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Fitbit launches Versa 2 with OLED display, Alexa

But, there’s no compromise on battery life

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Fitbit acquired crowdfunded Pebble a few years back and used it to launch its own line of smartwatches. The Versa was the first actual smartwatch from the fitness-centric brand and it has received a lot of positive response from the users. In fact, Fitbit even launched a slightly stripped down version called the Versa Lite to offer a more affordable option.

Now, the brand has launched the Versa 2 and it plays a crucial role in their fight against Apple. Fitbit has struggled to gain a foothold in the smartwatch category as Apple and Samsung have cornered a bigger share of the market with more sophisticated devices.

It comes with a new OLED display that is brighter, more vivid, and the bezels have shrunken. Continuing the legacy, it can last up to five days on a single charge and users now also have the option of an Always-on Display mode.

In line with the Versa Lite, it features just one physical button and swipe gestures can be used for quick navigation. Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa is called by long-pressing the side button. It’s capable of answering a host of questions as well as operating other connected devices like the speaker. Keep in mind, the watch doesn’t have a speaker and you’ll have to depend on the display for Alexa’s response.

Obviously, like all Fitbit’s, Versa 2 has an active heart-rate sensor, automatic sleep tracking, and activity tracking. A special set of work-out modes have been provided and even third-party services can be installed.

Pricing and availability

The Versa 2 is priced at US$ 199. It’ll be available via a wide range of stores in the US starting September 15.

Fitbit’s also launching a new coaching and fitness guidance subscription service called Fitbit Premium. It will cost $10 a month or $80 a year and is not exclusive to the Versa 2. Users get personalized coaching including health reports, workouts plans, diet advice, and sleep features.

In the Philippines, it will retail for PhP 12,890 and will come in black with a carbon case, petal with a copper rose aluminum case, and stone with a mist grey case. Accessories range from PhP 1,790 to PhP 2,890. There’s also a Versa 2 Special Edition available  in navy and pink with a copper rose aluminum case and smoke with a mist grey case. It will retail for for PhP 14,590. Interested buyers may purchase from local retailers like Digital Walker and the Fitbit Official Store on Lazada.

In india the wearable will be on sale for INR 20,999.

The Versa 2 will be available in stores worldwide beginning October 3, 2019. Two exclusive editions — emerald and plum, both with a copper rose case — will also be available this fall, only on Fitbit.com and select retailers.

News

Facebook’s iOS app is accessing your iPhone camera without permission

Just a glitch?

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Facebook’s persistent misuse of user data is no surprise to people already. The social media giant has found itself on the forefront of numerous privacy cases as of late. Naturally, every subsequent article digs an inch further down into Facebook’s grave. Surprisingly enough, Facebook is back at it again.

Corroborated by several users, Facebook’s iOS app is reportedly accessing your iPhone’s camera behind your back. For example, one user reports the sudden launch of the app’s Story feature. Like Instagram’s own Stories, Facebook’s Story feature accesses the camera to shoot photos. On its own, the error is just a nasty bug, easily fixable with a patch.

However, another user has spotted a more alarming error. Caught on tape, the iOS app accesses your camera literally behind your News Feed. This glitch is a lot less obvious than the previous one. Most people won’t spot the bug immediately. According to the same user, the bug is present only on iOS 13.2.2.

In Facebook’s defense, both instances are apparently just bugs introduced by a recent update. Facebook is already working on a decisive patch to address these issues. The patch should roll out soon.

Regardless, Facebook’s latest blunder is a bottomless pit of controversial speculation. Is it really a glitch? Is it Facebook’s exploitation accidentally revealing itself? No one knows. Still, it’s not a good look. Bad luck, Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Facebook reveals its new company logo amidst controversy

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Deals

OPPO Philippines offers 40% discount on service parts

Save more on your next repair

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It’s a fact that our devices have limited lifespans. When our devices start to break down, the only way to go is to dispose it or repair it. Those who choose the latter may find it hard since after-sales support is often tricky and lacking for most manufacturers; but not OPPO.

OPPO Philippines is offering up to 40% discount on service parts for device repairs. All service parts are covered by the discount — from motherboards to the top cover of the device.

The discount is eligible for the Neo 7, F1s, A37, F1 Plus, F1s 64GB, A39, A57, A71, F3, F3 Plus, F5, F5 Pro, F5 Youth, A7, A71 2018, A83, F7, F7 Youth, A3S and F9. The discount for service parts is available from November 4 onwards at all OPPO Service Centers nationwide. To know more, visit their website.

OPPO also has several initiatives that provide technical support to its consumers. It has a 1-hour flash fix program, a phone loan program, and a service app to help users when their devices suddenly break down. Plus, all OPPO devices come with an international warranty.

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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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