All new Chromebooks will get Android app support

If you’re buying a Chromebook released in 2017 or later you’ll no longer need to worry about whether or not it will run Android apps.chromebook android apps primary

Google recently added a note saying as much to its Android apps for Chrome OS support page, as first spotted by Android Police. “All Chromebooks launching in 2017 and after…will work with Android apps in the coming future,” the note says.

That was pretty much expected to be the case, but it’s nice to see Google guarantee this for buyers of new devices. Even though Google is saying Chromebooks from here on out are getting Android support, it still plans to extend support to older devices. Chromebooks designated for Android support are still listed as they were before, and Google says they will still get Android support.

 

Even with this new policy, it’s not going to get any simpler figuring out if that Chromebook you want to buy is getting Android app support. New Chromebooks for 2017 have yet to appear, and even when they do there will likely be a glut of older Chromebooks available—especially if you buy online. Be sure to check Google’s support page (link above) to see whether or not the Chromebook you’re interested in will support Android apps.

Chromebooks have always found a home in the education market but they’ve yet to become popular with home users. With Android apps coming to Chromebooks, at least some computer makers are hoping that will change.

Fresh battles lines between Chromebooks and Windows PCs were drawn at CES 2017 in January. Asus introduced the next iteration of the Chromebook Flip. Samsung, meanwhile, unveiled the Chromebook Plus and Pro, two premium touchscreen devices that aim to make the most of Chromebook Android integration.

Xiaomi to launch Mi 5 smartphone

 

NEW DELHI: The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has revealed that it will be launching its much awaited flagship smartphone Xiaomi Mi 5 on 24th February. Xiaomi’s Senior VP Liwan Jiang has confirmed this via Weibo and further stated that the smartphone has also entered mass production and will have enough stocks at the time of its release.

The Chinese company will be organising a Spring conference on 24th February, where it is expected to officially launch the smartphone.

 According to earlier leaks, Xiaomi Mi 5 will have a 5.5-inch screen with 2K (1440x2560p) resolution and will run on the recently-launched 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Said to be available in 16, 64 and 128GB storage options, the smartphone will have 4GB of RAM. Xiaomi will reportedly use Android 5.1-based MIUI 6 in Mi 5. The smartphone will also have a 20MP rear camera and 8MP front snapper. The 4G-capable top-end handset will feature a 3,800mAh battery and come in black and white colour options.
Recently, Xiaomi also launched its entry level smartphone named Xiaomi Redmi 3 in China. Xiaomi Redmi 3 sports a 5-inch HD (720p) display, which is the biggest screen size for the Redmi series yet. The smartphone comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage; since it features a hybrid dual-sim slot, users can expand storage up to 128GB via microSD card. It comes with a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and phase-detection autofocus on the back and 5MP front camera with f/2.2 aperture in front.

LG G3 Set to Receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow Next Month: Report

The LG G3 appears set to receive its Android 6.0 Marshmallow update as soon as next month. The update is said to arrive between December 16 and December 18, starting with Poland.

A report from Poland states the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for the LG G3 is in its final testing stages. The article was later updated to include a quote by an LG Poland executive named Jaroslaw Bukowski, who said it was in fact already ready. Also, the report adds the update would first be rolled out in Poland followed by other regions – a rollout pattern LG has followed with previous updates, including the Marshmallow update for its current flagship, the LG G4.

The LG G3 was launched with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out-of-the-box. It is worth noting that in June this year LG said the G3 would not be receiving Android 5.1 or 5.1.1 Lollipop version.

Skipping updates is nothing new for LG as the firm has previously too rolled out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its G3 directly from Android 4.4.2 KitKat, completely missing out on v4.4.3 and 4.4.4 KitKat. Notably, the LG G3 was tipped last month to be in line to receive an Android 6.0 Marshmallow update, after it was spotted along with the LG G4 in official support documents.

Until now, a number of tech firms have confirmed the rollout of Android 6.0 Marshmallow for its smartphones. Some of the companies that have detailed the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update roadmap include Asus, OnePlus, Lenovo, Honor, Sony and others. Nexus and Android One devices have already received the update, Moto X Play and Moto X Style have also started receiving the new OS version.

Some of the new features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow (previously just Android M) include revamped app permissions; Google Now on Tap feature; new Chrome feature that will change the Web experience for Android users; new ways to handle Web links; Android Pay mobile payment system is now official with Android M; new fingerprint APIs for developers to add into their apps, New Silent feature for sound and vibrate mode as well as a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode to block all sounds or only alarms and notifications, and battery saver features called Doze that will make Android devices smart about managing power. Some of the other additions include new RAM manager, adoptable storage devices, new app drawer, auto backup and restore for apps, and support for USB Type-C ports.

