Facebook Shuts Down ‘@facebook.com’ Email Service

facebook email

Facebook’s unpopular email system has been shut down, after launching in 2010.

Facebook has shut down its email system because most people haven’t been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone.

The email system was launched in 2010, in an attempt to ‘kill’ Gmail and in 2012 it changed the default address for messages to users’ Facebook addresses. But Facebook has admitted that its attempt to get its members to switch email accounts did not work.

Facebook said it is notifying people who use its @facebook.com address service about the upcoming changes.

They added: “When someone sends you an email to your @facebook.com address, it will no longer go to your Messages on Facebook. Instead, the email will be forwarded to the primary email address on your account. (People have the option to turn forwarding off.)”

It’s not all bad for Facebook, however. Last week the company, which has more than 1.2 billion members, bought the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion.

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Microsoft Outlines Details Of Windows Phone 8.1 Update

microsoft

There’s no official launch date yet, but Microsoft has finally revealed some details surrounding the forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update.

Windows Phone 8.1 isn’t far away, but we still don’t have a complete picture of what it will offer and when it’ll hit. Mobile World Congress, currently taking place in Barcelona could have served as the ideal platform for such an announcement, but Microsoft has kept schtum on the nitty-gritty.

That being said Windows Phone’s CVP Joe Belfiore has partially spilled the beans on WP 8.1 to The Verge and it looks like it’ll focus on broadening Windows Phone’s horizons.

Allowing support for a greater selection of hardware is key to attracting more OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in order to build a wider array of handsets, which in turn will reach a broader range of consumers. It would appear that a key target for Microsoft is Android smartphone makers and Windows Phone 8.1 might allow such companies to simply reuse Android hardware to keep costs down.

One way it’ll achieve this is by offering support for on-screen controls. Up until this point, every Windows Phone device comes with three capacitive keys beneath the phone’s display. More chipsets will be supported too, with the likes on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400 and 400 LTE on the list, no doubt destined for more entry-level and mid-range devices. Allow apps to be installed onto the microSD card will reduce the amount of inbuilt storage an RAM a handset will require and dual-SIM support with “total user control” (think Live Tiles for each SIM) will appeal to handset makers who operate in developing markets.

Although carriers might have different plans, Microsoft is also promising update compatibility with all current Windows Phone 8 handsets out there, a significantly better promise than the one made amidst the chaos of moving from Windows Phone 7.5 to Windows Phone 8.

Expect to see new Windows Phone devices appear internationally from manufacturers like HTC, LG, Lenovo, Samsung, ZTE and of course, Nokia, all sporting Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft SkyDrive Relaunches As OneDrive

onedrive

Following official word last month of Microsoft’s plans to rebrand its cloud storage service, last week we saw the launch of OneDrive. For the most part it would appear pretty much unchanged from its previous life under the SkyDrive name, but the team behind it are promising a bigger, better experience than ever before.

Key improvements off the bat include more advanced video sharing capabilities and a suite of improved apps on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Xbox. In addition, Microsoft is dolling out an extra 100GB of SkyDrive OneDrive storage for one year to 100,000 of its users, free of charge.

The underpinnings for SkyDrive/OneDrive have already been integrated into Microsoft’s most prominent products (Windows Phone and Windows 8.1), but the web experience is also being reworked, “We’re building it right into all of the latest Microsoft devices and services,” said Chris Jones, Corporate VP of OS Services at Microsoft.

“From Xbox to Windows Phone to Windows 8.1 to Office – but we’re also making sure it’s available on the web and across all other platforms including iOS and Android, so your photos, videos and files are kept safe and are available anytime you need them.”

Presently users have access to the 7GB of free OneDrive storage by default, but plugging in the auto-upload option for photos will grant you an additional 3GB. Existing users can also send invitations to their friends to use OneDrive, with every successful new user adding an extra 500MB to the sender’s storage capacity, up to a maximum 5GB extra. Like practically ever other cloud storage service out there, OneDrive also features paid tiers for more capacity, ranging from 50GB up to an extra 200GB for an annual fee.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Launches (MWC 2014)

The Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone is bigger and packs more features than last year’s Galaxy S4, including a waterproof frame and fingerprint sensor. We go hands-on at MWC 2014.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is one of the most anticipated MWC 2014 launches, and also one with the most to prove, with last year’s Galaxy S4 having more than its fair share of sceptics. The Galaxy S5 aims to impress with improved camera features (including 4k and HDR modes), a fingerprint scanner that can be used with PayPal and a new soft-touch waterproof design.

