HTC to add some colour in the lives of FB-addicts round the world; new FB smartphone to come next year

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Are you a Facebook addict? And you also happen to be a gadget freak with a penchant for new smartphones? The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Pick up your smartphone, check for Facebook notifications, spend next thirty minutes in your bed, under your quilt, going through all the new notifications and commenting on them. And in very rare cases, when there are no notifications, put up a new status, go through some app, play some Farmville before performing the routine mundane chores. If you are anything like this, here is a good news for you. All the chinese whispers related to the fact that the social networking giant is working on a personal smartphone gathered some momentum when Bloomberg reported that the company is in talks with HTC to manufacture a FB smartphone. The news is sure to act as the ultimate crack for those who are addicted to the social networking portal. If this phone does witness the daylight someday, no drug could possibly surpass it to bring the ultimate rush to the FB-addicts.

HTC, a Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, famous for the unibody design of its smartphones and even more famous for its amazingly beautiful Sense UI is not new to Facebook phones. The company introduced HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha in 2011 with deep fb integration. However, these two handsets running on android platform failed to create a niche for themselves in the market and enjoyed a very little response from the customers. This did not dampen the spirit of the Taiwanese brand, which apparently will not quit catering to those who eat, sleep and breathe Facebook. In the month of April, 2012 talk of the town was that the handset manufacturer is gearing up to launch a Facebook integrated phone in partnership with the social networking giant itself and now the reports have been confirmed by the sources in the know of development, according to Bloomberg.

As per these sources, both the companies were looking forward to launch the new FB-smartphone by the end of 2012. However, the launch has now been postponed to mid-2013 so that HTC can focus on other more important projects. Cherry on the top for the FB-addicts is that Facebook is rumoured to be developing a personalised operating system for the new phone. While, HTC refused to add further flames to the news; Facebook stated that the company is working with ‘the entire mobile industry’ in order to bring ‘powerful social experiences to more people around the world.’

Further quoting the company statement, “Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.”

The rumors did not suggest any specific OS on which the new FB smartphone will run, however, according to the reports of Bloomberg, it is expected that the Facebook will go the Amazon way to develop a customised software with android at its core. Amazon supplies its device, ‘Kindle’ with a custom-made android-based software and a personal app store to meet the application requirements of the users. Another report from Bloomberg states that the social networking giant has hired couple of individuals, who have served Apple.Inc in the past to work on its mobile projects; android-based smartphone with the looks of iOS anyone?

If you are anything like me or if you fit the description given in the beginning of the article, this news might have got you psyched by now and in all probability you would have already started the countdown to the new FB-smartphone. iPhone 5!! Who gives a damn? New FB phone is on its way and that’s the way am going.

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What facebook need- Plethora of new features or improvising existing features?

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Facebook has come up with a new feature namely, ‘Find Friends nearby’ , which allows one to spot the FB users in the vicinity who have chosen to use the service by logging in to its page. The new feature is quite similar to the service rendered by location apps like ‘Highlight’ which was quite popular in the past. However, the app and its concept has been a flop with its users. The technology which allows the users to run into their friends or even strangers has no real life practicality, to be frank.

However, it seem like that the social network giant has a different view on this matter as it acquires the company which introduced the Glancee app and which may be the harbinger of the new feature as well. Facebook is on a steady pace to become a feature creep which means the social networking site’s initial agenda of making the world more open and to give the power to share and connect with other peoples may get clouded by the plethora of features.

One can argue that being able to see where your friends are lets you connect with them, however, it is not something that the site requires at this moment. Some of the features that are need of the hour is the powerful management of the stuff that shows up on one’s wall and likes. The social networking site is working on integrating more and more features without giving a thought to removing those which are not quite useful. This is a clear indication of being a ‘feature-creep’.

The new feature introduced by the FB is a cool feature which uses the in-built GPS tracker on the smart-phone, however, it denotes the lack of focus on part of FB. The social networking giant must concentrate more upon its mobile app, especially the ios and android platform. In past, MySpace suffered doom, as it tried to offer one too many features and the users shifted to Facebook. Now, the history is being repeated as the FB users wonder if they can simply chat or connect with friends as they could in the early days of the social networking site.

With the launch of the trending videos and articles, FB hinted that its users might be missing out on some really happening stuff which the site is going to make available for them. But that is not how it should have been, rather, the social networking giant should have allowed its users to customise what they find relevant and match their interest.

The question that arises here is that whether the company should launch a feature at all if it is known that it would not be used much. Or should it concentrate upon enhancing the existing feature which it cannot do without rather than adding more features? Like everybody else these questions baffles me as well.

