India

Galaxy J7 Duo brings dual cameras to Samsung’s budget lineup

Initially available in India

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While all eyes are on Samsung’s recently unveiled Galaxy S9 pair, the electronics manufacturer has been quietly building its Galaxy J7 series. The latest entry is the Galaxy J7 Duo, and it adds more sophisticated dual rear cameras to the Galaxy J lineup of smartphones.

Initially available in India, it’ll retail for INR 16,990 (US$ 260) and will be rolling out beginning April 12. Color options are simple: It’s either black or gold.

Although it fits in the lower-midrange market segment, its launch is a bigger deal than one would expect. Samsung claims that one out of every three smartphones sold in India comes out of the Galaxy J series.

Samsung is hoping to raise that stat even higher, and believes it can be done with a much-needed upgrade to the traditional dual-camera setup.

One rear camera has a 13-megapixel image sensor, while the other is 5 megapixels. Both have a wide aperture of f/1.9, making them ideal for low-light photography when put together.

Possibly even more impressive is the 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It comes with an LED flash for better illumination, as well as facial recognition even though there’s already a fingerprint sensor in front.

In addition, Samsung added useful software tricks such as Live Focus and Background Blur Shape for the main cameras, plus Selfie Focus and Beauty Mode for the selfie shooter. Live Focus and Background Blur Shape are the same features found on the Galaxy S9 series, wherein you can adjust background blur and add light effects even after taking a photo; Selfie Focus and Beauty Mode, on the other hand, help make self portraits stand out more and provide you with smoother skin, respectively.

The rest of the specs are run-of-the-mill: You get a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, an Exynos 7 series octa-core processor, 4GB of memory, 32GB of expandable storage, and 3000mAh battery. More importantly, it’ll ship with Android Oreo out of the box.

There’s no word yet on when other countries are getting the Galaxy J7 Duo, but hopefully it’ll go international soon.

India

Netflix announces nine new originals from India

2019 is going to be even more entertaining!

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India is among the most content-hungry markets in the world right now. Thanks to an extensive network of 4G connections and cheap data tariffs, a massive boom is underway and every Internet-centric company wants to be a part of this revolution. While telcos are busy luring more subscribers, content-focused companies have massively increased their investment in this region.

One of these is Netflix, one of the top streaming services in the world. It is expanding its India slate of original content by announcing eight new original films and a new original series. These will include many A-list Bollywood and Hollywood talent on camera as well as off-camera. After the success of Sacred Games this year, the service is even more confident about its investment.

The eight films include Chopsticks, Bulbul (produced by Anushka Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films), Upstarts, Cobalt Blue (based on a popular Marathi novel), 15th August (a Marathi film produced by Madhuri Dixit), Music Teacher, Hotel Mumbai (starring BAFTA-winning actor Dev Patel), and Firebrand (another Marathi film produced by Priyanka Chopra).

The original series is called Typewriter and it’s about a haunted house and a haunted book that attract a young group of ghost hunters. Netflix has already released four original movies and two original series this year from India while one series is scheduled to release in December.

While Netflix is ramping up its presence in the country, local studios and production networks have been trying to evolve as well. Voot (Viacom18), SonyLiv (Sony Pictures), and Hotstar (Star India and 21st Century Fox) are just a few of these services that already enjoy good public recognition.

Even Amazon is trying to make it big here and has been aggressively pushing its Prime service that has Prime Video and Prime Music bundled along.

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India

Xiaomi has officially hiked prices for some of its products

A very non-Xiaomi thing to do

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Xiaomi has been immensely successful in establishing a market of its own. The brand is known for selling quality products at affordable prices. This year, it has launched a plethora of Redmi-branded phones along with the expansion of its Mi Home offerings. In fact, competing brands often launch new products to specifically take on Xiaomi’s devices.

But Xiaomi has announced price hike for five of its products: Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. When these products were launched, the company had said the prices were “introductory” and could change in the future depending on market fluctuations.

Since the last few months, the Indian Rupee has consistently weakened against the American Dollar which has in turn significantly increased operating costs for the company. The company says the local currency has depreciated nearly 15 percent since the beginning of the year and hence price adjustments are a need of the hour.

Even though the transactions are between India and China, the equipment and parts are globally offset in American Dollar. Xiaomi isn’t the only one affected, though; OPPO’s sub-brand Realme has also announced similar price hikes on its products.

The Redmi 6A has received an INR 600 price hike, so the 16GB option will now be available for INR 6,599 (US$ 91) while the 32GB option will retail for INR 7,499 (US$ 103). The Redmi 6 32GB variant will now cost INR 8,499 (US$ 117).

The Mi LED TV 4C Pro 32-inch will now cost INR 15,999 (US$ 220), up from its initial price of INR 14,999. The Mi LED TV 4A Pro 49-inch has received an INR 2,000 hike, making the new selling price INR 31,999 (US$ 441).

Lastly, the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i Black is now available for INR 899 (US$ 12.5), up from INR 799. The new prices are already applicable and official rates have been communicated to offline sellers, as well.

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Xiaomi has been trolling the new OnePlus 6T and it’s hilarious

Clash of the Snapdragon 845 titans!

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OnePlus globally announced the new OnePlus 6T a few days ago, quickly followed by a special launch event in India. While the brand was hoping it would establish itself as an undisputed leader once again, Xiaomi has been working on a strategy of its own.

At the launch event in New Delhi, OnePlus had sold token tickets to the launch so that fans and enthusiasts could experience the new phone first-hand. The pre-orders for the OnePlus 6T had been opened up a while back and Amazon was teasing the device on its homepage.

Imgur / azorahaaaaaai

Xiaomi saw a wonderful marketing opportunity here, and decided to start a new campaign titled “Do The Math.” Its sub-brand POCO recently launched the POCO F1, the cheapest smartphone to feature a Snapdragon 845 SoC along with 6GB RAM. On paper, these specifications are the same for the OnePlus 6T, as well.

But, the price difference between the two offerings is huge. The POCO F1 starts at INR 20,999 (US$ 280) while the OnePlus 6T starts at INR 37,999 (US$ 510). The outdoor hoardings around the OnePlus 6T’s launch venue were filled with Xiaomi’s ads asking users to “Do The Math.”

Imgur / azorahaaaaaai

To further validate their point, Xiaomi was seen handing out calculators to people as a cheeky way of asking people to actually do the math.

On social networking sites like Twitter, the company went a step further and asked users to “Never settle for overpriced. Unlock the #MasterOfSpeed.” There is a barrage of videos that compare the features of the OnePlus 6T with the POCO F1’s. Xiaomi took a dig at OnePlus 6T’s missing headphone jack as well as its smaller battery.

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