Redmi Note 7 India launch teasers, Samsung M20 and M10 going on sale in the country, Oppo K1 India launch, Moto G7-Series unveiling, new Nokia smartphone variants arriving, and WhatsApp detailing its India election efforts were amongst the top highlights of the week in the world of personal technology. The Redmi Note 7 — the first smartphone from the newly announced Redmi independent brand — is anticipated to launch soon in India, thanks to a teaser by the Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain. This week, details about Redmi Note 7 storage variants for India were tipped in a new leak. This week, the Redmi Go also featured in the list of leaks, an Android Go smartphone that was recently unveiled for European markets. The Redmi Go is said to arrive in a new Red colour variant in the country.
The Redmi Note 7 is likely to arrive with the same hardware in India as well. The dual-SIM (Nano) Redmi Note 7 sports a 6.3-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) LTPS display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, and 2.5D curved glass protection. It is powered by the 2.2GHz Snapdragon 660 octa-core SoC paired with Adreno 512 graphics, and 3GB, 4GB, and 6GB RAM options. Internal storage is at 32GB and 64GB options with the option to expand further using a microSD card slot (up to 256GB).
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 bears a waterdrop-shaped notch, a slight chin at the bottom of the display, a dual rear camera setup at the back, a rear fingerprint scanner, and a gradient back panel finish. The phone recently also got support for the Super Night Scene Camera mode that first arrived with the Mi Mix 3.
The Redmi Note 7 packs a 4,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 4 support. Connectivity options on the Redmi Note 7 include USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, 4G VoLTE, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth v5, and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
The first Galaxy M-Series offerings — the Samsung M20 and Samsung M10 and — went on sale for the first time this week. After the units available in the first sale sold out, the company announced a second sale on Thursday. The next Samsung Galaxy M20 and Galaxy M10 sale will be held on Tuesday, February 12. The Samsung M20 also received its first second software update just ahead of retail availability. Finally, in the last bit of Samsung Galaxy M-Series news, the India-first smartphones are set to launch in Indonesia on Valentine's Day.
To recall, the Samsung Galaxy M20 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.5 UX. It sports a 6.3-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) Infinity-V Display along with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The Samsung M20 is powered by Exynos 7904 SoC, paired with 3GB and 4GB RAM options and Mali-G71 MP2 GPU. For the imaging needs, there is a dual rear camera setup along with a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel ultra-wide secondary sensor. An 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture is available with the Galaxy M20.
Additionally, the Samsung M20 has 32GB and 64GB of onboard storage options, both of which are expandable via microSD card (up to 512GB), with 3GB and 4GB of RAM respectively. There is a fingerprint sensor at the back, and the phone also comes with a face unlock feature. Besides, the Samsung M20 packs a 5,000mAh battery that supports fast charging via USB Type-C.
The more affordable Samsung Galaxy M10 features a 6.2-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) Infinity-V Display panel along with a 19:9 aspect ratio. The phone is powered by an Exynos 7870 SoC, paired with 2GB and 3GB RAM options. It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.5 UX, like the Samsung M20.
Two premium Samsung smartphones also received price cuts in the country. The South Korean consumer electronics giant this week cut the prices of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (now Rs. 57,900, down from Rs. 64,900 at launch), while the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) is now starts at Rs. 30,990, down from its original starting price of Rs. 36,990 for the 6GB RAM model, while the 8GB RAM model is now Rs. 33,990, down from its launch price of Rs. 39,990. The Galaxy S9+ price cut can be thought to presage the Galaxy S10 launch later this month, while for the Galaxy A9 (2018), this is its second price cut since its launch in November.
