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Indian Semiconductor Association IESA Opens Its Chennai Chapter

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India Electronics and Semiconductor Association or IESA, the trade body representing the Indian Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry, today announced the launch of their Chennai Chapter. The key objectives of setting up an office in Chennai is to widen the eco-system, acquire new members and strengthen the supply chain in the region.

Chennai is known as the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) hub of India with the EMS Corridor stretching from Sriperumbudur to Oragadam. Being one of the fastest growing manufacturing metros, its accessibility as a seaport and having a significant share of manufacturing units for major technology companies with automotive and OEM’s being the core hub, was an obvious choice for IESA’s expansion. With this announcement, IESA has taken a step further towards achieving its objective of making India a global electronic manufacturing hub in order to boost the electronic manufacturing market in the country.

“With the commencement of our activities from Chennai, we will have greater opportunities to connect and collaborate with companies to help them create products and solutions to cater to the ever increasing electronics systems demand in India. With an already strong base of electronics manufacturing in the state with suburbs of Chennai and Coimbatore as the 2 major cities of innovation and product realization, we hope to partner with the companies in electronics design and manufacturing and services to put the Indian ESDM industry on the global radar. This is a part of the process of IESA further expanding its presence in the country to be able to promote the digital transformation and making India the global epicenter of electronics innovation,” said K. Krishna Moorthy, Chairman, IESA.

“Today close to 40% of electronics for the automotive industry is supported from Tamil Nadu alone. IESA is highly inclined towards the achievement of this objective and is striving towards building support for the companies across the states like Tamil Nadu to promote conducive manufacturing of products for global markets,” said M.N. Vidyashankar, President, IESA.

Tamil Nadu is known as a global electronics equipment manufacturing and hub with Coimbatore being home to large number of auto electronic component industries. Companies like Flextronics, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Foxconn, Samsung, Cisco, Sanmina, and Dell have chosen Chennai as their manufacturing hub. Products manufactured include circuit boards and cellular phone handsets with Ericsson also has a Research and Development facility in Chennai. Big Electronic Product Code (EPC) companies have set up their engineering centres with the manufacturing sector growing at 3.53% which was higher than the country’s growth rate for the sector at 0.71% in the year in 2013-14.

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India’s Optiemus To Manufacture BlackBerry Phones

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Optiemus Infracom, an Indian company based out of New Delhi, will now manufacture your next set of BlackBerry smartphones in the country. Besides domestic consumption, the BlackBerry phones made by Optiemus will also be exported to other markets like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Earlier the Canadian smartphone maker had announced the company will only focus on developing software and services for the phones and will not manufacture the hardware on its own. The manufacturing as well as distribution responsibility will be outsourced to third parties in various markets.

“This is an important milestone in our strategy to put ‘the smart in the phone’, providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform relevant to mobile customers, with more localization. With its infrastructure and experience in manufacturing, and proven success as our distribution partner, Optiemus Infracom is the ideal partner to design and manufacture trusted BlackBerry secure Android handsets for customers in India and neighboring markets,” said Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mobility Solutions at the Canadian firm.

In December last year BlackBerry had handed over this job to TCL Communication of China to manufacture the smartphones for some markets, and in September the company had formed a joint venture PT BB Merah Putih to make the phones in Indonesia.

In India, under the terms of the agreement with Optiemus, BlackBerry will license its security software and services suite, as well as related brand assets to the Indian partner. The partner will design, manufacture, sell, promote and provide customer support for the mobile devices that offer the full BlackBerry experience, including the Android secure software, in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

However, the Ontario, Canada based firm will continue to control and develop its security and software solutions and maintain trusted BlackBerry security software, including regular Android security updates to the platform.

“This agreement will help us expand mobility choices by designing, manufacturing and offering secure BlackBerry devices which are made in India, for customers in India, as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. With our strong end to end play in the mobile ecosystem in manufacturing, retail, distribution and support, we are confident that our journey with BlackBerry will be a long and successful one,” said Ashok Gupta, Chairman of Optiemus Infracom.

