Monday, 24 April 2017

Here are the key takeaways from Reliance Jio's Q4 performance report

Reliance Jio, the young and emerging telecom operator started commercial operation in India in September 2016. It crossed 50 million subscribers in just 83 days, and 100 million subscribers in 170 days, adding an average 600,000 subscribers per day, making it the fastest growing startup-technology company in the world. Now Relaince Industries Limited (RIL) released it financial performance figures of Q4 / year ended 31 March 2017, along with revealing key details of Reliance Jio. 

Here are the key takeaways:
  1. As of March 31, 2017, there were 108.9 million subscribers on Jio's network.
  2. Relaince Jio has over 100,000 mobile towers across the country, and promises to add another 100,000 tower in the coming months
  3. Jio is the only operator which has deployed pan-India LTE network across the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands, giving it tremendous capacity advantage.
  4. Within a month of announcing Jio Prime Subscription (one-time annual fee of Rs. 99), over 72 million users signed up for it, making it one of the most successful customer privilege programmes anywhere in the world. 
  5. Jio users consume more than 110 crore GB of data per month and make roughly 220 crore minutes voice and video calls per day, making it the largest mobile network globally in terms of data consumed. The teleco also claims that its users consume nearly as much as all the telecom networks in the US, and 50 percent more data than mobile networks in China. It further said that, this is a “a clear indication that India will adopt digitization and digital life faster than anyone else in the world.”
  6. Citing TRAI's MySpeed Portal test results, Jio touts that its average download speed in March 2017 was 15mbps, which is two times more than any other telecom operator in the country
  7. Jio also confirmed its plans to launch Fibre to the Home (FTTH) service in the coming months. Currently beta trails of the service is taking place in few location, and plans to expand the scope of beta trials in the coming months. But it did not reveal the date of commercial roll out.
  8. Lastly, Reliance Retail's hardware distribution business sold 2.6 million LYF-branded smartphones and JioFi routers during Q4 2016, and nearly 10 million units in the financial year.

ZTE Axon 7s specs revealed: Snapdrgaon 821 chip, 6GB RAM, dual-cameras, larger battery

Last week ZTE unveiled an upgraded version of Axon 7 called Axon 7s. At that time, the Chinese smartphone maker only revealed that the Axon 7s will be powered by Snapdragon 821 chip, instead of Snapdragon 820, and boasted about its security capabilities. We assumed that this was the only change made in the new device, but that is not the case, as ZTE has revealed the full specifications.

The ZTE Axon 7s gets a major upgrade over the Axon 7, and has a beefy set of specifications, bringing it in line with OnePlus's flagship killer OnePlus 3T. 

The ZTE Axon 7s will carry the same 5.5-inch QHD display as the Axon 7, and will be powered by Snapdragon 821 processor. It will pack a beefy 6GB RAM (vs. 4GB RAM) and 128GB storage (vs. 64GB). The phone also gets microSD card support for storage expansion, and supports Google's Daydream VR platform out of the box.

The Axon 7 had a single camera at the back, but the Axon 7s has a dual camera system of 20MP Sony IMX350 sensor + 12MP Sony IMX368 camera sensor with f/1.8 aperture, that is capable of delivering brighter photos in dim light conditions. The main cameras also include phase detection auto-focus and is capable of capturing 4K videos. The front facing camera module for selfies will remain the same 8MP like its predecessor.

The battery capacity is increased from Axon 7's 3250mAh to 3400mAh battery on the Axon 7s and has support for Quick Charge 3.0. There's a fingerprint scanner at the back, and the connectivity options will be the same including hybrid dual-SIM slots, 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and USB Type-C.

The ZTE Axon 7 carried a price tag of $400 (Rs. 25,800), while there was another version with 6GB RAM/128GB storage priced at $499 (Rs. 34,000). The official pricing of Axon 7s is not known, but it is rumored to cost CNY 4099 (Rs. 38,400 | $595).


