Apr 17

Project Ara might be selling modular phones for $50 as soon as January 2015

Project Ara - Concept of Modular Smartphone

Ara is a pretty woman, isn’t she? :)

The result of Google’s project Ara, which is a concept of Modular Hardware for Smartphones may debut as soon as January 2015. While Google is determined to overcome the limitations of tightly coupled hardware and software in the smartphones, it seems modular phones are not going to be a fiction anymore. Moreover, it might be priced as low as $50.
Certainly this $50 does not include all the modules of the phone. Users have to buy those separately. And that is the point which explains modular phones are not going to be actually that much affordable. Because the $50 Ara unit will just have a frame to attach all the modules together, a processor, a screen and a Wi-Fi. The rest of the components like Camera, Memory and RAM could be bought separately as users’ preferences. And this is the most interesting part of project Ara, I believe. Because someone may be fascinated to a very good camera, while someone crave for a 32 GB of memory. Someone just plays lot of games and his priority is RAM and GPU, and someone might just use calendar and email. Some people are music freak, while some are always calling or texting. The various needs of the users result in numerous smartphones in the market from all brands. At this point, geeks also get confused to recommend a suitable and budget friendly phone to a friend. Suppose I want a smartphone with a good camera having HD recording feature and very good music quality; now I have to fix a budget of 15000-20000 INR to have that in the present situation. Project Ara denies that and lets me selectively choose just what I want and that cuts the cost.
This project was originally announced by Motorola when it was a google company. But while selling Motorola to Lenovo, Google kept the Project Ara for itself considering its potential. As Google’s Project Ara head Paul Eremenko said that Ara is set to release as soon as January 2015. If we see those strange and interesting devices marketing in less than a year for just $50, we shall be gladly surprised.

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Apr 16

Nokia X and its price drop: blogger’s impression

Nokia X

Nokia X looks good, isn’t it :P

Price drop of Nokia X

Nokia X, which is neither Android, nor Windows Phone, nor even an Asha phone, has received a price cut today. Nokia officially drops the price to INR 7,729 which was launched at a price point of INR 8,599. So let us have a look to a blogger’s impression about Nokia X and its price drop.

This is certainly a good news for one who plan to buy a forked android in near future, but I doubt whether Nokia X would really be able to satisfy them after buying. This is because in spite of having an Android OS core, Nokia has replaced Google services like Gmail, Google+ or Play Store with Microsoft services like Outlook, Nokia Store and all that. Now average smartphone users very much prefer Gmail than Hotmail. To be precise, majority of Indians are tightly coupled with google services instead of Microsoft’s. Well this does not mean Gmail is inaccessible from Nokia X, but everyone likes to show his nose in a straightforward manner. Continue reading

2 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)
Apr 15

Kitkat update and Older Handsets

Kitkat Update

WHY OLDER AND LOW BUDGET HANDSETS NOT GETTING A KITKAT UPDATE?

When google released android 4.4 Kitkat and announced that it has been designed to run on RAM as low as 512 MB, Gingerbread and ICS users were happy to see a ray of hope that their old and low budget devices may get an update finally in near future. But unfortunately, that’s not happening. In fact as of now, Moto G is the only budget friendly (well 14k is not really budget friendly for me, haha) phone that have the 4.4.2 Kitkat update. But still it has a 1GB of RAM and a Quad core 1.2 GHz processor, which is very good hardware for a 14k phone. So what is the contradiction? Why other low RAM phones are not getting Kitkat update? Let us have a look from a user’s perspective, not going deep into the technical part. That is, what a smartphone user need to know about Kitkat update, or maybe in general, all android updates.

First of all a phone is not a PC. The hardware may have a processor and a RAM, but in a more compact way. As the hardware gets compact, the level of complexity increases and advantages of discrete hardware components are not available. So putting an android OS in a phone is not like installing Ubuntu/Windows OS in a desktop. Android is more and more dependent upon the hardware it is being installed. This hardware dependency, or rather strong bond with a specific hardware is an issue in the low budget devices. So RAM is not the only hardware dependency for android to upgrade. The handset manufacturers optimises android OS to suit their Hardware before putting it into the phone. So if they want to give an upgrade to low end smartphone users, it will be highly experimental, resource consuming and lengthy process as they have to re-test the newer version of android with the old hardware, essentially break the bond of previous android version and rebuild all drivers for adaptation. Now that might not be worth for a free upgrade, while most of the low budget users will hesitate to pay again for his/her old phone. Google is also working on this and they plan to separate some core components of the OS as installable feature so that hardware dependency may decrease. Now most of the Budget phones have minimal hardware specifications that does not meet all the dependencies of Kitkat. And Kitkat also have API level 19 and high security components which are hardly compatible to the old phones. Moreover, Nexus 4 and 5 have significant differences in hardware specifications, and Nexus 4 also have 2012 2013 etc. hardware versions. This is mentionable because Nexus devices get all updates of Android OS.

If we go deep into 4.4 release notes, we will come to know that Kitkat does not allow android apps to write application data to secondary memory due to security reasons. But many an apps require that to run smoothly and properly (like Talking tom, Whatsapp and so many more, especially high end games). For example Camera app optimises raw camera sensor data and saves it in the memory card as a photo or video. But by instinct Kitkat restrict that as long as the destination to save the data is external SD card. So Kitkat devices essentially need to have high in-built memory instead of external SD cards, which are treated as secondary memory. But in low end devices, all the apps read/write to SD card, and those have very low built in memory. This is also a major issue to upgrade low end devices to Kitkat.

One question may arise that, what if handset manufacturers optimise this issue with a system patch and fix Kitkat to allow writing data to external SD cards. But as long as google marks this as a security feature, manufacturers are not allowed to play with user security. Precisely, manufacturers must obey Google’s terms and conditions.

So, sweetness of a Kitkat upgrade is still beyond in reach for 512 MB RAM handset users, no matter how much google optimises its OS to be fit for that.

1 vote, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)
Apr 15

Restoring old messages in Whatsapp messenger

How to restore the Whatsapp conversations

Many of us use Whatsapp in our Android/Nokia Asha phones and just love to chat. But unlike Facebook Messenger, if we uninstall Whatsapp for some reason (like factory resetting the phone) and re-install after some time, the conversations vanish. Good thing is, we have a way out and we don’t have to put much pressure to our brains for that.

All you have to do is re install Whatsapp once again. During the installation process, you will be prompted to restore your message history. Continue reading

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (89% score)