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Lenovo K3 Note (K50-t5) – Features, Specifications and Unboxing July 1, 2015

Posted by Bilal in Lenovo, Product.
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Lenovo a Chinese company, founded in 1984 with headquarters in Beijing. It has got a diversified portfolio. It acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2005. In 2002 Lenovo entered the smartphone market and as of 2014, it is the largest vendor of smartphones in Mainland China. Another big entry in its portfolio is one of the old famous mobile manufacturer, Motorola Mobility, which Lenovo acquired from Google in Oct 2014.

In spite of so much Chinese smart phone market shares, the contribution in international smart phone market is considerably less. Internationally, its shares in computer market (PC + laptop + Notebook etc) are more as compared to its share in smartphone market. To expand its coverage Lenovo has release a new series of smart phone named “K Series”. Currently available smartphone series of Lenovo are: Vibe, K, S, P and A

Lenovo_Smartphones_Stylish_Mobiles_PDAs_with_Android

Lenove Smartphone Series [Orignal]

These series are in descending order of their quality, performance and value. If a phone is of lower series, it does not mean that its price will be less than higher series. Some devices excel only in certain aspects as per their target market. Another factor about the series is the availability of firmware update support. Since Android M has already been announced while Android L has not got proper reach, this factor gains more importance than it is usually given.

I got my Lenovo K3 Note from the UAE based online store KingSouq.com. The product was shipped from Hong Kong vai Dubai and it was delivered to me in Jeddah via Aramex. It took almost 10 days for the delivery (later orders took 12 – 15 days).

After all this background + history, I come to the core part, the specification of the device.

Lenovo K3 Note White & Yellow

Lenovo K3 Note White & Yellow (Credits)

It is an Octa Core device with 64 bit MT6752 chipest clocked at 1.7GHz. It supports dual SIM with one 4G LTE support. The screen size is 5.5” which offer  FULL HD (1080×1920) display at 401ppi. The RAM is 2 GB and internal storage is 16 GB with up to 32 GB SD card support. The primary camera is 13 MP with auto focus, dual-LED flash and FULL HD video support. The secondary camera is 5 MP with touch focus and face detection options.

Lenovo K3 Note K50-t5

All this is packed inside a slim and sleek body of 152.6 x 76.2 x 8 mm with a surprisingly less weight of 150 gm. Did I mention, that the big 3000 mAh battery, which is removable, is included in this weight. It is also got FM radio and the charging cable provides a fast charge. There is no port on the bottom side of the device. The audio as well as USB port is located on the top. To insert the SIM / SD card, you to remove the cover as well as the battery.

The device is available in White and Yellow colors. There is also a lower edition of the device Lenovo K3 (without Note). It has got a 5.0” screen with 1 GB RAM, 13 MP primary camera, HD display and no gyro sensor. Also, the battery is less i.e. 2300 mAh. The price difference may be less as compared to the specification difference. So, be careful while proceeding with the purchase.

The first device that I received was loaded with a pre-rooted version of Android 5.0. If you want more technical details, it was VIBE UI 2.5 and the build version was 1512 [VIBEUI_v2.5_1512_5.495.1_ST_K50-T5]. Here is the un-boxing video of it (available in FULL HD also):

The other devices that I got later (on behalf of friends and colleagues) was having a different version of the firmware 11520 [VIBEUI_v2.5_11520_5.827.1_ST_K50-T5]. Unfortunately, it has also got some Chinese bloatware. Don’t worry, it is easy to get rid of it. I will try to write a separate post for this. For the time being, you can download the Titanium Backup from the play store and uninstall them (after taking a full backup).

VIBE UI is the interface engine by Lenovo. It offers a smooth and colorful interface with nice options. A plus for VIBE UI is SafeCenter app which is like the firewall for your device. It tries to fill this missing piece from the Android (although Android M has been announced to provide it natively). It is also loaded with the Maxx Audio sound engine.

P.S.:-

If you are curious about the QR code on the back of the box, it decodes to: Lenovo Mobile. The site is in Chinese and it (probably) this is the product of your interest. Don’t forget, Google Translate is your best friend in need.

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OnePlus One (The Flagship Killer) – Unboxing and Brief Review from Saudi Arabia January 1, 2015

Posted by Bilal in Product.
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OnePlusOne aka OPO has been a topic of hot debate since its announcement in April 2014. It has got a ton of features like any other top brand flagship device BUT with almost half of its price. It has got the tagline The Flagship Killer and the motto is Never Settle and it totally justifies the both.

