Tech Bytes: Yahoo Livetext comes to Singapore

Yahoo Livetext comes to Singapore

Yahoo's silent video chatting app, Livetext, was launched in Singapore last Thursday. The app combines a chat function and a video call but with a twist: There is no audio. Yahoo says that such an app is less intrusive than a full-fledged video call, while still allowing you to see your friends' reactions in real time.

PlayStation4 with Star Wars theme

Sony has announced a Star Wars-themed special edition PlayStation 4 and controller, which will be released alongside the new Star Wars Battlefront game on Nov 17.

It features a greyscale Darth Vader design on the console, as well as a red-and-black controller inspired by Darth Vader's chest panel.

Pricing for the special edition bundle has not yet been announced.

Two new Xiaomi smartphones

Xiaomi announced last Thursday a pair of 5.5-inch smartphones powered by the high-end, octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor. This is the same chip inside HTC's M9+, a phone that costs almost four times as much.

The Xiaomi Note 2 has a 2GHz processor and 16GB of storage.

The other new phone is the Note 2 Prime, which has a 2.2GHz processor and 32GB of storage. They are priced at 799 yuan and 999 yuan respectively (S$176 and S$220).

Both come with 2GB RAM, a full-HD display, a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera.

While the phones went on sale in China on Aug 16, there is no word yet on when they will be launched elsewhere.

HTC to slash workforce by 15%

To combat falling revenues and competition from Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Huawei, Taiwanese company HTC has announced plans to lay off more than 2,000 staff - 15 per cent of its workforce.

This shift to what the company calls a "leaner and more agile" operating model is expected to reduce operating expenditure by 35 per cent, the company said in a statement on its website.

10,000-character tweets 'more fun'

Twitter users can now send direct messages of up to 10,000 characters.

Last Wednesday, the company lifted the 140-character limit on direct messages. The move was "another big step towards making the private side of Twitter even more powerful and fun", it said in a blog post.

In previous weeks, Twitter has made several other changes to its direct messaging system in order to make it a viable chat tool. Users can now direct messages of other users even if they are not following each other, and a Direct Message button has been added to profile pages in both the iOS and Android apps.

Compiled by Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2015, with the headline 'Tech Bytes: Yahoo Livetext comes to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe