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ZODIAC

Found 140 results

  1. The very first initial build of Android started developing sometime in 2003 when feature phones were still mainstream. While today we know it as the most popular operating system for smartphones, it wasnât the case in the early/late 2000s when the operating system was still in its nascent stages. While it was still being developed in secret, the operating system catered to popular phones at the time, albeit for phones that physical buttons and keypads. In fact, Android did not support touch screen interactions until the first iPhone launched in 2007. © Wikipedia Commons We know this thanks to documents made public from Apple and Samsungâs patent trial which detailed how Android worked at the time. In the specification sheet from the trial, Google clearly stated that âTouch screens will not be supported.â This document by Google was distributed to potential hardware manufacturers including Samsung that stated: "The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption.â The document was shared prior to the first iPhoneâs launch in 2006. âHowever, there is nothing fundamental in the product's architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future,â Google added. The iPhone Effect © Apple The very first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs in January 2007 which showed a radical new phone that was mostly made up of screen and metal. The phone was aptly called âiPhoneâ and it was Appleâs way to showcase its version of the touchscreen control. Touchscreen phones existed before the first iPhone however the experience was not as cohesive as the iPhone. It was the first phone that was fully controllable by the touch screen thanks to Appleâs custom operating system for the device. © EverythingApplePro At the same time, Android prototypes looked nothing like the iPhone as they resembled BlackBerry smartphones with small screens and a QWERTY keypad. The first commercially available Android smartphone i.e. the HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1 launched in 2008 with physical buttons and no touchscreen support even though it had a 3.2-inch touchscreen display. However, as soon as the first iPhone became a great success, we saw Android transform its interface and basic functions to support touchscreens. If it werenât for the iPhone, we would have never really seen Android-based touch screen phones as early as we did. View the full article
  2. Android phone users can hate Apple's iOS and iPhones all they want, but there's no denying that there are certain things that the iPhones are really good at. No, we are not saying that Android phones are bad. In fact, here are 5 things that make an Android phone better. But today we're going to check out 5 cool iPhone features that Android users can only dream of having. So, call out friends, grab some popcorn, and let's get started: 1. iMessage FTW © Apple iMessage is one of the main reasons why most iOS users don't even think about switching to an Android phone. iMessage is just better than anything that Android has to offer. It's one of those features that Android users don't have, and likely never will. Yes, there's RCS Messaging in Google Messages on Android phones now, but let's be real for a minute and agree that nobody uses it and it's nowhere close to what iOS offers. 2. Memoji Is Just Better Than Emojis © Apple Apple introduced animated emojis and broke the internet in 2017. And in 2018, they launched the expansion of Animoji called Memoji that became even more popular. With Memoji, anybody could create animate emojis that looked like them. That's a simple yet genius feature and it works flawlessly to date. While a few Android OEMs tried their hands on making their own version of Animoji, they end ended up looking really bad. 3. All iPhones Get Updates At The Same Time © YouTube/ Mark Linsangan Software updates have been an issue for Android phone users for a very long time now. And with the number of Android phones and new software versions coming out every year, it only seems to be getting worse. Apple, on the other hand, manages to send software updates to all the iPhones at the same time. Irrespective of whether you have a 5 years old iPhone 6 or the brand new iPhone SE 2020, you'll get the update at the same time. It's crazy how Apple manages to do that time and again. 4. No Bloatware © YouTube/ Mark Linsangan Speaking of software, it's hard not to acknowledge the fact that iPhones have absolutely no bloatware whatsoever. That's simply not the case with Android phones unless you are buying the Pixel phones. Almost every other Android phone is filled with a ton of unnecessary apps and random features that you'd probably never use. A lot of Android OEMs have started going a better job at staying away from bloatware, but there's still a long way to go. 5. Siri Shortcuts © Apple Perhaps the most underrated feature on iOS is the Siri Shortcuts app, which now comes pre-installed on new iPhones. You can create custom shortcuts and use voice commands to have Siri do all the work for you. There are a lot of creative ways in which you can use Apple's Shortcuts app, but there's no way to actually do it natively on Android without having to download a separate app. And even then, you can't use Google Assistant to execute those shortcuts. View the full article
  3. Apple's new iPhone SE has received rave reviews thanks to its affordable price tag for the kind of hardware it offers. We haven't had the chance to use the phone yet due to the on-going Coronavirus lockdown in the country, but we think it's perfect for most Indians. The company's CEO Tim Cook recently commented about the iPhone SE and said that they're receiving positive reviews from both reviewers and customers. In response to a question about how well the new iPhone SE might sell in specific regions, Tim said that it could do well in regions with lower median incomes. © YouTube/ iJustine Tim Cook even said that the company is expecting to attract a "fair number" of Android switchers with the new iPhone SE. He believes that'd be the case because of how powerful the new iPhone SE really is. He explained that it packs the âengineâ of the iPhone 11 inside a smaller and more affordable form factor. Here's what he said - âIt plays in every geo, but I would expect to see it doing even better where the median incomes are less. Iâd expect some fair number of people switching over to iOS. Itâs an unbelievable offer. Itâs the engine of our top phones, in a very affordable package, and itâs faster than the fastest Android phones. Itâs an exceptional value.â © YouTube/ iJustine We've already seen why the new iPhone SE is actually a lot more powerful than even the most powerful Android flagship phones out there. That, on top of the price tag, even here in India, makes the new iPhone SE an incredible value for money purchase. View the full article
  4. Vulnerability could leave Android users around the world exposed to the danger of data theft, ransom demands
  5. Since we announced native Invision Community apps for iOS and Android, the response has been incredible. Hundreds of customers registered interest in joining the testing process, and for the initial round we selected around thirty users, roughly split between iOS and Android. Thank you to those testers for their work in reporting issues and providing feedback over the past couple of months. Open Beta I'm pleased to report that we are now ready to begin an open beta of the app, allowing everyone to install it and test it. See below for information on installing the apps. As this is still a testing process, we'd welcome any bug reports or feedback you have. Instructions on doing that can also be found below. The app going into open beta today is essentially a 'white label' version for our own community here. This enables us to test the basic community functionality more widely before we release the free 'multi-community' app that customers will be able to use with their own communities. Already signed up for beta testing via our survey? Thank you! Once we begin testing the multi-community app we will select a new group of testers from those that signed up, and invite them to offer the app to their own users on their own communities. This stage will come once Invision Community 4.5 is released later this year. Installing the app iOS iOS users will need to install TestFlight from the App Store. This is an app provided by Apple that allows developers (such as ourselves) to issue test versions of applications. Once installed, sign up for the beta test by going HERE on your iPhone. Android Android users should go HERE on their device to sign up for the beta. Reporting issues/providing feedback If you would like to report an issue with the app, we are managing issues via a special GitHub repository. You will need a free GitHub account to report new issues, if you don't already have one. Click the Issues tab, then the New Issue button and follow the steps. Please provide as much information as you can. If you'd like to provide feedback via a private channel, or if you have a sensitive bug to report, please email us at a dedicated email address: mobilesupport@invisionpower.com Disclaimers The app you will be installing is a beta version and we offer no guarantees with it. If you are not comfortable using beta software and the inherent risks in doing so, please don't install the app yet. We reserve the right to suspend testing or exclude individual testers at any time if necessary.
