Photo Credit: WinFuture
OnePlus 7 Pro teasers and leaks as well as Pixel 3a launch with other Google I/O announcements dominated the tech news cycle this week. Nokia 4.2 India release, Realme X debut date reveal, and Xiaomi India's triple camera smartphone launch teaser were some of the other developments that captured the headlines. Lastly, TikTok made its way back to the top of app stores in India and WhatsApp confirmed that it will end the support for Windows Phone devices by year-end. Read on to find out this week's biggest tech news happenings.
OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 are all set to make their official debut on May 14 and as we head closer to the launch day, the company has been releasing new teasers for the OnePlus 7 Pro to hype the smartphone. During the week, the Chinese smartphone maker revealed that the OnePlus 7 Pro will feature an HDR10+ certified display, making it one of the few phones to support the technology. Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ phones also pack HDR10+ certified screen.
OnePlus also announced that OnePlus 7 Pro will be the first smartphone to pack UFS 3.0 storage. The company founder claimed that the presence of UFS 3.0 will enable the OnePlus 7 Pro to be faster than comparable smartphones. Additionally, the company said the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 phone will get Android Q beta in the weeks after their launch. OnePlus did not offer an exact date. It already provides the Android Q beta for OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 phones.
In an official announcement, the smartphone maker touted the support for Netflix HDR on its upcoming OnePlus 7 Pro smartphone. It will hardly be the first phone to get the feature, as pretty much major flagship phone supports the same. While announcing the support for Netflix HDR, the company published two posters of the season 2 of Netflix's Sacred Games Web series. These posters feature the stars of the series, Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, reprising their roles as Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde respectively.
As if the teasers weren't enough, OnePlus 7 Pro also appeared in a number of leaks this week. One such leak divulged the full specifications of the phone, whereas the other hinted at the Europe price of the smartphone. To recall, OnePlus 7 Pro is rumoured to be coming with a 6.67-inch (1440x3120 pixels) Fluid AMOELD display with 516ppi pixel density, and 90Hz maximum refresh rate. The phone will powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, pack up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of onboard storage. Additionally, the phone is said to be coming with a triple rear camera setup on the back.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is tipped to be priced starting EUR 699 (roughly Rs. 54,700) in Europe. As per a tipster, the 6GB RAM variant of the phone will only be released in Mirror Grey colour option at launch, while the 12GB variant will just be available in Nebula Blue colour option. The OnePlus 7 Pro 8GB RAM option, however, will arrive in all three colours – Nebula Blue, Mirror Grey, and Almond.
After months of leaks and rumours, Google finally unveiled the new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones at the company's I/O 2019 developer conference. The company's first foray in the mid-range segment with its own branded phones, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, feature an interesting set of specifications, but the biggest highlight of the phones is their camera setup. Google has added the same camera in the Pixel 3a phones as its flagship Pixel 3. Although the new phones lack Pixel Visual Core chip, the company says it has made enough AI and machine learning progress that Pixel 3a owners won't be disappointed with the camera.
While the Pixel 3a phones are already on sale in markets like the United States, they will reach India on May 15. The company has priced the Pixel 3a at Rs. 39,999 and Pixel 3a XL at Rs. 44,999. The registrations are now open on Flipkart.com. There has been some outrage on social media over the India pricing of the Pixel 3a phones when Google is selling the phones for starting at $399 (roughly Rs. 28,000) plus taxes in the US. This is hardly new and has almost always been the case. Hopefully, the phones will see some price cuts over the coming weeks and months, making them more enticing for the prospective buyers.
In terms of the specifications, Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL come with Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. There is a single 12.2-megapixel Dual-Pixel Sony IMX363 sensor on the back and an 8-megapixel sensor on the front. Additionally, the phones come with the usual set of connectivity options, full-HD+ screens, and Android 9 Pie.
Apart from the Pixel 3a smartphones, Google has also made a number of announcements at the I/O 2019, including the latest beta of Android Q. Google previewed the next-generation Assistant, which will be debuting on the Pixel 4 phones later this year and will then arrive on older Pixel phones and third-party Android devices. The company also stated that it will soon be adding support for UPI payments in the Google Play Store and will start rolling out cash support for in-app purchases in select markets. Google Play users in Japan and Mexico can already use cash to top-up their Google Play balance.
