Category Archives: Tech News

Google Glass Photo Update Brings HDR, Captions

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Google has pushed an update to Google Glass users that upgrades the camera functionality on the device. This update brings HDR capabilities to the device as well as the ability to automatically sense and brighten low-light shots. This update also allows Google Glass to more easily capture photos that have lots of movement.

Aside from improvements to the camera itself, Google has also brought the ability to add captions to photos taken with Google Glass. These captions can be added to photos by a simple voice command.

Glass is a new piece of wearable technology developed by Google. The device is worn like a standard pair of glasses and pairs with the user’s iOS or Android smartphone to connect to the web. You can use the device to send messages and update social feeds with a simple voice command. Glass also has a built-in camera and can run third-party apps that go under the name Glassware.

As of now, Google Glass is only being used by a small number of testers who paid over $1500 to be in the Explorer Program. The device went into the hands of these users in early 2013, though the device was originally announced at Google IO 2012.

Source: AndroidPit
Image Source: Giuseppe Costantino

Amazon India Launched, but Don’t Count Out Others Yet

After years of speculation, it has finally happened. Amazon India is now open for business. More than a year after launching Junglee, a price comparison engine, the ecommerce giant has launched its own full-fledged marketplace.

“Our vision, at Amazon, is to be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover virtually anything they want to buy online. With Amazon.in, we endeavor to build that same destination in India by giving customers more of what they want – vast selection, low prices, fast and reliable delivery, and a trusted and convenient experience,” said Greg Greeley, Vice President of International Expansion at Amazon.com. “We’re excited to get started in India and we will relentlessly focus on raising the bar for customer experience in India.”

India is Amazon’s tenth marketplace, after countries like USA, UK, Canada, China, and Japan. The Seattle based online retailer is starting off with its strong suite – books. Amazon India claims that it currently has more than 7 million books in its catalog. The Indian store also has nearly ten thousand movies and a little over one thousand TV shows for sale. Other categories including Mobiles and Camera are expected to be launched soon.

The Amazon India launch was months in the making. However, the biggest stumbling block was the Indian government. Restrictions on foreign investment on multi-brand retailers prevented Amazon from setting shop in India. However, it appears that Amazon has found a way around the regulations. Unlike in the US and many other countries, Amazon won’t be maintaining its own inventory. Instead it will be operating purely in a marketplace based model. Times of India is reporting that Amazon has signed up 100 vendors across the country, and has setup a 1.5 lakh sqft fulfillment center near Mumbai to service online orders. Amazon is also inviting other retailers to sign up and list their products in the Amazon marketplace. It is providing two options for vendors – Selling on Amazon and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). The former allows the seller to list their products on Amazon.in, while retaining control over inventory, shipping, and customer service. The latter allows the seller to leverage Amazon’s expertise by offloading logistics, shipping and customer service also to Amazon.

Amazon-India-Infographic

BT.com Dumps Yahoo mail over Hacking Claims from Consumers

BT.com is getting a major makeover, and an even bigger part of this makeover is its decision to dump Yahoo! Mail for its six million customers. BT is one of the largest and the oldest telecommunication companies in the world. It has a decade old deal with Yahoo! Mail for providing mail accounts to new subscribers. However, recently, a large number of these subscribers started complaining about hacking attempts, which led to this decision. This decision by BT will have an adverse effect on Yahoo! mail service and give its CEO Marissa Mayer a bad day at work.

BT-Yahoo

BT has used Yahoo! as the default mail provider for its customers for over a decade now, but starting February this year, a number of users accounts were hacked and used to send spam mails. Although an investigation was launched into the matter in March, users continued complaining on the BT online forum.

The decision to ditch Yahoo mail is part of a bigger plan, which includes many changes and improvements in BT’s consumer offerings. BT’s Consumer Division Director, Nick Wong, has said,

The new BT.com will feature breaking and exclusive news and features from a dedicated team of journalists at the Press Association covering areas such as news, entertainment and lifestyle. With BTSport.com also launching in the summer, we’ll bring customers exclusive live sports action as well. The new BT Mail will include the features and functions such as in-built anti-virus and anti-spam applications.

