WordCamp Mumbai 2014 on 15th – 16th March

Last month I wrote about the WordCamp culture in India. In it I mentioned briefly about WordCamp Mumbai. WordCamps are basically WordPress informal conferences. The idea is for WordPress enthusiasts from a particular city meet-up and interact with the other WordPress enthusiasts and experts from all over the country. It is ideally an annual event.

WcMumbai_logo

Mumbai will host it’s second WordCamp (first one was in 2012) this weekend (15-16 March, 2014). I have attended a few WordCamps and they usually end up being informative and a lot of fun. It is always a lot of fun to see interesting new ways WordPress is used.

I am personally involved in WordCamp Mumbai 2014 as an organizer. For DW’s parent company rtCamp too, this WordCamp will be a very special one as EasyEngine – a CLI tool that helps users to easily manage their WordPress sites on Nginx will be introduced to the community. Rahul Bansal will be speaking on it in a session.

You can check out the event schedule here.

So if you live in Mumbai or nearby and want to check out WordCamp Mumbai – do register and buy a ticket online here.

Important Links for WordCamp Mumbai 2014

iPad Air, Retina iPad mini – Sale in India at Rs 35,900 and Rs 28,900

The iPad Air and iPad mini with retina display will go for sale in India from today. These devices were announced by Apple on October 22, 2013.

iPad Air at Rs 35,900

The iPad Air WiFi edition is priced at Rs 35,900. It sports a 9.7 inch retina display with A7 chipset. It is based on 64 bit architecture and has a M7 motion coprocessor. It is the latest iPad in the series and weighs less than a kilogram. It is available in two colors – space grey and white.

iPad Air

16 GB – WiFi only Rs 35,900 & Cellular Rs 44,900

32 GB – WiFi only Rs 42,900 & Cellular Rs 51,900

64 GB – WiFi only Rs 49,900 & Cellular Rs 58,900

128 GB – WiFi only Rs 56,900 & Cellular Rs 65,900

iPad Air 16 GB WiFi edition is listed on Flipkart as Coming soon. You can choose to get notified once the product is available on Flipkart.

iPad Air WiFi only (Space Grey) on Flipkart

iPad Air WiFi only (White) on Flipkart

iPad mini retina at Rs 28,900

iPad mini with retina display starts at Rs 28,900. It is similar to the iPad Air is comes packed with A7 chipset, 64 bit architecture and a M7 motion coprocessor. It succeeds iPad mini and supports resolution of 2048×1536 and over 3.1 million pixels. It will be available in space grey and silver colors.

Retina iPad Mini

16 GB – WiFi only Rs 28,900 & Cellular Rs 37,900

32 GB – WiFi only Rs 35,900 & Cellular Rs 44,900

64 GB – WiFi only Rs 42,900 & Cellular Rs 51,900

128 GB – WiFi only Rs 49,900 & Cellular Rs 58,900

The launch of iPad Air and iPad mini retina in India should try to fight the Nexus 7 2013 edition will sells for Rs 20,999 in India.

An iPad Mini user’s review of the Nexus 7 tablet

My experience with tablets is not really old. It started about six months ago when I got myself an iPad Mini. The Apple device was something I was very happy with but I was looking forward to the new Nexus 7 tablet being released in India.

Though the Nexus 7 was introduced in the US back in July, but it has been available in India only since the past week. As my iPad Mini is a hit with my family members, it is used by all of them. Hence, I decided to order myself a Nexus 7 on the Play store and sure enough I got the delivery in just a couple of days.

Nexus 7 on table
Nexus 7 (2013) running Android 4.4

Nexus 7 – Solid Hardware

The first thing that hit me was how small the device actually is. The iPad Mini is about 5.3 inches wide while the Nexus 7 is about 4.4 inches wide. The height of both devices were the same. I was a little apprehensive if the Nexus 7 would work out for me with such a small screen. Compared to an iPad Mini it looks pretty small.

Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini Screens
Nexus 7 (left) might have a smaller screen but the display is much sharper than the iPad Mini

The small size concerns were quickly dismissed as I found the Nexus 7 screen brilliant. It supports 1920 X 1200 HD resolution with 323 ppi (pixels per inch). The iPad Mini supports about 163 ppi with 1024 X 720 resolution display. Forget all the spec numbers, the display performance of Nexus 7 is simply great.

The Nexus 7 (2013) obviously has a lot more power with Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5 GHz). The Nexus 7 has 32 GB storage and 2 GB RAM (other variants are with 16 GB and 32 GB with 4G) which is a great deal of storage space.

The rear facing camera is 5MP and the front facing camera is 1.2 MP. The 3950 mAh battery promises 9 hours of active use. It is still early days to see if it as good as the iPad Mini.

Android 4.4 on Nexus 7

It is a bit difficult to see how greatly the Android 4.4 has improved the performance of the Nexus 7 as the first thing I did with Nexus 7 was to get it updated to Android 4.4. With guaranteed update to Android KitKat, ideally the update shows up in notifications within moments of setting up the tablet.

Android 4.4 allows hotword detection which allows users to start a search by just saying “OK Google”. With this addition, Google Now is miles ahead of Apple’s SIRI. To switch on hotword detection, open the Google Search app and look up Settings >> Voice >> Select Hotword detection. If the Hotword detection option is not visible change the language to English (US) and the option will show up.

Google Now Voice Settings
Hotword Detection is a new feature with Android 4.4

I also saw a new app called QuickOffice which helps creates documents, spreadsheets and presentations. QuickOffice seemed to be very closely integrated with Google Drive.

Finally I saw a new feature in the device settings called Printing. I have not tested this out but it links up to Cloud Print or HP Print Service.

Widgets are a good idea on a tablet!

I am not a big fan of widgets on my Nexus 4 phone, though it is one of the most cited advantage over iOS by Android fans. But with a tablet, the screen is a lot bigger and widgets suddenly seemed more useful on a tablet. I have currently chosen Google Now widget.

The notifications on Android are much better in the sense I can carry out actions like delete, share images and more with notifications that show up.

What Nexus 7 does not get right

Google does offer tablet only apps on Play store and most of them are pretty decent. But Android simply is nowhere close to the variety that iOS offers for tablets. As I stated in the beginning of this article that my iPad Mini is used by members of my family and not just me. This is because of the variety of apps and how simple it is to use as a device. I have personally seen even a seven year old confidently operate the iPad Mini.

The Nexus 7 runs on Android which can be customized but with customization comes personality and that means I doubt a Nexus 7 tablet would become a family device. Also my Nexus 7 froze in its first hour when I was checking the front facing camera. It got fixed after I put my device in “Safe Mode”. I removed an app that I had recently downloaded and the issue was fixed. This never happened to my iPad Mini. There is no “Safe Mode” and I have never come across any app on iOS that crashes the device.

That said, if you are looking for a tablet with an awesome display screen, then the Nexus 7 tablet is a good buy at Rs. 24,000 (23,999) for a 32 GB Wifi version. A comparable iPad Mini with 32 GB storage is almost Rs. 28,000 but as I mentioned has a much inferior display. A iPad Mini with retina display with 32 GB storage is currently sold at $500 in the US.

Do drop in your comments and views.

Link: Nexus 7

Google lists Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013) on Play Store for India

If you are one of those who wants to buy the new Nexus 5 phone or the Nexus 7 tablet, you should head over to the Google Play Store. Though I expected the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 to debut on 14th November  but that date seemed off by a week. It might have ended up missing the shopping frenzy in India but Android enthusiasts were probably aware the Nexus phone will show up

Nexus 5 in India

The Nexus 5 phone running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat is available in two variants with 16 GB and 32 GB memory storage. While I checked Google Play store, the phone was not available in black colour but was available with white. The price of the 16 GB phone was as expected Rs. 28,999 and the 32 GB is priced Rs. 32,999.

Nexus 5 India

Link: Nexus 5 phone on Google Play

Nexus 7 (2013) in India

The Nexus 7 tablet’s latest 2013 version was released a few months ago in the US. The device runs Android 4.3 Jellybean but it will have an assured update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is available in three different varieties. The 16 GB variant is available in WiFi only and the 32GB variant is available in WiFi and also another one with LTE unlocked (GSM).

Nexus 7 2013 India

Pricing

  • Nexus 7 16 GB WiFi – Rs. 20,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi – Rs. 23,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi – Rs. 27,999

The Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi version is a pretty good deal. I personally ordered myself a Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi tablet and when its delivered, you can expect a complete review.

Link: Nexus 7 on Google Play

Old Nexus 7 tablets are a bargain

While the new Nexus 7 is far superior to its last years predecessor, it still is a handy tablet to have. The best part of the old Nexus 7 are being sold at prices as low as Rs. 8,999. I saw that price on Flipkart but on Amazon.in it was available for Rs. 11,299.

Nexus 5 priced Rs. 28,999 and availability on 14th November in India

Google released Android 4.4 KitKat and the new Nexus 5 phone a couple of days ago. The Nexus 5 is already available in the US and other markets but its availability is not officially confirmed in India.

What is officially confirmed is the the price of the Nexus 5 phone in India. Just head over to the Nexus 5 playstore listing and it shows the prices of both the 16GB and 32 GB variants.

Nexus 5 India price and availability

The Nexus 5 16 GB variant is priced at Rs. 28,999 and the 32 GB variant at Rs. 32,999.

That is about Rs. 3000 more than what Nexus 4 was priced in India. According to TOI the release date for Nexus 5 in India will be the 14th November.

The Nexus 7 (2013) version is also expected in India soon and hopefully that too will be available on November 14th. Google’s ambiguity over the release of Android 4.4 and Nexus 5 has been so much that it is difficult to take any rumours on a release date seriously.

About Android 4.4: I guess Google still has to learn a bit from Apple who release an update on the same day to millions of devices. My phone (Nexus 4) still does not have the Android 4.4 update available officially, which is a same as most Nexus owners buy the device to get the latest Android version. I will post a details Android 4.4 review once I get my hands on it.

Important Helpline Numbers and Links for Cyclone Phailin

Cyclone PhailinTropical Cyclone Phailin will soon make landfall on the east coastal parts of India. The cyclone will affect coastal Odisha and coastal Andhra Pradesh the most. Last time a cyclone hit Odisha, thousands perished. So hopefully this time the authorities and the National Disaster Management Authority is better prepared. Thankfully because of better communications and an active internet community can atleast get information through very quickly.

Here are some useful links to track, find and contribute information regarding Cyclone Phailin.

#1. Helpine Numbers – National Disaster Management Authority

Odisha State Emergency Numbers

Odisha State Emergency Operation Centre No- 0674-2534177

  • Ganjam- 06811-263978
  • Puri- 06752-223237
  • Jagatsinghpur- 06724-220368
  • Kendrapada- 06727-232803
  • Bhadrak- 06784-251881
  • Balasore- 06782-262674
  • Mayurbhanj- 06792-252759
  • Jajpur- 06728-222648,
  • Cuttack- 0671-2507842
  • Khordha- 06755-220002
  • Nayagarh- 06753-252978
  • Gajapati- 06815-222943
  • Dhenkanal- 06762-221376
  • Keonjhar- 06766-255437

Andhra Pradesh Emergency numbers of Cyclone

  • Srikakulam – 0894-2240557/ 9652838191
  • Visakhapatnam- 1800425002
  • Vizianagaram- 1077/0892-2236947,
  • East Godavari- 0884-2365506
  • West Godavari- 0881230617
  • Krishna- 086722525 Toll Free – 1077,
  • Guntur- 08632345103/08632234990
  • Nellore- 08612331477

#2. Google Crisis Response Page

Google has crowd-sourced some very useful information to track the cyclone and also has a person finder dedicated for cyclone Phailin.

#3. Other links

As the story is developing we might add more useful information and links to this page. If you have more info to add please do drop in your comments so we can include it.

Google Chromebooks available in India for Rs. 22,999: Should you buy one?

Google’s laptop offering called Chromebooks are now officially available in India. There are two Chromebooks on sale in India, one being Acer C720 for Rs. 22,999 and the other being the HP Chromebook 14 for Rs. 26,990.

The Chromebooks can are available for pre-order on Flipkart and they will be available at select outlets of Reliance Digital and Croma retail shops from 17th October in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Chromebooks_India_Acer
Acer C70 Chromebook – priced at Rs. 22,999 in India

The Acer AC720 will be the bigger draw. Priced at Rs. 22,999/- it features a display screen of 11.6 inches. It will run on the new Intel Chips. These chips are supposed to improve the battery life of the device and this device promises upto 8.5 hours of uptime.

It will feature 100 GB space on the Google Drive for two years but only 16 GB Solid State Drive.

It will have a support Wi-Fi and have the option to have a 3G modem fitted.

HP Chromebook 14 - India
HP Chromebook 14 – priced at Rs. 26,990 in India

The more expensive HP Chromebook 14, will pack a 14 inch display screen and a battery that lasts 9.5 hours of active use. It is priced at Rs. 26,990/-

It will also pack 100 GB Google Drive cloud storage for two years with 16 GB Solid State Drive. The device will support WIFI and an optional 3G modem.

Link: Chromebooks in India

How will Chromebooks connect to the internet?

An obvious option to connect to the internet would using your own WIFI connection. But if users do not have their own connection, they can still connect using 3G broadband services offered with the Chromebooks.

Google has tied up with Tikona and Airtel to offer wireless broadband services to work with their Chromebooks as part of Chrome goodies.

I checked these broadband bundles being offered and felt that they seemed to be good enough for casual users.

Link: Chrome Goodies

Is the Chromebook useful offline?

The Chromebook is mainly a device that is built for going useful online. But Chromebooks do have some offline capabilities. It will allow users to write emails, view appointments, play music from a USB stick or edit photos saved locally. More importantly you can view all Microsoft Office files and also .PDF files.

Unfortunately there is no capability to edit MS Office files from the Chromebooks in offline mode. But the Google Drive app will allow users to create, edit and view documents in offline mode.

Chrome also has a lot of offline apps that can be installed.

Link: Offline Apps on Chrome

Who would be interested in Chromebooks?

The appeal for this small PC is usually for two types of users. One would be people who want a second laptop to basically surf the net, reply to emails and use some web apps and take advantage of the 100 GB space offered on Google Drive.

The other larger section of users Google is hoping to snag, are the kind who really are using a laptop for surfing the web and are not interested in anything much more. Though the it is a tough sell as many of these users might prefer to get themselves a tablet computer instead of a Chromebook. If someone is using an expensive laptop more or less to browse the net and check their emails at most times, a Chromebook would make sense.

Some added benefits are that the space on your Google Drive will be up from 5GB free space now to 100 GB. That would be a great benefit if you were paying for extra storage space on Google Drive.

Will you buy yourself a Chromebook? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Acer AC 720 | HP Chromebook 14

Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to be launched in India on 01 Nov

Apple fans in India have some good news coming their way. Apple will launch its flagship iPhone 5s and a the cheaper model iPhone 5c in India on 1st November. Along with India the two phone models will also be available in more countries.

Apple is perceived to have not taken the Indian market very seriously but lately they are definitely launching the products a lot sooner than previous times.

iPhone 5c

The price of iPhone 5s will be definitely on the higher side and could be over Rs. 45,000 or even cross Rs. 50,000. The iPhone 5s with its fingerprint scanner and 64-bit processors. Though all eyes will be on the iPhone 5c model. The phone will ship in different colours and is more or less considered the iPhone 5 with a plastic casing.

The phone will be a lot cheaper than what a new iPhone model usually is. It is expected to be around Rs.35,000. iPhone 5c could be a major factor in Apple’s strategy to get newer smartphone buyers into the iOS ecosystem. Even today,  most Indians prefer a Android phone simple for its range and prices.

Apple will be releasing the new iPhone models just in time for this years Diwali season which is a very wise thing to do. While Apple seems to be finally taking India more seriously, Google has not rested on the success of Android in India. It has also opened new Android stores in Bangalore and Delhi and will be soon opening more across India.

(via Apple)

Google opens Android retail stores in India partnering with Spice

It’s obvious that Android is growing like crazy in India. That’s not just the low-priced segment, but even the high end phones are getting sold like never before. But in spite of all this, Google never really focused on properly marketing Android in India.

That’s only until now, Google has partnered with Spice, one of the popular Indian Android OEMs, to open retail stores in India.

land

The stores are named ‘Androidland’ and have opened in Bangalore and Delhi on Wednesday. The main focus will be on showcasing Android phones/tablets from a variety of OEMs (Indian and international).

The Androidland staff, called ‘Spice Android gurus’ will be around to help you with setting up your device and explaining what all Android has to offer to you.

The staff will also recommend apps and let customers download them on the spot. Apparently, Google Play gift cards aren’t yet available in India, but if they were, it could be a win-win situation for Google and customers.

Hopefully, Google will open these stores in more cities and care about India the next time they release a Nexus device.

You can find the exact addresses of the store locations from the link below.

Link: Androidland

Housing India – Best way to look up flats for rent in India

I am sure searching for a new house in India is not exactly a smooth process. There are many website in India to search for properties but I found Housing.co.in very innovative and unique.

The website’s best feature is how simple it is to look up apartments to rent or buy from the major cities in India.Currently the website caters to Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Noida and Ghaziabad.

Housing India layout
Housing.co.in – Google Maps based interface

How Housing.co.in works

  • The service uses a very innovative interface based on Google Maps. The left column shows a list of available flats for rent or to buy based on your search.
  • Selecting one of the flats it shows details of the flat in a pop-up. This includes details like expected rent, photos, details and even a bit of information about the neighbourhood. The phone number to the agent is also listed.
  • House hunting becomes easy as we can save a lot of favourites and then look through each individually at a later date.

The service also has mobile apps for Android and iPhone. Overall, I did use this to search for information in my area of residence and found a lot of accurate data.

Do try out Housing.co.in and drop in your comments.