Snapchat now lets you create custom geofilters right in the app

Snapchat introduced a way to create custom geofilters back in February of last year, and now it’s making the feature easier to use. U.S. Snapchat users can now create and submit custom filters directly in the app, rather than having to go to the studio website to make their custom filter.

The mobile creative studio is now located in settings, under a menu item called “On-Demand Geofilters,” and it allows you to pick from a list of pre-set occasions, select a template and edit to customize using text, Bitmojis, and Snapchat’s Sticker library, too. You specify the time and the location where you want it to be available, defining the area on a map, and then submit the design for Snapchat approval.

Payment for the filter feature is also run entirely in-app, once the review process is complete (which typically takes about a day) on both iOS and Android. You’ll get a push notification on your device once the filter goes live. Price for custom geofilters kicks off at $5.99, and runs up from there depending on different factors like how large the area it covers is, and how long a period you want it to run for.

  1. Editing Stickers and Text

  2. How To Choose Occasion

  3. Submitting Design

  4. Mapping Location

Snap says this feature is designed for everyday Snapchatters, and that businesses that want to get the most out of custom geofilters should continue to use the web-based studio option. But the company also says that “tens of thousands” of custom filters are being made every day using their existing tool, so they’re clearly hoping that number grows even larger with easier access to the creation tool.

On the consumer side this is mostly just a fun thing you can do for weddings, birthdays and more, but Snap still provides analytics including total swipes, uses of the filter and the number of views across the campaign via a dashboard for geofilter purchasers.

While On-Demand Geofilters are available in a number of markets via the web, the in-app creation tool is debuting only in the U.S., with plans to expand to additional markets where they’re offered on the web over time.

You can now make your own Snapchat filters without leaving the app

Snapchat is making it even easier to make your own custom geofilter. 

The app just added its geofilter creation tools to its main app so you can design and buy a filter without ever closing the app. Previously, you could only make filters on Snapchat’s website.

Beginning Wednesday, you can create the “on-demand geofilters” from within Snapchat’s settings. There, you can find pre-made templates for events like weddings, birthdays, graduations, and baby showers, as well as seasonal events like the Fourth of July or “Summer Vibes.”

Designing a filter works much the same way as it does on Snapchat’s website: You choose a template and add text, emoji or Bitmoji to personalize it. Then, you choose where and when you want it to appear, pay, and wait for Snap’s approval (the company says this usually take one business day).

Importantly, there are a few differences between the in-app filter creation tools and those on Snapchat’s website. For one, you can’t add friends’ Bitmoji to the filters you make in the Snapchat app, you can only add your own. Filters made within Snapchat can, however include emoji and stickers.

Additionally, the prices will vary a little between the app and website, to account for the cut Apple and Google take from in-app purchases.

Filters purchased on Snapchat’s website start at $5.00, while those purchased in the app will cost $5.99. Still, the added convenience of having them directly in the app will likely be enough to make it worth the extra cost for some. 

Custom filters is a significant part of Snap’s business. Users make “tens of thousands” of filters each day, according to the company, and businesses also pay for branded filters. 

Snap has allowed users to make create their own geofilters since last February, but it originally required some expertise with Photoshop or other software. It revamped that process last year with a new online tool that added themed templates and allowed you to tweak the designs more easily. ef4d 218a%2fthumb%2f00001

A nasty legal battle is brewing around U.K. phone brand Vertu

Why it matters to you

While we may not all be able to afford its phones, Vertu is a unique smartphone brand that adds color to the industry, and it’s in danger of disappearing.

There are concerns over the future of British luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu, following the takeover by Turkish exile businessman Hakan Uzan, reports of unpaid bills and wages, and growing fears over a legal fight that may end up ruining the company. It’s a drastically different picture than the one initially painted by Uzan himself, and in the announcement that TCL Communication has been brought in to produce tens of thousands of new devices with Vertu.

