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.

Enterprise

Xiaomi announces three new manufacturing plants in India

Two for smartphones and one for smart TVs

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Xiaomi announced it’ll be opening three new manufacturing facilities in India to boost its local presence and supply chain. Two of them shall be dedicated to smartphones while the third ones for smart TVs.

Xiaomi’s India Head and Global Vice President, Manu Kumar Jain, said that 99 percent of its smartphones sold in India and 100 percent of its televisions will now be manufactured within the country.

In a briefing to GadgetMatch, he said that Xiaomi has been assembling phones and TVs in India for a while now. But many components are still imported, and the company is trying to reduce this as much as possible. Xiaomi has partnered with DBG India, and its plant in Haryana is already functional.

The second facility will be set up in Tamil Nadu by Chinese electronics maker BYD. The two plants are strategically located to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly across the country. For the smart TVs, Xiaomi has tied up with Hyderabad-based television manufacturer Radiant.

The Chinese phone maker has already tied up with Foxconn and Flex for smartphones and Dixon Technologies for televisions. Jain even went on to say that a vast majority of the phone components that include printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) and sub-boards, chargers and battery, back panels are domestically manufactured in the country.

Jain also proudly said in the briefing that Xiaomi now employs 60,000 people in India via its many facilities, retail units, and back-end operations. Xiaomi’s investment in India isn’t surprising because it has been serious about the market for years and has solidified its standing as an indisputable leader.

The Indian government recently kicked-off a billion-dollar scheme to encourage local sourcing. Also dubbed Production Linked Incentive (PLI), the government is ready to offer subsidies and tariff reliefs for companies that are open to localization. The program has worked wonders for companies on the electronics front, and thousands of jobs are being generated.

Despite competition from Samsung, realme, OPPO, and vivo, the company has largely remained unscathed. However, the brand is still in warm waters due to geopolitical instability between India and China. The anti-China sentiment has affected many Chinese players like Huawei, TikTok, Alibaba, and more. But Xiaomi and other mobile phone markers have avoided controversy by amalgamating with the local market and the workforce.

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India

realme narzo 30A now official alongside Buds Air 2 TWS with ANC

The price of Buds Air 2 is unbelievable

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realme held a massive launch today in India and has announced a host of new products. While the narzo 30 Pro 5G is designed to be a premium offering, the brand has also launched an affordable phone called the narzo 30A. realme is also serious about accessories and has unveiled the Buds Air 2.

Starting with the narzo 30A, it has a diagonal stripe pattern design that’s rather unconventional. The phone will be available in Lazer Black and Lazer Blue color options and a physical fingerprint scanner is located on the rear for authentication.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD with HD+ support and a waterdrop-style notch. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G85 processor with up to 4GB RAM. You can add a microSD card for storage expansion.

The rear gets a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel monochrome portrait sensor. The front has an 8-megapixel camera for selfies. Backing these internals is a massive 6000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

The realme narzo is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 125) for the 3GB RAM + 32GB while the 4GB RAM + 64GB option costs INR 9,999 (US$ 140).

realme Buds Air 2

Realme Buds Air 2 features active noise cancellation (ANC), similar to Realme Buds Air Pro. This is a feature that’s missing from the first generation Buds Air. It also comes with an in-canal fit that enables passive noise isolation that is critical for the proper functioning of active noise cancellation.

In addition to ANC support, the Realme Buds Air 2 even has a transparency mode, which allows you to hear background sound while listening to music. On the audio side, it has a 10mm driver, 88ms super-low latency support, and smart touch controls.

The Buds Air 2 is priced at INR 3,299 (US$ 45) and shall be available from March 2 via Flipkart and realme.com.

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India

realme launches narzo 30 Pro 5G with Dimensity 800U, 48MP camera

Comes with a premium design

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narzo 30 pro

The launch season has arrived, and realme has fired the shots first. While we’ve seen a few flagship and midrange phones, the affordable segment is yet to come into the spotlight. realme has finally launched the narzo 30 Pro 5G in India today, alongside the narzo 30A.

The narzo 30 Pro 5G is an affordable phone that comes with a premium touch. Instead of the usual flashy design that realme’s known for, the phone has a sleek premium look and will be available in Sword Black and Blade Silver options.

It sports a 6.5-inch LCD with Full HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a punch-hole cut-out. It has a peak brightness of 600 nits. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor with up to 8GB RAM. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for memory expansion.

On the rear is a triple camera module consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. Since the phone runs on realme UI,  we can expect a host of software modes that’ll help you perfect your pictures.

Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery that supports 30W Dart Charging. For authentication, the narzo 30 Pro 5G has a fingerprint sensor on the side. As the name suggests, it has support for 5G, but India is yet to start 5G operations at a commercial scale.

The phone is priced at INR 16,999 (US$ 235) for the 6GB RAM+64GB variant, while the 8GB RAM+128GB option shall cost INR 19,999 (US$ 275). It’ll go on sale from March 4 via Flipkart, Realme.com, and offline stores.

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