Chromium Flavored Opera for Android Released

After spending a little over two months in the beta-zone, Opera for Android is now ready for prime time. The Norwegian browser maker has published the first stable version of Opera with Chromium rendering engine to the Play store.

Opera for Android is a major revamp for the popular mobile browser. Under the hood, it ditches Opera’s Presto engine in favor of Google’s Chromium rendering engine, which itself is based on WebKit. The biggest advantage of Opera for Android is that it supports Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and up. Chrome for Android on the other hand requires at least Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). This is crucial as almost 40% of Android users are still on Gingerbread. Opera also mentioned that it intends to “stay closely in sync with the Chromium development cycle, doing frequent updates”. This might indicate that Opera intends to move away from feature driven release cycles to schedule driven rapid release cycles like that of Chrome and Firefox. Google has already announced that it will be forking WebKit to create its own rendering engine called Blink, which Opera will also be adopting.

In addition to everything that Chromium 26 supports, Opera for Android also features some additional ‘standardsy goodness’ like WebGL 3D context and CSS3 @supports. Another new feature is background playback support for native HTML5 audio. You can start playing a song on Soundcloud, switch to a different tab or even a different app, and the audio will continue playing. You will be able to control the playback from the notification area.

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Opera for Android also features a complete revamp of the user interface, which is now more in line with Android design guidelines. It adds a new speed dial with folder support, a discover feature with latest news and updates, a combined search and address bar, and an off road mode. Off road mode is the new name for Opera Turbo, which compresses web pages to save bandwidth and improve browsing speed on slower networks. Some of the major features that didn’t make it to this release include Opera Link (sync) integration, custom search provider support, and access to about://flags. Support for tablets like the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 is also missing.

[ Download Opera for Android ]

LG Announces The Waterproof Optimus GJ

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LG has announced the Optimus GJ: a waterproof variant of the ever so popular Optimus G. This smartphone can withstand 30 minutes in 1 meter of water, giving the Optimus GJ a IPX7 rating. Aside from being waterproof, the Optimus GJ is also dustproof, making it suitable for those who work on construction sites. To make this all possible, LG has opted for a plastic battery cover on the Optimus GJ with a removable battery. This is opposed to the glass back found on the Optimus G.

The Optimus GJ’s spec sheet is impressive as the device features a spacious 4.7-inch IPS HD display, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 13mp rear-facing camera. The device is also equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, a MicroSD slot for expansion as well as a 2,280 mAh battery pack. The device will be available in two color combinations: red/black and black/black.

If you’d like to purchase an Optimus GJ for yourself, you’ll have to either live in Taiwan or import one from the country sometime in June. The smartphone will retail for a hefty $17,990 TWD ($600 USD). As of now, we’re not sure if the device will be available for purchase in markets outside of Taiwan

Source: ePrice via UnwiredView
Image Source: ePrice

Sony Xperia UL Announced In Japan

Sony has announced yet another Android smartphone, the Xperia UL. The design of this handset is somewhat similar to the company’s flagship Xperia Z smartphone. This device will be exclusively available for the KDDI and NTT Docomo subscribers in Japan. As expected, Sony will ship the Xperia UL smartphone with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Sony Xperia UL is also a water and dust resistant smartphone.

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Sony Xperia UL features a 5 inch full HD TFT Reality display, sporting a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 13 megapixel Fast Capture camera with Exmor RS for mobile, HDR video, Superior Auto and Noise Reduction, Full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 3.1 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality and a 2300 mAh battery.

Sony Xperia UL will be available in black, white and pink colors. The price and release date of this handset will be announced in the coming days. Stay tuned!

Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro Launched In India For Rs.17,290

Today, Samsung launched the Android powered Galaxy Grand Quattro in India. This handset is nothing but the Indian variant of the Samsung Galaxy Win smartphone. It packs a 4.7 inch display and a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro runs on the older Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. This handset comes with the Motion UI feature which allows you to perform common actions simply by shaking the mobile to update contents, turning it over to instantly mute the device, etc.

Mr Vineet Taneja, Country Head, Samsung Mobile, said,
“Galaxy Grand Quattro is a revolutionary device that combines powerful performance with smart multi-tasking and advanced usability. Following the success of the Galaxy Grand introduced in January this year, we are confident that the Galaxy Grand Quattro will meet the needs of consumers looking for the ‘Grand’ experience in a slightly smaller display.”

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Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro features a 4.7 inch touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, TouchWiz UI, 5 megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, FM Radio with RDS, Dual-SIM capabilities, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Samsung Hub, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, DLNA, Google Play Store, Wi-Fi Direct and a 2000 mAh battery.

