Six Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features You Should Be Looking Forward To

The newest version of Android, version 6.0 named Marshmallow, has been available for developers to preview for some time now, with a public release pegged for November 2015. There are a lot of improvements that Google is promising with Android Marshmallow, which give you more control over the phone and improve performance, while also providing new ways to interact with your device.

(Also see: Why I Am Not Excited About Google’s Android M Update)

Here are the 6 features from Android 6.0 Marshmallow that we are most excited about.

1) App permissions
Application permissions have been completely overhauled in Android Marshmallow. Now you will be able to grant apps individual permissions to device functions, instead of the previous model of all or nothing.

What this means is, if an app is trying to access your phones camera or microphone, the system would prompt you saying this app is trying to access camera/ microphone on your device and it will ask, “Would you like to allow this?” It’s a big change from the current system where you have to either give an app access to all the services it wants; or not install the app.

Here’s another example: If you want to send a voice recording on WhatsApp, the system would give you a prompt telling you that WhatsApp is trying to access the microphone on your phone. This means you don’t have to agree to permissions from an app which doesn’t make sense to you, such as if you don’t want a specific camera app to access your contact list.

whatsapp_app_permission.jpg

Now you can also go into app settings and individually turn on or off app specific permissions at any time. This gives users complete control over an app, and resolves any privacy concerns they might have.

(Also see: Google Photos With Free, Unlimited Storage: 10 Things You Need to Know)

2) Now on Tap
This is one of the most impressive new features to be introduced with Android Marshmallow. Now on Tap takes the concept of the smart assistant Google Now, and spreads it across the entire OS so you can take advantage of it on any screen, regardless of what you are doing. All you need to do, is simply press and hold the home button, and Now on Tap will analyse the information you are looking at, to give you related cards.

For example, you get an SMS from a friend asking if you would like to go to watch the James Bond Spectre movie over the weekend; long press the home button and Google’s Now on Tap will automatically recognise the context of the text based on words like ‘movie’ and ‘James Bond Spectre’ and show you useful results, such as screening timings in nearby cinema halls, or ratings from IMDB.

3) Fingerprint support
While we’ve seen Android phones with fingerprint scanners, the implementation was done by vendors themselves. Android Marshmallow will support fingerprint scanners on phones natively now. The new feature will allow the scanners to be used to not only unlock your device, but also use it authorise payments using Android Pay in the offline world or within Play Store apps.

This is important because it will help standardise the implementation of fingerprint scanners in different Android devices, so app developers can take advantage of this new hardware as well. This will also encourage more phone makers to include fingerprint scanners in their devices.

(Also see: Android 6.0 Marshmallow Won’t Come With Dark Theme)

4) App links
App links, also known as Intents, is a feature where if you click on a link in your email or a text message, it asks you what app you would like to open it with. The same thing happens when you click on – for example – a video file or a Facebook link; you are shown all the app that can open the link and asked to choose the one you want to use.

This feature always allowed Android users to set their own default apps, but it was also annoying at times with frequent dialogue boxes asking which app you want to use. App links are now being updated in Marshmallow to show greater awareness of what you’re clicking on, instead of routinely stopping you to pop up dialogue boxes.

So, in Marshmallow, if you get an email with twitter link, it will launch the Twitter app instead of asking you to choose between that and the Chrome browser.

app_links_android_m.jpg

5) Doze
One of the most common complaints faced by Android users has been unpredictable standby times on their phones. This happens because of apps running in the background, which can affect the standby time and performance.

Google is now looking to improve this with the feature called Doze. This is a new technology that learns over time and detects when your device is motionless and not being used, so it can be sent into a deep sleep mode. Once your phone is set to Doze, it checks for updates from apps less frequently, while still staying responsive for calls, messages, and other similar things. Google claims that internal tests have showed double the battery life on standby mode, when compared to Android 5.0.

6) Automatic backup and restore
A seamless back up feature is something which has been missing from Android for years, and it looks like Google has finally taken notice. With Android 6.0, you can set up automatic backups, which will back up apps and app settings of up to your Google Drive storage. There will be a limit of 25MB per app, and the backups will not count against your Google Drive storage limits, and are encrypted by default.

