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‘Miracle material’ could end cracked smartphone, tablet displays

We all wish our smartphone displays never crack. The wish seems to come true as a team of scientists has found a new material that is cheap, durable and can be used in several devices in future.

According to the paper published in the journal ACS Nano, manufacturers are hunting for material that can be used in place of less durable and expensive silicon compounds used in devices.

Elton Santos from Queen’s University in Ireland and his team have created new dynamic hybrid devices that are able to conduct electricity at unprecedented speeds and are light, and are durable and easy to manufacture in large-scale semiconductor plants.

The team found that by combining semiconducting molecules C60 with layered materials, such as graphene and hBN, they could produce a unique material technology, which could revolutionise the concept of smart devices.

“Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to Silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break,” Santos explained.

“The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks,” Santos added.

Santos’ team is now working on transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) that are chemically stable, have large sources for production and band gaps that rival Silicon.


8 Apps That Actually Make the Most of an Android Tablet

Image: Darren Orf/Gadgetlayout

So you’ve picked up a brand new Galaxy Tab S3 or any other
Android tablet
and your first thought is: how am I going to make the most of this extra screen space? The
general consensus
is that iOS is stronger in the tablet department, but there are Android apps out there that work particularly well on a bigger screen held horizontally. There are just very few apps.

Don’t expect to find a nice Tweetbot equivalent for Twitter on a tablet. Nor should you anticipate all your traditional apps have a tablet layout. Android apps are still built primarily for use in portrait mode.

Yet beyond video players like Netflix or Plex, or games that have been scaled up, like GTA or
Super Mario Run
, there are still a few solid apps that have tailored tablet experiences. Here are 8 of our favorites.



Image: Screenshot

The world’s most well-known music streaming service makes a decent go of updating its Android UI for tablet devices, stretching track listings and album art to make the display seem as full as possible. It’s not perfect but it’s getting better, and there are some nice touches like the split view for browsing playlists.

We’re partly including Spotify because of all the devices you can hook the app up to, including
Sonos speakers
-so there’s the option of setting up your tablet somewhere in the house and using it as a master controller for your music.
Google Play Music
looks good on tablets too, but Spotify has a slight music selection edge.



Image: Screenshot

Spreadsheets are perfectly suited to tablets and we think Microsoft’s app makes slightly better use of a bigger screen than Google’s own effort (in fact all of the Microsoft Office Android apps are worth a look). You get the basics for free on screens below 10.1 inches and a few extra goodies with an active Office 356 sub.

As for the app itself, it’s more powerful than you might expect for a mobile app, with support for annotations, basic chart types, column sorting and filtering, plus all the basics of formulas and cell formatting too. The ribbon interface adapts neatly to suit mobile devices and if you’ve got a keyboard attached it’s almost like you’re on a laptop.

Adobe Photoshop Express


Image: Screenshot

What else can you use that extra screen space for? Filter previews and toolbars, that’s what, and Adobe Photoshop Express is only too happy to help out. It’s nowhere near the desktop application in terms of features and power, obviously, but it’s one of the best Android image editors for using on a bigger display.

You can drop in preset filters or make manual tweaks to colors, contrast and brightness, you can correct issues like red-eye, erase unsightly photobombers, crop and straighten pictures, and much more besides. With a larger screen there’s plenty of room to see both your image in detail and the full set of tools and filters that are available.



Image: Google

Of course Google’s own Gmail makes good use of a tablet format, splitting itself into two columns so you can actually keep your inbox and the currently selected conversation both in view at the same time. You can even go for a three-column view and get a look at all your labels and categories too.

Plus you get all the usual Gmail goodness, including multiple account support that’s much easier and more seamless than it is on the web, and different ways to customize alerts so you only get them for messages that matter. Bonus entry:
Google Maps
is another Google app that works well on Android tablets.



Image: Screenshot

We could add any kind of
app here, but Pocket genuinely makes decent use of the extra screen real estate on an Android tablet, with its tiled layout, fly-in menus and wide images and videos. It’s
now owned by Mozilla
, so we’ll have to see how that affects development in the future.

For the time being Pocket is a very useful article archive app for your tablet, and one of the areas where tablets are worth their price is when you want to kick back on the sofa and catch up with your reading. You can cache stories for offline reading too, which may come in handy on devices without data plans.



Image: Screenshot

It’s fair to say Evernote has lost a bit of momentum in recent years, but judge it on its Android tablet app alone and it’s still just about the best note-taking tool out there. In part that’s due to the flexibility Evernote has always had-you can make your notebooks pretty much whatever you want them to be.

The app actually works well in both landscape mode (for organizing notes) and portrait mode (for reading through single articles) and the app’s various toolbars and menus take up intelligent positions on screen. As you dig deeper into your notebooks, the layout shifts to match whatever it is you’re trying to do.



Image: Screenshot

Hats off to the developers of the IMDB’s tablet app, because it’s several orders better, in layout terms, than the equivalent phone app or even the original website. There’s always been a ton of information available on the Internet Movie Database-from who starred in what to movie times-and the tablet app makes getting at it all very simple and intuitive.

Pull up a movie page, for example, and you get a big look at the trailer with film details and the cast list down the side. As far as
TV shows
go, you can keep tabs on both individual episodes and the series as a whole thanks to the tablet layout, and browsing through searches looks fantastic with large, colorful thumbnails.



Image: Screenshot

Flipboard was made for tablets and its Android app is a joy to use, with big images, intelligent layouts, and lots of customization options. As we mentioned in the description for Pocket, you’re probably going to want to lean back and do some reading on your tablet, so you may as well do it in style.

If you’ve never used Flipboard before, the on-boarding process is nothing to be scared of-you’ll be asked to specify a few interests or favorite publications to get started, and you’re then presented with a choice of current articles. You can easily tweak and personalize your Flipboard feed at any time too.


Samsung may finally launch a new Galaxy Tab at MWC 2017

After a lot of buzz around the Samsung’s new flagship tablet, which was rumoured to launch in December, but did not for its reasons, is now believed to be pipelined for February 27 launch at MWC 2017.

In a recent bid of leaks, the LTE model of Samsung tablet got a Wi-Fi certification which, not too long also received Bluetooth certification. Sammobile too, reported that the upcoming Samsung tablet would come with flagship specs, along with best in the class internals and a huge chunk of RAM.

Rumoured specs of the upcoming Galaxy Tab S3, suggest that the display on this device would be very much like the previous Galaxy Tab S2, but will feature a home button, which will be placed right under the display.

Other rumours point that the tablet might come in two variants, first being the 8 inch variant and the second would be a 9.7 inch variant. The internal of the both the variants is likely to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 SoC, paired with 3GB RAM and posses 32 GB of internal storage, along with a higher version that might rock Samsung’s very own Exynos 8890 processor, paired with 4GB RAM and 32GB/64GB internal storage.

It is also likely to feature decent camera setup, which would include an 8 Megapixel rear camera at the back, along with a 2 Megapixel sensor on the front. On the whole, the tablets might be using a 4,000mAh battery, along with USB-type C port for quick data transfer and fast charging.

There is no official news on the pricing of these tablets, but leaks point to the fact that Samsung might price the smaller variant at Rs. 14,000 approx., and the bigger version at Rs. 17,000 approx.


Samsung’s New iPad Pro Is Just Fantastic

All images: Alex Cranz/Gadgetlayout

Coming a year after the launch of Apple’s first 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the new iteration from Samsung feels daring. While it has the same sleek lines, is just as light, and possesses the magnetic connection on one side for easy keyboard cover attachment, Samsung’s iPad Pro for 2017 is, inexplicably called the Galaxy Tab S3, and unlike previous iPads this one runs on Android.

Technically, if you want to be “accurate” this is not an iPad Pro, but Samsung’s first premium Android tablet in over a year. In 2015 Android sort of lost the tablet war it had waged against iOS. While Google’s mobile OS rules the budget roost
thanks to the cheap Kindle Fire
, no one has really expressed a desire for a $600 media consumption machine running little green droid brains. Heck, at this point
people don’t even buy iPads any more
. The people who want tablets have them already.

The difference is size is very…small.

Samsung’s hoping it can change people’s minds with a shiny new device that just happens to bare a remarkable resemblance to the current bestselling premium tablet, the iPad. It’s only a hundredth of a pound lighter than the comparable iPad, less than a tenth of an inch shorter, and both devices are just .24 inches thick. They’re both also $600 for a 32GB version, and they handle everything from drawing to quickly written screeds on Facebook with zero lag. Maybe Samsung considers the remarkable similarities between its new product and last year’s iPad Pro to be a compliment to Apple, rather than a naked bid for a share of a dwindling market. Though Apple,
and courts
, tend to disagree.

Some things are different about the two tablets. Besides running Android Nougat instead of iOS 10, the Tab S3 has a Qualcomm 820 processor (which is theoretically slower than the 835 reportedly planned for the Galaxy S8 phone), comes in only a 32GB version, and includes a nice little pen for drawing on it’s admittedly vibrant AMOLED display. As an Apple Pencil costs an additional $100, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 feels like a bargain.

The VERY different magnetic connectors for the iPad and Tabs S3 keyboard covers. The iPad is the one on the bottom.

Neither device includes the keyboard cover. Apple charges $150 for a cover and keyboard that feels like your typing on canvas layered of bubble wrap. Samsung charges $130 for a keyboard and cover with chiclet style keys that are much more satisfying to type on. Though each key is just small enough and placed just oddly enough that I had to double triple quadruple spell check this review while using it.

I was a little surprised at how handy the Tab S3 was as a productivity device. Android as an operating system really doesn’t work in a tablet form. Only a smattering of apps are actually optimized for the landscape mode we use tablets in. The OS has long been for phones first, and tablets a distant, distant second. So being able to write up this review or tweak photos on the tablet was a pleasant surprise. Yet if you want an actual laptop-like experience from Android
you’re better off going with a Chromebook instead
-as those are at least crafted with productivity as a focus instead of as a convenient bonus.

The big problem with the Galaxy Tabs S3, is that it is meant to exist in the same odd place as the iPad Pro. While it can help you crank out an email (or blog), or draw some nice comic art, it primarily exists to consume media, not create it. That’s why the 2,048 x 1,536 display supports
and why I’ve managed to go a week on a charge despite using it every night as I veg on the couch.

Past the iPad-like trappings, the Galaxy Tab S3 is, at its core, a supplemental computing device built for an audience I don’t think either Samsung or Apple quite knows. This isn’t for business use, or as a primary device for students, or a necessity for artists. Its a pure luxury item Samsung and Apple like to insist we need even we’ve already got phones and laptops that do everything the Tab S3 does. It’s what you buy because you’re tired of a computer on your lap while you watch TV or you want something light to carry on the plane for your next trip out of town.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is very good at being a supplemental device. If you broke your iPad or finally saved up enough pennies to purchase your first premium tablet than the Tab S3 is a fine $600 choice. It’s a $100 less than an iPad Pro and Pencil and the only true downside is how tablet-unfriendly Android can occasionally be. That’s a pretty dang minor downside in my book. As iPad knock-offs go, the Galaxy Tab S3 reigns supreme.


  • It’s everything you want in the iPad Pro, but it runs Android
  • Android isn’t very friendly to tablets in landscape mode. Facebook looks nice, and you can pen a novel, but there isn’t a good Twitter app.
  • While the keyboard case costs $130 and has some keys placed in frustrating places, the Tab S3 includes a pen, making the combined package $100 less than the equivalent with the iPad Pro.
  • Samsung continues to have one of the most vibrant displays in the portable space. Everything looks good on this Super AMOLED.
  • Do you really need a $600 tablet that primarily hangs out on the couch for late night mahjong sessions and quick IMDB searches?

