Beautiful time for India and China to do business, says Alibaba’s Jack Ma

Ma pledged to invest “more” in India. He said that he would be back again soon, signalling Alibaba’s interest in diversifying its business here.

Jack Ma, the 50-year-old founder & executive chairman of Chinese giant Alibaba, on Wednesday promised higher investments in India, without specifying the quantum or timeline. Addressing an India-China summit, organised by business chamber Ficci here, Ma said he was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this was a beautiful time for India and China to do business.

Ma also said Indian sellers were the largest suppliers on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform after Chinese ones. “We have been doing B2B (business-to-business) for the past 15 years and, surprisingly, the second-largest suppliers to us are Indian sellers.” Indian suppliers were so smart they had caught the right opportunity, he said.

Ma’s visit, of less than 24 hours as part of a 100-member Chinese delegation, is the second India tour this year by a global e-commerce chief executive — the first being Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ in September. Among non-e-commerce global internet giants, Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg had come to India last month.

Unlike both Bezos and Zuckerberg, who had multiple engagements in India, including meetings with the prime minister, Ma’s visit to India was a low-key one. The PM is currently in Nepal to attend a Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit.

Ma’s Alibaba has been in the news for its recent blockbuster $25-billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Alibaba founder did not make specific announcements on investments in India, but the India-China summit on Wednesday resulted in signing of 12 memoranda of understanding, worth $2.4 billion, among companies from the two countries. Alibaba’s American rival Amazon had recently committed itself to investing $2 billion in India.

While Amazon entered the Indian market last year under a marketplace model, Alibaba is yet to start e-commerce operations in the country; at present, it only has a sourcing business here.

Speaking at the summit, Ma said Alibaba’s focus area in the coming years would be globalising and helping small businesses grow. “I was inspired and moved by PM Modi and this is a beautiful time for India and China to do business… Alibaba plans to further enhance technology for Indian sellers,” Ma said, adding he was keen to make more investments here.

A former English teacher, Ma spoke about how 400,000 Chinese were buying from India. He had no idea so many Chinese loved chocolates and tea from this country.

Alibaba has 8.9 million active sellers on its marketplace platform. By comparison, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have a little over 50,000 sellers each in India. Flipkart is aiming to get 100,000 sellers over the next 18 to 24 months.

In what could be an indication of its scale, Alibaba Group websites accounted for 60 per cent of the parcels delivered in China by March 2013 and 80 per cent of that country’s online sales by September 2014.

Ma’s visit to India generated all-round curiosity, including speculation on potential deals in the e-commerce market. There also was a buzz that Ma might meet Snapdeal co-founder & CEO Kunal Bahl, but the company said no such meeting was scheduled. In fact, Bahl has often referred to Snapdeal, the four-year-old company that became a marketplace player soon after launch, as the “Indian Alibaba”. There are existing synergies, too.

Recently, Snapdeal got a $627-million funding from Softbank, a Japanese telecom and internet corporation that also holds the biggest stake in Alibaba. Masayoshi Son, 57-year-old founder & CEO of SoftBank, had visited the Snapdeal office last month and addressed the company’s employees. Also, Snapdeal is one of the three e-commerce companies where Ratan Tata has put in money.

Indian e-commerce is still only about one per cent of the size of Chinese e-commerce market. But the sector here has become a favourite for investors.

Ma said internet could help transform lives in the current era. “Internet is a young business for young people, and India has a lot of young people. I was a teacher earlier and internet changed my life,” the Alibaba founder said. (by business-standard)

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Android L release date, news and features

Android L release date, news and features

Android L news and features

Android L is here, and it’s brought a raft of new changes, with Sundar Pichai, head of Android, proclaiming it to be one of the biggest upgrades to Android yet.

It’s going to have a radical new design, 5000 new APIs, will be available for developer previews soon, and it’s going beyond the mobile form factor. Android L will be contextually aware of its surrounding, plus voice is going to me a major input source.

The experience will also be seamless, so Android L devices communicate properly, although Pichai was at pains to point out the mobile phone will always be the priority.

TechRadar was in attendance to see all the action unfold, so if you’re hankering for all the information about Android L, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out everything you need to know about Google’s new mobile platform.

FutTv : 2tcbHgkKzGC79

Android L release date

Here’s what most of you will be wanting to know: when can I get it on my phone? Well, if you’re a developer with a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 then it will be easiest, as it’s available from June 26 to developers.