Oneplus One Official Image(Source: OnePlus One Official Page)

The interesting thing is you can not directly purchase it online or from any retail outlet but you need an invitation to order it online from the official site. There are some resellers which are selling it in the online stores with a little higher price but they are selling the Chinese Model/Version which is almost the same as Global model but with less support for network bands. So, if anyone directs you to such store or you, in frustration (yes it is quite frustrating) of not getting any invite, decide to purchase from such store; make sure your required network bands are available in that model.

In a nutshell, it has got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-core CPUs, 3GB of DDR3 RAM, 5.5 inch screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, a large 3100mAh LiPo battery, 13 megapixel Sony Exmor 6 Lens Camera, full support for LTE network all in a body of weight 162g. The display is Full HD and the camera is capable of a 4K video recording, yes you read it correct, 4K resolution (i.e. equivalent to 2160p). Full specifications are available here: OnePlus Official Specification.

My interest in OPO is partially for something else, its operating system. Currently has got android 4.4 KitKat which is neither the stock/official one (like Nexus devices) nor the OEM bloated one (like Samsung, HTC etc.) but it has got a custom firmware Cyanogen Mod aka CM. As per the official statement:

Powered by Android™, Cyanogen brings the features you love while giving you the freedom to mold your mobile domain. Options like Quiet Hours, an enhanced home screen, and a configurable Quick Settings panel are just a few ways you can control how you and your One connect. (Link)

You can read more about CM and OPO on their page: OnePlus One with CM. Being an iPhone user since early 2010 and a hardcore jailbreaker user of the iOS, I want to try some other platform that supports customization and OnePlus One is the answer. You can read my post based on the experience of purchasing my first iPhone 3GS back in 2010 when iPhone was a phone not just a status symbol in the country (those days, BlackBerry was the craze among the local youths). The comparison of both is far beyond the scope of this post, it deserves a separate post.

OPO is currently available in selected countries only and unfortunately Saudi Arabia (SA) is not among these countries. In order to get it here in SA I have to utilize the services of a mail forwarder. I already have the lifetime membership of Aramex ShopAndShip and I utilized it for ordering the device. It got some (minor) disadvantages beside the additional cost but at-least I got the device. Below are some images of the Aramex package and its details.

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OnePlus One is available in two storage capacities 16 GB silk white [ 299$ ] and 64 GB sandstone black [ 349 $ ]. I ordered a 64 GB device and I am still exploring it (yes, its too much to explore and try). So, here you can get the un-boxing video (also available in Full HD resolution):

After reading and watching this much, most probably you will be interested to know more about the device (and if you have come so far, you are definitely interested). I am going to share some of the notable reviews and overviews about the OnePlus One:

If you are interested in purchasing the device and wondering where u can look for invites, here are a few possible solutions.

  • Look for hash tag related to OnePlus and invites on Twitter (I got mine from there)
  • The OnePlus One forum at reddit (its very active yet extremely competitive)
  •  Any one in friends or family who would have got this device
  • Post your info below and I can send the invites when I receive one (issued officially on periodic basis as per the inventory)

In the last, Happy New Year Readers. Its the start of another new year, hope you work hard to achieve your goals and may all your wishes come true.

Windows Azure MS – Building Cross Platform Mobile Solutions December 20, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On 16th Dec 2012, an event was arranged by Microsoft Saudi Arabia at Golden Tulip Hotel, Jeddah; a 3 star hotel located near old airport. The focus of this event was Windows Azure and its Mobile Services. If you are new to Windows Azure, its better you check its home page. The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Arabia. The agenda of the event was:

  • 08:30 – 09:30 Registration and Breakfast
  • 09:30 – 10:30 Introduction to Azure Mobile Services
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Break
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Building Your Windows Phone 8 App
  • 11:45 – 12:45 Prayer / Lunch
  • 12:45 – 13:45 Building Cross Platform Apps Across WP8/Win8
  • 13:45 – 14:00 Break
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Authentication / Storage
  • 15:00 – 15:15 Break
  • 15:15 – 16:15 Enabling Push Notifications
  • 16:15 – 16:45 Closing and Prize Draw

Windows Azure has been available for quite a time, Mobile Services have been launched publically as a part of Azure since last month by the Build Event. This Windows Azure provide a free 90 days trail and it includes 10 mobile services. Currently, out of the box (OOTB) support is available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS. OOTB support for android is expected to be available soon. The Azure Mobile user page is a complete and comprehensive portal that provide the access to all the required components like databases, virtual machines, logs etc.

Some of the topics discussed/demoed were:

  • App.caml.cs
  • TwoWayDataBinding
  • Twitter Authentication
  • ObserveableCollection <>
  • IValueConvertor
  • Push Notifications
  • Channel URI
  • Windows 8

An interesting thing to know is that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to get the Windows Store, even before China. Now it is available in 191 countries.

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Google Saudi Arabia 2.0 April 12, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On 24th of March, Google conducted its 2nd event for the Saudi Arabia market under the brand name Google Saudi Arabia 2.0. Last year, the first event of its kind, was conducted by the search giant in Four Season Hotel, Riyadh. This year, it has been conducted in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It’s a two days event. Day 1 is technology oriented while the Day 2 focus mainly on business related products & tools. A point to remember is that the very first step of its kind was taken by Microsoft in fall 2010 when they conducted Microsoft Open Door 2010 in Riyadh as well as Jeddah. Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer made the key note speech in Riyadh. Although Microsoft was the trend starter, they skipped the Saudi Arabia from their books for the next Open Door event that has been held in other states of Middle East in Q1 o f2012.

The agenda of the day 1 is as under:

Time

Track 1 Topic

Track 2 Topic

Track 3 Topic

Track 4

8:30:00 Registration      
9:30:00 Opening & Keynote      
11:00:00 Mobile Development/SDKs Chrome Extensions Google APIs GWT Workshop
12:00:00 Google+ Chrome Extensions (continued) Google APIs (continued) GWT Workshop (continued)
13:00:00 Lunch      
14:00:00 Google+ API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality Google APIs (continued) Website Optimizer 101
15:00:00 Maps API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality YouTube API Search Quality, Webspam and Communication
16:00:00 Break      
16:30:00 Google Your Career: Engineering Opportunities Creating Killer Webcontent YouTube API Webmaster Workshop (continued)
17:30:00 Getting ready for the Job: CV & Interviews tips Creating Killer Webcontent (continued) Localization: Google Translate & Translator Toolkit Webmaster Workshop (continued)
18:30:00 Closing comments      

The main organizers for this event (and such other events in the region) were +Patricia Estridge and +Rania Hadi. The key note was delivered by Nelson Mattos, the Vice President of Engineering, EMEA Region. There were 50 Googlers from all over the world (last year, the count was 30). He discussed about the concepts and ideas that drive the Google & its products. He advised to think big, start small. He said that Google follow this approach users first, money second.

He was followed by Hmad Hamzawi, Head of New Business Development, MENA & CA region. He talked about the recent Google Innovations & Demos specially the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). One of the main part of his presentation was Mobile Predictions for 2012.

After the keynote, the participants were provided with four tracks to select as per their interests and expertise. I opted for the Chrome Extension sessions which were delivered by Ahmed Hassan. It was a split in two sessions. In the first session, he explained what exactly the extensions are, what their internal components are, what are compulsory and what are optional. In the second session that was after a 5-10 min break he started with building the chrome extensions. Gradually, the complexity of the examples increased. All of the sample code is available in Google Chrome Extension developer help section.

It was followed by the lunch. It was a lunch box having mainly a sandwich and salad box. It seems that the lunch was decided by a diet conscious person who focused highly on organic foods.

For the next session I tried to go for Mobile Development Workshop but it was fully occupied. We tried with other sessions but they were also not available. We were left with only option for the Google+ API. Google+ is the new social product by Google. They say that Google + You = Google+.  In this session different features of Google+ API was described, what they are, how we can use them in our applications, etc…

After this I went for Search Quality, Webspam and Communication session. It was a quite a new name. It was presented by Tony Fadel, in a very friendly atmosphere. He mentioned that their team was even unknown to many other Google teams, although it exists since 2008. The task of their team is to improve the quality of the search results by applying new algorithms, conducting different analysis and experiments and even manual modifications. Surprisingly, he mentioned that 500 changes are made in the Google search page every year. Then he mentioned that how the spam is controlled, automatically and manually. The goal of their team (or Google) is to not to provide just simple results but quality results. You can check the full details in the slides.

After this session, I noticed that the remaining sessions are not much related to my scope. I checked some other booths for the time being. It was really nice to know that Google map maker is available for KSA now. So, we can expect improvements in the maps in the coming months.

The logistic support for this event was provided by Badir. The internet support was provided by Mobily. Free WiFi was available in the beginning until the start of the first session. After that it stopped responding and after some time, it was no more available as an open connection.

The official page for this event is: http://goo.gl/lF368

 

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