Alnoor M Peermohamed
24th Apr, 2014
Return Of The iPhone 4 Helped Apple Grow Phone Sales By 55% In India
Discounts, buy-backs and EMIs are also playing their part in Apple's India growth story.
Tech giant Apple has reported a 55 per cent increase in sales of the iPhone in Indian over the past year, as reported by the Times of India. The figures were revealed by Tim Cook, CEO of the company, during the second quarter earnings call on Thursday.
iPhone sales grew by 16.8 per cent globally, while growth in emerging markets similar to India far exceeded that number. The device's sales were up by 97% in Russia, 262% in Vietnam, 61% in Brazil and 56% in Turkey. In typical Apple fashion however, Cook did not reveal the specific sales breakup between the various iPhone models sold.
The iPhone's success in India was due to the re-introduction of the iPhone 4 (discontinued in September 2013) at a price of Rs 22,990, making it the cheapest model of the device in the country. Moreover, prices of all the iPhone models (including the 5s) were slashed recently, though not officially.
The flagship 5s which carries an official price tag of Rs 53,500 for the base variant can be bought for Rs 47,000. The colourful 5c model which was launched at Rs 41,900 can be had for Rs 37,000.
Apart from this, Apple is also offering customers attractive finance and buy-back schemes on the iPhone which have helped keep customers within the environment. Exchanging a three year old iPhone 4 for a new iPhone 5c will entitle the customer to a Rs 13,000 discount on the price of the new phone.
Unlike in developed markets, Apple has been focusing on the mid-range smartphone segment to really power its growth. Through this the company is hoping to get consumers in India hooked to Apple products in the hope that they will stay within the confines of the company's products when they decide to make upgrades.
According to the latest IDC data, Apple is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in India in terms of value, after it lost the second spot to Sony who have been heavily focusing on the mid-range segment. In terms of volumes, Apple controls 7 per cent of the Indian smartphone market, a long way off its biggest rival Samsung who controls over 60 per cent.
LG L90 Unboxing And Benchmarks
A quick look at LG's mid-range handset that ships with Android Kitkat.
Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
23rd Apr 2014
LG’s mid-range Android smartphone has landed in our office. This phone belongs to LG’s third wave of devices from L-series. What we liked here is that the Korean giant has decided to go with a not-so-big 4.7-inch screen. Because of this the handset fits well in your palm. The handset looks exactly like the Optimus L7 II Dual that was launched last year. The key layout on the L90 looks a bit off since LG has added a dedicated SIM switch key to the standard set of Android keys. The phone is lighter than the Moto G, but doesn’t feel solid like Motorola’s offering. The textured back-panel may not be aesthetically appealing, but it does help with the grip.
- Wall charger.
- USB cable.
- Shoddily made earphones.
- Quick start guide.
- Warranty documentation.
The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 400 quad-core chipset found in Moto G. Another similarity with Motorola’s budget hit is that the L90 runs Android 4.4 Kitkat. There are certain differences though. The L90 comes with a relatively better 8 megapixel camera, but lacks the HD screen found on the Moto G. To be precise, the 4.7-inch display packs in 960 x 540 pixels. Despite being an IPS panel, the screen looks washed out.
Similar to its high-end sibling G2, the L90 packs in an IR (infra-red) port. This means you can use this phone as a remote for TV, music systems, and AC. The phone comes with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. With LG’s customisation though, it looks nothing like what you’ve seen on the Moto G. One of the highlights of this phone is LG’s Knockcode allows you to wake and unlock the screen with a tap pattern. It’s a good concept, but in this stage I think it’s more of a hit-and-miss affair.
Thanks to the 1 GB RAM and 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, the user experience is quite smooth. We haven’t fully tested the device yet, but till now the casual games are working fine. To gauge the performance, we ran a couple of synthetic benchmarks and here are the results.
- 4.7-inch screen with 960 x 540 pixels.
- Quad-core Snapdragon 400 chipset clocked at 1.2 GHz, Adreno 305 GPU.
- 8 MP camera with LED flash, 1.3 MP front-facing camera.
- 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Internal memory, microSD card slot.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS.
- Dual-SIM, supports 3G.
- 2540 mAh battery
- Android 4.4 KitKat
Amazon’s Upcoming Handset To Feature Tilt-Control
If you thought gesture controls made you look like a clown, say hello to tilt control.
