At a media event in Udaipur on Thursday, Sony India unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia XZ. Pre-bookings for the Sony Xperia XZ open on October 1 via Amazon.in, and in retail stores across the country. The smartphone will be available in India starting October 10, carrying an MRP of Rs. 51,990 and a best buy price of Rs. 49,990. Customers who pre-book the smartphone will get a free Sony SWR30 SmartBand worth Rs. 8,990 with their Xperia XZ unit.
According to Sony, the highlight of the Xperia XZ is its camera, which packs in three rear camera sensors – the CMOS sensor can track and predict movement of objects in frame, reducing the chances of blurred shots; the laser autofocus sensor makes the camera better at locking focus on objects, especially in low-light conditions; and the RGBC-IR sensor aims to provide accurate colour reproduction.
All this is backed by the 6-element f/2.0 Sony G lens, and a 23-megapixel Exmor RS sensor as well as Sony’s own ‘Bionz for mobile’ image processor. You now also get manual control over focusing and shutter speed.
Sony claims the 13-megapixel wide-angle front camera packs an Exmor RS sensor that’s 2.6 times bigger than the selfie camera seen on “regular flagship phones”. As we’ve come to expect from Sony phones, the phone is IP68 certified, making it dust and water resistant. The 5.2-inch full-HD display features Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection.
The Sony Xperia XZ variant launching in India is a hybrid dual-SIM unit, with support for 4G VoLTE on both SIMs. Additionally, this model comes with 64GB of inbuilt storage, compared to 32GB seen on the single-SIM variant. The Snapdragon 820-powered Sony Xperia XZ packs in 3GB of RAM, features USB Type-C connectivity, and is powered by a 2900mAh battery.
Bundled in the package is the Sony UCH12W quick charger, and the Xperia XZ is rated to deliver 5.5 hours of talk time on 10 minutes of charge. The phone also packs in Qnovo adaptive charging and a mechanism that Sony calls ‘intelligent battery charge’, which we will explore in detail in our first impressions piece soon and report on its performance in our detailed review at a later date.
LG at its September 7 event launched the first new smartphone to run Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box – the LG V20 – with dual screen and dual cameras. The price and availability details were not given by the company then. Now the company has officially confirmed that LG V20 is going to be available starting this week. The smartphone will make its public debut in LG’s home country, South Korea, followed by other regions like North America, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East over the course of the next several weeks. Pricing and availability for each region will be announced at the time of the local launch.
In addition to that, US e-commerce website B&H has listed the unlocked version of LG V20 for pre-orders starting October 17. However, it has not specified the price and availability of the smartphone in the US on its website. However, according to The Korea Times, LG V20 is reported to be priced at an equivalent of $804 (roughly Rs. 53,000) in its home market South Korea, where it is also launching first.
To recall, the LG V20 is an attempt from the company to revive the sales, as its flagship – the modular LG G5 smartphone – failed to do well in the market. It comes with a 5.7-inch main IPS Quantum Display and also a secondary display, such as was seen on the LG V10. The secondary display comes with a font size that’s 50 percent larger than that of V10.
The LG V20 packs a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 CPU, with two cores clocked at 2.15GHz and the other two running at 1.6GHz. It has 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options, with a support to expand via microSD card (up to 256GB). It also packs a 3200mAh battery. There is a dual rear camera setup in the smartphone, with a 135-degree 8-megapixel lens accompanied by 16-megapixel 75-degree lens, apart from a 5-megapixel 120-degree lens shooter on the front.
The V20 comes with features like 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, HD Audio Recorder, and B&O Play speakers. It houses a bottom-mounted USB Type-C port and it will be available Titan, Silver, and Pink colour variants. In the meanwhile, LG India’s Managing Director, Kim Ki-Wan, confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the company plans to bring the LG V20 smartphone to India soon.
Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will go up for pre-order in India starting 23:59 on Thursday night via Flipkart, Apple’s newest online partner. The latest iPhone models come in 5 colours including Jet Black and Black, with Apple having revealed the India prices for the entire iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus lineup earlier, alongside the shipping date of October 7. Flipkart has already setup a page for pre-orders.
The iPhone 7 will start at Rs. 60,000 for the 32GB variant. The iPhone 7 Plus will start at Rs. 72,000 for the same storage capacity. The 128GB and 256GB variants of the iPhone 7 will be priced at Rs. 70,000 and Rs. 80,000 respectively, while the iPhone 7 Plus will priced at Rs. 82,000 and Rs. 92,000 for the corresponding storage capacities.
