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Handset
Monday, August 26, 2019
Handset Makers Seek Fast Action on Sourcing Norms

Foreign handset makers expect the budget announcement on easing local sourcing requirements for single-brand retail to encourage investments in India, but they want the government to make the changes meaningful and implement the proposal quickly.

“It is a welcome reform, but the real impact can be gauged only after the exact details of the sourcing norms are announced,” said Vikas Agarwal, head of India operations, OnePlus.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman did not announce details of the proposal in her budget on Friday. Current regulations require foreign-owned single-brand retailers to locally source 30% of the value of items sold in India. This rule has been cited as an impediment for investment by several foreign retailers. Single-brand retail is a “necessity” as the local retail ecosystem is yet to mature to global standards, Agarwal said, adding: “Given the ambitious goal of (India to become a) $5 trillion economy, we hope the execution will be swift and meaningful this year, without any further delay.”

Single-brand retail is critical for marquee brands wanting to set up stores in a market like India, since investments for such retail activities come from the brands themselves, and not local partners or franchisees who may not have as much skin in the game, an industry executive said. “For brands, it’s about long-term brand presence. They prefer direct investment to be able to make necessary investments in line with their global standards, but unless they meet local sourcing norms, they cannot invest,” this executive said. “As things stand, building a local sourcing and supply chain may not be an attractive opportunity for most brands due to small local scale, upfront investment and lack of clarity or uncompetitive incentives.” (Source: Economic Times)


Huawei’s P30 Pro: Zoom in fifty times over

This steeply priced beautiful phone is a photographer’s delight. I’m waiting for a world where phones with jaw-dropping photo capabilities are common enough to be dirt cheap. But something tells me that isn’t happening. Meanwhile, Huawei’s beautiful P30 Pro with its powerful camera costs an arm and a leg at about ₹72,000.

If I’ve said ‘beautiful’ one too many times, it’s because this smartphone really is that — in some of its colours. I clamoured for and got the Breathing Crystal variant for review and I often just pick it up to look at it. We’re told this particular model is inspired by the sunrise on a salt mountain. Tilt the phone up or down and just watch the colour on the back shift from an icy blue-white to a stunning progression of blues. It’s like gazing at the horizon from an aircraft. The tricks they manage to perform with glass these days is quite amazing. The other stunning variant available here is an Aurora Blue and that too is an immersive play of colours that all mesmerise.

But moving on, if you’re looking for a high performance comprehensive all-rounder phone, you have better options. The P30 is quite clearly for those who are willing, able and eager to use a phone for its camera. Not just the everyday selfie, but phone photography that calls for you to know and understand the camera app and its features, its limits and how to get the best out of them. When the phone was showcased at its launch event, it was difficult not to think that the cameras’ abilities were all gimmicks. But no, they aren’t lying, especially about the zoom.

Zoom right in
You don’t have to hunt for the P30’s zoom feature. It’s there on-screen in the camera app where it changes the extent possible depending on the mode selected. In regular Photo mode, you can attain a 5x (135 mm equivalent focal length) optical zoom with the slider. If you’ve run through the 5x zoom, up to 10x is a lossless hybrid zoom that also works wonders. After that it’s the software at work with the digital zoom allowing you to continue zooming in 50x. The results often may not look good at this maximum level but you need to experiment based on the subject and light conditions. To get sharpness and clarity at high levels of magnification, one would need hardware that wouldn’t fit on a phone, so Huawei has innovated with an interesting periscope arrangement of camera sensor and a mirror inside the device. The aperture size had to be limited at f/3.4, which means less light in the picture.

The interesting thing with the P30 Pro’s zoom is that you can see things that are really far away. Reviewers are joking that you can spy on your neighbours, which is true enough, but I’ve had more uses for it than that, being really shortsighted. As a matter of fact, my review process coincided with a visit to the eye hospital and some eye surgery. Going over to the low vision aids department, I found that absolutely nothing had changed in the past few decades. Nothing on offer would have helped me in daily life, especially with reading signs that were far away. What I ended up doing was showing the doctors the P30 Pro with which I could read the eye chart in the next room! The phone’s camera turned out to be a far more powerful visual aid than the low vision aids available. In daylight, you can zoom into and read things with startling clarity and detail. The P30 Pro isn’t the first device to come with a powerful zoom, but its implementation is unique as is the extent of the feature.

The other fascinating capability of the P30 Pro’s camera is its ability to shoot in the dark so that you see in a photograph, what you barely can otherwise. Google’s Pixel 3 also does this if you use its Nightsight mode, but the two phones do this differently depending on the amount of light in a dark place with the Pixel 3 needing less than total darkness. In fact, the methods used are different.

Shot in the dark
The P30 Pro can actually show you something even in a completely dark room — or almost — and though the photograph isn’t usable as a photograph, it is again an interesting visual aid. Given a little more light and shooting something like a cityscape at night results in very nice pictures. You can even sometimes zoom in closely with its cameras.

Clearly, with these two features, the P30 Pro has raised the bar for phone photography, but its Leica quad camera has some other shooting modes that make it a complete camera phone. One of these is a super macro mode that allows you to shoot from just 2.5 centimetres away from the subject. Ordinarily, even good camera phones have a tough time locking focus at this distance as they aren’t even designed to. Give the P30 Pro some light, and it will let you take some pretty good close-ups. All that’s left for you to do is find an exotic subject to shoot. Another feature is the wide-angle lens, always fun to shoot with. Portrait mode is also present

The 40 MP ‘SuperSensing’ or ‘SuperSpectrum’ sensor newly introduced by Huawei on this phone uses a red-yellow-blue array rather than a red-green-blue as is more usual. This is because the light frequency of yellow is more sensitive and absorbs more light, making for clearer photographs.

The main camera on the P30 Pro is 40 MP, 27 mm, f/1.6. Its wide angle lens is 20 MP, 16 mm, f/2.2. The telephoto lens is 8 MP, 5x with periscope zoom, 135 mm, f/3.4. There is optical stabilisation for main and zoom lenses and a Time-of-Flight (ToF) for depth mapping. The front-facing selfie camera is 32 MP.

There’s more to the P30 Pro’s camera than space would allow here, but other than the camera, it is also a device that’s fully loaded with specs. It has an excellent in-display fingerprint sensor, good face recognition, fairly decent software with nice features such as Private Space. It works smoothly and has particularly good battery life for its 4,200 mAh battery along with fast charging, wireless charging and reverse charging. Price: ₹71,990

Pros: Sets new bar in phone photography, beautiful looks and build, excellent battery life, wireless, fast, reverse charging, great performance Cons: Very expensive, no headphone jack, screen needs to be better, can’t use all memory cards. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

First 5G iPhone to hit the stores in 2020: Report

First 5G iPhone to hit the stores in 2020: ReportIntel to provide iPhone 5G modem, while Qualcomm-powered Android smartphones with 5G capability will start rolling out next year. The first 5G iPhone is likely to use an Intel modem, the 8161, and it could hit stores in 2020, according to a report in Fast Company.

If everything goes as planned, Intel will be the sole provider of iPhone modems, said the report.

For prototyping and testing of the 5G iPhone, Intel is reportedly working on a precursor to the 8161modem, called the 8060.

To increase transistor density for more speed and efficiency, Intel is likely to fabricate the 8161 using its 10-nanometre process.

The performance of 8060 appears to have triggered a little tension between Apple and Intel due to “heat dissipation issues” that would both raise the temperature and hurt battery life, the report said.

However, Apple’s current issues with Intel are not serious enough to cause Apple to turn to Qualcomm for the supply of 5G modems, said Fast Company report, based on its source.

Apple declined to comment on the report.

The first 5G smartphone is expected next year.

Android phones from manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei will contain 5G modem chips made by Qualcomm, which has claimed that its modems have managed the heat dissipation issues, the report said. (Source:ETTelecom)

Indians spent over Rs 50k crore on Chinese phones in FY18

Indians spent over Rs 50k crore on Chinese phones in FY18Consumers in India spent more than Rs 50,000 crore in FY18 on purchasing smartphones made by just the top four Chinese brands, nearly twice what they spent on them in the previous fiscal. That trend is set to continue with Chinese brands dominating the Indian smartphone market, analysts and industry executives said. The four — Xiaomi, Oppo, VivoNSE 0.00 % and Honor — along with a few other Chinese brands like Lenovo-Motorola, One-Plus and Infinix, make up more than half of the total Indian smartphone market by sales. Sales of Chinese brands are growing rapidly this year too, as per the data available thus far, analysts said.

