Google on Monday confirmed it is launching new smartphones at an October 4 event, expected to be the much-leaked Pixel smartphones. The company has also started sending invites for the event, to be held at 9am local time in San Francisco. Now, just like every other major smartphone launch, the rendered images of the alleged Pixel and Pixel XL phones have surfaced on the Internet ahead of the launch, alongside other information.
Leaked images of the anticipated Google Pixel smartphones have been shared by Android Police, showcasing the fingerprint scanner at the back as well as similar camera panel and design as suggested by the images of the TPU cases for the smartphones that leaked earlier. Even the front panel of both Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones can be seen in the leaked images.
Interestingly, a commercial by Alphabet subsidiary Nest for the Netherlands, spotted by Android Police, showcased a smartphone that looks identical to the leaked images of the Pixel smartphone. Even though there is no confirmation and the model used in the advertisement might as well be a dummy, it certainly looks similar to the upcoming smartphone and has aluminium at the bottom and glass at the top.
In another rumour circulated by Android Police, the starting price of the Pixel smartphone has been leaked. The rumour suggests that the pricing for the 5-inch model of Pixel smartphone will start from $649 (roughly Rs. 43,500). Even though site says that the source of the rumour is a trusted one, due to lack of other sources on the subject and absence of primary material, it should be taken with an additional grain of salt.
An earlier report suggested that the rumoured 5-inch Pixel smartphone, which was earlier codenamed ‘Sailfish’ will be launched at $449 (roughly Rs. 30,000).
In order to provide some sort of compensation for higher price tag, the report suggests that Google might make financing options available for the users.
To recall, Gadgets 360 earlier this year reported Google will be dropping the ‘Nexus’ branding and will launch the new smartphones under its own brand. The upcoming smartphones are further expected to be launched with Android 7.1 Nougat.
Samsung is facing one of its most turbulent times in recent history because of the safety issues with Galaxy Note 7, related to a battery flaw that could result in an explosion. However, the company is trying to control damage to its reputation. We’ve already highlighted how to check if the Galaxy Note 7 unit you’ve bought (or received as a replacement) is safe, via the company’s online tool, the green battery indicator, and, the retail box label with an ‘S’ mark and black square on it. However, there are some changes since then which deserve to be highlighted, such as different regions featuring different labels. There are also reports of troubles with exchange programs.
The South Korean consumer electronics giant on Monday published a press release that reveals the various methods to check if the Galaxy Note 7 unit in the user’s possession is safe. The company details that the green-coloured battery indicator can be found on the Status Bar, on the Always On Display screen, as well as the Power Off prompt screen.
Samsung had earlier revealed the new and replacement units in Australia would carry a white label on the retail box along with an ‘S’ written in blue, with a black square within the label. Now however, it is detailing that the white retail box label will carry a black square inside in other regions.
Other users have also complained that the replacement units are not coming with the green-coloured battery indicator and have the same old white battery indicator as the faulty models. The company does not however that the green indicator will only be visible after a software update.
The replacement programme has further landed in trouble as the Note 7 units that have been bought from Samsung’s US website are allegedly not being replaced and are only eligible for refund. According to a Reddit user, on being contacted, Samsung said shipping companies are not ready to transport the phones.
However, the company did say that it has found a private company which is ready to ship the smartphones.
Further, a report from Phone Arena claims that users are facing various kinds of troubles when they are trying to get their phones replaced. The company has strictly advised all carriers that any customers that come in the stores to get their Note 7 units replaced should be allowed to do so with ease. However, various users have complained that they are being denied on several grounds.
The finance minister’s comments came a day after he reviewed the performance of the PSU banks. Faridabad: Highlighting the importance of financial discipline, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the non-performing assets (NPAs) issue is a result of “lack foresight of financial management”.
Highlighting the importance of fiscal prudence, the minister also said that the governments must strike a balance between “populism” and “financial discipline”.
“One of the reasons why the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) targets in India were statutorily brought in was really because in public life and politics, there was always a conflict between populism and financial discipline.”
“Populism is when you act on the spur of the moment and make a sound-good noise which pleases the audience of the day. You earn a few brownie points, and whether you earn votes on that account is still a doubtful proposition. But at the end of the day, you find your accounts have gone haywire and the financial management itself has suffered,” he said in his address at the convocation function at the National Institute of Financial Management.
Mr Jaitley said the underlying principal behind this financial management was that everybody must learn to live within their means.
“Living strictly within means for governance or business purposes is too conservative a target,” he said, adding, “If you want to expand, you can’t do so merely on the strength of savings. You also do it on the strength of debt. But then you have to borrow as much as you can service.”
Referring to the United States’ sub-prime crisis which shook the world, he said: “Whenever the world has seen any sort of crisis, it is when you disproportionately borrow and the asset quality to support that borrowing itself goes down…even in relation to some of our sectors, the NPA issue is a result of lack of foresight in financial management.”
The finance minister’s comments came a day after he reviewed the performance of the public sector banks.
“You expand disproportionately, take debt disproportionately, the capacity of the business to service that debt itself is inadequate,” he noted.
Mr Jaitley advocated “borrowing only such amounts that you are able to service, not to leave the next generation heavily in debt”.
The global launch of the iPhone 7 on Friday is crucial to Apple’s fortunes in China, but both it and its biggest rival Samsung, hit by a recall over exploding batteries, are struggling in the face of upstart local competitors.
The US and South Korean firms were relegated to fourth and fifth place respectively in the Asian giant’s smartphone market in the first half of this year, according to consultancy Canalys.
Ahead of them came three Chinese firms, leader Huawei with a 16 percent share, then two companies little known elsewhere, Vivo and Oppo.
Apple faces “a lot of challenges and pressures” in China from local manufacturers who are “developing medium- to high-end handsets and offer a lot of flagship products”, said Canalys China analyst Jessie Ding.
The iPhone 7 – which comes with an improved camera, a water resistant body and minus an earphone jack – “doesn’t have many innovative features”, she said, pointing out that its double camera function was available on a Huawei smartphone six months ago, and it lacks wireless charging capabilities.
In its most recent quarterly results, Apple said Greater China dropped from second to third place among its markets in the April-June period – when market research firm IDC says its iPhone sales collapsed by 32 percent year-on-year.
For its part, Samsung has had to recall 2.5 million of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 handsets after faulty batteries caused some to explode during charging.
The company has handled the issue badly, said Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics, with slow decision-making, poor communications and a lack of coordination, and its image risks suffering.
“Brand loyalty is not as strong in China as in other markets,” he told AFP. “It’s a very crowded, fragmented market and fiercely competitive, with rivals undercutting each other with price and design. So it’s not a market you can afford to falter in.”
Low-priced Chinese competitors have been “particularly troublesome” for Samsung, which has in the past sought to offer phones across all price ranges, he added.
It has responded by trying to focus on the mid- and high-end sector with improved models, which could make the recall especially damaging.
And now, he added, “the Chinese companies are producing higher-end smartphones as well – and with a large degree of success.
“In the last three or four years, local Chinese brands have been on a roll, fuelled by a swell of national pride in ‘brand China’.”
Chinese manufacturers’ great advantage remains price: Huawei’s P9 boasts similar capabilities to the iPhone 7 but is almost a third cheaper.
There is no official ranking of smartphone sales in China, and several different consultancies put out figures.
Oppo – an unknown in the West – has experienced a meteoric rise since it launched in 2011, and according to Counterpoint Research, it became China’s number one smartphone brand in June, when its market share jumped to 23 percent.
It is aiming squarely for the low end of the market.
“Oppo has adopted a simple but effective strategy, going after the offline market… using aggressive marketing, promotions and sponsorships… beyond tier-2 and tier-3 cities,” said Counterpoint Research director Neil Shah.
Vivo, part of BKK Electronics, the same conglomerate that owns Oppo – employs similar methods, investing heavily in marketing to build up its brand image, and on a vast distribution network that extends to China’s smaller and poorer cities and towns.
Apple still benefits from its luxury image and “the strong loyalty of its long-time users” in China, said Fu Liang, an independent analyst based in Beijing.
“The enduring image of Apple brand products as well as existing customer loyalty will continue very strongly,” he said.
But the Californian firm sometimes has to contend with the country’s Communist authorities, despite regular visits from chief executive Tim Cook, who has made two so far this year and promised in August to open a large research and development centre in the country.
Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services launched in China earlier this year, but were then promptly blocked by Beijing.
The firm has sometimes been targeted by state-owned Chinese media on issues of customer service, and they have prominently reported alleged security vulnerabilities on Apple devices.
More broadly, said Mawston of Strategy Analytics, “Samsung – and Apple – face similar challenges in China.
“There are serious distribution challenges, the fact that Chinese consumers tend to favour Chinese brands, as well as Chinese-language software that links well with Chinese social networks.”
Apple on Thursday updated its website to reveal the price in India of the entire iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus lineup.
The iPhone 7 Plus starts at Rs. 72,000 for the 32GB variant, compared to Rs. 60,000 for the iPhone 7 variant with same storage, a price tag that was revealed by Apple last week. The price jump to the next storage variant remains at Rs. 10,000, which means you can get your hands on 128GB iPhone 7 for Rs. 70,000, while Rs. 80,000 will get you the 256GB smaller iPhone. The 128GB iPhone 7 Plus will cost Rs. 82,000, while the top of the line 256GB iPhone 7 Plus will cost Rs. 92,000.
