Tech Bytes: Xiaomi expands empire to Brazil

Xiaomi Redmi 2 smartphones displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Xiaomi Redmi 2 smartphones displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.PHOTO: REUTERS

Xiaomi expands empire to Brazil

The Chinese smartphone maker has launched its first handset outside Asia. The Xiaomi Redmi 2 went on sale online yesterday in Brazil for about US$160 (S$216).

To avoid paying Brazil's high import tariffs, Xiaomi had the smartphone assembled there, in partnership with contract manufacturer Foxconn.

Xiaomi recently said it has sold 34.7 million phones in the first half of this year, far short of its goal of 100 million phones for the year.

Samsung sued over smartphone bloatware

A consumer watchdog is suing Samsung in China for pre-installing additional software on its smartphones.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said it had received complaints from users about the default apps, or bloatware, on Samsung smartphones. A study by the council found that a standard Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has 44 pre-installed apps that cannot be easily removed.

It wants Samsung to make it easier for users to remove the apps. It has also filed a similar lawsuit against the Chinese handset maker Oppo.

Reddit users revolt over director's firing

Major sections of the popular social news site Reddit were closed by volunteer moderators to protest against the firm's dismissal of director of communications Victoria Taylor. She was responsible for facilitating the Ask Me Anything question-and- answer sessions with celebrities and other newsworthy individuals on Reddit. The protesters said Reddit staff did not explain why she was suddenly fired.

Reddit chief executive Ellen Pao and co-founder Alexis Ohanian have both apologised for communicating news of the dismissal poorly.

LG to make thinner, lighter touch screens

South Korean firm LG will start mass-producing laptop displays with embedded touch sensors. It says the technology reduces the thickness of a 15-inch touch screen by 1mm and its weight by 200g.

Laptops with such displays will be launched in the second half of the year.

Swedish firm acquires largest e-sports firm

Swedish digital entertainment firm Modern Times Group (MTG) has bought 74 per cent of Turtle Entertainment for €78 million (S$116 million).

Turtle Entertainment is known for e-sports brand ESL, which hosts professional gaming tournaments for video games such as StarCraft 2, Counter-Strike and Dota 2.

Uber suspends French UberPOP service

The ride-sharing service has suspended its UberPOP service in France after a week of anti-Uber protests resulted in roads being blocked and cars being burnt. Two key Uber executives have been arrested for operating an illegal taxi service.

UberPOP, known as UberX in Singapore, lets private car owners ferry travellers. Taxi drivers see this as unfair competition because UberPOP drivers do not need to pay for a taxi licence.

Uber has been banned in France since January, but the company has been paying fines for its drivers.

Compiled by Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'Tech Bytes: Xiaomi expands empire to Brazil'. Print Edition | Subscribe