Xiaomi sold more than 10 million smartphones in India
It’s a record performance for the company
The company also reached a milestone in India
September was a big month for Xiaomi. The Chinese smartphone maker shipped more than 10 million smartphones last month across all the markets where it operates, Xiaomi’s chief executive officer Lei Jun said.
A thrilled and happy Jun, who shared the announcement, thanked employees and partners. The company also reached a major milestone in India. Roughly three years after entering the nation, Xiaomi’s vice president and India head Manu Kumar Jain said the company had shipped more than 25 million smartphones in the country.
The big jump in sales comes as people in South Asian countries including India begin to prepare for the festival season. In India, for instance, Amazon India and Flipkart have been cashing in on the festive season, giving customers lucrative discounts with sales past and sales to come. Xiaomi said last month it had sold more than one million handsets in just two days, a major improvement over its performance in the country last year, when it took 18 days to sell one million smartphones.
Even as Xiaomi has always been known as a company which plays very aggressively, offering some of the best hardware at the price point, the company has appeared more focused in the recent months. It recently launched the Mi Mix 2, a bezel-less smartphone, and Mi A1, its first Android One smartphone for markets like India.
The recent development will help the company better compete with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which recently posted better sales than Apple. The company shipped north of 73 million smartphones in the first two quarters of this year, averaging more than 12 million handset shipments in a month. According to marketing research firm Strategy Analytics, Huawei shipped 38.4 million handsets in Q2 2017, while Oppo shipped 29.5 million handsets. In comparison, Xiaomi had shipped 23.16 million handsets in the quarter that ended in June.
For those who daily drive a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission, it’s likely a common practice. Rather than rowing through all five or six gears, drivers will skip from third to fifth, fourth to sixth and so on.
But is this practice safe to do? Engineering Explained tackled the common practice in its latest episode and the short answer is yes, it’s perfectly okay to skip gears when upshifting or downshifting. However, both practices should be undertaken with a little bit of background knowledge. For those who have years of experience working a manual gearbox, this may seem like common sense, but for others it’s good information.
When skipping a gear with a manual transmission, it should be noted the revs will take slightly longer to drop from the high revs to the lower revs. If you shift from third to fifth gear and let the clutch out at the same speed as normal, the car will jerk as it works to settle the unbalance. Instead, waiting just a tad longer to let the clutch out will keep things matched equally as the gearbox moves to meet a lower rev level.
When down shifting, it’s a little more tricky. Rev matching is essential when shifting from a low to high gear. For example, if you’re driving along the highway and you want to pass a slower moving vehicle, a shift from fifth to third may be in order. Rev matching the engine to the clutch will keep the car from jerking, and in the worst case, locking up the wheels. When the clutch speed and engine speed meet, they should be in near-perfect harmony. Plus, no one looks good under revving a car while down shifting. Clutch wear will also creep up on you, too.
Finally, another common question is answered: can you start moving from a standstill in a gear other than first? Again, the answer is yes, but it’s going to cause slightly more clutch wear. In first gear, the clutch can be completely released at a lower speed, while in second gear, it takes longer for the engine and clutch to match. It’s not an ideal thing to do, but there aren’t detrimental side effects either. With all of this said, happy shifting.
On exam results day, education correspondent Jamie McIvor asks a fundamental and unfashionable question: is it a good thing that more youngsters than ever before stay on at school or go to college and university?
Exam passes are high by historic standards, more youngsters are staying on at school and going to college or university.
Is this a good thing in itself? Or is the education system simply having to adapt to the fact that in the modern world there are fewer good jobs for young people, and that unskilled jobs are disappearing?
It is an interesting philosophical question to contemplate – one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all young people can achieve their potential in education, regardless of wealth or family background.
Where to go for help on exam results day
The suspicion of some has always been that the education system has had to soak up youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed – either because of economic problems or the gradual disappearance of some unskilled jobs.
In the 1970s the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16 but it took a further 10 years for a qualifications system which had been designed with the more academically-able in mind to evolve.
For many years, youngsters who were not able to study for a full suite of O grades filled their third and fourth year timetables with “non certificate” courses – seen by some as a waste of effort. The boredom these students experienced was blamed by some teachers for indiscipline.
Standard grades were designed to make sure all youngsters could get a meaningful qualification. This underlying ethos has been carried into the current National qualifications.
But in the 1980s it was still unusual for a youngster who was not studying for Highers to stay on until S5. When someone who was not doing Highers stayed on past their statutory leaving age, again the suspicion of some was that the youngster was only at school to “stay off the dole”.
In Scotland the official school leaving age is still 16, but the majority of pupils, regardless of their academic ability, stay on until S6. It is now unusual to leave at the end of S4 and schools would be genuinely concerned if a youngster wanted to leave early without a good reason for doing so.
S4, S5 and S6 are now classed as the “senior phase”. The emphasis is on the qualifications a youngster has at the time they leave – not on what they have achieved by a particular stage.
The number of so-called Neets – youngsters who are not in education, employment or training – is at a very low level by historic standards.
The Scottish government guarantees youngsters who are not in a job a place in education or training. It is often the case that a pupil classed as a Neet has a long back story which helps explains the situation.
