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India’s richest man is ready to take on Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart – TechCrunch

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As Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart spend billions to make a dent in India’s retail market and reel from recent regulatory hurdles, the two companies have stumbled upon a new challenge: Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man.

Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, two subsidiaries of Ambani’s Reliance Industries, said they have soft launched JioMart, their e-commerce venture that works closely with neighbourhood stores, in parts of the state of Maharashtra — Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Thane.

The e-commerce venture, which is being marketed as “Desh Ki Nayi Dukaan” (Hindi for new store of the country), currently offers a catalog of 50,000 grocery items and promises “free and express delivery.”

In an email to Reliance Jio users, the two aforementioned subsidiaries that are working together on the e-commerce venture, said they plan to expand the service to many parts of India in coming months. The joint venture has also urged Jio subscribers to sign up to JioMart to access introductory offers. A Reliance spokesperson declined to share more.

The soft launch this week comes months after Ambani, who runs Reliance Industries — India’s largest industrial house — said that he wants to service tens of millions of retailers and store owners across the country.

If there is anyone in India who is positioned to compete with heavily-backed Amazon and Walmart, it’s him. Reliance Retail, which was founded in 2006, is the largest retailer in the country by revenue. It serves more than 3.5 million customers each week through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns.

Reliance Jio is the second largest telecom operator in India with more than 360 million subscribers. The 4G-only carrier, which launched commercial operations in the second half of 2016, disrupted the incumbent telecom operation in the country by offering bulk of data and voice calls at little to no charge for an extended period of time.

In a speech in January, Ambani, an ally of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, invoked Mahatama Gandhi and said, like Gandhi, who led a movement against political colonization of India, “we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonization. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India – in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian.”

Modi, whose government at the time had just announced regulatory challenges that would impact Amazon and Flipkart, was among the attendees.

E-commerce still accounts for just a fraction of total retail sales in India. India’s retail market is estimated to grow to $188 billion in next four years, up from about $79 billion last year, according to research firm Technopak Advisors.

In an interview earlier this year, Amit Agarwal, manager of Amazon India, said, “one thing to keep in mind is that e-commerce is a very, very small portion of total retail consumption in India, probably less than 3%.”

To make their businesses more appealing to Indians, both Amazon and Flipkart have expanded their offerings and entered new businesses. Both of the platforms have started to sell grocery items in recent quarters and are working on food retail, too. Amazon has bought stakes in a number of retailers in India, including in India’s second largest retail chain Future Retail’s Future Coupons, Indian supermarket chain More, and department store chain Shopper’s Stop.

Flipkart has invested in a number of logistic startups including ShadowFax and Ninjacart. Amazon India was also in talks with Ninjacart to acquire some stake in the Bangalore-based startup, people familiar with the matter said.

In recent quarters, Reliance Jio executives have aggressively reached out shop owners in many parts of India to showcase their point-of-sale machines and incentivize them to join JioMart, many merchants who have been approached said.



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OnePlus 7T OxygenOS 11 Beta brings Always-on-Display feature

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OnePlus has always been proud of what it’s able to accomplish despite being a small company and exactly because it is a small company. It is able to be more agile and flexible, to establish more intimate relationships with its customers, and to take risks that richer companies are ironically more afraid to take. Unfortunately, it also means it may have fewer resources, especially for things like developing its custom OxygenOS Android experience whose latest version has still to reach its older phones. Fortunately for OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro owners, the wait might be well worth it.

Despite its usual speed in rolling out Android updates, it seems that OnePlus has somewhat dropped the ball with Android 11 and OxygenOS 11. It was only just this Monday that the OnePlus Nord got its update and, before that, only the current OnePlus 8 series has been gifted with the update. The rest are still stuck in Open Beta for at least two months now.

OnePlus just recently announced another beta release of OxygenOS 11, this time for the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro. It has the usual changelog of fixes since the last beta release but Piunikaweb noticed one important bullet point missing. OxygenOS 11 is supposed to bring Always-on-Display or AOD, what OnePlus brands as Always-on Ambient Display, but it was nowhere to be seen in the changelog.

