All posts by Omkar Dutta

Omkar Dutta is a Mobile Enthusiast from Mumbai, India. He loves to check out latest software, mobile phones and web services. Currently, he writes for this awesome blog as well as Fone Arena. You can follow him on Twitter @0mkarr

Snapseed Photo Editing App Finally Comes To Android

Snapseed is a popular photo-editing app developed by Kik software. This app was previously available only for iPhone and iPad. Back in September, Google acquired the parent firm of Snapseed. This indicated that Google was planning to release the popular Snapseed app for Android smartphones and tablets. After waiting for a couple of months, Snapseed was finally released on the Google Play Store.

Snapseed allows you to edit your photos as well as adjust brightness and contrast using simple gesture controls. You can easily adjust or tweak your photos with a single tap using Auto Correct and Tune Image. You will also find a Google+ button on the top, which clearly indicates that Google wants you to post all your amazing photos on its very own social networking site. Currently, this app supports only JPEG and TIFF photos.

Photo editing apps doesn’t come cheap. However, you will be surprised to learn that Android users can download Snapseed for free! This app was previously available for $4.99 on the Apple App Store. Now, iPhone and iPad users can also download this app without spending a dime. Sadly, this app is available only for devices running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or the newer version of the OS. We will be posting a complete review of Snapseed within next few days. Stay tuned!

[ Download Snapseed For Android ]

Sony Unveils The Android 4.1 Powered Xperia E Smartphone

Sony recently unveiled the Android powered Xperia E smartphone. It is the company’s first device to ship with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Sony Xperia E will be available in both single-SIM and dual-SIM variants. This handset features noise cancellation that filters out background noise and allows you to have clear conversations in any environment.

Calum MacDougall, Director Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications, said,
“Consumers looking to take their first steps into the world of Xperia smartphones would be well advised to look at Xperia E or Xperia E dual. They are perfect for those seeking affordable access to the quality and functionality more traditionally associated with high-end Android smartphones.”

Sony Xperia E features a 3.5 inch HVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7227A processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G connectivity and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth technology, DLNA Certified, Micro USB, USB 2.0, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 512 MB RAM, Google Play Store, up to 6 hrs 30 min of talk-time, up to 530 hrs of stand-by time and a 1500 mAh battery.

The single-SIM variant will be available in black, white and pink colors, while the dual-SIM variant will come in black and gold colors. This handset will go on sale from Q1 of 2013. Sony has not yet announced the price of this device, but the price is expected to be around $200.

Nokia Announces The Entry Level Lumia 620 Smartphone

Nokia recently unveiled the wallet-friendly Lumia 620 smartphone at LeWeb 2012 in Paris. This affordable smartphone runs on the Windows Phone 8 Operating System. The Nokia Lumia 620 packs some pretty decent specs including a 3.8 inch display, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, 5 megapixel camera and much more. It is the company’s third Windows Phone 8 powered device.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president, Nokia Smart Devices, said,
“We continue to execute on our strategy to reach new audiences and new markets. With its innovative design, the latest Windows Phone 8 software and signature experiences from Nokia, like Nokia lenses, Nokia Maps and Nokia Music, the Nokia Lumia 620 is a highly competitive smartphone at this price point.”

Nokia Lumia 620 features a 3.8 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1 Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, Windows Phone 8 OS, 5 megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, 64 GB expandable memory and more.

It also comes with a 3.5mm headset jack, Office 365, Xbox Live, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, IE9 with HTML 5 support, 7 GB Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR, NFC (Near Field Communication), Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Bing Maps, up to 61 hours of music playback in offline mode, up to 9.9 hours of talk-time, up to 330 hours of stand-by time and a 1300 mAh battery.

The Nokia Lumia 620 uses a new dual-shot color technique, which adds a second layer of colored, transparent or translucent polycarbonate on top of a base layer to produce secondary color blends and depth effects. This handset will be available in lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, white and black colors. The Nokia Lumia 620 will go on sale from January 2013 for just $249 excluding taxes.

Toshiba Unveils The Android 4.1 Powered Excite X10 SE Tablet

Toshiba recently announced the new Android powered Excite X10 SE tablet. This device is the successor of the Toshiba Excite X10, which was touted to be the world’s thinnest 10-inch tablet. This device will be shipped with the newer Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System out of the box. The affordable Excite X10 SE will be available only in 16 GB variant.

Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division, said,
“Our Excite family of tablets continues to grow with options to suit a wide range of consumer needs, from portability and gaming to versatility and power. We designed the Excite 10 SE to be a full featured tablet that offers a pure Android, Jelly Bean experience, while maintaining an attractive price point.”

Toshiba Excite X10 SE features a 10.1-inch diagonal AutoBrite HD touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, quad-core Tegra 3 Super 4-PLUS-1 processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, 3 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and digital zoom, HD (720p) video recording and playback, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, MicroSD card slot, Micro USB and much more.

This device measures 0.4 inches thick and weighs 22.6 ounces. Toshiba Excite X10 SE will go on sale from December 6 for just $349.99.

Facebook Messenger For Android Updated; Sign Up With Just Name And Phone Number

We have good news for Android smartphone and tablet users. Facebook recently rolled out a new update for its not-so-popular Messenger app. The latest update brings the ability to sign up with just your name and phone number. You heard it right! Now, even if you have not yet created a Facebook account, you can still use the Facebook Messenger app and connect with your friends on the go.

This feature was already available on the popular cross-platform mobile messaging app, Whatsapp, which allows you to sign up with just your name and phone number. The first countries to get this feature are Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Venezuela. Facebook will roll out this feature for users in other countries in the coming weeks.

Similar to Whatsapp, the Facebook Messenger app allows you to send messages and images to anyone on your phonebook and does not even require a Facebook log-in. Currently, this update is available only for Android users and the company is planning update their iOS app in the coming days.

Sony Xperia P, U, Go And Sola Gets A Software Update

Earlier this year, Sony launched the mid-range P, U, Go and Sola smartphones. Sadly, all of these devices were shipped with the out-dated Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. However, as promised, the manufacturer has already released the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Samdwich) update for these devices. Today, Sony is rolling out a new software update for the Xperia P, U, Go and Sola.

Before you get too excited, let me tell you that the latest update does not bring the newer Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. However, it comes with lots of other enhancements, bug fixes and performance tweaks. According to the manufacturer, all Xperia P users will get a notification when the upgrade is ready, but direct availability in the phone may vary across different markets and carriers.

sony xperia sola

On the other hand, Xperia U, Xperia Go and Xperia Sola users with Android 4.0 will receive a notification in your phone and will be able to download it over-the-air. The latest update brings improvements to: stability, WiFi, tethering/portable hotspot, camera (capture and playback), NFC and Messaging.

If you have not yet upgraded your device to the Android 4.0 OS, then you will need to manually connect your device to the computer and use the PC Companion for Windows or Sony’s Bridge software for Mac. The availability and scheduling of this software upgrade will depend on the market as well as the carrier.

Verizon Rolling Out Android 4.1 Update For Droid Razr HD And Razr Maxx HD

Last week, Verizon announced the availability of the much-awaited Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) update for the Droid Razr HD and Droid Razr Maxx HD smartphones. These devices were originally launched with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System. Today, the wireless carrier finally started rolling out this update for both Droid Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD smartphones.

The latest update is numbered 9.1.41.XT926 and it brings smart keyboard, Google Now, improved voice search, enhanced notifications, improved voice and data connectivity and much more. Check out the complete changelog after the break.

droid razr maxx hd

Changelog:

  • Move between Home screens with more intuitive graphics and smooth transitions.
  • Enjoy more reactive and uniform touch responses.

Software Upgrades:

  • Improved voice and data connectivity.
  • Native calendar settings have been improved for a better user experience.
  • Improved reliability and connectivity of Back Up Assistant Plus & Visual Voicemail.
  • Time stamp shown in outgoing multimedia has been corrected.

Application Updates:

  • Video calling portal and Accessories Application has been preloaded.
  • Verizon Video has been removed.
  • Color Application has been removed.
  • Fully integrated Amazon app suite has been preloaded (includes Kindle, Amazon MP3, IMDb, Audible, and Zappos).

You will be automatically notified once the update is available for your device. If you have not yet received the update, then just go to Settings > About Device > System updates and check for the update. To learn more, head over to this page.

LG Optimus L9 Launched In India For Rs.23,000

Today, LG finally launched the Android powered Optimus L9 smartphone in India. It is the company’s fourth device in the L-series family of smartphones. This handset was already available for pre-order from the last week in India. The LG Optimus L9 runs on the old Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System. This handset is designed around five primary aesthetic elements: Modern Square Style, Floating Mass Technology, Seamless Layout, Harmonized Design Contrast and Sensuous Slim Shape.

Mr. Soon Kwon, President South West Asia Region & MD, LG India, said,
“Smartphones today have become an essential part of life. People see it as an extension of themselves. Smartphones have come a long way from where they had started and today’s smartphones are a far cry from their bulky ancestors. LG Optimus L9 has been designed in a way that it can cater to every need of smart consumers who demands a powerhouse of style, performance and efficiency in their smartphones.”

lg optimus l9

LG Optimus L9 features a 4.7 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, 1 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, 5 megapixel rear camera, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB expandable memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, DLNA, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, QMemo, QTranslator, Google Play Store and a 2150 mAh battery. This handset measures 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1 mm and weighs 125 grams.

