No Disrespect But Did Apple Change the World?

 

I got into a lively debate, twice, in Toronto last week about whether or not Apple’s products had changed the world. I discussed this first with the sharp strategic management professor Bill McEvily, who challenges his University of Toronto students by asking them to read my 2012 book Inside Apple. A central point of that work is that Apple conducts many of its affairs in ways contrary to what future managers learn in business school. Hence, the challenge.

Then, an unidentified member in the audience at my talk about Uber at the university’s Rotman School of Management challenged my assertion that the maverick San Francisco startup had changed anything. He preferred that I focused on game changers like Amazon, Apple, and Alibaba (BABA, +0.82%). (Perhaps Uber is too far down the alphabet for his tastes.)

 Image result for No Disrespect But Did Apple Change the World?

I’m in the camp that argues that Apple is an extremely fine consumer device and software company, perhaps the best ever, and that it has radically altered multiple industries. I’ve written this many times. But did it change the world? Steve Jobs certainly wanted us to believe it did, and he touched the lives of many. But I mean no disrespect in suggesting that a company that makes gobs of money by making outstanding products that tend to be exceedingly better iterations of someone else’s invention is just that, an outstanding company.

I bring all this up because this morning Apple’s annual developer’s conference begins. It travels this year from San Francisco to San Jose—a mighty distance, believe me—and more than usual this year’s event seems likely to focus on the nitty-gritty work of developing programs and apps for Apple’s lucrative platforms, not on any breakthrough products. (I recommend this Ars Techica preview despite its low-expectations perspective.)

Apple (AAPL, -0.98%) doesn’t have to wow all the time, of course. Amazon (AMZN, +0.50%) may have a $1,000 stock price, but all of Apple is worth more than $800 billion. Its impact is huge, world changing or not.

***

Friends in Canada, please know that I know that Anna Maria Tremonti doesn’t work for CBS Radio. That was a typo. Her program, The Current, airs on CBC Radio, of course. I regret the error.

 

BlackBerry expands security role

 

The name BlackBerry may still conjure up images of smartphones, but the company’s enterprise software footprint in Australia and New Zealand continues to expand with the company signing up Optus, Briggs Communications and Mobile Mentor to its AtHoc secure communication platform.

The agreement will see the three parties deliver, deploy and support the AtHoc platform in the region and it is not the only win for BlackBerry, with the company getting one of the latest customers in the region, Bank of New Zealand, to start using the secure crisis communications solution.

The platform can deliver accurate, targeted or en masse information in real time through an encrypted network, if necessary, inside and outside an organisation.

Bank of New Zealand Markets executive manager Katrina Maxwell said that, having dealt with two serious earthquakes in 2013 and 2016, the bank had to think about keeping channels of communications open to its staff and customers and ensuring services stayed up and running in case of future incidents.

“After the earthquakes took place, we wanted to make sure that if it happened again, we would be ready to alert our people around the country, account for where they are and have a system in place to help us maintain continuity of business,” Ms Maxwell said.

BlackBerry’s APAC vice-president, Paul Crighton, said that from natural disasters to cyberattacks, organisations were under increasing pressure to ensure they remained online at all times. It is a difficult task, with research firm Telsyte saying that only half of Australian organisations are prepared properly to quickly communicate to employees in times of crisis.

Telsyte’s latest research says only 10 per cent of organisations have increased their spending on crisis communication during the past two years, while 48 per cent had made no investment or disregarded the need for better communications tools.

“Crises can take many forms from terrorism threats to operational failure, however it’s increasingly critical that companies can inform large groups of people very quickly,” Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said.

HTC Asks its Fan Community to Combat Online Criticism, Offers Merchandise in Return

HTC’s latest U11 has been received with mixed reactions by the Android community. With good audio but no headphone jack and a new-ish design that scraps years of HTC’s expertise with metal, many fans and spectators threw quite a bit of skepticism its way.

There are many arguments one could make to discredit or devalue HTC’s new product, from its hardware decisions to its gimmicky “squeezing” features — and HTC knows this, so it found a way to at least combat it on online boards, comments sections and other social battlefields. According to information from their VIP community, presented in a reddit post, HTC has taken to ask its community of fans to duke it out online against dissenters of the phone in what we can only describe as literal shilling.

