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AfterDawn: News

Apple brought pre-orders to App Store

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2017 11:33

Apple brought pre-orders to App Store Apple has released a new feature in its App Store. The application store now allows users to pre-order apps built for iOS, macOS, and tvOS.

In a nutshell this means that the developers will get an indication of how popular the app seems to be as well as gives them another type of marketing possibility. Pre-orders were first introduces in beta form a year ago. Apple's trial was done with the help of Nintendo whose Super Mario Run was being released.

It was the first app on the App Store that you could pre-order before it became officially available, but now any developer can take advantage of the same hype generating marketing plot.

You can also find a new subcategory within App Store's Games category that promotes some of the games currently in pre-order.

When buying a product that hasn't been released yet, there's clearly always a possibility that you might not end up liking it. It is possible, though, that you'll get a better deal of the app when you pre-order it, so it's definitely a double edged sword.

You can find more about App Store pre-ordering from Apple's official website.

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AfterDawn: News

Beloved VLC has updated its Android offering

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2017 9:58

Beloved VLC has updated its Android offering One of the most popular PC media players of all time, VLC, has been on mobile for quite some time, but unfortunately the update schedule has been fairly irregular. In fact, it's been more than a year since the last major update to the Android version.

Now there are some good news for you Android users, though.

VLC has finally released an updated version of their Android software. Previous larger update was the 2.0 that was released last year. Now VLC for Android has been updated to version 2.5.

As you might imagine, v2.5 is a rather major update that bring new features and updated functionality. First of all, VLC now supports Android Auto which adapts the UI while on the road. It also now supports 360 degree videos, a feature first added to desktop VLC November 2016, and with the newest Android Oreo version on board you can also enjoy videos in PiP (picture-in-picture) mode.

The user interface has been also revamped a little. This includes a new day and night modes, video gallery that now shows content information better, and you can even select to play multiple files as a playlist.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion in unpaid taxes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2017 9:05

Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion in unpaid taxes Apple, like most companies, do not like taxes. In fact, it tries to avoid them in myriad of ways, but mostly within legal boundaries. However, not always can even the world's highest valued company get away with their tax schemes.

One of these happened for years between Apple and Ireland. The EU member state offered Apple special protections against taxes with agreements that angered the European Commission.

According to EU, Ireland's tax agreement with Apple is considered state aid which is illegal for a EU member state. Both Apple and Ireland have been against EU's decision, and Ireland has refused, or been very slow in the least, to charge Apple the taxes.

Lately EU has been pressuring Ireland to collect the $15 billion in taxes that Apple owes them, even to the extent that it has threatened to sue Ireland. Meanwhile, Apple has been moving their assets to other tax havens, at least to the island of Jersey, Paradise Papers revealed earlier this year – totally unrelated, right?

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix will bring House of Cards back for one last hurrah – without Kevin Spacey

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2017 14:26

Netflix will bring House of Cards back for one last hurrah – without Kevin Spacey For Netflix one of the most important moves towards becoming an original content powerhouse, like it is today, was to release House of Cards, one might argue. It was the first truly spectacular tv show part of the Netflix Originals branding.

The series went on to wow the crowd but also managed to achieve the first ever Emmy for Netflix. However, now it has become a burden for Netflix.

The continuation, and ultimately the end, of the show has been in question as the star actor and executive producer of House of Cards, Kevin Spacey, has been in the forefront for all the wrong reasons.

Space was accused by a fellow actor, Anthony Rapp, of sexual harassment that happened in the 80s when Rapp was only 14 years old. After the allegations others followed suit claiming that such inappropriate action were take by Spacey even during the House of Cards set.

Netflix, even though spacing (no pun intended) themselves from the House of Cards lead, has now confirmed that House of Cards will indeed return with another season. It will, however, be the last season.

Obviously the sixth season will have to be largely rewritten, which will take time. At this point there is no schedule for the release, at least not one that Netflix wants public, but Netflix says that filming will start in 2018 and the last season will consist of eight episodes.

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AfterDawn: News

Google bringing HDR-videos to Android Chrome

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2017 11:55

Google bringing HDR-videos to Android Chrome Google's Chrome browser is by far the most popular mobile browser on the planet, thanks to world dominated by Android phones. The mobile platform's default browser, however, isn't just popular because it's default, it offers some excellent functionality, which is why people probably don't want to switch to Opera, Firefox, or recently released Android version of Microsoft Edge.

Now the search giant is updating its mobile browser with a new feature, Android Police reports. The information comes from changes in the code recorded by the Chromium team's Gerrit, a collaboration tool for the developers.

According to the changes, the Android version of Chrome is going to soon get HDR metadata support for VP9 codec. What this means is that the default browser on Android phones will likely soon support HDR videos.

HDR, or high dynamic range, offers better and more vivid colors, better contrast, and an all around better picture. It has been touted one of the most important innovations in TVs specifically, even offering more improvement to image quality than resolution upgrade from Full HD to 4K.

