Thursday, 31 July 2014

Croma launches India’s cheapest Windows 8.1 2-in-1 PC for Rs 21,990

Croma launches India’s cheapest Windows 8.1 2-in-1 PC for Rs 21,990
Intel continues to plod away in the PC segment and has now tied up with retailer Croma for two new Windows 8.1 running devices. Croma has launched a 10.1-inch 2-in-1 PC, that has a keyboard attachment, while the Windows tablet will feature an 8-inch display. The eight-inch Croma 1179 tablet is priced at Rs 13,990, while the 2-in-1 has a price tag of Rs 21,990.
Both devices will be powered by Intel Atom Z3735D 1.33 GHz processors, which is the Bay Trail T chipset. While the smaller one is a Wi-Fi-only affair, the 2-in-1 gets a SIM slot for 3G connectivity. Besides both devices can take in data dongles for connectivity on the go. Internally, you will find 32GB storage, and there’s a microSD card slot too for expansion.
The 8-inch tablet will come with 2MP cameras in the front and rear and sports a healthy 2GB of RAM, along with 32GB of flash storage, and a microSD card slot It will have a 5000 mAh, that sounds quite good given the other specs. The display has a resolution of 1280×800 pixels, which sounds like a good option given the screen size.
The 10.1-inch PC will be the lowest priced 2-in-1 to hit India and will have Microsoft Office 365 pre-loaded. Microsoft and Croma are positioning this one as a solution for those working on the move, since it does have a SIM slot. The devices will initially be available only in Croma brick-and-mortar stores as well as its online retail site.
Posted by : Gizmeon

LG Chromebase AiO PC launched in India for Rs 32,000

LG Chromebase AiO PC launched in India for Rs 32,000
LG has launched the world’s first desktop PC running Chrome OS in the form of an all-in-one PC named Chromebase AiO. It will be selling in India for Rs 32,000.
Chromebase AiO (Model 22CV241) comes with a 21.5-inch full HD IPS display and is powered by a fourth generation Intel processor. The exact model number of the processor is not known. It is paired with 2GB RAM and houses a 16GB iSSD storage.
Other features include 1.3MP HD front camera, HDMI-in, three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and LAN port. Keyboard and mouse will be provided in the bundle.
This is the first time Chrome OS will be seen on the desktop platform. Chrome OS comes bundled with most of Google’s applications and all your work happens within a browser environment. While there are web apps which will work offline as well, the real use of a Chrome OS based system is when you are online.
Earlier in our Acer Chromebook C720 review, we  noted that, “If you are heavily into gaming or need to run specific software for your work, then you can forget about this machine – the lack of serious games is a big disadvantage. But there are a lot of use cases, where the C720 Chromebook makes so much sense. The only complaints we have are the display and the keyboard; the former needs to be replaced and recalibrated, while the keyboard is in need for some serious tactile and build improvement. Aside from these issues, it’s fast, portable, lets you edit documents, plays a wide variety of music and video formats and the loud speaker is certainly better than some of the low-end Windows competition. Yes, the lack of full-blown apps for all purposes does take some sheen out of it and the Chromebook loses points for the same.”
Posted by : Gizmeon

BlackBerry brings BBM for Windows Phone

BlackBerry brings BBM for Windows Phone
BlackBerry has announced that its popular messaging system BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger, would now be open to those using the Windows Phone platform, a move that potentially makes the messaging service more appealing to its enterprise clients. It is now available to download for free from Windows Phone store.
BlackBerry, which is seeking to reinvent itself as a more software and services driven company as its smartphone market share has dwindled, has been lately touting new BBM features in a bid to make it a more viable messaging tool for clients such as corporations and government agencies that are on the lookout for a secure messaging service.
The company, last year, opened the service to phones powered by Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS platform. The rollout to the Windows phone platform means the service is now available on all major smartphone platforms, making it a more viable option for those clients that are considering using it as a communication tool.
BBM was a pioneering mobile-messaging service, but its user base has failed to keep pace with those of WhatsApp and other rivals, in part because BlackBerry had long refused to open the program to users on other platforms.
While the messaging service still has over 85 million active users, BlackBerry in a bid to boost its relevance and cater to the needs of its core enterprise audience is now marketing it as a secure communications tool for government agencies and regulated sectors, such as financial services.
Last month, BlackBerry began to roll out BBM Protected, a secure messaging service tailored specifically to the needs of companies in regulated sectors.
The move is part of a broader push that has also seen BlackBerry widen its device management capabilities to include devices that are powered by the Android, iOS, and Windows platforms.
A move to bring BBM to desktops is still a ways off.
“I can’t tell you whether we are going to do BBM on desktop. That is a collaboration we have to have between us and Microsoft and I wouldn’t be able to comment on that, because we certainly have the desire, but between that and getting it done there is still a gap,” said BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen, in an interview with Reuters earlier this week.
Earlier this year, Chen had said that BlackBerry was looking into the possibility of bringing BBM to desktop computers, thus allowing employees of companies and government agencies to go mobile on group chats started on their computers without missing a beat.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Super-Fast Battery Pack Can Fully Charge Your Phone in 15 Minutes

Super-Fast Battery Pack Can Fully Charge Your Phone in 15 Minutes
While electronics manufacturers continue to push the limits of how much innovation they can stuff into smartwatches, smartphones and even Bluetooth headphones, one challenge still hampers all of these devices: battery life.
We haven’t quite solved the problem of ever-waning battery life on our mobile gadgets, but one new device may be a game changer.
UNU's Ultrapak is a battery pack for smartphones and tablets that can deliver a full charge to devices after just 15 minutes of charging itself up. This means that as long as users are carrying their Ultrapak, and can spare at least a quarter of an hour, they'll never have to worry about running out of power again.
In comparison, an iPhone 5S can take anywhere from an hour to two hours to charge from a wall socket, according to user reports, which isn't the best option when you're on the go.
UNU said the Ultrapak's super-fast charging is due to "Ultra-X" charging technology, a special type of A+ lithium polymer battery that uses proprietary additives, which increases the normal battery charging speed by 8 times. This makes the device "the world's fastest self-charging battery pack," according to UNU.
Each Ultrapak features an LED screen that displays both a percentage number and battery graphic representing how much juice users have left. The chargers, housed in sturdy rubberized material, even have an embedded flashlight, presumably for those times when users need to search for a hidden electrical socket in a darkened corner.
The devices come in two configurations: the Ultrapak Tour ($99.99), the larger 10,0000mAh version with a dual USB port, and the Ultrapak Go ($59.99), the smaller 3,000mAh version. Both are available for preorder, and will ship August 24.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Self-Driving Cars Will Hit UK Roads in 2015

Self-Driving Cars Will Hit UK Roads in 2015
Self-driving cars will be permitted on public roads in the UK starting in January 2015, but it could be a while before commuters can actually use them.
Cities in the UK can place bids to become test-driving areas for driverless vehicles, and out of the applicant pool, three cities will be chosen, said Vince Cable, the business secretary.
Several engineering groups, including one from the University of Oxford, have been experimenting with self-driving technology on private roads. The upcoming government-funded tests will mark the first time self-driving cars will be permitted on public roads, and test periods will last between 18 and 36 months.
"Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network — they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2," transport minister Claire Perry said in a statement. "We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfill this potential, which is why we are actively reviewing regulatory obstacles to create the right framework for trialling these vehicles on British roads."
Last year, it was announced that the city of Milton Keynes, 53 miles north of London, would receive 100 driverless cars for test driving, but that won't happen until 2017.
In the United States, California, Nevada and Florida are all approved testing sites for self-driving cars, as well as areas in Japan and Sweden. Perhaps most notably, Google's self-driving cars have been seen on the streets of Mountain View, California, home of Google's headquarters. Toyota has also jumped aboard with its own spin on the self-driving car.
British cities that are interested in becoming test areas have until Oct. 1, 2014, to declare a bid. The three selected cities will receive a £10 million stipend (about $17 million) to be divided equally among them; it's not yet public knowledge which companies will produce the self-driving cars.
The project is being jointly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Galaxy Avant Now Available at T-Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Avant Now Available at T-Mobile
T-Mobile has a new addition to its smartphone lineup: the moderately priced, mid-range Samsung Galaxy Avant.
The smartphone sports a 4.5-inch, qHD screen, a quad-core, 1.2GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM — a set of specs that's quite similar to the Galaxy S5 mini, which launched in July.
The key point is the price. The device costs $216 up front, or $9 per month with a two-year contract with $0 down. For comparison, T-Mobile offers the (admittedly much more powerful) Samsung Galaxy S5 for $610 or $25.40 per month with a two-year contract.
The Samsung Galaxy Avant will be available starting July 30 at T-Mobile stores in the U.S. or on its website.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Feeling Successful Doesn’t Require a Huge Salary, Study Finds

Feeling Successful Doesn't Require a Huge Salary, Study Finds
How much money do you need in order to feel successful? Most people say it doesn't require an overflowing bank account, according to new research.
Even though nearly two-thirds of workers aren't yet satisfied with their earnings, most think they can feel successful without earning large paychecks, finds a new study from CareerBuilder.
Specifically, more than half of those surveyed said they feel successful when making less than $70,000, while 23% said making between $70,000 and $100,000 is enough for them to feel successful.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said that, in many cases, success is relative to the type of work individuals do, or their current career stage.
"Regardless of income, we found that workers tend to find success near their own salary level or in the range directly above," Haefner said in a statement. "This is healthy, because it shows workers can derive meaning from their work at any level while still striving for that next promotion or raise."
Workers who do want a higher salary shouldn't be afraid to ask for it, the study suggests. While more than half of the employees surveyed have never asked for a raise, success rates are very high among those who have. The research discovered that 66% of workers who asked for more money ended up getting it.
Overall, the percentage of workers who said they earn their desired salary is positively correlated with rising income. The study revealed that the tipping point appears to be in the $75,000 to $100,00 range — the majority of workers in that salary range said they are currently earning their desired salary.
"The survey supports past research suggesting that the $75,000 threshold is particularly significant, as this level allows households in most areas of the country to not only get by, but enjoy an ideal lifestyle and a secure future," Haefner said. "Interestingly, what workers would ultimately like to earn does not necessarily factor into what they need for a successful career."
One option currently being debated in many companies is whether to make salaries known to all employees. While a majority of employers do not make pay transparent, support for such a policy is strong: Nearly half of the employers surveyed view openly disclosed salaries as positive, with 24% saying it ensures pay equality and 23% saying it can dispel wrong assumptions.
Those who oppose pay transparency said it's because they feel it can lead to jealousy and morale issues, violates worker privacy and can lead to equal-pay litigation.
The study was based on surveys of 3,372 workers and 2,188 hiring and human resources managers.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Panasonic launches Eluga U for Rs 18,990

Panasonic launches Eluga U for Rs 18,990
Panasonic has officially introduced its new Eluga U flagship in India at an event in Delhi today. The smartphone has been priced at Rs 18,990, and it will be competing against the likes of the Xiaomi Mi 3 and the Micromax Canvas Knight in this price range.
The Panasonic Eluga U runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out-of-the-box, with some customisations in terms of the home screen and we can also expect some apps developed by the company preloaded on to the phone. It’s a dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) smartphone with 2G and 3G support.
Up front there’s a 5-inch (1280×720 pixels) IPS HD display with OGS process. That immediately puts it a peg lower than competing handsets in the price range. In terms of fire power too, the Eluga U trails with a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. With a lot of the competition moving on to octa-core SoCs, and with Xiaomi launching a Snapdragon 800 smartphone for under Rs 15,000, the Eluga U might struggle to catch the attention of a market saturated with options.
The Eluga U will come with a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash, and a 2-megapixel front shooter, which is standard nowadays. It has 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card for expansion up to 32GB. In terms of battery life, the 2500 mAh Li-ion unit sounds great given the other specs.  It doesn’t look especially distinct and the patterned back reminds us of the Google Nexus 4.  Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS/ A-GPS.
We are at the launch event and will be bringing you a hands-on with the device as soon as we can. Stay tuned for more on the Panasonic Eluga U.
Posted by : Gizmeon

India’s security market to reach $1.06 billion in 2015: Gartner

India’s security market to reach $1.06 billion in 2015: Gartner
Security market in India is expected to touch USD 1.06 billion by 2015 as an increasing number of enterprises invest in these solutions to protect their business especially in the digital world, research firm Gartner today said.
According to Gartner, security vendor revenue (hardware, software and services) in India will grow from USD 882 million in 2013 to USD 953 million in 2014. This is forecast to reach USD 1.06 billion in 2015, it added.
“Organisations are today increasingly more aware of security considerations in India, driven by factors like highly visible security incidents, increasing financially (corporate espionage, underground economy) and politically (hacktivists and nation states) motivated advanced targeted attacks and renewed regulatory focus on security and privacy,” Gartner said.
Of the total market, security services (consulting, implementation, support and managed security services) accounted for more than 55 per cent and this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
“Enterprises in India that traditionally did not focus on, or invest in, a lot of security technologies are now beginning to realise the implications that a weak security and risk posture can have on their business,” Gartner Principal Research Analyst Sid Deshpande said.
Verticals like banking and financial services, that have had a strong focus on security, are now preparing themselves for IT digitalisation.
They are investing in technology approaches that can enable them to grow their business securely while embracing digital business models, he said.
Though this heightened awareness is creating increased budget allocations for security, there is a skills deficit in the security space in India (relative to the demand), which is a challenge.
Gartner said though security awareness is increasing steadily among enterprises, consumer security sub-segment will display modest growth.
“The importance of data privacy and security is not well understood by consumers in India and this situation is likely to continue to affect market growth in the consumer security space,” Gartner said.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung’s profits slump as consumers opt for cheaper handset makers

