Our weekly roundup of the top news stories in the world of tech for the week beginning January 18th, 2016.
Carphone Warehouse to keep you in the loop on the next Samsung Galaxy
Usually carriers and retailers launch pre-order pages to let eager customers reserve their place in line before the latest, hottest handsets hit store shelves – Carphone Warehouse has gone one step further in the run up to the anticipated arrival of Samsung’s 2016 flagship.
For those who want to know when the Galaxy S7 becomes a reality, the phone retailer has created a dedicated page where you can register your email address in order to be notified of developments surrounding the handset. The fact that Carphone Warehouse will be stocking that handset too suggests that any rumours or hearsay it does report on may garner more weight than most. Find out more here.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket breaks a leg, explodes on landing
They’re getting closer, but Elon Musk and SpaceX saw another of their Falcon 9 rockets go up in flames over the weekend when one of the landing legs failed to lock into place as the rocket came in for a vertical touch down.
The previous Falcon 9 rocket, which SpaceX landed on solid ground, returned in one piece, but this launch was scheduled to end on an automated drone ship in the ocean, which at the time was said to be amongst waves 10 to 15 feet high. SpaceX confirmed via Twitter that one of the rocket’s legs failed to lock correctly, potentially due to ice build-up, after which a video of the crash from the drone ship was posted to Musk’s Instagram (above). Find out more here.
The new John Cooper Works Mini appears as a convertible
BMW just revealed a new convertible that’s on the cards for April 2016. The latest John Cooper Works edition Mini will debut at the New York Motor Show in March and comes packing an automatic roof that can go up and down in 18 seconds and boasts a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds (just 0.3 seconds slower than the Hatch).
The new JCW convertible will be powered by a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo and as with its predecessors, can be had with a wealth of exclusive extras; from the ‘Rebel Green’ paint job to a centrally positioned sports exhaust system. Pricing will start from £26,630. Find out more here.
TalkTalk’s now offering its WiFi AC Super Router as standard
Despite its budget-focussed image, TalkTalk is going to start offering new customers its beefier WiFi AC Super Router as the default option going forward. TalkTalk first added the HG633 (catchy, we know) to its books in 2014 and was seen as a respectable competitor to other providers’ routers at the time.
The secondary 5GHz network it puts out should offer a less congested network to surf on when compared to the more conventional 2.4GHz band that single-band routers use exclusively. Existing TalkTalk customers won’t be able to nab the new Super Router as part of the initiative; instead they’ll have to fork out £80 for the privilege. Find out more here.
WhatsApp goes completely free forever more
For years now, instant messaging platform WhatsApp has charged users $1-a-year subscription fee (after the first year’s use for free), but the company finally announced that it’s scrapping the charge altogether.
In the most recent post on the company’s blog, WhatsApp announced that the service would become completely free to use and that it will instead look for new ways to develop the product and add in new tools or methods of interaction. The most interesting potential development is that the service might soon give you the ability to connect with your bank, an airline or another business as a new means of direct communication. Find out more here.