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AfterDawn: News

Andy Rubin; co-founder of Android, preparing to leave company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2014 12:40

Andy Rubin; co-founder of Android, preparing to leave company According to new reports, Android co-founder Andy Rubin is preparing to leave Google and his current role as head of the company's robotics division.

Rubin is moving on to a found an incubator for hardware startups and his position will be filled by Google research scientist James Kuffner.

Google CEO Larry Page thanked Rubin for his time with the company, stating "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android he created something truly remarkable-with a billion plus happy users. Thank you."

The high-ranking exec joined the company in 2005 when Google acquired Android. Before Android, Rubin worked with Danger (remember the Sidekick) before it was killed by Microsoft and also at Apple and WebTV (also acquired my Microsoft).

Rubin had been rumored to be leaving the company for the last couple of years, but has always denied doing so.


AfterDawn: News

Amazon: ' Yeah we priced the Fire Phone way too high'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2014 1:16

Amazon: ' Yeah we priced the Fire Phone way too high' The Amazon Fire Phone was and remains a disaster for Amazon, and the company finally confirmed it by taking a $170 million loss in the last quarter.

Company senior vice president of devices David Limp has admitted this week that the device was mispriced. "We didn't get the price right," Limp says. "I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we're also willing to say, 'we missed.' And so we corrected."

When the device launched, Amazon stuck to standard industry pricing, selling its base model phone for $199 with two-year contract, which it also foolishly made an AT&T exclusive. Within two months, in an effort to move stock, Amazon dropped the price to just 99 cents with contract.

Despite the price drop and significant OS updates since launch, Limp says the company still has $83 million in surplus unsold phones, a huge amount of excess inventory for a phone that is still having issues selling.


AfterDawn: News

Motorola Mobility is now officially part of Lenovo as deal clears

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2014 0:30

Motorola Mobility is now officially part of Lenovo as deal clears About 9 months after the company revealed its surprise acquisition of the smartphone and telecommunications equipment maker Motorola Mobility, Lenovo says the deal has cleared all regulatory hurdles and Motorola is "now a Lenovo company."

The deal was for $2.91 billion, a fraction of the $12.5 billion Google paid for the company and its patents in 2012. Google got to keep the patents and with them they have a formidable defense against Apple and others, so it is clear that they did not really care for the hardware business, at all.

Adds Motorola:

Today, Motorola Mobility becomes part of the Lenovo family of companies, and we are thrilled.

Over the past two years we have transformed Motorola by focusing on what matters most -- consumers. We've made huge strides in bringing the mobile Internet to millions of people around the world and improving their lives through exceptional technology, experiences and value. While we're proud of the progress we've made, we recognize that there is still much more we can achieve -- in innovation, reach and impact.

In Lenovo we have a partner that shares our mission and that brings global scale, a diverse product portfolio and a track record of seizing strategic opportunities and making the most of them. Together we will go farther, faster. With an impressive portfolio of smartphones, wearables and PCs, our two companies will be uniquely positioned to push the boundaries of choice and value, and bring exciting new experiences to people everywhere.

AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi makes the incredible leap to world's third largest smartphone OEM

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2014 0:07

Xiaomi makes the incredible leap to world's third largest smartphone OEM According to research firm IDC, Chinese smartphone startup Xiaomi is now the world's third largest smartphone maker - an incredible leap for a company that was founded just four years ago in 2010.

Thanks to sales of its new high-end Mi4 device, the OEM was able to jump ahead of Lenovo and LG, which are now tied for fourth. Samsung, even with falling sales, remains the clear leader followed by Apple, and both will be hard to pass.

Xiaomi has a massive presence in Asian nations, most especially China, but has a near 0 percent share everywhere else. The company's devices are not officially available in Western Europe nor North America, at least as of yet.

"Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "We've finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30% collectively. In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant. This is great news for overall volumes, but the challenge has now become how to make money on devices that are quickly becoming commodity products. Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this."


AfterDawn: News

LG's latest smartphone display says goodbye to bezels

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Oct 2014 23:29

LG's latest smartphone display says goodbye to bezels LG Display has unveiled a new 5.3-inch 1080p LCD panel that offers the narrowest bezel the world has seen yet, at just 0.7mm thin.

The company notes that the bezels are even more narrow now than a credit card, and LGD says they had to use a "Neo Edge" module processing and also "Advanced In-Cell Touch" tech.

"With the growing trend for large screen smartphones, customer demand for displays with a narrow bezel is increasing, because it enables users to enjoy the maximum use of screen area without compromising excellent grip and design," added Byeong-koo Kim, Vice President and Head of IT/Mobile Development Group at LG Display. "With this innovative product having many advantages, ranging from its narrow 0.7mm bezel and high resolution picture quality to its slim design and touch-embedded solutions, LG Display will continue to lead the growing market for large screen smartphones, meeting the expectations of customers and users by enhancing the quality of devices."

