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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

RPon Rumor: Premium Alexa-Powered Echo With Touchscreen, Better Speakers In The Works

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A premium Alexa-powered Echo-like device is in the works according to a new report. That alone may be of no surprise to most people, but the said report also cites sources familiar with the matter when saying that the new device will not follow the same cylindrical hardware design as the current model but will instead feature a touchscreen, believed to be around 7 inches large.
Apparently keen to build on the success that the Echo, and its digital assistant Alexa has managed to garner over the past year, Amazon is said to be hard at work getting a replacement device ready for market.
Amazon Echo main
However, the new product will apparently be tablet-like in that it will feature a large touch-based screen to allow for input, although voice commands are still expected to form the foundation of user interactivity with the unannounced device.
Alongside the new screen, the new device is expected to also feature an upgraded speaker system that would improve on the small, single speaker system currently employed by the Echo.
This (screen) will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news, the people said.
Products such as the Sonos devices currently take care of music and media consumption roles for those looking for sound quality, and an upgraded speaker is expected to give Amazon’s new Echo the ability to compete in that regard.
As for when the new Echo will be announced, sources for Bloomberg believe that Amazon may be ready to announce the new device as soon as the first quarter of next year, 2017. With both Apple and Google making strides into the connected home and the Internet of Things, Amazon will want to strike whilst the iron is hot and make a play for those looking for something a little more powerful than the existing Echo.
(Source: Bloomberg)

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Apple Fall 2016 Event Roundup: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2, AirPods, More

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It’s been a big day for Apple and fans of its hardware, and with new iPhones, new Apple Watches and a host of new features having received stage time, it’s easy to forget some of the news that we were bombarded with during the event. We’re still coming to terms with everything ourselves, so to make sure we’re all squared away and on the same page, let’s have a little rundown of what was announced today.
Because there was quite a bit.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Just as was expected and had been highly rumored for months, Apple today announced both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones. Iterating on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, these newly updated handsets look largely similar to the models they replace at the head of Apple’s iPhone lineup, but internally, they are quite different. Alongside the Apple A10 Fusion chip that will apparently allow the iPhone 7 and its larger brother to smoke all iPhones that came before them, Apple’s biggest change this time around is the significantly improved camera. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature improved shooters front and back, but it’s the iPhone 7 Plus that has the real headline maker – a dual-camera setup that allows for some impressive depth-of-field effects when taking portrait shots. It also has optical zoom!
The biggest addition beyond that camera is the new Home/Touch ID button. Gone is the click mechanical button we are used to, and in comes a Force Touch button that, similar to the trackpad on Apple’s MacBook Pro, doesn’t actually move.
Apple’s new iPhones come in Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and a new Jet Black flavor, which is about as black as phones get. Apple says it might scratch easily, though, so bear that in mind when choosing a color. New storage capacities are in force here too, with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB options available, but that Jet Black iPhone is only available in 128GB and 256GB configurations.
The first revision for Apple’s wearable sees the Apple Watch become the Apple Watch Series 1, with a dual-core CPU and reduced price, while the new model is dubbed the Apple Watch Series 2. That second generation model brings a GPS chip, improved water resistance that now makes the wearable “swim proof,” and a redesigned CPU that now boasts two cores. There’s a new Nike+ version of the Apple Watch Series 2 as well, with typically gaudy colors to boot. Speaking of which, the high-end Apple Watch Series 2 now boast a ceramic white option, which looks really, really nice.
Now that Apple has announced that it has ditched the earphone jack, wireless earphones are going to be all the rage. To that end, Apple has announced new wireless AirPods and new Beats headphones. The Beats option will be recognizable to anyone who’s seen Beats Bluetooth earphones before, but Apple’s new AirPods are something completely different. Completely wireless and compatible with anything Apple makes, the earphones look like EarPods, but without the wires. Whether that means they’ll fall out easily remains to be seen, but if they do, then expect to lose them. A lot. And that’s a bummer considering the hefty $159 price tag.
iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, watchOS 3
As expected, Apple announced that iOS 10, tvOS 10 and watchOS 3 will be available September 13th while macOS Sierra will be available on September 20th, with new Golden Master betas available to developers as of today. We’ve covered all of those updates in length already so we won’t rehash it here, but all four are worth your time to download, especially iOS 10 and watchOS 3. Just download them all!

