AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Steam adds bitcoin support

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Apr 2016 17:09

Steam adds bitcoin support Bitcoin has been called a revolutionary currency but it has had its problems, and adoption in the mainstream is far from perfect. One big name in the gaming industry has decided to embrace the so-called cryptocurrency.

From now on Valve's gaming platform and game store Steam supports bitcoin. You can buy games and other content with bitcoins, the currency mediator being Bitpay. Bitpay is one of the largest bitcoin payment services.

Even though bitcoin has been adopted mainly in the western world Steam believes that the new currency will bring new customers from developing countries and within communities that do not use credit cards to a western degree.

It's essentially the alternative to mobile payment which Steam didn't see as well fit for the purposes of PC gaming.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung reports strong quarter, thanks to Galaxy S7

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Apr 2016 12:28

Samsung reports strong quarter, thanks to Galaxy S7 Samsung has revealed its quarterly earnings for the first three months in 2016. The results are impressive as the company gains momentum with Galaxy S7.

Samsung's mobile business revenue increased by 8 percent but the big impact is seen in the profits. The company reported an impressive 42 percent growth in net profits in the three month period compared to year before.

The new strategy with Galaxy S7 and more streamlined portfolio of middle and entry-level devices has paid off. The flagship has been received well nearly universally and the orders have blown the predecessor out of the water.

Increasing profits are not given even for giants like Samsung and Apple as we know from the quarterly results from Cupertino. Apple's iPhone sales has dropped as have the company's profits.

Estimates are that still a fairly new Galaxy S7 will keep Samsung steady through the summer while Apple will be reporting decline in sales probably until Q4.





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft: "We're committed to Windows 10 Mobile"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Apr 2016 14:15

Microsoft: "We're committed to Windows 10 Mobile" Microsoft hasn't seemed too interested in smartphones after acquiring Nokia's mobile phone business. Oddly the number of phones released has dropped drastically, even though Windows 10 should be living its heyday.

The executive VP of Devices and Windows, Terry Myerson, has however sent an email to employees assuring that smartphones have not been forgotten. In the email Myerson explains how Microsoft is still dedicated to developing Windows 10 as a mobile operating system.

Even more specifically, he says that Microsoft is going to make Windows 10 for small devices with ARM chips.

The company is obviously trying to calm the employees down after a horrific decline in Windows Phone sales. Just couple days ago Microsoft reported a 73 percent decline in quantity and nearly 50 percent decline in Windows Phone revenue.

According to the rumors, Microsoft is shifting smartphone strategy and moving them under the more successful Surface brand in 2017.





AfterDawn: News

Apple released quarterly results, iPhone sales down first time ever

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Apr 2016 14:01

Apple released quarterly results, iPhone sales down first time ever Apple has released the first quarterly earnings of 2016. As expected, the results weren't as impressive as quarters in recent history. The most significant drop was witnessed in iPhone sales.

The first time in years Apple had to tell shareholders that profits have declined compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The drop was orchestrated by a first in a history decline in iPhone sales.

Apple sold 16 percents less iPhones than year ago, amounting to 51.2 million phones. Also declining were iPad and Mac sales, just over 10 million and 4 million units respectively.

Even sales in China, which has been a big boomer for Apple for recent years, declined a hefty 26 percent.

Apple predicts this trend to continue in the second quarter as well. We might have to wait for iPhone 7 for more positive sales figures from Apple.





AfterDawn: News

Did you know that Netflix has HDR content?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Apr 2016 14:54

Did you know that Netflix has HDR content? While no one was watching, Netflix introduced HDR content to its streaming service. Currently there's a very limited supply of HDR video but you can be assured that there will be more.

According to Engadget Netflix show Marco Polo is available in HDR video. Currently that is the only show available in High Dynamic Range but another Netflix Original, Daredevil, will soon be available in HDR as well.

To watch shows in HDR you obviously need equipment that supports the playback of such content. Netflix says that the service supports TVs with either Dolby Visual or HDR10 features.





AfterDawn: News

Music industry back from a 20 year slump, still blames YouTube

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Apr 2016 13:35

Music industry back from a 20 year slump, still blames YouTube As many of you know, the music industry, just like Hollywood, loves to play the blame game. Whether it's Napster or Spotify, the new technologies and services are here to steal the hard earned cash of artists. Well, it seems that digital music has gotten the music industry out of the 20 year recession.

But don't for a second think there's no internet services to blame. IFPI, the industry's lobby group, is still blaming YouTube for not doing its share, despite Google and Alphabet shelling out more than 3 billion dollars so far to the industry.

According to WSJ, IFPI claims that YouTube is allowing people to listen to music without them paying anything. YouTube of course points at its subscription service YouTube Red and the fact that it does everything it has to, or can do, to eliminate illegal music.

IFPI still doesn't seem too happy about the streaming services, but maybe it should look at the figures. Worldwide digital music topped physical media first time ever. And it was streaming services that were responsible for the growth. Even if both physical and digital media sales declined the industry as a whole saw meaningful growth first time since the 90s.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

HTC unveils its new flagship, "10"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Apr 2016 13:09

HTC unveils its new flagship, "10" HTC has revealed its newest smartphone called simply the 10. It's the successor to years of One lineup that ended in One M9 last year.

HTC 10 clearly carries the same design principles from previous One models. It looks like one continuous piece of metal, just like its predecessors. Of course the innards are what matter, and HTC has covered certainly all the basics.

Specs include octa-core Snapdragon 820, 3 (32GB model) or 4 gigs of RAM (65 GB model), a 5.2 inch Quad HD display, and 12 and 5 megapixel cameras. The camera in the back, hailed already as one of the best around, has larger than conventional pixels which qualify it as an UltraPixel camera.

The phone features a 3000 milliamp hour battery, Type-C USB, and stereo speakers. Unfortunately the so called Boom Sound speakers are no longer front-facing. HTC 10 will be available in four colors (Carbon Grey, Glacier Silver, Topaz Gold, and Camellia Red) on April 12 for $699.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix Originals unavailable because of licensing deals

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Mar 2016 14:21

Netflix Originals unavailable because of licensing deals One of the cornerstones of Netflix Originals, whether its the shows including the award-winning House of Cards or Documentaries Virunga, is that they will be available at the same time all around the world. Much of the company's success especially outside the US has been for this fact.

Now it seems that the company has been caught having those awful region-specific licensing deals it downplays in its own strategy. One might call Netflix's situation a hypocrisy, since among others House of Cards' new season is not showing in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and Africa because it has been licensed to TV companies.

Netflix told TorrentFreak that this is because of old contracts that the company is trying to get rid of as soon as possible, and the fact that the company expanded to 130 new countries recently has brought these issues to light. Amongst other shows that suffer from late releases is the hugely popular Orange is the New Black.

Customers, however, are reasonable angry about the situation. People in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, and most of Africa are paying the same subscription fee but not getting the content as people just across the border. Furthermore people are defending their right to use VPN services to access other countries' Netflix content which Netflix has recently taken a tougher stance against.

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AfterDawn: News

Adobe reveals another Flash vulnerability, patch already out

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Mar 2016 14:24

Adobe reveals another Flash vulnerability, patch already out Adobe has revealed that its Flash player was subject to another vulnerability. This time patch is already out and the company suggests you install it immediately.

The security vulnerability can allow third parties to access private information on your computer and even control the computers, says Adobe. It affects all the major operating systems, including Windows, Macs and Linux.

Fortunately the fix for this has already been released in the latest update. Most browsers feature automatic updates so you should be already safe, but to make sure check that your Flash version is as follows: Linux 11.2.202.577, Windows and Macs 21.0.0.182, Google Chrome 21.0.0.182, Windows 10 Edge and Internet Explorer 21.0.0.182, and Windows 8.x Internet Explorer 21.0.0.182.

You can update your Adobe Flash at https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.





AfterDawn: News

Apple sends invitations for March 21 event

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Mar 2016 17:44

Apple sends invitations for March 21 event Apple has today sent invites for its unusually important March event. Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone as well as a smaller version of iPad Pro.

Like last year Apple is looking to announce new products in three different events, first of which is in less than two weeks on March 21. New products are expected as well from the WWDC and September iPhone event.

The March Special Event will be more influential than previously as Apple's new products are expected to include both a new iPhone and an iPad.

The four inch iPhone has been rumored for quite a while and it seems that it will be released under the moniker iPhone SE. It's a revamp of the older iPhone 5 and 5s models but includes Apple Pay with Touch ID and NFC, and a newer and faster A9 chip.

Apple's new iPad will likely be a 9.7 inch version of the Pro model which comes with a smaller Smart Keyboard. In addition to the iPad and the iPhone, Apple is teasing new Apple Watch straps with the slogan "let us loop you in."





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.

Read more...




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.

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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.

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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.

Read more...





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