Following up to their i35 and i45 low cost smartphones, Dialog has recently released their latest offerings the K35 and the K45. The Dialog K35 which is priced at Rs. 9990 sports a 3.5 inch display, a 1GHz processor and runs ICS. With its specs the K35 can be placed as one of the best valued low cost smartphones.
The K45 with its 4.5 inch display is priced much higher at 24,990. The design looks similar to the Galaxy S2, and boasts a 1.2 GHz Dual core processor and 8MP camera. At this price though, users may be tempted to go for a Samsung or Sony branded phone with a bit lesser specs.
Both phones seem like a good deal considering the price and specs. However we need to get a first hand experience with the phones to give a final verdict. What are your views on the phones?
Smart watches have been lingering around for some time without having a big take up. However seems like this scenario is about to change with some big industry players making their move on this market. Samsung introduced their offering the Samsung Galaxy Gear early this month and is set to be released in the coming week.
So lets see what the Galaxy Gear has to offer.
Processor and Display
With 800MHz processor and 512MB RAM, the Galaxy gear has processing power equal to a low end smart phone. The Screen is a 1.6 inch super AMOLED display with 320×320 resolutions.
The 1.9 megapixel camera is placed on the strap of the watch, with auto or macro focus and ability to shoot 10 seconds of video (upto 720p quality)
The interface actually looks nice with the bright colours and large icons. Navigation from the home screen to apps is done through horizontal swiping. Once you reach the end you come back to the home screen.
Battery life and Charging
As per Samsung, the battery would last you for a day. As we are not used to charging watches, frequently charging the Galaxy Gear would be an additional task and quite cumbersome. Also unfortunately you need a special dock to charge it, and the standard micro USB charger would do you no good.
What can you do with it?
Smart watches will mainly act as an aid to the smart phone, and would have little functionality on its own. The Samsung Galaxy Gear follows the same trend. Here are some of the tasks you can do with it. More would be possible according to the availability of compatible apps
– Answer and make Calls
– Check notifications on your phone
– Record Voice Memos
– Take Images and videos
– Auto lock when your phone reaches a certain distance away from the phone
– Find your device
– Control your music
– Fitness tracking
Currently only with Galaxy Note 3
Will it sell?
We believe that for people to widely use a smart watch a) It should be reasonably priced b) It should have battery life for atleast a couple of days c) It should provide functionality that makes the experience of your smart phone better.
At a price point of $300 dollars this smart watch would cost you more than a Nexus 4 phone, and also with its poor battery life the Samsung Galaxy Gear definitely falls short on the first 2 of the above factors and since it only works(at the moment) with the Galaxy Note 3, it unlikely to be a hit. And hopefully the next version will be much more improved.
With only a day to the unveiling of the next iphone, lets take a look at the past six models. From the very first iPhone which revolutionized the industry to the latest iPhone 5 which by many peoples view was a let down. From the below infographic you can get an idea on the screen size, processor, connectivity, camera and storage. Our favourite feature addition was the restina display with 326ppi from the iPhone 4 onwards. So what features do you want boosted in the next model? (infographic credits www.ria.ru)
Last year Samsung Galaxy S3, the leader in Android based mobile phones sold a whopping 30 million plus devices in 2012 alone. This year, the Galaxy S4 is off to a good start with 10 million units sold in less than a month after their launch. With the Galaxy S4, Samsung has introduced a whole bag of new features, while some of them may not be all that practical they definitely are some cool stuff to show off to your buddies.
The Galaxy S4 comes in two main flavours:
– Octa-core variant (I9500)
– Quad-core variant (I9505)
Before you get ahead of yourself, YES the Octa-core variant comes with two Quad-core processors, but NO they do not work simultaneously. Instead, the Exynos Octa-core processer packs two quad-core set ups being 1.8GHz and 1.2GHz respectively. Whereas the Quad-core variant is armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz processor. Apart from the processor, not much is different except the fact that the Quad-core variant comes with 4G LTE and the Octa-core sadly with 3G only.
Here’s a look at the key specs for the Galaxy S4 (both I1900 and I1905)
The Samsung Galaxy S4 may be one of the most anticipated phones of the year, but the design fails to surprise. Owners of the Galaxy S3 will see little difference on the look and feel of the Galaxy S4. Don’t be disheartened, the S4 is a looker but subsides when compared to Sony’s flagship Xperia Z and HTC’s One X, where the Galaxy S4 has a hyper glazed plastic finish. However, on the upper hand, the back panel of the phone can be accessed allowing users to change the battery if required – which is a No-No for both Sony’s and HTC’s flagships’.
The Galaxy S4 does bring slight changes on the outer bezel of the phone making it look sleeker adding to the only 7.9mm thickness of the device. The premium feel is lacking on this handheld even though Samsung have an aluminum-like finish covering the side of the phone. Samsung however have done a fantastic job in maintaining the height and width of the S3 albeit the larger screen. The build of the phone is quite good as well and feels sturdy and solid in the hand.
Once the screen turns on, all subdues of the design are soon forgotten. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an eye-popping display supported with the Super AMOLED screen and offers image quality that is par to none other. Both the high contrast and super colour saturation combine to provide the user with superb viewing pleasure. Some users aren’t great fans of the bright and toned look, and Samsung offers such users the ability to change the bright saturated look to a more natural display of colours. Additionally, S4 users will have nothing to complain about when viewing the phone in broad daylight and the viewing angles are great as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with the latest release of the Google mobile platform i.e. Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and is loaded with Samsung’s Touch Wiz 4.0. While some users may prefer the vanilla user interface by Android, the Touch Wiz update does bring some advantages. For instance, the lock screen that supports minimal functions on Jelly Bean; Samsung has gone all the way to introduce multiple panes with support for many widgets such as Email, Google Now, Messaging, Music Player, etc. The Lock Screen on the S4 can be thoroughly customized to one’s taste with background images, personal messages or clock with a desired colour and font.
The notification bar contains five customizable toggles that allow users to quickly enable or disable the feature, and users may slide across to view other toggles as well. Or user may simply tap the newly added button that lists out the total of 21 toggles.
One interesting feature is when you drag out apps and widgets to the home screen, you would see below a small layout of all your home screens with existing widgets and apps and gives you an indication of how much space is available on the home screen. Once added, the widgets can be resized and moved across the home screens with ease.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 sports a picture-crisp 13.1 megapixel camera and the picture quality is fantastic, but is it fantastic all round? And the answer is yes, it is! Pictures taken from the S4 during the day are quite amazing. They are crisp and full of colour, and with amazing detailing as well spanned across 4128 x 3096 pixels.
The S4 brings its users a vast set of options and modes. Here are the modes the S4 has in store for you:
– Auto Mode
While the above are seen on most smart phones, here are some of the more creative modes:
Sound & Shot
Sound & Shot does exactly what the name suggests; you can record sounds while taking the photo. Even though, a practical use for this would be hard to find it is a unique feature none the less.
The Drama mode is loads of fun! If you have a planned action sequence you would like to take, you can use this mode to take a series of still images combining the shots of the animated subject against a steady background.
Simply lets you take a series of images which will be combined to give you a nice little animation.
Rich Tone (HDR)
In this mode when capturing a photo, a series of images are taken at various exposure levels and merged to give a rich saturated result.
This intuitive mode works by capturing a series of images and removing moving objects from the final image.
The S4 also allows you to set further options such as ISO, White Balance, Exposure Value, Face Detection, Anti Shake, etc.
Video recording with the S4 isn’t the phones strongest suite, but there’s nothing to complain either. The S4 supports 1080p@30fps.
The continuous price fall of Android Smart phones has contributed significantly to the exponential growth of smart phone adoption. Two ssmartphones which one can find priced under Rs. 10,000 are the Dialog i35 and the Micromax Smarty A54. [Although the Micromax Bolt A27 phone is available at a lower price (Rs. 7990) it does not support 3G which kind of loses the ability to take full use of the apps.]. Both these phones have specs worth for their price. Mobile phone users who are migrating from a simple feature phone to a low cost smartphone would definitely consider them.
So, which one is better? Below is a quick comparison on the specs of these phones and the price.
The Dialog i35 leads in Price, RAM, Internal Memory, and Front Camera, while the Micromax does better on the Processor and rear camera. There is nothing much to separate, but we can say the Dialog i35 is slightly ahead considering that RAM and internal memory are key to the user experience.
Hopefully in the future we would be able to see more Smart phones available (specially the samsung and sony branded) in this below Rs. 10,000 category.
Even a casual visitor to Hong Kong will not fail to notice the ubiquitous purple, yellow and green signs marked “Octopus” — displayed on everything from shop counters to vending machines to trains and buses. You will see locals of all ages waving similarly colored cards over readers in almost all cases where you would usually expect them to use coins. “Octopus” is a contactless smartcard — simply waving it over a reader will deduct a specified amount from your personal account, which can be reloaded with money electronically.
The scheme in itself is nothing new or fascinating. What is fascinating is that the system has been in operation since 1997 and 95% of the region’s population use it with ease for a variety of purposes, generating about HK$130 million worth of transactions every day.
It is also fascinating that the system has never been successfully hacked. While many North American and European cities use similar smartcards for their public transport systems, the Octopus card is used almost everywhere. Wherever a credit card reader is present, an Octopus card reader will most likely be present as well. You could even board buses that look as dilapidated as the private buses you get in Colombo, and find a card reader near the door. Hong Kong is a case study in how such a system may be practically implemented.
Colombo is a city that clearly has bigger needs that a contactless payment card, but let us look at the hypothetical pros and cons nonetheless.
Coins have become an expensive problem for the Sri Lankan mint — they have become more expensive to produce than the value they represent. While the government has responded by reducing the mass and composition of the coins, much greater savings can be achieved by switching to a contactless smartcard for making small payments (such as bus fares).
There are significant differences between using a contactless smartcard and a credit card. The smartcard never leaves your hand (you wave it over the reader when the cashier tells you or the machine prompts you) and it cannot be used to perform CNP (“card not present”) transactions by using a number (as in online transactions). The card has to be physically present. Readers usually display your card’s balance immediately after the deduction is made — no monthly bills or interest are involved. However, like credit cards, they can be cancelled if stolen — these cards are not transferable.
Yet another thing to consider is consumers’ tendency to overspend with credit cards — unless an SMS alert system is setup, there is no running balance indication. Since an Octopus-like system displays an immediate balance, consumers may be less likely to overspend. They will definitely not spend beyond their means because the system is based on debit.
In terms of difficulties, the biggest problem would be getting vendors to adopt the system and the initial capital cost of deploying readers at vendor premises.
Bus conductors are unlikely to look at the system kindly, given how it might put them out of a job. Getting the general population — especially in and around Colombo — to adopt the system is less likely to be a problem.
A couple of days ago in New York, Samsung unveiled its new flagship Android device, the much speculated Galaxy S4 (i9500). One year ago we saw the predecessor of this S4 the ever so successful Galaxy S3. When moving on from the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy S3 had a proprietary elegant design with poly carbonate exterior. Samsung made the change in design due to Apple’s law-suits and other comparative reasons. Due to the success in the S3 design, Samsung kept the same look in the S4 as well with some minor changes.
So lets kick off with the design and size in detail. The predecessor Galaxy S3 had a 4.8inch 720P display, with phone dimensions of 136mm, 70.6mm and 8.6mm. The new Galaxy S4 has a 5inch 1080P display, with phone dimensions of 136mm, 69.8mm and 7.9mm. So basically we have a phone similar to the S3 design, with less thickness and 0.2 inch more screen area thanks to edge to edge screen technology. The Galaxy series generally have super displays and Galaxy S4 is no exception. It has a 1080P (441ppi) display which is powered by Samsung’s Super AMOLED HD display technology and it’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Power wise, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the world’s most powerful smartphone currently available. The reason for that are its power packed internal components. This new phone is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5410 octa core processor. Yes! it has 8 cores in total, inside the Exynos 5410 exists 4+4 cores, 4 ARM Cortex A7 CPUs at 1.2GHz and 4 ARM Cortex A15 CPUs at 1.6GHz, when you are doing simple tasks like web browsing, reading, etc etc Exynos 5410 will use the low power A7 cores but if you start a heavy duty task like gaming the Exynos’s A15 cores will kick in. This technology which is called big.LITTLE makes the SoC more powerful and at the same time makes the phone more power efficient.
You might remember the original Galaxy S’s GPU the PowerVR 540 single GPU. It was the most powerful GPU at that time period but Samsung went ahead with the Mali-400 graphic solutions for their S2 and S3, The S2 had a Mali-400 dual GPU and S3 had a Mali-400 quad GPU but those are not powerful enough for the GPU hungry games. So Samsung decided to go back to PowerVR solutions again with the S4, having a PowerVR 544 triple GPU which is running at 533MHz. According to anandtech this GPU roughly can produce 51GFLOPS of GPU power, which means you can except iPhone 5 like GPU power.
Samsung Galaxy S3 had an 8mega pixel camera and it took some amazing pictures. This new Galaxy S4 has a 13mega pixel camera and it has more exciting features than the S3. The new camera interface has more scene selections like Eraser, Cinema photo, Drama shot and Sound and Shot. In Eraser mode you can erase the unwanted background area and in the Cinema photo mode you got some exciting freeze features while you record a video. Now you can enable both cameras at the same time to take a picture, so you will not be left out in the group picture. By the way both cameras support 1080P video recording.
As you know, Samsung heavily customizes the Android OS through their TouchWiz UI. This new Galaxy S4 runs the Android 4.2.2 with the latest features built-in. This new OS includes Air View, Samsung Smart Pause, Samsung WatchON, Optical Reader, Group Play, ChatON dual video call, S Translator, S Health and more. Air view lets you control the mobile phone with gestures above the screen, while smart pause will hold the video your playing if you look away from the screen. Lot of nifty features but it is unlikely that they will be used heavily in day to day activities.
Looking at the Galaxy S4, it is powerful piece of hardware with some tweaks in the software of its predecessor. However, since there is no major change in design or any new wow features, one does feel a bit disappointed with the Galaxy S4. Just when they were edging past the iPhone, they seem to have lost steam…sigh.
Galaxy S4 Full Specifications
Processor: Exynos 5410/ PowerVR 544MP3 GPU.
Display: 5inch 1080P (1920×1080) Super AMOLED.
Internal memory: 16GB/32GB/64GB plus SD card slot up to 64GB.
If you can remember Tom Cruise using a 3D holographic system in the film Minority Report back in 2002, you might have thought how cool it would be to have it real life. Well it has arrived!
A 24 year old entrepreneur from Russia has successfully invented such a device which can show interactive display right in the air. Not yet to the clarity of the one in Minority Report, but through this device you can control a screen in midair with almost real time responsiveness. Check it out in the below video
Displair treats the air and disengage the smallest moisture particles, and then add them up again to the refined air. Because of this, the air seems to be kind of pale or bleached. This state is called “fog”, but it is absolutely dry. Also by having the particles very small, they are stable even when they collided with physical objects, thus not leaving any wet traces. When an image is projected on to this air layer, it creates a screen in mid air.
The specific software and the set of sensors (Infrared cameras) make it possible to manipulate the image. Users feel it entirely. All the fingers can be used to control the image. Several people can use it at the same time, simultaneously as well.
There is a 0.2 second lag between the action and the actual motion. Displair can detect smaller finger movements up to 1500 contact points with the accuracy of 1cm. This depends on the screen size which varies between 40 and 140 inches.
The inventor of Displair is Russian Maksim Kamanin, who was a network engineer who ultimately pursued his dreams to create a futuristic device.
