Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lava launches Helium 14 Windows 10 laptop for Rs. 14,999

Lava in collaboration with Microsoft and Intel is launching its first fully-fledged laptop, the Helium 14. The budget laptop ships with Windows 10 Home Edition and has a built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) microchip to provide hardware based security.

The Lava Helium 14 sports 14.1-inch Full HD display and is powered by 1.44GHz quad-core Intel x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor (Turbo Boost up to 1.92GHz), 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC storage.

Connectivity options include a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a mini HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. Other features include 2MP HD webcam, dual-speakers, and 10000mAh Lithium Polymer battery  that is rated to deliver up to nine hours of battery life. It weighs 1.4kg, and comes in Silver and Purple colors.

The Lava Helium 14 has been priced at Rs. 14,999 and will be available online exclusively on Flipkart. It will also be available via select retail stores and multi-brand outlets across Delhi, NCR, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Bangalore  from the first week of July in its first phase of launch.

Vodafone India offers free Netflix subscription on select postpaid plans

Vodafone has teamed up with Netflix in India to exclusively offer its Vodafone Red customers, free Netflix subscription of up to one year on select RED postpaid monthly plans.

Postpaid customers with Rs. 1,299 or Rs. 1,699 plans will get two months Netflix subscription worth Rs. 1,000. Customers with RED Rs. 1,999 plan will get three months Netflix subscription worth Rs. 1,500, and Vodafone RED Rs. 2,999 users will get 12 months Netflix subscription worth Rs. 6,000 for free.

To claim the offer you need to:
  • SMS Netflix to 199 from your Vodafone Number or visit
  • Enter your Vodafone number for RED Verification
  • Enter the OTP your have received
  • If you are using RED 1299 plan or above, you can activate your free Netflix subscription, otherwise you will get an option to upgrade to an eligible RED plan
The offer is available for both new and existing Vodafone Red postpaid users.

Amazon Echo speaker with Alexa launching in India later this year

According to a report from Economic Times, Amazon is planning to launch its Echo smart speakers along with Alexa voice assistant in India by the end of this year.

This is being reported the second time, as back in February, Factor Daily also claimed the same, and said that Amazon has started the process of putting together contents for localizing the service.

But the new report citing two people aware of the development adds more weight and says that Amazon has already begun testing Echo speakers in India through select company executives, business professionals and analysts.

The Echo speakers will be initially launched with an English interface, but Amazon will later add support for regional Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi and Tamil. A multilingual interface is reportedly being developed for Echo speaker at Amazon’s Chennai facility.

Echo speaker will include all the services it currently offers in the US like buy groceries, order food, book a cab, play music and more by giving voice commands to Alexa. For online purchases, Alexa will link to the company’s online marketplace. However there are a few hurdles like large family culture and two-factor payment authentications, but Amazon is exploring workarounds for these barriers.

The report also says that Amazon will launch Echo speaker in the country with attractive pricing and offers initially, a similar strategy it used for its Prime Video service. These offerings are likely to be linked with existing users of Amazon’s services in India

Android Nougat roll out for Xperia XA and XA Ultra temporarily on hold

Sony rolled out Android Nougat for Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra earlier this month. However, the update for these smartphones were stopped shortly thereafter, which went unnoticed.

Now Sony has officially confirmed that the update has been temporarily paused, stating the reason, "due to inconsistencies related to OTA delivery system". The company also reassured that Nougat update for Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra will starting again as soon as possible, but did not provide an ETA.

Here's the full statement:
“We’ve temporarily paused the Android 7.0 upgrade for Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra due to minor performance inconsistencies related to the over-the-air delivery system. Regardless of whether a user has been able to successfully run the upgrade or not, there is no detrimental impact on device performance or loss of existing user data. We’re aiming to re-commence the rollout as soon as possible with a seamless upgrade experience for all users, and will provide a further update in due course.”

Source | Via

Alcatel Idol 5S, A50 and A30 Plus with Android Nougat announced

Alcatel has announced three budget new smartphones for the US market dubbed Idol 5S, A50 and A30 Plus . The trio runs Android Nougat, supports 4G LTE and expandable storage (up to 512GB). 

