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Google buys smartphone team from HTC for $1.1 billion

1:00 PM Add Comment
Through Android, Google has always controlled only the software side of things in the smartphone world. They sold smartphones under the Nexus brand, but it was always through a partnership with certain OEMs which usually changed every year. Pixel smartphones were the first ever Google phones which didn't carry any OEM branding on it, but Google had a team of engineers working on the smartphone who were not exactly Google's employees. Now Google has acquired the team which worked with them for Pixel smartphones, and entered into certain agreements with HTC.



Google buys smartphone team from HTC for $1.1 billion

Google and HTC announced a definitive agreement through which a few HTC employees will join Google. Many of these engineers were already working with Google in developing the Pixel smartphones. As part of this transaction, Google will be paying HTC $1.1 billion in cash. Google will also be receiving a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property (IP).


“As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”



“HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market,” said Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google. “We're excited and can't wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware.” 

The transaction will be closed by early 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and other formalities. HTC and Google have been partners since a long time in various projects, with HTC bringing the first ever Android smartphone back in 2008. Then they again partnered with each other to bring Nexus One in 2010, the Nexus 9 in 2014 and he Pixel smartphones last year. Even after this deal, HTC will continue manufacturing smartphones and other hardware products.




This is Google's second such deal with a major manufacturer, the first was with Motorola 6 years ago. Two years later, Google sold majority of what it acquired for a fraction of the price at which it bought Motorola. Looking at the difference in the prices at which it was bought and then sold, the Motorola deal seems like a price Google paid to acquire certain important patents. Now with a move that is aimed at becoming a hardware manufacturer themselves, Google seems ready to take on Apple with complete control over both the aspects of a smartphone - software and hardware. 

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Moto X4 will be the first Android One smartphone with Project Fi support

1:01 AM Add Comment
Google's plan to expand Android One program to US by joining hands with Motorola was covered recently on our website. The Moto X4 will be used as the Android One smartphone and this provides a cheaper alternative for people who are looking for stock Android software and regular updates. This also fits perfectly with Google Project Fi's rumored plan to introduce a mid-range device, and just hours ago, this rumor was confirmed.



Moto X4 will be the first Android One smartphone with Project Fi support

The Project Fi supports devices such as Google's Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel and Pixel XL. With the Nexus 6P and 5X going out of stock, the only options one had were the highly priced Pixel and Pixel XL. Now the latest Android One smartphone, the Moto X4, has been added to the list of Project Fi supported devices.



The Moto X4 packs in some powerful hardware, with a Snapdragon 630 and Adreno 508 with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of internal storage which can be expanded via mirocSD card by up to 2 TB. The display is a 5.5 inch IPS LCD one with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It also has a dual rear camera setup with a combination of 12 MP Dual Pixel Auto Focus sensor and an 8 MP wide-angle sensor. The IP68 certifies device will have a 3000 mAh battery which supports fast charging at 15W input.


The device will be available only in the US from $399, which is a lot cheaper to the Pixel series which starts at $649. Though it is not as cheap as the 5X, which was on Fi at $199, it is definitely a step in the right direction. There are two color options - Super Black and Sterling Blue, and users can get it at $16.63/ month for 24 months. There's a trade-in program as well, by which you can exchange an old Nexus device for discounts up to $165, and if done by October 5, you can also get a $50 Fi credit.

Panasonic has launched the Eluga Ray 700 and Ray 500 | Price, Specs and Availability

1:47 PM Add Comment
Flipkart's Big Billion Days are almost here and like every year, there are a few devices which will be launching just in time for the sale period. This year, Panasonic has come up with two new budget-oriented smartphones, the Eluga Ray 700 and Eluga Ray 500.

Panasonic has launched the Eluga Ray 700 and Ray 500 | Price, Specs and Availability

Panasonic has launched the Eluga Ray 700 and Eluga Ray 500 smartphones in India. These smartphones will be available via Flipkart during the Big Billion Days Sale.



Eluga Ray 700


The Eluga Ray 700 comes with a 5.5 inch FullHD display which uses IPS On Cell technology. The 2.5D glass is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device measures 153.8 x 75.4 x 8.9 mm and weighs 182 g. It will be running on Android 7 Nougat out of the box.



A Mediatek MTK6753 Octa Core processor powers the device. Internal storage capacity is 32 GB which can be expanded by up to 128 GB via a dedicated microSD card slot, and RAM available is 3 GB. Both the rear and front camera sport 13 MP sensors. The rear camera has an aperture of f/2.0 while the front camera has a narrower f/2.2 aperture. Both the cameras are accompanied by LED flash for better low light pictures.

The dual SIM smartphone supports 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4 and GPS. Sensors such as accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, compass and fingerprint reader are also present. The device will be backed up by a massive 5000 mAh battery which can be charged via the mircoUSB port.


Eluga Ray 500


The Eluga 500 sports a 5 inch HD IPS On Cell display with 2.5D curvature to the sides. It measures 144.3 x 71.3 x 9.2 mm and weighs 163 g, lighter than the Ray 700 by 19 grams. The ray 500 will be running on Android 7 Nougat. 

