Xiaomi, Samsung Top Indian Smartphone Brand Consideration: Strategy Analytics

Samsung and Xiaomi are popular smartphone brands in average the Indian household, and now a research report lends weight to that perception as well. According to a report titled, “India Android Smartphone Brand Perceptions and Characteristics”, Xiaomi and Samsung are the top brands that are considered while buying a smartphone in India. Xiaomi, in particular, has been the most promising brand with high intent and consideration among Indian customers. OnePlus has also received an impressive consideration and purchase intent score despite a tiny installed base, the report notes.

The Strategy Analytics report states that Xiaomi is considered by users who have a strong interest in a ‘trusted brand’ and ‘ease of use’, while Samsung is considered by users who want a ‘brand I love’ and someone who ‘understands my needs’. Furthermore, Chinese brands are well positioned to take advantage of the aggressive smartphone replacement cycle in India. The report notes that over 60 percent of Android owners intend to replace their device in the next 12 months. Legacy brand owners like Motorola, Micromax, and even Samsung are at a high risk, as there is a high percentage of their customers that are willing to churn. Even though Micromax has the highest local awareness score, it also unfortunately enjoys the highest customer base that is willing to churn. Motorola and Samsung have 31 and 30 percent customers respectively that are willing to churn, possibly looking to switch to Xiaomi or OnePlus depending on the budget.

While Chinese brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus are doing great in the Indian market, other global companies like LG, Sony, and Huawei are all struggling. The report states that their biggest challenge is to convert awareness into consideration with current offers and brand positioning. The report also states that the single most important feature for purchase decision among Indians was battery life, and not camera quality as most brands advertise.

David Kerr, VP at Strategy Analytics, said in the report, “Success in the volatile India market requires much more than good product. In a commodity smartphone market, brand positioning, personality and characteristics with appropriate marketing communications will largely define product success rather than features. A trusted brand with the latest technology at good value for money is the ideal. Secure, innovative and modern are also valued brand attributes… Device vendors are over focused on marketing around features like imaging when Battery (32 percent) is the single most important feature in the purchase decision for Android Smartphone buyers. Camera quality and camera features dominate vendor marketing but are most important for only 1 in 7 Android users.”

Rajeev Nair, Senior Analyst, noted, “Most Android Smartphone users have high loyalty to their current brand but 1 in 3 are in play during replacement. The battle for replacement smartphone sales is intense with no local India vendor in the top six positions in Q1 2018.”

Sony XAV-AX5000 In-Car Infotainment System With Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Launched in India at Rs. 24,990

Sony India on Monday launched a new in-car AV receiver XAV-AX5000 in the country. The key features of the latest member of Sony’s car audio lineup include a 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen, enhanced smartphone integration, upgraded usability, and upgraded sound quality. Additionally, the XAV-AX5000 can be connected to a smartphone via both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It enables users to get directions in real time without ever taking their hands off the wheel. Also, Sony has designed the new in-dash receiver to save space. The XAV-AX5000 has been priced at Rs. 24,990 and it is available for purchase in a Black option from car accessories shops and car showrooms across India.

The Sony XAV-AX5000 in-car AV receiver was first introduced earlier this year at CES 2018. As mentioned, the key highlight of the device is the 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen. Users will be able to navigate through maps, sort playlists, and make phone calls with the XAV-AX5000. As we mentioned, the AV receiver supports Android Auto, making it easier for Android smartphone users to get directions in real time, a search of nearby stopovers, and voice actions. It automatically brings useful information organized into simple cards that appear when needed, for directions, music, messaging and more.

Also as we mentioned, the Sony XAV-AX5000 is also compatible with Apple CarPlay, but unfortunately, iPhone users won’t be able to access Apple Maps via Apple CarPlay in India yet. Sony says the CarPlay integrates iPhone with the car audio’s display and controls. Users can make phone calls, access their music, send and receive messages, and more.

The new AV receiver comes with a ‘quick wake up’ design, that is claimed to be more than double the speed for activation when compared with other products. Sony says XAV-AX5000 is ready to “hit the road soon after ignition is turned on. The company says, “The rear chassis is designed with single-DIN dimensions that give enough room to store connected cable harnesses, steering wheel control adopter, and more.” Meanwhile, the Sony XAV-AX5000 is ‘Rear Camera Ready’, automatically showing the camera’s feed on that big screen when a user shifts into reverse.

