President DU30 mobile app launched

From the app’s description;

PresidentDU30 App is PCOO’s official Android app and main online link to Filipino communities worldwide. It helps Filipinos get updated with the latest news and information releases from the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO). The App enables Filipino netizens to share their ideas and comments on current issues and interact with other community members. It offers a fast and intuitive interface for viewing relevant social media feeds, participate in surveys and polls, post comments, and get instant access to personal messages from the President. Most importantly, it also serves as a call-to-action hotline for reporting crimes, corruption, frontline services that need fixing, and situations that need to be commended.

From the app’s official website presidentdu30.ph, the app will have the following features;

  1. Feed Back or Live Chat
  2. Survey
  3. Caption This
  4. Message from the President
  5. Quick Call

The President DU30 mobile app is available to both iOS and Android users.

You can now add more friends and family to your Messenger audio and video chats

Facebook;

In Messenger, you can chat with one person or a group of people. Currently, to turn a one-on-one video or audio chat into a group chat, you have to hang up, start a new conversation from your inbox – either by creating an entirely new message or by searching for an old one – and then turn that conversation into a call. But with this new feature, you can simply turn a one-on-one video chat or voice call into a group call – without having to interrupt the conversation.

While in a video chat or on a voice call, tap the screen and select the “add person” icon, and then choose who you want to join. It’s as easy as that! And of course, all your favorite filters and effects are still available, too. Plus, after the chat ends, keep the conversation going in the automatically created group chat in your inbox.

Senate OKs Lifetime Cellphone Number Bill

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Senate Bill 1636, or the “Lifetime Cellphone Number Act”, sponsored and authored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, gets a nod in the upper house with 20 affirmative votes, no negative votes, and no abstention.

This is great for competition and I can just see certain or “custom” phone numbers to be auction or sold to users for addition revenue for telcos.

You can read the full text of Senate’s official announcement here.

Microsoft to stop push notification for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0

Microsoft;

On February 20, 2018, Mobile Push Notification services will be turned off for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0. Once this happens:

  • Your phone will no longer receive notifications.
  • Your phone will not receive additional live tile updates.
  • The “Find my phone” feature will no longer locate your phone.

Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0 have reached their end of support dates, and thus services for these versions of Windows will be discontinued over time.

Note:

Notification services will continue to function for Windows Phone 8.1 at this time, and newer phones running Windows 10 Mobile are still fully supported.

Microsoft is basically saying that they will slowly but surely stop supporting these two mobile OS, which is understandable since both OS are more than 5 years old, which is more or less the standard support cycle for OSes.

Wikipedia Zero program will end in 2018

Wikimedia Foundation;

After careful evaluation, the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue one of its partnership approaches, the Wikipedia Zero program. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address one barrier to participating in Wikipedia globally: high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. Over the course of this year, no additional Wikipedia Zero partnerships will be formed, and the remaining partnerships with mobile operators will expire.

Not one Philippine telecom companies are not listed as partners. Decreasing interest in the program may be due to;

  1. Cost of mobile data is getting cheaper to the point that people are willing to just pay and experience the full wikipedia website/app.
  2. The cost of will not be shouldered by Wikipedia but the telecom themselves, unlike Facebook Zero, wherein the Facebook is the one paying.
  3. Users have other source of information other than wikipedia.

Uber is preparing to sell Southeast Asia unit to Grab in exchange for stake in company: Sources

Alex Sherman, reporting for CNBC;

Uber is preparing to sell its Southeast Asia business to Singapore’s Grab in exchange for a sizable stake in the company, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

No deal has been reached yet, and the timing of any such deal is uncertain.

Grab provides private car, motorbike, taxi and carpooling services in more than 100 cities across Southeast Asia. The company claimed to have 95 percent market share in taxi ride-hailing when it announced plans to raise more than $2.5 billion from SoftBank and other investors in 2017.

If this deal is close, Grab will then take close to 100% of the ride sharing market in the region. Most Grab drivers are Uber drivers as well, so this will have small to no impact to the drivers.

Twitter for Mac app will be shutting down

The only twitter app that I’m using is the twitter for iOS and for Mac as well as for Windows, I usually go to twitter.com, which is for me a better twitter experience.

A lot of people will either be happy that the twitter mac app will shut down or angry because twitter is abandoning its mac app.

Alexa and Echo Devices Now Available to Customers in India

Amazon;

Starting today, Alexa and Echo devices are available to all customers in India. Customers can now order an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Harman Kardon Allure from Amazon.in and start enabling Alexa skills. Customers can explore from over 12,000 skills in the India Alexa Skills Store across multiple categories including Business & Finance, Food & Drink, Games, Music & Audio, News and more.

Amazon Echo is now available in India

Micah Singleton, writing for The Verge;

Amazon has made its line of Echo speakers available to everyone in India, four months after launching the speakers in the country on an invite-only basis. As spotted by Android Police, customers in India can now purchase the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Harman Kardon Allure, although all of the speakers are notably more expensive than the versions sold in the US.

BPI launches new website in Beta

Heland Ortega, writing for Yugatech;

After years of what seemed like an early-2000-esque website design, the new website has now a better layout with clean interface and improved user experience. It is also said to have a better security as the transfers to others and bill payments’ transactions has now an integrated One-Time PIN (OTP).

Well its not just BPI, a lot of website in the Philippines are still designed like it was still the year 2000, try visiting news websites, you will still get pop ups and auto playing flash videos.

Fujifilm launches new mirrorless digital camera X-H1, the highest performance camera in the X Series

Fujifilm;

The X-H1, with a newly-designed robust and durable body, incorporates a range of extremely useful features that support shooting in various scenarios demanded by professional photographers and videographers. The X-H1 is the first X Series model to include the latest 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which has a maximum of 5.5 stops*. The superior image quality with the memory color will be achieved in the various scenes in addition to easy operation. It is also mounted with the flicker reduction mode which enhances the quality of indoor sports photography. In addition, The X-H1 is the first camera in the X Series to include ETERNA mode, a new film simulation mode ideal for shooting movies.

The camera is also compatible with a range of other interchangeable lenses which are scheduled for release later this year. These include the MKX18-55mmT2.9 and MKX50-135mmT2.9 professional cinema lenses incorporating the X mount which are scheduled for release in May 2018. The XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, a wide aperture single-focus telephoto lens, and XF8-16mmF 2.8 R WR, designed to meet the needs of scenery or landscape photographers are also included, both of which are scheduled for release by the end of 2018. The new camera and lens combinations will provide outstanding image production and will be ideal for shooting a moving subject in sports photography.

The Fujifilm X-H1 will retail at $1,990 or around Php 98,790.50 or $2,200 (Php114,389.00) when paired with the Vertical Power Booster Grip Kit. It will be available in the United States on March 1 and availability in the Philippines will be announce locally.

Facebook’s Messenger Kids now on Android

Even though Android is the most used Mobile OS in the world, Facebook released a version of Messenger Kids on Amazon Fire tablets after initially releasing the iOS version.

Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app designed for kids to connect with close friends and family from their tablet or smartphone. Kids can only connect with parent-approved contacts, which creates a more controlled environment. Group or one-on-one video calls with loved ones are more fun with interactive masks, reactions and sound effects.

U.S. intelligence agencies are still warning against buying Huawei and ZTE phones

Brian Heater, writing for TechCrunch;

Things are still looking pretty bleak for Huawei’s plans to conquer the U.S. market. Earlier this week, half a dozen top members of intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and NSA reaffirmed surveillance concerns about the company and fellow Chinese smartphone maker ZTE.

All of this is nothing new, of course. The companies’ troubles date back at least as far back as 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee cited both as a potential security risks over close ties to the Chinese government. The following year, they were both barred from selling product to the U.S. government.

This is the first time that U.S. intelligence agencies issue warning in buying and using Chinese-made smartphones. I wonder what will be China’s response regarding this allegation? Will they hit back by going after US companies?

Huawei solicited 100+ fake Mate 10 Pro reviews on Best Buy to entice ‘beta testers’

Stephen Hall, writing for 9to5google;

Huawei doesn’t have the most squeaky-clean reputation when it comes to its marketing and promotion tactics, but it looks like the company is stooping to particularly disappointing lows with its Mate 10 Pro. In a private Facebook group, the company is asking for positive Best Buy reviews in exchange for a chance to be one of a few “beta testers” of the phone.

The phone is only up for pre-order so far, and yet 108 people have left glowing “reviews” of the phone on its Best Buy listing. Almost all of the reviews are a solid 5-stars, saying it is the “unbeatable smart phone of the year,” a “great new flagship phone,” and even a device that “puts Samsung to shame.”

I think the problem is not with what the participants wrote but that they click on the 5 star of Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy, this is a product that’s not yet available.

I guess, these kind of tactic is just minor compare to the other things that the company did in the past.

via The Verge;

In the past, the company was sued by Cisco for stealing source code and faced accusations of spying for the Chinese government.

This iFixit teardown shows the HomePod is built like a tank

Thuy Ong, writing for The Verge;

To dismantle the speaker, iFixit used a heat gun to peel panels off and a knife to cut through 3D wire mesh. (The mesh can be peeled off undamaged with a nifty drawstring that’s attached, iFixit notes). iFixit then used a small hacksaw to saw off the top of the speaker to access the woofer. When a saw comes out, you know something’s not meant for tinkering.

I’ve embedded the whole tear down below for your viewing pleasure.

VLC 3.0 now available

Since discovering VLC more than 10 years ago, I never used any other player in my PC and smartphones. They support just about any codec. You can go to https://www.videolan.org/ to download the latest build of VLC.

Microsoft to integrate the lightweight Windows 10 S in all Windows 10 versions as “S Mode”

Brad Sams, reporting for Thurrott;

Windows 10 S will no longer be a SKU offered by Microsoft. Instead, what they will be doing is offering S mode for all iterations of Windows 10 and frankly, this is a much better approach to the configurations.

For Home and Education SKUs, you will be able to upgrade from Home S, to Home for free but Pro users going from Pro S to Pro will be charged $49. On the commercial side, Pro S is only available with Core, Value, Entry, and Small Tablet (if this doesn’t make sense, check out my other post here) with Core+ and Workstations being left out of the offering.

JD.com and Fung Retailing Form Artificial Intelligence Partnership

Fung Retailing Limited, with a network of over 3,000 stores, and JD.com, China’s largest retailer, today announced a partnership to develop AI-driven retail solutions. According to the agreement signed today, the two companies will cooperate in using AI to transform the retail landscape, and to collaborate in areas including AI platform development and the application of AI to smart retail.

The agreement calls for the establishment of an AI Boundaryless Retail Center that will oversee and manage cooperative research and development projects, and facilitate the sharing of information and expertise relating to AI technology. Leveraging AI, and combining JD.com’s extensive online expertise and Fung Retailing’s offline expertise, the two companies aim to develop a new retail format for China and Asia. This includes creating an AI-driven retail system that seamlessly integrates online and offline retail platforms; developing an end-to-end system that enables the management of products, pricing, storage, order and payment; and enhancing consumer experience through solutions such as AI-driven virtual fitting, unmanned stores and smart shopping assistants.

Speaking at the signing, Sabrina Fung, Group Managing Director of Fung Retailing Limited said, “When it comes to the future of retail, and driving the customer experience, AI is an essential component. Across our retail portfolio, AI is a focal point and this co-operation with JD will, without doubt, accelerate our progress.”

Bowen Zhou, Vice President of JD.com and Head of JD’s AI Platform and Research said, “As one of the largest retailers in the world, we believe that figuring out how to deploy AI solutions is critical to our future success. Drawing on Fung Retailing’s global offline retail expertise, this partnership will be important for us as we deliver our retail vision.”

Other areas of focus within the agreement include cooperation on the construction of AI infrastructure, as well as smart retail, creating AI-driven solutions that break down the barriers between online and offline, and exploring the intersection of AI and fashion.

Introducing Type Mode in Stories

Instagram;

Today, we’re introducing “Type” mode in stories, a new way to share anything that’s on your mind with creative text styles and backgrounds — no photo or video required. Now, you can turn your most random thoughts into something colorful and expressive.

When you open the camera, you’ll see “Type” next to “Normal” under the record button. Tap “Type” and write whatever comes to mind — your favorite lyrics, a silly thought or a random idea — and play with different styles to change the look and feel. Then, you can pick different background colors, highlight words and phrases or add a background photo.

You can also use the new styles when adding text to any photo or video. And, like everything else you share to stories, it’ll disappear from the app after 24 hours.

And here’s a list of unannounced 2018 Samsung Galaxy devices

Mishaal Rahman, writing for XDA Developers;

List of unreleased 2018 Samsung Galaxy Devices

  • astarqlte – Samsung Galaxy S9 Active (Snapdragon)
  • c10lte – Samsung Galaxy C10
  • c10plte – Samsung Galaxy C10 Plus
  • crown – Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • degasy18wifi – possibly Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 2018 refresh
  • grandppirislte – Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus refresh with Iris scanner
  • gtaxlad
  • gta2xl – Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 2018
  • gtesy18lte – Samsung Galaxy Tab E 2018
  • gts4llte – Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • j2y18lte – Samsung Galaxy J2 2018
  • j3neolte – Samsung Galaxy J3 Neo
  • j3topelte
  • j4lte – Samsung Galaxy J4
  • j6lte – Samsung Galaxy J6
  • j7topelte
  • j7toplte
  • j8lte – Samsung Galaxy J8
  • jackpotqlte – Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Snapdragon
  • jackpot2qlte – Samsung Galaxy A8+ 2018 Snapdragon
  • lugelte
  • star – Samsung Galaxy S9
  • star2 – Samsung Galaxy S9+

That’s a lot of devices and that’s one heck of a leak!

Facebook Marketplace now in the Philippines

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

Facebook’s Marketplace feature first launched in October 2016, but was only available in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. This week, it has rolled out to the Philippines.

A number of my friends are already using Facebook to sell different kind of goods (ie: shoes, clothes, signature bags, grocery items and bread/cake) and when I suggested for them to use a free classified ads for more audience, they said that they already tried selling on those website and found that there are a lot of trolls and bad actors on those website. While on facebook, they more or less know the people who will buy their items.