Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may have been the talk of the town in the US, but Flipkart didn’t want Indian consumers to miss out on some shopping fun. Hence, the e-retailer kicked off the latest iteration of its Big Shopping Days sale in India, just a day before Cyber Monday 2019 goes live on the other side of the world. Among other major developments this week, Xiaomi India started teasing the India launch of Mi Note 10 and WhatsApp released a new version of its iPhone app. Read on for more on these and other big happenings from the world of tech this week.
Flipkart is back with yet another edition of its Big Shopping Days sale. Probably the last Big Shopping Days sale of 2019, the latest round of Flipkart sale went live Saturday evening for Flipkart Plus members and Sunday for rest of the shoppers. According to the Walmart-owned e-retailer, the sale will continue through December 5. Flipkart is offering discounts, deals, and offers on pretty much all the categories, including mobile phones, tablets, mobile accessories, PCs, TVs, and more.
In terms of the phone offers, the Flipkart shoppers can expect to see discounted Realme 5, Realme X, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+, Google Pixel 3a, Apple iPhone 7, Asus ZenFone 5Z, Vivo Z1 Pro, Vivo S1, and more. All these phones and more have gotten price discounts and other offers as a part of the Flipkart Big Shopping Days 2019 sale. Flipkart has partnered with HDFC Bank to offer 10 percent instant discount on purchases made using the bank’s credit and debit cards, including EMI transactions.
In other categories, Flipkart is offering discounts on Mi TVs, Samsung TVs, Predator gaming laptops, ROG gaming laptops, boAt headphones, and JBL headphones. Apple Watch Series 3, cameras, and printers are also listed with offers and discounts. Flipkart is also set to host “Blockbuster Deals” and new offers at 12am, 8am, and 4pm during the Big Shopping Days sale. Similarly, there will be “Rush Hours” until 2am.
Mi Note 10 India launch teased
Mi Note 10, which is the global version of Mi CC9 Pro, is coming to India soon, teased the company’s India chief Manu Kumar Jain this week. While Manu Jain didn’t say exactly when we can expect to see the phone in the country, it is likely to arrive next month as the last major smartphone launch from the company. Mi Note 10 was introduced in Spain last month, whereas the Mi CC9 Pro debuted in China one day before the Mi Note 10.
Although Mi Note 10’s European pricing suggests a pretty expensive smartphone, it is most likely going to retail around the Mi CC9 Pro China pricing. The Mi CC9 Pro has been priced at CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,000) for the base 6GB + 128GB variant in Xiaomi’s home market, whereas the higher end 8GB + 128GB variant will set buyers back by CNY 3,099 (roughly Rs. 31,000). The premium edition of the phone, which is known as Mi Note 10 Pro outside China and packs 8GB of RAM and 256GB of inbuilt storage, carries a price tag of CNY 3,499 (roughly Rs. 35,000). It is unclear if the premium edition will also make its way to India.
To recall, Mi Note 10 features a 6.47-inch curved full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) OLED display and is powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC. There is up to 8GB of RAM onboard as well as 128GB of onboard storage. Other specifications of the phone include a penta cameta setup that houses a 108-megapixel main camera with f/1.69 aperture, a 20-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera, a 5-megapixel telephoto camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.
Mi Note 10 also packs an in-display fingerprint sensor, 5,260mAh battery that supports 30W fast charging, and various connectivity options. Mi Note 10 Pro has almost the same specifications as Mi Note 10, however, it sports an 8P lens, while the Mi Note 10 sports a 7P lens in the main camera. Also, you get more onboard storage – 256GB.
WhatsApp for iPhone update, WhatsApp beta for Android
Facebook-owned WhatsApp released an update for its iPhone app this week that brought a couple of interesting new things. One of the changes is call waiting support. Yes, WhatsApp for iPhone will now inform you if someone else are trying to call you while you are on another call. This should help avoid missed calls. The other change is the tweaked chat screen that is designed to help you quickly scan chat massages. The new update carries the version number 2.19.120 and it also brings updated group privacy settings to anyone who was still missing them.
WhatsApp also released a new beta version for Android this week and while it didn’t have any user-facing changes, its code did reveal one under-development feature. WhatsApp seems to have restarted working on the Disappearing Messages feature. It is now called Delete Messages. It will work in both regular chats and groups, however in the case of latter, only group administrators will able to switch on the feature.
WhatsApp Disappearing Messages feature will allow users to delete any new messages after a certain period of time. This time can be chosen from 1-hour, 1-day, 1-week, 1-month, and 1-year. Once this option is selected any new messages sent in the regular chat or group will be deleted when their time is over. The Delete messages option will be available in Contact Info or Group Settings. The latest WhatsApp beta for Android was also seen carrying a dark mode version of Delete messages feature, suggesting the dark mode is well in development.
Vivo V17 launch, India release date, and Vivo Z5i makes its debut
Chinese smartphone maker Vivo earlier this week launched the new V17 in the Russian market. It is re-branded version of the Vivo S1 Pro that made its debut in Philippines last month. Vivo V17 is expected to be introduced in India on December 9 if an invite shared by the company recently is any indication. Vivo V17 India pricing remains a secret for now, however the price of V17 in Russia and Vivo S1 Pro’s Philippines price can give us some idea. The company retails V17 in Russia at RUB 22,990 (roughly Rs. 25,900), while the S1 Pro with same specifications carries a price tag of PHP 15,999 (roughly Rs. 22,500). So, we are expecting V17 to retail somewhere around Rs. 22-23,000 in India.
On the specifications front, Vivo V17 features a 6.38-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) Super AMOLED display, in-display fingerprint scanner, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, and 8GB of RAM. The phone also packs a diamond-shaped quad rear camera setup that houses a 48-megapixel primary shooter, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, the Vivo V17 smartphone houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera sensor. You will also get 4,500mAh battery and 128GB of onboard storage.
Vivo V17 wasn’t the only new smartphone from Vivo this week, the company also unveiled Vivo Z5i. The Vivo Z5i shares pretty much all of its specifications with Vivo U3 and Vivo U20, both of which are essentially the same phone with different names. The company’s strategy of launching the same devices with different names in different countries is just baffling. Vivo Z5i is now on sale in China and carries a price tag of CNY 1,798 (roughly Rs. 18,300) for the sole 8GB RAM + 128GB storage configuration.
Redmi Note 8 Cosmic Purple colour, Redmi Note 8 Pro Electric Blue colour launched in India
Apart from teasing the India launch of Mi Note 10, Xiaomi also introduced one new colour variant each for Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 8 Pro in the country this week. Starting with Redmi Note 8 that received the new Cosmic Purple colour. The new colour variant was also put on sale for the first-time week alongside Moonlight White, Neptune Blue, and Space Black colours. Apart from the new paintjob, there is no difference between other colour variants of the phone and Cosmic Purple. To recall, Redmi Note 8 price starts at Rs. 9,999 for the 4GB + 64GB storage variant and goes up to Rs. 12,999 for the 6GB + 128GB model.
Redmi Note 8 Pro got the new Electric Blue colour option in the country. It joined the existing Gamma Green, Halo White, and Shadow Black colour options. As you can expect, there is no difference between the Electric Blue version and the existing colours options for the Redmi Note 8 Pro, apart from the fresh coat of paint. To recall, Redmi Note 8 Pro is priced at Rs. 14,999 for the base 6GB + 64GB variant in India, while the 6GB + 128GB model sets buyers back by Rs. 15,999. The top end 8GB + 128GB version can be purchased at Rs. 17,999.
Honor V30, Honor V30 Pro launch, and other tech news
After weeks of teasers, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor unveiled the new Honor V30 and Honor V30 Pro smartphones in China. The two phones will be known as Honor View 30 and Honor View 30 Pro internationally. Honor V30 and its Pro variant share a lot of specifications and design. The two phones feature a 6.57-inch full-HD+ display, Kirin 990 SoC, up to 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. Both the phones also pack a triple rear camera setup and dual selfie camera housed in a hole-punch.
Additionally, the Honor V30 packs a 4,200mAh battery, whereas the Honor V30 Pro comes equipped with a smaller 4,100mAh battery. Both phones support 40W fast charging, but the Honor V30 Pro also offers support for 27W wireless fast charging. Honor V30 and V30 Pro go on sale in China this month and will be released internationally in Q1 2020, however, the missing Google apps will certainly impact their sales outside China.
Jio Fiber has reportedly stopped onboarding new subscribers on the preview plan and is finally signing up customers on the paid plans. This development comes almost three months after the Internet Service Provider (ISP) had launched its services commercially. This also means that preview plan consumers can soon expect to see them migrated to the paid plans. To recall, Jio offers plans starting at Rs. 699 per month. Its top-end plan costs Rs. 8,499 and offers data speeds up to 1Gbps.
As the Jio Fiber subscribers start paying of their data, they will likely have to deal with FUP. To make sure, they have enough high-speed data, the ISP has quietly introduced a plan voucher at Rs. 199 (without taxes) that brings unlimited high-speed data for seven days. The subscribers who exhaust their high-speed data quota can opt for this voucher to regain the high-speed Internet. The plan voucher will be available via My Jio app and the company website.
Meanwhile, Tata Sky has said to have discontinued a number of its long duration channel packs. Right now, Tata Sky consumers can only opt for SD Kerala Super plan and Marathi SD Basic plan for six-month and 12-month durations, rest all of the channel packs will not be offered for long duration plans. The exact reasoning behind the move is unclear. Tata Sky has also withdrawn a promotional offer that provided free six-month subscription of the Tata Sky Binge service on getting a new HD set-top box at Rs. 4,999.
In other DTH news, Sun Direct has reduced the price of its set-top box models and their pricing now starts at Rs. 1,799. While the standard resolution Sun Direct SD+ set-top box is priced at Rs. 1,799, the customers can get the high-definition Sun Direct HD+ set-top-box at Rs. 1,999. Sun Direct set-top box models can be ordered from the company website or from offline retailers.
Xiaomi expanded its smart TV lineup in India this week with the launch of Mi TV 4X 55-inch 2020 Edition. It carries a price tag of Rs. 34,999 and will go on sale through Amazon, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores starting at 12pm (noon) on December 2. The Mi TV 4X 55-inch 2020 Edition runs Android 9 Pie with PatchWall 2.0 UI on top. It packs a 55-inch 4K HDR 10-bit display, a quad-core Amlogic Cortex-A53 CPU, 2GB of DDR RAM, and 8GB eMMC storage. Xiaomi has also provided two 10W built-in speakers with support for Dolby Audio.
In smart speaker news, Google has brought its Nest Mini to the Indian market. Launched earlier this week, this Google Assistant-powered smart speaker has been priced at Rs. 4,499 and is now on sale via Flipkart. Google Nest Mini smart speaker is a successor to the two-year-old Google Home Mini and promises better sound quality along with the familiar Google Assistant-powered experience.
Lastly, Flipkart is all set to launch its Nokia-branded smart TV models next week in the country. The e-retailer is hosting a press event on December 5 where the new smart TV models will be showcased. Nothing is known about the upcoming TVs at this point, apart from the fact that they will use JBL sound technology. This will be second such launch of Flipkart, which had earlier said to have partnered with Motorola to launch Motorola-branded Android TVs in India.
Is Realme X2 better than Redmi Note 8 Pro, Redmi K20? We discussed this 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.