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Facebook’s newest app is heavy on video and just for the kids

Facebook's newest app is heavy on video and just for the kids

Facebook is closing in on 2 billion users but Mark Zuckerberg knows people aren’t really using it like they once did – especially the younger generation. That’s part of the reason he now owns Instagram and WhatsApp too.

Facebook’s latest attempt to create something not very much like Facebook is Lifestage, an iOS app you can install in the US if you’re aged 21 or below. Like Facebook was in its early days, it’s tied to your school or college.

Video is front and centre, with those ‘about me’ fields filled out with short Snapchat-style clips rather than boring old text. It’s not 2005 any more, gramps.

All the world’s a (life) stage

You don’t need a Facebook account to sign up, reports TechCrunch, and you need to have 20 other users from your school create an account before it becomes an officially recognised place, letting you view your friends.

The app was designed by coding whizzkid Michael Sayman who was personally invited to intern at Facebook by Zuckerberg himself. He says he wanted to reimagine what Facebook would look like if it launched in 2016.

Facebook has experimented with dozens of ways to stay fresh (remember Slingshot?) and it’s big and rich enough to test apps such as Lifestage without necessarily launching them in full. Time will tell if this experiment makes it out into the wider world.

How to take 360 photos and upload them to Facebook:

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrsHR_DCWOA
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Nokia could launch new Android phones and tablets by the end of the year

Nokia could launch new Android phones and tablets by the end of the year

Nokia was once a major name in mobile and it could soon be again, as a deal with Microsoft that temporarily prevented it from using its name is nearly up, with the rights returning to Nokia in the last quarter of this year.

It seems Nokia isn’t going to waste any time in releasing new smartphones and tablets under its name, as three or four new devices are apparently going to be announced by the end of the year.

That revelation comes straight from Nokia China’s president Mike Wang, who spoke to Chinese site The Paper, as spotted by Android Authority.

The devices are expected to include both phones and tablets, and will be running Android, which is a big change for a company that in recent years has become a major force in Windows Phone.

The new devices won’t be manufactured by Nokia itself though, but by a new company dubbed HMD, which we’ve reported on before.

Unknown quantities

The big question now is what specs they’ll have, as the report doesn’t shed any light on that, but earlier rumors suggested we could see both 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch phones.

Both will apparently have QHD displays, metal shells, 22.6MP cameras and high-end Snapdragon 820 processors, which would put them on the same sort of level as flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S7.

If Nokia really is revealing the phones this year we’ll have a clear idea of the specs soon, but according to the report they might not arrive in shops until early 2017, so don’t count on getting one for Christmas.


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UPDATED: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date, news and features

UPDATED: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date, news and features

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has officially launched and pre-orders have opened up in the US, confirming the weeks of rumors about its curved design, 5.7-inch display, top-of-the-line specs and S Pen stylus.

The Note 7 acts a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but it takes the flagship’s 5.5-inch curved display that debuted in March and stretches it out to the Note’s trademark 5.7 inches and includes an S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

This makes the Note 7 bigger and heavier than the S7 Edge, but it’s actually slimmer than last year’s Note 5. Yet it has returning features like a microSD card slot and IP68 waterproof rating, both missing from the Note 5. There’s also a new iris scanner that’s turning heads.

All of this is a big deal for the UK and Europe – the S Pen upgrade to the Galaxy Note 4 is long overdue. Samsung didn’t launch the Galaxy Note 5 outside of the US and a few other countries.