If a pupil leaves school before the end of S6 because they have secured an apprenticeship or a place at college or university it would be deemed to be a “positive outcome”; if a youngster simply wanted to leave school for a dead-end job a school might worry this was a failure on their part as the pupil may not have been enjoying their education.
The senior phase is designed to offer a flexible system where any youngster can achieve something of value.
For the most academically-able, the question may be what Highers or Advanced Highers they leave school with. For others, it might be about the number of National 4s and 5s they obtain – even one Higher might represent a big personal achievement.
Colleges have been through a huge shake-up in recent years and now concentrate primarily on full-time courses which lead to a recognised qualification – these are mostly taken by students in their teens or early 20s.
Privately, some in the college system warn that colleges are having to accommodate youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed, as well as those who positively want to be studying a subject. This may be reflected in the drop-out rate for some courses.
So we return to the question: is a school system where it is unusual for a youngster to leave early and a college system which has to find places for those who would otherwise be unemployed achieving something positive in itself?
Or is it merely parking the youth unemployment problem, just like non certificate S4 classes in the 1970s?
Few in the mainstream would seriously argue that educational opportunities should not be as widely available as possible.
But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it was possible to leave school with O grades and get a job with prospects. Not so long ago, many good jobs were available to youngsters with good Highers.
Today, other than modern apprenticeships, most good jobs for young people require a college or university qualification first.
So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of economic change?
De-industrialisation and automation mean many of the unskilled, entry level jobs once filled by school-leavers no longer exist.
Or are the changes positively helping to provide the workforce the economy needs?
The argument is that Scotland, like every advanced country, needs as skilled a workforce as possible to compete internationally and fulfil its potential.
A skilled workforce does not just mean turning out scientists and surgeons – it means hairdressers and staff for the hospitality industry too.
Once, fewer people in those industries would have received any formal college training and might simply have learned on the job or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper course and training raises standards and allows the best to shine.
Anecdotally, of course, many of the genuinely unskilled jobs which those with few qualifications may once have done – say stacking shelves in the supermarket – are now done by students or those with college or university qualifications who find themselves “underemployed” .
Indeed, while the number of young people at university is close to a historic high, a significant proportion of graduates do not secure what would be seen as graduate-level jobs even if few would do unskilled work for long.
None of this is to suggest a good education is not of value in itself – even if it does not lead to someone getting a better job than they may have got otherwise.
But perhaps it is interesting to reflect on how in the space of barely 40 years, the time someone routinely spends in education has increased. Once, a basic education ended at 15; now few teenagers are completely out of the system.
SoundCloud, the world’s biggest music-streaming service, is still struggling to find a business model – it now has enough cash to last until fourth quarter, after laying off 40 percent of its staff, a representative said on Thursday.
The Berlin-based start-up is different from rivals Apple, Spotify, and Amazon in that it relies more on amateur musicians, for whom it provides a rare platform, and less on major commercial artists.
But like them, it has yet to turn a profit. The big music labels on which most of the services depend – themselves under pressure from the shift to digital music – strike hard bargains.
And SoundCloud – which said three years ago it had an audience of 175 million, a figure it has not updated – lacks either Spotify’s large base of paying subscribers or the deep pockets of Apple and Amazon that can subsidise their music services.
Last week, SoundCloud said it was firing 173 staffers and closing its London and San Francisco offices to focus on Berlin and New York. “We’re on our path to profitability and in control of SoundCloud’s independent future,” co-founder Alex Ljung wrote in a blog post.
Technology website TechCrunch reported, however, that staff were told at a meeting this week that the layoffs only saved the company enough cash to hold out until the fourth quarter.
A spokeswoman the SoundCloud declined to comment on the TechCrunch article in depth. She did say, “SoundCloud is fully funded into the fourth quarter. We continue to be confident the changes made last week put us on our path to profitability and ensure SoundCloud’s long-term viability.”
She declined to comment on funding beyond the end of the year.
The news has reignited speculation that SoundCloud will be acquired by a rival. It was targeted by Spotify last year in a bid that was later aborted.
Spotify, recently valued at $13 billion, is now planning a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year or in early 2018, sources told Reuters in May.
“The biggest problem I see is that the financial problems will absorb much of management’s time in trying to raise more money, meaning that the real problems of the business go unaddressed,” independent technology analyst Richard Windsor wrote in a note.
“Of all the potential suitors, I think Google makes the most sense,” he said, noting SoundCloud’s similarity to Google’s YouTube in its focus on user-generated content. “Google will probably be most able to monetise what SoundCloud cannot.”
SoundCloud, which was launched in 2008 and has never said how many paying subscribers it has, last month launched a budget subscription package in the hope of persuading more listeners to convert from the free service.
SoundCloud raised $100 million last June from a group of investors including Twitter, valuing the company at roughly $700 million (roughly Rs. 4,510 crores), according to Re/code.
In March, it raised a further $70 million in debt from Ares Capital, Kreos Capital and DavidsonTechnology to meet its expected 2.5 times year-on-year revenue growth in 2017, a company spokeswoman said.
Co-founder Alex Ljung said in a public interview at the Tech Open Air conference in Berlin this week that the company was fundraising, although he declined to comment on a rumour it was trying to raise $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,610 crores).