Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Lenovo is back in the Android tablet market with two new tablets: the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 and the Yoga Tablet 8. Like the original Yoga and the new Yoga 2 Pro, the tablet works in several positions -- in this case, thanks to a built-in kickstand. It's rated for a staggering 18 hours of battery life, as well.

The first thing you'll notice about the Yoga Tablet 10 is that it's a 16:10 ratio display tablet, and that it's not completely flat, either. The round, bulky edge gives the tablet a stand to prop itself up, which is nice to have if you're watching videos or reading content while at a desk or table.


The built-in kickstand and 9,000mAh battery (that's 6,000mAh on the 8-inch version) create a bulge on the back that prevents the device from lying flat. On a flat surface, it sits at a slight angle, with the bottom of the device raised higher than the far end. The Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 are both relatively light, at 0.88 pound and 1.33 pounds, respectively; they're definitely comfortable enough to hold for extended periods of time, and the cylindrical bottom makes for a comfortable grip.

At the bottom end, where the tablet is curved for the kickstand, there is the power button and headset jack opposite each other.The opposite side of the power button is the 3.5mm headset jack, and above that is the volume button and a small microphone.

The speakers will offer Dolby Digital Plus enhancement,flip the tablet over to reveal its backside, and you'll see a nicely textured back with a smooth panel at the bottom where the kickstand flips out.Open up that kickstand and you'll reveal the microSD card slot. The Yoga Tablet 10 will support up to 64GB microSD cards.


The Yoga Tablet 10 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, so you aren't going to find the latest and greatest here. And just to throw this out, so far there hasn’t been any talk about having these updated with a newer version of Android. That aside, running Jelly Bean means features such as Google Now, which of course, also means the full suite of Google apps and services are included. That means Gmail, Hangouts and Google+ as well as the Play Store and many others.


We will admit we were more than a bit skeptical with the design here. And while we haven’t really gotten past the ‘strange’ look of the Yoga Tablet (as compared to a regular tablet). The bump provides a place for you to hold and wrap your fingers around, but it also balances the tablet. These feel very light when being held, which is partially because a good amount of the weight is actually in your hand — not spread across an 8 or 10-inch slab of glass and metal.For pretty much the same amount of money, you can buy a new Nexus 7, which is a superior tablet in every conceivable way. Or you can get a Kindle Fire HDX. We're hoping for big things from Lenovo in the tablet space, but unfortunately the Yoga Tablet 10 falls short in nearly every category. If you've had your eye on this tablet and were considering it, go with the aforementioned tablets instead.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Facebook develops 'sympathise' button!

Facebook has reportedly been working on a ‘sympathise’ button to save users the embarrassment of hitting ‘Like’ even for sad statuses, solely because they lack any option.

An engineer for the social networking giant, Dan Muriello, said that the button had been created as part of an internal project but there were no plans to launch the button at the moment, the BBC reports.

It would not work for every post, he said. But if a user selected an emoticon such as sad or depressed in their status update the 'like' button would automatically change to 'sympathise'.

"A lot of people were very excited," Muriello said. "But we made a decision that it was not exactly the right time to launch that product. Yet."

Monday, 9 December 2013

The 2015 Ford Mustang GT

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting car debuts of this year, Ford has finally taken the covers off its redesigned, sixth-generation Mustang. The redesigned Mustang has also been revealed in convertible form.

Underhood, the Mustang's 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines remain mostly carried over - albeit with the addition of more power (official figures to come). The big news is the return of the turbocharged Mustang - in this case, the engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost unit shared with the Lincoln MKC. An estimated 305 horsepower and 300 lb-ft. of torque (the latter of which comes at just 2,500 rpm) should give the smallest engine its own performance feel. Like in Ford's F-Series pickups, the turbo engine is actually an extra cost upgrade even though it's the smallest displacement on offer. 

As far as the other engines, Ford says to expect at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque from the 3.7-liter V6 and 420 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque from the 5.0-liter unit

Fuel economy numbers should be announced closer to the Mustang's on-sale date, but improvements across the range are expected. Ford is promising "segment-leading" mpg for the 2.3-liter. 

All models will include standard launch control, a feature that was previously exclusive to the GT500. 

Six-speed Getrag manual and six-speed automatic (with new paddle shifter) transmissions will be available. The automatic is a conventional unit, not the long-rumored dual-clutch.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

iPad Air, Retina iPad mini launched in India

Apple launched its iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display tablets in the Indian market today, bringing its latest products to the country soon after their global launch. The company held a launch event in New Delhi for the two tablets.

The iPad Air is the new full-sized tablet in Apple's portfolio and will be on sale alongside the two-year-old iPad 2. New features of the latest Apple tablet include the 64-bit A7 chipset, thinner profile and refreshed design.

The second-generation iPad mini comes with major upgrades over its predecessors, mainly the Retina display and the latest 64-bit A7 processor.

