WhatsApp Removes Annual Subscription Fee, No Third Party Ads Though

Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp leads the online chat platform with nearly 1 billion monthly active users, but still continues to lure more users.

The app charges a small annual subscription fee of $0.99 for some of its users after the first year of usage. You may not have experienced the subscription fee and may be wondering. Well, the app offered a free lifetime service to most of its original users. Recent users are asked to subscribe to the service after one year of free access.

However, the company might ditch the policy soon, the company’s founder Jan Koum confirmed. He said the policy has not worked well since a huge number of users lack debit or credit cards and the company does not intend to cut their connection with family and friends. Mr. Koum was speaking in Munich where he attended a Digital-Life-Design Conference. Koum said the company is considering a business based means of maintaining the app after eradicating the annual fee.

The company plans to connect firms directly with the users through the app, charging the companies for the services in the process. Mr. Koum, however, said they have not reached a final decision- temporarily WhatsApp will charge multi-national companies for customer chat and calls services. For instance, an airline communicates to its customers about some inconveniences like flight revocation or some delays, they will be able to do that over the app, he emphasized.

No advertising allowed

Even though doing away with the already small fee means the company must get an alternative source to meet its maintenance costs, WhatsApp is adamant it will not resort to third party ads. WhatsApp will remain ad free, maintaining its ultimate goal of avoiding spam and unnecessary advertisement, a statement on its official blog post confirmed.

The company instead will test tools that allow the users communicate with different business organizations over various issues. It is just like how you may receive a text message or a phone call from your bank or any other business informing you anything about your transactions or any other issue.

Mr. Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton are not relenting on their anti-advertisement policy, the duo confirmed on WhatsApp’s official blog post. The pair says advertisements disrupt aesthetics, interrupt train of thought and insult one’s intelligence, which is contrary to their aim of coming up with the platform. WhatsApp is not interested in the users’ data; rather the app focuses to bring a lovable, inexpensive, and dependable instant messaging experience.

WhatsApp parent company Facebook is already thinking on those lines. A similar feature is already under tests in Facebook Messenger app. The process is ongoing in the U.S.; selected business organizations have been given a go-ahead to pay for the service which will enable them message their clients directly via Messenger.

At a technology conference in Boston, David Wehner – Chief Financial Officer at Facebook – confirmed the possible B2C integration. He thinks that messaging apps can accumulate some huge revenue through B2C services.

YouTube Will Stream January’s Democratic Presidential Debate

The final democratic presidential debate will be coming to YouTube, according to the latest report by the video sharing platform.

The Google-owned service revealed this information on Wednesday, saying that it will partner with NBC News in live-streaming the January 17, 2016 event. The debate will be aired on NBC starting from 9.00 pm to 11.00 pm ET and it will be hosted by Lester Holt, who is NBC Nightly News’ anchor. The show will then be live-streamed on NBC News YouTube Channel for everyone interested to watch from wherever they are.

Given the popularity of YouTube in the U.S. (a recent study revealed that YouTube is the leading service when it comes to internet traffic in the country), this move might be the app’s opportunity to emulate Facebook’s one of a kind milestone that saw it connect up to 1 billion people in a single day.

The debate will pit the remaining candidates Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders head to head against each other and it takes place just before the casting of the first caucus and primary votes.

The video streaming company acknowledged the fact that users have been following the proceedings of the U.S. presidential campaigns closely on the platform and from multiple angles; for instance, candidates launching campaigns, light-hearted moments during the campaign period and even YouTube creators talking about community issues that matter. But this time, “you can now watch the candidates’ debate live on YouTube”, the company wrote on its blog post.

More involvement from the online community

According to Google, the fact that YouTube will be live-streaming the presidential debate means that online viewers will have an opportunity to be part of the debate before it starts, during and after it ends. YouTubers will also be able to ask questions.

It won’t be something strange for these presidential candidates when they get the information that the debate will be available to YouTubers live. This is true because most of them, if not all, have been making use of this platform to upload videos during this campaign period. One example is Hillary Clinton, whose campaign announcement video has garnered close to 5 million views from the time it was uploaded back in April. She has since then continued to enjoy this platform for promoting her campaigns.

