Panasonic expands the feature set of its Nubo home-security camera

Panasonic is now taking orders in for its innovative Nubo home-security camera. U.S. customers, however, won’t be able to take delivery until early 2016. Now that Nest has announced the successor to its lauded Dropcam, the all-new Nestcam, Panasonic’s camera is looking better than ever.

First announced back at Mobile World Congress, the Nubo is unique among cloud-connected home security cameras in that it doesn’t rely solely on Wi-Fi to reach the Internet. It also has a celluar radio (2G/3G/4G-LTE). And since it can operate on battery as well as AC power, you can take the camera on the road with you to secure temporary living quarters, such as a hotel room or RV.

At IFA, Panasonic also announced that it is developing a variety of sensors that can communicate with the camera’s onboard ZigBee radio. Sensors, such as those that might indicate a door or window opening, can trigger the camera to record a video clip and upload it to the cloud just as easily as the camera’s onboard motion detector. And for those times when neither 4G nor Wi-Fi are available, you can plug in a MicroSD card and record video to that medium.

Panasonic Nubo security cameraPANASONIC
Instead of using a recessed threads, the Nubo attaches to it mounting bracket using a powerful magnet. This makes it easy to temporarily redeploy to another location.

The Nubo boasts an IP-66 enclosure, meaning it’s dust tight and can withstand powerful jets of water. The camera can rest on any flat surface, or you can use a mounting kit to hang it on the wall. A powerful magnet holds the camera to the mount, which makes it easy to move from one place to another (there’s no need to unscrew anything to dismount the camera).

Why this matters: Home security cameras are rapidly becoming commodity items. We’ve seen some innovation around the edges of the market—with new features such as facial recognition among the most notable—but most cameras deliver all the same features. The Canary security camera I reviewed back in June was a notable exception, but it ultimately disappointed because it insisted on doing jobs it wasn’t cut out for. Nubo’s builders seem to know better, but we’ll have to wait for a review unit to see just how well they’ve executed on this product.

iPhone 6S Camera To Record 4K Video

iPhone 6S

We previously heard that the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus handsets would come with a 12 megapixel camera.

Now according to Mark Gurman from 9 to 5 Mac, the new Apple iSight camera will be capable of recording 4K video.

As well as recording 4K video, the new 12 megapixel camera in Apple’s new iPhones will be able to take higher resolution photos than the current devices.

We also heard previously that the FaceTime camera on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus would be capable of recording 1080p video, it will apparently also come with a front facing flash for Selfies.

Apple are holding a press event on the 9th of September where they will unveil their new iPhones, along with a new Apple TV and also a new iPad Pro tablet, we will have more information on Apple’s new devices next month.

What Samsung needs to get right with the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5

samsung galaxy s6 edge+ and galaxy note 5

Samsung has just launched not one but two phablets, as it attempts to keep its large-screened smartphone crown.

But in its war with chief rival Apple, its home country competitor LG, and Chineseupstarts such as Xiaomi, Samsung has to get some critical things right, as the bar has been raised for quality, price and speed.

Simplified and bloat-free software

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung’s software is notorious. For years it applied heavy skins or modifications to the native Android experience provided by Google. Most manufacturers did, but Samsung’s was particularly garish, sluggish and bloat-ridden.

The company has made strides with recent smartphone releases, cutting back on superfluous features, making its designs more attractive, and making its apps, which often duplicated functionality with those built into Android, optional downloads.

The S6 Edge+ and the Note 5 are good opportunities to show that Samsung can create software that adds value, particularly for the curved edges and the stylus.

The curved screen of the smaller, 5.1in S6 Edge provided little in functionality, becoming an aesthetic choice rather than a functional one. On the smaller screen they did not detract from the experience, but on a larger device that is more difficult to hold, those touchscreen edges could be a hinderance.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung has to make applications that add to the experience – and encourage others to follow suit. Likewise with the Note 5’s stylus, Samsung has to create a reason for a user to actually take it out and put tip to screen, rather that leave it buried within the device never to be touched.

The problem Samsung has to overcome is how to make these features worthwhile and not simply added bloat that slows down the device and its software updates, which are vital to keeping a device secure and current.

Sheer speed

One thing Samsung achieved with the S6 was the smartphone’s raw speed. It is still the fastest smartphone I have used to date. Both the Note 5 and the S6+ must maintain that snappiness but they must also have decent battery life.

Battery life is a primary pain point for most of the smartphone-using community. A large smartphone that only lasts one day is not good enough anymore. Sony and others have devices that last in excess of two days with general usage.

Samsung’s response was to provide rapid charging via cable and wireless charging built into the S6, not longer battery life. Traditionally Samsung’s Note series has longer battery life, the S6 Plus and Note 5 must continue that trend.

