News

Apple might make the notch bigger this year

Coming in a new iPhone XR

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More than a year ago, Apple instigated the entire notch phenomenon. After the arguably successful iPhone X launch, Android started following suit. Soon, both premium and budget markets implemented their own variants of the notch. Likewise, some contrarian brands developed their own countermeasure against the controversial notch, including holed smartphones and waterdrop notches.

Being the instigator, Apple will not get off the notch hype train. While Android is shifting far away from the form factor, Apple will brandish the notch with heads held high.

According to a new rumor, the company is going all-in on the notch. Apple is supposedly developing prototypes flaunting differing notch sizes. The rumor, however, suggests that a wider-notched iPhone XR sequel is in the works. With the massive timeline available to Apple, various iPhone XS and XS Max variants might come out as well.

If true, the iPhone XR exclusivity coincides with the market’s current perception of budget phones. Several companies have turned their cheaper variants into experimental breeding grounds. For example, the basic Huawei P30 will likely resurrect the missed headphone jack.

Speaking of missed I/O ports, the year’s batch of iPhones may switch over to the current industry standard, USB-C. The rumored strategy is the company’s first move away from its proprietary cache of wires. If true, a USB-C iPhone will join the rest of the world in universality.

Finally, a lesser rumor hints at a green iPhone XR. Apple has not implemented a green variant since the iPhone 5C. Even then, the polarizing plastic elicited only mixed reviews. However, Apple’s current aluminum build might make for a better green iPhone.

Regardless, the night is still long. Usually, Apple launches new phones around September. With a vast period between now and then, the company can still make radical changes to the final product. If anything, the earlier rumors suggest startling changes to Apple’s time-tested formulas.

SEE ALSO: Apple releases update to fix major Group FaceTime security flaw

India

Amazon to invest $1 billion in India’s small businesses

Jeff Bezos is convinced it’s time to double down

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Jeff Bezos is visiting India and Amazon has organized a conference to announce their plans and goals for the regional market. Dubbed “Smbhav”, it’s a collaborative event for small and medium businesses and will see the participation of senior industry executives.

Bezos said the global online retailer will invest US$ 1 billion in digitising India’s small and medium businesses. He also said the company is eyeing scaling locally produced products from India — in line with the Make in India program — to be of US$ 10 billion size on Amazon platform by 2025.

“We are doing this now because it is working. And when something works you should double down on it,” Bezos said.

The news comes just after the Competition Commission of India (CCI), started an investigation into anti-competitive practices of Amazon and its Walmart-owned rival Flipkart earlier this week.

An Amazon executive said the company has amassed over 500,000 sellers in India and thousands of merchants in the country who are selling on 12 Amazon marketplaces around the world.

India is a lucrative market for internet companies because of extremely cheap data rates and easy availability of affordable smartphones. With a population of 1.3 billion people, the potential is unmatchable. Especially because China’s markets are closed by an internal firewall and the developed markets are highly saturated.

The country is Amazon’s largest bet outside its home market and currently at the cutting edge of digital payments. In India, Amazon is able to set up a highly scaled operations unit, ensuring lower costs and better reach.

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India

POCO is now officially an independent brand

No longer affiliated with Xiaomi

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Xiaomi has announced it’s spinning off POCO as an independent brand. This means the brand will now operate on its own. POCO started in 2018 as a sub-brand of Xiaomi and the parent company has decided to bring in structural changes.

POCO branding is active in India while all other markets get Pocophone. The brand is famous for its POCO F1, an affordable phone that packs a flagship-grade processor. The phone’s arrival created a completely new category of smartphones that are built to be inexpensive, yet offer unmatchable speed.

However, POCO took the backseat in 2019 while Xiaomi rained the markets with Redmi branded phones. Fans have been asking about POCO F1’s successor ever since and the parent company consistently stayed silent about the sub-brand’s future.

Rival brand Realme was also formed as an independent company but is able to leverage OPPO’s infrastructure as “partners”. Having complete independence, the company can operate on its own and decide its own strategy. This structural divide let Realme form a new identity and within no time, it reckoned with Xiaomi as India’s leading mobile vendor.

There were reports in the second half of 2019 that suggested Xiaomi might ditch the POCO brand completely. It’s safe to say that isn’t happening anymore. POCO’s social media handles have been actively announcing discounts and deals on the POCO F1, suggesting a new product could be on the way soon.

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Hisense partners with NBA icon Dwyane Wade

It’s a multi-year deal

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Image: Dario | GadgetMatch

Hisense has been one of the fast rising brands especially in the television department. The company is now partnering with three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade to attract the sports-consuming market.

Wade will serve the as the company’s US Ambassador and will be prominently featured in premium product launches, in-person event appearances, and other upcoming marketing campaigns. He will be joining Hisense’s list of sports partners that include NASCAR, FIFA (2018) and UEFA (2016 and 2020).

The retired NBA star says he sees the company’s dedication to producing quality products and he’s excited for the partnership.

Hisense offers several value-for-money products especially with televisions. In CES 2020, the company launched the L5 laser TV and XD9G — the first dual-cell technology TV on the market. They also offer various other products like home appliances including refrigerators, wine coolers, portable air conditioners, and more

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