AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Chromebooks may soon be unlocked with smartphones

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 7:33

Chromebooks may soon be unlocked with smartphones A feature spotted in the Chrome OS dev channel may indicate that Chromebooks will soon be unlocked using asmartphone.

The unfinished feature is called "Easy Unlock" and it can be enabled manually, but it doesn't really do anything as of yet.

Trying to use the feature brings up a three-step process. The first page explains that your phone can "Easy Unlock" all your devices. "You can instantly unlock your Chromebook when you and your phone are nearby, no password necessary."

The first of the three steps is to "Find your phone", but it does absolutely nothing as of yet. It appears to search for something but it is likely looking for an app that hasn't been released yet.




Sources and Recommended Reading
Unfinished 'Easy Unlock' Feature Creeps Into Chrome OS Dev: www.androidpolice.com (Image Source)





AfterDawn: News

Android tops activations in U.S. during Q1

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 7:19

Android tops activations in U.S. during Q1 Google's Android operating system rose above Apple's iOS with 53 percent of activations in the United States during Q1 of this year.

In the final quarter of 2013, Apple's iOS accounted for the largest share of activations in the U.S. at 48 percent, ahead of Android at 46 percent. Now iOS has fallen to second place with 42 percent of activations, behind Android's 53 percent total.

Both Windows Phone and BlackBerry could only manage around 1 percent of activations each, while non-smartphones accounted for the rest.

The data comes from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

"In a quarter without any significant phone launch, more buyers chose Android phones than iOS," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP.

"It increased its share considerably over the previous quarter, when it had only 46% of activations. iOS share of activations fell from 48% in the previous quarter, the first full quarter with iPhone 5S and 5C sales."

Apple's iOS did grow slightly faster than Android however when you take into account new phone purchases that replaced older non-smartphones or devices made by rivals. Both BlackBerry and Windows Phone lost users, though the biggest loser was basic feature phones, and that certainly will do no harm.

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AfterDawn: News

Google, Facebook becoming 'too powerful', German media boss says in open letter

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 6:54

Google, Facebook becoming 'too powerful', German media boss says in open letter Google and Facebook have come under fire from a powerful source in Europe concerning to their business practices and treatment of Internet users' privacy.

Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Dopfner wrote an open letter to Google chairman Eric Schmidt in which he described the company as a monopoly, and its top brass as seeking to operate in a 'legal vacuum' with the hassles of anti-trust and privacy, a kind of 'superstate.'

Dopfner's open letter was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which is not one of the 200 newspapers and magazines that Axel Springer publishes. It came after a column written by Eric Schmidt said the relationship between both companies was challenging, but that they had managed a multi-year deal regardless.

On that relationship, Dopfner said he admired Google's entrepreneurial success and was happy to have a relationship with the firm, but that it wasn't like there was much of an alternative for Axel Springer to choose from.

The letter cautioned Google that monopolies do not survive long throughout the history of economics.

Technology companies are becoming too powerful

The open letter argued that tech firms like Google and Facebook are becoming too powerful, more than most people are aware.

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AfterDawn: News

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' to curb growing theft problem in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2014 6:06

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' to curb growing theft problem in U.S. Can a pledge from the smartphone industry to include anti-theft features in all smartphones sold after July 2015 stop the 'apple picking' problem in U.S. cities?

Earlier this week, the CTIA trade association announced an agreement between smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers to include anti-theft features in smartphones made and sold after July 2015 in the United States. The commitment is a response to a growing problem in U.S. cities of smartphone theft, sometimes with tragic consequences.

The announcement arrived as the debate about measures to protect smartphone users on U.S. city streets was heating up again.

The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment

New smartphone models manufactured after July 2015 and sold in the United States will include anti-theft tools at no additional cost to the customer. These tools will offer smartphone owners a variety of options to avail of in the event that a smartphone is stolen to protect their data and privacy, and in a broader sense to disincentivize smartphone theft.

A victim will be able to remotely wipe data from the stolen device, such as personal information in the form of messages, e-mails, contacts and so forth, and can also render the device inoperable to an unauthorized user except to contact emergency services.

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AfterDawn: News

Upload Xbox One gamplay footage to YouTube directly

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 13:47

Upload Xbox One gamplay footage to YouTube directly Starting from tomorrow, Xbox One gamers will be able to share gameplay footage directly to their YouTube channel.

Microsoft has confirmed that the YouTube app on Xbox One will get an update that integrates the Game DVR and Upload apps with YouTube, simplifying the process of capturing and sharing your clips now on the world's video portal.

You will be able to use Game DVR to catch gameplay moments and then edit them in Upload studio, and then by just clicking a button inside the YouTube app you can send it straight to your YouTube channel.

The YouTube app update also adds the ability to watch YouTube videos in Snap Mode, add YouTube videos to your Pins, earn Media Achievements and add YouTube channels to OneGuide.

The update will start rolling out tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8.





AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 810, 808 chips for next-gen smartphones

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 12:33

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 810, 808 chips for next-gen smartphones Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 810 and Snapsragon 808 chips that will power next-generation smartphones from 2015.

The chipmaker says the 810 and 808 are its most powerful chips yet, with vast improvements for video, imaging, graphics and connectivity. Both 64-bit chips implement Cat 6 LTE Advanced on-chip, designed with 20nm fabrication technology which delivers more performance at comparatively low power consumption.

The Snapdragon 810 is definitely the one to covet of the two. Here is a run down of what it boasts.

Snapdragon 810

  • 20nm technology
  • Four Cortex A57 cores for intensive, power hungry tasks
  • Four Cortex A53 cores for non-intensive tasks
  • Supports 4K Displays (external via HDMI 1.4)
  • 14-bit dual Image Signal Processors, 1.2GP/s throughput, image sensors up to 55MP
  • High-speed LPDDR4 memory
  • New Adreno 430 Graphics Processing Unit
  • Adreno 430 is 30 percent faster than Adreno 420, 100 percent faster for GPGPU operations.
  • Adreno 430 reduces power consumption by up to 20 percent
  • Integrated CAT-6 LTE Advanced on-chip
  • Supports VIVE 2-stream 802.11ac with MU-MIMO
  • Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, NFC and Qualcomm IZat location core
Snapdragon 808
  • 20nm technology
  • Two Cortext A57 cores for intensive, power hungry tasks
  • Four Cortex A53 cores for non-intensive tasks
  • Supports 2K Displays, WQXGA (2560x1600), (External 4k via HDMI1.4)
  • LPDDR3 memory
  • Adreno 418 GPU
  • Adreno 418 GPU provides 20 percent faster graphics performance than predecessor Adreno 330
  • Integrated CAT-6 LTE Advanced on-chip
The Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 808 won't be deployed in products until 2015 at earliest, as the 64-bit Snapdragon 610 and Snapdragon 615 were only announced in February and will only be deployed in the forthcoming holiday season.

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AfterDawn: News

HBO Go crashes after Game of Thrones premiere

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 11:50

HBO Go crashes after Game of Thrones premiere As the fourth season of Game of Thrones kicked off on Sunday night, HBO Go crashed and burned under the demand from HBO subscribers.

HBO is perfectly entitled to guard its blockbusters close to its chest while web streaming services fight over content licensing and make their own programming, but if it insists on limiting Game of Throne's web availability to its own HBO Go service, at the very least make sure it can handle the demand.

After the premiere of the fourth season of Games of Thrones aired last night, the demand to see it through HBO Go hit the roof, then blew the roof off altogether. HBO Go acknowledged the trouble it was having in a tweet.




It then went on to remind fans that Game of Thrones will be available on HBO On Demand with some cable providers, and that it will air again on HBO at 11PM EST. After a few hours, it announced that service was restored.

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AfterDawn: News

Yahoo wants to follow Netflix into TV content

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 11:39

Yahoo wants to follow Netflix into TV content According a WSJ report, Yahoo is looking to jump into online video in a big way with original web series like Netflix' House of Cards.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar with Yahoo's plans in reporting that Yahoo is actively looking to acquire good original programming to rival content available through Netflix, Amazon or on cable TV.

In terms of investment, Yahoo is looking for 10-episode, 30-minute comedies with budgets anywhere from $700,000 to a few million dollars each.

"They want to blow it out big time," the WSJ quotes one of its sources as saying. "They're looking at the same type of shows that Netflix and Amazon are eyeing."

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer hopes to show advertisers TV-caliber content on April 28 at Yahoo's NewFront event.

Increasing numbers of Americans and viewers elsewhere in the world are turning to on-demand services, catch-up apps and subscription services like Netflix and Hulu to get their fill of TV content. Some have even dropped Cable or Satellite TV subscriptions completely to get all of their content through the web.

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AfterDawn: News

Xbox studio has six original series lined up

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 11:21

Xbox studio has six original series lined up Microsoft will dip its toes into the original TV programming pool starting in June, with a total of six series ready to roll out.

Following the success of shows like House of Cards, more players are looking to original programming for future revenues, and to lure consumers to their content delivery platforms without paying high fees to secure rights to popular third-party shows.

Among Microsoft's line-up is a collaboration with Channel Four in the UK called "Humans", an English-language adaptation of Sveriges Television and Matador Film's acclaimed series "Real Humans."

The features 'Synths', which are robotic servants that have the likeness of their live counterparts.

"'Humans' not only questions personal relationships, we loved how this sci-fi show toys with reality and our connection to technology," said Xbox Entertainment Studios President Nancy Tellem.

Tellem was recruited by Microsoft 19 months ago to spearhead its foray into TV show production.

Another production through the Microsoft studio is a reality show called "Every Street United", which is timed to coincide with the World Cup this summer. Users will be able to unlock extra scenes and play mini-games based on the show.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Police target piracy site ads

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 10:55

Police target piracy site ads The Intellectual Crime Property Unit of the City of London police will be targeting users of piracy sites with adverts of their own.

An infringing website list (IWL) has already been created by the police force. The first step is to contact the owner or operators of the site and encourage them to voluntarily change their practices. If that fails, the police target the revenue sources by contacting 60 brands, agencies and advertising technology businesses with instruction to cut them off.

