Google’s Android P Developer Preview 1 has been made available for select Android smartphones.
It’s here and it’s all new. Google’s next iteration of Android — Android P, has broken cover and has been made available to the world of developers and testers. As with all new Android versions, Android P brings in multiple new features and a revamped UI to smartphones relying on Google’s open-source operating system. Therefore, it becomes tempting to try out the latest version of Android P on your smartphone, especially if you are into app development or coding.
Since Android P is only into its first developer preview, getting an access to it for most Android users isn’t possible. As always, Google has limited the trial of Android P to Google-branded smartphones, i.e. the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Additionally, the update cannot be downloaded Over-the-Air (OTA) like stable ROM updates, which means there are a lot of additional steps involved in flashing Android P on your smartphone.
We would like to notify you that flashing your smartphone requires a lot of attention to the steps — missing anyone could lead to bricking your device. Additionally, early tester versions of Android are full of unknown bugs and issues, which could be lead to frequent crashes, thereby making it risky to install the ROM on your primary smartphone.
After this, your Pixel device should reboot and show you the freshly installed Android P Developer Preview 1. For a detailed account of the steps, click here.
Do note that Android P is in its early stages. Therefore, most of the feature that you encounter in this developer build could miss out making it to the final build of Android P, when it gets released later this year. Android P brings certain new features such as a revamped UI, HEIC image compression, indoor mapping using Wi-Fi, native support for display notches and more. For a brief account of all the major new features that Android P brings to the table.
Google’s take on Augmented Reality based messaging allows for content creators to have a green screen effect on their phones.
Augmented reality is the next big thing and all the major names in the technology industry are rushing to jump on the bandwagon. Snapchat initiated the process of commercialising AR for masses, which was followed up by Facebook and all of its subsidiary platforms. Google’s efforts towards a building a social media platform hadn’t borne fruits with Google+, but it hasn’t given up entirely and therefore is using YouTube as a means to keep hold of the market. They rolled out a chats feature to the YouTube app last year and now, there’s Augmented Reality based stories for content creators.
Google’s approach seems to be different to that of Instagram and Snapchat. Instead of providing stickers based on facial recognition algorithms, YouTube’s version of AR-based stories allows content creators to change the background like it’s done through the green screen techniques. Google in one of its recent blog posts states that they are using the power of neural networks to achieve this mobile green screen effect.
The system seems to be working on the same principle as the portrait mode that Google employs on its Pixel 2 smartphone. However, instead of blurring the background, a lot of clever algorithms are working to treat the background as a transparent layer and paste the desired layer of image or video on it. If you are willing to go through the software technicalities in details, refer to the full post here.
Presently, the feature is in a testing phase and is only available in a limited beta release for select YouTube content creators. Google is working with the content creators to gain feedback and improve the system’s tracking capabilities to iron out all the irregularities.
Famous tipster Evan Blass announced that Android 9 will officially be launched in mid-March this year.
Google has a habit of introducing its newer version of its Android every year, and the finalised version of this software generally comes with its flagship phones in October. According to famous tipster Evan Blass, he tweeted that the Android P Preview is targeted for Mid-March ahead of Google’s I/O, which is slated for 8th May this year.
The company usually releases around 4-6 previews of Android before it unveils its final version. Named ‘Android P’ this new update might introduce smaller new features since the main new features generally get announced at Google I/O for the developers. The actual name of this Android P will be named a couple of months after the Google’s I/O event.
Google’s this preview strategy often helps developers to experiment, develop and test their apps with the new features included, and finalise their apps by the time of Android’s official release. The finalised API’s would available after the I/O event later this year. So the new Android 9 or Android P Preview will be witnessed and can be installed by the users under Preview programs in the coming weeks this month.
Xiaomi is all set to unveil new Mi TV series in India, slated to launch on March 7.
Xiaomi recently launched a smart Mi TV in India and it seems that the company is in no mood to slow down. Xiaomi is all set to unveil new Mi TV series in India, slated to launch on March 7. Ahead of that launch, a listing on the Mi.com/in website has revealed that the company might unveil a 43-inch Mi TV 4C in the country.
The 43-inch Mi TV 4C was allegedly first launched in China last year, priced at CNY 1,849 (approximately Rs 19,000), but the listing indicates that it will cost around Rs 27,999 in India.
The 43-inch full-HD model could come with a quad-core Amlogic T962 64-bit processor, paired with 1GB of RAM/8GB of storage. As for the connectivity, the TV includes Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Dolby, and DTS Audio. The new TV is claimed to have a "blue light-reducing mode" and also supports HDR 10 and HLG.
Besides, a new model from the Mi TV 4A series is also expected to debut on Indian shores on Wednesday. Xiaomi on March 1 launched the Mi TV 4A in the 40-inch form factor in China for CNY 1,699 (roughly Rs 17,000).
The Mi TV 4A boasts a 40-inch full-HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. Under the hood, it features a quad-core 64-bit Amlogic T962 processor clocked at 1.5GHz along with a Mali 450 GPU, clubbed with 1GB RAM/ 8GB of storage. It has a 60Hz refresh rate, a static contrast ratio of 5000:1. The Mi TV 4A includes Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, 2 HDMI ports, one component port, 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 S / PDIF port, Dolby Audio, DTS- HD audio dual decoding, 2x8W speakers, and runs on PatchWall OS.
A new video on Chinesewebsite, re-confirms that the upcoming phone will come with the latest Snapdragon 845 chipset.
Xiaomi is all set to launch a successor to the Mi MIX 2. The Chinese company has already confirmed that a smartphone dubbed Mi MIX 2s is arriving with Snapdragon 845 on March 27 and recently teased the phone’s AnTuTu score in the latest official poster. Xiaomi recently confirmed that Mi MIX 2S has recorded an average benchmarking score of 273341.
A new video on Chinese video sharing website MiaoPai, re-confirms that the upcoming phone will come with the latest Snapdragon 845 chipset. The new phablet will join the company of the Sony Xperia XZ2 handsets, the US versions of the Galaxy S9 and the Asus Zenfone 5Z flagship.
While the teaser video does not reveal many details, some reports floating around suggest that the upcoming Mi MIX 2S could sport even thinner bezels than the Mi MIX 2.
If rumours are to believed, the Mi MIX 2S could feature the front-facing camera on the top-right cornerof the phone that will allow the company to further shave the chin of the smartphone. Previous leaks showed that it will have nearly 100 per cent bezel-less display.
The Mi MIX 2S is expected to feature a 6.01-inch full HD+ OLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The handset could have 8GB RAM/256GB of storage, and Sony IMX363 image sensors at the rear. Also, the device is rumoured to come with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Besides, Worldover, a lot of people speculate and imagine how the smartphones would probably look, based on several leaks. Here's one of the concept design of Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S by GizChina.
If the video above is even slightly true, the Xiaomi Mi MiX 2S could be the only phone with such a highest screen-to-body ratio.
Spectra is one amongst the two broadband service providers in India currently offering gigabit broadband plan, and the only operator to provide the plan under Rs 1,000 (with FUP limit). Today, the company announced its partnership with Finnish gear maker Nokia to expand the gigabit broadband service across the country. Nokia will be using its IP/MPLS routing and GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) fiber solutions to provide uninterrupted broadband service to the customers of Spectra. The Nokia 7210 SAS and 7750 SR will provide Ethernet-based IP/MPLS routing supporting a broadband network gateway (BNG) function for residential subscriber management in the country. Spectra is currently offering 1 Gbps plan in Delhi and Bengaluru.
Spectra also said that it’s aiming to provide broadband networks to key metro markets in India to meet the data-driven demand for services like video streaming. And the Nokia IP/MPLS solution will provide an IP aggregation, Edge and core network based on the 7210 Service Access Switch (SAS) and 7750 Service Router (SR) for the network roll-out in various cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi etc. The Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) will handle end-to-end service provisioning and network assurance that will ensure high quality while lowering operational costs for Spectra.
Nokia is also providing its 7360 ISAM FX GPON solution to “provide faster broadband speeds to customers and create the network foundation essential for future ultra-broadband services.” In addition, the enhanced fiber network will allow Spectra to address the emerging ultra-broadband needs of its customers and deliver best-in-class services.
For the unaware, Spectra is one of the fastest growing Indian broadband service providers, and its aggressive approach of offering gigabit speeds at an affordable rate will be a threat to other ISPs such as ACT Fibernet and Bharti Airtel. Notably, ACT Fibernet is the first ISP to provide a gigabit connection in Hyderabad, which later on, expanded to Bengaluru as well. ACT Fibernet’s ACT Giga plan costs Rs 5,999 (excluding taxes), while Spectra is charging just Rs 899 (With FUP) for the 1 Gbps gigabit plan. Spectra also confirmed that it would be launching 1 Gbps plan in other cities such as Mumbai very soon.
HMD Global’s Nokia came up with five new phones, out of which four are Android smartphones and the other a reincarnation of the Nokia 8110.
As if that wasn’t enough, HMD Global’s Nokia also came up with five new phones, out of which four are Android smartphones and one being a reincarnation of a classic Nokia phone —Nokia 8110. If you missed out on these launches last night, then you can catch up with all the new stuff here.
