Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 review: Almost bezel-less, smartphone’s 18:9 screen excites

Priced at Rs 35,999, the phone has a lot to offer; some software downsides notwithstanding, the Mi Mix 2 is a flagship smartphone with no real competition

Last year, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi initiated an era of bezel-less smartphones with the launch of the Mi Mix, the first device to drop the bezels and break away from the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio screen in favour of 18:9.

The company has taken a step forward this year and unveiled the ‘ Xiaomi Mi Mix 2’, built on the blueprint of the Mi Mix but containing much more refined ergonomics and a premium design language.

Business Standard reviews the device to gauge its performance on different parameters. Here are our observations:

Design

The Mi Mix 2 is a delight to hold and use. It has a 5.99-inch screen covering almost the entire front. The smartphone, though it competes in the bezel-less arena, does have tiny bezels on three sides of the screen – top, left and right. The limited bottom chin hosts the front camera sensor.

The lustrous ceramic back looks premium but is also a fingerprint magnet, requiring regular clean-ups. The back side is neat, with the primary camera placed at the centre, enclosed in an 18k gold-plated rim that adds to the device’s premium quotient. The fingerprint scanner is placed right below the camera, making it easier to reach to unlock the device.

Overall, the phone’s premium build quality, coupled with top-notch aesthetics, makes it easy to use and a delight to hold.

Display

The Mi Mix 2’s 5.99-inch IPS display in an 18:9 aspect ratio is a bold step forward and sets a precedence for other smartphone makers to follow. Xiaomi has done some incredible work to reduce the screen-to-body aspect ratio of the Mi Mix 2, and the result is pleasing to the eye. (more)

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Jio’s Diwali offer: 100% cashback on Rs 399 pack; here’s how you can get it

Under the Diwali Dhan Dhana Dhan offer, Jio Prime customers get eight vouchers worth Rs 50 each on a recharge of Rs 399. The offer can be availed of during the Oct 12-16 period

 

Reliance Jio has announce a 100 per cent cashback offer on Rs 399 recharge for Jio Prime customers. Dubbed the ‘Diwali Dhan Dhana Dhan’ Jio’s Diwali offer , the cashback comes in the form of eight Rs 50 vouchers that can be redeemed in further recharges. Jio Prime customers can avail of the offer starting today, October 12 and the offer will continue until October 18.

The eight Rs 50 vouchers that you get on a recharge of Rs 399 can be redeemed against future recharges of Rs 309 or above, and on data add-ons booster packs of Rs 91 or above. The vouchers come with a condition of use that allows only one voucher to be redeemed at a time and only after November 15.

The offer can also be availed of by the subscribers who are still under the validity period of their last recharge. The recharge will activate only after the current plan validity of the recharge expires.

Under the Rs 399 recharge, Reliance Jio offers free calls, SMS, subscription to Jio apps and 84 GB of data with a cap of 1 GB per day, valid for 84 days. The Diwali Dhan Dhana Dhan offer is valid for both, prepaid and postpaid subscribers.

Wipro opens Data Discovery Platform for businesses on Microsoft Azure

Industry analysts say Wipro will need appropriate selling methods for such a solution

Wipro, India’s third-largest IT services firm, said it has made its cloud-based Data Discovery Platform available for customers on Microsoft Azure through a “pay-per-insight” model.

To be hosted on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure, the Data Discovery Platform is a big data analytics-as-a-service solution that can enhance the ability of businesses in sectors such as banking and financial services, retail, energy, education, and manufacturing to make better decisions using pre-built applications.

Company News : The platform can be used by businesses through an outcome-based model. “Data Discovery Platform leverages Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite, which includes HDInsight, Stream Analytics, Data Lake Analytics, machine learning, and Power BI to build analytical applications,” said the company in a statement, adding that both Microsoft and Wipro have collaborated in areas such as engineering, solution enhancement, and joint-go-to-market strategy.

“Today, the platform is a significant enabler of analytics-led digital transformation delivering analytics-as-a-service to organisations. We believe that this is a reflection of the Wipro Data Discovery Platform’s maturity and Microsoft’s confidence in the prowess of this platform,” said Pallab Deb, vice-president and global head (Analytics) at Wipro.

Industry analysts say such a solution will need appropriate selling methods, be it data and services packaged or otherwise, as the platform is digital in nature.

“This is going to be a different offering from that of traditional software services. Wipro needs a new-age approach to sell such a platform. Even though there is enough demand for such data analytics-based solutions, this cannot be sold like any traditional technology service,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder and chief executive, Greyhound Research.

M&M Q1 profit down 20% as car sales slowed ahead of GST

Excluding the impact of GST that kicked in from July 1, the company earned a profit of Rs 8.60 bn

Company News : Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) today reported 19.79 per cent decline in its standalone profit after tax (PAT) to Rs 765.96 crore for the first quarter of the current financial year as sales were hit by GST transition.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd posted an about 20 per cent fall in quarterly profit on Friday, missing estimates, as sales growth in passenger vehicles slowed ahead of the transition to a new nationwide tax.

The company had posted a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 954.95 crore during April-June period of last financial year.