Under the hood, it is powered by a Mediatek MTK6737 quad core processor with a clock speed of 1.25 GHz. 32 GB of internal storage can be expanded by up to 128 GB via a hybrid slot while 3 GB of RAM is available. The rear optics is a dual camera setup - a 13 MP f/2.0 aperture lens with an 8 MP f/2.4 aperture ultra-wide lens. The secondary camera has a 5 MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Only the rear camera has LED flash.



The Eluga Ray 500 supports dual nano 4G SIM, WI-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth version 4 and GPS. It also has accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and fingerprint reader. A non-removable 4000 mAh battery will power the device.

Price, Colors and Availability

Both the devices will be available exclusively via Flipkart. The Eluga Ray 700 is priced at Rs. 9,999 and the Ray 500 is priced at Rs. 8,999. Sale will start at 12 AM on 21st September (11:59 PM on September 20), and buyers can avail of offers such as exchange discount of up to Rs. 8500. Axis Bank Buzz Credit Card holders can get an additional 5% off. Both smartphones will come in three colors - Champagne Gold, Marine Blue, Mocha Gold.

Now Motorola confirms Android Oreo for Moto G4 Plus

12:50 AM Add Comment
After the launch of Android Oreo, we published an article about the smartphones which, according to our best guesses, will be receiving the latest Android version. As companies are often lazy in giving out details or complete list of phones eligible for upgrades, we try to look at their history with major upgrades and try to predict their update cycle.



And we did the same for Motorola as well, and posted that G4 Plus will not be receiving Android Oreo, which turned out to be correct when the company posted a blog regarding the smartphones which will receive the update. This didn't look like a controversy waiting to happen, since one major upgrade for a mid-range device is still good enough. But after Motorola's official announcement, users turned to social media to make their disappointment clear. Certain users posted an alleged product pamphlet in Spanish, which mentioned clearly that G4 Plus will receive Android N as well as O (both were unnamed at the time of release).


The Moto G4 pamphlet

Description on Amazon India


Further, Amazon India's landing page also had mentioned the same thing. This quickly became a major issue with complaints pouring in from all sides. The power of social media was pretty evident, with major bloggers and YouTubers joining in and signing an online petition which demanded Android Oreo for Moto G4 Plus. Popular Indian YouTube channel PhoneRadar recently made a video about it as well, which further intensified the issue. And it seems that Motorola is paying heed to public's voice and they have released an official statement.

Now Motorola confirms Android Oreo for Moto G4 Plus

The Lenovo owned company added an update section to its blogpost and clarified the issue. They mentioned that Moto G phones had a history of getting one major upgrade, and hence G4 Plus was excluded from the planned Android Oreo upgrade. They acknowledged that the pamphlets and other related stuffs had mentioned a guaranteed upgrade to Android Oreo, and that it's important to fulfill the promises. 

Their official statement: Since the time of posting this, we have learned of some errors in our marketing materials around Android O upgrades for moto g4 Plus. It’s our general practice for the moto g family to get one major OS upgrade per device, so it wasn’t originally planned for Android O. But it’s important to us we keep our promises, so in addition to the N upgrade it has already received, we will be upgrading moto g4 Plus to Android O. Because this is an unplanned upgrade, it will take some time to fit into our schedule, we’ll update our software upgrade page when we have more info.

So, the company is not running away from this issue by simply blaming it on a mistake from team members. It's a good sign that Motorola is trying to maintain the trust of users and are willing to go the extra mile for it. Let's hope that all companies follow suit and deliver promised updates without giving excuses.

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OnePlus 5 will be available in Croma stores from September 19

11:46 PM Add Comment
When OnePlus first set its foot in the expanding smartphone market, they used an invite-only system, in which prospective buyers had to wait for an invite link to grab the OnePlus One. Slowly but steadily, OnePlus began to expand their reach with their next generation phones being made available in more countries and by ditching the invite-only system for good. The next step to gain more market share is to make their products available offline, and that's exactly what OnePlus will be doing in India.


OnePlus 5 will be available in Croma stores from September 19

The Chinese manufacturer announced that OnePlus 5 will be available in Croma stores starting tomorrow. They published this news via their official Indian twitter handle. Though they technically had offline stores selling OnePlus 5, it was limited to the OnePlus experience stores which were opened in just three cities, Bengaluru, Noida and New Delhi. This is the first time the young company has joined hands with an offline retail store to sell their devices. OnePlus has been teasing about this partnership since a few days, and recently Croma added a product page for OnePlus 5 on their website. As of now, only OnePlus 5 is expected to be brought into offline Croma stores.



OnePlus 5 was launched in India in June this year, as a successor to the popular OnePlus 3T. The device received highly positive reviews and is one of the most preferred phones in the Rs 30k - 40k price bracket. Recently OnePlus also revealed that OnePlus 5 as well as its last two smartphones - 3T and 3 - will be receiving the latest Android version, Oreo, by the end of this year. 


