Week Ending: 7th August - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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With second waves of Coronavirus hitting the UK this week, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve missed what’s been happening in the world of Tech and I.T. news. Not to worry though, as each week our roundup brings you right up to date with some of the biggest stories in the industry.

This week we talk about Instagram’s new feature, Reels. Plus, how media giant Disney is shifting its focus to streaming sites as a result of Covid-19, and lastly, the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Lives.

Instagram rolls out its TikTok rival

Instagram has officially launched its new feature Reels, which seems remarkably similar to the extremely popular video-sharing app, TikTok.

As of this week, Reels can now be created by opening up the Instagram camera and selecting the Reels button. From there, a host of editing tools will pop up, and users can video themselves using different augmented reality features and have the option to add music. The 15-second style video can then be shared onto a special Reels tab, but can also be pushed into various other spaces, such as close friends, within stories, live videos, or IGTV.

All the features of Reels seem similar to TikTok, which has recently risen in popularity with 800 users worldwide. We’re certainly starting to question if Instagram has launched its new feature to rival and compete against TikTok.

However, Instagram denied all claims that the launch of Reels is a response to the ongoing controversy around TikTok that’s headlined in the news at the moment.

Instead, Instagram claimed Reels is a feature which has been inspired by a competitor and they will build on that base by adding more features.

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, said:

“Stories in 2016 was one where we give full credit to Snapchat in terms of inventing the format and we then absolutely took it and made it our own.

"I think of short-form video in very much the same vein - TikTok certainly didn’t invent short-form video, I think they’ve done a lot of really amazing work to make it their own, and I think we’ve been inspired by that great work, but then want to take that and integrate that into Instagram in a different way."

We think there’s secretly some stiff competition between Instagram and TikTok.

Find out more here.

Disney shifts to streaming as COVID-19 takes its toll

It’s common knowledge that the coronavirus pandemic has affected many businesses globally with enormous losses, inclusive of media giant Disney.

It’s reported that Disney lost £3.6bn in just three months as the virus forced theme parks to close and delay film releases and production. Disney’s chief financial officer, Christine McCarthy, announced the theme park’s revenue plunged 85% compared to 2019, and overall revenue fell 42% compared with last year as a result of Coronavirus!

However, adapting to the difficult situation, Disney has revealed it now plans to focus on its streaming services to move forward, as the media giant tries to position itself as a rival to Netflix and Amazon.

Disney reveals it currently has more than 100 million subscribers across all of its on-demand sites including Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu in the US, and the Hotstar streaming service in India.

Along with this, Disney is now planning to launch a new international general entertainment streaming platform in 2021, which will operate under the brand name of Star. It’s said that users of Star will be able to stream a wider Disney empire when compared to Disney+, which has already attracted 60.5 million subscribers since November 2019.

Along with Disney’s plans to launch Star, Disney is also moving its focus towards releasing its new live action remake of Mulan on Disney+, in a ‘premier access’ deal in September. The decision to release the film straight onto streaming follows the uncertainty of when cinema chains in the US will be able to reopen. Mulan has been scheduled for release since March 2020, and the release date has since been postponed several times as a result of cinemas remaining closed.

Disney’s move to focus on its streaming sites seems like a wise move as a result of the world’s current climate, a world without Disney just wouldn’t be the same so the brand needs to do what it can to protect itself from collapsing. However, an analyst at PP Foresight revealed that Disney would need to continue to add new shows and content if it has hopes to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

He stated:

“It must continue to aggressively promote its growing suite of video streaming services given the competitive nature of this market. There are too many services chasing too few dollars.”

Discover more here.

Samsung launches its Galaxy Buds Live

Samsung Group has announced its latest wireless earbuds, named Galaxy Bud Lives. The new bean-shaped wireless headphones will cost £179 and they have hit the shelves this week.

The question is, is Samsung’s latest release going to become the Apple Airpod Pro killer as the Galaxy Bud Lives boast many of the same features as the AirPods Pro, but cost £70 less!

Samsung claims that its new high-tech gadget is “like nothing you’ve seen or worn before”, with the buds fitting snugly in your ear, not leaving any parts jutting out – just like the AirPods Pro.

However, the Galaxy Buds Live have a host of impressive features such as noise cancellation technology and the buds are also loaded with three microphones that can neutralise and amplify specific important sounds, such as a passing car or a train conductor’s announcement, over favourite tunes that are played.

In addition to this, the earphones offer six hours of non-stop listening, which can also be expanded to 21 hours using the charging case. The Buds Live are also available in three colourways; Mystic White, Mystic Bronze, and Mystic Black.

Furthermore, Samsung admits that its news headphones let users enjoy their music the way artists intended with its audio firm AKG, 12mm speaker and bass duct.

We have to admit the Galaxy Buds Live sound and look pretty cool, but the wireless earphone market at the moment is pretty competitive – and not just from Apple. Sony, Jabra and Beat all make wireless products at the pricier end of the spectrum. We’re excited to see how Samsung’s Galaxy Live Buds perform…

Discover more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.