BSNL offering 3GB 3G data per day for 90 days at Rs. 333

State run teleco BSNL has come out with three new data plans to counter Reliance Jio's Dhan Dhana Dhan offer and Airtel, Idea and Vodafone ― Triple Ace, Dil Khol Ke Bol and Nehle Pe Dehla.

However, do note that these are 3G speed, and not 4G, that is offered by Reliance Jio, AIrtel, Idea and Vodafone.

The Triple Ace plan is priced at Rs. 333, and offers 3GB of 3G data per day for 90 days (90GB a month, 270GB total for three months). Sadly, there is no free calls in this plan.

The Dil Khol Ke Bol Plan costs Rs. 349, and gives you 2GB of 3G data every day, along with unlimited local and STD calls. The validity is for 28 days.

The Nehle Pe Dahla plan is priced at Rs. 395, and comes with 2GB of 3G data per day for 71 days along with 3,000 minutes of calls to BSNL network, and 1800 minutes of calls to other networks.

Its worth mentioning that, after you cross the daily limit (FUP) on all these plans, the internet speed will be reduced to 80kbps for the rest of the day.

BSNL has also revamped the benefits of its earlier STV 339 plan, and is now offering 3GB of daily data per day for 28 days instead of 2GB. Once an user exhausts 3GB data FUP, the speed will get reduced to 80kbps.The plan will also offer unlimited voice calls within the BSNL network. Users will also get 25 minutes of free calls to other networks everyday, and once the limit is exhausted, you'll be charged 25 paise pre minute.

Gionee M6S Plus announced in China with 6GB RAM, 6020mAh battery

As expected Gionee has officially announced its latest power house smartphone, the M6S Plus in home market of China. The M6S Plus is the third member of the M6 family and boasts monstrous innards, though the processor in use is Qualcomm's mid-tier, Snapdragon 6xx chip.

The Gionee M6S Plus features a large 6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) AMOLED 2.5D curved glass display and is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor. It comes with a massive 6GB RAM, and will be offered in 64GB and 256 GB options, and the storage is expandable. The device runs Android Marshmallow based Amigho 3.5 OS and packs a beefy 6020mAh battery backed by fast charging.

It gets 12MP f/1.9 rear camera with dual-tone LED flash and 8MP f/2.0  front facing camera. Measuring 163.3 x 80.9 x 8.25mm, the M6S Plus supports dual-SIMs, 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac and GPS for connectivity. It weighs 215g and gets fingerprint scanner at the back. It also comes with an encrypted chip to secure user's personal data, calls and SMS on the device. This feature will be limited to China.

The Gionee M6S Plus is priced at CNY 3499 ($508 | Rs. 33,000) for the 64GB storage variant, while the top model with 256GB storage costs CNY 4299 ($624 | Rs. 40,000). It will go on sale starting May 2 in China im Ink Black color.

Flipkart Apple Days Sale: Discounts and offers on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and more

Flipkart is hosting "Apple Days" sale on its portal, offering discount and offers on Apple devices including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and MacBook Pro. The sale is now live and will end on April 26.

The biggest deal during the sale is of the iPhone 7. The 256GB storage variant of iPhone 7 will be available with a flat Rs. 20,001 discount for just Rs. 59,999. There's an extra 5 percet off on purchase made using Axis Bank Buzz credit cards, and exchange offer of up to Rs. 19,000 depending on the device you exchange with it.

Other storage variants of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have also got discounts and exchange offers. Additionally, Flipkart is also offering iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 5s and iPhone SE at discounted rates price as well:
  • The 16GB iPhone 6 is getting Rs. 26,010 discount, and will be available for Rs. 25,990
  • The 16GB iPhone 6s is getting Rs. 8,000 discount, and is available at Rs. 39,999
  • The 16GB iPhone 5s is up for grabs at Rs. 17,499, after receiving Rs. 2,501 discount
  • The 16GB iPhone SE is now available for Rs. 20,999, down for the earlier price of Rs. 26,999
Coming to Apple's other devices, the Apple Watch series 1 is available starting Rs. 22,900 (Rs. 1,000 discount) and the iPad Air 2 now costs Rs. 28,900 (down from Rs. 31,900). The MacBook Pro is available with an exchange offer of up to Rs. 15,000, while the MacBook Pro Air now starts at Rs. Rs. 54,990 instead of Rs. 80,900. There are also discounts on accessories like iPad Smart Keyboard, Beats earphones, cables, chargers and iPhone cases.