Just don’t call it the Samsung Galaxy Note 6. The Galaxy Note 7 has more to do with the Galaxy S7 series and is prepping itself for the ultimate comparison with next month’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Watch our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 hands on video review

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7paB_yQQn4

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 announcement happened on Tuesday, August 2 at Samsung’s Unpacked event, and we were there in New York and London to go hands-on.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The actual device pre-orders started on August 3 in the US, while the official delivery date is August 19 in the US and Australia. That’s also the physical release date for the new Samsung Gear VR with a USB-C connection. The Note 7 will come in four colors: Coral Blue, Gold, Silver and Black.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 UK release date is a little later: September 2. UK pre-orders open this Tuesday, on August 16, and it will only be available in Black and Coral Blue at first.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 pricing is being worked out by US carriers. T-Mobile it for $ 32.50 for 24 months and $ 69.99 upfront, or a retail price of $ 849.99. Verizon is $ 36 a month for the same two years (no upfront fee), or $ 864 at full retail price. AT&T has it for a slightly higher $ 36.67 over the course of 24 months or $ 880. Sprint charges $ 35.42 a month spread out over 24 months, $ 349.99 upfront with a two-year contract, or $ 849.99 for the Note 7 at full price.

That’s more than the Galaxy S7 Edge price, which debuted at $ 299 on contract ($ 769 SIM-free unlocked four months after it launched), or $ 33 monthly.

The Samsung Note 7 UK price is simpler, and unsurprisingly big, too: £749. That’s a big bump from the S7 Edge, which is priced at £640 when it launched four months ago.

The price in Australia follows the same expensive pattern: AU$ 1,349. Galaxy Note 7 will be available in Australia from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Samsung Retail and Samsung’s online store.

If you preorder a Galaxy Note 7 in the US and Australia between August 5 and August 18, you’ll receive a bonus at certain stores: either a Samsung Gear Fit 2 or a Samsung 256GB microSD card, your choice.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 design and display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 reflects the S7 Edge look and feel thanks to its curved 5.7-inch screen, but it maintains the Note build and S Pen functionality.

Note 7

Its dimensions are 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, meaning the Note 7 is a meaningful 2.2mm narrower than the Note 5. That’s ideal for staying comfortable in your hand – you’ll drop it a lot less, too.

Hand-holding is also helped by the curved back, a returning design feature from the Note 5 and one that wasn’t a part of the S7 Edge. It brings the Note 7 frame to a smooth point.

The dual edge curved screen on the left and right is more subtle here, but it reduces false touches that have been a problem for some people with the more elaborate S7 Edge curves.

The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED panel supports Mobile HDR, so we expect The Note 7 to garner another world’s best smartphone display trophy. And a new Motion Wallpaper lockscreen shifts colors as you move it, giving us something new to look at besides Parallax mode.

The Note 7 has shed some weight, coming in at 162g. That’s still heavier than the S7 most other phones today, but a reasonable weight considering the size of this device.

Finally, it’s waterproof again, with an official IP68 rating. That means it can survive at a depth of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) for 30 minutes before suffering damage.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Iris scanner

The Note 7 iris scanner is the nifty new technology that Samsung is using to unlock your phone and your most private folders. It feels futuristic, just like the fingerprint sensor did a few years ago.

Note 7

With a swipe from the left on the lockscreen, the iris scanner screen reveals an iris scanning menu that seeks your eyes. Within a second, it’ll unlock your phone.

The Note 7 iris scanner is by no means a replacement for the normal fingerprint sensor button. It’s a supplement that works best when you’re exiting the shower or a pool, and your fingerprint just won’t unlock your phone right away.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Specs

There’s no big surprise when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 specs. It basically has the same internals as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from five months ago – meaning it’s still powerful.

Note 7

At its heart is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor in the US version, and Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 octacore processor in the UK and almost everywhere else. The latter is the faster of the two, the Qualcomm’s chip supports American and Chinese CDMA networks.

The Note 7 sticks with 4GB of RAM, shying away from the 6GB RAM upgrade that had been rumored at time leading up to the phone launch event and which is enjoyed by the OnePlus 3, Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe and a variant of the ZTE Axon 7.

The big upgrade for the Note 7 this time around is the fact that it starts with 64GB of internal storage. Gone is any sort of 32GB option, which is an even bigger deal if you’re moving from an Apple’s 16GB nightmare.

In addition to the larger built-in storage size, the Note 7 includes a microSD card slot (tucked into its nano SIM card slot) to expand storage by up to 256GB. There’s no second SIM card slot to speak of, however.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 software

The Galaxy Note 7 runs Android 6.0.1, but you probably wouldn’t know it looking at the menus. Samsung uses its TouchWiz interface, so this looks like an evolved version of all of its previous phones.

