With just a month to go for the official end of Reliance Jio’s free services, the telecom operator has started the Jio Prime subscription service that allows users to continue using Reliance Jio 4G data and other services at ultra-low prices. Users need to pay subscription fee of Rs. 99 to use the Jio Prime plans, and subsequently buy recharge packs priced between Rs. 149 and Rs. 9,999. The low-cost Jio Prime plans will be applicable till March 31, 2018. Those who do not go for Reliance Jio Prime plans will have to switch to the standard Jio prepaid or postpaid plans.
Having covered that, let’s take a look at other stuff that made news today in the world of technology.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Matte Black variant launched in India
Nearly a month and a half after Xiaomi Redmi Note 4’s launch, the smartphone’s Matte Black variant has been launched in India. The Xiaomi phone went on sale at 12pm today on Flipkart and Mi.com, and comes in all three storage/RAM options – 2GB RAM + 32GB storage (Rs. 9,999), 3GB RAM + 32GB storage (Rs. 10,999), and 4GB RAM + 64GB storage (Rs. 12,999). In terms of specifications, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Matte Black model offers the same features as the other variants, such as a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, Snapdragon 625 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 4100mAh battery, and fingerprint sensor.
iPhone 8 fingerprint may be hidden under the display panel
It has come to light that Apple has recently granted a patent for a system to embed the fingerprint sensor under the display panel. With this technology, iPhone users will be able to authenticate payment and security features by just tapping their thumb on any part of the display of the iPhone. With this patent now granted to Apple, it is highly likely that it will integrate the technology in the iPhone 8, which is widely rumoured to ditch Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro gets a price cut in India
Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro - the big-screen smartphone launched in India in September last year - has received a price cut of Rs. 2,590, bringing its price down to Rs. 29,900. The smartphone will be available at the new price via Flipkart in Black, Gold, and White colours. Key specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro include 6-inch full-HD Super AMOLED screen, Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, 1.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, up to 256GB microSD card expansion, 4G LTE, 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, and 5000mAh battery.
Zopo Flash X Plus smartphone launched in India at Rs. 13,999
Chinese brand Zopo has launched the Flash X Plus smartphone - with metal unibody design and a fingerprint sensor that can read fingerprints in 0.16 seconds - in India at Rs. 13,999. The new Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based smartphone will be available via Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and ShopClues starting mid-March. The new Zopo Flash X Plus has a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, 1.3GHz MediaTek octa-core processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD card support up to 128GB, 13-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, 4G VoLTE compatibility, and 3100mAh battery.
YouTube TV streaming service announced, costs $35 per month
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has announced the YouTube TV streaming service that offers bundles of live channels as well as user-generated content from Google’s video platform. Priced at $35 (roughly Rs. 2,340) a month, YouTube TV will be launched in coming months, and will allow up to six accounts per subscriber. The service has been tailored for younger generations seeking news, films and more programs without subscribing to cable or satellite service. It will allow US-based users to access on any connected device networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as sports networks.
Microsoft Skype WiFi service to be shut down on March 31
Skype WiFi, a service that allowed Skype users to sign up with different Wi-Fi providers on the move, will be shut down on March 31. The Skype WiFi app gave users the option to connect to one of over two million hotspots around the world, and only pay via Skype Credit for the minutes used. Microsoft said Skype WiFi users with leftover Skype Credit would be able to use any remaining funds to make calls and send text messages using the standard Skype app. The move would also help Microsoft to focus its efforts on core Skype features, the company added.
Facebook Messenger testing new chat UI, virtual assistant 'M' integration
New Facebook Messenger features, including an overhauled user interface and integration of ‘M’ virtual assistant, have been spotted on the Android beta version of the app and may come to the public version soon. The most significant change in Facebook Messenger Android beta is the new chat UI that reduces cluster by fitting all the UI elements in one row. Facebook's 'M' virtual assistant doesn't do tasks for the user like buying groceries etc., but shows suggestions of stickers when it sees wishes being exchanged in conversations (that too not all times). But, of course, this is the beta version, so the 'M' assistant may be buggy, and the stable release should be able to do much more.
Two more BlackBerry smartphones reportedly coming in 2017
TCL – which is among the companies making BlackBerry branded phones now – at the ongoing MWC 2017 trade show has reportedly said that two more BlackBerry smartphones will be unveiled in 2017, in addition to the BlackBerry KEYone. The report adds that the TCL may unveil the successors to the DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 Android phones, but without the DTEK branding.
Separately, BB Merah Putih – another brand making BlackBerry phones – is said to be working on a budget smartphone, whose images have been leaked. The leaked images show a smartphone codenamed BBC100-1, which sports a textured back and BlackBerry branding present on both the sides. Previous leaks suggest that the BBC100-1 will have a Snapdragon 425 processor, 4GB RAM, 5.5-inch HD display, 32GB inbuilt storage, dual-SIM support, and 3000mAh battery.