Sony Launches PS4 Slim Gold Edition

 

The rumours are true. Sony has announced the PS4 Slim Gold Edition. At the moment will be available in the US only and can only be bought from June 9 to June 17. Sony is touting “additional discounts on software and accessories” albeit not revealing any details just yet.

Aside from being gold, it has a price of $249 (almost Rs. 16,000), lower than the $299 (around Rs. 19,000) price point of the standard black PS4 Slim. So far there doesn’t seem to be any plans to bring this specific edition outside of the US with Sony’s European and Indian counterparts yet to announce it for their respective regions.Sony Launches PS4 Slim Gold Edition
Should you buy the Gold PS4 Slim? Frankly, no. Sony has far better bundles on the store shelves. Particularly its latest offering. Rs. 28,990 gets you a PS4 Slim 500GB console, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ratchet and Clank, and Driveclub. In addition to this, Sony India is also throwing in a three month subscription to PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) – Sony’s online service that allows you to play multiplayer and grants you access to an assortment of games each month. Not to mention it comes with official warranty and support.

And if that’s not important, several consumers have reported being able to purchase the PS4 Slim 500GB for as low as Rs. 19,700 at grey market outlets in Delhi and Mumbai. Granted, you’re missing out on an additional 500GB of storage space, but between the PS4 hard drive being simple to replace and support for external hard drives, this is far from an issue.

 

Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone’s Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New products at CES 2017 dominated the news this week
  • Nokia 6 launch on Sunday stole CES’ thunder a little bit
  • Vodafone now has a Rs. 499 unlimited calling postpaid plan

Predictably, CES 2017 dominated tech news this week with a range of exciting launches and demos, but just as we were putting the finishing touches to this piece, another launch grabbed the headlines. HMD Global, the new custodians of the Nokia brand, announced the launch of Nokia 6, a phone that runs Android 7.0 out of the box.

The Nokia 6 has a 5.5-inch full-HD display wrapped in 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC alongside 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Nokia 6 is a dual SIM smartphone that is backed by a 3000mAh non-removable battery. See full specifications of the Nokia 6, which will unfortunately be a China-exclusive smartphone. HMD Global confirmed more Nokia Android phones are coming soon.

Before we get to all the CES launches from this week, let’s take a look at some important stories from closer home. Vodafone is taking the battle to Reliance Jio and Airtel with the launch of a new postpaid plan that offers unlimited calling, and 3GB of 4G data each month. The revamped Vodafone Red postpaid plans come soon after Airtel started offering 3GB of free mobile data per month to prepaid and postpaid customers switching to its 4G network.

Friday saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy J1 (4G) in India – the same phone was launched in Russia in March last year, after quietly making its way to Dubai in January. In both those markets, it was sold as the Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016). This is an entry level phone from Samsung, priced at Rs. 6,890.

From CES, one of the highlights was the launch of the Asus ZenFone AR, the first smartphone with 8GB of RAM. It also come with support for Google’s Tango augmented reality programme and DayDream virtual reality software. Asus ZenFone AR, like the other Tango device – the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro – is designed around machine vision with a camera and sensor setup that provides motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning.

In addition to the ZenFone AR, Also also unveiled the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom camera smartphone with 5000mAh battery at the event. The phone has dual rear cameras and offers 2.3x optical zoom.

Samsung used CES to showcase the new A (2017) smartphones launched earlier this week. The Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017) sport “enhanced” cameras compared to their predecessors, optimised for low-light conditions.

Later, pricing of the two of the new Samsung phones came to light as well.Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone's Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

LG also unveiled its K-series phones on the CES floor – the range covers the LG K3 (2017), LG K4 (2017), LG K8 (2017), and the LG K10 (2017).

LG also showed the LG Stylus 3. The South Korean company says that the new 2017 variants of the LG K3, K4, K8, K10 smartphones, and the Stylus 3 will strengthen its portfolio in the mid-range segment.

At its CES 2017 event, Xiaomi unveiled the latest Mi TV 4 and Mi Router HD, apart from announcing a brand new White colour variant of the Mi MIX smartphone. All the Xiaomi CES 2017 devices will be available later this year in China. Slimmer than an iPhone 7, the Mi TV 4 is the company’s thinnest TV to date.

The Xiaomi Mi MIX was unveiled as a limited edition concept smartphone, made in collaboration with French designer Philippe Stark, in October last year, and it will go on sale later this year.

Chipmaker Qualcomm finally took the wraps off its Snapdragon 835 SoC. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 packs an Adreno 540 GPU, and is 30 percent smaller than the Snapdragon 820. The first 10nm chip by Qualcomm comes with longer battery life and will enable thinner designs.

