Huawei launches special grants initiative for games

Huawei has announced that AppGallery, the official application distribution platform for Huawei devices, has launched a special grants initiative for games. The AppGallery has over 500 million monthly active users and 2 million registered developers. It has become one of the top 3 largest app marketplaces globally by launching in over 170 countries and covering 18 app categories, AppGallery offers small and large developers a global platform to launch and grow their games.

Huawei has announced plans to provide additional support for the Indie games community acquisition price pool worth €30,000, VIP technical support, and new featured ‘indie games’ placements on AppGallery.

All games published on AppGallery through Unity Distribution Portal from 19 November to 14 December 2020 will be eligible to receive special grants including: 

  • 85% IAP revenue share for game developers for the first 2 years.
  • VIP technical support during the on-boarding process.
  • Top 30 indie games will receive Huawei Ad Platform credit worth €1,000 and support to launch their first campaign.
  • Top indie games will also be featured on a special ‘Indie Game’ slot on the AppGallery store.

Dr. Jaime Gonzalo, VP of HUAWEI Consumer Mobile Services in Europe, described the initiative as “an important step in Huawei’s continued commitment and investment in the developer community. The mobile games industry has shown incredible growth over the last few years and we are delighted to be able to support more Indie developers and studios in bringing their games to the market”.

To participate in the grant program, developers can create their Huawei Developer account and submit their game to AppGallery through the Unity Distribution Portal by December 14. To submit a game, you can click here.

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Twitter verification system is coming back in early 2021

Twitter paused its verifications program three years ago “after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.” In June, it was reported that the company has started working on bringing back the verification system and that it plans to introduce an in-app verification request. This feature was said to let users apply for account verification and get the verified badge. Now, Twitter has confirmed that the verification program will be making its comeback in early 2021.

The company says it needs to update the verification policy with the help of its users. Hence, it is starting a brief survey on the draft verification policy. In a blog post, Twitter also wrote that it is working with local non-governmental organizations and its Trust and Safety Council “to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible.” The company will not only be providing new verification badges but it will also remove verification from inactive accounts.

Aside from verifying profiles, Twitter will also start removing verification from certain accounts.

“We’ve also added proposed criteria to automatically remove verification from an account if, for example, it’s inactive or if the profile is incomplete, as well as grounds to deny or remove verification from certain qualified accounts that are found to be in repeated violation of the Twitter Rules,” wrote the company.

It says that it recognizes that there are many verified accounts on Twitter that should not be. Hence, it plans to start by automatically removing badges from accounts that are inactive or have incomplete profiles. This will help them streamline their work and expand this to include additional types of accounts over the course of 2021.

The public feedback process has already started. It will continue until December 8 of this year. The company will then review public feedback on this policy and train its teams on this new approach. Twitter mentions that its goal is to introduce the final policy on December 17, 2020.

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Google begins slow death of Hangouts as group video calls now switch to Meet

Google kickstarted the slow death of the Hangouts brand a while ago, and earlier this year in April, the company officially cast the ominous shadow of oblivion on it by bringing Google Meet to the forefront. This was also accompanied by Hangouts Chat being (re)christened to Google Chat. Now, the company has started to slowly cut down the key features of Hangouts in order to migrate users to its new products. The latest one is disabling group video calls on Hangouts.

The latest version of Hangouts on both Android and iOS now shows a warning message at the top of the app’s homepage (image above) that video calls in Hangouts now rely on Google Meet. And to further sway users, the message adds that with Google Meet now in the picture, they can now take advantage of some nifty tools such as screen sharing and live captions among others.

Google Meet new UI
The new UI of 1-on-1 video calls in Hangouts

The latest version of the Hangouts app handles 1-on-1 video calls and group video calls in different manners. Now, when you open a chat with a contact and tap the video call icon in the top right corner, you’ll be greeted with three options – start a video call over Google Meet (this is a new option), start a video call using Hangouts, and make an audio call over Hangouts.

Group video calls in Hangouts now default to Google Meet.