Nokia 8 Sirocco:
Nokia turns over a leaf in 2018 with their Nokia 8 Sirocco — a 749 Euros (approx Rs 60,000) flagship smartphone built around a Snapdragon 835 chipset accompanied by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The Nokia 8 Sirocco embraces a Samsung-style curved AMOLED display — it’s 5.5-inch 18:9 panel protected by Gorilla Glass 5. In fact, the phone is made up of Gorilla Glass 5 and a metal frame.
It runs on an Android One ROM (currently on Oreo), which means timely Android updates. It also comes with Nokia’s OZO triple mic setup for audio recording. There’a 12MP f/1.7 rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera equipped with Nokia’s Bothie feature. It is fuelled by a 3260mAh battery and sports a USB Type-C port as well. Is it all good then? There’s no headphone jack!
Nokia 7 Plus:
A midrange smartphone with a 399 Euros (approx Rs 32,000) price tag, the 7 Plus is built around a Snapdragon 660 chipset coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. Being an Android One phone, it presently runs on Oreo and will get the timely update to Android P. Nokia OZO triple-mic is also present here for audio recording.
The 7 Plus gets a 12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture whereas the selfie sensor is a 16MP sensor — both equipped with ZEISS optics. It’s backed by a 3800mAh battery.
‘New’ Nokia 6:
This is one model that will come to India for sure. Nokia seems to have a winner with 2018 model as it runs on Android Oreo (based on an Android One ROM) and utilises a Snapdragon 630 chipset along with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. There’s a 5.5-inch 16:9 full HD LCD display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and a 3000mAh battery to keep it powered.
The 16MP rear camera along with the 8MP front camera gain ZEISS optics as well. It’s priced at 279 Euros (Rs 22,000 approx) for the European markets, however, Indian customers could get to see it go head-to-head with Xiaomi’s Mi A1 Android One smartphone.
Nokia 1 (Android Go):
Nokia surprised us all with the first Android Go smartphone at the MWC 2018. The Nokia 1 runs on a lightened version of Android Oreo 8.1 and is scheduled to get timely security patches as well as Android updates. The Nokia 1 is powered by a MediaTek MT6737M SoC aided by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage.
There’s a 5MP rear camera as well as a 2MP selfie camera for handling the photography department. To keep the prices low, there’s a 4.5-inch LCD IPS display with 16:9 aspect ratio. At $85 (approx Rs 5,000), the Nokia 1 will be available with customisable Xpress-on covers. This one should come to India and sit under the Nokia 2, making a worthy alternative to feature phones.
Nokia is keeping up with the tradition of re-launching iconic feature phones from the past since last year. After the 3310, Nokia has brought back the iconic 8110 “banana phone’ with a sliding keymat — it has a T9 keypad with navigation buttons. The phone runs on Kai OS, which is based on Firefox OS (also used in the JioPhone). It is built around a Qualcomm 205 chipset accompanied by 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage.
There’s a 2.4-inch curved display at the front, which is backed up by a 1500mAh battery. There’s even a 2MP rear camera with LED flash. However, the headlining feature is the presence of 4G VoLTE network support and a dual-SIM setup, which makes it different from its rivals. It is priced around 74 Euros (approx Rs 6,000) and could make it India sometime later in the year, like the 3310.
Samsung launches Galaxy S9 & S9+
One of the biggest highly anticipated events of the technology world is finally underway — MWC 2018, and it has gotten off to a flying start. Samsung — a synonymous name in most countries around the world, has taken the stage to get the new Galaxy S9 series of flagship smartphones. then you can catch up with all the new stuff here.
Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+
We have been waiting for a long time to see what Samsung had in store for its fans in 2018. While there was no mention of the rumoured Galaxy X foldable smartphone, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ were shown to the world. Samsung’s latest flagships will start at $719 (approximately Rs 47,000) for the smaller Galaxy S9 and go up to $839 (approximately Rs 54,000) for the Galaxy S9+. However, expect the Indian prices to be more than the US prices, approximately on par with the S8’s first price tag.
Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are essentially substantial updates to last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8+. Therefore, the design may look familiar, but is actually tweaked — Samsung says that the display has slightly reduced bezels on top and bottom whereas the screen is a little brighter when compared to the old S8. Those narrow bezels also house a stereo speaker setup. Samsung has also tinted the display with a shade of black to hide the sensors and the borders of the display. The S9 gets a 5.9-inch Curved Super AMOLED QHD+ display whereas the S9+ gets a 6.2-inch QHD+ display.
