It’s been a big week with a lot of exciting news. The top highlights would definitely be two new Xiaomi launches, one in India, and the other in China. In India, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 (Review) went on sale in India this week, and the company says it sold 250,000 Redmi 4 units in 8 minutes. A couple of days later, the Chinese company announced the successor to the Xiaomi Mi Max, it’s almost tablet-sized phablet.
Like the original model, the new Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has a massive screen and big battery as its highlight features, but has also added stereo speakers to the mix, updated the design, and made improvements to the one-handed mode. The phone has a 5300mAh battery, a massive 6.44-inch display, and supports fast charging. The 64GB Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is priced at CNY 1,699 (roughly Rs. 16,000) and 128GB variant is priced at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 19,000).
According to a tweet from Xiaomi’s India head Manu Kumar Jain, there’s a chance that the Mi Max 2 – and also the Xiaomi Mi 6 – will be making it to India as soon as July. Jain tweeted about a new phone to be launched on July 23, though he didn’t mention a specific model; looking at the lineup though, these two phones are the most likely bets. The Xiaomi Mi 6 was launched in China two months ago with the 64GB storage and 6GB RAM priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 23,500), while the Xiaomi Mi 6 model with 128GB storage and 6GB RAM is priced at CNY 2,899 (roughly Rs. 27,000).
Earlier in the week, Paytm launched its payments bank, which is a special type of bank that doesn’t need to have the same kind of physical infrastructure as a full bank, but at the same time, it can not offer the same degree of benefits either. A payments bank is like a bridge between mobile wallets and full bank accounts, and as such, the category was created with the goal of financial inclusion of the unbanked.
To that end, while payments banks can issue debit cards and offer interest on deposits unlike wallets, there is a limit of Rs. 1 lakh which can be kept in the account, and the bank is not allowed to offer loans, which also means no credit cards. Paytm’s payments bank has launched in a beta phase, and you can only create an account after receiving an invite, so we don’t know too much about it yet, but it is offering a 4 percent rate of interest, and it’s also offer a Rs. 250 cashback if you deposit Rs. 25,000 – the cashback can be availed up to four times.
Meanwhile, there’s been a lot happening in the telecom world, as Reliance Jio is locked in legal battles with the incumbent players. On the one hand, Vodafone claimed in the Delhi High Court that Jio’s Summer Surprise offer and Dhan Dhana Dhan offer are against TRAI guidelines. Vodafone says that by providing free voice calls and continuing to do so as a promotional offer beyond 90 days, Jio is violating TRAI norms.
At the same time, Jio has filed a complaint with the telecom ministry alleging that Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular have violated license fees and not deposited their dues in March. It said that these telcos caused a loss to the government of Rs. 400 crores. That’s not all though. TRAI also says that the three operators have to pay penalties for not providing enough points of interconnect to Reliance Jio – to the tune of Rs. 3,050 crores. Airtel has urged the DoT the reject the fine, and the government will look into the proposal, said communications minister Manoj Sinha.
The steady stream of OnePlus 5 leaks and details continues. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed that the smartphone will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, and the company added that the OnePlus 5 will be the first flagship in India with the Snapdragon 835. Lau also revealed that the phone will have the fingerprint sensor on the front. Co-founder Carl Pei also hinted that the phone would have a 3.5mm headphone jack, despite what people were expecting.
OnePlus 5 specifications were also leaked in a retail listing, mentioning the Snapdragon 835, along with 8GB of RAM, and Android 7.1 Nougat. Another leak also showed various OnePlus 5 colour variants, including Black, Red, and one gradient colour labeled Unicorn. In all this OnePlus news, there was one piece of bad news in case you were thinking of waiting for a deal on the OnePlus 3T – that’s not likely to happen as the company has discontinued the model, though it promises continued updates and support.
On the other hand, there were also a number of launches this week. In India, the Zen Admire Sense, with 4G LTE VoLTE and a fingerprint sensor, launched at Rs. 5,999. The phone comes with a 2300mAh battery, and an AI application called Niki. The Asus ZenFone Live (ZB501KL) with a live beautification feature was launched at Rs. 9,999. The phone has a 5-megapixel front camera, and the beautification feature can even be used while live streaming. And there was also the Alcatel Pixi 4 (7), a 7-inch tablet, which is now available on Fliapkart. The budget tablet has a Wi-Fi version priced at just Rs. 3,999, a 4G variant at Rs. 6,499.
Internationally there are even more launches. The Samsung Galaxy Wide 2 launched in South Korea, priced at KRW 297,000 (roughly Rs. 17,000). The phone packs a 5.5-inch HD LCD display with curved glass on top, an oct-core 1.6GHz processor, coupled with 2GB of RAM. Samsung also released the Samsung Galaxy Feel, a 4.7-inch budget device that’s been launched in Japan.
In China, Gionee launched the Gionee S10 and other variants including the Gionee S10B and Gionee S10C. The first of these is the most noteworthy, as it comes with dual-camera setups on the front and back, for a total of four cameras. On the front, it has a 20-megapixel sensor and an 8-megapixel sensor, while on the rear it uses a 16-megapixel sensor with an 8-megapixel sensor.
Huawei launched the Huawei Nova 2 and the Huawei Nova 2 Plus, which will both be available from June 16. Both phones sport a fingerprint scanner at the back, and rear dual-cameras. The company also launched the Huawei Y6 (2017), which packs a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 3000mAh battery. Huawei’s sub-brand Honor launched the Play Pad 2 tablet, which comes in two variants, the Honor Play Pad 2 (8-inch), and the Honor Play Pad (9.6-inch). Both tablets have Wi-Fi and 4G LTE variants, and come in different memory/ storage variants as well. It also launched a new phone, the Honor 6A. The budget smartphone features a full unibody, along with a fingerprint scanner, and starts at CNY 799 (approximately Rs. 7,500).
And finally, we also had a bunch of interesting leaks this week. The moulds for the iPhone 8, along with the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, leaked online, and it appears that the iPhone 8 is going to be slightly taller and wider than the 7s, which looks to be the only one with a single camera. Of course, the moulds are also made for concept units, so don’t take this as the final word.
There was also a dummy leaked of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which promises a dual camera setup, and an embedded fingerprint scanner. The dummy is shipped by manufacturers to accessory makers, who can use it when designing cases and screen protectors.
And there were leaked images of the Nokia 9, showing dual 13-megapixel cameras. The phone is also tipped to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, and is believed to come with 64GB of internal storage, and a Snapdragon 835 SoC.
We also got a look at the Moto G5S and G5S Plus along with their specifications, thanks to a leaked presentation slide. And Moto Z2 Play specifications were tipped thanks to a leaked GFXBench benchmark listing, that tips at a 5.5-inch full-HD display, 4GB RAM, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat.