An interview with Pete Lau — Founder and CEO of OnePlus on OnePlus Concept One, wearable devices and more

At CES 2020, we had a chance to sit down with with Pete Lau – Founder and CEO of OnePlus, and we asked questions that would answer all your queries regarding the latest OnePlus Concept One, what’s next for OnePlus, OnePlus wearable device? and more. You can check out our hands-on and first impressions of the OnePlus Concept One here.

Continue reading “An interview with Pete Lau — Founder and CEO of OnePlus on OnePlus Concept One, wearable devices and more”

Interview with Prasanna Gokhale, CTO, ACT Fibernet

We interviewed Prasanna Gokhale who is the Chief Technology Officer at ACT Fibernet. The company previous known as ACT Broadband has been offering high speed internet services in India for quite some time and it has been offering speeds which other players rarely offer. In this interview, we discuss High-Speed broadband, Gigabit internet, ACT Fibernet’s expansion plans, streaming devices and more.

Continue reading “Interview with Prasanna Gokhale, CTO, ACT Fibernet”

An interview with Carl Pei – Co-founder, OnePlus on What’s New and What’s Next for OnePlus

We recently had a talk with Carl Pei – the co-founder and Director of OnePlus Global, and we asked questions that would answer all your queries regarding the company, OnePlus smartphones, their business model and more. This was an interview with him on What’s New and What’s Next for OnePlus. The company recently launched the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro smartphone in India. You can check out our review of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Continue reading “An interview with Carl Pei – Co-founder, OnePlus on What’s New and What’s Next for OnePlus”

An Interview with Chris Weber, CVP – Mobile Device Sales at Microsoft

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On Tuesday, the world’s first rebranded Microsoft Priority Reseller Store was inaugurated in India by Chris Weber (Corporate VP, Mobile Device Sales at Microsoft), and we got hold of the man for more information about this transition and his/ Microsoft’s thoughts on the overall boom in smartphone/ Android market. Continue reading “An Interview with Chris Weber, CVP — Mobile Device Sales at Microsoft”

An Interview with Rahul Sharma, Co-founder and CEO Yu

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We recently caught up with Rahul Sharma, the man behind Yu which has launched the Yureka device in the market and is having a tough time keeping up with demand on Amazon India.Yu is a new brand in the Indian smartphone market. The company is a 100% subsidiary of Micromax, one of the most popular names in the sub-continent.We had a chance to talk to Rahul Sharma – the co-founder and the CEO of Yu about the company’s progress and of course we asked questions that would answer all your queries. Continue reading “An Interview with Rahul Sharma, Co-founder and CEO Yu”

Huawei targets innovation in wearables, commits to Android OS

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At the beginning of a crucial year for Huawei – as they face new challenges from Chinese rivals Xioami and Gionee – the company has outlined a vision for the future that includes innovative products, an array of wearables and a commitment to using the Android OS.

In a special briefing at Huawei’s Shenzhen campus in China, Chief Marketing Officer at Huawei, Shao Yang, told us the company is looking to innovate to become noticed in the market, is committed to the Android OS and sees a lot of growth opportunities in the wearables market. Continue reading “Huawei targets innovation in wearables, commits to Android OS”

Huawei plans consumer focus, is considering curved displays

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The modern smartphone is trending toward 4K displays and curved screens and Huawei has ruled out the former but is considering using curved displays on future Huawei smartphones. In a special briefing, Huawei President of Handsets Kevin Ho, confirmed that 4K displays have a negative trade-off with battery life but the wraparound Edge Screen on the Galaxy Note Edge was a feature they’re looking into. Continue reading “Huawei plans consumer focus, is considering curved displays”

An interview with Peter Chang – Regional Head, South Asia and Country Manager for ASUS India

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We got to spend some time with Peter Chang – Regional Head, South Asia and Country Manager for ASUS India and talk to him about the company’s progress in the sub-continent.

ASUS is offering a wide range of products ranging from netbooks to smartphones and is quickly making a name for itself in the market.

