Tech Digest daily round up: Does Windows 11 spell end for Skype?


Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11, its new operating system which will replace the current version over the next few years. Among all the new features are two seemingly small but related things that jumped out. First – Microsoft Teams, the video-calling app which saw a boom during 2020’s pandemic, will be integrated into Windows 11 by default. And second – Skype will not be, for the first time in years. That seems to suggest that Teams is the new favourite child, and many pundits think this is the beginning of the end for what was once the king of calling apps. “Looks like Microsoft is killing off Skype,” wrote the Irish & Sunday Independent tech editor Adrian Weckler. “Bye bye Skype,” added Future Publishing’s content director Jeremy Kaplan. “RIP Skype,” was the immediate reaction from The Verge’s Tom Warren. Yet the reality is that Skype has been losing relevance for a long time. BBC 

Instagram is testing the ability to create posts using the web browser on a desktop computer. The feature was spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, who captured some screenshots demonstrating the functionality. Facebook confirmed the test in a statement to Bloomberg. “We know that many people access Instagram from their computer,” spokesperson Christine Pai said. “To improve that experience, we’re now testing the ability to create a Feed post on Instagram with their desktop browser.” Navarra’s screenshots show that you’re able to select aspect ratios, apply built-in filters, and use basic editing parameters within the browser. The Verge 

If you look for a new Android phone to buy, you’re generally going to be bumping heads with a big problem – most modern phones are big. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a device with a display less than 6 inches across, with most hitting 6.7-inches or more. TCL’s new phone, the Alcatel 1, is far from that. With a display of only 5 inches diagonally, it’s more of an iPhone SE than a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It’s just been launched as TCL’s only smartphone unveiled at annual tech event MWC 2021. The Alcatel 1 is a super-budget phone, costing only €59 (roughly $70, £50, AU$90) – it’s launching in Europe in August (presumably that includes the UK too, but we don’t have a price for it yet). Tech Radar 

A revolutionary new system which can detect COVID-19 particles in the air is being trialled in the North East. Its developers say it could help provide early warning of the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses, enabling a more rapid response to potential outbreaks. Two units, which are about the size of an office printer, are now in situ at Teesside International Airport and at a primary school. The machines suck in air, and convert it to a liquid which can then be analysed to identify airborne pathogens using DNA sequencing. The units run automatically, and provide real-time results without the need for a scientist or engineer to be present, or for the samples to be sent to a laboratory. Sky News 

Virgin Galactic has been given the go-ahead to fly paying customers to space after its licence was updated. Sir Richard Branson’s company was given the green light by the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday. Virgin Galactic’s previous licence only permitted them to conduct crewed test flights, and a spokeswoman for the company said the updated version “is further validation of Virgin Galactic’s methodical testing programme, which has met the verification and validation criteria”. Billionaire businessman Mr Branson had been tipped to be on board a space flight on July 4 from their spaceport in New Mexico, but this was dismissed as speculation. Yahoo!

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to