Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone’s Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New products at CES 2017 dominated the news this week
  • Nokia 6 launch on Sunday stole CES’ thunder a little bit
  • Vodafone now has a Rs. 499 unlimited calling postpaid plan

Predictably, CES 2017 dominated tech news this week with a range of exciting launches and demos, but just as we were putting the finishing touches to this piece, another launch grabbed the headlines. HMD Global, the new custodians of the Nokia brand, announced the launch of Nokia 6, a phone that runs Android 7.0 out of the box.

The Nokia 6 has a 5.5-inch full-HD display wrapped in 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC alongside 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Nokia 6 is a dual SIM smartphone that is backed by a 3000mAh non-removable battery. See full specifications of the Nokia 6, which will unfortunately be a China-exclusive smartphone. HMD Global confirmed more Nokia Android phones are coming soon.

Before we get to all the CES launches from this week, let’s take a look at some important stories from closer home. Vodafone is taking the battle to Reliance Jio and Airtel with the launch of a new postpaid plan that offers unlimited calling, and 3GB of 4G data each month. The revamped Vodafone Red postpaid plans come soon after Airtel started offering 3GB of free mobile data per month to prepaid and postpaid customers switching to its 4G network.

Friday saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy J1 (4G) in India – the same phone was launched in Russia in March last year, after quietly making its way to Dubai in January. In both those markets, it was sold as the Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016). This is an entry level phone from Samsung, priced at Rs. 6,890.

From CES, one of the highlights was the launch of the Asus ZenFone AR, the first smartphone with 8GB of RAM. It also come with support for Google’s Tango augmented reality programme and DayDream virtual reality software. Asus ZenFone AR, like the other Tango device – the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro – is designed around machine vision with a camera and sensor setup that provides motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning.

In addition to the ZenFone AR, Also also unveiled the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom camera smartphone with 5000mAh battery at the event. The phone has dual rear cameras and offers 2.3x optical zoom.

Samsung used CES to showcase the new A (2017) smartphones launched earlier this week. The Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017) sport “enhanced” cameras compared to their predecessors, optimised for low-light conditions.

Later, pricing of the two of the new Samsung phones came to light as well.Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone's Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

LG also unveiled its K-series phones on the CES floor – the range covers the LG K3 (2017), LG K4 (2017), LG K8 (2017), and the LG K10 (2017).

LG also showed the LG Stylus 3. The South Korean company says that the new 2017 variants of the LG K3, K4, K8, K10 smartphones, and the Stylus 3 will strengthen its portfolio in the mid-range segment.

At its CES 2017 event, Xiaomi unveiled the latest Mi TV 4 and Mi Router HD, apart from announcing a brand new White colour variant of the Mi MIX smartphone. All the Xiaomi CES 2017 devices will be available later this year in China. Slimmer than an iPhone 7, the Mi TV 4 is the company’s thinnest TV to date.

The Xiaomi Mi MIX was unveiled as a limited edition concept smartphone, made in collaboration with French designer Philippe Stark, in October last year, and it will go on sale later this year.

Chipmaker Qualcomm finally took the wraps off its Snapdragon 835 SoC. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 packs an Adreno 540 GPU, and is 30 percent smaller than the Snapdragon 820. The first 10nm chip by Qualcomm comes with longer battery life and will enable thinner designs.

Nvidia launched a new version of its Shield Android TV, called just Shield, at CES 2017. It comes with Google Assistant integration and supports 4K HDR. The new Nvidia Shield will cost $199 (roughly Rs. 13,200) but the company has not announced the availability of the device yet. It will be the first Android TV with Google’s Assistant, but others will follow, and it will come to other platforms over time.

There were also a lot of laptop launches at CES – Dell launched a range of products including a Latitude 2-in-1 business laptop, XPS 13 2-in-1, as well as new Alienware and Inspiron 7000 Gaming laptops. It also launched the new XPS 15 laptop, a Rose Gold variant of the XPS 13, and the XPS 27 AIO.

Asus launched the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA, and unveiled a new, slimmed-down business laptop, along with a VR-ready compact PC.