    Friday, 2 September 2016

    Google Scraps Project Ara Modular Smartphone, Discontinues Chromebook Pixel

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    It’s not been a good few days to be one of Google’s hardware projects, with not just one but two of them being canned for good. One of them was still in the early days of becoming a shipping product, whilst the other had received critical acclaim following its release in 2015.
    The first on the chopping block was the Chromebook Pixel. Originally released in February of 2015, the Chromebook Pixel was allowed to sell out, with inventory now exhausted both within Google and Best Buy stores.
    The Chromebook Pixel actually comprised of two different models – one for $999, which was discontinued in April, and another which sold for an additional $300, dubbed the Chromebook Pixel LS. Neither are now available, and it appears the Chromebook Pixel is no more. With the death of the Pixel, Google now no longer sells a laptop computing device.

    Google’s Project Ara today joined the Chromebook Pixel on Google’s high-tech scrapheap. After more than three years of promising development, Google’s Project Ara is now dead after what we all thought may prove to be one of the most interesting of Google’s projects failed to materialize.
    Project Ara was essentially a modular smartphone, allowing each individual aspect of the handset to be swapped out, with Google believing that allowed for extra flexibility and additional ease of repair. Always ambitious and perhaps never likely to turn into something we would be able to buy in stores, Project Ara was what makes Google so great, and it’s a shame to see it go. Having said that, however, if Project Ara’s demise allows Google to spend precious resources on something more likely to impact our lives, then we’re all for it!
    With so much always going on inside Google, we can only imagine what other things the company, and it’s super-clever employees are up to now that Project Ara and the Chromebook Pixel are no longer around.

    Monday, 22 August 2016

    Google's messaging app paradox

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    Google has just released Duo, and soon it will be time for it to release its fourth messaging app, Allo. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chair of Alphabet, decided this wasn't complicated enough. He wants one messaging app to triumph and cannibalize the others. Is this a good plan or the creation of a delicious paradox?
    Google has a rather frustrating/rewarding habit of acting like a puppy with insatiable curiosity. On the one hand, it means we get the best machine learning algorithms in the world put to use on our smartphones; on the other hand, it means we have four messaging apps dividing the user base and no reason to believe the number won't grow in the future.
    AndroidPIT best messenger apps new hero
    Eric Schmidt took to the stage for an interview at Startup Fest Europe, and he said that Google Allo is "better than anything else on the market" and asked that "before we sort of criticize it, why don't you use it?" Well, because no one has any idea when it's coming out. And if Google Allo really is the best messaging app ever, why wouldn't Google do away with Hangouts and Messenger?
    Google seemed to have developed such a close bond with failure that it refuses to believe wholeheartedly in any of its new products, and the threat of abandonment lurks, constantly, over every new app. Why would I feel inclined to adopt Allo and buy into the idea that is the best thing on the market, when Google itself doesn't seem willing to do the same?
    The position Eric Schmidt adopted in the interview, when asked by an audience member how Google keeps focused with such a wide array of messaging apps, was that "people have made this into a big deal: it's not." When large swathes of your user base are decrying a certain element of your ecosystem or product, it seems proud and stubborn to discount those concerns as pithy blather.
    androidpit google hangouts hero 2
    But this is not even my primary problem with what Schmidt had to say. He continued: "Assuming Allo does well, the others can be integrated into that effort over's easy to integrate the others into the winning product."
    The assumption that there will be a winning product is a big one. No other successful messaging app that I can think of has achieved its success in this way. Here's the paradox as I see it: Schmidt wants a winner to unify the system, but there can't be a winner until there is a unified system.
    Schmidt also restated that Google's approach is one of experimentation. This is great, and means that things like augmented reality are making real progress, but how effective or beneficial is this approach when you're using it on consumer products intended for casual use by millions? Why build something as an experiment that is going to deepen user frustrations when it is abandoned or sidelined in favor of the next experiment a few years later?
    Google would argue that it's always pushing forward and that this experimentation requires abandoning old products, but how long can users expect this to continue without anything being placed in their hands that Google deems worthy of pursuing for more than a couple of years?
    Why are Allo and Duo even separate apps? Google says it because they've discovered that people like to use different apps for different things, but is this true? What if people are using different apps in this way is not because they want to but simply because different people they know happen to be on these different services?
    I find the arguments for Duo and Allo flimsy, paradoxical and a little insulting. Do you agree, or do you think Google's style of experimentation is a beneficial thing for Android users?

