Redmi K20 is being teased by Xiaomi ahead of its launch in the India next month, while the company is also set to launch its brand new Mi CC9 series of smartphones in China next week. Separately, the Vivo Z1 Pro will be unveiled in India in the coming week, the first smartphone for the country by Vivo to sport a hole-punch display. South Korean electronics giant LG launched its brand new affordable W-series in India this week, while Airtel expanded its rewards programme benefits for broadband customers. Read on for all the top stories this week.
Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro in China late last month, its flagship smartphones under the Redmi brand. Ever since that launch, the company has been teasing its arrival in India. Last week, Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain revealed the India launch would be 4 weeks away, indicating that the Redmi K20 series would be announced in the country in the middle of June. It's likely the company will the date of its five-year anniversary in India – July 15 – for the Redmi K20 series launch.
This week, Xiaomi India began teasing the performance of the Redmi K20 and its recently launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 SoC. Teasers including various impressive benchmark figures. To recall its specifications, the Redmi K20 sports up to 8GB of RAM, a 6.39-inch full-HD+ display with no notch, a triple rear camera setup (48-megapixel + 13-megapixel + 8-megapixel), as well as a pop-up selfie camera with a 20-megapixel sensor.
There is up to 256GB of onboard storage on the Redmi K20, and it runs on a 4,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging. As for pricing, the Redmi K20 price in China starts at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 20,200) for the 6GB/ 64GB variant, going up to CNY 2,099 (roughly Rs. 21,200) for the 6GB/ 128GB variant, and CNY 2,599 (roughly Rs. 26,200) for the top-end 8GB/ 256GB variant. We can expect the Redmi K20 price in India to be quite similar. Also this week, Xiaomi released the kernel source for the Redmi K20 on GitHub, helping developers build custom ROMs for the smartphone.
As we mentioned, Xiaomi is anticipated to launch the more powerful Redmi K20 Pro alongside the Redmi K20 in India. The Redmi K20 Pro is powered by the flagship-level Snapdragon 855 SoC. Other specifications are rather similar, except for the use of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor as its primary camera, compared to the 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 on the Redmi K20. The phone also offers 27W fast charging, and hardware DC dimming support. Both Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro have an in-display fingerprint sensor.
The Redmi K20 Pro price in China starts at starts at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,200) for its 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant, while the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant is priced at CNY 2,599 (roughly Rs. 26,200), the 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant is priced at CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,200), and the 8GB RAM/ 256GB storage variant is priced at CNY 2,999 (roughly Rs. 30,200).
Earlier this month, Xiaomi announced a new smartphone series called Mi CC. With the aim to be ‘Colourful' and ‘Creative', the ‘CC' smartphone series was developed in collaboration with the Meitu hardware team that was acquired by Xiaomi last year. This week, Xiaomi announced that the Mi CC series will be launched in China on July 2, while also confirming that it will launch the names of the first smartphones in the series — Mi CC9 and Mi CC9e. The event is set for 7pm CST (4:30pm IST).
Also this week, Xiaomi revealed that the Mi CC9 smartphone series would sport a 48-megapixel rear camera, and a 32-megapixel front camera. It also teased a Dark Blue Planet and White colour variants for the smartphone, while showing off their retail boxes. Later on, the company added a Mi CC9 Meitu Custom Edition smartphone would be launched alongside, showing off its larger retail box, while revealing it would have superior low-light photography capabilities.
In the meanwhile, the Mi CC9 and Mi CC9e were allegedly listed on TENAA, tipping their design and specifications. The purported Mi CC9 listing (model number M190F3BT) showed it to feature a waterdrop-style notch, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a triple rear camera setup. Listed specifications include Android Pie, a 6.39-inch display, a 2.2GHz octa-core processor (which may be the Snapdragon 730, if earlier rumours were correct), up to 8GB/ 256GB variants, and a 3,940mAh battery. Previous leaks had tipped the use of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor as the primary rear camera in the Mi CC9, accompanied by 16-megapixel and 12-megapixel sensors.
