iPhone 7 Plus Sales Like Butter Cake

The preliminary numbers are in, and Apple's latest iPhone looks like a pleasant surprise and a dud. It all depends on whom you ask.

Analysts' estimates vary on initial sales of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, underscoring an ongoing debate on whether the model is a hit or merely a bridge to next year's highly anticipated 10-year-anniversary version of iPhone.

On Friday, the glass was half-empty. Investors dumped shares on heavy volume after a market research firm in Germany, GfK, reportedly showed soft sales in Europe for iPhone 7. Apple shares (AAPL), which had climbed 6% since the company's Sept. 7 launch event, lost 1.7% to $112.71 and dragged on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Angelo Zino, senior equity analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, forecast global sales of 13 million units for the first weekend after iPhone 7 and 7 Plusses hit stores on Friday Sept. 16.  He noted Apple was initially shipping the new models to 28 countries this year, compared with a dozen last year, which could further strain supplies, and he predicted low single-digit declines in year-over-year iPhone sales for the September and December quarters.

“I've owned every iPhone since the first, and this is my tipping point. I'm headed to Android,” says Erick Sanchez, 30, a communications consultant in Washington, D.C., who started a petition to bring back the headphone jack missing from iPhone 7. “I love Apple, but I can't believe I'm at a point where I'm charging a phone, a watch, and a set of headphones while other companies are mastering wireless charging.”

But there were also plenty of optimists, sentiment that had buoyed shares for the last week.

"Steady positive news" from the U.S., UK and Japan "implies demand is stronger than thought" for iPhone 7, Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said in a note Thursday. He now expects Apple to sell 78 million iPhones for its December quarter, eclipsing analysts' consensus of 75 million.

"The travails of the Note 7 can only be helping," Kvaal said, alluding to the recall this month of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in the U.S. because of instances of burning batteries.

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said iPhone 7 stormed out of the gates in its opening weekend with 14.3 million unit sales, up 10% from the debut of iPhone 6S a year earlier.

"I was hesitant about the new operating system, but I'm happy with it," say Rachel Sobel, a 39-year-old writer in Boca Raton, Fla., who pre-ordered an iPhone 7 Plus to replace her iPhone 6.

Apple chose not to report first-weekend iPhone sales, as it has the past years, because it is "at a point where we know before taking the first customer pre-order that we will sell out of iPhone 7,” Apple said in a statement Thursday. “These initial sales will be governed by supply, not demand, and we have decided that it is no longer a representative metric for our investors and customers.”

Who's buying iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

A thumb-nail sketch of those buyers reveals deeply loyal Apple customers equally attracted to both models. Nearly all of them — 98%, the highest percentage of iPhone launch customers — already used iPhones. By comparison, the figure was 88% for the launch of iPhone 6S and 90% for both iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S, according to Munster’s report issued Monday.

Meanwhile, more than half, 54%, opted for iPhone 7 and 46% for iPhone 7 Plus -- essentially the reverse of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S launch.

Munster also found 65% of iPhone owners, displeased with modest improvements to the 7, said they won't upgrade to it this fall, up from 56% in July.

BlackBerry Priv Starts Receiving Android Marshmallow Update

 rajtechnews • On April 27, 2016   MOBILE 0


  • Priv gets several security, performance, and camera improvements.
  • The Marshmallow update comes with May Android security update.
  • The Marshmallow update will be available over-the-air (OTA).


BlackBerry on Tuesday announced that Priv users have started receiving the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update. The over-the-air (OTA) update is now available to users who bought their BlackBerry Priv via ShopBlackBerry.com. However, the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update will be coming to all major carriers offering Priv starting May 3.

The Canadian company says that the latest Android OS update will come with Android’s monthly security update for May. The company suggests users download the update via Wi-Fi to avoid unnecessary data charges. Users can manually check for updates via Settings > About > System update > Check for update.

To recall, the company kicked off its Android Marshmallow beta programme earlier this month, where it invited BlackBerry Priv owners to sign up for the Beta Zone program and contribute to testing Android 6.0 on the handset. Beta programme members report that they received an update of about 1.8GB that brought the new Android OS update apart from other changes. The biggest highlight of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Priv users in beta program is that it brings Android security update for May, which is yet to be rolled out for Nexus devices.

BlackBerry says that it has added several security, performance, and camera improvements with its latest update for Priv users.

