After acquiring WhatsApp for $7 billion, it seems that Facebook is looking to introduce a new Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) feature integrated into WhatsApp. All the other major WhatsApp competitors already have this feature and WhatsApp is ready to step up in the game.
Exclusively leaked for our DailyPandora users, you can take a look at how it looks on the Apple iPhone iOS 7. Although I think this might be not the real blueprint but chances are they are going to release it soon. I really hope they do this as this will result in lots of money savings and freedom from local phone bills.
If you don’t know already what WhatsApp is, it’s an application that allows you send messages from your phone through the internet saving you SMS bills. It’s available for the IOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Symbian OS as well.
Remember the legendary and the very first touch gadget released by Microsoft a few years ago? Well…it was too expensive and bulky for personal use. It was just a futuristic technology that Microsoft introduced back then to grab the headlines away from Google. Yes, Google was as hot back then as Facebook is now. While Microsoft was successful is grabbing the headlines it miserably failed at putting the device into every home just like it did with the Personal Computer. Then came Apple with the iPad and the rest is history.
Here’s a peek at how the 2nd version of Microsoft Surface looked -
The Microsoft surface table – beginnings of the Microsoft Surface tablet
If ever there was a time when it was a case of survival for Microsoft, it is this. Surface and the Windows Phone 8 will decide if Microsoft will remain relevant among consumers in the coming future. Recently Microsoft has had fewer successes than failures. The spectacular ones being – Azure (cloud computing), Bing (search engine), the Windows Phone (smartphone operating system). The good thing is that Microsoft is trying harder to focus on products and not take anything granted which it has over the years. It has been focusing really hard on the user experience which companies like Google and Apple have made the cornerstone of their company philosophy.
Microsoft Surface tablet
With the new Microsoft Surface the guys at the design department of Microsoft have been paying a very close attention to how people use their tablets. From the form factor to the width and size specifications everything looks well thought out. For the 1st time Microsoft is making people believe that being late doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage. They’ve been learning a ton from iPad. People’s expectation from the tablets and more importantly how can Microsoft not jeopardize its most profitable product Windows from something that hasn’t even been making any money for them – the tablet.
Microsoft unlike Apple is not a hardware company. They’re first and foremost a software company. They don’t make a lot of money on hardware. Heck even their most popular piece of hardware is manufactured by a third party in China. But this is different. Microsoft has kept this piece of tablet close to its heart and there’s no third party involved in manufacturing it. They’ve been making the Surface tablets themselves. Now that is huge! Even for Microsoft.
Microsoft Surface = laptop + tablet?
Historically Microsoft has been all about keyboards and mice. Apple changed that to a world with touch & gestures. With Surface Microsoft is trying again to consolidate the best of both worlds with its tablet offering. There is a real keyboard that comes attached to the Surface. Although it’s not very difficult to buy an external keyboard for the iPad, we all know that maybe 0.001% people actually do that. Not many people are ready to shell extra money or jump hoops just to be able to type better. So if someone has a choice between an iPad and a Surface and they’re content creators – businessmen, journalists, bloggers, etc then they might prefer Microsoft Surface over Apple’s iPad.
But if the main purpose of the tablet is to consume media like movies, photos, videos and play games then the choice is obvious, the iPad. The App Store is overflowing with all kinds of apps and they’re getting better and better each day. The app store will enjoy the benefits of network effects and first mover advantage for many more years to come. And that spells doom for Microsoft in the near term. As we all know Microsoft has been struggling to lure developers to develop apps for their phone platform Windows Phone. It has become so frustrating for Microsoft that they’ve resorted to making it by hook or by crook. Brain or brawn, it doesn’t matter anymore. Microsoft has been using its internal army of developers to make apps when the outer ecosystem won’t budge. And when all else fails Microsoft draws out it’s bazooka – the 60 billion war chest it has accumulated for rainy days like these.
Now as Microsoft must have learned it’s a new world order for computing and increasingly one where Microsoft dominance is diminishing. So the best way to make them want to develop apps for your platform is to sell that many pies phones first to make it justifiable for the tiny app engineering teams at most companies.
It was expected that Microsoft would try to corner the market by underpricing the tablet. According to leaked information, Microsoft is in no mood to do that anytime soon. The basic version of Microsoft Surface that comes with Windows 8 and NVidia Tegra 3 chip will cost $599 which is what a Wi-Fi only 32 GB iPad costs.
The Windows Pro that comes with the Intel Ivy Bridge chip will cost $999 (yes, that’s almost a grand!). This jaw dropping price will make Microsoft Surface one of the most expensive tablets in the market. It’s not clear if Microsoft will be selling the keyboard for extra charge. I hope they do.
The differentiating elements
Surface comes with an elegant kickstand
Microsoft Surface sports a very convenient kickstand for those times when you don’t feel like holding your tablet. Maybe you want to sit down and write something. Maybe you are video chatting some one. Or maybe you want to read a book. Now you can without having to attach any attachment with te technology used in the car doors. The kickstand comes on and off with little effort and you don’t even know it’s there when you don’t need it.
The higher end Windows Pro for Surface will come with a USB 3.0. It is a great improvement over the usual USB 2.0. What more you can charge your iPad from your Microsoft Surface! Talk about harmony
Apple has recently introduced USB 3.0 into its most expensive line of Macbook Pro’s.
The durable body
Microsoft Surface’s Vapor MG alloy body
Microsoft developed a new alloy called Vapor MG for the body of the Surface tablet. It’s durable, lightweight and things like that. And yeah it’s made of Magnesium.
Microsoft Surface chassis
This is where the Microsoft Surface shines. Well literally! It provides a usage of up to 31.5 hours. That’s a lot of power when you need to be on the move.
Uh..Microsoft has been a little secretive about somethings. And it’s not only the launch date and price. The screen resolution is good according to the people who have been given access to the Surface tablet. Although I suspect it’d come anywhere close to the retina display that almost all Apple hardware comes with these days.
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Doodle Jump is one of the most selling games of all time. The game title itself says, ‘Be Warned, Its Insanely Addictive‘ and by this you can judge how the game will be. The game’s concept is very simple. You have a simple, cute doodle to jump on tiles and guide his way to success.
The game isn’t very complicated to play with. You just have to worry about the scores, which also can be achieved with a little practice. You encounter a lot of unpredictable, irregular shaped creatures a.k.a Aliens in Doodle Jump. You encounter a UFO when you go very high thats about above 20,000. You can shoot them by the beak of the doodle. You have to tap onto the phone for the shooting. You sometimes encounter broken tiles which when you step on, break and then you drop and you fail.
You can choose between directional shooting in the Options menu. The difference in directional shooting is when its On, where you tap, the cannon will go that way, if its off, it will go automatically to the alien.
You have a Scores & Stats option in the game. You have your high-scores of the game. The higher you go in the game, the higher you get your name in the achievements board. Like most of the games, this game does support Game Center.
On the bottom of the game, you get lot of themes. You can choose between space theme, graveyard theme for the Free Version. On the Premium version, you have the previous 2 themes plus christmas theme, forest adventure theme.
While playing the game, you get a number of add-ons to add to your score. Sometimes you get a propeller hat to get up to a certain height. You then get jumping shoes to jump on tiles
You don’t get local challenge in the free version. The Local Challenge refers from 2 people upto 8 people playing the game. You choose the number of people and turn by turn people play and the system chooses the winner by the best highscore.
You now have the ability to score and then post your achievements and show them to Facebook and Twitter. Overall the feel of the game is simple. The app loads up fast. No tension, just simple and worry-free
Cost of the App: $0.99
PROS: Simple game, inexpensive, new concept
CONS: Unresponsive motion of the doodle, very difficult on high altitudes.
Nokia has been feeling the heat lately from Apple, Samsung, HTC and LG. If someone asked me to name 1 smartphone from Nokia I wouldn’t be able to name anything except the Nokia N8, which I reviewed a long time ago.
Nokia has seriously undermined a comeback by delaying the phones and betting too much on the Windows Phone operating system. The Nokia phones have had too many “me too” features and have taken a serious beating at the hands of iPhone and Android based phones.
While we still believe that Nokia has a sizable chance due to it’s sheer presence and branding all over the globe, it has to one up it’s phones before people stop and give Nokia another look.
Here’s a small video showing Nokia Lumia 800 at a glance -
I’ll be reviewing the newly introduced Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia’s first Windows Phone based smartphone on the market.
Size: Nokia Lumia 800 has a smaller size than most smartphones you come across these days but we like it because you can easily hold the phone and operate it with one hand. It’s easier using a phone with one hand. Lumia 800 is 116.5 mm long, 61.2 mm wide and 12.1 mm thick.
Form Factor: It has a very slick form factor. Nokia has really got the hardware design right this time. There are no unnecessary openings in the phone which makes it so much classy. The phone is a little heavy for it’s size at 146 gms (approx 5 oz) that makes it look like it’s more durable and of high-quality.
Display: The Lumia 800 has a curved 3.7-inch AMOLED ClearBlack glass touch screen so it fares pretty good at responsiveness. The colors look vibrant on the phone. The screen is 480 x 800 pixels which is sufficient for checking email, viewing photos and browsing mobile friendly sites.
Lumia 800 is based on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system which mainly includes the Internet Explorer 9 mobile to bring the desktop browsing experience on the mobile, multi-tasking for 3rd party apps, Twitter integration for the Hub (the home screen of the Windows Phone as it is known) and access to Windows Live Skydrive ( free 25GB cloud storage from Microsoft).
Web browsing: With a built-in Internet Explorer 9 mobile web browser you can be sure of running any website that runs on your desktop computer.
Take a loot at the web browsing experience on the Internet Explorer 9 mobile on Lumia 800 phone -
Nokia Lumia 800's 8 mega-pixel, Carl Zeiss camera
Since N8, Nokia has placed special emphasis on it’s phone cameras. No wonder considering the fact that for most people their phone cameras are their first and only camera. While this might not be applicable to smartphone users, they are one demographic that wouldn’t mind taking crisp, high-definition photos and videos from their phones. With the 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and 3264 x 2448 resolution you know your ordinary pictures will come out extra-ordinary.
Although it has a powerful camera, some of the photos we have seen are a bit grainy, while in some other pictures the Lumia didn’t handle the lighting well. There could have been better noise reduction for photos.
The Lumia 800 supports high-definition video recording as it supports 1280p x 720p of video recording. Now you don’t have to whip out your bulky SLR for those once-in-a-while moments!
Nokia Drive – At first, I thought the Nokia Drive was some sort of cloud storage provided by Nokia but Nokia Drive is a turn-by-turn voice-enabled mapping service from Nokia.
The good thing about Nokia Drive is that it is available for all over the world and the best thing about this is that you can download maps for whatever place you like for offline access. Great for all those camping and long trips. Also, it’s infinitely more convenient to follow voice-enable directions than to peep in your phone every 30 seconds. Great feature, if you ask me!
Nokia Maps -
Nokia Maps on the Lumia 800
It’s still in beta so expect some changes in the future. You can select map, satellite or traffic modes. While not as extensive as Google maps it can still be a great alternative to Google maps.
Nokia music – the interface looks like Microsoft’s Zune. The music app categorizes all the music into genres. It also enables you to download the songs for listening offline.
Good hardware specs
Powerful 8 megapixel camera – supports high-definition photo & video recording
FM radio – why always load the radio through an app? isn’t it better (and simpler) this way?
Voice-enabled turn-by-turn mapping from Nokia – drive without distraction
Microsoft Office to access Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and other applications on your phone.
Not many apps on the Windows Phone marketplace (although we can expect more in the near future)
In your face social networking blasting constant updates on the home screen (hub) – but that’s more of an OS problem than the phone’s.
A bit pricey at €420 and $550 (all prices approx)
If you want to try something other than an iPhone or Android devices you should buy the Nokia Lumia 800. If you like having a lot of apps we suggest you either buy an iPhone or an Android device.
Please rate the review and if you’re using a Nokia Lumia 800 phone, we’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.
EA Sports yet bring another new gorgeous and awesome app for the most like game in the world on the iPad and it has the exact amount of fun that you need to play it. FIFA 12 for iPad is just amazing. They have improved the graphics from its previous versions a lot. You can just feel it when you play the game. The game feels realistic.
Information -FIFA 12 has 15000 players to play from, 500 teams to choose from, 22 leagues to play from and 32 stadiums to play in, in this game. It contains your favorite league from Barclays Premier League to LA LIGA. You can either choose Manchester United or Chelsea or hundreds of teams to play from. Choose from Rooney, Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Villa and more!
Manager Mode -EA Sports has brought a mobile version for the iPad from the computers. The game has increased a lot of reputation as it now contains the Manager Mode. You have to choose a team first. You get a certain amount of money to spend on certain clubs, the not-so-popular clubs will have a low amount where as the superstar clubs will be at the highest.
Scout for Talent – You can trade players for better playing on the field, the best players will be difficult to get and of course expensive to buy. You also have the SCOUT for talent which will search for you, the young players who will be new but best in their competition. The new UPGRADE staff will eventually work out to be a success to you and your team. You simply have to upgrade the particular staff from a scale from 1 to 10. For example, The Goalkeeper coach is upgraded and you will see slight improvements in the playing of the Goalkeeper.
Daily Challenges – This game has the new DAILY CHALLENGES. The challenges will be given to you to play with and you will have to sweat to complete all the given challenges.
Controls – EA Sports has a history of giving good and simple controls to games. FIFA 12 offers the same. You have a 360 degree joystick to control your player. Three buttons Shoot, Sprint and Pass when you have the ball and three buttons Slide, Switch and Sprint when you don’t have the ball.
Instant Replay – This is the most awaited thing in the game history of iOS! You can now save upto 15 replays in the replay library!
The Local Multiplayer – This app has the new features of local multiplayer head-to-head games for 2 players. You can make your iPad into a wireless display and with 2 iPhones or iPod Touch’s which have the EA Sport’s Gamepad app filled you can play the game.
In App Purchases – You also have a manager budget to play your game to the fullest. They are good but a bit expensive as you also pay heavy for the game itself.
If you have FIFA 11 on the iPad, you should definitely look upto this for an upgrade.
PROS: Realistic graphics, easy controls, local multiplayer
CONS: Same old commentary, celebrations are old, choosing teams are mess sometimes.
The iPhone 4 and 4S have flash cameras which can shoot even in low light, shoot 720p for iPhone 4 and 1080p for iPhone 4S. But what if you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS? This iPhone app is compatible for any iPhone and can turn your iPhone into a digital SLR camera! This iPhone app has received many awards for its genuineness and work.
The Camera Plus app works simple. You have a flash on and off button on the top left corner which gives you a warning that it will drain the battery. It can also be used for a flashlight. On the right hand side top corner, only for the iPhone 4(S) users, you can turn the camera for the front and the rear. The circle appears as you touch the iPhone screen and focuses on the point of screen. On the right hand of the camera button, you have the settings.
The Normal Mode shoots the normal pictures as the iPhone but well-lit. Here is an example of iPhone 4 camera vs Camera+ :
The next mode to take a photograph is the Stabilizer Mode. This mode is actually very helpful for people who have shaky hands. The mode simply takes photo when the photo will be non-shaky and sharp.
The Timer Mode is similar to the modes often found in the Digital Cameras to get yourself in the picture. The timer in this mode is 5 seconds.
The Burst Mode is just the need if you are a paparazzi. You can take unlimited pictures without any pause in the way. You can take beautiful moments and save them in your phone!
Besides that, you have Lightbox to manage your shots and edit them to awesomeness.
You have to click on the photo to delete it, edit it, share it, saving it, copying it.
Sharing has three options, Facebook, Twitter and Email. If you save it you can save it in your iPhone photo library.
Editing is the best part of this app. You can use Auto, Flash, Sunset, Night, Backlit, Portrait, Beach, Scenery, Concert, Food or Text.
You can also give them a little touch with borders which make your photo look gorgeous and attractive to view.
PROS : Good Camera, New effects, repairs photo, cropping available for photos.
