Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, are set to launch in India on Wednesday. Ahead of the launch, Flipkart has unveiled a dedicated storefront on its website catering to Samsung’s new flagship devices. The page reads “launching on April 19th”, so you should expect Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ pre-orders to open immediately after Wednesday’s event in New Delhi. The phones have already started shipping in some markets.
Some Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ buyers in international markets have reported discolouration issues with their displays, claiming it has a red tinge that doesn’t go away. While an industry analyst claimed that it could be due to colour balance problem in OLED panel production, Samsung has ruled out a “quality problem”. It said that it can be adjusted from the phone, and those who still face problems can get their Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ changed at service centres.
Samsung has meanwhile blocked the reconfiguration of the Bixby button with an over-an-air update. It seems the company wasn’t pleased with the system-level workaround that users found, and wants to keep it dedicated to its own digital personal assistant.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are set to go on sale in two of Samsung’s biggest markets – the US and South Korea – on April 21. In the latter, pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 have hit 1 million, which is the highest ever for the Korea market. That’s not that surprising considering Samsung reported 720,000 pre-orders in the first seven days after pre-orders went live on April 7.
Here's what else made news in the world of technology today.
Reliance Jio partners with Vivo for IPL-themed offer
With the IPL season in full flow, Vivo has reached a deal with Reliance Jio to promote its brand. On Tuesday, Jio announced Vivo Jio Cricket Mania offer, which can get Vivo smartphone owners up to 168GB of free data if they are willing to jump through a few hoops. To register for the Reliance Jio Vivo IPL offer, you need to select your favourite IPL team and send a message with your Jio number.
After that, the amount of data you get all depends on how your team performs. A win nets you 3GB, a draw 2GB, and a loss 1GB. It’s a bit like football, except you still get something even if you lose. And should the team qualify for the knock-out rounds, Jio will double your data quota. If the team ends up in the final, you get triple the free data. Should they end up lifting the IPL trophy, you’re looking at a quadruple bonus from Reliance Jio.
Timex IQ+ Move launched in India at Rs. 9,995
Timex is moving deeper into the world of smartwatches with IQ+ Move, which retains the company’s expertise with analogue watches and fuses it with the functionalities of a fitness tracker. It can track your steps, calories, and sleep without needing to be charged since there’s no digital screen to power. It can synchronise with your phone – Android or iOS – to display all the necessary statistics, and plus it’s water-proof up to 50m if you get the rubber band.
The Timex IQ+ will be available in two variants - a Silver Tone Case, White Dial with Gold Tone Accents and Brown Leather Strap; and a Gray Silicone Strap and a Gray Finish Case, Black Dial with Blue Accents. It costs Rs. 9,995.
Vivo V5s set for India launch on April 27
Vivo is adding to its existing V5 line-up – the V5 came in 2016, and the V5 Plus early this year – with the Vivo V5s, set for an India launch on April 27. The Vivo V5s has a metal unibody design, and a 5.5-inch HD display covered by a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass. Inside, you get the MediaTek MT6750 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB expandable storage, and 3000mAh battery.
The Vivo V5s is meant to fit in with Vivo’s focus on selfies, which explains its 20-megapixel front camera, carrying a Sony IMX376 sensor with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash. On the back, you get a 13-megapixel camera with PDAF and f/2.2 aperture. And despite arriving in mid-2017, the Vivo VS still runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Snapchat user data allegedly leaked by Indian hackers
While Snap has denied the ‘poor country’ allegations against its CEO Evan Spiegel, that doesn’t seem to have earned it any reprieve from the Indian community at large. According to a report in The Independent, anonymous Indian hackers claim to have unearthed data of 1.7 million Snapchat users, and released it on the deep Web. For what it’s worth, the Snapchat parent has denied any such leak.
Netflix comes close to 100 million members in new earnings report
Netflix announced its Q1 2017 earnings on Monday, and it revealed that the streaming service now has 98.75 million paying members around the world. Netflix also said it expects to cross the 100-million mark by the end of this week. The company also revealed data on its most popular content, and one piece of information particularly stood out.
Netflix said that subscribers have streamed half a billion hours of Adam Sandler movies since December 2015. That figure is split across three of his Netflix productions – The Ridiculous 6 (2015), The Do-Over (2016), and Sandy Wexler (2017).
Trump to sign new executive order restricting H1-B
Trump doesn’t seem to be interested in slowing down the rate of laying down new executive orders. His next one, to be signed Tuesday in Wisconsin, will target the H1-B visa programme that’s used to hire skilled foreign workers, in a bid to force companies to hire more Americans. For President Trump, this merely plays into the ‘America First’ rhetoric he established and wielded with influence during his campaign.
This could affect Indians who study in the US or plan to in the future, as they will face greater barriers to access for the same jobs. Trump has spoken against the use of H1-B to lower wages, and senior Trump administration officials said the new executive order is meant to tackle "fraud and abuse" in the US immigration system.
HTC Vive to arrive in India on May 17
HTC Vive, the virtual reality headset, will be available in India on May 17, per multiple sources that spoke with Gadgets 360. The sources also claim that Amazon India will start pre-orders in just two days on April 20, and it will be a timed exclusive for the Seattle-based giant. Dell will sell it offline via its stores next month.
Reached for comment, HTC said: "We are gearing up for launching Vive in India soon. Will update you once we finalise the details." Owing to India’s stringent import duties, HTC Vive is expected to cost Rs. 93,000 in the country. The PlayStation VR, by comparison, is available for Rs. 41,990.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 leaks in new images
Alongside Wednesday’s launch of the Mi 6 in Beijing, Xiaomi is also expected to unveil the Mi Max 2, which has leaked in new images. They show the phone with a metal body, with the camera – a 12-megapixel rear one with Sony IMX378 sensor - and flash located top left, resembling an iPhone. On the bottom, it looks like Apple’s phone too – the charging port (USB Type-C in this case) is flanked by dual speaker grilles.
Xiaomi has kept the 3.5mm audio jack, though, which can be found on the top. The leaked images don’t show the front of the phone, though it’s expected to have a 6.44-inch full-HD display. It will most likely run on Snapdragon 626 chip and 4GB RAM, with a higher-spec variant powered by Snapdragon 660 and 6GB RAM. It will cost between CNY 1,499 (about Rs. 14,000) and CNY 1,699 (about Rs. 15,900) respectively.
The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 will have Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box, and should become official in less than a day.