Apps

Trump bans Alipay, WeChat Pay and other Chinese apps

Following India’s footsteps

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps. The move aims to reduce the influence of Chinese companies in the US and prevent them from collecting user data of American citizens.

Included in the order are Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office. This isn’t a surprising move because the administration has already restricted hardware companies like Huawei and ZTE, followed by the insanely popular app TikTok.

The order takes effect in 45 days, after Trump leaves office.

“At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications,” the executive order stated. The administration alleges that these apps are collecting huge quantities of user data and closely monitoring their lifestyle. China could leverage this sensitive data to understand and manipulate American citizens.

The immediate impact is likely to be limited because Alipay and WeChat Pay have most of their users in China. There are a plethora of alternatives available for SHAREit, VMate, CamScanner, and WPS Office. Hence the end-user won’t be affected as much as the developer.

Thankfully, TikTok is still active after entering into a strategic partnership with the American software giant Oracle. However, the app ban isn’t a new concept, and we’ve already seen India ban hundreds of Chinese apps following a deadly border dispute in 2019.

Currently, popular games like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends are also not available in India. In fact, the Indian government’s ban also finds a mention in the executive order signed by Trump.

The fears aren’t exactly far fetched because a similar data leak on Facebook’s end empowered manipulators to flood the 2016 US Presidential Election with misinformation. This has the potential to swing votes, in turn, compromising the integrity of the election. Similar events have also been observed during the Brexit referendum of 2016.

Apps

Disney+ now streaming in Singapore

Have you subscribed yet?

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The wait is over. Disney+ is now finally available in Singapore.

If you’ve been longing to stream Disney classics, new shows like The Mandalorian in the Star Wars universe, or just want a feel good flick from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can now do so via the streaming app.

The subscription costs SG$ 11.98 per month or SG$ 119.98 for a year. With it you’ll have access to a library of 500 movies and over 15,000 episodes of some of your favorite shows from Disney Channel.

You’ll also gain access to content by other major entertainment companies like Pixar, National Geographic, and Star.

To sign-up, users need to go to the Disney+ website and you’ll be asked to input your email address so they can keep you updated on how to subscribe. A subscription plan lets the user stream on four different devices at the same time. There are also different profiles for each subscription just like Netflix. However, instead of just five, Disney+ gives you up to seven profiles.

GeekCulture put together a list of supported devices so check them out to see if you have any of them.

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Netflix now has a Downloads For You feature

Not to be confused with Smart Downloads

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Netflix Downloads

Netflix wants to make sure you have something to watch even when you’re on the go with its new Downloads For You feature.

Not to be confused with Smart Downloads which lets you find the next episode of your favorite show even when you’re on the go, the Downloads For You feature automatically downloads recommended shows or movies to your mobile device based on your tastes.

Don’t worry though, despite it doing things automatically for you, you’re still ultimately in control. It takes two steps to opt in.

  1. Go to the Downloads tab on your mobile device and toggle on Downloads For You.

  2. Choose the amount of content you want downloaded to your device (1GB, 3GB, or 5GB) and click Turn On. The more space you allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for you.

Here’s how it should look like.

Just like Smart Downloads, the Netflix Downloads For You feature will only work while you’re on Wi-Fi. It’s also only currently available on Android with iOS testing happening soon.

SEE ALSO: DOTA anime series coming to Netflix

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Spotify will launch high-quality audio later this year

Price unannounced

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Since the advent of music streaming, Spotify has enjoyed its dominance as the most popular service with the most varied gallery of music. However, competing services, like Tidal, can easily one-up the industry leader in terms of audio quality. Despite Spotify’s relentless promise to deliver top-tier audio, the service hasn’t upgraded its audio quality that much. That will soon change, though. Spotify has now confirmed that high-quality audio is coming later this year.

Currently, Spotify is streaming its music at a paltry 320kbps. From an audiophile’s standpoint, 320kbps is the bare minimum bitrate for music listening. However, hi-fi audio — that is, bitrates that escalate from 1000kbps and go as high as 9216kbps– unlocks an entirely new experience for more discerning ears. To put it lightly, hi-fi audio sounds more vibrant and more alive, especially given a workable audio setup.

With the announcement, Spotify is reportedly pushing the feature to select markets at an unannounced date. Unfortunately, the company has not announced how much the new feature will cost users who want to upgrade. Hi-fi audio definitely costs a lot more. Tidal, for example, offers its highest quality audio for US$ 19.99 per month.

In the past, though, Spotify has talked about launching the feature for an additional US$ 7.50. At the time, the promise didn’t result into anything. This time, Spotify Hi-Fi finally seems official.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is testing its own Stories feature

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