With the ZenFone series of the smartphones, the expectations was running high and with limited stocks there were bound to be disappointed consumers along with happy ones. In our talk, Peter tells us how important the Indian market is for ASUS and explains the limited product availability scenario among other things.

On with the interview..

FoneArena: Peter, first of all, we would request you to present yourself for our readers. And, do spread light about the position you hold at ASUS.

Peter: I am the Regional Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India – System Business Group. My current role at ASUS involves outlaying the planning for product, pricing and positioning for all System Business Products which includes the Notebooks, the Tablets, the Desktops and the Smartphone Family. I am also responsible for syncing ASUS India Strategies with the Headquarters in Taiwan.

I started in ASUS as Product Manager and since then I have contributed to numerous divisions viz. Account Sales, Market Development Manager, Regional Director and Country Manager.

FoneArena: Peter, you joined ASUS as a product manager and you have been a part of the company for more than a decade now. The industry has evolved over time and do you think ASUS has adopted well with the changes? Is there anything that you folks could have done differently?

Peter: We have been recognized as the number-one Taiwanese brand in the Best Taiwan Global Brands Awards 2013. I believe that we have made best of decisions in terms of bringing in innovation and delivering the incredible to the users.

And yes, the industry has evolved and so have we. Rather, we have been pioneers in numerous verticals including hybrids, Ultrabooks and introduced many one of kind devices like Bamboo Series etc. and we recently introduced our ZenUI with Zenfones. We aspire to be the World’s most admired leading enterprise in a new digital era and constantly surpass ourselves to re-innovate.

FoneArena: Mr. Chang, you were in charge of regions like Turkey, Israel and Africa in the past. Under your guidance, ASUS was number 1 in Turkey in 2012. How different is the Indian market from the regions you had earlier worked in.

Peter: When it comes to Indian market, it has too diversified dynamics with each region having its own market trends and preferences and certainly way different than any other market. India has become amenable to the newest of technological offerings and we are extremely elated to serve them with the best. To productively operate in a country like India, a company needs to have an all-round focus and ASUS is doing exactly that.

In India, it’s both value and price that work for the customer at large. Hence you need a different strategy from the global markets. Our prime strategy has remained in offering product line considering all the aspects including security, responsiveness, and other exciting features, in order to offer the most complete and satisfying computing experience.

FoneArena: ASUS has introduced various product portfolios in India. The Notebooks and the tablets family were the first ones to get here, and now you have your smartphone business too. For a brand like ASUS, which is the key category of focus at the moment?

Peter: The key focus is always to deliver the incredible. The focus is not towards a particular category but to broaden the offerings which are all quality adept. Keeping the focus and dynamics of the market in mind, we formulate different strategies. We premeditated to proceed as per the understanding of what our users are thinking, feeling, and doing – what they value. It was essential for us to attain the disposition that we start with people and comprehend their expectations from us.

Furthermore, we don’t stop until we’ve surpassed our consumers’ expectations and if we haven’t, we keep trying. We’re very critical of our own work when it comes to only delivering consumers our very best.

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FoneArena: The mobile penetration rate in India is growing exponentially. Many brands are seeing it as a huge opportunity to tap into. Where does India rank in ASUS’s global map? There is a huge time gap between the global announcement and the India launch why does that happen? And, is that scenario bound to change?

Peter: India is an important market for us. It is diverse with each region having its own market trends and preferences. The products that are introduced to Indian market are strategically well thought of in terms of the market dynamics.

Every ASUS device has defined entry scheduled across the world. It has to be in line with its availability, the region specific requirements and guidelines and much more. The time gap that you mentioned has diminished to great extent and the products are introduced within few months of launch at our HQ. As we move ahead and in view of response from Indian market especially what we have received for our Zenfone Series, we believe that the difference is set to reduce further.

FoneArena: With the introduction of Zenfone series, ASUS has already set a high benchmark in the industry. ASUS has changed the dimension of the Indian market in certain ways with its pricing.

With such a killer price tag, does ASUS make any profits? Or do you see yourself breaking with it?

Peter: As i said earlier, India is a market where a combination of quality, quantity and value plays an essential role. Bringing in the Zenfones, we wanted to deliver the best product with great value. The response we have received has proved that Indian consumers understand what’s best for them and who is truly valuing them. We have had a tremendous experience with this series and has resulted us to enhance our efforts towards Indian market further.

With any new product line, investment is certainly needed. However we have also clearly worked upon the long term strategy so anything we offer will not be short term – we work towards sustaining it for longer time in order to yield profits.

FoneArena: While, the pricing has been very aggressive, the lack of stocks has more often than not left the potential consumers disappointed. Is there any timeline before when we can expect all the three smartphones to be available widely?

Peter: The company is constantly acting in order to meet the demand. The Zenfone series stocks have been refilled numerous times till date and are being restocked at regular intervals. The company is ensuring the availability of stocks in both online and offline mediums in order to amplify the reach for every existing and prospective customer.

We are confident that with the online medium and extensive presence pan India, we will be able to complement the incredible response that we have and are receiving for the entire Zenfone Series. We are making sure that we have all the units of the series available this festive season and will soon update you with exact figures.

FoneArena: The Zenfone 4 is currently available in two models and one of those variants comes with slightly upgraded hardware. Why do we even have two versions?

Peter: Our entire series has been directed to cater to users across the country with different interests and purposes. All our variants feature different screen sizes and you’ll be surprised to see how both the variants as you highlighted have got great response in the market. Price is a sensitive point and even difference of a grand makes it grand. We are just focussed towards keeping our customers satisfied and we believe that this series has been so far successful in achieving that.

FoneArena: At this point in time, ASUS smartphones are sold on Flipkart. Do our readers ever get to buy them from brick and mortar stores?

Peter: Along with the successful association with Flipkart, we are now leveraging our extensive channel and exclusive stores to further augment our reach and ensuring availability. We have been very aggressive with our retail expansion and we believe it’s best to leverage the same for our consumers’ convenience.

FoneArena: We are aware that you are expanding your retail presence across India at a rapid pace. What is the point or strategy behind those exclusive stores when you are selling your products on an e-commerce?

Peter: eCommerce association has been for our Zenfone series. Apart from the same we have series of products across variants which have been doing great from our offline stores. Both the platforms have their own positives and are suitable as per the devices. As these platforms continue to co-exist, we would also be leveraging both for our ultimate focus of ascertaining convenience for our users.

FoneArena: How is the tablet and PC business doing in India? Do you have any sales number that you could share with our readers? And, also how many ZenFone’s have you sold till date and what figures are you aiming for this quarter?

Peter: In Notebooks we have 8% share, for Tablet it is 5%, and we have had continued have double digit growth in the last few years. Zenfone Series as of in Q3, we should be able to cross 2 lakh units while the target for Q4 is more than double.

FoneArena: There are currently 3 devices in the ZenFone series. When can we expect the next-generation smartphones from ASUS to launch in India? What’s the company’s roadmap like?

Peter: We are working on the second generation of Zenfone series and we will update you soon about it. In view of the phenomenal demand and continued response of the buyers, we aim to be one of the top 5 vendors in India by 2015

Mr. Peter Chang, Regional Head - South Asia & Country Manager - ASUS India. (2)

FoneArena: Android is serving your smartphones now. Do you plan to utilize other mobile operating systems like Windows Phone or Firefox on your devices?

Peter: We are now announcing the Android 4.4 KitKat update in our devices and with the ZenUI interface – it has given a great response. So, for now we are not looking at any other options.

FoneArena: ASUS recently entered a new category – wearables. The ZenWatch with Android Wear is quite impressive. How important was it for ASUS to come up with a new product like a smartwatch? Is it something to do with staying in the race or did you guys plan it before?

Peter: ASUS has always believed in constant innovation and we want to match the consumers’ expectations. The wearables have been planned from a long time and we were in a phase of testing them. As the development started with wearable, we were positive that ASUS ZenWatch will receive an encouraging response in the market, hence we launched in IFA 2014.