Image Credit: u/ShadowCodeGaming

Elevate is HTC’s private online community, members-only, for the company’s “top fans” and supporters. To join Elevate, you must request access by emailing HTC, and telling them why you are “HTC’s most passionate fan”. With admission requirements like those, you’d expect HTC Elevate members to be quite dedicated indeed. After all, they are the ones getting the latest product news, opportunities to access exclusive events or partner with HTC, and have direct access to HTC team members. But now, they are asking their users to “mobilize and combat some of the negative things out there about the U11”. As seen in the screenshot above, provided by reddit user u/ShadowCodeGaming, HTC wants users to post regularly in comments sections of blogs and social media, and then report back to Elevate so that they can keep track of the shilling.

Of course, HTC is actually rewarding people who go through that trouble (though, to be honest, if you are in a VIP HTC community, you’d probably do it for free), as they’ll be sending out “swag goodies” here and there to people who participate. The company doesn’t shy away from the implication that it encourages a network of shills, by saying that such actions are “what [elevate members] do best”, and calls it “sharing the good word about all things HTC — fanboy preaching, essentially.

We hope that this operation is limited in scope, and we’ll certainly keep an eye out for Elevate members in our comments sections from now on.

Nokia 3, 5, 6 India Launch Date, Moto C Comes to India, and OnePlus 5 Design: Your 360 Daily

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nokia 3, 5, 6 to launch in India soon
  • Moto C launched in India; Moto G5, G5 Plus will now be available offline
  • OnePlus 5 slimmest flagship yet?

Nokia is all set to launch the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 in India. HMD Global on Friday sent out press invites for a Nokia event in India on June 13. These three phones were launched globally in Barcelona earlier this year. The Nokia 6 and the Nokia 5 are powered by octa core Snapdragon 430 processor, have fingerprint scanners below the display. The Nokia 6 has 3GB RAM with 32GB of storage while the Nokia 5 has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The Nokia 3 is a budget handset, it is smaller in size and sadly misses out on a fingerprint sensor. It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek 6737 SoC, 16GB internal storage, and runs on Android Nougat. All three phones have MicroUSB port for charging and syncing, NFC, 4G with VoLTE support and near stock Android.

Moto C with 4G VoLTE support launched in India; Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus now available via offline retailers in India
Lenovo brand Moto launched the Moto C in India today for a price of Rs 5,999, and it will be available at leading offline retailers across over 100 cities in India. It will be available in Pearl White and Starry Black colour variants in India. The Moto C runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, features a 5-inch display and is powered by a 1.1GHz MediaTek MT6737M quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM. There is 16GB of internal storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB). The Moto C camera sports a 5-megapixel rear sensor and a 2-megapixel selfie shooter.It sports a 2350mAh removable battery and has a microUSB port at the bottom. The Moto C is a dual SIM 4G phone with VoLTE support.
Moto also announced that the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus will reach an offline stores. Gadgets 360 has learnt from sources that offline retailers have received stocks of the two phones as well, making them now available online as well as offline. We reached out to Lenovo for a statement regarding the move, and were informed the phones are in stock with select retailers across the country. The Moto G5 Plus was a Flipkart exclusive while the Moto G5 was exclusive to Amazon.

OnePlus 5 teased to be more compact than 3T, pricing information tipped
OnePlus recently asked its users to choose the box design for its upcoming OnePlus 5 smartphone, it has now given users something more to talk about. After revealing that the OnePlus 5 will be “the slimmest flagship”, the company has released a teaser image with a strong hint regarding the form factor of the smartphone. Pan Jiutang, a noted analyst has shared his estimates regarding the pricing of OnePlus 5 to be around CNY 3,000 (roughly Rs. 28,300).

OnePlus 5 is expected to launch soon and will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, bear a front-facing fingerprint sensor, and feature a camera developed in partnership with DxO. The company also teased a camera sample showing excellent low light performance.Nokia 3, 5, 6 India Launch Date, Moto C Comes to India, and OnePlus 5 Design: Your 360 Daily

Nubia Z17 with 8GB RAM, Quick Charge 4 launched
At an event in Beijing, ZTE brand Nubia unveiled the Nubia Z17. The biggest highlights of the smartphone are the dual camera setup at the back, Snapdragon 835 SoC, Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and being the first smartphone with support for Qualcomm’s newly announced Quick Charge 4+. The pricing starts at CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 26,400) for the 6GB RAM/ 64 GB variant. There are 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage and 8GB RAM/ 128GB variants that cost CNY 3,399 (roughly Rs. 32,100) and CNY 3,999 (roughly Rs. 37,700) respectively.

