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Everything Globe announced at WWGX

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Okay, real talk: We didn’t expect to hear about a lot of exciting stuff when Globe held its first Wonderful Wold with Globe event for the year, for reasons that would probably resonate with local tech insiders.

Fortunately, we were wrong. It turned out that Wonderful World with Globe 10, abbreviated as WWGX, was an eventful affair that featured a Tony Robbins quote about us living in an “entertainment age” and announcements that kept us from dozing off or standing idly on the sidelines while conducting mini-interviews with company executives. (Full disclosure: We did conduct interviews, but only after the show.)

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Globe made a lot of noise and a lot more sense the other night, and we were all ears. Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s highlights.

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Globe kicked off WWGX by reminding the audience of its ambitious broadband goal for 2020: 20 million households and 20,000 barangays — nearly half the number of barangays in the Philippines — connected through fiber. That’s a rather tall order considering the few fiber-ready areas Globe currently has in place. Still, it was good to hear that more people in the part of the world where fast internet is an exception to the norm would eventually have access to fiber-optic speeds sooner rather than later.

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Speaking of fast internet, Globe gushed about its subscribers getting double-digit download speeds on LTE networks using the 700MHz spectrum it acquired from San Miguel Corporation. The telecommunications company also announced a part of the Philippines’ capital city that now enjoys a high-speed internet experience with its fiber plans.

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Globe got the audience up to speed with its recent deal with Disney Southeast Asia, which brings Watch Disney Channel apps for mobile devices to paying customers. The app themselves live up to their names, offering live and video-on-demand content from one of the largest and most enduring media companies in the world.

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In keeping with its continuing transition to an entertainment company, Globe announced a partnership with U.S. media conglomerate Turner Broadcasting, whose IPs include CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network. We’re told the latter will benefit most from the deal, meaning more Cartoon Network shows will be available for those who pay a monthly fee.

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It also took to the stage to announce a new partner in Smule, a San Francisco-based startup whose claim to fame is a karaoke app for Android and iOS. The app has seen 50 million downloads on Android’s Play Store since launching in October last year.

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Also joining the fold is eGG, a dedicated eSports channel that brings coverage of the world’s biggest video-game events and more. For Globe subscribers, eGG will be available via the Astro app.

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Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, will offer news, event coverage, and live sports programming, as well as original content from SI sites FanSided and SI Kids.

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The last but certainly not the least addition to Globe’s expanded portfolio is Netflix. We’re unsure what the agreement entails, and whether Netflix’s “first partner in the Philippines” has indeed something delightful to offer, but in an interview with GadgetMatch, Globe senior advisor Dan Horan revealed it has something to do with exclusive offerings, possibly tied to new or existing data and broadband packages.

One of the biggest announcements at WWGX was the unveiling of the second phase of Globe’s modern retail push. Central to this effort is the Tim Kobe-designed Globe Iconic Store that will soon open its doors at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, alongside two giant high-res outdoor screens hanging from the store’s glass bridge. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen from a telco player — or any retailer, for that matter — and true to the hype, the Iconic Store may be the most memorable retail location in the Philippines for years to come.

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At WWGX, Globe retail boss Joe Caliro announced Globe Live (which he also now heads). “We’re not going down the path of sponsoring anymore,” he said, before detailing Globe’s commitment to collaborating with artists and creative professionals to produce quality musicals and live performances. The company’s first production is “Green Day’s American Idiot,” a musical based on the punk-rock band’s album of the same name.

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Globe has looked to expand its footprint in the entertainment space and recently launched its own production house, Globe Studios. The company has already begun the early stages of developing shows and films top-billed by a talented bunch of contemporary directors.

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To close the show, Globe unveiled new broadband bundles that include a TV, a peripheral, or a video game console, depending on the subscription.

Apps

How to hide from Instragram’s new Activity Status feature

It’s on by default!

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Instagram silently rolled out a new feature of its app. If you don’t like your friends to know that you’re online (and also protect your privacy), you might want to take action. Why? Because it’s automatically turned on.

If you have the latest app, you probably noticed something new inside the Direct Messages section. This new feature dubbed “Activity Status” lets your Instagram buddies know if you’re online. If you happen to be scrolling through your timeline moments ago, the status will show that you’ve been available earlier.

This is switched on by default but the data is only shared with users that you follow and those you message privately. There’s no need to panic if you think a stalker will know that you’re online — unless you follow them, too.

How to turn it off?

You can easily switch it off inside the app. Just go to your profile page and tap the top-right icon for Options.

Next, scroll down until you see “Show Activity Status” and switch the toggle button beside.

That’s it! Now that it’s off on your end, your status will not show up to your buddies. Although, you won’t be able to see the status of other accounts as well.

Since the new feature was smoothly included in the recent updates from the Play Store or App Store, it’s not clear when Instagram introduced the function. Some might not have it yet, which could mean it’s still an experimental approach with a limited number of users.

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Pokémon Go will drop old iPhones that don’t support iOS 11

You must upgrade to play!

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Bad news for Pokémon Go trainers out there with an old iPhone. If the “battery-gate” fiasco is not enough to make you upgrade, this announcement might force you if you want to keep on playing.

Niantic announced its plans to drop support for iOS devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11. Primarily, these are iPhones and even iPads released in or before 2013. They are the following:

  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (1st generation)
  • iPad 2

The anticipated update will take effect starting February 28, 2018. After that date, Trainers using Apple devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11 will no longer be able to log in, catch Pokémon, and use their PokéCoins or other items. They must switch to a supported device to continue playing.

Niantic stated that the change is a result of improvements to Pokémon Go which push the game ahead of the capabilities of old iPhones and iPads.

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Apps

6 free VPN apps for Android and iOS

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If you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi, it’s best to use a virtual private network or VPN to mask your IP address and avoid security risks. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” over the internet between your device and any website or app you are trying to access.

(more…)

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