Redmi Note 7 Pro and Vivo Z1 Pro open sale and the news about Jio GigaFiber launch date grabbed the headlines this week. Additionally, Realme sent out invites to showcase its quad camera setup with 64-megapixel main camera, Amazon shared details of Freedom Sale, and WhatsApp 'Frequently Forwarded' message label began rolling out in India. Zomato and UberEats were also in news over "non-Hindu rider" row. Read on to know about everything in the world of technology that dominated the conversations this week.
Xiaomi India finally started the permanent open sales for Redmi Note 7 Pro smartphone. The Redmi phone had been put on open sale a couple of times in the past but those were temporary promotions. Redmi Note 7 Pro can now be purchased via Flipkart and Mi.com store round-the-clock. The phone is also being sold via Mi Home stores and other Mi partner retailers in the country.
To recall, Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) was originally unveiled in late-February in the country and is offered in three storage variants and three colour options. Redmi Note 7 Pro price in India starts at Rs. 13,999 for the base 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant. 6GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB variants of the phone carry a price tag of Rs. 15,999 and Rs. 16,999, respectively. All three variants come in Nebula Red, Neptune Blue, and Space Black colour options.
The news of Redmi Note 7 Pro open sale comes along with the 5 million sales milestone achieved by the Redmi Note 7 lineup in India. According to Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 7 Pro, and Redmi Note 7S sales have crossed the 5 million mark in the country. While both Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro went on sale in March, the Redmi Note 7S became available in May.
Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with specifications like a 6.3-inch full-HD+ screen with waterdrop-style notch, Snapdragon 675 SoC, and up to 6GB of RAM. The phone also packs up to 128GB of onboard storage, a microSD card slot, and dual rear camera setup. The camera setup includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.79 lens and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor. Additionally, there is a rear fingerprint sensor, 4,000mAh battery, and a 13-megapixel front shooter in the Redmi Note 7 Pro.
Like Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7 Pro, its competitor Vivo Z1 Pro also went on open sale in the country this week. Vivo Z1 Pro was launched in the country last month and went on sale soon after via flash sales. The company has now offering it 24x7 on Flipkart and its own e-store. Vivo Z1 Pro price starts at Rs. 14,990 for the 4GB + 64GB variant. The 6GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB models of the phone retail at Rs. 16,990 and Rs. 17,990, respectively.
Vivo Z1 Pro is being targeted at the young consumers and it comes with features like a 6.53-inch full-HD+ screen, Snapdragon 712 SoC, and a 5,000mAh battery. The phone also includes a triple rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary shooter, 8-megapixel secondary shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. There is a 32-megapixel front shooter onboard as well, as a part of the hole-punch design.
Vivo has also packed a number of gaming features in the smartphone like the Game Mode 5.0, 4D vibrations, and 3D surround sound. Further, the phone comes with a Multi Turbo feature that brings Center Turbo, AI Turbo, Net Turbo, Cooling Turbo, and ART++ Turbo to speed up the performance. There are also features such as Voice Changer and a dedicated AI button for easy accessing of Google Assistant and other voice assistants.
In our review, we found Vivo Z1 Pro to be a strong all-round performer with great battery life. The smartphone also comes with decent cameras that take impressive photos with ample colours and lots of detail. The low-light photos taken by the phone are also good. Given its starting price tag of Rs. 14,990, the Vivo Z1 Pro is also a good value-for-money option. Some people may find it a little bulky and the onboard Funtouch OS won't be everyone's favourite, otherwise, it is a great competitor to the likes of Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy M40.
As Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) gets ready for its annual general meeting (AGM) on August 12, Jio GigaFiber is back in focus. It is believed that Mukesh Ambani will finally announce the commercial launch of the Jio GigaFiber service that has been in trial phase since its introduction at last year's AGM. The company had started taking registrations for the service beginning August last year, but no official rollout has taken place until now.
For the past several months, Jio executives across select localities in a limited number of cities have signed up consumers under a preview offer. This offer gave the consumers free access to fibre Internet with 100Mbps download speed. There was a catch though. The consumers had to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs. 4,500. The company later added an option to go for Rs. 2,500 security deposit by getting an inferior optical network terminal device.
