Google Launches New Hangout App For Android, iOS And Chrome

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

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

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

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

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition Announced At I/O 2013

There are a large number of users, who are willing to buy the Galaxy S4 but hate the age-old TouchWiz UI. To solve this problem, Google recently announced the new Galaxy S4 Google Edition at the company’s I/O 2013 event in Moscone Center, San Francisco. This device is nothing but the immensely popular Galaxy S4 smartphone sans the ugly TouchWiz UI.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition will be shipped with a stock version of the most recent build of Android Operating System. Apart from that, it will directly receive updates from Google, instead of Samsung. Similar to the previous Nexus smartphones, the Galaxy S4 Google Edition will be SIM and bootloader unlocked. There are no changes on the hardware front.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition features the same 5 inch Super-AMOLED display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution, 1.9 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) OS, 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera 16 GB internal memory, DLNA, HDMI out, Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 3G/4G Connectivity, 2 GB RAM, Wi-Fi Direct and a 2600 mAh Lithium-ion battery.

The Galaxy S4 Google Edition will come with a price tag of $649 for the 16 GB variant. This device supports LTE Connectivity and it is compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile. You’ll have to wait until June 26 to get your hands on this device. If you hated the original Galaxy S4 for its gimmicky features, then the S4 Google Edition is what you have been waiting for!

[ Image Credit ]

BlackBerry Messenger Coming to Android and iOS as Free Download

BlackBerryBlackBerry Messenger or BBM used be the one killer features of BlackBerry. In fact it’s still the reason why many people purchase a BlackBerry. However, thanks to the popularity of multi-platform apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and Viber, BBM no longer commands the respect it used to. WhatsApp recently reported that it has 200 million active monthly users, which is more than thrice that of BBM’s active user count. Sure, BlackBerry Messenger is a lot more secure than WhatsApp, which is frankly a security nightmare. However, this can hardly enough to sway the opinion of millions of smartphone buyers. It has long been rumoured that the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer will be opening up BBM. Perhaps feeling the pressure, BlackBerry has finally bit the bullet.

BlackBerry just announced at the BBLive conference that it will be launching the BBM as an independent app on Android and iPhone this “summer”. No concrete dates were given; however, Android Police is reporting that the BlackBerry Messenger will be a free download that will require at least ICS (Android 4.0). It will be initially released with support for messaging and groups with additional features including voice, screen share, and channels being added later on. BBM users will be able to setup groups and share voice notes, calendar, photos, files and more. “For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service”, said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry.

Sony Announces The Waterproof Xperia ZR Smartphone

Sony recently announced the new waterproof Xperia ZR smartphone. This handset features the highest level of water-resistance for capturing photos and full HD videos underwater. Apart from that, it packs a 4.6 inch display, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 13.1 megapixel camera and much more. Sony Xperia ZR is a water and dust resistant smartphone with a durable glass display. This handset can be submerged in 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Sadly, this device will be shipped with the old Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System.

Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications, said,
“The Xperia ZR pushes the boundaries on where and how consumers can use the full potential of their smartphone. By combining Sony’s leading camera technology with the highest level of water-resistance, you will never miss another moment. Bringing together the best of Sony’s leading technology, media applications and easy one-touch connectivity with the largest ever range of NFC-enabled accessories, the Xperia ZR delivers the unique smartphone experience that people can expect from Sony.”

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Sony Xperia ZR features a 4.6 inch HD TFT Reality display, sporting a resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 13.1 megapixel Fast Capture camera with Exmor RS for mobile, HDR video, Superior Auto and Noise Reduction, Full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality and a non removable Li-ion battery.

Sony Xperia ZR comes with an unique Battery Stamina Mode that improves the standby time by four times by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps whenever the screen is off. This handset will be available in black, white, pink and mint colors. Sony Xperia ZR will go on sale in various global markets from Q2 of 2013.

Barnes & Noble Breaks Down the Walls, Nook Gets Access to Play Store and Other Google Apps

One of the oft-cited drawbacks of the Barnes and Noble Nook has been its closed ecosystem. Both the Nook HD and the Nook HD+ are attractively priced competent Android tablets. Yet, their sales have been so underwhelming that at one point B&N was reportedly considering quitting the hardware business. The Nook’s biggest weakness is its poor app catalogue. Nook runs a heavily customized version of Android that only allowed users to access its own app catalogue, which housed just a few thousand apps (a good chunk of which are paid). By comparison, the Google Play Store has nearly a million apps in its catalogue. Amazon also takes a similar approach with its Kindle tablets. However, thanks to heavy promotion and great deals, the Amazon App Store has has managed to cross the 75,000 mark.

