Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Launch Set for August 2

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Launch Set for August 2
  • The Note 7 launch will happen simultaneously in New York, Rio, and London
  • The Galaxy Note Unpacked 2016 event will kick off at 8:30pm IST
  • Galaxy Note 7 is expected to sport iris-scanner on front

Samsung has finally revealed the launch date for its next phablet flagship, and at the same time confirmed the successor to the Galaxy Note 5 will be called the Galaxy Note 7. The new Note-series smartphone will be unveiled on August 2, as reported previously.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be announced at an event in New York on August 2 that kicks off at 8:30pm IST. The South Korea company has confirmed that there will be simultaneous events in Rio de Janeiro and London.

Apart from sharing the official teaser for the ‘Galaxy Note Unpacked 2016’, Samsung also claimed that the new S Pen, which will be part of the Galaxy Note 7, will come with “added functionalities.”

samsung_unpacked_note_2016.jpgThe company also gave reasons why it is skipping the Galaxy Note 6 name and jumping to Galaxy Note 7. “First and foremost though, you might be curious as to why it’s called Galaxy Note 7 instead of Galaxy Note 6. There are a couple reasons why. First, the Galaxy Note 7 will complement our Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and unify our product portfolio. Second, the Galaxy Note 7 will minimize confusion about the latest mobile technology from Samsung, and provide full alignment with Galaxy S smartphone,” wrote the company in announcement post, confirming previous speculation as to Samsung’s reasons.

Based on flurry of leaks, Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 7 is expected to sport an iris scanner in the front, which will come handy for biometric locks and has been claimed to be more reliable than fingerprint scanners. The handset is said to come in Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, and Blue Coral colours. For specifications, the Galaxy Note 7 is said to run a revamped UI from Samsung based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow; sport a USB Type-C port, and also come with a 6-inch QHD Super Amoled dual-edge display. It is likely to feature 4GB of RAM and offer three inbuilt storage options – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB (with the choice to expand as well). The Galaxy Note 7 is rumoured to sport a 12-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and a 3600mAh battery.

Xiaomi Mi 5s Flaunts Dual-Camera Setup in Leaked Render

Xiaomi Mi 5s Flaunts Dual-Camera Setup in Leaked Render
  • New leaked render suggests Mi 5 successor to have dual camera setup
  • Mi 5 successor is expected to feature pressure sensitive display
  • The smartphone is expected to be launched in August

A render of Xiaomi’s alleged Mi 5s smartphone has surfaced and, in-line with some of the earlier leaks it suggests that the phone will don a dual-camera setup. According to earlier reports, Samsung was supposed to start supplying dual camera modules to Xiaomi and LeEcofrom July.

If these reports are to be believed, it makes complete sense for Xiaomi Mi 5s to have a dual camera module. Numerous leaks had already suggested that the phone is expected to have a dual camera setup and the latest render (via Gizmo China) has added substantial weight to the earlier rumours.

Earlier leaks suggested that the smartphone will feature a “Force Touch screen,” expected to work on similar lines to Apple’s 3D touch. Some other leaks also suggested that the Xiaomi Mi 5s will include Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

The smartphone is rumoured to pack 6GB RAM and is expected to be announced in August.

Along with Xiaomi Mi 5s, the company is rumoured to be working on Xiaomi Mi Note 2 smartphone which is expected to come in three models – standard, high, and top-end. According to the leaked details, the alleged “standard” variant will feature single rear camera setup, Hi-Fi chip, and will also support quick charging. The high variant of Mi Note 2 is also rumoured to pack a dual camera setup at the back.

However, there has been no official word from Xiaomi regarding the successor to Mi 5 and we should take all these rumours with a grain of salt and wait for the company to reveal the smartphone’s specifications and features

Intex Aqua Power 4G With VoLTE Support Launched

Intex Aqua Power 4G With VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 6,399
  • It features a 5-inch HD display
  • The Aqua Power 4G runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera

Intex has launched the Aqua Power 4G smartphone in India. Priced at Rs. 6,399, the handset is now available via offline as well as online retailers across the country.

The Intex Aqua Power 4G features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display, with a pixel density of 267ppi. The smartphone sports a screen-to-body ratio of 67 percent. The dual-SIM Aqua Shine 4G smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box and supports 4G, but one SIM at a time.

The Intex Aqua Power 4G supports 4G LTE bands in India – FDD-LTE Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 5, and TDD-LTE Band 40 (2300MHz). The smartphone also supports VoLTE (voice over LTE) with HD voice call compatibility, a highlight of the handset.

It sports an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with dual-LED flash, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash. It is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6735P processor paired with 1GB of RAM. The Intex Aqua Power 4G packs 8GB of built-in storage and supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 32GB).

Backed by a 3800mAh battery, the handset offers up to 18 hours of talk-time and up to 200 hours of standby time. Connectivity options on the Aqua Power 4G include GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot functionality, Bluetooth, FM radio, Micro-USB, and GPS. It comes pre-loaded with some apps such as Clean Master, Opera Mini, Intex services, Matrabhasha, and Saavn. The smartphone will be available in Gold and Blue colours. It measures 145.4×72.7×8.9mm and weighs 160 grams.

Announcing the new smartphone, Keshav Bansal, Director, Intex Technologies, said, “The Aqua Power 4G offers seamless connectivity backed with a powerful processor. The large screen and the latest Marshmallow OS will provide consumers an engaging smartphone experience.”

OnePlus 3 Getting OxygenOS 3.2.1 Update After Botched 3.2 Update Rollout

OnePlus 3 Getting OxygenOS 3.2.1 Update After Botched 3.2 Update Rollout
  • OxygenOS 3.2.1 update to include all of 3.2 update’s improvements
  • The incremental rollout for OnePlus 3 has already started
  • Update brings sRGB mode, improved RAM management, and more

Despite no official announcement by the company, several OnePlus users had started receiving OxygenOS 3.2 update earlier this week. As it turns out, the company later stalled its Oxygen 3.2 update and has decided to now move ahead directly with OxygenOS 3.2.1 update.

On Thursday, a OnePlus staff member posted on company’s official forum that the company has decided to skip OxygenOS 3.2 rollout and that the 3.2.1 update will cover all of 3.2 update’s improvements. He added that “the incremental rollout of OxygenOS 3.2.1 on the OnePlus 3” was starting from Thursday itself.

The new update will bring with itself the much requested sRGB mode, improved RAM management, and better GPS performance. It will also bring the latest Google security patches and is said to enhance audio playback quality.

The 3.2.1 update will also pack updated custom icon packs and is said to fix certain issues in Gallery. The company also claims that it will improve the camera’s quality and its functionality.

The company has also resolved some issues with SIM recognition, and problems with clock and music apps with the latest update, according to the change log posted by the staff member on the forum.

The 3.2 update was reported to be around 396MB in size. Some users who were already on 3.2.0 version have said on forum that they have received a 15MB update for 3.2.1.

Last month, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei expressed his displeasure about the criticism that OnePlus 3’s display has received, and clarified why the company didn’t initially include the sRGB mode. Ultimately, Pei had to give in to the feedback from the customers, and confirm that OnePlus would bring sRGB in the next update.

Wal-Mart Now Lets You Pay With Phone at All 4,600 US Stores

Wal-Mart Now Lets You Pay With Phone at All 4,600 US Stores

Wal-Mart will now let you pay with its phone app at all 4,600 stores nationwide.

The effort is part of Wal-Mart’s strategy to make shopping easier and faster, while learning more about consumer behavior.

With Wal-Mart Pay, the cashier scans a QR code on the phone screen to charge a credit, debit or Wal-Mart gift card linked with the account. It differs from Apple, Samsung and Android Pay, which involves tapping your phone next to a payment machine with a wireless technology called NFC.

In December, Wal-Mart said it would develop its own digital wallet rather than honor existing systems from Apple and others, though Wal-Mart said it isn’t ruling out third-party wallets in the future.

Retailers have been pushing their own systems in part because they retain control. Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services at Wal-Mart US, says data from the app will be used to improve the shopping experience. One way, he said, would be to use past shopping behavior to build a personalized shopping list. The customer could then delete or add items. He said such features would be done only with a customer’s permission.

Wal-Mart joined other retailers in backing CurrentC, a system that was also based on scanning codes rather than NFC. But the beta test of the system faltered as Apple Pay became more popular. The consortium last week suspended its launch indefinitely, saying it plans to focus on other aspects of its business.

Apple Pay, in particular, has been credited with boosting interest in mobile payments, though many consumers still use traditional plastic cards because it’s not difficult to pull one out. Although the number of stores accepting NFC payments has grown, it’s still relatively low, and the stores with the right equipment still need cashiers familiar with it.

Wal-Mart says no payment information is stored on users’ phones or at registers. Rather, card information is stored on Wal-Mart servers. By contrast, Apple, Samsung and Android Pay use alternative card numbers for added security, so if hackers break into a merchant’s system, they wouldn’t be able to go on a buying spree. Wal-Mart uses regular card numbers, but it insists it keeps the information secure.

