“We round up all the important news in the world of mobile and technology this week”
The week that just concluded was quite an interesting one. Xiaomi began its fifth anniversary celebrations and announced a wide array of smart gadgets. Google brought forth its new budget chromebooks and HTC had quite a few launches in store too. Google continued expanding the reach of its Chrome OS with new partners and devices. Microsoft finally understood that it was pricing the Surface tablets too high and launched the Surface 3 this week. The week had a lot in store if you are a budget-conscious buyer. Let us take a look at what all happened in the past week.
LG quietly updated its India website with LG Spirit this week for Rs 14,250. The MOP (Market Operating Price) of the device has been kept at Rs 13,690. The device comes with a set of mid-range specs and has 4.7-inch HD display with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor to go with it. It runs Android Lollipop. It sports a G3-like design with volume and power buttons mounted at the rear. It has a slightly curved screen to make it stand apart from the competition.
HTC launched the One E9+ in China this week. The smartphone will be a cheaper variant of the upcoming HTC One M9+, and offers a 5.5-inch QHD display and a 64-bit 2GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6795M processor. Complementing it is 3GB of RAM and there’s a 20MP camera at the rear which teams up with an Ultrapixel camera up-front. Its pricing and global availability is expected to be announced at an event next week.
Xiaomi announced quite a few interesting gadgets this week. It launched the Mi Smart Scale, Mi Power Strip and 55-inch Mi TV 2, all of which look like worthy buys. The Mi Smart Scale is a smart weighing machine which comes with the Mi Fit app and is aimed at households looking to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle. The Mi Power Strip is like any other regular power strip but also gets three additional USB ports. The Mi TV 2 in 55-inch guise is similar to its 49-inch sibling. However, it gets a re-designed Bluetooth subwoofer and sound bar.
Xiaomi Note Pink, Redmi 2A and Mi 4 with 2GB RAM launched
Xiaomi had something for everyone in store. It launched the limited edition Mi Note Pink with a 5,000mAh bundled power bank for women. The device is similar to the regular Mi Note (review) except the colour and power bank. It also announced a new entry-level device named the Redmi 2A which gets a Leadcore chipset instead of the Qualcomm found in the regular Redmi 2 (review). To round off the smartphone launches, it brought forth a new variant of the Mi 4 (review | FAQs) with 2GB of RAM, with the rest of the specifications remaining the same.
Microsoft introduced the Surface 3 this week running the full version of Windows 8.1 at a starting price of $499. The Surface 3 comes with a 10.8-inch full HD display which supports the Surface stylus pen. Under the hood is a quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor with a burst clock speed of up to 2.4GHz. You get an option of choosing between 2GB/4GB of RAM depending upon the variant.
Google launched budget Chrome OS-powered tablet-laptop hybrid in partnership with ASUS this week with the moniker Chromebook Flip. The ASUS Chromebook Flip is an all-metal convertible device which comes with 360-degree rotatable hinges that allow for the device to be used in several modes like laptop, tablet, stand, and tent. ASUS Chromebit is a HDMI dongle that converts any display into a computer after being plugged in. Google also announced that it will be launching a slew of budget Chromebooks in the country in the near future too.
HTC showcased the Desire 826 earlier this year at the CES 2015 as the successor to the Desire 820 (first impressions). The smartphone now seems to have gone on sale in the country for Rs 26,200. As of the time of writing, HTC hadn’t listed the device on its website, but seeing the fact that it is already available in retail stores, we believe it will see an official launch in the country very soon.
HTC launched a slightly stripped-down version of its last year flagship, the HTC One M8 (review) with the moniker HTC One M8s in the week that went by. The HTC One M8s comes with 64-bit 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor instead of the 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. It also gets a 13MP duo camera at the rear instead of last year’s Ultrapixel camera. The rest of the specifications remain similar to last year’s flagship.