AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Yahoo to buy analytics firm Flurry for over $200 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jul 2014 23:32

Yahoo to buy analytics firm Flurry for over $200 million Flurry, well known in the mobile industry for its in-depth analytics, has been acquired for over $200 million by Yahoo.

Yahoo continues to eat up startups in its ongoing efforts "to re-imagine users' daily habits" and focus on mobile.

As the company says of the acquisition: "Analytics are critical for all mobile developers to understand and optimize their applications. Yahoo and Flurry are reinvesting in developers and continuing to build great analytics products. The combined scale of the two companies will accelerate revenue growth for thousands of developers and publishers across the mobile ecosystem."

Flurry posted some of their more impressive data points, including the fact that 170,000 developers use Flurry Analytics, the company sees over 5.5 billion app sessions per day, app activity from 1.4 billion devices per month and the fact that Flurry works in 150 countries gaining extensive reach. Flurry Analytics are seen in 7 apps per device, quite a high number.

"Yahoo's growth in mobile traffic comes from great people and great products," said Scott Burke, SVP Advertising Technology. "Flurry's success is the result of years of committed investment by a passionate team to create an indispensable platform for mobile developers. We want to harness our collective innovative spirit and bolster the mobile ecosystem by providing developers the analytics and monetization solutions to drive their success."


AfterDawn: News

Aereo only had 77,596 subscribers at the end of last year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jul 2014 23:11

Aereo only had 77,596 subscribers at the end of last year Aereo became a household name over the past year as the tiny startup took on broadcast giants like CBS, Fox and Disney in an effort to stay alive.

The Supreme Court recently stomped on that dream, ruling that Aereo, which offers cloud DVR access to the broadcast channels in HD anywhere for $8 per month, violates the copyrights of the content providers. Aereo then tried to become a cable company, but that was rejected, as well, as the company awaits its final fate via a lower court ruling.

Even though the company was famous, it does not appear that the brand recognition really helped sales, at least not as of December 31, 2013.

According to a U.S. Copyright Office letter, as of the end of last year Aereo only had 77,596 subscribers, with over 30 percent coming from New York City where Aereo first launched. The company expanded significantly in 2014, so the figures could conceivably be much higher now, but even with 100 percent growth the numbers will still be low when compared to popular streaming services.


AfterDawn: News

Here is the new Nvidia SHIELD tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2014 23:38

Here is the new Nvidia SHIELD tablet While the images of the upcoming NVIDIA SHIELD tablet leaked earlier this month, it remained unclear what was under the hood. We now have the full spec sheet and a release date, as well.

"The newest member of the SHIELD family" is set to be officially launched on July 22nd, and will join the SHIELD gaming handheld.

While the handheld gaming device had excellent specs, the software ecosystem was severely lacking at launch and the device was priced too high, leading to lackluster sales. After a few months, however, Nvidia updated the software, adding some killer features like Gamepad Mapper and GameStream.

The new tablet will include all the same features but will also be a tablet, giving flexibility to consumers who may not want just a gaming device. The specs are also excellent, and the device is one of the first with Nvidia's K1 processor.

Full specs:

Tegra K1 Processor (192 core Kepler GPU, 2.2 GHz Quad Core A15 CPU)
8-inch Full HD IPS display (19201200)
Front facing stereo speakers and dual bass reflex port
4K Ultra-HD ready
Micro SD slot
Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, dual-band a/b/g/n WiFI
Integrated Stylus
19.75 WHr battery (up to 10-hours HD video playback)


AfterDawn: News

One million Chromebooks were sold to schools in the last quarter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2014 22:38

One million Chromebooks were sold to schools in the last quarter Earlier this week, during its quarterly earnings conference call, Google announced that its partners have sold over one million Chromebooks to schools in the last quarter.

Overall, there were about 76 million PCs sold in the whole world for the quarter, so 1 million for a niche product selling to a niche market is incredibly strong.

Chromebooks are popular in schools due to their price, full keyboards when compared to iPads, and easier administrator tools from a single console.

Looking to the future, Google recently announced the expansion of their Google Play for Education app and e-book store to Chromebooks from tablets, meaning more educational tools and textbooks will be available for the devices. Additionally, a school can share and fund a Google Play for Education account for teachers allowing them to buy apps, books and more for the class or individual students.


AfterDawn: News

BBM for Windows Phone now available in beta

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2014 8:46

BBM for Windows Phone now available in beta If you own a Windows Phone device and have been dying to get your hands on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), your time has almost come.

The application is available now in the Windows Phone Store, but only those in the beta tester program will be able to download and use it. BlackBerry opened the beta program last week and it filled up within a couple of days.