This is not Optiemus’ first association with the Canadian smartphone maker. In November last year the company had outsourced its sales and distribution of two of its latest smartphones – the BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60.

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Xiaomi’s Global VP Hugo Barra Joins Facebook To Lead Oculus VR

Hugo Barra, VP, Xiaomi

Hugo Barra, a technology veteran and the true global face of Xiaomi, is joining Facebook to lead the social networking firm’s AR and VR activities including Oculus VR.

Both Barra as well as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted their respective messages on the social media platform informing about the development.

“I’m excited to share my next adventure as I return to Silicon Valley—in a couple of months I’ll be joining Facebook as VP of virtual reality (VPVR!) and lead the Oculus team,” said Barra.

He had quit Xiaomi early this week.

“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before,” said Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team.”

However, Oculus is not going to be a smooth journey for Barra. The company, after being taken over by Facebook in 2014, has been struggling to bring out a mass product. Facebook is also working to bring out a standalone VR device that can work independent of a smartphone or computer but the days are yet to come.

So, Barra, at present stares at another startup, or an established firm with a startup like situation. He has his task cut out to make the team work.

“That will be my mission at Facebook and I look forward to building the future of immersive technology with Mark Zuckerberg, Brendan Trexler Iribe, Mike Schroepfer, and the visionaries in the Oculus team,” Barra wrote in his Facebook post.

Barra joined Chines smartphone startup Xiaomi in 2013 from Google where he worked in Android OS development team. And in this three years, next to CEO Lei Jun, Barra was the man people associated Xioami with, and he played crucial role in establishing the Chinese brand in competitive markets like India and the US. When he left Xiaomi, Barra along with its India team headed by Manu Jain made India the largest market for the company and touched revenue of $1 billion.

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Airtel Hits Back, Says Jio Itself Is To Be Blamed For QoS Issue

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Bharti Airtel has hit back hard at Jio saying the new 4G operator has itself to blame for the alleged call failures as the later has not  yet activated all the Points of Interconnect (PoI) provided.

Airtel said it has provided more PoIs to Jio than it has demanded but the sluggish pace of PoI activation from their part is creating all problems, if any at all, and has urged the new operator not to blame it for the call failures.

“About 60 Million customers of Jio are making calls into the Airtel network. To meet this requirement, we have provided 21,557 PoIs to them which is much higher than their demand of 14,164 E1s for catering to 100 Million customers,” Airtel said in a statement.

“Approximately 17,000 PoIs of the total POIs provided are dedicated to the outgoing traffic of Jio but it has yet to activate all the E1s we have provided to them,” it further added.

The RIL owned firm, in its part, early this evening has blamed large telcos, not exactly naming but subtly hinting at Airtel had said lots of calls are still failing as large telcos are not providing the required PoIs to it.

“Jio continues to face interconnection congestion issues with some of the large operators on account of inadequate provision of points of interconnection (POI) capacities even months after commencement of services by Jio. The POI capacity provided by these operators is still way below requirement and is falling short of the customer addition pace of Jio, resulting in quality of service issues for Indian customers,” a Jio statement had said.

Airtel, however, putting the onus back on the new operator, suggested the Mukesh Ambani owned firm needs to take corrective actions themselves to resolve the issues.

“While, their free traffic has been a cause of tsunami of asymmetric traffic towards Airtel’s network, Jio itself has been slow in activating the PoIs provided to them for the reasons best known to them,” it said.

“We hope that they will take immediate corrective actions, instead of blaming Airtel for issues being faced at their end,” it added.

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Jio Claims 72 Mn Users But Blames Big Telcos For Call Drops

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Reliance Jio today said it has acquired more than 72 million customers since launch and though the company is investing heavily in the network, calls are still failing because of the anti-competitive nature of big telcos who are not providing ample points of interconnect.

