Qualcomm Says India’s Growing 4G LTE Market Is a Massive Growth Opportunity

As the Indian market embraces the 4G Long Term-Evolution (LTE) technology ecosystem in a big way, global chip giant Qualcomm finds it natural to innovate for the growing 4G market in the country, a senior company executive has said.

According to Counterpoint Research’s “Market Monitor” service, LTE-installed base of mobile handsets crossed 150 million units in India – behind only China and the United States – and is estimated to surpass the US in the next one year.

Leading the 4G data race is Reliance Jio that has garnered 125 million customers across the country. Since its launch 10 months back, Jio has added seven customers per second on an average.

“The Indian market is rapidly transitioning into a 4G LTE market which marks an excellent opportunity for us,” Larry Paulson, Vice President and President of Qualcomm India, told IANS.

“Our roadmap at this point entirely consists of 4G LTE. We already carry a rich legacy in 2G and 3G technology in India,” Paulson added.

In March, the company announced Snapdragon 205 mobile platform that is targeted at 4G feature phones.

“Though there has not been any public announcement about 4G feature phones with Qualcomm but yes, we are moving ahead quite well with that technology,” Paulson noted.

Reliance Jio has launched a “free” JioPhone that is powered by Qualcomm’s 205 mobile platform.

Qualcomm believes the users in India give importance to value and that is why the company is focused on the value proposition.

“First and foremost, there is a long line of lessons in doing business in India. It is very important to listen to the market and the market has a high emphasis on value,” the executive said.

“We are enabling our customers and partners to build products that not only have high capabilities but also help them package those capabilities in a value proposition. With this, we have announced our roadmap at mobile platform 200 and then Snapdragon 450, 600, 800. I think we are addressing exactly that value proposition,” Paulson contended.

Acknowledging the company’s upward growth trajectory in the country, he said: “From a presence point of view, yes, we have grown. We have an engineering centre in Hyderabad, a development centre in Bengaluru and a wireless division in Chennai.”

The company stressed that it would continue to work on research and development and engineering technologies in the country.

Qualcomm Says India's Growing 4G LTE Market Is a Massive Growth OpportunityQualcomm is also confident about the newest addition to the Snapdragon 400 chipset family.

“We have four chipset families – the Snapdragon 200, 400, 600 and 800. Each one means more and enables more. To be able to bring that technology down to Snapdragon 400 level is very good for India. That also means we will be able to hit quite attractive price points and powerful technology,” Paulson told IANS.

Snapdragon 450 was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai this year.

“This is the first time we have brought the 14 nanometre (nm) technology down into the Snapdragon 400 family. The benefits of this are power management and size,” the executive said.

Qualcomm India has also started an initiative named “SoochnaPreneur”, in association with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), that aims to connect rural youth to information about government entitlement programmes.

The programme also aims to create technology-based entrepreneurship opportunities for the rural youth.

The initiative also demonstrates how advanced wireless technologies can be used for social and economic empowerment, helping to bridge information poverty gaps through last-mile information access and delivery of services.

Jio Phone: Micromax Says Yet to See Any Impact, but Open to Idea of 4G Feature Phone

JioPhone demand is on the radar of Indian smartphone maker Micromax as it explores whether its feature phone lineup needs to be upgraded to support 4G networks. The JioPhone bookings start online and offline officially on August 24, and deliveries will start in September.

Rahul Sharma, Co-Founder of Micromax, said the company already has 4G-enabled feature phone prototypes ready, but it is unsure whether trickling down such technology in phones at that price range is the way to go. The vast majority of feature phone models sold today don’t offer support for 3G and 4G connectivity options.

So, much like everybody else, Micromax is also waiting for the arrival of JioPhone. “I have yet to see any impact of JioPhone,” Sharma said. “When they are here, we will take a call,” he said, adding that Micromax is doing well in the feature phone market.

Reliance Jio will begin shipping its 4G LTE-powered feature phone some time next month. The JioPhone will be available to purchase at Rs. 1,500 – a refundable security deposit that can be reclaimed after two years.