OnePlus 5 comes with a 5.5 inch FullHD display, with the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 processor under the hood. It also features a dual camera setup to the rear, with a combination of a standard lens and a telephoto lens. The camera performance has improved with frequent updates, one of which even added EIS support at 4K resolution for rear camera. OnePlus also supports the proprietary Dash Charge at an insane 20W, which makes it one of the fastest charging devices. The smartphone is available in two variants w.r.t RAM and storage, 6 GB RAM + 64 GB storage and 8 GB RAM + 128 GB storage. The 4/64 variant is priced at Rs. 32,999 while the 8/128 variant retails at Rs. 37,999. Though highly unlikely, it remains to be seen whether bringing these devices to offline market will have any effect on its pricing.


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Google launches its UPI based payment app Tez in India | How to get started

3:46 PM Add Comment
Digital payment is becoming a trend in India of late, and with easy and cheap access to internet and cheap 4G enabled smartphones, it's a good time to launch payment related apps. Search giant Google is not the one to miss such an opportunity and becomes the latest to join the bandwagon.



Google launches its UPI based payment app Tez in India | How to get started

Google has launched its payment app called Tez in India, at an event in Delhi. The app can be used to send money to friends and family, instantly receive payment directly to the linked banked account, or even pay your bills at your nearby restaurant. The launch event was attended by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India. 



For those wondering, Tez is not a wallet app where you can add money and store it for later use. This is just a payment app, where the transactions take place directly from the linked bank accounts. The app works with all the banks having UPI support, which should make compatibility easier as almost all major banks already have support for UPI. Tez also supports Airtel Payments Bank. There's also a Cash Mode, through which you can simply transfer money with nearby users without giving account details to the sender.



A security feature called Tez Shield will be active all the time to detect fraud and prevent hacking. Tez also gives an option to enable in-app locking, which means you can either use the lock system of your phone or can enable a separate key in the app for security.



Tez offers a wide range of language options with support for Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu, along with English. Support for more languages will be coming soon. The app will work only if you are in India, have an account in an Indian bank and an Indian mobile number. Another important thing to note is that it won't work with smartphones having unlocked bootloader, which is a good thing since the software may not be secure.

As of now, only individual payments are supported but future updates will bring feature for adding debit/credit cards and also to pay or set reminders for recurring bills like DTH or telephone. Transaction amount should be at least Rs. 50.


Step-by-step guide to get started

1. Choose your preferred language.
2. Enter your mobile number, which is linked to the bank account you intend to link with Tez. An OTP will verify your phone number.
3. Choose a Google account, via which you will receive verification details, alerts and notifications.
4. Set up an in-app lock if you wish
5. Select your bank account number or link your account by giving basic details like IFSC code. Now you are ready to send/receive money via Tez. 

Privacy issues and bugs

The app has been downloaded by many users even before the official launch took place in the national capital. The issues might be solved with future updates, but there have been a lot of complaints coming in from the users in the review section of the Play Store page.

A lot of users are facing issues in linking the account, with error messages greeting them during OTP verification. Users are also reporting about very slow loading times. Such things will be addressed soon according to a reply by the developer team to a user.

A twitter user with the handle @anivar also pointed out certain privacy issues in this app. First of all, being a recipient automatically means that you are allowing the other user to store your Aadhaar details on their smartphone for future payments. The app won't ask your permission separately, with the T&Cs clearly mentioning that being a recipient is equivalent to giving your consent.

Another issue pointed out by the same twitter user is that Google may charge you for transactions, and the extra fee will be notified before final payment. The app also doesn't offer you the option to set VPA according to your choice, instead you'll be given a random VPA with random UPI handle such as @okicici or @hdfcbank, which is kind of strange since Google could have easily made an address for Tez.

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Vu Televisions launches Pop Smart TV, Office Smart TV and Premium Smart TV series

12:32 AM Add Comment
Ms. Devita Saraf, CEO and Design Head – Vu Luxury Televisions


Vu Televisions launches Pop Smart TV, Office Smart TV and Premium Smart TV series


Vu TV, the largest selling online TV brand in India, launched three new series of televisions aimed at providing unique features to each segment of users. Vu, third largest 4K TV brand in India after Samsung and Sony, has a projected revenue of Rs. 1000 Cr for this fiscal year. This launch witnessed the first Smart TV that is researched and developed entirely in India.

Commenting on the launch, Devita Saraf, CEO & Design Head, Vu TV said, “I am excited to announce launch the new TV series from Vu TV, bringing together unprecedented and immensely required functionalities for today’s generation. Vu is at the forefront of innovation in television technology in India and we are proud to present the Indian Youth and Professionals with the most spectacular solutions.”


Pop Smart TV

This model is a true 'Make In India' product from software to hardware. It's the first of its kind to support PC casting from Windows as well as Mac. It's filled with on demand services like hungama, Eros Now, Daily Motion and others. Pop Smart allows users to share Picture, Video, Music on TV directly from smartphone, with support for both Android and iOS. Users can control the TV from the smartphone itself, with support for keyboard function for browsing the web. 
Sizes and Price: 49" - Rs. 44,500, 43" - Rs. 37,500 and 32" - Rs. 22,000.