The company says the Idol 5S is designed to "offer impressive hardware design, a brilliant large pixel rear camera, immersive viewing and listening experience."

It features 5.5-inch Full HD Dragontrail 2.5D curved glass display and is powered by Snapdragon 625 chip with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. For photography, it gets 12MP OmniVision OV12870 rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and dual-tone LED flash, and 8MP 78-degree wide-angle selfie camera. It comes with USB Type-C port, fingerprint scanner and Dual 3.6-watt front facing speakers with stereo sound, and packs 2620mAh battery.

The Alcatel A50 comes with three optional back cases, that adds extra functionality to the device. The LightUp SNAPBAK case transforms the phone into an interactive LED light to show with visual notifications of incoming calls, messages, e-mails, custom patterns and more. The Sound SNAPBAK come with a built-in kickstand, and has 2.5 watt stereo speaker to turn the A50 in a portable speaker. The Power SNAPBAK case is a battery pack and when snapped with A50 offers double battery life of up to 22 hours talk time, 80 hours of music playback and up to 10 hours of video playback.

The specs of Alcatel A50 includes 5.2-inch HD IPS display, quad-core MediaTek MT6738 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 13MP/5MP cameras (both with flash) and 2800mAh battery.

Lastly, the Alcatel A30 Plus comes with 5.5-inch HD IPS display and is powered by 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6738 processor. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. It is fueled by 3000mAh battery and offers 13MP rear camera (w/dual tone LED flash) and 5MP selfie camera (w/ LED flash) for photography.

As for the pricing, the Alcatel Idol 5S (Crystal Black) is priced at $279.99 (Rs. 18,000), A30 Plus (Black w/ Metallic Silver) at $129.99 (Rs. 8,390) and A50 (Metal Silver) costs $149.99 (Rs. 9,700). They are now up for pre-order and will be available in the US starting July 10 through Amazon Prime customers will also have an opportunity to purchase these new Alcatel smartphones at discounted price through the Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones program, which requires them to view ad on the lock screen.

Xiaomi outs Matte Black Mi Max 2 in Hong Kong

Xiaomi unveiled the giant sized Mi Max 2 phablet last month in China, and was initially available in a single Gold hue. Now the Chinese smartphone maker has released a new Matte Black Mi Max 2 as well for Hong Kong.  

While the Gold Mi Max 2 was offered with 64GB and 128GB storage options, the Matte Black Mi Max 2 will ship with only 64GB storage. It has been priced at HKD 1,899 (Rs. 15,700).

Aside from the new paint job, there is no new addition, and the design and specs sheet are same as the Gold Mi Max 2.

The Mi Max 2 sports a metal unibody design and a 6.44-inch Full HD display, and comes with Snapdragon 626 chip, 4GB RAM, 12MP/5MP cameras and a beefy 5300mAh battery. It runs Android Nougat based MIUI 8, and includes a fingerprint scanner and dual-stereo speakers.

There is a fingerprint scanner at the back of the handset. The phone also features an IR blaster, which can act as a universal remote for TV and air conditioner. Xiaomi at the China launch claimed that the Mi Max 2 comes with improved one-handed use.

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is also expected to reach Indian shores anytime soon.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Gionee partners Jio and PayTm for exciting offers

In a bid to expand its smartphone sales, Gionee India is teaming up with PayTm and Reliance Jio to offer deals on its smartphones. For the Jio offer, customers who bought eligible Gionee smartphones after June 16 will get up to 60GB free Jio data as part of "Jio-Gionee Additional Data" offer. 

Buyers of the eligible smartphones will get additional 4G data from Jio for a maximum of six recharge cycle of Rs. 309 and above, and have to be done on or  before March 31, 2018.

Gionee and Jio has divided eligible smartphones into three groups:
  • Group 1 ― Gionee P5L and Gionee P7 2GB 4G data voucher per recharge of Rs 309 and above for six months. 
  • Group 2 Gionee Elife S6, Gionee Elife S7, Gionee Marathon M5, Gionee S Plus, Gionee S6s, F103 pro, Gionee M5 lite CDMA, Gionee Marathon M4 , Gionee Marathon M5 Lite, Gionee P7 max, Gionee F103 5GB of 4G data per recharge 
  • Group 3 Gionee A1, Gionee M5Plus, Gionee S6Pro, Gionee Elife E8 10GB of 4G data per recharge
For the PayTm offer, customers can get two PayTm cashback vouchers worth Rs. 250 each on purchase of Gionee A1 or Gionee P7 max. Each voice ensures Rs. 250 caskback into the customer's Paytm wallet on a minimum purchase of INR 350 on Paytm Mall.
These offers were rolled out on June 26, 2017 and is valid till stocks last.

