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

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    Rs.830

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Jio Phone Bookings Start & Features Revealed, iPhone 8’s 3GB RAM, Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Jio Phone Bookings Start & Features Revealed, iPhone 8's 3GB RAM, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Price, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jio Phone bookings start online and offline, specifications confirmed
  • New Gear VR comes with a bigger slot to fit the Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Google will likely unveil the Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2 on October 5

Jio Phone bookings finally opened today, ending the wait of more than a month for those looking to get their hands on the 4G feature phone. Reliance Jio also released the full specifications of Jio Phone on its website. The single Nano-SIM JioPhone sports a 2.4-inch QWVGA display, and is powered by the 1.2GHz Spreadtrum SPRD 9820A/QC8905 dual-core processor with Mali-400 GPU and 512MB of RAM. It offers 4GB of internal storage, which is further expandable using a microSD card.

There’s a 2-megapixel rear camera at the back and a VGA front camera. The Jio Phone packs a 2000mAh battery that is rated to offer 12 hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC, FM Radio, GPS, and USB 2.0 support.

However, the Jio Phone online booking process hasn’t gone very smoothly as it seems like the sheer volume of users trying to access the app and the online website, isn’t letting everyone complete their transaction.

 

iPhone 8 to feature 3GB RAM, may not find many takers at $1,000 price tag
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for his accurate Apple leaks, the iPhone 8 will feature 3GB RAM, as will the iPhone 7s Plus. The iPhone 7s, on the other hand, is said to be stuck with 2GB RAM. The extra gig of RAM will help the phones process the upgraded camera and AR features coming soon. However, this – along with other new features – might push up the price of the iPhone 8 to $1,000, which may isolate it from some perspective buyers, says Barclays’ Mark Moskowitz.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price, comes with new Gear VR headset
As you could tell from yesterday’s launch, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a pretty big smartphone with a huge 6.3-inch Infinity Display. To accommodate that, Samsung has launched a new Gear VR headset, just for it. It is priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 8,300), and is already available on the US online store to buy. The Galaxy S8 comes with 6GB of RAM, but a variant with 4GB RAM has been spotted via the Chinese certification agency TENAA. Coming to the price of Galaxy Note 8, be prepared to pay a hefty sum for the device as it has been priced between roughly Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 75,000, depending on the market.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Top 8 Features You Need to Know About

Samsung has also confirmed that it will be launching Gear S3 (Review) smartwatch’s successor at IFAevent in Berlin next week and that it is also working on smart home speakers that might be launched soon. Separately, the company’s rumoured Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch has been tipped to be the first wearable device powered by Tizen 3.0 operating system.

Google lets you check if you’re depressed
Clinical depression is a fairly common condition with almost one in five Americans experiencing an episode, according to NAMI. Now, people in the US will soon have an option to take a screening test on Google to know if they are depressed or not. When users search for ‘clinical depression’ on Google on mobile, they will see a box atop the results, which the search giant calls a Knowledge Panel. The Knowledge Panel contains information on what depression is, what its symptoms are and the possible treatments.

Google Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2 launch date tipped 
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 out of the way, the next big exciting Android launch is arguably the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 and now, a fresh tip gives us a date to look forward to. Popular tipster Evan Blass tweeted on Thursday that the second generation Pixel smartphones will be unveiled on October 5. The tweet also mentions that the upcoming Pixel handset will pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 836 SoCs. This would make the Pixel smartphones to be the first to sport Qualcomm’s latest SoC.

Google Pixel, Nexus users report Bluetooth issues on Android 8.0 Oreo
Google recently unveiled the next iteration of Android, which is Android 8.0 Oreo, which will soon make its way to Pixel and Nexus devices as an OTA. However, users who have already forced this update on their devices are reporting issues with Bluetooth and Google is asking for feedback to address the matter. With any major new OS version , there are bound to be minor bugs and we’re hoping Google irons these out before the public roll out.

