Friday, 20 October 2017

Cortana enabled Invoke speaker will be available from October 22 for $199

Harman and Microsoft unveiled Invoke, the first Coratana enabled smart speaker back in May 2017, without revealing the pricing and availability details.

And now Harman has announced that the Invoke will be available in the U.S starting October 22 at Rs. 199.99 (Rs. 30,000). It comes in Graphite and Pearl Silver color, and will be available for purchase from Best Buy, Microsoft stores and other retail locations, as well as online at and

The Invoke speaker has Amazon Echo like cylindrical design with 360-degrees speaker. Like other smart speakers, Invoke can play music, manage calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic, deliver latest news, , weather, sports update and more. It features Skype integration, allowing you to make phone calls to other mobile or Skype-enabled devices. You can also control smart home appliances using voice commands to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature.

The smart speaker is equipped with Harman's "SONIQUE", a 360-degree adaptive technology (with seven microphones) that recognizes all details of voice commands even in environments with high-ambient noise. It supports Harman's beam foaming, echo cancellation, and noise reduction functions to ensure Cortana can hear your voice in noisy environments.

It also comes with features like ‘touch to surprise’ user interface panel at the top of the speaker, interactive Cortana lighting, and intuitive buttons.

HTC U11 Life specs and render leaked

HTC is expected to unveil its near bezel-free flagship, the U11 Plus on November 2. Alongside the company is likely to launch a second phone, which is a mid-ranger called U11 Life, and it will be backed by Google's Android One program.

We already know unofficial details about the U11 Plus including specs and design, and now reliable tipster Roland Quandt writing for has shared details of the U11 Life including press render and complete specs sheet.

The HTC U11 Life will have the exact same design as the Snapdragon 835 powered HTC U11, but will pack mid-range specs. Since the phone has a regular design, it comes with a home button, that hides the fingerprint sensor. Like HTC's recent offering, the U11 Life will ditch the 3.5mm audio jack in favor of USB Type-C. HTC is also said to bundle the HTC USonic headphones. 

The device will also have HTC U11-like Edge Sense function, that lets you squeeze the edge of the phone to trigger various actions.

As for the specs, the HTC U11 Life will feature:
  • 5.2-inch Full HD display
  • Snapdragon 630 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage with microSD card support
  • 16MP rear camera with support for HDR, RAW format and 4K video recording
  • 16MP front camera
  • 2600mAh battery
The phone will run the latest Android Oreo, and since the device will be launch under Android One program, it will offer pure Android experience, and come pre-loaded with only Google apps. It will also support NFC, WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity and boast IP67 water and dust resistance rating.

According to the source, the HTC U11 Life will be priced around 400 Euros ($472 | Rs. 30,000), and come in Sapphire Blue and Ice White. 


vivo announces global expansion; to sell products in six new countries

China based device maker vivo which is now among the top 5 vendors in the world, and also an official sponsor of the next two FIFA World Cup tournaments, has announced that it plans to expand its presence globally to six new markets in the following months.

vivo already has its footprint in India, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Going forward, vivo will soon set its foot in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, and also make its way to the African market by launching its products in Morocco and Kenya. Through Russia it will make its debut in European market, and we can expect expansion to other European countries in the near future.

In these markets, vivo aims to offer devices and "inspire confidence and self-expression in more young people". The punchline sounds perfect as vivo phones are mainly focused on camera and audio experience. The last phone, vivo launched was vivo V7+ which had a near bezel-less design and 24MP selfie camera and selfie flash. 


Sharp Aquos R Compact with near bezel-less design, Android Oreo announced

Sharp was the first smartphone maker to bring bezel-less design to life with the Aquos Crystal. This was even before Mi MIX came into the limelight, and made the design a trend that is being adapted by most of the handset maker this year.

Earlier this year, Sharp unveiled the Aquos S2 with no bezels on sides and top, for a tri-bezel design. And now the Japanese tech giant is packing a similar design into a more compact body, on the company's latest Aquos Compact R. On the other hand, it is basically a compact version of the Snapdragon 835 powered flagship Aquos R.

Just like the Aquos S2, the new Aquos Compact R has a tri-bezel design, but the bottom chin has very thick bezels and accommodates the home button, which also houses the fingerprint sensor. It also boasts IP68 water and dust resistance rating and runs the latest Android 8.0 Oreo software with EMOPA 7.0 AI integration.

The Sharp Aquos R Compact features 4.9-inch Full HD+ (2030 x 1080 pixels) IGZO display with 18:9 aspect ratio and is equipped with Snapdragon 660 processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

For photography, it gets 16.4MP PDAF rear camera with an LED flash, and 8MP CMOS front camera. Connectivity onboard include WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C port and GPS. It is fueled by 2500mAh battery and supports Quick Charge 3.0.

The Sharp Aquos R will be a Japan exclusive device, and come in Moon White, Tourmaline Black, Diamond Yellow and Amethyst Purple color. It will be available via Japanese telecommunication company Softbank in December.

Xiaomi outs Mi TV 4C in China with ultra-slim bezels

Xiaomi is expanding its Mi TV 4 line with a new model. The Mi TV 4 was introduced at CES 2017 with high-end features and a premium price tag. This was followed by a budget model dubbed Mi TV 4A. 

That said, the China based device maker has now introduced an enhanced version of Mi TV 4A, dubbed Mi TV 4C, with ultra-slim bezels.

The Xiaomi Mi TV 4C has an ultra slim 0.9cm (9mm) black bezels on the sides, and comes in two display variants: 43-inch and 55-inch panel. The smaller 43-inch Mi TV 4A sports Full HD resolution and packs 1GB RAM, whereas the 55-inch mode has 4K HDR and 2GB RAM.

Both models are powered by Amlogic T962 quad-core processor further aided by Mali 450 GPU. They come with 8GM eMMC 5.1 internal storage, and support WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. Both also support Dolby Atmos and DTS encoded movies, meaning, you don't need an external player for playing these movies.

Lastly, the Mi TV 4C, supports "Patch Wall" a UI layer on top of Android OS, based on deep learning AI technology to curate contents based on recommendations.

Coming to the pricing, the 43-inch Xiaomi Mi TV 4C is priced at CNY 2099 ($317 | Rs. 20,600), while the 55-inch 4K HDR variant costs CNY 3099 ($468 | Rs. 30,500). 


Motorola's AT&T Mobile TV Cast Mod lets you cast DirectTV to your TV

Motorola recently launched the Alexa-enabled Moto Smart Speaker Mod for the Moto Z Family. And now the brand is already working on a new Moto Mod.

According to Android Authority, Motorola is planning to introduce a new mod developed in partnership with U.S carrier AT&T called AT&T Mobile TV Cast.

The plug-and-play Mod has a stick that users can plug into any compatible TV set, allowing them to watch contents from AT&T's content streaming service DirecTV Now on a large screen. The streaming service subscription starts at $35 and includes dozens of live TV channels, as well as on-demand content.

The reports also says that the Moto Mod will connect to the TV via USB stick. However, this detail is questionable given that other similar devices (Chromecast, Fire TV stick), plug into the TV's HDMI port. The Mod doesn't require a WiFi connection for streaming, instead the contents will be streamed over LTE, directly from the stick.

Users will also be able to use their Moto Z phone while casting to the TV, and the Mod can also be used to mirror the phone's screen, including media from the phone itself. Lastly, the Mobile TV Cast will pack 2730mAh battery, which will also allow the Mod to double as a power bank for the phone.

It's worth mentioning that Mobile Cast TV Mod will be limited to U.S market. Unfortunately the pricing is not yet known, but the source says, it is likely to cost less than $150.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Monument Valley 2 coming to Android November 6

Monument Valley was a very popular puzzle game in 2014 gaining critical acclaim, and even featured in an episode of political thriller House Of Cards.

The game was developed by UsTwo Games and is well known for its simplistic gameplay, beautiful visuals, bold art and relaxing background music. In the game you have to manipulate impossible architecture and guide the silent princess Ida through a stunningly beautiful world.

That said, the games' surprise sequel Monument Valley 2 was announced back in June at WWDC 2017, and was released at the same time for iOS devices. The developers also promised to bring the game to Android as well, and now the wait is almost over.

According to a launch trailer published by UsTwo Games on YouTube, Monument Valley will be available for Android devices starting November 6 via Google PlayStore and Amazon Underground. You can also pre-register for the game on PlayStore, so that you'll be notified when the game is ready to download.

Monument Valley 2 is set in the same universe as Monument Valley 2, but this time you'll be interacting with two characters at the same time. The game tells the story of a mother and child, as they embark on a journey of discovery through a stunning and impossible world.

As a player, you will explore ever-changing landscapes and mechanics that surprise at every turn and an evolving parent-child relationship. There are total 14 chapters and the game brings new ways to interact to explore the world and changing dynamics between characters.

Just like the first part, Monument Valley 2 will not be a free game, and you'll have to shell out $4.99 or Rs. 420.

