WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp will end support for BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
  • Support for Nokia S40, and Nokia S60 platforms also dropped
  • Users can upgrade to a new device or platform to continue using WhatsApp

WhatsApp users still on handsets running the ageing BlackBerry OS and Nokia S40 and S60 platforms will not be able to use the popular messaging service after June 30. The Facebook-owned company will officially pull the plug on the dated Nokia Symbian software and the BlackBerry OS as July starts. This comes after WhatsApp delayed ending support for them by six months, from the original date of December 2016 to June 2017. The reason behind WhatsApp killing support for old Nokia and BlackBerry phones is that they don’t have the capabilities needed to add new features in the app.

The most widely used instant messaging app had last year announced that it will drop support for a few platforms. The company later extended the support until June 2017 after BlackBerry expressed its disappointment with WhatsApp’s decision to abandon the platform. Support for Android 2.2 Froyo, iOS 6, and Windows Phone 7 was ended by WhatsApp in December last year.

In its Support page, WhatsApp explains, “These platforms [Nokia S40, S60, and BlackBerry OS] don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer OS version, or to a newer Android running OS 2.3.3+, iPhone running iOS 7+, or Windows Phone 8+ so that you can continue using WhatsApp.”WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

Interestingly, the lack of support for the old Nokia Symbian phones is the reason WhatsApp will not work on the new Nokia 3310 feature phone. The Facebook-owned company has advised that anyone with the above-mentioned older platforms who want to keep chatting with friends via WhatsApp will need to upgrade to a newer operating system or a new device.

WhatsApp also clarifies that currently there’s no way users can transfer your chat history between platforms though the company will provide the option to send your chat history attached to an email, if requested by users. You can head to WhatsApp’s Support page to understand the steps.

WhatsApp had previously emphasised how much the market changed in the years since WhatsApp was launched in 2009. Recapping the market, the messaging service said that in 2009 Android and iOS platforms were running on less than 25 percent of the devices, while BlackBerry and Nokia’s operating systems dominated the market with roughly a 70 percent share. WhatsApp’s decision to pull the plug on Symbian and BlackBerry, however, recaps how the platforms have lost popularity.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Latest Plex update will play mostly any video file on Android
  • You won’t need a third party app to play videos
  • App will fetch metadata for your media file

Popular media server Plex has just brought a major update to its app for Android. You can now open and play pretty much any video file stored on your Android device or SD card, and you no longer have to play it through a third-party player. The company says that with this update, you will no longer face the problem of opening video files stored locally.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

The latest update for Android will now let you play local video files including .MP4s, .MKVs, .AVIs, .WMVs, and .WMDs, among other formats, within the app. The Plex app for Android already lets you scheduled live TV recordings, offering a DVR-like function, and with this new update, the app has a stronger case to take on apps like VLC.

The ability to open practically any video format will come in handy as users may sometimes find themselves downloading files from torrent sites that can be difficult to play on mobile. In addition to locally stored files, the latest update also lets you open files stored in third-party apps like Dropbox. You can also open video files from the Web browser, Downloads app, or a file explorer app.plex android update playback plex

Notably, the Plex app will also automatically fetch metadata for your media file. If the file is recognised, the title, artwork will show. It is able to do this by matching the videos based on the filename and other details. But sometimes there could be an error in getting the right details for the video. In that case, you can tap on the three dot icon below the video and select the ‘Unmatch’ option to hide the metadata.

Most of the playback controls will be available when playing a local file, like pausing, skipping or stopping the tracks. The update (v6.0) is rolling out to Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded via Google Play, and will come soon to the Amazon App Store.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Foodpanda announces Dash, a logistics service for restaurants
  • After a three-month pilot, Dash is going live now in 7 cities
  • It will deliver orders originating from any source, not just Foodpanda

Online food ordering and delivery firm Foodpanda on Thursday said it will provide third-party logistics services to its restaurant base across major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Gurgaon. Foodpanda has already been delivering its orders from some partner restaurants for two years now – accounting for nearly half the orders it receives. As part of the new development, restaurants can use Foodpanda delivery services even for the orders which have not come through the Foodpanda channel.

According to the company, this expansion of the delivery ecosystem by Foodpanda is aimed at optimising efficiency of existing on-ground fleet, which was initially used only for orders placed through the brand.

The deliveries were first started as a pilot three months ago, and the initiative is now live across Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, Foodpanda said in a statement. This includes a fully integrated offering, where orders come via Foodpanda, and are delivered, as well as delivery on a need basis. restaurants will be charged per order, the company added.

Foodpanda on-boarded more than 500 partner restaurants and the number is expected to reach around 1,500 in the next three months, the company said.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

“With our new delivery product offering, we intend to be significant support system for our partners by easing hassle of delivery for them and extend best-in-class service levels to more customers,” said Foodpanda India CEO Saurabh Kochhar.

“The new business partnerships with the restaurants are aimed to provide better services and to further expand our delivery network across the country,” added Kunal Suri, COO Foodpanda India. “We are currently able to deliver orders within 35 mins on average, which we further plan to improve on. With Dash we plan to extend this benefit to our restaurant partners thereby strengthening the delivery ecosystem across the nation.”

Written with inputs from PTI

Why Betsy DeVos Will Rewrite These Student Loan Forgiveness Rules

WASHINGTON, DC: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill June 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it will rewrite two Obama-era rules intended to protect student loan borrowers.

The U.S. Department of Education said new committees will be formed to rewrite rules for Borrower Defense To Repaying and Gainful Employment.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Borrower Defense To Repaying?

Borrower Defense To Repaying allows students to have their federal student loans forgiven if a school employed illegal or deceptive practices to encourage the students to borrow debt to attend the school.

This rule was scheduled to become effective July 1, but will now be delayed.

Nearly 16,000 borrower-defense claims are currently being processed by the Education Department, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos assured those borrowers that their loans will be discharged as expeditiously as possible.

What Is Gainful Employment?

The gainful employment rule was created to ensure that students earned enough money after graduation to repay their student loans.

For a college to have access to federal student aid, the college must meet minimum gainful employment standards. The current formula says that on average, student loan borrowers of a degree program must not have student loan payments exceed 20% of their discretionary income or 8% of their total earnings.

Both rules were written in response to practices stemming from for-profit colleges, which included companies such as ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges (both of which shut down).

Why The Change

DeVos believes that the two rules are confusing and unfair to both students and schools. While critics view the move as a win for the for-profit college industry, DeVos says that the rule changes will still help students who are victims of fraud (although she does not detail how).

“Fraud, especially fraud committed by a school, is simply unacceptable,” DeVos said in a statement. “Unfortunately, last year’s rulemaking effort missed an opportunity to get it right. The result is a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs.”

DeVos said she wants to strike a fair balance between protecting students from predatory practices and creating balanced rules to which colleges can adhere.

“It’s time to take a step back and make sure these rules achieve their purpose: helping harmed students,” DeVos said. “It’s time for a regulatory reset. It is the Department’s aim, and this Administration’s commitment, to protect students from predatory practices while also providing clear, fair and balanced rules for colleges and universities to follow.”

The American Federation Of Teachers Perspective

The American Federation of Teachers released a statement on the Education Department’s decision:

“The Trump administration’s actions today show that the White House stands with predatory for-profit schools, not the students they rip off,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “About the only thing worse than ripping off students with worthless degrees from for-profit colleges is denying them help to relieve their substantial debt, and allowing the schools to continue to prey on students.”

A Different Perspective

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) in Higher Education wrote DeVos a letter stating that the borrower defense rule would create a detrimental impact on their member institutions.

Collectively, these two groups represent the interests of 186 historically black colleges and universities (HCBUs) and predominantly black institutions (PBIs) that serve 700,000 students.