But when you open a group conversation and tap on the video call icon, it automatically creates a Google Meet video call link and pastes it into the text field. All you have to do is hit the send button to share it with your contacts in that group. Now, to start the actual video call, you can choose between the Google Meet or Gmail apps, if you both on your phone. However, if you don’t have the Google Meet app installed on your phone, the group video call will be made via Gmail, even you’ve disabled the new ‘Meet’ tab at the bottom in the Gmail app

Source: Google Support

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YouTube’s latest experiment uses AI to divide lengthy videos into chapters

Earlier this year, YouTube introduced a new feature called Chapters – which as the name suggests – essentially divides a video into separate chapters using timestamps. I love chapters. They save me the hassle of watching the boring parts or doing hit-and-miss adjustments on the seek bar to get to the interesting part. However, chapters can only be added by creators, so you’re essentially at their mercy to enjoy this little gift. However, that dependence might end soon, thanks to AI.

As part of its latest experiment, YouTube is banking on AI that will go through a video and identify certain visual markers to break a video into chapters. YouTube says it will rely on machine learning to recognize specific text-based signs for automatically generating video chapters. So, if a video has text cues for jumping into the next section, the AI will automatically identify it and use that time-stamp to create a chapter.

YouTube chapters are quite convenient and save a lot of time.

Say for example a smartphone review video, where the creator adds frames with prominent text such as ‘build quality’, ‘camera performance’, and more in order to jump to the next part of the review. With the new experiment, YouTube says that it wants to make it easier for people to navigate videos and quickly jump to the relevant part by taking advantage of chapters.

YouTube is currently testing the AI-generated chapters on a small set of videos. However, the company will let creators opt out of the experiment, and they can also provide some feedback on how it works or can be improved. It can be a tedious task for creators, especially those with a lot of videos on their YouTube channel, to add timestamps and chapter names to each section of their older video. This is where the AI-generated time-stamp feature comes to their aid. And of course, it is a great convenience for viewers as well.

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Twitter will now warn you before liking a disputed tweet

Ahead of the US elections, Twitter rolled out several new features including ‘read an article before retweeting’ prompt and quote tweet instead of retweeting. It started flagging disputed and potentially misleading tweets as part of the election and COVID-19 as well. Now, Twitter will show you a warning every time you try to retweet or quote a post that’s been labeled as disputed content. It is being done to curb the spread of misinformation. When you tap on the heart button on any of such tweets, the website will trigger a prompt with a “Find out more” button to pop up.

The update comes from Twitter Support account on the social media website. It said, “Giving context on why a labeled Tweet is misleading under our election, COVID-19, and synthetic and manipulated media rules is vital. These prompts helped decrease Quote Tweets of misleading information by 29% so we’re expanding them to show when you tap to like a labeled Tweet.”

The feature was discovered earlier this month by the app experimental feature researcher Jane Manchun Wong. Her tested tweets were related to elections that said, “Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted.”

According to Twitter, it labeled 300,000 tweets as misleading between October 27 and November 11. Moreover, 456 of those were blocked from being retweeted or liked. These were hidden behind a warning before they could even be viewed. 

The new feature is rolling out on the web and on iOS to all users around the world this week. Further, Android users will start seeing prompts in the coming weeks.

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Pocketnow Daily: Confirmed? Samsung is COMPLETELY Changing Their Strategy! (video)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2, Apple’s latest iPad Pro and more on sale today

And let’s begin the week with deals as we usually do, but this time let’s just say Samsung is the most interesting offering. The company’s Black Friday sale is in full effect, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is currently available for just $1000 but, hold your horses, you have to trade in an eligible device. Actually many of these deals require a trade-in to sweeten the pot. For example, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is available for a crazy $550, the regular Note 20 for $250 and the S20 FE for $140. Seriously, if you’re looking for a new phone, go check these deals out! Moving on to your usual set of Apple deals, the 12.9in iPad Pro is $100 off, leaving the Wi-Fi only and 128GB of storage model for $900. Finally, the OnePlus 8 Pro is available for $100 off, leaving it at $799 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We have more deals on the Pixel 5, OnePlus 7T, more iPads and even more in the links in the description.

Snapchat ‘Spotlight’ is yet another TikTok rival

And let’s be honest, Snapchat may be my least favorite service ever, but it’s probably the most copied service we’ve ever seen as. Look at Instagram stories, Whatsapp, Facebook, and even Twitter now with Fleets. Well, it looks like now they’re doing it to someone else. The company just launched a new feature called “Spotlight” which is basically made to compete with TikTok and Instagram’s “Reels” but, Snapchat’s got a trick up their sleeve. So, Spotlight let’s users showcase their 60 second videos which are focused on memes and jokes rather than your day to day life like stories where meant to. For the viewer, it will pretty much work like TikTok where the algorithm shows you content related to what you’ve seen in the past. The thing about it is that Snapchat will be paying creators to post on the platform, they will award $1M between the most popular creators on the app per day through the end of this year so, if you have a viral video you might get a piece of the $1M. Spotlight is currently launching to 11 countries so, if that’s your thing go check it out. Let’s hope this algorythm finally fixes their lack of good discovery.

New M1 MacBook Air has been found with 128GB for just $799

Let’s move on to Apple Silicon Macs as yes, Apple did end up making at least one of them more affordable, but there’s a catch. The latest M1 MacBook Air was spotted in Apple’s US Education Institute Hardware and Software list and it’s actually cheaper. This was found on Reddit and this is the regular 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU MacBook Air, with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM for $799. The thing about it is that, this is strictly for education purposes so, if you work or study at a school that purchases these then you might get your hands on one but, it looks like that might be the only way. This is not a variant that consumers can buy in a store. And on another note, Craig Federighi, aka Mr Wiggle Mode himself, went on an interview and talked about M1 Macs running windows. Please stop trying to run Parallels on them. He claims that Windows could run on these Macs but it’s really up to Microsoft. Thing is since this version of Windows on ARM is emulated, who knows if that will happen. Can any of you imagine Windows running on these ARM chips like a champ?

iPad Pro to get OLED displays after adopting mini-LED in early 2021: Report

And since we’re talking Apple, let’s discuss their future plans for iPads, especially when it comes to the display technology they’re using. We’ve been covering rumors of miniLED iPads for years, but now according to a new report from The Elec, Cupertino is finally planning to adopt OLED displays for the iPad Pro line up. It seems there will be a wait, though, as we know that Apple is working on the transition to miniLED displays for Q1 of next year. The report claims that OLED displays on these will actualy happen shortly after, meaning also within 2021. These displays would be provided by Samsung but, it also says that the adoption of OLED could be delayed, depending on the scale of adoption of miniLED. Again, these miniLED displays are slated for Q1 while OLEDs should come later. This means that Apple might really just upgrade their current LCDs to miniLED and then eventually move on to OLED at least when it comes to iPads because, we know that miniLEDs should be a huge thing for Macs. Whatever the case may be, this might be what will differentiate the next generation of iPads and Macs in 2021, and let’s hope that enables new designs.

OnePlus 9 might sport two 48MP camera sensors

OnePlus 9 Pro leak gives us our first look at its design prior to a March 2021 debut

Now how about if we shift focus to Android and particularly the OnePlus 9 as, we’re expecting this phone to launch a little earlier than usual so the rumors are starting to intensify. Beginning with the regular variant, last week we got some CAD renders for it showing a new white color variant and a triple camera array. Now, we have a new leak from 91Mobiles that claims that the two main cameras from these renders are two 48MP sensors. This means we’ll get a 48MP primary that delivers 12MP images, as well as a 48MP ultra wide. The third and smaller lens would be a macro or monochrome sensor in typical OnePlus fashion. Now, moving on to the Pro variant, we have some new CAD renders from OnLeaks showing off the design changes. From these we can see some smaller bezels, a “Pacific Blue” colorway if you know what I mean, and the new camera array which is pretty similar to the one on the 8T. The 9 Pro is expected to bring a 6.7in display, probably running at up to 144Hz and it will be powered by the Snapdragon 875, or whatever the latest Qualcomm chip will be called. We’ll keep you posted as it’s expected to come some time in March, and I seriously wonder what is it with companies wanting to launch phones earlier next year.

