Oppo F9 Pro, Xiaomi’s Poco F1, and the Nokia 6.1 Plus India launches were arguably the biggest pieces of news this week, with each of these targeting a different price point, demographic, and feature set. Starting with Oppo, the company has launched two models in its F9 series in India – the Oppo F9 and Oppo F9 Pro. While the former is priced at Rs. 19,990, the price in India of the latter is Rs. 23,990. The Oppo F9 Pro will go on sale from August 31 across online and offline retailers, while the Oppo F9 will become available to buy ‘soon’.
The only difference between the Oppo F9 and Oppo F9 Pro is the amount of RAM on board – the former has 4GB of RAM, while the latter has 6GB of RAM – both come with 64GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). The rest of the specifications of the smartphones are identical. The dual-SIM smartphones run Android 8.1 Oreo-based ColorOS 5.2, and bear 6.3-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) displays with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
Powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P60 SoC, the Oppo F9 and Oppo F9 Pro feature a dual rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor, as well as a 25-megapixel front facing camera. They are powered by 3,500mAh batteries and support VOOC fast charging tech. Both smartphones will be available in Starry Purple, Sunrise Red, and Twilight Blue.
Xiaomi’s new Poco sub-brand, focused on ‘speed’, was launched in India this week, ahead of global launches in Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Paris next week. The highlights of the brand’s first offering, the Poco F1, are the fact it bears the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, while also sporting the dual rear camera design of the company’s other flagships, at a staggeringly low starting price of Rs. 20,999. It has been launched in 3 RAM/ storage capacities, with the 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage version being the base model, while the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage model is priced at Rs. 23,999, and the 8GB/ 256GB storage variant priced at Rs. 28,999. These three Poco F1 models are available in three colour options – Graphite Black, Rosso Red, and Steel Blue.
There’s also a fourth option for the top-model – an Armoured Edition – featuring ‘real Kevlar’ on the back panel and priced at Rs. 29,999. The other models use a polycarbonate back. The Poco F1 will go on sale for the first time on Wednesday, 12pm IST on Flipkart and Mi.com. We’ve already described the innards and SKUs, but as for other specifications, let’s note that the Poco F1 runs a speed-optimised version of Xiaomi’s custom Android ROM called MIUI for Poco. Currently based on Android 8.1 Oreo, the company says an Android 9.0 Pie-based build will also make its way to the handset. Besides this, Poco has also released a launcher that can be used for other MIUI-based phones, and it’s currently available as an APK file.
Other Poco F1 specifications include a 6.18-inch (1080×2246) display with 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 protection; a dual camera setup with a primary 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor from Samsung; there’s a 20-megapixel camera at the front with HDR and AI Beautify features; storage is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB), and a 4,000mAh battery.
As we mentioned, this week, Nokia mobile brand licensee HMD Global also launched the Nokia 6.1 Plus smartphone in India. The smartphone is the global variant of the Nokia X6, that was launched exclusively in China back in May. It arrived in its present avatar in Hong Kong for the first time last month. At the New Delhi launch event, HMD Global also announced the Nokia 5.1 Plus, which similarly is the global variant of the Nokia X5, for India, saying it would become available to buy sometime in September.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus has been launched in a single RAM/ inbuilt storage variant in India – 4GB/ 64GB – and it has been priced at Rs. 15,999. It will be available in Gloss Black, Gloss Midnight Blue, and Gloss White colour variants from Flipkart and the Nokia online store from August 31, with pre-orders currently ongoing. The smartphone’s highlights include the fact that it is part of the Android One programme, giving it a Google-certified stock Android experience, complete with the promise of timely version and security updates.
Other specifications of the Nokia 6.1 Plus include dual-SIM (Nano) support; a 5.8-inch full-HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection; an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC; a dual rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary monochrome sensor; a 16-megapixel front camera sensor; inbuilt storage expandable via microSD card (up to 400GB), and a 3,060mAh battery. HMD Global did not detail the Nokia 5.1 Plus price in India, but did reveal it will sport an EUR 199 (roughly Rs. 15,000) price tag.
