Redmi K20, Redmi K20 Pro India launch, Realme X price in India reveal, and Xiaomi Mi A3 debut grabbed the headlines this week. Additionally, Samsung Galaxy A80 launch in India, Nokia 9 PureView release in offline stores, and Realme 3i announcement dominated the conversation. Further, WhatsApp Payments may be officially rolling out soon and BSNL reintroduced a free trial of its broadband service. Read on to know more about everything that made the news in the world of tech over the week.
Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro made their India debut this week with much fanfare. Xiaomi on Wednesday unveiled the phones at an event in New Delhi in front of over 850 people, including almost 500 of the company's fans. It is probably the most important launch for the company this year. The Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro will sit at the high-end of Xiaomi's smartphone portfolio in the country. Xiaomi will open the sales of the Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro next week in the country, however select few who participated in the company's Alpha sale were able to buy the phone on the launch day itself.
The two Redmi K20 series smartphones officially mark the entry of Xiaomi's Redmi sub-brand in the higher mid-range (or affordable premium smartphone segment) in the country. Redmi branding have been traditionally associated with affordable but value for money devices and Xiaomi will find it hard to shed that image and it is already seeing some pushback. A section of the company fans took to social media immediately after the Redmi K20 price announcement to complain about how the phone was overpriced in India, compared to the phone's China pricing. To remind you, Redmi K20 price in India starts at Rs. 21,999, whereas in China, the phone starts with CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 20,000).
Following the complaints, Xiaomi India chief Manu Kumar Jain published an open letter to explain why the Redmi K20 is expensive. He highlighted that Snapdragon 730 SoC is a newer chipset, the complexities of manufacturing the two phones in India, and how they have to import some components. It is unclear if the letter has pacified the fans, but the phone's sales will offer us some perspective. Redmi K20 Pro, which will be sold at a starting price of Rs. 27,999, has come out largely unscathed out of the pricing controversy.
Xiaomi has released pretty much the same versions of the Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro in India that debuted in China, barring some missing storage variants and the lack of NFC chip. Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro feature 6.39-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display, triple rear cameras, 20-megapixel pop-up selfie camera, 4,000mAh battery, and in-display fingerprint sensor. The Redmi K20 is powered by Snapdragon 730 SoC, while the Redmi K20 Pro comes with the Snapdragon 855 SoC.
Among other differences, the Redmi K20 includes 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 image sensor, whereas the Redmi K20 Pro comes with 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 image sensor. Also, the 4,000 battery on Redmi K20 only supports up to 18W fast charging, while the Redmi K20 Pro can use up to 27W fast charger. Both phones will, however, only get 18W charger in the box. The support for DC dimming is also missing from Redmi K20 and the phone is not getting a 8GB RAM variant in India, unlike China.
Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro will be available starting Monday, July 22 via Flipkart, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores in the country. Although Alpha Sale was technically the first sale for the phones, next week will be the first time, the consumers won't have to register first to be eligible to buy the phones. The Xiaomi partner stores will get the phones over the coming weeks. In terms of the launch offers, Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro buyers will get a Premium Hard Cover worth Rs. 999 in the retail box.
Realme was another smartphone maker that unveiled a major smartphone this week in the country in the form of Realme X. Set to be the company's flagship model, the Realme X has been priced starting at Rs. 16,999 in the country. It will be officially available beginning July 24 via Flipkart and the company's own e-store. The company has already organised a Realme X hate-to-wait sale earlier this week, allowing some customers to buy the smartphone.
Realme X made its debut in China in May this year and the smartphone took almost two months to reach India shores. Although Realme India's Madhav Sheth had teased that there may be some changes in the India variant of the Realme X, the India version of the phone is pretty much the same phone that launched in China. The Realme X packs features like a 6.53-inch full-HD+ display, a 16-megapixel pop-up selfie camera, Snapdragon 710 SoC, and 3,765mAh battery. The smartphone also houses a dual rear camera setup with 48-megapixel primary shooter and a 5-megapixel secondary shooter.
In our Realme X review, we found the smartphone to be a great option for any consumer looking to buy a mobile priced below Rs. 20,000. The phone packs a good build quality and a premium design. The display is also vivid with great colours. The Realme X camera performance is also good. The only thing that we found may disappoint some buyers is the overall size of the phone. It is no secret that smartphones are getting bigger every year, but unfortunately our hands don't grow bigger after a certain age, so the phones like Realme X with a giant 6.5-inch display can be a bit large for some hands.
In addition to the regular Realme X, the Chinese smartphone maker also launched the Realme X Master Edition and Realme X Spider-Man: Far From Home special edition in the country. The Master Edition has been designed by Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa and will come in Onion and Garlic finishes. On the other hand, the Spider-Man Far From Home edition features a special theme and will be offered in a custom gift box. Both Master Edition and Spider-Man editions of the Realme X will be sold in just 8GB + 128GB variants and carry Rs. 19,999 and Rs. 20,999 price tag, respectively.
Further, Realme introduced the new Realme 3i smartphone in the country. Unlike Realme X, it is an entry-level smartphone, released to take on the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 7 in the country. Realme 3i has been priced starting at Rs. 7,999 (3GB + 32GB). The 4GB + 64GB variant of the phone will retail at Rs. 9,999. The first flash sale of Realme 3i has been scheduled for July 23 and it will be offered in Diamond Black, Diamond Blue, and Diamond Red colours. The key specifications of the phone are 6.2-inch HD+ screen, Helio P60 SoC, dual rear camera setup, 13-megapixel selfie camera, and 4,230mAh battery.
While Xiaomi India was busy launching the Redmi K20 series, the Spain arm of the company unveiled the new Mi A3 smartphone. It is the third phone in the company Mi A series, which is based on Android One programme and comes with stock Android. Mi A3 improves of its predecessor, Mi A2, in a number of areas, however there is one part, which has actually been downgraded and will certainly disappoint a number of consumers waiting for the phone. Unlike Xiaomi Mi A2, which packs a 5.99-inch full-HD+ screen, the Mi A3 houses a 6.08-inch HD+ display.
Other specifications of the Mi A3 include the presence of Snapdragon 665 SoC, 4,030mAh battery, and a triple rear camera setup. The phone sports a waterdrop-style notch and comes with a 32-megapixel selfie shooter. You will also get 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of onboard storage. Mi A3 price will start at EUR 249 (roughly Rs. 19,200) in Europe and the sales open in Spain beginning July 24. There are three colour options — "Not Just Blue", "More Than White", and "Kind of Gray".
Barring the software, Mi A3 is pretty much the same smartphone that was recently launched as Mi CC9e in China. There were rumours of a Mi A3 Lite model as well but the company is yet to make that official. There is no word on the India launch of Mi A3 right now, it will possibly be a couple of weeks at least before we see Mi A3 in India. That said, the company is preparing to launch it in South-East Asian markets soon.
When launched in India, the Xiaomi Mi A3 will be going against the likes of Samsung Galaxy M40, Motorola One Vision, Oppo F11 Pro, Nokia 8.1, and the new Realme X. It will also see some competition from Xiaomi's own phones like Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi K30. Mi A-series phone have traditionally packed good cameras and if Mi A3 continues that trend, it wouldn't have much trouble finding buyers.
After a long wait, Samsung launched its rotating camera smartphone Galaxy A80 in India. The smartphone was originally unveiled at a press event in Thailand in April and has taken over three months to reach India. Samsung has priced the Galaxy A80 at Rs. 47,990 for the lone 8GB + 128GB model. It will go on pre-bookings starting tomorrow and will go on sale beginning August 1. The company will be offering the Samsung Galaxy A80 via pretty much all major e-retailers and offline shops.
Samsung Galaxy A80's USP is its rotating camera module that packs three image sensors as well as an IR sensor. The camera normally resides on the back of the phone, but when you have use it as a front camera, a portion of the back panel will rise and the camera module will rotate to face the front. Additionally, the phone packs a 6.7-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 730G SoC, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage. You will also get a 3,700mAh battery and the usual set of connectivity options.
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo released two new smartphones in the country this week in the form of Oppo A9 and K3. While the Oppo A9 has been priced at Rs. 15,490 and is now on sale in the country, the Oppo K3 will become available via Amazon starting July 23 and carries a starting price tag of Rs. 16,990. Both Oppo A9 and Oppo K3 had been launched in China earlier this year. In the sub-Rs. 20,000 price segment, these two Oppo phones will be competing with the likes of Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme X, Realme 3 Pro, Samsung Galaxy A50, and more.
In terms of the specifications, the Oppo K3 features a 6.5-inch full-HD+ screen, Snapdragon 710 SoC, dual rear camera, and a 16-megapixel pop-up front shooter. The phone also packs up to 8GB of RAM, up to 128GB of onboard storage, and a 3,765mAh battery. The Oppo A9, on the other hand, houses a 6.53-inch full-HD+ display with waterdrop-style notch, Helio P70 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage. The phone also comes with dual rear camera, and a 16-megapixel front shooter with 4,020mAh battery.
Vivo S1 also made its global debut this week, however with a slightly tweaked feature-set than the China-variant. In fact, the Vivo S1, which is coming to the countries outside China, is actually being released as Vivo Y7s in the company's home market. So, technically, the Vivo S1 global variant is the international version of Vivo Y7s. Vivo S1 global variant comes with features like a 6.38-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED screen, Helio P65 SoC, and 4,500mAh battery. The smartphone also packs a triple rear camera setup and a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
Meanwhile, Vivo has started teasing the launch of its Vivo S1 in India. The company is bringing the S1 global variant to the country. Vivo has been publishing S series teasers on social media with focus on the style quotient of the smartphone. There is no word on when exactly the launch will take place or how much the Vivo S1 will cost. Hopefully, the company will reveal the launch date in the upcoming teasers.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm unveiled its new flagship SoC in the form of Snapdragon 855 Plus. The Plus version doesn't bring massive upgrades to the Snapdragon 855, but there are some decent improvements. According to the company, the Snapdragon 855 Plus will offer better graphics performance than the Snapdragon 855 and includes a slightly higher clocked CPU cores. The CPU performance boost is around 4.2 percent, and the GPU will delivers a 15 percent increase in graphics performance.