The company said by end of December 2016, there were 72.4 million registered subscribers on Jio network and the new operator achieved the feat of 50 million customers in just 83 days adding 6 lakh customers per day.

“This subscriber addition rate is the fastest achieved by any company in the world including the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype,” said Mukesh Ambani who was addressing RIL’s shareholders during the Q3 result announcement.

“This level of growth has been unprecedented on any mobile network anywhere in the world, and is a testimony to the comprehensive digital ecosystem that Jio has created and its promise of enabling millions of Indians to add value to their daily lives,” he added.

On the quality of services issue the company said according to data speed test  report by TRAI, Jio’s data speed is at 18.17 mbps which is twice that of its competitor service providers. However, the company claimed that, despite all efforts Jio is unable to provide the best possible service to its customers as it has not got the required number of PoIs.

“Jio continues to face interconnection congestion issues with some of the large operators on account of inadequate provision of points of interconnection (POI) capacities even months after commencement of services by Jio. The POI capacity provided by these operators is still way below requirement and is falling short of the customer addition pace of Jio, resulting in quality of service issues for Indian customers,” a company statement said.

“The resultant call failure rates continue to be of the order of 175 calls failing out of every 1,000 calls from Jio to Airtel network when the QoS regulations mandate that no more than 5 calls out of every 1,000 calls can fail. Indian customers are still being denied the benefits of superior voice technology on Jio’s state-of-the-art network,’ it added.

In order to offer completely flawless and world-class user experience to customers, Jio said it has continued to expand its network, both in terms of coverage as well as capacity. The company is also infusing Rs 30,000 in the network to improve the coverage and capacity.

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Airtel Upgrades Network In Delhi; Expect Less Call Drops

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You are set for less call drops and better indoor coverage in Delhi-NCR, provided you are an Airtel subscriber, as the country’s largest telco has upgraded and added more spectrum for its network in the region.

With this, the company claims, customers would get 4G like data speeds even on 3G, thanks to the dual carrier technology. This upgradation will add significant capacity for voice and data, enhance overall network experience through improved stability and coverage, Airtel today said in a statement.

As part of the network upgrade, a part of its Project Leap initiative, Airtel has deployed state of the art ‘Dual Carrier’ technology to combine the spectrum capacities of two 5MHz carriers in the 2100 MHz band. Airtel is the first mobile operator to deploy ‘Dual Carrier’ technology in Delhi NCR.

‘Dual Carrier’ technology significantly boosts network capacity through highly efficient usage, and delivers a superior mobile experience in the form of faster data speeds, better voice quality, and improved network coverage – indoors and outdoors.

The highlight of ‘Dual Carrier’ technology deployment is that customers will be able to enjoy 4G like data speeds even when they are on the 3G. The technology will also help in optimising the backend engagement between the network and mobile devices, enabling customers to enjoy extended battery life on their mobile devices. With this deployment, Airtel will now offer the widest 4G experience across Delhi-NCR.

“Airtel has consistently set the benchmark, when it comes to deployment of latest technology to improve customer experience. With ‘Dual Carrier’ technology, we will be able to deliver a seamless 4G experience across NCR. We would like to thank our customers for their cooperation during the network upgrade and invite them to experience our network,” said Ravindra Singh Negi, CEO – Delhi/NCR, Bharti Airtel.

Airtel is the largest mobile operator in Delhi NCR with 11.43 million customers and offers 4G, 3G and 2G services in the Capital city.

As part of Project Leap, Airtel has been deploying state-of-the-art technology solutions for better indoor coverage and network optimization; overhauling legacy networks with new equipment and making investments in additional spectrum and fiber to significantly improving its network capabilities across the country since last year. Airtel was also the first operator in the country to deploy ‘Carrier Aggregation’ technology that combines capacities of spectrum in 2300 MHz (TD-LTE) and 1800 MHz (FD-LTE) and delivers data speeds on up to 135 Mbps with compatible handsets.

