One of the more frustrating aspects of modern communications technology is that, as devices have miniaturized, they have become more difficult to interact with – no one would type out a novel on a smartphone, for example. The lack of space on screen-based displays provides a clear opportunity for screenless displays to fill the gap. Full-sized keyboards can already be projected onto a surface for users to interact with, without concern over whether it will fit into their pocket. Perhaps evoking
T-Mobile US, the fourth-largest American phone carrier, has spent the past year and a half introducing aggressive new offerings to lure customers. Late Wednesday, the company said it would add to those offerings with unlimited streaming music and the ability to test-drive an iPhone.The company’s moves have helped attract millions of people to T-Mobile. And they have also impressed federal antitrust regulators, who have publicly patted themselves on the back for resisting a potential merge
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc launched a smartphone app on Tuesday that will allow consumers to exchange disappearing photos and videos without requiring Facebook accounts, the Internet company’s latest effort to develop mobile services beyond its core social network.
The new app, dubbed Slingshot, allows users to sign up for the service with their mobile phone number and connect with friends in their phone’s contact list or, if they want, by finding their Facebook friends.
Photos on Slingshot disappear from users’ phones shortly after they are viewed, reflecting a growing anxiety about privacy in the age of Internet social networking.
Facebook’s release of Slingshot comes as a new crop of mobile messaging services gain popularity and threaten to draw younger users away from Facebook’s 1.28 billion-user social network.
To help mitigate the threat from alternative social networks, Facebook is developing a variety of standalone apps and acquiring fast-growing rivals. In 2012 it acquired photo-sharing service Instagram and in February it announced plans to acquire messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion.
Snapchat, an app that lets users send messages that automatically disappear after a few seconds, turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year, according to media reports at the time.
Unlike other messaging apps, Slingshot will not allow users to view the messages they have received from their friends until they reciprocate and send back a photo or video of their own. The rule is designed to make Slingshot a service for which everyone contributes material, although it could require a learning curve that confuses or turns off some users.
“When everyone participates there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the service on Tuesday.
Slingshot will be available in the United States on Tuesday for Android and iOS devices