Thursday, June 28, 2012

7 reasons to buy Nexus 7

1. Its Android.And its running Jelly Bean,out of the box !

2. 12 core GPU,Quad core CPU.Combing that with Project Butter,and you have 16 cores of raw power on your device.

3. No 5/8 mp camera at the back.Thats a plus,because its a freaking tablet! Who clicks photos using that? At the same time,theres a 1.3 mp cam in the front for video calling.

4. Connectivity options : WiFi(802.11b/g/n),bluetooth.They have even put in NFC !

5. HD display,1280 x 800,16:9 aspect ratio.Perfect for watching movies,no black bars :D.
Also,its Gorilla Glass.

6. Form factor,7 inches.Perfect for people who desire for a entertainment device,without the hassles of a 10 inch screen,yet still,the same guts inside a smaller chassis.

7. The price,$199 for 8 GB model,$249 for 16 GB one.Only comparable device at that price range,Kindle Fire,and it surely beats that one,hands down,both in terms of hardware and software.

Spilling the beans !

Apple outed its next iteration.
Windows previewed Phone 8.
Now,it was Google's turn.

Recent leaks pointed towards Jelly Bean bearing a version 4.1. Disappointment to many,as it suggested a minor upgrade over ICS.But Google considered this as just a number.

Starting with Project Butter,Google's moniker for butter smooth UX.Parallel processing,VSync enabling the multi-core processors to utilize every iota of raw power.A better touchscreen experience as well,using an algorithm to predict the next touch on the screen.Lag,the most dreaded enemy of any device,was nowhere to be seen in the preview !

The algorithms were extended to the keyboard as well,smartly predicting the words,depending upon the current word.Basically,Swift Key is now inbuilt(yaay!).
Bored to type? How about voice typing.This best thing,its freaking offline(yaay!).
Voice was extended in Google Search,with playback for search results,and not just displaying the results.
And more languages to be supported !

Another major upgrade was on the notifications front.Smarter notification,wherein a missed call notification will have a callback button,or a new photo having a comment button,right there in the notification itself.Brilliant!
Also,a 2 finger swipe,to enlarge a particular notification.
And swipe to delete notifications,beautiful and useful.

Camera app was revamped as well.With ICS,they reduced shutter lag.Now they brought in quick preview,swipe left-right for quick previews,and again the swipe up,to delete.And,an undo feature to recover the photos deleted by accident !

Another great feature,was smart updates of apps.App updates,will now update only the changes and not the whole app,with the end-user not knowing the difference,except for faster download of updates !
A newer Google Maps,with features such a 360 degree,first person view of a restaurant.

But,the BEST feature,Google Now.The personal assistant,learning itself,as you use it.Automatically updating itself,with time,location and activities,this looks like the perfect virtual assistant.And since this is Google,it already knows what you like and what you don't courtesy your Google searches.

With Android's openness,and Google's support for developers through newer programs like PDK,Google have yet again displayed their brilliance with Jelly Bean.

I am sorry I ever doubted your capabilities Android.I shall,and will be an Droid-ian.
Google,I am sold !

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Win-Those people back

Which is exactly what Microsoft is trying to do,and to an extent,they are succeeding. 

Having successfully previewed the full grown desktop version of Windows 8,the ARM based tablet version and then,the phone version of Windows 8,Microsoft have announced their roadmap for the next version of their OS.And boy,have they made their presence felt ! 
The first of the lot was the desktop version.Windows 8 was unlike the previous versions of Windows.It was an app-centered OS,much like what the Mac OS was turning into.It had borrowed the look from the mobile version of the OS,the Metro UI.The UI itself is light and beautiful,but navigating through it using a mouse,not the best of the UX. Though,windows didn't forget about its file-system,which is why they had a desktop mode as well.Switching between the 2 is easy,but consistency between the modes,is far from achieved.Eg IE in the Metro mode,and the IE in desktop mode are two different applications all together.You open IE in Metro,login to your mail,switch to desktop mode,and you expect IE to continue its work.But,IE is not even started in desktop mode.This is something that Microsoft needs to look upon.
Then came the much awaited tablet version of the Windows 8 iteration,Windows RT. Now,Microsoft were the original pioneers of tablet computing,when Bill Gates announced a Windows XP based tablet in 2002,way back before Apple did.To refresh our memories,at around 2002,Apple had just released the iPod,and iPhone and iPad were long way out of sight. But,I guess the world wasn't ready for device between the Laptops and Phones,and the Slate,never really caught on in the market. 
Tablet PC have come a long way since then.Starting off just as an entertainment device,tablets have now gone to configurations,of most laptops available in the market.With extension docks,they have come to a point of driving the laptops into oblivion,owing to its portability,at almost the same capabilities. 
Microsoft just didn't launch its software,it showed off its hardware as well for the new Windows RT version,the Surface.A HD display,with a 16:9 aspect ratio,expansion slots,USB 3.0,connectors,a built-in kick-stand ,barely as thick as a credit-card,and a host of other features.But the real deal was the magnetic cover-cum-keyboard.At just 3 mm of thickness,this thing houses a full keyboard and a trackpad as well.And when you are done with your typing,just roll it over,and,voila,it covers the screen.(Yeah,yeah .. Apple did it first,I know .. But even Jobs might be rolling in his grave seeing this).
And they didn't stop there,no sir!The Surface has an elder sibbling,dubbed,Surface Pro.While they may look similar,the Pro houses a Intel's core processor,as opposed to NVIDA's ARM based Tegra chip on the Surface.Basically,what this means is,its a laptop internal,trapped inside a tablet.And,it also runs the desktop version of Windows 8.AND,it boasts a Pen as an input medium,apart from the normal touch.The cool thing about the pen input,called the 'palm block',is the fact that when you switch it switch to the pen mode,it automatically blocks your hand as an input device.Again,brilliant execution by Microsoft !

With back-to-back successful version,it looks as if Windows has finally broken its jinx of having every alternate version,as a successful one.

Since,the Surface Pro is basically as good as a laptop,and the fact that it runs Windows(duh!),the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device,is surely going to welcome this device.

With the tablet version still basking in its glory,Microsoft preview the Windows Phone 8 version(Apollo),and,one-by-one ticked off all the flaws from Mango.Support for multi-core processors,higher  resolution(720p),Skype integration and much awaited support for SD card.Though,there are still many things,like a notification center,or previews on the lockscreen,which still have been overlooked.
Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation maps,are now inbuilt in the OS,with offline support.
The upgrades though,came at a cost.As none of the existing devices support support multicore processors,the new iteration won't work on any of the existing devices.But,Microsoft has promised a slightly lighter version for existing Mango users,with features like the new start screen.

But,the best thing Microsoft has done with the Apollo is code sharing.All the versions of the Windows,will share the same code-base and kernel.Basically,now what you can run on your desktops,will work on your tablet,which will also work on your phones.Since,the devices will have the same kernel at its heart and the same driver codes,apps can be moved from one platform to the other,with very little changes.
What Windows has now created with this move,is their own little ecosystem.Switching from laptop to tablet to phone,will become a child's play.Windows already dominates the desktop market,but it is the tablet and phone that they lag behind,and with this move,people would flock to the ecosystem,given the convenience.

Microsoft have created brilliant products before as well(Zune Player),but getting through is people is where they have failed.The majority of the work is done.If they manage to pull this off,Microsoft would a step closer,to world domination(muhahahahahaha !).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Apples,berries,mangoes and desserts

No,I am not talking about food,albeit,this is what every geek thrives on.
The 4 main categories of the smartphone eco-system : Apple,BlackBerry,Windows and Android.

Smartphone market,at one time,dominated by BlackBerry, were soon replaced by Apple and Android,with Windows Phone hot on their trail.The main reason being the change in the user base of the smartphone market.
Smartphones were earlier used by people who needed access to their mails/internet on the go.But now,every tom-dick and harry owns one.The basic purpose of the smartphone was soon killed and looks/form-factor/camera,et al have now become the criteria for smartphones.Checking in to places,tweeting about the traffic/movie is why you need internet on your devices,these days.