Privacy was a buzzword for Google at the developer conference and the company promised to do better in all of its services and apps. The company is bringing Incognito mode for Google Maps as well as Google Search and it will make Google Account more accessible in its apps. Google Chrome will also be getting improved cookies controls and the company will be more transparent about how users' data is being used to target advertisements.
After over two months of introducing the Nokia 4.2 at the Mobile World Congress 2019, HMD Global launched the smartphone in India. The phone has been priced at Rs. 10,990, and is currently available via the company's online store. The availability will expand to select Croma, Reliance, Sangeetha, and other stores on May 14, before being available everywhere on May 21.
The Nokia 4.2 is an Android One smartphone and comes with a 5.71-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) screen. It is powered by octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 SoC, paired with Adreno 505 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Other specifications of the phone include a 13-megapixel primary camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor with an f/2.2 lens. There is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter on the front as well with an f/2.0 lens.
Xiaomi started teasing a new smartphone launch this week. The company was quite cryptic in its teaser and didn't reveal much, however given the presence of triple cameras in the promotional poster, it is believed that company may release a triple rear camera smartphone in India. Xiaomi had earlier announced that it will soon be bringing a smartphone powered by Qualcomm's brand-new Snapdragon 730 or Snapdragon 730G processor in the country. It is quite possible that the upcoming triple camera phone is powered by one of the above two processors.
Meanwhile, Redmi executives in China continue to hype the upcoming announcement of Redmi flagship. The phone is largely believed to be coming next week, however the company is yet to announce an official release date. Redmi flagship has long been anticipated by the company's fans and it will be using Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 SoC.
Realme finally confirmed that it will unveil the much touted Realme X smartphone in China on May 15. The smartphone will be joined by Realme X Youth Edition, which is said to be a rebranded version of Realme 3 Pro. Leaks indicate that the Realme X will be powered by one of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 700-series SoC and will include a 48-megapixel camera sensor on the back. The company will reportedly be offering three variants of the phone – one with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, and the last with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage.
After being available on Amazon India for some time, Huawei P30 Lite is all set to make its offline debut. The company stated this week that Huawei P30 Lite will become available to buy beginning May 17 via Croma and Poorvika stores as well. To recall, Huawei has priced the P30 Lite at Rs. 19,990 for its base 4GB RAM + 128GB variant, whereas the 6GB RAM + 128GB variant carries a price tag of Rs. 22,990.
Quietly introduced by Huawei a day after the Paris unveiling of P30 and P30 Pro, the P30 Lite smartphone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0.1 on top. It features a 6.15-inch full-HD+ (1080x2312 pixels) LCD display and is powered by an octa-core HilSilicon Kirin 710. Further, Huawei has added a triple rear camera setup on the back of the phone and a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
Huawei also launched the new P Smart Z smartphone this week. The phone is all set to go on sale in the Europe over the coming weeks. The phone carries a price tag of EUR 279.90 (roughly Rs. 21,700) and will be offered in three colour options. Huawei has not said anything about the phone's availability outside Europe at this point. Huawei P Smart Z is a mid-range smartphone with specifications like HiSilicon Kirin 710F processor, 4GB of RAM, 4,000mAh battery, dual rear cameras, and 6.59-inch full-HD+ screen.
In other Huawei news, the company also announced the first batch of Huawei and Honor phones that will be getting the Android Q update. The smartphones are Huawei Mate 20, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Huawei Mate 20X, Huawei Mate 20RS Porsche Design, Huawei P30, Huawei P30 Pro, Honor V20 (View 20), and Honor Magic 2. As you can expect, the Android Q software of the aforementioned phones will include EMUI on top, however it is a mystery exactly which version of the EMUI smartphone owners will be getting.
Moving to the telecom news, there were two major Airtel developments this week. The wireless carrier quietly revamped some of its postpaid/ prepaid recharge plans and it finally began offering Live TV on the Web version of its streaming platform. The operator discontinued its cheapest, Rs. 399 postpaid plan, and replaced it with Rs. 499 plan. Similarly, Rs. 999 Airtel postpaid plan has been upgraded for a total of five connections along with benefits such as a 150GB data and unlimited voice calling benefits. Airtel has also revised the Rs. 1,599 plan with unlimited data and voice calling.
In terms of the prepaid plans, Airtel's Rs. 129 prepaid plan now offers 2GB data per day and can be grabbed in the open market. Earlier, the prepaid plan was only being offered to select users. Further, the operator also revised the Rs. 249 prepaid plan to offer Rs 4 lakh life cover from HDFC Life or from Bharti AXA. The plan also includes 2GB data per day, unlimited calls, and 100 SMS messages per day for a validity of 28 days.
Airtel TV platform, which had appeared on the Web a while back, is now providing access to Live TV channels on its platform as well. Earlier, the users only had access to live TV on Airtel TV mobile apps. The Airtel TV Web version can currently be accessed on Airtel Xstream website. Some of the content that is available in the mobile apps is currently missing from the Web version, but that is expected to change over the coming months.
In other telecom news, Vodafone started providing the doorstep delivery of 4G SIM card to consumers if they pay Rs. 249 online as the first recharge. The Vodafone Rs. 249 prepaid pack includes 1.5GB data per day, unlimited local and STD calls, free local as well as STD SMS messages. The validity of this plan is 28 days. The doorstep delivery of the SIM card will be free.
BSNL also revised a couple of its prepaid recharge plans this week. The state-run operator's Rs. 198 prepaid recharge now offers 2GB of data per day for a validity of 54 days, instead of 1.5GB of data per day for a validity of 28 days. The Rs. 47 voucher, on the other hand, has been expanded to include data benefits, whereas it was only a talk-time recharge earlier. The consumers will get 1GB of data and unlimited local and STD calls for a validity of 9 days with BSNL's Rs. 47 voucher.
In entertainment news, the second Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer dropped this week, which was immediately followed up by another clip. The new trailer gave us a glimpse of Spider-Man's post Endgame future. Spider-Man: Far From Home will release July 5 in India, after opening on July 2 in the US. The movie features Tom Holland as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, Zendaya as MJ, Cobie Smulders as former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, and Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/ Vulture.
A report revealed earlier this week that Game of Thrones and Bodyguard star Richard Madden is in talks to star in the lead opposite Angelina Jolie in Marvel's The Eternals movie. Madden is said to be in discussion for the role of Ikaris. The Eternals is one of several films that forms part of Marvel's post Avengers: Endgame slate, known as Phase Four. There is no release date for the film right now.
In gaming news, Fortnite Season 9 arrived this week. The Season 9 has added new locations as well as it brings new Battle Pass with a host of freebies such as exclusive costumes, weapons, and more. As for the other changes introduced by Fortnite's Season 9, the studio has included a new way of transportation called Slipstream, a new combat shotgun, and ‘Fortbytes', which are essentially collectibles that can be used to unlock exclusive rewards.
Electronic Arts announced that it is getting ready to launch the mobile version of Apex Legends, a battle royale version of its Battlefield V game. The studio did not share any specifics at this point. It also said that it is in advanced talks to lauch Apex Legends in China. Apex Legends had attracted 50 million players just a month after its launch in February and the company had said that millions more have signed up since then.
In other news, WhatApp stated that it will end support for all versions of Windows Phone platform on December 31, 2019, which means beginning the next year, the Windows Phone users won't be able to use WhatsApp. To recall, WhatsApp stopped working for Windows Phone 7 back at the end of 2016. For other older platforms, WhatsApp will stop working on Android (v2.3.7 and older) and iOS (iOS 7 and older) on February 1, 2020.
Lastly, TikTok revealed this week that its app is back on top of the app stores in India after remaining unavailable for download for almost a fortnight. TikTok reclaimed the top free app spot on Apple App Store and the top free app spot in the "social" category on the Google Play store. To recall, Madras High Court had last month passed an interim order banning TikTok in the country citing inappropriate and pornographic content.
Has Google Pixel 3a's pricing ruined its prospects in India? 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.