UE Blast and Megablast Bluetooth speakers have Amazon Alexa onboard

Logitech’s premium audio products brand, Ultimate Ears has introduced two Bluetooth speakers, Ultimate Ears Blast and Ultimate Ears Megablast featuring Amazon's voice assistant Alexa. 

The speakers sport cylindrical waterproof design and offers immersive 360-degree sound and hands-free voice control. They also support WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and have multiple microphones with beam forming technology and noise cancellation for seamless far field voice recognition.

When the speakers are connected to WiFi, you can ask Alexa to control music from Amazon Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Or you can simply pair the speaker to your smartphone via Bluetooth to stream music from your music library or online music services. The speakers have a range of 330 feet on WiFi and Bluetooth range of 150 feet.

Apart from controlling music, you call also ask Alexa to order pizza, control smart home devices, get weather updates, search the web and more.

Ultimate Ears Blast audio specifications
  • Maximum Sound Level: 90 dBC
  • Frequency Range: 90Hz - 20kHz
  • Drivers: Two 35mm active drivers and two 81mm x 39mm passive radiators.
Ultimate Ears Megablast audio specifications
  • Maximum Sound Level: 93 dBC
  • Frequency Range: 60Hz - 20kHz
  • Drivers: Two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm active drivers and two 85mm x 50mm passive radiators
The Blast and Megablast are IP67 rated, so they are dustproof, waterproof, and can be immersed in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. They are also drop-proof. Ultimate Ear promises up to 12 hours of music playback for Blast, and up to 16 hours for Megablast.

The Ultimate Ears Blast and Megablast are priced at 229.99 and 299.99 respectively and come in six colors: Graphite (Black), Blizzard (White), Blue Steel, Merlot (Red), Mojito (Green) and Lemonade (Yellow). They are now up for pre-order in the U.S, UK, Germany and Australia, and will be avilable later this month.

There's also an optional charging dock available called Power UP, that lets you play music while the speaker is charging. It costs $39.99.

Oppo F5 will arrive alongside Oppo F5 6GB and Oppo F5 Youth

The Oppo F5 will be Oppo's first smartphone to flaunt near bezel-less design. It will be introduced at an event in select Asian market next week on October 26. And now marketing poster of the Oppo F5 have surfaced revealing new details.

According to the poster, the Oppo F5 will arrive in three version, the regular Oppo F5, a more powerful Oppo F5 6GB and a lite version Oppo F5 Youth. All the Oppo F5 models will have 6-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, A.I Beauty powered selfie camera and facial unlock technology.

The Oppo F5 will have 4G RAM and 20MP selfie camera powered by AI Beauty. Whereas the Oppo F5 6GB will offer AI Beauty backed 20MP selfie camera, 6GB RAM and 64GB storage.  Lastly, the Oppo F5 Youth will be a lite variant of the Oppo F5, and comes with 16MP selfie camera. 

The poster also gives us a good look at the Oppo F5 and its models. The phones will sport nearly thin bezels at all sides, due to which, the fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back. They will have single camera at both the front and back panel accompanied by LED flash. 

As mentioned earlier the Oppo F5 will be unveiled on October 26, and as for the Indian market, the launch date is set for November 2. 


Samsung announces Bixby 2.0, meant for all kind of devices

Samsung's voice assistant Bixby made its debut with the launch of company's flagship Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ to take on rivals such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. That said, the availability of Bixby was limited to Samsung's premium flagship devices.

But that is changing now as the South Korean tech giant is gearing up to bring Bixby to a number of different devices and services, especially to the Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

Samsung promises that Bixby's new advanced version dubbed as Bixby 2.0 will be ubiquitous and available on any and all devices. Any devices means that Bixby will be powered by cloud and will act as the control hub to your home ecosystem which includes mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, home speakers, or any other smart device and appliances.

According to Samsung Bixby 2.0 will be more personal with enhanced natural language capabilities for more natural commands and complex processing, which means it can recognize your voice easily.

Samsung is also making Bixby 2.0 an open platform. This means third party developers can integrate Bixby into their services, devices or apps. Additionally Samsung also released first private beta program of Bixby SDK, which can only be accessed by select developers, but it will eventually roll out to all developers in the near future.

Google guarantees three years of Android and security updates for Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL

Google has officially confirmed that the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will get Android updates for the next three years. This is one year more than the original Pixel phones. To remind you, earlier the Google Store listing of Pixel 2 phones mentioned that they will get Android software updates for three years, but at that time it was not known if it was an error or for real.

However now it is official, and Google has updated its support page, to clearly sate the Pixel 2 will get three years of update. This includes both Android software and security update.

