Okay everyone. We are TechLector of the house of Tech and today, we bring to you something new from our bag. We always do, right?
TechLector Monthly Tech Pill is aimed at bringing together tech happenings (the major and highlight ones by the way) for each month of the year from all around the world of tech in one single, detailed and simplified piece. Product updates, smartphone reviews, PC tutorials, mobile phone HOW-TOs, gadgets, rumours, and product reviews are not spared as well.
Enough of the stimulation, let's just get to it already. Time to take your medicine.
February 2017. Great month. We witnessed so many events. Generic events like the February 14 valentine's day and tech-inspired events such as the Mobile World Congress which held in Barcelona, Spain. A good number of devices were introduced to the World at the event. Among such devices was the legendary Nokia 3310 which Nokia revived and gave new features, a new life. We will be discussing other events in the drop.
And guess what we'd be starting off with;
TOP FEBRUARY SOCIAL NETWORK & MESSAGING PLATFORM NEWS
One Social Network at a time. Seem better that way, don't it? Now follow me.
February saw Snapchat introduce a new “Universal Search” feature to its App. The Universal search feature is a search bar located at the top of the Snapchat application. Snapchat wants to make usage of its app as easy as possible for its users.
It is agreeable that a good number a Snapchat users still have difficulties navigating and exploring the features of the App to the fullest. Some can't even find their way around their friends' Snap. This should be why Snapchat Inc. released the Universal Search functionality whereby users can easily navigate the numerous features of the app such as Discover, groups, Our Stories, publishers and even allows users search for their friends.
Snapchat didn't stop there for February; they went ahead initiate a move that could change everything entirely. Snapchat began designing and building a phone! I mean, who would have thought of it? A Social Network company diversifying to become an OEM? Feed your eyes with the image below. Isn't the concept of the device just beautiful?
The purported phone, according to reports, will include a special lock screen. On the lock screen, users can easily swipe for Snapchat notifications and updates and messages. You can as well sync the device with Snap Inc’s other major product, the ‘Snap Spectacles’. The device may sport a unique “Discover screen”. The Discover screen will combine functionalities like GPS and Maps, Snapchat Stories, and advertisements.
Who here is on Twitter? Okay. I think I hear some "I". Now, who hates those abusive and derogatory comments by those "Twitter scumbags"? I can't speak for you but I sure do hate such comments - and the users behind those comments too!
Apparently, Twitter have also had enough too which led to the release of a February dated statement themed “An Update on Safety”. In the statement, Twitter announced three changes that will be embodied onto its platform with an overall aim of curbing abusive contents, and also indirectly, abusive users.
“Today, we’re announcing three changes: stopping the creation of new abusive accounts, bringing forward safer search results, and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets”, Twitter said in the statement.
This simply means Twitter will identify users who have been permanently suspended. Not only that, Twitter will also prevent them from creating new accounts in the future. The second change will see tweets from blocked or muted accounts no longer been displayed in search results. Lastly, Twitter will henceforth hide replies (to tweets) that reeks of abuse. Great move by Twitter I must say. Goes a long way to show they care about users on their platform. Really great.
All rise as we welcome the Instagram Album. The Album feature newly introduced by Instagram now allows users to have more than one picture or video in a post.
“You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember” Instagram says.
I think Instagram also understands how herculean of a task it sometime is to choose that "one" best picture to post out of a set of other beautiful images. Well, now we can post 'em all! Yeah! see how to use the new Instagram Album HERE or watch the video below.
It was only four days to Valentine's Day and the "King of Social Network" rolled out a feature to make users Valentine’s Day remarkable. The feature - Facebook’s Valentine’s Day Cards, was Facebook's way of symbolizing that it recognises the importance of this day in the live of its users.
February 13, the social media giant displayed a pop up a message on users News Feed wishing them a Happy Valentine’s. In turn, FB prompted users to share a virtual card with friends, family and loved ones as a love gesture. The Valentine’s day cards could be sent to a user’s timeline or sent to a particular friend privately. All for Valentine. Beautiful.
Facebook, in the 2nd month of the year, also announced a 4 new integration and features that are all targeted at bettering users videos experience on the Facebook app. The features are: Autoplaying videos with sound, Picture in Picture (PIP) mode, Vertical Videos and Facebook Video TV App.
