CCI Asks Smartphone Makers For Info On Agreements With Google

The Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigation wing has asked for the details of agreements between smartphone makers and Google or its group companies. This comes as the anti-trust regulator is digging its investigation more into allegations of misuse of market share by the Android Operating System (OS).

This follows the European Union having fined Google over abuse of Android’s market dominance last year.

The CCI director general has issued letters to several handset makers including Samsung, Xiaomi, Karbonn and Lava, seeking information on terms and conditions of agreements with Google. The CCI also wants to know if Google imposed any restrictions on using the company’s mobile apps and services over eight years beginning April 2011.

It has also sought details of “licence fee or royalty payments made to Google for using Android OS and Google mobile services on a yearly basis, from April 2011 till March 2019”.

The companies were given two weeks to respond as the ongoing investigation is “time bound”. While the companies confirmed receipt of the notice, they declined to comment.

The regulator began its probe into Google’s operating system in mid-April following complaints that Android — which had 99% share of the Indian market as of March 2019 — was blocking out others. Google has said that it will work with the watchdog. People aware of the matter said Google executives will likely be called to appear before the regulator as part of the inquiry.

This is the second such investigation for the Mountain View, California-headquartered company in India.

Rs 136cr Fine in 2018

In February 2018, the CCI had imposed a Rs 136-crore fine on Google India for search bias and abusing its dominant position on a complaint filed in 2012.

Google was asked to pay $5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) by European Union regulators last year after they found it guilty of abusing Android’s market dominance on three counts — bundling the search engine and Chrome app into the OS; blocking phone makers from creating devices that run forked-versions of Android; and making payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.

Other details sought by CCI include the annual sale of devices by operating system (OS) for brands, smartphones and tablets between 2011 and 2019. It has also asked for information on mobile application distribution, anti-fragmentation, Android compatibility or any other agreement with Google or any of its units in the same period. Companies wanting Google apps have to sign an anti-fragmentation agreement, which means they can’t pick and choose what apps to offer from the suite of products.

Handset makers will also have to share information on their own app stores, the number of apps they feature, yearly investment on R&D, maintenance and upgradation of app stores and yearly revenue in the same period. The CCI has also asked whether the app stores of rivals can be installed on smartphones and sought details on this.

OnePlus 7 Pro Leak Reveals Key Camera Specifications Of Rear Module

OnePlus is to officially reveal the launch date of its latest upcoming model OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 on April 23. 

Amidst the wait, there is a new leak which reveals the key camera specifications. 

The smartphone in question is the higher-end model, the OnePlus 7 Pro, which will reportedly come with one extra camera than the regular version, taking the total to three cameras at the back.

The triple camera setup on the OnePlus 7 Pro will start with a 48MP primary camera, an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with 3x zoom, and a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens. The camera details come via the Twitter leakster Max J. Note that the same leakster reveals that the 5G version will be called as the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

The OnePlus 7 Pro is expected to share the same Snapdragon 855 flagship processor as the standard variant. However, the Pro version will have a full- screen display, without a notch, all thanks to its pop up camera design. Further, this version’s screen is said to support 90Hz refresh rate, making it an ideal smartphone for gaming.

In the past few years, OnePlus has often stuck to necessary features and additions to keep its flagship’s pricing affordable. However, with the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company is looking to take things to a higher level, joining the likes of big players like Samsung and Huawei. We still expect the Pro version to retail at lower prices than say the Huawei P30 or the Galaxy S10 but it should definitely be a lot higher than its predecessors.

Android Pie Updates Cancelled For Xiaomi Redmi 6, Redmi 6A

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi had introduced Redmi 6 and Redmi 6A almost a year back with Android Oreo on board. 

These later appeared on the MIUI forums with a promise to get a Pie update. However, the company shifted to “Change of Plan, Suspension of Recruitment”, which means the phones will miss out the new Android OS.   

The discontinuation of OS updates is sad news for Xiaomi fans, but it’s not all bad. While the Redmi 6 and Redmi 6A are unlikely to get Android Pie, they will most certainly keep getting software updates and eventually MIUI 10 and hopefully even MIUI 11.

The Redmi 6 and Redmi 6A are among the cheapest Xiaomi smartphones available on the market, mostly sold in India. We reviewed the phones back in November and found them to strike a good balance between affordability and usability, but they do pack plenty of bloatware. Currently, the Redmi 6A starts from INR6,490 ($93/€82), while the Redmi 6 costs around INR7,999 ($115/€100).

OnePlus 7 Pro Pics Appear On Weibo, Expected To Be The Company’s 5G Phone

OnePlus had confirmed at the Mobile World Congress this year that it is working on to bring a 5G smartphone. However, there is very little information apart from its Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 modem giving it 5G capabilities. Two photos of the alleged 5G OnePlus phone were spotted on Weibo today revealing some key specs and its curved screen design with minimal bezels. 

The source calls the phone the OnePlus 7 Pro and bears the GM1915 model name. 

The about section in one of the images reveals the device is packing a 6.67″ Super Optic display, Snapdragon 855 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The cameras have 48MP, 16MP, and 8MP sensors.

The phone is running Android 9 with a 9.5.1 GM31CB build number. Said section oshows an image of the OnePlus 6T, which raises questions about the legitimacy of the post but it could also be unfinished software.

Last month, a OnePlus phone bearing the same GM1915 model number and 9.5.1 software build passed Bluetooth certification, confirming its Bluetooth 5.0 support.

More interestingly, the new phone’s model number strays away from previous OnePlus numbering strategy, which always starts with the letter “A” dating back to the OnePlus One. The altered model numbering could suggest the device will indeed start a new phone lineup and previously the company confirmed its first 5G phone will do exactly that.

OnePlus 6T Gets ₹4,000 Discount At Amazon’s Fab Phones Fest

OnePlus has recently cut down the price of its current flagship device in China- OnePlus 6T. It was available for CNY 400 (approx. ₹4000) for the variant woth 6GB RAM and 128GB. It was earlier launched with price CNY 3399 and then was reduced to CNY 2999 after the discount. 

Ahead of new OnePlus phone launch in a couple of months, the company is offering similar discounts in India, where OnePlus is supposedly considered as the country’s top premium smartphone brand – thanks to its top-of-the-line specs and aggressive pricing. As part of the Amazon’s Fab Phones Fest, which is scheduled to start from tomorrow, OnePlus 6T will be available with a price cut of Rs 3,000. The 6T that was launched for Rs 37,999 now retails at Rs 34,999 as part of the fest. Further, if you are an HDFC user you could get the OnePlus 6T for Rs 33,499.

Apart from the base variant, the OnePlus 6T 8GB+128GB variant also gets a price cut of Rs 4,000, which drops down the price from Rs 41,999 to Rs 37,999 and also users with HDFC cards can get the same variant for Rs 36,499. To conclude, the top variant of the OnePlus 6T, which features 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage comes at Rs 41,999 with a discount of Rs 4,000. Needless to say, the HDFC customers can get the top variant for Rs 40,499 as well.

Going by the trends in the smartphone industry the flagship device of any smartphone brand gets a price cut ahead of its successor launch. Though this might be a first price cut for the OnePlus device, this suggests that upcoming OnePlus phone launch is imminent in a couple of months and we can expect the 5G variant of the OnePlus device as well. If you’re curious on how would the next OnePlus device look like, there’s an alleged official render of the OnePlus device leaked recently, which you can check here. Stay tuned to PhoneRadar for more such interesting updates.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Flagship To Come In 4 Variants

Samsung’s flagship smartphone Galaxy Note 10 is expected to come in multiple models. A recent report says that the Galaxy Note 10 will come in four variants, and the vanilla variant will be modelled with the strategy similar to S10. There will be two LTE models and two 5G models.  

The display sizes on all the Galaxy Note 10 four variants will be at 6.28-inch and 6.75-inch. The 6.28-inch variant is tipped to be a product shaped after seeing Galaxy S10e’s success.

The Galaxy Note 10 will also come in four variants, just like its Galaxy S10 series launched in February. The display sizes on the LTE variants will be at 6.28-inch and 6.75-inch. The phones will sport triple rear and quad rear camera setups respectively. The report says that there will be two 5G models as well, and they won’t differ much from the LTE models, apart from the faster connectivity. However, we expect the 5G variants to pack bigger batteries.

The report says that Samsung looks to launch the Galaxy Note 10 in multiple models to maximise sales volume, and attract more purchases. The smaller size in display is touted to be a decision made after the success of the Galaxy S10e something that was reported by another South Korean publication last week. The idea is essentially to offer users a smartphone with a smaller display and a cheaper price tag, without stripping down many features. Samsung would want to offer the same with its Galaxy Note series as well, and thus a new variant with a 6.28-inch display.

