India

This Indian brand has launched a pop-up camera phone and something’s fishy

If everyone’s doing it, why not?

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The pop-up camera design has been trending for quite some time now and so far we’ve seen OPPO, Vivo, and Honor lead the pack. Now, an Indian brand wants to make a mark and has launched a wide array of phones at MWC 2019. And, one of them features a sliding pop-up selfie camera.

Centric is an Indian smartphone maker we haven’t heard much about. But, the company is at MWC 2019 and has launched five new phones in the budget segment. One of them is the Centric S1, and there’s something weird about the phone.


Remember the Vivo NEX? It was the first phone to feature a sliding camera module and was launched in the second half of 2018. The Centric S1 looks eerily similar to the NEX. In fact, except for minor specification modifications, the two look alike from the outside.

It has a 6.39-inch Full HD AMOLED display and the brand claims a screen-to-body ratio of 92 percent. The display houses an in-display fingerprint scanner for authentication and also supports face unlock.

The phone is powered by a MediaTek P70 Helio processor, paired with 4GB or 6GB RAM, depending on the variant. Internal storage is available in 64GB or 128GB, and supports expandable storage via a microSD card.

The pop-up module features an 8-megapixel selfie camera, while the rear houses a 16-megapixel primary sensor and 5-megapixel secondary sensor. Backing these internals is a 3800mAh battery. Thankfully, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie out of the box.

Centric is calling its fast charging solution “Pump Express 3.0” and claims it can charge 50 percent of the battery in just 20 minutes. The phone starts at a price of US$ 310, though availability hasn’t been announced yet.

India

Moto E6s launches with interchangeable back covers

It was first announced at IFA 2019

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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.

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Enterprise

India’s richest man is giving away free HD TVs

He’s selling something more valuable

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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.

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Apps

Indians can now use UPI to make purchases on Play Store

Because debit cards are too old school

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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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