India

Vivo Y55L budget smartphone gets announced in India

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Vivo has a new smartphone to offer to customers in its most important overseas market. The China-based phone maker today launched the Vivo Y55L in India, the rather poorly named successor to a phone it announced in the country in January this year.

vivo-y55l-smartphone

Vivo Y55L

October sounds too early a month to be rolling out a replacement model of a phone that hasn’t spent much time on shelves, but that’s how some smartphone companies roll these days. Xiaomi has been extra busy lately, pushing out devices left and right; LeEco, another Chinese company, has been keeping tech writers busy all year. Both companies are expected to make a strong push for the fickle U.S. market over the coming years.

Vivo, meanwhile, has cast its eyes over the Far East where it is doing incredibly well. It has already shipped one million phones in India in the quarter of June 2016. It is reportedly targeting a 10 percent market share in the country by next year.

Vivo currently has a solid portfolio of “value for money” devices. And the Y55L seems to already have a foot in that space. The handset looks a bit like the Vivo V3 (a good thing), except it has visible antenna bands that run along the top and bottom of the rear cover. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 system-on-a-chip with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and support for both LTE data and voice services.

It also features a split-screen mode, like the one Google employs in Android Nougat, though users might not be too keen to try it on a 5.2-inch display.

The Vivo Y55L will retail for 11,980 rupees, or around $180, and will be available online and offline across India.

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Source: Digit

India

Samsung Galaxy A9 with quadruple rear cameras is up for grabs

Is this every photographer’s dream phone?

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This year has been underwhelming for Samsung. Even though its flagship phones like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 are top-class, they haven’t been selling like hot cakes due to rising competition from the likes of Huawei and OnePlus. Secondly, the company is facing cut-throat competition in the midrange and budget segment from Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo.

Hence, Samsung has decided to completely revamp its strategy for the coming year and has already started launching phones that have unmatched capabilities. The Galaxy A7 was the first product that brought in a triple rear camera setup to the midrange segment following the success of the P20 Pro.

Now, the brand has unveiled the Galaxy A9 in India that brings in four cameras on the rear. To further sweeten the deal, it also incorporates Samsung’s Infinity Display technology and a glass build.

The phone has a 6.3-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. Usually, a majority of the devices from Samsung house an Exynos processor, but the A9 is powered by the popular midrange Snapdragon 660 SoC along with 6GB RAM in the base variant. A second option is also available that has 8GB RAM, and internal storage remains constant at 128GB in both the options.

On the rear is a vertical module that houses the four cameras: a 24-megapixel primary sensor, a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom, an 8-megapixel wide angle camera, and lastly a 5-megapixel depth sensor for bokeh effects. On the front is a 24-megapixel selfie shooter that supports facial unlock.

Unlike the Galaxy A7, this phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back. It runs on Samsung Experience UI that’s built on top of Android 8.0 Oreo and includes the Bixby smart assistant and Samsung Pay. The Galaxy A9 is backed by a 3800mAh battery that charges via a USB-C port.

The phone will be available exclusively online starting November 28 from Flipkart. The base offering of 6GB is priced at INR 36,990 (US$ 515) and the 8GB option costs INR 39,990 (US$ 560).

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Here’s how IKEA plans to curb increasing air pollution in India

Playing its part in protecting the air we breathe

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IKEA New Delhi Air Pollution

Major cities of India are currently covered in a thick layer of smog and everyone is grasping for a breath of fresh air. The PM 2.5 Air Quality Index of New Delhi crossed the 999 limit for a few hours in the first week of November and is constantly seen in the “hazardous” zone most of the winters.

Every year, farmers in the nearby states burn millions of tons of crop residue to clear fields for the next season. The burning releases toxic gases and particles that stay stagnated in the lower atmosphere and get carried away due to natural winds. Ultimately, these dense gas clouds hover over the metropolitan cities for weeks.

According to a report by India’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, crop burning constitutes 33 percent of New Delhi and its surrounding states’ air pollution. Residents are forced to use air purifiers indoors and wear a gas mask when outdoors.

IKEA has started a new initiative called “Better Air Now” that aims to acquire the farmer’s unwanted rice straw and turn it into a renewable source for IKEA products. India shall be the first market wherein the giant wants to convert waste residue into useful furniture.

“Starting off in India, IKEA wants to turn rice straw into a new renewable material source for IKEA products. The ambition is to create a model for how to reduce air pollution that could be replicated in other megacities,” said Helene Davidsson, sustainability manager at IKEA Purchasing South Asia.

The company estimates that the first prototype will be available by the end of the year and go on sale starting from 2020 in India as well as other regions. It shall work with NGOs, suppliers, and small-scale farmers to source the leftover residue, though there are no numbers or estimations available on the quantity yet.

IKEA is fairly new to the Indian market and currently operates one store in the region. Though there has been a lot of hype around the company and its offerings, and we expect the company to swiftly expand its operations in the coming years.

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India

These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!

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Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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