HTC One starts getting Android 4.3 globally; rollout only for unlocked versions

The Android 4.3 update not only brings in the newer OS, but also some rather neat features, including improved low-light camera performance and system stability options.

HTC One starts getting Android 4.3 globally; rollout only for unlocked versions

HTC One starts getting Android 4.3 globally; rollout only for unlocked versions

After various confirmations via Twitter, HTC has started rolling out the Android 4.3 update to HTC One users globally. This update will be available on units that are unlocked and not tied in with any specific mobile service provider. The update weighs a rather hefty 560+ MB, and we would suggest using a good Wi-Fi connection for downloading this.

(Read earlier reports here).

The changelog for this update mentions that the camera low-light performance will be enhanced, and system stability will be improved. Additionally, the HTC One will get a battery charging percentage indicator, improved gallery, more Video Highlights options and the ability to add custom soundtracks to the highlights.

HTC seems to be fairly aggressive with the OS updates this time around, with this rollout happening less than two months after the Nexus devices got this OS. While two months is still a long time, it is still lesser than what a lot of other smartphone manufacturers are achieving, even for their flagship Android devices.

Once the Android 4.3 update is done with, HTC One owners can then proceed to being preoccupied with the possible Android Kit-Kat update

The update for the unlocked HTC One smartphone is happening region by region, and in case your phone hasn’t received the update notification just yet, there is no need to panic.


New solar observatory offers new insight into sun’s atmosphere

Solar observatory Sunrise, which was carried aloft by a NASA scientific balloon in early June 2013, has provided unique insights into a layer on the sun called the chromosphere.

Sunrise provided the highest-resolution images to date in ultraviolet light of this thin corrugated layer, which lies between the sun’s visible surface and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. With its one-meter mirror, Sunrise is the largest solar telescope to fly above the atmosphere. The telescope weighed in at almost 7,000 pounds and flew some 20 miles up in the air.


Sunrise was launched from Kiruna in the north of Sweden and, after five days drifting over the Atlantic, it landed on the remote Boothia Peninsula in northern Canada, gathering information about the chromosphere throughout its journey. The temperature in the chromosphere rises from 6,000 K/10,340 F/5,272 C at the surface of the sun to about 20,000 K/ 35,540 F/19,730 C. It’s an area that’s constantly in motion, with different temperatures of hot material mixed over a range of heights, stretching from the sun’s surface to many thousands of miles up. The temperatures continue to rise further into the corona and no one knows exactly what powers any of that heating.

Scientists believe these bright points to be signs of what’s called magnetic flux tubes, which are the building blocks of the sun’s magnetic field. The magnetic field is of particular interest to scientists since it is ultimately responsible for all of the dynamic activity we see on our closest star.nrise’s extremely high-resolution images in this wavelength painted a complex picture of the chromosphere. Where the sun is quiet and inactive, dark regions with a diameter of around 600 miles can be discerned surrounded by bright rims. This pattern is created by the enormous flows of solar material rising up from within the sun, cooling off and sinking down again. Especially eye-catching are bright points that flash up occasionally—much richer in contrast in these ultraviolet images than have been seen before.



Google celebrated 15th birthday, updated search engine

Google introduces Hummingbird update for its search engine on its 15th Birthday.

Google celebrates 15th birthday, updates search engine

Google celebrates 15th birthday, updates search engine

Google has added an interactive piñata doodle that releases virtual sweets when wacked for its 15th Birthday. Along with the Doodle, Google has also introduced a major update to its core search engine, the update has been branded Hummingbird.

According to Google, this change to the core algorithm is its biggest since the launch of Caffeine in 2010. To celebrate its birthday, the company invited a small number of reporters to the Menlo Park garage where the company started out and revealed out some new search features of the Hummingbird update.

According to the company, in the new update, Google’s Knowledge Graph will play a larger role. That means users will be able to do more personalized searches using more natural sounding sentences instead of key words.

Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search, stated that the latest “Hummingbird” algorithm was introduced about a month ago and affects about 90 percent of worldwide searches via Google. He added, that the change includes “a simpler, more unified design on mobile devices. You can explore the world with the Knowledge Graph, ask questions aloud with voice search, and get info before you even need to ask with Google Now.”

“You’ll also notice a new look and feel for Google Search and ads on your phones and tablets. It’s cleaner and simpler, optimized for touch, with results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for,” he stated.

For fun, Google has added a simple Easter egg on where users can type “Google in 1998” into the search field and the website will transform into the retro design it had 15 years ago when it first launched. Users can click on the “take me back to 2013” to get the modern-day Google.

Google has recently introduced a flatter new logo. The revamped logo has a flatter look with cleaner line and comes with a new navigation bar. Google has also added a new ‘app launcher bar’ that allows users to quickly access Google services like Gmail and Google+.

Source: ZDNETHindu Business Line


Nokia Lumia 1020: First Impressions of the 41Megapixel PureView Camera

We got our hands on the Nokia Lumia 1020 at the launch event and took a few test shots to see whether the camera actually is worth the hype.

Nokia Lumia 1020: First Impressions of the 41Megapixel PureView Camera

Nokia Lumia 1020: First Impressions of the 41Megapixel PureView Camera

Nokia India has finally announced that the Lumia 1020 will be gracing the Indian store shelves on October 11th, with the price to be announced only a day before the launch. However, P. Balaji, Managing Director, Nokia India did say that people should expect it to be in the $800 (Rs. 50,000 approx.) range. That’s pretty steep for a phone, but when you consider the 41-megapixel camera strapped to its elegant back, some people might think the price could be justified. Since Nokia wants that premium price for the camera, we felt it only appropriate to get our hands on the device and put it through a quick imaging test.

Disclaimer 1: All images you are about to see were shot on a test build of the phone, meaning, it was still to receive the final updates to make it “sale worthy.” The final build of the phone will have better performance from what we’re told.
Disclaimer 2: We have only uploaded the full res files, which are quite heavy. We recommend you exercise patience, or check out the latest Google Doodle while the image loads (clicking on the thumbnails will open them in a new window)

Initial Impressions:
The venue we had access to was mostly devoid of any suitable low-light testing areas, but the nice overcast Delhi skies lent a really good hand at getting some decently exposed shots. All photos were taken using the Nokia Pro Cam app, with varying settings. In one, we used manual focus, in another, exposure compensation and in one, we even went full manual.

Right off the bat, it’s obvious that the Nokia Lumia 1020 does a pretty decent job of metering the scene, since it uses the average method. In the event that the exposure was not to our liking, we could rather quickly adjust the exposure compensation using the fly-out dial. The best part is that whatever settings you change, you see the results on the screen in real-time.

We shot all images in Dual mode, which is that the camera captures one 38 megapixel image and one 5 megapixel image simultaneously, ready to upload. Unfortunately, what this does is that it slows the camera app down. After you have pressed the shutter button, the camera takes up to 3 seconds to save the image. So if you’re looking to be quick with your shooting, choose to store only the 5MP images.

Though the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a small pixel pitch of 1.12 microns, which is smaller than the pixel pitch on the PureView 808, the images out of the Lumia 1020 are actually quite stunning. The ball bearing based optical image stabilization system works like a charm, allowing you to hand-hold a shot with a shutter-speed of up to half a second.

Looking at the image quality, the detail that can be pulled out of the full resolution file is actually quite mind-blowing, although the dynamic range isn’t something to write home about. It’s not low, but it’s not incredibly impressive either.

The Pro Cam app will allow you to go back to your shot and recompose it, and that is thanks to the fact that it actually always captures a full resolution shot with a field of view of 26mm (equivalent). This allows the user to go back to the image and choose any area of the image to be pulled out as a 5 megapixel image. This is what Nokia claims to be “shoot first, compose later,” and while it is good in principal, we still prefer that users compose their images right in the first place to get the most out of the sensor (and also save time in post process).

The Lumia 1020 is quite revolutionary when it comes to cellphone imaging. The photos from the Lumia 1020 are absolutely stunning. The clarity and the detail rendered by the camera are definitely far better than what we have seen so far, in league with the PureView 808. The colours tend to pop and the contrast is good, though it does tend to suffer from harsh blowout in highlights when the lighting get tough. We will reserve our judgement till we put a final production unit through its paces, but feel free to take a look at the samples.

In the (above) left image, we see just how sharp the Zeiss optics are. The image on the right (above) showcases the 26mm wide angle view                                                                   

The Lumia 1020 has a hard time dealing with harsh highlights

The (above) left image shows the harsh transition from blow highlights to colour information. The image on the right (above) was shot in low light

The Lumia 1020 leaves room for creative compositions and the ability to even recompose after the shot has been taken, without loss in quality.

Five sixes in an over, MS Dhoni hits fastest CLT20 fifty

Five sixes in an over, Dhoni hits fastest CLT20 fifty

Ranchi: Chennai Super Kings’ captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni added another feather to his hat on Thursday as he raced to the fastest fifty in the history of Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in just 16 balls. The Indian skipper achieved the milestone against Sunrisers Hyderabad, largely at the expense of Thisara Perera, before his home crowd in Ranchi to give his side enough runs to script a 12-run win.

Dhoni’s belligerent fifty beat the previous CLT20 record of 18-ball fifty scored by Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard. The West Indian set the record in the 2009 edition while playing for Trinidad and Tobago against the New South Wales.

Ranchi witnessed a typical Dhoni, who also slammed 34 runs off Perera’s over, the highest number of runs scored in an over in the tournament.

Dhoni beat Kieron Pollard’s record by scoring fifty in 16 balls, hitting Hyderabad’s Thisara Perera for 34 runs in an over.

Dhoni finished on 63 off 19 balls, punctuated with one four and eight big sixes, which helped Chennai post 202 against the Hyderabad. Hyderabad made a match of it but could only reach 190 in the end to concede a narrow defeat. CSK middle-order batsman Suresh Raina also starred with the bat, scoring 84 off 57 balls.

Here are a couple of other records Dhoni created with his whirlwind knock on Thursday:

– Dhoni’s strike rate of 331.57 is the highest in the history of the CLT20, taking into account innings of minimum 25 runs.

– Dhoni is the first batsman from Chennai Super Kings to hit eight sixes in an innings in the CLT20.



Report: Samsung working on high-end premium Galaxy F series

Sources indicate that the Galaxy F could be in the works, to feature a full metal body, equipped with Octa-core Exynos CPU, and 16 megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization.

Report: Samsung working on high-end premium Galaxy F series

Report: Samsung working on high-end premium Galaxy F series

Samsung is allegedly working on a new ultra-premium Galaxy F series, according to a Korean news site ET news. This will make it the first device to be introduced in the F series scheduled to be introduced in the market by early next year.

If we go by the source, the F series device, most likely to be dubbed as the Galaxy F, will feature a full-metal body and a revamped design. It’s likely to come with an Octa-core Exynos processor, 16MP camera with Optical Image Stabilisation. There is no information relating to screen size or resolution, but it seems it will be priced higher than the Note series.

Industry insiders familiar with the project suggest that Samsung offered only two flagships a year – a Galaxy S phone and a Note, which is not at par with the rate at which the industry is changing, so they would need one premium device to stay in the race. This would be a pretty smart move as the Galaxy S4 does pretty well against competitors during spring/summer sales cycle. However, it’s September, where competitors like LG and Sony get an edge over the S4 with flagships such as G2 and Xperia Z1.

Hence, having a new high-end smartphone device for the second half of the year, should turn out to be a pretty smart thing to do and that’s probably what the Galaxy F will be there for.

Source: GSMArena

Sygic navigation app for Android goes free; continues using MapmyIndia maps

The app was available for Rs 1399 till now, but can now be downloaded for free via Google Play Store.