This device comes pre-loaded with Samsung ChatOn, Games Hub and Samsung Apps store with easy billing options, try before you buy service, vouchers for discounted prices and more. This handset is available in black mist and frost white colors. Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro comes with a price-tag of just Rs.17,290 (approx. $315) in India.

New Samsung Galaxy SIII 4.2.2 Firmware Leaked

Samsung might be notorious for overloading its Android smartphones with oodles of gimmicky features; however, in spite of the plethora of software modifications, the Korean giant is generally among the quickest to push out Android updates. LG and Sony delivered Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to its 2012 devices only recently. HTC is still working on rolling out Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) to the One with the One X to follow later on. However, Samsung shipped the Galaxy SIV with the latest Android straight out of the gate, delivered Android 4.1 to the S II last year itself, and has been working for several months on bringing the latest version of Android to its older Galaxy SIII handset.

SamMobile has managed to get its hands on an Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean test firmware for the Galaxy S III – I9300XXUFME3. The new version doesn’t have all of the fancy new features of the SIV, many of which are expected to eventually end up on the SIII. However, it does have enough to make users happy. The new firmware has all of the official Jelly Bean goodness including lockscreen widgets, quick settings, and Daydream mode. Additionally, Samsung has added a driving mode, revamped the settings interface, improved S Voice, introduced full screen Samsung apps, and ported the SIV lockscreen with new unlock effects and the option to add custom text.

You can download the flash the firmware from here. Please keep in mind that this is a pre-release firmware.

95% of Total Android Smartphone Profit Goes to Samsung

SamsungIt is hardly a secret that Samsung is absolutely killing it with its Android smartphones. However, exactly how dominant the South Korean conglomerate is might still come as a surprise to most. Strategy Analytics believes that the Android smartphone industry generated a profit of $5.3 billion during Q1 2013, out of which Samsung’s share was $5.1 billion.

Samsung managed to collect an astonishing 95% of the total Android smartphone profit during the first quarter of this year. And, this is before the Galaxy SIV was released. On the other hand, Android smartphones as a whole managed to accumulate 43% of the total profit in the smartphone segment. Besides showing Samsung’s domination in the smartphone segment, these statistics also paint a sorry picture about its rivals. Android smartphones might be a big hit, but Samsung appears to be the only one who is raking in the dough. In fact, the only other manufacturer to even make an appearance in Strategy Analytics’ list is LG with a profit share of 2.5%. The past few months have been good for LG thanks to strong performers like the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Receiving Google’s blessings to launch the flagship model for Jellybean (Android 4.2) must have also helped Samsung’s Korean rival. The remaining OEMs contribute a combined operating profit of only $0.1 billion.

While Samsung has undoubtedly played a crucial role in the success of the Android ecosystem, its dominance is sure to make Google uncomfortable. Strategy Analytics believes that Samsung generates more revenue and profit from the Android platform than Google does. With its massive market share, Samsung is in a position to wield considerable influence over the Android ecosystem. Worse still, there is the possibility that one day Samsung might become confident enough in its software prowess to ditch Google and Google apps. In fact, rumors suggest that Samsung might test the water with Tizen as soon as end of this year.

ZTE Grand X2 In Announced; Comes With 2 GHz Clover Trail+ Atom Processor

Earlier this week, ZTE unveiled the Intel powered Grand X2 In smartphone at the MedPi conference in Monaco. As the name suggest, this handset is the successor of the popular ZTE Grand X In smartphone. This device packs a 4.5 inch HD display along with Intel’s 2 Ghz dual-core Clover Trail+ Atom processor. ZTE Grand X2 In runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. It features a built-in Audio enhancement technology and Wireless Display (WiDi) which enables wireless streaming between connected media devices.

William Chhao, Terminal Director, ZTE France, said,
“We are proud to announce the ZTE Grand X2 In smartphone pursuing our multi-year strategic collaboration with Intel. The ZTE Grand X2 In is set to build on the success of the ZTE Grand X In, our first flagship smartphone in Europe to feature Intel Inside, and further increase ZTE’s growth in the high-performance smartphone market segment.”

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ZTE Grand X2 In features a 4.5 inch HD display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, 2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 8 megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, FM Radio, Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Google Play Store, DLNA, wireless charging capabilities, GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, WiFi Direct and a 2000 mAh battery.

