Tag Archive | "phone"

Why Realme won’t be making a gaming phone soon

Realme X2 Pro front view of home screen at an angle

Realme is one of the newest Android manufacturers on the market, but it has already surpassed a number of veterans in sales and popularity. The company has grown explosively since launching as an Oppo offshoot, reaching the global top 10 of smartphone OEMs.

Realme has now made its way onto the European market, with the official launch of the Realme 5 Pro and Realme X2/X2 Pro at an event in Madrid last week. While there, we had the opportunity to speak with Levi Lee, Director of Realme Europe, and discussing the company’s secret to success and vision for the future.

Behind Realme’s unstoppable smartphone cycle: Go big or go home

When the X2 and X2 Pro were unveiled, the specs and look of the devices were in line with current flagship industry standards, even exceeding expectations in some areas. What was surprising, however, were the devices’ prices. The Realme X2 Pro, a handset with the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus, a 90Hz AMOLED display, and industry-leading 50W fast charging, starts at only 399. At a time when most flagships don’t drop below the 800 mark, it’s hard not to wonder what Realme’s secret is.

Levi Lee shared with Android Authority that there are a couple of specific factors that help Realme keep prices so affordable.

The secret to low prices

One of the biggest cost savers for Realme is marketing. Of course, any brand can claim its devices speak for themselves, but Realme targets younger users and communicates with them on their preferred channels. “We use the community, we use social media and digital tools to talk to consumers and to let consumers know the brand. That’s how we save money from marketing,” shared Levi Lee.

Distribution also cuts costs thanks to Realme’s decision to sell its devices online first and foremost, which is the case in Europe too. All three devices presented at the Madrid event can be bought through Realme’s official website or other popular online retailers such as Amazon and Ebay.

Realme X2 Pro Screen on looking at launcher 1

But Lee also didn’t hide the fact that the company has a strong supplier chain, which allows it to get better prices. Realme is technically no longer part of Oppo, but they still share the same parent company — BBK Electronics, from which they receive significant support.

However Lee was quick to point out that low prices are far from the only thing that makes Realme successful. “First, I think the product quality is great and second the specs are great, third the design is great. That is what we care about. If you sell a device to consumers at a very cheap price, but the device is not good, the quality is not good, it’s not sustainable.”

Yet, is Realme blindly jumping on popular trends to appeal to their young and trendy audience? The Chinese manufacturer recently made the jump from polycarbonate to glass and also followed in Samsung’s footsteps by equipping several of its devices with quad cameras. The Realme 5 Pro is, in fact, the first under-200 device to sport the feature. But is it just a gimmick?

Realme 5 Pro camera module on the rear

Lee told Android Authority that the decision was motivated by wanting to give consumers choice. Some prefer using a wide-angle lens, others take their best shots with the help of the telephoto lens. Having all of the options on one device just makes it appeal to a wider audience. According to Lee, the camera can be used in many different scenarios to produce multiple interesting results.

Editor’s Pick

Realme has worked on improving both video and image quality, with some features that make it stand out from the crowd. The X2 Pro offers video stabilization, real time bokeh in both front and rear camera videos, as well as an AI beautification mode. Granted, in our Realme X2 Pro review we found that low-light image quality leaves a lot to be desired.

The true standout on the X2 Pro, however, is the new 50W charging — from 0% to 100% in just 35 minutes is more than impressive.

Realme X2 Pro Screen on in front of box 1

No Realme gaming phone in the near future

After the relative success of devices like the Asus ROG Phone 2 and the emphasis Realme put on its 90Hz display and cooling, it was a question we could not overlook. Is Realme planning a dedicated gaming phone in the future? Unfortunately, Levi Lee told us that it is not currently in the plans: “It is not for the common consumers, it’s not what we are after.” He did, however, say that the Realme X2 Pro is already an excellent gaming phone even if it’s not a dedicated gaming device.

On the Madrid stage, it was revealed that the X2 Pro sports gaming-oriented features such as a 4×4 MIMO antenna for steady connections and vapor cooling. So, while there might not be a Black Shark 2-like device with accessories and gamepads in the works, you can still pick up the X2 Pro and enjoy games like PUBG Mobile and others with no problems, as our colleague Ryan already pointed out in his review.

What do you think of Realme devices?

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Android Authority

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What challenges does the ZTE Axon Phone face?

ZTE Axon Phone Swerve

The Axon Phone hasn’t been officially launched yet, but has already managed to develop significant interest, particularly after we and others realized it was a device manufactured by ZTEBeginning last month with unofficial confirmed origins, speculation immediately began. Not soon after, we learned that the rumors linking the phone to Chinese manufacturer ZTE were in fact true. It is largely believed that ZTE has deliberately chosen – at face value – to distance itself from the product in an attempt to get American consumers to consider the Axon without any pre-existing bias. This is seemingly of great importance given their marketing suggests the phone will be a high end device, and therefore put it squarely against veteran established players.

What we know

Surprisingly little, actually, even with a recent update to the official website. We know the Axon Phone will include 4GB of RAM. It will have dual rear-facing cameras (of an unspecified resolution) that can shoot 4K HD videos, “incredibly fast auto-focus”, and post-processing to allow for bokeh. The front camera will allow you to take selfies simply by smiling. ZTE is claiming it will be “the first true high-fidelity phone available in the US” with “amazing high-fidelity sound playback” and includes a dual-microphone design for high fidelity sound recording.

Finally, it will contain a “lightning-fast processor, 4GB memory and a large battery for all-around high performance under the hood” while running on a “super-simplified Android interface” (gallery below) and be housed in a metallic body of which there will be three different color variants available: blue, gold, and silver.

What we don’t

Given the pending July 14th press event that Axon is lining up, unknown quantities of specifics will soon be of a known consistency. With that said however, some rather essential patches of details have been left out, namely which SoC will be on-board, what type of display panel and what size/resolution, exactly how large the battery is, what resolution the cameras will be, will microSD be supported, how much on-board storage will be available, what build of Android will be used, and of course, how much the smartphone will actually cost, not to mention how customers will be able to buy it (Directly? Carriers? Unlocked?).

For the collective public at-large, this product is no more relevant than any number of Kickstarter vaporware projects

Without a doubt, these questions are absolutely critical to the future of not only the phone, but of the very product line that ZTE /Axon is seeking to establish in bringing the Axon Phone to market in the manner it has chosen to.

The Axon Phone’s various variables for success


While it would be easy to simply state “top specs” are all it takes to be successful, in this day and age that’s no longer the case. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more major points:


Cost has become a major factor as smartphones have essentially become a commodity, and it will be instrumental in determining the success of this product, especially as an unknown quantity. Whereas at least ZTE is an established brand, the absence of any “brand” whatsoever means that mainstream consumers will be taking this product at face value. That is both good and bad, however should be cost prohibitive then the Axon may fall victim to legacy OEMs such as Samsung, HTC, LG, or Motorola. If the phone is sold unlocked, it will intrinsically have a higher price tag. If the phone is sold directly, it will be bereft of any carrier-sponsored in-store marketing and pricing structures. If the phone is carrier exclusive then it will inherently reach a limited audience, not unlike Amazon’s Fire Phone.


Depending on jut how high-end this device will be, competition will be fierce. If it’s going to compete with flagships sold by Samsung, HTC, or LG, the Axon will definitely need to be significantly cheaper, especially on an off-contract price. If the Axon contains the controversial Snapdragon 810 it may be criticized, yet paradoxically, if it goes for the 808 it might be viewed as not having the “best” Qualcomm SoC. If it uses another brand entirely (MediaTek for example) some might deem it inferior on the whole. Cellular bands will also play a major role in the product’s future, as potential customers won’t be able to use a product that won’t work on their network.


With the Samsung Galaxy S6 and its lack of a removable battery and support for microSD, some more vocal criticism has surfaced about the lack of either, and by the looks of it the Axon Phone won’t support either feature. A deal breaker? Hardly, but there are some looking for a premium product and expect at least microSD, something that will become a larger factor if the device lacks expandable memory and only has 16GB of on-board storage. Likewise, if there is a 64 or 128GB model, the price then becomes a larger factor.


