An affordable 4G laptop from Jio running Android?: Your Friday briefing

A look at news headlines, reviews and exclusives from the week

Not a day goes by these days without us coming across new upcoming smartphones and other gadgets, and the tech world is brimming with tons of exciting stuff. This past week saw a fair bit of action too, and if you missed out, I have some key highlights for you right here.

News: an affordable 4G laptop from Jio running Android?

One of the most interesting bits of news (coming from the folks at XDA) is something that just popped up today, seemingly out of nowhere. I’m referring to the news around Jio foraying into low-cost laptops, with the rumoured device called “JioBook”. I do like the name… it’s in line with how they named the JioPhone. Even more interesting is the fact that the device is expected to run an Android fork called JioOS, a name that comes dangerously close to “juice”.

Most importantly, the device is expected to be 4G-capable and quite affordable too. And given how kids need smart devices to be able to attend their classes, most of which have moved online due to the pandemic, this does come as good news. It looks like Jio is trying to create ripples in the laptop space, the same way it did with the low-cost JioPhone, but at the end of the day, it’s the consumers who stand to benefit. 

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Guardians app

In other news, WhatsApp has just enabled voice and video calling on its desktop apps, and while the likes of Zoom aren’t sweating yet, this is a handy new feature to have. I’m actually more gung-ho about Guardians, the new personal safety app from the makers of Truecaller. Guardians isn’t the first safety app I’ve come across, but I like the way how they’re trying to crowdsource personal safety by giving it a community angle and allowing users to act as guardians if they’re in close proximity to someone who needs help. 

Exclusives: the classified stuff

OnePlus 9R rumoured specs

Our spies have been at it, as usual, unearthing info before anyone else gets wind of it. This week, they dug up news of an upcoming smartwatch from Amazfit, and details on a bunch of smart TVs expected to carry itel branding. In addition, we also got news that OnePlus will be launching not one, not two, but four new devices this month, including its very first watch. In case you didn’t know, its 9-series flagship smartphones are also expected to be revealed alongside, and we should know the exact date by March 8th. 

Reviewed: the Narzo 30A

This week we got to review the Narzo 30A, the more affordable sibling of the Narzo 30 Pro that went through the review grind last week. Now the Narzo 30A hasn’t got anything that would make one shout out from the rooftops, but suffice it to say that it does come across as good value for money in case one wants a capable daily driver priced south of Rs 10k. As Kshitij mentions in his review, the device offers smooth performance and long battery life, but leaves a little something to be desired when it comes to low-light photography. 

New launches: up on the launch dias

Realme GT 5G specifications

Quite a few smartphones made their up to the launch dias this week, with the likes of the Vivo S9 5G, Vivo S9e, and Realme C21 being announced in China. One of the biggest launches of the week was the Realme GT, the SD888-powered flagship which finally went official after weeks of speculation. There’s no doubt that the new flagship, which has just been announced in China as yet, looks supremely loaded. Apart from Qualcomm’s latest and greatest SoC, the smartphone brings other goodies like a 120Hz AMOLED display, 65W charging, and more. I simply can’t wait for it to reach our shores – it does look quite scrumptious.

Redmi Note 10 series launched in India

Closer home, we got to see the likes of the budget Gionee Max Pro and the Samsung Galaxy A32 4G being outed. The week also saw the Redmi Note 10 series being introduced in the country. And sticking to the promise made earlier last week, the Note 10 Pro Max does flaunt a 108MP snapper, and that too, for an asking price of less than Rs 20k. I sure hope they have enough stock, because it looks like this one will be flying off the shelves. The base Redmi Note 10 looks quite interesting too, being the first phone in India to be powered by the Snapdragon 678 chipset and priced quite affordably at Rs 11,999 onwards. 

Coming up: Quite. A. Few. Smartphones

Mi 11 Pro specs on Geekbench

The grapevine has been abuzz with a smorgasbord of new smartphones coming our way. The list includes the iQOO Neo 5, the launch date and design for which surfaced recently. The Mi 11 Pro, Mi 11 Lite 5G and Mi 10 5G also popped up in different listings, and the ones expected to come from Samsung’s stable include the Galaxy A82 5G. From POCO, we can expect the X3 Pro, while the Redmi K40 is also believed to come bearing POCO branding. And moving on to Realme, the ones that can be expected are the GT Neo, and a slew of devices in the Realme 8 series. The other expected phones that grabbed headlines this week were the OnePlus Nord 2 and even the iPhone 13. 

ASUS ROG Phone 5 Expected Specs

Among those that are most definitely making their way to our shores, there’s the loaded gaming monster from ASUS, the ROG Phone 5, with one variant tipped to bring a whopping 18 gigs of RAM. Moto will be launching the G10 and G30 soon too, while Samsung will be adding the M12 to its M series portfolio. OPPO is all set to launch the F19 series as well. 

The coming week has lots lined up. Details in next week’s edition of your Friday briefing.