Tech News

Samsung Buying Blackberry Denials, Google Reveals Project Ara Prototype [tech News Digest]

Samsung wants BlackBerry, Google reveals Project Ara, Facebook restricts violence, Lightroom Mobile on Android, MySpace isn’t dead, and why you should never rely on your smartphone alarm.

All Your BlackBerry Belong To Samsung

Samsung and BlackBerry have both denied reports that the former is interested in buying the latter. According to Reuters, which cites both a person in the know and documents detailing the plans, Samsung offered to pay $7.5 billion to buy BlackBerry.

However, BlackBerry issued a statement strongly denying the rumors, stating it has “not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry“. Samsung then followed suit, unequivocally stating, “Media reports of the acquisition are groundless“.

Shares in BlackBerry rose around 30 percent after the initial report, rapidly dropping back again after both companies had publicly denied any deal was in the offing. It should be noted that both statements give the companies considerable wiggle room, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least a hint of truth in it all.

Google Reveals Modular Smartphone Plans

Google has revealed the latest details of Project Ara, its plan to make the modular smartphone a reality. We now know the roadmap Google has in mind for releasing Project Ara, how owners will be able to customize their phones using the Ara Marketplace and Ara Configurator apps, and how the current Spiral 2 prototype is shaping up.

Project Ara will be piloted in the second half of this year in Puerto Rico. Food truck-style vehicles will allow potential customers to try out the Project Ara handsets before they commit to buying one. Between 20 and 30 modules will be available during the pilot program.

The Ara Configurator will help customers build their initial phone, while the Ara Manager will help customers decide which modules to swap out when the time comes to upgrade individual components.

This is all very much an update on a rapidly evolving product, so expect much to change before Project Ara is released to the general public anywhere other than Puerto Rico.

Facebook Restricts Violent Video Clips

Facebook is finally acting to restrict violent or graphic content after ignoring pleas to do so for many years. According to BBC News, videos which may “shock, offend and upset” will now have warnings placed over the top of them and won’t be set to autoplay.

Steps are also being taken to prevent graphic videos and photos from showing up in the News Feeds of anyone under the age of 18. However, with anyone over the age of 13 invited to join Facebook, this will only work if teenagers are honest about their date of birth. Which most aren’t.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile Lands On Android

Adobe has released Lightroom Mobile for Android, bringing the photo editing suite to Android smartphones running either Jelly Bean, KitKat, or Lollipop. Unfortunately, Lightroom Mobile for Android isn’t yet optimized for use on tablets, but Adobe promises it’s working on it.

Lightroom Mobile is a streamlined companion app to the main Lightroom desktop offering. It allows photographers to make basic edits on the go, syncing those changes with other devices. While there is a 30-day free trial available, using Lightroom in the longterm requires a Creative Cloud membership.

MySpace May Be Set For A Comeback

MySpace could be on the verge of a comeback, at least if recent user numbers are anything to go on. In November 2014, 50.6 million unique users in the U.S. alone visited MySpace; an increase of 575 percent on November 2013. Those users also racked up 300 million video views.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Tim Vanderhook, CEO of Specific Media, the company which now owns MySpace, puts this down to a combination of “a vibrant audience of 17 to 25-year-olds,” and older users returning to access photos stored on the site. So, not so much a comeback as a reawakening of sorts.

Australians Wake Up An Hour Early

And finally, Australians living in Queensland were rudely awoken an hour earlier than usual when their smartphones were mistakenly changed to daylight savings time. This led to some bleary-eyed commuters actually turning up for work an hour before they were due to begin for the day.

Both Virgin Mobile and Optus sent out the automatic update to their customers’ phones, despite Queensland having opted out of switching back and forth between daylight savings time as long ago as 1972. Both networks blamed a network glitch, and apologized for the trouble it caused.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

How would you feel if Samsung bought BlackBerry? Would you be interested in buying a modular smartphone? Is Facebook doing enough to restrict violent content?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Rafael Castillo via Flickr