LG Optimus L9 comes with new features such as Quick Translator which instantly translates foreign words and phrases into English features and QuickMemo app which offers powerful note-taking capabilities. Another amazing feature of the smartphone makes typing messages significantly easier as the keypad adjusts the key formation based on whether the user is typing with one hand or two. LG Optimus L9 comes with a price tag of Rs.23,000 (approx. $420) in India.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Finally Gets The Android 4.0 Update

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is the company’s first tablet device with an unique 8.9 inch display. This device was originally shipped with the forgotten Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Operating System. It packs a 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 3.2 megapixel camera, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 3G Connectivity and much more.

The mid-range Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 has already got the Android 4.1 update, however the Galaxy Tab 8.9 owners were still waiting to taste the Ice Cream Sandwich. Today, Samsung finally rolled out the Android 4.0.4 ICS update for the Galaxy Tab 8.9. This update is currently available in Austria and it will be rolled out to other countries in the coming days.

Galaxy Tab 8.9

This update brings the usual ICS goodies including the redesigned UI, new keyboard with next word prediction, improved performance and stability, improved multi-tasking, enhanced notification bar and much more. The latest update can be easily downloaded via OTA (Over-The-Air). If OTA update fails, you can even connect your device to your computer and update it using the Samsung Kies software.

You will be automatically notified when the update is available for your device. It is always advised to backup all your data before updating the device. If you have not yet received the update, then just go to Settings > About Device > System updates and check for the update.

LG Optimus L9 Up For Pre-Order In India For Rs.19,990

LG Optimus L3, L5 and L7 were the first three L-series smartphones. Back in August, LG introduced yet another mid-range smartphone in the L-series family, the LG Optimus L9. This handset runs on the out-dated Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System and it comes with some decent specs such as a 4.7 inch display, 1 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB internal memory and so on.

LG Optimus L7 comes with the QMemo app, which allows the users to capture, save and share their ideas with others using their fingertip or handwriting. Folks living in India will be able to get their hands-on this device in the next few days. Flipkart, the popular online retailer has also started taking the pre-orders of this device. Check out the complete specs below.

lg optimus l9

LG Optimus L9 features a 4.7 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, 1 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, 5 megapixel rear camera, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB expandable memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, DLNA, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, QMemo, QTranslator, Google Play Store and a 2150 mAh battery. This handset measures 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1 mm and weighs 125 grams.

LG Optimus L9 comes with a price-tag of Rs.19,990 in India. LG might roll out the android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) update for this device in the coming months, but we are not sure why would anyone want to spend 20k on a smartphone with a year-old OS. LG fanboys can head over to this page and pre-order this device.

Lenovo P770 Launched In China; Comes With 3500 mAh Battery, Android 4.1

What is only thing you don’t like about your smartphone? Ask this question to any of the Android smartphone users and you will get the same answer from almost everyone. The battery life! Last year, Motorola surprised everyone with Motorola Razr Maxx, which was the first smartphone to ship with a powerful 3300 mAh battery. This year, Motorola launched Razr Maxx HD which was packed with some amazing features and the same 3300 mAh battery.

Now, it seems that other manufacturers are ready to join the bandwagon. Lenovo has recently launched the Android powered Lenovo P770 smartphone which comes with a 3500 mAh Li-Po battery. Yes, the battery on this device is even larger than the Razr Maxx and Razr Maxx HD. Lenovo P770 runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. This handset is currently available for purchase only in China.

Lenovo P770 features a 4.5 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, 3.5 mm headset jack, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, GPS, up to 29 hours of talk-time, up to 644 hours of stand-by time and a 3500 mAh battery.

The handset measures 133 x 67 x 11.9 mm and weighs 161 grams. The Lenovo P770 comes with a price-tag of 1699 Chinese Yuan (approx. $270). You can easily get this handset from Lenovo China’s official website. The manufacturer has not yet announced the availablity of this device in other markets. But we really hope to see this device or similar devices from other manufacturers in our Indian market.

HTC One X Gets The Android 4.1 Update In Asia And Europe

HTC One X was originally launched with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating system. As promised, the manufacturer has already started rolling out the newer Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. However, this update was limited to Korea, Taiwan and select regions of the world. Now, it seems that the Taiwanese mobile phone manufacturer has rolled out this update in almost all of the regions in Europe and Asia.

htc one x

The size of the update is around 365 MB and it bumps the OS and HTC Sense to Android 4.1.1 and Sense 4+ respectively. The latest update bring the usual Jelly Bean features such as Google Now, Project Butter, offline text-to-speech, better performance in camera, new Gallery app, improved power management and advanced notifications. The update for Indian version adds support for Punjabi, Oriya, Malayalam and Kannada languages.

