AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 14:20

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak The grand old man of smartphone leaks, Evan Blass of VentureBeat has leaked one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year. It is of course the flagship model of Sasmung, Galaxy S7.

There's two pictures of the two different versions shown – the regular 5.1 inch Galaxy S7 and the larger 5.6 inch Galaxy S7 Edge. Blass has added one of the pictures to an ">early January VentureBeat story (show above) and the other picture is seen in his tweet below.

By the looks of it the phone will be pretty much identical to the Galaxy S6, but obviously a lot of differences can be found under the hood. The Galaxy S6 – and especially the Edge version – and its metal and glass finish got a warm welcome after a slew of plasticky models, so not changing the exterior certainly isn't a bad choice.

According to Blass, Samsung has also added some key features to Galaxy S7 that the community has been aching for. The battery is still non-replaceable but microSD card slot will allow memory expansion and the phone is also finally water and dust resistant.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 14:01

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin Microsoft has revealed quarterly results and disclosed details on smartphone sales. It might not come as a surprise but the figures do not paint a pretty picture, and some have deemed the platform dead.

During the fourth quarter of 2015, Microsoft sold only 4.5 million Lumia smartphones, dropping over 50% from just couple years back. Other phones, so called dumb phones without Windows, Microsoft sold 22.3 million units. The figures are dreadful for the Redmont giant.

Windows Phone has never quite found its place in the smartphone platform wars and the acquisition of Nokia didn't seem to help Microsoft. After the acquisition Microsoft has seemed to scale the smartphone business down rather than give it a strong, maybe its last, push. Now it looks like the swan song was a rather weak one, if we indeed have witnessed it.

Since 2010 only 110 million Windows Phones have been sold, which is minuscule compared to more than 4.5 billion Android phones or iPhones. It's hard to see a way up for Microsoft. Everything could change with one magical product, but it's really hard to see that happening.

AfterDawn: News

Twitter executives flee en masse, Dorsey forced to tweet

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2016 13:41

Twitter executives flee en masse, Dorsey forced to tweet Twitter's stock has been in steep decline for majority of the past year. The plunge didn't stop – quite the opposite – when co-founder Jack Dorsey was appointed as CEO in October.

Now the company is facing another huge problem as executives are leaving the company in an unprecedented pace. When the going gets rough and the times are tough it's very normal to see an exec or even two leaving the company. However, Twitter is having to deal with four high profile executives leaving the company in a very short timespan.

CEO Dorsey has been forced to give an official statement &ndash via Twitter of course. He goes on to dismiss "inaccurate press rumors", whatever they might be, but acknowledges that Alex Roetter, Skip Schipper, Katie Stanton, and Kevil Weil are leaving the company. According to Dorsey the CTO Adam Messinger is taking a responsibility of most of the work left undone and the COO Adam Bain will be taking additional responsibilities as well.

In addition the Twitter owned Vine GM Jason Toff is leaving to develop VR headsets, BGR reports.

Tweets by the public show many kinds of reactions. Some blame Twitter for not taking a strong enough stance against harassment and "violence", some have in the recent past even blamed the company for being partly responsible for ISIS attacks for not actively blocking them. Some think Twitter's downfall is not protecting the freedom of speech and advocating certain type of speech over another that was highlighted by hashtag campaign #JeSuisMilo.


AfterDawn: News

Forget it, Verizon is not bringing unlimited data back

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Jan 2016 17:37

Forget it, Verizon is not bringing unlimited data back Verizon published fourth quarter earning earlier this week stating "a strong, balanced" quarter. On the whole the company's wireless business is doing "fine" with a steady 4.6 percent yearly increase in revenue. And nothing going to change it, as long as the company keeps the status quo?

Many customers would disagree after Verizon gave up offering unlimited data plans five years ago. However, unlike within AT&T, Verizon doesn't see any reason to change the fact, at least as long as the business remains profitable.

Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo reiterated according to CNET that unlimited data is not coming back. "At this point, we are not going to entertain unlimited," Shammo said.

According to Shammo, Verizon is not looking to counter rivals. Instead the company is focusing on their own strategy which seems to be buying off customers from the rivals and charging for activation.


AfterDawn: News

Apple's slowing sales hurting suppliers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Jan 2016 14:53

Apple's slowing sales hurting suppliers Apple's rise to the top and success after it has been unparalleled. But as the saying, or the song, goes "what goes up must come down". And according to some the downward curve might be in the horizon for Apple.

The Cupertino giant is such a massive company that sales slowing down affects major manufacturers, suppliers of iPhone and iPad parts. According to Wall Street Journal, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is warning about lowering first half revenue due to decrease in demand.

Also among companies suffering from lowering demand are camera manufacturer Largan Precision and casing manufacturer Catcher Technologies.

It's not entirely clear from what portion of revenue this decline comes from. But the companies agree that smartphone demand is the reason. All of the companies have been providing parts for iPhones.

TSMC has also lost a major deal with Qualcomm as Samsung will be manufacturing Snapdragon 820 that will be featured on most of 2016's highend smartphones. Apple's A9 chips are manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung.


AfterDawn: News

Desktop YouTube gets Picture in Picture for non-stop music

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Jan 2016 13:56

Desktop YouTube gets Picture in Picture for non-stop music While YouTube seems to be the perfect website for viewing videos that might not be entirely the case. There are some features that people have been wanting for a long time, and some of those are already found on other YouTube applications.

One these features is the Picture in Picture or PiP that lets you browse and search YouTube while continuing to play the video in a smaller window. This is especially useful when you are listening to music using YouTube and don't want to hassle with multiple tabs and don't want the music to pause.

This feature is already found on the mobile YouTube and now you can get it on your desktop YouTube experience with the new Chrome extension. It is currently on Beta and can be downloaded here.

AfterDawn: News

Apple Music surpasses 10 million subscribers?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2016 17:10

Apple Music surpasses 10 million subscribers? Apple Music's launch was far from the perfection we're used to seeing from Cupertino. Quickly Apple racked millions of users and by August 11 million users were trying out the service. But how many of these trials would never graduate to paid subscriptions?

Well, after the first batch of three month free trials, Apple's Tim Cook told that they've reached 6.5 million paying customers. Now according to unofficial sources the Apple Music has surpassed 10 million milestone.

Apple has yet to comment on the figures. The service seems to be racking more paying customers at a pace of a million a month. However, there's still a long way to catch up with industry-leading Spotify. Spotify has 20 million paying customers and a total of 75 million active listeners.

If Apple keeps up with the pace maybe we'll see the services compete for the first place in late 2016. Or is that too much to ask from Apple?

AfterDawn: News

Netflix now available around the world

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jan 2016 13:34

Netflix now available around the world Netflix had today a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in which they revealed major expansion in availability. Company CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix is now available around the world.

Hastings said that Netflix adds 130 new countries as of today and can be watched in 190 countries all over the world. The language selection is said to improve in the coming months and years but currently you have to rely on 15 languages available, including English, Spanish, French and Simplified (and Traditional) Chinese.

"Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network," said Reed Hastings.

In 2016, Netflix will released 31 different new or returning original series, over 20 movies and documentaries, 30 kids series, and range of stand-up specials.

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 reaches 10% as 2015 comes to a close

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jan 2016 18:51

Windows 10 reaches 10% as 2015 comes to a close It has been five months since Windows 10 was released in late July and the pace at which it has been adopted surpassed that of its predecessor by quite a margin. New figures reveal that Windows 10 will soon overtake Windows 8.1.

Net Applications' figures show that Windows 10 has increased its marketshare another 1 percent since November. The pace has slightly slowed down but still hovers around one percent per month.

One in ten computers (with desktop OS) now run Windows 10 and it is expected that Windows 10 will overtake both Windows 8.1 and Windows XP within the first month in 2016. However, there's a long way still to beat the Windows 7's over 55 percent share.

All Windows operating systems still have a commanding 91.3 percent share as OS X is at 7 percents and Linux at 1.66%.

AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp down for nearly a billion people

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 Dec 2015 15:24

WhatsApp down for nearly a billion people One of the most popular messaging apps WhatsApp is down. Nearly a billion people have been suffering from the outage for the majority of the past four hours.

According to Down Detector, a site that detects services for downtime, the first reports came in four hours ago. After that the problem appeared to be resolved a couple of times but only for a moment.

As of this moment WhatsApp seems to be down again – or still – but the company is promising to work on a fix as fast as possible.

Obviously today is one of the busiest days for the messaging platforms as people are celebrating the New Year. Hopefully WhatsApp will be able to resolve the situation before your obligatory "Happy New Year" texts.

AfterDawn: News

Amazon devices double during record-breaking holiday season

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Dec 2015 13:02

Amazon devices double during record-breaking holiday season As people celebrated Christmas et al., Amazon celebrated record-setting holiday season for Prime. The company also doubled the number of Amazon devices.

According to the stats more than 3 million new people joined the Amazon Prime just in the third week of December alone. Amazon Prime shipped over 200 million items for free during the holiday season and the Christmas Eve was the busiest Prime day ever.

Amazon also sold twice as many devices compared to last year which held the record previously. The two of the top 3 most popular items on Amazon were their own products (#1 Fire tablet and #3 Fire Stick).

A record number of people also accessed Prime Music, Prime Video, and other services. The company has listed all the records, interesting facts about the most popular products, and all kinds of information about the services here.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix releases a new universal app for Windows 10

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Dec 2015 18:15

Netflix releases a new universal app for Windows 10 Netflix has completely rebuilt their Windows application as a cross-platform or universal app. The new app will become available this week.

Thanks to Windows 10 and its universal app ecosystem largely the same code base is used for all the different variations of the application. Windows 10 on smartphones, tablets, PCs will be using the same app – even the Xbox One will share features. However, at first the app will only be available for tablets and PCs.

Lumia smartphones will be getting the new Netflix app "in the near future", possible in early 2016.

In addition to the architectural update the new version brings about an improved layout. Like on other platforms the categories are now browsed vertically and the titles within the categories horizontally. The description view has also been revamped.

More information about the update can be found from the Windows Experience Blog.


AfterDawn: News

Brazil blocks WhatsApp, overturns decision within hours

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Dec 2015 17:04

Brazil blocks WhatsApp, overturns decision within hours Earlier today Brazil court ordered mobile carriers to block WhatsApp traffic because the company had failed to cooperate in an investigation. The app that is used by over 90 million people in Brazil – and same percentage of internet users – was quickly unblocked.

The initial ban was meant to go on for 48 hours but was overturned by a São Paulo judge before the first 24 hours had expired. According to BBC, Judge Xavier de Souza said that it was "not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company".

Most of Brazil's internet users also use WhatsApp because of the high prices of traditional texting and mobile phone plans in general. As much as 93 percent of the country's internet population uses Facebook owned app, TechCrunch reports.

Some have questioned if the reasons for blocking are tied with the investigations of criminal activity within the messaging service or if it's a plot by the telecoms. The latter can be refuted by the fact that blocking a single service would not stop people from using online messaging. The messaging app Telegram proved the point by gaining millions of users immediately after the ban.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung's Galaxy S7 to copy iPhone 6s' biggest feature

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Dec 2015 17:08

Samsung's Galaxy S7 to copy iPhone 6s' biggest feature Smartphone manufacturers, especially the big ones, love their predictable release cycles. Apple releases an iPhone every fall and Samsung releases a top-of-the-line Galaxy S every spring.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 is "the next big thing", as Samsung likes to put it, but might steal once more a trick or two from Apple.

The rumors have it that Samsung will be unveiling the follow-up to Galaxy S6 (pictured) in February and start selling the phone as early as March. But it is the main features that Wall Street Journal is reporting on now. One of them being the key new feature of this years iPhone.

According to the WSJ sources the Galaxy S7 will feature a pressure-sensitive display, quite like the 3D Touch Apple introduces with the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Less surprisingly Samsung in said to upgrade the USB port to the new speedier and reversible Type-C port.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft's official apology for Surface problems

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2015 19:43

Microsoft's official apology for Surface problems Microsoft has released an official apology to the customers who have bought their new Surface devices – or more specifically to those who've had "a less-than-perfect experience". The official apology comes with a promise to do everything to fix the issues with Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

Microsoft notes that it has already issued several software updates to fix some of the bugs people have experienced with the devices and their Windows 10. The flickering displays were already fixed and now it's time to tackle the lacking Sleep mode.

Users have been surprised that after putting their devices to Sleep they've awoken them with barely any battery life. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and will be fixing the Sleep mode in a software update in early 2016.

The message titled "A Note to Our Customers from The Microsoft Surface Team" doesn't do much else than assure that everything is done to right the wrongs and fix the bugs. For now all you can do is replace Sleep mode with Hibernation. More details on this temporary fix you can find from an article by Windows Central.

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