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.
Moto E6s launches with interchangeable back covers
It was first announced at IFA 2019
Moto E6 Plus was announced at IFA 2019 and the company has rebranded it as Moto E6s for the Indian market. Launched today in the country, it’s meant to be an entry-level offering.
This segment is already pretty crowded with tonnes of options from local as well as global brands. The brand also announced the phone will be made completely in India at the company’s Chennai factory.
It has a 6.1-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop notch and 80 percent screen-to-body ratio. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 processor clocked at 2.0GHz, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage.
The rear has a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and is assisted by a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. The phone has a selective bokeh photo mode that lets you adjust the background blur. The company stressed it has tuned its algorithms to click better HDR as well as low-light shots.
A fingerprint scanner is embedded on the back and also houses the Moto branding. Backing these internals is a 3000mAh battery that supports 10W fast charging. It runs on pure Android out of the box, so we expect updates to trickle down faster.
Unlike other brands that have multiple memory configurations to choose from, Moto E6s is available in only one grouping. Priced at INR 7,999, color options include Rich Cranberry and Polished Graphite. Sales start from September 23 via Flipkart.
India’s richest man is giving away free HD TVs
He’s selling something more valuable
Reliance Jio is India’s largest telecom operator and has managed to get onboard more than 340 million users within a span of three years. Launched in 2016, the company revolutionized 4G connections in the country and offered dirt-cheap plans to attract subscribers.
Now that the company has conquered the wireless market, it aims to establish supremacy in the fixed-line segment. It announced the launch of its fiber-based broadband service offering minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps for INR 699 (US$ 9.75) a month, a rate significantly lower than the rivals.
Dubbed “Jio Fiber”, the service will offer free voice calling anywhere in the country, unlimited data and video conferencing.
In a bid to attract users and make them use bandwidth, they’re handing out TVs to hook users on movies and entertainment shows via internet. Lifetime subscribers get a 4K set top box for streaming TV channels, while a 4K television set would be complimentary with plans with higher payouts such as ‘Gold’ and above.
Jio is offering complementary TVs to annual subscribers of broadband plans in the range of INR 2,499 to INR 8,499 (US$ 35 – 120). The company is also offering television set on two-year subscription of gold plan priced at INR 1,299 (US$ 18) per month.
Jio Fiber Platinum and Titanium plan users will also get access to Jio VR platform, Jio First-Day First-Show movies service, and special sports content.
To get a new connection, a one-time charge for installation will be applicable — INR 2,500 (US$ 35), out of which INR 1,500 will be the refundable security deposit for the Jio router. Rest will be non-refundable.
Instead of relying on hardware sales for revenue, the company is making internet bandwidth its main selling point. Higher data consumption translates into better revenues, indirectly covering up the cost of providing complimentary hardware.
Indians can now use UPI to make purchases on Play Store
Because debit cards are too old school
Google’s Play Store has now added Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as a payment option for users in India. The payment method is widely used in the country and is directly linked to a bank account.
Earlier, users had to rely on credit or debit cards. In a side move, Google also started selling cash cards at popular electronic stores. But, cash cards meant users had to buy a fixed amount of credit. With UPI, they now have the liberty of directly paying only what’s required.
XDA Developers were the first one to spot the feature addition and it’s rolling out OTA to everyone. To ensure you get it, just update the Google Play Store to v16.3.37 or more.
For those who aren’t aware, UPI is India’s homegrown protocol for transferring money and making payments. It is directly linked to a bank account and various client apps like BHIM, GPay, PhonePe, PayTM, and more can be used to initiate a transaction. Instead of relying on a physical card, UPI protocol brings authentication of transactions directly to your phone.
The transfer method is widely adopted in the country and thanks to a universal interface, it can be used for pretty much every Indian bank. Every major e-commerce service like Amazon, Flipkart, and Spotify have adopted the payment service to bolster sales.
In fact, UPI has overtaken debit card transactions by volume and value according to The Reserve Bank of India. This minor addition is sure to get a lot of traction, in turn discouraging app piracy.
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