The Mi CC9e TENAA listing (model number M1906F9SC) tipped a similar design, and similar specifications. Previous rumours however tipped it would be powered by a Snapdragon 710 SoC, and sport a 48-megapixel Sony IMX583 sensor as its primary rear camera, accompanied with an 8-megapixel and a 5-megapixel sensor. Later in the week, the Mi CC9e Meitu Custom Edition was also allegedly spotted on TENAA, with model number M1904F3BT. It bears a similar design to the other two variants, and is listed to spot the same screen size, similar RAM/ storage options, and the same battery capacity.
Earlier this week, pricing of the Mi CC9 and Mi CC9e was also leaked, tipping a Mi CC9 price in China would start at CNY 2,599 (roughly Rs. 26,200) for the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant, while its top-end 8GB RAM/ 256GB storage variant is said to be priced at CNY 3,099 (roughly Rs. 31,300). On the other hand, the Mi CC9e is said to be priced starting at CNY 1,599 (roughly Rs. 16,100) for the 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant, going up to CNY 2,199 (roughly Rs. 22,200) for the 8GB + 128GB variant.
While this week didn't bring any new teasers for the upcoming launch of the Vivo Z1 Pro next week, we decided to give you a look at all we know so far about the first hole-punch display smartphone for India from the company. The Vivo Z1 Pro is not the company's first such smartphone globally, with the China-launched Vivo Z5x taking that position. It is also anticipated that Vivo will launch an almost identical version of the Z5x in India as the Z1 Pro. First teased earlier this month, the company then released a few specifications and other details about the Vivo Z1 Pro.
Late last week, the company confirmed the Vivo Z1 Pro would be launched in India on Wednesday, July 3. Do remember to stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for all the latest updates from the launch. As we mentioned, Vivo had detailed a few specifications of the Vivo Z1 Pro earlier this month to entice consumers.
Officially, the company has confirmed the Vivo Z1 Pro will run off an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC - making it the first smartphone do feature the chipset in the country. The company added that the Z1 Pro will sport a 32-megapixel in-display front camera, referring to the placement of the selfie camera sensor in a hole-punch display cutout. A triple rear camera was also confirmed, as well as the presence of a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging support. A fingerprint sensor will be placed on the rear pane of the Vivo Z1 Prol.
This week, South Korean giant LG launched a new lineup of affordable smartphones in India – LG W series. Unveiled for the first time globally at a launch event in New Delhi, the LG W series consists of three smartphones for now – the LG W10, LG W30, and LG W30 Pro. While the W10 sports a dual rear camera setup, the W30 and W30 Pro sport triple rear camera setups. All three smartphones of the LG W series are powered by a 4,000mAh battery, run Android 9 Pie, sport a rear fingerprint sensor, offer expandable storage via microSD card, and feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.
As for pricing, the LG W10 price has been set at Rs. 8,999 and it will be offered in a single variant in India - 3GB RAM + 32GB storage. The LG W30 is priced at Rs. 9,999, and offers the same RAM/ storage configuration. For now, LG has not detailed the pricing or release date of the LG W30 Pro. The LG W10 and W30 will both go on sale in the country in the upcoming week, on July 3. They will be made available for purchase in the flash sale model via Amazon India. Launch offers include cashback up to Rs. 4,950 for Reliance Jio subscribers.
In terms of specifications, the LG W10 sports a 6.19-inch HD+ display with a wide-notch, a MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, a dual rear camera setup (13-megapixel + 5-megapixel), and an 8-megapixel front camera. On the other hand, the LG W30 sports a 6.26-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop-style notch, the same MediaTek Helio P22 SoC as the W10, a triple rear camera setup (13-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 2-megapixel), and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. Finally, the LG W30 Pro sports a 6.21-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop-style notch, a Snapdragon 632 SoC, a triple rear camera (13-megapixel + 5-megapixel + 8-megapixel), and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It also features Stereo Pulse technology that resonates sound when the phone is lying on its back.
Airtel Thanks rewards for V-Fiber broadband customers
Airtel this week announced that it is offering benefits to subscribers of its V-Fiber home broadband connections. As part of its AirtelThanks customer rewards programme, the telecom operator is giving benefits such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Airtel TV Premium subscriptions. To recall, Airtel had last year announced it would be offering Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions to users of its postpaid mobile and home broadband connections.
The first such offer for broadband customers was unveiled in January this year, giving bonus data and the two mentioned subscriptions to those subscribers using plans with a rental of Rs. 1,299 or above. In its latest move announced this week, Airtel is now offering three months of Netflix subscription, one year of Amazon Prime subscription, Zee5 subscription, and Airtel TV premium subscription to subscribers of plans with rentals of Rs. 1,099 and above. To recall, the Rs. 1,099 V-Fiber broadband plan offers Internet speeds of 100Mbps with 300GB of high-speed data usage per month.
The same offer has been extended to subscribers of the Rs. 1,599 and Rs. 1,999 plans. The Rs. 1,599 Airtel V-Fiber home broadband plan offers speeds of 300Mbps with 600GB of high-speed data, apart from a one-time data usage bonus of 1,000GB. On the other hand, the Rs. 1,999 plan offers speeds of only 100Mbps, but, gives subscribers unlimited high-speed data per month.
Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme C2 open sale
Two popular smartphones went on open sale for a limited period this week – the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme C2. Notably, only one variant – the top-end configuration - of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is available in open sale, while two top variants of the Realme C2 are on open sale. Both open sales last until the end of today, thus if you're interested in purchasing either of the two smartphones but were unable to get your hands on them in previous flash sales, now is your chance.
Xiaomi this week announced the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro would be available for open sale from June 27 to June 30. It is available to buy via Flipkart and Mi.com, its regular online retail channels. The open sale dates partially coincide with the Amazon Mi Days Sale and the Mi Super Sale on Mi.com, where other Xiaomi smartphones are up for sale with additional benefits starting from June 26 up to June 30.
As for the Realme C2, its open sale dates also partially coincide with the Realme Leap Days Sale, which is taking place on Amazon India, Flipkart, and Realme.com from June 27 to June 30. The 2GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant and 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variants were made available in open sale from June 28 and will be available until June 30. The base 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage variant on the other hand was made available in a flash sale on Friday at 12pm, and once again at 8pm the same day, and there's information as to when it will next go on sale – though we can expect next Friday, the day of its weekly flash sales since launch.
Flipkart Qualcomm Snapdragon Days sale
Flipkart also announced a sale this week, for select smartphones running on Snapdragon SoCs from US-based chip giant Qualcomm. Called the Flipkart Qualcomm Snapdragon Days sale, it started on Thursday, June 27 and will go on till today, June 30.
Smartphones with deals during the Flipkart Qualcomm Snapdragon Days sale are the Asus Max Pro M1, Asus Max M1, Asus 5Z, Google Pixel 3a, Motorola One Power, Redmi 6 Pro, and Oppo K1, all of which are available with discounts. Smartphones with additional exchange discounts during the sale period include are the Poco F1, Oppo R17 Pro, Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, and Mi A2.
Realme 64-megapixel camera phone teased
Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth this week started teasing the launch of a Realme smartphone with a 64-megapixel camera. First, the Sheth revealed it would sport a Samsung ISOCELL GW1 sensor, and would be made available in the Indian market before other regions in the world. Next, Realme via Chinese social networking site Weibo revealed that the upcoming smartphone has a quad rear camera setup, and that it would be launched in China in the second half of this year.
Finally, later in the week, Sheth revealed that the upcoming 64-megapixel Realme phone will deliver images that compare favourably to a flagship model from a competitor. He posted images taken from both phones to Twitter, and thanks to the hints from Sheth, he appears to be contrasting the image quality of the Realme 64-megapixel camera phone with the Xiaomi Mi 9 flagship.