The company said that it will be availing more information on how YouTubers will be able to engage in the final democratic presidential debate. Keep following us and we will update you once YouTube unveils the info.

You Can Now Remove Bad Memories from Facebook’s Year in Review

This year has been quite a success for major tech companies, including Facebook.

The leading social networking company finally managed to connect up to 1 billion people in a single day, an achievement that has never been reached by any other social networking platform.

Now that 2015 is almost over, the company wants to ensure that you end it with your happy moments of the year only and nothing bad at all.

Facebook has now made it official that the more than 1.5 billion people that use this app can now access the Year in Review feature. This tool is aimed at giving you some of the best memories as far as Facebook photos are concerned for the past one year.

Year in Review feature has a new design

As mentioned earlier, this year has been quite a success for Facebook. The company has been rolling out some mind-blowing features and services in a bid to keep itself relevant in the highly competitive market as well as attract more users to the platform.

These efforts have seen the company redesign the Year in Review feature such that it takes the appeal of a photo strip. In addition, the new tool is now a lot customizable than before, making it easy to filter out any of your sad or bad memories during the year.

This is a cool update and for sure many will appreciate it, especially the ones that were unhappy with it last year, claiming that it resurfaced some bad memories they preferred not to be reminded of, for instance, photos of loved ones who passed away or even those of exes. This year’s edition is fully customizable such that the user is in control of what appears. This can be achieved by simply swapping the undesired photo with what you want to see just in case the algorithm doesn’t catch it. After this, you can also decide whether to share the memories with your friends or to keep them to yourself.

Furthermore, the tech giant also said that it has changed the approach it uses when it comes to choosing the photos to view in your Year in Review tool. The feature now makes use of what the company calls “a unique set of filters” to ensure that it reduces the chances of showing you a photo that you are not interested in seeing. This attempt is, according to Facebook, aimed at filtering out the potentially bad memories.

Samsung Galaxy J7 vs. Samsung Galaxy J5: Feature Review

Samsung is one of the leading makers of smartphones in the world. In fact, the company’s devices are the most selling when compared to any other major smartphone OEM in the world right now.

Even though the South Korean giant is not doing so well in the flagship handset industry, it has been leading all the way when it comes to the mid-range and low-end smartphones. Samsung, this summer, unveiled two amazing smartphones, in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy J5 and the Samsung Galaxy J7.

At first glance, you will be surprised at how identical these two look. However, getting much closer to them will reveal otherwise, with the first impression being the relatively smaller dimensions of the Galaxy J5 and basically the superior performance power of the Galaxy J7.

Design features

As mentioned above, the two phones look very identical from a distance. However, a closer look will reveal that the J7 is slightly bigger than the J5. As far as dimensions are concerned, Samsung designed the Galaxy J5 with measurements of 142 by 73 by 7.9 mm and gave it a weight of 149 grams. This device has a battery unit of 2,600mAh and it runs on the latest version of the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS.

The Galaxy J7 on the other hand measures 152.4 by 78.6 by 7.5 and has a weight of about 171 grams. The device packs a much better 3,000mAh battery unit and it will also be powered by the Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Processing power and performance specs

As mentioned earlier, the Samsung Galaxy J5 was unveiled this June. The phone features a 5-inch touchscreen display that manages a resolution of up to 720 by 1280 pixels.

Inside the phone you will come across a Qualcomm-based quad-core Snapdragon 410 chipset that is clocked at 1.2GHz and has a decent RAM of 1.5GB. Further inside, you will find an onboard storage of 8GB, which can be expanded to the extent of 128GB using a microSD card. This mid-range smartphone even gets better when it comes to photography, as it packs a 13MP snapper on the rear and a 5MP snapper on the front, which should be handy for taking quality selfies and making video calls.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 was also unveiled in June this year and on it you will find a 5.5-inch screen size with a similar resolution as its counterpart. Inside the J7 there is an in-house octa-core Exynos 7580 chipset that is supported by a RAM of 1.5GB. As far as internal storage is concerned, this mid-level smartphone comes with 16GB, but just like the J5, it can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card.

The rear and front-facing cameras of the Galaxy J7 are no different from what you get with the J5.

Connectivity features

Both the Samsung Galaxy J5 and J7 are dual SIM phones that can handle two micro SIM cards. Both devices also come with a variety of connectivity options that include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM, GPS, 3G as well as 4G. The phones also come with a Proximity sensor as well as Accelerometer.

As far as the pricing is concerned, the smaller Galaxy J5 is obviously cheaper than the bigger J7, but the price variations are not that significant. To get a new Samsung Galaxy J5 you require about $210 while a new Samsung Galaxy J7 will cost you an extra $30 when bought on Amazon.com.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

The smartphone industry has been changing pretty fast in the past few years. The industry that was once dominated by Samsung has now started receiving new and extremely potential players mainly from China.

While Huawei has been leading the way when it comes to Chinese smartphones, Xiaomi has risen to the top and it has done so very fast, coming in with quite commendable handsets, both in the high-end and mid-range market, markets that Samsung has been enjoying unrivaled dominance in the past few years.

Just this year, Xiaomi has unveiled several eye-catching devices, among them the Redmi Note 3. This device was unveiled this November and a glimpse at it will tell you that this OEM is really in the game. Nonetheless, despite the phone coming in with quite a number of amazing specs and features, the Samsung brand name that comes with the Galaxy Grand Prime is significant enough to stifle efforts by Xiaomi to break into the mid-range market.

The question is are the buyers still stuck with brand names when it comes to buying smartphones or do they go for the features and specs of the devices? Well, let’s find out more in this comparison of Samsung’s Galaxy Grand Prime and Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3.

Design specifications

Samsung changed the entire design of the newest flagships Galaxy S6 series and Galaxy Note 5, dropping the plastic design of the Galaxy S5 and instead replacing it with an all-metal design. However, this build is only meant for the flagship devices and since the Galaxy Grand Prime is a mid-level device, the phone comes with a plastic design with measurements of 144.8 by 72.10 by 8.6 mm, weighing 156 grams. The Grand Prime has a display size of 5 inches and a modest resolution of 540 by 960 pixels.

On the other hand, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 comes with a screen size of 5.5 inches that manages a decent screen resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels. As far as the measurements are concerned, the Redmi Note 3 is definitely larger than the Grand Prime with its dimensions of 150 by 76 by 8.65 mm. In addition, this device has a slightly heavier body than its counterpart, weighing an approximate of 164 grams.

Performance specs

When it comes to performance, you will love what you find on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 smartphone more than what the Grand Prime brings to the fold, but both devices are worth the buy. The former comes with an octa-core Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10 processor that is clocked at a speed of 2.0GHz and is supported by a RAM of 2GB and 3GB on other variants. Inside the phone you will further find an internal storage of 16GB on the base model and 32GB on the version with 3GB RAM, but unfortunately, this is just what you get with this phone as it has no expandable memory slot.

When it comes to photography, the Redmi Note 3 features a 13MP snapper on the rear and a capable 5MP snapper on the front. The phone was launched this November 2015 and it came with Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.

All these will be powered by a massive 4,000mAh non-removable battery unit.

When you come to the Galaxy Grand Prime, there is a rather older quad-core Qualcomm-based Snapdragon 410 chipset that is clocked at 1.2GHz and has a RAM of 1GB. The Grand Prime’s performance specs get even worse as compared to the Redmi Note 3 when the internal storage is put into consideration.

Samsung only installed onboard storage of 8GB on the Prime, but unlike the Note 3, this device features an expandable memory of up to 32GB using a microSD card. Photography matters also leave the Grand Prime trailing the Redmi Note 3 as the former brings in a rear snapper of 8MP and a front-facing camera of 5MP.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime comes with dual SIM support where you can insert to SIM cards in the phone. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, FM as well as 3G. There is no support for 4G connections, which is a clear indicator that this phone is meant for the developing world where internet infrastructure is still wanting. Nonetheless, you will still find sensors such as Proximity, Accelerometer and Ambient light sensor.

