Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Google for India event: Tez is being renamed Google Pay, updates to Google Go, Search, Assistant, Maps, and more

google youtube gaming

At the annual Google for India event held in New Delhi on Tuesday, Google made many announcements. The first of them was that Google Tez is being renamed Google Pay. There were also announcements related to Google Assistant, Google Search, Android Go, Google Go, Google Maps, Google Station, and more. Let's take a look at them one-by-one:

Google Tez becomes Google Pay

Google Tez is Google's UPI-based payment platform in India. With the lack of NFC-based mobile payment solutions in the country, Google opted not to launch Google Pay (formerly known as Android Pay) in India, and instead launched a UP-based mobile payment system which is different from NFC-based payment systems. Tez has achieved a certain degree of success in India. In March, Tez had added a chat feature allowing users to communicate with their contacts while sending and receiving money. Now, it will be known as Google Pay.

Rich interactions are coming to Google Pay, and Google states that 15,000 retail stores will use Google Pay by Diwali this year. Businesses and merchants can also now pay for Google Ads using Google Pay. According to Google, over 1.2 million small businesses in India are already using Tez/Google Pay.

The company also announced that 22 million people now use Tez every month. A total of 750 million transactions have been made since its launch in September 2017.

The re-brand of Tez to Google Pay will complete in the next two weeks. Merchants will get the option to enable payments directly from their app, while customers can swipe the Pay button to pay their nearby merchants. An option to show a QR code will also be available to customers to customers to make seamless payments. The merchants will get transaction history on their app alongside customer details such as picture, name, the amount they have paid, as well as the transaction ID for each historical transaction.

Google also stated that over time, the company will bring many India-specific Tez features to Google Pay users in other countries just as the country has brought features launched elsewhere to India. All Tez features will remain in Google Pay.

Google Assistant

Google stated that Google Assistant usage in India has grown 3x over the past year. The Assistant is now available in Marathi, and the company is working on making it available in seven regional Indian languages soon. Users can also seamlessly switch between English and Hindi when talking with the Assistant. Google added that Airtel users will be able to view their cellular account's data by asking the Assistant.

Google Home users will be able to speak to the smart speaker in Hindi.

Google Search updates in India

Voice search has grown by 270% year-over-year in India. Google Search itself has seen 50% year-over-year growth, and Google stated that it will now offer relevant results in regional languages. There will also be more Indian sources in the search results.

The Google Feed is now available in English and Hindi. It will also be available in Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil in a few weeks.

In light of the fact that one of 35 searches in Google India are for the definition of a word, Google will now deliver definitions in both English and Hindi, and will deliver a pronunciation guide as well.

Google Go

The Google Go app will also get the Google Feed soon. It will be able to read out articles in regional languages, with each word getting highlighted in real-time. Users will also be able to adjust the speed settings.

Android Go

Google mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core is Samsung's first Android Go phone. Android Go now has 150 hardware partners, and 400 Android Go phones will arrive by the end of the year.

Google Maps

Google mentioned that Maps Go is getting turn-by-turn directions. The app's homescreen will now have new shortcuts. Also, Maps will now get voice guidance in both English and Hindi. The two-wheeler mode in Maps is used by 20 million people in India every month, and over 50 million buildings have been added to Google Maps in India in 2018.

The company has also partnered with RedBus to offer better public transport information on Maps. Users will get info on ticket prices and timings of buses on over 20,000 routes across 1,500 cities thanks to the partnership.

Project Navlekha

Project Navlekha is an initiative by Google to work with over 100,000 offline publishers to bring regional language content online. The way it works is by using OCR to extract text from regional language PDFs and then publish it online on branded domains in under 60 seconds. The initiative comes in light of Google's belief that regional language content will define the future of Internet in India.

Google Station

Google is partnering with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to bring Google Station (public Wi-Fi hotspots using ) to over 12 thousand villages, towns, and cities across the state as a part of its Next Billion Users initiative. The company's aim is to provide high-quality Internet access to remote areas in the state as well as public places like hospitals in cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

Other announcements

Google stated that Google.org has pledged $1 million to several NGOs who are doing relief and recovery work in the flood-hit state of Kerala, in order to help the people in the affected regions.

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Realme 2 launched in India with 6.2″ notched display, Snapdragon 450, and dual cameras

Realme 2 dual rear cameras

The Realme 1 was launched on May 15 as Realme's first smartphone. At that time, Realme was an online-only brand of OPPO. The Realme 1 provided a lot of value for its price, with its list of specifications including the MediaTek Helio P60 system-on-chip, 3GB/4GB/6GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB/128GB storage, 13MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera, and a 3,410mAh battery. Its starting 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant was sold for ₹8,990 ($127), which undercut all of its competitors.

Last month, Oppo's Vice President resigned from the company to form Realme as an independent brand. The Realme 1 went on to become a success in India, with 400,000 units being sold in 40 days. Three months after the launch of the Realme 1 launch, the brand is back with the Realme 2. The Realme 2 was being teased for the last few weeks, and now, it has been officially announced. In terms of specifications, the phone is surprising as it actually makes a few significant downgrades when compared to its predecessor. Its full list of specifications is noted below:

Realme 2 – Specifications at a glance

Specifications Realme 2
Dimensions and weight 156.2 x 75.6 x 8.2 mm, 168g.
Software ColorOS 5.1 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 (8x Arm Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.8GHz); Adreno 506 GPU
RAM and storage 3GB/4GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB of storage; dedicated microSD card slot
Battery 4,230mAh; 5V/2A charging
Display 6.2-inch HD+ (1520×720) IPS LCD with 19:9 aspect ratio, maximum brightness of 360 nits
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, Dual 4G VoLTE
Ports microUSB port, dual nano SIM slots, 3.5mm headphone jack
Sensors Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, back-mounted fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
HSPA: 850/900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/3/5/8
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41
LTE-A Cat6 300/50Mbps
Rear camera 13MP primary camera with f/2.2 aperture
2MP depth sensing camera with f/2.4 aperture
Video recording up to 1080p at 30fps
Front-facing camera 8MP with f/2.2 aperture, 85-degree wide-angle lens

In terms of design, the Realme 2 is the first smartphone in India to adopt the notched display at a price point of less than ₹10,000. It also has a fingerprint sensor, which is a welcome upgrade over the Realme 1. The phone still has software-based face unlock as another unlock mechanism.

The Realme 2's dual rear cameras are placed vertically at the top left on the back. Design and build quality is very similar to the Realme 1, with the same "diamond-cut" pattern and fibreglass construction.


The most significant downgrade made by the Realme 2 over the Realme 1 is the SoC. The Realme 1 featured the highly capable MediaTek Helio P60 SoC, which was a competitor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. The Realme 2, on the other hand, switches to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, which is a downgraded variant of the Snapdragon 625. The SoC is a significant step back as it doesn't have a big core cluster, which means that CPU performance of the Realme 2 won't even be close to the Realme 1. Even the Adreno 506 GPU is substantially slower than the Mali-G72MP3 GPU of the Helio P60.

The RAM and storage configurations of the Realme 2 are also inferior to the Realme 1. Whereas the Realme 1 had a top-end 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant, the Realme 2 caps out at 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. The phone retains a dedicated microSD card slot (triple slot) that allows users to use two SIMs and a microSD card at the same time.


The Realme 2 has a 6.2-inch HD+ (1520×720) notched IPS LCD with a maximum brightness rating of 360 nits. The display resolution is another downgrade over the Realme 1, which featured a 5.99-inch Full HD+ (2160×1080) display. The 360 nits maximum brightness rating is also a bit low when compared to competitors that have displays as bright as 400+ nits.


The Realme 2 steps up to a dual rear camera setup, with a 13MP primary camera with f/2.2 aperture paired with a 2MP depth sensor that has a f/2.4 aperture. The front-facing camera remains at 8MP resolution with f/2.2 aperture, and it's used for face unlock.

Pricing and availability

The Realme 2's starting 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant will be available for ₹8,990 in India, while the 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant will cost ₹10,990. The phone will be available in Diamond Black and Diamond Red colors, while the Diamond Blue color will go on sale in early October. The first sale will be held on September 4 at 12PM IST.

Launch offers include ₹750 discount on HDFC Bank debit and credit card purchases, and "up to 120GB additional data" and "benefits worth up to ₹4,200" from Jio.

The Realme 2 will also be the first Realme smartphone to be available in additional markets. It will go on sale in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Realme 2 Pro launching in September

The Realme 2's specifications are disappointing at first glance, as the phone has taken one step forward and two (no, make that three) steps backward over the Realme 1. Realme, however, is teasing another phone launch, the Realme 2 Pro, in India. It will be unveiled in September, and the "Pro" branding signifies higher-end specifications. The device will supposedly be "for those who want better offerings in a little bit higher price segments," according to Realme.

Source: Flipkart

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Monday, August 27, 2018

LG G7 One is LG’s first smartphone in the Android One program

LG G7 One and LG G7 Fit

IFA 2018 starts this week, and we expect to learn about new products from the likes of Sony, Huawei, LG, and others. Ahead of the event, LG has decided to announce two new products that they'll be showcasing during the event: the LG G7 One and the LG G7 Fit. Both devices have "Boombox Speakers," IP68 rating, and meet the MIL-STD 810G durability standard. Both devices differ pretty significantly from the standard LG G7 in areas such as the choice of SoC and camera sensors, although they are similar to the standard G7 in other aspects such as featuring notched LCDs and retaining the 3.5mm headphone jacks. Here are the specifications for both devices.

LG G7 One

LG G7 One

The LG G7 One happens to be LG's first smartphone in the Android One program, interestingly. That means, unlike the LG V35 ThinQ or LG G7 ThinQ, the LG G7 One will be running a stock build of Android. Devices in the Android One program should also get monthly security patches fairly quickly when compared to non-Android One devices.

The G7 One comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. When compared to the regular LG G7 ThinQ, it sports last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. That means it'll cost less than the standard G7, but we won't know about the exact pricing or availability details until LG's event. You can view the rest of the specifications below.

Specification LG G7 One
Dimensions and Weight 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm


Display 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440 @ 564ppi) 19.5:9 notched FullVision Super Bright IPS display
CPU/GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with Adreno 540 GPU
Storage 32GB UFS 2.1 expandable up to 2TB microSD
Battery 3,000 mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Rear Camera(s) 16MP rear camera with f/1.6 aperture, 71° wide-angle lens, and LED flash
Front Camera(s) 8MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture, 80° wide-angle lens
Software Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One)
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, DTS:X, Boombox Speaker
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, NFC, GPS, 4G LTE, FM radio
Ports/Buttons USB 2.0 Type-C, Google Assistant button
Security Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Protection IP68 (waterproof and dustproof), MIL-STD 810G certified
Colors New Aurora Black, New Moroccan Blue

LG G7 Fit

LG G7 Fit


The LG G7 Fit, on the other hand, sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 system-on-chip. That's a 2-year-old SoC, but LG claims that the price on this model should be even lower than the LG G7 One. Since this model isn't in the Android One program, it'll be running Android 8.1 Oreo customized with LG UX. Unlike the G7 One and the standard G7, the LG G7 Fit won't have a dedicated Google Assistant button. We'll learn more details about the device during LG's event. You can view the rest of the specifications below.