Samsung pitches another knuckle to Apple as it offers iTune syncing for the Galaxy users

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In an attempt to steal the volumes from Apple Inc. and lure the iDevice users to opt for its flagship Galaxy series, Samsung will offer a free Easy Phone Sync app exclusively to the customers who buy a Galaxy device.

This app allows easy transfer of songs, videos, podcasts, contacts, pictures and messages stored on the iDevice to the Galaxy device through iTunes. However, this app is only limited to Samsung smart-phones.

The current leading handset manufacturer, has realised that its not a cakewalk to convert iOS user to android. Vice President, Telecommunications and Networks, Samsung UK, said, “We know that traditionally iPhone users have been reluctant to switch to an Android device because they couldn’t use iTunes to manage their content.” He added, “Easy Phone Sync means people can now enjoy their iTunes content on a Samsung Galaxy phone.”

Samsung has got its eyes set on luring the iPhone users to buy its flagship Samsung Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) prior to the launch of upcoming iPhone 5 which will further provide enough fodder to the Apple fans to hold on to the iDevices.

Jelly Bean on its way, anyone got a sweet tooth?

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Jelly Bean, the next version of the Google’s operating system, is not version 5.0 but 4.1. The OS has made an appearance on the checkout page Google Nexus HSPA+ device on Google Play. According to the listing the device will be the first to receive the Jelly Bean update. The listing has come ahead of the keynote session of the company, 2012 Google I/O, scheduled next week and features a blurry screen-shot of the JB home-screen.

The new update will follow the large-scale design along with the heavy feature package that arrived with Ice Cream Sandwich update, however there is not much information available about the new operating system, Since long, the Jelly Bean update was pegged to be called Android 5.0 officially, however, the rumours that the next update will be quite evolutionary has been reinforced by the fact that it is just a 4.1 update.

The Chrome Beta, web browser which is available as a standalone app on Play Store for ICS devices will come preloaded with the Jelly bean update. The OS on the whole will be more performance oriented and battery optimal particularly on the dual core and quad core smart-phones. Google is most likely to reveal complete details about the same at Google I/O 2012 which commences on June 27, 2012. So, android lovers have another reason to rejoice, however, considering the trend of updates being pushed by the manufacturers on to their devices may cause a setback as was in the case of ICS with many devices receiving it as late as 9 months. That is quite a long duration I must say. Lets hope Jelly Bean does not traverse along the same course.

Developers to be able to connect with reviewers in app markets?

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The introduction of AppStore by Apple was a turning point for all the mobile markets, however, the one way review interaction has been the cause of frustration for many of the developers. There has been a prolonged need to change the way review interaction works.

The developers who were present at WWDC 2012 of Apple, where the company announced its new iOS6 (you can read about the major updates that this new iOS brings in my earlier post) and Mac OS X, feel that that they should be able to interact with the reviewer directly.

The iDevice users will know that the reviews provided in the app description varies in accuracy and helps in deciding whether to go for that particular app or not. There can be certain false reviews at times and sometimes there can be issues that can be fixed just by toying with the settings. However, sometimes there are totally valid issues raised in the reviews, which the app developer must be already working on or have submitted a fix. There are many misleading app reviews with the likes of ‘best ever’ and the rating system cannot be ignored as well since they are not the clear indicator of app’s worth.

This can be illustrated using the Temple Run: Brave app, which has been developed by Imangi in collaboration with Disney to promote upcoming Pixar movie ‘Brave’. The application has just 4 and half rating on the AppStore, totally irrespective of the fact that the games comes loaded with stuffs imported straight from the movie as per the agreement between the game developer and the production company.

Its high time, that the Apple, came up with a two-way interaction system in its app review section where in the developers and reviewers can have one-on-one communication using comments within the reviews. The tech giant should also focus more upon the rater accountability factor which means only those genuine user who have bought the app should be able to post a review. At present the review system is like a complaint board where in anyone can post his views, however misleading the information is.

Google has already set a benchmark in this matter with the Chrome Web Store wherein the developer can post replies to the reviews and has announced that it will incorporate the same in its android app market, Play Store. Initially the service is being released to the top developers but will gradually be available with everyone who has a app hosted on the marketplace. The tech giant has already set the route in this regard and no the Apple Inc. only has to follow the route to get there. The developers are quite thrilled regarding the new two way review system but they have their own issues as well. Paul Haddad, the co-creator of Tweetbot feel that the concept is quite useful but it may cost extra to support an additional support system.

This two-way review system however is only a small part since Apple can conjure up a whole new community using the tools used in ‘Chomp’ where the apps can be shared and be recommended between the users. Majority of Apple users never look beyond the App store for their app need and it would be really helpful when they are looking at the description of the and they receive a recommendation from a reviewer who enjoy a good reputation. There is still months to go before apple comes up with its next iPhone, it would be great to be able to avail this kind of feature in the new device.

