India

ASUS launches the ZenFone Max Pro M1 in India

It has an enormous 5000mAh battery and pure Android

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Last week Indian e-commerce major Flipkart signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an exclusive partnership with Taiwanese smartphone maker ASUS. Today, ASUS has announced its first smartphone under the agreement, the ZenFone Max Pro M1.

It will be exclusively available in three variants from Flipkart: INR 10,999 (US$ 166) for 32GB storage + 3GB RAM, INR 12,999 (US$ 196) for 64GB + 4GB, and INR 14,999 (US$ 225) for 128GB + 6GB. It’ll be available in Deepsea Black and Meteor Silver color options beginning May 3 on Flipkart in India and April 25 on Lazada in Indonesia.

Unlike its previous range of smartphones, ASUS says the ZenFone Max Pro M1 runs on pure Android, meaning there’s no bloatware and it runs stock Android Oreo out of the box.

The Max Pro M1 has a smooth metallic finish and the dual cameras are arranged in the same iPhone X style, while there’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

The display is a 6-inch FHD+ Full View panel with 18:9 aspect ratio and curved corners. The bezels are moderately sized and ASUS could have put the fingerprint scanner in front if it wanted. The top bezel is home to the camera, sensor, earpiece, and a soft LED flash.

The Max Pro M1 is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 3GB or 4GB of RAM. The processor is a high-end, power-efficient chip, so we expect a decent amount of battery life from the this handset.

Not to forget, the device packs a massive 5000mAh battery that’s more than sufficient to give you at least two days of use on a single charge. ASUS says the device offers 35 days of 4G standby and 20 hours of video playback.

In the camera department, it has a dual-camera setup on the rear; the primary lens is a 13-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 aperture while the secondary camera is used for bokeh effects. ASUS has conveniently decided to skip over the secondary lens details. For selfies it has a 8-megapixel lens with f/2.2 aperture. 

It also features a five-magnet speaker driven by an NXP smart amplifier that delivers higher volume with lower distortion.

ASUS made this device with the Indian market in mind, hence it obviously is dual-SIM compatible and has a separate microSD card slot for storage expansion.

It’s clear ASUS aims to take on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro which has been the most sought-after device in the segment since launch. Sadly, Xiaomi hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand, and even after two months after the launch, the brand follows the same flash sale format. This is where ASUS and Flipkart plan to grab the vacuumed market.

India

Motorola razr will soon come to India

Will mostly be an unlocked variant

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There’s no doubt that 2019 has been one of the most exciting years in consumer technology. For a long time, we’ve been fantasizing about foldable displays and many brands were in a race to be the first one to grab the spot. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was unveiled some time back and is now available for purchase in many markets.

Lenovo-backed Motorola brand has been making affordable as well as midrange phones for quite some time. Now, it’s aiming for the premium market and their first product has revolutionary next-gen technology along with old-school nostalgia.

Resurrecting the razr lineup, the all-new phone comes with a retro, yet iconic, flip-phone design that incorporates a foldable display. It has two screens — one on the outside and one that bends on the inside. Once unfolded, you’ll see a 6.2-inch flexible OLED that can completely bend without a bump.

Around the same time as the announcement, Motorola’s Indian social media handle posted teasers of the razr, hinting at its possible arrival to India in near future. Those teasers now have been confirmed.

Motorola India’s website has a dedicated page for the phone where interested folks can register their interest. This confirms that it’ll be launching in the country soon. Additionally, this will also mean that interested users around the globe could have an opportunity to buy an unlocked variant of the phone.

Currently, razr is available exclusively via Verizon in the U.S. On the other hand, the Indian market consists of unlocked phones only.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the only foldable smartphone currently on sale in India and has sold out in each of the sales rather quickly. The razr could act as a slightly cheaper alternative for anyone specifically looking for a foldable option. The Fold is locally priced at INR 1,64,999 (US$ 2,290).

The global pricing is US$ 1,499 (INR 1,08,000), though we expect the launch price to be higher because of additional import duties and dynamic currency conversions.

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Realme skyrockets in India mobile market as Samsung falls

Xiaomi continues to hold its spot

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This year Xiaomi and Realme have been constantly fighting each other in the affordable phone segment. Each month we witnessed the launch of a new product, that always ended up killing the competitors previous offering. It’s a never-ending cycle.

However, the sales figures have proven that there’s still no clear winner in sight. According to IDC’s Q3 2019 report, Xiaomi continues to lead the market with a share of 27 percent, followed by Samsung at 18.9 percent. Realme is at the fourth spot with 14.3 percent, just below Vivo.

On the flipside, Realme has registered year-over-year growth of a whopping 400 percent, while Xiaomi grew at a modest 8.5 percent. Unfortunately, Samsung is having a hard time tackling the two younger brands and registered a fall of 8.5 percent.

The average selling price for a smartphone was INR 11,000 (US$ 159). Data also showed that phones under INR 15,000 (US$ 200) still account for 80 percent of the market. But, this segment saw its share drop by five percent on a yearly basis.

The Redmi 7A and Redmi Note 7 Pro were the highest shipped models in the complete market. Realme’s online sales were at 26.5 percent and its shipments were 6.7 million. This also means that number two, three and four smartphone players are closely matched in terms of shipments.

With more than 50 percent share, Apple remained the dominant player in the premium segment, which includes smartphones in the range of US$ 500 and more.

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India

Nokia branded smart TVs will soon be a thing

Coupled with JBL audio

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Nokia TVs are on the horizon.

India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Nokia to launch Nokia-branded Smart TVs. Flipkart will not only distribute the brand’s smart TVs but is also handling the manufacturing in India.

This will mark Nokia’s entry in an extremely crowded market where new players like OnePlus have just recently arrived. Xiaomi has also been doubling down with its wider range of products and incumbents like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic continue to command a huge share of the market.

A launch timeline hasn’t been revealed yet, but we do know the TVs will sport audio by JBL. Besides Nokia, Huawei’s Honor and Motorola recently launched smart TVs in the country.

The company is known for its research and patents in the telecom industry and continues to work on it. On the side, it has licensed the Nokia brand to third parties like HMD Global for smartphones.

Nokia stopped making phones long back, its hardware division was later acquired by Microsoft, and ultimately everything ended. Though, the brand lived, and the Finnish company was far from giving up.

Flipkart was acquired by Walmart sometime back and the platform intends to leverage its online reach in tier 2 and 3 towns. Besides, all the TVs will be assembled in India under the central government’s Make in India campaign. This will help them avoid import duty on finished products as well as enjoy the direct benefits of the scheme.

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