Alactel OneTouch Launches The Flash Selfie Phone For INR 9,999

Alactel OneTouch recently launched the new Android powered Flash smartphone in India. This handset packs a 5 megapixel front-facing camera and it is touted to be the world’s best selfie smartphone. It also comes with a 5.5 inch HD IPS display, 1.4 GHz octa-core processor, 13 megapixel rear camera and much more. Apart from that, it features the Hotknot technology which allows rapid transfer of all your multimedia information.

The Alcatel OneTouch Flash runs on the Android 4.4 (KitKat) Operating System. There is no word whether the phone will be upgraded to the latest Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS. It comes with a price-tag of just INR 9,999. This handset will go on sale from November 21, exclusively at Flipkart.

alcatel_onetouhc_flash

“Flash is our Latest innovative Phone on E Commerce Platform along with our strategic Partner Flipkart. Flash is built truly for selfie fans with 2 key points – a good resolution front facing camera that also has the Beauty Selfie to enhance the user’s photo without the need of any extra application”.

– Mr. Praveen Valecha, Regional Director, APAC, Alcatel One Touch

Alcatel OneTouch Specifications:

  • 5.5 inch HD IPS display
  • 1.4 GHz Octa-core processor
  • 13 megapixel Full HD rear camera
  • 5 megapixel 1080p front-facing camera
  • Smart Wake
  • Gesture control features
  • Hotknot technology
  • 8 GB ROM
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 32 GB expandable memory
  • 3200 mAh

Amkette Metal 2 Bluetooth Speaker Launched In India For INR 2,995

Amkette recently launched the Metal 2 bluetooth speaker in the Indian market. The Amkette Metal 2 is the successor of the company’s previously launched Amkette Metal bluetooth speaker. The stylish Metal 2 allows you to listen to your favorite music on the go for up to 8 hours. You can even connect it with your Bluetooth enabled phone and use it as a hands-free to take conference calls. It has a range of upto 10 meters.

amkette_metal_2

The Amkette Metal 2 has Play, Pause and Call buttons which helps you to control the music and calls with just one click. If you don’t want to connect your smartphone, then you can directly play your favorite music with the help of Micro SD card slot. The device has capacities to amplify lower frequencies thanks to the Zinc Alloy Metal Cylinder. The speaker has an optimized sound chamber which helps the device offer high quality 3W sound output.

Amkette Metal 2 comes with a price-tag of just INR 2,995. You can get this device across leading online shopping sites, large format retail stores and IT stores in India.

Panasonic Launches The Eluga S Selfie Smartphone In India For INR 11,190

Panasonic recently launched the Eluga S smartphone under its popular Eluga series in India. The Panasonic Eluga S is a mid-range smartphone which packs a 5 inch HD IPS display along with a 1.4 GHz True Octa-Core processor. The 5 megapixel front-facing selfie camera allows you to click amazing selfies and groupfies, while the 8 megapixel rear camera lets you record videos in Full HD (1080p).

This handset runs on the Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) Operating System. The Fit Home user interface comes with some unique features like POP- i Player, Music Café and Kwik Lock, where the user can double tap the home screen to lock. Eluga S will be available in Black and White colors for INR 11,190. This handset will compete with the Moto G2, Desire 516, LG L Fino and Micromax Canvas Nitro in India.

panasonic_eluga_s

“We are sure that Panasonic’s ELUGA smartphone range has certainly raised the bar of standard to a great level and has the potential to succeed in the Indian market. This is the third phone is the ELUGA series which defines our willingness to embrace new technology in a market like India. As we launch new devices, we will continue to innovate for our customers.”

– Mr. Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Panasonic India

Panasonic Eluga S Specifications:

  • 5 inch HD IPS display
  • 1280 x 720 pixels resolution
  • 1.4 GHz True Octa-Core processor
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat) Operating System
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash
  • Full HD video recording
  • 5 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • A-GPS
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal memory
  • 32 GB expandable memory
  • 2100mAh battery

Microsoft Introduces Work & Play Bundle: Office 365, Xbox Music Pass, Xbox LIVE Gold, Skype Unlimited World for $199

Microsoft has introduced a unique blend of “dual use” products in a single subscription, called Work & Play Bundle. This is a subscription to four of its popular subscriptions services, combined into a single bundle.

The products included are:

  • Office 365 Home (which includes 1TB of OneDrive space today, which is soon going to become unlimited storage, for 5 users)
  • Skype Unlimited World and Skype WiFi
  • Xbox LIVE Gold
  • Xbox Music Pass

As you can see, this is not a “consumer” bundle, nor is it a “business” bundle. In keeping with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s mantra, this is a product made for someone who wants to access productivity tools like Office and OneDrive as well as fun stuff like Xbox gaming and listening to unlimited music on demand. Of course, Skype calling applies naturally to both work and play scenarios.

Of course, being a bundle, the selling point is that the combined price of $199/year is better than buying all those subscriptions individually. Also, if you already subscribe to one or more of these products, adding this bundle will simply extend the subscription to those products by a year. Finally, in terms of actual delivery, each product is delivered as a $50 redemption code so potentially, you could give the stuff you don’t care about to friends and others.

This bundle shows that Microsoft is pushing even harder in the direction of making all their services into a recurring revenue model business. There have long been wishes for Xbox LIVE Gold to include the Xbox Music Pass and now we can see that Microsoft is making it a little bit easier to digest by combining these popular services together.

One thing to note, as is stated in the footnote on the site, the Xbox Music Pass is only for streaming on Xbox and the web. I wonder why they made that restriction, implying it won’t be available on mobile devices or Windows modern Music app.

At $199 per year, it is not a slam dunk choice for consumers to jump to, but there is a lot of value in the bundle if you use even three of the four services included here. Are you interested in this bundle? Would you consider buying it?

Apps for Outlook.com: Build Extensions for 400 Million Users

mail-apps-for-outlook

Microsoft has announced several developer opportunities to extend Office 365, specifically around Outlook encompassing mail, contacts and calendar. All those initiatives focus around the business side of Microsoft’s email, contacts and calendaring, until now.

On October 30, Microsoft announced a similar initiative to have developers build apps to extend the consumer side of their email, contacts and calendaring called Apps for Outlook.com. This initiative will let developers build extensions that target a potential user base of 400 million.

In a sign of Microsoft “merging” the back-end technologies across business and consumer product lines, they also said that even though this functionality will be available only in Spring 2015, developers can start now by building apps against Outlook Web App. In other words, apps built for Outlook Web App today will work seamlessly with Outlook.com too. This is good news for developers, obviously, because now developers building productivity apps don’t have to worry about enterprise vs consumer our Outlook vs Hotmail/Outlook.com.

The APIs for Office 365 are already available, and these apps will use HTML and JavaScript so as consumers, the Apps for Outlook.com will work in any modern browser without the need for plugins. Some documentation for building such apps can be obtained at this MSDN site.

Per Microsoft:

Whenever a customer reads or composes an email or calendar event, your app could be there, helping them get the job done. If you have a great idea for how our customers should interact with their email or calendar, now is the time to make it happen. Not only are these apps simple to build–they use open web technologies such as HTML and Javascript–but you can start building them today.  To learn how to get started, check out Mail apps for Outlook on MSDN and the Office Dev Center.

It should be noted, Google has already built APIs to enable developers build apps against Google Apps which include GMail, Google Contacts and Google Calendar. These APIs also allow access to several other entities in Google Apps.

An example of an Outlook map running Bing Maps contextually:

Skype Translator Early Preview Now Open for Applicants

Skype Translator, the almost magical real-time translation technology built into Skype that was demonstrated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Skype Corporate Vice President Gurdeep Singh Pall in May, is finally available. More details about Skype Translator are available here.

In what the Skype Blog calls an “early preview”, this technology will let users of Windows 8.1 computers and tablets (initially) in a limited number of languages (obviously). Since it is an early preview, the program is not completely open for everyone to sign up. Register here to sign up for the preview if you have a PC or a tablet running Windows 8.1.

Here’s how Skype describes the product:

Speak another language without learning another language. Simply set up a Skype video or voice call with someone who speaks another language to you and start talking.

