Bharat-1 First Impressions: The Jio Phone Rival India Needs?

Bharat-1 First Impressions: The Jio Phone Rival India Needs?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Micromax has launched Bharat-1 feature phone
  • The Bharat-1 supports 4G VoLTE, and ships with BSNL’s bundled offers
  • We spent some time with the Bharat-1, read our first impressions below

After years of manufacturers scrambling for ways to bring affordable and locally relevant smartphones into the hands of millions, it took a Jio Phone to bring feature phones back into focus. So it’s no surprise that telecom operators and phone manufacturers in India are having a deja vu moment, BSNL and Micromax being the latest with the new Bharat-1, a 4G feature phone with high-speed Internet that was unveiled in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The BSNL Micromax Bharat-1 has an unassuming design – more on this shortly – but what it offers out of the box and signifies in the grand scheme of things is perhaps more appealing. Priced at Rs. 2,200 (roughly $34) and going on sale October 20, it is positioned as a solution to the needs of over half a billion people in India.

The need for affordable connectivity

So what are these needs that the BSNL Micromax Bharat-1 phone can fulfil? Let’s see. Micromax’s Rahul Sharma thinks that people don’t want to pay for the voice calls they make and also surf countless webpages at no charge. For this, his company has partnered with state-run telecom operator BSNL. At a meagre Rs. 97 monthly tariff plan, Sharma says, customers can avail all of this with the Bharat-1.

But let’s be honest. People also want to listen to music, watch videos, and stream live TV occasionally. What about those needs? Micromax says it has partnered with a range of companies including Zenga to bundle in those entertainment offerings with the phone.

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Which brings us to the only question that matters: does the BSNL Micromax Bharat-1 handset live up to the expectations? The short answer is yes. A slightly longer answer is, mostly yes. We spent some time with the handset to figure out what the big deal was.

Does it live up to expectations?

From the looks of it, the Micromax Bharat-1 can be mistaken for a relic of the past. It features the classic numeric keypad and keys make unpleasant noise when you click on them. And you will be clicking them a lot as the tiny (2.4-inch), barely okay-ish display doesn’t support touch input. The plastic body also doesn’t feel premium, though it doesn’t feel cheap either. And that in a nutshell is what the design and other aesthetics of the BSNL Bharat-1 feel like. But everything gets interesting as you long hold and release the * key.

There are several apps that come pre-installed on the new Micromax Bharat-1 handset. For Web browsing, there is a custom build of Opera Mini mobile browser. We typed in a few webpages and they loaded just fine. There is a YouTube app as well, and the display and sound quality are good enough for what a customer would be paying for the device.

The Bharat-1 isn’t running Android, so there is no Google Play app store on the phone. This could be crucial to you if you were planning to download WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in India, or most other popular app that you have been meaning to try on a phone. You will, however, be able to check Wikipedia, update Facebook statuses, read news articles, and do a range of other things using the Opera Mini browser.

There are two camera sensors on the phone as well. The rear camera, a 2-megapixel sensor and a VGA selfie camera on front, take perhaps the best images you can expect from them. Put mildly, you wouldn’t want to take pictures from them unless you don’t have any other phone lying around. The Jio Phone, in comparison, takes better pictures.

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There is an entertainment “Fun” app on the phone as well, which we are told offer a ton of songs, videos, and provides access to over one hundred TV channels. The catalogue felt thin to us, though we admittedly couldn’t browse through all the sections in the limited time we spent with the device. On the plus side, the videos run impressively well on the phone with enough clarity. The BSNL phone also supports Bluetooth, allowing users to quickly share files among themselves.

Bharat-1 supports Wi-Fi, and that’s how the test unit we played with was hooked to the Internet. Combing through the Settings, we also found that this phone is capable of turning into a Wi-Fi hotspot machine. Though, we couldn’t test the feature as there were no SIM cards in the test device. We also couldn’t make any voice calls.

Speaking of which, the BSNL Bharat-1 comes with two SIM card slots. A Micromax representative told Gadgets 360 that users can absolutely swap the BSNL SIM cards with those from other telecom operators. Jio Phone doesn’t let you do that, do note, and has only a single SIM card slot. Those of you who are planning to purchase the Bharat-1, you could want swap in an Airtel or Reliance Jio SIM card into the phone.

Even as Micromax is positioning the device as “India Ka 4G phone”, it’s a little ironic that the launch partner BSNL doesn’t offer 4G just yet. So for the immediate future, if you want to browse the Web at 4G speeds, you would actually need a Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, or Reliance Jio SIM card to avail the facility.

“For us, this is a future acquisition strategy and BSNL has already started 4G tests and currently has a rural network that’s unmatched with any existing operator in the country. Once a feature phone user shifts to 3G and discards his outdated phone, in next few months the migration to 4G becomes easier,” a Micromax spokesperson told Gadgets 360.

