Instagram Launches Bolt, Its One Tap Messaging App

Facebook owned Instagram recently launched its newest messaging app named Bolt. It is a one tap messaging app for Android and iOS smartphones which directly compete with the extremely popular Snapchat app. Bolt is currently available only for users in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, while the app will roll out globally in the coming weeks.

bolt_1

Similar to Snapchat, this app allows you to send images and videos to your friends, which is automatically deleted after it has been viewed by the recipient. It also lets you annotate messages with text captions. You don’t need a Facebook or Instagram account to sign-up. Bolt allows you to sign up using your phone number and add up to 20 friends in your favorite list.

You can easily send images by tapping on your friend’s face or you can even long-press to send a video. After the message has been received, your friends can directly reply by sending text or images. The best part is the shake-to-undo feature, which retracts your message by shaking your phone within the first few seconds. Currently, you cannot send messages to more than one person at a time and you cannot add more than 20 friends from your contacts to the favorite list.

bolt_2

Apart from taking photos from the rear camera, Bolt also allows you to take selfies. You can also turn on the flast from the on-screen button. To delete a message, just swipe it to the right and it is gone forever. We’ll review the Bolt app in the coming days. Stay tuned! If you live in New Zealand, Singapore or South Africa, you can download the Bolt app right now from the download links given below.

[ Bolt for Android ] | [ Bolt for iOS ]

Ladoo Offers Free Mobile Recharges for Engaging with Advertisers

Platforms like Tapjoy, which incentivize app downloads, have earned Apple’s wrath in the past for messing up App Store rankings. Critics say that these apps inflate download counts and manipulate app store rankings. However, there’s no denying that a lot of users and advertisers love incentivized download platforms. Hence, it’s not surprising that Airloyal is attempting to bring the same concept to India.

Ladoo - Earn Free Mobile Recharges

Airloyal’s Ladoo app for Android offers free mobile recharges to users for completing simple tasks. Almost all of the tasks that I saw on Ladoo’s offer wall involved downloading and installing free apps from Google Play. The reward amount depends on the advertiser, all of them ranged between ₹2 and ₹8.

Ladoo - Get Free Mobile Recharges

The name Ladoo is meant to symbolize the spirit of gifting and celebration. “If you think about it, you would have never really paid for the Ladooos you have eaten”, remarked Raja Hussain, Founder and CEO of Airloyal.

Ladoo Team
Ladoo Team

Airloyal’s company structure is based out of Singapore, but currently all the team members are in Chennai and Bangalore offices. Having raised funding from Australia’s tech millionaire Zhenya Tsvetnenko, Airloyal is looking to expand quickly and launch in a couple of South East Asian countries before the end of the current quarter. Ladoo claims itself to be profitable and is in the process of raising its Series A round. “When there is an ‘apple’ from the US that the world loves, why can’t there be a Ladooo from India that the world can enjoy?” quipped Raja Hussain.

Ladoo - Offers Wall

Mr. Hussain informed me that a dedicated user can earn over ₹ 500 in rewards every month. My own estimate based on what I’ve seen over the past week is a lot less. However, Ladoo features geo-targeting, which means means that everyone wont see every offer. Although, Mr. Hussain declined to give concrete user figures, he did reveal that within the first ninety days of its launch, Ladoo managed to register several thousand new users every day, with more than 40% daily retention, and generated almost 1 million instances of guaranteed engagement for brands. More than 40,000 offers are being completed every day.

Ladoo - Typical App Offer

The usage figures are quite good for a new app with minimal marketing capabilities. Ladoo is quite obviously offering something that a lot of users want – free talktime. However, the bigger question is how valuable are they to the brands? Currently, most of the apps advertised through Ladoo are good apps from big brands that I don’t mind having on my phone. Brands like Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal, Quickr, Tata, BookmyShow, and Airtel are driving downloads to their app through Ladoo. The quality of advertisers is a lot higher than that in other similar apps. Ladoo claims that early clients like TicketGoose are happy with the results and have continued to work with them. Ladoo’s biggest challenge will be continuing to deliver high quality leads even as the number of users increase. Quick downloads are a great way to climb through Play Store rankings and get your apps discovered. However, an engaged user base will enable Ladoo to retain the bigger players who often have higher rewards and offer better experiences.

Thomas Was Alone Comes to iOS and Android

The BAFTA award winning indie platformer Thomas Was Alone is now available on Android and iOS. The game garnered critical acclaim for its PC, Mac, and PS3 editions, and is now promising the same emotional journey to mobile gamers.

Thomas Was Alone - Title Card

Unlike many recent indie platformers that focus on bringing back the 80s style challenging gameplay, Thomas Was Alone focuses on keeping things simple. A majority of the fifty levels in the game are simple enough for even the most casual gamers to enjoy. The protagonist of this game is Thomas – a self-aware AI created accidentally. Thomas is represented as a simple red rectangle, and all he can do is move and jump. Over the course of his journey he meets up with other AIs, who are also represented as quadrilaterals. By combining each character’s unique ability you need to traverse each level and reach the portal that’ll take you to the next one.

Thomas Was Alone - Game Commentary

Mike Bithell – the creator of the game, introduces enough variations and novelties to keep you engaged till the end, but the gameplay is still fairly basic. What elevates this game to greatness is the atmosphere. Thomas’ journey is expertly narrated by Danny Wallace, whose humorous and quirky comments establish an emotional connect that’ll leave you thinking about the game long after you have finished it. David Housden’s minimalistic background composition suitable complements the level design and the narration.

Thomas Was Alone - Platforming

I played the Android version of the game and did notice one annoying issue with the port. The option for switching between the characters is on the left and right edges of the screen, which makes it very easy to accidentally hit the Home button. Switching between characters requires too much attention and precision and often distracts you from the game. Hopefully, the developers will tweak the control scheme to address this issue. Other than this the game worked flawlessly, without any performance issues.

The game is available during this weekend at a 33% discounted price of $3.99, which is a steal for a game of this calibre. To make the deal even sweeter, the Bossa Studios has included the Benjamin’s Flight DLC pack with twenty additional levels in the mobile version of the game. Thomas Was Alone is a mesmerizing experience that I can’t recommend enough.

[ Download Thomas Was Alone from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store ]

One Windows: Forget Single OS, Can We Get Some Feature Parity?

one-windows

This week, we have seen some news items about Microsoft and its OS strategy. Based on CEO Satya Nadella’s remarks in the post-earnings conference call, many were led to believe that Microsoft is going to create a single version of Windows. That is of course not true, and what’s happening is also not new information. What is in fact happening is that from an engineering perspective, Microsoft is hard at work to make a single “core” of the OS which will then power devices of various types: phones, phablets, tablets, laptops, PCs, Xbox, and even “things” in the “Internet of Things”. Again, this is not new, because Microsoft has said in very clear language that they want to get there sooner than later.

It is also clear that Microsoft wants to unify the commerce side (Stores) so that you can buy apps for various devices all from one place. They have also announced the concept of Universal apps which let developers share code among various form factors they would like to target, and also enable their customers to buy once on one device and freely download it on other types of devices. Some apps have already taken advantage of the “linkage” so when one downloads the app on Windows tablet, the message on the phone says the app is already “owned” and can be downloaded for free on the phone.

Effectively, what Nadella was implying in his remarks was they are working to unify the engineering and back-end side of things as opposed to the end product itself, when it comes to “One Windows”.

With that backdrop however, I would like to highlight some customer-facing changes that are badly needed in Windows 8.x which already exist in Windows Phone 8.1. These are now glaring deficiencies in Windows as compared to Windows Phone.

Action Center

As you may have read in my earlier article, the Action Center is a well-implemented and a much-needed addition to Windows Phone. It is coming to phones via the latest Windows Phone 8.1 update (rolling out now). It is great to see notifications pile up in the Action Center as opposed to disappearing after showing up as toasts.

Well, guess what. Windows 8.x now feels ancient because the notifications there are never collected anywhere. On the PC, I especially miss this feature for things like calendar and appointment reminders. The Action Center is badly missed on Windows 8.x.

Windows Phone Action Center: Full Notifications (contd)
Windows Phone Action Center: Full Notifications (contd)

Install apps from web

Windows Phone has had the ability to install from the website windowsphone.com to any device attached to a Microsoft account since a long time. It is very convenient because apps are discovered from a variety of sources, and I imagine a bulk of that discovery would come on a desktop PC, browsing technology sites. When you read of an interesting app on a site, you could quickly send it to your phone so you don’t forget about it when you are at the phone.

The Windows Store on the other hand does not support such functionality yet for Windows 8 apps. I can imagine the experience to be very similar to the phone app install, because Windows 8.x devices which use the Store have to have a Microsoft account tied to the Store. So when you browse to the app’s web location, you could click on the install button much like Windows Phone apps’ web locations, and then choose the device you want that install to be on.

Windows Phone Install App from Web
Windows Phone Install App from Web

Keyboard

This one is at the top of my personal wish list because of how bad the situation is on Windows 8.x. I was impressed with Windows Phone keyboard from the day Windows Phone 7 launched. The predictive nature of the keyboard (Word Flow) was miles ahead of the competition, and with Windows Phone 8.1, they added the gesture-based input on the keyboard to make it even more impressive.

On the other hand, I have nothing but frustration to report when using the keyboard on Windows 8.x. It not only cannot do predictive input as well as Windows Phone, it actually does not seem to be learning as I change auto-corrected words. Even after using it for so long, my PC still corrects my name from “Romit” to “Remit” (yes, despite the capitalization).

Windows Phone 8.1: Wordflow with gestures
Windows Phone 8.1: Wordflow with gestures

I know, patience is the answer

I know all of these are natural additions which may be in the works already. I don’t know when they are coming, but it can’t come soon enough because it makes the difference between using Windows Phone and Windows that much more stark.

Do you have any other nifty features you like in Windows Phone which you’d like to see on Windows 8?

Header image from Windows Blogs

Panasonic Launches T41, P41 And P61 Android Smartphones In India

Panasonic recently launched three new Android smartphones in the Indian market. Panasonic T41, P41 and P61 runs on the latest Android 4.4 (KitKat) Operating System. These devices are priced between INR 7990 to INR 14,990. The low-end T41 will compete with the Moto E and Micromax Canvas Fire A104, while the high-end P61 will compete with the Moto G and Xiaomi Mi 3 in India.

“The mobility landscape in India is rapidly evolving driven by factors such as improving mobility infrastructure and lowering prices of technology. In line with this, the company offers a range of mobility solutions catering to the entire spectrum of its consumers. One of the key focus areas for Panasonic India is to build a strong connect with the consumers by bringing alive brand experiences through our innovative product line up.”

– Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Panasonic India

Panasonic P61:

panasonic_p61

  • 6 inch capacitive touchscreen IPS display
  • 1280 x 720 pixels resolution
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
  • Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) OS
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal memory
  • 32 GB expandable memory
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • 2800 mAh battery

Panasonic P41:

panasonic_p41

  • 5 inch IPS qHD display
  • 540 x 960 pixels resolution
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
  • Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat) OS
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal storage
  • 32 GB expandable storage
  • 3G Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2000 mAh battery

Panasonic T41:

panasonic_t41

  • 4.5 inch IPS display
  • 480 x 854 pixels resolution
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
  • Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat) OS
  • 5 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash
  • VgA front facing camera
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 4 GB internal storage
  • 32 GB expandable storage
  • 3G Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1650 mAh battery

Panasonic P61 and P41 will be available in Black and Pearl White colors for INR 14,990 and INR 11,990 respectively. On the other hand, Panasonic T41 will be available in Black, Red and Pearl White for INR 7,990.

Lumia 530 Announced with a Dual SIM Variant

The budget segment has been the biggest area of strength for Windows Phone devices, with handsets like the Lumia 520 and the 620 doing brisk business. The Lumia 520 alone managed to capture over a third of the Windows Phone market. Now, this crucial low-end Windows Phone handset is receiving a refresh in the form of the Lumia 530. The Lumia 530 promises to deliver more for less. However, the competition has gotten a lot tougher over the past few months with the launch of well-built Android devices like the Moto E. Does the Lumia 530 have enough to put up a good fight?

Nokua Lumia 530 1

The Lumia 530 is identical to its predecessor in terms of size and weight. The display still measures in at 4 inches, but the pixel density has been marginally improved to 245 ppi with the change in resolution to 480 x 854 pixels. The bright and vibrant colors that we associate with Nokia’s Lumia series are still there, but the Lumia 530 eschews the sharp, rectangular design in favour of a more conventional curved appearance.

Nokua Lumia 530 2

Nokua Lumia 530 3

The Lumia 530 features a Qualcomm Snapgradon 200 with a quad-core 1.2 GHz CPU that Microsoft will undoubtedly pitch as an improvement over its predecessor. However, in reality, the new processor will deliver roughly similar performance since it is a Cortex A-7, while the older one was a Cortex A-9 (Krait). Even the GPU is marginally inferior (Adreno 302 in 530 vs Adreno 305 in 520). The amount of RAM has remained unchanged at a measly 512 MB, but internal storage has been halved to 4 GB. Thankfully, the new Lumia is runs on Windows Phone 8.1, which allows the installation of apps on micro SD cards. Windows Phone is also less memory hungry than Android. So, even a device with only half a gigabyte of RAM should still be responsive and usable.

Nokua Lumia 530 4

Another piece of hardware that has been downgraded is the camera. Both the 520 and the 530 feature a 5 megapixel camera, but the latter is fixed focus and can’t capture HD (720p) videos. Front camera for video calling is still missing. The battery unit, which is unchanged, is rated at 1430 mAh.

Nokua Lumia 530 5

The Lumia 530 will be available in two variants – Single SIM and Dual SIM, and is expected to be priced at around €85 (a little over $110). Nokia also announced a companion Bang mini speaker by Coloud, which will retail for €19.

Somewhat surprisingly, the new Lumia appears to be a weaker phone than its predecessor. Everything including the chipset, camera, and storage have been downgraded. However, it might still end up being a big seller due to its newly earned quad-core status and the reduced price tag.

Spice launches two new Android KitKat smartphones – Spice Stellar 526 and Spice Stellar 520

In a press event at AndroidLand in Noida today, Spice Retail announced two new Android KitKat smartphones, the Spice Stellar 526 and the Spice Stellar 520.

Spice Stellar 526

spice_stellar_526_front Spice Stellar 526 is the company’s first smartphone powered by a true 1.5GHz Hexa-Core processor. The 12.7cm IPS display is packed in an 8.3mm slim chassis.

The dual SIM Stellar 526 packs in 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB. The Stellar 526 features an 8 MP rear camera with autofocus and a 3.2 MP front camera. The camera features advanced modes like Object Tracking, Live Photo Mode, Voice & Gesture Capture, HDR, and Zero Shutter Delay.

The Spice Stellar 526 is available in retail stores and online right away, at an MOP of ₹11,499. spice_stellar_526_back

Spice Stellar 526 Specifications

  • 12.7cm On-Cell IPS display
  • Resolution: 1280 X 720
  • 1.5 GHz Hexa Core Processor
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 8MP rear camera | 3.2MP front camera
  • 8GB ROM + 1GB RAM
  • 8.3 mm slim
  • 2500 mAh Battery

Spice Stellar 520

spice_stellar_520_front Along with the Spice Stellar 526, Spice also announced the Stellar 520 featuring a 12.7cm HD IPS display. Powered by a 1.3GHz Quad-core processor, the Stellar 520 packs in 1GB of RAM, but a measly 4GB of internal storage though expandable up to 32GB.

The dual SIM Stellar 520 comes with two bright cover panels – yellow and red – and is just 8.4mm thin. There’s an 8MP AF rear camera with LED flash and a front-facing 2MP camera.

Spice Stellar 520 is available in stores and online right away at an MOP of ₹8,999. The Stellar 520 comes with a free Flip Cover worth ₹500 included in the box. spice_stellar_520_back

Spice Stellar 520 Specifications

  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 12.7 cm IPS display
  • HD OGS Full Lamination
  • 1.3 GHz Quad Core Processor
  • 2000 mAh Battery
  • 8.4 mm slim
  • 8MP AF Rear Camera | 2MP Front Camera
  • 4 GB ROM + 1 GB RAM

LG G3: Hands-on, Photos, and First Impressions

The LG G2 might not have achieved the massive sales figures of some of its competitors, but it won the hearts of many, and demonstrated that LG had what it takes to be an industry leader. With the G3, the Korean manufacturer is looking to raise the bar further.

LG G3 - Simple is the New Smart
LG G3 – Simple is the New Smart

Appearance and Display

As is the trend these days, LG has bumped up the display size in G3. It sports a 5.5’’ display, which firmly puts it in the phablet category. However, thanks to unbelievably narrow bezels the G3’s dimensions are actually very similar to the HTC One M8 or the Sony Xperia Z2. This means that like every other flagship released this year, the G3 is too big for single handed operation. However, the G3 at least gives you a phablet sized display. There are compromises to be made. The LG G3 boasts of a plastic body and doesn’t have any water or dust resistance. The metallic finish on the plastic does help retain the premium appearence, but it doesn’t feel as great to hold as the M8 or the Z2. LG has played its cards well, and the G3 ends up managing to to appear sleeker, smaller, and more premium than it really is. I’m a fan of the G2’s rear keys, and they’ve been improved further in the G3. The volume keys now form a distinct concave pad that makes it impossible to mistake them for the power button.

LG G3 Front View
LG G3 Front View
LG G3 Rear Keys
LG G3 Rear Keys

Even a few years back the thought of a full HD display on phones would have seemed ludicrous, but LG now believes that even 1080p is not good enough. As a result, the G3 boasts of a quad-HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) display. The display is simply fantastic, and you would be hard pressed to spot pixels even when you’re looking really close. However, this is only as long as you’re using the inbuilt apps and the wallpapers available in the gallery. For example, LG’s clock face for the Quick Circle screen looks disarmingly real. However, as soon as you open Chrome and start surfing or other use third party apps the screen advantage is rendered moot. Owing to its first mover status, the G3 is definitely going to have a content problem. The crazy high resolution has also forced LG to come up with clever optimizations to ensure that the battery doesn’t die within a few hours. There are also reports that the display gets heated easily and often forcefully reduces brightness to cool down. I didn’t get enough time during my hands-on to replicate these issues.

LG G3 Side View
LG G3 Side View
LG G3  Another Front View
LG G3 Another Front View

Hardware and Software

The LG G3 chugs along smoothly thanks to the Snapdragon 801 chipset that features a Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor. The phone is available in 2 variants – 16 GB and 32 GB. Surprisingly, even the amount of RAM varies between the two. The latter has three gigs of memory, while the former only has a couple. Both of them support microSD cards. The G3’s tagline is ‘Simple is the New Smart’ and LG has attempted to clean up a lot of the mess from its previous release. I’m glad to report that the silly looking icons have finally been axed. LG has embraced flat design, and the colour palate is mature yet attractive. I really liked the new look and feel of the G3, but Android L’s Material Design is still the best Android UI so far. Several pre-installed apps have removed, while others have been merged to reduce complexity and increase available space.

LG G3 Display Up Close
LG G3 Display Up Close
LG G3 Knock Code
LG G3 Knock Code

Camera

The camera snaps pics at 13 megapixels, which is lesser than some of the other flagships. However, based on my limited hands-on, the camera is actually really competent. I took a few snaps inside the display booth to compare the Z2 with the G3, and found that the G3 has nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, in a couple of cases, I felt that under proper lighting conditions shots captured by the G3 had better details and lower noise. The G3 includes a laser focus feature that LG claims to significantly improve capture speed as well as focusing ability under low light. During my hands-on, I found that the G3 is consistently fast in focusing and capturing photos, but not much faster than its competitors. The G3 also includes dual-LED flash for a more natural colour reproduction under flash. Once again, I didn’t see any significant enhancement during my hands-on, but I’ll hold my verdict for now due to the limited amount of testing that I could do. Other camera tricks include a new selfie mode that can be triggered via hand gestures, and optical image stabilization. The latter is something that both Sony and Samsung surprisingly left out of their flagships.

LG G3 Big B Edition Back View
LG G3 Big B Edition Back View
LG G3 Black Model Front
LG G3 Black Model Front
LG G3 Black Model Back
LG G3 Black Model Back

Conclusion

A quick hands-on is never enough to fully judge a phone. I’m not entirely sold that the QHD display is necessary, or even worth all the added compromises. I would like to go back and take a deeper look at the camera, audio output and the battery, as well as the software modifications that LG has made. However, one thing that I can say without a shade of doubt is that the G3 is an extremely competent smartphone that makes a great first impression.

