30 Sep 2014

Android L for Lollipop?

Overview

With Android 4.4 Kitkat growing older day by day, it is time for a newer version of Android, which will start with the letter L. But Google already showed us what to expect in Android L in the Google I/O 2014 and also released the developer preview. What is so new about this version of Android? What are the impressions of Techist.net? Read more to find out.

New Runtime

The new version of Android runs on ART instead of Dalvik, which proved successful in the experiment on KitKat. It promises faster speeds and might be better than Dalvik.

New Design

flickr/Yuri Samoilov

Android now has a new look, similar to how Apple changed the look of iOS in iOS 7. Android calls this new look Material Design. It is a very nice aesthetic improvement, as elements float in or come in from somewhere rather than appearing suddenly. The toggles also have nice animations. Now, instead of the Holo feel, you have a Light kind of a feel - it looks much like HTC Sense.
Although I'm not a fan of changes just like that, I had to admit that the UI looked pretty good. The on-screen home, multitasking, and back button to a minimalistic look. The status bar is now completely transparent and the keyboard also has a new look. All the apps also have gotten a completely new makeover as well. It even has a new overscroll animation, instead of the bounce effect on KitKat. Google really seems to be working hard for this version of Android

New Lockscreen

There is a new lock screen on Android L which lets you access all your notifications from there itself, also you can expand them then and there using gestures. You can even dismiss them using the same gestures you use in the notifications panel. You can also access the dialer by swiping to the right and as usual, the camera, by swiping to the left. But now, to unlock the phone, you have to swipe up instead. I think this is Google's attempt to dissuade those using custom lockscreens from doing so.

Other Small Changes

flickr/Yuri Samoilov
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29 Sep 2014

The New iPad - Expectations

The next Generation of the iPad may be launched along with the iPad Mini retina mostly on October, as is the current trend with Apple. This is one of Apple's best selling devices and everyone loves it. But the big question is - What should we expect? Read more to find out.


John Karakatsanis/Flickr

 Most probably, both the iPad's will ship with Touch ID that was earlier introduced in the iPhone 5s, but there might be some modifications to make it durable and much better, in addition, I (Advaith) strongly believe that both the iPad's should have at least 2GB RAM considering the fact that most of the android smartphones are having 2-3GB RAM and the iPad Air has a meagre 1 GB RAM. Although most of the users were able to sustain it due to, Apple should really consider increasing the RAM to at least 2GB in the upcoming generations of their iPads.
Moving on to the thickness, the iPad Air was very slim at 7.5mm. This is something very nice considering the fact that back then when the iPad Air was released, this received a lot of attention. Moreover, with the iPhone 6 and 6 plus around and with a thickness of only 6.7mm, an iPad with a thickness of about 7mm or less goes unsaid.

Tetsuji Sakakibara


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iOS 8 : What it is and what's missing

Overview

Apple has recently pushed out the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8. This was unveiled on the WWDC 2014 and was pushed out as an OTA (Over The Air) update to the compatible devices. This update has a lot of new features and also lacks certain tricks that might have given it an edge over Android. Here we explore what all it has as well as what was missing in it to make it a better operating system.

Design and tweaks

iOS 8 Widgets


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28 Sep 2014

The Sony Xperia Z3 - Not too satisfying

Overview

flikr/pestoverde

What happens when you want a product which is better than the best? You come out with specs that you can't even imagine on most other phones. In doing so, you create a record which others have to surpass. The Sony Xperia Z, Z1 and Z2 did a pretty good job of doing so. Let's see if the Z3 does match our expectations. It was launched with the Z3 Compact and the Tablet Z3 at a price of Rs. 49,990 in Flipkart


Design


flikr/pestoverde

The Xperia Z3, as like it's predecessors, shares the same solid and premium feel, as it should. It's 7.3 mm thick and weighs 152 gms. It is waterproof and you can take photos even underwater, but we'll get to that later.
It is powered by Android 4.4 Kitkat, the latest version Google's touch based OS and has Sony's custom Xperia skin laid out on top which offers you added functionalities like Walkman and Track ID.
It has no physical home button or any touch bar button, but has on - screen buttons as is Sony's trend. This phone is currently comes in three colours - Black, White, Copper and Silver Green.

Specs

flikr/pestoverde
It has a 5.2 inch 1080p display unlike the Galaxy Note 4 or the LG G3 which have a UHD 2160 x 1440 display. It is powered by the 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and has 3GB RAM. Strangely, it does not carry Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 as expected. It is IP65 and IP68 rated, meaning it is dustproof and waterproof like its predecessors, making it usable to those who like to take their phone for a dip.It has a 3100mAh Li - ion battery, which provides the required charge for daily use. It has a 20.7 MP back camera with a Sony Exmor RS image sensor and a 2.2 MP front facing camera for all those #selfies. The back camera also supports 4K video recording.