Harley Davidson plans for its manufacturing plant in India

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A new biking era is all set to begin in India as the most coveted and elite biking brand, Harley Davidson has announced its plan to open a manufacturing unit in the country. The ace bike-maker’s slogan, ‘The road starts here, it never ends’ is a fitting statement to define the American company’s plans for India. The company has been selling assembled motorcycles successfully in the country since last few years. However, now it feels that it is suitable to set up a factory to make its expensive bikes more affordable for the customers by localizing the production.

In the last FY, the American bike manufacturer sold around 716 motorcycles and 100 units every month on an average. However, the new entrants in the Indian market like BMW, Kawasaki, KTM and Hyosung are posing stiff competition to the company as of now. These bikes being priced lower than Harley-Davidson products have been stealing the volumes in the entry-level super bike segment.

As per the officials of the bike manufacturer, a team has been dispatched by the company to test the grounds and select a perfect location for the company to set up its factory in the country. One of the officials stated that, “These initiatives are at a very early stage. The new plant has been planned as the Indian market has shown explosive growth in super bikes in the past few years, albeit on a comparatively smaller base.”

The company already has a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) unit assembly plant located in Bawal, Haryana at a distance of 100 km from the national capital. This makes India the second country after Brazil to house a CKD assembly plant of Harley Davidson where the kits sourced from US of A are put together. This plant has enabled the company to hedge the import taxes and slash the price of its models in the country by around 20-25 per cent in the year 2011. In India, the company’s super bike range start at Rs. 5.60 lac for basic models and goes as high as Rs. 33.45 lacs for its Ultra Classic Electra Glide range.

Presently, to challenge the Japanese and European companies with plans to open factories in India, Harley is aiming at cent per cent localization of its entry-level motorcycles. This new manufacturing facility will assist the American brand to extend its brand-presence in the Indian market, which incidentally is the world’s second-largest motorcycle market.

However, an Indian official of the company, Sanjay Tripathi, Managing Director, denied saying, “We currently do not have plans to set up another plant in India. As part of its global growth strategy, Harley-Davidson is highly focused on the ramp-up of CKD operations in India as it allows us to improve our market responsiveness and production flexibility while reducing the tariff burden.”

But I do and so do million other fans of the brand, who practically lust for the Harley Davidson badge, sincerely hope and pray that the plan materialise and we can bring home one of the super bikes. Amen!

LG jumps on voice-assitance bandwagon with Quick Voice

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It was only a matter of time before LG came up with its own voice assistance app after Siri from Apple and S-Voice from Samsung. The new voice assistance from the Korean company is called Quick Voice. It will allow the user to operate the handset just by speaking commands to it, just like the former two. This will ensure a nifty and nimble operating of the basic function on the LG devices like search, reminders, upload status on Facebook etc.

As per the press release by the company, it will assist 11 app initially. These include phone, contacts, e-mail, clock, calendar etc. Quick Voice will also help the owner to search on web, weather, stock quotes and location using verbal commands.

However, the only adversity in this case is that it will be limited to LG Optimus handsets available in Korea. The Yu model in Optimus range is expected to get the new feature in the last week of June and the Optimus LTE 2 will receive it in July 2012. The feature will come with the Ice Cream Sandwich update for both the devices. There is no news as to whether the company will launch it outside of Korea or if it will support searching local business like restaurants etc. There is also no confirm news if the Quick Voice will be male or female voice, like Siri which features a female voice. Company may also provide an option to choose any one of the two.

Samsung released its S-Voice with its Flagship Galaxy S3, whereas, Apple launched Siri on its iPhone 4S. However, Siri does not yet support any other language than English as of now and this is where it loses out to the Quick voice as the latter can decipher Korean but speaks in English.

LG also declared that it may stop producing the tablets altogether and may focus mainly on the smart-phones, so one can expect some big launch in android handsets from the company in near future.

iOS6 features which are useful but may go unnoticed

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The company which has revolutionised the gadget world with the induction of the gadgets like iPods, iPhones and iPads, has hinted that the upcoming iOS6 will totally change the way one uses the iDevice. And its pretty evident taking a look at the released beta version of the new iOS6 that the iPhone 4S users may not feel the need to upgrade to new iPhone taking into account over 200 new features that the software upgrade offers. Those who are using older generation of iphone like iPhone 3G/3GS/4 may get tempted to upgrade to atleast iPhone 4S, as there is a little catch considering most of the features does not work on older iDevices.

