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AfterDawn: News

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 17:47

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime Amazon has announced a blockbuster deal today with original programming king HBO in which Amazon will offer older content for free via its Prime streaming catalog.

The move marks the first time the premium cable channel has licensed its programming to a third party. The company currently allows subscribers to watch content via their own HBO Go streaming app.

Most notably for Amazon, the deal is exclusive and leaves rival Netflix out in the cold. The deal does not include any current seasons or episodes from shows that ended within the last three years. A few other older hits (like Sex and the City) are also excluded because they are currently under contract for syndication deals with cable TV networks.

Included in the deal are past hits like "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and the first seasons of current hits like "True Blood." "Game of Thrones" fans will have to wait a little bit longer.

For fans that purchased Amazon's Fire TV streaming set-top box, there was also some good news, as the HBO Go app will finally make its way to the device in the coming months.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 23:49

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th Microsoft has confirmed that their acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Service business will close on April 25th.

Reads the company's press release: "Today we are excited to share that we have completed the steps necessary to finalize Microsoft's acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The transaction will be completed this Friday, April 25, when we'll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft family.

The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration. This acquisition will help Microsoft accelerate innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones. In addition, we look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones."

There had been roadblocks overseas, most notably in China, which were recently resolved.


AfterDawn: News

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:39

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500 Sony has confirmed that the Xperia Z2 IP55/58 waterproof tablet is now available for pre-order at $500 for the 16GB base model.

The device features a 10.1" tablet display with Full HD TRILUMINOS and Live Color LED technology and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3 Ghz quad-core processor and 3 GB RAM. Android 4.4 is loaded right out of the gate, along with Sony's Xperia UI.

Additionally, the tablet has S-Force Front Surround audio, Clear Audio+ and digital noise cancelling support, a 6000mAh battery and an8 MP camera with Exmor RS image sensor and Superior Auto mode.

Finally, Sony has pre-loaded media offers including six movies from Sony Pictures (including new films like Captain Phillips and American Hustle), a free trial to Music Unlimited and eight free PlayStation Mobile games.


AfterDawn: News

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:10

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year Netflix has confirmed that Amazon will be adding the company's full streaming catalog to its Fire TV's universal search feature.

CEO Reed Hastings said "we expect to support voice search later this year," a move that will greatly improve the functionality of the box.

Besides Netflix, Amazon announced recently that there would be support for Crackle, Showtime Anytime, and Hulu Plus in the near future.

Read our review of the set-top box here: Review: The powerful streaming, gaming set-top Amazon Fire TV

AfterDawn: News

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 21:38

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service AT&T is preparing a true rival for Google Fiber, showing off potential launch sites for expanding their gigabit speed fiber Internet service, GigaPower.

The service is currently only available in Austin and has been announced for Dallas, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.

With today's announcement, the company has now identified 21 new candidate metropolitan areas including: Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.

"We're delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president, AT&T Home Solutions. "We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."


AfterDawn: News

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 18:31

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers Following their quarterly earnings report this afternoon, Netflix has announced it will be raising the price for new subscribers to its streaming catalog.

Currently at $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and multiple profiles, the price will increase by $1 or $2 depending on where you live in the world. The new price change goes into effect later in the quarter, most likely in June.

Netflix says current users will get to keep their grandfathered pricing for a "generous time period." The company previously tested pricing variations in Ireland.

The company justified the small price increase by noting how much content they have added in the past year, especially in original programming. The added revenue will go towards more acquisitions and to "deliver an even better streaming experience."

AfterDawn: News

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 21:13

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked? As a group, analysts appear to have called for the peak in iPad sales.

Consensus for the Q1 2014 is that iPad sales will fall year-over-year (YoY) by 0.7 percent.

Such a drop would be surprising for Apple, which saw over 20 percent growth in the last quarter for its refreshed iPad line.

Across the industry, the consensus is 19.3 million units sold, compared to 19.5 million YoY. Noted Apple enthusiasts Horace Dediu, Peter Misek and Gene Munster all had estimates at the high end of the range, above 21 million. Braeburn Group's Matt Lew came in with the low print at 15 million, although that is likely to get more visibility to the firm rather than a real estimation.

Unless Apple blows away these estimates, growth will have slowed significantly. Customers are likely waiting for the updated iPad Air and Mini with Retina models to be released in the Q3.

We will learn more this week following Apple's earnings report.


AfterDawn: News

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 15:19

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards Toshiba has just unveiled the world's fastest microSD cards, cards that the company claims can handle 4K video.

Available initially in 32GB and 64GB versions, the cards are rated at UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and they are the first to use the new UHS-II interface standard.

Notes Toshiba: UHS-II with U3 means support for "high-quality 4K video capture at constant minimum write speed of 30MB/S. This means that 4K2K video, live broadcast, and content can be recorded on high-performance cameras."

The new announcement is of great significance to the industry, given that product makers will no longer have to sacrifice valuable space to accommodate bigger cards, like full sized SD.

Toshiba claims the 64GB card has a max read speed of 260MB per second and write speed of 240MB/s while the 32GB has 145MB/s and 130MB/s, respectively. Compared to previous cards, the new specs "represents an 8x write speed improvement and 2.7x read speed improvement when compared to Toshiba's current 32GB MicroSD UHS-1 card."


AfterDawn: News

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 14:32

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users LinkedIn has announced this week that the professional social network now has 300 million registered users, with 100 million residing in the U.S.

Reads the blog post: "We are excited to announce that we reached a big milestone today: there are now more than 300 million LinkedIn members in the world! More than half of these members come from outside of the U.S., while there are 100 million members in the U.S. While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce."

The company has plans for major expansions into Asia and mobile devices, with the ultimate goal of expanding their user base into the billions.

Of course, the registered userbase is much higher than the active users, with uniques totaling 187 million last quarter.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung fixes Smart TV app, website outages following fire

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 13:49

Samsung fixes Smart TV app, website outages following fire Yesterday, Samsung device owners had many of their services unavailable for some time, with even down for a time.

Apps were unavailable on Samsung Smart TVs, as well, thanks to a large fire at a Samsung SDS building in Gwacheon, South Korea.

Earlier this morning, access was restored and Samsung confirmed the fire as the culprit.

There were no fatalities.


AfterDawn: News

Pew research: Americans are still wary of drones, robots, wearables

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 13:02

Pew research: Americans are still wary of drones, robots, wearables According to a new Pew research survey, Americans remain wary of technology that could power the future, including drones, robots and even wearable devices like Google Glass.

1,000 US adults were surveyed, and 59 percent expressed optimism that upcoming tech would positively benefit society and their lives, while a full 30 percent believed society would be worse off.

There were some mixed results in other areas. 80 percent believe lab-grown organs will be a mainstay, while 50 percent believe that computers will be able to produce art on the same quality as humans.

One worrying figure was that 39 percent of those surveyed believe scientists will be able to teleport objects within the next 50 years. There have been no breakthroughs in such an endeavor, and many believe teleportation is hundreds of years away, if it is possible at all.

53 percent of respondents were worried about wearables and think society will be worse off if "most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them." 37 percent believed society would be better off. Only 48 percent of respondents would take a ride in a driverless car. 63 percent are concerned society will be worse off if drones are allowed to operate in commercial airspace. 65 percent are against robots as caregivers for the eldery and 66 percent are against DNA alteration for babies to include specific traits. The largest number, 78 percent, had no interest in eating lab-grown meats.


AfterDawn: News

AT&T increases data for free on no-contract GoPhone plans

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 12:28

AT&T increases data for free on no-contract GoPhone plans Starting next week, AT&T will boost their pre-paid GoPhone plans with additional data, with no additional change in price.

The base GoPhone plan will still cost $40 per month for 500 minutes and unlimited texting (including international for certain countries), but data will be bumped to 500MB from the current 250MB.

If you pay up for the unlimited talk and text plan at $60 per month, data will be boosted to 2.5GB from 2GB and Wi-Fi hotspot capability is added for free.

For new customers, and available exclusively at Walmart, there is a third plan with unlimited text and talk with 1GB data for $45 per month, a stronger value than the base plan as long as the $5 isn't a deal breaker.

"We're giving customers more for less, and making it even easier for them to enjoy their smartphones the way they want - all on a superior, reliable network," said Mark Collins, AT&T Mobility senior vice president of data and voice products.


AfterDawn: News

Heartbleed fallout: If you signed up for Obamacare, it's time to change your password

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 11:50

Heartbleed fallout: If you signed up for Obamacare, it's time to change your password Government officials have confirmed that the website is indeed vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, and those that have signed up for Obamacare should change their passwords.

There was no indication that the site had been compromised, but officials still recommend changing the password to be safe. Other government sites may have been vulnerable, as well, but a full review is still ongoing, say the officials.

Heartbleed, which is a massive flaw in the OpenSSL website encryption technology used by a major portion of the Web, has been dominating headlines recently as major companies rush to patch their services and recommend to users that their passwords and other info be changed.

"While there's no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers' passwords out of an abundance of caution," reads the website.

Phyllis Schneck, Department of Homeland Security deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications also added: "We will continue to focus on this issue until government agencies have mitigated the vulnerability in their systems. And we will continue to adapt our response if we learn about additional issues created by the vulnerability."


AfterDawn: News

Beats Music adds ability to purchase subscription through iOS app

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 11:32

Beats Music adds ability to purchase subscription through iOS app Beats Music has bitten the bullet and has added in-app purchasing for subscriptions of the streaming service through the iOS app.

The service launched in January and has been modestly successful due to its high reviews.

Apple takes 30 percent of all in-app purchase revenue, which is significant but should also open up the service to more users. Beats Music costs $10 per month.

Beats Music is available in the U.S. on iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android, PC and Mac. The headphone company, run by music industry exec Jimmy Iovine and famous producer Dr. Dre, says all U.S. consumers can try the service for free for 30 days and can download or stream unlimited music for $10 per month afterwards. For $15 a month, a family of five can access the service through a deal will AT&T. The charge will be part of your regular monthly bill.

Unlimited downloads will allow you to listen to music offline, but the downloads expire and disappear when your membership ends.


AfterDawn: News

High fidelity PonoPlayer closes Kickstarter campaign at $6.2 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Apr 2014 17:37

High fidelity PonoPlayer closes Kickstarter campaign at $6.2 million The Kickstarter-funded high-fidelity music player, Pono, has closed its campaign at $6.2 million raised, good for the third best campaign on the crowdfunding site, ever.

Launched by musician Neil Young, the device was offered in 31 different options, including players with artist's signatures laser engraved on the side and pre-loaded with the artist's music.

Still in prototype form, the device is expected to launch in October in its final retail form. "The art of engineering is the art of compromise," Pono said recently. "And when you have a chance to listen to the PonoPlayer, we promise that you will be more than happy with the choices we have made."

Pono Players will cost $399 when they launch at retail in October, but 100 lucky backers got it for $199 and all other Kickstarter backers could purchase it for $299.

What is Pono?

Pono's mission is to provide the best possible listening experience of your favorite music. We want to be very clear that PonoMusic is not a new audio file format or standard. PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio. We offer PonoMusic customers the highest resolution digital music available. PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music store and player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating. PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.


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