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Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2015 7:44

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI Microsoft has been revealing the makings of Windows 10 this week. One of the most important aspects of all of its OS versions is the messaging. Now Skype team shows what its been up to.

The new Skype will come preloaded on all Windows 10 platforms be it phone, tablet, or PC. The new and updated Skype has been designed Windows 10 in mind but will of course land on Mac, iOS, and Android among others.

Microsoft's efforts are indeed in creating one app to rule them all. Like the competitor's iMessage it allows both SMS and instant messages to be sent from the same app, enabled by the linking of phone numbers and Skype names. It is available on all major platforms too, unlike the Apple's offering.

The new layout divides the view on panels and has a clean, simple look. Round icons are familiar from both Apple's and Google's messengers, as well as earlier versions of Skype.

Skype team promises more updates during the development in the next few months, and well keep you posted.


AfterDawn: News

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 0:07

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack Sony has said this week that it is delaying the reporting of its quarterly earnings as it continues to assess the damage from the cyberattack that took down Sony Pictures last year.

The company says it will still have a news conference on February 4th, but will not announce the results until later this year. Sony will give updated financial forecasts for the quarter, as well.

Hackers hit the company, taking down servers and entire networks while claiming to have stolen 100TB of data. Thousands of emails were released, often with humiliating results for Sony Pictures execs and celebrity actors. Five of the company's films, including 'Annie' and 'Fury' were also leaked, which hurt financially because many of the movies had not even hit theaters yet.

In addition, the company's financial and accounting software have been offline since the attack, along with other important platforms.


AfterDawn: News

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 23:17

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark Walmart's streaming stick, the Vudu Spark, is now available for sale.

The HDMI dongle is selling for just $25, undercutting Roku, Google and Amazon's rival devices. Walmart is currently selling the device in just 2400 of its stores, but it should be available online in the very near future.

Of course, at the extremely cheap price comes very little functionality. Walmart is not including a power adapter and just adding a USB cable (so you need to use your TV's USB port or BYOC), and the device only has Vudu installed, with little word on whether it can accept other apps like the popular Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

You can connect via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and the dongle supports up to 1080p and 7.1 surround sound.

If the price wasn't enticing enough, you get $25 in Vudu credit for activating and using the device for 5 months ($5 per month).


AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 18:16

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S. According to a new survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 50 percent of all phone activations in the U.S. were for Apple devices like the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Samsung remained relatively dominant, as well, at 26 percent of activations and LG came in third with 11 percent. Everybody else had minor shares, including HTC, Motorola and Nokia. Even Amazon and Blackberry made guest appearances combining for 1 percent of activations.

The survey also noted that 25 percent of previous Samsung owners switched to iPhones, while 18 percent of previous LG owners doing the same.

Keep in mind that the survey was only 500 subjects, which could mean the figures have significant margins of error.


AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp launches Web client

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 17:47

WhatsApp launches Web client WhatsApp has launched their first web client, allowing desktop and mobile users to use the cross-platform messaging service directly from their Web browser.

Reads the company's post:

"Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser. Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device -- this means all of your messages still live on your phone.

To connect your web browser to your WhatsApp client, simply open in your Google Chrome browser. You will see a QR code --- scan the code inside of WhatsApp, and you're ready to go. You have now paired WhatsApp on your phone with the WhatsApp web client. Your phone needs to stay connected to the internet for our web client to work, and please make sure to install the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone. Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations."

The service has 700 million users, and is now owned by Facebook. The limitations on Apple users is certainly a bummer, but can hopefully be lifted in the future.


AfterDawn: News

China has begun blocking VPN services

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 17:12

China has begun blocking VPN services According to experts and major tech companies, China has begun blocking VPN services that allow users to browse more anonymously and to avoid censorship in the nation.

VPN provider Golden Frog noted on its site that many of its popular services have been hit by the new controls, and popular service Astrill says their VPN protocols giving Apple users access to Gmail, Facebook and more have been blocked.

"The Chinese government has attempted to curtail the use of VPNs that its citizens use to escape the Great Firewall for a couple years," wrote Golden Frog President Sunday Yokubaitis in a statement. "This week's attack on VPNs that affected us and other VPN providers is more sophisticated than what we've seen in the past."

'The Great Firewall' is a reference to the Chinese government's blocking of thousands of sites and services because they contain "sensitive data" that the government does not want citizens to see. Many foreigners and many businesses in China use VPNs to access Google tools or other blocked data. The new move is particularly painful for smaller businesses that need such access.


AfterDawn: News

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 16:38

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix As a reminder, if you are a Netflix subscriber and haven't yet seen the now infamous 'The Interview,' it is available to stream starting today.

The company did not discuss the terms of the deal, but it certainly marks the quickest time in which a major motion picture has been made available via the streaming service.

Sony Pictures recently announced that the film brought in $46 million from digital rentals and sales and from theater showings in a a couple hundred independent theater chains. The movie will hit Blu-ray on February 17th.

The movie dominated headlines in December after Sony Pictures was decimated by a cyber attack and the attackers threatened a terrorist attack on movie theaters leading the major U.S. chains to suspend the release. Sony then made film available online as a rental or purchase on Christmas, where it became the top online film of all-time.


AfterDawn: News

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 0:07

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music Zenbu Magazines has filed seven proposed class action lawsuits against all the major streaming music providers over music from little known artists with recordings before 1972.

The suits are against Apple, Sony Entertainment, Google, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Escape Media Group (Grooveshark).