Apart from the above three highlights, major smartphone launches this week included the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy A8 Star. Without any fanfare, the South Korean consumer electronics giant on Friday launched the smartphone in the country via Amazon India. A premium Galaxy A-series smartphone, the Galaxy A8 Star is priced at Rs. 34,990, and its biggest highlights are its Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, massive 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display, 6GB of RAM, a dual rear camera setup, and a massive 24-megapixel front camera. It will go on sale from Monday, August 27 in the country. To recall, it was originally launched as the Galaxy A9 Star in China, before being rebranded as the Galaxy A8 Star in other regions.
Samsung this week also officially launched the Galaxy Note 9 in India, though it had revealed its prices when putting it up for pre-orders right after its global launch. Online, the smartphone is available via Amazon India, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, and the Samsung Mobile Store. It is also available via Airtel, which is offering it with a downpayment of Rs. 7,900. Offline, it is available via retail partners.
This week also saw the launch of the first Android Go smartphone from Samsung. Featuring some amount of customisation over Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition), the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core’s price has yet to be revealed by the South Korean company. It features low-end specifications, such as a 5-inch qHD display, an Exynos 7570 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of inbuilt storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.
Chinese smartphone brand Homtom entered the Indian market this week, with three budget smartphones – the H1, H3, and H5 – priced at Rs. 7,490, Rs. 9,990, and Rs. 10,990 respectively. The company says it plans to start manufacturing in India under the Make in India initiative. Speaking of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Oppo had another announcement to make this week – the launch of the Oppo A5 in India. The smartphone, which features a dual rear camera setup and a display notch, is priced at Rs. 14,990 (MOP) and it went on sale in the country on Saturday. It was launched in China in July.
Oppo this week also launched the Oppo R17 Pro and Oppo R17 in China, its latest flagship models. The former is priced at CNY 4,299 (roughly Rs. 43,800), while the latter is priced starting CNY 3,199 (roughly Rs. 32,600). To recall, Oppo had detailed the specifications of the Oppo R17 earlier this month, but only just launched both the smartphones.
Lava this week launched a new budget smartphone in India, an Android Go offering called Lava Z60s. Priced at Rs. 4,949, it will be available in Black and Gold colour options. It offers low-end specifications, such as a 5-inch HD display, a quad-core SoC, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of inbuilt storage, and 5-megapixel cameras at both the front and back.
Transsion Holdings-owned smartphone brand Infinix on Thursday launched the Note 5 in India, priced at Rs. 9,999 (MOP) for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage option, and Rs. 11,999 for the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage option. It will go on sale via Flipkart from Friday, August 31. Unlike most other offerings from the company, the Infinix Note 5 is an Android One smartphone, and comes with Google offerings such as Google Assistant, Google Lens, and Google Photos pre-installed.
Another brand from Transsion Holdings made a splash in India this week – Itel – which launched three budget smartphones. The Itel A45, Itel A22, and Itel A22 Pro are priced at Rs. 5,999, Rs. 5,499, and Rs. 6,499 respectively.
Amazon’s private label brand, 10.or (pronounced tenor) launched a new budget smartphone in the country this week – the 10.or D2. The smartphone will go on sale via Amazon India, exclusively for Prime members on Monday, August 27, while regular customers will be able to buy it from Tuesday, August 28. The base model with 2GB RAM/ 16GB inbuilt storage is priced at Rs. 6,999 while the top 3GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage model is priced at Rs. 7,999 variant.
DTH service provider Tata Sky this week introduced broadband Internet plans in what appears to be an effort to compete with Reliance Jio and its Jio Gigafiber service that opened for registrations last week. The company is offering monthly, three-monthly, five-monthly, nine-monthly, and year-long plans, starting at Rs. 999. It is offering speeds up to 100Mbps.
