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AfterDawn: News

Rdio's library has been upgraded to 320kbps AAC

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Oct 2014 19:48

Rdio's library has been upgraded to 320kbps AAC Streaming music service Rdio has upgraded their entire library to 320kpbs AAC for premium subscribers, says the company, but free users will also get a quality boost.

The company had previously offered their library in just 96kbps MP3 as a default, but "Unlimited" $9.99 per month subscribers can choose between 64kbps, 96kbps, 192kbps and 320kbps in the settings now. Of course, the higher bitrate will require more data usage, so mobile users will have to keep that in mind. Free users can now use up to 192kbps.

In addition to the streaming, you can also choose the bitrate for offline listening downloads.

Rdio says the update is for all users, in all nations and is available now as a free update on the Web or via the iOS App Store or Google Play.

AfterDawn: News

'Super Smash Bros.' for Nintendo 3DS sells over 700,000 units in 48 hours

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Oct 2014 17:55

'Super Smash Bros.' for Nintendo 3DS sells over 700,000 units in 48 hours Nintendo has announced that their popular new blockbuster "Super Smash Bros." for 3DS sold over 705,000 units in just 48 hours of sale.

The gaming giant made the announcement of Friday, and there is a good chance the game is well over 1 million given that it was released two weeks ago. Nintendo also noted that 135,000 copies were sold completely digitally via the Nintendo eShop.

As is standard with hit games, SSB helped increase console sales, as well, with 3DS handheld sales increasing 55 percent month-over-month to just over 140,000.

Nintendo is expected to have another hit on their hands when the Wii U version hits on November 21st in North America and then in December for Japan and Europe.


AfterDawn: News

New executive move seems to suggest the next step of the ongoing Android and Chrome convergence

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Oct 2014 17:13

New executive move seems to suggest the next step of the ongoing Android and Chrome convergence Over time there has been a clear convergence of Google's Android and Chrome operating systems and a new executive change seems to suggest that even more is yet to come.

Google VP of engineering for Android Hiroshi Lockheimer has now been put in charge of overseeing engineering for Chrome OS, as well.

Since 2013, both teams have been under the direction of Sundar Pichai, whose title is now SVP of Chrome, Android and apps. If Chrome OS and Android are eventually merged, it would certainly make it easier for developers, many of who have different versions of their popular apps for the different operating systems.

Sources say the change heavily suggests that Android is the future, which makes sense given the global brand awareness of Android and the operating system's recent expansion into smartwatches, TVs and car dashboards.


AfterDawn: News

Second generation Google Chromecast in the works as documents pass FCC

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Oct 2014 16:26

Second generation Google Chromecast in the works as documents pass FCC Thanks to new documents that have passed through the FCC, it appears that Google is working on a second-generation Chromecast, although there do not appear to be any killer new features.

In fact, a Chromecast team member posted to Reddit that "most users won't notice a difference" when the update hits. His post, in full, said: "No plans for big announcement on this one. Mostly because it will have the same features as the original and most users won't notice a difference."

While there are still many questions remaining about the hardware, but what we do know is that the device will still connect via HDMI and a microUSB cable, and will have built-in 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. Interestingly, the report does mention 5GHz Wi-Fi support, but it does not appear to have been tested yet.

In addition, the second-generation model is likely to have a slightly improved CPU or at least more RAM, but we will learn more soon.


AfterDawn: News

Sony SmartWatch 3 now live in the Google Play Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Oct 2014 14:38

Sony SmartWatch 3 now live in the Google Play Store We didn't have a set release date for the new Sony SmartWatch 3 - the first from the company to use Android Wear, but at least now the launch seems imminent.

Google has put the SmartWatch 3 up in the Google Play Store, including the price at $249 and the words "Coming Soon."

The company says the watch will work as a standalone and will also sync to your Android Wear capable smartphone for better functionality.

Sony's SmartWatch 3 has a 1.6 inch 320 x 320 LCD touch display, a stainless steel body, and IP68 dust and water-resistance. Under the hood is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 chip at 1.2GHz, 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. As is standard, the device has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 BLE, NFC, GPS, an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer and a gyroscope. Most importantly is the microphone which allows for voice control.Better than other current devices, the SW3 has a 420mAh battery good for 48 hours of usage. The watch is also extremely light at 38 grams.

The company has also stuck with the "athletic" look of its past smartwatches, but at that price it will likely have a hard time competing with more elegant devices like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R.

Check out the Google Play page here.

AfterDawn: News

'Destiny' leads PlayStation 4 to a record month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Oct 2014 0:01

'Destiny' leads PlayStation 4 to a record month According to Sony, the blockbuster game 'Destiny' helped move consoles, with PS4 sales tripling month-over-month.

"Destiny broke PlayStation Network sales records across several categories, taking the top spot for pre-orders, day one sales, and week one sales," added the consumer electronics giant. "One month after the game's launch, engagement among PlayStation fans continues to soar, as Destiny is the most-played title on the PlayStation 4 system with 125 million hours of gameplay."

Without providing figures, Sony says PS4 had its biggest month of the year in September, and it remained the top console in the U.S. although the Xbox One also likely saw a boost from the game.

'Destiny' came with exclusive branding for PS4 fans, including exclusive features and Sony is also offering a Destiny bundle that includes a white PS4 and dual shock controller.


AfterDawn: News

CBS goes all-in on digital and starts own SVOD service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Oct 2014 21:36

CBS goes all-in on digital and starts own SVOD service CBS has launched their own subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, dubbed CBS All Access.

All Access costs $5.99 per month and will offer thousands of episodes of popular CBS shows, include back catalogs. Current season shows will have the episodes available the day after they air, and some shows will have past seasons. In addition, there is a library of "classic CBS series" and local CBS stations can be live streamed in 14 metro markets.

CBS says the service will be available through all major digital platforms, and will also be available on desktops and via mobile apps. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves added: "CBS All Access is another key step in the company's long-standing strategy of monetizing our local and national content in the ways that viewers want it."

The service will "complement" CBS's offerings on other streaming services, like Netflix, and the company also admits that the service is certainly not for everyone. "If you are interested in a large bundle of channels that has a lot of various things in it, you may not be a subscriber to this service. But if you're deeply interested in one, two or many of our shows, getting our content outside of your home or buying earlier access to our content on mobile devices, then you're one of our superfans and you're going to convert," added the media giant.


AfterDawn: News

Apple iPad & Mac event: What was announced and what's important

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Oct 2014 3:57

Apple iPad & Mac event: What was announced and what's important Apple released several updates to its product portfolio in yesterday's event. Here's a summary of what's new, what changed and what's important

5K iMac

Apple released an updated 27-inch iMac, boasting a massive 5K resolution (5120 x 2880), with a staggering $2'499 price tag. For two and a half grand, you'll get the 1TB "fusion drive" version with 8GB of memory -- pure SSD options and more memory will cost you more.

"Fusion drive" is Apple's name for hybrid SSD/HDD drives.

Faster Mac Mini

Mac mini, loved by many movie enthusiasts as the perfect HTPC for living room use, hasn't been updated in two years. But yesterday Apple finally gave the low-end Mac a much-needed upgrade. Now the basic model comes with 1.4GHz Intel i5 CPU, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM and Intel HD 5000 GPU. Priciest option available for Mac mini comes with 2.8GHz CPU, 8GB RAM and 1TB Fusion drive. Prices start from $499.

iPad Air 2

Apple finally brings back version numbers to its iPads - a very much needed change, as identifying different iPad models has basically required one to google for SKU numbers to see which model each one is. As expected, the iPad Air 2 is thinner than its predecessor, at 6.1mm, with 40 percent faster CPU and better camera. Its rear camera is now 8Mpix, but lacks optical image stabilization and other goodies found from iPhone 6 Plus and likewise.


AfterDawn: News

DC Comics confirms 10 new superhero films over the next 5 years

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Oct 2014 0:17

DC Comics confirms 10 new superhero films over the next 5 years Not one to be outdone by rival Marvel, DC Comics has announced 10 new superhero films over the next 5 years, with the goal of creating an interconnected universe for their popular characters.

Marvel's Cinematic Universe has brought an almost overwhelming amount of films in the past half decade, with no end in sight.

Here is DC's lineup

2016: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Batfleck, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and the Suicide Squad)
2017: Wonder Woman and Justice League Part One
2018: The Flash and Aquaman
2019: Shazam and Justice League Part Two
2020: Cyborg and Green Lantern

Warner Bros., parent of DC Comics, also announced the LEGO Batman movie for 2017, although that won't count towards the DC universe.

Although unconfirmed on the dates, there are also two new standalone Superman and Batman films. Should be some interesting times for comic and superhero fans.

Warner Bros.

AfterDawn: News

Videos: Here are the first ads for the new Nexus line of devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Oct 2014 22:15

Videos: Here are the first ads for the new Nexus line of devices Yesterday, Google unveiled their new line of Nexus devices: The 6 smartphone, the 9 tablet and the Nexus Player for streaming media.

The search engine giant has also revealed the first official ads for the devices, keeping with the new "tag lines" for each individual hardware. The giant Nexus 6 smartphone will give consumers "space to explore" while the Nexus 9 was built for "movers and makers." The Nexus Player is "entertainment tailored for you."

Google will make the Nexus Player and Nexus 9 available for pre-order tomorrow, followed by the Nexus 6 on October 29th. Read more about each device at our dedicated posts: Nexus Player, Nexus 9 and Nexus 6


AfterDawn: News

Netflix to get some new 'Friends' in 2015

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Oct 2014 23:47

Netflix to get some new 'Friends' in 2015 According to Netflix, streaming subscribers will soon have access to every episode of "Friends."

The popular show, which ended in 2004 after a 10 year run on NBC, followed a group of friends living in "NYC" and turned actors like Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox into household names.

Netflix says the episodes will be made available starting on January 1, 2015.


AfterDawn: News

Motorola first to announce which devices will get Android 5.0

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Oct 2014 23:04

Motorola first to announce which devices will get Android 5.0 Earlier today, Google introduced its Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, to be released soon on the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9.

Motorola, a close partner of Google, was the first to announce which ones of their devices will get the update.

The devices are as follows:


AfterDawn: News

HBO finally going standalone, will no longer require cable subscription

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Oct 2014 22:11

HBO finally going standalone, will no longer require cable subscription It's finally happened.

Time Warner, parent company of HBO, has confirmed that the popular movie and show channel will offered as a standalone web-only streaming service starting next year, allowing cable cutters to get access without needing a cable/satellite TV subscription.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the company is preparing to launch a "standalone, over the top" version of HBO in 2015, but left consumers with little other details.

Reads the press statement: "So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them."

Currently, HBO Go allows mobile, set-top and computers users to stream the popular original content and movies anywhere but it also requires them to have an HBO channel subscription. Having a premium channel subscription also means having a monthly TV package, which is never cheap.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented on the news, saying that HBO Go going standalone was "inevitable" and will not affect the streaming service's booming content library.


AfterDawn: News

What is Android 5.0 Lollipop?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Oct 2014 21:45

What is Android 5.0 Lollipop? Android L is finally here, officially coined as Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The updated operating system has been long-awaited, ever since Google offered an in-depth preview of the new "Material Design" features at its I/O event over the summer. As always, Nexus owners will get the update first, and this includes the new Nexus 6 and 9, as well as the older Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play Edition devices.

Material Design is Google's way of unifying the operating system across phones, tablets, TV, and smartwatches and visually the interface has a cleaner more bold design, better colors, better animations, better multitasking abilities and better voice and gesture support.

Although it was relatively easy to do so before, Google says Lollipop will allow songs, photos, apps and recent searches to be seamlessly and effortlessly synced between all of your Android devices. The lock screen can be customized "so only certain people and notifications get through. When it's important, respond directly from your lockscreen." This is a great feature especially if you are working, and those emails from retailers can wait until later.

The dialer has been revamped, a much needed fix from Android 4.4 where it just frankly did not work well. Google says a new battery saver mode will give you 90 more minutes when you need it most, and Google has also activated multiple user accounts and guest user modes. From a security standpoint, you can now lock the device with a trusted paired device, like your watch and Android comes with a full kill switch, making the phone useless to thieves. Google has implemented "Factory Reset Protection," which requires a password before it can be reset, by anyone. When paired with remote lock and remote wipe, the phone is a brick when stolen. Additionally, as expected, Android L has full encryption by default, just like Apple's latest.


AfterDawn: News

Google goes for the Amazon Fire TV's jugular with new Nexus Player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Oct 2014 21:07

Google goes for the Amazon Fire TV's jugular with new Nexus Player Google kept the hits coming today after announcing their new flagship tablet and smartphone, introducing a streaming set-top box that aims right at the heart of Amazon's Fire TV.

The new Nexus Player is built by partner Asus and will give Google ecosystem fans a chance to stream their favorite content, run Android apps and play Android-based games. Just like the Fire TV, Google's latest includes a remote with a built-in mic for voice control and search, and an optional $39 controller allows you to play hundreds of games on the big screen.

Perhaps most importantly, the device is Google Cast-ready, meaning you can mirror your desktop and "cast" movies and apps to the big screen from your mobile or computer. The device runs on Android TV, the first device to use the operating system first confirmed back at the Google I/O event in June.

Most of the standard apps you'd expect are available like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Plex but HBO Go is notably absent just like it is on Amazon's box.

The little, round device is also pretty powerful with a 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal storage and Imagination PowerVR Series 6 graphics. It connects via HDMI for 1080p picture, and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The set-top costs $99 and goes on pre-order October 17th with a launch date on November 3rd.


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