Enter… The Firefox OS

Do you know what’s interesting about the current free-for-all for mobile operating system dominance? You guessed right! New entries! We are sure you have heard of The Firefox OS by Mozilla? Sure you have!

firefoxos

Launching a new mobile OS is a difficult project since the market leaders, Android and iOS, have such a big lead. Even Microsoft, with its near-infinite financial resources and vast ecosystem of complementary products, has struggled over time to gain traction. With the rising standards technology giants have set for themselves as they duke it out for market dominion, new entrants will have to face what I call a chicken-and-egg problem: developers don’t want to write apps for a platform without many users, while users don’t want to buy a phone without many apps.

First off, to sustain any early momentum, Mozilla will need to convince developers to build Firefox OS apps. Firefox OS apps will be built entirely using HTML5. According to Mozilla, the thousands of developers who already know how to build Web apps will be able to build Firefox OS apps with minimal additional training. And because they’re built on open standards, Mozilla hopes that Firefox OS apps will work reasonably well on other platforms that support HTML5—which is to say, all of them.

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Thanks to ArsTechnica, we know the Firefox OS architecture has three layers, dubbed “Gonk”, “Gecko”, and “Gaia”. Gecko is the rendering engine at the core of the Firefox browser. Below Gecko sits Gonk, a bare-bones Linux distribution derived from Android. Above Gecko sits Gaia, a touchscreen user interface not too different from those found on other mobile operating systems. It makes sense that Mozilla would choose to make Gonk a derivative of Android because many device makers already know how to make devices that run Android. According to Mozilla “If you’re an OEM, you already have basically all the capabilities to run our system.” It is also worthy to note that since Firefox OS apps are essentially just Web apps, app developers are not required to use Mozilla’s app store at all. A developer can distribute a Firefox OS app as a “hosted app,” delivered from any Web server.

firefox3-Apps-list

Firefox OS looks familiar to anyone who’s used Android and iOS: when you turn it on, you’re faced with the familiar grid of apps. Swiping left and right slides in other pages of apps. And across the bottom of each page is a fixed set of four apps: the phone dialer, a text-messaging app, the Firefox browser, and the camera app. As with iOS, swiping to the leftmost screen launches a search app. But unlike iOS, this search app is wired not just to your own apps but also to the Firefox Marketplace and to the Web at large — remember, this is a browser-based OS. If you find an app you like in the search results, you can pin it to one of your screens for easy future access. Firefox OS comes with a range of built-in apps such as Facebook and Wikipedia, and even mapping services. A long-press on the home button invokes a task switcher so you can juggle among open apps.

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A contacts app lets you open up a screen full of information about people you know. It serves as a hub to phone them, send e-mail or text messages, or check their Facebook walls. Facebook integration also lets people import their contacts; Mozilla plans to add import mechanisms for services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail — something it knows how to do by virtue of its Thunderbird e-mail software for PCs.

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A camera app, which also is accessible from the lock screen, has tabs for taking photos or videos, and it’s got a link to the built-in gallery app. That app lets you crop photos, apply some basic color filters, adjust contrast, and take actions like sharing photos on Facebook or by Bluetooth wireless networking.

firefoxsearch

It feels so much like an earlier version of Android. It’s definitely good, though, that Firefox OS can get a running start in the app ecosystem by mobilizing the vast army of Web programmers — programmers who might well be happy they can reach Firefox OS customers without having to jump through nearly as many hoops as the Apple App Store or Google Play present. It is already available of several phones such as the ZTE Firefox Phone, Keon and Peek by Geeksphone. Firefox OS should be fully open to all by 2014 and if successful, it should change the way we use the Web. We are used to visit websites but Firefox OS will bring an era where we will be using Web apps more than Websites. Ubuntu for Phones will also support Firefox OS to help bring in this change.

The new Nexus 7: A second shot at a good idea?

google-nexus-7-logoAs if the war for what device dominates the 7 inch mini tab form factor was not cruel enough, technology giants Google decided to play another entry with their new Nexus 7, which became available since yesterday, July 30th.

The new Nexus 7 features a raft of improvements over last years Nexus 7; even though they practically look almost the same. First to mention would be that unlike the former Nexus 7, this one comes with the latest update of the Android OS (Jelly Bean 4.3) which of a truth is not that big of a difference really except that you can now have separate customizable spaces, including personal homescreens, wallpapers, apps and storage; which is an appealing idea. So, those whose tablets usually get in the hands of others do not have much to worry about anymore when it comes to people tampering with stuff.  It features a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with an Adreno 300 400Mhz, which in simpler terms means the tablet should run pretty fast. there is also 2GB of RAM, a 5MP rear facing camera, 1.2MP front facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0LE, Wireless charging and a new HDMI slim port. With all of that for just about $30 extra, it is sure that comparing sister Nexus devices would lead to some level of unfairness.

nexus7

Even though the 7 inch screens of both devices are typically same, the new Nexus 7 runs at 323 PPI which is ridiculously sharper than the previous one at 216PPI. This display is one key feature that holds the retina-less iPad mini to question (well, of course until apple decides to release an iPad mini with retina display).  Watching movies on the new Nexus 7 is quite commendable honestly; and your Android OS has never looked crispier on any other tablet. The speaker sound on the new Nexus 7 is also improved, and thanks to its thinner design, it even weighs lighter than the previous. With up to 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or e-reading, there’s plenty of juice to get you through the day. And very much unlike the iPad, The new Nexus’ slim and lightweight design makes playing games much less strenuous to the wrists.

