Unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2014 earlier this year, Sony has launched the Xperia Z2 in India to compete with other flagships in the market – Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. Continue reading Sony Xperia Z2 launched in India for ₹49,990: Photos, Hands-on, and First Impressions
The SanDisk Memory Zone app makes it easier to manage and back up your Android device by copying your files to a memory card or to several popular online storage services. Continue reading SanDisk Memory Zone is a pretty good backup app for your Android device
Earlier today, the FTC announced the terms of its settlement with the free torch app “Brightest Flashlight”, which had surreptitiously collected real-time location data of its users and sold to advertisers. Although Android doesn’t allow you to modify the permissions that an installed app has, Google does display the permissions that an app is requesting before you install the app. A privacy breach like the “Brightest Flashlight” incident can easily be avoided by paying attention to the permissions that an app requests. For example, there is no valid reason for a torch app to access your location. If you find that an app requests more permissions than justifiable, it might be best to simply avoid it and pick a less nosy alternative.
The trouble is that if you have been using Android for a while, you must have already installed dozens of apps. Manually reviewing their permissions is a cumbersome process that very few users will be willing to undertake. This is where a new app called TruePlex can help.
TruePlex is a new app which does one simply thing. Once installed, it cross-references the apps installed on your phone with its database, and generates a report with a rating (lower is better) for each identified app. The rating is based on the amount of access the app has to private data. A higher rating doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something is wrong, but it does indicate that you should take a closer look at the permissions the app is requesting. Tapping on any of the app icons in the report opens up a new page which lists all the permission an app has. While it makes sense that your SMS app will have access to your messages and contacts, be wary if a random game requests the same permission.
TruePlex looks and feels like something hacked together over a weekend. The app basically has a single screen, and all it does is prepare a report of the permissions that apps installed on your device have. Quite appropriately, TruePlex itself doesn’t request any special permission. This will perhaps instantly make it As soon as you hit the “Let’s Go” button, you are taken to your web browser, where your report is displayed. You also have the option of creating an account on the TruePlex website. This will allow you to compare you device score with other users.
To be fair, the app is very basic, the report is ugly, the website is buggy, and there’s still a lot of work to be done. The database is still small, and not all of your apps are rated. I’m sure that if it gains popularity, we’re going to see a lot more polished app in the coming weeks. I’d definitely want to see it automatically figuring out what permissions my installed apps have, and generating a report even if the app isn’t in the TruePlex database. Nevertheless, the app is already quite useful and worth a download. The app is essentially similar to BitDefender’s Clueful app. However, TruePlex is a lot more lightweight, and requires no permissions for itself. On the flip side, the report lacks the succinct one line summary that Clueful provides.
Close on the heels of the website refresh, Facebook is pushing out a major revamp of its Android app. I am not a very big fan of the recent Facebook website redesign; it took an already cluttered user interface and made it even worse. Fortunately, the changes on the Android front are a lot more positive.
The new app feels a lot more vibrant and cheerful, mainly due to the use of lighter and brighter shades throughout the UI. Everything is also distinctively flatter.
The top bar has been split into two, and the navigation drawer on the left has been removed. The new layout is not only more visually appealing, but also more intuitive.
The upper half has just two buttons – one for Search and the other for accessing phone contacts. The second half contains all the navigation options including Friend Requests, Messages, Notifications, and Profile and Settings.
The new Android interface is more compliant with the Android design philosophy, and is definitely a step in the right direction for Facebook. Unfortunately, it’s still not ready for prime time. It’s currently only available for the Facebook alpha testers. If you want it right away, there are a few hoops you’ll have to jump through.
- Go to the Facebook Alpha Testers group and signup with your Google account. This needs to be the same one that you’re using for the Play Store.
- Once you’ve signed up successfully, you should be able to see the following page.
- Follow this link to become an alpha tester. If all goes well, you’d be able to see a message stating “You are a tester”.
- Now open the Play Store on your mobile phone, and you should be able to see an option to update Facebook. Download and install the update.
- Go to Settings –> Apps –> Facebook. The current version of the Alpha build is 184.108.40.206.19. Your version should be same or higher.
- ‘Force Stop’ the app, and ‘Clear Data’.
- Launch the Facebook app. You will have to sign in once again. Once you login, you should be able to see the new Facebook layout.
Please keep in mind that Facebook builds released in the alpha channel are expected to be buggy. They might be buggy, crash-prone, or might not work at all. If you want to go back to the normal build, simply “Quit the Test“, and un-install and re-install the Facebook app from the Play Store.
At a grand event in Goa that the company dubbed as ‘Slim Fest’, Gionee announced the Gionee ELIFE S5.5 in India. Named after its biggest feature – a 5.55mm slim body, the phone will be available in the market starting April 27.
The ELIFE S series is a new product category that Gionee intends to position not just as a flagship smartphone series but also as a fashionable accessory.
“Smartphones are treated both as electronics and pie of art by consumers worldwide and that’s why we adapted a new approach with a focus in design. Smartphone is something that we carry on a daily basis, they are like a part of the human body, and there is zero distance between a user and their smartphones. This is similar to a piece of fashion clothing; it represents its user’s taste, personality, and even identity.”
– William Lu Weibing, President, Gionee
Thankfully, with all that emphasis on design – and the unique proposition of being the world’s slimmest phone – Gionee ELIFE S5.5 does not compromise on performance. The specifications sheet is top-of-the-line with a true octa-core 1.7 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM powering the internals. The 5-inch full HD display is vivid and gives a nice first impression, although like most AMOLED displays, the colors are a little washed out.
Gionee claims that the problem of high power consumption by slim phones is taken care of by the highest capacity density ratio of S5.5’s battery. The phone features a modest 2300mAh battery, but the power optimizations that Gionee packs in might just get it through the day.
The 13 MP rear camera does not match the brilliance of Gionee ELIFE E7, which the company touted as the best amongst all Android smartphones, but works good for most conditions. The 5 MP front camera features a 95 degrees ultra-wide angle that allows you to click better self-group shots and full-body selfies. I’ve grown tired of the term and the trend, but yeah, it’s a feature.
While the phone is very slim, the camera lens protrudes on one corner. It’s smooth, and doesn’t look bad at all, but makes the claim of a ‘slim phone that packs everything’ a little incorrect.
The Gionee ELIFE S5.5 features the Android-based AMIGO OS 2.0 that has been customized specifically for the S5.5. It is Android 4.2.2 under the hood, and that would annoy a lot of Android enthusiasts, but the company would rather have you focus on AMIGO.
The AMIGO OS is not bad, and is well-intentioned. Android fans might get disappointed because it does not include certain popular Android features like widgets. However, if you give a little time or if it is your first Android phone, it would grow on you and provide a functional user experience.
The camera software, like the ELIFE E7, consists of two shooting modes – the professional and normal camera settings – and can really help you get the best out of the camera optics.
- Display: 5.0” Super AMOLED Plus display
- Processor: Octa- Core 1.7GHz CPU
- RAM: 2 GB
- Camera: 13.0MP AF +5.0MP AF Camera 95 Degree Ultra-Wide Angle
- Software: AMIGO OS 2.0 (based on Android OS, V4.2)
- Memory: 16GB
- Dimensions: 145.1 x 70.2 x 5.55mm
- Battery: 2300mAh (non-removable)
- Single SIM
- OTG Support
The Gionee ELIFE S5.5 is available in five colors – Black, White, Blue, Pink, and Purple. These are not vivid colors like Nokia, mind you, but look subtle and stylish.
The phone is priced at ₹22,999 and will be available in the market later this month. It’s a great price for a flagship Android phone, and it will compete with not just the middle-range Samsung and Sony phones but also with the top-end phones from Indian players like Micromax.
Samsung finally unveiled the much-awaited phablet of the year, the Galaxy Note 3 at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin. It is the successor of the extremely popular Galaxy Note II and also the first phablet to ship with the latest Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. The new Group Play on Galaxy Note 3 not only allows you to play the same music, games and share documents, but also share videos and play content together with their friends simultaneously.
JK Shin, CEO of IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics, said,
“We introduced the original Galaxy Note in 2011 and launched a whole new smart device category. The undeniable success of the Galaxy Note strengthened our conviction that consumers want higher quality features for smart devices and they want those new features to make their lives better. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a powerful, original approach that enables users to tell the stories of their lives through dynamic and seamless expressions of their passions across work, play and life experiences.”
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a 5.7 inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 2.3 GHz quad-core processor / 1.9 GHz octa-core processor, Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) OS, TouchWiz UI, 13 megapixel auto-focus camera with smart stabilization, LED Flash and Zero Shutter Lag, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and more.
Apart from that, it packs 3 GB RAM, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, NFC (Near Field Communication), Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5 mm headset jack, FM Radio with RDS, 4G LTE Connectivity, 32 GB/ 64 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory, S-Pen, S Note, S Planner, Samsung Hub, Samsung KNOX, Samsung ChatOn, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct and a 3200mAh battery. This handset will be available in Marble White and Titanium Gray colors.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be available in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink colors. Samsung will also offer exchangeable back covers in dozens of additional colors. This device will go on sale from September 25 in more than 140 countries around the world. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will also be available in the U.S. later this year on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular.
Sony officially announced its flagship smartphone, the Sony Xperia Z1. This handset is the successor of the Xperia Z smartphone. Similar to the other high-end Xperia devices, the Xperia Z1 is also a waterproof and dust resistant smartphone. Sony will ship this handset with the old Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is touted to be the best Android camera phone yet. It features Sony’s award-winning “G Lens” with a 27mm wide angle and bright F2.0 aperture. It also comes with the Sony’s Battery Stamina Mode which automatically turns off functions to save power when you don’t need them and restarts them when you do.
Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications, said,
“Xperia Z1 represents a significant milestone for Sony in our continued efforts to deliver unforgettable experiences to our consumers. Not only by bringing the power of Sony to the smartphone and through close collaboration with our partners but by setting a new standard in premium smartphones.”
Sony Xperia Z1 features a 5 inch Full HD display, sporting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 20.7 megapixel auto-focus camera with 8x digital zoom and full HD (1080p) video recording, 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory and more.
Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, Micro USB, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, NFC (Near Field Communication), 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality, up to 110 hrs of music playback time, up to 830 mins of talk-time, upto 880 hrs of stand-by time and a 3000 mAh non removable Li-ion battery.
Sony Xperia Z1 will be availble in black, white and purple color variants. This handset measures 144 x 74 x 8.5 mm and weighs 170 grams. Sony Xperia Z1 will go on sale globally by the end of this month.
Alcatel recently unveiled its new phablet, the Alcatel One Touch Hero at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin. This stunning device comes with a large 6 inch display and it runs on the Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Similar to the Galaxy Note series, Alcatel One Touch Hero comes with the much needed stylus, which allows you to annotate, create memos and professional sketches. This device is pre-loaded with apps that fully utilize hand writing recognition.
Apart from its powerful specs, this device brings amazing accessories such as E Ink cover, Pico Projector and more. The E Ink cover lets you read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with stable image and wider viewing angle. On the other hand, MagicFlip directly notifies you about the most important updates directly via the cover with the embedded LED. The Pico Projector accessory project your phone screen anywhere and it doubles as your phone stand.
Alcatel One Touch Hero features a 6 inch full HD IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.2.2 OS, 13 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 32 GB expandable memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and a 3400 mAh non-removable battery.
Alcatel One Touch Hero will be available in Black and White colors. This device is expected to go on sale from next month. One Touch Hero will compete with the recently announced Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra.
Acer recently announced its newest flagship smartphone, the Acer Liquid S2. This handset is the successor of the Liquid S1 smartphone. The Acer Liquid S2 is the world’s first smartphone to feature 4K video recording capabilities. The front-facing camera of this handset is touted to capture photos and videos with an 88-degree wide viewing angle.
The Acer Liquid S2 features the new Acer Float User Interface which allows the app windows to stay open, so that you can multitask without having to back out from any of the apps. The Float Apps shortcut allows you to switch between your favorite apps.
Acer Liquid S2 features a 6 inch full HD IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, Acer Float UI, 13 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED ring flash, 4K Ultra HD video recording capabilities, 2 megapixel front-facing camera and much more.
It also comes with 16 GB internal memory, 128 GB expandable memory, 2 GB RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 4G LTE Connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS + GLONASS, NFC, Acer Remote Files, Acer Data Traffic Manager, Acer Float Caller and a 3300 mAh non-replaceable battery. This handset measures 166 x 86 x 8.99 mm.
Acer Liquid S2 will be showcased later this week at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin. This handset is expected to go on sale in Europe from Q4 of 2013. Acer Liquid S2 will be available in red and black colors. The price of this device is still a mystery. Stay tuned for more IFA 2013 updates!
BlackBerry recently launched the new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone. This handset looks similar to the Curve range of smartphones. BlackBerry has already launched BB10 OS powered Z10, Q10 and Q5 smartphones this year. However, the new BlackBerry 9720 runs on the old BlackBerry 7.1 Operating System. It also comes with a dedicated BBM key. BlackBerry 9720 smartphone allows you to listen local FM stations and automatically let your BBM friends know what station you’re currently listening to.
Carlo Chiarello, Executive Vice President for Products at BlackBerry, said,
“The BlackBerry 9720 smartphone gives you all the essentials of the BlackBerry smartphone experience to support a communications centric lifestyle. It has the best keyboard and functionality for BBM, as well as an updated BlackBerry 7 OS that adds many enhancements. It’s perfect for customers upgrading from a feature phone or entry-level Android or Windows Phone device, as well as existing BlackBerry smartphone customers, that want a richer experience and jump up in style and performance.”
BlackBerry 9720 features a 2.8 ich touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 360 pixels, BlackBerry 7.1 Operating System, 806 MHz processor, full QWERTY keyboard, optical trackpad, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 512 MB ROM, 512 MB RAM and more.
It also comes with a 3.5mm headset jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, microUSB 2.0, A-GPS, MicroUSB 2.0, Mobile Hotspot support, up to 30 hrs of music playback time, up to 432 hrs of stand-by time, up to 7 hrs of talk-time and a 1450 mAh battery.
BlackBerry 9720 will go on sale in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America in the coming weeks. The price of this handset will be announced soon. BlackBerry 9720 will be available in both black and white colors.