On the other hand, Xiaomi’s model also accepts two SIM cards, but it has better connectivity options that add 4G to what the Grand Prime already offers. As far as sensors are concerned, the Redmi Note 3 comes with Proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor as well as Accelerometer.

Pricing

When it comes to pricing of the two phones, you will be shocked to find that despite the fact that Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is more spec-packed than Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime; the former is cheaper than the latter.

Even though there is no word on whether this phone will be available in the U.S., the phone is currently valued at $179.99 for the base model and $209.99 for the top-end model on GeekBuying. On the other hand, the Grand Prime comes in at a price of $229.99.

Installing WhatsApp on Java Devices

WhatsApp is the IM leader when it comes to the number of users. The app has a user base of close to 1 billion people, all of whom exchange more than 60 billion messages in a single day.

This messenger was born in 2009 and since then, it has spelt dark moments for mobile carriers who were making a fortune out of SMSs and phone calls. This is true because the application can be used to make free voice calls as well as send free messages that include text, videos, pictures as well as voice recordings, among others.

One thing that has largely contributed to the app’s huge popularity is the fact that it can be installed on quite a wide range of phones running on a variety of operating systems. The main mobile operating systems that are supported are Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The app is also available for the users of Symbian OS, but this group receives very few updates; hence the users still depend on instant messaging alone when communicating via the app on this OS.

While Android remains to be the leader when it comes to popularity of mobile operating systems, this Google-owned software has only been around for about 7 years now. Before it, people still had mobile phones and the funniest thing is that a good number of these people have chosen to remain with these devices or simply replace them with new ones. The devices in question here are java-based phones.

How to install latest WhatsApp on a java-powered phone

To download and install WhatsApp on your java phone, for instance Nokia Asha 200, be sure to go along with the below steps and you will be good to go.

What you need

Before you start thinking of using WhatsApp on your java phone, you need to have the following ready: a working PC, a java phone and a suitable internet connection.

Once you have the three tools with you, connect your PC to the internet and download the following two files: WhatsApp_Messenger.jad and WhatsApp_Messenger.jar. When these two files are downloaded and saved on your PC, connect your java phone to the PC using a USB cable and copy the two files into one folder on the phone.

After this, simply disconnect your phone from the PC and you should be able to see WhatsApp there. Select it and it will shoot up so that you can go on and enter your phone number for registration purposes.

Remember WhatsApp requires an internet connection to send messages on your java phone and since these devices have no support for Wi-Fi, make sure you have subscribed to an unlimited data pack or else your airtime will be used up during communication.

Facebook Messenger Partners with Uber to Bring Ride Hailing to iOS and Android

Facebook Messenger is slowly moving away from being a simple free instant messaging and calling app to more like a WeChat of the west, a role that Kik Messenger thought belongs to it.

The application has now integrated Uber into its services where users can now hail a ride right from within the Messenger app. This is a very bold move by Facebook as it looks to change this chat app into a multi-purpose mobile application and take advantage of the same market that Asian apps such as WeChat and LINE are doing in their respective regions.

At the moment, Messenger already boasts customer service channels for businesses. In addition, there are reports that the company is working on developing partnerships with airlines where the latter will be able to broadcast their travel alerts. The company is also still working on M, a virtual assistant that comes in to take the place of traditional functionalities such as making a reservation at a hotel or restaurant.

The VP of Messaging Products at Facebook David Marcus was full of praise for the recent move by the company, labeling it as the perfect incarnation as far as the type of functionality the company wants to see in Messenger is concerned. He adds that we should “expect to see us [Facebook] further opening up the platform [Messenger] more and adding even more capabilities as well as functionality”.

Messaging apps are playing a critical role in today’s business

The fact that Uber has gone for Facebook Messenger as its partner in a bid to expand its services’ reach and basically interact better with their customers, shows the level of importance messaging apps are gaining in the enterprise world.

As mentioned earlier, Messenger is looking to become the WeChat of the West thanks to the fact that this Chinese app already offers ride hailing. Other than this, Wei Xin (as popularly known in China) also allows the users to play lottery, book flights, make reservations, invest in stock market as well as pay bills right from within the app, among many others.

Uber feels that the integration of its services with Facebook will change travelling into a social experience. According to the company’s senior VP of business Emil Michael, we might soon see people with their ETAs displayed against their names in the chat group so that it is easier to tell when someone you are waiting for will arrive.

This move follows another that came in earlier this week where the company also partnered with another chat app known as Hipchat. Michael said that this will go on and see the company partner with even more apps, but probably not with the same “level of sophistication as well as deep integration” it has done with Facebook Messenger.

At the moment, the tests will start running in the U.S., with Uber promising to bring the service to other countries very soon. In addition, it was noted that some Messenger users will be gifted with free rides in a bid to test the service. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Facebook Instant Articles Now Available on Android

Facebook has finally brought the much-awaited for Instant Articles on Android, the most popular mobile operating system.

If you are an avid user of this social networking platform, you definitely have a Facebook app on your Android phone. If no, the app is free to download and install right from the Google Play Store. Once you get started, simply check out for a lightning bolt icon when checking articles and tap on it to experience the changes.

This new update was announced on Wednesday following a few weeks of testing on the same Android platform; however, the test process only took into account a few users. Nonetheless, as from now, you can get the quick-loading Instant Articles on your phone so that you can stay up to date with the latest around the world.

Facebook Instant Articles are basically news pieces that are published to the platform directly, promising to load up to 10 times faster when compared to using external links to read the same news pieces. The leading social networking company has partnered with more than 350 publishers from all over the world who will be responsible for posting their content on Facebook’s mobile apps via this new feature.

After initially running tests on the iOS devices starting from May this year, Mark Zuckerberg and co have finally decided to bring it to Android. However, those who got it in its initial day had very little to enjoy from as the company had very few partners. Now that it has a huge collection and more are expected to come in as the popularity of the feature grows, we expect to see it move to Windows Phone and maybe Symbian OS at a later time.

The more than 350 publishers on Facebook’s Instant Articles will be posting daily, but this is not a requirement for the company. At the moment, a huge number of these publishers are based in the U.S.; however, more publishers from different parts of the world are expected to come in with time, especially from the developing market. The company has been focusing most of its recent efforts on spreading its services to these regions, something it recently insisted by introducing 2G Tuesdays where its employees get to use this kind of slow connection in order to get the feeling of what users in these regions go through when accessing Facebook.

At the moment, Facebook is happy to reveal that it connects more than 1 billion per day. However, with Instant Articles, this figure might just get bigger.

If you haven’t noticed the new Instant Articles on your Facebook app for Android, make sure you head to the Google Play and install the latest version.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5: Ultimate Phablet Review

While both Apple and Samsung did big jobs with the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6 respectively, there are some people who love bigger.

If you are one of these people, the most appealing choices in your mind should be the iPhone 6S Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. These are massive phablets with super-amazing specs and super-amazing prices as well. But do you go for both of them? Not really.

Samsung has built on the many exciting features it included in the Galaxy Note 4 while Apple has done the same with its first attempt in the phablet world – the iPhone 6 Plus. The two phones are with no doubt amazing and inspirational from either camp. Now that Apple has jumped into the phablet world and it is even going much deeper, a field that Android users are used to and Samsung has done away with a couple of features there are even more accusations that it is further copying its Cupertino counterpart. Nonetheless, these two have resulted into something that is a lot similar.

Even though they have lots of similarities on the surface, digging a little deeper will give you some notable differences. So, how can you tell these two apart? Here is a simple review of the features and specs of these two devices – the iPhone 6S Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Design and display

The iPhone 6S Plus comes with a full metal body, whereas Samsung built the Galaxy Note 5 with a premium combination of metal frame and glass. While the two phones look alarmingly beautiful in their own sense, Samsung has really nailed it with its new unibody design that dropped the plastic materials used in its previous flagships. However, this choice meant that the device comes without a number of usual features, such as the microSD card and removable battery.

