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You Can Now Join In-Progress Group Calls on WhatsApp

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WhatsApp group calls are about to behave more like Zoom calls and other more free-form chats. The company has started rolling out the ability to join group calls in progress, rather than having to be there and stay when the call starts. You can drop in and out at will as long as you were invited at the beginning.

There’s also a call information screen to show who’s participating in, and invited to a chat. Also, don’t worry if you have to hit “ignore” for a call — the door will still be open if you want to join later.

“Today we’re introducing the ability to join a group call, even after it’s started. Joinable calls reduce the burden of answering a group call as it starts, and brings the spontaneity and ease of in-person conversations to group calling on WhatsApp,” the platform said in a blog post.

To join a missed group call, all you need to do is to open the “Calls” tab, and if the call is ongoing, tap the call you would like to join in. You will then see the call info screen. From the call menu, tap “Join”. The feature also has a new call info screen with it, which lets users see who is on the call, along with invited users who haven’t joined yet. Group video calling on WhatsApp currently allows up to eight participants.

The addition is a recognition that Zoom and other more flexible video chat services are still popular even as the pandemic, hopefully, winds down. WhatsApp is also acknowledging that some people have always had different video chat habits — this could make the service more appealing if you’ve always left a video chat running so that friends could pop in when they have a moment.

Apps

AppGallery Partners with Hungama Music

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AppGallery, Huawei’s official app distribution platform, has expanded its streaming app offering for UAE users by partnering with Hungama Music, one of India’s leading music streaming services. This partnership places Hungama Music on the world’s third-largest app distribution platform with more than 540 million monthly active users globally, and a vast customer base in the UAE.

With the new extension of the Hungama Music app Huawei users will have access to yet another streaming music option to choose from within the AppGallery entertainment category. They can access to over 12 million songs, music videos, and podcasts in 20+ languages from the biggest Indian and international labels from the convenience of their mobile devices. Moreover, Hungama Music’s association with Mazzika Group, a leading Arabic music production and distribution company provides users with an extensive library featuring more than 10,000 tracks from local artists.

Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media, said: “We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Huawei and expand the availability of our platform on AppGallery in the Middle East region. As a platform, we have always believed in building a robust distribution network that allows us to reach users across geographies and device ecosystems. We are certain that Huawei device users in the region will appreciate Hungama Music for its large and diverse library of Indian and international songs, music videos, and podcasts.”

Lu Geng, Vice President Middle East and Africa, Huawei Global Partnerships & Eco-Development said: “We are delighted to partner with Hungama Music by offering users here in the UAE an additional music service platform to choose from. At AppGallery we are committed to provide users with a wide range of high-quality and innovative apps that meet their demands. Moreover, we continue to empower the next generation of local developers can benefit from listing apps on AppGallery.”

AppGallery has concentrated its efforts on working with developers on both local and global scales to bring the most relevant apps to users, boosting the number of developers working with the platform and delivering more choices to consumers worldwide. The latest partnership with Hungama Music shows Huawei’s added value and continual support to developers on penetrating additional markets. The Hungama Music apps have been integrated within the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) Core allowing apps to be integrated across different devices, delivering more convenience and a smoother consumer experience.

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Apps

Udrive Car Rental Service Now Available at Dubai Festival City

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Dubai Festival City, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate’s fully integrated destination and part of Al-Futtaim Group have partnered with Udrive, the car-sharing provider providing pay-per-minute car rental services. With the plan of extending to further locations in the destination and being available to the entire community, the affordable service will cater to Festival Tower tenants and customers in the first phase.

Unlike traditional car rental services in the UAE, Udrive does not require you to book ahead of time and provides the best driving experience with no hassles of monthly fees, deposits, or other financial commitments. Their extensive fleets of cars are always available 24/7 to ensure you never have to worry about anything but driving. The ride covers fuel, parking, insurance making it the service of choice.

Commenting on the partnership, Samer Zabian, Director, Residential & Commercial Property at Dubai Festival City said, “Keeping the convenience of our residents, tenants, customers, and community members is our top priority. Dubai Festival City’s partnership with Udrive is a testament to the group’s vision of enriching people’s lives each and every day. Our goal is to be at the forefront of our customers’ minds and making the commute to our destination hassle-free. We are excited to welcome Udrive to Dubai Festival City and aim to spread the service across other areas in the destination.’’

“Udrive is focused on providing the most convenient commuting solutions to people across the UAE. The partnership with Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate for Dubai Festival City is key to offering more easily accessible parking locations for our shared customers. We are excited about the opportunity this provides and thankful to Al-Futtaim for their commitment to both customer bases,” said Nicholas Watson, Managing Director of Udrive.

Customers can book a drive by simply downloading the Udrive app from the Google Play Store for Android users or IOS Store for iPhone users. Once you have registered, select the car of your choice, complete your booking and enjoy the ride.

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Apps

Petal Maps Rolls Out Exclusive Features in MEA Region

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Huawei announced that users across the Middle East and Africa will experience an enhanced Petal Maps application, which includes a range of new features and upgrades such as dark mode navigation display over other apps, third-party hotel booking, and destination reviews, all designed to make journey mapping easier and more enjoyable. This is in addition to existing differentiators such as heads-up display, and real-time road condition updates.

To help users navigate and explore the world easily and intuitively, the updated Petal Maps incorporates add-ons from prominent global partners, and now includes features such as ‘advanced navigation’ and user-generated ‘co-created maps’.

Advanced Navigation: Petal Maps has transformed navigation by pioneering features such as Air Gestures and HUD (heads-up display) mode, and the enhanced version now introduces navigation display over other apps. This keeps ongoing navigation visible to the user even when switching apps, by appearing in a floating window. This makes it easy for users to focus on the road and navigating easily while driving. When the route encounters a fork in the road, Petal Maps provides intelligent updates that take local terrain into account, such as an uphill or downhill slope, for quick visual identification, and safe and efficient navigation.

Co-created Maps: The enhanced version of Petal Maps also supports a location-specific comments feature, through which users can use text, images, and ratings to leave a comment on a particular location. These reviews can then be viewed by other users, creating a user-generated content layer over the map itself. This brings users the opportunity to share their experiences as modern-day explorers, and to make navigation entertaining.

Saved Places: Petal Maps also includes the acclaimed ‘saved places’ feature, which enables users to save favorite places with one click, group their saved places with ease, and ultimately use them as travel destinations for exciting trips. Users can also create custom names for their saved places and groups for a more personalized experience.

To further enhance user experience, Petal Maps inked a landmark partnership with 2GIS, a world-class geo-data provider with an extensive directory and a detailed map experience, in May 2021. This collaboration is set to improve local point of interest (POI) referencing on Petal Maps for users in the UAE, making the discovery and transit options to their desired destinations easier and more intuitive.

Users can update Petal Maps manually or choose for the application to update automatically via settings. Petal Maps is available to download on HUAWEI AppGallery and Google Play Store.

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