India

Apple iPhone XR available for pre-order on October 19

Get ready!

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We’re finally on the cusp of getting a more affordable iPhone. All six colors of the iPhone XR will be available for pre-order starting October 19, 12:01 am (GMT+8) on apple.com/sg and the Apple Store app.

The iPhone XR was launched alongside the iPhone XS and XS Max last month, offering the same flagship features as its high-end brothers have but with a few differences here and there.

The same A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine — one of the most powerful chipsets found in a smartphone today — powers the iPhone XR. It allows for better gaming and camera performance, a more immersive AR experience, and more efficient processing resulting in longer battery life compared to previous generations.

Instead of OLED, the iPhone XR’s display will be LCD — a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display — the most advanced of its kind according to Apple. It’s also an all-glass phone that supports wireless charging, and is wrapped with aluminum around the edges instead of stainless steel. The body is water-resistant with a rating of IP67, and is safe from everyday spills including coffee, tea, and beer. Liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s warranty, however.

In the camera department, the iPhone XR sports the same wide-angle lens found on the iPhone XS and XS Max, but doesn’t come with the 2x telephoto zoom lens. You can still achieve that bokeh effect through Portrait Mode, thanks to internal improvements to the ISP, Neural Engine, and software algorithms. In front, the notch that houses the latest TrueDepth camera system also enables Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting, plus Face ID for security and authentication.

In Singapore, the iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage models in black, white, blue, yellow, coral, and (PRODUCT)RED starting at SG$ 1,229 (US$ 892) beginning Friday, October 26 at 8:00 am.

It will also be available in more than 50 countries and territories on the same date, including Malaysia, India, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Other countries in Southeast Asia like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam will get the iPhone XR starting November 2.

Through Apple GiveBack, customers can trade in their eligible device for an Apple Store Gift Card or a refund of up to SG$ 850 on their purchase. Trade-in values will vary based on the condition and model of your smartphone.

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.

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Indian telco launches a Zoom rip-off and it’s free

Definitely worth giving it a shot!

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Jio, India’s leading telecom operator has recently been in the news for a lot of reasons. The company has more than 30 percent of the telecom market in India and it intends to pivot, unlike any other telco we’ve ever seen.

The company has launched a Zoom alternative called JioMeet. The video conferencing app is expected to get a lot of traction amid calls to increase self-dependence and reduce the consumption of foreign products. However, it seems like the Jio team took too much inspiration from Zoom and thought of just directly mimicking it.

The app looks almost identical to Zoom’s offering, except for the minor color change here and there. The app is one of many in Jio’s portfolio.

However, the app offers a lot of high-end features like unlimited free calls in HD and supports for 100 participants in one go. Additionally, JioMeet does not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration.

On Zoom, you’d require a premium account to disable the 40-minute restriction on calls. Thankfully, the app is available on the Play Store and App Store for download directly, and no coupons or invite links are needed.

For security and privacy reasons, all its meetings are password protected. The host has the control to send the uninvited guests to the “Waiting Room” to ensure no gatecrashing. Obviously, standard features like screen sharing have also been included.

For desktop usage, the service can also be accessed through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. On its official website, JioMeet claims all the meetings are “encrypted”.

In the last two months, the telecom operator has raised billion in funding from global investors like Facebook. The company also owns JioSaavn music streaming service and has its own entertainment unit that offers movies, shows, as well as live TV.

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POCO M2 Pro launching soon, specs listed on Geekbench

Launching on July 7

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File photo: POCO X2

POCO India has started teasing the launch of its next phone and it’s scheduled for July 7. However, even this phone — the POCO M2 Pro — couldn’t hide through the internet and its specs have popped up on the benchmarking tool, Geekbench.

Company teasers have already shown-off a quad-camera setup but we’re yet to know the nitty-gritty. The model listed on Geekbench is powered by a Snapdragon 720 SoC alongside 6GB of RAM. The phone shall ship with Android 10 out-of-the-box. The company has already confirmed it’ll support 33W fast charging.

According to the rumor mill, the POCO M2 Pro shall have a quad-camera setup on the rear. It’ll consist of a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 5-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

This will be the first phone in the M-series and will play an essential role in framing the brand’s presence in the Indian market. So far, POCO has launched only two phones in India since its debut. However, at the beginning of this year, POCO parted ways from Xiaomi to operate as an independent brand.

Xiaomi already leads the market while OPPO and vivo have an extremely strong on0-ground presence. Samsung too has a considerable chunk due to its revered brand perception. Realme has consistently shown radical growth and it’s going after Xiaomi with all its might.

With an increasingly competitive market like this, POCO has a lot to accomplish. Currently, the brand only has the POCO X2 on sale.

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