    Monday, 23 May 2016

    Say Hello To Jarvis, A Facebook Messenger Chat Bot That Can Set Reminders For You

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    You may or may not remember that Facebook took the opportunity last month to introduce its new chat bot experience that has been integrated into the evolving Messenger platform. The chat bot integration is essentially Facebook’s way of allowing developers and businesses to build automated bots into Messenger that will allow users to benefit from services without any kind of human interaction on the opposite side. As that platform develops, Facebook will allow more bots to come along for the ride, with one of the newest early entrants being the “Jarvis” experience.
    It’s undoubtedly going to take a little bit of time for users to get used to being able to interact and talk with these bots like they are a human being on the other end of the conversation. While we are aware that these are essentially automated software solutions, it’s difficult to not think of them as actually having a personality, no matter how rudimentary or simplified the experience is built to be. Jarvis bot is currently in its early form, but will assist with productivity by reminding you to do things directly from within the Messenger platform.
    On first contact with Jarvis, “he” will ask you to state which city you actually live in. This is all part of the linear conversation flow, and allows Jarvis to get an instant idea of location and timezone to be able to set reminders that actually matter and that are worthwhile to the user. After the city is provided in the chat, Jarvis will confirm the timezone by messaging you the current time in your location. The service is then primed to start taking orders and to start setting up those reminders on your behalf.

    Users interacting with Jarvis can say simple things like “remind me to pick up my son tomorrow at 20:00”, or “remind me to go shopping first thing in the morning”. Jarvis will then reply with confirmation that the command has been understood, along with a recap of what he will actually be doing and the time that the reminder will come. All of this happens pretty much instantly and inline in a standard Messenger conversation.
    Want to delete a reminder? Well you’re kind of in a pickle with that one there. I was only able to“delete all reminders” at best, so if you wish to delete one specific reminder, there doesn’t appear to be an option or command for that, in my experience at least.
    To get started with Jarvis on Facebook Messenger, simply head over to and you can proceed from there. Alternatively you can simply search for “Hello Jarvis” in the web-based Messenger or the Messenger app on iOS or Android. In case you aren’t aware of Facebook’s chat bot phenomenon, you can check out our initial coverage of the reveal during Facebook’s F8 conference.

    Sunday, 10 April 2016 The First Ps3 Ylod/red Lights Repair Guide! (view mobile)

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    Monday, 4 April 2016

    Why I'd give up my iPhone for the Galaxy S7 Edge

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    Large smartphones are my favorite. That's why I bought an iPhone 6 Plus around 18 months ago. I was totally satisfied with it until a few days ago when something big happened: I fell for another smartphone – the Galaxy S7 Edge. What was I going to do?
    AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Opinion 2082

    Before I suggest how to deal with smartphone temptation, I'd like to explain why I bought an iPhone 6 Plus in the first place. First, my long-term use of iOS was a decisive factor; as was the larger Full HD display.
    The love for my iPhone 6 Plus began to show cracks during Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. The cause of an approaching break, a bond shattering, spurred by an old love. The cause also had a name: the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The dual-edge version of the Galaxy S7 infatuated me first by its looks, but also the way it feels. The ugly camera bump had shrunk to a level that I can live with. The design of the 5.5-inch smartphone is on a level that I expect from a smartphone within this price range.
    With the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung has managed to incorporate a 5.5-inch display in a sleeker body, even sleeker than the smaller Galaxy S7, so that I can use it easily with one hand. After becoming a father quite recently, I consider this a big plus. My son in one arm while the smartphone is in the free hand. It must be like this, otherwise a disaster could happen.
    Another feature the Galaxy S7 Edge has that my iPhone 6 Plus doesn't is IP68 certification for water resistance. As a father, this is quite important to me. My little son is at an age where almost anything can be food, or anything can swim. But the Galaxy S7 Edge could survive the meanest slobber attacks, as well as accidental drowning in the bathtub.
    AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Opinion 2104
    If the Galaxy S7 Edge takes a swim, you're OK. / © ANDROIDPIT
    Now onto hardware performance. The great display and exquisite camera don't need extra discussion – my colleague Camila has discussed these in depth already – and I can only nod in agreement.
    There are also features that literally make me squeal with joy. The Samsung Game Launcher is one of them. Seriously – why has no other manufacturer thought that you could enjoy the Gamer Heart via relatively simple means. It has never been so easy to take a screenshot or record video of a game action as with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Or the option that all alerts are deactivated during gameplay. It's simply awesome.
    Despite praise being heaped on the Galaxy S7 Edge, there are a few things I'd criticize. The built-in speaker placement means that sound is not optimal. The glass back is slippery and a fingerprint magnet. But these small issues don't sour the overall positive experience of using the Galaxy S7 Edge.
    AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Opinion 2073
    The S7 Edge comes with a built-in fingerprint magnet. / © ANDROIDPIT
    There is just one final point, but an incredibly important one, that I'd like to make. It totally sucks that I can't transfer all my already-purchased iOS apps to the S7 Edge. I've literally spent years building up my collection. But it's not in the hands of Samsung, but rather Google.
    It would be desirable if Google could make it possible to share apps between both platforms. That would speed up my switch from the iPhone 6 Plus to a Galaxy S7 Edge. Such a transfer is actually possible, as seen with Google Play Music. Here I could transfer my existing music collection easily, without having to buy everything again.
    As long as I can't do this, it doesn't really make sense for me to drop the iPhone 6 Plus for an S7 Edge. But, as I wave goodbye to the S7 Edge, I'm winking at it with one eye.
    Have you fallen in love with the Galaxy S7 Edge? Let me know in the comments. 

    How the Samsung vs Apple Supreme Court battle affects Android

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    Apple successfully sued Samsung in 2012. But now the real battle begins. Despite Apple's pleadings, the Supreme Court – the highest court in the United States – is reviewing it. This is the first patent case taken up by the court in over 120 years. Find out how this important fight affects Android technology in the future.
    androidpit samsung galaxy s7 vs apple iphone 6 2

    The design of Android devices hangs in the balance

    The Samsung vs Apple United States Supreme Court case could have a major impact on the design of all Android devices in the future. Samsung lost to Apple in a lower court in 2012 and was ordered to pay a US$548 million penalty. Samsung claims part of that fine – US$399 million for design patent infringement – was unjustified.
    Samsung was penalized for 'copying' designs of the iPhone. These included: the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, its bezel and icons. But those were just a small part of what made Samsung smartphones so popular. Apple's real beef is the loss of its market share to fair competition, and Samsung is addressing that with this fight. 
    The design of Samsung devices is a small part of what makes them so popular
    But Samsung is not going into this case alone. Many tech companies and industry influencers are behind them. Both Facebook and Google led them in filing a friend-of-the-court brief on Samsung's behalf. They claim an Apple win would result in more design patent lawsuits, and curb innovation. 
    AndroidPIT galaxy s7 vs iphone 6 2
    The design of Android devices would be affected by the case. / © ANDROIDPIT

    A loss for Samsung is a loss for Android

    A Samsung loss could be devastating to smartphone innovation, especially to design. A Supreme Court ruling sets legal presidence for smartphone manufacturers in the future. So if Apple wins, any company could go to a lower court and claim damages for patent infringement. The opposing company would have little choice but to pay the full amount awarded by the lawsuit. 
    Manufacturers come out with a few changes to the design of their flagships each year. The best of these are incorporated into the next generation of devices. They are not copied, or as Apple would say, stolen. But they are used by every company to make all phones better.
    This innovation-sharing is healthy for everyone creating better smartphones. Manufacturers compete with each other for our business and the prices of devices go down. If we want to keep getting cheaper better-designed devices that build on technical innovation, then a Samsung win is the best outcome.
    shutterstock androidpit supreme court
    The United States must protect patents but also innovation. / © ANDROIDPIT, shutterstock

    The United States rewards innovators and competitors

    The United States of America is a pioneering, capitalist country. It thrives on innovation and competition through free trade. That's part of our culture and we're proud of it. If Apple wants to continue touting its status as an American company (though most of its products are made abroad) then it needs to start acting like one. When another company makes a higher-quality product, you don't go crying to the courts about it. You adapt and compete or go under.
    If Apple wants to continue promoting itself as an 'American' company then it needs to act like one
    Apple did not invent the smartphone. It also didn't invent cell phones, phones or electricity. These were built upon over generations of technological progression. Instead of building on other companies' improvements on the smartphone (like Apple did long ago with the iPhone), it used its resources to bully competitors out of the US market.
    Because of Apple's litigation, manufacturers like Xiaomi hesitate to compete here, afraid of being fined over design patent infringement. We don't want this to continue. We want more competition. All we can do now is hope the United States Supreme Court does the right thing and sides with Samsung. 
    What do you think about this fight? Let us know in the comments. 

    How To Get iOS-Style App Launcher On Windows 10

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    Are you a PC user who just wishes that they didn’t have to use the standard Windows desktop and would much prefer something, say, like an iPad? No, probably not, but if you were, then PaperPlane Smart Launch would be just what you would need.
    Free to download and compatible with Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10, PaperPlane Smart Launch replaces the standard Windows desktop with an iPad-like interface which is designed to do away with any clutter and simply show you the apps you have installed. The resemblance to an iPad, or iOS interface is certainly an obvious one, that’s for sure. It also closely resembles Mac OS X’s Launchpad, not that anyone actually uses it!

    With PaperPlane Smart Launch installed, users will have quick access to all the things they need to use on a daily basis, without having to wade through Windows and its desktop in order to get to them. Yes, that’s what Windows 8’s Modern interface was supposed to do, but this looks like an iPad. So there’s that.
    quickly create new desktops by double-clicking an empty space, and is fully customizable, from layout to appearance. The important thing to remember here is that PaperPlane Smart Launch is free to download and use, so even if you think this might be a good fit but want to give it a try first, then you can do exactly that with no buyer’s remorse if it turns out to not be your cup of tea. With nothing to lose, why not give it a try?
    PaperPlane Smart Launch for Windows can be downloaded from

    Monday, 1 February 2016

    You Can Now Run Windows 95 In Your Web Browser

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    If you’re reading this and are young enough to have missed Windows 95 the first time around, then you’re one of the unlucky ones. It may not be anything to look at right now, but Windows 95 was something special when it made its appearance following the days of Windows 3.11 and DOS. Microsoft changed the way we thought of Windows with Windows 95.
    So when we heard that we could relive some of the Windows 95 magic in all of its gray and green glory, we took notice. When we were told that we could get our Windows 95 nostalgia fix by opening a web browser and visiting a URL, we got a little bit giddy. For that, we make no apology.
    Made possible by a 19-year-old developer in Scotland named Andrea Faulds, Windows 95 can now run in a web browser thanks to emscripten, an emulator that compiles C++ code to JavaScript at runtime. That means Windows 95 can be converted into something that can run in a web browser, to a point. Some things don’t work as well as they used to, including a bug that sees Internet Explorer crash. Thinking about it, that’s probably actually quite accurate to the experience all those years ago!
    Legally speaking, things are a little murky here, although we can’t imagine Microsoft wanting to get too involved. Nevertheless, Faulds notes that users should treat his “Windows 95 in your browser” project as one for education purposes.
    While Microsoft no longer sell Windows 95 as a retail product, nor do they still sell licenses or support for it (which ended on December 31, 2001), it is still very much protected by copyright law, and you may be infringing it.
    Whatever the legalities, those of us that grew up playing Freecell on a Windows 95 PC will be pleased to be able to do the same again, twenty years later.
    Point your web browser to to experience Windows 95 in the year 2016.

    Wednesday, 27 January 2016

    iOS 9.3 Beta 2 Vs iOS 9.2.1 Head-To-Head Speed Test Comparison

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    Apple’s recently released iOS 9.2.1 is at times noticeably faster at carrying out common tasks like opening the camera and switching between apps than its predecessors, especially on older devices. Apple’s new releases of iOS aren’t always quite so forgiving, so it’s always good to see new performance being drawn out of old hardware.
    But there’s a new kid on the block in the form of iOS 9.3 beta 2, which was recently released to both developers and those on the public beta program alike. The new build is the latest to arrive with some of Apple’s newest features for the iPhone and iPad, including the much talked aboutNight Shift. New features are great and all, but what we really want to know is how fast those running the current betas can expect their iPhones and iPads to run once it’s installed. Has Apple managed to push on from the success of iOS 9.2.1, or has it had to dial things back?
    That’s a question that can only be answered by taking a host of devices and comparing their performance across a couple of different versions of iOS – in this case, iOS 9.2.1 and iOS 9.3 beta 2. The folks at iAppleBytes has done another sterling job, releasing four videos to illustrate their findings.
    All four videos compare the aforementioned versions of iOS across four different pieces of hardware; iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 6, with the results speaking for themselves. We won’t completely spoil it for you, but what we will say is to remember that this is still beta software in the case of iOS 9.3. Logging will be turned on, and things won’t be quite as optimized as they would normally be, so it’s not time to write iOS 9.3 off just yet.
    You can view all four videos below.
    (Source: iAppleBytes)

    Monday, 25 January 2016

    Samsung To Reportedly Release All Of Its Mobile Apps For iPhone This Year

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    Samsung and Apple have long been competing against one another for smartphone dominance, but it looks as though the South Korean company could be about to take a leaf out of Microsoft’s book. Samsung has already confirmed that it plans to bring official iOS support for its Gear S2smartwatch, and now, according to a new report, the company has internal plans to release nearly all of its existing mobile apps onto Apple’s iOS platform in the coming months.
    It’s an interesting report. It suggests that Samsung is not only in the latter stages of bringing official iOS support for the Gear S2, but that it’s also in the midst of developing a Gear Fit Manager app for the iOS platform. When released, the Gear Fit Manager will afford owners of the Gear Fit to connect the popular activity tracker with the app with the intention of tracking various fitness activities that are then synced and stored on the iPhone. The development of that platform also ties in nicely with the speculation that Samsung is also developing an iOS version of its proprietary S Health platform.
    Porting the S Health platform to Apple’s mobile platform will allow users to track workouts, consumption of food and calories, sleep, and all over activities that have an impact of their lifestyle. Storing and collating this data to then upload to S Health will allow users the ability to get an overall picture of their lifestyle and associated health and fitness levels – across different platforms. The story doesn’t stop there though for Samsung, its apps, and its plans to bring them to users who prefer the iOS platform. There’s speculation suggesting that the Remote Control and Family Square apps are also on their way to Apple’s iPhone and iPad hardware.
    If those apps don’t float your boat, then how about iOS variants of the Level app for Samsung’s Level audio products? Or the Smart Camera app that brings an enhanced user interface and additional improved features specific to iPhone owners? There’s no real granularity to the details at the moment along the lines of when Samsung actually plans to introduce these apps. In fact, it’s entirely unknown if Samsung actually has a roadmap at this stage. We can however expect to see these apps filter through by the end of the year.
    (source: SamMobile)