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There is a 2000mAh battery in the Jio Phone rival that is a considerably larger from what feature phones typically seem to pack in, and should last you a couple of days of moderate usage on a single charge. We didn’t notice any significant battery drain on the phone even as we hammered the keypad to scan for everything we could find on the phone.

Should you purchase a Bharat-1 phone?

Well, it really depends. If you already own a smartphone, you might not want to purchase one of these Bharat-1 handsets. You will find that it takes worse images, and its display is unlikely to please your eyes. The phone is also very tiny and the keypad might ruin your experience. But that’s alright. Micromax hasn’t necessarily built the phone for you.

The Bharat-1 handset has been designed for the 500 million people in India who cannot afford a smartphone, or the data plans that go along with them to avail much of the services. The phone has been designed for the elderly, kids, and everyone in between who hasn’t had the opportunity to use a smartphone yet. And for those people, the Bharat-1 may just be a great purchase, even on BSNL’s 3G speeds.

Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a detailed review of the BSNL Micromax Bharat-1.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Micromax Bharat-1

Micromax Bharat-1

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

2.40-inch

Front Camera

0.3-megapixel

Resolution

240×320 pixels

RAM

512MB

Storage

4GB

Rear Camera

2.4-megapixel

Also See
  • Micromax Joy X1850 (Black)
    Rs.784
  • Micromax Joy X1850 (Black)
    Rs.792
  • Micromax X072 (Black)
    Rs.830

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 India Pre-Orders Start Shipping, Goes on Sale on Friday

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 India Pre-Orders Start Shipping, Goes on Sale on Friday

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is priced at Rs. 67,900
  • It is up for pre-order on Amazon India, and Samsung online store
  • Early shipment of pre-orders has now begun in India

After the global rollout in 42 countries, shipping of pre-orders in India has now begun for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The smartphone was up for pre-orders since September 12, and early pre-order customers will start to see the smartphone arrive at their doorsteps starting Thursday. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is priced at Rs. 67,900 across India, and will be sold online via Amazon India, Samsung’s online store, as well as select offline Samsung stores.

On Amazon India, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still up for pre-order, and the release date is set for September 22. The e-commerce portal has listed special pre-order offers like Rs. 4,000 cash back if you purchase the smartphone with HDFC bank credit cards. You also get a free wireless charger alongside, and Reliance Jio is offering up to 448GB of extra 4G data alongside free Jio Prime membership. By paying Rs. 990 more alongside the pre-order, you also get eligible for a one-time screen replacement as well. No Cost EMI options are also available on many cards, and an exchange offer up to Rs. 10,400 is also listed on the e-commerce site. You can check all the deals here.Similar offers are listed on the Samsung online store for pre-ordering the smartphone as well. The exchange offer value may vary depending upon the smartphone you exchange it with.

Two weeks ago, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 registrations crossed 1.5 lakh while the pre-orders reportedly hit the 72,000 mark in India. In its home market, Samsung said that the Galaxy Note 8 pre-orders were 2.5 times that of all the pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 7 in South Korea.

For the specifications, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 packs a huge 6.3-inch QHD+ (1440×2960 pixels) Super AMOLED Infinity Display with an 18.5:9 screen ratio, the same as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship. Apart from this, Galaxy Note 8 comes with features such as iris scanner that can be used as an authentication method for certain functionalities, S Pen as a stylus to jot, scribble, magnify things in addition to some advanced operations like real-time translation of texts and pictures.

Other specifications include a Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC (four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four cores clocked at 1.7GHz) (Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC in US) coupled with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features a dual rear camera setup, with Dual OIS (optical image stabilisation), wherein there is one 12-megapixel sensor coupled with a wide-angle lens, Dual Pixel autofocus, an f/1.7 aperture, and optical image stabilisation, while the other sensor is also a 12-megapixel, paired with a telephoto lens, an f/2.4 aperture, and optical image stabilisation. The dual camera setup gives the Galaxy Note 8 the capability to offer depth-of-field (Bokeh) effects with real-time and after the fact adjustment, 2x optical zoom, as well as the ability to capture photos simultaneously with each camera. On the front end, there’s an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with an aperture of f/1.7.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Rs.67,900
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Excellent buildquality, design and display
  • Useful stylus
  • Very good cameras
  • Speedy performance
  • Bad
  • Slightly heavy
  • Battery life could be better
BUY AT
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Maple Gold, 64GB, 6GB RAM) –
    Rs.67,900
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Midnight Black, 64GB, 6GB RAM) –
    Rs.67,900

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Volvo XC40 Unveiled; Will Launch In India In 2018

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Volvo has showcased the much anticipated XC40 and well, it’s as close to the concept that was showcased before. The XC40 is the smallest and the most affordable XC model in the Swedish carmaker’s line-up and will go on sale in the international markets later this year or latest by early 2018. India, however, will get the new XC40 SUV sooner than expected and the car will launched in the first half of 2018.

