Samsung Galaxy S10 series launch, Vivo V15 Pro India arrival, Mi 9 unveiling, Oppo 10x lossless zoom as well as its 5G smartphone announcement, Redmi Note 7 India launch date, Realme 3's scheduled unveiling for India, and WhatsApp's Touch/ Face ID security flaw, were amongst the biggest pieces of news this week. Samsung on Wednesday launched the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e flagship smartphones. Alongside, it also unveiled its first foldable smartphone - the Galaxy Fold - as well as the Galaxy Buds true wireless earbuds, Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, and Galaxy Fit wearables.
The Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e were launched at an event in San Francisco. The smartphones are the South Korean consumer electronics giant's flagship series for 2019, and they all feature Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Displays with a 'hole-punch' selfie camera design, dual and triple rear camera setups, apart from top-end silicon (the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Samsung Exynos 9820 SoCs). The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ also bear ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors, while the Galaxy S10e has a more conventional capacitive fingerprint sensor on the power button. Alongside its flagship series, Samsung also unveiled its first 5G smartphone - the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G - which is more than just a 5G variant, and contains a quad rear camera setup.
Shortly after the US launch, the Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e price in India was revealed. The Samsung Galaxy S10 price in India starts at Rs. 66,900 for the 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant, going up to Rs. 84,900 for the 8GB RAM/ 512GB storage variant. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ price in India starts at Rs. 73,900 for the 8GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant, going up to Rs. 91,900 for the 8GB RAM/ 512GB storage variant, and Rs. 1,17,900 for the 12GB RAM/ 1TB storage variant. The Samsung Galaxy S10e price in India is set at Rs. 55,900 for the single 6GB RAM + 128GB storage variant launched in India. Pre-orders are now open via Samsung's site, major e-commerce sites, as well as select retail outlets, with pre-booking offers, and they will go on sale in the country from March 8. The Airtel Online Store has also started taking pre-orders, starting at a down payment of Rs. 9,099.
Coming to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the company's first foldable smartphone, Samsung has set an April 26 release date in limited markets. The Samsung Galaxy Fold price starts at $1,980 (roughly Rs. 1,41,300), while it will be available in both 4G LTE and 5G variants. It features an unspecified 7nm processor, expected to be the Snapdragon 855, and two display panels - the inner 7.3-inch Flex Dynamic AMOLED panel and the outer 4.6-inch Super AMOLED panel. It runs on 12GB of RAM, and comes with 512GB of inbuilt storage. It runs on a 4,380mAh dual-battery setup, sports a total of six cameras, and foregoes both the microSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack.
As we mentioned, Xiaomi this week announced the Redmi Note 7 India launch date. To recall, the Redmi Note 7 was first unveiled in January in China as the first smartphone in the new independent Redmi brand. The smartphone will be launched in India on February 28, and thanks to the teasers the company has been leaving behind, it appears Xiaomi will launch the Redmi Note 7 Pro in India alongside the Redmi Note 7. The Redmi Note 7 Pro will be launched in China next week, something Xiaomi also announced this week past, while also hinting at its price.
Next, we come to the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 9 flagship smartphone, which was unveiled on the same day as the Samsung Galaxy S10. The company also launched the Mi 9 Transparent Edition, as well as the Mi 9 SE. The Mi 9 price starts at CNY 2,999 (roughly Rs. 31,800). Apart from support for fast wired and wireless charge, the Xiaomi Mi 9's highlights include a waterdrop-shaped notch on its 6.39-inch full-HD+ display, a triple rear camera setup, an in-display fingerprint sensor, the octa-core Snapdragon 855 SoC, a triple rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary sensor, and a 20-megapixel selfie camera. It is powered by a 3,300mAh battery.
Now, we come to the launch of Oppo's 10x lossless zoom camera tech, which was unveiled on Saturday at a pre-MWC 2019 event in Barcelona. Oppo has used a triple rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary camera, a 16mm focal length 120-degree ultra wide-angle camera, and a 160mm telephoto camera that also bears a periscope-style lens setup. The first smartphone with the tech has been announced to arrive in Q2 2019. At the same event, Oppo announced its first 5G smartphone, but beyond detailing that it will be powered by a Snapdragon 855 SoC, didn't have much to reveal about its price, release date, or other specifications.
Another India launch this week was in the form of the 6GB RAM variant of the Nokia 6.1 Plus. To recall, the Nokia 6.1 Plus was launched in its 4GB RAM + 64GB inbuilt storage variant back in August in India, at Rs. 15,999. Now, HMD Global - the Nokia brand licensee - has released the 6GB RAM variant with the same amount of storage, priced at Rs. 18,499.
LG, ahead of MWC 2019, launched three mid-range smartphones - the LG Q60, LG K50, and LG K40. As usual with its global launches, the South Korean company has yet to detail pricing or availability, and says it will announce them locally for individual markets. Highlights of the smartphones include triple and double rear camera setups, waterdrop-shaped display notches, and MIL-STD 810G military-grade durability ratings.
Qualcomm ahead of MWC 2019 unveiled the Snapdragon X55, its second-generation 5G smartphone modem. It has been fabricated on a 7nm process and supports networks from 2G to 5G, promising downloads of up to 7Gbps and uploads of up to 3Gbps. It also features improved power efficiency compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon X50.
Next up, we come to the Vivo V15 Pro launch in India, which saw the latest pop-up selfie camera smartphone from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer priced at Rs. 28,990 and receive a March 6 release date in the country. The pop-up front camera bears a 32-megapixel sensor, while the smartphone bears a triple rear camera setup helmed by a 48-megapixel primary sensor, and is powered by a Snapdragon 675 SoC coupled with 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM. It features a 6.39-inch Ultra FullView Super AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Another highlight is its in-display fingerprint sensor.
While we are on the topic of the Vivo V15 Pro, we may as well discuss a leak this week that claimed the Vivo V15 - a pared down variant of the smartphone - would be launched in India on Monday, February 25. It's said to be priced lower at between Rs. 22,000 and Rs. 25,000, and feature near identical specifications, with the exceptions of a lower resolution primary camera in its triple rear camera setup, an LCD display, a MediaTek Helio P70 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel. Speaking of Vivo launches, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer this week launched the Vivo U1, a smartphone that just happens to be a China variant of the Vivo Y95 that has already made its way to India.
Next up, Oppo spinoff brand Realme has announced the launch of its next flagship in India - the Realme 3. It is due to be unveiled on March 4. A teaser separately tipped the smartphone would sport a vertical dual rear camera setup, and it appears a diamond cut case design will be unveiled for it. A rumour this week also tipped it would be launched in two variants globally - featuring a MediaTek Helio P60 or Helio P70 processor, with the latter expected in India.
HMD Global this week also dropped a teaser for the expected Nokia 9 PureView launch on Sunday - posting a camera sample of an upcoming Nokia smartphone on Instagram. The camera sample, despite being compressed for the photo-sharing network, showed impressive dynamic range and colour accuracy, which are are testament to the prowess of the much-anticipated penta-lens camera setup of the smartphone. While we are on the topic of HMD Global and Nokia 9 PureView, it would be wise to discuss a leak this week that tipped HMD Global would be launching the Nokia 4.2, Nokia 3.2, and Nokia 1 Plus at its MWC 2019 event on Sunday.
While we are talking about Nokia's upcoming launches, we may as well also touch upon the numerous other pieces of news that HMD Global made headlines with this week - all related to updates. The Nokia 2.1 got its Android Pie update, the Nokia 2 got its optional Android 8.1 Oreo update, the Nokia 8 got its Android Pie update, while the Nokia 6 (2017) also received its Android Pie update.
Vivo earlier this month announced a premium smartphone brand named iQoo, and this week, it released several teasers about what the first smartphone - as yet unnamed - would bring, including the Snapdragon 855, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of inbuilt storage, a 4,000mAh battery with 44W fast charging support, a USB Type-C port, NFC connectivity, in-display fingerprint sensor, and Super HDR camera technology.
