India

Forget iPhone 11, Apple’s secret weapon is the iPhone XR

OnePlus and Samsung should be worried

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Continuing the legacy, Apple announced the iPhone 11 series in September and response has been widely positive. The phones pack the latest A13 Bionic chipset, exponentially improved cameras, and best-in-class display.

However, Apple’s secret weapon is a generation old iPhone that is often perceived to be low-cost. In developing regions like India, the latest offerings are extremely expensive and amid a global slowdown, demand has remained unchanged.

Apple’s secret weapon is the iPhone XR and its recently announced price-cut. The phone is now available for INR 44,990 (US$ 635), down from its launch price of INR 76,900 (US$ 1,100). And, even though it’s one-year-old, the specifications are still class-leading with an A12 processor, kick-ass single-lens camera, and smooth iOS experience.

Apple’s market share has taken a massive beating in the country due to increasing competition from OnePlus and Samsung. Being a very price-sensitive market, the iPhone XR has been selling like hotcakes since the official drop. In fact, further discounts were also available during festive sales and the device was out-of-stock in no time.

Apple is doubling down on India and has been slowly ramping up local production to avoid import duty as high as 20 percent. Older models like the iPhone 7 and iPhone X are already being sourced locally and the brand has now started with the iPhone XR.

Multiple sources confirmed to IANS that production of the iPhone XR is up and running at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai.

For years, Apple has been accused of ignoring the Indian market, but multiple developments this year have confirmed that the brand is indeed serious about establishing itself. After almost a decade of trying, the brand finally got approval to directly sell products in India and not rely on third-party vendors that are termed “Authorised Resellers”.

There have also been reports about an iPhone SE 2 launching in the first quarter of 2020 and if this materializes, India will be a primary market for the low-cost iPhone.

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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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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