 

These backups happen no more than once a day and run only when the device is idle and is connected to a working Wi-Fi connection to avoid unwanted data charges and battery drain on your device.

This way you can change phones or just reset your phone and when you re-install your apps the previous data will be restored conveniently. This feature works even with apps which have been side-loaded or purchased through other app stores.

These six features are some of the highlights, in our view. Overall, Google is bringing some much needed polish and great new features to the OS in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and we can’t wait to try it on the final release.

Siddhy is a gadget freak and leads the consultative selling platform at FindYogi.com

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

UK Orders Probe Into Classroom Disruption by Smartphones

An investigation was announced Sunday by Britain’s Schools Minister Nick Gibb to look into disruption in classrooms by students using smartphones during lessons.

Teachers across the country report growing numbers of children are bringing personal devices into classes, hindering teaching and leading to disruption, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a recent study, the London School of Economics found that banning mobile phones from classrooms could benefit students’ learning by as much as an additional week’s worth of schooling over an academic year.

The LSE report also found that banning phones would most benefit low-achieving children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools in England has joined the so-called ’21st century debate’ by calling for schools to ban children from bringing phones into lessons.

The possible banning of mobile devices will now be a major issue reviewed by education expert and former teacher Tom Bennett, who has been tasked by the school’s minister to investigate disruptive behaviour in schools.

The most recent survey in Britain shows the vast majority of schools have some form of mobile phone policy in place. One-third of schools ban mobile phones outright, with a further fifth limiting their use in lessons.

Alleged Samsung Galaxy Mega On with Snapdragon 410 gets benchmarked

samsung-galaxy-j5-hands-on (6)

Back in August, we learned that Samsung was working on new series of smartphones. Dubbed as “Galaxy O Series”, it seems GalaxyMega On could likely be a part of it. The smartphone recently surfaced on the GeekBench’s score database.

The benchmarking site’s score database reveals some specifications of the alleged Galaxy Mega On. With a model number SM-G6000, it seems like an entry level smartphone. The smartphone was put through paces on the GeekBench3 benchmark test, where it logged a score of 460 and 1367 in single-core and multi-core tests, respectively.

Last week, we also came across the alleged Samsung Galaxy A9 that surfaced on GeekBench test database and the purported Samsung Galaxy S7, which was spotted in Antutu Benchmark test.

ALSO READ – Samsung Galaxy S7 specifications revealed in latest benchmark leak

Coming to the hardware, the alleged Samsung Galaxy Mega On is expected to come with a 5.5-inch display running at a resolution of 720×1280 pixels. The results reveal that the phablet is powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 processor paired with 1GB of RAM.  It is expected to come with 8GB of onboard storage, expandable via microSD card.

galaxy-mega-on

ALSO READ – Alleged Galaxy A9 with Snapdragon 620 spotted on GeekBench

The smartphone is also expected to come with a 13-megapixel rear camera along with a 5-megapixel front-facing selfie camera. It could also come with a 3,000 mAh battery and runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS. Since these specifications aren’t official, take this with a grain of salt.

Motorola has sold over 5.6 million smartphones in India via Flipkart

motorola-moto-x-review-bgr

Motorola returned to India in February last year after a hiatus, with a unique online-only retail model with Flipkart. At today’s Moto X Play launch in New Delhi, the company revealed that it has so far sold over 5.6 million smartphones via the e-commerce site. 

Motorola got off to a great start after its return to India by selling a million handsets in the first five months. This was mainly due to the first-generation Moto E, which offered stock Android and water proofing at a pocket-friendly price tag.

Less than a year later, Motorola had sold over three million smartphones. It managed to reach this milestone despite increased competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Lenovo. While it has so far remained a Flipkart exclusive, recent reports claim that Motorola is now planning on tapping the offline retailers to reach a far wider audience.