After long halt, Sony releases Android Nougat update for Z5, Z3+ and Z4 Tablet

Sony has a terrible record when it comes to timely Android updates for its smartphones. In the past, the brand has struggled to provide even timely security updates for its devices.

Even the flagship Sony devices have received delayed updates and upon receiving them, they’ve brought with them a whole bunch of annoying bugs which make the update process less fun.

Recently Sony released the Android Nougat update for its flagship Xperia Z5, however, within a few days the update stopped as the device started facing numerous issues.

The device faced audio playback issues when playing songs using third party players. The device also faced problems while loading files from the SD card slot. Also, the device saw a hit in the battery performance, making the device last less on a single charge. These bugs made the brand halt the update within three days of its release.

However, according to Xperia Blog, Sony has started rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat for Xperia Z5 and a bunch of other devices like Xperia Z3 Plus and Xperia Z4 Tablet. The update is rolling out three weeks after the original update was halted.

The update’s version according to Xperia Blog is 32.3.A.0.372, and, excluding the bugfixes, the update should mostly be identical to the one launched previously.

This sadly also means that the release wouldn’t include the January security patch, nor support for the Vulkan graphics API, which is a bummer.

There are no hints on any other Sony devices getting the Nougat update as of now.


Microsoft to launch Surface Pro 5 tablet soon: Report

Microsoft is working on a new version of its Surface Pro tablet which is set to arrive in the first quarter of 2017.

The new Surface Pro 5 2-in-1 will sport an ultra-HD display and magnetic charging stylus, with Pegatron Technology that will manufacture the device, DigiTimes reported on Friday citing a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report.

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Surface Pro 4, a slim and light Windows 10-based tablet-cum-laptop with pixel sense technology.

Surface Pro 4 is designed to run full Microsoft Office (sold separately) and bring the best of Windows 10 to life, including Surface Pen, Microsoft Edge and Cortana.

The different variants of Surface Pro 4 are powered by the 6th generation Intel Core m, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, enabling everyone from students, professionals to creators to do more on the go.

The company is also reportedly planning a new Surface Pen to support the Surface Book 5 that would use magnetic charging — a first for the company’s Surface Pro line.


Acer has launched its 2-in-1 convertible, Spin 7 in India

Acer, the PC maker has unveiled world’s thinnest convertible notebook – “Acer Spin 7” in India. Acer Spin 7 gets 360 degree hinges, for easy convertibility.

The device features a 14-inch full-HD IPS panel with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The display comes protected with Corning Gorilla Glass for added protection. The touch screen also gets Acer Color Intelligence software that dynamically adjusts gamma and saturation in real-time, optimizing screen color and brightness.

The body of the Spin 7 is covered in a matte black trim with diamond-cut edges around the touchpad, adding to the premium look and feel.

Under the hood, the Spin 7 is rocking Intel’s latest 7th Generation Intel Core processors, paired with 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM and 256 GB SSD storage for snappy performance and multitasking. The machine gets a fan-less design and weighs just 1.2 kg.

The Spin 7 enables the users to enjoy a long lasting performance up to 8 hours without any battery woes. Acer Spin 7’s cutting-edge audio and video technology with a fast wireless 802.11ac WiFi provides best browsing, entertainment and video calling experience.

Coming to the I/O on the Acer Spin 7, the machine comes loaded with dual USB 3.1 Type-C ports which replicate the chaos with the current generation MacBook Air. The Type-C ports also charge the machine.

Mr. Chandrahas Panigrahi, Sr. Director and Consumer Business Head, Acer India, said, “We are extremely excited to launch one of our flagship products in India, something that we are really proud of. Considering that Acer has always focused on delivering industry leading innovations, the Spin 7 is a reflection of just that. Our top-of-the-line Spin 7 will allow consumers to enjoy extreme portability without compromising on performance or versatility.”

