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Chinese handset maker Xiaomi to invest in Indian startups, launches Redmi Note phablet for Rs 8,999

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is planning to invest in Indian startups and the company is scouting for opportunities in Delhi-NCR and Bangalore for the same. The focus is on mobile and apps that can be incorporated to enhance the product experience, Xiaomi Global's VP Hugo Barra told PTI.

"The startup ecosystem here is very vibrant. People are coming back and doing a lot of interesting things around technology, and we want to bring that to the people. In that sense, we are venture capitalists. But it's more than just investment," he said. Normally, Xiaomi invests between $100,000 to millions of dollars depending on the startup.

The company has also announced an India launch date for its budget phablet offering Redmi Note. Originally unveiled in March this year, the device will hit Indian shores on Dec 2, 2014. It will be available for purchase exclusively on Indian e-commerce major Flipkart.com for Rs 8,999.

The company is also launching a 4G variant of the phablet in India. This one is priced slightly higher at Rs 9,999, and will be made available in India in the second half of December. At this price, the phablet will be one of the cheapest 4G devices in the country.

In addition to Flipkart, Redmi Note 4G will also be sold by telecom operator Airtel. The phablet will be available via Airtel's retail stores from brick and mortar stores in India.

Here is a look at the specifications of the device.

The phablet sports a 5.5 inch HD IPS touchscreen display (1280×720 pixels resolution) and runs on the Android operating system, which can be fine-tuned with custom-built themes, built-in apps and widgets, and robust settings options. It is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MTK MT6592 processor with ARM Mail-450 GPU, and has 2GB of RAM. The internal memory of the device is 8GB that can be further expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card.

It has a 13MP autofocus rear camera with LED Flash that can record full HD videos (1080p) at 30 fps, and a 5MP front facing camera for video calling that can also record HD videos. Additional features of the camera include face recognition, high dynamic range (HDR), and real-time filters, among others. The phablet comes with dual-SIM capability and has GPS (with A-GPS support).

On the connectivity front, it has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and 3G, as well as a microSD card slot. The dimensions of the device are 154mm x 78.7mm x 9.45mm and its weight is 199gm. Xiaomi has provided a 3,100mAh battery in the device that it claims will provide up to 14 hours of internet usage (on 3G), 60 hours of music playback and 775 hours of standby time.

Redmi-NoteRedmi Note 4G for Rs 9,999

In comparison to Redmi Note, the Redmi Note 4G is powered by a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor (with Adreno 305 GPU) and has 2GB RAM. And while the 3G version of the phablet comes with dual-SIM capability, this one only supports a single SIM. Finally, like the name already states, this one comes with 4G LTE (supports both FDD-LTE at 1800MHz and TDD-LTE at 2300MHz). Other specifications remain the same.

Last month, Xiaomi had jumped to the number three spot in the worldwide smartphone market, behind Samsung and Apple. The company shipped 17.3 million handsets in the third quarter of 2014, and enjoyed a market share of 5.3 per cent.

This was the first time the company has featured in the top five, and was largely due to its focus on China and adjacent markets, which resulted in triple digit year-over-year (Y-o-Y) growth for Xiaomi. Key to the company's success was also the launch of its flagship Mi4 smartphone in August this year, which was positioned as a high-end alternative to the status quo. RedmiXiaomi in India

Already one of the leading smartphone manufacturer's in China, Xiaomi had made an extremely successful debut in the Indian smartphone market in July this year with the launch of its flagship device Mi3 in the country. Following an online only flash sales model for selling its devices in the country, the company has seen its product being sold out within seconds not once or twice but each and every time.

In India, the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with Indian e-commerce major Flipkart.com to offer its devices. According to the company, it has already sold over 500,000 smartphones in the country in less than four months of operations. It is now also considering setting up a manufacturing base in the country.

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