If Jio is able to disrupt the feature phone market, it will be a deja vu moment for Micromax, which witnessed an immediate need for 4G LTE capability in smartphones last year and struggled to clear its 3G-enabled phones inventory.

“We were selling phones that maxed out at 3G support,” Sharma told Gadgets 360. “But overnight, the market changed from 3G to 4G. So at that time, a person who had never even purchased a 3G-enabled phone wanted to get a 4G-enabled smartphone to make use of the ‘free Internet’,” referring to Jio.

Jio Phone specifications, features

To recap on the Jio Phone, the entry-level phone will come with unlimited voice, data, and texts. Customers will have to recharge with a Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan monthly pack of Rs. 153, which will give them free voice, texts, unlimited data (high-speed data capped at 500MB per day), and free access to Jio apps for 28 days. At the 40th AGM, Ambani also announced an accessory “Jio Phone TV-Cable” that will allow users to connect their phones with any kind of television sets. For connecting phone to TV, users will have to recharge with Rs. 309 per month pack for large screen.

Jio Phone: Micromax Says Yet to See Any Impact, but Open to Idea of 4G Feature PhoneTalking about Jio Phone features, the device comes with an alphanumeric keypad, 2.4-inch display with QVGA display, microSD card slot, torchlight, FM radio. It will be a single SIM handset that works only on 4G VoLTE networks. The phone supports voice commands and 22 Indian languages, and has a panic button as well. A short demo of the voice command feature on Jio Phone was showcased during the keynote presentation where the device was able to play music via Jio Music. Additionally, the handset will also come with a panic button that is enabled when long-pressing the number 5. Moreover, the Jio phone will come with advanced NFC support for digital payments that will be rolled out to users via OTA software upgrade. Qualcomm and Spreadtrum have confirmed their chips power the new feature phone.

The phone does not have WhatsApp support at the moment, though we did catch glimpse of a web browser, Facebook, and PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat broadcast during the unveiling at the Reliance AGM.

According to analysts, Reliance Jio aims to reach another 100 million users with its new feature phone; this will be in addition to the 125 million users that already use the Jio telecom network. Moreover, the 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone will completely change the low-end phone segment and bring about a new era of innovation in this segment. On the other hand, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has termed the Rs. 0 pricing a clever marketing move by the company and attempt to save government levies like licence fee.

LG V30+ Logo Leaked, LG Takes a Dig at Galaxy Note 8 in Video Teasers

LG will be unveiling its V30 flagship smartphone on August 31 right ahead of IFA event in Berlin and it seems like the company will now be launching two variants of the handset. The logo for LG V30+ smartphone has now been leaked and while there were rumours of a Plus variant earlier as well, the leaked logo strongly suggests the presence of the separate handset model. Further, LG has released teaser videos for the V30 smartphone that take a subtle dig at Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8smartphone.

Talking first about the logo, popular tipster Evan Blass aka @evleaks has shared the logo for the LG V30+ on Twitter. As we mentioned in the earlier report, despite the ‘+’ moniker, which usually suggests a larger size, both LG V30 and the V30+ are expected to sport 6-inch OLED Full Vision display. The LG V30+ has been said to come with 128GB of built-in storage while the regular variant will feature 64GB of inbuilt storage. The key difference between regular and V30+ variant has been tipped to be in audio department and wireless charging capabilities. However, it is currently unclear which smartphone will get which of these features.

LG V30+ Logo Leaked, LG Takes a Dig at Galaxy Note 8 in Video TeasersBoth the variants of the smartphone are expected to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC and a rear-facing dual camera setup consisting of a 16-megapixel sensor and a 13-megapixel sensor. Again, the two variants are expected to pack 6GB RAM and 3200mAh battery. Finally coming to the pricing, the LG V30 and LG V30+ have been estimated to be priced around 800,000 KRW (roughly Rs. 44,900) and KRW 1,000,000 (roughly Rs. 56,100) respectively.

Moving on to the video teasers, LG has taken a dig at the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung as one video shows a person breaking a pencil into two pieces (direct shot at S Pen) and another where a person tearing a page from a diary (Note reference). Considering Samsung’s upcoming flagship is expected to come with solid features and specifications, we will have to wait and see if these digs come back to haunt the company or not.

Intel Unveils Drones for Advanced Pitch Analysis at ICC Champions Trophy 2017

Intel on Tuesday unveiled three new technologies that will be used during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 — a major cricket tournament that begins in the United Kingdom on June 1. The new technologies announced on Tuesday are advanced pitch analysis via an Intel drone, a bat sensor powered by an Intel Curie module, and a virtual reality experience for cricket fans who visit stadiums.

The Intel Falcon 8 Drone has been equipped with infrared and HD cameras to be used for pitch analysis during Champions Trophy matches. The drone will offer data on grass cover, grass health, and topology. This will help generate daily pitch reports and commentators will use that to analyse the pitch during live broadcasts of the match on TV and over the Internet. The pitch is one of the most important aspects of cricket and it has the power to decide which way each game swings, so this analysis is likely to prove useful.

Intel Unveils Drones for Advanced Pitch Analysis at ICC Champions Trophy 2017Intel, which is the Official Innovation Partner for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, says the new bat sensor, called Speculur BatSense, can be mounted on any cricket bat and will be able to measure back-lift, bat speed, and follow through for every stroke a batsman plays. Many players will be using this during the Champions Trophy and it will allow for data such as speed of the ball after it hits the bat to be shown on TV.

Intel has plans for these sensors beyond the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. In a statement, Speculur Managing Director Atul Srivastava said, “Coaches can use their insights and expertise along with the bat sensor data to make specific adjustments to a batsman’s technique ultimately helping him perform better.” The company will bring this technology to the market later in 2017 and it will first be available in Australia, India, US, and UK.

Finally, Intel is also going to showcase VR cricket experiences at The Oval (London) and Edgbaston (Birmingham) stadiums. This is a fun experience where people will be able to play cricket in virtual reality. With a VR headset mounted, people can test their batting skills against virtual bowlers. The bat used for this will use Intel’s Curie module and offer data on people’s bat speed and back-lift, among other stats.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Launched in India, Price Starts at Rs. 1,32,995

Canon unveiled the EOS 6D Mark II late last month and on Monday, the company launched it in India. The Canon 6D Mark II will go on sale this month at a starting price of Rs. 1,32,995 for the just the body, or you could pick it up with the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens bundle at Rs. 1,84,995, or a EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens bundle at Rs. 2,02,995. All prices are inclusive of all taxes.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is designed for enthusiast-level photographers thanks to its full-frame sensor and brand new 26.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. Other features include a 45-point, cross-type autofocus system with Dual Pixel autofocus for live mode. The camera also uses the new DIGIC 7 image processor and boasts of an ISO 100-40000 range. It has an articulated, 3-inch touchscreen panel, continuous shooting of up to 6.5fps, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and is dust and water resistant. Sadly, video recording still maxes out only at 1080p at 60fps, as there’s no 4K support.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Launched in India, Price Starts at Rs. 1,32,995The Canon 6D Mark II boasts of a 7,560 pixel RGB plus IR metering sensor and a colour detection autofocus that is said to provide consistent and accurate exposure in various lighting conditions. For instance, it’s supposed to automatically detect skin tones and give priority to human subjects in the frame. It also features lens aberration correction that helps the camera automatically detect which lens is paired with the body and apply the right level of correction for distortion and diffraction when shooting.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Eddie Udagawa, Vice President of Consumer Imaging and Information Centre, Canon India said, “The EOS 6D Mark II is a versatile full frame camera that reflects the “Sense of Genius”, striking a perfect balance between compact design and superior performance offering an excellent value to the photo enthusiasts and professionals. The EOS 6D Mark II is a camera that will excel in a vast variety of genres. With a full frame sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF and vari-angle touch panel, the EOS 6D Mark II, will appeal to both still and video audiences allowing them to experience the world of full-frame imaging in new and interesting ways.”

Xiaomi-Backed Yi Technologies Brings Its Action and Security Cameras to India

Xiaomi-backed Yi Technologies is known for its budget-friendly action and digital cameras that can challenge the likes of GoPro. Having already established a base in China, the US and Europe, the company has now made its way to the Indian market. Yi Technologies has launched two of its action cameras in the country, the Yi Action Camera and Yi 4K Action Camera, both of which are available on Amazon for Rs. 6,990 and Rs. 17,990, respectively. It has also launched two security cameras, Yi Home IP Camera and Yi Dome IP Camera, priced at Rs. 2,990 and Rs. 4,990, respectively.