The Nubia Z17 features a 5.5-inch full-HD display, and features a dual camera setup with a 23-megapixel and 13-megapixel lens at the back and a 16-megapixel camera at the front. It packs a 3200mAh battery. The all metal Nubia Z17 has no bezels and will be available in Aurora Blue, Black Gold, Obsidian Black, Solar Gold, and Flame Red.

OneLogin password manager reports data breach, potential decryption of customer data
Personal data on the Internet is not as safe as it used to be. OneLogin, a password manager and single sign-on service, is the latest to company to join the list of data breach victims. The company reported an “unauthorised access to OneLogin data in our US data region.” on Wednesday. OneLogin has been unclear as to the nature of the attack, claiming to have found a threat actor who had “obtained access to a set of Amazon Web Services (AWS) keys and used them to access the AWS API from an intermediate host with another, smaller service provider in the US.”

The severity of the breach to consumers is not yet known but the company has stated that the hack allowed the threat actor to access database tables that contain personal information about users, apps, and various types of keys. While the company maintains that it encrypts certain sensitive data, it didn’t rule out the possibility that the ‘malicious actor’ had the ability to decrypt them.

Need for Speed 2017 is Need for Speed Payback; gameplay, characters, and setting revealed
Need for Speed Payback is the official name of Need for Speed 2017. Publisher EA released a trailer showcasing what you can expect when the game hits. Rather than finishing first or being the best, the emphasis might be on playing out an action driving fantasy like Forza Horizon 3 but with a larger narrative.

The three playable characters are Tyler the Racer, Mac the Showman, and Jess the Wheelman – ostensibly named to signify what kind of racing they specialise in. With the objective of rising up the ranks of the underground racing scene, there’s a focus on car customisation and personalisation that EA claims is “the deepest customisation from the series”. Also, like previous EA titles in India, it will be exclusive to Amazon for the PS4 and Xbox One. Despite a PC version being in the works, it will be available via EA’s Origin digital distribution service.

SpaceX ISS cargo launch postponed to Saturday after lightning strike
A lightning strike near Cape Canaveral forced SpaceX to delay its first-ever cargo delivery to astronauts utilising a reused rocked. The lightning did not hit any of SpaceX’s equipment but happened within 10 miles (16 kilometres) of the launch pad. The strike happened about 25 minutes before the scheduled launch at 5:55pm (2155 GMT). “The lightning flight rule requires 30 minutes for you to clear that before it is safe to launch,” NASA spokesman Mike Curie said. The next opportunity for SpaceX’s resupply mission is 5:07pm (2107 GMT) on Saturday (2:37am IST Sunday), and will be broadcasted live on NASA’s website.

The gumdrop-shaped Dragon spaceship has been refurbished, after previously toting food and supplies to the International Space Station in September 2014, and then splashing back down in the ocean intact. Separately, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his exit from the advisory council of US President Donald Trump, after the latter declared the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord for climate change.

Xbox Game Pass goes live; lets you play over 100 Xbox Games at Rs. 699 a month
Microsoft on Thursday finally released the Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One globally. Game Pass is a Netflix-style subscription service and will give you unlimited access to 100 Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles at $10 per month (Rs. 699 in India). The service was first announced earlier this year and has been available to Xbox Live Gold members for a week now.

Microsoft is also offering a 14-day free trial for Xbox One users before going for the paid subscription. Additionally, Xbox Game Pass members will also receive exclusive discounts for games and DLC for Xbox One games included in Xbox Game Pass.

Chrome to get native ad-blocking in early 2018; Google joins Coalition for Better Ads
Google has confirmed that it is planning to introduce native ad-blocking to Chrome browser from early next year. The tech giant also announced that it has joined Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads. Instead of native ad-blocking, the new feature could be seen as native “ad-filtering” as the search giant will only be removing the ads on the Internet that are non-compliant with ‘Better Ads Standards’. Notably, Google has clarified that it will also be filtering out ads served or owned by the search giant itself if they are found to be beneath the Better Ads Standard.

