The update we’re talking about is version 2.11.528. However, there is a catch in how this feature can be activated. Once a user gets this update, he’ll have to wait to receive a call via the App from a user who already has this feature activated on his phone. Then, he can call another user to activate WhatsApp Call on his phone and that is how the more and more users can avail this feature.
However, we have heard from an industry source that only a limited number of activations were released initially and the users who have this feature activated are no longer able to pass on the feature to another user. Though, it can’t be long before this feature is available to more and more users of WhatsApp.
Although, there are many apps that offer free peer-to-peer voice calling like Viber, Hike and Skype, WhatsApp already has a huge customer base of approx. 700 million active monthly users it can reach out to and make a mark for itself in this segment. With this feature, WhatsApp has the potential to completely change the face of the telecom industry especially in a country like India where it has a customer base of close to 70 million active monthly users. It will come as no surprise considering that WhatsApp has almost killed off traditional text messaging.
As of now, this feature is being rolled out to Android users only and there’s no news of it being available for other OS based phones.
This is not surprising though as it may been as an implementation of Sony Corporation’s medium and long term corporate plans to focus on areas of businesses that are profit making, have growth potential and at the same time reduce risk and volatility. Though Sony is known to make critically acclaimed handsets through its Xperia range of smartphones, it just isn’t able to cop up with the high end phones of Apple and Samsung at one end and a range of Chinese companies in the low end smartphone market at the other. This can be attributed to failure of Sony to price its high-spec device properly. It is not so high that it could pitch itself as a premium smartphone maker yet not so low that it couldn’t compete with a host of medium range smartphones, which had flooded the segment. Sony just couldn’t come up with the right marketing and sales pitch to cope with the ever-competitive market.
Sony has already taken a few steps into winding its smartphone division down. Previously Sony had a six-month cycle of launching its flagship devices, but now that has become an annual affair and the new (and possibly the last in Xperia series) Sony Xperia Z4 is not expected to be launched at the MWC 2015 either which is in a couple of weeks from now. Also, significant job cuts in the Smartphone division have been announced if rumours are to be believed.
Though it may stop to make smartphones, Sony will still remain a significant player in the smartphone supply chain with its strength in camera lenses and digital imaging. Due to Sony’s expertise in such divisions, it is expected that the company may shift its focus to developing these areas through more R & D and gain leverage in the market.
As for Xperia, it remains to be seen that what Sony will do with it - sell it off to some other manufacturer or kill it completely from the market. All we know is, Xperia may never be the same again.
VAIO Z PC is based on Windows 8.1 64-bit OS and comes in two variants – one with 5th generation Intel i5 processor and 8GB RAM and other with 5th generation Intel i7 processor and 16GB RAM. And if that’s not all, battery life in these ‘monster’ computers is expected to last around fifteen hours with a charging time of around three and a half hours. Both the versions have 13.3-inch display and a multi flip mechanism that can rotate the screen a 180 degrees enabling it to be used as a tablet as well. VAIO also claims that the device has a start up time as low as 0.3 seconds. These laptops weigh in at 1.34 kg making them easy to carry around.
If we look at the VAIO Z Canvas tablet, it has equally awesome features. It runs on the same Windows 8.1 64-bit OS and 5th generation Intel i7 processor with a display of 12.3-inches. The Tablet will come in a few variants; variation will be on the basis of RAM and storage capacity with maximum RAM at 16 GB & maximum storage capacity at 1 TB.
As of now, VAIO intends to limit its reach to Japan only and it has already started taking pre-orders for the VAIO Z PC, though the VAIO Z Tablet is not up for grabs till May. The base model of VAIO Z PC is available at around 189,800 Yen (approx. Rs. 1 Lac) while the Canvas tablet with 8 GB RAM and 256GB storage space is priced at 200,000 Yen (approx. Rs. 1.05 Lac).
Like it’s predecessor G watch R, the first smartwatch with a Plastic OLED (P- OLED) display launched in October last year, Urbane will sport a circular display too. LG claims that while G watch R was designed keeping in mind an ‘active user’, Urbane is more formal with a thinner profile and will appeal to men and women alike. The stylish watch has a stainless steel body, available in polished silver or gold, complimented by an aesthetic natural leather stitched strap. The strap can be replaced with any 22mm wide band to suit the occasion or the wearer’s mood.
Mr. Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company had this to say about LG’s latest venture into the smartwatch division -“The LG Watch Urbane’s classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices. LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets.”
Urbane will run on Android Wear and will be compatible with smartphones running on Anroid 4.3 and above. If we look at the specs of the watch itself there is no difference from its predecessor apart from the size.
Key specifications of the watch:
• Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400
• Operating System: Android Wear™
• Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320, 245ppi)
• Size: 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm
• Memory: 4GB eMMC/ 512MB LPDDR2
• Battery: 410mAh
• Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro / Accelerometer / Compass) / Barometer / PPG (Heart Rate Sensor)
• Colors: Gold / Silver
• Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67)
Though this is just the global unveil, only time will tell when and at what price Urbane will be available in India considering that the G watch R is still not available in the country. Although, we can speculate the price of Urbane to be not much higher than the $300 (approx. Rs. 18,600) considering that they’ve only changed the look and size.
As of now, the 32GB variant comes in only Indigo black colour. It is interesting to note that the specific Tablet is available only on Amazon and the Indian website of Google Play still lists the device as coming soon.
Nexus 9 runs on Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop) and is powered by a Dual Core 2.3Ghz Denver processor. It consists of a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 chipset and Kepler DX1 GPU for better performance. It has 2 GB of RAM, an 8MP rear and a 1.6 MP front camera. Nexus 9 is one of the first tablets running on Android Lolipop and since Google is behind the Nexus 9, be rest assured that it will be receiving updates before any other tablet in the market.
The 16 GB variant has received favorable reviews from the market and there’s no doubt that people will be eagerly waiting to get their hands on the 32 GB version too. Although it remains to be seen, how the LTE compatible feature will be received in India considering that only two mobile operators, Airtel and Aircel, have started providing 4G services in limited circles highlighting that 4G connectivity is still in a very nascent stage in the country.
Several reports have emerged online stating that Apple is developing its own electric self-driven car. Industry sources report that Apple is currently working on gathering information on the parts and production methods along side the development of electric and automation technology to use in the car. This goes to show the inclination of the company towards use of green energy, which also very recently signed a 25 year contract worth $850 million (approx. Rs. 5,200 Cr) to buy solar power from a plant in California that will be enough to run its California facility.
Apple is putting together a 1,000 man team for this ambitious project code named ‘TITAN’ lead by product design VP and a former Ford veteran Steve Zadesky. The company is holding discussions with high-end car contract manufacturers including the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. Obviously, apart from the car itself, the company is also looking to develop the software to help run a self driven car and other accessories including its CarPlay service.
We all know that Google is working on the driver less car project for quite some time and several carmakers including BMW, AUDI, and Tesla have already developed models on Self driving car, so it remains to be seen how Apple will catch up or even overtake them.
However, seeing this as more of a research project, there is a possibility that Apple Car may never see the green light, considering the manufacturing as well the safety and regulatory certifications involved. Still, this is Apple we are talking about and indeed anything is possible.
This particular edition is called the ‘24K Gold Iphone 6 Diamond Ecstasy’. It comes with a body, which is made up of 24-carat gold; the Apple logo at the back made up of diamonds and to finish it up precious jewels on the sides. And if that’s not enough, they provide the phone in a luxury Cherry Oak Finish box. Instead of gold, one can choose Rose gold or Platinum for the body also.
The founder of Goldgenie, Laban Roomes, had this to say about his company’s milestone product – “This is probably the most exclusive phone at this time, date in the world, I would say it as worth as much as a small island”; Yup, there’s no doubting this one.
Now, you may be wondering if anyone ever buys this stuff but let us clear your doubts. Recently, Goldgenie sold a gold Iphone 6 covered in 6,127 diamonds to an anonymous client for an exceedingly high price of £ 1.7 mn (approx Rs 16 Cr). And if that doesn’t clear the air; Goldgenie has this to show as its client base: the Beckhams, Usain Bolt, Denzel Washington, Kate Moss, Elton John as well as corporates like Bentley, Aston Martin and Blackberry.
The One M9 will come with a 5” screen with 1080P display and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to support it. A leaked report suggests that the device will sport a similar look like it’s predecessor with an all-metal premium body. The device will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Octa-core SoC consisting of a 2GHz quad-core Cortex A57 along with a 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex A53 and run on the latest Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, supported by 3 GB of RAM and Adreno 430 GPU for Graphics.
The phone will feature a 20.7MP main camera and a 4MP front camera. It remains to be seen if the either of the cameras will feature the UltraPixel sensor as seen in the M8. HTC will offer M9 in 32 GB and 64 GB; both backed by a microSD card slot for extra space. The battery is expected to be a Li – Po 2840 mAh, which is a slight upgrade from the M8.
All in all, the phone sounds quite awesome and if the M8 has showed us what HTC can do, expect them to up the ante with the M9. However, nothing can be said for sure as of now and only time will tell how the M9 fares in the market.
As expected from an upgrade, the S6 will feature a better processor, better battery life, better display and of course better camera plus some distinctive features, which will make it stand out. As per a leaked report, you may find the following in the S6:
64 bit Octa – core processor
5” Quad HD Super AMOLED display
20 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera
Gorilla glass 4
Built-in wireless charging capability (Don’t know how that one will affect the metal body of the phone). Of course they’d have to back it up with a good battery and we are expecting a significant upgrade from the Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery in the S5.
On the software part it is rumored that Samsung will slim down its TouchWiz OS to resemble stock android. Apparently, you may also find some pre-installed Microsoft apps, which may be as a part of the deal the two companies made in relation to a patent royalty case they were embroiled in recently. Also expected to feature is a NFC payment system called Samsung Pay (a direct take on Apple Pay if I may presume).
Of course nothing is certain as of now and we will have to wait till March to see what exactly Samsung has to offer and a little bit longer to have our hands on it.