As announced earlier, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will go on sale in India from October 7. While some retailers have been taking unofficial pre-bookings for the latest iPhone models, with the price of the entire iPhone 7 range revealed, the official pre-bookings can now begin in earnest.
Apple has also slashed the prices for iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the 64GB model discontinued, the 128GB variant of the previous generation 6s and 6s Plus is now effectively Rs. 22,000 cheaper than last week at Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 70,000 respectively. The base 32GB models (up from 16GB previously) have a new price tag as well, at Rs. 50,000 for the iPhone 6s and Rs. 60,000 for the iPhone 6s Plus, an effective price cut of Rs. 12,000 each, and you also get double the storage.
The 64GB iPhone SE will now be available at Rs. 44,000, a price cut of Rs. 5,000, but the price of the entry-level iPhone SE remains unchanged at Rs. 39,000. This variant also sticks out like a sore thumb as the only iOS device listed on Apple’s website that still ships with 16GB of storage.
While the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 5s have reached ‘end of life’, to use Apple’s terminology, as we reported earlier, they will continue to be sold until stocks remain. There’s no word on any official repricing of these models yet, which have been removed from Apple’s website, but we will update you as and when we receive any information from our sources.
Dual-camera setups for smartphones aren’t new, with HTC back in 2014 launching the One M8 with dual-camera setup at the rear. The dual-camera setup has been lately seen on a lot of smartphones including the LG G5, Huawei P9, and more recently the iPhone 7 Plus. In an attempt to tap the trend, chipmaker Qualcomm has introduced its new Clear Sight technology for dual-camera setups. The company says that the new Clear Sight technology is designed to “mimic the attributes of the human eye” which means the setup can mimic functions of binocular vision. The company is also detailing colour and low light technologies, likening them to the human eye’s cones and rods.
Qualcomm says the biggest advantages of the new Clear Sight tech are that it enables taking images with improved dynamic range, sharpness, and less noise in low light. The new dual-camera tech from Qualcomm is supported by the high-end Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors. Clear Sight can be expected to be seen on smartphones launched in 2017.
Detailing the new tech, Qualcomm says Clear Sight features integrated hardware module that contains two cameras – each comes with its own lens and image sensor. Both the cameras have different image sensors: one colour image sensor, and a separate black and white image sensor.
With Clear Sight, Qualcomm has removed the top layer’s colour filter which means it won’t be able to capture colour, but its ability to capture light is claimed to increase by 3 times.
“The human eye is a great analogy because your eyes contain cells called “cones” and “rods.” Cones are great at capturing colour, but require well-lit environments, while rods excel in capturing light in low-light conditions, but don’t capture as much colour. Clear Sight is designed to mimic cones and rods to give you the best of both worlds, producing an image that has optimal contrast and brightness,” notes Qualcomm.
Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest publicly available version of Google’s mobile and tablet operating system, is powering less than 0.1 percent of active Android devices, according to the latest Google Play distribution data. To recall, Nougat started rolling out to Nexus devices last month and reportedly also started rolling out to Android One devices.
Sharing the latest distribution data of different versions of Android, Google reported that Marshmallow has a total share of 18.7 percent of Android devices that check into Google Play, compared to the 15.2 percent reported in August – an increase of 3.5 percent. Google has updated its Google Play distribution data for the seven-day period ending September 5.
Google reports that Android Lollipop has a total share of around 35 percent of active Android devices (with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 13.1 percent of devices and Android 5.1 Lollipop at 21.9 percent) that checked into Google Play. Last month, Android Lollipop had a total share of 35.5 percent of active Android devices.
The Android Developers’ webpage shows that Android KitKat is going down steadily on the charts, and now powers 27.7 percent of devices compared to 29.2 percent last month – a decrease of 1.5 percent.
Android Jelly Bean has a combined share of 15.6 percent – falling 1.1 percent from August’s 16.7 percent. Android 4.0.x or Ice Cream Sandwich, in Google’s latest numbers, registered a share of 1.4 percent, down from 1.6 percent in August. Android Gingerbread (v2.3.3-2.3.7) and Android 2.2 Froyo’s device distribution shares are 1.5 percent (down from 1.7 percent) and 0.1 percent (same figure as August) respectively in the latest charts. To note, the figures are gathered from devices visiting the Google Play app, which only supports Android 2.2 and above.
The latest OpenGL version distribution numbers, on the other hand, saw OpenGL 2.0 at 44.9 percent, and OpenGL version 3.0 steadily rising to 42.3 percent.
Xiaomi seems to be gearing to launch a beefed-up version of the Mi 5 flagship smartphone. Dubbed Mi 5s, the handset has been leaked tipping the complete innards. The biggest improvement touted in the new alleged Xiaomi Mi 5s is that it packs a Snapdragon 821 processor clocked at 2.4GHz. To recall, the Mi 5 was powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor.
