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Monday, April 6, 2015

WhatsApp Voice Calling Feature Coming to Windows Phone Soon

The WhatsApp voice calling feature has been confirmed to be in development for the Windows Phone platform.

WhatsApp support team in an emailed reply to a Windows Phone user revealed the news and said, "WhatsApp Calling for your platform [Windows Phone] is still in the works."

Unfortunately, the team didn't specify any exact time-frame for the release of WhatsApp voice calling for Windows Phone users. The WhatsApp Support team further added, "We cannot comment on any future release timelines but we appreciate your interest in WhatsApp Calling." The emailed response from WhatsApp was first reported by WM Poweruser.

While WhatsApp voice calling feature is now available to all Android users; the feature is yet to reach iOS users. WhatsApp Co-Founder, Brian Acton, at a recent event confirmed that the voice calling feature will be rolled out to iOS users in a "couple weeks".

Acton while speaking at Facebook's F8 developers' conference revealed that WhatsApp team "refined and iterated voice calling" last year before launching it on Android. Unfortunately, Acton did not reveal an exact time-frame for the release of the voice calling feature on iOS.

It will be interesting to see whether the Windows Phone users will get the voice-calling feature ahead of iOS users.

To recall, WhatsApp for Android users started receiving the voice calling feature without any activation or invites late in March. To get the feature on their Android smartphones, users had to download the latest version of WhatsApp from its website. The feature appeared on WhatsApp version 2.12.5 in some smartphones, but most people needed the latest 2.12.19 version to get WhatsApp calling. When the feature was activated on an Android smartphone, users noticed a new three-tab layout featuring Calls, Chats and Contacts. One could head to the Calls tab, tap the phone icon, and pick a contact to make a WhatsApp call.

Credit: NDTV

Exclusive: Facebook integrates WhatsApp into Facebook for Android

Though it took Facebook a little over a year, we just got a glimpse of what the company’s first integration with WhatsApp will look like

A few months back, we first uncovered WhatsApp’s plans to integrate voice calls into its app. Now, we’ve got another early look to share with you.

It took Facebook a little over a year since the acquisition of WhatsApp to start incorporating its new asset into Facebook’s platform. On Saturday, we learned that Facebook has begun testing a new feature in its Facebook for Android app (Version that includes the first major integration of WhatsApp.

As you can see in the images above, Facebook has added a “Send” button with the familiar WhatsApp icon as a part of the status actions buttons that appear under each status update. The new button appears on the right side (for left-to-right languages) for some users in the most recent version of the Facebook for Android app.

Here are more photos demonstrating the new update.

What does that mean?

We’ve known for a while that Facebook and WhatsApp work closely together to enhance each other’s capabilities. Back in the day it was Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s co-founder and CEO, who promised users after the acquisition that nothing was going to change and that WhatsApp would keep operating independently.

Up until today, we hadn’t observed any integration between the two platforms. On the contrary, we’ve seen Facebook keep pushing its Messenger platform, especially with its latest announcement at F8.

Now that this is out, we believe that this is merely a first step towards connecting the two platforms in order to sustain growth and take control of the messaging market together. According to unconfirmed rumors, teams from both companies are already working on a deeper integration that will include the ability to send messages between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Credit: Geektime

Rithm wants to be WhatsApp for music messaging

If you’re looking for new music, how often do you ask fellow audiophiles for a recommendation? And how much do you trust their musical taste? For Rithm, the mobile music app which lets users send each other musical messages, pictures, text and emojis, the answer is hopefully ‘not often enough’ and ‘better than Pandora.’

The service, which has been around since 2013 (and is an offshoot of MavenSay, their lifestyle recommendation app), relaunches this week as a more robust, entirely legitimate music streaming service.

Rithm’s bread-and-butter is in its ability to easily share music clips to friends. “This is a different type of [music streaming] service,” CEO Mike Wagman tells Forbes. “Spotify has fully on-demand [songs] — anything, anytime. For us, it’s expanding the streaming market to consumers who want a messaging service.”

That said, they’ve secured major label licensing with Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Merlin and indie distribution stalwart, The Orchard. Its database currently has seven million catalog tracks which can be shared from one user to another.

It’s a freemium service, letting free users send 30 second music clips to friends. The paid version ($3.99 per month) allows users to listen to full songs, but only songs in their chat history and a self-curated playlist of 40 extra songs. Users can make up to 60 swaps within their playlist which essentially means access to 100 self-selected songs per month.

