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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Whatsapp's voice calling feature roll out starts

Whatsapp's ever leaked and much awaited calling feature has started rolling out in a phased manner to the users in the wild. First reported by Reddit user pradnesh07 on the forum, the feature seems to follow the basic invite to activate method. It was also reported that this seems to work only for the users on Lollipop and not others as yet. It requires the latest APK from the website since the Play Store does not seem to be updated with the latest as yet.
You may be in luck if you are rooted. You could try this nifty terminal trick. However, you need to run this each time you need to make use of the calling feature.
There are no details available on the call quality and the actual usage report yet. We shall keep you posted as soon as we have more details.




Flipboard introduces Topics for readers from the UK and India

Until now, about 34000 topics that Flipboard had initially made available were only for the readers in the US, the readers in UK and India have finally been heard to. Flipboard today finally introduced Topics specifically tailored to UK And India.

With today’s update, readers in the UK and India can access topics too; including some tailored to local life and culture. Examples include “Parliament,” “The City,” “Royal Baby,” “English Premier League,” “Lok Sabha,” “Indian Super League” and “Indian food.”

If you’re using the UK or India version of Flipboard, you’ll now be asked to select topics via the new topic picker after updating your Flipboard. You can also search topic or tap on topic tags shown on articles to add them to your choice of topics. Flipboard has made it easy to follow any topic: tap the “follow” button to have stories from that topic and from magazines the Flipboard community is curating to add to your Flipboard.

Flipboard magazines are unique people-powered packages of articles, photos and videos on just about anything you can imagine and are indexed by our algorithms. These are then presented to readers via topic tags on stories and in search.

It is a point worth noting that Flipboard had acquired Zite some time back. The new update incorporates the features of Zite that Flipboard had been lacking all this while.

Google Earth Pro now free, to offer all features gratis

Google Earth Pro which has so long costed $399 for license has overnight been converted to a free application. While Google Earth on maps layer and standalone only showcased 3D buildings in addition to a few other layers, Pro version enabled the capabilities to measure building Dimensions as a USP. Making a paid version free overnight has its implications and may hurt the wallets of those who bought the license in the near past. We would like to know how Google plans to compensate these people.

Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world.
Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we're making it available for free. To see what Earth Pro can do for you—or to just have fun flying around the world—grab a free key and download Earth Pro today. If you're an existing user, your key will continue to work with no changes required.
Plan in 3D using Google Earth Pro
Whether you're planning a new office building or a trip to the mountains, check out Google Earth Pro and see how easy it is to visualize your world.
Posted by Stafford Marquardt, Product Manager, Google Earth Pro

Cross posted from Google Maps Blog

Google Now Updated to display Cards from installed third party apps

Cross posted from the Google Search Blog

Now cards in the Google app give you relevant information at the right time, without you having to ask for it—whether it’s the score from the Rockets game, your flight status, or the latest story on Greece’s new government. But a lot of useful information lives inside apps on your phone, from your favorite music to last-minute hotel deals to home-buying tips. Today, you have two ways to get information from these apps—either remember to constantly open them up and look, or get a notification, which you may forget to act on if it shows up at the wrong time.

Starting today, the Google app on Android can help you keep up with all the good stuff in 40 different apps  at a glance—it’ll bring you Now cards to help you out with your day-to-day life, giving you information that’s helpful to you, right when you need it.

In the morning, catch up on news of the day with cards from The Guardian. On your commute, Pandora can give you recommendations for music to play, based on what you like, or you can be reminded to complete your daily French lesson on Duolingo. During your downtime, you can take care of the groceries, with a card from Instacart reminding you to stock up on the things you often order. If you’re planning a trip and looked up places to stay on your Airbnb app but couldn't make up your mind, you’ll see Now cards from Airbnb for the location and dates you’ve researched. And when you land at an airport, you’ll see a card to order a Lyft.

We’ve teamed up with 30+ developers to bring you these and other new cards, which are rolling out over the next few weeks. Check out some examples on our site—we plan to add more cards and expand this feature over time. Until then, make sure to update to the latest version of the Google app and your other favorite apps, and be on the lookout for handy Now cards to help you with tasks big and small.

Posted by Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wally+ : A simple expense tracker


I have been using Wally+ for nearly a week now for almost all kind of expense tracking. I am out of Bangalore and that means that I am continuously spending more than I can save. While this is not necessarily bad, but it definitely is a cause for concern to me since not all that I spend can be reimbursed on my day job. I needed an app that would not only track what, where and why I spend but also at the same time would be non intrusive. This is exactly what Wally+ meets.

What I liked:

  • The app does not ask you to set up a bank account/Credit card number.
  • All the data that you enter is saved and synchronized to all the devices you are logged into. This allows you to restore your data in case you change your device.
  • The set up and account creation process is super simple and does not need too much of effort.
  • You can add incomes of different types, one time receipt and fixed recurring monthly income.
  • You can add debts in terms of credit card expenses and plan on how to pay the same off.
  • It is super easy to add the expense. Going by the Material Design principles, there is a hamburger icon that simplifies this process.


The app still being in Beta, several of these issues could be fixed. However, these have been my observations and are solely my opinions.

What I did not like:

  • While adding expenses, you need to quit the keyboard in order to see what other fields need to be populated. The app offers no way to scroll with the keyboard still open.
  • The app currently offers no reminders or notifications to enter the expenses. Ideally, it would have been nice to have the app remind you at a predefined time to enter your expenses. I have missed entering the expenses for the last few days and don't really recall them now.
  • The review screen is counter intuitive and needs quite some time getting used to it.
  • I would have preferred something like a passbook style history to know what my spends or incomes have been. Presently, this is not happening as expected.


All in all, Wally+ is a really nice app and is highly recommended. You can download and install the same from here and see how it helps you.

You can read more about Wally+ at http://wally.me/


Makaan.com is the "On the Go destination" for properties

Makaan.com is the "On the Go destination" for properties

India is a "Mobile first" internet market, with majority of searches happening on mobile. Mobile searches are growing at a faster pace compared to desktop. Traditionally mobile version of all sites (including property sites) has been a poor adaptation of desktop sites, slow, with small images and with limited features. Most sites are not designed for mobile, making discovery of properties extremely difficult.

This is set to change now with Makaan.com's revamped mobile site making it an ideal "On the Go destination" for property buyers. The updated mobile site is extremely contemporary with host of features facilitating easy discovery of properties. Some enhancements that are likely to benefit the buyers are:

·         Made for mobile: The new site is not a strip down version of desktop, but designed considering the requirements of mobile users. Key interfaces like Home and Search screens are optimized for highest Google page speed score for usability. The site automatically responds to your screen size, OS, bandwidth and location. All this intelligence helps to have an amazing experience across various devices and browsers.
·         Rich features: Being optimized does not impact the feature list and value that it delivers. Loaded list of features like immersive photo view, map view, nearby facilities, amenities, project detail helps you to narrow your property search.  You can easily find the neighborhood options around a property like Schools, ATM, Hospitals, Malls, Train/Metro and Bus stations. Once you like a property it can be stored in your "favorite bucket" for easy access. "Photo view" on mobile is the 1st initiative of its kind in the Indian property market.
·         Contemporary Look:  The site has an easy and natural user interface. All the important information is highlighted for easy understanding with quick buttons. It requires minimum typing and enables easy swipes. Latest technology and smart way to represent information helps to de-clutter interface. Easy navigation ensures that you do not move away from the property search anytime (this was a major limitation with other property sites).
·         Instant Connect: Leave your concerns related to privacy and spam behind. You can view contact details of the sellers without filling any form. Additionally, use the "Connect seller" feature where Makaan.com connects buyers and sellers together thru a system generated call. If the seller is busy, the system retries automatically after a sometime. 
·         Artificial intelligence: Logic running in the background works like a virtual property assistant to help you find right properties based on your preference. Based on your journey of discovering properties, Makaan.com automatically personalizes the results for you. It also recommends properties instantly matching your property requirement.  Makaan.com also sends FREE property alerts to your email. "In-content refine" technique is used for the 1st time in the Indian property market. It enables you to refine results based on bedrooms, budget etc while you are browsing properties and without you having to make multiple selections.

To summarize, the new Makaan.com mobile site is an easy, intuitive and smooth interface aimed to help you, find your dream home in a faster, smoother and sharper manner. Go and discover the new www.makaan.com mobile site.

Hike Messenger Introduces Free Voice Calling


hike messenger, India’s only homegrown chat application, today introduces free ‘Hike Calls’. The introduction of this feature will allow hike users to call each other for free, over 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi and across the globe in over 200 countries. The introduction of hike calls has come in within a month of hike making it’s first acquisition - a free calling app – Zip Phone.

hike calls are optimized to consume very little data, giving its users more calling minutes per MB of data. Given that a majority of the mobile-internet users of India are still experimenting with data and are not on a high-bandwidth connection, this optimization becomes critical for the Indian market.

Commenting on the launch of the calling feature, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, hike messenger, said “While building free hike calls, we kept two things in mind. Firstly, India is a very cost sensitive market and as a result we’ve ensured that our service is extremely efficient on data. It means our users can pack in more minutes per MB when calling on hike. Secondly, we’ve made hike’s free calling service available globally in over 200+ countries. Hikers from India can now speak with their loved ones in India and across the world for free.”

The free hike calling feature has been launched in beta on Android, which contributes to over 90% of hike’s user base. The iOS and Windows versions are slated to release by the end of this quarter.

Launched in December 2012, hike has over 35M users as in August, 2014: and has raised $86M from Tiger Global and BSB till date. The app also boasts of a fairly young user base with over 90% of its users being under the age of 25 and residing in India. The chat application has localized features, which are developed keeping in mind the infrastructural and cultural requirements such as Hike Offline - lets you message your friends even when they’re offline, Hidden Mode - allows users to hide their private chats with a password, Regional Stickers - helps users express more in their own language, amongst many others.

Additional information:
You can download the app at - http://get.hike.in/
Visit the Hike blog for more details on the new features -  http://hike.in/blog/

Hike’s Journey
Dec, 2012: Global launch
Feb 2013: Messaging traffic grows 10X week on week
April 2013: Hits the first 5M user milestone in just 4 months of its launch  | Raised $7M from BSB
June 2013: Stickers are on hike!
Aug 2013: Digital ad campaign goes live
Nov 2013: Co-creation exercise with users – including real-time feedback from the users for product development
Dec 2013: Hike turns 1 year old! Launches two-way Chat Themes
Feb 2014: Hit the 15M user mark
April 2014: Receives $14M fresh funding from BSB
June 2014: Crossed 20M user mark, launched TVC
July 2014: Hit #1 rank on App stores
August 2014: Crosses 35M user mark, receives $65M fresh funding led by Tiger Global
November 2014: Regional stickers on hike!
January 2015: Acquired voice-calling company Zip Phone
January 2015: Launches free Hike Calls services







Social Media Week is Back in Town with a new theme ‘Upwardly Mobile’- The Rise of the connected class


Social Media Week is Back in Town with a new theme 'Upwardly Mobile'- The Rise of the connected class
City set to host the fourth edition of the global event, from February 23-27, 2015

Bangalore goes social again with the fourth edition of Social Media Week (SMW) in India with the theme being Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of The Connected Class. Multiple sessions through the week will explore the dynamic ways of how social media strategy is converging in multicultural market and how mobility devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones along with social technology have transformed the way we work.  This international festival is hosted twice a year, in India, by R SQUARE Consulting, an integrated marketing services firm.
The five-day event hosted at various venues in the city such as The Leela Palace, News Café, and Big Pitcher, among others; will bring together brands, agencies, influencers, practitioners, academic thinkers, entrepreneurs, public officials, celebrities and international experts, who will provide a blend of information and ideas through panel discussions, debates, master classes and more. Some interesting events in this edition of SMW include the Social Media Strategy Challenge, 'App'athon, Tweetathon and Blogging Challenge. SMW'15 February edition is scheduled simultaneously across the world in seven cities– Bangalore, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Jakarta, Lagos, Milan and New York.
Speaking on the initiative, P. Krishnakumar, Executive Director & General Manager, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India said, "The marketplace today constitutes of a dynamic set of consumers who are constantly evolving the manner in which they engage with brands and with each other. Social media has been one of the pillars of this evolution and Dell has embraced it as a key medium for outreach to keep in step with them. A consumer brand must recognize the value in being able to reach out to its audience in the manner that they prefer to connect.. We believe that SMW is a platform which explores the dynamic nature of social media. We also see it as the right platform to demonstrate that technological innovation is imperative in this context; and that a successful experience comprises of both the right technology as well as the right medium."
Rohit Varma, Founder R SQUARE Consulting & Director Social Media Week Bangalore said "The aim of SMW 2015 is to understand how technology will impact the way we Live, Work and Create in a connected world and also how new ideas, innovations and technology will change our lives. The change is happening quite fast and platform like Social Media Week becomes very important to discuss, understand and implement social strategies for the connected class."
Globally, 30,000 people came together to be a part of this mega event which was held simultaneously in 11 cities. With 2500 speakers and more than 1000 events, the festival reached out to 555 million people in 2014. This edition of SMW Bangalore will have 60+ events with a league of eminent speakers both national and international joining. Attendee registration will commence at the beginning of February, 2015.

