The past week had its fair share of news. We saw some major smartphone launches across the world, and a couple of those were launched simultaneously in India, including the OnePlus 6. The Chinese company's latest flagship smartphone was unveiled globally and in India earlier this week, with sales beginning from Monday, May 21 itself. The OnePlus 6 is an effort to capitalise on the market's most followed trends, sporting an iPhone X-style notch on its bezel-less display, dual cameras, and an all-glass body.
The OnePlus 6 has been launched in three different RAM/ storage options - 6GB/ 64GB, 8GB/ 128GB, and 8GB/ 256GB. The smartphone will also be available in three colour options in the country - Midnight Black, Mirror Black, and Silk White Limited Edition. The OnePlus 6 price in India starts at Rs. 34,999 for the 6GB/ 64GB model (available only in Mirror Black), going up to Rs. 39,999 for the 8GB/ 128GB model (available in Midnight Black, Mirror Black, and Silk White Limited Edition). The company has only brought a special edition model for its 8GB/ 256GB variant in India - the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Limited edition - which has been priced at Rs. 44,999.
As we mentioned, the OnePlus 6 will go on sale from Monday, May 21, limited to an early access sale for Amazon Prime members and pop-up stores in 8 cities across the country, apart from the OnePlus site. Open sales will begin from May 22, on Amazon India, Croma, the OnePlus site, as well as pop-up stores. Launch offers include a Rs. 2,000 discount for buyers using SBI credit and debit cards (available only during the first week of the sale), as well as no cost EMI options. OnePlus 6 buyers also get complimentary 12-month accidental damage insurance by Servify, an Amazon Prime Video gift card worth Rs. 250, up to Rs. 500 discount on Amazon Kindle ebooks, apart from a Rs. 2,000 cashback and dedicated device insurance from Idea. Buyers will also get ClearTrip flight and hotel bookings benefits worth up to Rs. 25,000.
The OnePlus 6 bears some similarities with the OnePlus 5T, last year's flagship. It has a bezel-less display, albeit larger and taller at 6.28 inches with a 19:9 aspect ratio, sports this year's top-of-the-line mobile SoC - the Snapdragon 845 - and offers up to 8GB of RAM. It also has a dual rear camera setup, but with newer 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensors compared to last time, also offering up to 480fps slow motion video recording. A similar refresh is seen on the 16-megapixel front camera. There's a brand new 256GB storage option, while the company has decided to retain the 3300mAh battery.
Getting to another major smartphone launch from this week - HMD Global unveiled the Nokia X6, the first smartphone in its new X-Series since it took over the brand 1.5 years ago. The Nokia X6 - which has been launched in China only as of now - sports a dual rear camera setup with AI and HDR features, a bezel-less display with a 19:9 ratio and an iPhone X-like notch, up to 6GB of RAM, apart from the popular new Snapdragon 636 SoC.
The Nokia X6 price starts at CNY 1,299 (roughly Rs. 13,800) for the 4GB RAM, 32GB storage variant, with the 4GB RAM, 64GB storage variant priced at CNY 1,499 (roughly Rs. 16,000), and the 6GB RAM, 64GB storage variant priced at CNY 1,699 (roughly Rs. 18,100). While no plans for bringing the smartphone to global markets were announced at the China launch, HMD Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas revealed the company was evaluating the feasibility of such a move with a Twitter poll asking users their opinion.
Other highlights of the Nokia X6 include Quick Charge 3.0, Android 8.1 Oreo, Face Unlock, the company's Bothie feature, and a Do Not Disturb mode for gaming. The smartphone may make its way to India in the foreseeable future, and when it does, at its price range and with the same SoC, it looks set to compete with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1. It goes on sale on Monday, May 21 in China.
Next up, is the launch of a new brand by Oppo in India - Realme. The company is aiming at the Indian youth with this e-commerce only brand that will have offerings in the Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 segment, though some more premium models have also been planned. The first smartphone in this series - Realme 1 - was launched exclusively via Amazon India. The Realme 1 price in India starts at Rs. 8,990 for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant, with the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant priced at Rs. 10,990, and the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant priced at Rs. 13,990.
The Realme 1 runs ColorOS 5.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo, sports a 6-inch full-HD+ (1080x2160 pixels) display in an 18:9 ratio, a MediaTek Helio P60 SoC, a 13-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera, a dedicated microSD card slot, and a 3410mAh battery. It also offers Oppo's AI Beauty 2.0 feature, face recognition and Face Unlock (said to unlock the smartphone in 0.1 seconds), and notably, no fingerprint sensor.
In other news this week, Airtel finally brought 'truly unlimited' prepaid plans, for packs starting from Rs. 199. Previously, prepaid users with a pack value of less than Rs. 995 stopped receiving mobile data once their FUP limit expired. Now, users can enjoy speeds of up to 128Kbps until they next recharge. The move brings it in line with BSNL, which offers 128Kbps speeds to users whose plans run out, while Reliance Jio recently dropped its post-FUP speeds to 64Kbps. Separately, Airtel's Telenor merger deal received approval from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which said it had transferred all licences and liabilities of Telenor India to Bharti Airtel.