BBM hit Android and iOS last year, and has been popular since. The company says the move added over 40 million registered users from September to December of last year.

Windows Phone beta users will incur significant bugs, a few of which have already been documented including:


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft details August Xbox One update: Mobile purchase, 3D Blu-ray, much more

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2014 20:20

Microsoft details August Xbox One update: Mobile purchase, 3D Blu-ray, much more Microsoft has revealed the details of the upcoming August Xbox One update, which include eight featured additions/changes.

The features are new activity feed updates, an expansion for the Friends section on Home, low battery notifications, the ability to disable notifications when playing video, mobile purchases, 3D Blu-ray support, OneGuide expansion and a 'last time seen' addition to your Friends list.

In the console's activity feed interface, the layout will now be a single scrolling list "that is longer and includes more content." In addition, you can now post on your feeds and "like" and comment on other items, similar to Facebook. You can also share your game clips either privately or publicly to the feed. SmartGlass will be integrated, as well.

If you are looking to kinda stalk your friends list, it will now reveal the last time your friend has been online and what they were playing. The Home area has been expanded showing friend's current activity, the top trending games they could be playing and also a Gamerscore leaderboard.


AfterDawn: News

Yahoo search market share falls to 'all-time low'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2014 19:31

Yahoo search market share falls to 'all-time low' According to the latest comScore data, Yahoo's search market share has reached an all-time low, at just below 10 percent.

Overall, desktop search declined for the fifth month in a row, as mobile continued to grow at a fast pace.

Yahoo's fall has been anticipated since its "search alliance" deal with Microsoft has led to a combined 29 percent for Bing and Yahoo but has made Bing the priority.

Google remained the clear leader for desktop search, at 67.6 percent, followed by Bing at 19.2 percent and Yahoo at 9.8 percent. All others accounted for 3.4 percent.

The report does not include mobile figures but Google is said to have about 85 percent share of the quickly growing mobile market.


AfterDawn: News

Ruling: Aereo is not a cable company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2014 18:55

Ruling: Aereo is not a cable company Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled against online TV broadcast and DVR startup Aereo, effectively killing the company.

In its efforts to regain its status, Aereo asked to be reconsidered as a "cable company" under copyright law, allowing it to continue operating but with official re-transmission licenses from the major media companies.

This week, US copyright officials have told Aereo executives that they will not consider the startup a cable company under current copyright law. "In the view of the Copyright Office, internet retransmissions of broadcast television fall outside the scope of the Section 111 license," the Copyright Office wrote in its letter to Aereo.

Aereo's filings will not be declined outright, since Aereo has appealed to a lower court and the case is still being heard. The Copyright Office has therefore provisionally accepted the application.

Read more about the Supreme Court decision here.


AfterDawn: News

Google will no longer call games with in-app purchases 'free'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2014 18:35

Google will no longer call games with in-app purchases 'free' As part of their resolution of a European Commission concern, Google has announced that it will no longer call free games that also include in-app purchases "free."

The EU asked both Google and Apple to change the way they market such apps in their app stores, including informing customers about how payments work and adding game developer's contact info.

Besides ending "free" as a term, Google will also create "targeted guidelines" for the games that prevent encouraging kids to buy in-app items.

While Apple disagrees, the EC also says the iPhone and iPad maker has "regrettably" not provided any solutions for the same concerns but has promised to.

Apple responded quickly to the remarks: "Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We've also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.


AfterDawn: News

Leaked: HTC's upcoming Android Wear-based smartwatch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jul 2014 23:51

Leaked: HTC's upcoming Android Wear-based smartwatch Prolific leaker @Evleaks has released an artist reproduction of what the upcoming HTC Android Wear-based smartwatch will look like, including a render of the UI (just for kicks).

Although it is a reproduction, the render is said to be identical to the original source, although it is unclear why the original could not be posted.

If accurate, the watch will be rectangular just like the other two Android Wear watches on the market, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, but it will include a metal band.

HTC has confirmed they are looking into an Android Wear device, but has never given much confirmation past that.

Larger image here:

AfterDawn: News

Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ebook service is official

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jul 2014 23:19

Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ebook service is official As leaked two days ago, Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ebook service is now official and live.

The monthly subscription service costs $9.99 and gives you access to over 600,000 ebooks and over 2000 audiobooks. You can read as many books as you want while paying for the service, but the access disappears if you ever cancel.

Amazon will immediately be the biggest player on the block, taking on little known Oyster (500,000 titles for $9.95 a month) and Scribd (400,000 titles for $8.99 per month).

A few of the featured titles are best sellers like the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games series, the Lord of the Rings series and Michael Lewis' latest, 'Flash Boys.' There are also plenty of classics like Animal Farm and even a large amount of books from the For Dummies series. Unlimited also includes Kindle Singles, popular short titles under 100 pages.

"With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre--you can just start reading and listening," Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president of Kindle, said in a statement.

All books have Whispersync, Popular Highlights, X-Ray, customer reviews, and Goodreads integration.

AfterDawn: News

NPD: PlayStation 4 still outselling Xbox One even at equal pricing

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jul 2014 22:37

NPD: PlayStation 4 still outselling Xbox One even at equal pricing Console sales remained hot in June, with gamers spending $736.4 million during the month in the U.S.

The NPD Group says the figure is up 24 percent year-over-year, thanks again to strong sales of the Sony PlayStation 4. Hardware was the leading driver of the gains, at $292.7 million, up 106 percent year-over-year.

Software was down 3 percent to $286.8 million (YoY), mainly because last June saw the release of hit 'The Last of Us.' "Sales of launch titles in June 2014 did not compare favorably to those launched in June 2013, which included the PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, along with Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and a retail version of Minecraft for the Xbox 360," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan.

As always, NPD's figures do not include digital downloads, mobile games or used game sales. Those numbers are likely to have grown since last year. Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8 and Minecraft were three top hits for June. Watch Dogs has seen over 8 million copies sold around the globe and is Ubisoft's biggest hit in quite some time, if ever. Mario Kart continued to impress, taking its total sales to 885,000 in a month on just one console, compared to four consoles for most of the rest of the list.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft shuts down Xbox Entertainment Studios after two years and just one completed project

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jul 2014 23:43

Microsoft shuts down Xbox Entertainment Studios after two years and just one completed project In addition to their announced 18,000 layoffs, Microsoft will also be shutting down their Xbox Entertainment Studios, which so far has been a major failure for the company.

The studio was supposed to bring original content to the Xbox, but so far in two years there has only been one completed project. The Atari documentary will be released, and the much-awaited Halo series will be completed, as well.

Xbox head Phil Spencer is looking to keep with CEO Satya Nadella's move towards focusing and building the core of Microsoft (gaming, mobile and cloud).

Original and premium content was a slam dunk from Microsoft's perspective, especially given the large Xbox Live userbase. The company hired CBS TV head Nancy Tellem to run the studio, and quickly signed up major scripts like Halo. It just never happened.

Microsoft will continue to look for original programming but will not develop it in-house, like HBO, Netflix and Hulu do.


AfterDawn: News

Stephen Elop writes email to Nokia employees following layoffs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jul 2014 22:38

Stephen Elop writes email to Nokia employees following layoffs Former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft exec Stephen Elop has written a long email to employees explaining the newly announced 18,000 layoffs and the future of the company.

Microsoft announced that 12,500 of the layoffs would be from Nokia, whose handset division was just acquired for nearly $8 billion.

Here is the email in its entirety (it's a long one):

Microsoft's strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people "do more." As the Microsoft Devices Group, our role is to light up this strategy for people. We are the team creating the hardware that showcases the finest of Microsoft's digital work and digital life experiences, and we will be the confluence of the best of Microsoft's applications, operating systems and cloud services.

To align with Microsoft's strategy, we plan to focus our efforts. Given the wide range of device experiences, we must concentrate on the areas where we can add the most value. The roots of this company and our future are in productivity and helping people get things done. Our fundamental focus for phones, Surface, for meetings with devices like PPI, Xbox hardware and new areas of innovation -- is to build on that strength. While our direction in the majority of our teams is largely unchanging, we have had an opportunity to plan carefully about the alignment of phones within Microsoft as the transferring Nokia team continues with its integration process.


AfterDawn: News

Ouch: Microsoft slashing up to 18,000 jobs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jul 2014 22:07

Ouch: Microsoft slashing up to 18,000 jobs As expected, Microsoft announced a round of layoffs today although the number was well beyond all expectations.

New CEO Satya Nadella announced the company will eliminate up to 18,000 jobs, far and away the largest in its history at 14 percent of the total workforce.

Most of the layoffs will come from the newly acquired Nokia, at 12,500 factory and professional positions being released. At Microsoft itself, all the layoffs will come from sales, marketing and engineering. Microsoft says it will take up to a $1.6 billion charge for the layoffs in the 2015 fiscal year.

13,000 of the cuts were made today and the rest will be done before June 30th, 2015. Additionally, Microsoft's infamous layers of management will be reduced, allowing for quicker decisions.

Reads Nadella's post: "The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce...It's important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas. My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible. We will offer severance to all employees impacted by these changes, as well as job transition help in many locations, and everyone can expect to be treated with the respect they deserve for their contributions to this company."


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