Lenovo’s Zuk Z2 Smartphone to Launch in 2016, Confirms CEO

Lenovo-owned Zuk, the company that launched the Zuk Z1 smartphone earlier this year, would be launching the handset’s successor Zuk Z2 next year, said the company CEO. However, no particular dates were given.

The announcement, which came from the company CEO’s Weibo page (via Gizmochina), also suggested that the Zuk Z1 users would be receiving a new ZUI version based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, sometime in March next year. The version’s closed beta is expected to reach by the end of next month. Although the CEO has not yet confirmed, rumours suggest the Zuk Z2 to sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. The chipset is set to launch on Tuesday.

Last month, Zuk Z1 smartphone reached international markets with Cyanogen OS 12.1, as promised in August. The smartphone in China was launched with the firm’s own ZUI skin running atop Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box. Rest of the hardware remains the same.

To recall, the Zuk Z1 features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display and sports a physical home button on the front panel. Notably, the home button on the Z1 smartphone also embeds the fingerprint scanner. Much like recently launched flagship smartphones, Lenovo’s Zuk Z1 features the USB Type-C 3.0 port. Under the hood, the new smartphone packs a dated Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHZ coupled with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. The handset supports dual Nano-SIM cards and packs 64GB of inbuilt storage.

The smartphone sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with Sony sensor (IMX214) and optical image stabilisation (OIS), another feature that’s found in high-end smartphones. There is an 8-megapixel front-facing camera also on board. It packs a large 4100mAh battery and will be available in White and Grey colours. The Zuk Z1 smartphone measures 155.7×77.3×8.9mm and weighs 175 grams. The model launched in China supports both 4G LTE bands in India (FDD-LTE Band 3 1800MHz and TDD-LTE Band 40 2300MHz).

BlackBerry Priv Android Smartphone Officially Launched

BlackBerry Ltd launched its first Android-based device on Friday, with the future of the company’s hardware business riding on a slick smartphone called Priv that boasts an impressive array of features and a hefty price tag.

The company is betting the Priv’s large curved screen, full array of Android apps from the Google Play store and blend of productivity and security features will help it rebuild its share of the smartphone market, which has slid to under one percent.

With hacking and data theft issues becoming a bigger concern these days, BlackBerry expects keen interest in its pre-loaded DTEK feature that alerts users every time any app attempts to access data, or turn on the phone’s microphone or camera.

“You will be blown away by some of the apps you use and how much data they actually access of yours,” said BlackBerry’s head of devices, Ron Louks.

The smartphone’s “wow” factor, as Louks dubs it, is actually a throwback – a slide out physical keyboard. While the small number of such Android ‘slider’ phones that do exist have had little success in the market, most are dated and clunky, say analysts.

BlackBerry is hoping its sleek design and touch-sensitive keys that allows users to swipe, scroll and set up shortcuts will woo former loyalists back to using the Priv.

Initial reviews of the device were mixed, with many lauding its security offerings, long battery life, camera, dual-keyboard design and other features, but panning the Priv’s high price tag – $699 (roughly Rs. 46,100) without a contract in the United States and C$899 without a contract in Canada.

Still, if the BlackBerry Priv does well, analysts note the device could be a game changer for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

“If the Priv – with its premium price of about $700 (roughly Rs. 46,200) – is a hit, it could drive meaningful growth for the company. Moreover, the smartphone industry tends to be largely perception-driven, and a single hit flagship product can bolster a company’s brand image and create a halo effect around its entire product line,” said research firm Trefis, in a note on Thursday.

Blackberry is pivoting to focus more on software and device management services but has said it will stick with hardware if the segment is profitable.

BlackBerry shares rose 4.7 percent to $7.96 in early trading on Friday on the Nasdaq.

LG G4, LG G3 Appear Set to Receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update

LG’s flagship smartphones — LG G4, and LG G3 — could be among the first handsets outside Google’s Nexus and Android One devices to receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow software update, the latest iteration of company’s Google’s mobile operating system.

The company has updated the support documents (first report by GforGames) on its Korean website to list information about Android 6.0 Marshmallow, suggesting an imminent release of the new Android software update.

