Category Archives: Gadget

Microsoft’s Unveils New

Microsoft’s event from last has gotten the Internet talking about it. From laptops to tablets to smartphones and even a smartwatch, it was a bucketful of surprises for the tech enthusiasts. And while Microsoft continues to be one of the most valuable brands in the world it owes most of it to its software business, 84% of PCs worldwide use various versions of Windows OS.

Even with its Surface tablets bringing in business, the company is not yet known for its hardware capabilities like Apple and Google, but with this new range of devices it might be able to turn the tables around. Have a look.

Microsoft had acquired Nokia’s handset business back in September 2013, and an year down the line in September 2014 it decided to drop Nokia’s branding from its Lumia range of smartphones. Now another year has passed, and according to statistical data by IDC, Microsoft doesn’t even stand in the top 5 smartphone makers in the world, and its Lumia phones shipments have been declining.
In order to uplift its smartphone sales and shipments, the company has unveiled 3 new Lumia smartphones – 950, 950 XL and 550, all running Windows 10 OS.

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft has unveiled its flagship phone Lumia 950 along with its bigger version Lumia 950 XL. The 5.2″ big Lumia 950 comes with a 1.8 GHz Hexa core Snapdragon 808 processor and 3 GB RAM. Powered by Windows 10 OS, it has 32GB in built memory with an expandable card slot. It comes with a 20MP rear camera and Full HD 5MP wide angle front camera. It will be launched in November for $549.

Lumia 950 XL comes with a 5.7″ display and a 2.0 GHz octa core Snapdragon 810 processorThe other features are pretty much same as 950. It will be released in November for $649.

Makes Smart TV Push in Joint Venture With TCL

Tencent Holdings, China’s largest social media and gaming company, agreed on Wednesday to feature its video content on the smart TVs of China’s biggest television maker TCL to expand its content dominance from mobile phones to living rooms.

Under an agreement announced on Wednesday that followed Tencent’s capital injection into a TCL unit, Tencent will pre-load its entertainment content onto TCL’s Internet-connected, or smart TVs, which feature voice control and customised search recommendations.

On Monday, Tencent agreed to invest CNY 450 million ($66.18 million or roughly Rs. 428 crores) in TCL subsidiary Shenzhen Thunderbird Network Technology, making Tencent the second-largest shareholder with a 16.67 percent stake in the subsidiary behind TCL’s FFALCON brand Internet TVs.

This is Tencent’s second investment in smart TVs in a month. On June 6, it invested CNY 300 million for a 7.71 per cent stake in Coocaa, a smart TV subsidiary of TCL competitor Skyworth Digital Holdings.

TCL shipped 20 million LCD TV sets in 2016, half of them smart TVs. That makes it the world’s third-largest liquid crystal display TV maker behind Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, according to IHS Technology.

Tencent would work with TCL on extending its advantage in delivering online content to delivering so-called over-the-top services, said Zhao Gang, general manager of the living room products department at Tencent Video.

Zhao was referring to content services, such as movies and video, provided by internet companies beyond the media transmitted by traditional telecommunications companies like cable operators. Streaming content provided by Netflix and through Apple’s Apple TV devices are examples of over-the-top services.

Zhao was also emphatic that the TCL investment did not mean Tencent was moving into manufacturing hardware.

“We would never touch hardware production. We want to be a supporter and enabler of our partner,” said Zhao.

Tencent’s Tencent Video unit is China’s largest online video streaming website, according to the company. It has a library of entertainment and live sports content with copyright, and also makes its own productions.

Tencent Video and TCL hope the tie up will increase their membership bases and raise their revenue from user spending on content, said Tony Guo, chief executive of FFALCON Technology.

Controlling Robot With Augmented Reality

While robots are getting increasingly more capable and autonomous, they may still require our help to carry out tasks in real-world environments. That’s why robotics researchers continue to look for new ways to allow human operators to control robots without extensive training.

