Reviewing Sony’s Xperia X

Sony has been absent from the smartphone scene for quite a long time now. Even though Sony did release a few phones, however issues in the launches kept them from capturing the spotlight, so much that Sony was about to become irrelevant in the mobile arena.

However, all of this changes with Sony’s newest installment; Xperia X. Xperia X is part of the family which comprises of three other phones namely the Xperia XA, Xperia XA Ultra and Xperia X Performance. Xperia X proper appeals to the high budget class whereas the Xperia XA lands on the middle of the spectrum.

The Xperia X for the most part is a well balanced phone sporting a 5” display, a more than enough camera sensor. However, it lags in the SoC department where it implements the slightly slower installment of the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series; the 650 which is supported by 3GB of RAM. The battery does appear to be on the smaller side (2620 mAh), but since it is powering up a smaller display, it will definitely cover you for a day. The camera has been listed by Sony to sport a sensor having a focal length equivalent to 24mm which is something concerning.

The designing bit can be clearly seen as an evolution of the Omni-Balance design with Sony taking many cues from this phone’s predecessor, the Xperia Z. However, Sony did bypass the aluminum frame and glass back to go in the favor of an Aluminum back which seems to have an anodized finish and a plastic frame. It would definitely be more premium if Sony would have opted for a unibody aluminum design, however, the plastic frame does offer the Xperia X with a much more accurate grip.

The button placement was quite sensible from the previous Xperia phones. The microUSB port is on the bottom, the SIM Slot and microSD tray are combined and on the left side whereas the power button is on the right and is aesthetically placed so that when you grip the phone, your thumb is in close proximity with the button. The button also serves as the fingerprint sensor and is quite snappy. The volume rocker and camera buttons are placed below the power button on the right side. The buttons have a solid feel to them.

Sony has attached a $550 tag to the Xperia X and it does justice to it for the most part. We definitely have our inhibitions with the material choice and camera sensors but this is definitely a big leap from its predecessors.

Targeting all smartphone markets segments; ASUS’ ZenFone 3 Series

The popular Taiwanese electronics manufacturer recently unveiled three new smartphones as a part of their Zenvolution Press event which occurred at COMPUTEX 2016. The phones were unveiled by the firm’s Chairman Jonney Shih and are titled as ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone Deluxe.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe ($499)

ZenFone 3 is the company’s flagship device this time around and boasts a unibody aluminum alloy frame which is beautiful to look at and lends a premium feel to the device. The phone has a 5.7 inch full HD Super AMOLED display which is further enhanced by having a 100% NTSC Color Space. This time around, ASUS trimmed down the bezels to be ultra thin which provides more screen space. ZenFone 3 Deluxe is powered by Qualcomm’s fastest installment, the Snapdragon 820 and is complimented by Adreno 530 GPU and a massive 6GB RAM.

The spec-sheet doesn’t stop yet. The device also features a 23 MP rear shooter which is enhanced by Sony’s IMX318 image sensor having a large f/2.0 aperture. The device also features a 4-axis Optical image stabilization system for the pictures and a 3-axis electronic stabilization system for the 4K videos. The camera is further enhanced by the presence of combined laser auto-focus which is for the low-light situation and a phase-detection autofocus system for the well-lit scenes.

The charging dock supports a reversible USB 3.0 powered Type-C option and also has Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 System implemented. There is also an aesthetically placed fingerprint sensor on the rear of the device.

ZenFone 3 ($249)

ZenFone 3 is ASUS’ budget offering for this year. The phone is feature packed having a 5.5 inch Full HD Super IPS Display which is powered by Snapdragon’s slightly slower 625 Series processor and a 4 GB RAM offering. The phone also touts a 16 MP rear camera which has the same dual autofocus technology as the Deluxe offering of the ZenFone. The device like the Deluxe version features a fingerprint reader on the rear.

ZenFone 3 Ultra ($479)

ZenFone 3 Ultra is ASUS’ way of targeting the multimedia enthusiasts. The phone touts a 6.8 inch Full HD Display having a 95% NTSC Color Space. Implemented in this device is ASUS’ exclusive Tru2Life+ Video technology which provides an experience akin to a 4K UHD TV. The device can definitely not be complete without premium sound technology and ZenFone 3 Ultra boasts Hi-Res Audio which is further magnified by the presence of 5 magnets, Dolby Certified speakers. The device is running on Snapdragon’s 652 Processor and is coupled with 4GB RAM having a 23 MP rear camera running the same premium autofocus technology as the ZenFone Deluxe.

HP’s New Gaming Line Codenamed Omen

HP is aiming to take the gaming world by storm by introducing their new breed of gaming products titled as Omen. The series targeted at the general gamer audience will include a variety of products such as laptops, desktops, and accessories. The series would be available at various prices depending on the specifications including cheaper notebooks and high-end towers.

