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Amazon India to Fight Antitrust Lawsuit by CCI, Says Suit Can Damage Reputation

Amazon.com Inc has begun legal action in India to quash an antitrust investigation against the company, saying it could cause “irreparable” loss and damage to its reputation, according to its court filing seen by Reuters. Last month the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered an investigation of Amazon and rival Flipkart, owned by Walmart, over alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices.

Amazon and Flipkart have faced mounting criticism from India’s brick-and-mortar retailers, which accuse the U.S. giants of violating Indian law by racking up billions of dollars of losses to fund deep discounts and discriminating against small sellers. The companies deny the allegations. The CCI ordered its probe after a New Delhi-based trader group complained that the e-commerce giants were promoting select sellers and in turn hurting business for other smaller players in one of the world’s biggest online shopping markets.

“The entire order passed by (the CCI) … is bereft of any foundation,” Amazon said in a Feb. 10 filing to a court in the city of Bengaluru, rejecting the allegations leveled against the company. “(The investigation order) suffers from non-application of mind as it appears to contain no reference to the finding of an appreciable adverse effect on competition.” Amazon declined a Reuters request for comment, saying the matter was going through the courts. The CCI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Flipkart said after the CCI ordered the probe that it was “fully compliant” with all laws in India. The Bengaluru court is likely to hear Amazon’s petition later this week and the complainant trader group, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, has been informed about it, a lawyer involved in the matter said. The trader group will defend its case to ensure the antitrust probe is not quashed or put on hold, the lawyer added.

More stringent foreign investment rules in India have also affected Amazon. Last month, after the CCI probe was launched, India’s trade minister said Amazon wasn’t doing any “great favor” by announcing a new $1 billion investment, laying bare the tensions with the U.S. online retailer. “The (CCI) investigation also has reputational consequences for the petitioner, being a global company and a part of the internationally reputed Amazon Group,” the e-commerce giant said in its filing.

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India Shipped 152mn Phones in 2019, Registers 8% Growth as Apple Leads Premium Segment

Representative image of the rise of digital technology usage in India. (Photo: Telenor)

Representative image of the rise of digital technology usage in India. (Photo: Telenor)

According to IDC’s annual data from the Indian smartphone industry, Vivo led the sub-premium category, and OnePlus played a key role too.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: February 7, 2020, 3:55 PM IST

India is among the few smartphone markets that are still registering growth, as most developed markets are seeing a slowdown in smartphone shipments due to saturation. According to IDC’s annual data of 2019, India saw a total of 152.5 million phones being shipped through the year, which marks an 8 percent annual growth over what was shipped in 2018. While India no longer remains in double digit growth phase, industry watchers and companies will still take note of the key growth areas that are still contributing to smartphone shipments growing in the country.

IDC’s data further states that the share of online smartphone shipments are steadily on the rise in India. Upasana Joshi, associate research manager at IDC India states on this matter, “The online growth momentum continued through the year with a record share of 41.7% in 2019, growing by 18.4% YoY annually due to deep discounts, cashback offers, buyback/exchange schemes, and complete protection offers clubbed with attractive financing schemes like No Cost EMIs across major model line ups and brands.” In contrast, the offline smartphone market grew only 1.6 percent in India, through the year.

In terms of price distribution in India, IDC states that the sub-$200 (~sub-Rs 15,000) smartphone market in India accounted for 79 percent of the market. The mid-range market, which roughly stands for between Rs 15,000 and Rs 35,000, captured 19.3 percent of the market, while the remaining sliver of 1.7 percent was captured by premium devices. In the latter, IDC notes that Apple crossed Samsung to capture 47.4 percent of the premium smartphone market in India, thanks to the iPhone XR and a lower priced launch of the iPhone 11.

In the premium end of the mid-range phones, IDC states that Vivo led the charts with 28 percent market share, largely thanks to the Vivo V15 Pro. Vivo was closely followed by OnePlus in this segment, thanks to the OnePlus 7. With 5G on the horizon and more interesting form factor smartphones on the way, it remains to be seen how the Indian market fares through 2020 and beyond.

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Poco X2 Launched in India at Rs 15,999, Becomes Most Affordable Phone With 120Hz Display

The Poco X2 is finally here. After almost 18 months, Poco has also finally launched its second handset. After announcing that it will no longer be a Xiaomi sub-brand, Poco is now revamping its strategies and has formed a new team headed by C Manmohan. As reported earlier, the new Poco X2 is not a direct successor to the company’s original Poco F1. Also, rumours did stand correct about the fact that the handset is a rebranded Redmi K30 which launched in China last month.

The Poco X2 is powered by the Snapdragon 730G SoC, which makes it a direct competitor to the Realme X2. It features a 6.7-inch Full-HD+ (2400×1080 pixels) hole-punch LCD display with 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The reason for not choosing an AMOLED panel was because it would have bumped up the cost. Also, this is the second phone in India to offer 120Hz refresh rate apart from the Asus ROG Phone II.

