It's been an interesting week in technology news, and the top headline of the week has to be Friday's announcement by Prime Minister Modi, where he launched the BHIM payments app. The BHIM app is available to download only for Android, with an iOS version expected soon. The BHIM app is a UPI app that's really easy to use, and supports the NPCI's USSD framework as well, which means that you can use it even without a smartphone or an active Internet connection. ICICI also launched a UPI app for merchants this week, called EazyPay. BHIMP app aside, here are the other highlights of the week - or if you prefer, jump to the bottom for a recap in Hindi, that's under five minutes long.
The other piece of news that gadgets fans will be quite excited about was a report that leaked Nokia's roadmap for 2017 - as you know, HMD Global licensed the Nokia brand, and is bringing in new phones next year. Now, a report says that Nokia will be launching five phones, the first of which will be unveiled at MWC 2017 in February.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio and TRAI locked horns this week over the former's Happy New Year Offer free usage scheme. On December 20, TRAI sent a letter to Reliance Jio seeking an explanation on how the offer is not predatory, and a violation of regulatory limits of 90 days on promotional offers. Reliance Jio maintains that the new offer is substantiatively different from the Jio Welcome Offer (that commenced on September 5) as 4GB of free data per day was being provided under the initial offer, while the new offer has a 1GB per day cap.
Meanwhile, Snapdeal also announced a tie-up with Reliance Jio, and will soon start delivering Jio SIM cards. Last week, Snapdeal offered to deliver cash at home, and now, with Reliance Jio SIM cards, it seems to be going after everything that people have to queue up for.
Reliance Retail's Lyf branded phones, all of which support 4G VoLTE for use on Reliance Jio, also saw a number of launches this week. First, the company listed the Lyf Wind 7S, a 5-inch phone with an HD display, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 chip, and 2GB of RAM. The phone is priced at Rs. 5,999. Then, it unveiled yet another smartphone - this time, in its Future One series - the Lyf F1S. The dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) Lyf F1S smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and sports a 5.2-inch full-HD display. It's priced at Rs. 10,099, but there's a Rs. 500 JioMoney cashback. It also launched the Lyf Water 3 this week, which features a 5.5-inch HD display and is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip, coupled with 2GB of RAM.
Gionee also saw a big launch this week - the Gionee M2017, launched in China at a hefty base price of CNY 6,999 (roughly Rs. 68,400). The phone packs several interesting features, most interesting of which is its battery capacity. It comes with two 3500mAh batteries inside, providing total battery capacity of 7000mAh, and supports Quick Charge 3.0.
Other launches this week included the dual-SIM Swipe Konnect 4G, at an MRP of Rs. 3,999. The phone has a 1.5GHz processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage. Karbonn launched four new 4G smartphones, the Aura Note 4G, K9 Smart 4G, Titanium Vista 4G, and K9 Viraat 4G. These range in price from Rs. 5,090, to Rs. 6,490. This week also saw the launch of the iBall CompBook i360, a Rs. 12,999 laptop with a 360-degree rotating display.
This week, we also heard some interesting rumours about two upcoming phones that we're looking forward to for next year. For one, the Samsung Galaxy S8 - perhaps the most important phone in the company's history after the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 literally went up in flames - will allegedly pack 8GB of RAM, and is expected to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC - though there's also talk of an Exynos variant. It's tipped to launch alongside new wireless in-ear headphones, and it's rumoured it will ditch physical keys, but add S-pen support to fill the gap from the missing Note flagship.
Meanwhile, a leak earlier this week suggests that the Xiaomi Mi 6, the new flagship from the Chinese company, is likely to launch on February 6. The tipster added that the Xiaomi Mi 6 will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC and will be offered in 128GB and 256GB storage variants.
In India, Google Play now supports carrier billing on Vodafone and Airtel - Google India first introduced for Google Play carrier billing only for Idea customers in May. For purchasing apps, books, movies, and other digital content, Google Play offers many options for Indian users, namely - credit cards, debit cards, netbanking, redeem code, and also direct carrier billing on Idea. However, now in addition to Idea, Airtel and Vodafone users are also seeing the direct carrier billing option.
Meanwhile Amazon India has also rolled out an interesting new feature called Sell as Individual. This allows you to sell your used goods. The service is currently only available in Bengaluru. With Sell as Individual, you can sell products locally in your city, and Amazon offers doorstep pick-up, packing, and delivery of used goods you're selling. To promote the service, Amazon is also offering Rs. 1,000 as Amazon Pay balance, if you sell five books, video games, movies, or music; or, if you sell one mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.
Those were the highlights of the week, and you can get a quick recap of the week in under five minutes in Hindi below: