India

Mi 11X Pro launches with Snapdragon 888, 108MP camera

Alongside the midrange Mi 11X

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After weeks of teasing, Xiaomi has finally unveiled the Mi 11X series, and it’ll be succeeding the Mi 10T series. Consisting of the Mi 11X Pro and the Mi 11X, the series will be going up against the vivo X60 series, realme GT, OnePlus 9 series, and OPPO Find X3 series.

The Mi 11X Pro sits between the ultra-premium range and midrange, offering best-in-class specifications that aren’t too heavy on the pocket. Unlike its predecessor, it’s much lighter now, coming in at 196g. The primary camera also has a halo ring that makes the lens easy to spot. It’s IP53 rated for dust and water protection.

On the front is a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Full HD resolution, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and HDR10+ support. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 888 processor that’s backed by Adreno 660 GPU. There’s 8GB of RAM, and storage isn’t expandable.

The rear gets a triple-camera setup that includes a 108-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro lens. Xiaomi says the new primary sensor leverages 9-in-1 2.1μm Super Pixel technology that produces better low-light images and retains details. On the front is a 20-megapixel front camera that’s located in a punch-hole cut-out.

Backing these internals is a slightly small 4520mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. According to the brand, it can charge the phone fully in just 52 minutes. There’s no headphone jack in line with previous Mi-branded premium phones, and the fingerprint scanner is located on the side.

The Mi 11X Pro costs INR 39,999 (US$ 533) for the 8GB+128GB option and INR 41,999 (US$ 560) for the 8GB+256GB variant. Shipments start from May 3, and color options include Cosmic Black, Lunar White, and Magic Celestial Silver.


The Mi 11X, on the other hand, inherits a lot of features from the elder sibling. It has the same AMOLED display, design, battery, and even color options. But it’s powered by a Snapdragon 870 processor, and there’s an option with 6GB RAM. On the rear, it gets a 48-megapixel primary camera instead, while the other two sensors remain the same as the Mi 11X Pro.

It’s priced at INR 29,999 (US$ 400) for the 6GB+128GB option and 8GB+128GB goes for INR 31,999 (US$ 425). The sale starts on April 27 via Mi.com, Mi Stores, Amazon.in, and other offline partners.

Gaming

PUBG Mobile is making a comeback as Battlegrounds Mobile India

Will be exclusive to India

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Battlegrounds Mobile

After an excruciating wait, it’s official — PUBG Mobile is coming back to India. But this time, it’ll have a new name: Battlegrounds Mobile India with some added features, and an India-centric focus.

Krafton, the game’s developer, has announced it’ll be launching the Battlegrounds Mobile India soon. The game will bring an AAA-rated multiplayer experience alongside exclusive in-game events, tournaments, and leagues. While a launch date isn’t available, Krafton did confirm that pre-registration will be opened up soon.

The game will be free-to-play and incorporate the same battle royale concept that made it popular. Although, little detail is available about maps, guns, vehicles, and the plot (if there is any) of the game.

Furthermore, the game’s developer said that it would comply with all local laws and compliances. This includes data localization — storage of data within Indian borders. The announcement has cheered millions of players in the country who’ve been waiting for an alternative ever since the primary game was barred.

Why PUBG had to go

In mid-2020, India and China were involved in a fatal border skirmish that left many casualties on both sides. Following the conflict, India took a stringent anti-China stance and banned a host of apps that were developed or backed by Chinese companies. TikTok, owned by ByteDance, was among the first to come under the hammer.

PUBG Mobile was also included in the ban because Chinese giant Tencent was a distribution partner of the game. Following the ban, Krafton quickly removed Tencent from the agreement and announced plans to launch a new game independent of any Chinese influence.

Indian developers rode the hype wave, and many TikTok clones were touted as the next big thing. On the same lines, nCore Studios tried to bridge the gap by launching FAU-G, but it was a colossal failure. In fact, it still doesn’t have a battle royale mode, so it’s safe to assume Call of Duty: Mobile is the only practical alternative left for users right now.

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India

India finally approves 5G trials, sidelines Chinese vendors

Jio will also test its indigenous technology

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The Indian government has allowed India’s top three telecom operators Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea to carry out 5G trials in India for six months. The telcos are barred from utilizing equipment from Chinese vendors.

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) said that the telcos can rely on technology providers like South Korea’s Samsung, Swedish Ericsson, and Finnish Nokia. It also said that Jio was allowed to use its indigenous technology to carry out the trials. Huawei and ZTE are the two major Chinese companies that are affected by the clause.

For now, the mid-band (3.2Ghz to 3.67Ghz) and millimeter-wave band (24.25Ghz to 28.50Ghz) are available. Additionally, telcos are allowed to use their existing spectrum. The companies have been warned that commercial utilization is prohibited. The tests are divided between urban and rural India, and the security of the network is of utmost importance.

“The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing 5G spectrum propagation characteristics especially in the Indian context; model tuning and evaluation of chosen equipment and vendors; testing of indigenous technology; testing of applications (such as tele-medicine, tele-education, augmented/ virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, etc.); and to test 5G phones and devices,” the ministry said.

No to China

The exclusion of Chinese vendors isn’t surprising as the government has maintained an anti-China stance since the mid of 2020. Due to escalating border crisis, more than a hundred Chinese apps including TikTok and PUBG: Mobile were banned. Since then, state-owned telecom operator BSNL is barred from sourcing Chinese equipment in its network. Private operators have followed a similar strategy to avoid heat from the government.

5G roll-out has been delayed in the country due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic and lack of demand for a premium market. The average revenue per user in India lowest in the world, making it difficult for companies to sustain amid decade-long tax disputes, discount wars, and expensive spectrum. However, the industry has picked up pace in the last year as the demand for wireless connectivity boomed, providing a much-needed buffer to beleaguered telcos like Vodafone-Idea.

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Health

Google will fund 250,000 vaccine doses via an international alliance

Recipients include the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and more

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Internet giant Google has announced it’ll be funding 250,000 doses of the COVAX vaccine via GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The funding shall come through Google.org, the company’s humanitarian foundation.

GAVI is a public-private partnership that aims to improve immunization drives in developing countries. It currently consists of developing economies, donor governments, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and World Bank. Furthermore, private foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also a part of the alliance.

Google will also be leading an employee-giving campaign to secure more vaccine vials with the GAVI Matching Fund and Google.org matching the donation to triple the impact. The Philippines will be a prime beneficiary of the proposal, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, and Laos.

The Mountain View-based company will also offer its technology solution to the alliance to accelerate global distribution. The announcement comes at a crucial time because India is experiencing a miserable second wave of Coronavirus. Being a top vaccine maker, the surge in local cases has prompted India to intensify inoculation of its own citizens. Many experts are worried that this could disrupt vaccine supply to other countries, in turn, extending the pandemic and its associated risks.

“Since February, we’ve been providing vaccine-related insights to help GAVI better educate communities about the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve used that information to create educational content that reaches more than half a million people each day. We’re now committing US$ 15 million in Ad Grants to help Gavi build on these efforts and amplify their fundraising campaign,” Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer at Google Health, in a blog post.

So far, the Philippines has provided more than 1.7 million doses, and 214,000 people are now vaccinated. While masks and social distancing are temporary measures, a vaccine is touted as the safest way to ensure a normal future devoid of lockdowns and stringent border controls.

Read Also: Google will spend $150 million to promote coronavirus vaccine education

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