  6. When we thought the future of smartphones is going to be foldable, we didn't think we'll get to see some classic retro phones being brought back. But, Motorola has now decided to bring back the classic 'razr' phone as a foldable device. Yes, you read that right. Motorola has resurrected the classic flip phone as a foldable Android phone. It's like a modern spin on the iconic phone and here's what it looks like - You're gonna flip! #razr #bethefirst #motorolarazr #feeltheflip https://t.co/Ay4BnJ0TVS pic.twitter.com/31ocA3Ybx2 — Motorola Global (@Moto) November 14, 2019 Looks pretty cool, right? As you can see, the overall form factor of the phone is more or less the same, but they have replaced the T9 keypad and the LCD display with a single display that folds from the middle. This is a plastic OLED panel, but Motorola has managed to make it fold without a visible crease in the middle. As for the specs though, we think Motorola could have done a better job. They're simply banking on the nostalgia factor here, hoping that people would pay the price to go back in time and feel the flip. © Motorola The Motorola Razr sports a 6.2-inch 21:9 plastic OLED panel inside that fold in half along the horizontal axis. There's also a smaller 2.7-inch panel inside which Motorola is referring to as a 'QuickView' display. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 710 processor coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. As for the battery, the phone packs a 2510mAh battery with 15W TurboPower charging and runs on Android 9 Pie out of the box. In terms of the optics, the Razr phone sports a 16MP rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture and there's a 5MP front-facing shooter with an f/2.2 aperture. © Motorola Since this is essentially a new version of the classic flip phone, Motorola has also added something called the 'Retro Razr' mode which turns the display into an image of a display and keypad. It makes it sort of look like the old Razr phone. Pricing & Availability Motorola has launched the razr phone for $1,499 and it will be available to pre-order on December 26. The phone will go on sale starting in January 2020 in the US. Motorola India has also confirmed that the phone is coming to India very soon, although we don't have a release date for it just yet. We hope to learn more about it very soon, so keep your eyes peeled. View the full article
  7. If your smartphone has been experiencing unusual battery drain of late, you might be wondering if something is wrong with it. You aren't alone as Android users are facing the same issue as you due to a recent WhatsApp update. WhatsApp recently updated the app on Android that lets users protect their conversation with a fingerprint lock. Whatsapp uses the traditional fingerprint sensor or an in-display fingerprint sensor on Android smartphones to unlock the messaging app. © PlayStore Users on Reddit, Twitter and other social media platforms have been reporting a massive battery drain on smartphones. This is not exclusive to any brand of phones as it was being experienced by OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi and other smartphone users. After investigating, users noticed that WhatsApp was drawing more power from the battery than usual. In some cases, the application would draw 30-40 per cent of the battery while being idle. This is also not exclusive to Android 10 as users with Android 9 Pie build were also experiencing the same. © Unsplash If your WhatsApp version is 2.19.308, we recommend you downgrade to the previous edition by downloading an APK from one of the hosting websites. Alternatively, as suggested by Reddit users, you can delete and re-install the application from the Play Store. As a last resort, you can always turn on the battery saving mode on your smartphone that will prevent the application from carrying out unnecessary background activity. However, turning on the battery saving mode will also result in missing out on the latest messages since it turns off the background activity. WhatsApp is aware of the current issue and should be patching it in a future update soon. For now, you can try any of the methods mentioned above to resolve the battery drain issue temporarily. Make sure you take a backup of your conversations before deleting the application though. Source: Reddit View the full article
  8. Alongside the new Mi CC9 Pro smartphone and the new Mi TV 5 Series, Xiaomi also launched its first smartwatch today in China. It's called the Mi Watch, and yes, it looks exactly like the Apple Watch. Ignoring the fact that it's an Apple Watch ripoff, we do think that it has a lot going for it. And outside China, the watch will be running Google's WearOS, so we think this could actually be a really good option for people who are looking to buy a smartwatch. Here are the top 4 features that make it a perfect smartwatch for Android users - Design © Xiaomi Yes, it looks like an Apple Watch. We've already covered that. But if you ignore that, then you can't deny the fact that it looks really good. Its square-ish form factor looks premium, it has a bezel-less display just like the Apple Watch Series 5, and it also has a digital crown, which makes it look like a traditional watch. The Mi Watch sports a 4D curved stainless steel design with scratch-resistant sapphire glass protection up top. The digital crown is also coupled with a vibration motor, so we assume using it will be similar to using the digital crown on the Apple Watch. The 44mm casing of the watch is made out of the ceramic back and an aluminium alloy. The display is an AMOLED panel, so you're getting the best panel out there. Powerful Internal Xiaomi's Mi Watch is the world's first smartwatch to be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 3100 4G processor. In case you didn't know, most WearOS-powered smartwatches have trouble when it comes to performance, but we think the Mi Watch will an edge over the others mainly because of the processor. Obviously, the software also plays a huge role, but we think it won't have much trouble handling WearOS. In China, by the way, the Mi Watch will be running a customized version of MIUI. © Xiaomi Battery Life The Mi Watch packs a generous 570 mAh battery inside, which is quite impressive. With that, Xiaomi says the Watch will last for up to 36 hours on a single charge, which, if true, is quite remarkable. There aren't a lot of smartwatches out there that can last for 36 hours with all the bells and whistles like a 1.78-inch AMOLED panel, eSIM support, NFC, GPS, and more. The Mi Watch can also track all your fitness activities, thanks to all the built-in sensors. © Xiaomi Price Well, price isn't exactly a feature, but the Mi Watch comes with an attractive price tag. Just like most Xiaomi products, the Mi Watch has been priced very competitively in China, and we think the same will be reflected in international markets as well. Xiaomi has launched the Mi Watch for just 1200 Yuan, which roughly translates to about Rs 20,000. © Mi Watch Considering the fact that most Android Wear watches from the likes of Fossil, Huawei Watch and more are priced well above Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 mark, we think this will do well. With that being said, we're not entirely sure if the watch will make its way to India. Xiaomi has not confirmed anything about the watch's released outside China just yet, so we'll just have to wait for more info. View the full article
  9. Ever since Google broke the Fitbit acquisition news on Friday, there has been a lot of discussions about how Fitbit can help Google. This acquisition comes at a time when wearables, especially the fitness-centric wearables, are picking up once again in the market. While a lot of people are worried about their fitness and health-related data being used by Google to target them with ads, there's a positive side to this story. We think this acquisition can actually help Google build a good wearable. A perfect Apple Watch competitor for Android, if you will. (c) YouTube/ Fitbit Well, here are three ways in which Fitbit can help Google make the perfect Apple Watch competitor for Android. WearOS Needs Fitness-Centric Features WearOS, as a platform, lacked fitness-related features. Yes, it had Google Fit, but who uses Google Fit anyway? What Google needs right now is a smartwatch OS with a variety of fitness-centric features baked right into. Put all the features that are necessary to any given workout like the Apple Watch does and make it fun. Seriously, an Apple Watch can detect a fall and contact emergency service on its own. How cool is that? We need something like that, Google. YouTube/ Karl Konrad Heart Rate Tracking In case you don't know, Fitbit is popular for its PurePulse heart rate tracking technology. Fitbit's wearables are highly capable of keeping a proper track of your heart rate and making sure you have the data when you need it. We'll be bummed if Google doesn't use this technology. Heart rate tracking is really a big feature. Even a lot of basic fitness trackers can do that. But Fitbit's tech is both consistent and accurate, so we think it has the potential to rival Apple Watch's HR tracking capabilities. Heck, we'd love to see something like that. Sharing Is Caring YouTube/ Fitbit Working out and trying to be fit and healthy is usually a little less nerve-wracking when you do it with someone or even in a group. The Apple Watch does it exceptionally well. You can invite other Apple Watch users to compete with you while hitting your daily and weekly goals. That's the kind of social sharing features we want on a fitness-centric device. Fitbit already has a huge community of fitness-enthusiasts who are constantly using the app, and competing with others. We think Google can leverage such a strong community and make its platform better and more engaging. Look, the reason why Apple Watch is as popular as it is today is that it gives people a reason to buy. Convincing someone to spend upwards of Rs 20,000 for a smartphone companion is a tough nut to crack. But when you sell it as a product that can help you live a better and health-conscious life that also happens to be a smartphone companion makes it that much better. Well, that's exactly what Google needs right now and we think Fitbit can help them achieve that. View the full article
