Jio GigaFIber registrations opened this week, Xiaomi Mi A2 went on sale for the first time in India, and Redmi Note 5 Pro finally went on open sale, among other news, in yet another busy week in the world of technology. To start off with the biggest newsmaker, the Jio GigaFiber registrations opened up as scheduled, on August 15. For now, users can only express their interest in the broadband service, and areas with the most interest will get priority in the official rollout later this year. While the company has not revealed any Jio GigaFiber plans officially, but details of the alleged preview offer have leaked online. This leak suggests the preview offer will last 3 months provide users 100GB data at 100Mbps, with users getting ‘Data Top-Ups’ that take their monthly data limit up to 1.1TB. Users will have to pay a sum of Rs. 4,500 to avail the Optical Network Terminal, Jio GigaTV and smart home solutions, which will be refunded if the user decides to terminate the connection.
Airtel, of course, responded to the Jio GigaFiber broadband registrations by bolstering its own broadband service. The operator is now providing users home broadband plans with no FUP limit across several cities, such as Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Chandigarh etc — before this, the truly unlimited broadband was only available in Hyderabad. However, while the old FUP limits are not in place anymore, the company still has a limit on how much data consumers can use in a month — 3.3TB. Separately, Airtel is giving its prepaid users Amazon Pay balance worth Rs. 51 on recharges of Rs. 100 and above; similarly, postpaid subscribers get the same balance for using any myInfinity plan.
Jio Phone 2 went on sale for the first time in India on August 16, a day after its scheduled first sale. The Jio Phone 2 flash sale was, predictably, rather short as the handset went out of stock within minutes of becoming available for purchase. Buyers had to pay the full Jio Phone 2 price in India of Rs. 2,999 to purchase the device. The next flash sale for the model will be held on August 30, again only on Jio.com. Lastly on the Jio front, those waiting for WhatsApp and YouTube apps on the Jio Phone platform will have to wait a little longer as the two apps’ rollout will happen in batches. While the company had announced that WhatsApp will not be coming to the platform on August 15 to most users, it was a surprise that even YouTube was delayed for a majority.
Xiaomi Poco F1 was in the news as the company confirmed the handset will be launched in India on August 22 and will be a Flipkart exclusive in the country. The smartphone was spotted on Geekbench, showing the handset will have Snapdragon 845, 6GB RAM, and Android 8.1 Oreo. Previous leaks say the Xiaomi Poco F1 will have a 5.99-inch full-HD+ display, IR Face Unlock, 12-megapixel + 5-megapixel rear camera setup, 2-megapixel selfie camera, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB storage and 128GB storage options.
Redmi Note 5 Pro finally went on open sale in India, about half a year after it first became available for purchase in the country. Both the 4GB RAM and 6GB RAM variants of the Redmi Note 5 Pro are now up for purchase via Mi.com and Flipkart, though not all colour options are available.
Xiaomi Mi A2 went on sale for the first time in India this week, bringing its second Android One phone to the country. Only the 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage variant of the handset was available for purchase in the first sale, with the Mi A2 price in India set at Rs. 16,999. It comes with a launch offer giving users cashback of Rs. 2,200 and 4.5TB of complimentary data. There is no word on when the 6GB RAM and 256GB storage option will go on sale in the Indian market. Xiaomi Mi A2 (Review) also received its first software update, which brought 60fps video recording as well as the August Android security patch
Also this week, XIaomi launched a new variant of its premium Mi 8 smartphone, this one featuring 8GB of RAM. This model has 256GB of internal storage, while the rest of the specifications remain the same as those of the previously released variants. As for the price, Mi 8 8GB variant costs CNY 3,299 (about Rs. 33,500) and is already on sale in China.
The company also unveiled the Mi Pad 4 Plus tablet, featuring a 10.1-inch display with 1920x1200-pixel resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio. Key features of the new Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 Plus include Snapdragon 660 SoC, 4GB RAM, 64GB and 128GB storage options, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, and an 8,620mAh battery. It costs CNY 1,899 (roughly Rs. 19,300) for 64GB variant and CNY 2,099 (around Rs. 21,300) for the 128GB model.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 India launch event will be held on August 22, and Gadgets 360 has learnt the event will be attended by DJ Koh, President and CEO of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communications Division. Earlier this week, Koh also said the handset’s 4,000mAh battery is completely safe, showing the shadow of the the exploding battery of 2016’s Galaxy Note 7 and its worldwide recall still haunts the company.
The handset also received its first software update ahead of its release; this update brings the August 2018 Android security patch and a toggle for super slow-motion recording mode, one of the highlights of the phone's rear camera. Separately, Koh has confirmed the first Samsung phone with 5G support will not be the Galaxy S10, even though the next year’s flagship will be supporting 5G. This means another Samsung smartphone with 5G will be launched before the rumoured March 2019 launch of the Galaxy S10, likely the long-awaited foldable smartphone or the Galaxy A series models. In a good piece of news for Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is that DisplayMate has rated its display as the best on a smartphone yet and earned the A+ grade, with praises showered on the brightness, colour accuracy, and viewing angles.
Online consumer rental platform RentoMojo is now giving users the option to rent a smartphone for as long as two years. It also offers the option to own the device after two years of renting. So, consumers will have to pay Rs. 4,299 for 24 months to get the iPhone X for the maximum duration, while it will cost a monthly payment of Rs. 9,299 for a 6-month rental. Other handsets on offer include Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, iPhone 8, among others.
Google is under fire after a report this week claimed Google Maps tracks its users’ location even after they have turned off location tracking. This location tracking without consent affects both Android and iOS devices, and was reportedly confirmed by researchers at Princeton University. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking, the report claims. The company said, “we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”
Separately, Google has offered help to Android users suffering in the Kerala floods by helping people send their location, which makes it easier for rescuers to find them. Android device users can open Google Maps and create plus codes with their location — these codes can be shared not just online but also offline. Telecom operators Jio, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and BSNL have also offered relief in the form of free data and automatically credited talk time for prepaid users, and bill payment extensions for postpaid users.
Motorola launched a new smartphone series in China this week, with the first model being named the Motorola P30. The Motorola P30 has an iPhone X-like notch and a 6.2-inch display with 18.7:9 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 636 SoC, and a glass back with gradient colour design. Other features include Android 8.0 Oreo, 6GB RAM, microSD support up to 256GB, 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel dual rear cameras, 12-megapixel front camera, 3,000mAh battery, and USB Type-C port. The Motorola P30 price is CNY 2,099 (about Rs. 21,400) for the variant with 64GB of internal storage, and CNY 2,499 (approximately Rs. 25,400) for 128GB storage option.
Another smartphone launched this week was the Oppo F9, which has a V-shaped waterdrop display notch and the MediaTek Helio P60 SoC. The key Oppo F9 specifications include a 6.3-inch full-HD+ display, Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS 5.2, 64GB internal storage, microSD card support, 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel rear cameras, 25-megapixel front camera, and 3,500mAh battery. It Oppo F9 price is VND 7,690,000 (about Rs. 23,300) for the variant with 4GB RAM and the price of the 6GB RAM variant had not yet been revealed.
The Vivo Y81 also launched in India early this week and is already on sale in India via the official online store as well as Flipkart and Amazon. The Vivo Y81 price in India has been set as Rs. 12,999. It features a 6.22-inch HD+ display, octa-core MediaTek MT6762 chipset, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD support up to 256GB, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 3,260mAh battery.
Rounding up the other news this week from the world of smartphones, the OnePlus 6 received an update that fixed the display flickering issue that users had reported late last month. The Oxygen OS 5.1.11 update for OnePlus 6 also brings improvements for HDR mode and other bug fixes.
The Huawei Mate 20 Lite specifications and price have leaked, suggesting it will have a 6.3-inch HD+ display with V-shaped waterdrop notch, octa-core Kirin 970 chip, 6GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage, 20-megapixel + 2-megapixel rear cameras, 24-megapixel + 2-megapixel front cameras, and 3,650mAh battery. As for the price, it is said to start at EUR 400 (about Rs. 28,000). More details of Honor 8X have leaked online too, with features such as a 7.12-inch full-HD+ display, 1.8GHz octa-core processor, 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel cameras on the back, 8-megapixel front camera, and 4,900mAh battery.
The Nokia 6.1 received a price cut in India this week, which brings down the price of the 3GB RAM and 4GB RAM variants by Rs. 1,500 each. This means the two variants now cost Rs. 15,499 and Rs. 17,499, respectively. This move comes just a week ahead of the launch of the Nokia 6.1 Plus model in India. The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 2 price in India was also slashed this week, with the smartphone now available at Rs. 11,990 on Flipkart and Samsung Shop.
The iPhone 2018 models also leaked this week, with the new report claiming the upcoming iPhones will start at about $699 (about Rs. 49,000). The base 2018 iPhone model with 6.1-inch LCD panel is said to have a starting price of around $699 to $749 (from Rs. 49,000 to Rs. 52,600); it is claimed to have 64GB and 256GB storage options and 3GB RAM. The model with 5.8-inch OLED screen will reportedly have a starting price tag of $899 to $949 (from Rs. 63,000 to Rs. 66,000), while the 6.5-inch OLED model will be targeted at the “premium business segment” and have a price tag starting at $999 (about Rs. 70,000). The latter two models are said to come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options and have 4GB of RAM. These two will also support Apple Pencil, a separate report says.
As scheduled, eBay India stopped taking any more orders starting August 15, and the last date for raising eBay Guarantee claims is August 30. Flipkart will be launching a new site to fill the gap eBay is leaving in India. eBay will also keep an archive of your purchase history on My PaisaPay and My eBay until further notice.
Microsoft has created a software for the CBSE to prevent exam paper leaks. The software ensures papers are not leaked until at least half an hour before the exam, and if the papers are leaked after that, then the leak can be traced using the watermark. The new Microsoft software has already been tested this year in the compartment examinations held for class 10.
Will Jio Phone 2 help WhatsApp, YouTube reach the next billion users in India? We discussed that 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.