Flipkart raises another $700 mn, applies to go public in Singapore

Flipkart has raised another $700 million (Rs 4,300 crore), less than six months after the country’s largest e-tailer surprised everyone with the largest fund-raising by an Indian online retailer so far, $1 billion, reflecting the investor confidence in the fiercely competitive e-commerce space. Significantly, this latest round of rasing funds — which the company closed on Saturday and saw participation from five new global investors — also underlines e-commerce companies’ desire to seek funds to keep up with their discount-led pricing model.

“As with previous funds raised, these funds will be used towards long-term strategic investments in India and to build a world-class technology company, delivering superior customer experiences,” the firm said in a statement.

In this latest round of investment, the company saw participation from new investors, including Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital and Qatar Investment Authority, along with existing investors such as DST Global, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global, bringing the total number of investors above 50. This year, Flipkart has raised a total of $1.9 billion and close to $2.7 billion since it was founded by  Sachin Bansal and  Binny Bansal in 2007.

“Flipkart Limited (incorporated at Singapore) has filed with ACRA Singapore for conversion to a Public Company. This is a mandatory procedure for all companies where the number of shareholders exceeds 50,” Flipkart said in a statement.

The company also stated that the filing is “in no way indicative of any upcoming IPO or of any corporate activity that the company is engaged in either in Singapore or any other part of the world.”

Flipkart is now valued at about $11 billion (Rs 69,000 crore), more than some of the country’s largest consumer companies. Flipkart is now worth nearly half of India’s fourth-largest IT firm Wipro, which has a market capitalisation of Rs 1.34 lakh crore, and nearly seven times the mid-sized IT services firm Mind-Tree that is valued at around Rs 10,000 crores.

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Xiaomi to resume sales in India till January 8, 2015

Xiaomi has obtained a partial lift off the injunction banning it from selling all of its smartphones in India, after the Delhi High court decided that its Qualcomm-powered devices should not be affected by the ban.

Justice G.P. Mittal, of the Delhi High Court, had imposed a total ban on imports and sales of Xiaomi devices in India last week, at the request of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. Ericsson alleged that Xiaomi is refusing to pay licenses for eight of its patents, pertaining to AMR, EDGE, and 3G technologies. Xiaomi was banned from selling any of its own devices until the next hearing in the case, which is scheduled for January 8, 2015.

Continue reading Xiaomi to resume sales in India till January 8, 2015

Xiaomi to gives a Diwali surprise by bringing the Mi3 back to India

Seems like Xiaomi was looking for a way to one up its Chinese rival Huawei when it decided to bring the leftover stock of its super popular and much in-demand smartphone the Mi3 to the Indian market on the same day of launch of the Huawei Honor 6.

Xiaomi is bringing the Mi3 back but this time, after it’s gone, the smartphone won’t return back. This is the final sale of this amazing product.

The company is offering 25,000 consumers who tried to purchase the device in the previous flash sales, but were unsuccessful, one last chance to do the same, again. These customers will be picked by Xiaomi and Flipkart, and they were intimated of their selection on October 5. However, unlike last times, there will be no flash sale, and the chosen customers won’t have to hit the ‘buy now’ button or wait for hours for the sale to begin.

The smartphone will be added in the cart of the aforementioned customers today. However, unlike earlier, there will be no flash sale, and the chosen customers won’t have to hit the ‘buy now’ button or wait for hours for the sale to begin.

This initiative is a part of Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale today where the e-commerce site has conducted various sales to mark its inception by the two founders from Room number 610.

Xiaomi has sold about 300,000 Mi phone till date, including the Mi3 and its recently released little brother the RedMi 1S. Both the phones were sold on Flipkart through the flash sale model, and were sold out in seconds.

Huawei to kick off sales of its latest Honor 6 smartphone in India on October 6

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is set to kick off the sales of its latest smartphone in the Honor series, the Huawei Honor 6, in India on October 6. The smartphone will be sold exclusively on Flipkart.com. Announced all the way back in June, the smartphone was recently launched in China and is now set to be released in the Indian market. It will be available in black and white flavours and is priced at ₹19,999 (US$325).

