Xiaomi Mi A2 Launched, Honor 9N and Huawei Nova 3 in India, Jio Numbers, and More News This Week

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We’ve reached the end of an exciting week of tech news, with Xiaomi launching the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite at its ‘global launch’ in Madrid, Spain possibly the biggest highlight The brand new Xiaomi Mi A2 is the successor to the Mi A1 that was launched at a global launch event in New Delhi, India last year. The Mi A1 was Xiaomi’s first Android One smartphone – certified by Google to provide an optimised stock Android experience, as well as timely software and security updates – and was essentially a rebranded Mi 5X smartphone for global markets.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is likewise based on the Mi 6X smartphone that Xiaomi launched in China earlier this year, and is thus a successor in almost every regard. The Mi A2 Lite however appears to be a completely new model – it hasn’t been launched in China under a different name. The Mi A2 is set to launch in India on August 8, and ahead of that date, we’ve also learnt some interesting things about the India launch. Also, the Mi A2 Lite will not be making its way to the country.

As for price of the Xiaomi Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite, there are three RAM/ storage variants of the Mi A2 that were launched – 4GB/ 32GB (EUR 249 or roughly Rs. 20,100), 4GB/ 64GB (EUR 279 or roughly Rs. 22,500), and 6GB/ 128GB (EUR 349 or roughly Rs. 28,100). No India pricing details have yet been revealed, however, Gadgets 360 has learnt that the 4GB/ 32GB variant will not be making its way to the country, though India will get another colour variant – Rose Gold – over and above the Black, Blue, and Gold that were launched in Europe. The India variant will also support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 standard, unlike the EU variant with Quick Charge 3.0. The smartphone has already gone on sale in France, and will go on sale in Spain on August 10. The Mi A2 Lite on the other hand, is available in two variants – 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage at EUR 179 (roughly Rs. 14,400) and 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage at EUR 229 (roughly Rs. 18,400).

Xiaomi to Not Launch Mi A2 4GB RAM, 32GB Storage Variant in India

 

As for specifications, the dual-SIM (Nano) Xiaomi Mi A2 features Android 8.1 Oreo; a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display; an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC; dual rear camera setup – a 12-megapixel primary Sony IMX486 sensor with a 20-megapixel secondary Sony IMX376 sensor; a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 front camera sensor with a selfie-light module; the standard connectivity options including 4G VoLTE and a USB Type-C port, apart from a 3010mAh battery. On the other hand, the dual-SIM (Nano) Mi A2 Lite features Android 8.1 Oreo, a 5.84-inch full-HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) display; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC; a dual rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary sensor (1.25-micron pixels) with a 5-megapixel secondary camera; a 5-megapixel front camera sensor, and a 4000mAh battery.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs Mi A2 Lite

In other news, Huawei also launched three phones in the Indian market this past week – the Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i, as well as the Honor 9N (Review). Other highlights these of the seven days included Reliance Industries announcing Jio earnings for the quarter just past, Twitter reporting a fall in its user growth, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeing $15 billion (roughly Rs. 1,03,055 crores) knocked off his net worth, India ordering a probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and WhatsApp being confirmed to be awaiting a government nod for its payments feature rollout. This last is of special interest as a government panel on Friday posted a draft Personal Data Protection Bill that amongst other things dictates critical user data must be stored within the country. Of course, we also had our fair share of telecom news, with several new packs being announced.

Huawei launched three smartphones in India this week, as we mentioned – the Nova 3 and Nova 3i, as well as the Honor 9N. The Chinese company launched the Honor 9N in India on Tuesday at an event in New Delhi. The smartphone is a rebranded version of the Honor 9i (2018) that was launched in China last month, and features the exact same specifications. The company has brought three RAM/ inbuilt storage variants of the smartphone to India – the 3GB/ 32GB model is priced at Rs. 11,999, the 4GB/ 64GB model is priced at 13,999, while the 4GB/ 128GB model is priced at Rs. 17,999. All three will be available to buy via Flipkart from July 31, as well as the HiHonorStore.

Honor 9N Review

The Honor 9N features EMUI 8.0 based Android 8.0 Oreo; a 5.84-inch (1080×2280 pixels) full-HD+ display; a Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 659 SoC; a dual rear camera setup with a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor; a 16-megapixel front camera; 4G VoLTE and other connectivity options; a fingerprint sensor on the back panel; Face Unlock, and it is powered by a 3000mAh battery.

