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The Year That Was

Here’s a look back at what tech news grabbed eyeballs in the past year and how it benefits us

Published: 05th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2015 03:41 AM   |  A+A-

FLIPK

2014 has been an exciting year for the netizen in India.  The spurt in the growth of smartphone sales meant that more people were socially connected, indulged in online shopping and began to use more and more apps to make their life easier.

As it is with the ubiquitous smartphone that it all begins for the commoner, it is worth mentioning how one particular company made top-end, advanced phones accessible to you and me at affordable prices. Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi simply took the Indian market by storm with its Mi 3 and Redmi phones, which were, unusually, sold only through flash sales exclusively on the online shopping site, Flipkart, which too has gone on to become a household name in the past year.

Whooshing past the stigma that is reserved for Chinese-made products, Xiaomi’s first flash sale of the Mi 3 was sold out in 40 minutes, and their successive flash sales saw the phones lapped up within seconds, in fact leaving thousands of eager wannabe buyers fuming because they couldn’t get their hands on one. As recently as December 30, 2014, 40,000 units of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4G was sold out in just six seconds.

THE-YEAR].jpgDubbed China’s Apple, Xiaomi has gone on to take third position in the top five largest smartphone makers, in the number of shipments made, according to research by IDC (International Data Corporation, a global provider of market intelligence) . It was the first time that Xiaomi had made it to the top five list.  Not only that, Xiaomi also raised $1.1 billion in new funding, at a valuation of $45 billion just the previous day, December 29, 2014, making it one of the most valued startups.

The online platform on which the smartphone was sold, Flipkart, is another huge success story of 2014, as is the case for the entire e-commerce sector including its rivals Amazon and Snapdeal.  Consumers were truly king when all three websites went all out to offer discounts and offers during Diwali, which catapulted the popularity of e-tailing in India, making it a $3billion industry.

The convenience of sitting at home and shopping for anything retail from gadgets to clothes and make-up on these online sites was made even easier with the launch of mobile apps. Not just apps on shopping, there were apps to book your travel tickets, to hail cabs, to monitor your health parameters, to get organised and of course to stay entertained through gaming.

Some of the popular apps of 2014 were Workflow, an iOS app that works around Apple’s tight restrictions and seamlessly integrates into apps that you already use to help you work more efficiently by saving time and through simpler steps. The app has a tutorial that will take you through the basics.

Photomath, currently on iOS and expected to launch on Android this year, is one of the most useful apps for students, as it makes Mathematics easy and simple by educating users how to solve Maths problems. Users of this pocket tutor need only snap a photograph of a Maths problem using their cell phone cameras and the app gives you step-by-step solutions. Of course, cheats can misuse the app, but those who want to learn genuinely, and just need a little help, find this app useful.

Tap Cleaner, an Android app, is for those who are constantly on their smartphones — which clogs up the temporary memory of the phone as traces of activity are left behind even when one closes an app. This slows down the phone and keeps you from using the device optimally. Tap Cleaner constantly cleans up the temp memory and thus makes your phone faster.

Copy Bubble, another Android app, helps you copy multiple portions of text on to the bubble, like a traditional clipboard, and thereby allows you to paste older items that you have copied, at any time. Copy options on phones currently allow you to copy and paste items only one by one.

Swiftkey, an Android app, is for those dogged by incorrect auto-correct while typing. An efficient keyboard app, it learns from the way you type and gets smarter over time, correctly predicting what text you were inputing. It even suggests the emoji that you could use for the context. annie@newindianexpress.com



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