Access hidden menus with secret Android codes

One of the most popular practices amongst software developers is to leave ‘backdoors’ within the code, which essentially allow anyone with knowledge to get into the system at a much deeper level than you’d expect from an end-user. These backdoors aren’t always with a malicious intent; most of the time, they allow the OEM or programmer to get into the system for troubleshooting when other, usual modes of access have been blocked. They can be quite friendly and helpful if you know what you’re doing. Continue reading “Access hidden menus with secret Android codes”

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What does Google know about you? Everything from your favorite music to favorite App

So Google knows a big deal about everyone and everyone kind of knows it. Some people are really big on privacy issues and are a bit hesitant to let Google collect data from them, at least as long as they are aware about it. Google’s history with user privacy is well-known. The company has faced various lawsuits in the past. Mountain View knew early on that people will have trust issues and hence the company unofficially adopted the motto, “Don’t be evil” Continue reading “What does Google know about you? Everything from your favorite music to favorite App”

Samsung Galaxy S8 : Exynos 8895 vs Snapdragon 835

Yesterday, Samsung took the wraps off its new Exynos processor 8895 which has long been rumoured to be used in the International Galaxy S8 variants. The chipset is already under mass production since the Galaxy S8 might be unveiled on April 21st. The variant to be released in the USA will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, thnks to Qualcomm’s firm grasp on CDMA-related patents which make it rather compulsory for companies to release modified versions of their devices compatible with local bands, only solidifying Qualcomm’s monopoly in the USA.  Continue reading “Samsung Galaxy S8 : Exynos 8895 vs Snapdragon 835”

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hotstar – Which is better?

India is the second largest and the fastest growing smartphone market in the world. Only a third of the huge 1.3 billion population currently owns smartphones and is connected online, in some form. No wonder every tech company sees a huge potential market and that includes video streaming services. These aren’t as mainstream in the country as in other parts of the world, yet, but competition for the top spot has already begun. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar are the top names but which one should you really put your money in?

Well, that depends, but if you know who you are the choice is pretty clear. Netflix is obviously the biggest name on a global platform among the three. Amazon Prime Video is a new entrant but is quickly gaining ground. Hotstar has been around before any of the others, although the premium membership program is fairly recent. Between the three, an Indian consumer probably has more choice of content than anywhere else in the world. The Indian video streaming market is valued at $280 million, with over 100 million subscribers already active on multiple platforms. So let’s take a brief look at the three big video streaming services in India.

1. Hotstar

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hotstar - Which is better?

As I said, it was the first so it makes sense to start with it. Hotstar is a video streaming service provided by Star India. It arrived with a different revenue model than Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. Whereas the other two are subscription-based services, Hotstar was a free advertisement based revenue model. The service was quick to include a subscription model as well as the number of users grew. Current estimates suggest it has about 75 million monthly active users, which is far more than any other such service can claim.

Much of that may be due to the live streaming of Cricket matches. The service was also quick to buy streaming rights for globally acclaimed TV series ‘Game Of Thrones’ when it became apparent that it had a huge following in India. Hotstar has the largest library of regional and local content among the three. It is also adding international content at quite a rapid pace and Star India isn’t holding anything back as far as the cash flow goes. This shows because most of the popular English TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, etc. are available here.

While you do need to pay for streaming premium content like Game of Thrones and most of the movies, a lot is also free on Hotstar, with ads of course. Only about 3 to 5 percent of its monthly active users have a paid subscription, in fact. Hotstar provides perhaps the biggest selection of content, and it is all available for ₹199 per month. It’s actually pretty cheap compared to what the rest of the world pays for similar services. Although, Amazon Prime Video is a lot cheaper.

2. Amazon Prime Video

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hotstar - Which is better?

Amazon’s Prime Video arrived in India only by the end of 2016 in December. It’s the new kid in town, relatively speaking. That does not seem to hold it back though and Amazon is standing tall behind its video streaming platform. You get Prime Video for free, in a way, considering that you only pay for being an Amazon Prime member, and automatically get a Prime Video subscription for no extra costs.

The company throws around a free subscription to its Prime services any chance it gets to sell you on a product. Sometimes with a new smartphone, often with its own Echo devices or Fire TV stick. The subscription costs used to be ₹500 per year but if you want a subscription now, you’ll have to shell out ₹1000 per year. Even with the increased prices, it’s still the cheapest of the three services. Not to mention you also get to enjoy free deliveries and other benefits of being an Amazon Prime member.

