India

After conquering hardware, Xiaomi wants to take over internet services

Do we finally have an option to get rid of ads?

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Xiaomi is undoubtedly one of the most successful start-ups of the decade and has accomplished hundreds of milestones. While legends like Nokia and BlackBerry succumbed to market pressure from Samsung, this fairly new company has taken the world by storm.

Last year, Xiaomi became the number one smartphone maker in India and its market share has been on the rise ever since. Thanks to phones like the Redmi 6 and Redmi Note 5 Pro, the brand has earned trust among users quickly and newer phones are constantly challenging the possibilities of a budget phone.


Now, the brand wants to monetize its software reach and start offering “internet services” directly to users. Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Google Pay have been doing extremely well in India. Apple too not only makes phones, but also offers ecosystem-friendly services like Apple Music, iCloud, News+, and Apple TV+.

Xiaomi was primarily a software company and started its journey with MIUI. Now, the user interface is a unique selling point for Xiaomi phones and this can be leveraged perfectly to push in-house services. The Chinese maker intends to start monetization by streaming content on the Mi Music and Mi Video apps, both having more than 40 million users in the country.

The company has already launched a simple payments app called Mi Pay in the country and shall soon be launching Mi Credit, a marketplace to get instant small loans. According to The Economic Times, Xiaomi India has received an INR 3,500 crore (US$ 500 million) infusion from its parent company in China to bolster the services ecosystem in India.

For the end user, we can expect periodic subscription bundles offering premium streaming as well as third-party integration. It’ll also be nice if users finally get an option to opt out of MIUI ads.

India

Realme 3 Pro with Snapdragon 710 and VOOC fast charging is now official

The Redmi Note 7 has tough competition again

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OPPO’s sub-brand Realme has launched more than half a dozen phones in less than a year and is back with a new offering. The Realme 3 Pro is the successor to the Realme 2 Pro and intends to take on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 Pro.

The phone adopts a similar design from the Realme U1 and sports a shiny plastic back that imitates glass. On the front is a 6.3-inch Full HD LCD, a water-drop notch, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It also features splash and dust resistance, though an IP rating hasn’t been mentioned.


The phone is equipped with a Snapdragon 710 SoC and comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage in the base variant. Obviously, the storage can be expanded via a microSD card.

On the rear is a 16-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.7 aperture along with a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. Realme added an Ultra HD mode that can capture detail-intensive pictures up to 64 megapixels by stitching multiples frames together. The front gets a 25-megapixel shooter for selfies and the Camera app supports auto scene recognition, beautification, nightscape mode, as well as smart HDR.

To improve the user experience, the phone comes with a VOOC 3.0 charger for quickly charging the 4000mAh battery. Added software functionality like GameBoost 2.0 will improve the overall experience by implementing FrameBoost and TouchBoost . It runs on ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie out of the box.

The Realme 3 Pro is available in Nitro Blue and Lightning Purple color options and shall go on sale from April 29 via Flipkart and Realme.com. The 4GB option retails for INR 13,999 (US$ 200) and the 6GB option is marked at INR 16,999 (US$ 242).

Alongside the Realme 3 Pro, the brand also announced the launch of the Realme C2, an upgraded version of the Realme C1. It houses a 6.1-inch display and is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor. The rear has a 13- and 2-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. Backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery and ColorOS 6.0 out of the box.

The phone is priced at INR 5,999 (US$ 86) for 2GB RAM with 16GB internal storage, and INR 7,999 (US$ 114) for 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. It will be available starting May 15 via Flipkart and Realme.com.

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Apps

Video sharing app TikTok has disappeared from India

The company has challenged the ban in court

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The Indian government has ordered Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned TikTok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material.

The Tamil Nadu state court had on April 3 asked the federal government to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made younger users vulnerable to sexual predators. Its ruling came after an individual launched a public interest litigation calling for a ban.


In accordance with the ruling, the government asked Google and Apple to remove the app from Google Play and the App Store, respectively. Both companies have complied with the ruling.

TikTok is one of the most popular mobile apps in India and had been trending on app stores for quite some time. Bytedance, the company that runs the app, says it has more than 500 million users worldwide and 120 million of them are from India.

The app allows users to make and share short videos and it can still be used by those who have already downloaded it on their smartphones. Lip-syncing, jokes, Bollywood music, and memes have been a massive hit with the audience. With a 15-second time limit, the app is competing against behemoths like Instagram and even YouTube.

Bytedance has declined to provide a comment, stating the issue is still in court. The company has challenged the court’s decision and the next hearing is set for April 24.

Last week, a 19-year-old was shot dead by a friend in New Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video to show on TikTok. These incidents have fueled criticism for the app and unmoderated videos of minors are rampant.

This wasn’t the first time TikTok had been under scrutiny. In February, The US federal trade commission slapped a fine of US$ 5.7 million on the app to settle allegations of child privacy law violations.

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India

Netflix will soon bring 10 new originals to India

A new list to binge-watch this year!

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The summer is going to get even hotter this year in India with Netflix announcing 10 original films. These will be produced by Indian companies across various genres and themes. The cherry on the top is they shall be featuring A-list artists.

Continuing its investment in regional content, these additions include previously announced titles Music Teacher, Cobalt Blue, Chopsticks, Upstarts, and Bulbul. Netflix plans to make them available to users around the world by the end of 2020.


Taking forward the Lust Stories theme, another anthology called Ghost Stories will include bigwig filmmakers like Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Anurag Kashyap. Johar will also be producing Ruchi Narain’s Guilty, which narrates the story of a small-town girl who decides to accuse a college mate of rape.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment is producing Class of 83. Directed by Atul Sabharwal, it explores the story of an upright policeman-turned-trainer whose students grapple with the complexities of honor, morals, and devotion to the nation.

Veteran writer and filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala helmed Yeh Ballet. It’s a story about two boys from very low-income families who discover ballet and, through it, a way to escape their challenging circumstances.

“Given our diversity, history, and culture, India is home to powerful stories waiting to be told to audiences around the world,” said Srishti Behl Arya, Netflix director of international original film, India. “We want to be a home for India’s finest filmmakers where their stories travel to more people than ever before,” she added.

India has a massive appetite for content and companies are betting high. Just last month the streaming service launched a special mobile-only plan in the country that costs just US$ 4 per month. That’s the cheapest Netflix plan available worldwide. Competing companies like Prime Video, Hotstar, and Eros Now have also ramped up production for original shows.

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