FoneArena: When are you planning to bring the ZenWatch to India? And, what price segment can our readers expect it to fall under?

Peter: After all the segments that we have entered, Zenwatch is the most awaited segment for ASUS. With our constant efforts to avail all the latest and forthcoming technological innovations at the earliest to the Indian masses, the all new ASUS ZenWatch would be available by Q1, 2015 in India.

FoneArena: In the past you have partnered with Google to come up with two Nexus tablets. How is your relation with Google now? And, can we expect anymore ASUS manufactured Nexus products in the future?

Peter: Our association with Google is in various angles. It’s not only about Nexus, but also Android phone, Android wear, Chrome book, Chromebox etc… Our association continues and you will get to see more products introduced together.

FoneArena: Service is another key aspect in a market like India. How focused is ASUS on providing quality after sale service for its consumers?

Peter: Since our entry into the Indian market with laptops and tablets, we have made sure that we proved best services in the country. We have around 150 service centres across country to help people with their queries. We ensure to attend every individual and provide best after sales service and assist them with their doubts.

FoneArena: What is your take on the Indian market? What are the challenges you are currently facing here?

Peter: Indian Market is flourishing and expanding with the dynamic behavior of the consumers. Consumers are raising their expectations with the launch of different products in different segments and are now ready to adapt to change which is the only constant. As we have currently entered into smartphone segment, we have received a great response from the Indian market. We are affirmative that we will have similar response for all our forthcoming innovations.

Well, that’s it! Thanks for your time!

Exclusive: an interview with Carl Pei – Director, OnePlus Global

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We had a chance to sit down with Carl Pei – Director, OnePlus Global and talk to him about the company’s vision ahead of their launch in India. Continue reading “Exclusive: an interview with Carl Pei – Director, OnePlus Global”

Exclusive: an interview with Hugo Barra – Vice President, Xiaomi Global

We had a chance to sit down with Hugo Barra, Vice President of Xiaomi Global and clarify some of the burning questions surrounding the brand in the Indian market.

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It’s still early days for Xiaomi in the Indian market, but they have already managed to make a name for themselves with their first product. Thanks to their flash sale model, the Mi 3 made headlines each time it went on sale. Continue reading “Exclusive: an interview with Hugo Barra – Vice President, Xiaomi Global”

Meet the Fone Arena Team – Jon Choo!

Welcome to our interview series here on Fone Arena, something we wanted to do for quite some time now. We invite you to (virtually) meet the team working behind the scenes, we invite you to meet the Fone Arena Team! Each week I will conduct a new interview with one of our authors, in which you’ll get to know us a bit better.

This week I’d like you to meet Jon Choo from the UK. I’ve had the pleasure to meet Jon at the Ovi “good things” trip, and then again at Nokia World last year in London. A true tech enthusiast and very nice guy, enjoy his interview!

Who are you? Introduce yourself!

Hi, I am Jon Choo. I grew up in Malaysia but spent all my adult life in Britain. I currently live near London. I enjoy fell walking, watching films, video gaming, camping, photography, attending live music, socialising and doing cool stuff like flash mobs. I am also a twitter addict – you can find me on @jonchoo

Tell us a little bit about your “mobile career”. What did you do prior to Fone Arena?

Prior to joining Fone Arena, I ran my own blog (jonchoo.blogspot.com). In fact I still do. I started blogging about technology and video games in general since 2003 – Palm OS and Pocket PC were my main interests back then. I’ve also contributed to www.palminfocenter.com in the past. Before that I hung around various IRC channels and forums relating to Palm OS.

I have always been fascinated by mobile technology all the way from my first phone, a Motorola StarTac 75; first PDA, a Palm Vx; and finally to my first smartphone, the HTC Magician.

Which Device(s) do you currently use?

As far as phones goes I currently use a Nokia N8 and a Motorola Milestone 2, which I recently reviewed here on Fona Arena. I currently use a ThinkPad X61 (looking into getting a ThinkPad X220 in the future) as my main and only computer, and shoot with a Nikon D90 and Canon S90. In addition to those I also have a PS3, PSP, Wii and DS Lite. Finally I also have a Three MiFi (Huawei E585) mobile wireless router.

Your favourite OS at the moment?

I have none. I still use Symbian out of habit, and because I’ve made several investments in applications. I would move to Android but have never warmed to the UI. I have high hopes for Windows Phone 7 – the UX is there, Microsoft just need to get those missing features for power users. Hopefully this is an area Nokia can help.

What was the coolest thing that ever happened to you, involving mobile phones?

Getting to attend events and meeting influential people. Some of these people are no longer ‘contacts’ as I consider them as friends. But if I have to name one, it was Conspiracy for Good (http://www.conspiracyforgood.com), held in London during the summer of 2010. The augmented reality gaming (ARG) event combined two of my favourite subjects – mobile technology and gaming – into a form of offline and online interactive story telling. Getting to hang out with Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes, was also pretty memorable.

I also enjoyed the entire week of Nokia World 2010. The entire week was mental, from the pre Nokia World meetup in London, the VIP party, watching Tim Berners-Lee’s rousing speech on stage, shaking Stephen Elop’s hand to witnessing HTC ‘gate-crashing’ Nokia World (and vice versa).

Where do you see mobile phones in the future?

In the future there would be no mobile phones. Everything will be connected rendering the concept of a traditional mobile phone/smartphone irrelevant.

As for the immediate future, manufacturers will increasingly try to out-spec each other with features like projectors and 3D displays we do not need. We are already seeing that happen. There is a reason why I am not rushing to reach my wallet for any of the new phones announced recently at MWC.

And last but not least, how would your dream device look like?

This is a tough question, if only because my dream device would be based on current technology limitation. In terms of design I would like to see Nokia work on their Nokia Aeon concept.

At this point in life, I just want something that delivers a great user experience, be always connected so I can be in touch with people who matters to me and yet maintain a great battery life. There is far too much emphasis on raw specs and features we do not need and solutions to problems we do not have. But who knows what the future will bring? A fully functional Tricorder perhaps? 😀

Meet the Fone Arena Team – Sandeep Sarma

Welcome to a new interview series here on Fone Arena, something we wanted to do for quite some time now. We invite you to (virtually) meet the team working behind the scenes, we invite you to meet the Fone Arena Team! Each week I will conduct a new interview with one of our authors, in which you’ll get to know us a bit better.

This week, please say hello to Sandeep Sarma! You wonder what Sandeep thinks about mobile phones, what his favourite OS is and what he likes to see in his dream phone? read on!

Continue reading “Meet the Fone Arena Team – Sandeep Sarma”

Meet the Fone Arena Team – Rita El Khoury

Welcome to a new interview series here on Fone Arena, something we wanted to do for quite some time now. We invite you to (virtually) meet the team working behind the scenes, we invite you to meet the Fone Arena Team! Each week I will conduct a new interview with one of our authors, in which you’ll get to know us a bit better.

This week, we’d like you to meet Rita El Khoury! You don’t know Rita El Khoury? Oh it seems like you have spent the last few years on the moon then .. 🙂 Continue reading “Meet the Fone Arena Team — Rita El Khoury”

Meet the Fone Arena Team – Asad Rafi!

Welcome to a new interview series here on Fone Arena, something we wanted to do for quite some time now. We invite you to (virtually) meet the team working behind the scenes, we invite you to meet the Fone Arena Team! Each week I will conduct a new interview with one of our authors, in which you’ll get to know us a bit better.

Starting off this week, is our friend from Pakistan, Asad Rafi! Nice to meet you Asad!

Who are you? Introduce yourself!

Hello, my name is Asad Rafi. I am a 17 yr old boy who lives in Pakistan, and sometimes in USA. I am a very big fan of everything related to tech world. Besides blogging, I study and read books, actually most of the time surfing on the net and learning about different things. In my free time, I watch movies, listen to songs and play football but it’s so hard to get free times these days! You can catch me on Twitter @asadrafi.

Tell us a little bit about your “mobile career”. What did you do prior to FoneArena?

I started my career as a blogger 2.5 years ago, when I was just 15. Well, before that I never heard about blogging but then one of my friends told me about it, he is also a professional blogger. I created my first blog with Blogger.com. In the beginning, it was very hard for me because my first language is not English, and I was also new in blogosphere. When I started my career, I was used to write about gadgets, computers, cameras, cars and mobile phones. But then I choose mobile phone as my specific class. I started with a very small blog of my own, and then I moved to another blog. After few months, I joined AndroidSPIN which is a good and famous blog related to Android. I worked for more than 5-6 months there, and then I joined Fone Arena last year. Fone Arena is currently the best place and I love working here. All my co-workers are awesome and very supportive especially Varun Krish, who always supports and guides me. Besides Fone Arena, I am also Editor of HomeShopping.pk, which is Pakistan’s largest online retailer.

Which Device(s) do you currently use?

At the moment, I have an Asus K52 F laptop. Other than that, I have a Sony Ericsson W350i, and some other devices. Now I am looking forward to extend my gadget library by adding some new devices. I am planning to buy a smartphone in the upcoming days, and after that, I might buy my first DSLR camera too. But if anyone wants to gift me, then most welcome 😛

Your favorite OS at the moment?

My favorite OS is Android OS, and it will stay as my favorite OS forever. I started my mobile career by writing about Android phones only but after joining Fone arena, I also started writing about other phones. I used to have an Android phone, but don’t have it at the moment. I am looking forward to buy a new phone, and it will be none other than an Android powered phone. If you talk about phones, then I also love the iPhone 4. I don’t like the iOS, but I am a fan of iPhone 4 hardware. The hardware is so amazing, the Retina Display and the amazing looks. Well, I am not including the death grip. I wish that the iPhone 4 could run Android OS officially, but I know that’s never going to happen.

What was the coolest thing that ever happened to you, involving mobile phones?

Well, that’s hard to tell. Let me tell you some of them. Getting selected as a writer for Fone Arena was one of the best things ever happened. I didn’t sleep that night, and I was so happy. It was a very big moment for me. The second is when I bought my first laptop because it was my dream to have a personal laptop. And now I am waiting for a lot of coolest things to happen…

Where do you see mobile phones in the future?

If we have a look on the past, then mobile phones have improved a lot. Few years back, mobile phones were only used to make calls, but now they are everywhere. People are checking their mails, chatting, sending mms, playing games, taking pictures, uploading them and a lot of other stuff. I can say it without any doubt that mobile phones are slowly taking place of computers. Mobile phones are getting stronger and stronger each day. Recently, LG launched first phone with Tegra 2 processor and a full 3D display. After few years, we are going to see phones with some powerful graphic and processing speeds. So it means that smartphones are going to be changed into superphones, or I think they are already changed. I think mobile phones are changing and getting better and better. Like we have seen type of concept phones in movies and also on the web, and I am sure that these phones will be real after a short period of time.

I also want to talk about tablets. Tablets are around us from long time, but after the launch of Apple iPad, tablets are getting popular and common. A lot of big companies are working on tablets, and recently Motorola and Samsung announced new tablets. That shows that we are going to see a tough competition between tablets in future. As Apple iPad 2 is also around the corner, so I can guarantee that this year we are going to see some good tablets. Desktop era will be ended soon and portable laptops, tablets and mobile phones will replace it.

And last but not least, how would your dream device look like?

Well, what we all want in our dream device is power and performance, not to forget the X-factor. The device should be blazing fast and beautiful. The device should have a medium size design, not that big and not that small; it should be like Desire or Samsung Galaxy S. The device should have an amazing and crystal display and have some awesome sound. And the important thing that it should have is good battery life, because I don’t want a phone with awesome features and poor battery life. Last but not least, the device should run Android OS. Well, I think I am going to see this type of device in near future, or not?