Concerns have been raised by staff at Vertu in the U.K., according to anonymous sources speaking to the Telegraph, including complaints wages are overdue, and pension contributions are being removed from salaries without being paid into retirement schemes. These grievances were listed to Vertu management in a letter, but no explanation was given. The newspaper says it has reviewed related documents and testimony from Vertu staff, both present and past. This is compounded by accusations that suppliers haven’t been paid since 2016.

Suppliers calling in debts apparently include Qualcomm and Microsoft, which sub-leases the buildings Vertu uses, after acquiring them when it acquired Nokia. Outstanding bills extend beyond Vertu’s technical partners and into waste management, pest control, and other property services, according to the Telegraph’s sources. Mr. Uzan promised to invest in Vertu when he took over, to allow the company to, “realize its full potential.”

Unfortunately, unpaid wages and bills may only be the start of Vertu’s problems. A legal fight between new owner Uzan and former owner Gary Chen, who managed the hedge fund which sold Vertu to Uzan earlier this year, is brewing. Chen claims he has not received payment from Uzan following completion of the sale, while Uzan claims the level of debt and other aspects of the business were concealed from him, and only became apparent after he took control. The pair are now threatening to sue each other, and there are worries Vertu will not survive if the lawsuits happen.

The last we heard from Vertu was the announcement TCL Communication had been enlisted to bring in advanced technology and build 30,000 new phones, in a deal worth $40 million. The news also shared that Vertu’s corporate offices had been relocated to France under the name Vertu AK France, through which Uzan’s representatives have been running the company.

We’ve contacted Vertu for comment on the report, and will update when we hear back.

How to easily navigate the redesigned App Store in iOS 11

Download the iOS 11 public beta yet? You may have noticed the App Store looks totally different. Fret not — we’ve got you covered on how to navigate the new space with ease.

The redesigned App Store showcases apps in ways that are more recognizable through top picks, editors choices, and reviews to help you navigate based on popularity and user experience. By tapping from tab to tab, you’re brought to different sections ranging from games to apps along with updates and the search tool. You also now have the option to buy the app directly where it’s listed — with the purchase button located to the right of each app — instead of having to click through to the app’s main page. This makes purchases easier and quicker for the consumer as well as developers.

The Today tab

The “Today” tab refreshes daily, highlighting apps and games of the day, while also featuring original stories from Apple’s editors based on current events. These stories can range from interviews with developers — like the ones behind Monument Valley 2 — where the article also offers a glimpse inside the game, to listicles that name the top apps to use. The tab also lets you go back in time to see days prior, so even if you forget to visit the store, you’re always able to look back. Whether it’s a game or app, or you want to read an interesting article on anything app related, this section will give you daily insight.

The Games tab

With games being an extremely popular part of the App Store, Apple has finally given it it’s own section. At the top, you’re greeted by a feed of different games that fall in sections like editor’s choice, a game to rediscover, or games the Apple team is currently playing. As you scroll down, you’ll find top categories of games such as action, arcade, simulation, puzzle, adventure, among others, and clicking on one will bring you to a variety of games related to it. Other sections on the games tab include games you might like based on your past history, newly-released games, along with the familiar top paid, and top free games. Towards the bottom of the feed is a themed section that changes regularly, such as “The Most Beautiful Games” —  which showcases the top picks based on their graphics and art, with a short synopsis underneath. Once you click on a particular game, it will bring you to a short trailer along with ratings and reviews to read through. Another section titled “Let’s Play” features auto-playing trailers and videos as you scroll through.

The Apps tab

The Apps tab collectively places everything other than games into one section. Aesthetically, the feed is exactly the same as the games tab, but it incorporates different activities based on your past interests — such as cooking and exercise, or photography and travel. At the top, there is a carousel gallery that lists a trending app, one that has received a major update, a new app suggestion, and an app you’ve haven’t used in a while. You can still find the familiar top paid, top free, and top categories for apps. “New Apps We Love” is another similarly-themed section also featured in the games tab — also with auto-playing videos.

The Updates tab

The Updates tab didn’t receive a huge redesign — it does look more polished with larger and bolder typeface. At the top, you’ll find apps available for updates that you need to approve. Towards the bottom is a list of all the apps you updated recently. Underneath each app, you’ll see a clear description of what’s available in the update, and what has changed within each one. You can choose to update particular apps or update them all at once.

The Search tab

The Search tab still serves its main purpose — to help you locate certain apps quickly. This section also received minor changes. Simply type in the app you’re looking for, and it will provide you with a feed of that exact app along with similar suggestions to choose from. You also get the rating underneath each app, and the option to download it on the spot while scrolling through the stream of results.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 packs a powerful processor and cutting-edge camera tech

Why it matters to you

Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 450 might dramatically improve the battery life of mid-tier devices.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors — the chips that power millions of smartphones, tablets, and PCs — run the gamut from the uber-powerful (the 800 and 600 series) to the affordable (the 200 series), but somewhere in the middle sits the Snapdragon 400 series. It doesn’t pack all the bells and whistles of the high-end chips, but it’s nevertheless uncompromising on battery life, performance, and features. And on Tuesday, Qualcomm made it better with the launch of the Snapdragon 450, the newest flagship in the Californian chip maker’s 400 series.

The Snapdragon 450’s biggest breakthroughs have have to do with raw processing power and battery life. Compared to the Snapdragon 435, its predecessor, the Snapdragon 450 boasts 25 percent faster compute performance and a 25 percent increase in graphics performance. That’s thanks to architectural improvements like a 14nm FinFET design, a first for Qualcomm’s 400 series, and eight 64-bit processing cores clocked at 1.8 GHz (up from 1.2 GHz and 1.4 GHz on the Snapdragon 435).

“When you’re opening up your email client or a social media application […] you’ll see launch times improved,” said Kedar Kondap, Vice President of Product Management with the company. “It’s a very visible user experience enhancement.”

Despite the enhanced compute performance, the Snapdragon 450 sips much less power than the outgoing Snapdragon 435. It consumes 30 percent less on average, which translates to about four more hours of battery life.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chip

“We wanted to enhance the offering, but at the same time provide very good battery life,” Kondap told Digital Trends during a phone briefing.

The Snapdragon 450’s beefed-up power management dovetails with its improved rapid charging. The chip’s Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, which supports USB Type-C, juices devices to 85 percent in 35 minutes, or a “full day” in 30 minutes.

Performance and power consumption aren’t the Snapdragon 450’s areas of improvement. Qualcomm’s built-in Hexagon DSP enables camera capabilities like real-time bokeh, which applies a blur effect to the background of images, and Clear Sight, which uses a combination of RGB lenses and black and white sensors to capture greater contrast, more light, and less noise. Those benefits extend to video recording — Snapdragon 450-equipped devices take footage in 1080p at 60 frames per second and automatically suppress background noise.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Snapdragon 450 sports USB 3.0, which can transfer files at speeds of up to 5 Gpbs compared to the Snapdragon 435’s 0.5 Gbps — fast enough to copy a two-hour movie in three minutes. Its X9 LTE modem can achieve a 300Mbps downlink, thanks to features like 2×20 carrier aggregation, 64 QAM, and 802.11ac with MU-MIMO, and Cat. 6 LTE. There’s precision-enhanced navigation and location tracking onboard, plus eye-based authentication and liveness detection. And the Snapdragon 450 is the first in the series to support iris scanners.

Better yet? It won’t be long before it launches. Qualcomm expects the Snapdragon 450 to become commercially available in the third quarter of this year, and launch in devices during Q4.

“We’ve made many recent changes to the [platform] as part of our vision to deliver the most advanced mobile functionality at the best possible value,” Kondap said. “With the Snapdragon 450, users are going to see a dramatically improved level of performance, connectivity, battery life, and imaging performance.”