Missed out on any tech news this week? You’ve come to the right place, as we’ve picked out the top stories we read over the entire week. First up – a word of warning to all Dropbox users. You might need to change your password – a leaked credential cache means that at least some users’ passwords were compromised. And if you use the same password on other sites too – which you should never, ever do – then change those as well.
The big story of the week was the mad rush for Reliance Jio SIM cards, which have probably become the most sought-after tech-related item in the country. First, there were reports that anyone with a 4G phone can now get their hands on Jio SIM, though not every Reliance store seems to be honouring the offer. Then, Reliance officially extended the offer to owners of Asus and Panasonic smartphones, followed by four more OEMs later in the week. All this just seem to heighten demand for the Reliance Jio SIM, as evident by queues in retail stores across the country, reminiscent of iPhone launches in other countries.
(Also see: Reliance JioFi Device – How to Buy, Price, Plans, and Everything You Need to Know)
The Reliance Jio rollout continues to bounce along merrily with no real visibility – apparently Mukesh Ambani met the telecom secretary to discuss Jio’s rollout plans, but details are unclear. Other telcos are not happy, and are alleging that the tests Reliance Jio is running are just commercial operations to scoop up useres.
Also, while Reliance started off by offering SIM cards to its employees, RIL is apparently now asking staff to stop using other telcos – Airtel is said to be the most affected by this decision.
The controversy of the week was probably the results of a test comparing the real world speed difference between the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – Samsung’s new phone was bestedby the year-old iPhone 6s. Interestingly, another study showed that the iPhone and iPad had higher failure rates than Android counterparts. But the coolest news of the week might be that the world’s first self driving taxis have started operations in Singapore.
Right at the start of the week, the Gionee S6s was launched. Samsung launched the Tizen-basedSamsung Z2. It is the first Tizen smartphone with 4G LTE support, and was wholly developed in Bengaluru.
(Also see: Gionee Says Will Set Up Manufacturing Unit in India)
Also launched this week were the Meizu U10 and Meizu U20 budget Android smartphones, which come with fingerprint scanners. There was also the Intex Cloud Tread, with 2GB of RAM and a hexa-core SoC,launched at Rs. 4,999, and the Vivo Y21L with 4G VoLTE at Rs. 7,490.
Xiaomi closed out the week in launches, with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 in China, which comes with a 4100mAh battery, and runs on a Helio X20 SoC.
Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a flagship, then Samsung has an offer for you – it’s cut the prices for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. The phones are now cheaper by Rs. 5,000 each. Xiaomi also took a cue from Samsung, and has cut the price of the Xiaomi Mi 5 by Rs. 2,000, down to Rs. 22,999.
In case you’re using a Nexus device, good news – the Android 7.0 Nougat rollout has started for Nexus devices. Unlike Apple’s iOS, which is released to all users in a single release, Android has a much slower rollout – which is why the biggest chunk of users is still on version 4.4, KitKat, and only 15.2 percent of users are on the previous version of Android, version 6.0 or Marshmallow. Apart from the Nexus phones, the update is now also headed to some Sony phones so far.
(Also see: Android Nougat: How to Download and Install Right Now)
It was also revealed that Google’s new VR platform, Daydream, is going to launch soon.
While it’s been a good week for launches, other news from around the world and India had its ups and downs. At a company townhall, Flipkart’s Executive Chairman Sachin Bansal addressed employees to reassure them about layoffs – hundreds were fired in one swoop – and admitted that his removal from the CEO position was also performance related.
Speaking of CEOs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg started his week by giving away $95 million in Facebook shares to charity. Zuckerberg plans to donate 99 percent of his Facebook shares to the Chang Zuckerberg Initiative which will focus on charitable causes around the world, similar to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. At the same time, Facebook launched the Lifestage app, targeted at video loving teenagers. This iPhone app allows teens to watch clips about the life of their classmates, or make short clips themselves.
But not all is good in the house of Facebook this week. WhatsApp – which Facebook bought two years ago, updated its terms of service for the first time since 2012, to say that it’s now going to share your phone numbers with the social network, though you can opt-out of this.
(Also see: WhatsApp’s New User Terms Signal It’s Finally Ready to Make Some Money)
Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering how successful Edge, Microsoft’s replacement for Internet Explorer, has been… well, the company is now offering people money to use the browser. Opera was also in the news this week with the launch of Opera VPN for Android that gives free, ad-supported, unlimited VPN access to users.
One interesting piece of news from the telecom world – Trai has now permitted the validity of mobile data packs to be for one year. This is a pretty big step because earlier the longest validity you could get was 90 days, limiting a customer’s options. Airtel and Vodafone also introduced e-KYC for SIM activation with Aadhar verification, which could lead to instant verification of SIM cards. And BSNL has added an unlimited 3G plan for Rs. 1,099. You can also get a 10GB plan for Rs. 549 now.
Speaking of news from India, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) rollout has now started, and bank-enabled apps are arriving in the Play Store. This could have major impact on e-commerce, and mobile wallets, as the UPI basically allows you to make a bank transfer as easily as you’d send an SMS.
(Also see: Beyond Payments – How the Unified Payments Interface Will Evolve)
There were also some leaks at Sony that tell us more about how the video games giant is moving forward. A PlayStation Europe leak revealed PlayStation Now for PC – it’s Sony’s game streaming service, and if you have a 5Mbps Internet connection, you’ll be able to play PS4 games without a PS4. The leak was confirmed later in the week.
There was also a leak of the PS4 Slim that shows an all-matte finish. With the Slim and the Neo, Sony will be refreshing with two consoles, an interesting move that shows how the console industry has changed with this generation.
On the other side of things, Halo 5: Forge for Windows has a release date now – the map editor for Halo 5 will arrive on Windows 10 PC on September 8, with new content from the Xbox One version.
We also heard from Titanfall’s developer – who addressed the beta test that we described as’disappointing’. The developers say it’s slower to make the game more accessible, and easier to learn as you play.