Now that Google is setting aside Allo and Duo to focus on building out a suite of advanced messaging features into the core Android Messages app, it’s time for third-party players to help the search giant deliver these to users. We’re talking about telco operators and phone manufacturers around the globe.
The new unified messaging platform aptly called Google Chat uses the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard which will make it very similar to internet messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber. But, what will make Google Chat better among the mentioned apps is that it’s built on top of Short Message Service or SMS.
RCS is a new universal standard meant to succeed SMS and bring in IP-based messaging features like read receipts, image sharing, and file transfers, but with minimal mobile data usage. It’s going to be like iMessage of Apple devices.
It’s not only Google that’ll be upgrading to RCS because Microsoft is also a partner provider. Both Google and Microsoft will follow the GSMA’s Universal Profile, a specification that guarantees interconnection among different platforms and providers. It’s like how SMS is universally available among all GSM phones.
Here’s the list of carriers to support Google Chat:
- Advanced Info Service (AIS) – Thailand
- Airtel – India
- América Móvil – Mexico
- AT&T – USA
- Axiata – Malaysia
- Beeline – Russia
- Bell Mobility – Canada
- China Mobile – China
- China Telecom – China
- China Unicom – China
- Claro – Latin America
- Deutsche Telekom – Germany
- Etisalat – UAE
- Globe Telecom – Philippines
- Ice – Norway
- Indosat Ooredoo – Indonesia
- KDDI – Japan
- KPN – Netherlands
- M1 Limited – Singapore
- MegaFon – Russia
- Millicom – Latin America and Africa
- MTN Group – South Africa
- MTS – Russia
- NTT Docomo – Japan
- Optus – Australia
- Orange – France
- Personal – Argentina
- Play – Poland
- Reliance Jio – India
- Rogers – Canada
- Singtel – Singapore
- Smart Communications – Philippines
- Sprint – USA
- StarHub – Singapore
- Telcel – Mexico
- Tele2 – Nordic countries
- Telefónica – Spain
- Telenor – Norway
- Telia Company – Sweden
- Telkomsel – Indonesia
- Telstra – Australia
- Telus – Canada
- TIM – Italy
- T-Mobile – USA
- Turkcell – Turkey
- Verizon – USA
- VEON – Netherlands
- Vodafone – UK
And the list of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate Google Chat and other RCS messaging features:
- General Mobile
- Lava Mobiles
With Chat, Google will finally introduce RCS into Android Messages which is pretty much what most Android phones have by default. This will make sure RCS features will be available on every Android phone — may it be budget or flagship.
Waze now supports Apple Music
Link those accounts
Music always goes well with driving. However, because driving demands both hands on the wheel, controlling music playback isn’t always the most seamless experiences. Thankfully, a lot of navigation apps are expanding their support towards the most popular music streaming platforms right now. Today, Waze has announced that the app now supports dual functionality with Apple Music.
Of course, Apple Music isn’t the most popular platform today. Still, expanding support is always a win. With the new update, Waze users can now control their Apple Music content straight from the navigation app.
It does need a bit of setup, of course. Users will have to link their Waze account to their Apple Music account through the Audio Player setting on the app. Besides Apple Music, Waze also supports Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.
Though the streaming platform is already a staple especially for Apple users, Apple Music is doing more to create a viable plan against other streaming giants today, including a cheaper Siri-only plan that rids the need for an app interface. The service also increased the price of its student plan in several countries recently.
Both Apple Music and Waze are available for download on the App Store and on the Play Store.
Apple Music increases subscription price for students
In the Philippines and Singapore
In the Philippines, Spotify is still king. However, the platform’s dominance isn’t enough to deter other music streaming services from setting up shop in the country. Much like Spotify, these other platforms are ever-changing and prone to price changes. If, for example, you use Apple Music as a student, you’re likely affected by a recent increase in the country.
In South Africa, Twitter user @LVDNoff took to the platform to reveal an email from Apple detailing a price increase for Apple Music’s student plan. “Apple is raising the price of this subscription from US$ 1.49 per month to US$ 1.99 per month,” the email read. Though it’s not a huge increase, a few extra cents can put a larger dent in a student’s allowance. Unfortunately, the email didn’t reveal why an increase was tacked on. It also doesn’t reveal if regular subscriptions might see similar increases.
MacRumors, who first reported about the tweet, uncovered something else about the price hike, too. South Africa isn’t the only country getting an increase. According to the publication’s findings, the following countries are also seeing higher student prices: Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa.
The report doesn’t indicate specific increases for each country. However, Apple Music’s website currently shows a subscription worth PhP 75 per month. When the service first launched in 2018, students paid only PhP 69 per month.
Spotify lets you blend your music tastes with K-Pop stars
Mix and match with BTS
Last year, Spotify introduced an all-new feature for music discovery. Blend takes your and your friend’s music preferences and melds them into one shared playlist. The feature can ultimately bring two people closer together by introducing one to the other’s music. Now, Blend is getting a major update: a K-Pop expansion.
And no, it doesn’t just mean a sudden infusion of K-Pop songs for your Blend playlists. Users, especially K-Pop fans, can now blend their music preferences with those of popular K-Pop groups, including BTS, AB6IX, ENHYPHEN, NMIXX, Stray Kids, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER.
As always, using the feature on these groups will create a playlist combining your songs with their favorite artists. You won’t just get a helping of their songs; you’ll get the songs of the ones they like.
Further, you’ll get a share card saying how much your preferences match up to theirs. Users can share these cards directly to social media platform. Use them as badges of honor to proclaim how alike you are with your favorite group.
Blending with artists isn’t totally new, though. Earlier this year, Spotify also unleashed the feature to cover Western artists like Charli XCX, Lauv, and Megan Thee Stallion, among others. Expanding this feature taps into a huge market that Spotify has, the K-Pop fanbase.
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