Middle of the week, a lot of interesting developments happened in the tech world. Google decided to rebrand its payments service Android Pay as Google Pay, while WhatsApp introduced a new feature that gives more meaning to your group chats. The pre-MWC 2018 rumors continued to trickle through this day as well with more information about the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch.
What possibly came across as a disappointment is the latest IAMAI report, which highlighted the alarming gender divide when it comes to the internet users in India. Meanwhile, continuing their efforts at battling Reliance Jio, incumbent players continued to roll out new data and voice plans today. Here’s an overview of the top new stories of the day.
Google Pay replaces Android Pay
Google finally changed the name of its payment tool, Android Pay, to Google Pay for Android. It is now available as a standalone app on the Play Store. The company started bringing all of its payment tools under the Google Pay brand last month, and the introduction of the new branding is an extension of the effort.
In addition to the rebranding, Google Pay also receives new features such as the ability to pay in stores as well as leading websites. It is essentially an upgrade to the older Android Pay with Material Design that makes the user interface minimalistic. You can set up Google Pay right from your bank app in regions where it is supported.
Xiaomi’s ‘Blackshark’ gaming smartphone leaked
Ahead of MWC 2018, a mysterious Xiaomi smartphone, dubbed ‘Blackshark’ appeared on benchmarking website Antutu. With specs aimed at graphic-intensive users, it could possibly become Xiaomi’s first-ever gaming smartphone. The listing hints at some powerful hardware such as a full HD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC coupled with Adreno 630 GPU and a whopping 8GB of RAM.
‘Blackshark’ achieved a score of 270,680 on Antutu, which is impressive in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S9+ which has reportedly scored 265,267 in the same benchmark test.
WhatsApp Group Description feature
WhatsApp rolled out a new feature today, which allows you to add a description to your group conversations. The feature is currently enabled for Android and Windows users, and is a gradual roll out. It is likely to be extended to iOS users as well.
You can add a description to the group containing up to 500 characters. It has been observed that the feature is visible only to updated Android or Windows users. iOS users who have not received the update yet will not be able to see descriptions added by Android/ Windows users.
Samsung Galaxy S9 to launch in AR
Adding the much-expected grandeur to the launch event, Samsung is reportedly going to showcase its anticipated Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at MWC 2018 with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology. Reports indicate that the company will let the attendees at the event visualize the Galaxy S9 using AR.
A Reddit user who tore down the Unpacked 2018 mobile app discovered a string of software, which has a hidden feature to allow people witness the unveiling of the Galaxy S9 in AR by tapping their phone against their event badge. With AR, they will be able to virtually access the smartphones from all angles.
Only 30% of internet users in India are women
In what comes as a surprise amidst the impressive growth of internet penetration in India, the latest IAMAI report highlights the huge gender divide when it comes to internet users in the country. In India, there are a total of 143 million internet users who are female, this translates to just 30 percent of the total number of 481 million internet users.
While these statistics are disappointing, as per the report, the number of female internet users have increased when compared to last year. Urban India witnessed a growth of 9.66 percent in female internet users while in rural India, the growth is recorded at 14.11 percent.
Airtel 5GB data at Rs 98
To counter Reliance Jio, Airtel today introduced a new data plan, which is priced at Rs 98 and offers 5GB of 4G data quota. As part of the plan, users get 5GB of 3G/4G data for a validity period of 28 days. Sadly, the plan does not come bundled with voice call or SMS benefits. Additionally, the new plan is available only in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana circles for now.