So far we all know that Big A’s phone will run on a heavily skinned version of the Android OS which will most probably be similar to the one on the Kindle Fire tablets. We also know that we will feel a bit creepy while holding the device up, considering that there are 5 cameras staring at you all the time. Well, now thanks to BGR, we now know that the handset will have a tilt-based UI as well.
So how does that work? Well, some of it is already available in Samsung’s Galaxy range of handsets. Place your finger on the lock screen and tilt to launch the camera function. But Amazon plans to take this a bit further. Sources say that Amazon is planning to change the way we interact with our phones by simply allows us to tilt to launch multiple functions.
The function will be built into all of the native apps, and according to what we know, in third-party apps as well. The feature will basically allow you to explore more by tilting you phone to the landscape mode. So if you happen to be clicking a picture via the camera app, you would simply need to tilt the phone to access the gallery app on handset. Developers can take advantage of such features as well. But this would be directly dependent upon how many people are willing to shift to such a UI.
So if Amazon does sell plenty of Amazon phones, then we should expect third-party apps developers to step into the game as well. But if people find the whole idea cumbersome and irritating, then we would wish Amazon the best of luck.
Samsung's K Zoom Leaks Once Again; Shows Off Its S5-Like Dimpled Back
Shows that case makers are already preparing for Samsung’s camera smartphone hybrid.
The Samsung K Zoom has been seeing leak after leak until finally Samsung sent out an invite for the rumoured device scheduled for the 29th of April. It was just recently that we got to see a live image of the device thanks to a blogger, and now once again an image has appeared on a retail website. This one shows a transparent plastic case over the actual K Zoom device.
What has changed since the last leak is that there now appears to the new Samsung S5-like dimpled back. As we browse around the site for some more similar cases, we were able to find another blue case. This one clearly shows that the device will sport a shutter key along with the usual volume control buttons and the power button as well. What is odd is that the volume and power buttons have been placed on the same side of the device, which indicates that the volume buttons could be used for the zoom function.
Samsung’s GALAXY K Zoom will sport a more compact 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD (1280 x 720p) screen and a 6-core Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa (5260) SoC with ARM’s big.LITTLE HMP technology. Two of those would be 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores while the other four are 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores; along with some quad-core ARM Mali-T624 GPU graphics processing.
Coupled with all this fire power would be 2GB of RAM, and the phone will run Android KitKat out of the box. Internal memory will stand at 8GB, while storage will be expandable via a micro SD card for you to store those large 20MP photographs.
As earlier information revealed, the S5 Zoom does pack a 20.0MP image sensor on the back and 2.1MP camera unit on the front. The primary camera would also be supported by a Xenon Flash and an OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) system to reduce shake, which should be quite handy considering the 10X zoom capabilities.
Let’s just hope that will all that fire-power on board, the K Zoom can at least out-perform the Nokia Lumia 1020 which is currently the best camera phone available today.
OnePlus One Gets Announced; Claims To Be The Lightest 5.5 Inch Smartphone In The World
The company’s ‘Never Settle’ philosophy seems to have resulted in an elegant top of the line device that will keep competitors on edge.
OnePlus has finally announced its much-awaited ‘flagship killer’ the OnePlus One. The company has been teasing us for months about the hardware specifications that will end up in the final device. OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau also took to the official OnePlus forums to describe why each part was selected for their first Android Phone the OnePlus One. All that was left to be seen was the body of the device; which was revealed to the world just a few moments ago.
We all knew the specifications of the OnePlus One and that is exactly what was revealed to us at today’s announcement. The handset sports a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 (8974 AC) chipset that is coupled with 3 GB of LPDDR3 RAM which comes with multiple memory options of 16 and 64 GB. On the outside of the elegantly crafted body, is the 5.5 inch Full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) sporting an eye-popping 401 ppi.
The body of the device is unique as well. The OnePlus One utilizes a frame built out of magnesium which makes it lighter than steel or aluminium, giving the OnePlus One a combined weight of only 162 grams. This is how OnePlus claims that the One is the lightest 5.5 inch smartphone in the world. In that svelte and elegant body, the OnePlus team also managed to squeeze in dual stereo speakers at the bottom which were tuned by the pros at JBL. Also included in that thin 8.9mm construction is a large 3100mAh battery which should easily deliver a full day of usage no matter what you do with your phone.
When it comes to software and the operating system the obvious choice was Android which allowed for maximum flexibility. What was not revealed to us officially back then was that Cyanogenmod would be making the software. The current OS is basically Cyanogenmod version of Android with some minor customisations to keep things simple unlike the resource-hungry offerings from competitors.
Coming down to the camera, OnePlus has opted for a 13 MP Sony IMX214 Sensor with 6 Lenses and f/2.0 Aperture. The camera is quick and combined with the software is able to capture some crisp 4K video footage as well.
To make the phone look unique, OnePlus even included special StyleSwap removable back covers. These as mentioned before are available in bamboo, wood, denim and Kevlar in a variety of shades.
The OnePlus One will launch in Q2 with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK and the USA getting it first. The basic colour options are Sandstone Black and Silk White with the 16 GB version retailing for 299 USD (approx. Rs 18,277) and the 64 GB version for 349 USD (approx. Rs 21334). The price seems to be extremely reasonable considering that a Google Nexus 5 is more expensive that the OnePlus One in India. Sadly though, there is no sign of a release in India just yet.
Micromax Begins Manufacturing Smartphones At Its India Plant
All Micromax tablets are manufactured locally, while production of phones is in the initial stages.
India's second largest mobile device company (in terms of market share) Micromax has started manufacturing handsets locally at its Rudraprayag facility in Uttarakhand, according to a Times of India report.
While still in the initial stages, the company began manufacturing mobile phones in India a few months ago. The Rudraprayag plant has already been producing all the tablet devices Micromax currently sells in India, along with LEDs.
"Micromax has manufacturing plant in Rudraprayag where it manufactures LED and tablets. The company started manufacturing mobile phones couple of months back," a company spokesperson told PTI.
According to industry data, Micromax is the second largest mobile phone and tablet PC manufacturer in India in terms of market share. In the fourth quarter of 2013 the company controlled 13 per cent of the total mobile phone market, while its share in the smartphone market stood even higher at 16 per cent.
In the tablet PC front, the company controlled 8.9 per cent of the market, which stood at about 4.14 million units during 2013. The company is now looking to double its revenues on a year-on-year basis, taking it up to $1 billion by the end of the current financial year.
Currently Micromax manufactures all its smartphones in China and imports them into India. The company recently made its entry into the Russian market, in a bid to better compete with giants like Samsung and LG in the global low-cost smartphone market.
It is yet to be seen whether the company will truly shift its manufacturing base to India, or will merely use its local plant to assemble components imported into the country.
Design Patent Points To An All New Form Factor For The GALAXY Note 4
Sports a display that wraps around the corners instead of the bended one featured at CES 2013.
A new patent sheet for the Samsung GALAXY Note 4 has surfaced on the internet and it seems that Samsung’s upcoming Note will definitely sport a fresh new design. A Samsung executive had earlier suggested that company is indeed seeking inspiration and experimenting with some completely new form factors. Little did we know that a wraparound display is in the works!
We recently reported that Samsung’s Note 4 would indeed be using a YOUM display similar to the one showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013. What we were most interested about at the end of the article, was how Samsung would utilize such a display and not how it would manufacture one.
Today, from what we can see from the patent filing document, the YOUM display literally wraps around the corners of the device. What’s more interesting is that the device also shows a number of shortcuts in the form of icons that can be launched in a closed state (with the case lid on). Even though the design looks impressive, we are a bit confused about how one would hold a device, if its display did indeed wrap around the corners. If one is able to launch apps from the corners of the display, it also means that grabbing it to hold it would activate the same.
Anyways what we have here is a patent filing, meaning that this is simply the idea that Samsung has in mind, which is being patented; and may not necessarily be the actual design. Let’s just hope that Samsung has an exciting design lined up for the GALAXY Note 4 which is actually practical to use rather than being a gimmick.
How To: Deal With Your Smartphone’s Broken Keys With The Help Of Apps
Quick solution for your phone’s malfunctioned keys.
Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
23rd Apr 2014
Are those navigation buttons on your smartphone not working anymore after a nasty drop? Well, repairing the buttons is a definite solution. However, if you hate to spend money on gadgets (like me), or just too lazy to visit a service centre, we have some temporary
homeapp remedies for you. The solutions vary depending on the software platform. Considering that it's the most popular smartphone platform, let's start with Android.
For Android Smartphones
If your Android phone's hardware keys aren't responding, head over to Play Store and install Anywhere Key (no root). Developed by A.Akira, this app enables on-screen SoftKeys — Home, Multitasking, Back, Messaging, Settings, and more. There are quite a few similar apps in Google's app repository, but Anywhere Key makes it to our list since it doesn't require a rooted handset. This means you don't have to let go of your phone's warranty.
If you find Anywhere Key too colourful for your liking, you can give Simple Control a shot. This app provides an easy-to-use strip of navigation buttons. However, you may find it somewhat obtrusive. So yes, navigating with these virtual keys may not be as convenient as the hardware buttons, but then it's a substitute and not a replacement.
Unlike Android, Apple's mobile operating system comes with a built in feature to deal busted hardware keys. So if your iPhone's Home button has stopped responding, go to Settings, click on General, and then tap Accessibility. There you'll find an option to enable Assistive Touch.
Upon activation, you'll be greeted with a semi-transparent button. It's a floating button, so you can drag it wherever you please. Along with the soft Home button, Assistive Touch brings in more options for Gestures, Favorites, and Device.
These software tools may temporarily solve your problem. However, remember that malfunctioned keys are a result of a physical damage. Be it a nasty drop or water damage, these things can render your handset useless in the long run. Therefore, we advise you get your phone repaired as soon as possible.
Cover Image Credit: Sanjit Kundu (TechTree.com)
Samsung’s ‘Project K’ May Be The Premium GALAXY S5 That Fans Have Been Waiting For
Internally known as ‘Project KQ’, the device never saw a release thanks to component shortages.
If you are holding back on purchasing that shiny new GALAXY S5 this month, you are doing the right thing. Recent reports from insiders have pointed out that Samsung, despite denying the premium GALAXY S5’s existence is indeed building the QHD specd device.
The news comes from our friends at SamMobile who seem to have some eye-opening insider information. It seems that Samsung has indeed been working on a device internally referred to as ‘Project KQ’. No, we have no clue what the ‘KQ’ stands for just yet; but what we do know is that Samsung has been working on the QHD device for a very long time.
Why did they not release it at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) then? Well, that would be thanks to component shortages because it makes no sense announcing such a product and then not making it available within the next six months. As the source points out, the details that have now come to light belong to the first two versions of the GALAXY S5. Yes, there were actually ten revisions in all with the first two devices being the QHD ones. The current Samsung GALAXY S5 which is on sale is apparently the fifth revision which got approval to enter into production.
As for the chipset on the QHD version of the device which did not reach production just yet, it seems to pack in some completely new Exynos silicon. The Korean version sports a octa-core Exynos 5430 chipset which features quad 2.1 GHz Cortex-A15 and quad 1.5 GHz Cortex-A7 cores in addition to the 600 MHz ARM Mali GPU. As you can see such processing power was easily overkill for the QHD display and would easily be able to handle a pixel dense 2560 x 1440 resolution.
Another interesting addition was the inclusion of Intel Intel LTE modem (XMM7620) which supports speed of up to 300 Mbps for downloads and 150 Mbps for uploads making 3G a thing of the past.
Samsung may eventually announce the premium version once the current GALAXY S5’s sales begin to drop since the device has already picked up momentum. Competition from Oppo’s Find 7 and the LG G3 may eventually force Samsung to out a QHD display sporting device which may happen in a few months from now.
HTC Denies Wanting To Buy Nokia's Chennai Plant
This leaves just options - Nokia takes up contract manufacturing for Microsoft or closure.
Taiwanese phonemaker HTC has issued a statement denying reports about the company's interest in purchasing Nokia's Chennai plant, adding that CFO Chia-Lin Chang’s comments were misinterpreted in his interview with the Economic Times.
“HTC would like to clarify that the company has no intention of purchasing the plant. From a business perspective, we continually review opportunities to strategically invest and we will continue to do so in the future,” said the company in an email statement. “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Chang’s comments were taken out of context during the interview.”
With the $7.5 billion deal between Nokia and Microsoft expected to be concluded this Friday, the fate of Nokia's manufacturing plant at Chennai still hangs in the balance. Locked in tax disputes, it seems unlikely that the plant will be made part of the deal where Nokia transfers its device and services business to Microsoft.
The factory employees 6,600 people and manufactures phones not only for the local market, but also exports. The Indian government has voiced its concerns over how the plant's closure could effectively half all mobile exports out of India. Nokia has however hinted that it could run the plant under a special contract to manufacture phones for Microsoft.
If HTC was indeed interested in buying the Nokia Chennai plant, it could have been a viable option for the company to completely exit the handset business. With Microsoft not showing any signs of wanting to retain the Indian manufacturing unit, the most likely fate of the plant for now seems closure.