* Your conversation is translated into their language in real time.

* And what they say is translated back in your language.

* An on-screen transcript of your call is displayed.

* Instant message chats in 45 languages can be translated.

 

So, as simple as a normal Skype call. No special software or plugins needed. Of course, if the language you care about is not available today, you can make a note in the registration so that they can prioritize the next languages per the interest expressed during the registration process.

Also, Skype Translator is free right now, but we don’t know the pricing once this product becomes final.

Here’s a demo of the Skype Translator from Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference:

Office 365 Customers Can Start Using the New Outlook for Mac

outlook-for-mac

If you are an Office 365 customer, there are a lot of benefits you already can avail of, like unlimited storage, always up-to-date desktop software, centralized management of licenses, etc. Now, per the blog post on Office Blogs on October 31, if you are using Mac OS, you can get the new Outlook app for Mac.

It is a surprising release because everyone expected Outlook to be part of the Office suite, and the rumored dates for the new Office for Mac were pointing towards a beta in November with a release in the first half of 2015. It is also a surprise that Outlook was released by itself, perhaps because it was probably the one app with the most complaints about, in Office for Mac 2011.

As for the rest of the suite, Microsoft said that the public preview of Excel for Mac, Word for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac, and curiously, OneNote for Mac will be made available as a public preview in the first half of 2015 and a final release in the second half of 2015. What’s curious about OneNote is that there is already an app in the Mac App Store called OneNote so I am not sure how they are going to distinguish between that app and the potentially “full” OneNote for Mac. This mirrors what Microsoft has on the Windows side, with a “desktop” OneNote and a Universal OneNote app which is available in the Windows Store.

To get the new Outlook:

  • Office 365 Commercial customers can get the new Outlook for Mac by accessing their Office 365 Portal, (Gear icon > Office 365 Settings > Software > Outlook for Mac icon) or visiting the Software page.
  • Office 365 consumer subscribers can get the new Outlook for Mac by going to their My Account page.

Finally we see the benefits of being an Office 365 customer, specifically regarding access to the latest software. Until now, Office 365 has not delivered any desktop software updates which perpetual license holders have not got. Now, a perpetual licensee of Office for Mac will be one version behind, at least for a year.

Microsoft Band Is Almost Here

It sure looks like Microsoft is very close to announcing and releasing their fitness band, simply called Microsoft Band. Their smartphone and Mac apps are available in respective stores ahead of a formal announcement.

Based on the details listed in the app description, an updated health privacy policy and screenshots, it does look like the band will work with all platforms and will be, as is normal with Microsoft these days, powered by a cloud service called Microsoft Health.

The band will apparently track heart rate, steps, calories burned and sleep. The band will also work with your smartphone and show notifications, and in the case of Windows Phone, integrate with Cortana. Among the type of notifications that the Band will be able to show are email messages, calendar reminders, phone calls received, text messages social updates like those from Twitter and Facebook, weather and finance. The band will use the smartphone’s location services to determine your location, in order to show the weather, for example.

Notifications and other settings will be configured via the Microsoft Health app which is now available on all platforms.

It is unclear if the following tweet from Microsoft Store has any connection to the Microsoft Band, but it is quite a coincidence, if not:


I don’t know about you, but I am more excited about the cloud-powered service Microsoft Health, than the band itself. As a cross-platform consumer, I would love to have something that works across all my devices, and it looks like Microsoft may have the answer.

Some screenshots from the various apps follow below:

Mac App Store

Microsoft Band - Mac App
Microsoft Band – Mac App
Microsoft Band - Mac App
Microsoft Band – Mac App
Microsoft Band - Mac App
Microsoft Band – Mac App

Android Google Play

Microsoft Band - Android App
Microsoft Band – Android App
Microsoft Band - Android App
Microsoft Band – Android App
Microsoft Band - Android App
Microsoft Band – Android App
Microsoft Band - Android App
Microsoft Band – Android App
Microsoft Band - Android App
Microsoft Band – Android App

Windows Phone Store

Microsoft Band - Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band – Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band - Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band – Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band - Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band – Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band - Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band – Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band - Winows Phone App
Microsoft Band – Winows Phone App

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