Dell, a pioneer in integrating social media into the fabric of its business and engagement with customers, is the title sponsor for SMW Bangalore 2015. Additional partners include Intel (City Support), Genesis Burson-Marsteller (Integrated Communications), YourStory (Knowledge), Lonely Planet (Content), Uber (Logistics), Explara Solutions (Ticketing), Dazeinfo (Intelligence), and Digital Vidya (Event), among others.

About R SQUARE Consulting:
R SQUARE Consulting is one of the fastest growing marketing firms focusing on building Communities through Brand Properties and executing Marketing Communication strategies for Clients through Events & Activations, Digital Marketing & Technology and Creative Services. For more visit www.rsquareconsulting.net
About Dell
Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.co.in. Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc.  Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.
About Genesis Burson-Marsteller:
Genesis Burson-Marsteller is a leading public relations and public affairs consultancy that delivers integrated communication services to some of the best global and Indian companies. Our focus is on creating real measurable impact on our client's business through evidence based, ideas driven and result oriented campaigns. We have created a network across South Asia which includes wholly owned offices in seven of India's key metros and a strong affiliate footprint in over 200 cities across India and in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Committed to Being More, we are one seamless team that has a common purpose and attitude: integrated across four practices (namely, Brand and Consumer, Corporate and Financial, Telecom and Technology as well as Health and Wellness) and Centres of Expertise (Corporate Responsibility, GBM Digital Studio, GBM Client Studio, Step Up, The Outstanding Speakers Bureau, GBM Content & Design Bureau, GBM Crisis & Issues Group, GBM Live! Newsroom), to assist clients achieve their business objectives.

Intel Security announces collaboration with Samsung to secure the Tizen Smartphone

Intel Security, today announced that it will deliver its McAfee Mobile Security software pre-installed in the first Samsung smartphones running the Tizen open-source operating system, further delivering on their commitment to redefine the consumer security market.

Tizen is an open and flexible operating system built from the ground up to address the needs of stakeholders of the mobile and connected device ecosystem, including device manufacturers, mobile operators, application developers and independent software vendors.

Recent Intel Security research found that the manipulation of legitimate mobile apps and services has played a key role in the expansion of mobile malware, highlighting the need for robust security options to detect threats across multiple operating systems.  One of the most common behaviours of mobile malware included collecting and sending device data to build a profile of the owner’s behaviour. Another threat associated with device hijacking makes the mobile device into a bot and installs other, even more malicious malware.

“With mobile malware samples up, we firmly believe that security should be seamlessly integrated into telecommunications,” said Sean Duca, Chief Technology Officer Asia Pacific, McAfee, part of Intel Security.  “By including our software on new operating systems like Tizen, security is developed in parallel with the ever-expanding technology landscape.”

The latest version of McAfee Mobile Security for Android, iOS and Tizen devices enables consumers to run instant privacy and security scans, as well as allowing users to easily remove the apps that may pose the most significant risks.

Intel Security Tips On Protecting Consumers’ Privacy

In addition to running regular scans of your smartphone, Intel Security offers these tips to help safeguard your privacy either via apps or online:
  • Prevent unauthorised access – Lock your device with a personal identification number or password
  • Use comprehensive security software on your mobile device – The sad truth is that malicious apps are not going away anytime soon. So, having security installed on your mobile device that helps protect your privacy and identity is a must. McAfee® Mobile Security (free to both Android and iOS users) offers a variety of protections, including ones to help Android users dodge harmful apps
  • Avoid downloading apps from third parties – By taking this one simple step and only downloading apps from trusted online sources like Apple’s App Store and Google Play, you can lessen your chance of downloading a malicious app
  • Don’t open a link or file from someone you don’t know – Whether you receive a link or file through email, social media or text message, it is always best to avoid opening attachments from unknown senders



About Intel Security
McAfee is now part of Intel Security. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence, Intel Security is intensely focused on developing proactive, proven security solutions and services that protect systems, networks, and mobile devices for business and personal use around the world. Intel Security combines the experience and expertise of McAfee with the innovation and proven performance of Intel to make security an essential ingredient in every architecture and on every computing platform. Intel Security’s mission is to give everyone the confidence to live and work safely and securely in the digital world. www.intelsecurity.com

Note: McAfee is a trademark or registered trademark of McAfee, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Intel Security, the Intel logo, the Intel Security logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mi4 with MIUI6 launched in India for Rs. 19,999

Xiaomi finally launched its new flagship device the Mi4 in India today along with MiUi6 and works on Android KitKat 4.4.4. 



