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India

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[Update: Available now] Google's Tez app will soon be able to process bill payments

A couple of months back, Google introduced a brand new mobile payments app exclusive to India. The country's banking landscape is a little different to many of the territories that currently have access to Android Pay, and so it needed a different approach. Until now, Tez has only been able to pay participating merchants or transfer between users, but it will soon be possible to pay utility bills, too.

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Echo and other Alexa speakers are now officially available in India

Last October, Amazon announced that its line-up of Echo speakers was coming to India, but only for those who requested an invite and got approved. Later in the month, the Echos started shipping to those who pre-ordered them and now the invite-only system is over and anyone can purchase an Echo or an Alexa speaker straight from Amazon.

There are 3 Echos to choose from and 2 Alexa speakers from other brands as well:

  • Amazon Echo (2nd gen) in black, grey, or white: ₹9,999 ($156 approx)
  • Amazon Echo Plus in black: ₹14,999 ($234)
  • Amazon Echo Dot in black or white: ₹4,499 ($70)
  • Harman Kardon Allure in black: ₹22,499 ($352)
  • Eufy Genie (still only by invitation):  ₹5,000 -> ₹3999 (momentarily discounted).
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Xiaomi announces the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro for India

Chinese OEM Xiaomi today announced two new mid-range devices for the Indian market. The Redmi Note 5 is essentially a rebranded Redmi 5 Plus, launched at the end of last year, and the Pro variant has the same 5.99" display but adds a dual camera module, a slightly more powerful processor, and a 6GB RAM option. Let's take a look at what each phone has to offer.

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[Update: It's working!] WhatsApp payments now showing for beta testers in India

We've known for a while that WhatsApp has been prepping a built-in payment service for its users in India, and the beta version of the app is now showing the new payments interface. The feature plugs into the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program that includes many of the country's most popular banking institutions.

Although not officially announced by the company yet, beta testers have noticed a payment option in the attachment menu between Document and Gallery. According to TechCrunch, iOS users have been able to make payments with the service already. Gizmo Times has tried this out on Android, but it shows a "Couldn't add bank account" error message (below right).

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Google fined $21 million in India for 'search bias'

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), that country's antitrust watchdog, has imposed a 1.36 billion-rupee ($21.17 million) fine on Google for what the organization is calling "search bias." The fine is the end result of a probe that began in 2012, spurred by complaints filed by matchmaking service Bharat Matrimony and the non-profit Consumer Unity and Trust Society.

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WhatsApp could be ready to launch digital payments in India next month

Thanks to a government-backed platform called UPI (Unified Payment Interface), developers are able to more easily integrate digital payments for India into their apps. Google's Tez uses UPI for bill payments, and social app Truecaller added the functionality in a recent update. The country's most used messaging app shouldn't be too far behind as Facebook-owned WhatsApp could be ready to offer a payment solution based on UPI as early as next month.

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Honor announces the View10 is coming to the US later this year

The Honor View10 will come to the United States later this year, the company announced at a press conference in Las Vegas at the CES conference tonight. Pricing and an exact release date were not announced, but on the latter, we'd place our bets on sooner rather than later.

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Samsung Pay launches bill payments for India

It's been a busy year for Samsung Pay, as the Korean company's mobile payments platform has been gradually rolled out around the globe to counter competing services from Google and Apple. It's particularly popular in India, where Samsung's MST technology is the most common at payment terminals. It launched there in March this year, and now it's gaining another handy feature: bill payments.

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[Update: Official] 'Motorcycle mode' in Google Maps is popping up for many in India

There are a lot of people in the world who ride motorcycles, especially in more crowded areas where cars don't fit especially well. India is one of those places, and many users there are now noticing a 'motorcycle mode' showing up in their Maps alongside car, train, and walking options.

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Star Wars Edition OnePlus 5T is official, goes on sale Dec 14 in India

OnePlus has launched a few limited editions of its phones in the past, such as the Midnight Black OP3T. Rumors have been circulating about a possible Star Wars Edition of the 5T, and now it has been officially announced in India.

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