The Oppo F11 Pro was announced this week as due to launch in India on March 5. The company had already detailed a few features and specifications, such as a dual camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor and 5-megapixel secondary sensor, a pop-up selfie camera, a Super Night Mode, VOOC 3.0 fast charging support, and a 3D gradient casing. The smartphone also made an appearance in a leaked hands-on video that showed off its gradient back panel.
While we are on the topic of Oppo in India, the Chinese smartphone company also dropped the price of the Oppo F9 Pro, which can be considered the predecessor of the Oppo F11 Pro. While the company didn't confirm the price cut itself, it was noted by an established offline retailer and spotted on two separate e-commerce outlets as well. To recall, the smartphone was launched in India back in August last year.
Sony this week teased that at MWC 2019, it would unveil a 'new perspective' - hinting at the rumoured 21:9 CinemaWide display. The taller-than-usual display is expected to be launched on the Xperia 1, Xperia 10, Xperia 10 Plus - three smartphones anticipated to be unveiled at Sony's Monday, February 25 event. These three smartphones were earlier tipped to be called the Xperia XZ4, Xperia XA3, and Xperia XA3 Ultra. Alongside, the Xperia L3 is also anticipated to be unveiled, while another leak this week detailed the price, specifications, and release date of all four smartphones.
Chinese electronics giant Lenovo this week teased it would be launching the Lenovo Z6 Pro at MWC 2019, but didn't provide launch date. We'll have to wait for the mobile trade fair to learn more about this. Another Chinese electronics giant, ZTE, this week also revealed it would be launching a 5G smartphone with the top-end Snapdragon 855 SoC at MWC - at an event set for February 25.
Samsung this week also announced it would launching the third smartphone in its India-first Galaxy M series in India on Wednesday, February 27. Called the Samsung Galaxy M30, the smartphone has been leaked on multiple occasions in the past. Adding fuel to the fire, Samsung may have also let slip that is new Galaxy A series smartphones would be launched in India on February 28. The first smartphone in this series is expected to be the Galaxy A50 - and it too has been leaked several times in the past week.
Next, we come to a bunch of leaks. Vivo was spotted to have trademarked a number of phone names, namely, the Vivo X31, Vivo X33, Vivo X35, Vivo X37, Vivo V17, Vivo V19, Vivo V21, Vivo V23, Vivo V25, Vivo Y40, Vivo Y50, Vivo Y60, Vivo Y80, and Vivo Y90. A couple of OnePlus 7 image leaks made their way to the Web.
A couple of MWC 2019 leaks also hit the Internet this week, with one showing off Huawei anticipated foldable smartphone, now said to be called the Mate X, thanks to a hoarding being spotted. The Alcatel brand's MWC 2019 plans may have been derailed as well, thanks to an extensive leak by prolific tipster Evan Blass, who detailed specifications of the Alcatel 1S, 1V, 3C, 3L, 3V, and 3 smartphones.
Getting to telecom news, Reliance Jio this week launched a new app for Android - Jio Group Talk - which enables conference calls for up to 10 users. The telco also updated its Jio TV app for Android and iOS, bringing a new interface and other features.
In more telecom news, BSNL launched its Rs. 349 recharge plan with 1GB daily data, unlimited voice calls, and 100 SMS messages per day with a validity of 64 days. The telco also revised its Rs. 98 recharge to offer 2GB data per day and an Eros Now subscription, with a validity of 24 days.
TRAI this week released its telecom subscriber figures for the month of January, revealing that Reliance Jio added 85 lakh subscribers in the period, while Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea all lost subscribers. A report by Tutela claimed that Reliance Jio led in terms of overall network quality, while Airtel shone in terms of 4G download speeds. Finally, ACT Fibernet started offering 100GB of additional data to select users, and also started offering an Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote to subscribers of certain plans.
In other major news this week, WhatsApp patched a major security flaw in its iOS app. Discovered earlier this week, the patch bypassed the newly introduced Face ID and Touch ID based authentication system.
WhatsApp's parent company, Facebook, decided to finally remove its controversial Onavo Protect VPN app that had been accused of data collection. To recall, the company pulled the app from the App Store back in August last year, thanks to tighter rules by Apple.
With Galaxy Fold, has Samsung kicked off a revolution in smartphone tech? 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.