Accessories

Fossil’s new hybrid smartwatch has an always-on e-ink display

It’s called the Fossil Hybrid HR

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Smartphone manufacturers originally saw smartwatches as an extension of the phone instead of a beautiful time-telling accessory that you wear on your wrist. If you’re a watch-wearing person, there was absolutely no reason to buy into the tech at the time. The first few models looked hideous and had terrible battery life.

Years later, fashion brands and watchmakers like Fossil saved the day and made buying a smartwatch seem like a good idea. Along with the usual Wear OS smartwatches, the brand also introduced hybrid smartwatches a few years back. These are the typical circular mechanical watches with removable batteries that you don’t have to charge, with a few useful Bluetooth functions.

In 2019, Fossil’s new generation of hybrid smartwatches feature an always-on e-ink display. This allows the watch to display more information like your heart rate, number of steps, weather information, and notifications.

While getting more information can be a good thing, having a display also means having a built-in rechargeable battery — 55 mAh to be exact. Fossil says it takes around two weeks before it needs charging, and about an hour for a full charge. Previous generations of Fossil Q Hybrid last 6-12 months before the batteries needed replacing.

Like previous generations, you can still do functions like control your music through the buttons of the watch, and change the straps as they come in standard 18mm or 22mm sizes.

At launch there are five Fossil Hybrid HR models — those with leather straps retail for US$195 and US$215 for stainless steel.

Accessories

vivo introduces TWS Earphone Neo

Joining the TWS party!

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Another one has joined the TWS party!

vivo is launching its TWS Earphone Neo — a companion to the upcoming X50 series. It’s built to provide a stellar audio experience for everyday music lovers. It also features voice-activated smart controls and AI noise cancelling for clearer phone calls.

Neo runs Qualcomm’s 4th-generation TWS platform named QCC3046, offering low latency, high precision, and stable listening experience. Moreover, it’s equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.2 technology, reaching a maximum of 10-meter range.

This pair of wireless earphones carries a design-centric compact body. It has a 14.2mm ultra-large driver unit and a bio-fiber composite diaphragm, promising to deliver enhanced audio and powerful sound.

In 2012, vivo pioneered the Hi-Fi chip technology, being the first smartphone to incorporate the chip to deliver unparalleled audio experience. Together with the X50 series, the TWS Earphone Neo is the realization of vivo’s decade-long investments and commitment to improving consumers’ lives with their devices.

Pricing and availability of the TWS Earphone are yet to be announced.

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Accessories

Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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Accessories

Apple moving its AirPods assembly line to Vietnam

iPhone production is next in line

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Apple has started shifting its iPhone production line to India but it doesn’t end there. With the ongoing trade war between China and the US, more companies are slowly finding alternatives — such is the case with Apple moving AirPods assembly to Vietnam.

Asia Nikkei‘s report indicated that Apple has already done production trials of the AirPods line in Vietnam last year. Just this month, numerous buyers (including a MacForums user) have pointed out the sudden change. The ‘Assembled in Vietnam’ engraving at the back of the AirPods Pro is prominent since loyal users know that Apple products are assembled in China.

A Reddit user initially shared his concern about the product’s authenticity, even before the mentioned tweet started gaining attention.

It says mine are made in Vietnam but all other ones say China ? Should I be worried or it has nothing to do with it?? from r/AirpodsPro

Even a staff from The Verge shared a photo of her recently bought AirPods Pro with the same engraving.

Photo by Kara Verlaney (The Verge)

A follow-up report stated that the mass production of the new AirPods units took place in Vietnam last March. Despite the pandemic, they were able to secure permits from Vietnamese officials to bring in engineers for better and smoother production.

Some of the old EarPods were also assembled in Vietnam, which means the country isn’t exactly new to assembling Apple’s audio accessories. Even Apple’s long-awaited AirPods Studio might be produced there as well.

A recently-published article by DigiTimes states that other than India, they’re also moving the iPhone production line to Vietnam. It makes sense considering Foxconn has already built factories in the northern province of Bac Giang.

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