The Series was launched today and as of this moment included four products. The products are currently at the higher end of the price spectrum and include two laptops, a tower, and a display.

The two laptops in the series are black in color with ‘Dragon Red’ (as HP likes to call them) highlights on both the lid and each individual key. HP’s logo is incorporated only on the inside while the back of the laptops have a blood red diamond affixed.

The red diamond will be relatable to many gamers as it is a warm gesture to old VoodooPC logo. The VoodooPC brand was acquired by HP, back in the year 2006 and it seems that HP is reviving the brand in spirit. It might be argued that the logo isn’t the best; however, gamers around the world still recognize it and adore the brand.

The two laptops of the series are differentiated by both the size and configurations. The smaller model touts a 15.6-inch display coupled with a Core i3 processor while the larger model boasts a 17.3-inch display coupled with an i5 processor. The laptops can be configured to have 16GB of RAM, the blazing fast i7 processors, a much vibrant 4K display and the beastly GeForce GTX 965M GPU.

The smaller laptop would start off at $899.99 and the larger variant would get a base price of $979.99. The laptops would start becoming available from July 10th.

HP is yet to release specifications about the tower, the release date is set somewhere in August. HP did, however, hint that they intend to make the tower suitable for VR experience which means that even the base specs would be nothing short of spectacular. The desktop will offer GPU options from Nvidia’s Founders Edition. No hints whatsoever on the pricing of the tower.

Similar to the tower, the first display from the Omen series will be coming out in August and will be called as HP 32 Display. It would be a 32-inch Quad HD display bearing a 75 Hz refresh rate and boasting a 5 millisecond response time. The display would be certified by AMD’s FreeSync which will minimize stutters.

Intel & Huawei partner up for Smart Bus Solutions across Dubai

Intel has finally partnered with Huawei and will be implementing the X86 Platform for Huawei’s IOT gateway which was designed for their Smart Bus Solution.

The news comes after Dubai Government’s announcement about making Dubai the smartest city in the world. In line with the vision set out by Government of Dubai, Intel and Huawei signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was centered on creating smarter buses to improvise the transportation system in Dubai.

The X86 platform designed by Intel will be implemented in Huawei’s IOT gateway which was specifically designed to create a Smart Bus Solution. Implementation of this platform will allow a multitude of services to be implemented which include:

• In-vehicle video surveillance
• A much more accurate passenger tracking
• An immediate emergency services communication
• Analysis of the vehicle’s inner workings in real-time
• Multimedia services to cater the entertainment of passengers

A prototype of the Smart Bus was showcased at Intel’s Ignition Lab in the premises of Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC) which is located in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis. The prototype aimed at addressing the evolving issue of public transportation. The Smart Bus will not just be restricted to Public Transportation instead it will also bring school buses, law enforcement, and emergency response vehicles in the loop.

The collaboration between the two technology giants namely Huawei and Intel promises the foundation of innovative solutions by building a productive IoT ecosystem in Dubai. The companies aim at reducing the costs and resource consumption in the current transportation systems while actively and effectively engaging with the people in the community. Public wellbeing is the utmost priority and performance enhancement will definitely be culminated by the implementation of advanced IoT infrastructure.

The Huawei Smart Bus Solution is part of Huawei’s creative and innovative Smart City Solution that aim at delivering expertly crafted end-to-end network planning and provision of cutting edge technologies targeted at city populations. The technologies include mobile broadband infrastructure and communication technology targeted towards data center innovations and industrial applications.

As of today, Huawei is the pioneer which has deployed an extensive range of mobile broadband solutions, including 4G (LTE) services, across the world for approximately 40 telecom operators, which span the globe from Asia to the wilderness of Africa.

Google Assistant – Transition from soulless robots to good pals

Virtual Assistants and machines are undoubtedly smart; however, they make pretty dull companions. Google knows this and has set out on a journey to make their own personal assistant. On the recent I/O conference, Google announced its own version of virtual assistant which and labeled it simply as Google Assistant. The assistant would be similar to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa which would be able to answer simple questions and follow simple commands but there is a slight twist. Google aims to make the user more personable and to do that Google has enlisted artists to solve the problem.

The head of Google Doodle Team, Ryan Germick has coupled with Emma Coats who is a freelance artist renowned for her role as a story writer for Pixar and as the author of the viral list of 22 rules of storytelling. The team showed up this weekend at Moogfest, a music and technology festival that took place in Durham, North Carolina to talk about the tenuous process of making artificial intelligence feel friendlier.

Google Assistant will be a virtual assistant that will be incorporated into Google products. Like Siri and Alexa, Google Assistant will also work in a conversational manner rather than a robotic approach. To make these conversations, much more enjoyable, Google is tapping into the creative minds of Germick and Coats.

In the event, the team behind Google Assistant discussed the traits and character influences they intend to incorporate into the assistant. Responding to a question about Google Assistant, Coats said that they intend to craft a well-rounded assistant that can also incorporate humorous actions into the conversation. According to her, Google Assistant will be developed on the base of a character that has a personality which can be related to.

Google is working in building companionship with AI and humans by making the AI seem much more vulnerable – as if it needs our assistance from time to time.

In order to make the Assistant, more life-like Google is working on building narratives that can be connected to the people. Further, they are also experimenting with elements of surprise which will make bot-human exchanges much more unique. Also, they intend to add a vulnerability trait to the AI character.

Since concrete details about the Assistant are not yet available – and there is a possibility that many of the features might get omitted. However, one thing is for certain, Google is bent on changing the robotic conversation to ones filled with much more sentimentality.

Reddit, now with embedment functionality

Reddit, a social media platform that allows users to handpick and promote stories and content, created and published by other users. The social media platform recently took a big step by allowing integration with other social media networks. For a long time, it was a woe of the Reddit users that they could not embed the posts and discussion boards on other websites. Thankfully, Reddit has finally changed that. In the past, embedding the posts was not a thing; instead, the users could post a link to the thread or hyperlink it in their texts. The mobile-savvy people could also take a screenshot and upload the thread on their account, however, this was painstakingly tough.

The decision of the company to allow embedment into third party sites is welcomed by media sites as well as bloggers. Now, they can directly implement a seamless integration to the Reddit discussion board on their respective website. The embedment includes posts that are straddled with text as well as posts that are media-rich such as GIFs and videos.

The decision will also be welcomed by web users since this will improvise the visual experience. Reddit users have also welcomed the decision since it grants their posts, wider interaction ability and also helps them engage with third party websites users.
Mark Luckie, who currently heads the Journalism and Media department at Reddit, said that the content available on Reddit is much more insightful and robust as compared to other social platforms. Currently, the embedment feature is restricted to a few websites; however, this is expected to rise in the coming months. The methodology behind the insertion is fairly simple; it works the same way as YouTube videos and Tweets on Twitter.

The embedment will include a direct link to the post on Reddit forums and will also include other points such as:
• Post Title
• Subreddit name
• Date of sharing
• Number of points
• Number of comments
The embed functionality can be accessed by clicking on the share option which is located below the comment or post and then clicking on embed. This will guide you to a code which you can integrate with either your blog or other social media platforms.

Needless to say, the feature will get Reddit extra exposure on the online web-space and potentially means more advertising revenue. In its statement, Reddit promised that it intends to release more publisher tools while working in cohesion with its media partners.

A new Dawn for the Flip Phone? Motorola teases the audience with their highly acclaimed RAZR design

The iconic Razr handset was released back in the year 2004. The handset earned its company a reputation for designing one of the chicest phones, while at the same time generating a plethora of profit by selling over 130 million units. Lenovo, the current owners of the Motorola brand released a new advertisement marketing their previous Razr phone and in the end promising the company would ‘flip back to the Razr days of yesteryear and get ready for the future.’

The phone is marked to appear on 9th June, 2016 at a Lenovo event. The Razr phone due to its voguish profile was marketed as an exclusive Fashion gadget. However, a year later is when things spun in favor of Motorola when the Razr phone received a major price cut. The device sold over 50 million units after getting the price cut.

Razr V3 Model

In Razr’s four year lifetime, the V3 model was the one that got the most success after selling over 130 million units across the world and becoming the best selling flip phone. Despite it being almost ten years since V3 first made its appearance, the Razr V3 model still holds the title of being the most sold flip phone.

The Razr brand got its proper successor in the form of Razr2 in the year 2007. The Razr2 was premium in the sense that it had an external touch screen.

In October of 2011, the Razr brand got resurrected in the form of the Razr line for a brand of Android smartphones; the Droid Razr which was designed for the Verizon Wireless and Motorola Razr for other networks. This Razr however, was not the flip phone of yesteryear and did not penetrate the market as much as its predecessors.

Many people considered flip phones a thing of the past; however, this is not true. Backed by statistical data, researchers have shown that the Japanese market for flip phones increased exponentially in 2014 after a steady decline in the past 7 years. Coincidentally this is the same year, when, smartphone shipments fell considerably.

Similarly, a few days ago, fashion mogul Anna Wintour was pictured using an AT&T GoPhone (Model Z222) which is a flip phone, dictating that flip phones are definitely not a thing of the past.

We are looking forward to Lenovo’s reiteration of the Razr brand. Let’s hope it revives on the same chic note that it ended on.

How to Make Chicken Fry Tips

Chicken Tips Fry

Ingredients:

Chicken breasts                                       300 grams
Potatoes (boiled)                                     4
Eggs (beaten)                                           2
Fresh mustard paste                               1 tsp
Black pepper powder                              ½ tsp
Lemon juice                                              1 tbsp
Corn flour                                                  2 tbsp
Parsley (chopped)                                    ¼ bunch
Ginger/garlic paste                                  1 tbsp
Refined flour                                             3 tbsp
Cheddar cheese (grated)                         50 grams
Breadcrumbs                                             1 cup
Salt                                                              to taste
Oil                                                                for frying
Lettuce, tomato                                        for decoration

Method Chicken Tips Fry:

1 Chop breasts, parsley, ginger/garlic, pepper, lemon juice and salt in a chopper; remove.
2 Add Cheese, mustard paste and corn flour.
3 Cut potatoes into slice; mix flour in eggs; place little chicken on one potato slice; place another slice of potato  on top.
4 Repeat process till all potatoes are consumed.
5 Coat each with egg batter,  then breadcrumbs.
6  Heat oil in a work and fry Chicken Tips; remove.
7 Decorate serving dish with lettuce and tomatoes and place Chicken Tips Fry on them; serve.

OnePlus warming up the audience for their brand new Flagship Killer; OnePlus 3.

The Company OnePlus is back in the game and this time it is creating the hype for its new breed of smartphone namely the OnePlus 3. The device is expected to unveil soon, with many rumors hinting towards an end of May release. Liu Zuohu, who is also known as Pete Lau, the CEO of OnePlus has started generating interest for their flagship device ahead of its release. He recently took to Twitter to quote that the OnePlus 3 looks and feels good while holding. Provided that OnePlus has always been a user-centric company and gives primary importance to the consumer’s opinion, this might be an indication that the new model would be phenomenally better than its predecessor. However, such opinions can wait till the actual hands-on experience of the device.

OnePlus 3, like every other major flagship release got its fair share of rumors, with some suggesting a May 18 release; however that is definitely not the case. The company has till yet not disclosed an official unveiling date. However, new rumors point that a May 28 release can be expected for the device. This rumor is further reinforced by the Tweet.

The design and shape of the phone has leaked several times over the past few days and recent renders reveal that the design is inspired from another OEM.

In the specifications department, the leaks suggest that the device will feature a 5.5 inch screen pumped up to a 1080p resolution. The magnificent phone will be powered by a Snapdragon 820 Chipset and is expected to be released in two variants; one of which will sport 4GB of RAM, while the other would boast 6GB of memory. Additional reports indicate the presence of a fingerprint sensor which will be housed on the phone’s front. In the camera department, leaks have suggested that a 16MP rear camera is expected from the device. Apart from this, the phone would support basic connectivity features like 4G LTE, NFC and VoLTE amongst other things.

As the launch comes closer, more rumors will continue to surface. Fingers crossed for the new ‘Flagship Killer’.

Google unveils the Robotic Art Camera; captures masterstrokes in gigapixel images

Trip to the Louvre? Forget that. Google’s ridiculously powerful Robotic Art Camera allows you to get closer to master art works than anything ever before.

Google’s Cultural Institute incorporates thousand of artifacts that you can cherish online, and approximately 200 of them are Gigapixel images of widely appreciated works of art.

Naturally, you can see more than millions of such artifacts in person around the world. However, the new Robotic Art Camera has renewed and completely automated the process of ingesting these masterworks and putting them online. This would enable people to view pieces of art without leaving the vicinity of their home. On Tuesday, via their official blog, Google announced their new camera with the online availability of 1000 new Gigapixel images.

The camera integrates sonar and laser to line up various portions of the work which it masterfully photographs bit by bit. Each image captures the natural colors and individual brushstrokes that went into crafting these masterpieces. Once captured, the camera automatically organizes the individual bits into one cohesive picture with perfect detail.

In the online Gigapixel images, you can either step back and appreciate the picture as a whole or zoom in till you are staring at each and every brushstroke. This is much more appreciable in impressionist works such as the masterpiece by Paul Signac titled as The Port of Rotterdam.

The robotic nature and the automotive process will enable museums around the world to capture and publish these incredibly detailed images without sending their artworks outside and without taking any assistance from Google itself.

Google Cultural Institute Engineer Ben St. John wrote in the blog post that they want to provide instruments to the museums to do this important work; hence they are sending a fleet of such camera from museum to museum around the world.

More important is the fact that Google has promised the camera for free to museum. Google did not mention the cost that went into building such an outstanding camera, but, they did confirm that the camera is not available for sale.

The Art Camera will be provided to partners of Google Cultural Institute who have at least 50 works uploaded on Google’s platform.

So appreciate the chefs-d’oeuvre online, all made available through Google.