Also intriguing is its ability to send music-related stickers and animated emojis for 99 cents, including the adorable one below featuring DJ Steve Aoki.

The market for streaming music services is a over saturated — if not bloated — one but Rithm’s differentiation is in its merger of social music sharing and messaging. It’s lower price point and focus on messaging make it a desirable product for a younger audience. We don’t know of any direct competitors, so be on the lookout: you may be hearing more from Rithm.

Credit: Digital Trends

WhatsApp Says It’s Not “Permanently” Banning Users From Its Service, Just Blocking Third-Party Clients

Quite a few reports circling the web this week appear to indicate a tightening of WhatsApp’s policy toward the usage of third-party WhatsApp client applications. That is, word has it that those using an unofficial app will be banned from WhatsApp for life. However, that’s not exactly the case, WhatsApp explains. In fact, there’s been no larger policy shift since we last reported on the now Facebook-owned company’s crackdown on third-party app usage earlier this year.

As you may recall, in January, WhatsApp began banning users from its service when they were found to be using a third-party (unofficial) WhatsApp mobile application. In order to be allowed back into WhatsApp, users were asked to uninstall the offending app from their phone, then download the authorized version of WhatsApp from the app store instead. The company also explained the policy via an FAQ on its website.

At the time, one popular app maker even reported receiving a cease-and-desist from WhatsApp related to his service’s development.

The reason for the crackdown, the company explained, was related to security and privacy. It simply can’t guarantee such apps are safe, given that WhatsApp doesn’t control their source code.

That challenge is one many mobile application makers today face, as failing to restrict third-party app usage can lead to disastrous results – as Snapchat found out last year when its users were hacked. The event, dubbed “The Snappening,” came about due to insecurities in third-party applications.

The confusion this week related to WhatsApp’s policy on third-party clients appears to stem from a Google+ posting from WhatsApp+’s developer where he states that WhatsApp has started a “Permanent Account Disable” recently. That post was picked up by a German blog, and then subsequently began making the rounds as other sites repeated the story, and the details (in some cases) became fuzzy.

The problem is that there’s confusion around this terminology of a “lifetime ban.” That makes it sound like users are being banned from WhatsApp forever, but that’s not the case.

Instead, the same policy as before still stands: if users continue to use WhatsApp+ (or another third-party app), they will not be able to use WhatsApp anymore, as the company explained previously.

What has perhaps shifted is that, before, the company was issuing 24-hour “temporary” bans complete with a countdown timer displayed to affected users, but now those users are simply not able to use WhatsApp’s services at all until the third-party apps are uninstalled.

[Update: some additional confirmation on how this works has been provided. If WhatsApp has warned the user more than once, they may not see the 24-hour clock. But after they uninstall WhatsApp+ they should be able to use WhatsApp within a few days. ]

“If a user doesn’t uninstall WhatsApp+ then they will continue to be banned until they stop using it. But there is no permanent ban,” a WhatsApp spokesperson confirms.

In other words, once a user removes WhatsApp+, WhatsApp Reborn, OgWhatsapp or any other third-party client from their smartphone, they’ll again be able to use the official WhatsApp app – just the same as before. Their account and associated phone number is not “permanently” banned or “banned for life” from WhatsApp itself.

Credit: TechCrunch

Friday, January 30, 2015

OnePlus Will Reveal Details Of Its ‘Oxygen’ Android ROM On February 12

OnePlus introduced its own version of Android for its One smartphone earlier this month in response to its standoff with Cyanogen, and now the company has revealed that it will unveil its own ROM which can be installed on third-party Android devices on February 12.

Correction: OnePlus told us that, in fact, it won’t launch the ROM on the 12th. This is a tease-of-a-tease, and instead we can expect to see “more information about the ROM” not an actual download. Furthermore, co-founder Carl Pei told TechCrunch that OnePlus is not going to release the ROM for third-party devices, though he suggested some fans will develop unofficial ports.

Named ‘Oxygen’, OnePlus described it as being “open, customizable, and free of bloat and unnecessary features,” but those are the only details you’re getting for now. That vague description chimes with the Android fork for the One, which is initially based on Google’s stock version of Android but will be tweaked with new features over time.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what this ROM means to us and our fans. We realized that, like everything we do, our true goal is to make the product that we ourselves would want to use—to make great technology more accessible for everyone,” OnePlus said in a post.

