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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Soon, free global Wi-Fi service from outer space

A US company is planning to build an 'Outernet' — a global network of cube satellites broadcasting internet data to all the people on the planet — for free. The idea is to offer free internet access to all people, regardless of location, bypassing filtering or other means of censorship, according to the New York based non-profit organization , Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).

MDIF proposes that hundreds of cube satellites be built and launched to create a constellation of sorts in the sky, allowing anyone with a phone or computer to access Internet data sent to the satellites by several hundred ground stations.

The organization claims that 40% of the people in the world today are still not able to connect to the internet — and it's not just because of restrictive governments such as North Korea — it's also due to the high cost of bringing service to remote areas, 'phys.org' reported.

An Outernet would allow people from Siberia to parts of the western US to remote islands or villages in Africa to receive the same news as those in New York or Tokyo.

The Outernet would be one-way — data would flow from feeders to the satellites which would broadcast to all below. MDIF plans to add the ability to transmit from anywhere as well as soon as funds become available.

MDIF has acknowledged that building such a network would not be cheap. Such satellites typically run $100,000 to $300,000 to build and launch. The timeline for the project calls for deploying the initial cubesats as early as next summer.

Source: TOI

Monday, February 24, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 price not revealed, April 11 release date set

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has finally been revealed, after weeks, if not months, of anticipation. While the company has detailed the numerous hardware and features of the flagship smartphone, it has chosen not to mention price. The Korean manufacturer however did say the Galaxy S5 would launch in 150 countries, starting from 11 April 2014.

The biggest new features being touted on the Galaxy S5 by Samsung include a fingerprint scanner on the home button, a heart rate sensor placed near the 16-megapixel camera, and the IP67 certification that makes it dust and water-resistant. The smartphone also features a new design in terms of the back panel now being perforated, and available with four colours at launch, and optional designer back panels.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will ship with Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080x1920 pixel full-HD resolution. It is powered by an unnamed 2.5GHz quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy S5 will be available in 16GB and 32GB variants, with microSD card expandability up to 64GB.

The Galaxy S5 bears a 16-megapixel rear camera with HDR (for video as well), and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera can record UHD video @30 fps along with HDR and video stabilization functionality.

Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO functionality, ANT+, Bluetooth 4.0, USB3.0, NFC, and Infrared remote functionality. A Download Booster is also being touted, which combines LTE and Wi-Fi for faster download. It features a 2800mAh battery, rated to deliver 21 hours of talktime, and 390 hours of standby time.

The smartphone weighs in at 145 grams (slightly heavier than the Galaxy S4), and has dimensions of 142x72.5x8.1mm (slightly thicker than the S4's 7.9mm).

Additionally, it has been noted that the Galaxy S5 would arrive in four colour variants - Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold. Furthermore, the handset will be compatible with Samsung Gear Fit, which is the firm's first curved, Super AMOLED health-focused wristband.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will also arrive with the latest and updated Samsung KNOX security software to keep the user's data safe. Some of the pre-loaded Google service available in the handset are Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search and YouTube.

Source: NDTV

Nokia launches Android-based budget phones: Nokia X, X+, XL

Nokia has unveiled the Nokia X, X+, and Nokia X XL smartphones - its first Android devices - at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Perhaps seen as sticking too fingers up at Microsoft before the company becomes owned by the Redmond tech giant in March, Nokia has justified the move by saying that it will allow Microsoft to reach new customers.

"We are introducing new customers to Microsoft services like Skype and OneDrive," said Stephen Elop. "With this Microsoft will be able to reach people it has never spoken to before."

As a result Skype video calling can now be access in areas that might now have been able to use the service previously. Nokia is giving away one free month to users who buy a Nokia X handset.

Both X and X+ smartphones will feature 4-inch screens and a decided mid-range bevy of specs. The Nokia X+ has more memory and microSD expansion.

The company also has the Nokia X XL which will feature a 5-inch screen and come with a 5 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel front camera.

The new phones, which will feature a 4-inch screen will run a bevy of Nokia and Microsoft services.

People will be able to download apps from a dedicated Nokia Android store, as well as others, however it doesn’t sound like the device has been Google Play Approved.

The new phone from Nokia will have a very specific and dedicated skin compared to what Android customers will be useful merging the playful Nokia Lumia experience with the power of Android beneath it.

The Android open source OS means Android developers can bring apps to Nokia X family easily. Elop claims its as easy as a few hours programming to port them across.

There will be free music streaming from Nokia Music Radio, as well as free navigation instructions from Here Maps. Because this is an Android powered device there shouldn’t be any issue with getting apps like Vine and others.

Despite being Andoid Nokia free music service MixRadio will come as standard. Users can also access apps from other Stores like Slide Me. Try and buy apps will also be an option.

OneDrive will offer 10GB of free storage from the Nokia Store for photos, videos and music storage in the cloud.

The Nokia X is out now for €89, the Nokia X+ will be €99 in early Q2, the Nokia XL will be €109 also in early Q2 and all will go on sale in "growth markets".

Source: Android Central

Friday, February 21, 2014

Highway - Movie Review

Not an appropriate title for the movie and also not sure whether Imtiaz Ali wanted to direct a movie with characters or videoshoot the scenic locales of northern India. While the movie is superbly directed, it is let down by an unimpressive storyline. Somehow I felt the movie had a touch of the Ranveer starer “Lootera”.

Alia Bhatt has definitely matured as an actress with this movie. Her character though is inconsistent right from the start but then somehow convinces you that an abused child could grow up to be someone looking for a change and willing to escape from home. One of her dialogues that -’she does not want to go back home nor does she want the journey to end’ appears silly as it comes from a girl from an affluent family sitting in a truck and who has traveled frequently with her family before in luxury.

The Pros: Good cast and direction

The Cons: Unconvincing Plot

- A rich educated girl falling in love with her kidnapper - Randeep Hooda who is a violent thug with 3 murders to his credit.

- Though the Police is on the lookout for the lead pair, Alia is shown sitting on the front seat of the Truck driven by Randeep throughout their escapade

- To see a beautiful girl and a criminal laze around the picturesque locales living a stress free life adds to your stress

- Randeep’s entry starts off with his dialogue delivery in crude Hindi which as the movie progresses, talks smooth Bollywood hindi

The movie is not for all audiences. Some may find it slow and boring because of the unconvincing plot and the superficial love story which seems to be created only to add flavor to the movie. Overall, a onetime watch only because of the scenic locales and Alia Bhatt’s performance.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Interesting: Those without bank accounts can soon receive money from ATMs

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday said individuals without a bank account will soon be able to receive money from those with bank accounts, using automated teller machines (ATM).

"We have recently approved the in-principle setting up of a payment system which will facilitate funds transfer from bank account holders to those without accounts through ATMs," he said, delivering the DR Gadgil lecture here.

Rajan said the move is driven by the lack of having a formal bank account by millions of our countrymen and also explained how the mechanism will work.

The sender can have money withdrawn from his/her account through ATM machines, he said.

"The intermediary processes the payment, and sends a code to the recipient on his mobile that allows him to withdraw the money from any nearby bank's ATM," he said.

Rajan asserted that systems will take care of all the issues around security including safeguards of customer identification, transaction validation and velocity checks.

Calling this as one of the benefits of the modern technology, Rajan conceded that mobile companies are already providing such services and laid emphasis on the need for more such innovative products.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Surprising Facts About St. Valentine

A man named Valentinus was martyred on February 14 late in the third century A.D.—this much we know. But when it comes to details about the life of St. Valentine, legend often supersedes fact. As you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, find out the truth about the man for whom the day is named, as well as some other intriguing facts about history's most romantic holiday.

St. Valentine

1. The St. Valentine who inspired the holiday may have been two different men.
Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.

2. In all, there are about a dozen St. Valentines, plus a pope.
The saint we celebrate on Valentine’s Day is known officially as St. Valentine of Rome in order to differentiate him from the dozen or so other Valentines on the list. Because “Valentinus”—from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful—was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D., several martyrs over the centuries have carried this name. The official Roman Catholic roster of saints shows about a dozen who were named Valentine or some variation thereof. The most recently beatified Valentine is St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa, a Spaniard of the Dominican order who traveled to Vietnam, where he served as bishop until his beheading in 1861. Pope John Paul II canonized Berrio-Ochoa in 1988. There was even a Pope Valentine, though little is known about him except that he served a mere 40 days around A.D. 827.

3. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy, among many other things.
Saints are certainly expected to keep busy in the afterlife. Their holy duties include interceding in earthly affairs and entertaining petitions from living souls. In this respect, St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling. As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.

4. You can find Valentine’s skull in Rome.
The flower-adorned skull of St. Valentine is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In the early 1800s, the excavation of a catacomb near Rome yielded skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St. Valentine. As is customary, these bits and pieces of the late saint’s body have subsequently been distributed to reliquaries around the world. You’ll find other bits of St. Valentine’s skeleton on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.

5. Chaucer may have invented Valentine’s Day.
The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.

6. You can celebrate Valentine’s Day several times a year.
Because of the abundance of St. Valentines on the Roman Catholic roster, you can choose to celebrate the saint multiple times each year. Besides February 14, you might decide to celebrate St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3. Or maybe you want to get a jump on the traditional Valentine celebration by feting St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7. Women might choose to honor the only female St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Motorola Moto G review: The budget performer

The much awaited Moto G, Motorola's economy Android smartphone, has finally been launched in India. The phone has won accolades the world over for its low price and great performance combo, and for bringing the focus back to usability instead of high-end specifications, a trend Motorola started with the Moto X, its flagship smartphone. We try to find out if Moto G really lives up to the hype surrounding it, in our review.

What's in the box
Unlike the international version of the Moto G, the Indian version imported by Flipkart includes a charger and a headset. It doesn't include a USB cable so you'll need to buy one to transfer data to the phone. Other than these, you'll find the user manual and a warranty-related document. The Moto G comes with a standard black coloured back panel, but additional back panels in other colours can be ordered separately.

Build and design
One of the most striking things about the Moto G is its minimalist no-frills design. The phone's look is essentially based on Moto X which is not available in India at this moment.

Moto G feels good to hold despite it being heavy at 143 gram and a bit thick at 11.6mm due to its curved back and rounded corners that take care of ergonomics. The phone is made from plastic materials but feels durable. Although it comes with a removable back panel, the construction is excellent. The back panel fits snugly, with no creaks and wobbles.

At first glance, the only thing you notice is the Moto G's shiny black front panel devoid of any distractions. There's no branding and no hardware buttons. The 1.3MP front camera and a notification LED placed next to the earpiece are the only other components visible.

Turn on the phone, and the 4.5-inch 720p IPS edge-to-edge display comes to life bursting with pixels. The phone's front bezel is designed in a manner so as to put all the focus on the display, making it the centre of attention. On the sides, the bezel is pretty narrow, but it takes up considerable amount of space below the display, which is a good thing as the navigation controls are easily accessible.
There's a minor gap between the edge of the front panel, which is slightly raised, and the display that tends to attract dust particles. The edge may also be susceptible to wear and tear once you start using the phone. The display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection guarding the screen against scratches. Moto G is the only phone in this price range to feature Gorilla Glass 3.

The right edge of the Moto G features the narrow Power/ Screen lock keys which are made of metal and offer decent tactile feedback. However, we wish the volume rocker key would have been a little longer as we ended up hitting the power key during the initial period of use.

The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top while the micro-USB port is placed at the bottom edge of the phone. There are no ports or buttons on the left edge.

The back of the phone, which is essentially the removable back cover, is curved and sports a rubberized soft matte finish, that makes holding the phone a pleasant experience. It features the phone's 5MP rear camera lens, an LED flash and Motorola logo (in an indent). We also found the back prone to smudges, but it is thankfully easy to clean.

Moto G also comes with a nano-coating that makes is water resistant up to a certain level. It will be able to handle minor splashes, but most likely won't survive a dip in the pool.

Overall, the Moto G is a compact and durable no-frills smartphone that is built to last.

The dual-sim version of Moto G available in India comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Motorola has promised that the phone will get the Android 4.4 KitKat software update in the coming days. At the time of filing of this review, our Moto G unit had not received an update and was still running Jelly Bean.

Moto G runs an almost stock version of Android complete with on-screen navigation controls. The interface is close to Google's Nexus 4 except that Motorola also includes some of its own apps. Thankfully, these apps are not bloatware and add to functionality. One of the Motorola app called Assist changes how the phone alerts you during meetings or sleep. If you've used an iPhone, you must have used or come across the Do Not Disturb; Assist is similar and allows you to silence or auto reply to missed calls while you're in a meeting or sleeping. You can choose exceptions for Favourite callers or when someone calls twice.

