News Ticker

Menu
Previous
Next

Latest Post

Apps

Gaming

Technology

Nokia

Hows Root

Recent Posts

Nokia N1 Review with System Specification

Wednesday, November 19 / No Comments



A bit over a year after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft, Nokia just jumped back to the consumer market at the main stage of Slush 2014 in Helsinki, Finland and the first device coming out from the new Nokia is running Android.

Nokia N1 is a 7.9” tablet retailing for 249€ before taxes. This is the first consumer devices Nokia has announced after selling their Windows Mobile -focused mobile phone unit to Microsoft earlier this year. The N1 has 2.3 GHz 64-bit Intel Atom processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage and it’s 7,9” screen shows it’s content on 2048×1536 resolution. Operating system is Android Lollipop, that features the Nokia Z Launcher as its default user interface.


After a successful pilot launch during the summer, Nokia Z Launcher is also made available as a separate download to all Android devices starting from today.

Nokia’s Head of Product Business Sebastian Nyström was describing the company’s journey after the mobile business was sold, and emphasised that big change also brings big opportunities. As they were determined to stay in the consumer business, switching to Android now associates them with 84,7% of the world’s mobile consumers, up from 2,5% it was with Windows Mobile (IDC Q2/2014).


According to Nyström, Nokia was and still is great tech, was and still is great in engineering and was and still is great in design. The impressive Android tablet and a competitive push to a crowded market shows that Nyström has basis in his claims. And Nokia is not anymore in business for sales & manufacturing, they are launching the N1 together with (currently unnamed) Chinese partner, first launching it for the lunar new year in China, and then rolling out to the rest of the world.

New Android 5.0 Lollipop Review

Saturday, November 15 / No Comments
Google has been on a mission to redefine itself as a design-focused company for some years now. With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop on the new Nexus 6 phone and Nexus 9 tablet, that mission has reached an apotheosis. It's a sudden, jarring change from the Android we've known, now combined with a torrent of tweaks and features. It's easily the most important update to the world's most-used mobile OS in several years. It's a big deal.



It's hard not to get metaphysical when talking about the design for Lollipop. That's because the philosophy behind the new look is based on something Google calls "Material Design”." You also can't talk about the design changes in Lollipop without comparing it to the equally bold design changes Apple made with iOS 7 last year. Both attempt to remake nearly every corner of the OS, both make heavy use of layers, and both have high-concept ideas about how those layers interact with each other.

Jony Ive’s mission at Apple was to get rid of skeuomorphism, where digital things imitate real-world objects. In doing so, he created a beautiful but cold crystal palace of colorless, translucent planes. Android designer Matias Duarte at Google, on the other hand, has built the Emerald City. Lollipop has more skeuomorphism than ever before, except the reality being imitated here isn't real at all. It's like waking up in Kansas and discovering that everything is still in color and your slippers are still very much a deep shade of ruby red.

Like I said, it's hard not to get metaphysical. Let's channel Dorothy and stay pragmatic as we go down the Yellow Brick Road. (Let's also studiously avoid "Lollipop Guild" puns, no matter how apropos they may be to Android and Google's culture.)

This is Google’s vision for the future of computing.


Those fuzzy concepts about how an OS should look and feel do have practical effects. Android 5.0 looks virtually nothing like the Android that you're familiar with. All the shades, tinted glass, and neon effects have been replaced with subtly textured whites and bright (sometimes too bright) colors. Previously incoherent and random animations have turned into a simple suite of rules for the way things move and relate to each other on the screen.

If you've used Android before, you don't need to worry about being lost. The core elements of an app panel, a notification shade, a lock screen, and a home screen for widgets and Google Now are still here and still work essentially the same way. But for newcomers, the list of UI concepts and their relation to one another can be daunting. Lollipop's main job is to make them less so, and it works.

The best part might be the animations, which are so fluid and prevalent that they're practically a middle finger to the Android of a few versions ago. Transitioning from the Overview (formerly known as the recent apps switcher, or multitasking) to the home screen to the app pane to the notification shade isn't exactly a symphony of movement, but it is at the very least more harmonious than it's ever been.

THE BEST PART MIGHT BE THE ANIMATIONS

It's also, at times, garish. Just like Apple overreacted to its old design on the iPhone, Google has decided the colors should be splashed in lots of different places. App menu headers are bold reds and blues greens, but there's no logic to the system of colors to match the logic of animation. Even those animations can get a little overbearing. It's great when you first start using Lollipop, but once you get your bearings, you kind of wish they'd go a little faster.

