Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at [email protected]
Sony Mobile’s official Twitter account today tweeted that the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Xperia P, go, S, SL and arco S are in the final stages of testing, and that the company will release more information next week.
Sony had initially promised to update its 2012 range of selected Xperia handsets to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean by early-April. What is appalling is that while Sony has managed to update some of its lower-end Xperia devices to Jelly Bean, its 2012 flagship handset – the Xperia S – is still running a bug ridden Android 4.0.4 firmware.
The official tweet from Sony is as follows -:
Just a quick update to say we hear you re: JB 4.1 for Xperia P & Go, (S, SL, acro S and ion). Work’s in v. final stage – more news next week
Since Sony has mentioned the name of the Xperia S, SL, acro S and ion in parenthesis, it might very well be possible that the updates for these phones won’t be available immediately.
While Sony is still struggling to update its 2012 flagship devices to Jelly Bean, Samsung not only updated its 2012 flagship – the Galaxy S3 – to Jelly Bean, but also updated its 2011 flagship – the Galaxy S2 – to Android 4.1.2.
Last night, the Chrome team updated the beta version of Chrome for Android to v27.0.1453.60 that includes some bug-fixes and includes some new bugs as well.
The list of bugs that have been squashed are as follows -:
226691: Graphical corruption and blank tabs in tab switcher mode
222805: Most Visited section thumbnails are misaligned in landscape mode for RTL languages
228883: Search is still performed via Google when re-submitting omnibox query after switching search engine
Flicker while opening new tabs
Fixes for some frequently occurring crashes
chrome://history sometimes show duplicate items
However, being a beta some bugs are still present in this update including page flickering during navigation, and Chrome lagging when opening a new tab.
On my Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S3, Chrome and Chorme Beta are completely unusable for me. They both lag and stutter while loading slightly heavy websites, and even general zooming and panning around is not satisfactory. Given that both the phones in question here have quad-core CPUs, this is completely unacceptable.
Hopefully, the move to a new rendering engine in Chrome – Blink – will solve all the lag and rendering issues of Chrome for Android. A blink engine based Chrome version for Android, however, at best, is still more than a couple of months away.
Today, HTC announced that it will be bringing its latest and greatest flagship – the One – to India by the end of April for a MOP (Best Buy) price of Rs 42,900. The HTC One has a zero-gap aluminium unibody, with a 4.7-inch S-LCD3 1080p display in the front adored by BoomSound stereo speakers on its top and bottom.
The One is a beast in every sense and packs in a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage to make up for the lack of a microSD card slot, NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, GPS and even an IR blaster so that you can directly control all your remote appliances from your phone. The handset also includes a revolutionary new camera that aims to buck the Megapixel race. While the camera only has a 4.3MP resolution, it consists of a 5 element plastic lens with an f/2.0 aperture. All this combined with the new custom made camera sensor from HTC provides the One with stellar low-light performance and bigger pixels dubbed as “UltraPixel”.
On the software side, the One runs on Android 4.1.2 with the greatest and latest version of Sense UI (v5) on top of it. HTC has included some really nice features in the latest Sense UI including BlinkFeed for a new re-defined homescreen experience, and HTC Zoe for a new imaging experience.
HTC has also tied up with Reliance GSM to offer 1GB of free 3G data to all One customers for three months. The handset should retail for a couple of thousand lower when it hits the market, making it a very tempting deal.
Today, HTC has finally announced the pre-order, release date and the pricing of the its latest flagship — the One — on two major U.S carriers, Sprint and AT&T.
Both the carriers will start selling the One from April 19th via their retail stores or website with the 32GB variant coming in at $199.99 with a two-year contract. As rumored earlier, AT&T has managed to snag an exclusive on the 64GB variant of the One, and will sell it for $249.99 on a two-year contract.
AT&T will start taking pre-orders for the HTC One from April 4th, while Sprint will start taking them from 5th April. T-Mobile is now the only carrier left in the United States that is yet to announce its pricing and release date of the One. Verizon will not be selling the HTC One under its network, but it is widely expected that the HTC will release a modified variant of the One under Verizon’s sometime soon.
With a hard release date of April 19th, HTC has managed to beat the Galaxy S4 to the market in the United States. The pre-orders for the Galaxy S4 start from April 16th, with the handset being available only by the end of the month.
Last month an Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean based ROM had leaked for the Xperia S. This month, the Xperia P joins the list with a JB base firmware leaking for the handset.
Like the Xperia S JB firmware, the Xperia P JB firmware is not good enough to be used a daily driver since it lacks basic connectivity features including mobile data and Wi-Fi. However, the firmware does provide a glimpse of all the features that Sony will be bringing to the handset with the update including Clear Audio+, its new enhanced suite of Media apps (Walkman, Album etc.), slight UI refresh, updated Camera app, a new lock screen and Xloud.
Sadly, Sony won’t be bringing its Small apps feature to the Xperia P, as originally seen on the Xperia T and Xperia Z. Sony will not be updating the kernel of the Xperia P with this update as well, which might not go down well with the developers.
Even then, the Android 4.1.2 update will bring quite a lot of new features to the Xperia P, which is not bad considering its a mid-range phone. Sony is expected to roll-out the Jelly Bean update for the Xperia P sometime in the next couple of months.
Back in Feburary when HTC unveiled the One, it stated that the handset will be available with two storage options – 32GB and 64GB. Considering that the One does not have a microSD card slot, a 64GB variant will definitely be appreciated by power users and the general consumers alike.
However, it looks like AT&T might have managed to nab the 64GB variant of the One as exclusive in the United States. In a video uploaded on their YouTube account, the carrier highlights twice that the 64GB One is going to be an exclusive on their network. HTC has not yet confirmed this news, but considering that the video has not yet been pulled, the news does seem to be true.
So, this means that Sprint and T-Mobile will be getting the 32GB variant of the handset in the United States. While 32GB of space should be more than enough for majority of the consumers, there will still be a few people for whom the lack of a 64GB option might turn out to be a deal-breaker.
Sprint and Samsung have started rolling out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for their variant of the Galaxy S2 – the Epic 4G Touch. The update will bring with it quite a bunch of new features as seen on the international Galaxy S2, including Smart Stay, Direct Call and more.
The usual Android 4.1 Jelly Bean enhancements are also present including Google Now, Project Butter for buttery-smooth UI, enhanced speech-to-text with offline mode support, and expandable notifications among other things.
Samsung is not rolling out the update via OTA, and Sprint SGS2 owners need to use KIES on a Windows XP or Windows 7 based PC to get the update. The update needs to be manually downloaded from here, and weighs in a whopping 520MB+. Your data will be left untouched, but it is highly recommended that you make a backup before proceeding with the update. While KIES does not officially support Windows 8, the application and the update process works flawlessly on the latest OS from Microsoft.
Hopefully, AT&T and other U.S operators will soon release the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for their variant of the Galaxy S2 as well.
Today, AT&T announced that it will start taking pre-orders for the latest and greatest Samsung flagship – the Galaxy S4 – beginning from April 16th. The handset will cost users back by $249.99 with a two-year contract. This makes AT&T the first U.S carrier to announce the pre-order of the handset.
The Galaxy S4 is the successor to the massively popular Galaxy S3, and sports a 5-inch Full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED screen inside a body that is actually thinner and smaller than the Galaxy S3. While Samsung and AT&T have not confirmed yet, the AT&T version of the Galaxy S4 will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC clocked at 1.9GHz, along with 2GB of RAM and 16/32GB of internal memory.
Other specs of the Galaxy S4 include a 13MP camera in the back, a 2MP snapper in the front, an IR blaster, NFC, GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE and the usual bunch of sensors. The Galaxy S4 is the first handset to pack in some new sensors including a thermometer, hygroscope and a barometer. It also runs on Android 4.2.2 with Samsung’s TouchWIZ UX 2.0 on top of it that contains a truck load of software gimmicks including Air View, Multi Window, Group Play, Smart Scrolling and much more.
Last night, Google released an update for its Google Translate app introducing the ability to translate text even in offline mode. The new feature supports more than 50 different languages including Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, French and Spanish.
Users will need to manually download and install the offline language pack for each individual language. The size of each language pack varies between 150-200MB. Keep in mind that these offline language packs won’t be as accurate as the online version, but still should be enough to get the job done. This new feature will work on all Android devices running Android 2.3 or higher.
Apart from this, Google also updated the Play Movies and TV app to add support for info cards. Info cards automatically show relevant information about the characters on-screen, their age, recent work etc. whenever a user pauses a movie while watching it. As of now, this feature will work with hundreds of movies, but Google is working on adding support for thousands of them and on Android 4.0+ devices only.
Both the app updates are already live in the Play Store, and can be downloaded right away!
Over the last few months, Google has been slowly bringing most of its features to India and other third world countries. This includes free turn-by-turn voice navigation, the ability to publish paid apps in the Play Store for Indian developers, INR currency support, and much more recently, the release of Play Books and directly selling the Nexus 7 via the Play Store in India.
Today, Google has released another of its Play services for its Indian users to enjoy – Play Movies. Google has priced the movies at a pretty decent price, with the prices varying from Rs. 50 to Rs 120 to rent a standard definition movie. Users can directly purchase a movie as well with prices beginning from Rs 390 for a SD quality movie to a whopping Rs. 650 for a one in HD.
Android users can access the Play Movies service right from the Play Store application on their phone or tablet. You can also purchase or rent movies directly from the Play Store website.
In addition to Play Movies, Google has also enabled the option to buy paid movies from YouTube Rentals. Until now, users were only given the a catalogue of free movies, but from today, the catalogue has increased to include paid movies as well.
Along with India, Google has also brought its Play Movies service to its users in Mexico. Hopefully, Google will soon bring its Play Music and other Nexus hardware to the Indian Play Store sooner than later.