The prices for the 9.7 inch iPad Air starts at Rs. 35,900 for the base model 16GB variant without cellular connectivity and goes right up to Rs. 65,900 for the 128GB variant with built in LTE. The iPad Mini with Retina Display on the other hand starts off at Rs. 28,900 for the 16GB version with WiFi and goes up to Rs. 58,900 for the 128Gb WiFi + 4G LTE model.

iPad Air Pricing

  • 16GB, WiFi only – Rs. 35,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 44,900
  • 32GB, WiFi only – Rs. 42,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 51,900
  • 64GB, WiFi only – Rs. 49,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 58,900
  • 128GB, WiFi only- Rs.56,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 65,900

iPad Mini with Retina Display

  • 16GB, WiFi only – Rs. 28,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 37,900
  • 32GB, WiFi only – Rs. 35,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 44,900
  • 64GB, WiFi only – Rs. 42,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 51,900
  • 128GB, WiFi only-Rs. 49,900 | WiFi + 4G – Rs. 58,900

iPad Air will compete against the likes of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) and Sony Xperia Tablet Z in the Indian market. Rivals of the Retina iPad mini in India include the second-generation Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 510.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Apple charges Indians the most for iPhone 5S: Study

It is not a secret that Apple gadgets cost a fortune in India, where even the base variant of the iPhone 5S costs over half-a-lakh rupees. Now, a study has shown that Indians end up paying the most for the Apple smartphone - across the world!

According to data compiled by technology website Mobiles Unlocked, the iPhone 5S costs the Indians the most globally when compared with their purchasing power. In fact, buyers here have to shell out 22.3% of the national gross domestic product per capita (GDP PPP). The GDP PPP is a means of measuring how much each person earns in a country.

This means that Indian buyers shell out over 22.3% of their disposable incomes if they purchase the iPhone 5S.

China, another emerging country and Apple's fastest-growing market, stands fifth in the list and there it acosts buyers less than 10% of their purchasing power.

The study details the countries where the iPhone 5S is most and least expensive across 47 countries. It only included the basic 16GB model of the iPhone 5S and took the pricing via official channels, not grey market.

While iPhone 5S is the most expensive for Indians, it costs the least to citizens of Qatar, who only pay 0.76% of their disposable incomes for the device. The US, home market of Apple, stands fourth-last in the list; buyers only have to pay 1.36% of their incomes for the model, as per the data.

Despite the high price, Apple has enjoyed its best-ever sales for the iPhone 5S in India. The model has been out of stock ever since it was launched in the country and retailers are still struggling to meet the demand.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Jolla smartphone with Sailfish OS!

The "Jolla smartphone", if you've never heard of it, a company formed by a group of former Nokia employees that refused to let go of MeeGo after the Finnish mobile manufacturer abandoned it, has announced the launch of the first smartphone based on the new Sailfish operating system, called Jolla. It will be launched on November 27 by Jolla in partnership with Finnish telecom operator DNA.

Jolla's website notes that the Jolla smartphone is priced at Euros 399. The company plans to handover 450 pre-booked Jolla phones on November 27 and the rest would be available at DNA Kauppa outlets in early December, the statement said.

Inside is a 1.4GHz dual-core processor made by Qualcomm and 1GB of RAM. There's 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot underneath the rear cover for adding more. A 2100mAh battery is removable, includes a 4.5-inch (540x960 pixels) display, the Jolla smartphone will sport an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera alongside an LED flash, while there is a 2-megapixel front-facing camera as well. It also features changeable smart covers.

The Sailfish OS

Sailfish is closest in likeness to BlackBerry 10 OS. It's got no navigation buttons to speak of and is therefore gesture based.

Everything is about swiping, so apart from swiping up and down between the three aforementioned sections, there are three main things you can do. Swiping from the left or right edge of the screen will take you from an open app back to the homescreen, swiping from the top of the screen closes the app and swiping from the bottom displays your notifications.

The homescreen displays apps in a very similar way to BlackBerry 10, as you open more apps they get smaller to fit on the screen. However, if you have more than nine open, you can only see your most recent. The app tray at the bottom of the homescreen can be customised to your favourite apps.

From this initial hands-on we came away with the impression that Sailfish OS has a great deal of potential. It has a huge leg up from the core work already done by Intel and Nokia and its UI is genuinely innovative while taking a mixture of the best aspects from other platforms. On the hardware side whether the ‘Other half’ functionality of covers can be a genuine differentiator is less clear cut, but we can see it being popular in younger age groups. 

That said where the real battle lies for Sailfish is not in convincing people it is a viable platform, but that it is preferable to the existing heavyweights. Our feeling is Jolla will have to reduce its handset price to achieve that, provide tight Android app integration from the outset and pick its markets carefully.

Aside from this the other battle is with three more newcomers: the Samsung/Intel funded Tizen, Firefox OS and Ubuntu. The first two will also have phones out in 2013 with the latter expecting to debut in early 2014. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The New Chrome OS

The Google Chrome OS operating systemis now a rival to Windows 7, Ubuntu, Apple Mac OS Xand the rest. Chromebooks have been around for a couple years now, but they’ve never been appealing. The first version of Google's Chrome OS wasn't much more than a Google Chrome browser window with a few apps. It felt more like a statement - "Who needs local storage?" - than an operating system you could rely on.


