The world has already had enough of the selling-kidney-to-buy-iPhone jokes, but unfortunately those may not stop, as the high-end variant of the iPhone 8 is said to cost $1,000 (roughly Rs. 68,000) in the US. If true, after all the taxes and duties added, this iPhone SKU might end up costing upwards of Rs. 80,000 in India. One of the reasons cited for the price bump is a switch to OLED displays instead of LCD. Fortunately, this is said to be the pricing of the highest-end model in the lineup, with a cheaper ‘iPhone 7s’ and ‘iPhone 7s Plus’ starting out at the usual $649.
Let’s move on to the remaining top stories of the day.
1) HTC 10 evo launched in India at Rs. 48,990
The HTC 10 evo is available for sale in the country at a price tag of Rs. 48,990. It’s got a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, water-resistance and comes with Android 7.0 Nougat. What sticks sorely for this otherwise interesting high-end device is the use of the Snapdragon 810 chip from 2015, which was known for notorious heating issues in phones like the Xperia Z3+. We wonder at the response HTC will receive for the product.
2) YouTube Go launched in India for shareable, offline videos
A common sight when using public transport today in India is of people watching videos on their smartphones. To push YouTube adoption without paying for mobile data, the YouTube Go app is a standalone app from Google that lets you download videos and watch them offline later. It also has a convenient ‘send’ and ‘receive’ feature, that allows for transferring downloaded videos to other YouTube Go users locally, without using mobile data.
3) Android Wear 2.0 launched with two new LG smartwatches
After a delay of several months, the next major update to Android Wear - dubbed Android Wear 2.0 - is out. Two new watches from LG, namely the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport, run this new operating system, while other compatible watches will get the update eventually. Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to the wrist, along with other features like the ability to install apps directly on the watch, Android Pay integration, keyboard input, etc. Those LG watches mentioned above are priced at $249 (roughly Rs. 17,000) and $349 (roughly Rs. 24,000) respectively.
4) 170 days after its release, Android Nougat only runs on 1 percent of all Android devices
This should come as no surprise, considering there are many stakeholders in the Android update process. Android 7.0 Nougat, the most recent version of Android, despite being launched almost half a year ago, only runs on 1 percent of active Android devices. Android 5.0 Lollipop, which was out in 2014, is still the most used Android version to date.
5) SoftBank loses $350 million on India investments like Ola, Snapdeal
Japanese company Softbank has reported an investment loss of $350 million (roughly Rs. 2,345 crores) on its investments in India, which include cab-hailing service Ola and e-commerce platform Snapdeal. The Japanese firm has so far invested close to $2 billion in India and earlier this year it stated that it is looking to scale up investments to $10 billion in next 5-10 years.
6) 5G is official now, has its own logo
The 3GPP cellular standards group has officially christened the next generation of wireless communication technology as 5G. The logo has a familiar design as the official 4G logo that came before it. The final specifications of 5G are said to complete by 2018, with the next phase being completed by 2020.
7) Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon argue GST’s tax collection at source provision
At a press conference organised by FICCI on Thursday, the heads of Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal all found common cause as they expressed their worries about the TCS (Tax Collection at Source) provision of the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Under this provision, online marketplaces are responsible for collecting - and paying - taxes on behalf of their sellers. This is something that all three companies, the major players in the e-commerce space in India, are against, as they argue it will hamper the growth of e-commerce.
8) Idea Money Adopts USSD-based digital payments
Idea Cellular today said it has enabled USSD-based platform for shopkeepers and customers to conduct digital transactions using Idea Money service. USSD is mobile short code that enables financial and banking transactions even on feature phones.