Is Nokia Ready to Take India by Storm?

This episode of Orbital focuses on Nokia’s new smartphone launches. Nokia launched three Android phones – Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6. These three Android phones have been hotly anticipated but will they be able to make a mark in a market where there are so many good mid-range Android phones? Games editor Rishi Alwani and “former” host Pranay Parab join host Aditya Shenoy to discuss.

Is Nokia Ready to Take India by Storm?

We start the episode by talking about the three Nokia smartphones and whether the hardware matches up against what the competition has to offer. We look at the specifications of the three Nokia smartphones and wonder whether they can take on excellent mid-range and budget smartphones from rivals.

Nokia’s distribution strategy is also a big point of discussion. We wonder why Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 are offline exclusive and why Nokia 6 is an Amazon exclusive. Rishi and Pranay offer theories about this, before we look at Nokia’s official comments on its strategy.

Then Aditya brings up the topic of after sales service. We talk about how difficult it is to provide good service and whether Nokia can differentiate itself from competition on this front. Finally, we close the episode by talking about Nokia’s naming strategy for its smartphones.

HTC U11 ‘Squeezable Smartphone’ to Launch in India Today

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The HTC U11 was launched in Taiwan last month
  • The 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant is expected to launch in India
  • HTC U11 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 SoC

HTC is all set to launch the HTC U11 in India today. The smartphone’s big attraction is its Edge Sense feature that promises to bring a complete new way of interacting with the device, making it ’squeezable’. The HTC U11 will be launched at an event in New Delhi, where the price in India and availability information will be revealed.

The HTC U11 smartphone was launched in Taiwan last month. To recall, price of the HTC U11 starts at EUR 749 (roughly Rs. 53,000) for Europe, and in the US it’s at $749 (roughly Rs. 48,000). A recent leak claims that India will get the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant of the HTC U11.

HTC U11 specifications

HTC U11 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat with the company’s HTC Sense skin on top, and it comes with support for dual-SIM cards (Nano-SIM). It features a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) Super LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 The HTC U11 is powered by a 2.45GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. There are two storage and memory variant – 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage. Only the latter variant is tipped to be coming to India, though we will know for sure only after the launch event. The HTC U11 also offers storage expansion via a microSD card slot (up to 2TB).

HTC U11 ‘Squeezable Smartphone’ to Launch in India Today

As for optics, the HTC U11 sports a 12-megapixel camera with 1.4-micron pixel, ultra spread autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS, f/1.7 aperture, dual-LED flash, slow-motion, and 4K video recording. Camera features include Face Detection, Pro mode with manual control, 32-second long exposure, and RAW format support, HDR Boost, Panorama, and Hyperlapse. The HTC U11 has a 16-megapixel front camera with BSI sensor, full-HD recording. Front camera features include live make-up, auto selfie, voice selfie, HDR Boost, and Selfie Panorama. The HTC U11 packs a 3000mAh battery that is rated to offer up to 24.5 hours of talk time, and 14 days of standby time. There’s also an extreme power saving mode, and Quick Charge 3.0 support. Connectivity options include GPS/ A-GPS, GLONASS, USB 3.1 Type-C port, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz), and NFC support.

The HTC U11 also sports IP67 water and dust resistance and is Hi-Res audio certified. The fingerprint scanner is housed underneath the Home Button in the front. With respect to design, HTC U11 retains the U Ultra’s design language and sports 3D glass both on the front and back of the device. The device has no 3.5mm audio jack, just like the HTC U Ultra, and the company is bundling a 3.5mm audio jack to USB Type-C adapter.

HTC U11 Edge Sense feature

The highlight of the HTC U11 is the Edge Sense feature, which lets you launch the camera, and send texts by squeezing the metal edges of the smartphone. You can customise the squeeze gesture to open email, and even launch your favourite app or game. When users activate advanced touch mode, they can use a “short squeeze” as well as a “squeeze and hold” for even more functionality at your fingertips. The HTC U11 squeeze feature works while wearing gloves as well, as Edge Sense is based on actual pressure applied to the side of the device.

HTC U11

HTC U11

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

2.45GHz octa-core

Front Camera

16-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

6GB

OS

Android 7.1

Storage

128GB

Rear Camera

12-Ultrapixel

Battery Capacity

3000mAh

Also See
  • HTC Mini Plus BL R120 (Silver)
    Rs. 599
  • HTC Desire 326G Dual SIM (Black Onyx, 8GB) –
    Rs. 6,489
  • HTC Desire 326G Dual SIM (White Birch, 8GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 6,533

AgriTech In India: How Startups Are Changing The Face Of Indian Agriculture

India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with around 60% rural Indian households making their living from agriculture thus creating a huge scope for agritech startups in the country.

The central and state governments are proactively pursuing policies to improve farmers’ lives in India. In fact, PM Modi’s government has an aim to double the average farmer’s income by 2022. But is enough being done to remove inefficiencies in the agricultural supply chain to make Indian agritech a lucrative investment opportunity?

We, at Inc42, have taken up the onus to promote and spread awareness about agritech in India. To this end, our first step was hosting an AgriTech Investors Roundtable on 25 May 2017 in Delhi. The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss the challenges and opportunity in the Agriculture sector in India and also to launch a report on – The State Of Indian AgriTech – 2017.Image result for AgriTech In India: How Startups Are Changing The Face Of Indian Agriculture

The report was launched in the presence of Vikram Gupta, Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures; Ravinder Singh Saini, Principal Consultant of National Productivity Council; Adhir Jha, MD and CEO India Sugar Exim Corporation (ISEC); Ritu Verma, co-founder and Managing Director, Ankur Capital; Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner, Bharat Innovations Fund; Akash Rukhaiyar, an ex-CFO and investor and Shamit Ghosh.

Download The Report Now!

The State Of Agriculture In India

Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP of agriculture and allied sectors in India was recorded at $244.74 Bn in FY ‘16.

  1. At 157.35 Mn hectares, India holds the second-largest agricultural land in the world.
  2. There has been an increased focus on investments in agricultural infrastructures such as irrigation facilities, warehousing, and cold storage.
  3. New schemes such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana, and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana have been introduced to improve farmers’ fortunes and other facilities which could boost agriculture in India.

Agriculture In India: Challenges

A drop in landholdings (average 1.4 hectares), small and fragmented land holdings, a decreasing agricultural land versus a growing population, decreasing groundwater levels, poor quality of seeds, lack of mechanisation, low yield per unit crop and a dependence on middlemen are some of the challenges for the growth of agriculture in India.

Added to that, an absence of an organised marketing structure for produce, malpractices in the existing unorganised agricultural markets, inadequate facilities for transportation and storage, scarcity of credit, and limited access to superior technology to get timely information are some of the many afflictions which obstruct the Indian agricultural sector.

Opportunities For AgriTech Startups

Opportunities lie in areas like how to increase crop production, improving the nutritional value of the crops, reduction in input prices for farmers, improving the overall process-driven supply chain, reducing wastage in the distribution system, making easy farm mechanisation available, and enabling connectivity of farmers with the masses by interlinking the consumer and producer.  

AgriTech startups are also leveraging technology in the area of market linkages such as retail, B2C and B2B marketplaces and digital agronomy platforms. AgriTech startups are now able to address input challenges of agriculture in India from the very beginning. They are able to provide correct information, techniques, and efficiencies to farmers both for pre-harvest applications and post-harvest use cases.

AgriTech Funding In India

According to the latest report, for 2016, over $3.23 Bn was invested in agriculture sector worldwide. Of this, 53 Indian agritech startups raised $313 Mn. Globally, category-wise, 40% of the total funding ($1.29 Bn) was invested in food marketplaces or the food ecommerce category, followed by biotechnology startups which garnered 22% of the funding ($719 Mn). Investment in precision agriculture technologies, which include data-capturing devices and farm management software, came third at $405 Mn, while investment in Novel Farming Systems, which are startups using new and innovative ways to produce agricultural and biological products, was the fourth category wherein funding flowed ($247 Mn).

Conclusion

Demand-side drivers such as population growth, rising income levels leading to increasing consumption, and increasing exports favour the growth of agriculture in India. More so, policy support from the government such as increasing MSPs, increasing crop insurance support, the introduction of various schemes to facilitate farmers, initiatives to bolster easy credit to farmers will also increase growth. The need of the hour is for all stakeholders – from governments to agritech startups to investors – to come together in harnessing the opportunity to transform this sector. Mostly, government policies treat agriculture as a poverty alleviation method but the focus should be on enhancing productivity and raising incomes. The impetus should be on the application of technology to lower challenges on the input side right from planting to irritating to harvesting and finally selling.

Download The Report Now!