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Gorilla Glass Maker Corning Appoints Amit Bansal As India MD

Amit Bansal Corning

Corning Incorporated, the makers of Gorilla Glass, that physically protects your smartphone,  has appointed Amit Bansal as its new managing director for its operations in India. Bansal will be based in Gurugram, Haryana and spearhead the US $10-billion company’s growth and operations while contributing to strategic planning for Corning in India.

“Amit has been an integral part of the organization and has contributed to the company’s growth in the country over the past several years,” said Thomas Appelt, president of Corning International Emerging Markets. “India is one of our priority markets and we aim to expand our business and deepen our business engagement in the core sector. Amit brings in immense experience and I am confident that he will drive company’s growth plans for India.”

Bansal will drive synergy across the various commercial organizations to grow Corning’s business in the country. Additionally, he will oversee Corning’s manufacturing operations in the country, business development efforts with the science and technology organization, and pursue new global supply management opportunities. Bansal has also been appointed to the Corning Finolex Board of Directors.

“I am excited to be a part of Corning’s journey in India and witness numerous growth avenues explored by the organization,” Bansal said. “Corning is an iconic global brand and the projected plans for growth in India seem very promising. I am committed to take the company’s vision forward and utilize all of my skills to ensure an accelerated growth trajectory for the company across verticals.”

Bansal brings almost two decades of extensive business experience both internationally and in India. Before joining Corning, Bansal played a key role in leading various commercial, merger, and acquisition initiatives at Axygen, a California-based life science company acquired by Corning in 2009. Additionally, Bansal is a qualified chartered accountant and holds degrees in finance and accounting.

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Gionee Claims 12 Mn Users, Hires Virat Kohli To Promote Brand

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Chinese smartphone brand Gionee today claimed that it has got a user base of 12 million or 1.20 crore in India since launch and has been growing at a very fast pace for last few years. To celebrate this the company has also appointed India cricket team captain Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador who will now promote Gionee in various platforms.

Earlier, the company had roped in actor Alia Bhatt as it’s brand ambassador a few months ago and Virat is joining her in helping the brand touch new heights.

The company said its business doubled in the last fiscal year and has similarly ambitious targets for this year as well when it expects a 2.5x growth. On expansion plans  the company said it will also be establishing 500 brand stores in India along with doubling their strength of retail representatives to 20,000.

It rolled out a global re-branding exercise with a new logo and tagline, “Make Smiles” along with signing on an MoU to put up it’s own manufacturing unit in India. Gionee, operating through its two manufacturing units in India and continuously beefing up its brand and marketing initiatives.

The association with Virat Kohli will further enable the brand to carry forward it’s high decibel visibility and connect.

“ India is one of the fastest growing young economies in the world and Gionee takes immense pride in having India’s biggest youth icons Virat Kohli and Alia Bhatt as its brand endorsers. With the two of the most loved icons in India our motto of Making Smiles is bound to create a new benchmark across billions of young hearts,” said Arvind.R Vohra, Country CEO & MD, Gionee India.

“I play my game with dignity and passion and apply the same rule in choosing my partnerships. Gionee comes across as a brand that is fueled by passion, determination and focus to innovate and perform and with all of this have it’s heart in the right place by giving back to society. Thus, I feel and believe that this association will go a long way. I am very excited to start this journey with Gionee,” said cricket star Virat Kohli.

Gionee has been ever expanding it’s visibility through leading Indian personalities and platforms that appeal to youth, be it Sports, Movies or Music. It has been steadily sponsoring IPL Cricket team Kolkata Night Riders, Football Club Shillong Lajong, and Pro Kabaddi League for the last few years. In 2016, Gionee tied up with Bollywood blockbusters Dilwale and Love You Zindagi. Music is also a stronghold of Gionee, given it’s sponsorship of Sunburn and Bollyland.

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LeEco Dragged To Court By Component Maker For Unpaid Bills

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The dirt of financial crisis that LeEco has been badly trying to sweep under the carpet for last two months is slowly getting its way out. A smartphone component maker, in a recent case, has dragged the Chinese smartphone maker to court for allegedly unpaid bills.

