Tuesday, 22 August 2017

OxygenOS 4.1.7 for OnePlus 3 & 3T brings optimizations, bug fixes and August security patch

OnePlus is seeding a new software update on the stable channel in the form of OxygenOS 4.1.7 to last year's flagship OnePlus 3 & 3T.

The new OxygenOS 4.1.7 update package weighs at 413MB and brings optimizations and bug fixes for performance improvements, along with August security patch.

Here's what included in OxygenOS 4.1.7 update
  • Enhanced system fluidity
  • Battery optimizations
  • Android security patch updated to August
Bug fixes:
  • Sound channel error while recording videos
  • Call is routed to speaker accidentally by some 3rd party apps
  • Rendering issue in Indian Kannada language
  • App locker issue caused by some 3rd party apps
  • As requested by Google, Hangouts will be removed if you have never updated it on Play Store. To keep Hangouts, please update it prior to the upgrade
As usual, the update is rolling out over-the-air in stages, so a small percentage of users will get it first, and this will be followed by wider roll-out in the coming days. If you've not been notified about the update yet, check for it manually by going to settings -> System Updates and check for a new software update. 


Facebook-style colored text status now available on WhatsApp

Earlier this week, WhatsApp started testing Facebook-like color text status feature on its beta app, and now it has rolled out the same functionality to the public. Starting today, you can customize text status by choosing a specific font and background color or include links.

You'll  now see a floating "pen" icon in the status tab at the bottom of the screen, right above the camera icon. Clicking on the pen icon, brings up the option to type a status, select font, add emoji and background color. When done, users have to hit the green arrow key to set the status, and your contacts will see the published status.

The new feature will be added through server side change and is available for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

Alcatel U5 HD with 5-inch display, Android Nougat announced

Alcatel announced the U5 back in February at MWC 2017. And now just ahead of IFA 2017, the company has announced an upgraded model called U5 HD, with higher screen resolution, improved camera and bigger battery. It also runs the latest Android Nougat software.

The Alcatel U5 HD features 5-inch display, but comes with HD (1280 x 720 pixels) screen resolution instead of FWVGA. It is equipped with MediaTek MT6737 processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage, which can be further expanded via microSD card.

The camera department gets a bump, and on U5 HD includes an 8MP rear camera (vs. 5MP on U5) with an LED flash, and 5MP selfie shooter at front (vs. 2MP on U5). The camera app will offer selfie tools like Face Mask, Face Show, Selfie Album and Instant Collage

The battery gets an upgraded from U5's 2050mAh to 2200mAh. Connectivity options are dual-SIM slots, 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.

The Alcatel U5 HD will come in Black and White color, however, the availability and pricing details are not known. 


Micromax Canvas Infinity with near bezel-less design launched at Rs. 9,999

As expected Micromax is launching Canvas Infinity flaunting near bezel-less design, similar to the recently released budget LG Q6. The phone sports 5.7-inch HD+ (1440 x 720 pixels) curved glass display with 18:9 aspect ratio. It has screen-to-body ratio of 83 percent, and Micromax's take on bezel-less design is called Full Vision. 

The performance on Canvas Infinity is handled by Snapdragon 425 processor, further aided by Adreno 308 GPU and 3GB RAM. On-board storage is 32GB, which can be expanded via microSD card.

It has 13MP f/2.0 rear camera with an LED flash, and 16MP f/2.0 front facing shooter for selfies. Connectivity options include dual-SIM slots, 4G, VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. It is fueled by 2900mAh battery and includes a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. It runs Android Nougat, but company has promised upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo.

The Micromax Canvas Infinity is priced at Rs. 9,999, and will be exclusively available from Amazon India starting September 1 in Black color.

Samsung Bixby voice assistant now available worldwide

Samsung rolled out Bixby voice assistant in English for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users in the U.S and South Korea last month. Now the South Korean tech giant has announced that Bixby’s voice capabilities have expanded to more than 200 countries and territories across the world including the U.K., Australia, Canada and South Africa.

With the addition, you can now give Bixby voice commands to perform activities like turning on the flashlight, taking a selfie, setting calendar reminders, find photos from your gallery and more. 

For example, you can use the command “good night” as a shortcut for “Turn on Do-not-disturb mode, set an alarm for 6:00 AM and turn on blue light filter.”

Galaxy S8 & S8+ users can access Bixby's voice function by pressing the dedicated Bixby button, or by simply saying "Hi Bixby". 

Samsung said it plans to continue expanding Bixby’s voice capabilities to additional countries, languages, devices, features and third-party applications. 


Android O is now Android Oreo

Google has officially announced that Android O will be called Android Oreo, and going forward will be referred as Android 8.0 Oreo. The search-giant has partnered with snack maker Nabisco for the Oreo branding. This is not the first time Google is entering into Android-related partnership, earlier it partnered with Nestle to bring KitKat for the v4.4 of Android back in 2013.