Coming to the sound quality, the Sony XAV-AX5000 comes with Extra Bass Circuitry that claims to overcome engine noise to produce a clearer sound. It incorporates 2-mode boost steps that allow for both delicate and heavy boost settings. A built-in 4-channel amplifier delivers 55 watts x 4 (maximum at 4 ohms) output power with DRA2 (Dynamic Reality Amp 2) power IC.

The Sony XAV-AX5000 also features a DSO (Dynamic Stage Organiser). The 10-band equaliser (EQ10) with 10 pre-sets provides easy and effective frequency adjustment for various listening environments, the company claims. The device also supports Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) Audio File Compatibility (via USB terminal only) which is an audio format similar to MP3, but with the difference that it compresses without any loss in quality. Additionally, the AV receiver comes with dual-USB ports. And, for expandability, the 3 pre-out connectivity builds a full acoustic system including a subwoofer, a mono amplifier, and 4-channel amplifier.

Vivo X21 Update Improves In-Display Fingerprint Sensor, Brings Funmoji, and More: Report

Vivo X21 is the first smartphone to launch with an in-display fingerprint sensor in India. Unlike the traditional method of placing the fingerprint sensor on the back panel or on the home button, the Vivo X21 has one built right into the display. This is a new technology, currently in its first generation, and we noted in our review that its speed and accuracy is not the best. Reports now suggest that Vivo is rolling out a software update to the smartphone that improves the security and efficiency of the in-display fingerprint sensing module and brings AR-based emojis called Funmoji. We have reached out to Vivo to confirm whether update will be available for Indian units as well.

As per a report by Chinese blog MyDrivers, a software update is rolling out to the Vivo X21 which brings an enhanced and secure experience to the phone’s in-display fingerprint sensor. It also brings other additions such as a new sticky notes feature, a better tuned comfortable driving mode, and Funmoji AR-based 3D emojis. As for system improvements, the update contains optimisation for the system layout and icon priority settings in the Status bar. The system resource scheduling mechanism has been optimised and the system operating efficiency has been improved, as per the report.

Vivo X21 specifications

To briefly recap, the Vivo X21 sports a 6.28-inch full-HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) Super AMOLED display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. At its core, the handset gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There is a 3200mAh battery under the hood.

In terms of optics, the Vivo X21 bears a dual rear camera setup that consists of a 12-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor. On the front, is the same 12-megapixel sensor for selfies and video calling.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 512GB Storage Variant Said to Be Exclusive to Certain Markets Initially

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was previously rumoured to debut with an as large as 512GB of storage option. But now, it has been claimed that the 512GB variant will exclusive to certain markets at the initial stage. The markets where the top-notch variant could debut are likely to include South Korean and Chinese markets. The new claim comes days after the five colour options of the next-generation Galaxy Note series phablet surfaced online. The new model is also rumoured to include a physical camera shutter button to make it easier to capture shots. The launch of the Galaxy Note 9 is so far said to be scheduled for August 9 at an “Unpacked” event in New York.

Folks at Samsung Mobile.News tweeted that the Galaxy Note 9 variant featuring 512GB of onboard storage will come to select markets initially, including South Korea and China. Nevertheless, it is claimed that other regions may receive the whopping storage option at a later stage.

In addition to the buzz around the limited availability of the 512GB variant, a Twitter user who has been reporting unannounced developments around the Galaxy Note 9 using username OSCH has managed to spot the new Galaxy Note model in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options on an online store in South Korea. It is expected that amongst other variants, the 512GB option will come with 8GB of RAM. Separately, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 concept renders based on leaks have also emerged, showing a horizontal dual rear camera setup and with the fingerprint sensor seen below.

samsung galaxy note 9 render cgtrader madmix Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Photo Credit: CGTrader/ Madmix

 

If we believe some initial reports, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will sport a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The handset could be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC in the US and Exynos 9810 SoC in global markets and run Samsung Experience 9.0 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. Further, it is rumoured to include a 4000mAh battery and a dual rear camera setup on the back. The handset is also reported to come in a variety of colour options, including Black, Blue, Brown, Gray, and Lavender. Besides, it is expected that alongside the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung will unveil the Gear S4 as its new smartwatch model.

Samsung ‘Project V’ Foldable Smartphone Spotted in Leaked Images

Samsung 'Project V' Foldable Smartphone Spotted in Leaked Images

Photo Credit: Twitter/ MMDDJ

Samsung’s plans to launch a foldable smartphone have been rumoured for years, and the company recently confirmed it had plans to launch it in 2018. In the meanwhile, leaked images of an alleged foldable smartphone prototype from the South Korean giant have appeared. The leaked images of the handset, dubbed ‘Project V’, suggest that the company had experimented with a foldable phone a few years back, and ultimately chose to scrap the project.

As per the latest images leaked by a tipster on Twitter, spotted by Slashleaks, Samsung’s foldable phone was known by the codename Project V and it has been cancelled now. As seen in the images, the Samsung’s handset appears to be quite similar to the ZTE Axon M that comes with a dual-screen design. Additionally, the design of the smartphone resembles the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy Note 5. Similar to the Axon M, the Project V handset’s main base is thicker than the flip-out screen.

Unlike flexible displays that most would imagine a ‘foldable phone’ to be, the Samsung handset features a clamshell design with two different displays that appears to show two home pages simultaneously when flipped open. The handsets are seen to be attached by a hinge when viewed front on, and as mentioned, the foldable phone was dubbed ‘Project V’ and bore a SM-G929F model number. The model number suggests that the phone could have been in the same group as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S7, so the phone was likely under development roughly around 2015 or 2016. One can also spot an old Google Play icon in one of the images.

If the details are true, the Samsung handset was clearly cancelled a long time ago and is unlikely to show what the company could be working on right now. There is no information on why the project was cancelled.

To recall, some previous reports had claimed that the foldable smartphone will debut at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. Also, the price of the handset is expected to be as high as KRW 2 million (roughly Rs. 1,25,000).

Email security startup Tessian raises $13M led by Balderton and Accel – TechCrunch

Tessian (formerly called CheckRecipient), the London-based startup that is deploying machine learning to improve email security, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Balderton Capital, and existing backer Accel. A number of previous investors also followed on, including Amadeus Capital Partners, Crane, LocalGlobe, Winton Ventures, and Walking Ventures.

Founded in 2013 by three engineering graduates from Imperial College — Tim Sadler, Tom Adams and Ed Bishopon — Tessian is built on the premise that humans are the weak link in company email and data security. This can either be through mistakes, such as a wrongly intended recipient, or through nefarious employee activity. By applying “machine intelligence” to monitoring company email, the startup has developed various tools to help prevent this.

Once installed on a company’s email systems, Tessian’s machine learning tech analyses an enterprise’s email networks to understand normal and abnormal email sending patterns and behaviours. It then attempts to detects anomalies in outgoing emails and warns users about potential mistakes before an email is sent. This, the startup says, makes it different to legacy rule-based technologies and that Tessian requires “no admin from security teams and no end-user behaviour change”.

One neat aspect is that Tessian can get to work retroactively, producing historical reports that show how many misaddressed emails an organisation has sent prior to the installation date. That is bound to help with sales, even if it could give an enterprise’s security team quite a shock, especially in light of recent GDPR data regulation in Europe. The new EU directive stipulates that companies must report data breaches involving personal information to their local regulator and face fines as high as 4 percent of global turnover for the worst data breaches.

In a call late last week with Tessian CEO and co-founder Tim Sadler, he told me the company plans to use the additional funding for R&D, including the launch of new product, and to expand its sales and marketing teams. Since the startup’s seed round last year, the Tessian team has grown from 13 to 50 people.

In terms of future products, Sadler explained that is looking to apply its tech to in-bound email, in addition to Tessian’s current out-bound products. One way to think about email, he says, is that an email address is like an IP address for humans, enabling human to human networks. However, in terms of security, not only are humans an obvious weak point, acting as the gatekeeper to the network and the data that resides on it, email by design is inherently open.

To that end, Sadler tells me that next on Tessian’s roadmap is a way to make in-bound email less prone to data breaches. This will include using Tessian’s machine intelligence to identify spoofed emails or other unusual communication.

“What Tessian have done — and this is why we are so excited about them — is apply machine intelligence to understand how humans communicate with each other and use that deeper understanding to secure enterprise email networks,” says Balderton Capital Partner Suranga Chandratillake. “The genius of this approach is that while the product focus today is on email — by far the most used communication channel in the corporate enterprise — their technology can be applied to all communication channels in time. And, as we all communicate in larger volumes and on more channels, that represents a vast opportunity”.