Some of the features the update brings include customised personal data permissions via DTEK app by BlackBerry, and new S/MIME support in BlackBerry Hub which will let users digitally sign and encrypt emails. The update also brings enhanced BlackBerry Keyboard which now provides predictive typing, accuracy, and access to over 200 new and updated emojis. It also adds new Keyboard gestures including the new swipe capability that allows users to drag finger across the keys to enter words on the virtual and/or physical keyboard.

The Marshmallow update for Priv adds better cursor control for easier positioning and control. The new floating phone indicator shows phone’s mute status at a glance. For example, Priv users will see yellow when call is muted and green when it isn’t. The BlackBerry Hub adds new social media apps such as Instagram, Skype, Slack and Pinterest. The BlackBerry Launcher has been updated to better organise apps and widgets into Recent, Personal and Work sections.

The Marshmallow update for Priv also brings improvements to battery life of the device. Now, when the device is at rest, Doze will automatically put apps into sleep state to increase standby time. With media card encryption support, users will be able to secure their private documents. The update adds some camera upgrades as well including record videos at 24fps which BlackBerry touts is the standard “frame rate used in professional feature-length motion pictures.” The Priv will also support Slow-Motion videos and can record videos at 120fps and play them back at 30 fps. The company however notes that audio as of now is not supported for slow-motion video at this time.


OnePlus Exchange Scheme Offers Up to Rs. 16,000 for Your Old Smartphone

By rajtechnews • On April 18, 2016 • In MOBILE MOBILE 0

Chinese tech startup OnePlus has announced a buyback and exchange programme. Under the scheme, consumers can avail up to Rs. 16,000 off on exchange of their older smartphones for a newOnePlus One, OnePlus 2, or OnePlus X smartphone. OnePlus has partnered with ReGlobe and Amazon for the offer.

All you need to do is to order any of the three OnePlus smartphones from Amazon and note down the Order ID. On the mobile purchase page simply click on the “Mobile Buyback” scheme, click on “I Agree” after which the page will automatically redirect to the ReGlobe website.

There you can enter the details of the old smartphone you intend to exchange along with the Amazon Order ID to get the final quote of the OnePlus smartphone you ordered. You can then enter your contact details after which ReGlobe will get in touch with you to pick up the old smartphone. You will get the cash back directly from ReGlobe at the time of the pick up. OnePlus has teamed-up with ReGlobe previously for exchange offers as well.

Meanwhile, OnePlus appears to be already working on its OnePlus 3 smartphone. The OnePlus 3 isexpected to launch in the second quarter of this year according to Carl Pei, Co-Founder of OnePlus. Although Pei did not give a single detail about the upcoming handsets, he did mention the model will “captivate” users just as the company’s first handset, the OnePlus One, had. He added that the OnePlus 3 will feature a “new design” indirectly suggesting users not to expect anything on the similar tracks as the OnePlus 2.



Videocon Krypton V50DA, Krypton V50DC Launched at Rs. 5,999 and Rs. 6,099

By rajtechnews • On April 14, 2016 • In MOBILE MOBILE 0

Videocon on Wednesday launched two new budget smartphones, the Videocon Krypton V50DA and the Krypton V50DC – priced at Rs. 5,999 and Rs. 6,099 respectively. The Android 5.0 Lollipop-based dual-SIM handsets as per the company “line up to the brand’s mission of reaching out to the emerging smartphone users of the country who demand the best Android experience on affordable cost.”

The Videocon Krypton V50DA features a 5-inch FWVGA (854×480 pixels) resolution IPS display and is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6580 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, clubbed with 1GB of RAM. It houses 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). Also included are a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

On the connectivity front, the Krypton V50DA supports 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Micro-USB, GPS, A-GPS, and FM radio. The smartphone is backed by a 3000mAh battery that is rated to deliver up to 280 hours of standby time and up to 7.5 hours of talk-time. It measures 146×74.5×10.2mm.

As for the Videocon Krypton V50DC (seen above), the smartphone features the same display size and resolution, battery capacity, inbuilt storage space, CPU, RAM, and connectivity options. However, it features an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

“Videocon Mobile Phones is committed to take forward the power of smartphone mobility in the country. We are designing the smartphones, which are affordable and match with the needs of today’s dynamic consumers. As a consumer-first mobile brand, we will continue to bring the latest smartphone innovations at cost-effective pricing and reach out to mass markets in the country.By introducing consumer-focused devices like Videocon Krypton V50DA and Videocon Krypton V50DC, our focus is to introduce high on style smartphones on regular intervals to keep the momentum ongoing in Indian smartphone market,” said Jerold Pereira, Business Head, Videocon Mobile Phones.



