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AfterDawn: News

Take a look at the leaked images of the upcoming Game of Thrones games by Telltale Games

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 23:35

Take a look at the leaked images of the upcoming Game of Thrones games by Telltale Games Telltale Games, the publisher behind the award-winning Walking Dead series of games, is developing a Game of Thrones game for release next year (or very late this year) and we have the first leaked pictures.

The images show off some familiar characters from the hit HBO show, although there has been no verification that they are real images from the game. You can be the judge.

Telltale's new games series will be six episodes long, and take place in the time frame of the 3rd-5th seasons of the show. The 5th season will launch on HBO in April.

Available for iOS, Mac, PS3, PS4, Windows, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, the cross-platform game is highly anticipated among GoT fans.

See some pics here:




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AfterDawn: News

Billboard to add streaming music, digital download services to its calculation for rankings

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 23:09

Billboard to add streaming music, digital download services to its calculation for rankings Billboard has announced that it will begin counting plays from streaming services when calculating its namesake music rankings.

1500 streams via sites like Spotify, Rdio or Beats Music will now equate to one album sale. Additionally, 10 individual song downloads will also count for one album sale.

The Billboard 200 chart is highly regarded as the most important album sales chart in the industry.

Interestingly, the move follows Taylor Swift removing her catalog of music from Spotify in a high-profile attack against streaming in general. Swift, who has the top selling album of the past few years, believes that steaming devalues artists.

"Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity," says Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard. "While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter. Someone could listen to the album just once, or listen to one track or a number of tracks 100 times. We are now able to incorporate those plays as part of an album consumption ranking throughout one's possession of an album, extending beyond the initial purchase or listen."

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple to make Beats Music a pre-installed iOS app

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 22:46

Report: Apple to make Beats Music a pre-installed iOS app According to multiple reports, Apple is looking to make their newly acquired Beats Music a pre-installed iOS app.

The update could come as soon as March, with the launch of a future version of iOS such as iOS 8.3.

Earlier this year, Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion in an effort to boost its streaming abilities. Beats is famous for its headphones, which are a hit among celebrities and consumers, but the streaming Beats Music service was only slowly gaining subscribers, with 250,000 registered as of May. Major rivals like Spotify have 50 million users (13 million paying), so Beats was playing catch up.

It is unclear whether Beats Music will replace another homescreen app for iOS (like iTunes Radio), or just be added on.

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AfterDawn: News

Customers abused Walmart's price matching policy to obtain PS4s for under $100, forcing company to edit policy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 22:22

Customers abused Walmart's price matching policy to obtain PS4s for under $100, forcing company to edit policy Walmart has shut down part of their price matching policy which was being abused by scammers.

Earlier this month, the giant retailer announced it would price match select retailers including Amazon, meaning if you found a price for your item cheaper online, you could bring in a screenshot and Wal-Mart would match the price.

Unfortunately, there were those that took advantage of the vague wording by Wal-Mart and made fake Amazon sales pages offering the PS4, Xbox One and other big ticket items for cheap, even under $100.

The scam forced Walmart to update the policy, eliminating third-party vendors, marketplace vendors or auction sites from price match.

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AfterDawn: News

Here is the Jolla tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 21:55

Here is the Jolla tablet Finnish startup Jolla reached their crowdfunding goals for the new Jolla Tablet within 2 hours, and is now close to pushing $1 million in funding.

The device, which runs on the upcoming Sailfish OS 2.0 operating system, will have high-end specs with an interesting design to go along with a price tag cheaper than all current comparable tablets (iPad Mini 3, Nexus 9, Nokia N1).

Most interestingly about the device, besides the open-source Sailfish OS, is the fact that you can run Android applications, significantly expanding the library of available apps for the device. Sailfish, since being launched last year, has had nine major updates adding 350 new features, and 2.0 should be a lot more stable and offer better performance.

The Jolla Tablet has a 7.85-inch display with 2048x1536 resolution, a 64-bit quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, 2GB RAM, dual 5MP/2MP cameras, 32GB internal storage (expandable via microSD) and a small-ish 4300mAh battery.

Jolla was quick to boast about the multitasking ability of the new operating system. "Multitasking on Sailfish OS shows all your running apps conveniently in one single view. At a glance, you'll see everything that's going on, as well as easily switch between apps. You can also control Sailfish OS apps directly from the multitasking view for example, change your music or play and pause your video stream without opening the app in full," reads the page. In addition the tablet will work almost entirely with gestures, making simple tasks easier.

