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Update [December 16, 2023]: Today, Sony released the Android 7.0 update for its Xperia X, X Dual and X Compact devices. The build of the Nougat update for these devices is 34.2.A.0.266, and it’s already out as OTA.
As for the Xperia Z5 Nougat release, the January 2023 launch looks very likely. maybe the first half of Jan ’17.
Update [December 01, 2023]: Sony has begun sending out the Nougat update for its Xperia XA and X Performance users, with software version being 39.2.A.0.327. The XA dual and X Performance dual are also receiving the Android 7.0 update.
Update [September 26, 2023]: A document supposedly belonging to Sony reveals that the Xperia Z5 Nougat update is set to release in the month of December 2023, along with Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium, Z3+ and Z4, and finally, the Z4 tablet. Read more about this, including which Sony devices will receive it first, at the Sony Nougat update roadmap here.
[September 25, 2023]: Sony recently updated its Xperia Beta Program app to announce the availability of pre-release test Nougat firmware for some selected users of Xperia X performance. That signals the progress Sony’s Nougat update has made, as it appears almost ready at Sony, enough to hand it to some selected users for testing.
[September 25, 2023]: Sony recently updated its Xperia Beta Program app to announce the availability of pre-release test Nougat firmware for some selected users of Xperia X performance. That signals the progress Sony’s Nougat update has made, as it appears almost ready at Sony, enough to hand it to some selected users for testing.
If there aren’t major bugs, we can expect the Sony Nougat update to rollout for Xperia X Performance after a while, say a month of testing and required bug fixing. Once that happens, the Xperia Z5 Nougat update should be close too. And that’s what makes this info so newsworthy for Z5 owners waiting for Nougat release.
Xperia Z5 will soon have its software version changed to 32.1.D.0.349, as this is the latest update to hit the Z5 users worldwide. No longer the Xperia flagship, the device was the last in the Z series of cool devices Sony produced for ling time.
The update is already out in Japan as Softbank, and its changelog includes ‘Charging optimization’ — this should result in quicker charging of the device, or less battery lost while charging.
We don’t have much info yet on the Z5 Nougat update — although it’s confirmed to receive it — but when matters more then whether.
Let’s shed some light into this topic, then, shall we?
Expected release date: March 2023.
Well, the update is sure to come, as Sony has officially revealed it. Though, it was not surprising at all because it was a no-brainer anyway, for the company’s last flagship to receive the latest Android OS update.
But when would it receive the said Android 7.0 Nougat update is a matter of discussion, and given Sony’s release timing ability — or lack thereof — a matter of concern too.
To us, it looks like the Xperia Z5 Nougat update would start rolling out sometime in Q1 2023, but if you want us to narrow it down, then well, watch out for Z5 Nougat in February 2023, but we gotta say, early-March 2023 looks more likely.
It will be more clear when the Sony Nougat update comes out for other devices, whose release will definitely precede that of Xperia Z5, like Xperia XA, Xperia X, XA Ultra, etc.
You can simply two months to the first release of Nougat update for Xperia X lineup.
You're reading Xperia Z5 Nougat Update: January Release Looks Set!
Update [May 04, 2023]: Asus Japan is now beginning to distribute Android 7.0 Nougat to its flagship Zenfone 3 Ultra. Though it took quite a while, Asus has finally done it. From improved performance to a redesigned user interface, Nougat will provide the user with a refreshing new user experience. The update also features new additions like improved Doze mode for longer battery life, bundled notifications, quick reply from notification shade and lots of other under-the-hood performance improvements.
Update [January 19, 2023]: Asus has confirmed that because of the unforeseen issues, the Zenfone 3 Nougat update has been halted for the time being. The company did not provide an estimated date sadly, when we could expect the Asus Android 7.0 rollout to resume.
Update [January 09, 2023]: Asus has finally released its first Android 7.0 Nougat update, and it arrives for the regular Zenfone 3. Asus is yet to confirm its plan to release the Nougat OTA for Zenfone 3 variants like Laser, Max, Zoom, Ultra, Deluxe, etc. but the Nougat builds shouldn’t be very far from release for those sets too now.
Let’s start with one cold truth about Asus and updates: you cannot expect Nougat on even devices that aren’t yet two years old. That’s a bad way to start about the Nougat roadmap, but however astonishing that may seem, it’s the truth. Here’s why.
The company played it totally lame with the Marshmallow update, period. Not only the likes of Zenfone 5 were left out of the update, which raises doubts on Zenfone 2 Nougat update as well, but those that received it had to make do with serious issues having negative impact device’s day to day usage.
So, quite admittedly, when it comes to Nougat release, we don’t have any high expectations from Asus at this moment. We hope that changes, but until Asus is able to update its latest flagship in Zenfone 3– and its so many variants — to Nougat, in a timely manner, without issues after the update and such, it’s just futile to be excited about Nougat release from Asus.
