Flipkart Super Flash Sunday is being held today, the first of its kind that sees five of the most popular smartphones – Redmi K20 Pro, Redmi K20, Redmi 7A, Realme X, and Realme 3i – going on sale on the platform at the same time. Flipkart has another sail going on, and apart from this, the week held its fair share of news, from a new reported Jio GigaFiber commercial launch date, to Netflix unveiling its first mobile-only plan, with India the sole launch market for now. Read on for the top news stories of the week in the world of personal technology.
As we mentioned, Flipkart Super Flash Sunday will see the Redmi K20 Pro (Review), Redmi K20 (Review), Redmi 7A (Review), Realme X (Review), and Realme 3i (Review) being made available via the flash sale model at the same time – 12pm IST. Apart from Flipkart, the five smartphones will also go on sale on their respective company platforms – Mi.com and Realme.com correspondingly – at the same time. Flipkart announced the sale on Friday.
For the sale, Flipkart is offering a 5 percent cashback on the Flipkart Axis Bank credit card on all five smartphones. The Redmi K20 series on the other hand also sees an offer of Rs. 1,000 instant discount on ICIC Bank credit cards, as well as credit and debit card EMI transactions. Let's remind you of the Redmi K20 series pricing of really quick - the Redmi K20 Pro price in India starts at Rs. 27,999, and the Redmi K20 price starts at Rs. 21,999.
As before, Redmi K20 series buyers will get double data benefits as Airtel subscribers of the Rs. 249 or Rs. 299 prepaid plan. The Redmi 7A on the other hand is available with an introductory discount of Rs. 200, giving it a starting price of Rs. 5,799. Its sale offers include Rs. 2,200 cashback from Reliance Jio, as well as additional data, on the Rs. 198 or Rs. 299 prepaid plans.
The Realme X starts at Rs. 16,999, while the Realme 3i price in India starts at Rs. 7,999. The Realme X and Realme 3i will be available on Flipkart with 5 percent cashback on HDFC Bank debit card purchases, apart from the 5 percent Flipkart Axis Bank credit card. The Realme X gets an additional 10 percent discount (up to Rs. 100) on future Flipkart fashion purchases.
Apart from the Flipkart Super Flash Sunday, the company is holding the Month-End Mobiles Fest. It started on Thursday, July 26, and goes on till Wednesday, July 31. Deals include discounts on the Google Pixel 3, Motorola One Power, Poco F1, Nokia 6.1, as well as a whole bunch of Honor smartphones - Honor 10 Lite, Honor 7S, Honor 9i, and Honor 9 Lite. Apart from this, the e-commerce site has announced additional exchange discounts on several top-end smartphones, while recent flagships also get no-cost EMI options.
The Flipkart Month-End Mobiles Fest sale brings the Google Pixel 3 down to Rs. 49,999, the Motorola One Power down to Rs. 10,999, Honor 9N 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant down to Rs. 8,999, the Poco F1 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant down to Rs. 18,999, Nokia 6.1 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant down to Rs. 7,999, and the Honor 10 Lite 3GB RAM variant at Rs. 9,999.
Other Honor offerings on discount during the Flipkart Month-End Mobiles Fest include the Honor 7S 2GB RAM + 16GB storage variant down to Rs. 5,499, Honor 9i down to Rs. 8,999, Honor 9 Lite price down to Rs. 7,999, and Honor Play down to Rs. 12,999. Two smartphones are available with a Rs. 1,000 discount if bought with a prepaid order – Honor 20i and the Infinix S4 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant. The iPhone 8 Plus will be available starting Rs. 51,999. Other phones on discount are the Moto G7 down to Rs. 14,999, the Panasonic Eluga Z1 Pro down to Rs. 7,490, and the Infinix Note 5 Stylus down to Rs. 12,499.
The much awaited Jio GigaFiber high-speed broadband service may be just around the corner, with a new report claiming a commercial launch is set for August 12. As per the report, the commercial launch of Jio's high-speed fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) offering will be announced at the annual general meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries.
Reliance Industries had first announced the Jio GigaFiber at its AGM in July last year, so it certainly is fitting that it would be commercially launched at this year's meeting. Reliance Jio had revealed last week that GigaFiber beta trials are currently in their final stages, and said it was aiming to rollout a “bouquet of smart home solutions” (including home broadband and entertainment) to an estimated 50 million households.
