India

Imported devices could get more expensive thanks to customs duty hike

iPhones to get even costlier!

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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.

India

Honor 7A and Honor 7C with dual rear cameras launch in India

A perfect package in terms of features and price?

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After launching the duo in China, Honor has now announced the Honor 7A and 7C in India.

Back in November, the Honor 7X was launched in the country and received a good response in terms of sales. The budget smartphone segment has never been this competitive; Xiaomi has the Redmi Note 5, ASUS has the ZenFone Max Pro, OPPO has the Realme 1, while Samsung too is trying its luck with the On and J series. 

The major differences between the two are in display size and their processors. As far as design is concerned, the two are identical and closely resemble their sibling, the Honor 7X. The duo ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and support Face Unlock.

The Honor 7A has a 5.7-inch HD+ LCD display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 that Honor likes to call FullView. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor backed by 3GB of RAM. On the rear, it sports a dual camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary camera. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter along with a soft LED. The device is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 132) and will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting May 29.

On the other hand, the Honor 7C consists of a 5.99-inch HD+ LCD display and the same FullView aspect ratio. It’s powered by a slightly more powerful Snapdragon 450 processor and comes with either 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage or 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It sports the same camera setup on the front as well as the back. Both devices are backed by a 3000mAh battery and fingerprint scanner on the back. The Honor 7C is priced at INR 9,999 (US$ 147) for the 32GB variant and INR 11,999 (US$ 176) for the 64GB variant. Even this device will be available from Flipkart starting May 31.

These two phones will also be available for purchase from HiHonor Online Store. Launch offers include 50GB additional free data for the Honor 7A and 100GB additional free data for the Honor 7C from Jio.

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India

Samsung launches Galaxy J6, J8, A6, and A6+ in India

Will Samsung be able to take back the market it’s losing to Xiaomi?

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Samsung announced four new devices — the Galaxy J6, J8, A6, and A6+ — at an event in Mumbai, India today. The J series duo is intended for the lower-midrange market while the A series is intended for the higher midrange.

The Infinity Display is their one common feature, meaning they have smaller bezels and chins just like Samsung’s flagship, the S9. The physical home and back keys are gone while the fingerprint scanner has been shifted to the back. All of them also feature a soft LED flash on the front, as well as Samsung Mall and other Samsung-exclusive apps.

The budget Samsung Galaxy J6 has been launched in two variants: 4GB RAM and 64GB storage or 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It has a 5.6-inch HD+ (720p) display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. It’s powered by an octa-core Exynos processor backed by a 3000mAh battery. On the rear is a 13-megapixel camera while the front sports an 8-megapixel sensor. The first variant is priced at INR 13,990 (US$ 205) followed by the second one at INR 16,490 (US$ 241). It will be available from Flipkart and Paytm starting May 22. Launch offers include cash back on ICICI Bank Credit and Debit cards, and Paytm.

The Samsung Galaxy J8 features a 6-inch HD+ AMOLED display and is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor. It has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage along with a 3500mAh battery. It owns a dual-camera setup on the rear consisting of a 16- and 5-megapixel setup along with a 16-megapixel front camera. It’s priced at INR 18,990 (US$ 278) and will go on sale from July.

The Samsung Galaxy A6 has a 5.6-inch HD+ AMOLED display and is backed by an octa-core Exynos processor. On the optics front, it ships with a 16-megapixel camera on the rear with an f/1.7 aperture, and a 16-megapixel front camera with an f/1.9 aperture. It has 4GB of RAM and storage options of 32GB or 64GB. It sports a 3000mAh battery and metal unibody construction. It’s priced at INR 21,990 (US$ 322) for the 32GB variant and INR 22,990 (US$ 337) for the 64GB variant. It will be available on Amazon.in and offline retailers starting May 22.

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ has a 6-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display and runs on a Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 35000mAh battery. It has a dual rear camera setup consisting of 16-megapixel main and 5-megapixel secondary sensors, along with a 24-megapixel front camera. It has been priced at INR 25,990 (US$ 381) and is available from Amazon.in starting May 22 along with the A6.

All the phones run on Android Oreo out of the box and are assembled under the Make in India campaign.

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India

Vivo V9 is now available in Sapphire Blue color

It will be available via Amazon.in from May 21

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In March, Vivo announced the V9, a perfectly priced midrange device aimed at developing markets of Southeast Asia. One of the most striking features of the device is its high screen-to-body ratio and obviously, the notch.

Earlier, the phone was available in two colors, Champagne Gold and Pearl Black. Vivo has now launched a new color variant, Sapphire Blue. It will be available from all offline partner stores starting May 18 and online sale will start from May 21 via Amazon.in and Vivo eStore.

Speaking on the availability of the Vivo V9 Sapphire Blue, Kenny Zeng, Chief Marketing Officer of Vivo India, said, “The new Vivo V9 Sapphire Blue is a perfect combination of premium design and impeccable performance. The new variant presents our consumers with a smartphone that not only matches up to their daily usage demands, but also their style quotient.”

Keep in mind, the hardware remains the same and only a new color is available. The phone has a 6.3-inch 1080p display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. Powering the device is a Snapdragon 626 processor along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It is equipped with a triple-card slot, meaning you can use two SIM cards as well as a microSD card simultaneously.

On the camera front, it sports 16- and 5-megapixel sensors on the rear and a huge 24-megapixel selfie camera on the front that comes with AI capabilities. The cameras are capable of recording 4K video and other photography features like portrait mode, bokeh shots, live photos, and beauty mode.

For authentication, it sports a fingerprint scanner on the back and also comes with face unlock. Backing these internals is a 3260mAh battery; sadly, there is no support for fast charging. It runs on Funtouch OS 4.0 that’s based on Android 8.1 Oreo. Vivo says the phone’s AI can help boost performance over time through smart storage management and app launching based on user behavior.

See Also: V9 Velvet Red hands-on: Red and rocking it

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