From the front, the Galaxy S5 doesn’t look like too much of a leap from previous Galaxy flagships, with a glossy rounded appearance. Turn it over and you’ll notice a change, though, with the cheap plastic backing gone. The rear is strangely soft-touch despite looking solid, with none of the leathery look of the Galaxy Note 3. The back pops off easily, revealing the SIM slot and elongated 2,800mAh battery (a little larger than the S4’s 2,600mAh battery).

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

The rim of the Galaxy S5 is made of crinkle-cut plastic with a metallic sheen. The power button is housed on the right edge, with the USB port on the bottom covered by a solid flap. The reason for this is simple: Samsung has taken a leaf from Sony’s waterproof book, with full IP67 water and dust resistance, so you can fully submerge the phone in water, beer and whatever liquid floats your boat.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 (left) and last year’s Galaxy S4 (right) compared

Compare the Samsung Galaxy S5 with the Galaxy S4 and you’ll notice the Galaxy S5 is clearly bigger. At 8.1mm it’s a slice chunkier, while the 145g weight is a step up from the Galaxy S4’s 132g frame.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

The Galaxy S5 (bottom) is clarly bigger than the Galaxy S4

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Despite this, the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen is just a gnat’s chuff bigger than the Galaxy S4’s, and packs much the same technology. We were really impressed by the wide viewing angles, with next to no loss in colour or brightness as you tilt the screen to near-90 degrees. It’s powerfully bright and colourful and we’re told you’ll be able to use it while wearing gloves, as you can boost sensitivity in the options.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Beneath the screen you have light-up buttons for back and apps, plus a hard home button that now doubles as a swipey fingerprint scanner. We had a quick play, registering our fingerprint in eight swipes, before using it to unlock the phone. It seemed to work fine during our brief test, although we get the feeling it won’t be as consistently accurate as Apple’s iPhone 5S’s scanner, thanks to the necessary swiping motion.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

You can use the Galaxy S5’s scanner not only to unlock the phone, but also to pay for goods via PayPal, rather than using a PIN or password. We saw a transaction via Abercrombie & Fitch’s retail website, where checkout only took a few seconds. Impressive stuff, and a great extension of this technology.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Android 4.4 KitKat is overlaid by Samsung’s TouchWiz as usual, and the main change is the new Magazine UI desktop. Similar to HTC’s BlinkFeed page, the Magazine UI collects your news and social streams into one place, allowing you to customise exactly what pops up and scroll through the latest headlines. Check out our Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 review for more info.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Packed away inside the Galaxy S5 is a quad-core Krait 2.5GHz processor, with 2GB of RAM. It’s a respectable upgrade over the Galaxy S4’s quad-core 1.9GHz chip. We didn’t see TouchWiz struggle too much this time – just a brief stutter when backing out of the settings, which hopefully will be ironed out in the final model.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

The 16-megapixel camera (a jump up from the Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel snapper) now autofocuses in up to 0.3 seconds, giving a sharp shot almost instantly. All-important when capturing impromptu action shots. You even get a Selective Focus mode which can be used to focus a shot after it’s been taken, thus allowing you to take photos even faster.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Real Time HDR (rich tone) helps to keep images bright and colourful even in dark or high-contrast environments such as nightclubs. This feature works in video mode too. You also get 4k video mode, like the Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z2, and some interesting tools such as the Virtual Tour mode, which allows you to take a series of 360-degree panoramas and stitch them together.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

The Galaxy S5 packs your own personal fitness tracker in S Health 3.0, which puts essential info such as steps taken and calories consumed right onto the desktop, as a widget – no more messing around opening up apps. It’ll also link up with your Samsung Gear to provide an all-round fitness assessment, something we’re already dreading.

Once again you get 4G LTE, plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi which is stable, fast and battery-friendly. You can even combine the two in a feature called ‘Download Booster’, which allows you to download files over 30MB using both 4G and WiFi simultaneously, promising lightning-quick download speeds.

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone at MWC 2014

Old features such as Smart Stay, Smart Pause, Air View and Daydream are all present and correct, so Galaxy S4 fans shouldn’t feel put out. Ultra Power Saving Mode is your typical battery-extender, which turns off lots of your phones features to keep you going a bit longer.

Expect to see the Samsung Galaxy S5 hitting stores in the next month or so, price to be revealed very soon. We’ll bring you a full review as soon as we sneak off with one of these bad boys. In the meantime, what do you think? Enough of an upgrade over the Galaxy S4 to tempt you? Let us know as always in the comments and on Twitter.