Samsung’s profits slump as consumers opt for cheaper handset makers
Samsung reported lower-than-expected profit for the second quarter on Thursday and said it was uncertain if handset business profit would improve during the current period.
Its net income during the April-June quarter dropped 20 percent to 6.3 trillion won ($6.1 billion), compared with 7.8 trillion won a year earlier. That was the lowest since the second quarter of 2012. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast 6.5 trillion won income.
Sales fell 9 percent to 52.4 trillion won while operating profit sank 25 percent to 7.2 trillion won, in line with Samsung’s guidance earlier this month.
Samsung had warned that the second quarter would be the worst in two years as its handset business halted growth. It struggled to compete in the cheap smartphone business, which is the fastest-growing smartphone segment.
Robert Yi, head of investor relations, told conference call that Samsung spent higher marketing expenses as competition increased in the mid- to low-end smartphones and because it tried to sell old products in the inventory ahead of new product launches in the fall. Tablet computers sales also fell, he said, citing weak demand.
Samsung did not unveil how many smartphones it sold. But research firm IDC estimated that Samsung shipped 74.3 million smartphones during the second quarter, down 4 percent from a year earlier, even as the overall smartphone market expanded 23 percent. Chinese vendors, Huawei and Lenovo, were the ones that largely drove global growth of smartphone sales, not Samsung.
Samsung was still the largest supplier of smartphones but its global market share fell to one quarter from 32 percent.
With lower sales, its profits also took a dent. Samsung’s mobile business recorded 4.4 trillion won in operating profit during the second quarter, the lowest quarterly profit in two years. Previously, Samsung’s mobile business contributed about 70 percent of its overall profit. That fell to about 60 percent in the second quarter.
Analysts said Samsung struggled in emerging markets as consumers using Android handsets were more willing to try devices from other brands. Switching between different Android devices has become easier and cheaper than before for consumers, giving less reasons for users to stick with one brand.
“We are hitting a phase where even in emerging markets people are not buying their first smartphones anymore. They are becoming more familiar with different kinds of brands,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager at IDC, a market research firm. “Just staying on Android is not going to keep you in one brand.”
That would make it more important for Samsung to develop unique services just for its Galaxy phone users or come up with its own software that does not rely on Google’s Android. But Samsung stumbled in its push to take a step away from Google service. Earlier this week, it delayed the release of the first smartphone powered by Tizen, its own mobile operating system, just two months after promising its release. It did not give a future schedule.
During the third quarter, Samsung forecast it will likely sell more handsets as the autumn season usually sees higher demand for consumer electronics products. But it would also see higher competition. Apple. is widely expected to release a new iPhone with a larger screen, the key feature in Galaxy brands that helped Samsung win consumers away from small screens of the iPhone.
In the previous years, Samsung released one high-end model during the third quarter. But this year, Samsung hinted that there will be one additional high-end model.
Kim Hyunjoon, senior vice president at Samsung’s mobile business, told the conference call that several new handset models are in the pipeline for a launch in the next few months. They include a new flagship model in the large-screen category and another premium phone with new designs and materials. Kim did not elaborate what the new materials would be. In 2013, Samsung unveiled a smartphone with a curved display that was released in South Korea only.
But Samsung warned that it cannot guarantee a higher profit even with a number of new models.
The company’s reliance on the semiconductor business for profit is expected to increase as it cannot expect an explosive growth of handset profit anymore. Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips, said its semiconductor division generated 1.9 trillion won profit during the April-June quarter.
Samsung said its capital expenditure would be 24 trillion won, including 14.4 trillion won in its semiconductor division.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Mobile number portability to go national in 2015

Mobile number portability to go national in 2015
The government expects to implement nationwide mobile number portability (MNP) by March 31, 2015.
The move will allow subscribers to shift their mobile service on to the network of any telecom operator throughout the country without changing their cellphone number.
“The national mobile number portability service is likely expected to be implemented by March 31, 2015,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a reply in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The department of telecom (DoT) has sought Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) view on additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee and financial bank guarantee to be charged from existing MNP service providers.
TRAI asked the department of telecom not to make any changes in entry fee and bank guarantee of companies involved in managing MNP service due to various reasons.
At present, two companies Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solution, operate to provide mobile number portability service.
The telcom regulator said that these companies have still around five years before their license validity expires.
TRAI has submitted its reply to DoT on July 21 which will be placed before inter-ministerial panel telecom commission for its consideration.
The regulator in its recommendation has said that telecom operators and MNP service providers should be given six months time to make necessary technical changes in their network to start nationwide mobile number portability service.
Posted by : Gizmeon

HTC Windows Phone Coming Soon, Report Says

HTC Windows Phone Coming Soon, Report Says
Months after launching the newest edition of its flagship phone, the HTC One M8, HTC will reportedly unveil a new phone with a new operating system and one new letter.
HTC One M8 for Windows — whose reputed codename is HTC One W8 — will be the brand's first foray into phones that support a Windows operating system, according to a report in Engadget. The M8 is an Android model.
At Computex in June, Nick Parker, Microsoft's vice president of original equipment manufacturers, hinted at a future collaboration between Microsoft and HTC. However, neither party has released any official confirmation of the phone's existence.
The HTC One W8 is rumored to run on Windows Phone 8.1 and include a Duo camera, voiceover LTE and BoomSound speakers.
If the reports prove true, the phone could be coming to Verizon stores as early as September of this year.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Samsung Tizen smartphone launch delayed

Samsung Tizen smartphone launch delayed
Samsung said it is delaying sales of its first Tizen-powered smartphone in the latest setback to the company’s ambition to create a mobile platform to rival Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS.
The South Korean company had planned to start selling the phone, the Samsung Z, in Russia this quarter. But Samsung indicated that more time is needed to expand Tizen’s following of app developers and apps.
In a brief statement, Samsung said the postponement is to further enhance the Tizen “ecosystem,” which encompasses developers, consumers and devices using the mobile OS.
The delay is a blow to Samsung’s push to reduce reliance on Google’s Android operating system, which powers Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
It did not announce a new release date.
About one third of smartphones are made by Samsung, but this ubiquity has not resulted in popularity for Samsung’s app store which draws far fewer developers and users than those of Apple or Google.
The earlier sales plan for the Samsung Z was announced in June at a developers conference in San Francisco. Then, Samsung showed off prototypes of the Samsung Z, featuring a 4.8-inch high definition display, a fingerprint sensor for security and a slim, angular design. The prototype device received positive reviews for its fast speed for surfing the Internet and loading apps.
Tizen, Samsung’s second attempt at building its own mobile software, has suffered years of delays. In January, Japan’s largest mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo reportedly put off its plan to sell Tizen handsets.
Though smartphones based on Tizen are yet to hit shelves, Samsung has launched other products using the software in the last few months, including a smartwatch and a camera. It also had said Tizen will be used in TVs as well as in home appliances such as refrigerators.
However, a mobile device based on Tizen is a key product for attracting a substantial number of users and developers who would create apps that earn revenue for the developers and Samsung.
Posted by : Gizmeon

