Reliance Jio’s user base has crossed 100 million within 170 days of the service’s launch, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced today. He also said that Reliance Jio free services will end on March 31, when the Happy New Year Offer expires, and all services except voice calls will be chargeable starting April 1. Instead, Reliance Jio users can opt for the Jio Prime subscription plan that will provide the free services for the next 12 months at Rs 303 per month, or Rs. 10 per day.
With this Reliance Jio bit out of the way, let’s have a look at the other major stories of the day:
WhatsApp takes the social media route with Status update
WhatsApp Status got a huge overhaul last night, with users now allowed to use videos, images, and GIFs as their status. These WhatsApp Status updates will be visible to all your contacts using the app, and will disappear after 24 hours. The new feature is much like Snapchat Stories, and makes WhatsApp more like a social media app. By default, the Status can be seen by all contacts, but you can change that to My contacts except... or Only share with... as well. The feature is rolling out in Europe right now, and will come to Android, iPhone, and Windows platforms.
Samsung Galaxy S8 live image leaked
A live image of the Samsung Galaxy S8 has leaked online, showing the front panel of the smartphone. As per the image, the Galaxy S8 will have a bezel-less design and not have a physical Home button below the display. Additionally, the smartphone has curved edges on both sides, an iris scanner, selfie camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and always-on display. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to launch March and hit the market in April. The upcoming smartphone is also said to cost more than its predecessor, Galaxy S7, in certain markets.
PM Modi urges US to keep an open mind over H1B visas
PM Narendra Modi, after a meeting with bipartisan delegation of 26 US Congress members, urged the United States to keep an open mind regarding admitting skilled Indian workers via the H1B visas. The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement said, "He [PM Modi] urged developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals." A bill recently tabled in the US Congress proposes several curbs on H1B visas, and increase the minimum salary from $80,000 to $130,000.
Apple may launch Red iPhone 7, iPhone SE 128GB, and new iPad Pro in March
Apple is rumoured to be hosting an event mid-March, where it is expected to launch new iPad Pro models, along with new variants of iPhone 7 and iPhone SE. This is in contrast to previous rumours that Apple will remain silent on the smartphone front till the iPhone 8 launch in order to whet the users’ appetite for new iPhones, but comes from a source known for its accurate leaks.
The report says that Apple will launch iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in red colour option at the event, along with a 128GB variant of the low-end iPhone SE. Also said to be in the lineup are as many as four iPad Pro models, with screen sizes of 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch.
Xiaomi may launch more models to boost sales
Xiaomi is said to be adding new models in its portfolio in order to increase sales in the mid- and high-end segments. Facing competition from the likes of Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, Xiaomi is said to be eyeing higher sales in China, and looking to launch models like the long-rumoured Mi 5c. It is also said to be mulling new suppliers for parts and components, and may purchase display panels from Truly Opto-electronics.
HTC U Ultra, U Play launched in India
HTC has launched the U Ultra and U Play smartphones with AI-based Sense Companion digital assistant in the Indian market. While the former has been priced at Rs. 59,990 and will hit the market on March 6, the latter costs Rs. 39,990 and will go on sale mid-March. Both Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones feature Liquid Surface curved glass design, and come with 1-year insurance. Standard Chartered card users who purchase the phones between March 6 and March 31 will be eligible for 7.5 percent cashback.
The HTC U Ultra has a 5.7-inch QHD screen, Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB in-built storage, microSD card support up to 2TB, 12-UltraPixel rear camera, 16-megapixel front camera with UltraPixel mode, BoomSound Hi-Fi stereo speakers, and 3000mAh battery. HTC U Play comes with 5.2-inch full-HD panel, MediaTek Helio P10 chipset, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 16-megapixel rear camera, 16-megapixel front camera with UltraPIxel mode, and 2500mAh battery.