancements like Google Now, enhanced speech-to-text and notification bar, several new additions from Sony including an updated suite of Media applications. Sony has included a new Battery Stamina mode as seen on the Xperia Z. When enabled, this mode will automatically disable mobile data when the screen of the device is turned off to preserve battery life.

Other changes include an enhanced app drawer/launcher and Camera app and minor UI updates.

While Xperia P and E dual users will be able to update their phone to Jelly Bean over-the-air, Xperia go users will need to use Sony’s PC Companion software to install the update on their phone. They will only receive a notification on their phone when the update is available in their region.

Swype Out Of Beta; Now Available On The Play Store

Swype was the first keyboard to bring the gesture typing implementation on mobile devices and especially to Android devices. However, Swype was never available as a download-able keyboard on the Play Store, and was only available on certain Android devices that it came pre-installed with.

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Today, all that changes since the new owners of Swype, Nuance Communications, have finally released the keyboard on the Play Store. The keyboard is available in a trial as well as a paid version. The paid version is up for grabs for $0.99 right now, with its price set to increase after a few days.

While Swype truly was revolutionary when it first came in the keyboard scene, it is now barely able to keep up with its competition. SwiftKey, the most popular keyboard and one of the most popular applications on the Play Store, recently implemented its Flow technique of typing that is similar to Swype’s implementation. SwiftKey’s implementation is arguably superior since it allows users to have up to three languages active simultaneously. This makes typing in different languages simultaneously much more easier in SwiftKey compared to Swype.

Play Store Link

Sony Working On Bringing AOSP Support To Xperia Z

Showing its support for developers and love for stock Android, Sony has created an AOSP project for its latest flagship – the Xperia Z. The Xperia S started the trend of AOSP project from Sony, and the Z takes it a step further.

The AOSP project will be maintained by two senior developers at Sony, Johan Redestig and Bjorn Andersson. The AOSP project is Sony’s way to supporting the open source community, and allowing developers to run stock Android on their handset.

Below is a video of AOSP running on the Xperia Z -:

Currently, AOSP on the Xperia Z is still not good enough for day-to-day use because of the reliance on some binaries that Sony is not allowed to share. In its current form, Sony has managed to get SD-Card, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Notification LED and partial sensors to work under AOSP on the Xperia Z. While the radio and camera also work, they require some binaries that Sony cannot share with the general public.

The good news is that going forward Sony will work on replacing the binaries with their open-source drivers and make the NFC binaries available as well. If you are a developer, you can help Sony in making the Xperia Z supported by AOSP by contributing your own code. Head over to the AOSP for Xperia Z project on Github for the issues list, and to get yourself familiar with the code.

AOSP stands for Android Open Source Project, and is what the Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus and other Nexus devices from Google run when combined with a few proprietary binaries. AOSP always contains the latest version of Android, which in this case is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Xperia Z runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.

Via – Sony Developer World

Google Glass Consumer Version Might Still Be An Year Away

Google Glass was intially supposed to release sometime by the end of this year for less than $1500. However, it looks like Google might just need some more time. In a radio interview with BBC, Eric Schmidt said that the consumer version of the Glass is still “probably a year-ish away”.

Google-Glass-photo

Google Glass is probably the hottest thing in the technology world aside from the usual Galaxies and iPhones. With Google sending out Explorer edition of the Glass to developers and popular celebrities out there, the world is waiting patiently to see how developers harness the power of the Glass.While more developers will be able to get their hands on the Glass by the end of this year, the final retail version of the device might just not hit the shelves this year, as expected.

Google will be taking feedback from all the developers that will be using the Glass over the next few months, and incorporate the changes in the final version of the device.

However, since Eric Schmidt is not directly involved with Google Glass, there might be a small possibility of him being wrong here.

Via – The Verge

HTC One Uses Nokia’s HAAC Mics — Let The Court Room War Start!

The One from HTC might signify the best of what the Taiwanese OEM has to offer, but the handset keeps getting itself into trouble. First, the handset’s launch was delayed by a couple of weeks all over the world, and now, it looks like HTC is using Nokia’s HAAC’s (High-amplitude mics) on the One. As of now, Nokia has been granted a preliminary injunction against HTC in Netherlands.

It is not entirely’s HTC fault though, as ST Electronics is the company that makes the HAAC mics for both the companies. However, the components were exclusively invented and manufactured for Nokia by ST Electronics, and were not meant to be shared with any other company.

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If Nokia does manage to get an injunction, HTC will be forced to look for alternative solutions and might even have to remove the feature altogether from the One.

The full press release from Nokia is pretty aggressive as well, and directly tells HTC to “compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia.”

Full Press Release below -:

“The Amsterdam District Court has today granted Nokia’s request for a preliminary injunction against the supply to HTC of microphone components invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia.

Nokia filed this action after it discovered these components in the HTC One; HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed.

In its marketing materials, HTC claims that its HDR microphone is a key feature for the HTC One, but it is Nokia technology, developed exclusively for use in Nokia products.

This is one of the latest in a number of cases brought by Nokia to end HTC’s unauthorized use of Nokia’s inventions. More than 40 Nokia patents have been asserted against HTC in Germany, the US and the UK. An injunction against HTC devices in Germany, which were found on March 19 to infringe Nokia’s patent EP 0 673 175, is now in effect. The latest case, on Nokia patent EP 1 579 613 B1 was filed in Mannheim, Germany on April 16.

Once again, Nokia calls on HTC to compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia.”

Via – Engadget