Android 8.0 Oreo: Check When Your Phone Will Get the Update

YotaPhone 3 with dual displays launched
Earlier rumoured to be called Yota 3, Yota Devices has launched the YotaPhone 3 in China. The phone runs YotaOS 3.0 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box and packs a 5.5-inch full-HD display on the front and a 5.2-inch E-Ink display on the back. It’s been priced at CNY 2,398 (roughly Rs. 23,050) for the 64GB version and CNY 3,098 (roughly Rs. 29,750) for the 128GB version. JD.com will start taking pre-orders for the YotaPhone 3 from September 5 and the phone will then be released on September 18.

Uber, Ola tie-up with AAI make airport cab bookings easier
Ola and Uber are currently two of the most popular choices of transport for air travellers  and now, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has entered into a strategic alliances with them to provide passengers the option to hire these cabs at select aerodromes. As part of this alliance, both Ola and Uber will fulfil commuting demand of passengers at the AAI-run Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Lucknow and Bhubaneswar airports, a release said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Uber has also reported 16 percent increase in quarterly bookings and a smaller loss than the previous period as the ride-services company showed signs of inching towards profitability.

Facebook camera now lets you capture 360-degree photos
In order for VR to reach mainstream acceptance, there needs to be an easy (cheap) way to create such content. Facebook hopes to accelerate this by enabling 360-degree photo capture through its own in-app camera. The update has been rolled out in both iOS and Android and includes the abilities to zoom and tag friends. According to a report, these 360-degree images or those from any other sources can be used as “Cover Photos”.

Nikon launches D850 full-frame DSLR
Nikon had confirmed that its next, full-frame flagship DSLR was in development and today, the company has unveiled the D850, the successor to the D810. The new D850 will compete with the likes of Canon’s EOS 5D Mark IV in the high-end DSLR space. The Nikon D850 will go on sale in September for a retail price of $3,299.95 (roughly Rs. 2,24,300). Highlight features include a weather sealed body, 45.7-megapixel sensor, 7fps burst shooting and 4K video recording capability.

Jet Airways partners with Airbnb
In order to strengthen its range of global hospitality choices, Jet Airways has partnered with Airbnb for a wider selection of accommodations for its guests. The partnership will also give momentum to the growth of Airbnb’s footprint in the Indian market. Airbnb country manager Amanpreet Bajaj said that Indian travellers have become more decisive and are keen to break away from conventional means of travel and accommodation.

Chhattisgarh Government to distribute over 55 lakh smartphones 
In a bit to bridge the digital divide, the Chhattisgarh government is going to distribute over 55 lakh smartphones in the state. It will be distributed in rural areas and to the below poverty line (BPL) families in urban areas and college-going youths in two phases, said Industry Minister Amar Agrawal. Around 50.8 lakh handsets would be distributed in the first phase in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Flipkart Sale to Take on Amazon, Airtel 399 Pack Rivals Jio, iPhone Rumours, and More: Your 360 Daily

Flipkart Sale to Take on Amazon, Airtel 399 Pack Rivals Jio, iPhone Rumours, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Flipkart’s sale starts from August 9 and ends on August 11
  • Airtel’s new 399 is pretty similar to Reliance Jio’s plan
  • New iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone SE rumours galore

It’s Amazon vs. Flipkart all over again, with the two e-commerce giants set to go head to head with their respective sales this week. The Big Freedom Sale is Flipkart’s answer to Amazon’s Great Indian Sale, which was announced this week. With both e-commerce giants wrestling for a share of your wallet, it means better discounts for all. The Flipkart Big Freedom Sale starts on August 9 and ends on August 11. Discounts on several high-profile mobile devices are already listed on Flipkart.

This includes the Moto M and Moto G5 Plus, usually priced at Rs. 15,999 and Rs. 16,999 respectively, will be available for Rs. 12,999 and Rs. 14,999 respectively during the Flipkart sale. In addition to this, the Lenovo K5 Note (Rs. 12,499) can be purchased at Rs. 9,999, while K6 Power (Rs. 9,999) will have a Rs. 1,000 discount and will be up for grabs at Rs. 8,999. Google Pixel XL’s price will be slashed from the official Rs. 67,000 to Rs. 48,999 during the Flipkart sale. The company is hinting iPhone 6 32GB will get a price cut too. Furthermore, the Redmi Note 4 sale will run through the duration of the Flipkart sale with buyers getting Rs. 1,000 over the exchange value of their old phone.

