Geeknizer iPhone, Android, mobile, Technology news Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:48:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mirror Any Android Device’s Screen to Chromecast [MirrorEnabler] Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:40:32 +0000 Read more »]]> Google has pushed update for the Chromecast app (v1.7.4+) using which you can cast entire Android screen on your HDTV using Chromecast USB dongle. But Google made the app compatible with limited set of Phones including Nexus 4, NExus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, S5.


However, a new mod for Rooted android phones enables you to cast/mirror your entire Android screen onto chromecast TV with ease.

Supported devices

In general, any Android phone released in year 2012 or later works.

  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 7 (2013)
  • Nexus 10
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (2014)
  • HTC One M7
  • LG G Pro2
  • LG G2
  • LG G3
  • ASUS PadFone 2
  • Droid RAZR MAXX HD
  • Sony Xperia Z1
  • Sony Xperia Z2
  • Sony Xperia ZL
  • Sony Z Ultra
  • HTC One M8 (Including GPE)
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto G
  • Samsung Note 8 Tab
  • Samsung Note Pro 12.2 Tab
  • Nexus 7 2012
  • Oppo Find 7
  • Oppo Find 7a
  • LG GPad 8.3
  • Galaxy S3
  • Galaxy Note 2

and couple of other phones not listed above.


How to Enable Chromecast Mirroring on ANY Android Device

Step 1. Make sure your device is Rooted.

Step 2. Install the mod from Xda thread.

Step 3. Run the #MirrorEnabler app and click “Disabled” to make it “Enabled”.

Step 4. Run the chromecast  app [make sure its updated to v1.7.4+] and Mirror/ Screencast feature would show up in Navigation sidebar. Click and start casting to TV.

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Force Deep Sleep on Android to Extend Battery Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:17:03 +0000 Read more »]]> Our phones have become pixel sharp, as fast as a 5 year laptop, bundled with plethora of sensors. All of these come at the cost of Battery life. Battery technology and capacity has increased over the years, but it still sometimes can’t cope up with fullday use. Easy way around is to carry Battery packs like Anker 3000mAh (1-2 full charges), PowerAdd Pilot 10,000mAh (upto 6 full charges).


Not everyone likes to carry portable chargers everywhere, and why even buy them if you could extend battery life of your phone?

A new Xposed framework module allows you to do exactly that by saving upto 20 – 30% battery by forcing “Deep sleep” on your phone when screen is off. Ideally, Android applications can run and sync in the background (when in standby) and reduce the standby time by large. Depending on the kind of applications you’ve installed, you can easily extend battery life by 20% with Deep sleep.


With Deepsleep, it turns off everything when screen is off i.e. Wifi, 3G background apps are stopped/paused. All apps like Facebook, Google Service, Hangouts, whatsapp etc, will be paused. However, in order to stay in touch with the world, it periodically wakesup data connection and apps so that you recieve your whatsapp messages, emails. You can configure this to suit your needs including day/night settings, active period, screen timeout, sync strategy, ignored apps, etc.

If you like to keep things simple, you can choose from pre-defined profiles: Gentle, Balance, Strong, Aggressive, Slumberer. Gentle being least disruptive, but save less battery and so on. You can create your own custom profiles but you cannot change default ones.


How Profile settings work
You can set profiles for each Weekdays vs Weekends based on following:

Frequency: How often device wakesup
Duration: How long device stays awake.
Wireless & Network: Whether to turn off radio or not.
Sync: Control sync strategy
Apps: Whitelist/blacklist apps
CPU: Process twist – root only
Night period

How to Install:
1. Rooted phone
2. Xposed Framework

You can Install the Xposed module for Deep sleep from Play store. Make sure you enable it after installation in Xposed Installer app.

More: 20 Best Must have Xposed Modules for Android


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]]> 0
Audio Improvements in Android 5.0 L [Audiophile] Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:20:53 +0000 Read more »]]> Android 5.0 (L-Release) is set to improve Audio and Video experience by huge margin.

Not only does Android 5.0 enables Pro Photography, it will be welcomed by audio processing applications including composition, production and karaoke for the first time.


Audio on Android had sucked big time. There was not just output delay (which was fixed by a good margin in KitKat); there is significant input delay as well. The delay is sometimes as large as 600ms, thereby making it a deal breaker for Audio processing enthusiasts. With recent changes to L release, its all changing for good.

Let’s go over all the Audio improvements in Android 5.0 aka L release:

1. Low latency (Input / Output) - Audio patch-panel

Kitkat introduced OpenSL based accelerated audio to reduce output audio delay, but it was still high enough to be usable for Audio processing apps.

With Android 5.0 comes Audio patch-panel that ensure significantly lower input-latency (~20ms) which is not perfect but very usable. Output latency and whole audio processing is also accelerated to reduce significantly, to enable Real-time audio for the first time.

2. 24bits per sample

Sample resolution is up from 16bit PCM to 24bit for better precision. In Kitkat and older releases, Android was 16bit per sample throughout the processing system. Even though several 2013 and newer phones supported24bit 96khz DAC, Android core never really made use of it. Some OEMs like LG did make alter the Android AudioFlinger and kernel to leverage 24bit but it was never contributed back to Android community.

3. 96khz sampling rate

Yes, up from 44khz/48khz, now Android supports 96khz sampling rate.

4. Floating point for Sampling

Floating point is a scary word for every programmer coz not only its costly (double the memory), its painfully slow. Google is trying to change the impression Floating points have. They have made the whole Audio system floating point compatible, arguing that FPs are as fast as Integers on modern SIMD processors, and the advantages are significant. Immediate advantages of using FPs are:

  • No audio clipping
  • Better precision – Better quality
  • Better dynamic range
  • greater headroom

Floating-point arithmetic is especially useful during intermediate calculations. Playback end-points use integer format for audio data, and with lower bit-depth. (In the L Developer Preview, portions of the internal pipeline are not yet floating-point.)


For developers: Use

5. Better Resampling

Android 5.0 improves on the Linear interpolator used to resample audio streams. Most audio files have either 44khz or 48khz or 96khz sampling. In order to play jitter free, it needs to be resampled if it doesn’t match the phone’s DAC supported sampling rate. e.g. Nexus 5 supports 48khz sampling rate. So in order to play a 44khz Mp3, it must be resampled to 48khz. Resampling is a mess in pre-5.0 Androids coz the linear interpolator adds lots of aliasing and artifacts.


5.0 Resampler is written ground up for minimal resampling aliasing by increasing sampling to twice.


6. Improved AV sync

Android had Audio and Video sync problems (of the order of 10 – 100ms) since a very long time now. Finally it has been addressed with new synchronized methods that ensure audio track matches with video keyframes, at all times.

7. USB audio

Yes, USB audio is now officially supported. Out of the box, you should be able to use external Soundcards (or DAC) and route all audio through it. This is a big news for Android Audiophiles who use USB DACs like Fiio E7, Meridian Explorer, Audioquest DragonFly DAC checkout this thread for USB DAC compatibility list.

8. API improvements (For developers)

  • Your app can now supply audio data as a ByteBuffer, in the same format as provided by MediaCodec.
  • New NDK Media APIs
  • The WRITE_NON_BLOCKING option can simplify buffering and multithreading for some apps.

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]]> 3
Android 5.0 L enables Pro Photography Sat, 28 Jun 2014 05:52:19 +0000 Read more »]]> Android 5.0 (L release) is set to change standards for Android Media(Audio & Video). Photographers & Audiophiles will rejoice the improvements.

Android 5.0 adds a huge list of features to the API that will enable developers build richer applications than before. The improvements in Camera API allow developers to achieve full Manual control over each camera parameter.


Lets go over what’s new with Camera2 API in Android 5.0:

1. DNG ( Digital Negative Image) aka RAW Image:

This is huge. Android would now support DNG (or RAW) images out of the box. What this means is upcoming Android camera apps would be able to create RAW image along with PNG, JPEG for each shot. Photographers can import this RAW file into Photoshop or Lightroom to bypass smartphone’s poor Noise correction, white-balance algorithms.
What is DNG?
DNG images have very minimal processing applied and exhibit basically the same compression as RAW files, meaning you’re getting all of the data the sensor captures instead of letting the image processor do the work of trimming things down and adjusting the image to what it perceives as a desirable result.

From the Android’s Camera API documentation:

The DngCreator class provides functions to write raw pixel data as a DNG file.

This class is designed to be used with the RAW_SENSOR buffers available fromCameraDevice, or with Bayer-type raw pixel data that is otherwise generated by an application. The DNG metadata tags will be generated from a CaptureResultobject or set directly.
The DNG file format is a cross-platform file format that is used to store pixel data from camera sensors with minimal pre-processing applied. DNG files allow for pixel data to be defined in a user-defined colorspace, and have associated metadata that allow for this pixel data to be converted to the standard CIE XYZ colorspace during post-processing.
For more information on the DNG file format and associated metadata, please refer to the Adobe DNG specification

2. Faster, limited only by hardware

The Camera 2 API  delivers full resolution images in Realtime (i.e. same line speed of the camera), enabled by a fully synchronized pipeline. In layman’s terms, it can take the best out of the camera hardware, despite what OEM might set limits for in software. e.g.  Nexus 5 can capture photos at 30 FPS, at it’s hardware maximum resolution of 8 megapixels.

3. Burst Mode

Like mentioned above, API now enables App developers to burst capture photos with minimal delay. You can set target FPS rate you want to capture at, and Android will do its best.

4. Full Manual control

New Camera 2 API lets you take control over:

  • Exposure (duration in seconds)
  • Exposure compensation (+- 3)
  • ISO sensitivity (supported by hardware)
  • Manual focus / AF Trigger
  • Flash Trigger
  • AE / AF / AWB mode  (Auto-exposure / Auto Focus / Auto white balance mode)
  • AE / AWB lock (Auto-exposure / Auto white balance lock)
  • Precapture AE
  • Hardware enabled Video stabilization
  • Metering regions
  • Tonemap curve
  • Color correction matrix
  • Frame duration

We can only imagine what kind of Photography apps for Android would arrive in future.

And yes, don’t forget Nikon and others are building army of next generation dSLRs based on Android. Sky is the limit.



( image source:

Related: Audio Improvements in Android 5.0 L [Audiophile]

Developers, leverage it!

If you’re a developer, checkout the video below that discusses improvements in Camera 2 API. These are also included in platform samples in Camera2Basic, Camera2Video java files.

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]]> 7
Android 5.0 L Release Features – Everything you need to Know Thu, 26 Jun 2014 14:59:20 +0000 Read more »]]> Google announced the next version of Android i.e. L release aka Android 5.0


Lets quickly walk you through what’s new and what you should expect from next version of Android:

1. New Design – Material Design

Google has refreshed the whole design philosophy behind Android OS and apps along with web applications. The new design, which they call as “Material design” takes inspiration from real world objects like pen and paper.

Everything from contacts, dialer, Gmail have more real-life like animations and transitions. No longer do 2-screens in application look disconnected.

Material design is all about 3D UI elements, as well as shadow effects and new 60fps animations that show movement, ripples and quicker touch feedback (the amount of time it takes to tell you that what you just touched is actually producing the expected result). This new design language features hierarchy, it’s responsive colorful and is meant to unify all Android-based platforms.


All UI elements get depth, which is in-contrast to Apple’s iOS 7 Flat-design.


2. Notifications & Lockscreen

Notifications are getting overhauled. They now popout of notification bar for increased visibility, they’re called “heads up notification” — They are actually helpful when you’re in fullscreen playing a game.

Quick settings have also been integrated into the notifications panel. These settings are hidden by default but can be made visible from view when you pull down the notification bar, but they’ll appear if you keep pulling (or if you tap the bar on the top).


Notifications are now also displayed on Lockscreen. You can scroll through them, single tap to expand and double tap to launch right from lockscreen.


With wearables, your device is automatically unlocked (no security pattern) when your wearable is in vicinity of the android device.

3. Performance

Dalvik runtime has been replaced with ART (Android Runtime). A new runtime VM that has 2x times the performance of Dalvik VM under all circumstances.

The performance is not just for computational logics but also for graphics. Android 5.0 will have huge boost in graphics with Google assuring DirectX11 level graphics on decent hardware smartphones. Android L release includes Android expansion packs with things like shaders and tessellations.

Android is now 64-bit across all hardware platforms: ARM, x86, MIPS.

4. Battery life

On an average, ART runtime alone improves battery by 30% over Dalvik. Among other improvements, a new project called Project Volta, that aims to reduce battery consumption by scheduling network calls only when device is awake (or at regular schedules) so that device can enter deep-sleep for longer durations.


Android now offers a Battery saver mode (finally). Battery saver mode limits CPU cores/clock, and even disable background data for extended usage. In-addition it switches-off animations, reduces refresh-rate to improve battery life further.

On Nexus 5, if your (screen on) usage is 4hours, it will extend by 90minutes with battery saver mode.

5. Security & Enterprise support

Android is way more secure than before. It inherits some features from Samsung knox to support data sandboxing between Office (corporate) and personal apps. This enable users have single device for work and fun.

6. Deeper integration with web

Google is making Android native apps work seamlessly with the cloud. Most Google webapps would like just like native apps (with Material design) with similar experience across Web, tablets, phones.

Chrome Tabs will also appear in the recent applications, blurring the difference between webapps and native apps.


Google search results can now open directly inside app.

7. New APIs

Developers will have 5,000 new APIs to play with. Animations, transitions are way more powerful and easier to do that ever before.

Few new API support: Full 64-bit support across all platforms: ARM, x86, MIPS, Improved AV-sync, hardware assisted Hot-word detection, NDK media APIs, burst-mode Camera APIs, TV input framework, path animations, CardView, RecycledView, color space correction, lock to app apis, Document-centric multitasking, and several others.


Android L HandsOn Video (Early Preview)



Android L Release (Android 5.0) developer preview is now available to developers for getting ready. The final release will be made available by late October – November 2014.

What would L Release be called?
Most probably it will be called Android Lollipop. But there are several other predictions like Ladoo, LimePie etc.

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20 Best Must have Xposed Modules for Android Sun, 22 Jun 2014 17:42:56 +0000 Read more »]]> Xposed framework allows your Rooted Android phone to fly high. Xposed can change the behavior of the system and apps without touching any APKs. As all changes are in-memory, its easy to undo. You can easily disable or remove them without any hassle.

With Xposed modules, you can pretty much do anything with the phone. The good thing about xposed module is you can have Xposed modules running on Any stock or custom ROM with no direct dependencies. This is a blessing for Android modders.


Lets walk you through some Amazing & Must have Modules for Xposed framework.


  1. Rooted Android
  2. Xposed Framework


20 Best & Awesome Must have Xposed Modules

1. Network Speed Indicator

Displays network upload and download activity in Kbps. Perfect to know how well your network (Wifi, 3G, 4G) is working. A handy indicator to know when your phone is downloading/uploading something.


2. Physical Button Music control

Do you wish to change music tracks by using volume buttons? Hold down up/down key for next/previous music track. Must have for music lovers.


3. Tinted status bar

Navigation bar and status bar on Android has static black color and tends to be boring. Tinted status bar intends to make to more jazzy with colors based on applications Action bar color. e.g. In Play store, your status bar and navigation bar would turn green.


4. Native Clipboard

Ever wished you could have a clipboard history with all the previously copied text? Native clipboard module lets you have huge clipboard history. Now you can copy as many texts as you wish without losing any of them.


5. Gravity Box - All in one Tweakbox

Gravity box is most extensive customization tool. It supports humongous set of features from statusbar, QuickSettings tile management, Lockscreen targets, Statusbar icon coloring, Toggles, Center clock in statusbar, Battery indicator style, Navigation bar tweaks, Advanced power-off menu (reboot, recovery), Volume key cursor control, Skip tracks by volume key long-press while screen off , Autobrightness levels adjustment, Lockscreen tweaks, launcher tweaks, list goes on.


6. Bootmanager

Control what apps are allowed to run during boot. You can add, remove and disable apps from start while Android phone boots to home screen.


7. Unicon

Unicon is a great mod for themers. Unicon lets you add Icon pack to almost any launcher including Google now Launcher, Nova, Apex, Buzz, you name it.


8. Android Phone Vibrator

Customize what events vibrate your phone. e.g. When outgoing call is connected, minute reminder, call waiting, call ended, etc.


9. App Ops 

Android Jellybean had introduced a new permission manager that allows you to control what permission an app has to your phone’s resources. Sadly, it was removed. For privacy freaks, its back with Xposed.


10. YouTube Adaway

Block all youtube ads with this simple xposed.


11. XHalo Floating Window

Make any Android app float around as independent window for true multitasking.


12. XuiMod

You can change animations and make your android really funky with Xui based animations.


13. Dynamic Notifications

A new approach to notifications, when your phone is locked. Notifications don’t light up when your phone is in your pocket, purse, or face down to avoid accidental unlocks, filter which apps light up screen, change appearance, change brightness, timeout, lockscreen replacement, Auto-awake when pulled out of pocket, etc.


14. App Settings

Set per-app settings like per-app DPI, rotation, Font, screen dimensions, keep screen on, language, xlarge, resident in memory, revoke permissions etc.


15. Bubble uPnP

Bubble UPnP is a DLNA client that lets you stream and control music on/from other DLNA devices on your network. This xposed module extends the native app’s feature by allowing you to stream ANY android audio to a DLNA compatible device like XBMC, Chromecast, etc. Very handy module if you wish to play your music on a AV player on your network streamed right from your Android tablet/phone.

16. Burnt Toast

Android apps can display random toasts that you’ve no idea where they originate from. Burnt toast embeds App icon into the Toast.


17. ClockColorChanger

Prior to Android 4.2, stock android used to indicate network connectivity by changing color scheme of clock, and network indicators. You can bring back that with this xposed module.


18. Root Cloak

There are a number of apps on Play store, other corporate apps that use some sort of Root checkers to disable access to app if the device is rooted. Root cloak lets you bypass that check by faking the environment info with no effort.

19. Intelli 3G

All in one Rule based 2G, 3G, 4G switcher to save battery. You can now take control over when your phone/tablet makes switch to 2G only mode or when it does switch to faster 3G or 4G. You can set triggers like screen off time to switch to 2G and back to 3G/4G when screen is powered ON. There are several rules related to threshold data transfers that you can play with to save battery.


20. Xtended NavBar

Extend the functionality of Nav bar (soft keys) and swipe left or right to access Music controls, quick launch apps, Toggles, all from Navigation bar.



21. Deep Sleep – Extend Battery

Extend you phone’s battery life by forcing deep sleep with Deep Sleep Xposed module.

And more…

There are endless number of Xposed modules available you can check them out here.

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]]> 0
Install Nokia Z Launcher on Rooted Android Fri, 20 Jun 2014 08:52:20 +0000 Read more »]]> Nokia has announced a new Launcher for Android phones with which they plan to acquire some love from Android users.

Nokia CEO, Elop, said in September 2010 “Using Android is like peeing in your own pants for warmth”. And in 2014 they announce Android Based Nokia X platform phones, and now Android based Launcher. Silly. Nokia is so much like Microsoft, never sticking to their words.


Nokia Z Launcher uses single desktop screen from which you can nearly do anything from launching apps, finding contacts, and performing a Google search. All of these are simple gesture based. e.g. drawing “e” will search for all apps and contacts starting with letter e. you can go on to complete the word or choose from the list that appears.

Your frequently used apps, contact list appears by default, first time you launch the Launcher.

Here’s what Nokia Z Launcher looks like in-practice.


Introducing Z Launcher from Nokia Z Launcher on Vimeo.

How to Install Z Launcher on Rooted Android Phones.

Nokia doesn’t allow Z Launcher to be run on Rooted phones, here’s a quick workaround.

Step 1. Install Xposed framework, if you don’t have it already.

