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Facebook Looks to Ramp Up Video Efforts
The social media giant is in talks with TV studios to license shows, including scripted shows, game shows and sports coverage, Recode reports. The initiative, which is similar to what Netflix and Amazon currently do, signals Facebook’s continued push with video. Recently, Facebook unveiled Live 360 video streaming, which lets users “explore on their own and experience a new environment.”
Snapchat’s New Features
Just in time for the holidays, Snapchat added four new features including group chats for up to 16 people, Shazam integration, virtual scissors to clip messages and a paintbrush tool. Data from RBC Capital Markets estimates that nearly three-quarters of US social media users between the ages of 19-25 have a Snapchat account—less than Facebook, but in line with Instagram.
Thai Regulator Orders Telecoms to Provide Low-Cost 4G SIMs
Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) instructed two local mobile carriers, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move, to begin providing low-income and disabled residents with cheaper 4G SIM cards by March of next year. The NBTC called on the service providers to charge at least 10% less than the maximum price currently allowed by the regulators for the discounted SIMs. The move was aimed at granting a larger chunk of the population access to online services; eMarketer projects that less than half of Thailand’s population will have regular access to the internet this year.
Netflix Cancels “Marco Polo”
The New York Times reports that Netflix is cancelling “Marco Polo” after only two seasons. Netflix seldom cancels its original TV shows, but has previously done so after three seasons of “Hemlock Grove” and “Lilyhammer,” and after two seasons of “Bloodline.” TiVo recently found that over half of internet users in North America watch Netflix, which is more than double the amount that watch Amazon Prime Video.
Korean Telecom KT Sets 5G Unveiling for 2018 Winter Olympics
South Korean telecom KT released the latest details on its plan to launch 5G services in the country by the 2018 Winter Olympics, set to take place in the city of Pyeongchang. The announcement may be more of a marketing coup than anything, since 3GPP, the international body governing telecommunications standards, has yet to officially define what 5G is. Despite this, KT claims 5G networks will provide transmission speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G LTE. South Korea is already a well-connected country, with 72.4% of the country already using the mobile internet by eMarketer estimates.
Xiaomi Launches VR Headset Sales in India
China-based electronics device manufacturer Xiaomi made its entry-level virtual reality headset available for sale in India this week. The MI VR Play, as the headset is called, is set to retail for just INR999 (US$15) and is intended to run with its own smartphones running apps that rely on Google’s Cardboard VR standard. Xiaomi, best known for its affordable smartphones, is also expanding its portfolio of services with the launch of a VR app store in China.
Slack Introduces Video Calling
Slack has announced a new video calling feature that will allow colleagues to connect via video face-to-face. The new video calling tool lets anyone connect one-on-one, and for those with paid plans, in groups. Video calling also includes a feature that will give users the option to respond to video calls with emojis
—Rimma Kats, Rebecca Chadwick, Alison McCarthy and Rahul Chadha
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