India

Xiaomi needs the POCO brand now more than ever

Trying to meet everyone’s expectations

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Xiaomi is celebrating five years in India and they’ve announced a special sale across a huge selection of products. In the last five years, the brand has grabbed the number one spot in terms of market share, dethroning legacy giants like Samsung. How did a young brand like Xiaomi start from nothing and go on to lead the market?

The Chinese-brand entered India in 2014 and has always maintained a consistent track record of launching near-perfect phones that don’t cost a bomb. The Redmi brand in India slowly developed on the back of successful series like the Note. This one series helped the brand in establishing market supremacy in the budget midrange collection.

Then the brand cautiously went into the entry-level smartphone segment and started dominating that as well. Not only did the brand offer exceedingly competitive prices, but also flooded the market with options that covered every possible price point. We can safely call this a blitzkrieg-style strategy that overwhelmed the competitors as well as the users with products.

Xiaomi did try to launch a few flagship phones like the Mi 5, but they received a lukewarm response. The Redmi brand is synonymous with affordable phones in India, how do you break the threshold limit of INR 20,000 (US$ 290) and launch a flagship?

The importance of POCO

POCO (Pocophone in international markets) was the answer. A new sub-brand let them create a new ideology around the products and consumer expectations could be gauged. The POCO F1 started at just INR 19,999 (US$ 290) and boasted a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 processor. This was a deal-breaker for everyone.

A new report by the Economic Times says Xiaomi could soon kill the POCO brand. It cites a few top-level exits as contributing factors, along with the recent Redmi K20 launch. It emphasizes how Redmi and Mi are now a definite position from Xiaomi and POCO was overlapping.

This is where I tend to disagree. The Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have received a lot of backlash from consumers because they feel the phones are overpriced. A constant comparison is drawn between the K20 and Realme X. The K20 starts at INR 21,999 (US$ 319) and the K20 Pro starts at INR 27,999 (US$ 406).

Let’s get one thing straight, the phones aren’t overpriced. In fact, considering what they offer, the price is on point and continues Xiaomi’s legacy of offering competitive rates. Things went wrong on the marketing front.

Users have been expecting a POCO F1 successor soon, and Xiaomi has been teasing the K20 Pro for months. The company intended the K20 Pro to be a OnePlus 7 killer, but the buyers expected a POCO-like offering.

Considering the amount of bad press Xiaomi has received, killing off the POCO brand will only add fuel to the fire. And on the flip side, a POCO F2 launch will actually douse the fire and help Xiaomi in maintaining control over all price points. The company has raised everyone’s expectations so high, it’s finding it hard to keep up with them.

Accessories

realme narzo 30A now official alongside Buds Air 2 TWS with ANC

The price of Buds Air 2 is unbelievable

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realme held a massive launch today in India and has announced a host of new products. While the narzo 30 Pro 5G is designed to be a premium offering, the brand has also launched an affordable phone called the narzo 30A. realme is also serious about accessories and has unveiled the Buds Air 2.

Starting with the narzo 30A, it has a diagonal stripe pattern design that’s rather unconventional. The phone will be available in Lazer Black and Lazer Blue color options and a physical fingerprint scanner is located on the rear for authentication.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD with HD+ support and a waterdrop-style notch. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G85 processor with up to 4GB RAM. You can add a microSD card for storage expansion.

The rear gets a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel monochrome portrait sensor. The front has an 8-megapixel camera for selfies. Backing these internals is a massive 6000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

The realme narzo is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 125) for the 3GB RAM + 32GB while the 4GB RAM + 64GB option costs INR 9,999 (US$ 140).

realme Buds Air 2

Realme Buds Air 2 features active noise cancellation (ANC), similar to Realme Buds Air Pro. This is a feature that’s missing from the first generation Buds Air. It also comes with an in-canal fit that enables passive noise isolation that is critical for the proper functioning of active noise cancellation.

In addition to ANC support, the Realme Buds Air 2 even has a transparency mode, which allows you to hear background sound while listening to music. On the audio side, it has a 10mm driver, 88ms super-low latency support, and smart touch controls.

The Buds Air 2 is priced at INR 3,299 (US$ 45) and shall be available from March 2 via Flipkart and realme.com.

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India

realme launches narzo 30 Pro 5G with Dimensity 800U, 48MP camera

Comes with a premium design

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narzo 30 pro

The launch season has arrived, and realme has fired the shots first. While we’ve seen a few flagship and midrange phones, the affordable segment is yet to come into the spotlight. realme has finally launched the narzo 30 Pro 5G in India today, alongside the narzo 30A.

The narzo 30 Pro 5G is an affordable phone that comes with a premium touch. Instead of the usual flashy design that realme’s known for, the phone has a sleek premium look and will be available in Sword Black and Blade Silver options.

It sports a 6.5-inch LCD with Full HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a punch-hole cut-out. It has a peak brightness of 600 nits. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor with up to 8GB RAM. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for memory expansion.

On the rear is a triple camera module consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. Since the phone runs on realme UI,  we can expect a host of software modes that’ll help you perfect your pictures.

Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery that supports 30W Dart Charging. For authentication, the narzo 30 Pro 5G has a fingerprint sensor on the side. As the name suggests, it has support for 5G, but India is yet to start 5G operations at a commercial scale.

The phone is priced at INR 16,999 (US$ 235) for the 6GB RAM+64GB variant, while the 8GB RAM+128GB option shall cost INR 19,999 (US$ 275). It’ll go on sale from March 4 via Flipkart, Realme.com, and offline stores.

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India

Lenovo launches Smart Clock Essential with Google Assistant

Supports Hindi language as well

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Lenovo Smart Clock

Lenovo has announced Smart Clock Essential in India to extend its smart home solutions. The new bedside gadget is a connected digital smart clock which the company claims can work across rooms at home.

The Smart Clock Essential builds on the Lenovo Smart Clock for the bedroom and is the first one to support one of India’s official languages — Hindi. The company intends to double-down on the regional market and leverage Google Assistant’s ability to communicate in more languages.

It extends a hands-free, time-saving convenience to the rest of the home, and you can seamlessly connect your Google Home devices like a speaker, bulbs, and more. Moreover, you get a 1.5watt speaker that delivers a peak power of 3W.

Also, two microphones come alongside an inbuilt nightlight so that you can walk around at night without switching on the main lights. The nightlight has a maximum brightness of 31 lumens.

The clock features a 4-inch LED display and is powered by an Amlogic A113X SoC. There’s also 4GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. The display can show your real-time information like your upcoming meetings from Google Calendar, the weather, news, and even to-do things.

Google has also rolled out a new update that lets the Assistant show user’s health and fitness data on smart displays. The feature is limited to Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, and Lenovo Smart Clock for now.

With Google Assistant’s full voice support, users can control their smart home devices. Additionally, it supports more than 40,000 compatible smart home devices from over 5,000 brands.

The Smart Clock Essential is priced at INR 4,499 (US$ 62) and shall be available via Flipkart and Lenovo’s website in India.

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