Tags: 64 Bit, Android, Jeddah, K3, KingSouq, Large Battery, Lenovo, Lenovo K3 Note, Maxx Audio, Note, Saudi Arabia, Smartphone, Unboxing, VIBE UI
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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 AThese 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Android, Aramex, CM 11s, Cyanogen, FlagShip Killer, KitKat, Never Settle, OnePlus, OnePlusOne, Sandstone Black, Saudi Arabia, Shop And Ship, Unboxing
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.
(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.
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:
- OnePlus One – Full phone specifications @ GSM Arena
- Here’s why OnePlus One equals 4.5 @ TechRadar [4.5 out of 5]
- A $300 smartphone has never looked so good @ Engadget [score 90 out of 100]
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.
Tags: Build, Jeddah, KAU, king abdul aziz, Live Tiles, Metro UI, Microsoft, Mobile, MS Saudi Community, Saudi Arabia, software-development, technology, Windows, Windows Store, Windows8
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The main focus of this developer camp was to introduce the basics of this new Metro UI to the developers. The agenda of the event:
09:30 am – 10:15 am The Windows 8 Platform for Metro style app
10:15 am – 11:00 am Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality
11:00 am – 11:15 am Break
11:15 am – 11:45 am Everything Web Developers Must Know to Build Metro Style Apps
11:45 am – 12:15 pm Building Metro Style Apps : What .NET Developers Need to Know
12:15 pm – 01:15 pm Lunch
01:15 pm – 02:15 pm Building Windows 8 Metro Style UIs
02:15 pm – 02:45 pm Integrating with the Windows 8 Experiences
02:45 pm – 03:15 pm Bring Your Apps to Life with Tile and Notifications
03:15 pm – 03:30 pm Break
03:30 pm – 04:15 pm How and when Metro style apps run
04:15 pm – 05:00 pm Building Metro style apps that take advantage of modern hardware
05:00 pm – 05:30 pm The Developer Opportunity: Introducing the Windows Store
05:30 pm – 06:00 pm Closing
The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Saudi Community. The first session was about the introduction of metro UI, what it is, what is the idea behind it, how it works etc. In next sessions the technical concepts of developing metro apps were explained. It also included the new and revised concepts in Windows 8.
Some of the concepts mentioned in brief or details are listed below:
- Windows Run Time (WINRT)
- Roaming profiles linked with Live Id
- Semantic Zoom
- Design Mode (Adaptive & Fixed)
- Contracts (Search, Share, …)
- Application Life Cycle
- Background Application API
- Live Tiles
- Toast notifications; last not the least
- Windows Store
If you are planning to proceed with Metro App development, along with many other new ideas & features, at-least you must go through these initial concepts.
Google Saudi Arabia 2.0 April 12, 2012Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: Android, Chamber of Commerce, Chrome, Extensions, Google, Ice Cream, Jeddah, microsoft ceo, Saudi Arabia, saudi arabia market, Spam Filtering, steve balmer, technology, webmaster workshop, Youtube
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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:
Track 1 Topic
Track 2 Topic
Track 3 Topic
|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)|
|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|
|16:30:00||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)|
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
Windows Phone Camp – Jeddah October 27, 2011Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: Jeddah, Mango, Microsoft, Mobile development, Multitasking, Push Notifications, Saudi Arabia, SilverLight, Tombstoning, Visual Studio, Windows Phone, Windows Phone Development
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This week, on 23rd of OCT Windows Phone Camp was conducted at Effat University. The event was sponsored by Telerik
The agenda of he event was as below:
8:30 AM Arrival and Registration
9:00 AM Welcome/ Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
9:45 AM Building Windows Phone Applications with Visual Studio 2010
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Building Windows Phone Apps with Silverlight
12:00 PM Lunch
12:45 PM Windows Phone Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking
1:45 PM Live Tiles and Push Notifications
2:45 PM Break
3:15 PM Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
3:30 PM Build your app or work on a hands-on lab
5:00 PM What’s Next/Resources/Event End
The event was conducted by Microsoft Saudi Community. During this event, the very first community of Jeddah region was announced. If you are living in Jeddah and you are interested in Microsoft products and technologies, you are welcome to join though following social channels:
- Facebook Fan Page: Jeddah Microsoft Professionals Community
- Twitter Account: @JedMPC
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- URL: http://jedmpc.com (under construction)
Some of the snaps of the event are shred here:
Windows8 KeyNote – Build Event September 14, 2011Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: ARM, Build, Dar Al-Hekma, IE10, Jeddah, metro, Microsoft, Microsoft Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Windows, Windows8
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Windows 7 is generally available for retail since 22nd October, 2009. Many things have been changed and many more have been arrived after that. The main focus from desktop has already shifted towards laptop/net-book. These days the trend has greatly diverted towards touch pads and slates. The main pioneer was Apple’s iPad followed by similar products from Samsung, Asus, Motorola etc. Generally these pads uses iOS, WebOS or Andriod. There are some windows based (Windows 7) options available but they are more powerful and hence more expensive than others e.g. Asus Eee Slate.
