Xiaomi Mi Crowdfunding Launched in India: Here’s How it Works

Xiaomi Mi Crowdfunding Launched in India: Here's How it Works

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Xiaomi brings crowdfunding platform to India
  • It will sell “innovation-driven” products using consumer’s support
  • Offer currently available on two products

Xiaomi on Wednesday launched a new programme in India called ‘Mi Crowdfunding.’ With the new feature, users will be able to help the Chinese manufacturer in deciding which products it should release in India. Xiaomi will keep posting a curated list of “innovation-driven” products that it will sell only when a certain number of people are interested. If a particular product fails to meet the criteria in a set timeline, the product will not be shipped and the customers will get their money back. The crowdfunding platform has been launched as part of the Xiaomi Mi Fan Festival, which will run from April 5 to April 6.

As of now, Xiaomi has put up two products that it is planning to bring in India, on its dedicated webpage. The first product is the Mi Selfie Stick Tripod, which the company has priced at Rs. 1,099. It is a selfie stick and tripod combined into one unit and comes with a Bluetooth shutter remote. It is equipped with Bluetooth 3.0, meaning it will support smartphones running Android 4.3 and higher, and iOS 5.0 and higher.

xiaomi tripod Mi Selfie Stick Tripod

Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod

The Mi Selfie Stick Tripod is able to rotate 360 degrees and comes with an adjustable grip to “accommodate the largest smartphones like Mi Max 2.” The product comes in only one Black colour variant, measures 45×49.5x190mm, and weighs 155 grams. Xiaomi promises that it will be shipped within 10 days of successful completion of the project.

Next is the Bluetooth Audio Receiver that has been priced at Rs. 999. The device, meant to provide wireless music, comes with a single key function that turns on the earphones, connects to Bluetooth, plays and pauses music, and answer calls as well. It comes with Bluetooth 4.2 to connectivity, and a headphone amplifier chip.

xiaomi bluetooth Xiaomi  Mi Bluetooth Audio Receiver

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Audio Receiver

Xiaomi claims that the 97mAh battery onboard can be fully charged within 2 hours and support 4 to 5 hours of playback. The device weighs 10 grams and comes with a 3.5mm audio jack. Users can pair up to two handsets but only one of them can be connected at one time. Notably, the product does not have the volume key function of Apple and Apple certified MFI earphones. It is available in a White colour variant.

To use the Mi Crowdfunding feature, first, you will have to select the product and click on ‘Support now’ to place your order. Following this, you can use any preferred online payment mode and pay within the defined timeline on the payment page. You will be able to come back anytime to check the project progress. Notably, a project is considered successful once the bar reaches 100 percent in the defined timelines. Also, in case you change your mind, you can cancel the order before it ships out.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Israeli Firm Says It Can Turn Garbage Into Bio-Based Plastic

Israeli Firm Says It Can Turn Garbage Into Bio-Based Plastic

Hawks, vultures and storks circle overhead as Christopher Sveen points at the heap of refuse rotting in the desert heat. “This is the mine of the future,” he beams.

Sveen is chief sustainability officer at UBQ, an Israeli company that has patented a process to convert household trash, diverting waste from landfills into reusable bio-based plastic.

After five years of development, the company is bringing its operations online, with hopes of revolutionising waste management and being a driver to make landfills obsolete. It remains to be seen, however, if the technology really works and is commercially viable.

UBQ operates a pilot plant and research facility on the edge of southern Israel’s Negev Desert, where it has developed its production line.

“We take something that is not only not useful, but that creates a lot of damage to our planet, and we’re able to turn it into the things we use every day,” said Albert Douer, UBQ’s executive chairman. He said UBQ’s material can be used as a substitute for conventional petrochemical plastics and wood, reducing oil consumption and deforestation.

UBQ has raised $30 million (roughly Rs. 195 crores) from private investors, including Douer, who is also chief executive of Ajover Darnel Group, an international plastics conglomerate.

Leading experts and scientists serve on its advisory board, including Nobel Prize chemist Roger Kornberg, Hebrew University biochemist Oded Shoseyov, author and entrepreneur John Elkington and Connie Hedegaard, a former European Commissioner for Climate Action.

The small plant can process one ton of municipal waste per hour, a relatively small amount that would not meet the needs of even a midsize city. But UBQ says that given the modularity, it can be quickly expanded.

On a recent day, UBQ Chief Executive Tato Bigio stood alongside bales of sorted trash hauled in from a local landfill.

