News

Apple, Xiaomi lead wearable market during the start of 2018

Wearables are not dead!

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Smartwatches may not be as in demand as smartphones, but the top smartphone manufacturers are also in the lead in the wearable market. We’re talking about Apple and Xiaomi which both garnered 18 percent of the market share according to the latest data from Canalys.

Apple leads the whole wearable market during the first quarter of 2018 with 3.8 million shipments and most of these are the latest Watch Series 3. Xiaomi is close behind with 3.7 million shipments and their most popular watches are the basic Mi Band models.

Trailing behind is Fitbit with an 11 percent market share followed by Garmin with 7 percent. Huawei also made a significant 6 percent cut in the pie.

We might not feel it, but wearable shipments grew 35 percent compared to the same quarter last year with a total 20.5 million units. Full-blown smartwatches managed to grab 80 percent of the total revenue despite managing just 43 percent of the overall shipments.

It looks like the price is not an issue among wearable customers, especially for Apple clients. The Cupertino company’s key smartwatch is the LTE-enabled Watch 3 series which adds a new revenue stream because of the data subscription it requires.

During the same quarter, Apple has 59 percent of the cellular-enabled smartwatch market while Garmin is the second smartwatch vendor.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone X remains as the best-selling smartphone in the world

News

Google might launch a budget Pixel 3 variant

Leaked images show return of headphone jack

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Image source: Rozetked

To most Android users, the Google Pixel is still a rare handset, limited by price and geographical availability. Thankfully, a new rumor hints at a change to this exclusivity. Based on a leak, Google might launch a budget Pixel 3 variant in the near future.

Reported by Russian blog Rozetked, the so-called Google Pixel 3 Lite offers a new experience compared to its bigger variants. From a design standpoint, the phone will share the same looks as the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. However, unlike the earlier launches, the Lite will return the sorely missed headphone jack. The feature was unceremoniously ditched in this year’s Pixels.

Image source: Rozetked

Featuring a bezel-less display, the Pixel 3 Lite supposedly carries a 5.56-inch IPS screen, churning out images at 2220 x 1080 resolution. Inside, the phone will carry a midrange Snapdragon 670 octa-core processor, Adreno 615, 4GB of RAM, and a paltry 32GB of internal storage.

Additionally, it will have a 12-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front camera combination. According to Rozetked, the leaked phone’s cameras share the same quality as the regular Pixel 3’s. Underneath everything, the Pixel 3 Lite runs on a merely manageable 2915mAh battery.

Finally, the phone is expected to ship with a price tag hovering around US$ 400 to US$ 500. The Pixel 3 Lite, codenamed Sargo, will accompany another undisclosed phone, codenamed Bonito. Supposedly, the second phone will carry a faster Snapdragon 710 processor.

Of course, this phone still remains in unconfirmed territory. The leak is substantial; however, take everything with a grain of salt for now. For one, the leaked images don’t have Google’s correct logo yet. If anything, the possible budget phone mimics Apple’s current release schedule, a sign that it could still happen.

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Hands-on

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Enterprise

Qualcomm allegedly ordered a smear campaign against Apple

The two have beef against each other

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Image source: Flickr/Masaru Kamikura

Over the past two years, Facebook has been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns. In 2016, the company allowed Russian intelligence to run rampant on the social media network. Though relatively subdued, the revelation revealed the company’s role in politics. Later, in 2018, the company was accused of mismanaging user data with Cambridge Analytica. Supposedly, the data influenced the US elections in 2016, as well as other political events around the globe.

Amid these controversies, a lone PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, has controversially managed the social media network’s failed redemption arc. Borrowing from Republican political campaigns, the firm infuses public relations with political strategies. This includes smear campaigns against a client’s rivals. Notably, Facebook hired the firm to take on George Soros, among others.

However, a key event in this timeline hints at a third player skulking in the shadows. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly ordered his executives to ditch Apple’s iPhones for Android. Prior to this, Apple threw shade at Facebook’s sketchy ethics, emphasizing the value of privacy. Later, conservative websites, including the Definers-affiliated NTK Network, lambasted the former for similarly detestable practices. The news reeked of Definers’ involvement.

True enough, Tim Miller, Definers owner, confirmed that his firm did work on Apple. However, Facebook isn’t to blame. According to a New York Times exposé about Facebook, a third tech company is responsible for the firm’s handiwork against Apple.

After the exposé’s release, Business Insider and NBC News have claimed the mysterious tech company’s identity — Qualcomm. The company in question is no stranger to Apple. Apple supposedly owes Qualcomm some US$ 7 billion in royalties, prompting legal action between the two.

According to Business Insider, Miller approached the publication with story ideas that are “damaging to Apple and positive for Qualcomm.” Meanwhile, in NBC News, a former NTK Network employee directly named Qualcomm as the mystery client.

Adding fuel to the fire, Definers and Qualcomm have refused to comment on the issue in both news reports.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 675 chip is based on 11nm process

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India

These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!

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Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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