The Mi 4 is a 5-inch device that is packed with powerful specs for its price range. It is powered by a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory and runs on a 3080 mAh battery.  The camera how ever is usual a 13 -megapixel rear camera that we have been seeing with their flagships. But the impressive part here is that it has a wide-angle (80°) front camera of 8 megapixels, both with an unprecedented f1.8 aperture. The bummer though is, that it does not come with 4G LTE support.

The Mi 4 will go on sale on February 10, and pre- registrations for the device will start at 6pm on January 28 exclusively through its e-commerce partner, Flipkart.

The guys at Xiaomi had been teasing its customers with something for a while in all their invites and that turned out to be the launch of MIUI 6, a major update to its Android ROM. MIUI 6 is MIUI redesigned in its simplest form, with beautiful colour and motion graphics throughout, and all unnecessary distractions stripped away so you can focus on your content. It is visually stunning, and amazingly simple. 

MIUI according to Xiaomi is one of the world’s most popular Android-based platforms with over 85 million users worldwide.

Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global, said: “I am truly excited to be bringing the Mi 4 to India, after listening to the feedback of so many fans. The Xiaomi team has put a lot of effort into designing a gorgeous device packed with powerful specs, and I trust that Mi 4 will be warmly welcomed by all our Indian fans. I believe India Mi fans will love MIUI 6, the most exciting update to our software platform to date.”

Manu Jain, Operations Head, Mi India, said: “The Mi 4 re-affirms our commitment to bring more Mi products to India. We will continue to work on offering our Mi fans incredible value as we introduce even more great devices in the coming year, and the best user experience ever.”

Mi 4 Specifications

  • 5-inch HD IPS LCD display, 1920 x 1080p Full HD (441 ppi)

  • 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor

  • Adreno 330 GPU

  • Super-slim Corning Glass with One Glass Solution (OGS) technology

  • 3080 mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery, Quick Charge 2.0
  • 3GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash memory
  • 13MP rear camera (f1.8) and 8MP front camera (80° wide-angle, f1.8)

  • MIUI 6 based on Android 4.4.4

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lumia 638- Hands On

So you saw the unboxing video in the previous post. Today we bring to you the speed test and various tests that we tried out on the Lumia 638.

The Lumia 638 currently is the cheapest 4G device available and will remain for a while until some other phone enters the category. The closest device available right now is Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4G.

In the video we test how fast it takes to sync data over 4G and also play around with the speeds we get on 4G. The detailed review will be up soon. Do let us know if you want us to address any particular things in it.


Lumia 638 4G Unboxing

So the Lumia 638 4G launched a couple of weeks back and being touted as the cheapest 4G device available in the market, we got our hands on it early on. Here's the unboxing video of the device.



The device runs of Windows 8.1 Denim and is equippedwith a quad-core processor and a 1GB RAM to enable superfast processing. The device has a Clear Black 4.5” LCD screen with True Color and capacitive multi-point touch. The Lumia 638 will retail exclusively on the newly launched Microsoft Brand Store at Amazon.in at a best buy price of INR 8,299/-.  The device went on pre-booking sale from December 17 on www.amazon.in/microsoft.

Tech Specs:
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Operating System
 Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia
Display
4.5” FWVGA display, ClearBlack LCD
Battery
1830mAh*
Connectivity
Cellular Connectivity
·       GSM-  850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz
·       WCDMA -2100 MHz, 1900 MHz, 850 MHz
·       LTE- 3, 7, 38, 40, 41, 39
·       LTE category- Cat 4 (150 Mbps downlink, 50 Mbps uplink)
·       TD-SCDMA- 34, 39
Data Speed – Upload (max)
·       GSM- EGPRS 236.8 kbps
·       WCDMA  HSUPA - 5.76 Mbps
·       LTE- 50 Mbps
·       TD-SCDMA  2.2 Mbps
Data Speed – Download (max)
·       GSM- EGPRS 236.8 kbps
·       WCDMA   HSDPA - 42.2 Mbps
·       LTE  -150 Mbps
·       TD-SCDMA - 2.8 Mbps
Processor
1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Camera
5MP AF
Memory
1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC with micro SD card support