Saturday, 28 February 2015

Intel teases new Intel Atom x3, x5 and x7 processors while announcing a new naming scheme

Intel is trying to make its Atom line of processors more user-friendly naming scheme than the current four digit (plus maybe letters) arrangement. From now on Atoms will follow the same three-fold division that the premium Core i processors have, but with a different letter.

The good, better and best of the Intel Atoms will be labeled x3, x5 and x7 respectively. And that’s not all, as Intel’s PR blogpost suggests that the change is not in the names only, but there is actually new silicone ready to be announced.

The new Intel Atom x3, x5 and x7 processors will be aimed at tablets, phablets and phones and prioritize mobility and battery life, while offering competitive battery life. The Intel Core M and Core i series remain to target laptops and hybrid devices.

While, today’s news is not a product announcement per se, we still think they’ve got some new sillicone ready. It’s clearly stated that “This change will start with the next generation of processors” and the infographic explicitly states new processors in the title.

Source | Via

AMD shows little interest in the Chromebook market

MWC is nearing and HTC’s “Utopia in progress” event is only days away. If you consider March 1 distant future though, we have some more info on the company’s next-gen flagship.

Coming from a different source this time, we get confirmation that the One (M9) will utilize a Toshiba sensor for the main camera, as we previously reported. By all accounts, it will be the T4KA7 20MP CMOS unit which has a 1/2.4″ diagonal and an effective resolution of 5,384 x 3,752 pixels, each of them 1.12 x 1.12 microns in size.

Sheer resolution is not the most intriguing part of the imager’s specs though. More catchy numbers come from its burst shooting capabilities, where the sensor can output 22fps at full resolution. Whether the Snapdragon 810 inside the One (M9) or the camera processing will be able to handle it, remains to be seen. The 90fps capability at 1080p will likely result in a nice 60fps 1080p video mode in practice, while 150fps at 720p will please slow-motion enthusiasts with a 120fps 720p mode.

20MP sensors are still somewhat of a rarity on the market and smartphone manufacturers in the Android realm have so far relied on Sony imagers. Samsung was rumored to be developing one of their own for use in the Galaxy S6, but apparently dropped it for a 16MP unit, again made by Sony. HTC marks a departure from the trend and opts for a different Japanese make, which is no bad thing as Sony’s offering had its flaws.

Source | Via

AMD shows little interest in the Chromebook market

Chromebooks have definitely been on the rise lately and frankly we can see their appeal. They are ideal for a pure-online mobile experience on a budget and frankly nowadays you can get most of what you need through the abundance of online Google services, which you are most likely already relying on anyway. The point being that Chromebook definitely have their own place on the market, but currently they offer little hardware variety.

Of course, you can rightfully argue that most users of the budget machines don’t really care what is pushing the numbers inside the case, but the fact is that currently it seems only Intel is supplying processing power for the various portables. This is in no way mere chance and AMD really seems to have little interest or actual benefit from powering Chromebooks.

At the ISSCC conference AMD CTO Mark Papermaster shared his thoughts and shed some more light on the matter. He had this to say:

You have to at least get paid for that value when you’re working on graphics. You go below that, and you’re looking at $7 chips.

Mark is definitely referring to AMD’s current APU line. The fact of the matter is that these CPU and GPU combos currently offer very nice performance for the buck, but you are still talking about silicon with fairly advanced graphic capabilities. This is not to say Chromebooks wouldn’t enjoy the extra pixel-pushing power, but their price tag simply doesn’t leave much room for AMD to make a profit out of the APU chips. Coupled with the fact that the segment may be growing fast, but still represent a very small fraction of the market makes the whole ordeal very financially unviable.

Bottom line is that if you are on the market for a shiny new Chromebook you will have to settle with a low-powered Intel chip, at least for the time being. And if you are truly a Google fan, you could splurge for the top of the line Chromebook Pixel or even wait out until the newer model is released, which frankly at that price tag shows true brand dedication.


Google Play Store will soon feature sponsored app placement

It there is one thing Google knows how to do its advertisement. It is one of the main reasons the tech giant is such a formidable force nowadays. Google’s Play store has become an incredibly popular content hub, not only for apps, but movies and music as well. It was only natural that the company’s unique ad-supported suggestion system find its way to the store sooner or later.

The ads in question will only be present within the search results in much the same way you see results being pushed to Google’s web search. So you might start seeing suggested apps pop-up in you Play Store searches. These will look almost identical to other results but will be marked with a little “Ad” label.

This initial beta test will consist of apps from developers, already using Google’s advertisement platform. It is also important to note that at this time ads will only appear in search results and not on any home page or app section.