To recall, Jio GigaFiber in its initial trial stages, the service was offered with a Rs. 4,500 security deposit, but that number went down to Rs. 2,500 with introduction of a cheaper modem. Apart from home broadband, voice calls, IPTV, Reliance Jio's GigaFiber service can also come packaged with Jio Home TV and Jio Apps.
Netflix this week after months of testing finally launched its mobile-only plan, exclusively in India. The company says its members in India have the highest consumption of its content on mobile anywhere in the world. This, combined with the fact India is a price-sensitive market, has lead Netflix to introduce an affordable Rs. 199 per month plan. The company had last week presaged the launch in a letter to shareholders, and had revealed that India's pay TV ARPU is low (below $5).
There are some caveats to the Netflix mobile-only plan however – it only streams in SD (480p), only allows one concurrent stream, is limited to mobiles (though tablets are included), and finally, cannot be used to cast to a larger screen. While the last three caveats seem like reasonable sacrifices for a low-cost plan, the first may dismay potential subscribers.
The Rs. 199 Netflix mobile-only monthly subscription goes up against three other plans in the country, with none of these limitations – Rs. 499, Rs. 649, and Rs. 799. To recall, when the company was testing its mobile-only plan in India, it was offering the plan at Rs. 250 – it seems to have tinkered with the pricing ahead of the launch however.
Competitors in India, Hotstar Premium and Amazon Prime Video, are priced at Rs. 299 per month and Rs. 129 per month – with both becoming more economical at Rs. 999 annually. The Prime Video subscription value is especially great, as it also brings access to Amazon Prime services on the e-commerce site and Amazon Prime Music.
The Vivo Z1 Pro went on open sale in India this week, following what appears to be its last flash sale on Friday. It is now available to buy in an open sale format from Flipkart and the Vivo E-Store at any time. We've reached out to Vivo for clarification on whether the open sale is permanent in nature or just for a limited period. To recall, the Vivo Z1 Pro is pegged as an affordable gaming smartphone, and was launched in India earlier this month.
Competing against the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M40, the Vivo Z1 Pro's price in India starts at Rs. 14,990. Gaming enhancements include Game Mode 5.0 along with 4D vibrations and 3D surround sound, and a Multi Turbo feature. It sports a 6.53-inch full-HD+ IPS display, Snapdragon 712 SoC, up to 6GB RAM, a triple rear camera setup, a 32-megapixel selfie camera in a hole-punch design, up to 128GB of onboard storage, and a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging support.
Vivo Y90 launched in India
Vivo launched a new budget smartphone in India this week – the Y90. To recall, the Vivo Y90 was globally unveiled first in Pakistan earlier this week, before being brought to India. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 6,990, and is already on sale in the country via both online and offline channels.
The specifications of the Vivo Y90 include Funtouch OS 4.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo, a 6.22-inch HD+ display, a MediaTek Helio A22 SoC, 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, 16GB of onboard storage that's expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB), and a 4,030mAh battery. It features the standard range of connectivity options, including 4G LTE, measures 155.11x75.09x8.28mm, and weighs 163.5 grams.
Vivo Z5 launch date revealed, features teased
Vivo this week announced it would launch the Vivo Z5 on July 31. While the smartphone is thought to have revealed most of its specifications in a TENAA listing, the company has been releasing numerous teasers in the lead up to the launch next week. Included amongst the teasers are renders of the smartphone, the fact it has triple rear cameras including a 48-megapixel sensor, a 32-megapixel selfie camera, a Snapdragon 712 SoC, and an in-display fingerprint sensor.
The Vivo Z5 is also teased to sport the company's Multi-Turbo tech, as well as a Super AMOLED display, and finally, a 4,500mAh battery with 22.5W fast charging tech. The TENAA listing goes on to add details like a 6.38-inch full-HD+ display, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 128GB inbuilt storage, and a 4,420mAh battery.
Honor 9X, Honor 9X Pro launched
Huawei brand Honor this week launched the Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro in China, its latest smartphones in the Honor 9 series. Highlights of the smartphones include their notch-less displays, the use of the HiSilicon Kirin 810 SoC, the presence of GPU Turbo 3.0, 16-megapixel pop-up selfie cameras, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, as well as a 4,000mAh battery. The Honor 9X Pro has identical features to the Honor 9X, except for the former featuring a triple rear camera setup compared to the latter's dual rear camera setup.
As for the pricing and availability, the Honor 9X price starts from CNY 1,399 (roughly Rs. 14,000) for its 4GB/ 64GB variant, going up to CNY 1,599 (roughly Rs. 16,000) for the 6GB/ 64GB variant, and CNY 1,899 (roughly Rs. 19,000) for the 6GB/ 128GB variant. It will go on sale from July 30. On the other hand, the Honor 9X Pro price starts at CNY 2,199 (roughly Rs. 22,000) for 8GB/ 128GB variant, and CNY 2,399 (roughly Rs. 24,000) for the 8GB/ 256GB variant. It will go on sale from August 9.
Huawei Nova 5i Pro launched
The Huawei brand itself also launched a smartphone this week, the anticipated Huawei Nova 5i Pro, which is expected to be launched as the Huawei Mate 30 Lite in regions other than China. Highlights of the smartphone include a quad rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, 6.26-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) IPS display, a hole-punch style 32-megapixel front camera setup, HiSilicon Kirin 810 SoC, GPU Turbo, up to 256GB of onboard storage, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 4,000mAh battery.
The Huawei Nova 5i Pro price starts at CNY 2,199 (roughly Rs. 22,000) for the 6GB/ 128GB variant, CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,000) for the 8GB/ 128GB variant, and CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,000) for the 8GB/ 256GB variant. The smartphone will go on sale in China from August 2. Alongside, Huawei launched the Mate 20 X 5G smartphone in China, priced at CNY 6,199 (roughly Rs. 62,100) for the 8GB/ 256GB variant. It will go on sale in the country from August 16.
Asus ROG Phone 2 launched
A new gaming smartphone from the Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand of Asus has been launched. The successor to the ROG Phone, the Asus ROG Phone 2 is the first smartphone in the world to be launched with a Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC (which promises better performance than the vanilla Snapdragon 855 SoC). Compared to Asus ROG Phone, the ROG Phone 2 features a 120Hz display, larger battery, better cameras, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. Other highlights include front-facing stereo speakers, an AMOLED screen, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 24-megapixel selfie shooter.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 has been launched in six variants in China, priced ranging from CNY 3,499 (roughly Rs. 35,000) for the 8GB/ 128GB variant, going all the way up to CNY 6,199 (roughly Rs. 62,000) for the 12GB/ 128GB variant. Only four variants have been put up for pre-orders right now, which two other variants priced at CNY 7,999 (roughly Rs. 80,000) and CNY 12,999 (roughly Rs. 1,30,000) due to go up for pre-orders as well.
Moto E6 launched
Lenovo-owned Motorola has launched its latest budget smartphone – the Moto E6 –and for now, its availability has only been detailed for the US and Canada. Highlights of the Moto E6 include its old-school design with thick bezels, a 5.5-inch HD+ display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, 16GB of inbuilt storage expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB), and a 3,000mAh battery.
The Moto E6 price starts at $149.99 (roughly Rs. 10,300), and it is now on sale in the US with locked versions on telecom carriers and unlocked versions via retail stores. For now, the company has not detailed availability of the Moto E6 for only one other region outside the US – Canada, which will receive the smartphone sometime later this summer.
Asus ZenFone 5Z, Asus ZenFone Max M2, Oppo A5s price in India cut
Asus has once again cut the price of its Asus ZenFone 5Z flagship, launched in India last year. Both its variants have received price cuts of Rs. 3,000. The 6GB/ 128GB variant is now priced at Rs. 24,999, while the 8GB/ 256GB variant is now priced at Rs. 28,999.
As for the Asus ZenFone Max M2, it has received a price cut of Rs. 1,000 on both its variants, and is now priced at Rs. 7,999 for the 3GB/ 32GB variant and Rs. 9,499 for the 4GB/ 64GB variant. To recall, the smartphone had been launched in India last year.
Finally, the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant of the Oppo A5s has received a price cut in India. Launched in India last month after the original variant's launch in April, the Oppo A5s 4GB/ 64GB variant is now priced at Rs. 11,990. It had originally been launched at Rs. 12,990.
Samsung's top-end smartphone in its Galaxy A-series has gone up for pre-orders in India. The Samsung Galaxy A80's biggest highlight is of course its rotating camera setup, which foregoes the need for a front camera as the rear camera swings forward for selfies. To recall, the Galaxy A80 was launched in India earlier this month, priced at Rs. 47,990 for the single 8GB/ 128GB variant.
