Poco X2 launch date announcement and the news of Realme C3's arrival next week were two of the biggest tech developments that took place this week. Additionally, Samsung launched its Galaxy A51 smartphone in the country and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the union budget with a number of announcements for the technology sector. Further, WhatsApp stopped working on older Android and iPhone models. Read on for more on these and other major tech news stories from this week.
After a long wait, Poco is ready to launch a new smartphone, however, all signs indicate that we aren't going to get a Poco F1 successor just yet. The Xiaomi spin-off brand revealed this week that it will launch Poco X2 on February 4 as its next phone. Poco X2 is believed to be a rebranded Redmi K30 4G variant that is a mid-range smartphone. Although Poco X2 is yet to be officially unveiled, all the teasers that the brand has released until this point indicate the Redmi K30 4G variant rebranding bit is credible.
As mentioned, Poco India has announced that it is hosting a press event on February 4 where it will be unveiling the Poco X2. The launch event will take place in New Delhi and will kick off at 12pm on the day. It is likely to be streamed live on YouTube and other social media channels.
Whether or not Poco X2 turns out to Redmi K30 4G variant, we already have a confirmation on a number of the specifications of the phone. First, Poco has revealed that the Poco X2 will feature a display with 120Hz refresh rate and support for 27W fast charging. Additionally, the teaser images posted by the company show the presence of a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The liquid cooling support has also been teased and the company has also noted the presence of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.
Realme is another smartphone maker that is gearing up to launch a new smartphone next week. The company will be introducing this model in its budget Realme C-series and it will be called the Realme C3. The company has already announced a number of specifications and features of the smartphone. As per the invite shared by the Chinese smartphone maker, the Realme C3 launch event will kick off at 12:30pm on February 6.
Realme C3 will feature a 6.5-inch display with a waterdrop-style notch and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The phone is going to have 89.8 percent screen-to-body ratio. Among other specifications, Realme C3 will pack octa-core MediaTek Helio G70 SoC, paired with 3GB and 4GB RAM options. The phone is also said to be carrying a 5,000mAh battery and up to 64GB of onboard storage.
On the imaging front, there is going to be a dual camera setup on the back with a 12-megapixel main shooter and an LED flash. Realme has also said that the Realme C3 will be the first smartphone to come with Realme UI out of the box.
Samsung introduced its new Galaxy A51 smartphone in India this week and the phone has already gone on sale. The Samsung Galaxy A51 price in India is set at Rs. 23,999 for the sole 6GB + 128GB variant. The phone comes in Blue, White, Black Prism Crush colour options. It can be purchased via leading e-retailers, offline retailers, Samsung.com, and Samsung Opera House. Samsung Galaxy A51 joins the company's growing Galaxy A-series in the country.
Samsung Galaxy A51 runs Android 10 with One UI 2.0 on top and features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED full-HD+ (1080x2400 pixels) Infinity-O Display and in-display fingerprint sensor. The phone comes with octa-core Exynos 9611 SoC, coupled with 8GB of RAM. There is the quad rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with an f/20 aperture, a 5-megapixel macro camera with an f/2.4 aperture, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.2 lens. The handset also has a 32-megapixel selfie camera sensor with an f/2.2 lens.
Samsung has also provided 128GB of internal storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 512GB). Connectivity options on the Samsung Galaxy A51 include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/ A-GPS, and USB Type-C port. Besides, the phone packs a 4,500mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday unveiled the budget for the next fiscal year. The budget has include various announcements for technology sector, including a scheme to encourage electronics manufacturing in the country as well as investment in quantum computing. Sitharaman said the electronic manufacturing scheme will be detailed soon and will look to boost mobile phone, electronics equipment, and semiconductor manufacturing in the country.
Additionally, the government has proposed to provide Rs. 6,000 crores to the BharatNet programme in 2020-2021 to enable digital connectivity in all public institutions at the Gram Panchayat level like Anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, post offices, police stations, and more. Further, Sitharaman proposed an investment of Rs. 8,000 crores over a period of five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications. Lastly, the government will introduce a policy to enable the private sector to build data centre parks across the country.
In other Realme news, the company revised the price of Realme 5 Pro in the country this week. Realme 5 Pro now starts at Rs. 12,999 for the 4GB + 64GB model. The 6GB + 64GB and 8GB + 128GB variants of the phone can be purchased at Rs. 13,999 and Rs. 15,999, respectively . The phone was earlier being sold at Rs. 13,999, Rs. 14,999, and Rs. 16,999 for the three storage versions, respectively. You can buy the phone from Flipkart, Realme.com, Amazon, and various Realme partner offline stores in the country.