The Chinese mobile phone manufacturer is expecting that this handset will strengthen the company’s smartphone market share and brand awareness with consumers in Europe. ZTE Grand X2 In will be available in Europe from Q3 of 2013. The price of this handset is still a mystery. Stay tuned for more updates!

Panasonic P51 Android Smartphone Launched In India For Rs.26,900

Panasonic has finally entered the Indian mobile phone market with the launch of its Panasonic P51 smartphone. Panasonic has launched a number of smartphones in Japan and Europe, however none of those smartphones reached the Indian markets. The Panasonic P51 comes with a mid-range specs and it runs on the latest version of the Android Operating System. With the launch of this smartphone, Panasonic eyes 8% market share in the smartphone category in India.

Mr. Daizo Ito, President, Panasonic India, said,
“Panasonic has a great legacy of being the pioneers of innovation in every segment. Continuing with our legacy, we are now launching our innovative smartphone which will redefine the Indian smartphone consumer experience. India has always been one of our alpha markets in the region. We are confident that our product will provide the Indian consumer a great multimedia experience and the ‘best value for money’ proposition”.

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Panasonic P51 comes with a 5 inch HD IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) OS, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and flash, 1.3 megapixel front-facing HD camera, 1 GB RAM, Dual-SIM capabilities and so on.

Other features include 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 3.5 mm audio jack, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, USB 2.0 and a 2500 mAh Li-ion battery. This handset measures 144mm x 75mm x 8.5mm and weighs 135 gm.

According to the manufacturer, this handset is targeted at the youth as well as the premium executive class, who is always on the lookout for a better, faster and savvier smartphones on the go! Panasonic P51 comes with a price-tag of Rs.26,900 (approx. $490) in India. This handset will compete with the recently launched Nexus 4 smartphone in India.

Google Nexus 4 Launched In India For Rs.25,999

The wait is finally over! LG recently launched the much-awaited Nexus 4 smartphone in India. For the first time, LG has partnered with Google to manufacture the Nexus smartphone. This handset is the successor of the Galaxy Nexus, which was made by Samsung. The Google Nexus 4 packs a 4.7 inch display, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 8 megapixel camera and more. This handset will be shipped in india with the latest Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System.

Mr. Soon Kwon, Managing Director, LG Electronics India, said,
“LG Electronics is pleased to partner Google on the release of the Nexus 4 in India. With LG Nexus 4, consumers would be delighted by the perfectly balanced combination of style, function and power. The smartphone encourages consumers to explore a world of possibilities and also helps them balance between business and entertainment”

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Google Nexus 4 features a 4.7 inch WXGA display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) OS, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, Full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1.3 megapixel front-facing HD camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity and much more.

It also comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, 16 GB internal memory, no MicroSD card support, 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, USB 2.0, NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality, up to 12 hrs of talk-time, up to 565 hrs of stand-by time and a 2100 mAh Li-ion battery.

This handset measures 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm and weighs 139 grams. The 16 GB variant of Nexus 4 is available in the US Play Store for just $349 (approx. Rs.19,000), however LG is selling the Nexus 4 in India with a price tag of Rs.25,999 (approx. $475). This handset will be available at selected LG exclusive brand shops, Multi brand outlets and speciality stores across India.

Google Launches New Hangout App For Android, iOS And Chrome

Apart from the unveiling of the Galaxy S4 Google Edition, the tech-giant has also launched a new unified, cross-platform messaging service for Android, iOS, and Chrome at the I/O 2013 event in San Francisco. This messaging service has been rumored from a long time and it was previously codenamed as ‘Babel’. For the first time, Google’s Hangout messaging app will be available on all smartphones and tablets running on the Android and iOS Operating System as well as on the Google Chrome browser running on your Mac, Linux and Windows computer.

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Hangout allows you to send a text, photos and emoji to your friends. You can also video chat with up to 10 friends with this app. If your friends are not available when you try to reach them, they’ll see an alert next time they connect to Hangout. Similar to the Facebook Chat, this app lets you see whether your friends are online, when your friends are together in Hangouts, when they are typing or whether they have seen your message.

Once you see a notification on one device, Hangout will clear the notification from all other devices connected to your account. It also saves your chat history and shared photos by default, so that you can read your previous conversations anywhere anytime. You should also note that unlike Google Talk, Hangouts does not support invisible status. Google has also renamed the Instant Upload to Auto Backup, which helps you to automatically back up unlimited photos from your phone at standard size of 2048 pixels. The Hangout app is currently not available for Nexus 7.

[ Download Google Hangout on Android, iPad/iPhone and Chrome ]