ALSO READ: Lenovo and Motorola start manufacturing smartphones in India

As mentioned above, Motorola today launched the Moto X Play in India. The smartphone is priced at Rs 18,499 for the 16GB variant, and Rs 19,999 for the 32GB variant. Both the variants will be going on sale exclusively via Flipkart at midnight with a bunch of launch day offers.

Motorola Moto X Play specifications

The smartphone flaunts a 5.5-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and is powered by a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM. On offer are 16GB and 32GB internal storage options, which can be expanded up to 128GB using a microSD card.

The smartphone also features a 21-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, nano coating that makes the smartphone water repellent, and connectivity options like dual-SIM card slots, LTE support, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/b/n (dual band), and NFC. On the software front, it runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box.

The Moto X Play also features a 3,630mAh battery that the company claims is good enough for up to 48 hours of mixed usage. Motorola has also included support for TurboPower, which can charge the battery to 50 percent in just about 15 minutes. The Turbo charger however is not bundled with the smartphone, and instead will be sold separately, priced at Rs 1,000.

While Motorola India GM Amit Boni wouldn’t go into the details, he did reveal that the recently launched Moto G (third-generation) was among the company’s best-selling model on Flipkart. It is said to be selling 40 percent better than the previous model.

Motorola Moto X Play vs OnePlus One vs Samsung Galaxy E7

motorola-moto-x-play-india-launch-imageEarlier today, Motorola launched the Moto X Play at an event in New Delhi. It’s a mid-range smartphone that comes with a massive 3,630mAh battery, which Motorola claims is good enough to offer a battery life of up to 48 hours with mixed usage. We pitted the Moto X Play against the OnePlus One and Samsung Galaxy E7 to see how well they fare on the basis of price, specifications and features.

Price: All smartphones are pretty close with the Motorola Moto X Play priced at Rs 18,499 for 16GB variant and Rs 19,999 for 32GB variant. The OnePlus One 16GB variant costs Rs 18,998 whereas the 64GB variant is priced at Rs 21,998. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy E7 costs as low as Rs 16,099. In terms of pricing, the Galaxy E7 is has a slight edge.

Specifications and features: The Moto X Play and the OnePlus One flaunts a 5.5-inch full HD (1080×1920 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, whereas the Galaxy E7 has a 5.5-inch display running at a resolution of 720×1280 pixels and covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Both Moto X Play and OnePlus One have a superior display.

Under the hood, the Moto X Play is powered by Qualcomm’s 1.7GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor paired with Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The OnePlus One is powered by Qualcomm’s 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor paired with Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM, whereas the Galaxy E7 is powered by Qualcomm’s 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor paired with Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

In terms of internal storage, Moto X Play comes with 16GB and 32GB variants, OnePlus One comes with 16GB and 64GB variants whereas the Galaxy E7 comes with only 16GB onboard storage. While Moto X Play and Galaxy E7 support microSD card for further expansion, the OnePlus One does not support storage expansion.

ALSO READ – Motorola Moto X Play launched in India, priced at Rs 18,499: Specifications, features

On the camera front, the Moto X Play comes with 21-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and 5-megapixel front-facing selfie camera. The OnePlus One and Galaxy E7 sport a 13-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and 5-megapixel front facing unit. The rear camera on the One support 4K video recording at 30fps.  On paper, the Moto X Play camera has an advantage with higher resolution whereas the One supports 4K video recording, however, we will reserve our judgment till we have reviewed the smartphones.

The battery on the Moto X Play is 3,630mAh, whereas the One has 3,100mAh and E7 has 2950mAh battery. With Motorola claiming the Moto X Play can offer mixed usage of up to 48 hours, it clearly has some advantage. On the connectivity front, the smartphones support 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS. The Moto X Play runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS, the One recently got the Android 5.0 Lollipop update, whereas the Galaxy E7 is still stuck on KitKat 4.4.4 OS, with no word on the update. In terms of extra features, the Moto X Play comes with Fast Charging capability and water repellent nano-coating (IP52 certification), something that is missing in other smartphones.

From the hardware point of view, both Moto X Play and OnePlus One are very closely placed, but we will be in a better position to give our final verdict after we review the smartphone.

A detailed comparison table follows.

