Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android 5.0 Lollipop will be released soon for Nexus devices (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, the new Nexus 6, the new Nexus 9 and the Nexus 10). Android 5.0 Lollipop will also be released for Google Play Edition devices. Other devices will (or will not) get Android 5.0 Lollipop depending on the manufacturer.

Interesting features of the new version of Android include:

  • Works on wearable devices, smartphones, tablets, TVs and cars
  • Material design
  • Enhanced notifications (and they are less obtrusive too)
  • New lock screen
  • Enhanced multitasking
  • New battery saver mode (I need this!)

And Android has a new tagline which I love:

Android: Be together. Not the same.

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

MoneyWise – Your Budget Tracking App

A few weeks ago after a discussion with a friend, I realised that it was high time for me to start better manage by personal finances. I therefore started a hunt to find the best Finance/Budget management app and that’s basically how I found MoneyWise.

20140407-moneywise-register20140407-moneywise-graph

MoneyWise is one of the best budget tracking app on the Play Store. Everything takes place on the phone itself i.e. no web apps or services.

MoneyWise allows you to easily register your expenses or revenues on the go. Add a description, an amount, select a category (optional) and register it as an expense or an income. Since the app allows you to add several accounts, you can also specify on which account the transaction should take place. You can later on view a list of all expenses and/or incomes for a particular account over a specific period of time.

Another interesting and according to be very useful feature the app possesses is the ability to create budgets. Suppose you’ve decided to allocate only Rs3000 to entertainment for the coming month. Simply create a monthly budget with a value of Rs3000. Each time you register a new expense which belongs to the entertainment category, it will be deducted from your budget. You can therefore know exactly at any time how much money is left for your entertainment budget. The app will also tell you when you are going over budget or even when you are under budget.

Last but not least, the app allows you to visualise your transactions on a nice graph. You can easily see the percentage of your expenses which belong to specific categories. I’m sure you’ll find this feature very insightful. It greatly helped me to create my budgets for the next month and to cut out on certain expenses. Categories include entertainment, transportation and groceries among others. However, another cool thing is that you can add your own categories.

The app has a free version and a Pro version which currently costs $6.87. I am personally using the free version. I highly recommend it. You can have a look at the app description on the Play Store for a complete list of features of both the free and Pro versions.

PS. If you’ve had the chance to use other finance/budget management app, just leave a comment. I would be glad to hear about it.

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

Android Wear

20140407-Moto360

Avinash Meetoo, Founder and CEO of Knowledge Seven, shares his views on Android Wear.

Après Android dans les téléphones portables et les tablettes, on parle d’Android Wear, qui pourrait être porté et emmené partout, c’est-à-dire ?

Android Wear est une nouvelle version d’Android conçu pour les appareils que nous pouvons porter sur nous comme les montres mais aussi les bijoux, etc.

Android, étant conçu pour les smartphones et les tablettes, impose quelques contraintes, le plus important étant que l’appareil doit avoir un écran rectangulaire d’une certaine taille. Android Wear, par contre, n’impose aucune contrainte de forme ni de taille.

Qui est derrière cette création et pourquoi ?

Une montre fonctionnant sous Android Wear n’est pas autonome. Il doit être connecté avec un smartphone ou une tablette Android pour fonctionner correctement. Dans ce cas, la montre peut, par exemple, en plus de donner l’heure, vous montrer les SMS entrants, les derniers messages reçus des réseaux sociaux, etc. De plus, Android Wear inclut Google Now. Cette technologie, qui existe par ailleurs sur l’ensemble des appareils Android modernes, vous permet de demander une question verbalement et l’appareil vous répond. Par exemple, il est possible de demander à Google Now, et donc, à n’importe quel appareil Android Wear, une question comme “What is the distance between Quatre-Bornes and Port-Louis?” ou “Who is the current President of the Republic of Mauritius?” ou même “At what time does the sun set today?” J’attends avec impatience l’option Kreol Morisien…

La partie logicielle d’Android Wear est l’oeuvre de Google et de la communauté open source (logiciels libres). Rappelons qu’Android et Android Wear fonctionnement tout deux sous Linux. En ce qui concerne les appareils, Google s’est associé avec ses partenaires habituels comme Motorola Mobility (que Google possède), LG, HTC, Samsung, etc. Ces appareils Android Wear seront disponibles dans quelques mois.

Votre avis sur le prototype de montre intégrant « Android Wear. »

Lors de l’annonce d’Android Wear, deux prototypes de montres ont été montrés: un de LG et un autre de Motorola, le Moto 360. Ce dernier a fait sensation. Son look post-moderne a vraiment attiré l’attention et j’attends avec impatience son lancement afin de pouvoir en commander un. 2014 sera l’année où j’espère pouvoir remplacer ma montre par une montre intelligente avec qui je peux converser 🙂

Quels sont les fonctions et services qui seront proposés via cette montre ?

