India

Google launches Home and Home Mini smart speakers in India

Hindi support will be added to Google Home speakers later this year

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In a press event in New Delhi, Google announced the launch of the Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers in India. The niche smart home market in India generated quite an interest last year with the launch of Amazon Echo devices powered by Alexa.

They will be available to buy online in the country exclusively via Flipkart, and will also be made available via offline stores. The speakers will support Google Play Music, YouTube, Netflix, Saavn, and Gaana. Hindi support will be added to Google Home speakers later this year and there are no immediate plans to bring the larger Google Home Max speaker to India at the moment.


Google Home is priced at INR 9,999 (US$ 154) while the Mini retails at INR 4,499 (US$ 70). Customers buying the Google Home or Google Home Mini from Flipkart will get a free JioFi router and when buying a Google Home from a Reliance Digital or MyJio stores, a JioFi router will be included along with 100GB of 4G data worth INR 2,499 (US$ 39). This offer is valid until April 30. Google is also offering six months of free subscription to Google Play Music with both the Google Home and the Home Mini.

Google Home sports a high-excursion speaker with a 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators. It will only be available with a White body, but come with different-colored speaker material — the default it ships with is Slate fabric. The speaker also supports Chromecast, letting users stream movies, shows, and music onto their connected TVs or Google Cast speakers.

The Google Home Mini has four lights on top, which show the speaker is working and turn orange when the mic is muted. There is a mic mute switch near the power (micro-USB) port on the back. Its speaker is touted to deliver 360-degree sound and bears a 40mm driver, while its mic supports far-field voice recognition.

While Google has shared that Google Home works with over 1,500 smart home devices from 200-plus brands, only a few like TP-Link, D-Link, and Philips Hue are popular in India — although still expensive with limited mainstream adoption.

India

Redmi K20 is the next affordable flagship killer

Possible successor to the Pocophone F1

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Without a doubt, the OnePlus 7 Pro is an impressive piece of hardware. From the smooth display to the flagship-level specs, you can’t deny that it’s a seriously good deal for its price.

One person, however, had different take right after OnePlus’ launch. Xiaomi’s Global VP Manu Kumar Jain congratulated OnePlus for the launch on Twitter, but followed it up by mentioning his company’s own flagship killer:


It’s rumored that Xiaomi’s supposed “Flagship Killer 2.0” is the Redmi K20, which was already confirmed by executives to come soon. It has also been speculated that the Redmi K20 is the successor to the widely popular Pocophone F1, and may be named the Pocophone F2 in some regions.

Besides the model name and the possibility of a K20 Pro variant, not much has been revealed about the Redmi flagship. Until now, that is. Newly leaked specs provide more hype for the upcoming Redmi powerhouse.

It all starts with the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which follows up on the Snapdragon 845 of the Pocophone F1. That’s complemented by a 6.39-inch 1080p OLED display and 4000mAh battery with 27W fast charging.

While those are expected of a flagship killer, what may be more interesting is the camera setup. Not only will the K20 pair have a triple-camera setup on the rear — consisting of regular, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses — but it’ll come with a pop-up selfie camera, as well. By extension, that would provide an all-screen front, free of notches or punch-holes.

India appears to be the initial market for the Redmi K20, similar to the Pocophone’s marketing approach. There has been no hinted pricing yet, but based on Xiaomi’s usual strategy, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a starting price hovering around US$ 400.

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OnePlus 7 series hits India with attractive prices

Taking the best from other flagships

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OnePlus is often mocked for consistently increasing the prices of its offerings. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. The company has followed a standard cycle of launching one flagship phone in May, followed by a slightly incremented T-branded phone at year end.

This year, OnePlus has launched two phones, the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro. The OnePlus 7 ensures the price doesn’t get any higher. It is on par with the previously launched OnePlus 6T. For those who are looking for more, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a top-tier flagship with new design and beefier internals.


Both are powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor and house 6GB RAM as the starting option. They also ship with OxygenOS based on Android 9 Pie. This is where the similarities end, however.

The OnePlus 7 Pro gets a curved 6.7-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. According to OnePlus, the higher refresh rate offers a 50 percent smoother experience you’ll fall in love with. Even the design has been revamped and the back feels premium with a gradual gradient.

The rear gets a combination of 48-megapixel primary sensor, 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens. The 16-megapixel front camera is housed in a motorized pop-up casing. OnePlus is confident about its robust quality. The company also touted an industry-high rear camera DxOMark score of 111.

Lastly, these internals are backed by a mighty 4000mAh battery coupled with 30W Warp Charging technology.

It starts from INR 48,999 (US$ 700) for the base variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The 8GB+256GB option costs INR 52,999 (US$ 750). Meanwhile, the 12GB+256GB comes at INR 57,999 (US$ 825).

The OnePlus 7, on the other hand, gets a conventional 60Hz Full HD+ display with a water drop notch. The back has a 48-megapixel camera along with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. Powering it is a slightly smaller 3700mAh battery with 20W Warp Charging.

The base variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage starts from INR 32,999 (US$ 470). The other option with an 8GB+256GB configuration costs INR 37,999 (US$ 540).

Both will be available for purchase starting tomorrow via pop-up sales and later via Amazon.in, OnePlus’ website, offline Croma stores, and Reliance Digital.

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Lenovo announces an affordable smartwatch for fitness enthusiasts

It has 20 days of battery life!

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Xiaomi is known for making class-leading budget phones. However, the brand has also captured a massive wearable market in developing markets with the Mi Band. While Fitbit caters to the premium segment, there’s a huge demand for affordable fitness bands or watches.

Lenovo launched the Spectra and Cardio smart bands last year. Now, the brand is back with a new smartwatch. Dubbed EGO, it’s a digital wearable that brings fitness tracking at a budget price. The core features include a claimed 20-day battery life, heart-rate tracking, sleep monitoring, and handy notifications.


When compared to other bands, the EGO looks more rugged. It comes equipped with a classic sports watch casing. Additionally, it’s water resistant up to 50 meters. It can also be used as a swim tracker.

On the notifications side, it can display alerts about phone calls, text messages, and social networking apps. Unlike other offerings in this segment, the EGO comes with a unique remote camera operation. You can click a picture on your phone by tapping your watch.

According to Lenovo, it can detect activities like cycling and running to deliver accurate heart-rate readings. Lastly, an in-built alarm system can trigger vibrations.

The EGO pairs well with iOS and Android phones. It connects via the Lenovo Life app. It weighs just 45 grams and consists of a 42mm anti-shine band that can be easily swapped with other third-party bands.

The smartwatch costs just INR 1,999 (US$ 29) in India and will be available from May 10. For now, it’ll be selling via Flipkart and Croma retail stores.

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