Step 2. Install RootCloak module. Open the module and add Z Launcher (…) from “Add/Remove apps”.

Step 3. Activate the module and reboot.

Step 4. Download and install Z Launcher APK. Open normally, voila! it should work.


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]]> 1
Install Stock AOSP Android Browser [Without Root] Sun, 08 Jun 2014 20:04:33 +0000 Read more »]]> Android starting 4.3 ditched the Stock AOSP browser in favor of Chrome for unknown reasons. The stock browser was fast and smooth, but chrome has an ever increasing set of features.


Though Chrome browser runs smooth on most modern Android devices, it struggles and drops frames on older ARM v7 devices.
But there are handful of things Chrome doesn’t do which stock browser used to. Chrome doesn’t support the wonderful Pie Controls, which were initially seen in the AOSP browser. Chrome consumes more RAM and CPU than AOSP browser.

Stock AOSP browser cannot be installed easily unless you’re rooted. This guide, however, helps you install Stock AOSP browser without root.

How to Install Stock AOSP browser on Any Android [No root required]

  1. Download “signedbrowser.apk” from XDA thread.
  2. Go to general settings / security / check mark ‘Unknown sources’
  3. Use any file manager (with no root permissions) and navigate to system / apps / and install Browser ProviderProxy.apk. It will fail, this is fine.
  4. Reboot your phone.
  5. Open file manager and install “signedbrowser.apk” from the location it was downloaded to.
  6. Uncheck unknown sources from your settings / security.

Bingo! And you’ve AOSP browser installed.


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]]> 0
E3 PS4 2014 Live Announcements [Video Stream, Predictions] Sun, 01 Jun 2014 09:37:03 +0000 Read more »]]> The yearly game developer conference would be live on 9PM EST, on 9th June 2014. The event would be broadcasted live to all the states in United states and also can be watched online.


New Games announcements / rumors for PS4 at E3 2014

  1.  Uncharted 4
  2. Project Morpheus: VR headset from sony
  3. PS Vita TV
  4. PS Plus for EU and more
  5. Many new Indie games.
  6. Last of us remastered for PS4
  7. Driveclub demo, release in october
  8. Gran Turismo 7 – a remastered Gran Turismo 6 with 1080p @60FPS
  9. God of War Ascension
  10. Bungie’s FPS Destiny
  11. A new game in Wipeout series.
  12. Return of Syphon Filter
  13. The last Guardian
  14. GTA 5
  15. Resident Evil 7
  16. EA’s Mass Effect 4
  17. Assasins Creed Unity
  18. Battlefield Hardline
  19. Project beast –  a game from The Dark Souls creator.
  20. Mirror’s Edge 2
  21. The order 1886
  22. Mortal Kombat 8
  23. Kingdom Hearts 3
  24. Dishonoured - Arkane Studio’s stealth action-adventure
  25. Deus Ex Human Revolution 2 (or Deus Ex 4)

How to Watch E3 Live Video Stream

1. You can watch All of E3 2014 Live Video Stream here.

2. PS4 Exclusive announcements here.

More links would be updated here

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]]> 0
Fix, Decode Play Store Error Codes on Android Tue, 29 Apr 2014 18:32:59 +0000 Read more »]]> Google Play store is home for all kinds of Android apps, games, Books, Music, Magazines but often Play store acquires a bad taste and results in error codes that we don’t really like.

With this guide, we make sure you’ll be able to Read, understand Fix those Play Store errors on your Android device.

Note: This guide is replicated from xda thread.


Disclaimer: Try the solutions at your own risk. although they cause no harm, but they might not even cause good in some rare cases.

Decode and Fix Play Store Error codes on Android Device

Error 491: Downloads and updates impossible.
Solution: Remove your account. Reboot your Android and add the account once again. Next, in the settings, go to Apps (Applications) and swipe and select ‘All’ of your apps. Scroll down to Google Services, then click clear data and finally force stop.

Error 498: Interruption of downloads from the Google Play Store
Solution: Cache of your device is full. Delete unneeded applications and files. If you’re rooted, and have CWM recovery installed, restart your smartphone in recovery mode by pressing the volume down, power and home buttons (for Samsung devices) or volume down and power (for most other devices). This mode provides a few more options. Select wipe cache partition by navigating between options with the volume rocker. Confirm using the power button.

Error 919: Downloading the app works but it does not open once downloaded.
Solution: Your device is seriously low on memory. Get rid of unwanted apps, data.

Error 413: Downloading applications or updates is impossible. If you use a proxy, remember that it may cause problems with the operation of the Google Play Store.
Solution: In Settings -> All, look for Google Services and clear data and then force stop. Repeat same for Google Play Store app and clear the cache from your browser.

Error 923: The download is impossible: error while syncing your Google account or insufficient cache memory.
Solution: Remove your Google account and delete any useless applications that are just taking up space. Next, reboot your device in recovery mode. Select wipe cache partition and start your device as usual. Set up your Google account once again.

Error 921:  You can’t download a particular app.
Solution: Clear cache for Google Play Store application. If this doesn’t work, delete all the Play Store application data. If none of that works, remove your Google account, restart the device and enter it again.

Error 403: The download is impossible. This usually happens when two Google accounts are used to buy applications on one device.
Solution: Go the Google Play Store with the correct Google account. Uninstall the application in question. Next, try to get the app from Google Play again and click the purchase button.

Error 492: It’s impossible to install an application due to the Dalvik cache.
Solution: Settings > apps > all > Google Services. Click clear data and then force stop. Do the same on the Google Play Store app.

Note: If the problem is not solved, try deleting the Dalvik cache in recovery. If it still doesn’t work, you might be out of luck and have to data wipe/ factory reset. Be sure to make backups.

Error 927: The download is impossible because an update of the Play Store is in progress.
Solution: Wait a few minutes until the Google Play Store is completely upgraded. If the problem persists, go to settings, then Apps, swipe to All and locate the Google Services. Tap on clear data and then force stop. Do the same with the Google Play Store application.

Error 101: You cant download anything because you have many apps installed
Solution: Uninstall any useless apps
Clear play store data and remove Google account and re-login.

Error 481: Error in your google account
Solution: Remove your account and use other one.

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]]> 0
Andy: Run Android apps, Games on OS X, Windows PC Tue, 29 Apr 2014 12:43:57 +0000 Read more »]]> We’ve seen number of emulators and dual boot options for running Android apps and games on PC, Mac. Bluestacks, by far had been the best solution available.


Existing Android Emulators don’t provide full Android look n feel and performance. Andy aka Andyroid is here to change that.

Andy is a full solution to Android on PC: Windows, Mac OSX without compromises. You can easily run and install Android apps and even demanding games.