At New York University, Jared Alan Frank has turned to augmented reality (AR) to develop a robot control interface that runs on a conventional smartphone or tablet. The system uses the device’s camera to capture details from a scene and overlay virtual objects, as other AR applications do. But in this case, you can simply tap and swipe on the screen to make the robots move or pick up objects.

“You no longer need some of the expensive laboratory-grade equipment that roboticists normally use to do their projects, such as motion capture systems,” says Frank, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.

Using Xcode, Apple’s software development platform, Frank built an app that can detect robots and objects in the environment and create a virtual grid—along with a coordinate system—to keep track of those objects on the screen. The user can then manipulate the objects on the device and watch as the robots carry out the desired actions in the real world. Commands from the app are sent via Wi-Fi to the robots, which in the current version use Raspberry Pi as the main controller.

To help his app make sense of the environment, Frank places visual tags on the robots and on the objects he wants the robots to move. The smartphone or tablet captures the scene using its camera, and the app detects the tags, using that information to keep track of marked objects. These tags, also called fiducial markers, are commonly used in AR apps to integrate physical landmarks and objects into a virtual world.

Ease of operation is one of the key features of this technology, but another advantage that Frank emphasizes is its mobility. He explains that if you’re able to control a swarm of robots using a simple mobile device, it becomes much easier to bring robotic applications outside the confines of the lab environment.

And that’s part of what Frank wants to do next. His plan is to test the technology in places like construction sites and factories. To do that, he might need to improve some of the software and hardware he’s been using, to make sure they can operate safely and reliably under real-world conditions. But above all, his main goal is to keep the system as simple and accessible as possible.

“What we really want,” Frank says, “is for people who’ve never had the ability to do this before to be able to take their device out of their pocket and control a robot.”

Just a week after the OxygenOS 4.5.3 rollout

Just a week after the OxygenOS 4.5.3 rollout, OnePlus has now rolled out yet another software update for its OnePlus 5(Review) users. The latest OxygenOS 4.5.5 update brings bug fixes, performance improvements, Wi-Fi connectivity improvements, voice calling improvements, and much more.

In between, OnePlus has also rolled out a quick OxygenOS 4.5.4 update for users in Netherlands fixing 4G network issues reported by users in that region. This latest OxygenOS 4.5.5 update should arrive via an OTA, and if you haven’t received a notification yet, then head over to Settings to check for an update manually.

Interestingly, the OxygenOS 4.5.5 update comes with the same old May security update. Nokia 6, Google Pixel, and Nexus devices are now receiving the July security patch. The size of the update for the OnePlus 5 users is at 59MB.

OxygenOS 4.5.5 brings improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity, something that was already fixed with the previous update. However, there might have been some fresh loopholes that needed plastering, and this update does just that. The update also notes that battery drain while voice recording is also much lesser now, voice calling has been improved, and that the vibration intensity while receiving a call has also been decreased. The entire changelog can be found below:

Optimisations:

  • Further improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Improvements for voice calling
  • Voice recording now uses less battery
  • Vibration intensity when receiving calls has been decreased

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed Wi-Fi signal consistently being displayed as weak
  • Fixed certain apps not able to work under IPv6 network settings
  • To restore connectivity to a Windows 10 PC, please turn off USB debugging prior to the upgrade

The OnePlus 5 is available in India in two variants – 6GB RAM/64GB storage and 8GB RAM/128GB storage. The price of both the variants is at Rs. 32,999 and Rs. 37,999 respectively. The smartphone is available exclusively on Amazon India and OnePlus Stores online and offline.

Need to Stay Focused? Tune Out Distractions at Work Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the recommendations I discussed to help you control your attention and ignore distractions at work is a streaming music service called Focus@Will.

You may already have a go-to work playlist, but you might be surprised to learn that your favorite tunes are actually really distracting. They cause you to sing along (encouraging your brain to recall the words), facilitate memories,  and maybe even make you tap your feet—all activities that will prevent flow, your state of optimal performance where you’ll do your best work. Conversely, the music on Focus@Will is productivity boosting: each instrumental piece you’ll hear was chosen and remastered to help you concentrate more deeply.