Story of the day:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might launch sooner than expected

And finally the hottest news today have to do with Samsung, and how the company plans to re-imagine their approach to flagships in 2021. We’ve covered the possibility of the Galaxy Note lineup saying goodbye, and today we get more credible information that goes beyond not seeing it in a listing. According to a new report from Korea, we might be getting this phone earlier the Galaxy Z Fold 3 earlier in 2021. The report suggests that Samsung is already working on this phone and it could possibly launch in June 2021. The report also mentions that this foldable could have support for the S-Pen like we’ve heard before. It also reiterates on the report we covered last week, that claims that we’re getting an under the display selfie shooter, even if we were expecting that until Q3. It also adds that Sammy was able to add an in-screen WACOM digitizer but, they still faced some difficulties with the protective layer which scratches with the S Pen but it’s sounding like they were able to fix it, maybe thanks to the new UTG we’re expecting. With all of the reports on the missing Galaxy Note 21, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra supporting an S Pen, it looks like Samsung is about to re-invent it’s approach to its second batch of product launches.
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Snapchat ‘Spotlight’ is yet another TikTok rival

Ever since TikTok gained a reputation for being the go-to short videos app, other companies have launched their own variant of the popular app. Instagram was one of the first social media apps to launch its own variant of TikTok, called Reels. Now, Snapchat is pulling the trigger and launching ‘Spotlight’, which is yet another app to showcase user-created videos. While it is not the first time Snapchat has highlighted videos from users, it is the first time that the company will feature them prominently in the app. Moreover, it has a trick up its sleeve to motivate users to create videos.

Snap will pay creators to post on the platform. The new section in Snapchat, Spotlight will surface vertical video content from users. It is focused more on memes and jokes instead of the day-in-the-life content Snap previously encouraged. These videos will be up to 60 seconds long and, as of right now, cannot be watermarked. Hence, you can’t just download viral TikTok videos and upload them on Spotlight. The new tab will show users what it thinks they might enjoy watching. The algorithm bases its decision mostly on what they have viewed in the past and how long they’ve watched. 

TikTok is the new Snapchat stories. Every other social media app wants to imitate it.

To motivate users to post short-videos regularly, Snapchat says it will award $1 million between the most popular creators on the app per day through the end of 2020. This means, if you have a viral video on Snapchat Spotlight, you might earn a large chunk of the $1 million. In this, the number of subscribers won’t be taken into account. The awarded amount will be primarily based on unique views compared to other snaps that day. Further, you can continue to earn from your video if it’s popular for multiple days at a time.

Right now, Snap is launching Spotlight in 11 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia.

Source

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Google directs Chrome extensions to disclose what they do with user data

Back in September, Google made some linguistic changes to the Play Store policies concerning the in-app payment system to clearly define how it is implemented. The company has now made some updates to its policy governing Chrome browser extensions, specifically around how user data is processed, to make it easier for users to understand before they hit the blue ‘Add to Chrome’ button. Google says that the update to its policy will limit the scope of what developers can do with all that user data and prevent misuse.

“Starting January 2021, each extension’s detail page in the Chrome Web Store will show developer-provided information about the data collected by the extension, in clear and easy to understand language. Data disclosure collection is available to developers today,” the company said in a Chromium blog post. Developers will be required to disclose data usage behavior directly in the privacy tab of the developer dashboard. Data disclosures collection has already been released for developers, and they will start showing up on Chrome Web Store listings starting January 18 next year.

The data usage certification that developers will be required to disclose to the users.

In order to ensure that users are fully aware, developers will have to disclose – in simple words – the type of data that their extensions collect. Plus, they will also have to show the certification that they get from Google for complying with the updated data usage policies. In case a developer hasn’t received the compliance nod from Google, a notice telling users the same will be shown on Chrome Web Store listings of their extensions.