Sygic navigation app for Android goes free; continues using MapmyIndia maps

Sygic, the leading offline mobile navigation brand, has announced that the India edition of the Sygic navigation app for Android has now gone free. The price of this app, till now, was Rs 1399. The application continues to use MapmyIndia’s 3D maps, and offers voice guided navigation via maps that may be stored on the device. The advantage of this is that if you have GPS connectivity, the navigation will work, since it doesn’t rely on Internet connectivity for constant map refreshes. You can read the detailed review of this app here

The Sygic app offers turn-by-turn voice navigation, 3D maps of cities and landscapes provided by Mapmyindia, voice guidance in more than 40 languages, multi-stop route planning, speed limit warning and interactive maps that you can tap on to find more information about the addresses and landmarks in the area.

“By making our advanced navigation app available to millions of users for free, Sygic is helping countries like India become a safer, more enjoyable place to travel,” said Sygic CEO Michal Štencl. “With Sygic’s offlineapp and MapmyIndia Maps, users can now take advantage of a robust set of tools that can help them effectively manage their travel plans and get them where they need to go confidently, and more efficiently.”


The Sygic application is available for most Android running Android 2.0.1 and upwards, including smartphones and tablets. You can download it from the Play Store here.

Aircel, Micromax team up to offer bundled data, voice and content packages

Eyeing the growing data market, Aircel has entered into a strategic alliance with Micromax to provide bundled data and voice plans with the new Micromax devices.
Aircel, Micromax team up to offer bundled data, voice and content packages
Aircel and Micromax have entered into a strategic partnership under which the operator will offer discounted bundled voice/ data plans and free content worth Rs. 10,000 with the new Micromax devices including dongles, feature phones (Internet-enabled) and smartphones. The two companies will also share each other’s Channel and Retail Network, Sales Resources and roll out an integrated devices sales activation programme. With the latest partnership, Aircel and Micromax are aiming to acquire 4-5 lakh device users per month.

For 3G Micromax phones, Aircel offers local calling at 1p/2 sec and STD calling at 1p/sec for 3 months, 2GB Data (2G/3G) per month for 3 months, Rs. 10,000 worth WAP content free over 3 months and Popcorn TV (internet TV) application free for 3 months.

For 2G Micromax phones, the operator offers local calling at 1p/2sec and STD Calling at 1p/sec for 3 months, 1GB Data (2G/3G) per month for 3 months and Rs. 10,000 worth WAP content free over 3 months. For dongles, Aircel offers 500 MB per month free for 3 months.

Aircel says users don’t need to SMS/call or visit Micromax showrooms to avail the benefits. The operator will automatically identify the new Micromax device with Aircel connection.

While addressing the media at the launch event in Delhi, Mr. Anupam Vasudev, Aircel’s Chief Marketing Officer, highlighted the forthcoming ‘data revolution’ in the country. He also asserted that the voice segment had reached a saturation point.

“India is at the cusp of a data revolution and device tie-ups will strengthen the telecom ecosystem in the country, which is critical to drive data penetration. According to a recent study, by the year 2020, mobile internet users are set to grow 4 – 5 times and smartphone penetration is set to increase 5 times to 50% in India,” he added.

“Affordability in devices will give a rise to data proliferation which will be the main revenue generator for both telecom operators as well as handset manufacturers in the near future. Aircel recognizes the importance of smartphone devices to drive data usage. In line with that, it is our focus to get into partnerships with leading smartphone device manufacturers in an endeavour to bring to our customers exciting bundled products. In this exclusive partnership with Micromax, we will share their robust channel and retail network to deliver innovative and best value for money products and services.”

LtoR: Anupam Vasudev, CMO, Aircel, Vikas Jain, Co-founder, Micromax, Sunil Kuttam, VP- Marketing, Aircel

Mr. Vikas Jain, co-founder, Micromax, said, “At Micromax, we have always believed in democratizing technologies for masses by bringing alive affordable innovations through our product and service offerings. We are very happy to partner with Aircel, as this partnership will be an excellent amalgamation of Aircel’s innovative offerings in the market place and superior hardware capabilities of Micromax, which will enable millions of consumers in India to enjoy seamless connectivity through affordable call rates, data usage and internet TV on Micromax devices.”