Of course, it’s very early in the year to give any Samsung Galaxy Note 10 rumours too much thought. We recommend you to take this one rather lightly.

Gartner Inc. Report Says Foldable Phones Will Reach 30mn Units By 2023

Foldable phones will make for a 5 per cent of high- end phones by the year 2023, totalling to a 30 million units as these are likely to re- infuse innovation in it, said a recent report by Gartner Inc. on Monday. 

“We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen, which may scratch quickly depending on the way it folds,” Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner, said in a statement.

“Through the next five years, we expect foldable phones to remain a niche product due to several manufacturing challenges. In addition to the surface of the screen, the price is a barrier we expect to decline with time. Currently priced at $2,000, foldable phones present too many trade-offs, even for many early technology adopters.”

Shipments of mobile phones are estimated to reach 1.8 billion units in 2019, a decline of 0.5 per cent year over year (YoY). However, in 2020, the mobile phone market is forecast to return to growth, with a shipments increase of 1.2 per cent from 2019.

“Users have reached a threshold for new technology and applications, which means that unless new models provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users don’t want or need to upgrade,” Cozza added.

Nevertheless, vendors need to realise that consumers are extending the lifetime of their phones. The market research firm expects the average high-end phone lifetime to increase from 2.6 years to 2.8 years through 2023.

Realme 3 Pro To Be Launched As Competitor Of Redmi Note 7 Pro

Realme had recently announced that it will launch a compatitor against Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro in April. Having the name as Realme 3 Pro, the smartphone is expected to be an upgraded version of Realme 3 with better processor and camera. 

Company CEO Madhav Sheth on Monday confirmed the company will be launching the phone at Delhi University stadium this month.

Ahead of its official launch in India, Realme 3 Pro key specifications have been revealed. According to reports, the smartphone will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor. It’s worth noting that Snapdragon 710 SoC is considered to be an upgraded chipset over Snapdragon 675 SoC that runs on Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro.

Realme’s next smartphone will be available in multiple RAM and storage combinations starting at 4GB of RAM and 32GB built-in storage. Realme 3 Pro is also expected to sport a 48-megapixel rear camera. The latest reports, however, suggest the phone will have Sony IMX519 camera sensor. Redmi Note 7 Pro offers 48-megapixel camera resolution via Sony IMX586 sensor.  Other expected features from Realme’s new phone includes Vooc fast charging support.

Xiaomi Note 7 Pro full specifications include 48MP Dual camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, 6.3-inch dot notch display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Type-C Port, 4,000mAh battery, and up to 6GB of RAM. The smartphone is available at a starting price of Rs 13,999.

Realme has been trying to steal Xiaomi’s thunder with equally matched specifications and priced phones in the budget and mid-range category. Commenting on Xiaomi’s ‘camera beast’ Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth had said, “We understand someone calls it a good beast. We also say it’s a good beast. More competition is good for consumers. Unless you don’t have a product against it how will you understand whether it’s really a beast or not.”

Google Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL To Come Up With 64GB Storage, 3 Colour Options

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones are likely to get closer to get unveiled, revealed an online report. The phones are said to have 64GB of onboard storage and would be offered in 3 different colours, including an Iris colour option. 

Targeted at the mid-range consumers, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have long been part of the rumour mill and we have already seen several leaked images of the two phones. The phones have also been spotted in the Android code in the past, giving credibility to their existence.

German website WinFuture says Google’s mid-range Pixel phones are confirmed to be called Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, citing sources at European retailers. The names were first spotted in Android Q beta code recently. The publication also notes that Google will be selling the two phones with just 64GB of onboard storage in Germany. It is unclear if same is going to be the case in other markets as well, however all rumours till date point to just 64GB onboard storage.

Additionally, WinFuture writes that the search giant will be selling the mid-range Pixel phones in three colour options – White, Black, and Iris. Iris is usually used to refer to shades ranging from blue-violet to violet. The website also speculates that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are unlikely to be cheap and will probably be priced starting at EUR 450 (roughly Rs. 36,600).

To recall, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have been rumoured to feature 4GB of RAM, 18W fast charging support, and USB Type-C port. The Pixel 3a will house a 5.6-inch screen with Snapdragon 670 SoC, whereas the Pixel 3a XL will come with a 6-inch display and Snapdragon 710 SoC.

There is no word on when Google plans to announce the two phones, but it is being reported that it won’t take long for the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL to become official now.