A truth remains that the new Google Nexus 7 champions the small tablet market for the meantime. A downside to the device would be that there is no SD card slot but its cheaper price range and crispy sharp HD display would give anyone with an iPad mini a run for his money. Google’s second shot at the Nexus 7 isn’t very groundbreaking in terms of innovation but the price is very inviting to tablet newbies. If you owned the previous Nexus 7, then this is certainly a worthwhile upgrade.

Selling an “excellent” keyboard: A BlackBerry Q10 Review

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Okay. Here comes a second phone that runs the BlackBerry 10 OS: the BlackBerry Q10.

The BlackBerry Q10 is a sister phone to the BlackBerry z10 released earlier in the year; but there are very obvious differences between the two smartphones. Very much unlike the Z10 which adopted the full touchscreen idea which seemed to be the norm for smartphones these days, there’s no mistaking the fact that the Q10 is a BlackBerry handset.

BlackBerry-Q10-Keyboard

The keyboard says it all, with distinctive rows of keys separated by bands of silver, and the shaping of the keys themselves, giving all the clues you need. BlackBerry has quit on the curved keyboard design of the earlier models to a straight one; possibly to maximize space. The keyboard may seem to the smartphone connoisseur as an overhauled cliche but it is actually commendable… especially compared to the older generations of the BlackBerry handsets. Keys are easy to find under the fingers thanks to their center ridges, and even click a little when pushed. There’s a small nubbin on the D key whose second function is the number 5, helping you find the number keys by feel easily. The design is the first from BlackBerry without a section between screen and keyboard offering shortcut buttons and some sort of screen navigation device. This multi-use is welcome, but it makes the positioning of the Micro-USB port and a Micro-HDMI connector on the left edge of the phone rather irritating.

The BlackBerry Q10 features a dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM which is a suitable entry for this generation of mobile devices. The BlackBerry Q10 supports LTE, HSPA+ and EDGE with its microSIM sitting under the backplate. The backplate provides protection for a MicroSD card, which thankfully you can access without removing the battery. This can be used to augment the 16GB of internal flash storage, some of which is taken up by the OS and preinstalled apps: fresh out of the box, leaving about only 11GB free. The 2,100mAh battery, incidentally, is rated for up to 13.5 hours’ (3G) talk time and up to 14 days on standby. The Q10 supports Near Field Communication (NFC) and GPS and has a full set of sensors — accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope and ambient light sensor.

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The BlackBerry Q10’s 720p display pumps out great looking colors and clear images with the help of Super AMOLED technology and a tight pixel density of 328 dpi — but, it’s a 3.1-inch square! While it may look good, even in direct sunlight, what you can do with such a small screen is a different story; and watching a movie would make quite a formidable example. Web surfing is another good example: surfing the web on a BlackBerry Q10 is quite a pain. When using a “business oriented” spreadsheet in Quickoffice or any MS Excel lookalike, you may have to agree that small screens and business software do not fit too well.

rolloverAn interesting feature for corporate users is the new BlackBerry Balance which keeps business apps, services and data separate from the user’s personal information. Anyone interested in speedy text-based communication will appreciate the feature called ‘Type and Go’. This builds on the universal search concept that lets you find apps, map locations, do web searches and more simply by typing on the keyboard then tapping the app or URL icon that appears. As long as you’re on a main screen and not in an app, you can type to make something real happen. Type “SMS Jack” and you can send a text if Jack is in your address book. Even typing “Email My Wife” will do a similar job. The phones main 8-megapixel camera at the back shoots 1080p HD video, while the front facing 2-megapixel camera can handle 720p. Both shoot in 1:1 (square), 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, which are easily switchable via on-screen icons.

A big issue BlackBerry users may have is The Blackberry App World’s rather small library of applications and tweaks compared to iOS and Android. So, you don’t get to do too much random stuff with your Blackberry phone. Although being mission specific and business critical does seem like a good approach, it may just end up being boring as a whole when the hype is over. There are a few tasks that the Blackberry Q10 excels at; but these are those that it is designed for such as chatting with your Blackberry contacts, email functions and other “business” needs. It looks good as a Blackberry phone though; so if all you are after is a better BlackBerry then, the BlackBerry Q10 would work for you.  The BlackBerry 10 OS would seem refreshing to almost anyone, and the BlackBerry Q10’s well balanced keyboard should impress; but for just a while… and then later, you might realize that the BlackBerry Q10 remains just another significant entry to the slow evolution of Blackberry phones.

Sony Xperia Z

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Combining incredible photography with style and power, Sony really are not  only competing in art and beauty anymore, they are taking the bazookers to the war front. The Xperia Z is a real master/power piece.

Being one of the new Z Xperia line smartphones by Sony, which was announced at the CES 2013 show, set to be released before April; it is the first smartphone with high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) full HD video and, at the moment, the phone with the highest resolution front facing camera at 2.2MP. Here are the goodies, Xperia Z will be bringing to our pocket (shortly after draining our wallets :p).

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Processor and GPU

The phone features a quad-core Krait processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz and an Adreno GPU and Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 SoC.
RAM and Storage: A whooping 2GB RAM, with an internal storage space of 32GB, supports microSD/HC of upto 32GB

Display

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

A 5-inch screen full 1080p touchscreen smartphone, with a 1920×1080 resolution at a density of approximately 443ppi providing a superb display,

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

with the new Bravia Engine 2 for images and videos.

Camera

It has both rear and front facing cameras, with the rear Camera being 13.1MP in resolution, with a back-side illuminated sensor with LED flash and Sony’s Exmor RS sensor, thereby making it the world’s first smartphone with high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) full HD video (< >wiki). The rear camera can shoot 1080P videos at 30FPS.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Its front facing camera is 2MP, which also is the highest resolution of any phone front facing camera.

Design

It will have 3 colour variants, black purple and white. It is lsightly longer and wider than the ZL, it is however thinner and more sleek looking, albeit its glassy cover may reduce grip, it is unknown how sturdy and strong it is when dropped.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

The ruggedized(water and dust proof) phone was stated to be 139mm long, 71mm wide and 7.9 mm thick, it is covered with Dragontail glass manufactured by Ashashi Glass Co.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

The device was reported to weigh 146grams (including battery).

Connectivity

Supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE 850, HSPA and 4G LTE (80mbps). It also supports Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi, NFC and DLNA.

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Using NFC, the One-touch feature allows seamless zero-configuration connection with other NFC enabled devices

Sensors and Other Features

The mobile comes equipped with the usual motion, orientation, light sensors; noteworthy it also feature both GPS and GLONAS, a trend in the newest devices.

Software

The Xperia Z’s default OS will be Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it is expected to have the regular Sony apps preinstalled.
Overall the Xperia Z is a very powerful mobile phone, the incredible features greatly reflects in its proposed price. Expect the Z line of devices to start hitting our bill boards.

The Good

Very powerful, and with a good better pricing system, it a may topple the Iphone.
Supports both GPS and GLONAS.

The Bad

A little too Xpensive for the average Nigerian.

Click for more on “Xperia Z smartphone”.

Please Note Ratings and Scores are absent as device has not yet been released, and may be subjected to some unexpected modifications, full review and score will be given after released as competing products are considered when rating devices at Nijaspecs.

NEXUS 10 and The Nigerian Tech Market

Nexus 10
Following the success of the very Cheap but powerful Nexus 7, Google released the successor of its legendary device. It was released fairly mid-way in November, 2012. The device is the successor to the commercially successful nexus 7. There was a change in developer/manufacturer partnership as the Nexus 10 was developed by Google and Samsung, you can’t help but wonder why Asus did not reprise their role as manufacturer even with the archived commercial success.
Will Nexus 10 be commercially successful in Nigeria?

Processor and GPU (10/10)

Featuring <Must be linked to wiki< Samsung Exynos 5250 system on chip>> a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz, means the NEXUS clearly leaves up to its expectations in processing power.

A quad-core ARM Mali T604 GPU means games and videos are rendered smoothly on its incredibly large WQXGA resolution.

Memory and Storage (8/10)

The Nexus 10 has a 16G and 32G internal storage capacity, no sd card slot for extending memory. It also comes equipped with 2G RAM, although it is unlikely you’ll run a single app that’ll consume 60% of the RAM in an instance, you will definitely notice the amount of apps that are kept alive even after focus is lost for a long time. Nexus 10 is FAST!

DISPLAY AND RESOLUTION (9/10)

Features a crisp 10.1-inch LCD with capacitive multi-touch touchscreen, with 2560×1600 display resolution, highest by any tablet in 2012>>(linked to WIKI) and as expected of every Samsung manufactured device, it features a scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 2<<Read about Gorrilla Glass 3 here>>  (Nexus 7 corning fit, 10 corning Gorilla)

CAMERA (7/10)

Nexus 10 Camera

Features two cameras, A sharp 5MP rear camera, for those people who don’t feel shy to cover events with a tablet (I for one, I’m not a fan of that, recording with a tab looks very awkward in every perspective K). The rear camera is capable of recording full 1080P videos at 30FPS. The inbuilt camera app also supports the usual features such as autofocus, face detection and geotagging etc and a ~2MP front facing camera, for video caling and skype.

CONNECTIVITY (7/10)

Features a Bluetooth 4.0 and WIFI for data exchange and internet connectivity, It also features a dual side NFC for use in Android beam. Like the initial models of its predecessor, it also lacks cellular connectivityL.

Design (Score 9/10)

Nexus 10 Design

www.slashgear.com

The Nexus 10 is 8.9 mm in girth, 263.9 mm long, 177.6 mm wide, it weighs 603 g. The rear of the device comprises a smooth, plastic surface a very conspicuous “nexus” tag, and a less conspicuous “Samsung” tag. The volume control buttons and the power button are at the top of the device and a 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB port on the devices left hand side. On the right lies the microHDMI port while the magnetic pogo pin used for docking and charging are at the bottom of the device.

