Samsung Galaxy M-Series is due to launch in India on Monday, while Redmi Note 7 — the first smartphone in the newly independent Redmi by Xiaomi brand — is all set to be launched in India. These, and many more, are the top news stories of the week just past. Announced earlier this month, the Samsung Galaxy M-Series of smartphones has been in rumours for a while now, with the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 expected to launch in India early next week. Samsung revealed that it will launching India-first smartphones targeting 'young millennials' on January 28, and that they would offer 'powerful' displays, cameras, batteries, and processors. Now, the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 price in India has been leaked, just ahead of Monday's launch.
According to a report by IANS, the Samsung Galaxy M10 price in India will start at Rs. 7,990 for the 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage variant, going up to Rs. 8,990 for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant. On the other hand, the Galaxy M20 price in India is said to start at Rs. 10,990 for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage base model, going up to Rs. 12,990 for the 4GB RAM/ 64GB model. We've put together everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 in a little roundup, including a detailed list of specifications.
Next up, is the Redmi Note 7 India launch, which can now be considered imminent thanks to a teaser by the company's India head. Unfortunately, beyond a "soon", not much else is known about the Redmi Note 7 India launch date. To recall, the Redmi Note 7 is the first offering in the new Redmi by Xiaomi brand, and was unveiled earlier this month in China. The smartphone features a new waterdrop-style notch design compared to previous Redmi offerings, and also sports a 48-megapixel sensor in its dual rear camera setup - certainly one of its biggest highlights.
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC and coupled with 3GB, 4GB, or 6GB of RAM, the Redmi Note 7 was priced starting at just CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 10,500) in China. It features a 6.3-inch full-HD+ (1080x2340 pixels) display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It is powered by a 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC. As we mentioned, it bears a dual rear camera setup, with the second being a 5-megpapixel sensor. It spots a 13-megapixel selfie sensor. There are 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options, expandable via microSD card slot (up to 256GB). Another major highlight of the Redmi Note 7 is that it packs a 4,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 4 support.
In other news this week, WhatsApp had several headlines to make. The Facebook-owned messaging service earlier this week announced that it was globally implementing a limitation on forwards in a bid to curb the spread of fake news and disinformation on its platform. To recall, these restrictions were first tested in the Indian market starting July last year. Separately, WhatsApp announced that WhatsApp Business users can now use popular app-based features like quick replies, chat list filtering, and labels on the Web and desktop clients.
WhatsApp was also in the news for new features showing up in its beta builds for Android. As seen in v2.19.18, the Media menu in individual and group chats has been simplified to reduce the number of options, while also introducing a 'Show in chat' option that takes users to the location of the shared Media file within the chat. In v2.19.21, WhatsApp was spotted with new designs for 21 emojis. The same build reportedly also prepped the remote activation of the long-rumoured fingerprint authentication feature for Android smartphones.
Finally, a report claims that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The report cast doubts on just how well Facebook would be able to wrangle together three different encryption implementations, possibly resulting in a weakening of WhatsApp's own lauded end-to-end encryption.
In other Facebook news, the company announced that its Moments app - a private photo and video sharing app launched in back in 2015 - would be discontinued on February 25 due to lack of usage. The company has provided export options for users to download the media they uploaded on the platform.
Vivo this week launched a new smartphone - the Vivo Y89, in China. Priced at CNY 1,598 (roughly Rs. 16,700) for its sole 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant, the smartphone features a gradient design and a dual rear camera setup (16-megapixel + 2-megapixel) as its primary highlights. For now, there's been no announcement from Vivo about the India launch of the Vivo Y89.
Samsung this week launched the Galaxy A9 Pro (2019) model in South Korea. Notably though, the smartphone appears only to be a variant of the Galaxy A8s that had been launched in China in December, featuring a display cutout design for the selfie camera as its biggest highlight - what Samsung calls the 'Infinity-O Display'. The Galaxy A8s also features a triple rear camera setup. For now, some specifications of the Galaxy A9 Pro (2019) remain undisclosed, but we can expect more near the sale date - February 28.
Huawei sub-brand Honor finally unveiled the View 20 smartphone. The global variant of the Honor V20, the Honor View 20 was launched at an event in Paris on Tuesday. Notably, India pre-bookings are already open, and the Honor View 20 has a scheduled launch date for the country as well - January 29. For now, an India price is not known - in Europe, it was launched at EUR 569 (roughly Rs. 46,100) for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option, going up to EUR 649 (roughly Rs. 52,500) for the 8GB RAM + 256GB storage option available only in the Moschino Co-Design edition. Notably, a report from earlier this month had tipped the Honor View 20 price in India will be set at around Rs. 40,000.
