Xiaomi Launches 55-Inch 4K Mi TV 2, Mi Smart Scale, Mi Smart Power Strip

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Apart from the new Xiaomi Redmi 2A smartphone, and the Mi Note (Pink Edition), Xiaomi had more up its sleeves on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. The company launched three other products – the Mi Smart Scale, Mi Smart Power Strip, and Mi TV 2 55-inch model.The Mi Smart Scale connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to Android and iOS smartphones, and with the Mi Fit app lets up to 16 users track their body mass index and weight – ideal for the whole family, Xiaomi says. The firm adds the scale is accurate down to 50 grams in the range of 5kg to 150kg. It is priced at CNY 99 (roughly Rs. 1,000).

mi_smart_scale.jpgNext up, is the Mi Smart Power Strip – it features three surge-protected USB ports and three power sockets Tech Updates, besides a 2.1A quick charging terminal. It features maximum 10A overload protection, and a childproof internal shutter mechanism. More detailed specifications, such as voltage and plug types, were not provided. It is priced at CNY 49 (roughly Rs. 500).

mi_smart_power_strip.jpgFinally, the new 55-inch model in the firm’s Mi TV 2 lineup – following up on the 49-inch 4K UHD and 40-inch full-HD televisions, the latest Mi TV 2 sports a 4K UHD (3840×2160 pixel) RGB LCD display from Samsung, and a new aluminium sub-woofer and 8-speaker soundbar alongside Dolby MS12 surround sound. It has been priced at CNY 4,999 (roughly Rs. 50,000).

Xiaomi says the 55-inch Mi TV 2 bears a 15.2mm-thick frame and a 6mm-thick bezel, making it slimmer than the 49-inch 4K UHD counterpart in its lineup. It is powered by the MStar 6A928 SoC with four Cortex-A17 CPU cores clocked at 1.4GHz, and a Mali-760 MP4 GPU, coupled with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. Wireless connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, and a 2×2 MIMO antenna.

The 55-inch Mi TV 2’s OS version has not yet been announced, nor availability. The latest 40-inch Mi TV 2 runs MIUI based on Android 4.4 KitKat.

Huawei Reports Jump in 2014 Net Profit on Emerging Market Demand

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Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei’s net profit surged more than 32 percent to 27.9 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) in 2014, it said Tuesday, helped by demand from emerging markets.

The United States has long seen Huawei as a security threat due to perceived close links to the Chinese government, which it denies, while both the US and Australia have barred it from involvement in broadband projects over espionage fears. Huawei denies such allegations.

In the annual report, Huawei – which is not listed on any stock exchange – said revenue increased by 21 percent to 288 billion yuan.

“Profit increase stems from streamlined management and improvements in overall efficiency,” Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu said in a statement.

The Shenzhen-based firm was founded in 1987 by former People’s Liberation Army engineer Ren Zhengfei, and is now among the world’s top makers of telecommunications equipment.

It operates in 170 countries and the company says one third of the world’s population communicate using its products in some way.

It is the world’s second largest network gear supplier behind Sweden’s Ericsson, and has made a large push into consumer products such smartphones in recent years.

Consumer products were the company’s fastest-growing division last year as Huawei saw increased demand in emerging markets, while investment in research and development surged nearly 30 percent year-on-year to 40.8 billion yuan, it said.

Overseas markets contributed more than 62 percent of revenue with the Europe, Middle East and Africa region the largest contributor outside China. As the single largest market, China provided about 38 percent of turnover.

Sony Xperia Z4 With Snapdragon 810 SoC Spotted in Benchmarks

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Sony’s anticipated flagship, the Xperia Z4, appears to have had its specifications detailed thanks to a leaked benchmark test result.According to GFXBench results (via Mobifo.nl), the Sony handset with model number E6553, widely expected to be the Xperia Z4, features a 5.1-inch full-HD display with a 1080×1920 pixels full-HD resolution.

If the benchmark results are real, Sony’s Xperia Z4 will be the first handset from Japanese company to sport the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset (quad-core Cortex A57 and quad-core Cortex A53). The handset is said to feature 3GB of RAM and come with 32GB of inbuilt storage. Also listed are a 20-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. The Android 5.0.2 Lollipop-based Sony Xperia Z4 is also seen with an accelerometer, barometer sensor, compass, gyroscope, and proximity sensor, apart from NFC, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Earlier this month, a French website tipped specifications of the Xperia Z4 which somewhat contradict the innards listed by the benchmark.

The Xperia Z4 was then tipped to feature a 5.2-inch display with either full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) or QHD (1440×2560 pixels) resolution alongside 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and Adreno 430 GPU. The publication tipped a 21-megapixel rear camera.

Alongside rumoured specifications, four purported press images of the Xperia Z4earlier this month had also surfaced on the Web. The leaked images showed the white-coloured variant of Sony Xperia Z4 flaunting nearly the same design aesthetics as its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z3. In the four images showing all the four sides of the upcoming smartphone, a subtle change was seen – the front-facing speakers, which were placed slightly more towards the edge than those seen in Xperia Z3, were also a little longer.

Motorola Launches First 'Moto Care' Service and Experience Centre in India

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Motorola India has launched its first ‘Moto Care’ centre in the country, with the first branch in Bengaluru.The company’s flagship centre will offer service and support to customers while will also offer an experience zone, where consumers can check the product portfolio.

Motorola in a press statement has announced that the Moto Care centre is located on Jayanagar Road and is spread across 3000 square feet location.

The Motorola service and support area will offer a walk-in service to consumers for various queries across software upgrades and device hardware repair. The Motorola experience zone will showcase the entire product portfolio including Moto X (Gen 2),Moto G (Gen 2), Moto E, Moto E (Gen 2), Moto Turbo, Motorola Google Nexus 6, and Moto 360. It’s worth noting that consumers will not be able to buy Moto devices from the Moto Care centre as the devices are available only via Flipkart.

Additionally, Motorola India has also introduced a new pilot project named Moto Care on Wheels, initially only in New Delhi. The service will provide service to customers’ doorsteps within few hours. The service will be available for devices up to 30 days after purchase.

Initially announced back in January, Motorola India had also promised to open exclusive Motorola customer experience zones in metro cities. The company however revealed no precise time-frame. Motorola India back in January also announced that it sold 3 million Moto devices in 10 months.

Earlier this month, Motorola started selling accessories for the Moto E (Gen 2) in India via its exclusive online partner, Flipkart. The Moto E (Gen 2) accessories listed for sale by Flipkart included the Motorola Grip Shell Back Cover priced at Rs. 899, and the Motorola Band Multicolour at Rs. 999.

The Motorola Moto E (Gen 2) LTE was also listed on Flipkart with a “coming soon” tag tipping an imminent release. The handset however is still listed without any pricing and is yet to go on sale in the country.

OnePlus One to Be Available in India Without Invitation on Wednesday

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OnePlus has announced that the One ‘2014 Flagship Killer’ smartphone will available to buy without any invites in India on Wednesday.The third open sale for the OnePlus One smartphone in India will kick off at 10am IST on Wednesday via Amazon India. The company announced the news on its official forum.

It’s worth noting that this is the second open sale of the OnePlus One within two weeks. OnePlus offered One smartphone without invites last week as well.

An open sale for the One smartphone means that consumers will not require any invite to purchase the handset during the sale. The Chinese company as before has not revealed the number of units that will be up for sale on Wednesday; which means the handset will be available to purchase without invite till stocks last.

Last month, the OnePlus One smartphone went up for sale in its first open sale in the country.

The 16GB Silk White OnePlus One (Review | Pictures) will be available on Amazon India at Rs. 18,999 while the 64GB Sandstone Black variant is priced at Rs. 21,999.

