Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Xiaomi Unveils MIUI 6 Android UI That Looks a Lot Like iOS 7

Xiaomi, as promised at the Mi 4 smartphone's launch, unveiled the next version of its MIUI user interface, MIUI 6, on Saturday at an event in Beijing, China.

MIUI 6, the new smartphone UI for Android-based Xiaomi devices, comes with major design refresh and also brings a slew of new features. Notably, the Mi 4 runs MIUI 6 out-of-the-box.

The company, also referred to as 'China's Apple', defined the new Android skin as "the best MIUI ever." However, as numerous industry pundits have pointed out, the new MIUI version noticeably takes a lot of design inspiration from Apple's iOS 7 and the newly announced iOS 8 smartphone and tablet operating systems.

The Chinese handset maker announced that the MIUI 6 is currently in beta testing with over 1,000 beta testers; though the number is likely to grow up to 10,000 people by Friday.

The company announced that the MIUI 6 developer version will be open to the public by September and will be rolled out to as 'final upgrade' to select Xiaomi handsets by October. 

The Xiaomi will begin testing MIUI 6 on the Mi 2, Mi 2S, Mi 2A, Redmi 1S, and Redmi Note by the end of this year, and updates for these devices can be expected to be rolled-out by next year.

Some of highlight features that the MIUI 6 brings is a brand new design (in what the company calls 'Content is essence' philosophy) with flat app icons. The company said at the launch, "MIUI believes that content is the essence, and has put that belief in the design of MIUI 6."

"MIUI 6 supports moving apps by holding on the app and switch screens. It has the most convenient icons organizing method, supports batch organize and delete icons," added the company.

MIUI 6 also brings a revamped camera app that will allow swipe down to switch between front and back camera, swipe left to launch menu panel, and swipe right to launch filters. The company has also re-worked the lockscreen notifications on MIUI 6, which will now appear as folded by default.

The new Android OS customisation adds a global search function feature that will allow users to place the search box anywhere on home screen, and even locate apps via it. Some other additions on the MIUI 6 include new Linux kernel and RAM optimisation techniques; new power-saving features to adjust the standby time of the device; 10GB free Mi Cloud storage space for storing images, contacts, messages, call logs and more, and the redesigned Mail app.

In addition to the iOS-styled flat icons and lockscreen notification on the MIUI 6, some of the app icons on the new MIUI appear to come straight from iOS 7 or iOS 8, like the calendar, compass, timer, and calculator.

What do you think of the new Xiaomi MIUI 6? Does it look like iOS 7? Let us know via the comments.

Source: NDTV

Sony’s Xperia M2 Aqua is a Waterproof Phone for Cheap


Sony just announced the latest addition to its Xperia lineup with the M2 Aqua, a water-resistant variant of its sleek mid-range Xperia M2. The new handset offers the same middle-of-the-road hardware and industrial design as the original M2, but adds the waterproof coating that’s helped the company carve out a niche in the smartphone market.

Just like the the Xperia M2, this water-resistant variant comes equipped with a 4.8-inch qHD display, a Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, a 2300mAh battery, an 8-megapixel rear camera with a dedicated camera button and LTE capability. There’s no official word on software, though we’re guessing it runs Android 4.4 with a bit of Sony’s own stuff on top, including battery-saving Stamina Mode.

The Xperia M2 Aqua is set to launch this fall in Europe, South America and Asia, where it will probably cost a little more than the $300 Xperia M2. Unfortunately there’s no plan to ship the device to U.S. stores any time soon, though you’ll probably still be able to find one through a third-party reseller online. If you’re willing to pay a bit more, it might be worth waiting for the rumored Xperia Z3, which we have on good authority will be available from at least one American carrier when it hits the market.

Source: TechnoBuffalo

BBM Drops its Beta Tag and Goes Public on Windows Phone

BlackBerry Messenger is now officially available on Windows Phone after more than a month of beta testing. The app provides access to almost all of the BBM features you know and love, including groups, multi-person chats, and broadcast messages.

BBM for Windows Phone is unique in that it has its own clean and colorful user interface specifically designed to fit Microsoft’s smartphone platform. In comparison, BBM for Android and iOS was designed to look as identical to the BlackBerry 10 version of possible.

There are some downsides to the Windows Phone release, however, such as a lack of BBM Channels, no voice or video calling, and no Glympse integration. BlackBerry will be working to add these features in later, however, and the basic BBM functionality is still here.

In addition to standard one-on-one chats, you can enjoy multi-person conversations; the ability to send photos, voice notes, and your location; broadcast messaging; and BBM Groups, which lets you organize your contacts into categories like family, friends, and colleagues.

If you’ve been using the BBM beta release on Windows Phone, you should find the public version loads faster and is more responsive overall. It also fixes an issue for Spanish-speaking users that sometimes caused the app to load in English instead.

If you haven’t installed BBM on your Windows Phone device yet, you can find it in the Windows Phone app store now by following the link below.

Download BBM from Windows Phone Appstore

Source: TechnoBuffalo

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Jailbreak iOS 7.1.2 using Pangu

Apple just released iOS 7.1.2 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for bug fixes and security updates.

The good news is that iOS 7.1.2 can be jailbroken using Pangu out of the box, so jailbreakers can safely update your iOS device to iOS 7.1.2, and use Pangu to jailbreak it.