Another Motorola app bundled with the phone is Moto Care. The app is not only a searchable user guide featuring Tutorials, FAQs, How-tos and actionable tips, it also offers a shortcut key to get in touch with Motorola's customer care. Motorola Migrate allows you to transfer content and settings from your old Android phone or iPhone.

The dual-sim Moto G also comes with settings for managing the behavior of two sim cards, allowing you to choose the default connection for data, calls and messaging.

That's about it. You get a pretty neat slate to customize as per your own preference and use the apps that you wish to.

The Android 4.4 KitKat update is expected to bring some minor cosmetic improvements including white notification icons and a transparent notification bar, a new Phone dialer app, some camera improvements in addition to other changes under the hood.

Moto G is an economy smartphone and despite the phone delivering more than what other smartphones in the price segment offer, the limitations are apparent when it comes to the camera.

The phone comes with a 5MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front facing camera. The rear camera can capture 720p video and also comes with an LED flash for taking pictures in low-light conditions.

Motorola ships its own camera app with the phone which is pretty bare bones when it comes to offering granular settings but designed keeping in mind the casual camera user. You'll only see two controls - one for switching to the video camera and the other to switch between the front and rear lenses till you swipe from the edge to the right side of the screen to reveal an arc shaped dial that features controls for HDR mode, LED flash, focus & exposure, slow motion, Panorama mode, geo-tagging, widescreen mode and shutter sound. Similar to the Windows Phone camera app, you click pictures by tapping anywhere on the screen. The soft viewfinder can be moved up and down to zoom in and out or shift focus.

We were pretty impressed by the images captured by the Moto G outdoors, during daylight. The images had good amount of detail, reproduced colour accurately and good contrast, especially in HDR mode. Pictures captured in low-light conditions and indoors were not that great but noise levels were comparatively lower than other phones in the same price range.

The rear camera can capture 720p video and we found the quality to be satisfactory.

The front camera comes in handy for taking selfies and for video chats, and does a decent job.

Moto G is known for offering the level of performance which is only delivered by phones costing Rs 10,000 more than it. At the heart of the phone is the 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with Adreno 305 graphics and 1GB RAM. We did not notice any lag whatsoever while navigating through the phone's menu, launching apps and switching between them.

We were able to play games like Temple Run 2, Banana Kong, and Asphalt 8 without encountering frame drops or freezes. Despite the limited RAM, the phone is a great gaming device.

In synthetic benchmarks, it beats competitors like the Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini by a margin. The phone scored 17,404 in Antutu, 8574 in Quadrant and 57.9 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests. Some of these scores are better than the Nexus 4.

Out of the 16GB storage, 12.92GB is available to the user. Unfortunately, you can't expand the storage as the phone doesn't come with a memory card slot. Google is offering 50GB free cloud storage in Google Drive with the phone but we don't see cloud storage going mainstream till data connectivity gets better and data tariffs go cheaper.

Moto G offers Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS connectivity options. Interestingly, it comes with a trusted Bluetooth feature allowing you to disable lock screen when the phone is paired with a device specified as 'trusted.' This means you don't need to unlock the screen to change tracks when listening to music via Bluetooth headphones.

Moto G offers excellent call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter issues while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups.

Moto G offers FM radio but unfortunately, you can't listen to it through the phone's speaker even when you've plugged in the headphones to use as an antenna. It also doesn't offer a recording feature. We were able to play most popular video and audio file formats.

The external speaker on the phone offers loud sound output though it lacks bass. Of course the sound gets muffled when the phone lies on its back, which is an issue.

The phone is backed by a 2070 mAh battery and will last you a complete day even if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use 3G data all the time. You'll be able to make about 2-3 hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period. The phone can play video continuously for 7 to 8 hours.

Overall, the Moto G offers impressive performance and using it as our daily driver turned out to be a pleasant experience.

There has been a vacuum in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 price segment when it comes to quality Android smartphones. Indian brands do somewhat fill the gap but the after-sales experience has left many customers high and dry. Also, the build quality and finish of these devices leaves a lot to be desired.

The Moto G addresses this very segment delivering great performance at an affordable price. We would not shy away for calling it a value for money proposition as the phone is well built and comes with the promise of latest software. We hope Motorola (even after completion of its acquisition by Lenovo) continues to offer software updates and ensures good level of on-ground after sales support.

There's no other Android phone we can recommend in the price segment. If you're fine with Windows Phone and want a better camera, the Nokia Lumia 720 is a good option.

Source: TOI

Thursday, February 6, 2014

10 Yoga health benefits

Weight loss, a strong and flexible body, glowing skin, peaceful mind, good health - whatever you may be looking for, yoga has it on offer.

However, very often, yoga is only partially understood as being limited to asanas (yoga poses). As such, its benefits are only perceived to be at the body level and we fail to realise the immense benefits yoga offers in uniting the body, mind and soul. When you are in harmony, the journey through life is calmer, happier and more fulfilling. With all this and much more to offer, the benefits of yoga are felt in a profound yet subtle manner. Here, we look at the top 10 benefits of regular yoga practice.

All-round fitness

You are truly healthy when you are not just physically fit but also mentally and emotionally balanced. As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it, "Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life - in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are." This is where yoga helps: postures, pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are a holistic fitness package.

Weight loss

The one thing that every wants! Yoga benefits here too. Sun Salutations and Kapal Bhati pranayama are some ways to help lose weight with yoga. Moreover, with regular practice of yoga, we tend to become more sensitive to the kind of food our body asks for. This can also help keep a check on weight.

Stress relief

A few minutes of yoga during the day can be a great way to get rid of stress that accumulates daily - in both the body and mind. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are effective techniques to release stress. Yoga Benefits: Health Benefits of Yoga

Inner peace

We all love to visit peaceful, serene spots, rich in natural beauty. Little do we realize that peace can be found right within us and we can take a mini-vacation to experience this any time of the day! Benefit from a small holiday every day with yoga and meditation. Yoga is also one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind.

Improved immunity

Our system is a seamless blend of the body, mind and spirit. An irregularity in the body affects the mind and similarly unpleasantness or restlessness in the mind can manifest as an ailment in the body. Yoga poses massage organs and strengthens muscles; breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity.

Living with greater awareness

The mind is constantly involved in activity - swinging from the past to the future. By simply being aware of this tendency of the mind, we can actually save ourselves from getting stressed or worked up and relax the mind. Yoga and pranayama help create that awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment, where it can stay happy and focused

Better relationships

Yoga can even help improve your relationship with your spouse, parents, friends or loved ones! A mind that is relaxed, happy and content is better able to deal with sensitive relationship matters. Yoga and meditation work on keeping the mind happy and peaceful.

Increased energy

Do you feel completely drained out by the end of the day? Shuttling between multiple tasks through the day can sometimes be quite exhausting. A few minutes of yoga everyday provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic even after a long day. A 10-minute online guided meditation benefits you immensely, leaving you refreshed and recharged in the middle of a hectic day.

Better flexibility & posture

You only need to include yoga in your daily routine to benefit from a body that is strong, supple and flexible. Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body muscles and also makes them strong. It also helps improve your body posture when you stand, sit, sleep or walk. This would, in turn, help relieve you of body pain due to incorrect posture.

Better intuition

Yoga and meditation have the power to improve your intuitive ability so that you effortlessly realize what needs to be done and when and how, to yield positive results. It works. You only need to experience it yourself.

#‎Maruti‬ launches 'Celerio' priced up to Rs 4.96 lakh

Aimed at strengthening its position in the compact car segment, country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Thursday launched 'Celerio', priced between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 4.96 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

"Given the congestion on Indian roads, the demand for auto mode is no brainer. Presently, cars with automatic transmission are less than 5 per cent," MSI MD and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters here.

The manual transmission models (four) are priced between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 4.96 lakh, while the auto gear shift variants (two) are priced at Rs 4.29 lakh and Rs 4.59 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Celerio Auto Gear Shift variants will have the flexibility of both manual mode and auto drive mode in the same car, with a simple shift of gear lever.

"Celerio will cater to a growing demand for vehicles with automatic gear shift at an affordable price," he said.

With the new compact car, MSI has worked on addressing three key issues associated with automatic transmission cars -- high cost of acquisition, low fuel economy and maintenance hassles.

According to the company, about 25 per cent of consumers who come to its showrooms enquire about cars with automatic transmission but the conversion rate was very poor once they found those issues related with such vehicles.

Currently, an automatic transmission (AT) version of a car in the market is more expensive by up to Rs. 1.1 lakh than its manual transmission version. MSI has already started taking bookings for the car.

In the past, the company has launched AT version of its compact cars, including the Zen and A-Star, but their prohibitive prices made it difficult to crack the market. The
Celerio will be pitched against the likes of Hyundai's Grandi10 and Honda's Brio, whose automatic versions are priced at Rs. 6.04 lakh and Rs.6.19 lakh, respectively (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Celerio will offer a fuel efficiency of 23.1 km per litre.

The car comes with features like alloy-wheels and blue-tooth connectivity across variants. Celerio which sports 1 litre K-next engine, would be available in seven colours. MSI's current compact car portfolio comprises Swift, Estilo and Ritz.

#MotoG : The hottest selling smartphone

Motorola today launched the Moto G smartphone at an aggressive price point of Rs 12,499 for 8GB and Rs 13,999 for 16GB in India. The phone is priced brilliantly for its specifications and features that include an almost pure Android experience, beautiful design and promising form-factor, that further comes with water repellent properties as well.

Where the Moto G fell short was in its camera, battery life and inability to access faster, 4G LTE cellular networks. For everything else I tested, the Moto G stood up well.

Motorola doesn't skimp in equipping the Moto G with a speedy processor. Apps launch almost as quickly as they do on the phone's pricier rivals. The Moto G runs a fairly recent version of Google's Android system, with a promised upgrade to the latest, KitKat.

The Moto G also has a decent screen. It's about as sharp as the Moto X's and the iPhone's, enough for 720p video, though the Nexus and various Samsung phones do better by offering full, 1080p high definition. The Moto G's screen measures 4.5 inches diagonally, which is larger than the iPhone's but small for Android. Colours aren't as rich as on the Moto X's display, but if I want a superb visual experience, I'd turn to a tablet, a TV or even a movie theater. For a phone, the Moto G's screen delivers video quite well.

The Moto G doesn't win points on size and weight. Although the screen is smaller than the Moto X's 4.7-inch display, the phone overall is a tad bulkier and 10 per cent heavier. The Moto G has a larger frame surrounding the screen - something phone makers have been trying to shrink.

As for the other shortcomings:

Cellular access. The Moto G delivers 3G performance at best. Many parts of the world are moving to 4G, but Motorola points out that many of its target markets are still upgrading to 3G. If I'm doing a lot of things requiring top-notch speeds, I'm better off finding a Wi-Fi network anyway.

Battery life. The Moto G has 6 per cent less battery capacity than the Moto X. I got about up to eight hours of streaming video on Hulu with the Moto G, compared with nine to 10 hours on the Moto X. Although the Moto G has a removable plastic back, the battery can't be exchanged with a spare. That said, eight hours for streaming video is a lot, and you can stretch it to a full day with more moderate use.

Camera. The main camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels, less than the 8 megapixels on the iPhone and the Nexus and the 10 megapixels on the Moto X. There's more to a good camera than the pixel count, but the pictures I took with the Moto G weren't particularly good, especially in low light. They are passable for selfies and Facebook posts, but you'll want a better camera for keepsakes. Perhaps the money you save on the phone can go to a point-and-shoot camera that takes better pictures.

The Moto G is also short on frills. Part of that stems from Motorola's philosophy not to tinker with the Android operating system too much. Many rival phone makers do just that and wind up creating more chaos and confusion.

Instead, Motorola tries to limit what it adds. In the case of the Moto X, you can twist the phone to automatically launch the camera. You can initiate voice commands by saying, "OK, Google Now." The Moto X also offers unprecedented customization when you order; you can choose everything from the colour of the power button to a personalized message on the back cover.

The Moto G has none of that. The frills are limited to an FM radio tuner, something rare in smartphones. Just plug in a pair of headphones, which serves as the antenna. You can swap the back with a new plastic cover, but the phone isn't assembled at the factory to your specifications.

Be aware that the $179 (Rs 12,499) price gets you 8 gigabytes of storage, half of what most phones offer. Given all the room your photos and video will need, pay the extra $20 (Rs 1,500) for a 16 gigabyte model. Unfortunately, there's no slot for memory cards, as some Android phones offer.

Phone makers have been trying to set themselves apart by loading phones with more and more features, only some of which are useful. Motorola doesn't try to do that with the Moto G, apart from including an FM tuner. Instead, it's distinguishing itself through price. No one can question whether that's useful.