Office Smart

This product is aimed at users intending to use larger screen for productivity purposes. The Office Smart TV, claimed as the first ever office oriented TV, comes with in-built Windows OS which can be used for PPT, Excel, Word, Outlook etc. Coupled with 32 GB storage and wired as well as wireless connectivity, the device enables users to send emails directly to the TV. The hassle of connecting multiple input devices for a presentation is eliminated with this unique plug and play solution. It will be available in four sizes - 75", 65", 55" and 49", but the prices were not announced.


Premium Smart

This is the most powerful Smart TV among the entire line-up, with dedicated quad-core Internet Video Processor and Premium OS which offers high processing speed. This model is licensed with YouTube and Netflix and offers superb connectivity and convenience to the users. There are YouTube and Netflix buttons on the App, using which users can directly push videos from these popular video streaming services directly to the TV.

It also comes with a screen mirroring feature, which allows seamless connectivity from mobile to TV. Using Any View cast or DLNA, content from personal devices such as computers, mobiles or tablets can be shared via Wi-Fi or LAN.
Sizes and Price: 55" - Rs. 60,000, 49" - Rs. 44,500, 43" - Rs 38,500, 39" - Rs. 31,500 and 32" - Rs. 20,000.

Other than these three products, Devita Saraf announced the launch of Android Smart, a Google certified Android TV and an upcoming launch of QLED TV, which will be available in the country post Diwali.

Asus launches Zenfone 4 Selfie series in India | Pricing starts at Rs. 9,999

9:10 PM Add Comment
Highlights

  • Three new phones launched - Zenfone 4 Selfie, Zenfone 4 Selfie (dual cameras), Zenfone Selfie Pro
  • Brand new Zen UI 4.0 with Twin Apps
  • All phones will be available exclusively via Flipkart

Asus launches Zenfone 4 Selfie series in India | Pricing starts at Rs. 9,999

Asus India launched the new Zenfone 4 Selfie series in India at an event in Delhi. Though the company had launched six new smartphones at their global event last month, they have launched only the Selfie versions in India. An additional phone with a single front facing camera was also added to the portfolio.

Elaborating further on the sidelines of the launch, Peter Chang, Regional Head, South Asia & Country Head, System Business Group - ASUS India said, “Selfies have become an integral part of the modern lifestyle and people invest time in creating selfies that are spot on. Today, clicking a selfie is about more than just the likes and retweets. It is about keeping a journal of cherished memories and capturing treasured moments with loved ones. We understand the importance of making that perfect we-statement every time, anywhere, so we bring to you ZenFone 4 Selfie series. With beautification built into everything, Zenfone 4 Selfie series is the best way to click #TheBigSelfie.”

Speaking on the partnership, Ajay Veer Yadav, Vice President - Mobiles at Flipkart said, “ASUS phones have received extremely positive feedback from our customers. With the exclusive launch of the new selfie focused smartphone range coinciding with the start of India’s biggest shopping festival, The Big Billion Days, we are all set to take our partnership with ASUS to new heights. With ASUS’ best in class technology combined with our wide reach, reliable delivery capability and affordability levers, we are certain that this new range will excite customers, reinforcing the strong belief they have in Flipkart, as their preferred online retailer and the undisputed leader in the online smartphones market.”

A SelfieMaster app lets users apply real-time effects to selfies and videos. There's a Beauty Mode as well, which enables skin tone adjustments, eye enhancements and other features. We have already covered the technical specifications in detail in our article, except the single camera variant of Zenfone 4 Selfie. Link to that editorial is at the end of this article, do check out if you want to know the detailed specifications of all the Zenfone 4 smartphones. In this article let's have a look at the few differences and features of Indian variants.


Zenfone 4 Selfie (Single Camera variant)

The Zenfone 4 Selfie has very few differences compared to the Zenfone 4 Selfie (dual camera) which was launched globally. The storage capacity gets halved at 32 GB and the RAM is 3 GB, down from 4 GB in the dual camera variant. All other features are the same as the dual camera variant except the cameras, of course.

The Zenfone 4 Selfie has a single 13 MP f/2.0 selfie camera with LED flash. Users can also capture 140-degree wide panoramic selfie with Selfie Panorama mode. The 16 MP rear facing camera is also replaced by a 13 MP one, with phase-detection auto focus (PDAF) and EIS for stabilized videos.



Zenfone 4 Selfie (dual cameras) and Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro

The Zenfone 4 Selfie carries a Snapdragon 430 with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB expandable storage. A 20 MP and 8 MP combination of sensors are used as front facing cameras. The Selfie Pro variant comes with a Snapdragon 625 processor with 4 GB RAM. The primary front facing camera is a 24 MP  one, which makes it one of the highest resolution selfie cameras and it is accompanied by a wide-angle 5 MP camera. The rear facing camera has a 16 MP sensor and both of these cameras support videos up to 4K resolution.