The science behind Focus@Will is pretty fascinating. The service was developed in partnership with neuroscientists including Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell. If you’ve read my book or seen me speak, you know that I’m a big fan of Dr. Hallowell’s research on attention. He believes that the constant distractions from our computers and devices dilute our mental powers. (And I agree!) This service is a great tool in your attention management arsenal.

You can see how Focus@Will affects your concentration by signing up for a free trial. In addition to individual plans, they also offers business subscriptions. If you’re a leader, making Focus@Will available to your staff could be a great way to help them do more focused work.

While you’re listening, be sure to read the full article in Forbes for more productivity-enhancing ideas. Writer Vickie An did a great job of creating a useful and entertaining roundup on preventing distractions at work.

Blackberry is back, and this time with Android’s backing

The company has launched an Android based ‘Phablet’, after the failure of its operating software BB10. The device is named ‘Blackberry Priv’, where the word ‘Priv’ has been used for privacy.

The phone is trying to cash on its security feature through the introduction of its its own ‘Patented Picture Login’. This feature gives BB an all round security and a perfect blend of ease. For the first time this phablet will also support third party options from Google Play and various BB apps like BB Meeting, WatchDox etc.

The phone has been launched in the US and it has been confirmed by the authorities that the phone is now available on pre-order on Blackberry’s official website. The delivery process will begin from today and the price tag it carries is of $699.

The Blackberry Priv’s body is a combination of Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s shining back and a bold black look with stunning edges. This phone has pulled it off for Blackberry.

Specifications:

Body: With a weight of almost 192 grams this phone this phone has a qwerty keypad in a sliding function. Supports a nano sim.

Display: AMOLED Capacitive touchscreen of 5.4 inches with 540 ppi pixel density. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with an edged screen gives an extra protection to the touch screen.

OS: Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop), Soon Android Marshmellow will be updated in the device

Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 (you can also find this chipset in LG G4 and Nexus 5X). This chipset is made for stunning display and it supports the new ‘4k’ videos.

CPU: 64 bit Hexa-core Processor (Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53)

GPU: Adreno 418

RAM: 3GB

Storage: Supports external memory card, expandable up to 200GB with an internal memory of 32GB

Camera: A not-so-good 2 mp front camera with ‘No Selfie Mode’. The rear camera is a 18 MP Schneider-Kreuznach optics camera with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash

3 Cool Gadgets That You Can Buy Right Away

1) Sphero BB8

People who have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, already know that they’re up for a treat. Technology has now made it possible to take the same magic people saw on screens to their homes. Those who haven’t seen Star Wars, don’t worry this app-enabled droid will melt you up. The droid learns from your interaction with it, it’s more of a mate you can carry anywhere. Give it voice commands or make it patrol around the house, it notifies you of any activity taking place inside the house.

Features

Listens & Responds: BB-8 recognises and reacts to your voice
Holographic Communication: Record and view virtual holographic videos with BB-8
Autonomous Behavior: BB-8 has a mind of its own – explore the Star Wars™ galaxy together
Adaptive Personality: Your BB-8’s unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact
Authentic Movement: Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet
AI Powered Product

Seller: Sphero
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 1-3 Weeks
Price: $149.49

2) Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter – Sand

This drone was featured at the CES 2016 which happened in LA, the company is one of the first ones to enter the drone industry and its AR Drone 2.0 brings lots of technology with it. This drone works with a WiFi using an app that’s available for iOS and Android powered devices. The device works outside as well as inside, also the device can be controlled by many devices like Nvidia Shield control, Epson Moverio display, Thalmic Myo armband, Zeiss Vision Cinemizer OLED glasses, and Microsoft surface 2.

Popular Read:  5 Tools for Augmented Reality App Development

Features

720p – 30FPS – H264 encoding base profile
Low latency streaming
Video storage on the fly with remote device or with USB flash drive
JPEG photo capture
As you fly, the HD video is recorded and sent directly to your device

Seller: Parrot
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 3 business days
Price: $295 + Shipping

3) Skeye- The smallest drone in the world

If you’ve never experienced flying a drone, this is the right device for you. It’s a mini drone with a HD camera, also its 4 coreless motors gives you the versatility to perform expert takeoffs and vertical climbs. Just insert a MicroSD card and experience the bird’s eye view from your quadcopter. It comes with a camera with LED lights allowing the user to nightfly the drone.

Features

HD Camera
Throw To Fly
RTF (Ready to Fly) Technology
6-Axis Flight Control System with Adjustable Gyro Sensitivity
Stable & Easy to Fly
Aerobatic “Flip” Capability
LED Lights for Night Flights
2-Level Adjustable Controller Sensitivity: Beginner, Experienced

Seller: Trndlabs
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 1 Week
Price: $99 (Free Shipping)

Energizer Launches Cases, Chargers, Cables, and Other Mobile Accessories in India

Avenir Telecom, a licensee of Energizer brand for smartphones and accessories, on Wednesday at an event in New Delhi announced its foray into the Indian market with the launch of a slew of Energizer accessories. The range of products includes tempered glasses, USB cables, charging solutions, Apple-certified products, and USB hub stations, among others. Energizer products will go on sale in India starting July 17 on both offline and online channels including Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, and Tata Cliq. The French company has partnered Paras Group for distribution, and the latter will be responsible for offline sales through its retail outlets spread across 15 major cities.

The company says the Energizer products launched are targeted at consumers “fed up of duplicate accessories” and are on a lookout of better substitutes. Energizer products come in three categories – classic, hi-tech, and ultimate for the products like mobile cases & covers, USB chargers, travel adapters, multi-plug chargers, car kits, and USB connectors with 1.2-metre long cables. Besides, the company also provides accessories for corporate uses such as the multi-connector power station that can charge up to six devices at a time.

As we said, the entire product range will be available for purchase on both offline and online platforms with international warranty up to two years. However, the pricing of the individual products has not been disclosed by the company with just a price segment of Rs. 399 to Rs. 2,999.

In addition, Energizer shockproof and waterproof mobile cases, which will protect iPhone high-end Samsung Galaxy models from accidental fall, dust, and water, with their IP68 rating. The company claims that the waterproof case can allow the smartphone usage underwater up to one hour and to a maximum depth of 30 metres, whereas the shockproof case will provide protection to your smartphone against accidental fall up to three metres. The company told Gadgets 360 that it will launch similar mobile cases for other smartphones including the mid-range and low-range ones in future.

The company said it is also working on stretchable USB cables and lifetime cables under the Energizer brand that will come with 5 years of international warranty, which will be a first in the battery solutions market across the globe, the company claims. Talking about the Energizer’s charging connector cables, the company is also touting a ‘power sharing cable’ that can charge any phone (both iPhone and Android) from another OTG-supported phone. The company also revealed that it will launch a Bluetooth-controlled surge protector in the second phase in India.

Speaking at the launch, Business Development Director, South Asia & South East Asia at Avenir Telecom, Manish Prasad commented “For years, Energizer has brought consumer focused products that power the essential devices which help people stay connected throughout the time providing a complete solution to fulfil daily lifestyle needs.” He further added, “Energizer is going to continue the same legacy in India providing their customers with superior quality products, eventually increasing penetration rate in Indian market for the technology sector.”

Nokia 6 Said to Be Receiving July Android Security Patch Ahead of Google Pixel

At MWC 2017, HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas had confirmed to Gadgets 360 that Nokia Android phones will receive timely security and software updates for its smartphones. Keeping that promise, the Nokia 6 is now reportedly receiving the July Android security update via an OTA to all users in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The report came ahead of the July Android security update rollout for Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL smartphones, making it the first smartphone to get this month’s security patch.

