Instagram separates messaging feature into a new app called Direct, currently in testing

Instagram separates messaging feature into a new app called Direct, currently in testing

Instagram is currently testing Direct, a new messaging app that was previously a part of the main Instagram app. Basically, the company has taken the direct messaging feature of Instagram and spun it into a separate app, turning it into the Snapchat clone it always wanted.

The app is currently available today in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, on both, iOS and Android. There currently is no timeline for when this app will be available everywhere, if at all.
Like Snapchat, Direct opens up in the camera view, letting you quickly snap a picture of video and send it to someone. You can swipe left and go to your Inbox on the right or swipe right and go to your app settings. And that's pretty much it. Apparently if you keep swiping left from your inbox, you see the Instagram logo and are then sent to the Instagram app. Similarly, if you swipe right in the main Instagram app you will be sent to the Direct app.

Direct messaging has been part of Instagram for a few years now but initially was extremely basic. The feature saw a big boost in functionality and user base after the launch of the Instagram Stories feature. It must be noted that Stories doesn't seem to be shifting over to Direct, at least not based on current screenshots. Whether that happens later or not remains to be seen but it makes sense for it to be within the messaging app. On the other hand, a huge reason Instagram Stories took off in the first place is because it was tacked on top, front and center, of an already popular app and there was no way for the user to opt out. With Stories moved to Direct, it could either help increase the user base of Direct or make people stop using the feature and the app entirely.
Instagram's rationale for this is the same one they had back when they separated Messenger from Facebook. They want Direct to be something bigger, which it can only be when it is on its own. However, unlike Messenger, which always had the potential to be a full fledged messaging app, Instagram Direct only really works or is relevant within the realm of Instagram and becomes largely irrelevant on its own.
OneDrive for Android gets a new look

OneDrive for Android gets a new look

Microsoft has redesigned the Android version of OneDrive. The app now features a bottom tab bar, which is more in line with the updated Android user design guidelines. The app looks more modern and cleaner than before.

Also added is a new Me tab. Here you can keep track of your notifications, your files made available for offline use, your recycle bin and your OneDrive plan details.
The app is now available to download for free on the Google Play Store.
Google Maps gets new 'motorcycle mode' feature for two wheelers

Google Maps gets new 'motorcycle mode' feature for two wheelers

If you are a Google Maps user in India who commutes by a two wheeler, you'll be happy to know that the application has gained a new feature aimed at making your drives more convenient. Yes, you guessed it right - there's now a new 'motorcycle mode' alongside other existing options.

So those with a two wheeler can now easily find the best/shortest/most efficient route for their journey using Google Maps. What's more, the feature will also tell if you there's a road blockage on the way or parking issue near your destination.

This new functionality is arriving as part of version 9.67.1 of Google Maps. No information yet on if and which other regions are getting it.
TStv to Start Selling of Their Decoders From Next Week

TStv to Start Selling of Their Decoders From Next Week

TStv Decoders would be on sale as from next week, the Management of the much awaited indigenous Satellite TV provider has revealed.

Mr Ernest Essien, the TStv’s Public Relations Officer, made the disclosure in an interview with the to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Essien said the company had concluded arrangement to roll out its commercial decoders from next week after the successful test run of its promo decoders distributed before Nov. 1.

He said that the service provider was committed to making sure that all the intending customers should have their decoders before Christmas.

“We are almost done with our test transmission and we are just putting some finishing touches and hopefully by the grace of God, between now and next week the decoders will be out for sale.

“We are informing Nigerians that they must enjoy their Christmas with their decoders. So before Christmas, the decoders will be everywhere in the market.

“Everything is in place we have done everything we needed to do before coming out and I want to let you know that TStv is still on course.’’

Essien reiterated that the price of TStv decoder would remain at the initial N5,000 with all the packages promised, adding that there would be additional surprise packages for its customers.

He said that the management had decided to keep the packages secret until the decoders were rolled out.