Source | Via

Motorola will bring the Moto Maker customization service to the Moto 360

So far, Motorola’s Moto Maker service has allowed you to order a very personalized Moto X from the company. But next month it will become available for the Moto 360 smartwatch too.

You’ll get to choose a casing – either silver, black, or champagne gold. Then you pick a band size, from the two available. The band itself can be either metal or leather. And finally, you select one of 11 watch faces, and the one you like will show up when you first turn the wearable on.

This extension of the Moto Maker program to the Moto 360 has been planned ever since the company was working on its first smartwatch, but only now have all the pieces fallen into place. It looks like Motorola had to postpone this launch in order to get the Moto 360 out soon enough as to not miss the first wave of Android Wear devices.

The customization options aren’t as plentiful as in the case of the Moto X, but this is still a big step for smartwatches. After you’ve designed your very own Moto 360, the factory in Shenzhen, China will build it and ship it to you. Interestingly, it’s alleged that if you don’t like the design once it reaches your doorstep, you can simply send it back and try again.


Facebook gives users option to specify any gender they want

Facebook, which already offers 58 gender identity options, has now given users control over the words describing their gender. “Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own,” the world’s largest social network said.

If you choose a custom gender, you can also choose the pronoun you prefer: he/his, she/her or they/their. As before, you can also control the audience with whom you would like to share your custom gender.

The new option has already started rolling out in the US, although there’s no word yet on how fast it will roll out to all users.

Source | Via

Friday, 27 February 2015

Brazilian judge’s order to suspend WhatsApp halted by appeals court

Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge passed an order to suspend WhatsApp across the country after the instant messaging service allegedly failed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into “sexually graphic photos of children” that were circulated using the app. The Facebook-owned company appealed the decision, and now it is being reported that the suspension order has been halted.

“The suspension measure of WhatsApp services does not meet the requirement of proportionality,” the court said, while also maintaining that the company was legally obliged to help police with their enquiries.

Earlier, lawyers representing WhatsApp allegedly argued the company can’t be forced to comply with the law of the land primarily because it does not have offices in Brazil.


Google reverses its stance to disallow sexually explicit content on Blogger

Earlier this week Google announced that it won’t be allowing people to have sexually explicit content on its Blogger platform. Earlier such content would be marked as ‘Adult’ so as to provide a warning to viewers before the content was presented to them but then Google thought even that wasn’t enough.

However, it seems the company has received a fair amount of backlash on the decision, following which it has promptly reversed its stance on it. A team member said on the Blogger Help Forum:

We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.

As before, blog owners will have to mark any sexually explicit content as Adult’ but other than that there is not much difference for regular users.


Samsung Galaxy S6 earbuds made the rounds online

The downpour of leaks and rumors on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6 has been intensifying with the nearing of its official launch. One detail that has remained left out though has been the flagship’s headset.

That omission has been addressed and live images of the earbuds that will likely accompany the Galaxy S6 and its Edge sibling have been spotted online. Befitting the smartphones’ prices, the headphones sport a premium look and attention to detail.

Abandoning the deep in-ear design of the units that came with previous Samsung flagships, the company has opted for a similar construction to the earbuds that shipped with Apple smartphones since the iPhone 5. A common feature of most upmarket headsets of late is the flat tangle-free cord, present here as well. There’s a remote, naturaly, which houses the mic and has a familiar three-button setup with a volume rocker and pause/pickup/hangup button.

Samsung Galaxy S6 earbuds

Samsung’s “Unpacked” press event at the MWC will be held on March 1, so stay tuned to our website for live coverage of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge unveiling.

Source | Via

Google gets experimental reader mode in Chrome for desktop

One of the best features of Safari on desktop or mobile is the Reader mode, that extracts the basic text and the relevant images from a web page and presents it in a more readable manner, free of distractions such as advertisements and odd font choices.

Google has been working on something similar for Chrome. They already added it in Chrome for Android a while back but oddly you have to mess around in chrome:flags to enable it. Now they are bringing it to Chrome for desktop and you can use it with more fiddling around.

On desktop it’s even more work to use this feature right now, as you have to install the DOM Distiller from here, at which point you will see the ‘Distill page’ menu item in your Chrome. That will let you use the reader mode for the webpage.

Of course, this feature should come formally with a more user friendly switch in future but if you want to use it right now and for some reason don’t want to use one of the many Chrome extensions that can already do this (such as Clearly) then give this method a try.


LINE Messenger app update for Windows Phone brings Timeline and Group Home features

Today LINE Messenger app for Windows Phone has got a new update which brings Timeline and Group Home features. The LINE app for the Android and iOS was recently updated with Timeline sharing options.