Bronze Pink Sony Xperia XZ Premium announced

Sony introduced the company's top-of-the line flagship, the Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017 in Lumious Chrome and Deepsea Black colors. Now Sony is introducing a new Bronze Pink Xperia XZ Premium, aimed at women. 

The new Brone Pink variant will be released alongside the Lumious Chrome and Deepsea Black color in the UK in June 2017. It is already available for pre-order at £649 ($830 | Rs. 53,600). Apart from the new paint job, the design and specifications remain the same.

Regarding the new Pink Xperia XZ Premium, Sony said "We wanted to find a colour that represented a feeling of warmth whilst at the same time exemplifying the premium features and design. The bronze metallic finish adds a feeling of depth to the glass on the front and back. Also just like the other colours every part of the Xperia XZ Premium Bronze Pink has been expertly crafted – such as the top and bottom edges, which are carefully diamond cut and creates an added shine. It’s a chic addition to the choice of colours offered with XZ Premium."

Even last year the company had announced a Pink color version of the Xperia Z5 Premium as well.

Speaking of the specification, the main highlight of Xperia XZ Premium is its camera. It is the world's first smartphone to boast Motion Eye camera, that is capable of capturing stunning 960fps slow motion video, which allows slowing time 4x slower than the current camera phones standard. The Motion camera is built around the 19MP f/2.0 camera with 25mm lenses. The main camera offers features like Predictive auto-focus,  Laser auto-focus, and an RGBC-IR sensor for true-to-life colors. It can also record videos at 4K, and features improved panorama mode and SteadyShot-5 axis digital stabilization for shake free videos. On the front there's 13MP f/2.0 cameras with wide-angle lens and Exmor RS mobile image sensor.

Xperia XZ Premium is also the world's first smartphone to boast 4K HDR dipslay. It comes with 5.5-inch screen and is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

Other specs include Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB expandable storage, fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE, USB Type-C, IP65/68 rated for water and dust resistance, and 3230mAh battery. It runs Android Nougat out of the box.

LG G6 launched in India for Rs. 51,990

LG's flagship, the LG G6 has finally made its way to India. As reported earlier, the LG G6 will carry a price tag of Rs. 51,990 and will be available online exclusive from Amazon India starting tomorrow, April 25 in Mystic Blue, Astro Black and Ice Platinum. Those who purchase the G6 tomorrow will also get Rs. 10,000 Amazon cashback. The G6 will also be available via offline stores as well. LG also announced several  launch offers:
  • Rs. 7,000 cash back (Rs. 5,000+ additional Rs. 2,000 cash back) for HDFC Bank and SBI Card holders (Rs. 2,000 cash back till May 1st, Rs. 5,000 cash back till May 31st)
  • 50% off on LG Tone Active+ HBS-A100 headset worth Rs. 9,990
  • Free EA Special gifts worth Rs. 14,100 for six games including Temple Run 2, Spider Man Unlimited and Cookie Jam
  • Free one time screen replacement within 6 months of purchase
  • Reliance Jio offering additional 100GB 4G data till March 2018 (10GB additional data on every recharge of Rs 309)
To recap, the LG G6 was introduced at MWC in February, and feature extremely narrow bezels, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 80 percent. It comes with 5.7-inch quad-HD+ Full Vision display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The Android Nougat based UX 6.0 is also specially customized to take advance of the G6's expansive FullVision screen.

The performance of LG G6 is handled by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor, which is also used on OnePlus 3T. It comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage, which can be expanded via microSD card. A 3300mAh battery supported by Quick Charge 3.0 runs the show.