Specification LG G7 Fit
Dimensions and Weight 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm


Display 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440 @ 564ppi) 19.5:9 notched FullVision Super Bright IPS display
CPU/GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 with Adreno 530 GPU
Storage 32/64GB UFS 2.1 expandable up to 2TB microSD
Battery 3,000 mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Rear Camera(s) 16MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, 76° wide-angle lens, LED flash
Front Camera(s) 8MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture, 80° wide-angle lens
Software Android 8.1 Oreo with LG UX
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, DTS:X, Boombox Speaker
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC, GPS, 4G LTE, FM radio
Ports/Buttons USB 2.0 Type-C
Security Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Protection IP68 (waterproof and dustproof), MIL-STD 810G certified
Colors New Platinum Gray, New Aurora Black

Source: LG Newsroom (Korean)

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Webpage reading feature now rolling out in Google Go

google account

As Google has evolved over the years, their goal has been to give people all the information they can offer through their services. Naturally, this is due to Google being the best online search engine around. Some reports have said that Google has captured over 90% of the online search engine market. So, of course, they can give the broad example of saying they want everyone to have access to information. However, they aren't resting on their laurels as the company continues to innovate and add new features. Back in July, the company teased a feature for the Google Go app that would let the app read the web page for you. Now, we're seeing reports that it's starting to roll out to the public.

The feature in question was first announced just last month as Google was showing their progress of making the online experience better for those who live in Nigeria. Their announcement covered the progress the company has made including adding Google Stations which will offer Wi-Fi networks to 200 cities in Nigeria by 2019. The company recently launched their new job search feature that they have worked on in Nigeria. So citizens here have been able to use this feature, but Google says they are expanding it to 32 more countries in Africa. Google Maps Go is getting navigation features so that it will even work on low memory devices.

Google Go


The company actually launched Google Go back in April of this year and it's very clear they are adding some exciting features to the application. We all know how slow Google can be when it comes to their phased rollouts of new applications, but we are now starting to see reports that the update is rolling out. If you do a search in the Google Go app on an Android Go edition device and then tap on an article, you'll see a play button surrounded by Google's theme colors. Tap on that and the Google Go application will begin to read the article for you. If you think the reading is taking too long, you can change the speed just as the image above indicates.

Thanks @Goutham3113

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Xiaomi Mi A2 & Mi A2 Lite kernel source code now available

The Xiaomi Mi A2 and Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite were released nearly a month ago. Both of them are part of the Android One program, which means they offer a stock Android experience unlike Xiaomi's other smartphones running MIUI. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is a mid-ranger with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 4/6GB RAM, and 3,000 mAh battery. The Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, however, is a budget device with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, 3/4GB RAM, and an oddly beefier 4,000 mAh battery compared to its counterpart. Both of the devices run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

You know what would make these great phones even greater? Good developer support, which is definitely on the way. Xiaomi just released the kernel source code for the both of the devices. This means that custom recoveries like TWRP, custom kernels, and custom AOSP-based ROMs can be built for the devices. Having access to kernel source code doesn't necessarily mean the devices will have great custom development support, but given the immense popularity of Xiaomi's budget and mid-range devices, there's little doubt in our minds that both devices won't have access to a variety of custom ROMs.

Xiaomi has often made users wait for many months to release the kernel source code, but they've improved in recent months. After making users wait months for the Xiaomi Mi A1's kernel source code, the company reconfirmed to us their commitment to releasing kernel source code in a timely manner. They released the kernel source code for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S rather quickly, and even promise to release the kernel source code for the Xiaomi Poco F1 on launch day.

You can download the kernel source code for the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite respectively from the links below.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Kernel Source Code

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite Kernel Source Code

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Android TV in 2019: Industry trends moving forward

android tv

Android TV boxes have a lot of potential, but thanks to the mishandling by device manufacturers they may soon be outclassed by competitors. However, Google isn't giving up just yet. In a panel consisting of leading experts from Google and Think Analytics hosted by Accedo at Broadcast Asia, we got to have a closer look at trends and recent developments affecting Android TV as a platform.

Android TV going into 2019

Reduced costs and time to market

Android TV has matured in a lot of ways over the years, and as a platform, it beats out traditional set-top boxes with the ability to be a whole lot more personal. It can integrate with many different services, and the addition of features such as voice search allows for greater opportunities down the line. As it stands, the price for an OEM to launch an Android TV box is down 60% over what it used to be a little over a year ago thanks to work done by Google to help keep costs down. These optimizations have helped bring down costs, the "time to market" for OEMs is also drastically reduced which makes launching an Android TV set-top box a lot more compelling. Receiving certification can take only 4-6 weeks to complete, and Cast integration is a lot quicker now too. Google is also working to try to find new revenue streams for device manufacturers who wish to enter the market.

Interestingly, it is also mentioned that one of the first manufacturers to take up Android TV has managed to use data analytics to offer users channels that they may want. It is apparently very successful at the moment and has drastically increased revenue from the platform for the unnamed company.

Upcoming platform features

"Voice is not just for media discovery and control," is a great way to start this section. The Google Assistant is its own platform, it's not just a voice control means to an end. It's an open platform which developers can use to add voice functionality to any Android-based application. It's not just about ordering taxis and food delivery, there are a lot more practical uses as well. A lot more Android TV devices are going to be coming out with a far-field microphone in the near future, which will allow you to call up the Google Assistant without even needing a remote anymore. It will be equivalent to a Google Home.

And that's not all. The Google Assistant can actually be used for OEMs as well to help reduce the amount of time spent giving support. What if you could offload a huge amount of that to the Assistant? Technical questions and such can all be handled immediately – without needing to deal with wait times for a call center. Over-voice commerce and integration with your phone are also mentioned, which again will simply aim to make troubleshooting and support easier for the end-user.

In terms of other features, there will be a lot more languages coming to Google Assistant in the Fall. USB video camera integration is also being worked on as a standard feature of Android Pie.

Project Treble and Android TV

First and foremost, the cutoff date for new devices launching with Android Oreo will be December 15th. That means that any set-top boxes launching after that must launch with Android Oreo. That not only ensures that users will get the latest and greatest features Android has to offer, but that they will all have Treble compliant devices. Treble has made development a whole lot easier for engineers working on these TV boxes, and as such the time for devices to update should be a whole lot faster.

Android TV going forward

It's clear that the platform has matured a lot and a huge amount of changes are already on their way. While at first it may have seemed that Google was neglecting Android TV, there are new features and improvements being worked on every day. Interestingly, Google appears to be focusing a whole lot more on the enterprise capabilities of the platform – not just the personal, daily use of a normal customer. We'll be keeping an eye out for these (and more) upcoming changes.

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YouTube gets Digital Wellbeing tools, shows time spent watching videos

Google announced Digital Wellbeing tools at Google I/O 2018. Today, they decided to add some of these tools to the YouTube application. I discovered the "Time watched" category when I was doing my daily routine of checking if the dark mode is available for me (it's unfortunately not). The category can be found under your account, which is located at the top right corner.

After taping on Time watched, YouTube didn't hesitate to show me how productive my weekend was. You can see how much time you spent on watching videos today, yesterday, or last week. It can also calculate the daily average. Fortunately, you can also let YouTube remind you to take a break in your desired frequency.

Scheduled digest has also moved to the same page. It still can be found under the Notifications category in Settings, but it's still nice to see all Digital Wellbeing tools together. If you don't already know, Scheduled Digest shows you only one notification a day from your subscriptions. Digital Wellbeing tools also include disabling sounds and vibrations. It was activated for me by default.

As you may have already noticed, I was in a desperate need of these tools. I don't know if I can resist tapping "dismiss" every time I get a "take a break" pop-up, but it will definitely prevent me from binge-watching 10 hours worth of videos. The feature is activated server-side, so you don't have to download an APK or wait for some magical update, unlike the dark mode.

Via: Official YouTube Blog

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