Microsoft has announced the Build Windows event to be conducted on 13-16 September 2011, to officially announce the next version of Windows i.e. Windows 8. To keep the local community up-to-date and introduce them to the latest development architecture & tools, Microsoft Saudi Community arranged the live webcast of the keynotes in 3 cities of the Kingdom: Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. The tag line for new Windows 8 is:
In 1995, Windows changed PC. BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything
In Jeddah, the event was planned at Dar Al-Hekma College. The keynote was supposed to start at 7 PM (Makkah Time). As per the agenda, the registration was planned to start at 5:30. A welcome note was given by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, The Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He explained about the technical communities and user groups operating in the Kingdom. He mentioned that Microsoft Arabia is interested in improving its collaboration with the technical community of Western Region. Microsoft is also planning to increase the frequency of the Sponsored Programs and events to help the users to adopt the new technologies.
It was followed by a short refreshment and prayer break.
The keynote was kicked off by Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, in a some-how Steve Job inspired style. He explained the new and cool features of Windows 8. Contrary to previous pattern of Microsoft, Windows 8 does not have any new hardware requirements, any PC that is fulfilling the requirements of Windows 7 is fully acceptable for Windows 8. The main trend building thing in Windows8 is the Metro style UI. Along with the traditional mouse based approach, this Metro style is Touch Oriented. In previous years, Office 2007 introduced a new ribbon based look and feel. Although it was taken as a new standard by many other applications (web applications as well) but it was not ported to Windows itself. But in case of Windows8, this metro style is highly dominant and the next release of Office is also expected to adopt it. Microsoft has been wise enough to provide simple and easy upgrade of classic applications to Metro style with minimum code.
During the keynote a lot of features + updates were described ranging from a daily user’s interest to the developers extent. This post is not intended to explain the keynotes in details. Below is JUST the list of some of the noticeable features:
- Extremely fast start up (8 sec in the demo)
- Infected USB boot protection
- Picture Password for Login
- ARM based architecture now supported
- Spell Checker available throughout the System
- User Profile Sync across multiple machines (based on Live Id)
- Microsoft Application Store linked with Visual Studio with Live status display of the application
- New low power state: Connected Standby
- Support up to 256 TB of hard disk
- Simple Refresh or Reset to factory setting feature
- Improved file copy with visual progress and better speed
- Fully loaded Control Panel and Task Manager
- Up Button is finally back in the Windows explorer with a new bar similar to Office Quick Launch bar
- Built in support for multiple monitors, ISO mounting and burning etc.
- Touch Enabled Internet Explorer 10 with extreme hardware acceleration
- Option to switch between Metro and classic Desktop style
- Browse SkyDrivesimilar to a native folder
- Tap to share available for NFC for supported hardware
- Different keyboards with emotions natively available. Split keyboard also available for thumb typing
Towards the end of the presentation, it was announced that 5000 Intel i5 based, 11 ” tablets made by Samsung will be given to the audience. This tablet, called Developer PC, is preloaded with Windows8 and other required tools for developing and debugging applications.
The keynote session last for about 2 and a half hour. It seems that Microsoft is planning to go far ahead with its new Metro styles Windows with full support for desktop machines up to the new touch centric tablets with extra slim sizes and increasing processing power. We can clearly expect to see Windows based tablets available for general users in the 1st half of 2012.
One more good thing is Windows8 can easily be downloaded (legally) from the following link:
The local attendees of the webcast were given a short survey by Microsoft Arabia to know about their interest which will help in understanding the needs and requirement of local market.
Purchasing an iPhone 3GS from Mobily April 25, 2010Posted by Bilal in iPhone, Product.
Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Jeddah, Mobily, Saudi Arabia, STC
[i hav been enjoying my 3GS for more than two month but I could not manage to share my experience b4…..! Even this post has been written in 3 sittings over a span of more than 3 weeks]
Few days before I purchased my new toy [yessss], my colleague has to go to the STC office on the Palestine Street while I gave him the company. The Mobily office is also there. I took this opportunity for-granted and went there. The receptionist told me that they have only Black Colored set of 32 GB. At that time I had not decided for white or black but I just confirm him about the availability of the stock that he confirmed. Next week, when I went there, got the token number and finally it was my turn. When I talked to the Mobily guy, he told me that they only have the black sets, I said him its okay. Then he revealed to me that they are offering the postpaid package (99SR) ONLY! It was really disturbing! I m an STC user and its my luck [or bad bad] that I have to purchase it from Mobily i.e. STC’s first competitor. I asked him about the availability on other branches, he said that no such system is available that could tell about the availability of stock on a certain branch. Its really a bad thing for such a big big company like Mobily, the SOLE official iPhone distributor in the Kingdom! He told me that I have to go from one branch to another, get myself covered with black dust until I m able to find the GEM buried in the coal mines.
Feeling very upset, I asked him about the main branch at Jeddah, Tehleya [that was suppose to provide the iPhone on the launch day of 7th Dec as per the notification sms], he said NO; Tahliya is out of stock long ago! A much desperate situation for a person who has been waiting for this day sooo long and finding no way to reach his destination.. I then requested him to discuss wid his colleagues and guide me from which branch I should start my hunt? After consulting his colleague on phone and verbally, he advised me give my luck a try by starting from the Arbaeen Street branch.
Morally very down, we went to the Arbaeen Street branch. So in order to avoid the same thing happen again, I first of all asked the receptionist about the availability of the required device, instead of the Yes/No answer he asked me about the capacity (16 or 32) and told me to take the token and wait while he checked the stock in the back store. I asked him again and he replied me same; wait!. Anyhow, I waited until it was my turn. I went to the counter with extra fast heart beat and repeated the same question, IPHONE 3GS 32 GB with prepaid plan. His reply was simple, “YES”! His short answer was like an oxygen for my bad mode.. He asked me for the color White or black, it was also a shock of happiness. In the last branch the answer was “NO” and here the answer is “this or this”.
I had made a little search for white or black color. Some people were saying that its up to ur personal choice but many other were in favor of white color. At one page I got this comment which I think is most reasonable or this is what I was looking for:
White is magnet for Dust,
while black is magnet for Finger Prints,
select as per your personal interest.
So, I can say that I got my 3GS Black colored by CHOICE.
The next step was the Mobily sim card. It was the part of the package, a Mobily SIM card with 250 MB data for 6 months for no extra charges [ as a bonus 😉 ]. Before the attended proceed with the issuing process of new number, I requested him to try my STC number, off course with some alteration. To my hard luck, it was not available (or not available without some extra fee). We made 6/7 attempts and finally we selected the number.
Although, the first interaction with Mobily was not so pleasant, but I must admit that the staff specially the attendant was very helpful. The overall atmosphere/performance of the customer centers is good or at least better than STC. This is ONE of the main aspects in which STC needs much improvement.
In the last it would be unjust if I don’t mention a person who is helping a lot of peopel like me in this cause publicly and personally. He is known as Mr. Khaled. He maintains a personal siteand also a technology blog about Apple and Mac activities in Middle East or more specifically about Saudi Arabia: Saudi Mac. I hav been visiting his pages months before I purchased my iPhone. He keeps us up to dated thru blogs and also Twitter. If u r interested in such things, I would recommend u follow him on twitter.
Chill till next…..