This Week in Tech: Facebook are merging Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger

Here’s our roundup of the week’s biggest tech stories, including retail tech highlights from NRF’s tech show – and could a noise cancelling car be on the way? 

04 Feb 2019

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Facebook Messenger, Instagram & WhatsApp to join – but not this year

Facebook has announced its plans to integrate its messaging services on Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It means that in the future, if you have a Facebook account, you could communicate with someone who’s only on WhatsApp.

By effectively bringing all its users together into one big group, it’s thought that Facebook will get more power to compete with the messaging services available from Google and Apple. Facebook says it’ll make it “easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

You won’t necessarily notice any great changes, with all three apps still available as stand-alone services. It’s just that messages will be able to travel between them.

We can expect to see this rolled out sometime in 2020.

 

Highlights from retail’s ‘big show’

National retail federation show

Retail's BIG Show is the flagship industry event of America’s National Retail Federation (NRF). Held over three days in New York, it unveils some of the most exciting technology in retail.

Our highlights included Perfitly’s augmented reality fitting technology, which uses scan-based avatars and 3D clothing replicas to help shoppers see what clothes would look like on their bodies rather than models on a website. This should make shopping at home a lot easier (and hopefully with fewer returns).

Another great idea is Aila Technologies’ interactive fitting rooms, which can take customers’ orders to bring to them in the fitting room. You can also email yourself from the room and receive product suggestions.

A couple of other things that caught our eye were the smart shopping carts which know when you’ve added items so you can just walk out after your shopping session, and a system that lets you return unwanted items to a dropbox instore – just scan, drop, and you’re done.

Let’s see how many of these make it to a store near you…

 

Huawei to release a Smart TV this year

Huawei Smart TV

Best known for its phones, it looks like Huawei is getting ready to enter the TV market. According to reports, they’ll launch smart TVs from sister-brand Honor as early as April, then under the Huawei name later in the year.

The Honor TVs are rumoured to be tackling the lower end of the market, with the Huawei models thought to be at the more premium end of things.

We’ll have to wait and see exactly what’s in store, though it’s thought that we should expect a range of 4K – and maybe 8K – televisions.

Take a look at our current range of large screen TVs.

 

Could you soon be travelling in a noise-cancelling car?

Bose noise-cancelling car

We’ve all been sat on a train or in the office when we’ve just wanted to get away from all the noise and bustle. Many of us turn to our noise-cancelling headphones as a means of escape.

Well, Bose has been using headphone technology to do the same thing in your car. Turning your car into a bubble that makes car journeys more peaceful, blocking out the noise outside.

Here’s how it works:

Bose QuietComfort Road Noise Control is now available to all carmakers working with Bose – and we should expect to see the first models with QuietControl by the end of 2021.

See our range of noise-cancelling headphones

 

And finally… a spoiler-free ending to Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3

No spoilers - Kingdom Hearts 3 comes with a separate ending.

The makers of Kingdom Hearts 3 have gone to great lengths to make sure no spoilers get out – by releasing the ending separately.

Once you’ve completed the game, it’ll then automatically download the epilogue.

The game features a mixture of Disney characters – including Toy Story’s Buzz and Woody, and Elsa and Anna from Frozen – alongside characters from sci-fi behemoth Final Fantasy.

According to Tetsuya Nomura, director at Square Enix – which makes Final Fantasy – “the game's epilogue and secret movie… are planned to be released at a later date just in case, so they will not be shown before the game's release.” This decision was apparently made after some copies of the game were leaked in December.

 

Have any news stories caught your eye this week? Let us know in the comments below.

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