Android 7.1.1 now seeding for Xperia Z5 series, Xperia Z3+ and Xperia Z4 tablet

Last week Sony rolled out Android 7.1.1 Nougat to Xperia X and Xperia X Compact. Now the update is available for a slew of Sony's older devices including Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia Z3+ and Xperia Z4 tablet. The update comes five months after they received Android Nougat.

Android 7.1.1 for these devices bumps the build number from 32.3.A.2.33 to version 32.4.A.0.160 and includes Android security patch for June 2017, bug fixes and improvements, along with native Android 7.1.1 features like new emoji, app shortcuts, rounded icon, GIF keyboard support and more.

According to users after updating to Android 7.1.1, there device gets a new bluetooth icon color in settings, a new storage icon, Xperia Assist, refreshed fingerprint UI, improved image processing, and the ability to use the phone while Android is upgrading.

The update is rolling out to select regions in phases, and should get a wider release soon. If you've not been notified about the update yet, go to settings>about phone> system update. 


Qualcomm outs Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform for wearable devices

Qualcomm at MWC 2017, Shanghai introduced its latest processor for the wearable segment – the Snapdragon Wear 1200. The chip is designed for ultra-low power, highly energy efficient, always connected, and affordable wearable devices, fitness bands and activity trackers for kids, elderly, pets and more.

The Snapdragon Wear 1200 packs features like longer battery life, smarter sensing, constant location, robust security, and an always connected experience with comprehensive coverage into a 79mm sized wearable chip, 45 percent smaller than its predecessor, Snapdragon Wear 1100.

It comes with LTE categories M1 and NB1 connectivity, that allows low-power wearable device to connect to 4G network, while using less power.  There's also flexibility to add a range of external sensor hubs, and a global multi-mode M1/NB1/E-GPRS modem with support for 15 global RF bands, pre-certified for major global operators.

Location features supported are GPS, GLONASS, Gallileo and BeiDou constellations, low power geofencing and Qualcomm's cloud based location services with comprehensive global terrestrial positioning using WiFi and cellular service.

The wearable chip also features an integrated applications processor for Linux and ThreadX based applications and is scalable to support voice over LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. For privacy and security it has integrated hardware-based features like Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment, a hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator and TrustZone.

Qualcomm has also worked with ODMs (original design manufacturers) like Boeqs and Quanta to develop reference design platforms based on Snapdragon Wear 2100, that can be worn by kids, senior citizens  or pets. These come with geofencing feature  that uses GPS to create virtual geographic boundry and trigger a response when you pet or kid leaves a particular area.

Snapdragon Wear 1200 is commercially available and shipping today.

Samsung introduces ISOCELL image sensor brand: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual

Samsung at the ongoing Mobile World Congress, 2017 in Shanghai introduced its latest line up of ISOCELL imaging sensors. The brand is named after ISOCELL technology, which provides high quality cameras for ultra-slim phone designs. First introduced in 2013, ISOCELL technology separates each pixel with a physical barrier that reduces color crosstalk among pixels, allowing for high color fidelity, enabling excellent image quality even with smaller pixels.

The South Korean tech giant announced four new imaging sensors under the new ISOCELL brand, each targeted at specific market requirements — Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual.

The ISOCELL Bright sensors deliver bright and sharp images with high color fidelity and reduce noise in low light environments, whereas, the ISOCELL Fast sensors offers fast auto-focus onto still or moving objects even when dark. The ISOCELL Slim sensors adopt the smallest pixel sizes available in the market at 0.9-1.0um yet produce high quality images for the slimmest devices.