Additionally, Google has also introduced additional policies that govern the ways in which user data can be used, some of which are listed below:

  • Ensuring the use or transfer of user data is for the primary benefit of the user and in accordance with the stated purpose of the extension.
  • Reiterating that the sale of user data is never allowed. Google does not sell user data and extension developers may not do this either.
  • Prohibiting the use or transfer of user data for personalized advertising.
  • Prohibiting the use or transfer of user data for creditworthiness or any form of lending qualification and to data brokers or other information resellers.

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Twitter fixes bug that caused Fleets to be visible after 24-hour expiration period

Twitter commenced the global rollout of Fleets – its own version of Stories or ephemeral status updates – last week to a mixed reception from users. While some users were stoked at the arrival of a cool new feature in the Twitter app, not many were happy with the arrival of ‘stories in yet another app’ where it was not really needed. Critical reception aside, the worldwide rollout of Fleets also came with a host of technical issues, one of which was Fleet visibility even after their 24-hours expiration period. 

Addressing the issue, Twitter made it clear that Fleets can not be viewed in its app once they have reached their 24-hour expiration period. However, some Fleets were visible even after they reached their maturity period due to the failure of a backend system that has a queue for deleting all Fleets after a period of 24 hours. Essentially, the queue backlog was the reason responsible for Fleets being visible past their expiration period. 

The social media giant explained that some developers saved a Fleet’s URL when it was active and were thus able to view it later due to the non-deletion of the backlog. However, Twitter has now updated the queue of its backend system, ensuring that Fleets are only visible for their intended life span. Moreover, the company also noted some users may not appear in the ‘Seen by’ list for Fleets if the list gets too long due to a large number of users seeing it

Twitter also addressed an issue that allowed people to see its take on Stories without even signing-in. However, the company clarified that Fleets are visible only when users are logged in, and the aforementioned ‘issue’ was merely a developer-specific behavior that does not pose any security risks. Nonetheless, Twitter claims to have updated its systems to ‘require an authenticated session before requesting Fleets metadata,’ to add more friction to the process which it defines as scaping. 

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Amazon Music now tells you trivia and album info about songs with its X-Ray tool

If you’ve ever watched content on Amazon’s Prime Video platform, you must have noticed that tapping on the screen shows you some interesting information about the content under the General Trivia section, alongside information about the cast that is currently on the screen. This feature is called X-Ray, which originally arrived on the Kindle ebook reader and is extremely helpful. Amazon is now bringing the X-Ray feature from Prime Video to its music streaming platform – Amazon Music.

The X-Ray feature is now available globally in Amazon Music. I’ve tested it on multiple accounts here in India, and it works just fine. As for the information offered by the feature, you can find details such as the artist’s name, writer, producer, assistant engineer, artists behind each musical instrument, and a lot more. And of course, you will get to know interesting trivia about songs. For example, I got to know that Rob Zombie was the vocalist,  writer as well as producer of the hard rock song Dragula

Regarding the feature, Amazon told Engadget that X-Ray on Amazon Music will “offer a behind the scenes look at song information, artists, and albums with access to everything from fun trivia to song credits, related content, and more.” To see details about a track, just look for the X-Ray button at the bottom of the playback page, provided the requisite details are available. 

You can either tap on the X-Ray button at the bottom, or swipe up from anywhere on the playback page to see the details. When you perform either of the aforementioned actions, you’ll see a self-scrolling carousel of information just like the credits at the end of a movie. The feature is quite neat, and won’t be forced upon Amazon Music users, unlike Amazon Prime Video, where the whole trivia and information catalog appears on the left side of the screen as soon as you tap on the screen. 

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NVIDIA’s game streaming service arrives on iOS, Google’s Stadia is next in line

When it comes to cloud-based game streaming services, Apple has so far not allowed the likes of Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now on the App Store due to certain policies. However, it appears that users in the iOS ecosystem can finally enjoy the perks of cloud-based game streaming, starting with NVIDIA’s GeForce Now. That particular solution is called a web app.