    Sunday, 24 January 2016

    Turn Any Still Image Into A Live Photo With LivePapers App [Download]

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    We have seen plenty of apps on the App Store which let users convert Live Photos to still images or a Live Photo to a share-friendly gif or video file. But about the other way around? What if we want to convert our existing still images into animated Live Photos of sorts? A new app called LivePapers can help us do just that.
    The app is easy and simple to use, with the user having to select any still image from the Camera Roll in the app and then applying desired animation effects and filters from a set of available options. The app also comes with an in-app camera viewfinder to help users quickly grab a new still photo and then convert it into a Live Photo by applying effects on the fly should they wish.
    iPhone 6s Live Photos main
    The effects available in the app are what essentially gives the photo that animated feel which can be invoked using 3D Touch gesture on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Those with non-3D Touch devices running iOS 9.2 can also view the animated Live Photo using the long-press gesture.
    Live Photos created using LivePapers app can be saved back to the Camera Roll. Images saved as Live Photos this way can also be set as Live Wallpapers on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Because of Apple’s limitation, Live Wallpapers option is available only on the 3D Touch supported iPhone models.
    LivePapers app can be grabbed right now for $1.99 from the App Store. It is compatible with all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models running iOS 9.2 or up.
    (Download: LivePapers for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch from the App Store)

    Friday, 22 January 2016

    Microsoft Recalls Surface Pro, Pro 2, Pro 3 Power Cords, Here’s How To Get A Replacement

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    Users of a Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro 3 may want to check their device’s power cord out, after Microsoft initiated a recall of the cords sold with devices.
    In a post on its website, Microsoft began the recall by outlining which of its tablets are affected, with all Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 requiring their power cords to be returned to the company. Things are a little more complicated for Surface Pro 3 owners, however, with only devices that were bought before March 15th 2015 needing to be swapped out.
    Microsoft will provide one AC power cord replacement free of charge for each eligible Surface Pro device that you own. No proof of damage is required to receive a replacement AC power cord.
    Owners of Surface Pros that are eligible for a free replacement power cord will need to fill in an online form here in order to begin the process, with one form required per device, meaning those with multiple cords that require replacement unfortunately having to fill in a new form for each. Business customers need to contact the Surface for Business customer team.
    The reason for the recall appears to be relating to a design flaw that allows the cords to become damaged during normal use, with newer cords – those sold after March 15th 2015 – have been redesigned to avoid such issues. Photographs of both the old and new designs are available on Microsoft’s support page.
    Image from Microsoft’s support page for the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 power cord replacement
    If you are in possession of a Surface Pro that requires a power cord swap-out, we suggest you get it done without delay. Microsoft isn’t going into detail as to what the potential outcomes are of using an older power cord, but companies don’t swap out accessories unless they need to and while Microsoft may not have sold a huge number of Surface Pros over the years, we suspect we’re talking of more than a few of its customers being affected by this recall.

    iPhone 5se Detailed, Launching In March Along With iPad Air 3 And New Apple Watch Bands