Volvo
Volvo Cars
XC60

V90 Cross Country

S90

XC90

V40
S60 Cross Country

S60

V40 Cross Country

S80
Also Read: Volvo XC40: All You Need To Know

“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up.

2018 volvo xc40
(The 2018 Volvo XC40 previews more 40 series models that will come from the company)

The XC40 sits below the recently introduced new-gen Volvo XC60 in the company’s model line-up and will share a host of styling cues and features with its older sibling. However, it’s based on a completely different platform than its elder cousins. Unlike the XC90 and XC60 which are based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, the all-new Volvo XC40 is built on the company’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which the company shares with its Chinese parent company Geely.
Though not on the same platform, the XC40 will borrow a host of features from both the XC60 and the XC90. Some of the safety features on offer in the Volvo XC40 will be run-off protection and mitigation, cross-traffic alert, auto-brakes, 360 degree camera and a semi-autonomous pilot assist system as well. It comes with a 5-seater cabin layout which has been designed in line with the current Volvo models. So, you’ll get Volvo’s signature vertical touchscreen infotainment system on the dashboard, three-spoke multi-functional steering wheel, comfortable upholstery wrapped in premium leather and more.

2018 volvo xc40 interior
(The 2018 XC40’s interior is inspired from the Volvo’s bigger models)

From the start of production, the XC40 will be available with a D4 diesel or a T5 petrol four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain. Further powertrain options, including a hybridised as well as a pure electric version, will be added later. The XC40 will also be the first Volvo model to be available with Volvo’s new 3-cylinder engine.

2018 volvo xc40
(The new Volvo XC40 is based on the new modular CMA platform)

Volvo claims that the XC40 offers a clutter-free cabin designed with multiple smart and functional storage compartments. For instance, the car’s door pockets have been designed so that they can even hold an average size laptop, tablet, and a couple of bottles. Volvo has moving speakers from the door and developing a world-first, air-ventilated dashboard-mounted subwoofer. The centre console will also feature a smartphone holder, a trash bin, compartment for tissues and more. The XC40 will go up against the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1.

[“Source-auto.ndtv”]

SoftBank founder’s brother Taizo Son launches agri-food tech accelerator in India

SoftBank Group’s founder Masayoshi Son’s younger brother Taizo Son has launched an agri-food tech accelerator in India in partnership with Gurgaon-based GSF Accelerator and Indo-Japan business consultancy Infobridge.

Taizo Son’s Japan-based incubator Mistletoe, GSF and Infobridge floated the joint venture accelerator christened as ‘Gastrotope’ in Bangalore on Thursday.

Taizo Son is a tech entrepreneur and a prolific investor in his own right, while his brother Masayoshi Son has earned more fame, money and influence through his aggressive investments across the globe. Since its launch in 2013, Taizo Son’s Mistletoe has made over 90 investments globally that are worth around $160 million. Mistletoe has made three investments in India in startups such as Innerchef, Ninjacart and Kisan Network. Innerchef was started by GSF’s founder Rajesh Sawhney.

Taizo Son founded Mistletoe in 2013. He is also founder of Japan-based mobile gaming company GungHo, in which SoftBank acquired a 51% share in 2013 for $1.53 billion. GungHo bought back most of its shares from SoftBank last year.

The newly launched accelerator Gastrotope will focus on sustainable ideas and models in the ‘farm-to-fork’ value chain. It plans to create an agriculture and food-tech enabled industry ecosystem throughout this value chain and invest in startups that can add value at various stages, starting with farmers and moving to food transportation, processing and delivery to consumption.

“I have always believed that innovation comes from the connecting of diverse dots, and this time, with the bridge between India and Japan, unique solutions to the questions of food and agriculture will arise,” Taizo Son said. “We hope, while working with our partners here, we will become a catalyst for this new movement of farm-to-fork permaculture,” he said.

Sawhney said he will be working on creating a leadership team for Gastrotope. Other details such as the duration, number of startups, launch of the first batch and investment amount are yet to be finalised.

“Gastrotope is borne out of a vision of democratising healthy gastronomy experiences for millions. The food consumption habits are changing globally with a focus on nutrition and wellness and instead of food industrialization, the new goal is all about ‘what we grow’. Gastrotope seeks to play a vital role in catalysing India’s adoption of these trends through the birth of a new agriculture and food-tech ecosystem,” he said.

Besides Innerchef, Sawhney founded GSF that runs three programmes such as an accelerator, an angel network and tech conferences. The GSF accelerator programme has incubated over 40 startups in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Among these, investors have exited five startups, about 40% have raised venture rounds and over 80% have gone on to raise angel funding.

Infobridge has more than 10 years of experience in India, creating a bridge between India and Japanese businesses. It provides consulting and business development services to Japanese in India. The company has brought several Japanese startups to India.

[“Source-vccircle”]