Lenovo-owned Motorola Mobility this week finally unveiled its Moto G7-Series of smartphones, which have been doing their rounds of the rumour mill for months now. As expected, Motorola unveiled the four models - the Moto G7, Moto G7 Plus, Moto G7 Power, and Moto G7 Play. Of these, only the Moto G7 Power has an India launch timeline - the Moto G7 Power can be expected to arrive in a few weeks' time. One thing common across all the smartphones is that they all feature notches, and all are claimed to offer an 'all-day battery life'. Of course, the cheapest of the lot is the Moto G7 Play, priced at $199 (roughly Rs. 14,200), though it can be expected to be slightly cheaper when it comes to India.
The Moto G7 and Moto G7 Plus both come with waterdrop-shaped notches, apart from bearing dual rear camera setups. The Moto G7 is powered by a Snapdragon 632 SoC, while the Moto G7 Plus is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC. The Moto G7 Power and Moto G7 Play on the other hand sport single-rear camera setups, a more traditional trapezoidal notch, and are powered by the same processor as the Moto G7. The Moto G7 Plus is also the only one with a full-HD+ display, while the others were dealt HD+ displays. Apart from the Moto G7 Power, which has a 5,000mAh battery, the other three smartphones bear a 3,000mAh battery.
Let's start with the Oppo K1 - the smartphone's biggest claim to fame is it in-display fingerprint sensor in the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment. The company is also touting the K1's massive 6.4-inch display, with a waterdrop-shaped notch. It also happens to feature a 25-megapixel front camera, moving along the company's standard pitch of selfie-focused smartphones.
The Oppo K1 price in India is set at Rs. 16,990, and will be available from Flipkart from Tuesday, February 12. The smartphone runs ColorOS 5.2 (based on Android 8.1 Oreo) and has been launched in a single 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant in India - the company has also detailed launch offers for the smartphone. Apart from the already detailed features, the Oppo K1 sports a dual rear camera setup (16-megapixel + 2-megapixel), is powered by a Snapdragon 660 SoC, and runs on a 3,600mAh battery. It was launched in China in October last year.
HMD Global this week brought new variants of two smartphones in India - the Nokia 5.1 Plus and the Nokia 8.1. The former received 4GB RAM and 6GB RAM variants in the country, priced at Rs. 14,499 and Rs. 16,499, while the latter received a 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant, priced at Rs. 29,999. The Nokia 5.1 Plus was launched in India back in August, in a sole 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant. The Nokia 8.1 on the other hand was launched in India in December, in a single 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant.
Chinese smartphone brand Coolpad this week made a reappearance in the Indian market, with the Coolpad Cool 3 smartphone, priced at Rs. 5,999. The entry-level offering doesn't yet have an exact release date, but will be made available via both online and offline retailers. The smartphone's biggest selling point is its dual rear camera setup, with a waterdrop-shaped display notch also in-the-mix at the price point. The Coolpad Cool 3 also comes with a Face Unlock option. It was launched in a single 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage variant.
Realme, Samsung price cuts in India
Recently launched budget smartphone from popular Oppo-spinoff brand Realme, the Realme U1, received a price cut in the country and was also made available via offline stores. Launched back in November, the Realme U1 was originally priced at Rs. 11,999 for its 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage model, while its 4GB/ 64GB model was priced at Rs. 14,499. They are now available at Rs. 10,999 and Rs. 13,499 respectively, getting Rs. 1,000 price cuts.
In other mobile news this week, Redmi CEO Lu Weibing confirmed that the Redmi flagship will sport a Snapdragon 855 SoC, the clearest indicator that the Redmi brand has indeed become independent, and no longer relegated to just budget offerings from the company. The company will probably stay true to the renewed motto of offering the best performance for price ratio.
Separately, a Xiaomi product director this week confirmed the launch of a Black Shark 2 gaming smartphone. A recent Geekbench listing featured a phone called 'Black Shark Skywalker' running on the Snapdragon 855 SoC coupled with 8GB of RAM - and thanks to this leak, we can expect the Black Shark 2 to sport the top-end SoC.
The Energizer mobile brand, managed by France-based Avenir Telecom, this week revealed it would be launching a total of 26 phones at MWC 2019, including a foldable smartphone, a smartphone with a pop-up camera, as well as a phone with a massive 18,000mAh battery.
Huawei revealed that the next flagship models in its popular P-Series of smartphones, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, will be launched in March-end in Paris. In other Huawei news, its sub-brand Honor announced a limited period discount and other offers on the recently launched Honor 8C smartphone in India.
Google's Pixel and Apple's iOS updates
This week also saw a couple of major OS updates roll out, with Google releasing the February 2019 Android security update and Apple releasing the iOS 12.1.4 update. Starting with Google, the Mountain View firm rolled out the update for Pixel smartphone users, while also revealing the contents of the security bulletin. As we saw, the company fixed a severe security vulnerability that affects devices running Android 7.0 and above, allowing hackers to gain privileged access of an Android device using a specially-crafted PNG file. Unfortunately, those devices that don't yet have the February 2019 Android security update are still vulnerable - meaning millions of smartphones and tablets. Interestingly, the update also brought a few features to Pixel phones - the About Phone settings menu section has been elevated, while the phones now automatically pause updates when in use, and allow for scheduled restarts.
Getting to the iOS 12.1.4 update, and we see it's as storied as the Google February security update, thanks to its security contents. The update fixed the infamous Group FaceTime privacy bug that was reported last week - more on that later. The update is also said to have fixed two zero-day vulnerabilities that were exploited in the wild, according to the Google Project Zero team. Back to the Group FaceTime bug, Apple said it would reward the 14-year-old boy that first reported the bug to the company, and also said it will improve its bug reporting process so that a similar case of late detection wouldn't occur. Apple announced it would contribute to the US teen's education.
Next up, data from the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz) shows a list of the 16 highest radiation-emitting current smartphones, and unfortunately, both Xiaomi and OnePlus have smartphones on that list, with the Mi A1 topping it and the OnePlus 5T next. Meanwhile, the 16 least radiation-emitting current smartphone list saw several models from Samsung, with the Galaxy Note 8 leading with the lowest specific absorption rate (SAR).
Vivo V15 Pro teasers and leaks
Vivo this week also began teasing the Vivo V15 Pro smartphone, after last week announcing it would be launching a pop-up camera smartphone in India on February 20. The smartphone has been teased to reveal much of its design, and also announce its 32-megapixel pop-up selfie camera, and triple rear camera setup that features a 48-megapixel camera. This last bit was revealed when the smartphone was listed by Amazon India ahead of the launch.
Of course, that's not all that's been revealed about the Vivo V15 Pro - with a bunch of leaks also surfacing in the interim. It first appeared in some leaked promotional images, and alongside tipped some specifications - in-display fingerprint scanner, a Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 675 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of inbuilt storage, The Vivo V15 Pro's triple rear camera setup will said to come with 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel, and 5-megapixel sensors. A more recent leak tipped the expected price to be around Rs. 33,000, and added it would have a 6.39-inch display, and a 3,700mAh battery with a "Dual Engine" fast charging.
Samsung Galaxy S10, Nokia 9 PureView, Redmi Note 7, and other leaks
As for other mobile leaks this week, of course, a day couldn't go by without a new Samsung Galaxy S10-Series leak making its way to the Web. There were several this week, with the models being certified by the US FCC, being sighted on Geekbench, the Galaxy S10e name being reconfirmed, as well as Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ photos leaking.
There were also ceramic build variants being tipped for the Samsung Galaxy S10-Series, as well as a 10-megapixel front camera capable of 4K HDR video recording apart from being equipped with OIS and Dual Pixel tech. Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S10-Series is due to launch at the company's Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 20 - so stay tuned for that.
The Nokia 9 PureView, another hotly anticipated smartphone from HMD Global that's expected to be launched at the company's pre-MWC 2019 event on February 24, also made its way to a couple of leaks this week, with one showing press renders and the other showing leaked live images.