  10. Apple has a fair lead over Qualcomm and other chipset manufacturers that have been powering Android smartphones for years and this year is no exception. In our review, simple Geekbench tests showed how far ahead Apple's A13 Bionic chipset really is even when compared to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855+ chipset. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla However, AnandTech, a publication known for breaking down CPUs and GPUs for comprehensive reviews and comparisons just published their report on the performance of the A13 Bionic chipset. The website is highly revered for testing out CPUs and GPUs in detail, and their report shows that the A13 chip is up to 30% faster than the A12 chipset. In fact, AnandTech reports that Apple's A13 maybe 2-3 years ahead of competing processors. In their report, AnandTech said, “Overall, in terms of performance, the A13 and the Lightning cores are extremely fast. In the mobile space, there's really no competition as the A13 posts almost double the performance of the next best non-Apple SoC. The difference is a little bit less in the floating-point suite, but again we're not expecting any proper competition for at least another 2-3 years, and Apple isn't standing still either.” © AnandTech When looking at AnandTech's benchmark scores, it is quite apparent that the ASUS ROG II that comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855+ chipset is nowhere close to the iPhone 11. In fact, the fastest Android smartphone right now doesn't even beat the iPhone X which was launched in 2017. AnandTech also found that the A13 chipset is twice as powerful as the latest Qualcomm or any other chipset found on Android smartphones. If you are a gaming fan, it is worth noting that the GPU in the A13 chipset has 50-60% higher sustained performance scores than last year's iPhone XS according to AnandTech's GFXBench graphics benchmark results. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla If you want to read the report for yourself and check out every benchmark results in detail, you can read AnandTech's detailed review here. Source: AnandTech
  11. I'm excited to reveal that we are making Invision Community native apps for iOS and Android! For the past few months, our staff has been using an internal test build right here on our community. Now we are ready to widen testing to a larger pool of customers. Information on how to become a tester is at the end of this post. But first, let's take a look at the app itself. Technology Preview We have a lot of exciting plans for the Invision Community app. We wanted to take full advantage of a clean slate and build a brand new experience that embraces a native app's interfaces. While the app is unmistakably Invision Community, it features new ways of interacting with your content. We want the app to help shape the future of Invision Community, and we're asking for you to help. What we are opening up for testing today is a technology preview. This slim app covers the essentials with a view to much more expansion later. The technology preview is locked to our community. The app we will release will be a 'multi-community' app; a directory of communities users can browse and save. We’ve taken this approach because the app stores have clamped down on ‘template’ apps, and the cost involved in building and maintaining a separate app per-community won’t be an option for many of our customers. A multi-community app is a great approach for most: simple setup, minimal cost, still fully-featured, and a great way for new users to find your community too. What The App Does For the initial phase of this technology preview, discussions are the main focus which is the foundation of every Invision Community. Also available are profiles, streams, search and notifications - including (at last!) push notifications. Any areas that the app does not currently support will open seamlessly in a web view within the app. As we build new functionality into the app over time, users will encounter fewer of these hybrid views. Your feedback will allow us to target the highest priority areas during the technology preview phase. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 Pricing Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores. The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities. This funding will secure the app's long-term future. The premium option could enhance their listing in the directory, or provide special functionality when users use that community in the app. Availability We intend to release the app alongside the next significant point release of Invision Community, expected to be 4.5. Communities will need to upgrade to this version to allow their users to use the app. Questions? Why not a PWA (progressive web app)? Invision Community 4.4 already supports several PWA features. However, until iOS supports Push Notifications (and other features) in PWAs, we don't feel they are a fully-rounded solution to using communities on a phone. Building native apps allow us to experiment with new interfaces and approaches. As PWA support improves in the years to come, we'll feed what we learn back into the main product for the benefit of all users. Why now? Those with a long memory will recall that we've had a few attempts at providing an app in the past that weren't successful. We are great at building apps with web technologies but creating native apps ourselves wasn't sustainable. Enter React Native. React Native is an open-source technology for building native apps. React Native allows teams to build native apps using web technologies, but crucially, React Native doesn't build hybrid apps. They are compiled into real native apps - not browser wrappers, but native buttons, text, dialogs, animations and more. A year or so ago, we started experimenting with React Native to see if it might be a viable approach for us. And it was. Finally, there was a technology that enabled web engineers to build delightful cross-platform native apps. As we can build native mobile apps using the technology we are familiar with allows us to incorporate mobile app development into our existing processes. Why just forums? Invision Community is a large, fully-featured platform, and building the entire platform in a native app from the get-go didn't seem to be the best approach. Instead, we've focused on the most active area of most communities - forums - with other areas still supported in the app via webviews. Over time, additional features and tools will be built into the app so that it eventually reaches feature-parity with the web version. We'll take feedback from our customers to determine which areas to support next. How will I add my community to the app? The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options. Is the app ad-supported? There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future. Can I get a white-label version for my community? We aim to offer a white-label option in the future. Will my plugins work in the app? Probably not. We're intentionally building the app to work with standard Invision Community features and apps right now. If your plugins add new UI elements or change the functions that users interact with it's likely they will not work with the app. What about themes? Themes won't work in the app because the app doesn't use HTML. However, some branding/customization will be available via the AdminCP, and we may expand upon this in future. Have other questions? Let us know in the comments, and we'll answer them! Sign Up For Testing For the next stage of our testing process, we will be inviting several customers to try the app and provide feedback/bug reports. As part of the sign-up process, we'll ask for some information about your own community. We'll use this to select further testers once we begin testing of the 'multi-community' version of the app later. The answers you provide will not affect your chance of testing the app on our community. Interested in joining the testing group? Click here to sign up. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4
  12. Apple's iMessage service, as we all know, is what has been keeping iOS users glued together and making them stick to the Apple ecosystem. Like, seriously. It's insane to think how a messaging service is making people remain loyal to an OS. Well, it looks like Google is finally ready to lock horns with Apple. Yes, Google is bringing its version of iMessage to Android. Users in the UK and France with Android phones will be able to opt into the new texting service called 'Chat'. © Reuters The concept of 'Chat' and 'RCS' protocol on which Chat itself is based on, is more complex than you can imagine. But in simple terms, Android Chat can be seen as an easier way to text. Much like iMessage, users will be able to see read receipts and ellipsis symbols when people type, and more. You'll also be able to send and receive high-resolution images and videos, and it all happens through either cellular data or Wi-Fi. It's going to be great, and we really can't wait for the service to expand to more countries and eventually make its way to India too. © Reuters We're not entirely sure how messaging platforms like WhatsApp and others will react to the arrival of Chat on Android. After all, this new texting service has the potential to steal the show from WhatsApp and others. But we think it's still too early to tell how it'll be received across different parts of the world. Google, in case you didn't know, has been working on an Android version of iMessage for a long time now. In fact, RCS was created all the way back in 2007 to replace SMS, but sadly the carriers didn't really show a lot of interest at that time. Now let's hope things work out in favour of Google and we finally have an iMessage equivalent on Android.