The 6S Plus did not change much when compared to the previous iPhone 6 Plus; however, one noticeable difference with this phone as compared to other iPhone “S” models is that it came in with a slightly thicker and heavier build than its predecessor. This is not usual as Apple has always released an S model that is thinner and lighter than the previous models. The change, however, is brought about by the stronger 7000 series aluminum that was used to build the 6S Plus.

Even though Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a larger display screen of 5.7 inches as opposed to iPhone 6S Plus’ 5.5 inches, it still manages to get smaller dimensions and is also lighter. The Note 5 measures 153.2 by 76.1 by 7.6 mm and weighs 171 grams while the 6S Plus measures 158.2 by 77.9 by 7.3 mm and weighs 192 grams.

As far as the display is concerned, there are quite some immense differences, leave alone the size and resolution. Samsung installed a Super AMOLED QHD screen on the Note 5, which gives it a pixel density of 518ppi. On the other hand, the iPhone 6S Plus features an IPS LCD Full HD screen that manages a resolution of 1080p and a slightly lower pixel density of 401ppi. Even though there are some discrepancies in the technologies behind these screens, it is hard to tell the difference using the naked eye.

Given that Apple is rumored to be working on OLED technology for their next series of iPhones, we might see why many experts think that Samsung’s Super AMOLED display technology is again the winner in this case.

Hardware, software and performance

Samsung got rid of several key features such as the removable battery and expandable storage in a bid to accommodate the new design tune, a move that has further pushed the company closer to Apple’s way of doing things with respect to smartphone hardware.

You will come across a fingerprint scanner on both devices; however, Apple’s Touch ID is much faster in the current generation of iPhones. Going deeper, Samsung only unveiled two variants of the Note 5 with respect to internal storage – 32GB and 64GB. On the other hand, the 6S Plus features three variants, starting from 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. As usual, Apple devices come without expandable memory and removable battery.

Getting further inside these devices will reveal that the Galaxy Note 5 is equipped with an octa-core Exynos 7420 chip that manages speeds of 2.1GHz and has a RAM of 4GB. In contrast, the iPhone 6S Plus comes with a dual core A9 processor that manages speeds of 1.8GHz and has a RAM of 2GB. However, this is just on paper; but when it comes to the real world, the two devices’ performance levels are hard to separate.

As far as mobile payments are concerned, both devices come with NFC chips, but the one on the 6S Plus is only meant for use with Apple Pay whereas Note 5’s can be used widely on Android Pay, Samsung Pay and more. While the Galaxy Note 5 is equipped with S-Pen stylus, the 6S Plus features 3D Touch – a pressure sensitive feature for accessing hidden menus when pressing on icons with some level of force.

These two are powered by decent battery units, with the 6S Plus coming with a 2,750mAh unit while the Galaxy Note 5 comes with a slightly larger 3,000mAh unit. Samsung included fast charging technology on its phablet making it fully charge in about an hour or so. Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus lacks this, which means it takes a little longer to charge up to full capacity.

On the software side, it is obvious. Apple went for iOS 9 while Samsung went for the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. As always, this is just a matter of simplicity versus customization.

Camera specs and pricing

Moving on to photography, Samsung went for a rear snapper of 16MP with an aperture of f/1.9, optical image stabilization (OIS) and 4K video shooting. On the front part there is a 5MP snapper with a wide angle lens. On the other hand, Apple went for a rear snapper of 12MP with an aperture of f/2.2 as well as OIS and ability to record 4K videos. On the front there is a similar 5MP snapper like the one on the Galaxy Note 5. The lower of aperture of the Note 5 actually gives it an upper hand over the 6S Plus.

Both iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 5 are amazing premium smartphones. But as mentioned earlier, buying both of them might seem a little absurd, but if you can, the better. Nonetheless, you will need to part with at least $749 for the 16GB version of the iPhone 6S Plus while on the other hand, the 32GB version of the Galaxy Note 5 requires around $699.

There you have it! Which phone to buy now depends on you and your purchasing power; but regardless of your choice, you will definitely end up with a super-smartphone.