Chip-Monks  ⁄  LeEco

While not much was known about LeEco outside of China, it suddenly became a household conversation piece when it burst upon the world stage in 2015. Surprisingly, not much is known about the conglomerate, to this day.

Let us help you get a head start!

The LeEco brand has a market value of about USD 12.7 billion.

It spans numerous industries – televsion and media, smartphones, smart TVs, Cloud computing and even driverless cars! It has also started making its own smart TV network to stream its content further.

The company with employee strength of 5,000 has a market capitalization of around $12 billion on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The group has its origins in the early 2000s – founded by Jia Yueting, the group’s first known constituent was The Shanxi Xi Bei Er Communication Technology Co. Ltd.

Yueting then founded Letv.com in 2004, which went on to become a goliath in the television and entertainment space. It grew to become the single largest online video repository and player in China!

Since then the Letv group has mushroomed into several different companies – most of which themselves have become industry leaders.

Before we go ahead, since many people have this question – lets throw some light on the rather cryptic names – the Letv name actually stands for Leshi Internet Information & Technology, and the new name LeEco is an acronymn for LeEcosystem – an ode to the organization’s new brand mission – to become an entire Ecosystem spanning platforms, content, terminals (devices) and applications.

Back to the portfolio.

The Leshi Internet Information and Technology Group comprises a number of subsidiaries, including Letv.com, Leshi Zhi Xin, Le Vision Pictures, Wangjiu.com, Letv Holdings, Letv Investment Management and Le Mobile.

In 2014, the company commenced a massive expansion initiative across almost all developed countries around the world, including India (it eventually entered in October 2015, with the Le 1s).

Since then, it has launched several smartphones from it’s Le family of phones – the Le 1, Le 1 Pro, Le Max and Le 1S. In fact, these four dual-SIM smartphones are claimed to be the first phones in the world to come with USB Type-C ports.

Did we mention, the international rollout was a massive push? In August 2015, the brand reportedly surpassed sales of Apple’s iPhone, thus making it one of the top tech companies in the market.

Since the company launched its flagship phone Le Max in July, it enjoyed unsurpasssed sales for two consecutive months. According to a report from Sino Market Research, a subsidiary of the German research company GFK, the Le Max was the top seller (in the online high-end phone (over US$ 472/unit) market in China), significantly ahead of Apple and Samsung.

In August 2015, LeEco was ranked fifth in the world having taken almost 4.5% of the online smartphone market through sales of abouth 4,27,000 units, including Le 1, Le 1Pro and the flagship Le Max!

Chip–Monks Recommend

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

While the roll-out of Android Nougat 7.0 is still underway, Google has already started rolling out the beta version of Nougat 7.1.1 for certain devices.

The Nougat 7.1.1 version was put out in the developer preview in November, and was subsequently released for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Nexus 6P, Google Nexus 5X, Google Nexus 9, Google Pixel tablet, the Nexus player and other General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices.

With the Nougat 7.1.1 update, Google is interestingly bringing some features that were initially seen only on the Pixel devices to the Nexus devices.

  • One of these is the app shortcut feature which now comes directly to your home screen and functions quite like the functionality of the iPhone without the pressure sensitive display.
  • The update also includes support for Google’s “Image Keyboard”, which basically lets you find and send pictures and GIFs without leaving your messaging app of choice.
  • An additional set of emojis to promote gender equality also come with the package.

While Google has moved on, most other non-Google brands are still yet to roll out the Nougat 7.0 version entirely.

  • Sony just started their roll out for their top range. This would include Multi-window support, longer battery life and a new messaging app for users.
  • HTC has started rolling out the version to unlocked versions of HTC One M9, HTC 10 in the US. They haven’t yet given a timeline for their other devices or regions.
  • Samsung has rolled out the update for their Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge phones too and is soon bringing the update to its other devices.

As budget smartphone brands, most of them Chinese, have been climbing up the charts for their products’ specs and capabilities, they all use heavily personalized versions of Android, to distinguish their products from the rivals in the market.
What this basically means for the users of these devices is that brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Gionee, Oppo, Vivo, Coolpad and LeEco, are almost always among the very last to roll out updates to their respective devices.

This time around, however, with Nougat 7.0, things seem to be a little different.

  • Huawei and Lenovo have already rolled out the update for some of their devices, Xiaomi reportedly is next in the line to do the same, and more is to follow in the next weeks around New Years.
  • Lenovo-backed Moto’s latest Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, as well as some of the Moto Z devices, have the update now as well.

And it is good news, as Android Nougat brings several improvements over the older versions of Android for the users.

  • It boasts redesigned notifications that crams more information into the Notification area without wasting screen real-estate, along with an overall clean design that makes it quicker and easier to read alerts.
  • It also promises a better battery life, in addition to a system UI tuner, quick replies, dozens of new emoji, to name some of the new features.

All this is very impressive. Android has historically be infamous for the glacial reach across brands. With the 7.0 update in the market for over a month now, and the 7.1.1 version already starting out, it stands to reason that updates should be rolling out even faster, as more and more companies seem ready to bring it to their devices.

For more information on if the update is yet available on your device or not, check for the update on your device, or stay tuned for more information.

LeEco Introduces CDLA Audio Technology

LeEco Introduces CDLA Audio Technology

The times, as they are – are certainly changing! LeEco – the Chinese major, has just become the first company to dump the traditional 3.5 mm earphone jack from its latest line-up of smartphones, and moving to USB Type-C based audio technology.

There’s a sound reason too.

When it comes to audio technology, the 3.5 mm headphone jack is possibly one of the oldest existing survivors. While the audio players have seen a sea change from cassettes, to CDs, to MP3, to Hi-Fi players – yet, the audio jack has remained all the same, unfazed and curiously unchallenged.

While it can rule roost in the analog era, most smartphone manufacturers are realising that digital-audio can do with better support equipment. In fact, if you consider it, with processors and RAM and all-metal bodies becoming commonplace, there’s very little that distinguishes smartphones from each other any more. So the battle is moving to two different zones – cameras and audio.

So LeEco, with its second generation ‘Superphones’ Le 2 and Le Max 2 that were launched recently in India, has led the revolution in the audio technology space.  Using a technology called CDLA (Continual Digital Lossless Audio) , LeEco intends to revolutionise the music experience on their smartphones. And, just to be sure that it is a sound investment – the company is going to pump an investment of Rs 200 million in the industry with a motive to popularise and pioneer the CDLA standard.

In fact, so committed is the internet technology conglomerate towards this cause of popularising the new technology that it’s going be giving away a free CDLA earphone worth INR 1,990 to all Le 2 and Le Max 2 buyers during it’s first flash sale of its Superphones that’s scheduled for June 28.

So what is this technology all about? According to LeEco, “Delivering uninterrupted sound quality, CDLA improves signal-to-noise ratio from a standard best case of 60dB to 90dB. With our introduction of Type-C USB headphones, we are embedding digital signal processors (DSP) within the earphones themselves to handle the audio decoding. This results in a drastically reduced signal degradation”.

In other words, the digital signal goes straight from the phone and into the headphone’s audio processor, which decodes it, resulting in a purer sound.

The analog audio jack has indeed fallen far behind other components like the USB Type-C connector, that can not only handle high-throughput data transfers but even be cross-utilised to charge the device itself (and that’s not only phones – the Type-C can even charge laptops!).
Being a digital connection, headphones can leverage the USB Type-C port and even integrate a digital-to-analog converter and amplifier right into their headphones, ensuring consistent quality across devices.

In a 3.5 mm jack-based system, the decoder is built into the smartphone and there is no power source for the headphone or the earphone, which means there is no way the earphones can boost the audio quality to prevent quality loss.
Thus, loss usually occurs in traditional 3.5 mm headphones and earphones, irrespective of whether you are using a phone or a laptop.

In CDLA technology, the headset contains an integrated audio processing chip and a decoder which does not induce any sound quality loss.

Other than the loss itself, there are many problems in analog audio like interface noise, compatibility problem, poor sound field, noise from a connector, and etc. No matter how good the performance of the drive circuit is, as long as a 3.5 mm jack is used, there will always be inevitable losses. Coupled with the fact that users may use any possible options from a variety of earphones, it is just impossible to achieve real integration between the phone and the earphone.

Removing the dependence on the quality of the earphone’s circuitry, and moving it to a more self-contained and controllable element in the source device itself, thus will cause an automatic improvement in sound quality, which is agnostic to the earphone.

Additionally. CDLA also supports hi-fi (high-fidelity audio) which is used for high-quality audio reproduction and includes-quality high file formats such as FLAC.

Back to LeEco’s transition – all these benefits and features work with a USB Type-C based headphones that come with the Le Max2 and Le2 smartphones; but that also means that if a user decides to use a traditional 3.5 mm headset with a converter, he won’t get the same CDLA-equivalent sound quality.

In real-world field testing, the audio quality in the CDLA headset, when used with Le 2, was distinctly superior to the audio quality on the 3.5 mm headset (used with a converter).

LeEco has already launched their Superphones in China that come with standard Type-C interface, along with CDLA headphones, thus making LeEco the world’s first to launch the CDLA standard in smartphones!

While we at Chip-Monks believe that CDLA and similar music standards are on their way to redefine audio experience in smartphones thanks to breakthrough technology, intelligence and an upheaval in the supporting ecosystem, yet this ‘revolution’ will need our our open minds. And sympathetic ears.

Eggs-and-omlettes comes to mind, but since we’re talking about auditory senses, lean back, close your eyes and envisage a concert performance, hear the guitar strings, and the plectrum. If you can hear them and feel the pulse of the music, then you need better audio technology; get excited about it… it’s on it’s way to a smartphone near you!

A New Rumor Says 8 GB RAM Smartphones Are Coming

A new rumor says 8GB RAM smartphones are coming

A juicy tidbit fresh out of China’s rumour mill implies that LeEco, the company that was the first to release a smartphone riding Qualcomm’s latest processor, the Snapdragon 820 – is now going to launch a new flagship in August 2016 that will contain not only the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, but… hold your breath, a staggering 8 GB of RAM to boot.

The device will purportedly be a upscaled version of the Le Max 2.

It’s important to realise that since it is a rumour, there’s a high possibility that only some of it, or none of it materialises in due course.

None of us are new to the mechanism of rumours; there have been rumours in the past about Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones being made of liquid metal, having 3D Touch display, 6 GB of RAM. But hey, did any of that see the light of the day?

What lends some credibility though, is that LeEco had launched its last flagship (the Le Max 2) with 6 GB of RAM as recently as April! So, 8 GB may not be too much of a pipe dream for it’s next banner piece.

Continuing down the next-in-evolution path, given that the Le Max 2 had a 5.7 inch screen with a crazy amount of detail via it’s 515 pixels per inch display, a 21 megapixel primary camera, an 8 megapixel front camera and yet cost only INR 22,999, then one can only salivate on what all a successor device running the best processor in the world would carry!

The million dollar question that stays though, is do we even need 8 GB of RAM?

Here’s why we ask – the need for 6 GB RAM hasn’t even arisen as yet.
8 GB RAM sounds like LeEco’s going overboard, just because it can. In a way it seems, its not what we (the users) need, it’s what they (the smartphone manufacturers) can source and cram into those lithe frames. There’s obviously a race on amongst the manufacturers to offer as many goodies as possible, just to showcase tech-ability.

This isn’t an unknown – it’s the very reason why 1,000 horsepower supercars are made, or curved televisions… to showboat manufacturer capability, and because users lap up specs;

So we’re reaching a point in smartphones where the company with highest RAM and the best processor wins, irrespective of whether the rocket engine is never fired up in real life.

If you are someone who buys smartphone on the basis of the amount of RAM then this LeEco rumour might become the spice of your life. Otherwise, on the basis of performance, a 3 or 4 GB RAM is fairly sufficient for most needs.

It’s unbelievable isn’t it – the first iPhone had 8 GB of internal storage just nine years ago and we thought it was the Lake Michigan of storage!

LeEco’s Le 2 Smartphone Just Got Approved

LeEco Le 2 just got approved

LeEco has been making quite a stir since their launch in 2015 – excellent hardware in Apple-like finish, at unbelievable prices supported by an aggressive marketing campaign. An unbeatable recipe that set LeEco on the path to success in every market it entered.

The pioneering models, Le 1 (launched as the Le 1s in India), Le 1 Pro and Le Max all did well. Now, LeEco seems ready with it’s next trio of smartphones and phablets.

Speculations suggest launch of Le 2, Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2 smartphones on April 20th.

A lot has been speculated about the Le 2 device in previous leaks, with design specifications, camera capabilities and other features being shared all over the internet.

Recent news of the Le 2 now passing the TENAA certification (a certification by Chinese telecommunications certification authority), opened up the device’s bag of tricks to the public eye. We can now run a possibly-conclusive comparison of the rumours with facts.

Contrary to the earlier leaks, Le 2 will bear similarities to Le Max Pro in it’s physical design, however according to the images on the TENAA listing, Le 2 also bears similarities to Le 1S with the glass screen making the maximum percentage of the front portion with practically no bezel. In addition it now has a complete metal body!

Some form and functionality features of the Le 2 are:

  • Measures 151.1 x 74.1 x 7.7 mm and weighs a healthy 153 grams.
  • Comes with a 5.5 inch Full HD display.
  • MediaTek’s Helio X20 SoC deca-core processor clocked at 2 GHz will power the Le 2.
    Earlier speculations had anticipated a X25 processor, which seems incorrect since the clock speed is 2 GHz instead of 2.5 GHz (of the X25).
  • Le 2 will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and have a EUI skin.
  • 16 megapixel primary rear camera (which now has rounded sides, and is placed in the center) with dual tone LED flash and a 8 megapixel front shooter.
  • The device will be powered by 3,000 mAh battery and will come with Infrared (IR) Blaster enabling it to autonomously control a device that is generally controlled by a physical remote control.
  • Le 2 will be a dual SIM phone with 4G LTE with VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a USB Type-C port as the connectivity options.
  • The fingertip sensor is now located at the back, the SIM tray is located on the left with the volume control and the lock/unlock buttons on the right side.
  • The handset will be offered in Gray, Gold and Silver colour variants.

LeEco is expected to officially launch the Le 2 at an event in China on April 20th, along with Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2.