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    It turns out that we might get a new iPhone in March after all, if new rumors are to be believed.9to5Mac is today reporting that a new 4-inch iPhone will be released this March, with the “iPhone 5se” being its designation. More on that name in a minute.
    While rumors had already pegged March as the release date for a new 4-inch iPhone, at the time rumored to be the iPhone 6c, it is now being reported that Apple will call the new model – codenamed “N69″ – the iPhone 5se with the device being a mashup of older iPhone 5s and newer iPhone 6 technology.
    Aesthetically, the rumored iPhone 5se will see the iPhone 5s’ chamfered edges replaced by curved glass just like the iPhone 6/6s while the screen will stick to the 4-inch display that was so popular before the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus jumped to 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens respectively.
    When it comes to internals, the updated handset will feature the same 8 megapixel and 1.2 megapixel cameras that were part of the iPhone 6, bringing support for larger panoramas and autofocus during video recording. An NFC chip will also be included in the new iPhone 5se to enable Apple Pay, while the heart of the handset will be A8 and M8 chips just like the iPhone 6. A barometer will also be included in order to allow the Health app to track elevation, according to the new report.
    The new, unannounced handset will be available in the same Silver, Space Gray, Gold and Rose Gold color options that we have become accustomed to of late.
    As far as software is concerned, Live Photos will indeed be supported by the new iPhone 5se, although that doesn’t mean that the screen will feature 3D Touch because, if the rumor is true, the iPhone 5se screen will not gain pressure sensitivity capabilities.
    On the subject of that name, it is now being suggested that the designation is in reference to the device being a special edition, or enhanced version of the 5s. While not being up to the same specification as the current iPhone 6s flagship, the new, smaller iPhone 5se would certainly be no slouch in the performance stakes. If a 4-inch iPhone is your cup of tea, then the iPhone 5se may be a good bet for you, assuming it’s real, of course.
    Also set to make an appearance in March is the rumored iPad Air 3 following claims that devices with code names iPad 6,3 and iPad 6,4 have begun showing up. It’s unclear what the iPad Air 3 would bring to the table, especially given the iPad Pro’s recent introduction, but we don’t expect to see Apple Pencil support just yet.
    Fans of the Apple Watch are unlikely to see second-generation model this March, though new software update and perhaps new bands are a possibility at this point. Apple Watch 2 will likely be unveiled during the iPhone 7 event in September 2016.
    apple watch link bracelet knockoff 2
    If even a fraction of this turns out to be accurate, March is going to be a busy – and expensive – month for all of us.
    (Source: 9to5Mac [1][2])

    New Apple Patent Suggests Curved Wraparound Displays For Future iPhones

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    A new patent application shows what Apple may have in mind for the iPhone, with curved displays very much the order of the day. Apple is expected to dump LCD screens in favor of a flexible OLED solution by 2018, making this new patent particularly pertinent.
    Apple patents are a wonderful thing because even when they never amount to anything – there are plenty of Apple patents that never see the light of day in a real product – it gives us hope that someone deep inside Apple is thinking so far outside the box that they can’t see it anymore, and that the likes of Google aren’t the only ones letting their engineers come up with weird and wonderful ideas.
    The latest patent to pop up with Apple’s name on it is actually one that could very well be used at some point in the near future. Submitted last September and then approved this week, the patent describes an “electronic device with a wrapped display,” which is something Apple has been rumored to have on its roadmap for a while. Said rumors have inspired designers to come up with concepts showing how Apple could employ the technology with the iPhone.
    The patent itself shows a range of different uses for the wrapped displays, ranging from devices with flat displays and minor curves to some truly odd ideas – including fully cylindrical displays – that make our head hurt. With Apple said to be making the switch from LCD to flexible OLED as soon as 2018, we think we can guess which of these will find their way to market first, and it’s not the cylinder.
    As we said earlier, not all of Apple’s patents amount to something, but if there is one that we think is likely to come in useful at some point, it’s this one. We can’t wait to see what Apple does with it.
    (Source: USPTO)

    Sunday, 3 January 2016

    Samsung’s CES 2016 Banners Show Smart Fridge With Huge Touchscreen

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    As CES 2016 is just around the corner, technology companies the world over are getting ready to blitz us with some great (and some not so great) ideas throughout the event. One of those that will have a big presence at CES 2016 is Samsung, and if the advertising artwork that it is hanging in the main hallway at CES is anything to go by, it seems the smart fridge is once again making a comeback.
    The artwork doesn’t really give too much away other than to show what appears to be one of the company’s new smart fridges, but with what seems to be a large touchscreen on one of the doors. That in itself isn’t all that interesting, but what is catching the eyes of many is the fact that this screen appears to be running a customized version of Android. In fact, the artwork almost looks like it’s been mocked up by pasting an Android phone on top of a fridge, and that’s about it. Still, because it doesn’t specifically mention Google’s mobile OS, we can’t say for sure. It could very well be running the Linux-based Tizen.
    What really has us interested is the appearance of the familiar Android capacitive buttons on the bottom of that screen. Could it be like one of those very large-screen Samsung’s Galaxy tablets but shoved into the door of one of its fancy fridges? Given some of Samsung’s design work in the past, would anything really surprise us at this point?
    As for the fridge itself, it looks like standard smart fridge fare – such as being able to make shopping lists, read the news, leave digital post-it notes and even listen to music – are on the cards, though at least two of those features strike me as downright crazy. This is a fridge after all – who wants to read the news on it?
    Of course, I also used to wonder who would ever want to take photos on their phones at one point. One can’t be right every time!
    (Source: The Verge)

    10 things to expect from Android in 2016

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    The year is drawing to a close, and it's time to reflect on last 12 months and peer into our crystal ball to see what the next will bring. The short answer: lots. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for Android, and big things are coming. Here are 10 things to expect from Android in 2016.

    AndroidPIT Android N Nutella 4
    Android Nutella, anyone? / © ANDROIDPIT

    1. Android N

    It’s a while away so details are still scarce, but we know of at least one key feature that will be present in Android N: a split-screen UI. That’s because the Pixel C team said so in a Reddit AMA. According to Chrome and Android Director of User Experience Glen Murphy: “We’re working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form factor… there are many things, like multi-window, that we’ve been spending a lot of time on – hopefully we can share more about this soon.”
    His colleague, hardware director Andrew Bowers, added: “We're working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday. But we'd spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!"
    As for the name… Android Nutella, anybody? Nougat? Nom nom nom?

    2. Chinese smartphone invasion

    China is important to Android in two ways: it’s a huge market, and it’s home to some of the most fast-moving and aggressive manufacturers in the smartphone business.
    Firms such as Xiaomi and OnePlus have very efficient supply chains and can offer devices for a fraction of the cost of their rivals, and you can be sure they’re giving the big-name Android firms sleepless nights already. Xiaomi, in particular, is known as “the Apple of China”, a phrase that should strike fear into Samsung in particular.
    ANDROIDPIT xiaomi MI 4C 5
    Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi are flexible and aggressive. / © ANDROIDPIT

    3. Touch technology

    If you’ve envied the 3D Touch feature in the latest iPhones, you’ll be pleased to know it’s coming to a phone near you too. Synaptics’ ClearForce touch sensing tech has been developed in conjunction with “leading global OEMs… to deliver this new dimension in touch with force-enabled smartphones expected to ship in early 2016.”

    4. Better processors

    The two big processors of 2016 will be the Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8, which you’ll find in the most powerful Androids. The Exynos 8 is expected to power the Samsung Galaxy S7, while the Snapdragon will appear in other firms' flagships.
    Early benchmarks suggest that the 820 will be a powerful performer and won’t suffer from the thermal throttling that plagued its predecessor, the 810.
    Exynos vs Snapdragon
    2016 will bring new additions to both families: the Exynos 8 and the Snapdragon 820. / © ANDROIDPIT

    5. YouTube Music

    No matter what you think of Google Play Music All Access, as a brand, it doesn’t have the clout of Spotify or Apple Music. YouTube does, and while the announcement of YouTube Music in November was overshadowed by the YouTube Red subscription service, it could be a really big deal and a selling point for Android phones.

    6. Ad blocking blocking

    No, that’s not a typo. A storm is brewing over the use of ad blocking. Some phone networks are considering adding it automatically to save users’ bandwidth and app developers are offering it for browsers.
    Whether at a network level or on individual smartphones, ad blockers could spell doom for ad-funded websites, and some of them are starting to strike back by blocking anybody running ad blockers. The war’s likely to get nastier during 2016.

    7. Dark theme – finally

    The first developer previews of Marshmallow contained a battery-friendly dark theme, but it didn’t make the final cut. We think it’ll turn up in Android N.
    None more black than Dark Theme. / © Android Police

    8. Laptops running Android

    The Pixel C may be the shape of things to come: instead of choosing ChromeOS for its tablet-laptop hybrid, Google went for Android instead. Given that Android already scales down to smartwatches and up to HDTVs, embracing laptops and hybrids seems like a sensible move.
    AndroidPIT Google Pixel C 8742
    The Pixel C runs Android, not ChromeOS. / © ANDROIDPIT

    9. An exit or a merger

    As we’ve been saying for a while, Android isn’t necessarily a brilliant business for hardware firms. Margins are terrifyingly small and some companies aren’t making profit at all.
    We think at least one familiar name will make a radical change in 2016 – not necessarily getting out of the smartphone business, but perhaps teaming up with another firm. It wouldn’t be the first time a loss-making phone firm merged with another in order to save its bacon; remember Sony Ericsson?

    10. Whatever’s in the iPhone 7

    Some of the things we’ve already mentioned, such as 3D Touch and split-screen working, were popularized by Apple before becoming a big deal on Android, and that’s good. Nobody has a monopoly on bright ideas, and if Apple comes up with something useful, then we’re quite happy to see it make its way across to Android.
    This could be an important year, then, because it’s the tick in Apple’s tick/tock phone development cycle: the iPhone 7 is expected to be significantly different to the 6/6s models.
    iphone 6s 3d touch 2
    Good ideas are good ideas, even if Apple comes up with them first. / © Apple
    What do you think we'll see from Android in 2016? Tell us your predictions and hopes in the comments.