A massive deal is brewing in Southeast Asia. After a rocky 2017, Uber is gearing up to sell its Southeast Asia operations to Singapore’s Grab.
Despite posting a whopping US$ 7.5 billion in sales last year, Uber reported an even more surprising US$ 4.5 billion in losses. Uber’s worldwide demand couldn’t offset the costs that it incurred throughout the previous year.
This makes the rumored deal between the two ride-sharing apps a timely one. Further, reports indicate that Uber is also preparing for an eventual IPO sometime next year.
Should it happen, Uber will receive a substantial stake in Grab’s company. Currently, Uber hasn’t finalized the deal yet. Reports don’t include a timeline on when (or if) this deal will conclude.
The strategic move works in favor of Uber as a business. However, it remains unclear how this will affect commuters.
Southeast Asian commuters heavily prefer the convenience of Uber and Grab, compared to the bustle of traditional public transportation. The two apps share similar popularity ratings across the region.
For its popularity, Uber is pummeled with more controversies than Grab. The earlier has already suffered from multiple cases of drivers raping passengers, taxi protests, and a recent attempt to stifle autonomous driving. The company’s long-standing CEO Travis Kalanick also resigned last year.
Despite the mounting scandals, Uber remains one of the world’s preferred ride-sharing service. Regardless of whether the proposed sale will push through, Uber continues to be a watchword in today’s transportation economy.
Netflix is testing a new mobile-only subscription in Asia
Might cost less than PhP 200
By now, subscription services have slowly taken over our monthly budgets. Cable hookups, premium Spotify accounts, Netflix subscriptions, gym memberships — it never stops. Unfortunately, the world is moving from single-purchase models into monthly renewals. Don’t you just wish for a better bang for your buck?
Netflix is currently testing a more flexible pricing scheme in select territories. In India, the streaming company has introduced a mobile-only subscription plan worth half the price of the basic plan. India’s basic plan — one screen, standard definition — costs INR 500 (around US$ 7.23). Meanwhile, the mobile-only plan costs only INR 250 (around US$ 3.61).
In an interview with Variety, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed the possible options “where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time.”
Currently, all of Netflix plans are measured in months. Based on the statement, Netflix is potentially exploring weekly plans, besides a medium-oriented plan.
In terms of location, Netflix has trialed this new pricing scheme in Malaysia and India. Unfortunately, the company has not confirmed other territories for the future. However, given the location of the first two tests, the company will likely implement the scheme in mobile-centric countries in the Asian region. Currently, India is one of Asia’s hotspots for smartphone technology.
Given the trend, the Philippines will likely join India and Malaysia in the future. The country is also a developing hotspot for smartphones. As such, a Netflix mobile-only plan will likely find a lot of supporters in the country. For reference, the mobile-only plan will probably cost PhP 185 (half of the basic PhP 370 plan).
Of course, the only remaining problem will be the country’s abysmal data coverage.
Dark mode for Google Chrome is now available for Mac
Not a theme, not a skin
The time has come. The official dark mode for Google Chrome is now rolling out and it’s available in the latest stable version of the popular desktop browser. We’ve seen themes and skins to achieve this, but nothing beats a deeply integrated dark mode.
Chrome introduced dark mode last month, and it’s ready for the enjoyment of macOS users, while support for Windows is on the way.
To get this, users must use the latest Chrome 73 version. The browser should update itself (given that’ll you’ll restart it as well), but if it’s taking time, simply head over to the “About Google Chrome” section in the Help menu to manually trigger the download.
Unlike other apps, Chrome’s dark mode is integrated into the system. So, if you have dark mode enabled in macOS (or Windows 10), Chrome will automatically theme itself to match.
If you use Incognito Mode a lot, you’ll need to be more careful when switching windows. The regular dark mode and Incognito Mode windows are virtually identical sans the indicator in the menu bar.
Aside from the much-awaited dark mode, Chrome 73 also brings a couple of new features and enhancements. It has a new “Sync and Google services” section and it now supports hardware media keys to play or pause content on supported devices.
Harry Potter: Wizards United AR game is like Pokémon Go, but more complex
Made by the same game studio
Back in 2017, Niantic Labs, the makers of the mega-hit Pokémon Go, announced that they are working on a new augmented reality (AR) game based on the popular Harry Potter franchise. The time has come for us to see what they were able to make.
The Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is the title of the AR game co-developed with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and WB Games San Francisco’s development team. From the looks of it, this ain’t just another Pokémon Go clone that other franchises have, but they share something in common.
The map of Wizards Unite is based on the real world and you walk around to look for items. Instead of cute pocket monsters, you’ll see artifacts and notable characters from the series. According to The Verge, there are mini-games when casting a spell. You’ll have to complete a collection book, earn points, and level up as well. Eurogamer also notes that players can choose one of three classes: the Magizoologist, the Professor, or the Auror.
Here’s Niantic’s description of the game’s plot from the website: A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artefacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these “Foundables,” and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes. Your journey begins as a new recruit of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, established by the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards for the purpose of investigating and containing The Calamity.
Here’s a teaser featuring a Niffler hoarding shiny coins to get you more excited:
Wizards Unite seems to be a bit more complicated than Pokémon Go, which could either be good or bad. What’s for sure is that fans of the Harry Potter franchise are in a for a treat. Players of the game will surely need a high-end phone to fully experience the game and it could possibly eat up a lot of battery juice, much like Pokémon Go.
There’s more to know about the gameplay of Wizards Unite and everything there is to understand (for now) about the game is available on their website. As of writing, pre-registration is now open on the Google Play Store, while iOS users will have to wait for a bit.
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