Note 7It includes all of the Google apps you know, love and need, including Gmail, Google Docs and the Google Play Store, and also Samsung’s own apps, which you’ll likely never use outside of the recommended Samsung Pay.

The early August launch means the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 won’t get the Android 7.0 Nougat upgrade right away, like a new Nexus phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera

When it comes to the camera, the Galaxy Note 7 and Samsung’s other 2016 devices are alike, too. It has the same 12MP sensor and f/1.7 aperture, and it’s fantastic in low-light conditions.

Note 7

Both OIS and dual pixel image sensor technology combine to put even the darkest photos in focus. This is why the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is highly lauded.

While the Note 5 had a 16MP camera, Samsung proves this isn’t a numbers game by any means. The phone also has a 5MP f/1.7 front-facing camera, and the main camera can shoot 4K video.

Battery life and USB-Type C

The Samsung Note 7 has upgraded to a 3,500mAh to support its large screen. That’s a big 17% increase over the similarly sized Note 5 battery from last year.

Best of all, it takes the same amount of time to charge as the smaller Note 5 battery, thanks to USB Type-C connectivity, which will be a big switch from microUSB for some people.

There’s a lot more to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to be discovered, and we’ve been spending some hands-on time with the new phone.


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TfL defends English test rules amid Uber complaints

London’s transport authority defends its decision to ensure private hire drivers have at least an intermediate level in English.
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Hands-on review: DeWalt MD501

Hands-on review: DeWalt MD501

As the iPhone 7 looms, there seems to be a real fear that the global smartphone market has reached its peak when it comes to innovation and opportunities to sell.

Sure, every new generation is faster than the previous one, has more memory and a camera with more megapixels, but in the grander scheme of things, all that’s rather ‘meh’.

That doesn’t mean that consumers don’t want to buy a phone, it’s just that often they haven’t found one that is different enough for them to fork out their hard-earned cash.

DeWalt MD501 comparative

Which is where rugged smartphones such as the BlackView BV6000, the Cat S60 and the Dewalt MD501, which we are testing today, can capture a small but not-so-insignificant audience (the above and below images show these three handsets next to each other).

DeWalt MD501 comparative 2

That audience is trade professionals and businesses looking for a smartphone that can resist a few knocks, and they don’t mind paying extra for a device that doesn’t get obliterated when it falls from your hand and hits a hard surface four feet below.

DeWalt MD501 comparative 3

The MD501, like the two other rugged smartphones mentioned, destroys the myth usually associated with this category of devices: that they are expensive but also ugly and have poor specs.

Sure, DeWalt’s flagship handset is not what we’d call affordable – at about £440 (around $ 580, AU$ 770) – but think about it more as an investment, and also consider the fact that you don’t have to buy an expensive accidental damage insurance policy.

Obviously the phone is not manufactured by DeWalt but by an unknown licensee through a company called Global Mobile Communications Limited – a common enough practice in this area (Cat phones and JCB phones are both built by the Bullitt group).

DeWalt MD501 front

Out of the box the device looks solid. Like the competition, its outer shell is made of a black reinforced rubber chassis with a couple of flaps that hide the microUSB port and an audio socket.

There’s an etched, barely visible logo on the front along with capacitive touch buttons, and a reasonably big, glove-friendly, 5-inch display with Gorilla Glass 3 capable of displaying 1280 x 720 pixels. The display is reasonably bright, and you also get a 5-megapixel front camera and a useful status LED.

At the back there’s a 13-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and a cover that hides two SIM cards and a microSD card reader.

DeWalt MD501 rear

A big programmable yellow button can be found on the left-hand side of the MD501 while a dedicated camera button, a power button and volume ones are on the opposite side.

At 245g and with a 14mm thickness, this device is heavy and sizable but then that’s what you’d expect from a smartphone and a bundled casing.

The MD501 matches the competition’s adherence to the IP68 set of tests as well as the stringent MIL-STD 810G. That means that it can withstand drops of up to two metres on concrete, stay under water at two metres for 30 minutes, and it is, of course, fully resistant to the ravages of dust as well as water.

DeWalt MD501 side

Oh, and add in the ability to work between temperatures of minus 20 degrees and 60 degrees. Which means that it won’t be harmed should you leave it on a dashboard in broad daylight on a hot summer’s day.

When it comes to the hardware, the MD501 lags behind the competition when it comes to sheer performance. Its score of 31,360 on Antutu is decent but far less than either of its aforementioned competitors.

That’s due to its processor which is not only slower but also has fewer cores. With 2GB of RAM and 16GB on-board storage, it is also found wanting compared to its biggest competitor, the S60 from Cat.

DeWalt MD501 side 2

The rest of the configuration includes a series of sensors (Gyroscope, pressure, magnetic, light and range), GPS, AGPS, GLONASS (but not Beidou), an amplified speaker, a 3,950mAh battery, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Qi wireless charging, an FM radio and NFC.

Surprisingly, the MD501 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop rather than 6.0 Marshmallow. That update is expected to come very soon according to DeWalt, but this is nonetheless a bother for those who want, for example, to benefit from the unified storage function.

DeWalt MD501 top

Early verdict

The DeWalt MD501 is far too expensive for what it offers. The hardware itself can be found on handsets costing less than £100, which means that the extra toughening has quadrupled its price.

In comparison, the Cat S60 is a far more powerful handset with more memory and storage, plus it has a thermal imaging camera, Android 6.0, and can go deeper underwater.

And we’ve not even compared this offering to the BV6000 which costs around a third of the price while providing a better set of hardware. DeWalt will need to significantly up the ante in order to catch up with the competition.


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ZTE wants you to build its next phone – should Apple and Samsung follow suit?

ZTE wants you to build its next phone - should Apple and Samsung follow suit?

ZTE is assembling its biggest committee yet to design its next smartphone.

The Chinese phone maker’s upcoming mobile device, codenamed Project CSX, will be created using suggestions from the public via ZTE’s community forum.

Of course, there are constraints. ZTE is only interested in submissions that are "technically possible by 2017" and can produce something "affordable to the general public," so adding a Predator-style cloaking device or diamond-encrusted buttons aren’t going to cut it.

As an added bonus, ZTE will give away cash prizes to those whose brilliant idea makes it into the phone, as well as offer entrants a chance to test out the device before it goes on sale, or even win a trip to CES in Las Vegas, Engadget reports.

It’s too soon to tell what kind of phone Project CSX will become, but some ideas gaining traction so far include removable batteries, dual-SIM card support, and making sure the phone doesn’t turn into a phablet.

More outlandish ideas have also cropped up, such as a bottle opener and thermometer to ensure you crack open that brewski when it’s frostiest. Hey, someone out there is sure to use that, right?

Should the others follow suit?

Our time with the ZTE Axon 7 gives us confidence that the company can make a feature-heavy phone without going over budget – a common bane in crowdsourcing.

That said, it’s always a gamble when input from the public is involved, so it wouldn’t surprise us if the likes of Apple and Samsung avoided a similar undertaking until it proves popular or, better yet, profitable.

Meanwhile, Google’s Project Ara hopes to make every phone a personalized one thanks to modular parts, with a developer edition coming out as soon as this fall. Should modular phones take off, the need for devices tailored by public vote is almost guaranteed to dissipate.

That said, we’re not against the idea of major players taking polls before pushing out a product. For example, the possible removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 has been met with backlash by fans and critics alike – something that, if true, Apple could’ve avoided by polling the populace.

Is ZTE’s experiment the future of smartphone development? There’s no telling at this point, but you still have until August 31 to submit your ideas before it’s time to rock the vote. As for us, we’re behind that built-in bottle opener – there never seems to be one around when we need it.


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Australia plans new co-ordinates to fix sat-nav gap

Australia is to shift its longitude and latitude to address a gap between local co-ordinates and those from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).
BBC News – Technology

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