LeEco Sets Up Smartphone Manufacturing Unit in Greater Noida

LeEco Sets Up Smartphone Manufacturing Unit in Greater Noida

  • Facility has been set up with an investment of $5 million
  • Plans to ramp up production to 200,000 smartphones per month
  • LeEco crossed the one million sales volume for smartphones in India

Joining the bandwagon to begin manufacturing in India, Internet technology conglomerate LeEco on Tuesday launched a state-of-the-art smartphone manufacturing unit in Greater Noida.

Spread over 200,000 square feet area and having a capacity to produce nearly 60,000 phones per month initially, the unit already employs over 200 professionals. LeEco said the facility has been set up with an investment of $5 million (roughly Rs. 33.5 crores), and that it is also investing a further $2 million (roughly Rs. 13.4 crores) for the automation process at the facility.

“As the market size for electronics is expected to grow to $400 billion (roughly Rs. 2,680,000 crores) by 2020, it is imperative to promote indigenous manufacturing. LeEco is a name of global reputation and it is heartening to see it align with ‘Make in India’ after entering India just eight months earlier,” said Information Technology (IT) and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Minister, who inaugurated the unit at a function in the capital, said the government hails LeEco’s efforts to train local talent and build a centre of research and development excellence in the country.

LeEco plans to ramp up the production to approximately 200,000 smartphones per month by the end of this year.

The company has collaborated with leading electronics manufacturer Compal Electronics to set up the facility.

“India is top priority in LeEco’s global expansion roadmap. Our investments here – be it manufacturing plant or our R&D centre that will train hundreds of local talent – demonstrate that we are here for the long haul,” said Tin Mok, Vice President of Le Holdings and CEO of LeEco Asia Pacific.

 

LeEco also announced that it has crossed the one million sales volume for smartphones in India. LeEco entered the Indian market in January this year. The company has so far launched five smartphones in the country, its LeEco membership of content and Internet services, its e-commerce platform LeMall, and most recently its SuperTVs – the Super3 Series.

“The one million milestone marks our strong mobile phone presence in the Indian market and we hope to continue catering to the growing demand of users with our locally produced superphones,” noted Atul Jain, COO of Smart Electronics Business at LeEco India.

 

Smartphones May Have Role in Rise of US Traffic Deaths

The number of deaths from traffic accidents in the United States jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, suggesting smartphones and other driving distractions could be making America’s roadways more dangerous, officials said on Tuesday.

Preliminary government statistics, released during a Thanksgiving holiday week known for heavy traffic congestion, showed deaths rising to 16,225 in the January-June period at a rate more than double an increase in overall driving spawned by falling gasoline prices and a growing economy.

“The increase in smartphones in our hands is so significant, there’s no question that has to play some role. But we don’t have enough information yet to determine how big a role,” said Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s auto safety watchdog.

The jump in 2015 fatalities follows a decline in annual traffic deaths to 32,675 last year, for a record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles travelled, according to NHTSA statistics. The 2014 data included 21,022 passenger vehicle deaths, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1975.

The increase in the first half of 2015 was the biggest six-month jump in traffic deaths reported since 1977, according to statistics. But officials cautioned that semi-annual results can be subject to major revisions and noted that a comparable 7.9 percent increase in early 2012 led to a 4 percent rise for that year as a whole.

Officials said it was too early to identify contributing factors. But Rosekind told reporters that officials are looking at likely causes including distracted driving and the possibility lower gas prices have encouraged more driving among “risky drivers” such as teen-agers.

Rosekind also criticized an absence of effective state laws that prohibit hand-held smartphones by drivers or require the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

The auto safety agency expects to unveil a program next year to target $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,317 crores) in federal safety grants at human factors that are responsible for 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes

India’s 4G Smartphone Shipments Jumped 21.4 Percent in Q3 2015

Smartphone shipments in India jumped 21.4 percent in the July-September quarter to 28.3 million units, buoyed by a three-fold jump in demand for 4G-enabled devices, according to a research firm IDC.

Smartphone shipments stood at 23.3 million units in the same period a year ago. The shipments increased over six percent from 26.5 million units in the April-June 2015 quarter.

“The growth in the smartphone market was helped by rising demand for affordable 4G smartphones,” IDC Senior Market Analyst Client devices Karthik J said in a statement.

In the third quarter, 4G-enabled devices witnessed almost three-fold increase in shipments over the previous quarter and one out of three smartphones shipped was 4G-enabled, IDC said.

“E-tailers such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon continue to drive shipments of the Chinese vendors, who have been aggressively trying to capture the 4G smartphone market in India,” Karthik said.