Price, Colors and Availability

The Zenfone 4 Selfie (single camera) starts at Rs. 9,999. The dual camera Zenfone 4 Selfie is priced at Rs. 14,999 while the Selfie Pro will cost you Rs. 23,999. The dual camera Selfie phone will be available at Rs. 13,999 with a Rs. 1000 discount as launch offer. Selfie Pro will be available in 3 colors - Rouge Red, Sunlight Gold and Deepsea Black, while the other two Selfie variants will come in Rose Pink, Sunlight Gold and Deepsea Back. All of the smartphones will be sold exclusively via Flipkart and users can avail of 100 GB free additional data from Jio.

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Apple launches iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X | Specs and Features | Price in India

4:33 PM Add Comment
Over the years, Apple Event always got the most attention among tech events. This year being the 10th anniversary of iPhone, the hype and excitement surrounding Apple's launch event was more than it ever was. To mark this special occasion, Apple has launched three different phones, the first time they have launched this many phones on a single day.

Apple launches iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X | Specs and Features | Price in India

For the first time in many years, Apple has skipped the S version of an iPhone. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are followed by iPhone 8 and 8 Plus respectively. And the 10th anniversary was marked by the launch of iPhone X, pronounced as iPhone 10. Yes, there's no iPhone 9!

Taking a close look at the spec sheet of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, we realize that these are actually worth being named 7S and 7S Plus. There are very minor improvements over last year's iPhones, and the design is similar as well, meaning this is the fourth straight year that Apple has made use of the design which was first introduced with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Let's have a look at the technical specifications and features of the trio in detail.



iPhone 8

Design, Build and Display

The aluminium back is replaced by glass, but the entire design language is very similar to what we have seen since iPhone 6. The iPhone 8 measure 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm and weighs 148 grams. It has an IP67 rating which means that the phone is waterproof and dust-proof.

The IPS LCD Retina HD display measures 4.7 inches and comes at a resolution of 1334 x 750 (326 ppi). The display which goes up to 625 nits brightness also features finger print resistant oleophobic coating to protect it from smudges.

Performance | Processor, Memory and Software

The iPhone 8 will be powered by A11 Bionic chip with an embedded M11 motion co-processor. There will be two storage variants - 64 and 256 GB - along with 3 GB RAM and will be running on iOS 11.


Camera

The rear facing camera packs a 12 MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture and OIS. 4K recording at up to 60 fps and slow motion 1080p video at 120/240 fps are also supported. The front facing camera is a 7 MP one at f/2.2 aperture with video recording support up to 1080p. The rear camera has a quad LED True Tone flash while the FaceTime camera has a retina flash.


Other features

Wireless charging is included in an iPhone for the first time, and so is support for fast charging. Apple claims the battery goes from 0 to 50% in 30 minutes time. But the supplied charger is a normal 5W one, which means you will have to buy a fast charger to utilize its fast charging capabilities. The exact capacity was not revealed in typical Apple fashion, but the batteries will last the same as its predecessor, according to the company.
Sensors - Touch ID fingerprint reader, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity, Light sensor
Connectivity - Single Nano SIM, Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5, NFC


iPhone 8 Plus

Specifications and features are almost similar to what iPhone 8 offers, so we will look at only the differences between iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

The differences

The 8 Plus' exterior dimensions are larger at 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm and it weighs a hefty 202 grams. The display is 5.5 inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi).

Camera is one of the only major differences between iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The Plus model has a dual rear camera with two 12 MP sensors (normal + telephoto). The standard lens has a f/1.8 aperture while the tele lens has a f/2.8 aperture. A feature called Portrait lighting is also added, but it is still in beta.


iPhone X

The iPhone X is tagged as the future of smartphones by Apple. Cringe-worthy titles aside, there are a few very neat features packed inside the best smartphone by Apple till date. With a size that fits right in between the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it gives a pretty good balance with a larger screen in a small form factor. Let's look at the specifications which differentiates iPhone X from the rest of the line-up.

The differences

Build and Display

The build is pretty similar, with glass to the back and front of the device. iPhone X measures 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm and weighs 174 grams. The front part houses an edge to edge display, with a small cut out on top which packs a big set of sensors and the familiar Home button missing at the bottom. 



This also marks the debut of an OLED display on an iPhone, which Apple claims is the first time an OLED panel has reached the standard of a typical iPhone display. The display measures 5.8 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi). The OLED technology gives it an insane contrast ration of million-to-one, and the brightness goes up to 625 nits, pretty average considering other flagship displays this year.

Camera

There's a dual camera setup at the rear, but the telephoto lens is slightly upgraded. A wider f/2.4 aperture with Optical Image Stabilization is included. The dual cameras which are horizontal in iPhone 8 Plus, is changed to vertical orientation on the X. Other camera related features are similar to the ones available on iPhone 8 Plus.



Face ID

The removal of Home button means there is no place for Touch ID fingerprint reader. A new Face ID security is added, which is helped by the TrueDepth camera for facial recognition.