Conclusion

The Xperia Z3 provides not so premium specs premium cost - this does not match what we wanted. Although the camera is great, the phone should at least have had a UHD display. Sony, this is not such a great phone. Take the Galaxy Note 4, those were the specs you needed to give the user. So, again, not that great. 
This article was written by Vignesh Shankar, another admin at Techist.net, for queries please email him at vignesh@techist.net 

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Galaxy Alpha, a new phone by samsung - SNIPPET

Samsung has announced Galaxy Alpha smartphone in India at a price of 39,990. The smartphone will be available in the market by the first week of October.


Chris F/flikr
 The Galaxy Alpha has a decent 4.7 inch 720p super AMOLED display and comes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box, which is pretty amazing considering the fact that many phones are yet to get the update. Interestingly, the standout feature of this smartphone is undoubtedly the thickness, which is just 6.7 mm and much slimmer than that of many devices which have been rolled out at a higher price, for example the iPad Air is 7.5mm thick and the latest iPhone 6 is 6.9 mm thick while the 6 Plus is 7.1 mm thick. This fact has already generated a lot of discussions and has created quite a buzz. The dimensions of the Galaxy Alpha are 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm. Apart from the thickness, the chipset is yet another attraction with an Octa - Core processor which can handle pretty much anything. In addition, the Galaxy Alpha packs in it a 2GB RAM and has 32GB inbuilt memory.Sadly, you cannot expand your storage with a memory card.The phone also has a 1860 mah battery. In my opinion, there should have been a better battery because most of the people who buy this phone are sure to consume massive amount of data which will reduce the battery rapidly.
Chris F/flikr

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27 Sep 2014

The Technicalities involved in buying a Touch Phone

Phone got old? Or did it just get boring?  If you are out to buy a new phone, Techist.net is here with a couple of suggestions and ideas.
First of all, the phone you want is ultimately decided by your tastes. However, there are a few common deciding points that everyone has to go through before personalizing the choice. The most important of these is the hardware and software support provided by the company.
Most companies like Samsung and LG provide software support only to their Flagships. The lower end models which are actually popular are not provided much support in terms of software updates. For example, take the really popular Galaxy Y – it was not provided an update to the next version of Android even though it was a huge success. This usually occurs in Android, as the updates are pushed to the company by Google who then give the updates in customized formats so as to increase the quality of the user experience.

Kārlis Dambrāns-Flikr


Also, if your phone screen happens to crack or there is some other defects relating to hardware, some companies usually do not cooperate in fixing it especially if it is in its warranty period. Also this might be the case for some companies, Motorola, Apple and Samsung offer quality services in this field.
The second factor in deciding a good phone is its pricing compared to its specifications. If you have finally found your dream phone in terms of specs, don’t buy it just yet!  Chances are that there are similar phones in the market that you might have missed. Take the Google Nexus 5 for example. If you are going to buy it, chances are that you have overlooked the OnePlus One and the Xiaomi MI3, which offer better specs in terms of the product that you were going to buy at nearly half the price! (although there is a tradeoff in terms of the UI with the Xiaomi MI3 which comes with the MIUI interface which is similar to that of Apple’s iOS)
The third factor is the kind of usage you subject your phone to and its durability on that matter – that is whether as a productive tool or for fun or as a basic phone. If build quality really matters to you, that is, the look and feel of that phone then you might want to consider the established brand Apple’s iPhone. If that does not suit your tastes, then you may want to look at Samsung’s Note 4 and the HTC One M8. The recent trend is to have a waterproof phone or even a water resistant phone. Sony’s Xperia Z, Z1, Z2 and Z3 will satisfy you on that matter. Even Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified, that is, it is water and dust resistant.


Maurizio Pesce - Flikr

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Wearable tech for newbies

The 21st century has seen many advancements and the most recent is the development of wearable tech. You don't need to take it out of your pocket or power it on every time  you need to see something, but it will be delivered right to you by your smart watch or smart glasses (yes glasses that you can wear on your head).
This is not a new concept as it existed before in movies and games. The only thing that has changed is that now it is possible to wear and use them in the real world.
With tech giants like Apple and Google making wearables, the new age of wearable technology has begun. Here at Techist.net, we cover the various new releases in this field.

Motorola Moto 360  pestoverde/Flickr

The first among these is google's group, that is, android  wear. It is a pretty good operating system, which uses neat little gestures and swipes to navigate around the system. You can swipe up or down to navigate between apps and swipe left or right to dismiss notifications. You can also reply to mails and texts using google's voice sensing application, which is really accurate. Various devices use this operating system, giving you a multitude of options. You have the LG G watch, the gear live and the moto 360. Although the G watch and the gear live are similar with a square shaped display, the moto 360 has a round display with a small bezel on the bottom, making it look breathtaking. The three devices have almost the same specs. Recently, following the steps of Motorola, LG released the G Watch R, a smart watch with a similar round display. How it performs in the hands of an average user is yet to be seen.
Apple has also released its armada of smart watches (yes an armada and not just one watch) called Apple Watch and not iWatch as expected. It has a sapphire crystal display and has a physical button and a scroll wheel called the "digital crown", which apple made a big deal of, to use for zooming in and out. It also has a heart rate sensor and infrared sensor underneath it along with a charging solution that sticks to the back instead of having to be plugged in. It is powered by apple's smart watch specific os. It comes in two sizes and three variants -  watch, a watch with a stainless steel casing, watch sport, a watch with an aluminum case and watch edition, a watch with an 18 carat gold case. It also offers a bunch of options for the bands. It is a very colorful product.
Companies like Samsung and Sony have also released smart wrist bands for their flagship devices like the gear neo powered by custom operating systems. Smart watches like the pebble steel are also very popular.