  13. Apple's iMessage service, as we all know, is what has been keeping iOS users glued together and making them stick to the Apple ecosystem. Like, seriously. It's insane to think how a messaging service is making people remain loyal to an OS. Well, it looks like Google is finally ready to lock horns with Apple. Yes, Google is bringing its version of iMessage to Android. Users in the UK and France with Android phones will be able to opt into the new texting service called 'Chat'. © Reuters The concept of 'Chat' and 'RCS' protocol on which Chat itself is based on, is more complex than you can imagine. But in simple terms, Android Chat can be seen as an easier way to text. Much like iMessage, users will be able to see read receipts and ellipsis symbols when people type, and more. You'll also be able to send and receive high-resolution images and videos, and it all happens through either cellular data or Wi-Fi. It's going to be great, and we really can't wait for the service to expand to more countries and eventually make its way to India too. © Reuters We're not entirely sure how messaging platforms like WhatsApp and others will react to the arrival of Chat on Android. After all, this new texting service has the potential to steal the show from WhatsApp and others. But we think it's still too early to tell how it'll be received across different parts of the world. Google, in case you didn't know, has been working on an Android version of iMessage for a long time now. In fact, RCS was created all the way back in 2007 to replace SMS, but sadly the carriers didn't really show a lot of interest at that time. Now let's hope things work out in favour of Google and we finally have an iMessage equivalent on Android.
  14. Huawei is already working on its own operating system since Google revoked its access to the Android license earlier this week. The Chinese company says that its own operating system for both smartphones and laptops will be ready for use by fall this year. The new operating systems will first be released for use in China, and it would only happen if the situation between Huawei and Google does not change in the coming months. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Chinese tech giant already had a contingency plan and has been developing its own OS for a while in preparation for a worst-case scenario, such as President Trump's blacklist. Huawei is looking to release the operating system that will work on both smartphones and laptops. This move comes as American companies need to seek permission from the US government before selling services and goods to Huawei. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The company has detailed that the operating system will be available for markets outside of China either by the first or second quarter of 2020. Huawei's new operating system will work with other products such as wearables, auto, laptops and other devices. The operating system will be compatible with Android apps as well and would be 60% faster than Android. However, the new Huawei OS will not have access to the Google Play Store but the Chinese company has already started talks with third-party app store 'Aptoid'. The third-party store may come pre-installed on Huawei smartphones for global markets like India and Europe. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Huawei now has a bigger hurdle to overcome as the company has also lost access to ARM, the company that provides license for the basis of most mobile device processors worldwide. This effectively leaves Huawei's HiSilicon division useless, as Huawei will not be able to build their own processors for smartphones and even IoT products. Source: CNBC
  15. The OnePlus 7 Pro was launched in India today and we've been using the smartphone for a while to let you know how the smartphone fares in 2019. OnePlus is one of those unique brands that have been able to dethrone giants like Apple and Samsung in India by offering flagship-level smartphones for a considerably less price. OnePlus makes smartphones using top of the line components and offer a seamless OS experience that can only be matched by Google's Pixel smartphones. The OnePlus 7 Pro has a complete design overhaul when compared to the OnePlus 6/6T with some new features, a brand new display and Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor. Here's what we think about the OnePlus 7 Pro and everything it has to offer: Design And Display © MensXP The OnePlus 7 Pro is beautifully designed and comes with no notches, almost zero bezels and a very vivid screen. At the back, there's a slight curve for better ergonomics and has a reflective glass that catches light from different angles. The colours are not over the top as other smartphones keeping it interesting and alluring at the same time. The OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a triple camera setup and has the same branding placement as the OnePlus 6T. The OnePlus 7 Pro comes in three colours: Nebula Blue, Almond and Mirror Gray. At the bottom, the smartphone has the USB-C port, a speaker grille and a SIM card slot. OnePlus has removed the headphone jack as well in favour for better water resistance as it was quite expected since it was removed from the OnePlus 6T as well. At the front, the notch has been completely removed and now has QHD+6.67-inch AMOLED display. The display itself is one of the most beautiful panels we've ever seen on a smartphone. This is also the first time OnePlus has included a 90Hz refresh rate panel which results in a smoother experience and better performance on games. Having said that, the battery life of the smartphone does drop considerably when used in the 90Hz mode. Thankfully, OnePlus has given you the option to switch to 60Hz refresh rate in the display settings. © MensXP The display itself is very bright and has a pixel density of 556 ppi. The colour reproduction on the display has been outstanding and gave the Samsung Galaxy S10+ a run for its money. It was a delight to watch TV shows on Netflix that has HDR support as the OnePlus 7 Pro's display is also HDR10+ certified. The blacks look deep and dark, the contrast ratio is on point and has high saturation levels. In order to complement your viewing experience, the OnePlus 7 Pro also comes with dual stereo speakers that were previously missing in the OnePlus 6T. Since there is no fingerprint sensor, the OnePlus 7 Pro also has an in-display fingerprint sensor just like the OnePlus 6T, albeit it works far faster and smoother than before. Since the notch has also been removed, OnePlus 7 Pro now comes with a pop-up selfie camera just like some VIVO and OPPO smartphones. Having said that, it is worthy to point out that the OnePlus 7 Pro is a very heavy phone and cause fatigue if you are used to the company's previous lighter smartphones. There were times when our fingers and palm would simply tire out when using the smartphone due to its weight. If you plan on using a cover, then it is even heavier. However, once you start using the smartphone, your palm and fingers will get used to it over time. Performance OnePlus smartphones are known to have great components under the hood and the OnePlus 7 Pro is no exception. The OnePlus 7 Pro is blazingly fast and it's all thanks to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor. The flagship level processor is coupled with 6/8 or 12 GB of RAM and comes with different storage options. We tested the 12GB RAM variant and it exceeded our expectations way too much. We ran a simple Geekbench 4 test and our review unit scored 3509 in the single-core test while it scored a very impressive 11130 score in the multi-core test. That's the fastest Android smartphone we've tested this year and is probably the only device that comes close to the iPhone XS Max's performance. © MensXP While gaming, you can run games like PUBG Mobile on the highest settings and there is no frame rate drop according to our Gamebench test. The smartphone also comes with new Haptic Vibration that amplifies your experience while playing games. The heat management is also up to the mark as the OnePlus 7 Pro now comes with a 10-layer Liquid Cooling system. The OnePlus 7 Pro also has a RAM boost mode which basically means that it will allocate remaining RAM to memory intensive applications such as First Person Shooter games. This means you will be able to load games faster thanks to the new mode in combination with the new UFS 3.0 type of storage. UFS 3.0 is probably the fastest form of storage that basically means it can read and write files at a much faster pace than any other smartphone out there. Overall, the performance of the smartphone was outstanding and it is by far the smoothest Android smartphone we've used till date. This is also partly because of OnePlus' Oxygen OS skin that is bloat-free and comes with new features. Cameras © MensXP In terms of photography, the OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a triple camera setup at the back where the primary sensor is a Sony IMX586 48-MP sensor that has an aperture of f/1.6 and pixel size of up to 1.6 μm. The sensor has both OIS and EIS. The second sensor is an ultra-wide 16 MP, f/2.2, with a 117° field of view. The third is an 8 MP, f/2.4, a telephoto sensor with 3x zoom. Now that you know the camera specifications, we were left quite disappointed with the camera performance on the OnePlus 7 Pro. Don't get us wrong, it can do a fair job of taking pictures but overall the quality of images felt underwhelming. The portrait images were not accurate at blurring the edges of our subject while there was no noticeable difference taking images with NightScape. The smartphone does a decent job of taking good images in good lighting conditions but did not perform as expected in the darker environments. Images would turn out to be very warm and sometimes lack the detail that one looks for in pictures. Some images were also overly saturated even when we tried our best to turn the levels down. Overall, the imaging on the OnePlus 7 Pro needs a lot of work and tweaking at the moment as most images simply look too soft. We hope a future update could fix these issues in the near future. © MensXP The biggest change on the OnePlus 7 Pro is the placement of the selfie camera. Since it is a pop-up selfie camera, it comes out from the top of the smartphone each time you switch modes or when you need to unlock using facial recognition. While testing, the pop-up selfie camera would take less than a second