Welcome back to our weekly update of all the top news from the world of tech. It was a week of big Independence Day sales, from Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm. The first two sales are already over, on Friday and Saturday night respectively, though the Paytm Independence Day sale will go on till August 15, so you can still check out some of the offers.
We also got a major phone launch, the Lenovo K8 Note. The phone was launched priced at Rs. 12,999, has a dual-rear camera, and a 4000mAh battery that Lenovo says delivers 378 hours of standby time. As we note in our Lenovo K8 Note review, that works out to around 20 hours of heavy use. That's pretty good, but falls a little short of major competition like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.
The phone has a 5.5-inch display running at a full-HD resolution, and a 1.4GHz deca-core processor, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage. The back has a 13-megapixel camera, along with a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and the front has a 13-megapixel camera as well.
Lenovo K8 Note Review
As usual, there were some interesting developments from the world of telecom as well. On Monday, Airtel announced a new 84GB plan to take on the Dhan Dhana Dhan offer from Reliance Jio. This new plan is only available for users with 4G SIM cards, and it cannot be clubbed with other plans from the company. Under the new plan, Airtel is offering 1GB data per day for 84 days, for Rs. 399, with bundled 1000 minutes of calls per week. This is very similar to Vodafone's Rs. 352 plan, or Idea's Rs. 453 plan, and of course, Reliance Jio's plan.
Meanwhile, Reliance Communications, the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance telco which has been in the market for a lot longer than Mukesh Ambani's Jio, also announced a new plan. Under RCom's Rs. 299 plan, users get unlimited calls, text, and data, although there are likely to be some terms and conditions, which have not been clarified at present. And Aircel is also offering new plans with 168GB data, 84 days validity, priced at Rs. 419 in the Northeast, and Rs. 449 in J&K.
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WhatsApp's upcoming UPI payments feature was leaked again via the WhatsApp for Android beta app, showing that it is closer to being deployed than many expected. This comes soon after we learnt that Paytm is working to integrate messaging with its payments platform. Paytm is one of the leading wallets in the country, but in absolute number of users, it falls short of WhatsApp's reach, and UPI has also been growing quickly, so it's going to be interesting to see which approach eventually wins out.
Another notable launch this week was the LG Q6. The phone is a mid-range device with a sub-Rs. 15,000 price tag, and comes with LG's "FullVision" display, which has a 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the phone look thinner and taller than similarly sized counterparts, and some apps, such as LG's own calendar and music apps, are optimised to make full use of this. It's a plus when using split-screen mode, and some Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content is already optimised for this as well.
The 5.5-inch display is running at full-HD resolution, and is powered by an octa-core processor, and has 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of built in storage. There's a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera, along with a 3000mAh battery.
The Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie and ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro were also launched this week, though the availability of the phones has not been announced. The two phones both come with front-facing dual cameras, and have been priced at EUR 299.99 (roughly Rs. 22,250) and EUR 399.99 (roughly Rs. 30,050) respectively. The Selfie has 20-megapixel and 8-megapixel front cameras, while the Selfie Pro has 24-megapixel and 5-megapixel front cameras. On the rear, both phones have a 16-megapixel camera.
Both phones also come with a 5.5-inch full-HD display, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a 3000mAh battery, though the Selfie has a 1.4GHz octa-core processor and the Selfie Pro has a 2GHz octa-core processor.
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Another launch this week was the Itel PowerPro P41, with a massive 5000mAh battery. This entry level phone will set you back by Rs. 5,999, and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, with 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage. Panasonic launched two new phones as well, the Panasonic Eluga A3 and Eluga A3 Pro. The phones are priced at Rs. 11,290 and Rs. 12,790 respectively, and both are packing 4000mAh batteries.
There were also two new phones launched by Swipe. It launched the Swipe Elite VR, and the Swipe Konnect Star 2017. As the name suggests, the former is bundled with a Google Cardboard style VR headset. The two phones both work with 4G VoLTE, and are affordably priced, at Rs. 4,499 and Rs. 3,333 respectively.
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This week, there was a fresh leak about the Nokia 8 flagship phone from HMD Global, which is expected to launch on August 16 in London. We already learnt last week that this might be the first smartphone to run on Android 8, and that it's listed as having 4GB RAM. This week, new benchmarks of the Nokia 8 were spotted online. Based on these, we can say that the upcoming phone may sport a 5.2-inch or 5.3-inch display, and will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC. The smartphone is tipped to be priced at EUR 517.42 (roughly Rs. 38,900), and in India, it is expected to be priced at Rs. 44,999.
Meanwhile, the Moto X4, which is expected to launch on August 24, was leaked again with new images showing a thick side profile. The leaked images also confirmed the 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom panel of the phone, and the phone can also be seen as having a dual-camera setup at the back. A leaked render from last week shows the dual camera design in high detail as well.
A report this week also suggested that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which is expected to launch on August 23, will sport a feature similar to Apple's 3D Touch. Another report says the phone could go up for pre-ordered starting on September 1.
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Meanwhile, Flipkart announced funding from SoftBank, in what it says was the biggest private investment in a tech company in India. SoftBank, which is SnapDeal's biggest investor, had reportedly been pushing for a merger with Flipkart, and announced this investment soon after the deal was rejected.