LG’s G Watch R  pestoverde/Flickr
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Windows phone - A short take

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Blackberry passport -A short take

Is blackberry trying to take over the phone market again? It sure looks like that. The former tech giant known around the world for making premium smartphones just released the Passport, a phone with dimensions similar to an American passport and monstrous specifications.
It has a square 4.5" LCD IPS display with a resolution of 1440x1440 giving it a pixel density of 453 pixels per inch. 



Blackberry Passport gallery-cam@2x pestoverde/Flickr

It is powered by the 2.2 ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and the Adreno 330 GPU. It runs blackberry's latest version of its operating system, BBOS 10.3 which also has support for android apps. The amazon AppStore is also available by default in the device. This device comes with a 13 MP camera which has autofocus and OIS. It has a huge battery of  3450 mAh which will give it a really long standby time. But the most eye catching feature in this device is its keyboard. It has a three row qwerty keyboard, compared to the four row ones that we are accustomed to. Users who have used it said that it takes only a little while to get used to it and that it is very comfortable. On the other hand, the phone is quite thick, with a thickness of 9.3 mm. The phone also weighs a lot, 194 gm, which is really a lot in the phone market these days. So, this really makes the phone unsuitable for one handed use. Also this phone is priced at $250 on AT&T so we can expect an off contract price of $650. 

Blackberry Passport gallery-cam@2x pestoverde/Flickr

This phone is quite expensive, so is it worth it? Techist will cover more on this when we can get a hands on review. 



This article was written by Vignesh Shankar, another admin at Techist.net, for queries please email him at vignesh@techist.net 
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26 Sep 2014

iOS 8.0.2 has been released!

I was just bowling my iPad casually when all of a sudden I saw this




Yes indeed, iOS 8.0.2 has released and, as seen, it states that this update contains minor updates and bug fixes and the bugs have been very irritating over the past few days, especially the keyboard, have a look.

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25 Sep 2014

How to compress images

How to compress images


Compressing images in simple terms, means reducing the size of the image. This is used extensively at Techist.net to reduce the website loading time and to enhance user experience. In addition, this reduces the overall size of a website as images have a very big size compared to a webpage with plain text.
Just imagine yourself visiting a website but its taking too long to load. Chances are you get very frustrated and immediately close that tab and you never visit that website again. Imagine this happening to your blog or website, if your hosting provider is'nt able to cope up with the bandwidth your blog or website taking up. This can result in serious loss of valuable traffic and sometimes, even a client if you are selling services. In order to tackle this, I have come up with a comprehensive guide to help you compress images and also provide you with website links of some nice image compressing websites

I normally use CompressNow.com to compress my images because I can change the compression level according to my needs,



  • Go to www.compressnow.com and upload the image that you want to compress. Note that maximum file size is 9 MB.
Compressnow website

  • Choose the compression level,I recommend you to compress the image as much as possible because 
The smaller the size, the faster the website loads, as you can see the image's actual size is 36.2 KB but after 100% compression, the size is only 5.49 KB. That being said, the quality of the image will also deteriorate, so make sure you choose the level
compressing-level
Compressing a logo which i whipped up

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24 Sep 2014

Gyazo - the best screenshot and .GIF tool


HOW TO TAKE A COMPUTER SCREENSHOT

Screenshots of computer screens are widely used, whether to make tutorials, mockups of websites or to show proof to your friends that you achieved something in a game. But only a few people know how to take screenshots efficiently and easily.
    Gyazo is a tool for taking screenshots at ease and it has one extra feature up its sleeve, it automatically hosts your screenshot on its website, completely free of charge! In addition to this, it can also record .GIF's and .MP4's but only for a specific time frame.
   Heres a simple tutorial to get started to using Gyazo
  •  Go to Gyazo.com and download Gyazo.
  • Install the .exe file, it may take 2-3 minutes to install.
  • After installation, you will see two new icons pinned to your taskbar




  • The one on the left is for taking screenshots of the computer screen, just click on it and then you will see that a new layer is created on the screen of your computer, all you need to do is to click adn drag, and your screenshot will be uploaded withing a couple of seconds
  • The second icon of the photo reel and the lens is to take a short recording of the computer screen and convert it into a .gif or .mpq

TOP TIP


If you are using the visual recording option, make sure you use the .mp4 option checked if you want high quality frame


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