Sony Launches 5.2-inch Xperia Z2 Smartphone (MWC 2014)

SAMSUNG CSC

Sony’s new Xperia Z2 flagship phone launches at MWC 2014, packing an improved 5.2-inch screen and cool new camera features.

The Sony Xperia Z2 is Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, following the slick Xperia Z1 (launched just last September) and the Xperia Z1 Compact. This 5.2-inch mobile is a tad lighter than the Xperia Z1, and boasts a gorgeous new screen, some boosted specs, a few cool new camera modes (including 4k video and slow-motion capture) and some extra tools such as digital noise cancellation.

We never expected Sony to shake up its design, and sure enough the Xperia Z2 packs a very similar rectangular frame as the Xperia Z1. Once again you get a solid piece of aluminium, surrounded by two slabs of tempered glass for the front and back edges, and the phone is fully waterproof so you can dip it in your pint to impress your mates.

It’s a tiny bit slimmer and lighter than the Xperia Z1, despite rocking a larger display, and you can notice the difference when comparing the mobiles in both hands. Otherwise, the only real change is the SIM and microSD slots switching sides.

The Triluminos 5.2-inch IPS display packs Sony’s X-Reality technology and something called ‘Live Colour LED’. This adds a wider colour palette, making the Xperia Z2’s screen impressively vivid and vibrant. We really enjoyed browsing images and video in our short time with the phone. Viewing angles appear to be a reassuring improvement over the Xperia Z1, a major complaint of the original handset, and the panel’s powerful enough to compensate for reflections.

A lot’s happened with the 20.7-megapixel camera too. This packs a Bionz Exmor RS sensor and f2.3 aperture. Sony claims it’s the “world’s best camera and camcorder in an Android smartphone,” with the ability to shoot 4k video and slow-mo clips. There are a couple of other new camera features too, like Background Defocus – this lets you blur a photo’s background while keeping the subject sharp. It’s a neat little gimmick that Instagram fans will no doubt love.

Meanwhile some of the existing camera features have been migrated to video capture mode. Timeshift video allows you to shoot 120-fps video and slow it down at any point in post-production, much like you can on the iPhone 5S.

The slow-mo mode allows you to pick which parts of your video are slow-motion (left), while the Background defocus mode (right) keeps the subject sharp and makes the BG fuzzy

You can also now add in AR goodness to your movies, so you can shoot a home movie of your kids frolicking in the garden while a cartoon dinosaur bites their faces off. Or, if they’re Spiderman fans, they’ll probably mess their pants with glee at the upcoming AR add-on featuring the dangly superhero.

Another interesting update is the digital image stabilisation, which significantly reduces the amount of judder in your videos. We saw this in action, compared with an Xperia Z2 with image stabilisation turned off, and it really does seem to cut down on awful shaky-cam footage caused by hand motions and general movement while filming. Here’s hoping it works just as well outside of the demo room.

Sony Xperia Z2 launch price specs news MWC 2014

The Sony Xperia Z2 is powered by the brand new Qualcomm SnapDragon 801 processor, a 2.3GHz quad-core chip, backed up by a mighty 3GB of RAM. That should keep the latest games running for the lifetime of the phone, while the 3,200mAh battery is a teeny step up from the Z1’s 3,000mAh effort.

Sony has also built Digital Noise Cancelling technology into the Xperia Z2, which helps to block out external noise when you’re out and about, or trying to work in a shouty office. You still need DNC headphones to take advantage, and Sony has thankfully bundled a pair with the Xperia Z2 which feature microphones in the earbuds.

These mics pick up ambient noise and transmit the signal to the phone, where the DNC software processes it. The audio is then transmitted back to the buds in a fashion which dampens this external noise. And all without the need for batteries. Clever stuff, and we’re glad the ‘phones are bundled, as they cost €60 (£49.50) otherwise.

Sony is hoping its tri-factor of technology, content and ecosystem will help to create an excellent package. We’ve already seen that Sony is serious about tech, and it’s also bundling some great content – you get 6 free Sony movies out of the box, including Captain Phillips, Django Unchained, Elysium, 21 Jump Street, and This is the End.

The Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone should appear in stores around March, and while there’s no confirmed pricing, we’d expect it to hit £500-£600 SIM-free on release.

