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

realme launches narzo 20 Pro with Helio G95, 65W fast charging

Xiaomi should be worried

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realme started the narzo series earlier this year and it’s all set to launch a successor. The narzo 20 series consists of the narzo 20A, narzo 20, and narzo 20 Pro. These phones are made for the affordable segment and will be directly competing against the Redmi Note 9 series and POCO X2.

The phone features a reflective design that creates a multi-layer downward arrow pattern. Continuing realme’s design language, it features a vertical quad-camera setup with the narzo branding in focus. The fingerprint scanner is located on the side.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD display with Full HD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass protection, and a punch-hole cut-out for the front camera.

Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G95 processor with Mali-G76 MC4 GPU. Storage is expandable via a dedicated microSD card slot. It has a new carbon fiber cooling system that ensures consistent performance during extended usage.

The rear features a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front is a 16-megapixel camera for selfies. The software supports night filters, AI enhancement, and improved low-light performance.

Backing these internal is a 4500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. realme claims it can fully charge the battery in 38 minutes. Lastly, the phone ships with realme IU out-of-the-box.

The narzo 20 Pro costs INR 14,999 for 6GB+64GB and INR 16,999 for 8GB+128GB. It’ll be available in Black Ninja and White Knight color options and shall go on sale from September 25 via Flipkart, realme.com, and offline stores.

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Apps

Google removes one of India’s top payments app for violating policy

But there’s nothing to worry about

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Google removed one of India’s top payments app Paytm from the Play Store for allegedly violating guidelines. To be more precise, the app violated the app store’s policy by promoting gambling. The app is still available on Apple’s App Store though.

In response, Google said, “The app was blocked for violation of play policies – a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament.” It further clarified that users aren’t affected and only the app’s availability from the Play Store has changed.

Google strictly prohibits digital casinos or ungoverned gambling apps on its Play Store in India and Paytm’s app was found in violation of this policy. Recently, it launched a fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games and embedded links to this service within the Paytm app.

The standalone Paytm First Games app has also been removed. However, other apps like Paytm Mall, Paytm Money, and Paytm Business are still available and remain untouched. Google said the developer is always notified and the app shall remain unavailable till it complies with the norms.

Paytm has also assured all users that their accounts, wallets, and bank accounts are safe and there’s nothing to worry about. When the news broke, there was some initial panic because the memories of India’s app ban are still fresh and people are worried about their favorite apps going off the shelf instantaneously.

Fantasy sports games and other gambling apps have radically risen in India. The country loves cricket and the Indian Premier League is scheduled to start from tomorrow. Making the coming weeks a very lucrative period for these apps.

All these apps do not depend on Google’s Play Store for distribution and have to be downloaded externally via the developer’s website.

Paytm is hugely credited for encouraging India’s digital economy and has transformed itself into a super app. Besides bill payments and peer-to-peer fund transfer, the app can also be used for tickets, shopping, and entertainment.

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India

Redmi 9i launches with Helio G25, 5000mAh battery

Designed for everyday tasks

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Xiaomi has consistently launched a new phone in the last few weeks. After the Redmi 9 Prime and Redmi 9, the brand has launched a slightly more affordable option — the Redmi 9i.

The body of the phone looks similar to the Redmi 9 Prime but doesn’t have a textured back. On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD display with HD+ resolution and TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification.

Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G25 chipset along with MG PowerVR GE8320 GPU. It doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner and solely relies on face unlock for faster authentication.

On the rear is a single 13-megapixel camera with AI-powered portrait mode, in-built document scanner, and beauty mode. For selfies, a 5-megapixel camera is located on the front in a water-drop notch. The storage is expandable via a microSD card.

Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery with a 10W charger. Although, this one skips the usual USB-C port in favor of microUSB. It ships with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box.

The Redmi 9i comes in two variants. The 4GB+64GB option costs INR 8,299 while the 4GB+128GB variant is priced at INR 9,299. Sale starts from September 18 via mi.com, Flipkart, Mi Homes, and Mi Studios.

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