Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Facebook to acquire WhatsApp for $19 Billion!!

Facebook Inc will buy fast-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock. That's $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in shares, and $3 billion in restricted stock for the founders and employees that'll divest over the next 4 years.

"Our mission is to make the world more open and connected," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. "We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day."

(Credits : Facebook)

Facebook, of course, has their own popular IM app, Facebook Messenger, just like they had their own photos platform before they bought Instagram. WhatsApp has 450 million monthly active users, more than 70 percent of whom are active on a daily basis, Facebook said in a press release. The service is also adding 1 million new registered users per day. Like Instagram, WhatsApp will remain its own app, and be run independently from Facebook.

(Credits : Facebook)

The astronomical price tag demonstrates just how eager the social network is to subsume one of its largest challengers -- at least in terms of audiences. Though largely focused on member-to-member messaging, 5-year-old WhatsApp is grown to be greater than one-third the size of Facebook and offers a more insular social networking experience beloved by youngsters and foreigners.

(Credits : Facebook)

"You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you're using," Koum said. "And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product."

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Maruti Suzuki Celerio's Automatic Manual Transmission Explained!

The Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT is the first car in the country to get an Automatic Manual Transmission and the concept of a cheap to run automatic car seems to have captured the Indian car buying public like never before. The Celerio AMT is outselling the manual at most dealerships for a few key reasons. The car doesn’t cost much more than the manual, returns the same fuel economy figures and of course, is much easier to drive in India’s terrible traffic conditions. All these reasons make the Celerio AMT a really good value for money for the first time car buyer.

The Maruti Suzuki Celerio is arguably the biggest launch of the Auto Expo 2014 and the show stopper is the the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) variant. And the trend seems to have caught on with other Indian manufacturers as well as both Tata (with the Zest) and Mahindra (with their Quanto) have expressed their willingness to adopt AMT in the future.

Now, there are many manufacturers of AMT like ZF, GETRAG, WAPCO etc. but the choice for the Indian manufacturers unanimously seems to be Magneti Marelli. The reason, as I V Rao, Managing Executive Officer at Maruti and the brains behind the Celerio, tells me is that the Magneti Marelli system is an excellent balance between efficiency and cost, a formula that is tailor made for the Indian market.

That said, the concept of an AMT transmission is actually quite simple when one dissects the technology to its bare basics. An AMT is actually a manual transmission with an electromechanical clutch actuator. The biggest advantage and incentive for manufacturers to opt for an AMT gearbox instead of a conventional automatic gearbox is the price advantage they face since the base transmission is actually the same.

In a conventional manual gearbox, a set of cables or a link usually operates the gearbox in a two-step process. If the gearbox is cable operated like for example in a Tata Nano, two cables do the process of selection and engagement of the gears. The selection cable is actuated when one moves the gearshift lever from left to right or vice versa. The engagement cable is actuated when one actually shifts into one of the gates to engage a gear. Similarly, a link operated gearbox, like the single-link shifter mechanism found in the old Maruti 800 works on a similar principle. In the case of the 800, the link rotates for the selection process and moves longitudinally to the centreline of the car to engage a gear. Simplifying the shifter process, an Automatic Manual Transmission, or AMT essentially negates these mechanical linkages by replacing them with electromechanical individual devices that work off the engine management and transmission management control units.

The electronically controlled clutch actuator uses an electric motor to operate the clutch instead of a conventional pedal and cable operated setup. In the clutch actuator, the rotary movement of the electric motor is transferred via a set of gears to a linear movement that is needed to engage and disengage the clutch via the pressure plate. The clutch is operated via a release lever and bearing which then helps to engage or disengage the gears in the transmission. ZF Sachs, the pioneers of the AMT gearbox claim that this setup not only simulates clutch-less driving for the driver, but also increases the life of the clutch components while cutting down on emissions and increases fuel economy.

In an AMT, the electromechanical or sometimes hydraulically operated actuators take over the clutch and shift action, but do not take away driving pleasure. This is predominantly due to the fact that the driver can still choose to manually engage a particular gear through either a shifter lever or a steering mounted paddle shifter. With their optimised shift points, AMTs also help reduce torque interruption to a minimum between shifts. As an array of sensors register and convey all key information through a transmission control module, the system can automatically adjust shift points and control the clutch according to driver based input. The AMT’s ECU can also intervene to improve safety by automatically interrupting drive flow to counter the risk of skidding if the vehicle loses traction.

Apart from giving the driver the pleasure of driving an automatic car, the AMT system was essentially developed to automate manual transmissions in vehicles that cannot have a conventional automatic transmission. The AMT can also help in cars where a conventional automatic transmission or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is difficult to install due to cost, weight or installation space constraints. Apart from the Marui Suzuki Celerio that uses a Magneti Marelli, the Tata Nano facelift will soon sport a similar ZF developed AMT.

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or Apple iPhone 5s: Which is best?

Japanese Phone Maker Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone might be a miniature alternative to the flagship Xperia Z1, but it features the same top-end specifications as its larger sibling. With a 4.3in display and top-end features, this handset sees Sony challenging Apple's iPhone 5S in the smartphone market.


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and iPhone 5S are worlds apart in design, but both devices have a premium look.

Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact measures 127x65x9.5mm and is crafted predominantly from plastic. But much like the flagship Xperia Z1, this is coated in glass and edged with aluminium, giving the handset an all around high-end feel.

The iPhone 5S measures 124x59x7.6mm and features the same boxy, angular design as the Xperia Z1 Compact. But Apple's handset differs from Sony's plastic and glass casing with a fully aluminium chassis, which both looks and feels premium. However, we have found the handset's metal casing is prone to picking up scuffs and scratches, much like the Xperia Z1 Compact is prone to picking up fingerprints.


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3 inch 1280 x 720 display with a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch. It’s a high quality, high definition screen and it uses Triluminos technology which does a good job of replicating natural colour shades.

The Apple iPhone 5S has a 4 inch 640 x 1136 display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. It’s both smaller and marginally lower resolution than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact’s screen, but not enough to be an issue. The overall quality of images on the iPhone 5S’s display is every bit as good in fact and the only major difference between the two is that the iPhone 5S is true widescreen 16:9, which is great for watching videos on but takes a little getting used to for everything else.


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 32 bit processor and 2GB of RAM. It’s an enormously powerful phone, right up there with the likes of the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1.

The Apple iPhone 5S uses a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A7 64 bit processor and 1GB of RAM. While that may sound worse it’s actually one of the most powerful handsets on the planet and should easily be able to match the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact for performance.

Operating system

Despite their similar performance, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and iPhone 5S mobile operating systems couldn't be more different, with the handsets running Google's Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Apple's iOS 7, respectively.

It's always hard to compare Android with iOS, because most smartphone users already have their favourite, with some favouring Android's openness and ability to customise, and others preferring the simplicity of Apple's iOS.

On the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is coated with Sony's custom skin that overlays the stock user interface with the firm's custom apps and widgets. Saying that, Sony's custom user interface is much less obtrusive than Samsung's and HTC's skins, but it still has more of a learning curve than Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system.


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 20.7 megapixel main camera, complete with a number of shooting options, such as HDR and burst mode. The combination of an Exmor RS sensor and wide angle G lens ensure that it lets in more light than most other phones and at the same time reduces noise, allowing it to capture sharp, detailed images.

The Xperia Z1 Compact also has a 2 megapixel front facing camera and can shoot 1080p video.

The Apple iPhone 5S only has an 8 megapixel camera. However it has a large active sensor area and uses a ‘True Tone’ flash, which ensures that pictures have natural colours. It also has a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and can shoot video in 1080p.

Both phones are great for photo fanatics, but the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the better of the two.