At the back, there is a quad-camera setup including a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 1/1.7-inch sensor, with a 6P lens system offering an f/1.89 aperture. This is paired to a 5-megapixel macro lens, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and an 8-megapixel sensor with 120-degree wide-angle lens. At the front, there is a dual selfie camera setup with a 20-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Just like the Redmi K30, there is a 4,500mAh battery with support for 27W fast charge support. The company is bundling the high-capacity charger in the box, and it is the same as the company previously launched alongside the Redmi K20 and K20 pro. Other features include a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, NFC, dual-SIM slots, IR blaster, P2i water repellant coating, USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack and runs on MIUI 11 based on Android 10.

The smartphone will be offered in three variants with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage and a top of the line 8GB RAM with 256GB storage variant. All variants come with microSD card expandability. The phone will be offering three colour options- Matrix Purple, Pheonix Red and Atlantis Blue. Pricing starts at Rs 15,999 for the base variant, with the 6GB RAM + 128GB variant will be available at 16,999. The 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is priced at Rs 19,999. Poco will be offering Rs 1,000 discount for ICICI Bank card users. The handset will be available starting February 11 at 12pm exclusively on Flipkart.

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One-Third of All Phones Sold Above Rs 30,000 in India in 2019 were by OnePlus

According to Counterpoint’s latest market data, Samsung ranks third in the premium market with 26 percent share, while Apple ranks second with 25 percent.

IANS

Updated:February 4, 2020, 2:05 PM IST

One-Third of All Phones Sold Above Rs 30,000 in India in 2019 were by OnePlus
According to Counterpoint’s latest market data, Samsung ranks third in the premium market with 26 percent share, while Apple ranks second with 25 percent.

Riding on its OnePlus 7 series, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus led the Indian premium smartphone market in 2019 with 33 per cent market share. The company became the first-ever premium smartphone brand surpassing 20 lakh shipments in a year in India. Samsung with 26 per cent was second while Apple with 25 per cent market share came third in the premium segment, according to Counterpoint Research’s ‘Market Monitor Service for 2019.’

Apple was the fastest growing premium smartphone brand in 2019 with 41 per cent (YoY) driven by multiple price cuts on iPhone XR throughout the year. Overall, the premium smartphone segment in India (above Rs 30,000) registered its highest ever recorded shipments this year, growing 29 per cent in the year. “2019 has been a remarkable year for us at OnePlus. Every milestone we have achieved strengthened our pursuit for excellence in technology. We will remain dedicated towards creating burden-less and best-in-class user experience,” said Pete Lau, Founder and CEO, OnePlus.

OnePlus 7 device emerged as the number one premium smartphone model in 2019. The contribution of OnePlus’ ultra-premium segment to overall OnePlus portfolio grew to a whopping 25 per cent in 2019 — from just 2 per cent in 2018. According to Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research, OnePlus’ ongoing retail expansion in India can be attributed to the increased sales volumes. “Its recent partnerships with renowned retail distributors, as well as successfully extending its unique premium brand experience to retail customers through OnePlus Experience Centers, have played a crucial role in its growth,” said Chauhan.

Similarly, the ultra-premium segment (above Rs 45,000) emerged as the fastest growing segment with 63 per cent (YoY) growth. “OnePlus continues to enjoy strong word of mouth communication from existing users, which also led the brand to have over 5 million strong community in India alone, a substantial number for a premium tech brand,” said Chauhan. Examples of innovations include its adoption of high refresh rate (90Hz), almost bezel-less displays and being first to launch smartphones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Series application processor in India.

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Poco X2 Launching in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything We Know So Far

The Poco X2 is headed its way to India and the company will be launching the device on Tuesday, February 4. After recently announcing that it will run as an independent brand the ex-Xiaomi sub-brand will be launching the new handset almost two years after the Poco F1.

We recently reported how the new Poco X2 will not be a direct successor to F1, instead, it will cater to a slightly different segment. Of course, there has also been a lot of buzz around the internet suggesting that the X2 will just be a rebranded Redmi K30. So here’s a quick look at everything we know about the upcoming Poco smartphone:

1. A rebranded Redmi K30?

Various leaks and company teasers suggest that the Poco X2 is just going to be the Redmi K30 in a new avatar. For those who don’t know, Xiaomi launched the Redmi K30 in China last month. We’ve seen leaked images, specifications and some features teased by Poco India as well as ecommerce giant Flipkart that make the rumours quite believable.

2. Specifications

Now if the Poco X2 is really a rebranded version of the Redmi K30, that means that the specifications will be similar. So expect the X2 to be powered by the Snapdragon 730G SoC It could feature a 6.67-inch full-HD+ (2400×1080 pixels) hole-punch display with 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. At the back, expect a quad-camera setup including a 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 1/1.7-inch sensor, with a 6P lens system offering an f/1.89 aperture. This will be paired to a 5-megapixel macro lens, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and an 8-megapixel sensor with 120-degree wide-angle lens. At the front, there is a dual selfie camera setup with a 20-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Other features include a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, a 4,500mAh battery with 30W fast charging support, NFC, 5G connectivity with dual-SIM slots, USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack and runs on MIUI 11 based on Android 10.

3. Price

Considering the most affordable smartphone with the Snapdragon 730G chipset on the market is the Realme X2, Poco is bound to compete. The Realme X2 is priced at Rs 16,999 for the base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Poco might undercut its competition and we are expecting a starting price of Rs 14,999/Rs 15,999.


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Realme C3 India Launch on Feb 6th, Specs Revealed on Flipkart Show 5,000mAh Battery

The Realme C3 appears to feature a 5,000mAh battery, a 6.5-inch display with waterdrop notch and a 12-megapixel dual rear camera.

Realme C3 India Launch on Feb 6th, Specs Revealed on Flipkart Show 5,000mAh Battery
The Realme C3 image posted on its landing page by Flipkart. (Image altered by News18.com)

Realme C3 is expected to be the brand’s upcoming budget smartphone, and its landing page has now gone live on e-commerce website, Flipkart. According to the Flipkart listing, many of Realme C3’s specifications have also been revealed, along with a near-full lowdown on how the device looks. After sharing that the Realme C series budget smartphones have seen over 10 million units sold in their lifetime, the Realme C3 will hope to continue on that note, and revive Realme’s market share, which appears to have fallen very sharply after the 2019 festive season.

According to Flipkart, the Realme C3 features a 6.5-inch display, which is likely to come with HD+ resolution. It is also confirmed to come with two variants, one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The display has a waterdrop notch at the top, while at the rear, the device appears to feature a dual camera unit with 12-megapixel primary sensor and f/1.8-2.4 variable aperture. The landing page of the smartphone also flaunts features such as slow motion video and HDR mode, which will be impressive for a budget smartphone.

Other features and specifications that have not been officially revealed include a MediaTek processor inside, a physical fingerprint sensor at the rear, and an 8-megapixel front camera sensor. The Realme C3 offers certain improvements over its predecessor, including a larger battery, and is also expected to come with the new Realme UI interface instead of ColorOS that it shares with its parent brand, Oppo. The device is also largely expected to retain the same price badge, which means it should launch at Rs 7,999 when it is unveiled at 12:30PM on February 6.


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OnePlus Concept One Coming to India on February 8, But It's Only for You to See

OnePlus is going on a 10-city, eight-country world tour with the Concept One, and you can even attend a product briefing session if you’re too intrigued by it.

OnePlus Concept One Coming to India on February 8, But It's Only for You to See
OnePlus is going on a 10-city, eight-country world tour with the Concept One, and you can even attend a product briefing session if you’re too intrigued by it.

OnePlus drew eyeballs and raised eyebrows in equal proportions when it unveiled the Concept One smartphone. Earlier this year, OnePlus used the CES 2020 stage to unveil a concept phone which used an electrochromic glass on top of the rear camera to make it look as if it simply dissolves into the glass, when not in use. Now, fans of the brand and intrigued users in India can catch a glimpse of what the hype is about in person, between February 8 and 14, at OnePlus Experience Stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Alongside seeing the device in person, OnePlus is even hosting a one-off “product briefing” session for the most intrigued people at 10AM on February 8, where attendees will also get a chance to interact with members of OnePlus’ product development team. The OnePlus Concept One has been a divisive product — while some have found it an interesting piece of technology, others have taken to various forums to question the real utility of a product like the Concept One. While it might seem like a neat gimmick at the onset, using an electrochromic glass at the rear raises its own problems. The biggest of these is durability — if you drop the phone and break the glass, it can be incredibly expensive (and difficult) to fix.

That, though, is not an issue here, since OnePlus does not quite intend to make this into a production device. Instead, it is only showing what its R&D department can do with a smartphone. In any case, the upcoming ‘world tour’ should help answer many questions around it. The device will be hosted at OnePlus’ Connaught Place store in Delhi, High Street Phoenix store in Mumbai, and Brigade Road store in Bengaluru. Further information regarding the Concept One preview, along with a link to register for the product session on February 8, can be found in OnePlus’ official forum post regarding the tour.

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Apple Captures 2 Percent Market Share With 41 Percent Year-on-Year Growth in India

The price cut on the iPhone XR immediately made it the best selling iPhone within Apple portfolio for two successive quarters.

Apple Captures 2 Percent Market Share With 41 Percent Year-on-Year Growth in India
The price cut on the iPhone XR immediately made it the best selling iPhone within Apple portfolio for two successive quarters.