The app environment has a distinct advantage in terms of keeping things neat and safe, but it comes at the cost of true openness and until programmers find ways to pare down their products so they run in a browser (which is by no means out of the bounds of possibility) Chrome OS is simply not going to cut it for many as their main computer.

There are also dedicated forward, back and reload buttons, which make lots of sense for a notebook built for the web. Hit Ctrl and the Search button and you'll go to an smartphone-like grid of shortcuts to your apps. And if you have a better memory than I do, you can learn the dozens of keyboard shortcuts - hit Ctrl+Alt+? for a full list.

Multiple windows support

You can now use multiple windows in Chrome, though they're all just separate browser windows. Still, that can be helpful - you can jump from one window to another with Alt-Tab or with a special function button. Each window has something that looks like a Windows maximize button, but it operates four ways through gestures. If you click on it and drag down, the window minimizes. Drag up and it goes full screen. Drag to the left or right and the window docks on either side, taking up half the screen. It's a fun innovation.

Offline Mode

The key issue with a cloud computer is that it becomes significantly less useful when it is offline. The computing world was rooted in offline for a long time and we are simply not used to feeling quite so bereft of functionality when we are not connected.

That, of course, is changing as well; modern games often require connections, our documents are often stored on servers rather than locally as offices become more collaborative and our data is often shared rather than hoarded on hard drives.


For all the problems of being a cloud computer, there are some huge advantages. First of all Google insists that viruses will not be a problem. With the updates managed server side and the storage more or less in the cloud the company is confident that it can prevent malware ever being a significant problem. It also does away with a need for a lengthy scan which is welcome news indeed.

More significantly, Chrome OS is built to be up and running quickly both on initial setup and every time you press the power button or open your Chromebook.

All in all, the Chrome OS and Chromebooks seem to have made vast strides forward. It'll never be a good solution for people who are often away from a web connection (though it does have a built-in Verizon wireless broadband connection - you get 100MB per month free and can pay for more) or depend on sophisticated desktop software. Or for those who don't want to have their whole life wrapped up in the Google solar system of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc.

But if much of what you do happens in the cloud anyway, a Chromebook has a lot of advantages - it's cheaper, fast, simple to operate and gets great battery life. Google's other OS has grown up a lot in the past year and a half. Chromebooks are already a good option for many people. If Google can add the ability to do significant work offline, all laptop buyers should give them serious consideration.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

BlackBerry joins hands with Micromax, Spice, Zen, Celkon for pre-installing BBM

BlackBerry announced that it has partnered with a lot of mobile manufacturers across the globe to pre-install its BBM application on phones manufactured by them and the list includes a few of the Indian companies. Micromax had already launched an ad campaign to proclaim that BBM would come pre-loaded on the devices from this conglomerate.

"BBM will soon come preinstalled on a variety of Android-based smartphones from leading OEMs across Africa, India, Indonesia, Latin America and the Middle East," BlackBerry said in a statement.

Beginning next month, Android smartphones from Be, Brightstar, Celkon, EVERCOSS, IMO, Micromax, Mito, Snexian, Spice, TECNO, TiPhone and Zen will include BBM preinstalled, it added.

BBM will continue to be available as a free download from Android app stores, including Google Play.

Also, to improve the chatting experience, BlackBerry had updated BBM within a month of its release and it even managed to get an overwhelming response from customers. Subscribers can expect support for BBM Channels and BBM Voice and Video calling as well.

Friday, 29 November 2013

What is CBU and CKD?

Most of the automobile publications frequently use the words like CBU and CKD which may sound quite confusing to many. These terms are more commonly used in terms of the Imported automobile cars and bikes.

CBU – Completely Built Unit

Completely built unit is the terminology when a car/bike/automobile is imported/exported to/from some other country as a complete car fully assembled. These automobiles do not require an assembly before they can be sold out to the buyers in the target country’s markets. Most of the imported cars and bikes in India come as a CBU.

CKD – Completely Knocked Down

Completely knocked down car / bike /automobile is one which is imported or exported in parts and not as one assembled unit. Such units are first sent to an assembly plant in the target country where all these parts are assembled and one complete car / bike / vehicle is made using the imported components. These kinds of units generate employment in the target country as more machinery and manpower investment is needed to assemble the components to make the vehicle.


CBU and CKD do not differ much in terms of technological sense except for the fact that CBU cars / bikes / vehicles are assembled in the same country where they originate and then exported to the target country. CKD cars / bikes / vehicles are assembled in the target country where all the parts of the vehicles are assembled and then sold to the end customers.

When talking from Indian perspective, CBU and CKD have a sharp difference in the import duties. At present, the import duties on a CBU vehicle coming to India from abroad is liable for an import duty of nearly 110% while the CKD attracts 60% duty. This sharp difference is strategically kept like this because CBU does not create as much of revenues and employment for the target country (India in this case). A CKD when assembled in the target country requires technology, infrastructure and manpower investment which generates business and employment opportunities in the target country, which is why it is motivated.

WickedLeak Wammy Titan 3

Wickedleak has officially announced the Wammy Titan 3 phablet for Rs.16,990. The phablet is already up for pre-orders on the company's official website, which says that the delivery is expected to begin from December 2013.

