Samsung Galaxy S7 Mini Specifications Leak; Tipped to Rival iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy S7 Mini Specifications Leak; Tipped to Rival iPhone SE

Samsung at its pre-MWC 2016 event launched its Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, andreportedly sold 100,000 units within the first two days on its home turf recently. Now, a new rumour about the smaller Samsung Galaxy S7 Mini has started making rounds on the Web.

It is worth mentioning that while the Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini was also rumoured last year, it never saw the light of the day so the following piece of information for the Galaxy S7 Mini too should be taken with a pinch of salt. The last mini version of the ‘S’ series handset we saw was the Galaxy S5 Mini.

A report coming from Taiwan suggests that the rumoured Samsung Galaxy S7 Mini smartphone will be looked upon as a competitor to the much-talked-about iPhone SE handset, which is likely to launch on March 21. The Galaxy S7 Mini is also said to be the first ‘Mini’ smartphone to feature high-end specifications, says Apple Daily website.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Mini will reportedly sport a 4.6-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution display and will either be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor or Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 SoC. It would also include 3GB of RAM, 12-megapixel rear camera, and will be 9.9mm thick. A separate accessory namely the “Periscope Lens” with 3x optical zoom is also mentioned for the handset.

The iPhone SE on the other hand is rumoured to feature a 4-inch display and come powered by A9 SoC and M9 coprocessor. It is also likely to feature hardware and software capability to support Live Photos, a feature that Apple introduced with iOS 9 last year. As for connectivity features, the iPhone SE will support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, and VoLTE, as seen on the iPhone 6s. It will come in Gold, Silver, and Space Grey colour options and in 16GB and 64GB inbuilt storage variants.

OnePlus 2 Receives a Price Cut in India

If you were on the fence about whether or not to spring for a OnePlus 2 smartphone, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is making it easier for you to decide. The company on Tuesday announced a permanent price cut for both 16GB and 64GB variants of its flagship smartphone in India. The OnePlus 2 16GB model is now available at Rs. 20,999, whereas the 64GB variant will now cost you Rs. 22,999.

Seven months since the launch of the OnePlus 2 smartphone in India, the Chinese startup believes that it is a good time for it to slash the price of the phone to make it enticing for a wider audience. The OnePlus 2 16GB variant was launched in India at Rs. 22,999, while the 64GB variant fared at Rs. 24,999. Both the models are getting a Rs. 2,000 price cut.

Explaining why it is slashing the retail price of the OnePlus 2, the company says that its operations have sized up sufficiently in the country, and that has made it possible for it to have more flexibility. The timing also indicates that a new flagship from the company is underway. And indeed, OnePlus plans to launch the OnePlus 3 in Q2 2016 (April-June).

For a refresh, the OnePlus 2 features a 5.5-inch in-cell display with a full-HD (1080×1920 pixel) resolution;a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 v2.1 SoC clocked at 1.8GHz; 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM; dual 4G Nano-SIM cards (dual-SIM dual standby); USB Type-C connectivity; a 13-megapixel rear camera; a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3300mAh battery.

We were pleasantly pleased with the OnePlus 2’s performance, design, and its camera abilities. Read our review of the OnePlus 2.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Costs Roughly $255 to Make IHS Teardown

Samsung Galaxy S7 Costs Roughly $255 to Make: IHS Teardown

Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 smartphone in India at a price point of Rs. 48,900 earlier this month. But do you know how much that device must have cost Samsung to put together? A lot less. According to an estimation, the components used in Samsung’s new flagship smartphone cost a total of $255 (roughly Rs. 17,200).

According to research firm IHS, which has assessed each component inside the Galaxy S7 in its teardown, $255 is nearly all that Samsung must have spent on manufacturing one smartphone. Sounds bad? The iPhone 6s Plus had an even lower production cost, shying under $240 (roughly Rs. 16,100). IHS says that the innards inside the Galaxy S7 cost roughly same as they did with the Galaxy S6.

The costliest material used in the Samsung Galaxy S7 is its processor. The Snapdragon 820 SoC fromQualcomm apparently costs $62 (roughly Rs. 4,150). Interestingly, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S7 model powered by Exynos processor is slightly less as the South Korean’s homegrown SoC, paired with baseband radio, cost roughly $44.50 (3,000).