Huawei-Honor-61The Honor 6 runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat) with the company’s Emotion UI 2.3 on top. It has aluminium alloy frame and a diamond-style texture on the back. It also packs a 3100mAh battery with Huawei’s Patented Power Saving Technology that promises 30% more battery life compared to other smartphones.

While the phone doesn’t have TDD-LTE on 2300 MHz (Band 40) for India, but has FDD-LTE on 1800 MHz that is expected to launch in India in future.

The smartphone also features the company’s Kirin 920 chipset with an octa-core processor. In case you need a refresh, check out rest of the phone’s specifications after the break…

Continue reading Huawei to kick off sales of its latest Honor 6 smartphone in India on October 6

Flipkart taunting Amazon chief on India visit with “Welcome” ads today

The e-commerce war is playing out hot and heavy between Amazon and Flipkart ahead of the famed US e-tailer’s founder Jeff Bezos’ visit to Bangalore today.

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Times of India reports that Flipkart is executing what it has termed as the ‘Welcome Mr. Bezos‘ campaign. The company has put up huge billboards at the airport, highways and close to Amazon’s headquarters – places where these posters are sure to hit Bezos’ eyes – for its festive season sale campaign called ‘Big Billion Day.’ The same will also follow Bezos to Delhi where he is scheduled to go next, according to sources.

It seems like Flipkart wants to send message to it arch-rival telling them who’s at the top. TOI has also reported that Flipkart is running a ‘Project Victory’ campaign within the organization, a celebration of what it calls a win in the first round of war with Amazon.

Continue reading Flipkart taunting Amazon chief on India visit with “Welcome” ads today

Meet the first Android One smartphones from Spice, Micromax and Karbonn

Fulfilling its I/O 2014 promise, Google, yesterday, unveiled the first three Android One handsets – the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream Uno – all priced sub-₹7,000.

All the three manufactures have adhered to the minimum specification requirements set by Google. The phones have a 4.5-inch display (845 x 480 pixels), dual SIM support and run a stock version of Android 4.4. Hardware specifications include a quad-core Mediatek processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSD card for expansion (up to 32GB supported) and dual cameras. This specification set ensures a fluid experience for the user, as opposed to many cheaper Android phones that are already.

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The Karbonn Sparkle V will be available in Magnum Blue, Mild Grey, Wild Red and Pearl White colour variants exclusively via Snapdeal at ₹ 6,399.

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The Spice Dream Uno will be available in Black and White colour variants exclusively via at Flipkart at Rs. 6,299.

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The Micromax Canvas A1 will be available in Black and White colour variants exclusively via Amazon, priced at Rs. 6,499.

All these devices also “features particularly important to Indians” – dual SIM card slots, a FM radio tuner, and a microSD card slot for additional storage. Google apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, and Google Translate will come pre-loaded on the phones.

Google has also partnered with Airtel users will get free OTA Android software updates over 3G as well as 200MB worth of apps per month for six months at no cost.

The search giant also announced that in the coming weeks the YouTube app will get offline video playback in India, allowing users to store videos via Wi-Fi on their Android device, and watch them later without data connectivity.

Sundar Pichai, Google Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome & Apps, announced at the event an expanded set of hardware partners for the Android One initiative, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, Asus, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo, as well as chipmaker Qualcomm.

The company also announced that Android One program will be expanded to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and additional countries in South Asia by the end of the year.

Motorola launches the next-gen Moto G and Moto X along with the Moto 360 and Hint

Earlier today, Motorola has revealed the much rumoured 2nd Generations of its budget Moto G as well as flagship Moto X smartphones.

Much to the surprise of fans across the globe, the company has launched the smartphones first at its event in India, despite confusing reports of a launch event on Thursday in Chicago.

Along with the smartphones Motorola has also announced that it will be retailing its Android Wear-running smartwatch, the Moto 360 in India as well.

As was expected, the phones will be launched exclusively on Flipkart only.

