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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Honor 8: Top 5 Features

Image result for honor 8 mobileHuawei Terminal's Honor brand at its New Delhi event on Wednesday launched the Honor 8 smartphone in India at Rs. 29,999. The device is now up for sale onAmazon India, Flipkart, and the Honor Online Store, apart from several major retail outlets in the country. We've reviewed the smartphone, and found that it packs some great features like the dual camera setup, the customised EMUI 4.1 OS, and a premium look and feel.
At this price tag, the Honor 8 is pegged to compete with the OnePlus 3 and the Asus ZenFone 3. While the two will give the Honor 8 a tough fight, there are a few things that make it stand out from the competition. In our review, we also found a few things that didn't impress us much as well. To narrow it down and make life easy, here are the top five things you need to know about the Honor 8 smartphone.

1. Camera
This is possibly the biggest highlight of the smartphone. The Honor 8 sports a dual camera setup, much like the iPhone 7 Plus. However, the two 12-megapixel cameras at the back sits within the frame neatly, and do not protrude out of the shell. Both lenses sport an f/2.2 aperture, while one sensor captures monochrome images with high contrast, and the other captures an RGB photo. The smartphone then processes the image to give the best possible result, retaining maximum sharpness. In the front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.4 aperture. In our tests, we were happy with the camera's performance, and the colours were near accurate. The shallow depth of field feature was able to produce some pretty impressive 'bokeh' photos. However, our tests did see some noise and less detail in low-light photos, but overall the camera was able to do a lot to leave us impressed.

2. Smart Key
Just below the camera in the centre, sits the fingerprint sensor at the back of the smartphone. Huawei claims that the sensor can read fingerprints in mere 0.4 seconds. Moreover, it also takes into account thumb ridge depth for more accurate fingerprint reading. However, the most interesting bit about the sensor is that it also has a physical press. Calling it the Smart Key, it performs various press-based and gesture-based functions. You can manually set up what functions this Smart Key performs, for example in our video review, we show how one physical press opens up the flash. Swiping left and right on the sensor while viewing the Gallery, will help you scroll through photos, and swiping up and down will open and shut the notification bar.

3. EMUI 4.1
As mentioned in our review, the other big highlight of the Honor 8 is the company's custom ROM based on Android Marshmallow, called Emotion UI or EMUI. The latest version (4.1) retains stock Android features like Now on Tap from Android but also adds a bunch of nifty customisations on top. The interface is simple, and has its own icons. Features like Link+ and Wi-Fi+ allow you to be on the best network at all times. Link+ allows you to be on the best network while travelling, and Wi-Fi+ allows you to automatically switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data to not hinder your browsing experience.

We also tested the gesture-based Knuckle Sense feature which allows you to do several function just by drawing or tapping on the screen using your knuckles. For example, drawing a circle or knocking the screen will let you take a screenshot or start screen recording automatically. We found that these gestures require too much pressure, are quite awkward, and frankly a bit gimmicky. However, EMUI 4.1 also brings along one-handed mode and the Floating Dock for shortcuts to common actions, which are quite useful.
Voice control allows you to call people, and even lets you find your phone if you misplace it. Just by saying "Where are you" loudly, the phone starts ringing, vibrating, and flashing its LEDs to grab some attention. Finally, bloatware is limited, and Honor has introduced a Smart Remote Controller as well to control appliances like television sets at home.
4. Performance and battery life
The Honor 8 houses a home-grown 1.8GHz octa-core Kirin 950 processor paired with Mali-T880 GPU and 4GB of RAM. While reviewing the smartphone, we found that it could handle multitasking pretty well. Games like Mortal Kombat X worked without heating up the smartphone, but our review device did heat up a lot when we used the camera. Honor tells us that it's most likely an isolated incident since ours was a pre-production unit, and that retail devices should work normally.

In our battery tests, we found out that the Honor 8 charged up to 45 percent in just half an hour. In a single charge, we managed to use the smartphone for the whole day without any difficulty. It lasted for 11 hours and 7 minutes in our video loop test. The ROG power saving mode also comes in handy when you're running out of battery, as this mode renders the display at 720p to save power.
5. Design and Build
The Honor 8 sports a beautiful design, with a striking finish to the metal build that's sandwiched between the 2.5D glass protection at the front and back of the smartphone. The edges retain a metal finish, giving the smartphone an overall premium feel. While the phone looks chic, especially the gold variant that we got to play with, we found that the glass back made it slippery to hold in the hand. It was also susceptible to slipping on most surfaces if you weren't too careful, and was also prone to fingerprint smudges.

