Monthly Archives: January 2018

Xiaomi may not launch Mi 7 at MWC 2018: Report

Xiaomi may not announce its long-time rumoured Mi 7 at the Mobile World Congress 2018 next month. The information comes from a source close to the Chinese smartphone manufacturer who also claims that Xiaomi may not have any major announcements this MWC and save them for future instead. Meanwhile, another report that appeared on the Chinese micro-blogging site — Weibo last week hinted at the coming of the successor of the Xiaomi 2SMi Mix 2, aka Mi Mix  ahead of MWC.

Previous rumours suggested that the Xiaomi is looking forward to announcing a range of smartphones both budget and flagship at MWC 2018. However, shutting them, now a new report claims that Xiaomi could only unveil Mi Mix 2S and its new proprietary Surge S2 chipset. It seems Xiaomi is no longer looking forward to making any major announcements at MWC, apart from the Mi Mix 2S which the – if the reports are to be taken seriously — may go official a couple of days ahead of MWC.

At the MWC, which is to kick-start on February 26, the only announcement that Xiaomi could make is Surge S2 chipset. This means that Xiaomi is saving the Mi 7 or Redmi Note 5 or the Mi Note 3 for the foreseen future, and hence, we may not see the devices go official anytime soon. This could be Xiaomi’s strategy to skip major announcements at MWC obviously because its rivals like LG, HTC and Huawei are prepping up to launch their flagship devices — G7, U12, and P11 respectively. Also, how can we forget the Galaxy S9 and S9+ that will be the stars of Samsung’s MWC event? Then there’s Sony that’s gearing up to announce Xperia XZ Pro and HMD Global who’s planning to unveil a couple of phones like Nokia 9, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 1.

Coming to the handset that Xiaomi is expected to launch ahead of MWC — Mi Mix 2S — which is expected to come with nearly 100 per cent bezel-less display and is said to see major improvements in camera, software and also hardware departments compared to the previously announced Mi Mix 2. The design of the upcoming Mi Mix 2S is expected to be somewhat similar to that of the Mi Mix 2, and the fingerprint sensor could sit at the back side next to the single rear camera. There are no more details available about the phone as of now.

For now, we are not sure about the launch timeline of the Mi 7. But, all that we know is that the phone could go official in the next couple of months. The smartphone is expected to come with a 18:9 display, powered by Qualcomm’s latest processor — Snapdragon 845, have dual cameras set up at the back and run on Android Oreo. Meanwhile, another report that leaked last week suggests that the smartphone could come at a starting price of around $475.

OxygenOS Clipboard Allegedly Sending Data to China; OnePlus Refutes Claims

In the midst of fighting tooth and nail to take on the competition, OnePlus has been facing a serious allegation over allegedly sending users’ clipboard data to China. A Twitter post on Thursday claimed that the company is identifying and uploading clipboard data such as bank account numbers and emails to a Chinese server. However, the Shenzhen-based company has now refuted the claim and plainly stated that the code in question was inactive for its global users running OxygenOS. The new issue comes days after the company itself confirmed a credit card breach through its online store that impacted “up to 40,000 users” around the globe.

A French security researcher going by the name Elliot Alderson on Thursday alleged that a file in the OxygenOS beta called badword.txt helped OnePlus identify certain data from the default Clipboard app and upload the same to a Chinese server. The suspicious file contains keywords such as Chairman, Vice President, Deputy Director, Associate Professor, Deputy Heads, General, and Private Message among others, and its duplicate copy is found to be created in a zip file called pattern that further includes text files, including badword.txt, bracket.txt, end.txt, follow.txt, key.txt, and start.txt. All these files are claimed to be used in an “obfuscated package” that appears as an Android library from Chinese research company TeddyMobile. “According to the code, @OnePlus is sending your IMEI and the phone manufacturer to a Chinese server owned by teddymobile [sic],” the researcher tweeted.

OnePlus, on its side, responded to the allegation with a simple statement that confirms the existence of the file in the recent beta versions of OxygenOS but as a blacklist file. “There’s been a false claim that the Clipboard app has been sending user data to a server. The code is entirely inactive in the open beta for OxygenOS, our global operating system. No user data is being sent to any server without consent in OxygenOS,” the company said in a press statement, a copy of which is available on Reddit.

