An overview of the top tech news that was trending and making impact this week. If you have missed any, this is your chance to catch up on them and stay updated!
1. More bad news for Samsung
After just two weeks of sales and 35 faulty phone batteries so far, Samsung issued a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 and promised to replace every unit already sold. Ultimately this ended up with Samsung having to suspend all the sales of the brand new top end Galaxy Note 7. The Korean company said it expected it would take two weeks to prepare replacement devices of which 2.5m had been manufactured and 1m had been sold.
But the bad news didn’t stop just right there for the mobile giant. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), announced it is issuing an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States. It surely hasn’t been a good week so far for Samsung.
2.Amazon launches Music Unlimited
Amazon on Wednesday launched Amazon Music Unlimited, a music streaming service meant to compete with apps like Spotify and AppleMusic. Not to be confused with Prime Music, which affords Prime subscribers a fairly limited catalog, Music Unlimited offers “tens of millions” of songs, according to Amazon. The problem is that this price is really a mirage.
On the surface it has a number of interesting features that differentiate it from the other major streaming services, but one has to wonder whether potential users will find them compelling enough to subscribe. That said, it’s good to have another deep-pocketed competitor in the streaming music space, since it was starting to look like a two horse race with Spotify and aforementioned Apple Music.
3.Facebook gears up for Workplace
Facebook is launching a communications tool on Monday for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. Called Workplace, the platform is ad-free and not connected to users’ existing Facebook accounts. Organizations have used Workplace, previously called Facebook at Work, on an invite-only basis for the past 18 months. The tool itself, though, has been in the works for much longer; it’s based on an internal service that the company’s own employees have been using for almost as long as Facebook has existed.
With 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide last quarter and 50 million business pages at the end of 2015, Facebook has the scale to render Slack obsolete. The social network is leveraging all the familiar features of Facebook – News Feed, Groups, Live videos, Reactions, Search, and Trending posts to compete against platforms like Slack. For many users, that familiarity could make Workplace much easier to use than Slack.
4.Google gets a group plan for Project Fi
Project Fi is Google’s long-rumored program to provide fast and easy cellular service directly to phones. Project Fi leans on Wifi, and lets you both call and text when connected to a Wifi network. While most cell services let you choose a “family plan,” which typically entails the ability to include additional lines at a discount, Fi didn’t yet offer this option.
Google’s wireless service, earlier this week got a group plan. Project Fi’s group plan lets you add up to five additional lines for $15/month each. Just like Google’s individual plans, you then pay an additional $10/GB for any data you use. The Google Fi app now also lets you set quotas for different users and manage these additional accounts.
5. Ever struggling Evernote
A number of Evernote users are now being alerted via email message of a serious bug that may cause data loss in certain versions of the company’s Mac application. According to the email sent to users, the bug can cause images and other attachments to be deleted under specific conditions, when using Evernote for Mac. For heavy Evernote users, the bug could have a major impact. The current version of Evernote for Mac (version 6.9.1) fixes the problem.
This issue, though not universal, is still a bad look for the struggling company. Evernote a year ago replaced CEO Phil Libin with Google alum Chris O’Neill, lost several other execs, cut some of its unprofitable operations, and raised its prices. It also recently began a move to Google’s cloud platform – a means of reducing its infrastructure costs, that the company promised would also mean a “faster, stronger and more stable” service in the future.