OnePlus’s entry into the software side of the smartphone business is an interesting one. Xiaomi was the first major company to develop both smartphones and its own operating system, and its success and unique identity has triggered a number of other firms to do similar. Letv just announced its first smartphone and own LeOS, while Cyanogen itself has grown its reputation through deals with Micromax and OnePlus, while — according to reports — there may be a tie-in with Microsoft coming.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Get Facebook Lite for your Android device

"Made for phones with limited space and connectivity, this may be the lightest version of Facebook for Android yet."

Facebook is testing a stripped down version of its mobile app that requires far less data, which could help increase usage of the social networking service among people with weaker Internet service or older phones.

Facebook “Lite” is available for devices running Android 2.2 and up. The size of the free app is 252 kilobytes, and it’s meant for 2G networks in areas with limited connectivity. Users can perform a bunch of basic functions like post status updates with photos, comment on people’s posts, message friends, have group conversations, and receive notifications. Posts from the news feed are meant to load quickly.

Early reviews on the Google Play store for the app have been positive, with many praising its low data and battery usage.

Facebook launched the app over the weekend in parts of Africa and Asia, said a report in TechCrunch. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment further.

The Lite app appears to be related to Facebook’s project, which seeks to provide free access to Facebook and other basic Internet services in developing countries. The app is already available in a handful of countries such as Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Colombia. In addition to Facebook, the app provides access to other services like the weather, Wikipedia, and health and educational information. Carriers can charge users for paid access to other services. In addition to Facebook, other founding partners of include Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung.

With the Lite app, Facebook might be testing people’s responsiveness to a set of basic Facebook services without the ancillary ones. It may also help Facebook learn how it could further improve the functions of its app.

Facebook tested a different stripped down version of its site in late 2009 and early 2010, although only for the desktop. It was shut down in April 2010.

Facebook has not made this slimmed-down version of its app globally available on the Play Store. If you want to check it out, you'll have to manually install it on your device. To get a copy of the app, visit AndroidPolice's APKMirror website and download it directly onto your device. After the download is finished, tap the notification and install the app. 

Source: CNET & CustomToday

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Xiaomi Unveils MIUI 6 Android UI That Looks a Lot Like iOS 7

Xiaomi, as promised at the Mi 4 smartphone's launch, unveiled the next version of its MIUI user interface, MIUI 6, on Saturday at an event in Beijing, China.

MIUI 6, the new smartphone UI for Android-based Xiaomi devices, comes with major design refresh and also brings a slew of new features. Notably, the Mi 4 runs MIUI 6 out-of-the-box.

The company, also referred to as 'China's Apple', defined the new Android skin as "the best MIUI ever." However, as numerous industry pundits have pointed out, the new MIUI version noticeably takes a lot of design inspiration from Apple's iOS 7 and the newly announced iOS 8 smartphone and tablet operating systems.

The Chinese handset maker announced that the MIUI 6 is currently in beta testing with over 1,000 beta testers; though the number is likely to grow up to 10,000 people by Friday.

The company announced that the MIUI 6 developer version will be open to the public by September and will be rolled out to as 'final upgrade' to select Xiaomi handsets by October. 

The Xiaomi will begin testing MIUI 6 on the Mi 2, Mi 2S, Mi 2A, Redmi 1S, and Redmi Note by the end of this year, and updates for these devices can be expected to be rolled-out by next year.

Some of highlight features that the MIUI 6 brings is a brand new design (in what the company calls 'Content is essence' philosophy) with flat app icons. The company said at the launch, "MIUI believes that content is the essence, and has put that belief in the design of MIUI 6."

"MIUI 6 supports moving apps by holding on the app and switch screens. It has the most convenient icons organizing method, supports batch organize and delete icons," added the company.

MIUI 6 also brings a revamped camera app that will allow swipe down to switch between front and back camera, swipe left to launch menu panel, and swipe right to launch filters. The company has also re-worked the lockscreen notifications on MIUI 6, which will now appear as folded by default.

The new Android OS customisation adds a global search function feature that will allow users to place the search box anywhere on home screen, and even locate apps via it. Some other additions on the MIUI 6 include new Linux kernel and RAM optimisation techniques; new power-saving features to adjust the standby time of the device; 10GB free Mi Cloud storage space for storing images, contacts, messages, call logs and more, and the redesigned Mail app.

In addition to the iOS-styled flat icons and lockscreen notification on the MIUI 6, some of the app icons on the new MIUI appear to come straight from iOS 7 or iOS 8, like the calendar, compass, timer, and calculator.

What do you think of the new Xiaomi MIUI 6? Does it look like iOS 7? Let us know via the comments.

Source: NDTV