Now, let’s get to the new Nova 3 Series smartphones. Launched in China earlier this month, the two smartphones were launched in India on Thursday, and are exclusive to Amazon India. Both smartphones feature nearly identical designs and specifications, though the Nova 3i is the more basic variant. The Nova 3’s 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant has been launched in India, priced at Rs. 34,999, and it will go on sale from August 23. The Nova 3i’s 4GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 20,990, and it will go on sale from August 7. Pre-orders for both smartphones are now open, and launch offers have also been detailed by the company. Both smartphones run Huawei’s own EMUI 8.2 custom Android ROM, based on Android 8.1 Oreo, and their primary highlight is the presence of four cameras, with dual camera setups on the front and back. They have both Face Unlock and fingerprint sensor on board. The Nova 3 and Nova 3i both come with 128GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).

The Huawei Nova 3 sports a 6.3-inch (1080×2340 pixels) full HD+ displays with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio; Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC; a dual rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 24-megapixel secondary sensor; a dual front camera setup with a 24-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor, and a 3750mAh battery. The Nova 3i has the same display size and resolution, is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 710 SoC, and sports a slightly different dual rear camera setup – featuring a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. The front has the same camera setup as the Nova 3. It runs on a 3340mAh battery.

 

Now let’s get to the major telecom news of the week. Reliance Industries released its Q1 earnings report on Friday, and detailed quarterly figures for Reliance Jio. The telcos’ user base stood at 215.3 million on June 30, a figure that had been revealed earlier this by RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani. It posted a net profit of Rs. 612 crores, a revenue of Rs. 8,109 crores, and an ARPU (average revenue per user) of Rs. 134.5. In the quarter, subscribers consumed an average of 10.6GB data per month, with the data traffic for the period at 642 crores GB. Subscribers used an average of 744 minutes of voice calls per month per user, with the totally voice traffic for the period standing at 44,871 crore minutes.

Airtel also posted its earnings for the quarter ended June, revealing a drop in net income for the ninth straight quarter. The company posted a 73.5 percent drop in net income year-on-year, citing intense competition in the mobile services market as the cause, to Rs. 97 crores from Rs. 367 crores in the same period last year. Bharti Airtel MD and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal, commenting on the earnings, said “industry pricing continues to remain untenable.” He touted a growth in mobile data traffic however, a growth of 355 percent on a year-on-year basis.

The telco launched a new prepaid recharge in select circles this week. The new Airtel Rs. 299 recharge offers only voice and SMS benefits, making it out of place in a portfolio that already has recharges with similar benefits as well as data. The plan offers unlimited voice calling, and 100 SMS messages per day for a period of 45 days. The plan is said to be live in a limited number of circles, with Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Telangana, UP East, UP West, and Uttarakhand reported to have it.

Vodafone this week revised its Rs. 47 recharge – while it used to have a validity of one day, and offered 1GB of 3G/ 4G data. Now, it now offers 7,500 seconds or 125 minutes of local and STD voice calling, 50 local and national SMS messages, and 500MB of 3G/ 4G data, with a validity of 28 days. In some circles, like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the plan costs Rs. 48, while in some circles, like Chennai, Chhattisgarh, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, it offers 150 minutes of voice calls. Vodafone was also in the news this week for the reported government approval of its merger with Idea Cellular.

The merged Vodafone-Idea entity would get 35 percent share of the telecom market, with nearly 430 million combined subscribers. It would dislodge Airtel, which currently has 344 million subscribers. The two entities are now set to apprise the Registrar of Companies (RoC) of the various approvals received, wrapping up the last leg of formalities, PTI reported, citing a senior Department of Telecom (DoT).

Idea this week launched a Rs. 75 prepaid recharge that offers 1GB of data, 300 voice calling minutes for 28 days, as well as reported SMS benefits in select circles. The plan in some circles is said to be available in all Idea 4G circles, such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. In the Delhi circle, however, the reported 100 SMS benefits were not visible. The telco this week also launched a Rs. 295 recharge that offers ‘unlimited’ voice calling with a limit of 250 minutes per day (1,000 minutes a week), 5GB of 2G/ 3G/ 4G data, and 100 SMS messages per day with a validity of 42 days. Once the FUP limit is passed, users have to pay Rs. 1 paise per second until the day, week ends. If users call more than 100 unique numbers, they have to pay the same fee per second, and if they exceed the 5GB data limit they have to pay Rs. 4 paise per 10KB.

