Category Archives: news

MicFlip Is A Fully Reversible USB-A To Micro-USB Cable

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Indiegogo and other such crowdfunding websites are home to a large number of ambitious projects, hoping to pique consumer-investor curiosity and turn dreams into entrepreneurial ventures. Not all such projects are feasible, nor all such projects funded. But some projects do stand out of the crowd.

This is the MicFlip.
Overlooking the cringeworthy YouTube ad, MicFlip is a rather interesting take on the first world problem of plugging in the cable the wrong way.
As the Indiegogo project page states, MicFlip is the world’s first fully reversible USB-A to Micro-USB cable. Featuring “an ultra-strong braided nylon lead, a robust aluminum shell and gold-plated plugs to prevent corrosion”, the MicFlip tries to improve upon traditional cables by giving us what we need: reversibility on existing products.
So far, all the Android smartphone flagships that have been released, have come along with the familiar micro USB port. On the other end of the spectrum (or cable, as you may), USB Type A ports have been the de-facto way of how “host” devices have communicated with smartphones and other accessories. Such is their ubiquity, that there is a good chance that you, as a reader on XDA Developers, may be in possession of at least two USB (A) to Micro USB cables.
The annoying part of both USB Type A as well as micro USB is that both have a fixed orientation of the port, in the sense that you can not mindlessly plug in a cable and have it fit correctly, without any damage. MicFlip aims to fix this, as it allows reversibility on both ends of the cable.
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The Indiegogo project page does not detail the exact mechanism of how this is achieved. However, taking a guess from one of the product images, this reversibility may have been achieved by thinning the plastic tongue inside the plug and allowing the electrical contacts to be present on either side of the tongue. The tongue may operate on a hinge-like mechanism, thereby allowing “reversibility” in connecting the plug into the usb receptacles.

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As a plus point, the MicFlip also uses braided nylon for the cable, giving extra durability to the cable. Not a standing point in its entirety, but such durability would be a decent addition to a product that aims to provide convenience.
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Granted, USB Type C is just round the corner, featuring reversible plug connectors. Even the new OnePlus Two will come with USB Type C. However, the fact is, wide scale adoption of USB Type C is still quite some time away. In the meanwhile, MicFlip aims to serve your needs.
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The project has already raised 528% ($31,698) of its $6,000 funding goal within 5 days, so there is no doubt that the MicFlip is indeed a product needed by many. Shipping is expected to start in August, with the official deadline being September 1st, 2015. The product will retail for $20 after its campaign, but you can early bird pre-order one for $15 now.

MicFlip as a product is an innovative way to tackle a problem which was one of the reasons that eventually led to the development of USB Type C. It makes the tinfoil hat totting conspiracy theorists in us to think of USB Type C as a way of achieving planned obsolescence in today’s money oriented world.
Source:XDA

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Microsoft Announces Continuum For Windows 10 Phones, Any Screen Can Deliver A PC Experience

Microsoft today announced the single most attractive feature that will be coming to Windows 10 for phones. Continuum for phones is here. What is it? You can start using your Windows 10 phone as a PC by connecting it to a display with a HDMI support. Yes, you can use all the phone apps on your big display. If it is a universal Windows app, you will have even better experience. For example, Word app started on a big display will have UI similar to Word app running on a PC.

Users will be able to use their phones as mouse pads, or actual bluetooth mice and keyboards.
This is also an attractive feature for developers to write a Windows Universal apps instead of an app ported from Android or iOS code.
Unfortunately the feature needs new hardware which supports dual-screens, and so will not come to existing handsets. It is not clear at this minute if x86 Windows Phones will be able to run desktop software, but this seems unlikely.
Will this feature be enough to encourage our readers to upgrade?

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Microsoft Working To Bring Android Apps To All Lumia Devices

Yesterday we reported that Tom Warren from The Verge claiming that Android apps are coming to Windows Phone/Windows RT. Today, Eldar tweeted that the rumors about Android apps coming to Windows platforms are true and Microsoft has implemented this through Virtual Machine. In this case, all the Android apps will be running on a VM inside a Windows device. Eldar also claims that all Lumia devices will be able to run these Android apps.
What do you think of this move from Microsoft to reduce the app gap in Windows platform in the near future?
Source: Eldar

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Rooted Nokia X shows why Android is not the platform for Microsoft to differentiate on

Well, that did not take long.  Even before the first Nokia X has shipped the handset has already been rooted by XDA-Developers, and Google suite of applications , including Google Play Store, various Google Apps, and the Google Experience Launcher has been installed on the handset.
Given the infinite malleability of Android, I suspect it is pure delusion for Microsoft and Nokia to think they can funnel users to Microsoft’s ecosystem when it is so easy to get the real Android deal from Google.
Nokia and Microsoft’s ambition is to sell cheap handsets and gain Microsoft customers, but the hack demonstrates that the cheap handsets will still end up mostly being used by Google customers, which was the reason Nokia went Windows Phone in the first instance – to differentiate you need your own platform, not cribbing from some-one else’s.
Read more about the pretty simple hack at XDA-Developers here.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Features

The Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK has given hints as to what will be in the Windows Phone 8.1 OS. While features revealed in that SDK are likely to go to the final version for consumers, there are no guarantees.

Action Center (hands on video)

  • Notification center – Alerts, non-Toast notifications, update history, more
  • Quick-access to customized actions, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Plane mode, etc.

Apps + Store

  • Apps can capture audio/video from themselves; be limited for copyright concerns
  • App and Game data stored on SD cards
  • Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first
  • App Suggestions by location
  • Backup of App + Game data to OneDrive (if developer enabled)
  • Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS
  • Filter through installed apps by usage/install date
  • Manual Update checks
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
  • Single sign-in for apps (like on Windows 8) with Microsoft Account; sign in will persist across devices + apps with permissions prompt

Calendar

  • Google calendar support, with multiple calendars
  • Weather in calendar
  • Week view in calendar

Camera

  • Burst camera mode, including auto-deletion of bursts
  • New layout

Bing

  • Bing smart search (similar search system as Windows 8.1)
  • Podcast app powered by Bing, full featured

Browser

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • IE 11 to save and remember your password for websites
  • JavaScript and HTML for app development
  • Upload files through Internet Explorer 11
  • Tabs now show up individually in multi-task window
  • WebGL and Normal mapping support
  • YouTube Player including HTML5 video support

Developer

  • Background tasks: Bluetooth signal strength, Chat message notification, Device connection change, Device use trigger, Gatt characteristic notification, Location, Push notification, Rfcomm connection, System event, Timer
  • XAP replaced by APPX
  • ​​Audio/video transcoding that’s hardware accelerated
  • New dev tools including: SemanticZoom, DatePicker, TimePicker
  • Actionable notifications for apps
  • Silent/ghost notifications for apps

Email

  • Encrypted and signed e-mail support
  • New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
  • Option to always download emails and pictures within them

Enterprise and Office

  • Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
  • Password protected Office document support
  • Office Lens support for scanning documents with camera, import into Office with OCR
  • Rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive
  • VPN support built in
  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware 
  • Auto-triggered VPN 
  • Certificate management to enroll, update and revoke certificates for user authentication 
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying the installing of certain apps. 
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS

General User Experience changes

  • Start screen backgrounds
  • Back button no longer closes apps, instead it suspends them
  • Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
  • Double Tap to Power Off
  • Favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
  • File picker
  • Kid’s Corner – Password won’t be displayed (bug fix)
  • Live Tiles – mark as red by swiping from the left over the Tile
  • Live Tiles – Three column support (maybe)
  • Navigation bar for phones without physical keys on the front
  • Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
  • Quiet Hours – Disable notifications during pre-selected timeframe
  • Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up
  • Search button will be the new way to open Speech (aka ‘Cortana’)
  • Separate volume controls for ringtones/notifications and music/media
  • Set default Voice Navigation app for the OS
  • Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view
  • Voice Narrator for Accessibility

Keyboard

  • General keyboard enhancements, show emoji when typing
  • Swipe keyboard option – “Write, when I swipe through letters”.

Media

  • Audio/video transcoding, Hardware accelerated
  • Media editing:  audio and video; Audio effects, video effects; Slow motion video
  • Xbox Music and Xbox Video as standalone apps instead of the Music + Video Hub (allowing more updates to be pushed)

Messaging

  • Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
  • Mute Thread – Optionally silence text threads, no longer receive notifications or Live Tile updates

Phone + Contacts

  • Contact list sorting of those with phone numbers
  • Call duration (press and hold reveals a “details” menu in call history)
  • In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
  • Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
  • Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected

Sense

  • Battery Power Sense – App to monitor which apps draw the most power
  • Battery Saver (under Battery Sense) will have an app exclusion list
  • Data Sense – Operators can now control Data Sense limits remotely
  • Wi-Fi Sense – Sharing secured WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
  • Wi-Fi can auto re-enable after a set duration of time
  • Wi-Fi Direct

System

  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Chkdsk for SD cards to ensure card health
  • Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them. This would be really good for IFTTT
  • Miracast, PlayTo, mirror and project via wireless display or USB-out
  • Mouse and keyboard support (HID)
  • Stereoscopic 3D support
  • The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
  • Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app
  • Virtual SmartCard support
  • Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
  • Windows Phone 8.1 apps won’t run on 8.0 devices until they upgrade

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