This App Lets You Ask a Doctor Any Question in Real-Time via Smartphone

This App Lets You Ask a Doctor Any Question in Real-Time via Smartphone
Health apps and the wearable trackers that connect to them are giving us more data about our personal health than ever before, but medical experts remain the best resource when it comes to even the most minor diagnosis.
First Opinion is hoping to bridge that gap between "quantified self" apps and a full-on doctor visit by providing an app that puts you in direct contact with real doctors around the world, who are capable of rendering real-time medical advice.
The 24-hour service allows the user to communicate with a doctor an unlimited number of times to help answer a myriad of general medical questions via text messages within the app.
Before you're given the opportunity to communicate with the doctor, you're presented with a brief bio of the doctor's specialty, how long they've been practicing, their geographic location and how many questions they've already answered on the service. The bio also includes a peer review from another doctor, offering some insight into the doctor you're about to chat with.
The bio even includes personal details (such as if the doctor has children) that could serve to help humanize the doctor as the user attempts to share a possibly sensitive medical issue with a relative stranger.
If you're willing to wait 24 hours for an answer, the service is free of charge. But for those looking for an answer within five minutes, the cost is $9 per month, with another option of answers within three minutes for $29 per month.
One possible issue with the app is what First Opinion's Terms of Service reveals, namely, that you won't be dealing with doctors licensed to practice in the U.S. Additionally, the company's site advises users to avoid using the app during emergency situations, stating, "call 9-1-1 or your own physician or pediatrician if you suspect or have reason to believe an emergency exists…"
That very important bit of information might not be entirely clear to those who haven't taken the time to read the site's 12-page advisory.
Similarly, the Terms also dissuade users from taking the advice of the doctors as true medical advice, stating, "you will not consider the material contained in or transmitted through the App or Services to be medical advice, diagnosis/es, treatment, a prescription, and/or product recommendation." So, sure, those are all prudent advisories that help to cover the app's bases legally, but it kind of undermines the very intent of the app itself.
Nevertheless, we gave the service a couple of tries and it worked as described. When you first log in, you're asked to provide your age and gender, after which the app matches you with a doctor. On two separate occasions we were matched with a doctor in India and a doctor in Australia. In our most detailed exchange, using the free version, we received a solid answer to a question within five minutes.
After answering couple of follow-up questions from the doctor, we were given additional answers offering more detail and perspective on the initial answer. The exchange was interactive, pleasant and impressive.
So while it's clear — even based on the company's own statements — that one shouldn't use the text from the doctors as real medical advice, such a real-time line to trained physicians is a compelling proposition. Currently, the app is iOS only.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Microsoft to be a target of China’s monopoly probe

Microsoft to be a target of China’s monopoly probe
A Chinese probe into Microsoft is probably targeting its “monopoly” of the country’s operating systems market, state media said Tuesday, after the US software giant became the latest foreign firm under Beijing’s scrutiny.
Microsoft confirmed in a statement late Monday that it was under investigation in China, without disclosing details.
“We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect, and we will address any concerns the government may have,” it said.
The inquiry comes after China in May banned the use of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system on all new government computers, amid reports alleging security concerns.
Also in May, the United States indicted five members of a Chinese military unit for allegedly hacking US companies for trade secrets.
Officials of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) have visited Microsoft offices in Beijing, commercial hub Shanghai, southern metropolis Guangzhou and southwest Chengdu city for enquiries, state media said Monday.
“Microsoft’s operating system software occupies a 95 percent share of the market in China, forming a de facto monopoly,” the National Business Daily said Tuesday.
An employee of Microsoft China linked the visits to the company’s monopoly in China’s operating system market, the China Business News said Tuesday, without naming the individual.
It quoted another industry source tying the case to Microsoft’s practice of bundling its products together for sale.
SAIC officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment by AFP.
Microsoft has previously faced anti-trust investigations in other markets for tying its Windows system to other products.
The US company was fined $731 million by the European Commission in March last year for failing to offer users browser choices beyond its own Internet Explorer.
Since last year, China has launched a sweeping probe into alleged wrongdoings by foreign companies in several sectors, including the pharmaceutical and milk powder industries.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Undocumented iOS Features left Hidden Backdoors Open in 600 Million Apple Devices

Undocumented iOS Features left Hidden Backdoors Open in 600 Million Apple Devices
Undocumented iOS Features left Hidden Backdoors Open in 600 Million Apple Devices
A well known iPhone hacker and forensic scientist has unearthed a range of undocumented and hidden functions in Apple iOS mobile operating system that make it possible for a hacker to completely bypass the backup encryption on iOS devices and can steal large amounts of users’ personal data without entering passwords or personal identification numbers.
Data forensics expert named Jonathan Zdziarski has posted the slides (PDF) titled “Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices” showing his findings, from his talk at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference held in New York on Friday.
Jonathan Zdziarski, better identified as the hacker "NerveGas" in the iPhone development community, worked as dev-team member on many of the early iOS jailbreaks and is also the author of five iOS-related O'Reilly books including "Hacking and Securing iOS Applications."
The results of his overall research on the iOS devices indicate a backdoor into iOS device’ operating system, although it is not at all that much widely open as a number of reports have suggested.
You can protect your iOS device settings, Messages, Camera Roll, documents, saved games, email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords that you enter into websites using iTunes Backup feature. iTunes also allows users to protect their backup data with an encryption.
He researched about the capabilities and services available in iOS for data acquisition and found that over 600 million personal iOS devices, particularly those running the latest version iOS 7, have secret data discovery tools or ‘undocumented features’ that have the ability to bypass the iOS backup encryption, but only under certain circumstances.
When your backup is encrypted, you will need to enter the password when enabling or disabling encryption or when restoring from the backup, but according to Zdziarski, there is a iOS service called mobile file_relay, can be accessed remotely or through a USB connection to bypass the backup encryption.
This staggering amount of data includes a full copy of the user's address book including deleted entries, stored photos, the voicemail database and audio files, any account data configured on the device such as iCloud, email, Facebook, Twitter, and other services, the user cache of screenshots, keystrokes and the device's clipboard, GPS data—all without requiring a backup password to be entered.
“Between this tool and other services, you can get almost the same information you could get from a complete backup,” Zdziarski said in an interview. “What concerns me the most is that this all bypasses the consumer backup encryption. When you click that button to encrypt the backup, Apple has made a promise that the data that comes off the device will be encrypted.”
Apart from this, there are two other services as well, a packet sniffer dubbed and the other on the device that may have legitimate uses for users and app developers but can also be used to spy on users by the government intelligence agencies and bad actors.
The pcapd service fires up without notifying the iOS device's owners and allows an attacker to remotely monitor all network traffic traveling into and out of the device via Wi-Fi, even when the device is not running in a special developer or support mode. pcapd service can log and export network traffic and HTTP request/response data traveling into and out of the device.
The House_arrest service, on the other side, allows iTunes to copy sensitive files and documents from third party applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and other data stored in “vaults”, and much more.
Zdziarski also includes some questions in its presentation for Apple:
Why is there a packet sniffer running on 600 million personal iOS devices instead of moved to the developer mount?
Why are there undocumented services that bypass user backup encryption that dump mass amounts of personal data from the phone?
Why is most of my user data still not encrypted with the PIN or passphrase, enabling the invasion of my personal privacy by YOU?
Why is there still no mechanism to review the devices my iPhone is paired with, so I can delete ones that don’t belong?
and summed it up logically in his last slide (page 57 of the PDF) as follows:
Apple is dishing out a lot of data behind our backs.
It’s a violation of the customer’s trust and privacy to bypass backup encryption.
There is no valid excuse to leak personal data or allow packet sniffing without the user’s knowledge and permission.
Much of this data simply should never come off the phone, even during a backup.
Apple has added many conveniences for enterprises that make tasty attack points for .gov and criminals.
Overall, the otherwise great security of iOS has been compromised… by Apple… by design.
The Attacker first need to grab the pairing keys
The targeted iOS device should be physically near to the attacker
Targeted iPhone needs to have its Wi-Fi switched ON
The Attacker and targeted iOS device should be in the same Wi-Fi network
Targeted device should not been rebooted since the last time the user entered the PIN
If we consider these dependency, practically it is not possible for an attacker to carry out the attack as it can be executed when a user’s device matches all the above circumstances.
A number of undocumented services and features in iOS map are pretty close to the capabilities of some NSA’s tools, specifically DROPOUTJEEP hacking tool, implant for Apple iOS devices that allows the NSA to remotely control and monitor nearly all the features of an iPhone, including text messages, Geo-Location, microphone and the Camera, which was revealed by documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
“If you're the NSA, with a Tailored Access Operations division that specializes in this sort of thing, getting into Apple's backdoor is easy as pie,” the Register notes.
Zdziarski clarified that he is not pin-pointing to these services as intentional backdoors for the NSA or other intelligence agency, but he believes there is evidence that the agency may be using the services, nonetheless.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Flipkart’s Bansals now worth more than Infy’s Murthy

Flipkart’s Bansals now worth more than Infy’s Murthy
Flipkart, India's largest e-tailer, said on Tuesday it raised a fresh round of funding worth $1 billion as it tries to aggressively scale up after Inc's rapid expansion in the country has heated up competition.
Founded in 2007 by two former Amazon employees - Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal - Flipkart has raised $760 million since its launch, not including the recent funds raised.
Here's all you need to know about the deal and Flipkart's future plans:
1) The recent investment is the largest funding rounds for any e-commerce company globally – and the single largest round by an internet company from India.
2)  The company said the funds will be used to make long-term strategic investments in India, especially in mobile technology.
3) Co-led by existing investors Tiger Global Management and Naspers, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, along with existing investors Accel Partners, DST Global, ICONIQ Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Sofina, also participated in this latest financing round.
4) It is estimated that the company has so far raised over $1.7 billion from investors, including the current transaction.
5) The company has also announced an investment of U$100 million (around Rs 600 crore) in its fashion business over the next 12-18 months.
6) The company also plans to hire 1,000 engineers with an eye on expanding its R&D capabilities and is also looking at roping in mobile and technology experts from Silicon Valley.
7) On the company's IPO plans, Bansal said: "IPO is not in consideration at all, we are not thinking about it. We have not settled on a business model that we can take public."
8) According to The Times of India, Flipkart's co-founders are now nearly as rich as Infosys co-founder NR Murthy, thanks to their combined 15 percent stake which is valued at about Rs 6,000 crore after the recent round of fund raising.
9) The ToI report states that the Bansals are also more valuable than outgoing Infosys CEO S D Shibulal, who together with his family holds Infosys shares worth Rs 4,300 crore.
10) Livemint reports that the e-commerce company is now valued at $7 billion (approximately Rs 42,000 crore), after the latest round of funding. This is more than double the approximately $3 billion valuation tag the company got after its last funding round in May 2014.
11) The Economic Times reports that the Bansals are targetting making Flipkart a $100 billion entity over the next few years. The report quotes co-founder Sachin Bansal saying, "We wish to be the first $100 billion internet company from India. Globally there are only five; three from US and two from China. This funding gears us up to achieve that."
12) In terms of users, Sachin Bansal told the Financial Express that he would consider the company profitable when it hit 100 million customers, though there was no fixed timeline to achieve the target. He added that the company would think of profitability only once it starts delivering a product in every third Indian household.
13) Another Times of India article puts Flipkart in the league of bigwig privately owned start-ups globally like taxi hailing app Uber, Pinterest and AirBnb.
14) After the recent acquisition of fashion portal Myntra, it wouldn't be surprising if Flipkart was eyeing more buyouts. The Economic Times asked the Bansals what they look for in an acquisition to which they replied: "Team is the most important criterion for an acquisition. What they have done in the past, and if they have proven certain things in the market. Culture of the company is the second most important. These are just dating criterion. After that comes the potential to scale in future."
15) Flipkart is currently 14,000 people strong and has 22 million registered users. The company completes 4 million daily visits and delivers 5 million shipments per month.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Monday, 28 July 2014

Google Nexus saga continues: Now, Motorola’s 5.9-inch ‘Shamu’ tipped to be Nexus 6

Google Nexus saga continues: Now, Motorola’s 5.9-inch ‘Shamu’ tipped to be Nexus 6
While we were made to believe that Google plans to pull the plug on its celebrated Nexus lineup in favour of the new Android Silver series, several reports circulating the web have been suggesting otherwise. In this conundrum over whether Nexus will survive or not and who is building the next device, a new report now talks about the next Nexus smartphone and that it could be built by Motorola.
A new report by AndroidPolice says that Motorola is working on a new smartphone codenamed Shamu, hinting it could probably be the upcoming Nexus 6.  “We are confident that Shamu is a real device under active development, and fairly confident that it is a contender for the Nexus program, but are just slightly less confident about its specs, simply due to the information at our disposal,” says the report.
Just like most of the earlier reports that lacked conviction, the new Motorola built Nexus 6 appears to on similar lines, at least for now. It is rumoured to sport a large 5.9-inch display and run Android L. Expected to launch in November, no other specs of the device are known yet.
Apple is planning a large 5.5-inch variant for the iPhone and given the existing fad for giant screen devices in the market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a large Nexus 6 phone. However, a 5.9-inch display appears far too large, even in this current market situation. After all, none of the 2014 flagships have exceeded 5.5 inches for display size. For now, let’s take this news with a pinch of salt.
A tweet from Google’s official handle had sparked some rumour around the Nexus 6 last month. The tweet was intended to show off the new ingredients feature in Google Search, and the UI was rendered on an all new device, which was highly speculated to be the Nexus 6. Now, if you remember, Nexus 5 was first spotted in a promotional video last year.
Earlier this year, rumours around Google’s premium lineup known as Android Silver spread like wildfire. It was speculated that Silver would replace Nexus. Moreover, at the Google I/O, the company spoke about Android One for the budget segment. So, obviously, it led to speculation that the budget ‘Droids would fall under the One segment while the expensive, premium lineup of device will be branded Android Silver, with Nexus killed off.
But just then there were reports about HTC ‘s Nexus tablet. A 9-inch Nexus tablet codenamed Volantis popped up. We got more evidence that the Nexus programme is not going anywhere, from the company itself.  Google’s Dave Burke, the head of Android engineering and the Nexus programme had disclosed the company plans to keep building Nexus phones.  “We are still invested in Nexus. People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make,” he said.
Whether the Nexus programme survives the cut or not, we are surely in for some new hardware, as Google prepares to release Android’s L version in the fall.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Little Printer will personalise your daily newspaper

