For everyone who uses a mobile phone in India, every day must feel like some kind of festive occasion. Nearly every telecom operator has been offering one great deal after another ever since Reliance Jio came along. The latest deal to join the party is BSNL's 'Rakhi pe Saugaat' recharge plan for its prepaid customers. For Rs. 74, BSNL customers can get unlimited on-net voice calls, full talk value, and some data benefits as well. The catch is that this plan is valid only for five days and the recharge will be available from August 3 to 12.
Under that Rs. 74 BSNL plan there's a limit of 1GB of data per day. The company has also launched other combo offers for Rs. 189, Rs. 289, and Rs. 389 ahead of the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan. This comes after BSNL's 'Sixer 666' pack for prepaid users that offered people 2GB of data per day for 60 days. The company had also announced increased data offers for its postpaid customers. All of this makes us believe that as long as these plans last, everyone can make hay while the sun shines.
Here's everything else that made news in tech today.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 specs leaked; flip phone launched
Samsung has already announced that the company will launch the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone on August 23 and several leaked renders have given a fairly good idea about the handset’s design. Now, the final specifications that will be offered by the smartphone have also been leaked and suggest that the upcoming Galaxy Note series flagship will pack 6GB of RAM. As per the leak, Galaxy Note 8 will sport a 6.3-inch QHD Infinity Display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. It is expected to be powered by Exynos 8895 SoC globally, but use Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in the US, just like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
Samsung seems to be reserving all its flip phones for China. Take the Samsung G-9298 for example. The flip phone comes with two 4.2-inch full-HD Super AMOLED displays. It’s powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 821 SoC and 4GB of RAM.
Xiaomi grows fast in smartphones, wearables shipments; Mi 6c leaked
Xiaomi’s global smartphone shipments grew 58 percent year-on-year to 23.2 million during Q2 2017, according to Strategy Analytics. Thanks to its range of Android smartphones including Redmi 4A, which is proving “wildly popular” in India, Xiaomi was able to capture 6 percent of global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, snatching volumes from competitors such as Micromax and Lenovo in the country.
Xiaomi is also making steady progress in the wearables segment. According to a fresh research report from Strategy Analytics, Xiaomi is now the world’s largest wearables vendor, beating competition from Fitbit and Apple as well. One of the reasons behind this could be the fact that Xiaomi's wearables are priced lower than the competition, which makes them accessible to more people.
Meanwhile, more details about Xiaomi Mi 6's toned-down version - Xiaomi Mi 6c - have emerged with the usual disclaimer that accompanies every bit of leaked information: take this with a pinch of salt. The leaks feature enough details for us to believe that the launch of the Mi 6c is near. The smartphone, according to this leak, features a home button, perhaps with an embedded fingerprint sensor. The Xiaomi Mi 6c has been tipped to become available in a 4GB/64GB (RAM/storage) variant and another 6GB/128GB variant. The price is expected to be between CNY 2,000 (roughly Rs. 18,900) and CNY 2,500 (roughly Rs. 23,600).
Global smartphone sales drop, says IDC
Global smartphone sales have shown a decline in the second quarter of 2017, but don’t worry, it’s not much. The top five smartphone vendors showed positive growth while declines were seen for other manufacturers. Market leaders Samsung and Apple consolidated their positions. The IDC survey showed South Korean giant Samsung maintaining the top spot by delivering some 79.8 million handsets for a 23.3 percent market share.
Netflix announces 2 more original series from India
Two more original series from India are coming to Netflix. The first is ‘Selection Day’ a movie based on Aravind Adiga’s bestselling novel The White Tiger. The second is Again, a female-led detective series set in New Delhi. It will be written by Marisha Mukerjee, known for her work in Quantico and Justified.
The company is facing tough competition in India from the likes of Amazon Prime Video, which had announced 17 originals from India, and Hotstar. As of now, there are no details on when to expect these two shows to be available, but you can bet that it will not be anytime soon.
iPhone glitter cases recalled after causing chemical burns
Nearly 275,000 liquid glitter iPhone cases have been recalled after reports that the fluid leaked out and caused skin irritation, blisters and chemical burns. MixBin Electronics, which sold the cases, said in a statement that there was a risk that the cases could crack or break and the liquid could leak out and irritate users’ skin. These cases were sold at Henri Bendel, Tory Burch and Victoria’s Secret. The cases, which were sold for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 from October 2015 through June 2017, resembles a snow globe - with glitter that floats inside the liquid.
Karbonn Aura Note Play smartphone launched
Karbonn Mobiles has launched a new Android smartphone called the Karbonn Aura Note Play, which has been priced at Rs. 7.590. The smartphone runs Android 7.0 Nougat, has a 6-inch HD screen with a resolution of 720x1080 pixels, and comes with 16GB of storage that can be expanded via a microSD card (up to 32GB). The smartphone supports 4G VoLTE, is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, and features an 8-megapixel rear camera with a 5-megapixel front camera. It has a pretty big 3300mAh battery too.
Uber crosses 500 million rides in India
Uber has hit a big milestone as it revealed that over 500 million rides have been taken on its platform in India. The taxi-hailing app has also revealed that demand for its cabs has more than doubled between June 2016 and June 2017. While Uber wants everyone to believe that it is "winning in India", the fact is that it is competing against Ola, which still is the bigger player in the market. The company also revealed a slew of statistics such as the driver and rider with the most number of the trips on the platform. Just because you are curious, the driver with the most number of trips in India is from Chandigarh and he's taken 12,574 trips. The most prolific Uber rider is from Chennai, with 3,485 trips till date.
Moto Hub exclusive offline retail stores opened in India
Lenovo has decided that its Motorola branded smartphones need more of an offline presence. It has taken a big step in that direction by opening six Moto Hub retail stores in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. As is obvious, these stores will only stock Motorola smartphones. The company plans to open 50 more of these in various cities in India by the end of this year. If you are one of those people who didn't buy any Lenovo smartphone because it was an online exclusive, these stores will allow you the chance to check it out before buying.
Paytm for Android now lets you send money via phonebook
Paytm now allows its users on Android to send money to their contacts in a much easier manner. You can do this by going to the phone book on your Android smartphone. The process isn't complicated at all. What you need to do is go to the contact and tap the Send Money option. This could be a precursor to the company's plan to introduce a messaging service and take on WhatsApp.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.