In the tech news that you can use this week, we got to see one of the highly anticipated launches – the Xiaomi Mi 6X, which is expected to launch in India as the Mi A2. Xiaomi launched the Mi 6X with MIUI 9 at an event in China, and it’s expected to launch in India as the Mi A2 running stock Android. The Mi A1 has gone out of stock in India, hinting the Mi A2 could launch here soon, though Xiaomi insists the Mi A1 will be back soon. This is the second handset so far to come preloaded with Xioami’s new digital assistant, Xiao Ai.
There are three variants of the Xiaomi Mi 6X – one with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which is priced at CNY 1,599 (roughly Rs. 16,900). The next model has 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, and costs CNY 1,799 (approximately Rs. 19,000). Finally, there’s the top-end Mi 6X variant, with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, the price tag is CNY 1,999 (around Rs. 21,000). The India prices should be relatively close to these – for comparison, the Xiaomi Mi A1 was priced at Rs. 14,999 at launch, while the Mi 5X was launched at CNY 1,499 – roughly Rs. 14,200 at the time.
The Xiaomi Mi 6X has a 5.99-inch display, with an 18:9 aspect ratio, full-HD+ resolution. It is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC, with the aforementioned RAM and storage options. There’s a dual-camera setup on the back, with a 12-megapixel primary sensor and a 20-megapixel secondary sensor, while there’s a 20 megapixel front camera. According to Xiaomi, there’s a lot of AI being used for taking the best photographs, along with features such as text-translation, currency conversion, and so on. The Mi 6X packs in a 3010mAh battery, and in keeping with Xiaomi tradition, holds on to the IR emitter.
Meanwhile, the other phone that’s got everyone’s attention is the OnePlus 6, and we know a little more about what to expect on that front as well. For one thing, the company confirmed that the OnePlus 6 will be made of new materials. What “new materials”? Well, one that’s been confirmed by CEO Pete Lau is a glass back, which could enable wireless charging. In the post, he mentions that the glass back will feature a five-layer nanotech coating, and also hinted at a purple colour variant of the OnePlus 6.
We already knew that the handset will be an Amazon Exclusive in India, and is expected to come with a water-resistant build. The OnePlus 6 will also come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, coupled with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB inbuilt storage. The company has now confirmed that the OnePlus 6 India launch event will take place only a few hours after its debut in China, with both events scheduled for May 17. Before that though, the phone will be unveiled in London on May 16.
Ahead of the May 17 launch of the OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 5T has gone out of stock in India. Last month, the handset became unavailable to purchase in North America, and hasn’t returned, so expect something similar here. There are only a couple of weeks to go to the launch, but leaks continue as well – a leaked render has shown the front and back design of the smartphone, while the OnePlus India site briefly included a reference to a super-slow motion feature. A working unit of the OnePlus 6 was also spotted, which lines up perfectly with previous leaks, so the design at least can be taken as confirmed.
Another tidbit of information is that the OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition will also launch in India on May 17, which will be a special edition themed around Avengers: Infinity War. The movie – the third Avengers, and 19th Marvel Cinematic Universe film – released in India this week, and despite a few stumbles, was actually really enjoyable. In case you haven’t seen the film yet, and want a reminder of what’s happened so far, we’ve got a video recap, and we’ve also got a viewing guide in case you want to get caught up quickly yourself.
In case you’ve already Avengers: Infinity Wars, you can dive into our spoiler-filled discussion of the movie. There was a lot to take in, and some significant changes have come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with this film, but is Marvel trying to have its cake and eat it too? That’s something that the post-credits scene might be tipping off, which we talked about in some detail.
The week kicked off with one more launch, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. The phone starts at a price of Rs. 10,999, and comes with pretty good hardware for the price, but it’s going to face tough competition from the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, which comes with the same Snapdragon 636 SoC.
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 has been launched in three different variants, starting at 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, for which it’s charging Rs. 10,999. The middle variant has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and is priced at Rs. 12,999. The top-end variant of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage, hasn’t been made available yet, but it will be priced at Rs. 14,999, which sounds pretty competitive.
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 has a 5.99-inch full-HD+ display, with an 18:9 aspect ratio, and as mentioned before, it’s powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 636 SoC. It has a dual-camera setup on the back, with a 13-megapixel primary sensor, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor, while there’s an 8-megapixel selfie-camera. The top-end model, with 6GB RAM, has a 16-megapixel and 5-megapixel camera setup on the back, but the rest remains the same. Along with the storage and RAM variants as mentioned above, the Zenfone Max Pro M1 has a huge 5000mAh battery, and comes with a 10W charger for quick charging.
It was a surprisingly quiet week from telcos, who have been launching offers and plans with great regularity, but this week it was only Airtel that had new offers. For one thing, it’s launched a new prepaid pack for Rs. 49 which nets you 3GB data, for a single day. There’s already a Rs. 49 pack offering 1GB for a day, and the 3GB pack will only be available to select subscribers, according to Airtel. It also launched a new Rs. 219 recharge, which nets you 1.4GB data per day, and Hello Tunes, for 28 days – a total of 39.2GB of data.
Aside from this, Reliance Jio and Airtel are bringing the Apple Watch Series 3 (Review) cellular version to India and prebookings will start from May 4. Jio customers won’t have to pay extra for the watch’s cellular plan, though it’s not clear what Airtel will be charging. In either case, the watch comes with a built in eSIM, which can bear the same number as your phone, so you can use the watch for calls and other data use without having the phone nearby. Gadgets 360 has learnt the Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular variant price in India will start at Rs. 39,080 – a Rs. 6,700 premium for the 38mm Cellular variant.
Meanwhile, Gmail got one of its biggest updates yet, with a whole new look and a bunch of new features. Some of these might remind you of another Google app, Inbox, but new Gmail brings other features at hand here like self-destructing emails. The new Gmail is still rolling out but you can check if you have it by clicking on the settings gear icon on the top right, and seeing if you have the option to Try the new Gmail.
The new Gmail beings a lot of new features, such as snoozing an email to remind you about it later, or nudge, another feature that uses AI to remind you about mails you haven’t replied to. Smart replies make it to Gmail, where it can suggest quick little responses based on the contents of the mail – something that the Android app has been doing for a while. It also has a confidential mode, with self-destructing emails, and only allowing mails to be read with 2-factor authentication. Gmail for Android also gets the snooze feature, and Tasks has been launched as a standalone app, and also integrated into the new Gmail.
Another big launch this week was the India launch of the Huawei P20 Pro, which comes with not one, not two, but three cameras on the rear. It was launched alongside the Huawei P20 Lite, just about a month after the global unveiling. The P20 Pro and P20 Lite prices in India are Rs. 64,999 and Rs. 19,999 respectively.
The Huawei P20 Pro comes with a 6.1-inch full-HD+ display, and it’s powered by the company’s own octa-core Kirin 970 SoC, which has a dedicated Neural Processing Unit for AI computations. It comes with 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage, and as mentioned, a three-camera setup on the rear, with an 8-megapixel sensor that has 3x soon, a 40-megapixel RGB sensor, and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. The Huawei P20 Pro also has a 4000mAh battery to power all this. The P20 Lite, on the other hand, has a 5.84-inch full-HD+ display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, the Kirin 659 SoC, and a dual-camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor, as well as a 3000mAh battery.
The Samsung Galaxy J2 (2018), which comes with the Samsung Mall app, was launched in India priced at Rs. 8,190. The Samsung Mall app has three key features – visual search, one-stop shop, and a universal cart. Users can take pictures of products they’re interested in, and the app will identify it using visual search, and then you can shop for it across various online sites, and then make all your purchases from a single cart. This was first shown with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime earlier this year.
The phone itself is a fairly basic budget phone, with a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC, and 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel and 5-megapixel rear and front cameras, 16GB storage, and a 2600mAh battery.
Oppo launched a new phone in China, the Oppo A3. The phone, which is already available to buy at CNY 2,099 (roughly Rs. 22,100), has a 19:9 display aspect ratio, and an iPhone X-like notch. The screen is 6.2-inches at a full-HD+ resolution. There’s a 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera, 4GB of RAM, and a 3400mAh battery.
We also got the India launch of the Oppo A83 (2018) with 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage. It’s an upgrade to the Oppo A83 that arrived in India in January at Rs. 13,990. The Oppo A83 (2018) price in India is set at Rs. 15,990, and it features a 5.7-inch HD+ display, with a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 3180mAh battery. Gionee also launched two new phones in India, the Gionee F205 and Gionee S11 Lite. Both phones are budget-friendly phones aimed at selfie-lovers, and are priced at Rs. 8,999 and Rs. 13,999 respectively.
We also got a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 Active, which is likely to be unveiled in the next couple of weeks. Much like previous generations, the Galaxy S9 Active will evidently be a more durable and rugged variant of the Galaxy S9 series. It’s expected to have a 5.8-inch display at QHD+ resolution (1440×2960 pixels), with a 12-megapixel camera on the back, and an 8-megapixel front camera. The phone will also reportedly have a 4000mAh battery.
We also got to know a little bit about an upcoming “notched Nokia”, the Nokia X6, thanks to a specifications leak. The render shows a notch on the front and a slim chin bezel, while the back panel looks similar to the Nokia 7 Plus. The smartphone is said to come in two processor variants — Snapdragon 636 SoC and MediaTek P60 processor. It will reportedly be available in two storage variants — 4GB RAM, 64GB inbuilt storage and 6GB RAM, 128GB inbuilt storage. Another leak suggests that the phone might be launched by HMD Global the Nokia X instead. Apart from this, the company seems to be working on a relaunch of the Nokia N8-00 smartphone.
There were also some leaks from Xiaomi. The Redmi S2, a rumoured budget smartphone from Xiaomi, has been spotted on a Chinese certification website, and is said to sport a 5.99-inch HD+ display. The phone is also expected to have a Qualcomm 625 SoC, and RAM and storage variants that go from 2GB/ 3GG/ 4GB, and 16GB/ 32GB/ 64GB. Separately, the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 has also reportedly been spotted in the wild with a possible Snapdragon 660 SoC.
The Amazon Echo Spot was launched in India this week, bringing the number of Alexa-powered smart speakers up to four. The Spot is a round speaker with a small circular display, that is still mostly a voice-based device, but can also be used for video news briefings, or showing movie trailers, and Alexa-to-Alexa video calls.
Amazon Publishing also announced a six-book deal with author Chetan Bhagat. The books – three fiction, and three non-fiction titles – will be published globally in print, ebook, and audio. That last detail could point to something else interesting – Amazon India could launch Audible soon, insiders say, although the company is not willing to comment on the matter at present. However, it’s been hiring for the Audible India team for over a year now, and according to sources, getting Chetan Bhagat’s books on the service was considered a priority from the start.
Also, if you’ve been tracking Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency in India – you know that things are in limbo right now because the RBI has decided that while virtual currencies are not illegal, regulated entities like banks can’t do business with any company that deals with these currencies. This move left cryptocurrency exchanges in the lurch, and now Koinex – a leading exchange in India – has launched a crypto-to-crypto trading exchange, to allow people to move between various tokens without having to send funds to – or from – a bank.