The Airtel-Telenor merger had received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), BSE, National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE), and Competition Commission of India (CCI) in June last year. The telco earlier this week also unveiled a new Rs. 149 prepaid recharge pack that offers 28GB of 3G/ 4G data for 28 days - with a daily cap of 1GB data. The pack also offers unlimited local, STD, and roaming calls, apart from 100 free SMS messages per day. Another piece of Airtel related news was Reliance Jio's complaint to the DoT, saying Airtel had violated Access Services Licence norms by placing some part of its eSIM network infrastructure, used to facilitate Apple Watch Cellular services, outside of the country. Airtel in turn called the complaint frivolous, and that the DoT had been duly notified about Airtel's plans.
BSNL also had several announcements to make this week, with a new Rs. 118 prepaid pack that gives 1GB of data with unlimited calls and a free PRBT tune, as well as a new Rs. 98 recharge pack that offers 1.5GB data a day for 26 days. Idea had two new add-on Internet packs for prepaid users, with a Rs. 92 plan offering 6GB of 3G/ 2G data for a day, and a Rs. 53 pack offering 3GB of 3G/ 2G data.
Amongst the other smartphone launches this week, the Honor 10 stands out. The latest flagship smartphone from the Huawei sub-brand, the Honor 10 was simultaneously launched in Europe and India with an unveiling in London. To recall, the smartphone had first been unveiled in China earlier this year. Featuring a dual rear camera setup, a stylish finish, and an AI-based UI and processor, the Honor 10 price in India is set at Rs. 32,999 - and only a single 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant has been launched. It's already available to buy via Flipkart, and has a range of launch offers.
Another Honor smartphone that was launched this week is the Honor Play 7. The Huawei sub-brand unveiled the smartphone in China, a budget smartphone with an 18:9 display and a 24-megapixel selfie camera. It is priced at CNY 599 (roughly Rs. 6,400) and already on sale in the country. In related news, the Honor 7A and Honor 7C are set to launch in the Indian market at an event on Tuesday, and they will be exclusive to Flipkart, Gadgets 360 has learnt. Both smartphones will also be priced below Rs. 10,000.
Other smartphones launched this week include the Asus ZenFone Live L1's regular variant, not running Android Go like the ZenFone Live L1 launched earlier this month. The Moto 1s was also launched in China, and is essentially a rebranded version of the Moto G6 that runs Lenovo's ZUI 3.5 skin on top of Android 8.0 Oreo instead of stock Android.
Alongside, Motorola India teased that the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play would soon make their way to the country. Another smartphone launch of mention is the Kult Impulse, which sports a 5.99-inch 18:9 display and a pair of 13-megapixel cameras at the front and back, for Rs. 8,999.
The week also saw some important announcements being made by the usual suspects. Google revamped its YouTube Red service, and announced the launch of its YouTube Music service, which will be set for May 22 in the US. YouTube Red's ad-free version will be called YouTube Premium. Airtel and Amazon India entered a partnership where the telco offered cashbacks on a range of Amazon exclusive 4G smartphones. Samsung stopped, and then resumed, its Android 8.0 Oreo update rollout for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge due to unexpected reboot issues being faced by a small number of users.
Valve, the company behind behemoth PC game distribution service Steam, also was also learnt to be informing Steam game developers who do not censor sexual content from their games will have the titles removed from the platform - a major move that has the developer and gamer community up in arms.
An IDC report also claimed that Xiaomi led smartphone shipments in India in Q1 2018, with a 30.3 percent market share, ahead of Samsung's 25.1 share. The same report said the Jio Phone helped the 4G feature phone market in the country grow, with the phone taking a 38.4 percent share of the market in the quarter. Xiaomi separately, in what appears to be a response to the launch of the OnePlus 6 in India, announced another price cut for its Mi Mix 2 smartphone in the country - its current top-end offering for India - it is now available for Rs. 29,999, down from its launch price of Rs. 35,999.
Speaking about Xiaomi, there were several leaks and rumours surrounding upcoming smartphones from the Chinese company. The most interesting of these leaks spoke about new handsets like the Redmi S1, Redmi S3, Mi Mix 3s, Mi S1, Mi S2, Mi S3, Redmi A1, Redmi A2, Redmi Note 6, Redmi Note 6A, and Redmi 6 Plus, but didn't provide many details beyond tipping that they were indeed upcoming.
Another Xiaomi leak saw the Xiaomi E6 and Xiaomi Strakz phones being spotted on Geekbench, revealing a few specifications. Finally, a report claims Xiaomi is planning on launching the anniversary edition Mi smartphone, the Mi 8, at an event in Shenzhen, China on May 31. No official details about this launch have yet been released by the company, so its best to take this news with a pinch of salt. A retail box, front panel, and also a hands-on video of the in-display fingerprint sensor of the Xiaomi Mi 8 were also leaked over the course of this week.
Is OnePlus 6 an iPhone X killer at half the price? 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.