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AfterDawn: News

Facebook did it again: Stand-alone Facebook Groups mobile app

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 Nov 2014 2:58

Facebook did it again: Stand-alone Facebook Groups mobile app Despite the s..tstorm caused by forced extraction of messaging into Facebook Messenger, Facebook wont give up. This time around the social media giant is spinning off its groups feature into a stand-alone mobile app, called Facebook Groups.

Unlike with Messenger, company isn't removing the group features from its main mobile app, at least not yet, but instead, tries to give users an alternative way to use Facebook groups.

Facebook currently owns three of the world's top five mobile apps, according to App Annie's charts: Facebook app, Messenger app and Instagram.

As expected, Facebook Groups is available for iOS and Android, download links are here:

Facebook Groups for iOS
Facebook Groups for Android




AfterDawn: News

Netflix streaming headed to Australia, New Zealand in March

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Nov 2014 0:05

Netflix streaming headed to Australia, New Zealand in March Netflix has confirmed two more nations will be receiving the streaming service in the coming months.

Both Australia and New Zealand will get access to the Netflix streaming library in March.

There was no word yet on pricing or supported devices, nor was there a full list of programming available. Netflix did say all of its original content will be available, however.

Netflix currently has 53 million subscribers, with about 26 percent from outside of the U.S.

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AfterDawn: News

U.S. Marshals auctioning off 50,000 Bitcoins seized from Silk Road operator

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Nov 2014 23:41

U.S. Marshals auctioning off 50,000 Bitcoins seized from Silk Road operator The U.S. Marshals Service has announced that it will be auctioning off 50,000 Bitcoins seized from the alleged operator of the Silk Road drug marketplace.

At current Bitcoin pricing, the coins should bring in about $19 million USD. The coins were found in the digital wallet of Ross Ulbricht, who is accused of running the online bazaar for drugs found in the Tor deepnet.

Five months ago, the Marshals sold 30,000 seized Bitcoins following the raid in October 2013 in which the marketplace was shut down.

Bidders will have a six-hour window on December 4th to bid on the lots which will breakdown as 10 blocks of 2000 Bitcoins each followed by 10 blocks of 3000 Bitcoins each. Bidders will have to go through a background check to ensure they are not connected to the Silk Road or Ulbricht.

Even after the two auctions, the Marshals will have plenty of remaining coins to sell. In total, nearly 174,000 Bitcoins were seized in connection with the Silk Road. There are plans to auction the remaining currency in the coming months.

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AfterDawn: News

Popcorn Time 2.4 beta for Android takes experience to new level with offline playback

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Nov 2014 22:30

Popcorn Time 2.4 beta for Android takes experience to new level with offline playback The Popcorn Time team has announced a new killer feature for the software: Offline viewing.

With the new 2.4 beta for Android, smartphone and tablet users can watch TV and movies even when they are not connected to the Internet.

In addition, the new update comes with some major upgrades for other recently announced features. The full change log here:

What else does this version have in store for you?

- You can watch stuff offline.
- We fixed bugs from crash reports you sent us (thanks!)
- We added support for physical keyboard
- We made some major improvements (torrents, vlc, Chromecast, updater and other)
- We added subtitle font color chooser in settings
- We added dimensions for normal, large and x-large screen sizes.


You can get the update here directly from Popcorn Time, as the app is not available through the Google Play Store.




AfterDawn: News

Samsung admits troubles, will reduce smartphone models by up to 30 percent

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Nov 2014 22:16

Samsung admits troubles, will reduce smartphone models by up to 30 percent Samsung has admitted it needs some refocusing and will cut costs by dropping the number of models it sells by up to 30 percent next year.

The company recently saw its profits fall 49 percent year-over-year for the last quarter, and high-level executives have promised investors a more cost efficient company moving forward.

Samsung offers a plethora of different models aimed at pretty much the whole range of consumers, from the entry-level to the premium but only a few models have ever been truly successful.

Over the past few quarters, the company has seen its margins slide and sales drop due to the fierce competition of lower-cost Chinese smartphone makers, most notably Xiaomi and Huawei.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia N1 has some obstacles to overcome

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Nov 2014 6:04

Nokia N1 has some obstacles to overcome So, Nokia finally made its return to consumer business with the introduction of Nokia N1 Android tablet. Device is priced aggressively and doesn't seem to fail in terms of specs on any particular area.

However, it has few potential obstacles to overcome:

Lack of Google Play


As Google's terms are notoriously harsh on how manufacturers can use Google's apps and services on their devices, Nokia simply cannot use Google Play store in its device (their Z Launcher isn't conforming to Google's guidelines on how to present Google services in the homescreen). This means that Nokia has to use an alternative app store for its device. Yandex and Amazon both have excellent alternatives, but both tend to miss at least some of the major apps and games.

