In last week’s Winners and Losers article, I did talk about how busy the month of March will be for us tech journalists. In essence, we had already anticipated what will be in store for us. The action has already started and this week saw two major launches - that of the Oppo Find X3 lineup and the Asus ROG Phone 5. Important as they are, neither of these two launches are the Winner or Loser for us this week. Instead, the general consensus among us NextPit editors was that the winner this week was Facebook-owned Instagram for launching its new ‘Lite’ app - Instagram Lite. The loser of this week, unfortunately, is the tech event we mobile enthusiasts love so much: MWC 2021.
But before we talk in detail about our winners and losers and explain why we chose what we chose, let us quickly take a look at all the major tech happenings of the week gone by.
The major highlight of this week was the two smartphone launches that kept us, tech journalists, across the world on our toes. The first launch was that of the Asus ROG Phone 5, which is arguably one of the most awaited launches of the year and is perhaps the most sought after gaming smartphone. This year, there are three different models of the ROG Phone 5 to choose from. Why don’t you head to the launch article for the ROG Phone 5 to learn more about this outrageous gaming smartphone?
The second launch of the week came in the form of the unveiling of the Oppo Find X3 series. The Oppo Find X3 series consists of four smartphones, of which three are confirmed to make it to Europe. The ones headed to Europe include the Find X3 Pro, Find X3 Neo and the Find X3 Lite 5G. There is a vanilla variant known as the Find X3 as well which has been launched in China with a Snapdragon 870 processor. Read this to know more about the Find X3 lineup. Oh, and don’t miss Casi’s review of the Find X3 Lite 5G.
Another major announcement this week was the confirmation of the launch date for the OnePlus 9 series. On Monday, OnePlus sent out a press release informing us all that the new phones shall be unveiled on March 23. In the process, they also announced their partnership with Hasselblad - a company that makes professional cameras. And yes, you guessed it right, we already have a rumour hub for the OnePlus 9 series, too, where you can read more about these developments.
This week also saw surrounding the Apple iPhone Mini. The compact phone from Tim Cook’s company isn’t exactly setting the sales charts on fire, and for the same reason, Apple has reportedly started reducing the production of this model. No, the phone hasn’t been cancelled. It’s just that people seem to be more interested in the larger iPhone models, which continue to do exceedingly well!
Let us now get back to our Winners and Losers, shall we?
Winner of the week: Instagram for thinking about developing countries with Instagram Lite
As someone who lives in a developing country myself, I cannot stress how important access to the Internet really is. It has the power to transform the lives of millions of people and give them access to knowledge and resources they never thought they would be able to access. It also presents many opportunities for talented youngsters who simply lack the financial muscle to make it big.
What has Instagram got to do with all this, you might be wondering. Well, the company’s recently launched app – known as Instagram Lite aims to further cut down the barriers that prevent people from using the app and make creative videos.
Even in 2021, there are millions of people who use basic entry-level smartphones as a window to the world. Many of these phones have limited storage and entry-level hardware and often do not give users the best social media experience. Instagram Lite essentially caters to this audience and presents them with an app that is almost as fully functional as the ‘normal’ Instagram app. Instagram Lite is now available across 170 countries across the globe following an initial deployment in India starting December 2020.
Loser of the week: MWC 2021… because the pandemic rages on
Why is MWC 2021 our loser for this week? Well, let us explain. While MWC 2021 is slated to happen later this year, rumour has it that several major players have already decided against participating in the expo because of obvious reasons.
It was only recently that GSMA, the parent body that runs the show confirmed that MWC 2021 would be an in-person affair in Barcelona, Spain. However, even as half of the world is engaged in trying to curb the pandemic, many have questioned the GSMAs rationale behind having a physical event. A few days after the announcement, it became clear that major past participants – including the likes of Nokia, Ericsson, Sony, and Oracle have pulled out of MWC 2021. Yes, several companies are still on board with the plan. But it remains to be seen how many more such cancellations could we see in the next few weeks. For those unaware, the current dates for MWC 2021 are June 28 - July 1, 2021.
Do you think it is a good idea to have an in-person MWC this year? And what do you think of our winners and losers for this week? Do let us know in the comments below!