Author Archives: Venktesh Shivam

Venktesh Shivam

About Venktesh Shivam

Final year undergrad student who loves to read and write about tech stuff especially Android based devices and OS itself. Also finds pleasure in reading fiction and watching movies.

Android Version History

Android

This October Google officially launched its flagship device Nexus 6 with latest iteration of Android i.e. Android version 5.0 Lollipop. Android phones are dominating smartphone market since 2010 and has been through 9 generations out of which Honeycomb is specifically designed for tablet devices. According to Google around 1 billion devices has been activated till September 2013 and increasing at greater pace. In this post we are going to have a closer look on all the versions of Google’s revolutionary mobile operating system Android:

 

1. Android 1.5 Cupcake :

Cupcake

It was second major release of Android after Astro but first commercially available version for Android launched on April 9, 2009 with first Android touchscreen only phone named HTC Magic. It includes on-screen widgets, Auto-rotate, mp4 and 3gp support, and most majorly copy-paste feature to use on text files and applications.

2. Android 1.6 Donut :

Donut

Introduced on September 9, 2009 this version can be said as a major update to Cupcake. One of the major update is speech to text and text to speech technology introduced in Search option which can be used to search both web and local directory.

3. Android 2.0/2.1 Eclair :

Eclair

This is one major version of Android because it changed the User Interface of Android to a major extent introducing live/animated wallpapers several changes to drop down notification menu. The first device released with Eclair is Google Nexus One. This build upgraded Blutooth support to 2.1+, enhanced camera app with different modes and improved Google Maps.

4. Android 2.2 Froyo :

Froyo

Android Frozen Yogurt or Froyo established the OS in the market by giving unmatched speed and graphics to the device. It extended support to USB tethering , WiFi hotspot and Adobe Flash as now it shows all frames of gif images instead of first frame only.

5. Android 2.3 Gingerbread :

Gingerbread

Advertisement

It appeared in December, 2010 along with the launching of Samsung Galaxy Nexus S. It has upgraded UI and design for fast and simple experience, changed camera app as user will be able to switch between front and rear camera easily and Near field communication(NFC). New Download Manage gave user access to download any file from the web including videos.

6. Android 3.x Honeycomb :

Honeycomb

It is a tablet specific Android version introduced with holographic interface. It completely removed the need of physical buttons and introduces on screen buttons and first appeared on Motorola Xoom tablet in February 2011. It mainly adjusted notification bar according to the tablet and added support for multi-core processors for tablets. Further Updates also added USB support for external storage and Gamepads etc.

7. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich :

ICS

A new user interface Holo is introduced by completely revamping the UI of the home screen. It is released in November , 2011 along with Galaxy Nexus. The default launcher is now customiszble and apps icons and widgets can be placed on it by drag and drop action, applications can be directly accessed from the lock screen and more importantly Chrome for Android is introduced in this version.

8. Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jellybean :

Jellybean

Introduced in July 2012 most popular version of the Android OS family and currently about 61% of the total devices are running Jellybean. It is significantly  lighter and smooth from previous version and applications load pretty fast on this one. Version 4.2 debuted on LG Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Lock screen improvements, Daydream wallpapers and better NFC support are key features of version 4.2.

9. Android 4.4 KitKat :

KitKat

On September 13th, 2013 Google unvield the most awaited version as there was many suspicions related to its name being Key-Lime-Pie but Google decided to go with KitKat because of its popularity. Version 4.4 debuted on LG Nexus 5 which is termed as the smartphone of the year and Asus Nexus 7 2013 tablet. It introduced a new runtime ART for better battery and better application support as a replacement for Dalvik. It included a new and improved dialer application and Google Now support on most of the flagship devices.

10. Android 5.0 Lollipop :

Lollipop

Dubbed by Google as their sweetest release yet, Android 5.0 Lollipop first came into light at Google I/O 2014 where developer edition of OS  is released. Now it has been officially released along with Nexus 6 manufactured by Motorola and many devices are scheduled for OTA updates. Major features include Material Design which is a layered UI designed for simplicity and fluidity, Project Volta which promises exceptional battery performance, ART as default runtime for applications and better Notification settings.

 

Top features of Android 5.0 Lollipop

All new Android 5.0 Lollipop has arrived  via Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 and now all the major smartphone  manufacturers are releasing OTA updates for their respective devices. Android 5.0 is said to be the most ambitious and largest release of Android ecosystem till now. The most promising difference between previous releases and Lollipop is its Material Design User Interface with a layered architecture. The major key features of Android 5.0 Lollipop are as follows:

Lollipop

 

1. Material Design:

Google completely overhauled old UI of KitKat and gave the Google card more added depth and shadows in Android Lollipop. New on-screen software button icons are in there too, with a triangle replacing the Back arrow, a circle for Home and a simple square for accessing the Recent Apps multitasking menu. Material design is introduced to provide consistent design experience in all  the Android devices and allows screen elements to dynamically shrink and expand.

2. Improved Notifications:

Improved notifications allows users to prioritize their notifications and receive alerts accordingly also user can access the notifications from the lock screen only without unlocking the phone. This feature also allows user to  give priority to the games and screen apps so that incoming phone call won’t interrupt in between and all the notifications can also be viewed in on place by tapping on the top of the screen.

Advertisement

3. ART:

Google replaced the old Dalvik runtime with ART as default which promises better battery life, performance and application responsiveness. It supports 64-bit architecture which means that apps will be able to address more RAM than in 32-bit based processors as now Qualcomm also released its x64 based SoC Snapdragon 410 for mid range devices.

5. Google Fit:

Everyone’s getting into health and activity tracking, and Google is no exception. The new Google Fit framework in Android Lollipop will take Apple’s Healthkit head on, tying into sensors on phones themselves as well as connected accessories to collect data which will be ready for apps to use. Major partners including Nike, Adidas, Runkeeper, HTC, Asus, LG and Motorola are already on board. Google Fit could monitor physical activity and food intake as well as health indicators such as heart rate and breathing.

6. Improved Security and Quick settings:

Google introduces guest user mode and multiple accounts which can be used to securely share our device with others. New version has an encryption which is automatically turned on to protect user’s data and settings. SELinux enforcing for all applications means even better protection against vulnerabilities and malware. Quick settings on notification panel has options like flashight, hotspot, screen rotation and screencast to improve accessability.

There are also minor updates in camera, video and audio experience and includes new services like Tap and Go and Pick up where you left adding to the user experience.

Google’s new treat – Nexus 6 and Nexus 9

Nexus

Recently Google launched its flagship devices Nexus 6 phablet and Nexus 9 tablet along with latest Android offering 5.0 lollipop in association with hardware partners Motorola Mobility and HTC.

Google left LG  and partnered with Motorola for production of its new flagship  Nexus 6 which is being dubbed as larger version of Moto X(2nd Generation) featuring similar design and camera but upgraded specifications while average size of Nexus 9 has eliminated need of two tablets being Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Nexus 6 and 9 both has been already listed on Google Play Store and online retailers like flipkart.com. Price of Nexus 6(32 GB) is stacked at 44000 INR while 64 GB version is listed at 49000 INR.

Detailed Specifications:

Motorola Nexus 6

Nexus 6

Display: 5.96 inches QHD AMOLED screen with 16M colors(493 ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Sound: Dual Front Stereo Speakers

Camera: 13 Megapixels rear, 4128 x 3096 pixels, Dual Ring flash, 2 Megapixel front

Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805

CPU: Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait

GPU: Adreno 420

Battery: 3220 mAh non-removable Li-Po( Standby-330 hrs )

Memory: 3 GB RAM

ROM: 32/64 GB non-expandable

Dimensions: 159.3 x 83 x 10.1 mm

Others: NFC, EDGE, Bluetooth 4.1+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G and 4G ready

 

Advertisement

HTC Nexus 9

Nexus 9

Display: 8.9 inch IPS LCD capacitive screen, 1536 x 2048 pixels(281 ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Sound: HTC BoomSound Stereo speakers

Camera: 8 Megapixels rear, 3264 x 2448 pixels with LED flash, 1.6 Megapixels front

Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop

Chipset: Nvidia Tegra K1

CPU: 2.3 GHz dual-core Denver

GPU: Kepler DX1

Battery: 6700 mAh non-removable Li-Po( Standby 720 hrs)

Memory: 2 GB

ROM: 16/32 GB non-expandable

Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 7.9 mm

Others: NFC, EDGE, Bluetooth 4.1+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G and 4G ready

 

Nexus Player

Besides Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 Google also launched Nexus Player designed by Asus which is an Android TV streaming device which comes with a physical remote to stream media on TV, play Android games on TV but its application library is not as rich as its competitors and it also lacks ethernet port. It also comes with optional bluetooth  controlled Gamepads and other accessories and is definately an upgrade to Chromecast.