IHS adds that the camera module on the Samsung Galaxy S7 costs $13.70 (roughly Rs. 920). To recall, the figure is actually slightly less the $18.50 (roughly Rs. 1,250) worth screen on Samsung Galaxy S6. The price of the display isn’t clear, though given the similarities between the display (and their resolution) between Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S6, it is likely to be in the same range. The display on the Galaxy S6 estimated to have $55 (roughly Rs. 3,700) price tag.

What we’re not taking into consideration is the money spent on marketing of the device as well as logistics, apart from of course, the research and development investment.

Sony Sees Average Selling Price of Smartphones Rise, Second Only to Apple

Sony Sees Average Selling Price of Smartphones Rise, Second Only to Apple: Report

According to a blog post by freelance journalist Charles Arthur that estimates global smartphone sales figures in Q4 last year, Sony has the highest average selling price (ASP) for its smartphones – only behind Apple.

Average selling price for a smartphone manufacturer represents the average price at which it sells its current smartphone lineup.

In Q4 2014, Sony’s ASP was double as compared to that of LG and the graph between the two widened over time. While the ASP of Apple smartphones were $691 (roughly Rs. 46,600), Sony’s smartphones had ASP of $422 (roughly Rs. 28,400), followed by HTC ($237, roughly Rs. 16,000), Samsung ($225, roughly Rs, 15,200), LG ($210, roughly Rs. 14,100), and Microsoft Mobile ($186, roughly Rs. 12,500).

apple_sony_htc_asp_chart_xperiablog_net.jpgThe blog post (via Xperia Blog Net) suggests that Sony made an estimated average of $26 profit on each smartphone sold, $3 (roughly Rs. 200) more than what Samsung made from its smartphones. Apple unsurprisingly stays at top with a $184 profit. On the other hand, LG, Microsoft Mobile and HTC actually went in loss. While LG lost $3 on each phone sold, Microsoft and HTC lost $36 (roughly Rs. 2,400) and $38 (roughly Rs. 2,500) respectively.

The charts also mentioned that Sony was the only Android OEM to see its ASP rise consistently. While HTC’s ASP is higher than that of Samsung, it makes way less profits than the South Korean tech giant. Pricing is said to be a major reason for HTC’s decline.

customer_flow_tech_brands_sony_rumours.jpgCiting Kantar Worldpanel ComTech date from February 2016, Arthur seeks to show how smartphone market share is being redistributed in terms of customer flow between brands in the EU. Samsung is seen to be losing customers to Huawei, BQ, Wiko, Alcatel, and Motorola, while Sony is seen to be losing customers to Samsung, Alcatel, Wiko, Motorola, BQ and Huawei. HTC appears to be losing customers to all the aforementioned brands including Sony and Samsung. LG on the other hand appears to be losing customers to Alcatel, Wiko, Motorola, BQ and Huawei, but not Sony, HTC, or Samsung.

iPhone SE Purportedly Spotted in Video Alongside iPhone 6, iPhone 5s

iPhone SE Purportedly Spotted in Video Alongside iPhone 6, iPhone 5s

Apple has already sent out invitations for its March 21 event where it is said to launch the much rumoured 4-inch iPhone model aka the iPhone SE. Although we’ve seen the unannounced smartphone in numerous leaked images and mock-ups, a video that’s claimed to show the new smartphone has leaked out of China – and gives us an even clearer picture of the device.

However, since the smartphone is not yet confirmed to be the actual 4-inch iPhone model, one should take the video with a spoonful of salt as the device shown can also be a dummy model or just a fake device. The video too gives a disclaimer that it may or may not be the handset Apple is supposed to launch on March 21.

iphone_se_4inch_bottom_beeep_youtube_video_dropbox.jpgThe roughly 2-minute long video (seen below) shows the alleged 4-inch iPhone SE in one if the retail shops in Huaqiangbei Shenzhen, China. Since the handset was seen switched off all the time, nothing can be said about the software or the specifications. However, the device is shown from all the angles giving us a clear look at its design. The design in the video mostly corroborates previous leaks.

