Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL specs and features leak ahead of launch tonight: Everything we know so far

Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Google Home Mini, Pixelbook set to be launched tonight: Everything we know so far

Advertisement

Image credit: Evan Blass

There are no surprise anymore. Apple couldn’t keep the iPhone X, one of its biggest products in years, a surprise ahead of the launch event. And Google surely can’t keep away the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL from the leakers. The two phones, which are successor to last year’s original Pixel phones, will be launched tonight at an event in San Francisco. They will come accompanied by a number of other Google products, most important of which are going to be three – the new Google Home Mini, the Pixelbook and a new Daydream VR headset.

Of all, the most important – particular for our country of smartphone lovers – are going to be the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. Almost everything important about these phones is now known. It the last few days their images along with key specifications and features have been leaked. There has been a talk of a mysterious phone called the Ultra Pixel but that is just talk. Tonight there is going to be nothing called Ultra Pixel at the Google event. Only the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL.

Update: Just hours before the launch, a fresh leak has given us at the more detailed specs of the Pixel 2 XL. The specs, listed online, confirm that the phone will come with a 6-inch screen that has a resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels, hence also confirming the 18:9 aspect ratio. In all likelihood this is the same screen that has been used by LG in its V30 smartphone. Also the specs sheet shows 100000:1 aspect ration hence confirming that the Pixel 2 XL screen uses AMOLED panel. Then there are other details. The front camera on the Pixel 2 XL uses an 8-megapixel sensor with F2.4 lens. The phone comes with a 3520 mAh battery. There is Gorilla Glass 5 layer on top of the phone’s display. Other specs are similar to what we heard about earlier. But there are 3 key features that have revealed by the latest leaks: The Pixel 2 XL will have dual-SIM support. But will be the regular GSM SIM, the slot will use e-SIM. There is something called Pixel Visual Core, which seems to be a special chip for computational photography. In other words, think better portrait mode photos. Finally, there is something called “advanced x-axis sensor” in the Pixel 2 XL. This seems to be the sensor that will enable “squeezable frame” feature.

So what are these phones, how much will the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will cost in India, when will they go on sale in India? Nothing is official about them yet, but as noted earlier almost everything about these phones has been leaked. So don’t expect any surprises.

– Of the the, the Pixel 2 XL is a more exciting phone. It is made by LG and it has many similarities with the LG V30. The phone is expected to sport a 6-inch screen with thin bezels, similar to what we see in the LG V30. But that is where the design similarities end. Google is expected to use a design for the Pixel 2 XL that is similar to the design of the original Pixel XL. This means, you will get the same dual-tone shell made of metal and glass, although the Glass portion on the rear cover is proportionately smaller than what we saw in last year’s Pixel phones.

– The Pixel 2 XL screen, as noted earlier, measures 6 inches. It will use AMOLED panel, will have QHD (1440P) display with 18:9 aspect ratio.

 

– The Pixel 2, meanwhile, is the smaller phone with 5-inch screen that has a resolution of 1080P. It is said to be made by HTC and it will have a design that is more generic and similar to the design of the Pixel launched last year.

– Both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are expected to come with stereo speakers. Both have a fingerprint sensor at the rear cover, under camera. Both will feature “squeezable frame” similar to what th HTC U11 has. Squeezing this frame will launch Google Assistant.

– Both Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. There was talk that these phones are going to use the Snapdragon 836, but apparently that chip is late so Google couldn’t use it. The Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will come with 64GB and the 128GB variants. They will have 4GB RAM.

– Just like the recent iPhones, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are going to come without the 3.5mm headphone jack. This is rather surprising because last year Google highlighted the presence of the headphone jack in its Pixel phones as one of the top features, while hinting that the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus weren’t good because they lacked it. Google will probably bundle a headphone to USB-C adapter in the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL boxes.

– The Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are going to come with a re-designed launcher, which will have the Google search bar at the bottom of the screen. The phone will use Android Oreo software, and likely to come with (temporarily) exclusive software features like Google Lens app, which was announced at the Google I/O.

– The Pixel 2 is likely to have a 2700 mAh battery while the Pixel 2 XL will come with 3400 mAh battery.

– Both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will have water and dust-poof design.

– For now, if there is some mystery then that is about the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL cameras. It is certain neither of these phones comes with dual-camera system. Of late, high-end phones are moving dual-camera systems to offer features like 2X optical zoom and more refined portrait mode. But not Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. These phones are going to come with single camera on the rear. The question is which camera? There are strong chances that it is going to be the sae 12-megapixel camera that is there in the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. It makes sense because this is the best camera you can get in a phone, even when compared to the camera inside phones like the recently-launched iPhone 8 Plus. But there is also another scenario. Given how much help Google has got from HTC for the Pixel 2 (and the Pixel 2 XL), it is possible that the company may se the same 12-megapixel camera that HTC uses in HTC U11. That again is a good camera so we will have to see what Google does with the HTC U11 camera hardware with its software tricks like the HDR+ mode.

Also Read: Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL to launch tonight: How to watch, expected specs, price and more

On the front, it is expected that the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will come with 5-megapixel shooter. The interesting bit about the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL cameras could be that they may lack the dual-lens trick, but if original Pixel is any indication the new Google phones too may come with the best camera in a smartphone. In addition, it is expected that Google will offer enhanced portrait node in the camera app inside the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL.

Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel 2 India price and India launch

The global prices of the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL have been leaked. The Pixel 2 XL will have a starting price of $849. The Pixel 2, meanwhile, will be cheaper with a starting price of $649. As far as India prices are concerned, nothing has been revealed so far. But these are high-end phones, and similar to how Google priced Pixel phones in India last year, the new Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will also come with a hefty price tag. It is safe to day that in India the Pixel 2 could have a string price of around Rs 55,000 whereas the Pixel 2 XL may come with a price tag of Rs 65,000.

According to leaks so far, the Pixel 2 will be available globally from October 19. This could be the date when the phone goes on sale in India too, with pre-orders starting a few days early. The Pixel 2 XL could go on sale from November 15, suggest rumours. For official date, let’s wait until tonight.

Pixel Home Mini, Daydream VR headset, Pixelbook

Of these products, the Google Home Mini has already been leaked by Walmart, which “accidentally” listed it on the website. It is exactly what it name suggests. This is a smaller Google Home, much smaller and almost pebble sized, that will sell at a very cheap $49 price. It will connect to an Android device through Wi-Fi and will have Google Assistant inbuilt. Now, although this is a speaker, we suspect it is more for other things instead of music. It’s more like the voice of the Google Assistant and is also probably going to be used to make calls.

The PixelBook is a new Chromebook with powerful hardware and a premium design. It is also said to be a convertable, that people will be able to use as a tablet as well as a laptop. With the PixelBook, the idea it seems is to take on the iPad Pro as well as the Macbook. The device will have a screen size of 12.3 inches and it will come powered with an Intel Core i5 processors, reveals the information leaked so far. It will have a global starting price of $1,199.

Finally, the new Daydream VR headset. This one is expected to be a minor update to the existing VR headset from Google. It will be sold as an accessory to the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL phones and it may come with some design changes as well as improved screens to make it more useful.

[“Source-indiatoday”]

New BlackBerry Q5 Device Makes Three So Far This Year By BlackBerry

The Q5 device, aimed at markets like Latin America, the Middle East, parts of Europe and Asia, will be available in July. The company has announced no plans to introduce the device in the U.S. thus far.

The new BlackBerry Q5 smartphone is a spin on BlackBerry’s recent new releases, the Blackberry Q10 and Z10.

Confused Yet By All the Qs and Zs?

Let us sort it out for you:

  • The Q5 is aimed at reaching younger audiences, and features fun colors like red. It has a full QWERTY physical keyboard. It uses the new BlackBerry 10 software.  It has a 3.1-inch touchscreen for those who prefer that method for communicating or navigating. The CrackBerry video below previews it.
  • The Z10 is BlackBerry’s flagship touchscreen phone. It was launched in March and represents a departure from previous BlackBerry devices which mostly have featured a physical keyboard. The Z10 is also built on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. That system offers a number of new features, including the BlackBerry Flow which helps you save time by not having to  jump in and out of applications. It also features the BlackBerry Hub, which gives access to all your messages from various apps in one place. The Z10 is an attempt to catch up with smartphone competitors in a mobile industry BlackBerry helped create.
  • The Q10, also using the BlackBerry 10 software, is a return to the company’s roots with a physical QWERTY keyboard. The physical keyboard is beloved by stalwart BlackBerry users. The Q10 is a more high-end product than the Q5.