Actually, that’s part of one more similarity between iOS 7 and Lollipop: various failures to address some of the details. As David Pogue pointed out a couple weeks ago, there are lots of places where it's hard to tell what's happening. For example, in settings, text can be a number of things: a button to take you deeper into a menu, a heading that does nothing, a button that toggles a switch off to the right, or a button that activates a pop-up menu.

I am mortified to find that Android still seems to offer different interfaces for text selection and cut/copy/paste in different corners of the OS — to say nothing of the fact that the icons are still vague and the widgets for selecting text are frustratingly small (oh, and vary in color depending on the app).

But those are mostly minor, solvable quibbles. Lollipop is ambitious; it's easily the most ambitious update Android has seen in several years. The fact that the new design works as well as it does even in this first iteration is a very good sign.


Along with the new design, there are a lot of new features to talk about. They can be more or less sorted into a few categories, but the set of improvements that makes the biggest difference comes around notifications. Android was already the leader among modern operating systems for notifications: on an Android device, you can use the notification shade as a kind of virtual homescreen, triaging messages and directly acting on emails.

ANDROID STILL DOES NOTIFICATIONS BETTER THAN ANYBODY

With Lollipop, you can now do all that right on the lockscreen. But putting those notifications front and center means they need a few more controls — so Google is providing them. You can set apps to be private, so they won't show their content on the lock screen, and you can more easily disable notifications altogether for any given app. Both options are accessible deep in Android's settings or via a simple long press on an active notification. Incoming calls don't take over the whole screen anymore, appearing instead as a small alert at the top.

The biggest change is a "Priority Mode," which you can quickly toggle anytime you hit the volume buttons. It's essentially the same thing as Do Not Disturb on iOS, but with an emphasis on making it easier for you to choose which notifications can still come through. There's also a simple "None" mode, which shuts everything down, including alarms. Both modes have convenient buttons for setting a time-out so you don't leave your phone bereft of Twitter replies because you forgot to change your settings.

Alongside the improved notifications is a new attempt to make a coherent Quick Settings panel. Google messes with these toggles in every iteration of Android, usually to middling effect. It's the same story here. Instead of just giving us the option to customize the settings ourselves, Google says that it automatically tries to guess which settings you want to flip and shows you those. What I want is "Mobile Hotspot." What I get instead is "Invert Colors," with no way to manually change it. Maddening. The same "we'll reorder it for you" philosophy applies to the sharing menu, but there at least it seems to work better.

In the same way that Lollipop took Android's notification strength and made it stronger, so too has it done quite a bit with multiple user accounts. They're available on phones now too, but the real innovation is "Guest Mode." You can toggle it on at any time, and your guest can do pretty much whatever they want — including signing in to their own Google accounts — before burning that guest account in a puff of digital smoke. It’s a private browsing mode for your phone, and if you've ever had to lend a phone or tablet to somebody for more than five minutes, it's a godsend.

You can also turn on a "Pin" feature for apps, which prevents a user from exiting the active app without a passcode. iOS has had a similar "Guided Access" feature for awhile now, but on Android the giant "Pin" icon is much more intuitive, and it’s perfect for handing your tablet to a kid who just wants to play a quick round of Cut The Rope.

The pin appears in the "Overview" stack, which replaces the tiny multitasking thumbnails with bigger screenshots in an infinite vertical stack. It's very pretty and usually very fast, but, more importantly, some apps can make better use of it. Gmail can put in a new card when you hit "Compose," for example, so that you can toggle between an email you're writing and an email you're referencing. Chrome can put multiple tabs in there as well (though only on phones, not on tablets, oddly).

It's an idea that is great in theory but can be hard to think through in execution, especially when it comes to keeping track of your Chrome tabs. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I'll say that Duarte did a better job at Palm with this idea way back in 2009 with webOS, where you could spatially arrange your apps and group them.

Various apps have seen updates: Gmail now works with any email address, not just Gmail. (There’s inexplicably still an icon for Email, but it just tells you to go to Gmail.) Google brought back the "Messages" SMS app for those who don't want it integrated with Hangouts. Calendar has some very pretty new views. Many of Google’s new apps have been given tablet-optimized views that work great on the Nexus 9 but don't show up in landscape on the Nexus 6 despite its generous size, which is disappointing.

The list of clever and helpful features goes on. Some were seemingly lifted straight from Motorola or HTC: smart lock lets you set a Bluetooth device as trusted so your phone stays unlocked. Ambient Display shows notifications on an AMOLED display (currently only the Nexus 6 is supported) without turning the whole screen on. You can say "Ok Google" and have the command work even with the screen off. The Nexus 9 lets you double tap the screen to wake it up, while the Nexus 6 activates its screen based on small accelerometer movements.

One new feature that's pure Google: if you use Face Unlock, it now just works in the background while you're messing about with notifications on your lock screen. Unfortunately, in my testing, it's not any more reliable than it used to be — which is to say, not much.

GOOGLE HAS BORROWED A TON OF IDEAS FROM ITS PARTNERS

Google is also touting "Tap and Go," which uses NFC to transfer account information from one phone to another. It works, but in my tests, all is actually does is transfer over your Google accounts and a list of apps to install. If you don't use it, there is a new setup process that lets you pick and choose which apps you'll install during setup. It's much better than before, which involved a crapshoot of wondering which apps would appear, but it's still nowhere near the phone-replacement experience on iOS. I had been hoping that default full-device encryption (another Lollipop feature) would mean we'd get full phone backups and restores: accounts, logins, and all. Nope.

Last (for this rundown, anyway) but certainly not least, Google has also borrowed the idea of a Battery Saver mode from its manufacturers, which limits background data when you start running low on power. It turns the menu bar and button bar into an aggressive shade of orange and can be set to turn on automatically when you run low on power.

Google has also made back-end improvements, most of which will be invisible to the end user. They promise better performance and battery life, but it's much too early to say for sure. We haven't been able to do side-by-side comparisons on identical hardware, and the versions we've been using so far aren't final. I will say that on both the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9, the performance story is mixed. Moments of pure speed and smoothness are interrupted by inexplicable pauses. Battery life is very difficult to pin down, too. Android 5.0 is very much a "Dot Oh" update — and that means bugs.

Unfortunately, a new version of Android is always accompanied with questions: will existing devices get an update? When will new devices begin shipping with the new OS? As ever, there aren't clear answers, and as they do become clear, they probably won't be what you want to hear. It's possible that this year could be better than usual, as several manufacturers have already announced immediate plans to update their flagship phones.

For the past few years, my advice to people agitating to get the update was to chill out because the changes were really rather minor. This year, my advice is the same, but for a different reason: the changes are huge, but there are still some bugs that need to get ironed out. I'm also hopeful that app developers will push out Material Design-inspired updates quickly, but we'll see.

Either way, soon millions of Android devices are going to look like this, and I think that's great. Grab your little dog and a basket, and be ready to stare wide-eyed at the bright colors. Because as soon as Google finds a way to fend off some of those flying monkeys, this land of Oz is going to be a wonderful place to live.

SONY release Android 5.0 Lollipop Source Code for Xperia Z series

/ No Comments


We recently saw a video of Sony Xperia Z1, Z2, and Z3 running on AOSP build of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Sony has now released the source code and binaries, along with instructions that will let you run it on your Xperia device.

To be clear, all of this is intended for developers who want to build custom ROMs based on the AOSP build for these Xperia devices. This isn’t an actual ROM that you can just flash on to your device.



The source code is available for Xperia Z1, Z2, Z3, Z1 Compact, and Z3 Compact. There is no word yet on when Sony will be pushing OTA Lollipop update for its Xperia devices, though.

Microsoft Lumia 535 Review & System Specification

Tuesday, November 11 / No Comments


Today sees the launch of the new Microsoft Lumia 535, our “5x5x5” smartphone package bringing a 5-inch screen, 5-megapixel front- and rear-facing camera, and free integrated Microsoft experiences (such as Skype and OneNote) to more people at an affordable price.

Lumia 535 comes in two flavors: 3G Single SIM, or 3G Smart Dual SIM, both loaded with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim Update right out of the box.

That means you’ll get a hugely personal experience with features including one-swipe Action Center, Word Flow, Live Folders and Cortana (where available).

Featuring the same wide-angle, 5-megapixel front-facing camera as the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735, the Lumia 535 not only provides you with crystal-clear imagery and the Lumia selfie app, but you’ll also be able to get more in shot during those Skype calls.

Lumia-535_Back_Orange

For all those other non-selfie photographs, the rear-facing 5-megapixel camera with flash and the Lumia Camera app are at hand to beautifully and effortlessly capture the world.

With a 5-inch display, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and 1GB RAM, hoverboardng through an underground metro system with Subway Surfers, editing documents in Microsoft Office, or posting your Lumia selfies to Instagram is super-easy.

When it comes to storage, the Lumia 535 comes with 8GB of memory. If you need more, simply slide in a microSD card, with support up to 128 GB, or use the 15 GB free OneDrive storage to store all your photos or documents.