Another exciting product revealed is the Motorola Hint, which seems to be a really attractive take on the bluetooth headset but more on that later.

Let’s begin with Motorola’s budget offering, the rejigged version of the Moto G…

Continue reading Motorola launches the next-gen Moto G and Moto X along with the Moto 360 and Hint

Three weeks in, Here’s our Review of the Digiflip Pro XT712, Flipkart’s own Android tablet

Flipkart had recently released its first tablet device, the Digiflip Pro XT 712, offering lots and lots of offers on Launch Day. Given the tablet’s hardware specs and its price, as compared to other companies’ tablets, we pounced on it on Launch Day itself. Check out the Unboxing video below:

Excited, I used the tablet as my sole internet consumption device as well as voice-calling device for the past three weeks. The tablet performed almost up to but not beyond my expectations.

Design

The tablet has a nice design enough design. The back has a matt finish with a Digiflip brand logo in the middle. Also on the back are the 5MP primary camera in the top left accompanied by a single LED flash and a the speaker grille at bottom-middle. The company has also marked certain ports and buttons on the actual cover rather than the buttons themselves like the audio jack, mic, volume rockers, etc..

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A nice touch is the already installed screen protector which protects the glossy display of the Pro XT712 from scratches. The front of the tablet is dominated by the 7-inch display of the tablet. It is accompanied by the 2MP secondary camera, light and proximity sensors.

After a while of using the tablet solely, I didn’t quite feel the weight of the tablet as overwhelming as I felt it the first time. Though the display measures in at 7 inches diagonally, the whole tablet actually comes off to around 8 inches. The tablet can be held single-handedly, though not for anything other than unlocking and/or scrolling through text. For everything else, you have to use it with two hands.

Another drawback of the tablet is its back panel/cover for fitting in a Micro SD card or SIM, which is very fragile and flimsy. Also, the lock button is on the left which might upset right-handed people. Another source of frustration might be the boot up splash video which keeps on running, on loop, until the tablet is ready for use

Performance

The tablet performed good enough for its price. At ₹9999, you get a 7-inch tablet with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, accompanied by the Mali-400MP2 GPU clocked at 500MHz. The company does not disclose that the processor used is manufactured by MediaTek.

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Benchmarks-wise, it got a score of 15535 on AnTuTu Benchmark. Though, the score did fall by about a hundred when apps were added to it.

It comes pre-loaded with five apps: Flipkart, Flipkart eBooks, Adobe Flash, MX Player and Facebook.

The tablet gets unbearably hot after just half an hour of playing a graphics-intensive game. While you’re playing a casual game, the tablet will still become hot but only after about an hour or so, and you know you should not be playing that long.

The tablet lasts about 7-8 hours on a full charge idly. While watching a HD movie, the playback was smooth but the battery percentage dropped from a full 100% to 86% in just an hour! Also, the sound quality of the tablet while listening to music very sub-par.

Another drawback which I came across was a lag in starting up. While its was fine for the first week, the next week when I started putting all kinds of apps on it, the tab started to lag, for a good 3-4 seconds, while the display was switched on from sleep.

Camera performance is another one of its downsides, with a lot of noise. By comparison, a Samsung with 3.2 MP primary camera performs better. Its no the number of pixels but the quality of camera sensor which is more important.

Software

The tablet runs on stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which is two generations older than 4.4 KitKat. There’s a slight UI change due to which when you pull the notification bar down from the left, it shows all your notifications and when you do it from the right, it shows all your toggles. It also lacks a built-in Battery Saver Mode toggle, found in many other of its contemporaries.

In-the-box Accessories

Along with the tablet, you are provided with a nice charger with a very sturdy and thick USB cable, a pair of sub-par cheap earphones, a USB On-the-go cable and a very small auxiliary cable. While the headphones worked fine for calling, they performed decently for listening to music, though only on the tablet. The headphones don’t work with other devices like iPods.

