Engineering the Life

Samsung Galaxy S II: Shining bright

What’s hot: Very fast, gorgeous display, future-proof hardware, superb video playback capabilities

What’s not: Plasticky build, people with smaller hands may find it too large, no HDMI port

Almost a year after Galaxy S made a debut and dazzled the world with a premium take on Android,Samsung is ready for its successor. The company knows that topping the success of Galaxy S will require some special effort. And special effort is what it claims to have made for S2. We put it through paces to see if it can meet the mighty expectations.

Under the hood
Samsung wants Galaxy S2 to be the best smartphone in the market. And to achieve its aim, it has used its manufacturing edge to full effect. S2 packs a dual-core Exynos processor running at a zippy 1.2GHz. There is 1GB RAM to make sure that apps get all the memory they require. The phone comes with 16GB storage.

In terms of connectivity, all the usual suspects like 3G, Wi-Fi or DLNA are there. HDMI port, however, is a notable miss. For HDMI connectivity, an adapter will be sold separately for Rs 1,670.

On paper, S2 is a monster. We don’t have too much faith in benchmarks — user experience matters, right — but just to put things in perspective, we used Quadrant, an app that tests theoretical performance of a processor, memory card and gaming capabilities. The phone scored 3370 points, over 900 more than Optimus 2X, India’s first dual-core phone that we reviewed recently. This makes Galaxy S2 the world’s fastest Android phone. At least, in theoretical performance. And, at least, for now.

Build & screen
Samsung has a habit of putting Super AMOLED displays on its high-end phones. And, S2 continues the tradition. Compared to the screen on Galaxy S, the Gorilla Glass screen on S2 has less-saturated colours and more sharpness.

Text looks better on a good quality LCD screen like that of iPhone 4 or Optimus 2X. For everything else, the 800×480 resolution screen is gorgeous. There is one glitch, though. The auto brightness dims the screen too much. But you can set it manually. For daily use, around 20% brightness works well.

Samsung also has a habit of using cheap-looking plastic to build its phone. And, on S2 the tradition continues. The back cover is particularly flimsy. For its size (125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm), the phone is surprisingly light at 116grams.

User interface
S2 runs on Gingerbread (Android 2.3) customized with TouchWiz 4.0 user interface (UI). Compared to TouchWiz 3.0, the new UI looks the same at the first glance. However, dive deep, and you come across a number of tweaks that enhance user experience. For example, messages or list of missed calls can be accessed without unlocking the home screen. Live panels — in other words bigger widgets — can be placed on home screens. Ability to organize apps into folders has been added along with option to resize several widgets, TouchWiz 4 comes with apps like Social Hub, Gaming Hub and Readers Hub where relevant content can be put for easy access. There is a provision for motion-based gestures that use gyroscope to zoom pictures or move apps between home screens. The effects are nice but feel more like a forced novelty than something that would be used much by people in real life.

Performance & battery life
On S2, there is no hint of lag. It’s buttery smooth. The performance while shifting between tasks during multitasking is top notch. The power of dual core processor is apparent when you install or launch an app. It happens in a jiffy.

Browsing is the same story. Scrolling is smooth even with multiple windows open in browser. And Pinch-to-zoom is fastest we have ever seen on any phone. It even works without any jitters on Flash videos.

Call quality was good though on few occasions there was slight background noise. It’s not clear it was due to network glitches or produced by the handset. Keyboard is similar to what is found on Galaxy S. It’s decent but not the best.

On Galaxy S, GPS was a major issue. This time, Samsung has paid close attention to GPS. On S2, it locks with satellites quickly, and more importantly, maintains that lock without any trouble.

For such a large phone, battery life is good on S2. Given that we have a patchy 3G service in India, it’s difficult to get more than 10 to 12 hours of battery life on moderate to heavy use on S2. If you use EDGE, you can manage a whole day on a single charge.

Camera & multimedia
Finally, the part to which many of our readers pay special attention. There are two cameras on Galaxy S. The one on the back shoots pictures in 8 megapixel while the front camera carries tag of 2 megapixel.

The performance of primary camera on S2 is above average but not spectacular. Compared to Optimus 2X, S2 produced pictures that lacked details. But in terms of colours, this 8MP shooter slightly edged out the competition. The camera on S2 doesn’t matches the high bar set by Nokia N8 or even Sony Ericsson Arc but it performs well enough and does justice to its 8-MP tag. Full HD (1080P) videos are recorded in MP4 format. The quality is decent considering it’s a smartphone first.

S2 promises the moon when it comes to playing videos. And when put to test, it delivers on its promise. To test video support on a phone, we play a number of clips encoded with popular codecs. S2 turned out to be the first phone that could play them all, including a 1080P clip with a bit-rate of 17mbps that can choke even netbooks.

Final say
At TOI, we are misers when it comes to ratings. But Galaxy S2, with its killer hardware and fluid performance, turned out to be one smartphone that deserves its stars. Apart from the plasticky build, there is nothing seriously wrong with this device. In case you decide to go for the most versatile and the fastest smartphone available in the market right now, look no further than Galaxy S2.

Samsung has fixed its MRP at Rs 32,890, though its street price is estimated to be slightly under Rs 30,000. It will be available in cellphone stores from June 9.

Galaxy S2



Samsung to Roll Out 4G Android Tablet This Year


Samsung 4g Tablet

SUWON, South Korea—Bidding to differentiate itself in the increasingly competitive tablet-computer market, Samsung Electronics Co. plans this year to launch an Android-based tablet running on so-called fourth-generation network technology, which promises faster data download than third-generation networks.

“The race for 4G (fourth-generation) has already started,” J.K. Shin, president of Samsung’s mobile communications division, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview, adding that the transition to 4G is “inevitable” for tablets, because the bigger-volume content they handle requires faster downloads.

The new tablet will be an enhanced version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab models, Mr. Shin said, without providing further details. Having launched a seven-inch device last October, Samsung will begin selling tablets with bigger screens—8.9 inches and 10.1 inches—in June. The 10.1-inch model, to sell for between $499 and $599, will run on an upgraded version of the Android software called Honeycomb and feature a faster dual-core processor and a two-megapixel front-facing camera.

Mr. Shin’s comments come as Samsung is embroiled in a lawsuit with Apple Inc., a major competitor in the smartphone and the tablet markets, but also the major customer of Samsung’s component business. Earlier this year, Apple filed a lawsuit alleging Samsung copied the look and feel of its popular iPhone smartphones and iPad tablet. Samsung countersued, alleging that the Cupertino, California-based company violated patents covering Samsung’s cellphone transmission technologies. The company filed suits in the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Germany.

“We didn’t copy Apple’s design,” Mr. Shin said. “We have used many similar designs over the past years and it (Apple’s allegation) will not be legally problematic.” He suggested the scale of the lawsuit could grow, though he didn’t provide more details.

Mr. Shin also expresses confidence that Samsung, the world’s second-largest cellphone maker by revenue, will continue to gain ground in smartphones. The company aims for a double-digit share in the global smartphone market this year and Mr. Shin said he expects smartphone shipments this year to meet the company’s earlier guidance of 60 million units. After selling 14 million smartphones in the first quarter, the company aims for second-quarter sales to exceed 20 million.

According to market research firm IDC, Samsung had 10.8% of the global smartphone market in the first quarter, up from 4.3% a year earlier.

Mr. Shin said Samsung may launch a third version of its Galaxy S smartphone in the first half of next year; it launched a second-generation version, the Galaxy S II, last month. The Galaxy S II is slimmer and lighter than the first Galaxy S phone and is embedded with Google‘s latest Android software platform, Gingerbread. The company has said it plans to release the model in 120 countries by early June.

Galaxy S II sales in so far in May are around 1.3 million, Mr. Shin said. He expects the average selling price of Samsung’s cellphones to rise thanks to higher smartphone penetration, which will help boost the company’s earnings in the coming quarter.

Mr. Shin expects second-quarter numbers for Samsung’s mobile division to be similar to the first quarter’s, when it logged on an operating profit of 1.43 trillion won (US$1.32 billion) and an operating margin of 13.5%, the highest since early 2008. He also reiterated that higher-margin smartphones will account for 20% of the company’s total handset shipments in the second quarter, up from 18% in the first quarter.

As consolidation continues in the network gear space, Mr. Shin squashed market speculation that the Korean company might be interested in merger and acquisition activity. He said the company isn’t in talks to purchase Nokia Siemens Networks, the telecom equipment venture of Nokia Corp. and Siemens AG.

Last month, citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nokia Siemens Networks is considering selling a controlling stake in the four-year-old venture and said that some telecom-gear makers, such as Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung, could be interested.

ASUS to Announce ‘Padfone’ to Offer Users Best of Both Worlds


ASUS has been teasing fans on Facebook for a while now. It was just a little while ago that we saw a teaser image on their FB page hinting at a new device that would be showcased at Computex 2011. It kept us guessing if the company would be announcing a new tablet device of a smartphone, but word is that it could be some sort of amalgamation of both. So here’s an interesting concept that has been showcasing on a new ASUS product that could be announced sometime soon – a tablet device that allow users to dock their ASUS mobiles with it, simply dubbed the Padfone.



New Sony PS Vita: AKA PSP2, NGP or Next Generation Portable

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     Earlier this week we heard a few rumors pointing to a downgrade


 in specs on the Sony NGP, also known as Next Generation Portable. Some insiders stated that the WiFi only model would lose a little memory, rumored to be 256MB of RAM instead of the 512MB that a 3G model will feature.

Today we’re hearing something a little more exciting, and that’s the real name of the NGP (aka PSP2). It’s claimed that Sony’s NGP will be called the “PS Vita” and this rumor breaks from two different sources, one here at Games Pundit and also another blog that states “this story has spread faster than I expected”.

The author has posted some images and claims they had their hands on the photos, saying it was hard for them to been quiet and that they were one of the first to know about the PS Vita. You cansee the photos here, which they claim are not done with Photoshop and say sorry to Sony for leaking the details, but apparently “everyone knows already”. We will let you decide on that one, what do you think?

You may remember that NGP, or PS Vita, was officially announced by Sony in January. The real surprise came when the device was marketed as a PlayStation 3 portable, or at least with similar graphics. Since the release of the PS3 it was known that this technology would shrink in time, but into a PSP for 2011 was shocking news, if it happens.

HTC Heats Up Android Market With The Launch Of Wildfire S



Apple iPhone 4 launched in India at Rs 34500 for 16 GB model

KOLKATA: Eleven months after Apple’s next-generation smartphone hit stores worldwide, the iPhone 4 was launched on Friday in India, the world’s second biggest market for mobile phones.

Mobile phone carrier Aircel launched the iPhone 4 with a new pricing model, allowing customers to recover the upfront cost of the smartphone on select plans over 24 months, the company said in a press release. Aircel will charge Rs 34,500 for iPhones with a 16 GB capacity and Rs 40,900 for the 32 GB model, it said.

Synthetic Red Blood Cells

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have reached  a tremendous  achievement by developing particles that  simulate the red blood cells in shape, size, and flexibility.
Using a fabrication process called Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates, or PRINT, 6 μm hydrogel discs are produced that can circulate through the body for 93 hours before they are excreted, compared to about 3 hours for the stiffer particles that are currently being researched.
Tests on the new discovery isn’t finished yet, the ability to perform the  functions such as transporting oxygen or carrying therapeutic drugs is still haven’t finished, and the new discovery do not remain in the cardiovascular system as long as real red blood cells.

The new discovery could also lead to more effective treatments for life threatening medical conditions such as cancer.

 for Lab Grown Tissues
Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have grew and controlled the system of capillaries on a plastic matrix which isn’t toxic.

They modified polyethylene glycol (PEG), a common ingredient found in printer ink and toothpaste, to resemble the body’s extracelluar matrix. Growth factors derived from platelets were added to human umbilical cells, and the cells were then added to PEG that had been exposed to UV light.

When these new vascular networks were tested in corneas of mice, the blood flood normally in the new capillaries.
The importance of that discovery that flowing of blood supply to tissue structures could lead to new lab-grown tissue implants that was blocking the fabricating of human tissue blocks, artificial kidney cells, sight-restoring bio-synthetic corneas and more.

New kind of planet discovered

The planets in our solar system get along with each other pretty well. But sometimes when multiple planets orbit the same star, there’s a confrontation that is, the gravity of one planet interferes with another’s. In this way, smaller ones can get kicked out, left to float in the dark without a star to go around.

These “lonely planets” represent an entirely new category of planets, and are perhaps more numerous in our galaxy than stars, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“It gives us a good clue about how planet formation works. It suggests that there’s a lot of violent encounters between planets near the end of the planet formation process,” said David Bennett, astronomer at the University of Notre Dame.

Bennett and colleagues discovered 10 such planets, each probably the size of Jupiter, in a survey called the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics, which used a 5.9-foot telescope in New Zealand to scan our galaxy, the Milky Way.

These planets are likely gaseous, and would not be hospitable to life.

Here’s how they may have formed: Generally speaking, a planet is born when a gas cloud around a star collapses into a disc shape. There are a few different theories about what happens next, but the leading idea is that the dust and the ice begin to stick together, growing into larger objects because of gravitational attraction, Bennett said. When those giant objects become about 10 times the mass of the Earth, they begin to pull in large amounts of hydrogen and helium gas, resulting in Jupiter-sized planets about 300 times the mass of the Earth, he said.

Astronomers haven’t seen these planets with a naked eye, but have detected them indirectly. When a planet passes in front of a distant star, that star brightens. That’s because the planet’s gravity warps the light from the star, as if magnifying it. This is called “gravitational microlensing.” Albert Einstein correctly predicted this effect in 1936.

Scientists can estimate the mass of a planet by looking at how long this brightening event lasts. For Jupiter-sized planets, it happens over the course of one or two days, which is what they observed in this study.

Previous explorations of distant planets found evidence of free planets also, but didn’t have a good estimate of how many there were or how big, said Takahiro Sumi, associate professor at Osaka University’s Department of Earth and Space Science and the lead author of the study.

Powermat Charger

We need several chargers to charge , IPod,  IPhone or Blackberry and Laptop. Imagine how many charger you have to carry everywhere, what will happen if you couldn’t find enough plugs?  The powermat answered that question, you need only one plug to charge four Hi Tec gadgets at the same time. You don’t need wires to attach three of your gadgets- just place them on the mat, and you need to connect the forth with the USB entrance. The Powermat is a wireless charger for hi tech gadgets.
The Powermat uses magnetic induction energy to charge devices and it works just as fast as standard power chargers.

That was a  a few months ago, but for some people it wasn’t enough, The furniture maker Teknion-as the Newyork times published Jan , 13 2011- had a clever idea by  partnering with Powermat, incorporated the mat into Conflux  LED task, so not only he changed the sight but also lessen the use of electricity.

The lamp, which is priced at about $240, uses only 9 watts and produces a warm white pool of light. The LEDs have an expected life of 50,000 hours.Which is stronger glass or steel?

It is not easy to gather between strength  and toughness in one material. Researchers from Caltech and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has created a form of glass that has both qualities. It’s stronger and tougher than steel. The material features palladium, a metal whose possible use in glasses was recognized 45 years ago. The palladium glass generates so many bands that  form a blocking pattern that prevents cracks from spreading without affecting the material’s properties.

Now share Google Docs and Google Calendars

For many of you, your site isn’t just about communication, it’s about collaboration, too.

We’re taking collaboration and sharing one step further today at by enabling you to embed  presentations, documents, forms, spreadsheets, and calendars created with Google Docs and Google Calendar.

We’ve had a lot of users request this functionality from our awesome Happiness Engineers, and we are listening.

To get started sharing Google Docs and Google Calendars, just copy/paste the code provided by Google into a post, page, or text widget, and you’re done!

We’ve created two new Support documents to guide you through this step by step:

Note: if you’re sharing a private (not public) document, the viewer will have to be logged into Google and have permission to access the document.

Get sharing!



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