For photography, it gets a dual 13MP The main camera boasting  features like dual-LED flash, OIS, 4K video recording, 360-degree panorama and square camera grid setup at the back. For selfies there is 5MP 100-degree wide-angle camera lens on the front.

Other notable features include HDR 10, DolbyVision, 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac, USB Type-C port, NFC, an upgraded 32-bit quad-DAC for superior sound output and IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Flipkart tightens return policy; stops refund on computer, camera, mobile accessories and more

In a bid to minimize operational costs, Flipkart has tightened its return and exchange policy across several categories. The online marketplace will no longer offer refunds on products like  mobile accessories, personal care appliances, computer and camera accessories, office equipment, wearables and games. 

The return policy for these categories now reads "Refunds are not offered. All sales are final".

In the case of a defect, Flipkart's new return policy says "If a defect is determined within the 10-day period following delivery, a replacement of the same model will be provided at no additional cost. Only in cases where the replacement product is not in stock or has been permanently discontinued, a refund for the entire product or part(s) of the product will be provided by the seller."

However, Flipkart will continue with the 30-days return/exchange window for products like clothing, footwear and eyewear.

Flipkart's new return and exchange policy has been welcomed by their sellers, but is seen as a setback for customers. Industry analysts say that Flipkart’s earlier return and refund policy along with attractive discounts on products compared to the other online marketplace were the reason behind its popularity in the country, and now with the new policy, Flipkart may lose their customer base.

Earlier Flipkart had stopped refunds on high-end products like mobile phones, furniture and larger appliances. Meanwhile Flipkart's rival Amazon India continues to offer refunds/exchange across various product categories, except for mobile phones. 


Xiaomi introduces 3-axis Shooting Stabilizer for smartphones

Xiaomi has introduced a new and the 77th product under its Mi Ecosystem also known as MiJia brand in the form of a 3-axis Shooting Stabilizer designed specifically for smartphones.

Xiaomi's 3-axis Shooting Stabilizer is based on three-axis stabilization technology, that is built-in with high-precision screw and acceleration sensor with real-time detection of the smartphone space station. This allows for three directional adjustment in the space angle compensation, so that the smartphone always maintains a balanced gesture for shooting stable and smooth pictures. 

There's also a inbuilt brushless motor holding, that rotate the 3-axis shooting stabilizer from 9-degrees to 30 degrees, for a 270 degrees rotation, without distortion of the screen for smooth slow motion videos.

The device offers four shooting modes - horizontal movement, omni-directional movement, locking direction and vertical mode. It packs 1050mAh battery, which according to Xiaomi provides up to four hours of shooting time.

It sports one-piece telescopic folding storage design, made of ABS and fiber glass materials. It measures 266mm x 53mm x 43mm, and the height can be further shortened to 209mm length, making it easy to carry around and store.

The Three-axis Shooting Stabilizer is priced at CNY 799 ($166 | Rs. 7,500) and is available through Xiaomi's crowdfunding Mi Home platform.


itel Wish A21 launched in India for Rs. 5,390

itel Mobiles is launching a new entry-level smartphone in India called itel Wish A21. It comes with dual-SIM slots, support for 4G LTE, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) & ViLTE (Video over LTE), and runs Android Marshmallow. 

The itel Wish A21 features a 4.5-inch FWVGA display (480 x 854 pixels) display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB on-board storage, which can be expanded via microSD card.

It comes with 5MP rear camera with flash, 2MP front facing camera for selfies, WiFi, Bluetooth and 2000mAh battery, which is rated to deliver up to eight hours of 4G talktime and up to 182 hours of standby time.

The device also boasts features like SOS, dual social-media accounts (dual WhatsApp, dual Instagram, and dual Facebook) and auto call-recorder.

The itel Wish A21 carries a price tag of Rs. 5,390 and will be available via both online and offline stores in Grey, Champagne and Coffee color. The device will come bundled with a screen protector and a back cover.

Moto G4 Play will get Android Nougat in June (update)

Update: 22/04/2017 ― Android Nougat will roll out to Moto G4 Play globally in June

Motorola's last year budget smartphones, the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus received Android Nougat towards the end of December 2016, but the third member of the Moto G4 family, the Moto G4 Play is still waiting for the update.

Now, a Lenovo spokesperson have confirmed that Moto G4 Play will get Android Nougat in June without revealing an exact date. The June roll out is most likely for the U.S market, as the news arrived via U.S PR to Android Authority, and it is unknown when the update will hit other markets like Brazil, India, Mexico, where Moto phones are popular. But the good news is that Motorola is not ignoring the Moto G4 Play and giving it the latest update.

The company had earlier confirmed that the Moto E3 line up (shipped with Marshmallow) will not get the Nougat update which disappointed many users, given that the handset is not even a year older.

To recap, the Moto G4 Play was introduced alongside Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus back in May 2016, and launched in India in September 2016. It is a more affordable version of Moto G4/G4 Plus with 5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 410 chip, 16GB storage, 8MP/5MP cameras, 4G VoLTE and 2800mAh battery. Currently, the Moto G4 Play is available in the country at Rs. 8,999,


Moto Z2 Play press render leaked

Just last week, we got the first glimpse of the Moto Z2 smartphone, and now official looking render of Moto Z2 Play have hit the interweb.

It will be the successor of the battery powerhouse Moto Z Play, and going by the leaked image, the Moto Z2 Play appears to have a minor design change. The Moto Z Play had a square shaped Home button/fingerprint scanner, but the Moto Z2 Play will have Moto G5 like-oval shaped fingerprint scanner/Home Button. 

Moreover, the home button will most likely get Moto G5's gesture based navigation interface called One Button Nav, that lets you swipe the home button to perform various activities. To recall, the Moto Z Play's home button only allowed you to unlock the device.

Nothing else has changed, the Moto Z2 Play will have metal body with slim profile, front flacing flash, the 16-pin connector to connect Moto Mods and circular module on the back that houses the camera lens and dual-LED flash.

Unfortunately, the specs of the Moto Z2 Play is not known, but don't expect a major upgrade. To recap, the Moto Z2 Play had 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragom 625 chip, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 16MP rear camera and 3510mAh battery.

Apart from Moto Z2 Play, details of Moto Z2, Moto E4 and Moto C have been popping up lately, revealing most of the details along with images. All these devices are expected to be launched sometime in Q2 or Q3 2017. 


HTC's new flagship to be called HTC U 11

Earlier this week HTC confirmed that the company will launch the flagship HTC U, codenamed Ocean on May 16. But now according to Evan Blass, the HTC Ocean's final retail branding  will be HTC U 11. It will be the successor of HTC 10, however it will be part of the new 'U' family, HTC introduced earlier this year, that includes the U Ultra and U Play.

Blass citing unnamed source said that HTC's strategy for branding is "an effort to bridge past and present naming schemes.." and "the numeric component of the product name is meant to signify that this device succeeds the company’s 2016 flagship, which was dubbed simply HTC 10." 

Additionally the source also revealed that HTC U 11 will ship in five different colors depending on the market like White, Black, Blue, Red and Sliver.

HTC U 11's main USP will be its touch sensitive frame for a feature called Edge Sense, that allows users to squeeze the edges of the device to trigger different action like taking photos, answering calls, opening apps and more.

Previous reports have suggested that HTC U 11 will come with 5.5-inch QHD Gorilla Glass 5 display, Snapdragon 835 chip, 4GB RAM/64GB storage (6GB RAM/128GB China version), 12MP primary camera, 16MP selfie camera, 3000mAh battery and Android 7.1. The device will IP57 waterproof rating, and lack a headphone jack, instead, use USB Type-C for audio output. It will support Bluetooth 5.0 and comes in single/dual-SIM options.