State-owned telecom operator BSNL this week reportedly launched a new Rs. 75 recharge that offers unlimited voice calls, 10GB of data, and 500 SMS messages for 15 days. The recharge is said to be live in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana circles. The telco also reportedly launched the its Rs. 171 recharge, offering 2GB of data per day for 30 days, bringing the per gigabyte cost down to Rs. 2.85. The recharge is said to be available only in the Andhra Pradesh & Telangana circle. The recharge is reported to also offer unlimited voice calls and 100 SMS messages per day. The BSNL Rs. 171 recharge is also said to offer roaming calling services in the Delhi and Mumbai telecom circles, which is unusual for BSNL plans in MTNL circles.

BSNL this week announced the launch of its virtual network operator (VNO) services, using in collaboration with two VNOs – Adpay Mobile Payment India and Plintron India – which have integrated with the BSNL mobile infrastructure to offer services to retail customers. AdPay, under the brand Aerovoyce aims to digitally connect rural areas via SIM and ISP services, while Plintron will offer Internet of Things (IoT) services under the “eSIM4Things” brand. The telco this week was reported to have started offering FTTH broadband plans to offer up to 3TB data at 100Mbps speeds, in an effort to combat Jio GigaFiber. BSNL’s revised FTTH plans – Rs. 3,999, Rs. 5,999, Rs. 9,999, and Rs. 16,999 – now have increased FUP data.

A government panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna, this week also presented its draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, and noted that all critical personal data on people in India should be processed within the country. The bill will will go before parliament, and the legislation could affect how global companies store data in India. The panel also recommended setting up a “data protection authority” that would look at enforcement and implementation of the new data protection law.

Next up, are other major mobile launches of this week, apart from the Xiaomi and Huawei smartphones we’ve already discussed. There were a few more Xiaomi announcements – the company released new variants of Mi 8 SE and Redmi Note 5 (China variant). The Mi 8 SE now has a 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant – to recall, it was launched in 4GB/ 64GB and 6GB/ 64GB storage variants – priced at CNY 2,299 (roughly Rs. 23,100). The rest of the specifications remain the same. The Redmi Note 5 launched in China is actually a rebranded Redmi Note 5 Pro that was first launched in India. Originally made available in 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage and 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variants, the company has now launched a 6GB RAM/ 12GB storage variant that’s priced at CNY 1,699 (roughly Rs. 17,200).

There’s some more Huawei news as well – the Chinese company’s Honor brand is launching a new model in India the week after next, the Honor Play. Set to launch on August 6 as an Amazon-exclusive, the smartphone was originally launched in China in June this year, with highlights including its 6.3-inch 19.5:9 display with a notch, its flagship-level HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC, 6GB of RAM, the company’s new GPU Turbo technology, and a feature called ‘4D’ gaming that vibrates the phone as per the game. It was priced starting CNY CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 21,000) in China, for the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant.

BlackBerry licensee Optiemus Infracom this week launched the BlackBerry KEY2 in India, the Canadian brand’s latest flagship smartphone that was unveiled globally last month. It’s been priced at Rs. 42,990, and will go on sale from Tuesday, July 31, and comes with Rs. 4,450 cashback from Reliance Jio and an ICICI Bank cashback offer as well. As with previous BlackBerry flagships, the KEY2 comes with a hardware-based QWERTY keyboard.

Asus this week announced that the ZenFone 5Z’s 8GB RAM/ 256GB inbuilt storage variant will go on sale for the first time in India on Monday, July 30. To recall, the smartphone was launched earlier in July in two other variants – 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage. The top-end variant will be made available to buy via Flipkart at Rs. 36,999, alongside its 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage (Rs. 29,999) and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage (Rs. 32,999).

The Vivo V9 Youth is also said to have received a price cut earlier this week, for the second time since its launch earlier this year. To recall, the smartphone was originally launched in April and received its first price cut in June. Now, as per an established Mumbai-based mobile retailer, the smartphone has received another price cut, and is now available at Rs. 16,990. To recall, it was first launched at Rs. 18,990, before its price was dropped to Rs. 17,990.

Next up, LG launched two entry-level smartphones in Chile – the LG K11+ and K11a. The smartphones appear to be rebranded versions of the LG K10 (2018) that was first launched in February this year. The LG K11+ price has been set around EUR 270 (roughly Rs. 21,800) while the K11a price has been set around EUR 220 (roughly Rs. 17,700). Both models bear basic specifications, including HD displays, MediaTek SoCs, and up to 2GB of RAM.

