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BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down

Enterprise version will live on

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Do you still remember your BlackBerry Messenger PIN? Almost a decade ago, BBM was the world’s most efficient solution for instant messaging. Before dependable data plans simplified messaging, BlackBerry offered a free alternative for its users. Years later, the tables have turned. Data packages have popularized other free messaging services like Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, and Viber. BlackBerry Messenger became obsolete.

Three years ago, BlackBerry tried a few resuscitation strategies, adding support between other apps. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Users just flowed liberally to other messaging apps.


Naturally, the end is near. BBM is past its expiration date. Now, BlackBerry has made the funeral official. On May 31, the company will cease support for BBM. Because of a rapidly declining user base, the messaging service will be shut down. At least, for consumers.

Instead, BlackBerry Messenger will live on through its enterprise version. Unlike the consumer version, BBMe — as the enterprise version is called — offers end-to-end encryption and message editing after sending. Initially intended for business users, the service requires a biannual US$ 2.50 subscription fee. Because of the recent announcement, BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise is now available for everyone to download.

“Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on,” BlackBerry said in a blog post. Regardless of its user base now, BBM’s end is a sad day for instant messaging. Back in its heyday, BlackBerry was a major force in the smartphone world, going toe-to-toe with Samsung and Apple. Exchanging BBM PINs was, in itself, a secret handshake exclusive only to BlackBerry users. Whether you were a user or not, BlackBerry Messenger was a huge hit back in the day.

SEE ALSO: BlackBerry KEY2 LE is a toned-down, colorful version of KEY2

Apps

Minecraft Earth is like Pokémon Go but with building blocks

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In a move that makes loads of sense, Minecraft is coming to mobile though an augmented reality app similar to Pokémon Go.

It’s called Minecraft Earth and it’s arriving later this year with a beta phase happening during summer. The developers offered this trailer, but it does little to explain how the system would work.


Check it out:

The official website’s FAQ section, however, delves into more of the info we actually care about.

For one, it’ll be free to play and will include several of Minecraft‘s traditional features including world building and discovering/fighting mobs.

Concerning regional availability, the developers aren’t confirming these details just yet. If it’s anything like the issues Niantic experienced with Pokémon Go before, chances are this rollout will be gradual, too.

Finally, for the “Will Minecraft Earth have loot boxes?” question, the website has a definite “No” to answer that.

Minecraft Earth will be available on both Android and iOS. Fingers crossed that there’ll be no delays. 🤞

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The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World through augmented reality

A new way to experience Lady Liberty on your iPhone

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The quintessential American landmark, the Statue of Liberty is a shining beacon that enlightens the world. Despite today’s polarizing times, she has become a true symbol of liberty throughout the years, not just for Americans but for citizens of the world.

Today on the same island where she is perched, the new Statue of Liberty Museum opens its doors to the millions of tourists that come to see her each year. But in recognition that not everyone can visit, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is also unveiling an AR app for your iPhone. Anyone, anywhere, can experience the statue’s grandeur.


A grand view of Libertas’ torch

On her right, the Statue of Liberty holds up a torch which symbolizes enlightenment and the path to liberty. Though visitors could originally climb up and experience the statue from the torch, it has been closed off to the public since 1916. The Statue of Liberty app will allow us to once again enjoy the breathtaking cityscape from this vantage point from sunrise to sunset.

The makings of the statue

Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi with the framework by Gustave Eiffel, the Statue of Liberty is an engineering marvel. 125 tons of steel and 31 tons of copper comprise the statue which used to glisten like a penny. The current patina green coating comes from copper oxidizing.

See everything with your own eyes via the Statue of Liberty AR app: how the color changed, how the insides were built, and even a life-sized model for scale.

A look throughout the years

Strategically built at the “gateway to America”, the Statue of Liberty has born witness to a significant chunk of New York’s history. On the app you can look through her eyes in an almost 180-degree field of view and watch the changing of the times from 1886 to the present day. Watch the Manhattan skyline rise and fall including that poignant moment from 2001. It’s all there, 200 years of change and progression from the viewpoint of Lady Liberty.

The hows and the whys

The creation of the Statue of Liberty was no easy feat. A private venture that maximized crowdfunding efforts not just from the elite, the statue is truly an icon that each American can call their own. Exclusive content on the app tells us the story in detail and narrates the journey from inception, to France, and finally to America.

If you can, you should also check out the 3-part short film at the new museum’s Immersive Theater. One will surely walk away with a better appreciation for Lady Liberty and all she stands for.

Raising the Torch, a limited-series podcast narrated by Diane von Furstenberg, is also now available for your listening pleasure. The saga tells the Statue of Liberty’s history, continuing story, and evolving significance.

You can download the app on the App Store here.

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Tinder Lite will quench your thirst for less data

Coming soon!

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In today’s data-dependent world, data savers are a must. We are all looking for the best ways to save on our monthly data allowances. Sadly, smartphones are becoming more dependent on more data. Looking at photos on Facebook, for example, can cost you a fortune in monthly bills. The struggle is real.

Thankfully, the world’s biggest apps have slowly rolled out Lite versions. These Lite apps consume less data, but provide the same set of services as their parent app. Besides saving data, these smaller apps take up less storage space on your phone. For example, Facebook has released the lightweight Facebook Lite in the past. Likewise, Uber, YouTube, and Twitter have all released lighter versions. PUBG has even launched PUBG Lite.


Joining this troop, Match Group has announced Tinder Lite, its own take on the data-saving trend. Compared to the larger Tinder app, Tinder Lite is smaller and less dependent on data.

Announced during a recent earnings call, Tinder Lite will primarily focus on Southeast Asia. According to CEO Mandy Ginsberg, internet usage has grown by around 15 percent in the region over the last five years.

“This area has more than a dozen high-density cities with over a million people, and more young people are moving to larger cities. These are really important factors that make the need for our app high,” she said. “We expect that APAC will make up one-fourth of our company’s total revenue by 2023.”

Unfortunately, Ginsberg has not identified which features will carry over to the Lite version. However, Tinder Lite will likely have the same swipe-left and swipe-right features of its parent.

Likewise, Ginsberg did not reveal the app’s launch date. At the very least, Tinder Lite is “coming soon,” according to the CEO.

SEE ALSO: Tinder’s new feature tells you when a lot of people are swiping in the area

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