Premium materials that can’t be bent

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5

Samsung’s high-end devices command a significant premium over lower-cost Android rivals. The Korean company has bet on bleeding-edge technology to make the £600 investment in a smartphone worthwhile, but the majority of Samsung smartphones over the last five years have been made of plastic, rather than premium-feeling materials such as metals and glass.

Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha series was the first of its smartphones to have metal frames, followed by the Note 4, and later the S6, which also has a glass back. Samsung’s design must keep up with its technology to be able to compete in the high-end smartphone market.

Build quality is crucial as devices have shrunk in thickness while their screen sizes have continued to grow, leading to a decrease in rigidity. Apple’s 5.5iniPhone 6 Plus “bendgate” illustrated the problem, but was not alone. Samsung’s large but thin devices could also be bent within pockets.

Samsung claims its new aluminium frames are 1.7 times stronger than the Note 4, I suspect it won’t be long before someone puts that to the test.

The Galaxy S6 is arguably the best smartphone the Korean company has ever made, but even it has not sold in the numbers Samsung needed it to. Apple reportedly attracted more Android switchers than ever with its bigger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, showing the latent demand for big smartphones.

Developed nations, including the UK and US, are near the smartphone saturation point, which means these two new phablets will be crucial for keeping Samsung on top. The company has to convince buyers they’re worth upgrading to. Whether they do remains to be seen.

LG Rolly Is A Rollable Keyboard For Your Tablet

lg rolly

LG has announced the launch of a new portable keyboard for tablet, the LG Rolly and as the name suggests, the keyboard can be rolled away to make it easy to carry.

The video below shows how the LG Rolly works, as well as been a wireless keyboard it can also be used to dock your tablet when you are typing with the device.

lg rolly

“LG Rolly Keyboard is just one of the many premium input devices we’ll be unveiling in the coming months as we expand our accessories offerings,” said Seo Young-jae, vice president in charge of Innovative Personal Devices at LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.  “The goal was to create a product that could add more value to LG smartphones and tablets at the same time offering a unique design proposition that hadn’t been explored before.”

Amazon Underground fights back against freemium with app and game giveaways

amazonunderground
A new program from Amazon promises thousands of dollars’ worth of free and apps and games, apparently with no strings attached.

Dubbed Amazon Underground, it’s essentially an alternative to Amazon’s existing shopping app for Android phones and tablets, but with a focus on free stuff. You can install it by visiting the Underground website from your Android device, or you can visit the Underground section of the Amazon Appstore for Android if you have it installed already. (You’ll first need to enable installing apps from “unknown sources” in the Android settings menu.)

Once inside, users can browse and install a substantial collection of free Android apps and games. Amazon makes a point of saying these offerings are “actually free,” meaning that any in-app items or levels come unlocked at no extra charge. Some of the titles on offer include OfficeSuite Professional 8, Goat Simulator, Frozen Free Fall, and Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions. Amazon says it will pay developers on a per-minute basis in exchange for waiving their usual fees.

While Amazon has previously given away dozens of apps at a time in special promotions, the company says Underground is not a one-time deal. Instead, Amazon sees it as an ongoing program, with plans to add other benefits over time. Effectively, it replaces the “Free App of the Day” promotion that Amazon had been running.

What’s the catch? There doesn’t seem to be one, except that it requires you to use Amazon’s shopping app. There, you’ll find listings for physical items from Amazon’s online store, along with plenty of ads for Amazon Prime.

Why this matters: Free app giveaways were a bigger deal back when more apps charged an up-front price. But as more apps move to a “freemium” model, there may be less fodder for free app promotions, and fewer reasons for people to care. With Underground, Amazon is trying to come up with a better formula as it tries to keep its app store in the minds of Android users.

New Lenovo Yoga 900 Intel Skylake Powered Hardware Expected To Launch Soon

Lenovo Yoga 900 Intel Skylake

Lenovo will soon be launching new additions to its range of Yoga convertible laptop tablet offerings, when it launches the new Lenovo Yoga 900 system it has created and equipped with an Intel Skylake processor.

Apparently there will be two systems made available at launch equipped with either an Intel Core i7-6500U or Core i5-6200U processor both of which will be supplied running Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 operating system.

Lenovo has yet to announce the duo of new convertible devices but the systems will be equipped with 8GB of RAM together with 512GB of solid state disk (SSD) and 13.3 inch displays offering a realisation of 3200 x 1800 pixels. The new systems are expected to replace the Yoga 3 Pro systems.

Unfortunately no official information on pricing or worldwide availability has been released as yet, but as soon as information is announced by Lenovo we will keep you updated as always.

NCPI Plans Smartphone Mobile Banking Platform as USSD Flops

Admitting that the USSD-based mobile banking platform has not given the desired results, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) today said it is working on an alternative solution that will work on smartphones, but at reduced transaction costs.

