Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 – Tablet with a Unique Design

There are many tablets in the market but most of them appear the same with only changes in dimensions and display size. But Asus- a renowned laptop manufacturer- has experimented on the tablet form factor and has introduced tablets with Keyboard docking station, which transform tablet into laptop. Asus Transformer was the first tablet with keyboard docking station. Asus is going to launch its second tablet with keyboard docking station - Asus Transformer Prime TF201.

The Asus will launch its new Asus Transformer Prime TF201 in February 2012. The decided price for this unique tablet is Rs 29, 999 (including keyboard dock).

Key features of Asus Transformer Prime TF201 are:
10.1 inch touchscreen display
1.3-GHz Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 mobile processor                
Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS (Cream Sandwich update is lined up)
Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth
MicroHDMI port and a microSD card slot
3.5mm audio jack

This attractive tablet will be available in two attractive colors; Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold. It has an aluminum backplane. The overall look is elegant and the design is solid.

The new innovation with the form factor will add to the comfort to the users. Users are free to use onscreen keyboard or physical keyboard based on their comfort level. So, use onscreen keyboard when you are outside and use physical keyboard with ease at home!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S Advance I9070

Samsung has announced another variant of Galaxy S, the new Android Gingerbread smartphone Galaxy S Advance I9070. The 4.3 inch phone has Super AMOLED display, 1GHz dual-core processor, 768MB RAM, and 5MP autofocus camera with LED Flash.

Specifications of Samsung Galaxy S Advance I9070:

  • 4.3 inch 800x480 pixels Super AMOLED display
  • 1.3MP secondary camera
  • Available with 8/16GB user memory
  • HD video recording @720p
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v3.0, 3G HSPA 14.4Mbps
  • Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery
  • Samsung Touchwiz 4.0 UI 
No word yet on pricing, but Samsung plans to roll-out the phone in Russia next month, followed by Middle East, Africa, Europe, Southeast & Southwest Asia, Latin America, and China.

HDMI - Have Great Multimedia Experience

HDMI - the standard audio and video connection for high-definition home theater gear. In simple words, it is single cable solution for HD video and surround sound audio.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is an interface standard for transmission of encrypted uncompressed digital audio/video data from one equipment to another equipment. HDMI cables connect the interfaces between the devices and are capable of carrying1080p HD video signals at 60fps, which is the most bandwidth hungry video format currently available. Also it can transmit signals in 480p format and NTSC and PAL formats. HDMI cable can carry a bandwidth of 5 Gbps (gigabits per second).
HDMI connector types:
There are five types of HDMI connectors:

Type A – It is HDMI version 1.0. It has 19 pins with bandwidth to support SDTV, EDTV, and HDTV. Outside dimensions are 13.9 mm × 4.45 mm and inside dimensions are 14 mm × 4.55 mm. It is electrically compatible with single-link DVI-D.

Type B – It has 29 pins and is capable of carrying double the video bandwidth of type A as it is electrically compatible with dual-link DVI-D. Till date, no device has used the interface and is designed for use with very high-resolution future displays. HDMI Type B is targeted for the motion picture industry and other professional applications. It is also HDMI version 1.0.

Type C – It is HDMI version 1.3. It is a mini connector and is designed for portable devices. It is smaller than the Type A plug connector with the same 19-pin configuration but pin assignment is different. However, type C mini connector can be connected to a Type A connector using a Type A to Type C cable

Type D – It is HDMI version 1.4. It is a macro connector with 19 pins as that of Type A and Type C but shrink connector size, which resembles a micro-USB connector. Its dimensions are 2.8 mm × 6.4 mm (micro-USB connector - 2.94 mm × 7.8 mm).

Type E – It is automotive connection system, which is HDMI version 1.4.

Note: HDMI Type A and HDMI Type B are "Intelligent HDMI," referring to the built-in capability for HDMI-enabled components to talk to each other via the interface.

HDMI version journey:

With HDMI 1.1, it started support for DVD audio.

With HDMI 1.2 modifications, there was an increase in HDMI’s appeal for use in CE and PC industries. It gave support for One Bit Audio format, such as SuperAudio CD's DSD and offered better support for current and future PCs with HDMI outputs.

HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future HD display devices. HDMI 1.3 supports 10-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 8-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification. It offered a smaller form factor connector option, which is suitable for portable devices. It adds additional support for new lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

HDMI cables:
HDMI cable is a wire with HDMI interfaces at the both end for transmission of compressed digital data. There is no fixed length for an HDMI cable. However, cable length should not run longer than 16 feet (5 meters), or degradation of the signal could occur.

There are two cable categories for HDMI 1.3 – Category 1-certified cables, tested to perform at speed of up to 74.5 MHz/2.25Gbps, which is the equivalent of a 720p60 and 1080i60 signal and Category 2-certified cable, tested to perform at speeds of up to 340Mhz /10.2Gbps, which is equivalent of a 1080p60 and 2160p30 signal. 

Cables of about 5 meters (16 ft) are manufactured to Category 1 using 28 AVG.  An HDMI cable can reach lengths of up to 15 meters (49ft) with better quality construction and materials, including 24 AWG conductors.

HDMI cables under 5 meters (16ft) of length that were made before the HDMI 1.3 specification can work as Category 2 cables.

Category 1 HDMI cables are marketed as ‘Standard’ and Category 2 HDMI cables as ‘High Speed’.

Note: Only Category 2-tested cables are guaranteed to work.

Advantages of HDMI over traditional analog video interfaces
Quality: With analog video interfaces such as composite, S-Video and component video, a digital source is translated into less precise analog and sent to the television, and then the content is converted back to a digital signal to display on screen. With each conversion, the digital signal loses some integrity, which results into some distortion of picture quality. HDMI preserves the source signal and delivers the sharpest, richest picture possible as it does not undergo analog conversions.
Ease-of-use: Earlier video interfaces required separate audio cables. Most of the people used standard RCA L/R analog audio jacks for transmission of audio. HDMI has abundant bandwidth and speed and it carries not only video but also up to eight digital audio channels for uncompromised surround-sound.
Compactness: HDMI replaces the mesh of wires with a single cable. 19 wires are wrapped in a single cable, which resembles a USB cable. It simplifies cabling and provides high quality home theatre experience by delivering crystal-clear digital content. 

HDMI supports standard video formats, enhanced video and high-definition.

Things to know

·         Digital connectors such as DVI and HDMI surfaced with the advent of digital TV and introduction of HDTV services.  
·         HDMI delivers the best image quality. It can handle HD video of up to 1080p resolution at 60 fps- highest bandwidth-intensive video format currently available. The older PC-based DVI connection offers equivalent quality, but it is rarely available on HDTVs or video components these days.
·         HDMI is the king for audio quality. It supports the ability to carry eight channels of 24-bit audio at 192 kHz, which is enough to handle even the highest resolution audio soundtracks such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Other connection types that can deliver the same quality are multichannel analog audio cables with eight separate cables, and HDMI can do with single cable only.
·         All HDMI versions are fully backward compatible with all previous versions.
·         HDMI is fully backward compatible with DVI (Digital Video Interface) compliant devices. High-end graphics cards featuring a DVI port can connect to a HDMI interface via a DVI/HDMI cable (a cable with a DVI connector on one end and a HDMI connector on the other).  However, some older PCs with DVI are designed only to support computer monitors, not televisions. Consumers buying a PC with DVI should make sure that it specifically includes support for television formats and not just computer monitors.
·         All HDMI products are required to be certified by the manufacturer as part of the HDMI Compliance Test Specification. HDMI Licensing, LLC actively investigates these instances to ensure that the HDMI trademark is properly used in the market. About 700 companies have become the adopters of HDMI standard. Consumers should buy their cables from a reputable source and a company that is trusted.

Why VGA or Composite Cable can’t work?
VGA and Composite video can transmit analog video signals only.  They work great for CRT screens and are not preferable for newer LCD screens. Even though many current LCD TVs and computer monitors accept VGA input, they deliver best result with DVI or HDMI (digital connector).

Why HDMI overcomes DVI?
DVI doesn’t support HDCP encryption by default and HDMI supports HDCP encryption for the newest HD content. So, if your hardware only includes DVI ports, you may not be able to playback full HD Blu-rays and other HD content. However, you can connect DVI to an HDMI port on a newer monitor with a small digital convertor.  DVI cable doesn’t support audio, so you’ll need to use a separate cable for audio when connecting to an HDMI port while HDMI cables can stream digital video and audio simultaneously over the same cable. 
However, DVI is one of the most versatile newer connectors.  DVI is both backward and forward compatible, undoubtedly with some inconvenience.  One can connect an older monitor with a VGA port with a DVI port easily via a similar DVI to VGA converter if video output supports analog video. One can also connect the DVI compatible device with a HDMI via a DVI to HDMI converter.

HDMI is DVI with the addition of features:
a) Support for audio of up to 8-channels uncompressed
b) Smaller connector
c) Support for YUV Color Space
d) CEC -Consumer Electronics Control
e) CEA-861B InfoFrames

Conclusion: HDMI is the best standard for digital multimedia interface. It’s default connector on most devices and screens. It is compatible with HD content including HDCP protected Blu-ray, and can carry video, audio, and more all on single cable. 

Some of the phones and tablets, which support HDMI standard are LG Optimus 3D P920, BlackBery PlayBook, and Motorola Xoom.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Is your cellphone an addiction? Beware!

Are you afraid of living a day without your cellphone? Does your cellphone accompany you from bathroom to bedroom? If yes, then you need to reassess your relationship with it and create a space. Kindly put away your phone and consider a break.

A research revealed cellphone obsessed people get depressed and they suffer from anxiety when they do not receive any message or updates.  The research was interesting and true as well. UK researchers conducted a survey and found “People often feel their phone is ringing even when it is not”. People check their phones more often when they are stressed or they do not receive updates for long. I found the research to be very practical when I compared to my situation. You might be surprised to know that I often wake up at midnight to check if my phone is ringing! This is not only my story. I shared my phone-obsession with few of my friends and I found they are also hooked very closely to their cellphones in the same way.

A vast number of people are addicted to their cellphones and they deny the fact that their cellphones are causing restlessness, insomnia, anxiety and even depression. There are so many people who can't sleep without their cellphones next to them. They are so anxious to keep checking their phones for messages or alerts that they end up sleeping very late or losing sleep. A space is needed to maintain a smooth relation. A healthy relation is one which allows both partners to have their own space otherwise the relation would be in a stressed state. It is a fact that stress associated with cellphone usage will grow rapidly if remain unchecked. At times, let your partner-the phone- stay numb.

Check if you are a cellphone addict or not…
1.    You miss your phone when you are in bathroom (initial level)
2.    You tweet, punch message, and call somebody while you are on pot (extreme level).
3.    You keep checking update of your phone in midst of a face-to-face conversation with someone.
4.    Your heart beats go unusually up when you step out and realize that you have left your phone behind.
5.    You remain glued to phone when your spouse, child, friend or parents are at home.
6.    You charge your phone more than once in a day even when the battery condition of your phone is good.
7.    You get tensed when you are in no network area.
8.    You check your phone after every ten-twelve minute for updates.
9.    You want your phone on your bed.
10. You don’t want to visit a place where carrying phone is not permissible.

If you find 3 similar habits above mentioned, you are at initial phone-stress level. You can manage your cellphone life easily. If you have 5 habits similar, you are addicted to your phone and need to work to rectify it. Your passiveness to your phone can strain up your life and you may face the consequences. If you find all above mentioned points as a part of your usual lifestyle, you need an anti-cellphone therapy to regain a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some re-hab tips that can let you balance your strained relation-
1.    Switch off your phone before sleeping. If possible make a habit of not answering call after 10 in night, unless it is too urgent.
2.    Try to avoid picking phone when you are with your family or busy in some urgent tasks.
3.    Follow no-phone rule at the dining table and bathroom.
4.    Stop your phone browsing habit. If possible take off the mobile data plan.
5.    Consider keeping the phone away during weekends.

Friends! I am neither anti phone nor anti-social. I also have a mobile phone, as you all do and I love my phone. But I hate all types of addiction and stressed relation. I want my friends and readers of this article to think and decide… whether you want a successful social and family life with the support of a smart electronic gadget or you want to let the smart electronic gadget to crash your social and family life…

Friday, 20 January 2012

Nokia Announces Firmware Update for Lumia 800

Nokia has announced the firmware update for its flagship Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 800, with an intension to fix the battery issues. The early adopters of the smartphone have reported issues with battery charging status display on the device. Nokia detected that the problem was with the software, which limited the smartphone’s ability to access the full battery capacity. As promised, the Finnish phone maker has come up with a resolution, releasing a firmware upgrade.

Along with resolving the power management issues, the upgrade SW 1600.2483.8106.11500 is expected to deliver improved Wi-Fi connectivity, better voice mail notification, and improved Local Scout. Nokia will push the updates to the users through the Zune desktop software.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

No Lenovo phones for India

Lenovo’s Android smartphones, which are packed with galore of specifications, will not be launched in India. Lenovo spokesperson said the company will launch its Android phones only in China. Loaded with Intel's Medfield family processor, Lenovo smartphones promise a robust performance.

The new Lenovo K800 will be released first in China, which was displayed at recently held Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas .The news is undeniably sad for Indians as they cannot taste the new flavor of Lenovo smartphones. Lenovo K800 is the first phone to have a single core Intel Atom Z2460 mobile processor. It will run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system with the new Lenovo LeOS UI topping.

Other state-of-the art features of the phone are 4.5 inch screen and 8MP camera capable of recording 720p HD videos. The handset is truly top class but Indian top class people have to crave till Lenovo plans to launch its smartphones in India.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Four best custom homescreen launchers for Android

So you own an Android handset and harp the level of customisation you can achieve with the device among your iPhone owning friends. But, there is a catch. Neither you are comfortable rooting your device or installing custom ROMs, nor have the required expertise. No need to feel disappointed though as there are tons of apps available on Android market, which let you customise almost everything in your device. Custom diallers, SMS clients, homescreen launchers, lock menu, you just name it and it’s there in the market. Installation is pretty easy too. You just need to download the app and customise it after automatic installation and that’s it! However, today we are going to talk about four best homescreen replacements you can get for your phone. Here is our list of the best.

1. GO Launcher EX



Price: Free
Requirement: Android v2.0 minimum
Developer: GO Dev Team

GO Launcher EX is a recently developed launcher by Go dev team and if you go by the sheer number of customisation options available, it’s the best we have seen so far. The GO dev team is already famous for their Go dialler, Go keyboard and Go SMS client and addition of a homescreen replacement actually completes the customisation scene. 

The Go launcher nearly levels on extremes of customisation so much that you can actually spend hours over it to get right mix of everything according to your taste without getting bored. There are so many preference selections available ranging from Display, Screen, Dock, App Drawer, Operation, Advanced, Theme settings etc that the developers have scored one fan in us already! 

Task killer has been provided inbuilt with the launcher, available in some 5 sizes, you can use according to your screen real estate. Hence, no need to drain your battery by keeping a taskmanager running all the time when GO taskmanager can do the same with just one tap, any time.

2. SPB Shell 3D



Price: Rs. 768.47
Requirement: Android v2.1 minimum
Developer: SPB software


If you are a 3D FX fan, then you can also check out SPB Shell 3D homescreen replacement. Touted as next gen UI, the application shell relies on a 3D homescreen engine to generate amazing effects, along with smart folders, 3D widgets and plethora of other customisation options. 

The 3D engine runs like a charm and live screen animation creates a truly wowing experience. However, this customization option will set you back by Rs. 768 as this app is available in paid version only.

3. LauncherPro



Price: Free (Rs. 179.39 for Plus version)
Requires: Android v2.0 minimum
Developer: Federico Carnales

With more than 5 million downloads, this app easily counts among the most downloaded from the Android Market. Boasting of a slick interface and tons of features, the app is available in both paid as well as slightly stripped down lite version.

Launcher Pro comes armed with features like screen panel management, scrollable widgets with third party app support, transition effects and so on. Scrolling between screens is a breeze, even with lots of apps on screen panels. The app is tried and tested by millions of users now, who swore by its stability and ease of use. Still, as a precaution, you can also backup all your settings to SD card if something does awry.

The LauncherPro is a free app but you'll have to shell out Rs. 179 if you want to go for the Plus version.

4. ADWLauncher



Price: Free (Rs 149.80 for EX version)
Requires: Android v2.0 minimum
Developer: AnderWeb

If LauncherPro doesn't excite you enough, you may check out ADW launcher, which has established itself as a worthy alternative. ADW launcher heavily stresses on the wow factor to attract the users who are more into enjoying the aesthetics of UI.

Hence, if you want some UI which does your bidding with snap of a button, then ADW launcher isn't for you. ADW comes across as somewhat more customisable than LauncherPro but the biggest advantage of ADW launcher is the huge amount of themes available for it. It's more configurable than LauncherPro -- but having said that, most of the preferences make no sense at all unless you first read the guide. ADW also has gestures; as in you can swipe up or down on the home screen to launch apps or make calls. You can't swipe icons like LauncherPro, though.

The ADW Launcher is available for free from Android Market for free. There is an EX version available too, which goes for Rs 149.80 and adds more transition effects and more app drawer styles.