According to Pixel phone's support page:
  • Pixel 2 (2017) phones get Android version updates for at least 3 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store. After 3 years, we can’t guarantee more updates
  • Pixel (2016) phones get Android version updates for at least 2 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store. After 2 years, we can’t guarantee more updates.

If Google continues to release Android updates at the same pace and schedule, then Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL will get Android P in 2018, Q in 2019 and R in 2020. This will be the first time a phone will support four version of Android operating system on the same device. This also makes the Pixel 2 phones more attratctive Android phones, because other OEMs like Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC only offer two years of OS update, and that too they take time to push the update.

The one year extension may have something to do with Project Treble. Google's aim here is to push regular OS updates to its phones, just like Apple, which rolls out all major iOS update to most of its iPhones.

Source | Via

Reliance Jio tariff revised: 84-day plan now costs Rs. 459

As expected Reliance Jio has revised the price of it plans. Starting with the popular Rs. 399 plan, that previously replaced 309 plan, will now cost Rs. 459. The benefits are still the same, and you'll be getting unlimited voice calls, 100 free SMS, and 1GB data per day for 84 days. This plan will also give you unlimited access to Jio apps like JioTV, JioCinema, JioMusic among others. 

However, there is one change, the FUP limit speed has been reduced to 64kbps from 128kbps.

That said, the Rs. 399 plan still exists, and offers the same benefits as the Rs. 459 plan, but the validity is for only 70 days, down from the previous 84 days validitity. However, the Rs. 309 plan which used to offer 1GB data per day for 56 days has been scrapped.

The existing Rs. 149 plan which offered 2GB data for 28 days will now offer 4GB data. Whereas the Rs. 509 plan will give 2GB data per day for 49 days (previously 56 days) bundled with unlimited voice calls, and access to Jio apps. 

Speaking of the premium plans, the Rs. 999 tariff plan will give 60GB data for three months, while Rs. 1,999 plans will bundle 125GB data with a validity of six months. Both plans offer unlimited voice calls, and access to Jio apps.

There's also Rs. 4999 plan that gives 350GB data for 360 days (one year), along with unlimited voice calls and premium access to Jio apps. Jio is calling this as an annual plan.

Then there are the low cost plans for Rs. 19, Rs. 52 and Rs. 98. The Rs. 19 plan is valid for only a day and offers 150MB data, 70 free SMS and unlimited calls, while the Rs. 52 plans also gives 150MB data, but with extended validity of seven days. Lastly, the Rs. 98 plan has a validity of two weeks and offer 150GB data.

It's worth mentioning that all the plans offer unlimited data, but after you exhaust the daily high-speed data limit, you'll have to browse the web with 64kbps speed. Earlier Jio was offering speeds of up to 128kbps. 

To known the exact details of the aforementioned plans you can refer the table below:
All these plans have come into effect and you can recharge via MyJio mobile app, Jio website, Reliance Digital, Express Mini stores and Jio partners.  


Samsung's 360 Round has 17-lens camera for live 3D VR content

Samsung has introduced 360 Round, a 360 degree camera with a whooping 17 lenses designed for VR specialists and enthusiasts for creating VR contents. The main purpose of this camera is to allow users to livestream 4K 3D video and spatial audio, and also create 3D images with depth.

The Samsung 360 Round's 17 lenses are made of eight horizontally positioned stereo, and one vertically positioned single lens.The 17 cameras features 1/2.8" 2MP f/1.8 image sensors. The camera is capable of recording and live-streaming 3D and 2D content at 4K with 30 frames per second in either X264 or X265 format.

It features 10GB LPDDR3 RAM, 40GB eMMC internal storage, and supports micorSD card (up to 256GB) and SSD (up to 2TB). It has six internal microphones for spatial audio and two external microphone ports on board. There's also USB Type-C port and LAN for connectivity.

The camera is also durable, boasting IP65 water and dust resistance rating for use in everyday weather conditions, and sports a compact fanless design to reduce weight and eliminate background noise. The whole system weighs 1.93kg.

Samsung is also offering dedicated PC software for processing/stitching and preview/live broadcasting the contents captured from the camera to create 3D videos. That said, you will need to own a beast of a PC  to be able to post-process and broadcast the contents captured by 360 Round. 

For Post Processing:Intel Core i7-6700K or above
2 x 16 GB DDR4 RAM
850W power 

For Preview and Live Broadcast:
Intel Core i7-6950X or above
2 x 32GB DDR4 RAM
2 x NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti GPU

850W power

Samsung says the 360 Round Camera will be available in the U.S this October. The pricing is not known, but according to reports it will cost $10,500 (Rs. 7,00,000).