Xiaomi Launches Mi 4i in India at ₹ 12,999

The Mi 4i sports a 5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) fully laminated OGS Corning Concore IPS display, which is said to provide the same protection as the Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has a pixel density of 441ppi, and a Sunlight Display feature that optimises the display for visibility under bright light.

The smartphone runs MIUI 6 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and supports 6 Indian languages – Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Tamil. It is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor coupled an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

Those are some insane specs for that price.

Cleatrip Adds Support for the Apple Watch

Cleartrip today released an update to its iOS app that adds support for the Apple Watch, which will be making its way to users starting April 24th. If you’re a Cleartrip user and end up getting an Apple Watch, you’ll be able to enjoy some pretty nifty features like:

  • View a list of upcoming trips in the watch app
  • View details of your next flight, along with departure time and flight status through a Glance
  • Receive notifications for flight delays, reschedules or cancellations directly on the watch.

I have always loved what Cleartrip has been doing with the design of their website and their iOS app. You can download Cleatrip for iOS Free on the App Store.

The OnePlus One is Now Permanently Available Without Invites

The OnePlus One has been one of the hottest smartphones available in the market over the last one year. The much coveted smartphone that boasted of high-end specs, yet a easily affordable price, was still being sold through an invite-only system, exclusively on Amazon.in in India (or Amazon US for US). OnePlus, the Chinese startup behind the smartphone today announced that the OnePlus would now be available globally without an invite system. What that means is that you can now order yourself a 16GB Silk White version or the 64GB Sandstone Black version at ₹18,999 or ₹21,999 respectively, without the need to wait for an invite. This isn’t a limited time offer like the company has announced in the past — this is a permanent move, likely to counter the recent announcement by Xiaomi that all its handsets will be available without an invite not just on Flipkart, but also on Amazon.in and Snapdeal.

OnePlus is currently working on introducing the OnePlus 2, it’s next phone, later in the year. It also today announced that along with the purchase of the One, users will be able to purchase the following accessories at a flat 50% OFF, but only for the next three days.

I’ve been considering order one to try out the hardware and the new Oxygen OS for a while now, but still haven’t placed an order yet. Today’s announcement might just push me over the edge.

Cleartrip Pulls Out of Facebook’s Internet.org Initiative

Cleartrip today announced that it was “standing up for #NetNeutrality” and pulling out of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative.

[…] the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast. What started off with providing a simple search service has us now concerned with influencing customer decision-making by forcing options on them, something that is against our core DNA.

So while our original intent was noble, it is impossible to pretend there is no conflict of interest (both real and perceived) in our decision to be a participant in Internet.org. In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely.

We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of #NetNeutrality.

Props to Cleartrip for this announcement.

Google plans to set up cache server in India

Danish Khan, writing for ET Tech:

The US search giant has had initial discussions with fibre manufacturer Sterlite Technologies to co-locate the servers wherever the Indian company’s fibre network is being created, Anand Agarwal, chief executive of the Vedanta Group company, told ET.

A caching node that’s physically closer to your location makes a tremendous difference. I’ve generally been happy with how YouTube videos have been buffering lately and I believe they have a CDN node somewhere in Delhi or Mumbai, but this cache server will also make your Google searches much faster.

Experiencing Tata Sky’s 4K Broadcast

This past Sunday, I attended a special screening of the India vs. South Africa match from the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2015 in glorious 4K. The screening was arranged by Tata Sky for the Media to showcase their UHD 4K set-top-boxes that the company recently started offering its customers. The screening was held at Olive Bar & Kitchen and I accompanied Prasad to this event. India did end up winning the game and it was a lot of fun to watch the game in 4K. Here are some thoughts about the whole experience.

tatasky-4k-set-top-box

Before I begin, I should mention that I have been a Tata Sky customer for about nine years now. At home, I currently have a Tata Sky+ HD set-top-box as my primary connection and a regular Tata Sky HD STB as the secondary “multi-tv” connection. I was looking forward to experiencing their 4K offering not just as a early-adopter geek, but also as a regular customer of theirs.

At the screening, there were two Sony Bravia 79” 4K TVs set up for the viewers (KD-79X9000B), one indoor and one outside. Unfortunately, both the TVs had only a single speaker connected to them, which I thought was an odd choice considering the 5.1 sound is part of the whole experience.

The picture quality of the broadcast was just about how I’d expected it to be. The picture was crisp and you could easily tell the difference between a 1080p 1080i broadcast and the 4K broadcast. The latter is also completely ad-free. Just like when HD channels were introduced by DTH operators, the Star Sports 4K channel does not have any ads at all and during the ad-breaks for SD/HD channels, there are replays shown here instead. It’s interesting to see what goes on on the field during the drinks break or even the Innings break.

tata-sky-4k-channel

Star Sports 4K is the only 4K channel currently active, so the rest of your channels are all displaying 1080i content on a 4K display.

Tata Sky has priced their UHD 4K set-top-box, officially called “Tata Sky 4K” at Rs. 6400 for new customers or Rs. 5900 for existing customers. I was disappointed with this box for a few reasons. First, if you’re upgrading from a Tata Sky+ HD connection, you lose all the “plus” features. For example, on the UHD 4K box, you cannot record, rewind, pause, schedule at all. Not just the 4K channels, but any channel. You can get the UHD 4K STB as an addon (Multi TV connection) and continue using these features on your existing Tata Sky+ HD STB, but it’ll unnecessarily cost you an additional INR 200/month.

Additionally, it was also disappointing to see that Tata Sky haven’t updated their On Screen Display (OSD) on the UHD 4K STB. So the text for the menu, program guide and channel info is all blurry and jagged on your grandiose 4K television.

The sound on the 4K channel was also very low compared to the other channels, so whenever you change channels, god bless your ears.

For the India vs. South Africa game, ICC’s official broadcaster is Star Sports and they have 4K cameras on the field to record the action live. Star Sports also have a dedicated 4K channel for this broadcast, available on Channel No. 400 on Tata Sky. This channel will telecast seven matches from the World Cup, 4 of which will be India’s matches and the remaining 3 will be Semi-Finals and the Final. Apart from this, a consumer can enjoy content from the Discovery channel in 4K and I was told that additional content was coming soon.

Overall, it really doesn’t make sense to jump onto the 4K bandwagon just yet. There’s almost no content for you to enjoy right now. Of course, if you’re super rich and/or have already invested in a 4K television for some reason, then spending 6k more on a service that does give you a 4K stream is a no-brainer. If you have a HD TV, I do recommend a Tata Sky+ HD connection though.

Amazon eyeing majority stake in logistic firm Blue Dart

Ashwin Mohan:

US giant Amazon is learnt to be in preliminary talks to acquire a majority stake in leading courier and integrated express package distribution company Blue Dart, sources privy to ongoing discussions told ET NOW.

Twitter Buys Messaging Startup ZipDial, Expands in India

We’re very pleased to announce we’ve reached an agreement to acquire ZipDial (@zipdial), a product partner based in Bangalore, India, to make Twitter even more accessible to people around the world.

This acquisition significantly increases our investment in India, one of the countries where we’re seeing great growth, and also brings us a new engineering office in Bangalore.

Interesting & obvious move by Twitter.