Features

#TBT: Nexus One was the first Google phone

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It’s 2010: Steve Jobs unveils the first iPad to a wary crowd; Samsung announces the first entry in the Galaxy S series of smartphones; Angry Birds is a worldwide phenomenon; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is incarnated by Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network; LeBron James decides to take his talents to South Beach.

And Google, amid much hype and hope, joins the smartphone revolution by coming out with the Nexus One for under $530 off contract. It’s the first Google phone, and while not as successful as later iterations, it will be seen by many as an integral part of Android’s trajectory.

Here’s an excerpt from Joshua Topolsky’s review on Engadget: “Never mind the Nexus One itself for a moment — there’s a bigger picture here, and it might spell a fundamental change for the direction of Android as a platform.”

That same year, my partner bought the One from a local seller she met online. The Nexus One gave me my first taste of Android and would later spark my ongoing, and sometimes turbulent, love affair with smartphones and consumer gadgets — a bridge that connected my past and my future.

Built by HTC — incidentally, the same company rumored to be making 2016’s Nexus devices — the Nexus One was a reference phone meant to show manufacturers how it should be done and what could be done with Google’s Android OS.

It had a distinct look and feel and a trackball that pulled double duty as a notification light. Underneath that glowing orb of crimson, azure, or emerald is a set of four backlit capacitive buttons for back, menu, home, and search. Yes, search. Because Google, that’s why.

Google Nexus One (1)

At 11.5mm thick and 130 grams, it was massive by current standards; but back then, it was praised for its thinness and lightness. It had a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen with Gorilla Glass on top, with a depressing (but not at the time of its release) 800 x 480 resolution. The screen wasn’t that bad, though; in retrospect, I still prefer it over some displays I’ve seen on budget handsets.

The One had a single-core Snapdragon processor at the helm and 512MB of RAM and storage to keep things chugging along at a then-blistering pace. The limited storage capacity left me without room to install additional apps after pushing a custom Android ROM based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Google stopped software updates for the Nexus One four years ago, following the expiry of its two-year life cycle; it issued its last official software update with the release of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread.

I browsed a couple of sites and did a few Google searches as soon as I powered the phone up (it still works!); interestingly enough, its internals aged well — despite the hardware taking a good beating over the years.

Come to think of it, I’m surprised the screen hasn’t cracked or shown any outward signs of owner abuse. The same can’t be said about the removable 1,400mAh battery, which can barely hold enough charge to power the One for a few hours.

The back also had a 5-megapixel cam with flash, and could record 480p video; the front lacked a camera for selfies. Image quality was, as you would expect, nowhere near the quality of today’s finer handsets, but the details were there. And without the benefit of perspective, I might even be inclined to say that I liked how some of the photos turned out.

Google Nexus One (2)

The Nexus One was a very good product, and it received positive reviews from critics and consumers alike. However, it wasn’t an iPhone; it wasn’t the paradigm-shifting device the hype made it out to be. And carriers refused to drink the Kool-Aid until much later, when it was clear the phone would flop.

Months after it was released, Goldman Sachs reduced their estimates of sales for the phone by 70 percent, effectively sending the Nexus One to an early retirement. By May 2010, Google was pulling it off shelves, offering it to developers instead.

But failing on a first attempt didn’t kill the Nexus. Google tried again in 2010, this time collaborating with Samsung on the Nexus S, which went on to become one of the most popular handsets of its time. Its successor, the Galaxy Nexus, was an even greater success.

[irp posts=”6825″ name=”Forget about Pixel and Nexus, where’s Android One?”]

Enterprise

Why is Amazon starting a $250 million venture fund in India?

Aims to bring 1 million offline stores online by 2025

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Amazon has announced a US$ 250 million venture fund called Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund that’ll invest in small and medium-sized businesses. The goal is to boost India’s export by using technology and the marketplace’s reach.

Amazon Smbhav will be focusing on the digitization of small businesses, agri-tech innovations to raise farmer productivity, and health tech for quality universal healthcare. The fund was announced at Amazon India’s annual Smbhav Summit.

It intends to tap offline sellers and professionals via the fund and on onboarding a million shops by 2025. Another initiative is “Spotlight NorthEast,” which will bring 50,000 artisans, weavers, and small businesses online from India’s North-Eastern states. The region is known for its local produce like honey, tea, and spices.

The announcement came at a fireside chat at the summit between Andy Jassy, incoming CEO of Amazon and Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India. They also revealed the first bet Amazon was making through the new fund — invoice discounting platform M1xchange, in which it has led a $10 million investment.

Amazon said it created close to 300,000 jobs since January 2020 and one million in total. It also boasted of having almost 70,000 sellers, exporting Indian goods to other markets totaling US$ 3 billion in sales.

The timing of Amazon India’s announcement is key because the e-commerce companies have been barred from delivering in the state of Maharashtra amid a Coronavirus-led curfew. While the restrictions are regional, businesses are unable to get necessary and basic supplies. In a work-from-home world, getting an emergency mice/keyboard or mattress should be easy via digitization, but there are antitrust concerns.

Due to a lockdown, offline sellers cannot operate and thus, don’t want online businesses to eat their share. The Narendra Modi-led government has historically sided with the offline traders since they constitute a majority of India’s market. The offline market is still the king, and the gap between the two is very substantial.

If online players operate exclusively for too long, they’ll start gobbling up market share gradually, killing the smaller businesses. While the aim is to maintain a level-playing field, the current rules aren’t helping anybody at the end of the day. The region also fails to collect indirect taxes over the possible transactions, leading to a cash crunch while the pandemic rages.

The FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) rules for the retail market were changed in 2019, meaning Amazon India could no longer directly sell its products. It had to act like a marketplace to maintain healthy competition since 100 percent FDI is allowed in e-commerce as a tech platform, but not as a retailer.

Thanks to the fund, Amazon can show its commitment to India and its initiatives to encourage online trade. India’s new farm laws also make it easier for private companies to invest in agriculture or partner with farmers for contracts.

Amazon had announced an investment of US$1 billion in January 2020 and its purpose was also the same — digitizing India’s small and medium businesses. Founder Jeff Bezos had said back then, “We are doing this now because it is working. And when something works you should double down on it.”

For now, the concerns of a monopoly are diminished because Amazon is going up against India’s homegrown Flipkart, which Walmart now backs. Reliance is also eyeing this segment and has already kicked off a hyperlocal service called JioMart. Lastly, many other retailers like Dmart, Tata CliQ + Bigbasket, and Grofers are available.

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Accessories

OnePlus Watch Review: Wait for Version 2?

Covers the basics

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OnePlus Watch

Phones. TVs. Wireless Earbuds. OnePlus has been keen on expanding its universe of devices and their latest device continues this mission — the OnePlus Watch.

OnePlus says it’s made sure to give it a more timeless aesthetic and I’ve gotta agree it’s a pretty good looking watch. It feels solid and premium.

The company says the case of each watch sold is hand polished — so that the arc of the case is as smooth as can be. It’s a 46mm round watch face — with 2.5D glass — for a more seamless transition onto its frame.

It’s an AMOLED Panel. The material is stainless steel with a gossy greyish finish. On its underside, what feels like plastic, is cool to the touch.

The watch comes with only one watch band — black silicone. You fasten with this hook and tuck under to secure. But the straps follow the standard quick release system so you can easily replace them with something third party.

First impressions: It feels well built, is comfy when worn, and doesn’t feel too big even with my small wrists.

OnePlus custom Watch OS

The OnePlus Watch runs OnePlus’ own custom watch OS, not Google’s Wear OS.

Navigation is pretty basic. There’s a button that brings up all the available apps. Another press brings you home.

Another button is the customizable function key. Set to workouts by default but can be set to another app — like the stop watch. To go back you swipe to the right just like on Android.

From the home screen you swipe up to view recent notifications and down to view some quick settings. It’s pretty basic in its current state. But hopefully it gets better over time.

OnePlus Watch

What can it do?

On the most basic level the OnePlus Watch is an optional way to keep track of notifications without having to look at your phone.

