The world’s largest smartphone market hasn’t been so fond of iPhones lately. It was a close fight, but Apple has finally been overtaken by China’s very own brands.
For the first time since 2012, iPhones are no longer the most sold handsets in China for a single year. In 2016, Apple managed to sell a total of 12 million iPhone 6s units, which accounted for two percent of all phones sold in the country, while OPPO earned four percent of the market with 17 million sales of its R9 flagship smartphone.
We saw it coming: Last October, we reported about OPPO and Vivo’s surge in China’s rankings. It was only a matter of time for them to catch up to Apple and take over the charts.
This would explain why the Cupertino company is so hellbent on officially setting foot in India. Although Apple has been making good sales in the nation of 1.2 billion people, they’ll need to begin locally producing components in order to comply with the government’s requirements for setting up its own retail stores in the country.
Apple’s primary weakness in such markets is the lack of diversity in its portfolio. By having only premium handsets to its name, the company has no way of competing against the entry-level and midrange offerings of OPPO and Vivo, whose smartphones have been improving in quality, as well. Even the strong promotion of the iPhone 7 wasn’t enough to lure in the average Chinese consumer.
Huawei has also been rising up at the expense of Apple. Year-on-year shipments of the former have been up by 21 percent, while the latter has experienced a 21 percent decline during the same period.
Apple will really have to step up its game with the next iPhone to keep up this year. Samsung, who’s well aware of the booming midrange segment, has already launched its Galaxy A series, which sits below the flagship Galaxy S line. Google, on the other hand, might be releasing a lower-priced Pixel later this year.
Image credit: Mike Deerkoski
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate
Turn your phone into jewelry
The Galaxy Note 9 is not a cheap smartphone, especially the 512GB variant that will set you back US$ 1,249. It arrived with a Gorilla Glass 5 body, but what if they covered it in gold instead?
Russia-based luxury smartphone company Caviar decided that the Note 9’s glass body is not flashy enough, so they customized one and added 1 kilogram of pure gold.
Mind you, this is actual gold, and not just a simple paint job. Look at the images below:
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Fine Gold Edition is still a typical Galaxy Note 9 inside but with Caviar’s custom gold plate on its back.
It starts at RUB 3,870,000 or almost US$ 60,000! You can buy 60 units of the regular Galaxy Note 9 with this money, and that’s just for the 128GB variant. If you wish to get the one with 512GB of storage and 8GB of memory, you’ll have to add another US$ 1,000.
Check out Caviar’s website if you’re interested.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is the slimmest gaming laptop available today
But doesn’t compromise performance
Alongside the 17-inch ROG Scar II, ASUS has announced a new ROG device that they claim to be world’s slimmest gaming laptop. The ROG Zephyrus from last year was already thin by gaming laptop standards, but the new ROG Zephyrus S is 12 percent thinner with updated specs.
The ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) still has the look and feel of the original Zephyrus but it’s now only 14.95 to 15.75mm thick. Those numbers might not sound as sexy as other super-slim notebooks, but the Zephyrus S has desktop-grade gaming performance with either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q or GTX 1060 GPU inside its chassis.
Powering the Zephyrus S is the six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor with up to 24GB DDR4 memory. Storage options are from 256GB to 1TB M.2 NVMe SSDs.
The laptop’s display is a 15.6-inch 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100 percent sRGB coverage. It’s definitely not the sharpest laptop display, but it’s one of the fastest for smooth gameplay. The display has a thin-bezel design as well, so the footprint of the laptop is just a bit bigger than your typical 14-inch notebook.
ASUS uses their Active Aerodynamic System (same as with other Zephyrus laptops) which opens a vent at the bottom of the laptop when the lid is lifted, and the vent stretches across the entire back of the body. This improves airflow by 22 percent over a conventional design as per ASUS.
Another distinct trait of the Zephyrus S is the keyboard. It’s still on the front of the device, which helps with cooling, but it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. The keys have 1.2mm of travel, N-key rollover, and RGB lighting via Aura Sync over four zones.
As for I/O, it has two USB-C ports (Gen1 and Gen2), two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 at the back, and a headphone jack.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) will become available starting September in the US and in October for the UK and Asia. Pricing starts at US$ 2,099 for the GTX 1060 model, while the higher-end GTX 1070 is priced at US$ 2,199.
ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop
Thanks to its super-slim bezels!
After going hands on with the ROG Strix Scar II and reviewing the Hero II in full, we wondered what else could be done to improve this second-generation lineup. Well, it looks like ASUS just gave us the answer.
Discreetly launched today, the new 17.3-inch ROG Strix Scar II (model name GL704) is the most compact gaming laptop of its kind, according to ASUS. It’s basically a supersized variant of the already-available 15.6-inch version but with an even badder screen.
It may be worth the wait, because the color-accurate 17.3-inch 1080p display is able to fit into a chassis designed for 15.7-inch panels, effectively providing it a width of less than 400mm thanks to the slim bezels.
The wide keyboard and Aura Sync RGB lighting make a return, along with the fast 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time of the display.
In terms of specs, it can go up to an Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip. A 256GB SSD plus 1TB SSHD combo maintains the speed and fluidity of the system.
It’ll be available by the end of September in official ROG stores. Pricing begins at US$ 1,699.
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