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.

Enterprise

Microsoft now supports email addresses in 15 Indian languages

More than a billion people in India do not speak English

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Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 Indian languages across its apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online, and Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

The initiative by Microsoft comes on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on February 21 every year. The company is also making efforts to support Email Address Internationalization (EAI), which makes technology accessible in local languages.

The 15 Indian languages supported for email addresses include Hindi, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. These languages are a part of the IN Registry that keeps a record of languages in which IDNs can be stored.

An Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is an Internet domain name that contains a language-specific script or alphabet — such as Devanagari, Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Tamil, Hebrew, or Latin Alphabets. They also support Unicode, an international standard that encodes languages and scripts so that it’s accessible on practically any modern computer out there.

Speaking on the addition of support for these languages, Microsoft India COO Meetul Patel said that the move represents a step forward in eliminating language as a barrier to the adoption of technology and communication tools. “Currently, Indian languages are under-represented online. Of the 447 different languages spoken in India, none make it to the list of top 50 digital languages,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Starting with Project Basha in 1998, Microsoft has been working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft currently supports 22 constitutionally recognized Indian languages — including 11 Indian language scripts for Office and Windows.

As a member of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, the company says it will continue to extend support to languages and scripts, including right-to-left languages like Urdu and Arabic.

Google, too, had a launch on International Mother Language Day, and introduced Tamil language support for its advertising products Google AdWords and Google AdSense.

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Enterprise

Philippines improves 4G LTE availability but falls short at rankings

Still one of the slowest in the world

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It’s no surprise that internet in Southeast Asia hasn’t caught up with 2018 standards. Based on several OpenSignal reports throughout the years, the region still rattles out poor ratings in 4G availability and speed.

Sadly, the most recent report shows more of the same. Though improving in reliability, internet in the region is still the slowest in the world.

The data was collected from over 4.8 million devices and almost 59 billion measurements throughout October to December last year.

The latest findings, which show definite improvements over last year’s results, offers eye-opening insights about the current state of 4G internet and its uncertain future.

South Korea still on top, but stumbles in speed

 

As with previous years, it’s no surprise that Singapore and South Korea dominate the boards once again. The world’s prime destination for eSports tops 4G availability; internet users in South Korea enjoy 4G connections for 97.49 percent of the time — a huge feat when around half of the recorded nations struggle to move past the 75 percent mark. Unfortunately, the country falls off a bit in terms of speed. Whereas the previous report clocked speeds of 43.46Mbps, this report measures a lower but still speedy 40.44Mbps.

On the other hand, Singapore tops the rankings for speed again with 44.31Mbps. Also, the country slightly improved their reliability at 84.43 percent.

The Philippines improves, but still a lower-tier country

Learning from their years-long stint at the bottom of the rankings, the Philippines finally improves their rankings with a marked upgrade on reliability. From a paltry 52.77 percent last year, the archipelagic nation now enjoys 63.73 percent 4G availability. As a result, the Philippines is no longer in the bottom 10 nations of the world, but is still the third lowest in Asia.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the country’s speed. Despite an upgrade (from 8.59Mbps to 9.49Mbps), the Philippines is the fourth slowest country in the world (and third slowest in Asia). This year’s ranking is also slightly worse than last year’s list where the country placed as only the fifth slowest.

India barely moves up

Despite a brilliant showing in 4G availability, India still holds the unfortunate title of “slowest 4G internet in the world.” Indian internet speeds average only 6.07Mbps. The sub-par speeds slightly improved from last year’s showing, which only clocked in 5.14Mbps. This may be attributed to India’s status as one of the most populous nations in the world. On the bright side, the South Asian country marginally improved its reach — 86.26 percent from 81.56 percent last year.

4G internet speeds are plateauing

4G technology started in 2010. Since then, countries continue to edge closer but miss the vaunted 50Mbps mark. As of 2018, it’s safe to assume that everyone’s hitting the hay in the hunt for speed. Most, if not all, upgrades in speed this year were marginal at best. With the apparent plateau, the world focused on providing more reliable 4G internet across the globe. Countries fared better in improving their 4G reliability.

Too little, too late?

5G is just on the horizon. Tech companies are already pushing for 5G-compatible devices; 5G will soon obliterate the 4G speed plateau. With a more efficient solution coming, we should ask whether the race for the best 4G service shows an alarming trend.

Before we know it, the race to the best 5G network will kick off. Developed countries already have a leg up. Unfortunately, those who trailed in the 4G race will fall behind even further as 5G passes them by. Even if 5G will be easy to implement, the lack of reliable 4G in developing countries will only widen the gap between 5G-ready and 4G-ready countries.

SEE ALSO: Philippines still ranks near bottom for 4G LTE speeds and availability

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India

OnePlus wants India to be its manufacturing hub

Local sourcing will enable OnePlus to cut down on costs and import taxes

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OnePlus is reportedly working towards establishing its manufacturing in India. According to a report from Economic Times, the company is in talks with domestic equipment manufacturers to source components of its upcoming devices. This move is to reduce the import costs and duties, which may later lead to phones from OnePlus getting cheaper in the future.

OnePlus India General Manager Vikas Agarwal revealed the firm is presently in the process of negotiating supply deals with local manufacturers as part of its efforts to become more involved in the “Make in India” initiative promoted by India’s Central Government as a way to encourage consumer electronics firms to invest more resources in the South Asian country.

The Chinese original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is already assembling its smartphones in India to avoid heavy duty fees on its products, but sourcing the majority of their components from local factories would allow the company to additionally lower its costs and improve its profit margins.

OnePlus smartphones sold in India are presently being assembled by the same Noida-based vendor that assembles OPPO devices. Samsung has been assembling a wide range of its mobile portfolio in India for years.

Only Samsung has been able to leverage the Make in India strategy, as its premium smartphones are also produced locally. Agarwal believes that most brands operating in India do not have the sales volume to justify local assembly.

A recent IDC report highlighted that OnePlus is one of the top-five smartphone brands in India. Interestingly, in the premium smartphone brand category, OnePlus surpasses even Samsung, and is second only to leader Apple.

During the Union Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that customs duty on mobile phone parts will be hiked to 20 percent. The move will not only make devices expensive for the end-consumer, but also make it difficult for brands to sustain in the competitive market.

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