Smartphone Sales Grew 4.3 Percent Globally in Q2 2016: Gartner

Smartphone Sales Grew 4.3 Percent Globally in Q2 2016: GartnerSale of smartphones to end-users totalled 344 million units globally in the second quarter of 2016 – a 4.3 percent increase over the same period in 2015, market research firm Gartner said on Thursday.

Overall, only five smartphone vendors from the top 10 showed growth. These were four Chinese manufacturers – Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and BBK Communication Equipment – and South Korean giantSamsung.

Interestingly, BBK owns Oppo Vivo smartphone brand.

In the second quarter of 2016, Samsung had nearly 10 percent more market share than Apple which continued its downward trend with a decline of 7.7 percent.

Apple sales declined in North America as well as in Western Europe. However, it witnessed its worst sales decline in China and Asia-Pacific regions where sales declined 26 percent.

“Demand for premium smartphones slowed in the second quarter of 2016 as consumers wait for new hardware launches in the second half of the year,” said Anshul Gupta, Research Director at Gartner, in a statement.

Among the top five smartphone vendors, Oppo exhibited the highest growth in the second quarter of 2016 at 129 percent.

In addition, the decline in sales of feature phones by 14 percent bolstered the decline in overall sales of mobile phones in the second quarter of 2016.

All mature markets except Japan saw slowing demand for smartphones leading to a decline in sales of 4.9 percent.

In contrast, all emerging regions except Latin America saw growth which led to smartphone sales growing by 9.9 percent, Gartner said.

Gionee S6s Selfie-Focused Smartphone Set to Launch in India on August 22

Gionee S6s Selfie-Focused Smartphone Set to Launch in India on August 22Chinese company Gionee last week started sending press invites for an event on August 22 in India where it was expected to reveal a new selfie-focused smartphone. Now, the company in a tweet has pretty much confirmed that the Gionee S6s will be revealed at the event.

The company’s global Twitter handle in a tweet said, “The incoming one…The New One, which is redefining “premium selfie” means to you.” The tweet was accompanied by hashtags Gionee S6s alongside selfie and flash. The company seems gearing to target the selfie obsessed audience with its new S6s smartphone in India. Unfortunately, there is no word on the innards of the handset so far.

Gionee also shared an image of the S6s smartphone on Twitter which gave the world first glimpse of the handset ahead of the official reveal. It is likely to sport an all metal build while pack fingerprint scanner at the back. The front camera features a flash, carrying on the selfie-focused theme.

We can expect the company to release more teasers around the handset ahead of the August 22 launch.

Gionee last month launched the M6 and M6 Plus smartphones at an event in Beijing. The biggest highlight of the smartphones was they came with an inbuilt data encryption chip that the company claimed would ensure extra security of user’s communication and content.

The Gionee M6 was priced at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs. 27,200) for its 64GB storage variant, and CNY 2,899 (roughly Rs. 29,200) for the 128GB storage variant. The Gionee M6 Plus 64GB variant was priced at CNY 2,999 (roughly Rs. 30,200), and the 128GB variant was priced at CNY 3,199 (roughly Rs. 32,200)

Honor 8 Smartphone Set to Launch at July 11 Event

Honor 8 Smartphone Set to Launch at July 11 Event

Huawei Terminal’s Honor brand has confirmed that it will unveil the Honor 8 smartphone at an event on July 11. The launch teaser apart from confirming the launch date also hints that the Honor 8 may sport a dual-rear camera setup. We will however have to wait for Honor’s confirmation of the same.

The anticipated Honor 8 smartphone had allegedly passed China’s Tenaa certification site recently, tipping some innards of the handset. The Tenaa listing for the Honor phone thought to be the Honor 8 points to a 5.2-inch full-HD display, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 2900mAh battery, octa-core Kirin 950 processor, 4GB of RAM, NFC, and a fingerprint scanner.

The Tenaa listing also tipped the design of the Honor 8 smartphone with images showing a dual-rear camera setup at the back and fingerprint scanner also at the back.