So it is the cheapest, but it also has the least impressive content. Popular shows like Young Sheldon, The Mentalist, Supernatural, Grey’s Anatomy are here. But that’s about as popular it gets. Although where it shines most is in the selection of movies, especially Indian movies. Amazon is investing heavily in acquiring rights for new Indian movies and is also pumping in a lot of money behind Amazon Originals specifically made for Indian audiences. The service currently has 11 million subscribers and all of these are paid, meaning all those who enrolled in the free-trial have extended their subscriptions.

3. Netflix

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hotstar - Which is better?

The biggest name comes with the biggest price. Netflix is the only service among these three with a three-layered subscription. The basic, costing about ₹500 a month, only allows you to stream content in 480p. It also limits the number of screens you can stream on simultaneously to 1. A standard subscription will let you stream HD content on two screens simultaneously and it will cost you ₹650 a month. The premium plan lets you stream in 4K while increasing the number of screens you can simultaneously stream on to 4. It will cost you ₹800 a month.

The costs are probably why it has the least number of users in the country. The global streaming phenomenon actually has fewer users in India than some of the less popular services such as Sony LIV which isn’t that big on content.

For some reason, Netflix does not offer the popular TV shows and movies that it does in the west, which made it the name it is. Shows like FriendsThe West WingThe X-FilesLostTwin Peaks, etc. are nowhere to be found. In India, the best that Netflix offers are its own originals such as House of Cards, Daredevil, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, The Crown, Luke Cage, and Narcos. If English shows are what you’re after though Netflix has the largest collection.

Netflix’s selection of Indian content is next to abysmal. Netflix Originals alone cannot justify the costs at all. This is why of the 5 million monthly active users, only 5 to 6 percent are actually paying for it. That is to say, hardly anyone is extending their subscription beyond the 30-day trial.

Will Nokia’s brand image provide enough of an edge? Let’s talk

Nokia smartphones are poised for a comeback after former managers at the Finnish company licensed the handset brand from Microsoft and struck up partnerships with Google and phone manufacturer Foxconn. Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones and then chose Microsoft’s unpopular Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

HMD Global, led by Nokia veteran Arto Nummela, wants to launch its first Nokia smartphone in the early part of next year using Google’s Android operating system.  Continue reading “Will Nokia’s brand image provide enough of an edge? Let’s talk”

Cyber week sale on Google Play

Cyber Monday is here and there are a ton of great deals out there, and the Google Play Store is currently home to a range of deals to coincide with Cyber Week. I’ve gathered here a list of the best deals that are available right now. Everything from games, movies and TV shows, books, apps, and more have seen steep discounts.

These deals end on November 29th so hurry. Continue reading “Cyber week sale on Google Play”

What’s Indus OS?

Indus OS is India’s homegrown operating system which is a forked version of Android, developed for the regional languages users in the country. Touted as the world’s first regional OS, the platform supports 12 major Indian languages at the moment. But don’t Android itself and all the forked versions of it, MIUI, Touchwiz included come with regional languages support already?

Well, they do, but it’s sort of a mixed bag. Unlike stock Android and other custom Android skins with support for Indian languages, in Indus OS, menu items, icon texts, et al too appear in the chosen regional language. Also, since it is targeted at first time smartphone users, the UI is smart and intuitive. Continue reading “What’s Indus OS?”

5 Tips for Shopping in the Black Friday Sale

As we all know, this upcoming weekend (including Black Friday!) is the biggest retail extravaganza of the year. It’s that time of the year when you will be hammered with Black Friday Sale deals all around you – online as well as offline. If you are on the lookout to score some good ones for yourself or your loved ones for this holiday season, you need to be well-prepared beforehand.

All deals are not ‘great’. Filtering out is important to ensure you buy products that have a seriously good deal to go with. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016, consumers should also watch out for scams that come through spam, insecure public networks and apps that might seem legitimate but could be taking over your phones and computers, experts say.  Continue reading “5 Tips for Shopping in the Black Friday Sale”

What is a Quantum Dot dispay? Is it better than OLED?

Most displays today — including all of those made by Samsung, Sony, Vizio and just about every other brand — are based on decades-old LCD, or liquid crystal display, technology. In the last few years something better has come along, called OLED, or organic light-emitting diode. OLEDs are genrally considered superior to LCD but as of now mostly it is a matter of preference to be honest.

The reason OLED displays are considered superior is because its a new technology, and it is already ahead of LCD, a much more mature technology, in various areas. Going forward as the OLED technology matures, it is sure to surpass LCDs. OLED displays may well replace the traditional LCD as the go to panel in the future, but it is facing competition from new display technologies too.  Continue reading “What is a Quantum Dot dispay? Is it better than OLED?”

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