5.9 Inch Nexus Smartphone Shows Up On Google’s Issue Tracker

Sources point out that the handset will be built by Motorola and code-named ‘Shamu’.

 

Reports are pouring in that Motorola may be working on a 5.9 inch smartphone (if that still qualifies as one) code-named ‘Shamu’. What is interesting to note, is that it may in all probability be Google’s next Nexus device.

The evidence comes from Google’s issue tracker for Android which showed an odd device tagged as the ‘Shamu’. Let us be clear that the word ‘Shamu’ is not of Indian origin, but in all probability refers to Google’s tradition of naming its handsets after marine creatures ('Shamu' is the name of a Killer Whale) like the 'hammerhead' (Nexus 5) and 'maguro' (Galaxy Nexus) of the past.

The device as Android Police puts it will be made by Motorola and will also be available to carriers in the US and internationally as well. What is known about the device so far is that it sports a 5.9 inch screen of unknown resolution and will also feature a fingerprint scanner (Samsung must be so relieved). Moreover, it has been targeted for a November release as well so things should fall in place, considering that Google won’t be announcing Project Silver till February 2015.

As rumours go, the website did manage to track down the source of the issue. It turns out to be a company that does the testing for smartphones like the one we have in the above mentioned rumour. So in all probability this device may after all exist but we cannot tell whether Motorola or Google may end up launching it for now.

[Also SeeAndroid Silver Will Not Kill Nexus Range Says Google Exec]


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Software, Android, Nexus, Google, Motorola

Microsoft Reveals More About The Windows Phone 8.1 GDR 1 Update

While most of us await the roll out of Windows Phone 8.1, GDR 1 is apparently ready and running at Microsoft.

 

The software as reported earlier is in the testing phase, but until now we had no clue about what’s new in GDR 1. Microsoft has now begun letting out the details of the GDR 1 update which like all GDR updates will not add game-changing features. WPCentral expanded on the same thanks to Microsoft’s Dev Center which seems to be clearing most of the doubts that came with the leak.

The leaked screenshot shows that Windows Phone 8.1 will indeed be bringing in 1280 x 800 native resolution support along with support for the Network Time protocol. Users will be able to drag and drop apps over the other to create folders as well. Another unusual point that the note shows is that one will be able to create a phone book entry for Cortana which will enable the user to integrate Cortana with the car’s navigation system. This is in the case that the car doesn't have support for activating speech on the phone via Bluetooth.

OEM’s will now be able to design custom lock screens for their handsets and can even pre-load apps in the files app. Also included is the presence of support for interactive covers similar to those of the LG G3 and the HTC One M8.The software will also support newer charging hardware standards that Qualcomm announced recently with its Quick Charge 2.0. Obviously, only Snapdragon 400 and 800 devices will be able to take advantage of the same charging tech.

[Also SeeQualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 Offers 75% Faster Charging For Your Mobile]


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Software, Windows Phone, Microsoft

Apple May Include NFC In Its iPhone 6

After all these years, the question is why?

 

Leaked images of the iPhone 6’s alleged PCB (Printed Circuit Board) have shown up online. While it does look pretty, there is apparently a lot more hidden compared to the past, including a wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi module and an NFC chip as well. So is Apple finally making the switch to NFC tech after years of being reluctant about the same?

The leaked images from nowhereelse.fr show the printed boards sans the chips and claim that their ‘reliable sources’ say that NFC is coming to the iPhone 6. Clearly the bigger size is making space for some more hardware even though we may see the end of the 3.5 mm jack this year. NFC would definitely be bigger news compared to the newer Wi-Fi module, since Apple has been pretty hesitant about using NFC and has always found workarounds for its iPhone for similar features.

So far the Cupertino tech giant has found other ways to deliver similar functions like using a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for short range functions like iBeacons and AirDrop. Obviously these are features that the world would indeed not switch to since there are secure and simpler solutions like NFC which will can be adopted better to Android’s ‘”fragmented” needs.

Apple's mobile development chief, Craig Federighi made fun of Android when he announced AirDrop data sharing technology for iOS last year. Federighi said at the opening of the Worldwide Developers Conference, "There's no need to wander around the room bumping your phone." poking at NFC, Android and Windows Phone users all at once. Clearly if the rumour does turn out to be true we would indeed be seeing “hummer-sized” iPhones “bumping” into each other to connect to stuff. AirBump anyone?


TAGS: Mobile Phones, iOS, Apple iPhone 6, Apple, Hardware

Patents Show That iOS 8 Will Not Disturb You When You Workout

Would you really like to be disconnected from the world when you are jogging?

 

Apple clearly didn’t want to create a dent in the health tracking scene started by Samsung. Which is why the Cupertino tech giant just announced the iOS HealthKit at the recent WWDC event which was meant to give developers better APIs to work with. Seems more of test drive back then, but now as AppleInsider points out, the company could indeed be pretty serious.

We are talking about a locaton-aware, ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode which actually detects when the user is exercising and will silence all communications. Basically it will know this through the Nike FuelBand or Apple’s own rumoured iWatch. Think of it as a trainer who will literally throw your phone to the side when it comes to your workouts. The patent filing shows that the Do Not Disturb mode will mute all notifications in the form of text messages, phone calls and even emails to let users focus on their workout.

It will also take personal coaching to the next level by encouraging the user to get up and get a bit active as well. The personal coach will do this in the form of messages that will indeed run across devices. So if you happen to lying on your couch all day on a weekend, expect your iPad to prompt you about the same.

Indeed this is still more of casual form of health-tracking when compared to Samsung’s SAMI platform which takes things to a whole new level with live health monitoring and an ecosystem to go with it.


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Software, iOS 8, iOS, Apple

Enough With The iPhone 6; iPhone 6c Anyone?

We hope that Apple will not commit the same grave mistake once again.

 

We could be seeing the first signs of an iPhone 6C out here, but we rather not hear about one altogether. Apple’s first venture into the affordable smartphone range clearly did not turn out to be a good one; and while TechRadar has pointed out that we may be seeing 4 iPhones getting launched this year, it indeed seems like an impossibility thanks to past mistakes made by the Cupertino tech giant.

The leaks come in the form a product listing by screen protector manufacturer XtremeGuard who also happened to list two versions of the currently unheard of iPhone 6c. The handsets as listed by name include both the 4.7 inch version and the 5.5 inch one as well.

It does come across as a surprise, but case manufacturers do have a habit of preparing in advance, which is how the iPhone 6 has leaked out in the first place. So we have to take this information with a pound of salt, since there have been no rumours of Apple building a cheaper version of the iPhone 6 just yet.

Whatever be the case, we can be sure that the launch will happen pretty soon and Apple may end up displaying just one (4.7 inch) iPhone 6 instead of the rumoured two.

[Also Read: Apple Facing Problems With Bigger iPhone 6 Displays]


TAGS: Mobile Phones, iOS, Apple

Future Phone Could Have 1TB Of RAM

The RRAM will be the size of a postage stamp

 

Gone are the days when you had limited RAM on your phone and at present it is a luxury to have a 3GB of RAM. If the scientists succeed in their recent innovation then your future phone may well be boasting 1TB of RAM.

According to a report in engadget, the scientists at Rice University have managed to form a restive RAM (RRAM) that is a size of postal stamp and could stuff 1TB into the component.

They have apparently used porous silicon oxide where metals are used to fill the pores. They also suggested that it requires much lesser power than the previous techniques and is not fazed by heat.

They are expecting the result to be a RAM chip with a capacity of a larger permanent storage and much more capable than the present flash storage.

Considering the size this is ideal for mobiles, the impact might be far reaching and can be used from your computers, cars and daily appliances, vastly changing the way they are being used. 


TAGS: Mobile Phones

Review: LG G3 — An All Round Performer

The handset shines with its screen, camera, and performance.

Rating 4 /5
 
Review: LG G3 — An All Round Performer
Pros:
Super-sharp Quad HD screen; Impressive camera; Excellent multimedia performance; Good battery life; Works as a universal remote.
Cons:
Tacky and cluttered UI; Prone to scracthes; Uncomfortable for single-handed use.

LG G3
Street Price: Rs 47,000


After a series of lacklustre phones, the G2 brought LG back in the smartphone game. It did not break its rival GALAXY S4's sales records, but was well received by the critics. Especially, the camera and screen were among the best in its class. Now a year on, the company has come up with the G3 that promises to take things to the next level with a Quad HD screen and laser-assisted camera. So it a worthy successor of the G2. Let's find out.

Design
The G3 isn't quite a trend-setter like the HTC One, but it looks way better than the Samsung GALAXy S5. As mentioned in our preview article, the G3's design is very much like its predecessor. The phone has a large screen and thin bezels. This design decision has helped LG keep the phone's size in check. The curved back helps with the grip to some extent. However, it's not a phone you can comfortably operate without using both hands.

It does differ from the G2 in some aspects though. For starters, the South Korean brand has done away with the G2's glossy plastic. Instead of that, the G3 offers a faux-metal finish. It looks good, but is prone to scratches. Within my week's use, the phone got many hairline scratches. Plus, the rear 'Lock' button lost its colour at a few spots.