He said recyclable items like glass, metals and minerals are extracted and sent for further recycling, while the remaining garbage – “banana peels, the chicken bones and the hamburger, the dirty plastics, the dirty cartons, the dirty papers” – is dried and milled into a powder.

The steely gray powder then enters a reaction chamber, where it is broken down and reconstituted as a bio-based plastic-like composite material. UBQ says its closely-guarded patented process produces no greenhouse gas emissions or residual waste byproducts, and uses little energy and no water.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by decomposing organic material in landfills. Roughly half is methane, which over two decades is 86 times as potent for global warming as carbon dioxide, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For every ton of material produced, UBQ says it prevents between three and 30 tons of CO2 from being created by keeping waste out of landfills and decomposing.

UBQ says its material can be used as an additive to conventional plastics. It says 10-15 percent is enough to make a plastic carbon-neutral by offsetting the generation of methane and carbon dioxide in landfills. It can be moulded into bricks, beams, planters, cans, and construction materials. Unlike most plastics, UBQ says its material doesn’t degrade when it’s recycled.

The company says converting waste into marketable products is profitable, and likely to succeed in the long run without government subsidies.

“What we do is we try to position ourselves at the end of the value chain, or at the end of the waste management hierarchy,” Sveen said. “So rather than that waste going to a landfill or being incinerated, that’s kind of our waste feedstock.”

The wonder plastic isn’t without its sceptics, however. Duane Priddy, chief executive of the Plastic Expert Group, said UBQ’s claims were “too good to be true” and likened it to alchemy.

“Chemists have been trying to convert lead to gold for centuries, without success,” Priddy, a former principal scientist at Dow Chemical, said in an email to The Associated Press. “Likewise, chemists have been trying to convert garbage to plastic for several decades.”

UBQ said it is confident its technology will prove the sceptics wrong. “We understand that’s people’s perceptions. We hope to convince them in a professional and scientific manner,” Sveen said.

Even if its technology is ultimately successful, UBQ faces questions about its long-term viability. Building additional plants could be expensive and time-consuming. It also needs to prove there is a market for its plastic products. The company said it is negotiating deals with major customers, but declined to identify them or say when the contracts would go into effect.

The UN Environment Program has made solid waste disposal a central issue to combatting pollution worldwide. Landfills contaminate air, water and soil, and take up limited land and resources. A December 2017 report by the international body devoted five of its 50 anti-pollution measures to reducing and processing solid waste.

“Every year, an estimated 11.2 billion tons of solid waste are collected worldwide,” the organisation says. “The solution, in the first place, is the minimisation of waste. Where waste cannot be avoided, recovery of materials and energy from waste as well as remanufacturing and recycling waste into usable products should be the second option.”

Israel lags behind other developed countries in waste disposal. The country of roughly 8 million people generated 5.3 million metric tons of garbage in 2016, according to the Environment Ministry. Over 80 percent of that trash ended up in increasingly crowded landfills. A third of Israel’s landfill garbage is food scraps, which decompose and produce greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.

To UBQ, that means a nearly limitless supply of raw material.

“The fact is that the majority of waste goes to a landfill or is leaked into our natural environments because there simply aren’t holistic and economically viable technologies out there,” said Sveen.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens is partnering with Amazon as it accelerates the rollout of its MindSphere industrial software platform, the core of its bid to dominate the market in digital factory automation.

The German group’s next version of MindSphere, to be launched in January, will run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the most popular cloud system with industrial software developers.

“Many customers appreciate it very much,” Siemens Chief Technology Officer Roland Busch told reporters and analysts at a company presentation in Munich on Friday. “You have to really scale up in order to justify your money.”

So far, MindSphere has run on the SAP cloud, and from April it will also run on Microsoft’s Azure.

MindSphere gathers data from devices, analyses the information and uses it to help customers optimise processes. Attracting a critical mass of developers to work on the platform is crucial to improving the quality of software applications.

MindSphere is one of a number of so-called Internet-of-Things platforms being developed by industrial companies racing to help their manufacturing customers improve productivity, where growth has been slowing in developed countries.

The technology was thrown into sharp focus in August by Emerson Electric’s failed $29 billion (roughly Rs. 1,85,767 crores) bid to buy Rockwell Automation.

The area is still in its infancy, with companies pursuing different strategies, although Siemens is generally considered to be leading the pack, helped by more than $5 billion (roughly Rs. 32,030 crores) of acquisitions in the past two years and by arch-rival General Electric’s partial retreat as it narrows focus.

Siemens said it was targeting 1.25 million connected devices and systems by the end of its fiscal year in September, up from 1 million currently, as it expands its offering – previously focused on autos and aerospace – to cover all sectors.