In their letter, the UNCF and NAFEO cite the regulatory burden and vague standards associated with the Borrower Defense To Repaying rule, support suspension of any enforcement of the regulation, and called for a new rulemaking process.

What’s Next?

The rule-making process will start next months with public hearings, followed by the appointment of committees comprised of experts and other stakeholders.

How these rules change – and by how much – will be watched closely, particularly with respect to:

  • any revised definitions of fraud and deceptive practices;
  • how gainful employment metrics will be calculated;
  • how taxpayers will save money and how much; and
  • what are the litmus tests for borrowers to have their student loans forgiven or discharged, among other key points.

What do you think? Do these rule changes reduce bureaucracy and save taxpayers money, or are they a win for the for-profit college industry and erosion of student borrower protections? We want to hear from you in the comment section below.

Zack Friedman is the Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade, a personal finance website that helps you compare the best rates and save money for student loans, personal loans, mortgages and more.

These 5 Tips Will Change the Way You Market Your Online Store

So, you’ve put together a beautiful eCommerce store and are eagerly anticipating traffic to start trickling in.

At this point, many eCommerce merchants start to realize that, without doing the right types of marketing, this traffic may never come. It’s easy to feel frustrated or confused at the wide variety of different marketing channels available to you, but don’t fret. This guide is designed to present you with 5 of the most effective eCommerce marketing strategies.

eCommerce Marketing Strategies

Invest in a High-Quality Content Strategy

Many eCommerce merchants view content only as an effective marketing channel but, for some, content is the lifeblood of their entire business.

Content is one of the most effective and rewarding marketing strategies out there because it connects with virtually every other marketing endeavor. For example, a simple blog post could be used in your email marketing, social media accounts, and SEO keyword targeting strategies while simultaneously helping to build your brand and position your site as an authority in a specific niche.

Your content strategy should primarily focus on creating valuable content that speaks directly to your audience. The backbone of your content strategy involves researching:

  • A target audience. Come up with a persona that encapsulates your target audience’s needs and motivations. This makes it easier for your content team to visualize for whom they’re creating content.
  • Your audience’s problems. This research can be found anywhere, from in-person interviews with stakeholders to browsing niche-specific forums such as Reddit. What are the pain points and problems your target audience is having? What are some roadblocks that cause people to hesitate before purchasing your products?
  • Content audit. This assessment involves conducting an evaluation on your site’s current content. There’s no need to have a clunky site filled with mediocre content. Here are a few questions you should ask:
    • Is it consistently good?
    • Are there any lackluster articles?
    • Are people engaging with your content on social platforms?
    • Does this content do your brand justice?
    • If the content is meant to convert, is it doing a good job?
  • Competitive analysis. Once you have a firm understanding of where your content stands, take a gander at your brand’s competitors to see how they’re doing. You’ll likely find that many of the top brands do a phenomenal job at producing high-quality content. If they aren’t, you’re in an even better position. There could be a huge opportunity to create value that your competitors are failing to provide.

Create Facebook Ads Around Your Best Pieces of Content

Content is just the gift that keeps on giving.

Merchants that create extremely good pieces of content are able to receive much more value from these pages if they advertise them rather than just leaving them. This not only allows merchants to drive traffic to pages and inspire likes and shares, but it also allows them to provide new users a valuable experience.

By creating content around your audience’s needs by answering questions, offering guidance or providing value in a variety of creative ways, merchants are able to make a positive first impression.

For example, let’s assume your store sells shoes. Instead of creating a Facebook ad campaign to blast out a product page for a few of your shoes on clearance, you could create a single piece of content titled “The 14 Best Athletic Shoes for Summer Under $50.” Now, instead of having to create multiple ads around different product pages, you only have to create a single ad for that specific piece of content.

On that piece of content, you could have links to your product pages and let the sales trickle in. Alternatively, a more value-driven piece of content could be “How to Find the Best Deal on Shoes,” with a guide that includes several options that aren’t sales-driven, and one or two links to your product pages.

Marketing has evolved past the point of constantly hard-selling, and the new age of digital marketing requires merchants to provide their users with value every step of the way. By advertising your most valuable pieces of content, you will be able to drive traffic that is interested in solving a certain issue.

This gives you the opportunity to insert calls to action (CTAs) throughout your content to either collect email addresses to keep the conversation going or to direct interested traffic toward a product page.

Email Marketing for Retention

Email marketing has been around for over 40 years for a reason: it works.

Merchants who are able to build a healthy list of subscribers can segment this list based on specific categories to send out effective messages for specific promotions. For example, if you’re a shoe site, you could send out an email that advertises your discounted sale to shoppers who have a higher propensity to buy from your clearance category, and another email to your customers who tend to spend more money per order.

Email marketing in 2017 involves enticing your potential subscribers with potential value and then delivering it. By setting expectations of what they will be receiving and how often, merchants will be able to effectively set a foundation that will allow them to consistently drive traffic to new pieces of content and product pages.

This strategy not only allows you to reach your audience at any given time, but it also makes building a long-term relationship possible. By consistently providing value to your list through useful content, you will be able to build brand loyalty. The more effective your email marketing is, the more efficient your overall marketing strategies will be. Statistically, email marketing yields 4,300 percent ROI for businesses in the US.

Perhaps the most valuable component of email marketing is the ability to retain your traffic. This reduces the inherent risk associated with primarily relying on a single source for traffic that could potentially change its algorithm.

For example, a minor tweak in Facebook’s algorithm could drastically increase the cost of reaching a specific number of people. If a business is overly dependent on any one source, these algorithm tweaks could be lethal. Thankfully, email marketing has stayed relatively consistent while maintaining its effectiveness for nearly five decades.

eCommerce Marketing Strategies

Leverage Product and Social Media Reviews

Merchants often completely overlook their product reviews as a source for marketing inspiration. Organic and fair product reviews play a huge role in forming trust with your shoppers, and they shouldn’t be tucked away in some obscure corner. First and foremost, you should make sure that they are present on your product pages and every other page that is relevant to the buying decision.

However, the value of reviews doesn’t stop there. Integrating your product reviews in your email marketing and social media strategies in order to convince people that your products are worth a first or second look can help you bring in traffic that would have otherwise overlooked your email or ad.

It’s important that these reviews are user generated and genuine because, if they look falsified, your brand could end up making a negative impression.

Use Ad Retargeting

A shopper clicks through your site and finds a product they like. They add it to their cart and continue shopping. Suddenly … pop! A Facebook notification. The previously committed shopper rapidly changes tabs to check their Facebook alert and gets sucked into a conversation. The minute that customer ventures off your site, the chances of them completing a purchase greatly diminish.

Ad retargeting allows merchants to get another crack at making a sale. Dynamic retargeting allows merchants to send an advertisement based on a user’s certain actions. These ads can be personalized down to the specific action (i.e., cart abandonment) or be just a kind reminder of your site to a user who has spent a significant amount of time clicking around in the past. This strategy helps to fill in the gaps the short attention span of the average internet shopper.

There are a few more reasons that may have caused shoppers to bounce, other than distractions. There are likely a handful of products similar to yours, and the convenience of online shopping allows shoppers to browse different options with relative ease.

Retargeting ads are useful because they are 70 percent more likely to convert than any other type of advertising. This allows merchants to get more out of all their other marketing strategies by creating a retargeting net that helps to bring some shoppers back.

Final Thoughts

The strategy behind these marketing tips is to allow merchants to be able to reach new audiences while also building in a retention-based component. These two high-level strategies paired together play off each other in beautiful harmony.

The retention-based component lets merchants get another chance by retargeting missed traffic and, also, to “own” their audience through email marketing. This also makes the customer acquisition component much more effective and less expensive to run on a larger scale.