The G3 is being launched in three colours – Metallic Black, Silk White, and Shine Gold. LG will also release 15,000 Big B editions of the G3 that will sport Amitabh Bachchan’s signature. In a welcome departure from prevailing trends, the special edition won’t cost extra. Officially, the price tag is ₹47,990 for the 16 GB variant and ₹50,990 for the 32 GB variant; however, you should soon be able to get them for less.

LG G3 Accessories: First Look

Earlier today LG unveiled its new flagship smartphone along with a bunch of accessories at a glitzy event in Mumbai featuring the Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. We’ve already shared our hands-on experience with the LG G Watch. However, it’s not the only interesting G3 accessory that LG is launching.

Cases

LG has enhanced its Quick Window case and renamed it as the Quick Circle case for the G3. As the name suggests, the transparent portion of the case is now circular. Tapping the circle a couple of times activates the display, which by default displays clockfaces. Like earlier, there are several clockfaces, but the combination of insanely high display resolution and the circular shape makes them appear stunningly beautiful. LG has also thrown in a soft glow effect for the rim of the circular window, which gets activated when you receive a call or a message. Double tapping activates the circular window, and a quick swipe lets you access the music player, pedometer, email, phone, and camera.

LG Quick Circle Case - Analogue Watch

LG Quick Circle Case - Change Watch Face

LG Quick Circle Case - Digital Watch

LG Quick Circle Case - Options

Besides the Quick Circle case LG is also launching a Slim Guard case with protective rubber edges and a Slim Hard case with premium leather finishing. All three cases support Qi wireless charging.

Charging Dock

Quite naturally LG is also launching a new wireless charging dock to take advantage of the aforementioned Qi wireless charging support. The dock is a simply white slab that can be propped up to double up as a stand for the phone. The phone can be placed on the dock in either orientation – portrait and landscape. However, the stand is not very secure in both modes, and needs to be accurately aligned with the dock for charging to commence

LG Wireless Charging Dock

Headset

LG has partnered with the famous audio equipment manufacturer Harman Kardon for its behind-the-neck Bluetooth audio headset. The in-ear headset has retractable cables, which ensures that the cables never gets tangled. The headset features a 220 mAh battery is rated at a whopping 550 hours of stand-by, 17 hours of talk time, and 14 hours of playback on a charge. The headset features a jog button to fast forward and rewind music, and sounds an alert and vibrates whenever there are incoming messages. When paired with the LG G3, it even announces the name or phone number of the caller. Raising the G3 up to your ear will automatically disengage the headset and allow you to converse using your phone.

LG Tone Infinim

LG Tone Infinim - Close Up

LG G Watch Launched in India – Hands-On and First Impression

The LG G Watch is one of the first smartwatches to be powered by Android Wear — Google’s new operating system for wearables. The G Watch is yet to ship to the first group of buyers from India; however, it was on display at LG’s glittering G3 launch event in Mumbai, and we got some hands-on time with the smartwatch.

LG G Watch - 1

The G Watch is powered by Snapdragon™ 400 processor with 1.2GHz CPU, and connects with any Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or above via Bluetooth LE (Low Energy). It sports a 1.65” IPS LCD touchscreen display with 280×280 pixel resolution. It has a 9 Axis (Accelerometer/Compass/Gyro) sensor, but there’s no heart rate monitor.

LG G Watch - Hands On

LG G Watch - Hands On

The LG G Watch is not small by any means, but is reasonably slender given the kind of hardware it is packing inside. However, it’s hard to get excited about the design, especially with Moto 360 on the way. The watch-face is square and blocky, and the straps are rubberised. Unlike the Samsung Gear Live, the G Watch’s rear is completely flat, which makes the watch protrude awkwardly from the edges of your wrist. The Gear Live has a gentle curve, which makes it fit better on normal wrist sizes. The display is decent, but also of lower resolution than Samsung’s offering. However, at such small screen sizes, this will not be a major issue.