Meanwhile, Sadler says the startup’s customers span legal, healthcare and financial services, but that any enterprise handling sensitive data are a potential fit. “World leading organisations like Schroders, Man Group and Dentons and over 70 of the UK’s leading law firms are now using platform to protect their email networks,” adds the company.

Email security startup Tessian raises $13M led by Balderton and Accel – TechCrunch

Tessian (formerly called CheckRecipient), the London-based startup that is deploying machine learning to improve email security, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Balderton Capital, and existing backer Accel. A number of previous investors also followed on, including Amadeus Capital Partners, Crane, LocalGlobe, Winton Ventures, and Walking Ventures.

Founded in 2013 by three engineering graduates from Imperial College — Tim Sadler, Tom Adams and Ed Bishopon — Tessian is built on the premise that humans are the weak link in company email and data security. This can either be through mistakes, such as a wrongly intended recipient, or through nefarious employee activity. By applying “machine intelligence” to monitoring company email, the startup has developed various tools to help prevent this.

Once installed on a company’s email systems, Tessian’s machine learning tech analyses an enterprise’s email networks to understand normal and abnormal email sending patterns and behaviours. It then attempts to detects anomalies in outgoing emails and warns users about potential mistakes before an email is sent. This, the startup says, makes it different to legacy rule-based technologies and that Tessian requires “no admin from security teams and no end-user behaviour change”.

One neat aspect is that Tessian can get to work retroactively, producing historical reports that show how many misaddressed emails an organisation has sent prior to the installation date. That is bound to help with sales, even if it could give an enterprise’s security team quite a shock, especially in light of recent GDPR data regulation in Europe. The new EU directive stipulates that companies must report data breaches involving personal information to their local regulator and face fines as high as 4 percent of global turnover for the worst data breaches.

In a call late last week with Tessian CEO and co-founder Tim Sadler, he told me the company plans to use the additional funding for R&D, including the launch of new product, and to expand its sales and marketing teams. Since the startup’s seed round last year, the Tessian team has grown from 13 to 50 people.

In terms of future products, Sadler explained that is looking to apply its tech to in-bound email, in addition to Tessian’s current out-bound products. One way to think about email, he says, is that an email address is like an IP address for humans, enabling human to human networks. However, in terms of security, not only are humans an obvious weak point, acting as the gatekeeper to the network and the data that resides on it, email by design is inherently open.

To that end, Sadler tells me that next on Tessian’s roadmap is a way to make in-bound email less prone to data breaches. This will include using Tessian’s machine intelligence to identify spoofed emails or other unusual communication.

“What Tessian have done — and this is why we are so excited about them — is apply machine intelligence to understand how humans communicate with each other and use that deeper understanding to secure enterprise email networks,” says Balderton Capital Partner Suranga Chandratillake. “The genius of this approach is that while the product focus today is on email — by far the most used communication channel in the corporate enterprise — their technology can be applied to all communication channels in time. And, as we all communicate in larger volumes and on more channels, that represents a vast opportunity”.

Meanwhile, Sadler says the startup’s customers span legal, healthcare and financial services, but that any enterprise handling sensitive data are a potential fit. “World leading organisations like Schroders, Man Group and Dentons and over 70 of the UK’s leading law firms are now using platform to protect their email networks,” adds the company.

iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and More Available With Zero Down Payment EMIs, 5 Percent Cashback in India

Apple has launched zero down payment and low interest EMI schemes for certain variants in its iPhone lineup in India, available at offline retailers. The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X will be part of this offer that is valid only for the 18-month EMI plans. The offer is applicable across credit cards issued by several private and PSU banks in India. The offer can also be availed with an EMI plan through debit cards issued by HDFC Bank, and consumer loans from Capital First, HDB Financial Services, and HDFC Bank. The scheme is valid for purchases made between June 15 and September 30, 2018. A 5 percent additional cashback is also valid for select credit and debit cards.

Credit cards issued by American Express, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Citibank, HDFC Bank, HSBC Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, J&K Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, RBL Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, and Yes Bank will be eligible for the no down payment and low EMI offer that is available at all offline Apple authorised resellers in the country.

All the offer details are mentioned on the Indiaistore portal, with an EMI calculator that offers the Effective Monthly Cost (EMC) for all variants of the iPhone models under the scheme.

There is an additional 5 percent cashback applicable on Axis Bank credit cards, Citi credit cards, HDFC Bank debit and credit Cards, ICICI Bank credit cards and Standard Chartered credit cards. Much like the first offer, this cashback is only available with the 18-month EMI plans. It is valid for two transactions per card during the period, and cashback is said to be credited within 120 business days from the date of transaction.

Currently, Apple and Citibank have also partnered to ease the purchasing decision for prospective buyers of the iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch with up to Rs. 10,000 cashback for Citibank card holders. This is valid up to July 31, 2018.

Comio C1 Pro With Face Unlock, Dual 4G VoLTE Launched in India: Price, Specifications

Comio C1 Pro was launched in India on Monday. The new smartphone is designed to take on the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 5 with features including facial recognition and dual 4G VoLTE/ ViLTE. The smartphone comes in three colour variants – Metallic Grey, Royal Black, and Sunrise Gold. Another key feature of the handset include multiple font support in the user interface. Additionally, Comio claims the Comio C1 Pro comes with one year and 100 days of warranty, one-time screen breakage warranty, 30-day replacement, and an upgrade offer that allows customers to get 40 percent discount in return of their less than 12-months-old Comio C1 Pro phone.

Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, CEO and Director, Comio Smartphone commented on the smartphone’s launch in a statement, “We believe that consumers in this price segment deserve better features and our budget-friendly C1 Pro smartphone provides a pot-pourri of exciting features like good camera quality, better speed, security features, stylish design and value-added services.”

Comio C1 Pro price in India, launch offers

The Comio C1 Pro price in India has been set at Rs. 5,599. It will be available through key retail stores across the country and online platforms, including Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, ShopClues, and Snapdeal. Reliance Jio subscribers buying the Comio C1 Pro will receive Rs. 2,200 cashback through 44 vouchers worth Rs. 50. This offer will become valid after the first successful recharge of Rs. 198/ Rs. 299 monthly packs and can be redeemed from the second recharge onwards.

Comio C1 Pro specifications

The dual-SIM Comio C1 Pro runs Android 8.1 Oreo. The smartphone sports a 5-inch HD (720×1440 pixels) display that comes with features like Split Screen and Pop Touch. It is powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6739 SoC coupled with 1.5GB of RAM.

In terms of optics, the Comio C1 Pro features an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, and on the front, there is a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The rear camera comes with a Panorama mode and Gestures-setup-in-camera mode that lets users capture smile and finger gestures within an image. As mentioned, the front camera has facial recognition technology.

The Comio C1 Pro is equipped with 16GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). Notably, the smartphone is fuelled by a 2500mAh battery.

Jabra Elite 45e Wireless Headset With Neckband Design, One-Touch Voice Assistant Access Launched in India

Jabra Elite 45e wireless headset has been launched in India. The new headset features a soft neckband design and comes with customisable equaliser settings. Jabra has also offered one-touch access to voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Additionally, there is up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge and a water- and dust-resistant build. The latest headset comes months after the Denmark-based company launched the Jabra Elite 65t and Elite 25e Bluetooth headphones in the country. It will be available for purchase through Croma, Amazon India, and all Jabra authorised retailers starting June 22.

Jabra Elite 45e price in India

The Jabra Elite 45e price in India has been set at Rs. 7,499. It comes in Titanium Black, Copper Black, and Gold Beige colour options. The headset is available with two-year dust- and water-resistance warranty that requires registration through the Jabra Sound+ app.

Jabra Elite 45e features

Featuring two earbuds in an in-ear form-factor, the Jabra Elite 45e headset is designed to offer an enhanced voice and music experience on the go. The headset has a flexible memory wire that contours to the neck. Also, there is a built-in microphone to enable voice calling support alongside Jabra’s proprietary noise reduction technology. The design of the headset is built with an IP54-certified body that offers water and dust resistance to an extent.

When used with the Jabra Sound+ app, you can select your favourite customisable equaliser profiles or settings on the Jabra Elite 45e. It also has one-touch access to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Furthermore, the company claims that with a single charge, the headset is capable of delivering up to eight hours of music playback and voice calling.

“The Elite 45e is an all-rounder: wherever your day takes you, your activities won’t prevent easy, reliable access to calls and music,” said Calum MacDougall, SVP at Jabra, in a press release while announcing the new launch. “This soft neckband headset with memory wire has a lightweight form factor and a unique box microphone solution that delivers the clearest voice communication on any stereo wireless headphone.”