Domestic mobile brand Lava this week launched its new budget Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphone in India – the Lava Z61 – priced at Rs. 5,750. The highlight of the smartphone its its 5.45-inch HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Android Go phone otherwise comes with entry-level specifications of 1GB RAM, a quad-core processor, a 3,000mAh battery, and an 8-megapixel camera. The company is bundling launch offers such as a Rs. 2,200 cashback from Reliance Jio, and a free one-time screen replacement.

Chinese mobile brand Comio this week launched its budget smartphone with an 18:9 display in the country – the Comio X1. It offers dual 4G VoLTE/ ViLTE, a 5.5-inch HD+ display, a MediaTek MT6739 SoC, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera, and a 3050mAh battery. Comio is also offering a one-time screen breakage warranty, and a Reliance Jio Rs. 2,200 cashback. A bundled Idea Cellular offer gives buyers 60GB data additional. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 7,499.

Transsion Holdings owned brand Tecno this week also launched the its budget smartphone, the Camon iTwin, in India. The smartphone features an 18:9 display and also offers dual rear cameras. It is priced at Rs. 11,499, while users can avail of a Reliance Jio cashback up to Rs. 2,200, apart from a one-time screen replacement offer. The Tecno Camon iTwin runs Android 8.0 Oreo, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM, and features 13-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel secondary camera in its dual rear camera setup. On the front, it bears 13-megapixel sensor. It bears 32GB of inbuilt storage and packs a 4,000mAh battery.

OnePlus India this week announced that it is opening an R&D centre in India this year, and also announced it would be setting up its second headquarters, globally, in the country in an effort to decentralise operations. The Chinese company also said it plans to expand the number of OnePlus service centres in India from 12 to 25. Later in the week, OnePlus also announced the opening of new retail stores in the country, in Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Finally, this week, OnePlus also released the OxygenOS 5.1.4 OTA update for the OnePlus 5 and 5T smartphones, aiming to improve battery life. The update also brings the July Android security patch, improves camera quality, and fixes bugs in the gallery app.

Sony launched its Xperia XZ2 smartphone was launched in India this week, at a premium price of Rs. 72,990. It will be available to buy from August 1 in the country. The smartphone sports a 5.7-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) TRILUMINOS HDR display, runs Android 8.0 Oreo, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that’s paired with 6GB of RAM. One of its biggest highlights is its 19-megapixel Motion Eye rear camera with autofocus burst, predictive hybrid autofocus, 4K HDR recording, 960fps super slow motion, 8x digital zoom, and SteadyShot technology. To recall, the smartphone was first unveiled at MWC 2018.

Sony separately this week announced the launch of its new Sony IMX586 smartphone camera sensor that features an effective resolution of 48 megapixels (8,000×6,000 pixels). The stacked CMOS image sensor is touted to feature the highest pixel count for a 1/2-type (8.0 mm diagonal) sensor unit. Sample shipments will begin from September, and the sensor will be priced at JPY 3,000 (roughly Rs. 1,800). It sports 0.8-micron pixels, that are arranged in a Quad Bayer colour filter array to use 2×2 pixels – improving low-light photography in the resultant 12-megapixels image.

Qualcomm unveiled the “world’s first fully-integrated 5G NR millimetre wave (mmWave) and sub-6GHz RF modules” for smartphones and other mobile devices this week, claiming that it had solved a major hurdle in the 5G rollout by producing millimetre wave antennas that can fit inside modern smartphones. The new Qualcomm QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and the Qualcomm QPM56xx sub-6 GHz RF module family pair with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Speedtesting firm Ookla this week announced that the Apple’s iPhone models trail flagships from Samsung and Google in terms of Internet speeds, something mobile modem manufacturer Qualcomm later repeated.

Qualcomm also announced that Apple would not be using its mobile modems in 2018 iPhone models, and said the company would be going to a competitor instead – thought to be Intel, which already provides modems for some models in Apple’s lineup.

Lenovo brand Motorola this week started teasing the India launch of the Moto G6 Plus, which was first unveiled earlier this year in Brazil alongside the Moto G6 Play and the Moto G6 – the last two smartphones have already been launched in India. The company has yet to tease a launch date.