Pre-bookings offers include 5 percent cashback on the Samsung Galaxy A80, no-cost EMI, and subsidised screen replacement via both the Samsung site and Flipkart. On the other hand, Flipkart is offering an exchange discount and cashback on the Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card or Axis Bank Buzz Credit Card. Pre-orders end on July 31, and the smartphone can be expected to go on sale from August 1 in the country.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10, the next flagship smartphone for 2019 from the house of Samsung, received a launch date – August 7 (or August 8 India time) – recently. Now, Flipkart has begun teasing the launch of the smartphone on a microsite that highlights the S Pen stylus on the smartphone. While the teasers on the page don't indicate much, we now know that the Galaxy Note 10 will be made available on Flipkart (apart from, presumably, the Samsung India site) when it is launched in India.
Separately, Samsung has kicked off Galaxy Note 10 reservations in the US, and briefly unveiled a trade-in offer that provides as much as $600 (roughly Rs. 41,300) in lieu of many 2019 flagships. A VIP pre-order programme for the Galaxy Note 10 also kicked off in the Philippines, where a Limited Edition Galaxy Note 10 appeared for pre-orders alongside regular variants.
Samsung Galaxy Fold relaunch date
Samsung this week finally revealed that the Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone, unveiled at MWC 2019 earlier this year, finally has a new launch date. To recall, Samsung had delayed the launch of the smartphone following reports of display issues on the foldable smartphone from early reviewers. The Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone was due to be made available at the end of April.
Instead, company had then recalled units, refunded pre-orders, and said it needed more time to iron out any flaws with the Samsung Galaxy Fold's design. Now it appears all fixes have been made, with Samsung saying it was conducting final tests on the smartphone. Changes included strengthening hinges on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, hinges that were found to be problematic by early reviewers.
Reliance Jio this week introduced Jio Saarthi, meant for first time digital recharge users. An in-app digital assistant, it is integrated in the MyJio app, and helps users perform their first digital recharge. Currently available in English and Hindi, it will be made available in 12 regional languages as time goes by.
Separately, it appears Reliance Jio is the largest telecom operator in India in terms of the number of subscribers. Previous market leader Vodafone-Idea this week released its Q2 2019 earnings results, and revealed it now how had 320 million subscribers, a significant decline from the previous quarter. On the other hand, Reliance Jio late last week revealed it had 331.3 million subscribers. For now, Airtel's figures for the Q2 2019 period have not yet been released by the company.
State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) this week launched two new recharges - Rs. 1,399 and Rs. 1,001. The new prepaid recharge plans will be available until October 22, and give benefits such as unlimited voice calls, SMS messages, and data access for as many as 270 days. While the former offers 1.5GB of daily data, the latter offers 9GB of data throughout the entire validity period.
BSNL this week also launched a new Rs. 498 prepaid recharge plan, and with it, introduced its BSNL Star membership that offers discounts on future recharges. Called Star 498, the new prepaid plan offers unlimited voice calls and 30GB data for 30 days. The plan has a validity of 365 days, and subsequent recharges will be discounted.
Vodafone this week revised its Rs. 1,699 prepaid recharge plan to bring it in line with Jio's Rs. 1,699 plan. The plan now offers 1.5GB daily data benefits for 365 days, apart from unlimited voice calls, 100 SMS messages per day, and free access to the Vodafone Play app.
Earlier in the week, Vodafone unveiled the Rs. 205, Rs. 225 prepaid recharge plans, and also announced that Vodafone Idea customers will get access to Zee5 Theatre. The Rs. 205 and Rs. 225 prepaid recharge plans offer up to 4GB data benefits. Vodafone-Idea customers will be able access Zee5 Theatre through the Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV app.
Tencent Games has finally brought PUBG Mobile Lite to India. To recall, the version of the popular mobile game was launched last year in the Philippines, and is only now making its way to the country. It is available only for Android users via the Google Play Store, and is meant for smartphone with less than 2GB of RAM.
While both the original PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite game are built using Unreal Engine 4, the latter has several limitations compared to the original. This includes a smaller map made for 60 players, fewer maps, and fewer weapons. It also has a significantly lighter footprint of 400MB when installed.
Apple Siri recordings
Apple this week admitted that humans listen to a small portion of Siri recordings for the purpose of improving the digital assistant. The company was responding to a report citing an Apple contractor who alleged confidential information was frequently accessible to third-party contractors when grading Siri responses.
Most confidential information was found to be during accidental Siri activations, or when the digital assistant mistakenly hears its wake word and turns on. The whistleblower said disclosing Apple's practices on this front was vital, especially since the company claims to give user privacy much importance. The whistleblower said no guidelines were in place with how to deal with confidential information heard during recordings.