At 153 grams, the Honor 8 is light to hold, and the volume and power buttons are placed at the top right edge. The navigation buttons are on the display, and you can even change them in the Settings app, according to your preference.
Connectivity may be a deal-breaker
While the Honor 8 supports 4G LTE, and has all the other basic connectivity options, it does not support 4G VoLTE and lacks FM radio support. The basic connectivity that Honor 8 offers include Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS/ A-GPS, NFC, and an infrared scanner. While the FM radio's absence could be a downer for some, VoLTE is now gaining predominance in the country's airwaves in recent times, and its absence could also prove to be a tipping point in purchase decision. The company however does note that VoLTE will be enabled with a software update in the future, but did not provide a timeline for this.

LeEco Among Most Attractive Mobile Phone Brands In India

Chinese technology conglomerate leEco has been named among Indias most attractive mobile phone brands, a report said on Thursday.

“India’s Most Attractive Brand Report 2016” by TRA Research, a brand insights company, analysed consumer ‘desire’ indicator, comparing ‘attractiveness’ and ‘vibrancy’ of brands.

“In the category of ‘Mobile Phones’, leEco being a debutant entrant in India achieved an extremely creditable achievement in this category ahead of several older brands,” the report said.

In the overall most attractive brand category across all product categories, leEco ranked among the top 200 in the study that covered over 10,000 brands across 16 cities.

In the category of ‘Personal Gadgetry’, leEco, which came to India early this year, figured at the 14th spot.

Motorola Teases Moto X Force's India Launch

Motorola is all set to launch its Moto X Force in India with a shatterproof glass. This latest hearsay was tweeted via a teaser of the Smartphone with the tag—'Moto X Force coming soon', according to

Motorola Moto X Force is best suited for people who have shaky hands and fingers. Motorola India has reportedly tweeted, "Moto X Force coming soon" and "Are you one amongst 40 percent of people who are deathly scared of dropping their phones?" This teaser video from Motorola shows various high-end smartphones such as the iPhone 6, Sony Xperia Z5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 dropping and their screens breaking.

Motorola's Moto X Force, which is also known as Droid Turbo 2 in the U.S., has "Moto ShatterShield" display technology and water-repellant nano-coating. It can be an ideal companion for those who often accidentally drop their phones. Moto X Force is made with dual-layered touch screen panels, aluminium chassis and flexible AMOLED screen, making it strong enough to withstand falls.

Moto X Force has been made by using Kevlar, a material known to be five times stronger than steel, underneath ballistic nylon coating. The durability of the Moto X Force is its biggest USP. In terms of specifications, Moto X Force is powered by a Snapdragon 810 octa-core chipset powered by 3GB RAM and has 32GB memory that is expandable up to 2TB which is awesome.

The handset also features a 5.4-inch QHD display with a 21MP primary camera with dual LED flash and 5MP front snapper. It runs on a 3,760mAh battery and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Android 7.1.1 Nougat will likely hit Nexus devices on December 6

Amid the ongoing Nougat update frenzy in the smartphone realm, it appears Nexus owners will, once again, be blessed with bragging rights for running the latest and greatest Android version. This is all thanks to Google and the decision to thankfully continue supporting the Nexus line with bleeding-edge AOSP builds, even after the company threw its glove into the smartphone market with the Pixel and Pixel XL. Frankly, it was the right thing to do and Google is sticking by it, at least for now, that is, with many Nexus devices already running Android 7.0.

Earlier this month, it also became clear that many recent Nexus devices will go on to receive Android 7.1 as well. Today, Vodafone Australia finally spilled the beans and stated the Nexus 6P will be getting said OTA starting December 6.

This does fall in line with previously cited time frames, as well as the Developer Preview 2 Android 7.1.1 release, posted for Nexus hardware earlier this week. If everything goes according to plan, the final version will eventually be seeded to the Huawei Nexus 6PLG Nexus 5XPixel C, as well as the Motorola Nexus 6HTC Nexus 9 and Asus Nexus Player.
That being said, the only question that remains is timing. We can only assume that the 5X and Pixel C will start getting the update on December 6 as well, alongside the already confirmed 6P. However, that is more or less an educated guess at this point. Hopefully, the other eligible devices will follow soon as well. There are even rumors that supported Android One devices will start getting the OTA soon. However, don't necessarily expect the same features.

Speaking of which, since both Daydream VR and the new seamless updates require compatible hardware, they are really unlikely to appear on older hardware. At least officially, that is. Still, the new OS version is sure to bring some other neat stuff universally, like the new circular icon look for the launcher and long press app shortcut menu. Also, the new Storage Manager and image plus GIF support for the AOSP keyboard, among others.


Android 7.0 Nougat name
Following an online fielding of ideas from the public, Google has revealed the official name of the next version of Android: 7.0 Nougat. The ceremony took place over Snapchat. The name Android Nougat was a firm favorite from the beginning, alongside Nutella, so not too much of a surprise, but it's nice to have a solid sobriquet to attach to the new firmware.
Android 7.0 Nougat release date
Android 7.0 Nougat was released today (August 22) at 1 PM EST. Google confirmed that the new LG V20 will be the first new smartphone running Nougat right out of the box. Nexus devices will begin receiving the update immediately. Take a look at the link to see when your device will receive the update.
At the Google I/O 2016 keynote on May 18, Google announced the release of a beta-quality version of Android 7.0 Nougat. This third developer preview focused on three areas: performance, security and productivity. Native VR support was also confirmed with a new VR platform called Daydream.

AndroidPIT Android N vs Android M 7749
                                           Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 2
The second Android 7.1 Nougat Developer preview has been released. The system images are live for manual installation, and the build numbers for this update are NPF26F and NPF26H. For the moment, no updates will be delivered OTA and the current list of supported devices for the preview is relatively small. Only the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9 and Pixel C had been included in this release.It's expected that this will be the last developer preview for Android 7.1. The final build should be released on the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, Pixel C, General Mobile 4G (Android One), Pixel, and Pixel XL sometime in December.
Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 5
The fifth and final Android 7.0 Nougat developer preview is out. Android VP of engineering David Burke announced the news on the developer blog and outlined the latest features this version comes with. As with every preview, the features are geared toward developers who want to build or modify apps to work with Nougat when the stable version rolls out. The build number for this update is NPD90G.Dev Preview 5 features include system images for preview devices, an emulator for app testing, final level 24 Nougat APIs (also available in Preview 4), plus bug fixes and optimizations. If you're registered with the Android Beta program, this update will hit your device shortly, otherwise you can flash it manually. We'll keep you updated on this latest preview of Android Nougat, plus details of the final build, as more information rolls in. 
Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 4
The final Android 7.0 Nougat SDK has arrived, along with the final APIs. Developers can now compile apps to API Level 24, which for us, means Android 7.0 Nougat apps are finally hitting the Play Store. Known apps with beta programs include WhatsApp,FacebookNova Launcher and Spotify: if you're an Android 7.0 Nougat user, be sure to send us early screenshots if you spot any new features.If you're enrolled in the Android Beta Program, you should receive a notification to download the update shortly. If you want to flash the Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 4 on your device manually, head to the Android Developer Preview download page.
AndroidPIT N vs iOS 9 3 1418
        Android 7.0 Nougat 'Night Mode' competes with iOS 9's screen-dimming features. 

Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 3

The new build promises increased stability, to the extent that Google is encouraging developers, and even casual users, to install it on their primary devices. It now works with Android Pay, making it much more functional. The build number is NPD35K.Google has also added "platform support and optimizations for a new VR mode" intended for developers to begin building apps for the baked in VR support, allowing for access to such things as intelligent head tracking and stereo notifications. You can read over the full changelog at the Google Developers blog. This update should roll out to your device OTA if you're part of the Android Beta Program, otherwise you can download and flash it manually by grabbing the image from Google


Google began by talking about the Vulkan graphics API. We already saw this in the Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 2, and you can read more about what it means for Android here. A new JIT compiler means that apps should install up to 75 percent faster, and compiler code should be reduced by 50 percent. The irritating Android is starting... dialogue box will be gone for good, thanks to this new compiler, as well.
google io keynote 2016 android 15
                      App size reduced by 50 percent, making for 75 percent faster installs. 


Google stressed improvements in security through file-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates. In particular, these 'Seamless updates' mean that your phone will download new software images in the background and prepare them for the next time you restart your device. Thanks to the file-based encryption, you also won't need to enter your device password upon restarting.


Productivity is also now a focus. Google says that most people only use their seven most recent apps from the recent app drawer, so the wheel will be limited to these. There is also going to be a Clear all button, which received a rush of applause for a grateful I/O audience.By double-tapping the recent apps button, you can quickly switch to the previous app, although, on many devices, this feature was already available via a long press on the same button.

google io keynote 2016 android 30
                                    The new multi-window mode: picture in picture. 

Multi-window mode sees two uses folded in: the standard, split-screen view, and picture-in-picture, designed for Android TV. This latter mode lets you shrink what's on the screen to a small box in the corner of the screen and do something else in the dominant, full-screen window.Elsewhere, replying from within notifications was covered, as well as notification visibility, letting you quickly block or hide similar notifications in the future via a long press, and support for Unicode 9.0 Emoji, all features we've already looked at below.

Android VR

Native support for VR was also formally introduced. Daydream, a platform for mobile VR was announced, which comes with a set of specs phones have to meet in order to be compatible. Many manufacturers are making Daydream-compatible devices, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi and Huawei.
google io keynote 2016 vr 1
                                          Daydream is the new Google VR platform. 

For more on Google's VR-related announcements, and other news from Google I/O, check out our dedicated page that gives you all the info you need on the events.

Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview: new features

Available on some Nexus devices (Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Pixel C, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player), the Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview is a test version of the new Android software, primarily intended for developers. Like previous Developer Preview versions (such as Android M, which later became Android Marshmallow), the first version of this software does not contain all the new features of the next version of Android, but only parts. 
The first update to the Developer Preview was released on March 17. The factory images are available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9 and Nexus 9 LTE.  If you're signed up to the Android Beta Program, you can expect to see the update arrive over the air very soon.

Developer Preview 2

Developer Preview 2 was released on April 13. The latest version adds the ability for apps to define intent shortcuts, meaning users can use launchers to create shortcuts, like adding a memo to the calendar, with just one press. Emoji Unicode 9 support is now incorporated, and a variety of APIs see inclusion, including Vulkan, which is intended primarily to improve gaming performance.
preview android n nexus 5x
                                The Android 7.0 Nougat dev preview has a lot of features.

Menu between the system settings

A hamburger menu button (the icon with three lines) has now been embedded into the system settings. When a user is in the Bluetooth menu, for example, they can quickly jump to the other system options using this left side menu. This menu is already a standard in other Google applications.
                         The Hamburger menu has been integrated into Android 7.0 Nougat.

Reply to messages from the notifications bar

Of the new additions, this is possibly the feature which most resembles Apple iOS. Messages can now be answered from the notification itself. With this, the user will not need to leave an app to answer a message or even unlock their phone.

Multi-window mode

As we saw in the Android M developer preview, Google has been working hard to bring a native and efficient multitasking system to Android. Although the function was eventually omitted from Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with Android 7.0 Nougat, Google now seems ready to make the leap.
The image below shows the multi-window feature, which works on both tablets and phones and mirrors what you can currently get on some Samsung and LG devices.Like most major platform changes, developers will have to opt in for the split screen mode to allow their apps to run smoothly. This can be done by adding a new attribute called: resizable Activity.

                                      Multi-window is now native in Android 7.0 Nougat. 

This attribute allows developers to specify the minimum size the app can be resized to and to determine whether resizing will be immediate or the application needs to restart with the required dimensions.

New Notifications panel

The notification panel has been completely redesigned, perfectly aligning with what we had seen in earlier leaks. Icons above the notification shade are now more prominent, and on the far right there is a drop-down toggle to expand the panel.
It is now possible to respond to messages directly from within a notification, a feature that uses the same RemoteInput API that Android Wear makes use of.
                                     This is the new notifications panel Android 7.0 Nougat.