Coolpad listed its upcoming smartphone, the Cool Play 7, due to launch on Monday, on JD.com for early registrations. The listing shows the specifications, design, and price of the smartphone. The Coolpad Cool Play 7 is priced starting CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 10,100), and sports a 5.85-inch HD+ display, an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC, 4GB of RAM, a dual rear camera setup with two 13-megapixel sensors, an 8-megapixel sensor, and a 2800mAh battery.

Counterpoint Research this week published its India smartphone and feature phone shipments report for Q2 2018. The market research firm reported that in the smartphone market, Samsung with a 29 percent share of shipments surpassed Xiaomi’s 28 percent. Its Galaxy J-Series (Galaxy J6, Galaxy J2 2018, and Galaxy J4) are said to have helped drive demand. In third place, was Vivo, with a 12 percent share, while Oppo was in fourth place, with a 10 percent share, while Huawei and Honor together held a 3 percent share of the market. Apple, notably, held a 1 percent market share in the quarter, its lowest in recent history.

Counterpoint added that the top five bestselling smartphones in the quarter were the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Samsung Galaxy J6, Redmi Note 5, and Vivo Y71, correspondingly. As for feature phone shipments, Reliance Jio led with the Jio Phone taking a 47 percent share. In second place was Samsung with a 9 percent share, then Nokia in third with an 8 percent share, Itel in fourth with a 5 percent share, and Lava in fifth with a 5 percent share.

Samsung this week further teased the launch of its next flagship for the year – the anticipated Galaxy Note 9. In three teaser videos, the company tipped the upcoming phablet flagship would be faster, offer more storage, and a better battery life than ever before. To recall, the smartphone is due to launch on August 9, and is expected to feature a design similar to previous generations but come with a more capable Bluetooth-enabled S Pen stylus. There were several leaks this week about the Galaxy Note 9, including a report that claimed sales would begin on August 24 after pre-orders end on August 23. Another report claimed the smartphone would not need a DeX dock to enable a desktop mode, unlike previous generations. Leaked images of its accessories also made their way to the Internet, including the Protective Silicone Cover, Clear View Cover, LED View Cover, and Silicone Cover. Flipkart also teased the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, hinting the smartphone will be exclusive to its platform at launch.

Other Samsung leaks from this week include the Galaxy S10 – the smartphone is rumoured to come in three variants, with the two top-end variants said to offer in-display fingerprint sensors and the third, more affordable variant said to feature a rear facing sensor. A report also claimed that the company was looking to ship 40 million units in the first batch.

Separately, the Motorola One Power aka Moto One Power reportedly passed Chinese telecommunications certification authority TENAA, and revealed its design as well as specifications. A dual rear camera is seen on the smartphone, along with a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. Specifications mentioned include a 6.18-inch full-HD+ display, a 1.8GHz octa-core SoC that may be the Snapdragon 636, 3GB/ 4GB/ 6GB of RAM, 32GB/ 64GB of onboard storage, 16+5-megapixel dual rear cameras, an 8-megapixel front camera, and a 4,850mAh battery.

Apple’s anticipated affordable 2018 iPhone model, the one rumoured to sport a 6.1-inch LCD display, was the subject of several leaks this week. One claimed that it would be launched in multiple colour variants – White, Black, Flash Yellow, Bright Orange, Electric Blue, and Taupe or Gold. A Red colour variant had been tipped by famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier in the month, but that apparently won’t make its way to the market according to the latest report. Another report from this week claimed the model would be delayed, and only be launched in October. Finally, another report claimed that Apple is planning on using a ‘Active Full LCD’ panel made by Japan Display on the smartphone.

This week also saw the first rumours of the Oppo R17 hit the Internet, and it they contained an interesting titbit – the smartphone may be the first in the world to offer 10GB of RAM. Not much else is known about the new Oppo smartphone for the moment. Chinese company Meizu this week also sent invites for a launch event on Monday, July 30, where it is expected to launch its flagships for the year – the Meizu 16 and Meizu 16 Plus. Both smartphones were spotted on TENAA, with the Meizu 16 seen to sport a Snapdragon 710 SoC and the Meizu 16 Plus said to sport a Snapdragon 845 SoC. The Honor Note 10, which is set to launch on Tuesday, July 31, was also teased this week to sport a 5000mAh battery and ‘Cool’ tech that’s probably referring to a new kind of thermal management system.

