Welcome back to our weekly roundup of all the news that matters from the world of technology. It’s been a big week with a number of leaks and launches, and one of the highlights was the leak of the specifications of Reliance Jio’s upcoming 4G VoLTE compatible feature phones. The Jio feature phone will supposedly have a 2.4-inch screen, and 512MB of RAM, along with a 2-megapixel rear camera, and will be able to access the Internet via 4G, and make calls using Reliance Jio’s VoLTE network. Jio may reportedly offer the phones at a price between Rs. 999 and Rs. 1,500 by subsidising the handsets.
Besides this, TRAI data this week showed that Reliance Jio 4G download speeds hit an all-time high in May. Jio recorded a download speed of 19.123Mbps, ahead of Idea at 13.709Mbps, and Vodafone at 13.387Mbps. A report by London-based wireless coverage mapping company OpenSignal also showed that Jio helped India to reach the 15th spot for 4G availability. According to OpenSignal’s “State of LTE” report, India had 71.6 percent 4G availability in the third quarter of 2016, which jumped to 81.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
Not everyone is pleased with Reliance Jio though – Kumar Mangalam Birla, in a letter to shareholders of Idea, said the telecom industry witnessed a 2 percent decline in annual revenues in 2016-17 fiscal, seemingly blaming Jio, even if he did not name the newest telco directly. And Airtel’s complaint against Reliance Jio and RIL has been rejected by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The so-called Reliance Jio-effect meanwhile continues, as Vodafone has a new offer for Ramazan, offering 25GB data at Rs. 786, along with unlimited calling.
Meanwhile, the cavalcade of OnePlus 5 leaks and announcements continues ahead of the official launch which is still a week away. Ahead of the launch, the company claims that it has improved customer service, with 500 employees now dedicated to customer support. After the OnePlus 5 aunch date was leaked, the company also confirmed the unveil for June 20, and the OnePlus 5 India launch is set for June 22.
Meanwhile, source code on Amazon India revealed that the OnePlus 5 has 8GB RAM, along with the Snapdragon 835 SoC that has already been announced. It was also spotted again in benchmarks, showing 6GB and 8GB variants.
The OnePlus 5 price in India was also leaked; as you know, the phone will reportedly be launched in two variants, one with 6GB of RAM, and one with 8GB, and these will be priced at Rs. 32,999, and Rs. 37,999 respectively. The recently leaked OnePlus 5 price in Europe that pegs the device at EUR 550 (roughly Rs. 39,990) is roughly in line with this pricing.
Leaked renders of the OnePlus 5 tipped a design similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. This was later confirmed by the company in an official image, which showcased the rear camera setup in a horizontal layout – the first official image from the company showing the design.
That wasn’t all though – Nokia was back in the news, as the company confirmed the India launch dates for its Android phones. The Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 Android smartphones will finally launch in India next week, says HMD Global. A report says the Nokia 6 price in India will be between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 16,000, while the Nokia 5 will be around Rs. 12,000, and the Nokia 3 will be around Rs. 9,000.
Apart from that, the Nokia 9 6GB RAM variant was leaked in benchmark listings. Previously, 4GB and 8GB RAM variants had been tipped. The phone is also believed to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. The Nokia 9 is said to sport 5.5-inch QHD display, dual 13-megapixel cameras at the back, and have a dual-LED flash support as well.
The Moto Z2 Play was launched in India at Rs. 27,999. The phone will go on sale from June 15, and has gone up for pre-bookings now. It supports the modular Moto Mods, and is going to be launched in a single variant in India, packing 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This week also saw the launch of the Nubia Z17 mini, with dual-rear cameras and 4GB of RAM. The 5-inch phone has a full-HD display, and comes with 64GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 19,999.
Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J5 (2017), and Galaxy J7 (2017) in Europe. The phones are priced at EUR 279 (roughly Rs. 19,600) and EUR 339 (roughly Rs. 24,600) respectively.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Review) variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage is now available to buy in India. Its price in India is Rs. 74,900. As an introductory offer, the company says, all customers will be eligible for a free bundled wireless charger (worth Rs. 4,499) with the smartphone. There are further offers depending on where you buy the Samsung Galaxy S8+, the Samsung Shop or Flipkart.