Battery life and storage

Sony claims that the 2,300mAh battery battery on the Xperia Z1 Compact will last for 18 hours of constant talk-time, while Apple claims up to 10 hours.

We found that the battery on Sony's pint-sized smartphone way outlasted that of the iPhone 5S. We used both smartphones over the weekend, with both seeing average to heavy use, and while the iPhone 5S needed to be recharged towards the evening, the Xperia Z1 Compact easily breezed through into a second day.

The Xperia Z1 Compact storage trumps that of the iPhone 5S too. While it's only available with 16GB of internal storage, it boasts a microSD card slot, which means users can expand this by an additional 64GB. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, is available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage, but has no way to expand this further.


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is available in the UK SIM free from £449, while the cheapest iPhone 5S is priced at £529. It's pretty clear which one is the winner in this category.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

LG G Flex

LG announced the G Flex  late last year right after Samsung announced the Galaxy Round, a device which we thought looked like a complete abomination. The G Flex however is curved the correct way, supposedly allowing for a perfect fit on your face (or butt), while still delivering a phablet experience for those who enjoy large phones. The LG G Flex is not a normal phone. It’s not here to square up to mobiles like the Samsung Galaxy S5. It is here to prove a point, to prove that certain things can be done. It is a curved phone with a self-healing back.

The Curve!

Its curve is subtle and vertical, the top and bottom of the phone curling forward ever so slightly. Put it face-up on a table, and the top and bottom both rest slightly aloft; flip it over and you'll see the screen glow in the small gap between it and the table. It's flat enough that it doesn't wobble, but pronounced enough that it makes a half-decent catapult.

The G Flex exists almost entirely to show off LG's curved OLED display, the 6-inch, 720p screen that is the centerpiece of its design. I've certainly never seen anything quite like it, but once the novelty wears off, it's not entirely clear why a curved screen like this is a good idea. LG says the curve makes the phone feel more comfortable against your face, provides a more immersive video-watching experience, and makes the screen less prone to glare because of the way light reflects off it. The last part seems to be true — there's noticeably less glare off the G Flex, especially in sunlight, than with most other big phones. If movies are more immersive, however, it's due to the sheer size of the display. And I don't care what it's made of: a 6-inch smartphone is never going to feel comfortable on my face while I make a phone call.

Samsung's horizontally curved Galaxy Round is much more ergonomically awkward than the G Flex, but it comes with some clever optimization for its form factor. Tip the phone over to the side and you'll see notifications or battery levels — it's a small innovation, but at least it’s an attempt to do something unique. LG offers nothing: there's a strange, laggy animation on the lock screen that moves as you tilt the phone, but that's neither relevant to a curved screen nor at all cool. We're given no reason to want a curved display — just proof that LG can make one.


The G Flex ships with a very handsome list of specs. Powering the device is a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, a processor that was the top tier silicon in 2013. Also inside the device is a 3,500mAh battery, a 13MP rear-facing camera, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 32GB of internal storage, a 2.1MP front-facing camera, self-healing backside, and 4G LTE radios. The biggest spec on the sheet is the device’s 6″ P-OLED curved display with a resolution of 720 x 1280. Yup, it’s only HD and not Full HD, which is sort of a bummer. All of this adds up to a device that runs very well, lasts a full day and a half on its big battery, and can impress the neighbors with its curved display. All in all, it’s a very nice package of a phone.


When first opening the box of the G Flex, I was reminded how much I was looking forward to using the device’s camera, since it uses a beefed up 13MP sensor. And if you know much about the LG G2, you will know that it has unarguably one of the best cameras to ever launch with an Android phone. To my disappointment, the G Flex is nothing like the G2 – yes, it is 13MP, but the camera does not feature OIS (optical image stabilization), and for some reason, it just takes really lackluster shots. There is no color. There is no vibrance. While in the right lighting conditions, you will have no issues taking a good shot to share with friends and family on your social networks, but if you were hoping for the same experience as you find on the G2, you will need to look elsewhere. The software on both devices is the exact same, but LG definitely doesn’t seem to have put in as much work as they did on the G2.


