- Xiaomi launched the Redmi 4, Redmi 4 Prime, and Redmi 4A
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is out, and it’s derivative, but fun
- Samsung launched a flip-phone that’ll likely cost you a crazy amount
If you’ve missed out on the news from the world of tech this week, we’ve got you covered. We have all the major highlights together in one place so you can quickly catch up on all that’s been going on. One of the biggest highlights of the week was perhaps the launch of the Xiaomi Redmi 4; it was launched alongside the premium variant the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime, and a budget variant, the Xiaomi Redmi 4A.
If phones are not your thing, then you might be more interested in the fact that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – which will very likely be the top selling game of the year – is now available to buy worldwide. Wondering if you should buy the game? Check out our Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare review to help you decide.
(Also see: Everything You Need to Know About Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare)
Then of course, there was crazy news like the man who legally changed his name to “iPhone Sim” (Ukranian for “iPhone 7”), in order to get a free iPhone 7 that was offered by an electronics store. In case you’re wondering, Sim says that he’s going to keep the name even now after getting the phone; though he might change it back once he has children. That’s not the craziest thing someone has done for an iPhone over the years, and his family seems to be supportive of the decision for now.
Meanwhile, other than launching the new MacBook Pros, Apple has jacked up the prices of the MacBook by up to Rs. 10,000 in India, though prices for other Macs remain unchanged.
(Also see: Five Best Camera Phones Under Rs. 30,000)
There were also a lot of launches that took place over the last week. We saw the launch of the Huawei Mate 9, which comes with a Leica dual-lens camera, and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, a 5.9-inch screen, and a 20-megapixel camera. It also launched the limited edition Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9, with a EUR 1,395 (roughly Rs. 1,03,000) price tag. Aside from the phones, Huawei also launched the Huawei Fit activity tracker with a heart rate monitor.
Samsung also announced a phone that really stands out this week – it launched a flip phone, the Samsung W2017, which has dual full-HD displays, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC. The premium phone’s pricing has not been announced yet, but last year’s version, the Samsung W2016, was sold at CNY 9,999 (roughly Rs. 98,700). At the other end of the spectrum, ZTE also launched an Android flip-phone, the ZTE CYMBAL-T, but this is strictly a budget affair, with a single 3.5-inch display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 SoC. Launched in the US market, the phone is priced at $99.95 (roughly Rs. 6,700), and available in Wal-Mart stores.
Other launches this week included the Alcatel Idol 4S (Windows 10) smartphone, which is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC. As the name implies, the phone runs Windows 10 Mobile. Meizu launched two phones this week, the Meizo Pro 6s with a 12-megapixel camera, and the Meizu M5, which has VoLTE support and a 13-megapixel camera. The Intex Aqua Power M with a 4350mAh battery was launched, as was the Micromax Canvas Spark 4G with VoLTE support. We also saw two new tablets launched, the Lava Ivory Pop with a 7-inch display, and voice calling support; and the iBall Slide Brace X1, with 4G voice calling support.
(Also see: iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, and Other Phones to Look Forward To)
Meanwhile, Samsung’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year continues, with the recall of 2.8 million washing machines in the US. The top of the machines can unexpectedly detach from the chassis during use, and Samsung has received nine reports of injuries, including a broken jaw. Between this and the Galaxy Note 7, well, it’s going to take some courage to shop from Samsung.
Railways booking platform IRCTC continues to add more partners for its online payments, and now apart from paying via netbanking, credit cards, and other wallets, users can opt to pay directly from their MobilKwik wallet while booking tatkal tickets. Google is also looking for simpler ways to get people to pay – this week it announced Google Play subscription promos, which will allow developers to entice customers with an introductory offer on subscription for a limited time. According to Google, subscriptions are the fastest growing business model on Play, with consumers spending on subscriptions increasing 10 times over the last 3 years.
There was also some news that is bound to please Indian readers – Netflix is considering an offline mode, the company’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview. For people in developing countries with poor Internet connectivity this could be a very helpful feature, and even for people who live in conditions with good connections, it could be useful in scenarios such as flights, where you could queue up videos for entertainment. Also, architecture and interior design platform Houzz launched in India – it now has a presence in 15 countries.s
This week, in an interview Steve Ballmer, the previous CEO of Microsoft, also talked about how smartphones broke his relationship with the company’s founder (and previous CEO) Bill Gates. Meanwhile, Twitter, which continues to face a lot of pressure, also lost two very senior executives in the India/ South East Asia region. India Head Rishi Jaitly announced his exit on Monday, while South East Asia and India Managing Director Parminder Singh left on Thursday.
By the way, in case you were wondering, Reliance Jio and its relations with the other telcos remains in the news.This week, Airtel announced that it’s providing another 7,000 points of interconnect to Reliance Jio – whether this will help interconnectivity between the networks remains to be seen, though in our experience, there are still a lot of problems when calling other networks from Jio. Airtel also said that it might bring in price drops, but will not offer Jio-like free calls.
And finally, apart from the Call of Duty release, there was a lot more from the world of gaming this week. It was the end of an era, as Nintendo ended Wii U production this week, even as the curtains were lifted on Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro console, including the launch lineup of games for the beefed-up variant of the PlayStation 4.
(Also see: PS4 Pro Unboxing: Here’s What to Expect)
Meanwhile on Friday Blizzcon kicked off, and the World of Warcraft maker had a lot to show. Some of the biggest highlights included the fact that Blizzard and Google Deepmind are going to use Starcraft II for AI research. It also revealed that it’s going to bring the much-demanded Necromancer to Diablo 3 as DLC, nearly 5 years after the game initially launched. In case that wasn’t enough, Blizzard also revealed that the original Diablo will be made playable in Diablo 3, as part of a free content patch for people who already bought the Reaper of Souls DLC. There will be special graphic filters to make the game pixelated and grainy just as it was in its original 1996 release.