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Microsoft Surface Event Highlights, WhatsApp Tests Self-destructing Message & More News

This week in tech news: Microsoft introduced its next generation of hardware devices, WhatsApp is testing a ‘self-destructing’ feature for your secret chats and Mark Zuckerberg reacted to the leaked transcript of his internal meeting by promoting it on his Facebook page.

Tech news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

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Here’s everything Microsoft just announced at its big product event, including a two-screen Android phone

Microsoft held its big Surface event on Wednesday, where the company announced its brand new lineup of laptops and other hardware for the coming year and beyond. That was certainly the case here, but Microsoft also took the opportunity to pull back the curtain on a couple of devices that won’t be out for more than a year.

The biggest surprise was a small smartphone that can run two apps on two different screens. It’s called the Microsoft Surface Duo and runs Android, and will be available in the 2020 holiday season. It has a 360-degree hinge, two 5.6-inch displays and can completely fold up when you’re not using it. Microsoft also teased the Surface Neo, which will launch next holiday season. The Surface Neo has two displays that fold together but also work independently of one another, so you can run an app in one screen and another app on the second display. Or, you can use one app across the entire screen.

Following up on last year’s surprise Surface Headphones announcement, Microsoft also unveiled a pair of Surface Earbuds. Each earbud has touchable sensors to navigate music and calls, meaning users don’t have to take out their phones all the time. Microsoft also unveiled a new Qualcomm-powered Surface for its Windows on ARM platform, the Surface Pro X, which has a 13-inch screen and works like the Surface Pro, as a two-in-one, with a detachable keyboard.

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WhatsApp tests disappearing messages in its Android app

WhatsApp is testing disappearing messages. The feature appeared as a beta in version 2.19.275 of the Android app and was spotted by WABetaInfo. In the beta, the disappearing messages are available in group chats only, and they can be set to self-destruct in five seconds or an hour. There's no in-between, and you can't select individual messages to disappear -- they all vanish or none of them do.

A disappearing message will be the WhatsApp version of self-destructing messages that are already available to users of rival messaging apps such as iMessage, Pushfor, Signal, Telegram and Wickr. Snapchat was the original pioneer of disappearing messages, and references its ephemeral nature with its company logo of a ghost. This would just be the latest Snapchat feature to be cloned by Facebook, after the firm borrowed the concept of augmented reality selfie filters, shareable QR codes in Messenger, and rolled out a copycat of ‘Stories’.

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Mark Zuckerberg reacted to the leaked transcript of his internal meeting by promoting it on his Facebook page

Mark Zuckerberg had an unusual reaction Tuesday to a leaked transcript of one of his weekly internal company meetings: He promoted it on his Facebook page. Describing the leaked transcript as a “unfiltered” look at how he thinks about important topics like social responsibility and tech regulation, the Facebook CEO invited his 117 million followers – and anyone else in the public – to check it out. Zuckerberg even included a link to tech site The Verge, which had obtained the transcript and published it on Tuesday morning.

In the audio, Zuckerberg talks to employees about issues ranging from the possibility of US lawmakers attempting to break up the company to its plans to compete with video-sharing app TikTok. He also urged employees to tell friends who do not like the social media platform that Facebook cares about the problems and is working to solve them. The recordings offer a taste of Zuckerberg’s real thoughts on a myriad topics, but more notable than Zuckerberg’s candid commentary is the fact that so much was recorded and leaked to the press. The leak shows the growing dissent inside of Facebook.

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