Welcome back to our weekly news roundup, where you'll find all the stories in technology that you need to know. One of the big items this week was the
Welcome back to our weekly news roundup, where you’ll find all the stories in technology that you need to know. One of the big items this week was the news that the Nokia 3, the offline-exclusive smartphone launched earlier this month by HMD Global is now available online, via Croma. The electronics chain had earlier listed the Nokia 3310 – another offline exclusive – on its online store as well. The budget-friendly Nokia 3 is the first of the three new Nokia phones to go on sale; priced at Rs. 9,499, it packs a 5-inch HD display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 16GB storage, and 2GB RAM. As part of a launch offer, Vodafone has tied up with HMD Global to give bundled data with the phones. Nokia 3 buyers will get 4GB 3G/ 4G data from Vodafone, while Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 buyers will also get 4GB and 9GB of free data from Vodafone when the two smartphones become available to purchase in July.
GST rolled out on Saturday, and we saw the first bits of post-GST price cuts. Apple announced it is revising the MRP of all its products, from the iPhone to the iPad, the entire Mac range, and even the Apple Watch. Most price cuts are modest, but since Apple products are now no longer sold at MRP, what impact this has on the price customers will need to pay remain to be seen. Another cut that can be attributed to GST impact was the revision of price of popular Asus ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 3 Max models, with price cuts of up to Rs. 3,000 on popular Asus smartphones.
Meanwhile, just as GST seems to be providing some relief to those looking to buy mobiles, the price of imported mobiles and other electronics looks set to go up, as the government is imposing a 10 percent basic customs duty on these products.
If you want to know more about how GST will tax expert joined us to talk about the impact of GST on prices of gadgets and IT services in India on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.
Other telcos have so been rolling out a number of offers. Airtel announced its ‘Monsoon Surprise Offer’, which gives users up to 30GB of free data. To avail the offer, Airtel postpaid subscribers need only log into the My Airtel app after July 1. Vodafone, on the other hand, is now offering free Netflix to postpaid subscribers on its RED plans. Text ‘Netflix’ to 199 from an eligible Vodafone number, and you’ll get money credited to your Netflix account.
BSNL launched a new pack called Sixer 666, offering 2GB data daily, along with unlimited calling. The pack has 60 days validity and competes with Reliance Jio’s Rs. 509 plan. Reliance Jio also has new offers. Now, Xiaomi users who sign up for Jio after June 16 are eligible for up to 30GB of free data, at 5GB extra for up to six recharges. Gionee has a similar offer, giving users up to 60GB of free data with Reliance Jio, at 10GB extra for up to six recharges.
WhatsApp got some interesting new features this week. On Android, emoji search was added as a beta feature, while video streaming has now made its way to the iPhone version of the app. Last week, WhatsApp started rolling out the feature to attach any file type. Now, a new feature is photo bundling – which will allow you to send multiple images to your friends as an album, instead of single images. This WhatsApp feature was rolled out to iPhone users earlier this month and refines the sharing of multiple photos on the platform.
Soon after its launch, the OnePlus 5 has started running into some problems. Users are reporting a ‘jelly scrolling issue’, which the company finally acknowledged. However, OnePlus says that this is not a defect, saying only that the issue is ‘natural.’ The root cause of the issue could actually have to do with the orientation of the display though OnePlus hasn’t confirmed this.
Not all the news phone the phone is bad though. The OnePlus 5 (Review) launched recently and it’s beating the iPhone 7 Plus in a speed test video. And Amazon says that the OnePlus 5 has had the best launch week on Amazon India, in terms of gross revenue. A teardown also revealed that the phone is pretty water resistant, though not actually waterproof.
There were relatively few launches this week. The Honor Holly 3+, priced at Rs. 12,999, was launched this week. It comes with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, and has a 5.5-inch HD display. The InFocus Turbo 5, which comes with a 5000mAh battery, was launched in two RAM/ storage variants, and will be available exclusively via Amazon India. The Moto M “all metal” smartphone was launched back in December as an online exclusive – it’s finally available offline as well.
Vivo and Qualcomm unveiled an under-display fingerprint sensor. According to Qualcomm, the sensor can work through a number of different surfaces, and will also be available for devices that don’t have a Qualcomm SoC. Gadgets 360 tested out the Vivo demo unit and found some delay in response, but this will not be the case with commercial units expected to launch in 2018, the company executives said.
There was also a leak of the specifications of the Xiaomi Redmi Pro 2. It’s the successor to the Xiaomi Redmi Pro, which was launched last July. It’s expected to have 3GB and 4GB variants, and it’s believed to have a 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual-camera setup on the rear along with a 16-megapixel front camera. It’s also rumoured to have a full-HD LCD display.
New renders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 were also leaked, promising a dual camera setup, and a fingerprint sensor next to the cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is said to feature a 6.3-inch display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio and support for 2K resolution. The dual camera setup on the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to sport two 12-megapixel sensors and come with independent OIS (optical image stabilisation) for each lens.
The specifications of the upcoming Google Pixel phones were also leaked. The XL 2 will have a 5.99-inch QHD display, a 2.45GHz processor and 4GB RAM, and a single rear camera. The smaller Pixel successor is expected to have a 4.97-inch full-HD display, and otherwise the same processor and RAM, but it’s expected to ditch the 3.5mm audio port.