Acer Spin 7 starts at a price point of Rs 1, 09,000, and will be available through authorised retail stores across the country.


North Korea’s Latest Tablet Computer Has a Catchy Name: iPad

Image: Ryonghung / NK News

Ryonghung, a North Korean technology company, recently announced a new tablet. It looks a lot like the weird, firewalled computers the country has produced in the past, with the addition of one curious new feature: the name. It’s called… the iPad.

The new Ryonghung iPad comes with a “a quadcore 1.2 GHZ CPU, 1GB of RAM, an 8GB hard disk, an HDMI cable connection and comes with a keyboard and ‘network connection’ capabilities,”
NK News reports

Those aren’t amazing specs, and they’re
nowhere close
to the latest iPad that Apple sells. But the new Ryonghung iPad does sound nearly identical to the neutered Android tablet spotted in North Korean electronics stores
back in 2013
. Except for the blatant violation of Apple’s trademark.


Frankly, you’ve got to give the North Koreans credit for having the gall to rip off the world’s richest company, seemingly while giving zero shits. But North Korea has actually made a habit out of stealing Apple’s ideas, although this appears to be the first time one of the country’s tech companies has straight up lifted a trademarked name.

A couple years ago, a desktop computer that
looked virtually identical to an Apple iMac
showed up at a trade fair in Pyongyong.

Image: KCTV

Around the same time, North Korea also created a carbon copy of Apple’s OS X. The so-called “Red Star 3.0” operating system could even run a version of Windows, complete with pre-installed military-themed wallpapers. (You can technically download this software,
but you probably shouldn’t
.) Kim Jong Un
has also been photographed
with what appears to be a real Apple iMac on his desk.

It’s unclear what kind of software the new Ryonghung iPad runs, but it runs something. “Ryonghung iPad is now popular among customers,” reads an advertisement for the new tablet. “It can perform a range of functions such as reading different sources of digital information, office work and documentation. And it also has more than 40 apps.” The marketing materials suggest that separate apps come on SD cards, including a farming program and something called “Good Doctor 3.0.”


So is Apple going to send its army of lawyers to Pyongyang to defend its trademark? Who knows. We’ve reached out to Apple and asked as much. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

NK News


Instagram Is Now Available For Windows 10 PCs And Tablets

There are things that take so long to come, that you almost forget to wonder why it wasn’t there in the first place. Instagram for Windows can be one such thing. And finally, Facebook has made the Instagram app available for Windows 10 PCs and Tablets.

While Instagram came to Windows 10 Mobile back in April, the app could only be used in Windows mobiles. However, the new Instagram for Windows 10 is an universal app that can be used across all Windows powered devices.

It is interesting to note, there is still no dedicated Instagram app for the iPad and iPad users have to use the unoptimized iPhone app.

Along expected lines, all features of Instagram are available for Windows 10 now. That includes Instagram Stories, Direct and Explore. Apart from this, you can also capture, upload and edit photos, but surprisingly you need to have a touch screen laptop or a tablet to upload images. It’s totally bizarre.

Download the Instagram app for Windows 10 devices from the
Microsoft Windows Store


iBall unveils its Slide Nimble 4GF tablet at Rs 9,999

In an addition to its Slide series, domestic consumer electronics company iBall on Tuesday unveiled ‘Slide Nimble 4GF tablet featuring an 8-inch HD display at Rs 9,999.

The device comes with 3GB RAM and 16GB on-board memory which can be extended upto 64GB, powered by 1.3 GHz Quad Core processor and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.

The tablet features a 5MP auto focus camera on the back with LED Flash and a 2MP camera on the front. With its 4300 mAh battery, the device runs for long hours.

Making it convenient for users who prefer regional languages, the device supports 21 regional languages.