India

India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines may get better HTC U11

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When we wrote about the HTC U11’s launch last month, we were a little vague about what variants each region is getting. But thanks to a convincing leak, we can pinpoint a few countries getting the higher-end version of the HTC flagship.

Based on this Tweet by LlabTooFeR, nine countries are on the preliminary list of those getting the HTC U11 equipped with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage.

So, those are mostly Asian countries.

This model is a step up from the more common version which has 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage, and will ship in Europe and around America.

While it’s nice to get the best of the best, the next concern is how much more these markets will have to spend for the clearly more expensive model.

The HTC U11 is already starting at $649 for the lower-end variant, and when you factor in shipping costs and import taxes, we’re looking at potentially eye-popping price tags for each of these regions.

Availability is still a mystery for most of the list, but rollout in the US has already begun.

SEE ALSO: HTC’s U11 flagship beats Google Pixel at DxOMark

[irp posts=”14123″ name=”HTC’s U11 flagship beats Google Pixel at DxOMark”]

India

India finally approves 5G trials, sidelines Chinese vendors

Jio will also test its indigenous technology

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The Indian government has allowed India’s top three telecom operators Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea to carry out 5G trials in India for six months. The telcos are barred from utilizing equipment from Chinese vendors.

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) said that the telcos can rely on technology providers like South Korea’s Samsung, Swedish Ericsson, and Finnish Nokia. It also said that Jio was allowed to use its indigenous technology to carry out the trials. Huawei and ZTE are the two major Chinese companies that are affected by the clause.

For now, the mid-band (3.2Ghz to 3.67Ghz) and millimeter-wave band (24.25Ghz to 28.50Ghz) are available. Additionally, telcos are allowed to use their existing spectrum. The companies have been warned that commercial utilization is prohibited. The tests are divided between urban and rural India, and the security of the network is of utmost importance.

“The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing 5G spectrum propagation characteristics especially in the Indian context; model tuning and evaluation of chosen equipment and vendors; testing of indigenous technology; testing of applications (such as tele-medicine, tele-education, augmented/ virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, etc.); and to test 5G phones and devices,” the ministry said.

No to China

The exclusion of Chinese vendors isn’t surprising as the government has maintained an anti-China stance since the mid of 2020. Due to escalating border crisis, more than a hundred Chinese apps including TikTok and PUBG: Mobile were banned. Since then, state-owned telecom operator BSNL is barred from sourcing Chinese equipment in its network. Private operators have followed a similar strategy to avoid heat from the government.

5G roll-out has been delayed in the country due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic and lack of demand for a premium market. The average revenue per user in India lowest in the world, making it difficult for companies to sustain amid decade-long tax disputes, discount wars, and expensive spectrum. However, the industry has picked up pace in the last year as the demand for wireless connectivity boomed, providing a much-needed buffer to beleaguered telcos like Vodafone-Idea.

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Health

Google will fund 250,000 vaccine doses via an international alliance

Recipients include the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and more

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Internet giant Google has announced it’ll be funding 250,000 doses of the COVAX vaccine via GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The funding shall come through Google.org, the company’s humanitarian foundation.

GAVI is a public-private partnership that aims to improve immunization drives in developing countries. It currently consists of developing economies, donor governments, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and World Bank. Furthermore, private foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also a part of the alliance.

Google will also be leading an employee-giving campaign to secure more vaccine vials with the GAVI Matching Fund and Google.org matching the donation to triple the impact. The Philippines will be a prime beneficiary of the proposal, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, and Laos.

The Mountain View-based company will also offer its technology solution to the alliance to accelerate global distribution. The announcement comes at a crucial time because India is experiencing a miserable second wave of Coronavirus. Being a top vaccine maker, the surge in local cases has prompted India to intensify inoculation of its own citizens. Many experts are worried that this could disrupt vaccine supply to other countries, in turn, extending the pandemic and its associated risks.

“Since February, we’ve been providing vaccine-related insights to help GAVI better educate communities about the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve used that information to create educational content that reaches more than half a million people each day. We’re now committing US$ 15 million in Ad Grants to help Gavi build on these efforts and amplify their fundraising campaign,” Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer at Google Health, in a blog post.

So far, the Philippines has provided more than 1.7 million doses, and 214,000 people are now vaccinated. While masks and social distancing are temporary measures, a vaccine is touted as the safest way to ensure a normal future devoid of lockdowns and stringent border controls.

Read Also: Google will spend $150 million to promote coronavirus vaccine education

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India

realme postpones May 4 launch in India amid COVID-19 crisis

300,000 new cases are being detected every day

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realme has announced it’ll be postponing its May 4 launch event due to the ongoing Coronavius-induced crisis in India. The Chinese brand was going to launch a host of new products, including a smart TV.

The launch is now postponed indefinitely, and realme will reveal a new date once the on-ground situation stabilizes. India has consistently added close to 300,000 new cases in the last week, and its healthcare infrastructure is struggling to keep up.

In a fresh tweet, realme India CEO, Madhav Sheth, has confirmed that the company is postponing upcoming launches and anniversary celebrations as India battles unprecedented challenges. He also urged everyone to follow Coronavirus safety measures like masking up, avoiding crowds, and maintaining social distance.

realme was expected to launch the Realme X7 Max and a 43-inch 4K smart TV. The former is said to be a rebranded realme GT Neo, which was unveiled in China recently.

 

Lockdown

Delhi and Mumbai, India’s primary hubs, are now under a severe lockdown aiming to curb the spread. realme hasn’t offered a new date since it’s impossible to gauge when the second wave ends. realme’s anniversary celebrations are held in May every year, which also stand canceled for now.

For now, industrial movement in the country has largely remained untouched. But sales have taken a massive hit as offline stores are entirely closed in many states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. Adding to this, many state governments have barred e-commerce delivery of non-essential goods, making it harder for people to buy new phones amid the restrictions.

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become critical tools for help in the absence of government authorities. Users are helping each other get hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and medicines like Remedesivir. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that these platforms have turned into an unofficial Coronavirus helpline.

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