Facebook albums revamped, now let you collaborate, add check-ins and posts
Facebook is already updating its albums with new features and abilities to make it more interactive and a richer source to go down memory lane. In addition to adding photos and videos to albums, you can now also add status updates, posts, and check-ins for a fuller nostalgic experience when you come back to visit the album later, making it a sort of scrapbook to look back on.

You can also invite friends to add photos and updates to the album. This will allow them to add photos, videos, and posts to the same album for a collaborative effort of creating and keeping a memory stored online forever. The update is rolling out to Android and Web starting today, and is coming soon to iOS users. The report also shared all the features coming with the albums update, and another new feature listed was called Featured Albums. Facebook now has an option to let people showcase their favourite albums right on their Profile, if they want to.

Microsoft Skype redesigned with inspiration from Snapchat
Skype on Thursday announced a major redesign of its mobile app, including a ‘Highlights’ feature that lets users snap photos and videos that will be temporarily visible to their connections. This feature carries a strong resemblance to Snapchat’s ‘Stories.’ The format has been growing in popularity within social and messaging services and has recently been incorporated in WhatsApp and Instagram.

Besides Highlights, the new Skype puts an emphasis on group messaging. Users can react to one another using emoji, they can send messages on top of attractive and colourful backgrounds or they can infuse a chat with content from third-party services, such as animated images from Giphy. The service also features a variety of bots made by Microsoft with the purpose of helping users get more done. This includes Scoop, a bot that can fetch news of interest to an individual, and Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

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Tags: Nokia, Android, Moto C Price in India, OnePlus 5, Nokia 3 Specifications, Nokia 5 Specifications, Nokia 6 Specifications, SpaceX, Need for Speed, Lenovo, Skype, Facebook, Nubia Z17 Price, Quick Charge 4 Plus, Xbox, Google, Chrome, Xbox Game Pass, Elon Musk, Paris accord, 360 Daily

 

Samsung to Invest Rs. 4,915 Crores to Expand Phone, Refrigerator Manufacturing in India

 

HIGHLIGHTS
Samsung announced Rs. 4,915 crores investment for its Noida factory
Part of the company’s Make in India, Make for India drive
Expansion will help manufacture 120 million phones annually
Samsung over the years has enjoyed a pretty solid foothold in the Indian market. The South Korean giant leads in smartphone sales in the country partly thanks to its wide range of smartphones that cover each price segment as well as its production capacity. Speaking of the latter, Samsung India on Wednesday announced that the expansion of its factory in Noida has now commenced.

The South Korean giant announced an investment of Rs. 4,915 crores in India to expand the Noida plant which manufactures smartphones, refrigerators, and TVs. To meet the ever growing demand for Samsung smartphones, the company means to double its production after expanding its factory in Noida by 35 acres as part of the ‘Make in India, Make for India’ initiative. The factory, once fully operational, will be able to produce around 10 million smartphones every month or around 120 million smartphones annually and generate thousands of new job opportunities.

Unveiling the foundation stone, HC Hong, President and CEO of Samsung Southwest Asia, took to the stage and said, “This new investment of Rs. 4,915 crores is a testament to our continuing commitment to ‘Make in India’ and to Uttar Pradesh, which has been our partner right from the day Samsung’s journey in India began. Steadfast support from the state and local authorities in Noida has helped our vision of ‘Make in India’ a reality. Today, on the back of the Digital India movement led by millions of young Indians, we are witnessing a rise in adoption of electronic devices, smart appliances and mobile phones. A bigger manufacturing plant will help us cater to the growing demand for Samsung products across the country.”Samsung to Invest Rs. 4,915 Crores to Expand Phone, Refrigerator Manufacturing in India

Electronics and IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said at the event that investments towards electronics industry in India grew to Rs. 1,53,000 crores from Rs. 11,000 crores in the last three years and that the government sees $1 trillion coming out of digital economy by 2020 with Samsung a key player in driving the economy.
Expansion plans in Noida first came to fruition after the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Uttar Pradesh government back in October 2016. Samsung had initially planned to invest only about Rs. 2,000 crores, but then decide to increase investment and scale up manufacturing in India.

The expansion comes in the face of growing competition from Chinese companies like Oppo and Vivo, who are slowly capturing the Indian market with their mid-range offerings. While Samsung still maintains the number one spot, its growth is far less when compared to the competition.

Additionally, Samsung India has also launched service vans to provide timely customer support across rural India, expanding its network to over 3,000 service points.

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Tags: Samsung, Samsung India, Make in India, Mobiles, Home Entertainment, India, Samsung Noida Plant

 

BlackBerry, Qualcomm Decide on Final Amount to Resolve Royalty Dispute

 

HIGHLIGHTS
Qualcomm has agreed to pay BlackBerry $940 million
The dispute between the two companies started in 2016
Qualcomm is expected to pay the final amount on or before May 31
Canada’s BlackBerry said on Friday that US chipmaker Qualcomm has agreed to pay the software maker $940 million (roughly Rs. 6,068 crores), including interest and legal fees, to settle a royalty dispute.

Qualcomm had said in April that it would have to refund BlackBerry $814.9 million (roughly Rs. 5,245 crores), plus interest and attorneys’ fees, in an arbitration over royalties for certain past sales.BlackBerry, Qualcomm Decide on Final Amount to Resolve Royalty Dispute

The dispute between the two companies started in 2016 following Qualcomm’s agreement to cap certain royalties applied to payments made by BlackBerry under a licensing deal.
Qualcomm is expected to pay the final amount on or before May 31, BlackBerry said on Friday.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

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Tags: BlackBerry, Qualcomm, Royalty, BlackBerry Qualcomm Dispute, Mobiles, Telecom

 

Siri Far Behind Alexa and Google Assistant, Says Ex-Apple Employee: Report

 

HIGHLIGHTS
Siri reportedly hasn’t mastered many skills that its competitors have
Apple employees feel HomePod is no competition to Amazon Echo
HomePod has been publicised more as a good quality audio speaker
While Siri is one of the oldest voice-based virtual assistants to exist, post WWDC reactions to the voice assistant has been less than enthusiastic, with a report further highlighting reactions by a former Apple employee as well as a developer WWDC attendee. While Amazon and Google have made waves in the home smart speaker space, the newly announced HomePod focuses more on audio quality than intelligence. A former employee blames it on Apple’s culture of prioritising on user privacy, and points out how the HomePod has a long way to go to match Amazon’s Echo and its capabilities.

A WSJ report cites a few Apple ex-employees and a developer who claimed that engineers at the company were dismayed at the launch of Amazon Echo, which showed Amazon had mastered a lot of things that Siri hadn’t yet. “Amazon had figured out how to isolate voices from background noise and have a digital assistant respond to requests from a distance—abilities Siri hadn’t yet mastered. People at Apple’s anxiety level went up a notch,” said a former member of Apple’s Siri team.Siri Far Behind Alexa and Google Assistant, Says Ex-Apple Employee: Report

Siri’s delayed access to third party apps, and its limited accessibility is also a hindrance for Siri. Furthermore, Apple stresses too much on privacy, and is not so big on using user’s data too much. Amazon and Google, on the other hand, have been very open to third-party integration bringing many new features to its smart speakers in due course of time.
Another ex-employee told WSJ, “In the years since, former Siri team members say, progress has been slowed by a failure to set ambitious goals, shifting strategies and a culture that prioritizes user privacy—making it difficult to personalize and improve the product. The project also has suffered from the departures of key team members, some of whom went to competitors. About a year after Mr. Jobs’s death, Apple hired Bill Stasior, an Amazon search executive, to oversee Siri. Mr. Stasior studied artificial intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but his expertise was in search rather than speech or language. This led some members of the Siri team to believe he didn’t fully appreciate the product’s original vision: to expand beyond the iPhone to third-party apps.”

Speaking of the limited and delayed access of Siri, a developer Brian Roemmele, who attended WWDC said, “People went from being happy and excited to sitting in workshops and realising, I can’t use it. Some went back to that attitude: Siri’s always going to be dumb.”

This all point to an urgent need for Apple to set ambitious goals for Siri, in order to match market competitors. Knowing Apple, it would not enter a space it wasn’t confident about, and we expect it make significant improvements to Siri. One thing Siri is better than the others is that it supports as many as 21 languages, while Alexa speaks only English and German, and Google Home works in seven languages.

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Tags: Apple HomePod, Apple, HomePod Launch, Amazon Echo, Google home, home ENtertainment

 

iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus Schematics Leaks Tip Design Details, Mass Production Reportedly Begins

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 tipped to sport a vertical dual camera setup
  • Tipster claims mass production of all three phones has begun
  • iPhone 7s Plus to look a lot like predecessor

iPhone 8 rumours refuse to stop even though the launch is still months away. Its design details, especially, are leaked regularly, sometime giving us contradictory information, and sometimes corroborating a strong rumour. Today’s leak does the latter. The ‘final schematics’ leak of the iPhone 8 shows the device from all angles giving us a fair idea of what the anniversary smartphone will possibly look like. Furthermore, the lesser leaked iPhone 7s Plus has also been tipped in a similar schematics leak giving away design information.iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus Schematics Leaks Tip Design Details, Mass Production Reportedly Begins

The fresh leaks come from none other than tipster Benjamin Geskin, who has earned a reputation for leaking most of the iPhone 8 related information this year. Apart from the schematics, Geskin also notes that mass production for the iPhone models launching this year has started, and that there will be three models this year. He has leaked schematics of two iPhone models – and the third iPhone, presumably be called the iPhone 7s , has not been leaked. However, he notes that the schematics will be similar to its predecessor iPhone 7.

Starting with the iPhone 8 schematic and render, the back of the device matches previous leaks to show a vertical dual camera setup, an Apple logo, and no fingerprint scanner. The front sports a bezel-less display and there is no Home Button in the front indicating that the fingerprint sensor will be embedded underneath the display. The bottom edge has a Lightning connector, dual speaker grille, an elongated power key sit on the right edge, and the volume and mute switch sit on the left edge. The dimensions mentioned are at 143.4×70.77×7.51mm, which are slightly different from the previously reported 143.59×70.94×7.57mm.

iphone8 main iPhone 8

The iPhone 7s Plus retains most of the design elements from the predecessor, with a horizontal dual camera setup, and the dimensions are at 158.38×78.1mm. The front drawing is rather interesting, with no Home Button seen in the front, nor any bezel, but this is just a schematic drawing and the final product will presumably include both the elements.

iphone7splus main iPhone 7s Plus

Geskin, in a separate tweet, also notes that the Calculator app in iOS 11 will see a revamp in design, very much inspired by the one seen on OS 1 and 2 back in the day. Despite several past reports of a delay, Geskin seems confident that the iPhone 8 will launch in September itself.

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Tags: Iphone 8, iPhone 8 Leaks, iPhone 8 Features, iPhone 8 Schematics, Mobiles, Apple

Apple Design Awards 2017 Winners Announced for Apps and Games

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apps and game developers have been praised for innovation
  • The list of winners include both apps and games
  • The company announces these awards every year

Just like every other year, Apple Design Awards winners have been announced for 2017, highlighting the creators of apps and games that were able to achieve excellence in terms of design and innovation in apps and games categories.

Among the apps, the list of winners includes Bear, Elk, AirMail 3, Kitchen Stories, and more. Bear is a notes app, which has been described by the company as an elegant and flexible writing tool for crafting notes and prose. While Elk is a currency conversion app, it allows users to quickly convert more than 150 currencies worldwide and is optimised for both watchOS as well as iOS, as per the company.Apple Design Awards 2017 Winners Announced for Apps and Games

Apple has praised AirMail 3’s creators for optimising the email workflow with extensive customisations across platforms while the company has also appreciated the content provided by Kitchen Stories. Notable mentions in the games category include Blackbox, Severed, and Mushroom 11. The complete list of winners can be found below:

Apps

  1. Bear
  2. Elk
  3. Kitchen Stories
  4. Things 3
  5. AirMail 3
  6. Enlight
  7. Lake

Games

  1. Blackbox
  2. Severed
  3. Mushroom 11
  4. Old Man’s Journey
  5. Splitter Critters

Moto Z2 Play First Impressions

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Moto Z2 Play is priced at Rs 27,999
  • It is powered by a Snapdragon 626 processor and has 4GB of RAM
  • All existing Moto Mods are compatible with the new Z2 Play

Lenovo-owned Motorola recently launched the Moto Z2 Play in India. The phone it replaces, the Moto Z Play (Review), was quite popular for offering brilliant battery life and good performance. Priced at Rs 27,999 the new Moto Z2 Play improves on the hardware of its predecessor and gets a sleeker design, but most importantly, it supports all Moto Mods made till date. We got to spend some time with the new Moto Z2 Play at its launch, and here are our first impressions of the device.

Moto Z2 Play design

The design of the Moto Z2 Play is quite similar to that of the Z Play, and this has a lot to do with the Moto Mods ecosystem. To ensure that the Mods launched last year are compatible with the new phone, Moto had to retain the same height and width, with the connector pins in the same location. The only way this phone could change was its thickness, and Motorola has gone ahead and done exactly that by shaving a millimeter off it. The original Moto Z Play was 6.99 mm thick while the Moto Z2 Play is slimmer at 5.99mm. This has resulted in a hit to the battery capacity, which is now down from 3510mAh to 3000mAh. On the other hand, one positive effect is that the new phone weighs 145g, 20g less than the Z Play.

Moto Z2 Play Front NDTV Moto Z2 Play

The front of the Moto Z2 Play sports a 5.5-inch Super Amoled display with a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels and Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. It’s vivid, and the viewing angles are quite good. Sunlight legibility could be an issue as we found ourselves hunting for the brightness control when outdoors. Below the screen is a fingerprint sensor, which Moto says has been elongated on the sides to allow better detection of gestures.

Moto Actions give users an alternative to the traditional three-button Android navigation scheme, in the form of gestures using the fingerprint sensor. This frees up some space on the screen for more content. You can swipe left on the fingerprint sensor to go back, swipe right to pull up the app switcher, and tap to go to the homescreen. You also have the option to long-press the fingerprint sensor to lock the phone. The learning curve is not as steep as we initially thought it would be, and we got used to this method fairly quickly.

To keep selfie lovers happy, the Moto Z2 Play has a 5-megapixel front camera with a dual-tone LED flash. There is a beautification mode which can help selfies look better. It looks like the Moto Z2 Play misses out on a notification LED, as we couldn’t find one. At the back, towards the bottom, there are multiple rows of contact points for the phone to interface with Mods. In the center of the top is the same large camera bump that we have seen in the rest of the Moto Z series, again because of the mods. The 12-megapixel primary camera’s sensor has 1.4-micron pixels, and there’s a dual-tone LED flash here as well. The lens has an f/1.7 aperture which should help capture better images in low light. Photos seemed to look quite good, but we’ll reserve our comments until we test the Moto Z2 Play thoroughly.

Moto Z2 Play Camera NDTV Moto Z2 Play First Impressions

The camera bump has a metal ring around it that keeps the lens from getting scratched when the phone is placed on a surface. Moto will also ship a Mod Shell with the Moto Z2 Play which adds bulk, but also makes the bump feel much less prominent.

The frame of the Moto Z2 Play is aluminium, which gives it a premium look. What’s interesting is that Moto has designed the antenna lines around the body of the phone, which is a unique and functional touch. The power and volume buttons are on the right, while at the top there is a SIM tray which can house two Nano-SIMs as well as a dedicated slot for a microSD card. The Z2 Play only has a USB Type-C port at the bottom, and the earpiece doubles up as the loudspeaker.

Moto Z2 Play specifications

The biggest change in the Moto Z2 Play, compared to its predecessor, is under the hood. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz, which is an updated version of the Snapdragon 625. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which you can expand. In terms of software, the Z2 Play runs pretty much stock Android Nougat. Moto has only preloaded a set of Google apps which don’t get in the way at all.

Moto Z2 Play Nougat NDTV Moto Z2 Play First Impressions

In our very limited time with this phone, we enjoyed using the Moto Z2 Play. The fingerprint scanner is accurate and is quick to unlock the phone. There was no stutter or lag when multitasking. We’re also happy to note that quick charging is supported, and there’s a 15W turbo charger in the box.

It looks like the Moto Z2 Play is on the same track as the phone it replaces. The internals have gotten better but so has the competition. The Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro (Review) is the closest match to the Z2 Play, and although it does not offer modularity like the Moto Z2 Play, it has a lower asking price. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our full review of the Moto Z2 Play.

Disclosure: Lenovo sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the event in Goa.

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

2.2GHz octa-core

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 7.1.1

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

Battery Capacity

3000mAh

Also See
  • Moto Z2 Play (Lunar Gray and Black, 64GB, 4GB RAM) – OFFER
    Rs. 27,999
  • Moto Z2 Play (Fine Gold and White, 64GB, 4GB RAM) – OFFER
    Rs. 27,999

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