to arise and around the same time to go back down. The selfie camera has a 16 MP, f/2.0 sensor that is more than enough for taking simple selfies. The pop-up camera works just like it does on the Vivo V15 Pro and other smartphones that have a similar feature. Here are some camera samples for your reference: Battery Life The OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a 4,000 mAh battery that performs well if you know what you are doing. For example, if you are using your display with 90Hz refresh rate and at QHD+ resolution, your battery life will fall considerably. You can turn down the refresh rate or the resolution in order to conserve battery life. Having said that, when you have turned down either one of the options, you can expect an average of 5 hours and 30 minutes of screen-on-time with around 20 percent left. If you tweak either the refresh rate or the resolution, expect the screen on time to fall considerably faster. Having said that, we used the OnePlus 7 Pro extensively for navigation, playing memory and GPU intensive games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt and a lot of internet browsing. The OnePlus 7 Pro also comes with the company's new Warp Charge 30 adapter with basically is the same charger that came with the McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T. It increases your charging speed by 38% and we saw our smartphone go from 10% to 69% in less than 20 minutes. Software © MensXP When it comes to the software, I would buy a OnePlus smartphone just for Oxygen OS. It is by far the cleanest and most stable skin you find on a smartphone apart from Pixel smartphones. It offers almost a pure Android experience without any bloat or add-ons. This time around OnePlus has added new features such as Zen Mode. It basically lets users turn off almost all features of the smartphone apart from receiving phone calls. It is the company's effort for better smartphone management and digital wellbeing. The feature cuts access to the smartphone for a period of 20 minutes so that you can tackle smartphone addiction in a better manner. It cannot be cancelled once you start Zen Mode and lock all the apps until 20 minutes elapses. You can also use Google's native Digital Wellbeing feature to track your habits and the amount of time you spend on certain applications. The OnePlus 7 Pro also comes with a gaming mode where it mutes notifications and let you toggle custom settings such as disabling automatic brightness. Within the gaming mode, you also get a new Fnatic mode which basically takes these settings to the next level. It basically blocks all notifications apart from low battery notification, alarm and timer. It also fine tunes the processor to give gaming priority and disable the secondary SIM to give priority to the Primary SIM card for better signal strength. You will need to enable the gaming mode first in order to switch on the Fnatic mode. The Final Say There's no other smartphone that can perform as well as this beast, has a crisp display that offers vivid colours and gives great battery performance if you know what you are doing. Having said that, if you love to take pictures, the OnePlus 7 Pro still needs to improve a lot, especially because of the price tag. When you charge almost flagship level prices, the camera performance has to be up there as well in order to justify a recommendation. Having said that, the performance outweighs the camera performance for us as there's no other Android smartphone that can match up to the OnePlus 7 Pro at the moment. If you want a premium smartphone that can last long, perform well while gaming and take decent pictures, the OnePlus 7 pro is for you.
  16. Google announced the Pixel 3a and 3a XL this week and if you are looking for an Android smartphone that delivers good performance, a phenomenal camera and not super expensive, it really ticks all the boxes right now. We've been using the phone for a while and simply fallen in love with the smartphone. Pixel smartphones tend to have exclusive features that give it a few advantages over its counterparts. The Pixel 3a delivers computational photography at an unmatched level and offers a pure Android experience just like the Pixel 3. Here are some of the reasons why we love the Pixel 3a: Great Cameras © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP The Pixel 3a, in our opinion, takes some of the most incredible shots with its single camera sensor. It still takes pictures today that can outmatch almost every smartphone available today, even flagship level smartphones. For the first time, Google has proved that great cameras are not exclusive to flagship smartphones. It comes with all the exclusive features you get on the Pixel 3 i.e. Night Sight, Super-Res Zoom, Top Shot, Photobooth, Playground and Google Lens built right into the camera app. Google also intruded a new time-lapse mode where you can set your frames to record at various intervals. This essentially will let you record a 20-minute video and condense the final video into 10 seconds. Here are a few camera samples from the Pixel 3a: The Best Android Experience © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP Pixel devices have the cleanest stock experience you can find on an Android smartphone and also gets more regular updates. It comes with exclusive features that are not available on other devices such as computational photography, unlimited picture storage and overall smoother experience. The operating system has been fine-tuned according to its specifications and delivers an experience that not many phones can match. Other useful features such as Digital Wellbeing, Night Light and constant updates make this the best Android experience you can have on an affordable smartphone. It Has A 3.55mm Headphone Jack © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP Flagship smartphones are now removing the headphone jack in favour of better water resistance however it does render your wired headphones useless. Many people; especially audiophiles still prefer to use wired headphones due to better audio quality. Pixel 3a comes with a headphone jack which makes me want to use my 1MORE Quad driver earphones even more. Overall, its a better experience when it comes to audio quality and Pixel 3a does a phenomenal job. Night Sight © Google Night Sight was one of our favourite features on the Pixel 3 and the same feature comes to Pixel 3a as well. If you love to go out at night like me, this will be the most important feature you want to be looking at. Basically, Google uses “computational photography” to enhance images taken in low-light environments. This will basically eliminate the need to use flash, as Google's algorithms spruce up the brightness, contrast and colour automatically. It takes multiple images and combines them together to give the best final picture that is social media ready.
  17. Google announced a bunch of cool new Android Q features last night during the Google I/O 2019 keynote, and the update is now available for a bunch of smartphones. But before we check out the list of phones that will receive the update, here are all the cool new features of Android Q: Live Caption © YouTube Live caption feature, as the name suggests, will put an end to your subtitle woes. Yes, Google has revealed that this particular feature will take the words spoken in a video and display captions in real time. Live caption feature is not limited to just the videos you watch on, say, YouTube or Netflix, it can even show you captions in a video you've taken on your phone or any videos which you've received on WhatsApp, etc. So cool, right? Dark Mode © YouTube Yup, Android Q is getting a system-wide dark mode called 'Dark Theme'. So, the dark mode, besides making your phone look cool, can also help you get a little more juice out of your phone's battery. On Android Q, you'll be able to enable the dark mode by simply switching a toggle. New Gesture Navigation © YouTube Gesture navigation is something which Google had introduced with the last version of Android, but now, it's going all in. Honestly, we think it's very similar to the gesture navigation which we have on the iPhones. Here's how it works - In Android Q, there's now a thin, long white bar at the bottom instead of the 'pill and back button combo. You can simply swipe up from within an app to go home or swipe up and drag across to go into the multitasking view. To get to the app drawer, you can just swipe up from the home screen. To go back to the previous screen, you can swipe in from either side of the display. Yes, the new gestures on Android Q are very similar to Apple offers on the new iPhones, but it's not necessarily a bad thing because the iPhones gestures are fluid and they work like a charm. Permissions and Privacy © YouTube Much of the Google I/O keynote last night was about security and privacy features. Yes, Google seems to be taking the user privacy very seriously, and it shows with this new build of Android. The company has added a new 'Privacy section to settings, which will have a mix of different settings to let you take control of your privacy. There's a lot of ground to be covered in this section, but the gist of it all is that Google is very serious about user privacy and it wants the users to be on the front and centre of it all. Focus Mode © Google Google already introduced an extensive set of features to keep you away from the phone under the 'Digital Wellbeing' tag last year with Android P. Well now, the company is adding a new feature called 'Focus Mode'. This new mode is just like Do Not Disturb feature, except you'll be able to pick the apps that you find distracting or tempting, and shut them down for some time. It's a simple idea, but we think it'll users be more productive. Apart from the aforementioned features, Android Q brings a lot of other new things like Parental control, changes to notifications, the way the security updates are handled, and more. List of phones that can enrol in the Android Q beta - · Google Pixel 3, 3XL · Google Pixel 3a, 3a XL · Google Pixel 2, 2XL · Google Pixel, XL · ASUS Zenfone 5Z · Essential PH-1 · Nokia 8.1 · Huawei Mate 20 Pro · LG G8 ThinQ · OnePlus 6T · Oppo Reno · Realme 3 Pro · Sony Xperia XZ3 · Tecno Spark 3 Pro · Vivo X27 · Vivo NEX S · Vivo NEX A · Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G · Xiaomi Mi 9 If you have any of the devices mentioned above, you can now enrol for the Android Q Beta and check out all the new features.