The open sale for the OnePlus One on Wednesday might be the last sale without invite before the company announces revised pricing for the India market. OnePlus recently hinted the prices in India may be revised soon.

OnePlus has already hiked pricing of its “2014 flagship killer” smartphone, the One, for EU regions earlier this month citing the decline in value of the Euro, we can expect a slight hike in pricing of the handset in India as well.

To recall, the OnePlus One features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080×1920 pixel resolution and offers a pixel density of 401ppi. The display boasts of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It comes with 3GB of RAM and is powered by the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz with Adreno 330 GPU. It sports a 13-megapixel rear IMX214 sensor with six lenses and f/2.0 aperture and also comes with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options on the OnePlus One include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC functionality. It features a 3100mAh non-removable battery.

Microsoft Surface 3 With 10.8-Inch Display, Windows 8.1 Launched

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Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a low-cost version of its Surface tablet computer, cutting the screen size of the device which starts at $499.

The Microsoft Surface 3 will cost less than the $799 starting price for the Surface Pro 3introduced last year, but will also have a less powerful processor and lack some other features. The tablet is also being called the thinnest and lightest Surface ever, weighing 622 grams and sporting a 8.7mm thickness.

The new Microsoft tablet comes with a 10.8-inch full-HD display, making it smaller than the earlier 12-inch screen versions of Surface, and gives Microsoft a new tablet that aims to compete with Apple’s iPad Air. The firm will also be launching a Microsoft Surface 3 (4G LTE) variant. Both run Windows 8.1, with a free upgrade to Windows 10.

Two built-in storage models will be available, with the 64GB model featuring 2GB of RAM, and the 128GB model featuring 4GB of RAM.
“Surface 3 brings what customers love about Surface Pro 3 to more people, delivering the premium design and productivity of Surface in a more affordable device,” saidPanos Panay, who heads the Surface division for Microsoft.

The Surface 3 features a full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader. The Surface 3 will have an optional dock with four USB ports, Ethernet jack, and a Mini DisplayPort. Microsoft touts the Surface as a tablet that can replace a laptop.

Also new is the Surface 3 Type Cover. The Surface 3 will also include a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, including full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage. It also supports the Surface Pen.

Pre-order is available starting Tuesday in the US through Microsoft Stores, microsoftstore.com and select retailers, and it will be on sale beginning May 5, with availability in 26 markets by May 7.

With sales topping $1 billion for the first time in the last quarter of 2014, analysts said the tablet appeared to be swinging to profitability.

WhatsApp Voice Calling Now Available to All Android Users

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WhatsApp voice calling feature is now available to all users of the app’s Android version. The app had begun rolling out this month to some users and they could pass it on to others by making a WhatsApp call during time-limited invite windows. However, the feature has been activated on Tuesday for several users who didn’t receive invites.

To get this feature on your Android smartphone, all you need to do is download the latest version of WhatsApp from its website. The feature has appeared on WhatsApp version 2.12.5 in some smartphones, but most people will need the latest 2.12.19 version to get WhatsApp calling. The update has already started being pushed to Google Play as well, so just sit tight until it rolls out in your region or download the apk from the company site.

When the feature is activated on your smartphone, you will notice a new three-tab layout featuring Calls, Chats and Contacts. You can head to the Calls tab, tap the phone icon, and pick a contact to make your first WhatsApp call.

While the feature is available to Android users now, those on other platforms continue to wait. WhatsApp confirmed that the feature would be rolled out to iPhone users soon. There’s no word yet about the feature when the feature will be available on other platforms. Until then, Android users with WhatsApp calls enabled won’t be able to call WhatsApp users on other platforms. These people won’t appear in the list of contacts that Android users can call. The long-awaited feature is finally available on one platform, and there’s no more waiting for invite windows to open again.

Microsoft's next-generation Web browser

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Microsoft’s faster release schedule for its Windows 10 Technical Preview kicked into high gear yesterday with the release of another build a mere 12 days after 10041. This time, with build 10049, Microsoft has added one of Windows 10’s major new features: its next-generation Web browser.

With the new browser (code-name Project Spartan), Microsoft finally breaks from the need to support even the oldest of Web pages and Web technologies. Instead of incorporating Internet Explorer’s Trident HTML and CSS rendering engine, Project Spartan is built around a new engine that is based on Trident’s HTML5 features (and has been available in previous Windows 10 builds as Internet Explorer’s Edge rendering option). Unlike Trident, the new browser engine is designed to be updated, which allows Microsoft to keep its new browser current in a way that was impossible with IE.

There’s a lot in Microsoft’s new browser and, at least in this build, a lot that’s been left out. You won’t find support for device-to-device synchronization of tabs and browsing history or for the promised new extension model. Other features still to come include a download view, browsing history, a roaming reading list (synced across Windows 10 devices), and offline reading. You won’t get access to all of Internet Explorer’s plug-ins, either. Project Spartan will provide a level of plug-in support similar to Windows 8’s Metro IE browser.

Microsoft Project Spartan Reading View

Project Spartan’s user interface is reminiscent of other modern browsers while still remaining familiar to Internet Explorer users. There’s direct access to Cortana from inside the browser (as demonstrated at Microsoft’s January Windows 10 event in Redmond). Cortana can be activated from the browser’s search bar. Building a search-based agent into a browser makes a lot of sense, especially when it’s able to use the context of your searches and browser history to make inferences about what information you need — initially giving you weather and stock information.

Microsoft Project Spartan Cortana

Another new feature integrates the browser more closely with Microsoft’s OneNote note-taking tool. You’ll be able to annotate pages using ink (a feature that’s focused on Microsoft’s own Surface tablets) or by typing into a Web page, sharing the results as a Web note. You won’t need Project Spartan to see shared Web notes. They can be saved into OneNote as an annotated screenshot of a Web page or emailed to contacts, with the added option of sharing to social networks.

Microsoft Project Spartan annotations

Project Spartan improves on Internet Explorer’s Reading View for viewing page content without distracting graphics or advertising, with a page layout that’s easier to read. Reading View is also integrated with Project Spartan’s Reading List (formerly a separate Windows 8 app). As offline reading won’t arrive until a future build, you’ll have to read saved pages while connected to the Internet. The final version will allow you to share your Reading List across devices, including Windows Phones and small tablets running a mobile version of Project Spartan.

Microsoft is putting Project Spartan front and center in Windows 10, with the new browser pinned to both the Start menu and the Windows task bar. You’ll still be able to find IE, and if you’ve already pinned it, then it won’t be removed. Microsoft recently announced that IE and Project Spartan would have separate rendering engines, and the change has now made its way to Windows with the Edge engine removed from IE in Windows 10 Build 10049. The old IE will remain part of Windows 10 (if only visible from All Apps) for businesses to use with legacy apps.

Web developers will find this build of Windows 10 to be useful for tuning sites and applications in preparation for Windows 10. You won’t find any surprising new HTML or CSS features in this release. Project Spartan is based on the same version of the Edge engine used by IE in build 10041 with some minor additions, among them support for responsive images.

Microsoft Project Spartan tools

But as in IE of the previous build, there’s support for much of ECMAScript 6, as well as Web Audio, CSS Gradient Midpoints, CSS Conditional Rules, and Touch Events. Now that Microsoft has divorced its new rendering engine from IE’s Trident, Project Spartan will be where you’ll find new Web technologies in the future, making it important to add the Windows 10 Technical Preview to Web test suites.

With only a week or so of development time separating this Windows 10 release from build 10041, Project Spartan is not merely the big news but the only news in this release. Apart from the new browser, there are only a handful of bug fixes in build 10049. Still, it’s another step on the road to Windows 10’s promised summer release.