BSNL this week was reported to have revamped its Rs. 699 broadband Internet plan to offer 700GB of data a month at 20Mbps speeds. Once the 700GB data cap is passed, users will get speeds of 2Mbps. The state-owned telecom operator this week also unveiled a Rakhi Offer that gives buyers of Rs. 399 recharge pack unlimited calls and data for a period of 74 days.
Vodafone had a couple of announcements this week as well. First, it launched new Rs. 209, Rs. 479, and Rs. 529 plans that offer 1.5GB of data per day for 28 days, 84 days, and 90 days of validity, respectively. Next, the telecom operator launched a new Rs. 159 recharge that offers unlimited calls and 28GB of data for 28 days.
After making an announcement to the effect last month, Flipkart this month shut down its eBay India subsidiary. At the time of the announcement, the company had revealed it would soon be launching an e-commerce platform for refurbished goods that was built based on the learnings of eBay India. This week, the company has gone ahead, and launched a platform called 2GUD, currently only available on the mobile Web, but set to make its way to the desktop and also be launched as a smartphone app. The platform offers post purchase warranty ranging from 3 months to 12 months, and products will be serviced through a network of service centres across the country.
Flipkart this week held a one-day sale on Saturday, with exclusive early access from 9pm Friday for its Plus members. Called the Flipkart Superr Sale, some of the top offers included Apple iPad (6th generation) 32GB WiFi, the Google Pixel 2 128GB, the Nokia 5 16GB, the Microsoft Xbox One S 1TB bundle, the Apple Watch Series 3 42mm, the Google Chromecast 2, the Alcatel A3 10 32GB, and Moto Z2 Force 64GB.
Gamescom was happening this week, and a lot of news and updates about games came out of the event, including the announcement of the PUBG Xbox One Version 1.0 release date, as well as the Devil May Cry 5 release date. However, not everything was software, and just ahead of the gaming trade show, Nvidia launched its Turing GPU Architecture in the form of three new GPUs – the GeForce GTX 2070, GeForce GTX 2080, and GeForce GTX 2080 Ti.
Nvidia’s launch made its way into an announcement by another company ahead of Gamescom – Dell. The company unveiled refreshed Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 gaming laptops with per-key RGB lighting, while its Alienware Aurora and Alienware Area 51 gaming desktops gained Nvidia’s new GPU options. Dell also unveiled gaming monitors in 24-inch and 27-inch sizes. Alongside, Dell launched its Alienware Command Center and Alienware Training Academy.
Speaking of laptops, Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi this week unveiled a new model – the Mi Notebook. The launch follows other laptop lineups from the country, including the Mi Notebook Air, the Mi Notebook Pro, and Mi Gaming Laptop. Prices start from CNY 3,999 (roughly Rs. 40,700), and the lineup offers up to 8th generation Intel Core i7 processors.
Vivo this week was in the news for the reported launch of the Vivo Y83 Pro in the country, apart from issuing invites for the launch of the Vivo V11 Pro in India on September 6. Finally, another anticipated phone, the Vivo X23, went official in China, however, beyond its design and few features, not much is known at the moment, but more should become evident when it is launched.
This week, a OnePlus 6T leak pointed to an October launch for the anticipated next-generation flagship smartphone from the company. The report added that the OnePlus 6T would continue the trend of pricing the smartphone higher than the previous generation, or a marginal $21 (roughly Rs. 1,500).
Two separate iPhone leaks made their way to the Internet this week, with one report claiming that the new 2018 iPhone models will become available for pre-orders from September 14. It adds that faster wireless chargers will also make their way to the market. Meanwhile, another report claims that the models will be launched on September 12, while the LCD display variant is said to sport iPhone 7-like internals.
Former Oppo brand Realme this week made some revelations about its upcoming Realme 2 smartphone. First off, the company revealed that the Realme 2 would sport a Snapdragon 610 SoC, and be available on Flipkart this time around – to recall, the Realme 1 was an Amazon India exclusive. Later, the company revealed that the Realme 2 would have a priced tag below Rs. 10,000, and be powered by a 4,230mAh battery. The smartphone will launch in New Delhi at an event on Tuesday, August 28 – something that was also announced this week.