“I was working as a network engineer, when we were fastening a motherboard, it seemed so dull, that my friend and I were dreaming about the future and how everything would look like then and this talk somehow caught me and I thought ‘Why not start doing it right now?’
I started to search for the information and data, learning more and more. At last I came up to the effects of mirages, clouds. Once I was in a church, I noticed that the space above the candle was diffluent and at that particular moment I realized that a special physical effect will definitely take place and we’ll be able to create and image right in the air”
Maxim with the help of other people interested in the project were able to develop a working model in their dormitory. He explained how things went on from there when he got a call from Moscow:
“You’ve got and interesting project. If you have a functional prototype, you’ll have a chance to meet the President of the Russian Federation”
Maxim with his Displair project went on to win many of the innovation competitions and prizes in Russia, including the top on “Zvorykin Prize 2011”.
Adrien Henni became one of the first of the foreign partners. He gave Displair the understanding of how to attract investments, how the company should develop at this point. He introduced Maxim to most of the great companies we cooperate with at the moment.
Once they come through in Russia, Displair thinks they have a good chance to expand abroad. They have already got $1M investments from Silicon Valley giants. Pretty soon they will be entering the second round of investments. Once they expand the pilot production, they are planning to increase the company headcount and entering foreign markets. Maxim said “At some point we will become self-supporting”. That’s our goal as a company.
Displair has already taken the path of the patent war. A company called Fogscreen who develop a similar type of screen insist that that Displair should stop doing the development of this project, otherwise they will fight Displair.
The Future of Displair
Work needs to be done on the clarity of the image and also the required fine tuning for it to appeal to consumer masses. However Displair is an amazing innovation and seems that it is well on course to be the next big thing in displays.
In early January Fujifilm announced its groundbreaking SL1000 SLR type Bridge Camera. It has everything to look for in a camera and more. Might just be your dream camera.
It is a lightweight super zoom which zooms from 24mm to 1200 mm in 35mm jargon. It is 50x and is the longest on offer to the best of our knowledge. It is suitable for group photography like weddings, portraits as well as nature photography where a long lens is needed.
Priced at an affordable $399 one should be able to purchase one in Sri Lanka for under Rs 60,000. It comes in metallic red as well as the more sober black. It has a 920.000 dot electronic view finder which is bright. Its 3 inches in size and has the ability to tilt.
For a dedicated RAW photographers, it offers RAW, JPEG as well as RAW+JPEG. The CMOS sensor is a respectable 16 megapixels. It also offers superb HD videos up to 1080/60fps
The camera has a built in pop of flash as well as a hot shoe for an external flash. It boasts battery life of 350 shots per charge. The ISO range is super : 64 to 12,800 with auto.
Out of the 7 billion people who live on earth, 1.5 billion people are still using alternative biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) to generate light as they have no reliable access to electricity.
Yearly, 2.5 million in India alone suffer from severe burns due to overturned kerosene lamps. In Sri Lanka also there are many burn cases due to kerosene lamps. According to World Bank reports 780 million women and children are vulnerable to inhaling of kerosene smoke which is equivalent to 2 packets of cigarettes a day. Although not seen obvious, kerosene used only for lighting can consume a 10% to 20% of the entire income of a family. With ever rising fuel prices, the overhead expenditure on kerosene has created a burden which keeps them in a permanent state of subsistence living.
What is the Gravity Light?
There are many solutions found for low power off grid energy generation. Solar powered electricity in rural areas is a well-known example. Gravity light is a device that converts potential energy to light by the use of a dynamo. Someone needs to lift the weight (bag full of earth or sand weighing about 10kg) to the top position where from that point onwards the weight will slowly move down with the help of gears that cause the dynamo to rotate longer generating electricity which is transformed to disseminating light through a LED.
It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight, but it can power up to 30 minutes. There is no recurring costs; No batteries; its fully clean and green energy.