So for example if a text message comes in, you can have a notification it show up on your watch too. From there you can decide if you need to pull out your phone to reply.

You can also use the watch to make and answer phone calls as long as your phone is nearby. And nope the watch does not come with a cellular model.

Listening to music

The OnePlus watch comes with 4GB of storage — 2GB of which is actually usable.

Getting music on your phone is a manual process. You’ll need an MP3 on your device. Then from the Health App click add music — it’s a long process. I wish there were a quicker way to do this. Once the music is your watch you can just pair most Bluetooth earbuds and listen to your mp3 from your watch without your phone.

I used my OnePlus Buds Z — but had to pair them manually. Hopefully in the future, if the interest here is an ecosystem of devices that works together, you shouldn’t have to pair them if they’re already paired with your smartphone.

Control your TV

In markets where the OnePlus TV is sold, you can also use the OnePlus Watch as a remote for your OnePlus TV.I don’t have one so I can’t really show that to you. But I’m told that 30 minutes after your watch detects that you’re asleep it turns the TV off also.

Fitness Companion

The OnePlus Watch can automatically detect and track up to 110+ workout types. To manually start a workout you can just press on this button over here and pick your desired workout. It’s got built-in GPS to track your walks or runs.

It’s also IP68 water and dust resistant, so not only can you sweat with it, run in the rain or and rinse it off. You can also use it to track your swims.

Health Tracker

In terms of health related features — this is no Apple Watch. The OnePlus Watch provides merely the basics: Sleep and Stress Tracking, a Heart Rate Monitor, and Blood Oxygen Sensor.

Here is a complete list of sensors on the watch:

  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Geomagnetic sensor
  • Barometer
  • Blood oxygen sensor
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Capacitance sensor

Battery

The OnePlus Watch comes with a 402mAh battery that’s rated to last up to 14 days on a single charge with average use and a week with heavier use.

If you were to go for a long run with GPS on continuously you’d have to run for a full day for the battery to die on you. This cradle comes in the box but no AC adapter is included.

OnePlus recommends a 5V=1A adapter so most chargers you have lying around will be more than enough. Speaking of the cradle — charging is via these two POGO pins. And not via the Qi wireless charging standard.

So is the OnePlus Watch your GadgetMatch?

Well, first let’s take a look at pricing — the watch will retail for US$ 159 dollars and will be available online starting April 14th.

Considering what else is in the market today, that’s a really competitive price. That said, while it’s already a good looking, solidly built watch that can do all the basics well.

I think in its current iteration the OnePlus Watch needs further refining. I feel like navigation could be better, haptics definitely needs some work, and things like having to manually sync your contacts and music is a chore.

If you’re a OnePlus user looking for a great companion smartwatch, for its asking price, it might be worth a look see.

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Smartphones

Excelsior! Unboxing the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition

Avengers fans assemble!

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Reno5 Marvel Edition

As the late Godfather of Marvel Comics Stan Lee’s catchphrase means “ever upward”, OPPO keeps revolutionizing to greater heights as they released the OPPO Reno5 into a whole new remarkable limited-edition phone — the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition.

Just seeing the package of this phone, it is screaming for Marvel fans to assemble. I can’t wait to show you what OPPO has in store for all of us.

A for Awesome

Up front, we are greeted by the embossed Avengers symbol on the black box further emphasized by the red linings on the edges of the box.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

On the side, you can see the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition label, making you realize that this really is a limited-edition phone.

I also love how much attention to detail OPPO has put into this phonee. Even the back of the box lid features the original 6 Avengers drawn on it — Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

This is very reminiscent of the opening credits of every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It always gives me that feel that I’m about to get into action and join in an adventure, just like unboxing this phone.

Correspondingly, you’ll see the debossed logos of the six original Avengers on the black sleeve where you can also find the user’s guide and warranty manual.

What’s beyond the suit?

Upon lifting the sleeve, the box contains the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition phone which comes with an awesome thin but not flimsy plastic case which has the same comical design as the inner part of the box with a big silver Marvel logo.

As for the part where you’d have to fit in your phone, you’ll notice that it has a pattern similar to Spider-Man’s suit.

I’m actually torn when I should use this given that the phone already looks amazing as it is. Both actually look good, so it’s really hard to choose!

Reno5 Marvel Edition

OPPO continues to surprise us as they give us a SIM card Extractor PIN that also has the Avenger logo on it. This would probably be your go-to SIM ejector moving forward.

A runner-up on my favorite when it comes to this phone’s accessories is the earphones. It has the Captain America shield on one earbud and Iron Man on the other. These are 3.5mm audio jack earphones which would most definitely be compatible with your existing smartphone.

Even the USB-Type C cable and adapter has Marvel branding all over it. It comes in this red and black colorway. This is a 50W charger which I could even call “Quicksilver” as it can fully charge the OPPO Reno5 Marvel phone in just an hour.

The Infinity Phone

 The Marvel fan in me went crazy when I finally got to hold, feel and experience the OPPO Reno5 Marvel edition phone.

By unwrapping it from its plastic, the vision of the majestic back of the phone is revealed. At the center of it, an “A” logo is found which combines two iconic Marvel elements — the Avengers logo and Captain America’s shield. You will also notice the letter “X”, taking its inspiration from Black Widow’s logo.

The smudge-proof matte and textured finish of the whole back of the phone which can give you a sensory overload is based on the high-tech Quantum Suits worn by the Avengers on the movie Avengers: Endgame.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

On the right side of the phone, you can also find the red power button while on the left, you can find the red volume rocker.

Both sides of the phone are also accentuated with the Avengers design. I think these are the reasons why the border of the Marvel casing is translucent so can still the see the details on the sides of the phone.

On the front is a 6.4-inch 90Hz AMOLED screen which support a 90HZ refresh rate, providing you with a clear and immersive viewing experience.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

Upon opening it, you are greeted by a revolving Avengers logo, taking you back to the iconic opening scenes of the Avengers: Endgame.

Once you’ve gone through the phone setup, you’ll be in for a treat. You will see a customizable system UI and icons full of Marvel elements, as if you are creating your own Marvel world.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

Echoing the external design of the unit, the phone’s user interface takes inspiration from the Avengers’ Quantum Suits and spacecraft based on the latest version of the ColorOS 11.1

Some easily identifiable icons are the Phone icon based on the logo and the weapon worn by S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, the Camera icon based on Iron Man, Messages icon inspired by Captain America and Browser icon designed according to Vision.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

The phone also comes with six custom lock screen wallpaper featuring the original MCU Avengers. By just pressing the button at the corner left of the lock screen, you can swiftly select wallpapers by just tapping one of the heroes through a flip book-style animation.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

When charging the phone, a revolving charging status icon based upon the HUD inside Iron Man’s helmet appears over the Avengers wallpaper, which can make you feel like you are preparing for a battle alongside your chosen superhero.

More to Marvel about

 There’s definitely more to the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition than all its Marvel details and features.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

This phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. This means you can continue to enjoy gaming as it can smoothly run your games such as Marvel Super War or Marvel Contest of Champions.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

It is also equipped with powerful camera features — 44MP selfie camera and 64MP Quadcamera setup. As you can see on the photos, the phone has decent dynamic range.

I was able to capture an acceptable amount of information on darker portions of the image as I exposed on the sky. colors also aren’t too saturated.

As for night phoneography, the phone has a fair amount of noise reduction. Even if the image became a bit soft, details can still be seen.

Now if I’d be asked to choose between the original OPPO Reno 5 4G or this Marvel Edition which is at a PhP 1,000 higher price tag? I’d strongly choose the latter.

Everything is marvelous with this phone — from the experience of unboxing it, to using all of its unique and powerful features. As Captain Steve Rogers aka Captain America would say “I can do this all day”. Yes, you’d definitely want to use this all day.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

The OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition is available in selected OPPO concept stores nationwide and can also be ordered via Lazada and Shopee for PhP 19,999.

SEE ALSO: OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger

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