Earlier this month, Honor launched the Honor 5C in India priced at Rs. 10,999. The smartphone will go on sale via Flipkart and HiHonor.com in its first flash sale on Thursday. It comes with a 15-month warranty, and screen replacement warranty for the first month. The Honor 5C (Review) variant launched in India is the one with 4G connectivity.

The dual-SIM Honor 5C supports Micro-SIM cards with 4G LTE connectivity on both the SIM cards. To recall the specifications, it sports a 5.2-inch full-HD display; is powered by the company’s in-house HiSilicon Kirin 650 octa-core processor (4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz + 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2GHz); 2GB of RAM; packs 16GB of storage; expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB); sports a 13-megapixel rear camera; 8-megapixel front camera; fingerprint scanner, and a 3000mAh battery.

Heads Up! Seoul Launches Campaign to Keep Smartphone Users Safe

Heads Up! Seoul Launches Campaign to Keep Smartphone Users SafePedestrians glued to their smartphones were given something else to look at this week, as officials in Seoul launched a safety campaign to keep them from walking into busy traffic.

Smartphone-related collisions between pedestrians and vehicles in South Korea have more than doubled in five years to around 1,000 reported incidents in 2014, according to the Transportation Safety Authority.

The problem is especially acute in a country where smartphone penetration currently stands at around 80 percent of the population, most of whom seem intent on mastering the art of walking and texting.

In a bid to reduce the number of people either stepping carelessly into oncoming traffic or slamming into each other on the sidewalk, officials in Seoul – one of the world’s most wired cities – have begun installing the first batch of 300 warning signs this week in five locations across the capital.

“We picked locations with the highest number of young pedestrians since the majority of smartphone users are in their teens to their 30s,” Kim Ooc-Kyeong, a Seoul city official in charge of the project, told AFP on Wednesday.

Some signs are attached to traffic light poles and depict a person looking at his smartphone as he is about to be hit by a car.

But given that the target audience are people who wouldn’t look up from their screens to see such warnings, other signs have been plastered on the actual sidewalk.

“We put 250 signs on the pavements because they will actually be seen by the pedestrians that are looking down at their smartphones,” Kim said.

But neither type of warning seemed to have registered with locals interviewed at lunchtime by AFP.

“I’m always on my smartphone, and I’ve never seen the signs before,” said Kim Hyun-Chul, 29. “They need to make them stand out more.”

Koo Sung-Hoi, 27, was also unaware of the efforts to keep him from a smartphone-related injury.

“I think the signs on the pavements are too small to be noticed,” Koo said.

South Korean smartphone users spend an average of four hours a day tweeting, chatting or playing games, with about 15 percent showing symptoms of addiction, according to state data.

Seoul plans to monitor the effectiveness of the signs until the end of the year before deciding whether to expand the project.

Similar campaigns have already been trialed in Europe.

Antwerp has introduced designated walking lanes in a handful of busy shopping streets so smartphone users can look at their mobiles without bumping into other pedestrians.

The German city of Augsburg even installed traffic lights in the pavement at tram crossings for smartphone gazers.

A 2014 simulation found that if 1,500 people looking at their phones tried to cross Tokyo’s notoriously crowded Shibuya intersection, only about a third would make across without bumping into others, falling or dropping their mobiles.

Moto Z Leak Shows StyleMod Covers; Project Tango Smartphone Details Tipped

Moto Z Leak Shows StyleMod Covers; Project Tango Smartphone Details TippedWhile Lenovo is busy gearing up for its Tech World event in San Francisco on Thursday, there are a host of leaks surfacing online on the possible announcements the company intends to make. The latest include back covers for the new Moto Z flagship line, and more details about the Google Project Tango-powered smartphone that the company has announced it will unveil.

Lenovo-owned Motorola is expected to re-brand its flagship Moto X series, and rename it to Moto Z. This new flagship will be announced at the Tech World event with MotoMods modular backplates,which bring several additional utility. The latest leak by hellomotoHK confirms that the famous customisation feature synonymous to the Moto X lineup will stay. The images leaked show different StyleMods aka back covers for the Moto Z. There seems to be a nylon variant, two wooden options, and two leather options. These back covers look to cover up the connection pins for the MotoMods at the back, and have a circular ring opening for the camera on top.