Vivo this week also showcased the Vivo Apex 2019, its new concept smartphone with a 'super unibody' design that features no ports, no physical buttons, no selfie camera, a dual rear camera, and 5G support. The company says it will be further showcased at MWC 2019, but noted this is just a concept. The Vivo Apex 2019 uses pressure and gestures for quick actions - the company is calling this Touch Sense. Like the previous Apex smartphone, the Apex 2019 has an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and it is said to have a coverage area of nearly the entire screen. The phone features MagPort magnetic pins at the back that allow for charging and data transfer. The display is the speaker on the Vivo Apex 2019, using what the company calls Body SoundCasting technology. So far, the company has not detailed if there is a selfie camera at all on the smartphone, and it may be a pop-up camera, and more details can be expected at MWC next month. As for specifications, the Vivo Apex 2019 concept phone has Snapdragon 855 SoC, 256GB of storage, and 12GB RAM.
LG this week also revealed it would be launching a 5G smartphone at MWC 2019 next month, and it would be powered by a Snapdragon 855 SoC and feature a vapour chamber cooling system. The company has not confirmed if this would be the LG G8, some other flagship level offering, or a prototype. LG says the smartphone will sport a 4,000mAh battery. The company is also touting software optimisation that will enable low battery drain on 5G-connected apps.
Meizu this week unveiled the Meizu Zero, another concept-style smartphone that features no ports, physical buttons, or even a SIM card slot. The Meizu Zero uses an eSIM, and bears pressure sensitive buttons. The smartphone is charged through wireless charging, and the company says users will have to use Bluetooth audio accessories as there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. The smartphone is IP68 dust and water-resistant, and the screen also serves as speaker and earpiece. It bears a 5.99-inch Super AMOLED display, and is powered by a Snapdragon 845 SoC. There is a dual rear camera setup, and a selfie camera with Face Unlock support.
Finally, in the list of concept phones, Xiaomi this week showed off a double foldable smartphone prototype, which folds from both the left side and right side in tablet mode to form a smaller phone-like profile. Shown off on video by Xiaomi President and Co-Founder Bin Lin, the foldable smartphone looks impressively compact when folded. Lin says the smartphone uses 'four wheel drive foldable shaft' technology to achieve the form factor, claiming it is the world's first smartphone with a double-folding design.
Fellow Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo has sent out invites for its pre-MWC 2019 launch event, in which it teases a new optical zoom technology that can be expected to be shown off at the trade fair. Featuring the hashtag #GetCloser, the invite details the event is on February 23. Beyond the hashtag, the reason why we think the launch will include 10x optical zoom tech is an announcement earlier this month when the company teased the technology for introduction at MWC. Notably, Oppo recently also teased a new in-screen fingerprint sensor technology that uses a larger area of the display, and this tech can also be expected to be introduced at the trade fair.
HMD Global this week sent invites to its pre-MWC 2019 launch event, which is set for February 24. The company is anticipated to launch its long-awaited Nokia 9 Pureview smartphone at the event, with the Nokia 6 (2019) and the Nokia 1 Plus now expected to be launched alongside.
Stepping away from phone launches, we see that HMD Global, the Nokia brand licensee, this week started rolling out the Android 9.0 Pie update to the Nokia 5 smartphone. Separately, the company revealed the full roadmap of Android Pie updates for its entire lineup. Conspicuously though, the Nokia 2 was the only smartphone missing in the roadmap, something the company cleared up soon after in the week, saying the Nokia 2's Android 8.1 Oreo update will be rolled out soon, but users should expect a slight drop in performance.
Another smartphone update that was in the news this week was iOS 12.1.3. The update was released earlier this week, and brought bug fixes for iPhone, iPad Pro, and the HomePod. Unfortunately for some users however, the update brought reports connectivity issues on some networks - specifically, complaints originated from AT&T and Sprint users in the US.
Next up, is the Realme U1 - the popular budget smartphone from the Oppo spin-off brand - which received a software update this week that brought the January 2019 Android security patch as well as camera improvements. With the update, the Realme U1's front camera gets improved HDR effects, the rear camera gets improved quality of 'blue sky graying' on the rear camera, and also improved outdoor portraits. The ColorOS update is rolling in a 'staged rollout', which means it will first be made available to a limited to a small number of users before being slowly expanded to a wider audience.
The popular budget smartphone from Asus, the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, also received a software update this week. The update brings along the January 2019 Android security patch, apart from system stability updates. The company clarified that the update will be rolling out in phases. The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 is scheduled to receive its Android 9.0 Pie update in February.
