India

OPPO launches the first device under its new sub-brand, the Realme 1

The company intends to take on the Redmi Note 5 Pro

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After teasing the device for a few weeks, OPPO has finally launched the Realme 1 in India. Realme is a new sub-brand of OPPO that aims to capture the midrange smartphone market in the country.

OPPO says the Diamond Black finish on the back is one of the many things that helps the device stand out from the crowd. OPPO introduced this design aspect with the recently launched F7, and it sure is refreshing and unique to see when a majority of the phones out there have now become slabs of metal and glass.

The device sports a 6-inch FHD+ LCD with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels and 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which is expandable using a microSD card via the hybrid SIM setup, meaning you can either use two SIMs on this phone or one SIM and one microSD card.

In the camera department, there’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and a 8-megapixel camera on the front for selfies. Just like all other OPPO offerings, the Realme 1 comes with the Android 8.1-based ColorOS 5.0 user interface.

OPPO has also stressed that the device comes with face unlock as its only means of quick authentication. Backing all these internals is a 3410mAh battery that should be more than sufficient to get you through one full day of heavy usage.

It’s clear OPPO intends to take on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro which has been ruling the segment since launch. But Xiaomi hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand and still relies on flash sales to sell the device. ASUS too saw the same opportunity and launched the ZenFone Max Pro M1 especially for India to fill the vacuum.

The 3GB + 32GB and 6GB + 128GB variants will be exclusively available on Amazon.in starting May 25 and will cost INR 8,990 (US$ 130) and INR 13,990 (US$ 205), respectively. There’ll be another 4GB + 64GB version for INR 10,990 (US$ 160), but it’ll only be available some time in June.

India

How to identify counterfeit Xiaomi products

Always purchase via official channels

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Xiaomi is most popular for its smartphones, but the brand makes a wide range of other products that range from lifestyle to smart home. It has also invested in a lot of companies like Yee Light, Amazfit, Huami, and more.

Most of the quirky products are sold exclusively in its home market of China, though the brand is slowly trying to get them to other markets. Accessories like power banks and earphones are among the fastest-selling and Xiaomi is often unable to match the demand.

This has created a huge vacuum for counterfeit products. Recently, fake Xiaomi products worth INR 13 lakh (US$ 18,200) were seized by the local police in New Delhi, India. Even in Mumbai, counterfeit copies are sold widely on the streets as well as reputed offline stores.

These counterfeit products are not trust-worthy because they barely have any quality norms. Using fake copies can also be hazardous in case of powerbanks or charging bricks.

If you’ve recently purchased a Xiaomi product or intend to buy something in the future, follow these steps to ensure you’ve received a genuine offering.

  • Mi Powerbanks come with a security code that can be used to verify its authenticity. Just enter the code on Xiaomi’s website here.
  • Ensure that the packaging is original. Makers of counterfeit products are trying to replicate the original packaging, but often fail.
  • Mi Band will have no compatibility issue and will seamlessly connect to Mi Fit app.
  • Lastly, purchase products via authorised channels only. These include Mi.com, Mi Stores, and Mi Partner Stores.

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India

Vivo V17 launches with quad-cameras and Snapdragon 675

But is it better than Xiaomi or Realme’s offering?

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Vivo’s V-series has been a top-seller for a few years and the brand has positioned it perfectly in the midrange segment. The brand unveiled the phone in India today and it’ll be going up against the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Realme XT, and Nokia 7.2.

The phone’s unique selling point is its quad-camera setup on the rear, a punch-hole camera on the front, and 4500mAh battery. It’s elder sibling — the Vivo V17 Pro, has already been launched in the Philippines and we expect it to come to India soon.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with better screen-to-body ratio thanks to a punch-hole cutout. Other additions include a blue-light filter and a wide color gamut.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 processor with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. Similar to other phones in the segment, it also gets a microSD card slot and dual SIM support.

The rear sports a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The punch-hole cutout houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Night mode is now supported on the front as well as the rear and other additions include AR stickers and portrait mode.

Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery with Vivo’s proprietary dual-engine fast charge technology. For gaming, a dedicated mode has been provided that optimises the system and controls heating.

The phone is priced at INR 22,990 (US$ 320) and will be available for purchase from December 17 via all major online as well as offline retailers.

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India

WhatsApp could go under a government audit

1,400+ users were affected worldwide

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A few weeks ago it came to light that spyware named Pegasus had hacked more than 1,400 users worldwide via a WhatsApp vulnerability. A huge chunk of the users were from India and included prominent journalists as well as activists.

Following the revelation, the Indian government wants to conduct a security audit of WhatsApp. The government has also sent a notice to Israeli technology firm NSO Group, which had created the Pegasus spyware.

In response, WhatsApp last month sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, accusing it of helping clients break into the phones. NSO has previously denied snooping allegations and said it sells technology to governments for counter-terrorism.

The Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) “sought submission of information from WhatsApp on November 9, 2019, including a need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp’s security systems and processes,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and IT, told parliament in a statement.

WhatsApp has responded to CERT-In’s queries and patched the vulnerability. However, the government requires further clarification.

According to a report, officials close to the matter said that the government believes that if WhatsApp’s data is stored in the country, it would have helped the authorities to carry out their own investigation related to Pegasus snooping case.

The minister said the government plans to introduce the Data Protection Bill soon, and warned companies of action if they fail to provide cybersecurity to their users.

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