India

India’s $4 smartphone is shipping on June 30

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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.

Freedom-251-actual

Ringing Bells Freedom 251

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.

Source: The Indian Express

Image credit: The Next Web, The Economic Times

India

Apple is offering zero down payment EMIs on iPhones in India

Buying an iPhone has never been so easy in India!

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iPhones have always been heavy on the pocket, but the product makes up for this hefty price tag by delivering an above-average lifespan to regular users. While Android flagships often start showing their age within a couple of years, iPhones last much longer thanks to closely controlled software.

In developing markets like India, phones under contracts are a negligible part of the industry. On the other hand, higher-end phones that are sold through channels outside of telcos are factory-unlocked by default and support a wide array of networks, but they cost at least INR 50,000 (US$ 750) up front, and can even go up to INR 100,000 (US$ 1,460).

Apple intends to push deeper into the Indian market and make the process easier for potential buyers by rolling out a special 18-month EMI plan which requires zero upfront payment.

The offer is applicable on the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 bought through Apple’s offline partners from June 15 to September 30. The offer is applicable on a range of credit cards issued by PSU (state-run) banks and private banks.

Further, there is a five percent cash back for credit cards issued by Axis Bank, Citibank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Standard Chartered. As per the listing, the cash back shall be credited within 120 days from the date of the business transaction

This means you can get an iPhone X (64GB) for INR 5,599 (US$ 82) per month, the iPhone 8 (64GB) would cost INR 3,999 (US$ 58) per month, and the iPhone 7 (128GB) would have a cost of INR 3,525 (US$ 51) per month.

The exact prices for all variants are available at IndiaiStore, which is Apple’s official website for India. For purchases, the portal also helps users locate a nearby Apple Premium Reseller, Apple Authorized Reseller, or multi-brand store that stocks Apple products.

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India

OPPO RealMe 1 Moonlight Silver Limited Edition to go on sale from June 18

This one features 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage

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Last month, OPPO launched a new sub-brand in India called RealMe. It aims to target the lower-midrange segment and has been in high demand since launch thanks to competitive pricing. A new variant has now been announced with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a new color option of Moonlight Silver. The device will be available for purchase starting June 18, exclusively via Amazon.in.

The company originally launched the Diamond Black and Solar Red color options. Moonlight Silver will be the third option to be available in limited quantities.

“This limited edition range offers shiny designs that cater to customers’ needs. We hope that this new variant will be equally well received by the audience,” said Madhav Sheth, Chief Executive Officer, RealMe India.

As far as other specifications are concerned, the device sports a 6-inch FHD+ LCD display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18:9. Powering this device is the Helio P60 SoC which has two dedicated cores for AI processing. The two variants of the phone have 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and 6GB + 128GB storage.

On the rear, it sports a 13-megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and an 8-megapixel camera on the front for selfies. The device runs on ColorOS 5.0 that is built on Android Oreo 8.1. For authentication, this device lacks a fingerprint scanner but covers that up using Face Unlock. Backing all these internals is a 3410mAh battery which does not support any kind of fast charging.

It’s clear that OPPO intends to take on Xiaomi’s wide portfolio of products in India. The Redmi 5, Redmi Note 5 Pro, and the recently announced Redmi Y2 have been huge successes in the country. RealMe is trying to grab this share of the market by releasing products that fit everyone’s price bracket.

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Apps

Uber Lite app unveiled for entry-level phones with slow internet speeds

Launching first in India

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The list of Lite apps are slowly growing and the latest to get released is from the popular ride-hailing service Uber. The service serves both developed and developing countries, each with their own hurdles in getting the perfect experience. In the developing world, there are a number of users that still use entry-levels phones with slow internet connections. Uber wishes to address that with Uber Lite.

Uber Lite is the company’s way of reaching more people. It’s a minimal version of the main app that saves space in the phone’s storage, works on any (or most) network speeds, and, of course, runs great even on basic smartphones like Android Go-powered handsets.

The app is less than 5MB to download, which is significantly less than the regular app’s 181MB size. To achieve this, Uber had to cut some of the main features and leave only the necessities. Gone is the map that welcomes riders, but it’s still there as an option. Instead, the app immediately suggests nearby possible pickup locations based on the user’s GPS. There’s minimal searching on Uber Lite since it uses cache information before the phone went offline to know where you want to go.

The app is already available in India, which is one of Uber’s remaining markets in Asia after they sold their Southeast Asia business to Grab.

SEE ALSO: Uber sells their Southeast Asia business to Grab

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