Samsung Galaxy A20 was launched in India this week, the latest in the company's refreshed Galaxy A-series lineup. The launch precedes a global unveiling of new Galaxy A-series smartphones next week, at events in Bangkok, Milan, and Sao Paulo. This week also saw Apple cut prices of the iPhone XR in India in a limited period offer, the launch of new Realme U1 variant in India, a new Oppo A5 variant for the country, a triple camera phone from Tecno, and the India launch date of the Huawei P30 Pro being set. WhatsApp unveiled new privacy settings for group invites, and launched a ‘tipline' in India for fake news research. TikTok was also banned by the Madras High Court.
The Samsung Galaxy A20 was launched in India this week, priced at Rs. 12,490. It will go on sale for the first time on Monday, April 8 via the Samsung online store, major online retailers, as well as physical retailers. The smartphone joins other recent Galaxy A-series launches in India, such as the Galaxy A10, Galaxy A30, and Galaxy A50. It was notably first unveiled in Russia last month. The Samsung Galaxy A20 features a dual rear camera setup, an Infinity-V Display with a Super AMOLED panel, and a massive 4,000mAh battery.
Other specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A20 include the company's One UI based on Android Pie, a 6.4-inch HD+ display, an octa-core Exynos 7884 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM, as well as a dual rear camera setup (13-megapixel + 5-megapixel). On the front, the Samsung Galaxy A20 sports an 8-megapixel camera. There is 32GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 512GB). Samsung touts a “3D Glasstic” build for the Galaxy A20. For now, Samsung has not unveiled any launch offers with the smartphone.
Just like it has done in other countries in the recent past, the iPhone XR price in India has been slashed in a limited period offer available via authorised Apple retailers. The 64GB iPhone XR model now starts at Rs. 59,900, down from its MRP of Rs. 76,900, while the 128GB model starts at Rs. 64,900, down from its Rs. 81,900 MRP, while the 256GB model is priced at Rs. 74,900, down from its Rs. 91,900 MRP. As you can see, this is a significant price cut, with the top model costing less after the price cut than the MRP of the base model.
The iPhone XR limited period price cut is also accompanied by a 10 percent cashback offer for HDFC credit and debit card holders. This brings down the already reduced prices to Rs. 53,900 (64GB), Rs. 58,400 (128GB), and Rs. 67,400 (256GB). Notably, the iPhone XR limited period price cut offer is also applicable on Amazon India, though there is no accompanying HDFC cashback offer.
There were two Realme announcements this week, both related to the Realme U1. The first saw the Realme U1 price in India slashed. The 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage Realme U1 variant price has been slashed to Rs. 9,999, down from its previously revised price of Rs. 10,999 – a Rs. 1,000 price cut. The 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage model on the other hand saw its price cut from Rs. 13,499 to Rs. 11,999 – a Rs. 1,500 price cut.
Later in the week, the Realme U1 gained a new storage variant in India – 3GB RAM/ 64GB storage. It has been priced at Rs. 10,999. The Oppo spin-off brand announced the new smartphone variant will go on sale from April 10 via Amazon India and the Realme online store. To recall, the Realme U1 was launched back in November last year. Following the price revision that we mentioned was announced earlier this week, the new Realme U1 variant fits right in between the previously available SKUs in terms of price.
WhatsApp this week announced new privacy settings for users that let them choose who could add them to groups. While the features were announced to be available for select users at present with a global rollout over the coming weeks, it has been spotted in the latest Android beta and iPhone beta versions. Earlier in the week, WhatsApp for Android beta v2.19.87 was spotted to have traces of the anticipated Dark Mode feature, while the Forwarded Message info feature that had been spotted recently also made its way to the app.
Separately, the WhatsApp Business app for enterprises was finally launched for iPhone, following its launch on Android last year. The Business app for iPhone will be available in seven regions initially – India, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, the UK, and the US – before being made available in other regions. The Facebook-owned company also launched a fact-checking tipline in the country, to better understand the spread of misinformation on its platform.
Talking about its parent company, Facebook this week confirmed reports of exposed user records, saying it had removed public databases containing its user data on Amazon.com's cloud servers after cyber-security firm UpGuard discovered millions of exposed records. Separately, the company said it will abandon asking some users for their email passwords after reports emerged of the practice.
