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AfterDawn: News

Chromebooks may soon be unlocked with smartphones

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 7:33

Chromebooks may soon be unlocked with smartphones A feature spotted in the Chrome OS dev channel may indicate that Chromebooks will soon be unlocked using asmartphone.

The unfinished feature is called "Easy Unlock" and it can be enabled manually, but it doesn't really do anything as of yet.

Trying to use the feature brings up a three-step process. The first page explains that your phone can "Easy Unlock" all your devices. "You can instantly unlock your Chromebook when you and your phone are nearby, no password necessary."

The first of the three steps is to "Find your phone", but it does absolutely nothing as of yet. It appears to search for something but it is likely looking for an app that hasn't been released yet.




Sources and Recommended Reading
Unfinished 'Easy Unlock' Feature Creeps Into Chrome OS Dev: www.androidpolice.com (Image Source)




AfterDawn: News

Android tops activations in U.S. during Q1

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 7:19

Android tops activations in U.S. during Q1 Google's Android operating system rose above Apple's iOS with 53 percent of activations in the United States during Q1 of this year.

In the final quarter of 2013, Apple's iOS accounted for the largest share of activations in the U.S. at 48 percent, ahead of Android at 46 percent. Now iOS has fallen to second place with 42 percent of activations, behind Android's 53 percent total.

Both Windows Phone and BlackBerry could only manage around 1 percent of activations each, while non-smartphones accounted for the rest.

The data comes from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

"In a quarter without any significant phone launch, more buyers chose Android phones than iOS," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP.

"It increased its share considerably over the previous quarter, when it had only 46% of activations. iOS share of activations fell from 48% in the previous quarter, the first full quarter with iPhone 5S and 5C sales."

Apple's iOS did grow slightly faster than Android however when you take into account new phone purchases that replaced older non-smartphones or devices made by rivals. Both BlackBerry and Windows Phone lost users, though the biggest loser was basic feature phones, and that certainly will do no harm.

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AfterDawn: News

Google, Facebook becoming 'too powerful', German media boss says in open letter

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 6:54

Google, Facebook becoming 'too powerful', German media boss says in open letter Google and Facebook have come under fire from a powerful source in Europe concerning to their business practices and treatment of Internet users' privacy.

Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Dopfner wrote an open letter to Google chairman Eric Schmidt in which he described the company as a monopoly, and its top brass as seeking to operate in a 'legal vacuum' with the hassles of anti-trust and privacy, a kind of 'superstate.'

Dopfner's open letter was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which is not one of the 200 newspapers and magazines that Axel Springer publishes. It came after a column written by Eric Schmidt said the relationship between both companies was challenging, but that they had managed a multi-year deal regardless.

On that relationship, Dopfner said he admired Google's entrepreneurial success and was happy to have a relationship with the firm, but that it wasn't like there was much of an alternative for Axel Springer to choose from.

The letter cautioned Google that monopolies do not survive long throughout the history of economics.

Technology companies are becoming too powerful

The open letter argued that tech firms like Google and Facebook are becoming too powerful, more than most people are aware.

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AfterDawn: News

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' to curb growing theft problem in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 6:06

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' to curb growing theft problem in U.S. Can a pledge from the smartphone industry to include anti-theft features in all smartphones sold after July 2015 stop the 'apple picking' problem in U.S. cities?

Earlier this week, the CTIA trade association announced an agreement between smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers to include anti-theft features in smartphones made and sold after July 2015 in the United States. The commitment is a response to a growing problem in U.S. cities of smartphone theft, sometimes with tragic consequences.

The announcement arrived as the debate about measures to protect smartphone users on U.S. city streets was heating up again.

The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment

New smartphone models manufactured after July 2015 and sold in the United States will include anti-theft tools at no additional cost to the customer. These tools will offer smartphone owners a variety of options to avail of in the event that a smartphone is stolen to protect their data and privacy, and in a broader sense to disincentivize smartphone theft.

A victim will be able to remotely wipe data from the stolen device, such as personal information in the form of messages, e-mails, contacts and so forth, and can also render the device inoperable to an unauthorized user except to contact emergency services.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony sells over 7 million PlayStation 4 units

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Apr 2014 23:58

Sony sells over 7 million PlayStation 4 units Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console has sold over 7 million units as of April 6th, showing strong demand around the globe.

"The response from the global gaming community for PS4 has been overwhelming and we are truly humbled that gamers are selecting PS4 as their next generation console of choice," said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "The PS4 journey has just begun, and although we are still facing difficulties keeping up with the strong demand worldwide, we remain steadfast in our commitment to meet the needs of our customers, and surpassing the wildest expectations of gamers by delivering new user experiences that inspire and engage. We look forward to unveiling many of these experiences to our fans in the coming months."

Overall, software sales totaled 20.5 million physical and digital copies, and the company says there will be 120 titles available by the end of 2014.

Additionally, the console has seen 135 million shares via the "SHARE" button on the controller and 4.9 million gameplay broadcasts have been uploaded through video streaming services Twitch and Ustream.




AfterDawn: News

Blockbuster game 'Destiny' is 'close to shipping' despite composer's exit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Apr 2014 23:42

Blockbuster game 'Destiny' is 'close to shipping' despite composer's exit Developer Bungie has confirmed that the upcoming blockbuster game Destiny is 'close to shipping' even though the veteran composer Marty O'Donnell was recently fired from the company.

O'Donnell was the man behind the soundtrack for the Halo series, and was well known by fans and in the industry. Bungie COO Pete Parsons says his music will remain in the game and the game is "close to shipping."

"I think the Bungie fanbase is going to look forward to hearing Marty's music, Mike Salvatori's music, C. Paul's music and Paul McCartney's music in the game," Parsons added. "That's going to be exciting for people. It's going to be a great, fantastic experience."

Most of the game is already completed, and there should be no delay for the game's September release date.

"I believe people will be transported not just by the activities and the stories within the Destiny universe but by the sights and the wonderful sounds and music," Parsons concluded. "We have a fantastic team. We're pretty close to shipping. There's a lot of polish left to do, lots of tweaking and tuning, but a lot is already complete."

Source:
Eurogamer




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Xbox One reaches 5 million units shipped

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Apr 2014 22:42

Microsoft Xbox One reaches 5 million units shipped A day after Sony revealed that over 7 million PlayStation 4 had been sold, Microsoft countered by announcing that 5 million Xbox One units have been shipped to retailers, although a good portion of those are expected to have been sold to consumers.

Says the software giant: "We're happy to share today that more than 5 million Xbox One consoles have been sold-in to retailers since our launch. The new generation is off to a strong start, with global Xbox One sales outpacing Xbox 360 by more than 60 percent at the same point in time, a true testament to your love of console gaming. Even more important to us is how much fun you are having on Xbox One."

The company also notes that Xbox One gamers are spending an average of five hours per day on the console, totaling over one billion hours of gaming, streaming, and more.

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AfterDawn: News

Yahoo COO De Castro gets to leave with massive severance

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Apr 2014 21:01

Yahoo COO De Castro gets to leave with massive severance Former Yahoo CEO Henrique de Castro will walk away with $58 million in severance, after being fired just 15 months into the job.

CEO Marissa Mayer personally hired de Castro away from his position at Google in early 2013 and admits Henrique "was not a fit and that's a regrettable conclusion."

De Castro received $1.14 million in salary and bonuses, and $56.8 million in Yahoo stock that doubled in value in 2013 thanks to Yahoo's strong performance.

Mayer, as chief of the company, made $25 million last year in salary and bonuses.

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon Fire TV adds new partners for its Universal Voice Search feature

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Apr 2014 20:33

Amazon Fire TV adds new partners for its Universal Voice Search feature Amazon has announced that its Fire TV set-top box will be getting added partners for its universal voice search feature.

"We're excited and energized by the momentum we're seeing with Fire TV," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Devices. "Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we're working hard to expand existing features and build new ones. We're thrilled to have Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME integrating their full selection of movies and TV shows into Fire TV's unified voice search."

The device will get the new partners over the summer, says Amazon.

Additionally, the company says there is a "big pipeline of great developers working to make their services and games available for Fire TV. New selection is coming from developers like Telltale Games, Halfbrick, Pixowl, Disney Interactive, Minority Media, Paradox Interactive, Gaiam, AllRecipes, and Twitch." Finally, Amazon FreeTime and MP3 will be added soon with the next OTA update.

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AfterDawn: News

Google's Chrome Remote Desktop launches for Android allowing for remote access to your PCs anywhere

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Apr 2014 20:02

Google's Chrome Remote Desktop launches for Android allowing for remote access to your PCs anywhere In 2011, Google launched their Chrome Remote Desktop extension, allowing users to gain access to their machines from other notebooks and desktops, securely.

The service has now been extended to Android devices, with an iOS app coming eventually.

Users can enable remote access to their machines on Mac OSX, Linux and Windows, and Android users will even get another six-digit pin for an extra layer of security. "Computers can be made available on an short-term basis for scenarios such as ad hoc remote support, or on a more long-term basis for remote access to your applications and files. All connections are fully secured," reads the Chrome extension description.