LG launched its new Gram 14 laptop, which it claims offers a battery life of around 24 hours. However, the benchmark test used by the company for this claim has turned out to be a 10-year old measurement tool. LG’s new Gram 14 laptop weighs around 980 grams, and is powered by Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors. It comes with up to 16GB of RAM and houses up to 512GB of SSD storage.

Toshiba expanded its Portege laptop portfolio to launch a 2-in-1 offering – Portege X20W – pricing details of the 2-in-1 have not been announced yet. The Portege X20W convertible’s main highlight is touted to be its 16-hour battery life. Meanwhile, HP unveiled the refreshed EliteBook x360, a 15.6-inch Spectre x360, alongside the new Envy Curved AIO 34, the new Sprout Pro by HP, and Omen X 35 Curved Display.

Lenovo refreshed the ThinkPad X1 line, launching a host of products under its portfolio including the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ThinkPad X1 Tablet, Miix 720, Lenovo Active Pen 2, Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop, Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop, Lenovo Smart Assistant, Lenovo Smart Assistant Harman Kardon Edition, Lenovo Smart Storage, Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, and Lenovo New Glass C200.

Asus also showed the Chromebook Flip C302 2-in-1 convertible, a high-end Chromebook. Samsung unveiled a Chromebook with stylus support, while Acer showed off a rugged Chromebook, targeted at classrooms.

Dell also launched a range of new gaming laptops in its Alienware and Inspiron lines, and Lenovo showed its range of Legion gaming laptops, and also a new VR headset, which will work with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic Program. Samsung also showcased a new gaming laptop, the Notebook Odyssey. The most jaw-dropping of the lot though was probably Razer’s Project Valerie concept laptop, which comes with three 4K displays, for “total immersion gaming”.

On the audio front, JBL launched the Pulse 3, Flip 4, Playlist, and BassPro Go speakers; Sennheiser unveiled wireless headphones and recording earbuds; Sony showed Google-Home friendly soundboards, along with new headphones and speakers; and LG announced a Dolby Atmos capable soundbar.

As usual, CES also saw a number of wearables being launched – some of the highlights were the Misfit Vapor, the Casio WSD-F20 rugged Android Wear watch, and the Motiv fitness ring, which comes with a heart rate sensor. There were a few VR related announcements for new accessories from HTC Vive, while the other products are still works in progress.

Outside of CES, we had two more launches in India this week. We saw the launch of the Xolo Era 2X – the 2GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 6,666 while the 3GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 7,499. It replaces the Xolo Era 1X, which launched with a price tag of Rs. 4,999 last year. Other than this, we had the launch of the Sennheiser HD 200 PRO closed-backover-ear headphones in India, priced at Rs. 6,490.

Besides this, TRAI released a consultation paper on net neutrality – you have till February 15 to send in your responses to the regulator on this important issue.

Paytm also announced an interesting development this week – it’s finally received approval to launch its payments bank – the actual rollout will still take a little time, but it’s expected in the coming months. Paytm had earlier announced that it’s going to merge its Wallet and Payments Bank, so your wallet balance will automatically become your bank balance.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited India this week, and launched new programs to help SMBs go digital. He visited his alma mater IIT-Kharagpur, where he talked to students, and told NDTV’s Vikram Chandra in an interview Google is keen to work on UPI. He also met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who says Google should tailor its services to local needs.

These were the highlights of the week for us, let us know via the comments what caught your eye this week.

 

Nokia 3 Online, GST Effect, Airtel, BSNL & Vodafone Data Offers, OnePlus 5 Problems, and More News This Week

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nokia 3 was launched as an offline exclusive but is now available online
  • Reliance Jio is offering free data for Xioami and Gionee users
  • OnePlus 5’s ‘jelly scrolling’ issue may be because of an inverted panel

Welcome back to our weekly news roundup, where you’ll find all the stories in technology that you need to know. One of the big items this week was the news that the Nokia 3, the offline-exclusive smartphone launched earlier this month by HMD Global is now available online, via Croma. The electronics chain had earlier listed the Nokia 3310 – another offline exclusive – on its online store as well. The budget-friendly Nokia 3 is the first of the three new Nokia phones to go on sale; priced at Rs. 9,499, it packs a 5-inch HD display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 16GB storage, and 2GB RAM. As part of a launch offer, Vodafone has tied up with HMD Global to give bundled data with the phones. Nokia 3 buyers will get 4GB 3G/ 4G data from Vodafone, while Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 buyers will also get 4GB and 9GB of free data from Vodafone when the two smartphones become available to purchase in July.

ALSO SEENokia Feature Phone Lineup to Get a New Addition Soon, Certification Site Tips

GST rolled out on Saturday, and we saw the first bits of post-GST price cuts. Apple announced it is revising the MRP of all its products, from the iPhone to the iPad, the entire Mac range, and even the Apple Watch. Most price cuts are modest, but since Apple products are now no longer sold at MRP, what impact this has on the price customers will need to pay remain to be seen. Another cut that can be attributed to GST impact was the revision of price of popular Asus ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 3 Max models, with price cuts of up to Rs. 3,000 on popular Asus smartphones.

Meanwhile, just as GST seems to be providing some relief to those looking to buy mobiles, the price of imported mobiles and other electronics looks set to go up, as the government is imposing a 10 percent basic customs duty on these products.Nokia 3 Online, GST Effect, Airtel, BSNL & Vodafone Data Offers, OnePlus 5 Problems, and More News This Week

Other telcos have so been rolling out a number of offers. Airtel announced its ‘Monsoon Surprise Offer’, which gives users up to 30GB of free data. To avail the offer, Airtel postpaid subscribers need only log into the My Airtel app after July 1. Vodafone, on the other hand, is now offering free Netflix to postpaid subscribers on its RED plans. Text ‘Netflix’ to 199 from an eligible Vodafone number, and you’ll get money credited to your Netflix account.

BSNL launched a new pack called Sixer 666, offering 2GB data daily, along with unlimited calling. The pack has 60 days validity and competes with Reliance Jio’s Rs. 509 plan. Reliance Jio also has new offers. Now, Xiaomi users who sign up for Jio after June 16 are eligible for up to 30GB of free data, at 5GB extra for up to six recharges. Gionee has a similar offer, giving users up to 60GB of free data with Reliance Jio, at 10GB extra for up to six recharges.

WhatsApp got some interesting new features this week. On Android, emoji search was added as a beta feature, while video streaming has now made its way to the iPhone version of the app. Last week, WhatsApp started rolling out the feature to attach any file type. Now, a new feature is photo bundling – which will allow you to send multiple images to your friends as an album, instead of single images. This WhatsApp feature was rolled out to iPhone users earlier this month and refines the sharing of multiple photos on the platform.

Soon after its launch, the OnePlus 5 has started running into some problems. Users are reporting a ‘jelly scrolling issue’, which the company finally acknowledged. However, OnePlus says that this is not a defect, saying only that the issue is ‘natural.’ The root cause of the issue could actually have to do with the orientation of the display though OnePlus hasn’t confirmed this.
Not all the news phone the phone is bad though. The OnePlus 5 (Review) launched recently and it’s beating the iPhone 7 Plus in a speed test video. And Amazon says that the OnePlus 5 has had the best launch week on Amazon India, in terms of gross revenue. A teardown also revealed that the phone is pretty water resistant, though not actually waterproof.

There were relatively few launches this week. The Honor Holly 3+, priced at Rs. 12,999, was launched this week. It comes with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, and has a 5.5-inch HD display. The InFocus Turbo 5, which comes with a 5000mAh battery, was launched in two RAM/ storage variants, and will be available exclusively via Amazon India. The Moto M “all metal” smartphone was launched back in December as an online exclusive – it’s finally available offline as well.

Vivo and Qualcomm unveiled an under-display fingerprint sensor. According to Qualcomm, the sensor can work through a number of different surfaces, and will also be available for devices that don’t have a Qualcomm SoC. Gadgets 360 tested out the Vivo demo unit and found some delay in response, but this will not be the case with commercial units expected to launch in 2018, the company executives said.

There was also a leak of the specifications of the Xiaomi Redmi Pro 2. It’s the successor to the Xiaomi Redmi Pro, which was launched last July. It’s expected to have 3GB and 4GB variants, and it’s believed to have a 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual-camera setup on the rear along with a 16-megapixel front camera. It’s also rumoured to have a full-HD LCD display.

New renders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 were also leaked, promising a dual camera setup, and a fingerprint sensor next to the cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is said to feature a 6.3-inch display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio and support for 2K resolution. The dual camera setup on the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to sport two 12-megapixel sensors and come with independent OIS (optical image stabilisation) for each lens.

The specifications of the upcoming Google Pixel phones were also leaked. The XL 2 will have a 5.99-inch QHD display, a 2.45GHz processor and 4GB RAM, and a single rear camera. The smaller Pixel successor is expected to have a 4.97-inch full-HD display, and otherwise the same processor and RAM, but it’s expected to ditch the 3.5mm audio port.

Jio’s Rs. 500 Phone, Nokia 5 India Pre-Bookings, Honor 8 Pro Launch, and More News This Week

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Reliance Jio’s feature phone could be announced on July 21
  • The Nokia 5 is now open for pre-bookings ahead of the actual sale
  • Honor 8 Pro launched to take on OnePlus 5 and others

If you need a quick recap of the tech news from this week, then you’ve come to the right place. One of the top highlights from this week as the news that Reliance Jio’s long-rumoured feature phone could be unveiled soon, priced at just Rs. 500. The 4G VoLTE capable Jio feature phone might be announced on July 21, but go on sale only on August 15, alongside a special tariff plan. According to reports, the feature phone will still support Jio apps, such as MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema, and JioMusic. Reportedly, Jio will also be launching a broadband service at the same time, under the name JioFiber.

While all that is still rumoured, what is official is a new offer for the JioFi Wi-Fi hotspot. Now that the Jio Summer Surprise and Dhan Dhana Dhan offer benefits are coming towards an end, this will be the best way to get the most bang for your buck on Jio. The new offer provides customers with up to 224GB data on purchasing a new JioFi device and a new Jio SIM card. The Rs. 99 cost of Jio Prime membership is included in the cost of the JioFi device, and consumers will only have to buy one of the Jio plans on which the offer is provided. You can get a 2GB Jio plan for Rs. 149, or pay Rs. 309 for 1GB per day Rs. 509 for 2GB per day.

There were a couple of other great offers from Jio rivals as well. Airtel’s Monsoon Surprise Offer for postpaid users went live. It gives Airtel subscribers up to 30GB of 4G data for three billing cycles. To avail the offer, you need the My Airtel app, and you can claim the additional data as a free add-on to your recharges. On the other hand, BSNL is now offering up to 8X data for postpaid users. With refreshed postpaid plans, BSNL now offers 1GB data at Rs. 225, compared to 200MB data earlier. Other BSNL plans have been similarly boosted as well.

The Nokia 3 become available online in India last week, and now the pre-bookings have begun for the Nokia 5. Unfortunately, it’s still unclear when it will actually be available to customers. The Nokia 5 was launched at a price of Rs. 12,899 for the offline market in India. Sporting a 5.2-inch HD display, the phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC, and 2GB RAM, along with 16GB in-built storage. Like the Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 is also an offline-exclusive phone.

We also got to learn a bit more about the upcoming Nokia Android lineup. According to a report, the Nokia 8 will be the brand’s 2017 flagship, and not the Nokia 9. The latter phone might instead be launched later instead.Jio's Rs. 500 Phone, Nokia 5 India Pre-Bookings, Honor 8 Pro Launch, and More News This Week

We also saw a number of launches this week. One of the bigger ones was the Samsung Galaxy On Max, with 4GB RAM and a front flash. Priced at Rs. 16,900, the phone will be sold via Flipkart, and aside from the 4GB RAM, it’s got a 5.7-inch full-HD display, with an octa-core processor and 32GB of inbuilt storage. The Samsung Galaxy On Max comes with 13-megapixel sensors for the front and back cameras, with single-click image sharing options.

Another launch was the Nubia M2, with rear dual-cameras. Sold via Amazon India, the phone is priced at Rs. 22,999 and aside from the dual rear camera, packs 4GB RAM and a Snapdragon 625 SoC. Both rear cameras have a 13-megapixel sensor, and there’s a 16-megapixel front camera. The phone comes with 64GB of inbuilt storage.

