Sunday, 10 December 2017

Saregama launches Carvaan Tamil, Carvaan Mini - M.S Subbulakshmi Bluetooth speakers

Saregama India is expanding its Carvaan portable Bluetooth speaker line up with the addition of Carvaan Tamil and Carvaan Mini - M.S.Subbulakshmi speakers. The company's earlier launched Saregama Carvaan (Rs. 2,490) was aimed at Hindi speaking consumers with a collection 251 retro Bollywood songs by legandary singers Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, and Mukesh.

Speaking of the new Carvaan Tamil, the speaker comes pre-loaded with over 5000 songs mostly from Tamil films. There are also devotional and some popular Bollywood songs, as well as vocals and instrumental music by legends such as late Dr. M. Malamurlirishna, N. Ramani and E. Gayatri.

The songs are said to be handpicked using data analytic run on billion of records of music consumption of users across various platforms. The categories are based on singers, lyricists and music composers and you can pick each of the categories by rotating the jog-dial of the speaker.

In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the speaker also includes FM radio, USB 2.0 port and 3.5mm audio jack, and promises up to five hours of music playback on a single charge.

The Carvaan Mini - M.S.Subbulakshmi, on the other hand has 251 songs pre-loaded sung by the legendary singer. It also features an AUX input, Bluetooth 4.1 and USB, and also promises up to five hours of battery life on a single charge.

Coming to the pricing, the Saregama Carvaan Tamil has been priced at Rs. 6,490, while the Carvaan Mini - M.S.Subbulakshmi costs Rs. 2,490. Both are available for purchase offline on Crome and online on and Amazon India. They are backed by one-year doorstep warranty support across India.


Sony Xperia X, Xperia X Compact and Xperia L1 getting a new update

Sony Mobile has rolled out updates to Xperia X, Xperia X Compact and Xperia L1, which brings security patches to fix vulnerabilities to make the devices secure.

The update for Xperia X and Xperia X Compact arrives as build number 34.3.A.0.252 weighing at 296MB in size, and includes 1 December 2017 Android security patch. Both still runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat and should get an update to Oreo soon.

For the Xperia L1, Sony is rolling out the update with build number 43.0.A.49, and bumps the security patch level from August 2017 to November 2017. The Android build remains on version 7.0 and Sony is yet to confirm if this device will be upgraded to Oreo or not.

The security update for these devices is rolling out over-the-air globally so it can take from a day to a week to reach you. If the update notification doesn't appear on your device, you can check for it manually by heading over to Settings > About phone > System updates. 

Source 1 | 2

Essential Phone camera app updated to support 360-degree live-streaming on Facebook and YouTube

The Essential Phone's camera received negative reviews due to its poor performance, compared to other flagship, but the company has been improving it through software update. 

A few days ago Essential update the Essential Phone's pre-installed camera app to enable background blurring Portrait mode and added JPEG compression to improve image quality along with other small improvements. Before that it also added Facebook 360 streaming support to its 360 camera module.

Now Essential has updated the Camera app again to add two new features: YouTube Live 360 support (for Essential 360 Camera) and the option to broadcast Facebook Live 360 on a page. If you own the Essential Phone you have to update the Camera app to get the new features via Google Play Store.

In addition the company has updated the Essential 360 camera as well, to improve image stitching, JPED quality and over all stability. The update arrives as build NNJ41C, and you have to attach the 360-degree camera module to the phone to download the update.

As a reminder, the Essential phone boasts bezel-less design, dual-cameras, and modular attachments like the 360-degree camera. The specs include 5.7-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, 4GB RAM, 128GB internal storage, 13MP dual cameras, 8MP selfie camera, NFC, USB Type-C port, fingerprint scanner, and 3040mAh battery. It runs Android Nougat and is expected to get Android Oreo soon. At present the Oreo is in beta testing phase.

Source 1 | 2 | Via

Google outs list of Android Wear watches that will get Oreo update

Google rolled out Android Wear 8.0 Oreo to select watches starting with the LG Watch Sport and other models a few days ago

The improvements in the latest version of Android Wear include customizable vibration patterns for notifications, Touch Lock feature to prevent touch screen inputs, Support for seven additional countries/languages, more notification channels and new background limits for improved battery life.

Now Google has released the complete list of watches that will get the new update. The company has not revealed when these watches will get the latest update, so you'll have to contact the device manufacturer for the exact timing. 

Android Wear Oreo(8.0) update is already available in the following watches:
Fossil Q Venture
LG Watch Sport
Louis Vuitton Tambour
Michael Kors Sofie
Montblanc Summit 

Watches that are currently pursuing the Android Wear Oreo (8.0) update:
Casio PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20
Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch
Diesel Full Guard
Emporio Armani Connected
Fossil Q Control
Fossil Q Explorist
Fossil Q Founder 2.0
Fossil Q Marshal
Fossil Q Wander
Gc Connect
Guess Connect
Huawei Watch 2
Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
LG Watch Style
Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
Michael Kors Access Dylan
Michael Kors Access Grayson
Misfit Vapor
Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
Movado Connect
Nixon Mission
Polar M600
TAG Heuer Tag Connected Modular 45
Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You
ZTE Quartz

The Android Wear watches dropped from the support include Asus's ZenWatch 2/3, original Fossil Q Founder, LG GWatch R/Urbane/Urbane LTE, Moto 360 second gen/360 Sport and the orginal Huawei Watch. The Android version of these watches will remain at Nougat, but they will continue to receive Android Wear update via the Play Store. 

Source | Via

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Airtel and Idea roll out Rs. 509 plan offering unlimited calls and 1GB data per day for 84 days

To counter Reliance Jio's 459 plan, telecom operators Airtel and Idea Cellular have come out with a new Rs. 509 tariff plan for prepaid customers that offers voice call and data benefits.

Idea's Rs. 509 plan gives its customers unlimited local and STD calls, free roaming outgoing calls, 100 SMSes per day and 1GB of 3G data per day for 84 days. Customers can avail 1GB extra data if they recharge the Rs. 509 plan via Idea's website or MyIdea app. The extra 1GB data is also valid for 84 days.

In addition, Idea has also announced an additional offer under which customers are eligible for up to 100 percent cashback on recharges above Rs. 300.  The cashback will be divided into seven discounts of Rs. 51 each on the next seven recharges.

Airtel's Rs. 509 plan, on the other hand also offers unlimited local and STD calls, free roaming outgoing calls, 100 SMSes per day and 1GB of 4G data per day for 84 days.

The difference between Airtel and Idea's plan is the data speed. On Idea plan you can browse the net at 3G speed, while on Airtel's network the speed is 4G.

For comparison, Reliance Jio's 459 plan offer the same benefits as Airtel and Idea's Rs. 509, but you get to browse the net in 4G speeds and access to Jio suite of apps. However, Jio also has Rs. 509 plan and it offers 2GB data per day for 49 days.

Source 1 | 2

NVIDIA's $2999 Titan V is the world's most powerful PC GPU

NVIDIA has unveiled Titan V, its most powerful PC GPU ever created, which is built on the company's  most advanced Volta GPU architecture. The graphic card is designed for machine learning, big data analysis and artificial intelligence development.

The Titan V is a standard PCIe card manufactured on 12nm process and can achieve throughput of whooping 100 teraflops of power, which NVIDIA says has nine time more horsepower than its predecessor. It also includes Tensor cores, which are designed specifically for deep learning, with independent  integer and floating data patchs that can operate in parallel.

There are 640 Tensor cores and 5120 CUDA cores, and the GPU's base clock speed is 1200MHz. The speed can boost up to 1455MHz. The graphics card features 12GB of stacked HBM2 memory which operates at 1.7Gbps on a 3072-bit bus for a total bandwidth capacity of 652.8Bps.

The TDP is rated at the same 250W as previous Titan model, and users will need one 6-pin and one 8-pin power connectors. On the backplate it includes 3 x display port and a HDMI port.

As mentioned earlier the raw power of Titan V for AI and deep learning capabilities is driven by Volta architecture. According to NVIDIA, the Volta architecture "doubles the energy efficiency of the previous generation Pascal design, enabling dramatic boosts in performance in the same power envelope". We can expect NVIDIA to bring the Volta architecture to its gaming GPU line up as well. 

The Titan V is priced at $2999 and is available at NVIDIA’s website and is limited to two per customer.

Source | Via

Google re-enables touch control on Home Mini

The Google Home Mini is a $49 smart speaker, and is one of the most affordable smart speaker to support Google Assistant. However soon after its release, Google had to disable the touch sensor, as the speaker triggered on its own and started recording at random occasions due to the improper calibration of the touch sensor. 

Google was quick to address the issue and disabled the top touch activation feature  of Home units completely due to privacy concerns, preventing the speaker from accidentally recording everything. The single tap functions, which would start and pause music, snooze alarms and end phone calls were disabled as well.

Having said that, Google is bringing back some of the touch functionality with the addition of side press. But now instead of tapping the top of Google Home Mini, you will have to long-press the left or right side to play/pause music, end phone calls, silence alarms without giving voice commands to the device. Previously, you could only control the volume of the speaker by tapping on the side.

This will come as a firmware update with v1.29, which will roll out today. The update will start in the preview firmware channel. You can join the channel from the Home app settings. 

Source | Via

Xiaomi Mi A1 picks up December security patch

The Android One backed Xiaomi Mi A1 is the latest phone to get the December Android security update, which brings many fixes for vulnerabilities to improve the security of the device

Along with December 2017 security patch, the update also improves the overall stability of the device and optimizes the devices performance. Lastly it also includes general bug fixes as well.

The update weighs at 153MB in size and is rolling out over-the-air. If you don't immediately see the download & install notification, try checking manually, by going to Settings > About phone > System updates.

This is the benefit of owning an Android One device. While Xiaomi's MIUI running phone receives security update very late, the Android One backed Mi A1 gets the latest Android security update every month. This is because Android One devices are designed to experience the best Android has to offer. The Mi A1 is also expected to get Android Oreo update before the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi has also started testing Android Oreo beta for Mi A1 with select users. It also has December 2017 security patch.

As a reminder, the Xiaomi Mi A1 features 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, 12MP dual camera, 5MP front camera, fingerprint scanner and 3080mAh battery. It is available in India exclusively on Flipkart and Mi eStore for Rs. 14,999 in Black and Gold colors. 


VLC for iOS updated to support iPhone X screen and 4K videos

Popular media player VLC's iOS app is picking up an update that adds improved support for Apple’s latest hardware and software.

The version 2.8.6 makes VLC's iOS app compatible with iPhone X, so the UI is now adjusted to adopt to the tall 5.8-inch OLED display.

Apart from iPhone X compatability, the update also brings full support for 4K videos formatted in HEVC (High Efficiency Video coding), along with a fix for app termination issue encountered on devices running iOS 7 and iOS 8. The update also contains bug fixes as well.

Here's the change log
  • Adjusted the UI for iPhone X
  • Fixes the app termination on devices for iOS 7 and iOS 8
  • Adds Full support for HEVC 4k videos
  • General bug fixes
The updated VLC app for iOS is now available to download from the App Store (Link) 

Via | Source

Nokia 3 gets December Android security update

Google released December Android security patch earlier this week, and already a handful of phones are picking up the patch.

Now HMD Global has started pushing December security update to its devices globally starting with Nokia 3 that brings many fixes for vulnerabilities. The update is rolling out over-the-air and weighs at 345.4MB in size.

Along with the December Android Security patch, the update brings improved system stability and user interface enhancements, according to the change log.

If the update is available for your Nokia 3 unit, you will be notified to download and install it, or you can check for it manually, by going to Settings > About phone > System updates.

In related news, HMD recently confirmed that Nokia 3 will be skipping Android 7.1.2 and will directly update to Android Oreo. 


Friday, 8 December 2017

GOQii 3.0 fitness band and GoQii health 3.0 platform announced

Homegrown fitness technology company GOQii is expanding its healthcare services with its version 3.0 and as part of it introduced a new GOQii 3 fitness tracker with improved features and Smart Preventive Family Health Care plans to bring better health and lifestyle solution for users.

The GOQii 3.0 fitness band sports a slimmer and sleeker design than its predecessor, and gets multi-touch color display with an improved sensor that can detect heart rate variability (HRV). The fitness band also supports Presence Plus, which is a networking feature. It will be available in January 2018, and the pricing will be revealed at the time. Also existing GOQii users can upgrade to the new fitness band at no additional cost.

Regarding the new Smart Preventive Health Care plans GOQii said “As our platform expands we are trying to fulfill the health care needs of an entire family instead of just an individual. There are a number of active players who have already enrolled their families on the platform for over two years. Based on this learning and experiences, we were prompted to introduce family care plans. We found that families who adopt healthy lifestyle together develop stronger family bonds and are more likely to accomplish their health goals,” 

GOQii's Smart Preventive Family Plan starts at Rs. 1,999 for up to two family members, and comes with a validity of three months. The three family member health care plan is priced at Rs. 3,499 and is valid for six months. The Rs. 4,999 is valid for one year, and covers up to four family members. 

The family plans connects, tracks and takes care of the family’s health with consultations by GOQii care team consisting of GOQii Coach, GOQii Doctors and GOQii health experts. People who enroll themselves for this service are also eligible to get Tax Savings under Sector 80D. The service will be rolled out in January 2018.

GOQii 3.0 also brings a puzzle based game called Game4Good that helps you improve cognitive skills, memory power and prevent brain disorder. The game is built into GOQii's app.

Source | Via

Idea upgrades Rs. 198 plan to offer 500MB extra data

Airtel recently revised select plans to offer 500MB extra data. Now Idea Cellular is following suit. The telecom operator has revised its existing Rs. 198 plan to offer 500MB extra data for prepaid users.

The Rs. 198 plan previously offered 1GB of data for 28 days. However, under the revised plan, prepaid users will now get 1.5GB of data for 28 days. You can further get additional 1GB data if you buy the recharge from Idea's website or MyIdea app, for a total of 2.5GB data for 28 days.

The plan also offers unlimited free local and STD calls to any network, as well as roaming calls along with 100 SMS per day. However, the unlimited calls are capped at 250 minutes per day and 1,000 minutes per week. Also you cannot call more than 100 unique users in a week. Once the limit is exhausted calls will be charged at 1 paisa per second. Similarly the data will be charged 4 paisa per KB once the bundled 2.5GB data is exhausted.

Note that the Rs. 198 plan have been revised only in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgrah circles.


Instagram is turning Direct into a standalone app

Facebook owned popular photo-sharing platform Instagram is working on a standalone app called Direct for private messages, which will replace the current messaging features from the main app.

Earlier in 2014, Facebook separated the main app from the messaging platform and released Messenger. At that time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well". Now Facebook is taking the same route for Instagram as well.

The Direct app's interface is very similar to Snapchat as it opens the camera. The app will be available for Android and iOS devices, and once you install it, the inbox will disappear from the main Instagram app, and can only be accessed in Direct messaging app. 

“Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.” said Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager.

The app consists of three screens, and it opens to the camera interface. To the left of the camera is the profile screen that lets you access settings, switch accounts and navigate to various corners of Instagram. To the right is the inbox for messages. It also offers four exclusive filters, that are not available in the main Instagram app.

The Direct app is currently available in six countries as a preview: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. It is not known if the app will be available for other countries, but if it goes global, parent company Facebook is offering a third popular messaging service alongside Messenger and WhatsApp.

Source | Via