HTC 10 With 5.2-Inch QHD Display, 12-UltraPixel Camera Launched

By rajtechnews • On April 13, 2016 • In MOBILE MOBILE 0

HTC on Tuesday unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC 10. Unlike previous flagships – HTC One M8 and HTC One M9, the new HTC 10 doesn’t include the ‘One’ or ‘M’ series monikers.

In a press statement, HTC says that the new flagship will come two variants featuring different Qualcomm Snapdragon processors catering to different markets, the HTC 10 and HTC 10 Lifestyle. The variants however feature the same design, audio, camera, and display, with a similar software experience and battery life.

The unlocked HTC 10 edition will be available from the company’s official website at $699 (approximately Rs. 46,500). It will be available in Glacier Silver and Carbon Grey. The company says that the handset will start shipping in early May and will come with HTC’s Uh Oh Protection, which will offer users one replacement at no charge within the first 12 months for a cracked screen or water damage. We can expect the company to announce the pricing of the HTC 10 Lifestyle. Apart from the HTC 10, the company also unveiled the Ice View case with a semi-transparent cover for the handset. HTC has not announced the price details for the case so far.

The HTC 10 smartphone in the US will come with the Snapdragon 820 processor while the Indian version of the flagship listed as HTC 10 Lifestyle will pack the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor. There are a few differences in both the variants based on region including SoC, RAM, storage, and sapphire lens in the rear camera.

The US variant of the HTC 10 is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor clocked at 2.2GHz. It comes in two configurations – one featuring 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and another with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Both the models supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 2TB). The India variant of the HTC 10 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor clocked at up to 1.8GHz and comes in 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage model.

For specifications, the HTC 10 features a 5.2-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) Super LCD 5 display with a pixel density of 564ppi. The smartphone also sports curved edge Gorilla Glass.

It comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with HTC Sense running on top and supports Nano-SIM. As touted in teasers, the HTC 10 sports a 12-UltraPixel laser autofocus camera with dual tone LED flash, BSI sensor and optical image stabilisation (OIS). It comes with f/1.8 aperture and Sapphire Lens (in some regions including India).

HTC says that the rear camera on the 10 is its new generation UltraPixels camera with 1.55 micron pixels. Other camera features include self-timer (up to 10 seconds), face detection, RAW format support, Auto HDR, and Hyperlapse. The new HTC 10 flagship also features Slow motion video with support for 720P at 120fps. There is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera as well featuring autofocus, BSI sensor, optical image stabilisation (OIS), and auto selfie (keep still or smile).

The HTC 10, as touted, features the BoomSound tech with the company claiming handset “engineered for audiophiles.” The BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition comes with Dolby Audio and three microphones with noise cancellation. The HTC 10 packs a 3000mAh battery which is rated to deliver a talk time of up to 21 hours on 3G networks and a standby time of up to 21 days on 3G. HTC adds that the 10 smartphone features Power saving mode as well as Extreme power saving mode. The HTC 10 also supports Quick Charge 3.0 with cool charge, which means improved thermal management. The company claims that the handset can be charged up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.

The company in its official release stresses that it reduced the number of duplicative and pre-loaded apps as well as bloatware. With HTC 10, the company introduced a new Freestyle Layout, which will no longer have an on-screen grid. The company is leaving it to the users to choose their own set of apps by allowing dragging icons, stickers and widgets anywhere on the home screen.

Connectivity options on the HTC 10 include Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, and 4G. The India listing of the HTC 10 Lifestyle confirms that the handset is compatible with 4G LTE bands in the country.



Micromax Canvas Spark 3 Review

By rajtechnews • On April 12, 2016 • In MOBILE MOBILE 0

One surefire way to tempt people to buy your product is to offer it at a low price, and that is exactly what practically every Android phone maker in India has been doing over the past year or two. We’re now seeing smartphones at the Rs. 5,000 mark which we wouldn’t have imagined seeing selling for even twice as much a little while ago.

The lower prices go, the more potential first-time buyers will take a leap. That means there are willing and able customers out there who don’t necessarily fit the mould that manufacturers have been catering to. Sensing an opportunity that foreign companies will take time to capitalise on, Micromaxhas been pushing out low-end phones with specific tweaks that it thinks will cater to newbies – particularly non-urban, non-English-speaking ones who have only ever used voice and maybe SMS services until now.

The new Canvas Spark 3, priced at just Rs. 4,999, could be just the right product for a huge number of buyers who have never before had a viable computing device that they could afford and use. We’re all for digital inclusiveness, so we’re really eager to see whether Micromax has managed to implement these strategies well.

Look and feel
Surprisingly for a Rs. 5,000 phone, the Canvas Spark 3 looks and feels pretty good. It doesn’t seem cheap or poorly fabricated like low-cost devices used to. The front is plain, and only the camera and earpiece tell you which way is up – navigation buttons are on-screen rather than capacitive touch points below the display. There’s very little blank space to the left and right of the screen, making it relatively easy to stretch across it with one thumb.

You won’t find this phone too heavy, and its curves makes it pretty comfortable to hold and use. A metallic band runs around the sides. You’ll find the power and volume buttons on the right, the audio socket on top, and the Micro-USB port at the bottom.

The rear is a removable plastic panel with a matte texture which allows for a decent grip. The camera and flash are up top, with a Micromax logo beneath them. Towards the bottom is a fairly large speaker grille. The two Micro-SIM slots and the microSD slot are beneath the cover, and you’ll have to pop the battery out each time you want to swap a card.

The Canvas Spark 3 comes with a charger, USB cable, headset, adhesive screen protector, and even a little microfibre cloth to wipe off smudges and fingerprints. That’s a decent package considering the price.

The Canvas Spark 3 uses a processor from Spreadtrum, a lesser-known Chinese chip design outfit. The SC7731G is fairly bare-bones, with four ARM Cortex-A7 CPU cores running at 1.3GHz, and a Mali-400MP2 GPU. The phone can handle two Micro-SIMs but there’s no support for 4G, which makes it a bit of an outlier in today’s market.

There’s 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. However, the phone only reports 4.76 GB of usable space, of which quite a bit is already occupied by system files leaving barely anything for users. This is the first phone we’ve reviewed in a really long time that didn’t have enough space for all our benchmarking apps and files. You’ll need a microSD card for sure, and so it’s a further disappointment to see that official support only goes up to 32GB.

The 5.5-inch screen has a resolution of 720×1280, which is one of the few bright spots on the spec sheet. The primary camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and you also get a 5-megapixel front camera. However, video recording only goes up to 720p with the rear camera and 480p with the front one.

You get Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The phone appears to lack an ambient light sensor, so brightness always has to be adjusted manually. The removable battery has a rated capacity of 2500mAh.

Micromax’s software choices are a bit confusing – the company seems to be targeting first-time Android users with the highly simplistic multi-language Indus launcher, but then there are some overly complicated apps and a whole bunch of features that would overwhelm any non-tech-savvy user.

First of all, the phone runs Android 5.1 but when you boot it up, you’ll see the custom Indus home screen with seven giant icons for basic functions. There’s a second home screen to the left, for no apparent reason, and sliding to the right takes you to the equivalent of a separate app drawer with its own pages that you scroll through horizontally. Each time you exit an app, you’re taken back to the leftmost home screen, so you have to swipe multiple times to get back to the page you were on, which is really slow. It’s a confusing navigation scheme, but at least app icons have a place to stay.

Support for home screen widgets seems to have been eliminated altogether. There’s an iOS-style dock with four oversized icons on the app drawer pages, but neither this nor the home screen layout can be customised at all. What’s most disappointing is that they just take you to the standard Android dialler, contacts, camera and messaging apps – the extent of UI simplification is literally only that the icons have been enlarged and pinned in place.

You can easily get to the Indus launcher settings, where you can select languages and tweak other basic settings, but the main Android settings icon has been hidden. You’ll have to pull down the notifications shade, pull down again to show quick shortcuts, and then use the Settings icon there. The Google Settings icon is still shown with the other apps, as if things weren’t confusing enough. Interestingly, there’s also an option in the Indus settings to switch to the stock AOSP launcher, which is a huge relief.

Local-language support is basically implemented the same way as we saw on the Micromax Unite 2(Review | Pictures) almost two years ago, except that the list has been pruned from 21 languages to 10. UI localisation is still spotty, with some labels changing language and others staying in English no matter what. You can select two primary languages and toggle between them quickly. The Indus keyboard is a little crude, but gets its job done.

