Facebook is Testing its Houseparty Clone Bonfire in Denmark (Sep 13, 2017)
Facebook has been reported for a while to be working on a potential clone of popular video chat app Houseparty, and it has now officially launched the app in Denmark under the previously reported Bonfire name as a limited test. The features sound similar to those in the Houseparty app, which was recently reported to be achieving some impressive user metrics (though I noted some important caveats). The key to Facebook’s success here, as I also noted in that earlier piece on Houseparty, will be disconnecting this app to some extent from the Facebook social graph and allowing users to form more intimate circles of friends as they can in Instagram. That’s been a key part of the value proposition for both Snapchat and Houseparty, and it’s something that’s never come easy to Facebook, which still often seems to misunderstand its most effective competitors for users’ time.
via The Next Web
Samsung Electronics Announces Cause of Galaxy Note7 Incidents in Press Conference – Samsung (Jan 23, 2017)
See the Techmeme link below for full coverage of the press conference by reporters; the full press conference can be viewed here, with the conference starting around 29:30; and there’s some more detail on testing and other elements here. The related narrative has also been updated today to reflect the latest news.
My to-do list for Samsung at this press conference was as follows: demonstrate that the company really had found the root causes of both sets of battery fires, in a way that was credible; where possible have third parties involved; and talk through the changes to manufacturing processes to avoid these issues in future. It checked off each of these items at its press conference, so in that sense it did exactly what it needed to do: so far, so good. On the other hand, the results indicate that the manufacturing processes at Samsung’s battery partners were in some cases pretty shoddy, and that its own designs put pressure on batteries. So it’s not just the battery manufacturers at fault here, and a big part of the problem is lack of quality control –Samsung’s third party investigators were able to find faults in batteries that hadn’t caught fire, and replicate the conditions in which devices caught fire. The big question is therefore why Samsung wasn’t able to do so. All this suggests a lack of care around product testing and likely also a rush to market for competitive reasons which then shortchanged the manufacturing process. I have confidence that Samsung will make big process changes going forward, but less confidence that the culture that led to these problems will change in the same way.
via Samsung Electronics Announces Cause of Galaxy Note7 Incidents in Press Conference – Samsung Global Newsroom (full coverage on Techmeme here)
MacBook Pro Ratings Changed – Consumer Reports (Jan 10, 2017)
I changed the headline on this piece, which is a bit of amazing spin. Following serious pushback from Apple on its MacBook Pro battery tests, Consumer Reports provided more information to Apple on its testing process, and it emerged that it had turned off the cache (which consumers never would) and this in turn triggered an obscure bug which drained battery life. Had CR simply given Apple the opportunity to provide feedback on the testing process, this whole thing could have ended a lot earlier and without the unjust criticism. To the extent that anyone saw this story as evidence of slipping standards at Apple, that should now be laid to rest. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen excellent battery life on the MBP the last two weeks while traveling, especially with the screen dimmed somewhat. (See also Apple’s full statement.)