Lenovo’s Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has a futuristic touch panel keyboard

Lenovo is ditching the hard keyboard for a cool new touch one on its new Yoga A12 2-in-1, which can be an Android tablet or a laptop.yogabook a12

But for those seeking the latest and greatest hardware, there’s a disappointment. It runs on an old chip from Intel, which has rolled back its development of Android, raising questions on the frequency of OS updates.

The highlight of Yoga A12 is the versatile touch panel that can be a smartphone-like virtual keyboard. It’s a feature adapted from the Yoga Book, which was introduced last year.

The Yoga A12 has a 12.2-inch touchscreen, and a back-lit input touch panel replaces the hard keyboard. Lenovo said the virtual keyboard provides a user experience similar to on-screen ones on smartphones and tablets.

Lenovo is betting that those comfortable with mobile typing will adapt quickly to this touch keyboard. The Android OS also provides a familiar mobile interface.

The Yoga A12 has Android 6.0.1, and will ship in many countries this month starting at US$299.99.

But there are some disappointments. The screen has a resolution of 1200 x 800 pixels, and its components are aging.

It has Intel’s Atom X5 tablet processor, code-named Cherry Trail, which the chip maker is now phasing out.

Intel is replacing Atom X5 chips with newer Celeron and Pentium chips code-named Apollo Lake, which are mainly going into Windows tablets and 2-in-1s. Intel in May last year discontinued Atom smartphone chips.

Lenovo had an explanation on why it used Atom X5 in Yoga A12.

“When Intel made its announcements about Atom, the Yoga A12 was already well in development. Intel has nevertheless committed to keeping the Atom X5 in the market to support the Yoga A12 and other products,” a spokesperson said in an email.

Lenovo said there’s a clear upgrade path from Atom to Apollo Lake processors. That’s an indication that Lenovo may use Apollo Lake chips in the successor to Yoga A12.

Most Android devices today are based on ARM chips. Only a handful of Android tablets have Cherry Trail chips, including Lenovo’s Yoga Book and Panasonic’s ToughPad FZ-A2.

PC makers are also quickly cutting Atom chips from tablets. Dell isn’t selling Android tablets with Atom chips, and Microsoft has discontinued Surface 3, which had a Cherry Trail chip.

Lenovo said it plans to upgrade Android 6.0.1 to Android 7.0 in the next couple of months. Yet, there are questions on the frequency of OS upgrades.

Intel — which was responsible for developing Android updates — has scaled back development of the OS for mobile devices, and is focusing more on Windows and Chromebooks.

Lenovo may have to take on the development of a custom Android 7.0 for Yoga A12, which could be a challenging task. It could get some help from Intel and the open-source community. Current Atom-based Android mobile devices are mostly stuck at Android 5 or 6, and won’t get Android 7.0.

With 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, the Yoga A12 has features similar to that of a Chromebook — except it is for Android users. But Chromebooks are now getting the ability to run Android applications. In the future, Lenovo plans to bring its virtual keyboard to Chromebooks as well.

Android November Security Update Doesn’t Contain Fix for ‘Dirty COW’ Linux Flaw

Android November Security Update Doesn't Contain Fix for 'Dirty COW' Linux Flaw
November security update fixes 15 critical vulnerabilities
Flaw was highlighted last month by Phil Oester
Doesn’t leave any traces of exploitation behind
Last month, Linux security researcher Phil Oester discovered that a nine-year-old Linux kernel flaw (CVE-2016-5195) dubbed ‘Dirty COW’ is seeing active exploits in the wild. Google was expected to patch this flaw – after all, Android uses the Linux kernel – with its latest security update but as it turns out, the search giant has left out this dated flaw with its security update for November.

The November Android security update fixes 15 critical vulnerabilities associated with the platform, but surprisingly, this vulnerability discovered by Oester has still not found a fix. The extent of the danger posed by this vulnerability can be understood from the fact that Oester claims that on exploitation, it can give root access of a device to the attacker within five seconds.

“The exploit in the wild is trivial to execute, never fails and has probably been around for years – the version I obtained was compiled with gcc 4.8,” Oester said last month. The bug was initially patched 11 years ago but the fix was later undone in another code commit.

Kaspersky Lab’s Threatpost reports that while the main Android security update for the month of November did not contain a fix for the Dirty COW flaw, Google released a supplemental fix for Pixel and Nexus devices. It adds that Samsung also released a fix for its mobile devices. Google will introduce the Android-wide patch for Dirty COW in the December Android security update, the company told Threatpost.

As per the dedicated page for this flaw, exploitation of this bug doesn’t leave any traces behind. This nature of the flaw makes it even more dangerous as the users will not be made aware even when their security has been compromised.

Further details about the latest Android security update can be found over here.

China Overtakes US to Become Top Spender in Apple’s App Store

China Overtakes US to Become Top Spender in Apple's App Store: App Annie

  • The Chinese mostly spend on games, report says
  • Pokemon Go was the most downloaded gaming app worldwide
  • Apple recently opened two R&D centres in China

With the largest population in the world, there’s almost an air of inevitability about China coming to hold some records. Outpacing the United States, China has become the world’s largest market for Apple’s App Store in terms of revenue.

A new report released by App Annie says that China contributed an impressive $1.7 billion (roughly Rs. 11,376 crores) in revenue to the App Store in Q3 2016, which is 15 percent more than the USA. The report adds that the US had been the top market in terms of App Store revenue since 2010. The report also adds that the Chinese are spending over 5 times more than what they were spending just two years ago. China will catapult the largest App Store absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020, says the report.

“While revenue from Games accounts for the majority of revenue generated in China, other prominent categories like Entertainment and Social Networking are making strides and have more than tripled in the past year,” the report explains. “Video streaming apps in China have had a major impact on the Entertainment category as a whole, and include further integrations into traditional cable spaces with investments in smart TV and original content.”

App subscriptions have incrementally raised the revenue for China, making its gross App Store revenues higher than the US and Japan as well. The US currently stands second on the revenue chart with $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 10,038 crores) while the third position is taken by Japan with $1.2 billion (roughly Rs. 8,030 crores). Last year’s third quarter had US at the top with $1 billion and Japan tailing behind with $800 million, while China was third.

Youku, QQ, Inke, and other mobile streaming apps have garnered higher revenues for the Chinese iOS app market, while Netflix soared high in the US and Japan. It’s no surprise that Pokemon Go shattered all records for downloads back when it launched. China too has shown its craze for the game with about $600 million revenue clocked in the mainland alone.

Recently, Apple opened two research & development centres in two major cities of China to bolster ties with the country. China’s digital market is important for Apple and it has been tirelessly making efforts to grab increased share of the market.

 

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt Price Will Be Around Rs. 18,000 – Flipkart’s Big Reveal at 8pm

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt Price Will Be Around Rs. 18,000 - Flipkart's Big Reveal at 8pm
Samsung Galaxy On Nxt is not a placeholder name
The smartphone will be Flipkart exclusive
It will be a notch above the Galaxy J7 (2016) in Samsung’s lineup
While everyone awaits the big Samsung Galaxy On Nxt reveal at 8pm, some new information about the upcoming smartphone has come to light. While it had earlier seemed that Flipkart was using the ‘Nxt’ moniker as sort of a placeholder for another smartphone whose name it did not want to reveal, it seems the truth has been hiding in plain sight the whole time.

 

The next Samsung Galaxy On smartphone to launch in the country is indeed called Samsung Galaxy On Nxt and it will be Flipkart exclusive, the latter bit having already been confirmed by the two companies on Wednesday. Further, Gadgets 360 has learnt from its sources that the smartphone will be priced around the Rs. 18,000 mark. While we are still awaiting details about the exact specifications of the Samsung Galaxy On Nxt, we can reveal that it will be similar to the popular Galaxy J5 (2016) and Galaxy J7 (2016), with some improvements, specifically with regards to the SoC and RAM inside the Galaxy On Nxt.
Those specifications should be no surprise given the expected price range of the Samsung Galaxy On Nxt. The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) launched in India carrying a price tag of Rs. 13,990, while the J7 (2016) was priced at Rs. 15,990 at launch – the Galaxy On Nxt will slot in right above them in terms of price as well as specifications.

Flipkart has been building up to the reveal of the Samsung Galaxy On Nxt at 8pm later today, and all the details should become official pretty soon.

Verizon to Manage Android System Updates of Google Pixel Phones

Verizon to Manage Android System Updates of Google Pixel Phones

  • The ‘preloaded’ apps are removable
  • Verizon to handle system updates of Pixel units sold by them
  • Google to take care of security patches

At its Made by Google event, the tech giant unveiled the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. The smartphones are coming to India this month, and the pre-order begins from October 13. However, in the US, Google has already started taking pre-orders. The Pixel and Pixel XL are being sold unlocked on the Google Store, while the only carrier partnered for these smartphones is Verizon. This exclusive partnership has raised eyebrows, and buyers are looking for hidden caveats that could stem as a result of this exclusivity. Now, clarity on the Verizon and Google partnership is surfacing, and the Pixel smartphones sold through Verizon will come with ‘preloaded’ apps, a locked bootloader, and the system updates will be managed by Verizon – not Google.

 

Verizon will be ‘preloading’ three apps onto the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones – My Verizon, Go90, and Verizon Messages. We are placing the word preloaded between quotes as out-of-the-box, the smartphones will not have these apps on board, instead, they will be installed during the setup ad activation process. These apps are in addition to the Google suite that anyways comes pre-installed on most Android smartphones. This time Google is bundling Allo, Duo, Android Pay, Docs, and Keep apps as well. Thankfully, the Verizon installed bloatware is removable, and can be uninstalled, reportsBusiness Insider. So, even though the smartphone will initially bundle these Verizon Play Store apps, they can be easily manually uninstalled from the smartphones.

 

Regarding updates, Google has informed 9to5Google that it will take care of all monthly security updates, but the Android system updates will be managed by Verizon for the units they sell. However, all the unlocked units brought from Google, the tech giant itself will handle the system updates and security patches for those phones. “Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store,” the Google spokesperson told the publication.

A Verizon spokesperson told Engadget that it won’t delay in system updates, as it looks to give the ‘best experience’ to its customers, but did not divulge in any specific timeframe. Customers that pre-order the Pixel or Pixel XL are getting a Daydream View VR headset for free as well.

 

In India, only the Pixel smartphones are coming for now. As for the other hardware products launched at the event – Google Home, Daydream View, Google Wi-Fi router, and the Chromecast Ultra – there is no clarity on when Google plans to launch them in India.

Cameras Have More Lens Options Than Smartphones

Some of today’s best smartphones have impressive cameras that let people take pictures quickly no matter where they go. There’s no denying that smartphone cameras have their place in the world. If you want to take good photos, though, you still need a standalone camera.

Don’t bother waiting for Apple to make an iPhone that competes with a standalone digital camera anytime soon. It won’t happen, at least, not for a very long time. If you’re not convinced, then consider these four reasons you still need a standalone camera to take good pictures.

Cameras Have More Lens Options Than Smartphones

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Image via Flickr by Janitors

Companies like Photojojo make additional lenses that you can add to your smartphone. That’s a great idea that makes it possible for you to use telephoto, fisheye, and macro lenses. Unfortunately, you still have an extremely limited number of lenses to enhance your smartphone pictures.

The best digital cameras from Sony can use dozens of lenses to enhance picture quality. Having these options is important to people who want to take photographs in a variety of environments. When it comes to telephoto lenses, for instance, you’ll never find a smartphone option that can compete with a lens designed for a standalone camera. Smartphones just don’t have the right design to accommodate specialized lenses.

Standalone Cameras Have Longer Battery Lives

Your smartphone may have an impressive battery, but taking pictures will drain its energy quickly. That’s fine when you’re just snapping a couple of pictures at a party, but it’s another thing when you want to snap numerous pictures during your vacation or while attending a sports event. Taking dozens of shots will leave you looking for a place to recharge. If you can’t find a place, your smartphone can’t even make phone calls.

Standalone cameras usually have larger batteries than smartphones. Those larger batteries make it possible for them to take picture after picture for hours on end. You may not even need to recharge until the end of the day. Even if your camera’s battery dies halfway through the day, it’s better to have a dead camera than a dead smartphone that leaves you unable to communicate with your friends and family.

Waterproof Cameras Work Better Than Waterproof Smartphones

You have to hand it to Samsung. Its Galaxy S7 is extremely water resistant. If you drop a Galaxy S7 in your pool, it probably won’t get damaged as long as you remove it quickly. Stress tests, however, show that the phone isn’t quite waterproof.

Plenty of standalone digital cameras, however, are waterproof up to 30 or more feet. Some can even withstand salt water. That’s the kind of true waterproof feature you need when you want to take pictures without worrying about your camera. Whether you’re just hanging out at the pool or you want to document your snorkeling excursion, you should always rely on a highly rated standalone camera instead of a smartphone.

Cameras Offer More Memory Than Smartphones

Smartphone manufacturers want to make their devices as small and lightweight as possible. Otherwise, people won’t want to walk around with smartphones in their pockets.

Camera companies face a similar restriction, but not to the same degree. You don’t expect to walk around with a DSLR camera shoved in your back pocket all day.

Since camera manufacturers don’t have to worry so much about size, they can give their devices more memory. Having more space is good because photographs take up a lot of memory, especially if you want high-resolution pictures that will look good online or in print.

Sure, your smartphone can probably hold hundreds of images. A reliable standalone camera, however, can hold thousands. Unless you want to empty your phone’s camera gallery every day, it makes more sense to have a standalone camera.

Smartphone cameras serve a purpose, but they have not replaced standalone digital cameras. If you want a versatile camera with a long battery life, plenty of memory, and features that will protect it from moisture, you need to own a standalone design that matches those specifications.

 

Nokia Phone Saves Man’s Life by Stopping Bullet

Nokia Phone Saves Man's Life by Allegedly Stopping BulletThe Nokia phones of yesteryears have long been considered nearly indestructible, but the new ones aren’t too bad either. A Nokia feature phone is reported to have recently taken a bullet for its owner – literally – and saved his life.

According to a tweet by Microsoft’s General Manager of Core UX for Windows Desktop, Tablet and Phone Peter Skillman, a man in Afghanistan was saved last week after a bullet got stuck in a Nokia phone.
Even though the phone is beyond repair, the man must be thanking his stars – and his phone.

This, of course, is not the first time in recent years that a Nokia phone achieved this feat. In 2014, a Nokia Lumia 520 stopped a bullet fired at a Brazilian policeman, though the handset – predictably – got destroyed in the process.
Other smartphones, such as the iPhone 5c and HTC Evo 3D, have also acted as shields to protect their owners from bullets in the past as well. On the other hand, smartphones today are becoming a hazard with their exploding batteries.

On the other hand, smartphones today are becoming a hazard with their exploding batteries. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been mired in controversy in the past couple of months as the South Korean company acknowledged that the batteries in certain units of the phablet are defective and prone to swelling up or even exploding.

The subsequent recall has affected around 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units and is said to cost Samsung approximately $1 billion. An iPhone 7 Plus unit had also exploded in transit less than a week ago, casting a shadow over the much-anticipated launch of the new Apple smartphones.

Google Pixel, Pixel XL Get Listed by Retailer and Carriers; Specifications and Design Revealed

Google Pixel, Pixel XL Get Listed by Retailer and Carriers; Specifications and Design RevealedWith Google’s re-branded Pixel lineup ready to be unveiled on October 4, the last batch of leaks were expected to make its way on to the virtual space. Last week we saw a bunch of renders of the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones from the likes of @onleaks and Android Authority, and no we have what seems like an official listing of the device from UK store Carphone Warehouse. Separately, other renders made their way to the Internet, while Canadian carriers Bell and Telus also leaked official renders of the smartphones in both White and Black colour variants.

 

Carphone Warehouse reveals the Pixel devices in all its glory, along with highlights of major features and specifications. Both the Pixel and Pixel XL renders are shown along with the tagline “Introducing Pixel. Phone by Google” emphasising Google’s self-branded line. The renders are pretty much in line with last week’s leaks. The home screen shows circular icons with a new UI that is exclusive to the Pixels. The navigation buttons are present on screen leaving a fairly large bezel at the bottom of the phone.

The images form the site also give us a proper look at all the sides of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL with the power and volume control buttons on the right, a headphone jack on the top and a USB Type-C port on the bottom. There also appears two slits on either sides of the USB Type-C port which is likely to be dual speakers. The back of the device features a camera and flash module with noise cancelling holes next to it on the top left corner, a fingerprint sensor in the middle and the ‘G’ logo at the bottom. The top and bottom of the back will feature a combination of contrasting colours.

Moreover, the website also suggests that Google’s latest Allo and Duo applications will come preloaded with the Pixel. Quick charge promises up to 7 hours of battery life in 15 minutes. Another slide reveals that the two devices will offer unlimited storage for photos and videos at full resolution with Google Photos.

The website also lists full specifications for each device, although you should take them with a pinch of salt as of now. The Pixel is said to feature a 5-inch full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) Amoled display with a pixel density of 441ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. The device is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB of RAM.

 
Meanwhile, the Google Pixel XL is listed with a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) display sporting a pixel density of 534ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. Other than the size and resolution of the display, the rest of the features are similar to the smaller Pixel. Both the devices also feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front.

The Pixel and Pixel XL will run on Android 7.1 Nougat with Pixel Launcher. The listings also mention both 32GB and 128GB inbuilt storage variants. Storage expansion via microSD card is also listed, but this seems unlikely considering Google’s entire previous Nexus lineup.

The Pixel is listed to sport a 2770mAh battery, and the Pixel XL is listed with a bigger 3450mAh battery, both with fast charging capability. Live Cases, which were introduced for the previous Nexus devices, will also be offered for the Pixel smartphones.

On Saturday, some more renders were leaked showing the Pixel smartphone in against a natural background in a variety of colour combinations. Canadian Carrier Bell also revealed renders of the Pixel that provide a clear look of the home screen with the new Pixel Launcher and navigation buttons.

Meizu MX6 Gets a New Variant Sporting 3GB of RAM

Meizu MX6 Gets a New Variant Sporting 3GB of RAMChinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has released a new variant of its MX6 smartphone in China. While the model launched in July sported 4GB of RAM, the company on Wednesday launched a cheaper model with 3GB of RAM. The new variant will go on sale from Saturday in the country with a price tag of CNY 1,799 (roughly Rs. 18,100).

To recall, the Meizu MX6 with 4GB of RAM was launched at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 20,100). The launch of the new variant in China was first reported by GizmoChina. The dual-SIM smartphone runs Flyme OS 5.5 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It sports a 5.5-inch (1080×1920 pixels) LCD display and the company claimed that it sports a colour gamut (NTSC) of 85 percent. It is powered by a 2.3GHz deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage.

 

The smartphone also sports fingerprint scanner on the home button which the Chinese company claimed can unlock the smartphone in just 0.2 seconds and can also be used for biometric payments carried over via Alipay.
It supports dual-SIM cards and sports a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, dual tone LED flash, PDAF (phase detection autofocus), and also supports 4K video recording. The Meizu MX6 also sports a 5-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The handset supports 4G LTE with VoLTE compatibility. Other connectivity options are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, and also come with USB Type-C port. The Meizu MX6 is backed by a 3060mAh battery with fast charging support. The Chinese company claims the MX6 with its fast charging (mCharge) technology can get up to 65 percent charge in just 30 minutes of charging. It measures 153.6×75.2×7.2mm and weighs 155 grams.

Meizu MX6 Meizu MX6
KEY SPECS
NEWS
Display
5.50-inch
Processor
2.3GHz
Front Camera
5-megapixel
Resolution
1080×1920 pixels
RAM
3GB
OS
Android 6.0
Storage
32GB
Rear Camera
12-megapixel
Battery capacity
3060mAh

Sony Reveals Android 7.0 Nougat Rollout Timeline for Its Smartphones

Sony Reveals Android 7.0 Nougat Rollout Timeline for Its Smartphones
Android 7.0 Nougat coming first to Xperia XZ and Xperia X Performance
Company reveals rollout plan at Slovakia press conference
Android 7.0 Nougat rollout will continue till early 2017
As soon as Google started rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat, Sony wasted no time in releasing the list of its smartphones that will be getting the firmware update. However, the company didn’t reveal the timeline for these updates at the time. The company has now reportedly revealed the timeline for the rollout at its Slovakia press conference.

The software update will be first making its way to company’s flagship smartphones Xperia XZ and Xperia X Performance around October and will then roll out to other smartphones, as per a report by Slovakian website MojAndroid.

Smartphones Xperia X and Xperia X Compact will be receiving the update around November while the Xperia Z5 series, Xperia Z3+, and Xperia Z4 Tablet will be getting the update around December, as per a company slide. The last batch of smartphones to receive the update will be Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra, which are slated to get Android 7.0 Nougat in early 2017.
The list of devices mentioned at the press conference includes all devices that were listed by the company earlier. It should be noted that only these devices from Sony will be getting the Android 7.0 Nougat update.

Interestingly, Sony Xperia E5, which was launched in May this year, will not be getting the update. Further, the Sony Xperia Z4 and Xperia Z4v, released in the second quarter of 2015, have been left out of Nougat treatment by the company as well.