The OneDrive team at Microsoft announced in a blog post on August 28, that among other updates across platforms, the OneDrive app for Android now lets users access OneDrive as well as OneDrive for Business accounts in the same app.
Android App Updates
The Android app update is the first across platforms where one can access work and personal documents and files in a single app. This means, within a single app, you have access to all your files and will be able to share them appropriately with friends and family or co-workers.
Additionally, the app will clearly show which account is active so there is no mistake in terms of auto-uploads of pictures or sharing of work files with people outside work.
Additionally, the Android app now allows setting up a 4-digit PIN to secure the app and its contents in addition to the phone’s main locking method.
There are speed and reliability improvements in terms of photo backup, as well as the ability to have other apps open the files from OneDrive.
iOS App Updates
The iOS update now includes a native search. Much like the iOS system-wide search, within the OneDrive app you can pull down to reveal the search box and the search will be conducted across the entire OneDrive.
The iOS update also introduces an All Photos view (which curiously includes videos too, which I don’t mind, but may seem misleading). The All Photos view is similar to the one on the web, and an important consideration here is that screenshots are automatically removed from this view. If one wants to see uploaded screenshots, they can always navigate to the Camera Roll folder within the OneDrive app and see the screenshots.
I think this screenshot elimination from the main view is a good move. I take a lot of random screenshots and while I like that they are automatically uploaded to OneDrive (unlike the native Windows Phone photo backup), I don’t necessarily want them to pollute my main photos view. So, props to the product manager who made this decision!
Windows Phone App Updates
The Windows Phone app update actually showed up a few days ago and besides bug fixes, it includes the ability to see the OneDrive Recycle Bin. This way, one can always go back and see deleted files and restore them if necessary.
Good to see updates across all the platforms, and looking forward to seeing the OneDrive for Business update show up on iOS and Windows Phone apps too.
Selfies have already taken over the world, and this pop culture phenomenon is showing no signs of slowing down. Now, mobile manufacturers are also jumping on the selfie bandwagon with special selfie oriented devices like odd looking Xperia C3. However, you don’t need a brand new device to snap some kickass selfies. Here are three apps that’ll help you take the perfect selfie from your Android.
This camera app comes with tons of filters, effects, frames, and test effects. However, what sets it apart from many other similar apps is that everything was created with selfies in mind. Several of the effects and frames are paid; however, there are plenty of free ones to keep you happy. It also features tight Facebook and Instagram integration including a photo stream.
Selfie Studio lives up to its name and offers a wide range of features to appeal to the selfie addicts. Since almost all phones don’t have a flash for the front camera, Selfie Studio allows you to use the display as a secondary light source. You can easily tweak the color of the display to get the look you want. You can snap pics in either Instagram like square (1:1) or usual rectangular (3:4) aspect ratios. Other features include auto-reverse and countdown timer.
The bundled editor is powered by Aviary and offers gazillions of options. You can enhance and adjust the pic as well as apply effects, frames, and stickers.
Frontback is not your typical selfie app. This app takes two shots – one with the rear cam and one with the front cam, and merges them. However, unlike other similar apps, it doesn’t tuck away the selfie in a tiny rectangle at the side of the screen. Instead, it gives both the pics equal amount of space. This simple change can allow for some truly mesmerizing photos. You can view some of the best creations over here. The app is simple, and has very few options to tinker with. However, it works well. My only gripe with Frontback is that the app can’t be used until you signup for a free Frontback account.
Microsoft’s OneNote team announced on August 19 that OneNote for Android is now available for Android tablets. However, that was not the only update made to OneNote for Android.
OneNote for Android now supports handwriting. So on the tablet, one can write and draw with a stylus (or fingers too). These notes are of course synced across all devices. Much like on the desktop version of OneNote, the inking works with images (for annotation) as well as for pure writing/drawing. For devices which come with active digitizer, the stylus can instantly invoke the inking mode so one can start writing/marking immediately.
Other features included are changing pen colors, as well as changing the paper style and color to make handwriting stand out even more.
The UI now supports a larger real estate on the screen. Much like the iPad and Windows Store versions, the Android tablet UI now shows a cascading list of notebooks, sections and pages with the selected page occupying much of the screen.
Ribbon for Android tablets
Similar to the iPad and Windows Store UI, the Android tablet UI now has the ribbon with several formatting options.
A quick video overview of the new OneNote:
Given that Android apps normally stretch to fill a larger screen, it is commendable that the OneNote team did not rely on that, but instead chose to build a separate UI for larger screens. It is also nice to see inking support in OneNote, and like the blog post says, it is directed towards the students going to or returning back to school.
As expected, Oppo finally launched the mini version of its flagship smartphone. The Oppo N1 Mini comes with a rotating 13 megapixel camera similar to its bigger brother, which acts as a rear as well as a front-facing camera. It runs on the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean based Color OS.
“Customer orientation is deeply rooted in the culture at OPPO. We strive to give users what they really look for. OPPO N1 Mini stems from this philosophy of ours. It brings to users the unique design and technology for which the OPPO N1 won a lot of accolades, but in a sleeker and more compact body. For OPPO, a fusion of technology and affection has always been the essence of our product design and development. We believe that today’s youth will find OPPO N1 Mini as a device that is mini in size and max in fun.”
– Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO India
Oppo N1 Mini comes with a price-tag of INR 26,990, which is almost double than the market price of Xiaomi Mi3 which comes with much better specifications. This handset measures 148.4 x 72.2 x 9.2 mm and weighs 150 grams. Oppo N1 Mini will be available in Light Blue, White and Lemon Yellow colors.
As per AppBrain, there are over 1.3 million apps in the Android market with about a thousand new ones being added every day. Among the scores of wallpaper, ringtone, and other low quality apps, it’s not easy to find out the ones that are truly useful. I’m always on the lookout for apps that’ll make my phone easier and faster to use. Here are three of my favourite free productivity apps that were released in the last couple of months.
Better Open With
Unlike many other platforms, Android allows you to install third party apps to replace several key stock apps and functionalities. However, the process for managing the default app for every aspect of the operating system isn’t exactly very intuitive. There is no single utility or settings page to handle all of your app defaults. Instead, you need to navigate to the Apps page within Settings, select the App that’s currently set as default, and then ‘Clear Defaults’ every time you want to change the app associations. Better Open With is a brand new app that offers a bit more flexibility. The app currently handles default file associations for seven types of content including audio, video, and the web. These cover most of the most common file types; however, I am hoping to see support for more in the future.
Setting up Better Open With (BOW) involves two steps. First you need to open the app and select the default app for each category. After this, you need to set BOW as the default app for each of these categories. BOW gives you the option of either opening the default app straight away, or presenting you with a list of options similar to the one you get by default in Android. The big advantage with BWO, however, is that you can set the app selection screen to be dismissed and the default option to be automatically selected after a predefined amount of time. I absolutely love this option as it provides the flexibility of changing the app on the fly, but still doesn’t force you to tap and select an app every time.
One of the many neat features of Microsoft Office is the Clipboard, which allows you to not just paste the most recently copied content, but from as any as twenty four items that you’ve copied recently. Copy Bubble provides the same functionality on Android. As a name suggests it’s a tiny bubble that floats on your screen. Every time you copy something, Copy Bubbles stores a copy of it. If you want to access anything that you had previously copied, all you need to do is tap on the bubble and select from the list of saved clipboard items. These items are available to be directly shared or copied to the Android clipboard. The bubble size can be configured and it is by default small enough to e not too obtrusive. It’s also easy to dismiss the bubble when you don’t want it, but the only way to bring it back is to launch the app again.
Heads Up notifications is among the many new features of Android L. When a new notification arrives, the notification is displayed in a floating window on top of the active app. This allows you to quickly get a glimpse of messages and other important stuff even when you are watching a movie or playing a game. The code for this was already present in KitKat, but this feature wasn’t enabled by Google. There’s an Xposed Module to enable this on KitKat systems; however, there’s an easier way that also works on devices without root.
The ‘Heads Up!’ app ports the heads up notification feature from Android L, and makes it available to devices running on Android 4.3 and above. Heads Up! allows very granular control over which apps should trigger a heads up notification. It also allows you to control the position and transparency of the floating notification toast as well as the automatic dismiss time.
Heads Up! is a paid app in the Play Store, but you can download a free copy from the XDA forums.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Samsung and HTC have already launched a mini version of their flagship smartphone. Now, LG joined the bandwagon with the unveiling of its mid-range LG G3 Beat smartphone. This handset is basically the trimmed down version of the company’s flagship device. LG G3 Beat packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC clocked at 1.2 GHz. The performance of this processor has been clearly demonstrated in the previously launched Moto G, Galaxy Grand 2 and HTC One Mini 2.
LG G3 Beat borrows the unique laser auto-focus from its bigger brother, which enables the device to focus on the object faster by measuring the distance between the subject and the camera using a laser beam. It comes with HD IPS display with a screen-to-body ratio of 74.1 percent and the Floating Arc Design with smooth curved sides and tapered edges for comfortable grip and feel.
Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said,
“Smartphone manufacturers cannot ignore this growing segment of consumers who want the best balance of looks, features, performance and, of course, price. The LG G3 Beat represents our commitment to the mid-tier smartphone market that demands mature technology, proven branding, great innovation and attractive price, all in a single device.”
LG G3 Beat is powered by 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. Apart from that, it features a 5 inch HD IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, 8 megapixel rear camera with Laser Auto Focus, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, 8 GB internal memory, 1 GB RAM, MicroSD card slot, Touch & Shoot, Smart Keyboard, QuickMemo+, Gesture Shot and a 2540 mAh removable battery.
LG G3 Beat will be shipped with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat Operating System. It measures 137.7 x 69.6 x 10.3 mm and weighs 134 grams. This handset will be available in Metallic Black, Silk White and Shine Gold colors. LG G3 Beat will go on sale from July 18 in South Korea, followed by Europe and other major markets in the coming weeks. The price of this device will be announced soon. Stay tuned for updates!