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Amazon Fire Tablet Review: Does a Lot for $50

Amazon Fire Tablet Review: Does a Lot for $50

The thing to remember about Amazon’s new $50 Fire tablet is that it’s a $50 tablet.

It’s not as light or as thin as a tablet that costs five or six times more. The camera isn’t as good, and the screen isn’t as sharp. But it works well as a budget device for the basics – reading, Facebook, video and, of course, shopping on Amazon.

Over the years, Amazon.com Inc. has done a good job of making tablets affordable for the masses. The new Fire tablet is Amazon’s cheapest yet, joining a fall lineup that maxes out at $230 (roughly Rs. 15,000) ($15 more if you want Amazon to remove ads on the lock screen). By contrast, Apple’s iPads start at $269 (roughly Rs. 17,500), ad-free.

Of course, you get less for $50.

Among the trade-offs:

The feel: The 7-inch tablet is bulky, about two-thirds as thick as a deck of cards. This runs counter to a trend of gadgets getting thinner and thinner. But this is reasonable for budget devices, as they use older, larger components to cut costs. At 11 ounces, the tablet also feels heavy for a device that size.

Lower resolution: The screen is just short of displaying video in full high definition, otherwise known as 1080p. As Amazon’s HDX tablets and Apple’s “Retina” iPads tout super-sharp displays, the screen on the new Fire feels retro.

Video displays fine. Where the lower resolution is most noticeable is with small text. When reading, some of the vertical lines in d’s and l’s look fat. It feels like a typewriter with metal type that hasn’t been cleaned of gunk, forming misshaped letters when some of that gunk hits the ink ribbon. (For our younger readers, typewriters are machines that produce letters on paper, rather than a screen. And paper is a sheet of writing material made from trees.)

Taking pictures: The main camera is just 2 megapixels, compared with 5 or 8 megapixels on higher-end Amazon tablets. Photos come out fuzzy, and low-light images have plenty of color distortion. The camera’s lens also isn’t able to capture as much as other gadgets from the same distance. It’s as though the camera has a permanent zoom. That said, most people already have smartphones with decent cameras. There’s no need to pay more to duplicate technology.

fire_1.jpg

Wi-Fi: The Fire has an older, single-band form of Wi-Fi that doesn’t support the highest available speeds, technically known as the 802.11ac standard. In practice, that means signal range and data speed might be lower. But in my limited testing, the new tablet downloaded a video file faster than last year’s HDX 8.9 tablet from Amazon, which has dual-band Wi-Fi, so this is hardly cut-and-dried. Many other factors affect performance, even if you have top-of-the-line technology.

In fact, the inexpensive Fire tablet surprised me in many ways. The display has in-plane switching technology, which means it can be viewed from an angle – twice as wide as standard screens, according to Amazon. The tablet was also fast for Web surfing, email and other common tasks. It seemed to take an extra second or two to launch video on Hulu and Netflix, but playback was smooth once it started.

Unlike iPads, the Fire allows you to set up multiple profiles, including ones for kids, and to establish parental limits on apps and usage time. But the Amazon tablet doesn’t have anti-glare technology found in the latest iPads, nor does it have a fingerprint reader to bypass passcodes.

Promised battery life is seven hours, which is reasonable for $50.

And as with other Amazon devices, the Fire tablet works nicely with other Amazon services, including Kindle e-books, Audible audiobooks, Prime video streaming and e-commerce. Just swipe right from the home screen to scroll through the various services. After signing in with my Amazon account, the shopping page reminded me what type of replacement vacuum bags I need. I also found a mini plunger to deal with that nagging clogged sink in my kitchen.

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A swipe to the left gets you recently accessed content and apps, plus recommendations. It’s a good way to get to frequent tasks without spending a lot of time moving around icons on the home screen. Older Amazon devices will get this feature, too, with an upcoming software update.

The Fire is also a good option for kids. They won’t complain about what’s missing, and if they lose the device, it’s only $50 to replace. Amazon will even sell you six for the price of five, so each family member can have one.

I’d be highly disappointed with the Fire if its price tag were $250 or more. But it’s not – not even close.

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Amazon Fire

Amazon Fire

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News

Display

7.00-inch

Processor

1.3GHz

Front Camera

0.3-megapixel

Resolution

1024×600 pixels

RAM

1GB

OS

Fire OS

Storage

8GB

Rear Camera

2-megapixel

Battery capacity

See full Amazon Fire specifications

  • Amazon Fire Tablet Review: Does a Lot for $50
  • Amazon Launches $50 Fire Tablet to Hook More Consumers

 

Original Article

No Need to Fret, Apple Is Doing Fine

No Need to Fret, Apple Is Doing Fine

Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite what you may have heard, the iPhone is not dying. Neither, by extension, is Apple.

It’s true that in an earnings report Tuesday, after weeks of speculation by Wall Street that iPhone sales would finally hit a peak, Apple confirmed the news: iPhone sales grew at their lowest-ever rate in the last quarter. And the company projected total sales of as much as $53 billion (roughly Rs. 3,61,532 crores) in the current quarter that ends in March, which would be a decline of 8.6 percent from last year and Apple’s first revenue drop in more than a decade.

But if Apple is now hitting a plateau, it’s important to remember that it’s one of the loftiest plateaus in the history of business. The $18.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1,25,518 crores) profit that Apple reported Tuesday is the most ever earned by any company in a single quarter.

(Also see: This Is the Biggest Threat to Apple’s Business Around the World)

It’s necessary to start with these caveats because people have a tendency to react strongly, almost apoplectically, to any suggestion of weakness on Apple’s part. Like pickles, cilantro and Ted Cruz, Apple inspires extreme opinion. The doubters are now ascendant. Apple’s share price has fallen more than 11 percent over the last year, in stark contrast to gains by the other four American tech giants.

So this column will try to do something tricky: explore what’s ailing Apple without going off the deep end. And after talking to several observers who watch the company closely, here’s my ice-cold take: Apple is doing quite OK.

Could it be doing some things better? Sure. Are any of its problems urgent? Not particularly, and from what one can tell, it’s working to address many of its shortcomings. Does it face existential threats? Yes, but no more than any other tech giant. Will it remain an outsize presence in the tech industry for years to come, generating profits on a scale that no other corporation can match? Almost certainly.

(Also see: Apple’s iPhone Success May Be Reaching Its Peak)

“I’m not worrying about Apple in 2015 or Apple in 2016,” said Ben Thompson, an analyst who runs the site Stratechery, and who questioned Apple’s far-off future in a recent piece. “I’m thinking about the arc of Apple from 1976 to Apple in 2046. The iPhone era has been the pinnacle of everything that Apple does best. Anyone fretting about Apple right now is totally overstating it. But if I look out 10 years, 20 years, each of Apple’s advantages starts to fade.”

I’ll get to those long-run worries in a bit, but let’s start with the present. At the moment, Apple’s biggest problem is its own success. The iPhone turns nine this year. The iPad turns six. These devices have made Apple the world’s most valuable company (until Google’s parent company, Alphabet, overtakes it, which might happen soon).

Apple’s iPhone business is now so huge it sounds almost fantastical – Apple books more revenue from the iPhone (about $154 billion or roughly Rs. 10,50,534 crores in its last fiscal year) than Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard or IBM generate from all of their operations. Two-thirds of the world’s countries have gross domestic products smaller than annual sales of the iPhone.

Yet the very dominance of Apple’s aging mobile empire inspires doubts about its future. The bigger the iPhone gets, the harder Apple has to work to beat its previous milestones, and the more vulnerable it appears to some fatal technological surprise.

The primary criticism of Apple’s recent performance is that it’s doing too much, and as a result, the general quality of its products has slipped. Related to that is the notion that Apple has lost some of its innovative and design magic. It has put out a larger-than-usual number of features and products that have failed to thrill reviewers. As Gizmodo put it in a headline summing up 2015, “Everything Apple Introduced This Year Kinda Sucked.”

Apple still does noteworthy new things, but I can understand Gizmodo’s frustration. The Apple Watch is a work in progress. Apple Music and Apple News feel awkward, far less pleasant than dedicated music-streaming and news apps that have long been available in the app store (like Spotify and Flipboard). The Apple TV offers little I couldn’t get on other devices, and its remote is heroically unfriendly. And 3D Touch and Live Photos, the new features in the latest iPhone, are nice but not groundbreaking.

But there’s something worth keeping in mind about each of these criticisms. They’re the gripes of a technophile, and they don’t necessarily reflect mainstream consumer perceptions about Apple’s products.

“Most of these critics are those who spend most of their time in this world of Apple analysis, so of course they’re hypersensitive to their devices,” said Horace Dediu, a fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, a think tank, and an analyst who follows Apple at his site, Asymco.

Dediu said customer satisfaction data showed continuing love for everything Apple sold. Almost everyone who has purchased an Apple Watch loves it. The same is true for iPhones and iPads. Apple’s crash logs show that its software isn’t getting buggier, contrary to what heavy users might think. “And people have short memories – they forget that the first iPhone was also full of bugs, that things in the past weren’t perfect,” he said.

Dediu is one of a chorus of analysts who argue the iPhone is far from its peak. With incremental improvements to the device’s interface and capabilities, Apple can add more than enough to keep people hooked to its devices. He calls the current peak in sales a “localized peak” – a blip from which Apple will soon emerge. In a piece last fall, I echoed this theory that the iPhone can’t lose; so has Thompson.

But if continued growth sounds like wishful thinking, there’s another path for Apple to prosper even if iPhone sales do hit a wall: Suck more money out of each phone. In a note to clients last fall, analysts at Goldman Sachs suggested that through a widening number of subscription services baked into the iPhone, Apple could begin to reap a huge monthly fee from its users, which it said constituted “the most lucrative installed base in the world.”

It’s an argument Apple executives are starting to vocalize loudly. On Tuesday’s earnings call, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the popularity of the iPhone provided the company a “long-lasting foundation.”

Apple’s ecosystem is so sticky that people tend to flock to its services even if there are better products out there. Even if I’m not a fan, 10 million people have subscribed to Apple Music in its first six months.

Given all these options for minting bullion from the iPhone, the most alarming worries for Apple aren’t about the present. They are about the future beyond the horizon, and they are necessarily speculative.

The basic question is this: In the future, will physical devices matter less than they do now? If computers are more like the machines in the movie “Her” – ethereal, ambient computers that exist in the cloud, that respond to our voices and our bodies, anticipating our desires – what will happen to Apple then? This is a company whose entire existence hinges on the cultural appreciation of physical things. Can it prosper in an age of ambient computing?

These are interesting questions to pose. I had a long conversation with Thompson about these ideas, and Apple’s apparent weaknesses – how it’s not as good at artificial intelligence and voice recognition as Google, how it lacks the cloud infrastructure that Amazon has built, and how, most important, its entire corporate culture is geared toward making actual stuff, which could limit its capacity to create fantastic online services.

But ultimately the discussion felt academic. It seems obvious that as the tech world changes around it, Apple, over the next decade, will need to reinvent itself. But so will everyone else. That is just what you do in this industry.

© 2016 New York Times News Service

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Original Article

Nokia Settles Patent Dispute With Samsung

Home | Mobiles | Mobiles News Nokia Settles Patent Dispute With Samsung Reuters , 1 February 2016 Nokia Settles Patent Dispute With Samsung

Finland’s Nokia has settled a patent dispute with South Korea’s Samsung which it says will boost its patent sales by hundreds of millions of euros.

Nokia sold its once-dominant phone business to Microsoft in 2014, leaving it focused on telecoms network equipment while retaining a large portfolio of handset patents.

Nokia said the Samsung settlement would lift sales at its patent unit Nokia Technologies to around EUR 1.02 billion ($1.1 billion or roughly Rs. 7,451 crores) in 2015, including catch-up payments from the past two years, from EUR 578 million in 2014.

The annualised run-rate for the patent unit is now about EUR 800 million, Nokia added.

Analysts on average had expected 2016 sales of about EUR 900 million for the unit.

“The settlement is pretty well in line with market forecasts, as the run-rate is 800 million and there will be some one-off payments,” said Mikael Rautanen, analyst at Inderes Equity Research.

Samsung shares rose 1.1 percent following news of the deal.

Nokia and Samsung entered into a binding arbitration in 2013 to settle additional compensations for Nokia’s phone patents for a five-year period starting from early 2014.

Nokia added it expects to receive at least EUR 1.3 billion of cash during 2016-2018 related to its settled and ongoing arbitrations, including the Samsung award. Nokia currently has a similar dispute with LG Electronics.

Rautanen, who has “reduce” rating on Nokia said its patent unit is expected to grow further in the coming years as it will soon start talks over a new contract with Apple.

He noted that Nokia’s patent sales still trail those of its main rival, Sweden’s Ericsson, which has estimated its intellectual property rights (IPR) sales at 13-14 billion crowns ($1.52-1.63 billion or roughly Rs. 10,297 crores – Rs. 11,041 crores) in 2015.

The patent business will become a smaller part of Nokia after its proposed EUR 15.6 billion takeover of French network gear rival Alcatel-Lucent, expected to close this quarter.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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iPad mini review

iPad mini review

I bet the iPad mini is going to be on a lot of wish lists this holiday season. I also bet that for a lot of people, it’s not going to be the best choice. It’s beautiful and light, but Apple made a big compromise in the design, one that means that buyers should look closely at the competition before deciding.

Starting at $329, the iPad mini is the cheapest iPad. The screen is a third smaller than the regular iPads, and it sits in an exquisitely machined aluminum body. It weighs just 11 ounces half as much as a full-size iPad making it easier to hold in one hand. It’s just under 8 inches long and less than a third of an inch thick, so it fits easily into a handbag.

The issue is the screen quality. Apple has been on the forefront of a move toward sharper, more colorful screens. It calls them “Retina” displays because the pixels the little light-emitting squares that make up the screen are so small that they blend together almost seamlessly in our eyes, removing the impression that we’re watching a grid of discrete elements.

The iPad mini doesn’t have a Retina screen. By the standards of last year, it’s a good screen, with the same number of pixels as the first iPad and the iPad 2. The latest full-size iPad has four times as many pixels, and it really shows. By comparison, the iPad mini’s screen looks coarse. It looks dull, too, because it doesn’t have the same color-boosting technology that the full-size model has.

This is not an entirely fair comparison, as the full-size iPad starts at $499 and weighs twice as much. The real issue is that this year, there are other tablets that are cheaper than the iPad mini, weigh only slightly more and still have better screens.

Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire HD costs $199 and has about the same overall size as the mini. While the Kindle’s screen is somewhat smaller (leaving a bigger frame around the edges), it is also sharper, with 30 percent more pixels than the mini. Colors are slightly brighter, too.

Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook HD costs $229 and has a screen that’s even sharper than the Kindle HD’s. It’s got 65 percent more pixels than the iPad mini.

Why do tablets from two companies chiefly known as book stores beat Apple’s latest for screen quality?

Sharper screens are darker, requiring a more powerful backlight to appear bright. That, in turn, would have forced an increase in the battery size. That’s the reason the first iPad with a Retina display was thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. So to keep the iPad mini thin while matching the 10-hour battery life of the bigger iPads, Apple had to compromise on the display.

This can’t last, though. By next year, it will likely be even more obvious that Apple is seriously behind in screen quality on its small tablet, and it will have to upgrade to a Retina display somehow. That means this first-generation iPad mini will look old pretty fast.

The display causes a few other problems, too. One is that when you run iPhone apps on the mini, it uses the coarsest version of the graphics for that app – the version designed for iPhones up to the 2009 model, the 3GS. You can blow the app up to fill more of the screen, but it looks pretty ugly. The full-size iPad uses the higher-quality Retina graphics when running iPhone apps, and it looks much better.

Some apps adapted for the iPad screen don’t display that well on the mini screen, either, because of the smaller size. Buttons can be too small to hit accurately, bringing to mind Steve Jobs’ 2010 comments about smaller tablets. The late Apple founder was of the vociferous opinion that the regular iPad was the smallest size that was also friendly to use.

In some apps, text on the mini is too small to be comfortably read – the section fronts in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal apps are examples of this.

Of course, in some other respects, the iPad mini outdoes the Fire and the Nook, so it isn’t just the tablet for the buyer who needs the prettiest and the thinnest. In particular, the Mini is a $329 entry ticket to the wonderful world of iPad and iPhone apps. For quality and quantity, it beats all the other app stores. (Oddly, there’s an inverse relationship between screen quality and app availability in this category the Nook HD has the best screen and the fewest apps, while the second-best Kindle Fire HD has middling access to apps.)

The Mini also has front- and back-facing cameras, for taking still photos and video and for videoconferencing. The Kindle Fire HD only has a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. The Nook HD doesn’t have a camera at all.

In short, the iPad Mini is more versatile than the competition, and I’m sure it will please a lot of people. But take a look at the competition first, and figure that by next year, we’ll see something from Apple that looks a lot better.

About the iPad Mini
The base model of the iPad mini costs $329 and comes with 16 gigabytes of storage. A 32 GB model goes for $429 and 64 GB for $529. Soon, you’ll be able to get versions that can connect through cellular networks, not just Wi-Fi. Add $130 to the price.

 

Original Article here

This Apple VR headset is one step closer to reality

Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, LG and Google are among the tech giants working on virtual truth equipment – and now that you could add an extra title to the record. The tremendous name. Apple.

The tech conglomerate has been awarded a patent titled “Head-hooked up show apparatus for protecting a moveable electronic device with show” from the U.S. patent and trademark place of business, which marks its first step into the VR space.

According to the patent the headset – let’s name it Apple VR for now – will likely be capable to pair with an iPhone or iPod. The mobile gadget’s monitor can then slot into the headset’s body and act as its major display – very similar to the Samsung gear VR or Google Cardboard headsets.

The patent also covers a remote that could be used to communicate with the iOS device, since its multi-touch display will most likely be inaccessible from within the VR unit. However, no further information on the features of the headset or which specific iPhone/iPod models will be able to pair with the device is given.

But, through the appears of it, Apple appears to be diversifying in its choices from being only a creator of desktops and mobile contraptions. If the iCar and this VR headset happen to be a few of the things Apple’s working on, we’re not going to be short of some fairly fancy tech equipment in future.

However, it’s valued at sounding a be aware of caution at this factor. lots of Apple’s patented numerous technologies on no account get to peer the light of day, so for now we advocate keeping your pleasure slightly tempered prendas. we will maintain you posted of any future tendencies.