India

Xiaomi launches Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro in India

After the exceptional Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi is all prepped up for 2018!

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Xiaomi has finally launched the much-awaited Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro in India along with its Mi TV range. The Redmi Note 5 is the successor to Xiaomi’s popular Redmi Note 4 smartphone which was launched last year and has propelled Xiaomi to the number one smartphone vendor spot in India ahead of Samsung.

The Redmi Note 5 is just a rebranded Redmi 5 Plus with a 6-inch screen and a Snapdragon 625 chipset. Both the devices sport the same 6-inch panel and incorporate the new industry trending 18:9 resolution display. It has a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 5-megapixel front camera with an LED flash. Down from the predecessor’s 4100mAh battery, the Redmi Note 5 packs a 4000mAh capacity charged via micro-USB.

The Redmi Note 5 comes in two memory configurations: 3GB RAM with 32GB storage or 4GB RAM with 64GB storage. Both devices have a fingerprint scanner on the back, while the power button and volume rocker sit on the right side.

Xioami Redmi Note 5

The Redmi Note 5 starts at INR 9,999 (US$ 156) for 3GB RAM with 32GB storage while the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage variant costs INR 11,999 (US$ 187).

The higher-end Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, which makes it the first device sporting the chipset in the country. In fact, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is also the first smartphone globally to debut the Snapdragon 636 SoC.

It sports a 12-megapixel primary sensor at the back accompanied by a 5-megapixel secondary sensor, arranged on the upper-left corner like on the iPhone X. The primary sensor has an f/2.2 aperture while the secondary sensor comes with f/2.0. For selfie lovers, the company has bumped the camera sensor to 20 megapixels and comes with a front-facing flash. The front camera uses the Sony IMX376 sensor and is accompanied with Beautify 4.0.

Xioami Redmi Note 5 Pro

The company is going with two variants for the Redmi Note 5 Pro which include 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, and 6GB RAM with 64GB storage. It runs on MIUI 9 based on Android Nougat. It comes with the older micro-USB port but sadly misses out on support for fast charging for its 4000mAh battery.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro starts at INR 13,999 (US$ 218) for 4GB RAM with 64GB storage while the 6GB RAM with 64GB storage variant costs INR 16,999 (US$ 265). Colors options are black, gold, rose gold, and blue.

Both the devices shall be available from February 22 via Flipkart, Mi Home, and Mi.com. They will go on sale soon via all of Xiaomi’s offline retail partners, though an availability date isn’t announced yet.

In addition, Xiaomi has designed a new power adapter which has power surge protection up to 380V built in. This new adapter will come come out of the box with the newly launched devices.

India

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

Can it actually replace a DSLR?

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Vivo launched a lot of phones last year, each having a unique feature like a pop-up camera or in-display fingerprint scanner. While the industry usually tried to avoid moving parts in a phone, Vivo turned it around into a feature. With the V15 Pro, the brand wants to establish supremacy in the midrange segment by offering flagship innovation at a competitive price.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 28,990 or roughly US$ 410. It is available via all major retailers and online sellers starting today.

On the front, the V15 Pro has a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display. Thanks to the elimination of a notch, it has a 91.6 percent screen-to-body ratio and smaller bezels. The front camera is located in an elevating module that pops up automatically when required.

The rear gets a gradient design and a massive triple camera array. The array includes a 48-megapixel primary lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The primary sensor can capture an insane amount of detail and to improve performance further, four pixels can be merged into one, creating a 12-megapixel high-quality picture.

The elevating module houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Vivo has added a ton of new filters in the camera app and modes like AI Beauty, AI Portrait, and AI Super Night to ensure better output. For authentication, the phone uses a combination of face unlock and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 processor coupled with 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage. It has a 3700mAh battery which supports Dual Engine fast charging. The V15 Pro also has a dedicated button to summon smart assistants like Google Assistant and Vivo’s Jovi.

Lastly, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS and includes new features like Game Mode 5.0.

SEE ALSO: Vivo now has its own smartphone sub-brand named iQOO

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Google is under investigation for abusing Android

Dominating the market comes with a price

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Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.

Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.

India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.

The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.

Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.

Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.

Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.

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India

Xiaomi has become an undisputed leader by market share

Can Samsung turn the tides this year?

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For more than a year, Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market in terms of market share and there’s no stopping them. The brand has single-handedly managed to oust local brands like Micromax, and even experienced players like Samsung have taken a hit.

According to IDC, in Q4 2018, Xiaomi managed to grab an astounding 28.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 18.7 percent. While Vivo and OPPO have managed to grab a decent 9.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, their rate of growth has slowed down considerably.

If we consider the complete year of 2018 against 2017, Vivo has managed to grow just 0.6 percent year-over-year and OPPO actually dipped by 0.3 percent. The report also says that online-focused brands drove the online channel share to an all-time high of 38.4 percent. On the other hand, offline sales registered a meager 6.7 percent growth.

During the last quarter of 2018, Realme managed to grab quite a huge chunk of the market with a share of 7.5 percent. The sub-brand of OPPO was launched just half a year back and has already released a wide array of phones.

The average selling price of phones continued to be in the budget segment at roughly US$ 158 (INR 11,000). More than half of the shipments belong in the US$ 100 to US$ 200 segment, and that’s where brands intend to lead.

In the end, Xiaomi shipped more than 40 million units in 2018, followed by Samsung with almost 32 million. Samsung had been relatively silent last year, but has now changed strategy with the M-series launch. The South Korean giant is focused on taking back the budget and midrange segments by reportedly launching a plethora of phones in the coming months.

Lastly, OnePlus has once again emerged as the leader in the premium segment, followed by Samsung and Apple in the super-premium segment.

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