The latest generation of Ford’s innovative communications and entertainment system, SYNC 3, has helped earn its developers a Bronze Stevie Award for best new software product of the year at the recent International Business Awards. NNG, a global automotive software provider, claimed the honour for the navigation software that comes as standard on all new Ford vehicles, available in over 50 countries.
With the launch of SYNC 3 last year, Ford’s intelligent infotainment technology saw a greatly-improved, fully-integrated navigation system, including 3D support with landmarks, a Mecca compass, and enhanced junction view providing detailed lane visuals and guidance. Navigation also auto zooms out when the next manoeuvre is more than three kilometres away to making it easier to see the full route.
SYNC 3 provides full off-road support in Africa, and full dead reckoning support – which means being able to navigate even after the loss of GPS signal – in some markets. The software can cater to the unique and specific needs of each market, handling local languages – both text and voice guidance – enabling simpler controls for drivers.
Created in 2002 to honour positive contributions of organisations and working professionals worldwide, and to generate public recognition of their achievements, the Stevie Awards have grown to become one of the most coveted international business accolades.
In awarding Ford’s in-car infotainment system the Bronze Stevie, jurors were impressed by how SYNC 3 managed to create a consistent user experience across a vast number of regions with different cultural background and languages.
“SYNC 3 is designed to complement modern smartphones, with an intuitive touchscreen and an exciting array of new features, and includes more than 3.5 million POIs and over 3.5 million kilometres of road in the Middle East,” said Ziad Chaaban, EES Engineer, Product Development, Ford Middle East and Africa. “Winning a Bronze Stevie award is great recognition for NNG, and confirmation of the high standard of innovative technology available in all new Ford vehicles.”
YouTube Intros Rounded Video Corners on Android with a Subtle Rollout
Google frequently tinkers with YouTube – whether it is design changes, new features, and so on. However, unlike the practical improvements we’ve seen on Google Maps, some of YouTube’s recent changes seem rather arbitrary. Case in point: the transition from square to rounded corners on video thumbnails and the video player in the web version. This modification hasn’t exactly received a warm welcome from YouTube’s user community.
Now, it seems that YouTube is bringing this same adjustment to its Android app. As reported by Android Police, a screenshot reveals rounded corners on YouTube thumbnails. This alteration results in a brighter white background, potentially prompting users to switch to the Dark theme. To do so on Android, open the YouTube app, tap your profile picture in the upper right corner, navigate to Settings > General > Appearance, and select your preferred theme.
Considering that the rounded corners extend to the video player on the web, we can reasonably expect this change to apply to the Android app as well. Presently, the new appearance hasn’t reached many Android devices, and it remains absent from my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 14 Beta 5.3.
On the YouTube website, the rounded corners are absent when viewing a video in full screen or Theater mode, but they reappear upon returning to the Default view. Unfortunately, we lack specific information about Google’s timeline for rolling out this update to a wider Android audience and whether iOS users can anticipate a similar corner-rounding update for the YouTube app.
Genshin Impact 4.1 Update Unveiled
HoYoverse today announced that Genshin Impact Version 4.1 update “To the Stars Shining in the Depths” will arrive on September 27. Fontaine will expand northward, where the main story continues with Neuvillette and Wriothesley joining the cast of playable characters, as well as the Fatui Harbinger “Arlecchino” making her debut. Rewards including Intertwined Fates ×10, Primogems ×1,600, and 2 exclusive gadgets will be issued as Genshin Impact celebrates its three-year anniversary with fans and players around the world.
Following the introduction of the prosperous Court of Fontaine, the upcoming northern area will reveal the history and mystery of the nation from different perspectives. Concealed in the deep sea, the Fortress of Meropide holds not only exiles from all over Fontaine but also vital functions and mysteries. The latest Archon Quest will pick up here as the Traveler searches for Childe. Floating in mid-air, the “Allogravity-Condensed Water Bodies” and ruins tell of a deadly attempt by the Fontaine Research Institute to survive a prophesied great flood.
Dangers await as players explore the new underwater area and ruins. The new Boss Enemy “Millennial Pearl Seahorse” is a beautiful beast that deals Electro damage. Another Boss Enemy “Experimental Field Generator” is an out-of-control research device used to counteract the effects of gravity, giving players the ability to leap higher and evade its attacks.
Two Fontaine characters in high positions will both become playable as five-star Catalyst wielders, and players can find out more about them in their Story Quests. Neuvillette, the Iudex of Fontaine, can unleash straight-line surging torrents dealing Hydro damage via Charged Attacks, and Wriothesley, the Administrator of the Fortress of Meropide, is adept at using melee attacks to deal Cryo damage. Both characters are capable of consuming health to cast certain types of attacks and then recovering their health afterwards. Neuvillette and Hu Tao will be available in the first round of Event Wishes, followed by Wriothesley and Venti.
In addition to the adventure in Fontaine, a poetry festival in Mondstadt and Liyue offers a good opportunity to reunite with friends and honour friendship and love. The festival also features various mini-games and an exclusive 4-star Catalyst to be redeemed.cMore rewards can be claimed as Genshin Impact’s third-anniversary approaches. The special daily login event is back with up to Intertwined Fates ×10 and other bonuses. During Version 4.1, players can also check their in-game mailbox to claim Primogems ×1,600, Fragile Resin ×4, and two unique gadgets “Portable Aerodynamic Gelatinous Bubble Generator” and “Itty Bitty Octobaby.”
Genshin Impact Version 4.1 will be arriving on September 27. With cross-progression and Co-Op functions, players can enjoy their adventure across PlayStation, PC, Android, and iOS. The game has been rated T for Teen by ESRB on PS5, PS4, PC, and Google Play, and 12+ on iOS.
Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world adventure RPG that brings players to the visually stunning world of Teyvat. The player takes on the role of the mysterious “Traveler,” who sets off on a journey to discover the fate of their lost sibling. Starting from Version 4.0, the fifth of the seven nations, Fontaine, is open for exploration. Players can explore each nation with unique cultures and vast landscapes, meet a diverse cast of characters, master the art of element-based combat, and unveil the secrets of Teyvat. With cross-progression and Co-Op functions, players can now continue their adventure across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Android, and iOS alone or with friends.
WhatsApp Channels Now Available in the UAE and KSA
WhatsApp has begun rolling out Channels globally – a private way for people to receive updates that matter to them. This includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.
As part of the global expansion:
- Mark Zuckerberg has launched his WhatsApp Channel where he’ll share Meta news and product updates: https://www.whatsapp.com/zuck
- WhatsApp is welcoming thousands of new partners – Olivia Rodrigo, Netflix, David Guetta, Billboard, MLB, and more – that people can start to follow, right within WhatsApp.
Channels is a one-way broadcast feature that allows admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers. Channels will be discoverable via a searchable directory. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.
- Privacy: WhatsApp is aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available. As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private.
- Prioritizing user preference: Admins will not be able to add followers to their channel.
- Control for admins: Admins can decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not.
- Separate to your main chat: WhatsApp Channels will appear in a new tab called Updates – where you’ll find the Status and channels you choose to follow – separate from your chats with family, friends, and communities. You can now search the directory to find Channels that interest you and follow sports teams, updates from local officials, and more.
- Relevance: Channel history will only be stored on WhatsApp servers for 30 days, and the company will add ways to make updates disappear even faster from follower’s devices.
Moon Baz, Creator Partnerships Lead, Africa, Middle East and Turkey at Meta, said, “WhatsApp Channels aspires to be the most private broadcast service available, helping users receive updates from the organizations and people that are important to them in a reliable, safe and private way. From today, we’re excited to be bringing Channels to WhatsApp users globally and to be supporting creators in the UAE and KSA to engage with their audiences in new, diverse ways.”
Regional businesses, government entities and media outlets have already activated Channels to expand their reach. Additionally, Channels have become yet another strong tool for creators to reach a wide community in unconventional and innovative ways. Channels is set to make its debut in the UAE and KSA this week, and the product will gradually roll out to all users in both countries over the coming days.
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