LG explains that their "Neo Edge" tech "uses an adhesive instead of double-sided tape to attach and completely seal the total area and edges of the panel's circuit board and backlight unit. Because there is no plastic guide panel to attach the panel and backlight, the Neo Edge technology helps achieve minimal bezel width, while blocking light leakage and being waterproof and dustproof."


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils new Health platform

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Oct 2014 19:06

Microsoft unveils new Health platform Microsoft has announced its fitness platform today, Microsoft Health, rivaling new offerings from Apple and Google.

Reads the company's press release:

"The Microsoft Health platform includes a cloud service for consumers and the industry to store and combine health and fitness data to create powerful insights. Microsoft Health will be available for consumers from the new Microsoft Health app which launches today on Android, iOS and Windows Phone."

As you can see, Health is cross-platform, which is different from the iOS and Android-locked platforms of Microsoft's rivals, and should therefore, in theory, see a nice sizable amount of potential users.

Adds the release:

Microsoft Health will unite data from different health and fitness devices and services in a single, secure location. Once stored in Microsoft Health, you can combine the data you generate from different devices and services steps, calories, heart rate and more to receive powerful insights from our Intelligence Engine. At launch, our Intelligence Engine will share insights such as:

Which exercises burned the most calories during a workout
The recommended recovery time based on the intensity of a workout
The amount of restful vs. restless sleep
Over time, you will have the choice to combine your fitness data with calendar and email information from Office as well as location-based information and more. As you make more data available, the Intelligence Engine will get smarter and provide more powerful insights, such as:


AfterDawn: News

Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Oct 2014 14:22

Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay' Although it has been rumored since he took over the helm of the world's biggest tech company following the passing of founder Steve Jobs, Apple CEO Tim Cook has finally confirmed he is gay, posting an encouraging article on BusinessWeek.

I will post the article here in its entirety and without comment except to say that it refreshing to see someone in power share their experiences with the hope that it helps others in the daily lives.

Says Cook:

Throughout my professional life, I've tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don't seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' " I often challenge myself with that question, and I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That's what has led me to today.


AfterDawn: News

Motorola unveils Droid Turbo flagship for Verizon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 16:15

Motorola unveils Droid Turbo flagship for Verizon Outside of the highly-anticipated Nexus 6 (which no one can get their hands on, apparently), Motorola had another big announcement today, unveiling the Droid Turbo for Verizon.

The flagship Android device for the carrier packs high-end specs and will be available starting tomorrow.

Featuring a 5.2-inch QHD display (2560x1440 display), the device packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (base model), dual cameras 2MP/21MP (including 4K recording) and a huge 3990mAH battery that should offer significant battery life even for heavy users.

At launch, the device will run Android 4.4.4 with an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop in the cards in the near future.

With a two-year contract, the device will cost $199 (similar to the iPhone) or $25 per month if you use the Edge financing/early upgrade program.

AfterDawn: News

Google Nexus 6 sells out in 45 seconds as the company has another botched Nexus launch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 13:29

Google Nexus 6 sells out in 45 seconds as the company has another botched Nexus launch Every year Google releases a new Nexus reference device and like clockwork the company has a botched launch every year, as well.

This year is no different as the company promised a 10/29 launch but did not provide a time. After the orders went live at 1:15PM (why?) the 32GB model of the phone, in midnight blue, sold out in 20 seconds to be followed by the white model in 45 seconds.

It is clear that Google has failed another launch, or has clearly not made enough units available for sale. The 64GB models still read as "coming soon" with no time frame for purchase.

Google, it is time to finally get this right and reward Nexus buyers. For the 5 people who were lucky enough to get one, the shipping time shows as 3-4 weeks.


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo steers back to profitability thanks to hit new 'Mario Kart'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 13:11

Nintendo steers back to profitability thanks to hit new 'Mario Kart' Gaming giant Nintendo has returned to profitability this quarter thanks to strong sales of the blockbuster hit "Mario Kart 8" for the Wii U.

The quarter was so good that the company is now hopeful that it can be nicely profitable for its fiscal year for the first time in four years.

For the quarter ended September 30th, the company revealed a profit of 9.3 billion yen ($86 million) compared to a loss of 18 billion yen ($160 million) last year in the same period. A weaker yen helped contribute to the profit, added the company. The surprising quarter comes ahead of the expected good holiday quarter, which is a great sign for Nintendo.

For its fiscal year, the company forecasts a profit of 40 billion yen ($370 million), compared to a loss of almost the same amount for fiscal 2013.

Mario Kart, while being a strong seller on its own, helped push new Wii U sales, as well, with unit sales doubling year-over-year to 1.1 million. By comparison, Microsoft and Sony are selling well over 1 million units of their latest consoles, per month, but Nintendo has excitedly raised their yearly forecast for Wii U sales to 3.6 million.

Investors will be happy by the results, as well. Nintendo's shares have fallen 80 percent since their peak in 2007 on the back of the wild success of the original Wii and DS handheld.


AfterDawn: News

Get ready for real-life giant fighting robots

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 12:33

Get ready for real-life giant fighting robots If you liked the movie "Real Steel," the time is at hand to help a new startup company called MegaBots to build 15-feet tall, 7 ton piloted robots to duke it out, in real life.

