Thursday, July 19, 2012

Subtle, useful Android 4.0 lands on Samsung Galaxy Note July 10


Subtle, useful Android 4.0 lands on Samsung Galaxy Note July 10


Ice Cream Sandwich is coming tomorrow to the Samsung Galaxy Note, and CNET got to know the phone's new productivity features.
Samsung Galaxy Note with Android 4.0
Android 4.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note comes with updated productivity tools. Click for a larger view.
(Credit: Avi Aggarwal/CNET)
AT&T will start upgrading its Samsung Galaxy Note to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tomorrow, and CNET got an advance look.
After a week with the updated phone, I can say that existing owners will be pleased with the boost from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich. The OS won't look very different; in fact, a glance at the home screen is indistinguishable from the view on Gingerbread (a shame.) However, press down on the home button and your recent tabs appear, press the Galaxy Note against another NFC phone to engage Android Beam, and hop into the Settings menu for a new layout with usage monitoring.
These are all useful features, but since Samsung isn't changing the Galaxy Note's TouchWiz interface, the update would look a little ho-hum. Enter an update to the Note's stylus-friendly productivity tools, which Samsung is calling Premium Suite.
Samsung Galaxy Note with Android 4.0
Access recent tabs by pressing on the Galaxy Note's home button.
(Credit:  Avi Aggarwal/CNET)
What's new in S Note
To be clear, Premium Suite refers to S Note, S Memo, and a new My Story app, which isn't preinstalled, but which is available from Google Play.
S Note offers the most exciting new features of the three. You're now able to import and annotate PDFs, which is enormously useful for taking quick notes on existing documents. In addition to importing PDFs, you can also import and annotate S Memo files, photos, maps, and other images you cropped and saved with the S Pen.
There are also new templates that help you create more information-rich multimedia notes. These are definitely inspiring, but will still take time, especially if you share my one-two combo of sometimes perfectionism mixed with a lack of artistic skill. Either way, Samsung's two tip sheets are great for orienting new users.
Shape Match is another new feature within. Draw a diagram with the S Pen and the app will render your lines straight, convert your sloppy arrows into straight sticks, and close your circles. However, you can't be too casual with your squares and squiggles or you may find yourself with some unintended trapezoids and with figures that look more like hieroglyphs than you intended.
Samsung Galaxy Note
The premium suite includes handwriting-to-text functionality.
(Credit:  Avi Aggarwal/CNET)
A formula match function performs the same trick for mathematics, by both converting numbers for you and also being able to solve them. Just take care where you jot your numbers; it's easy to get in your own way. Interestingly, Samsung has also tapped the Wolfram Alpha database to search for your handwritten inquiries.
Speaking of handwriting, you can also turn on the handwriting-to-text mode to turn your scrawling into legible text; that is, if your chicken scratch is distinct enough. I've never been able to write both clearly and quickly on the Note, even with its pressure-sensitive stylus, and my finger always finds the button on the stylus, which further interrupts writing.
You also have to think about precision, since an overly large comma will transform into a "1," and so will an "I" that you write without the serif. You'll also have to tap an onscreen control to delete a mistake and insert a space. Editing works, but can be slow-going this way. I'd love to see some optional gestures in addition to the onscreen controls.
Samsung Galaxy Note with Android 4.0
The one-handed operation mode is Samsung's way of shrinking the keyboard without shrinking the Galaxy Note's mammoth screen.
(Credit: Avi Aggarwal/CNET)
The existing typing input works well with the Galaxy Note's one-handed operation setting, which essentially shrinks your keyboard and lets you move it to the left or right so you can type one-handed. You'll be able to easily find this mode in the systemwide Android 4.0 settings menu.
Not to be forgotten, the leaner S Memo gets a little bit of love in the ICS update as well, in the form of a widget that you can add to your home screen if the spirit moves you. A tap can open a new memo and shortcut you to type, write, or draw, and add a photo or voice. You can also leap directly into a full-scale memo search.
Samsung Galaxy Note with Android 4.0
S Memo gets a new Galaxy Note widget with Android 4.0.
(Credit: Screenshot by Avi Aggarwal/CNET)
To sum it up
Android 4.0 brings the Samsung Galaxy Note some standard upgrades that enhance its functionality, like Android Beam. Samsung-only software additionally amps up the Galaxy Note's productivity, though the apps continue to welcome future tweaks to smooth out the rougher of its usability edges.

Flavours of India at Olympics 2012


Flavours of India at Olympics 2012

The Tea Board of India is organising a series of events including a tea tasting session, dance performances and ‘live’ kitchens rustling up Indian dishes, during the forthcoming London Olympics.
According to a release issued by the Indian High Commission, the best of the Indian teas would be sampled at Heathrow Airport, Harrods, Southbank Centre and other prominent places in London. The special teas will be available for tasting at the Nehru Centre which will organise a host of activities highlighting the Indian culture. The two-day tea tasting event will be held on August 1 and 2. The events include an exhibition titled Flavours of India, a joint collaboration between the Government of India (Ministry of Commerce) and the High Commission. It will display a variety of Indian teas, including the muscatel Darjeeling or strong Assam.
The exhibition will focus on the different assortments of Indian tea, from the Nilgiri to the Darjeeling type, which will be available for display and sale. Various entrepreneurs and experts from India will be invited to exhibit and educate the audience on tea, its types and features. The schedule of events includes a series of cultural performances and workshops to showcase the rich history and culture of India. These include performances of troupes from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan portraying different Indian classical dance forms — Gidda and Bhangra of North India, choreographer by Jay Kumar. There will be a Bollywood dance session and Bihu group dance, deputed by the Indian Council for Cultural relations. “The final dimension to the event will be a live kitchen offering Indian cuisines. There will also be cooking classes. Indian wine tasting, too, will be a prominent feature,” the release stated.