Moto 360 will launch alongside Moto X+1 and will be a part of Moto Maker, report says

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Google announced lots of stuff on this year’s Google I/O. Android Wear was one of the most interesting for sure, considering this is Google’s shot at wearables, only smartwatches for now though. As a part of the I/O, Google briefly announced 3 smartwatches, LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Motorola’s Moto 360. First 2 are already up for sale while the last one will be sometime this summer.

Different people like different things, but I’m gonna go ahead and say Moto 360 is definitely the best designed out of the bunch. That smartwatch looks just beautiful with its circular design. Well, PhoneArena’s source claims that Moto 360 will launch alongside Moto X+1, which is also one of the most expected devices this year. That would mean we’ll see Moto X+1 smartphone launch this summer as well. Oh yeah, the same source says that Moto 360 will be included in Motorola’s Moto Maker, in other words you’ll be able to customize that thing before you buy it. We don’t know how will that work, what exactly would you be able to customize, other than choosing the color of the watch and the bands included in the deal. Either way we spin it, those are some great news.

Are you going to buy one of the already available Android Wear smartwatches or are you going to wait for the Moto 360? If you’re not buying anything feel free to tell us your opinion in general of course

Black HTC One M8, yellow Nexus 5 on the horizon

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OK, call me boring but I like my smartphones to look understated and elegant. So when it comes to choosing what color I want my hardware to be I will always go for the black option. Lately we are seeing many manufacturers turning towards bold or fancy colour schemes for their devices.

@evleaks has uncovered a pic of what could be a black HTC One M8 lurking out there. The photo shows the back of the One M8 with what looks like a metallic black finish which really works well with the silver HTC logo.

Following on from the release of a very Red Nexus 5 handset, Google may have let slip that their flagship Nexus phone could be making an appearance in yellow soon. Google already has a yellow bumper case so this could be the same color yellow that we see the Nexus 5 sporting, as we saw with the red Nexus.

Could a yellow Nexus 5 be related to the possible name of “Lemon Cake” for the next version of Android or am I just thinking too much into this?

What are your thoughts on the rumored colors for these two phones ? Let know us know in the comments below.

Razer announces Android TV console for fall

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Razer are creating a micro-console that will be powered by Android TV, allowing users to stream movies, music, and other apps for entertainment on the large-screen, the company announced today.

Android TV was announced at Google I/O and Razer have jumped straight on the ship with their Razer console. You’ll be able to navigate around the UI with a special companion app on the phone and tablet, together with the native voice control built into Android TV.

“This is a console of the future,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Built on Google’s incredible Android TV platform, the Razer micro-console incorporates not only hardcore and casual gaming, but music, movies and other entertainment and social applications, all on an affordable system.”

The Razer console is scheduled to be released in fall 2014.

Google and MediaTek to work together on Android One project

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During the Google I/O 2014, Google introduced the Android One series. The devices under it will be released in developing nations, and this is actually Google’s move to take a huge chunk out of the low-end smartphone market. There was a time when Nokia conquered it, now as Google Android powered smartphones are on top when we talk about high-end smartphones, they are also joining hands with different companies to manufacture low-cost phones under the Android One banner.

According to DigiTimes, MediaTek is now Google’s strategic solution partner for the development of the Android One initiative, which will enable smartphone makers to build low-cost smartphones that will target at least 1 billion customers.

At the I/O, Google showcased the first ever Android One smartphone, it was made by an Indian company Micromax and it was running on MediaTek MT6575 SoC as well. 

Android One should be under the price tag of $150-100 if Google wants it to be a success in the developing smartphone markets. Do you think Android one will be a success for Google?

Asus Zenfone 5 Benchmarks

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Asus unveiled the Zenfone 5 in the Zefone series along with a range of other Zenfone smartphones earlier this year at the CES 2014. We already brought you the unboxing of Asus Zenfone 5. Here we have the benchmarks of the smartphone. It is powered by a  dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 clocked at 1.6 GHz with PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU and has 1GB RAM. It has a 5-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) capacitive multi touch display and runs on Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) with Zen UI on top. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.

It scored 9022 points in the Quadrant benchmark.

It scored 19509 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 4.

It scored 1781 points in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark.

It scored 618 points and lies just behind the Padfone mini 4.3 in the Vellamo 2 Metal CPU subsystem performance test.

It managed to clock around 113.7 MFLOPS in the Linpack single thread benchmark.

It managed to clock around 248.4 MFLOPS in the Linpack Multi-Thread benchmark.

It clocked 60.5 fps in the NenaMark 2 GPU benchmark.

It managed to clock 12.5 FPS in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex OnScreen benchmark, better than Moto G.

It clocked around 9.4 fps in the Basemark X 1.0 OnScreen benchmark.

It scored 387 points in the Basemark OS II benchmark. We will be bringing you the complete review of the smartphone soon.

Here’s why Android One is great for the budget smartphone market

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One of the many significant announcements at the recent Google I/O developers conference wasAndroid One. The program was formally unveiled with one central goal in mind, reaching the next 5 billion people in the world. These are the ones without a smartphone, mostly in emerging markets like India, China and so on. Google will be partnering with companies in the supply chain to provide a turnkey solution for many OEMs that are currently driving the budget smartphone segment in emerging markets. Android One involves a combination of affordable reference hardware, handpicked by Google, and stock Android software, with updates directly from Mountain View. The first three OEMs to sign up for this program are from India, which has familiar, but rather important, implications for the budget smartphone market.

For explaining how this will affect the market, lets first take a sample of it in its current form. Right now, OEMs like Lava, Karbonn, Xolo, Micromax and Spice often compete with very similar phones. They mostly all have the same set of specifications at the intersection of many price points, appropriate for that set of hardware, which leads us to believe certain things about them.

One, they are already buying reference hardware and modified software from many companies in China, all sporting either MediaTek, Qualcomm or Broadcom chipsets. They all come with near-stock software, but with small modifications in skinning which includes different styles or just icons. Taking the MediaTek example here, if there is one thing that’s standard, it’s the MediaTek camera app that’s on every phone out there running on the Taiwanese company’s own chipsets. This is a custom app written to support MediaTek’s own ISPs for imaging and video, and apart from the mild skinning treatment, it is literally the same on most phones, be it Micromax, Karbonn or Lava. This is the product of a combination of reference hardware from chip companies, and software, without Google’s intervention, and hence based on the Android open source project.

Two, there is business in App bundling. This industry has been a by product of Android’s famous advantage of flexibility. You could literally take AOSP, make modifications, add a few pre-loaded apps as a part of marketing-related deals, package it with the firmware for the reference hardware and ship. This is precisely what the current market looks like, at least from an outsider’s perspective. OEMs have the bundling business model mainly because of the low margins in hardware and the constant price wars with fellow OEMs. But accommodating bundling along with mostly non-updatable software from chip makers makes updates inconsistent for their phones, and in the end, users will be left behind in terms of catching up with Google.

For us consumers, the budget smartphone segment just got even more exciting. Basically, every other OEM will be able to get the same access as, say, a Nexus or previously, a Motorola device. Updates will be consistent and proper, there will be an option to uninstall any pre-installed app we want, and there are murmurs that even the SD card app support issue has been fixed in Android L. From here on, we can expect a consistent Google experience on all Android devices, with no lack in updates and affordable hardware to go along with it. The OEMs on the other hand will still be able to continue their bundling business and even offer a better user experience, by focusing on after sales support, may be. Only time can tell if Android One takes off as Google wants it to, but until then, at least consumers can be assured of a better user experience in these upcoming devices.

No OEM Skins Allowed For Android Wear, Android Auto, or Android TV

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I’m a big proponent of the stock feel, in terms of the UI of any device I use. On my iPhone i jailbreak to get tweaks, and change little things here or there, but never anything major, because I just don’t like it. With the exception of a couple of manufacturers, most Android devices today have some type of OEM Skin over top of the Android OS. Samsung has TouchWiz (don’t get me started), HTC has Sense, and then you have companies like Kyocera or LG who have unnamed skin overlays. I won’t go on a random tangent about TouchWiz, but just know that I despise it, and I’m kind of loving Sense on my HTC One M8, but have been contemplating throwing a GPE ROM on there just for the stock experience on that device.

Fresh off the heels of Google I/O, where Google presented Android Wear, Android Auto, and reintroduced Android TV to the world, questions began springing up left and right. I saw the same question asked by different people all over social media. The question is, will OEM skins be used on these new platforms that Google has announced. This got me thinking a bit. Will Samsung really try and do something horrific with Android TV? What would happen to an OEM skin in any of the Android Auto participants?