All this is changing now. Barnes and Noble is pushing out an update to its Nook HD users, which will bring down the wall and provide access to the Google Play Store. Since, Google’s Android app offering is a “take it all or leave it” proposition, Nook is now sporting Google’s full suite of apps including Gmail, Chrome, Maps, and YouTube. As of now, the update is restricted to the Nook HD and Nook HD+, with no mention of Nook Tablet and Color owners.

Barnes-Noble-Nook-Update-Play-Store

Obviously, the new open stance from B&N means that you get access to your full catalogue of Android apps that you might have purchased on some other device. Apps installed via the B&N app store are now watermarked with an ‘n’ on the icon to indicate its source. The update also makes it possible to install Amazon Kindle on your Nook, and enjoy content you might have purchased from Barnes and Noble’s biggest competitor.

Both Nook HD and Nook HD+ are good pieces of hardware that were being held back by the software. The latest update liberates the tablets from the Barnes and Noble’s walled garden, and users will finally be able to realize the full potential of the devices they paid for.

Micromax Canvas 3D Launched In India For Rs.9,999

Micromax recently launched the company’s first 3D smartphone, the Micromax Canvas 3D. This handset does not come with the dual camera for 3D video recording, however it features a 5 inch screen which can display 3D content without glasses. Micromax Canvas 3D runs on the Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. It comes with Micromax 3D Space which allows the users to access 3D videos and pre-loaded 3D games. Check out the complete specs below.

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Micromax Canvas 3D features a 5 inch touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1 GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6577 processor, dual-SIM capabilities (GSM + GSM), 5 megapixel rear camera with flash, 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, 512 MB RAM, Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G connectivity, Micro USB, USB 2.0, up to 5 hrs of talk-time, up to 200 hrs of stand-by time and a 2000 mAh battery.

Micromax Canvas 3D comes with a price-tag of just Rs.9,999 (approx. $190). This handset will be available in both black and white colors. Micromax Canvas 3D will go on sale from the first week of May.

Samsung Announces The Galaxy Tab 3

Samsung recently announced the new Galaxy Tab 3 tablet. This device is the successor of the popular Galaxy Tab 2 and it looks strikingly similar to the recently launched Galaxy Note 8.0. Even the specs of this device is similar to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The Galaxy Tab 3 will be available in both Wi-Fi and 3G variants. This device runs on the older Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Galaxy Tab 3 is little slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. Check out the complete specs below.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 features a 7 inch WSVGA touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, Samsung TouchWiz UI, 3 megapixel rear-facing camera, Full HD (1080p) video playback, VGA front facing camera for video calls, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 801.11 a/b/g/n and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct, Samsung Hub, Samsung Kies Air, Samsung ChatON, Google Play Store, A-GPS, 8/16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory, A-GPS + GLONASS and a 4000 mAh battery. This device measures 111.1 x 188.0 x 9.9 mm and weighs 306 grams.

Galaxy Tab 3 Wi-Fi variant will be available from May while the 3G variant will go on sale from June. The price of this device is still a mystery. However, the Galaxy Tab 3 is expected to be available for less than $300.

LG Begins Optimus F5 Global Rollout, Starting From Europe

Back in February, LG unveiled the mid-range Optimus F5 smartphone. This device was showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona. LG Optimus F5 is the first smartphone from LG’s newest Optimus F Series. According to the manufacturer, the Optimus F Series is designed to bring a premium user experience and the speed of 4G LTE to a mass audience. Today, LG has finally started shipping the Optimus F5 budget smartphone in Europe.

Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said,
“LG has consistently set the standard in the mobile industry with technology that complements, not complicates, users’ lives. The Optimus F5 is a natural extension of LG’s lineup of strong LTE devices, offering the lightning-speed of 4G LTE and UX features of a premium phone. With the Optimus F5, we’re confident we can capture an untapped market of new and upgrading smartphone users who crave a feature-rich, LTE device.”

lg optimus f5

LG Optimus F5 features a 4.3 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core Processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, LG Optimus UI, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, DLNA, 4G LTE Connectivity and much more.

It also comes with the usual 3.5mm headset jack, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 1 GB RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, A-GPS, MicroUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC (Near Field Communication) and a 2,150mAh battery. This handset measures 126.0 x 64.5 x 9.3 mm.

LG Optimus F5 will go on sale from today in France, followed by South and Central America, Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) over the next several weeks. The price of this handset will be revealed soon. Stay tuned!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Launched in India for INR 41,500

Samsung has launched the next avatar of their flagship device – Samsung Galaxy S4 – in India. The Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean device would compete with the stunning HTC One (touted as the best Android phone in the market at the moment by many), the iPhone 5, and the Nokia Lumia 920.

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While the device might not win any beauty contest, it would check almost all items in your laundry list of features you’d want in your smartphone. A blazing quad-core processor (1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 and 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7), colorful 4.99-inch Full HD Super AMOLED 441ppi screen, sharp-shooting 13-megapixel camera, and bounty of software extras makes it pack powerful punch. The phone features 2GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16 GB internal storage, and a 2600 mAh battery. Like the predecessor, it comes in two colors – Frost White and Black Mist. Unlike the three phones I mentioned at the start, S4 also features expandable storage space and a removable battery!

“At Samsung, we are committed to innovation and to our consumers .We are always listening to our consumers and innovating to give them products that meet their needs. This has led to the successful introduction of iconic devices like the Galaxy SII, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2 and today, we are proud to announce the launch of our flagship device and the much awaited , Samsung Galaxy S4 .” – B D Park, President & CEO, South West Asia, Samsung Electronics

The phone includes a lot of gimmicks: some useful, some alright-if-it’s-there, and some that don’t really matter. An IR blaster that can control your TV, filming a video in slow-mo, harnessing your eyeballs to pause video, answering a phone call with the wave of your hand, eraser mode in camera, optical reader functionality, a translation tool, and many more!

The bottom-line? At INR 41,500, Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great all-around flagship device with a competent hardware and an ambitious software layer. A few drawbacks apart, it’s a great Android phone to buy. Give HTC One a look too when it arrives in stores though.

Samsung GALAXY S4 Product Specifications:

Network 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Display 12.7cm Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
Processor1.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor + 1.2 Ghz Quad Core Processor.
OSAndroid 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
CameraMain(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BISSub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
VideoCodec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVCRecording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
AudioCodec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
CameraFeaturesDual Camera: Dual Shot , Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports
Additional FeaturesGroup Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document, Play Games
 Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader
Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View,
 Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling)Samsung WatchON
 Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt SoundAuto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly)
Google Mobile ServicesGoogle Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google LatitudeGoogle Play Store, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk,Google Places, Google Navigation, Google Downloads, Voice Search
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)GPS / GLONASSNFC,  Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)

IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0

SensorAccelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, BarometerTemperature & Humidity, Gesture
Memory16GB User memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)2GB RAM
Dimension136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
Battery2,600 mAh

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 510 (Note 8.0) Up For Pre-Order In India For Rs.30,900

The Samsung Galaxy Note 510 is finally up for pre-order in India. This device is nothing but the same Galaxy Note 8.0 which was announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona. Samsung is already known for changing the name of its tablets before selling it in India. Previously, the South Korean tech giant released the Galaxy Note 10.1 in India as the Galaxy Note 800.

The Samsung Galaxy Note comes with an 8 inch display, 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and the innovative S-Pen. This device runs on the Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Samsung has also pre-loaded the upgraded ChatOn, Awesome Note, Flipboard and Smart Remote on this device. Galaxy Note 510 is currently available for pre-booking at Samsung India’s eStore.

galaxy note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 510 (Note 8.0) features a 7 inch WXGA display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, Samsung TouchWiz UI, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front facing camera for video calls and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Music player with SoundAlive, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi 801.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Samsung Apps, Games Hub, Readers Hub, Samsung Kies, A-GPS + GLONASS, 2 GB RAM and a 4600 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Note 510 comes with a price tag of Rs.30,900 (approx.$570) in India. On the other hand, this device is available in the US for just $399. Samsung also offers a free book cover of worth Rs.2,699 for the customer who pre-order this device from their eStore. To get this tablet, head over to this page.