Some important points before you proceed:

1. Please note Pangu is an untethered jailbreak for iOS 7.1, iOS 7.1.1 and iOS 7.1.2.
Pangu supports following iOS 7.1 – iOS 7.1.2 devices:

  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4
  • iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad 2
  • iPad mini, Retina iPad mini
  • iPod touch 5G
2. Please disable the passcode as the jailbreak may fail, if the passcode is enabled (Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock On -> Turn Passcode Off).

3. Take a backup of your device using iTunes or iCloud before proceeding.
4. Please ensure you’ve updated iTunes to the latest version.
5. Please note that jailbreaking your iOS device may void your warranty and hence proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Step 1: Download the latest version of Pangu jailbreak for Mac or Windows

Pangu 1.1.0
Windows version –  [Official, Mirror]
Mac version – [Official, Mirror]
Pangu 1.0.0 [Windows]

Or from official website

Step 2:

Mac users: Double click on the Pangu dmg file you just downloaded to mount it.

Windows users: Launch the Pangu exe file as an Administrator. Right Click on the Pangu exe and select the “Run as Administrator” option.

Step 3: You should be presented with a screen like the one seen below. Click on the black Jailbreak button.

Step 4: Follow the on-screen instructions. The app will ask you at one point to set your iOS device to June 2nd. To do this, go to Settings -> General -> Date & Time.

Step 5: After you change the date, it should restart the process and install the Pangu app on your iOS device.

Step 6: Tap on the Pangu app on the Home screen of your device when prompted to continue with the jailbreak process. You will get a warning message, which will ask you whether you are “sure you want to open the Application “Pangu” from Developer “iPhone Distribution: Hefei Bo Fang communication technology co., LTD?”. Tap on the Continue button to continue with the jailbreak process.

Step 7: Wait for your device to reboot several times. After a few minutes you should see that you have Cydia on your home screen and you’ll be ready to start installing tweaks on iOS 7.1.2. You can also revert back to set the time automatically via the Settings app.

Source: iPhoneHack

iOS 7 Jailbreak: iOS 7.1 Hacker Says Pangu Jailbreak Contains ‘Malware from China’

The jailbreak–released by Pangu–was tested on the update, and it can be used via both Mac or Windows.

However, Pangu was slammed by another hacker, jailbreaker Stefan Esser, who said the Chinese team stole some of his ideas and exploits. He described them as “thieves” and said the jailbreak contains “malware from China.”

Pangu’s tool provides an untethered jailbreak and was apparently overlooked by Apple during its most recent update.

“Yesterday’s iOS 7 update featured relatively minor tweaks and big fixes, but one of the more surprising things about it is what it didn’t address; It appears that the Pangu jailbreak tool — which can provide an untethered jailbreak using either a Windows or Mac computer — was not on Apple’s “To Destroy” list for the most recent update, as the software works on iOS 7.1.2 just as it did on 7.1.1,” says a report from

Jailbreaking allows Apple users to modify the iOS to install apps that aren’t permitted via the Apple Store. Apple isn’t fond of the practice and has tried to clamp down on it.

The Pangu jailbreak was released just a few weeks ago after a number of hackers attempted to crack the iOS 7.

It was originally written in Chinese but now it’s in English. The first release also prompted users to download the app store called 25PP, but that’s disabled for English users.

“Like the Evasi0n jailbreak for iOS 7, using Pangu is pretty straightforward once you download the tool. One weird thing you need for the jailbreak to work is to adjust your device’s internal date in Settings to June 2nd and turn off the ‘Set Automatically’ option. The tool will walk you through the process as you jailbreak,” says Cult of Mac.

The Evasi0n jailbreak does not work on iOS 7.0.6 or later.

Source: Epoch Times

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Google Acquires Songza

Google has reached a deal to acquire Songza, the playlist site it had been rumored to be scouting for several weeks. Financial terms weren’t revealed, but a source with knowledge of the situation said the price was substantially higher than the $15 million figure reported by the New York Post in early June.

Songza employs about 50 music curators, who program playlists designed for moods, activities, times of day, or even weather in the listener’s area -- say, “Southern Soul Barbecue” or “Black Tie Bump ‘N Grind.” Google plans to hire all of Songza’s staff, and leave the web site intact for now.

Google plans to incorporate Songza’s playlists into its Google Play Music All Access subscription service, enhancing its radio function. Google Play already has some human-curated playlists, but largely relies on algorithms for much of its radio-style programming. Songza may also be integrated into a paid YouTube service, which Google acknowledged it is readying.

“Over the coming months, we’ll explore ways to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music,” Google said in a statement announcing the deal. “We'll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.”

“No immediate changes to Songza are planned, other than making it faster, smarter, and even more fun to use,” Songza said in a separate statement.

Expert-curated playlists were a differentiating factor for Beats Music, the service Apple acquired along with the Beats Electronics headphone business in a $3 billion deal announced in May. Beats allows users to fill in the blanks of a sentence describing a type of music they’d like to hear in their present circumstances -- “I’m on a boat and feel like celebrating with my family to R&B” -- and generates an appropriate playlist.

Songza began in 2010 as Songza Sets, a discovery-oriented product within MP3 store Amie Street. Its founding team sold Amie Street to Amazon the same year, and focused on Songza instead. Amazon invested in both Songza and Amie Street.

The deal gives a payday to company management and investors, including two prominent music-business figures: Scooter Braun and Troy Carter, the managers of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, respectively. Songza raised about $6.7 million during its lifespan.

A Google executive, VP of retail sales John McAteer, invested in the company as part of a 2012 convertible note worth $1.5 million. Songza most recently closed a $4.7 million round in September 2013, with investors including Metamorphic Ventures, Deep Fork Capital, Lerer Ventures, William Morris Endeavor, and author Gary Vaynerchuk, as well as Braun and Carter. Other prior investors include former NBA star Baron Davis, artist manager Julius Erving Jr., 24/7 Real Media co-founder Geoff Judge, and 1-800 Flowers.

Although Amazon added music to its Prime service last month, including a number of playlists, none of them came from Songza, according to CEO Elias Roman. The executive did not reply to requests for comment about today’s deal.

Amie Street acquired the original Songza, a search engine that located and streamed music files found on the web, in 2008. Designed by user interface expert, Mozilla designer and serial entrepreneur Aza Raskin, Songza derived its moniker from its creator’s name.

Although the windily named Google Play Music All Access was described in a March report from IFPI as “the fastest-growing [music] subscription service in 2013,” its market share remains very small compared with Spotify’s 10 million paying users worldwide. Google Play Music All Access has a library of 25 million songs, is available in 28 countries, and gives users a locker to store up to 20,000 of their own songs that can be played from various devices.

Google also made a bid for 8tracks, a site that hosts user-generated playlists, last fall. A source closer to that company told Billboard last month that a proposed deal was an “acquire-hire” arrangement, in which 8tracks’ staff would be at least as important to the buyer as its playlists and technology. But the profitable 8tracks chose to remain independent, the source said, due to factors beyond the deal’s proposed price.

Source: Billboard

Google releases Android L preview source for Nexus devices

Google has published some of the source code for the Android L developer preview, giving devs a bigger taste of what's in store for its successor to KitKat.

Google has published Android L code on Android Open Source Project for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (all versions between 2012 and 2013), and the Nexus 10.

The move expands on last week's release of Android L firmware for developers to begin flashing the new OS to Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 wi-fi 2013 edition devices.

Developers have been poking around in the new system ever since, exploring some of the significant changes Google announced at its recent I/O conference, such as Material Design, Android's new user interface scheme that redesigns how it displays notifications, settings, the lock screen, and navigation bar. It's also introducing the cards concept from Google Now to Android apps for displaying key information.

It's still only a week or so since Google announced Android L, and while the company is going to lengths to showcase the new OS to developers, Google hasn't released everything just yet. As Android Police notes, the code doesn't include binary packages or kernel source, which means that stock AOSP builds — such as those used by custom ROM developers — won't be possible yet.

However, the list of hardware the source code has been released for is being taken as solid evidence that at least these recent Nexus devices will receive Android L when it's released, expected to be this autumn.

While it's too early to say which non-Nexus devices will get Android L, a leaked HTC road map suggests it is on the cards for the company's flagship HTC One M8 and M7.

One of the most anticipated features that Android L is said to bring comes in the form Google's power-saving plan for Android devices, called Project Volta, also flagged at I/O.

Battery life is a concern for everyone with a smartphone, and Google's answer to the problem is Battery Saver mode and a new Battery Historian UI. Similar to Samsung's S5 ultra power saving mode, Battery Saver winds down background and screen processes to conserve charge. A test run of what's available in the preview firmware by Ars Technica suggests Volta could deliver around 30 percent more battery life.

The other big change is the move from the Dalvik to the 64-bit ART runtime, which Google promises will double performance, and with improved efficiency, should lighten the load on the battery.

Source: ZDNet

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Goodbye, Nokia

The story of Nokia is far from over, but Friday marks the end of its most enthralling chapter thus far. The company was founded nearly 150 years ago and it went through a number of iterations before it became the cell phone giant most of us think of now. But as of April 25th, Nokia is no longer a cell phone company.

Nokia’s devices and services business moved over to Microsoft on Friday morning as part of a deal worth more than $7 billion. The deal values Nokia’s handsets division at around $5 billion, which is obviously a painfully small fraction of what it was once worth.

The cell phone maker’s failure to react when Apple first launched the iPhone back in 2007 led directly to the company’s collapse. I remember it like it was yesterday — especially when one Nokia executive told me in 2008 that “Apple is like the annoying fly buzzing around the fisherman’s head. Nokia is still the fisherman and we’ll still catch all the fish.”

But enough about my story. The far more interesting tale on Friday comes from a Nokia employee who penned an open letter to say goodbye to the Nokia he knew.

John Kneeland is Nokia’s product manager for emerging markets, and he posted a letter on Thursday evening to discuss the Nokia-Microsoft deal from his inside point of view. His letter is interesting, moving and at times, saddening.

“Today (April 24 2014) was the last day of Nokia as we knew it. The staff of Nokia’s Silicon Valley office went to the restaurant down the street and had one last celebration together. We had fun and said our goodbyes,” Kneeland wrote. “On April 25, that Nokia ceases to exist, and in its place are two companies that officially have nothing to do with each other: Microsoft Mobile Oy (where the heart of the company will go) and Nokia Oyj (where I will be).”

He continued, “Tomorrow I will still be an employee of Nokia. I will go to my office in Sunnyvale. It will be the same building it was yesterday. It will still say NOKIA on its facade basking in the California sun. But half of the people I’ve worked with will be gone. Up through today we shared everything. Tomorrow we will share nothing but our memories. I am not writing another piece to lay blame for who is responsible for the decline and fall of this iconic company. I am writing to reflect on what Nokia has meant for the world, and for me.”

Kneeland’s full letter is a fantastic read and it’s linked below in our source section.

Source: BGR

Android 4.4.3 tipped to bring major Dialer redesign

Google has yet to roll out its Android 4.4.3 KitKat update, which is believed to bring various bug fixes and improvements, but a leaked screenshot seems to indicate that at least one major new feature may also be part of the upcoming software update. According to an image posted on the xda-developers forum, the Google Dialer is getting a completely new look.

The Android 4.4.3 Dialer app features a series of cards for each contact instead of a list. The cards have a colored background with the first initial of the name placed on them, but they can apparently also show a picture of the contact when one is assigned to it. Other elements in the screenshot include the top search bar and the bottom blue action bar.

The new Dialer app was apparently spotted on a Nexus 5 handset running Android 4.4.3 firmware version KTU84F. Android Police speculates that the Nexus 5 belongs to a Googler, considering the names of some of the contacts.

It’s not clear when Android 4.4.3 will launch, although a recent report revealed that Google may have expanded testing to other Google employees, in addition to members of the Android team. Recently, Sprint announced an Android 4.4.3 update for its Nexus 5 version, but Nexus devices are yet to receive the latest Android version available.

The leaked screenshot showing the Dialer app redesign follows below, alongside a second image that shows the Android version running on the phone.

Source: BGR

Apple iOS 7.1.1 Jailbreak: Geeksn0w 2.x Semi-Tethered On iPhone 4 Release Date

Those still sporting the older Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 may still be able to run their iOS device jailbroken on the newly released iOS 7.1.1.

Italian iOS developer Andrea Bentivegna announced that his latest update to the Geeksn0w jailbreak launches on Friday, giving iPhone 4 users another chance to run custom tweaks, mods and software on their aging iOS device. The Geeksn0w jailbreak software developed by Bentivegna was originally released for the iPhone 4 after iOS 7.1 was released in March, as other developers began shifting their attention toward iOS 8.

As with the original release of the Geeksn0w jailbreak for iOS 7.1, this jailbreak release is semi-tethered, requiring users to connect their iPhone to a computer in order to return a device back to a jailbroken state after a restart or reboot. Unlike a tethered jailbreak, a phone jailbroken using Geeksn0w can still fall back to a non-jailbroken firmware mode should a computer with Geeksn0w not be available.

Jailbreak developers such the Evad3rs development team have shifted their attention toward iOS 8 as Apple’s June Worldwide Developer Conference approaches, leaving a void for those still looking to jailbreak their iOS 7.1.x device.

Unfortunately for owners of modern iOS 7.1.1 devices like the iPhone 5S and iPad Air, Geeksn0w continues to support only the iPhone 4, which was first released in 2010. Unlike newer iPhone models, the iPhone 4 contains an exploit, or permanent software bug, which allows developers to continue to run jailbreak software on the iPhone 4 in at least a “tethered” state.

While the Geeksn0w iOS 7.1.1 jailbreak only supports the iPhone 4, iOS users still running iOS 7.0 through 7.0.6 can still jailbreak their device using the Evasi0n 7 jailbreak developed by the Evad3rs team.

You can download the Geeksn0w iOS 7.1.1 jailbreak as soon as it's updated through the official Geeksn0w website.

Source: IBTimes

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Flappy Bird: New Season soars to top of the App Store charts

Don't call it a comeback. No, seriously: don't. A game called Flappy Bird: New Season may have flown to the top of Apple's App Store charts, but it doesn't appear to be the work of the original Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen.

The release of a new Flappy Bird clone isn't news in itself: on one day alone in February, The Guardian tracked 95 such releases. Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play have been equally awash with flappy clones, after Nguyen removed his game last month.

Something strange is afoot with Flappy Bird: New Season, which is currently the most popular free iPhone download on Apple's UK store, and the fourth most popular free iPad download behind Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

According to its App Store listing, the game was released on 29 March by developer Animated Emoji, although the listing carries a "© dotGears" credit – referring to the trading name of Nguyen. At the time of writing, Flappy Bird: New Season has an average rating of four stars from 255 reviewers on the store – an impressive total so soon after its launch.

Is it the real return of Flappy Bird? Almost certainly not. The game was not released through Nguyen's existing App Store developer account, for example, where he still has his Shuriken Block and Super Ball Juggling games available. Meanwhile, on Twitter there's an excitable quote that purports to be from Nguyen:

Dong Nguyen  

Again, this isn't Dong Nguyen's official Twitter account – his handle is @dongatory without an _ on the end, and his last tweet was on 23 March.

The @dongatory_ account claims to be a "backup" for Nguyen's official account, but past tweets like "RT if you want a free itunes gift card :)" and "Let's trend a hashtag to be easier! Hashtag #dongatory_ as much as you can lets trend it!! #dongatory_ :-)" don't seem a good fit for the famously-shy Flappy Bird developer.

Meanwhile, the support link on the App Store page for Flappy Bird: New Season leads to this blank page on the Weebly website, while a search for the game's title on Android's Google Play store brings up this game from a developer called Gameslogic Mobile, whose other titles include Clumsy Ninja Go! 2 and Farm Hero Saga 2 3D, masquerading as new versions of two popular mobile games from big publishers.

In short, Flappy Bird: New Season almost certainly isn't the return of the original Flappy Bird to iOS and Android. So why write a story about it? Because its success raises big questions about how the game managed to rise to the top of the App Store chart so quickly, at a time when Flappy Bird clone-fever has been dying down.

This isn't just a quirk in the UK App Store. Flappy Bird: New Seasons is the third top free iPhone app in the US too, where it also has a four-star rating, this time from 659 reviews, most of which are glowing.

The sudden success of the original Flappy Bird provoked speculation that Nguyen had in some way gamed the charts – he denied this – but the rapid rise of Flappy Bird: New Season may be a spur for more debate about the value of those charts to Apple, developers and players alike.

Update: As independent developer Matthew Wiggins points out on Twitter, search placement is likely to be a big factor in the game's rise:

Stuart Dredge  
Flappy Bird: New Season soars to top of the App Store charts (but it’s fake)  via @guardian

Matthew Wiggins 
@stuartdredge @guardian I suspect it's rapid ascent of the app store is down to search placement

Source: TheGuardian

This is what the new CyanogenMod OS looks like on the OnePlus One

OnePlus has been constantly dishing out teasers for its upcoming One smartphone since December, but little is known about its UI until we received these two screenshots today, courtesy of a reliable tipster. First of all, this Android KitKat-based OS is dubbed "CyanogenMod 11S," and given how the lock screen on the left looks nothing like the one in the original CyanogenMod, we assume the "S" indicates that this flavor carries OnePlus' customizations. This cleaner lock screen lacks the usual unlock slider, but it still shows the clock, date, weather, battery level and text messages over a solid-color background. Here's hoping that we can also toggle specific apps from the lock screen using swipe gestures.

The screenshot on the right confirms the presence of the three virtual Android buttons (as opposed to hardware ones), and that this Android 4.4.2-based OS is made for a device named "One." With 23 more days to go until the phone's launch, we'll be keeping an eye out for the OnePlus One's few remaining secrets -- especially its sub-$400 price tag, which is very competitive for this 5.5-inch 1080p, Snapdragon 801-powered device.

Source: engadget

Nokia 3310 given 41-megapixel camera upgrade on April Fools' Day

Just when one thought that Nokia will launch even more products in its Nokia X family running Android or new Lumia devices based on Windows Phone 8.1, April Fools' Day comes and Nokia announces its heritage 3310 in a new avatar.

The Nokia 3310, which was initially launched in 2000 and is one of the most successful phones ever released by Nokia, has made a modern-day comeback.

The Finnish giant has introduced its 3310 sporting a 41-megapixel PureView sensor with Zeiss optics and Xenon flash. Further, the 3310 is seen boasting a huge camera hump at the back panel, much like Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 1020.

The company claims that the Nokia 3310 now runs a modified version of Windows 8 (yes, you heard it right) with a new 'ClearDiamond' 3-inch WXGA (768x1280) display.

The Nokia 3310 PureView will be available in Blue, Dark Blue, Green, Red and Yellow colour variants.

The revamped Nokia 3310 is a touchscreen device and also sports three soft-touch navigation buttons, alongside a Windows Phone 'home' button.

Other specifications of the Nokia 3310 include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor; 2GB of RAM; 1430mAh battery; 32GB inbuilt storage; Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi and 3G.

The yesteryear device Nokia 3310 comes with pre-loaded with four games - Snake II, Pairs II, Space Impact and Bantumi. Other pre-installed apps include MS Office, Xbox Games, Outlook and OneDrive.

Nokia notes that the Nokia 3310 will be rolled out with 3G connectivity, while LTE-enabled devices will follow later this year.

Commenting on the Juha Alakarhu, Nokia's Head of Imaging Technologies said, "I'm really excited that we've found a way to marry our innovative PureView technology with such a beloved device. With its durable design and iconic look, we think even more people will enjoy our signature PureView magic."

Earlier on Tuesday, HTC and Samsung both showed off smart-gloves on April Fools' Day.

Samsung hit the hammer first, announcing its first 'all-over-hand' wearable device dubbed Samsung Fingers that features a flexible Super Emo-LED for the technology-sensitive consumer. HTC on the other hand teased its HTC Gluuv, which is also a smart-glove.

Google, despite being one of the biggest tech companies showed off its unique sense of humour and that's most apparent on April 1 every year. The Mountain View giant has a long list of gags that include Google Pokemon Maps, Gmail Shelfie, Emoji Translate in Chrome, Auto Awesome Photobombs, Google Magic Hand, Nest Total Temperature Contro and WazeDates.

Source: NDTV

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

After WhatsApp and Viber, buyers are circling around Japan’s messaging app Line

Japan’s SoftBank wants to buy some or all of Line, a wildly popular messaging app, Bloomberg reports. Line, which is based in Japan but is owned by South Korea’s Naver Corporation, has 360 million users worldwide, most of them in East Asia.

In 2013, Line’s full year revenues were $335 million, making it the highest for any non-game app in both Google and Apple app stores, according to App Annie, an analytics firm. WhatsApp, which Facebook bought last week for $19 billion, came in ninth on App Annie’s list. Earlier this month, Line reported earnings of ¥12.2 billion ($120 million) for the fourth quarter of 2013, up 550% over the previous year.

All of which makes Line an obviously attractive target, especially coming in the wake of two big messaging app deals in the past two weeks; Rakuten, another Japanese firm, acquired Viber on Valentine’s Day this year for what now seems like a bargain-basement price of $900 million. And then there’s Facebook’s $19 billion WhatsApp buy. BNP Paribas estimates that Line could be valued as high as $14.9 billion.

Yet Line is nothing like the two messaging apps that have gone before. The key feature of Viber, used by some 300 million people, is that it facilitates free phone calls, much like Skype. People rarely use it to send messages. WhatsApp’s focus has been entirely on making a simple, uncluttered app for people to send messages to friends and family.

Line, on the other hand, is crammed full with goodies. It is best known for its use of “stickers” or oversize emoticons that users can purchase and send to friends. But it derives more than half of its revenue from in-app games. Despite its ranking as the top non-game revenue maker, it is at heart a gaming company. SoftBank has some experience in this market, having acquired a majority stake in Finland’s SuperCell, maker of “Clash of Clans,” a popular mobile game. The Japanese telecom and internet company also owns a majority stake in GungHo Online Entertainment, maker of the successful “Puzzles and Dragons” game. Moreover, SoftBank also has experience with messaging apps through its joint venture with Bharti Airtel, BhartiSoftBank, which owns the Indian messaging app Hike. (Line, for its part, entered India last year and quickly signed up 10 million users.)

At least one other company has also shown an interest in acquiring a stake in Line, which is also reported to be planning an IPO. Line denied talks with SoftBank. ”There’s no reason to sell a stake and no plan to sell,” a spokesperson told Reuters. With messaging apps in high demand at the moment, Line can afford to be pricey.

Source: Quartz

WhatsApp to add voice calls after Facebook acquisition

WhatsApp will add free voice-call services for its 450 million customers later this year, laying down a new challenge to telecom network operators just days after Facebook Inc scooped it up for $19 billion.

The text-based messaging service aims to let users make calls by the second quarter, expanding its appeal to help it hit a billion users, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Buying WhatsApp has cemented Facebook's involvement in messaging, which for many people is their earliest experience with the mobile Internet. Adding voice services moves the social network into another core function on a smartphone.

On Monday, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg defended the price paid for a messaging service with negligible revenue. He argued that rival services such as South Korea's KakaoTalk and Naver's LINE are already "monetizing" at a rate of $2 to $3 in revenue per user per year, despite being in the early stages of growth.

Media reports put WhatsApp's revenue at about $20 million in 2013.

"I actually think that by itself it's worth more than 19 billion," Zuckerberg told the Mobile World Congress. "Even just independently, I think it's a good bet."

"By being a part of Facebook, it makes it so they can focus for the next five years or so purely on adding more people."

WhatsApp's move into voice calls is unlikely to sit well with telecoms carriers.

WhatsApp and its rivals, like KakaoTalk, China's WeChat, and Viber, have won over telecom operators' customers in recent years by offering a free option to text messaging. Telecom providers globally generated revenue of about $120 billion from text messaging last year, according to market researcher Ovum.

Adding free calls threatens another telecom revenue source, which has been declining anyway as carriers' tweak tariffs to focus on mobile data instead of calls.


Since the advent a decade ago of Skype's voice over Internet service, which Microsoft Corp has acquired, and the rise of Internet service providers like Google Inc, telecom bosses have gotten used to facing challengers whose services piggyback on their networks. But carriers complain that the rivals are not subject to the same national regulations.

Mats Granryd, the CEO of Swedish mobile operator Tele2, said he was happy to partner with the likes of WhatsApp because of the additional data traffic they generate. But he shared the concerns of other network operators that they must operate under strict national regulations that Internet companies are not subject to.

"They (Internet firms) need to be regulated a little bit more and we need to be regulated a little bit less," said Jo Lunder, who heads Russian mobile network operator VimpelCom.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said he did not understand how such an important acquisition as the Facebook-WhatsApp deal could go unchallenged at a time when European network operators were facing intense regulatory scrutiny.

"These types of deal are a clear indication that the world is changing and the regulations don't fit anymore," Colao said on the sidelines of the conference.

Both Facebook and WhatsApp CEOs have cast themselves as partners to telecoms network operators.

On Monday, Koum also announced a partnership with E-Plus, the German subsidiary of Dutch group KPN, under which it will launch a WhatsApp-branded mobile service in Germany.

The European Parliament is set to vote on Monday night on a package of proposed telecoms market reforms which among other provisions would restrict the ability of carriers to charge internet companies like Facebook to give them an enhanced service in handling their network traffic.

Source: Reuters

Friday, February 7, 2014

China reveals own mobile operating system

China has unveiled its own mobile platform, dubbed China Operating System (COS) with the aim to break the monopoly U.S. tech giants Google and Apple currently have in the market.

The state-approved and government-funded operating system was developed jointly by China's Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) and Shanghai Liantong Network Communications Technology, Sina news reported on Thursday.

COS is based on Linux and serves as an operating platform for PCs, smartphones, tablets, and set-top boxes as well as supports HTML5 applications. However, due to "safety concerns", COS is not an open source system, revealed a report.

The OS has one application portal, similar to Apple's App Store.

There are several security issues with open source operating systems, including Ubuntu and Android, where hidden security vulnerabilities make it easy to control personal devices, the report added. Moreover, launched by foreign companies, these open source platforms also "failed to acclimatize" in the Chinese market across many aspects, including user's interface, input method, speech recognition, cloud service stability, application downloads, and support, among others, said director of ISCAS, Li Shuming, in a NetEase report.

Learning from the essence of other open source software, the underlying codes and user interface of COS were all built independently, Li added. He said the platform addressed security issues, and consumers who are familiar with Android will also find it easy to start with COS.

He noted that the Linux-based OS also aims to break the monopoly of foreign applications. Currently, 100,000 applications are available on the COS, according to local reports.

A promo video of COS uploaded on the internet revealed that variants and features of operating system were very Android-like. China's online community also questioned how COS was able to launched with 100,000 apps, with some summizing that the Chinese platform was "just an OS based on the open source Linux and a strong imitation of Android system".

Source: ZDNet

CyanogenMod releases ROM installer for Macs

Cyanogen Inc has released a new installer for Mac systems that takes out a few of the more daunting steps involved in 'flashing' its version of Android onto smartphones and tablets.

Released in beta on Thursday, the installer app for Macs automates several steps that a user would normally have to do manually to flash a CyanogenMod to a device. For example, the user won't need to root their device or unlock its bootloader, and the installer obviously handles the flashing process. Backups on the other hand need to be done separately.


Mac CyanogenMod installer interface

The Mac installer follows Cyanogen Inc's — the company behind CyanogenMod — release of a Windows installer last November. Its companion installer app for the Android device made a brief appearance in Google Play before Google requested its removal because it encouraged users to void their warranty on devices. (One of the risks involved in installing a custom ROM such as CyanogenMod is that rooting the device in the first instance voids the warranty for many devices.)

Mac users that want to download the installer need to join beta group to access the software.

The installer only uses a stable build of CyanogenMod, meaning its KitKat-based CM-11 — which is still only available as a 'nightly' builds or the more stable ‘snapshot’ build — is off the menu for now. Still, as CyanogenMod's wiki pages note, its stable Android 4.3-based CM 10.2 supports dozens of devices, including Samsung's Galaxy S2, S3 andS 4, Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One.

Source: ZDNet

CyanogenMod says goodbye to Jelly Bean with 10.2.1 release

Aftermarket firmware company CyanogenMod has released a final update to its 10.2 line of Jelly Bean-based code.

The latest CyanogenMod update, CM 10.2.1, will be the last to be based on Android 4.3, according to the company. "CM 10.2.1 has been branched and released, officially ending our planned release process for Jellybean (Android 4.3) code," the CyanogenMod team announced on Saturday.

As a "maintenance release", the update focuses on bug fixes over adding features but does bring support for a handful of new devices too. The CM 10.2.1 release sees support extended to the Droid RAZR HD, Photon Q, Nexus Q, Nook, Nook HD and HD+, which are among around 40 other devices that have a stable release.

The first CyanogenMod release for Android 4.3 came last August, about a month after Google released that version of Android.

As noted by Android Community, the 10.2.1 release doesn't support the international version of Samsung's popular Galaxy 2 (the i9100), which got a stable release last September under Android 4.2-based CM 10.1.3. The site points out that OmniROM, a younger alternative ROM-maker with a smaller list of supported devices, has added the device to its roster, however. The device is also supported in the nightly build of CyanogenMod's KitKat-based CM11 release.

As with previous final releases, the developers of Cyanogen Mod will now plough more resources into building new features for its CM11 codebase. The team plans to add CM11 support for at least 65 devices and currently has a "snapshot" release (one up from the bleeding edge nightly releases) for around 50 devices. 

Cyanogen Inc, the newly formed company behind CyanogenMod, is also working with Chinese hardware startup OnePlus to deliver a device in the first half of the year that will feature a customised version of the firmware. 

Source: ZDNet

Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta 5 to developers with higher-quality international Siri, altered keyboard

Approximately two weeks following the previous seed, Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta 5 to developers. The new beta is currently available for those running earlier versions of 7.1 via Software Update in Settings.

Previous betas revealed some minor user-interface changes in the Phone application. Release notes for this new beta indicate some Siri improvements for international users. “This seed adds new natural-sounding Siri voices for English (Australia), English (United Kingdom), Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin – China),” according to the release notes provided by a developer.

We’ll update this post as more details about the new beta come to light:

- New shift and caps keys

Source: 9to5mac

BBM on Android and iOS Updated With “Find Friends” Feature

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) got off to a rocky start when it made the jump to Android and iOS, but at this point the app appears to be running pretty smoothly. Today, the Canadian company introduced a new “Find Friends” feature to help you add more contacts to your BBM account.

The new feature should be available starting today. Once the app has updated, you can use it to scan your phone for any contacts who are already using BBM. You can then send out individual invites to chat or simply add everyone you know with a single tap. And of course, you’ll also be able to invite your friends who aren’t already on BBM to join the service. That alleviates any need to fumble around trying to exchange BBM PINs.

With BlackBerry’s smartphone business hanging by a thread, the company’s fondly remembered messaging service may be its best chance to stay relevant. The company hasn’t revealed how many active users the BBM app has been able to grab, but helping current users find and invite their friends should help the service continue to grow.

Source: BlackBerry

KitKat claws 1.8 percent Android market share

According to stats published by Google, the newest Android release, codenamed KitKat, is powering under two percent of Android devices accessing the Google Play store.

The data, which is based on smartphones and tablets accessing the Google Play store over a 7-day period ending on February 4, 2014, shows that Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat, is installed on 1.8 percent of devices.

This time last month KitKat market share was at 1.4 percent.

(Source: Google)

Android 4.4 was release on 31 October, 2013, and first made its public appearance on the Nexus 5.

This latest version has a long way to go to catch up with the previous release, codenamed Jelly Bean. This release, which includes versions 4.1.x, 4.2.x and 4.3, power 60.7 percent of Android devices and makes it the single most popular version. However, Android version 4.1.x is the single most popular release, installed on 35.5 percent of devices.

This means that there's considerable fragmentation among devices running Jelly Bean, with the majority unable to benefit from features introduced in versions 4.2.x, 4.3, and now 4.4 as KitKat is rolled out to handsets.

However, Jelly Bean's nearest rival continues to be Android 2.3.x Gingerbread, a version first released back in February 2011, and this version continues to power 20.0 percent of the devices accessing the Google Play store. However, the good news is that this version's dominance is eroding slowly as the months progress, but it is likely to remain significant for at least another year.

The problem with getting users up to the latest version is not down to a lack of interest. Indeed, the speed and ferocity with which iOS users upgrade to the latest version shows that users clearly are interested in new versions of operating systems. The problem is that Google is the beginning of a long system that updates have to go through.

Whenever Google releases a new version of Android, device OEMs have to then customize the release, add their own tweaks and personalizations. Then, for smartphones and tablets that are hooked to a carrier contract, the carriers have to add their own branding. The problem is made worse by the fact that neither the OEMs of the carriers feel there's much of a benefit in pushing free software updates to customers, and would rather focus on selling owners a new device.

Beginning in April 2013, Google started delivering data collected from each device when the user visited the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked in to Google servers. Google believes that the new data "more accurately reflects those users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem."

Source: ZDNet

Mozilla previews Firefox Launcher for Android with adaptive app search from EverythingMe

Mozilla today offered a sneak peek at its upcoming Firefox Launcher for Android. The organization has teamed up with EverythingMe, which will power the contextual adaptive app search.

The company says it will share updates as soon as “development is finished” and it prepares for a beta release. It wouldn’t offer any timing details so there’s nothing to mark on your calendar just yet. Update: EverythingMe tells TechCrunch a download will be available “in the coming weeks.”

As you can see, the early version of the launcher lets you group apps into categories and pin contacts for easy access. The search icon above presumably leads to EverythingMe while the microphone icon is probably the usual Google voice search on Android. There’s what appears to be an alarm clock app, but other than that other apps all look alike, with Chrome naturally swapped out for Firefox.

Other than that, Mozilla is throwing around phrases like “makes it easy to discover the content you want in any moment, “optimized for the way you use your phone,” and “a personalized and customizable Web experience that is fun and intuitive.” With no specific features to go on, it’s difficult to say whether this Android launcher will be able to differentiate itself effectively from the many options out there.

The EverythingMe partnership will be the key differentiator. An excerpt of our coverage from just yesterday seems particularly relevant:
EverythingMe released the first version of its Android launcher last year, with a search-focused approach. However, the Israeli startup found that not many people actually like to search on their phones, and you can be a lot more successful if you give users what they want, when they want it, without them having to do anything. In fact, they’ve found that there are 20 times the amount of interactions per day with their contextual homescreen than with the previous version.

Mozilla knows it will be very difficult to convince Android users to use its launcher over another. It’s hoping EverythingMe’s unique approach will help.

Source: TNW

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nokia's Android operating system pops up in leaked image

Evidence that Nokia is working on an Android phone is mounting. First, we got a glimpse of the hardware, codenamed Normandy, and today we're getting a first look at the software and operating system that will run on this rumored device.

The first images of the company's Android user interface were leaked by frequent Twitter tipster @evleaks. The images show a series of three design mockups of a what appears to be heavily-modified version Android on a Nokia device, but it's not clear that this operating system is in fact Android.

Cell phone manufacturers often modify the "pure" Android operating system released by Google to include their own designs and software features, such as Samsung's TouchWiz interface and S Voice voice-control service. Looking at the leaked photos, the OS looks more like a newer, more feature-rich version of Nokia's Asha operating system, which Nokia uses on its lower-cost Asha phones sold in emerging markets. It certainly doesn't look like any form of Android I've seen before, and it's nothing like Windows Phone either.

The leaked images reveal a few features inside the alleged Normandy phone, including support for two SIM cards (a popular feature in Europe, Asia, and South America), a pre-installed Skype app, and some sort of notifications system.

The notion that Nokia would be building an Android phone is a bit strange, considering Microsoft is poised to purchase Nokia's mobile business in a $7.2 billion deal announced in September 2013. It's entirely possible that Nokia was working on Normandy and its own version of Android before any sort of deal was discussed. It's also plausible that as Nokia has become more popular in emerging markets, where customers are seeking low-cost smartphones, Microsoft sees an opportunity to continue that vision with Android instead of the lesser-known Asha OS. Whatever Nokia's reason to build an Android phone, we'll keep you updated on this device as we learn more.

We've reached out to Nokia about the leaked photos, and the company said it doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.

Source: CNET

Monday, January 6, 2014

BBM for Android beta app update brings BBM Channels, BBM Voice and more emoticons

Weeks after BlackBerry teased that it'd be bringing BBM Voice and BBM Channels to BBM for Android and iPhone users, the company has done just that. However, the rollout is limited to members of the BBM for Android beta testing group for now.

BlackBerry today updated its BBM for Android app in the BlackBerry Beta Zone with support for both BBM Voice, which allows two BBM users to conduct free voice calls, and the BBM Channels social network that lets users follow and interact with their favorite brands and people. The updated BBM for Android beta also includes improvements to file sharing and more than 100 new emoticons.

BlackBerry previously only said that it would be bringing BBM Channels and BBM Voice to its Android and iOS apps sometime in 2014, so it's good to see that the device maker is rolling out the new features to its BBM for Android beta app less than a week into 2014. There's no word yet on when the goodies will be pushed to the public versions of the BBM for Android and iOS apps, but here's to hoping that since the Android beta app now includes them, it won't be long before testing is complete and they're pushed to us regular folk.

Source: Phonedog

Flash News

Flash News