Oppo A5 64GB storage variant launch, Oppo A7n unveiled
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo this week unveiled a new storage variant of the Oppo A5 in India. To recall, the smartphone was launched in a single variant in India in August last year – 4GB RAM/ 32GB storage. The company has now launched a 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant. It is already available via offline stores in the country, and will go on sale via online stores starting next week. The Oppo A5 64GB variant price in India has been set at Rs. 12,990, while the 32GB variant is currently available for Rs. 11,990 after its most recent price revision in March.
The Oppo A7n on the other hand was launched in China this week, and it has been priced at CNY 1,499 (roughly Rs. 15,300) for its lone 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant. Highlights of the smartphone include a Hyper Boost acceleration engine for improved performance, as well as AI-based beautification and portrait modes. It runs ColorOS 5.2.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo, and sports a 6.2-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) display. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio P35 SoC, coupled with 4GB of RAM. It has a dual rear camera setup (13-megapixel + 2-megapixel) and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It sports a 4,230mAh battery.
Tecno Camon i4 launched in India
Tecno, the offline-only brand of Transsion Holdings, launched a new smartphone in India this week. Called the Tecno Camon i4, the smartphone's highlights include a triple rear camera setup, Android 9.0 Pie, up to a MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, face unlock, and a 3,500mAh battery. It has been priced at Rs. 9,599 for its 2GB/ 32GB variant, while its 3GB/ 32GB variant is priced at Rs. 10,599, and its 4GB/ 64GB is priced at Rs. 11,999. It will be made available in Aqua Blue, Champagne Gold, Midnight Black, and Nebula Black colour variants via offline retail stores in the country.
The Tecno Camon i4 is available with the company's '111' initiative with a 1-time screen replacement offer, a 100-day free replacement guarantee, and 1-month extended warranty. Other specifications include a 6.2-inch HD+ display, MediaTek Helio A22 SoC (2GB RAM + 3GB RAM variants) or MediaTek Helio P22 SoC (4GB RAM). It features a triple rear camera setup (13-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel), and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The smartphone's storage is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).
Huawei P30 Pro India launch date set
The Huawei P30 Pro will be launched in India on Tuesday, April 9, at an event in New Delhi. The Huawei P30 Pro was launched at an event in Paris last month, and its biggest highlight is of course its photography prowess. It features a quad rear camera setup, co-engineered by Leica, as well as a 32-megapixel selfie camera.
To recall, when launched globally, the Huawei P30 Pro price in the EU region was announced to start at EUR 999 (roughly Rs. 77,800) for the 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage model, maxing out at EUR 1,249 (roughly Rs. 97,300) for the top-end 8GB RAM/ 512GB storage option. Looking at past Huawei flagship launches in India, we can expect the Chinese company to only bring a single variant of the smartphone to the country, and its pricing can be expected to be slightly lower than converted EU pricing.
Amazon India's most recent teaser page for the Huawei P30 Pro also indicates that the Huawei P30, the more affordable triple rear camera setup variant of the Huawei P30 Pro, will not be launched in the country alongside. This seems to be in line with the company's product strategy in India, when one considers that last year as well the company launched only the Huawei P20 Pro and Huawei P20 Lite in the country, skipping the Huawei P20. Thus, the Huawei P30 Lite, which was quietly unveiled late last month, can be expected to make its way to the country as well.
LG K12+ launched
South Korean consumer electronics giant LG this week launched the LG K12+ in Brazil. Notably, the smartphone is a variant of the LG K40 that was unveiled ahead of MWC this year. Highlights include an 8-megapixel selfie camera that is coupled with an LED flash and also offers a Portrait Mode. The LG K12+ is priced at BRL 1,199 (roughly Rs. 21,200).
Other LG K12+ specifications include Android 8.1 Oreo, 5.7-inch HD+ (720x1440 pixels) display, MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 16-megapixel rear camera, a rear fingerprint sensor, and a 3,000mAh battery. The smartphone will be made available in Black, Moroccan Blue, and Platinum Grey colour variants. For now, no details about launches in other regions were disclosed.
Nokia 1, Nokia 2.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus price in India slashed
HMD Global has slashed the prices of three smartphones in India – specifically, the Nokia 1, Nokia 2.1, and Nokia 6.1 Plus – by up to Rs. 1,500 price in India have been slashed. With the price cuts, the Nokia 1 is now available at Rs. 3,999, down from its launch price of Rs. 5,499. The Nokia 2.1 was launched at Rs. 6,999, and is now available at Rs. 5,499. The Nokia 6.1 Plus on the other hand is now priced at Rs. 16,999, down from its launch price of Rs. 18,499. Buyers can also get a 15 percent cashback on HDFC cards and EMI transactions through Pinelabs, an offer applicable between April 5 and April 20.
