Redmi Note 7 as well as Samsung Galaxy M30 first sales, Realme 3 launch, Realme 3 Pro's announcement, and the India debut of Oppo F11 Pro and Oppo F11 were some of the biggest tech news stories this week. Additionally, Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e went on sale in the country and the first official trailer for the final season of Game of Thrones was released for the public. So, without further ado, let's dive into the tech news that mattered this week.
Redmi Note 7 finally went on sale for the first time in the country. Although the phone doesn't have a 48-megapixel camera sensor like its Pro-variant, it is still a very capable smartphone and that doesn't seem to have gone unnoticed by the consumers. Soon after the first sale earlier this week, Xiaomi claimed on Twitter that the company managed to sell 2,00,000 units of the Redmi Note 7 in a matter of minutes. The Chinese smartphone maker has now scheduled the next sale of the phone for March 13, the same day Redmi Note 7 Pro is set for its first sale in the country.
The Redmi Note 7 is currently offered via Flipkart.com, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores. The company plans to expand the availability to its partner brick-and-mortar stores but there is no fixed date for that right now. To remind you, the Redmi Note 7 price in India is Rs. 9,999 for the 3GB + 32GB version and Rs. 11,999 for the 4GB + 64GB variant. The company is offering the phone in three colours — Onyx Black, Ruby Red, and Sapphire Blue.
In terms of the specifications, the Redmi Note 7 comes with a 6.3-inch full-HD+ screen, 4,000mAh battery, and a fingerprint sensor on the back. The phone also includes a dual rear camera setup that has a 12-megapixel primary sensor along with an f/2.2 lens and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. There is a 13-megapixel front shooter onboard as well with support for features such as AI Beautify (4.0) and AI Portrait. The Redmi Note 7 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor and packs 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/ A-GPS, IR blaster, USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with similar specifications, but Xiaomi has included the Snapdragon 675 SoC on the Redmi Note 7 Pro as well as a 48-megapixel camera sensor on the back with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The Redmi Note 7 Pro will go on sale in India for the first-time next week. Stay tuned for our Redmi Note 7 Pro review before the first sale.
Now that Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro are official and slowly reaching the consumers, all eyes are on the successor to Xiaomi's Redmi 6 smartphone. Likely to be dubbed the Redmi 7, the phone recently popped up in the database of Chinese regulator TENAA, which has revealed the full specifications of the phone. The phone is expected to sport a waterdrop-style notch with a 6.26-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) screen.
It will be tipped to be powered by an unnamed octa-core processor, clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with 2GB/ 3GB/ 4GB of RAM. There will also be 16GB/ 32GB/ 64GB of inbuilt storage onboard as well as a microSD card slot. The TENAA listing also noted that the Redmi 7 will pack a dual camera setup on the back with a 12-megapixel sensor and an 8-megapixel sensor.
In related news, Black Shark, which is backed by Xiaomi, is getting ready to launch its third smartphone in the form of Black Shark 2. The company is hosting a press event on March 18, where it will be detailing the phone. As per the rumours and leaks until now, Black Shark 2 is expected to come with Snapdragon 855 SoC, 8GB/ 12GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and Android 9 Pie. The smartphone will also pack Liquid Cool 3.0 technology for heat management.
After a number of teasers, Realme on Monday introduced the new Realme 3 smartphone in the country. All set to go on sale on March 12, the Realme 3 has been priced at Rs. 8,999 for the 3GB + 32GB version and Rs. 10,999 for the 4GB + 64GB version. The phone will be offered via Flipkart and Realme online store in Dynamic Black and Black colours. A third Radient Blue colour variant will be released on March 26, which will also be sold via brick-and-mortar stores. The Realme 3 will be going head-to-head with the likes of Redmi Note 7 and Samsung Galaxy M10 smartphones.
The Realme 3 runs on Android 9 Pie-based Color OS 6.0 and features a 6.2-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) screen. The phone is powered by 2.1GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P70 SoC and includes up to 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of inbuilt storage, and a microSD card slot (up to 256GB). There is a 4,230mAh battery on-board as well with a fingerprint sensor and the usual set of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and 4G LTE.
The company has also packed a dual-camera setup on the back of the Realme 3, which houses a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. Realme has also packed a 13-megapixel shooter on the front with f/2.0 lens. There is support for AI-powered face unlock as well. Further, at the launch event, Realme revealed that it will be offering a Nightscape mode with the Realme 3 that will allow the owners of the phone to capture great night-time photographs.
The Nightscape mode uses AI and multi-frame exposures to click a brighter image in low-light conditions. The company's Madhav Sheth reportedly said that the company will be bringing the Nightscape mode to older Realme phones over the coming months, however he did not share a timeline.
In addition to the Realme 3, the company also announced the Realme 3 Pro smartphone. The Realme 3 Pro will be a direct competitor to Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7 Pro. The specifications of the smartphone are a mystery at this point, but Realme has stated that the phone will be arriving to the country in April. Considering the comparison with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, it is being speculated that the Realme 3 Pro may include a 48-megapixel camera sensor on the back as the Xiaomi phone.
Redmi Note 7 wasn't the only smartphone that went on the sale for the first-time in India this week, Samsung's new Galaxy M30 also made its debut on Amazon India and Samsung Online Shop. The phone was quickly sold out on March 7, and the South Korean manufacturer has now scheduled the second sale for the phone on March 12. It is the third smartphone in the company's India-First Galaxy M-Series, which also includes the Galaxy M20 and Galaxy M10 smartphones. Samsung is still selling the Galaxy M20 in flash sales, but the Galaxy M10 recently became available in open sale.
Samsung has priced the Galaxy M30 at Rs. 14,990 for the 4GB + 64GB version and at Rs. 17,990 for the 6GB + 128GB version. It is being offered in Gradation Black and Gradation Blue colour options. The Samsung Galaxy M30 runs on Android 8.1 with Samsung Experience v9.5 user interface on top. It also features a 6.4-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-U Display with a waterdrop-shaped notch and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
Under the hood, there is an octa-core Exynos 7904 processor and 5,000mAh battery with fast charging support. The Samsung Galaxy M30 also comes with a triple rear camera setup, which houses a 13-megapixel primary RGB sensor with an f/1.9 lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.2 lens, and a 5-megapixel sensor with ultra-wide-angle f/2.2 lens.
On the front, the company has included a 16-megapixel sensor that has support for selfie focus. Additionally, Samsung has packed a microSD card slot, face unlock support and the usual set of connectivity options, including dual-SIM support, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Over a fortnight after introducing the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Series phones at an event in San Francisco, Samsung officially started selling the phones in India, alongside almost 70 other countries. The phones are now available in the country via all major retailers. Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e smartphones run on Android 9 Pie with One UI and are powered by the company's octa-core Exynos 9820 SoC. The three phones are a part of the company's flagship lineup, which will be joined by the next-generation Galaxy Note smartphone in the second half of this year.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy S10 price-tag starts at Rs. 66,900 for the 8GB + 128GB model, whereas the 8GB + 512GB model is being sold at Rs. 84,900. On the other hand, the Galaxy S10+ is being offered at Rs. 73,900 for the 8GB + 128GB variant, going up to Rs. 91,900 for the 8GB + 512GB variant, and Rs. 1,17,900 for the 12GB + 1TB variant. Lastly, the Galaxy S10e is available at Rs. 55,900 for the lone 6GB + 128GB model.
Following the Samsung Galaxy S10 India launch event, Samsung's DJ Koh revealed to select media outlets that the company's first foldable smartphone – Samsung Galaxy Fold – will be coming to the Indian market. The phone was first showcased alongside the Galaxy S10 Series in San Francisco. He did not share a timeline or indicate a price tag for the phone.
Galaxy Fold aside, Samsung is said to be working on two more foldable smartphones. Bloomberg reported this week that the South Korean company is developing a clamshell-like device, and another that folds away from the user, similar to Huawei's Mate X. The company plans to first unveil the vertically folding phone late this year or early next year, followed by the outfolding model.
Oppo on Tuesday unveiled its new F11 and F11 Pro smartphones. Part of the company's mid-range portfolio, the smartphones comes with a 48-megapixel camera sensor on the back as a part of the dual camera setup. This sensor as well as the low-light imaging capabilities are said to be highlights of the two phones. Both Oppo F11 and Oppo F11 Pro share a number of common features, however the design, RAM, and the onboard storage of the two models is different. While the F11 Pro has gone with fullscreen look on the front with a pop-up selfie camera, the Oppo F11 is using a water-drop style notch to house the selfie shooter. Also, there is 6GB of RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage in the F11 pro, whereas the Oppo F11 comes with just 4GB of RAM, but 128GB of onboard storage. Among other specifications, the phones are powered by MediaTek's Helio P70 processor and run on Android 9 Pie-based Color OS 6.0.
According to Oppo, the F11 Pro will go on sale beginning March 15 via all major online and offline stores in Aurora Green and Thunder Black colours. The pre-orders are now live. The phone has been priced at Rs. 24,990. On the other hand, the Oppo F11 will retail at Rs. 19,990, however there is no word on the availability of the phone.
Indian smartphone brand Lava introduced a new Android Go edition phone in the country this week. Dubbed as Lava Z40, the phone has been priced at Rs. 3,499 and is now on sale in Black and Gold colours. The phone features a 4-inch (400x800 pixels) TN display along with a 16:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It is powered by an unnamed 1.4GHz quad-core SoC, coupled with 1GB of RAM. There is also a 2-megapixel rear camera sensor onboard along with a 2-megapixel selfie shooter.
In an effort to take on Redmi Note 7, Meizu unveiled a new smartphone called Note 9 in its home market. Like the Xiaomi phone, it also comes with a 48-megapixel camera sensor on the back in a dual camera setup, which houses a 5-megapixel secondary sensor as well. The company will be offering the phone in three colours - Magic Black, Starry Blue, and White – and the sales open March 11. There is no word on the international release of the phone.
In telecom and broadband news, ACT Fibernet unveiled a slew of new broadband plans that will allow the consumers to pay their Netflix bill via their Internet bill itself. Dubbed as the Entertainment plans, these are now available to ACT subscribers in Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. It is important to note here that these plans are only available if the consumers are ready to pay annual or six months subscription charges. The fibre operator will also give the consumers a cashback of up to Rs. 500 with these plans, which can be used to pay for future bills. ACT Fibernet has stated that it plans to bring these plans to other cities as well.
Earlier this week, the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) revealed that it is extending a cashback offer that it had introduced in December 2018. The offer was supposed to end on December 31, but now it will continue till March 31. As a part of the offer, all new and existing BSNL subscribers taking the annual broadband plans, can get up to 25 percent cashback. The cashback will be credited to their accounts.
Moving to gaming news, EA's battle royale game Apex Legends is continuing its great run and recently hit the 50-million players milestone. The game was launched just one month ago and is already turning out to be a massive hit. Apex Legends had taken just a week to reach 25-million players mark. Battle royale is a genre made popular by PUBG and Fortnite, where up to 100 players are paradropped on an island and the last person or team to survive wins the round.
Meanwhile, Big Ant Studios has announced Cricket 19, which is going to the official game of The Ashes. For those of you who don't follow Cricket religiously, The Ashes is the world's oldest running Test cricket series that takes places every two years between England and Australia. The game will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in May 2019. A PC version will be arriving on Steam but there is no confirmed date right now. Cricket 19 will feature all formats of international cricket and all host venues.
In pop culture developments, the first official trailer for Game of Thrones Season 8 landed this week. This much-awaited trailer gave us a glimpse at the show's various characters as they gear up for the next big fight of their lives. While everyone gathering up in Winterfell will be taking on the army of the dead, Cersei in King's Landing is preparing for a war with Daenerys Targaryen and her army. Game of Thrones season 8 premieres April 15, 2019 in India on Hotstar and Star World. To remind you, this is the last season of the fantasy drama, which is based on a book series written by George R. R. Martin.
As DCEU or the world of DC, whatever you want to call the movie universe from DC Comics, sorts itself out, a major casting rumour about the next Suicide Squad movie had popped up online. It is being reported that Idris Elba is coming in to replace Will Smith as Deadshot, who vacated the role due to scheduling conflicts. The next Suicide Squad film is being written by Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn, who may also end up directing it, but that is yet to be confirmed. Gunn was earlier dumped by Disney over his controversial tweets. The as-yet-untitled Suicide Squad sequel/soft reboot will release August 6, 2021.
In Indian streaming scene, Hotstar revealed the details of the five original TV shows that it is planning to bring over the coming months. These originals include a Hindi-language docu-drama called Roar of the Lion, remakes of The Office, Criminal Justice, and Hostages as well as a political drama called City of Dreams. Roar of the Lion is the only series with an exact release date — March 20, 2019 — while the others are expected to roll out starting this month.
On the other hand, Amazon announced that Akshay Kumar will lead a new globe-spanning, action-adventure thriller original series, which will debut on Prime Video. Dubbed as The End, the series is being produced by Abundantia Entertainment, makers of another Prime Original in Breathe. Lastly, Netflix announced the release date for its upcoming original series called Leila, which is a dystopian drama set in India.
In other news, Leica unveiled a successor to its Q1 full-frame camera this week. Dubbed as Leica Q2, the camera is priced at $4,995 (roughly Rs. 3,50,000) and is now on sale in the US. It will be arriving to India in mid-April, the company announced. Leica Q2 comes with a 47.3-megapixel image sensor that is capable of not just capturing high-quality stills but also recording 4K videos with frame rates of 30 or 24fps.
Google introduced its Bolo app in the country on Wednesday. The Android app, which is only available in India right now, aims to help children in rural areas improve their Hindi and English reading skills. Fitbit also launched a number of new fitness devices this week, including the new Versa Lite and Ace 2. While Versa Lite is a smartwatch, Ace 2 is a fitness tracker for kids.
Paytm unveiled a subscription-based loyalty programmed called Paytm First on Tuesday. It is available at an annual charge of Rs. 750 and include free subscriptions to Zomato Gold, Gaana, Sony Liv, ViU Premium, and Eros Now as well as benefits for Uber, Uber Eats services.
Lastly, Skype updated its Web version this week with HD video calling, call recording, and a new notifications panel. The service, however, only works on Chrome and Edge web browsers. Also, Facebook added a Dark Mode on Facebook Messenger's iOS and Android apps, Flickr ditched the old Yahoo login system, and Snapchat is getting ready to add support for five Indian languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.
Realme 3 Pro vs Redmi Note 7 Pro: Which one is the winner? 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.