Nvidia launched a new version of its Shield Android TV, called just Shield, at CES 2017. It comes with Google Assistant integration and supports 4K HDR. The new Nvidia Shield will cost $199 (roughly Rs. 13,200) but the company has not announced the availability of the device yet. It will be the first Android TV with Google’s Assistant, but others will follow, and it will come to other platforms over time.

There were also a lot of laptop launches at CES – Dell launched a range of products including a Latitude 2-in-1 business laptop, XPS 13 2-in-1, as well as new Alienware and Inspiron 7000 Gaming laptops. It also launched the new XPS 15 laptop, a Rose Gold variant of the XPS 13, and the XPS 27 AIO.

Asus launched the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA, and unveiled a new, slimmed-down business laptop, along with a VR-ready compact PC.

LG launched its new Gram 14 laptop, which it claims offers a battery life of around 24 hours. However, the benchmark test used by the company for this claim has turned out to be a 10-year old measurement tool. LG’s new Gram 14 laptop weighs around 980 grams, and is powered by Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors. It comes with up to 16GB of RAM and houses up to 512GB of SSD storage.

Toshiba expanded its Portege laptop portfolio to launch a 2-in-1 offering – Portege X20W – pricing details of the 2-in-1 have not been announced yet. The Portege X20W convertible’s main highlight is touted to be its 16-hour battery life. Meanwhile, HP unveiled the refreshed EliteBook x360, a 15.6-inch Spectre x360, alongside the new Envy Curved AIO 34, the new Sprout Pro by HP, and Omen X 35 Curved Display.

Lenovo refreshed the ThinkPad X1 line, launching a host of products under its portfolio including the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ThinkPad X1 Tablet, Miix 720, Lenovo Active Pen 2, Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop, Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop, Lenovo Smart Assistant, Lenovo Smart Assistant Harman Kardon Edition, Lenovo Smart Storage, Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, and Lenovo New Glass C200.

Asus also showed the Chromebook Flip C302 2-in-1 convertible, a high-end Chromebook. Samsung unveiled a Chromebook with stylus support, while Acer showed off a rugged Chromebook, targeted at classrooms.

Dell also launched a range of new gaming laptops in its Alienware and Inspiron lines, and Lenovo showed its range of Legion gaming laptops, and also a new VR headset, which will work with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic Program. Samsung also showcased a new gaming laptop, the Notebook Odyssey. The most jaw-dropping of the lot though was probably Razer’s Project Valerie concept laptop, which comes with three 4K displays, for “total immersion gaming”.

On the audio front, JBL launched the Pulse 3, Flip 4, Playlist, and BassPro Go speakers; Sennheiser unveiled wireless headphones and recording earbuds; Sony showed Google-Home friendly soundboards, along with new headphones and speakers; and LG announced a Dolby Atmos capable soundbar.

As usual, CES also saw a number of wearables being launched – some of the highlights were the Misfit Vapor, the Casio WSD-F20 rugged Android Wear watch, and the Motiv fitness ring, which comes with a heart rate sensor. There were a few VR related announcements for new accessories from HTC Vive, while the other products are still works in progress.

Outside of CES, we had two more launches in India this week. We saw the launch of the Xolo Era 2X – the 2GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 6,666 while the 3GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 7,499. It replaces the Xolo Era 1X, which launched with a price tag of Rs. 4,999 last year. Other than this, we had the launch of the Sennheiser HD 200 PRO closed-backover-ear headphones in India, priced at Rs. 6,490.

Besides this, TRAI released a consultation paper on net neutrality – you have till February 15 to send in your responses to the regulator on this important issue.

Paytm also announced an interesting development this week – it’s finally received approval to launch its payments bank – the actual rollout will still take a little time, but it’s expected in the coming months. Paytm had earlier announced that it’s going to merge its Wallet and Payments Bank, so your wallet balance will automatically become your bank balance.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited India this week, and launched new programs to help SMBs go digital. He visited his alma mater IIT-Kharagpur, where he talked to students, and told NDTV’s Vikram Chandra in an interview Google is keen to work on UPI. He also met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who says Google should tailor its services to local needs.

These were the highlights of the week for us, let us know via the comments what caught your eye this week.

 

Sony Launches 2017 Lineup of Its 4K HDR TVs in India

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The range starts at Rs. 72,900 for 43-inch X70E
  • Goes up to Rs. 6,04,900 for 75-inch X94E
  • Most are already available via Sony stores

Sony has launched the 2017 models of its 4K HDR TV line-up in India, starting at Rs. 72,900 for the 43-inch model. A total of 17 models are being launched across six different series: X95E, X94E/ X93E, X90E, X82E, X75E, and X70E. While most of them go on sale this week in Sony stores across India, some will be releasing in the near future. There’s no mention of Sony’s OLED 4K TV, which stole the show at CES 2017.

The biggest and most expensive of the lot is the 75-inch X94E, which costs a whopping Rs. 6,04,900. The X95E is Sony’s new top of the line 4K HDR TV, priced at Rs. 3,04,900 for the 55-inch model, and Rs. 4,04,900 for the 65-inch one. The X93E comes after that, coming in at Rs. 2,64,900 for 55-inch, and Rs. 3,64,900 for the 65-inch.

Stepping down further, you get the X90E series, which starts at a slightly more reasonable Rs. 1,54,900 for the 49-inch model. The 55-inch and 65-inch X90E models cost Rs. 2,04,900 and Rs. 2,84,900 respectively. Further down the line you’ve the X82E, costing Rs. 87,900 for 43-inch, Rs. 1,24,900 for the 49-inch, and Rs. 1,54,900 for the 55-inch.

In the X70E line-up, you can choose from the aforementioned 43-inch model, at Rs. 72,900. If you need something bigger, the 49-inch X70E costs Rs. 94,900. That leaves the X75E – in 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch variants – which don’t have prices or a release date yet.

The reason the X94E is so expensive isn’t just for its size (75-inch), but also because it has direct LED technology in its panel, as opposed to edge LED on the rest of the 2017 Sony line-up. That means the LEDs are behind the panel, which provides better contrast and brightness, at the expense of thickness and a premium. The X90E models also have direct LED.Sony Launches 2017 Lineup of Its 4K HDR TVs in India

To compensate on the X95E and X93E (which have edge LED), Sony is touting “Slim Backlight Drive+” for more brightness, which it says brings more accurate local dimming control. From X90E upwards, the Sony 4K HDR TVs also have better systems for picture processing, and clarity, and contrast enhancement.

In terms of connectivity, you get four HDMI inputs on X82E onwards. While the X82E has two on the side and the back, X90E has three on the side and one on the back. There is one on the side and three at the bottom in the X93E, X94E, and X95E. The X70E has three in total, two on the side and one in the back.

The entire Sony X-series runs Android TV 7.0 Nougat by default, with Sony’s own interface running on top of it. The Android aspect is stressed on the remote as well, with dedicated buttons for Netflix, Google Play Store, and YouTube. All of Sony’s 2017 Android TVs are part of Netflix’s recommended programme, if that’s a checkbox for you.

 

Huawei launches Honor 8 Pro in India

Huawei has finally launched the Honor 8 Pro in India, almost three months after its international launch. The phone is priced at INR 29,999 and will be available exclusively on Amazon India.

The Honor 8 Pro has a 5.7-inch QHD display, HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB expandable storage, dual 12 megapixel rear cameras, 8 megapixel front camera, 4000mAh battery, and Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1. The phone also comes inside a packaging that turns into a VR headset.

The phone will be available through an open sale on July 13, 12:00 AM. For Amazon Prime customers, the phone will be available starting July 10 at 6:00PM. There will also be offers on launch, including 0% EMI, 15% cashback for HDFC card holders, and 45GB 4G data from Vodafone for 5 months.

 

BlackBerry launches new Aurora smartphone – but here’s why you can’t get it

 

This is BlackBerry’s next phone – but you might not be able to get your hands on it
BlackBerry is back with its next smartphone release.Following the hype that surrounded the launch of the BlackBerry KEYOne at Mobile World Congress last month, the company has now revealed another new device.

The BlackBerry Aurora is the company’s first release in partnership with Indonesian firm BB Merah Putih, and looks to offer another affordable Android smartphone.

However for anyone based in the UK, getting the BlackBerry Aurora might not be as easy as expected.

At first glance, the BlackBerry Aurora looks like a fairly decent mid-range Android device.The device comes with a 5.5-inch 720p display, and runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box alongside BlackBerry’s own software offerings, including the DTEK security suite and BlackBerry Hub.

Inside, there’s a Snapdragon 425, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot up to 2TB, and a 3,000 mAh battery that the company says will provide over 20 hours of battery life.

blackberry aurora android 7.0 nougat releaseBLACKBERRY

The BlackBerry Aurora combines Android 7.0 Nougat with some interesting hardware

The phone is also available in black, silver, and gold, and will go on sale for around $260 – or Indonesian RP 3,499,000.That’s because the BlackBerry Aurora will initially only go on sale in Indonesia.