CONS: Yet another app for editing your photos, not as advanced editing as expected for the iPhone.
Amazon recently released the new Kindle family of electronic book readers – the classic Kindle, Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. The new kindle family offers the classic Kindle at lowered prices and a brand new table-cum-bookreader the Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire is built on top of Google’s Android operating system. What this means is that apps available for Android can be run on the Kindle Fire. It’s a big deal because the huge number of apps available for Android are instantly available for you to download and use.
Note: There were some reports that Amazon was blocking access to the Android Market and instead was redirecting it back to it’s own app store aptly called the Amazon App Store. As of today, Amazon has released an update the let’s you access the Android Market without any redirection.
While the Fire has been compared to the iPad time and time again by tech blogs let me tell you that the 2 are basically very different. The iPad falls somewhere between a computer and a smartphone while the Kindle Fire falls somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet like the iPad. It’s like comparing apples to oranges (or in this case – to kindles). To prove the point, using both an iPhone and an iPad you can check email, watch videos and play games. But you don’t carry an iPad in your pocket or use it to make a call.
The iPad is mainly an entertainment device – you can browse websites, play games, check your email and watch videos. The Kindle Fire on the other hand places a strong emphasis on consumption of content like magazines, books (purchased through Amazon, of course!) and the Amazon Prime video library.
Let’s see if Kindle Fire is really the device you need.
iPad vs Kindle Fire Size Comparison
Small Size – The Kindle Fire is a small tablet device when compared to the iPad. Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen size compared to 9.7-inch of the iPad. As you can see in the above photo, the Fire is much smaller than the iPad and if you like reading for longer periods of time then holding a Fire would be much easier than the iPad.
Price – In this economy, it wouldn’t hurt saving a buck. The Kindle Fire costs less than half of what the lowest priced iPad will cost your wallet. And if you’re short on cash this holiday season then you could purchase 2 Kindle Fires for lower than the price of an iPad. At $199 this looks like a bargain specially when compared to the Barnes & Nobles Nook Color which has similar specs but would cost $50 more at $249.
Amazon Kindle Fire App Store
Amazon App Store - Just like the old generation Kindle, you can depend on the Fire to work closely with Amazon’s vast content library. And all the stuff your purchase is available at Amazon’s Cloud storage so that you can access that from Kindle apps for Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android and even Blackberry! There are thousands of apps for your Kindle Fire so that you never get bored!
Huge Kindle library - If there is one thing that blows Amazon’s competitors out of water is Amazon’s vast, vast content library. Want to subscribe to the NYT? the WSJ? sure you can on the Kindle. And guess what, more and more books these days are available for the Kindle and they’re often cheaper if you buy the Kindle edition. Double win!
Weight – The Kindle weighs just at 14.6 ounces. It’s light enough to have a nice read before having to put it down!
Unlimited Cloud Storage (for FREE) - The Kindle Fire has a “measly” 8GB built-in storage. While this is more than enough if you have a few hundred books, a few movies and some hundreds of songs on the device. But you don’t have to worry about running out of storage for your Kindle Fire because Amazon provides unlimited, free cloud storage for all the stuff you purchase from Amazon.
Amazon Silk - Tablets aren’t very powerful when compared to the heavy duty desktops and laptops we’re so used to multitask on. If you’re like me, you open several tabs on your web browser. But firing up a website on the tablet can be sloooow. But Amazon has addressed that too with this newly designed web browser. It has been designed from the ground up to work flawlessly and blazingly fast on the Kindle Fire.
Here’s a little demo of the Silk web browser -
No camera and microphone – In a world of constant texting, emailing and video calling the absence of a microphone and a camera is acutely felt. While it sure differentiates the Kindle Fire from all the other tablets, it will surely repel a lot of people for whom Skyping their family is an important part of their tablet experience.
I, for one, really like that the Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera and microphone as having these surely distracts us from longer, immersive reading that has become so rare these days. Remember, the Fire was designed to be a reading device first and then a tablet. Just see how the Kindle has evolved and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
No GPS – Again, this is such an essential part of our lives that I think Amazon has done a big mistake of not building a GPS in the Kindle Fire. I don’t want to whip out my iPad just to look for directions when I’m holding a Kindle Fire. I hope, you neither!
