India

POCO X2 now official with 120Hz display, Snapdragon 730G

It has finally arrived!

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After a long wait, POCO has officially unveiled the POCO X2 in India today. The brand used to be a sub-brand of Xiaomi but recently turned completely independent. The brand has also emphasized that the phone is not a successor of the POCO F1, but a completely new series.

On the front, it has a 6.67-inch screen with a ratio of 20:9 and a 120Hz refresh rate. The brand is calling the higher refresh rate “Reality Flow” and it has been incorporated via an LCD panel. Keep in mind, apps and games need to support a higher refresh rate to fully deliver a smooth experience.

It’s powered by a Snapdragon 730G processor along with an Adreno 618 GPU. Just like the POCO F1, it also gets liquid cooling for enhanced longer periods of gaming. The brand repeatedly compared its offering aginst the Realme X2, the opponent it intends to take on. For power backup, you get a 4,500 mAh battery that supports 27W fast charging. And, the fast charging brick is included with the phone by default.

It houses up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and 256GB internal storage. The phone is being targeted as a fast device that can handle any task you throw at it. The fingerprint scanner is now mounted on the side and the back is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

On the rear is a Sony IMX686 64-megapixel primary camera paired with a 2-megapixel portrait sensor, 2-megapixel macro lens, and an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor. This is the first phone to sport the Sony IMX686 sensor in India. On the front is a 20-megapixel primary camera along with a 2-megapixel portrait sensor.

POCO continues to retain the headphone jack. Additionally, it’s splash-proof and also houses an IR blaster on the top.

Pricing and availability

It’ll be available in three colors — Atlantis Blue, Matrix Purple, and Phoenix Red. In India, the 6GB+64GB variant is priced at INR 15,999, the 6GB+128GB is priced at INR 16,999 while the 8GB+256GB option costs INR 19,999.

India

POCO M2 Pro launches with Snapdragon 720G, quad cameras

A Redmi Note 9 Pro look-alike?

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After becoming an independent brand, POCO has focused on the affordable segment and is gradually expanding. Today, the brand launched the POCO M2 Pro in India and it’s the most affordable phone to sport a Snapdragon 720G chipset.

The phone looks eerily similar to the Redmi Note 9 Pro. In fact, the new phone directly undermines Redmi’s offering. It’s no surprise the two brands are leveraging Xiaomi’s supply chain perfectly.

Coming back to the phone, it has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ display with a punch-hole cut-out and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 720G processor with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The phone has a P2i coating that enables dust and water resistance.

On the rear is a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, a 16-megapixel selfie shooter is located on the front.

It ships with POCO Launcher 2.0 out-of-the-box. Powering the phone is a 5020mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging.

The phone is available in three configurations. The first one with 4GB+64GB costs INR 13,999 (US$ 186), followed by 6GB+64GB at INR 14,999 (US$ 200), and lastly, the 6GB+128GB options goes for INR 16,999 (US$ 226). Color options are called Out of the Blue, Green and Greener, and Two Shades of Black. The phone will be up for purchase via Flipkart from July 14.

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India

India launches app innovation challenge after Chinese apps ban

Encouraging local developers and building an ecosystem

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India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has announced a new program to encourage local developers and bridge the gap left behind by banned services like TikTok. It’s officially called “Aatma Nirbhar App Innovation Challenge” and was unveiled by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Atma Nitrbhar means “to be independent” or “self-sufficient” in one of India’s widely used languages, Hindi. A few days ago, the Indian government announced a blanket ban on a few listed Chinese apps. Within no time, they were off the Play Store and many services like TikTok and Mobile Legends voluntarily stopped service after the ban was announced.

The App Innovation Challenge includes the promotion of existing apps as well as the development of new apps. The program is split into two tracks. The first one includes already released apps that have the potential to scale and become world-class in their segment. The second track aims to identify companies as well as individuals who can build next-generation apps for the country.

Tthe government is looking for alternative apps of the ones that remain banned. Companies will have to submit their entries by July 18 and a jury for each of the tracks shall evaluate the entries.

The challenge is available in eight categories, ranging from office productivity or work from home solutions to news and games.

The government has allocated INR 20,00,000 (US$ 26,780), INR 15,00,000 (US$ 20,085), and INR 10,00,000 (US$ 13,390) for the first three winners, respectively. Adding to this, Each sub-category winner will also be rewarded.

India has suffered high casualties amid an ongoing border dispute with China. The Coronavirus pandemic has further fueled the anti-China sentiment and the Indian government is exploring options to reduce its trade deficit with the neighboring country.

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Apps

Indian telco launches a Zoom rip-off and it’s free

Definitely worth giving it a shot!

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Jio, India’s leading telecom operator has recently been in the news for a lot of reasons. The company has more than 30 percent of the telecom market in India and it intends to pivot, unlike any other telco we’ve ever seen.

The company has launched a Zoom alternative called JioMeet. The video conferencing app is expected to get a lot of traction amid calls to increase self-dependence and reduce the consumption of foreign products. However, it seems like the Jio team took too much inspiration from Zoom and thought of just directly mimicking it.

The app looks almost identical to Zoom’s offering, except for the minor color change here and there. The app is one of many in Jio’s portfolio.

However, the app offers a lot of high-end features like unlimited free calls in HD and supports for 100 participants in one go. Additionally, JioMeet does not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration.

On Zoom, you’d require a premium account to disable the 40-minute restriction on calls. Thankfully, the app is available on the Play Store and App Store for download directly, and no coupons or invite links are needed.

For security and privacy reasons, all its meetings are password protected. The host has the control to send the uninvited guests to the “Waiting Room” to ensure no gatecrashing. Obviously, standard features like screen sharing have also been included.

For desktop usage, the service can also be accessed through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. On its official website, JioMeet claims all the meetings are “encrypted”.

In the last two months, the telecom operator has raised billion in funding from global investors like Facebook. The company also owns JioSaavn music streaming service and has its own entertainment unit that offers movies, shows, as well as live TV.

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