Only one model available: No 3G nor 4G


While it might not be a problem for most people, who use their tablets mostly at home or in locations where WiFi is freely available, the complete lack of 3G and 4G versions might put off some people. This is true especially in countries where unlimited, cheap data plans are commonplace (and thus, free WiFi access points are slightly more rare than elsewhere in the world).

x86 Android


Sure, x86 powered Android devices exist, but none of them have really, really made it into big league. All the apps should work, as Android is essentially a big Java virtual machine that hides the underlying CPU structure from the apps. For apps built using Android NDK (mostly games), the CPU issue might cause some level of compatibility issues, but that is just an assumption of ours.

Availability


Will Nokia expand the availability of N1 to other territories after Q1/2015 China launch? And if so, how soon it will happen? Nokia used to be notoriously bad at keeping its production and shipping schedules when it used to be a major player in mobile phones. Lets see if they have improved their game now that they're relying completely on OEM manufacturers.




AfterDawn: News

Nokia introduced Nokia N1 - an Android tablet with Nokia Z launcher

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Nov 2014 4:22

Nokia introduced Nokia N1 - an Android tablet with Nokia Z launcher Nokia, who sold its phone manufacturing business to Microsoft, has made a return to consumer markets by releasing its first-ever Android device: The Nokia N1.

The Nokia N1 is a 7.9-inch Android tablet, featuring the proprietary Nokia Z launcher as its default UI. The display has a 2048x1536 resolution, an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage memory. The exterior is made out of aluminium and the entire device is only 6.9mm thin. In addition, Nokia's latest utilizes the new USB Type C reversable connector.







Nokia has emphasized the audio capabilities of the device: it ships with Wolfson's audio codec and two 0.5W speakers.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony: PlayStation 4 is top selling console for 10th straight month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 21:01

Sony: PlayStation 4 is top selling console for 10th straight month Sony has announced this week that their PlayStation 4 was once again the top selling console in the U.S., marking the 10th month in a row it has done so.

"October 2014 marks the first 12 months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4; and after the first year, these consoles have had a great start as cumulative sales are currently over 70 percent higher than the combined first year totals of Xbox 360 and PS3," said The NPD Group's analyst Liam Callahan. "Hardware sales of eighth generation consoles represent close to 80 percent of dollar sales this month driving overall consoles sales to increase by 186 percent over October 2013."

That streak is likely to end this month, however, as Microsoft dropped the price of the Xbox One in November and the console (especially bundles) have been selling very quickly.

In addition, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and its bundles are expected to have pushed console sales for both major platforms.

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AfterDawn: News

Nvidia SHIELD, SHIELD tablet get Android 5.0 and can now stream games from the cloud

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 20:27

Nvidia SHIELD, SHIELD tablet get Android 5.0 and can now stream games from the cloud Nvidia has proudly announced two major updates for their SHIELD tablet and SHIELD handheld console.

First, the devices have been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the rollout of the new operating system beginning on Tuesday, November 18th. The devices run a basically stock version of Android, with the exception of a suite of Nvidia apps. Adds the press release: "Also included in the update: SHIELD tablet's preloaded Dabbler app. Besides a new interface inspired by Lollipop's material design language, our painting software will offer full support for layers, and users can now share live Dabbler sessions over Twitch."

The second major update is the launch of GRID for SHIELD. The company calls GRID a "Netflix for games," in which you can stream video games right to the tablet/handheld. Gamers do so "by connecting to state-of-the-art NVIDIA GPU servers, the GRID service delivers a GeForce GTX gaming experience on SHIELD devices."

GRID will launch for North American gamers this month and already includes 20 titles such as Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and Psychonauts, with a new game launching weekly.

The service is completely free for owners until June of next year.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii U sales show strong growth ahead of holiday season

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 17:56

Nintendo Wii U sales show strong growth ahead of holiday season Thanks to some major first-party games, it looks like the Nintendo Wii U is back in business.

Nintendo says that for the first 10 months of the year, Wii U hardware sales have increased 47 percent year-over-year. In addition, software sales have jumped 84 percent, thanks mainly to Mario Kart and a few other hit titles.

Adds Nintendo: "Those numbers are both poised to grow with the one-two punch of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and amiibo on Nov. 21, which are then quickly joined by Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on Dec. 5."

One would also expect a price cut in the coming month to get more hardware out there (especially in conjunction with Super Smash), but Nintendo has not confirmed such a move, as of yet.

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