The report launch was followed by two-panel discussions centred on the theme that the agriculture value chain requires disruption and innovation to tackle inefficiencies – which would most likely come from tech-driven startups rather than the traditional agriculture players in India.

The first panel comprising Vikram Gupta, Ravinder Singh Saini, Adhir Jha, and Akash Rukhaiyar was moderated by Shamit Ghosh. The panel examined if the agritech opportunity is a hidden opportunity or mere hype.

AgriTech – A Hidden Opportunity Or Hype?

On this, Vikram Gupta stated that the size of the opportunity is quite large. He said, “From an investor’s perspective, investors are looking for four-five years’ kind of timeframe for returns. We are looking for asset-light opportunities, where you can use technology to scale up businesses. One of them is information technology – which farmers can leverage to take mission-critical decisions.”

Vikram noted that while it’s challenging to monetise these products, there are interesting models which are being monetised, and farmers are willing to pay for them. However, he pointed out that when it comes to the other part of technology such as farm mechanisation, India is lagging.

agriculture-agritech-india-startups

He said, “Despite India having one of the highest productive agricultural land in the world, its share of sales in the mechanised products sold by top Fortune 100 farm companies in the world is less than 5%.” This is where he believed an opportunity exists for startups.

Taking the discussion further on the same tangent, Adhir Jha stated that since average landholding size of farmers is small, many mechanisation technologies are beyond the means of farmers. He said, “Hence, startups need to come up with technologies which can be leased to farmers for a period of time to but whose maintenance rests majorly with startups.”

He also added that since it takes time for farmers to develop confidence in agritech extension activities, patience will have to be a key factor here. “So, as an investor, you have to be in here for the long haul. You might see a negative impact in the first four or five years and then the model might turn around.”

AgriTech – An Investor’s Perspective

The second-panel discussion centred on exploring the investors’ perspective in detail –why investors who have invested in the sector continue to bet on it, what would make investors who don’t invest in agritech currently explore it proactively, and trends to watch out for in this space.

This panel consisted of Ritu Verma, co-founder and Managing Director, Ankur Capital, Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner, Bharat Innovations Fund, and Vikram Gupta of IvyCap Ventures.

On being questioned as to what made Ankur Capital invest in agriculture, Ritu replied the fact that the section is associated with the fundamental act of eating, coupled with the drive to engage with the backend of delivery of food, as demands and habits change was the main driver for investment.

agriculture-agritech-india-startups

Speaking on if the opportunity is viable, Hemendra Mathur stated, “The size of the opportunity is a key factor as well as the demand. If you look at the last 10 years, why VC investment has picked up is because some bit of inflection point was there when per capita income of Indians increased. This resulted in shifts in demand habits in food in India in 2013.  And that is reflected in the balance sheet of the food sectors. It’s not that we are eating more, but more consumers are willing to buy good quality food. So, that’s a reason for sudden VC interest in the last few years in agriculture.”

He also added that another reason is that it is a very defensible sector, given that food is the last thing one cuts out even when the economy goes down.

The investors also discussed that technology will help lower costs for farmers. Thus, what startups have to do is build the cost value proposition for the farmer. Hemendra aptly stated, “And viability cannot come alone from the farmer but from the entire ecosystem on the supply chain, who can make business models viable.”

For encouraging more funds to flow into the sector, Vikram believed that the government should get incentives to funds who invest in agriculture, its sub-sectors, and in remote areas. He stated that general education and awareness at the grassroots level is missing and the government has to play a huge role in informing farmers about the opportunities available – be it credit or technologies.

For startups looking to enter the sector, Hemendra added that the top three opportunities lay in capturing real-time data, image analytics, and technology for soil scanning. He explained, “With satellite imagery, you can tell at sowing stage, what is going to be the potential yield. So, once it reaches a point where demand supply is matching, the government can issue an advisory. These measures would help farmers to avoid excess sowing, manage supply so that prices don’t crash.”

Vikram aptly summed up the discussion stating, “The Uberisation of Indian agritech startups is just waiting to happen. The inflection point is around the corner.”

The session concluded with a presentation from Jukka Peuranpää, CEO, Agroy and a former farmer. Agroy has made giant strides in terms of making its presence felt in the US and now with aims to plant its flag in India.

