The Curious Case of Grey Area of Smartphones in India: Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000

 

We generally tend to divide smartphones into three different categories when we speak. There is a budget category, which is generally below Rs 10,000, there is a flagship category where the phones are in the regions of about Rs 34,000 and above and then there is a mid-range category which is somewhere in between. You would perhaps ask, if I strictly had to talk about the mid-range category smartphones, the price bracket in the post title would be wrong. Just like real life, the title takes into consideration ‘price drops’. A phone launched at anything below Rs 15,000 generally falls down to the sub Rs 10,000 category and a Rs 34,000 priced device will come soon tumbling below the Rs 30,000 mark. So, therefore, the former would automatically be considered a budget phone, while the latter would be a mid-ranger anyway. This leaves the Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 strictly being labeled as the mid-range and an odd category.

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Watch the Live Stream of Gionee S5.5 Launch Here

If you are missing out on being in Goa where the launch of the world’s slimmest smartphone, i.e. the Gionee Elife S5.5 is happening, and would like to see the action unfold right before your eyes, we have you covered. Here is the webstream of the event that is supposed to go live around 9:30 AM today as in March 31st 2014 when the event kicks off.

The Gionee S5.5 is not only an engineering marvel on the outside owing to the fantastic feel and build quality, something a material scientist would be proud of, but also packs a very powerful punch from the inside. The device is powered by an Octa Core 1.7 GHz SoC with 2 GB of RAM to keep things churning along nicely and for you to ably multitask. Not just this, there is 16 GB of space on board to help you store your apps and other multimedia. The phone has a 5 inch 1080P True HD Super AMOLED HD screen which we must say is gorgeous from the looks of it. Powering the device is a non removable 2300 mAh battery.

[Editorial] My Time with a Phablet- LG Optimus G Pro

For those of us in the tech writing world, smart phones become a commodity that come and go. We all have our personal devices but due to large influx of devices, it is very rare that we spend a long time getting to know a device personally day in and day out. With the LG Optimus G Pro, things were a little different. I got to have the device for around a month now on my desk, and for a review unit, that is a long long time. Soon, it will be the time for the device to go though, so here are my experiences of the LG Optimus G Pro, the good, the bad and the rest.

LG Optimus G pro2000

The Good

I personally fell in love with the gorgeous 5.5 inch display of the LG Optimus G Pro. Yes, the size of the display is slightly on a larger side, but this meant that I did not really use my iPad 2, iPad Mini or the Nexus 7. The G pro was a great go to mate when it came to reading or watching videos. Another feature, that not many seem to notice is the ‘Notebook’ app. It allows you to take snappy notes in your own handwriting and share it across. I invested in a Rs. 125 local stylus and this was one of the most useful things I found. Sitting in a meeting that was not interesting enough, I took the device to draw my thoughts and share it across my network. Yes, I know I cannot draw to save my life, but hey, I gave it a shot.

LG Optimus G pro1998

I also loved the dual shoot feature of the device and actually more than myself, the people using the device who were taking videos or pictures loved it. They had no reason to miss out from the picture and they loved being involved in all the fun. The device is snappy and smooth, and I loved throwing everything I could at the poor chap.

The customizations on the board are practically endless, from fonts to lockscreen to menu wallpaper to themed icons, the G Pro definitely feels like an extension of you. Really enjoyed playing with all the effects and themes, just like a play school kid would. In fact, I am sure in a few months some people would ask their friends to rate their phones on the basis of customizations ranging from iPhone to the G Pro. Hope you get the gist.

The Bad

Age old complaint of Software updates. My Nexus 4 is sporting Android 4.3 while my HTC One is happily sitting on Android 4.2.2, while the G Pro is still stuck on Android 4.1.2. I miss daydream and dashclock and the butter smoothness of Jelly Bean 4.2 on the G Pro. Also, given the large amount of theme-ing that LG have done over the stock Android, it is kind of disappointing it will take the device literally forever to receive updates to the latest OS.

LG Optimus G pro1996

The battery life on the G Pro is not best optimized either. For a device sporting a massive battery like the G Pro is with 3140 mAh the G Pro does die out pretty quick, in fact my HTC One seems to last a bit better in terms of standby. Mind you we did not have sort of core control or power saving on the device on. Yes, it does easily make through the day, but not beyond which i personally would have liked from a device of this size. Also, strange to say, but I missed having a stylus on the device. Yes, old school but when the device is this big and can run multiple applications at one go, having a stylus allows you to click those time miniscule control buttons easily and take notes on the screen.

LG Optimus G pro1990

And yes, my jibe with the materials. Being an engineer with gross interests in Material Sc, I would have much liked the device to be in metal, now imagine a device of that size, in a premium build, there you would have had an unbeatable device.

The Rest

On the whole though the LG Optimus G Pro does well, it gave me my first pahblet experience since owning a Samsung Note I and got to admit, the device is neat.

LG Optimus G pro1995

I am not sure if I am yet ready to go the phablet route full time, but yes, it was fun till it lasted. The size is big for me simply because I have invested a lot of money in a regular tablet, be it a Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini. But if you havent, and you want a device which is your go to it all, then hey, the G Pro is definitely one to pick up and must say, I will have fond memories of the device and cherish my time of hanging out with this superlative mammoth beast.

How to Get Google Now on Your Android Phone

Google Now has to be one of the many cherry picked updates that have been brought about by Google in it’s latest version of Android i.e. Jelly Bean. With Google Now, Google has finally come up with a competitor for Siri – the virtual assistant that is available on Apple’s iPhone 4S. Ever since Google Now’s release, there have been a number of comparisons that are being drawn between Google Now and it’s Apple counterpart.

We do know many of you are waiting to try your hands on the voice search by Google but if you are someone who doesn’t have a Nexus 7/ Galaxy Nexus/ Nexus S/ Motorolla Xoom, you might well have to wait for the Android 4.1 update to reach your device to officially try out Google Now. Having said that, the open source nature of Android allows us to do anything with our device and so here we are to tell you about this interesting tweak that will allow you to install Google Now on your Ice Cream Sandwich Device.

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There are a couple of pre-requisites to installing Google Now on your device:

1. Your device should be running Ice Cream Sandwich and Ice Cream Sandwich only. This tweak wouldn’t work for previous generations of Android.

2. Your device should be rooted with root explorer installed on it.

To install Google Now on your Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) device, head over to the XDA thread here.

There are a number of methods that can be used to install Google Now and all of them have been clearly mentioned in the thread itself. Here is the one that worked for us while trying to port Google Now on our HTC One X:

1. Rename GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk in system/app to GoogleQuickSearchBox.bak. You can rename to anything else as well. That doesn’t really matter. It worked for us even when we renamed the application to GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk1

2. Install the apk that you downloaded from the download link in the XDA thread mentioned above just like you install any other normal application.

3. Reboot your device.

4. Google Now should pop up as soon as you click on the search bar on the home screen.

Another thing to note is that Voice Search wouldn’t work and you will have to type in the queries. For being able to download and use the voice search, download the application’s apk from this thread which is also mentioned in the xda thread above.

Even though this has been tested on AOSP ROMs only but users of other ROMs have also had success in making Google Now working on their ICS devices using this technique. If it doesn’t work for you, we recommend you to flash an AOSP ROM. CM9 will be our safest bet.

Ringdroid Lets you Create Your Own Ringtone

Are you one of those who aren’t satisfied with the default ringtones that you have on your phone? The songs that you set are too long to be set as ringer, then today’s app review is just for you. We are here to tell you about an application for the Android platform and a very popular one at that.

Ringdroid is a graphical waveform editor. You can use a music file let it be a song, a tune or even a recorded message, any kind of music on your microSD and select the parts of the music which you want to use. The best part about the app, it’s simple and easy to use!

Use the touch to drag the grey tabs to select the start and stop points i.e. select the part that you want to use. Once selected, that selected wave form will be distinctly visible on the screen. Before assigning it as your ringtone you can play the selection that you have made and can change it anytime!

ringdroid

It also has the option to filter the results that you see on the screen in case you have a number of songs on your SD card. Filter the library to see only the songs that you want to use in Ringdroid. As simple as that!

All in all, this is one app that you just shouldn’t miss, the best part, it’s absolutely free to download.

Download Ringdroid from Google Code Website.