India

Xiaomi sets up three new manufacturing plants in India

Part of the ‘Make in India’ program

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Xiaomi hopes to lure smartphone component assemblers to Indian shores as the company seeks to establish the country as a strong manufacturing base. As part of the “Make in India” drive, Xiaomi plans to help roughly 50 assemblers of components suitable for smartphones and tablets to set up shop in the country, which will hopefully prompt further economic growth and provide local job opportunities.

The overall goals are to invest up to US$ 2.5 billion in India and to create up to 50,000 jobs. The Chinese firm currently has six smartphone manufacturing plants in India in partnership with Foxconn and Hipad.

Xiaomi says that over 95 percent of its phones sold in the country are locally assembled, which is an interesting statistic since it means an overwhelming majority of sales are from the budget Redmi series. The Mi Mix 2, then, accounts for less than five percent of Xiaomi’s sales.

Xiaomi has built the new plants in partnership with Foxconn — which is one of the most experienced mass-assembling companies in the world. The plants are located in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh and Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, Xiaomi says that these plants employ more than 10,000 people across a campus of 180 acres.

These plans have been announced under the Indian Government’s Make in India program that intends to boost local manufacturing by providing various incentives. Xiaomi’s announcement comes following the government’s recent decision to impose 10 percent import duty on certain smartphone components to encourage their local manufacturing.

Xiaomi also announced that it has started local manufacturing of SMT (Smart Mount Technology) and PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) in partnership with Foxconn at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Though the company says that the current manufacturing operations contribute a minuscule 10 percent value to the assembled phone. Xiaomi is aiming to boost that figure further to 50 percent with PCBA manufacturing.

Apps

Data-friendly Twitter Lite app is available for download in more countries

Installation size is just 3MB

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Twitter is among the most popular social networks for the last few years and also the most preferred platform for micro-blogging. From brands to celebrities, everyone prefers it thanks to its simple concept and global reach. The company has now rolled out a new lighter app specially made for developing markets where data networks are slow or bandwidth is expensive.

It’s available in more countries including India, Argentina, Ghana, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zimbabwe, taking the total count to over 45 countries. The installation size is just 3MB and it’s optimized to work on 2G and 3G connections. The app was initially available on a trial run in the Philippines last year and since then has expanded to cover more regions. You can download the app from the Google Play Store right away.

Twitter Lite can send out push notifications as well as threaded tweets. Images and videos can be viewed on demand by tapping the “load” option. This ensures that data is consumed only when the user needs it. The app also features the Bookmark option that lets users save tweets for later.

Twitter Lite for Android

“While using the app on 2G or 3G, you’ll notice that content will load quickly on Twitter Lite. We want to make sure you can see what’s happening no matter what network you’re on,” the company said in a statement.

Since the majority of Twitter users belong to developed regions, Twitter is now focusing on developing regions in a bid to get more users on board. The platform reported a drop of one million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2018.

This isn’t the first time we are seeing companies roll out lighter apps for developing markets. Google has been releasing dedicated smaller apps for its services including YouTube, Gmail, Assistant and more. These apps are designed for devices with lower storage and RAM than your typical midrange or flagship, and are built to make better use of mobile data.

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India

HMD Global finally launches the Nokia 2.1 and Nokia 5.1 in India

Going after the entry-level segment

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HMD Global has announced the launch of two new devices in India — the Nokia 2.1 and Nokia 5.1. The two devices were first globally unveiled in May and now have finally made their way to the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

The Nokia 5.1 will be available in Copper, Tempered Blue, and Black for INR 14,499 (US$ 210) while the Nokia 2.1 retails for INR 6,999 (US$ 101). Both phones will ship starting August 12 via offline retail stores, PayTM Mall, and Nokia online store.

This isn’t the first time we are seeing HMD Global have a long delay before launching their phones in India, though. While the competition is spending heavily on marketing their offerings, Nokia-branded phones haven’t been hyped. The brand still has a lot of respect and recognition in the country and HMD Global intends to keep it that way.

Nokia 5.1

The Nokia 5.1 is a midrange offering and will go up against Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro. It has a 5.5-inch Full HD display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6755S SoC paired with 3GB of RAM, and has 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded via a microSD card.

It owns a 16-megapixel rear sensor while the front has an 8-megapixel snapper. The phone is a part of Google’s Android One program and ships with Android 8.0 Oreo. It houses a 3000mAh battery that charges via micro-USB.

The Nokia 2.1, on the other hand, is an entry-level device and sports a 5.5-inch HD panel with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 425 SoC along with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It has an 8-megapixel camera on the rear, while the front houses a 5-megapixel sensor.

This phone runs on a lighter version of the popular OS, Android Go. It’s specially designed for entry-level devices and has optimized apps for smoother operation.

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India

Xiaomi launches Mi A2 in India at an irresistible price

Redefining the midrange segment

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Xiaomi has been leading the smartphone market in India this year, and it doesn’t look like the trend is going downhill anytime soon. Starting with the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the company has been offering exceptionally good products in a market where price is the most decisive factor for buyers.

The Mi A1 was a huge success in the country and to some extent, it was the device that gave Google’s Android One program a ray of hope. Even though many manufacturers have tried their luck with budget Android One phones, none have been able to make a mark. While all competing phones from makers like Honor, OPPO, Vivo, and Samsung have a custom UI or skin on top of Android, the pure Android experience of the A1 was refreshing for users.

Carrying on the same legacy, Xiaomi has launched the Mi A2 in India today. It’s retailing slightly lower than the global pricing at INR 16,999 (US$ 247) and will be available for pre-order starting tomorrow at 12 noon via Amazon.in and Mi.com. Black, Gold, Lake Blue, and Rose Gold are the available colors. Shipping begins next week.

The phone has a 6-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 660 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It has a fingerprint scanner on the back and a USB-C port on the bottom that charges the 3010mAh battery. The phone also supports Quick Charge technology and ships with a 5V/10A charger.

On the rear, it has a 12- and 20-megapixel dual camera combo while the front has a 20-megapixel sensor. Both setups support AI-powered portrait mode and Beautify 4.0. The phone ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, and has a fingerprint scanner as well as Face Unlock for authentication.

The midrange segment has been surprisingly competitive this year and Honor’s recent launch of the Honor Play has further intensified the war. What needs to be seen is how Xiaomi handles the demand.

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