Thursday, January 18, 2018

Google's Hardware Designer Ivy Ross Shows Off Prototypes Of Pixel 2, Pixelbook, Home Mini, And More

3:19:00 PM

In the world of smartphones the process of the development of a flagship smartphone can be bigger than the actual product. Before the official device releases, manufacturers makes Prototypes of that device. It's nice to take a look at how the designs of products evolve from the drawing board all the way to our homes, pockets, and backpacks. 

An interview with Google hardware designer Ivy Ross recently went up on The Keyword and the company just shared a collection of images showcasing prototype designs for some of its major 2017 products, including the Pixel 2, Pixelbook, Daydream View, and line of Google Home smart speakers.

Ivy Ross, the head of the Made by Google team, was interviewed by the managing editor of the Google blog. In the interview, Ross discusses how she approaches the design of all Google hardware, what it’s like being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and how she gets the inspiration for her work.

The whole interview is a very interesting read, but the real stars of the show are the handful of images showcasing early design ideas. The Pixel 2, it seems, always had a black glass back, but the fingerprint sensor wasn’t always surrounded by a metal disc. In fact, at one point it was fully colored blue. The camera configuration varied from prototype to prototype, and even the Google “G” logo went through some wild changes.
As for the Pixelbook, the lid always had the same two-tone look as the Pixel and the Pixel 2, but different colors were incorporated as the design evolved. The keyboard and trackpad layout looks like it didn’t change much though, at least not according to the photo provided.

Only one prototype of the Daydream View appears, but a ton of early sketches are revealed. And a pic of a meeting between a small group of people deciding on fabric choices for the Google Home line is shown, although the products in the image don’t look much different from their retail versions.

Also, a tipster has chimed in to note several other design iterations that were considered by Google for the Pixel 2, including:

  • Swappable backplates
  • Larger edges with a slender middle
  • Monochrome rear with fingerprint scanner in one of the Google colors
  • Monochrome back with the Google colors (blue, red, yellow, and green) around the edges

What are your thoughts on the prototypes?

Source : Google

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Samsung Announces Limited-Edition Galaxy Note 8 For 2018 Olympic Games

1:29:00 PM

Last year, you might remember that Samsung made Olympic Games Limited Edition of the Galaxy S7 and with the 2018 Winter Olympics just around the corner, Samsung has announced a limited-edition Galaxy Note 8 styled after the event.  

To celebrate the fact that this year’s Olympic games will be held in the winter, the backing of the Note 8 will be “shiny white.” Additionally, the iconic golden Olympic rings will be displayed near the bottom of the handset.

The included S Pen will be styled just like the back of the handset, keeping with the white and gold design. Around front, though, you will find a black border accompanied by Olympic-themed wallpapers.

Unfortunately, the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on one of these limited-edition Galaxy Note 8 handsets is to be one of the 4,000+ Olympic athletes. But by giving everyone participating a handset, Samsung hopes to let every athlete “[share] pictures, video and messages with family, friends and followers” — and of course to advertise the flagship handset.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

OnePlus 5T Lava Red Color Variant Will Be Available On January 20th Via Amazon India

12:26:00 PM

OnePlus latest flagship phone OnePlus 5T will soon have another color variant which will be Lava Red color variant in India. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red was earlier launched as a Limited Edition color variant in China at CNY 2,999 (around Rs. 30,000). The OnePlus 5T was launched in India at Rs. 32,999 and we can expect the new Lava Red to be priced around the same price.

After launching Midnight Black and Star Wars variants of OnePlus 5T the company has been teasing a new launch on Twitter scheduled for January 11 in India. It could be expected that this color variant will also only be limited edition with 128 GB storage and 8 GB RAM, like the earlier released Star Wars Edition OnePlus 5T. The smartphone will have the same specifications as the existing OnePlus 5T, with just a changed color option. 

As for its specifications everything is same, the OnePlus 5T features a 6-inch Full Optic AMOLED display with 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution and protected by a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass. OnePlus has also introduced Face Unlock in the OnePlus 5T as a first in the OnePlus devices and claims to unlock the phone in 0.4 seconds. However, the Face Unlock feature will not work with third party Payment apps. OnePlus 5T is powered by Snapdragon 835 Soc and is available in two storage options - 6GB RAM/64GB internal storage and an 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage option. It runs the latest OxygenOS based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The smartphone is backed by a 3300 mAh battery which will also feature Dash Charging. 

OnePlus 5T sports a dual camera setup at the back, which claims to deliver an improved performance in 'Low-light photography' and 'Portrait' images over the OnePlus 5. Though the smartphone carries almost similar camera-hardware specifications as in OnePlus 5, the secondary lens on the OnePlus 5T features Intelligent Pixel Technology. OnePlus 5T also features a 3.55 mm headphone jack. 

Source : OnePlus Forums | OnePlus Store | Amazon

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Android Distribution Update For January 2018 Shows Oreo Growth At Unimpressive Rate

11:46:00 AM

New month, new Android Distribution numbers. Each month, Google published a set of numbers which gives us the percentage of Android OS popularity. In December, Oreo, the latest and greatest version of Android, was on as many Android handsets as Ice Cream Sandwich. That equated to 0.5% of the total Android pie, which after a few months of being available, is pretty comical.

This is what we get in January, Oreo now sits at 0.7% (up from 0.5%), Nougat grew to 26.3% (up from 23.3%), Marshmallow fell to 28.6% (down from 29.7%), Lollipop now sits at 25.1%, KitKat is at 12.8%, Jelly Bean is at 5.6%, and Ice Cream Sandwich + Gingerbread equals to the remaining 0.9%

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Google Brings Brotli Compression To Deliver Faster OTA Android Updates

12:12:00 AM

When it comes to phones, people usually go for the company who provides longer OTA updates support. But nobody thinks about the size of an OTA because they generally downloads in the background over WiFi, but it’s actually a big deal on the server back end. You can make a huge difference even if you save few megabytes of data  since the gains are multiplied by potentially hundreds of thousands of users. Google saw this and been working to bring its Brotli compression algorithm to Android for faster OTA updates.

For those who is wondering what is the Brotli Compression Algorithm? Basically Brotli is a compression algorithm developed by Google employees that significantly improves the compression ratio over other algorithms such as GZIP while also demonstrating an impressive decompression speed. The disadvantage of all of this is the Brotli algorithm is rather slow, so it’s generally avoided when compressing dynamic content.

Left: Compression Ratio Comparison / Middle: Decompression Speed / Right: Comparison Compression Speed Comparison

On the other hand, any static content such as web pages are suitable to be compressed via the Brotli algorithm. This includes application files downloaded from the Google Play Store. Since there are well over 2 billion Android devices out there, shaving off even small amounts of data when serving a patch file from the Play Store can result in massive gains for Google. The Brotli algorithm, when used for Play Store app downloads, saves users 1.5 petabytes (1.5 million gigabytes) of data each day.

Now lets come to the main part, which is how all of this will improve OTA updates? As you might know, OTA updates aren't that frequent compared to Play Store app updates but quite large in comparision. 

Since Brotli also brings improved decompression speeds, that also means that OTA updates can be applied more quickly. OTA updates are sent to each device as an archive, so before the patches can be made via bsdiff, the archive needs to be decompressed. Since Brotli decompression is rather quick that means decompressing the archive will also be quick, resulting in faster patching of system files.

However, users on devices with A/B partition schemes such as the Google Pixel/Pixel 2, Essential Phone, Razer Phone, Moto Z2 Force, and Xiaomi Mi A1 probably won’t notice this particular improvement since the updates are seamlessly applied on the inactive partition in the background. Still, even for these devices, the smaller OTA update package due to Brotli compression will result in reduced bandwidth for the user.

Soure : (1), (2), (3)

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Friday, December 29, 2017

OnePlus 5T Update Brings More Camera Improvements And December Security Patch

11:59:00 PM

Today, OnePlus announced OxygenOS 4.7.6 for the OnePlus 5T which brings a few camera improvements as well as December’s security patch.

More specifically, OnePlus notes camera stability improvements, clarity improvements for selfie shooters in low light, as well as performance improvements for those using the camera through a 3rd-party app.

Other changes include assistive lighting for face unlock and improvements for expanded screenshot.

Here’s the complete changelog:

  • Camera
    • Stability improvements
    • Clarity improvements for selfie in low light
    • Performance improvements for 3rd party camera apps
  • System
    • Added assistive lighting for face unlock
    • Improvements for expanded screenshot
    • Improvements for Wi-Fi display
    • Updated Android security patch to December
Source : OnePlus

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

[Leaked] Samsung Galaxy S9 Component Confirms Headphone Jack

12:07:00 AM

Samsung's next flagship phones the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus coming at MWC in February next year. We have already seen the handset in various render leaks but we never got to know that whether Samsung is following the footsteps of Apple and Google with ditching the headphone jack on its upcoming flagship.

Don't worry. A new component leak of the Galaxy S9, however, confirms that the handset will indeed come with a headphone jack. While the picture of the USB-C flex cable does not show the 3.5mm headphone jack, there is a small cutout in the PCB for it.

The presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ should come as a relief for many who are still not interested in living the dongle life or making the switch to a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.

Samsung will reportedly bundle a pair of premium wireless AKG earbuds with the handset so that Galaxy S9 owners can enjoy superior audio quality with their device. The Korean company had bundled premium wired AKG earphones with the Galaxy S8 which won it a lot of appreciation from customers. While the earphones did not deliver class-leading sound quality, they were still a step above other earphones that OEMs usually bundle with their devices.

Samsung is the last major Android OEM which continues to include a headphone jack on its flagship devices. Others like Google, HTC, Motorola and to a certain extent Huawei have already ditched the jack on their devices. Once the Korean company ditches the headphone jack on its devices, you can be very well sure that the 3.5mm jack is dead.

Source : SlashLeaks

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Google Looking To Open Retail Stores In India To Boost Pixel Sales

11:56:00 PM

Google's Pixel lineup received a very good response through its pop-up stores, Google is now planning on opening its own brick-and-mortar stores in India to boost the sales of its Pixel handsets. 

Google plans on opening “experience centers” in India as per three sources who spoke to Economic Times. While the plans are not yet finalized, Google is tentatively planning on opening the stores in the second half of 2018. The company has also hired a senior Apple executive to put its plan into action.

Google is taking the decision to open retail stores in India after the positive response it received for its pop-up stores that it had opened across key malls in major cities in the country to showcase the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These pop-up stores were located in premium upscale malls and Google is now trying to open its experience stores in same malls as well.

Google will also use these experience stores to highlight other products that it sells in India, including its DayDream VR headset, Chromecast, and more.

Google is not going to be the first OEM to consider opening retail stores in India. All major smartphone players in the country like Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, Apple, and Xiaomi have a physical presence across major cities and malls in the country to attract prospective buyers. In fact, the rapid offline expansion in India over the last six months has led Xiaomi to post tremendous growth and become the number one smartphone manufacturer in the country.

Google sells the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL online exclusively through Flipkart. The handset is also available offline through major retailers. Last year, Google had only made the original Pixel available for purchase online through Flipkart only.

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