It is increasing research and development spending to over EUR 5.6 billion ($6.6 billion) this fiscal year from 5.2 billion last year, the lion’s share of which will go to its Digital Factory division.

Siemens says it made EUR 5.2 billion in digital revenues in the year to September. It has 23,000 in-house software developers, rivalling some of the world’s biggest pure-play software companies.

General Electric is reducing investment in its Predix industrial software platform by about $400 million (roughly Rs. 2,562 crores) this coming year to $1.2 billion (roughly Rs. 7,687 crores), and focusing solely on its own installed base of customers for the rollout.

Under new Chief Executive John Flannery, GE as a whole is narrowing its focus and shedding businesses with around $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,28,121 crores) in revenue.

GE aims to double Predix revenues to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,406 crores) in 2018.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Honor 9i First Impressions: Will It Leave a Mark in Sub-Rs. 20,000 Segment?

Honor 9i First Impressions: Will It Leave a Mark in Sub-Rs. 20,000 Segment?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Honor 9i has a 5.9-inch FullView display
  • It has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage
  • It sports dual cameras at the front and at the back

Honor 9i is the latest sub-Rs. 20,000 entrant to hit the Indian market, relying on features such as its four cameras, and bezel-less FullVision display. The company has been expanding aggressively in India, launching a handset for each key price point, such as the Honor 8 Pro in the sub-Rs. 30,000 segment. So, with the Honor 9i in its portfolio, will the Huawei-owned brand have enough firepower to make a last mark in the segment, which is dominated by the likes of Vivo, Oppo and Samsung? Find out in our Honor 9i first impressions.

 

With the 9i, Honor has a lot of firsts. For starters, this is the first device from the company to sport an 18:9 FullView display. It is also the first to launch with dual cameras at the back as well as the front. So how good is it in the real world? We got to spend some time with the Honor 9i at the company’s launch event and here are our first impressions.

The device looks quite premium. It also feels solid and has a good heft to it. There’s a 13-megapixel primary camera along with a 2-megapixel secondary one on the front, while the pair on the rear consist of a 16-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The camera bump on the back is positioned in the centre of the phone and protrude slightly. While it does seem to have a raised metal trim around it, we are curious to see how it holds up with regular use.

honor 9i front gadgets360 065017 125028 6660 Honor 9i

Power the device on and the big 5.9-inch display fires up giving you the first indication of how thin the borders around it are. Honor has followed the current market trend and opted for an 18:9 aspect ratio for its display. The different aspect ratio results in what’s called FHD+ resolution which is 1080×2160 pixels. At the bottom of the phone, you’ll find an old-style Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack along with the loudspeaker. Powering the Honor 9i is Huawei’sown Kirin 659 which is an octa-core processor. There is also 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which seems to be in line with similarly priced devices like the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Moto G5S Plus. You do get the option to expand storage using the hybrid dual-SIM slot, at the cost of a second SIM.

Honor has managed to cram in a 3340mAh battery which is good considering its thickness. In our brief time with the Honor 9i, it didn’t exhibit any abnormal drain or heating issues. However, we’ll hold our comments on battery life till we run it through our full review process.

Once powered on, you are treated to EMUI 5.1 running on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. While the basic functionality of the OS is the same, Honor has added a few features.

There are multiple gestures and shortcuts that can be used to get things done. Also, the higher resolution means that most apps will need to be stretched to make use of the entire screen.

honor 9i screen gadgets360 065017 125016 4358 Honor 9i

There is no doubt that the cameras are the highlight of this smartphone. With dual cameras on both sides, Honor is claiming that it is using hardware to create bokeh effects rather than software, which most other manufacturers use. We will test how much of a difference this makes when we conduct our full review.

Priced at Rs. 17,999, it does seem that this phone offers good hardware. With an 18:9 display and four cameras, the Honor 9i could tempt a lot of buyers looking for new features to play with. Stay tuned for our review to see how well it performs in the real world.

honor 9i back gadgets360 065017 125040 9741 Honor 9i

Disclosure: Honor sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the event in Goa.

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Huawei Honor 9i

Huawei Honor 9i

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

2.36GHz octa-core

Front Camera

13-megapixel

Resolution

1080×2160 pixels

RAM

4GB

OS

Android 7.0

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

16-megapixel

Battery Capacity

3340mAh

Also See
  • Motorola Moto G5 Plus (Lunar Grey, 32GB, 4GB RAM)
    Rs.16,999
  • Oppo F1S (Gold, 64GB) With offer –
    Rs.17,990

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]