According to media reports, in a recent analyst note, BankAm-Merrill Lynch predicted that Reliance Jio could bring three subscription plans for GigaFiber. The base and the most affordable plan will just offer Internet connectivity at 100Mbps, whereas the second plan will include IPTV access as well. The third and the top-end plan will include Internet access, IPTV service, and IoT services. The prices of these plans could start at Rs. 500 and go over Rs. 1,000. Jio is yet to say anything officially about GigaFiber plans.
There have also been reports that Jio may bring a combo plan at Rs. 600 a month with broadband, landline, and IPTV service. A Jio Triple Play plan was also leaked, and it included unlimited voice and data access, Jio Home IPTV service, and access to Jio apps. This plan was supposedly being tested by the company employees but no pricing details are known. If August 12 indeed ends up being the launch date for Jio GigaFiber, we will soon have all the official details.
Realme sent out invites for a press event on August 8, where it will be talking about a quad camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary shooter that it is expected to use in an upcoming phone. The company has been teasing 64-megapixel camera phone over the last few weeks, but the next week's event will offer the first official glimpse at the technology and possibly other details about when we can expect to see in a Realme phone. No other details are available at this point.
Meanwhile, Realme has started the offline sales for its Realme X phone, giving users some respite from waiting for the phone's online flash sales. The online sales will, however, continue and the next one of Realme X has been scheduled for August 7. Realme X was launched last month and has already been put on sale multiple times. The consumers will now be able to buy the phone from Realme partner offline retailers any day.
Apart from starting open sales for Vivo Z1 Pro, the Chinese smartphone maker also revised the price of V15 Pro in the country. The phone, which was launched back in February this year, now starts at Rs. 23,990 for the base variant with 6GB of RAM. The 8GB version of the same smartphone is now down to Rs. 26,990. While this is the second price cut of 6GB Vivo V15 Pro, it is the first one for the 8GB variant. The new pricing is available via both online retailers as well as offline.
Vivo V15 Pro runs Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS 9 and features a 6.39-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) Super AMOLED display. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 AIE SoC and comes with a triple rear camera setup as well as a 32-megapixel pop-up selfie camera. Additionally, the Vivo V15 Pro includes a 3,700mAh battery.
Separately, Vivo Z5 made its debut in China. It is a mid-range phone and comes with features like waterdrop-style notch, in-display fingerprint sensor, and Super AMOLED screen. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC, and it is now on sale in the company's home market in three storage variants, whereas the fourth will start selling next week. There is no word on the phone's international launch at this point.
HuaweiY9 Prime 2019 was the only new smartphone to be introduced in India this week. The phone made its India debut over two months after it was announced globally. The phone has been priced at Rs. 15,990 for the lone 128GB storage variant and it will be available for purchase in Emerald Green and Sapphire Blue colour options. Amazon.in will start selling the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 from 12pm (noon) IST on August 7 for Prime subscribers, whereas the non-Prime users will be able to buy it the next day.
Samsung Galaxy A80 went on sale on Thursday, after being launched in the country last month. The smartphone is now available to purchase via the company site, offline stores, and leading online retailers. The smartphone is the top-end offering in the company's Galaxy A-series and comes with a rotating camera setup. The phone also features a full-HD+ screen, 8GB of RAM, and 3,700mAh battery. It has been priced at Rs. 47,990 for the single 8GB + 128GB model.
Months after the launch of the Black Shark 2 smartphone, the Xiaomi-backed company unveiled the new Black Shark 2 Pro smartphone. The new phone is powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC. The Black Shark 2 Pro comes with an upgrade in design, and the back panel is touted to offer an improved grip and there are two more RGB LED lights on either side of the Black Shark logo. It also is equipped with upgraded DC Dimming 2.0 and Liquid Cooling 3.0 + technology. The company says that there is slight improvement in display touch response as well. It is now on sale in China, however there is no word on the global release.
Vodafone Idea-owned Vodafone and Idea telecom operators this week announced the new "Har Recharge Pe Inaam" and "Har Recharge Pe Extra" offers, respectively. The new offers assure freebies on prepaid recharges for the subscribers of the two telecom operators. The Idea and Vodafone subscribers will have to claim these freebies with 72 hours of the recharge, otherwise they will lapse. The recharges can be done through the Idea/ Vodafone websites, My Idea/ My Vodafone apps, or any other third party app or website or retail store.
