India

Vivo X21 with under-display fingerprint scanner launches in India

Vivo is all geared up to take on the high-end segment

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After months of wait, Vivo has finally launched the X21 in India. The device was first unveiled in China two months back and since then has been made available in Singapore and Russia. Vivo was already marketing the device in India some time back and has been on a roll in terms of advertising it. Pre-bookings for the phone have been open since the weekend along with attractive cash back offers.

The device is priced at INR 35,990 (US$ 530) and will be exclusively available from Flipkart as well as Vivo Online Store starting May 29.

The X21 is a high-end device and will compete against the OnePlus 6, and in some cases even the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. While the price isn’t as high as other premium counterparts, the device does pack a lot of nifty features like an edge-to-edge display, top-class design and most unique of all, an under display fingerprint scanner.

The front of the phone feels very identical to the iPhone X thanks to the notch and high screen-to-body ratio. It sports a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels. It also has infrared sensors that 3D map your facial features and offers Face Wake 2.0 for authentication. This is one step above Face Unlock and pretty much on par with Apple’s Face ID.

In terms of hardware, the phone runs on a Snapdragon 660 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. A microSD card slot is also available for expansion. On the rear is a dual-camera setup consisting of a 12-megapixel primary sensor and 5-megapixel secondary sensor while the front sports a 12-megapixel selfie shooter. The device is backed by a 3200mAh battery while the software is Vivo’s customized Funtouch OS based on Android 8.0 Oreo.

India

vivo Y1s launches with Helio P35, 13-megapixel camera

Another silent launch by vivo

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vivo has been silently launching new phones this year, and it has managed to grab a significant chunk of the market. Today the brand launched the vivo Y1s in India, a market where affordable phones have maximum demand.

The vivo Y1s will be going up against the Redmi 9A, Realme C11, and Realme C3. Alongside, Vivo V20 Pro is teased to launch in India soon. The company has confirmed that the phone will launch in the country but hasn’t given an exact date.

Coming back to the vivo Y1s, it sports a 6.2-inch HD+ LCD with a water-drop notch. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Helio P35 MT6765 SoC paired with 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. There’s also a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

On the rear is a 13-megapixel camera, while the front comes with a 5-megapixel selfie snapper. The phone has added software features like beauty mode, portrait mode, and slo-mo.

Backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery, but fast charging details haven’t been revealed. The phone has been listed on vivo’s website, but the pricing still isn’t official. However, Mahesh Telecom, a Mumbai-based retailer, confirmed Gadgtes360 that the phone would cost INR 7,990 (US$ 110).

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Apps

India bans 43 more Chinese apps, takes total count to 220

AliExpress and Taobao get the red slip

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The Indian government is dead serious about blocking apps developed by Chinese developers. It has announced a new tranche that now stands banned. The most popular app included in the fourth wave is AliExpress, Alibaba’s international shopping app.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) issued an order stating these apps were engaging in activities that are prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity, defense of India, the security of the state, and public order.

India has already banned major Chinese apps like TikTok, PUBG Mobile, and even startups like Shein and Lalamove haven’t been spared. The all-out ban against Chinese apps gained momentum when the two countries were involved in a border skirmish in June.

Both sides suffered high casualties, and the move was seen as an aggressive breach of India’s sovereignty, although China too lays a claim on the disputed valley.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the anti-China narrative was on the rise since the virus outbreak first happened in the Chinese city of Wuhan. With the escalating border crisis, India clamped down on developers that depend on the market and has pretty much removed every China-backed app from the top 500 list.

Similarly, India has also ruled against Chinese hardware, and Huawei is the worst-hit. The country is yet to deploy commercial 5G, and when it does, it won’t be relying on Huawei’s technology. Officials are concerned that China will get a lot of power over Indian users via data collection and snooping.

The country is also actively pursuing data localization compliance to ensure the data of Indian users remains within the country. WhatsApp Pay wasn’t allowed to launch services in the country for almost two years due to these requirements.

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Gaming

PUBG Mobile to relaunch in India with a new game, $100M investment

Enough to please the government?

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PUBG Mobile is an international sensation, and players can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, the game was banned in India a couple of months ago due to data security concerns and an ongoing Indo-China border dispute. The game went off app stores, and dedicated players were forced to find a backdoor via VPNs.

Thankfully, this could change soon. PUBG Corporation says it plans to launch a new PUBG Mobile game in India by creating a new local subsidary. Furthermore the company added that it’ll “maximize data security and cater to local preferences.”

PUBG Corporation’s parent company Krafton recently tied up with Microsoft to store user data on Azure Cloud, which is also available in India locally. India follows a strict data localization policy, and due to this, WhatsApp Pay was stuck in bureaucracy for almost two years.

The game’s publisher was previously Chinese tech giant Tencent, but following the ban, it’s no longer allowed to use the franchise in India. PUBG is also looking at ways to engage with the gaming community in the country through various esports and community events.

Some local customization shall include green liquid replacing blood, fully clothed characters, and a disclaimer that the game is a virtual simulation and not real life. Lastly, there will also be a limit on how long a user can play the game to promote healthy gaming habits.

Making the deal even sweeter, the game’s developers will be spending US$ 100 million to cultivate a gaming culture in the country via esports, entertainment, and other events. It’ll also employ 100 hundred employees in the country.

However, the government isn’t very excited about the relaunch. A report in the Times of India cited a source saying, “Unless they address the concerns, it will be difficult to grant any relaxation.”

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