Black Shark has revealed that it will be introducing the new Black Shark 2 Pro smartphone in China on July 30. The upcoming gaming smartphone will be an upgraded version of the Black Shark 2 was originally unveiled in March this year and made its India debut in May. Among the upgrades, the presence of Snapdragon 855 Plus seems most likely as the company teased the arrival of a Snapdragon 855 Plus powered phone soon after the new SoC was announced. The launch teaser shared by Black Shark doesn't reveal any detail about the phone.
HMD Global has started offering the Nokia 9 PureView via offline sales channels. The smartphone was earlier being sold only via Flipkart and the company's own website. Nokia 9 PureView's price has been set at Rs. 49,999 and it is being offered in just one colour – Midnight Blue. Nokia 9 PureView comes with five rear camera with 12-megapixel sensors, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, and a 5.99-inch Quad-HD+ POLED screen. The phone also packs 6GB of RAM, 128GB of onboard storage, and 3,320mAh battery.
Amazon organised its Prime Day sale earlier this week and as a part of the new launches during the shopping event, a number of smartphone maker introduced new colour variants of their phones. LG unveiled the new Aurora Green colour variant of its W30 phone, whereas Samsung introduced the Cocktail Orange version of its Galaxy M40. OnePlus 7 is now available in Mirror Blue and Oppo F11 Pro has a new colour option in the form of Waterfall Grey. All these new colour variants can be found on Amazon and carry the same price as other colour variants of the respective phones.
In telecom news, Reliance Jio overtook Bharti Airtel to become the second biggest wireless carrier in the country. As per the latest data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Vodafone Idea topped the list with 387.6 million subscribers, followed by Jio with 323 million. TRAI data also revealed that the total number of wireless subscribers in the country declined marginally in May from 1,162.30 million to 1,161.86 million.
BSNL this week re-introduced the 5GB broadband trial for its landline customers. The trial allows any landline consumer of the telecom operator to try BSNL's broadband service for free for a month. During the trial period, BSNL offers up to 10Mbps Internet speed along with a daily data quota of 5GB and up to 1Mbps speed upon exceeding the given quota. The promotion is available till July 31. BSNL was earlier running this promotion in March this year.
The state-owned telecom operator also launched a new Rs. 96 prepaid recharge. The recharge brings unlimited voice calls and 100 SMS messages per day for 21 days. Called the Vasantam Gold - PV 96, the Rs. 96 BSNL prepaid plan carries an overall validity of 180 days, though the benefits are limited to 21 days. The plan is being offered on a temporary basis and is only available in Tamil Nadu and Chennai circles.
In other news, ISRO announced this week that Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched on July 22. The original launch of the Chandrayaan-2 mission was scrapped earlier this week after technical snag was discovered just an hour before the lift-off. The space organisation says that problem is fixed now and they are ready to launch the mission. Chandrayaan-2 launch time is set at 2:43pm IST on July 22 and it will be launched onboard the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
It was revealed this week that WhatsApp is working to introduce the ability to play voice messages right in the notifications for its iPhone app. There is no word on when the feature will be released but a leaked screenshot showed that it is indeed in testing. WhatsApp for iPhone currently allows users to preview photos and videos but voice messages can only be played inside the app. The WhatsApp for Android version also doesn't include this ability and only shows a play icon in the notifications. When the icon is tapped, the user is taken to the app to listen to the playback.
Separately, Bloomberg reported this week that Facebook is close to fully launching WhatsApp Payments in India. The service has been in beta since early last year. It is now said to have completed an audit of data practices, which will be submitted to Reserve Bank of India (RBI). RBI will give the final nod for the full rollout. WhatsApp Payments service is based on UPI and will offer similar features that are already found in the apps like Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Paytm, and more.
Netflix has confirmed that it will be launching a cheaper mobile-only plan for the Indian users. The details of this plan are still a mystery but it is likely to be launched before the streaming service's season 2 of Sacred Games is released on August 15. The service is probably hoping the new plan will allow it to onboard many more subscribers, especially at a time when it is facing a subscriber decline in US and an overall slowdown in the new subscribers. Netflix was earlier seen testing a Rs. 250 mobile-only plan earlier this year. The company is likely to keep the final pricing around Rs. 250- Rs. 300.
In gaming news, Fortnite released a new update with version number 9.40. This update brings a tonne of changes for the Battle Royale, Creative, and Save The World modes of the game. Notable among them is the arrival of the Tactical Shotgun in a new avatar, automatic item pick-up, new Glider tool, and a new Island in the Creative mode among others. The update also brings announcements of new tournaments, alongside a host of UI and gameplay changes as well as bug fixes. The updated Fortnite is now available.
PUBG Mobile also received a new update in the form of version 0.13.5. The update packs a number of things, including a new weapon, HDR mode, ocean-themed outfits for the Season 8 Royale Pass, and new display effects. The PUBG Mobile update also introduces a host of UI changes, bugs fixes, and some details about the new events that are set to arrive later this month. Players who update the game before July 22 will get the Parachute Trail 1 and 1,888BP as rewards.