India

Vivo Z1 Pro with a Snapdragon 712 chip, punch-hole camera launches

The best budget phone in town?

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Vivo Z1 Pro India

Vivo has been significantly silent this year while the competition has been bombarding the market with new phones. The brand did launch a few phones after the V15 Pro, but they have been low-key and aimed towards the offline market.

To take on the increasing might of Xiaomi and Realme, Vivo today announced it’s first Z-series offering in India. Dubbed the Z1 Pro, it will take on the likes of  Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy M40.


Targeting the youth, it features a glossy back panel with a gradient finish design and a circular fingerprint sensor. The front is lit by a 6.53-inch Full HD+ display along with punch-hole cut-out to accommodate the front camera.

It’s the first phone in India to be powered by a Snapdragon 712 processor and Vivo has added its own Multi-Turbo mode that enhances gaming performance. The processor has a dedicated NPU for faster AI processing and the GPU has been enhanced to perform over extended durations.

On the rear is a triple camera setup consisting of a 16-megapixel primary lens, a 2-megapixel secondary scanner, and an 8-megapixel wide angle shooter. The front has a 32-megapixel camera for selfies. Software-based camera features include Portrait Bokeh, Portrait Light Effects, AI Stickers, AI Beauty, and Live Photo.

Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. Vivo claims to offer 40 hours of talk time and about 7.5 hours of PUBG gaming time with the Z1 Pro.

The 4GB+64GB option costs INR 14,990 (US$ 217), the 6GB+64GB variant costs INR 16,990 (US$ 246), and the 6GB+128GB configuration costs INR 17,990 (US$ 260).  It’ll be available in Sonic Black, Sonic Blue, and Mirror Black from July 11 via Flipkart and Vivo India E-store. Offers include INR 750 off on purchases made via ICICI Bank debit and credit cards and data benefits for Reliance Jio subscribers.

India

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s ambitious project to explore the Moon

Only the US, China, and Russia have achieved this so far

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Fifty years back the United States became the first country to send man to the Moon. Since then, many countries like the former-Soviet Union, China, and the EU have tried to accomplish similar feats. Thanks to advancing technology, we no longer need to send humans to the Moon for exploration. Rovers and satellites have sufficient capabilities to explore the surface and all operations can be handled remotely.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been at the cutting edge of technology and managed to make huge strides in space exploration. The agency is India’s backbone for sending satellites and has a spectacular track record of successful launches. Their first mission to the Moon was Chandrayaan-1 and it was launched in 2008. The spacecraft was able to complete 95 percent of its objectives before a connection was lost and it crashed on the Moon’s surface.


Now, India is back with a new project called the Chandrayaan-2. Chandra means Moon in Sanskrit and Yaan means a vehicle, the project marks the entry of the developing country in an elite club of nations with similar space exploration capabilities. In fact, the mission has cost just INR 1,000 crores, equivalent to US$ 145 million. For comparison, a single Transformer movie costs upwards of US$ 200 million.

ISRO

This cost-effective method of research and development gives India a unique edge. The Chandrayaan-2 intends to do a soft-landing on the surface of the Moon. So far, only the US, China, and Russia have been able to master soft landings and India aims to join the list.

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft consists of an orbiter named Vikram and a moon rover called Pragyaan. The landing module sits on top of the rocket and is covered in a composite golden film to protect the components from extreme temperatures. The surface rover is safely tucked inside the lander and shall come down a ramp once the soft-landing is complete.

ISRO

Propelling the spacecraft is a GSLV Mk 3 rocket (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) that’s 44 meters tall and weighs 640 tons. After separation, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will travel 3.84 lakh kilometers and near the South Pole of the Moon, a region which hasn’t been fully explored by humans yet.

The mission was supposed to launch in the early hours of July 16 but a last moment technical snag in the rocket delayed the launch. Now, ISRO has announced Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on July 22 at 2.43 p.m. from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The country also plans to send a manned mission to the Moon in the coming years and has tied up with multiple international companies for transfer of technology.

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India

Redmi K20 series arrives in India

Is this the true flagship killer?

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It’s clear by now Xiaomi will always be on a launch spree, whether it’s a smartphone or an eco-system product, nothing can stop the young juggernaut. The brand has been teasing the launch of the Redmi K20 series in India for months now and it’s finally here.

The K20 Pro and K20 have been launched in the country at a very competitive price and demand for it is already very high. Initially, Xiaomi will be shipping the device via its Alpha Sale for which registration had started a week back and more than 70,000 buyers have already registered. The Redmi K20 Pro will go on limited sale starting July 22 via Mi.com, Flipkart, and Mi Home stores.


Both phones sport a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a screen-to-body ratio of almost 92 percent. On the front is a 20-megapixel pop-up selfie camera while the rear has a triple camera setup. It consists of a 48-megapixel lens (IMX586 on the K20 Pro and IMX 582 on K20), 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.

The camera app comes with AI-backed portrait mode, beauty enhancements, and automatic scene recognition. To protect the pop-up module from damage, the phone’s gyroscope detects falls and automatically retracts.

Powering the K20 Pro is the latest Snapdragon 855 processor and the K20 is backed by a Snapdragon 730 chip. A 4000mAh battery provides all the juice and charges via 27W SonicCharge technology. The display also houses a fingerprint scanner and there’s also support for face unlock. Lastly, the design is P2i splash proof thanks to a resistant nano-coating.

The Redmi K20 Pro is priced at INR 27,999 (US$ 406) for the 6GB+128GB variant and INR 30,999 (US$ 450) for the 8GB+256GB option.

On the other hand, the K20 is priced at INR 21,999 (US$ 320) for the 6GB+64GB option and INR 23,999 (US$ 350) for 6GB+128GB configuration. Both the phones are available in Fire and Ice colors.

Xiaomi also announced the launch of Mi Neckband Bluetooth Earphones for INR 1,599 (US$ 23) and Mi Rechargeable LED Lamp for INR 1,499 (US$ 21).

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Entertainment

Netflix set to release five new originals from India

One of them is backed by Shahrukh Khan!

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Content is the next big thing in India, with a population of 1.3 billion people and dirt cheap internet, there are unlimited possibilities. Companies have been flooding the internet with original content and this includes multi-national streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, as well as YouTube.

Netflix has been active in the country for a couple of years now and the streaming market has been extremely competitive. Thanks to homegrown players like Hotstar, Sony LIV, and more, the audience has a huge appetite for local as well as international content. We already know Netflix’s international game is on point, but how does it plan to lure the average Indian user?


Originals are the answer, and the service has tied up with local studios to bring onboard A-list stars for new shows and movies. It has already released a host of new series and intends to take a step further with five more.

The five series will be developed in collaboration with companies such as Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films. The shows will cover genres such as young adult, drama, thriller, horror, and comedy.

Bombay Begums will follow the varied journeys of five women who bond in contemporary urban India. Mai will see a 40-plus docile wife and mother who finds herself sucked into a vortex of violence and politics following a personal tragedy.

One of the most popular actors in the country, Shahrukh Khan is backing Betaal, a horror series based in a remote village that serves as the battleground between British Indian Army officer Betaal, his battalion of zombie redcoats, and the Indian police.

Messy follows an emerging standup comic who struggles to balance a career in comedy with a day job and a demanding family. Masaba Masaba is a scripted series based on the real lives of fashion designer Masaba Gupta and her actress mother Neena Gupta (“Badhaai Ho”), will feature the duo playing themselves.

Netflix’s previous stint with the Sacred Games has been an instant hit in the country and the second season of the show is slated for release on August 15, celebrating India’s Independence Day.

Globalization by localization

Other streaming sites are stepping up their game but the one in particular that Netflix is preparing for is by media giant Disney. The company is set to launch their own streaming service called Disney Plus on November 2019. They’re a real threat considering the content catalogue at their disposal which include Marvel, Star Wars, and many others.

Netflix’s answer is a host of original content. The company already started this year with titles like Kingdom gaining notoriety from audiences worldwide despite it being a mostly South Korean production. Netflix got the idea from the popularity of another series ported from Japan — Terrace House.

Another strategy users of the service noticed is the influx of animé on Netflix. They recently added the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion to their catalogue and it was also announced that a Philippine-made comic book called Trese will be adapted into animé by the company.

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