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Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE Feature Phone to Cost Rs. 500, Launch on July 21

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The price, release date, and related launch plans of Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature have been leaked

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Reliance Jio 4G feature phone said to cost Rs. 500
  • It is expected to be unveiled at RIL AGM on July 21
  • The feature phone may hit the market on August 15

The long-rumoured Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone may be unveiled at a price of Rs. 500 on July 21, the day Reliance Industries Limited is holding its 2017 Annual General Meeting. A research note by HSBC analyst Rajiv Sharma reportedly says the Jio 4G feature phone will be priced as low as Rs. 500 (less than $8) in order to get 2G feature phone users to move to the operator’s 4G network. Reliance Jiois also said to be planning to launch a new aggressively priced tariff plan to lure customers to its network.

Reliance Jio’s Rs. 500 4G feature phone

According to an Economic Times report, the HSBC research note says the Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone will be subsidised by as much as $10-15 (roughly Rs. 650-970) in order to achieve the price point of Rs. 500. The company is said to have placed an order of 18-20 million units for the handsets with Chinese vendors such as Zhejiang Techain Electronics Technology Co., Shenzhen CHINO-E Communication Co, Crave and Megaphone. Shipments will start in late July or early August.

While the Reliance Jio 4G feature phone is expected to be announced at the July 21 AGM, it will reportedly hit the market on August 15. The feature phone is expected to be launched under the Lyf brand, which is a part of the Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Digital.

New Reliance Jio plan

Along with the 4G feature phone, Reliance Jio is said to be launching a more aggressively priced tariff plan to reach more users. This new Jio plan is said to be priced at Rs. 80-90, but it is not yet known whether the tariff will be limited only to buyers of the 4G feature phone or for customers using the network on smartphones as well. Just this week, the company launched a new offer that provides customers with 224GB of 4G data, but this is limited only to those buying a new JioFi device, and not for existing users.

In its April regulatory filing, the operator said it has 112.55 million users on its mobile network. A low-priced, 4G-enabled feature phone with a complimentary tariff plan will give Reliance Jio access to millions of consumers who still use 2G handsets due to the prohibitory costs of smartphones. Of course, this move is expected to further increase the competition in the telecom industry, which has been bleeding since Jio started operations in September last year.

According to previous leaks, the Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone will come in two variants: one featuring a Qualcomm processor, and the other with a Spreadtrum chip. In terms of specifications, Jio 4G feature phone is said to have a 2.4-inch display, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD card support, 2-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. With 4G VoLTE support, buyers will be able to access digital content on the feature phone courtesy the free subscription to Jio apps. In fact, leaked photos of the device show dedicated hardware buttons in the front for MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema, and JioMusic apps. Voice calls and SMSs are also expected to be free with the device

Reliance Jio broadband service

Reliance Jio is also expected to launch a broadband service – named JioFiber – soon, which might just be announced at the AGM as well. The service is already under testing right now in six cities, though the company said it has plans to expand the trial to more cities. A flyer for the Jio broadband service says users will get 100GB data and 100Mbps speed with connection, and the service will be free for the first three months. However, they will have to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs. 4,500.

source: http://gadgets.ndtv.com/telecom/news/reliance-jio-4g-volte-feature-phone-price-launch-date-specifications-1720838

 

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Tech Stories

HTC’S CHINA-EXCLUSIVE VIVE FOCUS VR HEADSET IS NOW LAUNCHING WORLDWIDE

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HTC will start selling its standalone Vive Focus virtual reality headset worldwide today, after an initial launch in China earlier this year. The headset, which will cost $599 in the US, is aimed at business customers in 37 countries. It’s part of a larger attempt to make HTC VR headsets appealing to companies, including a newly announced collaboration app called Vive Sync, which lets employees in different offices meet and work together in VR.

The Vive Focus is a self-contained mobile headset that tracks a user’s motion with outward-facing cameras — similar to the upcoming $399 Oculus Quest headset. HTC announced itafter canceling a similar headset based on Google’s Daydream VR platform, and it was initially unclear whether the Vive Focus would launch outside China. However, HTC confirmed an international release this spring, making a development kit available to US buyers.

We were impressed by the Vive Focus’ tracking quality, and since its launch, HTC has developed fully tracked motion controllers to supplement its original remote-like pointing device. But don’t expect a direct Oculus Quest competitor. HTC isn’t pitching this as a consumer device — it’s more likely to show up in training simulators, industrial design facilities, or arcades. Buyers can add one of two “Advantage” premium service and repair packages, bringing the cost up to either $749 or $799.

The Vive Focus will sit alongside HTC’s older $499 Vive and $799 Vive Pro headsets, which are tethered to a computer. HTC touts the Vive Focus as a headset for “businesses that want a truly mobile VR experience.” Unlike the original Vive, it doesn’t require any external sensor boxes, and it features the same high-end 2880 x 1600 resolution as the Vive Pro; it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset and has a battery life of up to three hours.