Price, Colors and Availability

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available in three colors - Gold, Silver and Space Gray. The iPhone X will be available in Space Gray and Silver. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available for pre-order from September 15 and will arrive in stores from September 22. iPhone X goes on sale on October 27 and ships from November 3. 
Price (US)
iPhone 8 64 GB - $699
iPhone 8 256 GB - $849
iPhone 8 Plus 64 GB - $799
iPhone 8 Plus 256 GB - $949
iPhone X 64 GB - $999
iPhone X 256 GB - $1,149
Price (India)
iPhone 8 64 GB - Rs. 64,000
iPhone 8 256 GB - Rs. 77,000
iPhone 8 Plus 64 GB - Rs. 73,000
iPhone 8 Plus 256 GB - Rs. 86,000
iPhone X 64 GB - Rs. 89,000
iPhone X 256 GB - Rs. 1,02,000

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 launched in India | Specs, Price, Launch Offers

2:52 PM Add Comment
Last year, the Note7 was launched globally by Samsung on August 2. It was on sale a few weeks after that, and soon reports of the smartphone catching fire emerged. Being a flagship device, such news had a damaging effect on the phone's sales and the brand value of Samsung as well.

A hastily organized mass recall followed, and the initial batch was entirely replaced. But the issue didn't die away. Samsung recalled even the second batch and offered replacements, but such efforts went in vain as more number of mishaps were reported. Eventually, they had to call off the sales and recall all the units ever sold globally. This happened before the Note7 was officially launched in India. The much-hyped flagship never reached the Indian shores, officially. All these added to the hype and excitement surrounding the launch of Note8 in India, which took place in Delhi today.



Samsung Galaxy Note8 launched in India | Specs, Price, Launch Offers

Like the global launch, the Indian launch also began with a Thank You message for the Note lovers, the ones who trusted the brand to come up with a Galaxy Note device after last year's fiasco.

Mr. HC Hong, President and CEO, Samsung Southwest Asia, said, “India loves the Galaxy Note for the infinite possibilities it offers with its big screen, unique S Pen and multi-tasking capabilities. I take this opportunity to thank all our consumers in India who have made Samsung the Most Trusted Brand, especially those who have patiently waited for their next Note. This time, we have made the Galaxy Note8 bigger and better and added ‘Make for India’ innovations that will transform lives yet again. Galaxy Note8 lets people do things they never thought were possible.”

“Galaxy Note8 with its stunning Infinity Display, enhanced S Pen and a true Dual Camera, is designed for those who want to do bigger things. At Samsung, we listen to our consumers and bring in meaningful innovations that help make their lives better. With this launch, Samsung will further consolidate its leadership in the premium smartphone segment in India,” said Mr. Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.


Design and Display

Similar to the trend Samsung has been following, the Note8 looks and feels like the Galaxy S8+. Covered in glass on the front and back, it melts over to the aluminium frame on the sides to give it a symmetrical look. IP68 certification for the phone as well as the S-Pen means that users can write on the screen in rains or in showers. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 as on both the sides. Measuring 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm and weighing a hefty 195 g, the Note8 might feel difficult for one-handed users.

The display up front is a Super AMOLED one, measuring 6.3 inches at a resolution of 2960 x 1440 (QHD+). Other features like Always On Display and Off Screen Memo are also available.


Camera

The Note8 features dual rear cameras with both having a 12 MP sensor. The primary sensor has a 26 mm focal length and wide f/1.7 aperture with dual pixel and PDAF. The secondary sensor is a telephoto lens with 52 mm focal length and f/2.4 aperture. The primary 12 MP camera has a large 1.4 um pixel size while secondary camera has 1 um pixel size. Both the sensors have Optical Image Stabilization, which is a first in smartphones. The front camera is an 8 MP one with f/1.7 aperture and 1.22um pixel size.



The Live Focus feature allows users to control the amount of blur before and after taking the picture. Dual Capture, which takes a normal wide angle pic at the same time as the portrait picture helps users to decide whichever image they require. Video recording at resolutions up to 4K at 30 fps is supported for the rear cameras. Slow motion 240 fps video can be captured at a resolution of 720p. For the front camera, video up to 1440p is supported.


Performance | Processor, Memory and Software

The Galaxy Note8 packs in an octa-core 10 nm Exynos 8895 and Mali-G71 MP20 in India. Only one variant - 64 GB internal memory with 6 GB LPDDR4 RAM - will be available in the country. The strorage can be expanded via the hybrid slot up to 256 GB. It will be running on Samsung Experience UI on top of Android 7.1 Nougat, and will be one of the first Samsung devices to get Android Oreo update.


S Pen

The USP of a Galaxy Note device continues to get improved each year, and it's not different this time. The pressure sensitivity has been increased from what it was on the Note 5, while features like translating sentences (70+ languages supported) by hovering the S-Pen over it are also present. The S-Pen can also be used to create animated message which can be shared as gifs to spice up your conversations, convert currencies and measuring units as well.

Bixby

Samsung's own personal assistant Bixby was launched with the S8/S8+ earlier this year. This is a true smartphone assistant with ability to decode complex multi level commands and perform it without requiring the user to touch the screen even once. Samsung India said that Bixby can recognize commands in Indian accent as well, eliminating the need for users to talk in a robotic manner. Samsung announced that Bixby voice will be available on S8 and S8+ in India soon.