The action cameras from the Xiaomi-backed company are priced a lot less compared to similar products from GoPro. The Yi Action camera features a 16-megapixel Sony IMX206 lens and an Amarelle A7LS image processing chipset. The camera has the ability to record 1080p videos at 60fps and includes Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity options.

The Yi 4K Action Camera, as the name suggests, adds 4K capabilities, allowing it to shoot 4K videos at 30fps. It features a 2.19-inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It also features 12-megapixel f/2.8 Sony IMX377 sensor with EIS and 7P lens. It packs a 1,400mAh battery and supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The Yi 4K+ action camera that was launched at CES 2017 earlier this year, and the the Yi M1 Mirrorless digital unveiled last year have yet to make it to the country.

yi dome security camera yi

Yi Dome IP Camera

Moving on to the security cameras, the Yi Home Camera Wireless IP security surveillance system is among the cheapest of Yi products available in the country. Priced at Rs. 2,990, the security camera competes against the likes of D-Link and Nest. It features a 1-megapixel CMOS sensor with a 111-degree wide-angle lens, advanced night vision, high accuracy motion detection, and built-in microphone.

The Yi Dome IP Camera comes with a bigger price tag of Rs. 4,990, which is supported by features such as 360-degree coverage, 10 seconds smart motion tracking, and built-in microphone. This is a direct challenger to the Nest Cam IQ that was unveiled in May, but is yet to launch in India.

Airtel Says Will Respond to TRAI, DoT on Interconnect Penalty

Airtel Says Will Respond to TRAI, DoT on Interconnect Penalty

Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal today said the company will “respond” to TRAI as well as Department of Telecom on the penalty recommended by regulator on it for allegedly denying interconnectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio.

He also called for moderation in spectrum prices so as to ensure that enough resources are available for setting up telecom infrastructure which is vital for economic growth.

“We will respond to TRAI (telecom regulator) and DoT when the time comes,” Mittal said on the sidelines of a GSMA event. “The company will do what needs to be done,” he added, without elaborating.

Mittal said however that “Points of interconnect have been liberally given…points of interconnect is not an issue.” In a setback to incumbent telecom operators, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India last week suggested a penalty of about Rs. 1,050 crores each on Airtel and Vodafone, and Rs. 950 crores in case of Idea Cellular.

In its recommendation to DoT, TRAI said it found the trio to be non-compliant with licence conditions and service quality norms given the high rate of call failures and congestion at interconnect points for Reliance Jio.Announcing its second quarter results yesterday, Bharti Airtel, which is India’s largest mobile operator, had said that mobile business had experienced a slowdown in growth due to free services being offered by a new operator (Reliance Jio).

“When something out there in the market is free and it’s being consumed, obviously data growth in that sense will taper off for a period of time…let us wait till December…that is the time we need to assess…after that a couple of quarters …to see how it settles down,” Mittal today said.

Asked if the company was facing competitive pressures because of the launch of Reliance Jio’s 4G services, Mittal said “competitive pressures in this industry have been there for 20 years”.

Earlier while speaking at the opening session of GSMA conference ‘Mobile 360’, Mittal called for moderation of spectrum prices. “We would like to see some of the spectrum prices being more moderated. As an industry, we believe this vital resource is better utilised out on the radio base stations than staying with the government and other government users. Because it has a multiplier effect, it can move the economy, and create momentum in the economy,” he said.

In the recently-concluded spectrum auction, the debt- ridden telecom sector had ignored premium radiowaves in 700MHz band – which was put up for sale for the first time – at a reserve or base price of Rs. 11,485 crores per MHz.

Industry bodies like GSMA have urged Indian Government to reconsider the pricing for 700MHz band, which failed to attract buyers due to its “unrealistically” high pricing.