Notifications can now also be 'stacked', optimizing the space in the notification area. Developers can choose to stack notifications from the same application in a single line. These can then be expanded using the expansion button or a two-fingered gesture.
With Developer Preview 2, notifications can be set manually at any one of six levels of importance for each app: 
  • Blocked - never show notifications
  • Min importance - silently show at the bottom of the notification list
  • Low importance - silently show notifications in chronological order
  • Normal importance - allow these notifications to play sounds
  • High importance - peek onto the screen and play sounds
  • Urgent importance - show at the top of the notifications list, peek onto the screen and play sounds
To access these, you need to bring down the notification shade and long press on the gear icon to activate the System UI Tuner in the Settings menu. Then enter said menu, go to Other and enable Show full importance settings.
Now, when you go to Settings > apps and select any app and press on Notifications, you will see a slider that allows you to change the importance.
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                                   There are now six levels of importance for notifications.

Enhanced Doze mode

The energy saving mode Doze has been improved in Android 7.0 Nougat. Previously, the feature had only worked when the phone had remained completely undisturbed for a long time, i.e. when you're sleeping, but now Google says Doze will also save battery any time the screen is turned off. We will have to test the new system more thoroughly to find out what impact it has on energy consumption.
AndroidPIT Android Nexus 5 6 0 1 Marshmallow problems
                           Power Saving Mode has been enhanced in Android 7.0 Nougat.

A system like this that comes into effect every time the phone's display turns off might not be something everyone is keen on, but we'll have to see how it works in practice. It is possible that a less extreme version of Doze mode, one that monitors the energy consumption of apps without impairing the usability and notifications, might be worked out.

Android Beta Program

Another new addition from Google is a way to receive preview builds and updates over-the-air, avoiding the need for flashing factory images. Anyone with a compatible device is able to sign up for the Android Beta Program and receive these preview builds automatically.

android No preview google
                                                  The Android Beta Program. 

Svelte design

Google says it has been hard at work on Project Svelte, a set of tweaks that make Android more able to run on aging and less-powerful devices. This project originates from Android KitKat but we don't know much about it yet. More details should follow with the full release of Android 7.0 Nougat.

VR Mode

We saw the first hint of what many suspected early on: native support for VR in Android 7.0 Nougat. The hint to what Google is working on appears in a menu in the new Android system. By going to Settings > Apps > Configure apps > Special access > VR helper, you can find a menu screen waiting to be filled by a list of apps that are making use of an API designed for VR apps.
There's also something called 'Sustained performance mode' referenced, that is almost certainly intended to help devices run this demanding VR mode for longer periods of time. As anyone who has used a Gear VR will know, the phone quickly becomes very hot and boots the user out of the VR software, a problem that Google will need to overcome if VR is to become more widespread.
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                               No apps using VR helper services yet, but expect some soon.

3D Touch support

Apple's iPhone 6s launched with a pressure-sensitive screen that allowed users to make use of shortcuts by pressing either lightly or heavily on the screen. Now, it looks as though Google won't put 3D Touch in its Android OS. 
The new feature, called Force Touch or 3D Touch was first mentioned in the Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview documents but is was not included in the launch of Android 7.0 Nougat. Take a look at our full report on 3D Touch in the link below.

Enhancements to Google Now Launcher

In Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 2, Google made two improvements to its Google Now Launcher. You can use a pinch gesture on the home screen to bring up the overview page, where, at the bottom, options for wallpapers, widgets and settings appear. And, at last, app options when dragging apps from the home screen and the app drawer are consistent. The options are now Remove / Cancel, Uninstall and App info. A minor but very welcome change.

A Nougat Easter Egg shows a cat emoji

The Easter Egg is now more colorful and you can see a cat emoji or a 'no' sign (which kind of looks like a no parking sign) underneath the Nougat logo. To get to it, go to the Settings and repeatedly tap on the Android version. From there you should see the 'N'. Pressing and holding this several times should produce either a cat emoji or the 'no' sign.
android n easter egg cat
                                                         The cat says no. 

Menu shows whether an app was installed from an APK or the Play Store

Information on the origin of an app has been made visible in the menu. So you can find out whether an app was installed via an APK or through the Play Store. This gives could be valuable information if you're looking for an app that is causing trouble.

android n app origin
                                 Play Store or APK? Nougat shows the origin of the apps.

How to download Android 7.0 Nougat

If you are a developer or just want to test the preview for Android 7.0 Nougat, you can download images of the new OS directly from Google. Remember that this version is unstable and contains many bugs. The update can be downloaded via this link.
Note: Only the Nexus line of devices can receive the preview build of Android 7.0 Nougat. Below you can see what the Nexus models support the OS:

androidpit android n
                                       Android N is now Android 7.0 Nougat.

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