India

iQoo 3 is a flagship phone with Snapdragon 865, 55W fast charging

Vivo’s new sub-brand

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Vivo’s sub-brand iQoo announced its first phone today in India — the iQoo 3. It’s pronounced as “aai ku” and the brand has roped in popular cricketer Virat Kohli as its ambassador. Considering the scale at which the company has promoted its first phone, the brand has ambitious goals.

The iQoo 3 is also the first smartphone from the brand which comes with 5G support and the second such phone to enter the country after Realme X50 Pro 5G.

It comes with a Snapdragon 865 chipset, liquid cooling technology, LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, and a lot of software tweaks for gamers. In fact, it has touch-sensitive buttons on the side, automatically covering the need for any external switch or toggle. This will be extremely handy for folks who love PUBG, Fortnite or even Mobile Legends.

The iQOO 3 has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. An in-display fingerprint scanner has been provided for authentication. The brand calls the screen “Polar View Display” and it supports 60Hz refresh rate along with HDR compatibility.

Coming to the cameras, the device packs a quad rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel sensor as the primary camera. Along with that, it also carries a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, another 13-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and a 2-megapixel portrait camera. On the front, it houses a 16-megapixel selfie camera in a punch-hole design.

Backing these internals is a 4400mAh battery with 55W Super FlashCharge technology. The company claims it can charge 50 percent of the battery in just 15 minutes. It ships with iQoo UI and has a few nifty features like Ultra Gaming Mode and Turbo suite of intelligent optimizations.

The iQoo 3 is available in both 4G and 5G variants. The 4G 8GB+128GB option is priced at INR 36,990 (US$ 515) and the 4G 8GB+256 GB carries a price tag of INR 39,990 (US$ 557). Along with these, the top-end model of iQoo 3 comes with 5G support and houses 12GB RAM and 256 internal storage. It’s available for INR 44,990 (US$ 626).

India

Xiaomi to donate N95 masks, protective suits to fight Coronavirus

We’re all in this together

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Smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced it’ll donate N95 masks and protective suits to state governments, hospitals, and police forces this week in India. Coronavirus has spread like wildfire across the globe and institutions are rushing to counter the fatal virus.

The N95 masks will be distributed with Karnataka, Punjab and Delhi governments, respectively. While hazardous materials suits will be given to a few government hospitals like AIIMS and St. Johns in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Manu Kumar Jain, the Global Vice President of Xiaomi and Managing Director of Xiaomi India said they’re closing working with authorities to distribute these resources. The smartphone and television maker has become a household brand in the country and has been at the forefront of fighting the crisis.

Further, the company has also canceled business travels, external meetings, and even asked their office employees to work from home and maintain social distancing. I’ve personally been to the Xiaomi HQ in Bengaluru recently and can confirm that their standards of precaution are extremely high. Instead of shaking hands, we now do a traditional Indian “namaste” to great each other.

All Xiaomi authorized service centers are ensuring that there are not more than 4 customers at any given time through an online token system. Additionally, all Mi Home staff also wears masks at all times and keeps their hands sanitized for walk-in customers.

A couple of weeks ago, Jain urged India’s corporates to divert advertising and marketing funds to fight the crisis. India’s popular cricket tournament IPL (Indian Premier League) has been canceled and companies are known for spending hundreds of millions on sponsorships. He urged companies to do the right thing.

Xiaomi has a 28 percent market share in India’s smartphone market and has been leading the segment for almost two years now. They’ve canceled all launch events to avoid social gathering and even the Redmi Note 9 Pro series was launched via a live stream.

SEE ALSO: How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

Coronavirus: Where to donate

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Explainers

Here’s how India is trying to be China in the smartphone game

The world’s second-largest smartphone market has more to offer

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China is practically the world’s production powerhouse. And India wants to follow the same path. India’s Central government has approved three schemes to enable large scale electronics manufacturing and attract fresh investments worth almost INR 50,000 crore (US$ 6.3 billion) in the sector.

The government aims to provide companies a production-linked incentive of 4 percent to 6 percent on incremental sales for locally made goods over a period of five years. This not only includes mobile phone manufacturing but also assembly, testing, marking and packaging.

The other policy offers a 25 percent financial incentive for capital expenditure that goes towards “the manufacturing of goods that constitute the supply chain of an electronic product”. With these incentives, the government is optimistic that companies will come to India, contribute to progressing infrastructure, and make export-quality goods.

Inauguration of Samsung’s Noida Factory in India

According to their estimates, domestic value addition for mobile phones is expected to witness 35 to 40 percent jump by 2025, from the current 20-25 percent.

So far, companies have focused on assembling equipment like smartphones in India. A huge chunk of the components are still imported. These policy changes could act as a stimulant to locally source electrical components, semiconductors, as well as develop production clusters.

Bangalore and Hyderabad are infamous for their IT Tech Parks that house thousands of employees from IT service firms like TCS, Infosys, Accenture, and many more. Similarly, the government wants to create production clusters that can develop an eco-system of their own. These clusters can create a seamless supply chain when paired with proper land, air, and shipment infrastructure.

The timing of the announcement is what matters the most. China is embroiled in a trade war with the US for quite some time and we’ve seen how a giant like Huawei got caught in the cross-fire. Companies are skeptical about depending too much on China for production and sourcing. Hence, countries like Vietnam have witnessed a huge inflow of foreign investment from the likes of Nintendo, Foxconn, and even Samsung.

India is very much like Vietnam. A developing economy that’s on the look-out for foreign investment and enhances local production capabilities. This not only helps the government increase its tax revenue via taxation, but also provides employment. Considering the current Coronavirus crisis, it’s obvious that these plans may not materialize soon. But, as soon as the storm is gone, companies would want to find an alternative to China.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with Apple CEO, Time Cook

It’s reported that the alleged low-cost iPhone from Apple has been delayed due to the pandemic. Irrespective of the current health crisis, Apple has been trying to ramp up its local production in India and has done so, cautiously. India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market and every brand wants a piece of the cake. Realme and Xiaomi have been intensely fighting for supremacy, Samsung continues to lead via the offline market, and OPPO and Vivo have flooded all commercial banners with their products.

Xiaomi currently has seven plants in India, major ones being at Sri City and Sriperumbedur. It also makes its televisions in Tirupathi. Manu Kumar Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi, and Managing Director, Xiaomi India said that 95 percent of Xiaomi’s phones are made in India with 65 percent of a phone’s value being sourced locally. The government has been successful in compelling companies to make in India because it consistently kept on raising import duty on smartphones.

Samsung already has the world’s largest mobile phone factory in India that assembles top-tier variants, ready for export. We don’t know the volume it churns out right now, but their long-term investment is a precedent for other brands to take the market seriously. OnePlus has a research facility in Hyderabad where it makes software products intended for the Indian market.

Samsung’s factory in Noida, India

According to industry ICEA, the NOIDA region (a part of Delhi NCR) has close to 80 mobile manufacturing factories that provide employment to approximately 50,000 people. It’s normal today to see companies release press notes announcing new facilities across the country that’ll employ thousands of people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the “Make in India” campaign five years ago to encourage foreign companies to invest and build in India. While its effects are debatable in a few industries, there’s no doubt that the mobile industry has picked up exponentially. State governments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have played a major role in establishing these clusters that symbolize progress.

Engineers are widely available in India, the country has developed multiple ports under the private-public model, and numerous airports are under construction. India is already the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, but the gap is huge. It’s about briding this. Obviously, the scale at which China produces is unmatchable. But that cannot undermine India’s efforts to be more relevant on the global stage. From a purely consumption-based economy, it’s slowly trying to turning into a production backed state.

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Apps

Disney+ rolled back in India within 24 hours

We’ll just have to wait for a few more days

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Disney+ started rolling out on one of India’s top streaming platforms, Hotstar. However, within 24 hours of its release, Hotstar rolled back Disney + for its Indian users.

In a statement to the Hindustan Times, the company has clarified that the availability of Disney+ content was part of a beta trial with a limited number of users and the official launch is still March 29.

A few days ago, we reported that Disney+ content was accessible on the Hotstar app. The app also changed its logo and splash screen to accommodate the launch of Disney+ branded content. At the time of roll-out, users were ecstatic because availability was way before the official launch date. Alas, users will have to wait a couple more weeks before directly enjoying shows like The Mandalorian.

An interesting thing to note about the brief Disney+ appearance on Hotstar was the absence of any dedicated price tiers to use the service. This meant all Hotstar Premium users could access all Disney+ content including a back catalog of popular Disney films and cartoons. We expect further transparency at the time of the official launch.

Along with the content, Hotstar’s rebranded logo has also vanished and it’s back to its original color. India’s streaming market is extremely competitive with players like Netflix, Prime Video, JioTV, JioCinema, Voot, Sony LIV, and many more. Companies are trying their best to bring onboard regional content to appeal to the wider audience.

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