Unless ZTE can nail the 4Ps of Marketing, the Axon is likely to take a downwards dive.


As was touched upon in the pricing section, how ZTE plans to promote this device will be crucial for its success by way of public exposure. While the Axon Phone made some waves last week, it was seemingly due to the then-unconfirmed connection between it and ZTE given the lack of knowledge about the specs and functions. Since then, we’ve basically heard nothing, unlike potential rival (in theory perhaps, not so much as in practice) the OnePlus 2, whose manufacturer has been on a teaser tirade as of late. If ZTE wants this phone to be truly successful, and one might imagine it does given the removal of its brand name and calculated decision to launch this in the USA, it needs to get as many people talking about it as possible. This just won’t happen if the phone is relegated to online-only sales, and therefore carrier commitment to carry is critical.

Poor Premonition: ZTE’s Sordid Strategy

By all accounts, the Axon Phone is going to be a major powerhouse. That, in-and-of itself should be cause to rejoice were this 2013. Unfortunately, in 2015 the smartphone market has become inundated with flagship devices to the point where they aren’t even meeting sales expectations despite promising build-up and initial performance. These devices have become so powerful that, save for the most spec-crazed consumer, there really is no need to run out and buy the latest and greatest just because. If anything, consumers are starting to pick up “back up” phones like the Moto G in the off chance something happens. Likewise, with so many budget-friendly products now available with specs that aren’t half-bad, the need for a halo smartphone isn’t warranted either.

Herein lies the major fault in ZTE’s strategy: Instead of relying on its established company name and pedigree of products, ZTE chose to deliberately hide the very identity that it paradoxically wants the Axon to have: a relevant one. Let’s take a look at the marketing efforts thus-far:

1. Axon makes a post on Instagram and push on Snapfluence. This would have worked wonders had it been published on an official, established account (like ZTE’s) wherein it could have drawn upon its entire collective of followers and potentially attracted many more. In addition, it would have attracted even more people to ZTE itself, and its products – both current and future – which would have done quite a lot of good for the company’s brand recognition in a country that knows very little about it.

Axon Phone Contest

2. Axon has a bizarre contest going that is, essentially, asking users to leave pictures of anything. The winner receives $ 10,000. This contest is of an utterly random nature that has little connection with the product itself. Will the winning idea be used in the Axon? Will it be featured in a future one? Does it have to be a politically correct one? This kind of irresponsible marketing is along the same lines as that which got OnePlus in trouble last year with its misogynistic campaign.

3. We know nothing about the phone. As the preceding elements of this piece should make clear-as-crystal, we don’t have any solid details on any of the phone’s specs. This would be passable if ZTE itself were selling the phone, as the company’s own brand might hold enough weight to garner a continued interest in following the product to market. Instead, for the collective public at-large, this product is no more relevant than any number of Kickstarter vaporware projects that have been long since discredited and removed from existence. At the very least LG and OnePlus have worked with solid details in their pre-launch doings.

Instead of relying on its brand name, ZTE chose to deliberately hide the very identity it paradoxically wants the Axon to have: a relevant one.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the Axon Phone has specs that are equal to those of the Galaxy S6 or LG G4. It would be, by default, an absolute titan of a flagship product. Let’s assume it will be cheaper than either device. Imagine the sales potential of such a product (OnePlus sure did last year) were it to be significantly more affordable than the competition. By releasing core specs, ZTE could have forced customers to defer purchasing a new device until its product launch. As it stands now, it’s fair to say mainstream consumers looking for halo products have probably already bought one, or else are waiting for the next big thing.

ZTE has miscalculated the potential of the Axon Phone, and these three poorly executed marketing strategies are inevitably going to come at quite a cost as, quite frankly, no one cares about this product. Literally.


As the above Google Trends data reflects, the Axon Phone isn’t even a blip on the radar when compared with other smaller brands, including ZTE itself which has appeared in news headlines 48 times more than Axon’s sole offering. It’s often said that no news is good news, but when it comes to launching a brand new product line and selling it to the public, you want to be in prime location screaming from a megaphone.

As if these three points aren’t damaging enough, ZTE must also deal with the fact that, as an “original” brand, neither investors nor consumers actually know what’s going on here. Will the Axon Phone be the start of an all-new brand for America? Will it be supported past the launch window? Does it indicate that ZTE has major ambitions in the American smartphone market? Will ZTE attempt similar doings in other territories as well? This piece has raised so many questions, and it is that very uncertainty and lack of information that turns people off and ushers them onto the next thing.

Wrap Up

ZTE Nubia Z9-24

How will the Axon Phone ultimately compare to other ZTE devices like the Nubia Z9 (pictured here)?

The Axon Phone is an exciting device to be sure. It has a definitive look, it has potentially powerful hardware inside, it is “free” from any pre-existing bias about maker ZTE, and it’s launching at a time when established players have already released their flagships for the first half of the year. At the same time, ZTE has arguably made a major mistake in seeking to hide its brand name from the new product it seeks to sell: there is nothing to fall back on and consumers know nothing about it. We don’t even know what kind of consumer it will actually appeal to.

Be sure to check back on the 14th after the official launch, but in the meanwhile, feel free to take the survey below or leave us your thoughts on this curious new entry into the smartphone war. Ultimately only time will tell just how successful the Axon Phone is, but patience is in short supply.

Android Authority

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Amazon wants you to unlock your phone with your ear – does that even make sense?


Keeping smartphones secure has been a key concern since mobile devices became more than just calling and texting machines. These pieces of technology now hold information that could literally ruin our lives if they fall on the wrong hands.

This is why we have all kinds of techniques for keeping our data private. There’s usual patterns, PIN numbers and passwords, but things have been getting a bit more complex. Just as the industry keeps making technology more powerful and convenient, they are also adopting more advanced ways of keeping your private data secure.

These methods include bio-metric techniques like finger-print reading, voice recognition and even eye reading (as we have seen on the ZTE Blade S6). Now we are finding out Amazon is also getting creative and just got granted a patent for ear scanning technology.


The idea is that our ears are just as unique as our fingerprints, so allowing your smartphone to take a picture of this body part (or at least part of it) would help it identify whether it is being handled by its owner or not. The phone could then unlock and allow you to answer your calls.

Does this even make sense?!

So, like all other gimmicks, this sounds like one very cool feature you could really show off at parties. It even seems convenient for a minute, but the hype dies down after you start thinking of possible use case scenarios. Then  you realize it doesn’t even make sense!

We can all agree the best use for this would be to allow users to unlock their phones while answering a call, right? I mean, it’s the only reason why you would ever put your phone anywhere close to your ear.

My main issue is that there is no real reason why you would want to unlock your phone when answering a call. Voice calls are pretty much the only function that bypasses security in all phones… as it should be. You don’t want to have to unlock your phone every single time you answer a call! By the time you unlock your device, the other person may have hung up already.

amazon fire phone press (3)

Now, there is one function that could be useful about this technology. It could identify the distance between the speaker and your ear, allowing the device to adjust volume accordingly. Aside from that, it’s pretty much for people who REALLY don’t want others answering their calls.

Will Amazon do anything with this technology?

Now, the real question: will we ever see this technology coming to the market? Regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not, we are not sure Amazon will ever use this patent. The patent was just passed, but Amazon filed for it back in 2011. The online retailer may very well have slashed whatever plans they had for it by now.

Not to mention, this feature would be for phones. It makes no sense to put it on Amazon tablets (or any tablet, for that matter). The Amazon Fire Phone did horrible, and even though Jeff Bezos swears more iterations are coming, we don’t know how much risk they are willing to take with it.

amazon fire phone commercial


Amazon has been known to be quite adventurous about these bio-metric features, though. The Amazon Fire Phone did have head tracking technology, after all. I am just not sure it’s what they need in order to bring the Fire Phone brand out of its grave.

They need something game-changing and awesome. While it’s cool, ear reading won’t make me buy an Amazon smartphone. But tell us, guys. What do you think? Maybe I am just being cynical and you would actually love something like this.

Android Authority

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