OTHERS (10/10)

Nexus 10 comes equipped with the usual gravitation, motion and orientation sensing devices; an accelerometer, gyroscope; barometer, magnetometer and a digital compass; a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor are also present. Like its predecessor, it also features an in built microphone. It’s equipped with a GPS and GLONASS, yeah, it has supports both so you can never get lost since both already cover the globe; you are doubly insuredJ.

SOFTWARE (10/10)

OS

The device comes equipped with stock Android 4.2 JellyBean. Like the Nexus line, its boot loader is unlocked by defaultJ. It also comes with preinstalled with all Google apps.

As expected of every successor, the Nexus 10 is more powerful than its predecessor, but the nexus devices have clearly been out sold by galaxy line of Android devices in Nigeria, even with their cheaper price.

Overall: ~8.75 / 10

Overall the Nexus 10 is a very good device and follows well in the tradition of its predecessor, providing easy OS customization at cheaper than believable price.

Why this Device Can Be Successful in Nigeria

  • Relatively cheap: although much more expensive than its predecessor, the Nexus 10 is relatively cheaper than devices of its class(16 GB: US$399 and 32 GB: US$499)
  • Powerful hardware

Why this device can’t be successful in Nigeria

  • Nexus device advert and promotion is very poor in Nigeria, Samsung, Nokia and Sony go considerable length to create awareness about their devices in Nigeria. (Being a fan of Google, I’ve never seen a Nexus bill-board on a popular expressway L)
  • Not as nearly as cheap as Nexus 7, yet lacking Cellular support
  • Given the lack of cellular network, the device lacks carrier promotion, reason why you don’t get text messages from carrier about discounted rate.

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2 N7100- Big…is better!- Part 2

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Interface and Software

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and a TouchWiz UI. It features the standard tap and drag in any direction to unlock affair with ripples accompained by a water-drop sound. There are five customizable shortcuts which are available at the bottom of the lockscreen. Dragging any of the shortcuts upwards launches apps without going through the homescreen. There are several options like the face unlock, face and voice unlock, unlock by touching the screen and phone tilting unlock.
There’s a new feature called Quick glance which gives you at-a-glance info on missed calls and message notifications as well as the battery percentage, music track info and upcoming alarms. The notification area offers quick toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, Slient mode, Screen rotation and Power saving. There are five more toggles just off screen-Blocking mode, Mobile data, Bluetooth, AllShare cast and Sync. Further down we get the Brightness Slider with an Auto checkbox. This allows you to adjust the screen’s brightness even if it’s in auto mode.image

The screen of the Note 2 is big and typing experience might not be an easy task. Luckily for us Samsung knows this and that’s why they’ve added a few settings to make it easier. You can have the QWERTY keyboard, phone keypad and in- call buttons, calculator and unlock pattern moved to one side of the screen (left. Or right, whichever you prefer), to make them easier to use with one hand.

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Another cool feature you can find on the Galaxy Note 2 is Smart Stay. This feature uses the front-facing camera to detect the user looking at the screen, so that it never dims or locks while you’re reading. This makes reading web pages and ebooks very comfortable, even if you’ve set the screen timeout low to preserve the battery. Another clever camera twick is the Smart rotation. When enabled, the Note 2 will try to orient it’s screen in relation to your eyes not the accelerometer.

Processor, Memory and Battery

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a Samsung- made Exynos 4412 Quad chipset with four Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM and a Mali-400 GPU which manages the Note 2’s graphics. Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage options with up to 64GB of external storage.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is packed with a 3,100mAh battery (up from 2,500mAh on the original Note) which yields Up to 35 hours of 2G Talk time and Up to 16 hours of 3G Talk time.

Phonebook

The phonebook is virtually unlimited storage capacity. There are four tabs on top accommodating the Phone app, Groups, Favorites and Contacts. Samsung has kept swipe features for the phonebook. The Quick contacts feature is there too, displaying, upon a tap on the contact picture, a pop up menu with shortcuts to call, text, email or Google Talk. There’s a built-in reject list which acts like a third party blacklist app and blocks the numbers on it from calling you. There’s a new feature which lets you choose a specific vibration pattern as an incoming call alert, just like you would a ringtone.

Messaging and Text input

This being an Android handset, you cannot fault the amount of messaging options in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Firstly, there’s Mail, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with two flavours built in. One is the standard, excellent Gmail app found on all Android handsets. The second is Samsung’s own Mail app, which accommodates Gmail as well as virtually every other POP3/IMAP and Exchange option you care to chuck in its direction. The Gmail app is brilliant. It was overhauled for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, so if you have the original Samsung Galaxy Note (and you haven’t updated from Gingerbread), you’ll very quickly notice the difference. It looks better, it acts better and it gives you a widget too. Turning the phablet landscape activates the split view- the left side of the screen shows the list of emails, while the right side shows a message. This works rather well on the big 5.5 inch screen.
For tapping out messages, you’re really spoiled for choice. There’s a Samsung included keyboard. Google’s voice dictation is also brilliant, and you can use that in place of a keyboard. When dictating messages on Google Voice Typing, it’s really quite good. The beauty is that the words appear as you speak, which gives you a little more confidence to dictate longer messages. There is a problem in that punctuation can be a bit of a headbanger. Saying ‘period’ (US English) instead of ‘fullstop’ (British English) is fine – we got used to that easily enough. But saying ‘comma’ can lead to anything from ‘mama’, ‘kama’ or ‘korma’ appearing when you’re just trying to punctuate a sentence. Also, the S-Pen enables you to tap out words by just scribbling them on a virtual pad at the bottom of the screen. This is scarily accurate, and relies on actual handwriting. It even manages to decipher cursive writing!

