AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi emerges as possible suitor for failed Android console and Kickstarter darling Ouya

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2014 21:31

Xiaomi emerges as possible suitor for failed Android console and Kickstarter darling Ouya Ouya, the Android console maker, is up for sale and has some major possible suitors in China, and in the U.S.

According to sources, preliminary discussions have been had with Xiaomi and Tencent in China, and some minor discussions with Google and Amazon in the U.S. There have been no offers made, but a full acquisition seems much more likely than the company raising more money in the near future.

The company raised over $8 million on Kickstarter in late 2012, and remains one of the highest funded campaigns in the site's history. The flagship product was a $99 set-top console called the Ouya that had its own gaming controller and had a library of Android games that were "free to try" and could then be purchased or updated through in-app purchases.

Sources say the acquisition but be strictly for talent rather than the failed console, and the Chinese companies could use the boost in set-top talent as they approach new markets.

Most recently, Ouya partnered with Xiaomi to put the company's own proprietary software on smart TVs and set-tops made by the Chinese giant, so an acquisition does not seem out of the question.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft China leaks Windows 9 logo

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2014 20:32

Microsoft China leaks Windows 9 logo Microsoft China "accidentally" leaked the upcoming Windows 9 logo earlier today, before quickly removing it and taking down the accompanying post.

In the post, the company asked "Microsoft's latest OS Windows 9 is coming soon, do you think the start menu at the left bottom will make a come back?" The post suggests the operating system is on its way soon, which previous reports and leaks have also implied.

The logo was later confirmed as a mockup, but could certainly still be used in the future, as it keeps with Microsoft's style.

Microsoft is expected to unveil the OS on September 30th, and release an early "tech preview" soon after for developers, enterprise users and early adopters.

Windows 9 will add a new mini Start Menu, remove the stupid Charms menu and add other UI features making the OS more accessible for non-touchscreen users.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Xbox One finally headed to Japan, 27 other markets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2014 20:15

Microsoft Xbox One finally headed to Japan, 27 other markets Microsoft has announced the timeline for the launch of the Xbox One in an additional 28 markets.

Most notably is the gaming haven of Japan, although Microsoft has always had a very hard time making any headway in the nation that is dominated by hometown giants like Nintendo and Sony.

"But what makes September truly special is that gamers from 28 additional countries will get to experience the games and entertainment on Xbox One for the very first time. I know that many of you have waited patiently since we first announced Xbox One. And it has been very important to both me and the team that we launch with a great experience in your market," said Microsoft's Phil Spencer.

The full timeline:

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AfterDawn: News

Valve sued over Steam's 'no refund' policy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Aug 2014 11:55

Valve sued over Steam's 'no refund' policy The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sued digital gaming giant Valve for "breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses," over Steam's "no-refund" policy.

In the suit, the ACCC alleges that Valve made false representations to consumers, including:

"Consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances;
Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality;
Valve was not under any obligation to repair, replace or provide a refund for a game where the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer; and the statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve."

The regulatory watchdog claims that since Valve does business to Australian consumers (without a physical presence of any kind), the company must still abide by the country's refund practices. Adds the ACCC, "Under Australian Consumer Law, everybody who buys a product or a service has a right to a refund if the product doesn't work. They have a right to a refund, or a repair. Those rights are enshrined in Australian Law, and our allegation is that Valve sought to remove those consumer rights which is a breach of Australian Consumer Law. The fact that they [Valve] are an offshore company doesn't affect the rights for consumers."

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AfterDawn: News

Sprint to offer its first Sony smartphone in the U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Aug 2014 11:32

Sprint to offer its first Sony smartphone in the U.S. Sprint parent SoftBank has announced that the carrier will offer a Sony smartphone for the first time, giving the Japanese giant a nice entry to the U.S. market it has had a hard time making any headway in.

Both companies are struggling, especially Sony which recently announced it would no longer be profitable for the fiscal year. Sprint has been losing subscribers at a rapid rate, and SoftBank has been announcing new partnerships and increased features to boost sales.

Sony Mobile has 2.1 percent global market share for smartphones, and currently only has its smartphones available through T-Mobile US in the U.S., the fourth-largest carrier in the nation.