Other improvements claimed by an alleged image of Xiaomi Mi 5s listing include 6GB of RAM and 3490mAh battery. The handset is also said to pack massive 256GB of inbuilt storage. Other specifications include 144.5×69.2×7.2mm and weighs 147 grams. The alleged Mi 5s is seen packing a USB Type-C. On the camera front, the handset is seen packing a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 4-megapixel front camera. The Xiaomi Mi 5s is also expected to support 4K video recording. Xiaomi Mi 5s to sport a 5.15-inch full-HD display and comes with a 3D Touch feature. The dual-SIM device will support GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, 4G, and VoLTE apart from NFC connectivity option. The handset is said to measure 144.5×69.2×7.2mm and weigh 147 grams which means it will be heavier than the original Mi 5 that weighed just 129 grams.
Of course, as with all rumours and leaks, we advise readers to take the above information about the alleged Xiaomi Mi 5s with a pinch of salt, as Xiaomi has yet to make any announcements about its new flagship smartphone and the credibility of the sources cannot be independently verified.
Earlier on Monday, a third-party online retailer was reported to be selling a new “Extreme” version of the Mi 5 in China. Priced at CNY 1,999 (approximately Rs. 20,000), the new Mi 5 “Extreme” version came with overclocked processor, GPU, and RAM.
There are certain things we have come to expect from Apple when it comes to iPhone launches. One of these things is that the company never reveals the battery capacity of the new iPhone, or, just how much memory (RAM) it sports. People interested in this information usually have to wait for the first teardowns of the devices to to get confirmation, however, this time around, we may have some information a little early.
Rumours leading up to the event suggested that the iPhone 7 Plus will carry 3GB of RAM to support the dual camera setup, and now leaked benchmark results as well as a certification site listing indicate that Apple has indeed gone with this figure on the iPhone 7 Plus.
The iPhone 7 Plus has reportedly hit benchmarking website Geekbench, as well as Chinese telecommunications certification site Tenaa – both of which list 3GB of RAM. Of course, until the actual device is torn down by a reputable teardown site, we’ll going to take this information with a pinch of salt.
Although 3GB of RAM might not seem like much when compared with some of the Android phones that carry up to 6GB of RAM, however, it should be noted that iPhones usually don’t require as much RAM as Android devices in order to run smoothly due to the optimisation of the devices with iOS.
The listings, if they are to be believed, indicate that the iPhone 7 Plus is the first ever smartphone by the company to pack 3GB of RAM. The phone sports a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels with a pixel density of 401ppi.
To recall, the iPhone 7 Plus is powered by quad-core Apple A10 Fusion processor. In terms of performance, Apple claims that A10 is 40 percent faster than the Apple A9, and twice as fast as the Apple A8. Two of four cores present on A10 are “high-performance” cores and are responsible for all major tasks. The other two cores are being termed by the company as “high-efficiency cores” and are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. These cores ensure that the smartphones utilise their batteries in an efficient manner, and are used for low-power apps that run in the background.
Apple finally unveiled its latest smartphones – iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – on Wednesday. One of the most pleasant surprises that the launch brought along was the announcement by the company that the new models carry the best battery life on any iPhone ever. In order to understand how the company accomplished this upgrade, we will have to dive deep into the specifications of these latest smartphones.
Apple’s iPhone 7 models carry the A10 Fusion SoC, which not only provides the smartphones with performance boost compared to previous iPhone models, but according to Apple, also enables more efficient power usage by the device. As for the performance, the A10 is supposedly 40 percent faster than the Apple A9, and twice as fast as the Apple A8.
The Apple A10 Fusion SoC has four CPU cores built right into the chip. Two of these cores are “high-performance” cores and are responsible for all major tasks. The other two cores are being termed by the company as “high-efficiency cores” and are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. These cores ensure that the smartphones utilise their batteries in an efficient manner, and are used for low-power apps that run in the background. In order to decide what runs on which set of cores, the company has also implemented its self-designed performance controller into the smartphone.
According to the Cupertino-based tech giant, the battery life on iPhone 7 will last around 2 hours longer than it does on iPhone 6s. In our review of iPhone 6s, the battery life of the phone lasted for 10 hours and 42 minutes in video loop test.
Of course, another reason for the improved battery life on the iPhone 7 is the inclusion of a bigger battery – roughly 14 percent bigger, Apple revealed. The company was able to fit a bigger battery into a similar sized frame thanks to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple said.
The iPhone and iPhone 7 Plus will launch in India on October 7. The pricing in India for iPhone 7 starts at Rs. 60,000 but there has been no word yet on price of other models for India.