Welcome to our last weekly roundup of all the news you can use for 2017. This week, WhatsApp announced that it's going to end support for BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8.0, so if you have one of those devices and want to keep using WhatsApp then you're going to have to switch to a new phone.
This was supposed to happen earlier but then WhatsApp had extended support for both platforms in June this year. At the time, WhatsApp had also revealed that the app will stop working for phones running Nokia S40 from December 31, 2018 - one year from now. The app will stop working on phones running Android 2.3.7 and older (Gingerbread) will be stopped from February 1, 2020. WhatsApp became unavailable on Nokia phones running Symbian S60, from June 30, 2017.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio and other telcos have new plans as they continue to compete for customers. Jio launched a new Rs. 199 plan offering 1.2GB data per day, and it also has a new plan for Rs. 299 offering 2GB data daily. The plans come with bundled calls and all the other benefits Jio offers. The two plans are both valid for 28 days. Vodafone has a similar plan priced at Rs. 198, offering 1GB of data per day for 28 days with bundled calls, but unlike Jio, the calls are capped. Free calls are capped at 250 minutes per day, and 1,000 per week, with a limit of 300 unique numbers per week. This plan is only for existing customers, while new Vodafone customers can get the plan for Rs. 229.
Airtel has a new plan with unlimited calls, free roaming, and 1GB data for Rs. 93, which has a validity of 10 days. There's no daily cap on data use with this plan. Meanwhile, Idea has a new Rs. 309 pack which provides 1.5GB data per day, with a validity of 28 days. This pack earlier offered 1GB data daily but has now been upgraded. BSNL went beyond bundled calls though; its new Rs. 499 pack comes with a bundled Detel D1 feature phone, and 365 days validity. Users will also get free talkative of Rs. 103 under this pack.
Finally, Reliance Jio's acquisition of Reliance Communications (RCom) is coming to a definite form - Jio is going to buy RCom's mobile towers, spectrum, and wireless infrastructure assets. This is still subject to approvals from governmental and regulatory authorities, and consent from all lenders, but would "contribute significantly to the large scale roll-out of wireless and fibre to home and enterprise services," Jio stated.
Thanks to an online listing that went up early, we also have an idea about the Samsung Galaxy J2 (2018) price - it was listed in Russia and corroborates a previous report which also revealed the phone's specifications and price. The listing stated that the phone will have a price tag of RUB 7,990 (roughly Rs. 8,860) which is close to the price of the 2017 edition of the phone. In October, Samsung brought the Galaxy J2 (2017) to India with a price tag of Rs. 7,390.
The 2017 version of the Samsung Galaxy J2 has a 4.7-inch display and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM, and 8GB storage. The leak says that the 2018 version will have a 5-inch display, a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, and 1.5GB RAM, along with 16GB storage.
Meanwhile last week both Oppo and Vivo announced price cuts for phones. The Oppo F3 price in India has been cut by Rs. 2,000. It was launched in May at Rs. 19,990, and then dropped to Rs. 18,990 on Diwali. The Oppo F3 price is now Rs. 16,990, though online it's listed at Rs. 16,490.
The Vivo V7 also has a received a price cut of Rs. 2,000, bringing it down to Rs. 16,990 as well. The selfie smartphone from Vivo in India is now available at Rs. 16,990 via both offline and online retailers. Earlier, the smartphone was online-exclusive to Flipkart, but the Vivo V7 is now also available on other portals such as Amazon and Paytm Mall.
Aside from these two phones, the Moto G5S Plus has also received a price cut in India, dropping by Rs. 1,000 from Rs. 15,999 to Rs. 14,999. The phone, which has a 5.5-inch full-HD display, a 2GHz octa-core processor, 4GB RAM, and 64 GB storage, comes with an 8-megapixel front camera, and dual-cameras on the rear with to 13-megapixel sensors. The Moto G5S Plus packs a 3000mAh battery.
Oppo also launched some new phones this week. The Oppo A83, with a 5.7-inch 18:9 display, and face unlocking, was launched in China at CNY 1,399, or roughly Rs. 13,700. The phone has a 2.5GHz octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM, and 32GB storage, along with 13-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front cameras. It comes with a 3090mAh battery.
It also launched the the Oppo A75 and the Oppo A75s in Taiwan. Both the phones offer similar specifications and differ only in terms of inbuilt storage capacity. There is a 6-inch full-HD+ display, a 2.5GHz processor, 4GB RAM, and 32GB (Oppo A75) or 64GB (Oppo A75s) storage. The phones have a 16-megapixel rear camera, and a 20-megapixel selfie-camera, along with a 3200mAh battery.
Meanwhile, a report tells that the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 7 is likely to follow the iPhone X in ditching the fingerprint sensor and moving to face unlock. Another report however suggests that the phone will include an under-the-display fingerprint sensor, rather than losing it entirely.
Other than this, there was also news that the Nokia 1 entry-level Android Go phone is expected to launch in March. Announced back in May, Android Go programme is designed by Google to deliver an enhanced user experience on entry-level devices. The new Nokia smartphone is said to have an HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard storage. Aside from this, the report suggests that Huawei is also working on an Android Go smartphone.
Also, a tip says that the Samsung Galaxy S9+ will continue to have a 3.5mm headphone jack, like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. While other manufacturers, particularly Apple and Google pulled the plug on the 3.5mm jack, Samsung is not following in their footsteps, and will also continue with the Infinity Display design it brought in this year.
In case you have an older iPhone, then you can go in for a battery replacement at a discount. After it was revealed that Apple slows down iPhones to avoid battery issues, the company is now facing lawsuits. Apple apologised for the way it handled the matter, and is offering battery replacements at a highly discounted price.
If you've been considering investing in Bitcoin, then here's another word of caution - the Finance Ministry cautioned investors, saying digital currency investments such as Bitcoin are like "Ponzi schemes". There is still no outright ban on trading, but the Ministry made clear that there are no regulatory permissions or protections for these currencies.
Finally, some good news for gamers - if you've got a PlayStation 4, then your games are going to get cheaper as Sony has cut the prices of select PS4-exclusives. This includes some big names such as Horizon Zero Dawn, cut to Rs. 2,499 from Rs. 3,999; Bloodborne Game of the Year Edition, down to Rs. 1,499 from Rs. 3,999; and Gravity Rush 2, also Rs. 1,499 and previously Rs. 3,999. In all, a dozen exclusives have gotten the price cut, and they will be marketed as "PlayStation Hits".