No Mention Of a North America Release

BlackBerry made no mention of introducing the Q5 model into North America.  That has some BlackBerry fans disappointed. One fan said in a comment on BlackBerry’s official blog, “What about the USA or will we have to wait until next year? I think Blackberry is forcing many of us in the USA and myself to go to other manufacturer(s).”

 


Image: BlackBerry

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Crowdfunding Publishers Rake It In, $100 Million Pledged Thus Far, Kickstarter Says

Crowdfunded Publishing Rakes It In, $100 Million Pledged Thus Far, Kickstarter Says

Product startups aren’t the only entrepreneurs using crowdfunding to finance their products. Crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has hit a landmark, recording $100 million in pledges to small publishers and self-publishing authors.

In a blog post, the company said that “more than a million people from around the world have gotten behind over 30,000 Publishing projects on Kickstarter, helping nearly 10,000 of them come to life.”

Crowdfunded Publishing by the Numbers

Here’s a breakdown of the statistics that made this milestone possible.

  • Successfully funded creators who have backed at least one other project: 6,414
  • Number of backers: 1,226,438
  • Number of countries/territories those backers have come from: 211
  • Number of times they have pledged to a project: 1,673,631

Kickstarter’s latest achievement is good news for writers and small publishers looking for funds to reach their audience. Notably, authors such as entrepreneur Eric Ries, author The Lean Startup are now turning to the site to raise funds for their literary work.

Apart from authors, literary magazines are also opting for the platform to meet their goals.

Kickstarter’s publishing outreach lead, Margot Atwell told The Guardian that “lately we’re seeing more authors and high profile publishers.”

“They’re becoming a critical mass and people are starting to notice it more.”

Interestingly, new indie publishers like the Big Bang Press are launching Kickstarter to fund books by fanfiction authors.

For all the advantages of moving to the Kickstarter platform to get published, there are some things worth keeping in mind. Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Jeff O’Neal, editors of Book Riot offered some words of advice on The Huffington Post, “Since the big wad of cash from your Kickstarter campaign goes right to you to do with what you will, you are going to be the last person paid. This means that keeping your expenses low throughout your project will leave you with more by the end.”

They also said that the decision to print or not should be taken after careful consideration. It’s a good idea to do a “limited run of print as a small incentive for backers to give during the campaign.”

A very important tip for fiction writers and publishers to remember is that selling is a challenge. It’s therefore crucial to create an engaging proof of concept. The project description should generate curiosity to entice the readers.

Leveraging social media is also a great way to achieve crowdfunding success on Kickstarter. Book Riot ran a promotional campaign and gave away goodies to expand its social reach. The idea helped the publisher gain new readers and boosted its chances.
Image: Kickstarter

More in: Crowdfunding

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Far from being eternal, Bharat Mata is only a little more than 100 years old

At a time when India is being projected as eternal, when the chanting of Bharat Mata ki jai has become a testimony to patriotism and refusal to do so invites the wrath of Hindutva outfits and political parties, it is pertinent to look at the history of the country known as Bharat whose antiquity cannot be pushed too far back in time.

The earliest references

The geographical horizon of the Aryans was limited to the north western part of the Indian subcontinent known as Saptasindhava. The Vedic texts do not mention the word Bharata in the sense of a country though they refer to the tribe of Bharatas at several places in different contexts. In Panini’s Ashtadhyayi (500 BC) we find a reference toPrachya Bharata in the sense of a territory (janapada) which lay between udichya (north) and prachya (east). It must have been a small region occupied by the Bharata tribe and cannot be equated with the Akhanda ­Bharata or Bharata of the Hindutva brigade.

The earliest reference to Bharatavarsha (Prakrit Bharadhavasa) is found in the inscription of the Orissan king Kharavela (first century BC), who lists it among the territories he invaded: but it did not include Magadha, which is mentioned sepa­rately in the record. The word here may therefore refer in a general way to northern India, its precise territorial connotation remaining vague. A much larger geographical region is visualised by the use of the word in the Mahabharata (200 BC to AD 300), which provides a good deal of geographical information about the subcontinent, but a large part of the Deccan and the far south does not find any place in it. Banabhatta’s Kadambari (seventh century), at one place describes Bharatavarsha as being ruled by Tarapida, who “set his seal on the four oceans”. But since it is referred to as excluding Ujjaini from it, the location and boundaries of Bharat are far from clear.

Bharatavarsha figures prominently in the Puranas, but they describe its shape variously. In some passages it is likened to a half-moon, in others it is said to resemble a triangle; in yet others it appears as a rhomboid or an unequal quadrilateral or a drawn bow. TheMarkandeya Purana compares the shape of the country with that of a tortoise floating on water and facing east. Most of the Puranas describe Bharatavarsha as being divided into nine dvipas or khandas, separated by seas and mutually inac­cessible.

The Puranic conception of Bharatavarsha has similarity with the ideas of ancient Indian astronomers like Varahamihira (sixth century AD) and Bhaskaracharya (11th century), though in their perception it does not seem to have included southern India. Although a 14th-century record mentions Bharata as extending from the Himalayas to the southern sea, by and large, the available textual and epigraphic references to it do not indicate that the term stood for India as we know it today.

A part of Jambudvipa

In many texts Bharata is said to have been a part of Jambudvipa, which itself had an uncertain geographical connotation. The Vedic texts do not mention it; nor does Panini, though he refers to the jambu (rose apple) tree. The early Buddhist canonical works provide the earliest reference to the continent called Jambudvipa (Pali, Jambudipa), its name being derived from the jambu tree which grew there. Juxtaposed with Sihaladipa (Sans. Simhaladvipa=Sri Lanka), of the inscriptions of Ashoka, Jambudipa stands for the whole of his empire, which covered nearly the entire Indian subcontinent excluding its far southern part. He unified the major part of the Indian subcontinent and called it Jambudipa. But he did not use the word Bharat to denote this vast land mass.

Despite the use of the word Jambudipa for the whole of his empire, the ambiguity about its territorial connotation is borne out by both epigraphic and literary sources during the subsequent centuries. In a sixth-century inscription of Toramana, for instance, Jambudvipa occurs without any precise territorial connotation, and in the Puranic cosmological schema, it appears more as a mythical region than as a geographical entity. According to the Puranas the world consists of “seven concentric dvipas or islands, each of which is encircled by a sea, the central island called Jambu­dvipa…”. This is similar to the cosmological imaginings of the Jains who, however, placed Jambudvipa at the centre of the central land (madhyaloka) of the three-tiered structure of the universe. According to another Puranic conception, which has much in common with the Buddhist cosmological ideas, the earth is divided into four mahadvipas, Jambudvipa being larger than the others. In both these conceptions of the world, Bharatavarsha is at some places said to be a part of Jambudvipa but at others the two are treated as identical. The geographical conception of both Bharat and Jambudvipa are thus factitious and of questionable value.

Abanindranath Tagore/ ‘Banga Mata’ water colour that he later decided to title 'Bharat Mata'.  1905.
Abanindranath Tagore/ ‘Banga Mata’ water colour that he later decided to title ‘Bharat Mata’. 1905.

Bharat as Mother

It was only from the late 19th century that Bharatvarsha in the sense of the whole subcontinent, and Bharat as Mother found their way into the popular vocabulary. The anonymous work Unabimsapurana (1866), KC Bandyopadhyaya’s play called Bharat Mata (1873) and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s Anandmath (1880) were among the earliest works to popularise the notion of Bharatmata. Its visual evocation came perhaps not earlier than 1905 in a painting by Abanindranath Tagore, who conceived of the image as one of Bangamata but later, “almost as an act of generosity towards the larger cause of Indian nationalism, decided to title it ‘Bharatmata’”.

Far from being eternal, Bharat mata is thus little more than a 100 years old. Insistence on her inhabitants forming a nation in ancient times is sophistry. It legitimatises the Hindutva perception of Indian national identity as located in remote antiquity, accords centrality to the supposed primordiality of Hinduism and spawns Hindu cultu­ral nationalism which prompts the saffron brigade to bully the Indian people into chanting of Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

DN Jha is former Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Delhi

[“source-Scroll”]