Here are the Features of Andy that sets it above Bluestacks and competition:

  1. Use your phone as remote control while playing games on Mac, Windows PC.
  2. Run all your Android apps including WhatsApp, Viber, Line from PC.
  3. Seamless transition of apps from PC to mobile, supports cloudsave.
  4. x86 Native apps, Full ARM supported with a high performance emulator.
  5. Runs all demanding graphics hungry Android games on PC.
  6. Full Android Look and feel.
  7. Run apps from Desktop.
  8. Full android filesystem access.
  9. Full Push notifications support to Desktop.


android-apps-on-pc android-games-on-pc android-native-onpc-comparison-andy-vs-bluestacks

Get started with Android apps on Windows, Mac OS X with Andy.

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Shoot 3D Parallax Photos on Android with Google Camera Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:25:29 +0000 Read more »]]> Google Camera recently announced an upgrade to Google Camera, which is now available to all Android devices via Play Store.

The upgraded Google camera offers UI uplift along with handful of features. Among the best of the features is the “Lens blur” that lets you create DSL-like defocus (bokeh) effect on any Android phone. In order to shoot such blurred photo, Google camera senses the depth of field as it instructs you to move the camera firmly up from the subject. Under the hood, it does depth analysis by generating depth map using complex CVS (computer vision) algorithms.


What’s even better is, using this depth information from the photos you’ve taken using Google camera’s Lens Blur, you can create 3D Parallax photos instantly as demoed below:

How to Shoot 3D Parallax photos on Android

Step 1. Shoot a photo with Lens blur mode on Google Camera.

Step 2. Head to Depthy [web app] and upload your photo. [requires webgl on your browser]

Step 3. Within seconds, it will generate 3D parallax photo in either of the mode: Blur, Hypnotize (3D parallax), Dramatize (slow animating 3d parallax) .

Step 4. Use GifCam if you wish to save it as GIF.

You can also checkout the related XDA thread.

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Try Official MIUI Launcher Desktop, Dialer, Contacts on Any Android Thu, 10 Apr 2014 05:07:52 +0000 Read more »]]> MIUI, the chinese Xiaomi’s subsidiary has been known for its innovative MIUI ROM. MIUI is rich in customizations, mods, versatile settings.

Miui on android

MIUI now has officially made MIUI Desktop Launcher, Dial, Contacts app, MIUI SMS, Cloud, Millet system available for All non-rooted Android devices. The app is in beta test stages but works flawlessly. The app suite works on any Android 4.0+ without root.

Download MIUI apps APK from (~27mb)



Installing a custom ROM is simply beyond most Android users. MIUI understands that now and they would like to increase the spread of their customers. The look and feel, features, everything has been made available as-is for non-rooted android phones, may it be stock ROM of Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Nexus, Motorola. It works on every single Stock Android 4.0+ smartphone.

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Enable, Disable ART Runtime on Any Stock 4.4 KitKat ROM from Recovery Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:04:08 +0000 Read more »]]> ART Runtime is replacing the aging dalvik runtime for good: performance and extended battery.

What is ART Runtime

Dalvik Runtime is being replaced with next generation ART (android runtime) in Android 5.x or later. Google has introduced it now so that developers can start testing their apps with it in KitKat 4.4.x

The older Dalvik uses what is called JIT runtime compiler which basically compiles java dex code to optimized native code (C binary) at the runtime.
The next gen ART uses AOT (Ahead of time) compiler which optimizes and converts java/dex code to Native during installation (ahead of time).


How is ART better
Both have their pros and cons, but overall AOT is faster than JIT. AOT is better at doing fast things really fast e.g. Scrolling a page in app (list, images, webview, etc) would be faster with AOT (used by ART), less often it would need to reclaim memory (GC -> garbage collector) vs. JIT.
JIT used by Dalvik has added advantages of being able to optimize java/dex code to native better, but it takes time to do so.

Overall ART should give faster launch times, smoother scrolling and better battery. Its still in alpha stage, we probably will see ART in Android 5.0 L-release doing wonders.

How to Enable ART on any Stock or AOSP ROM

Simplest way to enable ART on an AOSP ROM is through “Developer options > select runtime”. But sadly, the option is not even available in most stock ROMs may it be HTC, Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola etc. The work around is following the steps mentioned below:

1. Rooted 4.4.x ROM (Stock or Custom) with some custom recovery (CWM or TWRP)
2. Xposed framework is not compatible with ART runtime. You must uninstall Xposed framework before continuing.
3. To Check If You Are Using ART Or Dalvik, goto
Open data/property/persist.sys.dalvik.vm.lib in Text Editor, if it shows ‘’, you’re already on ART, else it would say ‘’.
4. Full list of apps that don’t work with ART.
Note: If and is Not Present in lib folder. Your ROM Doesn’t Support ART.

Update: There are essentionally two Methods: 1. Independent flashable Zips 2. AROMA based installer.
Follow any method.

Step 1.
Method 1. Download Enable ART, Enable Dalvik flashable Zips from xda thread.
Method 2 (AROMA): Download AROM ART/Dalvik switcher from XDA thread.

Step 2.
Method 1. Flash the Enable ART zip in recovery and clear Dalvik cache.
Method 2. In recovery, choose zip and AROMA installer will help you through rest of the process.

Reboot, your ROM would boot and create ART cache for the first boot.

Troubleshooting: If you’ve any bootloops or problems, you can revert the change at anytime by flashing enable dalvik zip if you’re following Method 1. If you’re following Method 2, use AROMA again to switch back to Dalvik.

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How Google Maps Traffic Works? Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:47:02 +0000 Read more »]]> If you live in one of the popular cities around the world, Google Maps display Live Traffic on the Roads, for the area you are viewing on the map.

Not just the Live data, Google Maps can even predict the Future Traffic that would be on a particular Road/Route, for a particular, day/date/time combo. This prediction is made based upon the data that was available on same day, last week, last month or last year, based upon if it was a public holiday, a working day or just a normal weekend.

How Google Maps show Traffic on Roads, Routes?

The data is aggregated from several sources, including road sensors, as well as car and taxi fleets.

The traffic data comes from multiple sources in order for it to be considered reliable. It is relatively easy to put in road sensors, say every mile on major highways, that detect the speed of vehicles going by. But they are expensive. So a company or municipality pays for the sensors, and then it sells the data. There are many different buyers for the data, including TV and radio news programs, Google and other mapping companies, GPS companies (which now include traffic data monitoring), cell phone services, government agencies, etc.

So, the traffic data comes from a variety of sources, including government departments of transportation, private data providers, and users of Google Maps for mobile who contribute anonymous speed information through Google’s traffic crowdsourcing feature. This data comes from your Android, iOS, Palm WebOS, Blackberry, Symbian S60, Windows Phone and other smartphones using Google Maps on it.

Though the traffic data is updated every few minutes, the actual accuracy varies based upon number of sources of the data. So if in a city, lots of users use smartphones for directions, Google Maps would be able to predict better traffic estimates. If there isn’t enough data to create minimum threshold accuracy, Google Maps would not show Traffic conditions at all.

Anonymous Location collection from Smartphones

On your smartphone, most of us use Google Maps (with or without GPS enabled), your phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast you’re moving. This information is compared against the data coming in from other smartphones within the same area. USing some complex algorithms, it would average out speeds of the actual moving cars and smartly ignore road-side walkers or slow drivers. This data comes from thousands of phones from around the city, and data is enough for Google Maps to start showing Traffic conditions. Of course, more data comes from users, more accurate it gets.

Is Google Maps Traffic available in My city?

Like we said, if you live in a popular city with good amount of smartphones, you will probably have Live Traffic conditions in and in mobile apps. For the U.S., its available in more than 70 cities, UK, Europe are also well covered including various major cities in Asia like China, India, Japan, Russia, thailand bringing the total number of cities to 1000s worldwide.

You can check if your city is covered by following this link on Google Maps.

Privacy: Is it Safe for Google to know My Location? Can I disable it?

As per Google, they have built this service (like others) with privacy protections in from the start. All data is anonymized before speed and location information is fed to Google Servers to calculate traffic conditions. And if you disable to share your location, Google will totally opt-you out.

Privacy measures go further. When a lot of people are reporting data from the same area, Google combines their data together to make it hard to distinguish at the very source. Google takes privacy concerns related to user location data seriously, by all means its supposed to be protected.  But if you’re very picky and would like to opt-out, follow instructions here.

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Root, Upgrade to Stock 4.4.2 KitKat on Xperia Z1 [C6902, c6903] Thu, 27 Mar 2014 06:42:18 +0000 Read more »]]> Official 4.4.4 KitKat has rolled to Xperia Z line of devices including Xperia Z1, Z, ZL and Z Ultra.

Upgrading is startightforward as long as you recieve OTAs. However, if you’ve been unlucky to not receive it, you can follow this guide.

Note: This guide doesn’t require you to Unlock Bootloader. So, your warrant is NOT void. But do it at your own risk, don’t brick your device. We recommend you read Xperia Rooting basics if you’re a beginner.


How to Upgrade to 4.4.2 14.3.A.0.681 on Xperia Z1 (Stock unrooted)


  1. Download 14.3.A.0.681 FTF file for your device model (C6903, C6902, etc) from here.
  2. FlashTool

Warning: This will erase your internal storage and all apps. Take necessary backups.

Step 1. Run FlashTool
Step 2. Switch off your phone, enter flashmode (Volume down as you plug in power cable).
Step 3. Flash FTF via flashtool. (refer: full flashtool guide)

After reboot you’ll have official 4.4.2 Kitkat


How to Upgrade and Root 4.4.2 [14.3.A.0.681 build] on Xperia Z1 (Full root, C6902, C6903)


  1. Download 14.1.G.1.534 FTF file for your device model (C6903, C6902, etc) from here.
  2. Download 14.3.A.0.681 Flashable Zip & Stripped FTF from here.
  3. FlashTool
  4. Working Adb

ETA: 1-2 hours
Warning: This will erase your internal storage and all apps. Take necessary backups.

Step 1. Flash 14.1.G.1.534 Flash Tool. When finished, switch on your phone, it would boot normally.

Step 2. Enable Developer Settings then USB debugging and lastly enable “Security > Unknown sources” in settings.

Step 3. Use VRoot or Root360 to root your device (both are in Chinese but they are easy to use). Checkout Rooting guide

Step 4. Install SuperSU from Play Store and run it.

Step 5. Install DualRecovery using windows installer (bat file) or linux installer. Run the installer, choose SuperSU when prompted and it will root your device and reboot automatically when done.

Note: Step 5 and 6 explains flashing of 4.4.2 KitKat Zip (Official thread on XDA)

Step 5. Flash 4.4.2 Zip through TWRP (don’t reboot, just power off)

Step 6. While in power off state, enter Flashmode (Volume down as you plug in power cable) and flash FTF stripped via flashtool.

on Reboot, you’ll boot into fully Rooted stock 4.4.2 KitKat on Xperia Z1.

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Incoming Call Floating Popout on Android [Multitasking] Sun, 16 Mar 2014 17:08:52 +0000 Read more »]]> Floating and multitasking apps are trending fashion on Android platform. Floating apps let you use the app without leaving another app, making multitasking a snap.



When your phone rings, a circle popout pophead arrives on the center/bottom/top of the screen. You can touch and drag the head to answer/reject/silence/quick reply to the caller/enable disable speaker mode.

Among settings, you can set the Head border color, Make ringer silent on touch, Keep popout stay on screen on pickup, filter apps on which call popout will be displayed.

We gave the app a try, it is lightweight and works flawlessly on several android devices. Certain features are pro only but free features should keep your taste buds satisfied.

Download Call Popout

App doesn’t require root.

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Track, Analyze Your Android app Usage Sun, 16 Mar 2014 16:28:28 +0000 Read more »]]> There are battery analyzers that help you catch battery hog app, call trackers that track calling behavior and generate reports. What you might not have seen so far is app usage behavior/patterns.


You might want to track most used apps and even the unused apps (which can be uninstalled). Aptrax lets you track app usage habits, having more choices is never a bad thing. You can track down the apps you rarely use or never used. Click on the app in the list and you can uninstall these applications directly from within Aptrax’s  interface.


Aptrax tracks:

  1. Total time spent in applications,
  2. how many times each app was launched.

Download Aptrax from Play Store or Aptrax from Xda

Frequency is an alternative app which serves the same purpose.

Aptrax is totally free, with no ads, and has almost zero battery drain.


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Project Tango: Indoor Human-scale understanding of 3D Space, Mapping Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:13:30 +0000 Read more »]]> Google’s ATAP team has achieved a new breakthrough. The Project Tango takes a step closer towards converging real world with the virtual world. A new combination of hardware and software helps interpret and render indoor dynamics — whether its your room, hall or walkway.


Humans use visual cues to navigate and understand the world around. With our eyes, we estimate size, shape and dynamics of the objects around us.  with almost no effort we learn to use these parameters as we interact with the space and objects around us. Unlike our 3-D vision, Mobile devices even with their cameras fail to understand most of this coz they are limited to 2-D. This gap has be narrowed down by a large margin.

Project Tango aims at giving mobile phones human-scale understanding of space and motion and thus help us navigate indoors easily and more smartly than ever.  With Project Tango you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone.



Google had been working with various Research labs, Universities to fulfill this dream of Computer Vision (CV). Their new prototype mobile phones are nothing but standard android smartphones with 2 cameras (3-D). The project is pretty much in early testing phase but field trials seem to be very promising. Tango would be able to solve numerous problems like:

  1. Never again get lost in a building. Coz somebody else had that building mapped, you will be able to get feet by feet walking directions.
  2. Google Maps navigation from your chair to the chair in the department X on Yth floor, in the Z building.
  3. Next generation Virtual Reality games: Play hid-n-seek with your favorite Game character, etc.
  4. Coz you walked with your phone at home, the device can already recommend you furniture sizes next time you go for shopping.
  5. Visaully-impaired can walk and navigate inside any building.

Watch Project Tango in Action

Sounds interesting? You can checkout more at

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Get Multiwindow SplitScreen Apps on Any Android Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:32:18 +0000 Read more »]]> Samsung was the first to make it possible to run two applications in SplitScreen. They call it MultiWindow. The SplitView sure comes handy for the large screen smartphone/Tablet user who is trying to multitask on his device.

Samsung’s implementation has its own limitations but there is absolutely no love for SplitScreen apps on other Android smartphones. Thankfully, rooted Android devices have the privilege of access to this feature through the Xposed framework module.

xmultiwindow-splitscreen xmultiwindow

XMultiWindow allows you to pick and drop apps from sidebar to the main area to create a SplitScreen / MultiWindow apps experience. What’s more is that you can resize individual application windows with no problem at all, something which even Samsung’s implementation is lacking.

Key Features of XMultiWindow:

  • Split any app to run in parallel with any other app.
  • Resize the window dimensions, individually
  • Launch MultiWindow app chooser sidebar anytime with gesture.
  • Full support for Orientation changes.
  • 2 Workspaces.

How to Install XMultiWindow

Step 1. Make sure Android phone is rooted, Install Xposed framework.

Step 2. Install XMultiWindow Apk

Step 3. Once module is installed, you need to go to the Xposed app and activate the module and Reboot.

Step 4. Once phone reboots, go to the Xposed app > modules > XMultiWindow and configure your preferences. Ideally, you can set Sidebar window position according to your needs. Then, slide-out apps bar from left to right.

Step 5. Use the slide gesture to open up the sidebar and click apps to launch them in MultiWindow mode.

Enjoy the MultiWindow SplitScreen apps.

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Auto Expo 2014: Honda Concept XS-1, NSX, City, Mobilio Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:27:55 +0000 Read more »]]> Auto Expo happens to be biannual (once in two years) Automotive show in India, in its capital New Delhi.
With over 50 Car, bikes and other automotive manufacturers, It was a delightful sight for Indian consumers where they can see the latest in automotives.

Honda had been campaigning big for

High res photos at Geek Photography


The event was anchored by Nikhil Channapa, the popular VJ on MTV India.












Honda Mobilio is a newly unveiled 7-seater MUV for Indian market. The exteriors feel much safer than Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga. The mileage claim is kept better than competition, but we will have to see how it performs in real world.




Honda XS-1 Concept

is a state of the art concept Family vehicle which aims to make rides fun. Its designed to be chromeless- more space and less of interiors that usually come in the way. Among entertainment options, it has PlayStation on-board along with full AV system.











High res photos at Geek Photography

Honda NSX Concept

NSX is a super sports, super luxury compact car











Honda City 2014






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Best of CES 2014 – The Self-Drifting car – BMW M235i Wed, 08 Jan 2014 17:00:40 +0000 Read more »]]> This year’s CES is all about wearable tech, 4k, 8k large TVs, innovative startups and self-driven Autonomous cars.

Audi has come up with a new self-driven car called the A7 that can make your journey comfortable as soon as you hit the highway. This is just like what we saw with Google self-driven cars minus the giant ugly-ass radar, camera and sensors mounted all over the place. Audi with its A7 has managed to pack all of them under the hood, making it look like a normal sedan.

Normally when we think of Self-driven cars, we think of comfort and pleasant drive but BMW is taking to whole new level, they are adding fun and spicing it up. BMW has taken a giant-leap ahead by bringing a revolution in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and Neural networks. With their new algorithms and engineering in place, they can make an autonomous do most racing men cannot.


BMW’s new M235i coupe is capable of drifting across the racing track at high speeds maintaining the dynamics of the car in perfection as it turns through the curvy roads of a track. Its unlike anything we’ve seen so far. The M5 can not only complete a hurdle race faster than any human, it does it a level of perfection un-achievable by experts.

The verge had a chance to go handson with this autonomous racing monster and they were amazed:

With new ultra-sonic radar and 360-degree stereo camera technology, BMW’s autonomous driving assistant is also intelligent enough to change lanes to overtake slower vehicles and then pull back. This is something competition still finds hard to tackle with. This coupe is also capable of showing the optimal line around a race track, accelerating hard down straights and lining up corner apexes perfectly.

BMW has estimated to mass produce this car by 2020 at an affordable price of $75,000. Meanwhile, they would keep releasing cars with subset of M235i’s features.

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Mirror Android display to Any PC, Mac, Apple TV [AirPlay] Wed, 18 Dec 2013 06:01:10 +0000 Read more »]]> iOS devices let you AirPlay the display to OS X or to an Apple TV. Android does similar thing with Miracast, but only the latest Android devices, and latest HDTVs support Miracast. Older devices were out of luck, till recent.


What you need to Mirror wireless display:

  • Any post-2012 Android device (it might work on 2011 devices too, but not guaranteed)
  • Any Rooted Android 1.6 – 4.4 ROM (stock or custom)
  • Wireless router

Cyangonmod’s lead developer Koushik Dutta has made it possible to be able to wirelessly stream your Android display on to another PC, Mac, Linux, Apple TV, (and even another android device). This is an ideal thing to do when you wish to watch videos, photos, on the big display, without having to use any HDMI cable.

The best use case is of course gaming on the large HDTV, wirelessly. At present experience is far from perfect but its mostly smooth with frame-rates around 20fps for Full HD 1920×1080 resolutions. (720p phones might even achieve 30fps+, I haven’t tested it).

How to Wirelessly Mirror, Screencast Android Display to TV, PC, OS X

At the time of writing Mirror app is experimental, and available through beta signup. If you’re using CM11 nightlies, you should already have Mirror under Settings > Display > wireless displays.

Step 1. Join Cyanogenmod community, then join the beta.

Step 2. Once signed-up, go to Play store and install it.

Step 3. After installation, run the app, it will confirm installation to system partition, this needs root.

Step 4. Next time you launch app, you’ll have list of AirPlay devices nearby, and even record screencasts. Connect to any and start streaming screen.


Note: For viewing AirPlay stream on Windows, you can use any app that supports AirPlay rendering e.g. XBMC.

Android Screen mirroring in action:

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Xperia Z1 Review Verdict: Good, bad Mon, 09 Dec 2013 14:07:48 +0000 Read more »]]> Sony’s flagship device Xperia Z1 improves on original Z and makes it a lot better than before. Sony has done some marvellous job while making this waterproof phone sturdy and attractive on paper. But is it right for you? Read on to find out.



Pros: What’s Good

1. Amazing Build Quality:
Attention to detail and materials used on Z1 and extremely marvellous. Its on par with HTC One and iPhones. Its designed to stun every user. Once you hold this device, you know its like no other. It feels sturdy and rock solid in hand. With solid aluminium tapering the device and glass on front and rear, this is the most premium feel phone money can buy.


Checkout High quality Z1 close-up photos.

2. Specs to impress:
Z1 sports top of the line Snapdragon 800 2.24Ghz processor, Adreno 330, 5″ 1080p display, 2GB RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE, etc.

3. Battery life:
Sony offers a sealed 3000mAh. This battery gives you 3hours of screen time plus 1.5 days of standby. Even a heavy user like my very own would not run out of juice in under 24 hours. Light users can juice out 2 days of usage. (All this battery life and sony charges the phone only upto 90-95% for extended life, which means you will not deteriorate battery in 3 years or so.)

Sony offers good options for battery saving. Enabling them significantly reduces battery usage by restricting background apps to consume data/processing when screen is off. You can choose what apps can still connect to the internet. Among other tweaks, you can optionally switch off mobile data, gps, etc when required parameters are met.

Z1 battery life

4. External SD Card: 
Upto 128gb external + 16gb internal. Good transfer speeds.

5. Accurate, clear Display:
Despite marketing misnomers like Trilumnios technology and X-Reality, Xperia Z1 has one of the most accurate display on market. Its produces the right colors, and makes them look closest to the natural colors on any smartphone. Samsung’s AMOLEDs are known to be over saturated, it may be appealing to the most, but its never accurate. Xperia Z1′s display is crisp and easier to read in bright lights vs. AMOLEDs.



6. Camera:
Camera is pretty good on paper with 20.7MP, F2.0 Aperture and 1/2.3″ sensor size. That’s the best we’ve seen in Android phones at least on paper. In reality it does a pretty good job too. For day shots, its slightly below Note 3, Optimus G2, but in low-light night shots, its miles ahead. It is not as good as Lumia 1020 but better than Lumia 920, HTC One in low light, otherwise. All-in-all Camera is 2nd best to Lumia 1020, making it best Android camera smartphone.

Two-state Camera hardware button is a great add.


7. Waterproof (up to 1 meter), dust proof – A great add for adventurous folks.

8. Shatter-proof screen guard - The front and rear have a stock Shatter-proof screen guard which will hold the gorilla glass intact in case of any impact.

9. Super fast and Zero lag:
Z1 with its Snapdragon 800, Adreno 330 and blot-free Sony minimal customizations, is among the fastest smartphones. In our speed test Z1 on 4.2.2 is second fastest among android phones falling right behind Nexus 5  on 4.4.1.

10. Clean, Bloat-free OS with usable apps:
Being a Samsung user for long, I’ve always complained about low-quality apps and bloatware in TouchWhiz. For instance, Note 3 idle RAM usage is 1.6GB with 60+ processes running when on idle. Sony has done it right, not only it has few bloat apps, most of the apps are really well designed.

Walkman app is beautiful and featureful. It can play all music formats from MP3, Aac, to lossless audio like FLAC. Sony has OS wide support for DLNA and miracast streaming standards that makes music and video streaming from network a breeze. e.g. You can view, play and control music playback on your XBMC (or any DLNA enabled TV, mediabox, PC) from the walkman app. For music, photos and videos, it acts as DLNA renderer, DLNA server, DLNA client. i.e. you can control music on other devices, stream from other to local, and stream to other devices on the network. This is the cleanest and most seamless implementation of DLNA ever seen on Android phones, just like AirPlay on iOS.

Gallery app, Camera app, etc all have an easy and usable interface.

Cons: Whats Bad

1. Bad viewing angles:
This could be blessing for few and nightmare for others. Screen is perfectly colorful, rich in contrast when looked head-on. Flip the screen more than 20 degrees and colors, luminosity,  contrasts start to fade drastically. But how many times do you view your phone like that? For others, it provides additional privacy not offered by other displays. The reason behind poor viewing angles is Sony has used TN display technology rather than IPS.

2. Camera processing:
The camera hardware is pretty capable but Sony has software issues. The software suffers from focus-hunting, back focus (rare), over-sharpened images and high noise (with detail preserved). In general Xperia Z1 vs. Note 3, one can see sharper pictures from Z1, but they are noisier. Sony has history of screwing up software initially, and then improving it over time. The trend has been seen in Xperia smartphones, and alpha camera lineup. It would get better with time.

The camera app also tends to overexpose images by 1-2 stops. Work-around right now is to use manual mode and use -0.7 exposure compensation for taking shots.

It is said that coz Sony had software issues with camera, they removed 4K video support prior to release. If they manage to fix noise issues, 4K should be coming soon.

If Sony is listening, I would like to see more manual controls on camera: Manual focus, manual shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

3. Heavy:
Phone is significantly heavier than any other phones in market. At 170g, its heavier than HTC One, Note 3 and any other android phone. Yet, phone is comfortable.

4. Prone to scratches:
The stock shatter-proof screen guard has its demerits: Its prone to scratches. You’ll have to put screen guard on front and rear in order to avoid ruining the anti-shatter guard. Removing it also removes the Sony logo from front, and your warranty. Make sure you get a good oleophobic, anti-scratch protector.

5. Not a modder’s paradise (yet):
Sony has screwed up bootloader on Xperia Z1. Developers still cant get access to Camera hardware on custom ROMs. As a result, there are not many custom ROMs on Z1. But its a matter of time. Sony would fix the issue with upcoming Android 4.4 update early next year, if not any sooner.
with android 4.3 rollout to Xperia Z1, problem is solved.

6. Underwhelming loudspeaker:
From a Sony phone one expects brilliant loudspeaker (like on good old walkman series), but sadly enough water proofing muffles up the speaker, and quality from the loudspeaker is slightly worse than Samsung Galaxy phones, but its quiet loud for most users. This shouldn’t bother many users. However, 3.5mm audio output is on par with other Snapdragon 800 phones.

Checkout High quality Z1 close-up photos


Xperia Z1 is a phenomenal Sony smartphone. But it may not be right for everyone. After using Note 3, Nexus 5, Optimus G2, I settled with Xperia Z1.

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