Piracy, price wars, protests, and powerful new gadgets. You know you love reading about all those things. And there’s even more that happened this week. Here's a platter of choice cuts from some of our bloggers.Charlie’s pick: Xiaomi launches the Mi2, goes quad-core with Android 4.1
Xiaomi launched its sequel to the smartphone that started China’s cheap Android revolution this week with a Steve Jobs-style keynote presentation and all the pomp and circumstance that implies. But Xiaomi brought more than just hype; the Mi2 is better than Xiaomi’s original phone in many ways, but retains the original’s 1,999 RMB (US$315) price tag.Willis’ pick: Online shopping price war in China
It’s all over the web and air-waves this week in China. The price war between e-commerce players and brick-and-mortar stores — 360buy, Suning, and Gome — is bursting in conversations over both traditional and new media. Though I do have doubts whether this is all a show. Admittedly, as I track the talk on Weibo, I must say that I have formed a sort of admiration for 360buy’s CEO, Liu Qiangdong, and his no-bullshit style. It’s badass - but very much needed in this very competitive space in China.Joshua’s pick: Line app gets boost from new features
If you are a loyal reader of our site, you must have noticed how Line has been prominently showing up here and there on our feeds. Creating more features outside the app’s core messaging capability apparently hasn’t slowed it down - in fact it's getting a great response from users. So far in Indonesia, the main alternative to the love-hate relationship we have with BBM is still WhatsApp, but I would say in the coming months that Line - which is now on BlackBerry - can catch up with its competitor(s) here.Rick’s pick: Chinese studio blatantly copies foreign indie game, developers pissed
Having moved from China to Japan a few years back, I always find myself comparing the innovations that come out of both countries. While the conventional narrative these days is to be down on Japanese entrepreneurship too, I’m still a little bit more optimistic about the ideas I see here. China, on the other hand, while it has made great progress in shaking its reputation as a copycat, still has a long way to go if this brazen game-copying incident is any indication.Enricko’s pick: “Open Government Indonesia” wants to put public services online
Any Indonesians, or anyone who has tried dealing with the Indonesian government over the last decade, would appreciate that this news is pretty damn significant. I’ve had my own share of frustration renewing my driving license and passport by going through what many agree is a long, tiring, and ineffective bureaucratic process. And with it, comes the middlemen and officials who can ‘help’ you undergo the process for a certain fee. If done properly, this move online by the government may yet prove to be a revelation to the public administration system, while it can also become a barrier to the ‘incentive’-motivated officials in the country.
I’ve got to concur with what my colleague Charlie says - this is a major launch, sort of like China’s own iPhone, and we’re going to be talking about this smartphone all year. While we’re still awaiting official stats for how many of the first-gen (M1) phones were sold, this powerful new Mi2 looks set to be - if its quality control measures don’t disappoint - a blockbuster gadget.
But one other story that we better keep an eye on next week is the growing anger over major Motorola job cuts in China. We've already seen protests outside Google-owned Motorola facilities in Nanjing and Beijing on Thursday and Friday, so those could continue next week. Google still hasn't confirmed precisely how many of the phone-maker's 4,000 global lay-offs will happen in China. Local media are suggesting the cull figure could be as high as 1,000 or even 1,500 lost jobs.
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13 Startups in Asia That Caught Our Eye
Endangered Banyumas Dialect Gets Its Own Linux OS
Tech in Asia: Our Picks for News of the Week [August 18, 2012]