NVIDIA has today announced that it is launching a web app for its GeForce Now game streaming service that will work on iPhones and iPads via the Safari browser. Starting today, iPhone and iPad users can enjoy NVIDIA’s GeForce Now game streaming service by visiting play.geforce.now.com via Safari browser. However, you need to have a compatible controller such as Razer’s Kishi to play a game via cloud on your iPhone or iPad. Do keep in mind the GeForce Now web app is currently in the beta testing phase for iOS.

While that is definitely good news, there is more in tow. Google has today announced that it will begin testing a progressive web app for Stadia on iOS in the coming weeks. “This will be the first phase of our iOS progressive Web application. As we test performance and add more features, your feedback will help us improve the Stadia experience for everyone. You can expect this feature to begin rolling out several weeks from now,” the company said in a statement.

However, the company is yet to share a concrete launch date or additional technical details of the Stadia PWA (Progressive Web App) for iOS. Google’s announcement coincides with the 1-year anniversary of Stadia’s debut. In a separate blog post, the company also revealed Stadia users who purchase Cyberpunk 2077 before December will get Stadia Premiere Edition as a freebie.

However, it appears that the circle of all three major games streaming services – Stadia, xCloud, and GeForce Now – will soon be complete on iOS, despite their inability to exists as a functional app on the App Store. Last month, Xbox chief Phil Spencer reportedly told employees that Microsoft also plans to bring xCloud to iPhones and iPads through a “direct browser-based solution.” Microsoft’s approach sounds similar to what NVIDIA and Google are doing with their respective cloud-based game streaming services.

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YouTube will show ads on some ineligible creators’ videos, but won’t pay them

Are you not part of the YouTube Partner Program? Don’t worry, YouTube has a new update for you! It will now show ads on your videos. Oh wait, did you just ask “how much will I earn from it?” Well, the answer is zero. YouTube will show ads on your videos but won’t share the earnings with you since you are not qualified to be enrolled in their Partner Program.

Generally, YouTube shows ads on those creators’ videos who are enrolled in its Partner Program. These creators receive a portion of the revenue. However, the company has updated its Terms of Service according to which, a creator who is not in the partner program “may see ads on some of your videos.”

The company’s Terms of Service now includes granting “YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments.

Previously, YouTube used to show ads on such videos in limited circumstances, like if they were monetized by a record label as part of a copyright claim. 

This update is likely to affect smaller creators without a huge number of views. For the unaware, the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) requires creators to have more than a thousand subscribers and accrued 4,000 total hours of watch time over the last 12 months to show ads on their videos.

The new update is slowly rolling out on a ‘limited number of videos from channels not in YPP.’ You’ll still have the opportunity to apply for YPP as you normally would once you meet the eligibility requirements.

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HUAWEI lands Dystopia: Contest of Heroes for an exclusive debut on AppGallery

HUAWEI has lately upped the ante when it comes to AppGallery, bringing more high-profile apps to its app repository, launching multiple initiatives to support developers, and expanding its reach at both local and global scale. Moving forward in the same direction,  HUAWEI has announced that it has collaborated with game development studio Beetroot Lab to launch the game Dystopia: Contest of Heroes exclusively on AppGallery for a worldwide debut. In doing so, HUAWEI has managed to offer the game exclusively to its own ecosystem of AppGallery users prior to its arrival on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

You can choose between multiple characters own unique abilities and duke it out in online battles.

Talking about the game, Dystopia: Contest of Heroes is a free-to-play, multiplayer combat game set in a post-apocalyptic world with cyberpunk styling and eye-catching graphics. You get to choose between a wide selection of customizable 3D characters – each with their own unique ability – to build alliances, raid locations and build an empire. Aside from multiplayer battles and the main campaign story, there will also be multiple in-game tournaments where you can even play as famed mixed martial artist Conor McGregor. The game is set in a dystopian New York of 2065 and has reportedly been in development for almost three years before its debut on the AppGallery. 

What’s the strategy here?

