WhatsApp to End Support For Older Operating Systems

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging client which allows users to exchange text messages, images, video content, location details and audio files. As of February 2016, WhatsApp has a user base of up to one billion which makes it the most popular messaging application in the world! Back in February 2014, Facebook acquired the company for an estimated $19.3 billion and clearly sees the application growing at an impressive rate. Recently, Facebook made an announcement regarding its new focus on the latest mobile operating systems to provide a better user experience. The statement reads:

“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,”. 

“The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time. As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,”

“This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”

By the end of 2016, WhatsApp will no longer be supported on:

  • Blackberry, including Blackberry 10
  • Nokia S40
  • Nokia Symbian S60
  • Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
  • Windows Phone 7

This makes sense because Blackberry’s current smart phone position is very weak, and they are trying to encourage handset sales via the Android operating system. On another note, when WhatsApp was first introduced, around 70 percent of smartphones utilized operating systems by Blackberry and Nokia. In today’s market, iOS and Android account for 99.5 percent of sales. This demonstrates the dramatic shift, and struggles faced by anyone trying to gain a foothold in the smart phone sector.

Microsoft Will Not “Force” Consumers to Upgrade to Windows 10… Or Will They?

Microsoft has been somewhat pushy concerning the adoption of Windows 10, from the many “forced upgrade” attempts, relentless hidden updates to the secretive file downloading system which launches an installer without explicit user acceptance, the tech giant has clearly overstepped its remit. Well, apparently no, no it has not, if a statement from the corporation is anything to go by.

“Windows Update is trusted for important updates through an official channel, while Windows 10 has been added in order to facilitate an easier way to find an upgrade to your system, you will receive a significant prompt before you choose to continue” said Microsoft.

Sounds reassuring, unfortunately, many users have found their systems being upgraded to Windows 10 without permission.  Microsoft has also found workarounds regarding third-party tools which aim to disable pop-up ads through the system tray, by automatically re-enabling any upgrade prompts. Furthermore, reports have been circulating concerning changes to the update system that will classify Windows 10 as a “recommended Update” from early 2016; this means users who think they will be installing a regular update will, in fact, be downloading the latest OS.

Then there is the latest scenario concerning the “Upgrade Now or Upgrade Tonight” prompt within Windows update for Win 7 and 8 users, but there does not seem to be an option to refuse the upgrade altogether.

I do think Microsoft have overstepped the mark concerning its relentless pursuit of upgrading every system to its latest OS, consumers have a right to decline any major updates if they wish to through a clear and transparent scheme.  Sticking by an older OS is perfectly legitimate for a variety of reasons, hopefully, I say that word without expectation, Microsoft will see sense and leave consumers be, if not, I can see a backlash to the point where many consumers have no other option but to ditch the brand before migrating to a different OS altogether, whether that be Mac or a variety of Linux distributions.

On a sidenote, I do think it seems slightly odd concerning Microsoft’s current upgrade policy, there seems to be an unprecedented push for all users to install the latest OS, Why? Is it purely marketing or is there something else, such as tracking, privacy, etc.

Sony To Cease Betamax Sales After 40 Years

Betamax was pioneered by Sony in the 1970s and utilized a magnetic tape to offer mainstream recording functionality. Initially, Sony tried to dominate the market and make Betamax the industry standard. However, JVC had other ideas and decided to make their own tape recorder called VHS. By 1980, the VHS format accounted for 60% of the North American market and signified the demise of Betamax.

Despite this, Sony’s failed format continued to sell reasonably well in Japan and can still be procured today. Although, Sony announced that Betamax sales will officially end in March 2016. It might surprise people in the west that old formats like Betamax are popular in Japan. Although, ancient electronics and retro games are often seen in various second-hand stores, and the “junk” section can contain broken Betamax players.

It’s important to remember how long the PlayStation 2 was in production throughout Japan. 40 years is a healthy lifespan given the format’s utter failure. I’m personally sad to see any piece of technology being retired, but it’s very niche in 2015. Modern media revolves around streaming which means dedicated players could become obsolete soon. Of course, 4K Blu-Rays could help prolong the lifespan of optical media, but its fate is sealed.

Are you still using VHS tapes? Perhaps, you’re a fan of the mighty LaserDisc format!

Image source

eBay Shuts Down Their 1-Day Delivery Service

Ebay has been running their eBay Now service since 2012 in selected cities, but not anymore. They are now closing the service and throwing they keys away. It originally started in San Francisco in 2012 and expanded to other regions later on and it was meant as a competition to Amazon’s one-day delivery option.

The eBay Now service was “always intended” as a pilot program according to eBay’s statement and it ran quite long when we consider that. The service showed “encouraging results”, but the marketplace giant will now explore different programs for express delivery instead. They can’t completely abandon something like that for their 25 million sellers and the new methods in work are also said to cover a wider variety of inventory. Ebay will continue to offer in-store pickups in stores such as Best Buy which has proven to be a liked feature. They just can’t compete with Amazon’s Prime offerings in the regard of shipping.

“We’ve found that the types of things that people buy on eBay aren’t necessarily those that are in high demand for same-day delivery, and that same-day options for the most part exclude core eBay sellers who don’t have offline locations,” explained an eBay spokesperson

I for one won’t miss this feature, mainly because it didn’t apply to my geographic location. Even if it did, it wouldn’t bother me as the things I buy on eBay aren’t high-priority and it doesn’t matter if it takes 2 or 3 days to arrive and it looks like I’m not the only one.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Closed Beta Testing for StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Could Start at the End of March

The latest StarCraft title, Legacy of the Void, is said to be the closing story for the StarCraft 2 series. It was first announced at BlizzCon last year, but Blizzard did not mention when it will be released.

While Blizzard is known for taking its time with their titles, The Daily Dot gives some hope that the release date is close than expected. Their sources say that the closed beta for Legacy of the Void should be launched at the end of March or early April, pointing out that gaming press and esports organisations have been told to submit their requests for beta keys.

“It’s great timing for them. WCS Season 1 will be all but over and this will give players plenty of time to stream the beta and generate some excitement. As things stand the beta is pretty much ready to launch with the balance team just tweaking a few units.”

Blizzard stated that StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void will not be an expansion, but a standalone game. It is said to focus on the Protoss side of the story and should ultimately end the StarCraft 2 story as a whole.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

AMD Mantle Comes to an End

AMD’s Mantle set a lot of things in motion in the gaming industry and now it looks like it is coming to an end, at least in its current form. AMD will continue to back the companies who invested in it and created games for the API, but its usefulness in the current form has come to an end.

DirectX 12 is taking over the job that Mantle does right now and AMD will instead continue down that road as well as help to develop the next generation of OpenGL, called GLnext.

This news comes from an AMD blog post by Raja Koduri that also promises the release of a 450-page programming guide and API reference for Mantle later this month. Finally, we’ll be able to get a closer look at how Mantle works and how it made a difference.

  1. AMD will continue to support our trusted partners that have committed to Mantle in future projects, like Battlefield Hardline, with all the resources at our disposal.
  2. Mantle’s definition of “open” must widen. It already has, in fact. This vital effort has replaced our intention to release a public Mantle SDK, and you will learn the facts on Thursday, March 5 at GDC 2015.
  3. Mantle must take on new capabilities and evolve beyond mastery of the draw call. It will continue to serve AMD as a graphics innovation platform available to select partners with custom needs.
    The Mantle SDK also remains available to partners who register in this co-development and evaluation program. However, if you are a developer interested in Mantle “1.0” functionality, we suggest that you focus your attention on DirectX 12 or GLnext.

We’ve already heard what DirectX 12 is capable off, so it’s no surprise that AMD is backing this road. This is going to be an interesting year, there is no doubt about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1lHeLN1UGs

Thanks to AMD for providing us with this information

Google Kills Glass Explorer Programme

Google has pulled the plug on the Glass Explorer programme, but insists the product isn’t dead. Google is ending support for the device “in its current form”.

Glass will no longer be managed under the extravagant “blue sky” Google X group, but instead will have its own division within Google. That division will be managed by Glass’ current head Ivy Ross who will, perhaps most interestingly, report directly to Tony Fadell – the so-called “father of the iPod” who formerly worked at Apple and left to found home automation company Nest – which was of course acquired by Google.

Many expected something like this to come along – signs that Google was changing its focus or even losing interest in Glass had been emanating from the company for a while. The project has been rather stagnant from the outside, with little in the way of any changes to the device since the launch of the Glass Explorer programme. Many also expected it to receive a wide consumer release – something that now still seems far away.

The Explorer Programme close and subsequently Google will stop selling Glass from next week.

Source: BBC News

Could This be the End for The Pirate Bay?

Police in Sweden have reportedly taken down popular torrent site The Pirate Bay. The site has also been down today, notable as it is seemingly the first time in months users haven’t been able to access it.

TorrentFreak is reporting that Swedish police conducted a raid in Stockholm, “seizing servers, computers, and other equipment”. While there is currently no official confirmation linking this to The Pirate Bay, the fact that the site is down, along with the fact it originates from Sweden, suggests that this may well be to do with it.

The police did however confirm the raid itself and said that it was to do with intellectual property, another indication of its involvement with The Pirate Bay.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” 

A number of users have taken to the site isitdownrightnow.com, with some potentially revealing further details on the situation.

‘torr it up all u want, sweden police have shut down the main server. no more PB, methinks.”

Source: TorrentFreak

New Xperia Tablet Hinted through Certification Listing

A certification listing on Sony’s Indonesia Postel website has given away the possible near-release of a new Xperia Tablet. The device is listed as SGP621 and contains a similar naming convention to it’s older tablet brothers in the Xperia series – The Xperia Tablet Z (SGP321) and the Xperia Tablet Z2 (SGP521). Oddly with no “SCP421” in the naming fashion.

Android Central speculates:

“The number “2” in the model number suggests that the upcoming tablet will feature LTE connectivity. For instance, the Wi-Fi only edition of the Xperia Z2 Tablet has a model number SGP511.” 

This new tablet will possibly be revealed this year at IFA in Berlin, Germany.

We’ve learned it’s unlikely that this new model will be smaller in size as rumors indicate that Sony is considering production of an 8-inch form factor. We have no further information on hand in regards to the specifications, price or release date – unfortunately, all we have is the above model number.

We do know however, that Sony’s last few tablets have all been of high-end quality and specification, so this new edition could very likely follow the same trend.

Here’s hoping all will be revealed in Berlin next month at IFA. When it does, we’ll let you all know.

Cover image courtesy of O2

Inset image courtesy of Android Central

Overclocker 8Pack Introduces His Three New Custom Overclocked Systems

Overclocker 8Pack Introduces His Three New Custom Overclocked Systems


It’s been a busy week for pro overclocker Ian ‘8Pack’ Parry. Following his achievement of breaking a benchmarking world record first thing Tuesday morning, followed by his appearance at the O2 arena in London to take part in an overclocking workshop he has now launched a line of three systems that are custom built to his own specifications with selected components specifically for these systems.

We’ve already shown you what these three systems entail here, and whilst some people have regarded them as being expensive, what has to be taken into account is that you are also paying for an after care service that is not like any after sales service program at the moment.

Following the unveiling of the three systems in Stoke-On-Trent, Ian was kind enough to give us an overview of his new systems and what each has to offer:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/bdSfIjzSZWk[/youtube]