  • The 10 things you really, really should know about Android L

For the rest of the folk in the world, it’s coming ‘this fall’, which means that this is very much a preview to appease those that want to get cracking on development, and launching it at Google IO makes sense.

This also means that as Android L readies itself for a consumer launch we’ll find out more about whether it’s Android 5, Android 4.5 and which dessert name it will have… we’re certain there’s one coming.

Android L release date

HTC has already been in contact, giving the following statement about it’s forthcoming upgrade to Android L:

“HTC is excited about the new features in Android L and we can’t wait to share them with our customers. We are committed to updating our flagship HTC One family as fast as possible.

“We will begin rolling out updates to the HTC One (M8) and HTC One (M7) in regions worldwide within 90 days of receiving final software from Google, followed shortly thereafter by other One family members and select devices.”

Remember, this doesn’t mean the developer preview, but the final version later in the year. So expect Android L on your HTC One M8 and M7 around Christmas.

We’ll update you as soon as we find out any more information from the other manufacturers about their plans for Android L release schedules.

Material Design

The big news for Android L is the change to the way it looks – and it’s going well beyond the mobile phone to the tablet, TV screen, watch and even the car.

The new Material Design is strange in that it bucks a trend at the moment – yes, it’s flat, but it’s heavily based on making every animation, every ripple, every shadow look real, which is something that most brands are shying away from.

Android L release date

Google tells us that this feels more intuitive, which means that there will be shadow gradients, 3D tiles that slide over one another and most importantly: access for developers to use this for themselves on their apps.

The idea of obvious: remove the fragmented way Android looks and bring consistency to the app world not matter what device you’re on.

Roboto font has been updated too, so everything from watch to TV to mobile looks the same.

Android L release date

Every animation on screen will be allowed to connect to one another – so there’s no ‘teleportation between apps’. The home, back and multi-tasking window buttons on Android have been refined too, and overall, this is a massive step forward for a cleaner, more intuitive-looking version of Google’s mobile platform.

Notifications and lock screen

Notifications on Android L are getting an overhaul, so only the more relevant information about your apps is being presented. The notification panel is being merged with the lockscreen so you can see what’s going on as you pick up the phone, and a simple swipe up takes you into the phone.

Imagine that the lockscreen is similar to the notifications panel now, and you’re pretty much there.

Android L will also learn from you, working out what you look at and interact with more often to prioritise that notification.

Android L

Another big change is that notifications will flow over the screen at the top – get a call when you’re playing a game and it will pop up at the top, asking if you want to take it. This will likely be the same with messages etc too, meaning less intrusion at the wrong times.

Android L release date

The lockscreen is getting smarter too – if you’ve got a specific location set up, or are wearing a Bluetooth device, the phone will recognise you and unlock without a PIN. Move away or take your watch off and you’ll need to tap or swipe in a code when you unlock – or you can even use your voice.

Interlocking apps

Google wants your apps to be able to talk to one another – it used the example of searching for a place, only to have it served up in Google Earth, which is where it originally was being looked at.

The idea goes much deeper than that though – Chrome browsing has an API that other apps can take advantage of, so if you click a link to book a table in the browser you’ll be taken to something like OpenTable directly, rather than the mobile site.

This feature depends a lot on app developers taking advantage of the new tools, but all the onboard Google apps will be much more dependent on one another.

Android L is Faster, better looking and more efficient

Whilst Android comes with some nifty new features that make an immediate visual impact, Google has put a lot of work in behind the scenes to ensure that Android L is the fastest yet. If you’re not big on codespeak, then this is the upshot: a new way of putting the platform together when you’re using the phone makes everything slicker, faster and more efficient.

If you’re interested, here are the finer details: ART, an optional runtime in Android KitKat, has now been made the standard for Android L and works with ARM, x86 and MIPS platforms and runs twice as fast as the Dalvik runtime that is found on previous Android iterations.

Android L release date

The biggest benefit to users comes that this won’t require apps to be readjusted in order to benefit, instead all apps with benefit from ART right away. ART is also more memory efficient than Dalvik meaning that apps that are running in the background will benefit from megabytes of saved data.

ART is also 64-bit compatible allowing Android L to benefit from the larger number registers, cross platform support and the increased RAM support that 64-bit architecture supports.

