Welcome back to Gadgets 360's weekly roundup of all the tech news that you can use. Reliance Jio has been in the limelight as usual - the company opened up bookings for the Jio Phone last week and had to pause the process after hitting "millions" of bookings. This week, we found out that the bookings crossed 6 million units in a day, and deliveries start from September 21, Navratri. If you were one of the people who booked a Jio Phone last week, expect your handset to arrive sometime around then, though the deliveries will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The process to book a Jio Phone proved to be difficult for some as the demand crashed Jio's servers, but if you managed to book a phone, you can look up the Jio Phone delivery status quite easily, both offline and online. Apart from that, you can also check the details on the MyJio app, or even use the app to transfer the Jio Phone booking.
The Jio Phone is effectively free (you have to pay Rs. 1,500 up front, but this is fully refundable, provided you can return the handset to Jio after three years) and offers unlimited calling and 500MB data daily for just Rs. 153 a month, or Rs 309 with which you get 1GB data per day. If you plan to use the Jio Phone-TV Cable, called the JioMediaCable, which lets you mirror content playing on the phone directly on the big screen then you must buy the Rs. 309 recharge pack, though the cable is not for sale yet.
The Moto G5S and the Moto G5S Plus were launched in India, just six months after the Moto G5 Plus launch. Both phones have been introduced to the market a month after their global launch. The phones are priced at Rs. 13,999 and Rs. 15,999 respectively, and will be available via Amazon India. Both phones are now on sale, and Lenovo also slashed the price of the Moto G5 Plus, which was launched in India at Rs. 16,999 for the 4GB variant. You can now but the Moto G5 Plus 4GB variant for Rs. 14,999.
The two new phones share a lot of design cues with the previous models, with a metal unibody design that feels pretty solid. There's a fingerprint scanner placed below the display on the front-face of the phone, and the Moto G5S Plus has a dual-rear camera setup. Both phones have full-HD displays, with the Moto G5S being 5.2-inches and the Moto G5S Plus being 5.5-inches. The Moto G5S Plus has an octa-core 2.0Ghz processor and 4GB RAM, while the Moto G5S packs a 1.3GHz octa-core processor and 3GB RAM. The phones have 64GB and 32GB storage, respectively.
Xiaomi was back in the news as well with the Xiaomi Redmi 4A (Review) - the company has released a new variant of the phone with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The Xiaomi Redmi 4A starts at Rs. 5,999, and the 3GB RAM, 32GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 6,999. This variant went on sale for the first time in India this week via various e-commerce sites. The original model also went on sale via Amazon and Mi.com.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4A is a good option at the entry level, with a polycarbonate body, a 5-inch HD-ready display, a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and in the case of the new variant, 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage - the base model has 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. There's a 13-megapixel camera on the rear, and a 5-megapixel camera on the front, along with a 3120mAh battery. In our review of the 2GB variant, we felt that the performance could be a little better, and hopefully the extra RAM will give it the pep it was missing.
Meanwhile, as we get closer to the iPhone 8 September 12 release date, there are some more leaks about the highly anticipated phone. As of now, we're expecting three new iPhones to debut, and we're expecting that the phones will have symmetrical, slim bezels.
Reports say that the home button is going to be history with the iPhone 8, and there's talk of new gestures, a multitasking interface, and in terms of UI, an iPad-style dock. Although there's been some talk of a digital home button, it's being suggested that the button - even virtual - could be done away with completely, in favour of gesture controls.
The internal hardware of the device was also allegedly leaked, showing that the iPhone 8 will use a slower standard for wireless charging, as will the iPhone 7s. Of course, these are speculative leaks, but it lines up with what people have been expecting and is likely true, though we'll find out for sure soon enough.
The Intex Aqua Note 5.5 with 4G VoLTE support was launched in India priced at Rs. 5,799. The phone, which runs Android 7.0 Nougat, is available to buy via Amazon India. The Nubia Z17 Lite, with a 13-megapixel dual-rear-camera setup, was launched in China and packs a 1.4GHz octa-core processor, along with 64GB storage, and 6GB RAM, priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 24,700).
At IFA 2017, there were a number of launches, such as the Moto X4, priced at EUR 399 (roughly Rs. 30,500), which supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The phone will go on sale in Europe sometime this month, and then in other regions. Sony launched a number of phones - the Xperia XZ1, Xperia XZ1 Compact, and Xperia XA1 Plus. The first two phones are priced $699.99 (roughly Rs. 45,000) and $599.99 (roughly Rs. 38,500), while the price for the third has not been announced as yet.
LG launched the LG V30, with 6-inch FullVision display, and dual rear cameras. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. The company also launched the LG V30+ handset, which is identical but with more storage.
We also saw the release of the world's highest capacity microSD card, the SanDisk Ultra 400GB microSDXC card, priced at $249.99 (roughly Rs. 16,000). There was also the Lenovo Yoga 920, Yoga 720, and Miix 520 laptops, along with the Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality headset, the last of which will be priced at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,350)
Gadgets 360 has learned that food ordering on Zomato could soon support payments via UPI, an important win for the still fledgeling payments system. Although UPI payments have been growing steadily, particularly since the demonetisation initiative in November 2016, and are already ahead of wallets in terms of the combined value of transactions, the total volume of transactions is still low. Recently, Uber added UPI support, and sources tell Gadgets 360 that Netflix is working to add UPI support as well.
If you're a Hotstar fan, some good news - sources tell Gadgets 360 that the company is working on rolling out 1080p (full-HD) resolution streams. It's been a long-running complaint that many have raised, and we have learned from multiple sources that the rollout will be happening in the near future. Another feature sources told Gadgets 360 about is downloading premium content - so you could download shows like Game of Thrones to rewatch without using the Internet - but this could take some time.
Meanwhile, Paytm announced the launch of its payments bank, Paytm Payments Bank, which has been in beta since May. The Payments Bank is now open to all. You need to update the app to the latest version - 6.0.0 - and then the option to create a bank account should be available. The whole process takes just a few minutes, and if you've already completed your Paytm KYC, then an account can be fully created from your phone. Otherwise, you'll have to take an appointment via the app to verify KYC details, and then the account is up and running.
Paytm Payments Bank is offering free electronic transfers through IMPS, NEFT, UPI and so on, and a virtual RuPay debit card, and 4 percent interest on deposits, with no minimum balance requirement. Physical debit cards, chequebooks and ATM withdrawals after five transactions are all paid services.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.