Missed out on the news of the week? One of the developments was the launch of the Reliance Jio Summer Surprise offer on Friday, which was supposed to be the last day of signing up for Jio Prime. Now, the last date for signing up for Jio Prime is April 15.
Users who sign up for Jio Prime on or before April 15 (including users who have already signed up for the service) and also sign up for a Rs. 303 (or higher) plan, will get three more months of free service - a benefit that Reliance Jio is calling the Jio Summer Surprise. Reliance Jio has been free to use since its launch in September 2016, and users who sign up for the Jio Prime subscription offer from Reliance Jio with the above-mentioned conditions get an additional three months of free usage.
Reliance Jio announced on Friday that 72 million users subscribed to Prime before the initially announced March 31 deadline, a pretty healthy number by all accounts.
Earlier in the week, we had what could arguably be called the launch of the year (at least for Android fans) - the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. At the event, Samsung stressed how the new Galaxy S8 is the "start of a new era." The company also showcased its in-house voice-based virtual assistant named Bixby, which makes its debut on the flagship Galaxy S8.
Both phones feature curved edges - called an "Infinity Display" - and feature bezel-less faces, to present a stunning front. To accomplish this, the physical home button has been removed, and the fingerprint scanner moved to the back of the device, next to the camera.
As rumoured for months, the all-new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ also sport iris recognition, which was earlier seen on the now discontinued Samsung Galaxy Note 7. As the name suggests, the biometric recognition scans iris to unlock the phone, verify Samsung account, and more. Both the handsets pack 4GB of RAM and come with 64GB inbuilt storage while also supporting expandable storage via microSD card (up to 256GB). Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will come powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 SoC (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad) in the US, while most international markets (including India) will get the Exynos 8895 SoC (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad).
In Hyderabad on Thursday, ACT Fibernet announced the launch of India's first gigabit Internet service. The company is offering 1Gbps speeds to home users for Rs. 5,999 per month, with a 1TB (1000GB) download fair usage policy (FUP) limit, followed by a post FUP speed of 10Mbps per month.
ACT has launched the service in Hyderabad because that's where almost half of its users are, explained ACT CEO Bala Malladi, but he promised that ACT will be bringing the gigabit connections to all the cities that ACT is active in, over time. ACT has committed to spending Rs. 1,000 crore in the next 18 to 24 months as part of its national rollout and infrastructure building.
Truecaller also held a press conference in Delhi this week where it unveiled Truecaller 8 for Android, which comes with a large number of new features that update the app significantly. For one thing, Truecaller is now integrated with Google Duo, so users will be able to return calls via Google's video-calling platform.
Another new feature is called Truecaller Pay - a UPI-based payments provider running in partnership with ICICI Bank. Truecaller Pay is a part of the main Truecaller app itself, and allows you to send or receive money from anyone in your contact list after you've linked your bank account. And since it's UPI-based, you can use any bank account, not just ICICI. Truecaller also announced a partnership with Airtel to bring its caller identification service to feature phones, even to devices without Internet access.
Also this week was the launch of the Micromax Dual 5. Priced at Rs. 24,999, it is going to be available via Flipkart from April 10. It will also be sold from the Micromax E-Store, as well as from offline stores. The biggest highlight of the Micromax Dual 5 is its dual rear camera setup. This will enable greater contrast, better low light performance, and more accurate depth of field, as well as 3D video functionality according to Micromax.
Apart from this, the Micromax Dual 5 also comes with a 5.5-inch full-HD display, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, running an octa-core 1.8GHz CPU, and 4GB of RAM, and packing 128GB of inbuilt storage.
Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing at Apple was in Bengaluru on Friday where he launched an app accelerator in India. The goal of the accelerator is to provide advice from experts on a wide variety of topics such as app design, marketing, as well as deep-dive sessions of Apple technologies like Metal, and detailed feedback on their existing apps.
Idea also launched a new postpaid pack for Rs. 300 giving you 1GB data per day, very similar to Reliance Jio's Rs. 303 plan. However, if you're on a higher rental plan - of Rs. 499 and above - then you can avail of this offer at no extra charge.
And Airtel has just gotten a setback - it's been asked by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to withdraw its advertisements where broadband tester Ookla declared Airtel to be the "Fastest Mobile Network" in India, following a complaint to ASCI by Reliance Jio. It's worth pointing out that ASCI's role is limited to self-regulation and the body cannot enforce any of its decisions on advertisers, but it sends its reports to several ministries. Airtel said it will file an appeal as per the guidelines.
The UPI rollout continues meanwhile - the NPCI has launched in-store UPI payments with Reliance Retail. The POS machine at the store generates a QR code which you can scan with your UPI app to make the payments.
And finally, in a move that's drawn a lot of flak from users, social network Twitter rolled out its latest feature - removing @usernames from replies, in theory to allow additional characters in replies and to give a clearer timeline. In practice though, it just makes things look confusing, and makes Twitter harder to navigate for people who have stuck with it for a long time.
These were the highlights of the week - tell us what caught your eye via the comments, or point out more for the other readers.