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

WhatsApp could go under a government audit

1,400+ users were affected worldwide

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A few weeks ago it came to light that spyware named Pegasus had hacked more than 1,400 users worldwide via a WhatsApp vulnerability. A huge chunk of the users were from India and included prominent journalists as well as activists.

Following the revelation, the Indian government wants to conduct a security audit of WhatsApp. The government has also sent a notice to Israeli technology firm NSO Group, which had created the Pegasus spyware.

In response, WhatsApp last month sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, accusing it of helping clients break into the phones. NSO has previously denied snooping allegations and said it sells technology to governments for counter-terrorism.

The Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) “sought submission of information from WhatsApp on November 9, 2019, including a need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp’s security systems and processes,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and IT, told parliament in a statement.

WhatsApp has responded to CERT-In’s queries and patched the vulnerability. However, the government requires further clarification.

According to a report, officials close to the matter said that the government believes that if WhatsApp’s data is stored in the country, it would have helped the authorities to carry out their own investigation related to Pegasus snooping case.

The minister said the government plans to introduce the Data Protection Bill soon, and warned companies of action if they fail to provide cybersecurity to their users.

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India

Realme X2 Pro with Snapdragon 855+, 50W charging launches

The new flagship killer?

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Realme has been on a tear in 2019 and the company has no plans of stopping  after finally launching the Realme X2 Pro. It’s filled to the brim with latest features and will be going up against Xiaomi’s K20 Pro as well as the OnePlus 7T.

After its official unveiling in China and Europe last month, the Realme X2 Pro has now made its way to India. The phone has a premium design consisting of glass and metal.

On the front is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate and a small water-drop notch on the top. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 855+ processor along with 8GB RAM in the base variant. For authentication, an in-display fingerprint scanner has been provided along with support for face unlock.

The camera is a major highlight and the flagship phone houses a set of four sensors on the rear: a massive 64-megapixel primary lens, a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel portrait lens. The front water-drop notch houses a 16-megapixel camera for selfies.

The battery capacity is 4,000 mAh and it comes with support for blazing-fast 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charge. Realme claims it can completely charge the phone within 35 minutes.

On the software front, Realme is sticking with Android 9 Pie and ColorOS 6.1 but an update to Android 10 is already in the works.

Realme X2 Pro is priced at INR 29,999 (US$ 417) for the 8GB+128GB option and INR 33,999 (US$ 475) for the 12GB+256GB variant.

The company also launched Realme X2 Pro Master Edition in Red Brick and Concrete color variants with 12GB+256GB configuration costing INR 34,999 (US$ 486). The sale for the Master Edition will start during Christmas.

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India

Vivo Y19 is an affordable phone with triple rear cameras

A phone that gets everything right

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Photo by GadgetMatch

The affordable segment has seen a wide range of new phones this year thanks to a raging war between Xiaomi and Realme. While the two are constantly trying to undercut each other, brands are striving to take advantage of the situation.

Vivo has unveiled a new phone dubbed the Y19 and it’s being launched in India as well as the Philippines. The design is rather different and incorporates a 3D design that can mimic a wide range of reflective colors. The phone will be available in Magnetic Black and Spring White color options.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD Full HD+ display with a tiny water-drop notch on the top. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P65 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage.

In terms of optics, the triple rear camera setup of the Vivo Y19 includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The phone also gets a 16-megapixel selfie camera at the front.

It has dual SIM support and ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS 9.2. For a better gaming experience, an Ultra Game Mode has been provided for optimization.

In India, the phone has been priced at INR 13,999 (US$ 195) and will be available for purchase via all major online as well as offline sellers.

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