“We will display all the packages accordingly but the one we can assure you now is that the price will not change, it remains N5,000.

“We are trying to see how we can make it simple and easy for every Nigerian to be able to afford it.

“We are keeping our promises on the channels and all the channels including BeIN Sports channels are there with even more other channels that were not included in our bouquet before.

“We have more channels that are coming and the total number of channels will be over 70,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the new satellite pay TV which was inaugurated on Oct. 1 commenced distribution and installation of promo decoders nationwide on Oct. 31.

Some of the beneficiaries of the promo decoder had commended the improvement in the number of channels and quality of the programmes.
Top 10 phones of 2017: Best battery life

Top 10 phones of 2017: Best battery life

The battery is the most constraining factor in smartphone design for manufacturers so a lot of buzzwords go into their ads, making battery life a difficult thing to shop for. Our reviews have detailed tests, but we decided to come up with a shortlist for those who just need the best, quickly. Here are the Top 10 phones of 2017 based on battery life.
Our Endurance rating should give you a good general guideline, however a single number doesn’t tell the whole story. Some catch up on the latest episodes while commuting, others spend hours browsing the web.
To help your Holiday shopping we compiled a list of recommended phones for those looking to get solid smartphone experience with the best possible battery life.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 - The entertainer

With a dominating 126h Endurance rating, the sub-€300 Xiaomi Mi Max topped our 2017 charts for battery life. All thanks to its massive 5,300mAh battery and efficient Snapdragon 625 chipset. Quick Charge 3.0 will take care of filling the battery back up in no time, too.
This Xiaomi also topped the Web browsing and Video playback charts. Did we mention it has a 6.44” screen? Stuck on a long flight, this is the phone you want. It will play nearly 22 hours of video before the battery dies. And if that plane has Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to stay online for 19 hours.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 - The budget option

With 119h Endurance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 isn’t far behind its large-screened sibling. And it is easily the most affordable phone in the running – the only one below €200. Its 5.5” screen makes it more manageable, while the Snapdragon 625 chipset will provide the same performance as the Max.
This one also came in second in the Web browsing test with an 18 hour time. It will also do over 15 hours of video. Note that the Redmi Note 4 doesn’t come with a quick charger and it can’t do 4K video like the Max. Still, at €100 less we think it’s a great deal.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) - The premium mid-ranger

Borrowing from Samsung’s flagship lines, the Galaxy A7 (2017) offers a 5.7” Super AMOLED display with a superior image quality. It features Always On Display, though that will cut into the Endurance – bringing it down from the stellar 115h to the still solid 80h. A fast charger is included in the box.
Great Web browsing endurance (over 15h) will distract you from taking selfies with the 16MP f/1.9 front camera and instead of watching video for 18h, you can take the Galaxy A7 (2017) to the pool (IP68 waterproofing).

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact - The small one

Wow, those are some large phones. Sony's Xperia XZ1 Compact caters to those who want something more pocketable that still lasts a long time. Pulling 108h Endurance out of a 2,700mAh battery – the smallest here – is quite a magic trick by Sony.
It’s ready to take on the larger Galaxy A7 too with its own IP68 protection and an 8MP camera with Sony’s excellent EIS. It goes toe to toe in the Web test (14h) and Video playback (16h) with the Samsung too. The Snapdragon 835 chipset leaves the Cortex-A53 octet of the Galaxy in the dust, though we wish Sony added a fast charger in the box.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro - the flagship

For a true flagship experience, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is up there with the best. The same goes for battery longevity – at 96h, it just squeaks into the Top 10 and beats the Galaxy Note8 (89h) by a whopping 5h in the Web browsing test.
The included 22.5W charger is blazing fast – it charged the 4,000mAh battery to 58% in half an hour. And as promised, you get the flagship treatment with a 6” 18:9 AMOLED screen with HDR10 support, stereo speakers, a top performing chipset and the Leica-branded cameras.

Oppo F5 - widescreen browsing

Lasting close to 18 hours of Web browsing, the Oppo F5 comes close to the Xiaomi phones. But unlike them you’ll be browsing on a 6” 18:9 screen with a much better contrast ratio. The phone misses out on the company’s excellent VOOC charger, but has other strengths.
Like the 20MP selfie camera with Bokeh mode. And you can get up to 6GB of RAM for multitasking, though the Helio P23 chipset can’t overcome its mid-range station in life when it comes to gaming.

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) and J5 (2017) - Galaxys on a budget

The Galaxy A7 is a fine phone, but it costs twice as much as the Galaxy J7 (2017). You’re getting very similar Endurance and similar longevity in the individual tests. Plus you get to keep the 1080p AMOLED display (5.5” this time) with Always On support (though enabling it drops the endurance to 72h).
The in-box charger isn’t great, but the J7 holds its own when it comes to selfies with a 13MP f/1.9 camera. The chipset isn’t great for gaming though. Still, you’re getting 80% of the features for 50% of the price, not bad.

You can get more or less the same thing in a smaller package – the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) has a 5.2” screen (note that it’s 720p). Its 11 hours of web browsing won’t break any records, but over 18 hours of video playback is quite impressive.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active - the rugged one

What if you need long battery life because you won’t be near a wall wart anytime soon? The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active upgrades the IP68 rating of the vanilla S8 with MIL-STD-810G – salt, vibration and thermal shock resistance.
Thanks to the larger 4,000mAh battery you get better Endurance (111h vs. 84h) and better performance on the individual tests too – 4 hours more on both the Web browsing and the Video playback tests. You get a fast charger in the box, but this phone also supports Samsung's fast wireless charging (a charger is a $30-40)
You’re getting all the great features of the S8 – the excellent Super AMOLED screen, the fast 12MP Dual Pixel camera and Snapdragon 835 chipset. Unfortunately (for now) this one is only sold in the US.

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus - the wildcard

With an Endurance rating just over 100 hours, the Xperia XA1 Plus brings the Sony touch without the XZ1 price tag. It has solid performance on Video (over 15h) and Web browsing (over 12h). The included charger is slow, but you can grab a faster Pump Express+ 2.0 compatible charger.
The Xperia XA1 Plus rivals its flagship siblings in photography skills with a 23MP 1/2.3” sensor on the back as well as an 8MP selfie cam with autofocus. It’s not quite XA1 Ultra good, but the difference in battery life is staggering.
Twitter Lite releases in 24 more countries

Twitter Lite releases in 24 more countries

Twitter has launched its Twitter Lite app for Android in 24 countries around the world, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Serbia, El Salvador, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Tanzania, and Venezuela.

Twitter Lite is a mobile app for Android that is a scaled back version of the full app. It is optimized for low bandwidth connections with data saving features. The app itself is only 3MB, making it quick and easy to download even on 2G connections.
Twitter Lite originally started life as a mobile site ( and was turned into an app in September and launched in Philippines. After some testing and feedback, Twitter decided to launch it in other countries.
Currently, the app is only available on Android.
Google Maps on iOS gets updated to support iPhone X

Google Maps on iOS gets updated to support iPhone X

Google has finally gotten around to updating its Maps app on iOS to support the iPhone X. This means instead of letterboxing the app will now occupy the entire screen, including the little ears around the infamous notch.
Maps joins Google's slow but steady stream of iOS updates adding support for the iPhone X. So far apps like YouTube, Keep, Docs, Sheets, and Slides have been updated but almost every other, including the likes of Chrome, Gmail, Google Search, Drive, Photos, Calendar, and Gboard have not been updated yet.
Also, even when it does update, it's not always perfect.
The Google Maps iPhone X update is almost a month late, and even then it’s wrong. Clipped corners and too close to the home indicator. 🙄