The Indian government has decided to hike customs duty on imported mobile phones from 15 to 20 percent in a move designed to protect local manufacturing. The higher tariffs take effect from April 1.
The move, which will make imported devices more expensive, follows less than two months after the country raised the import duty from 10 percent to 15 percent. The new hike comes amid the nations annual Budget Session when the coming year’s finances are declared. This move will affect Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel lineups the most. Luckily, we shouldn’t be seeing any price hike on the iPhone SE because it is assembled in India.
Apple has been trying to assemble its devices in India but has always found itself in some bureaucratic hurdle. Apple has been negotiating with the Indian government for lower tariffs on certain components, but the increased duties are still not in its favor.
The increase on import duties is designed to promote local manufacturing. The moves taken by the government to ensure local sourcing have started paying off though; multiple companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, and BlackBerry have started making and assembling phones in India to avoid the high import duty and also further gain the benefits the government has to offer under the “Make in India” scheme. The fact that the phones are sourced in India is often a point of emphasis for these companies and another marketing point to the consumer.
A senior industry executive told the Economic Times that smartphone makers may decide to absorb a part of the duty increase because Apple had increased iPhone prices by an average 3.5 percent in December after the government had raised import duties by five percent.
Last year, Apple supplier Wistron started producing iPhone SE models in India.
Around 75 percent of all cellphones sold in India were assembled in the country in 2017, said Tarun Pathak, an analyst at Counterpoint Research to CNN.
Realme 5 series launches with quad-camera setup
Affordable, yet powerful
Realme and Xiaomi have been on a launch spree this year, each trying to undercut the other. The two are focused on grabbing as much market share as possible and have practically taken over the affordable segment. Realme is back with another set of offering, the Realme 5 and 5 Pro.
The Realme 5 series has been launched in India and shall be available in other international markets soon. This comes just a day before Xiaomi is scheduled to launch the Mi A3.
To start with, the phone has a new design that imitates holographic color with texture. The sides are gently curved and two color options are available — Crystal Green and Crystal Blue.
The front has a 6.3-inch Full HD LCD display with a claimed screen-to-body ratio of more almost 91 percent. The notch is smaller and houses the front camera as well as a sensor array. The complete design is splash resistant but lacks an IP rating.
Powering the phone is an octa-core Snapdragon 712 processor with a dedicated AI-engine. It has up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage that’s expandable via a micro SD card. For gaming enhancement, Hyperboost 2.0 is a software feature that improves refreshing and frame drops.
48MP camera on a quad-camera setup
The rear has a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front gets a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. The software comes with various shooting modes like Nightscape, Chromaboost, and auto HDR.
Backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery that supports VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge. The phone runs on ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box.
Pricing and availability
It’s available in three memory configurations. The 4GB+64GB option costs INR 13,999 the 6GB+64GB variant costs INR 14,999 and the 8GB+128GB variant costs INR 16,999. They’ll be going on sale from September 4 via Flipkart and other partner channels.
On the other hand, the Realme 5 comes with a similar design language, but sports a 6.5-inch HD+ display. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 665 processor with 4GB RAM in the top offering.
The quad-camera array consists of a 12-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front gets a 13-megapixel selfie clicker and all other software features remain same. Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery.
It’ll also be available in three options. The first one comes with 3GB+32GB configuration and costs INR 9,999 the 4GB+64GB option costs INR 10,999, and the 4GB+128GB unit costs INR 11,999. It’ll be available from August 27 also via Flipkart and other partner channels.
OPPO Reno 2 with improved camera will launch soon
Here’s everything you need to know
OPPO has confirmed it’ll be launching the Reno 2 on August 28 in India. For now, the brand has revealed it’ll have a quad-camera setup on the rear and one of the lenses will be able to deliver 20x optical zoom.
The teaser also confirmed the phone will sport a Sharkfin pop-up camera, just like the first generation Reno. It swings up from one side and looks a lot more attractive than a small square pop-up module.
Although the launch is scheduled for India, we’re confident the phone will be available in other international markets soon.
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition, on the other hand, has a triple rear camera setup at the back, while the base variant only houses a dual rear camera setup. Hence, the Reno 2 will be quite an upgrade if the camera is your priority.
It’s unclear whether the Reno 2’s 20x zoom will be hybrid, digital, or periscope, functionality-wise. The previous offering came with a 6x periscope camera, 10x hybrid zoom, and 60x digital zoom.
— OPPO India (@oppomobileindia) August 16, 2019
A similar setup is also available on Huawei’s P30 Pro, but optical zoom is limited to 5x. With the new Reno-series, OPPO intends to grab the premium market. We expect the brand to release multiple variants of the phone to improve reach across every price bracket.
For the affordable price bracket, OPPO’s sister company Realme has been doing exceptionally well in developing markets. The Chinese-brand has been launching upper mid-range phones in India for quite some time but hasn’t been able to make a significant mark yet.
Netflix’s Sacred Games 2 is now live
The only show you should be watching right now!
Netflix entered the streaming market with a range of shows and movies. Back then, its collection was best-in-class. But other distribution companies soon joined in and Netflix started losing its edge. To keep up with the trend, Netflix Originals were created and the rest is history.
Shows like Narcos, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Crown, and many more have been instant hits. Their production quality and the cast is a cut above, and even though the company has poured billions, returns over a long-term outlook have been positive.
But, these shows hugely cater to English-speaking markets. For diverse regions like India, the brand is on a spree to create regional originals and a breakthrough came in 2018 with Sacred Games.
The show takes you through the streets of Mumbai and perfectly portrays the local police, culture, and even history. While there are tonnes of shows and movies about the mafia, none have been able to perfectly depict it due to broadcast censoring.
Netflix has an edge here because language or sexual censorship doesn’t apply to internet streaming. And, streaming services have decided to leverage this. India’s youth have been fond of American shows due to the same reason, and now, they have more relatable content to cherish.
According to reports, Netflix has invested nearly INR 100 crore (US$ 14 million) on Sacred Games 2, which is said to be the highest any streaming service has put in any original content in India.
Netflix also has the cheapest available plan in India that starts at just INR 199 (US$ 2.8) per month. With increasing competition from Prime Video and Hotstar, a lot of hopes bank on the premiere of Sacred Games 2.
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