November Archives – My Blog

It’s hard to imagine a day without our smartphones. However, for those who feel tired of their smartphone’s intrusion in their personal space, there are few technology startup companies that have come up with products that make sure you don’t troubled by your smartphone but still enjoy a connected experience.

Light Phone, one of several such Kickstarter-backed devices, was launched earlier this year with a promise to start shipping its ‘anti-smartphone’ in May. However, the company has apparently run into “few limitations” that have caused delays – and now shipments will begin out of its Yantai, China factory from November 30.

“We are still in beta. We’ve run into a few limitations in our initial user experience goals due to some iOS restrictions. They are not going to effect the experience of being light, but will make turning on call forwarding a little bit more manual. We are experimenting with the various options with our beta users. We will be shipping the phones regardless as to not delay any longer and will continue to provide frequent software updates to early adopters,” wrote the company on its website.
light phone front light phone

The company promises that the first large batch of Light Phones (White in colour) will start shipping in November while early supporters will receive the devices in December.

“We will continue to rollout batches of phones over the following weeks. The night (Black in colour) colourway of the phone will be shipping out of our factory the first or second week of January, we are in the process finalising the exact date,” added the company.

Light Phone was launched at $100 (roughly Rs. 7,000) with the aim to be the opposite of a smartphone, and it forwards calls from your primary smartphone with the help of an app. The company at launch claimed that the Light Phone was designed to be used as little as possible. Light Phone can offer a battery life of up to three weeks with a single charge and it doesn’t support Internet. The phone features a 2G Nano-SIM and allows calls. It sports a touch module, microphone, and Micro-USB port. The phone has no camera as well.

The company on its website has also acknowledged the delays in shipments. “We understand that we have long since missed our timeline goal, and we appreciate your understanding. We’ve learned so much from the process and will continue to improve in all possible ways. We took on the ambitious task of building the software in house with a small team in order to maintain ultimate control over the experience, however we regret not having methods for projecting accurate timelines,” added the company.

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Gionee is gearing up to launch the Gionee S9 and S9T smartphones soon. Earlier this week, the smartphones were spotted on the Chinese certification site TENAA, and on Thursday the Chinese smartphone maker announced a November 15 unveiling of the Gionee S9 and S9T smartphones.

The Gionee S9 and S9T have been rumoured for a while now and one of the key highlights of both the devices is the dual rear camera setup. The phones are expected to pack 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel rear camera sensors, a major change with compared to the Gionee S8, which featured a single 16-megapixel camera sensor. Leaked images of the Gionee S9 show the rear cameras vertically placed in the middle, just below the top antenna line, while Gionee’s logo is placed just below the rear camera.
Going by the images, some notable changes to the design language include horizontal antenna lines across the top and bottom at the back, which differ from the loop metal design that the Gionee S8 gained popularity for. The Gionee S9 also seems to feature rounder edges compared to the S8.

According to the TENAA listing, the Gionee S9 is said to sport a 5.5-inch full HD (1920×1080) display with a 2.5D curved glass on top. The smartphone will be powered by a 1.8 GHz octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD card slot. A 13-megapixel camera will be present on the front. Battery capacity is rumoured at 3000mAh and connectivity options include 4G LTE, GPS, Bluetooth, USB, and Wi-Fi.

Meanwhile, the Gionee S9T will likely run a faster processor clocked at 2GHz. Most of the other specifications are similar to the Gionee S9. While both the Gionee S9 and S9T are said to measure 154.2×76.4×7.4mm, the former is expected to weigh 166.5 grams, while the latter may weigh 200.8 grams.

The Gionee S8 also featured a pressure sensitive touch technology, similar to the 3D Touch feature on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. It is still unknown whether Gionee will bring the feature to its upcoming smartphones.

The Gionee S9 and S9T are expected to be offered in silver, gold and black colour options. We’ll know more on pricing, specifications and availability once the devices are unveiled on November 15.

 
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Last month, Linux security researcher Phil Oester discovered that a nine-year-old Linux kernel flaw (CVE-2016-5195) dubbed ‘Dirty COW’ is seeing active exploits in the wild. Google was expected to patch this flaw – after all, Android uses the Linux kernel – with its latest security update but as it turns out, the search giant has left out this dated flaw with its security update for November.

The November Android security update fixes 15 critical vulnerabilities associated with the platform, but surprisingly, this vulnerability discovered by Oester has still not found a fix. The extent of the danger posed by this vulnerability can be understood from the fact that Oester claims that on exploitation, it can give root access of a device to the attacker within five seconds.

“The exploit in the wild is trivial to execute, never fails and has probably been around for years – the version I obtained was compiled with gcc 4.8,” Oester said last month. The bug was initially patched 11 years ago but the fix was later undone in another code commit.
Kaspersky Lab’s Threatpost reports that while the main Android security update for the month of November did not contain a fix for the Dirty COW flaw, Google released a supplemental fix for Pixel and Nexus devices. It adds that Samsung also released a fix for its mobile devices. Google will introduce the Android-wide patch for Dirty COW in the December Android security update, the company told Threatpost.

As per the dedicated page for this flaw, exploitation of this bug doesn’t leave any traces behind. This nature of the flaw makes it even more dangerous as the users will not be made aware even when their security has been compromised.

Further details about the latest Android security update can be found over here.

 
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OnePlus was rumoured to be working on a refined variant of the OnePlus 3, and was expected to launch it on November 14. Following Qualcomm’s revelation that OnePlus will be launching a Snapdragon 821-based product soon, OnePlus has officially announced that it is launching a Snapdragon 821-based product on November 15 at 1pm EST (11.30pm IST), and the event will be live streamed from its official Facebook page.

While the company didn’t explicitly announce that it is calling the upgraded variant OnePlus 3T, it did leave hints in the teaser video released on its social media channels. Apart from the prominent ‘T’ logo, the video also confirms the arrival of Snapdragon 821 chipset in the new variant, with a maximum clock speed of 2.35GHz. Earlier, Qualcomm had also tweeted that OnePlus’ upcoming smartphone will be powered by the latest Snapdragon 821 processor.
The OnePlus 3T has been rumoured a lot in the past, and apart from the processor upgrade, the new variant will also have the latest Sony IMX398 sensor onboard. It is expected to run on Android 7.0 Nougat-based Oxygen OS, and sport an Optic AMOLED display.

The Snapdragon 821 processor is expected to be paired with 6GB of RAM. It may offer two storage options – 64GB and 128GB. The OnePlus 3T is pegged to pack a slightly larger 3300mAh battery as well. The smartphone is expected to be priced at $479 (roughly Rs. 32,100) – $80 more than the OnePlus 3, which is priced at Rs. 27,999 in India.

In any case, all the speculations will be put to rest on November 15, where OnePlus is expected to unveil the OnePlus 3T smartphone. Till then, treat all rumours with caution.

 
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Sticking to tradition, Google has begun the rollout of the November Android security update for compatible devices. For the first time, Pixel devices also receive the security patches alongside the Nexus devices. The company has made available factory and OTA images for installation.

Google rolls out security patches first Monday of every month, and November is no different. The patches can be downloaded by Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Verizon Pixel, Verizon Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi only), and Nexus Player users. Factory images can be found here, while OTA images can be found here.
We recommend you to do the easy OTA install, as it doesn’t require you to flash your device and erase all memory. However, it is advised to back up all your data before installing through any method. Also, ensure that you have good Wi-Fi strength and battery life. Needless to say, this security patch can only be downloaded by compatible devices running on Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 7.1 Nougat.

Google has a very scarce changelog for this security patch, but does mention in the bulletin, “The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability that could enable remote code execution on an affected device through multiple methods such as email, web browsing, and MMS when processing media files.”

Pixel’s exclusive carrier Verizon has, as promised, released the security patch at the same time. It’s worth noting that the build number for Verizon Pixel and Pixel XL is NDE63X. The NDE63U build number is for European devices, and NDE63V is for all other devices. The changelog provided by the carrier states that the patch adds message notifications while connected to vehicle Bluetooth systems, improves Daydream View performance, and adds New Mexico as a state option during Wi-Fi calling setup.

 
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Vivo has announced that it is hosting an event in Beijing on November 16. At the event, the Chinese company is set to launch the Vivo X9 and Vivo X9 Plus smartphones. The highlight of the smartphones are that they sport a dual camera setup at the front, for better selfies and video chats. Unlike other phones that are focused on building the dual camera setup at the back, Vivo has introduced the same setup at the front for its Vivo X9 and Vivo X9 Plus.

The announcement was made by the company itself, on its Weibo page. It shared a few promotional images, confirming few other details as well. The Vivo X9 sports a full metal design, with the antenna band placement inspired heavily by Apple’s latest drawings. The images confirm Rose Gold variant in the offing, and the fingerprint sensor is most likely integrated underneath the Home Button.

The smartphones sport extra thin bezels at 1.59mm, and the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. One of the front sensors is at 20-megapixel, while the other is at 8-megapixel. The Vivo X9 houses the USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and 3.5 audio jack at the bottom edge. The volume and power buttons are housed on the right edge.Past leaks suggest that the Vivo X9 will sport a single camera at the back, however the X9 Plus will sport a dual camera setup at the back as well. The X9 Plus is obviously going to be larger in size sporting 6GB of RAM, while the base variant will sport a 4GB RAM. The smartphones are expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 653 processor.

Apart from this, Vivo is also expected to launch another selfie-focused smartphone in India on November 15. The company has already sent out invites for an event in Mumbai, and the Vivo V5 is tipped to sport a 20-megapixel selfie camera with softlight LED flash support. Other specifications include a 5.2-inch full-HD display, a 4GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and is expected to be priced somewhere between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000.

 
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The upgraded variant of smartphone OnePlus 3, allegedly called OnePlus 3T, has been leaked for past few months. The leaks about the phone have suggested that it will not be a complete revamp but a rather more capable version of OnePlus 3. Even though the smartphone was earlier expected to be launched in December, rumours now suggest that it will be launched on November 14.

The leak comes from a post on Chinese website Weibo that says that OnePlus 3T will be launched on November 14 in London and will come equipped with Snapdragon 821 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM. The post further suggests that the smartphone will be made available in two storage variants of 64GB and 128GB and will also come in a Black colour variant. The battery is also said to have been upgraded to a 3300mAh version, larger than the 3000mAh offering on the OnePlus 3.

The smartphone is expected to sport a 5.5-inch screen with a screen resolution of 1080×1920 pixels just like that on OnePlus 3. OnePlus 3T is tipped to feature the same design as the current flagship of the company and is similarly expected to come with a USB Type-C port.
A recent leak suggested that OnePlus 3T will feature Sony’s new IMX398 rear sensor and that it will run on Android 7.0 Nougat.

OnePlus 3T is expected to come with an Optic AMOLED display, as CEO Carl Pei earlier confirmed that OnePlus will continue to use the same display on its devices in the anticipated future. The support for Dash Charge is likely to be tagged along with the upgraded variant of OnePlus 3 as well.

As per earlier rumours, the OnePlus 3T will be priced at $480 (roughly Rs. 32,000). Like every other rumour, we will have to wait for an actual announcement by the company for any confirmation.

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Vivo has sent out invites for the launch event of its upcoming Vivo V5 smartphone in India. The event will be held in Mumbai on November 15, and the smartphone is expected to be the successor of the Vivo V3 smartphone launched in April. The Vivo V5 is expected to sport significant upgrades from its predecessor, most notably in the camera department.

The invite sports an image of a lens, indicating that upgrades on the camera front are imminent. Furthermore, the invite reads, “Witness one more spectacle in the history of smartphones, as Vivo leads the selfie evolution with the all new Vivo V5.” This indicates that an improvement of the front camera is more prominent, than probably the one at the back.

In the meanwhile, PhoneRadar has leaked a render that reveals the smartphone’s design and key specifications. If the image is to be believed, the Vivo V5 will sport a 20-megapixel selfie camera with softlight LED flash support. Furthermore, the report states that the smartphone will feature a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. It will sport a 4GB RAM and offer 32GB of inbuilt storage. The fingerprint sensor will be embedded under the Home Button below the display. The Vivo V5 can be expected to launch in Gold, and Rose Gold colour variants.

Just like most of the previous Vivo phones, the latest smartphone will also offer HiFi audio output. The pegged price range that the Vivo V5 will reportedly sit in is somewhere between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000. Just to put things into perspective, the Vivo V3 was launched alongside the Vivo V3 Max, and both the smartphones were priced at Rs. 17,980 and Rs. 23,980 respectively.

 
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Xiaomi has announced the upcoming launch of the Redmi 4 at a November 4 event. The phone has been much rumoured in the past couple of months, though a recent leak via the Chinese telecommunications certification authority showed a low-cost, basic-specifications variant called the Redmi 4A.

In a post on Weibo on Wednesday, Xiaomi’s Redmi channel showcased a teaser image alongside launch event details. The Redmi 4 smartphone will be launched at 7pm CST (4:30pm IST) on November 4, and the event will be live streamed. As we mentioned, the second, cheaper Redmi 4A is also expected to be launched alongside.

The teaser image doesn’t reveal much about the smartphone, beyond what appears to be a metal frame and display glass that is curved at the edges.

Previously leaks for the Redmi 4 tipped a full metal body with capacitive button at the front, and power and volume buttons at the right. It is said to sport a 5-inch (1080×1920 pixels) LCD display, and be powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 3GB of RAM – it should be noted that an earlier leak had pointed to the use of a MediaTek Helio P10 SoC instea.The Redmi 4 comes with 32GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via via microSD card (up to 128GB). It is said to bear a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. It packs a 4100mAh battery. The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is expected to measure at 141.3×69.6×8.9mm, and weigh 153 grams. It will be made available in Grey, Silver and Gold colour options.

As for the Redmi 4A, the smartphone is tipped to sport 2GB of RAM, and come with a 5-inch 720p LCD panel. It is expected to be run on a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 chipset alongside 16GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card. It also bears a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera, and is said to measure 139.9×70.4×8.5mm and weigh 140 grams. A 3030mAh battery powers the smartphone, which will reportedly be available in Rose Gold and Gold colour variants

 
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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the world’ first Project Tango smartphone, is expected to go on sale on November 1. Developed in collaboration with Google, the Phab 2 Pro was originally slated to be released in September, but its launch was later pushed back.

Last week, the official Lenovo US website mentioned that the phablet will go on sale on November 1, but the listing Phab 2 Pro page only says ‘Coming Soon’ at present. The smartphone has been priced at $499.99 (roughly Rs. 34,000) in the US market.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro will make use of AR and VR sensors to map the surroundings and with the help of applications designed for Google Tango, users will be able to interact with things in the virtual world.

Google Tango enables the users to measure the size of objects in their room by using just their smartphone camera and also to place and see furniture virtually in real-world size before actually purchasing them off Internet. There are certain games designed specifically for Google Tango, which will provide an immersive environment for gamers to interact with.In terms of specifications, Lenovo Phab 2 Pro sports a 6.4-inch QHD IPS display. The smartphone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, coupled with 4GB of RAM. It houses a 4050mAh battery.

The Phab 2 Pro houses a total of four cameras in it. There is an 8-megapixel camera at front, a 16-megapixel rear RGB camera, a depth-sensing infrared camera with an imager and an emitter, as well as a motion tracking camera. The Phab 2 Pro can record videos in 360-degree and 4K as well. The phone comes with a fingerprint scanner at its back.

 
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