Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Microsoft announces Surface Book 2 (in two sizes)

Microsoft has finally introduced the Surface Book 2, the first true successor of Surface Book, which debut in 2015. It is still powerful and has a detachable display that can be used as a tablet. The company is offering two models: one with 13-inch display and the other with 15-inch display,and both are Windows Mixed Reality ready and equipped with up to Intel 8th gen Core processor and discrete graphics.

The 15" Surface Book 2 sports 3240 x 2160 resolution Pixel Sense touch  display, and is powered by Intel's 8th generation Core i7 8650U processor. It packs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GPU, 16GB RAM, and comes with storage options of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSD. Microsoft touts the Surface Book is twice as fast as the latest MacBook Pro, and offers more battery life.

It has 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, and includes two USB Type-A ports, a USB type-C port, Surface connect, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11ac, SD card reader and headphone jack for connectivity. It also features support for Windows Hello face authentication, backlit keyboard, stereo speaker Dolby Atmos, and promises up to 17 hours of battery life on a single charge, and up to five hours of video playback in tablet mode.

The 13" Surface Book 2 flaunts 3000 x 2000 resolution Pixel Sense touch display, and will be offered in two models: 7th gen Intel Core i5 processor/ 8GB RAM/ GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GPU or Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM, with storage options of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD. Other features are same as 15-inch model.

The Surface Book 2 supports S Pen, as well as the Surface Dial, while the 15" Surface Book 2 has built-in Xbox One wireless support, so that you can pair Xbox One controller and compatible headsets to play with no cords or additional dongles required.

Coming to the pricing, the 13" Surface Book 2 prices start at $1499 (Rs. 97,000), while the 15" model starts at $2499 (Rs. 1,62,000). They will be available for pre-order on November in the U.S via local Microsoft Store and Microsoft.com, and start shipping from December 16. 


Lenovo K8 line up will get Android Oreo by July 2018

Lenovo launched the K8 series phones consisting of K8, K8 Plus and K8 Note in India earlier this year with dual-cameras and decent specs sheet. One of the plus point about these phones were they ditched Lenovo's Vibe UI skin in favor of pure Android Nougat. And the company promised upgrade to Android Oreo.

Now we have a possible time frame, and it's a bit disappointing. According to Lenovo's Android upgrade matrix page, Lenovo plans to upgrade the K8 to Oreo in June 2018, and K8 Note and K8 Plus in July 2018. 

This means Lenovo K8 owners will have to wait nine months to experience Android Oreo on their device, which is disappointing given that the phones are relatively new in the market and runs stock Android, which makes it easier to push updates faster.

To recap the specs, the Lenovo K8 features 5.2-inch HD display, MediaTek Helio P20 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 13MP/8MP cameras, fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE and 4000mAh battery. It costs Rs. 10,499.

The Lenovo K8 Plus features 5.2-inch Full HD dispaly, MediaTek Helio P25 processor, 32GB internal storage, 13MP+5MP dual rear cameras, 8MP front camera, fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE and 4000mAh battery. It is offered in two variants: 3GB RAM priced at Rs. 10,999 and 4GB RAM, which is yet to go on sale.

Lastly, the K8 Note offers 5.5-inch Full HD display, MediaTek Helio X23 processor, 13MP+5MP dual rear camera, 13MP selfie camera, fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE and 4000mAh battery. It comes in two version: 3GB/32GB priced at Rs. 12,999, and 4GB/64GB priced Rs. 13,999. 


Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 rugged tablet announced

After launching a rugged version of its popular Galaxy S8 called Galaxy S8 Active, Samsung has now introduced a rugged tablet dubbed Galaxy Tab Active 2. The rugged tablet boasts IP68 water and dust resistance rating and is MIL-STD-810 certified, which means its durable enough to survive drops from up to 1.2m, as well as survive extreme pressures, temperatures and climate.

The Galaxy Tab Active 2 features 8-inch HD TFT LCD display and is powered by 1.6GHz octa-core Snapdragon 7880 chip, and comes with 3GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card. It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat and is fueled by 4450mAh battery.

There's 8MP camera at the back, 5MP front camera, and support for NFC, USB Type-C port, 4G LTE (optional), WiFi and Bixby Home. The tablet also gets a fingerprint scanner, that's embedded into the home button. You can also unclock the tablet using the face recognition technology as well.

It comes with S-Pen and add-on accessories such as barcode reader for business application. These accessories will connect to the tablet via POGO pins.

The Galaxy Tab Active 2 has been priced at 500 Euros (Rs. 38,000 | $588) and will be available in Netherlands late November.

Google Assistant can now control Chromecast from phones

The Google Assistant had the ability to control Chromecast dongles and speakers, but only through Google Home smart speaker. And now that ability is expanding to Google Assistant on smartphones.

According to Android Police, Google has rolled out Chromecast control feature to Google Assistant on Android and iOS devices.

With the addition, you can now use the Google Assistant app to control a cast session using voice command  to perform the desired actions. You can ask Google assistant to play music from streaming services, YouTube video on Chromecast device. You even specify Assistant which Chromecast device in the house is the target.

In addition, along with the ability to start or stop a media content, you can even control the volume, pause, or do anything else, that is possible with Google Home, using your smartphone. The new function is compatible with Chromecasts, Chromecast Audio and devices with Chromecast built-in.

The feature is rolling out in phases to Android and iOS devices, so it will not be available for all right now, but it will reach soon. 

Source | Via

Qualcomm debuts 5G data connection with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem

A year ago Qualcomm announced that it was developing its first 5G-capable mobile modem, Snapdragon X50. And today the chip maker announced that it has completed the first successful test of Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Qualcomm demoed the 5G technology on a 5G modem chipset for mobile devices in Qualcomm's Technologies laboratories in San Diego using several 100MHz carriers; Qualcomm's SDR051 mmWave RF transceiver integrated circuit (IC); and Keysight Technologies' new 5G Protocol R&D Toolset, and UXM 5G wireless Test Platform.

The Snapdragon X50 modem was able to achieve gigabit speeds and a data connection in the 28GHz mmWave rado frequency band, driving a new generation of cellular technology forward while accelerating the delivery of 5G NR enabled mobile devices to consumers.

In addition Qualcomm  previewed its first 5G smartphone reference design to help phone makers test and optimize 5G technology to use on future 5G-compatible phones.

Qualcomm says Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem family is expected to support commercial launches of 5G smartphones and networks in the first half of 2019.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 636 brings ultra-wide screens to mid-range phones

Qualcomm is upgrading its mid-tier Snapdragon 630 chip with the new Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform, which delivers improved performance and graphics, as well as better display technology. The chip is designed for use in mid-range and upper mid-range devices.

The Snapdragon 636 is manufactured using the same 14nm FinFet process technology, as the Snapdragon 630 chip, but packs eight Kyro 260 CPUs instead of A53 CPUs, which is capable of delivering 40 percent more performance over the Snapdragon 630 mobile platform. The chip is paired with a new Adreno 509 GPU, which supports effective rendering of advance 3D graphic and boosts gaming performance by 10 percent as compared to Snapdragon 630.

The chip also supports the modern ultra-wide FHD+ displays and Assetive display, which optimizes the visibility of the display in all lighting conditions. For superior viewing angles, the chip is integrated with Qualcomm TruPlallete and Qualcomm EcoPix in the Adreno Visual Processing Subsystem.

For connectivity, the Snapdragon 636 chip features X12 LTE modem, with download speeds of 600mbps. It also comes with 14-bit Qualcomm  Spectra 160 IPS which supports capture of up to 24MP photos with zero shutter lag, smooth zoom, fast auto-focus and true-to-life colors. For audio, the chip has Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec, which supports Hi-Fi audio with up to 192kHz/24bit, and has the ability to playback lossless audio filers with low distortion and high dynamic range.

The Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform is expected to ship to customers in November 2017. You can check out the full specs sheet here.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Facebook launches food ordering and delivery service in the U.S

Facebook is entering the food delivery segment with aim to make ordering food easy. The social networking giant has added the ability for users to order food for pick up or delivery within Facebook's platform, though it is currently available only in the U.S only.

With the addition, U.S users can now order delivery or takeout from a number of food ordering services like EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo, as well as restaurants like Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Papa John’s, and Panera.

Users will be be able to browse nearby restaurant by visisting the 'Order Food' section in the 'Explore Menu'. Then you can browse the food options, and select Start Order when you have found what you're looking for.

As mentioned earlier the feature is currently live in the U.S and can be accessed from desktop, and Facebook's iOS and Android apps.

Mafe Shine M815 with 4000mAh battery, Nougat launched at Rs. 4,999

Home bred phone maker Mafe is launching an entry-level phone called Shine 815 featuring a big battery capcity. It packs a massive 4000mAh battery, that's rated to deliver up to 15 hours of talk time, and runs Android Nougat.

The Mafe Shine M815 features 5-inch FWVGA (480 x 854 pixels) display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core Spreadtrum processor. It comes with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

For photography, it gets 5MP rear camera with LED flash, and 2MP front facing camera. In terms of connectivity, there's 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.

The Mafe Shine M815 has been priced at Rs. 4,999 and will be available via online and offline challed in Gold and Black colors.

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 announced

Besides Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, Huawei at its Berlin event also took the wraps of a more premium phone, that's even costlier than Apple's iPhone X: Mate 10 Porsche Edition. 

It is basically Mate 10 Pro, but it has been designed and customized by Porsche. Most of the changes are on the exterior, as it is made of premium materials and has Porsche Design logo etched both on the back and front. Huawei says the Porsche Edition of Mate 10 Pro has been "designed for strength and style with a glass unibody construction, and sleek handcrafted exterior". 

The Mate 10 Porsche Edition also comes pre-loaded with Porsche Design-themed icons and wallpapers, and the accessories including USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter and custom made leather case are designed exclusively for the premium package. The device will be available only in Diamond Black color.

In terms of specifications the Mate 10 Porsche Edition features 6-inch Full HD+ 18:9 display with minimal bezels, octa-core Kirin 970 processor, 6GB RAM, 256GB internal storage and 4000mAh battery. For photography it gets Leica branded 20MP (Monochrome) + 12MP (RGB) dual-cameras, and 8MP front facing camera. It runs Android Oreo based EMUI 8.0 and also features fingerprint scanner, IP68 water and dust resistance rating, USB Type-C and NFC.

As for the pricing, the Porsche Design Mate 10 will cost 1395 euros, that's $1646 or Rs. 106,585. It will be available starting mid-November in 20 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, UAE and UK to name a few.

HTC schedules November 2 event, bezel-less U11 Plus expected

When Google acquired HTC's employees who were working on the Pixel Phones, HTC confirmed that it is not the end of days, and the company is planning to launch a flagship device later this year. Now the company has scheduled an event for November 2 in home country Taiwn's capital Taipei for the launch of a phone. 

Even though HTC has not revealed which phone it intends to launch at the event, it is most likely the HTC U 11 Plus, a high-end premium flagship, which has been in the news for quite some time.

According to reports, the HTC U11 Plus will shed its bezels for a near bezel-less design and 18:9 screen, which is now a trend among smartphones. It will also feature HTC U11's squeezable frame, that will let you squeeze the devices frame to perform various action.

As for the specs, the U11 Plus will reportedly feature 5.99-inch QHD+ display and come with Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, 4GB/6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage. 

It will still have a single camera sporting a 12MP sensor and on the front a 8MP unit for selfies. Again the 3.5mm audio jack is getting a miss. Other features include USB Type-C port, Bluetooth 5.0IP68 water and dust resistance, Quick Charge 3.0. It is said to run Android Nougat, but there will be no surprise if it ships with Android Oreo. 


Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro goes official with bezel-less design, dual cameras

As expected Huawei at its Berlin event has officially introduced the Mate 10 (pictured below) and Mate 10 Pro (pictured above), the company's first smartphones to flaunt bezel-less design. They also boast 3D glass design, AI backed dual cameras, IP68 water and dust resistance rating, and is one of the few devices to ship with Android Oreo, and Huawei's first to feature Emotion UI 8.0 skin.

Both Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro offer the same specs, but are slightly different in terms of screen resolution, design and height. The Mate 10 Pro has a better screen to body ratio than the Mate 10 to fit in a slightly bigger screen, and slimmer. To make Mate 10 Pro more bezel-free and slimmer, Huawei has ditched the home/fingerprint scanner button and 3.5mm audio jack. While the Mate 10's fingerprint scanner is embedded into the home button, in the Mate 10 Pro it is on the back. The Mate 10 retains the 3.5mm audio jack as well.

Speaking of the screen sizes, the Mate 10 features 5.9-inch QHD LCD display with 18:9 aspect ratio, whereas the Mate 10 Pro has 6-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio.

As for the other specs, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are powered by octa-core Kirin 970 10nm chip, that's backed by Mali G72 GPU and a dedicated NPU (neural processing unit) and packs 4000mAh battery. The Mate 10 comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, whereas, the Mate 10 Pro gets an additional 6GB/128GB model. The storage is expandable via microSD card.

For photography, the Mate 10 series sports Leica branded dual cameras consisting of a 12MP  RGB OIS sensor and 20MP monochrome sensor. The dual-cameras features 2x hybrid zoom, dual-tone LED flash, laser auto-focus, Huawei's own ISP and 4K video recording. For selfies there's 8MP front shooter. The camera's are also backed by AI engine that can recognize real-time scene and object and automatically choose the best camera settings suited for the environment or focal point. It can also instantly translate text, voice, conversation and images into 50+ languages.

In terms of connectivity the Mate 10 series offer hybrid dual-SIM slots, 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC and USB Type-C. The phone also supports Samsung's DeX/Microsoft's Continuum like functionality that lets you connect the phone to an external display for a PC-like experience.

Coming to the pricing, the Mate 10 has been priced at 699 euros ($825 | Rs. 53,000), and will go on sale in October in 15 countries including Australia, China, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain and more. Color option are Champagne Gold, Classic Black, Pink Gold and Mocha Brown.

The Mate 10 Pro has been priced at 799 euros ($940 | Rs. 61,000) for the top model with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. It comes in Titanium Grey, Midnight Blue, Mocha Brown and Pink Gold colors, and will hit the market mid-November in over 20 countries including Germany, France, Italy, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. That said, Huawei has no plans to bring the Mate 10 to the Indian market.

China's Lephone launches entry-level W15 in India

China based device maker Lephone entered the India smartphone market in April and has so far launched two entry-level smartphones. And now ahead of Diwali, Lephone is expanding its offering with the launch of W15, again a low-cost entry-level device, priced around Rs. 5,000.

The Lephone W15 comes with 5-inch HD IPS display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card. 

The camera departments includes an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, and 5MP front facing camera for selfies. The dual-SIM phone runs Android Marshmallow and supports 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and 22 Indian regional languages. A 2000mAh battery runs the show.

Priced at Rs. 5,499, the Lephone W15 comes in Red, Gold, Silver and Rose Gold color options, and will be available across the country via offline and online channels.

iPhone 7 available at Rs. 7,777 on Airtel online store, but..

Leading telecom operator, Airtel has launched a new offer on the iPhone 7/7Plus. Under the offer, Airtel is offering the iPhone 7 at a down payment of Rs. 7,777, but with an EMI of Rs. 2,499 per month for 24 months. The iPhone 7 bundle is available for purchase from Airtel's newly launch online store.

The bundle also includes postpaid plan, which offers 30GB data and unlimited voice calls (local, STD, national roaming). Also part of the package is ' Airtel Secure' that covers the device against physical damage, and offer cyber protection.

All this comes to a total of Rs. 67,753 for two years including the plan, however, you can get the 32GB iPhone 7 online for as low as Rs. 38,999.

Apart from iPhone 7, Airtel's online storage will also sell the bigger iPhone 7 Plus 32GB and 128GB model for Rs. 17,300 and Rs. 26,000 respectively. Both iPhone come with Rs. 2,499 plan, and are also covered under the free handset damage protection program.

Airtel's Online Store services are currently available to customers in 21 cities across India and will be expanded to other cities and towns soon. The telecom operator also plans to add more devices from other leading brands in the near future.