BlackBerry Messenger was the iMessage of the late 2000s, especially since it was initially exclusive to the company's own hardware. BBM expanded to iOS and Android in 2013, but it has become mostly irrelevant thanks to competitors like WhatsApp and iMessage. BlackBerry is now suing Facebook and its subsidiaries (including WhatsApp and Instagram), alleging that Facebook is violating numerous BBM patents. Read More
The encrypted messaging app Signal has become quite popular with millions of downloads on iOS and Android, and its underlying technology has been integrated with the chat platforms used by billions of people. Signal has done all this with only a handful of developers. Now, Signal is growing into the Signal Foundation. With $50 million in initial funding, this nonprofit will continue building on Signal's success to support private communication. Read More
We've known for a while that WhatsApp has been prepping a built-in payment service for its users in India, and the beta version of the app is now showing the new payments interface. The feature plugs into the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program that includes many of the country's most popular banking institutions.
Although not officially announced by the company yet, beta testers have noticed a payment option in the attachment menu between Document and Gallery. According to TechCrunch, iOS users have been able to make payments with the service already. Gizmo Times has tried this out on Android, but it shows a "Couldn't add bank account" error message (below right). Read More
There's one particularly exciting feature in the Pixel 2 that most people won't notice - the Visual Core. It's a custom chip (developed by Google) designed to speed up HDR+ image processing. It also enables HDR+ for third-party apps, or at least ones that choose to support it. The chip didn't do anything when the Pixel 2 shipped, but it was finally turned on in Android 8.1. Read More
Android 8.0 Oreo introduced one cool feature for app notifications: channels. Since not all notifications are created equal, even if they come from the same app, this would allow you to choose how different types of notifications appear, sound, and vibrate, or not, on your phone. However, that created one big issue: Google didn't have a fallback in place for apps that don't get updated to support the channels, which means that you couldn't assign importance to any notification coming from the app. That, as you can imagine, was very annoying with apps like WhatsApp where you couldn't disable the permanent WhatsApp Web running notification without disabling all of the app's notifications, for example. Read More
Thanks to a government-backed platform called UPI (Unified Payment Interface), developers are able to more easily integrate digital payments for India into their apps. Google's Tez uses UPI for bill payments, and social app Truecaller added the functionality in a recent update. The country's most used messaging app shouldn't be too far behind as Facebook-owned WhatsApp could be ready to offer a payment solution based on UPI as early as next month. Read More
WhatsApp Business was officially announced in September of 2017 but back then you had to sign up for a beta, register your interest, and hope to be picked to give it a try. Now the app is made official and it's launching for Android in 5 countries to begin with, with a roll out "around the world" in the coming weeks. The lucky five are: Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK, and the US. Yes, the US, where everyone says they don't use WhatsApp. I also find it odd that the launch post mentions how businesses in India and Brazil rely on WhatsApp a lot for their communications, but then these two countries aren't among the list to get it first. Read More
Last year, WhatsApp released a business-focused version of its massively-popular messaging app, aptly-called 'WhatsApp Business.' It has a few unique features, like landline phone number support, messaging statistics, and other minor changes. Now the app has been updated to support quick replies. Read More
The Pixel 2 XL has suffered from several issues since its launch, both hardware and software-related, just like pretty much any other consumer product of its kind. The latest bug to come to light is a curious one that affects the sound output level of a voice clip sent via a messaging app. According to a number of users on this Pixel User Community thread, this issue is limiting the volume level when recording voice messages on the Pixel 2 XL.
When you send a voice clip recorded on a phone suffering from the bug, the recipient gets a message with very low volume, even when their phone is turned up all the way. Read More