India

OPPO Reno2 launches with 20x zoom, quad-camera setup

Does it have any considerable upgrade?

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OPPO announced the Reno lineup just a few months back and the brand has already launched the second iteration. Dubbed the Reno2, it features the same shark-fin notch that houses the front camera and a quad-camera setup on the rear. The Reno2 is also accompanied by Reno 2Z and Reno 2F.

The Reno2 uses a 3D curved Gorilla Glass on the back with rounded corners for a premium look. The front houses a 6.55-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution and a screen-to-body ratio of 93 percent. An in-display fingerprint sensor is also located within the display.

Less power but more cameras and more zoom

The phone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. OPPO has included software features like TouchBoost, FrameBoost, and GameBoost for a superior gaming experience.

On the rear is a quad-camera setup that consists of a 48-megapixel primary shooter, a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. It is capable of 5x hybrid zoom and 20x digital zoom. The front has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. The camera app comes with an Ultra Night Mode, a portrait mode, and a macro mode.

Backing these internals is a 4,000mAh battery with VOOC 3.0 fast charging support via USB Type-C port. The phone runs on Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.1 on top out-of-the-box.

The Reno2 is priced at INR 36,990 (US$ 515) and will be up for sale from September 20 via Amazon, Flipkart, and other retail partners. It’ll be available in Ocean Blue and Luminous Black colors.

Reno powered by MediaTek

The OPPO Reno 2Z and Reno 2F sport a 6.53-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen, 8GB of RAM, and a 4,000mAh battery. However, Reno 2Z gets a MediaTek P90 SoC and 256GB of onboard storage, whereas Reno 2F packs 128GB of built-in storage with MediaTek P70 processor.

Both phones get a rear quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary shooter, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel mono sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Instead of a shark-fin, the front camera is located in a rectangular pop-up module.

The Reno 2Z is priced at INR 29,990 (US$ 417), though there is no word on the Reno 2F’s pricing at the moment. The former will be up on sale from September 6.

India

Realme skyrockets in India mobile market as Samsung falls

Xiaomi continues to hold its spot

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This year Xiaomi and Realme have been constantly fighting each other in the affordable phone segment. Each month we witnessed the launch of a new product, that always ended up killing the competitors previous offering. It’s a never-ending cycle.

However, the sales figures have proven that there’s still no clear winner in sight. According to IDC’s Q3 2019 report, Xiaomi continues to lead the market with a share of 27 percent, followed by Samsung at 18.9 percent. Realme is at the fourth spot with 14.3 percent, just below Vivo.

On the flipside, Realme has registered year-over-year growth of a whopping 400 percent, while Xiaomi grew at a modest 8.5 percent. Unfortunately, Samsung is having a hard time tackling the two younger brands and registered a fall of 8.5 percent.

The average selling price for a smartphone was INR 11,000 (US$ 159). Data also showed that phones under INR 15,000 (US$ 200) still account for 80 percent of the market. But, this segment saw its share drop by five percent on a yearly basis.

The Redmi 7A and Redmi Note 7 Pro were the highest shipped models in the complete market. Realme’s online sales were at 26.5 percent and its shipments were 6.7 million. This also means that number two, three and four smartphone players are closely matched in terms of shipments.

With more than 50 percent share, Apple remained the dominant player in the premium segment, which includes smartphones in the range of US$ 500 and more.

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India

Nokia branded smart TVs will soon be a thing

Coupled with JBL audio

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Nokia TVs are on the horizon.

India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Nokia to launch Nokia-branded Smart TVs. Flipkart will not only distribute the brand’s smart TVs but is also handling the manufacturing in India.

This will mark Nokia’s entry in an extremely crowded market where new players like OnePlus have just recently arrived. Xiaomi has also been doubling down with its wider range of products and incumbents like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic continue to command a huge share of the market.

A launch timeline hasn’t been revealed yet, but we do know the TVs will sport audio by JBL. Besides Nokia, Huawei’s Honor and Motorola recently launched smart TVs in the country.

The company is known for its research and patents in the telecom industry and continues to work on it. On the side, it has licensed the Nokia brand to third parties like HMD Global for smartphones.

Nokia stopped making phones long back, its hardware division was later acquired by Microsoft, and ultimately everything ended. Though, the brand lived, and the Finnish company was far from giving up.

Flipkart was acquired by Walmart sometime back and the platform intends to leverage its online reach in tier 2 and 3 towns. Besides, all the TVs will be assembled in India under the central government’s Make in India campaign. This will help them avoid import duty on finished products as well as enjoy the direct benefits of the scheme.

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Apps

WhatsApp attack let hackers spy on users

Journalists and activists were specifically targeted

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the most widely used instant messengers and has a huge userbase in India. The app uses end-to-end encryption to protect data from snooping eyes. Unfortunately, hackers were not only able to bypass this security measure, but also separately install malware.

Before India’s General Elections, at least two dozen journalists, lawyers and activists were targeted for surveillance. WhatsApp has officially confirmed the incident and blames Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO for abusing a vulnerability.

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, stating it “developed their malware in order to access messages and other communications after they were decrypted” on target devices. 1,400 users were compromised in total and state-of-the-art surveillance was active for at least two weeks before the flaw was detected.

WhatsApp has obviously fixed the vulnerability and directly reached out to the affected users. The lawsuit says that “Pegasus” software was used to hijack smartphones running on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry OS. It described the issue as, “A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of RTCP packets sent to a target phone number.”

Reports claim Pegasus is exclusively sold to governments only and has been around for at least three years. It’s extremely sophisticated and attacks are exceedingly difficult to detect.

Clearly, NSO Group has disputed WhatsApp’s claims but we won’t know the full story until the lawsuit goes to trial.

In 2018, a confidant of Jamal Khashoggi was targeted in Canada with a fake package notification. Khashoggi was later tracked down and assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

India’s IT Ministry has sought a detailed response from WhatsApp before November 4.

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