Honor Gala Festival sale
Huawei sub-brand Honor this week announced it would be holding a sale next week for smartphones, wearables, and tablets, from April 8 to April 12. The Honor Gala Festival sale is a five-day affair, will be hosted on Amazon India and Flipkart along with discounts up to 50 percent. Both Amazon India and Flipkart have revealed deals.
On Amazon India, the Honor Play's 4GB/ 64GB variant will be available at Rs. 13,999 (Rs. 19,999 launch price), Honor 8X's 4GB/ 64GB variant will be available at Rs. 12,999 (Rs. 14,999 launch price), Honor 7C's 3GB/ 32GB variant will be available at Rs. 7,999 (Rs. 9,999 launch price) and its 4GB/ 64GB variant will be available at Rs. 8,499 (Rs. 11,999 launch price), Honor 8C's 4GB/ 32GB variant will be available at Rs. 8,999 (Rs. 11,999 launch price), Honor Band 4 will be available at Rs. 2,499 (Rs. 2,599 launch price), Honor Band 4 Running Edition will be available at Rs. 1,499 (Rs. 1,599 launch price), Honor Watch Magic will be available starting Rs. 12,999 (Rs. 13,999 launch price), while the Honor MediaPad T3 10 and MediaPad T3 8 will be available at Rs. 12,499 (Rs. 14,999 launch price) and Rs. 9,499 (Rs. 12,999 launch price) respectively, down from their launch prices of and respectively.
The Honor 9N 4GB/ 64GB variant is listed at Rs. 9,499 (Rs. 13,999 launch price), Honor 9 Lite 4GB/ 64GB variant is listed at Rs. 9,499 (Rs. 14,999 launch price), Honor 10 Lite 4GB/ 64GB variant will be priced at Rs. 12,999 (Rs. 13,999 launch price), Honor 7A 3GB/ 32GB variant wil be priced at Rs. 6,999 (Rs. 8,999 launch price), Honor 7S 2GB/ 16GB variant will be made available at Rs. 5,499 (Rs. 6,999 launch price), Honor 9i 4GB/ 64GB variant will be priced at Rs. 10,999 (Rs. 17,999 launch price), and finally, the Honor 10 6GB/ 128GB variant will be priced at Rs. 24,999 (Rs. 32,999 launch price).
Xiaomi browser, security app vulnerabilities
This week, Xiaomi was in the news for the wrong reasons, with two separate reports about security vulnerabilities in apps it bundles with smartphones. In the first such report, a security researcher claimed that the Xiaomi Mi Browser and Mint Browser have URL spoofing flaws. The vulnerability is said to only affect international variants of both the browsers, and the China variants do not contain this vulnerability, the researcher claimed. Xiaomi is said to have paid the researcher a bug bounty for spotting the flaws, but did not patch the flaws yet.
In the second report, by cyber-security company Check Point, Xiaomi's pre-installed Guard Provider security app is said to have a flaw that allowed Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks, letting bad actors tap into unsecured traffic routed through the app. The flaw is said to be thanks to the use of multiple SDKs – Avast, AVL, and Tencent – for security scanning. Xiaomi is said to have already patched the flaw that enabled MiTM attacks.
Xiaomi separately announced this week that it had managed to sell 4 million units of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 series, which consists of the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Redmi Note 7. Xiaomi made the announcement this week via a tweet, saying it had achieved the milestone on March 29. Notably, the company had last month predicted it would achieve the target by the end of March, and it looks like it managed.
Apple starts iPhone 7 production in India
Apple this week announced that it had started assembling the iPhone 7 in India, at its supplier Wistron's Bengaluru plant. Wistron already assembles the iPhone 6s 999 in the country. In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said, “We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India." Assembly of the iPhone 7 at the Wistron plant began last month. Wistron India head Gururaj A added that the company will be setting up another iPhone making unit in the 43 acres of land allotted to it, and that it will be set to manufacture a wider range of Apple's devices.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G launched
The ‘world's first 5G smartphone' was launched in South Korea this week – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Announced ahead of MWC alongside the other Samsung Galaxy S10 series smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G has now gone on sale in South Korea. The 256GB storage variant is priced at KRW 1,390,000 (roughly Rs. 84,600) while the 512GB storage variant is priced at KRW 1,550,000 (roughly Rs. 94,400). It is available via SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus carriers.