The LG G Flex runs a customised version of Android 4.4 KitKat. The interface doesn’t feel dramatically different to standard Android, but every element has been given the LG visual treatment. They include, app icons, wallpapers, the lock screen and even the virtual soft keys. 

LG has made a new 'Flex' theme for the phone, which includes all these elements, but you can switch to the default LG style if you like too. The Flex look is better, but there’s still a little visual inconsistency, which has made LG’s previous Android interfaces look a little wonky in part. 

The notifications bar is also a lot worse than the standard one. It’s home to features and apps shortcuts, and brightness/volume sliders – as well as your notifications. While notifications are up top to start with, in use they soon get sidelined under a these controls, which take up half the screen. Alterations like this see LG take a proverbial pee on something that has been carefully tweaked bit-by-bit since 2008.

A fully-loaded custom interface also eats into the available storage. With a 32GB Nexus 5 you’ll have around 28GB storage to play with. An LG G Flex gives you 23.8GB.


Besides the gorgeous overall design of this phone, the battery on the G Flex is ridiculous. Out of habit, I always hook up my devices next to my bed to let them charge, but I was easily skipping nights of charging with the G Flex. It could be thanks to the 720p display or its massive size at 3,500mAh, but either way, we love long battery life.


We do love the G Flex, because it's an interesting phone and one that worked for us. However, the reality is that most people will find it's too big, too irregularly shaped and, most crucially of all at Rs.70,000 it is too expensive. There will, of course, be those for whom this is a great choice, and to those people we can't endorse it enough. But for the majority this curved phone probably isn't the smartphone you're looking for.

The screen shape is something of a gimmick. We didn't notice it as a less reflective surface, but we still did enjoy using it as a screen. The curve is interesting, and makes phone calls a good fit as the device feels less like a slab against your face than other large-scale phones.

But the whole bendability thing is just a little underwhelming. We don't doubt that this phone is more likely to stay in one piece if you drop it, and better generally if you sit on it, but we never found those to be a huge problem before. You're just as likely to shatter the front of this phone as you are any other because it uses Gorilla Glass 2. The bendability might be handy for some, but because it's curved, there's more chance of you bending it than a normal phone, so it sort of answers a problem that doesn't exist.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Asus Transformer Book Trio

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With PC sales slipping at what seems an ever-increasing rate while tablet sales blossom like springtime, it's clear that a good number of users are discovering they can do all their computing on their iPads, Google Nexus 7 tablets, or even their big-screen smartphones.

But for many of us, the need for a good physical keyboard and Windows programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop keep us tethered to a traditional laptop. Even if we wanted to opt for a Windows tablet with a keyboard, the rather lackluster (though improving) selection of tablet apps available for Windows 8 would have us envious of our friends with Android or iOS devices.

That's where Asus' latest convertible comes in. The Transformer Book Trio essentially takes an 11.6-inch Windows detachable, like the larger Transformer Book TX300CA priced at Rs.98,099, and puts the guts of an Android tablet behind the screen and the innards of a Windows laptop in the base. When the two pieces are docked together, you have a laptop that can run either Windows or Android, switching between the two with the press of a button on the function-key row. Remove the display, and it's an Android tablet. You can even use the two pieces simultaneously, plugging a monitor into the keyboard base and using it as a Windows desktop. Thus, the "Trio" concept: Windows laptop, Windows desktop, and Android tablet in one.

Design and specs

The Trio sports a sharp 11.6-inch IPS display (1920 x 1080) that impresses with vibrant colours and deep blacks, which look particularly alluring when the tablet's running in Android mode.

We were a little less enamoured with the black bezel surrounding the screen, which is a little too chunky for our tastes. It also picks up a fair few fingerprints, as would be expected on a reflective display of this type, but they were easy enough to wipe off.