For those worried about having their home computers remotely accessed by intruders, Google notes that "all remote desktop sessions are fully encrypted using Chrome's SSL features." No data is recorded or saved during sessions, and you will always need your PIN and one-time use Access Code to remotely connect.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple to build song ID feature directly into iOS thanks to Shazam tech

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Apr 2014 19:39

Apple to build song ID feature directly into iOS thanks to Shazam tech According to reports, Apple is planning to build a song ID (discovery) feature right into iOS that will work just like Shazam and rival services in allowing iPhone and iPad users to quickly identify a song/artist.

Apple will work directly with the market leader, Shazam, for the technology, which quickly pairs music heard by the device's microphone with a vast database of tracks.

The company remains the world's largest digital music seller via its popular iTunes store, but single and album downloads have finally stagnated after years of strong growth. Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have taken significant share of the music market and Apple even introduced their own service, iTunes Radio, last year, integrating it with iOS 7.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung confirms yet another smartwatch, this one powered by Android Wear

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Apr 2014 19:24

Samsung confirms yet another smartwatch, this one powered by Android Wear Samsung has confirmed another smartwatch set for release this year, this one running on Google's Android Wear operating system.

Last year, the company got into the market with its first-generation Galaxy Gear, which uses a Samsung-modified version of Android. Earlier this year, the company announced its Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo devices, each of which run on the Tizen operating system. Samsung's new Gear Fit fitness band runs on its own completely different OS.

Hankil Yoon, Samsung's SVP of product design, confirmed the Android Wear-based device in an interview. Android Wear is Android optimized for wearable devices.

So far, LG and Motorola have also announced watches that run on the OS, set for release over the summer. Google is expected to be building an Android Wear reference device, likely using the Nexus branding name.




AfterDawn: News

Heartbleed Infographic: Change your password if you are on these sites or use these services

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 14:00

Heartbleed Infographic: Change your password if you are on these sites or use these services LWG Consulting has put together an infographic helping concerned Internet users who may be susceptible to the Heartbleed bug that plagued OpenSSL traffic and only just recently began making headlines.

An estimated 65 percent of all sites on the Web are affected, and major companies have scrambled to issue patches.

Despite most major sites being patched quickly, Heartbleed has been around for at least three years, meaning your passwords and other personal data could be have stolen at some point, well before the patches. There are a number of tools for checking if a site you have been using is, or has been, vulnerable. One such tool is LastPass Heartbleed checker.

As an added protection if you use the Chrome browser, there is a new plugin that will automatically let you know if the site you are visiting is still vulnerable, and will also place a Heartbleed logo next to Google search results.

Try the plugin here and check the infographic below. Worth noting, however, is Google's response here:

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung claims Tizen is coming soon, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 13:29

Samsung claims Tizen is coming soon, again Samsung has placed a new time frame for its long-awaited Tizen operating system, claiming it will launch in the Q2.

This is not the first time the company has given a release date for the mobile operating system, but it has delayed it for years, releasing no smartphones or tablets running on Tizen but releasing some cameras and other less popular devices.

More recently, Tizen is powering the newly launched Gear 2 smartwatch.

Two smartphones running on Tizen are expected to be released, allowing Samsung to break some of its dependence on the Android OS. By releasing Tizen, Samsung can better build its own ecosystem, app store and applications, while collecting more revenue per device.

Despite Samsung's heavy marketing power and global brand recognition, prospects for Tizen have not been bright, especially after a delay last year due to market conditions as cited by carrier partners DoCoMo and Orange. The company has now changed the strategy and will release the phones in just a few countries where it believes it can succeed.

The first two devices will include a low-end device for volume sales, and a high-end device that could match the specs of the Galaxy S5 under the hood.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Fiber headed to New York City?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 11:14

Google Fiber headed to New York City? Is Google Fiber headed to New York City to disrupt Time Warner's monopoly?

A new job opening in Google's careers website could possibly be suggesting so, asking for a Google Fiber Regional Sales Manager for New York, that "will manage multiple teams that evangelize Google Fiber services to MDU (multi-dwelling apartments and condos) and large SMB owners."

The Fiber offering, which has up to 1Gb down and upload speeds without caps, would be a significant upgrade from current ISPs in the city, especially on price. A gigabit connection is $70 per month, and usually comes with freebies like a Nexus tablet.

25 Mbit (Google is 40 times faster) connections from Time Warner Cable and Verizon are $60 a month when discounted for combined bundled offerings like TV and landline telephones.

Source:
Google Careers





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