Also read: Redmi Note 3 Nougat release
Here’s what we think about the Nougat scenarios with respect to Asus devices. Which one will get it? And also when could you expect Android 7.0 to release?
Here’s what and how we expect the Asus Nougat release. We don’t think any devices other than Zenfone will be given Nougat love. And we’re not baseless in our ice-cold assumption, just look at the Asus devices which received Marshmallow — it’s hard to find non-Zenfone 2 sets therein.
It will be really ironical when the device released in 2023 itself — the same year as Google released the Nougat update — won’t be bestowed Nougat blessing.
What are your thoughts on this?
Well, we included only Zenfone 3 and its variants in our list of Asus Nougat devices. Although not confirmed by Asus (a moderator did edit the thread at Asus forums which mentions Zenfone 3 sets, BTW, so it’s some word on this), the Zenfone 3 sets were released only a while ago, and are company’s flagship sets, making them obviously compulsory for Asus to release Android 7.0 Nougat on.
But the timing of the release date is what that matters the most now. With Marshmallow and Zenfone 2, it was bad. It took company more than size months or so to bring the update to Zenfone 2. While some of the variants of Zenfone 2 received it earlier, it wasn’t any early: we’re talking Q2 2023.
Also read: OnePlus 2 Nougat release
We would hope Asus is able to release the Nougat update for Zenfone 3 by Q1 2023. That’s not early by any means, though, let us tell you that, as we’re expecting Galaxy S7 Nougat release by October, while that for Galaxy S6 (2023) by December or January.
Anyway, all Zenfone 3 variants should be receiving the Nougat update, no matter when it arrives, including: Zenfone 3 Deluxe, Zenfone 3 Laser, Zenfone 3 Max and Zenfone 3 Ultra.
Given Asus’ records, well, this is all we’d say: Zenfone 2 users will be lucky if they get to run Android 7.0 Nougat officially.
Sure, they would get to enjoy their share of Android 7.0 fun via ROM like CM14, which is a custom ROM that we expect to be available for many devices. But that unofficial update is not what you seek, right?
Also read: Galaxy S6 CM14 and S7 CM14
Last year, Marshmallow released back in October, and it took Asus their flagship in Zenfone 2 until August 31 to update to 6.0.1. Lame, isn’t it? Nexus devices were running official Nougat update by then!
All the while, company’s very successful devices like Zenfone 5 were left untreated to Android 6.0.1. This is hardly acceptable. Released back in April 2014 — with KitKat, which was a lame start, of course when Lollipop was available for 7-8 months — the device should be getting updates released within two years of its release. But no, it’s Asus for you.
So, there are slimmest of chances Zenfone 2 users will get to run official Android 7.0 update.
Even though these devices are Asus hits — one that made many fans for the company, and gave Zenfone 2 an excitement, and goo start at launch, only to be ruined first by bugs/issues with the device, only increased by updates — and were yet to cross two years of age when Marshmallow released, Asus these didn’t bring 6.0 love to them all.
So, there is no chance of Nougat update by either, which is actually fine too.
Also read: Moto G2 Nougat release
When do you expect Asus to start rolling out the Nougat update for Zenfone 3 sets?
Plenty of new functionality was added in September’s 22H2 update, before File Explorer tabs finally arrived in a subsequent October 2023 update. Another set of new features were then released in February 2023 and June 2023.
These ‘Moment’ updates are seemingly the way forward for Microsoft, but it’s not doing away with big feature updates entirely.
Version 23H2 is coming later this year, and we already know at least some of its main new features. Here’s everything you need to know.
With the introduction of Windows 11, Microsoft announced that it was shifting to annual feature updates rather than the half-year approach of Windows 10. That was put into doubt following July 2023 rumours from Windows Central, that suggested it’d be replaced with more frequent “Moment” updates throughout the year.
However, it looks like both are true. New features are being added every few months, but as Microsoft confirmed in a February 2023 blog post, “Windows 11 will continue to have an annual feature update cadence”.
As Windows Latest reports, it looks like Microsoft has subtly confirmed the existence of the 23H2 update in May 2023 preview builds. This so-called ‘Evaluation Copy’ apparently expires on 15 September 2023, so is that when the 23H2 could arrive?
It’s certainly possible, although that specific date might not be accurate. Microsoft confirmed in a July 2023 article that 23H2 will be released in “the fourth quarter of 2023”.
That could be any time between September and December, but Windows Central suggested at the end of last year that it’d be one of the first two months.
And in that same July 2023 article, Microsoft described 23H2 as an “enablement package”. If you’re already running version 22H2, the process will supposedly be “simple”.
Does that mean it won’t take as long as usual to arrive on all devices? Potentially, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
You can test many 23H2 features ahead of time via the Windows Insider Program, but there’s no need to sign up for the recently introduced Canary Channel, which is very experimental and may include potential Windows 12 features.Will all existing Windows 11 devices be compatible with version 23H2?
Yes, provided you’re running version 22H2. In the same July 2023 article mentioned above, Microsoft confirmed that “you don’t need to worry about application or device compatibility between the versions”.
Even if you’re running an older version of Windows 11, you’ll just need to install 22H2 first.
Microsoft introduced sweeping new hardware requirements when Windows 11 launched, but that won’t be repeated for the 23H2 update.Confirmed upcoming features
The 23H2 update isn’t expected for a few months, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from revealing many upcoming features. These aren’t confirmed to arrive in 23H2, but Windows Central thinks they will:
Windows AI Copilot – powerful virtual AI assistant based on ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Can be used to analyse images and text, answer specific contextual questions and control on-device settings
Dynamic Lighting – built-in tools for controlling RGB lighting on devices and accessories
Ability to hide the date and time on the Taskbar
New support for formats including 7-zip, RAR, gz, and others
New AI features in the Microsoft Store – AI-generated app keywords and review summaries, hub for selected AI apps
Backup and restore apps – will reinstall any apps you’ve installed from the Microsoft Store when restoring a backup. Unclear if any apps downloaded from elsewhere will be included
Copilot is arguably the most exciting of these, and Windows Latest has been provided access to an early version. Author Mayank Parmar emphasises that “the final version looks much better”, but it’s a useful indicator of what to expect:
The sidebar offers quick access to the Bing Chat interface that many of us will now be familiar with. But rather than just generating new information, it’ll be possible to control almost any Windows 11 setting via Copilot. There will also be a range of integrations with Microsoft 365 apps.
Windows Latest has also gone hands-on with a new volume mixer, which it says is coming in version 23H2. It looks more like Windows 10 than the current Windows 11 design, but will allow you to easily change the volume of any open apps. It’ll be available via the Quick Settings menu, or by using a new Windows Key + Ctrl + V shortcut.
The article goes on to say that several new options will be added to the main Settings app. These include updated “Recommended settings” cards in various sections, including for “Cloud storage” and “Account recover”.
As our sister site PCWorld reports, these features are also coming to Windows 11 soon. Some may arrive in the 23H2 update, although these aren’t confirmed:
Ability to pin specific apps to a dedicated space on the Widgets panel
Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) support for reduced power consumption while connected
Notifications in Start menu if account-related action required
Ability to turn off presence sensor (on supported devices), which turns screen on you’re in front of it and off when you leave
Isolation of older Win32 apps, allowing them to run independently of the rest of Windows 11 and preventing unauthorised access to processes
In April 2023, Microsoft also began publicly testing a new Gallery feature within File Explorer. This will make it easier to view photos and videos from within the app, making it look similar to the separate Photos app:
A few other features have already been confirmed, albeit not specifically for the 23H2 update:
The big one is a revamped File Explorer. Microsoft already added tabs in an October 2023 update, but this looks to be taking things to the next level.
Its updated design will include a redesigned header that’s in keeping with many web browsers, with an address and search bar alongside key navigation buttons. There’s also a new ‘Gallery’ feature which specifically designed for viewing photos, with timeline functionality allowing you to quickly find content from years ago.
The classic Paint app is also finally getting a dark mode, with the feature currently in testing with members of the Windows Insider Program. And the Widgets board will also allow you to disable the MSN news feed, offering a “widgets only” option.
A July 2023 Insider Preview Build includes an update to emojis that would give them more of a 3D effect. But it’s only in the experimental Canary Channel initially, so unlikely to make it into the 23H2 update.Potential upcoming features
In an earlier Windows Central video, Zac Bowden and Daniel Rubino discuss what 23H2 update might entail. Despite the big caveat that this could all change, there are some useful insights worth knowing about – both are reliable journalists with a strong track record for Windows news.
Despite Windows 10’s dedicated tablet mode being dropped for Windows 11, Microsoft is continuing to make the OS more suited to touch input. Bowden anticipates there’ll be more to come, with the potential for a separate tablet user interface (UI) to be reintroduced in version 23H2. Windows Latest‘s Mayank Parmar agrees, suggesting a tablet-friendly taskbar could arrive in 2023.
Bowden also believes version 23H2 might be when we’ll finally see a system-wide dark mode. This was originally intended for the first release of Windows 11 in 2023, but there’s no suggestion it’ll arrive this year either.
A May 2023 Windows Central article suggests that a future update will allow you to pin widgets to the desktop. The Widgets panel was introduced alongside Windows 11 in 2023, before being opened up to third-party apps a year later. This seems like the logical next step, although it’s actually similar to the Windows Desktop Gadgets feature in Windows 7. It’s not clear exactly when the feature will arrive, but the 23H2 update is a possibility.
An earlier Windows Latest article discusses another potential 23H2 feature. As Microsoft subtly revealed at its April 2023 event, the option for app folders on the Windows 11 desktop looks to be on the way. With no appearance in the the 22H2 update, it could arrive at some point in 2023 instead.
Some features won’t be included in version 23H2 as they’ve already been released. The June 2023 update included several pieces of new functionality alongside the usual monthly security patches.
There was nothing groundbreaking, but highlights included seconds in the clock on the taskbar, the option for larger widgets and a revamped Accounts page in Settings – the latter now includes all connected OneDrive accounts.
AI looks set to be a huge part of Windows for years to come, with a potential Windows 12 in 2024 expected to feature it heavily. There are plenty of ways artificial intelligence could upgrade Windows,, and we might see some new features in the 23H2 update, too.Related articles
This is a case of horses for courses. The 8in form factor is great for reading, or watching and playing whilst on the move. If you need to stand up on your commute, for instance. Meanwhile Sony’s 10in tablet is a stylish and powerful full-sized slate. If you are in the market for an Android tablet, Sony’s devices are high-quality, fairly priced.
Sony recently gave the whole world of tech the eyes, and launched the Xperia Z4… as a tablet. We’re still waiting to find out what is happening with the Xperia Z4 smartphone, and indeed whether Sony is committed at all to making
Sony’s latest tablet is the Xperia Z4 Tablet – a 10in slate that is, confusingly, an update to the excellent Xperia Z2 Tablet. It means that Sony is currently selling that 10in tablet, as well as a smaller, Kindle-sized 8in slate improbably called the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Snappy, huh?
If you are in the market for a non-iPad, consumption tablet, these are two of the best. So we set out to find out what separates Sony’s little n large. It’s the only Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet comparison review you need. (Also see: Best tablets.)Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: UK price & availability
Sony has now revealed that the Xperia Z4 Tablet will cost £499 when it becomes available to buy in the UK in June.
So far, £499 is the price Sony has revealed for the WiFi-only model with 32GB of space and it comes with a keyboard, so it’s possible that you’ll be able to pick up the Xperia Z4 Tablet at a lower price without the keyboard. The 4G version is £579 with the keyboard.
At launch the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact was priced from £329. Now you can pick up the most basic Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact from just £299. That’s for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version – which right now is the only flavour on offer from Sony’s UK website.Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Design & build
The Xperia Z4 Tablet has a 10.1in display. It is a square, blocky-looking device even thinner than its direct predecessor, the Xperia Z2 Tablet, at 6.1mm compared with 6.4mm. This is an exceptionally thin tablet.
Light, too. The WiFi model of the Xperia Z4 Tablet is 392g, while the 4G LTE model is 396g. It is a delight to hold, particularly impressive considering its 10in display. And the Xperia Z4 Tablet is waterproof up to the highest rating available: IP68. The headphone port and microUSB ports don’t even need covers to make the device waterproof, so feel free to use the Xperia Z4 Tablet in the bath or by the poolside without a worry.
The Xperia Z3 Compact is one seriously thin and light 8in tablet. At 6.4 mm and 270 g is is thicker, but lighter than its big brother. It’s almost like holding a phone because the device is so slender – holding it one-handed is a breeze. The stainless steel frame looks great and we like the rounded curves of the cover. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be available in black or white only.
It’s also dust- and waterproof, with a soft touch plastic rear cover which matches that of the Xperia Z2 Tablet. This may not look quite as impressive but provides much better grip. Waterproofing in this case means slightly fiddly flaps (apart from the headphone jack) but they do hide everything neatly away, too.Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Display & hardware
Taking a closer look at the screen on the Xperia Z4 Tablet, you’ll find a 10.1in display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, which equates to an impressive 299 ppi. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has an 8in screen with a Full HD (1920 x 1200) resolution. This makes for a pixel density of 283 ppi. Not quite as impressive as big brother, but not something you will notice, either.
Inside the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, which is both octa-core and 64-bit. It’s paired with 3GB RAM, 32GB of storage and a microSD card slot for adding up to 128GB more.
Connectivity-wise, you’ll find 11ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 and MHL 3.0, as well as an optional 4G LTE model for the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet.
Sony’s newest tablet has High-Res audio, too, with front-facing stereo speakers, digital noise cancelling support, automatic headphone compensation and a new LDAC codec which supposedly transmits data three times more efficiently than Bluetooth.
We’ve not yet been able to test this claim, but Sony suggests that you can expect a whopping 17 hours of video playback from the Xperia Z4 Tablet’s 6000mAh battery.
Inside the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor which is the same as previous Sony devices such as the Xperia Z2 Tablet but the chip is clocked higher at 2.5GHz. Alongside this is 3GB of RAM and we can report smooth performance during our time with the tablet.
