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Xiaomi plans to launch wearable devices, TV sets

NEW DELHI: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is planning to bolster its product line in India with more handsets and foray into wearable devices and TV sets.

Manu Jain, head of India operations at the three-year-old Beijing-headquartered startup, told ET that the company is bullish on the Indian market and is gearing up to make 2015 significantly better than the current year, in which the company has faced legal hiccups.

As part of strategy, the company plans to set up its own research and development (R&D) centre and ecommerce operations, besides partnering with start-ups to create an ecosystem of its products in the country.

Xiaomi is embroiled in a legal battle with Swedish gearmaker Ericsson for allegedly infringing on the latter’s eight registered standard essential patents that are essential to make the handsets.

European Union clears Google’s purchase of Fitbit, with conditions

LONDON: EU regulators cleared Google’s plan to buy fitness tracking device maker Fitbit after the company promised to silo off user data and not use it for advertising.

The U.S. tech giant also pledged to ensure Android phones can continue working with other smartwatches and wearable devices and that health and fitness apps would still be able to access Google and Fitbit data.

Google made the commitments, which last for at least 10 years, to get approval from the EU after the bloc’s competition watchdog launched in-depth investigation of the $2.1 billion deal this year.

Human rights and consumer groups had called on authorities to block the deal, citing privacy and antitrust concerns. The EU was initially worried the deal would expand Google’s “data advantage” and raise barriers for rivals in the online ad industry.

The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said she approved the deal because Google’s commitments “will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive.”

Samsung pips Xiaomi to grab 2nd spot in global wearables market

Samsung Electronics took over Chinese brand Xiaomi to become the world’s second-largest vendor of wearable devices in the first quarter of the year, a report has showed, on the back of its wireless earbuds sales.

The South Korean tech giant moved ahead of China’s Xiaomi for the first time to take the runner-up spot with a market share of 11.8 percent, which was up 0.6 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the latest report from market researcher International Data Corporation (IDC).

At third place, Xiaomi was the only company among the top five brands to suffer an on-year decline in its wearable devices sales.

Xiaomi’s market share dropped to 9.7 percent from 13.3 percent from a year ago after its wearable shipments slipped 1.8 percent on-year to 10.2 million units, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting from the report.

Samsung shipped 11.8 million units of wearable products in the January-March period, up 35.7 percent from a year earlier.

“Driving its volumes higher has been its truly wireless earbuds, including the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds+ and the most recent addition, the Galaxy Buds Pro,” IDC said.

“Also contributing to the company’s growth were earwear shipments from its JBL subsidiary with its mass-market and less expensive models. Meanwhile, the company’s smartwatches and wristbands sustained their growth, reaching new first quarter records,” it said.

Apple maintained its top position, but its market share dropped to 28.8 percent from 32.3 percent a year earlier as its sales growth was below the industry average.

The US tech titan shipped 30.1 million wearable devices in the first quarter, up 19.8 percent from a year earlier.

The worldwide wearables market grew 34.4 percent on-year to reach 104.6 million units in the first three months of 2021, the highest for any first quarter.

Another Chinese tech powerhouse, Huawei, ranked fourth with an 8.2 percent share, down from 8.4 percent a year earlier.

India-based BoAt took the fifth spot with a 2.9 percent share after its shipments more than quadrupled to 3 million units in the first quarter.