News

Vivo unveils V15 with MediaTek Helio P70, still with pop-up camera

A downgrade from the Pro model

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After launching the V15 Pro in India, Vivo now has a non-Pro variant of the phone which is simply called the V15. The phone was announced in multiple Asian countries including Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand. As expected, the Vivo V15 is a cheaper variant of the V15 Pro.

Vivo has to cut corners to make the V15 more affordable. Instead of a Snapdragon chipset found on the V15 Pro, the regular V15 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P70 and memory is down to 6GB. The phone has 128GB of storage with support for expansion via microSD card.


Furthermore, the display has to be swapped from AMOLED to an LCD panel (the latter is indeed cheaper), but it’s slightly larger at 6.53 inches. Since the phone got bigger, Vivo has space to put in a better battery — 4000mAh to be exact. It chargers through the phone’s micro-USB port, which is undeniably a big disappointment.

At least, the V15 still has a notch-free display because the front camera is housed in a motorized pop-up module. It keeps the 32-megapixel sensor for taking selfies, although the main rear camera is now just a 12-megapixel shooter. The good news is the secondary 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and 5-megapixel depth sensor are present.

Vivo had to ditch the in-display fingerprint scanner as well, and it’s replaced with a rear-mounted reader. The overall design of the V15 is not much different from the V15 Pro, too.

The Vivo V15 will come in Topaz Blue and Glamour Red. It’s priced at THB 10,999 in Thailand or roughly US$ 345. Pricing in Cambodia or Malaysia has yet to be announced. Additionally, we’re expecting the Vivo V15 (or the V15 Pro) to be available in more markets in Asia in the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V15 Pro is a midrange phone trying to redefine mobile photography

News

Samsung’s next-generation RAM is super fast

It’s tailor-made to handle 5G and AI

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Slowly but surely we’re approaching the 5G era. As more infrastructure is built to provide this next-gen mobile connectivity, we’ll also need a new batch of smartphones that can handle it without sucking up all your phone’s juice. This is where Samsung comes in with their new 12GB LPDDR5 mobile DRAM.

The new DRAM is optimized for enabling 5G and AI features in future smartphones. Not only that, Samsung said it’s also power efficient which means it will allow phones to fully leverage 5G as well as AI driven features like ultra-high-definition video recording and machine learning while also extending the phones battery life.


The 12GB LPDDR5 should be around 1.3 times faster than the previous mobile memory found in most high-end phones today. This means it should be able to transfer 44GB of data in only a second.

Not coming until the S11

Don’t expect to see this on the Galaxy Note 10 though. Instead, look for it to be equipped on the Samsung Galaxy S11. With the rise of more 5G infrastructure, 5G-capable flagships will be the norm in 2020.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 ‘official’ photos leak

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India

Xiaomi needs the POCO brand now more than ever

Trying to meet everyone’s expectations

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Xiaomi is celebrating five years in India and they’ve announced a special sale across a huge selection of products. In the last five years, the brand has grabbed the number one spot in terms of market share, dethroning legacy giants like Samsung. How did a young brand like Xiaomi start from nothing and go on to lead the market?

The Chinese-brand entered India in 2014 and has always maintained a consistent track record of launching near-perfect phones that don’t cost a bomb. The Redmi brand in India slowly developed on the back of successful series like the Note. This one series helped the brand in establishing market supremacy in the budget midrange collection.


Then the brand cautiously went into the entry-level smartphone segment and started dominating that as well. Not only did the brand offer exceedingly competitive prices, but also flooded the market with options that covered every possible price point. We can safely call this a blitzkrieg-style strategy that overwhelmed the competitors as well as the users with products.

Xiaomi did try to launch a few flagship phones like the Mi 5, but they received a lukewarm response. The Redmi brand is synonymous with affordable phones in India, how do you break the threshold limit of INR 20,000 (US$ 290) and launch a flagship?

The importance of POCO

POCO (Pocophone in international markets) was the answer. A new sub-brand let them create a new ideology around the products and consumer expectations could be gauged. The POCO F1 started at just INR 19,999 (US$ 290) and boasted a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 processor. This was a deal-breaker for everyone.

A new report by the Economic Times says Xiaomi could soon kill the POCO brand. It cites a few top-level exits as contributing factors, along with the recent Redmi K20 launch. It emphasizes how Redmi and Mi are now a definite position from Xiaomi and POCO was overlapping.

This is where I tend to disagree. The Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have received a lot of backlash from consumers because they feel the phones are overpriced. A constant comparison is drawn between the K20 and Realme X. The K20 starts at INR 21,999 (US$ 319) and the K20 Pro starts at INR 27,999 (US$ 406).

Let’s get one thing straight, the phones aren’t overpriced. In fact, considering what they offer, the price is on point and continues Xiaomi’s legacy of offering competitive rates. Things went wrong on the marketing front.

Users have been expecting a POCO F1 successor soon, and Xiaomi has been teasing the K20 Pro for months. The company intended the K20 Pro to be a OnePlus 7 killer, but the buyers expected a POCO-like offering.

Considering the amount of bad press Xiaomi has received, killing off the POCO brand will only add fuel to the fire. And on the flip side, a POCO F2 launch will actually douse the fire and help Xiaomi in maintaining control over all price points. The company has raised everyone’s expectations so high, it’s finding it hard to keep up with them.

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Enterprise

Huawei secretly worked with North Korea on spying tech

Here we go again

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In the 2014 film The Interview, director Seth Rogen depicted North Korea as a backwards country incapable of basic human rights. The Hollywood depiction echoed the political sentiments of the present age — that North Korea falls behind most nations on several levels. Prejudices can, of course, be deceiving. According to a new report, North Korea isn’t the backwards country that everyone thinks it is.

Apparently, North Korea received invaluable help from outside technology — Huawei. As reported by The Washington Post, Huawei has secretly worked with the North Korean government for the latter’s wireless communications technology. Partnered with China-based Panda International, Huawei has engaged in North Korean business deals for at least eight years.


In 2008, then-leader Kim Jong Il discretely struck a deal with Huawei. The latter would help establish the North Korean telecommunications provider, Koryolink. Huawei became the country’s main provider for technology. The company even shipped employees to North Korea, establishing an inconspicuous office at a local hotel.

According to a telling internal document, Huawei’s assistance went beyond mere technology providing services. In 2008, North Korea asked Huawei for a spying algorithm; to which, the latter agreed. Huawei created an encrypted algorithm that allowed the government to intercept and monitor all calls made using Koryolink.

Huawei’s involvement went through all the protocols of secrecy. Internally, they struck all mentions of North Korea, hiding behind codes. (For example, “Country A9” would refer to North Korea.) Naturally, when America cracked down on North Korea in 2016, Huawei withdrew from all its North Korean offices, leaving current business deals hanging.

Huawei’s current troubles stem from its alleged involvements with blacklisted countries. Before its recent obsession with cybersecurity, the American government sought sanctions against Huawei for dealing with Iran and North Korea. The government, however, could never pin anything conclusive against the company. The recent ban stems from a different concern.

Of course, this latest report is a huge monkey wrench in the geopolitical machine. Both China-US and North Korea-US relations are already tense. Huawei’s North Korean involvement can potentially cause ripples throughout both fronts. For one, Trump already relinquished his iron grasp on Huawei recently. Will his tone change after today’s report? Will we see Huawei banned again? The Huawei saga continues.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is firing hundreds of workers

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