Designed to be tough and durable and stay as vibrant and colorful as the day you bought it, the Lumia 535 is inherently colored and available in cyan, bright green, bright orange, white, dark grey, and black.


Accessorize

To add an extra layer of protection or some additional style, a cover has been created that perfectly complements the Lumia 535.

Interested in big sounds? The Lumia 535 supports Bluetooth LE and can connect easily to the Portable Wireless Speaker, or for those with wires try the Coloud Bang.

Lumia 535 3G Single SIM and Lumia 535 3G Dual SIM will be available from November at an estimated RRP of 110 EUR before taxes and subsidies with sales starting in China, Hong Kong and Bangladesh, with other countries to follow.

Microsoft Lumia 1030 coming with Windows 10 and 41 MP Pureview

/ No Comments


Last month, we told you that Microsoft was working on a successor to the Lumia 1020 - which is seen by many as the best camera phone to date. While this successor may, or may not be called Lumia 1030, someone in China went ahead and created a Lumia 1030 concept design.

The maker of the Lumia 1030 concept envisions it as a high-end Windows 10 smartphone (of course, Windows 10 won’t be out until mid/late 2015, and we hope that a Lumia 1020 successor will be released earlier than that).

This imaginary Lumia 1030 proposes a 5.8-inch display with 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD) - a considerable increase from the 4.5-inch, 768 x 1280 pixels screen of the Lumia 1020. On the back of the 1030 we have a 41 MP PureView camera with LED and Xenon flashes, while the front-facing camera is a 8.7 MP one. Other features: Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB / 64 GB of internal memory, and a generous 4300 mAh battery. The handset doesn’t look too thin, but at least the bezels around the display are kept to a minimum.

How to Install Android 5.0 Lollipop in Galaxy Nexus

Monday, November 10 / No Comments
We have included the instructions from the XDAdeveloper forum below. install at your own risk, all credit to MWisBest:


How-To1st FML Flash:


1. Do a backup in recovery and (optionally) backup apps with Titanium Backup or something similar.

2. Factory Reset in recovery (wipe data (NOT /SDCARD THOUGH), dalvik-cache, cache)

3. Wipe /system in recovery.

4. Flash ROM in recovery.

5. Flash GApps in recovery.

6. Reboot, and be patient. First boot takes a while.

Subsequent FML Flashes, unless otherwise instructed:


1. Do a backup in recovery and (optionally) backup apps with Titanium Backup or something similar.

2. Wipe /system, cache, and dalvik-cache in recovery.

3. Flash ROM in recovery.

4. Flash GApps in recovery.

5. Reboot, and be patient. First boot takes a while.

NOTE: You can probably get away with just wiping the 2 caches without wiping /system, however if any issues occur please re-test with a /system wipe.

Flashing the TWRP .img:

For this you can either use fastboot or the Flashify app, however I'm not going to delve into the details of that as it's really more deserving of a separate thread to fully explain.

Latest Build





LOLLIPOP INFO:

These builds are very early! They aren't daily-driver-stable, but they are progressing extremely fast. They don't include the usual FML optimizations either, but they are surprisingly snappy already...


They are EXTREMELY MINIMAL! Not even SetupWizard is included. I used the PA GApps, "Nano", as the base for it.

Known Issues:
- EXT4 ONLY CURRENTLY! F2FS will be OK for the next build though!

- Stock Camera app isn't working yet. Aftermarket ones, such as Camera ZOOM FX, might work however.

- Mobile data and MMS, isn't working on (at least) the LTE Galaxy Nexuses, however phone calls and text messages should be OK.

- Various other things I'm sure are lurking.

Download Pangu iOS 8.1 Jailbreak for Mac OS X

/ No Comments
The Pangu dev team has now released their iOS 8 jailbreaking magic for OS X.



The Pangu jailbreak tool has been the go-to iOS jailbreak tool for quite some time now. Its latest version has has been released a few days ago, allowing you to jailbreak any device running iOS8 or iOS8.1. This includes the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Unfortunately, it has only been available for Windows computers so far. Today, this has changed.

This year we’ve been witnessing the most quickly released jailbreak solution in years. In previous years, it has taken developers months to find an exploit in the next iteration of iOS. Cydia’s creator, Saurik, has confirmed on Twitter that the iOS 8.x tool is already looking all nice and stable.

Pangu is developed by Chinese developers, far away from Apple’s lawyers, but it has a perfectly good English UI. Interested? Hit up the download link below. But have a backup handy before you start messing with your iOS device, alright? And don’t take too much time to think it over as Chinese sources suggest Apple’s iOS 8.1.1 beta already has the Pangu jailbreak exploit all patched up.