The Honor 8 Pro was launched in India this week and will be sold exclusively via Amazon India. The phone is priced at Rs. 29,999, and goes on sale next week. It comes with a dual camera setup, a massive 4000mAh battery, and an impressive 6GB of RAM. The Honor 8 Pro comes with 128GB of inbuilt storage, and a 1.8GHz octa-core processor. It will go head to head against the OnePlus 5.

The Asus ZenFone 4 Max was launched in Russia this week, where its price starts at RUB 13,900 (roughly Rs. 15,000) for the Snapdragon 425 variant. There is also a Snapdragon 430 variant, whose price was not revealed. The phone otherwise has a dual-rear camera setup, and a 5000mAh battery that can also be used as a power bank for other phones.

Vivo also launched the Vivo X9s and Vivo X9s Plus, priced at CNY 2,698 (roughly Rs. 25,600) and CNY 2,998 (roughly Rs. 28,500), respectively. The two phones have the same specs, but the Vivo X9s is 5.5-inches, while the Plus is 5.85-inches; as a result, it also has a bigger battery, at 4015mAh as compared to 3320mAh. Both phones have a 1.44GHz octa-core, along with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a dual camera setup on the front.

Another interesting development this week was news that Ola, India’s largest ride-hailing service, is eyeing international expansion. Sources told Gadgets 360 that Ola plans to enter Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. There’s no fixed timeline for the rollout, but Ola is apparently looking to add support for international locations to its app.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s long-underway White Space project appears to have hit a roadblock. Earlier this year, the company piloted the project in Harisal, a small village in Maharashtra, crippled with several infrastructural issues such as power cuts that stretch over 10 hours a day. Months later, Microsoft quietly stopped the project in Harisal after its temporary license to run pilots expired and the government refused to renew the spectrum band for commercial deployment.

Speaking of Microsoft, the company announced that Skype Lite has now gotten Aadhaar integration, allowing users to verify identity on video calls. The company had launched Skype Lite in February, and on Wednesday added Aadhaar integration to the app with the latest update.

A leak this week also gave us a look at the upcoming Moto X4. While Moto X4 was already expected to feature a dual camera setup, it can also be seen sporting a curved screen in the freshly leaked render.

If you’re looking for a deal, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ 128GB variant just saw a price cut of Rs. 4,000, just a month after the phone launched in India. At Rs. 70,900, it’s still far from a cheap phone though, and it’s not clear if this is a temporary drop or a permanent price cut.

Xiaomi meanwhile announced that its just seen a record quarter with shipments of 23.16 million units. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun confirmed that the company saw a 70 percent increase from the previous quarter. He also noted that the India revenue in the first half of the year is up 328 percent year-on-year.

In the wake of LeEco’s continuing financial troubles the company’s founder has resigned as chairman. He earlier resigned as CEO in May. The announcement came after Jia on social media promised to repay debt and reaffirmed LeEco’s electric car commitment.

 

Moto G5 news release date, UK price, features and specifications

 

Ah, the Moto G. One of the UK’s best-loved budget phones, but it’s had something of a confusing history and two new models are about to make that even more confused: G5 and G5 Plus. Read our Moto G5 review.

It’s a fantastic budget phone, but until 2016 when new owner Lenovo announced the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and Moto G4 Plus, Motorola had launched a long string of very similar smartphones all called the Moto G. Trying to keep tabs on which is which is something of a minefield, especially when many of the SKUs remain available online.

Also see: Best budget phones 2017

In this article we’ll outline the specs, design, UK price and release date for the new G5 and G5 Plus, which have had something of a ‘premium’ makeover, and break down the history of the Moto G.

When is the Moto G5 release date?

Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus UK release date: mid-March and early April

The fifth-generation Moto G went on sale in March 2017 across the world. You can buy the Sapphire Blue model exclusively from O2 now.

The G5 Plus will go on sale in early April, and Carphone Warehouse – who is offering the phone exclusively in the UK – has opened pre-orders, promising delivery by 4 April.

How much will the Moto G5 cost in the UK?

The Moto G family is well known for its extraordinary value, and that is set to continue into 2017. No Moto G has ever cost more than £200, with most of the updated models averaging £150-£170 – though the G5 Plus will be the first to break that trend.

In the UK the Moto G5 is available with 2GB or 3GB of RAM. You can buy the 2GB model for £169 from Carphone Warehouse, Argos, Unlocked Mobiles and John Lewis – O2 will also sell the 2GB G5 in an exclusive blue colour, though this isn’t yet available.

Meanwhile the 3GB version is sold for £179 by Amazon and the Motorola online store – though isn’t yet listed there.

In Europe the Moto G5 costs €199 for the 2GB RAM + 16GB storage model.

In the US, only the G5 Plus will be sold, starting at $229 unlocked. In Europe it will cost more at €279 for 3GB and 32GB storage, and in the UK it will cost £249 – you can pre-order it nowfrom Carphone Warehouse.

The Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play are now a little cheaper than at launch, and all three are available from Amazon. You can buy the Moto G4 Play for £119.95, the Moto G4 for £159, and the Moto G4 Plus for £189.99. All are SIM-free, so you can insert a SIM from your mobile operator of choice.Moto G5

What are the features and specifications?

Lenovo has given the new Moto G phones a more premium look, and the bold colours of previous models are gone. It has hints of he Moto Z  – such as the protruding rear camera – but these are not modular phones and won’t work with Moto Mods.

You have a choice of two colours: lunar grey and fine gold. These are sure to make them look like more expensive phones, and the specs are certainly a cut above your usual lower-mid-range phone. That’s what these are of course, not budget offerings.

Interestingly, the G5 Plus, which has the slightly larger 5.2in screen, uses the same camera as the Samsung Galaxy S7 (but without optical stabilisation), so it should appeal to anyone who wants a flagship-level camera without spending £600+. It will shoot 4K video, while the G5 is limited to only 1080p, despite it’s higher pixel count.

Storage and RAM will depend upon where in the world you’re buying a G5 or G5 Plus. Both phones support dual-SIM, but we’re certain UK models will be single SIM as usual.

The back of the G5 is removable, as is the battery, but the G5 Plus does not have the same feature, although its battery has a slightly larger capacity for 3000mAh.

US owners will find their G5 Plus doesn’t have NFC, but both models sold in other markets do. Thankfully there’s still a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

In terms of software, you get the usual Moto tweaks to Android, and this time the fingerprint sensor is also a home button, and you can set it up to navigate around Android as you swipe over in in different directions. Naturally the new phones run Android 7.0 Nougat, and also have the Google Assistant.

As you can see the design has not changed a great deal, but the fingerprint scanner that was previously exclusive to the Moto G4 Plus is now also found on the standard Moto G5. The phones have metal frames, too.

History of the Moto G

In the space of just over three years we’ve seen a crazy eight phones all called Moto G released. And the story is more than a bit confusing.

It all began back in November 2013 when Motorola announced the first ever Moto G (XT1032), an affordable smartphone with a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of storage, a 4.5in HD screen and a 2070mAh battery. This quickly became the company’s best-selling phone, and was followed up in May 2014 with a 4G version (XT1039) with support for microSD cards.

In September 2014 came the second-generation Moto G (XT1068), with a new 5in HD screen, prominent front-facing speakers, dual-SIM functionality and improved cameras, now 8Mp and 2Mp, up from 5Mp and 1.3Mp. Sounds great, but Motorola removed the 4G functionality. This model was updated again in March 2015 with the XT1072 offering full 4G support and a slightly higher-capacity 2,390mAh battery, but at the expense of the dual-SIM functionality.

For the third-generation Moto G (XT1541), announced in July 2015, Motorola bumped up the processor to the Snapdragon 410 (with integrated Adreno 306 GPU), and once again improved the cameras and battery. These were now rated at 13Mp, 5Mp and 2470mAh respectively. It also added IPX7 waterproofing…

…only for it to be taken away in May 2016 with the launch of the fourth-generation and now more aptly named Moto G4 Play, Moto G4 (standard) and Moto G4 Plus, three splashproof budget Androids. Originally just the standard and Plus models were available in the UK, which confusingly are the same size with just a fingerprint scanner (on the Plus), storage and RAM options to separate them. Whereas the standard Moto G4 comes with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage, the Plus is available in three versions: 16GB/2GB, 32GB/3GB and 64GB/4GB.

