September 25, 2012

iPhone 5 is here, 64GB version costs Rs 1 lakh

There’s a lot of buzz around Apple’s iPhone 5 around as most countries are still waiting to get their hands on the device. India is among the third wave of countries where the iPhone 5 will be available. This potentially points to a late October launch of the device. Fans of Apple in India have reason to rejoice though, as some stores have begun selling the iPhone 5.

Some stores in the grey market have announced their pricing for Apple’s latest smartphone, and the prices are as high as Apple’s other devices. The 16 GB version is available in the grey market for approximately Rs 76,000, the 32GB version for Rs 85,000, and the 64GB version of the iPhone 5 is available at Rs 1,00,000.
Unlocked version won't be available for some weeks now
The iPhone 5 can now be bought in India

According to an earlier report, the iPhone 5 is easier to repair than its older siblings – the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. As per a guide published by iFixit, the biggest issues with manually repairing an iPhone 5 are Apple’s proprietary screws used to keep the device together, and many intricate parts located near the dock that make fixing individual parts dicey. All things considered, the iPhone 5’s front-to-back construction makes accessing the insides of the device very easy, as the screen is the first thing to come out when disassembling the phone.

It was recently revealed that the iPhone 5 runs on a triple-core GPU. The device runs on a custom-made dual-core ARM processor that runs at a clock speed of 1GHz. The GPU uses a triple-core with a higher clock speed, so that the phone can achieve double the graphical capabilities of the A5 processor. The processor is most likely a PowerVR SGX 543MP3. The A5 processor that powers the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the fifth generation iPod Touch had a PowerVR SGX 543MP2 GPU.

On the software side of things, the iPhone 5 was recently jailbroken by developer Grant Paul, a.k.a., Chpwn. Paul had recently tweeted a screenshot of an iPhone 5 with the Cydia app installed. The Cydia app is its own app store that allows users to buy and download apps. These apps would otherwise not be hosted on Apple's own App Store, as many of the apps require permission to use the root features of the device -- permissions which aren't possible to give with a device that hasn't been jailbroken.

Here is a quick look at the highlighted features of the iPhone 5:
  • 4-inch, 326ppi Retina display at 1136 x 640 pixels
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth
  • 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 720p front-facing camera
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions

Made entirely out of aluminium and glass, the iPhone 5 weighs merely 112 grams, is 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S, and is the thinnest iPhone yet at 7.6mm thick. Apple has chosen to debut iOS 6 with the iPhone 5 and the new OS includes Apple's own Maps app, an updated version of Siri and lots more. Overall, the new iPhone has been upgraded in almost all respects.

September 24, 2012

The World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Snaps Its First Photos


On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.
This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).

The photographs are so big and so sensitive that each one shows over 100,000 separate galaxies that are up to 8 billion light years away.
Over the next five years, scientists plan to create these massive color photos of 1/8th of the night sky, capturing 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters, and even 4,000 supernovae. Although the camera itself shoots in monochrome, color will be obtained using five color filters the size of manhole covers.

A glimpse into the heart of this massive camera that shows its 62 CCD sensors
If you’re wondering why a US-sponsored space camera is located on a mountain in Chile, it’s because the Chilean Andes have atmospheric conditions that make for super-sharp shots of space. The view of the stars from the mountaintops there allow the scientists to achieve some of the sharpest resolution images possible from the surface of our planet (telescope cameras floating around in space don’t have to deal with things like atmosphere, air pollution, and light pollution).
The Dark Energy Camera should enjoy its “largest digital camera” crown while it can, since the camera won’t be holding the title for too much longer. Last year, the US Government gave the green light for an even beastlier digicam. The LSST Project‘s camera will shoot 3.2-gigapixel photos using an array of 189 CCD sensors. (via Phys.Org)

September 14, 2012

Datawind launches 4 tablets in Ubislate range

Makers of the nation’s low-cost computing dream, Datawind, have rolled out a new line of low-cost tablets in the Ubislate range -- Ubislate 7Ri, Ubislate 7R+, Ubislate 7C and Ubislate 7C+.  “The new range of Ubislate Tablets is packed with anytime anywhere low-cost Internet connectivity, UbiSurfer browser based on 18 international patents that can deliver internet access on traditional GPRS networks and a powerful combination of content and applications raising the bar in terms of meeting customers’ mobility needs. These tablets are of the gold standard when it comes to low - cost tablet cum Smart phone space being offered at an exciting price to our customers,” said Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind Pvt. Ltd.
Low-cost offerings
Low-cost offerings

The brand new Ubislate range, according to a company statement, comes with a sleek look and enhanced hardware specifications. The lightweight tablets support smartphone communication, Internet access, tablet computing and multimedia entertainment.

The tablets sport a 7-inch screen and run the latest Android v4.0.3 operating system. The tablets are powered by a Cortex A8, 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM. The company adds further that these devices will deliver high speed surfing experience to its users. The embedded HD video co-processor delivers high quality video content making it a perfect multimedia device.

“With the upwardly mobile workforce, hands-free communication has become extremely important. Our tablets are the most durable offerings under the Ubislate umbrella. Features like HD video, great sound quality, touch screen, high speed processor, USB port, camera, G-Sensor with a long battery life are a complete value for money option for our customers,” stated Tuli.
Datawind launches 4 tablets under Ubislate range
Datawind launches 4 tablets under Ubislate range

Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Ubislate 7Ri:
  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen with a 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • Wi-Fi
  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD

Specifications of the Ubislate 7R+:
  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen with a 800x480 pixel resolution
  • GPRS, Wi-Fi
  • front-facing VGA camera
  • 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD

While those of the Ubislate 7Ci are:
  • 7-inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 4GB memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD

Tech specs of the Ubislate 7C+:
  • 7-inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • GPRS, Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 4GB memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD

The Ubislate 7Ri, Ubislate 7R+, Ubislate 7Ci, UbiSlate 7C+ models will be all available at an MRP ranging from Rs 2,999 to Rs 4,499.

As per the other official statement, the tablets have the web browser: Ubisurfer with Compression/ acceleration and IE8 rendering.

Some applications available on Ubislate range of tablets, include:
  • The users of Ubislate can access content available on the Sakshat portal and other educational websites.
  • Yahoo! India for its portal, Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Cricket to deliver all the information regarding India’s national passion.
  • The Indian Express Group to bring its users the latest news and analysis on the go.
  • Reverie Language Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to provide over a dozen Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi/ Gurmukhi and many others.
  • Mango learning solutions for game based educational modules, interactive smart books and the full CBSE curriculum.
  • TestBag, the most comprehensive solution for testing and e-assessment.
  • Intelligaia finger tracing apps to teach alphabet letter writing for toddlers. [via Tech2]

September 5, 2012

'Live Traffic' on Google Maps comes to India

Check Google Maps on your Android mobile or your desktop and you will notice a new layer, called Traffic. Clearly, Live Traffic layer on Google Maps seems to have come to India now. Enable that and have your location specified, and you will be able to see what the road traffic is like in that city. At the bottom left of the Map, users can see a legend depicting the nature of the traffic at the time - ranging from slow to fast. Again, to view what the traffic conditions are like more keenly, users can zoom in to the location and with the Live Traffic layer on, they even get to know what the traffic is like at that location. The colour-coded legend lines depicted on the map explain the nature of the traffic at that place.
Google Maps Live Traffic
Google Maps Live Traffic

If users do not want Live Traffic updates, but want something more specific as traffic during a particular time on a particular day, then all they got to do is change their preference at the bottom left. Here users can change their preference to “Traffic at day and time” and enter their choice of day and time and click on done. Once that is done, the map depicts the details as per the options picked. Google specifies that the data provided when a user picks the "Traffic at day and time" option is based on past conditions. 

With the update that Google Maps got recently, Google claims to have made transit information that it has been providing by way of Google Maps even more useful. Part of the update list are changes that Google made to the Transit Lines Layer. The update here means that users can now select a specific mode of public transport - then be it train, bus, tram or subway to be displayed on their mobile map. This way, all other modes excluding the chosen mode are hidden on the map. Understandably, a feature like this is helpful, especially in areas where there are several modes of transport available. Also featuring in the update list is the layout of station pages. Users can now open it by tapping on the name of the station on the application on their mobile device.

Google puts in its official blog post that Google Maps for Android offers more than a million transit stops globally, and this is across almost 500 cities. In India, it is at Bangalore (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation Ltd), Chennai (Chennai MRTS), Delhi (Delhi Metro Rail) and Kolkata (Kolkata Metro). 

A little before Google Maps for Android got its update, the search giant introduced its Live Traffic update layer to Maps across Bogotá, Panama City and San Jose (Costa Rica). In addition, Google was also to bring its real-time traffic data to 130 smaller cities in the U.S., including Kalamazoo (Michigan), Portland (Maine) and Tuscaloosa (Alabama).

Clearly, having Live Traffic updates running on one's phone is precious. Needless to add, users can now plan their commute accordingly, with such data readily available. [via Tech2]

September 1, 2012

New report expects 45 million Internet users in rural India by Dec 2012


As per the figures on the latest I-Cube Report on Internet in Rural India by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, rural India is home to 38 million Internet users and 31 million active Internet users. The report further adds that the penetration of claimed Internet users in rural India grew from being 2.6 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2012, a CAGR of 73 percent. While the stats of active Internet users has grown from 2.13 percent in 2010 to 3.7 percent in 2012. Interestingly, the report expects the number of  claimed Internet users in rural India to reach 45 million by December 2012.
Beginning of good times? (Image credit: Getty Images)
Penetrating to rural India (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dr. Subho Ray, President of IAMAI, commented on the report by adding, "This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fibre backbone and local language content is likely to change the beat all projections of internet growth in rural areas."

Among other things, the report also found mobile phones to be fast emerging as a crucial point of Internet access in rural India. Going further, it added that as of June 2012, there were 3.6 million mobile Internet users in India, thereby posting a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010. It found Community Service Centres (CSC) and cyber cafes to be the  major point of access for Internet users in rural India. 

Further, entertainment emerged as the primary driver of Internet use in rural India. It found that 75 percent of rural users use internet for entertainment while 56 percent use it for communications. Users were found to access music, videos and photos for entertainment. Going further, it found,"There is a growing interest amongst the rural constituents seeking information on education. 81 percent of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centres."

As per a recently concluded Google India survey called Students on the Web, India comes second only to the U.S. now, as far as education-related search queries on Google go. The study found that more than 60 percent of the Indian students who had access to the Internet used it as their primary source for research information pertaining to educational courses and institutes. That India is a nation with a buzzing youth population is not an unheard fact. What is an even more interesting bit of detail here is that more than half of the nation's population fall within the age bracket of 18-35 years, quite explaining the term 'Young India'. 

Other findings of the study include the fact that queries pertaining to education in the country are increasing at over 46 percent on a yearly basis. Interestingly, it was found that of all search queries, more than 40 percent pertained to course and institutes for pursuing higher education. The study found that IT/Vocational courses was a popular search category in India with 44 percent searches coming through for it, followed by engineering courses for which there were 40 percent of the searches coming, while institutes and postgraduate courses offering MBA had 16 percent of the searches coming. Narrowing further down, the study found that Sikkim Manipal University was the most searched private institute. IIM-A and IIT-Delhi came out on the top, as far as IIMs and IITs were concerned, between the period January to June 2012.  [via Tech2]