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Chinese phone brands are (unsurprisingly) taking over Asia

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In the latest well duh news of the week, Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo are doing incredibly well in the two most important markets of Asia.

The metrics come from independent analyst company Canalys, which recently released smartphone shipment numbers for both China and India for the second quarter of 2017.

Let’s start with India:

Samsung still has a sizeable lead with minor growth compared to the second quarter of 2016. The bigger story, though, is the incredible growth of Xiaomi, Vivo, and OPPO during the same time span.

The three Chinese juggernauts are crushing the competition with their low- to mid-range offerings and expanding portfolios. Xiaomi, in particular, quadrupled its shipments compared to the same period last year.

Lenovo is simply hanging around, but is still making a big enough dent to take on Samsung’s 25 percent market share. It wouldn’t be surprising to see one of these brands overtake Sammy by next year, unless the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 is able to hold down the fort.

As for China, the stats Canalys provided paint a slightly different picture. Here are the shipment rankings for Q2 2017:

  1. Huawei — 23 million
  2. OPPO — 21 million
  3. Vivo — 16 million
  4. Xiaomi — 15 million

While not reflected on the list, the biggest story here is Xiaomi overtaking Apple to take the fourth spot in China. This was made possible by a 60 percent growth for Xiaomi year-over-year.

Do note, however, that shipment numbers don’t reflect profit. So, although the stats here look great, the reality is only Apple is making large profits from all the sales, with Samsung and Huawei far behind.

It’s gotten so bad, Huawei recently claimed to have given up on entry-level smartphones because of the small margins.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is ‘giving up’ on cheap phones

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Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ pricing and availability in the Philippines

Galaxy phones are getting more expensive

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Samsung just announced their greatest and latest Galaxy flagships — the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+.

Unlike last year, the two new Galaxy phones don’t just differ in size. The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the two with a 5.8-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and a 3000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S9+ has a larger 6.2-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and beefier 3500mAh battery, hence its “Plus” moniker. But the Galaxy S9+ is not just bigger; it also has a dual rear camera setup like on the Galaxy Note 8. The rest of the specs are identical on both, but you’ll have to weigh the advantages of the Galaxy S9+ before making the choice.

Beginning February 27, you can pre-order the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ starting at PhP 45,990 and PhP 52,990, respectively, for the base storage configuration of 64GB storage. If you want more internal storage, only the Galaxy S9+ gets the options: 128GB for PhP 55,990 and 256GB for PhP 60,990.

We were told that the 128GB variant is exclusively available for pre-order, so you better start making early reservations if you want that model.

As for the colors, only Midnight Black and Lilac Purple are available for the Galaxy S9. Again, the Galaxy S9+ gets a slight advantage over its smaller sibling with the addition of Coral Blue as one of its color options that’ll be locally available.

The new Galaxy S9 phones will hit Philippine stores on March 16.

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MWC 2018

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know

All about refinement

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No pair of smartphones make a bigger splash at the start of each year than Samsung’s Galaxy S line.

Year after year, whatever Samsung launches during Mobile World Congress (or after, like what happened in 2017), people all around the world take notice, while rival brands take notes.

For 2018, we have the Galaxy S9 and S9+. If this pair looks awfully familiar, we can’t blame you.

Samsung chose to refine last year’s winning software and hardware formula for an even better overall experience. Let’s start with the basics.

Design

There are two models: The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the two with a 5.8-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and 3000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S9+ has a larger 6.2-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and beefier 3500mAh battery.

Turn the phones around and you’ll find relocated fingerprint sensors. They’re no longer beside the rear camera and are placed in a more convenient spot below to prevent accidental smudges on the camera lens.

Look again and you’ll see that only the larger model has a dual-camera setup. Both sensors have 12 megapixels and optical image stabilization like on the Galaxy Note 8, with one lens having 2x optical zoom.

What’s special here — and this applies to the smaller Galaxy S9, as well — is the Dual Aperture feature. This means the primary shooter can shift between apertures f/1.5 and f/2.4. The former creates a larger opening and brings in more light, whereas the latter is sharper in bright environments.

To everyone’s delight, there’s still a 3.5mm audio port on board and IP68-rated water and dust resistance, as well as a new set of AKG Dolby Atmos stereo speakers.

Software

It’s in the software where the Galaxy S9 pair really shine. All the features of the predecessors are carried over, including the fast login methods (iris scanner and face recognition), wireless charging, Live Focus mode (only available on the larger model’s dual cameras), and Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant.

New this time around are the software tricks you can do with the cameras.

The rear camera can shoot at 960 frames per second on a 720p resolution. That’s four times faster than what the Galaxy S8 could do. And to make things easier, there’s automatic motion detection to trigger the slow-mo mode while shooting. When you’re done, you can add background music with a few taps.

But the real highlight is AR Emoji. By using the 8-megapixel front-facing camera, you can create your very own emoji from a selfie. You may then turn it into a sticker to send to friends, or create a full video using your facial expressions and voice.

Finally, there’s Beautiful Bokeh mode, which allows you to change the shape of a subject’s background blur for even prettier portraits.

Performance

As you’d expect, you get nothing but the best specifications from the Galaxy S9. Both variants have a top-shelf processor — either a Snapdragon 845 or in-house Exynos 9810, depending on your region. Rest assured, they’re equally powerful.

For memory and storage, the Galaxy S9 only gets one version: 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. If you choose the Galaxy S9+, it comes with 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of storage, but if you pre-order, a 256GB storage model is available, as well.

Price and Availability

There’ll be four colors to choose from: Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple, and Coral Blue.

We’ll update this space as we learn more about pricing and availability per region.

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MWC 2018

New Nokia 6 goes global, gets Zeiss optics and pure Android Oreo

A midrange phone with premium design

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Nokia first launched the Nokia 6 in China before it was introduced to the world, and the same thing just happened to the second-generation Nokia 6 — but it received an upgrade.

The new Nokia 6 is built on the same design of its predecessor and is crafted from a single block of 6000 series aluminum with a two-tone anodization process. It has a seamless unibody with a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass at the front protecting the 5.5-inch Full HD display. The body is much like the old Nokia 6 and it can surely still crack some nuts.

The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor with up to 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. Thankfully, it now uses a USB-C connector with a fast-charging feature for its 3000mAh battery.

The rear camera on the international variant of the new Nokia 6 has Zeiss optics, unlike the generic lens used for its China counterpart. The resolution remains the same though at 16 megapixels, and same goes for the 8-megapixel selfie camera.

Nokia is still keen on pushing their “Bothie” feature for using the back and front cameras at the same time, which is ideal while broadcasting live to social networks. Paired with Nokia spatial audio capture, you should be able to produce better video content on the phone.

The best thing about the Nokia phones is the pure Android goodness. For the new Nokia 6, it already has Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Although, Nokia added face recognition unlock to keep their new device up to date with the latest security feature.

The new Nokia 6 will be available to the international market by April and it’ll retail starting at EUR 279 or roughly US$ 345. The two-tone color options are black-copper, white-iron, and blue-gold.

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