Flipkart Mobile Summer Carnival 2019 Sale started yesterday, and will last up to Tuesday, May 7. Alongside, Amazon is hosting its own Summer Sale, on the same dates. While these may be the biggest pieces of news for personal technology aficionados this week, a lot more happened these past seven days, including the start of OnePlus 7 Pro pre-bookings on Amazon India and OnePlus 7 price in India being tipped, launches like the Oppo A1k, Nubia Red Magic 3 smartphone, and Vivo S1 Pro, price cuts for phones like the Poco F1 and Vivo Y91, and a bunch of announcements from Facebook at its F8 developers conference. Read on for all the top news of the week past.
OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 are due to launch globally at simultaneous events from Bengaluru, London, and New York on May 14, and ahead of that date, the OnePlus 7 Pro has gone up for pre-bookings in India via Amazon. OnePlus 7 Pro pre-orders involve buying a Rs. 1,000 gift card, and getting a 6-month free screen replacement worth Rs. 15,000 upon purchase. Separately, a reliable tipster has tipped the pricing of the OnePlus 7 Pro in India, said to start at Rs. 49,999 for the base variant. The OnePlus 7 on the other hand is tipped to start from around Rs. 39,500.
This week, OnePlus also teased more details about the OnePlus 7 Pro as well as the OnePlus 7 series as a whole. The Chinese company claimed the smartphones were water resistant by dunking them in a bucket of water in a video, but added that getting an IP rating was expensive, and that it wouldn't be applying for one. It also added that liquid and water damage wouldn't be covered under warranty.
The OnePlus 7 Pro was teased to sport a triple rear camera setup in a newspaper ad, while a camera hands-on tipped it would feature 3x optical zoom. The OnePlus 7 Pro's display was also said to have received an A+ rating from DisplayMate – to recall, the smartphone is tipped to sport a 90Hz display, something that fits well with earlier teasers. Finally, what was thought to be the OnePlus 7 appeared in a music video that's part of the company's OnePlus Playback initiative, sporting a notch-less display and a dual rear camera setup.
As we mentioned, Flipkart began hosting its Mobile Summer Carnival Sale from Saturday this week, giving those looking to buy a new smartphone a good chance to score a bargain. Apart from discounts, the sale will offer its Complete Mobile Protection service at a price as low as Rs. 99, apart from no-cost EMI options. Offers include the Nokia 5.1 Plus at Rs. 7,999 (down from Rs. 10,599), Nokia 6.1 Plus 4GB RAM + 64GB storage at Rs. 12,999 (down from Rs. 15,499), Realme 2 Pro starting at Rs. 10,990 (down from Rs. 11,990), and the Redmi Note 5 Pro at Rs. 10,999 (down from Rs. 12,999).
Other deals include the Honor 10 at Rs. 24,999 (down from Rs. 35,999), Honor 10 Lite at Rs. 12,999 (down from Rs. 16,999), Honor 9N at Rs. 8,499 (down from Rs. 13,999), Honor 9 Lite at Rs. 7,999 (down from Rs. 13,999), Honor 7S at Rs. 5,499 (down from Rs. 8,999), Honor 7A at Rs. 7,499 (down from Rs. 10,999), Honor 9i at Rs. 10,999 (down from Rs. 19,999), and the Honor 8X at Rs. 14,999 (down from Rs. 19,999).
Flipkart is also listing the iPhone XR 64GB at Rs. 59,900 (MRP Rs. 76,900), which can be got for as low as Rs. 53,910 if one avails the 10 percent HDFC instant discount on credit and debit card transactions. The JBL Cinema SB150 soundbar is available for Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 24,990), the Sony PlayStation 4 500GB slim is available for Rs. 22,190 (MRP Rs. 28,580), the Xbox One S 1TB gaming console at Rs. 19,990 (MRP Rs. 30,990), and the Google Home and Home Mini at Rs. 7,499 and Rs. 2,999 respectively, down from their Rs. 9,999 and Rs. 4,999 MRPs.
Amazon India is hosting its Summer Sale from Saturday, May 4 to Tuesday, May 7. It is offering 10 percent instant discount to SBI credit and debit card users, up to Rs. 1,500 per card. Deals include the OnePlus 6T 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage model priced at Rs. 32,999, down from its MRP of Rs. 41,999, apart from an additional instant discount worth up to Rs. 7,850. The Samsung Galaxy M20 is available at Rs. 9,990 (MRP Rs. 10,990), iPhone XR 64GB at Rs. 58,990 (MRP Rs. 76,900), Samsung Galaxy S10e at with an extra Rs. 4,000 exchange discount and a Rs. 5,000 discount, Honor Play at Rs. 13,999 (MRP Rs. 21,999), Rs. 5,000 cashback on the Honor View 20 (6GB, 128GB), Samsung Galaxy S9 at Rs. 39,900 (MRP Rs. 62,500).
During the Amazon Summer Sale, the Redmi 6 Pro (3GB, 32GB) will be available at Rs. 8,499 (MRP Rs. 11,499), Vivo Nex (8GB, 128GB) gets a flat Rs. 9,000 discount, Mi A2 will be available at Rs. 10,999 (MRP Rs. 17,499), and the Realme U1 at Rs. 8,999 (MRP Rs. 12,999). As for non-mobile deals, the Amazon Fire TV Stick will be available at Rs. 3,199 (MRP Rs. 3,999) for Prime members, Amazon Kindle Paperwhite at Rs. 10,499 (MRP Rs. 12,999), Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) at Rs. 3,000 (MRP Rs. 4,499), Amazon Echo at Rs. 7,499 (MRP Rs. 9,999), Amazon Echo Plus at Rs. 11,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999), Amazon Kindle Unlimited 3-month subscription at Rs. 79 (usually Rs. 597), Sony PlayStation 4 500GB Slim at Rs. 22,190 (MRP Rs. 28,580), JBL SB350 soundbar at Rs. 18,490 (MRP Rs. 34,990), Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones at Rs. 26,990 (MRP Rs. 29,990), and the Lenovo Ideapad 330 laptop at Rs. 26,490 (MRP Rs. 44,990).
Oppo A1k launched in India, Oppo A3s price in India slashed
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo this week launched the Oppo A1k in India. To recall, the smartphone had been launched in Russia late last month. Priced at Rs. 8,490, it comes in a single 2GB RAM + 32GB storage variant.
Oppo A1k specifications include ColorOS 6.0 (based on Android 9 Pie), 6.1-inch HD+ LCD display, the MediaTek Helio P22 (MT6762) SoC, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, a 4,000mAh battery, and a 10W charger. As we mentioned, Oppo this week also reportedly cut the price of the Oppo A3s in India.
The Oppo A3s was launched last year, with the 2GB RAM variant priced at Rs. 10,990 and the 3GB RAM variant priced at Rs. 13,990. Now, in its third price cut since launch, the Oppo A3s 2GB RAM variant price in India is reportedly set at Rs. 7,990, while the 3GB RAM model's price is said to be Rs. 9,990. One of the highlights of the smartphone is its large 4,230mAh battery.
Vivo Z3x, Vivo S1 Pro launched; Vivo Y91 and V91i price in India slashed
Vivo had an eventful week, launching two smartphones in China, and revising the prices of two smartphones in India. Let's start with the Vivo Z3x, which made its way to the manufacturer's homeland on Wednesday. Priced at CNY 1,198 (roughly Rs. 12,400) for the sole 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, the Vivo Z3x runs on the Snapdragon 660 SoC, a dual rear camera setup, and a 16-megapixel front camera. It runs Funtouch OS 9 based on Android Pie. The Vivo Z3x is already up for pre-bookings in China, and will go on sale on May 8.
The Vivo S1 Pro, on the other hand, is a mid-range smartphone, and was launched in China on Friday. Priced at CNY 2,698 (roughly Rs. 27,700) for both the 6GB/ 256GB and the 8GB/ 128GB variants, it features a 32-megapixel pop-up selfie camera, and a triple rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor. It sports a 6.39-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) Super AMOLED display, a 3,700mAh battery, and is powered by the Snapdragon 675 SoC.
Vivo this week also slashed the prices of the Vivo Y91 and Vivo Y91i in India. To recall, the former was launched in India in January at Rs. 10,990, while the latter was launched in India in March starting at Rs. 7,990. While this is the second price cut for the Vivo Y91 this year, this is the first price cut for the Vivo Y91i. The Vivo Y91 is now priced at Rs. 8,990, down from its earlier price of Rs. 9,990. The Vivo Y91i 32GB variant has been priced at Rs. 7,990, down from its launch price of Rs. 8,490. There's no clarity about the price of the Y91i's 16GB variant in India currently – it was launched at Rs. 7,990.
Samsung Galaxy A70 goes on sale in India, Samsung stays atop global smartphone shipments charts
Samsung this made the Galaxy A70 available to buy in India for the first time. Going on sale on Wednesday, the Samsung Galaxy A70 is one of the South Korean electronics giant's new Galaxy A-series models, and features a triple rear camera setup, a 20:9 display, and a large 4,500mAh battery with 25W Super-Fast Charging tech. Priced at Rs. 28,990 for its sole 6GB/ 128GB variant, the Galaxy A70 is currently available to buy via Flipkart, the Samsung online shop, as well as retail stores.
IDC this week released its Q1 2019 estimates for global smartphone shipments, and Samsung led the pack as usual, with 71.9 million units shipped. Huawei followed with 59.1 million, upsetting Apple to third place with 36.4 million units. Counterpoint had the same top three, though it found Apple to have significantly higher number of 42 million. In the meanwhile, IHS said Apple shipped 43.8 million iPhone units in Q1 2019, a number that was quite close to Canalys estimates of 40.2 million.
Nubia Red Magic 3 gaming smartphone launched
ZTE brand Nubia this week launched the third iteration of its Red Magic gaming smartphone, the Nubia Red Magic 3. Sporting a 90Hz display, the Red Magic 3 has all the requisites of a performance phone, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC with up to 12GB of RAM, a 5,000mAh battery with 30W fast charging technology, and liquid cooling technology complete with an internal turbo fan.
The Nubia Red Magic 3 price starts at CNY 2,899 (roughly Rs. 30,000) for its 6GB/ 64GB variant, going up to CNY 3,199 (roughly Rs. 33,200) for its 6GB/ 128GB variant, CNY 3,499 (roughly Rs. 36,300) for its 8GB/ 128GB variant, and finally CNY 4,299 (roughly Rs. 44,600) for the 12GB/ 256GB variant. It is already on sale in China. There's a single rear camera on board, with a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, and 16-megapixel front camera. The company is also touting the presence of dual front-facing stereo speakers on the gaming smartphone, apart from RGB lighting effects on its LED strip.
Xiaomi Poco F1 price in India slashed, Redmi 7 goes on sale in India for the first time
The popular Poco F1 smartphone received a price cut on its 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant in India this week. The variant is now available in India at Rs. 20,999, a price cut of Rs. 2,000. Notably this is the second price cut for the variant, which had started at Rs. 23,999, before being reduced to Rs. 22,999. Of course, the smartphone's biggest highlight at this price point is the use of the flagship grade Snapragon 845 SoC. It also features a 4,000mAh battery.
The Redmi 7 went on sale for the first time in India this week. The smartphone had been launched in the country in late April, and went on sale for the first time on Tuesday. The Redmi 7 price in India starts at Rs. 7,999 for its 2GB/ 32GB model, with its 3GB/ 32GB model priced at Rs. 8,999. The smartphone is available via Amazon India, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores, with offline retail availability via Mi Studio, Mi Stores, and preferred retail partners planned to be soon.
OnePlus 6T, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 5 open updates and controversy
Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus this week released open beta updates for four of its most recent smartphones, the OnePlus 6T, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5T, and the OnePlus 5. The OnePlus 5 received the Open Beta 31 update, the OnePlus 5T received the Open Beta 29 update, the OnePlus 6 received the Open Beta 17 update, while the OnePlus 6T received the Open Beta 9 update. All four phones received an improved Quick Reply feature while in landscape orientation, support for more instant messaging apps with Quick Reply, a fresh look for the system update page, a revamped OnePlus Community app, as well as optimisation of the log recording feature in the Bug Report section. A system issue resulting in overheating warnings has also been fixed.
The OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 in addition received another feature, called Intelligent Cleanup, which unfortunately for the company has caused a little but of a furore amongst beta users. A feature within the pre-installed File Manager app, it is meant to help free up storage quickly. Using tech from Chinese giant Tencent, the feature has caused an uproar amongst concerned users on the OnePlus official forum and Reddit over sharing of data overseas to Tencent's Singapore server. The feature is notably limited to the open beta users in India for now.
Realme 3 Pro update brings 960fps video recording, Realme announces HyperBoost 2.0 for older smartphones
The Realme 3 Pro started receiving an update in India this week that brought with it 960fps super slow motion video recording, apart from improved camera clarity and quality. The update also brings a fix for system stability. Featuring firmware version RMX1851EX_11_A.12, the update is just 182MB in size. While the update is rolling out over-the-air, users can also download an image file from Realme's site to install on their Realme 3 Pro smartphone.
Realme CEO Madhav Sheth announced the Realme 1, Realme U1, and Realme 2 Pro will receive the HyperBoost 2.0 feature when they get their long-awaited ColorOS 6 update, based on Android 9.0 Pie. HyperBoost 2.0 is already available on the Realme 3 Pro. The feature is set to improve touch response as well as frame rate.
Redmi 6 MIUI 10.3.2.0 update, Samsung's Android 9.0 Pie update for Galaxy-J series
Xiaomi this week began rolling out the MIUI 10.3.2.0 stable update to the Redmi 6 smartphone in India, and it brings along optimisations and major bug fixes. Weighing in at 279MB, the update includes the March 2019 Android security patch, apart from fixing a bug caused calls to take longer to end, as well as an issue that involved the status bar shortcut and floating notification for calls appearing at the same time. Other problems resolved include those related to face unlock, low battery warning, call time bubble, media playback volume, notification badges, and sync settings page.
Samsung this week began rolling out its Android 9.0 Pie update for the Galaxy J4, Galaxy J4+, and Galaxy J6+, complete with its new One UI one-handed operation optimised interface. The updates are variously available in a multitude of countries, including Germany, India, Iraq, Panama, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam, according to user reports. The April 2019 Android security patch was bundled for the Galaxy J4+ and Galaxy J6+, reports added.
Airtel Thanks, BSNL Bumper Offer, Cyclone Fani, and other telecom news this week
Airtel this week relaunched its #AirtelThanks campaign, whilst also unveiling a new Rs. 299 prepaid plan with additional benefits. The new #AirtelThanks programme will have three tiers - Silver, Gold, and Platinum – with different benefits for each tier, including subscriptions from Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Zee5. The new Rs. 299 prepaid plan offers 28 days of Amazon Prime membership along with 2.5GB data per day, unlimited calls, 100 SMS messages per day. Separately this week, Airtel unveiled two new data-specific prepaid packs - Rs. 48 and Rs. 98 – the former offers 3GB of 3G or 4G data for 28 days, while the latter offers 6GB of 3G or 4G data for the same period.