As a tablet, the Transformer Book Trio is an 11.6-inch tablet that's powered by a dual-core Atom Z2560 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz. At 1.5lbs, it's light to hold, coming in fractionally heavier than Apple's iPad 2 (1.33lbs).

Unfortunately, that ultra level of portability stops in its tracks once the keyboard dock is attached, which isn't surprising as it houses the Trio's internal grunt. If you were to prise it open, you would discover a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, a 64GB SSD, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD.

Connecting the dock makes the device thicker and heavier, bulking up from 9.7mm at its thickest point to 13mm and going from 1.54lbs to 2.2lbs, putting it on a par with Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air (2.38lbs). It also converts it into a proper laptop.

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Ports and features

The Transformer Book Trio offers a multitude of ports. The tablet part of the device contains a micro-USB port, a microSD card slot and an audio jack.

The docking station offers one mini DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports (one of which is a USB charger), one micro-HDMI 1.4 port with 1080p support and an audio jack.

The Transformer Book Trio features a rear 5-megapixel snapper with auto-focus (which is still sadly lacking from Microsoft's Surface Pro 2) and 1080p full HD video recording. At the front is a 720p HD camera. It can go for up to 13 hours on a single charge in Android mode, according to Asus, which lowers to five hours when used as a laptop in Windows mode. Other features include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope and e-compass.

Keyboard and dock

The Asus Transformer Book Trio's chiclet keyboard isn't the best or worst we've ever used, meaning it isn't likely to win any awards in this category. There's decent spacing between the keys themselves, but they lack travel and feel a little rigid to type on.

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The PC base station packs in enough grunt to easily manage most menial tasks and then some. Here’s a breakdown of all the tests that we ran.
The Android tablet is equally powerful as well and easily manages to run most apps and games with ease. The UI is smooth and devoid of any lag, despite the skin. The Full HD display is great when using it in tablet mode as it makes video consumption a real treat. In terms of numbers, the tablet portion of the Trio is about as powerful as a Samsung Galaxy S3 and according to Quadrant, is quite a bit faster than Asus’s earlier Transformer Prime tablet.

Battery Life

The base station is fitted with a 33Wh battery, which lasted for 2-hours and 10-min on Battery Eater Pro. In real world usage, you should be able to squeeze out around 4-5 hours of usage time. The tablet is fitted with a 19Wh battery, which lasted for about 7-hours on video playback. Overall, the battery life for the PC station is average at best whereas the tablet does fare a bit better.

The Transformer Book Trio is a very compelling proposition if you’re hunting for a workhorse hybrid PC. With ability to use the notebook as a Windows 8 PC and the screen as an Android tablet – at the same time; is something that hasn’t been done before. This alone makes the Trio one of the best hybrids in the market right now. If we have to nit-pick then the battery life of the base station could have been better, the trackpad buttons are unusable and a backlit keyboard would have been a neat addition at this price. If you don’t fancy the detachable design then the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 is another well spec’ed hybrid at this price.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sony Vaio Flip 13 SV-F13N13CXB


In the race to create a laptop that takes advantage of Windows 8's touch-friendly interface, manufacturers have developed a plethora of sliding and rotating laptop-tablet hybrids. While it already has the sliding Duo, Sony is introducing a new design with the VAIO Flip Series. Joining the existing 13-inch and 15-inch models is a new 11-inch version called the VAIO Fit 11A Flip PC. Smaller and lighter than the previous Flip PCs, this new ultraportable model weighs 2.8 pounds, and makes use of the same Sony TV Triluminos technology that has already worked its way into other Sony laptops. 

The flip screen

These laptops have a screen that can flip 180 degrees and then fold against the keyboard. Add in long battery life and good sound and you have a mostly satisfying laptop-first combo device. Release the latch above the keyboard and the screen spins through 180 degrees, strong magnets snapping it into place. That done, you can fold the screen flat against the laptop's body and use it as a tablet, or tilt it up and use the keyboard base as a stand.

Build quality

The 13-inch Sony Vaio Flip hybrid laptop is made using brushed aluminium (lid cover) and matte plastic (bottom). Despite quality materials, the tablet is not very solid; in fact, when we applied just a little force, the bottom (made of plastic) flexed quite a bit and even creaked. This shook our faith in the durability of the Flip 13N a little.

When it comes to portability, the Vaio Flip 13N is one of the best models in the market right now. Despite a 13-inch screen, it weighs just 1.3kg and feels quite light in the hand, especially compared to the likes of Dell XPS 12. If you are intent on buying a convertible laptop and not a tablet, but want a light model, then this model is a good bet.

The keyboard is backlit and feels good to type on; the trackpad is quite large and the buttons are sufficiently tactile.


The new Sony model has a 13-inch touchscreen with Triluminous Display technology, which also goes in its smartphones and tablets. We are not big fans of this technology and find that it does not fare well in direct sunlight. However, we will reserve judgement on the unit until a full review. Nevertheless, what we did see at the launch event (under optimal lighting condition) gives the impression that the display is decent, but nothing to brag about.

Under the hood, Vaio Flip 13N packs the fourth-generation dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.6GHz and 4GB RAM and is powered by Windows 8 operating system. We have encountered this configuration before and were pretty happy with the results. During our hands-on also, the laptop was quite fast and could perform commonly used tasks easily.


Vaio Flip 13N is one of the few tablets/convertible laptops to sport an 8MP rear camera. The image quality offered by the model is decent - the colours are quite warm, but the noise spoils the images indoors. We expect the performance to be better outdoors. However, we are not big fans of using tablets to capture images and would advise you to stick to a smartphone when you want to click photos.

Early Verdict

The Sony VAIO Flip is a premium addition to Sony’s growing range of notebooks. It’s very well crafted, looks premium and has the hardware to back it up. The elegant hinge design and glorious display are soured by negatives such as the noisy cooling fans and patchy build quality. The 13-incher is the most portable of the lot but you’ll be compromising on storage space as there’s only the 128GB configuration at the moment. We found the 14-inch to hit the sweet spot in terms of mobility and productivity. It’s not as compact as the F13N1A but it’s the cheapest at Rs 94,990 and for this, you get a 1TB hybrid drive as well.

iPhone 4 available in India again!

iPhone 4 is available in India again, but Apple won't call it a 'relaunch'. There has been much excitement in the Indian press about Apple supposedly relaunching the iPhone 4 in India. Several media outlets have expressed dismay and derision at news of the company supposedly trying to push the four-year-old model because sales of the high-priced iPhone 5s and 5c aren't meeting expectations.

The current official MRP is Rs 22,900, although stores are offering it for around Rs. 21,999. Apple itself refuses to comment on speculated launches, but other well-placed sources in the industry confirm that the iPhone 4 is no longer being manufactured. Sales have continued only because stocks still exist, and there are no plans to push the iPhone 4 as a budget-friendly model.

In the same price band, buyers can opt for the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, the HTC Desire 601, the Nokia Lumia 720, or Sony Xperia SP. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 1320 are available for just under Rs 24,000 each.

It seems that the pricey iPhone 5s and uninspiring iPhone 5c aren't doing it for Apple in India where users aren't thrilled by the company removing the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S looks a more reasonable smartphone at that price, even though it's over two-years old itself.

Friday, 24 January 2014

iPhone 6 design said to be 'locked down', including bigger 4.8-inch display!

While the launch of the next-generation iPhone is months away, the speculation around it is endless. And Apple may have finally decided how its upcoming smartphone will look, now, an analyst has claimed that the Cupertino based company has finalised, or internally "locked down" much of the design of its next iPhone, believed to be dubbed iPhone 6.