To recall, Apple partnered with Flipkart earlier this month to expand the online availability of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones in India. Until recently, Apple had Infibeam as its only authorised online reseller. Apple’s tie-up with Flipkart means the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be available at the official launch price at the online retailer. The biggest advantage for Flipkart with the partnership will be that it can source the new iPhone models from Apple directly, instead of Apple partners. Those units still carried Apple warranty, so for end users this is unlikely to be a big change.
The new iPhone 7 series sports a refreshed design and the rear antenna bands have been redesigned to make them less prominent than before. Both the phones feature a brand new home button that uses Taptic vibrations to simulate a physical tap. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also come with IP67 water and dust resistance.
Apple on Wednesday announced an alliance with professional services group Deloitte to get more businesses using iPhones and iPads as workplace tools.
Deloitte is creating an Apple practice with more than 5,000 strategic advisors devoted to helping businesses adopt new work styles using the California technology giant’s mobile devices and software, the companies said in a joint release.
“iPhone and iPad are transforming how people everywhere get work done,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
“Through this partnership, we’re able to help even more businesses tap into the incredible capabilities that only the Apple ecosystem can deliver.”
Apple has long worked to go beyond being hits in people’s personal lives to being popular tools on the job.
To that end, Apple has formed partnerships with business technology titans such as Cisco, IBM and SAP. Microsoft tailors versions of productivity applications for Apple mobile devices.
Apple and Deloitte said they will collaborate on an EnterpriseNext consulting offering designed to help clients take advantage of Apple’s mobile hardware, software and services in the workplace.
Deloitte’s own workforce uses more than 100,000 devices powered by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, according to chief executive Punit Renjen.
Deloitte is a multinational company with its headquarters in New York.
“Our dedicated Apple practice will give global businesses the expertise and resources they need to empower their mobile workforce to take advantage of the powerful ecosystem iOS, iPhone and iPad offer,” Renjen said.
Apple has been striving to reinvigorate iPhone sales that have been its main money maker for several years.
(Also see: As iPhone Sales Stagnate, Services Promise Growth for Apple)
While the company has touted total iPhone sales of one billion, the number sold in the quarter ending June 25 fell 15 percent from a year earlier, highlighting concerns over growth for the key profit driver.
Mobile phone markets are saturated and pressure has been intense, mostly from low-cost handsets powered by Android software that Google makes available free of charge.
Ramping up use of iPhones and iPads at work would expand Apple’s market for devices and increase opportunities to make money from apps or services tied to the devices.
Google is anticipated to launch two smartphones at its October 4 event – the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. On Monday, a leaked image of Google’s Pixel smartphone made its way to the Internet, suggesting a bunch of details about its looks and UI. Now, a new image has been leaked online, and surprise surprise, it looks exactly the same.
In an updated post, VentureBeat has a render of what it claims to be the Pixel XL – the bigger smartphone to be launched by Google. In an attempt to give its smartphones a facelift, Google has finally done away with the Nexus branding and is launching the smartphones under its own brand. The leaked image shows the new Pixel XL to have a home screen just like that of its new Pixel Launcher to give a fresh look to its new range of smartphones. The new icons are now solid filled instead of plain borders at the bottom. The image also shows a gradient wallpaper, unlike the blue-coloured one on the earlier leaked image of the Pixel.
Home screen now has onscreen buttons alongside other interface changes. One of the most visible changes in the new user interface is the rounded app icons. The new UI and rounded icons are speculated to be exclusive on Pixel and Pixel XL, as per the report and may not be seen on other Google smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat. Rest of the features and looks go identical with the Pixel smartphone
Google is also said to enhance the UI of the smartphones to match up with the likes of Apple’s 3D Touch technology, without additional hardware requirements. Talking about the specifications, another report from AndroidPolice suggests that the Pixel XL, codenamed Marlin, will sport a 5.5-inch QHD display, quad-core 2.0GHz 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of inbuilt storage, a 3450mAh battery, a 12MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera. The report also said that the smartphone will contain a headphone jack on the top, a fingerprint scanner on the rear, and a USB Type-C port at the bottom.
As we mentioned, Google is quite in a form to showcase multiple products at its October 4 event. Apart from the Pixel phones, it is expected to unveil the Android-Chrome OS merger Google Andromeda, apart from Google Wifi router, the Chromecast Ultra, and the Google Home assistant.
OnePlus has begun rolling out the OxygenOS 3.1.2 stable upgrade on OnePlus X that includes Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, the October Android security patch, and a number of new features. The rollout will reach OnePlus X users through an OTA (over-the-air) update gradually. A few users should be getting the update starting Wednesday, and broader rollout will follow in the coming days.
In addition to finally bringing the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow to the OnePlus X, the OxygenOS 3.1.2 update brings a number of changes and other new features to the OnePlus X. User will receive new icon packs, an improved UX, and wallpaper picker in the set of launcher upgrades on their devices. A new settings panel along with new native Android app permissions will be included in the update.
OnePlus has also added its own OnePlus Music Player and OnePlus Gallery for the OnePlus X in its new update. There is a new Alert Slider settings with more customisation options on the phone. Of course, the Android security patch for October is included in the OxygenOS update along with general bug fixes, the company announced in its forum thread.
In September, OnePlus X received the OxygenOS 3.1.1 Community build that included September Android security patch. It included the ability to move apps to SD card and other important features. Notably, OnePlus also said that OnePlus X won’t be receiving VoLTE capabilities in the wake of recent Reliance Jio 4G service launch.
OnePlus, earlier this month, rolled out the OxygenOS 3.2.6 update for the OnePlus 3 to bring improvements to camera quality, fixes green/ yellow issue, brings optimised white balance, and improved 1080p video recording. Also earlier this month, the OnePlus 2 began receiving the OxygenOS 3.1.0 update that contained the QuadRooter and August Android security patch. The QuadRooter issue that the company fixed in this patch was a set of four vulnerabilities that affects Android devices built on Qualcomm chipsets.
BlackBerry Ltd. reported fiscal second-quarter sales that missed analyst estimates and said it will stop making its iconic smartphones and focus on its software business. The shares rose in premarket trading in New York.
Fiscal second-quarter earnings per share, excluding some items, was flat, compared with analysts’ average estimate of a loss of 5 cents. Revenue in the quarter was $352 million, missing estimates of $390 million (roughly Rs. 2,592 crores). Software revenue was $156 million (roughly Rs. 1,037 crores), more than double what it was in the same period last year, but down sequentially from $166 million last quarter. Shares gained 6 percent to $8.35 in early trading. BlackBerry enters joint venture with Indonesia-based BB Merah Putih to make and distribute BlackBerry-branded devices. Chief Financial Officer James Yersh was replaced by Steve Capelli from Sybase, a company now owned by SAP SE that BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen used to run.
The big picture
BlackBerry has completely outsourced smartphone design and production, a process that Chen had been doing piecemeal since taking over as CEO almost three years ago. Analysts had been holding their breath for the news after Chen said September was his deadline for making the chronically money-losing device business profitable. BlackBerry’s device business, which it calls “Mobility Solutions,” will focus on developing applications and an extra-secure version of Google’s Android operating system that it can license to other companies.
“Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia,” Chen said in a statement. “Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”
Samsung Electronics Co said on Tuesday it has got back around 60 percent of recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold in South Korea, the United States and Europe, suggesting it is making progress in its attempts to recover from the crisis.
In a statement, Samsung said it was focused on replacing all affected devices “as quickly and efficiently” as possible and reiterated its request that customers affected by the current recall should power off their device and turn them in.
The world’s top smartphone maker announced on September 2 a global recall of at least 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets due to faulty batteries causing some phones to catch fire. The company says replacement devices it began issuing in mid-September use safe batteries.
Samsung hopes to take the faulty products off the market as soon as possible in order to limit further damage to its reputation and resume sales of the flagship device ahead of the key holiday shopping season in major markets such as the United States.
But the nearly month-long recall process has provided additional stumbles and embarrassment for the firm. Reports of Galaxy Note 7 fires and damages have continued after the recall announcement, while aviation authorities around the world issued warnings or outright bans on the use or charging of the Note 7 on aircraft.
Samsung was also forced to push back the start of Galaxy Note 7 sales in South Korea by three days to October 1 due to relatively slow progress in the recall in its home market.
Samsung Europe said the rapid response to the company’s exchange offer, which only started early last week in the region, gave the company confidence it can move to re-start sales of new models in key European markets by October 28.
