Hey folks, hello again. It’s February 17th and as every week we’re back again with the weekly tech news roundup. This week’s coverage includes Windows 10 getting a floating video player, Instant Tethering coming to Android Nougat, Amazon launching a Skype competitor, Nest Cam getting new features and Nokia 3310 making a comeback. All this looks exciting, right? So let’s get started without wasting any time.
Windows 10 is Getting a Floating Video Player
In 2016, Apple launched MacOS Sierra, and one of the highlights of the operating system was the ability for users to play videos in an overlay over other apps. It’s called Picture in Picture mode and it is available on Safari and iTunes exclusively. We all know Microsoft is trying to get ahead of the curve in every sphere and that includes the productivity segment too. But recently Microsoft took a page from Apple’s MacOS and built a feature which won’t let you get any work done.
In the Insider Build of Windows 10 ( Build 15031 to be precise), Microsoft has introduced a new feature called Compact Overlay tool which developers can leverage to create a feature almost similar to macOS’s Picture in Picture. The feature, according to Microsoft will be available in the incoming updates to the Movies and TV apps and Skype as well. We certainly hope that Microsoft Edge will also receive some love so that procrastinators can binge watch their favorite vloggers on YouTube. The feature has only been teased in screenshots so far and it will mostly ship with the Redstone 3 update.
Pixel and Nougat Devices Get Another Exclusive Feature: Instant Tethering
Prior to the Google Pixel devices, most of the users thought it would be a successor to the Nexus line and pick up right where Google dropped the line with the Nexus 6P. But during the launch, we saw a whole other side of Google. A more aggressive, hardware centered Google trying to take a bite into Apple’s user base. Now, it may not be wise to say that they actually managed to do so without having data to back it up, but we do know that the Pixel is doing really well. Pixel turned out to be one of those Premium devices, with a really polished version of Android and Google’s infrastructure and services backing it up. Just like Apple has had a habit of introducing exclusive features to the iPhones, Google’s doing the same with Pixel. For those who still aren’t able to decide what I’m talking about, it’s Instant Tethering.
Instant Tethering started showing up on Android devices in January but so far has been exclusive to the Pixel and Nexus devices. What Instant Tethering allows you to do is, as the name suggests, share data connection instantly among devices. What you need for this is two devices which share the same Google account. So assume you own the Pixel and the Pixel C tablet, if you are signed in with the same account on both of those devices, you can head over to the Settings app and tap on Provide data connection to set up your device as a host or, Get data connection to set a non-host device. That’s all. There’s no waiting or extra steps to go through. As long as both devices are tied to the same Google account your devices will be able to share connection instantly. In order to save battery, the host device will disconnect automatically after 10 minutes if there’s no activity. It’s interesting to see how Google is carving out their device line-up.
Amazon Launches a New AWS Product, Chime to Beat Skype
Amazon is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most reliable Cloud infrastructure provider. If you are a regular reader of our blog and specifically the weekly tech news, you would have noticed that we have covered a lot of pieces where big companies like Netflix and Apple have moved over to Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) Infrastructure instead of using their in house solution. This is mostly due to the perform and reliability that Amazon provides, after all their main business runs on AWS. That being said, AWS isn’t the reigning champion companies like Microsoft and Google have also been advancing in the same sector significantly, making it difficult for Amazon to stay relevant. Microsoft particularly has an edge over Amazon in the enterprise game because it has the Office Suite of products and Skype as an add on to make the while experience well tied up. This week Amazon’s AWS launched a new product to compete with Microsoft on that particular front. It’s called Chime and it’s a Skype competitor. Not only Microsoft, Google can also be threatened by this launch.
What’s so special about Chime you ask? The service which accessible on Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS, is pretty unique. For starters it doesn’t require a PIN to join a call (not that it was that big of a deal anyway ). Another feature is a visual roster of participants that includes information about anyone with distracting backgrounds. In a meeting without a moderator, any user can choose to mute one of the participants so that others aren’t distracted. Chime offers a free edition and a Plus version with the user management feature and Active Directory support with 1GB of message retention available for $2.50 per user per month. And a Pro Edition which will set you back $15 per user per month with extra perks. Ony time will tell if Amazon actually manages to get a fair share of users from it’s current competitors.
Nest Cam and App Gets Some Well-Awaited Features
Tech enthusiasts are no strangers to Nest. If you are new here, Nest is a home automation company that was acquired by Google, they build thermostats, smoke detectors, cameras and other stuff like that. This week the Nest mobile app was updated with a host of new features. The company announced automatic door detection and animated push notifications for premium customers. The goal with this update is reducing the number of irrelevant alerts while letting you get to important stuff faster. The Nest Aware premium service was available to users via the Nest App and initially was a 24×7 offering with continuous HD recording and up to 30 days of video history.
The automatic door detection can instruct any supported camera to lock on to any activity around the entryway. It uses activity zoning for this. The new alerts feature lets you quickly access the notifications without having to open the Nest app. When you receive an alert you don’t want to waste seconds unlocking your phone and opening the app, so the app will now show you the activity on the alert itself. This feature is available for anyone on Android 7 and above and iOS 10.
Nokia 3310 is Coming Back
2017 has barely begun and we’ve already started hearing a lot of buzz about new devices. One of the interesting ones has been Nokia which is getting resurrected as a smartphone manufacturer through some help from HMD Global. Keeping those flagship rumors aside, let’s focus on something interesting. According to leaks, the legendary Nokia 3310 is coming back. Yes, you heard it right, the phone which has been the gold standard of battery life and strength (mild pun intended) is coming to the future.
The phone will launch on February 26th in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress. Nothing is confirmed on the specs end but what we do know is that the snake game would make a comeback with the phone. Nokia will be launching a handful of smartphones as well but bringing back the once-popular feature phone would be an interesting sight to behold. Just so that you know that we’re not pulling a prank on you, this leak was published by none other that Evan Blass (@evleaks) who has been known to provide trustworthy news before smartphone announcements.
That’s all for this week!