Google has released final system images for Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C and Nexus Player, that can be downloaded from Android developer website. For those who signed up for the beta program, the update is rolling out over the air. It is also pushing the Android Oreo source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to access.

Google also said that OEMs including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global (Nokia), Huawei, HTC, LG, Kyocera, Sharp, Motorola, Samsung has all committed to update existing smartphones running Nougat to Oreo by the end of the year, in addition to announcing new smartphones running Oreo.

Android 8.0 Oreo will bring news features to the user interface as well as under the hood like picture-in-picture (PIP) mode for multi-tasking, Instant apps, limiting background processes to improve battery life, improved auto-fill, notifications dots, adaptive icons, Google Play Protect, new emoji, downloadable fonts, TextView auto-sizing, sorting notifications through categories, Notification snoozing and more.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Xiaomi is reportedly working with Google on next Android One smartphone

It appears that Google's Android One program is getting a big boost. According to a report Xiaomi is working on an Android One smartphone, in collaboration with Google.

The report says that, the Chinese device maker is developing an affordable model of Mi 5X with Google's Android One platform. Utilizing Android One means Xiaomi will ditch in-house feature-packed MIUI in favor of stock Android UI, and as part of Android One experience comes the benefit of guaranteed timely OS updates, and less bloatwares.

The phone is expected to launch as Xiaomi Mi A1 globally, and given Xiaomi's track-record we can expect top-notch specs at a killer price. 

Initially, Google teamed up with Indian OEMs Karbonn, Spice and Micromax for Android One, but they hardly made any impact. Xiaomi could prove to be right choice for Google's Android One program, given its popularity in Asian market including India.

The company is capable of making good phones at various price points without comprising the hardware and build quality. Moreover it has a stronghold in the budget to mid-range segment. Taking all this into account, Android One program will definitely get a boost.

Unfortunately, it is not known when Xiaomi plans to launch its first Android One smartphone.

Moto X4 hands-on image shows shiny design, dual-camera and more

Hands-on images of Motorola's upcoming Moto X4 have hit the interweb, showing off the the glass back for a shiny and glossy finish, similar to previous leaks

The Moto X4 will belong to the upper mid-range category, and the photos show the dual-camera, rounder corners, thick bezels at top and bottom, and fingerprint scanner/gesture-based home button below the display.

In terms of specifications, the Moto X4 will feature 5.2-inch Full HD LCD display, Snapdragon 630 processor and 3000mAh battery. It will arrive in two RAM/Storage variants: 3GB RAM/32GB storage for the Europe, North America and Latin America region, and 4GB RAM/64GB storage for the Asia-Pacific region including India.

The dual-camera at the back has a 12MP sensor with dual auto-focus, f/2.0 aperture and 1.4µm pixel size plus an 8MP ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size and 120-degree field of view. There will be 16MP camera on the front assisted by a LED flash, for ultra-low light selfie, and support for 4K video recording.

It will run Android Nougat, and the body will boast IP68 water and dust resistance rating. Color options are Super Black and Sterling Blue.

It is still not known, when Motorola plans to unveil the Moto X4.

Acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible with 8th gen Core i7 processor announced

Acer has announced a new convertible notebook designed for casual gamers called Nitro 5 Spin, featuring Intel's new 8th generation Core i7 Kaby Lake-R processor. It flaunts all-aluminum chassis with black brushed hairline finish and red accents.

The Acer Nitro 5 Spin features 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display and a 360-degree hinge, that lets you use the laptop in tablet, stand or tent modes. It packs up to 16GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, and up to 512GB PCIe SSD.

It houses stereo front-facing speakers with a subwoofer, HD Webcam, backlit keyboard 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an HDMI port, while the wireless connection is handled by WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth. It supports Windows Hello and offers up to 10 hours of battery life.

The Acer Nitro 5 Spin will be available in October in North America starting at $999 (Rs. 64,000), and in EMEA region starting 1199 Euros (Rs. 90,200).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A goes official with 16MP selfie camera, MIUI 9

Xiaomi has officially announced its latest budget smartphone, the Redmi Note 5A in India. It comes in two different configurations flaunting a premium metal unibody design, with the top-end model getting a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and selfie flash.

They run Android 7.1.1 Nougat based MIUI 9 and have 2 + 1 card tray design, which means there's dedicated slots for dual-SIMs and microSD card.

The Redmi Note 5A low-end version comes with 5.5-inch HD display and is powered by 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. It has 13MP f/2.2 PDAF assisted camera at the back witth LED flash and 5MP f/2.0 front facing camera. A 3080mAh battery keeps the lights on. It has been priced at CNY 699 ($104 | Rs. 6,700).