  18. HMD Global has launched the new Nokia 4.2 in India. The device was first shown off at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, and they'll go head-to-head with other entry-level budget phones in the country. Nokia 4.2 Specifications © MensXP If you have a bit more money to splurge, then you can check out the new Nokia 4.2. It's a slightly more premium phone that sports an all-glass design with a polycarbonate frame. On the front, the Nokia 4.2 features a 5.71” HD+ LCD panel with a teardrop notch. Again, the front of the phone looks very similar to the Nokia 3.2 or any Nokia phone for that matter. (c) HMD Global Nokia 4.2 is powered by a Snapdragon 439 SoC and it comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. It also runs a stock version of Android 9 Pie out of the box and has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side. As for the optics, the phone has a dual camera setup which includes 13MP + 2MP sensors. There's an 8MP front-facing selfie camera as well. It also packs a 3,000 mAh battery and has a 3.5mm headphone jack too. Pricing & Availability Nokia 4.2, as mentioned earlier, starts at Rs. 10,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant. Nokia 4.2 consumers get free six-month screen replacement worth INR 3,500 covered under Nokia phone screen protection insurance, brought to you by our partner, Servify. T&Cs apply Consumers purchasing Nokia 4.2 using HDFC Bank Credit and Debit cards on EMI and regular transactions done through Pinelabs terminals in offline stores, will receive a 10% cashback. Consumers can also avail 10% cashback when they use HDFC consumer finance. This offer is available at retail outlets till 10th June '19. T&Cs apply Vodafone and Idea subscribers will receive INR 2,500 instant cashback by way of 50 vouchers of INR 50 each. These vouchers can be redeemed on recharge of INR 199 and above. T&Cs apply.
  19. HMD Global has put up some great numbers on board in the last two years. In a market that's as saturated as it is today, selling as many as over 70 million phones is no easy feat. But I'd say HMD has done a phenomenal job of reviving the Nokia brand and offering phones sprinkled with memories of Nokia brand. In India, Nokia is currently selling over 10 Android phones. From Nokia 1 to Nokia 8, the company has a lot on offer, and there's definitely something for everyone. But there hasn't been a Nokia 4 before. Yes, there's Nokia 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8, but no 4. Well, that's changing now with the launch of the new Nokia 4.2. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer That's right, Nokia has finally decided to fill the gap between the Nokia 3 and 5 with the new Nokia 4.2. It's an entry-level budget phone that starts at Rs. 10,990. But does it makes a decent fist of its pricing? Well, let's find out. Design & Display As soon as you pick up the Nokia 4.2 and hold it in your hands for the first time, you'll quickly realize that it's not that different from other Nokia phones with an all-glass design. That, however, is not a bad thing at all. I am a huge fan of Nokia phones, especially, the design. They all look very premium and give other phones in the same price segment a run for their money. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The Nokia 4.2 also manages to impress with its sleek design. I'd say the phone is a bit curvier than other Nokia phones that I've used in the past, but it's a joy to hold it in one hand. It sports 2.5D glass on both the front as well as the back. It literally feels like you're holding a premium phone in your hand. Seriously, it's that good. At the back, you get the dual camera sensors along with an LED flash and a fingerprint scanner. The Nokia branding is accompanied by the subtle 'Android One' mark, which is always a good sight. The Android One branding is quite subtle on the Black variant which I've been using since the past few days. I am sure the 'Pink Sand' variant of the phone looks equally premium. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The Nokia 4.2 comes with a micro USB port for charging and data syncing, and you also get a 3.5mm headphone jack for charging and data syncing. Interestingly, the phone also has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left along with the standard power button and the volume rockers. Oh BTW, the power button lights up whenever you get a new notification. That's cool, I guess? The front of the phone is dominated by the 5.71” HD+ LCD panel. It's got a teardrop notch, but it's not entirely a bezel-less display. There's a thin black bezel running on both sides and the top, and the bottom, as always, has a thick chin with the Nokia branding. Like, I said, the phone is very similar to most other Nokia phones from the front. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The display gets adequately bright outdoors, and it shows nice and punchy colors. It's obviously not winning any awards for being the best in the business, but I did enjoy watching videos and playing some casual games on it. So, I think any casual user will be more than satisfied with the display. Overall, I'd say the Nokia 4.2 scores good marks when it comes to the design. It looks very similar to other Nokia phones on the market, which means the Nokia 4.2 makes other budget phones look downright ugly. Seriously, if you hand over this phone to someone and ask them to guess it's price, you'll be surprised. Trust me, I've done it. Cameras As for the optics, the Nokia 4.2 sports a 13MP f/2.2 sensor along with a 2MP f/2.2 secondary sensor at the back. And on the front, there's an 8MP selfie shooter. The UI, again, is very much similar to what we've from Nokia in the past. There are a bunch of shooting modes like Auto, Pro, Bokeh, Panorama, etc. You can also use Google Lens from right within the camera app, which is great. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer During my usage, I sadly found the cameras on the Nokia 4.2 to be below average. Or maybe just average at best. First of all, there's a huge shutter lag while taking pictures, which is not something I've experienced in budget phones for quite some time now. I am not sure if it'll be fixed via an update, but it's not looking good at this point. Nokia 4.2 takes decent-looking images during the day with enough light, but things start falling apart when you start shooting at night. There's a ton of noise in the images and the shutter lag only gets worse at night. Even the bokeh mode is a hit or miss. I'd say Nokia still needs to work on the cameras on its budget phone, but I'll let you check out the samples and be the judge - Performance Well, this is the part that keeps reminding me that I am not dealing with a premium/ flagship phone. For its processor, Nokia has gone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439, which is a 1.9Ghz octa-core chipset. Using the Nokia 4.2 was my first time checking out this processor, and so I was open to surprises. Spoiler alert: I wasn't. © MensXP Nokia 4.2's performance is just about what you'd expect from an entry-level phone that's powered by a Snapdragon 400 series chipset. The Nokia 4.2 variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage and you can add more storage through an SD card, but that's just asking for more money to be spent. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer During my testing, the Nokia 4.2 managed to push through the day-to-day tasks with ease. I didn't face any issues while doing things like browsing through social media, web-browsing, etc. However, when you start doing some resource-intensive tasks like editing photos for social media on apps like Snapseed or play some games like PUBG Mobile, the chipset will start showing it's true colors. Yes, I do understand that's it's an entry-level phone, so it can't really handle all those tasks well. However, it's tough to let it slide when there are other phones in the market that cost just about the same and can do pretty much anything you throw at them. © MensXP I am glad that this phone, just like every other Nokia Android phone, comes with a pure stock version of Android. You get Android 9 Pie and you're guaranteed to get major Android updates for two years, and security updates for three. Yes, all thanks to the Android One program. Overall, I'd say the Nokia 4.2 is a decent performer. It's not exactly a snappy experience, but the casual users will find plenty to like here. That being said, it's not really acceptable considering the fact that there are other phones that offer a far more superior performance in or around the same price. Battery Life © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The Nokia 4.2 packs a 3,000 mAh battery. Does that last long enough? Well, that will completely depend on your usage, but I can say that it'll last you through an entire day without any issues. On days with heavy usage, I used to get around 3 - 3.5 hours of screen-on-time, whereas on days with light or moderate usage, you can expect it to last for over 4 hours. I found the phone's standby time, in particular, to be very impressive. When you run out of juice, you can charge the phone from 0 to 100 percent in just over 2.5 hours. The Final Say Nokia 4.2 is one of those rare budget phones that feels pricier than it actually is. It's a really good phone that comes with a stylish design and a clean Android interface. It's not going to blow you away with its performance or by taking breathtaking pictures, but it'll definitely get the job done. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer HMD Global will be selling the Nokia 4.2 in India at a starting price of Rs 10,990 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage varaint. The Nokia 4.2 is competing with the likes of Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7, the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2, etc. and it's a tough competition there. Even if you're hell-bent on buying a Nokia phone, then you can pick up something like, say, the Nokia 6.1 or even the Nokia 5.1, both of which are great devices around the same price point. Yes, there are a ton of devices in this price bracket, so we suggest you choose wisely.
  20. Google is all set to host its annual developer conference Google I/O tomorrow and the keynote is special for many reasons to Android and Google users. The keynote will be hosted and headlined by CEO Sundar Pichai and we can expect to see new announcements of features, Android Q, hardware across all of the company's products. There is also a good chance that we get an update on other Alphabet (Google's parent company) compares such as Waymo and Nest. Here's what all we can expect from Google's event that is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 10:30 PM IST: Android Q © YouTube Every year, Google announces new features that will come as a part of the annual Android update and we are certain that the company has something in store this year as well. In the Pixel Beta Program, Google has already introduced improved location privacy controls, chat bubbles, pop-up settings menus and a few other new features. Google is expected to announce new features such as native support for screen recording, a new sharing menu and a desktop mode like Samsung's DeX. Google is also expected to add support for foldable devices natively this year just like Google added support for the notch last year. There's a good chance that a new beta will arrive right after I/O keynote concludes and a final release is expected to launch sometime in October 2019. A New Pixel Phone © Facebook There have been numerous leaks in the past that have hinted towards Google launching a cheaper Pixel smartphone. There's a good chance that Google is gearing up to launch the new Pixel smartphone that has been dubbed as Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. The smartphone is said to have similar features as Google's flagship Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL which we will know more about once Google officially unveils the device. An Update On Duplex © YouTube Last year, Google shocked the world with an AI voice that could answer spam calls for you and even make calls to restaurants and make reservations. The life-like voice basically removed the need for a user to deal with annoying calls or rudimentary tasks such as making reservations. "Duplex" was only available in select areas and there is a chance that Google may roll out this feature to new locations or even worldwide. Stadia © YouTube Google announced its new gaming service “Stadia” at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year. There will be some sort of update on the gaming service and how it would work with Google's products such as Pixel Devices, Chromebook, and Android devices. According to Google, data centres will enable Google to provide game streams up to 4K at 60 frames per second. Google is also making a custom Stadia controller that has dedicated buttons for capturing gameplay and sharing footage on YouTube directly. A small army of data centres will enable streams in up to 4K at 60 frames per second (with support for 8K and 120 frames per second on the way), and customers will have the option of purchasing a custom-designed Stadia controller with a capture button that shares in-game experiences directly to YouTube. Google Assistant Updates © BCCL Generally, Google brings new features to Google Assistant every year since its launch and we could expect some new services and features that will use machine learning and artificial intelligence. We could also expect new updated on Google Home devices or a Google Hub Max. Will you be watching Google I/O tomorrow with us? What features and new updates are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.
  21. We keep reviewing smartphones almost every week but sometimes, a new tablet comes along that gets us excited. The iPad Pro is one of our favourite gadgets of 2018 and in fact, we typed this very review on it. Having said that, not everyone needs such a powerful and big screened tablet; especially in India where more than half the urban population is on the move. Apple recently launched the new iPad Mini 5 and we got our hands on the small tablet to see what all it can do. We've used Android tablets in the past but none of them even come to close Apple's offering when it comes to performance. Our experience has largely been “meh.” Android tablets are often powered by less powerful chipsets or do not offer a great screen for content viewing. Some of them lack proper software updates or outright don't work as intended. Having said that, there are a few Samsung tablets we love but Apple's iPad series is where the buck stops. So, here's our review of the new iPad Mini and what we think about the new tablet. Design & Display © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla The New iPad Mini 5 doesn't look too different from its predecessor as it looks nearly identical from the iPad 4 from 2015. It's got the same massive bezels, a 7.9-inch Retina screen and a new back design similar to the iPad Pro from 2017. We would have loved to see an almost all-screen design like on the iPad Pro from last year and give it the modern aesthetic we all expected. The display, on the other hand, has slight upgrades as it now supports True Tone technology, has a 25 per cent higher colour gamut and is 25 per cent brighter. The iPad Mini has a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels but does not have ProMotion features like the iPad Pro where it can adjust the refresh rate automatically depending on what you are doing. © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla The iPad Mini comes with stereo speakers at the bottom which are loud enough for watching movies or TV shows. Having said that, if you want more privacy or don't want to disturb the people around you, the iPad Mini 5 comes with a 3.55 mm headphone jack. You can even pair the new iPad Mini with AirPods seamlessly which is a first for the iPad Mini. The smaller iPad design is probably the star attraction here as it fits in the palm of your hand perfectly. The iPad Mini's size is probably the one feature that makes it the most versatile gadget from Apple's entire portfolio. The screen is large enough to enjoy video content, gaming and is perfect to even use it as an e-book reader. The small sizes iPad Mini is a favourite amongst users for these various reasons. However, with new services like Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus on the horizon, you really want to invest in an iPad that can handle everything you throw at it. We shall talk about it more in the performance section in detail and what a powerful chipset can imply for the future of iPads. Performance The iPad Mini 5 is powered by an A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine that amps up the performance with faster computing power and graphics processing over the A8 chip. This means that the iPad Mini 5 also supports augmented reality features which come in handy when you want to do something educational or measure objects. You can even play AR games such as Angry Birds with other iOS devices that support AR. The iPad Mini comes in two models with 64GB or 256 GB of internal storage. Depending on your needs, you can get the appropriate storage variant. The battery life on the iPad Mini 5 also works as advertised. During our testing, the iPad Mini 5 managed to last over 10 hours with constant use. We used the iPad mini to watch TV shows, play games like Fortnite and a lot of internet browsing. © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla The iPad Mini 5 comes with iOS 12 out of the box and some new features that were missing in the previous generation. For starters, you can now run two apps at once in either the Slide Over or Split View. IOS 12 also works in tandem with the A12 Bionic processor to offer optimum performance which was quite evident when we were gaming. The iPad Mini 5 also now supports the first generation Apple Pencil which is a great new addition for people who like to take notes, sign documents or draw the go. The iPad Mini 5 is now officially a full-fledged tablet that has a place of its own in Apple's portfolio. The A12 Bionic Processor is already a powerful processor that also powers the iPhone XS and XS Max. The A12 is the fastest processor in the market right now and has some major advantages when it comes to the device's future. The A12 Bionic processor is also very powerful when it comes to running games and the iPad Mini 5 will be vital for Apple Arcade when it launches. For example, the A12 Bionic chip can give consoles like the Nintendo Switch a run for its money. Being a highly portable device, the iPad Mini is essential for capturing those markets. The A12 can already run some console level games; at least the ones you see on Nintendo Switch. The sheer size on the iPad Mini will offer a better gaming experience than any smartphone or even the Nintendo Switch. The display quality, a powerful chipset and a massive library of games all work in favour of the iPad Mini. Cameras The iPad Mini does come with cameras on both the front and the back but we wouldn't use them for taking proper images. We would recommend you use the smartphone in your pocket as it would be able to deliver a better image. Having said that, the iPad Mini does have an 8-megapixel, f/2.4 camera at the back that can take good enough pictures. You can use the iPad Mini 5 to scan documents, take pictures of daily objects etc. The iPad Mini 5 has a 7-megapixel selfie camera but does not have support for portrait selfies, unlike the iPad Pro. However, the front camera is awesome for making video FaceTime calls and take general selfies. The Final Say © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla The iPad Mini 5 is probably the only tablet that caters for people who are looking for performance and portability. The small tablet market right now is not up to the mark as Android-based tablets are often outfitted with weak processors and mediocre screens. The iPad Mini 5 easily fills that gap and offers the full iOS experience you've come to expect from Apple devices. The iPad Mini 5 has a great display and offers new augmented reality features never seen on an iPad Mini before. With services like Apple Arcade on the horizon, the iPad Mini 5 is the right investment right now. It's Apple's most versatile device that offers everything from productivity to entertainment. The iPad Mini 5 retails in India for Rs 34,900 (Cellular) and Rs 45,900 (Wi-Fi + Cellular) which could be considered expensive for India but the advantages it offers offsets the cost entirely.
