India

India launches app innovation challenge after Chinese apps ban

Encouraging local developers and building an ecosystem

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India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has announced a new program to encourage local developers and bridge the gap left behind by banned services like TikTok. It’s officially called “Aatma Nirbhar App Innovation Challenge” and was unveiled by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Atma Nitrbhar means “to be independent” or “self-sufficient” in one of India’s widely used languages, Hindi. A few days ago, the Indian government announced a blanket ban on a few listed Chinese apps. Within no time, they were off the Play Store and many services like TikTok and Mobile Legends voluntarily stopped service after the ban was announced.

The App Innovation Challenge includes the promotion of existing apps as well as the development of new apps. The program is split into two tracks. The first one includes already released apps that have the potential to scale and become world-class in their segment. The second track aims to identify companies as well as individuals who can build next-generation apps for the country.

Tthe government is looking for alternative apps of the ones that remain banned. Companies will have to submit their entries by July 18 and a jury for each of the tracks shall evaluate the entries.

The challenge is available in eight categories, ranging from office productivity or work from home solutions to news and games.

The government has allocated INR 20,00,000 (US$ 26,780), INR 15,00,000 (US$ 20,085), and INR 10,00,000 (US$ 13,390) for the first three winners, respectively. Adding to this, Each sub-category winner will also be rewarded.

India has suffered high casualties amid an ongoing border dispute with China. The Coronavirus pandemic has further fueled the anti-China sentiment and the Indian government is exploring options to reduce its trade deficit with the neighboring country.

India

Samsung Galaxy M31s launches with quad-cameras and 6000mAh battery

Will this be another hot-seller?

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After six months, Samsung has announced a new successor of the Galaxy M31, dubbed Galaxy M31s. The midrange phone has gained considerable traction in India’s offline space and demand for affordable phones is on the rise. The phone shall be going up against the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and Realme 6 Pro.

It sports a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a punch-hole cut-out that Samsung likes to call Infinity-O. Protecting the display is Gorilla Glass 3. Under the hood, the phone houses an octa-core Exynos 9611 SoC with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.

On the rear is a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel macro shooter, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, a 32-megapixel camera is located on the front. The phone can further support 4K video recording, slow-mo videos, AR Doodle, and AR Emoji.

Backing these internals is a massive 6000mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging. The phone has expandable storage via microSD card, a fingerprint scanner on the side and One UI installed out-of-the-box.

The Samsung Galaxy M31s costs INR 19,499 for the 6GB+128GB option and INR 21,499 for the 8GB+128GB variant. It will be available in Mirage Black and Mirage Blue color options from August 6 via Amazon and Samsung Shop.

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India further bans 47 Chinese apps

PUBG Mobile could join the list

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A few weeks ago India announced a complete ban on 59 Chinese-origin apps. The list included popular apps like TikTok and UC Browser. Now, the Government of India has released a new list that extends the ban. In total, the country has raised red flags against 106 apps.

Sources in the government told The Indian Express that, “the problem is with the operational ethics of certain apps. This is an ongoing process. If apps qualify under the same grounds of operational ethics, then they will also come under the scanner.”

The government has cited data privacy and protection to curtail the operation of these apps. The new list includes TikTok Lite, Helo Lite, SHAREit Lite, BIGO LIVE Lite, and VFY Lite. TikTok is among the most popular apps to go under the bus and developers are swarming to bridge the vacuum left by its absence.

A few reports have alleged that the government has prepared a list of 275 apps that are currently under scrutiny. The list includes big names like PUBG Mobile, Resso, AliExpress, and more.

The government wants to encourage local companies to come up with alternatives to the banned apps. It further also announced an app challenge to motivate individual developers to come up with innovative solutions.

India and China were involved in a border dispute that resulted in the death of 20 Indian Army men. Anti-China sentiments are at an all-time high and authorities are trying to reduce their dependence on Chinese technology.

TikTok isn’t the only one that’s stuck in the crosshairs. Chinese telecom equipment maker, Huawei, is also barred from supplying 4G equipment to state-run telecom operators. The private telecom sector is also leaning towards alternatives like Ericcson, Nokia, and Samsung.

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Apple starts making top-of-the-line iPhone 11 in India

A price drop is soon expected

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India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed that Apple has started making its flagship offering, iPhone 11, in the country. Apple has gradually ramped up its assembly line in India and the iPhone XR entered production nine months ago.

Local sourcing will help the company avoid a 20 percent import duty. The sale price of the iPhone 11 is expected to reduce in the coming days as the import duty exemption will soon be passed onto the end buyer.

 

Apple has currently partnered with Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron to make iPhones in India. Previous reports have confirmed that Apple intends to reduce its reliance on China and shall be pumping close to US$ 40 billion in India as investments over the coming years.

The same plant also manufactured the previous generation iPhone SE before it was discontinued. There are plans to make the iPhone SE (2020) in India and it should commence soon. The low-cost iPhone is an essential offering for Apple in a developing country and local production will give it a further edge in terms of pricing.

India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market and pretty much every major phone maker has local sourcing available. Samsung has the world’s largest facility in Noida, OPPO also has a facility in Noida, and Xiaomi makes its phones in Sri City.

There is a rising anti-China sentiment in the country due to a fresh border conflict and many groups have called for a boycott of Chinese-made goods. However, analysts have confirmed that smartphone sales haven’t been affected yet due to their Chinese 0rigins.

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

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