Latest Micromax devices showcased during the event

3G price war and 4G’s arrival

According to Mr. Anupam Vasudev, Aircel is unlikely to cut down 3G tariffs further. “Tariffs are already pretty down. Slashing 3G data rates further will add on the pressure on the telecom operators.”

Referring to Airtel’s plans to expand its 4G network, he added, “We’re aware about the development…It’ll be too early to comment on 4G’s prospects in India. However, we’ll address that market very soon.”


“We know the market is growing towards data consumption… the markets for 2G, 3G and 4G will continue to co-exist like in the western markets.”


YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

YouTube commenters will have to mandatorily sign in using their Google+ IDs helping Google clean up YouTube comments and gain user information for marketing purposes.

YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

In a move that should have surprised absolutely no one, Google has announced that YouTube comments will start being powered by Google+ from this week onwards. This means that in order to comment on a YouTube video, you will have to own a Google+ account. However, this does not mean that you cannot comment anonymously, since you can still do so provided you make a Google+ account under a pseudonym. One of the main reasons for moving to Google+ is YouTube’s long desire to put faces to names when it comes to commenters, in order to reduce the amount of spam and vicious comments that plague YouTube comments and also to provide video creators a recognizable audience to reach out to.

The shift to Google+ comments isn’t just to cull offensive comments but also, to organize the thousands of comments that can be found on popular videos. Before this update, comments were arranged chronologically, with the most recent comment showing up first, right under the highest rated ones. This is not really helpful to anyone except for perhaps the commenter himself and may be to the person he is addressing. Under the new Google+ system, comments will be arranged as per the people who are in your circles, the video’s creators and what Google calls “popular personalities”. Also, comments will be threaded so that all replies can be collapsed into the main comment itself, which will vastly reduce the clutter in the comments section and will also make it easier to follow conversations. Video creators and commenters can also allow their comments on a YouTube video shared on Google+, to show up in the comments on the main YouTube site.

The new YouTube commenting system with Google+ identities & threaded replies

There could be a backlash against the new commenting system though. Google is obviously not establishing this system entirely out of the goodness of its heart but also to breathe some life into Google+, a social networking site that has resolutely failed to achieve any sort of user traction when compared to social networking behemoths like Facebook or Twitter. By appearing to force users of one its more popular services to sign up for its underwhelming service is not a move that will be seen in a positive light. Also, one of the big proponents of removing (or at least reducing) the anonymity of YouTube commenters, have been brands who want to know who their audience is. As a result, by making users reveal their identities through their Google+ profiles, Google will have a vast database of potential consumers that will be invaluable to brands.

At the end of the day, there’s no denying the fact that YouTube comments needed to be cleaned up and the commenting system required streamlining. Whether the new Google+ system was the right way to go about it, is an answer that will only be answered in the future.

Source: YouTube Official Blog via The Verge


Apple quietly updates the iMac with Haswell processors

The updated iMac range starts at Rs 99,900 for the 21.5-inch version, while the 27-inch version starts at Rs 139,900.

Apple quietly updates the iMac with Haswell processors

Apple quietly updates the iMac with Haswell processors

In a rather quiet update announcement, Apple has made it official that the iMac desktop range has now received the Intel Haswell refresh. The upgrade has been done to both the 21.5-inch version and the 27-inch version. Like the 2013 MacBook Air, the iMac also supports Wireless 802.11ac standard. The entry level version will now feature 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, and customers can upgrade that to 32GB RAM and up to 3TB hard drive.

“iMac continues to be the example that proves how beautiful, fast and fun a desktop computer can be,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Inside its ultra-thin aluminium enclosure, the new iMac has the latest Intel processors, faster graphics, next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster PCIe flash storage.”

Apple has shared the India pricing of the new iMac desktops.

The entry level 21.5-inch iMac (2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 up to 3.2 GHz and Intel Iris Pro) is priced at INR 99,900 while the the slightly more powerful 21.5-inch iMac (2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M ) will retail at Rs 114,900.



The 27-inch iMac is available with a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 755M for a suggested retail price of INR 139,900, while the 3.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.8 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M for a suggested retail price of INR 154,900.