Along with a super-massive email deal, Yahoo will also lose a substantial amount of traffic to its homepage, which was set to Yahoo.com for all BT subscribers by default. Now, BT will promote its own news service on their homepages. In other news, British Sky Broadcasting recently struck a deal with Yahoo! for providing email accounts to its users.

This decision by BT will force Yahoo to rethink the features it is (not) providing to its users, and how close these features are to the ones that users really want and need.

Read more at their official announcement.

Google’s Fight Against FBI’s NSL Takes an Interesting Turn

As a company, Google has always worked towards protecting the privacy rights of its users from the prying eyes of various government branches. However, at times, it is cornered pretty badly by the judiciary and this is one such case. Google has been ordered by a district court judge in California to comply with FBI’s warrantless data requests, or as they call it- a National Security Letter (NSL). The provision of this request forbids Google from disclosing the fact that such a request was made in the first place. This translates to plain and simple bullying, and the way things move in this case will lay the foundation for future secret requests by the FBI.

FBI

Declan McCullagh at CNET points out the evil in NSLs, saying,

They allow FBI officials to send secret requests to Web and telecommunications companies requesting “name, address, length of service,” and other account information about users as long as it’s relevant to a national security investigation.

Not just that, the FBI does not require a court approval for making the request, and neither is the company holding the data allowed to disclose that such a request was made. This puts the company in a perfect catch-22 situation.

However, it will be wrong to accuse the judge Susan Illston (if that name sounds familiar to you, Illston is also the presiding judge in the Sony vs. George Hotz case) of passing a biased verdict in this case. Her argument in this case was that Google went after the premises of issuing an NSL; instead of preparing a defense against the 19 NSL that were the real problem.

Illston has invited Google to try the case again. She also ruled earlier this year that NSLs are unconstitutional, and this proves that she has been quite fair in her verdict. However, the disheartening news is that Illston is stepping down form the case this July, and will not be the one passing the final verdict.

Review: Lenovo S890 Features, Specifications, and Price

Lenovo announced the S890 Android smartphone back in January 2013, and it turned out to be one of the most popular smartphone in the 5 inch device category. The 5 inch screen phone comes with IPS display and the taste of Google’s Android Jelly Bean.

Although Lenovo’s focus is mostly on notebooks, the company has done an impressive piece of work in the mobile market. Unlike the predecessor, Lenovo S880, which lacked many features, the dual sim S890 totally fills in the gaps with a decent set of hardware specifications and making it really stand out from the crowd. However, how good is the Lenovo S890? It’s time to find out.

Lenovo S890

Design, Look and Feel

The Lenovo S890 is elegantly designed and the build quality is pretty impressive. The phone has a glossy and metallic finish with curvy edges making it look more premium and classy than almost any other mid-range smartphones. The shiny plastic back cover, which I loved the most, does a good job of masking fingerprints. On the sides, the phone has a chrome trim running along, which has a matte finish.

In terms of weight, the phone is slightly heavier at 176 gms when compared to similar size phablets such as the Micromax Canvas HD (156 grams) or the Samsung Galaxy Grand (162 grams), but is definitely slimmer.

The volume rocker on the right side of the phone is easily accessible while the power button (placed on top) is not that easy to reach out. However, you won’t be using the power button quite often to turn on/off the screen as Lenovo’s flip-cover that comes bundled with the phone enables auto screen on and off when the flip is opened or closed. Pretty neat.

Lenovo S890 Specifications

Dimensions:

  • 74.2mm (W) x 143.6mm (H) x 9.3mm (T)
Processor:

  • MTK 6577T 1.2GHz

 

Sim:

  • Dual Core Dual SIM
  • Uses traditional SIM size
Lenovo S890 Memory:

  • RAM 1GB + 4GB (emmc)
  • Expandable storage:
  • Add up to 32GB with a microSD card

 

Connectivity/Radios:

  • BT 3.0 HS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g /n
  • USB 2.0 HS
  • A-GPS
  • FM receiver
 Display:

  • 5.0’’ 540×960 IPS
  • Capacitive 5 point multitouch
  • 16 Million colors

Weight:

  • 176g

Battery :

  • 2250mAh, User replaceable
  • Talk time: up to 17.5 hours
  • Standby: 13 days
 Operating System:

  • Android™ 4.1 JellyBean

Sound:

  • Smart Sound for perfect sound
  • clarity even in noisy environments

Buttons:

  • Power Key, Volume Key
  • Capacitive Menu, Home & back keys for Android
 Ports/Slots:

  • Micro SD supports up to 32GB
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Micro USB

Integrated Camera:

  • 0.3M fixed focus front camera
  • 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus,
  • LED flash w/ Geo-tagging

 

 

Included – S890 Flip Cover:

  • Protects your S890 from scratches, bumps and falls
  • In-built sensor automatically switches on the S890, when you open the cover.

Recommended – S890 Pen:

  • Write, draw & interact with this sleek capacitive pen
  • Fits into the 3.5mm headphone jack making it easy to carry

Lenovo S890 Features

The S890 features a 5-inch screen offering a 540 x 960 resolution and an IPS panel offering better contrast as well as brightness levels. Its brightness level can go really high of course the battery consumption will shoot up as well.

The Lenovo S890 comes with a MediaTek 6577T chipset that includes a 1.2 GHz dual core processor along with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU, all which work together to offer a fluid touch operations and faster response to application requests.

The phone also features 1 GB of RAM including 4 GB of internal storage, which is expandable to 32 GB. The 1 GB RAM is very much enough to give a smooth usage of the phone and works pretty will the dual core processor.

Lenovo S890 Features

The phone does lag when too many applications are running in background, however, this was simply a test that we conducted, and phone with similar specifications will results is slow performance.

Along with the 8MP rear camera, the device features a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera that is good enough for video calling. The camera build is quite impressive. Pictures taken from the rear camera have sharp details and natural colors. The quality of the images taken is pretty decent, however, there are certain low light issues. That is, there is too much of noise visible when shot in low light conditions.

One of the best features of the phone is Lenovo’s Energy smart feature that enables you to keep a track of your phone’s battery usage and optimize it accordingly. The 2,250mAh battery should give enough battery life, and with normal usage it would approximately last over a day and a half.

Conclusion and Pricing

The downside is that the phone does not support full HD video recording, but the bigger turn off is the weight of the phone. If that isn’t any issue, then the phone is a great buy and worth it. The Lenovo S890 is priced at Rs. 20,899. At this range, it competes heavily with the Samsung Galaxy Grand, however, both the smartphones have unique features and have their own set of pros and cons, but if asked to choose between the two, the Lenovo S890 is a better choice.

Yahoo Redesigns Flickr and Gives Away 1TB of Free Storage

Looks like Yahoo isn’t done yet after the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. The tech giant has finally made an attempt to make its once popular photo-sharing service Flickr alive again, with the hopes to reboot the service not only in a beautiful manner, but bigger and better than anything else.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Monday took stage to debut the all new redesigned Flickr photo site, including an announcement of 1TB free storage to all its users, which is enough to host nearly 537,731 photos in “full original quality” (6.5 megapixels). The downside, however, is that everyone who opts for the free storage will be seeing ads.

Flickr is now a whole new experience. The redesigned Photostreams and Sets layout is cleaned up to display the pictures in a proper grid fashion. Along with that, it is now easier to share photos on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, email, and of course, Tumblr.

The new layout also has a cover photo just like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, where users can edit it and replace the default picture with any of their existing uploaded photos. The photos are displayed in a grid format, where users can open them in a new page or simply mouse hover the cursor and click on the double-arrowed button to open in lightbox.

Flickr Photostream before

Flickr Old

Flickr Photostream after

Flickr New

The Explore option, which is quite a known feature on Flickr, has been added to the navigation bar, which shows off the most popular uploaded images on a day-to-day basis. There is also a little slideshow button on the second navigation bar, which on clicked will switch to full-screen mode and you can navigate through the photos.

The redesign also comes to mobile devices on iOS and Android. On the other hand, Flickr Pro is no longer supported on the site as many of the features have been integrated with the free account. To quote Marissa Mayer’s words, she says “there’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, there is no such thing as professional photographers.” However, Flickr provides two options to upgrade their account: Go ad-free and Double your space.

The ‘Go ad-free’ option, of course, will remove ads displayed on your stream, which is priced at $49.99 a year. The ‘Double your space’ option will give you an addition 1TB of space for $499.99 a year, which I think is very unlikely that anyone would want to buy it. 1TB itself is a huge amount of space.

Flickr Upgrade

Yahoo is the new buzz now. What more can we expect from the new CEO? Only time will reveal.

And just in case you didn’t notice, visit dearmarissamayer.com

 

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr for $1.1 Billion

The acquisition is now official. Yahoo! in an official statement announced the acquisition of popular blogging platform Tumblr for approximately $1.1 billion, all in cash. In comparison, it’s just a little more than what Facebook paid for Instagram last summer.

In a blog post, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promises that it “won’t screw it (Tumblr) up.” The CEO said that it plans to run Tumblr independently, and Tumblr founder David Karp will remain in his role as CEO. Mayer says that Yahoo will be helping Tumblr to “get even better, faster.”

With this acquisition Yahoo adds itself to the list of established Internet companies, including Google and Facebook that have spent more than $1 billion to acquire startup companies in hope of expanding their services and gaining an edge in growth.

Many Tumblr users are now worried whether Yahoo would screw it up, however, CEO Marissa Mayer has promised to evolve Tumblr to a better and faster blogging platform. She adds, “both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design – and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.”

On the other hand, this acquisition could be a part of Yahoo’s rebuilding strategy, which the company has been trying to build stronger core for the last couple of years.

Here’s how Mayer made the announcement:

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr

Yahoo’s stock was down 0.3% Friday, trading at $26.50 a share.

Update:

Yahoo! also made an announcement that it’s official blog is now located at yahoo.tumblr.com

LG Showcases Its 2013 Product Line at LG Tech Show

In a three day LG Tech Show in New Delhi, LG showcased its product line for 2013. Most of the products featured in the event had already been announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but were making their first appearances in India. LG Electronics India is targeting an overall growth of 20% in 2013. “As India is a strategic market for LG, we strive to introduce Global flagship products as well as India Insight products, designed especially for the Indian market”, noted Mr. Soon Kwon, the Managing Director of LG Electronics India. Over the years, LG’s home appliances arm has been a strong performer thanks to its dominance in key segments like washing machines and refrigerators. However, LG has languished behind its South Korean rival Samsung, when it comes to the crucial smartphone market.

LG showcased more than seventy products spread across all its business’. Some of the main attractions were:

LG Optimus G Pro: LG will be launching its next flagship, the Optimus G Pro, in the second half of the year (July-August). I recently reviewed its predecessor, the Optimus G, and found it to be easily among the best handsets available in the Indian market. The Optimus G Pro boasts of a powerful Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU, and bumps up the screen to 5.5 inches with full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels). The Pro also manages to pack in a 3,140 mAh battery within its slender body. While exact pricing will be announced later, the LG Optimus G Pro is expected to cost around Rs. 40,000 in India.

LG-Optimus-G-Pro

LG 55 inch OLED TV: The 55EM970V, which was one of the stars at the MWC, will also be launched in India towards the second half of the year. LG’s new 55 inch OLED display pushes the boundaries of what you expect from a HDTV. With a thickness of just 4mm it’s practically invisible from the sides, and weights only 10 kgs. LG’s first OLED 3D TV offers stunningly crisp, vibrant and detailed images with perfect viewing angles. This beauty is not expected to come in cheap, but will make you the envy of your friends.

LG-55-Inch-OLED
LG-55-inch-OLED-Side-View

LG Pocket Photo: LG seemed rather bullish about the prospects of a new premium product called Pocket Photo (PD233). The extremely portable printer is only 5.1 cm wide and 7.6 cm long. It supports NFC and Bluetooth and can wirelessly print photos from Android and iOS devices. It employs employs inkless printing technology from ZINK, which uses heat to activate the color-forming chemistry within the ZINK 2.0 paper. LG claims that ZINK’s inkless printing system produces photos that last longer and don’t smear. The portable photo printer will be launched in India within a couple of weeks, and cost about Rs. 12,000.

LG-Pocket-Photo-Printer

LG Windows 8 PCs: LG will be launching Windows 8 powered convertible PCs in Q3. The products on display were LG Tab-Book (H160) and LG Ultrabook (Z360). . The LG Tab-Book is a compact, 11.6-inch convertible, which boasts of 10 hours of battery life, is 15.9mm thick, and weighs in at 1.05Kg. The Z360 Ultrabook from LG is an ultrabook with a 1080p IPS display, and will be powered by 4th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors. The H160 will cost about Rs. 50,000, while the Z360 will cost somewhere in the north of Rs. 60,000. Curiously, LG is skipping Windows RT, and has no plans to launch a cheaper, ARM powered Windows tablet.

LG-Windows-8-Ultrabook

LG X-Boom: LG X-Boom (CM9730) takes a cue out of classic boom boxes, and offers a shocking 2300W RMS and 25000W PMPO. The X-Boom will appeal to the section of the Indian youth that loves loud music and wants to party at home. The gigantic speakers are loud enough to make you go deaf, and offers killer bass. The CM9730 also has a few interesting features including a Smart DJ, LED lightning, playlists, and wireless audio streaming. Smart DJ automatically mixes music using various commonly used effects, while LED lights act as beats visualizer. Although X-Boom sounds pretty decent, it won’t satisfy audiophiles.

LG-X-Boom-Speakers

LG Song Star: LG Song Star is a karaoke machine with over 4000+ songs in 9 languages including English, Hindi and regional, spread across genres like classic, rock, hip hop, jazz, and contemporary. Song Star also features Echo Key Control and Tempo control to add an extra flair to your singing. You get real-time score rating for your singing, and have the option of recording your songs and creating group competitions. It will be available in two variants – the NK230 will come with a Wired Mic, and the NK330 will have a Wired Mic and an additional Wireless sub-Mic.

LG-Songstar

Other products demoed include LG All in One PC with 10 finger multitouch and 3D display, mouse with scanner, refrigerators with Evercool technology, automatic vacuum cleaners called Home-Bot, and air conditioners with InverterV technology.

CBS Twitter Accounts Compromised by Syrian Electronic Army

Last week, surprisingly fake messages started appearing out of two CBS Twitter accounts like @60minutes and @48hours. The tweets addressed sensitive issues like gun-control laws in the US and the Syrian rebellion. CBS has confirmed on its own CBS News Twitter account that this was a hack attempt and they are working with Twitter to resolve this problem.

Soon after the hack, the CBS Denver and the @60minutes accounts started spewing spam links with fake news reports. All the compromised accounts have been suspended by Twitter. The @60minutes account was claimed back by CBS, only to be hacked once again.

These hacks seem to have been carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, which claimed responsibility on the @60minutes Twitter account after compromising it for a second time. The Syrian Electronic Army was also responsible for hacking BBC, Reuters and NPR Twitter accounts back in March this year. The Syrian conflict has spread online, and this is the first time that a rebellion is using online misinformation to spread its propaganda further.

Although the accounts are all suspended for now, All Things D managed to get a screen shot of the malicious tweets.

cbs-twitter-hack

Twitter account hacks are happening with a scary regularity, and it seems that Twitter as a platform is unable to deal with this. A powerful social media tool like Twitter should work towards introducing preventive measures against these situations, rather than jumping in and making amends only after accounts are hacked.

The British Library Plans to Archive the UK Web

Around this time back in 2010, the Library of Congress (LOC) announced on its website that it wants to archive all of Twitter’s firehose since March 2006. It was a bold decision, and since then, the LOC has amassed over 170 billion tweets. The LOC said,

As society turns to social media as a primary method of communication and creative expression, social media is supplementing, and in some cases supplanting, letters, journals, serial publications and other sources routinely collected by research libraries.

british-library

Now, the British Library has taken a similar decision and wants to archive the entire UK web. However, this effort includes websites, blogs, forums and social media sites. They have estimated a total of 4.8 million websites, and over 1 billion webpages going into the archive. The entire process will span over five months, including three month of data collection and two months of processing. This processed data will act as a vital resource for researchers from the future generation.

A similar project was undertaken in Iceland where all websites since 2004 are being archived. This is commendable work. The fact that digital content is being given a place in history by archaic organizations like these simply shows how much they are willing to evolve and get past their traditional model. However, what worries me is that the effort they are making is quite redundant. The Internet Archive has been doing exactly this for over a decade, and it would make much more sense if all these individual libraries simply collaborate with the Internet Archive and fund it properly to do their work.

(Via)