India

Pocophone F1 offers flagship specs at incredibly affordable price

Taking on the big boys of tech

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If there’s one thing we learned from all the great smartphones that have launched this year, it’s that you don’t have to pay a premium for a flagship experience. Multiple phones have proven this, but the latest entry into the affordable flagship segment may be the most groundbreaking.

Produced by none other than Xiaomi, the Pocophone F1 takes some of the best specs you can find in any smartphone today, and crams it into a handset that costs only US$ 300.


For starters, it has a top-tier Snapdragon 845 processor with up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of expandable storage. These are numbers that rival the best we’ve reviewed, including the OnePlus 6 and Xiaomi’s own Mi Mix 2S.

Adding to the beastly specs is a 4000mAh battery that should last a whole day’s worth of usage. The phone comes with a 18W fast charger that works through its USB-C port. Speaking of connectivity, there’s a 3.5mm audio port, as well.

Since this is made by Xiaomi, MIUI 9.6 based on Android Oreo is in place. This isn’t their usual interface, however; this version has an app drawer like on stock Android so it’s easier to sort apps and widgets on the home screen.

The fingerprint sensor is found on the rear, but you have the option of using face unlock through the infrared camera and illuminator found on top of the 6.18-inch 1080p display, which has an unusual 18.7:9 aspect ratio and notch.

What’s the catch? The build quality isn’t premium; the F1 settles for an all-plastic build and feels really light in one’s hand. And although the cameras seem impressive on paper — an AI-powered 12- and 5-megapixel combo on the rear and 20-megapixel selfie shooter — the image quality is more on the midrange level.

In a way, you can think of the Pocophone F1 as a mix of Xiaomi’s Mi and Redmi series. You get the high-end hardware of the former with the build and camera quality of the latter. It’s an optimized mix that should appeal to both power users and gamers.

India will be the first market to receive this phone, which is locally named Poco F1 in the country. It’ll retail starting at INR 20,999 (US$ 300) for the variant with 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The available colors are Graphite Black, Steel Blue, Rosso Red, and a special Armored Edition (using Kevlar aramid fiber).

You can find the rest of the pricing here:

Enterprise

India’s richest man is giving away free HD TVs

He’s selling something more valuable

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Reliance Jio is India’s largest telecom operator and has managed to get onboard more than 340 million users within a span of three years. Launched in 2016, the company revolutionized 4G connections in the country and offered dirt-cheap plans to attract subscribers.

Now that the company has conquered the wireless market, it aims to establish supremacy in the fixed-line segment. It announced the launch of its fiber-based broadband service offering minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps for INR 699 (US$ 9.75) a month, a rate significantly lower than the rivals.


Dubbed “Jio Fiber”, the service will offer free voice calling anywhere in the country, unlimited data and video conferencing.

In a bid to attract users and make them use bandwidth, they’re handing out TVs to hook users on movies and entertainment shows via internet. Lifetime subscribers get a 4K set top box for streaming TV channels, while a 4K television set would be complimentary with plans with higher payouts such as ‘Gold’ and above.

Jio is offering complementary TVs to annual subscribers of broadband plans in the range of INR 2,499 to INR 8,499 (US$ 35 – 120). The company is also offering television set on two-year subscription of gold plan priced at INR 1,299 (US$ 18) per month.

Jio Fiber Platinum and Titanium plan users will also get access to Jio VR platform, Jio First-Day First-Show movies service, and special sports content.

To get a new connection, a one-time charge for installation will be applicable — INR 2,500 (US$ 35), out of which INR 1,500 will be the refundable security deposit for the Jio router. Rest will be non-refundable.

Instead of relying on hardware sales for revenue, the company is making internet bandwidth its main selling point. Higher data consumption translates into better revenues, indirectly covering up the cost of providing complimentary hardware.

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Apps

Indians can now use UPI to make purchases on Play Store

Because debit cards are too old school

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Google’s Play Store has now added Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as a payment option for users in India. The payment method is widely used in the country and is directly linked to a bank account.

Earlier, users had to rely on credit or debit cards. In a side move, Google also started selling cash cards at popular electronic stores. But, cash cards meant users had to buy a fixed amount of credit. With UPI, they now have the liberty of directly paying only what’s required.


XDA Developers were the first one to spot the feature addition and it’s rolling out OTA to everyone. To ensure you get it, just update the Google Play Store to v16.3.37 or more.

For those who aren’t aware, UPI is India’s homegrown protocol for transferring money and making payments. It is directly linked to a bank account and various client apps like BHIM, GPay, PhonePe, PayTM, and more can be used to initiate a transaction. Instead of relying on a physical card, UPI protocol brings authentication of transactions directly to your phone.

The transfer method is widely adopted in the country and thanks to a universal interface, it can be used for pretty much every Indian bank. Every major e-commerce service like Amazon, Flipkart, and Spotify have adopted the payment service to bolster sales.

In fact, UPI has overtaken debit card transactions by volume and value according to The Reserve Bank of India. This minor addition is sure to get a lot of traction, in turn discouraging app piracy.

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India

Samsung Galaxy M30s will launch with a 6000mAh battery

Will launch exclusively on Amazon India

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For all their groundbreaking innovations, smartphones have notoriously failed in one crucial aspect: battery life. The smartphone’s processing power keeps doubling throughout the years. On the other hand, phone batteries have grown at a snail’s pace. Currently, the standard still hovers between 3500mAh and 4000mAh.

Occasionally, a smartphone breaks this barrier. For one, Samsung is launching a smartphone with 6000mAh. Posted on Amazon India, the Samsung Galaxy M30s continues Samsung’s battery-efficient Galaxy M series.


The Galaxy M30s will ship with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen. Inside, the smartphone will run on either the Exynos 9610 or 9611 chipset. Like its littler sibling, the M30, it comes with 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage.

Like the M30, the smartphone shoots with a triple camera setup, highlighted by a main 64-megapixel shooter. Out of the box, it will come with Android Pie overlaid with Samsung’s OneUI.

As mentioned above, the smartphone will have a humongous 6000mAh battery. In comparison, the previous Galaxy M30 only had a 5000mAh battery. The new battery pushes past the current industry standard. Only a few smartphones have reached this point.

Pricewise, the Galaxy M30 will retail between INR 15,000 (approximately US$ 208) and INR 20,000 (approximately US$ 277). It’s a budget phone that fits nicely within Samsung’s expansive family. According to the Amazon India listing, the smartphone will launch on September 18.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy M40 is a budget phone with triple rear cameras

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