TANZANIAN DIASPORA: We Tanzanians In The Diaspora, Believe That Dual Citizenship Is A Great Thing For The Country

kikwete

The government has said that it is high time now for Tanzania to allow dual citizenships so as to enable the Diasporas contribute to the country’s development in terms of income and expertise.

It has been said that many wealthy and well educated Tanzanians living abroad fail to contribute to national development because they are denied the right to dual citizenship.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Bernard Membe said this when he was launching a new outreach project for Tanzanians living abroad prepared by the Tanzanian Diaspora department and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) called on all citizens, politicians and academics to support the inclusion of dual citizenship in the new constitution.

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Apple iPhone 6: Everything We Know So Far

iphone6

The full skinny on Apple’s iPhone 6: news, rumours, leaks and any other randomness we find.

It’s no great shock that Apple’s iPhone 6 is one of the most-searched mobiles on t’interwebs, despite the predicted launch being months away. Everyone’s eager to see what Apple comes up with next, after the slick fingerprint scanner and slow-mo video mode of the iPhone 5s, not to mention its candy-coloured iPhone 5c, a real departure for the Californian company.

Here’s every bit of news on the Apple iPhone 6, including the latest leaks and rumours, which we’ll keep updated until the official launch.

Key iPhone 6 points:

Apple iPhone 6 is expected to launch in September 2014

It will come packing iOS 8

Apple has created several prototype iPhone 6 models, including a near-5-inch model with a ‘Retina+ IGZO’ screen, boasting 1080p visuals, and a model with no home button.

The full iPhone 6 skinny:

Photos of two possible new iPhones leaked on the internet in February, one a 4.7-inch model and one a 5.5-incher that looks more like an iPad than an iPhone. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether the images are fake, or maybe prototypes that will never see the inside of a store, but it bolsters rumours that Apple is creating several very different models at the research stage to see what works.

It’s likely that Apple will go big for the iPhone 6, after testing the waters with the 4-inch iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Considering ‘Mini’ and ‘Compact’ versions of smartphones are now hovering dagerously close to 5-inches (we’re looking at you, LG G2 Mini), we’d be surprised if Apple decided to keep its flagship phone so small.

It’s basically a given that the iPhone 6 will sport iOS 8, but the new features are the most interesting factor. We’ve heard rumours of iris scanners, something Alcatel launched at MWC 2014 in a tablet, although the iPhone 5s’ fingerprint scanner was a great tool that worked really well. There’s also been the usual talk of bendy screens and other hyped tech.

Don’t forget integration with the iWatch as well, a gadget that Apple still hasn’t launched, but should emerge in 2014. If rumours are right, the iWatch could even save your life.

Driverless Cars Designed For Use As Mobile Offices

driverless

Swiss automobile company Rinspeed has unveiled a self-driving concept car that transforms into a mobile office so owners can make the most of their time on the road.

Luxury self-driving XchangE Cars to become offices of tomorrow

To create the XchangE car concept, designers at Rinspeed took a standard Tesla Model S sedan and altered it to give an idea of what a driverless car in the future might look and feel like.

“So far hardly anyone has taken this to its logical conclusion from the perspective of the driver,” explained Rinspeed founder Frank M. Rinderknecht. “How will the interior of a vehicle have to be designed to let the now largely unburdened driver make optimal use of the gain in time?”

When the driver engages autonomous driving, the steering wheel would slide away and a desk could be pulled out to accommodate laptops and other office equipment.

Once the car is driving itself, the driver could swivel their seat to face the passenger, or explore any of the 20 possible seating positions at their disposal, including a flat bed. While relaxing, passengers would have access to an entertainment system spread across four separate screens.

Luxury self-driving XchangE Cars to become offices of tomorrow

The XChangE would also have its own wireless 4G connection, which Rinspeed believes could be used to access cloud services such as warning messages or recommendations en route and driving profiles.

Luxury self-driving XchangE Cars to become offices of tomorrow

A 1.2-metre-wide display strip on the dashboard would provide information such as distance to travel and remaining fuel. In the rear of the cabin, a 32-inch monitor could be used to access on-demand films and TV via gesture control.

Luxury self-driving XchangE Cars to become offices of tomorrow

The interior would feature 358 individually controlled LEDs, as well as an extra 98 in the instrument panel to gently light the cabin. The seating and carpeting, developed by textile specialist Strähle+Hes, would use natural materials including Merino wool and silk.

Luxury self-driving XchangE Cars to become offices of tomorrow

The XchangE is the twentieth concept vehicle produced by Rinspeed, which plans to unveil the car at the Geneva International Motor Show next month.