ZTE unveils the Blade A1, a budget phone that boasts a fingerprint sensor

Chinese smartphone maker ZTE has unveiled a new budget smartphone under the Blade series called the Blade A1. It appears to be the world’s most affordable smartphone to boast a fingerprint sensor in the sub-Rs 7,000 range. The sensor is located right below the primary camera at the back, and as per the brand, can unlock the phone in just 0.3 seconds.

ZTE Blade A1

As far as the other specs are concerned, the ZTE Blade A1 sports a 5-inch HD display, and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with ZTE’s MiFavor 3.2 UI on top. The phone is powered by a 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6735 processor, aided by 2GB of RAM. For storage, it offers 16GB of internal memory, which can be further increased by inserting a microSD card. The camera features include a 13MP rear snapper with an LED flash, and a generous 8MP front shooter for selfies. The other features include 4G LTE, dual-SIM support, and a 2,800mAh battery.

The ZTE Blade A1 is priced quite affordable at just CNY 599, which is roughly Rs 6,250. The phone will go on sale in China soon in Smart White, Vibrant Yellow, Dream Green, Cool Blue and Space Grey variants.

BSNL, Aircel, Vodafone and Rcom offer free talk time and data to users in Chennai

Multiple telecom operators have come forward in a bid to facilitate communication services in the flood-ravaged Chennai. Soon after Airtelannounced its free talk time and mobile data offers for the users in Chennai, other telecom operators including BSNL, Aircel, Vodafone and Rcom have also come forward with their offers. It’s worth pointing out that most of Chennai is still struggling with power failures, so mobile networks are still patchy.

Telecom

BSNL is offering local + STD calls free from BSNL landline to any network, free mobile prepaid calls and SMS (BSNL to BSNL), 100MB of free data and rent rebate for BSNL postpaid customers for seven days. In addition, billing cycle for postpaid mobile users has also been extended by 15 days.

Aircel is offering free 10 Aircel to Aircel calls for three days, auto credit of Rs 30, 10 free SMS across India for three days, and 100MB of 2GB or 3G data free for three days. Vodafone is offering a pre-approved ‘chhota credit’ of Rs 10 to all prepaid subscribers, 10 minutes of free Vodafone to Vodafone calling for two days, 100MB of mobile data for two days, and extended billing cycle for postpaid mobile users. Rcom on the other hand is offering 50MB free data for prepaid users and loan facility to recharge balance up to Rs 10.

In addition to the aforementioned telecom service providers, other end-user service providers like Paytm and Skype are also offering free offers for users in Chennai. Paytm is offering a free Rs 30 recharge, which can be activated by dialing 1800-1030-033. Skype on the other hand is offering international calls to landlines and mobiles in Tamil Nadu free of charge for the next few days.

OnePlus 2 goes invite-free forever, OnePlus X to be available without an invite from December 5th-7th

OnePlus has given its fans a treat just in time for the holidays. The brand has announced that its latest flagship, the OnePlus 2  (review) will be available without an invite starting December 5th. The company appears to have enough inventory of the OnePlus 2, and has thus scrapped the invite system that was earlier mandatory to buy the smartphone. In addition, the brand’s latest mid-range offering, the OnePlus X (review), will also be available without an invite from December 5th to December 7th.

OnePlus holiday offers

The announcement came right ahead of the brand’s second anniversary on December 17th. Users can purchase the OnePlus 2 directly from the company’s online store starting December 5th.

In addition, the vendor is also offering discounts on its accessories during the period. The OnePlus 2 StyleSwap covers are 50 percent off, select OnePlus One accessories are 90 percent off, and a limited number of first orders during the sale will receive an exclusive Never Settle mouse pad. The other accessories from the brand during the holiday sale are 10 percent off. The company has said that customers who want to get their OnePlus devices delivered in time for the holidays will have to place an order by December 7th.

Huawei unveils the Enjoy 5S with a fingerprint sensor and octa-core CPU

Huawei has unveiled the Enjoy 5S in China. It is a budget smartphone running Android 5.1 Lollipop-based EMUI 3.1 Lite UI on top. The phone’s USP is a fingerprint sensor located at the back panel. The device also comes with 4G LTE connectivity along with support for Indian 4G bands.

Huawei Enjoy 5S
The Huawei Enjoy 5S offers a 5-inch HD IPS display, and is backed by a 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753T processor, aided by 2GB of RAM. It offers 16GB of internal memory, which can be further topped via a microSD card. Camera features include a 13MP rear snapper with an LED flash, and a 5MP front shooter. Its other specs include 4G, hybrid dual-SIM slots, micro-USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

The Enjoy 5S has been priced at RMB 1,199, which is roughly Rs 12,500. The device is being offered in silver and gold hues, and is up for pre-order on China’s VMall online retailer.

Xiaomi Mi 4 and Mi Note to receive Android Marshmallow update soon

Xiaomi is all set to roll out the Android Marshmallow update for the Mi 4 andMi Note. The company’s MIUI operations manager has confirmed the news in a Weibo post. Reports suggest that the new OS update won’t bring a new MIUI ROM, but instead will update the existing MIUI 7 ROM.

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There’s no word on the official changelog of the Android Marshmallow update for the Mi 4 and Note at the moment. However, these will be the first Xiaomi smartphones to get the latest Android OS update. The update should bring all the new Android Marshmallow enhancements along with the brand’s exclusive MIUI features.

Moto X Play and Style available for discounted rates under exchange offer

Motorola introduced its latest flagship offerings, the Moto X Play and Moto X Style in India a couple of months ago at a starting prices of Rs 18,499 and Rs 29,999 respectively. Now these devices are available with a discount of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 on Flipkart, Motorola’s online sales partner in India. The discounts are valid on exchange of your old smartphones, and the amount of discount will depend on the model you choose to exchange.

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The Moto X Play (review) 16GB and 32GB variants are now being offered for Rs 8,499 and Rs 9,000 respectively after a maximum discount of Rs 10,000. The Moto X Style (review) 16GB and 32GB models on the other hand are available for Rs 14,999 and Rs 16,999 respectively after the Rs 15,000 exchange discount.

Microsoft schedules Build 2016 developer conference between March 29th and April 1st

Microsoft has announced that its next Build developer conference will take place from March 29th to April 1st ,2016. Once again, the annual Build developer conference will be held in San Francisco, California. According to the reports, the Redmond-based tech giant is expected to use the three-day event to announce upgrades on Windows 10, Visual Studio, Windows Bridge programs, Azure, .NET and HoloLens project among others.

BUILD 2016

Microsoft’s chief developer evangelist Steven Guggenheimer has confirmed the date on Twitter, and tweeted that “Build is back in San Francisco, Mar 30 – Apr 1! Developers, join us to see the future of Microsoft and technology”.

The brand is reportedly working on the future of Windows, and is currently preparing updates to Windows 10 platform under the Redstone codename, which it is expected to showcase at Build.

Reports also suggest that Microsoft could share updates on the HoloLens project, Windows Bridge programs, Azure, .NET developments and more. In addition, the software-giant is also expected to unveil Project Astoria, a tool that allows developers to port Android apps to the Windows platform.

Gionee introduces the budget P5W with a 5-inch HD display and 16GB storage

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Gionee has unveiled its latest offering called the P5W. It is an entry-level 3G-only Android smartphone running 5.1 Lollipop. The dual-SIM phone comes in a range of colours with a matching user interface.

Gionee P5W

The Gionee P5W offers a 5-inch HD IPS On-Cell display. The phone is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor that supports 64-bit architecture, aided by a Mali T720 GPU and 1GB of RAM. For storage, it gets 16GB of internal memory, further expandable via a microSD card. The handset sports a 5-megapixel primary snapper with an LED flash, and a 2-megapixel front snapper for selfies. The connectivity features on board include 3G, dual-SIM slots, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. A 2,000mAh battery keeps the device running.

The Gionee P5W comes in several hues including white, blue, red, yellow and black. There’s no word on the phone’s price at the moment. A recent Zaubalisting mentioned a sub-Rs 6,500 tag, though that can’t really be taken as the final word on the pricing of the phone when it officially lands in India. The listing does confirm that the P5W should be launched in the country, and we’ll have the exact pricing for you at that time.

The Kyocera Digno Rafre is the world’s first smartphone that can be washed with soap

Japanese telecom operator KDDI in partnership with Kyocera has launched the Digno Rafre, which is the world’s first smartphone that can be washed with soap. The Rafre features an IPX5/8 rating, which allows it be washed using even hot water up to 43-degrees. It’s worth mentioning that hot water is not included in the usual waterproof IP ratings.

Kyocera Digno Rafre

The Kyocera Digno Rafre is resistant to dust, and gets the military-grade MIL-SSTD-810G rating for resistance against impacts like falling from your pocket and more. It also gets a layer of Dragontrail X glass to protect the screen from scratches. The display can be used even when it is wet, and the phone even comes with a rubber ducky dock, which floats in the bathtub.

Coming to the other specs, the Kyocera Digno Rafre offers a 5-inch HD display, and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. It is powered by a 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, aided by 2GB of RAM. Other features include 16GB of expandable memory, 13MP/2MP cameras, 4G LTE, and a 3,000mAh battery.

The Kyocera Digno Rafre has been priced at the equivalent of Rs 31,000, and will go on sale for KDDI subscribers in Japan on December 11th in Coral Pink, Cashmere White and Marine Navy hues.

Sundar Pichai expected to launch revamped Android One range in India on December 16th

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is all set to make his first trip to India after taking over as the head of the company. While there’s no official word on the reason for Pichai’s visit, reports suggest that the India-born Google CEO will be meeting PM Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee. Google has also sent out invites for a press event in the country on December 16th, which suggests that Pichai might be launching the refreshed Android One range in India.

android One sundar pichai

The invite doesn’t confirm what Google is planning to launch at the event, but talks about Indians coming online and affordable smartphones. Pichai previously came to India in September 2014 for the global launch of Google’s ambitious Android One project to make the pure Android experience available on affordable smartphones.

“At Google, we believe that technology can change people’s lives for the better. Indians are coming online at an astonishing rate with affordable smartphones. These new users have a completely fresh view on what the Internet has to offer. Please block your date for an event with Google as we outline our vision for these users,” reads the invite.

Last month, there were reports about Google’s plans to reboot the Android One program in India. The brand reportedly plans to launch a sub-Rs 3,000 smartphone in collaboration with Lava in India very soon. The company is expected to do away with its strict hardware requirements, which could result in more Android One devices from various manufacturers at different price points.