The move is due to Indonesia actually boasting the world’s largest population of BlackBerry users.

There’s no news on a wider launch for the device just yet, but if the device proves a success we may yet see the BlackBerry Aurora in other markets at some point.BlackBerry is gearing up to launch its latest smartphone - here's everything we know so far about the new BlackBerry Mercury

If you’re still keen to get a new BlackBerry handset, the company is still gearing up to launch its KEYOne device soon.Blending classic BlackBerry design with new influences, the KEYOne retains BlackBerry’s iconic physical QWERTY keyboard, which has been given a major intelligence upgrade, with a stunning touchscreen display and metal body.

Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, with the device powered by a huge 3505mAh battery enhanced by Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 abilities that will allow the phone to go from flat to 50 per cent charge in just 36 minutes.

The BlackBerry KEYOne will cost £499 SIM-free. In the US, it’ll set you back $549, and in Europe, it’ll cost €599.

BlackBerry hasn’t confirmed an exact date in April for the launch just yet, so you’ve still got a few weeks to save up your pennies for the new device.

 

BlackBerry Updates: New Smartphone Launches, Automotive Security

 

BlackBerry has had an interesting couple of weeks, following its surprise $815 million arbitration award from Qualcomm in mid-April. The company’s hardware partners have lined up new smartphone launches, while there have been reports that the firm will enter the automotive security space. The stock has also fared reasonably well, breaching the $10 level for the first time in close to two years, driven by the award as well as the recent ransomware attacks on PCs, which have brought focus back onto cyber security, which remains one of BlackBerry’s core competencies. In this note, we take a look at some of the recent developments for BlackBerry, and what they could mean for the company.

Trefis has an $8 price estimate for BlackBerry, which is below the current market price.

BlackBerry Smartphone Updates

While BlackBerry announced that it would exit the handset business last year, the company continues to work with hardware partners in markets including China, Indonesia and India, who manufacture and sell BlackBerry-branded devices. TCL, one of Blackberry’s partners based in China, recently launched a new device called the KeyOne that has received reasonably positive reviews from critics. The device sports a physical keyboard in addition to a touchscreen and runs BlackBerry’s modified version of the Android software with security enhancements. Separately, the Optiemus Group, which holds the license to manufacturer BlackBerry branded hardware in India, plans to invest about $30 million to relaunch the brand in the market. Image result for BlackBerry Updates: New Smartphone Launches, Automotive SecurityThe firm intends to initially focus on enterprise users, selling primarily via retail chains, before widening distribution to other vendors. The company plans to launch two new models over the next few months, priced at under $600 and $300, respectively. BlackBerry will bank on these new launches to keep the roughly 14 million users on the BlackBerry platform worldwide engaged, while bringing in some high-margin licensing dollars.

BlackBerry’s Automobile Security Play

BlackBerry is reportedly developing security software for the auto market, working with two high-end car companies. The solution apparently acts as a virus scanner for automobiles, warning drivers when a vehicle could be compromised, while also installing software patches to vehicles. This could be a sizable market for Blackberry in the long run, as automobiles are being shipped with an increasing amount of computing power and internet connectivity, bringing about security related risks. BlackBerry could be well positioned to cater to this market, given its strong presence in the automobile industry (its QNX software powers infotainment systems on over 50 million vehicles) and also due to its exposure to the secure communications space.

“Today at Apple” launches worldwide

 

Customers fill the Forum at Apple Union Square as Leon Bridges performs a special acoustic set with Brittni Jessie from his album “Coming Home.”

“Today at Apple” kicked off this weekend with new in-store programming around the world, including Photo Walks and Kids Hour at all 495 Apple stores. From Getting Started with Coding to How To: Sketch, Draw and Paint with iPad, stores collectively hosted 4,000 sessions a day, including some with very special guests.