Moving forward, Sprint will offer the latest Xperia flagship, the Xperia Z3, set for launch in the Winter.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple wants to charge $400 for its new wearable

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Aug 2014 10:55

Report: Apple wants to charge $400 for its new wearable Internally, Apple executives had discussed selling the new iTime smartwatch for $399, a price that would be significantly higher than existing watches.

The watch is expected to be launched at Apple's new product event on September 9th, but will not ship until early next year.

If accurate, the report says pricing has not been finalized and may not be in time for the new product launch on the 9th. Additionally, there are expected to be different models, including some that are priced lower but likely have smaller screens or no built-in 3G.

Apple is looking to redefine the fitness wearable genre that is currently dominated by Fitbit and Jawbone, and the fledgling smartwatch industry.

IDC expects the wearable computing market to triple this year, to 19 million units in 2014. An Apple entry would almost certainly increase those figures moving forward.

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AfterDawn: News

R.I.P MSN Messenger, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 22:26

R.I.P MSN Messenger, again After being shutdown in the U.S. (and pretty much everywhere) back in February 2013, Microsoft left its iconic MSN Messenger instant messaging service available in mainland China.

Now after 15 years, Microsoft will truly ending the service, announcing closure in China, as well.

In China, local partner TOM ran the messaging service, not Microsoft, but they have decided to shut it down, effective October 31st.

As they were in the U.S., users of the service in China are being migrated to Skype, and Microsoft is offering free calling credit. It is unclear how many were still using the instant messaging service, but the numbers paled in comparison to others like WeChat, which has over 450 million monthly active users.

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AfterDawn: News

New Samsung Gear S gets Nike+ integration

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 22:13

New Samsung Gear S gets Nike+ integration Samsung has announced that its new Gear S smartwatch will come with Nike+ pre-installed, marking the first time a third-party watch has come with the running and fitness app.

The Gear S features a 2-inch curved screen with 360x480 resolution and a built-in 3G modem, allowing you to make phone calls without a synced device.

On the software side, the Tizen OS comes with a few goodies. Real-time map navigation is provided by Nokia (HERE) and the awesome Spritz speed reading software is built-in as well. Powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM, Samsung says the 300mAh battery should give you two days of usage per charge. Just like the newly announced G Watch R, the Gear S has a compass, accelermometer, gyroscope, barometer and heart rate monitor. It is also IP67 dust and water resistant.

The Nike+ app will give you feedback while running or display your NikeFuel stats.




AfterDawn: News

Popcorn Time app for iOS coming this weekend

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 22:04

Popcorn Time app for iOS coming this weekend The team behind Popcorn Time has revealed that the app is headed to iOS this weekend.

The "Netflix of Piracy" is already available for Windows, Mac and Android and is popular across the board.

iOS owners will be able to use the app to stream pirated films in up to 1080p via Apple AirPlay or the Google Chromecast.

It will be interesting to see how Popcorn Time becomes available for iOS, given that Apple will absolutely not allow the app into the App Store. There is a theory that the team can use Enterprise certificates, used normally for proprietary in-house iOS apps. This has allowed other questionable apps, like GBA4iOS in, but you have to trick iOS by turning the date and time back on your device to install it.

Source:
iPhoned




AfterDawn: News

Windows Phone fragmentation continues, but Windows 8.1 takes larger chunk

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 21:34

Windows Phone fragmentation continues, but Windows 8.1 takes larger chunk Thanks to the most recent monthly data from ad network AdDuplex, we have a better look at fragmentation within the Windows Phone ecosystem, and how quickly Windows Phone 8.1 is taking over.

The ad network takes data from nearly 4500 apps, and can give stats on usage break downs.

Windows Phone 8 remains in the lead at 56.5 percent share, followed by Windows Phone 8.1 at 24.4 percent and somehow, Window Phone 7.x at 19.2 percent, despite being discontinued a long time ago.