The top-end Redmi Note 5A also has 5.5-inch HD 2.5D curved glass display, but utilizes 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 435 processor. For photography, it gets 13MP f/2.2 PDAF assisted rear camera with LED flash, and 16MP f/2.0 76.4-degree wide angle selfie shooter accompanied by an LED flash, for delivering better selfies in low-light condition. It has a fingerprint scanner at the back and is fueled by 3080mAh battery. 

It will be offered into two variants: 3GB RAM/32GB storage priced at CNY 899 ($134 | Rs. 8,600) and 4GB RAM/64GB storage with CNY 1199 ($180 | Rs. 11,500) price tag. 

All the Redmi Note 5A variants feature 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack and Infrared sensor. Color options are Champagne Gold, Rose Gold and Platinum Silver.

Xiaomi will sell the Redmi Note 5A in China starting from tomorrow, August 22.

Videocon Metal Pro 2 with 13MP camera, 4G VoLTE launched at Rs. 6,999

Videocon is out with a new entry-level smartphone in India called Metal Pro 2. As the name suggests, the phone flaunts a CNC alloyed metal back for a premium look that comes in two color: Gold and Space Grey.

The Videocon Metal Pro features 5-inch HD IPS display and packs 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor and 2000mAh battery. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

The camera department includes a 13MP rear camera with an LED flash and a 3.2MP front shooter. Running Android Nougat, the dual-SIM supports 4G, VoLTE, WiFi Bluetooth and GPS.

The Metal Pro 2 is priced at Rs. 6,999 and will be available through offline stores by end of the month. Videocon is also bundling one-year subscription of Eros Now, a Gameloft game and 100 days replacement policy with the phone.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen convertible with Kaby Lake-R coming in September

Samsung back in May introduced the S-Pen toting Notebook 9 Pro convertible featuring 7th generation Intel Core i7 processors. Now the South Korean tech giant is giving it an upgrade with a new model called Notebook 9 Pen with the just announced 8th generation Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake-R processor, which is 40 percent percent faster than the 7th generation.

Apart from the processor upgrade the rest of the configuration will remain unchanged. Just like NoteBook 9 Pro, the Notebook 9 Pen will be offered in 13.3-inch and 15-inch screen models and both include Full HD display and touchscreen panel. They will sport 360-degree rotatable hinge, which allows the device to be used in several modes like laptop, tablet, stand and tent. 

The 13.3-inch packs on-board Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 8GB DDR4 RAM, while the 15-inch model has AMD Radeon 540 GPU with dedicated 2GB memory, and 16GB DDR4 RAM.

Both models will come with 256GB SSD, HD camera, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, HDMI port, microSD card slot, WIFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, fast charging support and 1.5W x 2 stereo speakers.

The built-in Stylus S-Pen comes with a 0.7mm tip that can detect more than 4,000 levels of pressure. It is also able to detect tilt for shading, and is compatible with Samsung's Air Command software, and Windows Ink functions.

The pricing has not been revealed, but Samsung says it will first roll out to home market of South Korea in September, followed by other markets as well. 


New OnePlus 3/3T OxygenOS Open Beta with bug fixes, optimizations is rolling out

New OxygenOS beta update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T is now rolling out over-the-air to anyone who is on a previous beta build.

The OxygenOS Open Beta 22 for OnePlus 3, and Open Beta 13 for OnePlus 3T weighs at around 400MB and includes bug fixes and optimizations for performance improvements. 

To recall, the last OxygenOS betas for OnePlus 3 & 3T added a new feature called "Parallel apps" that lets you runs parallel version of an app using a separate account. The latest beta build fixes installation issues of some parallel apps. It also fixes an issue that caused expanded screenshot to fail on parallel apps. Other fixes include for Weather Widget and system font.

The update also adds optimizations for expanded screenshots and data usage tracking. Additionally, OnePlus apps like App Locker, FileManager, Weather, Note (shelf), Launcher and Push have all been updated.

Here's the complete list of changes
  • Data usage tracking optimizations
    • The system is now better at tracking data usage
  • Expanded screenshot optimizations
  • OnePlus apps updates
    • App locker, FileManager, Weather, Note (shelf), Launcher, and OnePlus Push have all been updated
Bug Fixes:
  • Installation issues of some parallel apps
  • Screenshot issues on some parallel apps
    • Sometimes the expanded screenshot would fail on parallel apps
  • Weather widget sometimes won’t update
    • Weather widget in Shelf will now update properly
  • Font issue after changing system language
    • Sometimes the system font did not display properly after changing system language
As mentioned earlier, for OnePlus 3 & 3T devices on previous beta build, the latest beta build will roll out over-the-air. Others will have to download the OTA zip file from OnePlus and flash it manually.