AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Andre Yoskowitz

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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AfterDawn: News

Study: 20 percent of Hulu and Netflix subscribers have cut the cord

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Apr 2014 17:14

Study: 20 percent of Hulu and Netflix subscribers have cut the cord According to a new Experian Marketing Services study, cord cutting is definitely on the rise, especially among those with popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

The study reveals that 6.5 percent of U.S. households cut the cord in 2013, leaving their cable TV service for good, up from 4.5 percent in 2010. This amounts to almost 8 million.

If you are a subscriber to Netflix or Hulu, that figure jumps significantly, with 18 percent of Americans using those services having effectively cut the cord.

Perhaps most dramatically, in the 18-34 age range, the number is closer to 12.5 percent of all households. "The young millennials who are just getting started on their own may never pay for television," said John Fetto, a senior analyst at Experian Marketing Services. "Pay TV is definitely declining."

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AfterDawn: News

Nike denies it's shutting down FuelBand, but confirms layoffs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Apr 2014 16:46

Nike denies it's shutting down FuelBand, but confirms layoffs Following a report that the company was shutting down its FuelBand digital sports division and laying employees off, Nike has confirmed a "small number" of layoffs but denied the division was being ended.

"The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business," says the company. "We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future."

To that end, Nike could be suggesting that there will be no future FuelBand bracelets in the future, and other sources claim Nike is just waiting to wind down its remaining inventory while it decides on the future of the unit.

The bracelets have high expenses, low margins and sales have been moderate. Sources also claim Nike has had issues attracting the engineering talent it would need for future devices. The device also lacks an Android app, alienating a huge portion of the population.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Google building a $100 Nexus smartphone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Apr 2014 16:22

Report: Google building a $100 Nexus smartphone According to supply chain sources, Google is working on a $100 Nexus smartphone for budget-conscious consumers.

There is very little to go on, but the reports claim that Google will join up with chip maker MediaTek to build the phone. MediaTek offers SoC with high-end specs, but for lower priced devices.

Such a device could certainly disrupt the industry, especially if it is serviceable, given that Apple's iPhones sell for over $600 unlocked, and at least $199 on contract, and the Galaxy line sells for the same price. Samsung and Apple are the only two profitable smartphone makers and it is clear that margins on a $100 phone would be non-existent.

Most likely, Google would be losing money on each device (like Amazon normally does), to ensure the Android OS and Google ecosystem are in as many hands as possible, where they can sell more content.

On the high-end, Google is expected to launch their Nexus 6 later this year.

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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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