The security patch brings a lot of fixes to recent vulnerabilities ensuring your device is not exposed to new flaws and bugs. Nokiapoweruser has shared screenshots from a Nokia 6 smartphone downloading the security patch (above), and the update size is reported to be at 149MB. HMD Global had promised timely updates and software support for up to two years for its Android phones. The company also confirmed that Android O will arrive on Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 smartphones.

The Nokia 6 has been made available in China, Hong Hong and Taiwan only for now, but is set to arrive in many markets in a month or two. It was supposed to arrive in the UK this month, but got delayed till August 16 due to high demand. In India, the Nokia 6 has been launched at Rs. 14,999. The Nokia 6 registrations for the first sale will start on July 14, but the company has not announced when the smartphone will go on sale.

Nokia 6 specifications

Nokia 6 sports a 5.5-inch full-HD display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top. It is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The dual-SIM Nokia 6 smartphone comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery with fast-charging support. On the camera front, Nokia 6 comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and dual-tone flash, as well as an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture. The Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone has USB 2.0 port for connectivity, fingerprint sensor in the front, stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos audio enhancement.

The 5 Retro Science Kits That Inspired a Generation of Tinkerers

Manu Prakash was himself a kid who liked to blow up stuff. As a child in Rampur, India, Prakash didn’t have a chemistry set, so he harvested chemicals after the fireworks show during Diwali, the Hindu light festival.
“My brother and I would go out in the early morning, the day after, and collect all of the unexploded fireworks,” he recalls. “We removed all the chemicals and made a giant pile. We actually lit that thing. We didn’t put it in containment; our goal wasn’t to make a large bang. We were curious what happens when there is no coverage. It pretty much produced a mushroom cloud. It was very beautiful.”Although he burned his hand and still carries a small scar, the Stanford bioengineer says such open-ended play was important in setting his career path. And as the first-prize winner of the Science, Play and Research Kit (SPARK) competition for reimagining scientific toys for the 21st century, he hopes his brainchild device, called the Punchcard Using Microfluidics, will provide the same inspiration and opportunities for future crops of scientists.

Inspiration struck Prakash when his wife brought home a small hand-cranked music box, which pulled a ribbon with holes in it through two sets of pins. When pins encountered each other through the holes, one pin plucked another and produced a musical tone. He predicted he could program such a system to instead pump fluids, control valves and generate liquid droplets.

The A.C. Gilbert Co. developed hundreds of toy kits, ranging from magic sets to the extraordinarily popular Erector sets that inspired young children to build anything from model engines to model Ferris wheels.
Lambert/Getty Images
Working with a graduate student, Prakash paired a silicone chip (containing tiny channels that guide the droplets) with a small hand-cranked device and some punch-card paper to dictate when valves release the different fluids. Voila! A $50,000 prize winner was born.Prakash’s invention allows young chemists to mix fluids and observe reactions. Users can mix chemicals in tiny amounts, and any reactions are confined by the chip, which (alas!) safely reduces the scope of powerful odors and explosions.

Prakash hopes to see manufacturing and distribution of his miniature chemistry set, with the SPARK prize money earmarked for a start toward that end. “We want children to have that ‘aha!’ moment . . . a lifelong passion from figuring it out for yourself,” he says.

Prakash’s vision is one shared by many. “I loved science as a kid because we were able to go out and just sort of see what was going to happen,” says Rosie Cook, a curator at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. “So much of it now is, ‘Mix this and tell me what happened,’ even at the Ph.D. and postdoc level. There’s very little of the ‘I’m going to mix A and B together and see what happens!’ ”

Cook, who oversees the foundation’s planned 2015 exhibition of vintage science kits, says that letting students discover things on their own energizes them and often allows them to internalize it as something wonderful. “How many Nobel laureates got their start just from experimenting?” she asks. “That was the wonder of those old chemistry sets. They really allowed for free play and experimentation.”

That career-shaping moment of awe and wonder came about for many via their first scientific toy. Here are a few of our favorites (and maybe yours, too).