Samsung emerged as the biggest 4G player in India with its popular sub-$150 (roughly Rs. 10,000) LTE models such as Galaxy Grand Prime and Galaxy J2, IDC said.

Samsung was the largest player with 24 percent share of the smartphone market, followed byMicromax (16.7 percent), Intex (10.8 percent), Lenovo Group (Lenovo and Motorola) (9.5 percent) andLava (4.7 percent).

“Almost one out of every two smartphones sold, had 5-inch plus displays. Most of the popular models in the market today support 4G, have a large screen, and are attractively priced at less than $200 (roughly Rs. 13,300),” IDC Market Analyst Client Devices Jaipal Singh said.

The total handset market (feature and smartphones) grew about 2 percent to 73.8 million units in the third quarter of 2015 from 72.4 million units in the year-ago period.

Samsung led the market with 21.6 percent share. Domestic handset firm Intex toppled Micromax (11.6 percent) to become the second largest player with 11.8 percent. Lava and Karbonn followed in the list with 9 percent and 6.6 percent share, respectively.

“Our core focus has always been on our consumers and meeting their requirements. We have consolidated our market position through enhancing our product portfolio with innovative devices and by expanding retail presence across the country,” Intex Technologies Business Head-Mobiles, Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, said.

Feature phone shipments decreased to 45.6 million this year from 49.1 million in the July-September quarter of 2014. IDC said smartphones are expected to outstrip the share of feature phones in 2016 in the Indian market as low prices and better value continues to drive migration in the coming years.

“We expect smartphones to maintain a healthy double-digit growth over the next few years… 4G-enabled devices are expected to be at the forefront, with the entire ecosystem preparing for this shift in the near future,” IDC Research Manager Kiran Kumar said.

Huawei P9 Max Leaked Benchmark Results Reveal Kirin 950 SoC

The Huawei P9 Max, the Chinese telecommunications giant’s rumoured large-screen smartphone, has appeared on AnTuTu benchmarks, giving us partial information on the specifications. The benchmark results also reveal the inclusion of company’s recently launched Kirin 950 SoC processor.

The phablet device, which went through AnTuTu benchmarks by the P9 50S moniker, would be sporting a 6.2-inch screen size with 1600×2560 pixel resolution display. The pixel density would be 486ppi. The results also show the inclusion of Huawei’s home-made octa-core Kirin 950 processor along with Mali-T880 MP4 GPU and 4GB RAM. Notably, the Kirin 950 SoC was unveiled by Huawei last week in an event in Beijing. The chipset features four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

huaewi_p9_max_antutu_gizmochina.jpgThe AnTuTu benchmark results shared by GizmoChina also shows the Huawei P9 Max to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and house 64GB of inbuilt storage. It scored 73,759 in the benchmarks, while the 3D graphics score was 16,822. However, both were not as impressive as that of Meizu Pro 5, which scored 76,244 and 23,393. It is worth mentioning that the Meizu handset under-the-hood carries the octa-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor with Mali T-760 MP8 GPU. There are no launch date and price details for the Huawei P9 Max phablet yet.

Talking about phablets, Huawei would soon be launching its Mate 8 phablet as well. The company in ateaser last week suggested the launch date of the device as November 26. The phablet is also said to house the company’s Kirin 950 processor. An earlier leaked roadmap of the company tipped that the Mate 8 may feature a 6-inch QHD display, Kirin 950 SoC, and a 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS.

Acer Liquid Z530, Liquid Z630s Selfie-Focused Smartphones Launched In India

Acer on Thursday launched two smartphones under its ‘Liquid’ series in India – the Liquid Z530 (seen above) and the Liquid Z630s (seen below). While the Liquid Z530 is priced at Rs. 6,999, the Liquid Z630s costs Rs. 10,999. Both smartphones are exclusive to Flipkart.

While the Acer Liquid Z530 will be made available to buy from the e-commerce website from midnight Thursday, the Acer Liquid Z630s will be made available to purchase in a flash sale on November 12, with registrations due to open Thursday.

It is worth mentioning that Acer announced these two handsets in September during the IFA trade show, alongside six other smartphones. The Liquid Z530 and Liquid Z630s smartphones launched in India are dual-SIM variants, and support 4G in India.

Touted as the “perfect selfie smartphone” at the time of the launch, the Liquid Z530 packs 8-megapixel front and rear cameras. The front-camera comes with a wide-angle lens.