Lastly, just like the popular job listing platform, LinkedIn, Facebook began job-listing on its platform too. It rolled out a new feature that allows job seekers to link up to hiring managers without ever leaving the platform. The feature will, however, is currently available to businesses in the USA and Canada only.
February was really a "loud" month for WhatsApp. The messaging app garnered quite a lot of attention for two(2) new changes it made to its app. Let's take them according to date of occurence.
One, WhatsApp introduced new emojis which were already available to devices running Android 7.1 & iOS to all other Android OS version.
The new emojis include a male chef, a female chef, a male teacher (most likely a high school teacher), a female teacher too, male and female farmers, a male welder, surprisingly there’s a female welder too (not sure I’ve seen one in my life though).
WhatsApp also added emojis of the Buckingham Palace Guards, doctors, male and female construction workers, mechanics and what seem to be images of a boy and girl operating a Mac laptop – I can’t say for sure, but my guess is they’re programmers or probably just computer operators.
And in the mother of all copycat move in history, WhatsApp decided to have a "Story" feature on its app. Remember that Instagram also copied the same "Story" feature from Sanpchat. Copycats everywhere! LOL. But I've been thinking, why isn't there a way these companies can patent certain features or functionalities and make them unique to their platform alone? Well, I think I've got myself a new homework.
Yes, I was saying... WhatsApp is a cat... that copies! Hehe.
Basically, the new WhatsApp status works the same way Snapchat stories work. You can check our tutorial on How To Use WhatsApp Status On Android. While the end-to-end encryption of status updates is one major differentiating factor the revamped WhatsApp status has from Snapchat and Instagram story feature, many people still hated it.
A lot of users missed the old 'text and emoji' status, a number found it difficult starting a new chat, and I personally just don't love the new interface. Maybe I'll get used to it with time... maybe. Anyway, we have a tutorial on how you can disable the WhatsApp status feature on your android device.
Youtube also brought good news to users in the F month. The parent company, Google reportedly issued a statement saying it will discontinue the use of the 30-seconds unskippable Ad format in 2018. But why wait till then when 'YouTubers' are tired already of watching these 30 seconds ads which seem to take like forever to run? I guess we would never know. Let's just keep the 2018 countdown on.
In other news, Youtube also rolled out a new feature which eases video seeking functionality for users of the Youtube application. The new feature allows users to double-tap on either the left or right side of the screen to fast forward or rewind any video by 10 seconds respectively. This just means in place of clicking and moving the time-track indicator to go back or move forward to a particular point in a video, you can now simply double tap your screen on the right or left side of your the video display screen to either fast forward or rewind any video you are watching by 10 seconds.
Enough on Social Network and Messaging platforms. Let's look at devices that the second month of the year 2017 gifted us. Shall we?
GADGETS: LAPTOPS & PHONES
iLife ZED Air Laptop
Never heard about any iLife product? Well, iLife Digital Technology is a US based gadgets manufacturer known for producing laptops, tablets and smartphones. And the new iLife ZED Air laptop which is one the slimmest laptop in the market at the moment came in the month of February to the world with a BANG! Guys, this laptop is thinner than an empty wallet. It measures 16.2mm thin, weighs 1.53kg and ... let me just pause for a moment. In fact, I can't say enough about this device. Just check out the review HERE.
Yo guys. This laptop made our list of Top Valentine's Present to Gift Your Lover
OUKITEL C5 Pro
On our February review journey here at Techlector, we carefully examined the functions and properties of the OUKITEL C5 Pro. The device is a really affordable mid-range device. With specifications like 5 inch display, 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera and 2GB of RAM, we think the device is a great one from OUKITEL. Care to know our definition of great? Check our verdict below.
The OUKITEL C5 Pro is a really good budget device for anyone who wants to use a decent Android powered device but isn’t willing to break the bank to get one. Big screen, average camera and decent battery life. It really is worth the buy at $75. About N33,000 when converted to Naira with the present exchange rate.
You can check out the full review of the OUKITEL C5 Pro HERE
Segueing on, let's see some global groundbreaking tech innovations for the month of February.
The Icon is Back! Nokia 3310 Returned
February brought us back a legend! That's not something we plan forgetting anytime soon. The 2017 Nokia 3310 was re-launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on the 26th of February by HMD Global.