In terms of storage, there are 16- and 32 GB models (11GB available after firmware on the former and 26 GB for the latter) but Sony offers a microSD card slot for adding up to 128GB. Again: right now we can see only the 16GB version on sale direct from Sony, although the other models are in stock elsewhere.
Wireless includes 11ac Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE but no IR Blaster for taking control of device like TVs. There’s also no wireless charging but there is a dock connector on the side if you wish to buy a compatible accessory – Sony’s official Magnetic Charging Dock DK39 costs £39.
It’s also great to see front-facing stereo speakers although they do distort fairly badly when the volume is at the upper end.
Despite clocking the processor higher, Sony touts an impressive 15 hours video playback from the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact’s 4500mAh battery. (See also: Best budget tablets UK.)Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Cameras
On the rear of the Xperia Z4 Tablet is an 8.1 Mp camera, which uses Sony’s Exmor RS sensor. The front-facing camera is a 5.1Mp camera with a wide angle lens, which will allow you to get more people in the frame.
If you’re into tablet photography then the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a pretty decent 8.1 Mp rear facing camera with an Exmor RS sensor – about on par with the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. However, the high quality 2.2 Mp front camera is arguably more useful for video calls.
With both phones you can play around with plenty of camera apps such as Sound Photo, AR fun, Face in, Multi camera and more. Using the Superior auto mode will automatically mean 6 Mp 16:9 photos and Full HD video so if you want the full 8 Mp (at 4:3), switch to manual mode. (See also: The 29 best Android tablets of 2023 UK.)Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Software
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google’s latest version of its operating system. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes with an earlier version of Android OS in the form of 4.4.4 KitKat – an upgrade to Android L will come in due course, we’re told.
With both tablets Sony has added its own interface, though it’s not much different from stock Android aside from the pre-loaded Sony apps such as Walkman, Album, PlayStation and Lifelog.
There’s also PS4 Remote Play, which lets you play PlayStation 4 games on the device from the console over the same WiFi network.Specs Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Specs
Android 5.0 Lollipop
10.1in IPS Triluminos screen, 2560×1600, 300ppi, 500cd/m2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 64-bit
32GB internal storage, microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
8.1Mp rear camera with Exmor RS
5.1Mp wide angle front camera
Nano-SIM (LTE model)
6000 mAh battery
392g (Wi-Fi), 396g (LTE)
High user volume caused Alexa to crash on Christmas Day, Google is testing new search with importance placed on streaming, Instagram launches new features for Stories and Facebook is testing ‘dark mode’ for its Messenger app
We may have switched off for the holidays and New Year, but it’s now time to take a look at what news stories in the marketing, tech and social media worlds were missed over the last couple of weeks.
First up is the news that Amazon’s smart speaker was such a popular item this festive season that Alexa crashed on Christmas Day across many parts of Europe. It just goes to show that the idea of a smart home is becoming increasingly appealing for many.
It also looks like Google is just about ready to admit the importance of streaming services, as it seems to be testing a new design for search that puts streaming higher up in the results.
Take a look at these stories in more depth and find out what else you may have missed over the last few months below.Amazon’s Alexa crashes on Christmas Day
It seems that one of the most popular gifts this Christmas was Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, with the number of new devices being connected causing the voice-controlled assistant Alexa to crash across Europe.
The large number of people attempting to plug in their new smart speakers led to Amazon’s servers getting overloaded. This resulted in many users only getting the response “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now” to their questions and commands.
Following an influx of complaints to Amazon and across social media, the online retail giant tweeted that the issue with intermittent connections across Europe had been resolved two hours later.
A spokesperson for Amazon said: “For a short period on 25th December, we had an issue that intermittently impacted some Alexa customers’ ability to interact with the service. The Alexa service is now operating normally.”
As well as showing that companies offering voice assistants like Alexa need to prepare for an influx of users on key days, it also shows the growing popularity of voice search. This means that brands need to look at how to optimize their sites for voice search in order to ensure users get the best results.
— Valentin Pletzer (@VorticonCmdr) January 2, 2023Google highlights the importance of streaming with new search design
The rise of streaming services has become a really big business, something that is now being reflected by Google’s search design. Screenshots of the search engine’s latest mobile design have shown that there is set to be a clearer focus on streaming providers when searching for relevant topics.
Google’s changes have yet to be rolled out to all users, but preliminary reports suggest that several versions of the design are being tested. However, all designs appear to feature the latest addition of an “available to stream” option.
This implies that when users search for phrases related to shows or movies, Google will display options that are available for streaming, linking through to the show or film on streaming providers.
Users will also be able to make use of additional filters in order to improve the results they receive – such as by filtering for the streaming service they have access to. Users can also manually add their preferred providers to their search settings, which is likely to feedback to the main results.
— Valentin Pletzer (@VorticonCmdr) January 2, 2023
However, the focus on streaming now suggests that a large number of people using this type of service has altered how Google approaches search, resulting in results that are less intent on a purchase.
As the design is still in the testing phase, there’s no guarantee that the screenshots will mirror the final design. The fact that these types of search options are being explored by the search engine, though, suggests that more importance will be placed on streaming in results going forward.Instagram launches new Stories features
Instagram has announced new additions to its Stories features, allowing users to interact with friends and followers in different ways. The app has launched three new features within Stories, which are now available to all users.Music recommendations
To start with, users are now able to ask for music recommendations through a question sticker on their story. People who view their story are able to respond to the sticker with a song from the available music library.
The recommendations are viewable when the viewer’s list is opened. Alongside this will also be a button that you can tap to play the song. On top of this, users will be able to capture a photo or video to share on their Story as the recommended song plays.
New effects have also been added to the camera, which react to the beats and sounds of the music. These can be used by swiping to “Music” in the camera, which will display the new icons above the camera capture button.
This feature will be available in areas where Instagram’s music library is available.Questions via Instagram Live
Users are now able to use the question sticker in Live, allowing them to interact with their viewers or with people they are watching. However, you can only ask a question of someone via Stories if they have used the question sticker.
Users who post a questions sticker can choose which one they want to answer in a Live video. This will mean a Q&A will be added to the Stories tray of those who asked questions, allowing them to join the live video and see if their question is being answered.
People are also able to ask more questions while someone is live by going back to the original story and typing another question in response to their sticker. This question will then be added to their list, ready for them to answer in Live.Countdowns in Stories
The final new addition to Stories is a countdown sticker, which allows users to countdown to moments. Just as with other stickers, the countdown can be added to a photo or video. You are then able to customize the colour and the end time and date.
You’re able to reuse the sticker until the countdown ends, using your Stories to create a timeline and build excitement – something that could come in handy if you are launching a new product or making an announcement.
Viewers can then tap on the countdown to follow it in your stories or add it to their own. Those who complete either of these actions will get a notification when the countdown ends, meaning they will know to go to your Stories if you were planning on sharing something at the end of the countdown.
Facebook Messenger is testing Dark Mode in the new UI
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 5, 2023Facebook testing ‘dark mode’ for messenger
Facebook is currently experimenting with changes to its Messenger app and seems to be responding to its users’ requests for a dark mode in order to counter the incredibly bright white design of the app.
According to Jane Manchun Wong, an expert in unpacking social media glitches, Facebook has started to test its dark mode for Messenger to cut down on the amount of blue light users are subjected to when using the app.
While the new dark mode isn’t available to all users and is only being tested in certain countries, preliminary results show that those who do have access to the test mode are able to turn it on and off in the “Me” section of the app.
As the mode is still in its testing phase, it is not available across the entire app, which means that users who are able to use it may get a shock when it reaches the limits of its implementation.
Rather than the stark white background of the usual Messenger app, dark mode offers black backgrounds, which are kinder on your eyes. The search bar and other elements of the app are still grey, but they are darker than when in its usual mode.
Although the test is still ongoing and not yet available in all locations, the available screenshots suggest that Facebook may soon be ready to roll it out to more users.
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With the new version 1.18 update, Minecraft is going all out with a ton of new features for its community. We have new biomes, mobs, and a whole new terrain generation lined up. This update is also going to be the one that brings Minecraft Java and Bedrock Edition closer with identical world generation with the same seeds. There’s a lot to unpack here, and the excitement keeps rising as the 1.18’s release date gets closer. But worry not, our team is ready to cover every important detail you might want to know about the new Minecraft 1.18 Caves and Cliffs part 2 update. We have already covered the best Minecraft 1.18 seeds for you to get ready for the new world generation. Though, that’s not all. With the update just around the corner, let’s take a look at everything you can expect from the new Minecraft 1.18 Caves and Cliffs part 2 update. That includes the release date, new biomes, supported platforms, download links, and much more.
The new Minecraft 1.18 update brings 8 new biomes, a new ore generation system, and realistic caves and cliffs, as the name suggests. And these are just the major features that we learned about from Minecraft version 1.17. There are several things to talk about in this article, so let’s first understand the specifics of the update itself before we jump into the new features.
In June 2023, Minecraft released the version 1.17 update called Caves and Cliffs Part 1. It added minor but significant changes in the game, including new blocks, items, mobs, and plants. Expanding on that, the Minecraft 1.18 update majorly focuses on the new overworld and underground terrain generation in the game.
Minecraft is using both of these updates to address complaints about the boring underground exploration and the repetitive stagnant world generation of the overworld. Before the Caves & Cliffs update, Minecraft offered caves that didn’t look any better than random holes in the ground. Similarly, even the cliffs in-game were more or less non-existent.
As per the latest official announcement, Minecraft 1.18 is going to be released on November 30, 2023. Consulting the release time of the previous edition, you can expect the update to go live between 10:00 am EST (7:00 am PST/ 8:30 pm IST) to 1:00 pm EST (10:00 am PST/ 11:30 pm IST).
Do keep in mind that the release time is the same for all editions of the game, but there can be delays depending upon the traffic on each platform’s server.Minecraft 1.18: Supported Platforms
With the new 1.18 update, Minecraft is leaving behind a majority of older generations of the consoles, including Xbox 360, PS3, and others. As for PC users, you can expect the Java edition to work on macOS High Sierra or Windows 8 and previous versions too, but not at its peak quality. The platforms that are fully compatible with the Minecraft 1.18 update are:
Xbox Series X
Xbox Series S
Windows 10 & 11.
For Minecraft Java Edition:
Depending upon your platform, you can get Minecraft 1.18 update from the respective store on each platform. For the PC version, based on the experimental snapshots, we estimate the Minecraft 1.18 update size to be around 800 MBs or higher if you are updating from the 1.17 version. It might be smaller for the mobile version of the game due to the limited space of those devices.
If you are on one of the supported platforms, you can buy and download the game before the update releases next week:
Now comes the part you have been waiting for. Minecraft 1.18 has tons of exciting new features for you to try. However, a majority of them revolve around the new Minecraft biomes that are getting added to the game. Fortunately, the snapshots allowed us to test them all for you. Let’s see what each of these biomes has to offer.Lush Caves
Home to glow berries and spore blossom, this is probably the most beautiful biome of the Minecraft 1.18 update. These caves generate in different sizes but can be easily identified with the greenery in them. The ceilings are covered with spore blossoms, glow berries, and moss blocks. Meanwhile, the floor is made up of moss blocks, flowering azalea, and a lot of grass. You can also find ores like coal and copper in this biome. Other than moss blocks, you can also find stone blocks taking up a lot of space in this biome.Dripstone Caves
In contrast to the lush caves, the Dripstone caves are the less colorful cave biome in this update. These caves are made up of stone, granite, and dripstone blocks. There are no plants in this biome, but you can find pointed dripstones (which replicate stalactites from real-world caves) in different sizes. Also, there are several underwater dripstone caves that you can stumble upon in the 1.18 update. In terms of ores, copper is most abundant in this biome.Meadow
Meadow is a mountain-based biome that spawns between mountains and hills. At first glance, it looks like a combination of plains and flower forest biomes. You can also find flowers, grass, rabbits, and sheep in this biome. If there are any trees in here, they usually spawn with beehives on them.Grove Frozen Peaks
This biome gives us snowy mountains but with leveled smoother slopes. You can find snow and packed ice covering stone blocks in this biome. This biome focuses more on packed ice than snow. There are often goats wandering in the area, so you can choose to tame them or gather food and resources from them. Moreover, you can even find Pillager outposts in this new Minecraft 1.18 biome.Jagged Peaks
Jagged Peak is a biome that truly defines the cliffs part of this 1.18 update. It provides us with realistic-looking mountains that are made out of stone and covered in the snow when you reach the peak. Unlike snowcapped mountains, the world generation of this biome isn’t smooth but rather irregular. Usually, powdered snow doesn’t spawn in this biome.Stony Peaks
Similar to snowy peaks, this biome features stone at top of the mountain instead of snow. The mountains in this biome can be either flat and smooth or can have irregular ups and downs. Even though there is no snow here, you can still find goats in this biome. You can even find ores like coal on the surface level (see screenshot) of this biome.Snowy Slopes
The last new biome in Minecraft 1.18 is also the most popular cliff biome. It gives us beautiful but steep mountain peaks with a lot of snow. There is even some powered snow layered on top of each other that can trap you within it. As for the mobs, you can easily find goats and rabbits in this biome.Unused Biomes
Bamboo Jungle Hills, Birch Hills, and Dark Forest Hills
Desert Hills and Lakes
Giant Spruce and Giant Tree Taiga Hills
Modified Jungle Edge and Modified Jungle
Modified Badlands Plateau and Wooded Badlands Plateau
Mushroom Field Shore
Shattered Savanna Plateau
Snowy Mountains and Snowy Taiga Mountains
Taiga Hills and Mountains
Various Hill variants, including Jungle, Snowy Taiga, Tall Birch, Swamp, and Wooded Hills
To implement tall peeks and a new underground system, Minecraft developers decided to change the world generation completely. Even though all these changes are for the best, some of them can be a little heavy for your system. Fortunately, installing Optifine in Minecraft can help you increase your FPS and improve performance. With that out of the way, let’s understand the new world generation changes in the Minecraft 1.18 update.Terrain and Biomes
The first major change is how terrains generate in Minecraft 1.18. Terrains are the physical features or how a landmass is generated in the game. It involves mountains, hills, and plateaus generated in the area. In the earlier versions, the game focused more on the biomes, and each biome had its limited variety of terrain. That’s no longer the case.
Plains biome generated on mountainous terrain
Now, the terrain generation is given a priority. So, instead of having separate terrains, each Minecraft biome will automatically adjust itself to whatever terrain it is on. It’s the reason why you can now see plains and forest biomes spawning as mountains throughout your overworld in Minecraft. The screenshot above is a prime example of the new terrain-based world generation.World Limit Increased
For both Minecraft Java and Bedrock editions, the total built height has been expanded to 384 blocks. It means the lowest point and the highest point in a Minecraft world can now have 384 blocks between them. This extension allows deeper caves and higher mountains to easily form in the game.Seed Generation
The seeds in Minecraft 1.18 use a new random world number generator. It means that the worlds you get each time will be more random than earlier. It also means that none of the best Minecraft seeds from earlier versions will look the same on this version. Thankfully, you also won’t have to look for Java and Bedrock Edition seeds separately after this update.
The biomes are the biggest feature that most players are excited about in the new update. But that’s not all. Let’s go over each of the major new features that Minecraft 1.18 has to offer.Java and Bedrock Compatibility
If you are someone like me who isn’t a fan of having two separate Minecraft editions, this update is perfect for you. One major way the 1.18 update brings Java and Bedrock Minecraft closer is with world generation. Most Minecraft 1.18 seeds generate worlds that look very similar in both editions of the game. The worlds still won’t be exactly the same, but they wouldn’t feel like two separate seeds either. An example of this improved compatibility between the Java and Bedrock editions can be seen below:Expanded Ore Distribution
Due to changes in world limits and the introduction of the new cave biomes, the ore distribution of Minecraft has changed a lot. The most significant change is that the ore veins or the groups of several ore blocks now generate longer chains.
Each ore has undergone unique individual changes as well. Let’s go over each of them to understand the new ora system better:
Diamond ores now only generate below Y=16. They generate more as groups and in higher quantity near the bedrock layer at Y=-64.
Coal ores generate underground on top of mountains too. You can find them at heights as high as Y=256 and as low as Y=0.
Copper ores also have a diverse range of generation, going from Y=-16 to Y=112. You can find them in dripstone and lush caves too.
The popular iron ores generate at various places in Minecraft 1.18, starting from as low as Y=-32 and going as high as Y=256. Its quantity and chances of spawning vary a lot at different heights. You can find most iron at Y=56.
Gold ores usually generate between levels Y=-64 and Y=32. Not to forget, you can find more gold in the badlands biome. There, it spawns between Y=79 and Y=256.
Restone ores generate between Y=-32 and Y=-64. You can find it generating most closer to the bedrock level, often next to diamond ores.
The least popular but equally important emerald ore has an inverse relation with height. Its generation decreases as you go deeper. It usually generates between Y=-16 and Y=256.
Finally, the lapis lazuli ores generate between Y= -64 and 32. Unlike earlier versions of the game, it’s no longer rare in world generation.New Music in Minecraft 1.18
As for the music we can manually use in the game, there’s only one new addition. The update adds a new music disc that has blue and green colors in its rings and is called “Otherside”. But fortunately, that’s not all. Minecraft is offering us plenty of new in-game music that you will notice right from the home menu. And as the case is with each new biome, Minecraft is giving us new music for each of the new in-game biomes.
The tracks are titled “Comforting Memories”, “One More Day”, “Wending”, “Stand Tall”, “Left to Bloom”, “Infinite Amethyst”, “One More Day”, “Floating Dream”, and “An Ordinary Day”. These 8 new music tracks will also randomly play on the main menu. Meanwhile, you can listen to each of them in different new biomes. Some even have overlapping biomes, so you will hear the music that the game randomly selects.Other Minor But Important Changes & Additions
The new spawn algorithm ensures that the player doesn’t spawn in the ocean, lava, or similar awkward locations.
The Java version has a new “/jfr” command that records in-game events like chunk generation, server traffic, and load time among others.
There are new in-game achievements too, including “caves & cliffs”, “feels like home”, “star trader”, and “sound of music”.
You can find Pillager outposts in almost any of the mountain biomes. Most that we noticed were in Frozen Peaks.
The Java edition’s debug screen (“F3 key”) now also shows terrain, biome builder, and multinoise information that includes features about the biome placement.
The settings also received a few new options like chunk builder, lightening toggle, audio outpost, and simulation distance.
The video settings received an option to turn on/ off the autosave indicator for single-player mode.
Like every other update, there are dozens of minor texture and spawn changes for a few blocks, mobs, and structures. You can even find hundreds of bug fixes in the logs of this update.
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