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WhatsApp's new dark mode has arrived, but it just isn't dark enough – TechRadar

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After many months of speculation and hints, WhatsApp dark mode has finally arrived for beta testing on Android, and I’ve been using it full-time since it arrived. It’s rather nice, and it’s certainly easier on the eyes at night than bright green and white, but there’s just one problem: it’s still not dark enough.

First, there’s the app’s main background. Rather than black, it’s a dark greenish gray. That’s all find and tasteful, but on an AMOLED screen you really want the background to be fully black so those pixels are switched off and not draining your battery.

Yes, a truly black background would mean missing out on the fun WhatsApp wallpaper (peer closely – can you see it?) but that’s a small price to pay. Even if you enter the app’s wallpaper settings and choose ‘solid color’, the darkest swatch isn’t actually black. If you want a truly black background, you’ll have to create a black image and set that as your wallpaper. That’s quite a lot of hassle.

Speech bubbles are much clearer in WhatsApp’s light mode than the new dark version; an issue that could be remedied by a proper black background (Image credit: Facebook)

Next, there’s the text, which is mostly stark white and therefore a little hard on the eyes. A more subtle shade would be easier to look at, and wouldn’t have me dialling down the whole screen’s brightness to lower the contrast.

That’s something I’d rather avoid because the color of the message bubbles is extremely similar to the background. Dial down the overall brightness and you can’t see them at all. The speech bubbles in light mode are much clearer to see, making it that little bit easier to follow the conversation. A black background would knock the contrast up a notch without any further changes.

Not-so mellow yellow

Then there are the emoji. Open the menu and squint as they slide into view in all their bright yellow glory. It’d be less dazzling if they’d been reworked in a different hue for dark mode – a pleasant shade of blue, perhaps. Yes, it would have been a lot of work, but dark mode has already been so long coming, what’s a little longer?

WhatsApp dark mode emoji

WhatsApp’s emoji are still a gaudy shade of yellow in dark mode (Image credit: Facebook)

All that grumbling aside though, WhatsApp dark mode is still in beta testing, so there’s a chance it could change substantially before it starts rolling out properly.

Also, let’s not forget that the APK files include menu options that suggest it might eventually be possible to choose between two different dark modes, possibly including one specifically made for AMOLED displays. Here’s hoping it might tone down some of the gaudier colors, too.

And even if it doesn’t, there’s still hope for Facebook’s mobile dark mode, when it eventually makes an appearance. Fingers crossed.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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