India

Apple may soon start selling top-end iPhones made in India

Hopefully, the iPhones get cheaper

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Apple has been trying to ramp up local production in India for years but has always hit a few roadblocks. In 2016, it finally started making the iPhone SE via its partner Wistron. They slowly expanded the facilities to make space for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 last year.

A new report by Reuters suggests new top-end iPhones that are assembled in India could hit stores as soon as next month. The Cupertino giant has also partnered with Foxconn in the country and their facility is located in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Local sourcing of iPhones will help the brand bypass import duty on fully-built devices as well as meet local regulations for opening its first-hand retail stores in the country. The Indian government currently levies 20 percent import duty on finished devices and this makes the iPhone quite costly in the country right now.

We expect the prices of iPhone XR and XS to go down marginally after production has leveled up to the demand. Currently, every major smartphone brand has local facilities in the country to avoid import duty. Samsung has successfully kept the prices of its flagship phones on par with international rates because of this.

Apple has taken a massive beating in India and its market share is now lesser than one percent. Competition from OnePlus, Samsung, and even Huawei has decimated the giant. Even though it enjoys the widest brand recognition, extremely high prices are a huge hurdle.

The government also plans to make the country a hub for smartphone manufacturing. In fact, Xiaomi has also started sourcing components like PCBs and displays locally. This further gives the brand an edge in avoiding import duty on individual components.

With the ongoing trade war between the US and China, India could very well take advantage and become a secondary smartphone-making hub of the world.

Apps

App that removes ‘China apps’ now trending

TikTok could be the most affected

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An Android app going by the name “Remove China Apps” is trending on the Google Play Store in India. The app says it can identify apps that are made in China and help you uninstall them. It has already crossed five million downloads and is currently at the top spot of Google Play’s top free apps list.

Not just India, but other countries like Australia are also actively downloading the app according to App Annie. The app is fairly easy to use. You just need to install it and it’ll show you all the China-made apps installed on your phone, for example, TikTok.

The app was launched on May 17 by an Indian developer going by the name OneTouch AppLabs. It had crossed one million downloads within 10 days of launch. It holds a rating of 4.9 out of 5. Obviously, much of this has to do with the nationalistic notion attached to it.

India went into a complete lockdown when Coronavirus threatened to ravage the country. While the country prioritized life over the economy, a two-month lockdown has drastically hit the economy and experts suggest it could dip into a recession soon. To revive the economy, the Indian Prime Minister urged everyone to support locally sourced products and reduce dependence on imports.

While India is actively fighting the virus, China has escalated border skirmishes in the north. It’s no wonder that the many have developed anti-China sentiments radically and a few developers are taking advantage of the situation. Furthermore, TikTok clones like “Mitron TV” have popped-up as local alternatives of the Bytedance controlled social platform.

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Accessories

Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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India

Realme Watch launches with a touchscreen display and HR tracker

High on features, light on the pocket

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This is the first watch from Realme and we’ve been waiting for it for a long time. The company teased its existence multiple times and considering the brand’s reputation, we knew it’ll have a very competitive price. Thankfully, the watch is now official, and here’s everything you need to know.

It comes with a 1.4-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels, a maximum brightness of 380 nits, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Currently, it comes pre-loaded with 12 watch faces and the company has confirmed more than a hundred will be available via an OTA update soon.

The smartwatch offers real-time heart rate monitoring using the built-in PPG sensor and records results every five minutes. Furthermore, it also has a SpO2 monitoring system to track the blood oxygen level.

On the fitness front, it has 14 different sports modes such as Badminton, Cricket, Indoor Run, Outdoor Run, Walk, and Yoga, among others. Health-based features also include sleep monitoring, sedentary reminders, hydration reminder, and meditation relaxing.

Just like all other smartwatches or bands, it can receive notifications from your phone via Bluetooth, control music playback, and unlock the phone via Android’s smart unlock system. Unlike the Apple Watch, you can’t pick-up voice calls but it’ll let you reject the call or mute the notification.

Realme Watch runs on a proprietary OS and can be linked to your phone via the Realme Link app. It supports 20mm removable wrist straps and has an IP68-certified body that can resist dust and water.

The Realme Watch is priced at INR 3,999 (US$ 53) and will be available via Flipkart and Realme.com from June 5. The additional color straps will cost INR 499 (US$ 7) later.

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