Facebook readies subtle News Feed redesign for mobile – here’s what’s changing

If we could play a word-association game around Facebook, we’d probably say “blue” and “squares” as our go-to description of the social media giant’s mobile app.

Those associations will soon change to “grey” and “circles,” however, as Facebook has unveiled plans to revamp the News Feed on mobile, altering some long-running aesthetic choices in favor of the new.

First off, conversations on Facebook posts are getting a new coat of paint to look more, to our eye, like Facebook Messenger. The blocky fields are swapped out for rounder conversation bubbles to make a post and replies appear more like a modern messaging app. 

(Image: © Facebook)

Secondly, the News Feed proper is getting a few readability tweaks of its own, such as bigger, higher-contrast text on the ‘Like/Comment/Share’ buttons so that they’re easier to tap. Link previews are also getting enlarged text for an easier read.

Speaking of links, the News Feed makeover also read more

The best Australian tech deals

Owning your dream TV doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket, and neither does filling your home with your favourite tunes.

Save yourself some dosh by taking a look at the great deals we’ve handpicked for you this Wednesday. If today’s deals don’t tickle your fancy, remember to scroll down to find something else from earlier this week or last week that could still save you plenty.

New deals added Wednesday, August 16

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 370 ($1,599; usually $1,999): This 13.3-inch convertible from Lenovo promises all-day battery, giving you the freedom to work anywhere and at any time. It features a Full HD display, a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Better yet, there’s $400 to be saved on this neatly designed device. Head over to Lenovo’s website and grab the ThinkPad Yoga 370 for just $1,599, down from $1,999.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker ($330.40; usually $425): Radiate the love of your favourite tunes everywhere with this 360-degree Bluetooth read more

Microsoft’s smaller Xbox One adapter for PC may not be here this year

Microsoft’s new Xbox Wireless Adapter — announced just a fortnight ago — appears to be experiencing delays, with US customers potentially having to wait until next year for the slimmed down peripheral.

Intended to ship in the US on August 8, it appears the redesigned dongle is now set to its placeholder date of January 31, 2018, according to Windows Central.

Though the Adapter may release earlier than that, it’s currently expected the device will arrive in different markets first, beginning with Japan on August 24, before arriving in the US.

Hardwired

The new Xbox Wireless Adapter, which connects via USB to a Windows 10 PC to support up to eight Xbox One controllers wirelessly, offers identical functionality to the original model, but at a third of the size. It does keep the same price of $24.99

While it may be up to four or five months before Microsoft ships its redesigned Adapter, PC players looking to utilize the Xbox One’s stellar gamepads aren’t out of luck. 

A read more

Google Allo chat app finally arrives on the web, with a few catches

Google Allo is now supported on the web, letting you carry on chats as you type away on your laptop or desktop without having to pick up your phone (a hassle, we know). 

Web support for Allo was teased months ago, and now Google has made good on its promise, though there are a few important caveats. 

First, you must have Allo on an Android phone in order to use the service on the web. iPhone support is “coming soon”, but it’s not available now. Second, Allo for web is supported by one browser at the moment: Google’s own Chrome. 

Amit Fulay, Allo’s head of product, tweeted Google is “actively working on supporting more” browsers, though he didn’t offer a timeline. 

Allo for web is paired with the Android app and needs the app in order to run, though a number of features read more

Nokia 8 release date, news and rumors

Update: Leaked images have shown both the Nokia 8 and an assortment of specs on its screen, giving us a clearer idea of the resolution and power of the phone.

Throughout the past few weeks, we’ve seen basically seen every last bit of possible info leak out. Of course, we’ve yet to see the phone for ourselves, but given what has surfaced, the Nokia 8 could be a strong flagship contender whenever it releases.

Stay tuned for updated news, features and the Nokia 8 release date, which we’ll update as soon as we know ourselves.

HMD Global, the company behind the rebirth of Nokia phones, might have two flagships coming this year, and while the Nokia 9 is possibly still months away, the Nokia 8 could be landing very, very soon.

It’s been heavily leaked and even accidentally revealed by Nokia itself, so we know a lot about it, all of which you’ll find below.