The Chinese brands are launching high-specification models at lower prices than South Korean, Japanese and Indian companies and have successfully established themselves as global brands, in line with the Indian consumer’s preference for products made by multinationals, two analysts said.

Counterpoint Research associate director Tarun Pathak said the top Chinese brands have easy access to the Shenzhen hardware and R&D hub and the supply chain ecosystem. “This has helped them to be innovators and to be always on top of trends,” he said.

India stands to gain with Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo-Motorola, Huawei and Vivo investing in local manufacturing and creating jobs, thanks to Make in India policies. Xiaomi announced plans to invest Rs 15,000 crore in smartphone component manufacturing in April. Oppo is establishing two new manufacturing facilities in Uttar Pradesh.

Vivo employs more than 5,000 people in its plant. The chief of one of the largest cellphone retail chains said the Chinese brands have established themselves in key price segments — Xiaomi in the Rs 6,000-13,000 band, Oppo and Vivo in the Rs 10,000-22,000 one. Honor is gaining share in the Rs 8,000-12,000 segment.

“These price segments account for more than 80% of the overall market where no Indian brands have managed to cut the ice and Samsung is the sole non-Chinese brand to fight it out,” he said, requesting anonymity due to business reasons. As per Registrar of Companies (RoC) filings for FY18, Xiaomi Technology India’s revenue from operations was Rs 22,947.3 crore (Rs 8334.4 crore in FY17); that of Oppo Mobiles India was Rs 11,994.3 crore (Rs 8,050.8 crore); that of Vivo Mobile India was Rs 11,179.3 crore (Rs 6,292.9 crore) and Huawei Telecommunications India’s mobile business revenue stood at Rs 5,601.3 crore (Rs 3,584.2 crore).

The combined sales of these four Chinese smartphone makers in FY18 almost doubled to Rs 51,722.1 crore from Rs 26,262.4 crore in FY17, despite already being on a higher base. While Xiaomi and Huawei have been profitable in the Indian market, Oppo and Vivo are yet to break even. As per Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, the Indian smartphone market was valued at around Rs 1.5 lakh crore in FY18 compared with Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the total mobile phone market. Market research provider Euromonitor International pegged the Indian smartphone market at Rs 1.1 lakh crore in calendar year 2017 and projected sales for 2018 to touch Rs 1.2 lakh crore. The smartphone market is growing at about 10-11%, it said.

Analysts reckon the Chinese aggression in the Indian smartphone market will continue in the current fiscal as well with OnePlus retaining leadership in the Rs 30,000-plus premium segment for two consecutive quarters; the launch of new sub-brands such as Pocophone by Xiaomi and Realme by Oppo; and the high growth of newer Chinese players like Transsion Group with its Itel, Tecno and Infinix brands.

A Huawei India spokesperson said its Honor smartphone brand with its India-first approach had registered unprecedented growth of 281% in the first half of 2018 and was among the top two brands in the online segment in the April-June period on the back of several new launches across price segments.

Compared with the Chinese performance, Samsung, which has been present in India for two decades, posted smartphone sales of Rs 34,261 crore in FY17 while Apple posted sales of Rs 13,097 crore in FY18. Another Chinese smartphone maker, Lenovo-Motorola, posted sales of Rs 11,950 crore in FY17 which, however, includes the revenue from laptops and hardware too. The financials of Samsung and Lenovo-Motorola for FY18 are not available. (Source: Economic Times)

4GB RAM Vivo Y83 launched in India for Rs 14,990

4GB RAM Vivo Y83 launched in India for Rs 14,990The smartphone also includes a split screen feature which can be easily activated by sliding down three fingers to split the screen in two, Vivo said.

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo on Friday launched its Y83 device with 6.22-inch 19:9 "FullView" display in India at Rs 14,990. The smartphone will be available in black and gold variants across offline stores starting Friday and will also be available on Flipkart, Amazon and Vivo's own online shopping channel, the smartphone maker said.

"We are pleased to introduce the Vivo Y83 in our Y series product portfolio with an outstanding performance and superior camera capabilities at an ideal price point," said Jerome Chen, Chief Marketing Officer, Vivo India.

Vivo Y83 is equipped with a 13MP high-definition rear camera with PDAF technology and an 8MP selfie camera. The phone is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor and backed by 4GB RAM and 32GB storage with an option to further expand it to 256GB.