Micromax has preloaded quite a lot of software, some of which is of little use and redundant. There’s the Indus app store, another one called App Center, and Micromax’s own M!Games and M!Live storefronts. There are also a few common apps and games: Amazon Shopping, OLX, Ixigo Cabs, Snapdeal, Hike, Quickr, Scandid, Opera Mini, Gaana, Clean Master, CM Security, CM Locker, and M Travel. Luckily, the third-party ones are all removable to reclaim space.

CM Locker replaces the standard lock screen with a far more complicated, interactive one. You’ll be prompted to give it permissions to handle notifications and other things. You can see detailed weather information if you swipe to the left, and there’s an iOS-lookalike shortcuts panel if you swipe upwards. There are also app shortcuts and little bits of information about charging status. It even has its own settings panel from which you can choose security settings and find themes, though these throw up a message saying they won’t work unless you install CM Launcher, which is bound to confuse users. There are also ads, which seems like a running theme across Micromax’s software selection.

CM Locker displays ads on your lock screen, but what’s worse though is that some of the other preloaded apps constantly spam you with ads in the form of system notifications. We received around 10 such alerts each day, pushing app downloads and offering “services” such as Bollywood gossip and dating tips – all for monthly fees. At one point we were “challenged” to earn prizes by turning on a battery saving mode and then share that “achievement” to social media.

Clean Master and CM Security also send notifications about things like purging apps from RAM, which will unnecessarily worry users. CM Security has some useful features like grabbing photos of people who try to guess your passcode, but is also blatantly misleading in some ways, with a “Wi-Fi Security” module that did nothing but run a speed test (over 3G, no less) and then suggest that we download unrelated apps listed as “recommended features”. Yeesh.

First of all, this phone lags a lot. Popping out of an app to the home screen can sometimes take a few seconds. A lot of apps struggle to function even in basic tasks, such as swiping through the photo gallery. This might be partly because of the CM Security app which runs in the background and seems to interact with running processes – we ran the pre-installed Snapdeal app and it threw up a message warning us that it was malicious and “may lead to financial losses and privacy leakage”.

The phone’s display is pretty low-quality. Dark scenes in videos look artificial, and viewing angles are extremely poor. That said, at least the 720×1280 resolution ensures that things aren’t too grainy, and we’re glad to have at least that much on a phone this affordable. The built-in speaker gets surprisingly loud. Sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s good enough for games and voices in videos, if not music.

Benchmark tests showed that the Canvas Spark 3’s hardware is just barely able to keep things running. We got 21,603 points in AnTuTu and 5,023 overall in Quadrant. 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme just about managed to run, with a very weak result of 1,768 points, and GFXBench managed only 6fps. 3D gaming is simply out of the question – you really shouldn’t expect to do anything beyond the most basic things with this phone.

Battery life was fairly decent, at 7 hours, 13 minutes in our video loop test. The screen is by far the biggest drain on the battery, and so with regular usage, we found that the phone lasted through a full day with no complaints – not that we did any gaming or anything intense during that time.(Tap to see full-sized images)

The phone’s cameras were not quite as bad as we had expected. Focusing takes a while and there is significant shutter lag as well, so forget about spontaneous shots. On the other hand, quality is okay in the daytime. We needed steady hands and relatively even lighting to avoid complicated exposures, but at least colours were okay and there wasn’t too much artificial compression. Low-light capabilities are practically non-existent, and you’ll need direct illumination in order to be able to make anything out. Video was a bit grainy, which was to be expected.

We have to keep in mind that a huge proportion of the potential market for the Canvas Spark 3 has not only never used a smartphone before, but might never have used any kind of computer. While it certainly is remarkable that we can now buy a device of this kind for less than Rs. 5,000, the reality is that there’s a lot that this phone cannot do – and we don’t mean just its weak performance.

The messy software will not help anyone that it is targeted at, namely first-time users and those who aren’t comfortable with English. There’s so much more needed to make this experience than just a couple of fonts and oversized buttons. The Micromax Canvas Spark 3 could have been a much better product if just a little more thought had been put into things like identifying and catering to the needs of its target audience, rather than trying to cram in as much adware as possible.

Those who already have at least a passing familiarity with Android and just want a really low-cost phone will find the Micromax Canvas Spark 3 adequate. It can do the basics, has a serviceable camera, and doesn’t seem like it will fall apart soon after being bought. That said, models priced even at Rs. 7,000-8,000 offer a whole lot more bang for the buck.