India

How Alexa wants to be your round-the-clock assistant

The future is inclusive and connected

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Amazon is popular for its marketplace but the company has ambitious expansion plans that range from enterprise-grade data centers to an on-demand personal assistant. Dubbed Alexa, the voice-enabled assistant is the backbone of their in-house Echo line of speakers.

We had a closer look at how these devices are going to help users in their day-to-day life and the results so far are amusing as well as promising. The company’s goal is to let you focus on what matters and just dictate commands to the assistant. We’ve seen a similar concept on Google Assistant as well as Apple’s Siri. So, how is Alexa different?

All day, all-around assistant

Thanks to a wide range of speakers that come across all sizes and budgets, Amazon is able to push Alexa right into your bedroom. The service is also available via a standalone app on Android, iOS, Fire TV and Kindle HD tablets.

To start off, the mic onboard Echo speaker’s is always listening by default and can be muted if required. The always-on feature lets you dictate command whenever you want and background noise isolation is excellent. You can ask basic questions like “How’s the weather today?” as well as some complicated trivia like “Who’s the President of Hungary?”

With a well-programmed backend that supports multiple third-party platforms like AccuWeather and WikiHow, any question that you have will never go unanswered. Similarly, Amazon has worked with curated developers to offer additional functionality for display enabled speakers like the Echo Show 5. This includes Prime Video, YouTube, as well as cooking guides.

If you have multiple speakers in your house, they can be synced via a single account and even use to broadcast messages from one room to another. You can also pair the speaker with an Alexa-enabled accessory or appliance like a bulb, geyser, or TV and operate it via voice commands. How cool would it be if you could say “Alexa, switch on the AC”, and you’re done!

For kids, special additions include trivia apps, quizzes, audible stories, and more. Amazon wants Alexa to be a learning companion and security measures have been taken to ensure they don’t veer off.

Apps that are meant for kids need to undergo screening before they get published. For privacy, Amazon guarantees the mic doesn’t store any personal data on their servers and a mute button is provided on almost all speakers. With the recently launched Echo Show 5, a camera has been incorporated on the front and it’s accompanied by a physical shutter to turn it off.

Amazon is working on voice profiling technology that can detect who is speaking to Alexa and provide customized content in return. But, this is still in development and we expect it to materialize in the coming years.

Amazon’s regional push

For India, a few dedicated regional applications have been added like Bollywood Quiz, Curated Cooking Guide by Sanjeev Kapoor, and regional music from Amazon’s library. Additionally, third-party connections like Zomato, Uber, and Ola have also been added. Amazon also announced that Alexa will soon be able to communicate in regional languages.

India

Mi 10T series launches in the Philippines

Xiaomi’s best right now?

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Mi 10T

After launching globally two weeks ago, Xiaomi’s Mi 10T series is now making its way to other markets.

The Mi 10T series has comprises of three phones: Mi 10T Pro, Mi 10T, and Mi 10T Lite. However, availability of the models vary from country to country. Most other countries are only getting, for now at least, the Mi 10T Pro and the Mi 10 T.

Mi 10T Pro

the Mi 10T Pro, it has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ display with a 144Hz refresh rate. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G connectivity and 8GB RAM. The phone is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 5, has splash resistance, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

On the rear is a triple camera setup consisting of a 108-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro lens. For selfies, a 20-megapixel front camera is located in a punch-hole cut-out. The 108-megapixel sensor is known for long exposure pictures, time burst, as well as dual-mode.

Watch our Unboxing and Review for more. 

Mi 10T

The Mi 10T gets the same display and processor as the Mi 10T Pro. However, it has a 6GB RAM option. On the rear is a triple camera setup that includes a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro lens. On the front is the same 20-megapixel selfie camera.

The design is also similar and houses a 5000mAh battery. Clearly, the Mi 10T is an ideal phone according to the specifications and users have the option to go for the Mi 10T Pro if they’re looking for a better and more powerful camera. It’ll be available in Cosmic Black and Lunar Silver color options.