Also, the applied screen protector had lots of bubbles under it and was scratched but that might just be for the piece delivered to us. The touch did get a little messy after about a couple of weeks’ use due to it though.

[You can check out all the accessories in the unboxing video above as well. Do subscribe to us on YouTube as well. Thanks!!]

Round Up

Pros

  • Nice Build Quality
  • A Quad-core processor
  • Sturdy Charger with thick USB cable
  • Feels light enough to hold in one hand
  • Good enough display

Cons

  • Older version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2.2)
  • Sub-par bundled headphones
  • Short USB Cable
  • Poorly applied screen protector
  • Large Bezels
  • Difficult to use single handedly
  • Lags after weeks of daily use, tends to get slow
  • Poor Sound Quality

Overall, the tablet is a nice one for ₹ 10k and performs according to its price. As can be seen, the cons outweigh the pros significantly.

Thus, we would advice you to

Buy It if you have a budget of ₹ 10,000 and want a starter, not very powerful Android tablet.

Leave It If you are looking for a powerful budget tablet device. Power does not come cheap. Save some more money and buy a better tablet.


NOTE: We got the tablet on “Try and Buy,” the offer is no longer available. We also got a Plantronics ML2 headset free with it. That Offer is also no longer available.


 

Xiaomi enters the Indian market with last year’s flagship Mi3 and budget RedMi 1S and Note

Following in the footsteps of Motorola and ASUS, Xiaomi has now entered into a pact with Flipkart for exclusive sale in the Indian market.

For those who don’t know Xiaomi is the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in China. It is also dubbed as “the Apple of China” all thanks to the similarity in the design of OS of their phones (MiUI) and the CEO of the company to that of Cupertino.

Xiaomi is now looking to expand its operations to India, the second-fastest growing smartphone market with its super-inexpensive smartphones.

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It is launching three phones in India — the Mi3 at RS. 13,999, the RedMi 1S at Rs. 6,999 and the RedMi Note at Rs. 9,999. The Mi3 will be available on 22nd July whereas the other two will be launched sometime in August.

As told above all three phones will be available via Flipkart and you have to register on Flipkart to be eligible for buying the phones whenever they become available. Registrations are open for the Mi3, till 21st July.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 sports a 5-inch Full HD display and is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB RAM. It runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (according to Flipkart) with Xiaomi’s proprietary MIUI v5 skin on top though the actual Xiaomi website states that it will run on Android 4.4 KitKat. It packs 16GB internal storage, but since it does not support storage expansion via microSD cards the user might just get about 13.22 Gn of available space.

Xiaomi Mi 3 dons a 13MP camera with dual-LED flash (by Philips) on the back and a 2MP camera in front. Connectivity suite of the smartphone consists of 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. It has a 3,050mAh battery, and Xiaomi claims that the smartphone can deliver talk time of up to 21 hours on 3G networks.

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Made of aluminium-magnesium alloy, this smartphone weighs 145 gram and is 8.1mm thick.

The smartphone will come with Xiaomi’s Mi Cloud service, which will allow users to save and access their contacts, messages, photos, notes and call logs online. They will also be able to back up apps in the cloud and locate the handset online in case it is lost.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S, which was unveiled earlier this year, sports a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display. It is powered by a 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. It comes with 16GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports storage cards of up to 64GB. The phone has a 2000mAh battery and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Xiaomi’s MiUi layer on top. It sports an 8MP rear camera and a 1.6MP front facing camera.

Unveiled in May, Xiaomi Redmi Note phablet sports a 5.5-inch 720p IPS display. It is powered by a 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor and 2GB RAM. It comes with 8GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports storage cards of up to 32GB. The phone has a 3100mAh battery and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Xiaomi’s MiUi layer on top. It sports a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front facing camera.

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The RedMi 1S and the RedMi Note

During its launch in Singapore, 5,000 units of Redmi Note, priced at S$199 (Rs 9,600 approximately), were sold out in just 42 seconds. Judging by the pricing of Mi 3 in India, we expect the company to unveil the other phones at an equally competitive prices.