Unlike most flagship phones, the G3 comes with a removable back-panel that gives access to the battery, microSD, and SIM card slot. The phone comes with LG's signature rear 'Lock' key. The button is sandwiched between the Volume Rocker. That's exactly how it's positioned on the G2. The buttons are easily accessible with your index finger, however, the phone tends to pop-out from your hand while using these buttons. So although the key placement is unique, it's not better than the conventional setup.

Display
The LG G3 features a 5.5-inch IPS with 1440x2560 pixels. With the pixel density of 534 ppi, the display is incredibly sharp. The pre-loaded Quad HD videos look amazing on this screen. However, you can't spot much of a difference between the G3 and other flagship phones if you're playing 720p and 1080p videos. Since it's an IPS-type display, the viewing angles are wide. The colour reproduction is great too, save for the blacks. For scratch protection, LG has used Corning's Gorilla Glass 3.

Key Specifications
LG's latest flagship is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5 GHz. The 32 GB model packs in 3 GB RAM, whereas 16 GB model settles for 2 GB. In the photography department, you get a 13 megapixel camera. Other features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, and 3000 mAh battery.

Software
The LG G3 ships with Android 4.4 Kitkat. However, as you'd expect from the Korean manufacturers, the interface is nothing like the vanilla Android. LG's Optimus UI looks a bit toned-down compared to what was there on the G2. Following Microsoft and Apple, the Korean brand has gone with a 'flat' UI. However, the tacky animation effects can be still found across the interface. For instance, the phone offers Light Particle (Glitter), Soda, Vector Circle effects for the lock screen. Speaking of which, the phone comes with the Knock Code feature that allows you to wake and unlock the screen with a tap pattern.

The G3, much like its predecessor, packs in an Infrared port. Using this, you can control TVs, music systems, and AC. If your product is not listed in the presets, you can even map your existing remote's keys on this phone.

The notification area does more than just displaying alerts. It feature a bunch of quick toggles, notifications, and brightness slider. The button animations are also quite cheesy here. If things weren't too crowded already, LG gives you an option to squeeze in a mini remote to the notification bar. Multitasking menu is another place where LG has made things too crowded.

The G3 comes with Dual Window feature which is exactly like Samsung's Multi Windows functionality. It allows you to split the screen vertically to run two apps simultaneously. The feature works, but why would anyone want to do something like this on a phone is beyond me.

The G3 mostly runs smooth, but there's a slight stutter throughout the user interface. Those using iPhone or Windows Phone will be quick to notice this. Moving onto gaming, the Snapdragon 801 handles every Android game with an ease. However, at the time of publishing this review, a few games including the Real Racing 3 are not yet compatible the Quad HD screen. Those interested in synthetic benchmarks can check out the scores below:

AnTuTu: 33,931
Quadrant: 22,670

Camera
The G3 is the first smartphone to feature laser-assisted auto-focus mechanism. In this system, laser beams are fired from the camera assembly. These beams bounce off the objects and come back towards the camera. That's similar to how SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) works. Calculating the return time, the camera figures out how far the object is. The use of lasers, make the focusing very fast. Plus, LG is the only Android manufacturer to offer proper OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) system. Thanks to all these features, the G3 is quick to lock focus. Plus, it produces crisp shots with accurate colours. In proper lighting conditions, it beats any Android handset from a major manufacturer. For full blown images, click the following hyperlinks: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3. The only downer here is that the G3 offer very few camera modes and manual settings.

It also does a decent job in low-light, but that's still nowhere near the Lumia 925. To get the idea of what I'm on about, check out the image below:

The G3 records 2160p quality videos at 30 fps. The clips offer amazing details and accurate colours. Plus, the video playback turns out to be quite smooth.

Multimedia
The G3 offers impressive sound output. The earphones were missing in the review package, but it sounded excellent with Sony's MDR-EX57SL. The handset's video player is packed with features. It supports most video formats including MP4, DivX, XviD, and MKV out-of-the-box. You can even zoom into videos with pinch gesture. Undoubtedly, the 5.5-inch screen turns out to be brilliant for watching movies.

Telephone And Messaging
The LG G3's network reception was spotless. the in-call voice quality was good too. Moving on to messaging, the on-screen keyboard is responsive. Thanks to a 5.5-inch screen, the keys are well-spaced. Lg also gives an option to stretch the keyboard size as you like.

Battery Life
The LG G3's 3000 mAh battery powers the device for over a day and half. In our 720 video loop test, it lasted for more than 10 hours. To put things in perspective, the GALAXY S5 lasted for 11 hours in the same test. So overall, the G3's performance is quite good.