The Acer Liquid Z530 features a 5-inch (720×1280 pixels) IPS OGS display and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek (MT6735) processor with 2GB of RAM. The Android 5.1 Lollipop-powered smartphone also houses 16GB of inbuilt storage and can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). Under connectivity options, the handset includes 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and Micro-USB connectivity options. It measures 144×70.3×8.9mm and is backed by a 2420mAh battery.

acer_z630s_front_back.jpgAs for the Liquid Z630s, the smartphone features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS OGS display and comes with the company’s Zero Air Gap screen. Running Android 5.1 Lollipop with Liquid UI on top, the Z630s is powered by a octa-core MediaTek MT6735 processor clocked at 1.3GHz coupled with 3GB of RAM. It will be available in 32GB storage variant with expandable storage support. Measuring 156.3×77.5×8.9mm, the Z630 packs a large 4000mAh battery. Similar to the Liquid Z530, the Liquid Z630s also sports 8-megapixel rear and front cameras – the front camera once again features a wide-angle lens, and also supports 1080p video recording. It includes 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity features.

Acer touts that the handset features key apps designed as ‘Float Apps’ that take up only a portion of the display so users can see and interact with the screen below. The handset also comes pre-installed with AcerExtend, which allows a wireless connection with a compatible laptop or PC.

The company plans to manufacture the two smartphones in India as part of the Make in India initiative. It will begin production after its Puducherry plant opens in December.

Announcing the launch of the smartphones in India, S.T. Liew, President, Smart Products Business Group, Acer, said, “Keeping at par with the Indian government’s Make-in-India initiative, we are excited to announce that these smartphones will be manufactured locally in India. The plant will be operational by December 2015 and will have production capacity of over 1 lakh phones per month. As the demand for the smartphones increase, the investment and production capacity of the plant will also be scaled up appropriately.”

Micromax Canvas Mega Now Available, Canvas Amaze Listed on Company Site

Two new Micromax smartphones, the Canvas Mega and Canvas Amaze, have been listed by thecompany. The Micromax Canvas Mega is also available via a third-party online retailer at Rs. 8,099.

We can expect the company to start selling the Canvas Mega and Canvas Amaze in the Indian market soon.

The Micromax Canvas Mega (E353) is a dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) device which runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box. It comes with a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display and also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 4GB of inbuilt storage, which is further expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB). It sports a 13-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash, while there is a secondary 5-megapixel front-facing camera also on board. On the connectivity front, the Canvas Mega offers 3G, GPRS/ EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro-USB, and Bluetooth options.

The smartphone packs a 2820mAh battery, which according to the official listing is rated to deliver up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 600 hours of standby time. It measures 154×78.7×8.9mm and is listed in Black colour. It packs sensors such as accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.

micromax_canvas_amaze.jpgThe Micromax Canvas Amaze (Q395), on the other hand, features a 5-inch HD (720X1280 pixels) IPS display. It is a dual-SIM smartphone that runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6580 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, the Canvas Amaze comes with 2GB of RAM. Much like the Canvas Mega, the Canvas Amaze sports a 13-megapixel rear with LED flash and also comes with a 5-megapixel front camera. The Canvas Amaze bears 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB (via microSD card). The connectivity features on the handset include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, and A-GPS. A 2000mAh battery backs the handset, which is said to be deliver up to 260 hours of standby time and up to 7 hours of talk time.

Xiaomi Set to Launch Mi Protect Insurance Service for Phones, Tablets

Xiaomi is set to launch its Mi Protect insurance service for its smartphones and tablets bought through the Mi.com website. The service would provide coverage for devices affected by accidental damage, liquid damage, falling, collision, and other such damages. The insurance cover would however be based on the device and the Mi Protect plan user opts for. In addition, the Mi Protect users would also get a free-of-cost pick and drop service for repair of the handset.

Besides this, Mi Protect insurance service would also let users block their SIM cards on the stolen device from anywhere around the world. The service also includes SIM misuse insurance cover of up to Rs. 3,000. Furthermore, 1GB of cloud storage feature also comes as a part of the service. Free assistance to new smartphone users and second servicing of the device within 1 year from activation is also a part of Mi Protect.

Users would need to call on 1800 407 333333/1800 1233330/8080 333333 to avail the Mi Protect services if the device is damaged. For the insurance cover Xiaomi has collaborated with OneAssist, which would reach out to the customer to assess the damaged device and would follow the process after confirmation.

The Mi Protect plan would cost Rs. Rs 275 for Redmi 2 and Redmi 2 Prime and Rs. 499 for Mi 4 16GB, Mi 4i 16GB and Mi Pad users. Valid for only a year, the Mi Protect cover would be applicable to smartphones and tablet that are up to two years old. The complete terms and regulations can be read at the dedicated company website.

Honor Reveals Phones Set to Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update in February

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Wondering when your Honor handset will get the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update? If your handset is one of the five named – then early next year. Honor India has announced that it will be rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow software version in the country to a range of its handsets beginning February 2016.

Honor India noted that the Honor 4C, Honor 6 Plus, Honor 7, Honor 6, and Honor 4X users in the country will be receiving the impending software version. Considering how much time smartphone manufacturers have taken in the past to roll out the new Android software to their handsets, Honor India’s current rollout timeline is impressive, however, those who were expecting it sooner might be disappointed.

Parent company Huawei recently announced on its Weibo channel that many of its handsets including the Ascend P8, Ascend P8max, Mate S, Mate 7, Ascend G7, Ascend G7 Plus, and Ascend G8 will begin receiving the update in China starting November.

Separately, a report citing Huawei marketing executive Xi Zhao said that the company plans to beta test Android 6.0 on at least one of its device before releasing the stable version of Android 6.0. Zhao said that the Honor 7 users should expect to see a beta test for Android 6.0 Marshmallow in a few weeks.

It will be interesting to see the company’s take on Emotion UI, its user interface for Android handsets. Many users have previously requested the company to tone down on customisation and apps that it bakes in its lineup of smartphones and tablets.

The company is also set to launch a high-end handset, probably the Huawei Mate 8, this month. The company has started teasing the launch of the Mate 8 for November 26. The handset is rumoured to have company’s own high-end handset Kirin 950.

Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact Receiving Firmware Update With Stagefright Bug Fixes

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Users of Sony’s latest Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact smartphones report they have started receiving a firmware update, which mainly focuses on the Stagefright bug fix. The OS update weighs 281MB and comes with a build number 32.0.A.6.152 as per user reports. The update is being reportedly seeded to all the smartphone versions.

Users receiving the update mentioned that the camera now loads much faster and the fingerprint sensor has become more accurate after the update. These changes were mentioned by the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact users on Reddit and XDA-Developers forum (via Phonearena). Other changes mentioned by users are RAM optimisation and Calendar interface optimisation. It is worth noting that since the update is rolling out in phases, it might take time to reach all smartphones in every region. Sony has not yet mentioned the official changelog for the update.

For those unaware, Stagefright is an open source media player that is used by about 95 percent of Android devices, or about 950 million devices. Zimperium reported a vulnerability in Stagefright in July that, if exploited, could let attackers to take control of an Android device by sending a specially crafted media file delivered by an MMS message.

While the companies are still rolling out the Stagefright vulnerability fix to devices, security experts have already found a new Stagefright 2.0 vulnerability. The newer version of the bug can also affect devices running OS versions below Android 5.1 Lollipop. Unlike the previous Stagefright bug, the Stagefright 2.0 can enter any device in the form of mp3 or mp4 file instead of a MMS text. Until now, LG, Google, and Samsung promised monthly security updates to fix the Stagefright and other vulnerabilities in all their smartphones. Motorola and OnePlus and other companies have also rolled out updates.

BlackBerry Priv Android Slider Smartphone Detailed by Company

BlackBerry ahead of the commencement of shipping of the Priv smartphone next week wants to make sure users are familiar with all the features. The Canadian company has released a video showing the major features of its upcoming Android handset.

The company in its YouTube video stresses on the privacy and productivity features alongside the familiarity of the Android platform. The video shows some of the highlight features of the BlackBerry Priv including physical keyboard on the slider, BlackBerry Hub, pop-up widgets, 4K video recording support, dual curved edge screen, touch enabled physical keyboard with SmartSlide, rear camera with OIS, and DTEK by BlackBerry. You can watch the video below.BlackBerry Priv Android slider smartphone is up for pre-orders at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,500), and is slated to begin shipping in the US starting November 6.To recall, Priv features a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) Amoled display and sports a pixel density of 540ppi. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM, and supports up to 32GB of expandable storage. An 18-megapixel rear camera is at the rear while a 2-megapixel front-camera is also on board. A massive 3410mAh battery backs the device. The company is yet to reveal the exact Android Lollipop version of the Priv handset.

Recently, BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ or notifications on the curved edge display was spotted in a leak. An image of Productivity Edge on the Priv showed icons for quick viewing calendar, mails, tasks, and contacts. BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ looked similar to Samsung’s People Edge, which primarily allowed users to quickly access select contacts. Samsung also included an option to light up the edge screen when mails, messages, or calls arrive. Samsung had also implemented Apps Edge, which let users pin apps to the edge display.