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4-inch iPhone makes a comeback

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Big things come in small packages.

From its moderately sized Town Hall in Cupertino, Apple unveiled a couple of “small” devices today, including a new 4-inch iPhone.

Dubbed the iPhone SE, the new iPhone looks exactly like the iPhone 5S from 3 years ago, sporting the same 4-inch Retina display, diamond cut chamfered edges, and blasted aluminium finish. 

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But don’t be deceived by appearances, internally the iPhone SE is as powerful as its top of the line model. Apple is calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone (phone not just smartphone) ever, and that’s great news for users who like phones that are small but powerful.

For years, Android smartphones have led the shift towards larger screen sizes. A hesitant Apple followed suit, growing the original iPhone from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches in 2012 and again to 4.7 inches in 2014. But many still preferred the smaller form factor, so Apple wisely kept older models around and ended up selling 30 million 4-inch iPhones last year.

The introduction of the iPhone SE may spark a renaissance for small smartphones, not that you can’t buy a sub 5-inch smartphone today. But usually, size comes at the cost of power, battery life, and camera performance. Not anymore.

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The iPhone SE has the same A9 processor as the iPhone 6S with promised performance improvements of up to 2x (vs the 5S); the same 12 megapixel iSight camera, regarded as one of the best in the biz; longer battery life; Touch ID fingerprint scanner; and faster LTE and WiFi. The only thing missing is the iPhone 6S’ pressure sensitive 3D touch display.

Pre-orders for the iPhone SE begin on Thursday, March 24 and will be available as early as March 31 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.

Apart from the usual colors – space gray, silver, and gold, the iPhone SE will also be available in rose gold (or pink as we prefer to call it). The phone comes in 16GB and 64GB models, and will retail for $399 and $499 respectively.

Priced competitively at $250 less the iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE is Apple’s answer to mid-range Android smartphones that are hugely popular in developing markets like India and Southeast Asia. Apple says the phone is a response to what its users want, but we think, a cheaper iPhone is exactly what Apple needs

[irp posts=”11425″ name=”Tiny iPhone SE gets twice the storage”]

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Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines

Offers mobile data with no expiry

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Going digital is the new normal. Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines, offering large mobile data allocations with no expiry.

Running under Globe Telecom, GOMO offers 5G and LTE enabled sim cards with non-expiring mobile data. It can be purchased through GOMO’s website, GOMO’s PH app, or via official Lazada and Shopee stores.

Additionally, your mobile data can be used as Mo Creds through GOMO’s app. You can convert your existing data so you can subscribe to other prepaid promos like call and text, for as low as 0.2GB. In essence, your mobile data can be your form of currency.

Prepaid subscribers can buy mobile data promos through GOMO’s app, offering 25GB of mobile data for PhP 299 and more.

GOMO’s app is currently available on the Google Play Store. It’s expected to come to The App Store and Huawei’s AppGallery. Currently, GOMO offers a free sim card with 25GB of non-expiring mobile data at PhP 199, and delivers it for free nationwide.

 

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Facebook is launching messaging between Messenger and Instagram

Rolling out to a few countries first

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Last year, Facebook announced an expansive plan to merge its messaging apps on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The initiative will hopefully create a cohesive ecosystem across their related platforms. In August, the company finally started to take comprehensive steps towards that goal, inviting select users to the future program. Now, the secret’s out. Facebook is launching messaging between Messenger and Instagram.

Officially announced today, Facebook is rolling out a Messenger-centric update to Instagram’s Direct Messaging feature. Obviously, the biggest addition is cross-platform messaging between the two platforms. Instagram users can now message Messenger users directly through the app. Even more, the cross-functionality comes with video call compatibility.

Besides this function, Facebook is also introducing new features to Instagram Messaging. It now has its own Selfie Stickers, customizable chat colors, personalized emoji reactions, and animated message effects. Further,

Instagram and Messengers users can now watch content together. This includes “Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels, TV shows, movies,” and video calls.

Right now, Facebook is releasing the update for select users in a few countries. The company plans to expand globally soon. However, if users want to, they can opt out of the update entirely. Of course, as Facebook is wont to do, the platform will likely force users int the new update sooner or later.

With Instagram’s integration into Facebook Messenger, Facebook still has WhatsApp left to integrate into its ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Messenger Rooms is Facebook’s group video chat app

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Google’s Hold for Me feature will kill annoying delivery jingles

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If you were like us during this tempestuous lockdown season, you love (and still love) getting stuff delivered, whether it’s food or something new for the house. Unfortunately, despite our love for new things, one thing we still hate is an unending delivery hotline call. Yes, we mean those annoying-but-needlessly-catchy marketing jingles. (In fact, Sarah Geronimo’s Jollibee jingle is still ringing in my ears as I write this.)

Finally, Google has a solution for this work-from-home nightmare. Announced earlier today, the company is introducing a new functionality for calls on hold. The new Hold for Me feature will place Google Assistant in line for you whenever a hotline places you on hold. You don’t need to listen through 40 loops of hold music anymore.

Using Google’s Duplex AI, the Hold for Me feature will alert you — through a sound, a vibration, or a notification — when the call is ready for you. According to Google, Duplex technology can accurately detect if the hotline finally responds with either a recorded message or a human representative. Despite the need for AI processing, Google assures users that the company isn’t storing call data. All call data will remain inside the phone.

The feature is launching inside Google’s Phone app. Users can toggle the feature on or off through the Settings and activate it manually during calls.

For now, Google is launching the feature through an early preview in the new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G. Both smartphones will launch sometime in October and November.

SEE ALSO: Google is officially launching Android 11 today

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