Apple(iOS) :
The most beautiful hardware,atop one of the slickest mobile OS.Navigating through it is a breeze.Responsiveness of the touch is next to none.And Apple only creates one version of each of its device in each iteration,maintaining its vital stats.
Screen with sharpness and pixel densities,that can easily put high-end screens to shame,and still,battery life is one of the best in the competition,brilliant.And an ever flooded App Market.
Probably what Apple manages to pull off the best,is their software and hardware integration.

But,the OS built on a UNIX core,lacks of the key features of its parent,openness.
For a normal,it might not seem much of a problem,but for a power user,it sometimes pisses off,the fact that there are so many things which they do not have control upon,because Apple Inc has decided that you shouldn't.
Also,a tablet with a 9.7" screen has so much to offer.Don't use the inflated version off the 3.5" screen.Please !

But,one the most douchiest things they do is patent wars.Seriously,just get over with it.Just because a rectangular phone has a full touch screen and one button,doesn't mean they copied it from you.And the last time I checked,the LG Prada had adopted that design before you.
Also,the pull down notification was a direct rip-off.But you didn't see infringements being filed.
Let your devices proves their worthiness,themselves.

Android :
The most open and free OS available in the market.Hence,the abundance of devices.Android doesn't discriminate,be it the chip architecture or OEMs,you'll find Droids everywhere!
The openness is what drives everyone towards the Android eco-system.The degree of customization is unparallel,be it the software or the hardware.

But this very fact,is one of the biggest drawbacks of all Androids.Android just has control over the software.OEMs are responsible for integrating them into their devices.This creates a considerable delay in the updates.Also,most older devices are not given support to by the manufacturers,even though they are more than capable of running the latest version.
Hopefully,this thing gets resolved,post Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Its support for multi-core processor has made it possible for devices to have configurations,that could put full-fledged desktops to shame.Support for 1080p content,high screen resolutions,the works !
Also,a separate OS iteration for the tablets,makes it all the more possible to utilize the device's true capabilities(in terms of UI & UX).
The app market over here is also flooded,though still not as much as that of Apple.

And their alphabetical naming convention is another thing to look out for. :)

BlackBerry :
They were built for a purpose,and they served it.
BBs always held a special place for business people,who wanted mails on the go.Dedicated servers,provided both secure and efficient means of mailing.Till date,there is nothing that can be compared to a BB keypad,and that trackball,bliss.

But,with changing times,BB decided to drop its trademark qwerty to adopt the touchscreen,and it was a disaster.So was their decision to enter into the tablet world with the Playbook,with loses that couldn't even be looked at.Whats the point of having a tablet,if you just HAD to pair it with your phone,everytime ?
They did manage to improve the half-baked OS with v2.0 and BB 10 looks extremely promising.Hopefully,it will set RIM,in motion,again !

And please,don't ever drop your qwerty,for full touch devices.Its what defies you from the others.

Windows Phone :
From a replica of a desktop in the palm of your hand to a tile display,the Windows Phone has come a long way,since the dawn of WP7.Still in its nascent stage,but still can be described as the most beautiful UI.The tile layout,is probably the best UX on a touch-screen,which is further accentuated on a tablet display.
Learning quickly from its flaws and backed by hardware giants of yesteryear's,WP is catching up real quickly.
Like the OS,the app market is still in its nascent phase as well,something which needs to be looked upon.

No support on multi-core processors/support for expandable memory or more importantly,bluetooth file transfers,still remains one of its fallouts.

With a slew of tablets in pipeline,Windows 8 platform surely looks promising.

Already spoilt for choices,and likes of Mozilla jumping in with their own Boot2Gecko,Tizen being developed in collaboration,the future for Mobile OS looks all but promising.
The more,the merrier !