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We’ve already told you all there is to about brand Lexus coming to India. In fact we gave you an exclusive story too, telling you about the cars that are making their way here as also the strategy the company will adopt as regards India. We’ve already told you about the RX450 and the ES coming to India and we’ve even spotted the cars out on the roads, registered and ready for delivery in fact.

There are about 50 to 60 cars that have made their way to India but all will be used to garner interest within dealer principals first, which means that potential customers are now being tapped and test drives for the cars have begun.
The Lexus RX450h was spotted by us on the streets of Mumbai

Lexus will launch the both the RX450 and the ES300h in March 2017. So the first two cars that will launch will be hybrids. March will also see the launch of Lexus dealerships in India. There will be four showrooms to begin with – 1 in Mumbai, 1 in Bengaluru and two in Delhi. The preferred dealership partners for Lexus are the ones who currently have Toyota dealerships and yes, there are going to be separate dealerships as we’ve said earlier. Lexus and Toyota will however, share the same service network, although there will be a separate bay altogether for servicing the Lexus cars.

The Lexus RX and ES will launch in March 2017 There will be an onslaught of cars by the end of 2017 as we’ll see the LX450 diesel, LX 570 petrol and the NX make their way to India. The RC F sports car will not be coming to India. The RX450h will be priced more than ₹ 90 lakh (ex-showroom price) while the ES 300h will cost close to ₹ 60 lakh (ex-showroom). The cars will be direct imports to India and hence will attract import duties. Lexus also plans to bring the LS600h by January 2018.

Bookings for the cars have been opened at a dealer level and we can’t wait for the cars to be launched in India. We’ll keep you updated on the latest, so stay tuned!


Chinese mobile startup OnePlus is now releasing an update to its OnePlus 2 smartphones, which will bring the new OxygenOS version 3.5.5 to OnePlus 2 devices. As a significant update, OxygenOS 3.5.5 finally offers the VoLTE support for select carriers, however forgoing the anticipated Android 7.0 Nougat upgrade. OnePlus says that the OxygenOS 3.5.5 rollout is occurring in a phased manner, and will reach only a small proportion of users initially, although a broader rollout is expected in coming days.

With OxygenOS 3.5.5, OnePlus 2 users will be able to make VoLTE calls for some carriers only. The company, however, doesn’t list the carrier names – notably though, the VoLTE enabling update for the OnePlus 2 was announced by OnePlus India in September, with specific reference to enabling the feature for Reliance Jio networks.

Apart from the VoLTE support, the update brings minor updates and redesign to the interface. New features includes App Lock, Battery Saving Mode, Gaming Mode, new Alert Slider options, and a new Volume Adjustment Bar. There are also some bug fixes and shelf optimisations that have been addressed with this update. This OxygenOS 3.5.5 update doesn’t bring the much-awaited Android 7.0 Nougat to OnePlus 2 devices. The Android security patch level has been updated to December 1 with this build.

If you’re going to update your OnePlus 2, you need to keep in mind that this update will replace your Clock, Calculator and Messages app to the stock OnePlus apps if you never updated their corresponding Google apps. You can choose to download them later if you like Google’s stock apps. Apart from that, a lot of configurations will be reset after the update like the device name, ringtones, accent colours, and the battery bar indicator.

Besides, OnePlus is also gathering feedback from OnePlus 2 users after they update their smartphones to OxygenOS 3.5.5. On its forum, OnePlus has given some useful links as well if you somehow want to downgrade your OnePlus 2 firmware to OxygenOS 3.10. As we mentioned that the update is rolling out in a phased manner, so OnePlus 2 users who have not received any update notifications yet, should receive the OTA update notification in a next few days.

[“source-ndtv”]

With mounting revenue losses amid too many players fighting to grab a pie, exits will surpass entrants in the Indian smartphone market in 2017, analysts said on Thursday.

There are nearly 250 million unique smartphone users in the country and by the end of 2016, there will be 280 million Indians with these devices.

“With declining margins amid cut-throat competition, we predict some smartphone players will call it quits in 2017. We estimate that number of exits in the smartphone market will exceed number of entrants in the next year,” Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

“While some signs of this trend already started happening, we predict it will only intensify in 2017 and lead to consolidation in smartphone market,” Pathak added.

Most of the exits will be seen at the entry-level smartphone segment, involving regional players which were unable to generate volume and, at the same time, were unable to scale up their portfolio.

As tech companies strive to connect the next billion, India will lead the way in 2017 where new disruptive start-ups will emerge and regional knowhow and strength in developing vernacular apps to entice first-time mobile users will be the key, analysts said on Thursday.

“10K-20K smartphone was the fastest growing smartphone segment (+86 per cent) in 2016 and is likely to be the fastest in 2017 too owing to users upgrading from sub-10k category to mid-end segment,” said Karn Chauhan, an analyst with Counterpoint Research.

With replacement rate of smartphones increasing and new launches happening more frequently, the experts also see refurbished and hands-down smartphone market to grow in 2017.

As Samsung ramps up its OLED production with other players also setting up manufacturing plants for OLED production, the competition for OLED screen size with sharper and narrow bezels is likely to intensify in 2017.

“Apart from this, we will also see Dual camera, Front flash and quick-charge technology leading from the specification perspective in India,” Chauhan noted.

India handset manufacturing will continue to evolve from assembly towards end-to-end manufacturing.

“As per a Counterpoint Research-IIM Bangalore study, the local value addition in India during 2016 was 6 per cent which is estimated to grow to 10 percent in 2017,” Pathak told IANS.

Demonetisation has given strong momentum to the adoption of digital payments via smartphones – a trend which is likely to be more significant in 2017, the experts noted.

[“source-ndtv”]

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 remained in news for all the wrong reasons in 2016 as the smartphone was recalled by Samsung after several explosion cases were reported regarding the device. After the second recall of the phone, it was discontinued by the company. Samsung has been urging all users to return the phone to the company for their own safety. However, a shocking new statistic has surfaced that claims that the Galaxy Note 7 is still being utilised by more users than the LG V20 and OnePlus 3T smartphones combined.

Research firm Apteligent has claimed that the number of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices currently in use far exceed smartphones LG V20 and OnePlus 3T, and are only marginally less than the Moto Z smartphone, 9to5Mac reports. However, Pixel smartphones from Google and Sony Xperia XZ, which were launched around the same time as the recall, managed to beat the existing Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices in the market.

Samsung announced earlier this month that it will disable Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to discourage people from using the discontinued device. The South Korean company claimed that 93 percent of the total Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from US have been successfully recalled by the company.

Considering the latest stats shared by Apteligent, Samsung will have to actively recall the remaining devices, which seem to be pretty large in number. On the other hand, from the comparisons, it can be further concluded that the sales of LG V20 have been largely disappointing.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

The Zuk Edge smartphone, which had been teased by Lenovo for a while now, has been finally launched in the Chinese market. The new Zuk Edge smartphone will go on sale from January 1 in China, and has been priced at CNY 2,299 (roughly Rs. 22,500) for the 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM variant, and CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 24,500) for the 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM variant. The latest Zuk smartphone will be made available in Ceramic White and Titanium Crystal Black colour variants.

The main highlight of the Zuk Edge is its 2.35GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, apart from its 5.5-inch full-HD TDDI display with Corning Gorilla Glass that supposedly has an 86.4 percent screen-to-body ratio, its USB Type-C (v3.1) port, its under-glass U Touch fingerprint sensor (that can unlock in as little as 0.09 seconds), and its built-in blood oxygen heart rate sensor. Other interesting additions in Lenovo’d Zuk Edge include a pneumatic altimeter and a UV light sensor.

The dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) Zuk Edge runs Android 7.0 Nougat-based ZUI 2.5. As for optics, the new Zuk Edge smartphone bears a 13-megapixel rear camera with a 1.34-micron pixel Samsung ISOCELL sensor, an f/2.2 aperture, PDAF+CAF hybrid autofocus, and a high-brightness flash. On the front, it bears an 8-megapixel camera with a 1.12-micron pixel sensor, and an f/2.2 aperture. Inbuilt storage of Zuk Edge is 64GB, which is not expandable via microSD card.

Connectivity options onboard the Zuk Edge include 4G LTE (with support for Indian LTE bands), Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.1, and GPS/ A-GPS. The Zuk Edge bears 3100mAh battery, measures 142.9×74.5×7.68mm and weighs 160 grams. Other sensors on board include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor

 
[“source-ndtv”]

Xiaomi has announced that it will offer discounts on products such as the Mi 5 smartphone, Mi Power Banks, and Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro Gold as part of the Mi Christmas sale. The discount offers on these Xiaomi products will be available on the company’s online store, Mi.com/in, from December 19 to December 21.

Under the Mi Christmas offer, interested consumers can buy the flagship Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone at Rs. 19,999 after a flat discount of Rs. 3,000. Similarly, the Xiaomi 20000mAh Mi Power Bank will be available at Rs. 1,899 with a flat discount of Rs. 600, 10000mAh Mi Power Bank will be available at Rs. 999 with a flat discount of Rs. 300, and Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro Gold will be available at Rs. 1,599 with a flat discount of Rs. 200.

Xiaomi is also offering discounts on the purchase of accessories for Redmi 3S Prime and Redmi Note 3 – Redmi 3S Flip Case Blue will be available at Rs. 199 (flat discount of Rs. 400), and Redmi Note 3 Flip Case White available at Rs. 99 (flat discount of Rs. 300).

Along with these, Xiaomi is providing a free one-year Hungama Music membership alongside a free three-month Hungama Play membership exclusively for 1 million Mi users. Xiaomi smartphones that are eligible to get the free Hungama membership which include Redmi 3S (and Redmi 3S Prime), Redmi Note 3, Mi Max, and Mi 5.

Under Mi Christmas, Xiaomi is also kicking off the sale of its new Mi VR Play virtual reality headset, which will be available at Rs. 999.

Additionally, Xiaomi is offering discount on the purchase of the old Mi Band which will be available at Rs. 799 with a flat discount of Rs. 1,200, Mi USB Fan available at Rs. 149 (flat discount of Rs. 100), and Mi LED Light available at Rs. 199 (flat discount of Rs. 50).

 
[“source-ndtv”]


There’s no doubt that Samsung’s next focus will be its upcoming flagship smartphone after untimely demise of the Galaxy Note 7. Now, new details have emerged around Samsung’s rumoured next flagship believed to be called the Galaxy S8. Samsung is said to have postponed the launch of the Galaxy S8 to gain confidence from consumers before making it available in markets worldwide. Previously, it was reported that Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone will be unveiled at the side-lines of MWC 2017 in Barcelona on February 26. Other reports tip pricing and feature details.

A report claims that Samsung will hold a dedicated event in April and before the event, the South Korean company will work with several external agencies to re-gain confidence from consumers. The report mentions that the external agencies have been asked to come up with comprehensive plans ahead of the release of the Galaxy S8.

A separate report has claimed that the Samsung Galaxy S8 may be priced higher than the current Galaxy S7 series. The Korean report cites financial firm, Goldman Sachs, which predicts that the Galaxy S8 will see a rise in prices by up to 15 to 20 percent compared to its predecessor. According to the financial firm, the price rise will be due to rise in cost of raw material and this will eventually trickle down to consumers.

Another report has claimed that Samsung may place the fingerprint scanner at the back. There have been recent reports suggesting that Samsung may integrate an optical fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 which will boast off high-res scanning through 1mm of glass with button-free design. The report however contradicts earlier rumours that Samsung may ditch the home button and claims that the home button will be present but not feature a fingerprint scanner.

There have been reports that suggest Samsung may be the next company that will ditch 3.5mm audio jack on smartphones. An earlier report claimed that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will only come with a USB Type-C port, and come with a 3.5mm-headphone-to-USB Type-C adapter.

 
[“source-ndtv”]


Flipkart is in its second day of the Big Shopping Days Sale, and the e-commerce site has listed several discounts and offers. The Flipkart Big Shopping Days sale will end on Wednesday, anticipated to wrap up the discount offers for this year.

First up, all SBI Debit and Credit card users can avail 10 percent instant discount during the Flipkart Big Shopping Days sale on a minimum purchase of Rs. 5,999, and maximum discount of Rs. 1,500. Ensure that you are pre-registered on Flipkart with your card and address details filled in, before you begin shopping, to make the most out of the sale.

The Flipkart Big Shopping Days sale includes offers on mobiles, tablets, electronics, fashion, appliances, home and even furniture. Smartphones on offer include the Google Pixel, iPhone 7, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, Lenovo K5 Note, LeEco Le1s Eco, Moto E3 Power, Samsung Galaxy On8 and many more. The OnePlus 3 smartphone that was made available at just Rs. 18,999 on the e-commerce site, amidst much hullabaloo, is now out of stock. The Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are available with an exchange offer where a user can get up to Rs. 25,000 off. Apart from up to an 8 percent price slash on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, Flipkart has also enabled an exchange offer deal where a user can get an additional discount of up to Rs. 20,000. The Moto Z and Moto Z Play also have the exchange offer deal, with the discount cap at Rs. 22,000. There’s a flat Rs. 14,000 off on the LG G5, and the Sony Xperia X and Asus Zenfone 3 both have a price cut of Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 1,000 respectively. Other premium smartphones available with exchange offers include iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, Moto X Style, and Huawei P9. There is a maximum of 22 percent off on Apple iPads as well on Flipkart Big Shopping Days sale, and you can see the special prices here. If you’re looking for budget tablets that start for as low as Rs. 1,999, head here. Other phablets tablets with price cuts include the Lenovo Phab series as well as the Lenovo Yoga series, and you can see all the mobile and tablet deals listed here.