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Past leaks suggest that there will be two variants – Moto Z and Moto Z Play. Moto Z is expected to feature 5.5-inch QHD display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, a 16-megapixel rear camera, 32GB of inbuilt storage, and a 2600mAh battery. The Moto Z Play may sport a 5.5-inch full-HD display, a Snapdragon 625 SoC, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, 16GB and 32GB storage variants, and pack a 3500mAh battery

Lenovo has already confirmed it will launch the first consumer-facing Project Tango-powered smartphone at its Tech World event on Thursday. Tipster Evan Blass hints that the phablet will be called Phab2 Pro. Blass also reveals that the smartphone will don a large 6.4-inch screen. There is not much else that is known about the device so far.

For the uninitiated, Project Tango is a Google experiment. It has been a work in progress for quite some time now, and aims to bring AR and VR for low prices. It could be used for accurate indoor mapping; or depth sensing for augmented reality so you could very accurately redesign your entire house on your phone, for example; you can use it for gesture tracking in virtual reality so you could not just look around but also lean in and directly interact with objects. If this leak is true, it will be interesting to see what the Phab2 Pro has to offer.

Nextbit Robin Cloud-Based Smartphone India Launch Set for May 25

Nextbit Robin Cloud-Based Smartphone India Launch Set for May 25Nextbit, the makers of the cloud-based smartphone Robin, has started sending media invites for a launch event on May 25 in India. To recall, the company earlier this month had announced that it received regulatory approval to sell Nextbit Robin smartphones in India.

The company had previously announced that it will launch in India by April-end; however the handset got delayed because of regulatory approvals. The US-based company launched Nextbit Robin in the US last year starting from $399 (roughly Rs. 26,000). We can expect the India pricing of the handset to be around the same price category.

To refresh on the specifications, the Robin smartphone sports pretty decent hardware at its price, and addresses the limited storage issue in smartphones with a cloud-based storage solution. One of the unique features of the handset is it can automatically back up photos and other data that haven’t been used recently to the cloud to free up space on the device.

It features a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display and is powered by Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of inbuilt storage which is non-expandable. The Nextbit Robin comes with 100GB of free cloud storage space. The device also comes with a fingerprint sensor.

Other features of the Nextbit Robin include a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2680mAh battery, and a USB Type-C charging port. The single-SIM capable device supports LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi and other connectivity options. On the software side, the device will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The handset comes in two colour variants: Mint and Midnight.

Land Rover to Soon Launch Its First Smartphone

Land Rover to Soon Launch Its First SmartphoneIn the race to capture the burgeoning global smartphone market, British automotive brand Jaguar Land Rover, currently owned by Tata Motors, is all set to launch smartphones and accessories by early 2017.

For this, Land Rover has tied up with consumer electronics company Bullitt Group to develop a bespoke smartphone and range of accessories.

“Incorporating iconic Land Rover design and innovative technology into the mobile phone sector with Bullitt Group presents an exciting challenge and fantastic opportunity to take the brand into a new dimension,” said Lindsay Weaver, director of licensing and branded goods at Jaguar Land Rover, in a statement recently.

“An engineering and design team from Jaguar Land Rover special operations will be assigned to the partnership and subsequently deliver a number of bespoke applications tailored to Land Rover brand and product values,” Weaver added.

According to Bullitt Group, the firm will partner with Land Rover to define and develop a groundbreaking portfolio of mobile devices and peripherals which will take the brand into a new and exciting commercial terrain.

“With a combination of durability and elegance, the new range will be designed to be an active lifestyle partner, aimed at people who like to take on new challenges and go ‘above and beyond’ the ordinary,” said a statement.

The portfolio will launch in early 2017 and will embody the core values of the Land Rover brand, featuring some truly innovative capabilities and technology.

“We are confident the new range of products will perfectly encapsulate everything that Land Rover represents, appealing to those who already love the brand and providing an introduction to those who are yet to discover it,” noted Peter Stephens, CEO of Bullitt Group.