LG G Watch - Side View

The G Watch doesn’t have any buttons, and is meant to be controlled solely through voice and the touchscreen. Tapping on the screen wakes up the device and you can either speak your commands, or you can select from a list of available activities. Alternatively you can also say ‘OK Google’ to directly jump into Google Now. Available activities include setting alarm, checking your calendar, starting stopwatch, checking your fitness data, and taking notes on Keep. You can extend this list by installing Android Wear compatible apps. You can scroll through the list and access any of the apps with a simple tap. You can scroll through various cards, and swipe to the left to bring up more options. You even do stuff like dictate replies to mail or a hangout. A swipe towards the right exits the current app and brings you to the homescreen. The homescreen displays the current time, along with notifications from Google Now. This can include information about upcoming events and meetings, flight information, and weather. There are also multiple watch faces that you can select from.

LG G Watch - Apps

LG G Watch - Apps

LG G Watch - Stopwatch

LG G Watch - Settings

The G Watch is snappy, and I didn’t spot any lag. However, I did notice that the touchscreen sometimes failed to register my swipes, if I can’t careful. The 400 mAh battery is expected to last for about two days, which is more than some of the other products in the market, but hardly good enough for a watch. The G Watch is charged via a special cradle with magnetic plates that securely attaches with the watch. The charging dock itself is powered by a standard microUSB cable. The dock feels quite sturdy, however, if you manage to lose or break the dock, you might end up with an expensive brick on your hand, as replacement docks aren’t available for purchase at the moment.

LG G Watch - Dock

LG G Watch - Rear

The G Watch is meant to showcase Android Wear, and that’s what it does. However, it fails to make you go ‘wow’ with either style or functionality. Android Wear is a powerful platform and is capable of doing lots of cool stuff. However, both the platform and the hardware have quite a few shortcomings. The design is unappealing, the display is average, there are very few apps available at the moment, and the battery is not great. However, all of this is pretty much expected from a first generation device running on the very first version of an OS. The LG G Watch is meant to showcase Android Wear, and that’s exactly what it feels like – an early, unfinished device that offers a glimpse of the potential of the platform. The Android Wear platform is brand new, and there are plenty of usability issues that it needs to figure out. Even simple stuff like opening an app or chatting with someone via hangout can end up being a frustrating experience. The LG G Watch is priced at ₹ 14,999, and in its present avatar is not for everyone. Buy this only if you enjoy being an early adopter and want to be ahead of the curve.

LG G Watch with G3

Samsung Galaxy S5 4G Variant Launched In India

Back in March, Samsung launched its newest flagship device, the Galaxy S5 in India. This handset was powered by the in-house Octa-Core Exynos 5422 processor. Today, the South Korean tech giant finally launched the 4G variant of its flagship smartphone in India. Apart from the additional connectivity option, this handset packs a 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor instead of the Exynos processor.

Asim Warsi, Vice President – Marketing, Mobile & IT, Samsung India said,
“We are excited to introduce our first 4G variant of the Galaxy S5 in India with a powerful processor, stunning display and faster connectivity for an unmatched user experience. We expect the 4G version to catch the imagination of technology enthusiasts and professionals, who demand superior smartphones for their heavy multimedia content consumption.”

samsung_galaxy_s5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 4G SM-S900I is a dust and water resistance smartphone. It comes with a download booster which allows you to access 4G and Wi-Fi simultaneously in order to download your data at a faster speed.The original Galaxy S5 was launched in India with a price tag of Rs.51,500, however the phone is currently available at just Rs.36,999. On the other hand, the 4G LTE variant of Galaxy S5 is launched for Rs.53,500. This handset will be available in Copper Gold, Charcoal Black and Shimmery White colors from July 20. Check out the complete specs after the break.

Samsung Galaxy S5 4G Specifications:

  • Display: 5.1-inch full HD (1920×1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC with Adreno 330 GPU
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Rear camera: 16 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash, BSI and Ultra HD video recording
  • Front camera: 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB internal memory, expandable up to 64 GB with microSD
  • Infrared LED for smart TV remote
  • Sensor: S Health 3.0, Heart rate sensor
  • Connectivity: 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2X2 MIMO), Bluetooth v4.0 LE, GPS, USB 3.0 and NFC
  • Thickness: 8.1 mm
  • Weighs: 145 grams
  • Battery: 2800 mAh battery

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