Moto G5S Plus, Moto Z2 Force, Moto X4 Price in India Leaked, Tipped to Launch Soon

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moto Z2 Force may be priced at Rs. 38,999
  • The Moto G5S Plus may be priced at Rs. 17,999
  • Moto X4 may be priced at Rs. 20,999

Lenovo brand Moto just recently launched its Moto Z2 Play smartphone with Moto Mods support in India. However, the company plans to release three more smartphones into the market before the end of summer, a fresh leak hints. It claims Moto G5S Plus, Moto X4, and Moto Z2 Force are all launching in India real soon, and the prices of all the three smartphones at launch have also been tipped.

Tipster Andri Yatim has taken to Twitter to reveal that the Moto G5S Plus, Moto X4, and Moto Z2 Force are all launching in India this summer. The big USP of all the three devices will be the dual camera setup at the back. The tipster claims that the Moto G5S Plus will be priced at Rs. 17,999, the Moto X4 will be priced at Rs. 20,999, and the Moto Z2 Force will be priced at Rs. 38,999. There is no tangible timeline as to when all the smartphones will launch, except for the vague summer release, but all the smartphones are launching in India soon, according to the tipster.

Moto G5S Plus, Moto Z2 Force, Moto X4 Price in India Leaked, Tipped to Launch Soon

The Moto G5S Plus has been leaked on several occasions in the past hinting at an imminent launched. Leaks reveal that the smartphone may sport a dual camera setup, a front flash, and a round-shaped Home Button. Some of rumoured specifications of the Moto G5S Plus include 5.5-inch full-HD display, octa-core processor, and Android 7.0 Nougat.

 

Moto’s new ‘X’ series is also expected to get an addition with the Moto X4, however, this is the first time the device has been tipped anywhere. We know very little about this device as of now. The Moto Z2 Force image leaks in the past tip a similar design to the recently launched Moto Z2 Play and will come with support for Moto Mods as well. However, the big difference will be the dual camera setup at the back.

The Moto Z2 Force is expected to sport a ShatterShield screen and feature support for Gigabit LTE. As Gigabit LTE is currently supported only by Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Moto Z2 Force will feature the aforementioned processor if not a newer variant.

Moto X Play to Get Android Nougat Update Soon, Moto India Confirms

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The phone was launched back in 2015
  • The company has not provided a specific release date
  • Moto X Play comes with a 5.5-inch full-HD display

It seems like the Moto X Play will be getting the Android Nougat treatment, as the company’s India chapter has confirmed that the update should be coming to the smartphone in near future. While the company has already rolled out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to its Moto X Force, it also launched Moto C and Moto C Plus smartphones with Android 7.0 Nougat.

In a tweet posted on Monday, Moto India said, “Nougat will come to the Moto X Play soon.” However, the company has said that it is currently unable to provide a “definite release” for the update. Notably, the company has not mentioned whether it will be rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat or straight away upgrade the Moto X Play to a higher (Android 7.1.1) version. The phone was launched back in 2015 in India at Rs. 18,499.

Moto X Play to Get Android Nougat Update Soon, Moto India Confirms

In terms of specifications, Moto X Play smartphone features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display offering a pixel density of 403pppi. It also features Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. In terms of optics, Moto X Play comes with a 21-megapixel rear camera which has an f/2.0 aperture and CCT (Colour Correlated Temperature) flash with dual-LED modules.

The rear camera features Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF) and can record 1080p HD video at 30fps. The Moto X Play houses a 3630mAh battery and weighs just 169 grams.

Apart from Moto X Play, Moto G4 and G4 Plus smartphones started receiving the Android 7.0 Nougat update last year while the Moto Z Play started receiving the update back in February this year.

Motorola Moto X Play

Motorola Moto X Play

Rs. 11,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Good battery life
  • Near stock Android
  • Improved camera
  • Bad
  • Low light camera performance could be better
  • No water resistance
BUY AT
  • Motorola Moto X Play (Black, 16GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 11,999
  • Motorola Moto X Play (Black, 32GB)
    Rs. 13,500

 

Moto C Plus With Android 7.0 Nougat Set to Launch in India Soon

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moto C Plus expected to launch soon in India
  • It highlights a 4000mAh battery
  • The Moto C is priced at Rs. 5,999

After launching the Moto C in India earlier this month, Lenovo brand Moto is gearing up to bring the larger Moto C Plus to the Indian market, according to its latest teaser. Both the phones were first unveiled in May offering entry-level specifications at affordable prices. The Moto C has been priced at Rs. 5,999 in the country, and we’ll know how the Moto C Plus will be priced soon enough.

Moto India tweeted a brief video on Monday suggesting that the launch of the Moto C Plus is at hand. The company is yet to specify the exact date and timing of the launch. The Moto C Plus looks similar to the Moto C in terms of design, but differs slightly when it comes to some internal specifications.

For starters, the Moto C Plus runs on Android Nougat and sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. It is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 quad-core Cortex-A53 SoC paired with 1GB or 2GB of RAM. You also get 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via a microSD slot (up to 32GB).

Moto C Plus With Android 7.0 Nougat Set to Launch in India Soon

In terms of optics, the Moto C Plus features an 8-megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12 micron pixels, autofocus, 71-degree field of view and an LED flash. It also gets a 2-megapixel front-facing camera similar to the Moto C. The smartphone houses a 4000mAh battery that is much larger than the 2350mAh battery inside the Moto C. The former measures 144×72.3×10 mm and weighs 162 grams.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM and 3G connectivity. Much like the case with the Moto C, the Moto C Plus is also expected to get a 4G VoLTE variant and dual-SIM card slots in India. Given these specifications, you can expect the Moto C Plus to be priced pretty close to the Moto C when it launches.

Motorola Moto C Plus

Motorola Moto C Plus

Rs. 8,300
Buy
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

1.3GHz quad-core

Front Camera

2-megapixel

Resolution

720×1280 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Android 7.0

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery Capacity

4000mAh

BUY AT
  • Motorola Moto C Plus
    Rs. 8,300

2017 Hyundai i20 Facelift Spotted Testing In India

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Hyundai i20 facelift will come with considerable cosmetic changes
  • Hyundai recently launched a slightly updated two-tone version of the car
  • Mechanically, the 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift will remain unchanged

simplezoom-img

The 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift was recently spotted testing in India and this time we have some clear pictures of the car. While it was just back in April that Hyundai India launched a slightly updated version of the car in new dual tone colour option, the upcoming model will be a proper mid-life facelift with considerable cosmetic changes and feature upgrades. While there is no official word on the launch date for the Hyundai i20 facelift, we expect the car to go on sale by the end of this year. This will give Hyundai a few months of a head start before the new-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift arrives in India.

Hyundai Elite i20
5.83 Lakh * On Road Price (New Delhi)

Hyundai Elite i20
hyundai i20 facelift spied

Hyundai i20 facelift has been spied with new alloy wheels

Now, the latest images of the Hyundai i20 facelift were shot really up-close so, while we do have some detailed shots of the car, we cannot be certain about any major changes to its silhouette. Although, what we can tell you is that the new Hyundai i20 will come with an updated front, featuring the company’s new signature cascading grille design and restyled headlamps. Projector lamps and LED daytime running lights will certainly be a part of the package but only in the top-end variants. The test mule was also seen sporting a new stylish set of alloy wheels, that looks quite premium and should enhance the overall appearance of the car.

hyundai i20 facelift spied

The 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift will come with the same engine options

The rear portion and the cabin are heavily disguised so we can’t entirely be sure about the amount of updates Hyundai has made. Having said that, we do expect to see revised LED taillamps, a new rear bumper design and a small roof mounted spoil, whereas, the cabin will get a slightly upmarket treatment with new interior trim options and features. A touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control and faux leather upholstery are some of the comfort features we expect to see. Airbags and ABS with EBD might be a part of standard offerings.

In terms of powertrain options, we do not expect to see any changes so the car will continue to be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine with a 5-speed manual unit, a 1.4-litre diesel engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 1.4-litre petrol with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Image Source: Motorbeam

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 India Launch Date, Flipkart's iPhone Deals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Redmi Note 5 leaked even before Redmi Note 4 launches in India
  • MumbaiWiFi offers 500 hotspots for unlimited free use till end of January
  • Yahoo to be renamed to Altaba after Verizon acquisition

Monday was the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone and Apple’s VP of World Wide Marketing Phil Schiller gave an interview where he talked about the glorious last 10 years for the company. Today, we’re back to the average day in consumer technology – which like most days, is full of launches, announcements, and other breaking news. Here are your top stories for the day.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 India Launch Date, Flipkart's iPhone Deals, and More: Your 360 Daily

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 leaked, before the Redmi Note 4 India launch
The Redmi Note 4 has been out since August 2016, and on Tuesday it got a date of arrival in India, but rumours of a Redmi Note 5 have already begun surfacing on the Internet. A phone by that name has apparently passed the US FCC certification and could come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, Quick Charge 3.0, and MIUI 9 based on Android 7.0 Nougat.