Little Printer will personalise your daily newspaper
Cannot wait for the vendor to deliver the morning newspaper at your doorstep and do not want to switch on the laptop either? A tiny web-connected printer can now deliver news at a preset time of your choice.
Developed by a London-based company Berg, the Little Printer is a cloud-connected, adorable little device with a personality, unlike conventional printers.
From a personalised feed of news, messages, and things to amuse you, everything is printed onto rolls of thermal paper, making internet more personalised. Whether it be messages from friends or your own letters, they can be sent directly to the machine.
Little Printer can fetch things from your email accounts and other websites, printing whatever you feed it. The machine prints in a grainy, black-and-white resolution and can also print images.
On the desk, it looks nothing like a printer, with its cartoon face and two orange ‘legs’ which support it. The little printer is available for $199 on the Little Printer website, reported.
Posted by : Gizmeon

NPR One Provides Personalized Public Radio Recommendations

NPR One Provides Personalized Public Radio Recommendations
Public-radio junkies now have a new way to listen to their favorite NPR shows, and discover new content.
The media outlet rolled out NPR One, a streaming app that offers personalized recommendations on what to listen to based on a user's interests, location and listening history.
The app, which is available for iOS and Android, offers a combination of news and other stories. Unlike the flagship NPR News app, NPR One emphasizes content from a user's local station, along with customized recommendations.
"With NPR One, there is a new way to listen to public radio, one that's responsive to your tastes, your routines and your local interests," NPR's chief marketing officer, Emma Carrasco, wrote in a blog post. "It blends NPR's editorial judgment with your personal tastes and creates moments of discovery — things you didn't even know you'd find, sent right to your smart phone or tablet."
Rather than just providing a live stream from a local affiliate, or highlighting random shows, the app learns from users' location and listening history (so individual broadcasts are never repeated) to offer curated suggestions on what to listen to at any given moment. Users can also search NPR's archive for specific programs and episodes.
The more users use the app, the more it will learn their tastes, and the better its recommendations will be. Marking a clip as "interesting" and sharing stories with friends also help influence future suggestions.
Unfortunately, there's no playlist feature, so users can't queue up multiple clips, but NPR One's simplified search function and custom recommendations make it much easier to find relevant broadcasts.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Fitbit Steps Into Windows Phone

Fitbit Steps Into Windows Phone
If you've been holding back on buying a Windows Phone because you weren't able to use your Fitbit with it, that excuse is officially gone. Fitbit is launching a version of its app for Windows Phone on Monday, letting users sync and share their fitness data via a native app.
Fitbit for Windows Phone pairs with a wearable activity tracker like the Fitbit Flex, keeping track of the wearer's activity. When you launch the app, you'll be able to see how many steps you've walked, the number of calories burned and — assuming you wear it to bed — sleep quality, too.
The advantage of the Windows Phone version is in the app's live tile. Thanks to background syncing, you'll be able to see some "glanceable" information about your activity, such as the steps you've taken, just by looking at the tile.
Fitbit is one of the first to take advantage of the new support for Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth 4.0 or Low Energy) in Windows Phone 8.1. Bluetooth Smart wasn't part of the initial rollout of Windows Phone 8.1 in April, but Microsoft has been quietly working on drivers and certifying various devices equipped with the right radios, including the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 930.
That said, if you purchase a Fitbit and have trouble syncing it with your Windows Phone device, make sure you're running the latest version of the OS. If you're still having trouble, you might want to wait for the coming Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, which should be arriving in the next couple of weeks.
Posted by : Gizmeon

LinkedIn Redesigns Mobile Profiles to Put Relationships Into Context

LinkedIn Redesigns Mobile Profiles to Put Relationships Into Context
LinkedIn's flagship app has gotten a major overhaul.
The company rolled out an update to its app Tuesday morning, unveiling completely redesigned user profiles that focus on adding contextual information. The extra info aims to make it easier to initiate conversations with other users — even if they're not connected.
Profiles now have a completely overhauled "in common" section that displays contextual information about experiences, connections or groups you share with other users — including those who are not part of your connections. (Previously, this section only displayed shared connections.) "In common" may display whether you and another connection went to the same college, for example, or are members of the same LinkedIn group.
"Your LinkedIn Profile is your professional identity of record," Charlton Soesanto, mobile product manager at LinkedIn, wrote in a blog post. "Your new profile helps you tell your story to other professionals when they’re looking for you on the go."
Contextual information also appears when you visit the "who's viewed your profile" page, which now includes information about how users found you — whether it was via search, a mutual connection or because you checked out their profile first.
"It's not just a list of people and names anymore, but an opportunity for how can I connect with these people, what are the relationships," Soesanto told Mashable. "It closes the feedback loop for your activity on LinkedIn."
LinkedIn's new profile also highlights skills, experience and education at the top, and is easier to change. When viewing your own page, the app displays tips on how to make your profile more discoverable, such adding missing information.
The redesigned profile will initially roll out on LinkedIn's flagship iOS and Android apps, but updates will eventually appear on the web, as well as the company's other mobile apps. LinkedIn's Job Search app, for example, will surface insights and display things you have in common with other users when you check out their profiles.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Google’s mapping service now under CBI scanner

Google’s mapping service now under CBI scanner
CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Internet giant Google over Mapathon 2013, an event organised by the US company, for allegedly violating laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations, prohibited by law.
CBI registered the PE based on a complaint filed by Surveyor General of India’s office to the Union home ministry in which Google was accused of indulging in activities of mapping several areas which were not included in the maps of the country, official sources said here.
The Internet giant had not taken permission from Survey of India, country’s official mapping agency, before organising a mapping competition in February-March 2013 when they asked citizens to map their neighbourhood, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants.
Alarmed by Mapathon, the Survey of India (SoI), India’s national survey and mapping organisation under the department of science and technology, asked the Internet giant to share its details where they found that there were several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain.
Highlighting the violations to the home ministry, the SoI said only it was mandated to undertake ‘Restricted’ category surveying and mapping, and no other government or private organisations or individual are authorised to do so.
As per the National Map Policy 2005, the responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database of the whole country, which is the foundation of all spatial data, vests with the Survey of India.
Responding to queries, Google India said, “We are in touch with relevant authorities and take national regulations and security very seriously. We are not aware of any privacy issues and have nothing more to share at this point in time.
Posted by : Gizmeon

One in three Apple engineers is Indian? That’s a stretch

One in three Apple engineers is Indian? That’s a stretch

Apple’s recent quarterly earnings call pointed to India as a growth market for iPads despite flagging sales in matured markets. India has also contributed greatly to iPhone sales in the past two quarters, as Apple pushed its older models aggressively through various promotions.
So naturally, India figures towards the top of the list as far as Apple’s key markets are concerned, but a report in a leading Indian daily today suggests that Apple also relies heavily on Indian IT talent. The report points out that one in 3 engineers employed by Apple is Indian, based on research conducted by HFS Research, a global business analysis firm.
While that high a proportion of Indians in Apple’s engineering workforce is of note, and the proportion sounds encouraging when looking at it from the Indian IT professional point of view, there are quite a few points of concern. Let’s look at the numbers cited in the report.
For one, the research says Apple employs around 12,000 people as “engineers, designers, marketers and other white-collar tech product workers”, but does not break down the figures further by each category. We are left to assume the number of engineers.
The second statistic that is being used to extrapolate the number of Indian engineers employed by Apple is the company’s H-1B visa applications, which is an indicator of the total number of foreigners (i.e not American citizens) hired by Apple. The report mentions two figures in this regard: “Apple filed 1,750 H-1B applications during the 10-year period 2001 to 2010, but the number increased sharply to 2,800 during 2011-13.”
And that’s about it. There’s no specificity as to the number of Indians in the total applications, nor about the total number of engineers. In fact, we don’t even know how many of those applications were accepted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). So all we know is that Apple applied for 2,800 H-1B visas between 2011 and 2013.
Everything that follows is just an overview of how Apple has increased its reliance on Indian IT vendors. There’s nothing that directly indicates that one in every three Apple engineers is Indian. But yes, as the company banks on the new wave of iPhones for big revenue in yet another quarter, India, a key smartphone market, will play a big part in Apple’s growth story.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Galaxy S4 Catches Fire and Melts Next to Sleeping Teen

Samsung Galaxy S4 Catches Fire and Melts Next to Sleeping Teen
Texas teen Ariel Tolfree received a rude awakening when her Samsung galaxy S4 smartphone caught fire overnight, as she slept next to it, according to a new report. This incident is the latest in a string of Samsung-related battery fires.
”The whole phone melted,” Ariel's dad, Thomas, told local television station KDFW. “The plastic, the glass. You can't even really tell that it was a phone." Ariel, 13, said the phone slipped under her pillow as she slept.
When a burning smell woke her up, she discovered the phone had cracked and melted, burning a hole through her pillow. “I didn't think much of it, so I went back to sleep, and then I woke up again and it was more prominent,” Ariel said. Her father added that he suspects the phone's battery overheated, and swelled up.
Earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that a British woman woke up to her Galaxy S4 "sizzling" beside her bed after she left it charging overnight. Last July, a Hong Kong man claimed his S4 exploded, and burned down his house and Mercedes, CNET reported.
And last December, Samsung reportedly tried to cover up a video in which a disgruntled customer complains that his S4 caught on fire.
A Samsung spokesperson told Fox that Ariel's phone had a replacement battery instead of the original Samsung component, and said its products are safe. What's more, the S4's user manual warns that covering a phone with bedding can restrict airflow, and cause a fire or explosion, though some consumers are unaware of this risk.
Samsung has requested that Ariel return the S4's charred remains for investigation, and said that it will replace her phone and ruined bedding.
Posted by : Gizmeon

OkCupid Defends Human Experiments: 'That's How Websites Work'

OkCupid Defends Human Experiments: 'That's How Websites Work'
While news of Facebook's emotion-manipulation study sparked public outrage and investigations from regulators, dating site OkCupid is letting its users know that human experiments are a reality of using the Internet.
In a post called "We Experiment on Human Beings," founder Christian Rudder took to OkCupid's blog Monday to defend human experimentation and remind users that such tests are extremely common and even beneficial to users.
"Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site," founder Christian Rudder wrote in a post on the OkTrends blog. "That’s how websites work."
The post went on to detail three such experiments the site conducted with users.
Two of the experiments revolved around user photos, which play a big role, of course, in how users on a dating site interact with one another.
For one test in January 2013, "Love is Blind Day," the site temporarily removed all users' photos to see how it would affect their interactions. Unsurprisingly, the site's traffic went down significantly, but those who did use the site in that time reportedly responded to first messages more often and exchanged contact information more quickly.
Until photos were restored, that is, at which point conversations that had started "blindly" "melted away."
The experiment also found, however, that men and women who actually tried out a "blind" date reported having a good time regardless of how attractive their date was. Furthermore, women who went on dates with more attractive men were reportedly less happy than those who went on dates with less attractive men (Rudder speculates it's because "hotter guys were assholes more often"). He also noted that, once photos were restored, the same women allowed looks to dictate whether or not they responded to messages, concluding that
"people are exactly as shallow as their technology allows them to be."
The next photo-focused experiment revolved around determining whether there was a correlation between how users scored each other for looks and personality. The thinking, Rudder explained, was to see whether users would positively rate a user's personality, even if they didn't positively rate their looks.
Again, the study found that looks trumped other factors and users positively-rated the personalities of people they found attractive, even if the rest of their profile was blank. They strengthened this theory in a followup, in which they compared how users reacted to profiles when the text of the profiles was hidden.
The results showed that text contributed less than 10% to how profiles were rated. "So, your picture is worth that fabled thousand words, but your actual words are worth … almost nothing," Rudder wrote.
The final experiment examined the power of suggestion in the site's matchmaking process. The site changed the results of its match algorithm to tell users who were actually judged to be incompatible that they were, in fact, highly compatible. The study found users who were told they were well-matched were much more likely to exchange messages and interact with one another, even if they were actually incompatible by the site's own metrics.
While this may seem counterintuitive for a site that purports to give users personalized recommendations based on their personality traits, Rudder says the experiment revealed that while actual compatibility is ideal, the suggestion of compatibility can be just as effective.
"If you have to choose only one or the other, the mere myth of compatibility works just as well as the truth," he wrote.
Based on the few comments on the blog, users are thus far neither creeped out nor upset by OkCupid's brand of human experimentation. They found the data to be funny and "kinda depressing."
Posted by : Gizmeon

Imminent Windows Phone Update Will Introduce Folder Support

Imminent Windows Phone Update Will Introduce Folder Support
Windows Phone, the land of dynamic live tiles of various sizes, will soon be a little more like iOS and Android: An update to the platform will introduce the ability to drag several live tiles into a single folder on the home screen.
For other platforms, the introduction of home screen folders was a housekeeping move (arriving with iOS 4 in 2010 and Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" in 2011), essentially crossing a clearly needed feature off a list. For Windows Phone, however, it's a departure. The mobile OS has eschewed folders since the beginning, mainly because its design language doesn't play nicely with them. For most, multiple live tile sizes provides enough flexibility with the home screen layout.
That's apparently no longer the case, according to details of the update that were posted to Microsoft's Windows Phone developer portal, which were confirmed by several different sites. "Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1" is said to include a number of new features, although the introduction of folders is probably the most fundamental change to the OS.
Folders arriving on Windows Phone could has both positive and negative implications. On the one hand, it's a concession that the design philosophy was perhaps flawed from the beginning. But it's also an affirmation of the platform's usability and app catalog; if users are demanding the feature, it's probably because they have so many apps installed that they are in danger of losing track of them on the home screen.
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 has a few other upgrades, including support for voice over LTE (VoLTE), 1,280 x 800 displays and huge (7-inch) screens. It'll also bring support for interactive cases, letting Windows Phone manufacturers build accessories like Samsung's Galaxy S View cases and the HTC Dot View case, which have a small windows or perforations that the screen can sense and adapt to.
The update could come as early as next week, according to The Verge. Representatives of Microsoft declined to comment.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review

With the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5, Samsung has pushed limits with the super-sharp display and ultra thin body. Both tablets come with the best hardware we’ve seen on a tablet and, unsurprisingly, are steeply priced. It’s a bold move considering the tablet market is currently dominated by cheaper Android tablets. Even Apple, feeling the heat, has been forced to bring down iPad prices as more people opt for low-end tablets or large-screen smartphones. It’s up to time to tell whether Samsung will turn the game around with its Tab S line, and if the tablets are worth the premium. We have the 8.4-inch version for the review.
Design and build quality
The Tab S may lack the metallic finish of the iPad, though nothing about the device looks or feels cheap. It sports a dimpled rubber back (previously spotted on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone) which coupled with a metallic rim provides a comfortable grip and feels solid.
At 125.6mm, the Tab S is narrower than the iPad mini in the portrait mode despite the larger screen, so it’s easier to use the tablet one handed. You can easily hold the device with one hand and type with the other as it’s also very thin and lightweight. The Tab S 8.4 is 37g lighter and 0.9mm thinner than the iPad mini.
Two buttons on the back cover to support docking of the tablet on a keyboard
The Tab S lets you create multiple users for the device. You can also restrict what other users can see, plus a Kids Mode that provides fun, educational content for children. The fingerprint scanner is a handy way to quickly unlock the tablet or make PayPal payments. Each user can save up to three fingerprints. It’s mostly accurate, though you can type in an alternate password if it fails to detect your fingerprints.
The tablet features the Magazine UX, which comes with the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface to provide content from various online magazines or email accounts in a tile-based format. Each tile gets updated in real-time and is also useful for gaining quick access to your mailbox, Hancom Office for working on office documents and the calendar app.
Multi window is one of the Tab S’s more usable features, which lets you work on two apps at a time. For example you can access the phonebook while writing an email or watch a video while reading the lyrics on the web browser.
The SIM slot on our edition of the Tab S means you can use it as a primary phone. Knowing well that holding a tablet to your face will make you look ridiculous, Samsung has introduced SideSync, which transfers phone calls to your smartphone. However, the feature can currently be used only with the Galaxy S5.
The Tab S comes with 16GB of built-in storage, of which 10GB is available for use. You can boost the storage up to 128GB with an external micro SD card. The tablet is also available in the 32GB storage option.
The Tab S is one responsive device. After spending hours on the tablet, I found my iPhone slow in comparison. It reacts to the slightest touch and switching between apps is extremely smooth.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with four Krait 400 CPU cores and running at 2.3GHz, this slate excelled in all our benchmark tests. It’s a champ at handling everyday tasks such as watching videos and web browsing as well as intensive gaming and handling demanding apps.
To test how well the tablet can multitask, it was used for browsing the web while keeping other processes such as an eBook download and a Dropbox photo upload running in the background, and the Tab S had no problems coping up. However, the speed and responsiveness are not always consistent. The tablet stutters when there are many apps updating in the background and there were instances when the screen would freeze for a few seconds if the battery was running low.
Everyday use
The 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S is best for on-the-go reading, even though Samsung has positioned it as a tab for professional use. In the landscape mode, the keyboard covers half the screen, while in the portrait mode text appears too small to get work done quickly. For professional use, you might be better off with the 10.5-inch version.
The TouchWiz interface is simple and easy to get used to, whether you’re used to Samsung devices or not. You can add or remove home screens, create folders and disable or uninstall apps directly from the App Drawer.
The 8MP rear camera is underwhelming. It’s slow to capture shots, while pictures appear dim in well-lit conditions. Picture quality of the 2MP front-facing camera, however, came as a pleasant surprise. It works really well for video calls and self-shots. It has a ‘Beauty Face’ option which detects your face to make the skin look smoother and blurs out any spots.
The display is the Tab S’s key strength. The 2560×1600 resolution Super AMOLED screen renders sharp images and text and holds up well in bright outdoors, while optimizing the tablet’s battery use. The Adapt Display adjusts the screen brightness according to how you’re using the tablet. For example, it automatically dims the screen in a dark room or increases the screen sharpness while watching photos and videos.
The screen is a big plus for reading and surfing the web on the Tab S. The screen is very pixel-dense, which means you can’t see the individual pixels even when you’ve zoomed way into the page.
Tablets are known for underwhelming speakers, but the Tab S tries to break this evil spell. It has stereo speakers on the top and bottom edges of the device that provide surprisingly fuller sound in comparison with some of Samsung’s older tabs.
Speech is clear and detailed enough for watching videos and listening to music. Unlike Samsung’s earlier tabs, speakers are on the edges rather than on the back, which keep you from accidentally blocking them with your hands.
The Galaxy Tab S does not supply earphones, which is shame for a tablet this expensive.
Battery life
The Tab S showed mixed results with its battery performance. When in the Adaptive Display mode, it provided an impressive battery life of nearly nine hours of web browsing. In the basic mode, the battery life drops significantly, providing just a little more than six hours of web browsing. We recommend keeping the Adaptive Display switched on not just for the sharpness, but also for the battery optimization.
Verdict and price in India
After several attempts at dethroning the iPad, looks like Samsung has finally got it right with the Galaxy Tab S. With an excellent display, powerful processing and great speaker quality, there’s little going against the Galaxy Tab S. It might not provide the 10 hour battery life that the iPad does, but it’s pretty close and adequate to get you through a day’s work.
Priced at Rs 43,090, the 8.4-inch Tab S is on the steeper side, which could be a deal-breaker for those on a budget. But if you can afford it, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is well worth the money, and the Android tablet to beat right now.
Posted by : Gizmeon