Small built-in storage – While everywhere we go there is an abundance of free Wi-Fi. But if you travel a lot to places where internet access is a bit flaky then the 8GB built-in storage is really low.
While the Kindle Fire has it’s advantages and disadvantage (like every other device out there), I think considering the form factor, it’s usefulness and the majority of things it can do – it’s a great buy for everyone in the family alike. No wonder, it is the fastest selling product on Amazon this holiday season and a major threat to Apple’s iPad domination. And it doesn’t cost a fortune like many tablets that are not half as good do!
UPDATE: Hurry!! For the Christmas season ’11, this game is for $0.99 only!
Its the Holiday season and every gaming company is trying to get its masterpieces out. Madden NFL 12 by Electronic Arts is far more better than the previous versions.
The Madden NFL 12 has been changed very much. You can find the Playbook with many new tactics to play with and get your team to the touchdown. Lets go to the points, what is new in this game?
A NEW TOUCHDOWN CHALLENGE
What this means, is your team which is offense has 2 minutes to get the touchdown challenge. You can smash them, hit ‘em but do whatever you want, you have to get to the touchdown in any way!
ALL THE NFL TEAMS
You have the same 32 teams in the game which give you the real smoothness. You can choose your favorite team and get them all top to the leaderboard. You have the real-life playbook tactics and you can choose from them.
You can even check your game stats and make trade for players, tactics and much more!
You can register in the origin and you can reach the leaderboards too. This game has really improved animations and collisions effects which make them more realistic to play.
The game has all you need if you are looking for a great football game.
Cost of the App : $7.99 for iPhone, $9.99 for iPad. ($.99 for Christmas ’11)
PROS : New graphics, awesome collision effects, multiplayer
CONS: Expensive in-app purchases and price of the game.
Android is now one of the most liked platform in the world. Android has tons of features which makes it look gorgeous. Nowadays, some Android phones have a small screen to work with and that makes the phone irritating and frustrating. You cannot type a single letter correctly. So that is why, SwiftKey X Keyboard app is what you need. This is an app created by a well-known developer.
SwiftKey X has also been the Editor’s Choice. The app has artificial intelligence which can predict your next word with accurate predictions. You can even personalize it with your Facebook, Twitter or even your blog posts.
I’ve used this app and I can say that the app has very good looks, interface. The app is intuitive and learns quickly from the owner of the phone.
Cost of the App : $3.99
PROS: Intuitive keyboard, themes, good predictions.
The story behind this app is of “Swampy the Alligator” who loves taking a bath. He is always in the sewers while the bad alligators ruin the happiest moments. He needs some help to get the waters through the tunnels, from the dirt, keeping away from the poison, acid, chemicals.
The game offers very life like physics to the user interface which keeps one to keep on playing the game.
When you play the game, you have 3 rubber duckies to get. You can either get 1 or 3, but you have to make sure you have enough to get to the next chapter of the game. Its really easy to get all the duckies, if you get the playing of the game. You have three points to score points on : The number of duckies you collected, time bonus, water overflow. Remember there is no need of any study of physics or chemistry formulas, its just a game.
If you add up all, there are sum of 80 levels split in 4 chapters. The last chapters have some hard and tricky levels which can make you get just a duck sometimes. You can use a reset button anytime in the game if you feel you have done something wrong. One more mystery in the level is there are some levels in which you have to find the objects, which can be hidden anywhere in the dirt. You can know when you have to find an object when a “question mark” appears on the upper left corner.
Moving to the liquids in the game. The green algae in the game can destroy the ducks and the dirt without your finger. The purple acid’s one drop can turn your water into the purple acid. You might need reflexes on this one!
This game offers multitouch to make it easier to complete the levels.
Personally saying, I liked this game very much. It has a want that keeps you on the game for hours. I like to recommend it to all those who are looking for a beautiful game which needs brains and absolutely gives fun!
PROS : Great concept, easy to play, logical thinking, multitouch