Timeline, just like that on Facebook, allows the users to share their activities and images for their friends to like and comment on them. In case a picture is shared, a typical Windows Phone device can show only one post at a time.

Sharing images and notes with specific bunch of folks is much easier with the new Groups feature. Several groups with specific contacts and friends can be created and the user can save important messages within the app. Besides that, now the Recommendations List will also display reasons why an update has been particularly recommended to you.

Get the new LINE Messenger app from the Windows Phone Store.


Swiss show off smartwatches with a shared platform and 2 year battery life

The Swiss are famous for their watches, but have been very shy about smartwatches so far. Mondaine (makers of the iconic Swiss railway clocks), Frederique Constant and Alpina (an FC subsidiary) have all introduced smartwatches at Baselworld, a key watch and jewellery industry showcase event.

The Mondaine Helvetica No. 1 (with labels in the namesake font) is based on the regular watch model of the same name but sprinkles some smart functionality. The Mondaine smartwatch will have a brushed steel case with a white dial and a sapphire crystal and a leather strap. It will launch this Autumn, but price hasn’t been announced yet.

Frederique Constant and Alpina will launch over 10 models based on a shared platform. The FC watch will have a 42mm case plated with rose gold, a sapphire crystal and water resistance up to 5 ATM.

All of these are built on the MotionX platform that handles exercise and sleep tracking. It’s also inside the Jawbone and the Nike trackers. It connects to an Android or iPhone over Bluetooth 4.0 and the battery should last over 2 years.

The smartwatches feature a sub-dial with two hands that can indicate various numbers in analog form. These numbers can be the date or information from the activity and sleep trackers.

There’s a lot of competition lining up. The Withings Activite watch is similar in design, but designed by a French company (made in Switzerland though). Swiss company Montblanc has different ideas about how to integrate smart functionality into a beautiful watch. Swatch wants in too.

Source 1Source 2

Alcatel to announce new phones this Sunday at the MWC 2015

Alcatel has announced it’s going to hold a press conference at the Mobile World Congress this year. Scheduled for Sunday, March 1, the event should see a yet unknown number of phones announced.

The company has been quite mysterious lately and has managed to keep its upcoming line-up of devices under cover. Historically at the MWC, Alcatel has always announced smartphones covering all of the market tiers and we expect the same thing to happen this year, too.

Alcatel promises its press event to deliver an “Upside down” experience, whatever this means. In any case, we’re very much looking forward to what the company has in store with its new OneTouch phone members.

Google updates Maps for iOS with nearby businesses, quick facts on points of interest

Today Google has released the latest version of its Maps application for iOS. Google Maps 4.3.0 is already up for grabs from the iTunes App Store, for both iPhone and iPad (running iOS 6.0 or later). The update brings with it a few new features.

For starters, you now see nearby businesses when you look up an address. Additionally, you get quick facts on popular points of interest, and you can add transit directions to your calendar.

You’re also able to see a list of upcoming events and performances at certain participating venues, and you can earn your Local Guides badge by sharing reviews. Finally, of course some unnamed bug fixes are in too.


Huawei Watch with Android Wear gets revealed through ad at Barcelona airport

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now. Huawei has been teasing a smartwatch for a couple of weeks or so, but today we get to see exactly what it will look like. This is thanks to the fact that Huawei already has ads for the watch at Barcelona airport, waiting to welcome people attending MWC we assume.

Since the Android Wear logo is present in the bottom right corner of the ad, it’s clear which platform the Huawei Watch will run. As you can see, this is another round contender in the smartwatch space, and judging from this image alone it seems to be one of the best looking wearables revealed so far.

It definitely most resembles a normal, non-smart watch, which is a look many people like apparently. So Huawei might have a winner here. Three distinct styles are shown in the billboard – one features a silver watch with a silver mesh band, another pairs a gold watch with a brown leather band, while the last one consists of a black watch with a black sports band.

The motto for the Huawei Watch is “Timeless design. Smart within”. We’re sure to find out everything there is to know about it on Sunday, March 1, when the Chinese company will hold its MWC press conference.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Boko Haram Twitter Account Suspended

Boko Haram Twitter account which was opened recently and has been used to circulate videos and photos of attacks carried out in some Northern parts of the country has been suspended today by Twitter. It will be recalled that Abubakar Shekau recently shifted his base to the social media site since most of the videos he puts on youtube are usually brought down after a while.

Some of the videos he posted on the account before it was brought down today were hosted on sendvid before he then pastes them on twitter while images were hosted on with messages in Arabic, English or Hausa language following it.