Features Moto X Play OnePlus One Samsung Galaxy E7
Display 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) 5.5-inch HD (720p)
Processor 1.7GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core
RAM 2GB 3GB 2GB
Storage 16GB/32GB (expandable) 16GB/64GB (non-expandable) 16GB (expandable)
Rear Camera 21-megapixel 13-megapixel 13-megapixel
Front Camera 5-megapixel 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Battery 3,630mAh 3,100mAh 2,950mAh
Connectivity 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Software 5.1.1 Lollipop 5.0 Lollipop 4.4.4 KitKat
Price Rs 18,499 & Rs 19,999 Rs 18,998 & Rs 21,998 Rs 16,099

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 leaked renders hint at ultra-thin bezels, dual-camera setup and fingerprint sensor

xiaomi-mi-note-2-leaked-renders

After much speculations Xiaomi took the wraps off the Redmi Note 2 and Redmi Note 2 Prime last month in China. Xiaomi however has yet to unveil the successor to theMi Note, and now a leak from China hints at what the Mi Note 2 could look like.

Leakster @KJuma has shared a couple of renders on Weibo, allegedly showing the Xiaomi Mi Note 2. In terms of the design, the smartphone looks quite similar to its predecessor, albeit with ultra-thin bezels. Towards the bottom is a squarish home button, which could be housing a fingerprint sensor underneath.

At the back is a dual-camera setup along with dual-LED flash. As seen on HTC’s smartphones one of the lenses will be the primary camera, while the other lens will measure depth of field.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 specifications: From what we have come across so far, the forthcoming phablet is expected to feature a 5.7-inch QHD display and powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM.

The phablet is also expected to include 32GB/64GB internal storage, 23-megapixel rear camera, 12-megapixel selfie camera, 3,500mAh battery with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge support, and on the software front, run on MIUI 7 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop.

There is no word on when Xiaomi is planning on launching the Mi Note 2. But with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chipset set to arrive on smartphones in the first quarter next year, it is safe to assume that the phablet will be unveiled sometime around that time.

iBall Andi 5U Platino With 8-Megapixel Camera Launched

iBall has launched the Andi 5U Platino smartphone at Rs. 4,599. The handset was listed on the company site in mid-August. The company has announced that the Andi 5U Platino will be available within a week via retail stores.

The dual-SIM-based iBall Andi 5U Platino runs Android 4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box. It comes with a 5-inch (540×960 pixels) qHD IPS display with a pixel density of 220ppi. The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor coupled with 512MB of RAM.

It comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage, which is further expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB). It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, while there is a secondary 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera also on board. On the connectivity front, the Andi 5U Platino offers 3G, GPRS/ EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS, Micro-USB, and Bluetooth options. The smartphone packs a 2000mAh battery and is listed in a Black colour variant.

The company notes that the Andi 5U Platino comes with multi-regional language support (read and write) for 21 Indian regional languages. The handset also comes with built-in support for 9 regional system languages. The company is also offering a bundled free protective cover.

The domestic handset maker last week introduced the Cobalt Solus 4G by listing it on its website. The handset supported Indian LTE bands TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE (2300MHz and 1800MHz).

Last month, iBall launched a new Andi-series smartphone, the Andi 4.5 O’Buddy, priced at Rs. 4,990.

iBall Andi 5U Platino

iBall Andi 5U Platino

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

1.2GHz

Front Camera

0.3-megapixel

Resolution

540×960 pixels

RAM

512MB

OS

Android 4.4

Storage

8GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery capacity

2000mAh

iPhone 7 Apple A10 Processor To Be Made By TSMC (Rumor)

iPhone 6S

The new iPhone 6S has yet to launch and we are already starting to hear rumors about its replacement, the iPhone 7.

Apple’s latest iPhones come with a new mobile processor, the Apple A9, the company is also launching a new Apple A9x processor in their iPad Pro.

According to a recent report, Apple is already developing the processors replacement, the Apple A10 and this will apparently be made exclusively by TSMC with a 16nm manufacturing process.

The new Apple A10 will use an InFO architecture which stands for Integrated Fan Out, this will apparently allow for the new A1§0 to be manufactured on a SiP or System in a Package.

TSMC will apparently start producing the new Apple A10 processor in March of 2016, the company currently makes the Apple A8 processor which is found in the iPad Mini 4 and the new Apple TV.

We are not expecting to hear many more details about the new iPhone 7 until next year, the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will launch later this month on the 25th of September.

Have a ‘Waterproof’ Xperia Device? Don’t Use It Underwater, Warns Sony

Sony, which has repeatedly touted waterproof capabilities of its devices in the past, is now warning users that they shouldn’t use their Xperia devices (whether smartphone or tablet) underwater. To do so, will void the device’s warranty, the company added.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant has updated its website with a warning. “Remember not to use the device underwater,” the warning reads. The high-end Xperia smartphones come with IP68 rating, which certifies that the device is able to withstand liquid under pressure for a long period of time. As per the standard definition, an IP68-rated device is totally dust-tight, and should be able to withstand continuous immersion in water beyond 1 metre with exact conditions specified by the manufacturer.

Sony on its site while repeating the definition, adds that it means immersion in 1.5 metre of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. So, while specifying manufacturer conditions, the company does seem to reducing the continuous immersion to 30 minutes of immersion.

While the company noted that its ‘waterproof’ devices do have the required certification, it also mentioned that the tests it had conducted were performed in laboratory conditions in standby mode, and that the users shouldn’t try to take pictures or do any similar things when the devices are underwater. It also remind users to close all covers before immersing the smartphone or tablet.

“Sony devices that are tested for their waterproof abilities are placed gently inside a container filled with tap water and lowered to a depth of 1.5 metres. After 30 minutes in the container, the device is gently taken out and its functions and features are tested.” the company described how it performed the test.

The company, however, also noted that one could wash the dirt off a high-end Xperia smartphone or tablet using tap water. Clearly, the company isn’t completely backtracking from the Xperia device’s promise to offer withstanding abilities against water and dirt. It just doesn’t want you to “abuse” or perform “improper use” of the said lineup of devices.

So what should you do? If you own an Xperia flagship, it is probably in your best interest if you didn’t use it while underwater. Some water splashes, and usage under pouring rain should still be fine.

Lenovo A7000 Plus With 4G LTE Support, 5.5-Inch Display Launched

Lenovo has silently introduced the successor to the A7000 smartphone, the A7000 Plus, in the Philippines. The new smartphone will be going on sale Tuesday via Lazada, a local e-commerce website.

Priced at PHP 7,999 (approximately Rs. 11,400), the company is yet to reveal availability details of theLenovo A7000 Plus for other markets. To recall, the Lenovo A7000 (Review | Pictures) smartphone was announced earlier this year and it went on sale in India back in April at Rs. 8,999.

The Lenovo A7000 Plus comes with upgraded innards when compared to its predecessor. It features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display while the A7000 came with a HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution 5.5-inch screen. The A7000 Plus is powered by an octa-core MediaTek (MT6752) SoC clocked at 1.7GHz coupled with 2GB of RAM. The A7000 also featured an octa-core processor though was clocked at 1.5GHz.

The inbuilt storage on the A7000 Plus has also been bumped to 16GB from 8GB on the A7000. It supports expandable storage via microSD card. The 13-megapixel rear camera on the A7000 Plus has also received an upgrade from the 8-megapixel offering on the A7000. The A7000 Plus sports the same 5-megapixel front camera. The handset is backed by a 3000mAh battery.

Connectivity options on the A7000 Plus smartphone include 4G LTE (FDD Band 1, 3, 7, 20; TDD Band 40), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, Bluetooth, and Micro-USB, just like its predecessor. The dual-SIM smartphone features speakers powered by Dolby Atmos technology. The handset measures 152.6×76.2×7.99mm and weighs 140 grams.

Lenovo India last week announced that it sold over 500,000 K3 Note units in India in less than two months since the smartphone’s launch in the country.

Lenovo A7000 Plus

Lenovo A7000 Plus

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

1.7GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Android 5.0

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh