24 May 2016

Twitter to drop usernames and media links from 140 character limit


Twitter had just announced that its making some changes to the way it counts the 140 characters tweet limit. In the months to come usernames, quoted tweets, photos, videos, polls and  other media links would no longer count towards 140 characters limit. Users would also be allowed to quote and retweets themselves. And users would no longer need to put a period "." before @ in order to make replies public.
 These changes would take a little time to roll as to allow developers update their apps to take advantage of the new APIs.

MTN Introduces the XtraPro and XtraSpecial Affordable Voice Tariff Plans

MTN has been on a roll lately with their recently introduced affordable datas and now they are extending the cost savings to their voice plans with two new affordable voice tariffs; the XtraPro and XtraSpecial.

The XtraPro is kinda like TruTalk+ repackaged and offers the same terms as the defunct TruTalk+ with calls to all networks pegged at 11 kobo per second or 6.6 Naira per minute. The XtraPro plan attracts a N5 daily access fee. However it does come with a twist if your airtime is low for the daily access to be charged, the calls for that day would be charged at 20 kobo per second or 12 naira per minute and you'd get free access to Health tips for 7 days which is kinda asinine. 

To migrate to XtraPro simply Dial *401# and select 1 to migrate or SMS 401 to 131.

The XtraSpecial plan is pretty much straight forward and offers a flat rate call tariff of 15 kobo per second or 9 Naira per minute with no daily access fee at all. Subscribers also get to call some international destinations such as Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand,Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America at 15 kobo per second. Subscribers to this plan also get to 7 days free EPL video service as a bonus. 

To migrate to XtraSpecial simply Dial *408# and select 1 to migrate OR SMS 408 to 131.

23 May 2016

Specs of Samsung's Ruggedized Galaxy S7 surface



The specifications of Samsung and AT&T ruggedised version of the Galaxy S7 Active surfaced online before its official unveiling in June. The Galaxy S7 Active stays true to the MO of the Active line with the usual dustproof and waterproof.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S7 Active remains largely unchanged from last year's model, although it's now 15 grams heavier at 185g and 1.3mm thicker at 9.9mm. The increase in weight and thickness is largely attributed to a larger capacity battery which stands at 4000mAh instead of 3500mAh.

The Galaxy S7 Active shares a similar sets of internals with the Galaxy S7 with the 5.1 1440 x 2560 pixels Super AMOLED display, 4GB RAM, 32GB internal memory,12MP camera, microSD slot and is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 quadcore processor. 

According to the press render, the Galaxy S7 Active would likely be unveiled on 10th of June.

Source: VentureBeat

21 May 2016

My Captain America: Civil War Review

If I had to describe this movie in one word, that word would be "Beautiful". The Russo Brothers pulled off a masterpiece, I was sceptical about how they could manage to not make another Avengers movie considering the sheer number of superheroes packed into this movie. And for the most part, The Russo brothers filed it down to being about Steve Rogers not even the giant shadow of Robert Downey Jr could change that.

The fight scenes was stellar and more watchable than Batman vs Superman (The final fight between Doomsday and the DC movies was a bit too fast paced that you could easily miss it if you blinked which was kinda the same problem I had with Man of Steel). I think Marvel has perfected it's formula on how the action scenes in movies should be, in spite of their sheer number, every superhero managed to get ample scene time.
It was amazing how easily the Russo Brothers pulled off a more compelling versus movie than Zack Synder did with Batman vs Superman.

For me the stand out character has to be Bucky, he's been stellar in both Captain America i he's featured in. Black Panther also impressed, I think Marvel has another movie hit with him. The fight between Bucky, Cap & Black Panther was really great watch, absolutely loved it. Black Widow really held her own (she's easily the most skilled fighter). A Black Widow movie needs to be greenlit ASAP, considering Lucy did very well, I don't see why a Black Widow movie wouldn't do well. Tom Holland as Spider-man was close to perfect, his portrayal was the closet to the comic books we've ever had besides being beat by Captain America.

Overall Captain America: Civil War is a great movie to watch. The writers kept the movie was simple as possible, audiences would find the movie far more enjoyable than Batman vs Superman.

I'd rate Captain America: Civil War an easy 4.5/5

20 May 2016

MTN BACKTRACKS ON ITS NEWLY INTRODUCED NEW NIGHT PLANS

In an unexpected move, MTN Nigerian has cancelled their new introduced  cheap night time data plans. The Night Plans which offered an insane amount of data for little money (1GB for N200, 2.5GB for N500 and 5GB for N1,000) have been scrapped and can no longer been accessed using the *198# USSD.
However the N25/500MB plan still remains available for MTN Pulse users.

19 May 2016

Google officially bringing Android apps and Play Store to Chrome OS


Google just announced that its officially bringing Android app support to their Chromebook line of PCs. This would allow owners of Chromebooks run Android apps as windowed apps on the Chromebook.

 Google is encouraging developers to begin to optimise their apps for the Chrome OS. Android apps running on Chrome OS would be able to take advantage of the increased input devices such as touch input, mouse and keyboard; connect via Bluetooth and WiFi.

Google would begin allowing developers running Asus Chromebook Flip, Chromebook Pixel (2015) and Acer Chromebook R11 to have access to this functionality by June. With wider consumer support coming later this year.







What I'd like to see in the Mi Band 2



It's no secret that Xiaomi is working on a succesor to its widely successful Mi Band, considering its already been leaked by their CEO. 

Right now I'm a bit on the fence about buying the Mi Band 2 if the addition of a screen is the only thing it has to offer. At the moment, the Gear Fit or Gear Fit 2 is a better fit for me considering that it has a built-in music player which is something that I need for my runs and walks. 

I doubt that the addition of a 4GB memory to the Mi Band 2 would raise the price of the Mi Band 2 by that much considering the number of fitness bands with these functionality within the $20-$40 price range. I've got my fingers crossed for a built-in music player with hope that Xiaomi nails it for me.

Google IO 2016 Recap: Google Takes On Amazon, WhatsApp, Apple

Yesterday was the Google I/O 2016 event where Google usually unveils the cool stuff it's been working on to the public. And yesterday Google unveiled quite a number of things. Besides the usual Android OS announcements, Google announced some new messaging apps that sees it go head to head with WhatsApp and Apple Facetime. With the Google Assistant, the Google Now app tries to take on AI apps such as Viv and Hound with a more conversational approach to voice queries. The Android Wear platform scored a major update which would see it less dependent on a smartphone. And also Google is stepping into Amazon's territory with it's Google Home Bluetooth speaker which basically the Amazing Alexa powered Echo but built by Google.
Keep on reading for a recap on the major changes and cool tech that Google introduced yesterday.

Android N
The biggest change to the Android N OS announced yesterday from the Android N Developer Preview was the addition of a built-in VR mode into stock Android called the Daydream mode (not to be confused with the Daydream screensaver mode already in the Android OS). With Android N, Google is changing the way updates are installed by borrowing a revised partitioning scheme from Google Chrome OS. This allows new updates to install in the background while you continue using your device and a reboot for the changes to take effect. It's also getting rid of the app optimisations that take place after software updates. Other changes were just small UI changes to the Multitasking menu, full support for Unicode 9.0 emoji, support for Vulkan API, better notifications.
You can read about those other changes here

Android Wear 2.0
The Android Wear smartwatch platform grew up a little more with version 2.0. And it's heading towards being a standalone device, third party apps can now connect directly via Bluetooth, WiFi or cellular data to the cloud without needing to piggyback on the Android smartphone app. Android Wear 2.0 apps can now directly access the APIs for Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), Account Manager and others.
Google has also overhauled the messaging function of Android Wear 2.0 allowing for Smart Reply which suggests responses based on the content of the received message. Android Wear 2.0 also comes with a QWERTY keyboard app which also recognise handwriting gestures.


The Watchfaces has gotten a boost too via the Complications API which would allow it to show information such as steps, calorie counts, stocks etc from installed apps.

The information shown are customisable and can be used to launch the apps just like widgets. The Google Fit app for Android Wear 2.0 has been improved allowing it to track workouts and activities automatically.

If you are interested in seeing what the changes to the Android Wear platform looks like you can check it using this link http://g.co/wearpreview.
And if you've got a Huawei Watch or LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, you can also download and install the Android Wear 2.0 Preview on your device.

Android Instant Apps
Google announced what could be a major game changer. Basically it allows mobile web users to use certain parts of an Android app without having to install the app on their device. The Android Instant Apps is powered by Google Play and works by fetching only the parts of an app that's required to complete an action.The Android Instant Apps feature works independently of the core Android OS and would on devices running even older versions of Android.