Fortunately, that might have just been a clerical error since the feature is actually available on the OnePlus 7T, at least if you’re part of that beta program. Those who were already on the beta will actually see AOD mentioned in the update, just not on the official forums. Given the OnePlus 7 OxygenOS 11 Beta does have AOD listed, it would have been odd if the more advanced OnePlus 7T didn’t get the feature at all.

That said, the question remains when the stable version of OxygenOS will come to the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T series. The company hasn’t updated its schedule for the rollout so far and the fate of the OnePlus 6 and 6T as well as the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 are still unknown as well.

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Galaxy Tab S6 One UI 3.1 update is rolling out two months early

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Given how people complain when things arrive early, it’s no surprise that they all celebrate when things arrive a lot earlier than expected. Not expected until May, it seems that Samsung has started the ball rolling to bring One UI 3.1 and Android 11 to its 2019 premium slate, the Galaxy Tab S6. Given the company and the type of device, this could be even more proof that Samsung has definitely matured and changed for the better, at least as far as updates go.

Although it does make a fuss over its most recent Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones, Samsung didn’t always bring Android updates to its other phone models in a timely manner. That’s sometimes even worse for tablets, where its latest Galaxy Tab S doesn’t always get preferential treatment at all. To its credit, Samsung has indeed been getting better at that and this might be one more point going for it.

With the update, the Galaxy Tab S6 jumps from One UI 2.5 and right into One UI 3.1, which means it’s also being upgraded to the so-far latest Android 11 version. That’s already a big jump under the hood but even more when it comes to the visual refresh that was introduced in One UI 3. There are, of course, new features as well but those might be harder to pin down on tablets.

For example, it isn’t certain which of the features announced in the Galaxy Tab S7 One UI 3.1 update will be available on the older tablet. The previous announcement does make mention of 360 Audio support becoming available on the Galaxy Tab S6 and SamMobile adds Auto Switch support when paired with a Galaxy Buds Pro. It will be terribly disappointing if new S Pen functionality, like Pen to Text in Samsung Notes, will be missing in this update.

The one small catch is that the One UI 3.1 update has so far been reported only for the LTE model of the Galaxy Tab S6 in Germany. Barring a mistake on Samsung’s side, the update should also start rolling out to other countries and both LTE and Wi-Fi models soon. Given the early release, there’s also a chance that the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite will join the party earlier than May as well.

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OPPO Find X3 Pro, Neo, Lite leaked in full

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In just a few days, OPPO will be officially revealing its premier flagship for the year. Before that could happen, however, a single leak may have uncovered all there is to know about not one but three phones under the OPPO Find X3 banner. While OPPO might still have a few surprises to show, not to mention confirmations of these unofficial details, this massive leak already shows what the brand’s fans and customers can expect, and it’s a pretty interesting one at that.

Usually, you’d expect that variants of the same smartphone series would mostly differ in size and specs. While that’s still true here, OPPO has surprisingly made the three OPPO Find X3 models look distinctly different as well. The biggest outlier is the OPPO Find X3 Pro which has what can probably be better described as a camera mound instead of a camera bump.

The Find X3 Neo and the Find X3 Lite are more conventional in design, sporting thankfully smaller and narrower camera bumps. All three have four cameras on their back but, of course, the Find X3 Pro gets the best ones with a 50MP Sony IMX766 main sensor, a 13MP periscope-style telephoto lens, a 5MP macro camera, and a 50MP ultra-wide shooter. The Find X3 Neo gets a plain telephoto camera while the Find X3 Lite loses that altogether and swaps a 2MP depth sensor instead.

The three also differ in specs, with the Find X3 Pro running on the latest Snapdragon 888, the Find X3 Neo getting a 2019 Snapdragon 865, and the Find X3 Lite left with a Snapdragon 765G. That means, however, that all three are at least 5G capable, despite the performance differences. The top-end Find X3 also gets the largest 6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ screen while the other two are left with 90Hz FHD+ displays at nearly similar sizes.

All three phones will be running OPPO’s ColorOS 11.2 based on Android 11, which should be reassuring to Android fans that want the latest versions. Of course, we’ll have to wait to hear about availability details and, more importantly, the photography feats that the phones, particularly the OPPO Find X3 Pro, will be capable of.

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