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Spotify to allow listeners play music, podcasts from Facebook app

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Spotify on Monday said it has partnered with Facebook to allow listeners to play music and podcasts directly from the social network’s iOS and Android apps.

Facebook last week said it planned to launch several audio products, including Clubhouse-style live audio rooms and a way for users to find and play podcasts.

The new integration is rolling out in 27 markets, including the U.S. and Canada, with additional markets to follow in the coming month, Spotify said in a statement.

Spotify’s paid subscribers would be able to access full playback without advertisements without leaving the Facebook app.

Apple last week said it will launch podcast subscriptions, which will let users pay to unlock new content and additional benefits like ad-free listening, intensifying competition with Spotify.

Both Spotify and Facebook have been fighting Apple on different fronts, from privacy changes on iOS devices to the 30% fee levied on app developers to use the iPhone maker’s in-app purchase system.

Apple has said its App Store helped Spotify to benefit from hundreds of millions of app downloads to become Europe’s largest music streaming service.

 

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Economy

Nigeria launches eNaira amid hope, scepticism – and plenty of uncertainty

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Nigeria on Monday became the first African nation to launch a digital currency – the eNaira – a move its leaders said will expand access to banking, enable more remittances and even grow the economy by billions of dollars.

Africa’s most populous nation joins the Bahamas, the first to launch a general purpose central bank digital currency, known as the Sand Dollar, in October. China has ongoing trials and Switzerland and the Bank of France have announced Europe’s first cross-border experiment.

But experts and cryptocurrency users in the continent’s biggest economy say the fact that there are more questions than answers regarding the eNaira – and a large amount of worry over the consistency of Central Bank (CBN) rules – means the government faces a tough path to make the eNaira a success.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said during Monday’s launch that there had been “overwhelming interest and encouraging response”, adding that 33 banks, 2,000 customers and 120 merchants had already registered successfully with the platform, which is available via an app on Apple and Android.

Some 200 million nairas’ worth of eNaira, which will maintain parity with the traditional currency, has been issued to financial institutions, he said. President Muhammadu Buhari said use of the currency could grow the economy by $29 billion over ten years, enable direct government welfare payments and even increase the tax base.

Nigeria’s young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted digital currencies. Cryptocurrency use has grown quickly despite a Central Bank ban in February on banks and financial institutions dealing in or facilitating transactions in them.

Nigeria ranked seventh in the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index compiled by research firm Chainalysis. Official digital currencies, unlike crytocurrencies such as bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank.

But some of what drove Nigeria’s enthusiastic adoption of cryptocurrencies was the Central Bank’s own shifting rules regarding accessing foreign currency – and the naira’s plunging value on parallel markets that saw savings shrink.

“It’s not clear looking at the CBN’s body of work that Nigerians would be comfortable using this,” said Ikemesit Effiong, head of research with Lagos-based consultancy SBM Intelligence.

He added that the CBN had not yet made clear whether users could transfer eNaira back into traditional naira, whether they could use cryptocurrency to buy or sell the eNaira or even whether there would be physical locations to use and transfer eNaira, or whether it would be entirely digital.

“There are more questions than answers, even though we are looking at the launch of this digital currency. The fact that this is the case so late in the game is concerning,” he told Reuters.

The CBN issued a nine-page FAQ, which said eNaira users would access it via the phone app, internet banking or a code dialled from mobile phones, but it did not address transferability or other questions raised by Effiong.

Only three local television channels were allowed to attend the launch, and officials took no questions.

For 28-year-old Ebuka Joseph, an art dealer and enthusiastic cryptocurrency user in the commercial capital, Lagos, the uncertainty means he will stay on the sidelines, for now.

His concerns centre on whether he would easily be able to change eNaira back into normal currency.

“I have had issues trusting the central bank … because they have already banned crypto,” he told Reuters. “I want to hear from people, see people use it, before I venture into it.”

 

(Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returns to work in Shenzhen, after extradition drama – Global Times

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Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei Technologies, returned to work at the tech giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Monday after almost three years fighting extradition to the U.S. in Canada, state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, completed three weeks of quarantine last week after returning to the southern city of Shenzhen where a crowd of well-wishers chanting patriotic slogans awaited her at the airport.

“Over the last three years, although we have struggled, we have overcome obstacles and our team has fought with more and more courage,” she said in a speech at an internal company event that was circulated online.

The extradition drama had been a central source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signalling that the case had to be dropped to help end a diplomatic stalemate.

Meng was detained in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

She was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement https://www.reuters.com/technology/huawei-cfo-meng-appear-court-expected-reach-agreement-with-us-source-2021-09-24 with U.S. prosecutors last month to end a bank fraud case against her.

 

(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Here’s what Google says about Pixel 6 features coming to older Pixels – Android Authority

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Eric Zeman / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google has told Android Authority that it aims to bring as many Pixel 6 features to older Pixels as possible.
  • The company added that porting some features will require “additional technical investments.”

One thing that you can count on with new Pixel flagship launches is that at least some of the newest features will come to older Pixel phones. We saw that with the astrophotography mode, Cinematic Pan option, and Call Screening, to name a few.

The Pixel 6 range is a slighty different case though, as Google is leaning heavily on its in-house Tensor processor for some of these features. These features include Live Translate, Motion Mode, and more. Now, Google has revealed whether some Pixel 6 features could come to older devices.

“Some technologies will require additional technical investments, such as Live Translate, as our on-device language models are engineered to run on Pixel 6’s proprietary Tensor chip on TPU (which older Pixel models don’t have),” the representative continued.

“We currently do not have a firm date for rollout to older Pixels at this point in time, but stay tuned for future announcements.”

In other words, it seems like Google is well aware that it will need to work on finding ways to port some of the latest Pixel 6 features to the older Pixels. But we’re guessing that the transition to custom silicon could mean some new features simply don’t make it to older Pixels. Here’s hoping Google proves us wrong.

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