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AfterDawn: News

Comcast and Time Warner spent over half a billion on failed merger

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 May 2015 22:00

Comcast and Time Warner spent over half a billion on failed merger According to Comcast's most recent earnings report, the cable giant has spent over $330 million in 'transaction-related costs' in its attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable, and Time Warner has spent over $220 million.

Comcast proposed to buy TWC in February 2014 for $45.2 billion and just canceled the proposed merger last month after it became clear it would never make it through Federal regulators.

In the Q1 alone, ended March 31st, Comcast had $99 million in costs related to the acquisition, and Time Warner Cable had $24 million in costs.

"The costs are mainly for legal fees and outside consulting firms--everything from Human Resources and IT consulting to banks and management consulting services," said Comcast VP of Government Communications Sena Fitzmaurice. "Communications and lobbying fees would be included--however, what is included has to be direct and incremental--so only those fees that are directly and incrementally associated with the deal."

At least there was one positive for Comcast shareholders: no break-up fee. The company says the deal was structured without an expensive break-up fee involved, which can sometimes reach into the billions. One recent example is AT&T's failed purchase of rival carrier T-Mobile in 2011. When the DOJ killed the merger, AT&T had to pay T-Mobile $4 billion in cash and spectrum, effectively reviving the carrier and allowing it to go on the offensive with pricing.


AfterDawn: News

Report: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 and Tab S2 9.7 coming next month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 May 2015 21:43

Report: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 and Tab S2 9.7 coming next month According to new reports, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 and Tab S2 9.7 tablets are coming next month, high-end successors to the Galaxy Tab S.

The tablets will be thinner than the standard bearer iPad Air, and both will be available as Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/LTE models. Just like their predecessor, the tablets will launch around the globe including the US, Canada, Europe, China, Latin America, Hong Kong, Korea, and India.

Powering the tablets are a 64-bit Samsung Exynos processor, 3GB RAM and Android 5.0.2 out of the box. The S2 8.0 has an 8-inch SuperAMOLED display at 2048 x 1536 while its larger brother has a 9.7-inch model and the same resolution. The smaller device is just 260 grams and the larger model is 407 grams. Although there will be few that can actually use it to its full potential, the S2 has a Cat. 6 LTE modem allowing transfers up to 300Mbps.

Design-wise, it is expected to look just like the predecessor Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (pictured) but with the aforementioned 4:3 ratio.


AfterDawn: News

Rare to unveil new game at E3: Is 'Banjo Kazooie' coming?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 May 2015 20:49

Rare to unveil new game at E3: Is 'Banjo Kazooie' coming? Rare, the developer behind the massive hits Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye for Sega and N64 is preparing to launch a new game at the E3 gaming expo next month.

Both Microsoft, who acquired the company, and Rare, have both confirmed a new game is coming but has let few details slip.

While it is possible Rare is creating an entirely new game, nearly everyone expects a remake of one of the aforementioned IPs, with a Banjo sequel the most likely.

If indeed it is a new Banjo, there will be an interesting rivalry brewing. Most of the developers behind the original game are currently working on Yooka-Laylee, a platformer in the exact spirit and concept as B-K, but without the original IP or the big funding of Microsoft. Yooka-Laylee has raised $2 million on Kickstarter in just 48 hours showing that there is certainly a market out there for cartoon duos going on adventures.

Furthermore, Yooka-Laylee will be available for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U, while any Rare game is expected to be an exclusive.

AfterDawn: News

Gamers really, really want Konami to release 'Silent Hills'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 20:57

Gamers really, really want Konami to release 'Silent Hills' Earlier this week, Konami seemingly broke gamer's hearts when they announced that 'Silent Hills' had been canceled.

The game, the ninth in the popular horror survival 'Silent Hill' series, was to be directed by the legendary Hideo Kojima, in collaboration with film director Guillermo del Toro and voiced by The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus.

After the game was canceled, one gamer took to to start a petition to have the game continue in its development and as of writing, there are now 70,000 signatures.

Reads the petition:

Dear Hideo and Guillermo,

hearing the cancellation of one of the most anticipated horror games is about the most heartbreaking thing horror fans had to swallow this year.

Since the first sight of the P.T Demo it was instant love, and it burned into the minds of everyone that this had to release at some point.

Although the reasons are not yet announced I am begging you along with countless others: Please continue the Development on Silent Hills, if the issue is money related, we would love to see a Crowdfunding campaign like Kickstarter to ensure you are getting all the financial help there is! We´d love to see it happen at some point and want to thank you for all the great games you have released so far!


AfterDawn: News

Comcast aiming to launch a YouTube competitor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 19:47

Comcast aiming to launch a YouTube competitor According to a new report, Comcast is looking to build its own online video service that can compete with Google's YouTube.

"The proposed video service would mark a brand new chapter for Comcast, which would be able to play in a loosely regulated market, reach a national audience and possibly even make its service available outside the U.S.," reads the report. "It also may be necessary move, given that younger viewers have been gravitating toward Web videos made by a new generation of artists. One purpose of the service is to add new types of shows to Comcast's cable package, allowing people to watch them on TV screens."

If that is accurate, Comcast will look to use their 27 million cable subscribers to boost the service, especially with younger viewers that are turning away from traditional TV at a rapid pace.

Unfortunately for the company, YouTube is a name even your grandmother knows, so Comcast will have an uphill battle if it really wants to get into the online video sharing market.


AfterDawn: News

iSuppli: Apple Watch Sport costs just $83.70 to build

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 16:00

iSuppli: Apple Watch Sport costs just $83.70 to build IHS iSuppli has completed their component cost teardown of the Apple Watch this weekend, unsurprisingly reporting that the Watch is significantly cheaper to build than other Apple products.

The 38mm Apple Watch Sport, which has been the most popular seller due to its lower retail price, costs just $83.70 to build with a retail price of $349. With components costing just 24 percent of retail, there is a chance that Apple can be squeeze out higher margins than their average 40 percent they make on currently sold products after research and development, marketing, shipping and software costs are taken into account.

IHS confirmed that the Apple Watch Sport has 8GB of Toshiba flash storage, 512MB RAM from Micron, an accelerometer and gyroscope from STMicro and other interior components produced by Analog Devices, Maxim, Broadcam, NXP and STMicro.

The most expensive component was the display (OLED + cover glass) at $20.50 per unit, followed by Apple's own S1 processor at $10.20. Somewhat surprisingly, the box and charger and other packaging cost $9.

Check out the full teardown here: IHS iSuppli


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Pay expected to launch in 2H 2015

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 15:34

Samsung Pay expected to launch in 2H 2015 According to a Samsung executive, the company's Samsung Pay mobile payments service is expected to launch in the second half of the year.

According to Samsung Electronics Managing Director Park Jin-Young, the service will first launch in South Korea and the U.S., rolling out to other nations later.

That being said, Park did note that "the consecutive release schedule to the rest of the other countries [...] in the second half of the year is still under discussion."

Samsung first announced the service during this year's Mobile World Congress event in Spain. Samsung acquired mobile payments platform LoopPay earlier this year as the basis of the technology for their own service which uses NFC and magnetic secure transmission (MST) to make payments.


AfterDawn: News

Bright House is Charter or Time Warner's next acquisition target in the ongoing cable industry consolidation

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 11:00

Bright House is Charter or Time Warner's next acquisition target in the ongoing cable industry consolidation Just a week after Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable was shut down by regulators, both Time Warner and rival Charter Communication have been in talks with smaller player Bright House for a potential acquisition.

Charter had agreed to acquire Bright House in March for $10.4 billion, but the deal was 100% contingent on Comcast's deal succeeding, and now has to be remade.

Bright House has a little over 2 million subscribers, but has steady cash flow and profits that make it attractive as a stepping stone to go after a larger fish, like Time Warner Cable, for example.

For Time Warner, an acquisition would be obvious as it would make their own company more expensive to purchase, would add on debt making them less attractive and take an asset away from a rival.

Many industry analysts believe a tie-up between Bright House, Charter and Time Warner is inevitable, and the combined entity would have around 25 million subscribers, close to Comcast's massive 27 million.


AfterDawn: News

Unity game engine announces support for Microsoft HoloLens

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 10:33

Unity game engine announces support for Microsoft HoloLens Uunity has announced full support for Microsoft's upcoming HoloLens holographic computing platform.

HoloLens, which we got to see a nice hands-on of at this week's BUILD conference, is a "self-contained holographic computer headset" running Windows 10 allowing for the rendering of HD holograms that can be projected anywhere, are interactive, and will blend in with the rest of the real environment you are in.

Says Unity of the partnership:


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft buys digital pen technology from N-Trig for $30 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 10:19

Microsoft buys digital pen technology from N-Trig for $30 million Although it was widely reported months ago, Microsoft has finally confirmed their acquisition of technology from digital pen tech developer N-Trig.

It had previously been reported that Microsoft was buying the entire company for $200 million, but that was false it appears, as Microsoft only acquired some technology at a price tag of $30 million.

"We can't wait to show you what we'll deliver for our Surface Fans in the future," said Stevie Bathiche of the Microsoft Surface team. "Digital pens have a ways to go to be as good as pen and paper on some dimensions, and we'll get there. But more importantly, adding the ability to capture and share the work you do with a digital pen opens up possibilities that traditional pen and paper just can't match. Today's investment is another step that will let us push that innovation forward."

N-Trig has over 100 patents and the company's digital pen has been available with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet since last year.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify now valued at $8 billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 10:09

Spotify now valued at $8 billion Music streaming giant Spotify has raised another $350 million at a valuation of about $8 billion.

Reportedly, one of the largest investments came from Goldman Sachs, who was investing for its institutional clients.

Spotify has over 60 million monthly active users, 15 million of which pay for unlimited or premium subscriptions that cost $4.99 or $9.99 per month.

Free users can listen to music using the desktop app or their browser, or on mobiles but only in "radio" format similar to Pandora. All free accounts have to listen to ads every few tracks. Unlimited users get unlimited streaming with no ads, and premium subscribers get unlimited streaming, no ads, and full mobile access.


AfterDawn: News

Uber's offices in China got raided

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 9:50

Uber's offices in China got raided In their ongoing effort to crackdown on ridesharing apps, the Chinese government has raided Uber's offices in Guangzhou.

Uber, one of the largest private startups in the world, launched in 2013 in China following successful launches around the globe. Uber has infamously been on the wrong side of the law multiple times, however, and this appears to be no different. Chinese officials "inspected a company which is suspected of organizing private cars with are not qualified to provide passenger services, and of not having registered with the commercial authorities," read the reports.

During the raid, a few mobile phones were "temporarily confiscated" although it is unclear why.

The Guangzhou transport commission added that Uber's business model is a potential "illegal business activity," and that they will continue to look for "illegal operators who disrupt the transport market."


AfterDawn: News

Lenovo's "world's lightest" LaVie Z goes on sale

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2015 9:27

Lenovo's "world's lightest" LaVie Z goes on sale In January, Lenovo unveiled its super-light LaVie Z laptop. Weighing only 777 grams or 1.7 lbs its more lightweight than the new MacBook. Now the miracle laptop Lenovo calls the world's lightest 13-incher is available to purchase via Lenovo's website.

On the website there's one version of LaVie Z and one version of its touchscreen-equipped sibling (with Yoga-like hinge) LaVie Z 360. Both of them feature a 13-inch QHD (2650x1440) display, 8 gigabytes of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and a Core i7 processor. LaVie Z is on sale for $1499 (original price $1699) and LaVie Z 360 for $1699 (original price $1849).

When revealing the product Lenovo said that the starting price will be $1299, exactly what the new MacBook starts at. This Core i5 version is yet to be added to the online store but I will provide a much better performance in a lighter body thanks to the Core i5 processor. MacBook however is slimmer and the Core M processor provides a much better battery life.

AfterDawn: News

Windows Phone fans rejoice: Two high-end devices are coming this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 May 2015 9:19

Windows Phone fans rejoice: Two high-end devices are coming this year After a year of pumping out cheap low-range Lumia devices to target the masses, it appears Microsoft has a couple of high-end devices waiting in the wings for power users.

First, we have the Lumia codenamed "Talkman" which has a 5.2-inch QHD display, a sexta-core 64-bit Qualcomm processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (expandable with microSD), dual 5MP/20MP cameras and a large 3000 mAh battery. Furthermore, Microsoft wants to keep this device lighter and slimmer than the existing Lumia 930, say the sources.

Moving even higher up the spec chain is the Lumia "Cityman" which will feature a 5.7-inch QHD display, an octa-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (expandable), the same dual 5MP/20MP cameras and a 3300mAh battery.

Both devices will run Windows 10, and both device will have triple LED flash each of which has a different tone to allow for more natural colors.

Sources say you can expect the devices around the launch time of Windows 10, which is the end of July or early August.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft discontinues Windows Media Center

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2015 9:11

Microsoft discontinues Windows Media Center Microsoft has been unveiling more about its upcoming operating system this past week at Build conference in San Francisco. The company also told to ZDNet that it will be killing off the Windows Media Center.

Windows Media Center was released in 2001 as a full screen media experience for Windows XP. The development halted already in 2009 but the software has been included to this day in Windows 8. Now it seems however that the interface will not be seen on Windows 10.

The software was meant for media consumption of music, video, photos, and TV. It was designed to be intuitive with a remove controller, often provided with the Windows Media Center PCs. Even if the software will not make a return in Windows 10 the functionality largely will surely be in place – if not by Microsoft, by 3rd party developers.

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