At the basis of the suit is copyright laws, which were amended by Congress in the 1970s but only protected tracks written after Feb. 15, 1972. Radio, satellite radio, TV, movies and other performers have been able to use the music without any real issues but that all changed when in 2013 'The Turtles' filed a $100 million class action suit against SiriusXM and Pandora claiming that its recording were protected by state laws and they are entitled damages and profits.

Zenbu owns recordings from The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hot Tuna and New Riders of the Purple Sage, each of which has pre-'72 recordings.


AfterDawn: News

What kind of battery life can you expect from the Apple Watch?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2015 23:47

What kind of battery life can you expect from the Apple Watch? Apple's upcoming smartwatch, the Apple Watch, is expected to launch in March; one of the most highly-anticipated devices of the year.

Insiders have now revealed the "specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery" although experts don't believe those targets can be achieved.

According to those sources (via 9to5), Apple's S1 chip will be close in performance to the A5 processor of previous iOS devices, but that the powerful processor and high-end display will lead to major battery drain.

Apple wanted about 19 hours of use if the user was "mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use" or up to 4 hours of "active application use" or 4 days in sleeping mode (meaning you are just telling the time).

It seems, however, that Apple could not achieve any of their goals. Instead the Apple Watch will have 2.5 hours of heavy app use, 3.5 hours of standard app use, and 2-3 days of standby mode.

At $349 at minimum, the newly reported battery life is not impressive but we will learn more in March.

AfterDawn: News

Google Play Edition devices all cleared out from Google Play Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 14:17

Google Play Edition devices all cleared out from Google Play Store If you were looking to pick up a top device with stock Android rather than the maker's own user interface, it just became harder to do so.

The last of Google's offering of "Google Play Edition" phones is now depleted, with the HTC One M8 GPE now showing up as unavailable.

Over the last few months, Sony's Xperia Z Ultra, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the LG G Pad 8.3 and other GPE phones and tablets have been pulled from the store or sold out and not returned.


AfterDawn: News

Dropbox released for Windows Phones, tablets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 13:49

Dropbox released for Windows Phones, tablets Dropbox has announced today that their app is now available for Windows Phones and tablets.

The company did a brief list of the features available for the apps:

-Automatically back up your photos to Dropbox

-Mark files as favorites so you can get to them even when you don't have an Internet connection

-Access both your personal and work accounts at once

-We've also tailored the app for the Windows platform, so you can pin any Dropbox folder to your Start screen for quick and easy access.

Dropbox says the app is available for download on Windows Phones (8.0 or newer) and also on Windows 8.1 and Windows RT devices.

AfterDawn: News

Sorry Microsoft RT tablet owners, you are not getting Windows 10

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 13:26

Sorry Microsoft RT tablet owners, you are not getting Windows 10 Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users (including Windows Phone) but Windows RT was notably left out of the conversation.

Windows RT was the operating system used on older tablets that used ARM architectures.

When asked, Microsoft said that "We are working on an update for Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10. More information to come." There were 5 tablets released in 2012 with the operating system before it was basically discontinued.

What that limited functionality will be is unclear. Most likely, some of the newly announced Windows Universal Apps will be made available for RT.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Office 2016 coming this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:54

Microsoft Office 2016 coming this year Microsoft has announced today that its upcoming Office 2016 will be released later this year.

The software giant had little to share except to say: "We will have more to share on Office 2016 in the coming months, but this suite will remain the comprehensive Office experience you're long familiar with, best suited for a PC with keyboard and mouse. We expect to make Office 2016 generally available in the second half of 2015."

Microsoft's new version of the popular software suite will include a dark theme, and a slight resurrection of "Clippy" who can assist with learning features. The UI will look similar to Office 2013, but will extend to include new features from Windows 10. All of the software will be more touch-friendly, as well.

A preview will be available in the coming weeks, with the full release slated for later this year.


AfterDawn: News

Google will sell wireless services directly following deals with T-Mobile, Sprint

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:35

Google will sell wireless services directly following deals with T-Mobile, Sprint Google has struck deals with Sprint and T-Mobile U.S. and will offer wireless services directly to consumers.

There are no other details available about how much Google will charge, or where the mobile plans will be offered.

What is known is that Google will resell services on Sprint's and T-Mobile's networks under their own brand name. Sprint is said to have put a clause in their deal that if Google gets too many customers, the pricing can be restructured higher for renting the network.

Google will not have to pay to build or maintain a network, but will have to take care of customer service, billing and hardware sales.

Sprint and T-Mobile are vying for the third spot as the U.S.' largest carrier, and offer LTE networks although ones not as large as AT&T and Verizon.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix acknowledges that Popcorn Time is 'competition' with misleading chart

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:11

Netflix acknowledges that Popcorn Time is 'competition' with misleading chart During Netflix's recent quarterly shareholders report, in which the company showed huge growth in subscribers, there was a small note in which the streaming giant cited Popcorn Time, the piracy streaming service that has been called the "Netflix of Piracy" in the past.

The company, in a section entitled "Competition," Netflix says: "Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors. This graph of Popcorn Time's sharp rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering." The chart, linked below, shows that Popcorn Time is trending as much as Netflix in the nation, which has 13 million residents.

Popcorn Time, for its part, has confirmed that the Netherlands loves the service, having seen 1.3 million downloads of the app since its launch.

While the trend in one small European nation may be "sobering" for Netflix, checking the Google Trends in other larger nations like the U.S. and Great Britain shows that Popcorn Time is just a blip compared to legal streaming services.


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