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Facebook OS’ scariest aspect is that it could succeed – SlashGear

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News of Facebook working to create its own operating system has probably raised a lot of eyebrows and ruffled many feathers. The social giant made no secret that its goal is to be independent of Google and its ecosystem, particularly Android. At a time when Huawei is trying and struggling to do the same due to political circumstances, there will definitely be doubts about whether Facebook can pull it off. It definitely can and that’s the most frightening part about it.

Facebook needs Facebook OS

Although it could arguably continue operating without it, Facebook’s ambitions have no room to grow in anything other than its own house. While it will continue to cater to users on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, Facebook will always feel stifled in others’ platforms. And it’s not because it doesn’t trust the marketplace or competitors to give it space. It’s because it knows its definition of growth goes against those platform’s values and rules.

As the creator and master of its own operating system, Facebook will no longer have to worry about paying its users to answer surveys or hand over their location on a regular basis. It no longer has to worry about its partners having to go through backdoors or secret APIs to gather the data they need to improve services and advertisements. Sure, Facebook still has to follow laws, especially in an increasingly antagonistic US, but it has been able to get away with what it could in the past.

Technical Capacity

Some might scoff at Facebook’s delusion of grandeur. After all, making an operating system is no small matter. Other companies have been at it for years and they still get it wrong. Even if it were just for VR and AR devices, such a Facebook OS would still be quite an undertaking. The reality, however, is that the company is completely capable of pulling it off.

Some might see Facebook simply as a social media company but the technical knowledge to even make that business run smoothly is no small matter. Over the years, Facebook as acquired companies and talent from all over the technology industry and has had connections and contributions in almost every computing area. Hiring Window NT co-author Mark Lucovsky is just the latest addition to that army. Suffice it to say, it wouldn’t be too difficult for it to make one today, especially with the wealth of tools and software at its disposal.

Industry Clout

Facebook has recently been painted as the tech industry’s bad boy in light of revelations about privacy and political involvement. Despite that, only a few major brands have pulled away from the platform. To date, Facebook and its properties, including Instagram and Oculus, remain one of the biggest names in the industry, especially when it comes to advertising. And that’s because, despite the scandals, Facebook is still home to tens of thousands of users, a treasure trove of data for these companies.

Operating systems live and die by the software available to them and Facebook may indeed struggle for a while. Unlike Huawei or even Samsung, however, it won’t have much problem getting developers and their apps on board. Being on Facebook ensures they will reach thousands of users. There will be technical hurdles to overcome, for sure, but Facebook may not be too worried about some of those. It will be playing to its strengths, focusing on apps and experiences that will enhance its social network experience. Eventually, it will have enough weight to get even bigger names and apps to its OS and the rest will be history.

Social Media Engineering

Social engineering is usually defined as the use of psychological tactics to get people to divulge some otherwise private information about themselves. That is almost the definition of the terms of service that people agree to on almost all Internet services and Facebook is the master of that. It is definitely familiar with all the strategies and tactics to get users to agree to this or that new feature without really knowing, much less understanding, what’s at stake.

It may have seen an exodus of a number of users but the users that remain and get added year after year still outnumber those that left. It has become almost impossible to escape Facebook these days, even just by association. That’s why, despite all the bad publicity, Facebook still enjoys the support of a good number of brands and companies, because it remains a lucrative business especially when it comes to ads.

Wrap-up

Facebook has everything it needs to make Facebook OS real and make it even succeed. It has the technical know-how to make platforms, the support of brands and developers to populate the platform, and the users that will give all these companies the incentive to get on board. That doesn’t speak of the quality of what this Facebook OS may have, but no 1.0 release was ever perfect anyway.

That, of course, paints a rather worrying picture of the future. A platform where Facebook writes (and rewrites) the rules to its own benefit is going to be a platform where it will be able to operate largely unchecked. A platform where its core business of advertising practically means that users are the commodity, not the customer. Facebook OS’ success will largely depend on how much users trust Facebook and the sad reality is that the majority of the world does.

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New photos reveal more details about Google’s Pixel 9 Pro Fold

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Google’s secret new line of Pixel 9 phones isn’t that big of a secret anymore. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) released new photos of the phones including the Pixel 9 Pro Fold from almost every conceivable angle.

Android Authority found the photos in the NCC archives and uploaded galleries of each of the four phones including the Pixel 9, 9 Pro, 9 Pro XL and 9 Pro Fold. They reveal some interesting details about the new Pixel phones.

The charging rates will be a little faster than the last generation of Pixel phones: Taiwanese authorities measured 24.12W for the base model, 25.20W for the Pro and 32.67W for the 9 Pro XL. The Pixel 9 Pro Fold, however, was the slowest of all of them at 20.25W. These numbers don’t often match up perfectly with the advertised ratings, so expect Google to be promoting higher numbers at its event.

Speaking of chargers, it looks like Google needed a bigger charger to power its new phones. Photos included in the NCC leak show each phone will come with a wall charger that’s around 45W depending on which model you purchase. The charger’s plug moved from the middle to the top of the brick.

The Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold can fully unfold.
NCC/Android Authority

The latest photo dump also shows the 9 Pro Fold unfolded for the first time. Google has moved the selfie camera to the inside screen for a wider field of view. The 9 Pro Fold also has a slimmer top and bottom, a reduced fold crease on the display and a full 180 degree unfolding angle to make a screen that’s just over 250mm or just under 10 inches.

These photos are the latest in a very long list of leaks of Google Pixel 9 photos. The last Pixel 9 leak came down yesterday showing two prototype models of the base and XL models. Google might look into buying a new combination lock for the high school locker where they apparently keep all their unreleased gear.

 

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Apple Wallet now supports Canada’s Presto card, with Express Transit

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Apple Wallet now supports the Presto transit card used in Ontario, Canada. The card can be used for travel in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

The digital version of the card includes the Express Transit Pass feature, meaning that you can tap in and out without having to authenticate …

 

Ontario’s Presto card

The Presto contactless smart card system was first trialled back in 2007, and started the full rollout in 2009. The card can be used across 11 different transit systems in the areas covered.

Apple Wallet support was first promised many years ago, but things went quiet until a “coming soon” announcement back in May of this year.

Although the contactless terminals allow the use of credit and debit cards for regular fares, a Presto card is needed for monthly passes and discounted travel.

Apple Wallet support now available

The company made the announcement today.

Tap to ride with PRESTO on iPhone and Apple Watch.

Traveling around town just got easy with your PRESTO in Apple Wallet. With Express Mode, you don’t need to wake or unlock your iPhone or Apple Watch or open any apps to use PRESTO in Apple Wallet. Just hold your device near the reader to pay and go.

Ride, even when your iPhone needs a charge

If your iPhone needs a charge, PRESTO Card in Apple Wallet will still work. Power Reserve provides up to five hours of support, so you can still ride.

Reload on the go. 

With your PRESTO card on your iPhone and Apple Watch, you can easily load funds, right from Apple Wallet or PRESTO App. No need to visit a customer service outlet.

Extra security. Built right in 

PRESTO in Apple Wallet can take full advantage of the privacy and security features built into iPhone and Apple Watch. Your PRESTO card is stored on the device, which means Apple does not see when you use it—helping keep your data private and secure.

If you lose your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can use the Find My app to lock and help locate the device and suspend your PRESTO card or remotely erase the device and its cards.

Mobile Syrup reports that you can choose between adding your existing card to your Wallet, or creating a new one.

There are two ways to add a Presto card to Apple Wallet. You can either buy a new card or move your old one over using the Presto app.

That being said, for simplicity’s sake, unless you have a discounted Presto agreement like a student or senior plan, I think most riders will be happy just making a new card in Apple Wallet and loading funds from that app.