Realme also rolled out an important update for its Realme X2 Pro smartphone this week. The update brings Wi-Fi calling support as well as a number of other fixes and security enhancements for the phone. The update carries firmware version RMX1931EX_11.A.09 and it packs January Android security patch, fix for "partial known" issues, and improves system stability. Furthermore, it fixes an issue that could impact video uploads on Instagram. The update is rolling out over-the-air.
Additionally, Realme revealed that it has started selling five of its smartphones via Amazon in the country as well. The company earlier offers its phone only via Flipkart, Realme.com, and partner offline stores in the country. The Realme phones that are currently being offered via Amazon are Realme 5 Pro, Realme 5, Realme XT, Realme X, and Realme C2 (3GB + 32GB).
HMD Global has announced that it is hosting a press event at this month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company is expected to launch as many as four new smartphones under the Nokia brand. The event will take place on February 23 in Barcelona. Rumours indicate that we will see the launch of Nokia 8.2 5G, Nokia 5.2, Nokia 1.3, and a new Nokia 'Original' smartphone. While Nokia 8.2 5G and Nokia 5.2 are believed to mid-range smartphones, the Nokia 1.3 is likely to be a budget phone. There are no details about the so called Nokia 'Original' smartphone.
In other smartphone news, Samsung revised the price of Galaxy M30s in India this week. Samsung Galaxy M30s price now starts at Rs. 12,999 for the 4GB RAM variant. It was earlier sold at Rs. 13,999. The 6GB RAM variant of the phone can be grabbed at Rs. 14,999, down from its original pricing of Rs. 16,999. The phone is offered in Sapphire Blue and Opal Black colour options for both storage variants, whereas the 4GB RAM version can also be purchased in Pearl White colour. The phone can be ordered via Amazon and Samsung.com.
In telecom news, Vodafone Idea has stopped offering its Rs. 649 iPhone Forever plan. The plan, which was available under the postpaid portfolio for both Vodafone and Idea Cellular subscribers, provided 90GB high-speed data and unlimited voice calls. It supported iPhone 5s and above models and covered accidental physical damage. While Vodafone subscribers were able to avail the iPhone Forever plan under Vodafone Red, it was provided to Idea customers through its Nirvana catalogue of postpaid plans.
Reliance Jio has introduced a new JioTVCamera accessory to allow Jio Fiber users to make video calls. At the launch of Jio Fiber, the company said that users will be able to make video calls via the Jio Fiber set-top box. The JioTV Camera is an accessory that can be attached to your TV set to make those video calls possible. The new JioTVCamera is priced at Rs. 2,999, and is already on sale on Jio.com.
In other news, WhatsApp stopped working on phones running Android 2.3.7 or older and iPhone models with iOS 8 or older versions this week. WhatsApp recommends upgrading to phones running on Android OS 4.0.3 and newer, and iOS 9 and newer, to continue using the app. The company had announced this deadline last year, giving users plenty of time to either update their phones to newer Android and iOS versions, or save their chat history.
Apple revealed the price of its HomePod smart speaker for the Indian market this week and stated that it will go on sale soon. The Apple HomePod price in India is set at Rs. 19,900. Apple HomePod uses the company's proprietary audio technology that works with a high-excursion woofer, equipped with a custom-engineered amplifier, an array of seven tweeters -- each of which has its own amplifier and a transducer, and six distinct microphones. The smart speaker is powered by Apple's A8 chip and comes with Siri integration.
Additionally, Apple released iOS 13.3.1 and iPad 13.3.1 updates this for iPhone and iPad models. One of the most notable changes that iOS 13.3.1 brings is the ability to let users disable the location-tracking functionality of the U1 Ultra-Wideband chip. The latest iOS update also fixes the issue related to the Deep Fusion mode that is limited to the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. There are also various other bug fixes that are designed for both iPhone and iPad models compatible with the latest software updates.
Lastly, Samsung launched the world's first 5G tablet this week. The tablet is currently available only in South Korea, the company's home market, and carries a price tag of KRW 999,900 (roughly Rs. 60,500). The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 5G comes with a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, AKG-tuned quad speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and S Pen stylus. Other specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 5G include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB of RAM, and a 7,040mAh battery.
Is Poco X2 the new best phone under Rs. 20,000? 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.