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‘Redmi Y1’ Review: Pocket-friendly selfie smartphone from Xiaomi

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New Delhi, Nov 14: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has climbed to second spot in the Indian smartphone market after coming here nearly four years ago. The company has now expanded its budget line-up with the selfie-centric “Redmi Y” series.

The new Redmi Y1 device comes in two variants — 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage at Rs 8,999 and 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory variant at Rs 10,999.

At this price point for the 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM devices, Redmi Y1 essentially competes with “Canvas Infinity” from Micromax (which costs Rs 10,999) and Redmi Note 4 (Rs 9,999) — a hugely-popular Xiaomi device.

Does the device live up to its selfie hype? Let us find out.

Xiaomi’s maiden shot at catching up with the trend of selfie-focused smartphones does not go waste.

At first glance, the smatphone looks quite similar to the Redmi 4, but for a bigger-form factor that accommodates a 5.5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla glass on the top.

Redmi Y1 features a 16MP front camera with selfie light that captured detailed selfies and had accurate colour reproduction. Additionally, there are “smart” and “pro” modes that help in further smoothening the portrait shots.

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The front shooter has an aperture of f/2.0 and can record video at up to 1080p resolution.

The rear camera on the device is a 13MP sensor with phase detection auto focus (PDAF) and single-tone LED flash.

Similar to that of other Xiaomi devices, the camera app of Redmi Y1 houses modes such as “Panorama”, “Beautify” and “Manual”.

Images taken in day-light conditions had enough detail and good colour balance.

The device offers a metal unibody design with antenna bands running at the top and bottom on the rear side.

Interestingly, Redmi Y1 has a very light-form factor that makes handling it very easy. The fingerprint sensor at the back is quite handy and unlocks the phone fast.

The Snapdragon 435 processor does its job well in powering the device as well as keeping it cool while we played some power-intensive games such as “Prime Peaks”.

There was no noticeable stutter when we opened multiple tabs on the Chrome browser, streamed music and used social media apps.

Only the right bottom-firing speaker is functional which is capable enough to not let you miss calls.

The smartphone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat operating system (OS) with its custom MIUI 8 on top.

Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 9 upgrade that includes India-specific features that started rolling out from November 3 is likely to be rolled out for Redmi Y1 soon as well.

What does not work?

Photography in low-light conditions was pretty challenging for Redmi Y1’s primary camera. We noticed grain in the images while zooming in.

Xiaomi’s trademark navigation keys are placed below the display but they don’t support back-lit feature like the Redmi Note 4.

Conclusion: Redmi Y1 is a good attempt by the Chinese handset maker in manufacturing a budget phone which is not just about selfies. A light-form factor, decent specs — apart from a good selfie camera — make it a strong contender against other Android budget phones.

IANS

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‘Tech giants must spend real money on media literacy in India’

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New Delhi, Sep 22: To ensure smartphones remain a force for good, device makers need to spend some “real money” on media literacy in India so that people can take full advantage of the new technologies and learn to distinguish what messages to believe and what not, says the author of a new book on how the smartphone is changing the country.

“Media literacy should ideally start from elementary level in schools,” Ravi Agrawal, author of “India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy” told a gathering at The American Center here on Friday.

In the absence of such education, there could be misuse of technology, as evidenced by several cases of lynching incidents in India linked to rumours spread on WhatsApp, he said, while participating in a discussion on the impact of smartphones and the Internet on the Indian economy and society.

“Smartphones are doing to India what the automobiles did to America about a century ago. In fact, the power of smartphonoes in changing the lives of Indians has been stronger than that of automobiles and electricity,” said Agrawal, who is also the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

While smartphones have opened new doors of opportunities for millions of people in India, the transformative power of the device has not always been for good, he pointed out.

“There have been intense discussions in the developed countries on how smartphones have driven screen addiction among teenagers which has been linked to depression and other mental health issues. But such discussions are missing in India,” he said, highlighting how the country is ill-prepared to deal with the adverse effects of technology.

Agrawal’s book, published by the Oxford University Press, has three parts: Opportunity, Society and the State.

“While the smartphone has unleashed many positive changes, it has not been so successful in breaking the barriers of class and caste in connecting Indians to their fellow countrymen,” said Agrawal who worked as CNN’s New Delhi Bureau Chief and Correspondent before joining Foreign Policy.

With 481 million Internet users (as of December 2017), India has the second highest Internet user base in the world after China, according to a report by not-for-profit industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Most of the people in India access the Internet through their smartphones.

IANS

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Samsung launches 2 smartphones in 2 Galaxy J series

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Gurugram, Sep 22: Refreshing its budget J series, Samsung India on Saturday launched Galaxy J4+ and J6+ for Rs 10,990 and Rs 15,990, respectively.

Galaxy J6+ and Galaxy J4+ with glass-finish design and Dolby Atmos will be available from September 25 on retail outlets, Amazon, Flipkart and Samsung Shop.

“Galaxy J series is India’s most popular smartphone series, making up almost a third of all smartphones sold in India. We are making the J series even more exciting by introducing side fingerprint, emotify, glass finish and new reflective colours,” Mohandeep Singh, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India, said in a statement.

Galaxy J6+ is equipped with 4GB RAM + 64GB storage while Galaxy J4+ comes with 2GB RAM + 32GB ROM.

Both the smartphones are powered by a 3,300mAh battery and run Android Oreo operating system (OS).

Both Galaxy J6+ and J4+ offer true HD experience as they have L1 Widevine certification. This, coupled with Dolby Atmos, enables consumers to enjoy a full 360 degree surround-sound experience.

Galaxy J6+ comes with “Side Fingerprint” sensor — a first for any Galaxy device — which unlocks the phone in the most secure manner.

Galaxy J6+ comes with 13MP+5MP dual rear camera and an 8MP front camera while the Galaxy J4+ sports a 13MP rear and a 5MP front camera.

The new smartphones come with true HD+ infinity design that gives users nearly 15 per cent more display area without increasing the overall size of the device, the company claimed.

Both devices are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor.

IANS

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Google still allowing third-party apps read your Gmail: Report

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Washington, Sep 21: After facing a backlash over reports in July that third-party app developers can read your Gmail, Google has once again defended its policy to allow third-party apps to access and share data from Gmail accounts.

According to a CNNMoney report on Thursday, Gmail lets third-party developers integrate services into its email platform.

“Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” said the report, quoting from a Google letter sent to the US Senators.

Google also makes “the privacy policy easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access”, said Susan Molinari, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for the Americas at Google, in the letter.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that despite assuring users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount”, the search giant is still allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts.

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally — more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

Later, Google said in a blog post that the company is continuously vetting developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before it opens them for general access.

According to Google, it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used.

“We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail — like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) systems — so that you have options around how you access and use your email,” said Suzanne Frey, Director, Security, Trust and Privacy, Google Cloud.

Before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process at the company, it said.

“It includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does,” Frey noted.

In 2017, Google had said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

IANS

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