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AfterDawn: News

Google offers a free Home Mini for Nest buyers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2017 11:44

Google offers a free Home Mini for Nest buyers Black Friday, and even Cyber Monday, are far in the past already, but fear not, there are still some offers in store that might want you to invest in some sweet tech gifts.

One of the more succulent offerings comes from Google that has decided to help you start with a smart home setup by bundling a smart speaker with a Nest purchase. What's even better, the Google Home Mini is for free.

This deal is available until the end of the year, so you can grab one even with Christmas gift happens to be a suitable gift card. The only requirements are that the Nest product, or single products bundle is valued at $99 or more, and you buy the products from Google Store or Nest Store.

After you've chosen the qualified product you'll be prompted to choose a color for your free Google Home Mini. Colors available are Charcoal and Chalk, so essentially a darker and a lighter shade of gray. Don't forget to add the Google Home Mini to your cart though, according to PhoneArena you'll hate to manually add it if you are using Google Store.

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AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2017 10:27

Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed The patent drama between Qualcomm and Apple is ever-changing it seems. To start the year Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 million for abusing their patents. Then Qualcomm responded during the summer by taking Apple to court for patent infringement themselves.

A few months later, just a few days ago in fact, Apple filed more lawsuits claiming Qualcomm is using their power management patents without consent. And that gets us to today when Qualcomm has filed their latest claims.

Surprisingly Qualcomm is blaming Apple for pretty much exactly what they were sued for. According to Qualcomm, Apple has been using their camera autofocus and power management patents in their new iPhone models.

The three new claims bring the total number of Qualcomm patent complaints to 16, ZDNet reports. In addition to this, Qualcomm is challenging Apple's patent usage at the International Trade Commission (ITC).

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AfterDawn: News

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 15:20

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone Apple has been trying to get less dependent on other chip manufacturers in the recent years. Most importantly they started developing their own graphics processing units that were first deployed in this year's iPhone models.

Now, according to Nikkei Asian Review, sources say that Apple is developing another in-house chip that will probably find its way to future iPhones.

This time around the chip is a power management chip that makes sure battery lasts. Apple's work on iPhones has resulted in fairly good battery life, albeit not anything competitors don't have to offer. However, Apple's battery life work has mostly been done in software, thanks to iOS being very optimized, so there is certainly more they can do with semiconductor development.

Previously power management chips have been developed by Dialog Semicoductor. Previous GPUs on the other hand were developed by Imagination Technologies. In addition to GPUs, and now it seems power management, Apple's in-house development consists of designing the SoCs (e.g. Apple A11 Bionic), AI or so called Neural Engine chips, and image processing chips.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 10:03

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS After years and years of development as a part of the Windows 10 ecosystem, Windows 10 Mobile never managed to grow into a proper business. All the bets Microsoft made with Windows 10 Mobile and buying smartphone business from Nokia failed.

After acknowledging that there is no future for Windows 10 smartphones, Microsoft has been focusing heavily on producing better Android and iOS apps. Many of its core software obviously are already on both platforms, including the Office suite and even Cortana, but now Microsoft has added another one to both iOS and Android.

Microsoft has just released their browser, Microsoft Edge, on both Android and iOS. Edge is, of course, the browser that comes with Windows 10 and replaced Internet Explorer, or IE, as the main browser on the platform.

The idea behind this is of course that people that are familiar with the Edge on desktop will start using it on their phones. Maybe a few will even discover it via the mobile version.

After a couple months of beta testing, the app is now available for all to download, so head to Play Store or App Store if you'd like to try out Microsoft's browser offering on your smartphone.




AfterDawn: News

Google Home now understands two questions at once

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:53

Google Home now understands two questions at once Google has updated their smart speakers with new type of functionality. As Amazon is ever updating their Echo lineup, consisting now half a dozen devices, and bringing new features via their Alexa app, Google needs to step up their game too.

Now Google has introduced multitasking to Google Home.

Finally, many of you probably think. Now you can ask your Google Home about weather and traffic in one go instead of asking, waiting, and asking again. However, there are a few drawbacks, as CNET notes.

Currently the feature only allows you to ask no more than two questions. Thankfully you aren't limited by things you can string together, unlike the Routines on Amazon Echo. Amazon's Routines only allow you to do certain tasks (including smart home, traffic, news, and weather) together, and you also need to preprogram them with your Alexa app.

Preprogrammed routines do have some other benefits too, though, so you Home owners will be happy to hear that Google is going to bring that type of feature to the Home as well. In the meantime you'll have to work with two questions for two answers.




AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:43

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines Microsoft released the latest iteration of their computer operating system Windows in July of 2015. Now three and a half years later, Windows 10 has become hugely popular and ever growing.

Windows 10 is clearly one of the more important generations of Windows, and it has numbers to back that up. In 2015 Microsoft claimed that in 2018 Windows 10 will pass the billion user mark if you count all the versions of Windows 10 (including tablets and phones).

While we're not yet in that kind of numbers, and 2018 is just around the corner, Windows 10 has passed an impressive milestone. Currently Windows 10 is used by over 600 million users. And you have to remember that the whole Windows 10 phone thing failed miserably which doesn't really help with the target.

Even if one billion might be a little bit off, Windows 10 is growing rather fast. In May Microsoft said that Windows 10 was in half a billion devices worldwide, which makes give us a 100 million user growth over six months. If the rate continues, and that is a big if, Microsoft would pass 1 billion mark around this time of the year in 2019.

That is not Microsoft's prediction, though, as the company has apparently decided to refrain from commenting on new predictions.




AfterDawn: News

YouTube blocked huge amounts of music in Finland

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 14:51

YouTube blocked huge amounts of music in Finland YouTube has surprised the people of Finland today, as they have been unable to listen to their favorite songs on one of the more popular online entertainment platforms.

The world's most popular video service, sometimes used for listening to music and watching music videos, has blocked copious amounts of videos that feature music by artists represented by Teosto, a Finnish organization representing thousands of local and millions of foreign artists.

First reported by Iltalehti, Google owned streaming video service has blocked many of the videos containing music by Teosto represented artists. Block doesn't discriminate whether the content is official music videos or videos containing music by said artists, or whether the artist is Finnish or not.

According to Finnish national broadcasting company Yle, the licensing deal ran out and thus all the content was blocked by Google.

Currently if you are trying to access the videos in Finland you are prompted with a message saying: "This video contains content from TEOSTO. It is not available in your country." YouTube Help has also added a page explaining the block and its reasons for implementing it.

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AfterDawn: News

HDMI gets an update, new version supports 10K video

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 13:08

HDMI gets an update, new version supports 10K video HDMI has been the de facto video and audio connection between TVs and digital entertainment devices for years now, but it certainly isn't the same connection it was in the early 2000s.

Now, more than a decade after the first HDMI specifications, the High-Definition Multimedia Interface has been adopted in billions of devices, and it's far more versatile that it was at version 1.0 with under 4 Gbps bandwidth.

The new HDMI 2.1 specifications have been released two days ago and they increase the speeds and compatibility even further. HDMI 2.1 supports up to 10K resolution video, which at this point in time can't be really even viewed on any device, not to mention there aren't a lot of 10K videos around. In addition it supports 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz.

Also it support dynamic HDR, a feature that is bound to be popular in the future. It allows high dynamic range, used in filming many of the films and TV shows these days, that can be altered on the fly for each frame individually.

The bandwidth has been increased to a maximum of 48 Gbps, over 10 times that of the original HDMI and nearly triple the bandwidth of previous iteration, HDMI 2.0. Also, for those wondering, HDMI 2.1 is fully backwards compatible with version 2.0.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple and Qualcomm at it again, chip maker sued for patent infringement

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 12:44

Apple and Qualcomm at it again, chip maker sued for patent infringement Apple has once again sued the world's largest mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm. As you might have guessed, it's once again another patent dispute where Apple thinks Qualcomm is breaking the law.

According to Apple, Qualcomm is using a patented technology that allows the chips to use less power and retain better battery life. The technology is used in a variety of Android phones that are powered by Qualcomm's popular Snapdragon chipsets.

Reuters reports that the feature allows the smartphones' processor to draw the minimum power needed at the time by turning off unnecessary cores. Apple says that this sleep and wake function is used in Snapdragon 800 and 820 chipsets released in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

This only the latest part in the drama between the two, as originally Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in January for not paying certain royalties. According to the chip maker, they weren't required to pay after Apple had broken the contract at the time of the investigation.

Qualcomm then countersued Apple in the summer for infringing on its battery saving patents. Now the same feature has been used to turn around the tables once more.

The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in San Diego, CA, where also Qualcomm's headquarters are located.




AfterDawn: News

YouTube Go is the diet version of YouTube – here's how to get it

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Nov 2017 16:01

YouTube Go is the diet version of YouTube – here's how to get it YouTube is the number one online video resource bar none, not even close. However, even the largest provider of video content has their problems (and we're not talking about demonetization here), one of which are the data requirements.

Obviously watching videos over the internet is very data intensive, and many of us understand that video is more requiring of your data connection than pictures or text. Google knows this and has been trying to develop all kinds of technologies to give access to video content to all, not just to people with unlimited LTE data.

This includes developing their own video codecs as well as better optimized versions of the service itself. The development of the latter has now taken a major leap forward as Google has finally released it to the public.

YouTube Go is meant mainly for people that do not have access to fast and unlimited internet access. It's a lighter, diet version, if you will, of YouTube app that allows the users to download videos for later viewing. It also lets you transfer videos via Bluetooth that obviously doesn't require perhaps costly internet connection.

Obviously many of us in the western world have access to unlimited, or something close to it (thanks U.S. carriers), so YouTube Go is mostly directed towards emerging markets. Thus the app has limited availability, and you'll have to jump through few hoops to get it in the U.S. or Europe.

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