Gallary and Multi media

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with a brand new, eye-candy rich Gallery app. It opens up in Albums view but you can choose to sort your pictures by Location, Time, Person (photos with tagged faces), Group and Favorites. You can also switch between three view modes – rectangular grid, a grid that’s spread out in 3D space and a 3D spiral. When you view a photo with people’s faces on it, the Galaxy Note 2 will try to detect them automatically. The Gallery also features social tag. This feature works when a face is recognized in a photo. After recognizing the person in the photo, it makes you see the person’s status message which will allow you to call or message them easily. Also, there’s Buddy Photo Share. This function allows photos to be easily and simultaneously shared with all your friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery.

The Galaxy Note 2 uses the TouchWiz music player. Equalizer presets are enabled (including a custom one) along with  Sound Alive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Music is sorted into various categories, but the most interesting one is called Music Square. This feature automatically rates a song as Joyful or Passionate, Calm or Exciting and place those songs on a Square. The Galaxy Note 2’s player is also DLNA enabled.
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Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has an 8 megapixel camera and can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The video recording of the Galaxy Note 2 is very impresssive at 1080p. The Frame rate is 30Fps, this will make the captured video smooth enough. The front camera features a 1.9 megapixel camera and it records videos at 720p.

Web Browser and Connectivity

The Galaxy Note 2 is powered with a Jelly Bean version of the android browser. The Browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the two-finger tilt. The browser supports text reflow, find on page, save for offline viewing, request desktop site and so on. A neat trick is to pinch zoom out beyond the minimum – that opens up the tabs view. The Web browser comes with Incognito mode, which lets you surf the web without the browser keeping track of your history or storing cookies. As you can expect, the S Pen is not left out when using the browser. It works like mouse when hovering over an internet page. You can also use the S Pen to do quick web searches. The Print option is another cool feature which lets you print out web pages straight from your phone. Unfortunately, this only works only with Samsung printers. There’s obviously the usual bundles of radios as well, including 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio with RDS, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE, A2DP, EDR and NFC), GSM 850 /900 /1800 /1900, HSDPA 850 /900 /1900 /2100 and LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 2100 – N7105.

Conclusion

There’s no getting away from the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is one beast of a droid and a major step forward for the class it represents. It does almost everything it sets out to do perfectly, with grace, class and maximum functionality. If you want to shop for a larger smartphone or a small tablet, there really is no better device. Many thanks to the GSM Arena team and the guys at Tech Radar.

Samsung ATIV S- Windows version of Samsung Galaxy S3?

Samsung ATIV S is an aluminum beauty with a 1.5GHz processor which is powered by Microsoft’s new smartphone OS.

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With the emergence of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung has established itself as an industry leader in mobile hardware. With the exact price and release date still not clear, we have plenty reasons to be excited about the ATIV S. In fact, the ATIV S might be the best Windows Phone 8 we’ve seen yet.

Design

On sight, the ATIVE S looks like the Galaxy S3. With the same aluminum body, it’s just a little bit longer and thicker than the Galaxy S3.
The layout of the Samsung ATIV S’s controls is similar to that of the Galaxy S3,  but there’s a notable hardware addition which is the dedicated camera button. Below the display you get a physical windows button, a capacitive back and search buttons. You will also find the earpiece, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and a front-facing 1.9 megapixel camera for video-calls above the display. The volume levelers are located on the left side of the ATIV S and on the right side there’s only a power key and a dedicated camera key. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the phone while the microUSB port sits alongside the primary microphone at the bottom and is used for both data connections and charging. The 8 megapixel camera lens is located at the back of the phone. It has the LED flash and loudspeaker on it sides.

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Screen

The Samsung ATIV S features  a 4.8-inch Super HD AMOLED screen of WVGA resolution (720 x 1280 pixels) and the pixel density clocks in at 306ppi. The screen comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass2 hence, durability is guaranteed.

Processor, Memory and Battery

The Samsung ATIV S resemblance to the  Galaxy S3 doesn’t just stop at the body deesign. While it might lack the type of processor packed into the Galaxy S3, the ATIV S has a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor with a 1GB RAM clocked at 1.5GHz. The device also comes with a 16GB or 32GB internal storage options (expandable to 32GB via microSD). The ATIV S is packed with a removable 2300mAh battery. This 2300mAh cell is the largest battery we’ve seen yet on a Windows Phone 8 device. It is even a little bit bigger than the one on the Galaxy S3. We can be sure that the battery life of the ATIV S would be better than that of Galaxy S3 (which has a very very good battery life) due to the difference in their processor.

Camera

The Samsung ATIV S has an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The video recording of the ATIV S is impressive at 1080p. The Frame rate is 30Fps, meaning captured video will be smooth. Once in picture-taking mode, you’ll see some software buttons for funtions like adjusting flash, taking video and switching to the 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera. The camera is one place where microsoft really wants Windows Phone 8 devices to distinguish themselves and the ATIV S has done very well in that aspect.

Connectivity

There’s obviously the usual bundles of radios as well, including 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, the Samsung ATIV S supports HSPA 850/900/1900/2100 networks along with EDGE 850/900/1800/1900. The Samsung ATIV S does not support FM radio.

Conclusion

With the announcement of the ATIV S, we can be sure the windows market is getting ready for some competition. The dual-core processor seems like a great idea. Though the chooice of processor might not make the ATIV S as fast as the Galaxy S3 or the LG Optimus G, Samsung has made a wise move. In favoring battery life and reliability (who wouldn’t want a smartphone with an excellent battery life?). The Windows Live Tiles are sort of like Android app icons cross breed with widgets and being able to get so many on one screen while looking so good. It really shows you how smart a Windows Phone 8 device can look. While the aluminum design of the device is very good, we still feel like it’s not up to design of the iPhone 5 but it’s still an improvement from the other Windows Phone 8 devices we’ve seen. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we get a full review and release date.

Many thanks to GSM arena for the pictures and the guys at Tech radar for making this article a success.

Samsung Galaxy S3 mini – what to expect?

We have seen the Samsung Galaxy S3 and we have argued over and over again about it being the best smart phone around. With its 4.8-inch screen, a gleaming oval design and a super strong processor, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is known for it’s value. Samsung has announced the release of  smaller android mobile named the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is nothing like the earlier Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of performance. It is a mid-range android device with a 4-inch screen and it’s packed with a slower CPU without 4G LTE capability so we wonder about the point of calling it a “mini” version of the S3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is just a tad smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S3, so, those hoping for a smaller Samsung Galaxy S3, might not get exactly what they wanted. The S Voice and DLNA sharing makes it different however, from other mid level android phones. The pricing of the phone wasn’t announced by Samsung but we can be sure it would be cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S3: which may be why it is referred to as a “mini” version.

Design

You know times have changed when a relatively high-powered smartphone with a 4-inch screen is known as “mini”. The Galaxy S3 mini looks like a slightly smaller Galaxy S3. It is slightly thicker, measuring 9.85mm, compared with the Galaxy S3’s 8.6mm.
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The good news is that the mini is very light. The layout of the Galaxy S3 mini’s controls is similar to that of the Galaxy S3, but there are few notable hardware omissions such as the ambient light sensor and secondary microphone. Below the display you get the same three key capacitive menu, back buttons and a regular press home key. You will also find the earpiece, proximity sensor and a VGA front-facing camera for video-calls above the display. The omission of the ambient light sensor means that there’s no automatic brightness control for the Galaxy S3 mini. The volume levelers are located on the left side of the Galaxy S3 mini and on the right side there’s only a power key. I don’t think the Galaxy S3 mini will feature a dedicated camera key, since the original Galaxy S3 lacks one. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the phone while the microUSB port sits alongside the primary microphone at the bottom and is used for both data connections and charging. Please note that USB host and MHL are not supported. The 5 megapixel camera lens is located at the back of the phone. It has the LED flash and loudspeaker on it sides.
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Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini features a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen of WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels) and the pixel density clocks in at 233ppi. All in all, the Galaxy S3 mini display offers a more than decent image quality for a mid-range device. Colour separation is good and viewing angles are extremely wide.

Interface and Software

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The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is powered by android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the latest TouchWi user interface, dubbed Nature UX. It’s the premium combination that we saw on the S3 and the Galaxy Note II and it certainly will lift the stock android user experience. The mini features the tap and drag in any direction to unlock affair with ripples accompanied by water-drop sound as you drag your finger. The notification area offers quick toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, silent mode, screen rotation and  power saving. Since the mini’s screen can only fit in five toggles at a time, you can slide them sideways to reveal more functions -notifications, mobile data, Bluetooth, driving mode and sync.
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The Samsung’s custom layer comes with lots of software extras, including photo-sharing features among networked phones and the excellent S Beam. There are other features in the Galaxy S3 mini like a lit screen when you glance at the camera and Digital living Network Alliance (DLNA) sharing that helps you transfer content like pictures and video between compatible devices.

Processor, Memory and Battery

The Samsung Galaxy mini S3 features a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor with a 1GB RAM clocked at 1GHz. The single-core Mali-400 GPU manages the phone’s graphics which is good news for the 1,500mAh battery. The Galaxy S3 mini comes in 8GB or 16GB storage options (expandable to 32GB via microSD). With a processor like this, the Galaxy S3 mini is expected to perform most ordinary duties without lag.

Gallery and Multimedia

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini comes with the default Jelly Bean Gallery, which has been treated to some TouchWiz flavor. It opens up in Albums view but you can choose to sort your pictures by location, Time, Person (photos with tagged faces) and Group.
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The Gallery also support highly customizable slideshows with several effects to choose from, as well as customizable music and speed.
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You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow. When you view a photo with people’s faces on it, the Galaxy S3 mini will try to detect them automatically. The Gallery also features social tag. This feature works when a face is recognized in a photo. After recognizing the person in the photo, it makes you see the person’s status message which will allow you to call or message them easily. Also, there’s Buddy Photo Share. This function allows photos to be easily and simultaneously shared with all your friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery.

The Galaxy S3 mini makes good use of the same TouchWiz – Cald music player. Equalizer presets are enabled (including a custom one) along with  Sound Alive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Music is sorted into various categories, but the most interesting one is called Music Square. This feature automatically rates a song as Joyful or Passionate, Calm or Exciting and place those songs on a Square. The Galaxy S3 mini’s player is also DLNA enabled.
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Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini has a 5 megapixel camera and can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The Camera’s interface looks like that of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The video recording of the Galaxy S3 mini isn’t top notch since it manages a 720p video recording. The Frame rate is 30Fps, this will make the captured video smooth enough.

Web Browser and Connectivity

The Galaxy S3 mini is powered with a Jelly Bean version of the android browser. You also have options to download third party browser applications available at the Google Play Store. The Browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the two-finger tilt. Zoom. There’s obviously the usual bundles of radios as well, including 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and NFC, but for now, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini will only support HSPA 900/1900/2100 networks along with EDGE 850/900/1800/1900.

Conclusion

If you were expecting a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a smaller screen, this is certainly not it. The S3 mini’s hardware is far more modest than it’s “bigger” brother. There’s always a good side to every story; after all, it might be cheaper than the Galaxy S3. Apart from that, for a mid level android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is a worthwhile pick.

Reference

Cnet and GSM arena

MOTOROLA RAZR i

Motorola announces the MOTOROLA RAZR i. This phone comes with a superfast intel atom processor. That’s not all, we also get a large 4.3-inch display screen (yes! bigger than the iphone 5)

Design

The design of MOTOLORA RAZR i is above par. Having an aluminium frame surrounding the screen and also a Kevlar back which has a soft touch giving you that comfort while holding the phone. The buttons are arranged and positioned well (from the power button found on the right edge to the volume levelers on the edge of the phone. Also a dedicated camara button) which is a norm for a smartpone. The MOTOROLA RAZR i is treated with a waterproof coating (Don’t go swiming with the phone!).

Screen

Ok, during the announcement of this phone, there were talks about its edge-to-edge screen. As mentioned ealier, the MOTOROLA RAZR. i has a 4.3-inch display screen which is made up of a Corning Gorilla glass surrounded by an aluminium frame. This frame protects the screen from scratches and scrapes when placed on a flat surface. The MOTOROLA RAZR i comes with a screen resolution of 540 x 960 pixels which is not as cool as its rivals having a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (Samsung Galaxy S3 and LG Optimus 4X HD). All in all the display is still decent.

Processor

During the announcement of the MOTOROLA RAZR I, the processor grabed much of the headline story. The RAZR i is packed with an intel atom processor running at 2GHz which is blazingly fast. This processor is the fastest phone processor around. The only problem with the intel atom processor is application compatability. This is due to the fact that the intel chip is different from the ARM-based chip in terms of architechure. That means some apps (old apps) will not be compatable with the phone.

Interface

MOTOROLA RAZR i is powered by Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, which means you have access to more than 600,000 apps and games, millions of books and thousands of movies. You’ll also find lots and lots of features which comes with android 4.0 available for this phone. Motorola is currently working on an update to Android 4.1, Jelly Bean.

Camera

I would say the 8 megapixel camera of the RAZR i benefits from the super fast processor which starts well under a second! Also, there’s also a multi-shot mode that takes up to 10 shots in less than a second.
The key features of the MOTOROLA RAZR i:
– Slim Body
– 4.3-inch Screen
– 540 x 960 HD AMOLED screen
– 2GHz Intel Atom processor
– 8 Megapixel camera
– 10 shots per second camera
I’ll update you with more features as soon as the phone is in the market. Many thanks to Alex Wagner for the jpeg.
References:Trusted reviews

Tecno T1 Tech Review and Specifications

Tecno T1 : Tech – Specifications

T1 is the first smartphone from the Chinese based Mobile Phone manufacturer, Tecno. It sports the popular Android Operating System (O.S), giving you access to hundreds of thousands of applications. This device comes with the Ginger-Bread version of the O.S, which is considered by most to be the most successful and supported Android version till date. 

The OS comes with the default Gallery 3d picture viewer and stock android apps…

 
Tecno T1
Tecno T1

Package: 8/10

The package is the most attractive feature of the phone, it is filed with lots of accessories and souvenirs, The box contains 2 battery packs, a back pouch and a Tecno branded very beautiful bag. It also comes with a 3.5mm jack headphones, although with a very poor sound quality (“I know, I know it’s unusual of Tecno, we’ll get into its Technical specifications soon”).

Form and Design:  4/10

A sleek looking Candy bar phone, with a quality looking finish (“Best from Tecno, so far”). Although slightly bulkier than some of its contemporaries, it weight is far lighter than you can imagine by mere looking at it (“Almost dropped it, due to overestimating its weight”). Like its contemporaries, it has no physical button except the side volume levelers and camera button, and “Yeah” it does have the most used button of all smartphones, the top silver button located to the right at the top of the device.

HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE:           4/10

With all the above mentioned details, the hardware specification is where the T1 falters, well, it is understandable as it is an entry level phone with a price well suited for the mass market, it’s no surprise its hardware is lower than its contemporaries.
It comes with a 650 mhz ARM processor which is low for a 2012 device but quite descent for an average user but not okay for a gamer especially those that wear Gameloft tagged shirts 😉 , although 80% of all the average user application will run well but HD games, especially processor intensive ones will lag, BADLY!!! . The system’s memory is 256MB with only 200.75mb available for user applications which for its price range is understandable but not sufficient enough as applications may not hover for so long in the background while not in focus as long as newer ones are being opened (you know the lower your RAM the more violent your memory manager is).
It also includes an internal storage capacity of 170.12mb for applications, which is a little low for the rising size of applications on the market, it greatly limits the total number of applications you can have installed on the device, but I have seen phones from more popular brands with internal storage capacity lesser that T1’s while being more expensive.
On the bright side, the phone is built with a Bluetooth 3.0 support, WIFI, GPS, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, light sensor etc (full details below).

SOUND:               8/10

As expected, Tecno puts puts in so much effort into the sound production of their phones, the speakers are LOUD. The sound comes through a slit in the top left corner at the back of the device. Its inbuilt earpiece is unmatched, as calls are incredibly LOUD. Although the bundled hands-free is a let-down, poorest from Tecno so far. But all in all, call quality is superb as is the loud speaker’s quality.

Display and Camera:      5/10


320*480 (HVGA) resolution on a 3.5inch screen, display isn’t that bad although isn’t too poor either, 2 years ago this would have been a stunner but given the existence of the likes of #you-know-them it looks just ok. The touch is sensitive, very sensitive with multi-touch capability but, can be buggy at-times. Don’t know if it’s just a specific manufacturing mistake peculiar to the one I’m reviewing or all, it can get very buggy at times and cause actions that were not triggered. Like images pinching and un-pinching itself. The real cause of this, I am not so sure of yet, but all in all, screen is impressive for a phone of its class.
It features a 3MP camera with a bright flash support, camera quality is ok but way too average, judging by the quality of its 2012 contemporaries. For its price it’s OK ;), also shoots video with a maximum duration cap of 60 minutes.

Money Value: 5/10

Spotting Android 2.3.5, it comes preloaded with all the usual stock applications and widgets, Gallery 3d etc. Comes with a 4 screen/panel launcher. Its notification bar features a 3 panels of quick access widgets; Brightness, Screen-Timeout, Auto-Rotation,WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, Data Connection and the sound profiles(General, Silent, Meeting and Outdoor) and also spots 4 touch dock buttons and hardware FM radio support meaning you get more savings on your data as opposed to relying on on-line radio.
Lacks screenshot feature support from the power button and also lacks a system restart shortcut, although the features can be gotten from third party applications.
One of the strengths of T1 is the 2 simultaneous sims support but the lack of 3G/UMTS/HSDPA support is a real letdown.
th{ background-color:gray; } Network: Primary: 3MPX Secondary: VGA (640×480) Features: 5 E.V modes, 2 Scene Modes (Night, Auto), 3 Quality Modes (Super Fine , Fine, Norma), Colour Effects(Mono, Sepia, Negative, Sepia Blue, Sepia Green, 3EVs) Geotagging and upto 8x Digital Zoom. Video: Yes Rigntone:

OVERALL:  5.7

General
Network: GSM
Dimensions 109.9 x 60.6 x 13.4 mm
Style: Candy Bar
Battery: Li-Ion 1400 mAH (3.7V, 5.18Wh)
Released: 2012
GSM
Memory:
Internal: yes, 170.12MB (user accessible)
Externel: yes, T-Flash (SDCARD: 8GB included)
RAM: 256MB ( 200.75MB available for user apps)
DISPLAY:
Resolution: HVGA (480×320 pixels), 3.5” LCD
CAMERA
Primary: 3MPX
Secondary: VGA (640×480)
Features: :5 EV modes, 2 Scene Modes (Night, Auto), 3 Quality Modes (Super Fine , Fine, Norma), Colour Effects(Mono, Sepia, Negative, Sepia Blue, Sepia Green, 3EVs) Geotagging and upto 8x Digital Zoom.
Video: Yes
SOUND
MP3 and Polyphonic
Vibration: Yes
Loudspeaker: Yes
Handsfree: Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack
DATA AND CONNECTIVITY
GPRS: Yes
EDGE: Unconfirmed
UMTS/HSDPA NO
4G / WIMAX: NO
WIFI: YES
BLUETOOTH: YES, V3.0
USB: YES. microUSB v2.0
FEATURES
OS: Android: 2.3.5 (Baseband: v1.03 Kernel 2.6.35.7-perf)
CPU: 650 MHz (Yusu Tecno T1)
MESSAGING: SMS ( threaded view ), MMS, E-mail, IM
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gravity Sensor, Light Sensor, Linear Acceleration, Magnetic Field Sensor, Orientation Sensor, Proximity Sensor and Rotation Vector Sensor.
GPS: Yes
FM Radio: Yes
OTHER FEATURES
Livewallpaper: Yes
Led Indicator: Yes
Automatic Brightness: Yes

Price: 18,000 NAIRA