- KFC will sell ‘chicken with chargers’
- Xiaomi releases an electric bike
- Softbank’s heir apparent Nikesh Arora quits unexpectedly
After a few weeks of back to back major events and high profile launches, this week was a little less crowded in terms of news, and the conversation was actually dominated by events taking place outside the tech world. That doesn’t mean it was a slow week though, as there were a number of launches. Also, as usual, there’s an interesting discussion on Gadgets 360’s weekly Orbital podcast – this time, we’re talking about whether or not you should buy a laptop priced at under Rs. 15,000.
But there’s been a lot happening this week, including a new Cardboard VR headset – this time from Coolpad – joining the fray, at Rs. 999. VR fans will also be excited by Samsung VR, a website for 360-degree video conent, launched this week. Another big launch was the much anticipated Moto G4smartphone, which went on sale at Rs. 12,499.
(Also see: Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus vs Moto G (Gen 3): What’s the Difference?)
The Sony Xperia XA Dual is now available in India, and also the Micromax Canvas Fire 5 launched this week. Other releases included the black variant of the Xiaomi Mi 5, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Windows 10 hybrid laptop, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 rugged 2-in-1 PC, and the HP Spectre 13, the world’s thinnest laptop. There was also the Honor T1 7-inch tablet launch, and Amazon launched a thinner, lighter Kindle at Rs. 5,999.
There was one more launch this week that turned a few heads – the Xiaomi Qicycle electric folding bike launched at an event in China carrying a price of around Rs. 30,000.
If you’re looking for news about the iPhone 7, we’ve got rumours about the release date, specifications, and more, with talk about the antenna bands moving, dual cameras, and smart connectors. The iPhone 7 is said to come in three variants, and a 256GB model has been tipped. In other news, Apple discontinued Thunderbolt displays – the company hasn’t said if it will unveil new displays, though there are rumours a new one will come with an integrated GPU and 5K resolution.
WhatsApp continues to steadily improve, and may soon get improved music sharing and larger emojis, and also may soon add mentions and group invite links. Instagram is also getting a cool update, withnew translation buttons and video centric features coming next month. Facebook is bringing updates to Facebook Live and it is training employees on how to manage political bias. Twitter on the other hand launched of its new Engage app for celebrities. The US-only app provides analytics to “influencers”, and also streamlines and filters conversations to read tweets that “matter”, mostly from other influencers.
There was also some unexpected, and potentially huge news this week, with major changes in Japanese behemoth Softbank. A day after an internal investigation cleared Nikesh Arora of misconduct, the ‘heir apparent’ of Softbank abruptly quit. This, according to a tweet by Arora, after CEO Masayoshi Son made it clear he intended to remain at the helm of the company for 5 to 10 years. Softbank has named Ken Miyauchi, head of the group’s Japanese telecommunications operations, as Arora’s replacement
Some other big news in terms of investments and shifts – Tencent is reportedly buying Clash of Clans creator Supercell. In December, it completed the acquisition of League of Legends creator Riot Games; this new acquisition gives it a leading position in both mobile games and PC games.
And in case you were wondering about what could possibly be going wrong in India, the Supreme Court is going to hear a plea to ban WhatsApp. And apparently, Freedom 251 maker Ringing Bells says 2 lakh Rs. 251 smartphones are ready for delivery, and it’s going to launch the cheapest HD LED TV next. Also,KFC India is giving boxes of chicken that will charge your phone.
One hopefully promising development for people in Delhi – free Wi-Fi could be coming by December, across 500 hotspot zones in East Delhi. Another interesting piece of news – Reliance Communications will be using Reliance Jio’s network to offer 4G, priced at around Rs. 93 for 10GB data, which is less than competitors by a whopping 94 percent.
Also, on Monday, new FDI policy promised relaxed norms for single brand retail; but according to an official, Apple will have to apply afresh if it wants to set up Apple Stores in India>.
The biggest news outside of the tech world this week is no doubt the “Brexit”, and it’s going to have an impact on Indian tech firms, but not in the best of ways. India’s IT companies are going to have to shift operations out of England to EU countries, top industry leaders say.
Speaking of Europe, the European Space Agency put a dampener on the notion of moving to Mars in 2020. The ESA head said manned missions to Mars are at least 15 years off. More news from the Solar System: Venus’ electric wind blamed for lack of water on our neighbouring planet.
Finally, Russia invested in a hyperloop train, and talked about a feasibility study for using the technology in Moscow.
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