The telco this week also revised its postpaid plans in the country, discontinuing the cheapest Rs. 399 plan. All offer unlimited calls, 100 SMS messages per day, and Airtel Thanks benefits. The Rs. 499 plan is now the cheapest, and features 75GB of 3G/ 4G data, while the Rs. 749 plan now offers 125GB data, the Rs. 999 plan offers 150GB data, and the Rs. 1,599 plan with unlimited data per month.
Bharat Sanchar Nagar Limited (BSNL) this week extended its Rs. 333, Rs. 339, Rs. 379, Rs. 392, and Rs. 444 prepaid recharges. In a similar move, the telco also removed online availability of its Rs. 10 and Rs. 20 prepaid recharges, though they were still available from offline sources.
Idea this week revealed a Citi credit card offer that gave buyers of the credit card from its site 1.5GB of daily data, unlimited calls, and a 365-day validity, pursuant to conditions. Users will namely have to spend Rs. 4,000 on the Citi credit card applied for from the Idea website within 30 days of getting the card.
Cyclone Fani hit Odisha this week, disrupting connectivity in the towns of Puri and Bhuaneswar. Telcos like Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Reliance Jio detailed steps they had taken to minimise disruption. The first two said they had set up war rooms to deal with the impact of the cyclone, and were coordinating with government agencies. Both operators also made SMS messages free for all subscribers in the telecom circle. Vodafone Idea has also setup a helpline number at 1938 for people to reach out in case of an emergency. Jio also said it was working to mitigate downtime during the cyclone.
WhatsApp cricket stickers and Facebook's numerous announcements from F8 2019
WhatsApp this week announced the rollout of a Cricket Stickers pack to celebrate the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 tournament. The pack is making its way to Android users first, with iPhone users due to receive it soon after. Users will have to download the official Cricket Stickers pack via the stickers category tab from the emoji section.
Facebook at its F8 2019 developer conference keynote on Tuesday had large number of announcements to make. CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a fresh design for the main Facebook service that looked to de-emphasise the News Feed, and removed the signature blue banner. The new design is aimed at showcasing messaging, the social network's marketplace, as well as its video-on-demand site, as well as giving more prominence to Stories.
The social network's Messenger app had a few announcements related to it made at the keynote as well, with the company promising a faster, lighter iOS app and new desktop apps of the messaging service for Windows and macOS platforms. End-to-end encryption will become the default on Messenger, while more ephemeral content options will be available, Facebook said. Messenger will also get the ability to call and message users on Instagram and WhatsApp. A dedicated tab for the user's “closest connections” will also be added, while users will also be able to watch content together on the messaging app. New business features were also announced.
Facebook-owned Instagram had its fair share of changes announced as well, with the first allowing influencers or ‘creators' to tag products in their posts so fans can buy them right away. The service also got fundraising for causes, starting with the US, as well as a new and improved camera with a ‘Create Mode' for easier sharing. The company also announced a test of a new interface that removes the number of likes on photos, as well as video view counts.
With its aim to wipe Tinder off the face of the Earth, Facebook announced new features for its Dating service, including an expansion into 14 new markets, up from the five it is currently in now. A feature called Secret Crush was introduced, which will allow users to select up to nine of their Facebook friends who they want to express interest in. If this crush expresses similar interest, both will be notified of “a match” – which is in essence how Tinder works.
Facebook this week also banned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Joseph Watson and other popular US far right figures for violating its policies on "dangerous individuals and organisations." Apple, Google parent Alphabet, and Twitter also banned Alex Jones' channel Infowars last year. Finally, Facebook this week announced it is shutting down its Bonfire App, which was its Houseparty clone.
Avengers: Endgame becomes highest-grossing Hollywood film of all time in India
The extremely popular 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame, broke records this week to become the highest-grossing Hollywood film of all time in India, beating its own predecessor Avengers: Infinity War. As of Friday, the movie had grossed Rs. 310 crores (about $44.7 million) in India, after being released on April 26. Infinity War's life-time gross earnings in India stand at Rs. 294 crores (about $43.59 million). In its first week, Endgame has become the 15th highest-grossing film of all time in India.