The week past had its fair share of personal technology headlines, from WhatsApp finally gaining a dark mode (albeit in beta) to Samsung launching two of its ‘affordable' premium smartphones in the country – the Galaxy Note 10 Lite and Galaxy S10 Lite. The Oppo F15 – a mid-ranger from the Chinese smartphone company – went on sale in India this week, while Qualcomm used India as the setting for the launch of its new budget and mid-range smartphone processors. Xiaomi and HMD Global's Nokia brand also made headlines this week when the two companies cut prices of popular smartphones in their lineup, namely the Mi A3, Redmi K20 Pro, Redmi Go, Nokia 7.2, and Nokia 6.2. Read on for all the top tech news of the week past.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp this week launched its ‘dark' theme, the much-awaited new feature. In a world where most apps now offer a dark mode, WhatsApp was one of the holdouts, despite being used by more than a billion people globally. Apart from being easier on the eyes in low-light environments, a dark mode would also be useful in extending battery life of your device if it features an OLED display panel.
In a beta build for Android, the company has introduced the dark theme within settings. To use the feature, you will need to install the Android beta via the Google Play Beta testing programme. If you're unable to register for the programme, another method is sideloading the latest beta via APK Mirror. The feature was first spotted this week in v2.20.13, but dark mode can be observed in later beta builds as well – such as v2.20.16.
We can expect WhatsApp dark mode to make its way to the stable Android app soon, apart from the iPhone app soon, and WhatsApp for Web. To use the feature in the previously mentioned Android beta builds, you'll need to visit Settings > Chats > Display > Theme. Here, you will find three options – System Default, Light, and Dark.
The first, System Default, will switch between light and dark themes depending on what your current system-wide setting is on Android 10. The Light theme is the regular WhatsApp interface you've been seeing thus far. Dark mode will force a dark theme to the app regardless of the version of Android your device is running. At least in beta, it appears that WhatsApp has chosen to stick with a dark green colour for its dark mode.
As we'd mentioned, Samsung this week launched two of its recently unveiled affordable flagship smartphones in the country. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite and Galaxy S10 Lite were launched together globally earlier this month, and the smartphones we launched in India on two separate occasions this week. Both will only go on sale in the country from next month, and both run Android 10 with the company's One UI 2.0 interface on top.
While the Galaxy Note 10 Lite runs off the 2018 flagship processor – the Exynos 9810 SoC used on the Galaxy Note 9 – it does bring the S Pen stylus the series is famed for. The Galaxy S10 Lite on the other hand runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 – last year's flagship SoC and a departure from the company's usual use of Exynos processors for its flagships in India.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite price in India starts from Rs. 38,999 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, while the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 40,999. It is currently up for pre-orders in the country, and will go on sale from February 3 via both online and offline retailers. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite price in India is set at Rs. 39,999 for the sole 8GB RAM + 128GB inbuilt storage variant. Its pre-orders are also open, and it will go on sale via Flipkart, Samsung.com, and offline stores from February 3.
Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite include a 6.7-inch full-HD+ Infinity-O Display, a triple rear camera setup (12-megapixel main camera + 12-megapixel wide-angle camera + 12-megapixel telephoto lens), a 32-megapixel front camera, a 4,500mAh battery with Super-Fast charging tech, dimensions of 163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7mm, and a weight of 199 grams. It features an in-display fingerprint scanner, apart from the S Pen stylus that supports Bluetooth LE.
On the other hand, specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite include a 6.7-inch full-HD+ Infinity-O Display, a triple camera setup (48-megapixel main camera + 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera + 5-megapixel macro camera), a 32-megapixel selfie camera, a 4,500mAh battery with Super-Fast charging tech, an in-display fingerprint sensor, dimensions of 162.5x75.6x8.1mm, and a weight of 186 grams.
On a related note, Samsung has been anticipated to refresh its Galaxy A-series lineup in India, bringing the recently unveiled Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 handsets to the country. The latest round of leaks pertaining to their India launch have tipped their prices and expected release dates. To recall, the Samsung Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 were launched in December, with the former making its way to Vietnam at the time, and the latter unveiled without price or availability.
As per a recent set of leaks, the Samsung Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 will be launched in India in late-January, which means sometime next week, and the second week of February, respectively. Both smartphones are said to go on sale in the country from mid-February. That the smartphones' India launch is indeed due, is not news, as the company has had them listed on the country-specific for a while now.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 is said to be priced under Rs. 30,000, which fits in with an earlier report that tipped a Rs. 22,990 launch price. The Samsung Galaxy A71 on the other hand is said to be priced at Rs. 29,990. Highlight features of both phones include Infinity-O Displays and quad rear camera setups, apart from running the latest Android 10 build with the company's One UI 2.0 skin atop.
The Oppo F15 (Review) was launched last week in India, priced at Rs. 19,990 for its lone 8GB RAM + 128GB inbuilt storage variant. The mid-range smartphone went on sale for the first time in the country in the week just past, being made available via both Amazon and Flipkart, apart from the Oppo online store as well as offline retailers in the country.
On sale in the country since Friday, January 24, the Oppo F15 runs ColorOS 6.1.2 based on Android 9 Pie, and other specifications include a 6.4-inch full-HD+ display, an in-display fingerprint sensor, a MediaTek Helio P70 (MT6771V) SoC, a quad rear camera (48-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel), a 16-megapixel selfie camera, apart from a 4,000mAh battery.
Qualcomm this week launched three brand new mobile processors, holding an event in New Delhi for the purpose. All three SoCs – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and Snapdragon 460 – feature support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.1, as well as ISRO's NavIC navigation system. Alongside, Realme and Xiaomi both announced they will soon be launching the first Snapdragon 720G smartphones.
Smartphones running the Snapdragon 662 and Snapdragon 460 SoCs will only arrive by the end of 2020. Part of its recently established lineup of gaming-focused smartphone chips, the Snapdragon 720G is an octa-core SoC based on the 8nm process technology, with two Cortex-A76 cores at 2.3GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores at 1.8GHz, along with new Adreno 618 GPU.
The Snapdragon 662 SoC is also an octa-core SoC with four Cortex-A73 cores at 2GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.8GHz, coupled with the Adreno 610 GPU. Another highlight is support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. The Snapdragon 460 SoC also features Quick Charge 3.0 support.
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei this week launched a new fitness band in India, the Huawei Band 4. Featuring a heart rate monitor and sleep disorder diagnosis at an affordable price of Rs. 1,999, the activity tracker generated quite a lot of interest amongst Gadgets 360 readers. To recall, the smart band had first been unveiled in China back in October last year, and is only now making its way to India.
Specifications and features of the Huawei Band 4 include a 0.96-inch colour display; nine exercise modes such as running, cycling, walking, rowing; an optical heart rate sensor for 24x7 heart rate monitoring; Huawei TruSleep 2.0 tech to detect up to six types of sleep disorders; a 91mAh battery said to deliver up to 9 days of usage; Android and iOS compatibility, and a weight of 24 grams.
The Xiaomi Mi A3 was launched in India in in August last year, priced starting at Rs. 12,999 for its 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model and Rs. 15,999 for its 6GB RAM + 128GB storage model. Now, its price in the country has been slashed Rs. 1,000 to start at Rs. 11,199, while its top model is priced at Rs. 14,999.
After numerous discounts offered on the Redmi K20 Pro in the recent past, in and outside of sales, Xiaomi has finally officially cut the price of the smartphone in the country. The Redmi K20 Pro price in India now starts at Rs. 24,999 for the 6GB + 64GB model, going up to Rs. 27,999 for the 8GB + 256GB model, representing a price cut of Rs. 1,000 from previous prices. Finally, the Redmi Go is now priced starting at Rs. 4,299 for its 8GB storage variant, and Rs. 4,499 for its 16GB storage variant.
HMD Global this week announced price cuts on the Nokia 7.2 and Nokia 6.2 in India, up to Rs. 3,500. Both smartphones are part of the Google Android One programme, which means they are certified to have an optimised experience apart from receiving speedy updates. To recall, the Nokia 6.2 was launched in India last year in October at Rs. 15,999, and with the latest price cut, is now available at Rs. 12,499.
The Nokia 7.2 on the other hand launched in September last year, priced starting at Rs. 18,599. With the latest price revision, the Nokia 7.2 is now priced at Rs. 15,499 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, while the 6GB RAM + 64GB storage model is now priced at Rs. 17,099.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) this week revised its Rs. 1,999 plan to offer 71 days of increased validity in a republic day offer. The offer is valid until February 15, and gives the plan a validity of 436 days instead of its regular 365 days. Next, BSNL also revised its Rs. 1,188 prepaid plan to reduced its validity to 300 days, down from 365 days. The Mathuram plan will be available to buy until March 31 under an extension.
Also this week Vodafone unveiled two new prepaid plans - Rs. 558, Rs. 398 – both of which offer 3GB daily data and unlimited calls. Rs. 558 prepaid plan offers 56 days of validity, whereas the Rs. 398 offers 28 days of validity. The Rs. 558 plan is available in the Madhya Pradesh circle only for now, whereas the Rs. 398 prepaid plan is available in Mumbai in addition. Alongside, the Rs. 19 prepaid plan has also been revised to offer 200MB of data, instead of 150MB.
Finally, the Tata Sky HD set-top box price has been slashed by Rs. 100, and it is now priced at Rs. 1,399. The discount is under a special offer on the Tata Sky website, and it brings the price down to the same as the SD set-top box. It remains unclear until when the special offer will be available.
Is Samsung Galaxy A51 a worthy Redmi K20 Pro rival? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.