As for other major news this week, as we mentioned, Twitter reported a fall in its monthly active user base from 336 million at the end of Q1 to 335 million at the end of Q2. The social network in the recent past has been suspending malicious and suspicious accounts, which it cites as the reason for the drop. It managed to post a record profit and second quarter revenue that beat analyst estimates.

Fellow social network Facebook also reported its Q2 earnings this week, and revealed slow-than-expected user and revenue growth. It also warned that it expects revenue growth to slow further in the next quarter, stunning the market, and causing CEO Zuckerberg to lose an estimated $15 billion in his personal fortune.

Zuckerberg at the earnings call revealed that the rollout of the WhatsApp Payments feature in India had been held up, and was currently awaiting government approval. He added that the feature would soon be expanded to other countries and was not limited to India. Separately, India announced a probe into whether Cambridge Analytica misused data of Indian users as well.

Talking about WhatsApp, the iPhone version of the instant messaging app gained a new feature this week – users can now utilise Siri to send messages to Groups. The update reportedly also brought the ability to show images and GIFs directly in the notifications, however, we were not able to spot this feature.

Microsoft-owned professional social network LinkedIn announced the launch of its voice messages feature this week. The feature is rolling out to Android and iOS apps, and will become available globally in the next few weeks.

SoftBank announced this week that Paytm, a company its SoftBank Vision Fund invests in, would be powering a new mobile payments service that will launch in Japan in the fall of 2018. To be called PayPay, the service will be based around QR codes and deployed in collaboration with Yahoo Japan.

Google Play, the official app store for Google’s Android platform, this week also announced a ban on cryptocurrency mining apps. The updated developer policies on the Play store also prohibits several other app categories, including the ones that cover apps with child endangerment content and disruptive ads.

Enterprise communications platform Slack this week also announced it would be acquiring HipChat and Stride from Atlassian. These products will be discontinued, and users will be migrated to Slack. Atlassian is also acquiring a stake in Slack, with an equity investment.

The final Android P Beta was also released, ahead of the public release of the latest iteration of Android later this year. Android P Beta 4 aka Android P Developer Preview 5 is available in the form of factory images and OTA updates for Android Beta programme users, with Google releasing builds for its own Pixel devices. Other manufacturers part of the Android Beta programme, such as Nokia and OnePlus, are also expected to launch their beta builds soon.

Netflix this week released customisable profile icons, allowing users to choose characters from Netflix original movies and TV shows, with Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, and Okja amongst the offerings users will be able to decide from.

This week also saw the announcement that BitTorrent had been acquired by blockchain startup Tron. The file-sharing service was reportedly acquired for $126 million. Tron said that BitTorrent will continue operations, but work out of its San Francisco office. Tron has issued its own cryptocurrency dubbed TRX and reportedly has a market cap of $2.4 billion. The acquisition hasn’t been completely detailed yet, so it remains uncertain whether all BitTorrent services like BitTorrent Now will remain, or will be shut down.

Intel released its Q2 earnings report this week as well, and its data centre results disappointed, an area where it faces stiff competition from rival AMD, as did its margin outlook. The chipmaker has been catering to data centres as a primary revenue source ever since the PC market started declining back in 2011.

This week also saw the launches of HP’s new range of Elite business laptops and an AIO in India. Specifically, the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 was launched starting Rs. 1,49,900, while the HP Elite x2 1013 G3 will be available starting Rs. 1,79,900, the HP EliteBook 1050 G1 will go on sale starting Rs. 1,59,900, and the HP EliteOne 1000 AiO G2 will become available in August or September starting Rs. 1,73,645.

Acer launched the Predator Helios 500 gaming laptop in India, starting Rs. 1,99,999 – which is the Core i7 variant. The Core i9 variant is priced at Rs. 2,49,999. An AMD Ryzen 7 variant will also be made available at some point in the future, with AMD Vega graphics.

Panasonic also launched its lineup of 4K OLED and LED televisions in India. The 4K OLED lineup is available in two models right now, in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, with prices starting from Rs. 2,99,000. The 4K LED range starts at Rs. 65,000.

Finally, Xiaomi-backed Huami this week launched its Amazfit Bip and Amazfit Stratos smartwatches in India. The Amazfit Bip is priced at Rs. 5,499, while the Amazfit Stratos is priced at Rs. 15,999. Both are already available to buy via Flipkart, and offer health tracking features apart from other smart connected watch features.

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