After Microsoft and Sony, the South Korean tech giant finally launched its very own selfie focused smartphone in India. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime features a 5 megapixel wide angle front camera best-suited for capturing group selfies. Apart from that, it runs on the Android 4.4 (KitKat) Operating System and packs a 5 inch display, 1.2 GHz quad core processor and an 8 megapixel rear camera.
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime comes with a price tag of INR 15,499 in India. This handset is currently available in White and Grey colors. It measures 144.8 × 72.1 × 8.6mm and weighs 156 grams. This device will compete with the recently launched 2nd Generation Moto G and the upcoming Lumia 730 in India. Check out the complete specs below.
“Galaxy Grand Prime opens a whole new world of premium mobile experience for consumers looking at uninterrupted entertainment and multitasking on-the-go. Introducing the new trend of ‘Groupfie’, Galaxy Grand Prime features an advanced wide angle front camera best-suited to capture group images. With the launch of this power packed smartphone, we are further strengthening our Grand portfolio.”
– Asim Warsi, Vice President, Marketing, Mobile and IT, Samsung India
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Specifications:
5 inch qHD display
960 x 540 pixels resolution
1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor
Android 4.4 (KitKat) Operating System
8 megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and LED Flash
One Plus has managed to generate a lot of publicity and interest for a brand new company. Their first device – the One Plus One, was dubbed as the “Flagship Killer”. Extremely limited availability has prevented the device from registering even a blip in the world wide sales figures. However, the One did receive widespread acclaim for its high quality hardware and extremely competitive pricing. Today Carl Pei and David S from One Plus One answered questions from Redditors in an AMA. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits from their AMA.
On India Plans
One Plus had earlier indicated that it’s interested in following Xiaomi’s footprints and selling its devices in India. Although, Carl didn’t provide firm dates, he did promise to “have more concrete plans” in a few weeks. “We are aiming at doing so (launching in India) before the end of this year”, confirmed David.
On Android L
One Plus and Cyanogen intends to begin working on Android L as soon as the source code is available. “Earlier, we promised to have it done within 90 days of receiving the source”, noted Carl.
On One Plus One Successor
One Plus Two is expected to be released in the second or the third quarter of next year. The One Plus One is a really big smartphone that’s almost impossible to use with just one hand. In fact, that’s my single biggest gripe regarding the hardware. The good news is that a smaller device might be in the works. “We’ve seen a lot of people asking for a smaller device, and want to let everyone know that we hear you”, wrote Carl Pei. “We’re thinking about it.”
On Other Feature and Product Requests
Responding to a request from an user to include wireless charging, Carl ruled out including it in the immediate future. “I’m not impressed by today’s wireless charging technology. Its slow speeds lead to a subpar user experience, especially considering the huge capacity of our battery.”
One Plus will also not be making tablets anytime soon. “The Nexus tablets are pretty good. We don’t think we can make anything significantly better in the near future”.
One Plus has been teasing a big reveal this Friday. Many had speculated that they might be finally gearing up to ditch the invite system. However, David confirmed that One Plus will not be taking pre-orders anytime soon.
Everyone has something to hide. With smartphones becoming deeply integrated with each and every facet of our life, it’s only but natural that they’d contain sensitive data. And, as the recent iCloud breaches have shown us, some times it’s better to have private stuff on your device and within your control, instead of cloud storages that can be hacked remotely.
Andrognito is an Android app that can hide and secure any file on your Android smartphone. The developer — Aritra Roy from Kolkata, India – named the app as a fusion of the words Android and Incognito. The app applies a 3 step process to hide and lock your files –
i) It randomly assigns a new name to the file and appends a period (‘.’) to the beginning of the file name to prevent it from being indexed by Android media library.
ii) It places the file in a wrapper called ADG container, and encrypts it using AES-256.
iii) It applies a strong password to the container, and renames it once again.
The algorithm used by Andrognito is device specific, so simply copying the Andrognito container (.adg) to a different device won’t work. However, on the same device, Andrognito encrypted files can persist through factory resets and rom changes. The only catch is that you shouldn’t delete the ADG files and the “Andrognito/Backups” folder.
Andrognito is pretty straight forward to use. You are presented with a brief tutorial slide when you launch the app for the first time. After that you are presented with the File Explorer, which allows you to select files that you want to hide. Applying AES encryption makes the file almost impossible be crack. However, it can take a fair amount of time. Hence, Andrognito also has a Flash mode, which skips the encryption, and simple repackages your content to hide it from your file manager. However, files in this mode may be viewable in other apps. Files hidden by Andrognito can be accessed from the ‘Files’ tab in the app. If you end up hiding a lot of stuff, you will find ability to filter based on file-type and add to Favourites certain files handy. Andrognito app itself is protected by a 4-digit pin.
The app has a couple of other tricks in its sleeve. The first of them is a fake Vault. You can set a dummy pin, which when entered will open a fake vault (with 0 files). This can obviously be handy if you have a particularly nosy significant other or parents. The other neat feature is to hide Andrognito itself. If you turn on the Invisible mode, the app will be removed from the app drawer. You will be able to launch it only by dialling your pin from the phone dialler. The app also prevents brute force attacks by automatically locking itself for 15 minutes after 3 failed attempts.
Andrognito is currently in beta, but worked without a hitch for me. Go ahead, and take it for a spin. There are other similar apps, but Andrognito strikes a nice balance between simplicity and security, and is completely free.
Last month, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Alpha smartphone with an iPhone-like design and a metal frame. Today, Samsung finally launched this Android 4.4 powered smartphone in India. Samsung Galaxy Alpha is the slimmest Galaxy device and it is compatible with the Samsung Gear Fit, Gear Live and Gear 2 wearables.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha come with a price tag of INR 39,990 in India. This device will go on sale in the first week of October. Galaxy Alpha will be available in White, Black and Gold colours. Airtel subscribers will get 5 GB of free data for two months in 4G circles and 2 GB of free data for two month in 3G circles.
“The Galaxy Alpha was built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumers. With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device.”
BlackBerry recently launched its Passport smartphone with a large square touch screen display. It is the first smartphone to feature the touch-enabled keyboard with gestures which helps you to efficiently type, edit and navigate. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and forged stainless steel for added strength.
BlackBerry Passport runs on the latest BlackBerry 10.3 Operating System. It comes pre-loaded with the new BlackBerry Blend, BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry World and Amazon Appstore. BlackBerry Blend is a new feature which allows you to view instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email and access your documents, calendar and contacts on your computer or tablet.
The large 3450 mAh battery in this handset allows you to use the device for more than 30 hours. This handset measures 128 x 90.3 x 9.3 mm and weighs 194 grams. BlackBerry Passport is available through local carriers around the world. it comes with a price tag of $599.
“As we set out to design BlackBerry Passport, we were guided by a simple yet challenging idea – to set aside the limitations of traditional design and to instead simply build a device that fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone. The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices.”
– John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO at BlackBerry
Earlier this month Motorola unveiled the 2nd generation Moto X along with the new Moto G at an event in India. They also announced that Indian customers will be the first to get their hands on the 2nd generation Moto X and Moto G. Today, the new Moto X will finally go on sale at midnight exclusively on Flipkart in India.
The new Moto X packs a 5.2 inch full HD display, 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, 13 megapixel camera with 4k video recording and more. It comes with four noise-cancellation mic on the phone for better voice reception and an enhanced voice control. This handset will be available in Black, Bamboo White and Leather Black variants in India. It comes with a price tag of INR 31,999.
On September 23, Microsoft detailed some of the new features delivered through the latest update of the Bing app on iPhone. With iOS 8, Apple did bulk up and two of the many features added were extensibility through sharing between apps as well as widgets on the notification screen.
The updated Bing app utilizes both of these features:
With Bing Translator feature of the app installed as a supported shareable app in Safari, you can now instantly translate any web page in Safari. This feature is also of course available inside the Bing app itself, so if you need to translate search results it can be done within the app itself.
Today and Trending Topics widget
In addition to the translator, the Bing app now lets you choose Bing Today as a lock screen widget. This widget shows the Bing Image Of The Day, as well as three top trending topics. Clicking on the image leads to the front page inside the Bing app and clicking on any of the trending topics leads to the news items about those trending topics.
Microsoft has moved Bing’s value from a pure desktop web search engine to a vast pool of entities and relationships which get better as more people use the service. The more “end points” Bing has, the better the quality of the engine becomes. With this background it is easy to see why the Bing team would improve the Bing app for iPhone and jump on the latest technologies supported by the latest features of iOS.
Although most users who need to search on iOS can now use iOS 8’s updated Spotlight, it is still nice to use an app that lets you search not just the web, but also news, images, photos, videos, etc., and that’s what the Bing app lets you do.
Do you use the Bing app on iOS? Do you like the updates?
A few months back, the name Xiaomi would have drawn blank stares from most Indian consumers. However, the ‘Apple of China’ has become the darling of India thanks to its superbly priced devices. The Redmi 1S was launched in India less than a month back, and has been selling out in a matter of seconds every week. On paper, the Redmi 1S appears to be a stunning bargain. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 powered smartphone with HD display and 8 mega-pixel camera at just ₹ 6000 is a steal. However, specs can often be deceptive. What matters in the end is its real life performance. Read on to find out if the Redmi 1S is as good as it seems.
Appearance, Display, and Battery
I normally don’t pay a lot of attention to the packaging, but Redmi deserves a special mention due to two things – both good and bad. On a positive note, the box is compact and well designed, is eco-friendly, and feels premium. However, unlike most other smartphones, the Redmi 1S doesn’t ship with an earphone. I don’t consider this to be a big deal, as most bundled earphones sound worse than something you can buy separately for less than ₹ 500. But, the omission of such a standard accessory can unpleasantly surprise some buyers.
At this price point, functional design is what you should expect, and the Redmi 1S delivers on that front. It doesn’t have the sleek curves of the premium droids, but it is not ugly by any means. The plastic rear cover has a nice lustrous appearance, but is a smudge magnet. Smudge is a problem with the front too, which sports a 4.7’’ HD (720p) display with capacitive buttons accented in red. The LED indicator is placed just beneath the Home button. The Redmi has pretty wide bezels, which adds to its dimensions. At 137 x 69 x 9.9 mm it’s only slightly smaller than the Mi3 or the Mi4. It’s also fairly heavy, weighing in at 158 g. However, the overall build quality is pretty solid, and it avoids looking like a brick. In fact, the Redmi 1S looks quite better than a lot of the other phones in this price range.
The 4.7-inch IPS display has a pixel density of 312 ppi, which is excellent for a low-end phone. Colour reproduction is on the saturated side, but contrast and brightness are good. However, the glass panel is highly reflective, and hampers outdoor visibility. Even at maximum brightness it can be challenging to read text under the sun.
The Redmi’s back panel covers an eye-popping red coloured 2000 mAh battery, which is user replaceable. MiUi has a reputation of being a battery eater, but the Redmi still manages to last through the day with moderate usage.
The hardware of a budget phone is always a delicate balancing act. The manufacturer has to make the right compromises to make sure that the end product still performs satisfactorily. The Redmi 1S is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 MSM8228 chipset, which houses a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU and Adreno 305 GPU. This almost the same unit as in the more expensive Moto G (actually Redmi is clocked slightly higher). However, synthetic benchmarks suggest that the Redmi is actually slightly slower than the Moto G. This might be due to the older version of Android, as well as the custom MiUi skin. The Redmi 1S has 1 GB of RAM, which sounds decent enough, but MiUi is a memory hog, which eats up a major chunk of the available memory. In fact, the Redmi failed to execute the Vellamo multicore test due to insufficient memory.
There are also reports on MiUi forums that the Redmi can get uncomfortably hot. While the Redmi did become warm after ten to fifteen minutes of usage, it was not astoundingly hot. The plastic at the back doesn’t seem to be a very good insulator, which does amplify the issue a bit, but the front didn’t get any hotter than I’ve experienced an LG G3 or an Xperia Z2 get. Perhaps Xiaomi could have done a better job with the heat dissipation due to the larger housing available to it.
A budget smartphone is not expected to be a brilliant gaming device. However, it’s always nice if it can handle some casual gaming. I played Angry Bird Stella for extended periods of time, and the Redmi had no problems. However, things were a bit different with Gameloft’s Spiderman Unlimited. The Redmi started off smoothly, but after about fifteen to twenty minutes of gaming, began to stutter randomly, leading to a really frustrating experience. Once the Redmi gets hot, it throttles the CPU, and performance can suffer noticeably. This is something I didn’t experience with the Moto G. In spite of having slightly better specs than the Moto G, the Redmi 1S doesn’t perform as well in the real world. However, to be honest, if you ignore gaming, the overall experience is pretty smooth. You will experience an occasional lag, but it’s not frequent enough to become annoying. The device has 8 GB of internal memory, out of which only four and a half gigs is available to the user. That space can fill up pretty soon if you install a lot of apps, and that’s definitely going to have an impact on the performance. There is also no easy way to move apps to the SD card on MiUi.
There is no 4G or NFC, but the Redmi 1S supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 (including low energy mode), and USB on the go. One surprising issue that I faced with the Redmi is with the GPS sensor. On several occasions, it had trouble accurately pin pointing my location.
Software is undoubtedly the most unique aspect of Xiaomi phones. Redmi ships with MiUi 5, which is based on Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). MiUi 6 (KitKat) has been announced, but Redmi users might not get it before next year (beta testing is slated to begin towards the end of this year). I’m not a big fan of the MiUi launcher, which gets rid of the app drawer, and instead puts all your apps on the home screen. But, I love most of the other stuff about the UI. In fact, even the home screen that I tend to quickly replace also has its redeeming aspects. Moving apps between screens is remarkably easy thanks to the ‘Move Apps’ feature which allows you to select multiple apps and then swipe to the screen you wish to place them in. You can even shake your phone to automatically organize your icons.
MiUi is vibrant and colourful, with nice subtle transitions and effects. There are tons of themes, which change everything from wallpaper and ringtones to lockscreen and notification bar. However, MiUI’s enhancements are not just skin deep. There are numerous additional features and apps that you’ll begin to appreciate as you spend time with the device. In fact, there are so many small enhancements littered across the user interface that it is impossible to over them all in this review. However, I’ll be quickly going through some of my favourite aspects.
Although Redmi was in the news last month due to allegations of data theft, MiUi actually offers excellent security features out of the box. Permission Manager lets you know when an App tries to request a potentially dangerous permission. Spam filter, antivirus, and firewall is also built in. There’s also a Blacklist to block people you want to avoid, a bandwidth monitor to keep track of your data usage, and a disk cleaner to reclaim free space.
The music app has several tricks up its sleeve, including automatically downloading and applying album arts, fetching synchronized lyrics, and playing songs from the Billboard Top 100. You can also tap on circle in the lockscreen icons to control the music (Play, Previous, Next) without unlocking the phone. While you are on the lockscreen, you can also long press the Home button to turn on the flashlight.
There are tons of customization options, and you can change tons of stuff like LED notifications and what long pressing each of the capacitive buttons does, without needing to root your phone.
Xiaomi also provides a full-fledged backup option powered by Mi Cloud, which can sync everything including Contacts, SMS, pictures, Call Log, Notes, and Wi-Fi Settings.
The Redmi’s battery life is pretty decent, but you can give it a further boost with the Power Management app. This app features three pre-set modes – Default, Marathon, and Sleep. The Marathon mode disables data, which sleep mode disables pretty much everything other than the alarm clock. If that sounds too extreme, you can create your own configuration, and program it to be automatically applied when the battery falls below a certain threshold.
If you prefer to keep things simple, then there’s also a Lite mode, which gets rid of all the customizations and settings. Instead, you will get a page with big icons giving you access to the most important apps and contacts.
The Redmi 1S sports an 8 mega-pixel rear camera, and a 1.6 mega-pixel front camera. Under proper lighting, the Redmi 1S performs commendably when it comes to imaging. The auto-focus works well, and the images have good detail and colour balance. However, things go downhill under low light. Very little detail is preserved, and the amount of noise is simply too high. Even HDR doesn’t seem to be of much help. The LED flash almost always ends up overexposing the picture. Video is captured at 1080p, and once again, under proper conditions, the Redmi performs really well. I didn’t witness any frame rate drops, and the amount of detail rendered is impressive.
The camera app itself might seem simple at first. However, if you want to have more manual control, you can simply enable Advanced mode to get access to the various settings.
On the whole, the Redmi’s camera performs quite well and is better than what you would expect from a budget phone.
The Xiaomi Redmi 1S doesn’t quite live up to its specifications. It tends to get heated quickly, which hurts the performance. MiUi also has its own disadvantages, including high memory usage, and an older Android version. However, the OS itself is updated every week, and brings with it tons of cool features. The camera is great for the budget segment, and the display is also better than what you would get in a lot of other similarly priced phones. Don’t expect too much from your Redmi, and you will be a happy buyer. The phone offers a pretty compelling package at just ₹ 6,000. As always, there are compromises. But, the compromises don’t get in the way of having an enjoyable experience with the device.
Along with the HTC Desire 820 and Desire 820q, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer also launched the Desire 816G in the Indian market. It is basically the cheaper version of the previously launched HTC Desire 816. This handset packs a 1.3 GHz MediaTek quad-core processor instead of the 1.6 GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor found in the Desire 816.
Apart from that, both the smartphones share similar specifications and design. HTC Desire 816G comes with a price tag of INR 18,990. This handset measures 156.6 x78.74 x 7.99 mm and weighs 158 grams. HTC Desire 816G is available in Black, White, Red, Green and Purple color.
The HTC Desire 816G dual sim brings an exciting combination of big screen, great specs at an amazing price! It is one of the most well-built and best design smartphone with a powerful specification that makes the HTC Desire 816G dual sim even more compelling. It is bringing genuine choice to the category by delivering stunning design and high-end performance at unbelievable value.
– Faisal Siddiqui, Vice President & Country Head, India, HTC
Back in 2011, Nokia stopped the development of Meego OS and started to concentrate on the Windows Phone OS. Some of the Nokia’s employees working on the MeeGo project left the company to form Jolla. The Jolla’s Sailfish OS is based on the open-sourced components of MeeGo OS. Last year, the company unveiled its first Jolla smartphone.
Today, the Finnish company finally launched this smartphone in the Indian market. The Jolla smartphone is exclusively available for purchase on Snapdeal. This handset is capable of running most of the Android apps via third-party app store. It packs a 4.5-inch IPS qHD display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 8 megapixel rear camera and more.
Jolla is touted to be the only smartphone with live multi-tasking which shows all your running apps on one screen, without having to open and close them. The Jolla smartphone comes with a price-tag of INR 16,499. This handset is available in white color, however the smart covers are available in Poppy Red, Keira Black and Aloe colors.