“Currently, hardly about 40,000 transactions take place a day on the USSD (unstructured supplementary service data which is used in GSM mobiles) but we were thinking it could be a million a day,” NPCI managing director and chief executive AP Hota told reporters on the sidelines of the annual Fibac here.

He said the NPCI is currently working on an application that will work on smartphones, but work on voice-only networks and added the application will be launched in two months.

Under the new system, a customer will have to download the application in her phone using data coverage and after that there will not be any requirement of the data plan. The application will make use of the USSD-based system itself, but reduce the need for interactivity by helping users compose the instructions, he said.

At present, the high charges of Rs. 1.50 for every request sent irrespective of the success of the transaction, and the frequent call drops which hurt the interactivity feature are the biggest detrimental factors which have hurt the USSD system, Hota said, adding “Rs. 1.50 per command is too high. We feel it should go down to Rs. 0.50.”

It can be noted that the USSD-based system was launched with a lot of fanfare in 2013 as a tailor-made solution for the country that still has 84 percent of the users on feature phones.

Hota said 20 million-strong smartphones in the country today is enough of a catchment for NPCI to launch the application and added that many of these smartphone users do not use data plans, due to which they are not able to use the conventional mobile banking apps.

Even after the launch of the new application, the older USSD-based system for feature phones will continue to work and additionally, the NPCI and RBI are also working with the Trai for reducing the charges for undertaking the transactions, he said.

Faasos Online Food-on-Demand Firm Shifting to App-Only Model in India

Online food-on-demand company Faasos on Wednesday said it is moving to a “mobile app only” service in the country.

The platform has 800,000 downloads and the company expects to hit a million downloads in a couple of weeks, the company said in a statement.

“Faasos has built a niche place for itself in the food ordering space across top 10 cities in India. Surprisingly, even tier-II cities have shown tremendous traction for ordering via the app which led to 97 percent of our delivery sales coming from the mobile app,” said Revant Bhate, head of marketing at Faasos.

The company believes that being app only lends itself well to the changing menu over breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, along with location-based delivery times, and location.

In terms of the products on offer, the business has recently expanded its offerings, and is among a limited list of breakfast delivering services across India.

The company has recently started delivering tea with snacks in Mumbai, a service that will soon be rolled out in Pune and Bengaluru as well.

In terms of expansion in tier-II cities, Faasos has made inroads in Indore and Baroda, the statement added. Faasos has a strong offline supply chain and distribution coupled with the technology to connect all loose ends together, which has enabled them to generate revenues with bigger margins, Bhate said, adding, “all this is not possible when someone orders via a phone call or through a website.”

Nexus 5 (2015) Specifications Leaked

nexus-5-20151

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard quite a lot about the upcoming Nexus smartphones. Rumors suggest we’ll see two Nexus devices this year, one from Huawei and one from LG.

Recently, the specifications of the alleged LG Nexus 5 (2015) leaked on to the internet, revealing what we can expect from the upcoming handset from Google.

As per the new leak, the alleged LG Nexus 5 (2015) will boast a 5.2-inch display sporting a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, a Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM. The leaked information further reveals a 13MP camera on the back featuring Sony-made IMX 278 sensor and optical image stabilization to capture sharp and stunning images. There’s no word about the front-facing camera, but previous rumors mention a 5MP front-facing sensor.

The report doesn’t mention anything about the availability or pricing of the handset, but it’s not coming out for another few weeks. Usually, Google unveils the new Nexus devices in October so we may have to wait a little longer for the handset to make an official appearance.

We’ll update you as soon as we get any more information about the upcoming Google Nexust 5.

iPhone 6S Assembled From Parts Shown

iPhone 6S

We have already seen a number of leaked parts for Apple’s new iPhone 6S and now these parts have been assembled into a partially bootable device.

The video below from MacRumors shows the display, an iPhone 6S logic board and other parts assembled into a device which boots to the gear icon.

 

As we can see from the video the design of the new iPhone 6S is very similar to that of the iPhone 6, although the handset will get a range of hardware updates over the existing handset.

The updated iPhone 6S is rumored to come with a 4.7 inch display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the handset will come with a new Apple A9 processor and will feature 2GB of RAM.

The device is also expected to come with Force Touch and a new fingerprint sensor and the cameras on the handset will get a major upgrade.

The front camera on the device will be a Full HD FaceTime camera and the rear camera will be a new 12 megapixel camera with a five element lens that is capable of 4K video.

We are also expecting to see a new iPhone 6S Plus at Apple’s iPhone event next month, plus some other device which are said to include an updated Apple TV, a new iPad Mini 4 and a new iPad Pro.