The continued advances in technology have transformed smartphones into commodities, and as companies continue to wage the price war, the market is coming dangerously close to a point where a company might do the unthinkable to stand out: sell products at lower than cost price and pray the gamble pays off with astronomical sales figures.
That is the situation a startup from India will find itself in when it begins shipping the world’s cheapest smartphone for $4 (251 rupees) this week. At that price, you’re basically just paying for the cardboard box that will presumably house the device.
Unveiled in February as a preorder without a definite ship date, the aptly named Ringing Bells Freedom 251 will be sent out to customers starting June 30, the Indian Express reports. Ringing Bells founder and chief executive Mohit Goel described it as a “true testimony of success” for the government’s Make in India campaign, which aims to transform one of the world’s biggest economies into a global manufacturing hub. Certainly, a lot has been said about the smartphone, and some of them have been deeply critical of its unprecedented pricing.
How can any company compete with a $4 smartphone? And why would anyone consider selling anything way lower than the market’s expectation? There has to be a catch, right?
Sure, there might be a thing or two that will stick out like a sore thumb, but given the cost, we’d be more worried about the phone’s availability than anything else at this point.
Ringing Bell’s preorder site has attracted over 70 million buyers, causing the website to crash. The company promises to ship 200,000 units each month from here on out, so we probably don’t need to say how long customers will have to wait to receive their deliveries. Let’s just say the math is overwhelmingly against Goel and his people.
Specs-wise, you’re staring at a 4-inch, 960 x 540 screen, a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, 3- and 8-megapixel front and rear cameras, a 1,800mAh battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop — all of which are impressive for a phone that’s cheaper than the average movie ticket.
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Source: The Indian Express
Apple iPhone XR available for pre-order on October 19
We’re finally on the cusp of getting a more affordable iPhone. All six colors of the iPhone XR will be available for pre-order starting October 19, 12:01 am (GMT+8) on apple.com/sg and the Apple Store app.
The iPhone XR was launched alongside the iPhone XS and XS Max last month, offering the same flagship features as its high-end brothers have but with a few differences here and there.
The same A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine — one of the most powerful chipsets found in a smartphone today — powers the iPhone XR. It allows for better gaming and camera performance, a more immersive AR experience, and more efficient processing resulting in longer battery life compared to previous generations.
Instead of OLED, the iPhone XR’s display will be LCD — a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display — the most advanced of its kind according to Apple. It’s also an all-glass phone that supports wireless charging, and is wrapped with aluminum around the edges instead of stainless steel. The body is water-resistant with a rating of IP67, and is safe from everyday spills including coffee, tea, and beer. Liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s warranty, however.
In the camera department, the iPhone XR sports the same wide-angle lens found on the iPhone XS and XS Max, but doesn’t come with the 2x telephoto zoom lens. You can still achieve that bokeh effect through Portrait Mode, thanks to internal improvements to the ISP, Neural Engine, and software algorithms. In front, the notch that houses the latest TrueDepth camera system also enables Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting, plus Face ID for security and authentication.
In Singapore, the iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage models in black, white, blue, yellow, coral, and (PRODUCT)RED starting at SG$ 1,229 (US$ 892) beginning Friday, October 26 at 8:00 am.
It will also be available in more than 50 countries and territories on the same date, including Malaysia, India, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Other countries in Southeast Asia like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam will get the iPhone XR starting November 2.
Through Apple GiveBack, customers can trade in their eligible device for an Apple Store Gift Card or a refund of up to SG$ 850 on their purchase. Trade-in values will vary based on the condition and model of your smartphone.
ASUS launches two new pocket-friendly phones in India
Carving a new legacy for the ZenFone series
ASUS completely revamped its product offering this year and launched a midrange phone, the ZenFone Max Pro. To cover up the budget flagship segment, it later launched the ZenFone 5Z. The two have been selling like hot cakes in developing markets thanks to hostile pricing and periodic offers.
Now, the company intends to take on the budget segment by launching the ZenFone Max and ZenFone Lite in India. Just yesterday, Lenovo also launched the K9 and Xiaomi has been ruling the segment with its Redmi 5A and Redmi 6.
The ZenFone Max is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 122) and will be available for just INR 7,499 (US$ 101) during the festive season. The ZenFone Lite is an even cheaper option coming in at INR 6,999 (US$ 95) and will be available for INR 5,999 (US$ 82) under the same festive season discount. Jio users will be eligible for further INR 2,200 (US$ 30) cashback along with 50GB of free data. The two will be exclusively available via Flipkart.
The ZenFone Max has a 5.4-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. It is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC along with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. On the back, it has a single 13-megapixel camera while the front sports an 8-megapixel sensor. The cameras support beauty filters, portrait mode, and HDR.
The ZenFone Lite boasts the same display and processor as the Max but has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. The rear has a 13-megapixel camera while the front has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. The ZenFone Max owns a 4000mAh battery while the Lite sports a smaller 3000mAh battery.
Both the phones come with expandable storage via a microSD card and support authentication via facial recognition. The ZenFone Max also houses a fingerprint scanner on the back. The duo runs on Android Oreo-based ZenUI 5.0 out of the box.
Lenovo is taking on the budget segment by launching the K9
Comes with USB-C!
Lenovo has been making smartphones for years now, and had captured a considerable market in India. Unfortunately, it couldn’t hold on to its share for a long time and slowly faded away. Even though the company launched a few best-selling devices in the K8 series, it took a step back in terms of marketing and portfolio availability.
The company also owns the Moto brand and has been indirectly launching new devices there. Now, Lenovo is back and has decided to launch the K9 series in India. While the previous K8 phones were under the midrange segment, the new lineup is significantly cheaper and placed in the budget segment.
The K9 is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 122) and will be available exclusively via Flipkart in black and blue colors. The company also launched an even cheaper A5 that starts at INR 5,999 (US$ 82).
Coming to the specifications, the K9 sports a 5.7-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The phone is powered by an octa-core processor along with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. It also has a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
On the rear, it has a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that can capture pictures with a bokeh effect. The front also offers the same 13- and 5-megapixel dual-camera setup. A small LED flash is located on the front, as well as on the back.
Powering the K9 is a 3000mAh battery that supports 10W charging via a USB-C port. Lenovo would be among the first to incorporate a USB-C port at this price range. The phone is being marketed as a perfect all-rounder that gets everything right.
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