J’ai mentionné les fonctions de cette montre plus haut. Le point important est que la montre devient une deuxième interface pour son smartphone ou sa tablette (qui peut donc rester dans un sac). Les possibilités sont énormes surtout si on considère que la montre comprend le langage parlé.

Est-ce que ce service pourrait avoir des effets néfastes ?

Pas spécifiquement. Android Wear n’est qu’une extension, après coup évidente, d’Android.

Le prix de vente ?

Cette information n’a pas encore été communiquée. J’ai cru entendre $300.

Cette technologie atteindra-t-elle Maurice ? Si oui quand ?

Naturellement. Dans quelques mois. Nous avons de la chance, à Maurice, d’avoir accès à pas mal de produits technologiques.

Beaucoup de personnes, dont moi, commanderont la montre sur Amazon, eBay ou autre. J’espère simplement que l’ICTA nous causera pas trop de soucis à l’arrivée… Nous sommes en 2014 après tout: la science fiction n’est plus fiction!

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

Samsung Galaxy Round

samsung-galaxy-round

Why round? By looking closely at it, you’ll see that the Samsung Galaxy Round features a curved display. Yes. That’s Samsung’s new hardware gimmick. To be more specific, the Samsung Galaxy Round features a 5.7 inches Super Flexible AMOLED display. Now, you need to understand that flexible display here doesn’t mean that you will be able to bend it or anything and that it will be in a fixed position. The curve is actually quite subtle to be honest. At first glance, it looks a lot like the Galaxy Note 3, except that it’s slimmer. [Read more…]

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3

Samsung created a new category of mobile devices two years ago with the Galaxy Note: a smartphone with a large screen and a stylus. Since then, we have had the Note 2 and today AndroidMauritius is reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. As a matter of fact, tonight, Samsung is officially launching the Galaxy Note 3 in Mauritius and I have been invited to give a speech of what I think of the Note 3 during the event.

Features

Most of the high-end smartphones are extremely powerful and only a few of us use them to the full.

The Note 3 is no exception and is a very high-end device. It features a quad-core processor, has 3 GB of RAM (more memory than most of us have on our laptops and desktops) and has a large 3200 mAh battery. This is crucial to power its gargantuan 5.7″ Full HD screen (same as a typical 40″ LCD!).

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-screen

Having such a large 1920 x 1080 screen on a phone might be considered by some as being frivolous but this allows for comfortable video viewing and, crucially, to see more when actually using the phone for doing productive work. I’ve been using the phone for a few days now and I have to say that I’m impressed by the amount of information one can see on screen at the same time. Remember, it’s not only the size but also the resolution.

Like its competitors, the Note 3 has a 13 megapixels rear camera and a 2 megapixels front camera. The rear camera, which people generally use to take photos, is fantastic. It focuses very quickly and photos are taken with minimal latency. A gimmick which I personally love is that the camera can take a photo as soon as you say “Smile”. Like I said, I love this feature and my kids too!

The Note 3 is slim and light (it weighs 168g only). It has leather at the back (very nice and upmarket) and can be obtained either in black or white. I have been using the black variant and it looks gorgeous.

The Galaxy Note 3 runs the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system and, of course, Samsung has added quite a lot of new features to Android to make optimal use of…

… the S-Pen

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-s-pen

When I was younger, I had a Sony Clié PDA and, at that time, as it had no touchscreen, it came with a stylus. Since then, the world has turned and we are now surrounded with touchscreens. From time to time, I still miss my stylus as it was useful for two important reasons: it’s great when you have to draw something and it’s also excellent when having to write something quickly.

The S-Pen, which is Samsung’s idea of what a stylus should be in 2013, is phenomenal. Not because of the actual hardware (after all, a stylus is a stylus is a stylus…) but because of the customisations made to Android to make it more powerful when used with a stylus.

Here are the main things that you can do with a Note 3 (because of the S-Pen) that you’ll have lots of difficulties doing with a smartphone or a tablet lacking a stylus.

Air Command

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-air-command

Hovering the S-Pen above the screen and pressing its button (yes, it has one) shows the Air Command circular menu. From it, you can choose a number of actions, all of them making full use of the S-Pen.

First is Action Memo, a floating note-taking app which runs atop the current app. Adding a handwritten note anytime is a breeze and, interestingly, once the note is written, handwriting recognition software kicks in and you can then call the number scribbled if it’s a number, add it to contacts, SMS to it, email if you wrote an email, browse for anything, open a map if you wrote the name of a place or an address or add what you have written as a task. Simple and very useful.

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-action-memo

Second is the Scrapbooker to collect anything (text, images, videos, webpages, etc.) in collections. For example, you can have a collection called “Work” or “Nice Restaurants”, etc. It’s bookmarking for 2013.

Another great feature is Screen Write which basically grabs the screen (with whatever being shown on it) and then you can write on that image. There are quite powerful drawing facilities built-in for doing sketching, mind maps, etc. Once this is done, you can, of course, save the annotated image or share it to others using Android’s sharing facilities.

The fourth feature is S Finder which is basically Google Search for the phone. What I love with S Finder is that it also works with handwriting e.g. if you created a handwritten note in the past.

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-pen-window

The fifth feature, which I’m really impressed with, is Pen Window. Simply said, it allows you to draw an outline on the screen and open another app within that outline. For example, opening a calculator while composing an email is easy now, without having to leave the email application. This is really nice multitasking for mobile devices. Interestingly, while it’s possible to launch two different apps at the same time, it’s also possible to use the same app in two distinct windows. For example, one can do two chats sessions with different people at the same time. There is also full support for drag and drop between the apps (text, images, videos, etc.).

A bonus feature is My Magazine, which looks quite a lot to Flipboard according to me, and allows you to create your own magazine from news feeds. It has deep integration with social networks too.

20131018-samsung-galaxy-note3-avinash-meetoo

My conclusion

Do I want one? Yes.

Do I need one? That’s something else. It all depends on how central a mobile device is in your life. Businessmen, who need to be aware of what is happening all the time, will be tempted to get one. Some geeks will do. And, of course, a lot of people, who will only use 10% of the device’s capabilities, will too because, well, that’s human behaviour. The fact that the Galaxy Note 3 is going to cost around Rs 30,000 is also something that needs to be taken into account. It’s expensive.

In spite of this, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a fantastic device: powerful, big and with a very innovative implementation of a stylus.

It’s worthy of a Gold Medal on AndroidMauritius.

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

Vint Cerf interview on Knowledge7.TV

20131003-screenshot-knowledge7tv

Engineering is the art of turning science fiction into reality says Dr Vinton (Vint) Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

In September 2013, Christina and Avinash Meetoo of Knowledge Seven, did an interview with Vint Cerf. He talks about the importance of the Internet, creativity, entrepreneurship and what young Mauritians should aspire to. He puts a lot of emphasis on good education and the need to really master science, mathematics and, specifically, engineering.

He strongly believes that competent Mauritian engineers can make a difference.

Visit www.knowledge7.tv to watch the video.

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

HTC One Mini

One mini

If HTC’s flagship, the HTC One, seems a bit too big for you, here’s a miniaturized version of it – the HTC One Mini. The handset actually has a lot in common with its bigger brother and allows you to do almost everything you can do with the HTC One. Let’s take a closer look.

Apart from its size (132 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm), the HTC One Mini has a lot in common with the HTC One. On the outside, they look almost the same as you might have expected. This is great because very few mid-range devices have such a nice build. It features a 4.3 inches Super LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, with a resolution of 720×1280 pixels, which is almost as good as the HTC One’s screen. The BoomSound speakers, albeit smaller than the HTC One’s, offer very good sound quality. [Read more…]

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

No need to call 150 anymore thanks to Mauritius Directory

Here’s a very useful Android app which I fell upon and would like to share with you. It’s called Mauritius Directory and as you might already have guessed, it provides you with phone numbers. You might think that it’s no big deal but Mauritius Directory can actually prove to be really handy. No need to call 150 and wait for a nice lady’s voice to answer anymore.

kom2                   kom1

The phone numbers are divided into four main sections namely Directory, Emergency, Events and Cinema. When you go to the Directory section you’ll find a nice box where you can either enter a phone number and get the corresponding name and address or enter a name and get the person’s phone number and address. The Emergency section, which according to me is the most important, provides you with phone numbers of the police (including ADSU, domestic violence desk among others), ambulances, fire stations, some towing service stations and hospitals. Numbers of Municipalities and District Councils can be found in this section too. [Read more…]

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Blackberry curve

Let’s take a look at the BlackBerry Curve 8520, a device released back in 2009. It is definitely not a topnotch phone but its relatively low price can make it a good choice for those who are looking for a phone which offers more than basic phone features but still don’t have the money to go for an Iphone or the latest HTC One. [Read more…]

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.

Sony Xperia Z

sonyxperiaz

With medium quality earlier handsets such as the Sony Xperia P and Sony Xperia S, we can guess that Sony actually bet a lot on that one. Actually, the Sony Xperia Z has what it takes to compete with first class players such as the HTC One or Galaxy S4 in terms of specs. The device certainly has some major strengths but unfortunately on the other side it has some major weaknesses too. [Read more…]

All prices mentioned are approximate based on information gathered at the time the post was written. We are trying to find a way for prices to become more current. If you are a seller and want your price to be shown, call us on 427-9225.