Sony wasn't to be left out of the leaks this week, it appears, with the anticipated Sony Xperia XZ4 that's expected to be launched at MWC 2019 said to feature a 52-megapixel triple rear camera setup. Another report pointed to a trademark by Sony for the term 'CinemaWide' display on smartphones, hinting that the earlier rumours about an ultra-tall 21:9 display on the Xperia XZ4 may have actually held a grain of truth. Sony had another leak in the for of the Xperia XA3, which was also seen to sport a 21:9 display and a dual rear camera setup.
Finally, in terms of leaks, a bunch specifications were tipped for the anticipated Moto Z4 Play, an affordable mid-range offering from Motorola. The smartphone is said to come with a 48-megapixel rear camera, a 16-megapixel front camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor, a 6.22-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 675 SoC, and up to 6GB of RAM coupled with 128GB of inbuilt storage. The Moto Z4 Play was also reported to be powered by a 3,600mAh battery.
Telecom news this week
The week gone by saw several telecom-related news, with Vodafone launching a new Rs. 119 recharge that gives 1GB of data and unlimited voice calls for a 28-day validity. Unfortunately, the recharge doesn't include any SMS message benefits. The company also released a new Rs. 1,999 recharge that offers 1.5GB of daily data, 100 SMS messages a day, and unlimited voice call benefits for a full year. The merged Vodafone-Idea entity also announced that it had finished 25 percent of its radio network integration work across the country.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was in the new this week for a new Rs. 2,499 monthly broadband pack that offered 40GB of data per day at speeds up to 100Mbps. The state-owned telecom operator also revised its Rs. 525 and Rs. 725 postpaid mobile plans to offer more data benefits.
Separately, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) refuted reports that its new regulatory framework for DTH and cable TV services would in fact raise bills for end users. TRAI Chairman Ram Sevak Sharma said that the Crisil report was prepared on an "inadequate understanding" of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect. A TRAI statement added, "The report is based on choosing top-rated channels on all-India basis and considers only one weekly report dated January 25, 2019, from TV Rating Agency, BARC."
WhatsApp announcements, new features
WhatsApp, like most weeks, saw several headlines this week as well. The Facebook-owned instant messenger brought its anticipated Face ID and Touch ID biometric authentication features for the iPhone. The feature was tipped for a while, and is also anticipated to make its way to Android, using the fingerprint sensor of the smartphone. The company also detailed efforts it was making to get ready for the upcoming general elections in India.
Google parent Alphabet this week reported its Q4 earnings results, and while it beat Wall Street expectations, it also reported rising costs. Alphabet reported a profit of $8.9 billion (roughly Rs. 64,000 crores), but expenses rose to $31 billion compared with $24.6 billion in the same period a year ago.
In other news, Netflix for iOS finally got the Smart Downloads feature that Android users got back in July last year - the feature auto-downloads the next episode in the series the user is downloading to watch, and deletes the already watched episode.
Twitter India was summoned to a parliamentary panel hearing over 'safeguarding citizens' rights on social media', and later announced it was in discussion with the government over bias allegations. Amazon India on the other hand was reported to have changed business structure in India to bring back its seller Cloudtail after new regulations blocked it from selling products from companies in which it had an equity interest. Amazon's products in India had performed a vanishing act when the company had hastened to comply with the February 1 deadline.
In gaming news, Ubisoft announced that Assassin's Creed 3 would be remastered and re-released on PC, PC4, and Xbox One on March 29. EA announced a new games in its Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies, and Titanfall franchises that were due this year. And finally, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, was announced for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.
Panasonic unveiled its Lumix S1 and Lumix S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras, revealing their price, availability, and specifications. In other camera news, Sony this week launched its A6400 mirrorless camera with the 'world's fastest autofocus' in India, priced starting at Rs. 75,990 for body-only.
Finally, Dyson this week launched its Pure Hot+Cool air purifier in India, priced at Rs. 52,900. It both purifies the air and heats it with an element and thermostat. The air purifier can also be controlled using the native Dyson Link app.