CyanogenMod is a very popular ROM in the Android ecosystem. All users needed was a rooted Android device. About three weeks ago, CyanogenMod introduced its CyanogenMod installer app on the play store. This was a sign that CyanogenMod or CM as its known, was now friendly enough to be installed by Android users who were not really technical adept at installing ROMs.
The party came crashing today with CyanogenMod having to voluntarily remove it's installer app from the Google Play store.
The reason from removing the app in CyanogenMod's blog post was that the app encouraged users to void their warranty. This was against Google Play guidelines that would have basically meant the app would have been kicked out at some point of time, if it had not been removed voluntarily.
Google will get bad press, but it is right!
Google for this action will soon be called evil and I am sure many thousands of words will be written about how this indicates that the Android ecosystem is closed and not open. Google might get bad press but in my opinion it is doing the right thing.
Getting CyanogenMod installed on a phone is not something a newbie does or even explores. Most people who do this through Cyanogenmod.org are actually technically adept at installing 3rd ROMs on their phones. With a Play Store app a newbie could easily install CyanogenMod on his phone without knowing the risks of voiding warranty. Also reverting back from CM is also not easy and that is a very important guideline for any app on Google Play.
CyanogenMod in all probability will fix this with changes in the future.
My experience with tablets is not really old. It started about six months ago when I got myself an iPad Mini. The Apple device was something I was very happy with but I was looking forward to the new Nexus 7 tablet being released in India.
The first thing that hit me was how small the device actually is. The iPad Mini is about 5.3 inches wide while the Nexus 7 is about 4.4 inches wide. The height of both devices were the same. I was a little apprehensive if the Nexus 7 would work out for me with such a small screen. Compared to an iPad Mini it looks pretty small.
The small size concerns were quickly dismissed as I found the Nexus 7 screen brilliant. It supports 1920 X 1200 HD resolution with 323 ppi (pixels per inch). The iPad Mini supports about 163 ppi with 1024 X 720 resolution display. Forget all the spec numbers, the display performance of Nexus 7 is simply great.
The Nexus 7 (2013) obviously has a lot more power with Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5 GHz). The Nexus 7 has 32 GB storage and 2 GB RAM (other variants are with 16 GB and 32 GB with 4G) which is a great deal of storage space.
The rear facing camera is 5MP and the front facing camera is 1.2 MP. The 3950 mAh battery promises 9 hours of active use. It is still early days to see if it as good as the iPad Mini.
Android 4.4 on Nexus 7
It is a bit difficult to see how greatly the Android 4.4 has improved the performance of the Nexus 7 as the first thing I did with Nexus 7 was to get it updated to Android 4.4. With guaranteed update to Android KitKat, ideally the update shows up in notifications within moments of setting up the tablet.
Android 4.4 allows hotword detection which allows users to start a search by just saying "OK Google". With this addition, Google Now is miles ahead of Apple's SIRI. To switch on hotword detection, open the Google Search app and look up Settings >> Voice >> Select Hotword detection. If the Hotword detection option is not visible change the language to English (US) and the option will show up.
I also saw a new app called QuickOffice which helps creates documents, spreadsheets and presentations. QuickOffice seemed to be very closely integrated with Google Drive.
Finally I saw a new feature in the device settings called Printing. I have not tested this out but it links up to Cloud Print or HP Print Service.
Widgets are a good idea on a tablet!
I am not a big fan of widgets on my Nexus 4 phone, though it is one of the most cited advantage over iOS by Android fans. But with a tablet, the screen is a lot bigger and widgets suddenly seemed more useful on a tablet. I have currently chosen Google Now widget.
The notifications on Android are much better in the sense I can carry out actions like delete, share images and more with notifications that show up.
What Nexus 7 does not get right
Google does offer tablet only apps on Play store and most of them are pretty decent. But Android simply is nowhere close to the variety that iOS offers for tablets. As I stated in the beginning of this article that my iPad Mini is used by members of my family and not just me. This is because of the variety of apps and how simple it is to use as a device. I have personally seen even a seven year old confidently operate the iPad Mini.
The Nexus 7 runs on Android which can be customized but with customization comes personality and that means I doubt a Nexus 7 tablet would become a family device. Also my Nexus 7 froze in its first hour when I was checking the front facing camera. It got fixed after I put my device in "Safe Mode". I removed an app that I had recently downloaded and the issue was fixed. This never happened to my iPad Mini. There is no "Safe Mode" and I have never come across any app on iOS that crashes the device.
That said, if you are looking for a tablet with an awesome display screen, then the Nexus 7 tablet is a good buy at Rs. 24,000 (23,999) for a 32 GB Wifi version. A comparable iPad Mini with 32 GB storage is almost Rs. 28,000 but as I mentioned has a much inferior display. A iPad Mini with retina display with 32 GB storage is currently sold at $500 in the US.
If you regularly listened to music on your computer over the past few years then chances are you have used Winamp. Winamp has announced it is shutting down. Winamp.com will itself shutdown and the software will not be available for download from 20th December 2013.
The media player was more famous for playing music files than video files. Despite being a very popular media player, it really did not take off into selling online music or digital music. Over the years, it lost out to the likes of iTunes by Apple and also probably the rise of online video streaming site like YouTube did not help.
Winamp was created by a company called Nullsoft which was acquired by AOL. This was back in the late 90s when MP3 music was a big rage and iconic upstarts like Napster were changing the music industry. AOL was working with TIme-Warner a media company on a merger. Media companies were traditionally against digital sales of music or the whole MP3 revolution.
That finished off the chances of Winamp doing something like say Apple iTunes did. In the following years, Napster was brought down, but Winamp survived as the amount of downloaded music was growing exponentially.
Lately with music moving from PCs to phones, Winamp was probably a lost cause. It is sad because of its rich legacy but it is probably for the best.
The current year seems to be the final goodbye to many internet old timers like Google Reader, AltaVista and now Winamp.
If you are one of those who wants to buy the new Nexus 5 phone or the Nexus 7 tablet, you should head over to the Google Play Store. Though I expected the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 to debut on 14th November but that date seemed off by a week. It might have ended up missing the shopping frenzy in India but Android enthusiasts were probably aware the Nexus phone will show up
Nexus 5 in India
The Nexus 5 phone running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat is available in two variants with 16 GB and 32 GB memory storage. While I checked Google Play store, the phone was not available in black colour but was available with white. The price of the 16 GB phone was as expectedRs. 28,999 and the 32 GB is priced Rs. 32,999.
The Nexus 7 tablet's latest 2013 version was released a few months ago in the US. The device runs Android 4.3 Jellybean but it will have an assured update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is available in three different varieties. The 16 GB variant is available in WiFi only and the 32GB variant is available in WiFi and also another one with LTE unlocked (GSM).
Nexus 7 16 GB WiFi – Rs. 20,999
Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi – Rs. 23,999
Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi – Rs. 27,999
The Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi version is a pretty good deal. I personally ordered myself a Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi tablet and when its delivered, you can expect a complete review.
While the new Nexus 7 is far superior to its last years predecessor, it still is a handy tablet to have. The best part of the old Nexus 7 are being sold at prices as low as Rs. 8,999. I saw that price on Flipkart but on Amazon.in it was available for Rs. 11,299.
While researching something online, you might get an important call or need to go somewhere to a important meeting. That can be irritating especially as you need to save your files and sync them over Google Drive or Dropbox and save your browser tabs with a handy extension. CupCloud gets both syncing files and tabs working with a single click.
Firstly download CupCloud and install it on your computer. It works with Windows and OS X. I have tested it only on my Windows PC.
Now start working and when ever you need to save a bunch of tabs and word and excel documents open on your computer, just start the CupCloud software and click on "Cup".
Once done, it will store all your open tabs and files with a single click.
If you create an account with Cup Cloud, you can open and sync tabs and folders across different computers. Currently Cup Cloud supports Chrome, Safari and among browsers. It also supports MS Word, Excel and Power Point files along with support for Windows Explorer and Mac Finder.
Do note that the product is still in beta and promises to support more file types.
Do try out Cup Cloud and let me know what you think of it in your comments.
Google has recently revealed that over 120 million users are active on Google Drive. The number is big enough for Google to introduce new features with Gmail that will allow users to save their attachments directly on Google Drive. The update is slowly being rolled out over the next week so you might not see it for a few days on your Gmail account.
By next week we should be seeing easier options to save attachments to Google Drive directly.
As seen in the image above, all your attachments could be saved on Google Drive with a single click. It will also allow users to choose the folder on Google Drive where a particular file has to be saved into.
Google Drive having 120 million users is a big deal!
Google Drive having 120 million active users might not seem a huge as Gmail probably has a lot more active users. The difference is Google Drive also encompasses Google Docs. So it means that many people have some sort of familiarity to a free online alternative to MS Office. Also with closer integration with Gmail, it means more people might be saving their MS Word and MS Excel sheets on Google Drive, something Microsoft will be not very happy about.
Facebook is pushing a new design to its iconic "Like" button. The "Like" button is now more or less a constant on just about any website, to get visitors sharing links on their own Facebook profiles.
Today, Facebook's developer blog introduced a new way the "Like" button will show up. The new button has vectorised design. Facebook is also introducing the option of getting websites to use both the "Like" and "Share" button. The two buttons seem similar to people but they are actually very different. The "Share" button allows users to add a comment to the link they are sharing on their timeline. The "Like" button only shares the link on a users timeline.
How does one test the new "Like" button?
The Facebook "Like" and "Share" buttons are used by 7.5 million websites. But rolling out the new buttons to websites over time, Facebook is rolling the new button design to a percentage of users.
This is a bit strange as it might mean that a website owner might not see the newly designed button while visitors to the site might get to see the button. This could be problematic especially if the new design breaks or does not go well with the overall design of a website.
Are you seeing the new "Like" button and do you like it? Do drop in your comments.