From the design, to the specs and likely price and release date here’s everything you need to know about the next Nokia read more

Google Pixel 2 release date, news and rumors

Update: More rumors suggesting the Pixel 2 will be dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack have appeared, so it might be time to invest in a set of wireless cans.

Another leak indicates that previous images of the purported Pixel 2 we’ve seen might not be accurate to how it will look. We hope you weren’t too attached to those thin bezels.

Recently, the purported Pixel 2 has shown up in the flesh, seeming to confirm some design elements we’ve seen, as well as that the big bezels are likely to make a return, whether you like it or not.

Last, but not least, the Pixel 2 has surfaced in a regulatory filing, confirming rumored features like the squeeze-friendly “Active Edge” function, internal storage amount and more. 

The next flagship phone(s) from Google likely won’t arrive until late 2017, but we’re already thinking about what the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL may have in store for us.

The search giant is done with the Nexus line and in its place the firm read more

Asus’s first Windows 10 S laptop is a ruggedized VivoBook for schools

The first round of Windows 10 S laptops is starting slowly this summer, with but a few vendors out there with options. The latest in the lineup available now, and the very first from Asus, is the VivoBook W202NA.

Asus’ first laptop running Windows 10 S – Microsoft’s new education-bent operating system – is an equally school-minded 11.6-inch notebook equipped with a 768p WXGA resolution display.

Inside its rubberized frame that meets the MIL-STD810G specification are an Intel “Apollo Lake” Celeron dual-core processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. Rounding out the package is both Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as two USB 3 ports, HDMI out, an SD card slot as well as a 3.5mm audio jack.

All of this comes in an 11.6-inch package that weighs less than 2.7 pounds. 

From its specs and build, it sounds rightly positioned against the Chromebooks read more

Instagram introduces comment threads to get users talking

Having a conversation on Instagram is a messy proposition, so today the photo-focused social network is introducing comment threads to make chatting with fellow ‘grammers a lot more organized.

Rolling out globally to iOS and Android over the coming weeks, threads are automatically generated when you hit reply below any comment. 

All subsequent responses are grouped together under the initial comment, thus creating an ongoing conversation.

Here’s how comment threads will look on Instagram

If this sounds akin to how comment threads are organized on Facebook, you’re right on the money. 

Facebook owns Instagram, and it’s likely the latter took a page from its parent company in order to encourage increased engagement between users. 

While comment threads could be a positive addition for some, there’s also the potential for abuse, with threads devolving into negative back-and-forths or trolling. 

Instagram has reporting read more

Download of the day – Foxit Reader

If you’re sick of having to open PDFs in your web browser or Microsoft’s simple Reader app, take a look at Foxit. This free PDF software lets you view, sign and annotate PDFs before sharing them.

Foxit Reader can also create PDFs from virtually any Microsoft Office document, and has a brilliant security feature that disables JavaScript in case a document you’ve downloaded is harboring anything unpleasant.

Foxit Reader makes navigating large, cumbersome PDFs easy, and its tabbed interface lets you work with several files at once.

If you’re in the market for a new PDF program, or you’re still using the Windows defaults, you’ll be amazed by the difference it makes.

Download here: Foxit Reader

Download of the Day is our pick of the best free software around – whether it’s useful, fun, or just plain silly. If you have any recommendations, please send them to downloads@techradar.com.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War trailer, release date, news and features

We’ve known since February that Middle Earth: Shadow of War is coming and from what we’ve seen so far it looks like it’s going to be a stunning game.

As a launch title for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One X and a hotly anticipated sequel in its own right, we got a good look at some more gameplay for the game at this year’s Microsoft E3 conference. In the time since, we’ve learned that Shadow of War will include many of the same features that its predecessor had – including a major emphasis on the Nemesis system.

To that end, Shadow of War will let you import your arch-nemesis from the first game, as well as your most loyal follower to help fight in Shadow of War. (See the Nemesis Forge trailer below for more details.)

Want to know more? We’ve gathered everything we know about Shadow of War including its release date, trailers and all the gameplay that’s been revealed so far into one place so you can return to Middle Earth prepared for war.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? It’s the sequel to the 2014 action role playing game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • When can I play it? October 10 2017 in the US and UK, with a release date tbc in Australia.
  • What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One X, PC

Trailers

The most recent is a gameplay read more