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Uber suspended in the Philippines for a month [Updated]

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board or LTFRB has suspended the operation of ride-sharing service Uber for one month in the Philippines. The suspension is due to the company’s failure to comply to an earlier mandate by the transportation regulating body.

A CNN Philippines report cites LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada saying that Uber violated its July 26, 2017 order to stop accepting applications for accreditation. The spokesperson said Uber activated at least three vehicles the very next day.

In an August 1 statement, Uber clarified that they indeed accepted applications saying they are “optimistic that with the ongoing discussions with the LTFRB, ride-sharing has a path forward.” The company insists these applications were not processed.

The suspension order was issued 6PM of August 14, 2017. The LTFRB also “strongly recommends” that Uber provide its drivers financial assistance during the suspension period.

Uber Philippines has issued a statement on the morning of Tuesday, August 15, 2017 saying they will comply with the suspension order and that they are doing everything they can “to resolve the situation in the soonest possible time.”

LTFRB versus Uber and Grab

There is an ongoing discussion between the LTFRB and ride-sharing services Uber and Grab over how the two companies should be regulated in the Philippines. Grab is another service that operates in the Philippines and in nearby countries.

In July 2016, the LTFRB issued a memo to Uber and Grab to stop accepting and processing applications. The two companies defied the order citing public demand as the primary reason and has since paid PhP 5 million as fine for the violation.

Uber facing issues around the world

Uber is no stranger to facing difficulties against the government. The company has appeared in headlines all over the world for continuing to operate without securing proper permits from the respective countries they operate in. Uber previously faced suspensions and fines in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand among others over a similar issue.

The ride-sharing service has also faced opposition from local taxi drives worldwide. Cab drivers and operators in countries like Spain, Portugal, and many others said Uber is unfair competition.

Update (12:30PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

It looks like Uber Philippines isn’t going to let their operations stall after all.

According to the company’s official Twitter account, a motion for reconsideration has been filed for the one-month suspension to be lifted. In the meantime, Uber will continue its services despite the LTFRB’s original orders.

In a report by ABS-CBN News LTFRB’s Lizada said the suspension “stands” despite Uber’s motion for reconsideration. The same report stated that Lizada sent a text message to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA saying, “Uber is online again. Let us apprehend them.”

Update (7:20PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

The LTFRB has denied Uber Philippines’ motion for reconsideration to lift the month-long suspension. In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Uber said it will continue to work on resolving the matter urgently.

SEE ALSO: Grab will give you a free horse ride in Baguio

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Amazon makes a grand announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices

A smart home has to have these

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Amazon continues to make a mark in the smart home market with their announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices. The company announced a slew of devices, but let’s know more about the key Echo products that now have new upgrades.

Amazon Echo Dot

The new Echo Dot gets redesigned to look stylish and more modern. The plasticky design of the previous model is a thing of the past; the new model now has a fabric design that comes in three colors. The new model is also claimed to sound louder and better, but it’s still priced at US$ 50.

Amazon Echo Plus

The new Echo Plus also has similar upgrades with its new fabric design. It comes with an upgraded 3-inch speaker for stronger bass and clearer mids and highs. Like the Dot, the new model is still priced like its predecessor which is at US$ 150.

Amazon Echo Show

The gigantic Echo Show has been redesigned as well. It features a new body with a large 10-inch HD display. Of course, the new display comes with a new sound system composed of two 2-inch drivers with a passive radiator and Dolby audio processing.

It also comes with a new 5-megapixel front-facing camera for HD video calls. Alexa will soon support Skype audio and video calls, so you will be able to use Skype straight from your Echo Show. Additionally, it now has a built-in web browser. Pricing remains at US$ 230 like with the previous model.

Amazon Echo Auto

The Echo Auto is probably the most intriguing of the bunch. It’s a US$ 25 accessory (the cheapest Echo, yet) designed to let you access Alexa even while in your car. It powers itself from your car’s power outlet or a USB port and connects to the Internet via Bluetooth through your phone.

Using the Alexa app on your phone, it can play music or give you turn-by-turn navigation. You can also ask it pretty much anything you’d ask with other Echo devices.

The new Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show are already up for pre-order and will go on sale starting October 11. The Echo Auto is also up for pre-order, but by request only.

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Huawei gives free power banks to Apple fans

This is quite a power move!

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Huawei is mastering the art of throwing shade real quick. It started during the iPhone XS launch when the Chinese company thanked Apple for “keeping things the same.” Now that people lined up to finally get their hands-on on the iPhone XS and XS Max, Huawei made sure they’re also in the scene.

In Singapore, Huawei representatives were seen handing out free power banks to the eager Apple fans who queued up for the new iPhones.

It even included a cheeky message saying “Here’s a power bank. You’ll need it,” before making sure the recipient knows who the power bank was from, “Courtesy of Huawei.”

Previously, it was just Samsung that brazenly took shots at Apple. Their latest ones feature anti-iPhone ads that centered around power and stylus support. Before that, they also released an ad mocking the notch.

Huawei, who made significant headway in the smartphone market in 2018 thanks to their P20 models, wants in on the conversation. It looks like it’s not going stop any time soon as they get ready to launch their latest flagship — the Mate 20 — on October 16 in London.

This is not the first time that other brands rode the iPhone wave. HTC once provided warm drinks to combat the cool weather Apple loyalists had to endure. Other brands have also stepped in before to provide some form of comfort or aid for the brave people who lined up.

SEE ALSO: Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out

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Instagram now lets you send GIFs through direct messages

About time!

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Image from Unsplash

Instagram continues to evolve from a photo-sharing app to a full-fledged messaging platform. If video chatting service is not enough to convince you that it’s more fun to talk to people on Instagram, then what about GIFs? After the long wait, you can now finally send fun GIFs on Instagram through direct messages.

The incoming (or it’s probably already available to you) update will have GIPHY support to find and send GIFs. It’s somewhat similar to how you can look for GIFs for your Stories, but this one is for private conversations.

Sure, it won’t put Instagram on par with the best communication apps out there like Facebook Messenger, Viber, or WhatsApp, but it’ll make talking to friends much more fun. I think GIFs are fun to send as a reaction to Stories, right?

The feature is rolling out over the next few days, so keep your Instagram app updated. While we’re at it, follow GadgetMatch on Instagram for more content and live updates of what’s we’re currently up to.

Source: Instagram

SEE ALSO: 7 tips to stepping up your Instagram game

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