Pricing and availability

Mi 10T — Lunar Silver and Cosmic Black

  • 6GB+128GB — PhP 19,990
  • 8GB + 128GB — PhP 20,990

Mi 10T Pro — Aurora Blue, Lunar Silver, and Cosmic Black

  • 8GB+256GB — PhP 24,990

Pre-order period is from October 16 to 22.

Lazada Flash Sale starting 12MN of Oct 16.

Mi 10T  6GB+128GB — PhP 17,990

Mi 10T Pro 8GB+256GB — PhP 24,990

  • Each buyer will receive a FREE set of Premium Speaker Gift* worth PhP 1,399.
  • Additional vouchers of PP h1,000 in limited quantity will also be given to consumers of Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro.

Offline Platforms promo

Mi 10T Pro at Authorized Mi Stores freebies:

  • Mi Electric Scooter Essential (PhP14,990)
  • OR Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic + Premium Speaker Gift Set (PhP 5,000)

Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro at Authorized Mi Zones freebies:

  • Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic + Premium Speaker Gift Set (PhP 5,000)

Extras

  • 6-month Netflix mobile subscription
  • Premium Services which include a 24-month local warranty plus a single accidental damage coverage on the screen within 6 months of purchase from October 16, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Standard terms and conditions apply.

 

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India

vivo V20 launches with Snapdragon 720G, triple rear cameras

A very colorful design scheme

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Going after the midrange segment, vivo announced the V20 today in India. The phone aims to offer a balance of everything so that every type of user is covered. The phone will be going up against the Samsung Galaxy M51.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and a tiny water-drop style notch. Unlike the usual solid or reflective surface, the V20 fuses two shades and offers a very premium look.

However, the bright color scheme may not be everyone’s taste. It’ll be available in Midnight Jazz, Moonlight Sonata, and Sunset Melody color options.

Under the hood is an octa-core Snapdragon 720G processor with 8GB RAM. The phone ships with Funtouch OS out-of-the-box and sports an in-display fingerprint scanner for authentication.

The V20 has a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera.

For selfies, a 44-megapixel sensor is located on the front. On the software side, the phone incorporates 4K Selfie Video, Steadiface Selfie Video, Super Night Selfie 2.0, Dual-View Video, Slo-Mo Selfie Video, and Multi-Style Portrait.

Lastly, backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging.

The phone is priced at INR 24,990 for 8GB+128GB and INR 27,990 for 8GB+256GB. It’ll go on sale from October 20 via all major online as well as offline sellers.

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realme smart TV 55-inch with bezel-less design goes official

Launched along with a soundbar

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Alongside the realme Buds, the brand announced its expansion in the smart TV segment with a new 55-inch offering. Officially called the realme smart TV SLED 55-inch, its unique selling point is its bezel-less screen and metal design that provide a premium experience.

realme says this is the world’s first TV with SLED 4K support that can deliver a cinematic experience at home. The SLED panel uses Spectral Power Distribution (SPD) technology for the backlighting which should optimally result in a wide color gamut range and protection against blue light.

Under the hood, it runs on Android 9 Pie thanks to a quad-core MediaTek processor and 16GB internal storage. The TV also includes a 24W quad stereo speaker system along with Dolby Audio technology.

realme has also shipped along built-in Chroma Boost Picture Engine that offers seven modes — Standard, Sport, Game, Vivid, Energy Saving, User, and Movie.

It supports Google Assistant and all popular apps can be downloaded via the Play Store. In terms of connectivity, the TV has the usual HDMI, USB, and ethernet ports along with WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0.

The realme smart TV SLED 55-inch is priced at INR 42,999 (US$ 586), but it’ll be available for INR 39,999 (US$ 545) during its first sale as an introductory offer. Pre-orders start from October 16 and bookings can be made via realme store and Flipkart.

The company also launched a soundbar that’s officially called the realme 100W Soundbar. It’s equipped with two 2.25-inch 15W speakers and two 15W tweeters that provide a total output of 60W. The 40W subwoofer has a 50Hz to 24KHz enhancement and realme says it is capable of increasing the TV volume by 200 percent.

It’s priced at INR 6,999 (US$ 96) and sales start from October 16 via realme store, Flipkart, and Amazon.

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