The Oppo R11 Plus with a 6-inch display was launched this week in China, soon after the China launch of the Oppo R11. The all-new Oppo R11 Plus and Oppo R11 are among the first few handsets to sport Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 660 SoC. We also got the Huawei Y7 Prime, whose standout feature is its 4000mAh battery. The 5.5-inch phone is powered by a Snapdragon 435 SoC, and comes with 3GB of RAM. It is priced at HKD 1,880 (roughly Rs. 15,500). There was also the China launch of the new ZTE V870, priced at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs. 25,500). The phone is also powered by a Snapdragon 435 SoC, and has a 5.5-inch display, along with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
Another interesting launch this week was the iMCO Watch in India, billed as the world’s first Alexa-powered smartwatch. Priced at Rs. 13,990, the smartwatch is available online and brings many of Alexa’s assistant functionality, such as asking about the weather, controlling your smart home, looking up news, and more.
Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC 2017 also took place at the start of the week, with a number of interesting developments. Amongst the highlights, some good news for Amazon Prime Video users – the streaming service is finally coming to Apple TV, and the TV app, which enables universal search. On the topic of entertainment, Apple also announced external GPU support and support for Steam VR.
Apple also unveiled a new look for the App Store, with a new tab called Today, tabs for Games and Apps, and revamped detailed product pages for apps. It also unveiled macOS High Sierra, which has a number of tweaks to Sarai, and a new file system, among other changes. On the hardware front, it also announced new iMac models with Intel Kaby Lake, and the iMac Pro; the entire MacBook Pro line was also refreshed, and a new 13-inch MacBook Pro unveiled.
Apart from this, there was also the latest version of iOS – iOS 11 – which brings improvements to Siri, Photos, and more. Besides that, the company launched a refresh of the iPad Pro, along with a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, with the India launch to follow later this month.
Additionally, Apple also unveiled HomePod, it’s Siri-powered smart-home speaker, bringing it into competition with Amazon’s Alexa powered Echo, and Google’s smart Assistant powered Home. It stands out from the others with high end audio quality, but according to a report, a former Apple employee says that Siri is far behind Alexa and Google Assistant, which would mean the company has its work cut out in this space.
Meanwhile, Gadgets 360 has learned that Amazon is going to make another attempt at selling its own branded smartphone. The e-commerce giant, which killed off its Fire Phone in 2015, is working on a new lineup of smartphones branded as “Ice”, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Unlike the Fire Phone — for which Amazon focused largely on the US and a couple of other western markets — the company is eyeing emerging markets like India for selling its new phones, said the sources.
WhatsApp might soon allow you to recall messages – that is, delete messages that you’ve sent to others, deleting the messages from their phones. The recall feature, which is being tested, will allow you to delete a message up to five minutes after you’ve sent it. WhatsApp is also testing to bring the new Status feature to WhatsApp Web.
Meanwhile, although we’re still in the wait for the Snapdragon 835 flagships, and it’s months to go before the next flagship launch from Samsung, but there are reports that the Galaxy Note 8 will be the first phone to carry the Snapdragon 836 SoC. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 SoC is believed to come with some improvements over Snapdragon 835 SoC and feature an octa-core CPU clocked at up to 2.5GHz.
Uber remains in the news as well, for inappropriate workplace behaviour. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is back under the scanner for a leaked email to employees written as a do’s and don’ts list for Uber employees heading to Miami in 2013 to celebrate a big milestone of the company. The letter is said to have internally been called the ‘Miami letter’ and it contains explicit language including conditions on having sex with co-employees. This letter is now reportedly being scrutinised by two law firms as the company is under investigation for corporate misbehaviour. That wasn’t the only disturbing news from Uber this week. It has also fired a top executive, Eric Alexander, the president of business in Asia Pacific, who had allegedly obtained medical records of a 26-year-old woman raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014, according to a media report.
Alexander brought the files to Kalanick and Michael, who read them, the report said, adding that soon all three began to consider the prospect whether Uber’s main rival in India, Ola, was behind the incident to sabotage the company. Ola has responded describing this behaviour as “despicable”, and “all-time low on morality”.