Verdict
The LG G3 is a powerful Android device with a great screen. It may not beat the HTC One (M8) in terms of design, but is definitely better looking than the Samsung GALAXY S5. It also offers the best camera Android camp has to offer in India. All in all, it's a very good alternative to the Samsung GALAXY S5, unless you're looking for an element-proof flagship.

Features: 4/5
Design and Build Quality: 3.5/5
Performance: 4/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Mojo: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4/5


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Android, LG, LG G3

BlackBerry Passport Now Confirmed To Come In White

Apparently its designers have worked hard to ensure that it stands out in the smartphone world.

 

While BlackBerry is readying its upcoming Passport smartphone for launch, the BlackBerry Insider blog is busy revealing both the software and hardware features of the soon to be announced smartphone. This time around we get a confirmation, that Passport will come in white along with the black version that CEO, John Chen proudly displayed at recent Annual General Meeting.

The designers of the Passport have indeed been working hard to ensure that the end-product will deliver the BlackBerry experience that the BlackBerry faithful have been used to. While Android apps seem to be running well on the Passport’s odd-sized display, the designers have ensured that old customers get the same BlackBerry feel when they hold the product.

This is all thanks to use of a variety of materials that have been used in different places for the construction of the handset. The white model delivers a ‘porcelain feel’ that is smooth to touch while delivering the right amount of grip which is indeed important considering the size of the handset (HTC we are looking at you). Indeed this is possible because of the fact that the designers do have a lot of external bits and pieces to play around with, compared to the flat Android smartphones which look similar from a distance.

[Also See: BlackBerry Has Its Own Virtual Assistant Called ‘BlackBerry Assistant’]

Apparently the designers also reveal that they were indeed inspired by an actual passport, which stands as a universal symbol of mobility.

Well, whatever may be the reasoning behind the BlackBerry Passport’s design, we hope that the company decides to launch the product soon as BlackBerry fans are drifting towards iOS and Android devices lately.


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Hardware, BB 10, BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry

Metal-Clad GALAXY Alpha May Be A Limited Edition Handset

The handset will be placed between flagship Galaxy S5 and its slowed down mini version

 

A few days ago, we had looked at the first leaks of the Galaxy Alpha and there were thoughts that this would be a high-end device. The latest images give a clear image and conclusive evidence that the device will be placed between flagship Galaxy S5 and its mini version.

It was the metal-clad body that made everyone think that it was going to be a premium product and a shift from the plastic feel that we associate with Samsung. For all those who are awaiting its release of this device, the bad news is that it might be a limited edition Samsung device.

The Galaxy Alpha reportedly has just a 4.7-inch display, and one that's similar to what shipped on the Galaxy S3 — though the details of resolution and technology aren't known at this point. That's going to be paired up with 32GB of storage but no SDcard slot, according to the leak, and the Alpha will retain the fingerprint scanner found on the S5.

The body is made out of metal — reportedly aluminum — but the back is the same textured plastic as we've seen on the Galaxy S5 already.

So the biggest take of the leak is that the Alpha is not going to be a replacement for Galaxy S5. 

Credit: SamMobile.com


TAGS: Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S5, Mobile Phones

Xiaomi Outs A Chunky Update For Its Just Released Mi 3 Smartphone

The update brings the usual bug fixes but also adds a number of features that users have requested for.

 

Xiaomi has been having a great week so far with a successful launch in India. The company is now pushing out updates to its Mi 3 smartphone which seems to do a lot more than just crush a few bugs. The update replaces the current firmware with the newer MIUI KDDMIBE 18.0 version and is about 592 MB in size.

As for what the update brings, it is indeed a lot (click here for the change log), but mostly stuff that should have been in there in the first place. Apart from going down the legal way via the System Updates app on your Mi 3, you could also head here and download and flash the update manually.

There are new additions in the form of ‘Resend All’ button in the email app, an optimised online music page, a newer version of ‘blocklist’ and the handy status bar only incoming calls indicator when you happen to be busy in another app.

There are also a few other minor additions to the beautiful built-in weather app, the Calendar and the System Cleaner.

The Indian version of the handset runs the MIUI V5 skin on top of Android KitKat. The software will soon see a big update with V6 that will be announced on the 16th of August. Indeed the company will not rest on its laurels and is working hard to ensure that customers who have made the switch to a shiny new Mi 3 will not face any problems.

[Also Read: Xiaomi Announces Its Next Flagship Smartphone, The Mi 4]


TAGS: Software, Mobile Phones, Android, Xiaomi Mi 3, Xiaomi

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