Nov 122014
 

Technology had advanced at a mind boggling pace, more so since the introduction of mobiles, and it’s inclusion into our lifestyle has invariably opened up our homes to the world. Top tech firms are known to “mine” user data in as simple form as a cookie. This data is later used for financial gains to ultimately please their shareholders. This, though anticipated, is not excusable. There is an ongoing war against privacy invasion via digital media.

Mindless to all the protests, tech firms keep on introducing such privacy invading features in their applications/websites. One such latest update is the double blue tick in whatsapp chat.

image

Some might argue what’s the big fuss about. So lets see how it functions.

When you send a message to your contact on whatsapp, once it is delivered to the whatsapp server a small tick appear on the bottom right corner of the chat message. Once your contact receives it on his/her phone, another tick is added and now you have a double tick, signifying that the message has been delivered to your contact. In past, you had no way of telling whether your friend has read the message. This was ok since the transmission of message was more important.

But introduce a double tick which signifies that your friend had read the message and the scenario changes. You expect a reply. Your friend has chosen not to reply at that moment. You start the seemingly never ending wait for the reply, while your friend is busy with something important and chooses to finish this conversation later. Meanwhile, you come up with all the possible reasons, including neglect on the part of your friend, while the time starts weighing on your mind. Meanwhile your friend is busy in an important business meeting and doesn’t realise all this. But does he need to realise?

Repeat this scenario and one day you start feeling that your friend is not longer your friend.

Whats the need of this feature. Why should anyone know whether I have read his message or not. I can take my own sweet time to reply. But, Whatsapp, through this tiny feature, is forcing me to either reply to all the messages that I read, or quit whatsapp alltogether. I checked the settings but couldn’t find any that could disable this feature.

Now don’t say that I should get lost from whatsapp. The company itself wouldn’t say that publically fearing drastic reduction in its valuation.

Wakeup whatsapp. Give us our privacy.

Oct 262014
 

No, there is not mistake. Yes, the title says Dual Screen phone. Not the dual SIM phone which you are very much used to reading.

Flipkart , a couple of days back, has exclusively launched the Yota Dual Screen Phone in India.But then there were few other phones in past which had two screens(big or small). So whats different about this one?

The world has moved on from wired lines(I still use one, but primarily for ADSL connection) to wireless big bricks which could just exchange calls and SMS to java then symbian and now to Android/iOS/Windows at this moment. The phones have first reduced in their form and after reaching the miniature possible, have started increasing in form, more so due to the nature of interaction. Technology has advanced.

What had been lagging all along the evolution is the ability of the battery to satisfy the hunger for power of these mobile phones. The iphone has been able to have an upper hand in this regards, but ultimately it too dies off.

The biggest culprit of this power consumption is the mobile screen. The need to keep the screen illuminated in case of TFT screens results in short battery life. The compromise is to reduce battery brightness, thus affecting the visual experience or, less use of phone, thus conflicting with its purpose.

Yota Devices has come up with an innovative idea to help solve some part of the problem. They have introduced a dual screen phone, called the YotaPhone. You would say that the problem has doubled!

Well, that’s not so. The Yotaphone is an android based smartphone in a bar form factor with screens on both sides. The primary screen is a normal 4.3″, 1280 X 720 pixel, IPS LCD display capable of displaying 16 million colors. Nothing out of the world there.

The second screen is the USP of this phone, along with the things it can do. The second screen is a 4.3″, electronic paper display with 640 x 360 resolution and 16-grayscale color reproduction ability.  It is the always on type of display which cannot be blacked out like your normal screen. The important feature of this e-paper display is that once anything is displayed on the screen, it does not require any power to sustain it on the screen. The power consumption takes place only when the screen is changed with new contents. This technology is being currently used successfully by e-book readers(Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook) which boast a battery life of somewhere around 3-4 weeks.

Now, who would want a grayscale screen on a high end mobile? Well, Answer few questions.

  • Do you need to read your SMSes on color screen?
  • Do you need to get alarm notifications on color screens?
  • Do you need to check your stock prices on color screen?
  • What about weather. Do you want to view weather updates/news on color screen(unless the news contain graphics which need to be seen in color)?
  • Do you read your ebooks color screens?

I guessed not. You spend lots of time on your mobile screen doing all the above activities. But do these activities really justify the use of power hogging color screen? If not, the YotaPhone is for you.

Make no mistake of undermining the abilities of this phone with its main screen on. The phone packs punch in the following manner:

Processor :Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.7GHz dual core

RAM : 2 GB

Memory : 32 GB

Connectivity : 2G, 3G, 4G, USB, BT, Wifi(all latest standards)

Camera 13 MP with Autofocus and flash capable of 1080p video at 30 fps and a secondary 1 MP camera

GPS : A-GPS, GLONASS

Primary Screen : Full touch screen

Second Screen : Touch zone under the display for control gestures

OS : Android 4.2.2(Jelly Bean)

Battery : 1800 mAH (The manufacturers are confident that you will love the electronic paper display)

As you can see the phone is at par with many mid-range phones. The cost, at Rs. 23500, may seem prohibitive but the battery boast, if used in the fashion that this phone is meant to be used, may help you overlook the cost.It may feel odd at first but compare it with nokia N-gage and you will feel at home with YotaPhone.

So if you are in a process of buying your next phone, take a look at this one. It may be the one you want.

Pros:

Promise of good battery life

Good specifications

Makes a tech statement

Flipkart support

Cons:

No real world feedback as yet

No word on updated to the OS

Cost bit high for these specifications(But then, money is not everything)

Buy YotaPhone at Flipkart

Oct 112014
 

I handle my phone in a ruthless fashion. Right from the day I bought my Galaxy SII till today, the “settings” icon of my android phone has been the most accessed icon. I try to extract every ounce of computing power available in the phone and in doing so, I’ve become a fan of flashing and installing customised ROM. My phone is about 2 years old and provided I get proper updates, I feel it will be good for one/one and a half year more. The next phone I buy may not be the flagship at that time but will surely be a top end one, probably something like the Oneplus One.

Not so with my wife. She uses it for all the basic needs like calls, messaging and light entertainment and such stuff. So pouring a good amount of money into mobile purchase is not an idea she likes. But whatever you do, your mobile is a hardware which after some time, and constant mishandling(read throwing on the ground in an attempt to break it in to pieces) by our two year old kids, stops working the way it should. That’s what happened with my wife’s phone about a week back. Luckily the big billion day was around the corner and this auspicious day(an auspicious day for e-buyers) I bought a Motorola Moto E for my wife. On a regular selling price of 6999 rs I got a discount of 1500 rs so the final price on that way came out to be 5499 rs. Received the delivery of the phone two days back even with the huge amount of orders that flipkart had with them, so this was a commendable job. Keep it up.

Anyway the point is, I have the Moto E in my hand and here’s the review.

Unboxing

The Moto E comes in minimalistic packing.

IMG_20141011_104436

Upon opening up the box, the Moto E glares at you right away.

IMG_20141011_104511

The box contains a Moto E handset with battery built in(no user replaceable battery), a charging kit, a hands free kit and the necessary startup leaflets. Gone are the days of the software cd and bulky booklets. An unsurprising omission is that of a data cable since at this price point, it would be hard to squeeze in.

IMG_20141011_104703

The backside

For inserting the Micro SIM cards and Micro SD card, you need to pull off the back plate by prying in your fingernail at the charging port. Motorola warns against using tools as it might damage internal components. Motorola also instructs to use more force without hesitation. The trick is to use index finger nail for opening up the cover while using the thumb to press the Motorola logo on the cover.

IMG_20141011_112721

Upon removing the cover, you will find the two SIM slots and a micro sd slot one below the other on the right side. Also notice that the battery is enclosed inside the casing.

Around the Phone

On the top the phone has a standard 3.5 mm hands free pin port and a pin hole for secondary mic. On the right it has the power/lock button and the volume rocker. At the bottom it has a micro usb port for charging and data transfer. The front face has two metallic strips, one on top and another on bottom which are for the speaker and the mic.  No other physical buttons all around. The camera is housed on the back, centered, without a flash.

Specifications

The important specifications are as below:

CPU : Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 on Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 with Adreno 302(decent enough)

RAM : 1 GB

Internal Memory : 4 GB(2 GB available for user, supports 32 GB expandable memory)

SIM : Dual SIM dual standby

Camera : 5MP primary(no secondary)

OS : Android 4.4.2 upgradable to 4.4.4(upgrade already seeding)

Screen : Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 4.3”, 540 X 960 pixels

Detailed specifications at gsmarena

Usability

This phone is targeted towards beginners to the android world. Hence the price has to be kept below a certain value. The result will never be a feather light phone. But the weight gives a feel of sturdiness to the phone. My current phone is almost similar to Moto E in terms of processing hardware so I am happy that such is available for 1/5th of the price of my phone.

The phone once started, guides you through a setup wizard to get you ready. The user interface is minimalistic, hinting at a pure android experience apart from the standard motorola addons like the Moto migrate which is a boon if you want to transfer your old phone to any moto phone.

The device interface feels smoother. All the necessary google apps are inbuilt.Login with your google ID and you are good to go.

Competitors

Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, Spice UNO. These phones are google initiative to promote android to the Indian masses while helping local brands create a brand image. Though these manufacturers are well known in India, Micromax is the only company to have made a breakthrough in gaining confidence of the Indian massed.

Final Say

At this price point the phone is a good starting point for android beginners.

Buy Moto E here

Sep 212014
 

EDIT : NOW AVAILABLE!!

 

So how many of you Tech Buffs have been waiting for this. The motorola Moto 360, since its announcement couple of months back and the subsequent launch few days back, has made quite some waves, rather tsunami of waves in tech world. It has become an object of desire due to its superiorly crafted design and of course, the huge marketing.

But we all in India, as usual may not have been that excited, since Tech Giants are known to skip us for quite a huge period even after launch. So expecting Moto G to be available in India this early is unexpected.

Well, times have changed. Flipkart, once again, seems close to launching Moto 360 on its website. Currently showing “Not Availabe”, knowing Flipkart, you might even wake up tomorrow to check that its “Available”.

untitled

So if you want to be the first to gets your hands on to, or rather, get on your hands this smart piece of accessory, keep a sharp lookout on Flipkart. On my part, I will try to inform as soon as I get some hint.

Best of Luck!!

Sep 052014
 

At the beginning of this year, flipkart had been instrumental in launching the Moto G smartphone by Motorola. Those abreast with updates in the tech world, know how they sold those hot cakes. It was one of the best smartphones for that price point and it seemed to have throttled the necks of the budding newbies of the smartphone industry in India. I say seemed to have throttled because they are back to clean off the remains.

Moto G(Original), though customised for the Indian market with its dual SIM, still had few shortfalls. The screen at 4.5” was not competitive enough(as if), the camera lacked the luster and the lack of expandable memory support left the users wanting at times. But it was, and still is, a good phone with its latest hardware and updates.

But Motorola had other plans. It quietly went in to development of an upgrade, with people anticipating it to be a bit overpriced. Little did they know that Motorola would exceed their expectations.

Tonight, on Flipkart, Motorola launches, exclusively in India, the Moto G 2nd Generation.

 

Yes!! You see it correct. Motorola has priced it at Rs. 13000. That’s for a 16 GB, 5”, 8 MP Camera, 1 GB RAM with expandable memory model. And you are sure to get the OS updates from time to time. What else do you want. Moto G 2nd Gen is a real surprise. And right in time for the festive season.

Here are few key specifications(source flipkart)

    • Android v4.4.4 (KitKat) OS (Upgradable to Android L)
    • 1 GB RAM
    • Expandable upto 32GB (upgrade. previous N/A)
    • 1.2 Ghz Qualcomm Quad Core Processor
    • 8 MP Primary Camera and 2 MP Secondary Camera (upgrade. previous 5 MP)
    • Dual SIM (GSM + GSM)
    • 5-inch HD Screen (upgrade, previous 4.5”)

Knowing Flipkart, checkout the launch tonight, cause they are sure to sweeten the offer like they do with their other exclusive launches. Grab it while stock lasts tonight (flipkart website states launch tonight)

Click banner above or this link to view/buy.

For full comparison of the “old” Moto G and the latest one click here.

Aug 132014
 

We got our first Television in the 80s and were instantly hooked to it. Soaps, epics, news, films, sports and such proved to be thrilling and entertaining. But of all these, advertisements captured our imagination the most. 20 seconds of quick burst of the most vividly colorful, imaginative and sometimes, unknown to us, fake entertainment. At times, a film would be so boring that we would be waiting for the Ads to be played for some relief. All said, after many improvements in their bathing products and teeth cleaning pastes, my body still stays brown, my teeth are going bit yellowish. Yet each year, they come up with more improved products with additional “salts”, “Lemon” etc. All that remains to be added is some Tequila and we are all set. They are moving towards that direction by coming up with a “beer” shampoo.

Anyway…..

As technology changed so did change the methods of advertisement. They have upgraded from television to the web space (it’s the space on the webpage, intentionally kept empty for filling in the Ads) and even downgraded to illegal handbills posted on the insides of the railway cars, buses,……., ……, Public Toilets,…….. etc. All said, they have yet to upgrade their rationality, thoughtfulness, inter divisional coordination for the same company. Knowingly or unknowingly to them, or for some reasons unknown to me, they have come up with a competition of its kind, between two products from their own stables. And now are are going through the period of exclusive launches(launch of a product through one single distributor seller as against launch through multiple distributors, so as to create a hype, control the supply and show a pseudo-shortage due to exhausted stock)

I frequently scan the internet for good deals on various products and I happened to chance upon two “Exclusive” launches, one on Flipkart and another on Amazon India. Both the tablets are form Acer. Branded Iconia. One model A1 and another B1. Both exclusive launches but on different websites. And the advertisement for A1 says “why settle for B1 when you can go for A1”. Funny!!

A1

B1

Whether this campaign is created by Acer or by the individual online stores(in which case such an aggressive advertisement is justified) is unknown. The price difference is just Rs. 500 so I do not understand pitching both the Tablets at the same time.

Check the specifications comparison here.

This reminds me of formula one races where two drivers from the same team are allowed to compete against each other and ultimately it leads to a collision course.

BTW if you are interested to buy any of these two icons, they are available on Flipkart and on Amazon India

Jul 012014
 

If you reside in Mumbai and frequently travel on the newly launched Mumbai Metro, here’s your chance to taste the promotional free wifi service provided by You Broadband at few stations. All you have to do is switch on your device wifi and connect to the open WIFI @MUM METRO network.

Once connected it will follow the usual procedure of registration. Try to access a website through browser and you will land on their signup page wherein you give your phone number. Once the registration SMS is sent, you can start using the Broadband without waiting for any confirmation SMS(you will get none).

This facility is available only at Metro Stations(currently checked at Ghatkopar and Andheri Station and expanding further). It’s a promotional service and you may have to pay up in future to access it.

Jul 012014
 

Samsung is currently in the thick of things in Mobile world with 4 launches in June 2014, all in quick succession. May be the balance sheets are prompting such hasty maneuvers, but Samsung has this habit since long time. Anyway, all the more better for consumers.

The recent launches/announcements are Galaxy Ace 4, Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Young 2 and Galaxy Star 2. As the case was previously, all this phones replace their predecessors at the lower end of price bracket, assuming Galaxy Core II tops them all.

All the phones are expected to be available in couple of months and as such, prices are not yet available. But knowing Samsung, we can make a fair guess. Below if the spec sheets for all four with expected price.

Models

Galaxy Core II

Galaxy Ace 4 (Announced)

Galaxy Young 2

Galaxy Star 2

  samsung-galaxy-core-2 samsung-galaxy-ace-4 samsung-galaxy-young-2-sm-g130 samsung-galaxy-star-2
Processor Quad-core 1.2 GHz Dual-core 1.0 GHz Single Core 1 GHz Single Core 1 GHz
RAM 768 MB 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB
Internal Memory 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Expendable Memory Micro SD upto 64 GB Micro SD upto 64 GB microSD, up to 32 GB microSD, up to 32 GB
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat 4.4.2 KitKat 4.4.2 KitKat 4.4.2 KitKat
Single/Dual SIM Dual SIM Single SIM Dual SIM Dual SIM
Network Mode GSM/GSM GSM GSM/GSM GSM/GSM
Screen Size 4.5”, TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors 4”, TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors 3.5”, TFT capacitive touchscreen 3.5”, TFT capacitive touchscreen
Screen Resolution 480 X 800 480 X 800 320 x 480 320 x 480
Connectivity HSDPA 21 MBPS, Wifi, Wifi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0 HSDPA 21 MBPS, Wifi, Wifi Direct, Wifi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0 HSDPA 21 MBPS, Wifi, Wifi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0 EDGE, Wifi, Wifi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0 (No 3G)
Primary Camera 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 480p video 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 720 pixel video 3.15 MP, 2048 x 1536 pixels, VGA Video 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels, VGA Video
Secondary Camera VGA VGA No No
Battery 2000 mAh 1500 mAh 1300 mAh 1300 mAh
Expected Price Rs. 16000 Rs. 14000 Rs. 9000 Rs. 5000

With 1 GHz processors, the Young 2 and Star 2 may just about satisfy the needs. It’s a shame that Core II doesn’t get 1 GB RAM. Similary and upgrade to 768 MB for Ace 4 would have done wonders. But samsung does have other phones in that bracket and this is more of a marketing strategy. Ace 4 has just been announced and could still undergo minor changes. The noticable change in Ace 4 will be the TouchWiz Essence interface which is said to be simplified.

It remains to be seen what pricing samsung decides for these devices in India.

Specifications and news source GSMARENA

Jun 302014
 

Amazon’s got their Kindle. Barns and nobles’ got nook. Lots of other ecommerce websites have their own brand products. Indians won’t stay behind. The young entrepreneur startup, Flipkart, has jumped the bandwagon to launch its brand of tablet under the name Digiflip.

Introducing Digiflip Pro XT 712, the 7” tablet recently launched by Flipkart. It has been launched with a big bang, the way many other top end products are launched. Loaded with offers. A quick look at the comparison sheet impresses us. Its obvious that flipkart has handpicked other models for comparison but the selected tablets are in no way below par. Even then, Digiflip Pro shines on both fronts, punch and price.

A brief on the packed hardware is above standards and listed below

  • 1.3 Ghz Cortex-A7 Quad Core processor
  • Mali-400 MP2@500MHz graphics processing unit
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal memory
  • 7” IPS screen with 1280 X 800 screen resolution(216ppi)
  • DUAL SIM(that’s what Indians tend to look out for)
  • 3G support on both SIMS
  • Huge battery 3000mAH
  • Dual camera(5 MP + 2 MP)
  • Android 4.2.2
  • Storage expandable to 32 GB

What more could one ask for in 9,999 rs. You read me right. Its for that much.

But wait. It doesn’t end here. As an introductory offer, buyers are also gifted the following:

  • Free shopping worth Rs 5300 through mobile app
  • Free one month subscription to Flipkart First(Customer service program related to aftersales)
  • Flat 50% off on bookcase for Digiflip tablet
  • Free Plantronics ML2 Bluetooth Headset worth Rs. 1199
  • Free eBooks worth Rs.2300

You just feel like requesting them to stop the joke. But its for real.

Also if you spread the Love on social network, you stand to chance to win a JBL J03 Tempo Headphone worth 2490/-

The tablet comes with 30 days relacement guarantee and standard 1 year warranty for Tablet and 6 months warranty for accessories

Flipkart really knows how to please its customers. This tablet is sure to be seen in lots of hands in coming days.

Click banner below to know more or buy before they go off stock.

May 292014
 

That’s my new possession. A brand new Canon EOS 1200D DSLR camera with 18-55 mm and 55-250 mm combo lens kit. After years of aspiring to buy one, I finally bought it right on time for my family trip last week. Am not much of a pro in camera technical so I wouldn’t attempt to call this post as a review. This one is kind of an informative post.

IMG_0047

That was my brothers reaction upon seeing the camera, captured as the first photograph of my camera.

Arnala27052014002

And this is me trying to do what an Amateur photographer with new camera does; click himself clicking himself through a mirror.

The Canon EOS 1200D is an entry level DSLR which was recently launched. An upgrade to their 1100D, the 1200 packs the punch which was lacking in the 1100D. Lets see what…

First of all the inclusions. I bought the model under offer which bundled an extra lens, a 55-250 mm, IS II lens along with the 18-55 mm IS II lens. The combined lens kit with the body cost me a little over 30,000 rs. which was the best deal available on Amazon India. The box contained the Camera Body, combo lens kit, a battery pack with charger, data connection cable, a neck strap, a camera bag and a 8 GB memory card, along with a quick guide, a flash photography guide, a macro photography guide and a software cd Rom. The guides were good enough to assemble the camera in no time and I was ready to shoot.

The camera is easy to handle for a person upgrading from point and shoot since all the controls are on the right hand and the LCD screen is on the left hand, much like any point and shoot available in the market. It doesn’t feel heavy in hands with any of the lens attached.

The camera controls include a jog dial for various modes(Manual, Shutter priority Tv, Aperture Priority Av, Program, Scene Intelligent Auto ie. auto mode, macro, video etc….). The manual mode gives total control over the photo taken and it is good for learning the tricks of setting up the photo for an amateur.

The battery pack lasted me for an entire day without any signs of reduction in battery storage. That might be because of the relatively less number of photos I clicked. But the camera is said to click more than 500 shots before requiring recharge which is good enough for me as of now.

What I like about the camera:

  • The dual lens kit
  • Ease of handling and manageable light weight
  • Lots of different modes from auto mode for quick photography to total manual control
  • Ability to store raw images
  • Good ergonomics in placement of controls
  • The professional feel

Dislike(Far outweighed by the pros):

  • Fixed lcd screen
  • No facility to connect external mic
  • No HDMI cable bundled

The camera has by now been used on three separate important occassions, two picnics and a family functions. Though I wouldn’t rate the photography at high level, I protect myself by revealing that I am a learner. Any advice from professionals (or otherwise) out there is welcome.

Hoping to improve photography and keep on posing what I learn.

Sample photos clicked by me

IMG_0071

My kid Ivy in one of her rare moods allows me a click.

IMG_0188

My niece on the merry go round. Photo clicked with the focus on moving subject.

IMG_0278

Narrow Mahabaleshwar Road at the height of tourist season

IMG_0280

A settlement viewed from height along the road to Koyna river

IMG_0318

Abandoned……

IMG_0319

Nature being partial……

IMG_0389

My kids Ian and Ivy having fun at the hotel.

IMG_0260

Ian and Lynelle riding a pony…also called as “orshe” by Ian…

IMG_0778

A potrait of Ian…… Moments before his failed attack on the camera lens

Full Specifications at Canon Website

Buy this camera at Amazon India|Amazon.com|Flipkart

%d bloggers like this: