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

These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!

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Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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India

Netflix announces nine new originals from India

2019 is going to be even more entertaining!

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India is among the most content-hungry markets in the world right now. Thanks to an extensive network of 4G connections and cheap data tariffs, a massive boom is underway and every Internet-centric company wants to be a part of this revolution. While telcos are busy luring more subscribers, content-focused companies have massively increased their investment in this region.

One of these is Netflix, one of the top streaming services in the world. It is expanding its India slate of original content by announcing eight new original films and a new original series. These will include many A-list Bollywood and Hollywood talent on camera as well as off-camera. After the success of Sacred Games this year, the service is even more confident about its investment.

The eight films include Chopsticks, Bulbul (produced by Anushka Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films), Upstarts, Cobalt Blue (based on a popular Marathi novel), 15th August (a Marathi film produced by Madhuri Dixit), Music Teacher, Hotel Mumbai (starring BAFTA-winning actor Dev Patel), and Firebrand (another Marathi film produced by Priyanka Chopra).

The original series is called Typewriter and it’s about a haunted house and a haunted book that attract a young group of ghost hunters. Netflix has already released four original movies and two original series this year from India while one series is scheduled to release in December.

While Netflix is ramping up its presence in the country, local studios and production networks have been trying to evolve as well. Voot (Viacom18), SonyLiv (Sony Pictures), and Hotstar (Star India and 21st Century Fox) are just a few of these services that already enjoy good public recognition.

Even Amazon is trying to make it big here and has been aggressively pushing its Prime service that has Prime Video and Prime Music bundled along.

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India

Xiaomi has officially hiked prices for some of its products

A very non-Xiaomi thing to do

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Xiaomi has been immensely successful in establishing a market of its own. The brand is known for selling quality products at affordable prices. This year, it has launched a plethora of Redmi-branded phones along with the expansion of its Mi Home offerings. In fact, competing brands often launch new products to specifically take on Xiaomi’s devices.

But Xiaomi has announced price hike for five of its products: Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. When these products were launched, the company had said the prices were “introductory” and could change in the future depending on market fluctuations.

Since the last few months, the Indian Rupee has consistently weakened against the American Dollar which has in turn significantly increased operating costs for the company. The company says the local currency has depreciated nearly 15 percent since the beginning of the year and hence price adjustments are a need of the hour.

Even though the transactions are between India and China, the equipment and parts are globally offset in American Dollar. Xiaomi isn’t the only one affected, though; OPPO’s sub-brand Realme has also announced similar price hikes on its products.

The Redmi 6A has received an INR 600 price hike, so the 16GB option will now be available for INR 6,599 (US$ 91) while the 32GB option will retail for INR 7,499 (US$ 103). The Redmi 6 32GB variant will now cost INR 8,499 (US$ 117).

The Mi LED TV 4C Pro 32-inch will now cost INR 15,999 (US$ 220), up from its initial price of INR 14,999. The Mi LED TV 4A Pro 49-inch has received an INR 2,000 hike, making the new selling price INR 31,999 (US$ 441).

Lastly, the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i Black is now available for INR 899 (US$ 12.5), up from INR 799. The new prices are already applicable and official rates have been communicated to offline sellers, as well.

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