Apple Music has been growing thanks in part to its $14.99/mo family plan, and Spotify has taken notice. As of today, the Swedish streaming service offers the same plan except it does Apple one better and supports up to six people instead of five.
Google has yet another messaging client in the works. Called Allo, it effectively replaces traditional SMS texting with a Facebook-like interface and features while still using phone numbers as the contact method. So, you can benefit from read message notifications, typing notifications, emojis, stickers, group chats, and improved picture display among other things.
In addition to that, there are some cool Google-specific features such as Ink (handwriting and drawing as seen in MSN Messenger many moons ago), Whisper Shout (increase text size for a given message to 'shout' at people -- great for arguments!), and smart reply (quick reply options that learn from your chat history).
And then there's Google assistant, which lets you do things like check sports scores, book dinner, play games, search Google, use Maps, share YouTube videos, look at photos from your Gallery, and so on, all without leaving Allo. Voice interaction is supported here, too.
Multiple users have reported the recent WhatsApp Android beta included an option to initiate a video call. Although it's said most users couldn't actually activate it and it was later removed in an update, its very presence indicates a release is likely not far off.
Signs have been pointing to video calling coming to the popular chat app since at least December thanks to leaks and translation requests for "Video Call."
Audio calling came to WhatsApp last year. As with that feature launch, it's probable that video calling will be available only to a small number of users at first. To increase your chances, sign up for the beta program.
Google is aiming to make texting much easier and more interactive with Gboard. Essentially, you hit a button inside a text conversation and can then search for things on the web and link them, all without leaving the conversation. Whether it's flight plans, restaurant locations, GIFs, emojis, or whatever else, you're covered.
Gboard actually works in any app, including email and YouTube, but the most popular application of it will likely be messaging.
Instagram gets a makeover today, complete with a snazzy new icon and refreshed interface.
The new icon is inspired by the previous icon, while the design is intended to be simpler in an effort to put greater emphasis on photos and videos.
Last week it was reported WhatsApp might be on its way to Windows. Turns out that's true, as a new Windows download on the official site proves.
Now for the bad news. The app isn't exactly an app, but a wrapper, meaning it simply mirrors the mobile version of WhatsApp -- which is required to use the Windows version -- rather than being a native UWP app as you'd hope. It's possible WhatsApp is working on a UWP version and this is merely to tide users over; it's also possible it's done this way for security reasons.
Battlefield 1's 64-player matchmaking is still intact, and it's even better than ever.
Today DICE revealed Battlefield 1, the World War I FPS that's built on a more brutal world-on-fire approach. As such, multiplayer will be even more chaotic and brutal, with tons of explosive vehicle combat including biplane dogfighting in the skies, different variations of tanks, zeppelins, battleships--just all-out war across the land, sea and air.
"Battlefield 1 is all about the old world meting the new world, we wanted to depict this. the old tactics meet the new with cataclysmic results," said Lars Gustavsson. "The battles will be intense, the physicality really brings the immersion to the battles, and allows players to turn beautiful pristine landscapes into devastated landscapes." DICE affirms that multiplayer includes some of the "largest ever vehicles we've ever built", and combat will be much more brutal and impact players in a significant way,
"Battlefield 1 i s set on an epic scale, set on a global scale. We want to take the player on a journey across the world. From the deserts of Arabia, or fortresses under siege, all of them creating new opportunities and possibilities through multiplayer and campaign."
"We wanted to provide players with meaningful gameplay choices with the weapons. We'll have a huge variety of weapons including traditional rifles, SMGs, but we also have shovels and bayonets and the like. It's all about fitting your playstyle. Huge variety of weapons and gadgets including flamethrowers."
As of today, Apple is offering a discount to students who sign up for its streaming service Apple Music.
If you're enrolled in an eligible institution, you'll receive 50 percent off your subscription. In a somewhat unexpected twist, the offer is available outside the US for once: those in many other countries -- the U.K., Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, among others -- will be able to take advantage. Once you've done so, the offer is good for four not necessarily continuous years.
The offer is no doubt a bid to better compete with rival Spotify, which has done the same for awhile now. Last we checked, Spotify sat at 30 million subscribers with Apple Music at 11 million; news is in now that the latter has grown to 13 million, attributed in part to its $14.99/mo. family plan. Soon, a new interface is said to arrive, which should help matters further.
Following mediocre reviews of Apple Music's first iteration and departures of executives intended to revitalize the company's music strategy (among other bad news), those familiar with the service have told Bloomberg a revamp is on the way.
It's said the interface will be made more intuitive to use, Apple's streaming and download businesses will be better integrated, and its online radio service will be expanded. The reveal will take place at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, at which point the marketing machine will go full throttle to get more customers on board.
Nine Inch Nails founder and tech geek Trent Reznor as well as content head Robert Kondrk are said to oversee the new design, with many other notable staff contributing.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has a new iOS and Android app designed to motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and make the day your...well, you know. Appropriately named "The Rock Clock", it lets you set a personal goal, choose when you want to get up, and then wake up to a message from The Rock himself.
Other features include video messages from The Rock, 25 custom alarm tones, and "Rock Time", which syncs your alarm with The Rock so "you get up when he does" (probably not smart if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest). Amusingly, there's an intentional lack of snooze alarm because "The Rock is not a fan of that button."