News

Vivo V11: Price and availability in the Philippines

Competes against the OPPO F9

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Even though the Vivo V11 became official last week, its pricing was still somewhat of a mystery. But thanks to the successful launch in India a day after, we confirmed it’s spot around US$ 350.

Now, we have another regional price; this time for the Philippine market. The Vivo V11 will retail for PhP 19,999 and become available this month.

How did this get more expensive than its predecessor, the V9, at launch? There are actually several upgrades despite arriving only six months later.

The biggest advantage is the in-display fingerprint reader, which was once reserved for Vivo’s more premium handsets. The other is the higher-quality AMOLED panel with its tiny notch, as well as a significant bump in power with a Snapdragon 660 processor, plus 6GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage.

It’s truly a midranger worth considering in any market. You can see more of it in our review video:

News

Samsung teases its foldable smartphone’s launch date

It’s coming soon!

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After every smartphone launch this year, 2018 has shaped up as the year of the notch. However, for all the controversies, the notch is only a transitionary period between traditional slab phones and the truly bezel-less phone.

To some, the future consists of pop-up cameras and integrated screens. To Samsung, it’s all about the foldable smartphone. Despite other conflicting rumors, Samsung’s (and hopefully, the world’s first) foldable phone is the brand’s most substantive plan to date.

Rumored for months, the plan ran through the entire gamut of patents, leaks, and speculations. From recent news, the company has confirmed the eventual foldable smartphone. According to reports, the phone will launch sometime next year.

However, a recent tweet narrows this timeframe even further. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Samsung has announced its next event on Twitter.

Subtitled “Where Now Meets Next,” the upcoming Samsung Developer Conference 2018 will open from November 7 to 8 this year. Right now, the event’s website advertises developments in Bixby, gaming, and augmented reality technologies. Additionally, Samsung President and CEO DJ Koh will head the program’s keynote presentation.

However, the teaser video includes a curious icon — a single guillemet unfolding into a straight line. Put more plainly, the symbol resembles the potential unfolding motion of a foldable smartphone.

Across the ages, Samsung has always imbued its symbols with design-centric meaning. The symbol’s inclusion is far from mere coincidence. In fact, the conference is the perfect venue for the technology’s debut. In the past, Samsung has used the event to promote the company’s more technical advancements.

Besides that, an announcement at this event coincides with a probable launch next year. Based on another report, the phone will launch shortly after the Galaxy S10 series. If the technology makes an appearance in November, the actual phone can debut around MWC Barcelona next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung patents the world’s first all-screen fingerprint sensor

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India

Xiaomi has managed to widen its lead over Samsung in India

44 million total smartphones were sold in a quarter

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Xiaomi is a fairly new brand in India but has managed to create unprecedented hype in the market. While Samsung has been around for more than a decade, the newcomer has created an unchallenged segment for itself. This year we witnessed Xiaomi taking the lead in terms of market share, and according to the most recent research report, the gap between the two has increased.

Going by Counterpoint Research’s Q3 2018 report, Xiaomi now has a 27 percent market share in India, a rise of five percent year over year. Samsung remains unmoved at 23 percent, followed by Vivo. Although, this quarter, the most interesting point to note is Micromax’s comeback in the top five club.

The Indian brand now has nine percent market share, three percent up from last year. The report emphasizes a recent contract the company won from the Chattisgarh state government. In partnership with telecom operator Jio, Micromax has supplied five million smartphones to the women and students in the state.

Another interesting takeaway is that buyers are now purchasing more expensive phones on an average with the US$ 150 to 250 (INR 11,000 to 18,000) segment accounting for a third of the volumes in the quarter. At the same time, the premium segment (US$ 400+) continues to be minuscule with just a three percent contribution in terms of volume.

In the premium segment, OnePlus has a foothold of 30 percent, followed by Samsung at 28 percent and Apple at 25 percent. Unfortunately, Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are yet to make a dent in this division.

For Xiaomi, the recently announced Redmi 6 series and the POCO F1 have been successful in driving sales in both online as well as offline channels. Samsung continues to rely on its evergreen J-series smartphones along with the Android Go-powered J2 Core. Vivo’s V-series has been a hit as well and OPPO has been piggybacking on Realme sales.

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Gaming

Xiaomi Black Shark Helo is first smartphone with 10GB RAM

Out to compete against the Razer Phone 2 and ROG Phone

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Just six months after the release of the original Black Shark, we now have a successor in the Black Shark Helo.

Even though it forgoes a version number, it feels more incremental than substantial in upgrades. It has all the specs of a 2018 flagship — 6-inch 1080p screen, Snapdragon 845 chipset, and 4000mAh battery — but most are also found in its predecessor.

Same goes for the camera sensors, which are 20 and 12 megapixels for the rear cameras, plus 20 megapixels for the front. But that’s where most of the similarities end.

The most notable improvement is in the memory capacity; it now goes up to 10GB of RAM, which is a first for any smartphone currently available. This configuration comes with 256GB of storage.

Other upgrades are the use of an AMOLED panel instead of LCD (still only 60Hz, though), improved stereo speakers in front, and additional LED lights on the edges. An aluminum frame sandwiched by glass panels reinforce the more premium feel.

Of course, the gaming features are what make this phone what it is. There’s a dedicated button on the side to activate Shark Space, which diminishes background activity to boost performance while playing games. In addition, the liquid-cooling system is back.

Another pleasant inclusion is the attachable controller in the box — two if you get the most expensive package. It provides better control during gameplay and is sure to give you a leg up in competitive play.

The pricing starts at CNY 3,199 (US$ 460) for the 6GB+128GB model, CNY 3,499 (US$ 505) for 8GB+128GB, and CNY 4,199 (US$ 605) for the top-end 10GB+256GB variant.

Availability is currently limited to the Chinese market.

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