“The benefit of launching a game on AppGallery first is that we will put the full force of our considerable marketing machine behind the game to boost its profile and quickly encourage downloads,” Wang Heng, Vice President of Global Partnerships and Eco-Development at Huawei Consumer Business Group (CEE and Nordics) was quoted as saying regarding the partnership. The goal is to build a dedicated base of Dystopia: Contest of Heroes players and promote it across HUAWEI’s own mobile ecosystem before it debuts on other app repositories and the competition for player base and revenue heats up. 

Dystopia Contest of Heroes characters

A success story originating from this strategy was New Zealand, where the game was soft-launched recently and reaped positive results. HUAWEI notes that 7% of users who installed Dystopia: Contest of Heroes were still playing it after 28 days, while the conversion rate to paid users touched the 5% mark in Tier 1 cities. 

Aside from providing technical support to Beetroot Labs in bringing the game over to AppGallery – which involved making everything from the sign-in experience to in-app purchases smoother for users using dedicated software kits – HUAWEI is also marketing the game heavily via multiple touchpoints in its software ecosystem. If you own a HUAWEI or HONOR smartphone with AppGallery on it, you can download Dystopia: Contest of Heroes from the app repository here and read more details about the game on the official Dystopia website.

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Google offers an optimized version of Chrome for Macs with Apple’s M1 chip

Apple’s new Macs with the in-house M1 silicon has left folks impressed with their blazing fast performance. After all, when a fanless MacBook Air easily outperforms an iMac with a top-of-the-line Intel processor that costs over thrice as much, you better believe the hype. However, as pointed by many in the first wave of reviews, Chrome continues to hog system resources even on the new Macs. Well, Google has a solution – an optimized version of Chrome tailored for Macs with the M1 chip at their heart.

As per a tweet by Google Chrome designer and developer Elvin, the company released the optimized version yesterday itself. When users head to the Chrome browser download page, they were offered an option to choose between two versions depending on their machine – Mac with Intel chip or Mac with Apple chip. However, the rollout was halted when some users started experiencing random crashes after downloading this M1 chip-optimized version of Chrome. 

On the official support forum, Google suggested some workarounds such as tweaking the Bluetooth settings for the app from the System Preferences section. However, it was mentioned that the issue will only affect Mac users who installed that optimized version on day 1, suggesting that an updated version with a fix will be rolled out soon. 

Separately, Google Chrome product manager Mark Chang tweeted that the team was aware of the issue and has stopped the rollout. However, the release of Chrome browser’s new build optimized for Macs with M1 chip is expected to resume later today. To recall, the new release being talked about here is v87.0 of Chrome that started rolling out yesterday on all platforms. 

The new version promises 5x lower CPU usage, 1.25 hours of additional battery life, and up to 25% faster opening time. It also brings a host of new features such as a new tab search tool that will allow users to quickly find a tab from a universal list of tabs, and action buttons in the URL bar that will take users directly to the requisite settings page based on their search query. 

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Netflix might add a sleep timer with a future update

Netflix is reportedly working on adding a sleep timer to its Android app. While not much is known about this feature at the moment, it could allow users to set a duration for playback, after which Netflix would automatically stop playback. It would be helpful if you are someone like me who falls asleep while late-night binge sessions. The feature is likely to build on Netflix’s ‘Are you still watching?’ feature that pauses playback after a period of inactivity. However, it happens until the user prompts the app to continue.

The update comes from XDA Developers who report that a string of code was found in v7.82.1 APK of the Netflix app for Android. It suggests that the feature could be on its way but the report comes with a disclaimer that says “an APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release.” It goes on to say that the feature is currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

As for the code, it doesn’t reveal much beyond the words ‘sleep timer button. This feature could be relevant if you have autoplay switched on, which continuously plays content such as TV show episodes one after the other. The sleep timer could automatically shut off playback after a predetermined time, rather than relying on the ‘Are you still watching?’ pop-up that comes on screen randomly. Moreover, it could be useful for monitoring children’s watch time.

The report goes on to say that the ‘sleep timer’ feature is still a long way from rolling out widely. While it could be shelved entirely, it does give us a hint about upcoming additions.

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