Samsung has cut the price of its high-end Galaxy S8+ variant for the second time in two months. The Galaxy S8+ with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage was launched in India at the beginning of June priced at Rs. 74,900, and Samsung cut that by Rs. 4,000 in early July to bring the price down to Rs. 70,900. Now, a further Rs. 5,000 has been shaved off the price, bringing it down to Rs. 65,900. Interestingly, the original version of this phone with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is still priced at Rs. 64,900 which means that the difference between the two has come down from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1,000.
The Galaxy S8+ flagship is available offline as well as on Flipkart and on Samsung’s own Web store. Other than the bumped-up storage and RAM, it has all the same specifications as the original Galaxy S8+ including an Exynos 8895 SoC, and an 18.5:9 6.2-inch Infinity Display with curved sides.
Samsung also unveiled its brand new Galaxy Note 8 this week, and the company is desperate to put the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco behind it once and for all. It has emerged that the new model has a 3300mAh battery which is smaller than the problematic 3500mAh one which caused so much trouble last year. Samsung has now stated that this was a deliberate decision to prevent accidents caused by cramming a large battery into a small space with no room to expand when hot. Samsung says that battery life should not be lower because its new 10nm processors are more power efficient.
With the Galaxy Note 8 launch out of the way, attention has already shifted to Galaxy S9 rumours. Early tips suggest that the upcoming phone will have dual rear cameras much like the ones on the Note 8. Samsung is also reportedly still working on a fingerprint sensor which can be embedded under a phone’s display glass, but it most likely won’t be ready for the Galaxy S9 and might debut with the Galaxy Note 9 late next year.
Nandan Nilekani returns to Infosys as chairman
The board of Infosys has appointed co-founder Nandan Nilekani as the company’s new non-executive chairman, replacing R Seshasayee who quit under pressure. Vishal Sikka, the former CEO who quit suddenly on August 18 but remained on board as executive vice-chairman will now exit the company completely. This latest move caps a dramatic series of events, with Sikka accusing co-founder N R Narayana Murthy of slander and interference, and the board issuing a scathing letter against Murthy and in support of Sikka. Murthy and a group of peers had campaigned for Nilekani’s appointment. Nilekani previously served as Infosys CEO from 2002 to 2007, and has since then helmed India’s Aadhaar biometric ID programme. Interim CEO U B Pravin Rao will continue in that role as the search for a replacement continues.
iPhone 8 rumoured to launch on September 12 starting at $999
The latest iPhone 8 leaks seem to indicate that Apple will hold a launch event on September 12, and while no invitations have gone out yet confirming this, more details continue to come to light. The New York Times is pegging the base variant’s launch price at $999 (approximately Rs. 64,000 before taxes) with at least one other variant priced at $1099 (approximately Rs. 70,400), making these Apple’s most expensive iPhones ever. There is general consensus that wireless charging and face recognition will be included. It also seems likely that the base model will have 64GB of storage space, and that there will be a 256GB and a 512GB variant.
Other rumours point to Apple using the same event to launch a new Apple TV model with a more powerful processor and the ability to handle 4K video streams, as well as the next version of its TV app which will highlight live streaming services. Finally, a new generation of Apple Watch with integrated LTE functionality could also be announced at the purported event.
Samsung heir convicted of corruption, Qualcomm loses its president
Samsung Group leader and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee has been sentenced to five years in prison for paying bribes to secure favours from former president Park Geun-hye. The scandal contributed to the impeachment of Park, who still faces multiple corruption charges in South Korea. Lee was accused of donating millions of dollars to a close aide of Park in order to help clear the merger of two affiliate companies which would have helped Lee tighten his control over the Samsung conglomerate.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm President Derek Aberle announced his resignation after 17 years at the company, effective December 31. While neither he nor the company referenced Qualcomm’s ongoing legal tussles with Apple over patent licensing and royalties, the move is being seen as indicative of growing trouble for Qualcomm. Aberle was in charge of the company’s licensing operations for some time, and has been involved in its legal matters as well.
Moto X4 specifications confirmed
The Moto X4 has missed its rumoured launch date, but specifications have leaked thanks to the US FCC’s website, which means a launch is still imminent. It has been revealed that the Moto X4 will have a 5.2-inch full-HD Amoled screen, Gorilla Glass 3, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras, a 16-megapixel front camera, and a 3000mAh battery. It will be powered by a Snapdragon 630 SoC and have 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage plus a microSD card slot. Earlier rumours indicated a variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
Nokia 3 survives torture tests
The affordable Nokia 3 might not have many glamorous features, but it can at least claim to be more durable than most of its peers. JerryRigEverything put the phone through a series of scratch, fire and bend tests, and the results were surprisingly positive. The plastic body and rear camera lens got scratched quite badly, but the fibreglass front was unharmed. The display tuned back when exposed to fire, but managed to recover. The whole phone also stood up to pressure, getting only slightly bent in the last of the tests.
Netflix UPI payment option coming soon
Netflix has confirmed that it is planning to roll out UPI integration for billing in India, complete with a monthly recurring mandate that will enable automatic billing. However, this will have to wait till UPI 2.0 is finalised later this year, as the required UPI functionality is not ready yet. This could help the company expand its footprint in India, as it only accepts credit cards and some debit cards. Rumours circulated earlier this year that Paytm integration was in the works, but plans appear to be shelved for now as Netflix doesn’t want to deal with middlemen. Facebook, Amazon and Google are also reportedly working to enable UPI transactions, which would further strengthen the platform.
Delhi Metro Blue Line gets free Wi-Fi
All 50 stations on the Delhi Metro’s Blue Line now have free Wi-Fi for commuters. People will be able to connect to an access point named “Oui DMRC Free Wifi”, and a one-time registration will be required. Stations on the Yellow Line and trains running on the Airport Line will be the next to become Wi-Fi enabled over the coming six to nine months, with the entire metro network eventually coming on board.
Xiaomi Mijia action camera launched, Mi Mix 2 pictured
Xiaomi has launched its Mijia 4K Compact Action Camera in China at the relatively affordable price of CNY 699 (approximately Rs. 6,700). The device promises 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps video recording with 6-axis stabilisation. It weighs just 99g and has a battery life of two hours.
Meanwhile, the upcoming Mi Mix 2 has apparently been pictured in China. The alleged photos show a glossy white back which is said to be ceramic, and two circular cutouts which could mean there will be two cameras, or one camera and a fingerprint sensor on the back. A USB Type-C port and speaker grilles can be seen on the bottom. Expected to launch on September 12 (going up against the iPhone 8), this phone could have even thinner borders around the screen than last year’s Mi Mix.
Microsoft patents wand-like AR controllers
A patent filing by Microsoft indicates that the company is working on wand-like handheld controllers for AR and HoloLens applications. According to reports, the controller could look like a cross between a motion controller and a pen. Microsoft is known to be pushing AR with its HoloLens and Windows Holographic efforts.