Android L also allows mobile devices to further close the gap not only between mobile and console-quality gaming, but also between mobile and PC graphics. Working with Nvidia, Qualcomm, ARM and Imagination Technologies Google has designed the Android Extension Pack with the sole task of closing the gap between mobile and desktop-class graphics, which will result in “more realistic environments, more realistic characters and vastly improved lighting”.

Android L battery life

Batteries on phones running Android L are going to become more efficient with Project Volta, Google’s new way of showing why and how a phone’s power pack is juicing down.

It opens up the battery use to developers so they can see what’s ruining the experience, which should in turn help plug the gaps in power leakage. Nothing specific to talk about yet but will help make things look more efficient.

Battery Saver mode is integrated by default too, which can lengthen your use during the day by up to 90 mins. Not extreme power saving like on Samsung or HTC phones, but still useful to have baked in, even if all and sundry already have a likely more efficient version on board.

Even without Battery Saver mode Android L could do wonders for battery life. ArsTechnica put the new OS version to the test and found that a Nexus 5 running Android L had around 36% more battery life than one on Android 4.4 KitKat.

Android Wear gets kicked up a Gear

We saw a lot more about Android Wear – and not only that, but we were introduced to Samsung’s Gear Live, the third member of the new smartwatch game Google is trying to put together before Apple throws its hat into the ring.

Android Wear will use the same tools as on Android for phones and tablets, plus square and circular screens will be supported. Sensors will be well integrated for fitness and social interactions, and help reduce the need to check a phone screen. It’s basically wearables like the Galaxy Gear 2, really.

Android L release date

However, the design is a lot nicer, and is very similar to Google Now by letting you swipe through cards and for more information. The watch is also contextually aware, so if you ask to be notified about something when you ‘get home’ it will know.

The watch (whichever you have) is very much voice enabled, allowing you to play music on your phone or other connected devices.

You can even get a boarding pass on your watch… the poor flight attendants. They’d only just got used to the phone being used in this way. Do you really want to take off your watch and hand it over?

Google Maps is going to give turn by turn navigation on your wrist as well now – finally. And the whole thing will be opened up with an SDK, so developers can write code right to the wrist itself, in a very similar environment to what they’re used to, so apps should be super-snazzy right from the start.

When a watch is connected to a phone, it will look to see if any apps have watch compatibility and show them right on your wrist – no need for separate apps to download, a la the Samsung Gear range. Which means you can order pizza on your wrist in less than 20 seconds… that’s dangerous, right there.

And all the watches announced so far (LG, Samsung and Moto) are water resistant too.

The LG G Watch is available on the Play Store – and it will be joined by the all-new Samsung Gear Live too. The former will retail for $229, LG said at a press event this afternoon. Straight conversions put the watch at about £134 and AU$243.

As for the Gear Live, it will cost $199 (about £117, AU$211). Pre-orders get off the ground straight away via Google Play, and it will start shipping July 7.

As for the Moto 360, well, sadly, it won’t be available until later in the summer.

Android TV now baked right in too

Android L is also going to support TV, with information overlaid across the top of the information. It’s called Android TV, surprisingly, and after the failure of Google TV the brand is having another go, such was the popularity of the Chromecast.

This means you’ve got content (games, films, TV shows etc) straight on your big screen and has a home button to get you back to the main display whenever you want.

Search is well-integrated too (through the mobile phone… or even an Android Wear watch), with Android TV very much powered by voice. So say you search for something like ‘Breaking Bad’ on the phone (when connected to the Android TV) it will show you the option to watch it on Google Play or any other compatible app installed.

The demo showed that Netflix was installed, but didn’t appear in the search options – perhaps it was just a dummy app for now, but certainly that would be where the info would show.

And here’s the great news: Android TV has been signed up to by some big names – the likes of Sony, Philips and Sharp have whole 4K ranges based on Android TV. Asus and Razer promise to have set top boxes to achieve the same thing too… although surely Google will update Chromecast to achieve the same thing.

This could really ramp up the smart TV game.

Android TV is looking to snap up the mobile gamer too. You can take the games to the bigger screen in the house. It looks like you need a separate gamepad too. With the new Android L-based Android TV, you can even play multiplayer games… or use it like a Chromecast too.

The rumors from before the event:

Android 5 is going to be exciting, there’s no doubt about that. Google saves the change to a new number for the big things, and it seems Android L is now on its way, ready to be debuted at Google IO on June 25.

We thought it would have been Key Lime Pie that showed off the next level, but on 31 October 2013, Google officially revealed its next minor update, Android 4.4 KitKat, which now clears the road for Android 5.

The dessert-themed code name that we assume will begin with L is anyone’s guess at this stage. Android 5.0 Lemon Cheesecake or Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie, anyone? Though there’s talk that it might be called Android Lollipop or even Android Moonshine, as it’s apparently internally known.

However, the latest leaks point simply to Android L – given Android head honcho Sundar Pichai said the conference would give the world an early look at the new OS, chances are the name will be held back until closer to launch, which may be later in the year.

Then again, a new screengrab of the KitKat Easter egg shows a new pudding – is that a hark to the possible Key Lime Pie that was usurped by KitKat, or are we looking at Lemon Meringue Pie?

Lemon Meringue Pie

It may not be called Android 5 though, with some rumors suggesting the next major iteration from Google’s wheel house could arrive as Android 4.5. That would make sense as we’ve had 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 in recent years.

That said, it appears Google may have just dropped a hint as to the version number of the next iteration of Android. 5.0 is currently looking favorable after the time of “5.00” appeared on screenshots posted on Twitter by the search giant – a signal Google has used before.

Android 5.0 Lollipop - LEAK

As we wait on official news of that name, we’re constantly combing the web to see what’s going to be happening with this L-powered update, so check back to see what we’ve uncovered and the level of likelihood each rumor brings.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next major upgrade for Android, to follow on from Android 4.4
  • When is it out? We’re thinking later in 2014, but an early look at Google IO
  • What will it cost? Nothing, it’ll be a free upgrade, but some handsets will take longer to get it than others.

Android 5.0 release date

Given Android 4.4 KitKat appeared on 31 October, we’re looking forward to finally seeing a big step forward for Android. The good news is we’re going to get our first taste at Google IO, the search firm’s annual two-day developer conference in San Francisco.

That’s a year on from when we had originally expected to see Android 5.0, which was at Google IO 2013, but Google has been keeping things within the ‘4.x’ family for a while now.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s new head of Android told Wired that 2013’s IO was “not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system”,” which makes us wonder when the new software will be coming.

Our take: Android updates are still appeating too slowly for our liking, as while each 0.1-numbered upgrade is good, it’s not enough to make us want the native experience.

We’re expecting Google to make Android 5 rather special indeed, which means it can only wait a maximum of 6-7 months after KitKat was announced to show it off – so it’s a relief to hear it’s appearing, in some form at least, at the conference.

More recent reports of Android 4.5 being next in line may mean the update is more iterative than sprawling overhaul, so we’re not getting too carried away just yet.

In any case Google I/O is set for June 25-26, so with any luck we should know lots, lots more about what Android Lollipop will be bringing to the table soon.

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Android 5.0 phones

The first handset to run Android 5 will either be a Nexus phone or tablet, and given the timing of the announcement we think it might be the latter. The Google Nexus 5 launched Android 4.4 at the tail end of next year, and while we’ve been waiting for the update to the big-screen tablet, the Nexus 10 (2014) doesn’t look like it’s appearing any time soon.

HTC looks like the front runner to bring this tablet to the market (if it does exist), but the rumors aren’t pointing to an unveil any time soon.

We’re also hearing a lot of rumblings about a Nexus 8, a slate which will supposedly launch with Android 4.5, so maybe that’s the device that Android Lollipop will make its debut on.

Will it be known as a Nexus though? The scheme is under threat from Android Silver, but it doesn’t look like that’s launching yet, so we reckon the Nexus name will be kept for at least the next round of devices.

Google IO 2012

Android Wear

A more recent idea is that Google’s next version of Android will have more fitness smarts built in – and this is an idea we think has legs, if you’ll pardon the sort-of pun.

Apple is set to launch the iWatch and iOS 8 with fitness very much at the heart – Cupertino looks very likely to be bringing something that’s able to track your heart rate, blood glucose and other vital medical info before shooting it over to your doctor.

It seems Google wants to do the same thing – it’s recently-launched Android Wear platform already has companies like LG and Motorola signed up, and Samsung is rumored to be joining the party too.

The idea is future versions of Android (ie Android 5) will allow the software to harness “fitness data from sensors on your Android device.”

Pichai has essentially confirmed this is going to be baked into the hardware and software side of things, telling Bloomberg that it made no sense to have to go to the doctor to measure a variety of health elements when technology can do it daily.

“You obviously need to be able to measure these things so many more times and then apply more intelligence to it,” he said.

It also looks like Android 5 may add support for 64-bit processors, as the Nexus 8 is rumored to have one and to be running the new version of Android (if it turns out to be a real device – chances are it won’t appear just yet).

That in turn would allow for more than 4GB of RAM in devices, opening the floodgates to enormous increases in power.

Some have speculated that Android 5.0 will be actually Chrome OS, Google’s high power operating system for its Chromebooks – that it would use Android for low- to mid-level handsets and put Chrome on the high end.

However, this makes little sense given the effort that would be needed for app integration, so like Microsoft and Windows Phone the mobile OS will very likely continue as is.

Android L

A recent image of ‘Android L’ (which is presumably Android 4.5 / 5) appears to show the browser floating in the middle of the screen, which may mean we’ll be getting split screen apps. That would certainly be a useful feature, particularly on larger devices.

Samsung, LG and Sony already do this but if the functionality is baked into Android then all devices potentially could.

Android 5.0 interface

While little is known about the potential interface changes for the next iteration of Google’s mobile platform, be it Android 5.0 or Android 4.5, a screenshot has appeared online claiming to reveal the upcoming version.

Android 4.5 - LEAK

There’s a clear visual overhaul present in the screenshot, and according to the leak the new design is being referred to as “Moonshine” internally at Google.

Android dialer

We’ve also caught a glimpse of how the dialer might look in Android 4.5 / Android 5, courtesy of an image leaked by Google itself. It’s not in for a radical redesign but if the image is to be believed then it will be going blue, rather than sticking with the current light gray colour. (by techradar)

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India to have more internet users than US by December end: IAMAI

NEW DELHI: The number of internet users in India would reach 302 million by December 2014, registering a year-on-year growth of 32%, a study released on Wednesday said.

The report, ‘Internet in India 2014′, is jointly published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International.

The internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and three years from 100 to 200 million. However, it took only a year to move from 200 to 300 million users, it said.

“In October 2014, there were 278 million internet users in India. Currently, India has the third largest internet users’ base in the world but it is estimated that by December 2014, India will overtake the US as the second largest internet users’ base in the world,” the study said.

China currently leads with more than 600 million internet users while the US currently has an estimated 279 million internet users.

According to the report, the number of internet users in urban India has grown by 29% from October 2013 to reach 177 million in October 2014. It is expected to reach 190 million by December 2014 and 216 million by June 2015.

READ ALSO: ‘Internet user base growing fastest in India’

Compared to last year in rural India, internet users have increased significantly by 39% to reach 101 million in October 2014. It is expected to reach 112 million by December 2014 and 138 million by June 2015.

The report also stated that in urban India, for nearly 93% of the respondents, the primary use of internet is for search, followed by online communication and social networking.

However, in rural India, entertainment is the primary reason for internet usage, followed by communication and social networking. (by timesofindia)

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internet is for search, followed by online communication and social networking.

However, in rural India, entertainment is the primary reason for internet usage, followed by communication and social networking.

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10 tips to boost your Android phone’s battery

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Battery life still tops the complaint charts for smartphone owners tired of the daily charging routine. Even though smartphone batteries are growing bigger with every passing year, we’re not seeing a huge benefit because our Android devices are demanding more and more out of them.

No one really wants to be told that the most obvious route to increased battery life is to use your phone less or worse: turn off some of the features that enticed you to buy it in the first place. So, we’ve pulled together a list of 10 simple ways to increase the battery life of your Android smartphone.

Use power saving mode

Most Android device manufacturers have added some form of power-saving mode in their smartphones. You can automatically hobble your phone’s features or shut down specific apps when the battery dwindles below a predetermined level.

Stock Android only offers battery stats for now, but Android Lollipop has a battery saver option built in (which means most phones running Android 5 will too in the future). If you can’t find a power saving option, check out an app like Juice Defender.