Unsurprisingly, Nokia is the entire Windows Phone market, with 95 percent share. HTC is the only other company that even truly registers, at 3.3 percent. Huawei clocked in at 0.7 percent but that number will disappear now that the company has decided to stop developing phones for the OS.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft reportedly interested in custom Android maker CyanogenMod

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 19:31

Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft reportedly interested in custom Android maker CyanogenMod According to a new report, custom Android ROM maker CyanogenMod could be getting some notable attention from some of the bigger names in the industry.

Among the names supposedly interested in partnering with CyanogenMod in the future are Samsung, Amazon, Yahoo and Microsoft.

CyanogenMod, which is not a household name, builds custom ROMs for stock Android that include extra power user features and fast speeds. Last year, the company went from a group of developers to a real company, taking in a $30 million investment from venture capital firms. The company will reportedly raise more via a "Series C" funding round, and many of the aforementioned names could be interested in investing, as well.

The operating system maker is said to have over 10 million active installs on tablets and smartphones.

While Microsoft will likely not want to partner for hardware, perhaps it wants to get Bing on the operating system.

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AfterDawn: News

BioShock now available for iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Aug 2014 19:10

BioShock now available for iOS 2K Games' popular FPS BioShock is now available for iOS, over seven years after launching for PC and console and critical acclaim.

The game is now in full touchscreen (with worse graphics than its older brother), or you can pair a Bluetooth controller if you prefer.

2K says the game is only compatible with newer iOS devices, namely the iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina, iPad 4, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5.

The game is available now for $14.99 and already has a perfect rating from many rabid fans.

Try it here.




AfterDawn: News

Apple launching wearable next month, but it won't ship until next year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Aug 2014 23:54

Apple launching wearable next month, but it won't ship until next year Earlier this week, Apple sent out invites for their biggest event in years, in which the company will unveil the iPhone 6.

More importantly, many reliable sources say Apple will also reveal their long-awaited wearable device (likely the iTime watch), at the same event.

Despite unveiling it soon, Re/code claims it won't ship until early next year, as Apple works on mass production delays and final software and hardware tweaks.

Regardless, Apple is expected to have their most robust pipeline in years, including two iPhone 6, a watch, iOS 8, HealthKit and a larger iPad.




AfterDawn: News

Nintendo unveils two updates to 3DS line, the 'new' 3DS and 'new' 3DS LL

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Aug 2014 23:33

Nintendo unveils two updates to 3DS line, the 'new' 3DS and 'new' 3DS LL As is standard, Nintendo has refreshed its handheld line, introducing two new updates to their 3DS console.

The 'new' 3DS and 'new' 3DS LL are slightly larger than their predecessors, and also lighter. Nintendo has also added a new "C-Stick" above the ABXY button that is a small nub of an analog stick and should prove handy for games that allow you to work the camera.

In addition, Nintendo has added new ZR/ZL buttons on top, and the 3DS even has colorful ABXY buttons, a throwback to the old SNES/N64 controllers.

Finally, the company improved the processor to allow for more efficient eShop browsing and downloading, added NFC for figurine integration, and better 3D functionality. Battery life is also improved (albeit slightly).

Available only in Japan, the "new" 3DS will sell for 16,000 yen ($154) and the "new" LL will sell for 18,800 yen ($181) starting on October 11th.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils new Gear S smartwatch with curved screen, 3G radio

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Aug 2014 23:38

Samsung unveils new Gear S smartwatch with curved screen, 3G radio Samsung has continued their official trend of making anything and seeing if someone will buy it, launching the Gear S smartwatch based on their own modified Tizen operating system.

The Gear S features a 2-inch curved screen (see the photo) with 360x480 resolution and a built-in 3G modem, allowing you to make phone calls without a synced device.

On the software side, the Tizen OS comes with a few goodies. Real-time map navigation is provided by Nokia (HERE) and the awesome Spritz speed reading software is built-in as well, although I cannot imagine you would ever need to speed read on a two-inch display on your wrist.

Powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM, Samsung says the 300mAh battery should give you two days of usage per charge. Just like the newly announced G Watch R, the Gear S has a compass, accelermometer, gyroscope, barometer and heart rate monitor. It is also IP67 dust and water resistant.

Pricing has not been announced, but the watch will launch in October.

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