1. The Mobile World Congress has begun
The mobile industry’s largest gathering has begun in Barcelona, Spain (running February 27th to March 4th), attracting experts, professionals, and enthusiasts alike from all over the world. To learn more about the conference, you can check in on the official website.
2. Instagram now has multi-image slideshow type posts
Facebook-owned Instagram has been moving at an accelerated pace over the last half year, as the photo-sharing social network has regained hype with a slough of new feature introductions. Specifically, Instagram has now added the ability to embed multiple photos and videos within a post, creating a swipeable slideshow type widget. You can grab some more specifics on the feature here.
3. Google‘s Digital Assistant AI coming to (almost) all Android users
Google’s Digital Assistant AI will now be available to Android smartphone users with the latest versions of the OS (7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow).
As the percentage of smartphones users who actually use voice assistant AI creeps upward, Google and Amazon expecially have begun ramping up distribution efforts of their respective solutions.
Google’s assistant will first roll out in the US, then to other English-speaking nations like the UK, Australia, and Canada, with German speakers in Germany next in line.
You can read more in a CNBC story released following the announcement here.
4. Snapchat announces IPO
In January, Snapchat Inc. — the creators of social giant Snapchat, for those living under a boulder— filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, hype and speculation has run rampant throughout February.
Snapchat plans to raise about $3billion in newly offered shares to the public, putting the company’s valuation between $15 and $20.
While the IPO is expected to be the biggest American tech company IPO since Facebook, there is still some doubt as to the soundness of investing for a member of the public.
Plus, many see the recently-thought-unstoppable Snapchat’s IPO as on an accelerated timeline due to deperation — Snapchat saw its first quarter of slowed growth in Q4 2016. Coincidentally, this was immediately following the launch of Instagram Stories, which essentially copied Snapchat’s stories feature and brought them into an app with much easier external discovery and reach options than Snapchat.
The direction Snapchat will take follow its IPO, of course, remains to be seen. the actual date for going public is Thursday, March 2nd.
5. Snapchat begins selling Spectacles online
When Snapchat released its camera glasses last year — integrated into its app and only available via pop-up vending machines — the craze that ensued as Snappers tried to get their hands on a pair was, in a word, intense.
Now that the early adopter phase is over, the company has announced it will now begin selling the products online. Though, in all honesty, it seems perhaps that those serious enough about their snapping to want a pair of the Spectacles were also probably crazy enough to drive to wherever a vending machine cropped up and hunt them down.
If you live in the US and are that keen on acquiring a pair, you can do so here.
6. Nokia is back in the phone game — and in more ways than one
Everyone remembers throwing their old Nokia-brick phone up into the air and then having to explain a new crack in the driveway to their parents when the phone crashed down to earth and emerged victorious (what, you didn’t have this happen?!).
Well, now Nokia is bursting back onto the phone production scene again in a big way.
Not only have they shown the soon-to-come recreation of the 3310 phone (the aforementioned brick) , but they are also releasing a lineup of original Android phones, which have already generated some positive accolades or, at the very least, anticipation.
7. Uber under fire (again)
Uber has faced plenty of criticism over the past few years for cannibalizing the taxi industry and working its hardest to skirt labor laws with regards to their drivers, but their recent controversy hits much closer to home for the company’s employees — or, at least, its female ones.
Following a scathing blog post titled “Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber”, in which a former engineer alleges rampant sexual harassment and a tone-deaf HR department, founder Travis Kalanick announced this month an extensive investigation into company culture.
Just a few days ago, another post outlining similar issues cropped up right here on Medium, titled “I am an Uber survivor”.
While we can’t substantiate the claims made in either piece, Uber’s scramble for damage control measures seem to indicate there is at least some company culture work to be done.
8. WhatsApp Becomes Latest to Clone Snapchat’s Stories Feature
In another taunt to Snapchat leading up to its IPO, Facebook introduced a similar daily “stories” feature which allows users to quickly capture moments throughout their day to create a story for others to view in its Whatsapp chat app.
In recent months, Facebook has introduced this in two other apps it owns (Messenger and Instagram) in an effort to chip away at Snapchat’s popularity. Whatsapp may not have a large reach in the US, but in emerging smartphone markets like India, its usage is extremely popular.
9. Comcast Releases A New Streaming App
American communications giant Comcast has no recognized that people consume their TV content on a number of not-just-TV devices, and is now rolling out a new streaming app that will centralize all of the available content to their subscribers.
That said, they’re still Comcast, so everybody will hate them anyways.
10. AirMap Secures $26m to Become Air Traffic Controller for Drones
In an investment round led by Microsoft, Qualcomm, Sony, and several other power players, AirMap has positioned themselves to start implementing air control systems for drones all over the world.
To learn more about AirMap’s current use, and future plans with their funding, you can read a full article here.
Now you’re all caught up — let’s see what March brings!
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