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By Usama Jawad96
Google starts enforcing offline experiences for installable PWAs in Chrome 89
by Usama Jawad
Google continually updates its Chrome browser to offer new features and enhancements to users. For example, a major change in Chrome 88 was that it featured better password protection. Apart from making customer-facing changes, the company also updates its software to make it easier for developers to offer new capabilities in the browser.
Now, Google has rolled out Chrome 89 in the stable channel. It contains multiple enhancements to the developer and, subsequently, user experience.
A major change in Chrome 89 is that Google has started warning developers to offer offline experiences with their installable Progress Web Apps (PWAs). Previously, developers were able to skirt this condition in some cases but now Google will be cautioning developers in DevTools in the Issues tab, and will begin enforcing it as a mandatory requirement of the PWA installability criteria from Chrome 93 later this year. This change does not affect developers who already offer offline experiences for their installable PWAs.
WebHID, WebNFC, and Web Serial have hit the stable channel on Chrome as well. These APIs allow website developers and hardware manufacturers to create engaging experiences between the two platforms with minimal lines of code. This also removes certain dependencies on driver updates and software installation when you get a new piece of hardware you'd like to link to a webpage on Chrome.
Another significant addition to Chrome 89 is the availability of Web Share and Web Share Target APIs for desktop. These enable users to share their content to other apps on the device. For example, a user will be able to share photos from Google Photos to Twitter. This capability was already available on mobile, but has now made its way to Chrome OS and Windows as well.
By Jay Bonggolto
Twitter brings its Clubhouse rival Spaces to Android in beta
by Jay Bonggolto
Clubhouse disrupted the social media space after some of the most renowned names in technology like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla's Elon Musk were featured in interviews on the audio chat platform. The service's rise to fame prompted Twitter to launch an experimental voice-based chat room called Spaces in December, although it was only available on iOS.
Today, Twitter announced that it's expanding Spaces to Android devices. The audio chat feature is available in beta on Android starting today with some limitations. Unlike its iOS version where you can both host and join Spaces, the Android beta test allows you to only participate and talk in any voice chat room. There's no mention, however, of when you will be able to create Spaces, with Twitter only saying this capability is coming soon.
Twitter isn't the only social media platform that's invested in audio group chats. Last month, Facebook was reported to be building an early version of its own Clubhouse rival, although details of its rumored service were scarce.
This isn't the first time that the micro-blogging site made forays into voice-based features. In June of last year, the company started testing a feature on iOS that would allow you to make a voice recording and attach it to your tweet.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft Outlook is getting a new calendar look
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft announced some new features coming to Outlook at its spring Ignite conference. For Outlook on the web, you're going to get what's called Outlook calendar board. It's more of a free-form view of your calendar, rather than the grid view that you're used to.
It's going to be more customizable, so you have more control over how you see your calendars, files, and more. Under the views dropdown, you can try it out by selecting "Board". It's available now on Outlook on the web.
The other new feature is suggested times, which is coming to iOS and Android. The feature is all about suggesting times for you to organize your meetings. It uses what Microsoft calls AI to figure out what time you're available, and what time attendees are available to give you the best available slot. It will give the best suggestion for everyone involved, even if it's not perfect for everyone.
You can learn more about the Board view for Outlook on the web here, and it's out now. Suggested times is going to be rolling out for mobile users this month.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft job listing hints at 5G and a better camera in the next Surface Duo
by Rich Woods
Microsoft first announced the Surface Duo in October 2019, showing a video where something in a bag rang, and immediately the crowd knew that the long-awaited Surface phone had arrived. While it was planned to launch in the holiday 2020 season, it arrived over the summer, but it definitely had some shortcomings.
It included a Snapdragon 855 chipset, which was last-gen even then. However, it's entirely possible that the reason was because a Snapdragon 865 would require 5G and reworked antennas. The camera also wasn't impressive, packing a low-end 11MP f/2.0 sensor, and being that the device itself is so thin, there's only so much z-depth that the camera can possibly offer.
According to a job listing that was spotted by Windows Latest, both 5G and a better camera should be coming in the next model. OF course, none of this is surprising, as the new Snapdragon 888 comes with an integrated 5G modem and a separate 5G modem is a requirement for the Snapdragon 865, 865+, and 870. The job listing calls for someone with experience with 3GPP standards and 5G radio technologies.
And then there are the camera improvements, where apparently, Microsoft will be using machine learning and artificial intelligence for better image processing. While this will certainly help with a camera that's mediocre even in broad daylight settings, there's only so much that image processing can do to overcome the barriers set by entry-level hardware.
Other than that, there's not much to say. Again, this stuff isn't surprising, but it's nice to see that Microsoft is working on solving the weaker points of the Surface Duo's hardware.
OPPO will announce its Find X3 series on March 11
by João Carrasqueira
OPPO has officially confirmed the announcement date for the upcoming Find X3 series of smartphones, which will naturally succeed the Find X2 series from last year. The official unveiling will happen online on March 11, which some leaks had already suggested, and OPPO is using the tagline "Awaken Colour". The company announced last year that the Find X3 would feature end-to-end 10-bit color support.
While OPPO has yet to reveal the phones themselves, leaks over the past couple of months have made many details public. The lineup will reportedly consist of the Find X3 Pro, Find X3 Neo, and Find X3 Lite, with a standard Find X3 not existing this year. Of those three, only the Find X3 Pro will be a completely new phone, with the Find X3 Neo being a rebranded version of the Reno5 Pro+ that launched in China in December, while the Find X3 Lite is a rebranding of the regular Reno5.
OPPO Find X3 Pro The Find X3 Pro will be the range-topper, featuring a Snapdragon 888 chipset, a 4,500mAh battery, and a 6.7-inch display with 3216x1440 resolution and a variable refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz. Thanks to its 10-bit color support, it should be able to display up to 1.07 billion colors.
It reportedly features two 50MP Sony IMX766 sensors, one for the main camera and one for the ultra-wide-angle camera, which isn't too far off from how the Find X2 Pro had two 48MP sensors. The third lens will still be a telephoto, but OPPO has opted out of the periscope lens, and instead, there will only be 2x optical zoom. Finally, there will be a dedicated 3MP macro lens that promises 25x zoom and features a ring of lights around it.
The Find X3 Neo will then likely feature a Snapdragon 865, 8GB/12GB of RAM, a quad-camera setup with a 50MP primary camera, a 6.55-inch Full HD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate, and a 4,500mAh battery. The Find X3 Lite will have a Snapdragon 765G chipset, a 64MP main camera and a lesser camera setup overall, and a smaller 6.43-inch display with the same Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate.
Prices for the entire range have also seemingly been revealed, with the Find X3 Pro ranging from €1,000 to €1,200, the Find X3 Neo between €700 and €800, and the Find X3 Lite between €400 and €500. The official announcement is set for March 11 at 11:30GMT, so we'll need to wait for it to know for sure whether this information is correct.