This week kicked off with a highly anticipated launch - the Xiaomi Redmi 4A. Xiaomi has launched the Redmi 4A in India at Rs. 5,999, the latest model in the company's low-cost, entry-level smartphone series. Sporting a polycarbonate body, the dual-SIM Xiaomi Redmi 4A runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Redmi 4A sports a 5-inch 720x1280 pixels display, and powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM.
Along with the Redmi 4A India launch, the company teased that the launch of the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime in the country is imminent. Xiaomi Redmi 4A customers on Idea will get 1GB data per day, with a RS. 343 recharge, and after the launch, the phone went on sale on Thursday. Xiaomi said that the first sale of the phone sold 250,000 units in four minutes, on Amazon India and Mi.com.
That's just one of the news highlights from this week though - keep reading to know what else has been happening.
As predicted, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus red variants have been launched by Apple, officially called the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED. These red coloured iPhones have been launched in India as well, with prices same as other iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models of the same capacity.
Apple has also doubled the storage capacities on the two iPhone SE variants - from 16GB and 64GB, to 32GB and 128GB respectively while retaining their price tags in the US, with prices starting at Rs. 27,200 (MRP).
Apart from that, on Thursday we saw the launch of the Oppo F3 Plus (Review), which has a dual-selfie camera. The phone was launched at an event in New Delhi, but it will go on sale from April 1. Preorders have begun however, and will continue until March 31.
The highlight of the Oppo F3 Plus is its dual-selfie camera, which has one 16-megapixel and one 8-megapixel sensor. Users can choose which lens they want to use, and, the smartphone comes with a Smart Facial Recognition feature that Oppo says automatically suggests which lens is ideal.
Google meanwhile launched the newest version of Android, as a developer preview. Android O Developer Preview 1 has been released for developers and device makers and brings in a lot of new features, such as background limits, notification channels, standard autofill APIs, picture-in-picture video, adaptive icons, as well as support for multi-display.
While not all Android O features have been revealed with the developer preview, this does give us an idea at what Google is focussing at with the next major build of its mobile OS. For one, it's bringing tighter control over battery usage, and notification channels would give developers more control over the type of notification content. Adaptive icons can display various shapes, and animate interactions with icons. Other changes include improved keyboard navigation, and picture-in-picture mode.
On the international front, there was one development that many were not expecting. At the start of the week, the US issued a ban on certain electronic items in the cabin on flights from the Middle East. A day later a similar ban was issued by the UK, which came into effect from Saturday. No US carriers are affected, but the ban hits passengers on approximately 50 flights per day from the busiest hubs in the Arab world and the three Gulf carriers that recently emerged as giants: Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways.
Reaction from the affected airports' host governments was generally low-key, and Emirates turned the situation into a light-hearted ad extolling the strengths of its in-flight entertainment, entitled: "Who needs a laptop?" But one government, Turkey, denounced the order and demanded that it be rescinded or scaled back.
There were also a number of smartphone launches through the week. The Intex Aqua 4G Mini has been made available in black and red colour variants. The budget smartphone comes with VoLTE support and is priced at Rs. 4,199. It packs a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 1450mAh battery. After launching the Vdeo 3 and Vdeo 4 smartphones in India, Micromax has further expanded the Vdeo series to launch the Micromax Spark Vdeo smartphone. Like other phones in the Vdeo series, this comes with Google Duo preloaded, and is priced at Rs. 4,499.
We also saw the launch of the Zen Admire Swadesh, with support for 22 Indian languages, 4G VoLTE support, priced at Rs. 4,990, and the Karbonn Aura Sleek 4G, which launched at Rs. 5,290. Aside from these, we also saw a couple of [mid-range launches from Lava - the Lava Z10 and the Lava Z25, priced at Rs. 11,500 and Rs. 18,000, respectively. The LG Stylus 3 rounds this out priced at Rs. 18,500, with an HD display, 16GB storage, a 1.5GHz processor and 3GB of RAM.
In China, the Nubia M2, Nubia M2 Lite, and Nubia N2 smartphones were launched. The M2 and M2 Lite, which have been priced starting at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs. 27,000) and CNY 1,799 (roughly Rs. 18,000) respectively will be available soon, while the Nubia N2, which has been priced at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 19,000), will be available from April 8. And in Taiwan, Panasonic has now launched the Eluga Pure. The budget device is only available in Taiwan for now, and is priced at TWD 4,990 (roughly Rs. 10,700).
Apart from the launches, there was also a leak about the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The two phones are set to launch in under a week, and a new leaked teaser hints at features such as iris scanning, and also a look at the retail box. Meanwhile, Samsung Pay has been officially launched in India - you can now save your credit and debit cards to select Samsung phones, and use them to pay at any card terminal, not just updated NFC terminals.
India may soon issue chip-enabled passports with high security features, as the government has given approval for procurement of electronic contactless inlays for manufacturing of e-passports. However, this week also included news of a major data leak from the government. A simple Google search revealed a lot of personal data, including peoples' full names, parents names, birthdates, bank account numbers and IFSC codes.
These were some of the most noteworthy developments that took place this week. Tell us what you think about all this via the comments.