The idea of starving piracy sites of revenue is not a new idea at all, but it is intriguing that police intend to ad their own messages to the sites for users to read. How they intend to do this is unknown, but it will be interesting to witness.

"Together we have created a process that first and foremost encourages offenders to change their behaviour so they are operating within the law," said DCI Andy Fyfe, head of the PIPCU.

"However, if they refuse to comply we now have the means to persuade businesses to move their advertising to different platforms and, if offending continues, for registrars to suspend the websites."


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Police crack down on Game of Thrones illegal downloads: www.bbc.co.uk





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft: Xbox 360 emulation on Xbox One being 'thought through'

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2014 10:46

Microsoft: Xbox 360 emulation on Xbox One being 'thought through' Microsoft is still thinking through its options as it works on ways to bring Xbox 360 titles to the Xbox One console.

Since the Xbox One console adopted X86 architecture instead of the PowerPC-powered Xbox 360, it was always going to be a challenge to bring Xbox 360 titles to the new console. "It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff," Microsoft's Frank Savage said during a panel discussion at Microsoft's Build conference.

"There are [plans], but we're not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately," he added.

It may be possible that Microsoft will give up on trying to go with the emulation route, and will simply follow Sony's PlayStation Now model, which uses the cloud instead to deliver PS3 experiences on the PS4 console.

Xbox One director Albert Penello told GameSpot last year that it could be possible that Microsoft will use the Azure cloud platform to stream Xbox 360 games to Xbox One owners.





AfterDawn: News

Brits pay millions to continue Windows XP usage in public services

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 13:21

Brits pay millions to continue Windows XP usage in public services The British government has reportedly signed a milti-million pounds deal with Microsoft to continue using Windows XP in public services across the island.

Windows XP SP3 officially reaches its end of support on Tuesday, April 8, thirteen years after the operating system first launched. After April 8, XP users are strongly recommended to either get a new PC, upgrade to a newer Windows OS, switch to Linux or find a more limited, offline usage for the operating system.

The British government has no plans to rush to upgrade systems across its public services however, and has reportedly signed a 5.548 million deal with Microsoft to continue support through the Redmond giant's "custom support" program.

Brits are not the only ones paying for continued support either; the Dutch are also reportedly using Microsoft's custom support options for over 30,000 computers still running the XP operating system.

The U.S. government also reportedly has hundreds of thousands of systems still running the ageing operating system, for which it will require its own deal with Microsoft.

To be fair to Microsoft, the company has been warning about the EOS for Windows XP for years.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Dutch, British governments pay to keep Windows XP alive: www.arstechnica.com/





AfterDawn: News

Xbox Live users given 1 week free Xbox Live Gold due to March outage

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 13:07

Xbox Live users given 1 week free Xbox Live Gold due to March outage Users of Microsoft's Xbox Live service who had trouble with an outage on March 11 are being credited with one week free Gold membership from Microsoft.

According to IGN, Xbox LIVE users who couldn't connect to the service on March 11 have been receiving messages through the Xbox Live Messaging system notifying them of a free week of Gold membership for the trouble they experienced.

"We know you experienced an issue signing in on your Xbox One on 3/11/2014. We apologize and will soon give you 7 days of Xbox Live Gold for your inconvenience," the message reads.

March 11 was also the launch date of Titanfall for Xbox One, which lead some to link the Xbox Live connection issues with the release of the multiplayer, online-only title. That link has since been dismissed, however.

Source: IGN





AfterDawn: News

PS3's Resistance trilogy goes offline on Tuesday

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 13:01

PS3's Resistance trilogy goes offline on Tuesday Insomniac Games has reminded PS3 owners that its Resistance trilogy will no longer have online play from Tuesday, April 8.

Last year, Sony had warned that the Resistance titles would lose online play sometime in early 2014, and that date has since been set to April 8, so if you want one last blast at Resistance online you only have the rest of the weekend and Monday to do it.

There are also no Resistance games currently in development for PlayStation platforms, which makes this online blackout a little bit more significant for fans of the series.

Whether online functionality for PS Vita's Resistance: Burning Skies will also stop on April 8 is unclear for now.

Source: Joystiq





AfterDawn: News

Game Boy Advance titles coming to Wii U Virtual Console

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 12:21

Game Boy Advance titles coming to Wii U Virtual Console Nintendo is bringing Game Boy Advance titles to the Wii U Virtual Console throughout April, including some titles that will be instantly familiar to GBA gamers.

The first wave of GBA games heading to the Wii U includes Advance Wars, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Metroid Fusion. Those three titles will be launching on April 7, and priced at $7.99 each.

On April 10, Nintendo will also offer Kirby & The Amazing Mirror and WarioWare, Inc., while F-Zero: Maximum Velocity ($6.99) and Golden Sun will be available from April 17.

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 will be available from April 24.

Nintendo will also offer Super Mario Bros. 3 on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS for $4.99 from April 17, bringing back one of the most celebrated Super Mario games in the history of the franchise.

More details from: Nintendo.com






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