Thankfully, Google has come out and stated that OEM skins will not be allowed for Android Wear, Auto, or TV. This has me, and many others rejoicing. The biggest issue that I have is the same issue that I have with TouchWiz. If I purchase an Android TV, or in the future, Android TV is built into whatever TV I’m purchasing, what is going to happen to the Android UI? How bad will it become? Yes, I know I’m being pessimistic, and someone could come out and build something great to go over the Android UI, but I don’t think it’s necessary, and I wouldn’t want to take the chance.

Google’s engineering director, David Burke, in an interview with Ars Technica, stated the following about Android TV specifically:

“The UI is more part of the product in this case. We want to just have a very consistent user experience, so if you have one TV in one room and another TV in another room and they both say Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same… The device manufacturers can brand it, and they might have services that they want to include with it, but otherwise it should be the same.”

This right here is EXACTLY how I feel about Android as a whole. Why have two different manufacturers, with two different skins on top of the same base? Nine times out of 10, the devices will not work cohesively, and it will end having a negative impact on the consumer, which is bad for everyone. Another worry that I had was that Samsung was going to try to do too much with their Samsung Gear Live, and make it an unusable experience for someone who wants to get that watch, specifically.

Download and install Android L’s “Heads up!” notifications on any Android 4.3+ device

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It’s quite obvious Google I/O is Google’s biggest event of the year and one of the biggest tech events in general. This year Google had lots to say, they announced a bunch of stuff, but Andorid “L” preview was one of the biggest, definitely. Developers are apparently working 24/7 in order to bring some of that “L” preview to users which don’t own a Nexus 5 or 7, in other words those who can’t install Android “L” developers preview or don’t want to bother doing that.

Android “L” keyboard landed in the Google Play Store yesterday and now we get “Heads up!” notifications the same way. This app is brought to you by a developer called “Woodblock without Co.” and was first announced on XDA, where you can still preview it and download it for free. If you don’t want that hastle, you can get it directly via Google Play Store, though it will cost you $1 to get it from there. This is a small price to pay, plus you’d be supporting the developer.

There are lots of options within the app, you can whitelist/blacklist apps and even set the app to show you heads up notification while you’re in fullscreen mode within a certain app. This application is really packed as we said, but don’t take our word for it, if you want some of that Android L goodness, follow the links and see for yourself!

LG F70 with LTE gets priced on official India website at Rs. 19500

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LG F70 started rolling out globally globally in May, few months after if was announced at the MWC 2014. Not the smartphone has been listed on official LG India website with a price tag. It has a 4.5-inch WVGA display, powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat). It has a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front-facing camera. It is the company’s first mid-range smartphone with LTE support. It comes with tri-band LTE connectivity, including the 2300 MHz LTE (Band 40).

It has new KnockCode, Guest Mode, Quick Window, Plug & Pop and more new features. It packs 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage with expansion slot and 2440 mAh battery.

LG F70 specifications

  • 4.5-inch (800 x 400 pixels) IPS display
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • 5MP rear camera depending on the market
  • 0.3MP (VGA) front-facing camera
  • 1GB RAM,4GB Internal memory, expandable memory up to 32GB with microSD
  • Dimensions: 127.5 x 66.4 x 9.95 mm; Weight: 129.6
  • LTE/ 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC
  • 2,440 mAh battery

The LG F70 comes in black and white colors and is priced at Rs. 19,500 (MRP). It is expected to go on sale in India soon. Check out the LG F70 Hands on below.

Micromax Canvas Gold A300 price drops to Rs. 20999

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Micromax Canvas Gold A300 went on sale online last week priced at Rs. 23999. Now the smartphone is available on Flipkart for  Rs. 20,999 for the Gold variant. The White with Gold variant comes at a slightly higher price tag. The Canvas Gold  has a 5.5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display, powered by a 2 GHz octa-core processor and runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat). It features a 16-megapixel auto focus rear camera with Sony sensor, LED Flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Micromax Canvas Gold A300 specifications

  • 5.5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display
  • 2 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6592T processor
  • Dual SIM with dual standby
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • 16MP auto focus rear camera with LED Flash
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
  • 2GB RAM, 32GB internal memory (25GB for mass storage and 1.5 GB for applications)
  • 2300 mAh battery

The Micromax Canvas Gold A300 is also listed on the official website, but the company is yet to launch the smartphone officially. The Canvas Knight with almost similar specifications, Android 4.4 and a slightly larger battery is now available for around Rs. 19,000. Would would go for the Canvas Gold for a larger screen and a different design?