Missed out on the news this week? Catch up to it all now with our weekly news reca, that covers the big highlights for you. First up, there was some news about the Motorola Moto G5 Plus, which is set to launch in India next week. The phone will be launched at an event on March 15, and Flipkart has told Gadgets 360 that the new Moto G5 Plus will be available exclusively via the e-commerce site, something that the startup has already started teasing on social media.
The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus were launched by Lenovo at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, and both phones received a much needed design refresh, with a metal chassis and a circular camera frame at the back. Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus specifications also see a bump in many departments, while the price stays in the affordable range. The Moto G5 has a 5-inch full-HD display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and a 1.4GHz octa-core processor. The Moto G5 Plus meanwhile has a 5.2-inch full-HD display, with 3GB of RAM, and 32GB storage, alongside a 2GHz octa-core processor.
We also learned a little more about the Samsung Galaxy S8 this week. Samsung’s upcoming flagship saw a lot of leaks this week, and reports said that it will go on pre-order from April 10 – though later reports state that there could be delays. We also saw some fresh image leaks that again showcased the 18:9 screen aspect ratio. Now, the launch date has officially been set for March 29.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 will reportedly offer facial recognition, and a leak suggests that its price will be EUR 799 (or approximately Rs. 56,500), while the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is likely to be priced at EUR 899 (or approximately Rs. 63,500).
In what has to be the surprise of the week, we also saw the release of a new iPhone 6 variant. Although the iPhone 6 was launched in 2014, it came in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage options at the time. Now, Apple has launched a 32GB variant, which is presently available online only in India and a few other countries. The 32GB ipHone 6 is being offered by third-party retailers and only in Space Grey at Rs. 29,999.
In case you’re looking for something a little more up to date, you can also pick up a discount on the iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. The phones are available with discounts of up to Rs. 10,001 on Amazon India; rival Flipkart is also offering flat discounts as well as exchange discounts on the two Apple smartphones.
There were also some interesting developments from WhatsApp this week. For one, the Android app is getting a redesign, separating voice and video calls and moving the attachment button. In other welcome news, WhatsApp might be bringing text status updates back, after replacing them by the Snapchat-like WhatsApp Status a while back. There was also reports of WhatsApp testing business chat tools, though the company has declined to comment.
In other news, the OnePlus 3T (Review) went on sale from the OnePlus Store, the Chinese company’s own site, starting Friday. Those who purchase the smartphone from the OnePlus Store will get a free OnePlus 3T Protective Case.
And data published by whistleblower WikiLeaks showed that that CIA has developed tools to spy on you through all your electronics – from your phone to your smart TV. WikiLeaks says it will work with tech firms to defeat CIA hacking. Apple says it has already fixed most flaws, while most of the other companies are looking into the matter, and Telegram assured users its encryption has not been compromised.
Google has also split Hangouts into two new apps – videoconferencing through Hangout Meet, and text-based chats becoming Hangouts Chat. The Hangouts Meet app is already available on both App Store and Google Play but Hangouts Chat can only be accessed early by G Suite customers through search giant’s Early Adopter Program.
Aside from all of these developments, we also got the launch of the Samsung Galaxy C5 Pro. Packing 4GB of RAM and 16-megapixel front and back cameras, the device is priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 24,100) and is already available for pre-order on Samsung’s China website. The Samsung Galay C5 Pro will begin shipping from March 16. Samsung also launched two phones in India this week, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) priced at Rs. 28,990, while the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) has been priced at Rs. 33,490.
Aside from that, there was also the BlackBerry Aurora, sold by BB Merah Putih, the company that currently holds the right to manufacture and sell BlackBerry smartphones in Indonesia. The smartphone has already been made available since March 3 through pre-orders and will remain available till March 12 with local retailers at IDR 3,499,000 (roughly Rs. 17,400).
In China, there was also the launch of the LeEco Le Pro 3 Elite, though despite the name, it’s actually a cheaper variant of the LeEco Le Pro 3 launched in September, lacking NFC and getting a slightly downgraded processor.
Other launches included the Swipe Elite Sense priced at Rs. 7,499, which comes with a 5-inch HD display, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB storage, with a 1.4GHz octa-core processor; the Vivo Y25 launched in Malaysia at MYR 499 (roughly Rs. 7,500), packing a 4.5-inch display with 1GB of RAM and 16GB storage, along with a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor; and the iVoomi iV505, priced at Rs. 3,999, which has a 5-inch QHD display, 1GB RAM, and of 8GB storage, paired with a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor.
In other developments, the Samsung Pay mobile platform has gone live in India. Samsung Pay supports both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) that allows a user to send a magnetic signal from smartphone to the payment terminal’s card reader. The list of compatible devices for Samsung Pay mobile payment solution includes Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016), and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016). It can be used in place of a debit card, or to pay via the Paytm wallet if you prefer.
And late last week, ISRO’s lost lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, was found, still orbiting the moon. NASA scientists found it with new technological application of interplanetary radar. Chandrayaan-1 is still circling some 200 kilometers above the lunar surface, the scientists determined. In addition to finding Chandrayaan-1, the scientists also located NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter around the Moon.
Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.