Inside, both the S9 and S9+ contain a 10nm Snapdragon 845 chipset for the North American markets whereas the rest of the world will experience an undisclosed version of Samsung’s own Exynos chipset with a similar architecture. The S9 gets 4GB of RAM as standard whereas the S9+ has to make do with 6GB of RAM. Both the models are available in storage capacities of 64/128/256GB, with expandable storage up to 400GB. They run Samsung’s new custom UI based on Android 8.0 Oreo. Bixby also makes a comeback as Bixby 2.0 with new capabilities such as identifying buildings, translating text from an image and identifying nutritional levels from food articles. However, as in typical Samsung style, they will be available sometime later this year. Samsung’s biometric authentication system now uses the iris scanner and the facial recognition setup for added security. The S9 is backed by a 3000mAh battery whereas the S9+ gets a 3500mAh battery. And, if you wondered, the 3.5mm headphone jack stays (hurrah).
However, the S9 and S9+’s party piece is the camera — both the models get a variable aperture rear camera sensor. The S9 has a 12MP Dual Pixel camera with a variable aperture between f/1.5 and f/2.4, aided by OIS. The S9+ gets a 12MP Dual Camera Dual Pixel setup with the similar variable aperture setup on the wide-angle lens of f/1.5 and f/2.4 and a fixed f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens — both aided by OIS. The cameras get a lot of Augmented Reality tricks like the Pixel 2 — Samsung’s AR Emojis can scan faces from a 2D image and maps 100 facial features to create an animated 3D model, which can be sent to all platforms in a GIF format (ahem, Apple!). They also get a new 960fps slow-motion recording, the results of which can be used as a GIF or even as a live wallpaper.
The S9 also supports Samsung DeX like its predecessor. However, Samsung has brought a new DeX accessory for the S9 — the DeX Pad. The DeX Pad will allow users to use the S9’s display as a trackpad and a keyboard. The Pad also consists of two USB ports, a USB Type-C port and an HDMI port. And, if you were wondering, the DeX Pad can also be used with the S8, S8+ and Note 8.
Both of them will be available from March in the US whereas other major markets should see a similar launch date. Samsung India has started bookings for the S9 and S9+ with a pre-book amount of Rs 2,000.
Click here to pre-book Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+
M-Pesa, which enables customers to transfer money and pay bills via phone, has 27.8 million users in the nation of 45 million people.
Google Play apps and games store has started accepting payments in Kenya through Safaricom’s mobile phone M-Pesa service to boost downloads in a market where many people do not have a credit card.
M-Pesa, which enables customers to transfer money and pay bills via mobile phone, has 27.8 million users in the nation of 45 million people where Google’s Android platform dominates. M-Pesa has been mimicked across Africa and in other markets.
“This is very important to the developer ecosystem in markets where credit card penetration is low,” said Mahir Sain, head of Africa Android partnerships at Google, which is owned by Alphabet.
Safaricom has 13 million smartphones on its network, most of them using the Android platform. It partnered with London-based global payments platform provider, DOCOMO Digital, to enable users to pay through M-Pesa, both firms said on February 22.
Safaricom started M-Pesa in 2007, offering money transfer services to users. It has grown to allow users to make payments for goods and services through thousands of merchants. It also allows users to save, borrow and buy insurance, through partnerships with commercial banks.
Arm has unveiled its iSIM (Integrated SIM cards) to reduce space requirements on IoT devices.
Space is a luxury in all computing devices these days. With smartphones losing on unnecessary bulk unlike anything, chip manufacturers are looking for desperate ways to shed components that can be done without. Apple showed it by omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack from its iPhone 7 in 2016. Xiaomi took to omitting unnecessary bezels around the display with narrow-bezel designs. And now, it’s time for the SIM card to get out of the traditional smartphone’s body. In short, the standalone SIM card is dead.
Arm has unveiled something by the name of iSIM or Integrated SIM card, which will be shown to the public at the MWC 2018. As the name suggests, the SIM card is now an integrated part of the chipset along with the processor. It will rest alongside the processor and the radio modem, thus negating the space to embed SIM card housing and related hardware installations to make it work.
The benefit of iSIM will be tremendous — manufacturers can get more space inside smartphone bodies for useful stuff. With the additional space liberated by the absence of the SIM card port, manufacturers can vouch for more compact form factors on smartphones. Arm says that the new implementation takes up less than a square millimetre. Arm will offer Arm Kigen OS, which is claimed to provide a scalable, low footprint and GSMA compliant software stack to enable full integration of SIM functionality into IoT SoC designs.
However, iSIM is primarily meant for IoT devices, which means it would be a while before we can see its application in conventional smartphones. Additionally, it’s also dependent on the eagerness of the network service providers. India is yet to see any network provider adopt the concept of embedded SIM or eSIM, which means it would take a long time for them to adopt an iSIM, unless device manufacturers start forcing them into embracing the new technology. Nonetheless, Arm is confident of carriers around the world understanding the need of the hour and adopt the newer technology soon.