For more information go to www.google.com/nexus

History of Nexus devices by Google

Nexus family of smartphones and tablets are the pure Google Android phones as they are developed by Google in partnership with a hardware OEMs viz. Motorola, LG, Samsung, Asus and HTC . Nexus are generally first devices to get any updates from Google and their release is accompanied by a new flavor of Android almost every year. These devices tend to get longer support than the usual Android devices so are more popular among developer community. The latest devices in the lineup are Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 tablet manufactured in partnership with Motorola and HTC respectively. Here is a list of Nexus devices from Google till now:

1. Nexus One:

Nexus One

It was the first smartphone to be officially branded as a Nexus devices and is manufactured by Google. Launch of this device is accompanied by Android 2.1 Eclair and is further upgraded to Gingerbread 2.3.3 but Google ceased its production after mid July 2010 because of limited battery capacity and poor GPU for rendering graphics on new Android Ice Cream Sandwich. It sports a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 Megapixel rear shooter and is succeeded by Nexus S.

2. Nexus S:

Nexus S

Nexus S was launched in December 2010 with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and became the first Nexus to be manufactured by Samsung. It has updated specs to support future versions of Android like Power VR SGX 540 GPU and Cortex A8 processor coupled with 512 MB of RAM with WiMAX and NFC capabilities but still lacks 4G and HSPA+ support. This devices was updated till Android 4.1 Jellybean and then Google ended its support in July 2012.

3. Motorola Xoom:

Xoom

Though not being branded as a Nexus device Xoom is the first device to offer Android 3.0 Honeycomb which was natively designed for tablets and received continuous support from Google till Android 4.1 Ice Cream Sandwich. Xoom was well acclaimed for its display which offer 300 ppi which is greater than iPad retina display but there are still issues with the software and device’s video rendering capabilities which led to its discontinuation.

4. Galaxy Nexus:

Galaxy Nexus

Second in line by Samsung, Galaxy Nexus features a major upgrade which is a full Gigabyte of RAM and a dual core CPU bu Texas Instruments, still remains the most recommended device by AOSP developer for development purposes. It was launched alongside Android 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich and continued to get support till Android 4.3 Jellybean but Google ceased further updates due to revoked support by SoC manufacturer Texas Instruments.

Advertisement

5. Nexus 7:

Nexus 7

It was the first tablet to be introduced as a Nexus device featuring a 7 inch display in a market dominated by Samsung Galaxy Tab. Partnering with Asus Google manufactured this powerful tablet driven by a 1.2 GHz Quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor bundled with 1 GB of RAM, it is also the first device to introduce Android 4.1 Jellybean and is available in 8 GB and 16 GB versions. Again next year Google introduces 2nd generation of this tablet with Android 4.3 Jellybean with upgraded specifications( 1.5 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM ) and 32 GB option.

6. Nexus 4:

nexus 4

Dubbed as most popular Nexus phone is co-developed by Google with hardware partner LG. This device boasts of a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC backed by 2 GB RAM with Adreno 320 graphics and Android 4.2 out of the box. Its whole front part was covered in Gorilla Glass 2 which makes it susceptable to scratches. Google recently announced that even being out of the 18 month support windoe this device is going to get Android’s latest offering i.e. Lollipop. It has a 8 Megepixel rear and 1.3 front camera with a non-removable battery.

7. Nexus 5:

Nexus-5

First device to be launched with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box featuring a 4.95 inch IPS LCD display  with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution and 441 ppi. It is powered by 2.2 GHz quad core processor on Snapdragon 800 SoC and is currently running on Android 5.0 Lollipop. Nexus 5 was the last Nexus device developed by Google in partnership with LG and is available in 16 GB and 32 GB options in play store and retail market.

8. Nexus 6 and 9:

Nexus 6

Nexus 9

Launched by Google in October 2014 with latest Android offering 5.0 Lollipop manufactured by hardware partners Motorola and HTC. Nexus 6 sports a 5.96 inch Quad HD AMOLED display with 2.7 GHz Quad core snapdragon 805 SoC, 3220 mAh non-removable battery, 13 Megapixel rear shooter with ring flash, 3 gigs of RAM and Adreno 420 GPU having a close resemblance to Moto X 2nd Generation. While Nexus 9 is a 8.9 inch tablet bridging the gap between Nexus 7 and 10 with 64 bit Nvidia 2.2 GHz Denver CPU coupled with 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 192 Kepler graphics and HTC Boomsound stereo speakers. Both devices are available in 16 GB and 32 GB versions.

Gaming Emulator available on Android

If you like retro games then there are plenty of emulators available in the Play Store which can run the good old classic games on your Android device including Tekken 3, Contra and Super Mario. Some of them are available for free while others are paid and can be downloaded for few dollars. Our list includes following emulators:

1. Classic Boy:

ClassicBoy

ClassicBoy is an all in one emulator and supports gestures and sensors. It has ability to run PlayStation 1, GameBoy Advance, Gameboy Classic, GameBoy Color, NES, Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 games. It allows repositioning of graphic buttons on the screen, external keyboards via mapping, custom game video size and filtering, Audio reverb, game state auto save and many  more features. It is not the best player out there but is the best free emulator with large roaster of supported games.

Download Classic Boy

2. DraStic DS Emulator:

Drastic DS

DraStic DS is a Nintendo DS emulator available for Android and has ability to play almost all the Nintendo DS games in full speed with good graphics. DraStic DS supports custom screen sizes for portrait and landscape modes, full support for add on controllers like Nvidia Shield, savestates can be used to save progress and also save it on cloud using Google Drive, increase emulation speed and many more.

Download DraStic DS

3. FPse for Android:

FPse

 

Advertisement

Best PlayStation One emulator available out there on play store and has been downloaded by more than 500000 user inspite of being an paid application. It renders PSOne gamed using OpenGL in high resolution which results in excellent graphics. Following are features of this emulator Real time save states, Audio track emulation, force feedback, Analog stick simulation, compatiblity with G-Sensor, Touchscreen and Hardware keys, Exclusive automatic cheats search engine which makes experience really fun.

Download FPse

4. My Boy:

MyBoy

My Boy is a top rated Game Boy Advance emulator on Google Play Store. It has great compatibility with all the GBA games but doesn’t supports GBC games and users have to use My OldBoy for playing GBC games. Emulation speed is fast and flawless so battery drainage is least, supports Gyroscope and Solar sensors and no BIOS file is needed for High-level BIOS emulation.

Download My Boy

5. PPSSPP:

PPSSPP

It is a dedicated PSP emulator and works best in its category, Games are needed to be in ISO and CSO format for being played on this emulator and modern Android devices are recommended because there are still issues with ARMv6 based devices. Games that will work with PPSSPP are Persona 2 & 3 portable, Dragon ball Z, Soul Caliber, GTA, Tekken, Final Fantasy and the list goes on. There is also a gold version of PPSSPP available which is free of advertisements and promises future support.

Download PPSSPP

Devices confirmed for Android 5.0 Lollipop update

Lollipop

Finally Android 5.0 Lollipop is here and Google has officially started rolling out Lollipop upadates for Nexus devices including Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 both and Nexus 10. Google has confirmed update for all Google Play Edition devices. Almost all the major smartphone manufacturers are preparing to roll out latest update for their flagship and popular devices and reportedly out of all OEMs Motorola is first amongst all to confirm update for all its major devices followed by HTC, Samsung, LG and Sony.

List of devices confirmed by manufacturers for Lollipop update:

Motorola

1. Moto X 2nd Generation

2. Moto X 1st Generation

3. Moto G 2nd Generation

4. Moto G 1st Generation

5. Moto G LTE

6. Moto E

7. Droid Maxx

8. Droid Ultra

9. Droid Mini

HTC

1. HTC One M8

2. HTC One M7

3. HTC One Mini

Sony

1. Sony Xperia Z

2. Sony Xperia Z1

3. Sony Xperia Z2

4. Sony Xperia Z3

5. Sony Xperia Z Ultra

6. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

7. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

8. Sony Xperia Z2 tablet

Advertisement

Samsung

1. Samsung Galaxy S5

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

3. Samsung Galaxy S4

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

5. Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

LG

1. LG G3

2. LG G2

Android One

1. Spice Dream Uno

2. Micromax Canvas A1

3. Karbonn Sparkle V

Nvidia

1. Nvidia Shield Tablet

Oneplus

1. Oneplus One

Asus

1. Zenfone 4

2. Zenfone 5

3. Zenfone 6

4. Zenfone 5 LTE

5. PadfoneS

6. Padfone Infinity

 

Top Linux Text Editors

Linux is very popular platform among developers and programmers as it provides seamless flexibility in terms of development. Linux has also been the very base of Computer Science education from the advent, for writing any program or web application developer needs a sufficiently reliable text editor supporting large number of programming languages. So in this post we provide you with a comprehensive list of text editors which are available for Linux:

Vim

Vim

Vim is one of the most popular text editor available for Linux written by Bram Moolenaar in 1991 using C and Vim Script. It is a cross platform software and is also available for Windows operating system and OS X. Vim is console based and supports syntax highlighting with multiple plugin support for different functionalities and specializations. User can personalize different key mappings and keystrokes often known as Macros and automate calling of user defined functions.

Official Website 

 

Emacs

Emacs

Emacs are also very popular among developers natively developed by Richard Stallman and Guy L. Steele, Jr in 1976 using C and Emac Lisp. It is also a cross platform editor and latest release is 22.3. Its most used flavor is GNU Emacs which is a real time display editor famous for its extensibility, customization and self documentation. There are different forks of Emacs available such as GNU Emacs, XEmacs, Meadow, SXEmacs and Aquamacs. It is provided with a built in tutorial which is launched by default on starting the application.

Official Webite

 

gedit

gEdit

Advertisement

gedit is a GUI based default text editor of Gnome desktop environment designed in 2000 using C followed by Python for further releases specifically for structured markup languages and source code editing. Its current stable release is 3.14.0 which uses GTK 3 libraries and is available for both Mac and Windows. It supports tabbed file opening, multi-language spell check and variety of plugins.

Official Website

 

Sublime

Sublime

Sublime is a very rich source code and text editor developed by Jon Skinner in 2008. It is developed in C++ and Python and supports wide variety of programming languages. Features such as GoTo Anything which provides quick navigation to symbols, search and line numbers, Multiple  selection which allows user to make multiple changes at same time not same change multiple times, Command palette which stores frequently used keystrokes and commands such as for indentation and sorting, Split Editing which can split window into two files and allows editing in both files simultaneously, Distraction free mode, project switch and many more makes Sublime a preferred choice for a developer.

Official Website

 

Kate

Kate

Kate is acronym for KDE Advanced Text Editor which is developed by KDE and remains default text editor of KDE desktop environment. This award winning editor was developed in 2002 and features window splitting, multi document interface, SQL and GDB plugin, bidirectional text rendering, network transparency and many more. It also supports regular expressions and uses Katepart as editor component and Konsole as terminal emulator.

Official Website

Top Android Keyboard Applications

As  Android users we enjoy many prospects of customization and one of them are third party keyboards. There are ample amount of keyboard applications available in the play store which allows you to choose different themes and helps you to reach new level of typing speed and precision. So here we rounded up with some of the best keyboards available for Android devices:

SwiftKey

Swiftkey

Without any doubt SwiftKey is the most popular keyboard application in play store with over 50000000 downloads. It is able to correct even the sloppiest writing mistakes and supports over 800 emoticons. It allows personalized predictions, auto-correct and beautiful themes, users are able to shift the keyboard on left or right side of the panel depending upon the hand using for typing and also un-dock the keyboard from the bottom and put it anywhere on screen. Other features include cloud connectivity and vast language support of over 60 languages.

Download SwiftKey

Swype

Swype

Swype is the first swipe-to-type keyboard application and is widely popular with over 10000000 downloads. It is available free for 30 days after then it can be purchased for Rs. 60. It hold Guinness World Record for fastest message typing and features bilingual support, personal dictionary backup and sync,  next word prediction and Dragon prediction which is a voice recognition feature. Users can also use gestures for select all, cut, copy and paste.

Download Swype

Advertisement

Fleksy

Fleksy

This a minimal looking yet a powerful keyboard application hitting around 5000000 downloads on play store. Layout of the keyboard changes dynamically when user start typing so that the next letter to type appears next to the finger. It is available for free for first 30 days with in-app purchases. Fleksy supports different layouts including QWERTY, AZERTY, QWERTZ, even DVORAK or Colemak. Featuring colorful themes, powerful gestures, incredible auto-correct, type-n-play and cloud personalization it made cut to our list of top keyboard applications.

Download Fleksy

Minuum

Minuum

As the name suggest, Minuum is a minimal keyboard application having seen around 50000 downloads, designed for maximum screen space while typing and is one of its kind. It takes half the screen space taken by regular keyboards and user can also monitor his/her typing speed while typing. Minuum also supports different layouts including QWERTY, AZERTY and A to Z, featuring multitasking, smartwatch support as it is ideal for smaller screens, voice recognition, full size expansion and easy caps.

Download Minuum

Some more keyboard applications are popular among users but have a limited fanbase. This list includes Adaptxt, AI Type keyboard plus, Go Keyboard, Hacker’s Keyboard, Kii Keyboard and TouchPal X and all of them are available for download on play store.