The latest can be easily downloaded via OTA (Over-The-Air). As usual, we advise you to backup all of your data and completely charge the battery before upgrading the device. If you still haven’t received this update, then just go to Settings > About > Software Updates and check for the update.

Nokia 206 Announced; Comes With The Slam Quick Sharing Feature

Along with the Nokia Asha 205, the Finnish mobile phone maker has unveiled another entry-level phone, the Nokia 206. This dual-SIM handset comes with a 2.4 inch display, alphanumeric keypad, 1.3 megapixel camera, 32 GB expandable memory and more. Nokia 206 is the company’s first mobile phones device to include Nokia’s exclusive Slam feature. It allows you to share multimedia content like photos and videos with nearby friends almost instantly.

Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said,
“The latest Nokia devices give super-social consumers new ways to express their personalities through design, color and innovative new features like Slam. Both devices are built with the trust and quality people have come to expect from Nokia, and offer smarter Internet experiences that help save money today and tomorrow.”

The Nokia 206 comes with a 2.4 inch QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Series 40 Asha UI, alphanumeric keypad, 1.3 megapixel camera, 10 MB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, GPRS/EDGE, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 3.5 mm headset jack, Slam feature, Nokia Xpress Browser, Nokia Life, up to 28 days of stand-by time, up to 20 hours of talk-time and a 1100 mAh battery.

This handset measures 116 x 49.4 x 12.4 mm and weighs just 91 grams. Nokia 206 will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and White colors. This handset will also be available in both single SIM and dual SIM variants. The Nokia 206 comes with a price-tag of $62 excluding taxes. It is expected to start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Nokia Announces Asha 205 With Dedicated Facebook Button

We have seen a number of entry-level and mid-range smartphones with a dedicated Facebook button. Even HTC tried their luck with the Android powered HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa. Sadly, none of them managed to attract the Facebook addicts in developing countries. Today, Nokia announced its first handset with a dedicated Facebook button, the Nokia Asha 205.

This is an entry level device packed with basic features such as a 2.4 inch landscape display, dual-SIM capabilities, full QWERTY keyboard, VGA camera and more. This handset is specially designed for youngsters who wants one-click access to popular Facebook features. The messaging feature in Facebook for Every Phone app allows you to see your online friends and start messages/group chats in seconds.

Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said,
“Globally, young consumers have increasingly started using Facebook for socializing, keeping in touch and striking new friendships. The launch of the Nokia Asha 205 responds to this growing demand and gives them a unique option for accessing Facebook while on-the-go. We have seen that many people who use Nokia Asha devices are hyper-social and we are proud to partner with Facebook to improve the user experience of those consumers further with the introduction of the Facebook button.”

The Nokia Asha 205 features a 2.4 inch QVGA display, Series 40 Asha UI, full QWERTY keyboard, VGA camera, Nokia Xpress Browser, Nokia Life+, 10 MB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, GPRS/EDGE, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 3.5 mm headset jack, Slam feature, up to 25 days of stand-by time, up to 11 hours of talk-time and a 1020 mAh battery.

This handset measures 113 x 61 x 13 mm and weighs just 94 grams. The Nokia Asha 205 will be available in Cyan, Magenta and Orange colors. This handset will be available in both single SIM and dual-SIM variants. The Nokia Asha 205 comes will go on sale by the end of this year for just $62 excluding taxes.

ZTE N880E Gets The Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Update

Earlier this month, Google released the much-awaited Nexus 4 smartphone in the US. It is the first smartphone which runs on the latest Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Now, ZTE became the first Chinese vendor to launch an Android smartphone with Android 4.2 OS. The Chinese mobile phone manufacturer has recently started rolling out latest version of the Android OS to its mid-range ZTE N880E smartphone.

I’m sure most of you might have never heard of this smartphone. The ZTE N880E was originally launched in May this year. It was one of the first handsets to run on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. This handset comes with a 4 inch touchscreen display, 1 GHz processor, 3.2 megapixel camera, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory and so on.

Mr. He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Terminal Division, said,
“This announcement highlights ZTE’s long standing strategic relationship with Google and ZTEs determination to provide consumers with cutting-edge technology and the best smartphone experience. ZTE will introduce more models on Android 4.2 in the future, and will continue to make improvements to equipment performance and stability, ensuring that our handsets meet with the high expectations of today’s consumers.”

The latest update brings the usual Android 4.2 Jelly Bean goodies, including the Photo Sphere camera functionality, Gesture Typing, notification quick controls, improved search capabilities through Google Now and more. We hope other manufacturers should take a lesson and update their smartphones as soon as possible.