The newly revamped featured phone launched with improved specs which includes a larger 2.4-inch screen, a 2-megapixel camera, the signature Snake Xenzia game (I played the hell outta this game on the old 3310. Loved it!) and a 1200 mAh battery which, surprisingly can last 31 days on standby and can produce 22 hours of talk time.
The new 3310 is however being rumoured to have a retail price of about $40. Now isn't that too much, uhn? Check out the specs here and be the judge.
GLOBAL TECH NEWS
The mighty Apple Inc. have been building its giant new “spaceship” campus in the company’s hometown of Cupertino, California since December 2013. February 2017, the big A announced that its new "Apple Park" campus is near completion as it is currently undergoing only finishing touches. Apple revealed the campus way back in 2013 and it has since garnered quite a lot of attention.
The park is structured to house approximately 12,000 Apple employees and its first set of employees will move into the park by April 2017.
Another notable highlight of the park is the Steve Jobs Theater. The theatre which has a 1,000-seat capacity was named after Jobs to honor Jobs’ memory and enduring influence on Apple.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Apple Inc., GitHub, Uber and 90 other tech companies filed a legal brief in February against President Trump's immigration ban. This is like the first time we would witness the union of most top dogs in the tech industry. Quite applaudable. See the list of all the tech companies HERE.
Evan Blass (@Evleaks), a renowned device-leak expert who also reports for VentureBeat tweeted an image containing the Samsung Galaxy S8+ specifications. The leaked specs has almost everything that previous rumours have revealed. See the leaked spec sheet below
Seems like the specs are quite believable. Plus in the absence of an official specification or statement from Samsung, we really do no have a choice but to accept this as true do we?
Yes! The picture of the pretty lady on this magazine was taken with an iPhone 7 Plus camera.
Much as this is a good development for "Smartphonography", it also spells doom (extinction) for Digital cameras.
Miller Mobley, the photographer behind the Billboard cover achieved this beautiful cover photo by utilizing the iPhone 7 Plus’ exclusive Portrait Mode. The Portrait Mode functions by combining the input from the device’s dual rear-facing cameras.
Although finishing touches were later applied using special lighting and post-production editing, it is still a great feat for the the iPhone and Apple nevertheless. Now how's that for savagery?!? 8)
With the rate at which technology is advancing, there would come a time when humans won't require the services of anyone but robots and machines for any activity whatsoever.
This month, world’s largest package delivery company (UPS) successfully completed a drone package delivery. A first of its kind. Although it was only a test, UPS would definitely begin full-fledged incorporation into its delivery service soon.
The drone used for the test was the “Workhorse HorseFly”. According to UPS, the Workhorse HorseFly has an endurance time of 30-minutes, and can lift packages as heavy as 10 pounds (around 4.5 kilograms).
REGIONAL TECH NEWS
February in Nigeria still has economic recession biting hard on most citizens. Due to this economic meltdown and present market conditions, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to abolish its proposed plan to upward review of the interconnection rates for voice services.
The plea by NATCOMS came after the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta revealed on Wednesday that NCC was set to review the interconnection rate for voice services as a result of the current market realities.
In a particular February publication of Punch newspapers, the vile intents of Nigeria Telecos towards was revealed. Telecommunication companies in Nigeria may block calls made on instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype, with a motive to increase revenue generation.
“IT IS AN AGGRESSIVE APPROACH TO STOP FURTHER REVENUE LOSS TO OTT PLAYERS ON INTERNATIONAL CALLS , HAVING ALREADY LOST ABOUT N 100 TN BETWEEN 2012 AND 2017 , ” SAYS A MANAGER AT ONE TELCO COMPANY.
Do make sure you read more about it here.
Being snoopy they say isn't generally a good thing and I'm pretty sure everyone enjoys privacy at a point in their life. But hey! Guess who wants to start fixing gadgets that has the ability to listen, read and track down individuals who own and operate a mobile device on network providers equipment, the Kenyan Government?
However, some agencies and citizens have kicked against this scrawny little move by the Government. See how they reacted and what they said HERE.
OK guys, sorry I have to pause now. I really can do this all day with you guys but you know... LOL, I really do not have any excuse. That's it for the February Edition of TechLector Monthly Tech Pill. Expect a better, richer and bigger vial of dose next month! 8)
Oh! How could I forget? To those who made it far to this point, you have no idea how much you're appreciated! We owe you one! Hehe
See you on the next!