Riding on the strong demand for iPhone XR and iPhone 11, Apple became one of the fastest-growing brands in India in the fourth quarter of 2019, capturing 2 percent market share with a year-on-year growth of 41 percent, Counterpoint Research said on Friday. On an annual level, Apple shipments are set to rebound in India during 2019 with an estimated growth (YoY) of 6 percent.

“This is compared to a 43 percent decline it had during 2018, thanks to the price correction of iPhone XR, revamped channel strategy and expansion of local manufacturing in India,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, told IANS. The initial strong demand for the iPhone 11 series was driven by aggressive pricing, promotional and channel strategy. “The EMI along with cashback offers on iPhone 11 series especially iPhone 11 did well during the important festive launch,” Pathak added. Additionally, the fastest ever roll-out in India ahead during the festive season led to the strong initial shipments.

In fact, the price cut on iPhone XR immediately made it the best selling iPhone within Apple portfolio for two successive quarters (Q2 2019, and Q3 2019). The Cupertino-based tech giant is fast selling almost all products — iPhones, Apple Watch, Mac desktops, and AirPods Pro — apart from a growing Apple TV community in India. The reason for Apple’s rise lies in a better understanding of a market that requires unique customer strategies and mind games, not seen in other, more evolved smartphone territories. “Apple still continues to be an aspirational brand in India and the success of the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 indicates that Apple can grow faster in India provided with the right channel and pricing strategy in place,” said Pathak. iPhone XR is being manufactured at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai and iPhone 7 and 6S being assembled at supplier Wistron’s facility in Bengaluru.


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Realme is Bringing its Fitness Band to India Next Month, Confirms CEO Madhav Sheth

The Realme fitness band will take on Xiaomi’s Mi Band series as well as Honor and Huawei’s own fitness trackers

Realme is Bringing its Fitness Band to India Next Month, Confirms CEO Madhav Sheth
Realme Fitness Band

(Image: Screen Grab/ Madhav Sheth/Realme/ YouTube)

Realme CEO Madhav Sheth has confirmed the first fitness band from the company will be launched in February. An exact launch date has not been announced yet but the company is expected to start teasing the arrival of the product by the end of this month, said Sheth in the latest Episode of ‘AskMadhav’ show on YouTube. The Realme fitness band will take on Xiaomi’s Mi Band series as well as Honor and Huawei’s own fitness trackers.

When asked about the potential launch date of the Realme X50 smartphone in India, Sheth said that something ‘much more powerful’ was lined up for India and have to wait till MWC Barcelona 2020 for the announcement. Additionally, he revealed that the yellow and black colour variants of the true wireless earbuds will be available next month and Android 10 for the Realme 5i will arrive in May 2020.

Recently, a new smartwatch from Realme was spotted on the Indonesian certification website. Though the certification ‘Brand’ section mentions the device as the Realme Band, the ‘Name’ section clearly puts in under the smartwatch category.


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Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite With Snapdragon 855 Launched in India: Price, Features and More

After bringing the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Samsung has now introduced the Galaxy S10 Lite in India.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite With Snapdragon 855 Launched in India: Price, Features and More
After bringing the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Samsung has now introduced the Galaxy S10 Lite in India.
A day after launching the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Samsung has now brought the Galaxy S10 Lite to India. The company first showcased the two ‘Lite’ versions of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 earlier this month, both having similar looking designs and some common features. The Galaxy S10 Lite comes with a triple rear camera along with a Super AMOLED Infinity-O panel.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Specifications

The Galaxy S10 Lite comes with a 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2400×1080 pixels) Infinity-O Super AMOLED display. This is very similar to the Galaxy Note 10 Lite as both feature similar dimensions, a centrally-positioned hole-punch for the front camera, and slim bezels. The Galaxy S10 Lite is powered by the 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor which is paired with 8GB of RAM. Samsung hasn’t announced the 6GB RAM variant in India. There is 128GB of internal storage with the option of adding a microSD card of up to 1TB.

At the back, there is a triple rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 lens along with Super Steady OIS for stabilisation. This is paired with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 123-degree field of view along with a 5-megapixel macro camera with an f/2.4 lens. At the front, there is a 32-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 lens. Other features include a 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging support, an in-display fingerprint sensor as well as face unlock. Samsung will be offering the handset in Prism White, Prism Black, and Prism Blue colour options.

Price and Availability

The Galaxy S10 Lite is priced at Rs 39,999. Consumers can pre-booking the handset starting January 23 till February 3 via Flipkart, Samsung.com and leading retail stores. Customers pre-booking the handset get a one-time screen replacement at Rs 1,999 covering accidental screen damage within 1 year of purchase. There is also an additional Rs 3,000 cashback with ICICI Bank Credit Cards. The handset will be going on sale from February 4.