Automate your phone

You don’t need your phone syncing away through the night, so why not introduce a bedtime routine that automatically silences it and kills your data and Wi-Fi connections? With apps like AutomateIt and Tasker, you can also automatically turn things on and off based on triggers and rules you define.
Uninstall or disable apps

Delve into Settings > Apps and flick over to the ‘All’ tab to find a complete list of your apps. Anything in the list that you don’t use is a candidate for the uninstall pile. In their infinite wisdom, manufacturers sometimes block you from uninstalling their apps, but you usually have the option to disable them instead, and it’s worth doing.
Hibernate or freeze apps

You may also consider installing Greenify to get a good look at what is running and automatically hibernate apps that you aren’t using, so they aren’t eating system resources unless you start them up.

You’ll need to root your device to really take full advantage, which is simple enough but will take a little time to manage if you’re new to the process. If you do decide to root then you may also consider Titanium Backup Pro for freezing unwanted apps.

Streamline your home screen

The busier your home screen, the more battery life it’s going to suck. Get rid of widgets that you don’t need, and consider reducing refresh rates. Animation costs power, so ditch the live wallpapers.

If you have a phone with an AMOLED display (such as nearly all of the high end Samsung Galaxy models or the new Moto X), then use a dark background for the home screen and a dark theme in general. The technology achieves deep blacks by not lighting up those pixels and so dark backgrounds can save you some power.

Tweak display settings

Your screen brightness is going to have a big impact on your battery. Don’t rely on auto-brightness because it will generally be set higher than you really need. Reduce brightness manually and keep it as low as is comfortable. You can always pull down the notification shade and tweak it quickly via the quick settings when you have to.

You should also reduce the screen time out in display settings under sleep. The faster your Android device fades to black when not in use, the more power you’ll save.

Turn off vibrations

When it comes to Android phones and tablets, vibrations can be an unnecessary battery killer. Fortunately, you can control it manually.

Start with haptic feedback for key presses. You’ll usually find the option to turn ‘Vibrate on keypress’ off in Settings > Language & Input in the options for the keyboard you are using. You could also turn off ‘Sound on Keypress’ for extra saving.

You can also go into Settings > Sound and turn off ‘Vibrate when Ringing’. You’ll find a Vibrate option that you can turn off in your SMS app settings as well.

Turn off notifications

Do you need to know every time someone likes a post or comments on something you’ve engaged with on Facebook? Do you want to hear about the latest special offer or new app in your notification shade?

When you install any app, it automatically gains the right to fire notifications at you, but you can stop it in Settings > Apps by tapping on the app and clearing the ‘Show Notifications’ box.

Turn off GPS

Go to Settings > Location and you can see which services and apps are trying to track you. Switch the mode to lower accuracy or just turn it off and you can save a lot of power.
Underclocking the CPU

If you’re willing to root then you can sweep away bloatware and get an optimized custom ROM, you can even download an app like SetCPU for Root Users and tell your processor to run at a slower speed in order to use less power. It’s an extreme step, but it definitely has an impact.(by timesofindia)
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Lenovo Vibe X2 Gives a Taste of Modular Smartphone Design

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Lenovo Vibe X2
Image: Jennifer Osborne, Mashable
BERLIN — How do you put out something different in a world of smartphones that all look similar? Lenovo has an idea: layered design.

The company’s new Vibe X2 is comprised of four layers (which you can see from a side view), with the front layer a bit smaller than the other three. It also accepts extensions, or add-on modules that can be easily attached to the back of the phone.

See also: 25 Best Free Android Apps

It sets the phone apart from the rest of the Android pack, though the layered design seems to be little more than a visual gimmick. It does allow Lenovo to play with colors and materials, however, so the Vibe X2 will launch in five colors: charcoal, gold, white, red and bamboo (the back of the phone is actually made from bamboo wood).

Lenovo Vibe X2

Lenovo Vibe X2

Image: Jennifer Osborne

The device has a 5-inch full HD screen, a MediaTek octa-core processor and a 13-megapixel rear camera, coupled with a 5-megapixel one on the front. It also runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and comes with Lenovo’s latest Vibe 2.0 UI, which allows quick access to your apps.

Other nifty software tricks include a “beautification bar,” which Lenovo says makes your selfies more beautiful, and “natural gestures,” which let you take a selfie by blinking, showing a victory sign or saying “cheese,” for example.