The smartphone also includes a split screen feature which can be easily activated by sliding down three fingers to split the screen in two, Vivo said. (Source: ETTelecom)

OnePlus 5T in ‘Lava Red’ now available

OnePlus 5T in ‘Lava Red’ now availableOnePlus may have a one-phone-a-year strategy, but the Chinese smartphone maker has released variants of their device, the newest being the OnePlus 5T in a metallic red they call ‘Lava Red’.

Like the Star Wars Limited Edition variant launched a short while ago, the Lava Red too is a limited edition device and unlikely to remain on the shelves for long.

While it is, however, it can be bought from Amazon.in, for Rs 37,999 and from Oneplus’ experience store in Bangalore, and experience zones in Mumbai and Delhi NCR. It is also available at Croma stores.

The phone could cost up to Rs 17,545 less as part of an exchange offer. Other offers include a three-month no cost EMI on credit cards, an instant Rs. 1,500 discount for HDFC Bank debit and credit cards users, Rs. 2000 Exchange Bonus with every purchase of the OnePlus 5T on amazon.in, a three and six month no cost EMI, using Bajaj Finserv cards on OnePlus official e-store.

From the front, the Lava Red OnePlus 5T is all black with no other accents (such as white borders) clashing with the red on the back. The red back is smooth and metallic finished and a little more slippery than the sandstone versions launched earlier. Cases have already started to appear online and in stores and the box includes a transparent back protector.

Here’s a tip: the Lava Red version looks particularly interesting in a black sandstone case with the fingerprint sensor, edges and camera becoming vibrant red accents and standing out against the black.

The Lava Red device is identical in all other ways to the recently launched OnePlus 5T but is only available in the higher specs version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.

OnePlus has seen a surge in popularity over the past two years in India, a region which India MD Vikas Agarwal said had not even been in the company’s initial plans but which was was now one of the most important owing to the tremendous response from Indian fans. The OnePlus 5T has a vastly improved camera, a super fast fingerprint sensor, face unlock that is also very fast (and different from Apple’s more complex Face ID or Samsung’s Iris Recognition), and a fairly pure Android experience that makes the phone fast and powerful.

The much-loved alert slider remains intact on the new version allowing users to silence their devices or cut low priority calls and messages with a touch.

At the same time, all is not good news for OnePlus as the company admits 40,000 users’ credit card details were exposed because of a breach of its online store in the US, now quarantined and being investigated. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Nokia 7 With 'Bothie' Camera, 6GB RAM Option Launched: Price, Specifications

Nokia 7 With 'Bothie' Camera, 6GB RAM Option Launched: Price, SpecificationsNokia 7 has become the latest Nokia smartphone to become official as the company unveiled its latest mid-range handset at an event in China. The launch had been anticipated since a Tmall teaser suggested the handset may carry the moniker '7'. With Nokia 7, buyers will get flagship-like features at roughly half the price of Nokia 8. Among the highlights of the handset is the 7000 series aluminium body and Corning Gorilla Glass on the back panel. In fact, the Nokia 7 rear panel uses 3D glass thermoforming technology for casting and features with rounded corners.

The latest addition to the Nokia's Android smartphone portfolio packs an f/1.8 aperture lens and comes with 'bothie' camera mode, which made its debut on the flagship Nokia 8 (Review). The company is heavily marketing the feature as "Dual-Sight mode" which uses both front and rear cameras simultaneously. The handset also supports live video streaming to Facebook and YouTube from the built-in camera. With the Nokia 7, HMD Global claims users can go live on Facebook from within the camera app and use the "Dual-Sight mode."

Nokia 7 price and availability
The all-new Nokia 7 has been launched first in China and will be going on sale starting Tuesday. It comes in two variants: 4GB RAM priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,000) and 6GB RAM at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs. 26,500). There's no word on the availability of the Nokia 7 outside China as of now. The Nokia 7 comes with 4K video with Nokia OZO audio technology that supports 360-degree recording.

Nokia 7 specifications
Coming to innards, the Nokia 7 runs on stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat and comes with timely software update promise from the company. HMD Global has also confirmed that the Nokia 7 is Android Oreo-ready. It features 5.2-inch IPS 2.5D display with screen resolution of 1080x1920 pixels and also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top. The smartphone features the new octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 clocked at 1.8GHz. It comes in 4GB and 6GB RAM options. There's 64GB storage and comes with expandable storage up to 128GB (via microSD card).

