A huge roster of launches, some incredibly strange government decisions, and some incredible scientific developments; this week has seen a lot happen.
Asus had a big week, with the launches of the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Deluxe, and ZenFone 3 Ultra, along with the "thinner than a MacBook" ZenBook 3, and perhaps most interestingly, the Asus Zenbo household robot, which can move independently, and understand spoken commands, to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship.
Another major launch this week was the India launch of LG's modular flagship, the LG G5. It also released the LG G Pad III 8-inch tablet and the LG Stylus 2 Plus, while Micromax launched the Micromax Canvas Tab P701. It's sister company launched the Yu Yunicorn, while Lenovo launched the Zuk Z2 with 4GB RAM.
If you're following VR news, then you might be interested to know about Samsung's 5.5-inch 4K smartphone display prototype designed for VR. Smartphone based VR systems require a particularly high resolution display because that same screen is split into two halves, effectively halving the resolution for each eye, to create a 3D effect. Expect other phone makers who are interested in Google's Daydream platform to follow suit - high quality mobile VR is going to be quite taxing on hardware, so it's not a big surprise that Google says existing phones are unlikely to be Daydream ready
One very interesting piece of news that broke over the weekend was a report suggesting that Yahoo and Twitter might be considering a merger. Possibly less dramatic news, but something a lot of people will still care about - we're getting 72 new emoji, thanks to Unicode 9.0.
That's not the only backwards sounding thing we've heard this week. After the controversy over comedian Tanmay Bhat's viral video poking fun of Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar, the Mumbai Police reacted in the most technology-backwards way possible, asking YouTube, Facebook to block the video, which was in fact posted on SnapChat. The government also laid down an advisory for matrimonial websites, to put an end to 'fraudulence' on these platforms. Users will now need to provide ID to sign up, and the sites should store the IP address used to create profiles for one year, even if the account is deleted.
Also, Xiaomi had earlier applied to be exempted from local sourcing requirements, but has withdrawn the request. The company was seeking the exemption but withdrew it soon after the Finance Ministry rejected a similar proposal from Apple, so single brand stores from both companies might take some time to arrive in India.
Meanwhile, the Cellular Operators Association of India claims the telecom sector's revenues growth was the slowest in six years, despite adding nearly 80 million active subscribers. Interestingly, a report says India's mobile data traffic will grow 15-fold by 2021, which means that data should become a major source of revenue. Call drops meanwhile remain a persistent issue, and according to Trai, most Delhi operators fall below acceptable thresholds. The regulator is now reportedly seeking penal powers over telcos, though predictably enough, telcos are questioning Trai's results. The government is considering giving these punitive powers however. Trai also launched a DND services app to make it easier to register spam complaints.
The government also said all Gram Panchayats will be connected to Wi-Fi by October 2008, as part of the Bharat Net initiative. Also, some interesting news in terms of investments - SoftBank says its India investments may surpass $10 billion (roughly Rs. 67,000 crore) - in the next 5 - 10 years. SoftBank has been one of the major investors in India, though its portfolio includes some of the most controversial companies here, such as Oyo Rooms, Housing.com, and TinyOwl. In other funding news, Uber said it will invest a "substantial portion" of its $3.5 billion funding in India.
India is all set to produce its own lithium ion battery, according to the Central Electrochemical Research Institute, though the domestic manufacture of Li-ion batteries for laptops and mobile phones still remains far off. There's plenty of other interesting science news this week too - a rare 'Einstein ring' was discovered this week, which is a very unusual astronomical object. Meanwhile, a computer simulated study shows what could be the first exoplanet in our solar system, and new technology has uncovered a water logged history of the Moon.