It is rumoured that the final release of the coveted software will come with the launch of the new iPhone which is speculated to come by this year-end, however there is no specified date. The best feature that iOS6 brings on the table is the new updated maps. Apple has ditched the conventional google maps and has come up with its own Map app which offers much-needed reral time navigation with some serious 3D rendering and Siri integration.

More than 200 features would mean that most of them will fail to get noticed by the owner. Even Apple may focus upon the major updates and may bury the remaining features in the manual or change-log. This article is aimed at highlighting some of these features which may get ignored but are quite useful in day-to-day life.

The new iOS6 allows the user to reject an incoming calls in a number of ways, ensuring easier call back options later. If there is an unwanted inbound call, the new software allows the user to ignore the call and direct it to his voice-mail, reject it with a message or simply set a reminder to call back. This simple feature has been missing from the earlier iOS versions and was much-needed by the iPhone owners.

Another quite useful app is ‘Passbook’ using which the user can store everything from gift vouchers to flight tickets in an electric wallet. Simply speaking, it will allow the users to use their iDevice as the ticket when they book a flight ticket online, they simply have to scan the bar-code and walk-in. This may prove to be quite a useful and handy application for most of the business travellers.

Another cool feature that comes with iOS6 is the location-based reminder. If used, the owner will be reminded of the set event as soon as they enter the specified location. This will allow the software developers to connect with the owner within the app, every tine the owner visit their store. To illustrate, the Dominoes Pizza app will open up automatically when the owner visits a dominoes store and the store can interact with them in the app itself.

Another much-needed update comes in form of the spotlight which will now direct the users to the particular app in case they forget to which homescreen of folder that particular app belongs. The latest iPhone 4S and the awaited new iPhone will get the full-fledged benefits of the Siri. The owners of these devices will be able to post on Facebook and Twitter using the famed voice assistance API. There are many other utilities hidden in the new iOS6 which will only be revealed upon the launch of the final public release which means Apple fans will have to wait till fall of the year.

A possible iPad Killer?

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In an attempt to pose challenge to the world’s leading technology firm, Apple Inc’s iPad, Microsoft revealed its tablet range christened as ‘Surface’. However, the OS giant’s PC partner and retailers may get more affected as compared to the threat posed to the iPad. This is due to the fact that Microsoft assures that through its new range of windows 8 tablet it will offer a tablet which will overstep all the tablets produced till date.

The leading OS manufacturer is planning to sell the new range of tablet exclusively at Microsoft stores and the online stores of the company. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Microsoft, stated that the company will launch two versions of its much awaited tablet including one that runs on a Windows Rt and other which incorporates Windows 8 Pro. Outdoing iPad’s 9.7 inch Retina display, Surface will feature an impressive 10.6 in screen. Speaking of weight, both models will be heavier than the iPad, which weighs 1.4 pound. The windows RT model weighs 1.5 pounds, whereas, the windows 8 models is 1.9 pounds. At 0.37 inches, the RT model shares its thickness with iPad, while, 0.53 is the thickness of the windows 8 version.

What differentiates the Surface from the iPad is a kickstand and covers that serves as keyboards as well, incorporated in Micrososft’s tablet. This means that those who opt for the Surface will have the extra convenience and comfort in typing and unlike iPad users they would not have to invest in an auxiliary keyboard.

Microsoft will offer 32 gb and 64 gb memory option with RT model and 64 gb and 128 gb onboard memory with the windows 8 tablet. There is no 128 gb model available in the iPad range as of now. The tech giant did not reveal any information regarding the price.

Ballmer promised, “This is a tool to surface your passions,”

According to the industry analysts, the new tablet range is highly unlikely to pose any threat to Apple considering the slow rate of growth and lack of interest on part of developers accounting to ill-developed app ecosystem on Windows 8 platform.

Peter Misek, Jefferies analyst, stated, “The most important factor in the success of a tablet is its ecosystem. Based on our discussions with developers, we find the lack of enthusiasm concerning,” He feels that to pose a significant challenge to the company which revolutionise the world with its iPod, iPhones and iPads, Microsoft will have to price its tablet range lower than iPad.

Hello world!

Hello everybody,

I am Abhiman Biswas, a 25-year-old Indian male, working full-time as a content writer. I am fascinated by cars, though I do not own one and do not wish to, being a biker by heart, I am attracted to cars nonetheless. Also am a complete techy, techno-freak, gadget aficionado, call me whatever you feel like. I will be pursuing my love for these two areas through this blog as I plan to update all the major and latest happening in the Auto and Techno world here.

So, if you follow any of these two field, do dig in and feast yourself.

Best Regards,

Abhiman Biswas