As Apple promised, preorders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus opened in India today, one week ahead of the devices going on sale. The two phones have starting prices of Rs. 64,000 and 73,000 respectively for the base 64GB versions, while the 256GB versions are officially priced at Rs. 77,000 and Rs. 86,000 respectively. Both are available in Space Grey, Silver, and a new shade of Gold and have new glass backs instead of metal. These models replace the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus but slot in below the upcoming iPhone X which is now Apple's flagship.
You can book an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus at Apple authorised sellers as well as large-format retail stores, Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance Jio stores. Amazon and Flipkart are offering over Rs. 20,000 off in exchange of an old phone. There are also no-cost EMI options and additional cash back if you a credit or debit card issued by a participating bank.
Jio has a number of special offers, both online and across offline Reliance stores. Customers who preorder can get Rs. 10,000 back if they use a Citibank credit card. Buyers can also return their iPhone 8 or 8 Plus after one year and get a whopping 70 percent of the pre-tax cost of each model back if they use a Jio SIM and have the MyJio app installed. The value will be returned in the form of vouchers which can be used towards a new iPhone or any other purchase at Reliance Digital, within six months.
Jio also has a custom tariff plan for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus buyers, which gives them 90GB of 4G data free calls and texts, plus access to Jio subscription services. The price of Rs. 799 applies to both prepaid and postpaid subscribers.
iPhone 8 demand tepid as fans wait for iPhone X
Launch offers might tempt buyers in India, but it looks as though the higher-profile iPhone X is causing many potential buyers to hold off on picking up these models, at least for now. It seems crowds at Apple Stores in Australia and across Asia were down to less than one third of the usual size at previous years' iPhone launches. The change in atmosphere is attributed to a lack of differentiation between this year's models and last year's ones, and relatively lukewarm reviews.
On the bright side, destroyer-of-phones JerryRigEverything has put an iPhone 8 through a series of torture tests and has given it a favourable rating for its construction quality. It survived attempts to burn, bend and scratch it, and should withstand the rigours of daily use quite well. Camera quality rating firm DxOMark has also declared that the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus cameras are the best it has ever tested, displacing the HTC U11, Google Pixel, and iPhone 7 Plus.
Festive sales continue at Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm Mall and other sites
Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall's big festive sale events are in full swing, and the deals keep coming. All sites are not only cutting prices on popular products, but are also offering exchange deals, easy installment plans, and cashback bonuses in conjunction with various banks. You can pick up a 32GB iPhone 7 for the all-time low price of Rs. 38,999, a Google Pixel for Rs. 42,999, or a Samsung Galaxy S7 for as little as Rs. 29,999. The MacBook Air, Apple Watch and AirPods are also heavily discounted, though some sites have raised prices a little since the sales began. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 as we continue to track the best deals every day.
Xiaomi is one of the bigger brands participating in sales across multiple websites and its own Mi.com and Mi offline stores. The popular Redmi Note 4 is discounted by as much as Rs. 2,000, with the 4GB/64GB variant now priced at Rs. 10,999 down from Rs. 12,999. Discounts might vary from website to website, but other products generally available include the Mi Router 3C, Mi Air Purifier 2, Mi Max 2, and accessories including power banks and earphones. Xiaomi says it has sold over a million phones in 2 days across all websites' sales at an average of 300 phones a minute.
On a related note, Flipkart has said that it sold twice as many phones on the first day of its sale event as it did last year, with 1.3 million units sold in the first 20 hours alone. According to Flipkart, this is thrice as much as its nearest competitor's sales figure. One in every four premium smartphone buyers has taken advantage of Flipkart's buyback offers, and 80 percent of all buyers have benefited from a buyback, exchange, or EMI scheme.
Samsung's Bixby assistant now available in India
Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby is now rolling out to compatible smartphones in India. The company hopes to take on Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, and Amazon's Alexa. Bixby is available on only the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 for now. Samsung says it will understand a wide range of Indian accents. Custom commands can be created to perform a string of actions. Samsung intends to use Bixby across its consumer electronics portfolio, but for now, its scope seems limited compared to similar tools from other companies.
Micromax Selfie 3 launched in India
Micromax has launched a new smartphone called the Selfie 3 in India, just a few months after the Selfie 2. This new model is priced at Rs. 11,999 and will be available in black and blue. Its main highlight is unsurprisingly the 16-megapixel front camera which has its own flash, and a beauty mode in the software. The Selfie 3 also has a 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-inch full-HD screen, Snapdragon 435 SoC, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
HTC reportedly readying new flagship phone for launch
HTC's U11 made a good impression on us, particularly for its excellent camera and unique squeezable sides. Now, the company is reported to be preparing a new model called the HTC U11 Plus which will have a borderless 5.99-inch screen, Snapdragon 835 SoC, and 12-megapixel camera. It could have 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage. HTC, which recently sold part of its team to Google, will reportedly launch this phone on November 11.
Facebook tests WhatsApp button in Android app
Facebook is apparently experimenting with WhatsApp integration within the Facebook client for smartphones. Some Facebook for Android users who had Danish set as their default language have reported seeing a new WhatsApp button near the top of their screens, which let them quickly switch between the two apps. This could be a simple experiment that goes nowhere, or the beginning of a phased rollout.
Vivo X20 and X20 Plus launched in China
Vivo has launched its X20 and X20 Plus smartphones in China. The two models feature 18:9 screens and dual rear cameras. The only differences between them are their screen sizes and battery capacities, with the smaller X20 having a 6.01-inch screen and 3245mAh battery while the larger X20 Plus has a 6.43-inch screen and 3905mAh battery. Both use the Snapdragon 660 SoC and have 4GB of RAM plus 64GB of storage.