Apple Union Square

Image result for “Today at Apple” launches worldwide
Customers use iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as they learn from master illustrator Todd Selby.
Image result for “Today at Apple” launches worldwide
Movement artist and star of Apple’s AirPods commercial, Lil Buck, shows off his moves in the Forum at Apple Union Square.
Multiplatinum artist, songwriter and producer Charlie Puth gives an intimate performance at Apple Union Square.
Leon Bridges gives a soulful “Today at Apple” performance to end the day of sessions at Apple Union Square.
During a Live Art session with French illustrator mcbess at Apple Regent Street attendees share their own work following his signature style—graphic illustrations without color.
iPhone photographers cover two miles in 90 minutes as they seek out fashion-forward portraits with photographer Shingi Rice.
iPhone photographers hit the streets of Brooklyn for a portrait-themed Photo Walk with Timothy Mulcare.
Music Lab: 18-year-old Steve Lacy earned a Grammy nomination for his work with The Internet — producing it all on his iPhone.
Aspiring coders of all ages can learn how to code in Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS and Mac apps.
Up-and-coming pop sensation, Sigrid, performs tracks off her debut “Don’t Kill My Vibe” EP at Apple Marché Saint-Germain.
To find and register for a session visit www.apple.com/today.

Motorola launches Moto C in India for Rs 5,999

 

Handset maker Motorola on Friday launched its new handset, Moto C, priced at Rs 5,999 to tap into the booming affordable smartphone category in India.

Moto C, which is the cheapest smartphone in Motorola India’s portfolio currently will be available across leading stores in over 100 cities from Friday.

“According to the reports, fewer people are expected to upgrade to smartphones because of concerns over price, need and ability to use. We see this as a huge opportunity for a brand like us to initiate the smartphone journey for feature phone users,” Motorola Mobility India MD Sudhin Mathur said.Motorola launches Moto C in India for Rs 5,999

The 4G-enabled Moto C features a 5-inch display, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal memory (expandable up to 32GB), 5MP rear and 2MP front camera and 2350 mAh battery.

Previously, Moto E was the most affordable device in the company’s portfolio. The device is currently selling for over Rs 7,000.

Moto E and Moto G comprise the majority of Motorola’s sales in India.

India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets globally. Driven by increasing data consumption and falling data prices, a huge number of feature phone users are also migrating to smartphones and seek affordable devices.

Players like Samsung, Micromax, Xiaomi and Lava have a number of smartphones in their portfolios, especially in the affordable segment that is often categorised as those priced under Rs 12,000.

 

LG launches a mobile payment service in Korea

 

LG announced plans for its own mobile payment service way back in November 2015, and today it finally went official with the launch.

The LG Pay service is initially limited to the G6, LG’s flagship smartphone, via a software update, but it is only available in Korea. There is launch support for cards from Shinhan Bank, KB, BC and Lotte, and LG plans to cover all of Korea’s card companies by September.

The primary focus of the service — like rival offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google — is offline point-of-sale. LG Pay requires a user’s fingerprint to process every transaction. It uses magnetic signals to enable a mobile device to communicate with a regular credit card terminal in order to make the payment. That’s the same technique used with Samsung Pay.

 

Users can store up to 10 cards within the service — including store loyalty cards and specific retail cards — but payment itself is made by a ‘virtual’ card number to improve privacy and keep user data safer. Beyond providing payment at point-of-sale, LG revealed that it is working to support online payments and other banking services.

An LG representative told us that there’s current no update on when, or indeed whether, LG Pay will become available outside of Korea. That’s the company’s primary focus for sales, and the country where it has the most significant marketshare, which makes it an obvious starting point. But with LG Pay badly lagging competitors such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay — which got a significant head start — and overtaken on the sales front by a range of companies, it may not make sense to ever take LG Pay overseas. We shall see.

LG launches a mobile payment service in Korea

 

LG announced plans for its own mobile payment service way back in November 2015, and today it finally went official with the launch.

The LG Pay service is initially limited to the G6, LG’s flagship smartphone, via a software update, but it is only available in Korea. There is launch support for cards from Shinhan Bank, KB, BC and Lotte, and LG plans to cover all of Korea’s card companies by September.

The primary focus of the service — like rival offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google — is offline point-of-sale. LG Pay requires a user’s fingerprint to process every transaction. It uses magnetic signals to enable a mobile device to communicate with a regular credit card terminal in order to make the payment. That’s the same technique used with Samsung Pay.

 

Users can store up to 10 cards within the service — including store loyalty cards and specific retail cards — but payment itself is made by a ‘virtual’ card number to improve privacy and keep user data safer. Beyond providing payment at point-of-sale, LG revealed that it is working to support online payments and other banking services.

An LG representative told us that there’s current no update on when, or indeed whether, LG Pay will become available outside of Korea. That’s the company’s primary focus for sales, and the country where it has the most significant marketshare, which makes it an obvious starting point. But with LG Pay badly lagging competitors such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay — which got a significant head start — and overtaken on the sales front by a range of companies, it may not make sense to ever take LG Pay overseas. We shall see.