Vivo S1 India launch, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 debut, and Redmi K20 series open sale were the biggest tech news stories of the week. Additionally, Poco F1 got another price cut in India and Huawei finally showcased its HarmonyOS as well as the first devices to use it. Further, Realme revealed more details about its 64-megapixel camera phone and other quad-camera smartphones. Read on to know more about everything in the world of technology that dominated the headlines this week.
Vivo S1 price in India revealed
Vivo S1 made its India debut this week. The smartphone was unveiled at a press event in New Delhi on Wednesday and went on sale via the offline stores the next day. The Vivo S1 will be released via the online retailers next week. While Vivo kept the last big launch in this price bracket – Vivo Z1 Pro – online exclusive, the Vivo S1 is clearly not going for any kind of exclusivity and it will be sold via pretty much every platform that it can be sold on.
Vivo S1 price has been set at Rs. 17,990 for the base variant with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The 6GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB variants of the phone have been priced at Rs. 18,990 and Rs. 19,990 respectively. Vivo is offering the smartphone in Skyline Blue and Diamond Black colours. At this point, the company is only selling the base 4GB + 128GB variant of the Vivo S1 in the country and the higher end variants will become available sometime this month. It is possible that those variants debut with the online availability of the phone, however that is just speculation right now.
The new Vivo phone opts for a waterdrop-style notch, instead of the hole-punch or popup selfie camera design. The Vivo S1 features a 6.38-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) Super AMOLED display and is powered by octa-core MediaTek Helio P65 SoC. Additionally, there is a 4,500mAh battery, a 32-megapixel selfie camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and the usual set of connectivity options.
Among other specifications, the Vivo S1 includes a triple rear camera setup, which houses a 16-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.78 lens, 8-megapixel secondary sensor with an f/2.2 wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 lens. The phone runs on Android 9 Pie with Funtouch OS 9 on top. Additionally, the Vivo S1 also has a dedicated smart button on board for Google Assistant.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+ launch
After months of leaks and speculations, Samsung on Wednesday launched the new Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ smartphones. Apart from 2014, Samsung has typically stayed away from launching more than one flagship Galaxy Note-series phone in a year but the company is going in a different direction this year.
For the first time ever, the company has reduced the screen size of a new Galaxy Note phone from the previous generation. The new Galaxy Note 10 packs a 6.3-inch full-HD+ screen, whereas the Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4-inch Quad-HD+ display. The results is a much smaller and much lighter Galaxy Note smartphone that will certainly entice consumers who have hated this trend of ever-increasing screen sizes. However, if you prefer something bigger in true Note fashion, you have the Galaxy Note 10+ with the biggest Note display yet.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ are now listed for pre-orders in a number of markets around the world, including India. You can now place your pre-order via e-retailers like Flipkart as well as Samsung’s own Online Store. The company has priced the Galaxy Note 10 at Rs. 69,999 for its sole 8GB + 256GB variant. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, on the other hand, will start at Rs. 79,999 for the 12GB + 256GB variant. The company is yet to reveal the price of the 12GB + 512GB variant.
Additionally, Samsung has said that it will be selling the two new Galaxy Note 10 phones in Aura Glow, Aura White, and Aura Black colours. Other colour variants are expected but won’t be available initially. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 phones will go on sale starting August 23 in a number of global markets.
In terms of the specifications, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ are powered by the company’s brand-new Exynos 9825 SoC in India and Snapdragon 855 SoC in US. The phones also pack 10-megapixel front shooter in a hole-punch setup as well as Android 9 Pie with One UI. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 features a triple rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary wide-angle shooter, 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter, and a 12-megapixel shooter with a telephoto lens. The Galaxy Note 10+ includes the same three cameras with a fourth DepthVision VGA camera.
The upgraded S-Pen bundled with the latest-generation Galaxy Note phones comes with new features, including the fancy Air Actions. It will allow the Galaxy Note 10 users to trigger certain actions in some apps by simply pressing and holding a button on the S-Pen and moving it around in the air. The company has also improved the ability to convert handwritten notes to digital text.
Redmi K20, Redmi K20 Pro now on open sale
Less than a month after launching the Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro in India, Xiaomi started selling the phones without the flash sales. Both Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro are now available online 24×7 and via Mi Home stores during normal business hours. There is no word on whether Xiaomi has begun the sales of the Redmi K20 phones via the Mi partner retailers. They should start over the next few weeks if they haven’t already. Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro are the company’s flagship phones for the Redmi series, which currently includes phones like Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 7 Pro, Redmi 7, Redmi 7A, and Redmi Y3.
Redmi K20 price in India starts at Rs. 21,999 for the 6GB + 64GB variant. The 6GB + 128GB variant of the phone can be purchased for Rs. 23,999. Redmi K20 Pro, on the other hand, retails at Rs. 27,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant and at Rs. 30,999 for the 8GB + 256GB variant. Both smartphones are being offered in Carbon Black, Glacier Blue, and Flame Red colours.
Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro smartphones sport the same design and come with 6.39-inch full-HD+ screen. The phones also pack 20-megapixel popup selfie shooter and MIUI 10 operating system, based on Android 9 Pie. Both smartphones also have a triple rear camera setup, however the primary sensor used in the two phones is different. While the Redmi K20 Pro packs Sony’s IMX586, the Redmi K20 uses Sony IMX582. The other shooters on the back are the same — 13-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 lens.
HarmonyOS: Huawei’s future-oriented new operating system
Huawei on Friday finally took the wraps off its new HarmonyOS at the company’s developer conference. As rumoured, the operating system can work on a multitude of devices, however the company won’t be ditching Android unless it has to. On Saturday, the company also showed off the first devices to be powered by the HarmonyOS in the form of the new Honor Vision and Honor Vision Pro. Although the company is calling them Smart Screen, they are essentially slightly smarter Smart TVs.
HarmonyOS 1.0 version is going to be used in the Honor Vision and Honor Vision Pro. Huawei says it plans to open-source the operating system and it will gradually release more devices powered by it. HarmonyOS is built on a microkernel and will be able to run Android, HTML, and Linux apps in the future. The company also doesn’t plan to keep it China-only and it says the OS is made for global consumption.
Realme 64-megapixel camera phone launching before Diwali
Realme announced this week that it will launch its much touted 64-megapixel camera phone before Diwali in India. The phone will be using the same Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 image sensor that is being put by Xiaomi in its Redmi 64-megapixel camera phone. The company hasn’t shared any specifics, however the phone will be packing a quad-camera setup with wide-angle, telephoto, and macro lenses. The phone is likely to be a successor to Realme X.
In addition to the 64-megapixel camera phone, Realme will soon be launching the Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro smartphones. The company teased these phones at its Camera Innovation event. The phones will also be using a quad-camera setup, however they won’t include the 64-megapixel sensor. These two phones are likely to debut before the Realme X successor.
Redmi 7A offline sales, Poco F1 price cut, Redmi Note 7 Pro new colour variant
Among Xiaomi’s other smartphones in India, Redmi 7A is now available via offline stores in the country. The phone was launched last month and was initially only available via Flipkart, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores. It can now also be purchased via Mi partner offline retailers. Redmi 7A offline retail price is likely to be higher than the online pricing. Online, Redmi 7 retails at Rs. 5,999 for the base variant with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. The 2GB + 32GB variant can be purchased at Rs. 6,199.
Another Xiaomi phone in the news this week was Poco F1. Xiaomi dropped the price of two of Poco F1 variants. The Poco F1 will now retail at Rs. 18,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant. The price of the 8GB + 256GB option has also been revised from Rs. 27,999 to Rs. 22,999. This is applicable to both regular and Armoured edition of the Poco F1 smartphone. The base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage will continue to be offered at Rs. 17,999.
Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S on Tuesday received a new Astro White colour variant. The new variant was originally launched in China under a different branding – Mirror Flower Water Moon. It is also known as Moonlight White. The new colour variant of the two phones will start shipping August 16 via mi.com. Flipkart will also sell the new colour, however it is starting shipping on August 21. Apart from the new coat of paint, the new variant is same as existing colour options of the two phones. With this launch, both Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S are now being offered in a total of four colours.
Infinix S4 4GB RAM variant launch and other tech news
Infinix released a new storage variant of its S4 smartphone this week. The new variant packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, whereas the originally launched variant includes 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. The Infinix S4 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model has been priced at Rs. 10,999 and it will be offered in Nebula Blue, Twilight Purple, and Space Grey colours, as the 3GB RAM variant. The key specifications of the Infinix S4 include a 6.21-inch HD+ screen, Helio P22 SoC, triple rear cameras and a 32-megapixe selfie camera.
BSNL announced a new promotional offer for its Rs. 1,699 prepaid recharge plan this week. As a part of this offer, the BSNL subscribers recharging their prepaid account with Rs. 1,699 will get an extra validity of 90 days. With the extra validity, the total validity of the plan will become 455 days for the recharges done during promotional period from August 14 to September 13. The state-run telecom operator also pointed out that the promotion will be applicable on all modes of the recharge.
BSNL also reportedly capped the total number of daily calling minutes available on select unlimited plans. The BSNL subscribers recharging their account with the Rs. 186, Rs. 429, Rs. 666, and Rs. 1,699 prepaid plans will reportedly get only 250 free minutes per day, not unlimited. After exceeding the given quota, customers are said to be charged at the base tariff plan of Re. 1 paisa per second.
Additionally, the state-run telecom operator reduced the cost of replacement or changing a BSNL SIM card as a part of a limited time offer. Earlier, BSNL was charging Rs. 100 for SIM replacement, but now the BSNL users will get able to get a replacement SIM for Rs. 50. Notably, almost all major operators no longer charge for a new SIM card. The promotion offer will only be available until October 31.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio has started the broader rollout of its landline service, called JioFixedVoice, among the GigaFiber preview subscribers. The service will be available via the already installed Rs. 4,500 ONT (optical network terminal) device, however the subscribers will have to get their own landline phone to use it. The selected GigaFiber subscribers are being asked to verify their registered mobile number so that they can take advantage of the JioFixedVoice service following its activation on their account. It appears those who paid a Rs. 2,500 security deposit and received a single band router are not eligible for the JioFixedVoice trial. We will likely get more information on Monday when Reliance details its GigaFiber plans at the AGM.
In other tech news, WhatsApp was spotted developing a new feature called Boomerang that will allow its users to create looped videos. It is currently in development and only being offered to iPhone users. The feature seems similar to the Boomerang that is available on Instagram. WhatsApp’s version of Boomerang will reportedly be available for videos that are less than seven seconds. The users will be able to share the video loops with their WhatsApp contacts through a message or upload them as a Status update.
Lastly, security firm Check Point revealed this week that WhatsApp is yet to fix a flaw that could allow message manipulation. Check Point says it told WhatsApp about the issue in 2018 but the company is yet to fix it. Two ways the flaw can be exploited include – a bad actor using the “quote” feature in a group conversation to change the identity of the sender, even if that person is not a member of the group, or a bad actor altering the text of someone else’s reply, essentially putting words in their mouth. WhatsApp said “scenario described here is merely the mobile equivalent of altering replies” and it is “false to suggest there is a vulnerability”.