The Wammy Titan 3 is an Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean-powered phablet with dual-SIM slots and support for GSM+GSM. It sports a 5.7 inch full-HD (1080X1920) IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 390ppi.

Under the hood, it boasts of a quad-core MediaTek 6589 Turbo processor clocked at 1.5Ghz, bundled with a PowerVR SGX544MP GPU and 1GB of RAM. The Wammy Titan 3 sports a 13MP rear shooter with a BSI sensor, along with a 5-megapixel front shooter. It comes with 16GB of in-built memory, which is further expandable up to 64GB via microSD card.

Connectivity options on the Wickedleak Wammy Titan 3 include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro-USB and 3G. The Wammy Titan 3 comes with dimensions 157x81.5x7.9mm and packs a 3200mAh battery. The phablet includes a host of sensors, namely a gravity sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, magnetic sensor, gyroscope, and magnetic sensor. The Wammy Titan 3 will be available in two colour variants - Black and White.

Commenting on the announcement, Aditya Mehta, Managing Director, Wickedleak said, "With the launch of our biggest screen offering so far (Wammy Titan 3) in this segment, Wickedleak continues offering consumers a great user experience with latest features and added functionality. Further to this we are excited with the success of Wammy Passion Z+ which has clearly established Wickedleak as a key player in the new 5-inch phablet category in India. We are looking forward to similar success with the new phone being unveiled today."

Wammy Titan 3 key specifications

  • 5.7-inch full-HD (1080x1920) IPS LCD display
  • 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek 6589 Turbo processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB inbuilt storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD card
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, BSI sensor
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, micro-USB and 3G
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 3200mAh battery

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Instagram Is Finally On Windows Phone!

Instagram officially lands on Windows Phone devices later today along with another popular app already on Android and iPhone called Waze. (Waze is a mapping application that's now owned by Google). It'll be available in the Windows Phone app store later this afternoon.

The Instagram app available through the Windows Phone Marketplace claims to be a beta of the app so it is likely that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform will issue updates to the app soon.

"While our global market share is around 4%, it's still the fastest growing," said Todd Brix, the general manager of the Windows app store.

Nokia, the biggest maker of Windows Phones, continues to report increasing shipments of its Windows Phones quarter over quarter. Microsoft's next challenge isn't necessarily to get the current library of hot apps on Windows Phone, it's to make sure developers think of making stuff for Windows Phone.

Dropbox looks to raise $250 million at $8 billion valuation

Fast-growing file-sharing and storage startup Dropbox Inc is trying to raise $250 million in additional funding in coming weeks, which would value the six-year-old company at more than $8 billion, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Monday.

The company may become the latest hot Silicon Valley startup to take advantage of flush investors and stratospheric valuations for fledgling tech companies. Loss-making Twitter Inc is now valued north of $20 billion after its debut; Pinterest, which only recently began to clarify its business model, last month won a round of financing that valued the nascent website at $3.8 billion.

But Dropbox has a problem: Some very big competitors want its business. And they are willing to offer absolutely anyone even more free cloud storage space than Dropbox to lure them away. For example, while Dropbox only offers 2 gigabytes of free storage, which isn’t enough to store a single downloaded movie, much less the photo library of a life-logging phone photographer, Google offers users 15 gigabytes of free storage, or 100 gigabytes to those who buy a Chromebook.

Dropbox, started in 2007 by a couple of MIT students, made its name as the simplest way for regular consumers to synchronize all their files between a desktop and a laptop. Every file in the Dropbox folder simply appeared on both machines. But over the past few years, Dropbox has also become a preferred way to handle moving files on and off phones and tablets, where syncing was an even more unpleasant and unreliable chore. 

Last year Dropbox cleverly added a feature to its mobile apps to automatically upload every photo taken on a user’s smartphone to Dropbox servers for syncing and safekeeping (with the user’s permission). Users could win additional free space for photos by convincing friends to sign up. By making uploading and syncing automatic – and invisible to the user – Dropbox helped fill its servers faster, and convinced more users to pay for additional space.

Valuing Dropbox at $8 billion seems completely reasonable in light of other recent Internet IPOs. Twitter had revenue of $317 million – and no profits in sight -- the year before it went public at a value of over $18 billion. And its active user base of 185 million at the end of 2012 was smaller than Dropbox’s is now.

The cloud storage market, like all cloud computing sectors, should continue to grow for the foreseeable future. But until one of these companies goes public, it won’t be clear how much the market is actually worth, as private company valuations are very different from the stock market.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Google India Ad is beautiful, strikes emotional chord!

The ad has gone viral in just over two days when it was posted onto Google India’s YouTube channel and has crossed some 4 million views on YouTube.

Through this ad, Google India advertises the power of its search functionality and also manages to strike an emotional chord with its viewers not only in India but also in Pakistan. The ad encapsulates the power of Google search and how it can bring people closer as well as find anything and everything at the click of a button.

The three-and-a-half-minute ‘Reunion’ ad is about friendship, fond childhood memories, separation and reconnecting to a tender past. In the ad, available on YouTube with English sub-titles, an Indian Punjabi is shown telling his granddaughter Suman about his fond childhood memories in Lahore, Pakistan.