The ISOCELL Dual sensors is the most intersting of the lot, as it is likely to end up on Samsung's upcoming flagship Galaxy Note8. The company says Dual sensors "nan be mixed and matched in various combinations on consumer devices to bring about features demanded in the latest dual camera trend"

Slides shared by Samsung, reveals that the company is working on dual 13MP imaging sensor, one with a monochrome sensor and the other an RGB sensor. Both imaging sensors will feature f/2.0 aperture and 1.12 microx pixels, which Samsung touts to offer "superior image quality in low-light condition."

Samsung is yet to confirm whether the ISOCELL Dual sensors will be used in Galaxy Note8, but given the timing of the announcement, the case is most likely. Galaxy Note8 is expected to be introduced sometime in the second half of September

Via | Source

Asus ZenFone 3 Laser receives Android 7.1.1 update

The Asus ZenFone 3 Laser (ZC551KL) got its Android 7.0 Nougat update back in April this year. And now Asus is rolling out Android 7.1.1 to the device.

The update bumps the version number of ZenFone 3 Laser to V30.41.12.1. Although Asus has not provided a change log, the update should bring native Android 7.1.1 features like new emoji, rounded icons, GIF keyboard support and support for app shortcuts, along with bug fixes and improved performance, latest security patches released by Google.

The update should weigh around 500MB, and is being rolled out over-the-air in stages, so it make take some time to receive.  If you do not receive the update prompt, go to【Setting】>【About】>【System Update】to update manually. Before starting the update process, make sure you have atleast 1GB free storage space on your device, at least 50 percent charge, and connected to WiFi network.

Meanwhile, earlier today, the dual-camera toting ZenFone 3 Zoom also started receiving Android 7.1.1 update, which arrives as software version V20.31.49.2.


Samsung will reportedly launch Galaxy Note7 FE (Fandom Edition) on July 7

The Galaxy Note7 fiasco was one of the most shameful incidence (caught fire while charging) for Samsung, which resulted in three million  Note7 being recalled and the device was permanently discontinued. However, the South Korean tech giant confirmed that it will sell some of the returned Galaxy Note 7 units as refurbished device, but a launch date was not revealed.

Now according to Wall Street Journal, the refurbished Galaxy Note7 will be called Galaxy Note7 FE (Fandom Edition), and will release in home market of South Korea on July 7. Apart from home market, it will also be released in select countries, but will not get a US release.

The report says that Samsung Galaxy Note7 FE will have different components than the orginal one. Although the report didn't mention what this component is, it is most likely to be the battery. Earlier reports have suggested that Galaxy Note7 FE will come with a lower capcity battery of 3200mAh, as compared to 3500mAh battery found on the defected Galaxy Note7.

Samsung is expected to out at least 400,000 refurbished Galaxy Note7 spread across three major South Korean telecom operators, and according to WSJ cost less than 700,000 South Korean Won, which roughly translates to $613 or Rs. 40,000. 


Xiaomi announces Ninebot Plus

Besides Mi Laser Projector, Xiaomi at its Mi Ecosystem event in China introduced upgraded Mi Ninebot. The new Mi Ninebot Plus offers improved stability and able to climb over obstacles like bumps easily, as well as it is easier to hop on and get used to the controls.

It has integrated machine learning system, and based on initial usage, Ninebot Plus learns metrics such as speed, balance, agility, recovery, and braking, and after extended usage these metrics will be adjusted accordingly to best suit the user. It also has improved front light that is now incorporated with signal color. The light will change color according to the direction you head towards.

The Ninebot Plus also comes with a remote that allows users to control its movements. You can also use it as a trolley to pick your groceries or use it to walk your dog and intelligently follows you when it is within 20m range.

Other features and upgrades include 800w motor, maximum speed of 18km/h, 11-inch anti-slip tyres that automatically balances when locked, strengthened magnesium alloy chassis that can hold person up to 100 kg, IPX6 rating for water resistance. It can travel up to 35km on a single charge, and weighs 16kg.

There's also an optional Mi Ninebot Plus Camera, which can be attached to the Ninebot Mini Plus. It features  3-axis OIS, 1080p Full HD, 104 degrees wide angle and allows you to video real time.

The Mi Ninebot Plus will be available in China starting July 14 for CNY 3499 ($514 | Rs. 33,000).