Allo
With Allo, Google is giving instant messaging another crack. And it borrows some of the features found in competing apps, for instance the Allo app is tied to telephone numbers just like WhatsApp, it has got a chatbot just like the Facebook Messenger and WeChat, stickers and emojis just like every other app. It incorporates what Google calls "Whisper-shout" which allows one to resize text in chats, something it believes conveys feelings better.

It also allows one to draw over images like Snapchat.


The Allo app comes with a Smart Reply feature which tries to predict you response to received messages. The prediction can also recognise objects in photos and propose an appropriate reply. Google Assistant builtin, letting users chat with the Google Assistant bot using the @Google handle. The Allo app has got an incognito mode which features end to end encryption, private notifications (?) And expiring chats.
Although the app isn't ready for download at the moment, the Google Play Store pre-registration page is live.

Duo
Duo is basically Google's take on Skype or FaceTime cos everyone knows any serious Tech company needs its video calling app.

Duo's superpower is what Google chooses to call "Knock Knock" which allows users to see a live video of their caller before they answer.

Duo offers end to end encryption and is primarily focused on two party communication.
Preregistration is also open for the Duo

Google Assistant
The Google Assistant is probably the only thing I care about from the Google IO provide that Google can get it out ASAP. The Google Assistant represents the next logical step for a voice assistant recognising nature conversational language kind of like Hound and Viv. The improvements would allow the Google Assistant recognise context e.g. it would be able to ask you if you want to buy tickets of a movie you asked it about, it would be able to provide answers to a query such as "What's the population of the United States of America when NASA was founded?".

Google Home
Google Home is basically Google's take on the Amazon Echo Bluetooth speaker.

The Google Home would be powered by Google's improved Google Assistant conversational AI. The Google Home represents Google's push into home automation business, and should allow users to control their lights, NEST thermometer etc using just their voice.

You can find out more about the Google Home using this link home.google.com/



18 May 2016

Microsoft sells Nokia's feature phone business to FIH Mobile & HMD Global for $350M

Microsoft is selling its feature phone business unit from its acquisition of Nokia's Mobile division to FIH Mobile and HMD Global for $350 million. 

The feature phone business unit which makes entry level mobile phones such as the Nokia 105, 230 dual SIM mobile phones. Under the terms of the deal, the remaining 4500 workers under the feature phone unit would be able to choose to join FIH Mobile or HMD Global. Despite the sale of the feature phone unit, Microsoft will continue to develop and manufacture Windows Mobile devices under the Lumia brand.

FIH Mobile which is a subsidiary of Han Hoi Precision Industries (Foxconn Technology Group) the contracting manufacturer of Apple's iPhone and iPad line of devices, expected to acquire Nokia's Vietnam factory as part of the deal.
HMD Global, Oy led by ex-Nokia executive Aro Hummela, has also acquired the necessary licensing rights to use the Nokia brand exclusively for mobile devices and tablets until 2024. 

Airtel Nigeria joins the Affordable Data Train, Slashes Data Prices

Airtel Nigeria has joined MTN Nigeria in reviewing its data plans across board. The revised Smartspeedo data plans improves on the amount of data available on their data plans from the daily plans to the monthly data plans.

The Daily data plan which used to offer 20MB of data at N100 now gets a bump to 30MB, the biweekly data plan which used to cost N500 for 250MB also gets a bump to 750MB. Their Android data plans, which works on just about every mobile device, now offers 1.5GB of data for N1,000; 3.5GB for N2,000; 5GB for N2,500 and 7GB for N5,000. 

To activate any of these plans on your smartphone or tablet, you would need to:

Dial *410# for the 30MB (Daily) Plan at N100
Dial *412# for the 50MB (3 Day) Plan at N200
Dial *417# for the 80MB (Weekly) Plan at N300
Dial *418# for the 750MB (Biweekly) Plan at N500
Dial *496# for the 1.5GB Android 1.0 Monthly Plan at N1,000 
Dial *437# for the 3.5GB Android 2.0 Monthly Plan at N2,000
Dial *437*1# for the 5GB Android 2.5 Monthly Plan at N2,500 
Dial *438# for the 7GB Android 3.5 Monthly Plan at N3,500

17 May 2016

Press render of the OnePlus 3 leaks, looks like the HTC 10 from the back


Thanks to Evan Blass, we have got a good idea of what the yet to be  announced OnePlus 3 would look like. The OnePlus 3 borrows some of its styling from HTC design language of the past few years with the camera placement and the "antenna" lines. 

Although the full specifications haven't been disclosed but from the rumour mill, the OnePlus 3 would likely sport an AMOLED display, a fingerprint sensor,  USB Type C, a 3000mAh battery,.

Lenovo to ditch the Moto X brand for a new Moto Z



According to Evan Blass (who's almost never wrong) Lenovo is set to ditch the Moto X brand for a new Moto Z branding. 

While it seems like just a minor change, I can't help but to think that this change could potentially hampered sales of any new Motorola flagship devices. Considering that Motorola has spent some ample resource on building the Moto X brand, starting all over again doesn't seem to be a great move on the part of Lenovo (considering it hasn't quite worked out great for HTC with its brand flip-flopping)

Xiaomi pips Apple to Claim #2 Wearables Vendor Position

According to the most recent stats for the first quarter of 2016, Xiaomi has one-upped Apple to claim the #2 position in the Wearables market having sold 3.7 million units of its Mi Band line of activity trackers this claiming 19% of the market. Fitbit retains its #1 position in the market with 4.8 million units of its wearables in the first quarter, leaving Apple and Garmin at #3 and #4 respectively with 1.5 and 0.9 million units sold. Samsung and BBK share the #5 position with 0.7 million units sold. 

Despite finding itself at #3, Apple is in a healthy position as it reigns supreme as not just the #1 smartwatch maker, it also makes the most profits in the wearables market. 


Lenovo Unveils Three New Moto G4 smartphones

Lenovo unveiled today the newest version(s) of its Moto G line, the Moto G4. Unlike it the time past, Lenovo is launching three versions of the Moto G4; with the Moto G4 Plus, the Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4

The Moto G4, Lenovo takes a bigger is always better approach with the screen size upping the display size to 5.5 inches from the more comfortable 5 inch display of the Precious two generations.  The increase in screen size isn't the only thing that's changed about the display, the resolution has been given a needed bump to 1080p from 720p and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The processors get a bump to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor from the Snapdragon 4xx used in the previous generations and is powered by a 3000mAh battery.

The Moto G4 Plus which is the "premium" model of the Moto G4 lineup differs from the others by the addition of a square shaped fingerprint sensor at the front of the device. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10, it doesn't double as a home button. It also packs a 16MP camera as opposed to 13MP in the Moto G4, they both devices sport a 5MP  front facing camera. The Moto G4 Plus would be available in a choice of 2/3/4GB of RAM and 16/32GB of onboard storage which can be expanded via a microSD slot. 

The Moto G4 Plus is expected to cost $200 (€180) for the base 16GB model, the price goes up to  $225 (€200) for the 32GB model.

The Moto G4 shares the same specifications as the Moto G4 Plus sans the fingerprint sensor, 16MP camera and a Turbo charger. The Moto G4 has it's RAM pegged at 2GB and is available in 16GB or 32GB versions.

Moto G4 Play was the third device unveiled today, the device stays close to the budget specifications of the 3rd generation Moto G. The display size and resolution stays at 5 inches and 720p. Lenovo also uses a Snapdragon 4xx  processor (410 in this case). The rest of the specs includes an 8MP/5MP main and front camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage expandable via a microSD slot and a 2800mAh battery.

All versions of the Moto G4 can be customised via the Moto maker website.

16 May 2016

Get 500MB for just N25 on The MTN Network

MTN recently introduced a cool data plan for users on the MTN Pulse tariff plan (which also happenstance to be a cost effective plan for calls too). 

This data plan allows MTN users on the MTN Pulse tariff plan to subscribe to an Insanely cheap data plan which offers 500MB for just N25. The only catch(es) is that the plan only works between the hours of 12am and 4am, is limited to 500MB a Night, and available to MTN Pulse users. I think the plan is great and fits my needs considering that I tend to schedule my downloads already so I could just subscribe to the plan and my Android smartphone would start downloading the files once it's 12am.

To Subscribe to this plan
You have to be on the MTN Pulse Tariff Plan (You switch to MTN Pulse by  Dialling *406# or SMSing 406 to 131. 
If you are on the MTN Pulse Tariff Plan, just SMS Night to 131.


Besides this plan, MTN also has some really other cheap Daily and Monthly data plans and some ridiculously cheap Night Plans. 
You can check them out using the links below
MTN Monthly Plans
MTN Night Plans