HTC highlighted another upcoming all-in-one headset by Chinese company Shadow Creator, which is using HTC’s Vive Wave mobile VR platform to launch a headset called the Shadow VR. It will launch worldwide on November 11th, and has a similar feature set to the Vive Focus, albeit with a slightly lower-resolution screen.

HTC has set its sights on business customers for a while now, but it’s emphasizing that aim more than ever with the Vive Focus. That’s a contrast with competitors Oculus and Sony, which have portrayed their VR headsets as mass-market entertainment devices — although Oculus also provides headsets to companies like Walmart for training and other uses. HTC is likely making the safer move here, since businesses have consistently used VR systems for decades, while it’s only recently carved out a niche in the consumer market. But for anyone looking to buy an HTC-built VR headset for personal gaming or VR movies, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

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Business

APPLE’S PHIL SCHILLER CONFIRMS THE IPHONE XR NAME DOESN’T STAND FOR ANYTHING

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It is one of the enduring mysteries of our time: in a lineup full of otherwise neatly named products, Apple’s alternative hardware cycle iPhones have always seen an -S appended to their names, going back to the iPhone 3GS in 2009. But the question remains: what does the S actually stand for?

Turns out, mostly nothing — according to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, who told Engadget in an interview that the letters the company picks for its products don’t actually stand for anything at all. That includes this year’s iPhone XS and XS Max, and of course, the puzzlingly named iPhone XR. (The X does stand for 10, though.)

Schiller did go on to explain what the letters meant to him, commenting that “I love cars and things that go fast, and R and S are both letters used to denote sport cars that are really extra special.” (Porsche is fond of appending the letters on its models, and Mercedes Benz has both its R- and S-Class vehicles, for example.)

It hasn’t always been this way. Back when Apple first announced the iPhone 3GS, Schiller himself proudly explained the name as “the S simply stands for speed, because this is the most powerful, fastest iPhone we’ve ever made.”

And when the iPhone 4S rolled around two years later, CEO Tim Cook explained in an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D10 conference that the product’s “S” designation there stood for Siri, Apple’s then newly introduced digital assistant.

By the time that the iPhone 5S and 5C came out in 2013, though, Apple had stopped offering explanations for its names, a trend that continued to the iPhone 6S. Interestingly, the iPhone SE did get a name explanation, again by Schiller, who confirmed that it stands for “Special Edition” to journalist Jason Cipriani.

But now, with the XS, XS Max, and XR, we’re back to the alphabetically nihilistic approach where none of these letters actually stand for anything. It’s a curious choice for Apple, a company that usually prides itself on hidden details, as well as for luxury products in general, which often go out of their way to manufacture elaborate stories behind tiny aspects of their brands to further the air of value and history.

But sometimes, it seems an R is just an R. (Or at least, a car)

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Hardwares

THE NEW PIXEL 3’S CAMERA WILL LET AI PICK OUT THE BEST PHOTOS FOR YOU

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Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones were just unveiled this morning at an event in New York City. As expected, both phones are coming with a near-identical set of front-facing and rear-facing cameras that are powered by artificial intelligence. That allows them to do all sorts of algorithmic work behind the scenes, all powered by what Google calls its new Pixel Visual Core chip.

Among the new AI features built into the Pixel 3 camera are two new shooting modes called Top Shot and Photobooth. Top Shot uses Google’s work in image and object recognition and computer vision to analyze photos and pick the best shots in a given batch. With Top Shot, you’ll be able to capture a number of photos before and after the moment you press the virtual shutter button, while the software will pick out the best shot.

Image: Google

It’s similar to Google’s Motion Photos feature that creates GIFs from short snippets of video. You can still browse through the alternates to pick out others, Google says. Photobooth, on the other hand, takes a bunch of photos of you or your friends using the front-facing camera, but only when it recognizes that the subjects of the photo are making a funny face or smiling. You don’t need to even press the shutter.

Google also announced a feature called Super Res Zoom, which uses a burst of photos to amp resolution when you zoom into a subject, and Night Sight, which uses machine learning to artificially brighten dark spots in photos. For Pixel 3 XL owners, you’ll be able to access a wide-angle lens for a feature Google is calling Group Selfie Cam.

Some of the AI-powered software here, specifically a feature like Photobooth, was built initially for Google Clips, the company’s square-shaped photo and video capturing device that automatically operates on its own to let parents capture moments of their kids. Now, it appears that Google has taken a lot of the knowledge there and integrated it into its Pixel devices to help ease the pain of picking a photo or tinkering with all the settings to capture the perfect shot.

Since the original Pixel, the defining feature of the device line has not been its design or the relatively spartan stock Android it runs, but the camera. Using its advancements in artificial intelligence, Google was able to achieve a staggeringly capable camera that has only improved with last year’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. So it makes sense that Google has put more resources toward improving the Pixel 3 camera and positioning it as one of, if not the most important, reason why you’d pick its device over an iPhone XS or a Samsung Galaxy S9 / Note 9.

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