LG was among the first few OEMs to seed out Android 5.0 to select handsets in its portfolio. However, it is worth noting that the company hasn’t rolled out Android 5.1.1, the most updated Android Lollipop version to any of its handsets — including the LG G4 and LG G3 — yet.

In a blog post last week, Motorola also listed a number of smartphones – including Moto G (Gen 2), Moto G (Gen 2) LTE, Moto X (Gen 2), Moto X Pure Edition, Moto G (3rd Gen), Moto Maxx, Moto Turbo, Droid Turbo, Moto X Pure Edition (3rd Gen), Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Google Nexus 6 – that will soon receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update. The company didn’t have a specific release time-frame in mind, however.

HTC also recently listed the smartphones it would roll out the forthcoming update to. The list included HTC Desire 816, HTC Desire 820, HTC One M8, HTC One E8, and HTC One M9 among others.

Unlike Nexus and Android One handsets that receive software updates directly from Google, other smartphones have to wait for their respective Android smartphone manufacturers and carriers to approve the update and mould it to add some customised features. Usually smartphone manufacturers take months to release the latest version of Android to their handsets, but things have improved over the last two years.

Lenovo Phab Plus With 6.8-Inch Display Launched at Rs. 20,990

After being listed on Amazon India for purchase at a discounted price of Rs. 18,490, the Lenovo Phab Plus has been officially launched in India at Rs. 20,990. Apart from Amazon, Lenovo says the smartphone will be made available to buy offline via Croma and Reliance retail stores.

The Lenovo Phab Plus smartphone was launched first in China in August ahead of IFA 2015. We however spent some time with Lenovo’s new Phab Plus at the IFA in Berlin and you can read our first impressions.

The smartphone features a 6.8-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display offering a pixel density of 326ppi, the highlight of the smartphone. Lenovo’s new Phab Plus can be expected to compete against Huawei’s Ascend P8max, which also features a similar 6.8-inch full-HD display.

(Also see: Lenovo Phab Plus vs. Huawei Ascend P8max)

The Lenovo Phab Plus packs a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The handset features 32GB inbuilt storage and also supports expandable storage support via microSD card.

Running Android 5.0 Lollipop with the Vibe UI skin on top, the Phab Plus sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and also comes with a 5-megapixel front camera. The dual-SIM based Phab Plus supports one Micro-SIM card and the other Nano-SIM.

Connectivity options on the new phablet from Lenovo include 4G, 3G, GPS/ A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Micro-USB. As of now, there is no word whether the Phab Plus supports Indian LTE bands. Under the hood, Lenovo packs a 3500mAh battery which the company claims can deliver up to 24 hours of talk time and up to 350 hours of standby time. It also features a rear speaker with Dolby Atmos. The Lenovo Phab Plus measures 186.6×96.6×7.6mm and weighs 220 grams. The smartphone is available in a Gunmetal Platinum colour variant.

Rohit Midha, Director – Tablet Business Unit, Lenovo India, said at the launch, “The smartphone has become an integral companion for most of us, fitting into all aspects of our lives. As we strive to do more and achieve more, the Phab Plus is a smart device designed to live up to users on all counts, making life more convenient especially owing to its impressive screen size. The Lenovo Phab Plus truly combines the awesomeness of a phone and a tablet in one cool device.

Yu Yutopia to Feature 32GB Inbuilt Storage, Tips Teaser

Last week we saw Yu Televentures taking a dig at the OnePlus 2 in one of its Facebook posts. This time the domestic smartphone maker is targeting Apple iPhone models in a new teaser image.

The latest teaser image by the company suggests the Yu Yutopia to include 32GB of inbuilt storage instead of 16GB, which is still the minimum inbuilt storage given by Apple in its iPhone models. The image is followed by a caption – “$650 for a 16GB phone? Nothing has changed #Yutopia” making fun on how costly it is to pay for the base model of the iPhone, which till date comes is a 16GB model despite other manufacturers moving up to 32GB for their flagship models.

yu_yutopia_32gb_storage_teaser.jpgLast week, the company was said to confirm a Quad HD display on the Yu Yutopia smartphone. If true, this would be the company’s first smartphone featuring a QHD display. Previously revealed teaser had hinted that the Yutopia will sport a metal build which would be company’s first smartphone made out of metal. Until now, the Yu Yureka, Yuphoria, Yureka Plus, and Yunique came with plastic body designs, though the Yuphoria featured a metal frame.

Company founder Rahul Sharma in a Twitter post earlier this month also introduced the Yu Yutopia as the “most powerful phone on the planet”; proudly announcing it will be from India. With the metal build, a premium price tag could (for Micromax) also be expected.

Ahead of the Yu Yunique launch in September, a high-end smartphone from Micromax’s subsidiary dubbed Yu550 was spotted in Geekbench listings as well as at an Indian import/ export manifest site. The Yu550 may be the high-end smartphone the company has been teasing.

To recall, the Yu550 smartphone spotted at Geekbench listing showed few specifications including a 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 (MSM8994) processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. The smartphone was said to feature a 5.2-inch full-HD display and run Android 5.1.1 Lollipop-based build of Cyanogen OS. The Yu5050 scored 1353 in single-core test and 4622 in the multi-core test.

The Indian import/ export site, Zauba, on the other hand listed the Yu5050 featuring dual-SIM support; a 5.2-inch display, and microSD card support. The Micromax Yu5050 smartphones were shipped from China, and had a declared value of Rs. 20,295 to Rs. 20,752. To be noted is that import/ export website price listings are only declared values, and usually are not accurate reflections of actual market price.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Successor Purportedly Passes Bluetooth SIG Certification

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The anticipated successor of the Samsung Galaxy A5 has reportedly been certified by the Bluetooth SIG authority.

The Bluetooth certification image shared by NapiDroid website (via Phonearena), shows nothing more than the Bluetooth 4.1 support for the handset and the model number SM-A510F/DS. It is worth noting that the model number of the existing Samsung Galaxy A5 smartphone was SM-A500.

The SM-A510F/DS was spotted last week on Zauba, an Indian import and export tracker. As per the listing, the smartphone features a 5.2-inch display. Notably, Samsung has not yet mentioned anything about the smartphone yet.

bluetooth_sig_galaxy_a5_successor_napidroid.jpgIt is also worth noting that the successors of the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A3 smartphones were spotted at the GFXBench benchmark test earlier this week. While the next-gen Galaxy A7 comes with a SM-A710 model number, the Galaxy A3 successor sports a SM-A310 model number.

According to the benchmark listing, the successor Samsung Galaxy A3 successor aka SM-A310 will feature a 4.7-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display and will be powered by an Exynos 7580 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with 1.5GB of RAM. The Galaxy A3 bears 16GB of inbuilt storage, and the smartphone sports a 13-megapixel rear camera alongside a 5-megapixel front camera.

The SM-A710 aka Samsung Galaxy A7 successor, on the other hand, is seen featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. Under the hood, the handset is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5GHz with 3GB of RAM. The handset is listed to pack the same inbuilt storage and camera modules as the SM-A310.

Moto X Force With 5.4-Inch ‘Shatterproof’ QHD Display Launched

Motorola on Thursday launched the Moto X Force, the international variant of the recently unveiled Motorola Droid Turbo 2 for Verizon Wireless. Motorola says the smartphone would be arriving in the UK, as well as the Latin America, EMEA, and APAC regions in November.

The Motorola Moto X Force is identical to its Verizon Wireless counterpart, except for network support. The version listed on the company’s UK site features support for India’s 4G LTE bands as well. The smartphone will be eligible for the company’s Moto Maker customisation program where applicable.

Making the announcement on its UK blog, the company has detailed a GBP 499 (roughly Rs. 49,900) price tag for the 32GB variant, and a GBP 534 (roughly Rs. 53,400) price tag for the 64GB variant.

(Also see: Motorola Moto X Force vs. Motorola Droid Turbo 2)

The Moto X Force comes with a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560) display. The company claims that the ‘ShatterShield’ display – which is made of an aluminium rigid core, flexible Amoled screen, and dual-layer touchscreen panels (redundancy in case one goes bad) – wouldn’t break into pieces even when dropped on a slab of concrete. The smartphone also comes with water-repellent nano-coating.

moto_x_force_shatterproof_fall.jpgThe smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core SoC clocked at 2GHz and paired with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. As mentioned above, it comes in 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options, with both variants bearing a microSD card slot (up to 2TB). There’s a 3760mAh battery onboard, which in addition to a claimed battery life of 2-days with “mixed use”, also supports Quick Charging.

On the photography front, the handset comes with a 21-megapixel rear-camera with an f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash and Phase Detect Autofocus, apart from a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter with flash and an f/2.0 aperature.

In terms of software, the new Motorola smartphone runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and not Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The single-SIM capable Moto X Force supports 4G LTE (Cat. 4), 3G, CDMa, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and other standard connectivity options.