It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight, but it can power up to 30 minutes. There is no recurring costs; No batteries; its fully clean and green energy. Gravity light illumination strength is better than typical kerosene lamps. Light output is adjustable; depending on what is filled in the weight bag and the brightness of the light, it may light between 18 minutes to 30 minutes. The Dynamo and the LED lights are designed to be very efficient, so that it can last up to long time. Although you can listen to a small radio or charge batteries, you won’t be able to charge your high end phone or do fancy things with that. It’s simple and basic.
LED bulbs do not attract insects like mosquitos which is another plus point. The goal is to build a commercial version for $5. In a typical target household, the initial cost will be covered within first 2-3 months and then onwards it’s an advantage for them. Saving the money burnt as kerosene for lighting.
Who is behind Gravity Light Project? Therefore is a UK based design company which started the project Deciwatt which is behind the Gravity light. Therefore has vast experience over 20 years in development handheld, communication and computing households for leading companies like Toshiba, NEC, Psion and Tom Tom. London-based designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves of Therefore spent four years developing the light.
Do I need one at home?
I don’t want it. I have mains electricity! You might say. But if you are creative, here are few ideas where you want to place the gravity light at your home. Hang the gravity light in your shed, or you can use it as a porch light. You can attach a hanging basket as the weight.
Want to help?
Please visit this link to help funding of the manufacturing and distribution of 1000 gravity lights as a follow up research in India and Africa.
You may have seen full HD 1080p TVs and you may have seen big monitors with high resolution, but this isn’t about a TV or a LCD monitor this is about a 1080p smartphone which has only 5inch screen and it has a whopping 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Few weeks back the popular Android smartphone vendor HTC launched the phone Droid DNA, it’s only 141mm x 70mm x 9.7mm in dimension but somehow HTC managed to squeeze a 5inch screen inside that smartphone thanks to edge to edge screen technology. As I mentioned earlier this 5inch has 1920 x 1080 pixels, normally other 720p display smartphones have only 300 to 320 pixels per inch but this screen has a whopping 440 pixels per inch. Engadget has mentioned in their review “Images appear to just float above the screen. The font rendering is crisper than anything we’ve ever seen, and 1080p movies look simply stunning” Yes! This is 100% true because this 5inch screen is not any ordinary display, it’s a Super LCD 3. Even exceeding the Samsung AMOLED displays, these Super LCDs produce better saturation and sharper images.
Even exceeding the Samsung AMOLED displays, these Super LCDs produce better saturation and sharper images.
This HTC Droid DNA smartphone is a powerhouse, because it’s powered by Qualcomm’s custom made ARM quad core processor called S4 Pro APQ8064 (28nm technology) and it has 2GB of RAM. This quad core beast runs at 1.5GHz and it has an Adreno 320 GPU (can push up to 225 million triangles per second) built-in. this is the best performing processor currently out there and it scored 7698 in Quadrant benchmark, 13826 points in AnTuTu.
Droid DNA comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Sense 4+ out of the box. As we know Jelly Bean OS is the most stable and the most powerful Android OS currently out there, its new features like “Project Butter”, triple buffered graphics, extended Vsync timing and animation frame rates to 60 FPS made the OS buttery smooth, and on top of that HTC added their own skin called Sense 4+ which includes more apps and features. Looking at the camera, the Droid DNA featured an f/2.0 28mm wide-angle 8 mega pixel camera which can shoot up to 4 pictures per second. Both front and rear cameras can record 1080p video at 30fps and from the rear camera you are able to shoot images while you are video recording. This device packs a 2020mAh battery, Gsmarena claims it handle 6:40 hours web browsing, 7:30 hours of video playback and it has 11 hours of 3G talk time. However personally I think the battery capacity is insufficient for this powerhouse. Check out the full specs of the HTC Droid DNA below.
Processor: Qualcomm S4 Pro APQ8064 at 1.5GHz (Adreno 320 GPU)
Display: 5inch Super LCD 3 with 1920 x 1080 pixels (Gorilla glass 2)
Storage: 16GB not expandable
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g/n, NFC
OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1 with HTC Sense 4+
Camera: 8Mega pixel with 1080p recording