India

India now the world’s second-largest smartphone market

It finally surpassed the US

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With a population of 1.3 billion, India is the second-most populated country in the world. The total number of population in India presents an opportunity for tech companies willing to break ground with their products. The proliferation of tech brands in the country testifies to the Indians’ demand for new tech products — particularly, smartphones.

Over the years, the smartphone market in India grew significantly. According to the latest statistics from Counterpoint Research, India finally surpassed the US to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world.

India’s growth remained while smartphone shipments remained flat globally.

The total smartphone shipment in India reached 158 million in 2019 with a 7% year-on-year growth.  The bulk of this shipment came from Indian buyers looking for midrange smartphones with flagship capabilities. These buyers, as the research notes, are buying these devices as their first or second smartphone.

Photo lifted from Counterpoint Research

Xiaomi leads the way

Chinese tech companies saw a strong surge in India and drove the majority of smartphone shipments. Xiaomi, in particular, leads the pack with 28% of smartphones shipped coming from the company. The company now has to prioritize the Indian market, as the market finally became its largest last 2019.

Samsung (24%), Vivo (16%), and OPPO (9%) also did well last 2019. Interestingly, Realme’s growth in India has been staggering — from 3% in 2018 to 10% in 2019, the company registered a 255% year-on-year growth.

Other companies like ASUS and OnePlus also grew significantly on an annual basis. ASUS registered a 67% growth while OnePlus at 29% growth.

While budget devices remain popular among Indians, the market for midrange and flagship devices is also growing. One company to benefit from this growth is Apple, wherein the lowered entry price of iPhone 11 compared to iPhone XR made it a hit among Indians with deep pockets.

Feature phones are declining

While the Indian smartphone market grew significantly, the market for feature phones dropped significantly. The market saw a steep 38% year-on-year decline during the last quarter of 2019. Counterpoint Research blames this to a slow down in shipments from a leading feature phone maker, Reliance Jio.

Surely, the Indian smartphone continues to be a competitive market for most tech companies. The growing adoption of smartphones in India means that there is no slowing down for its market. Perhaps, there will come a time when smartphone shipments in India may even surpass that of China’s.

India

OnePlus Band is now official with AMOLED display, 14 day battery life

Challenging the Mi Band 5

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OnePlus has finally made a debut in the wearable segment, and while the OnePlus Watch has leaked in the past, the first device is actually the OnePlus Band. Focusing on fitness, the band aims to deliver a feature-packed experience at an affordable price.

The band works with Android out-of-the-box, and iOS support is expected to come soon. On the front is a 1.1-inch AMOLED display that’ll help you navigate the interface. An array of sensors includes a blood oxygen sensor, a three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, and an optical heart-rate sensor.

The OnePlus Band gets many watch faces and personalization options through the OnePlus Health app. Coming to fitness, it has 13 pre-installed modes that include outdoor run, indoor run, fat burn run, outdoor walk, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, cricket, badminton, pool swimming, yoga, and free training.

It’s certified for 5ATM and IP68 water resistance, and it has Bluetooth 5.0 support for seamless connections. Other nifty features include displaying notifications, as well as music playback and camera shutter controls.

The OnePlus Band packs a 100mAh battery that is touted to deliver up to 14 days of usage on a single charge. It’s priced at INR 2,499 (US$ 34), and sales are limited to the Indian market for now. Color options include Black, Navy, and Tangerine Gray.

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Gaming

FAU-G is an Indian alternative to PUBG Mobile, launches on January 26

FAU-G stands for Fearless and United Guard

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PUBG Mobile has been a global sensation, and players love it. But it’s not available in the world’s second-largest smartphone market right now. India banned the game last year, and local developers are rushing to fill the gap. One of them is nCore Games, and it plans to launch an alternative called FAU-G soon.

FAU-G stands for Fearless and United Guard, but the term fauji means soldier in Hindi, one of India’s official languages. Making things more interesting, the game is endorsed by one of India’s most popular actors — Akshay Kumar. There is an immense demand for the game due to the PUBG Mobile vacuum, anti-China sentiments, and increasing nationalist attitude that prefers indigenous products over others.

The game was supposed to launch in October 2019 but was indefinitely delayed. Thankfully, nCore Games has announced it’ll be releasing the game on January 26, the day India celebrates its seventy-fourth Republic Day.

Earlier in December 2020, the registrations for the game went live as well. FAU-G created a record with over one million pre-registrations in just 24 hours. All we know so far is, it’ll be a first-person shooter game, and since it’s supposed to bridge the PUBG Mobile gap, a battle royale mode is quite obvious.

 

So far, the developer has only released a few marketing pictures of the game, followed by a teaser. Intricate details of the game are still unknown, but the game’s description on the Play Store says, “it brings to life the thrill and adrenaline of a life spent guarding India’s borders.”

However, it’s a herculean task to build a massive game like PUBG Mobile within such a short period of time. FAU-G will have a minimal time frame to quash bugs and attain a clean experience because it’ll always be compared to seasoned competitors like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Fornite, and Mobile Legends.

Adding to this, PUBG Corporation has severed ties with Tencent to dodge anti-China sanctions and plans to launch a modified game similar to PUBG Mobile, specially designed for the Indian market. It’s a race against time right now, and the first one to debut has an edge. But that edge won’t last forever.

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India

Xiaomi launches Mi 10i with 108MP camera, 120Hz display

The price is quite unbelievable

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Kicking off 2021 with its first phone launch, Xiaomi launched the Mi 10i in India today. The brand has extensively expanded the Mi 10 series, and while the Mi 10T Pro looks after the flagship segment, the Mi 10i is designed for the midrange segment.

Unlike the Mi 10T series, the new Mi 10i has a fresh design that consists of a circular rear camera module. The front and the back get Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and it also gets an IP53 rating for water and dust resistance.

On the front is a 6.7-inch display with Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The user can change the refresh rate, and six preset options are available. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 750 processor with 6GB 0r 8GB RAM. For expandable storage, a microSD card slot is also provided.

The rear sports a quad-camera setup that includes a 108-megapixel primary Samsung HM2 sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, a 16-megapixel front camera is located in a punch-hole cut-out. Software features include Movie frame, Night mode 2.0, panorama mode, pro mode, and raw mode.

Backing these internals is a 4820mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. Xiaomi has included a 33W rated charger in the box. The phone also features some legacy but very crucial technology like the 3.5mm headphone jack and a physical fingerprint scanner on the side.

The phone is priced at INR 20,099 (US$ 275) for 6GB+64GB option, INR 21,999 (US$ 289) for 6GB+128GB, and INR 23,999 (US$ 315) for 8GB+128GB. The sale starts on January 7 and will be available via Mi.com, Amazon, Mi Homes, and other offline partners. Color options include Pacific Sunrise, Midnight Black, and Atlantic Blue.

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