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UK set to enable Emergency Alerts after a trial period
by Paul Hill
The UK government has launched a new Emergency Alerts page on its website explaining that it's testing the service on Android and iOS devices before rolling it out across the whole country. Once it has been rolled out across the country, it'll alert users about nearby disasters so they can respond appropriately.
The types of incidents users will be notified about include severe flooding, fires, explosions, terrorist incidents, and public health emergencies. Alerts will be sent by the emergency services, such as the police, and government departments, agencies, and public bodies that deal with emergencies. The government believes the chance of you getting such an alert will be low.
To see these alerts, you must be using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14.5 or later or an Android phone or tablet running Android 11 or later. Earlier versions of Android may receive these alerts if the Emergency Alerts feature was included on the device’s software. As an additional condition, only users on 4G and 5G will receive the alerts while those or 2G or 3G networks won’t be notified.
The government said that Emergency Alerts can be switched off but should be left on for your own safety. If your device is turned off or in aeroplane mode, it won’t be possible for messages to get through to you. If you stayed opted in, no data will be collected or shared about you, your device, or the location where you got the alert and the government doesn’t need your phone number to send messages.
All messages will be sent to you based on your current location rather than based on where you live or work. You do not need to sign up for anything nor download any apps and any alerts you receive will be free of charge. According to BBC News, the first trial will be held in East Suffolk on May 25 when residents will get a test alert. A second test will take place in Reading on June 15. If all goes to plan, the system will be rolled out around the country.
How to enable the refresh rate overlay on Android 11
by Anmol Mehrotra
The last couple of years have seen a rise of smartphones with high refresh rate displays as well as gaming focused smartphones. However, as high refresh rate displays use more battery, most manufacturers use adaptive refresh rate wherein the smartphone dynamically changes the refresh rate based on the content that is being displayed on the screen. If you are curious about your phone's refresh rate or want to track your refresh rate in real-time then you are in luck. With the introduction of Android 11, Google has added a new feature that lets you add a refresh rate overlay on the top of the screen.
To use this feature, you will need an Android 11 smartphone and you can enable it by following the steps below:
Open Settings and navigate to About Phone > Software information. Tap on the Build Number seven times or until you see a popup saying, “You’re now a developer”. Do note that the content of the popup could change based on the phone manufacturer. Once Developer mode is enabled, go back to Settings and scroll down to Developer options. Again, the placement of Developer options could change based on the manufacturer so if you are unable to find it then use the search bar on the top of the settings menu. Open Developer options and scroll down to the debugging section. Under this section look for the “Show refresh rate” option. Flip the toggle beside the option to turn it on and you should see your current refresh rate on the top left corner of the screen. The feature may look familiar to PC gamers who have similar option available from Nvidia as well as a host of other third-party services. Most smartphone manufacturers use adaptive refresh rate so you will see it fluctuate depending on the content. On my Galaxy S21, 60Hz refresh rate is shown in red text while 120Hz is shown in bright green text. The same will apply to all Android 11 smartphones with the lower refresh rate in red while the higher refresh rate will be shown in the green colour. With the feature enabled, you will be able to see refresh rate change in real-time.
Utilizing this, you will be able to see what apps or games can take advantage of the high refresh rate display. A higher refresh rate will be beneficial for gamers as long as the game can run at high FPS (Frames Per Second). You can turn it on for a couple of days to test-drive the feature and if it gets boring or annoying then you can go back to the Developer options and disable it.
Apple Music is getting Dolby Atmos and lossless audio at no additional cost
by João Carrasqueira
After teasers were spotted on the Apple Music website over the weekend, Apple has formally announced that the music streaming service is getting support for lossless audio quality tracks next month. Not only that, but the company is also adding spatial audio to the service with Dolby Atmos support.
Dolby Atmos will allow music creators to mix their tracks in a way that allows different sounds to feel as if they're coming from many different directions. Tracks have to be specifically designed for this, and Apple says it will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks regularly. At launch, you can expect "thousands of songs" from different genres to be available, and Dolby Atmos will be supported in AirPods or Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as on the built-in speakers of an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Tracks with Dolby Atmos support will also be highlighted with a badge to make them easier to find.
As for lossless audio quality, Apple Music will be using a proprietary audio format called ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to bring high-quality audio to the entire catalog of over 75 million songs on the service. Lossless audio will be disabled by default due to the high data usage involved, but you can choose to enable it for Wi-Fi only or cellular network, with different tiers to choose from. The base level is CD quality, and offers 16-bit audio and 44.1KHz, but you can go up to 24-bit audio at 48KHz using only an Apple device. If you need even more quality, you can take the sample rate up to 192KHz, but this requires an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) capable of supporting this kind of configuration.
All of this comes at no additional cost in the Apple Music subscription, though obviously, you'll need to spend money on a DAC if you want one and don't have it already. You can look forward to these additions in June, though a specific date for the launch wasn't given.
By RIzwan Anwer
'Lossless' logo spotted on Apple Music website ahead of revamp
by Rizwan Anwer
Apple Music has been around since 2015 and has continued to improve significantly over the years. Recently, the service has been teasing something since May 10th, and if rumors are anything to go by, we might hear about some brand new additions to Apple Music by tomorrow, May 18th.
Apple Music has been rumored to be working on some major changes to their service, with High-Fidelity (Hi-Fi) being the most prominent rumor. However, a curious finding by Twitter user Stijn de Vries has given us a first look at the 'Lossless' logo found on Apple Music's website.
Along with the addition of Hi-Fi, it's rumored that Apple could add support for Spatial Audio with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
While all of this can be chalked up to rumor, there is reason to believe there is some truth to fiction here.
Most recently, iOS 14.6 Beta confirmed the existence of several terms in the code for Apple Music such as lossless audio, Hi-Fi, and high-quality stereo streaming.
The rumor further suggests that the additions could cost a dedicated $9.99 per month, and whether or not there will be a way to adjust it with your current Apple One subscription is yet to be seen.
Clubhouse announces global launch of Android app this week
by Subir Kathuria
Clubhouse launched in March of 2020 as an invite-only social media app for iOS where users communicate in voice chat rooms that accommodate groups of up to 5,000 people. The audio-only app hosts live discussions, with opportunities to participate through speaking and listening.
After launching its Android app last week in beta, the social audio platform announced it will roll out to more countries in the coming week. The launch will be staggered one, starting with Brazil, Japan, and Russia on Tuesday, India, and Nigeria by Friday, and the rest of the world by end of the week.
Clubhouse was only available on iOS devices at launch and remains an invite-only social media platform. Despite this restriction, it has grown to over 10 million users in just a year since its launch. Its success has also prompted other dominant social media platforms like Twitter and Discord to introduce Clubhouse-like features in their apps. Twitter introduced Spaces and Discord has Stage Channels.
It is used by many famous celebrities like Oprah, Drake, Elon Musk, among others. Elon Musk even invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a discussion on Clubhouse a few months ago, which apparently never happened. Having such high profile user base has led to the platform been valued at over $4 billion dollars after the latest round of funding.
Elon Musk is quite active on Clubhouse and keeps having discussions with celebrities. It was in one of his Clubhouse conversations where he had stated his support for Bitcoin, following which the prices of the cryptocurrency soared. Just recently Elon Musk announced that Tesla would stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment method which lead to the cryptocurrency losing almost 10% of its value overnight.
Source: Clubhouse via TechCrunch| Image source: Penplusbytes