Monday, 26 May 2014

Why I switched from Samsung

My first android device was Samsung Galaxy Ace. Which was quite nice until I got to know that it won’t receive upgrades past Gingerbread. So, I bought a Galaxy SII. SII was an amazing phone. A great bump in performance and screen size for me after Galaxy Ace. Also SII had the sweet Ice Cream Sandwich. It also got updated to Jelly Bean (4.1.2). Then I made the switch to Galaxy SIII. Which at the time of my purchase still had the same software 4.1.2. Now, it didn’t feel like a huge upgrade in terms of how my phone looked. Except a couple of add-ons the software was similar. Then a 4.2.2 was leaked around the same time when Google released 4.3 and I updated to it, hoping it would bring some fresh change but it wasn’t much. And it had bugs too. I waited for the bugs to be fixed but then Samsung announced that they are skipping 4.2.2 for SIII and will directly update it to 4.3. I was kind of sad but it was good to know that it was getting updated to 4.3. Though when the actual update came out, this was around the time Google announced KitKat, it was again filled with bugs. Now, that wasn’t a leak that was the official update from Samsung and then they stopped the update temporarily to fix the bugs. They released one more 4.3 update after addressing those bugs from previous one but this one had more. And those never got addressed. Then Samsung announced that the international version of SIII, the one I had, will not receive upgrade to Android 4.4 as 1 GB RAM is not enough to run Samsung customizations smoothly. But the versions with 2GB RAM will receive the updates. Some people appreciated Samsung for actually working on to release an upgrade for a device that was out of the conventional upgrade period. But those people need to evaluate the facts that SIII was the company’s most successful phone. Also when you see the timeline of when the updates were released you realise that every update was released almost around 6 months of announcement from Google.

After being fed up with their update system I made the switch to Nexus 5. Even though I haven’t received any major updates, the vanilla android experience itself has been pretty great. And when I compared it to a GS5 running 4.4, I was even more happy. The time to time lag on S5 when switching between apps or the app opening speed or the lag when opening the recent app menu, they all just make me a little bit happier that I am not a Samsung customer anymore.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Snapchat 5.0 update review

Snapchat has been updated to 5.0 and the world has gone crazy. With this update it brings some drastic UI changes and some new features. I will be talking about both of them.

UI changes.
It starts from the icon. Though it might look the same at first but if you look closely the yellow is more bright and also the cut edges of the icon are very fine. Next thing you notice after opening the app is the camera app shutter button, new snap button, new stories butting and camera switch button have changed. The major one being the shutter button with a solid white ring around it.
When you switch right to stories and friends, everything is purple. Except that not much has changed. The settings button when you click on someone’s name is tweaked. And if you swipe more right, you see more purple. And the add button and the tick mark button are tweaked too.
When you click a snap and are about to send it, you see some more icons have been polished and changed. When you click next to send it, the other change you observe is, when you select one of your ‘best friends’ as a recipient it shows a yellow icon with a star instead of the normal blue tick.
Switching back left to your snaps screen, there is a new search button. A welcome addition and an updated ‘snapchat’ text on top left corner.  You don’t  see sent or delivered there but it’s visible when you click on someone’s name. Then there is the blue icon, let’s talk about  that in features. That’s all in the UI changes, which is quite a lot.

New Features.
Message chat and Live video chatting.

Swipe right on any person’s name to start a chat with them. The biggest difference between other messaging app and this is that, your chats disappear when you leave it. The only way to save chats is to either take a screen shot or tap on a particular message to save it. This does continue the snapchat tradition and also the basic concept of the app, in a way. Also, you can send images from gallery to the person in the private chat.

When you are on the chat screen, an icon on the right bottom corner, which is usually yellow, turns blue to notify you that the other user is online and reading your chats. And, then clicking the blue button starts a video call. For the call to take place you have to hold on the screen. Depending on if you are holding bottom half or top half, the front and the back camera are operating for the chat. If the other person is not doing the same you don’t see anything from them.  To make this feature more usable the app notifies you when the other person is typing by sending a notification so you can jump right in if you want to start a video chat.

Though the app was a bit buggy when it was updated at first to 5.0, it has been updated to 5.0.5 bringing in some bug fixes.  Overall, the update is really good and features are sometimes useful, though I prefer other apps for chats. I don’t much like so much purple in the app but the one feature I am missing the most is double to tap to reply. It was very convenient and useful, hope they bring it back.

Here is a link to the updated 5.0.5 apk.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Which phone should you buy

This is a guide to help you decide between different OEMs if you are looking to buy a new phone.  This will lay out the Pros and Cons of different manufactures but the end decision will depend upon your priorities and what you’re looking  forward in your next smartphone.

Camera  can be a pretty big deal for some people.  The best camera phone is Nokia lumia 1020. 
The next one is a tie between the 6 month old iPhone 5s and the Galaxy S5. S5 has a better resolution and some extra software features but iPhone 5s is better in low light. Next will be
 Xperia Z2 which is a pretty good camera.
Htc One(M8) is a good camera with a nice software but with only 4M, picture are not that good however hard you may try. The second camera provides a good U-focus feature but that is available in S5 too with the camera software.
Nexus 5 is a camera between Galaxy S5/iPhone 5s and the One M8 but if you just get it right you can click nice pictures through it. And with the new camera app by Google, it has only got better. Even bringing the after focus effect like Galaxy S5 and HTC One.

2)Build Quality-
Galaxy S5 is IP 67 rated and the Xperia Z2 is IP 55/58
Order goes as
1- HTC One M8
2- iPhone 5s
3- Lumia 1020
4-Xperia Z2
5- Galaxy S5
6-Nexus 5

3)Software Updates-
If you want latest version of the OS you are on ,as soon as it is release,  don’t buy SAMSUNG!
iPhone would be at the top. Only because it releases updates to devices that are 3 years old.
Next will be Nexus or any other Google play device. If you are in that 18th month period, you will get the update.
If you have a high end Nokia, you are bound to get the software updates.
HTC and Sony  also try hard to provide updates on time.
Samsung.  Don’t expect major updates on time. If you have bought a just released phone you will get the latest update.  Ex- SIII. It got updated to 4.1.2 pretty fast. After that, 4.2.2 was left after a leak came out but finally 4.3 was released which is buggy as hell and now they say its 2 years old so we can’t release 4.4.

 The iPhone 5s and Nexus 5/Google play devices are the best in performance.
Android runs best when its not modified to any level.
If want a skin Android then HTC would be the way to go. The software on the One M8 has been praised by all. Xperia Z2 will be next in line in terms of modified skin.
Here again, I wouldn’t recommend Samsung at all. Touchwiz may look colourful but that is all. Even on the great hardware it has, it stutters at times which you wouldn’t expect at any level, which becomes very frustrating.
Nokia lumia isn't bad at all. But the lack of apps is still a buzz killer.

If you want me to add any phone or other category please mention in the comments and your views on what I have said are always welcome.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Why and How can Whatsapp have a desktop client

Whatsapp is a very good messaging service. It can be very useful for sending images, videos, contacts and group messaging, etc. As with every app, whatsapp could also go for some improvements. But one of the most important, I feel, is a desktop client paired with multi-device sync. Hangouts, by Google, and Facebook Messenger, by Facebook already provide these services to their users. What multi-device sync means is you will get all your messages to all the devices and desktop you are signed in to with your same whatsapp number.

Whenever a user gets a notification of a message on whatsapp he has to turn to his mobile device to look read the message. That can be painful if you are sitting on your desktop/laptop and your mobile is away. This might seem like a small thing but it always diverts you from your desktop. It is more difficult to manage for the people with more than one phone. They are limited to having whatsapp with one number to one phone. So, if anything happens to the phone with whatsapp all their messages are gone.

One of the best ways to do it is, is to integrate with facebook. Not with facebook messenger but with every user's facebook id. Whatsapp can offer every user a choice, if they want to have whatsapp on desktop and other phone with the same number, they can sign in with their facebook id and then that facebook id can be linked to their number. Now once you sign in to any other whatsapp with your facebook id, it finds out the number linked with the id and verifies it and then all your contacts and messages will appear on the client. But this shouldn't mean that all the people with their facebook id or their facebook id linked with whatsapp should directly come to your whatsapp favorites. Whatsapp should still depend on phone contacts for favorites. Facebook id should only be used for the sync.

There are other ways to achieve this too. One of them is integrating with facebook messenger but I don't think that will go well with everyone. From the time whatsapp is owned by facebook we have been expecting some changes. And this could be a great one for both whatsapp and facebook.

If you have any other way to do it, mention in comments and let everyone know. This has been it for now, wait for next one.