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Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 632, 439 & 429 Mobile Platforms

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Affordable smartphones are getting more and more popular. In the rat race of smartphones, the overall value for money against the offerings matter most these days to users which gave rise to some of the very popular affordable phones and even flagships. Qualcomm’s 600 series or more specifically the Snapdragon 625 is one of the best examples of a chipset that is being used on most affordable phones which offer performance and excellent efficiency.

However, the 400 Series chipsets from Qualcomm are the most common and popular. As the trend is going in the right direction as more and more affordable phones are coming to market, Qualcomm has today announced the new Snapdragon 632, Snapdragon 439 and Snapdragon 429 system-on-chips.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 has Kryo 250 semi-custom cores where four Cortex-A73 cores are clocked up to 1.8GHz, and four efficiency cores are based on Cortex-A53 clocked up to the same speed at 1.8GHz. It is manufactured using the FinFET 14nm process to make it balanced for performance and power efficiency. Qualcomm said that the Snapdragon 632 will provide 40% higher CPU performance, compared to the Snapdragon 626.

This new chipset features the Adreno 506 which is said to offer 10% improved graphics performance over the same Adreno 506 in the Snapdragon 626. Other neat benefits include a Hexagon 546 DSP and support for various ML frameworks (Caffe/2, TensorFlow/Lite, ONNX) as well as Android NN and the Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK, which will help the mid-range phones offer AI capabilities with on-device AI in apps.

The Snapdragon 629 also comes with X9 LTE modem for Cat13 speeds of 300Mbps DL and 150Mbps UL and finally. These Snapdragon 629 will also support FHD+ displays and in terms of camera, either a single 24MP single or 13MP+13MP dual camera setup can be provided on a phone having the chipset. One downside of Snapdragon 632 is that it does support Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 & 429 bring a performance improvement of up to 25% when compared to the Snapdragon 430 & 425 respectively. While the Snapdragon 632 is built on the 14nm FinFET process, these two are built on the 12nm FinFET process for better power efficiency. The 439 brings 8 Cortex A53 cores in two clusters where four performance cores are clocked at 1.95GHz and the power efficiency cores are clocked at 1.45GHz. However, the Snapdragon 429 features only four A53 cores clocked at 1.95GHz.

These chips also feature the Adreno 505 and 504 GPUs respectively and as per Qualcomm, they offer performance boosts of up to 20% and 50% over the Adreno 505 and Adreno 308 of the Snapdragon 430 and 425 respectively. The Snapdragon 439 supports FHD+ display just like the 632, while the 429 will support the HD+ display. Both chipsets feature the X6 LTE modem for 150Mbps DL and 75 Mbps UL (Cat 4 & 5).

In terms of camera support, the 439 supports 21MP single camera or dual 8MP camera setup, while the 429 goes up to 16MP or dual 8MP camera setup. Just like the Snapdragon 632, they feature the Hexagon 536 DSP and support various ML frameworks (Caffe/2, TensorFlow/Lite, ONNX) as well as Android NN and the Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK. These chipsets will also offer 1080p video recording at 30fps and Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 for cutting down the charging time.

As of now, on paper, the Snapdragon 632, 439 and 429 looks quite promising in terms of on-device AI capabilities and it’s good to see the newly announced 400 Series chipsets will also support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 which may make some users happy when they buy a phone in future, that would support fast charging. However, only the real life tests will let us know how well these chipsets will perform on phones and how well the AI-capabilities can be handled by these chipsets.

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Huawei moves to trademark Hongmeng US. Already in testing by Tencent, Xiaomi, Oppo & Tencent!

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The recent US move to blacklist Huawei Technologies Co. could backfire on US firms. Many manufacturers like Google, Qualcomm, and even Facebook has cut ties with the Chinese manufacturer.  After the ban, the company claimed that its own OS has been in the works for years. Huawei is reportedly moving to trademark the name of the operating system “HongMeng” in Peru. Not only that, it is already being tested by major Chinese companies like Tencent, Xiaomi and OPPO.

According to a report from the Chinese newspaper Global Times, Huawei’s upcoming HongMeng OS is being tested by major Chinese companies. The newspaper which cites a source “close to a major Chinese carrier” said that major Chinese manufacturers “are actively working with Huawei to push forward the release of HongMeng OS, which also considered a major blow to the US-led crackdown”.

The US ban targeting a Chinese manufacturer may have created an opportunity for the manufacturers in the east to come together and make a common OS platform. This could largely affect the revenues of Android, which is owned by Google. Earlier this week, Huawei reportedly began inviting Google Play Store developers to publish their own apps on its own AppGalley app store. Now a trademark application for HongMeng was filed with Peru’s National Institute for the Defence of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) on May 27, as reported by Reuters.

As for HongMeng OS, the previous report claims that the new operating system is 60% faster than Android, which falls in the line with the previous claim by Huawei’s head of the smartphone’s business Richard Yu. There is no official report about HongMeng OS being tested by other manufacturers, and could simply be a PR battle between the US and China. But there is no doubt Huawei is moving ahead with its own smartphone OS, which doesn’t look good for Google from a business standpoint.
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Asus cannot use Zenfone or Zen brand names in India!

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ASUS announced the refreshed Zenfone Max series last year that aims to provide premium features along with a bigger battery while keeping the price at bay. Other ASUS Zenfone branded smartphones like the Zenfone Max Pro M2, Zenfone Max M2 and the older Zenfone Max Pro M1 feared really well in the Indian market. However, the future seems to be bleak for the series with a ruling against ASUS prohibiting them from selling smartphones or accessories under the Zenfone branding in India.

Telecare Network India Pvt Limited filed a plaintiff against ASUS claiming the Zen and Zen Mobiles are their own. The company sells both feature phones and entry-level phones and previously sold tablets also. It claims that the uses of a similar branding by a competitor is damaging and can create confusion among customers. Delhi High court found the argument reasonable and banned ASUS from selling any smartphone, tablet or accessory under the Zenfone branding starting eight weeks after May 28 i.e from July 23.

The High Court took the fact that Zen has been selling mobile phones since 2008 and even has a partnership with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in 2010 as the company’s brand ambassador. ASUS had no counter argument for this fact as it started selling smartphones under the Zenfone branding from 2014.

ASUS in its defence said that Zen is a generic term in Buddhist philosophy but the court overruled this fact by saying even though Zen is a common term, it cannot be easily associated with smartphone technology and therefore cannot be treated as generic in this case. And thus, Telecare Network is “entitiled” to protect the trademark, the judgement says.

The next hearing for this case is on July 10. If the lawyers representing ASUS fails to provide compelling evidence that its decision to choose a conflicting name is not an act of trademark infringement and passing off, the company may have no option other than to comply with the court ruling and stop selling the devices in India. ASUS also has its ZenBook line of laptop which will likely to be affected by the decision.

For now, ASUS can bypass the this prohibition by selling devices under a different brand name or proceed with the appealing in the Supreme Court of India which may take very long before a resolution is passed.

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TikTok’s Parent Company Bytedance is working on their own Smartphone brand!

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Every now and then we come across some new companies who are trying to make their own space in the smartphone market. But, sadly most of them fights with the tried and tested smartphone giants and finally gives up. The latest news is coming from the founders of popular video sharing app, TikTok. According to reports, the founding company of TikTok, Bytedance, is building its own smartphone.

The report from financial Times quotes an unnamed source who revealed that Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming has long dreamt of a smartphone with Bytedance’s apps  pre-installed. Earlier this year Bytedance made a deal with phone manufacturer Smartisan and acquired patents and some employees from the company, which indicates that the report is indeed true.

Out of the apps made by Bytedance, most people knows only about TikTok, owing to it’s popularity. Other apps from Bytedance includes Lark, a collaboration tool,an instant messenger called Felilao .While a lot of chinese smartphone companies have their own applications pre-installed in their own smartphones, this is one of the rare cases where an application company makes their own smartphone so that they can endorse their apps in it. It must be noted that the companies who tried to do the same before, Amazon and Facebook, who launched smartphones to endorse their app failed shortly and had to discontinue the products.

If the news is true, capturing the market will be just one of the few worries for Bytedance, because of the ongoing trade war between USA and China. Recently, TikTok was banned in India for a short period of time for promoting “cultural degradation”.

On the other side, TikTok is one of the most popular apps on both the Apple iTunes store where it was downloaded 33 million times and in the Google Playstore, where it was downloaded 88.2 million times.

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