Al-Shabaab, a militant Somali group, Islamic Jihad Union, Indian Mujahideen, and Al-Qaida, have all used twitter in the past, but were all yanked off, due to violent messages the groups usually posts.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I don't have a Facebook or twitter account - Obasanjo says

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he does not have a twitter or Facebook account. Obasanjo said this while addressing media reports claiming he used his twitter handle to describe Fani-Kayode as a democracy wrecker.

"Fani-Kayode is a democracy wrecker, who’s very fluent in stupidity. Give him food, and he will sing and do “shoki” dance for you.”. the handle tweeted over the weekend.

Denying he tweeted it, Obasanjo said;

"I don’t know where this comes from. I don’t have any account on either the Facebook or Twitter again. Go and block it. Let me say that, nemesis will catch up with anyone doing this. It is illegal and criminal. If I have to pass any message to the good people of Nigeria, I know how to go about it with no controversy" he said

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Another Samsung Galaxy S6 teaser goes live, check it out

Samsung released yet another teaser for its upcoming flagship smartphone. Samsung Galaxy S6 will debut in a tad over a week, on March 1 in Barcelona.

The latest teaser clip hints that the upcoming handset will feature metal body with no borders. The latter could be a subtle reference to the much rumored Edge variant of the smartphone, or a nod to the design of its top and bottom (see the image above).

You can find out a round up of all Galaxy S6 teasers by Samsung by hitting the source link below.


Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

Sometimes you have to start fresh to get it right, that’s what Samsung did with the Galaxy A series. They are all thin, with metal frames and go against Samsung’s very nature – they focus on looks and feel more than on features. Even so, the Samsung Galaxy A7 is pretty well loaded.

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

It’s a 5.5″ phablet that serves as a mid-range alternative to the Galaxy Note 4.

The Galaxy A7 is more than 2mm thinner and a good 35g lighter than its well-known cousin. Other than that it has roughly the same design with a metal unibody – though for all we can see, the back panel does not look as metal convincingly enough. The thing is, it’s not removable but it still flexes a bit under pressure. It also doesn’t feel as cold to the touch as the metal frame around the sides.

The unit we have with us is the dual-SIM model (Galaxy A7 Duos) and it has two slots – one is a regular nanoSIM, while the other either holds a second nanoSIM or a microSD (whichever you choose but not both).

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

Two slots for card that can hold two SIMs or SIM+microSD

The Samsung Galaxy A7 features a 5.5″ Super AMOLED screen with 1080p resolution. That gives it a pixel density of 401ppi, below the 515ppi of the Galaxy Note 4 though it won’t get many (any?) complaints. There’s no S Pen stylus like on the Notes though. Samsung didn’t make a Neo version of the Galaxy Note 4 so this generation is without a mid-range phablet with an S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

A 5.5″ Super AMOLED with 1080p resolution

Anyway, the version we’re testing, the dual-SIM 3G one, is powered by a Snapdragon 615 chipset (octa-core Cortex-A53). The same goes for the dual-SIM LTE option. The single-SIM LTE phone packs an Exynos 5430 (quad Cortex-A15 plus quad A7), the same chipset as the Galaxy Alpha.

The Exynos chipset performed great when we tested it on the Alpha, though with the flexibility of the dual-SIM version the Snapdragon 615 looks like a safe bet too. It’s a 64-bit chipset unlike the Exynos, which will become increasingly important for Android in the future.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 is very light (141g) and thin (6.3mm) so it never feels bulky in the hand. The matte back does a great job of hiding fingerprints and is smoothly rounded near the edges so it feels even thinner. It is not a small phone, yet it comes with the same features for one-handed use that the Galaxy Note 4 has.

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The Galaxy A7 is large but thin

The camera sticks out the back though and not by a little. It’s a 13MP camera that records 1080p video and is flanked by a solitary LED flash and loudspeaker.

The front-facing camera shoots 5MP selfie photos and 1080p videos. The selfie camera has a wide-angle lens too, 106°, so you can get several of your friends and take a groupie. The Wide selfie mode helps make selfeis even wider with a panorama-like shooting.

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

The phone is thin, everywhere but the camera, which protrudes significantly

The retail box comes with the usual accessories – a one-piece headset, a SIM ejector tool, a microUSB cable and a charger. The charger puts out 1.55A, which isn’t enough for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge and there’s no mention of it in the specs either.

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on

A standard retail package

The Samsung Galaxy A7 will soon join its A5 and A3 siblings in our review section, stay tuned as we toil on the full length article.