Samsung Pay

Samsung's mobile payment mode, called Samsung Pay, was introduced in the country recently. The best thing about Samsung Pay is it works with existing card swipe machines as well. Other payment solutions require NFC to work, but Samsung flagships make use of MST to imitate the swiping of card, thus making it compatible with all the existing machines.


Other Features

A smaller 3300 mAh battery backs up the device with support for Quick Charge 2 and wireless charging as well as fast wireless charging. Earphones tuned by AKG, worth $99 in retail, will be available in the box itself.
Connectivity: Dual Band Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5, ANT+, NFC, MST, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, USB Type-C.
Sensors: Fingerprint reader, Barometer, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Iris scanner, pressure sensor, Hall sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Proximity, Light sensor.



Price, Colors, Availability, Launch Offers

The Note8 is priced at Rs. 67,900 in India. It will be available in two colors - Midnight Black and Maple Gold. The smartphone will be available in Indian markets and online exclusively via Samsung Shop and Amazon India from 21 September, pre-bookings are already available. Launch Offers include a Rs. 4000 cashback if you purchase it using HDFC credit cards. A one-time screen replacement offer and a free wireless charger are also available under an Introductory Offer. Additional 448 GB of data can be availed from Jio over a period of 8 months. A new exchange program called Samsung Upgrade also lets you trade in older devices and gain a discount on Note8. 

Xiaomi launches Mi MIX 2 and Mi Note 3

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Highlights

  • 6 inch FHD 18:9 display (Mi MIX 2)
  • 12% reduced chin size (Mi MIX 2)
  • Snapdragon 660 and dual rear camera (Mi Note 3)

Xiaomi launches Mi MIX 2 and Mi Note 3

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, currently in the news for its Android One smartphone, unveiled their latest smartphones, the Mi MIX 2 and Mi Note 3. The Mi MIX 2 is one of the highly anticipated smartphones this year due to its ultra thin bezels, which makes it look like bezel-less on three sides.

Mi MIX 2 | Specifications

The Mi MIX 2 ditches last year's 17:9 aspect ratio for a more common 18:9 display. Measuring 5.99 inch diagonally, the display has a 2160 x 1080 resolution (FHD+). The smartphone is powered by Snapdragon 835 and Adreno 540, with 6 GB or 8 GB (Special Edition) RAM and 64/128/256 GB of internal memory (only 128 GB for Special Edition), which cannot be expanded. MIX 2 measures 151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7 mm and weighs 185 g.



The rear camera has a single 12 MP sensor with 4 axis stabilization and dual LED flash. It supports recording up to 4K resolution, while the front camera sports a 5 MP lens.

Other notable features are dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5. All these will be powered by a 3400 mAh battery and the smartphone will be available in two colors - Black and White(Special Edition).



Mi Note 3 | Specifications

The Mi Note 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 660 with Adreno 512. Storage options of 64 GB and 128 GB are available with 6 GB of RAM. The IPS LCD display measures 5.5 inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The rear camera has a dual lens setup with dual 12 MP snappers, PDAF and dual LED flash. The front shooter is a 16 MP one.



All other features are similar to Mi MIX 2, with the only exception being a slightly larger 3500 mAh battery. The available colors are Black and Blue (only 6/128 version).


Price

Mi MIX 2  
6/64 - CNY 3,299 (~ Rs. 32,300)
6/128 - CNY 3,599 (~ Rs. 35,300)
6/256 - CNY 3,999 (~ Rs. 39,200)
Special Edition Ceramic 8/128 - CNY 4,699 (~ Rs. 46,000) 

Mi Note 3
6/64 in Black - CNY 2,499 (~ Rs. 24,500)
6/128 in Black - CNY 2,899 (~ Rs. 28,400) 
6/128 in Blue - CNY 2,999 (~Rs. 29,400)

Motorola will be launching an Android One phone in the US

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Google recently relaunched their Android One program with the unveiling of Xiaomi Mi A1. In our last article, we talked about how Google has changed their strategy to join hands with popular brands to gain market share. Now, to extend their market to developed nations like US, Google is reportedly planning an Android One phone with Motorola. Similar to what they did with Xiaomi, the hardware of an already released smartphone will be used with stock Android software.



Motorola will be launching an Android One phone in the US

The Motorola Android One phone is rumored to be based on Moto X4. Popular twitter user Evan Blass posted an image of Moto X4 with the Android One branding on its back. With the introduction of Z series from Moto, X is the upper mid-range series of Motorola's line-up. Though this device may not be priced like the first generation Android One phones, it would still be a great phone and can be considered as a replacement to the Nexus series, which were usually priced lower than flagships.



The Moto X4 was released not too long ago, and it comes with very capable hardware underneath. It carries a Snapdragon 630 processor and Adreno 508 GPU. Few reports suggest that the Android One variant may include Snapdragon 660. A 5.2 inch FullHD  IPS LCD display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Internal storage is 32 GB while 3 GB of RAM is available. The rear camera setup has dual lens - 12 MP normal primary sensor and an 8 MP ultra-wide angle lens. All these will be powered by a 3000 mAh non-removable battery with fast charging capabilities. The single SIM device also supports dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.


Though there are speculations of slight changes in specifications, we get a fair idea of how the newest Android One phone would be. This will be Google's second phone with Motorola after the Nexus 6. Since the Pixel line-up replaced the Nexus series, getting stock Android experience and timely updates looked like a costly affair. With the relaunch of Android One, users on a budget would not have to compromise on the goodies of having a Google phone.

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YouTube HDR available on select smartphones | Supports Samsung, Sony, LG and Google flagships

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Last year, at the launch of Note7, Samsung announced a new feature called HDR video playback support. As it has been the case with any new feature, lack of content was a big deterrent. Few streaming services like Amazon started supporting such contents, but others were still missing from the scene. YouTube had support for HDR videos, and now the feature is being rolled out to smartphones with compatible hardware.


YouTube HDR available on select smartphones | Supports Samsung, Sony, LG and Google flagships

High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos on YouTube is now available on compatible devices such as Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Note 8, LG V30, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Google Pixel smartphones. Though the HDR feature was available on YouTube since last year, mobile devices were not supported.

Now that the majority of flagship devices are capable of streaming HDR videos, Google has started to roll out the feature. As of now, the update is not available for all users. It seems like YouTube is not pushing out the update globally yet.

Issues with YouTube HDR

The roll-out is facing mixed reactions from users all over the world. Though many are happy with the availability of content capable of utilizing the hardware, there are a few issues as well. Initial reports suggested that the quality is capped at 1080pHDR, but later someone clarified on Reddit that 1440p is available but it drops a lot of frames. Some users have also pointed out to random YouTube app crashes and stuttering videos. There are reports of buggy performance of the app, with a few users complaining about brightness getting locked to maximum and lack of option to switch to full-screen. 

While the brightness issue can be linked to the need of better dynamic range, it remains normal in portrait mode and kicks in only in the landscape orientation. As a result of this, phones are heating up at a quicker rate, throttling the performance further. The HDR videos can only be watched in HDR quality, there are no options to watch it in normal quality, something which was available previously. These are nothing to lose sleep over, since this feature is very new, and it will definitely improve gradually with regular updates from YouTube. But in case you are going to try it out, a warning is never a bad thing.

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Asus Sends Out Press Invites For The Zenfone 4 Launch In India

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Zenfone 4 Launch In India

            Last month, Asus launched half a dozen new phones under the Zenfone 4 branding. While launching too many phones have always been Asus' strategy, launching as many as six phones in a day was shocking even by their standards. Three phones - Zenfone 4, Zenfone 4 Max, Zenfone 4 Selfie - and a Pro variant of all three were launched. Now, Asus has sent out invites mentioning their 'latest Zenfone series' will be launched.

Asus Sends Out Press Invites For The Zenfone 4 Launch In India

           The event will be held in capital city on Thursday, 14 September 2017. Though Asus launched six devices globally, they may not release all of them in India. There's a promotional campaign going on, which indicates at least the Selfie variants will be released in the country.

Zenfone 4 Launch In India


The six Zenfone 4 phones

             The Asus Zenfone 4 Pro is the flagship device with a Snapdragon 835, 6 GB RAM and dual rear cameras. Zenfone 4 has similar specifications, but the processor is Snapdragon 660. The major differentiating factor of Zenfone 4 Max and Zenfone 4 Max Pro is the huge battery capacity - at 5000 mAh. USP of Zenfone 4 Selfie and Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is the front facing camera setup. One peculiar thing about the six Zenfone 4 phones are that all of those devices have three cameras. While Zenfone 4, Zenfone 4 Max and the Pro variants of both these have dual rear cameras, the selfies versions have dual front facing cameras.


Zenfone 4 Launch In India


The competition

             Asus has managed to grab a fair share in Indian market, especially with their budget oriented smartphones. When they entered the Asian country, users were interested in specifications. Higher megapixel count, bigger screen, more RAM - Asus has tried all these and have been fairly successful as well. But the market is slowly turning smarter, with mind-boggling numbers getting ignored and more importance given to the overall experience. In short, the task is cut out for Asus.

             Smartphones from Asus have almost always suffered from slow software. Even bigger companies like Samsung and LG have been through this, but they were smart in changing the UI to cater to the audience's changing preferences. And now with Google re-launching their Android One program in India, Asus will be facing an uphill task. The bloated UI is the major culprit here, with unnecessary animations and applications stuffed into every nook and corner possible. Add to that the reputation of Asus for being slow with Android updates, the importance of a successful Zenfone series is pretty clear. Though releasing Oreo update will take a lot of time, the fact that Asus promised Android Oreo for Zenfone 3 series shows that they have realized its importance. Let's hope they stand up to the competition and deliver better software and services.


Asus Sends Out Press Invites For The Zenfone 4 Launch In India - Chance to win the new Zenfone

         The promotional campaign on social media gives users a chance to win the upcoming Zenfone. The terms and conditions posted by Asus on their FB page mentions the following things 
  1. #DitchTheSelfieStick contest is applicable to all the Indian Nationals residing in India.
  2. Asus India will be running a contest from 6th September to 12th September 11:55 PM, so make sure to keep a close eye on their social channels.
The entire set of rules can be found here.

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