Excluding the impact of the Goods and Services Tax that kicked in from July 1, the company earned a profit of Rs 8.60 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 8.93 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Revenue from operations during the first quarter of 2017 -18 stood at Rs 12,335.56 crore, up 3.29 per cent from Rs 11,942.9 crore the year-ago period, M&M said in a regulatory filing.

The company’s vehicle sales were at 1,12,293 units during the first quarter. It sold 81,270 tractor units during the period under review.

Elaborating on the quarterly performance, M&M said the automotive industry was impacted due to impending transition to Goods and Service Tax in the first quarter of 2017-18.

Passenger vehicles sales were adversely impacted in anticipation of a price reduction in the new tax regime and reported a nominal growth of 4.4 per cent, it said. Read more

Coming soon: Patanjali’s ‘swadeshi’ jeans and ‘snob value’ apparel

Patanjali’s apparel line will be available for consumers from April 2018

Company News : Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved Ltd plans to launch its ‘swadeshi’ line of apparel, including denims, for men, women, and children by April next year, Live Mint reported on Thursday.

Citing Ramdev’s spokesperson SK Tijarawala, the report said that the company is targeting Rs 5,000 crore in sales for the first year.

The herbal medicine-to-packaged foods company plans to target various segments, Tijarawala told the financial daily. According to the report, there will be value-for-money apparel for budget buyers and clothes that will have “snob value”. The product line will include woven clothes, knitwear, and machine-made apparel, including denims, the spokesperson said.

Citing Tijarawala, the report said that by April next year, customers will be able to buy Patanjali’s clothes across 250 exclusive retail outlets. You will also be able to buy a pair of Ramdev’s ‘swadeshi’ jeans at Kishore Biyani-led Future Group’s Big Bazaar outlets, among other apparel retail outlets, the report added. The company, according to what Tijarawala told the financial daily, may also look at reaching customers through outlets managed by the state-run Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

Appetite for expansion

In the recent past, Patanjali, which has gained a major foothold in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market and Ayurvedic products business, has shown an appetite for diversifying into various unrelated sectors. As reported in July, the Patanjali Group has decided to enter the private security business.

According to agency reports, with the punch line “Parakram Suraksha, Aapki Raksha”, Patanjali’s security wing would be known as Ramdev’s Parakram Suraksha Private Limited. (more)

Tim Cook explains why India could be the next China for Apple

Apple’s game plan is to turn India into the next China, not only in terms of sales but also manufacturing and exports

As sales of Apple’s flagship iPhone slow globally, the company’s bullishness that India will emerge as a major driver of volumes is causing an acceleration in its investments here.

In the last quarter alone, Apple’s iOS app accelerator, as well as its manufacturing unit run by contract manufacturer Wistron in Bengaluru, went online. These investments are in addition to the company’s overall investment in growing its sales channel and marketing more to consumers in India.

“We began to produce the iPhone SE there during the quzjbzarter, and we’re really happy with how that’s going. And so we’re bringing all of our energies to bear there. I see a lot of similarities to where China was several years ago,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a call with investors on Tuesday.

Apple’s game plan is to turn India into the next China, not only in terms of sales but also manufacturing and exports. The company has been engaged with the Indian government to receive sops for setting up full fledged manufacturing and not just iPhone assembly for over a year now.

The going is a bit slow due to India’s unwillingness to grant subsidies specific to Apple and the former is looking at a policy that can attract all smartphone makers to manufacture

their devices here.

Company News : While sales of the iPhone have been growing at a blistering pace in India, analysts said the growth Apple is seeing is nothing out of the ordinary. With a base of just 2-3 per cent of India’s overall smartphone market, Apple still has a long way to go, especially in convincing Indians to buy its latest iPhone each year.

However, everyone seems to agree with Cook’s reading that the India market will provide a significant opportunity for Apple to sell millions of its high-end devices.

Apple has for long maintained that as network infrastructure in India gets better, more customers will begin to see the benefits of owning an iPhone. This combined with a young population that is aspirational by nature is what could turn India into Apple’s next China.

JioPhone effect: Idea to launch 4G-enabled feature phone at Rs 2,500

We have no intention to subsidise handsets, said Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director Idea Cellular

 

Faced with the latest challenge of ultra-cheap 4G feature phone from Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular on July 28 said it is working with handset makers to bring down the cost of handsets.

However, the Aditya Birla Group company, set to be merged with bigger rival Vodafone, made it clear that it will not subsidise handsets.

Indian Companies News : “The practical solution that we are working on is to work with the handset industry and work with them to be able to bring down cost of handsets by bringing down the bill of material, so that the gap of the announced price of Jio feature phone versus a smart-phone can be brought down to reasonable levels,” its Managing Director Himanshu Kapania told analysts.

Kapania said the ideal price point for a handset will be Rs 2,500.

In the past, the telecom operators had worked with handset makers when they were challenged by the then Reliance Infocomm’s cheaper handsets, he noted.

“Given the fact that this (Jio announcement) has happened, and it is going to be distributed in large volumes, our belief is that we need to work with the handset industry and introduce similar phones in the marketplace,” he said.

This will be an “affordable phone” which will allow customers the choice of dual SIM, selection of 2G and 4G networks, signing up with telecom operators of choice and to use applications of choice, he said.

There will be extensive market research on the number of features that can be brought down, operating system and whether it should have touchscreen, among others, he said. Read more