Oppo Reno launch teasers
Oppo this week revealed details about its upcoming Reno smartphone series, which will be launched on April 10. More than one variant would be launched, with the company confirming a 10x Zoom Edition variant that's expected to run the Snapdragon 855 SoC, while the rumour mill had tipped a Standard Edition running the lower Snapdragon 710 SoC. Teasers included TUV Rheinland certification for the AMOLED display that supports the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and a triple rear camera setup (48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 sensor, 8-megapixel, 13-megapixel).
Poco F1 MIUI 10 3.4.0 stable ROM, Android Q Beta 2, Android April security patch, and other updates
The Poco F1 this week began receiving its MIUI 10 3.4.0 stable update that brings features like Widevine L1 support (for Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, not yet for Netflix), March 2019 Android security patch, a new Game Turbo mode, a new NFC shortcut in the notification shade, the ability to restrict access to notification shade while the phone is locked, 60FPS 4K video recording support, as well as a slew of bug fixes and stability improvements.
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun this week said in reply to a post about new MIUI 11 features that the company was working to cut down ads, as well as remove vulgar ads in the MIUI ecosystem. Separately, the Nokia 8110 4G received WhatsApp support – users can now download the app via the Nokia Store. Another update for Nokia smartphone saw the rollout of the March Android security update for the Nokia 3.
Google this week rolled out Android Q Beta 2 to Pixel smartphones part of the Android Beta Program, bringing a host of new features to the latest version of Android that will be released to the general public towards the end of this year. This week the Mountain View giant also released the April 2019 Android security update for Pixel smartphones, fixing 11 security issues and bringing other bug fixes.
In other Google-related updates this week, the company announced that its ‘Duplex' Google Assistant-based robot calling service is now available for phones apart from its own Pixel devices in the US, namely all iPhone models with Google Assistant installed, as well as select Android smartphones. Google's Call Screen feature, which uses Google Assistant to transcribe suspected spam calls, is now available for Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, Moto G7 Power, and Motorola One, smartphones, which have also received Digital Wellbeing features.
Tata Sky Annual Flexi Plan, Jio's Telegram block, and other telecom news
This week, Jio Gigafiber was found to be the top Internet service provider (ISP) by Netflix, something it has done since the service's soft launch in September last year. Jio was also in the news for a reported fight with Airtel to pick up a stake in Zee Entertainment. The company was also seen blocking access to the Telegram website in India, while Internet advocacy groups also said that Reddit and College Humor websites were among the victims of bans by ISPs in India.
In the last bit of Jio news, a report by CyberMedia Research (CMR) claimed that Jio was the top 4G mobile device maker in India last year, including sister company Reliance Retail's range of Lyf smartphones. In other telecom news, Amazon this week confirmed plans to launch over 3,000 satellites to provide broadband Internet in underserved parts of the world.
DTH operator Tata Sky this week launched a new long-term recharge pack that offers an additional month of free subscription to all eligible users - the additional month will be equivalent to the pack chosen by the subscriber. Tata Sky's announcement comes just days after D2h and Dish TV unveiled similar long-terms plans that offer free additional subscription.
TikTok action by Madras High Court, Amazon Echo Show, and other news this week
TikTok, the popular social video app, was this week the subject of a decision by the Madras High Court, which asked the central government to prohibit downloading of the app, saying it was "encouraging pornography". The court, which has been hearing a public interest litigation against the app, said children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.
Snapchat this week announced several new features in a bid to stay relevant, including a gaming platform within the app featuring original and third-party games, fresh features and content for existing products, the Snap Audience Network tool, new AR lenses, and App Stories. In India, the company announced localisation with the launch of support for Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, and Punjabi languages.
Twitter this week announced it was testing labels on replies, such as Author, Mentioned, and Following. The company also said that account suspensions can now be appealed within the app itself.
Amazon India this week launched its second-generation Echo Show smart display in the country. Priced at Rs. 22,999, it joins the Echo Input, Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Spot, and Echo Plus in the company's Echo devices portfolio for the country. The Echo Show is a smart display with a 10-inch screen and Dolby-tuned speakers.
In gaming news, Borderlands 3 India pre-orders began, revealing complete details about price, editions, and other details. The game's release date was also confirmed earlier in the week.
Battlefield V got its own in-game currency, called Battlefield Currency. Separately, Gadgets 360 learnt from multiple familiar with the matter that the Google Stadia game streaming service would be launched in India in 2021.