As with any digital card or pass, you can use either your iPhone or Apple Watch, but because each generates a unique virtual card number, you need to use the same device at both ends of your journey.

Express Transit feature

To minimize delays, Presto offers Express Transit support. This means that you don’t need to authenticate using Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone, and you don’t need to double-tap the side button on your Apple Watch. Simply hold your device close to the pad and you’re good (a number of clues are used to detect fraudulent use).

Express Transit also has the advantage that it continues to work in Low Power mode, so you’ll still be able to complete your journey even if your phone or Watch is almost dead.

Image: Presto

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The OnePlus Pad 2 Wants to Be the iPad Air of Android Tablets

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The original OnePlus Pad was a decent all-around Android tablet, but it was not amazing in any one area. Now, OnePlus is back with a new tablet device that packs more power, has a better screen, more speakers, and a higher starting price. OnePlus offers an Android tablet alternative that costs less than the latest iPad Airs, though it seems like it’s hewing very close to the rendition from 2023. 

The OnePlus Pad 2 is a one-size-fits-all 12.1-inch 3K tablet. At $550 for 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, it’s $70 more than the first OnePlus Pad, though it starts with more memory and twice as much internal storage as the first go around’s paltry 128 GB. It’s bigger than the 11.6 LCD on last year’s Pad, though now it’s beefed its resolution to 3K (3000 x 2120) with a stated 600 nits typical and 900 nits peak brightness. It has a variable refresh rate between 30 and 144 Hz, though it’s still an LCD screen, the same as the 2023 OnePlus Pad.

Just like last year’s version, the new Pad supports Dolby Atmos, but it boasts a six-stereo speaker configuration on either side of the device. It may not be as specifically sound-tailored as the Lenovo Tab Plus, but what’s promised is a solid middle ground. 

Last year’s tablet used MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU, which was good enough for most applications but not exactly top of its class. The Pad 2 is now powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chip. Gizmodo has already experienced some of the chip’s capabilities in Samsung’s latest foldables, and already it’s very promising. We haven’t yet had the chance to compare a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 tablet to Apple’s latest iPad Air with M2, though on the whole, M2 usually performs better than Qualcomm’s mobile chips in bare benchmark tests. How much that matters depends on what programs you expect to use on your tablet. 

Image: OnePlus

Every device maker thinks they need AI to compete, and OnePlus isn’t an outlier here. There are promised “AI Toolbox” features like AI text-to-speech and recording summaries. The AI Eraser 2.0 will also work like Google’s Magic Eraser to remove unwanted photo elements. 

There’s a new $99 OnePlus Stylo 2 and a $150 Oneplus Smart Keyboard to accompany the new tablet. Despite the size and price difference, there will be many similarities between last year’s and the 2024 model. The Pad 2 has the same 9,510 mAh battery as last year’s, plus the 67W “SUPERVOOC” fast charging. It promises 43 days of standby time, though in our experience, the first Pad’s lifespan and promised “one-month standby life” was far more modest in practice, lasting most of the day before needing a recharge. 

With a bigger screen, the upcoming Pad 2 is slightly heavier than last year’s rendition. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, so it’s exactly between the 11- and 13-inch iPad Airs or slightly more than the base 11-inch Galaxy Tab S9 (and far less than the humongous Tab S9 Ultra). It will be relatively thin at 6.49 mm, but it’s not beating the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm or the iPad Pro 13-inch’s holy grail 5.1 mm.

The first OnePlus Pad didn’t exactly break new ground in any one category, though it did show Android tablets had legs. We’ve seen attempts from Goole and its Pixel Tablet, though that, too, wasn’t the pioneer of Android tablets. A better chip and more speakers do seem promising, though, in its effort to be everything to everyone, we’ll need to see if it manages to stand out in any area.

The OnePlus Pad 2 is now available for preorder. It should be available on the OnePlus website starting July 30 and on Amazon starting August.

 

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