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theEweekly Wrap

Android Wear – End of Twitter @Reply? – Flappy Bird Returns

Google releases more details about Android for wearables

Google has revealed more details about its wearable operating system, Android Wear. This new platform is designed for use on computerised watches known as smartwatches.

It could be a step toward an era where devices are able to complete tasks without interaction from a touch screen: inviting the image of a world where you can send a text message, order a takeaway or book a table without your computer or phone.

Google's decision to move into wearables will add to the already fierce competition existing between the search engine and Apple. Both companies now face the problem of how to make these products acceptable in a social context; that is, how to make wearable technology something that people will actually want to wear.

Stuart Miles, founder of tech news site Pocket-lint, implied that using a smartwatch can sometimes give the wrong impression. He said if not used tactfully "people think you are bored."

Yet the suggestion of challenges which lie ahead did not deter Sundar Pichai, head of Android at Google. Instead, he emphasised the potential of wearable devices: "We're always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey."

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Twitter to remove core @reply service?

Images have surfaced online which suggest Twitter will begin to fade out its famous @reply service during its next phase of development.

At a recent conference Vivian Schille, Twitter's Head of News, hinted at the possibility @replies will be removed from Twitter in the near future. Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange conference in Denver on the 17th of March, Schille said hashtags and @replies are "arcane" and Twitter staff are hard at work "moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background."

The images which have surfaced depict a new version of Twitter on Android which no longer uses @replies but replaces the function with a service similar to that of Facebook; wherein any reply tags are replaced with a formal name.

Some may see the change as dumbing down the service, or as an effort to increase its ever-growing user base, which has recently passed 241 million. But the official response says the reason for change is to help new users understand the concept of Twitter. In a later tweet, Schiller said the goal is "to make Twitter more and more intuitive."

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Mobile game star Flappy Bird will fly again

Dong Ngyuen, creator of the addictive mobile game Flappy Bird, has revealed that the hit game will be re-released to the Apple mobile store.

Originally launched in May 2013, Flappy Bird asked players to tap their screen to keep the bird in flight. It had a simple design, but was actually a masochistically difficult game: most could only keep Flappy in the air for a just a few seconds.

It was in part due to its maddening difficulty that the game went viral. In February 2014, at the peak of Flabby Bird's popularity, Mr Nguyen was reported to earn £30,450 a day from advertising.

It was during this craze that the game vanished from the app store. Mr Ngyuen removed it after complaining it had ruined his "simple life."

After the game was taken down, users who were desperate to play started online petitions to voice their outcry. Some even created clone versions of the game in an attempt to recreate the experience, though many said these copies were never quite as satisfyingly difficult as the original.

News of Flappy Bird's return broke over Twitter yesterday when a fan asked Mr Ngyuen if the game would be available in the app store. "Yes," replied Ngyuen, "but not soon."

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Written by Rachel Hand

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