This isn’t all, TVs and laptops see discounts too, with the company teasing bargains on the Sony HD Ready LED Smart TV, Vu’s 45-inch UDH Smart TV, Intel Core i3 laptops, the Canon 1300D DSLR camera, and Skullcandy headphones to name a few. Flipkart will be running Spotlight of the Hour deals, and providing new arrivals and exclusive launches in TV and mobile phone categories during the Big Freedom Sale.

Meanwhile, the Amazon Great Indian Sale will see upto 35 percent on iPhone models and upto Rs. 5,000 off on Lenovo smartphones. Discounts of upto Rs. 2,000 on Samsung, OnePlus, and Moto phones will also be available too and Honor models see upto Rs. 1,000 off. Samsung and BPL TVs will have their prices slashed by up to 35 percent, while Sanyo and TCL televisions will have discounts of up to 33 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Laptops by Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP will be up to 20 percent cheaper during the Amazon sale.

Let’s see what else made else made the news today.

Airtel offers 84GB data for 84 days at Rs. 399 to beat Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer
Another week, another plan to counter Reliance Jio. This time it’s Airtel. The company has announced a new plan that offers 84GB of data for 84 days at Rs. 399. Users will get unlimited local and STD calls and 84GB of data, with an FUP of 1GB per day. Airtel has clarified that the new prepaid plan offer is applicable only on 4G SIMs and cannot be clubbed with any other plan or offered by the company.

New iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone SE refresh rumours
In the run up to Apple’s yearly iPhone event, a flurry of leaks have given us an idea of what to expect. The latest, derived from the HomePod’s firmware code that was inadvertently made public, has suggested that the iPhone 8’s Face ID recognition system will work even if the phone lies flat. The code contains words ‘resting’ and ‘unlock’. Another leak shows the vertical dual camera alignment of the iPhone 8, and comes from tipster Benjamin Geskin. The smartphone appears to have two camera sensors on the rear panel, with Geskin adding the smaller represents the wide-angle lens, and the larger represents the telephoto lens.

The iPhone 7s Plus could use wireless charging according to dummy images via tipster Sonny Dickson. The dummy is seen to sport a glass back, pointing to the inclusion of the wireless charging feature that’s long been anticipated for the iPhone series.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s Plus aren’t the only phones to see leaks. The budget-focussed iPhone SE may see a refresh early next year according to a report that cites the company’s supply chain. The report adds that India will be the first market to receive the new iPhone SE before it is made available more broadly, and it will be manufactured by Wistron at its Bengaluru facility. The new iPhone SE will reportedly start shipping in the first quarter of next year. Wistron is the same supplier that started assembling current-gen iPhone SE units in the country earlier this year.

Paytm now lets you automatically add money to your wallet, send post cards
Paytm has added postcards on both iOS and Android versions of its app. If you are wondering what these postcards do, they essentially allow you to send money to your loved ones with customisation options and personalised text messages. Alongside, the company also introduced Paytm Automatic, which automatically tops up your Paytm wallet balance. Only available on the Android app at the moment, Paytm Automatic will let users set a particular amount as a minimum balance for the wallet, and also set the recharge amount whenever the balance dips below the minimum. This would essentially top-up the user’s balance whenever it’s running low.

OnePlus 5 OxygenOS 4.5.8 update rollout begins after game stutter issue
The OxygenOS 4.5.8 update for the OnePlus has begun rolling out after the company halted the OxygenOS 4.5.7 update earlier due to a game stutter issue. This new update brings the same changes as the bug-laden update, sans the game stutter issue of course.

In its post on official forum, OnePlus said regarding the OxygenOS 4.5.8 update, “OxygenOS 4.5.7 was withdrawn, we are pushing out the incremental roll-out of OxygenOS 4.5.8 OTA for the OnePlus 5 instead.” To recall, earlier this month, it was reported that OnePlus started rolling out its OxygenOS 4.5.7 update the ability to record videos in 4K resolution with electronic image stabilisation (EIS) on OnePlus 5.