Reliance Jio introduced its Jio Saarthi digital assistant this week and it is designed to make digital recharges easier for the telecom operator's subscribers. The digital assistant has been integrated in the MyJio app. Notably, the feature is only available for those who have never recharged digitally before. Jio Saarthi offers step-by-step voice directions for selecting a recharge option through the MyJio app and also help users locate payment details and use them for digital recharges. It will be initially available in English and Hindi, though Reliance Jio is planning to make it available in 12 regional languages gradually.
Tata Sky changed the terms of its Flexi Annual Plan and relaunched it as the New Flexi Annual Plan. The DTH provider has added new freebies to make it more enticing and will now be crediting the bonus one-month free access to the service within 48 hours of the recharge. Earlier, the consumers had to finish the regular validity of their plan and then the bonus access was credited to their account. The original Flexi Annual Plan was launched in April this year; however, the revised New Flexi Annual Plan went live earlier this week.
Less than two months after unveiling the new Abhinandan prepaid plan, BSNL has revised it to offer more data to its subscribers. The plan now provides 1.5GB daily data instead of 1GB. Apart from the 1.5GB data, the users of the BSNL Abhinandan prepaid plan will get unlimited local, STD, and roaming calls to any network, including in Delhi and Mumbai circles. Further, there is a quota of 100 SMS messages per day. After the data limit of 1.5GB per day is reached, BSNL will reduce the speed to 40Kbps. The plan is priced at Rs. 151.
In other news, Amazon India announced that it will be organising a new Freedom Sale starting August 8 in the country. The sale will continue through August 12 and will include deals and offers on consumer electronics, including mobiles and accessories, home and kitchen, daily essentials, books, and a lot more. Among previewed offers, the e-retailer revealed that OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7, Oppo Reno and a number of others phones will get extra exchange discount during the sale. Additionally, there will be price cuts for Samsung Galaxy S10, Oppo A7, Redmi Y3, and more.
Zomato was in the news week after the company defended its decision to not change the delivery executive for a user over the rider's religion. The user didn't want a "non-Hindu" rider and cancelled his order after the service refused to change the delivery person. After the user voiced his complaint on Twitter, Zomato tweeted, "Food doesn't have a religion. It is a religion." Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal also pitched in by saying that Zomato doesn't regret losing the business of such customers. Although a number of Twitter users praised the company for its decision, there were a significant number of replies by Twitter users to Zomato's tweet who think otherwise.
Zomato faced backlash from a section of people, who left 1-star reviews for the company's app or uninstalled the app. UberEats, which had supported Zomato, was caught in the crossfire and a number of users left 1-star reviews for the ride-sharing service's app as well. For a day #BoycottUberEats was also trending in the country.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) launched its official mobile game this week. The game is now available for both Android and iOS platforms and can be downloaded from respective app stores for free. The game features a character sporting a gunslinger moustache similar to that of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's, who was captured and later released by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight which broke out in the aftermath of Balakot airstrikes. The IAF game is currently available only in a single player mode. Multiplayer feature is expected to be released in October 2019.
WhatsApp finally started rolling out the Frequently Forwarded messages label on both Android and iPhone apps to let users know if the message they have received has been forwarded multiple times. The label is available for all the users who are on the latest version of WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned company said: "These highly forwarded messages will be marked with a double arrow icon and users will receive a notice when they are forwarding such a message".
The messaging service is also said to be testing a multi-platform system that will allow users to run the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices. This system will also enable users to run WhatsApp on a computer without needing a connected smartphone. There is no word on when this system will be released but it is said to work on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows.
Lastly, Avengers: Endgame is now available for rent or purchase on Google Play, iTunes, and YouTube in India. The movie can be rented or purchased in standard-definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) version. For now, only the original English version is available. Avengers: Endgame recently became the highest-grossing movie of all time with a worldwide box office gross of $2.793 billion (about Rs. 19,206 crores). It is the culmination of Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Saga.