Wal-Mart Pay is built into Wal-Mart’s app, which has 20 million active users. The Bentonville, Arkansas, company finished upgrading stores in 25 states last week to complete the national rollout. Eckert said 88 percent of Walmart Pay transactions are from repeat users.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Rumoured to Launch on July 25

 Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Rumoured to Launch on July 25
  • New rumoured specifications largely in line with previous leaks
  • The company had shared a teaser that said ‘2>5’
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2 tipped to cost roughly Rs. 25,000

Until now, there have been several leaks related to the Xiaomi Mi Note 2, but none suggested a specific date for the launch of the smartphone model. Most rumours indicated that it might be launched in August. Now a new report says that the phone may launch on July 25.
“New rumours from China say that the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 will be announced on July 25,” notes Gizmo China. The new rumour also suggests that the smartphone will sport a 5.7-inch display, 6GB of RAM, Snapdragon chipset and will come with a price tag of 2,499 Yuan (roughly Rs. 25,000). The details seem to be in line-with earlier leaks, apart from a difference in terms of price.

On Monday, the company shared a teaser that said “2>5” on Weibo. According to some interpretations online, “>” can be also read as 7 (which might be reference to the month July) while rest two numerals might be indicating the date 25 for Xiaomi’s Mi Note 2 reveal. However, these are mere interpretations, and what the teaser actually means is anybody’s guess.

Having said that, last month Gizmo China quoted Xiaomi co-founder and president Lin Bin as saying that the company will launch a flagship product in July.

All these factors indicate strongly that the smartphone could have a July 25 release date. However, we will still have to wait for an official confirmation from the company for details related to the event.

According to the leaks, the alleged Mi Note 2 is expected to come in three models – standard, high, and top-end. A Chinese Weibo tipster had previously suggested that the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 may be priced at CNY 2,499 (approximately Rs. 25,000) for the standard 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage model, while the 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage high model is tipped to come at CNY 2,999 (approximately Rs. 30,000). The tipster had also claimed a third top-end variant featuring 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage priced at CNY 3,499 (approximately Rs. 35,000)

Freedom 251 Delivery to Begin Friday, First Phase to Include 5,000 Units

Freedom 251 Delivery to Begin Friday, First Phase to Include 5,000 Units
  • Delivery for 2 lakh mobiles was supposed to start from June 30
  • Then it was said 10000 devices will be given to customers in 19 states
  • And now Ringing Bells has brought it down to just 5000 devices

Ringing Bells, the Noida-based firm that ran into controversy after announcing a Rs. 251 phone five months back, claimed on Thursday it will start shipping the cheapest smartphone ever from Friday.

In February, the company announced the Freedom 251 phone which saw a mad rush of over 70 million people jostling to register but when the prototype was presented to media it turned out to be produced by another manufacturer with its logo covered.

This led to protests from buyers and consequent inquiries by police and tax officials, forcing the company to stop sale of the product and offer refunds to those who had booked the phone.

The Freedom 251 prototype touts a quad-core processor, a 4-inch screen and front and back cameras, priced at an astonishingly low rate of Rs. 251.

Ringing Bells Director Mohit Goel, who had last week stated that his company will soon start shipping 200,000 smartphones to buyers picked by lottery, said on Thursday deliveries will start as early as Friday.

“We will start delivery of 5,000 Freedom 251 phones in the first phase from tomorrow,” he told reporters at an event organised to unveil new models as well as an LED TV priced at Rs. 9,990.

Ringing Bells had last month stated that it will start deliveries for 2 lakh handsets from June 30 initially, then mentioned 10,000 devices will be given to customers in 19 states, and has now brought it down to 5,000 devices.

Goel said the first batch of 5,000 ‘Freedom 251’ devices will be out for delivery from July 8 and buyers will have to pay Rs. 291, including Rs. 40 as delivery charges.

He had previously stated that Ringing Bells faced Rs. 930 loss on each phone, which cost Rs. 1,180 and the parts were imported from Taiwan. He had claimed that Rs. 700-800 will be recovered from app developers and advertisement revenue.

When the phone was announced in February, about 30,000 people paid in advance for booking the phone and over 7 crore people registered for it, which is equivalent to the phones Samsung and Apple sell in an entire year.

Today, Goel claimed that the company is ready to ship 2 lakh units of the smartphone at Rs 251 each, but “only if it gets government support”. He, however, said that Ringing Bells will ship two lakh units to people who registered for it even if the company doesn’t get government support but it will take time.

The company also unveiled four new feature phones in the range of Rs. 699-999 and two budget Android smartphones thatare priced between Rs. 3,999 and Rs. 4,499.

It also unveiled three power banks, and a 31.5-inch HD LED TV priced at Rs 9,900 that will be launched on August 15.

Samsung Unveils UFS Cards, Successor to the Beloved microSD Standard

Samsung Unveils UFS Cards, Successor to the Beloved microSD Standard

In a bid to move the world of memory cards to the next level, Korean electronics giant Samsung has announced a new type of removable memory card in Universal Flash Storage (UFS) that will offer more than five times read speed and almost twice the writing performance of today’s microSD cards, according to the company.

These new cards will be ideally suited towards high-resolution professional devices such as DSLRs, 3D VR cameras, action cams – think GoPro Hero4, drones like the DJI Phantom series – and for 4K movies as well as 3D gaming. And to suit their needs, the UFS cards will be available in storage capacities of 32, 64, 128 and 256GB.

In terms of performance, the new Samsung cards can be read at 530MB/s, as opposed to 95MB/s offered by the best microSD cards available today. Samsung says the improvement brings it on par with a typical solid-state drive (SSD), and allows users to read a full-HD movie of 5GB in size in about 10 seconds where a microSD card would take 50 seconds.

For writing purposes, you get 170MB/s and hence almost doubling current top-end microSD cards that offer 90MB/s. Typical microSD cards used by most people in their smartphones offer 20MB/s write speeds, which means UFS cards are eight to nine times faster.

samsung_ufs_cards_back.jpgSamsung believes this will help photographers and videographers the most, as the faster read and write speeds will allow them to copy over multimedia files and get back to work in record time. If you’re wondering how the cards achieve such monstrous numbers, that’s because UFS technology has support for “simultaneous reading and writing”, which means it can use more than one path unlike microSD cards, which helps it multiply the throughput.

While this might be the first time UFS tech has found its way into removable cards, it is already being used in its embedded form, starting with last year’s Galaxy S6. Whether Samsung will decide to swap out the S7’s microSD slot for UFS with next year’s Galaxy flagship – since UFS uses a different PIN connection – only time will tell.

For now, there’s no word on pricing or availability of the new Samsung UFS cards.

Huawei Has Filed New Patent Suit Against Samsung, Reveals Chinese Court

Huawei Has Filed New Patent Suit Against Samsung, Reveals Chinese Court

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has filed another patent lawsuit against smartphone rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in China, adding to the legal battle between the two Asian electronics giants.

Quanzhou intermediate people’s court spokesman Wang Zhiwei told Reuters the court accepted the case recently but did not provide further details, including what infringements Huawei is claiming in the lawsuit and when the suit was filed.

In May Huawei said it sued Samsung in the United States and China, seeking compensation for what the Chinese firm said was unlicensed use of fourth-generation cellular communications technology, operating systems and user interface software in Samsung phones.

That marked a reversal of roles in China, as phone makers there have often been on the receiving end of such lawsuits. Last year Xiaomi Inc was forced to briefly halt sales of handsets in India after a patent infringement complaint from telecom equipment maker Ericsson.

A Samsung spokeswoman said the South Korean company will “thoroughly review the complaint” and take appropriate action to defend its interests. Huawei could not be immediately reached for comment

Google, OnePlus, Samsung, BlackBerry Announce July Security Updates

Google, OnePlus, Samsung, BlackBerry Announce July Security Updates

Several smartphone manufacturers have announced July security update for their Android devices and others are likely to follow suit soon. OnePlus, Samsung, BlackBerry, and Nexus devices have confirmed some of their devices will receive the security update.

Cyanogen firmware update, 277MB in size, for OnePlus One is already available as an over-the-air download and is said to contain no other new features apart from the security fixes. The company has not confirmed an update for its OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3 models as of now.

Samsung, on the other hand, announced the new firmware updates for its flagship Galaxy devices. The company has also integrated some fixes for its interface TouchWiz along with the OTA security update. However, the company was mum on the list of exact models that will receive the update. As of now, the updates are not available. But the roll-out is expected to start very soon as official news is out already.
Following the footsteps of OnePlus and Samsung, Google also initiated rolling out of the security update for supported Nexus devices. The models for which the update is available are Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9, and Nexus Player.

Google’s update roll-out is likely to be over in two weeks, however, the company has made OTA binary image files available to allow users to manually update their Nexus devices right away.

BlackBerry has also started rolling out its security patches for its Priv models that were purchased unlocked from ShopBlackBerry or Amazon. BlackBerry’s security update is 95MB in size.