LG Q6 India launch set for Thursday
LG Q6, which is amongst LG’s first Q-Series phones, is coming to India this week. Its exclusive online retail partner Amazon is teasing an August 10 launch while detailing that India will be getting the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant. In case you missed all the hype last month, LG’s Q-Series bring a lot of premium features seen in the flagship G-Series in a more affordable package. The LG Q6 variant launching in India also supports dual-SIM cards, and runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

Amazon India officially launches ‘Local Finds’
Amazon India has finally made its Local Finds platform open to customers in India. Local Finds is a platform that allows Amazon users in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai to find and sell used and new goods to others in their city. Amazon takes care of delivery and payments for Local Finds transactions. The company boasts that customers are adding “hand crafted and rare products” daily. The Bengaluru pilot prior to Local Finds officially launching saw roughly 600 sellers, and up to launch, it has seen 30,000 customers use the service across all four cities.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to feature in-screen fingerprint sensor: KGI
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone will see an under-display fingerprint sensor instead of the Galaxy S9 according to a report from KGI Securities. As per KGI’s report, Samsung doesn’t have to risk the quick implementation of the under-the-display fingerprint scanner with Galaxy S series models as Apple planned to with the iPhone 8. The firm predicts Samsung will place the fingerprint scanner at the rear of the Galaxy S9 flagship models next year, just like it did with Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

However, in its report, KGI has said that the Galaxy S9 models will come with some other selling points including advanced iris recognition as well as dual cameras. These features have been said to buy the company the time it needs to introduce an under-the-display fingerprint scanner in a manner that’s market-ready.

TRAI calls on speed test apps to understand their methodologies
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is calling major speed test apps for a presentation to “understand” their methodology. This should result in a “paper” that will be made available publicly in the months to come. The sector regulator plans to meet 7-8 mobile Internet speed testing firms, including Ooklaover the next one or two months, in this regard. The move assumes significance as Airtel has used Ookla results in the past to assert itself as fastest network, a claim contested by Reliance Jio. TRAI hopes that its initiative would not only help raise consumer awareness about the various apps and choices available to users but could also lead to improvements in its MySpeed app.

Apple Watch Series 3 said to sport LTE connectivity
Apple is said to be planning to launch a version of the Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. This will reduce its reliance on the iPhone according to those familiar with the matter. Intel will reportedly supply LTE modems for the new watch. Apple is in talks with carriers in the US and Europe. It could choose to debut its new watch models alongside the new iPhone like it did last year.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Airtel to launch Rs 1000 4G feature phone to take on Reliance Jio? All you need to know

jio phone, airtel phone, Reliance Jio phone, Airtel 4G feature phone, micromax, intex, Reliance Industries Limited, Mukesh Ambani, Bharti airtel, jio phone booking, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani took the nation by storm when he announced to launch Rs 1500 Jio Phone. But, now a report is doing the rounds that telecom giant Airtel is coming up with a Rs 1000 phone to take on rival Jio. According to a report in Phone Radar, Airtel is coming up with a 4G feature phone to give a competition to Reliance Jio 4G feature phone. Moreover, Phone Radar report claims that Airtel may join hands with Micromax or Intex for the manufacturing of the 4G feature phone. If this happens, it will be a win-win scenario for phone users as the fierce competition between the two telecom giants – Airtel and Jio – will eventually give users a big benefit as there will be no monopoly of any telecom provider. Mukesh Ambani on Friday had announced the launch of Jio Phone, offering life-long free voice calls bundled with 4G data streaming at an effective price of zero.

Jio phone, targeted at 50 crore feature phone users in the country, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 on payment of a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500. The JioPhone will be available for user testing in beta mode from August 15.

This deposit will be refunded after 36 months on return of the phone, Mukesh Ambani had said, adding that the price of the phone will be effective zero.

Reliance Jio, the fourth-generation telecom arm of Reliance Industries, will provide unlimited data on the phone for Rs 153 per month.

Ambani had taken the telecom sector by surprise with free voice calls and data last year. Jio already has 125 million users since its launch in September last year.

Source:-financialexpress