Additionally, OnePlus states that the open beta for HydrogenOS, which is a Chinese version of the company’s OxygenOS custom ROM, contains the identified folder in order to filter out data and block competitor links in Chinese messaging services such as WeChat. This indeed means that there is no use of the filter process anywhere outside China.

Having said that, it is still a valid question that why OnePlus provided any code in the recent beta OxygenOS build that is meant exclusively for its Chinese users. The company might answer this simply by removing the code from a future build. Meanwhile, it is quite clear and obvious that the Clipboard app is not sending your data to a third-party server.

This is not the first time when OnePlus has been caught in trouble for using a sceptical code in its OxygenOS ROM. In last November, a diagnostic app called EngineerMode was spotted on the OnePlus 3OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 5 that was apparently allowing root access without even unlocking the phone. The company had acknowledged that issue and confirmed its fix through an OTA update.

Similarly, an off late OxygenOS beta version was shipped with a Clipboard feature that was specifically designed for HydrogenOS. The company had confirmed that flaw and assured an update to remove the China-centred feature.

India’s best-selling smartphones of 2017: Xiaomi dominates top 5 list with Redmi Note 4 leading pack

India’s smartphone market witnessed yet another Chinese upsurge in 2017 with brands from the country capturing 54 percent market share, up from 34 percent in 2016. The strong performance by Chinese companies was led by Xiaomi, which dethroned Samsung to become India’s leading smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter of 2017.

But that was not Xiaomi’s only achievement last year. The company also dominated the top five best-selling smartphone list, with its Redmi Note 4 leading the pack, followed by the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and Samsung Galaxy J2. The OPPO A37 and Xiaomi Redmi 4A rounded out the top five, according to the latest data released by Counterpoint Research.

Samsung’s Galaxy J7 Nxt, Galaxy J7 Prime and Galaxy J2 2016 accounted for the sixth, seventh and eighth position, respectively while the Vivo Y55L was ranked ninth and Y53 was ranked tenth on the report.

“Xiaomi ended CY 2017 in India on a very strong note. Not only the brand grew 259% YoY but also saw three of its models within the top five bestselling smartphone list of CY2017. Samsung had the most number of models in the top 10 selling list of CY2017 leveraging its advantage of a strong presence across all the price bands,” Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.

While Xiaomi, with annual growth of 259 percent, was the fastest growing smartphone brand in India in 2017, the four other companies that followed Xiaomi on that front were also Chinese. These companies were iTel (213 percent), Huawei (165 percent), Vivo (115 percent) and OPPO (104 percent).

The affordable mid-range section, including devices priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000, was the fastest-growing segment last year, with Xiaomi contributing almost 37 percent of the shipments.

The premium segment (above Rs 30,000) also grew 20 percent year-on-year due to the strong performance of OnePlus, Apple and Samsung.

“Online sales and promotions remained strong even after Diwali till the end of December 2017 as some of the brands were clearing their inventory. However, new launches by brands like OnePlus, Nokia HMD, Huawei, Micromax, Xiaomi drove shipments. Over 60 new smartphone models were launched after Diwali alone,” the Counterpoint Research report said.

Moto E5, E5 Plus spotted in FCC certification

Two Motorola phones with model numbers-XT1922-4 and XT1922-5- have been spotted in FCC certification. There are chances that these phones could be Moto E5 and E5 Plus that have come on several others rumours and leaks recently.

The FCC certification does not reveal much about the devices except that the phones could stack in 4000mAh battery. This would be a massive upgrade over its predecessor Moto E4 that come with 2800mAh battery. Moto E5, alike its predecessor is also expected to be a budget offering from Lenovo-owned Moto. The E4 was launched at Rs 7,255.

Moto E5 was recently spotted in Gold colour. The phone is seen sporting a design similar to its predecessor. The leaked renders reveal a metal unibody design of the phone. There’s a single rear camera placed in a circular camera module with a flash light. The fingerprint sensor is placed below the company logo at the back panel.

There are speculations that Moto E5 could sport a 5-inch display with 16:9 aspect ratio. A 3.5mm audio jack is also seen in the leaked renders. The phone is expected to carry forward the MediaTek SoC tradition. The phone could be priced around Rs 7000 and launch around April this year.

Separately, Motorola is also expected to unveil a series of Moto phones at MWC 2018. The company will most probably launch the Moto G6, G6 Plus and G6 Play at the event.

The Moto G6 is expected to feature a 5.7-inch full HD+ display. The phone could be powered by a Snapdragon 450 chipset with 3GB or 4GB RAM and 32GB o4 64GB internal storage. The phone could house a 3000mAh battery and sport dual cameras on the back.

The G6 Plus could come with a 5.93-inch Full HD+ display. You can expect a Snapdragon 630 chipset and 3200mAh battery inside the phone. Both G6 and G6 Plus are rumoured to sport a 3D glass back design. G6 Plus could also come with dual rear cameras with same sensor size as that of G6.

Moto G6 Play could come with 5.7-inch display and leaks show rumours hints the lack of fingerprint sensor or home button. The phone could be powered by a Snapdragon 430 chipset and pack in a large battery size of 4000mAh.

Lenovo set to launch a new Moto X4 variant in India on February 1

Motorola is all set to launch a new variant of the glass clad Moto X4 in India on February 1. Set to come with 6GB of RAM and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, the new variant is expected to be priced around Rs 25,000 in India.

The new variant of the Moto X4 will be Motorola’s first 6GB RAM smartphone in India. Motorola has teased the launch on Twitter with a post claiming that the new variant will be “faster, smarter and sharper”. It is also set to come with Android 8.0 Oreo which brings with it many new features such as notification dots, the Google Play Protect anti-malware system and picture-in-picture support for applications.

The Moto X4 is currently available in two configurations in India – one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage for Rs 20,999 and one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage for Rs 22,999. The smartphone is powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset clocked at 2.2GHz paired with a 3,000mAh battery with TurboCharge support and the Adreno 508 GPU.

The biggest highlight of the Moto X4 is its sleek glass and metal design. The smartphone has glass on the front and back sandwiched between a metal frame. The camera module juts out a fair bit from the chassis and is encircled by a ribbed texture which looks classy and premium.

On the imaging front, the Moto X4 comes with a dual camera setup at the back – a primary 12MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 paired with a secondary 8MP 120 degree ultra-wide angle sensor with an aperture of f/2.2. On the front, there is a 16MP front camera with an aperture of f/2.0 and a dedicated LED flash.

Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 will be high on artificial intelligence and machine learning

While Xiaomi’s MIUI 9 is geared towards making software that’s faster and in line with stock Android, its upcoming MIUI 10 will focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Xiaomi is apparently already at work, even as the company announced the start of the MIUI 10 development at an event in Beijing. Although the company did not give out many specifics, it confirmed Xiaomi’s next frontier is set to be AI and machine learning.

Google is aspiring something similar with Android 8.0 Oreo and version 8.1 of its operating system brings it one step closer to realising this potential. Since Xiaomi’s MIUI is also based on Android, it was only about time the company joined the bandwagon. It is yet to be seen how Xiaomi plans to implement AI and machine learning in its operating system though.

Xiaomi’s incumbent MIUI 9 has a ton of features on top of Android, according to the company. The MIUI 9 update, in addition to Xiaomi’s custom built features, brings back key Android nuggets like split-screen multitasking and Google Assistant, something that was missing in the previous iteration. It’s based on Android Nougat to boot and the company is already testing an Oreo build which is likely to come to most of its devices in the near future.

Xiaomi touts three key features — in addition to fast app launch times — that set the MIUI 9 apart from its predecessor, the MIUI 8:

— Universal search: A powerful search engine on a Xiaomi phone that can differentiate your image like you do by typing in keywords.

— Dynamic resource allocation: To allocate priority to in-use apps to let you enjoy a fluent experience, on basis of critical thinking algorithm.

— Smart assistant: The easiest way to find anything and almost everything at your will.

The MIUI 10 will hopefully be faster still and hopefully it wouldn’t kill of key Android nuggets, something that Xiaomi is known for. Although it’s fairly feature-rich and seamless, Xiaomi’s MIUI is known for some heavy skinning on top of Android, something that geeks into stock Android don’t really appreciate. For such a group, Xiaomi has collaborated with Google, to launch its own Android One phone called the Mi A1 and rumour has it that it would have some sort of successor in the days to come too.