As of Monday, 57 percent of Galaxy Note 7 owners had swapped for new devices, Samsung Europe said. Galaxy Note 7s were available for pre-order only days before the recall, limiting the number sold in the region, it said. Most of the devices to be recalled in the region were in Britain, France and Germany.
Some analysts say the cost of the recall and lost sales could wipe off nearly $5 billion in revenues for Samsung this year. Samsung said around 90 percent of customers who turned in their devices through the exchange programme have opted for a replacement Galaxy Note 7, but it remains unclear how strong demand from new customers would be when sales resume.
Almost all of the Nexus devices have already received the newly launched Android 7.0 Nougat by now. While the non-Nexus devices are still waiting for the Android 7.0 Nougat rollout, Lenovo has plans to release the update to its Moto devices as early as the Q4. Lenovo has confirmed that customers can “expect to see Android N on the Moto Z family and Moto G4 beginning in Q4.”
DroidLife cites a Motorola spokesperson for the rollout timeline. Thus, users of the Moto Z, Moto Z Force, and the recently launched Moto Z Play can expect to receive the Android 7.0 Nougat update sometime in the next quarter. While the spokesperson only mentioned the Moto G4, we can expect the Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus to receive the update in roughly the same timeline as yet.
You should keep checking your Moto phone’s notifications to see if there is an OTA update. Meanwhile, you can also head to the Motorola’s software update page to know about the upgrade for your phone.
To note, the Moto Z family has yet not hit Indian shelves, and Lenovo has announced to launch it on October 4 in India. There is no clarity yet which Moto Z smartphone company is planning to launch – the Moto Z, Moto Z Force, or the Moto Z Play – or possibly all of the them.
LeEco on Thursday announced that the Le Max 2 will be available at a discounted price of Rs. 17,999 from October 1 to October 6 on LeMall.com. The company also announced that the Le Max 2 will no longer be exclusive to LeMall.com and Flipkart, but will from next week also become available on Amazon India and Snapdeal. The smartphone will be available at its discounted price across Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal as well, but on different days.
Note that the temporary price cut is on the 4GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant of the Le Max 2, which was launched at Rs. 22,999 in June this year – translating to a discount of Rs. 5,000. As we mentioned, the Le Max 2 will also be available with its discounted price on Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal, during their respective sales.
LeEco will sell Le Max 2 at the same discounted price of Rs. 17,999 during Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, from October 2 to October 6. It will be available at the same price during Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale from October 1 to October 5, and, on Snapdeal’s Unbox Diwali Sale from October 2 to October 6. Notably, LeEco is holding a flash sale on LeMall.com on Friday, and 2,000 participants of the sale will receive a voucher for and additional Rs. 1,000 discount on LeMall.com purchases from October 1 to October 6.
To recall, the Le Max 2 was launched in two variants – 4GB/ 32GB & 6GB/ 64GB – by the Chinese conglomerate at its Future2 event held in June. The 6GB RAM variant was priced at Rs. 29,999, and no discount has been announced for it. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and packs a 5.7-inch QHD bezel-less ‘Super Retina’ display, 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, a 21-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, a 3100mAh battery, and supports 4G LTE in India, apart from VoLTE support.
LeEco iterates that the Le Max 2 has a unique dual fast charging system, combining company’s technology with the Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 tech, to provide 3.5 hours of battery life with a mere 5 minute charge, along with a Sense ID 3D fingerprint technology.
Commenting on the new e-commerce partnerships, Atul Jain, COO, Smart Electronics Business, LeEco India said, “We have had a great relationship with Flipkart and we are confident that it will only strengthen as we go forward. To ensure that more users have access to our Le Max2, we are delighted to announce our partnership with Amazon India and Snapdeal. We are confident that our users will enjoy the new Le Max2 experience, which is now available at a special price of Rs. 17,999 for the festive sales. Through this move, we now have presence on all major ecommerce platforms in India along with our very own LeMall.com.”
Commenting on the partnership, Arun Srinivasan, Category Leader-Consumer Electronics, Amazon India, said “We are happy to partner with LeEco India ahead of the festive season and offer our customers an easy and convenient access to the Le Max2. We are confident that this device will become a popular choice for customers during the festive season.”
Commenting on the partnership, Tony Navin, Senior Vice President – Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, Snapdeal said, “We are very glad to partner with LeEco and provide them a platform through which they can reach to a new set of customers for their exciting product range. This coming festive season, we aim to offer our customer with an enhanced shopping experience with a wide variety of products.”