Tag Archives: Smartphone

android_and_chrome

Unlocking Chromebooks will soon get simpler

Due to Google being the creator of both Android and Chrome OS, they have begun to experiment with these operating systems, combining them to create unique features, like how Apple does with their iOS devices and Mac OS X line of computers. Previously, Muktware mentioned Google working on alternative methods for unlocking Chromebooks, but the Android Police discovered one such development in the works on Chromebooks running the Dev channel. (The Dev channel is Google’s early release channel, through which Chromebook users can get new features earlier but are unstable, so sometimes cause problems).

With this new feature enabled on a paired Chromebook and Android smartphone, the Chromebook will unlock when the Android smartphone is near. This feature, currently called Easy Unlock, will give users instant access to their Chromebook, and still offer them security if the device is accessed when they are not present.

Screenshot of the setup wizard for the Easy Unlock setting
Screenshot of the setup wizard for the Easy Unlock setting

The Android Police tried to test this feature by setting up the connection, and they easily moved through the first two pages of the setup wizard on the Chromebook. However, the setup currently hangs at the screen where the Android device is to be paired. Either Google must release an Android app to provide this function, or include the feature in the next version of Android. For now, this is still a feature to be looked forward to and that a majority of users will find use in.

Google I/O will most likely reveal more on this feature and mark the release of it to the masses of Chromebook and Android users. According to rumors about Google I/O, Chromebooks in general will be one of Google’s main focuses at the event, and their plans for Chrome OS’ future.

Rumors have been churning about tablets running Chrome OS, and more unique devices such as Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook which will be the first convertible Chromebook. Google I/O will definitely be an event to watch this year, especially on the topic of Chromebooks and Google’s Chrome OS.

Source: Android Police

htcone-google-edition

New HTC One Google Play Edition available for sale

The new HTC One which was announced yesterday is now available with stock Android from Google Play Store. These devices running stock Android are called Google Play Edition devices and they don’t come with the usual bloat-ware or custom UI pushed by the hardware companies.

The phone comes with 32GB internal storage, in addition to an SD-card slot, and 2GB of RAM. The device is available for $699 and will start shipping in 2-3 weeks. These are unlocked devices which get updates from Google faster as there is no OEM or carrier sitting in between to delay the OTA updates.

It’s for those who do want pure Android experience with great hardware as Google’s own Nexus hardware is often not top-notch.

oppo-find-7

Oppo Find 7, the most powerful smartphone out there, and it runs Android

If Canonical teased everyone with their Ubuntu Edge concept phone making smartphone users salivate for such a phone, Oppo has kind of realized that dream. Oppo has announced the most advanced smartphone in the market leaving Nokia and Samsung in the dust.

Oppo Find 7 can shoot image up to 50 megapixels. Yes, it’s not a typo…it’s 50 megapixels.

Oppo Find 7 has a 5.5″ Quad HD screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution (538 PPI) which is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It has 13-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX214 CMOS sensor with 4K video recording and 50-megapixel Super Zoom photo. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 801 CPU, expandable storage up to 128 GB with removable battery.

The phone is still cheaper than the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S4 as it is priced at $599. There will be cheaper models of $499 which will have 1,920 x 1,080 display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

I always maintained that the open source Android will take over tech lead from Apple. The only reason Apple had a technological edge was that the competitor of its times–that’s Microsoft–was a mediocre company and had a monopoly in the market so there was no need to innovate for this company which, in my opinion, kept the PC market from innovating. Then came Android and it changed everything. Now Apple is in the game of catching up and Microsoft is busy with Scroogled campaigns.

So are you going to buy Oppo Find 7? Do you think they can take over the market with better hardware?

Onyxphone-2

Here comes Onyxphone, an Ink Phone made for reading

Have a need for a phone that is focused more on reading consumption than multimedia use? Look no further, Onyx Midia may have you covered with their Onyxphone. The device features a 1 Ghz Rockchip processor, 512 MB of ram, an 1,800 mAh battery. The OnyxPhone is a 4.3″ phone that uses an energy saving e-Ink screen instead of the LCDs, OLEDs and other technologies that dominate the selected screen technology of smart and feature phones today. It also doesn’t use a hybrid E Ink/LCD strategy like the Yotaphone, it’s pure E Ink only.

You will sacrifice color and fast refresh rates so be prepared to say goodbye to videos and many games on this device. That’s not to say that this idea is bad or crazy, in fact I believe it to be the opposite. It’s a brilliant invention for people that primarily uses their cell phones to consume text but may often be annoyed at how often they may need to charge their devices.

Onyxphone is a hybird of smartphone and eReader. We have not forget about our main goals. If you choose our device you will get smart eBook reader that gives you possibility to calling, sms texting and web connection. – Onyx

(They’re a Chinese company, their translations may not be the best but are more than sufficient)

Very often our modern smart phones may have disappointing battery life. six hour to two day battery life has become the accepted range. A modern smart phone that lasts for two days isn’t bad at all but in another light it could be seen as disappointing. How? Many of the devices it replaces (terrestrial phones, cameras, books, computers, mp3 players, address books, flash lights, etc) traditionally lasted longer before needing maintenance or charging. Now you would be hard pressed to find a more versatile and useful device than the modern smart phone, but we could still hope for other interpretations of that device that helps to fill lost niches and types of uses.

Low-end Android phones may struggle to hit the lower end of that range while a semi-tablet like the Galaxy Note is praised for being able to run for a couple of days. Looking at all that these devices enable today, they’re right. It’s a technological marvel to have a 5″ device that is always connected to the internet, able to allow for communication in a myriad of ways while being more powerful than 6th, and very soon 7th, Generation game consoles (GCN/PS2/Xbox).

It’s nearly obscene that we have so much power and versatility in our pockets yet it’s our reality. Even so, maybe this tech overshoots the needs of some users. Not everyone cares for watching Youtube on the go or looking at pictures. In fact, how many of us just use our phones as a convenient way to read online sites like this one, ebooks or any other form of text(ing)? For those type of uses, color isn’t needed. The modern smart phone is arguably a cellular enabled tablet, but how much longer will that near monopoly last?

Getting back to the main point, the OnyxPhone reveal, it seems like a good idea that is limited by current technology unfortunately. According to Engadget the ebook functionality is smooth but normal phone navigation is beyond sluggish. The specs are low (still partially undefined) and the monochrome screen will be off-putting to the mainstream users. Instead of destroying this concept for what it isn’t, it’s very thrilling because of what it is and for what it may be a prelude to. There is on-going work to develop color e-ink screens, that will be a game changer for future iterations as well as dedicated e-readers. A faster cpu, more ram and more OS customization (it runs Android, and yes it can sideload apks) would make this a very useful and cheap device.

Imagine a color e-ink screen, a more fluid user interface, improved reader-focused features and a solid calling and texting experience – all on a device that only needs to be charged every two weeks. I very rarely stream video and wouldn’t miss the feature on a phone like this. I make heavy use of Digg Reader, Comixology, Nook, Pocket, Wikipedia and many other apps that would benefit greatly from an improved reading experience. I’d happily use an ereader phone in place of the current status quo devices if it could perform its’ reading and communication jobs at an equally high level of quality. The OnyxPhone is that first step, let’s hope that Onyx or others will be fit to see this through to the end.

Source: Onyx via Engadget”

Meizu_MX3

Chinese phone maker Meizu arrives in France

Renowned Chinese phone manufacturer Meizu has made its entry into the French market with the launch of its flagship smartphone, the Meizu MX3. This phone runs a homegrown fork of Android 4.2, dubbed Flyme OS 3.0, which the company claims to have “improved navigation” and “simple and fluid transitions”.

The specs of the phone are:

  • 5.1″ Full HD display, at 415 ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 5 octa core processor (1.6 Ghz × 4 + 1.2 GHz × 4)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2400 MAh battery
  • 8 Mpx rear camera, and 2 Mpx front camera by Sony
  • F/2.0 flashlight
  • NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimensions: 139 x 71.9 x 9.1 mm
  • Weight: 143 g

The phone will be available in France, through a number of carriers, in three of its variants: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB, at €449, €499 and €549 respectively. There has been no word about the 128 GB variant.

Who is Meizu?

Meizu is a Chinese company taking the world by storm. In 2003, Meizu started off as a manufacturer of digital music players, and later entered the mobile phone market. Meizu’s focus lies in developing devices with sleek, elegant design and fluid user experience, for which they came up with their very own Flyme OS.

Meizu is also one of Canonical’s partners, that will launch the first devices running Ubuntu Touch OS.

Muktware_Mwc

Top Android Releases at MWC

MWC is now behind us. OEMs showed up, showed off, and some left lasting impressions while others did not. Throughout the barrage of announcements and revelations, there are some products that we feel were more note worthy than others. Products that you, our readers might consider in the not too distant future. Products that we envision showing up in even our homes when they are released. I will now highlight a few products and announcements that stood out, but for the sake of simplicity, I will group the products by OEM rather than by category. If I failed to cover your favorite OEM, please don’t hold it against me as there was much to cover. Without further delay, why don’t we get right into it?

Samsung

We all know about the might of Samsung, and I will not dwell on it here. They were very present at MWC, and they presented quite a number of tech pieces to us. The main device presented was the all new Galaxy S5. By main I mean that it was not only Samsung’s number one device, but also the chief device of the entire MWC. As expected, it bested the S4 with a slightly bigger screen, faster processor and a better camera. Added features like a finger print scanner and the ability to check your pulse rate at the back of the phone are just the icing on the cake for me. The S5 is not expected to be released before April of this year, but based on recent reports, fans are already enlisting their names to get their paws on the next best thing, and to be honest, we can’t blame them for it.

Gear_Fit

The Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit, although members of the Tizen OS, are the descendants of the Android based Galaxy Gear, and we felt like they should be included here. The Gear 2 and Neo are a lot like the original Gear in terms of the design language. One would be forgiven for mistaking one for the other. The new offerings have lost weight, the camera on the Gear 2 has been moved from the wrist band to the watch to enable swappable bands while the Neo drops the camera altogether. While these are without doubt some fine pieces of tech, the Gear Fit was the one to steal the show, and was also awarded as the ‘Best Mobile Device‘ at MWC. Like many before it, it will track your movement, workouts and help you to get in shape once you’re willing of course.

Sony

The creators of the PS4 felt like they had a point to prove, and that they did. Sony introduced the Xperia Z2 at MWC, and it’s a stunning piece of machinery. The Z2 continues with its solid build quality and not only that, but it improves on its predecessor with small upgrades. The upgrades all blend together to offer a nice package. The screen has increased from 5 to 5.2″, the memory has been bumped up to 3GB, and it comes with a Snapdragon 801 processor. The screen resolution remains the same at 1920 x 1080, but the battery is now a whopping 3200 mAH, which should be enough to get the average user, and even some power users through the day.

Sony wasn’t done with the their offerings and they also released what many consider to be the thinnest tablet of all at a mere 6.4mm thickness. The Z2 Tablet, like the phone, has a Snapdragon 801 processor in tow as well and also the 3GB of memory. Digital noise cancellation when used with a headset, and a host of accessories will be available including the now mandatory keyboard cover. Sony has been known to produce dust and water proof electronics in recent times, and they have not deviated from this winning formula with their latest phone and tablet offerings.

Muktware_Xperia_z2

LG

With the success of the Nexus 4, 5 and the G2, LG has risen to prominence and is ever aiming for Samsung’s crown on the Android throne. Shortly before MWC, LG launched the G Pro 2 in Korea and we soon learned of its awesomeness. It packs a 5.9″ screen, a 1080p resolution, a 13 megapixel camera and comes with 16 or 32GB of onboard storage, even though you can add more via the Micro SD slot. Like the Note 3, you’ll be able to shoot 4K videos and of course, Android 4,4 KitKat is on board. The G Pro 2 suprisingly features the Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.26 Ghz, 3GB of Ram and, like the Z2, contains a 3200 mAH battery. There is no mistake that this phone is a direct competitor to the Note 3 and all other phablets for that matter.

Nokia

I know that some of us may have scratched our heads at the sight of Nokia being one of the Android OEMs, but, as of MWC 2014, Nokia may be considered as such. Please note that doing so may come with some consequences depending on who your friends are. Nokia launched their ‘Nokia X’ line of Android phones at MWC this year, and the Android community has not been fully receptive of it, but, that was to be expected. The X, X+ and XL are poorly specked when compared to today’s average smartphones, and they are clearly a sign of Nokia testing the waters out before investing in any real hardware for the Android market.

Muktware_Nokia_XL

Members of the Android community have long wished for a Nokia made handset that runs Android out of the box, but few wanted it to be a forked version. Sadly, that’s exactly what we got. A forked version of Android that looks more like Windows Phone than Android itself. That said, Nokia has claimed that it will run about 70% of the Play Store apps, which, if my math is correct, is in the region of at least 700,000 applications. Like some members of the Lumia line, these phones are also geared towards the low end market but it has to be priced competitively because we now understand that the Moto G is doing pretty well right now.

Asus

The most noteworthy of Asus’ contributions at MWC was the Asus PW100 Nexus 7 dock. The dock features wireless charging and can be used in both landscape as well as portrait mode, although it will only charge your Nexus 7 in landscape mode. If you can get past the $90 price tag (or there about), then I have reason to believe that you will love this device. Based on reviews, the build quality is amazing —  something that we’ve come to expect from Asus, and we’ve also learned that it works with the Nexus 4, 5 and other Qi compatible devices that you may own.

Motorola

I waited patiently for Motorola’s conference, and then even more for their revelation of a new product, but it did not come. There was none. Instead, they did reveal some bits of information. For example, they will be making a smartwatch that will actually look good; something that all good watches do. A 2nd generation Moto X is also expected in August of this year and, considering the splash that the G and the X made in 2013 and even now, we have high hopes for Motorola’s next set of devices. Although no new hardware was presented at MWC from Motorola, they did let us in on their future products, and this was worthy of an honorable mention.

As we await the release dates for some of the devices that were shown at MWC; the S5, Gear Fit, Z2 and G Pro 2 were the stand out performers of the week. There’s very little to separate those at the top these days. Screens, sizes and specs are generally similar at this point, but it just means that OEMs have to try a bit harder to differentiate themselves from the pack. Tell us readers, which device got you excited? Are you going to buy any as soon as they’re released or are you waiting for that Motorola watch to be unveiled? Feel free to let us know.

Image Sources: Mashable, BGR

Nokia X app store ported to Android and Sailfish

It has hardly been a week since Google apps were seen to be installed on the Nokia X, and now we have more news about this rather different piece of hardware.

A hacker has managed to extract the proprietary app store of Nokia X, and has made it run on, guess what? The Jolla. It seems to run on other rooted Android devices as well.

An XDA Developers user, named opssemnik, has somehow extracted the apk files of Nokia Store from his Nokia X, and installed them on Android, and it runs perfectly. The downloaded apps have been reported to run just fine on both Sailfish OS and Android, provided it is rooted.

For those who do not know, Nokia uses its own proprietary fork of Android, rather than stock Android, in its X-series devices. It also removes all Google services and replaces them with its own. Therefore, these devices ship with Nokia Store in lieu of Google Play. However, ports have been made in both directions, i.e., Google apps on Nokia X, and Nokia Store on other Android devices.

Sources: UberGizmo, XDA Developers

oscar-selfie

Samsung Galaxy S5 makes its Oscars debut

After the recently held Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Samsung’s fifth flagship smartphone steals the limelight yet again. Samsung Galaxy S5 gets a bit of publicity with a 30-second ad segment at the Oscars.

It is worth mentioning here that the Korean manufacturer is a major sponsor of the Academy Awards telecast. Featuring close-up images of the phone, the ad mentioned: “Every year we celebrate the biggest and the brightest, the smartest and most innovative. The 5.1″ full HD Samsung Galaxy S5 with built-in heart rate monitor. The Next Big Thing is Here. April 2014.”

Though it’s a minor evolution of the Galaxy S4, the new phone packs a sharp 5.1-inch screen, a faster, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel camera. Taking cue from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the smartphone is also waterproof. It features a new fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5S.

The Galaxy S5 will be launched globally on April 11th via all major US carriers.

The company also put up a 90-second video titled “Amazing Things Happen”. It covered everything that the Korean firm offers with a screen, and apparently “You need to see this.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was used to capture a veritable who’s who of Hollywood stars that you see above.
Stepping into the audience, Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres tried to pack in as much star power as possible to take a selfie with her. The resulting photograph (spontaneous of course) including Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong-o, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was an instant hit.

Interestingly, the star-studded selfie has already racked up more than 1.1 million retweets.

HTC One

HTC M8 (New HTC One) leaked on YouTube

It’s not every day that we get a leak of such proportions, but it has indeed happened. A you tuber, who seems to be a teen based on the sound of his voice, has published his hands on of HTC’s yet to be released HTC M8. He claims that he gets phones released earlier and that it’s a developer version, which is believable. Throughout the video, the colour, size, Skin (UI) and layout are plain to see. No, this is not your average blurry cam leak, this is the real deal.

The repercussions for such a leak are not yet known, but something tells me that HTC will not be pleased about this. The reviewer kept raving about how good the camera was — he tested the sound; questioning whether beats audio was still in tact, and, strangely, he highlighted what he claimed to be a Micro SD Card slot. For those who are unaware, HTC has dropped SD card slots on their flagships since the One X in 2012. It will be very interesting to see if they make a return to the slot considering that many fans still clamour for the extra storage space.

Other notable features were the on-screen buttons which I personally welcome with open arms, and a slightly bigger screen, which would align perfectly with rumours of a 5″ offering this time around. Because we know that you would have wanted to see the device yourself, we have embedded the video below for your viewing pleasure, while it is still on YouTube that is.

So, tell us what you think. Who’s getting fired tonight? Do you like the device? In my opinion, it looks better than it did in the leaked images. The original One was quite a formidable opponent, and with a 5″ screen, on-screen buttons and a better camera, I think that HTC made MWC’s phone of 2013 even better.

PS. This kid either has a very bright future ahead, or a difficult one depending on how things pan out.

Muktware_Boeing_Black

Boeing releases their secure, partially ‘self destructible’ Android smartphone

There have been many unlikely Android OEMs in the past, but maybe none as strange as Boeing, the American company that manufactures and fixes all sorts of aircrafts. In 2012, Boeing announced plans to build a truly secure smartphone, and now, just shy of two years later, the company has finally delivered the ‘Boeing Black (Black for short)’, their take on what a secure smartphone should be.

The Black features a 1.2Ghz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, has a 4.3″ 960 x 540 screen, and stands at a height of 5.2″. Inside is support for three bands of LTE, WCDMA and GSM. The phone even has dual-SIM support baked in, which would make sense considering the international reach of such a company. With specs that are far from your average high-end Android smartphone, the Boeing Black chooses to focus on security, much like the recently announced Blackphone. Maybe in a somewhat ironic manner, the Boeing Black targets military personnel and, get this, government agencies. Well, I guess that not everyone is in on the NSA, right?

Boeing boasts of secure and encrypted hardware, a special lock for Android apps, and they have coined the term ‘PureSecure’ as the architecture to accomplish all of this. With regards to the self destruct feature, it has been reported that the phone will erase all data and software should anyone attempt to take the phone apart. This, ladies and gentlemen, is some impressive stuff.

Other noteworthy additions include a modular feature which may see qualified persons swap back plates to gain satellite phone, radio capabilities or even solar power or biometric sensors. Boeing has definitely done some research, and, should these features work as intended, I would say that the two year period was well worth the wait. With the host of NSA related leaks that have popped up recently, we think it’s just a matter of time before someone else, whether popular or otherwise, creates a phone and labels it as being secure. It will be nice to see some of these features implemented into our usual set of phones, especially the much needed solar feature. Are you listening Nexus team?

Sources: Boeing, Engadget