Samsung Gear S3 models launched in India
Electronics giant Samsung at an event in New Delhi launched a successor to Gear series of smartwatches – the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. The new watches run on the company’s homemade Tizen OS, with 4G connectivity on the Frontier for an untethered experience. Read more about the rest of the features and pricing in our launch story.

Razer is offering $25,000 for information on stolen laptop
You may have read about Razer’s Project Valerie, a laptop with three screens that was shown during CES 2017. Apparently, two of the three demo units were stolen. The company is working with law enforcement authorities to get to the bottom of the crime, and will offer $25,000 to those who can offer credible information regarding the theft.

Mumbai: 500 public Wi-Fi hotspots, toilet finder app launched
In what will be India’s biggest public Wi-Fi network, phase 1 of MumbaiWiFi was launched that enables 500 hotspots across the city. On May 1st, another 700 hotspots are said to be added to the initial offering. The offering is said to be free for an unlimited amount of data till the end of January. In related news, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will finalise its views on public WiFi networks in the next 20-25 days, with focus on low-cost WiFi networks that cost 10 percent of today’s data costs.

In another tech news related to Mumbai, the local authorities have launched an Android app that helps people find pay-and-use toilets in the city. Over 800 public restrooms have been tagged, and more will follow.

Flipkart offers discounts on Apple products
Dubbed ‘Apple Fest’, ecommerce platform Flipkart is offering a flat Rs. 5,000 discount on products like the iPhone 7 among others. Also on offer is an additional Rs. 3,000 if you exchange an old phone, for which you may fetch up to Rs. 23,000. Finally, there are interest-free EMIs on select credit cards as well. Check out offer details on all products here.

In other news, Flipkart promoted its top-tier person Kalyan Krishnamurthy to the company CEO position, and elevate current CEO Binny Bansal as the CEO of Flipkart Group organisation.

Housing and PropTiger to merge
Real-estate catalogue companies PropTiger and Housing are merging and are raising $55 million dollars in fresh investment in the joint entity. Dhruv Agarwala, CEO of PropTiger, will take over the numero uno position in this JV, while Housing CEO Jason Kothari will move to other opportunities. Housing’s estimated valuation was pegged at $70-75 million (roughly Rs. 476-510 crores), which is a downfall from the $120 million it had raised during its peak.

ZTE to cut 3,000 jobs
ZTE, the China based telecom multinational, is said to be cutting 3,000 jobs as its handset business struggles in its home market. The job cuts attribute to 5 percent of its 60,000 workforce. ZTE is the fourth-largest vendor of of smartphones in the United States, with a 10 percent market share. Its CEO had said that the company had “encountered its biggest crisis in its 31 year history” a few days ago at a New Year speech to the staff.

Yahoo to be renamed to ‘Altaba’, Marissa Mayer to leave board
After its sale to Verizon, the iconic name of the internet company ‘Yahoo’ is being changed to Altaba. The company also confirmed that CEO Marissa Mayer will quit the company’s board after the acquisition is complete. Yahoo co-founder David Filo will also be resigning from the board. Mayer is said to continue working for the new company.

iPhone 8 Price, HTC 10 evo Launch, YouTube Go Comes to India, and More: Your 360 Daily Rohan Naravane, 09 February 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • It doesn’t seem like the sell-kidney-for-iPhone jokes are going to stop
  • YouTube Go is a dedicated app for watching and sharing videos offline
  • SoftBank loses $300 million in India after investing in Ola, Snapdeal

The world has already had enough of the selling-kidney-to-buy-iPhone jokes, but unfortunately those may not stop, as the high-end variant of the iPhone 8 is said to cost $1,000 (roughly Rs. 68,000) in the US. If true, after all the taxes and duties added, this iPhone SKU might end up costing upwards of Rs. 80,000 in India. One of the reasons cited for the price bump is a switch to OLED displays instead of LCD. Fortunately, this is said to be the pricing of the highest-end model in the lineup, with a cheaper ‘iPhone 7s’ and ‘iPhone 7s Plus’ starting out at the usual $649.

Let’s move on to the remaining top stories of the day.

iPhone 8 Price, HTC 10 evo Launch, YouTube Go Comes to India, and More: Your 360 Daily

1) HTC 10 evo launched in India at Rs. 48,990
The HTC 10 evo is available for sale in the country at a price tag of Rs. 48,990. It’s got a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, water-resistance and comes with Android 7.0 Nougat. What sticks sorely for this otherwise interesting high-end device is the use of the Snapdragon 810 chip from 2015, which was known for notorious heating issues in phones like the Xperia Z3+. We wonder at the response HTC will receive for the product.

2) YouTube Go launched in India for shareable, offline videos
A common sight when using public transport today in India is of people watching videos on their smartphones. To push YouTube adoption without paying for mobile data, the YouTube Go app is a standalone app from Google that lets you download videos and watch them offline later. It also has a convenient ‘send’ and ‘receive’ feature, that allows for transferring downloaded videos to other YouTube Go users locally, without using mobile data.

 

3) Android Wear 2.0 launched with two new LG smartwatches
After a delay of several months, the next major update to Android Wear – dubbed Android Wear 2.0 – is out. Two new watches from LG, namely the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport, run this new operating system, while other compatible watches will get the update eventually. Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to the wrist, along with other features like the ability to install apps directly on the watch, Android Pay integration, keyboard input, etc. Those LG watches mentioned above are priced at $249 (roughly Rs. 17,000) and $349 (roughly Rs. 24,000) respectively.

4) 170 days after its release, Android Nougat only runs on 1 percent of all Android devices
This should come as no surprise, considering there are many stakeholders in the Android update process. Android 7.0 Nougat, the most recent version of Android, despite being launched almost half a year ago, only runs on 1 percent of active Android devices. Android 5.0 Lollipop, which was out in 2014, is still the most used Android version to date.

5) SoftBank loses $350 million on India investments like Ola, Snapdeal
Japanese company Softbank has reported an investment loss of $350 million (roughly Rs. 2,345 crores) on its investments in India, which include cab-hailing service Ola and e-commerce platform Snapdeal. The Japanese firm has so far invested close to $2 billion in India and earlier this year it stated that it is looking to scale up investments to $10 billion in next 5-10 years.

6) 5G is official now, has its own logo
The 3GPP cellular standards group has officially christened the next generation of wireless communication technology as 5G. The logo has a familiar design as the official 4G logo that came before it. The final specifications of 5G are said to complete by 2018, with the next phase being completed by 2020.

7) Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon argue GST’s tax collection at source provision
At a press conference organised by FICCI on Thursday, the heads of Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal all found common cause as they expressed their worries about the TCS (Tax Collection at Source) provision of the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Under this provision, online marketplaces are responsible for collecting – and paying – taxes on behalf of their sellers. This is something that all three companies, the major players in the e-commerce space in India, are against, as they argue it will hamper the growth of e-commerce.

8) Idea Money Adopts USSD-based digital payments
Idea Cellular today said it has enabled USSD-based platform for shopkeepers and customers to conduct digital transactions using Idea Money service. USSD is mobile short code that enables financial and banking transactions even on feature phones.

Moto G5 Plus India Launch, Airtel Free Roaming, Paytm’s 200 Million Users, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moto G5 Plus to be launched in India on March 15
  • Airtel ends roaming charges on incoming and outgoing calls
  • Paytm user base hits 200 million, new Paytm Mall app launched

Just a day after the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus global launch, Lenovo has sent out invites announcing the India launch date of the latter. The invite says that the Moto G5 Plus will be launched in India on March 15, but there was no mention of the Moto G5 for the domestic market. At the MWC 2017 event, Moto G5 Plus price for the 2GB RAM + 32GB variant was announced as $229 (roughly Rs. 15,300), whereas the 3GB RAM + 32GB model has been priced at $279 (approximately Rs. 19,700). Price of the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model has not been announced so far.

Moto G5 Plus India Launch, Airtel Free Roaming, Paytm’s 200 Million Users, and More: Your 360 Daily

The new Moto G5 Plus has a 5.2-inch full-HD screen, 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset, microSD card expansion up to 128GB, 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, 5-megapixel front camera, 3000mAh battery with TurboPower fast charging technology. On the software side, the Moto G5 Plus runs the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and supports Google Assistant AI-based digital assistant, along with features such as Moto Display, Moto Actions, Twist, and a new One Button Nav that allows users to navigate the interface using the fingerprint sensor.

But this is not the only launch to get excited about, as MWC 2017 saw a number of smartphones and other devices being announced. Let’s take a look at those, and more, in 360 Daily. For other MWC stories including all the announcements from Nokia, LG, Moto, Samsung, and others, check out our MWC hub.

Oppo unveils 5x Dual Camera Zoom system
At the ongoing MWC 2017, Oppo unveiled its new 5x Dual Camera Zoom system, which features a periscope-style setup that is claimed to kill the need of the camera bump on the back because of its 5.7mm thickness. The 5x Dual Camera Zoom system packs more than 50 parts which have been stacked in a 5.7mm module. Oppo’s new camera zoom system diverts light through a prism into a stabilised telephoto lens set at a 90-degree angle. The new imaging system will make its way to Oppo smartphones later this year.

Airtel announces ‘war on roaming’ with free incoming calls in all circles
Airtel has repealed roaming charges for users for incoming calls outside their home circle, terming this a “war on roaming.” India’s biggest telecom operator also said that it will stop premium charges on outgoing calls while roaming. For international roaming starting April 1 2017, the company will offer customers protection from bill shocks. Call charges have been reduced by up to 90 percent to as low as Rs. 3 per minute on international roaming, while data charges by up to 99 percent to Rs. 3 per MB in popular roaming destinations, Airtel said on Monday.

Paytm Mall app launched for standalone e-commerce services
Paytm has spun off the e-commerce part of its app into a standalone app named Paytm Mall, while the wallet business remains in the main app. The Paytm Mall app features the expected categories, such as electronics, fashion, furnishings, and so on. Cashback offers that were provided on the Paytm app e-commerce transactions till now are offered on the Paytm Mall app. The company also announced today that its user base has crossed the 200 million mark.

 

Lenovo Tab 4 series Android tablets launched
While Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book were the tablets of note at MWC 2017, Lenovo launched its new Tab 4 series models at the event. The four Lenovo tablets, named Tab 4 8, Tab 4 10, Tab 4 8 Plus, and Tab 4 10 Plus, run Android 7.0 Nougat and offer battery life of up to 12 hours, the company said. The four models are being targeted at both kids and adults, and come with multi-user mode.

The Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Tab 4 10 sport 8-inch and 10.1-inch displays, respectively; both feature HD screens, Snapdragon 425 SoC, 2GB of RAM, and come in 16GB and 32GB storage options. The respective Plus models feature the same screen size but come with Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM.

Samsung Gear VR 2017 edition launched, comes with touch controller
The Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset received an update at MWC 2017, and it will now come with a VR controller which, Samsung says, makes it easier for the user to interact with VR apps and games. With the controller, users will be able to “point, drag and drop, tilt, shoot, among other actions, while the Trigger allows for enhanced gaming experiences.” The new Gear VR headset has 42mm lenses with 101-degree FOV (Field of View) and “advanced distortion correction technology” to minimise users’ motion sickness.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the first phone with Snapdragon 835 processor, launched
Sony surprised one and all with the launch of its Xperia XZ Premium smartphone, the first model with the new Snapdragon 835 chipset. However, while Sony beat Samsung – which has dibs on the new Qualcomm SoC – in announcing the first such smartphone, the new Xperia XZ Premium will not be available for purchase till Spring this year. The new Sony Xperia XZ Premium has a 5.5-inch 4K display, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, up to 256GB microSD card support, 19-megapixel rear camera with the new Motion Eye camera system, 13-megapixel front camera, Android 7.0 Nougat software, and a 3230mAh battery.

This was, however, not the only Sony launch at MWC 2017, as the company also unveiled the Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1 Ultra, and Xperia XA1 smartphones. Along with these, the company also launched the Xperia Touch interactive Android projector that can turn any surface into a touchscreen panel; it will be launched in April.

Gionee A1, A1 Plus selfie phones with big batteries launched
While for most brands selfie phones and big battery phones are two distinct niches, Gionee has gone ahead and combined the two with the new Android Nougat-based Gionee A1 and Gionee A1 Plus smartphones. Launched at MWC 2017, the new Gionee A1 has a 16-megapixel front camera and 40101mAh battery, while the Gionee A1 Plus comes with a 20-megapixel sensor in front and packs a 4550mAh battery.

Gionee A1 has a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, microSD support, 13-megapixel rear camera, and fingerprint sensor on the back. The Gionee A1 Plus has a bigger 6-inch full-HD screen, MediaTek Helio P25 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB inbuilt storage, microSD expansion, and dual 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras on the back.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360