On the camera front, the Nokia 7 sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture lens and dual tone flash. At the front, there's 5-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture. The handset comes with USB Type-C port and also supports NFC connectivity options. It comes with the usual assortment of connectivity features. At the back, the handset sports fingerprint scanner. It packs 3000mAh non-removable battery. It measures 141.2x71.4x7.9mm. (Source: NDTV)

Nizamabad gets Rs. 25 cr as initial capital for IT hub

Nizamabad gets Rs. 25 cr as initial capital for IT hubIt was a day of politics and IT for Nizamabad district of Telangana State.The State Minister for IT & Municipal Administration , K T Rama Rao announced a IT hub with an initial investment of Rs. 25 crore for Nizamabad. The son of Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhara Rao also said it was part of the State’s efforts to take IT development to tier-2 cities.

At a review meeting in Hyderabad, KT Rama Rao said the hub will have Incubation Centres as well. About 60 Non-Resident Indians of Telugu speaking origin had evinced interest in investments in the venture. The MP of Nizamabad, Kalvakuntla Kavitha and an MLA Ganesh Gupta presented about 60 Letters of Intent to the Minister. The IT Minister said the Government had already sanctioned the setting up of IT Towers in Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar. Hyderabad has been registering impressive growth and the Govt wanted to spread the development to tier-2 and tier 3 centres so that employment generation can also be created.

Political Meet:
In Nizamabad town, the BJP’s efforts to grow its strength in Telangana got a small boost with Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh taking part in a well attended public meeting to commemorate the Telangana Liberation Day. The BJP State unit has made a big issue out of it even as the State Government and the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) went silent.

The BJP also inducted Arvind Dharmapuri, son of senior TRS leader, D Srinivas into the Party in the presence of Rajnath Singh. D Srinivas and family have been long time loyalists of the Cong(I) and represented the constituency. Srinivas, who also State Pradesh Congress Chief twice joined the TRS in 2015.

The BJP, which has just 5 MLA’s and one MP in Telangana has grand ambitions of emerging as a major force and try for power in 2019 going by its national president Amit Shah’s statements. However, at the ground level, its a distant call given the present realities and requires a Herculean task. Its following a dual strategy of attracting leaders from Cong(I) and TDP as well as rapidly build cadre across the State. (Source: The HinduBusiness Line)

Coolpad launches 'Cool Play 6' smartphone at Rs 14999

Coolpad launches 'Cool Play 6' smartphone at Rs 14999Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad on Sunday launched its flagship gaming smartphone Coolpad Cool Play 6 at Rs 14,999 in the Indian market. The phone unveiled here at an event comes in a metal body and sports a bezels display. It has a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 1080 x 1980 pixels screen resolution. The Coolpad Cool Play 6 is powered by 1.4GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 processor and packs 6GB of RAM, making it the most affordable 6GB RAM smartphone in India. It also has a fingerprint sensor.

"India and US have now become two of the largest markets for Coolpad overseas. We have always believed in launching products that start a trend in the market and Cool Play 6 is yet another winner from Coolpad," James Du, Global CEO, Coolpad Group, told reporters.

"We are also coming with exclusive Coolpad services centres in India with plan to have these in at least five cities in the next six months." The phone will be available exclusively on Amazon.in from September 4, in two colour variants -- gold and black, Coolpad announced. The phone offers 64GB of internal storage and packs 13 MP + 13 MP dual primary camera and a 8 MP front shooter for selfies.

It has 4000 mAh, non-removable Li-Po battery with a standby time up to 300 hours, with support for USB Type-C reversible connector and Dual SIM (Nano), the company said. The phone runs on Android 7.1.1. The Android 8.0 OTA update will be provided by December 2017, Coolpad said. "In the last couple of years Coolpad has done well and we have beaten even our own estimates. Year 2017 has been a game changer for Coolpad in India and we continue to put our resources in the country with a plan to achieve 50 per cent growth to extend our market share to six per cent of the total market in India," Syed Tajuddin, CEO, Coolpad India, said.

"We already have offline presence in eight states with a reach in 3,000 multi-brand outlets and have plans to expand it to a total number of 18 states in the next one year," Tajuddin said. "Coolpad smartphones have a 25 per cent market share on Amazon in the sub Rs 8,000 category," he added.(Source: Economic Times)


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