Haosheng Electronic Technology, a partner in LeEco’s smartphone ecosystem that makes audio components, speakers etc, has filed for arbitration in a local trade court against LeEco to recover $5 million or close to 52 million Yuan that has remained unpaid for years.

Though this is a small amount, not able to pay up even this small amount speaks volumes about the company’s current crisis.

In September last year Haosheng had stopped supplying components to LeEco as there was a pending amount of close to 30 million Yuan, however both the companies had devised a payment plan in November wherein LeEco would pay up the component maker all the debt plus 6% interest in nine installments.

The smartphone maker, however, failed to pay up even the first installment leading to this legal action by Haosheng. By this time, the debt has reached over 51 million Yuan.

The case has been filed in Shanghai International Economy and Trade Arbitration Commission and the local trade court has accepted the arbitration claim, a Chinese media reported.

Haosheng’s case may be the first arbitration case against LeEco but it is expected that it would trigger others to follow suit as there are hundred such partners who LeEco owe payment.

Compal, its manufacturing partner – globally as well as in India, for example, is waiting for its payment of around $300 million, though the Taiwanese firm has not yet sought legal recourse to recover its dues.

Besides its smartphone ecosystem, the flamboyant phone maker also has dues unpaid towards some media organisation related to advertising. Last year a Hong Kong based newspaper had sued LeEco for $69,000 for the same. Sources say the company owes some advertising fees to few Indian media houses that has not been paid for last one year.

In November, last year, LeEco’s Chairman Jia Yueting had accepted that the company is going through a cash crunch because of its lavish expansions across markets, including India and the US, as well as into multiple domains, like smartphones, movies and electric cars.

 

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OnePlus’ First Experience Store In India Opens In Bengaluru

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OnePlus has opened its first experience store where customers get access to everything related to the mobile phone company in Bengaluru.

Spread over 14,000 sq. ft., the OnePlus Experience Centre is one of the biggest stores on the Brigade Road. The store is spread over four zones with an independent service center in the basement, a retail cum community zone on the ground and mezzanine floors, a swanky office space on the upper floors and a café cum lounge area on the rooftop.

The OnePlus Experience Store will provide customers with a first-hand opportunity to come and have an immersive experience of all our products including smartphones, accessories and lifestyle merchandise. In addition, a slew of unique engagement activities will be conducted on an on-going basis to provide a differentiated experience to our users and fans.

“At OnePlus, we are committed to making superior technology and quality products accessible to our users. We are pleased to launch our first ever experience store in India, one of our most important markets, and dedicate it to the OnePlus community who is the core of our very existence. It is for this very community that the store was designed, to deliver a personalised experience, while allowing them to try and test complete range of our products before making a purchase,” said Vikas Agarwal, General Manager – India, OnePlus.

The OnePlus Experience Store is an iconic landmark on Brigade Road that stands out for its sheer size, grandeur and a fusion of modern aesthetics and technology. The store is designed and developed by a mix of local and internationally acclaimed architects including the renowned Husna Rehman of Fulcrum Studio from India and Infinity Design and Engineering.

The OnePlus Experience Store is yet another significant milestone in our India journey after establishing the local manufacturing, e-commerce store and setting up exclusive service centres across the country. The store complements our online-only business model by providing an offline destination to our users to experience the complete range of our products before concluding the purchase on our exclusive sales partner Amazon.in or our e-commerce store OnePlusStore.in.

In addition to the regular display and retail activities, the OnePlus Experience Centre will act as a hub of various community engagement activities. All OnePlus fans are encouraged to visit the store and participate. To start with, OnePlus will be setting up an augmented reality game to illustrate its proprietary Dash Charge feature in a very engaging manner.

The centre will also support the local technology and startup ecosystem through a series of initiatives including hosting regular focus-group workshops and knowledge sessions in partnership with related industry experts from leading technology companies and industry bodies.

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