According to a research note by Cowen & Co analyst Timothy Arcuri, Apple has "locked down" the design for iPhone 6. He says that the model will have a 4.8-inch screen and will be compatible with the faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac wireless standard.

Further, Arcuri, citing Apple's supply chain, has revealed that this year's iPhone, apart from hardware upgrades, will bring along key software innovations with the next major iOS platform release. Prominent among them is expected to be mobile payments, which will use existing technologies like Passbook, Touch ID and iBeacon. 

He also said that the iPhone 5S, with technologies like fingerprint scanner and 64-bit processor, was a "set-up" for the next generation smartphone. He said that these technologies will enable the iPhone maker to debut new services that will give it an edge in the smartphone market.

Apart from iPhone 6, Arcuri also mentioned the next-generation iPad in the research note. He wrote that the next model will have a 13-inch screen and will "blur the lines between tablets and PCs." This is in line with previous reports about a large-screen, professional-grade iPad that will replace the Macbook Air.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pebble Steel Smartwatch!

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 Pebble kicked off CES 2014 by announcing a high-end version of its popular smartwatch called Pebble Steel. The new timepiece includes a band with metal links and a leather strap, as well as a few subtle improvements from the original polycarbonate design.

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Although the original Pebble brought about as much style as could be brought to a plastic watch, well, it's still a plastic watch. The stainless steel Pebble Steel feels less like a tech gadget and more like a piece of jewelry that happens to have some cool tech inside. The Steel fits in among any number of mid-range watches that you could wear to a business meeting or an evening out. Pebble created Steel as a response to frequent requests from users for a classier design that’s appropriate for all sorts of occasions. The only big difference in appearance between the Steel and a watch used for keeping time is that its watchface is thicker.

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Steel costs $249 and begins shipping on January 28. It also includes a new tricolor LED that will be used for notifications when Pebble opens it up to developers. The new design shortens the length of the watch by 4mm from lug to lug, and it also runs the antenna along the outside of the watchface for better signal propagation. The SDK 2.0 apps that you'll find in Pebble's upcoming app store will all be built in Javascript. That means a more focused (no long list of apps to install) and consistent (the same on iOS and Android phones) user experience.

Yelp’s Pebble app also adds a ton of utility. You’ll be able to shake your wrist to get a recommendation on a nearby place. You can scroll through nearby venues and even click through to see reviews. The upcoming Pebble apps from Pandora, ESPN and Mercedes and were pleasantly surprised by how well-thought out they were. Rather than trying to mimic a full native mobile app, the developers thought through simple micro-interactions so you don’t have to pull out your phone that often.
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There's no doubt that the Pebble is one of the favourite gadgets from CES and rightly deserves the hype being generated despite only adding metal and toughened glass to an already potent mix. Given that stocks are going to be limited, this is sure to be a sellout device.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

2014 Indian Auto Expo - Mercedes-Benz to unveil CLA45 AMG

Riding on the success of its cars last year in India, Mercedes-Benz India will unveil the dynamically styled Concept GLA and CLA45 AMG at the 12th edition of the Auto Expo.

Focusing on the company’s ‘Year of Excellence’ strategy, the company would also launch its sports utility vehicle the M Guard during the show.

2013 turned out to be the most successful year for Mercedes in India. It sold a record 9,003 vehicles during the year.

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said; “Auto Expo 2014 is a much awaited event in Indian Automotive Industry and we are all set to bedazzle our customers with excellence. The Mercedes-Benz pavilion will be a perfect embodiment of modern luxury, high performance, innovative design and exemplary safety which are synonymous with our brand promise ‘Best or Nothing’.”

Besides, German carmaker Audi will unveil the Audi A3 Sedan and 'Special Editions' of SUVs - Audi Q3, Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 during the expo. It will also showcase its RS 7 Sportback, alongside Le Mans 2012 winner 'Audi R18 e-tron quattro'. Audi R8 V10 plus Spyder will also be displayed.