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Honor 9i Review: A first with 4 cameras, edge-to-edge display

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New Delhi, Oct 13: While some of us were thinking smartphone innovation is slowly running out of steam, Huawei has debuted “Honor 9i” with a dual camera set-up in the front as well as the rear, along with bezel-less display.

In the mid-price segment, the device is the first in India to come with a quad-camera system and bezel-less “FullVision” display for an immersive viewing experience.

At Rs 17,999 and with many firsts, how does Honor 9i fare when it comes to real-world performance?

Here is what we think of it.

The smartphone’s 5.9-inch FHD+ edge-to-edge display coupled with the 2.5D curved glass caught our attention the moment we switched the phone on.

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The display is bright, has accurate colour reproduction and good sunlight legibility.

“Honor 9i” has beautifully accommodated a big screen into a small frame and how! The device has 83 per cent screen-to-body ratio which, interestingly, is at par with flagship Android smartphones from the stables of Samsung, LG and others.

The metal unibody build of the device exudes a premium feel.

The smartphone has antenna bands running at the top and bottom of the device, similar to what we have seen in the Honor 8 Pro.

The 16MP + 2MP vertical dual camera set-up at the rear captured good images in daylight with enough details and good colour balance.

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The additional 2MP sensors on both front and rear captured depth data to produce images with “Bokeh” effect.

The rear shooter has handy features such as night-shot, panorama, HDR, portrait mode, pro-photo, capture smiles, light painting, time-lapse, slow-mo and watermark, among others.

An interesting addition is the “moving picture” feature that is similar to what we first saw in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. It lets the user create a moving image instead of capturing a still photo.

Honor 9i’s camera performance did not disappoint us much in low-light conditions either (we would have loved more detailed pictures, though).

The 13MP + 2MP selfie camera equipped with “selfie toning” flash — which is diffused white light for imaging in low-light conditions — is quite capable.

However, there was loss of details in the selfies when the “beauty level” was set to the highest.

It is impressive to see a decent 3,340mAh battery crammed into a fairly slim 7.5-mm body.

We did not find the phone getting heated while browsing videos or playing games.

The fingerprint sensor is very accurate and unlocks the device in a snap.

Huawei’s own mid-range “Hisilicon Kirin 659” chipset powers the device and does it well. The phone handled day-to-day tasks with ease.

We did not find any significant sluggishness while browsing the internet, running multiple applications and social media accounts.

Honor 9i sports 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via Micro-SD card) which is quite standard for a smartphone in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.

The device runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system (OS) with the company’s custom EMUI 5.1 skin.

What does not work?

The 3,340mAh battery lasted only around 16-17 hours on single charge.

Considering the price, lack of a USB Type-C port in the device was disappointing.

Conclusion: Honor 9i’s solid frame with no visible creaks and taller-than-wide built is a delight to see and use. A capable camera and wholesome experience make it an interesting alternative to Nokia 6 and Moto G5S Plus.

IANS

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Microsoft AI helping Indian farmers increase crop yields

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New Delhi, Dec 17: New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Machine Learning, Satellite Imagery and advanced analytics are empowering small-holder farmers in India to increase their income through higher crop yield and greater price control, Microsoft India said.

In a few dozen villages in Telengana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, farmers are receiving automated voice calls that tell them whether their cotton crops are at risk of a pest attack, based on weather conditions and crop stage.

In Karnataka, the government can get price forecasts for essential commodities such as tur (split red gram) three months in advance for planning the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“Sowing date as such is very critical to ensure that farmers harvest a good crop. And if it fails, it results in loss as a lot of costs are incurred for seeds, as well as the fertilizer applications,” Suhas P. Wani, Director, Asia Region, of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), said in a Microsoft blog post.

The non-profit ICRISAT conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world.

In collaboration with ICRISAT, Microsoft has developed an AI-Sowing App powered by Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including Machine Learning and Power BI.

“The app sends sowing advisories to participating farmers on the optimal date to sow. The best part – the farmers don’t need to install any sensors in their fields or incur any capital expenditure. All they need is a feature phone capable of receiving text messages,” the company said.

To calculate the crop-sowing period, historic climate data spanning over 30 years – from 1986 to 2015 – for the Devanakonda area in Andhra Pradesh was analysed using AI.

To determine the optimal sowing period, the Moisture Adequacy Index (MAI) was calculated.

MAI is the standardised measure used for assessing the degree of adequacy of rainfall and soil moisture to meet the potential water requirement of crops.

This data is then downscaled to build predictability and guide farmers to pick the ideal sowing week.

This year, ICRISAT has scaled sowing insights to 4,000 farmers across Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the Kharif crop cycle (rainy season).

Predictive analysis in agriculture is not limited to crop growing alone.

The Karnataka government will start using price forecasting for agricultural commodities, in addition to sowing advisories for farmers in the state.

Commodity prices for items such as tur, of which Karnataka is the second largest producer, will be predicted three months in advance for major markets in the state, Microsoft said.

Microsoft has developed a multivariate agricultural commodity price forecasting model to predict future commodity arrival and the corresponding prices.

The model uses remote sensing data from geo-stationary satellite images to predict crop yields through every stage of farming.

The model currently being used to predict the prices of tur, is scalable, and time efficient and can be generalised to many other regions and crops.

IANS

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Increased customs duty a statutory industry-wise hike, says Apple

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New Delhi, Dec 16: A day after the finance ministry decided to increase the customs duty from 10 per cent to 15 per cent on mobile phone, tech giant Apple said its is a statutory industry-wise hike.

“There is no comment on this as it’s a statutory industry-wise duty hike,” an Apple official told IANS.

The notification issued by the Department of Revenue said customs duty will increase from 10 per cent to 15 per cent for mobile handsets.

At present, Apple is assembling iPhone SE model at its Bengaluru facility in collaboration with Wistron Corporation, its Taiwanese manufacturing partner.

The Cupertino-based iPhone maker is also seeking tax relief and other incentives from the central government to commence assembling more handsets in the country.

Experts say that with this decision, Apple has two choices.

“Apple will either have to increase the price of handsets or start assembling more in the country,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research, had told IANS.

However, domestic and some China-based manufacturers will not be affected as most of them are assemble a lot in the country, including South Korean giant Samsung.

“They just need to rev up their assembly lines,” Pathak further added.

WeForNews

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Google Maps to alert you when to get off the bus

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San Francisco, Dec 16: Google Maps is adding a helpful new feature for commuters who tend to lose track of time during bus or train ride. It will now send a push notification when the user is approaching their destination.

“It’s much easier for mass transit travellers to doze off or get distracted and miss their intended stop. Now, you’ll get a notification that’ll make staying on the train or bus too long less likely,” The Verge reported late on Friday.

Google Maps provide turn-by-turn notifications for driving directions and now, the addition will make the app send a push notification when the user is approaching their stop.

This feature will especially help Android users when they use public transit.

Log into Google Maps on Android smartphone, enter destination, select directions for transit and tap on the route you want to take to use the new feature.

The concept, however, is not completely new.

Transit — a public transit app and mapping service based in Canada has a “Go” feature that takes the user through every step of a bus or subway ride.

IANS

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