The specification has jumped up significantly for round four, with new Snapdragon 617 processors, Adreno 405 GPUs, 5.5in (and for the first time) full-HD screens, 16GB of storage (or more) as standard, microSD support up to 256GB, fast-charging 3000mAh batteries, and improved cameras rated at 16Mp and 5Mp.

The Moto G4 Play, meanwhile, has a spec much closer to that of the third-generation Moto G released in July 2015, with matching processor, RAM, storage and screen, but second-generation Moto G cameras (8Mp and 5Mp) and it’s only splashproof rather than IPX7-rated. The battery capacity has increased, though, to 2800mAh.

 

The Trump news you missed: he asked Comey to jail journalists

 

‘Given how much the media has hampered his administration, Trump’s goal seems to be to snuff it out any way possible.’ Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

By now, everyone has heard the blockbuster news that Trump allegedly asked the FBI director, James Comey, to drop the Michael Flynn investigation. But buried deep inside in the the New York Times story was another bombshell that was just as important: Trump reportedly urged Comey to jail journalists who publish classified information.

Tied to this disturbing news was another story that didn’t get enough attention last week amongst the chaos: the Washington Post reported multiple times that part of the reason Trump fired Comey was that he was incensed that the FBI was not being more aggressive in investigating leaks coming out of his administration. Apparently, Trump was even insisting at one point that the FBI needed to go after leaks about non-classified information (which is not a crime by anyone’s standards).

Since before he took office, Trump has been obsessed with leaks, and you can see why: almost on a daily basis, his administration is painted as chaotic, corrupt and unhinged in the papers – even by the people who work in the White House. He has had to fire Flynn due to leaks showing he lied, multiple policies have been stopped in their tracks because of leaks and even the threat of war with Iran was tamped down because of official secrets that were reported by journalists.donald trump

It’s bad enough for press freedom that Trump is so determined to go after whistleblowers and sources within his administration who are attempting to get the truth to the American public. When their sources are investigated, journalists face the prospect of surveillance or subpoenas to testify and it can inhibit important investigative reporting. But directly prosecuting journalists is an unprecedented step that should send a chill down the spine of any American who values the first amendment – no matter their political persuasion.

Given how much the media has hampered his administration, Trump’s goal seems to be to snuff it out any way possible. In retrospect, it’s almost amusing that so much ink was spilled on Trump’s now notorious contention he was going to “open up” libel laws to sue newspapers that wrote stories about him he didn’t like. This was always a red herring. After all, there are no federal libel laws to “open up”.

The real danger, which got far less attention, was that Trump might use the draconian 100-year-old Espionage Act to target reporters with prosecution for publishing classified information. Less than six months into his presidency, we now have reason to believe this is a distinct possibility.

The Espionage Act is blatantly unconstitutional, which is part of the reason why every justice department in modern history has avoided reaching the point of prosecution against a newspaper. But it has long been a specter hanging over journalists: if you read just the text of the law, it is being violated almost daily by reporters at every major paper in the country. (And it’s not just journalists: the law is so wildly broad that just by reading the New York Times, you are arguably guilty.)

Many lawyers have believed the law would be struck down if a prosecution ever took place, but it’s not exactly a chance anyone wants to take. Just by bringing a prosecution without conviction, Trump can surely halt an untold number of stories that come right up to the line.

The good news is, at least so far, the Trump administration’s obsession with leaks has only emboldened more people to come forward, and journalists to push even harder behind the scenes. There are almost too many examples to count of the administration admonishing employees not to leak behind closed doors, only to see their warnings promptly leaked to the press.

Ironically, Trump firing Comey – in part for not being aggressive enough in leak investigations – has opened the floodgates to more leaks on what his administration was doing to potentially obstruct justice.

The Times reported that there were multiple Comey memos detailing every interaction that he had with Trump before he was fired, including some that were classified. One has to wonder how many of those who – during the long-gone Obama years – called for Edward Snowden to be prosecuted are now secretly hoping that there is another Snowden somewhere in the FBI or justice department.