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You can download Android 7.1 Nougat beta soon

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As any Android fan can tell you, you don’t need to own Google’s Pixel smartphone to have the latest Android operating system on tap. Though, it has to be said, we’re talking Android 7.1, and not the software the LG V20 will be shipping with, which is based on an earlier version of Nougat.

Google today reiterated its preference for Pixel, Nexus, and Android One devices by announcing plans to release a public beta of Android 7.1, first to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C and then to the full lineup of supported phones and tablets.

As has been the norm recently, the prerelease software can be downloaded by users who sign up for the Android Beta program, though Google hasn’t specified the exact timing of the roll-out. Willing guinea pigs Beta testers should get the preview update “later this month.”

[irp posts=”5053" name=”Google Pixel got the ‘little brother, big brother’ tandem right”]

It would be fair to say, however, that it could arrive as early as the week of October 20, or days after the Pixel and Pixel XL arrive in hands of U.S. customers.

An incremental update over the current Nougat release, Android 7.1 will bring support for Daydream VR, circular app icons, and app shortcuts, which allows users to jump straight to a certain action or feature of an app from the home screen. The complete list of changes can be found below.

App shortcuts API — lets you surface key actions directly in the launcher and take your users deep into your app instantly. You can create up to 5 shortcuts, either statically or dynamically.

Circular app icons support — lets you provide great-looking rounded icon resources that match the look of Pixel and other launchers.

Enhanced live wallpaper metadata — lets you provide metadata about your live wallpapers to any picker displaying the wallpapers as a preview. You can show existing metadata such as label, description, and author, as well as a new context URL and title to link to more information.

Image keyboard support — expands the types of content that users can enter from their keyboards, letting them express themselves through custom stickers, animated gifs, and more. Apps can tell the keyboard what types of content they accept, and keyboards can deliver all of the images and other content that they offer to the user. For broad compatibility, this API will also be available in the support library.

Storage manager Intent — lets an app take the user directly to a new Settings screen to clear unused files and free up storage space on the device.

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If you’re wondering why Google Assistant, the company’s take on Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, isn’t included in the mix, know that it’s not an oversight, and that it’s intended to encourage buyers to purchase or upgrade to a Pixel handset. Other Pixel-specific features on Android 7.1 Nougat include live customer care and the Pixel Camera and Pixel Launcher.

Source: Google

Apps

Instagram has started borrowing features from TikTok

Instagram is looking out for inspiration

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A couple of years back, Instagram and Snapchat were involved in a brutal face-off, each wanting supremacy over the other. Thanks to Snapchat, Stories are now an integral part of not only Instagram but also Facebook and WhatsApp.

In 2019, Snapchat is no longer viewed as a threat to Instagram. A new kid on the block is challenging the status quo — TikTok. Instagram launched a new video editing tool in Brazil that copies some of the best-known features of TikTok.

Dubbed Reels, it lets you create “15-second video clips set to music and share them as Stories,” which can be shared wider via a new “Top Reels” section on the Explore page.

Per a recent tweet from engineer Jane Manchun Wong, this new tool will also let you remix other users’ Scenes if their account is public. Reels is launching today on iOS and Android but is limited to Brazil for now.

 

It’s safe to assume that Instagram is piloting the new feature because a release timeline for other regions isn’t available yet.

Instagram also has IGTV that is essentially a YouTube rival. However, short videos have been the main forte of TikTok and since the death of Vine, there has been a vacuum in this segment. With healthy funding from its Chinese parent Bytedance, TikTok has enough firepower to take on the Facebook-owned app.

In a leaked audio recording, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also expressed concerns about TikTok’s growth and dominance in certain market. He said that the Chinese company has “married short-form, immersive video with browse. So it’s almost like the ‘Explore Tab’ that we have on Instagram, which is today primarily about feed posts and highlighting different feed posts.”

Instagram previously launched a dedicated video sharing app called Lasso but failed to migrate users over from the primary app. Incorporating similar features in the Instagram app is the best way to ensure users get on board.

 

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Apple Card under investigation for gender discrimination

It’s biased against women

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Gender equality is a tacky issue among tech companies especially with accusations of discrimination becoming more frequent in the recent years. Microsoft and Google have been accused in the past for discriminating against women. Now, it’s Apple’s turn.

This began when developer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that his Apple credit card line was 20 times higher than his spouse even though they filed joint tax returns. His wife also has a better credit score and has had credit in the US longer than him.

Hansson blames the higher credit line to Apple’s biased algorithms. Tech companies often use algorithms for automating tasks, but they are also prone to bias. In this case, Apple used algorithms to determine how much credit a person would receive.

After finding out the bias, he reached out to Apple’s customer service. The reply is worse than the incident itself, with representatives telling Hansson that they couldn’t do anything to correct the algorithm’s sexist bias.

Not an isolated case

Hansson and his wife’s Apple Card incident isn’t an isolated case. Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak reported a similar incident where he got 10 times higher credit. Other people dismissed the incident, saying that their spouse got the same credit as theirs.

New York’s Department of Financial Service already said that it will investigate the incident and Apple Card. Goldman Sachs, the provider of Apple card, is under investigation as well. In response, they denied that their algorithms discriminate against women. Apple has not yet provided any public statement regarding the incident.

The incident is a first for Apple Card. Launched in early 2019, Apple promised that it will provide a simpler way to manage finances. It’s made of titanium and managed through the Wallet app.

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Singles’ Day rakes in more than $38 billion in sales

It has already eclipsed sales predictions of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined

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Photos by Martin Tee

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba set a sales record on Singles’ Day — the world’s largest 24-hour shopping event. Alibaba reported selling US$ 1 billion worth of goods sold in 1 minute and 8 seconds. It sold US$ 12 billion in the first hour and by the end, it had crossed the US$ 38 billion mark.

While Alibaba is the name often associated with the mega shopping event, competitors JD.com and Pinduoduo all offer their own sales.

During the 24-hour period, which began at midnight in Singapore and Hong Kong, Alibaba offered huge discounts across its e-commerce sites such as Tmall. Electronics, gadgets and fashion items were among the most sold goods.

China’s one-day festival has already eclipsed sales predictions of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Adobe Analytics estimates that the long U.S. holiday shopping weekend this year will generate total retail sales of US$ 29 billion.

November 11 has long been celebrated in a lot of parts of Asia as “Singles’ Day.” This year, Alibaba put up a Festival Gala Celebration event where Grammy Award-winning singer Taylor Swift and a host of other celebrities performed.

For years China has been the manufacturing capital of the world. Whether it’s a complicated tunnel boring machine or a simple logic board, the country can make it all. It can produce all of it at an unprecedented scale.

As the world’s most populous country, it has an abundance of resources to help achieve industrial feats like no other. The huge population is also the prime reason for their economical rise.

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