Google-parent Alphabet Inc, Microsoft, and Apple have emerged as tech's leading employers in the first-ever Forbes World's Best Employers List. Alphabet, which has a 72,000-strong workforce, took the top spot riding on its working conditions, diversity policies, and general image. Microsoft followed for being extremely "attractive" to employees. And Apple, whose market cap is nearing a trillion-dollar, took the fourth spot.
While the buzz around 5G has increased of late, especially after the government set up a committee for its rollout by 2020 and is even said to be contemplating a Rs 500-crore fund for the purpose, it is safe to suggest that we're at least half a decade away from a pan-India 5G network. And what is being passed off as 5G right now is technically 4.5G, telecom experts tell BGR India. But more on that later.
Reliance Jio is the most widely available 4G LTE network in India, reveals the latest State of Mobile Networks report by OpenSignal. Jio testers were able to find an LTE signal more than 95 percent of the time in the period between June and August 2017. While LTE availability was up across the board, "Jio was still the operator to beat". OpenSignal arrived at the findings from more than 7 billion tests conducted on 708,504 mobile devices throughout the country. Top six telcos were sampled in the report. Three of those operators Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone run both 3G and 4G networks. Two, BSNL Mobile and Reliance Communications, operate 3G networks only. And Jio is a 4G-only network.
Flipkart-owned digital payments platform PhonePe announced last week that it now accounts for maximum UPI transactions in the country. With a 45 percent share of 16.6 million UPI transactions, it is ahead of the government-backed BHIM app, and a host of other UPI-based banking apps. PhonePe, of course, is driving usage through cashbacks, offers, and more a ploy that seems to be working for all mobile wallet operators in India but it is a part of an industry segment that is getting more cluttered by the day.
Google has just announced the acquisition of HTC's design and engineering divisions for $1.1 billion. While that may not be a whopping amount by Google standards the search giant paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility back in 2011 it does add to Google's ever-growing list of acquisitions. Analyst estimates suggest that Google has bought close to 150 small-and-big companies since the time it went public in mid-2004. Some have been flops as in the case of Motorola (which Google eventually sold at one-fourth the price it paid), while some others have been blockbusters like YouTube and Android that have taken over the world and how.
Global payments giant Mastercard has a lot going for it in India what several of its top executives call the "hotbed for innovation". First up, Mastercard's biggest technology hub outside the US is housed in India. Some of its core products and services are being developed in Pune and Vadodara, where its centers are located. A lot of its innovation in the digital payments space is starting in India and being replicated in South Asian markets. In the last few years, Mastercard has invested close to $750 million in India. Demonetization was a shot in the arm and 'Make in India' is sustaining the tide.
Now that the initial excitement surrounding three new iPhone models is out of the way, let's put things in perspective. Apple's new offerings are slated to hit the Indian market on September 29 right in the middle of the festive season, which is typically a lucrative time for smartphone makers. However, given the steep pricing, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X may not be selling like hot cakes exactly. What could happen, instead, is a surge in the sales of older models, especially the iPhone 7, after a price cut.
One of the highlights of Apple's event last night has been the Face ID feature on the iPhone X, and unsurprisingly, it has got the world talking. First up, Apple's demo didn't go off smoothly, as the company's software chief Craig Federighi failed to unlock the screen in his first attempt. The passcode screen showed up inadvertently, and he had to demonstrate the new feature on a second iPhone X handset. Sections of the Western press are calling it an "embarrassing" attempt.
Qualcomm and Apple are at it again. After fighting lawsuits over patents and payments, Qualcomm has now taken a dig at Apple before its launch event tonight. In a blog post, Qualcomm declared that Android is the home of all "firsts" in cutting-edge mobile technology. While the global chipmaker doesn't mention Apple anywhere, some of the features mentioned in the blog post are widely rumored to be coming to the upcoming iPhones.
About three years ago, Xiaomi was the most valued startup in the world at $45 billion a distinction it earned within four years of its existence. In 2015, the tide turned, and Xiaomi ceded market share to fellow Chinese phone-makers Oppo and Vivo, which have sustained their progress until now. However, Xiaomi has bounced back, and how. In Q2 2017, it outgrew all its global rivals, and managed to re-enter the haloed 'top 5' smartphone vendors club, according to IDC data. Xiaomi grew its shipments by 59 percent in the second quarter to 21.2 million. It was followed by Oppo that posted a growth of 22 percent less than half of Xiaomi's.