Lenovo Vibe Z2

Lenovo Vibe Z2

Image: Jennifer Osborne, Mashable

Lenovo also launched the Vibe Z2, a 5.5-inch, quad-core smartphone whose distinguishing feature is an 8-megapixel front camera (the one on the rear has a 13-megapixel sensor), which should make your selfies extra sharp. This phone weighs 5.6 ounces and is 0.3 of an inch thin; it, too, runs on Android 4.4 KitKat.

Both devices will first be available in China starting in October, and will then spread to markets in Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The price for the Vibe X2 is $399, while the Vibe Z2 will retail for $429. (by mashable)

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Mozilla explores virtual reality Web development

MozVR offers source code, tools, and tutorials to help developers build their own VR sites

Mozilla has launched a virtual reality website this week in hopes of inspiring others to build their own.

Featuring demos including a fly-through of coastal British Columbia and a 360-degree view of the Arctic, MozVR.com is intended to offer a “native VR” Web experience, Mozilla technologists said in a statement. Mozilla will use the site to share these experiences, offer resources, and showcase work from developers in the VR Web community. “To make it easier for others to build their own VR Web sites, we are sharing [our] solutions on MozVR and GitHub, from source code, to tools, to tutorials,” the statement says.

“Virtual reality provides a sense of immersion that is typically not there when viewing content on a traditional 2D screen,” said Mozilla Engineering Director Vladimir Vukicevic, in an email. He anticipates multiple possibilities for virtual reality in the business world. “Any industry that could benefit from innovative and immersive visualization can benefit from virtual reality,” Vukicevic said. “Business data mining, medical analysis, and industrial training are all valid use cases, right alongside games and recreation.”

The navigation interface on the site allows users to move from site to site without friction. “Like a heads-up display, menus and loading indicators appear as unobtrusive layers that wrap the experience and are easily summoned or dismissed. Clicking a link becomes like teleportation,” Mozilla technologists said.

Using the site, however, requires a VR-enabled build of Firefox for the Mac or a PC, plus an Oculus Rift headset. While Rift is the initial test and development device, Mozilla wants a device-agnostic VR Web and will support additional devices soon. VR-enabled builds of Chromium also will work with the site.

Mozilla plans more code and write-ups on how it is building experiments, so developers can learn and build their own VR experiences. “Looking ahead, our UX research efforts will begin to explore interaction with classic Web content in virtual reality, from how we display 2D Web sites in virtual reality to how we perform basic interactions like inputting text and scrolling,” said Josh Carpenter, virtual reality researcher at Mozilla. (by infoworld.com)

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Alibaba breaks Singles Day sales record

China’s e-commerce giant pulls in $9.3 billion on the world’s biggest online shopping day — a sign of Alibaba’s sales clout.

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Alibaba’s success onSingles Day could encourage more western brands to take notice of the Chinese shopping holiday.

Alibaba knows how to pull off a sale.

China’s biggest e-commerce site reported $9.3 billion in revenue on Tuesday during the Chinese celebration of Singles Day, a 62 percent surge from last year’s previous record of $5.75 billion.

Observed on November 11 — or “11.11,” for the date with the most 1s — Singles Day has become the world’s biggest online shopping day, thanks to the marketing smarts of China’s Alibaba Group. Every years Alibaba offers discounts promotions on its 11.11 Shopping Festival to encourage China’s unattached to treat themselves something nice. The latest sales figures, which outdistance market researcher IDC’s $8.18 billion estimate, highlight US retailers’ growing interest in the Chinese market.

“China is an extremely attractive market for US brands, as there is a growing middle and upper class with dollars to spend on US products,” said Marlene Morris Towns, a marketing professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “In addition, the younger population…[which] increasingly identifies with Western culture, brands, celebrity styles and entertainment” are ripe targets for US brands and retailers, she said.

More than 27,000 companies took part in Alibaba’s Singles Day promotions, including high-end Western brands American Eagle Outfitters, ASOS, Blue Nile, Calvin Klein, Desigual, Juicy Couture and The North Face.

Alibaba aims to make Singles Day a global event within the next three to four years, said JP Morgan analyst Alex Yao. This year alone, its shopping sites drew buyers from 217 countries. But Alibaba does face some challenges — including delivering all those orders within a reasonable time, said Yao.

When it comes to online shopping, instant gratification can take too long. (by cnet)

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