Welcome back to our weekly news roundup, where we catch you up with all the tech news you might have missed during the course of the week. As you may have guessed, some of the news that most people were interested in was about sales, from both Amazon, and Flipkart.
Amazon’s Great India Sale started on May 11, and ends today, May 14. In the course of the sale, we’ve seen a number of great offers on phones and other electronics, and Sunday your last chance to get a deal. Remember that Amazon Prime members get early access to deals, so sign up now if you haven’t already.
Not to be outdone, Flipkart announced the Big 10 Sale, from May 14 to May 18. The sale started on Sunday so you can expect some good deals there, the most notable being the promise of “lowest ever price” on iPhone 7. Ahead of the sale, the e-commerce site has also confirmed that the BuyBack Guarantee programme first introduced in March for the Moto G5 Plus will be extended to “bestselling smartphones from leading brands.”
Flipkart will also have a ‘Bid and Win’ feature, where you can bid on items, and the lowest unique price will get to buy the product. The company also listed some top smartphone deals, with deals on phones from most top brands.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio has confirmed testing of home broadband services through JioFiber in a number of cities, holding trials in Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat, and Vadodara. There’s no word right now on when it will be commercially available, or in which cities. While the service is said to be free for the first 90 days, users will have to pay a one-time, refundable sum of Rs. 4,000-4,500 for the JioFiber router.
Reliance Jio is also already in the works to expand this further, and a flyer from Jio shows that the company is offering users a 100Mbps connection with 100GB FUP (with a post FUP speed cap of 1MBps), for which you have to pay a refundable deposit for the Wi-Fi hardware. Jio users also have one other reason to be happy – the company is offering 100 percent cash back on JioFi routers, if you take the exchange offer against an old 2G/ 3G dongle.
Aside from this, we also got a surprising update from Netflix, which revealed the fastest ISPs in India – the fastest being Mumbai based 7 Star Digital – and interestingly, Jio doesn’t feature in the list, despite having the largest share of broadband connections in India when counting wireless connections according to TRAI.
The other item of news that everyone’s been reading is Nokia’s return to India. Nokia’s phones are likely to launch in the first week of June, though it’s not clear right now if all the four phones – the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3, and the new Nokia 3310 feature phone – will be launched together or not. The decision on that is expected to happen by May-end.
HMD Global held a Nokia event earlier this week, where the company’s Chief Product Offer Juho Sarvikas spoke to Gadgets 360 about the importance of the Indian market for the company. He said, “If we can win the hearts and minds of the Indian consumers with our story, then I have no concerns about our global story.”
Meanwhile, in Europe, the Nokia 3310’s release dates were announced for the UK, Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands. The Nokia 3310 (2017) will come with a price tag of GBP 49.99 (roughly Rs. 4,180) in the UK and EUR 59.99 (roughly Rs. 4,210) in other European countries. The phone was up for pre-orders, but this has been stopped on HMD Global’s request, according to a report.
The OnePlus 5 was also in the news – the phone was teased by the company, with the words “Hey Summer! Give me five!” hinting at what is to come. Leaked screenshots meanwhile show that the phone will likely have 8GB of RAM, although there’s speculation that there will be two variants, one of which will have ‘only’ 6GB of RAM. The phone was also spotted on a leaked GeekBench score – outperforming Samsung’s latest flagship in the US, the Samsung Galaxy S8+. In other markets, Samsung is selling the Exynos variant of the phone, which outperforms its Snapdragon 835 counterpart, and the OnePlus 5 as well.
There were a number of phones launched this week as well. We got two new phones from Panasonic, the Panasonic Eluga Ray, and the Panasonic P85. The former has a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera, and includes Arbo, Panasonic’s AI assistant. The latter comes with a 4000mAh battery, a 1GHz CPU, and 2GB RAM. We also got the Sansui Horizon 2 with 4G VoLTE support, 2GB RAM, and a 5-inch display, priced at Rs. 4,999, available via Flipkart.
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ZTE launched its new smartphone, the ZTE Blade X Max, in the US on Thursday. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 435 processor, and packs 2GB of RAM, alongside a 3400mAh battery. We also got the Intex Aqua Crystal Plus with 4G VoLTE support, running on Android 7.0, launched at Rs. 6,799 in India. Asus launched the [Asus ZenFone Go 5.5 (ZB552KL) in India, which has a 13-megapixel camera, priced at Rs. 8,499. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 410 SoC, with 2GB of RAM.
The Coolpad Cool Play 6, with dual rear cameras, and a 4060mAh battery was also launched. The phone runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and is priced at CNY 1,499 (roughly Rs. 14,000), in China. There was also the Karbonn Aura 4G, with 4G VoLTE support, launched at Rs. 5,290. Also launched this week was the Tizen 3.0 powered Samsung Z4 with a 4.5-inch display, coming first to India. We also got the Honor 8 Lite, which packs 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, apart from a 12-megapixel rear camera, and a 3000mAh battery, which launched at Rs. 17,999.
We also know a little bit more about the upcoming Pixel phone; the Google Pixel ‘Taimen’ was spotted on a leaked benchmark listing, with 4GB of RAM. Google is expected to launch three Pixel devices this year apart from the one codenames Taimen. As per earlier reports, Taimen is expected to be bigger than other two Pixel devices – Walleye and Muskie – which are expected to be the direct successors to Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones from last year.
There was also a new leak about the upcoming iPhone 8; it’s tipped to sport a 3D front camera, and the A11 chipset which will power it has now apparently gone into production. The iPhone 8 is also expected to sport 3GB of RAM, vertical dual rear camera setup, bundled AirPods, wireless charging, waterproofing, and much more.
It’s not been a good week for people worried about security and privacy. HP admitted that its audio driver was working as a keylogger on laptops, which tracks every single key you press, such as your bank codes, your passwords, and so on. The ‘good’ news, such as it is, is that this was apparently unintentional, and HP says it wasn’t actually tracking anything.
This week also saw what might be one of the biggest ransomware cyber attacks – hackers leveraged a stolen NSA tool to wreak havoc worldwide. Ransomware WannaCry leveraged hacking tools developed by NSA. It exploits a known bug in Windows, and through this, infected at least 57,000 devices, in 99 countries.