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.

 

Amazon, Apple, Google And Other Tech Stocks Did Not Crash: Just A Glitch

 

Share prices for Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft all appeared at $123.47, which would’ve marked a whopping crash if it were true. Amazon’s opening price, for instance, is $972.79 per share — it’s a long way down to $123.47 and would’ve been catastrophic.

For Amazon, for instance, it would’ve marked a catastrophic drop from its opening price of $972.79 per share. The dubious share prices were due to a glitch and affected roughly 16 stocks, but not all of them negatively. For Zynga, the ailing Facebook game maker that was once on the roll, the glitch gave the impression that it’s once again successful.

Tech Stocks Crash Glitch: What Happened?

In a statement to the Financial Times, Nasdaq explained that the whole issue stemmed from “improper use of test data” that third-party financial data providers picked up.

As the U.S. market closed early Monday before the 4th of July holiday, traders got alarmingly wrong stock prices for several companies, including some of the largest and most successful technology companies. Amazon’s and Alphabet’s stock prices appeared to show a staggering drop of more than 80 percent.

Third-party data providers pushed the wrong prices after the early market close, as the exchange operator was testing its pricing data feed. Some providers such as Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and Bloomberg LP showed the fake changes in share prices. Nasdaq spokesman Joe Cristinat says the test data is sent on a daily basis, but the fact that third-party providers distributed it was a glitch and the changes never really happened. Nasdaq is reportedly working with providers to solve the matter.

No Nasdaq Technical Issue

On the bright side, at least the wrong prices appeared on a holiday when the market had closed. Such mistakes would have a greater impact when the market is open. Christinat highlighted that Nasdaq itself did not have any technical issue and it didn’t make any trades at the wrong prices. Third-party data providers simply took the test data and improperly distributed it as if the figures were real. The stock prices on Nasdaq’s official website showed the real figures, unaffected by the glitch that third-party data providers experienced.

“We can confirm that our third-party finance data partner was providing some inaccurate information, which they received from Nasdaq,” Google told Financial Times. “This is currently being fixed and we hope to update our stock price data shortly.”

 

GST Impact: Eluga I2, Eluga I3 Mega, and Other Panasonic Phones Receive Price Cuts

 

HIGHLIGHTS
Panasonic Eluga I2 1GB RAM variant will now be available at Rs. 6,490
The 2GB RAM variant of Eluga I2 will cost Rs. 7,290
Prices of P88, Eluga A2, Eluga I3 Mega, Eluga X Pulse have been cut too
The nationwide rollout of Goods and Services Tax, or GST, on July 1 has brought a favourable impact on some smartphone prices in the country. Within just 2 days post-GST launch, Apple and Asus have already slashed prices of some of their devices. The third mobile company joining them is Panasonic, has also slashed prices on a number of its smartphones. While there is no official statement on the price cuts issued by Panasonic, Gadgets 360 has learnt that offline retailers have been informed of the revised pricing by the company.

Here are the revised, post-GST prices of the select Panasonic smartphones. Starting with Panasonic Eluga I2 1GB RAM variant, the smartphone will now be available at Rs. 6,490 instead of the earlier price of Rs. 7,290. Launched in 2015 at Rs. 8,290, its 2GB RAM variant is now cheaper by Rs. 1,000 and will retail at Rs. 7,290. The Panasonic Eluga I2 features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display with Oncell Touch technology, and is powered by a 1GHz quad-core processor (unspecified chipset) coupled with 1GB or 2GB of RAM. It houses an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, while there is also a 2-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash.

Next up is the Panasonic P88, which has received a price cut of Rs. 800 and will retail at Rs. 8,490 instead of the pre-GST price of Rs. 9,290. The Panasonic P88 is powered by a 1.25GHz quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. It comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). It has triple-LED flash module alongside the 13-megapixel rear camera, and an LED flash module accompanying the 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

GST Impact: Eluga I2, Eluga I3 Mega, and Other Panasonic Phones Receive Price Cuts

Coming to the next smartphone, Panasonic Eluga A2 will now be available at a price of Rs. 8,990, which is Rs. 500 cheaper than its original Rs. 9,490 price at the time of launch in May last year. The Panasonic Eluga A2 is powered by a 1GHz quad-core SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM. It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Another smartphone that has received a price cut is Panasonic Eluga Prim, which will now cost you Rs. 9,490 – versus the original launch price of Rs. 10,290. Panasonic Eluga Prim features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. It is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz with 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of inbuilt storage which can be additionally expanded using a microSD card (up to 32GB).

The Panasonic Eluga I3 Mega and Eluga Pulse X have also received a post-GST price cut. Originally priced at Rs. 10,990, the Eluga I3 Mega is now cheaper by Rs. 1,000 and will retail at Rs. 9,990. It features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MTK6735 processor, 3GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera. The price of Panasonic Eluga Pulse X has now dropped to Rs. 10,490. It was originally launched at a price of Rs. 10,990 in March this year, and comes with specifications like 5.5-inch HD IPS display, 1.25GHz quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel camera.