Samsung Galaxy M40 open sale
While we'd spotted the Samsung Galaxy M40 available to purchase even a day after its flash sale last week, Samsung India on Monday confirmed the Galaxy M40 was now on open sale in the country. Launched earlier this month in the country, the Samsung Galaxy M40's main highlights are its triple rear camera setup, full-HD Infinity-O Display, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC. It's powered by a 3,500mAh battery
The Samsung Galaxy M40 is available in a single RAM/ storage variant in India – the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage configuration – priced at Rs. 19,990. It is now available to buy online anytime from Amazon India and the Samsung Online Shop. Launch offers include bundled data and cashbacks from the top three telcos – Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, as well as Airtel.
Asus 6Z, Motorola One Vision go on sale in India
This week marked the release date of the Asus 6Z and the Motorola One Vision in India. Both smartphones were launched in India earlier this month. While the Asus 6Z went on sale on Wednesday, June 27 via Flipkart, the Motorola One Vision went on sale on Thursday via the same online retailer. The Asus 6Z was unveiled globally as the Asus ZenFone 6 last month, while the Motorola One Vision was unveiled globally in mid-May.
The Asus 6Z is priced starting at Rs. 31,999 in India, for its 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant. Notably, only this variant went on sale in India this week, with the more expensive 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage (Rs. 34,999) and 8GB RAM/ 256GB storage (Rs. 39,999) variants due to go on sale for the first time on Monday, July 1. On the other hand, the Motorola One Vision was launched in a single variant in the country – 4GB RAM/ 128GB storage –priced at Rs. 19,999.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus India launch
Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad re-entered the Indian market this week, with the launch of an entry-level smartphone – the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus. Priced at Rs. 5,999 for its 2GB/ 16GB variant and Rs. 6,499 for its 3GB/ 32GB variant, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus will go on sale for the first time on Tuesday, July 2 via Amazon India.
Specifications of the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus include Android 9 Pie, a 5.71-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop-shaped notch, a MediaTek Helio A22 SoC, a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, an 8-megapixel front camera, expandable storage (via microSD card), a rear fingerprint sensor, and a 3,000mAh battery.
Oppo, Vivo at MWC Shanghai
Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo had some significant announcements to make at their press conferences held at MWC Shanghai 2019. Vivo announced the iQoo 5G – its first 5G-enabled smartphone – as well as showed off its Super FlashCharge 120W fast charging tech. Vivo at its MWC event also unveiled the Vivo AR Glass – its first augmented reality glasses.
The Vivo iQoo 5G will run off a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC coupled with a Snapdragon X50 5G modem. It will be launched in the third quarter of this year, but unfortunately, no other details were mentioned. The Vivo AR Glass goggles feature dual displays and 6DoF tech, but not concrete launch date was announced for them. The Super FlashCharge 120W fast charging technology unveiled was said to fully charge a 4,000mAh battery in just 13 minutes. Alongside, the iQoo Neo was listed on its website, showing off a few features of this upcoming smartphone, including the use of a Snapdragon 845 SoC.
Oppo at MWC Shanghai unveiled its Under-Screen Camera (USC) technology, where a camera is placed below a transparent display panel material in an effort to provide a "real full-screen experience". Oppo also displayed its MeshTalk technology that enables voice calling and messaging without a Wi-Fi or cellular network.
Nokia 1 Android Pie Go Edition update rolling out in India
The entry-level Nokia 1 smartphone, which was launched at MWC 2018 running Android Oreo (Go edition), received its Android Pie (Go edition) update this week. Nokia mobile brand licensee HMD Global said that the update would roll out gradually, and detailed new features including a revamped interface, updated Google suite of apps, and more.
To recall, the Nokia 1 was launched in India in March last year, and priced at Rs. 5,499. It then received a price cut in April this year, bringing its price down to Rs. 3,999. Highlight features include a 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 2-megapixel front camera.
BSNL's new plans, TRAI subscription report, and more telecom news this week
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) this week unveiled a new data-only prepaid recharge plan – priced at Rs. 1,345. Available only in the Kerala circle as a promotional offer, the new prepaid recharge plan is called Data STV 1345, and offers users 1.5GB of data per day for a year. The promotional offer to avail the plan will end on September 19. It offers an additional 10GB data as reserve.
Separately this week, BSNL unveiled three new broadband plans - Rs. 349, Rs. 399, and Rs. 499, called 2GB BSNL CUL, 2GB CUL, and 3GB CUL respectively. The Rs. 349 2GB BSNL CUL plan offers 2GB of daily data with speeds up to 8Mbps – after this data is expended, subscribers will get unlimited data at 1Mbps. The plan also offers unlimited voice calling benefits on the BSNL network, and limited voice calling on other networks. The Rs. 399 2GB CUL plan has the same benefits, except it includes unlimited calling benefits to any network. Finally, the Rs. 499 3GB CUL plan offers 3GB data at up to 8Mbps, with the same 1Mbps speeds post the FUP limit, and once again offers the same voice calling benefits to any network.
BSNL this week unveiled a broadband plan called BSNL Superstar 300, which offers a free Hotstar Premium subscription to subscribers. Priced at Rs. 749, it offers speeds up to 50Mbps for the first 300GB. It comes with a complimentary Hotstar Premium subscription, providing access to Hotstar's portfolio of originals, live sports, movies, and TV shows.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) published its telecom subscription report this week, detailing subscriber numbers ending April 30. The regulator said that Reliance Jio continued its growth trend in the period, adding 80.82 lakh subscribers in the month, with its subscription base at 31.48 crores at the end of the month. BSNL was the only other operator to have gained subscribers in the period, getting 2.28 lakh subscribers that took its subscriber base to 11.59 crores. The rest, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, lost subscribers in the period.
Reliance Jio was in the news again this week for revamping its Jio4GVoice app, and rebranding it to Jio Call. The move is thought to be in time for the commercial launch of its Jio GigaFiber broadband services, allowing customers to make calls over the Jio GigaFiber fixedline in addition to previous support for 2G, 3G, and 4G phones.
WhatsApp's new features, Instagram's new layout, and more social media news
WhatsApp this week was spotted to be testing a new feature that allowed users to hide muted Status updates. Called Hide Muted Status Updates, it removes muted updates from the Status section. The feature was spotted by WABetaInfo in v2.19.183 beta for Android, but is currently disabled by default and cannot be accessed by end users. We expect it to roll out to stable versions soon if testing proceeds as planned. Separately, WhatsApp v2.19.177 beta for Android received improved Picture-in-Picture (PiP), allowing users to watch videos in a pop-up window even while switching from one chat to another, and, even when going to the home screen of the smartphone.
Instagram this week began rolling out a new UI for Android and iOS users, making it easier for users to Unfollow others, and also making it easier for users to contact business. These were only some of the many user-facing UI changes, for both viewers of profiles and owners of profiles. Business profiles also received some UI changes. Separately, the Facebook owned platform announced it was expanding ads to the Explore feed, but said the rollout would be 'slow and thoughtful'.
Facebook itself had a few changes to announce. The social network this week said it had rolled out its transparency tools globally for advertisers wanting to place ads about social issues, elections, or politics. Separately, it released findings from outside experts on how a proposed "external oversight board" may work. The social network also updated its terms and services guidelines to clarify how it makes money from the personal information of its users. Finally, Facebook was also spotted testing a toggle to turn off the red-coloured in-app notification dots on its home screen.
Twitter this week had a major announcement to make – it would de-emphasise and label tweets posted by politicians if the tweets break its rules. The new rules apply to any politicians or government officials who have more than 100,000 followers. "We'll now clearly label any tweets which violate our terms of service but decide to keep up due to public interest," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said.
Finally, WhatsApp rival Telegram this week rolled out a major update to its Android and iOS apps – v5.8. The update brings new features and tweaks pertaining to local interactivity. The biggest changes include the ability to add nearby contacts, start local groups, and the option to transfer group ownership as well. Also new are more options for Notification Exceptions, as well as the option to toggle message previews for specific chats.
Vivo Z1 Pro, Redmi Note 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy M40, or Realme 3 Pro: Which is the best phone under Rs. 20,000? 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.