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BMW Makes Apple Pay A Subscription Service

BMW will charge US customers an annual fee for the use of Apple's Car Play going forward.

This is a move which promises to hurt the wallets of owners who keep their cars longer than the standard three year ownership period manufacturers would like to see, as well as those buying secondhand. 

The cost of Car Play is currently $300, a one off payment which enables the service indefinitely. 

In future the cost will be $80 per annum, with the first year covered in the purchase price of the car. Owners who keep their car for three or four years end up better off, those who keep them longer lose out. 

Given the payback period, it seems unlikely that this move is driven by financial motives. At least, not it terms of the cost / benefit of charging for Car Play. 

No the most likely driver for this move is to gently persuade BMW's customers to use BMW's connected drive feature and Apps to Auto.

This allows BMW to retain control of both the user experience and the customer interaction; w…
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Leaked Memo Warns Snap Employees Not To Leak

Snap has decided that enough is enough and warned all employees that leaking company information will be punished by dismissal, fines, prison and eternal damnation in the burning fire of hell.

This follows a number of damaging leaks showing that the company is losing the battle against Facebook and Instagram. 

The memo carrying this dire warning has subsequently leaked.

So that went well then.

OnePlus Confirms Credit Card Hack, 40k Users Affected

OnePlus has posted an update on their corporate blog confirming that the company was a victim of a system hack which compromised credit card details for forty thousand customers. A malicious script was installed on a server which captured credit card details.

It's not great news for the company, but at least it has been able to uncover the cause and remediate it.

In this case the issue appears to have been a beach of the server receiving customers credit card information. Although the beach has been repaired, there are questions to answer around how the server was open to breaching in the first place.

Was the server physically compromised, or was the script installed after a remote breach of the server?

There's also a question around the payment process OnePlus was using. Having claimed to not touch customer's financial information initially, this statement appears to be something of a backtrack.

There's more to come on this story I'm sure, and specifically about how On…

Will HTC And Huawei Bring Alexa To Phones Down Under?

HTC and Huawei ship their phones with Alexa as an alternative digitial assistant offering, but only in territories where Amazon's assistant is already available. 

Until now that has excluded Australia and New Zealand, but now we know that Alexa is going local down under, I wonder whether the two companies will update their existing and future phones to offer the choice?

It's an important question because, with no Google Home offering in these markets, customers are faced with a choice. Go Google Assistant on the phone and Alexa in your home; or grey import a Google Home device to keep consistency. 

For Amazon there's a small but important market to win here. If it can get Alexa onto phones down under at the same time as it releases Echo devices it can wrap up the market before Google even has a chance to respond. 

Getting HTC and Huawei on board is a small, but vital step in winning that market.

Look, There's Finally A Moto Mod Worth Having

Moto Mods are great in concept, but the execution is rather less so. Lenovo has managed to deliver Mods which are expensive and unattractive; less useful than standalone products and which are useless once you've changed phones. 
This is the Folio and it's a Mod that's finally worth buying. It attaches to the back of your Z and protects the screen, whilst also providing can credit card slot. That's not a lot, but it's cheap enough to get away with that. 
It reminds me of the replacement back covers which used to offer similar functionality, most recently on Nokia and Microsoft Lumias. 
So, a Mod I can recommend to you. First and, I suspect, last.

Nintendo Labo - Taking The Fun Out Of The Console

There's something clever about the Nintendo Switch, which manages to be both console and portable entertainment at the same time. Now things are about to get rather more interesting, following Nintendo's announcement of Labo, a cardboard accessory kit for the Switch, which takes the fun out of the Switch and brings it into real life.

Aside from the benefits in learning construction and making things work, the ability to keep reinventing the way the Switch works is quite remarkable. 

The intro video teases some exciting looking tech, but how far Nintendo can take this is going to be really exciting to see.

The Switch has completely revived Nintendo, when only a couple of years ago it was looking like a dead duck. Pretty impressive turnaround I'd say.

Snap Announces Layoffs, Struggles Continue

Snap has laid off 22 employees in the face of continuing problems with its social network. Disappointing for those employees involved, but still satisfying for former Windows Phone users who see Snap as one of the bad guys who severely damaged the reputation of Microsoft's phone platform. 

Following the epic failure of Spectacles and an admission that it needs to redo its app to bring users back into the fold, it's not been the greatest of times for Snap.

Maybe they could have use ten or twenty million Windows Phone users after all.