Google said on Tuesday it is bringing a set of new features to Android TVs to improve the experience of users who rely on mobile hotspots to connect their giant devices to the internet. The features, developed by Google’s Next Billion Users team, will be first rolled out to users in India and then in other countries, the company said.
Ahead of its yearly event in New Delhi on Thursday, where the company is expected to make a number of announcements, Google said it has identified and addressed a problem faced by millions of users: Their TVs are not connected to the internet through Wi-Fi or wired/ethernet line.
Instead these users rely on hotspots (local network) created through their smartphones or tablets. “But that presents problems,” wrote Joris van Mens, Product Manager at Google’s Next Billion Users team, in a blog post. “Watching HD TV on a mobile data connection can quickly drain your daily data plan.”
To address this, Google says it is introducing a feature called ‘data saver’ to Android TVs that would reduce the data usage on mobile connections by up to three times, thereby allowing users to consume more content on their TVs. It is also introducing a ‘data alerts’ feature to help users better monitor how much data they have consumed watching TV.
Another feature dubbed ‘hotspot guide’ will allow users to set up their TV with their mobile hotspot. And last, Google is introducing the ability in its Files app to allow users to cast video files locally stored on their phones to the TV without using internet data. Files app, which Google launched two years ago, allows users to easily free up content on their phones. The company said last month that Files app had amassed over 100 million users.
These four features will roll-out to Android TV devices starting with those manufactured by Xiaomi, TCL, and Marq by Flipkart, Google said. The company expects to rollout the features globally soon.
At an event in Bangalore on Tuesday, Xiaomi unveiled a new lineup of TVs that will support Netflix and Prime Video. The Chinese electronics giant, which is the top smartphone vendor in India, confirmed that its new TV models will support Google’s ‘data saver’ feature.
Later this week, Google is expected to make a number of announcements around its payments app and other services in its yearly Google for India event. Indian newspaper Economic Times reported this week that one of those announcements could be the launch of Kormo, a job discovery app that is currently available in select developing markets, in India.
Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Fold receive One UI 3.1 update
Samsung is definitely no longer the Samsung we knew from years ago, at least as far as Android updates are concerned. In addition to pushing out more or less regular monthly security fixes and being quick with the major Android upgrades, it also committed to supporting its phones with up to four years of security updates. That may still be in the future but Samsung is now busy rolling out its latest One UI 3.1 experience that is now landing on its 2019 flagships.
Compared to the One UI 3.0 upgrade, One UI 3.1 is comparatively less disruptive. These phones are already running Android 11 anyway, thanks to that previous Samsung user experience upgrade, but it does bring the latest security fixes for up to March 2021, which still has to be released to the general public. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its fair share of notable new features, especially in the camera department.
Although not all new camera features that debuted on the Galaxy S21 series will be present here, some, like the Object Eraser tool and Single Take 2.0 are common across the latest high-end devices receiving the update. There’s also the Privacy Share, which strips away location information from images before you share them with someone else. One UI 3.1 also brings improved Eye Comfort functionality as well as auto-switching with the Galaxy Buds Pro.
One of the most recently announced features that One UI 3.1 brings is Wireless DeX for PCs. With this update, Windows users no longer need a USB cable to start up DeX on their laptop or desktop. All they need is for the Windows PC and a compatible Galaxy phone running One UI 3.1 to be on the same network.
The Samsung One UI 3.1 update has started rolling out to the Galaxy Note 10 series in Germany, the original Galaxy Fold in France, and the Galaxy S10 series in Switzerland. Of course, it will take some time for other markets to follow suit but it is a pretty good start.
Omate O6L Pro smartwatch for kids packs software SIM and 4G LTE
Omate is back with another Nanoblocks smartwatch for kids, this one featuring 4G LTE connectivity and a software SIM. The new O6L Pro model is visually similar to the 3G version of the Omate x Nanoblocks smartwatch the company introduced back in 2018, but with updated tech that powers a number of features, including video calls, messaging, and more.
The Omate O6L Pro smartwatch features a 1.3-inch capacitive touch display, as well as a speaker, physical SOS button for emergencies, a built-in noise cancellation microphone, and a 2-megapixel camera for capturing selfies and participating in video calls.
The key feature included with the O6L Pro is the software SIM, making it the first kids’ smartwatch to offer this feature. Buyers get free unlimited 4G LTE services with the watch during its first three years, as well as free unlimited location services that power the SOS and tracking features.
As you’d expect from a wearable made for kids, the device has an IP67 rating. The O6L Pro is available in purple and black colors, plus there’s a limited edition version that features a nanoblocks band. With that latter offering, kids can place tiny plastic bricks on the watch’s band for a fun look.
Multiple purchasing options are available; the O6L Pro Black and Purple are both priced at $239 USD. Alternatively, you can get a ‘twin’ pack with two watches for $429 USD. The nanoblocks version of the watches are $10 more expensive at $249 USD each.
Twitter Super Follow borrows OnlyFans strategy to charge for tweets
Twitter is preparing to launch paid tweets, with a new Super Follow system which will work a little like Patreon or OnlyFans. Announced during the company’s investors presentation, Super Follow will offer a new way for those with followings on Twitter to monetize that audience, with everything from exclusive content to special badging.
Twitter has long talked about – and, according to rumors and leaks, been working on internally – a way to squeeze more profit out of its service than through advertising alone. One of the most common expectations has been a monthly or annual subscription, which would remove ads from users’ timelines, among other potential perks.
This Twitter Super Follow system, however, takes a different approach. In effect, it would allow users of the service to individually monetize their own shared content, much in the way that services like Patreon and OnlyFans do today. Exactly what could be offered seems to be down to the individual user’s preferences.
In an example shared by Twitter, for instance, that could be anything from a badge showing that you’re a supporter of a certain tweeter, or subscriber-only newsletters. It might include exclusive content that wouldn’t be available to non-Super Followers, or deals & discounts for certain products and services.
Individual tweets shared with Super Followers would only support viewing and replying by those subscribers, according to screenshots posted by The Verge.
Finally, there’s also “Community access,” a reference to another new feature that was revealed today. Twitter Communities are effectively closed groups, built around individual topics: that could be gardening, exercise, or even hashtags such as #SocialJustice, Twitter suggested. Communities could seemingly be open to any Twitter user wanting to join, or closed and require invitation – potentially after signing up as a Super Follower first – to take part.
Twitter is presumably envisaging following the strategy of other sites, and taking a cut of Super Follow fees. Exactly how much it’ll cost will seemingly depending on the individual creator: Twitter’s example is $4.99 per month with the ability to cancel at any time. However it’s likely that users would be able to set their own amount based on what they believe their community will pay.
There’s no indication as to when the new features will launch.
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