Google announced a slew of new products on Wednesday, most notably the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. Both have a unique design with OLED screens on the front and an evolution of the glass panel on the back. The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch full-HD display, while the Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch 18:9 QHD+ panel. Both use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and have 4GB of RAM. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL storage options are 64GB and 128GB. Both phones also have an edge pinch that activates Google Assistant.
One of the biggest features is the camera, which has received a DxOMark score of 98, better than the iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which took it to 94 points yesterday. The new phones have incredible quality and a portrait mode that works with just one camera, using machine learning to figure out depth maps. The Pixel 2 costs Rs. 61,000 and Rs. 70,000 for 64GB and 128GB, respectively, while the Pixel 2 XL costs Rs. 73,000 and Rs. 82,000, respectively. The Pixel 2 will go on sale November 1, while the Pixel 2 XL will go on sale November 15. Both will be sold online, both offline and exclusively through Flipkart.
The new Pixelbook Chromebook, Google Home Max speaker, Home Mini, Pixel Buds earphones, and Google Clips action camera were also announced at the same event. A common thread running through all the products and the event itself was that Google promoted its ability to develop hardware, software, and artificial intelligence in the same product. The Pixelbook is a high-performance 10mm thick convertible Chromebook that can be used in multiple modes and is the first laptop with Google Assistant built-in. It also has a Pixelbook Pen accessory that can select content on the screen and activate the Assistant.
Home Max is a powerful new speaker that uses AI to detect the characteristics of a room and adjust itself automatically, with Assistant baked in as well. Home Mini is a smaller and cheaper Home speaker that Assistant can bring to multiple rooms in your house. New capabilities include voice recognition for individual users and a home broadcast feature.
Pixel buttons work with any Pixel 2 to enable near real-time speech translation between people and work with 40 different languages. The Google Clips camera can capture spontaneous moments, determined using machine learning, and let you select what to keep and what to throw away.
Amazon launches Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers in India Amazon has launched its Echo range of internet-connected smart speakers in India. The Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus are three models priced at Rs. 4,499, Rs. 9,999, and Rs. 14,999, respectively. Amazon says it has gone to great lengths to ensure that its voice assistant Alexa works with Indian pronunciations and intonations, as well as local names, places, and music titles in non-English languages. Local partners include Saavn, Zomato, Ola, Uber, Freshmenu, and NDTV. India is only the fourth market for the Echo series after the US, UK, and Germany. Amazon Prime Music will also be launching in the country soon, and Echo buyers can use it in preview form.
Amazon Diwali sale event kicks off; Flipkart teases its own Amazon’s latest sale event kicked off today, shortly after the last one ended. However, there are still plenty of interesting deals on smartphones and other electronics, plus credit card cashback offers and free EMIs. There are also partnerships with Jio and Vodafone to give buyers extra 4G data when purchasing smartphones. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have just launched but are both getting small discounts, while the iPhone 7 is getting a more generous price cut. Other phones for sale include the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, OnePlus 3T, BlackBerry KeyONE, Moto G5 series, and the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017). There are also deals on TVs, hard drives, laptops, Amazon Kindle products, gift cards, and more.
One of Amazon’s promotions is the first open sale of the Nokia 6, which is priced at Rs. 14,999. The device is sold exclusively on Amazon. There is an exchange offer on the Nokia 6 and an added benefit for Amazon Prime members. Speaking of Amazon Prime, this could be your last chance to pick up an annual membership at the discounted price of Rs. 499. The company has said the membership would rise to the official price of Rs. 999 in a few days.
Not to be outdone, Flipkart has teased a few details about what buyers can expect when its own celebratory sales event kicks off on Thursday. Deals will go live twice daily between October 5 and 8, with flash sales everywhere. Discounts can be as high as 80 percent in some categories. Flipkart also has credit card offers, exchange programs, cashback deals, and free EMIs.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai praises the India team in NDTV interviews. Google has only just launched the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and company chief Sundar Pichai took the time to interview NDTV ahead of the big event. According to him, Google’s India team has helped shape key products like Google Maps by coming up with insights such as using crowdsourcing to overcome a shortage of local map data. The company has devised solutions to local problems, such as YouTube Go and Google Tez. You can watch the entire interview here.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is coming to India on October 17. Xiaomi has announced that its near-limitless Mi Mix 2 smartphone will be launched in India on October 10, just a month after its debut in China. No price has yet been announced. The device has a 5.99-inch full-HD display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a resolution of 1080×2160. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with 6 GB of RAM. There is a 12-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. There are three variants of the device in China with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage, plus a special edition with a ceramic body and 8GB RAM plus 128GB storage.
Airtel takes on Jio with new Rs. 799 Prepaid Plan Airtel has announced a new prepaid tariff plan with 84 GB of data plus unlimited national and local calls for 28 days, priced at Rs. 799. It competes directly with Jio’s recently announced Rs. 799 package for iPhone users, including 3 GB of data per day, free voice calls and text messages, and access to all Jio apps. In the case of the new Airtel plan, there is a fine print. Voice calls are free, but there are limits of 250 minutes per day and 1000 minutes per week.
Microsoft announces launch date for mixed reality headsets Microsoft has released new details about its mixed reality ambitions and has announced that headsets from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung are now available for pre-order, with a launch date of October 17 the same day. That the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is going live. Games that support the headsets include Minecraft, Arizona Sunshine, Superhot, Obduction, Skyworld, and Fantastic Contraption. There will also be a Halo Recruit minigame that will serve as a demo more than anything else. SteamVR is in the pipeline but not yet launched. Microsoft is also launching a social app called AltSpace VR that promises 3D chat rooms, parties, and classes.
While most headsets start at $299, Samsung has gone high-end with its HMD Odyssey model, which costs $499.99 thanks to its use of two 3.5-inch AMOLED screens. It is also the only model with an integrated microphone array and can be used to control Cortana or communicate in-game.
Yahoo data breach much worse than previously known When a massive data breach came to light in 2013, Yahoo said about 1 billion user accounts had been affected. Now the company says every Yahoo account has been hacked, bringing the number to 3 billion. The news had hampered the sale of Yahoo’s assets to Verizon, and the new disclosure exposed the new parent company to far more legal trouble than it already had.
Hotstar Offers Big Discount on Annual Subscriptions Amazon may be raising the price of Prime. Still, Hotstar is selling annual subscriptions for just Rs. 696 per year, a significant saving from the regular price of Rs. 199 per month. The offer is valid for new users and users whose subscription has expired but not for current users. Hotstar previously offered annual subscriptions for Rs. 1200 and a nine-month subscription for Rs. 999. It is not yet known when this offer will expire.