The company has started a new Kickstarter campaign asking for $1.8 million so they can build robots for a fight to the "death" shooting paintball guns that can fire at 120 MPH.

So far, the company has built prototypes of the upper body (showing off the pilot's chair), arms, and the weapons system.

If you donate $2500, you get to pilot one of the robots in battle and if you donate the highest $10,000 you get tickets to the event and your company's logo (or your website, name, etc) placed right on the robot for advertisement. If you want to own the bot and have tons to spend, you can donate $1 million.

Read more about MegaBots here.


AfterDawn: News

Here is the RIAA's list of 50 top pirate sites that are an 'assault on our humanity'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 12:09

Here is the RIAA's list of 50 top pirate sites that are an 'assault on our humanity' As they do every year, the industry trade group RIAA has submitted its list of the top 50 "rogue" piracy sites to the U.S. government, and as usual the group has taken some liberties with its verbage.

For example, the group says this year in the filing with the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) that "We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights."

In addition, the group believes that many of the rogue sites believe they are operating to aid freedom of speech and government censorship, which is not true as they are still stealing other's copyrights to do so. "Some observers continue to suggest that the protection of expression is a form of censorship or restriction on fundamental freedoms, and some pirate sites cloak themselves in the language of freedom to justify themselves--sites like The Pirate Bay." added Neil Turkewitz, the RIAA's EVP. "We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights. If the protection of expression is itself a restriction on freedom of expression, then we have entered a metaphysical Wonderland that stands logic on its head, and undermines core, shared global values about personhood."


AfterDawn: News

MEGA's Dotcom fighting to get back his seized millions

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:50

MEGA's Dotcom fighting to get back his seized millions In 2012, a Hong Kong court authorized to seizure of over $40 million worth of assets from bigger-than-life Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and he's still fighting to get it back.

Early that year, the U.S. government, in conjunction with authorities in Hong Kong and New Zealand, seized the site, arrested its top executives including Dotcom, and took servers, bank accounts and other assets. At the same time, Megaupload's Hong Kong offices were raided by officers, and Dotcom's home was raided, as well, where cars and other personal assets were taken.

Currently, the $40 million is being held under restraining order, but Dotcom's legal team is trying to have those funds set aside accusing the secretary of justice in the country of not being truthful when the the application to seize was presented.

"We are applying for [the order] to be set aside because the court has misrepresented the true position," Dotcom lawyer Gerard McCoy added. "Did the secretary for justice put his cards on the table face up? This application is a clear example of the duty either being ignored or simply misunderstood."

McCoy says the prosecution withheld information during the application process, most notably that Megaupload could not even legally be served with a criminal complaint in the U.S. due to not having a U.S. mailing address. "None of this was ever brought to the attention of the judge. It was all put to one side and never raised," McCoy said. If reports are true, it took the judge less than 20 minutes to authorize the seizure after the application was submitted back then.


AfterDawn: News

Google's tweak to its search algorithm to leave out results from popular warez sites has destroyed their traffic, visibility

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:31

Google's tweak to its search algorithm to leave out results from popular warez sites has destroyed their traffic, visibility Google's continued practice of tweaking their search algorithm to leave out results from popular torrent sites and other warez sites has destroyed traffic to those sites and services.

Search results to popular sites like The Pirate Bay, and have fallen at least 45 percent in the last week, while other less known sites have seen their SEO visibility fall as much as 97 percent, effectively killing any traffic to the sites through Google.

Google started their tweaks against DMCA violators in August 2012, and began downranking sites that received high amounts of piracy-related complaints. Last year, the search giant received over 224 million DMCA takedown requests and that number is going to be much higher in 2014.

"In August 2012, we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices," added Katherine Oyama, Google's Senior Copyright Counsel last week. "We've now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting next week."


AfterDawn: News

Oppo unveils world's slimmest smartphone: The R5

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:08

Oppo unveils world's slimmest smartphone: The R5 Chinese OEM Oppo has unveiled the world's slimmest smartphone, clocking in at just 4.85mm thick.

The new Oppo R5 beats out the previous record holding Gionee Elfie S5.1, which was 5.15mm thick. Oppo is well known for pushing the envelope with its phone and the new R5 still boasts impressive specs in the small casing.

R5 owners will get a 1080p 5.2-inch display, a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 SoC (octa-core quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), 2GB RAM, and dual 5MP/13MP cameras (both featuring f/2.0 aperture lenses). The entire phone is just 155g, has a 2000mAh battery and does include LTE support.

On the downside, there is no microSD slot, no 3.5mm headphone jack and 16GB internal storage meaning you will have to use a bundled microUSB adapter for your favorite headphones.

Oppo says the device will also feature "phase-shifting material" to ensure that internal components remain cool (just like a PC motherboard). In addition, the device runs on Android 4.4 fork Color OS 2.0, which is similar to its predecessor but includes much better gesture support and all Android upgrades.

Ready for launch in December, the device sells unlocked for $499.


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