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Saturday, 28 November 2015


Just a couple of days ago, leaked renders of Huawei’s new Mate 8 smartphone emerged online that showed what the device will look like. The Mate 8 is now official and the device does indeed confirm the renders.
The official specs also confirm earlier rumours. The Mate 8 sports a 6-inch 1080p touchscreen display and will be powered by Huawei’s new Kirin 950 chipset and an ARM Mali-T880 GPU. Furthermore, the handset will be available in 3GB and 4GB of RAM with 32GB and 64GB and 128GB storage variants. The Mate 8 has a large 4,000 mAh battery and will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Mate 8 01
The Kirin 950 chipset comes with four high-power Cortex-A72 cores, clocked at up to 2.3 GHz and an additional four power-saving Cortex-A53 ones, working at 1.8 GHz. There’s also an i5 coprocessor that “supports speech recognition, low-power consumption MP3, all the functions of a sensor hub, fused location provider (FLP) navigation, and reduces location-based power consumption,” the company said in a press release.
The Mate 8 is made of aluminium with a 2.5D curved diamond cut glass, and features a fingerprint sensor on the back. The 16MP primary camera uses Sony’s latest IMX298 sensor. The device also sports an 8MP front camera.
Huawei Mate 8 01
The handset is priced at $480, $590, and $700 for the 3GB/32GB, 4GB/64GB, and 4GB/128GB variants, respectively. The Mate 8 will be available in Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray, and Mocha Brown colour options.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Android Apps for Senior Citizens that Make Look Simpler

So you are planing to buy a new Android for your old folks, but wondering if they can use the complex interface? First solution that pops up, is to install less apps and increase the font size. But then, you would also be limiting the power of the gadgets. Right? So what do we do.

Android apps for Senior Citizens
You can install apps that are made for older people. These apps make the interface simpler and bigger. A good place to start is by using big launcher. The full version cost around $10 but for most of us the free version is sufficient.
Its interface is minimal and design specially for seniors having vision problems.
First time you open this app, you have to configure it. This is one time only and later it’ll apply your settings, every time your device boot.
Following are some screenshots of big launcher. Notice how this launcher changed the android interface
BIG Launcher
When you long press home screen , you have the option to switch back to default launcher (screenshot) Best of both world.
However the free version of ‘big launcher’ use default android keyboard, which is not ideal for older people with poor vision. Therefore I suggest, you use the Big Keyboard.
With big launcher, they can easily make calls, take pictures and send sos text. But let say they want to explore more apps, like use Facebook, WhatsApp. Then you may have to teach them how to use these apps, but it’s difficult if you are not living with them.
To avoid such situation install TeamViewer. With this app, you can remotely control their android and troubleshoot problem. It’s easy, cross-platform and most importantly don’t require root.
teamViewer for older peoples

Obi Worldphone SF1 Confirmed to Launch in India This Month

Obi Worldphone also announced that it launched the Obi Worldphone SF1 and Worldphone SJ1.5 recently in Vietnam and Dubai markets.
The Obi Worldphone SF1 smartphone went on sale last month in two variants - a 2GB RAM and 16GB inbuilt storage variant at a suggested retail price of $199 (approximately Rs. 13,000), and a 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant available at $249 (approximately Rs. 16,500). The Obi Worldphone SJ1.5, on the other hand, was unveiled at a suggested retail price of $129 (approximately Rs. 8,500).
Announcing the company's plans, Neeraj Chauhan, Co-Founder and CEO of Obi Worldphone, said, "We plan to launch Obi Worldphone in India within this month and are committed to work relentlessly to enthral consumers with our innovations in design, state-of-the-art technology and high standards for manufacturing to deliver inspiring products that overturn the general assumption that great design has to come at a high price."
To recall, both the new Obi smartphones have been designed by San Francisco-based product studio Ammunition, which also developed Obi Lifespeed, a custom user interface based on Android. Obi at the global launch had stressed that the Worldphone-series would be addressing the "market need between high-design smartphones at high prices and generic smartphones at low prices".
For specifications, Obi Worldphone SF1 comes with 4G LTE and supports FDD B3 1800MHz and TDD B40 2300MHz bands. It features a unibody with metallic accents and floating glass display. The smartphone comes with a 5-inch JDI In-Cell IPS full-HD (1080x1920 pixels) display offering a pixel density of 443ppi. It also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for screen protection. It runs Android5.0.2 Lollipop with the Obi Lifespeed UI, and is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) SoC clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with Adreno 405 GPU. The Obi Worldphone SF1 supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 64GB).

The smartphone sports a 13-megapixel autofocus camera with LED Flash, Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor, and f/2.0 aperture. There is a 5-megapixel secondary front camera with LED flash also on board. The dual-SIM (Micro+Nano SIMs) based SF1 smartphone comes with dual mic for noise cancellation, Dolby Audio, and Quick Charge 1.0, for fast charging. It is backed by a 3000mAh battery and features an accelerometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope, and ambient light sensor. It measures 146x74x8mm and weighs 147 grams.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

What is CyanogenMod?

CyanogenMod is one of the best known custom ROMs out there, enabling millions of users around the world to customize their devices to the fullest. With the popularity of CyanogenMod, the developer community enjoyed great success over the years. So much so, that the people behind CyanogenMod started Cyanogen Inc, and developed partnerships with phone manufacturers to have CyanogenMod as the default operating system.

What is a custom ROM?

CyanogenMod started out as a simple alternative to stock Android on the HTC Dream and HTC Magic.
Google releases the source code for Android via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which allows anyone to download the source code for stock Android and modify it to their liking. Many people add features or try to further optimize the operating system to improve performance. When people talk about flashing ROMs, they are referring to overwriting the old version of Android that is installed and replacing it with a third party alternative, like CyanogenMod. This sounds sketchy in a way, but just because the ROM is supported by the community, rather than a commercial entity, it does not mean that they are any less stable. In my experience, custom ROMs have been just as stable if not more so than OEM supplied ROM, depending on the ROM of course.
However, the term “ROM” is not necessarily used correctly when talking about the third party custom firmware. A “ROM” in computer science is “Read-Only Memory” which can only be read and not written to more than once in the most basic sense. Smartphones and tablets use flash memory to store the Android OS, so the correct term should be “custom firmware”. This naming convention may lead to some confusion when talking about custom ROMs, just remember, the firmware is being changed, not any ROMs that might be in the device.

The roots of CyanogenMod

CyanogenMod started out as a simple alternative to stock Android on the HTC Dream and HTC Magic with the initial release of CyanogenMod 3.1 in 2009. With Android’s open source nature and the ability to obtain root access, anything is possible, and with the popularity of the custom ROMs, the CyanogenMod community blossomed. CyanogenMod really started to be recognized with CyanogenMod 7, based on 2.3 Gingerbread. This release added new and improved features over stock Android like BusyBox in the shell, as well as improving the stock apps.

CyanogenMod release cycle and style

CyanogenMod version numbers work just like Android version numbers, i.e. CyanogenMod A.B means that “A” is the major release number and “B” is a minor release number. From version 9 to 10.2, there were a few different types of releases. These included:
  • Nightly – A build generated every 24 hours, newest features but HIGHLY unstable in most cases, not good enough for a daily driver.
  • Experimental – More stable than the nightlies and may be used in other custom ROMs as a base.
  • M Snapshot – More stable than the last two, but still may have some minor issues.
  • Release Candidate – Basically stable, some very minor issues may be present, good enough for daily use.
  • Stable – Pretty much all of the bugs have been squashed. These builds will take a very long time to actually be released.
After 10.2, CyanogenMod has changed the release cycle and the names of everything to simplify the process. This time there are only two options:
  • Development Channel – Same as the nightlies from before, every 24 hours and are highly unstable.
  • Release Channel – M snapshots are made each month which are suitable for daily use, although they lag behind the nightly builds by two weeks as far as features and improvements.

Impact on the dev community

Being the biggest custom ROM, there is obviously an impact on the rest of the dev community, XDA is full of custom ROMs that are based on CyanogenMod. Even the custom ROM that I helped on was based on CyanogenMod for certain devices. Getting everything set up and working from a CyanogenMod base is easier than using stock Android, since a lot of stuff like the theme chooser is already built in, so there is no need to add it.

Advantages over stock Android

The whole reason behind installing a custom ROM is to add features, improve performance, or change the look of stock Android. This is exactly what you get to do with CyanogenMod. There are features in CyanogenMod that are simply not available in stock Android, like the ability to change the status bar to your liking, or apply different themes.
CyanogenMod brings a lot to the table in terms of options, but one of the biggest advantages is root access. Root gives you administrative rights (in Windows terms) to your file system. This means that you can access all of the system files, which in turn allows allows app to do more. For example, there is no official way to backup app data easily, however you can use Titanium Backup and its “root needed” features. This is one of the best apps I have ever used and it should be standard for all devices, you can backup apps no problem and transfer them to any device without fail. There are many other apps like this that just make your life a lot easier. However, a word of warning, root access is not as secure as non-rooted.