Talking about the company’s India operations, Manu Jain, India operations head, Xiaomi, said

“We are looking to provide the best in class experience to our Mi fans in India. We are starting with 35+ service centres across top 20 cities, a hotline that operates 7 days a week, and a vibrant Mi India Facebook page. Our partner Flipkart, with its world-class technology and customer service, will be key to providing this experience.”

Xiaomi Mi3 sales will commence July 22 at 12 noon on Flipkart. However, interested buyers will need to pre-register before July 22 on Flipkart to become eligible. The company will have a dedicated helpline to track orders. Xiaomi will have 36 service centres in India with two exclusive Mi centres in Delhi and Bangalore.

Marketing Strategy

 

the company aims to reach out to consumers through technology influencers, fans, social media and enthusiasts and will not look at spending big on advertising and marketing, at least in the initial phase.

 

Xiaomi intends to sell its phones exclusively through an online model. Initially, it has partnered with Flipkart, however, it plans to start selling phones on its own website, in the near future, according to Jain. The company is also open to partnering with other online retailers.

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Hugo Barra, vice president of Xiaomi, said during the Q/A session that the company aims to reach out to consumers through technology influencers, fans, social media and enthusiasts and will not look at spending big on advertising and marketing, at least in the initial phase.

When asked how the company plans to gain mindshare in a market where the brand is not known outside the tech circles, he said Xiaomi may rethink its promotional strategy if the current one doesn’t work as intended.

Barra has reassured that the Mi 3 will get timely software updates at both the base level (Android) as well as MiUi updates for a reasonable time period.

One of the differentiating features of Xiaomi’s MiUi interface is themes. It is also a source of revenue for the company as it offers paid themes as well. However,the Themes store available in India will only feature free themes, for the time being, as Xiami is still in the process of integrating payment options.

Blackberry Z3 strikes a chord in India, flies off the shelves

Seems like BlackBerry has finally understood the Indian market with initial stocks of its latest Z3 handset having been almost sold out in 2 weeks from its launch, according to retailers.

“It is true that we have been almost stocked out (for Z3),” said Sameer Bhatia, director, distribution, BlackBerry India.

Analysts, however, feel that the company’s ability to regain a foothold in the surging Indian smartphone market, which it led until a few years ago, depends upon the follow-up models as well as the time they will take to bring it to the market, especially when competitors are launching models in the same category at a furious pace.

The Mobile Store’s Chief Executive, Himanshu Chakravarti told the Economic Times that “We’ve already sold about 75% of the stock that we got. The Z3 has done well so far, benefitting from the easy instalments and discounts offered.”

 

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The smartphone has also been launched at a lower price than the previous high-profile launches from the company, besides being able to run Android apps, all a part of the company’s revival/survival strategy as the once dominant smartphone maker seeks to come back the from the near dead.

The Mobile Store offered Rs 1,000 off on the 5-inch dual-core handset which runs on the latest version of BB10 operating system. Flipkart also offered vouchers worth Rs 1,000 on pre-bookings until July 2, when the phone became commercially available.

Industry insiders reveal about 25,000-30,000 Z3 devices were imported to India, a large part of which has been allocated to large format retailers.

Chennai-based retail chain UniverCell’s founder Satish Babu said the device has become an option for ardent BlackBerry fans among young customers looking to upgrade from the ubiquitous Curve 8520 in the sub-Rs 20,000 price range.

“Z3’s sales have been reasonable.”

The Z3 is among the first devices made by Foxconn for BlackBerry and was debuted in Indonesia earlier this year.

Recent offerings by the company, including the Z10, Z30, Q10 and Q5 models, have failed in India, a market considered among the world’s fastest growing for smartphones and key to global success given the potential.

“It is true that we have been almost stocked out (for Z3),” said Sameer Bhatia, director, distribution, BlackBerry India, adding the company has seen strong sales through the traditional retail store channel as well as online.

The smartphone is still available on FLipkart but not from their own WSRetail but other sellers. The smartphone is available at a price between ₹15,890 and ₹15,990.

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