India

Here’s how top-end iPhones may soon get cheaper

Apple’s finally getting serious about India

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Apple has been saying for years how it wants a bigger role in India’s premium smartphone segment. Although, this year we’ve noticed a considerable drop in iPhone sales due to exorbitant pricing and belligerent competition from Samsung and Huawei.

The primary reason why iPhones are so expensive in India is because of import duty. The top-end models like the iPhone X, XR, and XS are assembled in China and then imported to India. The local government levies a hefty import duty of 20 percent. In a bid to encourage local sourcing, the government has maintained a stiff stance towards imports.

In the Indian government’s perspective, higher import duty has forced companies to manufacture or assemble phones in India. Every major company, including Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Huawei, have facilities in India. This gives them an edge of 20 percent in terms of pricing.

Apple currently makes the iPhone SE and 6 in India via its partner Wistron; all other models are imported from China. According to a Reuters report, Apple will begin assembling its top-end iPhones in the country through a local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019. Apple could also end up manufacturing the 2017 iPhone X in the country and introduce it at a cheaper price.

Indian state Tamil Nadu’s Industries Minister M C Sampath said Foxconn is planning to invest more than INR 25 billion and the investment will, in turn, generate more than 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. It remains unclear whether the production will be confined to assembly or include any component production in India, as well.

With the new manufacturing facility in India, Apple will have a better chance at reducing the prices for its flagship handsets. Apple hasn’t given out an official statement yet.

Accessories

Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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India

Realme Watch launches with a touchscreen display and HR tracker

High on features, light on the pocket

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This is the first watch from Realme and we’ve been waiting for it for a long time. The company teased its existence multiple times and considering the brand’s reputation, we knew it’ll have a very competitive price. Thankfully, the watch is now official, and here’s everything you need to know.

It comes with a 1.4-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels, a maximum brightness of 380 nits, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Currently, it comes pre-loaded with 12 watch faces and the company has confirmed more than a hundred will be available via an OTA update soon.

The smartwatch offers real-time heart rate monitoring using the built-in PPG sensor and records results every five minutes. Furthermore, it also has a SpO2 monitoring system to track the blood oxygen level.

On the fitness front, it has 14 different sports modes such as Badminton, Cricket, Indoor Run, Outdoor Run, Walk, and Yoga, among others. Health-based features also include sleep monitoring, sedentary reminders, hydration reminder, and meditation relaxing.

Just like all other smartwatches or bands, it can receive notifications from your phone via Bluetooth, control music playback, and unlock the phone via Android’s smart unlock system. Unlike the Apple Watch, you can’t pick-up voice calls but it’ll let you reject the call or mute the notification.

Realme Watch runs on a proprietary OS and can be linked to your phone via the Realme Link app. It supports 20mm removable wrist straps and has an IP68-certified body that can resist dust and water.

The Realme Watch is priced at INR 3,999 (US$ 53) and will be available via Flipkart and Realme.com from June 5. The additional color straps will cost INR 499 (US$ 7) later.

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India

Realme TV is a very affordable option with Android TV and HDR 10

Realme is going after Xiaomi, again!

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Realme is a fairly young brand when compared to established players like Xiaomi, Samsung, and OnePlus. But that isn’t stopping it from making bold moves like taking digs at Xiaomi and aggressively expanding its product lineup.

Today the brand unveiled the Realme TV in India. In comes in two sizes, 32-inch with 1366 x 768 resolution and 42-inch with 1920 x 1080. The brand says the TV has a premium look with a bezel-less design. The smart TV segment is turning out to be a very lucrative segment in developing markets and Xiaomi’s TV lineup currently dominates it.

Coming back to the Realme TV, it has Chroma Boost Picture Engine that optimizes the brightness, color, contrast, and clarity for top-notch viewing experience. The same technology is used in its smartphones as well and can the panel can deliver up to 400 nits of brightness.

It runs on Android TV out-of-the-box, bringing along support for Google Assistant and other bundled apps. Popular media streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and more are also available. In fact, the remote has a dedicated button for YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video.

Powering it is a MediaTek quad-core processor with in-built support for HDR 10, and 8GB internal storage. For audio, it features four 24W stereo speakers with Dolby audio support. Port options include a couple of USB ports, three HDMI ports, one AV port, and one digital audio port. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi.

The Realme TV 32-inch is priced at INR 12,999 (US$ 170) and the 43-inch model is priced at INR 21,999 (US$ 290). It shall go on sale starting June 2 via Flipkart and Realme.com.

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