It’s April 22nd and with the summers on its peak, let’s get started with this week’s tech news. This week’s news roundup covers Opera, Facebook’s Messenger, Apple’s new Macbook, Uber and the Solar Impulse 2. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Facebook Launched Group Calling on Messenger
Facebook has been adding a lot of features to Messenger in the last few months. It started with multiple account support, Dropbox integration, a Material Design overhaul and now the addition of group calling. Messenger’s chief David Marcus, took to the blog to announce the launch of group calling. This feature allows you to connect to your groups of up to 50 people via a VoIP call. The feature will be rolling out to iOS and Android in the next couple of days.
Apple Updates the Macbook Line-Up with a New Rose Gold Variant
The 2015 Macbook gained a lot of attention when it launched because of the design, the tech and the frustrating idea of having a single port for data and power. Apple has just taken the wraps of the updated Macbook right about a year after it’s launch, and to no one’s surprise, there’s a Rose Gold (Pink ugh!) version of the machine available. The product listing on their website is pretty vague but we did the job of getting the differences out. To start off the new Macbook comes with and updated Intel Skylake Core M processor which consumes the same amount of power as the previous generation but offers better performance. Apart from the CPU, the graphics performance should also receive a boost compared to the previous generation, thanks to the Intel HD 515 Graphics which is 25% faster compared to the Intel HD 5300 present in the previous year’s model. The battery pack has also been upgraded from a 39.7 watt-hour to a 41.4-watt-hour battery which claims to offer 10 hours of usage off a single charge.
Opera Launches Free VPN On the Desktop
If you’re a privacy freak like me, you know how that having a VPN gives you a sense of peace of mind. Most of the times these services are paid, and if not they just kinda suck or have some nefarious restrictions built into them. Opera realized this problem and is offering a unique solution to it. Starting today, the developer version of Opera browser on the desktop ships with free and unlimited VPN. All you’ve got to do is download the developer version of the browser and enable VPN from the preferences. Thats it! Opera has previously delighted power users by adding an ad blocking mechanism right into the browser and this move in the right direction would certainly attract more users. The interesting thing to see would be if these services become more mainstream in the future.
Delhi Government Cracks Down on Uber’s Surge Pricing
We all hated it when the on demand cab services charge two times more than the normal price in order to “make more cars available at the location.” Uber has gained a lot of bad rep for the price hike when customers were in an emergency, to mention one, the time when Hurricane sandy hit the US coast. The Government of Delhi has taken this concern seriously and have forced the US based startup to end the surge pricing in the national capital.
The chief minister of the state, Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to criticize the surge pricing model as highway robbery. He also accused the companies of taking advantage of a temporary restriction on the number of vehicles allowed on Delhi’s roads.
Solar Impulse 2 took Off for the First Time in 9 Months
I guess a lot of you readers might not know what exactly the Solar Impulse 2 is. Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft project, and also the name of the project’s two operational aircraft. On April 21st the aircraft took off from the Kalaeloa Airport in Hawaii for it’s next leg of record breaking flight across the globe. The aircraft will land at Moffett AirField in Mountain View, California, at 9AM Saturday evening. The team began their 12 part journey as an attempt to spread awareness about sustainable energy. Last July the aircraft flew from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii lasting 4 days, 21 hours and 51 minutes, making it the longest-duration solo flight in history.
That’s it! See you all next week!