Missed out on the news this week and need to catch up? You've come to the right place, as we take a look at all the big headlines from the week that's gone by. MWC 2017 action has already kicked off and there's quite a lot to look forward to, but there were some pretty interesting developments this week as well. Here's what you need to know.
Reliance Jio finally rolled out a paid plan - a new subscription plan called Reliance Jio Prime, which will start from April 1. Until then, you're still covered by the Reliance Jio Happy New Year offer free services. The Jio Reliance Prime subscription will set you back by a one time cost of Rs. 99, followed by a monthly fee of Rs. 303, for unlimited usage for 12 months. It's an interesting offer, but some analysts say it is a misstep as the offer is not sustainable. On the other hand, Reliance Jio rivals seem relieved that Jio has finally started charging for its services.
With Reliance Jio Prime, you will get unlimited mobile data for a year (1GB daily FUP limit), plus the media and content benefits associated with the Jio apps suite. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani pegged the value of the Jio Prime plan at Rs. 10,000. A Reliance Jio statement said, "There will be many other attractive deals and offers from both Jio and its partners [for] the Jio Prime members."
Aside from the Reliance Jio Prime announcement, we also got a number of high-profile leaks just ahead of MWC. The new Nokia flagship, the Nokia 8 or Nokia P1 saw some information being leaked thanks to an e-commerce listing. The alleged Nokia 8 carries a price tag of CNY 3,188 (roughly Rs. 31,000) in the JD.com listing. Unfortunately, it's hard to confirm the authenticity of the online listing of the Nokia 8. We also got to know a bit more about the Nokia 3310 reboot, promising that the phone will not stray too far from the original, though with a slightly larger, colour display, and is likely to be priced at EUR 59.
On the specifications front, the rumoured Nokia 8 is rumoured to be powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor, and sport a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display. The Nokia 8 is further likely to feature a 24-megapixel rear camera with OIS alongside a 12-megapixel front camera. Nokia 8 is expected to be announced in two storage versions - 64GB and 128GB. Both the Nokia 8 models are rumoured to come with expandable storage support via microSD card slot (up to 256GB). Nokia 8 is said to run Android 7.0 Nougat.
We also got a fresh leak about the Motorola Moto G5 - new photos show a metal body, and hint at a removable battery. The Moto G5 and its bigger sibling the Motorola Moto G5 Plus will both are expected to be launched on Sunday and an earlier report has already claimed that the Moto G5 may be priced lower than its predecessor was, at launch.
The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus are rumoured come with similar specifications including full-HD screen resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 cover for protection, run on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box, and support expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB). Some of the other similarities in the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus include fingerprint scanner at the front, 2GB of RAM, 5-megapixel front camera, and water repellent coating. Both Moto G5 and G5 Plus are expected to come in Lunar Grey and Fine Gold colours.
Meanwhile WhatsApp followed Instagram in taking a leaf out of Snapchat's playbook - it's debuted a new Status feature that looks and works a lot like Snapchat stories, allowing you to post photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours. WhatsApp Status revamp was announced earlier this week, and rolled out globally on Friday. As of now, the old text WhatsApp status messages are gone, though a new leak suggests they'll be back soon, and called 'taglines'.
And in case you've given up on this planet, NASA made a startling announcement that you might find interesting - the space agency has identified a nearby star system, Trappist 1, with seven Earth-like planets. What's more, three of the seven planets are apparently in the zone that can support life.
News also broke today that Smartron is looking to launch a Sachin Tendulkar-branded phone. Tendulkar was recently spotted shooting at a studio in Mumbai for Smartron, which is working on its next device under the project name "Rimo SRT".
Ahead of MWC, Qualcomm announced a new virtual reality development kit (VRDK) for its Snapdragon 835 mobile platform, and also launched its Head Mounted Display Accelerator Program meant for original equipment manufacturers of virtual reality hardware.
HTC launched two phones in India, the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play. The two phones are priced at Rs. 59,990 and Rs. 39,990 respectively, and both have the Sense Companion feature, an AI-based system that learns the user's daily patterns to provide usage recommendations and friendly advice. On the HTC U Ultra, the Sense Companion will display important alerts and notifications on the second ‘ticker-style’ display, which is called the Priority Screen. Both smartphones come bundled with HTC USonic earphones, which analyse the shape of the user's inner ears with a "sonar-like pulse" to adapt to you.
Asus announced the Asus ZenFone Live, a 5-inch Android Marshmallow device powered by a quad-core processor. Its standout feature is the company's new BeautyLive app, which is a live-streaming beautification app. The BeautyLive app can integrate with Facebook, YouTube, and other streaming apps.
We also got the launch of the LG K10 (2017), at Rs. 13,990. The LG K10 (2017) has been launched in its dual-SIM (Nano) variant in the country, and the company is touting support for VoLTE and ViLTE (Video over LTE) apart from panic button support for the 112 national emergency number. It sports a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel. The K10 (2017) also brings support for nine regional languages. The smartphone was first unveiled ahead of CES 2017.
HP launched its Omen gaming laptops and desktops in India - prices start at Rs. 79,999, while the top-end model is Rs. 1,69,999. HP first introduced the Omen series in 2014 when it launched the 15.6-inch Omen laptop targeted for the gamers. The laptop arrived in India in May 2015 with a price tag of Rs. 1,59,990.
There were also a few interesting security related stories this week. A collaboration between Google's research unit and a Dutch institute on Thursday cracked a widely used cryptographic technology that has been one of the key building blocks of Internet security. The algorithm, known as Secure Hash Algorithm 1 or SHA-1, is currently used to verify the integrity of digital files and signatures that secure credit card transactions as well as Git open-source software repositories. There was also an unexpected sign-out from many Google accounts - Google says it is continuing to investigate the matter, but it clarified that there is no indication that the issue is connected to phishing or account security threats. There's also new malware targeting Chrome users on Mac and Windows both, which prompts you to install a 'missing' font in a bid to gain access to your computer. Finally, Cloudflare admitted to a data leak that could have leaked data from millions of websites and apps, including Uber, 1Password, and Fitbit. The Cloudflare CTO in a blog post said the problem had been fixed quickly, and that there was no sign yet the leak had been exploited by hackers.
Meanwhile, after last week's strike of Uber and Ola drivers in Delhi-NCR, things eased up in the Capital, and the strike was called off after some demands were met. According to the drivers on strike, these included not having to pay a fine for refusing to ferry a customer, and increasing the fees charged. On Thursday, drivers in Bengaluru called for an indefinite strike, though the ones we've spoken to are talking about getting back on the roads by Monday. The drivers are demanding that the companies offer better incentives, and stop adding new cabs to the fleets.
These were the biggest headlines this week - but if there was something that caught your eye in the week that's gone by, let us and the other readers know, via the comments.