Syfy channel teams up with LG on second-screen interactivity

LG SyFy Sync second-screen app

The Syfy channel is celebrating the season 3 premiere of Defiance—a sci-fi drama set on a dystopian Earth inhabited by both aliens and humans—with the launch of the Syfy Sync app for LG’s WebOS smart TVs.

The new TV app enables the kind of interactive experiences we have come to associate with second-screen apps on the TV itself. Accessible through a broadcast graphic-style overlay in the top left corner of the screen, it supplies the viewers with trivia, interactive polls and other tidbits related to the show at hand.

This additional content is delivered in lockstep with on-screen action. The key to synchronizing these interactive experiences with what’s on TV is automatic content recognition (ACR) using video-fingerprinting technology from Cognitive Networks.

But recognizing on-screen action is only half the battle; the other half is delivering contextual content to the TV screen as that action unfolds. That duty falls to Watchwith’s in-program engagement platform, which is what powers the overlay and coordinates the various interactive features with live or time-shifted TV in real time.

The impact on you at home: Regardless of whether they’re accessible through a second device or in form of TV overlays, apps like  Syfy Sync and theexperiences they enable are not for everyone—they’re definitely not for purists who like to sit back and watch TV without distraction. But if you’re someone who just can’t seem to get enough of their favorite shows, this might just be a great way to indulge your obsession.

Cut the cord and leave cable TV behind

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The FCC’s most recent report on the cost of cable found that the price of expanded basic cable service increased by 5.1 percent [PDF] in 2012, and additional reports show that those prices have continued to rise, unabated, ever since.

Millions of consumers are now cutting the cord that provides television services while keeping the one that provides broadband internet. The idea: Replace traditional broadcasting with video streaming and downloading services so you can access the same television programs you love via the web.

Streaming Services

The centerpiece of this strategy usually begins with leveraging streaming services likeNetflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Hulu Plus, many of which provide subscribers with recently-broadcast television programming, complete seasons of past TV episodes, and multi-device compatibility so you can watch on TV, your computer, or via a mobile phone or tablet. Each service tends to have specific strengths – Hulu is more focused on current television shows, while Netflix has the best movie selection. Also, many of these services offer programs that aren’t available on other services – including original programming that isn’t available on cable TV at all – so serious cord-cutters often find they need to subscribe to a multitude of streaming systems to watch everything they want to see.

Remember that an old-school antenna is always another option. With a powerful digital antenna, network programming is free (and much higher in quality than you probably remember from the old days). Newer high-tech services, including Sling TV,Roku’s product line, and the Google Chromecast, are all options that can give you access to streaming content to help you eliminate the cable company as the bloated middleman.

Video Download Services

If you’re the kind of person that collects programs – especially movies – for repeated watching, it often makes sense not just to stream video, but to download it for the long term. Programming stored on your own hard drive isn’t dependent on having a fast, uncongested to keep it going, so it can be watched even if the cable goes offline – and once you download it, it never disappears. (Streaming service contracts are generally time-limited, so a movie available on Netflix today may no longer be streamable tomorrow.)

Video content – either movies or individual episodes of television programs – can be downloaded from several services, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, andGoogle Play. Movies can be stored on individual devices, but these can eat up a huge amount of space on a storage-strapped smartphone, particularly if the movie is encoded at HD quality. A better idea: Store movies on a NAS device that every (authorized) device in the house can access. A QNAP Turbo NAS like the TS-453 Procan work perfectly as a central media server for all your downloaded content – and it can also do additional jobs like storing (and streaming) your downloaded music files, home videos, and other computer files.

Accessing centrally stored video is becoming easier than ever. Smartphones and tablets will require a service-specific app, and apps like QNAP’s Qvideo or Qfile make it easy to stream video directly from your NAS. Both Qvideo and Qfile stream video stored on your QNAP NAS directly to your phones or tablets, as well as streaming directly to Chromecast devices attached to a TV, or Apple TV via Airplay. Qfile can even sync media among computers on your LAN to back up and synchronize media on all your devices.

With all these options available and more on the horizon, more and more people are discovering that there’s no reason to shell out big bucks each month for the cable company’s rising prices and poor service. Cut the cord, and leverage streaming services and downloaded video to access the movies and television programming you want, when you want it.