Chances are, you’ve heard about the new Android 8.0, or Android Oreo, which was officially announced yesterday. Following the operating systems update trend, all new versions are names after sweets or desserts, which is why 8.0 is known as Oreo.
Oreo is currently available only to Android Open Source Project (AOSP), with Pixel and Nexus devices to follow shortly, with testing for these devices already in progress. Oreo is available to the general public through a public beta download on compatible devices.
The features included in Android O include the following:
Although the update was released yesterday, it seems that it will take some time before it is available to most Android devices. Statistically, most users are 2 or 3 versions behind the current. The version before Oreo, Nougat, is only used by 13.5% of Android users, with 77.5% using the prior three versions to Nougat: Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat.
Back in June, Microsoft came out with a new design for Skype, making it look similar to apps such as Snapchat. As technology has become more cloud based, Skype has been attempting to compete with more and more apps and services that are providing video chatting and calls over the Web. Some examples include FaceTime, What’s App, and Facebook Messenger.
To better thrive against the competition, Skype placed its focus on the messaging component of the service, rather than video or audio calling. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that this ‘next generation’ of Skype is now available for testing on desktop computers. It contains all the same features as the new mobile app, but designed for a larger desktop computer screen.
Here is what the older desktop version of Skype looks like:
And with the update, this is what users can expect to look at:
The update is more colourful, easier to read, organized, and definitely mimics other platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Some key features that have been added to the new version of skype include a notification panel similar to Facebook Messenger, @mentions (which are now available on almost any social media platform, not just Twitter!), and the up and coming message reactions, where users can simply click a message and ‘react’ to it with an emoji or effect.
Further, the notifications panel expands into a chat gallery, so users can see all their messages in one place, and they can also search to find specific people or conversations. Another update included in this version is the enhanced group calling experience, which allows Skype users to click and drag contacts right into their video chat box to add them to a call. Users have mentioned time and time again that group calling on Skype has been to complicated, and this could be the perfect fix.
A preview of this update is available for download through Skype Insider, and Microsoft is looking to gain comments and feedback.
Let us talk about the phenomenon that is ‘The Internet of Things’, or IoT. The concept is not complicated: IoT represents the interconnection of devices and applications over the internet, and the ability for them to interact with one another. Some common examples we see in our everyday lives are ‘smart’ technologies – smart phones, smart TVs, smart dishwashers, etc. You may have even heard of the ‘smart fridge’ phenomenon that can determine when you are running out of an item, when the expiry date is approaching, or what recipes can be used with the ingredients available in your fridge.
The IoT is going much further than just smart appliances, however. Soon, we may expect to see smart cities, and we will eventually live in a smart world. This could mean anything from traffic light systems to farming to construction.
As our world becomes more global, the cost of connecting users decreases. This globalization has allowed technology and wifi to be more prominent in developing countries, and has created stronger relationships between people and things. Essentially, the amount of human effort required to accomplish tasks will be next to nothing, because common household devices will be able to communicate with one another to make your day flawless. A smart fridge is just one example. Some believe we will see the day where your morning alarm clock will alert the coffer maker to run, the fridge will assemble your breakfast ingredients, the car will turn on and drive you to work itself, etc.
Of course, this is not a reality that will occur in the next few months, but one day it may be. There will be security issues to deal with, and the technology will no doubt be expensive at first, but this is a future that many of us will live to see.
Many social media sites have a news section that updates consistently to keep users up to date with the going-ons of the world. Trending topics track the latest events, names, words, and hashtags that are circling through the web. Facebook announced a few months ago that it would be updating its news service to include a direct link.
Previously, Facebook’s trending news page allowed users to click the news piece they wanted to learn more about related posts and stories, but now, users can access what their friends are saying about the trending topic, as well as other sources and sites that have posted about the news. One of the best benefits to this update is that Facebook will now receive a more reliable and trustworthy name as a source for wold news. In the past, it was more likely that an individual would be criticized for sourcing facts from something they read on Facebook. This is no longer the case!
The update is primarily for users with the mobile app, either on iOS or Android, and the update has completely changed the design of how the news headlines will be seen by users. Previously, a very short sentence or just one or two words was used to show the news of the hour. In the new update, a full headline, a photo, and the actual news source will be listed and visible.