Angry Birds Star Wars Released for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PC, and Mac

After teasing us for several weeks, Rovio has finally released Angry Birds Star Wars. Angry Birds Star Wars is a peculiar mashup of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time with one of biggest gaming franchises of the recent past.

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Angry Birds Star Wars features gameplay elements from both classical Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space, but pushes both of them to the next level. Your favorite birds have been re-dressed keeping in mind the Star Wars universe and can now emit force fields, wield light-sabers, and shoot bullets.

As always, there are plenty of varied levels to keep you hooked. Rovio promises more than 80 levels in various Star Wars inspired locations like Tatooine and the Pig Star. To conquer these levels, you will have to dodge Imperial pigs, laser turrets, Tusken Raider pigs, and the dark side of the Force.

Angry Birds Star Wars costs $0.99 on iOS for the iPhone version and $2.99 for the iPad version. The Android version is free, but has advertisements. If you want to get rid of the ads, you can get rid of them through $0.99 in-app purchase. Interestingly enough, Rovio is also offering something called Angry Birds Star Wars HD for $2.99, which looks just like the other Android version sans the ads. Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 editions can be purchased from respective Stores for $4.99. It is also available on PC for $4.95, and on Mac for $4.99.

[ Download Angry Birds Star Wars ]

Pre-Order Google Nexus 4 in India for Rs. 23,490

LG India’s head of mobile product planning Amit Gujral had earlier revealed that LG will introduce the Nexus 4 in the country by the end of November. Since then, LG Electronics India has remained tight lipped about its plans regarding the new Nexus smartphone. However, thanks to an eBay, the Nexus 4 is already available for pre-order in India.

Nexus 4 is Google’s newest flagship, which was manufactured in partnership with LG. It runs on vanilla Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon(TM) S4 Pro quad-core processor, and flaunts a 4.7″ WXGA IPS display with 1280 x 768 pixel resolution (320 ppi).

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Ebay seller cart2india2010 is accepting pre-orders on unlocked Nexus 4 handsets in India. The seller will be importing Nexus 4 handsets, which have been presumably purchased through Google Play store in the US. The Nexus 4 is available through Google for $299 for the 8 GB model, and $349 for the 16 GB model. However, in several European countries, LG is selling the handset for €599 (about $762). Since, Google Play store is not available in India, it’s most likely that only LG will be selling the Nexus 4. If that happens, we expect the price of to be in the range of Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000 depending upon the model you chose.

Ebay’s cart2india2010 offers a tempting alternative through its imported handsets. The current pre-order price is Rs. 23,490 for the 8 GB model and Rs. 27,490 for the 16 GB model. Unless, Google comes in and subsidizes its latest flagship, Indians are unlikely to get it for anywhere near the price that cart2india2010 is offering. However, since cart2india2010 will only begin shipping the devices after December 10, it might make sense to wait till the end of November for the official announcement.

[ Pre-order Google Nexus 4 ]

Opera Mini for iOS Updated to v7.0.5

Opera Software has updated Opera Mini for Apple devices, keeping in mind the recently released iOS 6. Opera Mini is among the most popular mobile browsers with about two hundred million users spread across various platforms including J2ME, iOS, and Android. It was the first non-Webkit based browser to be allowed into the App Store.

Opera Mini redirects web-traffic through its servers where the pages are rendered and compressed. The client simply displays a static representation of the pre-rendered webpages. The advantage of this arrangement is that it can result in up to 90% bandwidth saving and increases surfing speed on slower networks. However, this also prevents rich modern web apps from working on Opera Mini.

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Opera Mini 7.0.5 includes a bunch of iOS 6 related fixes and integration with the iOS 6 Facebook framework. Other changes mentioned in the release notes are:
– Improved performance when saving large images
– Fixed freeze after sharing via email
– Fixed video playback on youtube.com (iPhone and iPod)
– Performance and stability fixes
– Added support for iOS 4.2

Opera Mini 7.0.5 is a minor incremental update. However, if you are planning to use Opera Mini on iOS 6, you will get better mileage with the latest version.

[ Download Opepra Mini for iOS ]

LG Nexus 4 Hands-On Video Shows Off Android 4.2 with Quick Settings

LG Nexus 4 has to go down as one of the worst kept secrets of the year. We already had numerous leaked pictures and detailed specifications. Now, we even have a hands-on video of the handset.

Swedroid has published a two minutes video of the LG Nexus 4, which will be Google’s flagship handset for Android 4.2. The video shows LG’s first Nexus handset up close, and to be quite honest, it looks gorgeous. It is undoubtedly the best-looking smartphone that has come out of LG’s stables in the recent past. The video also gives us a brief glance of Android 4.2. We get our first look at Quick Settings. This feature will be accessible through a button in the notification bar, and as the name suggests, it will provide quick access to various frequently used settings. Check out the video yourself, and don’t forget to let us know what you think of the new Nexus handset.

Sony’s Xperia Motion Snap App for Android Converts Videos into Live Wallpapers

One of the coolest things about Android is live wallpapers. Yes, they aren’t particularly utilitarian, but some of the live wallpapers are truly breathtaking. Now Sony has released an app to enable you to add a personal touch to your live wallpapers.

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Xperia Motion Snap is a new app from Sony, which can record a short video and use it as a live wallpaper. After you record a video, the app will automatically convert into a looping live wallpaper. There are a few additional options, including miniature effect, which adds a nice looking blur effect to the video.

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The bad news is that this app is only available for Xperia users in Japan. Fortunately for us, some enterprising users have already extracted the APK and shared it with the world. You can download and install the APK on any device. The other alternative is to use Video Live Wallpaper, which is a free app available in the Play store. Video Live Wallpaper has a few more options and can cycle through multiple videos. Xperia Snap, on the other hand, only works with videos recorded through the app, and is less configurable. However, Sony’s graphics engine is capable of recording pretty looking videos that work well as live wallpapers.

[ Download Xperia Motion Snap ]

iPhone 5 Releasing in India on Nov 2, Prices Revealed

Redington, one of the official distributors of Apple products in India, has revealed the prices for the next generation iPhones. As always, you will have to pay a premium if you wish to own Apple’s latest and greatest offering. The base model — iPhone 5 with 16 gigs of storage — will retail for Rs. 45500, which is a good ten thousand bucks more than what high end Android devices are selling for. However, Apple stuff in India has never been cheap, and the outrageous pricing has never been a major deterrent for true Apple fans.

iPhone5

Apple is expected to launch both white and black versions in India; however, stock will probably limited considering global demands. Higher end models with more storage will also be available in India, beginning next week. The 32 GB version will cost Rs. 52500, while the 64 GB version will cost Rs. 59500. I have always stayed away from the iPhone, as at these kind of price points I can very well get a high end gaming PC or two high-end Android smartphones. However, if you believe that there is no substitute for Apple’s exquisite sense of design or premium craftmanship, you can pre-order your device at several retailers including Infibeam.

LG Launches Optimus Vu in India

Samsung invented the ‘phablet’ segment, which consists of high-end smartphones with displays that are bigger than what you would expect in phones, but aren’t quite big enough to qualify as a tablet. I am not a big fan of phablets, which are invariable too huge to be used comfortably as a phone. However, as the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown, millions across the world don’t have the same reservation. The strong performance of Note has prompted others to try their luck with phablets. LG was among the first movers with its Optimus Vu, which was announced towards the beginning of this year at the MWC. Now, after a prolonged wait, the Vu is finally here in India.

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In an event held in New Delhi, LG launched the Optimus Vu. The Vu runs on a quad core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 processor, and sports a 5-inch display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. Memory card slot is not present, but the 32 GB internal storage should be good enough for most users. The 8 megapixel rear cam is capable
of snapping 1080p videos at 30fps, while the 1.3 MP front cam is good enough for video calling. On the software front it is Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) running LG’s Optimus UI.

Vu is an interesting device, and a commendable effort from LG. On the hardware front, the P895 is extremely competitive. However, I wish that LG had introduced it earlier in the Indian market. LG International has already announced the Optimus Vu II for Korea. The Vu is launching with a price tag of Rs. 34,500, and will probably cost a thousand bucks less in the market. The Galaxy Note 2 is available for Rs. 37,000, while the original Note is available for Rs. 31,000. Vu’s biggest strength is its price. It will make everyone looking to buy the original Note think twice, and might also eat into Note 2’s sales. It’s about ten percent cheaper than the Note 2, and its Tegra 3 is in the same league as Samsung’s Exynos 4412. The Note 2 is easier to grip, runs Jelly Bean, supports microSD cards, and has a bigger battery. The Optimus Vu is prettier and cheaper, with Jelly Bean scheduled to come next year.

HTC One X Case Review – Case-Mate vs Official HTC Case

The HTC One X sports a polycarbonate unibody construction and Corning Gorilla glass display. In theory, both of them should make HTC’s precious flagship more durable. In reality though, as the amply shattered glass of my friend’s One X suggests, there is still plenty of room for improvement. In fact, HTC’s sleek construction with a protruding display might have made the One X more vulnerable. It’s never a bad idea to get some extra protection for your beloved smartphone. I asked Mobilefun, a leading retailer of phone accessories, to send across a couple of cases for review, and they obliged.

The first case I wanted to check out was ‘Case-Mate Barely There for HTC One X’. As the name suggests, this case is extremely slim (just over a millimeter), and adds very little bulk to the phone. It’s made from flexible plastic and seems to be pretty durable. The case features neatly cut out orifices to provide you access to all the functionality, including camera and charging. Although the Case-Mate case is precisely crafted, portions of it overflow onto the screen, which is a good thing, since it offers protection for the screen on the sides.

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The One X is a pretty good looking phone. If not for its frog-eyed lens, it would have been a real stunner. The Barely There case does justice to the One X’s appearance and retains most of its beauty. Unfortunately, after a few days of usage, my unit developed ugly white patches that you can see in the image above. Mobilefun indicates that this is the first complaint it has received about the case, so it might be one of those one-off manufacturing defects.

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The second case I reviewed is the official HTC Hard Case for the One X. The hard case is one of the most distinctive looking cases you are likely to see. Its perforated back renders it a unique appearance, while also improving grip. The case itself seems to be a lot more rugged than the Barely There case, and didn’t pick up any scratches or other deformities during my usage. HTC also claims that the mesh at the back improves ventilation and helps keep the phone cool during heavy usage. However, the perforations have one significant disadvantage – they also allow dust to accumulate. You will have to clean up your phone once in a while, if you don’t want to end up with ugly dirt spots (second image below).

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HTC-One-X-Hard-Case-2

Both the HTC One X phone covers received from Mobilefun were excellent. The Case-Mate Barely There for HTC One X costs £15.95 in the UK and Rs. 1121.99 in India, while the HTC One X Official Hard Case costs £17.99 in the UK and Rs. 1266.00 in India. Given the nominal price difference between the two, I will prefer the official Hard Case. It appears to be more rugged, and also provides a better grip, while lending your phone a distinctive look.

HTC One X Official Hard Case: 4/5 (Excellent)
Case-Mate Barely There For HTC One X: 3/5 (Good)

[ Disclaimer: Cases reviewed were supplied by MobileFun ]

Samsung Galaxy Premier Leaked

Samsung officially unveiled the Galaxy SIII Mini moments ago. Although the handset is titled as Galaxy SIII Mini, based on the specifications, it is more appropriate to call it the SII Mini. However, Samsung has another handset in the pipeline, which should fit in between the Galaxy SIII and the Galaxy SIII Mini – the Galaxy Premier.

Samsung is yet to open up about the Premier, but Mobile Geeks has already outed the device. The Galaxy Premier will sport a 4.65-inch 720p HD Super AMOLED display, and run on a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. Other specifications include an 8-megapixel rear camera, 8GB or 16GB internal storage, microSD expansion, 14.4 Mbps HSDPA, 5.76 Mbps HSUPA, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, and DLNA.

Samsung-Galaxy-Premier-Picture

Samsung is really going for a consistent look and feel for their 2012 line of products, and the Premier will also retain the nature inspired Galaxy SIII design. I find this pretty disappointing as the original Galaxy SIII design itself was nothing to brag about. Sony or Motorola’s approach of allowing each of its handsets to stand out is much more refreshing and exciting.

The Galaxy Premier will be available for €480, which equates to about $620. However, it will most probably be just for the international markets.

Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android Features Improved Security and Web Standards Support

Last month Opera spruced up Opera Mini for Android. Now, they have updated its full-featured sibling – Opera Mobile for Android. The changes are not massive, as indicated by the point increment in version number. However, they are still significant enough to make updating to the latest version worthwhile.

Opera Software now deploys four separate version of Opera Mobile, tailor made for ARM v5 and v7, MIPS and X86. Only the version that is suitable for your phone or tablet is automatically downloaded and installed, which means that you should notice a reduction in the amount of disk space consumed by the new Opera Mobile.

Most of the other new improvements are inspired by the work that Opera Software has been doing on its desktop browser. Opera Mobile now supports SPDY protocol, which enables faster browsing on compatible websites. Gmail and Twitter are two major services currently supporting SPDY. Support for websockets is also in, which means that web applications leveraging sockets for two-way communications will now work on your mobile phone as well. Other new web technologies supported includes CSS Animations and Flexbox, HTML5 Drag and Drop, and the HTML5 Clipboard API.

Finally, Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android improves security by adding support for fraud detection. Opera will now warn you before opening webpages that have been marked as being suspicious or used for illicit activity.

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Opera Mobile lacks the inspired user interface of Chrome for Android; however, it is a great browser in its own right. If you can get past its ageing interface, you will appreciate its speed as well as the bouquet of unique features like Turbo.

[ Download Opera Mobile ]