In case you have not seen this beautiful ad, here is the video link to it. This heart warming ad is sure to overwhelm you.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sony PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4, which replaces the seven-year-old PlayStation 3, couldn’t be more Sony in its overall design. It’s sleek in a very conservative way, modern but cold, and completely obsessed with its high-tech abilities but awkward in the way it presents it all. If the Xbox One is the kid who likes to command attention to brag how cool he is, the PS4 is the smart one who is uncomfortable in the spotlight. It comes across in the marketing, and the final product.

One of the biggest problems with the PS3 has always been its unnecessarily confusing user interface — an overly complicated and unattractive series of screens that felt almost off-putting. That is often the case of the interfaces found on most electronics hardware for any company — software designed by tech geeks and not prettied up by designers with a creative eye.

But the PS4 packages things in a far more friendlier way, relying on tiles (a very Microsoft way of doing things) to show off games and entertainment apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Walmart’s Vudu. PlayStation’s obsession with its icy blue color palette will always make it feel cold, but its new software helps it warm up its appeal.

The Console Hardware

From a physical, aesthetic standpoint, the PlayStation 4 is a masterpiece. With its bold, surprisingly attractive parallelogram design and sleek, smooth exterior, the console is undeniably striking to look at, perhaps more so than any other home console in video game history. Stood upright or laid on its side, the system simply looks great, and while I would not necessarily describe the PS4’s size as ‘small,’ it takes up much less space than most newly-launched gaming consoles, and its sleek design is such that, when placed inside an entertainment center, the PS4 seems to all but disappear. A hardware design that is both attractive and invisible – that is a neat hat trick, and the system’s low-profile is aided by the fact that the PS4’s power supply is housed inside the console itself, meaning all users will need to get the system up and running is the AC Cord and an HDMI cable (and an Ethernet cord, if you prefer not to use Wi-Fi).

All that being said, from a hardware standpoint, the PS4 is not perfect. It performs beautifully, and we will talk about that in a later section, but in terms of interacting with the box on a physical level, there are some annoyances. First and foremost is the “Power” and “Disc Eject” buttons, which are not actually buttons at all, but extremely slim little touch panels, akin to the Xbox 360 slim redesign. But where the 360’s touch panels were way too responsive – barely brushing the power or eject button would activate the controls, often at inopportune moments – the PS4 has gone much too far in the opposite direction. Users must hold their finger on the touch panel for at least a few seconds before the system responds, and the length of time seems extremely inconsistent; ejecting the disc occasionally takes only a brief moment, but can sometimes require a few presses, while the length of time required to turn off the console (or, more accurately, put it to sleep) always feels uncomfortably long. The problem is compounded by the small size of the panels, and the even tinier size of the images that indicate what they do. After figuring out which button is which, I doubt most users will subsequently forget, but there is such a thing as too low-profile, and the ‘power’ and ‘eject’ buttons definitely fall into that category. Overall, I would much prefer physical buttons for the PS4; it is something I am sure I will get used to, but for now, it feels wonky and unpolished.

The slot-loading Blu-Ray drive suffers from a similar lack of profile. It works perfectly once you find exactly where the disc needs to go in, but doing so can be a bit of a guessing game unless one’s eyes are on a precisely even level with the drive itself, thanks to the PS4’s all-black design. I cannot say for sure what the solution might be – a glowing light on the drive itself, a small bit of color around the drive, etc. – but something to distinguish the boundaries of the drive would be appreciated; it is particularly bothersome in vertical orientation, where users must also account for the parallelogram shape to make sure the disc smoothly enters the console.

The Controller

Sony's basic controller layout hasn't changed in 16 years. Like all three DualShock models before it, there's a pair of symmetrical analog sticks in the center, four face buttons on the right, a directional pad on the left, and four triggers around back. There are a number of fancy new features here, like the colorful light bar up front, and a clickable touchpad up top. The most incredible thing Sony has done with the DualShock 4, however, is that the company has made perhaps the most comfortable gamepad.

Where previous Sony controllers were designed to be held with fingertips, the DualShock 4's elongated, enlarged grips fit the entire length of my palms. Covered with a matte texture that manages to be grippy without feeling sticky or rough, the controller just melts into my hands without a second thought. Not only are the dual analog sticks, D-pad and face buttons perfectly spaced for your thumbs, they also feel significantly higher-quality than before. Perhaps most importantly, the DualShock 4 is finally a competent controller for first-person games thanks to raised edges on the analog sticks and incredibly comfy triggers that no longer feel like an afterthought. The controller's motion sensor has also been much improved.

Sharing and Streaming

The PlayStation Network, fortunately, is a much smoother experience than the PlayStation 3. Now it's easy to log in with your email and password just once to bring in your PlayStation Network account. During your setup, you can log into Facebook as well, where you can associate your real name and Facebook photo with your PSN ID or opt out. You can then request the real names of people you play with, which will display on your friends list forever.

Facebook doesn't have an app for the PlayStation 4, instead just opting to wrap its features into PlayStation 4 technology. Pressing the Share button instantly brings up three options: share an edited video, share a screenshot or begin broadcasting live.

Unfortunately, videos can only be shared to Facebook for now, but the social network handles sharing well. The PS4's Game DVR captures your previous 15 minutes of play in a clip, and you can quickly parse that and trim it down to one section. Currently, there's no support for splicing or rearranging footage. The video goes up to Facebook fairly quickly, and while the quality degrades a bit, your friends will get the idea. Want to see it in action? I posted a playthrough of a level of Sound Shapes.

The screenshot functions by simply grabbing the still of the last frame before hitting Share. It also can use voice commands from the PlayStation camera. The screenshots can be shared via Facebook or Twitter after entering your PlayStation credentials. Again, the screenshots are compressed and better designed for viewing on a social network.


Sandwiched between the PS4's sloping front face, is a recessed area that contains both the slot-loading Blu-ray disc drive (6X for BD; 8X for DVD) and two USB 3.0 ports, which can also be used for connecting and charging the DualShock 4 and other devices. That recessed groove continues around the perimeter of the console and is mostly used as a clever way to disguise vents. Even the majority of the PS4's back end is taken up by vents, with only a section on the upper-left half dedicated to ports for HDMI out, digital out, Ethernet and the PlayStation Camera's auxiliary cable. Sony's relegated the bulk of the charging block to the inside of the console, so you won't have to deal with a bulky power brick cluttering your floor. In terms of connectivity, the PS4 supports 802.11b/g/n, as well as Bluetooth 2.1.

Fearing a repeat of the esoteric Cell system architecture that scared off many third-party developers for much of the PS3's life, Sony opted to imbue the PS4 with an octa-core, x86 AMD "Jaguar" CPU and Radeon GPU capable of 1.84 teraflops of compute power. That arrangement alone makes the console more immediately accessible to developers, as these components are very similar to what you'll find inside high-end PCs. But Sony didn't stop there. The console also leaps past its predecessor and Microsoft's Xbox One with 8GB of high-speed GDDR5 RAM -- a costly memory solution that should help future-proof the PS4 well into the console's life cycle. To hear Cerny tell it, that combination of GDDR5 RAM and x86 architecture makes the PS4 a breeze to develop for and should ensure robust third-party support from the outset of the console's launch. All told, Sony claims the PS4 is capable of "10 times the processing power of the PS3." Take that as you will.


Music Unlimited is, unbelievably, the only option for playing music on the PlayStation 4. You can't set up a media server, or play MP3s or audio CDs. There's a free 30-day trial to the subscription service as part of buying a PS4, but it's a cumbersome hassle if you're not already a member. And why can't we play our own music on this super-powerful PC-esque game console? Sony says more options are coming, but at launch this is your only option.

Music Unlimited takes a shockingly long time to load, and navigation within the app is similarly sluggish. When you've finally located music you'd like to listen to, you can thankfully push the Home button and keep listening to it on a system level. Jump into a game and turn off the game's music track -- voila! It's pretty slick, but that same feature existed in a smarter form on the Xbox 360. And on the 360, we could load our own music onto the box.

Hulu Plus and Netflix load a bit quicker than Music Unlimited, but are still amazingly slow to boot considering how comparatively light the workload is for streaming apps versus next-gen games. Navigation is identical to the PlayStation 3 apps, with a variety of suggested categories sitting below a large active marquee.

Unsurprisingly, the PS4's web client isn't much better than on other game consoles. Navigating a mouse and keyboard-based world without a mouse and keyboard remains a major challenge, even with the addition of a tilt-based keyboard cursor relying on your movement with the DualShock 4. Simply put, you tilt and swivel the DualShock 4, and an on-screen cursor moves in turn over a virtual keyboard. It's a big step forward in virtual-keyboard entry, but still doesn't solve the "web browser with a gamepad" problem.


So now we come to the ultimate question: Should you, the consumer, be interested in buying a PlayStation 4 (assuming, of course, that you can find one in the months to come)?

As you might expect, it depends. It depends on what kind of gamer you are, and it depends on what you want and expect out of a gaming console. Casual gamers and those who primarily use their home consoles as multimedia hubs need not bother with the PS4 at present. The current-gen hardware likely does everything you want and need it to do, and support for those systems isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future. This is something even hardcore gamers should think about, because if you aren’t necessarily interested in any of the games the PS4 has within its launch window, it’s not like your current systems are going anywhere. The PS4 may signal a new era for gaming, but the current era isn’t over, and it isn’t necessarily obsolete just because new hardware has arrived.

Here’s the bottom line, to my mind: If you are someone who plays games frequently, who enjoys video games as one of their primary modes of entertainment and artistic consumption, and have any inkling of wanting a PlayStation 4, you should do your best to get one. This system was made for you. As I said in the beginning, the PS4 marks the ultimate evolution, as of now, of the basic promise of console gaming: power and usability, depth and fluidity, all rolled into one beautiful, intuitive, robust package. The PS4 makes gaming easier, it makes gaming more accessible, and it makes gaming more fun, because focus no longer has to be split with wrangling the user interface or expending extra energy on downloads, installs, and the like. And with a set of truly impressive, remarkably enjoyable features – sharing and Remote Play chief among them – the PS4 continues to innovate even as it perfects. The PS4 is so impressive in so many ways that what should theoretically be its biggest leap forward – the graphics, which are, indeed, unparalleled – seems in some way an afterthought after several days of use.

The system is not perfect – there are problems, both big and small, and I want to stress that until I know more about the noisy fan issue referenced earlier, any recommendation I give is qualified. This is not in the same league as the Red Ring of Death, but it is an unexplained flaw, not experienced by every user, that detracts from the gaming experience. Hopefully it can be resolved. If not, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, but it is a significant drawback.

But in the end, my overall feelings are positive, and glowingly so. The PlayStation 4 is the home gaming console I have always wanted, and one I suspect will only get better in the future. We are coming off the best and most creatively rich generation in video game history – whether the next one can match it has yet to be seen, but the PlayStation 4 is one hell of a start.

Retailers launch exchange, buyback offers for iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S

It seems India is not so keen on buying the new iPhone 5C. It's been about two weeks since the new Apple iPhones went on sale in India and we are already learning about the exchange or buyback schemes for the iPhone 5C. The offer is on selected smartphones on whose exchange you can get minimum Rs.13,000 off on the price of iPhone 5c and iPhone 4S . (similar exchange offer for iPhone 5/iPhone 4S/iPhone 4 was quite popular and iPhone sales sky-rocketed with it and we think this new offer will do better due to its high exchange price).

This exchange offer is not available for the new iPhone 5s , the reason being simple , iPhone 5s is Apple’s flagship smartphone and is selling at a good pace irrespective of its high price and similar design to iPhone 5 (Fingerprint scanner one of the major reason) . Whereas the iPhone 5c , initially dubbed as an affordable price version of iPhone , is not selling like an Apple iPhone generally do . This is because Apple has kept this new color panel plastic smartphone’s price not so affordable. 

Here is a list of devices that are eligible for the scheme: BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q10, HTC One dual-SIM, HTC One mini, HTC Desire 500, HTC Desire 600, Nokia Lumia 925,Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini,Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8, Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, Sony Xperia Z1, Sony Xperia Z, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Sony Xperia ZR, Sony Xperia C. The list also includes the Apple iPhone 4 8GB and 16GB models.

However, Business Today confirmed that the deal doesn't come as an official one from Apple but from the retailers on their own initiative. Even the distributor reportedly said that Apple has not yet introduced any such scheme.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Flipkart opens up part of its technology code to deliver innovation

Online retailer Flipkart is inviting software coders to build new applications on its technology platforms in a move the company says is designed to create a wave of innovation that may benefit the larger ecommerce industry.

India's largest online retailer is following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook which release significant technology products into the open source world.

Earlier this year, Flipkart opened its payment gateway PayZippy for use by businesses.

Founded by computer science engineers from IIT-Delhi, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Flipkart has so far been just a consumer of open source technology, where the source code of a software is made available freely to build new applications.

"The next entrepreneur will not have to build a product from scratch and if he builds something innovative and useful, Flipkart might end up consuming it," said Amod Malviya, Flipkart's head of engineering.

One of the first products made available to open source coders is Phantom, released about three months ago on Github, an online project hosting community.

Phantom can automatically queue requests to various servers, create timeouts and in case a particular service is down, it routes the request to a fallback.

"It helps isolate any problem, so the larger population of users is not affected," said Regunath Balasubramanian, principal architect at Flipkart, who previously worked on the government's Unique Identification project Aadhaar.

Globally, open source has proven to be more than just altruism; it makes business sense as well.

Android, the open source operating system released by Google, was used in 80 per cent of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter this year, according to data released this week by International Data Corporation.

The global market for Hadoop, an open source software framework for storage and large data sets, was worth $1.5 billion in 2012 and is estimated to grow to over $20 billion in 2018, according to Transparency Market Research. "Worldwide, open source is completely driven by the private sector," said Kiran Jonnalagadda, founder of Hasgeek, an online community for geeks.

Sharad Sharma, who cofounded technology thinktank iSpirt, is of the view that releasing non-strategic technology makes sense for Flipkart as the open source community will be involved in maintaining products. "Otherwise technology teams will grow unmanageable if they have to create and maintain all the technology they consume," he said.

Flipkart has already built its mobile application programming interface atop Phantom and is also building a platform for sellers.

Last month, the company released HostDB, a tool to help manage data centre inventory, on Github. These moves are already creating a ripple effect. Bangalore-based Scrollback, incubated at Singapore-based seed accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator, released its entire application on open source in April. Founded by IIT-Kharagpur alumni Aravind Ravi Sulekha and Gaurav Srivastava, Scrollback is a micro-forum for communities that can be embedded on any website.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Snapchat rejects $3bn Facebook buyout!

Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s 23-year-old co-founder and chief executive, is reportedly waiting until early next year before considering any offers. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP
Snapchat, the fast-growing messaging system, has reportedly rejected a $3bn buyout offer from Facebook.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to the negotiations, said the all-cash offer came as other investors were valuing the loss making two-year-old company at over $4bn. At $3bn Snapchat would be the most expensive acquisition Facebook has ever made.

The company is believed to have over 5 million active daily users and, according to Pew research, has been downloaded by 9% of US mobile users. The service allows people to send messages and photos with an expiration date so that they are deleted from the recipient’s mobile device shortly after they are received. In September Snapchat said it was handling over 350m messages a day.

According to the Journal, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s 23-year-old co-founder and chief executive, is waiting until early next year before considering any offers in the hope that Snapchat’s numbers will grow enough to justify an even larger valuation.

The company’s valuation has been growing as fast as its user base. In June Snapchat raised $60m from investors that valued the company at $800m. Facebook reportedly offered $1bn for Snapchat earlier this year. Last month top tech blog All Things D reported that the company was in negotiations with China’s Tencent over an investment that would value the firm at over $3.6bn.

That news followed an announcement last month from Pinterest, the social scrapbooking company, that it had raised $225m in new funds at a price that valued the firm at $3.8bn.

Snapbook’s valuation, and those of its social media peers, will likely have soared after Twitter’s initial public offering this month, which has valued the loss making short message system at over $23bn.

The spectacular growth in the company’s valuation echoes that of Groupon, the online discount company that rejected a $6bn offer from Google before filing for an IPO. In late 2011 when the company started trading it was valued at over $16bn but soon crashed to as low as $3.7bn. It has since recovered and is now worth $6.8bn.

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Apple iPad Air and iPad mini with retina display launch date and price in India

Apple is reportedly set to launch its new iPads – the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display – in India on November 29, NDTV claims. Apple announced the new iPads last month and started selling the iPad Air in the US and other countries on November 1 and the new iPad mini with Retina Display from yesterday. If the launch date is true, Apple would continue the usual four week difference between the US and India iPad launches.

Apple iPad Air price in India

WiFi only models

  • 16GB – Rs.35,900
  • 32GB – Rs.42,900
  • 64GB – Rs.49,900
  • 128GB – Rs.56,900

WiFi + Cellular models

  • 16GB – Rs. 44,900
  • 32GB – Rs.51,900
  • 64GB – Rs.58,900
  • 128GB – Rs.65,900

Apple iPad mini with Retina display price in India

WiFi only models

  • 16GB – Rs.28,900
  • 32GB – Rs.35,900
  • 64GB – Rs.42,900
  • 128GB – Rs.49,900

WiFi + Cellular models

  • 16GB – Rs.37,900
  • 32GB – Rs.44,900
  • 64GB – Rs.51,900
  • 128GB – Rs.58,900

The report also suggests that the first-gen iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi will continue to retail for Rs 21,900 while the 3G version would get a price bump from Rs 29,900 to Rs 30,900. The iPad 2 16GB will continue to sell for Rs 28,900 and Rs 37,900 for the Wi-Fi and Cellular variants respectively.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

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The Audi S6 was launched in India a few weeks back and now Mercedes Benz has responded with the E63 AMG sportscar.  The E63 AMG is a high performance car that comes in a sedan styling, and is priced at 1.29 crore rupees, ex-showroom Delhi. The car mixes luxury and performance as it is a typical Mercedes Benz. On the interiors, Mercedes Benz’s AMG tuning division has given it the Carbon package. So, you get AMG badges, sporty steering, center console, instrument console and seats.

Under the bonnet of this rather subtle-looking, yet extremely powerful four-door sedan is an AMG-tuned, 5,461cc V8 bi-turbo petrol engine. And all of that means it can churn out a whopping 550bhp of power and an earth-shattering 720Nm of spin. Yes, 720Nm of it. The two blowers fitted to this engine help develop this massive torque figure right from 1,750rpm going up to 5,250 revs, leaving no hint of lag whatsoever through the rev range.

All of that firepower is channelled to the rear wheels through an AMG Speedshift dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. You get four modes to choose how fast you want the transmission to react and shift through the ratios. You have the Comfort mode for relaxed city driving and then you have the Sport mode when you’re in the mood for some fun. And if you want even quicker shifts, you have the Sport+ mode. For no intervention from the computers, you also have the Manual mode. And when we say ‘no intervention’, it’s really a ‘no intervention’ mode. It won’t shift up even when the engine hits the redline, unlike most other manual modes. Although there’s little to complain about this transmission, it’s still not as quick as the Audi’s S-Tronic seven-speeder.

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Safety-wise, Maercedes-Benz has equipped the sedan with eight airbags –adaptive dual stage airbags and side impact air bags for driver and front passenger and window airbags.

Speaking at the event, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Eberhard Kern told reporters,"The E 63 AMG combines the attributes of a sports car with the practicality of a luxury sedan. The connoisseurs of Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles will now experience the performance and driving dynamics of an AMG with broader scope of standard equipment."

The E63 AMG sees straight into the eyes of the BMW M5 and the Audi S6. With the output of 550bhp, it’s almost as powerful as the M5. But despite that, this Merc is far too expensive compared to the other performance sedans. While the S6 is pegged at Rs 86 lakh and the M5 at Rs 96 lakh, Merc demands a full Rs 1.29 crore (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi) for this tyre-molesting, eccentric version of the E-Class.

But even with this massive price tag, the E63 AMG promises to cause a riot on the racetrack and has all the features that you would need from your everyday four-door sedan.

Pictures Courtesy - (Click to enlarge)