How to flash

The first thing you need to do is download the ROM from the development channel or release channel. The general download page can be found here, it is helpful to know your device’s codename, which can easily be looked up with a quick Google. From this page you can download the latest nightly, the option to download a M snapshot or experimental build on the left panel. The next steps can get complicated, but it gets easier once you get used to it. Quick note, this WILL NOT work on all devices, only supported ones.
  • Kiss your warranty goodbye (Android Authority is not responsible for your device, proceed at your own risk.)
  • Unlock your device’s bootloader – This can be very difficult in some cases and is pretty much different for all devices. This will wipe the device clean, so make sure to backup any important data.
  • Install a custom recovery like TWRP or CWM Recovery. This can be done a few different ways, but the best way is through the terminal. Simply download the .img file from the respective site then save it to your computer in a convenient location. once downloaded, make sure ADB and the Android SDK are installed on your computer and working properly. In the terminal or command prompt type “fastboot flash recovery (location of recovery on computer)“. An example would be: “fastboot flash recovery c:\recovery.img”. Once this is finished, reboot your device. The device should boot normally.
  • Flash the ROM zip file, it is basically the same for each recovery, just click “install” then navigate to the folder with the file or if you are using CWM Recovery click “Install” then “Choose zip from SDCard” then navigate to the folder with the file. Then accept the prompt to install it, do not reboot yet, stay in recovery.
  • Flash GApps zip – GApps stands for Google Apps, since these are owned by Google, CyanogenMod can not come pre-installed with them, so just simply flash the zip like you would for the ROM right after installing CyanogenMod. Android 5.1.x GApps and Android 6.0 GApps can be found here, just select the options you want.
  • Reboot! If everything went according to plan, the device should boot into CyanogenMod.


CyanogenMod started as an alternative to stock Android and grew into a company that influences a lot of the dev community, it even has phone manufacturers backing them. While flashing CyanogenMod may be sketchy to install at first, once master it is worth it. With the customizability of CyanogenMod and the things you can do with root, the sky’s the limit.

Friday, 13 November 2015

How to Play old Retro Games (like Mario) on Android

play super mario on Android
But why would anyone play those old 8-bit games, when the newer ones are way better in graphics and everything? And the reason is simple, if you are like me (a 90’s kid) who has grown up playing these games, then playing them once again will bring back the childhood happiness.
Now if you are on a computer, you can easily play them online. But for Android, things are slightly more complex.

How to Play old Retro Games on Android

First, you will need an Android smartphone with a decent processing power. I have tested this on my Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2012) tablet. And both worked fine. Second, you need to download an Android emulator and a ROM of the game you want to play. So let’s see how this works.
Step 1: Get an emulator
Since these games are not designed to run on Android OS, you will need a third-party app (aka emulator) to provide a virtual environment. Now, there are a handful of Android emulators on PlayStore like — My Boy and RetroArch etc.
But for this tutorial, we will use MyBoy. Why, well it’s the most popular and stable than any of its competitors. Though, do note that these emulators are not perfect and may not run every the game you threw on them.
play retro games on Android with myboy
So head over to Google play and install MyBoy. The free version is ad-supported and lacks some nifty features like saving and restoring games and cheat sheet, but still it’s totally useable.
Once you open the app, you will notice it will ask you to load a ROM. So what is ROM and how do you get it?
Step 2: Get a ROM
ROM has a different meaning in different context. And here it means a modified version of an original game, that can run on Android.
Now, since there are many independent developers who modify these ROM for you; all you have to do is load these file (.zip or .gba) onto the emulator and the game with start instantaneously.
Now where do we find these ROMs? Well, since offering ROM of a copyright games are illegal, no emulators comes with pre-built ROMs. But you can easily find them with simple Google search like ‘Super Mario ROM for Android‘. (see screenshot below)
search for ROM on Google
Based on my experience, sites like doperom and coolrom hosts almost all popular ROMs of retro games. So if you see them in search results, prefer them over others. Else go for the top search results.
You can download these ROM (which is around few MBs) either on your computer and then send them to your android or you can directly download them on your mobile.
And once done, open the emulator (GameBoy app) and import the ROM. And that’s it, your game will start instantly.
load ROM on Myboy
By default the game loads in portrait mode with the controller at the bottom half of the screen. To get the full screen, either rotate your device to landscape or go to video settings of the app.

Upload non square picture on WhatsApp & Instagram

Update: Instagram photos no longer have to be square

Pictures taken by the camera are in either in portrait or landscape mode. But you can only upload square photos in Instagram. Similarly, your profile picture has to be square on WhatsApp.  

When the image is not square, you have to crop your upload. Thus, we have compromise with the background’s detail. Even re-sizing it to square resolution make it look weird.
The only workaround is by applying padding around the image.How? There are dedicated apps and online services to do that. So let’s check them out. 
Upload-photos-to-instagram-without-cropping-in Android
There are many square image generator apps for android. I prefer  #SquareDroid. The app is simple and does it job. Also, you can quickly open the app from the share option on the photo.
Upload-photos-to-instagram-without-cropping-in-Windows phone
If you have a windows phone then use 6tag. It is free and work quite well. Although I don’t have a windows phone and never tested this app personally. But people I know, have been using these apps for long and never complained. Its store’s rating is pretty good.
Squaregram is the best option for iOS users. It’s free and does it job nicely. Again I don’t own an iOS device either, so couldn’t test this app myself. However, the app has good review and has been featured on many websites.
Blackberry and Nokia
Sadly there is no app available for you. There used to be an online square image generator tool. But it’s no longer available. So the only option is to use Photoshop or other image editors.
In case you are using Instagram on computer then you can sideload #SquareDroid apk on ARC welder– a chrome extension to run Android apps on the computer. I have tried it on my Windows and MAC computer and it worked great.
If you are using gramblr to upload pictures, then you this online tool.