Laptops are also available with price cuts and exchange offers as part of the Flipkart Big Shopping Days sale, and all the premium ones can be found here. Alternatively, all the laptop deals can be seen here. Offers on pen drives, power banks, TV sets, smartwatches, fitness bands, DSLRs, and Computer peripherals are also listed, and you can view them all here.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

New Delhi: Indian banks tend to take more risks during times of higher credit growth while the non performing loans of private sector lenders are more reactive to changes in interest rates, says a working paper released by Switzerland-based BIS.

Titled ‘Bank lending and loan quality: the case of India’, the working paper said the non-performing loans (NPLs) of private banks are “more reactive” to changes in interest rates because of their greater credit exposure to retail loans which in turn are more reactive to monetary policy changes.

The paper has been authored by Pallavi Chavan, working with the Department of Economic and Policy Research at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and Leonardo Gambacorta who is with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Basel-based BIS is the global banking regulators’ body.

The paper, which comes amid concerns over Indian banking system seeing higher amounts of non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans, said however that the views expressed are those of the authors only and do not reflect the views of RBI or of BIS, as per the paper.

Analysing how NPLs of Indian banks behave through the cycle, it said banks tend to take on more risks during an upturn in credit growth and become more cautious whenever there is a downturn.

“We find that a one-percentage point increase (decrease) in loan growth is associated with an increase (decrease) of NPL over total advances (NPL ratio) by 4.3 per cent in the long run.

“We also find that the response of NPLs to credit growth is asymmetric but we do not find any evidence of a structural break in the model following the global financial crisis,” it noted.

Well-capitalised banks tend to take on less credit risk.

Notwithstanding the differences in management and governance structures, the paper said public as well as private banks show a significant procyclical risk-taking response to credit growth.

“This finding, contrary to the general perception that loans supplied by public banks are scarcely reactive to the cycle, could be due to the fact that during credit upturns Indian public banks have funded some credit-constrained sectors…,” it noted.

However, the paper said the degree of procyclicality in NPLs is larger for private banks than for public banks (4.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively).

[“source-ndtv”]

New Delhi: Indian banks tend to take more risks during times of higher credit growth while the non performing loans of private sector lenders are more reactive to changes in interest rates, says a working paper released by Switzerland-based BIS.

Titled ‘Bank lending and loan quality: the case of India’, the working paper said the non-performing loans (NPLs) of private banks are “more reactive” to changes in interest rates because of their greater credit exposure to retail loans which in turn are more reactive to monetary policy changes.

The paper has been authored by Pallavi Chavan, working with the Department of Economic and Policy Research at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and Leonardo Gambacorta who is with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Basel-based BIS is the global banking regulators’ body.

The paper, which comes amid concerns over Indian banking system seeing higher amounts of non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans, said however that the views expressed are those of the authors only and do not reflect the views of RBI or of BIS, as per the paper.

Analysing how NPLs of Indian banks behave through the cycle, it said banks tend to take on more risks during an upturn in credit growth and become more cautious whenever there is a downturn.

“We find that a one-percentage point increase (decrease) in loan growth is associated with an increase (decrease) of NPL over total advances (NPL ratio) by 4.3 per cent in the long run.

“We also find that the response of NPLs to credit growth is asymmetric but we do not find any evidence of a structural break in the model following the global financial crisis,” it noted.

Well-capitalised banks tend to take on less credit risk.

Notwithstanding the differences in management and governance structures, the paper said public as well as private banks show a significant procyclical risk-taking response to credit growth.

“This finding, contrary to the general perception that loans supplied by public banks are scarcely reactive to the cycle, could be due to the fact that during credit upturns Indian public banks have funded some credit-constrained sectors…,” it noted.

However, the paper said the degree of procyclicality in NPLs is larger for private banks than for public banks (4.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively).

 
[“source-ndtv”]