Lastly, a Counterpoint Research report was released this week with market share figures for smartphone, feature phone, and overall handset shipments in the country for Q4 2018 as well as the whole year. The report noted that Reliance Jio was the overall handset leader this year, with a 21 percent share, thanks to complete domination of the feature phone segment with the Jio Phone and Jio Phone 2. Jio is said to have captured a 38 percent market share for both the whole year and Q4. In terms of smartphone, Xiaomi continued to lead in the fourth quarter - constituting 27 percent of the total smartphone shipments - as well as the whole year, where it is said to have gained a 28 percent share.
As for mobile leaks this past week, there were quite a few significant ones surrounding anticipated smartphones - these include the Redmi Go, which had a few details tipped by a promotion in the Philippines, such as a photo and key specifications. The first Android Go smartphone from Xiaomi, the Redmi Go was seen to sport a 5-inch HD display, and be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 428 SoC coupled with 1GB of RAM. Motorola also managed to list its upcoming Moto G7-Series, expected to launch in Brazil on February 7, on its own website. By doing this, the Lenovo-owned company managed to reveal the specifications and images of the Moto G7, Moto G7 Plus, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power.
Of course, mobile leaks this week included multiple rumours for Samsung's upcoming flagship lineup - the Samsung Galaxy S10 series. Leaks this week tipped design details of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ via leaked photographs. The Galaxy S10+ was separately rumoured to offer reverse wireless charging and sport a 4,100mAh battery. Reports of a Samsung Blockchain Keystore cryptocurrency wallet also emerged. Another leak tipped the prices, colour options, and storage variants of all three models - including the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ was reported to be called the Galaxy S10 Pro this year, another leak claimed. Finally, leaks this week also saw details emerge about the in-display fingerprint Samsung's rumoured to employ on the Galaxy S10. A ceramic variant and storage details were also tipped.
The LG G8 flagship smartphone, which is expected to be launched at MWC 2019, was also in leaks this week. A press render of the smartphone was leaked to the Internet, and showed details like a dual rear camera setup, a notched display, and a dedicated Google Assistant button. The same leak also detailed the smartphone's dimensions.
Finally, in terms of mobile leaks, a leaked build of Android Q made its way into the hands of some developers, who took it apart to note the new features that may make their way into the stable build later this year. These new features included native support for facial recognition, WPA3 security, and native screen recording. Analysis of a leaked build last week showed features like a system-wide dark mode, new notification gestures, and more privacy controls.
We now come to the telecom news of the week, and all the usual suspects had announcements to make. Reliance Jio this week announced two new recharges for Jio Phone users - namely, the Rs. 297 and Rs. 594 recharges. Vodafone announced a Rs. 24 recharge that's meant to extend the validity of prepaid accounts by 28 days. Airtel also announced a Rs. 1,699 annual prepaid plan that provides 1GB of data per day and unlimited voice calls for 365 days.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the state-owned telecom operator, had several announcements this week. These include a Rs. 269 recharge on the occasion of Republic Day, a reduction of validity on its Rs. 99 recharge and a reported increase in its SIM replacement cost, as well as a new Rs. 899 recharge that gives 1.5GB of data a day for 180 days. Finally, the telco also unveiled its own fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service called Bharat Fiber, expected to take on Jio Gigafiber.
In other news, Xiaomi this week launched ShareSave in India, an e-commerce platform that aims to make it easier for people in the country to buy Xiaomi ecosystem products that are not yet available in the region. It uses a social e-commerce model, giving the best deal when products are purchased by friends and families. For now, only an Android app is available, but an iOS and Web version can be expected. The e-commerce platform will initially be available in India, but will soon be expanded to other countries, Xiaomi said.
Next up, the upcoming generation of game consoles - expected in 2020 - received one of their biggest leaks this week. Sony's anticipated PS5 is said to have a CPU with 8 custom cores, a custom Navi architecture for the GPU, 12GB of GDDR6 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a price of $399 (around Rs. 28,500). The Next Xbox is said to have similar specifications, with differences such as more RAM (16GB GDDR6), a 1TB NVMe SSD, and a price of $499 (around Rs. 35,600). A Next Xbox streaming console was also leaked in the latest report.
This week, Google parent Alphabet revealed that its AI-focused DeepMind business had created an AI that managed to defeat two of the top pro StarCraft II players 10-1 - yet another feather in the hat of artificial intelligence.
In other gaming news, Rovio - the makers of the Angry Birds game franchise - launched yet another game in the series. Called Angry Birds Dream Blast, the game is a puzzle-based offering similar to Candy Crush Saga
Finally, PUBG Corp, the developer of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - popularly known as PUBG - launched an open beta of PUBG Lite, a free-to-play version of the battle royale game that has been optimised for low-end PCs. Only available in Thailand for now, we can expect the version to be made available in other emerging markets soon, removing the entry barrier to game that is normally a paid offering on PCs.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) this week also managed to successfully launch the Kalamsat and Microsat-R satellites into their orbits, using a new variant of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, called the PSLV-DL