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Apple making serious inroads in India should worry OnePlus and Samsung

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Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

Android completely dominates the market share in India; Google’s operating system accounts for over 98% of sales in the smartphone segment. A majority of phones sold in India fall under ₹15,000 ($200), and that has allowed budget players like Xiaomi and Realme to rise up the ranks in recent years.

The last five years have seen hundreds of millions of customers purchase their first smartphone, and the market is already seeing increased momentum in the mid-range and premium segments. Samsung’s Galaxy A phones are very well-received in India, and OnePlus posted a meteoric rise over the last three years in the country on the back of delivering phones that undercut flagships by a huge margin.

Apple’s India ambitions have languished in the last five years, but that is finally changing.

While Android manufacturers have enjoyed steady growth, Apple’s ambitions in India have failed to gain momentum. The company wanted to sell refurbished iPhones in India to lower the barrier to entry, but the Indian government put a stop to that initiative before it even got off the ground. Then in a bid to boost local manufacturing, the government levied hefty import duties on phones being sourced from other markets, adversely affecting iPhones.

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The import duty meant that the iPhone SE 2020 — which retails for $399 in the U.S. — debuted at ₹42,500 ($572) in India. This is in contrast to Android phones, which cost less than their global counterparts in India. The OnePlus Nord is available for ₹27,999 ($377), with the same device retailing for £379 ($497) in the UK.

Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and other Android manufacturers got around the government’s import duties by kicking off local production early on, but it took a while for Foxconn and Wistron — Apple’s contract manufacturers — to set up facilities in India. So Apple not only had to contend with a market that was limited to begin with, but it was at a disadvantage because of its inability to manufacture iPhones locally.

But that is finally changing. Foxconn and Wistron started making select iPhones in India from last year, and that initiative got a major boost in recent months as local assembly of the flagship iPhone 11 also kicked off — the first time a flagship iPhone is being assembled outside China. Local manufacturing gives Apple the ability to avoid the 30% import tax and better position the latest iPhones against the likes of the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

But it is the mid-range segment where Apple can get aggressive. Alongside the iPhone 11, the iPhone SE 2020 is also being assembled in India, and that allows Apple to be much more competitive when it comes to discounts. The phone is already selling for ₹35,999 ($484), or ₹8,000 ($107) more than the OnePlus Nord.

Setting up its own retail store gives Apple much more control over pricing.

The iPhone SE 2020 is powered by the flagship A13 Bionic chipset and will receive at least five years of platform updates, and the fact that it is available for ₹35,999 makes the phone accessible to a wider audience. That has just not been the case for Apple in the past, and although its products have always been viewed as aspirational, they were priced out of reach of most customers in India.

The shift to local manufacturing allows Apple to hold its own against the likes of OnePlus and Samsung for the first time, but it is just one part of the equation. Because Apple is now making its latest iPhones in India, it can finally set up its retail store and online storefront in the country, with a new report suggesting it will kick things off next month. Apple has been trying to do so for four years now, but local sourcing norms prevented the brand from getting the requisite sign-off. The Indian government dictates that for a manufacturer to launch a single-brand retail store, it should invest in local production facilities.

Unable to meet those requirements, Apple relied on third-party vendors and big-format stores like Aptronix, Reliance Digital, and Croma, and e-commerce platforms like Flipkart to sell its products. But by launching its own retail stores and setting up an online store, Apple can control the pricing of its products in India and make them easily accessible.

Local manufacturing is the catalyst that Apple needed to kickstart its ambitions in India, and with that sorted out, it will be interesting to see just what the company has in store for the country. Apple CEO Tim Cook consistently stated that India is a key market for the brand, but regulatory hurdles prevented it from mounting a challenge to its Android rivals.

With the online store slated to debut next month — just ahead of the festival season — and a first retail store in Mumbai planned for sometime next year, Apple is finally on the right path in India. And that should scare OnePlus and Samsung.

Source: – Android Central

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Google announces the Pixel 4a 5G with Snapdragon 765G and more – MobileSyrup

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Although we already knew it was coming, Google officially announced its Pixel 4a 5G smartphone at today’s ‘Launch Night In’ event.

Back in August, Google offered a sneak peek at the 4a 5G and Pixel 5 alongside its Pixel 4a announcement. While it has barely been two months since then, it feels like a long time has passed. Many of the details of the Pixel 4a 5G leaked ahead of time and, unsurprisingly, most were accurate.

First up, the Pixel 4a 5G sports a Snapdragon 765G, making it more powerful than the regular Pixel 4a, which runs on the 730G platform. The 4a 5G also boasts 6GB of RAM and a larger 6.24-inch OLED display with the same 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution. The display also runs at 60Hz and sports Gorilla Glass 3.

The phone’s design isn’t significantly different from the 4a either. It sports the same polycarbonate back panel with a textured feel, a similar square camera bump, a colourful power button and volume buttons on the right-hand side. Also, like the 4a, the 4a 5G features a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Google’s Pixel 4a 5G includes 128GB of internal storage.

As for the camera, the Pixel 4a 5G sports a 12.2-megapixel primary shooter along with a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera. It supports 4K video recording at 60fps, and is the same as the camera system offered on the Pixel 5.

The phone runs on a 3,800mAh battery with 18W fast charging and comes in black.

The Pixel 4a 5G will cost $679 in Canada and you can join a waiting list on the Google Store website to get more information about when the phone will be available.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode revealed by Treyarch – Polygon

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Developer Treyarch will usher in a new chapter of the franchise’s Zombies mode with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, while retaining the four-player co-op play that makes the enduring mode so popular. This time around, Zombies fans will wield Cold War-era weapons to fend off a zombie invasion set during the 1980s — but the undead threat is still rooted in World War II.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies will feature a story mode set in Die Maschine, a graffiti-laden, boarded-up bunker with nods to Nacht der Untoten, the original Zombies map featured in Call of Duty: World at War. Players will explore Die Maschine as a member of the CIA-backed group known as Requiem, which has also piqued the interest of the rival Soviet-led group known as Omega Group. Intrigue, and swarms of angry zombies, will presumably follow.

The new Zombies mode will feature many of the gameplay elements players are familiar with: Perks, Pack-a-Punch machines, and mystery boxes. This time, however, there will no longer be a limit to how many different Perks you players can consume, “so go ahead and crack open a six-pack,” Treyarch says, “if you have the points to do so.”

Two glowing green zombies from Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Image: Treyarch/Activision

Black Ops Cold War’s take on Zombies will also feature:

  • Field Upgrades — which sound similar to the Modern Warfare abilities of the same name — that will offer “offensive buffs to abilities that aid in evasion or healing and reviving;”
  • Equipment that can be found or crafted, like grenade launchers, sentry turrets, explosive bows, and helicopter gunners;
  • and a chance to escape hairy situations via Exfil, which will let you call in a helicopter rescue but also dials zombie spawns “up to 11,” Treyarch says, and can earn squads rewards if you manage to survive.

Treyarch says that play time in Zombies mode will also contribute to Black Ops Cold War’s Battle Pass and that players can bring their Gunsmith-crafted weapons of choice into the mode. Better still, Zombies will have cross-generation, cross-platform play, meaning a squad will be easy to put together.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be released Nov. 13 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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COVID Alert has been downloaded 2.94 million times – MobileSyrup

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The Public Health Agency of Canada has revealed that COVID Alert has been downloaded 2.94 million times since July 31st.

The agency told CTV News that only 514 users have notified the app about their positive test results, all of whom reside in Ontario.

These statistics come as politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are urging Canadians to download the app if it’s available in their province, as we enter the second wave of the virus.

The federal government launched COVID Alert in Ontario over the summer, and since then it has rolled out in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

The government of Manitoba is getting ready to support COVID Alert this week, and Quebec has revealed that it will use the app too after previously saying that it wouldn’t due to lack of support in the province for it.

COVID Alert uses Apple and Google’s notification API, which uses Bluetooth technology to share randomized codes with other nearby smartphones. These codes can’t identify users.

It’s worth noting that COVID Alert is not a contact tracing app. It’s an ‘exposure notification’ tool that can inform Canadians if they potentially became exposed to COVID-19.

COVID Alert can be downloaded from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

Via: CTV News 

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