Utilizing these 5 marketing tips, along with other effective ways to add value to your eCommerce site, will not only help you to make more sales but provide an overall better experience for your shoppers.

Box Drive Will Let You 'Stream' Files From the Cloud to Your PC

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The app is already available for download
  • Users can work on files in the cloud without storing everything locally
  • Box Drive is natively integrated into Windows Explorer and Mac Finder

While Google is planning to expand the backup service offered by its Drive desktop app, another cloud service, Box, has now launched its own Box Drive desktop app. As you might expect, the desktop app, available for Windows and macOS, essentially allows users to get access to their cloud files locally from their computers. The Box Drive desktop app is already available and can be downloaded from the company’s official website.

Box Drive Will Let You 'Stream' Files From the Cloud to Your PC

Importantly, users will be able to download the files from the cloud service on demand through Box Drive app and will not be required to keep a copy of files in the local storage, as in the case of other services like Google Drive and Dropbox. This feature will work quite similarly to the OneDrive on Demand feature announced recently. Dropbox offers ‘Smart Sync’ to its Business customers that provides similar functionality.

“Your content is streamed from the cloud to your desktop, taking up very little hard drive space as you access, share and work with all your files. And since Box Drive is natively integrated into Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, it’s built right into the way you already work,” the company says on its website.

 

While the new feature will work for end-users and business customers alike, Box is clearly positioning it as a feature for the latter.

“Box Drive is the only unlimited cloud drive built for the enterprise, giving you infinite access to all of your files in Box, by streaming them directly to your desktop. That way, you have access to ALL of your content – even tens of millions of files – right at your fingertips, without putting the hurt on your hard drive,” the company said in a blog post. It further highlights the enterprise-grade features of its service.

“With Box Drive, you have the same enterprise-grade security and compliance capabilities you do with Box, just on the desktop: HIPAA, FINRA, and FedRAMP compliance, Binding Corporate Rules, data retention policies, and more. And because files are no longer stored on users’ hard drives by default, lost or stolen devices have a much lower risk of data loss,” Box added.

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • PlayLink lets you play games on your PS4 via a smartphone
  • Titles vary from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes
  • PlayLink titles include That’s You!, Hidden Agenda

At the ongoing E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California, Sony announced some of its most anticipated games for PlayStation for the year including God of War, Spider-Man and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, to name a few. Console titles aside, the company also introduced PlayLink, which allows users to play games with family and friends using their smartphones and tablets.

PlayLink is aimed at creating a fun, interactive way to play games in a social setting. Based on a video Sony released showcasing the feature, PlayLink requires a smartphone or tablet, a TV, and a PlayStation 4 console, which, when set up, lets you and your group of family or friends play interactive PlayLink titles.

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

“PlayLink games turn your smartphone or tablet into a versatile controller – you can swipe, pinch, drag, tilt, rotate or even snap selfies and draw crafty doodles, depending on the game. No matter which title you choose from our PlayLink collection, it’s guaranteed to be a slick pick-up-and-play experience,” Sony said in a blog post.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cadj8hWApE8?ecver=2]

PlayLink titles range from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes. In one of the videos, for example, you see a group of people playing That’s You! – a quiz-based app that “challenges you and up to five friends to get personal and find out what you really think about each other.” This will be one of the first titles for PlayLink and will be available for PlayStation Plus members for free starting July 4.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDAxfMpriAU?ecver=2]

Another video shows a crime and narrative-based game called Hidden Agenda that allows up to six people to join in. The game requires the players to make tough, quick decisions as the story progresses, which will also influence the way the game moves forward.

Sony sees PlayLink as something that can come in handy during social gatherings as well as rope in new players to video games. It also reminds one of Jackbox Games’ Party Pack multi-platform social games. Some other PlayLink titles that can be expected soon include Knowledge is Power, Frantic, and SingStar Celebration.