India

MediaTek and Jio are working on an Android Go smartphone

A more powerful JioPhone!

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Semiconductor company MediaTek has announced that it is working with Reliance Jio on an entry-level Android Oreo Go Edition 4G smartphone.

The new smartphone is expected to sit alongside the JioPhone, which was launched in India last July with an effective price of INR 1,500 (US$ 24). MediaTek General Manager (Wireless Communications BU) TL Lee said the devices are expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of the year.


Unfortunately, details about the soon-to-come device are still relatively few since no design features or specifications were provided for the handset. On MediaTek’s side, the MT6739 and MT6580 chipsets are the latest ones to support the Android Go platform. The chipmaker had announced its collaboration with Google for supporting Android Oreo (Go Edition) last month and stated that the first Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphones powered by MediaTek processors will be launched in global markets by the first quarter of this year.

Jio isn’t the only company to have set its eyes on Android Go in India. In the beginning of January, domestic player Micromax too had announced plans of launching Bharat Go, an entry-level device running on the Android Go platform. Even Nokia is reportedly working on an Android Go device; the Nokia 1 is expected to be launched at MWC 2018.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Android Go is a stripped-down version of Android One with a re-packaged set of apps and features with Android at its core — but for entry level devices. It was first announced at Google I/O 2017, as a special configuration of Android Oreo (Android 8.1 onward) for devices with less than 1GB of RAM. It was formally given a go-ahead by the company in December 2017 during its Google for India event.

Google has re-worked on almost its entire suite of apps, including Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Play, and more for Android Go even as more and more developers are lending their support for the platform.

Jio’s efforts to target some 500 million of the feature phone users that are to yet migrate to smartphones due to reasons of cost and use cases have started paying off slowly. According to a recent Counterpoint study, Jio led the feature phone market in Indian in the fourth quarter of the 2017. The JioPhone captured a 27 percent market share in terms of shipment.

The JioPhone has been in very high demand because of the combined offers on data and voice that come along with it. The company has been known to subsidize the hardware costs to boost sales, which in turn are paid off via telecom services.

India

Xiaomi forays into personal grooming with a water resistant trimmer

A basic product that doesn’t disappoint

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Xiaomi is known for its value-packed phones and accessories, but it is slowly making its mark in the lifestyle space as well. The brand sells almost any device imaginable, from umbrellas to toothbrushes, but they’ve been restricted to China so far.

But that’s slowly changing, and one of the first countries outside of China to benefit is India.


Today Xiaomi launched the Mi Beard Trimmer, marking its foray into the personal grooming space.

The Mi Beard Trimmer comes with two combs and a total of 40 length settings. This makes it suitable for every kind of beard style and gives the user more options to choose from. Xiaomi claims the blades are made of heavy-duty stainless steel and are self-sharpening in nature, meaning they remain sharp for an extended period of usage.

It can be used sans any wires thanks to a built-in battery but can work plugged in as well. Xiaomi says you get 10 minutes of use with just a five-minute charge. A full charge will deliver up to 90 minutes of usage on the go.

It’s also safe for shower use, with an IPX7 water resistance rating, it is designed to withstand submersion of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

The Mi Beard Trimmer is now available for pre-order and will start shipping from June 27 via Mi.com, Amazon, and Mi Homes. With a price tag of INR 1,199, it might just give Philips a run for its money.

A few weeks back, Xiaomi announced the availability of Mi LED Smart Bulb in India. The smartest thing about the bulb is that it comes with both, Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant support. It pairs with the Mi Home app that can also be used to control other Mi Home products.

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India

Motorola launches One Vision with a punch-hole camera

Haven’t heard from them for a while

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Adding another model to its fairly new ‘One’ series, Motorola launched the Moto One Vision today in India. It’s the first phone from the company to feature a punch-hole selfie camera in a rather tall display.

In terms of design, the One Vision sports an all-glass body with a gradient finish on the back. The front has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD with a punch-hole cutout to avoid a display notch.


Motorola is using Samsung’s Exynos 9609 chipset paired with a single configuration of 4GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage. As the name suggests, the smartphone is part of the Android One program that guarantees timely software and security updates.

In terms of optics, the phone employs a 48-megapixel Samsung G1 sensor with f/1.7 lens and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor. At the front, the punch-hole cutout houses a 25-megapixel selfie camera. It’s backed by a 3500mAh battery and ships with a 15W TurboPower charger.

It’s priced at INR 19,999 and shall be available on Flipkart starting June 27. Vodafone-Idea subscribers can get a cashback of up to INR 3,750 and additional data for up to 250GB.

The new Motorola phone will rival the Note 7 Pro from Redmi, and Samsung’s Galaxy M40 and Galaxy A50. The company says it has been among the fastest growing smartphone brands in India and is already sourcing the phone locally.

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India

ASUS 6z with a Flip Camera and Snapdragon 855 launches in India

OnePlus 7 has some serious competition

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After a considerably long sabbatical, ASUS is back in India with a new phone. The company unveiled the ZenFone 6 globally last month, but the “ZenFone” brand can no longer be used in the country due to a trademark conflict. Hence, the phone is called ASUS 6z locally and shall go on sale from June 26.

Phone makers have been trying their best to increase the screen-to-body ratio and we’ve already seen the inclusion of a notch, punch-hole camera, and sliding module. ASUS is taking a step forward and introducing a Flip Camera setup that can switch 180-degrees and a single setup can be used as the front and rear cameras. With this, the design remains unique and users have access to better cameras on both sides.


On the front is a 6.4-inch Full HD+ LCD display with a screen-to-body ratio of 92 percent. At the heart of the phone is a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB RAM and 64GB internal storage in the base variant. The phone can be unlocked via a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner or face unlock.

The camera module consists of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary sensor along with a 13-megapixel wide angle lens. The Camera app incorporates Smart HDR and 16-scene AI detection for improved output. Lastly, these internals are backed by a 5000mAh battery that supports fast charging via USB-C.

ASUS has shipped a slightly customized version of stock Android and it brings in a system-wide dark mode, smoother animations, and OptiFlex technology to accelerate app launches and reloads.

The ASUS 6z starts at INR 31,999 (US$ 459 )for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. The 6GB+128GB option costs INR 34,999 (US$ 502). Meanwhile, the 8GB+256GB comes at INR 39,999 (US$ 574). It’ll be available in Midnight Black and Twilight Silver color options from Flipkart. As a launch offer, Flipkart’s Complete Mobile Protection plan costing INR 3,999 will be available at INR 99. 

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