India

OnePlus 6 launches in India along with Avengers Edition

OnePlus is back with another killer flagship

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Yesterday, OnePlus announced the much-awaited OnePlus 6 at an event in London. The company showed off the fact that the OnePlus 5 was the best-selling premium smartphone on Amazon India for months. Even third-party research has shown that OnePlus has an astounding 48 percent market share in India when it comes to the premium segment. Hence, it’s no surprise that OnePlus is taking the Indian marketseriously and has launched the latest flagship within a day of the global launch.

OnePlus has always been on the safe side when it comes to experimenting with new hardware and has repeatedly stressed that they take user feedback seriously. It embraced the tall screen ratio last year and added dual cameras on the back. The company did receive a lot of heat because the OnePlus 5 and 5T closely resembled the iPhone 7 Plus on the back; this time around, the design has been remarkably improved and the device has a charm of its own.

It sports a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a notch. OnePlus confirmed the existence of the notch a long time back and given the current trend, it’s not surprising. While the bezels aren’t that slim, OnePlus has cut down on the chin at the bottom. Powering the phone is the latest Snapdragon 845 SoC along with 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on the variant.

On the back is a vertically aligned dual camera setup, with a 20-megapixel primary sensor and a 16-megapixel secondary sensor. On the front, is a 16-megapixel selfie camera. OnePlus has added better low-light photograph rendering, slow-mo videos, and an improved portrait mode.

The device is backed by a 3300mAh battery which obviously supports Dash Charge, along with a fingerprint sensor and face unlock for authentication. OxygenOS lies at the heart of the device which is built on Android 8.1 Oreo but users can also sideload Android P Developer Preview.

Pricing for the OnePlus 6 are as follows:

  • 6GB+64GB   — INR 34,999 / US$ 529
  • 8GB+128GB — INR 39,999 / US$ 579
  • 8GB+256GB (Avengers Edition) — INR 44,999 / US$ 629

Availability begins May 22 for the first two models and May 29 for the special Avengers Edition. OnePlus had already started its Fast AF sale in India wherein a complimentary Amazon Pay cash back of INR 1,000 was being given.

The Avengers Edition with the trademark logo

India

Vivo V15 Pro is a midrange phone trying to redefine mobile photography

Can it actually replace a DSLR?

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Vivo launched a lot of phones last year, each having a unique feature like a pop-up camera or in-display fingerprint scanner. While the industry usually tried to avoid moving parts in a phone, Vivo turned it around into a feature. With the V15 Pro, the brand wants to establish supremacy in the midrange segment by offering flagship innovation at a competitive price.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 28,990 or roughly US$ 410. It is available via all major retailers and online sellers starting today.

On the front, the V15 Pro has a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display. Thanks to the elimination of a notch, it has a 91.6 percent screen-to-body ratio and smaller bezels. The front camera is located in an elevating module that pops up automatically when required.

The rear gets a gradient design and a massive triple camera array. The array includes a 48-megapixel primary lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The primary sensor can capture an insane amount of detail and to improve performance further, four pixels can be merged into one, creating a 12-megapixel high-quality picture.

The elevating module houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Vivo has added a ton of new filters in the camera app and modes like AI Beauty, AI Portrait, and AI Super Night to ensure better output. For authentication, the phone uses a combination of face unlock and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 processor coupled with 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage. It has a 3700mAh battery which supports Dual Engine fast charging. The V15 Pro also has a dedicated button to summon smart assistants like Google Assistant and Vivo’s Jovi.

Lastly, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS and includes new features like Game Mode 5.0.

SEE ALSO: Vivo now has its own smartphone sub-brand named iQOO

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Google is under investigation for abusing Android

Dominating the market comes with a price

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Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.

Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.

India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.

The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.

Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.

Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.

Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.

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Xiaomi has become an undisputed leader by market share

Can Samsung turn the tides this year?

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For more than a year, Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market in terms of market share and there’s no stopping them. The brand has single-handedly managed to oust local brands like Micromax, and even experienced players like Samsung have taken a hit.

According to IDC, in Q4 2018, Xiaomi managed to grab an astounding 28.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 18.7 percent. While Vivo and OPPO have managed to grab a decent 9.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, their rate of growth has slowed down considerably.

If we consider the complete year of 2018 against 2017, Vivo has managed to grow just 0.6 percent year-over-year and OPPO actually dipped by 0.3 percent. The report also says that online-focused brands drove the online channel share to an all-time high of 38.4 percent. On the other hand, offline sales registered a meager 6.7 percent growth.

During the last quarter of 2018, Realme managed to grab quite a huge chunk of the market with a share of 7.5 percent. The sub-brand of OPPO was launched just half a year back and has already released a wide array of phones.

The average selling price of phones continued to be in the budget segment at roughly US$ 158 (INR 11,000). More than half of the shipments belong in the US$ 100 to US$ 200 segment, and that’s where brands intend to lead.

In the end, Xiaomi shipped more than 40 million units in 2018, followed by Samsung with almost 32 million. Samsung had been relatively silent last year, but has now changed strategy with the M-series launch. The South Korean giant is focused on taking back the budget and midrange segments by reportedly launching a plethora of phones in the coming months.

Lastly, OnePlus has once again emerged as the leader in the premium segment, followed by Samsung and Apple in the super-premium segment.

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