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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft slashes price of Surface 2 (Windows RT) to $349

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 20:03

Microsoft slashes price of Surface 2 (Windows RT) to $349 Microsoft has slashed the price of its Windows RT-based Surface 2 tablet by $100, dropping it to $349 for the base model.

The year-old tablet is the last device to run Windows RT, and this price cut makes it clear that the company is looking to phase out the unpopular operating system.

Microsoft had put most of their marketing muscle behind the Surface Pro 3, which runs a full Windows 8.1 and includes a stylus and other notable features, leaving its older models to fend for themselves.

At $349, however, the Surface 2 can be a bargain despite its junky OS. The tablet has a 10.6-inch 1080p touchscreen, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, dual cameras, a microSD slot and a full USB 3.0 port.




AfterDawn: News

'Swing Copters' is a little less tough now

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 19:41

'Swing Copters' is a little less tough now Angry Birds developer Dong Nguyen has already updated his sequel game, Swing Copters, to make it a little less hard and "distracting."

The game, which was released a week ago, was maddeningly tough, even more so than Angry Birds by some accounts, and Nguyen has already pushed an updated for the mobile game that should help gamers out.

With the update, the game will still be tough, but getting a score of just 2 (yes, 2) won't be as impossible as before. The character's movements have been made more subtle, so earlier rounds will be easier.

"Most of people don't find the game entertaining because it was too difficult," Nguyen added. "However, I believe the game is still challenging enough when people want the final medal or compete with their friends."

The game has a few high scorers above 75, but that is likely to go up now with the update.

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AfterDawn: News

Link, Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Animal Crossing villager to be new characters in Mario Kart 8

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 19:22

Link, Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Animal Crossing villager to be new characters in Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart 8, already the best game in the series and one of the only reasons to get the Wii U, is about to get a little better.

A couple of new DLC packs will add more vehicles, playable characters and new colorways for some existing characters.

Coming in November, the DLC will cost $7.99 each, or $11.99 together, and will add Link (from Zelda), Tanooki Mario, a villager from Animal Crossing, Dry Bowser and Cat Peach, 8 new vehicles and "As a bonus for purchasing both packs -- as a bundle or separately -- you can get eight different-colored Yoshis and eight different-colored Shy Guys that can be used right away."

The game recently just got an update that makes a new Mercedes vehicle available in the game free from the eShop.

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AfterDawn: News

Dropbox Pro gets a major update, better security, 1TB space for all

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 18:36

Dropbox Pro gets a major update, better security, 1TB space for all Dropbox has announced today a major update for their Dropbox Pro product, including better security and better collaboration tools.

First:

"Simple collaboration is one of the reasons people choose Dropbox Pro, but we've heard you ask for more ways to protect the stuff you share. That's why we're bringing new sharing controls to Dropbox Pro.

Passwords for shared links create an additional layer of security so only people with the password can access your link. Expirations for shared links safeguard your sensitive files by letting you set how long your links stay up. View-only permissions for shared folders let you pick whether recipients can edit or just view files within your shared folder."


Fans of the service have been asking for the extra password layer for some time, and from quick testing, Dropbox has not disappointed.

Second:

"Remote wipe lets you delete your Dropbox files from a lost or stolen device while keeping them safely backed up in Dropbox. For example, if you've ever left your laptop on a plane, you're not just worried about the laptop -- you're worried about the stuff that's on it."

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Motorola Nexus X leaked by French retailer, confirms Android Lemon Meringue Pie

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 18:19

Report: Motorola Nexus X leaked by French retailer, confirms Android Lemon Meringue Pie Thanks to a new blog post, we have a few screenshots of the alleged Nexus X built by Motorola.

The pre-order pages were posted and quickly removed from the fnac.com retailer website, showing off the Google reference device and some basic specs.

If accurate, the pages revealed a 5.2-inch display, a 2.7Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC, a 13MP camera and Android L (now revealed as Lemon Meringue Pie).

Additionally, the pages only showed a 32GB and 64GB model, so perhaps Google has done away with the more popular (and cheaper) 16GB model. The price tags also seem extra high compared to past Nexus devices, starting at 419.99 (usually a 1-to-1 conversion to USD, so $415 off-contract for 32GB).

Finally, take the report with a large grain of salt, as the source also notes that the fnac site is "very open to hacks and modified pages" so someone could have just been having a little fun. Regardless, we will know by October about the new device, the standard launch window for the reference devices.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple building 12.9-inch iPad for release next spring

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 18:00

Report: Apple building 12.9-inch iPad for release next spring According to a new report, Apple is preparing a new, large 12.9-inch iPad for launch next spring.

Much larger than current iPads, which are 7.9 inches or 9.7 inches, the new iPad would compete directly with Samsung's 12.2-inch Pro series and Toshiba's 13-inch Excite line.

Apple's tablets have seen a decline in sales for two straight quarters, worrying analysts that believe that the market for iPads could be close to saturation as consumers stick to their laptops and 5-inch or larger smartphones.

The company is also looking to get into that market, and is expected to launch a 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and potentially a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 phablet next month during their annual launch event.

A 12-inch iPad could be particularly useful for businesses and consumers really love their HD movies but hate watching on tiny screens.

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AfterDawn: News

HP recalling over six million power cords due to possible fire hazards

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 15:12

HP recalling over six million power cords due to possible fire hazards The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has said this week that HP will be recalling over six million power cords as fire hazards.

The Commission received 29 reports of the LS-15 AC cords melting or charring. There were two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of property damage although all were minor.

LS-15 cords were sold with HP and Compaq notebook and "mini notebook" PCs and also came with docking stations and other accessories.

"Customers should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement," the Commission said.

The cords were made in China and 5.6 million of those recalled were sold in the U.S. Nearly 500,000 were sold in Canada. The PCs and accessories were all sold between September 2010 through June 2012.

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AfterDawn: News

Instagram's Hyperlapse: The easiest way to make time lapse videos, ever

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 14:06

Instagram's Hyperlapse: The easiest way to make time lapse videos, ever Ever wanted to create cool time lapse videos? Don't have expensive hardware or software or the time to learn how? No problem says Instagram, who has launched their new Hyperlapse app for iOS.

The minimalist app let's you quickly create smoothed out time lapse videos right from your phone, with just two clicks.

After selecting where you want to start, you hit start and begin recording video. For time lapse videos to work the best, you must record at least a few minutes of video (working from fast moving objects are extra cool), and then Hyperlapse allows you to jack up the playback speed by up to 12x when you are done. The final video could be just a few seconds long but show a full sunset or even a full train ride.

Of course, the video can then be run through filters and shared right to Instagram, although the company warns the quality will not translate well to the big screen. There is also no sound recorded, but there are plenty of other apps to add a soundtrack.

Check the examples here:

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AfterDawn: News

LG confirms cheap G3 Stylus model

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 13:51

LG confirms cheap G3 Stylus model LG has officially introduced their previously leaked G3 Stylus smartphone, looking to possibly take some phablet customers away from the Galaxy Note in developing nations.

The G3 Stylus has the full 5.5-inch display of the G3 but rather than the high-end QHD resolution, it has a much cheaper and worse qHD IPS (960 x 540). From a design standpoint, the device also has the same "Floating Arc" tapered edges and "metallic skin" as its more expensive brother device. The Stylus model includes a stylus and programs and apps that make use of the digital pen, making it a comfortable device for note taking.

"With its exceptional hardware and exceptional price that can't be beat, the LG G3 Stylus is in a category all by itself," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "The LG G3 Stylus is the perfect tool for consumers who don't want to be bogged down carrying a laptop, tablet and smartphone. It gets things done and lets you have fun while doing without having to compromise on quality, style or user experience."

Among the other specs are a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (microSD expandable), 3000mAh removable battery, and 3G (no LTE support), making the device a low to mid-range specced phone.

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AfterDawn: News

Huawei: We are discontinuing Windows Phones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 13:39

Huawei: We are discontinuing Windows Phones Chinese smartphone giant Huawei has said they will be discontinuing development of Windows Phone-based smartphones.

Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer business group chief, says the devices are unprofitable and it is hard to convince consumers to adopt the OS. "We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone," Yu noted.

Does that mean Huawei will create their own OS or move to the fledgling Tizen? Absolutely not. "We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful. Even for Windows Phone, it's difficult to be successful," Yu said. "We have no plans to build our own OS. It's easy to design a new OS, but the problem is building the ecosystem around it."

Android remains the undisputed king of the smartphone world, controlling over 81 percent share, according to nearly all research firms. Apple controls anywhere between 11-15 percent, depending on the source, and the two operating systems have a ridiculous 96 percent share, leaving Windows Phone with just 3 percent and everyone else with the other percentage point.

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AfterDawn: News

Homegrown Chinese desktop, set-top, mobile OS coming in October?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Aug 2014 13:21

Homegrown Chinese desktop, set-top, mobile OS coming in October? In January, we reported that the government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences, in conjunction with Shanghai Liantong Network Communications Technology, were working on a secure OS for the Chinese market.

It appears now that the homegrown OS could be made available as soon as October.

The operating system will allegedly work on desktops, set-top boxes and mobile devices rivaling Apple, Microsoft and Google. Especially recently, the Chinese government has made issue with Microsoft over the lack of security of their Windows operating system, even blocking Windows 8 and Microsoft Office from government-issued devices.

Ni Guangnan, who heads the alliance, says they hope to launch the OS by October including full app stores and legacy app support. In time, they hope the software will replace desktop OS within 1-2 years and mobile OS within 3-5 years. Certainly, the alliance will have an uphill battle on that front. Android by itself has over 1 billion users, and Microsoft has over 1 billion Windows users. Apple has over 100 million Mac users and near 500 million iOS owners.

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AfterDawn: News

LG unveils world's first 4K OLED TV, extravagantly priced at over $11,000

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Aug 2014 21:57

LG unveils world's first 4K OLED TV, extravagantly priced at over $11,000 LG has announced the launch of the world's first 4K OLED TV, available in 65 and 77-inch models (models 65EC9700 and 77EG9700, respectively).

The OLEDs will have curved panels, use the company's own proprietary Four-Color Pixel WRGB technology and "33 million sub-pixels working to produce the most lifelike colors and infinite contrast ratio." Self-lighting pixels also "guarantee" dark blacks and a lightning fast response rate.

"LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market," said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company. "As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry. I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer."

The TV's "smart" features come via the webOS TV operating system, which LG has been working on since acquiring from HP.

"OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG," added Mr. Ha. "OLED's benefits are obvious. There's no deterioration in picture quality and issues such as image blurring, distortion and color leakage in curved LED units are simply non-existent on curved OLED TVs. 4K OLED TV represents superb value for the consumer in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail and viewing angles."

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon to purchase video game live footage service Twitch for almost a billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Aug 2014 21:19

Amazon to purchase video game live footage service Twitch for almost a billion Amazon has acquired video game live streaming video service Twitch.tv for $970 million, following an earlier rumor that the company was looking to pay up to one billion.

"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."

Twitch will remain independent but will have Amazon's resources to "bring you an even better Twitch," added Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.

The live streaming company has over 55 million unique visitors and over 15 billion minutes of content published. Twitch is built-in to the Xbox One and the PS4 allowing for easy uploading of game footage right from the console.




AfterDawn: News

Is this what Google's music subscription service 'YouTube Music Key' will look like?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Aug 2014 22:44

Is this what Google's music subscription service 'YouTube Music Key' will look like? Thanks to new leaks, we have a pretty vivid picture of what Google's upcoming unified music subscription service will look and feel like.

If accurate, the new YouTube-based service will be called YouTube Music Key, and Google will rebrand its awfully named Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key to avoid brand confusion.

YouTube Music Key will offer ad-free music through the video site, as well as background/screen-off listening and offline caching and playback. Background listening is a huge, huge deal, since mobile users can save their battery now if they don't necessarily care for the video itself and just want the music (or other audio).

The service will be free for the first month, and then cost $9.99 per month and subscribers will get both YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music Key. Google Play Music All Access currently offers a Spotify-esque catalog of tracks for unlimited listening on desktops or mobile devices.

Making YouTube Music Key a great complement to audio-only streaming services, is the fact that you get ad-free access to officialy concert footage, remixes and covers.

It remains unclear when the services will launch, as Google still needs to negotiate new licensing deals with the major record labels and major indies as well as some popular individuals.

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AfterDawn: News

British pirate receives 33 month prison sentence for CAM version of Fast and Furious 6

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Aug 2014 15:58

British pirate receives 33 month prison sentence for CAM version of Fast and Furious 6 25-year-old Philip Danks of the UK has been sentenced to 33 months in prison after he was convicted of filming "Fast and Furious 6" and being the first person to upload the film to piracy sites in May 2013.

Allegedly, his camera copy of the popular film was downloaded over 700,000, with distributor Universal Pictures claiming that copy cost the studio 2.5 million. In addition to uploading the film, Danks, who went by the online handle "Thecod3r," sold DVD copies for 1.50 each, netting near 1,000 in total.

Danks was arrested six days after uploading the film, after police and Universal Pictures connected very easy dots to find his identity. Searching the Web for any reference to "Thecod3r," they found a comment on a piracy site by "Thecod3r" and also that "Thecod3r" was Danks' handle on the dating site Plenty of Fish.

Even after being caught and arrested, Danks decided to continue being stupid, posting "Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures" on his Facebook page.

As expected, the judge gave an extremely harsh sentence to Danks due to his attitude and blatant lack of remorse. "This was bold, arrogant, and cocksure offending. Your approach to the film industry was made clear in the posting you made on Facebook two days after your arrest. I accept the personal profit was modest, but the real seriousness of this case is the loss caused to the film industry as a whole," wrote the judge.

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