  22. Apple's AirPods have become a cultural phenomenon and has become an icon when it comes to audio gear. It may not be the best earphones on the planet but it's surely the most convenient. AirPods 2, with a wireless charging case, is set to launch in India soon and many of you would want to use them with your Android smartphone. In fact, there is a way to use some of the AirPods features that are available natively if you use the earbuds with an Apple device. AirPods 2 offers some new features and familiar tech which has not been easy to replicate. You can read our full review here if you want to know more. How To Pair AirPods With An Android Phone © MensXP Pairing AirPods with an Android smartphone is fairly simple as it works similar to other Bluetooth earphones. At the back of the case of the AirPods, you need to long press the small button to make it discoverable. Once you can see the AirPods in your phone's Bluetooth settings, select and pair with the AirPods. It's easy and does not have any issues while connecting. How Can I Use Airpods 2 Features © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP The AirPods have neat features such as double tapping the earbud to skip songs and play/pause music with a single tap. You will be happy to know that this feature works with Android smartphones as well and works just like it does on the iPhone. Check Battery Life & Setup Google Assistant The AirPods 2 natively gives you battery levels when connected with the iPhone when you start using them or via the batteries widget. You can even use Siri without any additional setup on the iPhone. Having said that, making these features work on an Android smartphone is a bit more complicated. You will need to download third-party apps to take advantage of these features on an Android smartphone. © Google Play You can download AirBattery via the Google Play Store as it lets you interact with AirPods and see battery levels of each earbud and the charging case. You can alternatively use AssistantTrigger which essentially lets you do the same thing but also lets you set up Google Assistant functionality. You can fire up Google Assistant by double tapping on the earbud thanks to AssistantTrigger.
  23. 'Call of Duty' publisher Activision is teaming up with Tencent Timi Studio to bring its massively popular first-person shooter franchise 'Call of Duty' to Android and iOS. The game will simply be called 'Call of Duty: Mobile'. 'Call of Duty: Mobile' is a free-to-play multiplayer title which draws inspiration from some of the popular 'Call of Duty' titles like Modern Warfare and Black Ops. Here, watch the trailer - Activision has also promised that the game will have competitive multiplayer modes from the original franchise including Search and Destroy and Free-For-All. Additionally, the game will also have series staple maps like Nuketown, Crash, and Hijacked. Also, much like the other 'Call of Duty' games, the 'Call of Duty: Mobile' players will also earn and unlock classic 'Call of Duty' characters, weapons, scorestreaks, and more. The trailer also teases some other multiplayer modes, maps, and character customization, so be sure to check it out. Commenting on the release, Activision VP of mobile Chris Plummer said, “Together with the amazing team at Tencent, we're bringing together a collection of the most beloved maps, competitive modes, familiar characters, and signature weapons from across this storied franchise into one epic experience for the first time on mobile.” © Call of Duty In case you're just as excited as we are about this game, you can head over to the game's official website and sign up to be the first one to get notified about its launch. We still don't have an official release date yet, but a public beta is coming this summer, so stay tuned for more info.
  24. Microsoft showed off its Project xCloud and gave a first look of the service working in action. The company has been developing a cloud-based game streaming platform for a while, which is expected to be the future of gaming. Microsoft is already planning to stream games that are made for the Xbox One and is also planning to launch a disc-less console soon. © YouTube As part of the demo, we can clearly see Forza Horizon 4 running in a data centre and being streamed to an Android smartphone. The game is being controlled by an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth. “Anywhere we have a good network connection, we'll be able to participate in Project xCloud,” Microsoft head of gaming cloud Kareem Choudhry said in the video Choudary also went on to explain that Project xCloud will work similar to music or video streaming services i.e you can log in from any device i.e. a phone or even a laptop and find the library similar to music libraries. Basically, this service will work on any device that has a screen and play demanding games on the fly. © Microsoft The service will also give you access to your cloud saves, friend lists and everything that users are already familiar with on the Xbox One. However, Choudry went on to say that “It's not a replacement for consoles, we're not getting out of the console business,” © Microsoft Game streaming services are being touted as the future of gaming thanks to new technologies like 5G and cloud computing. Google is also launching its own game streaming service next week at GDC 2019. Microsoft already offers a subscription service in the form of Xbox Game Pass where users can play Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for Rs 699 per month.
  25. You can finally play your PlayStation 4 (PS4) games on your iPad or your iPhone via Sony's Remote Play App. The application was already available on Android, considering it was first launched on the Xperia Z3 way back in October 2013. It has taken Sony 4.5 years to get the same feature for iOS devices. © SONY In order to use this feature, you will need to update your PS4, download the RemotePlay app on your iOS device and pair the two. The controller layout is overlaid on the screen and if you want to play on your iOS device, it will work best when paired with a third party controller. You cannot pair the PS4 controller with an iPhone or an iPad unless your device is jailbroken. iOS is a huge platform and bringing the functionally will be a massive expansion for streaming games. There are plenty of MFi gamepads you can use in order to play PlayStation games on your iPad. You can use the SteelSeries Nimbus as a gamepad and map the controls exactly like on the PlayStation 4 controller. © Sony Having said that, you will not be able to play PS4 games remotely such as via a mobile network. You will need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi in order for the function to work. You will also need an iPhone 7 or sixth-generation iPad or later to make the application work with your PS4. The new update has been rolled out for the PS4 and in the 6.5 version of the update, users can also remap the 'X' and 'O' buttons on the controller. Japanese consoles have to use the 'O' button for the “Enter” command, however, you can now remap it to 'X' or the other way around.
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