Thurrott Daily: January 19

Posted on January 19, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Hardware, iOS, Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: January 19

A Nokia repair shop in Galway, Ireland.

Good morning. A few tidbits from around the web.

1/19/2016 9:09:05 AM

“Domino’s adds Windows 10 Mobile support to their app, but it’s not Universal”

So … you can only order pizza from some places? Or just at certain times? 🙂

1/19/2016 8:58:45 AM

“Microsoft patent filing shows a Surface Pen with a rechargeable battery”

And let me guess. This time, the Pen will not attach magnetically, and Microsoft will sell something called a Surface Loop. It’s almost like they’re throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Reader: Nokia repair shops will no longer fix walk-in Lumia repairs

This came in from Adam C. via email this morning:

I went to my local Nokia repair point to get the headphone jack on my Lumia 930 repaired today and was informed that as of tomorrow (January 20), Nokia repair points will no longer be repairing any Lumias, at least in store without any charge. In the future they will be sent to a single centre somewhere for repair. I’m not sure what the situation is with Nokia repair points in the US but here in the UK they are pretty common and it was very convenient to have your phone repaired on the same day free of charge as long as it was still in warranty of course. Real shame it was actually a differentiator for the Lumia that I appreciated. Anyway anybody who wants their Lumia fixing should get down to a care point by the end of the day or they will have to pay or send it off to Microsoft themselves.

When we were in Ireland last summer, I tweeted a picture of a Nokia shop in a mall, bemoaning that such places were never available in the US. This is one of the cultural things it was hard for someone from the US to understand: Just how popular the firm was in Europe (and elsewhere). In the US, Nokia had zero presence and just about zero brand recognition, especially once smart phones took off.

“AOL’s identity crisis: The company may ditch the ‘AOL’ brand”

I’m pretty sure the brand “Zune” is now available.

WhatsApp drops the annual fee

That said, the annual fee was only $1, and then only after you’d used the app for a year, so it’s not like this is a huge savings for users. But it will probably still help the mobile messaging app attract new users. Of which it apparently already has nearly one billion. The announcement:

“We’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.

So they’re obviously adding advertisements to the app, right?

No. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.

In other words, WhatsApp will be free for communicating with individuals, but it will try to figure out a way to bill users (and/or businesses) for commercial communications.

“Apple, Microsoft allegedly use cobalt sourced from child labor in DR Congo – Amnesty”

Oh, so now Microsoft finally warrants a mention alongside industry darling Apple? Interesting. I wonder how much bigger Apple’s impact is when it comes to cobalt? 10,000 to 1? More?

Still not clear on the bias here? Amnesty International actually mentions Samsung, Sony, VW, Dell, HP, and many, many other companies too. Most of which (all of which?) sell far more hardware than Microsoft.

“Trump promises he’ll force Apple to manufacture in the US”

Our national embarrassment continues. Plus, Donald Trump is an embarrassment too.

“iPhone 7 Could Offer Significant Camera Advancements”

Hey, you never know.

Apple will finally offer a way to hide its crapware apps in iOS 9.3

Earlier this month, I mentioned a temporary workaround to a growing iOS problem: Apple keeps loading up the system with crapware apps like Compass, Voice Memos, Stocks, News, Notes, and many others, but it doesn’t provide any way to hide, let alone remove, those apps. So users have to resort to the silliest and most common iOS trick of all time: They create a folder called “Crap” or similar and just hide the unwanted apps there, moving the folder to the last home screen.

But it looks like Apple will finally fix this in iOS 9.3, by allowing users to at least hide—not remove—its crapware apps in iOS. There is a super-complicated discussion on Reddit about how you can make this work in the first iOS 9.3 Beta, though you have to be in the Apple Developer Program ($99 annual fee) and be using a Mac to make this work right now. And you have to wipe the device. But This functionality is clearly coming.

 

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