The model in the video is a Rose Gold version and is seen compared side-by-side along with the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6s. Although the exact measurements of the alleged model was not mentioned, it sported the same size as the iPhone 5s. As one would expect, the model looks similar to the iPhone 6 and later models, but with the iPhone 5s dimensions.

The iPhone SE is rumoured to feature a 4-inch display and come powered by A9 SoC and M9 coprocessor.

It is also likely to feature hardware and software capability to support Live Photos, a feature that Apple introduced with iOS 9 last year. As for connectivity features, the iPhone SE will support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, and VoLTE, as seen on the iPhone 6s. It will come in Gold, Silver, and Space Grey colour options and in 16GB and 64GB inbuilt storage variants.

Telenor Announces 'Project Sampark' Expansion in Uttar Pradesh

Telenor Announces 'Project Sampark' Expansion in Uttar Pradesh

Telecommunications company Telenor India on Monday announced the expansion of “Project Sampark” the company’s unique initiative to bridge the gender gap in mobile usage to new areas in Uttar Pradesh.

The project will now be extended to the rural areas of Bareilly, Dehradun and Moradabad districts in the UP (west) circle covering nearly 50-80 villages in each zone.

“The success of ‘Project Sampark’ in Aligarh has given us the confidence to expand it to new areas and take it beyond the pilot phase,” Sharad Mehrotra, CEO, Telenor India, said in a statement.

“Giving a phone in hands of women is not just about connecting her to the information age but also about giving her a tool to take informed decision that can change the socio-economic condition of the entire family,” he said.

The new areas will replicate the model piloted in the first phase launched in August 2014 across 87 villages in Aligarh district.

These 87 pilot villages have seen an improvement in tele-density among women and of the more than 52,000 “Project Sampark” subscribers 50 percent are women.

In the second phase, the villages will be covered by 30-40 trained women promoters who will be hired from the adjoining areas.

“Project Sampark” is a combination of retail and product innovations that has resulted in a unique model that addresses some of the key barriers of women’s access to mobile telephony.

BSNL to Install 50 'Zero Base' Multi-Functional Mobile Towers

BSNL to Install 50 'Zero Base' Multi-Functional Mobile Towers

To demonstrate that communication can be delivered with good aesthetics, state-run BSNL plans to install 50 ‘zero base’ mobile towers, which are better looking and multi-functional.

The concept of a ‘zero base’ is that it can be used as a wi-fi hotspot, street light and camera and the radio units can be hidden inside the pole or underneath.

“We are focusing on zero base towers as if you see in India, the skyline is scattered with so many towers and it sometimes become an eyesore. We are also looking for a tower which could have multi functionalities like it can work as an wi-fi hotspot, it can work as a light emission tower, it can work as a camera plus tower,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.

He said during his recent visit to Mobile World Congress, he witnessed solutions provided by equipment makers Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE regarding the zero base towers.

“We will ask for quotes from all these players for zero base towers…initially we will begin with 50 towers to demonstrate that how communication can be delivered with good aesthetics and good looking features,” Shrivastava said.

He added the cost will be a little higher than normal towers but as active infrastructure is allowed to be shared, the cost can also be shared among the operators and the city can look much cleaner.

“Slowly we can replace all ugly looking towers which are spoiling the skyline to a very good camouflaged eye soothing towers,” he added.

The companies are expected to submit their quotes in March and in next six months, BSNL will come out with some kind of concept for the same.

The average cost to set up a mobile tower is anywhere between Rs. 8-10 lakh.

BSNL, Tata Sky Partner for Video-on-Demand Service

BSNL, Tata Sky Partner for Video-on-Demand Service

The state-owned telecom operator BSNL Wednesday partnered with DTH major Tata Sky to offer video-on-demand (VoD service to its broadband users.

Under the partnership, BSNL will waive off broadband rental for the first month while Tata Sky will offer its VoD service free for the first month to download content worth up to Rs. 500.

“We will implement this MoU to cover the entire nation within next six months… VoD has been gaining prominence and this partnership will help both the partners tap into the market better,” BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava told reporters in New Delhi.

BSNL has a base of two crore broadband users in the country, he added.

Tata Sky, which has a user base of about 11 million, will approach potential subscribers across the country for the new service, Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal said.

Once the customer gives consent, the BSNL team will set up broadband and Tata Sky will offer the VoD service.

Tata Sky has a library of over 4,000 titles. Recently, Tata Sky had said it will launch Internet browsing application on its platform, allowing its viewers to use apps selected by them through its existing set-top boxes on all television sets.

BSNL, Airtel in Talks for Spectrum Sharing Deal

BSNL, Airtel in Talks for Spectrum Sharing Deal

State-run BSNL is in preliminary discussions with the country’s top operator Bharti Airtel for spectrum sharing in four circles and the deal is likely to be finalised by June.

BSNL is looking at sharing spectrum in Rajasthan, UP (West), Bihar and Assam and has formed a committee to look into the feasibility aspect.

“Some preliminary discussions are going on at this stage.

BSNL is open to spectrum sharing with all operators but currently the discussions are taking place withAirtel,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.

He added the company has formed a committee to look into the feasibility aspect where it can really join hands together with other operators.

The government had last year approved the spectrum sharing norms allowing companies to share airwaves in the same band.

Spectrum sharing would be allowed only where both the licensees are having spectrum in the same band and leasing of spectrum will not be permitted, it said.

Also, sharing may be permitted where both entities possess spectrum for which market price has been paid.

Spectrum usage charge (SUC) will be levied on the entire spectrum holding in the particular band and all access spectrum including traded spectrum will be sharable.

3D Images of Syria Archaeological Treasures Go Online

3D Images of Syria Archaeological Treasures Go Online

3D reconstructions of some of Syria’s most spectacular archaeological sites go online Tuesday after a big push to digitalise the war-torn country’s threatened heritage.

French digital surveyors have been working with Syrian archaeologists to map some of the country’s most famous monuments after Islamic State jihadists sparked international outrage by blowing up two temples in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra last year.

The eighth-century Umayyad Mosque in the capital Damascus – regarded by some as the fourth holiest place in Islam – and the Krak des Chevaliers Crusader castle near the ravaged city of Homs are the two most famous buildings to have been scanned in minute detail.

Photogrammetric technology developed by the French startup Iconem has also been used to record the Roman theatre in the coastal city of Jableh and the Phoenician site in the ancient port of Ugarit, where evidence of the world’s oldest alphabet was found.

Its technicians have also been working alongside 15 specialists from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) to digitalise some of the country’s major museum collections.

Hundreds of important heritage sites have been sacked or destroyed during the five-year conflict, with the destruction of the first-century temples of Bel and Baalshamin in the ancient desert city of Palmyra causing a global outcry.

Full-size replicas
The Islamic State group has made a point of razing ancient shrines and statues it considers as idolatry and is also suspected of involvement in the illegal sale of antiquities.

Work on the “Syrian Heritage” database, the biggest 3D record of the country’s monuments and treasures, began in December and includes a large number of Ottoman-era buildings in Damascus as well as its 11th-century citadel, which looms over the city.

The head of DGAM, Maamoun Abdulkarim, said the operation was essential to “avoid an irreplacable loss to humanity” given “the dramatic situation in our country”.

“This solution gives our archaeological sites a real hope of renaissance and allows the memory of them to be preserved, no matter what happens,” he added in a statement.

The drive, carried out with the help of the French grande ecole ENS and the research institute INRIA, is one of a number trying to catalogue sites in danger of falling into the line of fire.

The Institute for Digital Archaeology, created by Oxford and Harvard universities and Dubai’s Museum of the Future, is also compiling a record of many vulnerable sites in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

It has handed out 5,000 low-cost 3D cameras to archaeologists and NGOs with the hope of gathering a million images of threatened sites.

The Million Images Database hopes be fully online by the end of the year and will display life-size replicas of Palmyra’s destroyed triumphal arch in New York’s Times Square and London’s Trafalgar Square in April.

The replicas of the arch, blown up by IS jihadists in October, are being made with the world’s largest 3D printer.

France’s culture minister had earlier floated the idea of a 3D recreation of the ancient city, known as the “Pearl of the Desert”, based on photos taken by tourists over the years.